Saturday, February 04, 2006

Rumsfeld gets called out & news flash Bully Boy lied us into war

Good morning, early morning. I'd intended to post early but things got messy with my brother freaking out. Big to do with the family of his wife to be and we all had to attend. He shows up after calling to ask if I'll help him pick out a tie. How bad was it? He brought four shirts. All white. Wasn't a difference between them but just convincing him of the shirt took forever. Then when he's got it and the tie, he pulls on the jacket and decides the suit's all wrong. This is the first time meeting her extended family and he was nervous.

So I get home and have Blogger problems. Can't get in. Call Rebecca and she says, "Oh, I'm not blogging for Friday because I had the same problem. Did you get an e-mail from Betty?" Nope. But Betty's written a post she's pretty pleased with and, if you know how hard Betty can be on herself, you know that's a big, big deal.

She gets it done and it won't post. "She lost it?" I ask. Nope, Rebecca called her. It's saved. She got a message telling her "Blogger is updating . . . Your post has been saved. Please publish in ten minutes." She gets that message everytime she tries to publish. For three hours straight before she gave up. If you know Betty, you know this must have been some post for her to like it because she hates everything she writes. Now she's got something she loves but she can't get it to post. Ain't it that way?

While I'm checking the e-mails, I see Elaine wrote to say she was giving up and going out. Had blogger problems too. Then I see Wally's written and I'm pretty excited because the whole Alito thing and other stuff had him pretty down and C.I. said, "Give him space and nobody pressure him about posting." So I've sent him some joke e-mails that you get, laugh and then pass around to everyone you know. Other than that, I've just been backing off, hoping he's fine and getting some rest and all.

Is he fine? Nope. He's on his way to DC. He should be there by now. In fact, by many hours ago. He wrote me before he left. I am so bummed! Wally, you bastard! :D

Kat was going for the World Can't Wait rally. And no one else was going. C.I. was all "No, don't ask me. I'm tired. I want a weekend to myself." Well that lasted until Friday morning. Wally calls C.I. to see how things are going and C.I. says, "I'm going to DC." Wally was in the mood to start back up the site and thinking of a Friday evening post (good thing he didn't try for that with all the problems) and C.I. goes, "Well, if you're rested, want to go to DC?" So Wally and Kat and C.I. are in DC. I'm so bummed! :D

I mention that to Rebecca and she says, "Holy *****, I don't ******** believe it!" Jim and Dona called her early this evening and said they were going to go and did she want to go? She said no because she was enjoying downtime. She thinks Dona, Jim, Ty, Ava and Jess are in DC too. I e-mailed Cedric but haven't heard from him yet. I wonder if he's gone too?

Rebecca goes, "Well Betty, you, Elaine and I didn't go." Yeah, but you know they are having fun!
Seriously, I hope Wally has a good time. He didn't get to go in September so this will be wild for him. And he needs something because the Alito vote really bothered him. More than any of us in some ways. It bummed him out like crazy.

So that's what's going on. Now let's do Democracy Now! and I'm pretty tired so don't know how much I can offer. Elaine and I picked out the items together but with all her problems trying to blog tonight before she just headed out and said screw it, she may not pick up these items. But you never know, so check her site Like Maria Said Paz. (After I told people to look for someone's review of Brokeback Mountain that, though promised, never posted after 17 plus days and got e-mails saying, "Mike, you said he was going to write about it!" I don't want any more crud from anyone. I thought he was going to write about it because he said he would write about it the next day. I have no idea why he hasn't posted on it or anything else for 17 days, take it up with him. But if you go to the site, you'll still see that old post saying 'I'm posting on the movie tomorrow' from 17 plus days ago.

World Can't Wait Activist Interrupts Rumsfeld Speech
And at the same press event where Rumsfeld spoke, an anti-war activist interrupted his speech. World Can’t Wait's Heather Hurwitz: "You have committed crimes against humanity and and thousands are coming this weekend to drive you out of office, You and you whole administration. Step down Mr. Rumsfeld, Bush administration step down and take these programs with you. You are torturing people signing off on torture. It's happening. This world needs to wake up, stop this war, this criminal war."
Hurwitz is a member of the group World Can’t Wait. The group is convening a protest in Washington Saturday calling on the Bush administration to step down. Thousands of people are expected to attend.

Get him, Heather! Way to go! Past time he was seriously called out. I was listening to it and you can hear this guy going "shut up" to her and she didn't. And we won't. The summer of protest woke up the country and there's no going back, get used to it. Criminals will be called out. That's the way it's going to be. We're not going to be quiet and wait for Bully Boy to bring the troops home. We're going to demand it. Our numbers have grown and will keep growing and they're going to have to face the fact that they can't shut us up. Way to go, Heather!

