Friday, April 14, 2006

Kendall-Smith sentenced to 8 months & trip to California

Good evening. It's Friday! It's the weekend! (If you're lucky.) Let's kick it off with Democracy Now!

RAF Doctor Jailed For Refusing Iraq Service
In Britain, a doctor in the Royal Air Force has been sentenced to eight months in jail for refusing to go to Iraq. Flight Lieutenant Malcolm Kendall-Smith maintained he is refusing his assignment in order to not take part in an illegal war. "Now more so than ever he feels that his actions were totally justified and he would not if placed in the same circumstances seek to do anything differently," Justin Hugheston-Roberts, the lawyer representing Kendall-Smith, said after the sentencing.

So Kendall-Smith isn't allowed to make his case (he couldn't talk about why he refused to return to Iraq under the judge's order)? 'The war isn't on trial' was what the bench said. But if the very illegal nature of the war is why you can't serve, how do you have a case left to make? It's insane. But that's how the court martial played out. The good news is that, outside of this country, it is getting attention. Probably helps that the hearing was in London and that Kendall-Smith was born in Australia and also has citizenship in New Zealand (as well as British citizenship). That allows three countries to cover it as a "home story."

Like Nina and Tony said, "We put the wrong people behind bars."

California TV Station To Stop Using VNRs
In an update on a story we have been tracking, a major California television station has announced it will no longer use material from video news releases in any news reports. Last week the Center for Media and Democracy revealed at least 77 TV stations around the country have been caught airing corporate-sponsored propaganda disguised as news releases in the past 10 months. One of these stations was KCBS, Channel 2 in Los Angeles. On January 27 the station aired an edited video news release promoting the child-safe Internet search engine for the company NetTrekker. The station used part of the script and video provided by the company without revealing its source. On Wednesday the management at KCBS announced it was barring the use of video news releases.

So what do you think? Good or bad news? One station, out of 77, steps up to the plate and announces it will do what it always should have done? Fake news though, that's all over the dial.
I tried to get C.I. on the phone but couldn't. Got ahold of Ava and asked if members had noted the item any because it didn't go up at The Common Ills. Ava explained that there were so many e-mails with suggestions for the headlines today that the decision was made to skip this one since people suggesting other items were more vocal about why they wanted a headline noted. I told her that Elaine and me would note it and she said, "Remember to link to the prior story."

Immigrant Rights Coalition Calls for One Day Boycott, Walk-Out
A coalition of groups advocating for immigrant rights are calling for a massive one-day job and economic boycott to take place May 1st. Some are calling the event "A Day Without Immigrants." Organizers are calling on immigrants to refuse to work or spend any money on May Day to protest moves in Congress to criminalize undocumented workers. In recent weeks millions of immigrants and their supporters have taken to the streets in an unprecedented wave of protests.

That's our announcement. Take part in it. Don't buy anything on May 1st, don't go to work. Show your support.

Now I'm going to talk a little about the week in California. Nina and me went out on Friday. She came back on Monday with Rebecca and I got back last night. It was a really great time. I was telling Ma and Dad about it and Ma said I had to include a song. (It's a great song.)

Do you know who you'll meet there?
Great soldiers and seafares, artists and dreamers
Who need to be close, close to the light
They need to be in danger of burning by fire
And I, I want to get there.
I, I want to be one
One who is touched by the sun, one who is touched by the sun.

That's a song by Carly Simon called "Touched By The Sun" and it's in a few movies but Ma's got the Letters Never Sent CD (which is where I got the words from). That works for a lot of reasons. Like, California -- sunny -- touched by the sun. Get it? And also because there were all these amazing people we got to meet.

We met activists and writers, reporters and actors, musicians and comedians, professors and students, you name it. Dad goes, "The left is alive and well and living in C.I.'s living room." :D
Tony just wanted to know "famous names" and that's cool but that really doesn't get at what it was like. Like me and Wally and Jess did a thing for the gina & krista round-robin that went out today that was just focusing on students who were participating in all these demonstrations and protests and organizing. They really do so much and they're amazing and, in some cases, they were younger than me and made me feel like "What do I do?"

