Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Big grab bag post

Wednesday! Almost New Year's Eve. Ma said, "You better note that!" Was she talking about New Year's Eve? No, she was talking about the trashing of GreenStone Media on Democracy Now! today. Ma read C.I.'s "Correction to Barbara Ehrenreich on Democracy Now! today" and
said she could tell C.I. was furious (I could too) and that I needed to recommend everybody reads "Correction to Barbara Ehrenreich on Democracy Now! today." You should read it. There's no excuse for the trashing that took place on Democracy Now! And note Micah's comment! :D I cracked up at that because he's right -- Victor Navasky sounds like an old, dottering fool as he drones on and stumbles around. Elaine's writing about Navasky tonight so be sure to check out Like Maria Said Paz.

I'm not done with my family yet! Dad wants it noted that he agrees with Micah, Rachel, Zach and Jonah that you can't discuss Gerald Ford without noting the "laughable Warren Commission" that Ford sat on. But then, if you noted that, Victor Navasky probably wouldn't appear on the program because The Nation has made their existance in the last century all about propping up the Warren Commission Report. I thought it was kind of sad that he was even on because he was a BAD GUEST and because Amy Goodman was just awarded $100,000 in part from The Nation so it looks bad to book guests that you recieve LARGE MONEY from.

But then, I think it looks bad that Katrina vanden Heuvel, as editor and publisher of The Nation, publishes her husband's work in the magazine. It's sort of like Clarence Thomas saying, "I've got something else to do so my wife's going to hear oral arguments. Later!" There need to be boundaries (but Rebecca's mother-in-law was pointing out Christmas eve that KvH has always had issues with boundaries so go know).

I need to note some more stuff. Check out Kat's "Kat's Korner: 2006 in music" which is really a treat to read. I loved that. And Martha and Shirley have written about the community's top ten picks of books for the year in "2006 in books (Martha & Shirley)" (they even quote me! :D).
Cedric's "Bully Boy's new record" and Wally's "THIS JUST IN! BULLY BOY BIGGEST THREAT TO AMERICANS!" is funny but true, so check it out. And for more funny, check out Betty's "The Double-Wide Friedman." Tony keeps asking me where C.I.'s year-in-review is?

C.I. started it on Monday, Monday night. It will go up this week. But C.I.'s been sick with the flu since Friday, had a house full of guests for the holiday and just hasn't had the time. Kat said when everyone left on Tuesday, C.I.'s plan was just to go straight bed and this was like at four in the afternoon. Which, as Jim points out, makes it all the more amazing that C.I. steered the latest edition of The Third Estate Sunday Review. Ava helped but she says, "Mike, you know you guys had already started before I got to C.I.'s." Not only did Ava and C.I. handle the edition (with C.I. as the lead) but they got the edition completed and posted six hours earlier than usual. This was done with a six hour break for everyone to go get some sleep. I was freaking out thinking it would be way behind but C.I. was like, "It's taken care of, people need to get the rest they need." (Ava told me she and C.I. were working during the time the rest of us were sleeping.)

So here's the content that went up on Sunday with my comments:

Highlights -- when we all got back from our long rest break, C.I. said, "I'm going to hand highlights over to you because you have been picking them for the last few weeks and it makes things move faster." "You" is me, Rebecca, Kat, Elaine, Wally and Betty.

Applause to Amy Goodman -- this was a short item and a visual. There wasn't time for visuals so C.I. had grabbed this and a thing in Rolling Stone.

Applause to Rolling Stone -- Standing ovation for Rolling Stone. I didn't know they'd put Ehren Watada on their honor roll. Good for them. As soon as C.I. sent the image to Rebecca, I was all over her shoulder trying to read it. She had a real problem with this image because the color was off and there were all these orange splotches on Ehren Watada's face. She was able to get rid of them.

