Hump day, hump day, get out of my way. :D Almost Friday and don't forget we get an extra hour this week. :D That's if you fall-back-and-spring-forward. If you don't live in daylight savings time, you get the same number of hours. Sucks to be you this weekend, true, but you can laugh at the rest of us this spring when we all lose 1 hour. :D
My buddy Tony made a list he wanted posted (and I think he also wanted to help me out because he knows how short I am on time). These are his twelve favorite Ava and C.I. reviews "for the 2005 season" which he lets their reviews from January 2005 through the start of the fall season in 2005 cover. With each choice he provided his favorite part.
1) "TV: Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey Reporting for Two Hours of Self-Love" -- where Ava and C.I. review the 'musical' 'special' Nick & Jessica's Tour of Duty.
As the "special" continued, the entertainment casualities continued to pile up, far too many to mention. (Maybe Nightline can do a special on that?) But among the more noteable fatalities would have to be Simpson's laughable attempt to cover Nancy Sinatra's "These Boots Are Made For Walking." While stamping across the stage and sticking out her nothing to brag about ass,Simpson managed to chirp each word correctly even while never demonstrating that she had the first inkling as to what the song was actually about. It was as though you were watching a five-year-old scuffle around in Mommy's high heels.
Which is puzzling when you consider another fatality -- "God Bless America." Who knew it was an ode to orgasms?
Watching little Jessie wet her lips and tousle her mane (as a person she makes a great little pony), we were left to wonder what that or heaving bossoms had to do with either God or a country. Simpson apparently learnt the song at Our Lady of Lap Dance.
2) "TV review: Law & Order: Trial by Jury" -- the theme of that week's edition was the 60s and Ava and C.I. attempted to fit into the theme and ended up with one of their best reviews.
Making what we're sure was a brave acting choice, Amy Carlson sports cleavage often. Since the show provides no backstory for any of the characters, we invented our own.
Carlson's Kelly Gaffney (who thinks up these names?) (or were they "ripped from the phone book?") was a mousy, flat chested thing throughout high school and college. As her gift for getting into law school, her boyfriend, Lance Beverly, paid for implants. Alas, Kelly was so overjoyed at the prospect of permanently strapping on two floatation devices, she failed to check and see where Lance, a poor boy from uptown, got the money. Turns out he was dealing crack. Kelly found this out after he was arrested. She took an an oath, then and there, to clean up the streets and to wait for Lance to finish serving his term. But he got shanked in prison, probably for having the name Lance Beverly, and now she's left with only the sense of purpose and the memory of him. So every time she lifts and drops the implants, she's doing it to remember him. She must think of him constantly.
Carlson won a daytime Emmy for playing Josie on Another World in 1998. Her big moment, that no doubt cinched the win, was when Josie, four months pregnant, got shoved out a window, fell five stories, landed on a trampoline and miscarried. After that, it's no surprise Carlson's drained. Which explains her low key, some might say non-existant, characterization at present.
3) "TV Review: CSI Miami" -- Ava and C.I. take on film producer turned TV producerJerry Bruckenheimer
So he took his tired act into another medium and, possibly a little bitter over the way the whole thing worked out, he's not interested in uplifting you, he's interested in playing to your darkestthoughts about society, freedom and the state of the world.Reactionary has apparently worked for him. He's quite the success on TV. (We hear Simpson cackling from the grave, "Couldn't make it in the big league without me!") If sex scenes give you the heebie jeebies, where do you head? Why CBS of course. And it's there that he's become the Tiny Tim to the Depends-set as he tiptoes through the perceived depravity of the world today much to the amusement of arm chair victims of the cultural wars.
4) "TV Review: The Simple Life" -- Ava and C.I. check out Paris & Nicole.
"Where the hell are we?" is the last thing you hear as the opening credits end at the start of Fox's "reality" show The Simple Life. If you've missed the show, let's us put you wise, hell is apparently portable and seems to follow Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie around.
If you haven't seen the show, it stars Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie who attempt to pass themselves off as both modern day debs and humans. We're not sure which is the harder to swallow. And we swear, when we sat down to watch the show and make our notes, we had no idea that offscreen drama would put the show in the newspapers. Call it synchronicity. (But don't call it synergy!)
Actually, it's called The Simple Life 3: The Interns. And the joke here is that Paris & Nicole have to get jobs or learn skills beyond bitchiness.
5) "TV: Super Stripper or Super Chicken, we weigh in on Smallville" -- Ava and C.I. tackled the pecs and tease that is Smallville.
Remember how Lex Luther's father ended up in Clark's body and how we're not going into details. Just know it happened. This gives Tom Welling the opportunity to strut around shirtless for a bit (which seems to be the main purpose of the show). He's wearing pants and nothing else. And he primps in the mirror. Then he pulls out his waistband and sneaks a peak inside the pants to see what's Clark's packing (remember Lex Luther's father is now in Clark's body). (Has been for hours and hours but apparently Clark didn't need to piss at any point so it's news to Lex Daddy what Clark's packing.)