I won't lie and go I wasn't thinking, "Oh my God! It's ___!" But I got over that and anyone who impressed me impressed me because they cared about what was going on in the country and the world.

What else? Does it ever not rain in California? Seriously, it rained all the time. The day we're leaving, I don't think it rained at all before we left. (Don't know about after.)

We saw a lot of places. We saw some tourist spots because some of us were insisting Kat show us around. She had a mix and some of it was obvious and some of it was stuff that only Kat would know about! :D

During the days, we were all over the place. We went to rallies and protests. And we got to see Maria's classroom and one of her classes which was really cool. She uses Democracy Now! in her teaching and that was really cool. Her students think she's great. (And she is great.) Her students are pretty cool too. What else?

We got to meet some other members that live out there.

Where I live, sunglasses are mainly just to look cool. :D But they are like a requirement out there. When the sun shines, it shines and just bounces off everything. It can go from a rain spell to sunshine so quick.

C.I. walks way too fast. I got the longest lets of anyone and I was going, "Jim, how do you keep up?" He goes that he was thinking that when he got out two days before me but he noticed
Jess and Ava, who'd been out there longer than the rest of us, had no problem at all. In fact,
Ava, Jess and C.I. had matching sunglasses (C.I. loses sunglasses and buys more than one pair)
and looked like they were their own division. :D

I was wiped out in the mornings because me Jim and Dona were still on eastern time and stayed on it all week. So we'd be up early (which would be normal time here at home). By mid-morning, I'd get excited (especially when we were hearing students talk about what they were doing and why) and lose my sleepy mood. But the days were long. (Fun, but long.)

We got to see Sir! No! Sir! and you should too. It's a great movie. And Kat took us to hear some live music. One night we went to a comedy club. So there was a lot to do. When there was something to do at night and Betty wasn't sure her kids were up for it, we'd all take turns watching them (and a small infant or todler, I'm not sure what qualifies for todler but I'll get to that in a moment) because we all wanted Betty to get a chance to have some fun. (I only watched once before people think "What a guy." We rotated.) Cedric's smart and I think most people get that but me and Wally had no idea how smart Cedric was until this week. We were like, "Dude, you're like a genius!" :D

Ruth's really cool and she brought her grandchildren Tracey, Jayson and little Elijah so that was cool (because they are). Ruth's only worry all week was, "How am I going to do a report?" Elijah's not really the little boy's name, as community members know. Ruth only names her family when she has permission (a rule I follow too) and since Elijah's too young to give permission, she dubbed him that so she wouldn't have to keep saying, "My grandson" over and over.

He's a funny little dude and has one new trick that I swear Ty taught him which is to stick his tongue out. Ruth likes it, whoever taught it to him, because he's a kicker. And he's got a pretty powerful kick for such a tiny dude. I was like, "This is a soccer player!" But the only time he'd get in trouble was when Ruth would have to give him a talking to for kicking and sit him in time out. So she was thrilled when he picked up on sticking out his tongue instead. She said his mother may not be pleased but considering that his father was real bad about sticking his tongue out as his brothers growing up, it shouldn't be a problem especially since it seems to have gotten him off the kicking. By the end of the week, he'd only kick if you rolled a ball to him.

There were a lot of evenings of talking and sharing (with each other and with guests) and like Kat's written about, lots of great music. Jim says it was like a summit and Dona says it was like a retreat and if those two didn't enjoy arguing so much, you'd wonder how they stay a couple! :D
(I told them I was putting that in somewhere when I wrote about the week and they both laughed and were cool with it.)