Bush Mulled Using Spyplane Painted In UN Colors To Provoke Iraq
In other news, a newly disclosed pre-war memo shows President Bush considered painting a US spyplane in the colors of the UN and flying it into Iraqi territory to provoke Saddam Hussein into war. The idea was discussed at a meeting held with British Prime Minister Tony Blair at the White House on January 31st 2003 -- well over a month before the US and Britain invaded Iraq. The memo also adds further credence to accusations the President was set on war regardless of UN authorization and weapons inspections. According to the memo, Bush said "the US would put its full weight behind efforts to get another resolution and would: 'twist arms' and 'even threaten'." The memo continues: “But he had to say that if ultimately we failed, military action would follow anyway.'' The memo says Tony Blair agreed, but argued that "a second Security Council resolution would provide an insurance policy against the unexpected, and international cover, including with the Arabs." The memo was first revealed in the book "Lawless World", written by leading British human rights lawyer Philippe Sands.

Yeah, he lied us into war. Only an ostrich with its head buried in the sand could continue to deny it. The question now is when can we impeach? "War criminal!" Holler it with Heather!

Tony reminded me to throw in some Zirin this week, so here's Dave Zirin's "Super Bowl City on the Brink:"

That's what Washington Post sportswriter Tony Kornheiser called the National Football League's two-week long pre-Super Bowl party binge. Every Super Bowl Sunday, corporate executives and politicians exchange besotted, sodden backslaps, amidst an atmosphere that would shame Jack Abramoff. Only this year the bacchanalia -- complete with ice sculptures peeing Grey Goose vodka and two tons of frozen lobster flown directly to the stadium -- is happening in the United States' most impoverished, ravaged city: Detroit. Detroit's power elites in government and the auto industry are rolling out the red carpet while many of its people shiver in fraying rags. This contrast between the party atmosphere and abject urban suffering has been so stark, so shocking and so utterly revealing that news coverage on the city's plight has appeared in the sports pages of the New York Times and Detroit Free Press, among others.
Only a Bush speechwriter couldn't notice the gritty backdrop while limos clog the streets and escort services are flying in female reinforcements like so much shellfish. Detroit -- and there is no soft way to put this -- is a city on the edge of the abyss. Its 2005 unemployment rate was 14.1 percent, more than two and a half times the national level. Its population
has plummeted since the 1950s from over two million to fewer than 900,000, and more than one-third of its residents live under the poverty line, the highest rate in the nation. In addition, the city has in the past year axed hundreds of municipal employees, cut bus and garbage services, and boarded up nine recreation centers. As the Associated Press wrote, "Much of the rest of Detroit is a landscape dotted with burned-out buildings, where liquor stores abound but supermarkets are hard to come by, and where drugs, violence and unemployment are everyday realities."

That's the Bully Boy economy. The poor get poorer and the rich get tax cuts.

Now go read C.I.'s "On the Dangers of an Unchecked Bully Boy" (it's the thing that motivated Wally). (It'll motivate you too in a non-Tony Robinson way. :D.)

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Police apologize to Cindy Sheehan, Bully Boy don't believe in clinics and NYT silent on Coretta Scott King

Good evening. Amy Goodman's still in Doha and today's Democracy Now! was devoted to covering the history and present of Al Jazeera so go the website if you missed the broadcast.
Let's kick things off.

Capitol Police Apologize, Drop Charges Over Sheehan Arrest
One day after Cindy Sheehan was arrested for wearing an anti-war T-shirt to President Bush's State of The Union address, Capitol police have dropped her charges and apologized. Sheehan, whose son Casey died in combat in Iraq in April 2004, was removed from the House gallery Tuesday night after unveiling a T-shirt that read: "2,245 dead and how many more?" -- a reference to the number of US service members killed in Iraq. In a statement, Capitol Police Chief Terrance Gainer said Sheehan should not have been arrested. President Bush began his speech shortly after she was removed.

No they shouldn't have arrested her. What was it, C.I. said, "Terrorist with intent to t-shirt"?
She is being targeted and the police had no reason to pull her from the audience, let alone to arrest her. An apology doesn't make up for what they put her through. The officer needs to be disciplined. When he ran over Cindy Sheehan's free speech rights, he ran over all of free speech.

Report: US Far Behind In Reconstructing Iraq Health Clinics
In Iraq, USA Today is reporting the US has failed to open any health clinics in the country -- despite initially promising to open 180 clinics by last December. Iraq's deputy health minister said the US has completed construction on only four clinics.

