Wednesday, December 06, 2006


Wednesday and if imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, this community must be blushing. Of course, if stealing others turns of phrase is just theft, we've been robbed. Jim's opinion is a robbery took place and I can see why he thinks that. When you can't think of your own wording, you apparently steal from others and don't credit.

Now something on my to-do-list. This is from Media Matters' "O'Donnell misrepresented Democrats on Iraq withdrawal, falsely claimed no experts support them:"

On the November 26 edition of the NBC-syndicated Chris Matthews Show, MSNBC chief White House correspondent Norah O'Donnell misrepresented a Democratic proposal for the phased redeployment of U.S. troops from Iraq as "essentially a pullout in four to six months." In fact, Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) and Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI) introduced the proposal in June 2006 and called for a phased redeployment to begin by the end of the year, or approximately six months from that time. O'Donnell further asserted that Democrats will "wind up -- even though they were validated somewhat in the message by these elections ... looking weak on national security because ... [t]here is not one military or foreign-policy expert who thinks you could actually feasibly do that, and second, that would be a good idea." However, as Media Matters for America has noted, numerous military and foreign-policy experts support a phased withdrawal, to begin immediately or within a time frame consistent with the Levin-Reed proposal.

I've been meaning to note the above but it's been busy. Norah O'Donnell is a professional Democrat-hater and everyone needs to be aware of that. She's been at it for years now and hopefully the work of Media Matters is getting that point out there.

Now it's time for a joke. Robert Gates was confirmed today as the new Secretary of War. After the Dems rolled over and got punked out. Now this is from the laughable DSCC e-mail sent out yesterday at 10:35 am -- after the Senate Armed Service Committee had already started, ALREADY STARTED, their hearing with Gates:

Americans voted Democrats into the majority in the Senate because they wanted us to ask the tough questions and demand accountability from the Bush administration. That is exactly what we plan to do. We want to know what Mr. Gates plans are to:
Rectify a situation in Iraq that now has American troops in the crossfire of a civil war.
Fix a military stretched so thin that some units are on their third or fourth tours in Iraq.
Ensure that the abuse scandals we have seen at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay will not be repeated.
Prevent Afghanistan from once again coming under the sway of the Taliban and al Qaeda.
These are the defining security issues of our time and Mr. Gates must prove that he is up to the challenge of facing them. My fellow Democrats on the Senate Armed Services Committee have been preparing for this crucial confirmation hearing for weeks and we are ready.

Preparing for weeks? They didn't act like it and if you're preparing for weeks and asking people what questions they want asked, you send the damn e-mail out before the hearing starts!

Stupid, cowardly, sell out Dems. Wally and Cedric nailed it on the head with "THIS JUST IN! 216-YEAR-OLD SPINE MISSING!" and "The missing spine" (joint post). Don't take it. Don't roll over and act like it didn't happen. That's what elected Democrats do. Cowards, whores and sellouts. Come 2008, they shouldn't be surprised if they can't scare up many voters. They didn't present a plan on Iraq but acted like they were opposed to the war. And now they sell out the voters AGAIN. They don't even wait to be sworn in.

Now about yesterday's post, "Jim Lafferty, Law and Disorder, peace movement." I've never gotten so much e-mail in one day! :D Some of you have given me a pat on the back for my questions but let's be real honest, C.I. made that interview. "Amazing" is what Beau's one word e-mail said and he's right. That's why, when C.I. brought it up after we finished writing Sunday, Jim was all, "Why didn't you bring that up before!" :D Those are strong points and I'm just happy that they got made here. Jim didn't have a problem with that. He wanted them out there and was even asking -- he says "begging!" -- C.I. to put them up at The Common Ills but with the trip to DC and other stuff, C.I. didn't have time. Thanks to C.I. for yet another gift. I'm really proud they went up here. And I'm still reading e-mails on them so if you didn't get a reply yet, I've got 82 more to go. Like I said, I've never gotten so much e-mail in one day.