I wish Elaine, Rebecca and Nina could have stayed longer. (Elaine left Sunday evening because she had patients on Monday and Nina left with Rebecca Monday because Nina had to do a family thing on Wednesday and Rebecca had a christening to attend on Tuesday. It was easier for Nina to catch a ride with her and Fly Boy since he came out to pick up Rebecca. Flyboy got there Sunday morning and got to spend a day basically. He's pretty cool so it would have been nice if he could have stayed longer too.)

So it was just a lot of fun and I must have taken more pictures this week than I have my whole life. (Some were in today's round-robin but that's like less than 10% of what I took in one day! :D)

It was real cool and educational. I need to put that in for my folks! :D Seriously, it was educational. And fun.

I'm going to wrap up now. I'm a slow typer and this thing has taken like over three hours!

The lies and minimizing go on

Got home, flopped down on the couch and was talking the folks and must have fallen asleep. Wake up and see the scary Nick Lachey on TV. (My sister's watching some infomercial he's on.)
Does he tease his hair? What's up with that? Looks like he's carrying "break up weight." I said that to my sister and she threw the remote at me. :D

Okay, short post. Let's do Democracy Now!

Bush Criticized For Falsely Claiming U.S. Found Mobile Weapon Labs in Iraq
The White House is coming under intense scrutiny after the Washington Post revealed that the administration kept asserting it had uncovered mobile biological labs in Iraq even after a team of Pentagon investigators had concluded no such labs had been found. On May 27, 2003 the Pentagon made its findings available. Two days later President Bush said "We found the weapons of mass destruction. We found biological laboratories." Days later Secretary of State Colin Powell said "We have already discovered mobile biological factories… There is no question in our mind that that's what their purpose was. Nobody has come up with an alternate purpose that makes sense." The Bush administration continued with its faulty claim for more than a year.In Washington, Press Secretary Scott McClellan attempted to spin the controversy of mobile labs by criticizing the press for covering a story based on what he described as rehashed, old information. He called the story "an embarrassment for the media" and irresponsible because the Bush administration has already admitted its pre-war intelligence on Iraq was mistaken. But McClellan could not answer whether the President knew of the Pentagon's conclusions before he publicly said the trailers were proof Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.

When does the lying stop? You get caught in a lie and you keep on lying? Any six-year-old learns that doing that isn't smart. But whoever accused the Bully Boy of brains?

I really wish I knew how this played out to the last of the believers? I bet they just snort "liberal media!" and dismiss it. Why not? They've gone this far defying reality.

Powell Admits He Did Not Believe Iraq Posed Imminent Nuclear Threat
Former Secretary of State Colin Powell is now saying neither he nor his aides believed Iraq posed an imminent nuclear threat before the US-led invasion. In an interview with journalist Robert Scheer, Powell said the President was convinced by nuclear claims given to him by Vice President Dick Cheney and the CIA. Powell said: "The CIA was pushing the aluminum tube argument heavily and Cheney went with that instead of what our guys wrote." Asked about President Bush's faulty claim that Saddam Hussein attempted to buy nuclear material from Niger in his State of the Union speech, Powell reportedly answered: "It should never have been in the speech... I never believed it."

What do you say? He's still poking at his "blot" and acting like it's no big deal. He went to the UN and made it a big deal. Saying "I never believed it" now doesn't change what he did.


And give me a break, cut me some slack, I'm dead tired.

I see C.I.'s already got the "And the war drags on (indymedia roundup)" entry up. So go read that. I'm going back to sleep. And go to Democracy Now! and check out this "Village Voice Shakeup: Top Investigative Journalist Fired, Prize-Winning Writers Resign Following Merger with New Times Media" if you missed it yesterday.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Block ice fell from the sky Saturday

Good night. That's all. Good night. Go to sleep. :D Let's get things started with Democracy Now!

