Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Under Cheney, democracy's done

Hump day, hump day, can't trust that day. Hump day, hump day, sometimes it just turns out that way. :D (Mamas & the Papas "Monday, Monday" adapted for Wednesday.) So did you hear that Americans can not tell Cheney they don't like his policies? It's true. Tell him you disagree and you'll be arrested for "assault." You can read it all in an article by Charlie Brennan
and the real assault is on Americans' freedoms and on our democracy. Cheney should be tried for assaulting a private citizen.

You should be outraged by this and, if you don't think so, look at what I'm pairing it with. This is from Heather Wokusch's "Now That You Could be Labeled an Enemy Combatant...:"

Put it all together, and last week's passage of the Military Commissions Act is ominous for those in the US. As Bruce Ackerman noted recently in The Los Angeles Times, the legislation "authorizes the president to seize American citizens as enemy combatants, even if they have never left the United States. And once thrown into military prison, they cannot expect a trial by their peers or any protections of the Bill of Rights." The vague criteria for being labeled an enemy combatant (taking part in "hostilities against the United States") don't help either. Would that include anti-war protestors? People who criticize Bush? Unclear.
In 2002, wacko former Attorney General John Ashcroft called for the indefinite detainment of US citizens he considered to be "enemy combatants," and while widely criticized at the time, Congress went ahead and fulfilled Ashcroft's nefarious vision last week. Ashcroft had also called for stateside internment camps, and accordingly, in January 2006 the US government awarded a Halliburton subsidiary $385 million to build detention centers to be used for, "an unexpected influx of immigrants or to house people after a natural disaster or for new programs that require additional detention space."
New programs that require additional detention space. Hmm.
The disgraceful Military Commissions Act and the building of domestic internment camps are yet more examples of blowback from the administration's so-called war on terror, and we ignore these increasing assaults on our civil liberties at our own peril.
Action Ideas:
1. Read the Military Commissions Act of 2006 for yourself
here. Find out how your congressmembers voted on this legislation, and raise the topic when they ask for your vote this November.
2. For more information on US prisoner abuse, check out BBC's report from 2005 entitled "Torture Inc. Americas Brutal Prisons." Text and video versions are archived
here. You can learn more about US prisoner's rights from the American Civil Liberties Union.
3. To take action regarding "the plight of the prisoners at Guantanamo Bay and other detainees held as part of the War on Terror," visit

I wanted to include her action advice because it's good stuff but that meant leaving out a lot of good stuff at the top. So if you like the article, please use the link. And take a moment to to think about how you can be arrested for "assault" just for telling Cheney you don't like his policies on Iraq. It's past time that Bully Boy learned that Americans are in charge of this country, not him. Not just because he's now a "lame duck" but also because he works for us, not the other way around. That's the reality. We're the managers of a Taco Bell or Burger King or whatever and Bully Boy wants to work for us, he says. But he doesn't want to work when he grabs/steals the job. He wants to vacation and he wants to serve up toxic sludge on the burgers and we say, "Hey, Bully Boy, you work for us, cut that crap out." And he ignores us. And he expects to keep his job. He blows us off. He's working for us. He needs firing.

So get your butts out tomorrow for the World Can't Wait. Find something around you and make yourself heard.

Elaine just called to say she posted but just realized she forgot to do links. :D Sometimes, you just want to get done with what you're trying to say, you don't have the time. Be sure to check her out tonight because she's writing about Fleetwood Mac. Like Maria Said Paz, if you didn't know that. By the way, she's also going to be testing the new "beta" thing for Blogger/Blogspot for the rest of us. They're trying to get everyone who uses Blogger/Blogspot to switch their sites over to "beta" mode and we're all wondering about the bugs and stuff. So Elaine's going to switch over to start testing it out so we can all find out what it's like. (Because right now, it's "try" and shortly it will probably be "You will use beta.") Scratch that, she just called back and it says once you switch, you can't switch back so, after she read over all the "known bugs," she's going to hold off.

Leigh Ann e-mailed cause she wondered if I saw who Drunk Uncle was interviewing? Yeah but Drunk Uncle's a joke. He's a stupid dumb ass. I really hate that prick. We were doing a thing mentioning him at The Third Estate Sunday Review and Jim had the best joke but C.I. goes, "You do know he's not a believer in God?" (C.I. said what he was but I'm forgetting the exact term.) We didn't. So we pulled the joke because, knowing that, the joke could have been seen as making fun of him for his beliefs. But it was a funny joke. That's the last time I spent any time thinking about Drunk Uncle or his efforts to 'stir a hornet's nest.' I think most of his rag is crap. Where are the young people?

