Friday, November 17, 2006

A talking post by Jim (Third Estate Sunday Review)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Abd Dhiab: Anarchy clearly, nobody can deny that.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In other reported violence . . .


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Condon is requesting more calls supporting to Snyder:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Danny Schechter, Stan Goff, 'anti-warrior' Mommy's Pantyhose

If you saw an early version of this, it's because I did the whole f-ing thing only to lose it. I could get some of it back through "recover post" (a feature in Blogger/Blogspot) but not all of it. So I posted what I could get back.

Thursday, almost the weekend! Starting late tonight because I know Tony probably feels like I blow him off. You shouldn't treat your best bud that way. So we grabbed a pizza tonight and just shot the shit. This semester has been insane and everything's suffered. With Elaine and me carving out some time tomorrow and Saturday, I wanted to make some time for my buddy tonight. We didn't do anything big. Just sat around eating and talking. Sports, the women we're seeing, school, stuff like that.

Tony knows better than anybody how hard this semester's been for me. (He's in two of my classes.) So I know he wasn't thinking, "Dude, you've bailed on me!" But just because somebody understands how pressed for time you are doesn't mean you should use that as your excuse for doing nothing.

I was asking what the deal was with al Jazeera because I've heard people talking about but have no idea what's going on. So C.I. sent me this, Danny Schechter's "Al Jazeera Takes on the World -- In English:"

As they say when the Olympics convene, "Let The Games Begin." A new Olympics gets underway today, the news Olympics, as the anglo-American hegemony of the big news cartels has for the first time a challenger in the form of well-packaged professional network. al Jazeera international goes on the air globally (but not yet in the USA) to offer another perspective.
The Arabic language news channel that revolutionized news in the Arab World has just marked its tenth anniversary and become once again the world's fifth top known Jazeera marks the occasion with the launch of channel in English (not just a translation of the original) with a sports channel, documentary channel and their own CSPAN type special events channel.
For now, the rest of the world will be watching but not the American people. Why, the heavily monopolized cable industry can't find any room in their multi-channel universe for the new kid on the block. Is it political? In part, but beyond that broadcasters know how critical so many Americans are of the news goo on the air and might leap to an attractive alternation. Is it any surprise than the industry that keeps blathering on about free choice denies it to a foreign-based competitor even as the US networks long ago went global. While they condemn others blocking their signals, they shamelessly block others.

So that's what's going on and you probably already knew that but I didn't. I think News Dissector Danny Schechter lays it out beautifully. We've got satellite and I can tell you that there's hardly ever anything on. "57 Channels," like Bruce Springsteen sings, "and there's nothing on." They always stress "choice" but it's never your choice. I mean, I'm not choosing to go channel to channel at two in the morning from one infomercial to another, are you? I really think there should be a limit on the infomercials. If they air an hour long informercial, they should have to air an hour of something that benefits the community.

They don't get their lic. from the FCC to just rake in the dough. They get it to represent a community. If they've got time, and some of them do, to pack three or four infomericals into one night, they've got time to offer up something for the community. It can be something they can do cheap, like a debate or discussion. A townhall. But they need to be giving something back and not just be taking.

Now I want to highlight something by Stan Goff, "Sowing the Seeds of Fascism in America:"