Report: Bush Admin. Suppressed Evidence Refuting Iraq WMD Claim
The Washington Post is reporting the Bush administration claimed to have found mobile weapons labs in Iraq after the invasion despite the explicit conclusions of a Pentagon-sponsored mission the claim was untrue. On May 29, 2003, President Bush cited the discovery of the trailers in an attempt to justify his decision to go war two months earlier. Bush said: "We have found the weapons of mass destruction." But just two days before, a Pentagon team sent to Iraq had concluded that the trailers were in fact "the biggest sand toilets in the world." One team member said: "Within the first four hours, it was clear to everyone that these were not biological labs." The Bush administration failed to make the findings public and continued with its faulty claim for more than one year.

Bully Boy, who can trust him anymore? His polls are so low but it's not like he's at zero yet. Makes you wonder what it takes for some people to say, "You know what, he is a liar." It's like they got a check list and haven't reached the big item yet. "Lied us into war? No, that's not enough. Outed a CIA agent? No, that's not enough. Lied to us after the invasion? No, that's not enough." I guess he's going to have to have an affair with an intern to make some people get outraged?

I think it was Matthew Rothschild of The Progressive who made the point that we have to hold him accountable and if we don't, what are we saying to future leaders?

If we don't say no to the Bully Boy, we better get ready for anything to be tolerated.

For a humorous take on the latest news of Bully Boy's lying, check out Wally's "THIS JUST IN! BULLY BOY GOT SOME HARD LEARNING DISABILITIES!"

Cheney Booed At Washington Baseball Game
And in Washington, Vice President Dick Cheney was greeted with loud boos Tuesday when he threw out the ceremonial pitch at the opener for Major League Baseball's Washington Nationals. This wasn't the first time Cheney has gotten a hostile reception at a baseball game - in June 2004, Cheney was booed at a Yankees game here in New York.

I wish I could see a clip of that. I listened today. We listened in the car on the way to Kat's to pick up her and Betty and I ran for the door saying, "Uh-huh, uh-huh, Hersh is on, outta' my way!" Wally was right behind me. It was the musical break and we were rushing to hear the rest of the interview.

If you missed it here's the link "Seymour Hersh: Bush Administration Planning Possible Major Air Attack on Iran." Here's a taste of the interview:

AMY GOODMAN: Sy Hersh, you write in your piece about a military official who says that the military planning is premised on the belief that a sustained bombing campaign in Iran will humiliate the religious leadership. Can you talk more about what this defense official said?
SEYMOUR HERSH: It’s a former defense official who still does a lot of highly classified stuff, so he has access and he was given a briefing or a look at what they’re planning. And, you know, it's hard to know. This is a White House that's very dominated -- this kind of planning is very dominated by the Vice President's office. In that office, you have a number of people who have been long associated with what we call the neoconservative point of view, the American Enterprise Institute point of view, which is a very hard line towards the Middle East. They've been the great pushers on this idea of democracy in that area, and it's those people who I think are pushing most effectively the President and the Vice President to believe that you can -- if you bomb and if you sustain the bombing, you will humiliate the clerics, the mullahs, who run the country.

Hope you already caught it but if you didn't catch it now. But back to Cheney, I'd love to see his face at the moment where he realized they were booing. That would have been so great. I'd put it on a t-shirt!

Now this is by Associated Press and it ran in the Lake Sun Leader Tuesday under the title "Odds and Ends" with other news items:

Even the experts are having trouble explaining why a solid block of ice fell from the sky, crashed and left a 3-foot hole in the grass.
The ice fell at Bushrod Park in Oakland when homeowner Jacek Purat was waiting to show apartments to prospective renters Saturday. No one was injured, police said.
"It was totally amazing. ... I saw this flash, like a streak," he said. "Then I saw this explosion, like a big boom. I came over and it (the field) was all covered with ice.
"Some were this big," Purat said, making a head-size circle with his hands.

Brooks and Judith Mencher said they were standing on their back porch when they heard a sound like a rocket. "It kind of went 'whoosh!'" Brooks Mencher said.
The ice block was about the size of the hole -- 3 feet wide and 2 1/2 feet deep.