Hearts and minds, folks, hearts and minds. We're winning hearts and minds. Whose? I guess the corporations we keep giving money to even though they don't do what they're contracted to do. Bully Boy keeps bragging about spreading "democracy" and maybe what he means is: "In America, my policy is you're all screwed so that's what I'm trying to export."

And note something, USA Today ran that story, not the New York Times. That's because the Times can't break stories on Iraq, they're too busy hopping in bed with the military in Iraq. In this country? They're too busy acting like Coretta Scott King was nobody important. From C.I.:

From the war to Coretta Scott King. We have a a highlight but before we get to that . . . Does the New York Times believe that Coretta Scott King's passing didn't matter? This week Wendy Wasserstein passed away and it was a tragedy. On the day the New York Times front paged their article on Wasserstein, they also featured a lengthy editorial (signed by Gail Collins). One would assume, with Coretta Scott King's historical significance (a level few ever reach but she did), that at the minimum she would receive the same level of coverage as a playwright. That still hasn't happened. The Times editorial board either doesn't appear to know King died or they just don't care. In addition to refusing to run an editorial on King's passing, there have been no op-eds on her passing. It's not Bob Herbert's job (as the only African-American columnist on the op-ed pages of the Times) to cover every 'Black' issue so the Times doesn't have to be bothered. Coretta Scott King is historical for every race in this country. And let's not pretend Herbert covers Coretta Scott King today. He doesn't. He opens with a quote by her and she's not mentioned again until the second to last paragraph of a 21 paragraph column. The Times can't pretend that was a column about Coretta Scott King. (Check my math and I'm including the quote that opens the column as a paragraph.)
Exactly when will the New York Times get around to noting that Coretta Scott King passed away. Was she not friends with Gail Collins? Is that the criteria for getting an editorial on your passing written? At present, they have noted her death with only one article (which they did front page) and her passing is mentioned in a column today by Herbert (a column that's not about her life or her passing -- it's a state of the world column).
Now maybe some people missed it, but they want the King Center to be turned over to the government, the paper does. No surprise there, we noted that here before the editorial made it into the paper (ahead of the editorial by many days, I believe five or six days ahead of the editorial being printed). What to do with property, on that they have something to say. With regards to Coretta Scott King, they're strangely silent.

Cedric called me about what I wrote yesterday about the Times and I was kind of embarrassed because I obviously didn't put in "I was talking to C.I. on the phone . . ." I was wondering if it was too soon to expect some statement from the editorials and op-eds and, like any smart person would when needing info on the Times, I called C.I. who explained that the day the paper ran their front page story on the playwright (who C.I. says was talented and nice), they also had a long editorial on her. I remembered seeing it, but I didn't read it. So they could have had an editorial in the paper by Wednesday when they noted Mrs. King's death. They didn't. Nor any op-eds. C.I. had said on the phone, "I'm waiting until tomorrow to see what happens."

So let me clear that up. And let me ask the question of why the paper doesn't think Coretta Scott King is important?

If you can figure it out, let me know. Cedric's going to write about this tonight so check out Cedric's Big Mix and don't forget to check out Elaine's thoughts at her site Like Maria Said Paz. Highlight of my blogging day is going over the headlines from Democracy Now! with Elaine as we try to figure out which ones to note.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Amy Goodman and Democracy Now! in Qatar, Coretta Scott King, Cindy Sheehan and the Bush Commission

Good evening. If you missed it today, Amy Goodman broadcasted from Qatar. "What, what, what!" you say. "Democracy Now! in Qatar?" It's ta-rue! One of my sisters, I won't say which one because I value my life :D, used to say "ta-rue" for "true" when she was little. (I know, you can all guess which one, but I didn't give you a clue!) It was the same with blue or, like she said,
"ba-lue." Let me really make her mad at me, that was for all the "ooo" ending words. You was "ya-ue." It was cute. She was little, and when she's in a good mood these days, we can all laugh about it. So it's "ta-rue," Amy Goodman is in Qatar and she's there tomorrow and, if I understood right, one of the stories is going to be about Al Jazeer. So be sure to listen or to watch or to read. Let's get started with Democracy Now!

Body of Coretta Scott King To Return To Atlanta Today
And the body of Coretta Scott King is expected to return from Mexico today to her family's home in Atlanta. Scott-King -- the widow of Martin Luther King Junior -- died Monday at the age of 78. She had been in Mexico seeking treatment for ovarian cancer. In Georgia, flags at state buildings were flown at half-staff Tuesday while hundreds of people gathered at her husband's tomb to pay tribute. A funeral service is expected later this week.