There was nothing more inflammatory in my first book, about the 1994 invasion and occupation of Haiti, than my assertion that Special Operations was a hotbed of racism and reaction. "Hideous Dream - A Soldier's Memoir of the US Invasion of Haiti" (Soft Skull Press, 2000) was my personal account of that operation, and I was explicit not only about the significant number of white supremacists in Special Operations but how the attitudes of these extremists connected with the less explicit white male supremacy of white patriarchal American society and defined, in some respects, the attitude taken by U.S. occupation forces in Haiti toward the Haitian population.
The resistance to this allegation was particularly fierce, and not merely from those inside the Special Operations "community," whose outrage was more public-relations stagecraft than anything else. There was outrage from people who hadn’t a moment of actual experience in the military at all. This is an affront to something sacred in the public imaginary of a thoroughly militarized United States: that we are an international beacon of civilized virtue, and that our military is the masculine epitome of that virtue standing between our suburban security and the dark chaos of the Outside. Questioning the mystique of the armed forces is tantamount to lunacy at best and treason at worst.
This is the reason
bad-apple-ism has been the predominant meme of the media and the Pentagon when they are compelled to discuss the stories of torture, rape and murder in Iraq and Afghanistan. "A few bad apples" committed torture. "A few bad apples" raped prisoners, fellow female soldiers, and civilians in their homes. The massacre was not descriptive of the Marine Corps, but the work of "a few bad apples." Anyone who wants to be the skunk at this prevarication party need only ask, "How do these bad apples all seem to aggregate into the same units?"
One bad apple was dispensed with on June 11, 2001. That's when
Timothy McVeigh was given a lethal injection at 7 a.m. in the death chamber of the U.S. federal penitentiary at Terre Haute, Ind.
Frugivorous analogies aside, McVeigh was not the product of a tree or poor storage, but of a culture. Raised in western New York by a devoutly Catholic father--an autoworker--after his parents divorced when he was 10, Tim McVeigh, like many other white youths who are socially awkward and living in times of economic insecurity, was already reading survivalist and white nationalist literature in his teens. The mythic-patriarchal absolutism of racial ideology mapped perfectly onto the consciousness of someone raised by a religiously devout male, and the fact that this ideology responded directly to the insecurities of economic and gender destabilization secured McVeigh as an early devotee.
Gore Vidal said that McVeigh "needed a self-consuming cause to define him[self]." Vidal's account,
"The Meaning of Timothy McVeigh," ominously printed in Vanity Fair just days before the 9/11 attacks expressed another "self-consuming cause," noted that McVeigh took his cues from the very government he had worked for as a soldier. Before McVeigh’s attack in Oklahoma City, the most recent attack by Americans against Americans outside of warfare was the FBI-BATF massacre of an obscure religious commune that was demonized for destruction at Waco, Texas--which McVeigh memorialized by blowing up the Murrah Building on the Waco massacre’s second anniversary.
When McVeigh was interviewed about the "collateral damage" in Oklahoma, he was asked if he felt remorse. He replied that Truman had never apologized for Hiroshima or Nagasaki. And the formative moment in Iraq for Tim McVeigh was the order by Major General Barry McCaffrey—the sociopath appointed by Bill Clinton to be the nation's "drug czar"--to slaughter a seven-mile line of retreating Iraqi soldiers and civilians after the cease-fire in Iraq ... now called the
Turkey Shoot.
As the old military motto says, "Trained by the best, kill like the rest."

Now I lost all this part and had to put it back in. I had a lot to say here but it's late and I want to go to bed. I think the highlight is worth highlighting but I also wanted to highlight Stan Goff because of something he did.

C.I.'s taking on Mommy's Pantyhose today and did so in real time as well. Stan Goff's the only other person I remember calling out Mommy's Pantyhose when Mommy's Pantyhose went after CODEPINK. Mommy's Pantyhose is a War Hawk. Always was, always will be.

If you missed it Amy Goodman hardly got a word in last night on CNN. That's because Mommy's Pantyhose wouldn't let her talk. He needed the whole world to know he wasn't like Ehren Watada. No one was ever confused on that because Ehren Watada has bravery and courage. Mommy's Pantyhose is just a joke trying to act manly. (Reminds me of my friend from high school who came out after high school.) (Not saying Mommy's Pantyhose is gay, just saying he's real concerned that other people see him as 'manly.')

In "Iraq Snapshot," C.I. gets off a huge zinger. Tony caught me in the hall after class and was telling me about it and I was all, "No, you're shitting me!" He wasn't. C.I. really got in a good one. C.I. also addressed Mommy's Pantyhose in "Ehren Watada on CNN last night" and I want to note that. C.I. writes:

Zahn then goes to a panel made up of Casteel, Amy Goodman and the White man who needs to stop wearing Mommy's pantyhose on his head and also needs to stop attempting to pass as "anti-war" since he is nothing of the sort and again demonstrates it whenever he opens his uninformed mouth.

C.I. mentions "last month's book discussion at The Third Estate Sunday Review" and notes this:

In chapter fourteen, "Anti-Warriors," there's the inclusion on page 224 of someone who doesn't belong in any chapter entitled anti-warriors. The man has a new group but there's not anyone who remembers 2004 and much of 2005 and doesn't remember the former "I know, I was there," who was all over the media landscape, when voices of real war resistance couldn't get the time of day, maintaining that the US needed to 'stay the course' and offering that inspid -- and false -- Pottery Barn comparison. He was not, is not, an anti-warrior and doesn't belong in any chapter with that heading. As Elaine's noted, he also needs to take Mommy's pantyhose off his head but, my opinion, he thinks it makes him look like Silas in Platoon. Anyone who was against the war in 2004 knows damn well he not only shouted others down, not only trashed CODEPINK, but he and his organization were given a non-stop platform by Air America Radio and allowed to speak 'the truth, we were there' at a time when others weren't allowed on. He and his group, just him until Unfiltered listeners really turned on him -- at which point, he began bringing in others to speak for his group, were given a weekly segment called "Ask a Vet." And they all said, "Continue to the war." Over and over, week after week. There was no weekly "Ask an Activist" segment nor was there any attempt to provide a space for vets who were against the war. He doesn't belong in the book's chapter. I think he's had more than enough of a platform to offer his crackpot ideas. He didn't have answers in 2004, he didn't have answers in 2005. Now that the American people have turned against the war he wants to restyle himself. He can't. Not with the people who had to listen to his garbage on a weekly basis and he doesn't belong in a chapter called "Anti-warriors." He was a warrior, a proud warrior, advocating for further war. When on air with Larry Benksy to promote his book that didn't sell, he repeatedly referred to another guest on the panel -- one who was a vet against the war -- as "Your caller." He's a snide, little, hateful man and, to repeat, he doesn't belong in any chapter entitled "Anti-warriors." The fact that he was included in it will leave a bad taste in every community members' mouth. It's not a minor point and it's not a minor point to the anti-war movement of which he is not a part and has never been one. He was there to slam CODEPINK, in all his outlets, he wasn't there to kick start the movement. He is one of the reasons that protests were clamped down upon because, with his status as 'a vet' and with the status that Air America Radio elevated him to, with that lousy nonstop commercial, the 'continue the war' voices were given a platform, a weekly one in the case of Unfiltered, while the voices saying "Stop the war" were not given such a platform and usually found themselves, I'm speaking of the morning shows, cut off mid-sentence or apologized for after they were off the line or out of the studio.

C.I. doesn't grab credit, so let me hand out some. That quote is C.I. discussing a book. C.I. recommended it and I went out and got it. I'm reading it when I can and enjoying it. But no one should ever call Mommy's Pantyhose an "anti-warrior" or include him in a chapter called that. The book is Static by Amy and David Goodman. As Mommy's Pantyhose kept interrupting Amy Goodman over and over on CNN yesterday, as he trashed Ehren Watada, hopefully Amy Goodman now gets that Mommy's Pantyhose is not an "anti-warrior" and not anyone worthy of a shout out in a book. It's like giving a shout out to Judith Miller or Thomas Friedman.

He's not part of the peace movement, he sneers at and mocks the peace movement. Don't try to rehabilate the images of War Hawks. People against the war don't need to be confused into thinking people like Mommy's Pantyhose are against the war.

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

November 16, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq; US war resister Ehren Watada goes on CNN as his father wraps up a speaking to raise awareness on his son; justice for Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi and her family?; confusion remains as to Tuesday's mass kidnapping in Baghdad as Baghdad appears to have been the site, today, of another mass kidnapping; and America speaks to Gallup who, unlike the Bully Boy, actually listens.

Starting with
Ehren Watada -- the first commissioned officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq. Last week, the US military announced they would move to court-martial Watada. The court-martial is expected to take place early next year. Last night, Watada appeared on CNN's Paula Zahn Now program. Speaking to Zahn, Watada explained how, as late as September 2005, he was willing to go to Iraq (and had volunteered to deploy with any unit) but "then I began findout out some things about how possibly that our government could have misled, not only the Congress, but also the public, and the world as to the reasons why we were going to Iraq, and there were never any weapons of mass destruction, there were never any ties to al Qaeda or ties to 9/11. And I just -- at that point, I personally felt very betrayed as a soldier, willing to put my life on the line and willing to order soldiers to do the same, that we were sent to go and fight a war were the reasons were falsified."