Tony, in your face! :D Seriously, I was not making that up. It really did happen. That's pretty weird.

Check out C.I. on Kerry's "plan" & Dexy Filkins! Also check out Elaine's Like Maria Said Paz for some. Tomorrow I'll probably write about this trip and stuff but tonight I'm trying to get everyone rounded up to watch a documentary by Naomi Klein (The Take) that I've never seen.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

World's waking up

Tired and I'll talk some about that (Tony called and asked, "Dude, what are you doing?") but let's do Democracy Now!

Up to 2 Million March in National Day of Action for Immigrant Justice
As many as two million people took to the streets in more than 100 cities and towns across the country on Monday to march for immigrants' rights. Undocumented workers, legal immigrants, labor unions, immigrant rights advocates and their supporters demonstrated in what was billed as the National Day of Action for Immigrant Justice. In New York, more than one thousand demonstrators crossed the Brooklyn Bridge and packed the streets in lower Manhattan for a rally near City Hall. In Atlanta, as many as 80,000 people flooded the streets. In Phoenix, an estimated 100,000 rallied at the Arizona Capitol. 25,000 marched in Madison, Wisconsin. 10,000 in Boston. 8,000 in Omaha, Nebraska. The rallies Monday followed a day of demonstrations in San Diego, Miami, Birmingham, Alabama, Utah, Idaho and Iowa. A rally in Dallas drew half a million people, the largest protest in the city's history. In Washington DC, hundreds of thousands streamed past the White House to a rally on the National Mall. The demonstration took place just yards from the Capitol, where Senators last week failed to reach agreement on wide-ranging immigration reform that would allow the more than 11 million undocumented immigrants living in this country a chance to work here legally and eventually become U.S. citizens. We'll spend the hour looking at the growing immigrant rights movement after headlines.

Remember the summer of protest? That was a good call (by C.I.) and I just can't believe all the activism that's going on. I mean, when I started this site, I was thinking, "Why aren't we doing more?" But we are doing more. I had no idea. This week, I've got to talk to people participating in protests for immigrant rights and with students who are saying no to their campus in so many ways. I got to meet people who are protesting an energy company. . . . Tony had called yesterday evening to find out what's up and I told him I'd call him back but I ended up just chilling with everyone in the living room listening to music.

I'm so exhausted at the end of the day. What it's taught me most of all is that I don't do enough.
C.I. knows everybody. That's what it seems like. I knew C.I. read a lot and all but I had no idea how much went on any day. I get now why no one could throw C.I. when we did the news roundups. By the time something is news, C.I.'s usually already familiar with it. Nina had a blast and all but she was saying, "There's so much to do." She went back with Rebecca on Monday morning and I wish she'd stayed because this weekend it was focused on immigrant rights and the war and there's so much more going on.

I hope Nina's not going to be mad. She got me a pair of the sneakers, hightops, that were made without sweatshop labor and that was back a few months ago. I've walked so much in the last few days, I've almost worn them out. On the inside, I have. Where my heel is, it's like on top of the bottom of the shoe, the sole's worn out.

Besides listening and learning (and me and Wally both said this morning, we are on either side of C.I. because some of this stuff is things we never heard of so C.I. can whisper to us and bring us up to date), we've also got to go sight seeing and that's been pretty cool. Kat goes, "I hate doing the tourist thing" but she showed us some pretty cool places.