A Note to Our Readers -- Ava and C.I. do the note. I think they did a pretty good job but wish they'd made more out of the fact that for the FIRST TIME, the edition was posting at 7:00 a.m. EST and was done posting by 7:30 EST. They worked their butts off and managed to do something that Jim says has not been done "but two times before" and the site started in January 2005!

Editorial: 2007? -- What's the new year going to be? That's up to you. We had no editorial for the edition. Ava and C.I. came up with this and weren't sure how it would play. When they told us it, Betty spoke for everyone when she said, "Not only is it good, it's something that needs to be said." I agree. I also love Isaiah's comics that illustrate 2005 and 2006. C.I. really was worried about the visuals because there wasn't time for painting and it was just C.I., Kat and Ava that could work on the paintings.

TV: Looking forward . . . by looking backward? -- My oldest sister loves the illustration! Ava and C.I. called a friend who collects Charlie's Angels memorbilia (did I spell that right?) to get an illustration. I think the review is really good but my oldest sister says it's the best one they did in 2006.

Roundtable -- After we did highlights, we went right into this. Betty's son, her youngest son, had just woken up crying and Ava said, "Look, we'll wait." Betty said, go ahead and she'd put the phone down and jump in when she had her son back to sleep. Betty was really aware that we were moving fast and she was probably the first to point out that we were going to be done earlier than ever before. I think Ava did a really good job anchoring the roundtable. I wish Ava and C.I. had spoken more but they were taking notes. Rebecca was still waking up and after it was over, she noted "I was just Ruth's cheerleader but that's a good role to play." :D It is a good role to play.

Mr. Tony's appointment -- Kat, Ava and C.I. did this illustration quickly with ink and toothpicks. They used ink hoping it would dry quickly. It didn't so C.I. "cooked" it -- seriously. Rebecca was asking where the illustration was and C.I. goes, "It's in the oven." :D This is a nice feature and it's noting developments that most of the so-called news sites didn't. Check it out.

The story of 2006 -- when Betty pointed out for the second time how ahead of schedule we were, the idea was tossed out that we needed to do something on war resisters. So this feature got done pretty quickly. I think it turned out really well and war resisters ARE the story of 2006.

The Nation's Slap In The Face to women -- C.I. hadn't planned on us covering this and was really glad that the rest of us (Wally, Rebecca, Cedric and me) had covered it at our sites. Then C.I. read the book review (at the insistence of a feminist friend) and saw a point that needed to be addressed (it's the same rejection of the importance of women's rights that went on before 9-11 with regards to Afghanistan). I really love this feature. Ava and me edited this one. And C.I. thinks I was overlooked. I wasn't. I pulled the link to me. I thought Rebecca, Wally and Cedric did a better job and while me and Ava were editing the piece, I pulled the link to me. C.I. called me Monday and apologized for me not getting linked on Sunday and said, "I've just added you to it." That was nice but I told C.I. I had pulled it. I felt bad that C.I. had to go back in and add that but I wasn't surprised C.I. thought I had been forgotten. (C.I. had a huge fever during the edition and I'm surprised anything's remembered about that edition.) This is the sort of feature you'll only find at The Third Estate Sunday Review or community sites because everyone else looks the other way when The Nation trashes women or ignores war resisters.

The One about Keefer Madness and CJR -- C.I. read an e-mail to us from a reader of The Third Estate Sunday Review. That's how the writing for this edition started. C.I. said there were some ideas but before getting to them, let me read this e-mail. We were all agreed that we needed to write about it and I really love this feature too.

The Nation Stats -- I think it was at the start of this month or the end of last that a group of women, friends of C.I., asked if C.I. had noticed how few women were getting published by The Nation. C.I. hadn't but looked into it. We all saw the statistics on that and agreed that we'd start following this. Since The Nation's published their first 2007 issue, it seemed like a good time to start tracking this. The plan is for this to be a weekly feature so everyone can see if The Nation improves or stays the same (stays the same means printing very little women).