After Watada's appearance, Zahn had a panel discussion.
Joshua Casteel noted "the Uniform Code of Military Justice tells us two things. One is that we have an obligation to obey all lawful orders, but we also have an obligation to disobey all unlawful orders, and -- which includes disobeying orders that are unlawful, even if they come from the President of the United States. Article Six, Paragraph Two of the United States Constitution dictates that treaties that the United States signs on to are to be considered the laws of the land, including among them, the Hague Convention on Land Warfare of 1899, the Neruember Principles, which in 1953, the Department of Defense declared to be official policy. And Justice Jackson, who's the chief . . ." Zahn interrupts to ask if Watada's stand is "justified." Castell replies, "He is one of the few examples of moral courage that we have in the midst of plenty of individuals who show physical courage to go to Iraq and sacrifice for their country. But what we need right now are moral leaders. And Lieutenant Watada is an example of the kind of leadership that reminds us of our better nature and the aspirations of the United States Constitution." Amy Goodman (co-host of Democracy Now!) noted that, "Thousand of soldiers are saying no. The Pentagon doesn't like to talk about this, but Lieutenant Ehren Watada being the first officer to refuse to deploy to Iraq is very significant." A third guest repeatedly interrupted Amy Goodman. For some stranger reason, he appeared to be wearing Mommy's Pantyhose on top of his head. He statements sounded as if they were indeed picked from the crack of his ass in his desperate attempt to unearth his brain. At present, his brain is still believed to be under many layers of s--t.

Gregg K. Kakesako (Honolulu Star-Bulletin) reminds that Watada is facing up to six years if he is convicted in the court-martial to be held next year.

In Iraq today,
Reuters reports that "up to six Baghdad minibuses" were "stopped at a fake security checkpoint" in Baghdad and the passengers appear to have been kidnapped.

In other violence today . . .


Reuters notes car bombs, roadside bombs and bicylce bombs in Baghdad -- six bombings in all leaving at least 7 dead and 18 wounded -- while three are dead and one wounded in Mosul from a roadside bombing.


CBS and AP report the shooting deaths of nine during an attack on a Baghdad bakery. Reuters notes an attack in Baghdad that killed a guard of Mosul's governor and left four other guards wounded.


Reuters reports that twenty corpses were discovered in Baghdad, two in Baiji and four in Yusufiya.

Yesterday, the US military announced six deaths of US troops. Today, the US military announced: "A Multi-National Corps-Iraq Soldier was killed by small arms fire Tuesday while conducting combat operations in Baghdad"; and they announced: "Two Task Force Lightning Soldiers assigned to 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, were killed Wednesday and two others were injured when an improvised explosive device detonated near the vehicle they were traveling in while conducting combat operations in Diyala province"; and they announced: "A Task Force Lightning Soldier assigned to 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, was killed in action Wednesday by small arms fire while conducting combat operations in Diyala province." The total for the month to date is 44.

The total number of US troops in Iraq?
According to CBS' David Martin, not enough and never will be based upon John Abizaid's remarks to the Senate yesterday "But when you look at the overall American force poll that's available out there, the ability to sustain that commitment is simply not something that we have right now with the size of the Army and the Marine Corps." Let that sink in. According to Abizaid, a War Hawk who never met a battlefield he didn't go weak-kneed over, there are not enough available foot soldiers in the US army or members of the Marines to do what Abizaid feels needs to be done in Iraq.

Turning to legal news, as
noted yesterday, James P. Barker entered a guilty plea for his involvement in the rape and murder of Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi as well as the murder of her parents (Qassim Hamza Raheem and Fakhriya Taha Muhasen) and her five-year old sister Hadeel Qassim Hamza. Abeer, the war crimes took place March 12, 2006 in Mamoudiyah which is a town south of Baghdad. Ryan Lenz (AP) reports that Barker testified to Lt. Col. Richard Anderson that Steven D. Green came up with the plan and, of the rape of Abeer, that "[Paul] Cortez pushed her to the ground. I went towards the top of her and kind of held her hands down while Cortez proceeded to lift her dress up." Barker's attorney makes a strange statement about how the crime results in part from the fact that "The United States Army did not . . . put enough soldiers on the checkpoints." Not enough soldiers at checkpoints? Lenz: "Barker, 23, described changing clothes, then climbing through backyards as the five soldiers left the checkpoint they had been manning to carry out the attack." Well the army was certainly short five soldiers manning checkpoints when the decision was made to rape fourteen-year-old Abeer. In another report filed by Lenz, the issue doesn't appear to be 'staffing' so much as it appears to be oversight: "Barker said he and the others were drinking and playing cards while they manned a traffic checkpoint. Green brought up the idea of raping the girl and killing her family, he said." So, as the story is understood from Barker's confessions, they were on duty, they were stationed a traffic checkpoint, they were in violation for consuming alcohol while on duty, they left their checkpoint." What exactly does Barker's attorney think? That more soldiers would have prevented the five from leaving the checkpoint? Seems like an oversight issue.