Betty's plan was to blog tonight but she's parked in the living room with her kids asleep next to her and she said she was just going to stay there and enjoy talking tonight. If I rush this, it's because I want to get back in there. There's a guy talking about Hugo Chavez and Venezuela and if I didn't want to be called a slacker, I wouldn't be blogging tonight! :D

There is so much going on. Democracy Now! covers so much but I get why Pacifica is so important because there's too much for even a great show like Democracy Now! to handle all of.
Probably older people are reading this going, "Silly college student." Okay, maybe I am. Maybe everybody knew how much was going on in the world. But maybe not. It's supposed to rain tomorrow and can someone tell me where the idea that it never rains in California started? :D

Here's something weird. I told Tony this and he thinks I'm making it up. I'll try to find some link if I can to it because it did happen. A block of ice fell from the sky and hit a park. No one was hurt but it made this huge hole in the ground. It just fell from the sky and no one knows where. It might have come off a plain's gear or wings or something. But it may not have. I am so not making this up. I'll try to have a link for tomorrow's entry.

French Government Backs Down on Unpopular Job Law
In other news, France has scrapped a widely unpopular job law that would have made it easier for employers to fire young workers. French President Jacques Chirac announced the decision following two months of protests attended by millions of people. Student groups and unions hailed the decision as a major victory over a measure they claimed would have only worsened job security in France. Chirac said the measure would be replaced by a new initiative to help disadvantaged young people find work.

See, summer of protest. My poli sci prof was saying during the March protests against the war that we'd be seeing even more and I think so too. I think people woke up and it took Cindy Sheehan and others to wake us up last summer but this is really cool. I mean, the Bully Boy's awful. But it's kind of amazing to live in such an exciting time. Not good, just exciting. Well maybe good because, with the demonstrations here and the ones in France, you are seeing people standing up to governments and saying, "You represent us, we do not follow your orders."

Look what they've done in France and look what's being done here. It's amazing. Ma called this morning and said I better say thank you here to C.I. I know Ma's right but C.I. gets so "Oh don't talk about that" when you start talking like that. So I'll just say thank you.

Me and Jim and Dona are the first ones up because we're still on eastern time. And this morning, we were going through the papers and really hogging them until Dona said, "For God's sake give C.I. the Times!" :D That's fun too, watching the way the entries get pulled together because C.I.'s always on at least one phone. And usually, it's more than one. "Uh-huh-uh," trying to figure out what to write about while someone's calling going, "You got to write about this!" I go much more slowly. (Not tonight! :D) I think about something. Usually ask Nina what she thinks about it and then I start writing. There's no time for that with The Common Ills. C.I.'s ripping through e-mails, juggling phones and going through the paper. Man, the paper is all over the floor at the end. This section and that section.

C.I. had a comma or something in the wrong spot today and Jim is Mr. Stickler on that. I think C.I. forgot a comma. Jim starts pointing that out and Dona goes, "Jim!" Then Jim goes, "Okay."
But really, if you can follow it, you can follow it. The Common Ills is like a live broadcast. C.I.'s rushing to get it done, workout, shower and get on with the day.

At The Third Estate Sunday Review, Jim wants everything perfect and we end up working and working and working. By the middle of session, we just want something up, and, by then, so does Jim. But he loves The Common Ills and would grammer check and spell check every entry (even after it's posted) if C.I. would let him.

But I think I'm going to be able to move a little quicker here because seeing C.I. flip from screen to screen and all makes me realize that I can move a little faster.

I don't know if Cedric's writing tonight, but you gotta read his "Law and Disorder addressed covert racism." Maria loves it and me too. Oh, if that publisher/editor got on your nerves on Democracy Now! today, Maria's kids were booing him. She had to keep telling them to boo quietly or the other classrooms were going to complain. :D Wally goes, "What were they saying?" and she ticked off all the phrases in Spanish and I don't speak it so I was lost. She realized that and goes, "Just think 'tool.'" and I laughed so hard. He really was a tool. Okay, I'm tagging, then getting back to the living room where there's some great music and conversations that are probably way over my head! :D

Be sure to read Elaine's thoughts and stuff at Like Maria Said Paz.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Leaky Bully Boy, Immigration and Law and Disorder

Good evening, let's kick things off with Democracy Now!