Looking up, Welling does a self-satisified smirk. And we're left thinking, "We are watching a show about Clark Kent, right?" Size queens and shirtless scenes, oh my.
Then it's time to make a phone call to allow for more shirtless time. Lot of flexing of the arms. Then Annette O'Toole enters as Martha.
And the writers apparently didn't think that mother Martha would notice that it wasn't Clark. Oh sure, he seems a little different. Martha even asks if he's going out since he's all dressed up.
At that point we fell to ground laughing, folks. Why? Well other than the slacks, Clark's not wearing anything. All dressed to go out? What is he, Super Stripper?
6) "TV Review OC: The arm pit of body wash operettas" -- Ava and C.I. coined "body wash operettas" for the teen 'dramas' that don't have enough pathos to qualify as 'soap opera.'
Possibly to hide from the audience the fact that, although playing "high schooler" Ryan, he's basically three years from thirty, McKenzie cultivates an interesting look. We're seeing it as a hommage to Velma from Scooby Doo. Though we've heard the endless Mary Ann and Ginger debates, we kind of thought the verdict of who the hottie was on Scooby Doo had been long ago settled? Always ready to fight a losing battle, which is so in keeping with the lead character of this show, McKenzie builds the case for Velma as "stylish" with his hommage to her haircut. (We're hoping a future "dramatic twist" involves Ryan getting glasses so he can really nail the look!)
But even something like stealing a simple haicut gets overdone on this show: it's so fussed over that it negates the simplicity of the hair cut. All the Bed Head products in the world will not allow the bangs to retain their careful curl (we're guessing a steam curling wand) in the California heat and still look so beauty parlor fresh. It's kind of like the tousled, pixie haircut we saw on TV this week. The one that caused us to note, "Patty Duke looks really good these days! And the hair, it's like she's saluting Twiggy or early Golide Hawn." Then as Patty moved down a street singing, words came up on the screen and we discovered we were watching not Patty, but a kid named Jesse McCartney. For a Patty Duke, he looks really good.
He is so The OC. An underdeveloped boy lusting after women. The Cookies told us "Girls Grow Up Faster Than Boys Do" and goodness if this show didn't take the message to heart. Which explains Adam Brody who looks like a regular kid. We could note, of course, that TV offers many regular kids who are male. Females who go above size three are the ones rendered invisible.
7) "TV Review: Reba" -- Ava and C.I. take on the laugh-free zone populated by Bully Boy supporter Reba McEntire.
That a professional singer could deliver her lines in the same pattern with the same emphasis makes us seriously question how talented Reba McEntire is as a singer? She's like a teacher on the Peanuts cartoons but enuciating a little more clearly.
It doesn't matter what the line is, she's saying it her usual bah-bah-bah-bah-bah-bah. And you can't miss the sneak to the audience that seems to say, "Ain't I funny! Don't I tickle you!"
It's as though The Brady Bunch's Susan Olson's body grew but not her mind or her talent.
8) "TV Review: Peter Jennings Reporter leaves a bad taste" -- Ava and C.I. take on the supposed look at Peter Jennings' reporting that played like a Lifetime Intimate Portrait:
Remember how viewers were left hanging as to whom Fox was speaking of that silenced him? Well now it's time for Jennings' report on little league baseball and child abuse. The clips highlighted in the montage, 3 minutes and 31 seconds, focus on a father, Chris, and a son, Jeremy. Their last name isn't provided in this special (it was in the original reporting that Jennings did). We see Chris threaten his son and we're told about abuse (Jennings confronts Chris on camera about his threats and Chris admits he beats his son). What does that segment call for?
If Jennings were around, from what all said on camera, we think it would call for an update. That was some time ago, the baseball special. But we're not given an update because not only do viewers not get to savor Jennings' reporting, they aren't treated to any real reporting from this special. (For the record, Jeremy just completed a season playing baseball for Hagerstown Community College and Chris has a listed phone number. We're having a hard time believing ABC News couldn't track down what we did and actually get one of them on camera for some sort of update.)
We think even the most optimistic viewer must have given up any hope of a "tribute" that honored what Jennings stood for (we're told constantly what he stood for -- interest in the world and in covering the news). Apparently no one left at ABC News is too concerned with what interested Jennings.
9) "TV Review: Dateline New York ... Warm Fuzzy" -- Ava and C.I. put you wise to the "news" program Dateline.
Ever wonder why the compartive nobody Brian Williams was picked over Stone Phillips to sit in the anchor chair at Nightly News? We can't be sure but we think it might have to do with the fact that Williams, unlike Phillips, isn't prone to wearing bulky sweaters, with busy patterns, on camera which make him look like Angela Landsbury gearing up for Murder She Wrote: The Reunion!
Maybe they thought it would make him come off like the Mr. Rogers of the news crowd? The show wants nothing more than to give you a case of the warm fuzzies.