C.I. noted some of the thoughts from the community today and I'm grabbing Elaine and she's grabbing me and we're dividing up the other two, Rebecca and Cedric. I got Cedric. Here's a part of his "Coretta Scott King, 1927-2006:"

It is so strange and distant to think of Mrs. King not being in this world with us any longer. I grew up hearing about her, reading about her and, honestly, kind of feeling her. There's a sadness that sort of falls today and it's really sad.
Dr. King was taken from us before people my age were even born but we had Mrs. King and she just always seemed like this smiling, kind giant, so strong and so comforting. They killed her husband and she still found her way to love the world. Growing up, I got angry and mad about Dr. King being assassinated and I'm sure she did as well. But she was just this ocean of gentleness.
You knew she could stand up to anyone and would do it. But she just radiated sweetness and kindness. I can't believe she's gone.

That was pretty deep. Cedric really lets stuff just flow. I admire that about him. I tend to go for the joke or funny story. Now let's cut off a slice of Elaine's "She was as actively involved and concerned when we met as she is now:"

Almost a year ago, Brenda noted Coretta Scott King's grace. I think that captures her gift beautifully. Everything she did, she brought grace to it. Both in the sense of doing it with considerable taste and in a spiritual sense. This is the woman who had to face a nation when her husband was assassinated. She inspired then and she continued to inspire. MLK was obviously a strong personality, as any leader has to be, but Coretta Scott King proved she was a strong woman and she personified the legacy.
I could never live up to the standard that she set, but I can take inspiration from it. She truly inspired a nation. There are many fallen leaders who have to wait years for history to revist their legacy. Coretta Scott King's strength and grace prevented that from happening to MLK and don't kid that quite a few would have preferred he be forgotten. I can remember the arguments against a national holiday (Dick Cheney, in fact, was opposed to a national holiday in honor of Dr. King).

Now I'm going to note C.I.'s "Other Items:"

The passing of Coretta Scott King has to compete in the paper this morning with both the State of the Union and Alito's First Day On The Job! Want to guess who comes in third? If you guessed King, give yourself a prize. Suddenly, the Times (in an Adam Liptak article) is concerned with how Alito might rule from the bench. We also get an article on Alito's swearing in because the Times stands on ceremony. And Alito just bubbles throughout other articles. (Or does he seep into them, like raw sewage?)
[. . .]
Many a crooked politican gets days of coverage when they pass, beginning with multiple articles the first day the paper covers their passing. King is reduced to one. Says a great about the priorities of the New York Times.

That really is disgusting. They're "the paper" for the nation and they give one article to Coretta Scott King. In case you missed it, Tuesday they front paged another death, a playwright, and they also gave the playwright an editorial. Mrs. King just got front paged. Says a lot that paper.

Cindy Sheehan Arrested For Wearing Anti-War T-Shirt At Bush's Address
Moments before President Bush spoke, anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan was arrested and removed from the House gallery. Sheehan, whose son Casey died in combat in Iraq, was accosted by police after taking her seat and unveiling a T-shirt with an anti-war message. Referring to the number of US soldiers killed in Iraq, the shirt read: "2,242 and how many more?" California Democratic Congressmember Lynn Woolsey, who invited Sheehan to the event, said: "It stunned me because I didn't know in America you could be arrested for wearing a T-shirt with a slogan on it. That's especially so in the Capitol and in the House of Representatives, which is the people's House.''

Bully Boy, the king of cowards, can't even address the nation without trembling at the thought of Cindy Sheehan sitting in the audience. What a coward. King coward. The only reason the police did that is because Bully Boy's got to be protected in his little bubble at all times. Protected from free speech and protected from reality. Cindy Sheehan in a t-shirt is a national security risk! Bet you they got the NSA spying on Cindy. I hope she does run for Dianne Feinstein's Senate seat and I hope she kicks ass and wins it. Cindy Sheehan is reality.

