Friday, November 17, 2006

A talking post by Jim (Third Estate Sunday Review)

London pulled up a box and sat down on it. "The chow's about ready, the guy says. I want to ast you, Mac, ever'body says you're a red. Them two guys that come to talk both said it. Seemed to know all about you."
"Tell me straight, Mac. Is you an' Jim reds?"
"What do you think?"
London's eyes flashed angrily, but he controlled himself. "Don't get mean, Mac. I don't take it nice if the guys on the other side know more about you'n I do. What the hell do I know? You come into my camp and dones us a good turn. I never ast you no questions -- never did. I wouldn't ask you now, on'y I got to know what to expect."
Mac looked puzzled. He glanced at Jim. "O.K.?"
"O.K. by me."
"Listen, London," Mac began. "A guy can get to like you awful well. Sam'll kick the ass off any guy that looks crooked at you."
"I got good friends," said London.
"Well, that's why. I feel the same way. S'pose I was a red, what then?"
London said, "You're a friend of mine."
"O.K., then, I'm a red. There ain't a hell of a secret about it. They say I started this strike. Now get me straight. I would of started it if I could, but I didn't have to. It started itself."
London eyed him cautiously, as though his mind slowly circled Mac's mind. "What do you get out of it?" he asked.
"Money, you mean? Not a damn thing."
"Then what do you do it for?"
"Well, it's hard to say -- you know how you feel about Sam an' all the guys that travel with you? Well, I feel that way about all the workin' stiffs in the country."
"Guys you don't even know?"
"Yes, guys I don't even know. Jim here's just the same."
"Sounds crazy as hell," said London. "Sounds like a gag. An' you don't get no money?"
"You don't see no Rolls-Royces around, do you?"
"But how about after?"
"After what?"
"Maybe after this is over you'll collect."
"There ain't no after," Mac said. "When this one's done, we'll be in another one."

That's an excerpt from John Steinbeck's In Dubious Battle, pages 267-268. Jim here with you tonight. Mike and Elaine have the Iraq Study Group tonight. It's the original one. It's not the cheap, copy version that James Baker providing for Bully Boy's rubber stamp. They're also seeing the new James Bond film before hand.

They're a couple now and both very busy. C.I. mentioned that they were going to try to grab time Saturday morning to blog. So we came up with a scheme where C.I. would ask Mike for his password with the excuse of attempting to figure out what the Beta mode of Blogger/Blogspot looked like? With Elaine, C.I. just asked. Elaine probably knows why: that someone will guest post there. "Someone" will be Jess, Ava and Ty working on a joint post.

Mike and Elaine have some plans for tomorrow and we figured if we covered their sites for them tonight, they wouldn't feel they needed to do any posting tomorrow. Elaine and Mike are among the ones who help us out at The Third Estate Sunday Review so we figured the least we could do was help them out. At least once. Let me use a Mike quote for that last sentence: ":D."

I have no idea what they're going to do over at Like Maria Said Paz but I thought I'd do what C.I. has dubbed "Just talking posts." I started this post with In Dubious Battle because that's what I'm reading right now. In school, I'd read The Red Pony and probably something else by Steinbeck but I'm not much for nonfiction. C.I. always has wonderful ideas and one of them was for each of us to leave our comfort zone. The hope is that by shaking things up a bit, we'll avoid a sameness creeping into what we do at The Third Estate Sunday Review.

Since I don't usually read classics, or fiction, I've got a list of four classics that I wanted to read. Two are Hemmingway, one of which I've read. That was The Sun Also Rises which I enjoyed. I only started In Dubious Battle yesterday. If it seems like I've gotten far, that's partly due to the fact that Dona's been on the road with C.I.

There was an e-mail to our site asking about that: Why Dona was?

I'm guessing as opposed to the others of us?

Dona did a trip last month as well. This week's trip took them to her home state today. They'll be flying out tomorrow. So this was a way for her to both get a sense of what's going on in other states and also to see her family. We're all down for trips in the future and we've all done trips already.

What's it like? Pretty busy. I called Dona today before they hopped their plane and again after the second 'gig.' The snapshot wasn't up so I did have a reason for calling. It had been done and e-mailed to the site. I went ahead and copied the e-mail and pasted it in. If the e-mailed version ever hits the site, there will be two snapshots for today.

Dona was tired but I could tell she was excited to be home. She was also a little nervous. Her younger brother had been staying out here with us which a few people knew because he was helping out with the e-mails that come in to The Third Estate Sunday. He was not enjoying college (his first semester) and ended up coming out here. So Dona gets to explain why he's with them and that he's dropped out of college.

