Monday, October 09, 2006

Talking about the weekend

Monday, Monday. Hope everyone's doing good. I'm more than a little tired from the weekend and was on the phone with Elaine and Rebecca for a bit.

I'm going to grab a question in an e-mail Beau sent me and to do that, I'll just start by talking about the latest edition of The Third Estate Sunday Review:

Truest statement of the week -- Michael Gordon made an ass of himself, no surprise, in the paper of little record. C.I. called him on it Thursday. Reality called Gordo on it Saturday. Ever wonder why reporters seem like they know so much? Because they pretend like they do.

A Note to Our Readers -- Jim's summary of the edition.

Editorial: Going to where big media is and ignoring war resisters -- this was what Beau's question was about. He loved the editorial but wondered about C.I. interrupting when the topic was Amy Goodman. Jim explained that in the note and I could follow it but I was helping so maybe that's why. C.I. likes Democracy Now! but there wasn't an attitude of the program, or Goodman, couldn't be criticized. But what happened is that after what made it into the editorial was written, everyone (me loudest) was screaming out other examples to put in. C.I.'s points wasn't that there couldn't be criticism, it made it in. The points were that if everything being shouted out was included (a) it was an editorial about Democracy Now!, (b) the basic points for the others had already been discussed and they were going to be critiqued equally but if all that was being shouted out was included then it wasn't going to be equal, (c) were we dog piling on Amy Goodman, (d) if we were why was that because she had given more coverage than the other two examples (The Progressive and The Nation) and that didn't seem to be a fair critique.
There was no, "Stop writing this editorial!" And there's nothing to indicate that there was. C.I. did say "Pull my name from this" if that's where we were going. Not "stop." C.I.'s dropped out of features before for various reasons. If we'd wanted to include everything we were noting, we could have written that editorial. It was never, "You can't write this!" It was beyond C.I.'s comfort level. If that happens to any of us, we stop the process and figure out what we want to do. That may mean someone drops out or it may mean that we find something we can all live with. The point being made about Democracy Now! doing more than the other two was an important one to make. And Amy Goodman did interview Watada, Clousing, Aguayo, Anderson and play a video of Wilkerson. Except for Watada, The Progressive and The Nation didn't note them (and only The Nation noted Watada). I wish the show would do more, I wish I could still enjoy it. But it is true that Goodman and company have done more than anyone else criticized in the editorial. We discussed it, we saw C.I.'s point and agreed. I think Ty was typing then and included the "right now" note. After that we discussed it and then you have the note from the rest of us and then we moved on to criticize the other two. Hope that explains it.

TV Review: Men in Trees, Water Cooler Critics swinging from them -- I haven't seen this show. I've got the Iraq discussion group on Fridays. But I really enjoyed this review.

Thoughts on Mark Foley -- This started without me. This was the core six. They originally opened with the fact that Mark Foley was gay and needed to admit it. Then he did. They started it last Monday because they were getting tired of the way the talk was going. They wanted to get a headstart on the edition. They'll never do that with a breaking story again because they wrote two rough drafts in full and had to trash them both. So this is more of a discussion piece of several topics.

Mutha Cokie and the Blind -- This was fun to write. It goes over 2000's election and the press coverage and notes that a one man watch doggie handed out a pass when he shouldn't have. Maybe the guilt over that is why, six years later, he still tends to write about the 2000 election four to five times a week.

Are You On CounterSpin's Guest List? -- This was done quickly. It may be my favorite piece. I like that there's no fear about calling it like it is. And I doubt you'll see anything like this at most sites. It needed to be said.

Entertaining what troops? -- My folks loved this edition. They knew it was a headache (I was exhausted and so was everyone). They said it says a lot of things that needed to be said but everyone either doesn't notice or is too scared to say them. This went up when the folks were having breakfast and they were reading it (we were still working on other stuff). They said this was the feature that let them know it was going to be a strong edition. I passed that on to Jim and he said he must be hanging around Ava and C.I. too much because he's not sure how strong it is. Then he called me back an hour later and goes he read over it and, "It is pretty strong."