There are a few writers (I count four) who are worth reading but the rest of it is nonsense in this HUGE TEXT with this nonsense like "look at us, we're a little to the left of the New York Times." So it didn't surprise me that Drunk Uncle was now joining the Bully Boy in pushing for war. He's a fucking joke. He made himself one. And now he's the War Mongering Drunk Uncle. It must be really sad to hit middle age and realize you've spent your whole life playing 'safe' and trying to be 'respected' by people who will always hate you. But he's one of those lefties who thinks he can win the right over and that's why he can't speak for the left. I'd missed his slam of Ward Churchill until Cedric pointed it out. But Drunk Uncle always has to play it safe because he's not speaking to or for the left. He's striving for the middle and leaning right as he tries real hard to achieve 'success' on their standards. So he's useless. And boring. Too much of his magazine, remember that it's sold to the left, reads like journals of Nicholas Kristof.

I'm sick of the weak ass phonies. That's all Drunk Uncle is, a weak ass phoney.

In the real world, here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Wednesday, October 4, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq; the spin on the 'peace' plan of the puppet continues; 'Who's killing Iraqi educators?" is the question no one's asking; World Can't Wait calls for mass resistance on Thursday; Willie Caldwell continues to state the obvious; and an occupation riddle: When you think you've found killers and those who aid them, what do you do? Retrain them apparently, retrain them.
Those reading this morning's New York Times were greeted by
Michael Luo's report on the increased violence in Iraq and the new that, on Monday alone, eight US troops died (highest single day number since July 2005). The AP noted 52 Iraqis reported dead on Tuesday. CNN notes that the US military announced two more deaths this morning (announced this morning, both died on Tuesday) and noted the two deaths bring "the number of U.S. troop fatalities in the first three days of October to 15." Iraq Coalition Casualties, the count we follow, states that 17 US troops have died since the month began (the total since the start of the illegal war: 2733 US troops killed).
That's the reality. Someone tell the United Nations' IRIN News, "Don't fluff so, don't fluff so, don't fluff so close to me. Please, don't fluff so, don't fluff so . . ." In part one of an intended series of articles examing Nouri al-Maliki's so-called 'peace' plan,
IRIN ignores not only plank 3 but also seems unaware that the 'security councils' the puppet of the occupation is recommending already exist. Don't fluff so, don't fluff so . . . AFP gets closer to the truth referring to it as "Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's last plan to stop the country sliding into chaos." Rest assured, it probably is his "last" (not "latest") plan. He's lost all US support and a puppet with no one pulling the strings is just a doll that no one wants to play with.
And why would they?
AFP reports a mass suspect in the mass kidnappings: the Eighth Brigade of the Second Division of the Iraqi National Police. Willie Caldwell IV, the Giddiest Gabor in the Green Zone, happy to finger point, states: "There was clear evidence that there was some complicity in allowing death squad elements to move freely, when in fact they were supposed to be impeding their movment. It was realized that removing them from Baghdad would, in fact, enhance security." Now take the 'news' with a grain of salt. It's an allegation. But considering the severity of the allegation, it's interesting that, AP reports, only the police commander in charge was "discharged and arrested for investigation in the kidnapping." And the rest? CNN reports that it's time for retraining. As though deciding to let 'death squads' pass your security check point is akin to not knowing how to use the office copier. AFP reports they're on a US military base being retrained. BBC reports: "A programme has been under way for more than a month for comprehensive assessment and re-training of all national police unites -- a process called by the Americans 'transofrmational training.'" James Hider (Times of London) reports that since 2004, "US forces have been re-training the Iraqi police, but the programme has had little impact" and that a "survivor of Monday's mass kidnapping . . . described how half a dozen vehicles, with official security forces markings on them, pulled up and men in military fatigues rounded up all the Sunnis in the shops."
Mussab Al-Khairalla and Alastair Macdonald (Reuters) report the US military announcement that "Bomb attacks in Baghdad have hit an all-time high." In reply, insert Goldie Hawn's two-word reply when, in Private Benjamin, she's told she's not fit for the uniform.
A 'series' of bombs went off in Baghdad.
Sameer N. Yacoub (AP) reports that "a car bomb and two roadise bombs blew up in the span of 10 minutes in a shopping district of the Camp Sara neighborhood . . . left 15 dead and injured 87". Devika Bhat, James Hider and wires (Times of London) report: "Corpses were seen scattered in the streets next to the smoking wreckage as people frantically placed the wounded in their cars to take them to hospital before ambulances arrived at the scene. A woman sat weeping over the crumpled body of her son, refusing to allow police or rescue workers to take him away, while officials warned residents to leave the area for fear that more bombs were planned." Sameer N. Yacoub (AP) reports another bomb, close by, that was part of an attack on "a convoy carrying the Iraqi industry minister" which killed three guards and left nine more injured. There has been back and forth reporting all day on whether or not Fawzi al-Hariri (Industry Minister) was in the convoy or not. AFP notes the denial by the ministry and the confirmation by the police before reporting: "Security sources say that such denials are standard whenever there is an attack on an official convoy."