Phillips still posseses the best (and sharpest) set of cheek bones of anyone in the "news" set on TV (eat your heart out, Diane Sawyer) but his work on Dateline is all "soft focus." Fuzzy little bits of footage with Phillips doing the Oprah glum-nod, the Oprah dazzling-smile while the voice overs soak every moment in total cheese.
Dateline's a strange sort of "news" program. It's as though, in topic choice and delivery, you're at the kitchen table, sharing a cup of coffee with Ethel Mertz who's catching you up on the goings on in the building.
10) "TV Review: Body Washing the Stump: One Tree Hill" -- Ava and C.I. explain the appeal of 'boy' stars.
It's also a tradition that these "boy" stars aren't really all that good looking. They're, if they are lucky, in a cute phase. It's always a brief one. And chunky waists and male pattern baldness linger just around the corner, but for their moment in time, millions of adolescents (of both genders) think they're "hot." They get all excited over a Jack Wild (H.R. Pufnstuf) one moment and a Kirk Cameron (Growing Pains) the next. Remember, Leonardo DiCaprio was "too hot" to become a TV star. Kirk Cameron was Mr. Big Star. Then the shine faded and Cameron's "left behind" while Leo goes on to become the biggest male movie star of the 90s.
That's how it works because, on some level, even the fans don't think the "boys" are sexy. What they are is "safe." And when they're on a "safe" show like One Tree Hill that thinks the height of daring is a card saying a woman must kiss someone in the room (remember, these are high school students), they're beyond "safe" -- they're wearing gold plated chastity belts. The little doggies are down there, kiddies, but don't worry, they're kept on a short leash. Translation, like Ken dolls, they have no life below the belt.
So the kids are left to create fantasies. "Oh, I bet Lucas smells fresh and minty! Like a toothpaste! Imagine if I was walking on a beach holding hands with him!" "Oh, Nathan, is so sweet, I bet his arm pits never stink! We could be so happy together in our non-perspiring, kiss on the cheek world!" With such an active fantasy life, it's no surprise that the same viewers can convince themselves that either Lafferty or Chad Michael Murray can act.
11) "TV Review: Make Room for Bully" -- Ava and C.I. take on Bully Boy's televised press conference in July of 2005.
After two weeks of body wash operettas, it was like a spray of Axe on our skins to watch something where thirty-year-olds didn't pretend to be high schoolers. And we were so excited to discover that Tuesday night would feature a brave programming choice in a nation grown timid -- Make Room for Bully!
That's what we dubbed it because, honestly, we must have missed the opening credits. Our apologies to our loyal readers for that but, believe us, no one regrets that more than we do. We've tried to imagine the theme song that played over those opening credits:
He's screwed up Afghanistan
Turned Iraq into the killing land
Make Room for Bully
Make Room for Bully
Bully Boy is on his way.
We pictured that theme playing while he wonders around the oval office, shaking hands, flipping the bird and choking on pretzels. We especially liked the choking on the pretzel because it would be kind of like when Dick Van Dyke would trip during the opening credits of The Dick Van Dyke Show.
Tuesday was innovative television like we haven't seen since Julia Louis Dreyfuss tried to do her show in real time. Make Room for Bully appeared to run in real time as well. And no laugh track! It takes a brave spirit to put on a sitcom without the canned laughter. You're never sure if the folks watching at home will get it if you don't have laughs-a-plenty blasting through their speakers.
12) "TV Review: Veronica Mars is from Mars" -- Ava and C.I. tackle Mornic Mars.
Feel for Kristen Bell. Really feel for her. She's twenty-five and stuck playing a headstrong and plucky high schooler. On TV -- which means her character, Veronica Mars, is a real drip. As if a 25 year-old trying to portray Shirley Temple sans curls isn't difficult enough, it gets worse, oh does it get worse. Sexual tensions flies all around Veronica, but none of it is aimed at her. She's like a straight woman hoping for a hook up at a Cher concert.
Veronica Mars, for those who've missed it, airs on UPN although Friday night an episode we like to call the "Knock Down That Closet Door, Mary!" aired on CBS. Since this is no Joan of Arcadia, you can forgive viewers who were caught unaware and left to wonder if same-sex flirting is the new machismo for the young male set?
Like a less disrobed version of Oz, Friday night was all about the boys. The episode offers a poker game before the main titles which allows the fellows to get to know each other. Weevil catches your attention early on. (No, we're not making that name up.) Played by a 22 year-old Francis Capra, all we can say is he's a long, long way from his great-grandfather's It's a Wonderful Life. Right away, Weevil sets the tone telling a cigar sucking Logan, (23 year-old Jason Dohring) "You look pretty comfortable with that thing in your mouth."