The 'repentant' Barker showed 'remorse' by explaining his actions with, "I hated Iraqis, your honor. They can smile at you, then shoot you in your face without even thinking about it." Rape isn't mentioned in his statement; however
Abeer was raped and she was shot in the face (below the left eye). She was also smiled at or at least leered because she went to her parents concerned about the way the US soldiers at the checkpoints were looking at her. Her parents made plans for her to go elsewhere to live for her own protection but before that could happen, she was raped, murdered and her body set on fire in attempt to hide evidence.

Whether Cortez, Green, Spielman or Howard is involved, Barker's statements mean we are no longer talking "alleged" rape or "alleged" murder. It's rather sad that the coverage doesn't reflect that.

In other legal news, Australia's
ABC reports that John Jodka was sentenced to eighteen months for his role in the death of Iraqi Hashim Ibrahim Awad. Awad was taken from him home, killed and then, to cover up the crime, those involved attempted to pass him off as an 'insurgent.' The BBC notes that Hashim Ibrahim Awad had been a grandfather until he was beaten and killed and that Jodka apologized to Awad's family.

Tuesday's mass kidnapping in Baghdad continues to be a source of confusion. Regarding the number who have not turned out, BBC reports that Abd Dhiab, Iraq's minister of Higher Education, states 80 people are still being held and that "some of those who had since been released were badly beaten." In addition, it appears some of them have been killed. Al Jazeera reports that Dhiab "was told of the deaths by hostages who were freed on Wednesday, but he declined to say how many had died." CNN reports on the puppet of the occupation, Nouri al-Maliki, and his show visit to the fifty-year-old Baghdad University. The photo Al Jazeera runs reveals the lie of 'liberation' -- in Baghdad, Nouri al-Maliki steps out of his vehicle flanked by guards with guns at the ready. The kidnapping took place not at Baghdad University but at the Iraqi Ministry of Higher Education (a four story building as opposed to a complex). Al Jazeera reports that Dhiab maintains the kidnapped on Tuesday included "at least 100 employees of two departments in the building, as well as about 50 visitors. Dozens remain unnaccounted for."

Sudarsan Raghavan (Washington Post) speaks with Amir Hassan, a professor at Baghdad University, who states, "We are living in the killing stage. We know that our chances of dying is now greater than our chance of staying alive." Over 155 educators have been killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war. Raghavan also reports that al-Maliki's speech to students included pro-censorship remarks of how "he would ban pictures, leaflets, placards or other politically inspired materials from campuses". Women's rights have vanished, he's attacked the free press (with his 'four-point plan'), he's now planning to ban political speech on campus and CNN reported this morning that he's now relying on warnings ("beware of God's punishment") to maintain whatever questionable power he still has. Kirk Semple (New York Times) reports on the al-Maliki's facade of power crumbling as government officials (Abed Dhiab al-Ajeeli and Ali Dabbagh) quarrel publicly over how many were kidnapped on Tuesday and how many remain missing.

In peace news,
Pat Gerber (SF Bay Area IMC) reports on Tuesday's San Francisco Board of Education meeting at which school board members voted "to phase out its JROTC (Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps) programs over a two-tear period. It is believed that this is the first time any school district has eliminated an existing JROTC program." Tommi Avicolli Mecca (BeyondChron) notes the speakers in favor and against the resultion and notes: "Speaker after speaker on the pro-JROTC side said that while they didn't approve of DADT or even the war in Iraq, they supported the military program because it benefited kids. Of course, they forgot to mention the plight of queer kids who want to go beyond JROTC."

In other peace news,
AP reports that with the GOP 2008 convention being held in St. Paul, Minneapolis' the Anti-War Committee "has applied for marching and demonstrations permits from the city of St. Paul. . . . [Jess] Sundin said the Anti-War Committee filed for city permits now to provide plenty of time for legal challenges if they're turned down. It's the first group to file for permits, but many are expected to follow."