I want to take a moment here to note that I agree and that I'm really lucky because C.I. and Elaine do not take slams against the peace movement. If someone makes them in print or on air, they don't buy it and they never have. In this community, we're all a part of the peace movement and this touches on what Rachel wrote about which was that "in my frustration over the level of activism, I would read a desk jockey blaming the movement itself and start wondering, 'Maybe he's right.' One of the biggest affirmations from the community and from C.I. for me has been to see just what an amazing job everyone has done, all the organizations, and how they've done that even with all the barriers thrown in their way."

That's how conventional wisdom works. They repeat something over and over and then people start feeling like it's everywhere and it must be true. So let's salute reality and salute the peace movement because the reality is they've moved mountains and they've done it by themselves and without help from people outside the movement. CODEPINK, United for Peace and Justice, Not In Our Name, World Can't Wait, A.N.S.W.E.R., Veterans for Peace, Iraq Veterans Against the War, Courage to Resist, and all the rest, they've made a real difference and have done the hard work. If you have a favorite organization, consider making a donation to them. I'm making one in Ma's name because I was having the worst time figuring out what to get her this year -- she loves books but C.I.'s always passing on books and Ma's favorite thing is to draw a bath and read a book, she says she could do that for about two years right now! :D -- so she said a donation would mean a lot to her. So you can do like I did, go the website of the one you pick, donate and print up the receipt. That way the organization doesn't have to send out anything and you can put that in a card for the holidays. Peace is the best gift for the holidays!

Check out Like Maria Said Paz for Elaine's thoughts tonight.

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

Wednesday, December 6, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq, the James Baker Circle Jerk finally spews, Dow Jones reports ten US soldiers dead in Iraq today from two IEDs, and the Democrats demonstrate that "bipartisan" is Beltway Latin for "Screw the voter."

Starting with the vocab lesson first, for all the gas bagging after the election by The Elector (in all their forms) and all the talk of "change" and "listening to the people," Democrats -- swept into power by voters wanting change -- demonstrate that "bipartisanship" is just Beltway Latin for "Screw the voter." First up was the character assassination took John Murtha out of the running for the post of House Majority Leader and allowed War Hawk Steny Hoyer to be installed. Last week Dems were supposed to be cheerleading around the nation over Silvestre Reyes who was being installed as House Intelligence Committee chair. "Yeah, Silvestre!" was the kind of "critique" the public got as the gas bags of the left (and 'left') tried to paint over the fact that others were (again) passed over. Now,
Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) notes an interview Reyes gave to Newsweek where he expressed his desire to send an "up to 30,000" additional US troops to Iraq.

The vocabulary lesson is not limited to House Dems, Democrats on the Senate Armed Service Committee collectively stated, "Screw the voter." As
Robert Parry (Consortium News) observes, "Despite winning the Nov. 7 elections largely due to public anger over the Iraq War, congressional Democrats crumbled in their first post-election confrontation with President George W. Bush on the future direction of that conflict."

As elected Dems attempt to 'educate,' the mainstream press attempts to present the marginalized as the norm. Though polls repeatedly demonstrate US citizens want US troops out of Iraq, though polls repeatedly demonstrate that Iraqi citizens wants US troops out of Iraq, Big Media thinks they can pull one over on the public again.

Tossing Judith Miller onto the stake and burning her as the public scapegoat is supposed to satiate the masses and allow
War Pornographer Michael Gordon to get off scott free again. (Gordo was Miller's writing partner quite often including on one story that was mentioned in the Times' mini-culpa.) Norman Solomon (Common Dreams) observes that Gordo and David Sanger have both contributed articles pushing the "the US must stay myth" and concludes: "What's now going on in mainline news media is some kind of repetition compulsion. And, while media professionals engage in yet another round of conformist opportunism, many people will pay with their lives."