Operation Sinbad: Ongoing and then some -- this was a quick item that makes a point that needs to be noted: The British first tried Operation Sinbad in Basra in 2003. That's the war, repeat, repeat. Nothing is being accomplished.

MyTV's Fascist House -- the collage. I didn't work on this one.

But Betty and I did do a photo essay on the World Can't Wait. We had a lot of strong photographs from the demonstrations we went to and we downloaded them and Betty e-mailed hers to Rebecca who was going to photo shop them. She repeatedly attempted to then e-mail them to her site and they wouldn't post. C.I. then started e-mailing them to The Common Ills and had the same problem. Those are the only two sites set up to e-mail photos. (We have to have photos posted and then we can pull them over to the feature we're doing.) Between the writing of some text for it and the photo problems, I think we spent 90 minutes on this alone and then, in the end, it wouldn't work. It will be in the gina & krista round-robin on Friday so community members can see it then. There were problems with two paintings as well (and the ones posted don't show all the details -- they do at Rebecca's site) and there was some stuff that hadn't dried in time to scan.

So there was a lot more that could have gone into that edition and that's probably why Jim was still down on it. That and the fact that we were all wiped out because the session was never ending.

You know what, that's it for me. I really am tired. I'll post the snapshot and stop here. Be sure to check out Like Maria Said for Elaine's thoughts. Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Monday October 9, 2006. Chaos and violence continue, war resister Ricky Clousing goes on trial Thursday, the Iraqi Defense Ministry wonders whether 300-plus Iraqi police officers intentionally poisoned, US casualities hit a high not seen since the slaughter of Falluja, the brother of one of Iraq's two vice-presidents is shot dead in his home, and the US military announces the deaths of three more US troops.
In June of 2005, war resister
Ricky Clousing self-checked out of the US military. On August 11th of this year, Mike Barber (Seattle Post-Intelligencer) broke the news that 24-year-old Ricky Clousing had decied to turn himself in and noted that Clousing went AWOL from "Fort Bragg in 2005 after returning from Iraq with the 82nd Airborne Division." Clousing spoke publicly about his decision to return at the Veterans for Peace conference that was being held in Seattle. The AP reported Clousing self-check out by noting: "He left a note on his door, with King's quote: 'Cowardice asks the question, 'Is it safe?' Expediency asks the question, 'Is it politic?' But Conscience asks the question, 'Is it right?' And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular but because conscience tells one it is right." Jane Cutter (Party for Socialism and Liberation) reported that a war resister of the current war was present to show support as Clousing made his public statement, Camilo Mejia, and that also joining them was a resister from the Vietnam era, Michael Wong. [Wong is one of the contributors to Koa Books' newly published Veterans of War, Veterans of Peace, edited by Maxine Hong Kingston. A six paragraph sample from his "Honor's Death" can be found here.]
Clousing turned himself in at Fort Lewis (Washington) and was instructed that Fort Bragg handled the issue. On August 18th, Clousing turned himself to Fort Bragg. September 1st, the military announced, to Clousing's attorney David Miner, that Clousing had been charged with desertion the day before. Clousing's response to the news: "Since I left the army I have known that being court martialed was a possibility I could face. I am at peace with my decision. I followed my conscience and, if need be, I will fee honored to join the ranks of others who have been prosecuted for doing the same."
Now the
AP reports the hearing is set and, according to Major Tom Earnhardt, due to start Thursday. The Fayetteville Observer reports that, according to David Miner, "Clousing will plead guilty to going absent without leave. . . . Miner said he would argue for no punishment during the special court-martial scheduled for Thursday at Fort Bragg." This Thursday, before the court-martial begins*, there will be a press conference, 10 a.m., 223 Hillside Avenue, Fayetteville, NC (Quaker House) where Clousing will speak and, at noon, there will be a downtown rally. [*The hearing is being written and spoken of as a "court-martial," not as an Article 32 hearing. ] That's this Thursday and you can find out more at Ricky Clousing's website.
Clousing is part of a movement of war resistance within the military and we'll return to this topic later in the snapshot.
Michael Luo (New York Times) reported on "clash" in Diwaniya this morning. Not covered were civilian casualties. AFP reports: "Medics at Diwaniyah's main hospital reported that seven civilians had been wounded during the battle, one of them critically, while sporadic firing continued around the city into Sunday afternoon. Later, US and Iraqi forces sealed off and entered the hospital, apparently hunting for wounded militiamen."
On the topic of casualities,
Ann Scott Tyson (Washington Post) reported Sunday: "The number of U.S. troops wounded in Iraq has surged to its highest monthly leve in nearly two years" and that, in September, "776 U.S. troops were wounded in action in Iraq". [Casualities are wounded. Fatalities are deaths. The New York Times frequently seems lost with the terms, but to be clear, the topic being addressed is wounded.] Andrew Buscombe (Independent of London) addressed the topic today noting: "The ration of wounded to killed is 8 to 1, compared with 3 to 1 during the Vietnam War. . . . At the same time, other figures show that the number of attacks against US forces is continuing to rise. In July a total of 2,625 explosive devices were encountered by US forces -- with the devices either exploding or defused -- compared with 1,454 in January. The increase suggested that despite the killing in June of Abu Musab al Zarqawi . . ., the anti-American insurgency is intensifying."