Now here's how it works at The Third Estate Sunday Review each week when we're picking highlights, someone will toss something out and we'll think about it and usually go with that or something from the same site that we think is stronger or touches on an issues that might not get that much attention. Week after week, C.I. nixes this or that. Not from other sites, but from The Common Ills, C.I. will always say, "Oh go with something else." At the same time, I can post anything from The Common Ills here, C.I.'s cool with that. I don't think C.I. expects me to post an entry in full. :D So here's C.I.'s

"The Bush Commission Part I:"
When we first got there, the people that we were relieving, they gave us a training. They said that those who were in charge were three spooks. For those of you who don't know what a "spook" is -- a spook is someone who belongs in a highlly specialized unit. Could be CIA, perhaps FBI, civilian contractor, maybe special forces. Nobody knows who they are. They wear no name tags, no unit badges. They're basically untraceable. They go by codenames. The ones we had, for instance, were Rabbit, Scooter, the other one, I think, they called him Artie
[. . .]
When we were receiving this training we saw that there was this soldier who was yelling at the detainees telling them to stand up and sit down, telling them to turn around, to roll, to get up, to sit down again. And we asked how come these people understood? Because they did not speak English. And they said "Well if you yell at them enough, they're kind of like dogs, you yell at a dog enough, and the dog will get it. And its the same with these people. You just yell at them enough and they'll get the point."

The above is from Camilo E. Mejia's testimony to the
Bush Commission conducting. Mejia gave that testimony in October. Huh? The Bush Commission just happened, right? This was the second of three planned hearings. The first was in October. The second was this month. In fact the verdicts for the second hearing will be announced this week: Thursday, February 2nd.
What's the purpose of the
Bush Commission? It's a citizen's tribunal much like the World Tribunal on Iraq. It gathers testimony, it raises awareness. It does so without the aid of the press, in case you missed that. The New York Times hasn't been interested in covering the tribunal, but they weren't interested in covering the Bertrand Russell World Crimes Tribunal in 1967. If they had been, Americans would have been less shocked when ugly truths about Vietnam were later revealed.
Camilo Mejia, a name well known in this community, in the first hearings of the Bush Commission underscored this with his own testimony about what he saw in Iraq as well as in detailing his Conscientious Objector application:

In that application I spoke about the abuse of prisoners, I wrote about the abuse of prisoners, and this application was submitted to the commanding general of the 3rd Infantry Division which was in Ft. Stewart, Georgia. No investigation was conducted at that time. There was no Abu Ghraib scandal back then.

This is an echo of a time before, a time when it was possible to know what was happening but the press wasn't interested. Which is why we need to be interested. But to underscore a point Mejia made, let's note that Congress was aware of what Mejia saw. Their reaction (in the pre-Abu Ghraib days)? They "declined" and and preferred "to wait for the Pentagon to conduct an investigation."
So what do you gain by being aware of the
Bush Commission? You gain information, you gaininsight and you raise your own awareness.
You know that Mejia testified, "We started conducting mission in cities. There's no such thing as a trench line in Iraq. This war is being fought in every corner of that country, not in the desert not in the vallies not in the mountains but next to schools, neighborhoods, mosques."
In the most recent set of hearings (January), independent journalist, Dahr Jamail testifited about "War Crimes and crimes against humanity in Iraq committed by US forces, acting on orders from their commander-in-chief, George W. Bush."
We'll focus on some of his remarks regarding Falluja because Dexter Filkins may have won an "award" but he seems to have missed everything that happened in his rah-rah reporting (a journalistic war crime).

Jamail: Collective Punishment. I'll use Falluja for the model city for Bush policy in Iraq. The US caused actions to be taken in Falluja in violation of the laws of war. For example,targeting by snipers of children and other civilians, targeting of ambulances, the placement of snipers on the roofs of hospitals and prevention of civilians from getting there for medical attention and also illegal weapons used. Article 48 of the Geeneva Conventions states that the basic rule regarding the protection of the civilian population provides QUOTE "in order to ensure respect for and protection of the civilian population and civilian objects the party to the conflict shall at all times distinguish between the civilian population and combatants and between civilian objects and military objectives and accordingly shall direct their operations only against military objectives." Article 51 on the protection of the civilian population provides "the civilian population and individual civilians shall enjoy general protection against dangers arising from military operations. To give effect to this protection, the following rules, which are additional to other applicable rules of international law shall be observed in all circumstances.It also notes the civilian populations, as such, as well as individual civilians shall not be the object of attack. Acts or threats of violence the primary purpose of which is to spread terror among the civilian population are prohibited. It also notes indiscriminate attacks are prohibited. It should also be noted that the US military, again following orders from their commander-in-chief, declared the entire city of Falluja, a city with a population of over 350,000 civilians, a "free fire zone" meaning once that operation began in November of '04 anything in the city was to be targeted by the US military. [. . . ] It should also be noted that approximately 70% of the entire city of Falluja was bombed to the ground during the US assault on that city in November of '04 which left dead estimates of between four and six-thousand civilians. Water, food and medical aid were cut off from Falluja both before and during the seige of that city. This form of collective punishment, which I've seen first hand in Ramadi and Sumara as well has even led the UN to declare in October of last year that this was QUOTE "a flagrant violation of international law.