In addition,
Reuters reports that, in Baghdad, another car bomb left one dead and four more wounded while, outside Baghdad -- three police officers, "two soldiers and nine civilians" were injured in Tal Afar in a bombing; and mortar rounds targeting an army recruiting center left four dead and eight wounded in Mosul.
Devika Bhat, James Hider and wires (Times of London) report the shooting death of two police officers in Baquba.Reuters notes a translator for the US military was shot dead in Siniya.
AFP reports that seven corpses were discovered in Baghdad and four in Kut. Reuters reports that two corpses were discovered in Mosul, three in Tuz Khurmatu and one in Tikrit.
Reporting for Tuesday's
Free Speech News, Aaron Glantz and Salam Talib explored the issue of the deaths of Iraqi professors. 161 professors, minimum, have died in Iraq since the beginning of the illegal invasion. In addition, an estimated 3,250 have fled the country as part of the continue 'brain drain.' Interviewing a variety of people, Glantz and Talib explored this topic with one man interviewed noting that the killings are not accidental, they are targeted and another explaining that he and other professors had suggested living on or near unviersities only to have that idea shot down as well. (This report also aired on yesterday's The KPFA Evening News.)
As you read the above, you may be wondering, "What can I do about any of the above?"
World Can't Wait is calling for a day of mass resistance tomorrow (Thursday). Meredith May (San Francisco Chronicle) reports that: "Activists in San Francisco have been working late into the night this week, building a 40-foot statue of President Bush. It's not idolatry. They plan to jail his likeness for war crimes Thursday at Justin Herman Plaza as part of nationwide round of protests calling on Bush to step down. Anti-Bush demonstrations are planned in more than 150 cities across the nation, as well as in Canada and Switzerland, as part of a movement that has been coalescing on the Internet for the past year." Gary Leupp (Dissident Voice) reports that "World Can't Wait has done some excellent work in uniting a wide range of war opponents in numerous actions and events. Daniel Ellsberg, Ray McGovern, Alice Walker, Howard Zinn, Rabbi Michael Lerner, Ralph Nader, Gore Vidal, Ed Asner, Sean Penn, Harry Belafonte, Tom Morello, Martin Sheen, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Gloria Steinem, Viggo Mortensen, Margaret Cho, Susan Sarandon, Jane Fonda, Bianca Jagger, Kurt Vonnegut, Rev. Jess Jackson, Gen. Janis Karpinski, Ron Kovic, U.S. Rep. Cynthia McKinney and thousands of others have endorsed the group's call to 'drive out the Bush regime' and to 'stop the attack on Iraq.'"
Sean Penn (at CounterPunch) states: "We the people of the United States have a unique opportunity. We can show each other and the world that what the Bush administration claims is their mission is not ours. And, by leading our country as a citizenry and demanding of our government an immediate end to our own military and profit investments in Iraq, display for the entire world that democracy is a government of people. What more powerful message to send the world than that we ourselves can choose in policy, in peace, and in humanitarian support." For more information, including events in your area, visit World Can't Wait.
Staying with peace news. War resister Darrell Anderson turned himself in at Fort Knox Tuesday afternoon after self-checking out in January 2005 and moving to Canada.
Peter Smith (Kentcky's The Courier-Journal) reports that Anderson told people who'd turned out to show their support, "I am proud to be a resister of this war . . . I believe the tide is turning in America." Armina Ligaya (Canada's Globe & Mail) reports Anderson stating, "They broke their contract before I broke mine.". AP reports Anderson declared, "I feel that by resisting, I made up for the things I did in Iraq. I feel I made up for the sins I committed in this war." Among those present when Darrell Anderson turned himself in were his wife Gail Greer, his mother Anita Anderson, his step-father Stephen Dennis and his attorney Jim Fennerty. Jim Warren (Lexington Herald-Leader) reports that Fennerty believes Anderson "could be released by Friday if things go as they Army says." Fennerty's referring to what an officer involved in the case stated last week, "that the Army had decided not to court-martial Anderson, and plans to release him within three to five days. Fennerty said the officer told him that a discharge would be mailed to Anderson a few days after that."
Darrell Anderson is one of many in and from the military resisting the Iraq war -- those resisting publicly include Camilo Mejia, Jeremy Hinzman, Carl Webb, Brandon Hughey, Pablo Paredes, Kyle Snyder, Patrick Hart,
Mark Wilkerson, Ricky Clousing and Aidan Delgado. September 2nd saw another war resister take action. That's when Augustin Aguayo self-checked out the Army. Last week, Aguayo turned himself in at Fort Irwin. Aaron Glantz (IPS) reports that Helga Aguayo (Augustin's wife) is attempting to "raise enough money to fly to Germany to testify at her husband's trial." As noted at Augustin Aguayo's home page, the military refused to let Helga or their two daughters have any contact with Augustin prior to his being deported to Germany to stand trial. Those wishing/able to donate can do say at
Ehren Watada is another war resister and the first officer to publicly refuse to serve in Iraq. He has stated that the war is illegal and, were he to participate, he'd be guilty of war crimes. His father, Bob Watada, has begun a second speaking tour to raise awareness about his son.