It's not limited to the New York Times, but to stay on Gordo and the Times,
FAIR notes that, on November 15, 2006, Gordo was on CNN telling Anderson Cooper "while the politicians in the United States would like to see a withdrawal of forces, particularly on the Democratic side, that's simply not realistic given how precarious the security situation is at this point in time" and drawing a comparison between Democrats who actually call for a withdrawal (there are a few of those) and 'insurgents': ". . . there are a significant number of players in Baghdad today who don't mind if the Americans withdraw. These are the militia leaders. They would be happy if the United States withdrew . . ." Now does any of that sound anything like a policy judgement or recommendation?

Because when attempting to foist his bad book off on the public, Gordo refused to weigh in on the war itself,
telling Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!), "Well, that's a policy judgement and a political judgement that's really beyound the scope of our book."

But now, he can can make those judgements? Of course he can, he made them during the invasion as well -- in fact, he made them on CNN. March 25, 2003,
Gordo took the CNN airwaves (Aaron Brown's now cancelled show) to cheerlead a US attack of a civilian target, a TV station, stating, "And personally, I think the television, based on what I've seen of Iraqi television, with Saddam Hussein presenting propaganda to his people and showing off the Apache helicopter and claiming a farmer shot it down and trying to persuade his own public that he was really in charge, when we're trying to send the exact opposite message, I think, was an appropriate target." Three year later, Juan Gonzalez (Democracy Now!) noted to Gordo that his [Gordo's] remark were "condemned by many journalism organizations around the world" and Gordo sputtered: "Well, I think, when -- you know, I don't know what was in General Franks' mind . . ." Blah, blah, blah. Gordo can't own his own mistakes, neither the can the paper.

Judith Miller was one person. The dog pile on her while others were ignored created a climate of impunity. Ditch digger Dexy is outed as a the go-to-boy (outed by a mainstream daily) for the US military and, if noted, it's reduced to an aside. While everyone obsessed and dog piled on Judith Miller's pre-war 'reporting' (which included co-writers), there wasn't time to call
sob sister Dexy out. Even now, as the paper's attempts to marginalize US public opinion is called out, who's noting the story, filed from Iraq, that couldn't find a single Iraqi who wanted the US to withdraw (a position held by the majority of Iraqis)? No one.

Miller's departure changed nothing at the paper. But bash-the-bitch and golden oldies did allow many to feel, three years later, that they were 'commenting' as they again trotted out the name "Judy Miller." The only thing surprising about Gordo is that
his war porn has taken so long to be called out.


Qais Al-Bashir (AP) reports a mortar attack in the Sadr City section of Baghdad which took 8 lives and left "dozens" wounded. while in Iskandariyah, a bomb claimed 4 lives and left at least 12 wounded. The US military reports a blast "near the Old Ministry of Defense building in the Rusafa neighborhood of central Baghdad" which killed at least 15 Iraqis and left 25 more wounded. Reuters reports that a bomber "blew himself up inside a minibus" in Baghdad resulting in 3 other deaths and at least 16 people wounded


KUNA reports a British soldier wounded in Basra "after armed clashes between British troops and an armed group". Conflicts in Basra have already resulted in the British pulling embassy staff out of the area. Reuters reports a police officer was shot dead in Hawija while a police brigadier was wounded in an attack in Baghdad and his driver shot dead, another shooting attack in Mosul left a college professor wounded, and in Khalis an attack on a farm workers traveling in a bus left one dead and eight wounded. On the college professor, CNN notes this is "a day after Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki pledged that the government would protect professors and students in the wake of a Sunni insurgent group's threat to target professors and students."


Reuters reports three corpses were discovered in Mahmudiya, one in Kirkuk and a headless one in Mosul. And, in an update, Reuters notes that 48 corpses ("gunshot wounds . . . signs of torture) were discovered in Baghdad.

US military notes: "A Multi-National Division - Baghdad Soldier was killed during combatoperations in the Iraqi capital Dec. 3" and also says 'Woops! We issued the information on two deaths in two different press releases Sunday!' ICCC counts 2907 US troops dead in Iraq since the start of the illegal war. And AFP notes that the total of US troops who have died in Iraq has passed the 2900 mark and counting. This comes as Dow Jones reports that 10 US troops have been killed in Iraq today and cites MSNBC on the "two incidents involving improvised explosive devices." That would take the 2907 up to 2917. And possibly it will also give the New York Times and others still silent the chance to note that the 2900 mark was passed?