First semesters can be overwhelming. I'm not sure what he's going to do. He may end up coming back with Dona and C.I. tomorrow. If we didn't live in a cell phone age, he could not have gotten away with this for weeks. I'm hoping the visit goes well regardless of the bombshell being dropped.

An old classmate called this week wondering how we were liking it in California? We really enjoy it. Dona and I were the hold outs. Ty did an internship this summer out here and had a blast. He didn't want to leave. Ava had been making noises about moving back to California for some time. Her family's bicoastal. She mainly grew out here and she never liked New York. I really didn't get that until we were out here. In NY, someone was always asking her to explain any event that happened in Spain, Mexico, Latin America, you name it. Out here, that's not the case. I always though of NY as a melting pot with everyone mixing freely. Sometimes, I didn't grasp how annoyed she was when someone who meant well expected her to know everything going on now and then in any country that spoke Spanish. It probably is more of a multi-cultural experience off campus.

Out here, that's not the case. Ava doesn't have to play ambassador explaining everything to an Anglo world. That's everywhere, not just on campus. So Ava was already saying she'd probably move back here, saying it last spring. When Ty decided to stay, mid-summer, Ava was all for it as well. Jess had stayed out here all summer and where Ava goes, Jess goes. Dona and I were holding down the forts in NY.

We were considering the move, and since we're a couple, it would have to be "we" moving if we moved. Jess was already looking at different campuses and talking about how there was a vast shortage of "uninformed do gooders." Dona and I were having dinner in NY with some friends and Dona mentioned that. There was this huge sigh around the table followed by a long discussion of how wonderful it would be to be far, far away from the Modern Day Carrie Nations.
After that, Dona said if I was willing to move, her vote was we move.

So we came out here and checked out campuses. Then we went back and pretty much packed. I did run it by my father because he lives in New York. He was all for it because he felt it would be a great experience. My mother lives on the East Coast, my parents are divorced, and she wasn't all for it but agreed it was my decision. Dona and I talked about it some more and, once we got our acceptance letters, we knew we were transferring out here.

There's a lot more to do out here and I wouldn't have guessed that. Ty's always heard of some art exhibit, seems like there's always a concert somewhere, something political, you name it. That was probably true in NY as well but out here, it's not go home and veg. Kat's got something planned or Ty does and the house is always full.

Mike used to wonder how we'd get any studying done because people are always dropping by? It really hasn't been a problem. Classes actually seem easier but that may be due to the fact that so much else is going on that life isn't focused around them. That's not to say, "There goes the old G.P.A.!" Grades are maintained and improved. It's just a more stimulating environment with a wider cross section of people.

And it's great to all be together. My favorite time is probably when we finish the Sunday edition and all collapse on C.I.'s bed. We take turns selecting the DVD, finish whatever munchies we didn't get to during the edition and never see the end of the movie because we're all zonked out long before it's over.

That said, when it's time to end it, we're all prepared. Ty's going into the entertainment field, I'd bet money Jess is going to enroll in law school even though he denies it, I don't know what Ava's going to do but she's got the money that it doesn't have to be decided right away and Dona and I are thinking about doing a few months of travel when we get out before we get started working.

That wasn't an insult about Ava, in case anyone's wondering. It's just true that if she decides not to work at a paying job, she's not going to starve. I could see her devoting her time and energy to political causes for the rest of her life and being very busy. I could also see her enrolling in law school if Jess does. Change that to "when Jess does."

Day Break is the answer to the question some of you may be wondering: What are Ava and C.I. go to review this weekend? Their reviews really are something and we all know it. We're all very happy about that as well. There are so many stories that I could tell but since they don't, I won't. But their 'fan base' includes a lot of 'names.' That's because a lot of people working on shows they review know them. They're also read by the "suits" -- as Ava and C.I. call them. One suit is a longterm friend of C.I.'s and has known Ava's family forever. Two weeks ago, he finally admitted they were right about something and a point they made in a review (a huge flaw) got fixed this week.

It's also weird to see things turned into "TV world." A friend of their's created a character based on another friend of their's. The friend the character is based on is furious with the character which is judged as an insult. The rest of us don't think it is but we see how it is just one side of the person. That and other similar experiences have been very interesting and provided a real window on the whole creative process.

What do I hate worst about being out here? The only thing I don't like is when Dona's on the road for more than two days. The first day, I have all these plans of things I'll do. I never do them and by the second day, I accept that. By the third day, I'm missing her.