White House Defends Bush Intelligence Disclosure
The White House has publicly admitted President Bush authorized the disclosure of pre-war intelligence on Iraq. But White House spokesperson Scott McLellan said the disclosure wasn't illegal because information disclosed by the President is considered declassified. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff, has testified that President Bush authorized him to leak a highly classified intelligence document on Iraq to the press in an effort to defend the administration's decision to go to war.

Leaker-in-chief is what John Kerry is calling Bully Boy and let me point that out because that's probably the only kind thing about Kerry you'll find in here. He leaked. He needs to explain himself. He once said he doesn't have to explain to people but people have to explain to him (because he occupies the oval office). He does have to explain. He works for us. And right now we just showed up at our KFC we own to find sh*t smeared over the walls and Bully Boy behind the counter passed out drunk. Start explaining.

Mass Protests Continue Around the US For Immigrant Rights
Hundreds of thousands of people demonstrated in cities across the country Sunday urging Congress to pass legislation that would legalize the estimated 12 million undocumented workers in the US. An estimated 500,000 people took to the streets in Dallas. The marchers filled the downtown streets with chants of "Si Se Puede!" -- Spanish for "Yes, we can!". In St. Paul, Minnesota, 30,000 people rallied at the state capitol. In Birmingham, Alabama, demonstrators marched along the same streets where activists clashed with police in the civil rights struggle of the 1960s. Other protests were held in New Mexico, Michigan, Iowa, Alabama, Utah, Oregon, Idaho and California. Michael Martinez, who attended a rally in San Diego, said: "It's not about flags, it's not really about race. It's about just equal opportunities for everybody and nobody being above or below the law and nobody being exploited by the law. It's that simple." More protests are planned for today in nearly 100 cities across the country.

I'm still California Dreamin' and it's pretty cool. It'll be great to get back home. But I was talking to Elaine about this over the weekend before she went back and I go, "You do get that people here think this is cold." We both laughed at that and thought, "They don't know cold tempartures." But it has been a lot of fun and I really enjoyed meeting up with so many students my age and younger who are going to be heard whether somebody in D.C. wants to hear them or not. They have committment and they have fire. I was really impressed.

Now go check out Like Maria Said Paz to see what Elaine's got to say today.

I was thinking about doing a plus and minus thing on John Kerry's plan (mentioned that last time). Then I read this by C.I.'s "And the war drags on" and felt like the points I had missed the larger point:

One thing that I've noticed about the gasbags refusing to address the issue of withdrawal, they want "a plan." They say, "You don't have a plan." What is "the plan" for self-rule? They don't mean an aid plan, they don't mean anything like that. (Certainly they don't mean helping with reconstruction.) They mean "the plan" by which Iraq's government will operate. "The plan" for that?
How about self-rule. You know, democracy -- the thing we falsely claimed to be "exporting."But that's not what's happened. What's happened is the illegal occupation has imposed rules and conditions. And of course, as always, economic models. Now the people had no say in those, their leaders had no real say. But the administration isn't interested in "liberation" (and never was), it's interested in markets. It's interested in dollars.
I'm not impressed or embarrassed by John Kerry's ten-point plan. It's sort of blah to me. Full of a lot of talks of deadlines (that would be imposed by the United States). It's kind of "jump through these hoops or else" "plan." Iraq will stand or fall according to the wishes, hopes and desires of the Iraqis. They live there, it's their home, they're entitled to self-rule. (As is everyone.) The occupation needs to cease, the troops need to return home. If Kerry's plan does that, fine. But it's a great deal like the IMF in that there are "deadlines." And you'll note the deadlines are for the Iraqis. There's no deadline in there for the occupying power. There's no deadline that states the United States will, for instance, have 35% of the hospitals in Iraq back up to pre-war levels within six months or the United States will leave Iraq. It's a "jump through our hoops, Iraqis" plan to me.
They're occupied and each week brings a new administration-outsourced reconstruction scandal. But the expectations are placed upon Iraqis, not upon the occupying power. Iraqi's didn't bomb their own infrastructure. But there are no expectations for the administration (other than to tell the truth -- which, sadly, does need to be put into Kerry's plan).
If it ends the occupation, great. Anything that ends the illegal occupation is appreciated. But the operating principles continue to be "Iraqis must be do" while they've had no real power under the illegal occupation. Expectations for the occupying power are aims/goals/deadlines that are never thought of.