We're imagining the usually staid CBS Friday night viewers asking one another, "Honey, did I hear that right?" Yes, you did. And hold onto the bran, there's more coming. Banter, the type one may be more used to coming from the mouths of Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell, gets tossed around quicker than the cards in said poker game. The climax to the scene, or maybe just more intense foreplay, is Weevil winning only to find that the five thousand dollars is gone. He's starts making noises about turning the other boys upside down ("and inside out?").
Weevil's supposed to be bad ass. He works hard to establish that point and possibly he could frighten a few on Rodeo Drive -- which must be the "street" he hails from. Here's a tip for Weevil, a pout is not a sneer no matter how many times you utilize it.
So this "bad ass" has just learned he's out five thousand dollars. Thinking things are about to get nasty? Maybe, but not in any traditional way that the CBS viewers are used to. No fista-cuffs, no blood shed. But clothing, that gets shed.
Weevil insists that the four boys strip. And naturally, none of them have any objection to that because Straight Outta Malibu might get all . . . what exactly? on their asses.The camera's on their asses. Or on two of their boxer clad asses -- Logan's and Duncan's (Teddy Dunn, age officially unknown but we're told he's 24) . The camera really lingers on the cheeks before pulling back to note all four boys standing in boxers (apparently they phoned one another that morning in a "Boxer or briefs?" conference call) while Weevil pouts at them, making noises about how he will get his money out of them one way or another, and Sean (Kevin Sheridan, 23 years old) moans, "This is the worst game of strip poker ever!"
Before you get your hopes up (or other things) calm down and remember it's not HBO, it's broadcast TV.
But don't get too disappointed, all that's happened before the credits will be relived repeatedly in flashback as various boys get to retell their version of Chippindales Poker.
I can think of some more I would've picked for my own 12 but I think Tony made some good choices. If you haven't read them before, you're probably laughing your butt off right now. If you like to laugh, you're probably laughing even if you have already read them. (I am.) Their TV reviews are the most popular feature every week at The Third Estate Sunday Review.
The basic story is this -- C.I. was with them for the first edition and worked on every edition since then. But that wasn't planned. Jim wanted a TV thing for the first edition. C.I. wasn't even watching. They did a review together, Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess, Ava and C.I. and continued that for the first few weeks but the stuff that was making it in was Ava and C.I.'s stuff. The stuffy in the reviews people were writing in about and talking to them about were Ava and C.I.'s comments. More and more, after the first week, it was Ava and C.I.'s review. Ava (Jim's written about this) was feeling tired of having to fight for her point of view and C.I. was backing her up. So it was becoming Ava and C.I.'s thing and then it was their thing. Then Jim noticed, from e-mails, that the readers were really going crazy for what Ava and C.I. were doing. (They offer "a" feminist critique -- they always say not "the.") So a few weeks (Jim thinks it was four) after the site started, they started noting the reviews were just Ava and C.I.'s writing.
They really go for the collaborative writing there and had intended for that to be true for everything but there was no denying that the reviews were all Ava and C.I. They missed one week when they did a review/response to a film criticism. They made up for that the following week with two reviews. They've done about 90 reviews now.
I hope you liked Tony's list. It was a pain to type up. :D And to get the links. But I think it was a nice way to get over hump day.
Now we can get all serious and talk about war profiting. I really recommend everyone see the movie Iraq for Sale: The War Profiteers which is on DVD and that you share it with your friends. This is a really important documentary about who is getting rich off the war. There's a guy in it who talks about how there were living things (parasites) in the water they were furnishing the soldiers with to bathe and shower in. There's another scene about how the company that got the contract for the laundry services actually returned all the clothes dirtier than when they went out over and over. And a soldier talks about how he tried to wash his own clothes in the sink to get them clean and got in trouble for it. Nobody needed to do a good job, none of the contractors winning bids, they just needed to turn in their overpriced bills.
This is a highlight on that sort of thing, Heather Wokusch's "How the Bush Family Makes a Killing from George's Presidency:"
Halliburton scored almost $1.2 billion in revenue from contracts related to Iraq in the third quarter of 2006, leading one analyst to comment: "Iraq was better than expected ... Overall, there is nothing really to question or be skeptical about. I think the results are very good."
Very good indeed. An estimated 655,000 dead Iraqis, over 3,000 dead coalition troops, billions stolen from Iraq's coffers, a country battered by civil war - but Halliburton turned a profit, so the results are very good.
Very good certainly for Vice President Dick Cheney, who resigned from Halliburton in 2000 with a $33.7 million retirement package (not bad for roughly four years of work). In a stunning conflict of interest, Cheney still holds more than 400,000 stock options in the company. Why pursue diplomacy when you can rake in a personal fortune from war?
Yet Cheney isn't the only one who has benefited from the Bush administration's destructive policies. The Bush family has done quite nicely too. Just a few examples:
Bush Sr.: Bush's dad has strong connections to the Carlyle Group, a massive private equity investment firm whose Chairman Emeritus is Frank Carlucci, a former college roommate of Donald Rumsfeld's and former Defense Secretary under Ronald Reagan. Imagine the pull Carlucci has with today's White House.