If that sounds too sappy, maybe I'm buttering her up for when she gets back?

Seriously, I do love Dona. We argue like crazy and will argue about anything. I think that's just our way. I really don't know anyone else like her. She's pretty amazing.

I'll shut up now and put in the snapshot. Here's the new you can use from C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Friday, November 17, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq; Bully Boy's long journey to Vietnam is complete (you can refer to the various stops since Tuesday or you can take it back to his days in and out of the National Guard); Ehren Watada's father Bob wraps up his current speaking tour Friday night; Tony Blair may have lost a supporter; war resister Kyle Snyder still needs support; and the US military has all sorts of announcements and numbers including 57,000 US troops to deploy to Iraq next year.

Starting with yesterday's kidnappings -- there were two.
Reuters cover this: "Passengers from up to six minibuses may have been abducted after being stopped at a fake security checkpoint in the capital, police and local residents said" from yesterday and, in addition, there was a kidnapping in southern Iraq.

C4 reported on the mass kidnapping in Baghdad one of the few that did.* Sudarsan Raghavan (Washington Post) noted: "Much of the day's other violence was directed at Shiite Muslims. Gunmen erected fake checkpoints in a Sunni neighborhood and seized Shiite passengers off minibuses." Alastair Macdonald (Reuters) noted: "Six missing minibuses were mostly carrying Shiites when gunmen, some in uniform, pulled them over for bogus security checks, police sources said."

The dickering over this kidnapping among Iraqi's various members of government follows the pattern after Tuesday's mass kidnapping which
Kirk Semple (New York Times) observed was being seen (by Jalal Talabani, Iraqi president) as a potential "complete collapse of the government"). Queried by Jon Snow, of England's C4, as to whether "you think there are other ministers in the government who are complicit?" in the kidnappings, Iraq's minister of Higher Eductation, Abd Dhiab, stated he did believe that and, while refusing to answer whether he personally believed the police could be trusted, he noted that "the people" do not feel they can be.

Jon Snow: You seem to be describing a situation of anarchy here?

Abd Dhiab: Anarchy clearly, nobody can deny that.

Jon Snow: But, I mean, if you feel you have to resign then in a way we're beginning to see the disengration of the government?

Abd Dhiab (in a rambling answer) agreed.
Kirk Semple noted Mohammed Bashar al-Faidi (Muslim Scholars Associaton) declared on Al Jazeera TV, "I don't know how to describe it, but it represents the bankruptcy of the sectarian government following one scandal after the other." The willingness of officials go to public with their own stark observations about Iraq comes as Nouri al-Maliki, puppet of the occupation, is in Turkey. Louise Roug (LA Times) reports that al-Maliki believes the matters can wait until next week to be resolved in a meeting of his cabinet.

Bully Boy believes that the answer for a 'win' is, as
Simon Tisdall (Guardian of London) reports, "a last big push" that could result in increasing US troops in Iraq -- not withdrawing them. Tisdall also reveals that sources say "Bush family loyalist James Baker" and others on the supposed independent Iraq Study Group are now doing the bidding of the Pentagon and will include the following points as "victory strategy:"

1) Increase US troop levels by up to 20,000 to secure Baghdad and allow redeployments elsewhere in Iraq.

2) Focus on regional cooperation with international conference and/or direct diplomatic involvement of countries such as Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.

3) Revive reconciliation process between Sunni, Shia and others.

4) Increased resources from Congress to fund training and equipment of Iraqi security forces.

David Jackson (USA Today) reports that Bully Boy declared in Hanoi that "he was unaware of a British newspaper report that he is considering an additional 30,000 troops in Iraq."
20,000 and, if Bully Boy's denying, chances are it's true. (Flashback to his performance of "My Guy" to Rumsfled right before the election and then, after the election, his rendention of "Hit the Road, Jack.") The
AP reports that Bully Boy has compared Iraq to Vietnam yet again and offered, "We'll succeed unless we quit." Not quite as catchy as "stay the course" but certainly many of lemmings will show up, possibly in face paint, at his domestic gatherings to change "We'll succeed unless we quit." Of course, the reality is you suceed unless you lose and, more reality, the illegal war is lost.

CNN reports it's whack-a-mole time again "as 2,2000 more Marines are being deployed to Iraq's volatile Anbar province". Interviewed by Joshua Scheer (Truthdig), US Congress Rep. Dennis Kucinich noted of al-Anbar that it's "a place which was already declared 'lost' for the purposes of military occupation. Why are we sacrificing our young men and women? Why are we keeping them in an impossible situation? Why are we stoking a civil war with our continued presence? We have to take a new direction in Iraq, and that direction is out."