Barbara Olshansky, who testified at the first installment, focused on two areas in her testimony for the second round in January. Speaking of Alberto Gonzales' involvement in devising the torture loophole, she noted that:

What becomes torture in the eyes of the administration, if they follow this memo, is really only that which brings a person to the brink of complete organ failure and/or death. So everything that they know, in their mind that does not accomplish that end, is not torture. So even the water boarding torture technique where people think they are about to drown and it's done repeatedly [isn't torture] because from the point of the view of the intent of the torturer they know they are not about to bring about the immenent death or organ failure of the individual and so therefore it does not constitute torture. That is the understanding of that memorandum.

So are you interested? You should be.
Speaking on the first day of the second rounds of hearings, Michael Ratner addressed Bully Boy's signing statement of the torture amendment:

It makes three points and I'll paraphrase. First, speaking as the president, 'My authority as commander in chief allows me to do whatever I think is necessary in the war on terror including use torture. Second, the Commander in Chief cannot be checked by Congress. Third, the Commander in Chief cannot be checked by the courts.' There it is. There you have it. That boring stuff I learned, as a junior high school student, about checks and balances or about limited law or about authority under law? Out the window. Gone. In other words, the republic and democracy is over. In Germany, what did they call that? They called that "the fuhrer's law." Why? Because the fuhrer was the law. That's what George Bush is saying here.

Interested? Grasping the importance?
Bush Commission is something that the community's interested in (and something some members have already been following). We're going to cover it it a series of installment. The plan was to do it in one entry but I'm running behind due to depression over Coretta Scott King's passing. So we'll focus on getting a series of entries up to explain the importance of the commission.

Where you gonna go now? You know it Like Maria Said Paz. Go see what Elaine's
got to say.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Coretta Scott King, Halliburton, Bully Boy & gatekeeping

Good evening and let's get things started with Democracy Now!

Coretta Scott King, 79, Dies
In Georgia, Coretta Scott King - the widow of Martin Luther King Junior - has died at the age of 79. She had spent her life fighting for civil rights and preserving her late husband's legacy. In April of 1968 she led a march through Memphis just days after Martin Luther King Jr. had been assassinated. Later that year she led the Poor People's March in Washington, D.C. She continued working for equality, peace and economic justice for the remainder of her life, both in the United States and abroad.

On campus someone said, "You know Henry Kissinger will probably live to be a 120, it's just not fair." It's not fair.

Back on September 28th, Betty was nice enough to let me interview her for this site and one of the topics she brought up was Coretta Scott King.

[Mike]: I'm going to wind down with this question: other than the war and the hurricanes, what news topic has touched the most this summer?

Good one. I'd say the death of John H. Johnson because he was a big figure in publishing and proof that, if we get the breaks and work hard, we can achieve. And then I'd say, and I won't go into this too much because I honestly will cry, Coretta Scott King's stroke. She's a beacon and . . . Trying not to cry. MLK died before I was born. I think she's done as much as humanly possible to carry on his work and to keep his name alive. And she is someone that I really admire and respect. She is someone who means so much to so many and the thought of her in faltering health is just incredibly sad. I hope she recovers and I'll stop because I am tearing up.


No, it was a good question and that's the sort of thing, her stroke, that is a clue to black people. Is it dealt with, is it noted? If not, the site's not really for us. They may throw out a TD Jakes and think, "He's black so black people will just love me for this!" but if they can't acknowledge Coretta Scott King's stroke, they aren't really interested in black readers. Those were the two biggest stories in my church, Johnson and King. And it's interesting how they weren't big online with few exceptions. With Coretta Scott King I can be more understanding because my reaction is not to want to talk to much about it or I'll lose it. So I can understand more on that. Maybe someone else didn't acknowledge it because it was painful for them as well. But if they ignored Johnson as well . . . They're not for me. They're off in their own little gated community and they didn't bother to give me the code to get inside.

This was very sad news today. People would start to talk about it on campus and just stop. One of my professors said that was because she did carry on MLK's legacy and kept it alive so it's like losing her and also losing a part of him. She was a really strong and brave woman and I think anyone with any sense at all feels the loss today.

Halliburton Stock Reaches New High
In other business news, the stock value of Halliburton reached a new all-time high on Monday following the report that Halliburton had its most successful year in its 86 year history.

I'm not sure that they have any sense at Halliburton other than the sense of greed. One thing we've been studying is how in WWII companies weren't supposed to profit from the war. Haliburton does and they do it openly. They know they can get away with it because they're buds are in the White House.