This comes at a time that
Richard Stengel (NBC News) reports that soldiers are asking questions regarding "when" Iraqis will take over and quotes Vernon Roberson agreeing that soliders ask "Why are we here? Is this our war anymore?" Roberson: "Oh yes, all the time. I ask myself that a lot, too. We've been here for so long and we've done so much, but it's just so far we can go." As Tom Hayden (The Huffington Post) and Amit R. Paley (The Washington Post) have noted, Iraqis also wonder when it will end and polling found (use previous links) the majority of Iraqis want the US out now.
Meanwhile, a Sunday meal served in Iraq to Iraqi police officers has resulted in deaths and arrest.
Qassim Abdul-Zahra (AP) reports 350 police officers came down with food poisoning and that Jassim al-Atwan of Iraq's Environment Ministry stated eleven police officers had died. Other sources speaking to AP claim no one died. Some put the number of those poisoned at 400. AFP reports that three have died and notes no one has determined yet whether it was a deliberate incident or "whether there was something in the warter of if the food was spoiled." AP reports "the head of the mess hall" has been arrested. CBS and AP quote Brig. Qssaim al-Moussawi stating "A number of people have been arrested". AFP, in a later report, notes the following as arrrested: "a produce supplier and four cooks". At present, no one knows or no one's talking. If an intentional poisoning took place, it would mean that the Iraqi resistance was exploring new techniques and, if so, those in the Green Zone should be especially concerned. AP notes that the food was "provided by an Australian contractor."
Mariam Karouny (Reuters) reports that, in Baghdad, a car bomb has claimed the lives of at least 13 people and left 46 injured. Outside Baghad?
In that
'peaceful' Tal Afar (to hear the Bully Boy and Michael Gordon tell it), CBS and AP report that one police officer was killed and twelve wounded from a car bomb. AFP notes a car bombing on the border between Jordan and Iraq that has injured six border police officers (Iraqis). While Reuters reports that, "near Baquba," two police officers died and three were wounded from a roadside bombing.
BBC reports that Amer al-Hshimi, brother to Iraq's vice president Tariq al-Hashimi and a general in Iraq's army, was killed "when the gunmen stormed into the house and shot him dead. They arrived in 10 police cars, a police source said." CBS and AP note that he was "an adviser in the Defense Ministry" and that his death follows the deaths of a "sister and another brother also . . murdered in the last year." Arrived in "10 police cars"? This weekend, Richard Stengel (NBC News) reported on the discovery of a corpse in Baghdad and a "an Iraqi police lieutenant tells us he thinks fellow police did it." The murder also follows a Sunday attempt to assassinate Galli Najim who heads the political party operated by Iyad Allawi. Also shot dead today, Reuters reports, was Faleh al-Obeidi ("police Colonel") in Baquba. As Ali Al-Fadhily and Dahr Jamail (IPS) report: "The little known city of Baquba is emerging as one of the hotbeds of resistance in Iraq, with clashes breaking out every day."
The Australian reports that 35 corpses were discovered in Baghdad today and that five more were found "floating down the Tigris" in Suwayrah. (The 35 corpses discovered in Baghdad were preceeded, on Sunday, by 51 corpses being found in the capital.)
Sinan Salaheddin (AP) reports that, in the Sadr City section of Baghdad, eleven people were kidnapped -- eleven Iraqi soldiers: "gunmen jumped out of two vehicles at a checkpoint in the east Baghdad district of Sadr City and abducted 11 soldiers on duty". Xinhua reports a source telling them: "Unkown gunmen in a minibus stormed the checkpoint of Hamza Square in Sadr City district and seized all the soldiers, apparently without shooting at any of them".
As the violence rages on, the "plan" in the United States was, as
Arianna Huffington (The Huffington Post) notes, to get the chat & chews to focus on anything other than the Mark Foley & Pages Congressional scandal. Part of the attempts to shift the topic included getting James Baker to make a chat & chew appearance. Amit R. Paley (Washington Post) reported on Sunday's chat & chew visit as did David E. Sanger (New York Times) who noted that Baker did not support a "rapid withdrawal." As the GOP attempts to turn the focus back to Iraq within the US, they'll probably stay away from this reality: today, the US military announced that, on Sunday, three troops were killed in Al-Anbar Province (Reuters).
Again, war resister Ricky Clousing faces a hearing on Thursday. Clousing is a part of a movement of war resistance within the military that includes
Mark Wilkerson -- Clousing and Wilkerson acted as bookends for the month of August with their announced intentions to turn themselves in. Others include Darrell Anderson. Friday of last week, the military released Anderson who had turned himself in (Tuesday of last week) after self-checking out and going to Canada in 2005. Ehren Watada is another war resister and his father Bob Watada is on his second speaking tour to raise attention to his son's case (Ehren Watada is the first officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq).
Joe Lopez (World Socialist Web Site) reports that Bob Watada is speaking with Rosa Watada, Ehren's step-mother: "In her opening remarks to the Glendale meeting, Watada's stepmother Rosa said that Ehren was taking a stand for everybody, not just for himself, and that he was fighting to defend the Constitution of the United States and campaigning to bring the troops home. She described Ehren as an intelligent and principled young men who wanted to see an end to the occupation of Iraq."
Some of the dates for Bob Watada's speaking this week include:

Mon 10/9 7:00pm Veterans for Peace (Chapter 112) and Citizens for Peaceful Resolution
E.P. Foster Library, Topping Rm. 651, E. Main St., Ventura
Contact: Michael Cervantes 805-486-2884 email:

Wed 10/100 7:00-9:45 pm CSULB Asian American and Chicano & Latino Studies Classes
Dr. John Tsuchida and Dr. Juan Benitez
1250 Bellflower Bl, Long Beach

Thurs 10/12 6:00 pm Whittier Area Coalition for Peace & Justice, Mark Twain Club Potluck
($3 donations) Bob speaks at 7:00 pm. First Friends Church of Whittier, 12305 E. Philadelphia St., Whittier
Contact: Robin McLaren 562-943-4051 email:

Sat 10/14 morning Press Conference San Diego
Contact: Reiko Obata 858-483-6018 email: for San Diego events.

Sat 10/14 6:00 pm Lt. Watada Dinner/Fundraiser San Diego (suggested donation: $15)
Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of San Dieguito, 1036 Solano Drive, Solano Beach

A full schedule can be found (PDF format) here. More information on Ehren Watada can be found at and more information on him and other war resisters can be found at Courage to Resist.

Check out Ma's "Brownies and school party tips in the Kitchen." I always forget to mention her recipes lately. I love this recipe.