This as
Al Jazeera reports Rabah al-Alwan of "the Union of Lawyers in al-Anbar governorate in western Iraq" is asserting that 211 families have been thrown out of their homes in Al-Anbar Province so that the US military can occupy them. Among the homes seized is al-Alwan's and he states: "Ten months ago, the US army seized my house and dozens of houses in the neighbourhood where I live. Residents were not allowed take any of their savings, jewellery, furniture or clothes. . . . They [US snipers] killed a lot of people, such as Ayad Mutar and Muhamad Ayad, for approaching their [own] houses to try to get some of their families' clothes and belongings." al-Alwan tells of promises to compensate families for their homes with money that never got handed over, of attacks on the homes now that the US military is lodged in them, and the continued occupation of the home have led former occupants to join the resistance.

Hearts and minds? Or are they supposed to take comfort in the empty words mouthed by the Bully Boy, as
noted by Mark Tran (Guardian of London), "One lesson is that we tend to want there to be instant success in the world, and the task in Iraq is going to take a while."
A while? What is known is that the illegal war hits the four-year anniversary in March of 2007 -- four months from now.

What is known also includes the fact that yesterday's other kidnapping, in southern Iraq, resulted in the kidnapping of at least five people. The
BBC reports that the abducted were four Americans and one Austrian. Will Weissert (AP) reports that two of the abducted turned up: an Austrian who was dead and an American "gravely wounded" -- in addition, Weissert notes that "[n]ine Asian employees" were kidnapped and that they have been released. Xinhua reports that 14 people were kidnapped and that the area was under the control of Iraqis having been turned over to them by Italy in September. Kirk Semple (New York Times) identifies the site of the kidnapping as the Nassiriya. AP places the location as Safwan. Edward Wong (New York Times) reports that searches are ongoing to find the abducted but that there are denials of any of the kidnapped being released or found.

In other reported violence . . .


Reuters notes that four police officers were shot dead outside a bank in Baghdad, that two brothers are dead from a Baghdad attack, that a civilian was shot dead in Kirkuk and "his baby daughter" injured and, in Baquba "Lieutenant Colonel Sattar Jabar, chief of police media" was shot dead. Aref Mohammed (Reuters) reports "the British military said a British private security guard was wounded in a clash with Iraqi police. The police said two policemen and another Westerner were killed" and that Zubayr was where "police said colleagues stopped an unmarked car. Western in civilian clothes inside opened fire, killing two officers and wounding two women passers-by. Police returned fire, killing one of the Westerns and wounding another." The 'Westerners' may or may not be British or American.


Reuters notes two corpses were discovered near Falluja and and two near Numaniya. CNN reports that 25 corpses ("bullet-riddled") were discovered in Baghdad today.

Also today, the
US military announced: "A Task Force Lightning Soldier attached to 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, was killed by small arms fire Thursday during combat operations in Diyala province." The total number of US troops who have died thus far this month to 45, and to 2865 since the start of the illegal war. This as Donna Miles announces on behalf of the Defense Department that 57,000 US troops will being deploy to Iraq (8,300 to Afghanistan). The 57,000 will be part of the rotation to keep the total number of US troops on the ground in Iraq at 144,000 -- the increased number that was put in place last summer for the now-cracked-up Baghdad crackdown.

In other signs of the dissention in the puppet government,
Hannah Allamn and Mohamed al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) report that the Shi'ite dominated Interior Ministry "issued an arrest warrant for one of the country's most prominent Sunni Muslim clerics, charging him with violating antiterrorism laws." The BBC notes the cleric, Harith al-Dhari, is the head of the Association of Muslim Scholars and that he is currently in Jordan. Ross Colvin (Reuters) notes that the reaction to the warrant (issued while both al-Dhari and al-Maliki were out of the country) has been intense with the largest Sunni political party (The Islamic Party) calling it a "mercy bullet" that would put the dying government down. Sudarsan Raghavan (Washington Post) notes that the Association of Muslim Scholars is requesting "Sunni politicians . . . quit Iraq's government" in response to the arrest warrant and notes that: "The move came as cracks emerged within Iraq's six-month-old unity government over the numbers of government employees taken in a mass kidnapping on Tuesday and whether some were tortured and killed." In addition to the above support, Al-Dhari also received support from Sunni clerics and, as Will Weissert (AP) reports, from one of Iraq's vice president, Tariq al-Hashimi, who stated that the warrant "is destructive to the national reconcilliation plan." And CNN updates to note that the Iraqi government has backed off ("clarified") the warrant which they now maintain was never to arrest al-Dhari but merely to "check security files linked" to him.