Wed. 10/4 7:00 pm Southern California Library for Social Studies and Research
6120 S. Vermont Ave, Los Angeles
Contact: So Cal Library 323-759-6063

Thurs 10/5 5:00 pm World Can't Wait March & Rally
(March starts at noon at pershing S1/Bob speaks in front of Federal Bldg 300 N. Los Angeles St. at 5:00 pm.
Contact: Nicole Lee 323-462-4771 email:

Thurs 10/5 5:00 pm World Can't Wait March & Rally
(March starts at noon at pershing S1/Bob speaks in front of Federal Bldg 300 N. Los Angeles St. at 5:00 pm.
Contact: Nicole Lee 323-462-4771 email:

Fri. 10/6 7:00 am Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace (ICUJP)
Immanuel Presbyterian Church, 3300 Wilshire Bl., Los Angeles
Contact: Thalia 626-683-9004 email:

Fri 10/6 12:30 San Fernando Valley Japanese Community Center
SFV Japanese American Community Center, 12953 Branford St., Pacoima 91331
Contact: Phil Shigkuni 818-893-1851, cell: 818-357-7488, email

Sat 10/7 2:00-4:00 pm Welcome Reception for Bob Watada
JACCC Garden Room, 244 S. San Pedro St., Los Angeles
Contact: NCRR 213-680-3484, email:

Sun 10/8 2:00-5:00 pm Forum with Bob Watada
Nat'l Center for the Preservation of Democracy, 111 N. Central Ave., Los Angeles.
Contact Ellen Endo 213-629-2231 or Mo 323-371-4502

Sun 10/8 6:00-8:00 pm An Evening of Discussion and Learning hosted by Rev. Phyllis Tyler
11326 CherryLee Dr., El Monte (Rev. Tyler is Senior Pastor of Sage Granada Park United Methodist Church in Alhambra) Co-sponsored by NCRR and the National Japanese American United Methodist Church Caucus
Contact: NCRR 213-680-3484 email:

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:

For a complete schedule, click
here. If you're unable to atten, Bob Morris (Politics in the Zeros) provides an MP3 file of Bob Watada speaking yesterday in Los Angeles.
And those wishing to donate to Ehren Watada's defense fund can make out checks to "ECCOR"; P.O. Box 235511, Honolulu, HI, 96823 or (for a tax deduction on your donation), "Hawaii People's Fund"; 810 N. Vineyard Blvd., Honolulu, HI 96817 *write "Lt. Watada legal defense" on the memo of the check. More information on war resisters can be found at
Courage to Resist