The Palace Revolt Against Bush
Newsweek has revealed that there have been deep divisions within President Bush's own Justice Department over the legality of the administration's tactics since 9/11. In a major piece titled The Palace Revolt, Newsweek reports a group of conservative attorneys stood up to the hard-liners led by Vice President Cheney over whether the president can assume near unlimited powers in the so-called war on terror. According to Newsweek, these attorneys fought to bring government spying and interrogation methods within the law. Some were so concerned over the legality of the administration's eavesdropping program that they lined up private attorneys in case the program even drew the scrutiny of Congress or prosecutors.

Does Bully Boy want to lie again that he didn't break a law? Of course he wants to. He can't help lying. And he knows he usually gets away with it. So he'll keep lying and we'll all be cheapened and disgraced by it if we don't stand up to the lies.

He got his victory for tonight, didn't he? Because Congress won't stand up to him. They gave him Alito. They includes Democrats and not just the four who should be termed out right now for voting for Alito. They also includes every Democrat that wouldn't stand with John Kerry and Ted Kennedy to support a filibuster. That's not forgotten.

On campus, Rebecca's "dear katrina" drew loud approval and C.I. really helped by posting it in full at The Common Ills. Elaine got a rude e-mail about that post and so we're both noting it tonight.

Here are my thoughts. I like Vanden Heuvel's writing. I didn't like one thing about her post. I thought Rebecca made strong points throughout. To me, the post by Vanden Heuvel was embarrassing. If it had come from the mainstream media, we would have thought, "What a moron." Vanden Heuvel is someone a lot of us read and we don't read her for suggestions about what to write about. I'm not sure if she was having a bad day or what, but that was embarrassing. Reading it, you felt embarrassed for Vanden Heuvel while you thought, "Is this the real Katrina Vanden Heuvel?" You hope not. You hope like hell.

That's the sort of thing that C.I. would call "clutch the pearls journalism" and it should be left to the likes of Cokie Roberts. We're not here to be ordered around. I've figured out how to run my site without any help from anyone at The Nation. Intended or not, the piece sounded arrogant, dismissive and uninformed.

Ma (Trina's Kitchen, remember to check out her site) is probably the biggest fan of Katrina Vanden Heuvel's writing and she said it was embarrassing to read. C.I.'s made the point that anyone can have a bad day and that may be all that was.

But as a community, everyone of us is against gatekeepers and people trying to tell Bloggers to watch their "tone."

Rebecca pointed out that Alito wasn't even mentioned in the "Stop writing about Kaine! Write about these four topics!" post. He wasn't. And that doesn't cut it.

I'm proud of Rebecca for writing what she wrote. And her best point, she's got good ones all the way through, may be that if you really feel it doesn't matter who gives the speech, why are you even writing about it?

That's just nonsense. It would be nonsense if Matthew Rothschild did it. It's nonsense when anyone does it. And when they do it, this commmunity will reject it as nonsense.

We have had long talks about this because C.I., Dona and Jim have been very vocal about this "tone" nonsense. There was no concern about "tone" from the mainstream until the left finally said "No more!" Then it became an issue. The right could call Bill Clinton a murderer and make up stories about how he kills everyone who works for him and Jennifer Flowers could go on TV and repeat that but no one in the mainstream cried "tone."

They cry "tone" now because they're thinking, "Oh no, we have to make room for the left too?"
They were happy to do the bidding of the right wing and tilt their coverage.

More important, if someone's speaking in their own voice, get the hell over it. They don't need a lecture from anyone. Not on topic, not on style, not on "tone." The Common Ills remains the community's flagship. And there's hardly ever an e-mail here that doesn't mention something people read at The Common Ills. And C.I. has helped and plugged everyone of the community websites. But we've all had to build up our own audiences. Rebecca and The Third Estate Sunday Review probably are tied for second behind The Common Ills but they'd be the first to tell you, it's a huge gap between their sites and The Common Ills.

C.I. doesn't tell any of us what to write. There are times when C.I. will ask if we're interested in covering something or C.I. will see something, like for me, on recruiting and forward it saying use it if I'm interested in it (because I cover recruiting here). If C.I. told us what to write, we probably would, because, hey, it's C.I. We all love C.I. We're all members of the community. C.I. built that up and we were and are a part of it. But that's C.I. who will and has given anything and then some when asked. And even when not asked. When some members couldn't afford to go to DC for the September protest, and C.I. will be mad that this is in here but Ma said it was past time that it was noted, C.I. arranged it and never wanted a thank you and made a point of saying, "I don't want to hear it" when some brought it up in DC.