I hadn't even picked up on that when I read Kerry's plan. But it is right there. It's all about what Iraq must do over the next few months but where's the "America must . . ." sections?

I wish I'd caught it and I'm glad I didn't have time Saturday to write about it because I would've missed that. You know why? I probably wouldn't have thought it because John Kerry is my senator and I keep hoping he'll step up to the plate and probably end up cheering him hoping he'll do more. But that's probably a lost cause.

So let's hop over to Robyn E. Blumner's "Lies Lurk Behind U.S. Terror Policy:"

President Bush once famously stumbled over the phrase "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me." It was a Freudian slip. Bush knew just how often he's put one over on the American people. Why rub it in?
Slowly this country has come to the realization that nothing the president and his minions say is believable, yet they still want us to just trust them. There hasn't been a more dangerous combination of incompetence, mendacity and arrogance since Lansford Hastings encouraged the Donner Party to diverge from the Oregon Trail and take his "short-cut."
Bush recently dropped a whopper by telling veteran journalist Helen Thomas that he never wanted to go to war, even as insider memos keep popping up detailing Bush's early intention to attack Iraq. But nowhere has the bald-faced lying been as fierce as in the "war on terror." Here, Bush has raised prevarication to national policy. From the president's disingenuous proclamations that all prisoners are treated "humanely" to the administration's laughable claim that it couldn't disclose the names of those swept into detention after 9/11 because it would violate their right to privacy, there is nothing this crew won't say to avoid accountability.
The prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, is perhaps America's biggest international black eye and moral morass. We have been told by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld that only "the worst of the worst" are incarcerated there, when that isn't remotely true.
In an analysis of the Defense Department's court files on 132 of the more than 500 prisoners, the National Journal found that more than half the group were "not accused of taking part in hostilities against the United States" and only eight were found to be tied directly to plans for terror attacks outside of Afghanistan. Oddly, two of those eight men have since been sent to their home governments, where they were released.

Everyone staying silent on the Guantanamo prisoners better grasp that their grandchildren will ask them someday, "How could this happen?" They'll hear about it in school and they'll want to know. Better be prepared for the next question which is "What did you do to help?"

I'm trying to think if Guanantamo is a topic on today's Law and Disorder? Heard the podcast while we were all eating. I remember a guy who was a professor and he is part of the International Endowment for Democracy -- which is a real democracy group, not like the National Endowment for Democracy which is just a psuedo-democracy organization.

Oh, Dalia Hashad was talking about racism at the beginning and I was thinking how I'd pictured her just like my sister because they sound alike. This sister is the only blonde in the family and I just assumed Dalia looked just like her. Dalia thinks it is important to realize that White people (me) don't get the indignaties that a person of color can experience in your average day which sounds right to me. She discussed a thing at a place in Houston and a thing while she was waiting for the Amtrack and how these experiences can really get under your skin and I bet they do. You'd like to think that they were in the past and over but they really aren't. Are they better? I don't know. Cedric said, while we were listening to the interview and eating, that he thinks that a lot of it is the same. That instead of lynching with a rope, they lynch with prisons. Let me stop.

Okay, Cedric's going to write about this at his site. He was saying this afternoon while we were all taking a break that he didn't know what to write about because he was writing about the rallies for the gina & krista round-robin. But while we were listening to Dalia, he had a lot to say so I went over and go, "Hey, you do have something to write about." And reminded him of what he was saying while we were around the table. So check out Cedric's site tonight.

And check out Law and Disorder.