The James Baker Circle Jerk released their report today. The thing that should stand out the most is that the 142 page report is actually 96 pages (with illustrations) and that 36 pages are end credits -- including a special spotlight for each member. Apparently, notions of a group shot were ditched due to the fact that a visual like that would have most Americans asking who those Circle Jerkers were supposed to reflect? They're old, they're White (one African-American), they're male (one woman). "Tell Us What To Do About The War, Rich Gramps?" could be the working title.

Having stroked each other raw, the Circle Jerk spews 79 recommendations. With few exceptions, they're all based on a principle: "Stupid Iraqis! We will educate you!" You see that in "Recommendation 76" and its focus on "civilian tasks" and "key civilian agencies, including Treasury, Justice, and Agriculture" which "need to create similar technical assistance capabilities." Every now and then, a concrete recommendation stumbles in such as "Recommendation 72" which addresses the requesting of funds for the war ("should be included in the President's annual budget request, starting in FY 2008: the war is in its fourth year") or noting that need to keep an accurate count of incidents of violence and death.

But in the end, you're left with gas bags tasked to do the job that Congress should have. In the real world, the people's
Iraq Study Group released their findings last week. Using the same phrase, The Nation notes a poll by World Public Opinion who will release their full results tomorrow. The summary of the polling is currently available. From that:

*1,326 Americans were surveyed.

*75% of respondents desire talks between the US and Iran (something Bully Boy is nixing,
click here)

*58% of respondents want a timetable for withdrawal

*78% of those who identified Democrat "think U.S. forces should be out within two-years or less, including 61 percent who favor a one-year or less"

*Withdrawal is supported even stronger by respondents "if the majority of the Iraqi people say they want the U.S. to commit to withdraw U.S. forces"

From the summary: "A poll of the Iraqi public conducted by in September 2006 found that 71 percent want U.S.-led forces to commit to withdraw within a year." Again, the full results will be released tomorrow.

William Roberts (Bloomberg) reports that Tom Vilsak (who declared he was running for the Democratic Presidential nomination in 2008) has called for the withdrawal of "most American troops from Baghdad and southern Iraq" and declares, "We have created an opportunity for the people of that nation and its government to make fundamental decisions for themselves. We have given them enough time."

Nancy Trejos (Washington Post) reports that Nouri al-Maliki wants a "regional conference on stabilizing his country but rejected a proposal from U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan that it take place outside Iraq."

Finally, in peace news US war resister
Ehren Watada is noted as the United Methodists reflect on 2006: "United Methodists rallied in support of Army Lt. Ehren Watada, 28, who has refused deployment to Iraq because he feels the war is 'morally wrong' and 'a breach of American law.' He faces charges of missing troop movement, conduct unbecoming an officer and contempt towards officials. United Methodists joined a vigil and rally at Fort Lewis in Tacoma, where Watada is being held."

And as
Indybay IMC notes, "December 8th through 10th with be National Days of Action to Support GI resistance and GI rights." More information can be found at Courage to Resist and in the Bay Area, "Friday, December 8th, 7:30pm at the College of Marin in Kentfield, segments of the film "Ground Truth" will be shown, and Iraq combat veteran-turned-war-resister Darrell Anderson will speak. Also that evening, at 7:30pm at the Buena Vista United Methodist Church in Alameda, the film "The Ground Truth" will be shown, and there will be a panel with Rev. Michael Yoshii, and Bob Watada and Rosa Sakanishi. That night in San Jose, there will be a reception and fundraiser for Kyle Snyder at 6pm at the San Jose Friends Meeting House. On Saturday December 9th, there will be a peace vigil in support of Lt. Ehren Watada, in front of the MLK, Jr. Library in San Jose from 12-4pm. Read more about these events."

democracy nowamy goodmanjuan gonzalezthe new york timesmichael r. gordon
the washington postnancy trejos
robert parry
norman solomon
ehren watada