But Carlucci has another secret weapon - Bush Sr. Amid conflict-of-interest allegations, the elder Bush resigned from the Carlyle Group in 2003, but reportedly remains on retainer, opening doors to lucrative profits in the Middle East and elsewhere. Bush Sr.'s specialty is Saudi Arabia; in fact, he was at a Carlyle investment conference with Osama bin Laden's estranged brother, Shafiq bin Laden, when the 9/11 attacks took place.
Carlyle specializes in military and security investments, and with Bush Jr. in office, the company's profits have soared; it received $677 million in contracts in 2002, then a whopping $2.1 billion in 2003. Carlyle's investors currently enjoy an equity capital pool of over 44 billion dollars.
In January 2006, Bush Sr. wrote China's Foreign Affairs Ministry that it would be "beneficial to the comprehensive development of Sino-US relations" if Beijing approved the sale of a Chinese bank to a consortium which included Carlyle. Bluntly put, Bush Sr. asked China to grant Carlyle a lucrative business deal or risk his son's wrath. Foreign policy at its finest.
William H. T. "Bucky" Bush: George's "Uncle Bucky" joined the board of military contractor Engineered Support Systems Inc. (ESSI) in 2000 and perhaps not surprisingly, the value of the company's governmental contracts has strongly increased with Bush Jr. in office. Uncle Bucky earns monthly consulting fees as well as options to buy stock at favorable prices, and considering that ESSI's stock tripled two weeks after 9/11 then settled into comfy territory, it's safe to say that George's uncle is doing quite well. In fact, Bucky cashed out on 8,438 stock options in January 2005, earning himself a cool $450,000 in the process. As of 2005, he still owned options on 45,000 more shares of the company's stock and accrues more each year.
War is profitable for ESSI, or as an executive explained: "The increasing likelihood for a prolonged military involvement in Southwest Asia by U.S. forces well into 2006 has created a fertile environment for the type of support ... products and services that we offer."
Be sure to check out Like Maria Said Paz for Elaine's thoughts. C.I. was speaking today and told me I'd get the link in a phone call but I don't need a link. That's to a press conference C.I.'s quoting from.
Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"
Wednesday, October 25, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq, Bully Boy expresses disappointment with Iraq -- forgetting he's responsible -- and also reveals he can't count, the puppet of the occupation snarls, Appeal for Redress is up an running and what did George Casey say?
Starting with peace news. As Ann Scott Tyson (Washington Post) reports, Appeal for Redress is up and running: "More than 100 U.S. service members have signed a rare appeal urging Congress to support the 'prompt withdrawal' of all American troops and bases from Iraq" and that the action's goal is to gather 2,000 signatures to the appeal before presenting it to Congress. Drew Brown (McClatchy Newspapers) reports that the target date for delivery to Congress is MLK Day (Monday, January 15, 2007). [Readers of the New York Times who are wondering where this in their paper, it's right there on page A13, a whopping one paragraph -- from AP -- in National Briefing.]
From Appeal for Redress:
An Appeal for Redress from the War in Iraq
Many active duty, reserve, and guard service members are concerned about the war in Iraq and support the withdrawal of U.S. troops. The Appeal for Redress provides a way in which individual service members can appeal to their Congressional Representative and US Senators to urge an end to the U.S. military occupation. The Appeal messages will be delivered to members of Congress at the time of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in January 2007.
The wording of the Appeal for Redress is short and simple. It is patriotic and respectful in tone.
As a patriotic American proud to serve the nation in uniform, I respectfully urge my political leaders in Congress to support the prompt withdrawal of all American military forces and bases from Iraq . Staying in Iraq will not work and is not worth the price. It is time for U.S. troops to come home.
If you agree with this message, click here.
The Appeal for Redress is sponsored by active duty service members based in the Norfolk area and by a sponsoring committee of veterans and military family members. The Sponsoring committee consists of Iraq Veterans Against the War, Veterans For Peace, and Military Families Speak Out.
Members of the military have a legal right to communicate with their member of Congress. To learn more about the rights and restrictions that apply to service members click here.
Attorneys and counselors experienced in military law are available to help service members who need assistance in countering any attempts to suppress this communication with members of Congress.
Several members of Congress have expressed interest in receiving the Appeal for Redress.
Click here to send the Appeal to your elected representatives.