TV: Victoria's Real Secret -- This is just hilarious. Ava and C.I. had agreed to do two TV reviews for the edition because the core six wasn't sure who was going to be working on it. Then it ended up all falling on C.I. I wrote about this Friday. I called Ava on Friday and she said she could also take part in a roundtable. Then she ended up deciding at the last minute that she'd fly back (from NY) to California because (a) she didn't want all the burden to fall on C.I. and (b) she was already tired of NY. (She has family on both coasts.) Her cousin was actually flying out Saturday and Ava caught a ride on his plane.

So that's The Third Estate Sunday Review's latest edition and didn't they do a great job. (I helped so I'm part of "they" but I'd feel that way even if I hadn't.)

Did you know Bully Boy has a fan club? It's called the "mainstream press." And little Debbie Riechmann sleeps with a photo of Bully Boy under her pillow judging by her latest nonsense.

Let's examine some of the crap from "Bush Deciding Iraq Policy at Texas Ranch:"

*With each passing day that he gathers advice, Bush is creating more than a new way forward.

"New way forward" is the White House talking point.

*Saddled with a reputation for stubbornness, Bush has gone the other direction. He has made a visible effort to seek advice - from the military, diplomats, academics, retired generals, a special study commission, Iraqi officials, Republican leaders, even Democrats he once ridiculed.

He has gone what direction? How does Debs know who he is listening to? And what indication has been given that he's listening to anyone?

*"The president wants to make sure the consequences of crafting a new way forward in Iraq are thought through and due consideration is given to the outcome of any new action that would be taken,'' deputy White House press secretary Scott Stanzel said Tuesday in Crawford, where Bush is spending the week.

It's really important that flacks stick together which is why flack Debs quotes flack Scotts.

*No decisions have been made about possibly increasing U.S. troops in Iraq, but senior defense officials say Gates has signed orders that will send the 82nd Airborne Division's 2nd Brigade to Kuwait shortly after the new year. That could be part of a short-term surge of troops to Iraq to quell ongoing violence.

Debs' your 'scoop' above, as C.I. notes in this afternoon's snapshot, was announced at the Defense Department's website.

Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Wednesday, December 27, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq, the US military announces more deaths of US troops while they call up 3,500 more troops, a British general calls for more war money while lowering expectations, England and the United States face strong backlashes in Iraq and the puppet of the occupation proves unpopular.
As December has become the second deadliest month in 2006 it's easy to see who covers the fatalities (Washington Post -- usually
Nancy Trejos) and who doesn't (New York Times). Today the US military announced: "A 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) Soldier died as a result of non-combat related injuries on Logistics Support Area Anaconda Dec 23." And they also announced: "A second Multi-National Division – Baghdad Soldier died of injuries received when a High Mobility Multi-Purpose Wheeled Vehicle rolled over along a dirt canal trail during a combat reconnaissance mission south of the Iraqi capital Dec. 26." And they announced: "One Marine assigned to Regimental Combat Team 5 died today from wounds sustained due to enemy action while operating in Al Anbar Province." ICCC lists the total for the month of December thus far at 94. October is the month with the highest US fatalities in 2006 (thus far): 106. The total number of US troops who have died in Iraq since the start of the illegal war stands at 2983, 17 away from the 3,000 mark.
Meanwhile the
US Defense Department reports that US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates hasapproved John Abizaid's request and 3,500 troops of the 82nd Airborne Division's 2nd Brigade Combat Team were informed today that at the start of next month they will deploy to Kuwait to replace the 15h MEU who moved to al-Anbar Province last month.
The call up means that 3,500 troops have had to head to Fort Bragg and cut short the holidays. In Iraq, the holiday reflected the illegal war.
Dahr Jamail and Ali Al-Fadhily (IPS) report that, for little girls, crying dolls were the most popular gift and, for little boys, tanks and guns because, as Ahmed Ghazi told the reporters, "Children try to imitate what they see out of their windows." Jamil and Al-Fadhily write:

Social researcher Nuha Khalil from the Iraqi Institute for Childhood Development in Baghdad told IPS that young girls are now expressingtheir repressed sadness often by playing the role of a mother who takes care of her small daughter.
"Looking around, they only see gatherings of mourning ladies who lost their beloved ones," said Khalil. "Our job of comforting these little girls and remedying the damage within them is next to impossible."
[. . .]
"The only things they have on their minds are guns, bullets, death and a fear of the U.S. occupation," Maruan Abdullah, spokesman for the Association of Psychologists of Iraq told reporters at the launch of a study in February this year.

Meanwhile, Sam Knight (Times of London) reports that Major General Richard Shirreff ("commander of British troops in southern Iraq") is stating that the British Army is underfunded and lowering expectations for 'democracy' and/or 'liberation' in Iraq -- Shirref stated: "When I set up, came up here and initiated the operations we have been conducting, I was looking for a 100% solution. But this is Iraq, this is Arabia and this is reality, so a 60% solution is good enough for me." This as Steve Negus (Financial Times of London) reports that Monday's raid and destruction, by British forces, on a police station in Basra is resulting in a backlash: " Several local leaders, including the head of the city council and a Basra police commander, have condemned Monday's raid. Mohammed al-Ibadi, provincial council chairman, said the council had decided to cut off ties with British forces pending an explanation of why they destroyed an 'Iraq government building flying the Iraqi flag' and removed detainees he described as suspected terrorists'."
This as the US faces their own backlash over a death in Najaf. Earlier today, Reuters reported that,
despite earlier denails by the US military, a US soldier was the one who shot an official of Moqtada al-Sadr's bloc. Khaled Farhan (Reuters) reports: "Thousands of supporters of anti-American Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr marched through the holy Iraqi city of Najaf in an angry funeral procession after a senior Sadr aide was killed by a U.S. soldier on Wednesday. Chanting 'No to America' and carrying placards decrying U.S. occupation, mourners, including black-robed clerics, carried the coffin of Saheb al-Amiri through the streets." Supporters maintain that Saheb al-Amiri was shot dead "in front of his wife and children" and that he was a charity lawyer, not a 'terrorist.' The attack on the member of al-Sadr's bloc follows last week's (unsuccessful) efforts by the US to isolate Moqtada al-Sadr as outlined by Hannah Allam (McClatchy Newspapers) Friday.
While England and the United States face backlashes,
Reuters reports that a bomb has killed two Latvian soldiers and left three more wounded. In other violence today . . .
BBC reports a car bombing in east Baghdad that has claimed 8 lives and left 10 more wounded. The Press Association reports that seven British troops were wounded by a roadside bomb in Basra. Reuters notes a roadside bomb in Baghdad that left five people wounded and a roadisde bomb in Suwayra that killed three Iraqi soldiers.
Reuters notes an attack on "a bus carrying employees of the Ministry of Higher Education" that left two wounded.
In peace news, Dana Hull (San Jose Mercury News) reports that Nadia McCaffrey, mother of Patrick Ryan McCaffrey who was killed in Iraq by Iraqi security forces he was training, is planning to build a retreat for returning troops -- Nadia McCaffrey: "Patrick isn't dead. His spirit is very much alive, in me and all around us. The rest of my life is going to be dedicated to peace and justice, and to helping the veterans coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan.''
Dahr Jamail and Ali Al-Fadhily (IPS) report that the support for puppet of the occupation Nouri al-Maliki continues to nose dive among Iraqis (some polls noting 90% of Iraqis are displeased with al-Maliki's 'governing') and notes that Tariq al-Hashimi ("leader of the Islamic Party") feels that many have been shut out in al-Maliki's so-called unity coalition while Dr. Salih al-Mutlaq tells the reporters, "This government will definitely lead the country into a disaster."

the washington post
nancy trejos