If I want to write about something and I just have a vague idea of something I saw or read, I can call C.I. and it will either be, "It's __" or it will be, "Give me an hour to think and I'll call you back with the answer."

Now Katrina Vanden Heuvel, though a good writer, hasn't done any of that for me or anyone else in this community. So no one in this community needs to hear what she thinks we should write about. Or how. Or when.

C.I. offered that she may have thought she was making a point really clear and it might have gotten lost in the writing. I don't know. I just know that if that talks continues, I have no use for it. I have no use for gatekeepers.

Go read my blog twin Elaine! Like Maria Said Paz. You'll find plenty of stuff that's not all over the net. Elaine's got her own voice and she doesn't need anyone telling her what to write either.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Do nothing Senate Dems cave again

Bad evening. The Senate won't filibuster. The spineless are spineless again. Robert Byrd stood up against the war so we're supposed to give him a pass on everything else? Spineless, spineless, spineless. And they wonder why they lose elections? Could it be because they act like losers in Congress. "Wouldn't be prudent" is a Poppy Bush slogan so why are Dems acting like it's in their codebook? It's disgusting. Spineless cowards. So that's it, we're done with them for tonight. Why? They've made them useless. Let's focus on something useful, Amy Goodman and Democracy Now!

Peace Activist Teresa Grady Sentenced to 4 Months in Prison
In a update to a story we have been following - peace activist Teresa Grady was sentenced Friday for four months in prisons for spilling her own human blood at a military recruiting station in upstate New York to protest the Iraq war. Grady and her three co-defendants, known as the St. Patricks Four, received prison sentences totaling 20 months. They were all sentenced during the same week that a military jury in Colorado decided not to jail an Army interrogator even though he was found guilty of negligent homicide in the torturing and killing of an Iraqi detainee.

Another person sent to prison and no one died because of Teresa Grady. It's funny how "justice" works these days. You get the "few bad apples" who take the blame publicly but there's not any real punishment for their actions. An interrogator killed an Iraqi. He was found guilty of it. I think as long as we pussy-foot around the issue, we're not going to get anywhere. So here's what I think: He should have gone to prison for killing someone. Did he get orders from higher up? You bet he did. Those people should be punished too. But this nonsense of "well he's the fall guy so we won't speak out that he got off" is nonsense. The man was found guilty of killing. If you can't punish those actions on the lower levels (the direct level!) then don't think you'll ever be able to get anything to stick against Bully Boy for torture. It will be, "Well, no one's served time so whether Bully Boy or Rumsfeld ordered it isn't really important." I'm not a law student, but you make a case with what you have. The case for killing an Iraqi was made, the guy was convicted of it. Now he walks.

But peace activists, who kill no one, are sent to jails and prisons. That's screwed up and the left needs to stop trying to prove how wonderful they are by not speaking out and calling this "INJUSTICE!" Say it loud, say it repeatedly. Four peaceful activists will spend 20 months in prison for protesting. One man in the military is convicted of killing an Iraqi and he will walk. That's not justice anyway you look at it.

Veteran Who Spoke Out About War's Psychological Affects Commits Suicide
In Ohio, a 35-year-old veteran of the Iraq war was buried on Saturday - a week after he committed suicide. Army Reservist Douglas Barber was a member of the Iraq Veterans Against the War and had publicly spoken out about the psychological toll war takes on veterans. A month before he died he appeared on Doug Basham's radio show. Barber reportedly spent two years fighting the military to get counseling and for the VA to recognize his disability. Just days before he shot himself, Douglas Barber wrote QUOTE, "We cannot stand the memories and [we] decide death is better. We kill ourselves because we are haunted by seeing children killed and families wiped out." Meanwhile a new report from UPI is estimating 19,000 veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress since 2002. Overall 40,000 veterans from the two wars have exhibited some signs of mental health disorders.

Elaine's writing about this and I just can add to what she talked about on the phone that I think it's really sad that so many on the right and left are okay with only certain kinds of criticism of the war. When someone comes home and wants to share the way Barber did, the right condemns and some on the left recoil out of fear that they may be seen as anti-enlisted if they take part in a discussion.

I don't even want to blog tonight. I'm just not in the mood after the vote. Elaine said if that's how I feel, I should put it up here because a) it's honest and b) someone else may feel the same way and hearing that I'm down may make them see that they're not alone.

I'll be blogging tomorrow night. For those who aren't as depressed as I am, read C.I.'s "NYT: Op-ed News shows NYT how to report on polls" about "OpEdNews.Com/ Zogby People's Poll."