Ehren Watada's attorney, Eric Seitz, is quoted by Drew Brown: "The kinds of resistance and opposition and outrage that military people are now beginning to express has been simmering for quite a while. But it's about to just burst out in huge waves." Ehren Watada is the first commissioned US officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq. His father, Bob Watada, is beginning his third speaking tour to raise awareness of his son's case [an Article 32 hearing recommended court-martial, no decision has yet been annouced]. This speaking tour will last from October 26 through November 17th. Below are dates through Sunday:
Oct 26, 7PM
Phoenix, AZ Location: TBA
Sponsor: Veterans for Peace Chapter 75
Contact: John Henry, 602-400-9179, 408-704-0192, firstname.lastname@example.org
Oct 27, 7PM
Location: Albuquerque Center for Peace and Justice
202 Harvard Dr SE
Sponsor: Veterans for Peace Chapter 63
Contact: Sally-Alice Thompson, 505-268-5073, 512-463-2014, email@example.com
Oct 28, 1 -- 4:30PM
Sponsor: Military Families Speak Out, Veterans for Peace Chapter 12, Iraq Veterans Against the War , Cy-Fair Democratic Club
Location: Live Oak Friends House, 1318 West 26th Street
Entertainment by Bill Passalacqua and Hank Woji, "Sir, No Sir"
Oct 28, 6:15PM
Location: Dan Electro's Guitar Bar, 1031 East 24th Street. "Celebration of Resistance"
Sponsors: Military Families Speak Out, Veterans for Peace Chapter 12, Iraq Veterans Against the War
Contact: Sherry Glover, firstname.lastname@example.org,
-Bob Watada, ---- David Rovics
Oct 29, 1PM
Sponsor: Code Pink/Austin, Veterans for Peace Chapter 66
Contact: Fran Hanlon, 512-454-6572, email@example.com
Peter Ravella, 512-220-1740
Heidi Turpin, (C)512-565-2242, firstname.lastname@example.org
Oct 29, 5:30PM
Café Caffeine -- 206 West Mary
Sponsors: Code Pink, Veterans for Peace Chapter 66, Iraq Veterans Against the War
Contact: Doug Zachary, email@example.com,
(C) 512-791-9824Heidi Turpin,
(C) 512-565-2242, firstname.lastname@example.org
Fran Hanlon (H) 512-454-6572, , email@example.com
A full schedule can be found at Veterans for Peace and those interested in hosting a Bob Watada speaking engagement in their area are urged to contact Doug Zachary.
As Seitz (Ehren Watada's attorney) noted, this is a resistance that is growing. Those caught by surprise or needing more historical information should refer to David Zieger's documentary Sir! No Sir! which captures the resistance within the military during Vietnam. Today, the list includes Watada, Darrell Anderson, Ricky Clousing, Jeremy Hinzman, Brandon Hughey, Corey Glass, Patrick Hart, Camilo Mejia, Pablo Paredes, Mark Wilkerson, Carl Webb, Aidan Delgado, Joshua Key, Robin Long, Katherine Jashinski, Agustin Aguayo, Ivan Brobeck, Ryan Johnson, Clifford Cornell, and many more. Information on US war resisters in Canada can be found at War Resisters Support Campaign and information on war resisters who have gone public can be found at Courage to Resist.
Resistance within the military is only one wave of today's peace movement. Continuing to speak out, Cindy Sheehan was at the University of Iowa yesterday. Matt Nelson (The Daily Iowan) reports that Sheehan spoke on the difference one person can make and stated: "People asked why I haven't gone away; my 15 minutes are up. I'm doing this to bring the troops home, and they're not home yet. And when they come home, I'm still not going away." Hieu Pham (Iowa City-Press Citizen) reports Sheehan reflected on the time since the first Camp Casey (August 2005), "I've seen a huge change since we started this last August . . . People have been more courageous and demonstrative". Which is true, even if takes desk jockey gas bags awhile to notice the huge shift going on. Diane Heldt (The Gazette) notes that Sheehan "was interrupted with applause several times during her speech and got a standing ovation at the end."
Another example of today's peace movement is protests and demonstrations. Amy Kingsley (YES! Weekly) reports on protests in Greensboro, NC when Bully Boy came to town. The second protest drew an estimated 75 people who were prevented from marching with the claim that the area was a "secure zone." Along with preventing the march, Kingsley reports, a protest who lived in the area was prevented to enter by police "even as his neighbors moved about unencumbered by legal restrictions. The disparate treatment of protesters and other community members contradicsts Secret Service procedure."
If the whole thing reminds you of Steve Howard and John Blair, you're not alone. If you're asking who, click here for Bill Johnson's article.
From tales of bullying to the Bully Boy himself, today he held a press conference in an attempt to take control of the topic of the war. Speaking of the war, Bully Boy declared, "I'm not satisfied either." Nor is the world. In their partial transcript, CNN notes that Bully Boy stated: "This month we've lost 93 service members in Iraq; the most since October of 2005." Thus far, and true when the Bully Boy spoke, the US military has announced no troop deaths today. Iraq Coalition Casualities list 91 as US troops who have died thus far this month and notes: "Latest Military Fatality Date: Oct. 24, 2006." In yesterday's Washington Post, Ellen Knickmeyer noted the official count was 87. Yesterday, AFP also listed the count at 87. This morning, a sidebar to Nancy A. Youssef's article (McClatchy Newspapers via Detroit Free Press) noted: "The U.S. military said Tuesday that four more U.S. troops had died raising the month's toll to 91." Can Bully Boy count?