In other news,
Mike Corder (AP) reports that De Volkskrant, Dutch newspaper, has reported that "Dutch military interrogators abused dozens of Iraqi prisoners in 2003, dousing them with water to keep them awake and exposing them to high-pitched noises and strong lights" and conducted by "members of the Dutch Military Intelligence and Security Service in November 2003 in buildings of the Coalition Provisional Authority in Samawah, 230 miles southeast of Baghdad." Alexandra Hudson and Nicola Leske (Reuters) report that the report, which emerged Friday, has already resulted in announcement from the Dutch Defence Minister Henk Kamp that he knew abuses were possible but an earlier investigation had not turned up anything -- now he's "announced an independent investigation into the earlier study by military police and his own conduct in the affair." As the BBC notes, the revelations come "days before the country's parliamentary elections."

Meanwhile, in England, the
Guardian of London reports that Margaret Hodge has created a stir in England. The MP Hodge is seen as an ally of Tony Blair so it came as a surprise to some when it was reported that she called the illegal war Tony Blair's "big mistake in foreign affairs" while speaking to the Islington Fabian Society where she also noted that she accepted pre-war claims because "he was our leader and I trusted him."

In peace news, Vietnam war resister
Gerry Condon has posted a letter at Soldiers Say No! on Kyle Snyder. To recap, Snyder, on October 31st, turned himself in at Fort Knox only to self-check out again after discovering the military had lied yet again. Since then Snyder has been underground, surfacing to speaking out against the war.

Condon is requesting more calls supporting to Snyder:

Thanks to all of you who have made calls to the Commanding General at Fort Knox, Kentucky. The phones have been ringing off the walls there. Now it is time to make the phones ring at Fort Leonard Wood. Say hello to Fort Leonard Woods's brand new commander, Major General William McCoy, Jr., recently returned from the U.S. occupation of Iraq (you can read his emotional address upon assuming his new command at
Here are the numbers to call at Fort Leonard Wood
Office of the Commanding General (that's how they answer) 573-596-0131Public Affairs Office, tel. 573-563-4013 or 4105, fax: 573-563-4012, email:
We want to deliver one clear message:

Kyle Snyder is a US war resister and part of a movement of resistance within the military that also includes people such as Ehren Watada, Joshua Key, Ivan Brobeck, Darrell Anderson, Ricky Clousing, Mark Wilkerson, Camilo Meija, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Jeremy Hinzman, Corey Glass, Patrick Hart, Clifford Cornell, Agustin Aguayo, Joshua Despain, Katherine Jashinski, and Kevin Benderman. That's just the ones who have gone public. (Over thirty US war resisters are currently in Canada attempting to be legally recognized.)

Information on war resistance within the military can be found at
Center on Conscience & War, The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline, and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters. Appeal for Redress is collecting signatures of active duty service members calling on Congress to bring the troops home -- the petition will be delivered to Congress in January.

Bob Watada, father of
Ehren Watada, the first commissioned officer to refuse to deploy to Iraq, is wrapping up a speaking tour he and Rosa Sakanishi (Ehren's step-mother) have been on to raise awareness on Ehren Watada. The tour winds down tonight, a full schedule can be found here, and this is the final date:

Nov 17, 7PM, Atlanta, GA, Location: The First Iconium Baptist Church, Sponsor: Veterans For Peace Chapter 125, The Georgia Peace and Justice Coalition/Atlanta, Atlanta WAND, Contact: Debra Clark, 770-855-6163,

In addition, to Atlanta,
Gregg K. Kakesako (Honolulu Star-Bulletin) reports this event on Sunday:

The Honolulu chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League will hold a symposium surrounding the actions of Army 1st Lt. Ehren Watada, who is the first military officer to face a court martial for refusing to fight in Iraq. It will begin at 3:30 p.m. Nov. 19 at the University of Hawaii's architecture auditorium. The featured speaker will be Watada's father, Bob; Jon Van Dyke of the University of Hawaii Richardson School of Law and Watada's attorney, Eric Seitz.

ehren watada
bob watada
kyle snyder
the new york times
kirk semple
the washington post
sudarsan raghavan
gregg k. kakesako
joshua scheer
edward wong

[*Thank you to a friend at C4 for calling -- repeatedly -- to pass the C4 interview on.]