Those thinking he was counting 'coalition' troops should note that one British soldier has died this month and two classified as "other." That would be 94, not 93.
What we're left with is the usual bumbling from the Bully Boy who knows he has to say something about Iraq and the fatalities but doesn't even care enough (or maybe his preppers don't) to get the figures correct.
"I care," the Bully Boy was attempting to say, "I care about all 93 troops that have died this month." The fact that he couldn't even get the figure correct once again calls his supposed sincerity and compassion into question.
On the count since the start of the illegal war, CNN was the first news organization to call the 2800 mark and now AP tries to play catch up but does so as an aside -- third paragraph: "The military Tuesday announced the deaths of two more U.S. Marines, a sailor and a soldier. Since the start of the war, more than 2,800 U.S. service members have died in Iraq." Iraq Coalition Casualties puts the toll at 2804. The 2800 mark was passed and with very little attention. Possibly, anyone in the mainstream news brave enough to point out that Bully Boy couldn't even get the fatalities for the month correct could also note the passing of 2800?
The speech itself? Not worthy of much comment. The usual bubble-view from Bully Boy. Here are two sentences in a row, that anyone hearing them may wonder: "We did not expect the Iraqi army, including the Republican Guard, to melt away in the way that it did in the face of advancing coalition forces. Despite these early setbacks, some very important progress was made in the midst of an incredibly violent period."
Did you catch it?
Bully Boy calls one of the setbacks the fact that Iraqis and Americans did not die in confrontations due to the fact that "the Iraqi army, including the Republican Guard" melted "away . . . in the face of advancing coalition forces." If the attempt at a feel-good speech fools anyone, they have only themselves to blame. Watch to see which domestic (US) outlets look the other way to make it look as though anything the Bully Boy said was worth hearing. Sam Knight (Times of London) notes that Bully Boy billed his speech "an explanation to the American people" -- the people are going to need an explanation to explain today's explanation.
Today's reported violence includes, according to Reuters, four corpses discovered in Mahmudiya ("bound and gagged"), a police officer shot (wounded) in Diwaniya where four people were also wounded when a grenade was tossed into their home, a car bomb in Husayba killed two and injured two more, three Iraqi soldiers were killed by a bomb in Tal Afar (three more wounded) while a roadside bomb in Baghdad wounded two police officers. An earlier report by Reuters also noted two police officers killed by a car bomb in Baquba and a mortar round in Yusufiya that killed at least one person and wounded three more.
The main focus on violence today is on a pre-dawn raid by the US military. The US military described it thusly: "Special Iraqi Army forces, supported by Coalition advisors, conducted a raid authorized by the Government of Iraq Oct. 25 in Sadr City, Baghdad to capture a top illegal armed group commander directing widespread death-squad activity throughout eastern Baghdad. During the raid, Iraqi Army froces came under fire and had to defend themselves. They requested support from Coalition aircraft which used precision gunfire only to eliminate the enemy threat."
Nearly every word in the statement is under question. "Authorized by the government of Iraq"? Al Jazeera reports that puppet of the occupation (and the official commander-in-chief of the Iraqi army) Nouri al-Maliki held a press conference today to say that the raid came without his approval. AP reports that "al-Maliki disavowed the operation, saying he had not been consulted and insisiting 'that it will not be repeated'." CBS and AP note that "Al-Maliki, who is commander in chief of Iraq's army, heatedly denied he knew anything about the raid and would make sure it didn't happen again." In fact, every major news outlets notes that al-Maliki states he was not consulted. [In fact, the Washington Post's Ellen Knickmeyer noted in yesterday's press conference held by Khalilzad and Casey, "General Casey has repeatedly said resolving the milita issue will take a military and political approach. But Prime Minister Maliki has made clear that he doesn't want any kind of U.S. military action against the militias. He said that specificially, and he's blocked you from entering Sadr City." Note, this was stated before the pre-dawn raid took place.] John Ward Anderson (Washington Post) notes that the Sadr City section of Baghdad is home to "2.5 million residents". Another key point is that the Iraqi military was on the ground and calling in air strikes which, on the face of it, seems unlikely. All the more so when the BBC reports: "But Iraqi police said the US troops shot at them while they were trying to take people injured in the raid to hospital." From helicopters? Doubtful.
In terms of the dead and injured, CBS' Lara Logan notes "at least five people were killed and 18 injured." Looking at the confusion and noting one of Bully Boy's talking points today was: "we're winning and we will win," those who remembered many attempts to control the news (the Jessica Lynch story, US forces pulling down the statue of Saddam Hussein . . .), it's reasonable to wonder if the hope hadn't been a glorified photo-op that would allow Bully Boy to boast in today's speech? If it were an attempt to deliver another wave of Operation Happy Talk, "wipeout" -- AFP notes: "The joint force did not say whether they had captured their main target."
In terms of other fallout, al-Maliki, as Reuters reports, had been all candy canes and moon pies prior to the raid but noted today that, despite US ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad and US general George Casey's claims, he (al-Maliki) did not agree to any "timelines" or "timetable." al-Maliki's not the only one disowning yesterday's statements. As John F. Burns (New York Times) and other rightly reported, yesterday Casey's comments indicated "that he might call for an increase in American troop levels in Baghdad". As usual, when reality frightens the public, it's time to eat the words. So today George Casey is chewing. As John Ward Anderson (Washington Post) reports, Casey issued a statement today "clarifying that he had not asked for more U.S. troops to be sent to Iraq. The statement said that news reports of Casey's comments at the joint press conference with Khalilzad on Tuesday 'inferred' that Casey said more troops might be needed to quell violence in Iraq. 'Quite frankly, that is the wrong impression,' the statement said."
The wrong impression? From Wednesday's press conference (dictacted -- I'll hunt down a link for it and add it to this later today):
John F. Burns: John Burns, New York Times. This one's for General Casey. We heard last week from Genereal Caldwell about the need to refocus and adapt the Baghdad Security Plan, and there's been much discussion as to what that would mean. Can you address the question of troop levels and whether additional troop levels, if necessary, would be American, whether those are Iraqi? And if American, would that involve holdovers for some of the units now in the country? And could you go on from that to discuss the question of your timeline for the drawdown of American troops and how that will be affected by the adjustments you make in Baghdad?
George Casey: Well, welcome back, John.
John F. Burns: Just the question you wanted.
George Casey: Just one question, all right? The Baghdad Security Plan -- we are already -- I mean, we continuously adapt. We review this weekly. General Chiarelli and General Thurman, who are conducting the tactical operations with me . . . than that -- and we already have taken adjustments inside that to react to what the enemy's doing and to put us in a position to deal with things that we think they're going to do. I'm not going to get into specifics of what we're going to do with the Baghdad Security Plan, because I don't necessarily want to tell . . . what we're getting ready to do here with the enemy. That said, I think you can expect us to continue to hold onto the focus areas with the Iraqi security forces and to follow through on what we're trying to do here on the build phase, to put -- to help with the basic -- improve basic services for the population of Baghdad. Now, do we need more troops to do that? Maybe. And as I've said all along, if we do, I will ask for the troops I need, both coalition and Iraqi. But I think it's important for all of us to understand right now that we're not going to have total security here in Baghdad until the major political issues that are dividing the country are resolved. And the political leaders understand that, and they are wrestling with that part of it. But as with the militia issue, all of this -- what we're doing here takes an integrated, political and military effort to achieve decisive results, and that's what we're working with the Iraqis to do. I don't know if I got them all, John, but that's as close as I can get.
John F. Burns: A timeline for American --
George Casey: A timeline -- I think -- you know, I said a year or so ago that if the conditions on the ground continued the way they were going that I thought we'd have fairly substantial reductions in coalition forces. We began that reduction in December of last year with the off-ramp of two brigades. We were proceeding along that line until really the end of June, early July when it became apparent that, as I said, the Iraqi security forces were about halfway through a three-year, three-step process, that they weren't going to be able to make -- have the impact on the security situation in Baghdad that was needed to give this new government some breathing room. And so I reversed what I was doing, and we've committed these forces here, and they've had a very decisive impact on what's going on here in Baghdad So I still very strongly believe that we need to continue to reduce our forces as the Iraqis continue to improve, because we need to get out of their way. The Iraqis are getting better. Their leaders are feeling more responsible for the security in Iraq, and they want to take the reins, and I think we need to do that. But I can't tell you right now until we get through Ramadan here and the rest of this when that might be.
We'll note one more thing from that conference Tuesday:
Lara Logan: Lara Logan, CBS News. Ambassador Khalilzad, if I can ask you, please, has Muqtada al-Sadr actually agreed to any of the plans that you've outlined here? Has there been any direct contact between him and U.S. representatives? Because him and all of his ministers who control key ministries, like the Ministry of Health, say that they refuse still to have any direct contact with the U.S. And if that is the case, then how are we expected to believe that they will support this plan in any way? And to General Casey, can I ask you, please, can we have an honest assessment of the Iraqi security forces? Because when we're on the ground with your commanders, they tell us that when they try and order up an operation and ask for the Iraqi battalion or the Iraqi brigade, they're lucky if they get 40, 50 percent of the guys who are actually there. They have soldiers and policemen who are coming in collecting their pay checks and not showing up. The special inspector general of Iraq says there is no mechanism in place, and hasn't been for three years, to determine what forces show up, what don't, what the levels of attrition are, who is actually operationally capable. So the numbers really are a lie, and we want the truth, and your soldiers on the ground want the truth out there.
The response? Casey pouted: "The numbers aren't a lie". Khalilzad? Double-talk.
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