A day after
Ehren Watada, appears on CNN, his father Bob Watada and his step-mother Rosa Sakanishi wind down a speaking tour to raise awareness on Ehren Watada. The tour winds down on Friday, a full schedule can be found here, and these are the remaining dates:

Nov 16, 7PM, Asheville, NC, Location: University of North Carolina -- Public Presentation, Sponsor: Veterans For Peace Chapter 99, Contact: Tim Pluta, 828-645-1717, , Lyle Peterson, 828-206-0245, Ahmad Daniels, War Resister Vietnam Era (appears in "Sir, No Sir!"), Mark Gibney Human Rights, International & Constitutional Law, Law, Ethics and Public Policy

Nov 17, 11:00AM, Asheville, NC, Location: Warren Wilson College, Sponsor: Veterans For Peace Chapter 99, Contact: Tim Pluta, 828-645-1717,, Lyle Peterson, 828-206-0245, Professor Paul Magnarella (Peace Studies, Warren Wilson College)

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

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

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

Joseph Carroll (Gallup News Services) summarizes the most recent Gallup Poll that asked respondents in the United States (from November 9th through 12th) what is "the most important problem facing this country today"? The people respond? The war in Iraq was cited by 25% of Republicans, 32% of self-identified independents and by 48% of Democrats.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Slow news day? WTF?

Wednesday. How you doing? You gotta, gotta, gotta! read Cedric's "A baby gas bag explains how (humor)" and Wally's "THIS JUST IN! BABY GAS BAG IGNORES IRAQ!" which really lays a gas bag low! Put the toe tag on her, she's a goner.

Seriously, how stupid do you have to be to write "It was a slow day before the Senate blah blah Trent Lott"? Slow news day? The mass kidnapping in Baghdad was just yesterday. You got discussions about Iraq in the Senate and the House. Not all the kidnap victims have turned up from yesterday's kidnapping. And, how about this? Michael Paulson's "Bishops call for change on Iraq policy:"

The nation's Catholic bishops, saying the United States needs to move past the "shrill and shallow debate" of last week's midterm Congressional elections, declared yesterday that the goal in Iraq should be justice and peace, rather than victory, and that the nation should withdraw its forces at the earliest opportunity, consistent with a responsible transition.
Meeting here in the aftermath of the election in which American voters, in part because of anger over the Iraq war, handed control of the House and Senate to the Democrats, the bishops unanimously authorized a public statement calling for the nation to "seriously examine alternative courses of action" in Iraq.
The bishops, who have consistently expressed moral concerns about the war, did not call for immediate withdrawal, saying the United States now has "moral responsibilities to help Iraqis to secure and rebuild their country." But the bishops said the "terrible toll" in Iraqi and American lives now requires a discussion driven by "moral urgency, substantive dialogue, and new directions."

"Because the war was such an election issue and became very partisan, our hope is, now that the elections are over, that all of the national leaders will come together and try and work together for a reasoned solution and transition out of Iraq without abandoning the people of that country," Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley of Boston said in an interview after the vote. "We asked them not to go in in the first place, but now that we're there, we're looking for a withdrawal that would be as soon as possible, but at the same time without abandoning the people that are there and causing a worse situation."
O'Malley said the United States should do a better job getting assistance from the international community, particularly Muslim nations, in securing Iraq. He added that lasting peace in the region will require finding a way to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The bishops, who are the spiritual leaders of the nation's largest religious denomination, are joining a chorus of religious leaders speaking out against the Iraq war. Yesterday's statement -- issued by the president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, Bishop William S. Skylstad of Spokane -- is the 18th such attempt by the Catholic bishops to influence the debate over Iraq.

Hey, you know what? That sounds like big news to me. Now I don't gas bag with Baby Cries a Lot and laugh at all his lame jokes. (Or pretend like his lame come ons are funny, the way she does -- the gas bag.) But I guess it doesn't matter at all if you don't give a damn about anything, right? If you're just a big old airhead who can't talk about anything except gossip and 'birth announcements' (that's what I call gas bagging about leadership posts), then it's probably not news.

Probably isn't news that there's a lawsuit filed against Donald Rumsfeld (among others) either. Here's Marjorie Cohn's "The War Crimes Case Against Rumsfeld:"

As the Democrats took control of the House of Representatives and were on the verge of taking over the Senate, George W. Bush announced that Donald Rumsfeld was out and Robert Gates was in as Secretary of Defense. When Bush is being run out of town, he knows how to get out in the front of the crowd and make it look like he's leading the parade. The Rumsfeld-Gates swap is a classic example.
The election was a referendum on the war. The dramatic results prove that the overwhelming majority of people in this country don't like the disaster Bush has created in Iraq. So rather than let the airwaves fill up with beaming Democrats and talk of the horrors of Iraq, Bush changed the subject and fired Rumsfeld. Now, when the Democrats begin to investigate what went wrong, Rumsfeld will no longer be the controversial public face of the war.
Rumsfeld had come under fire from many quarters, not the least of which was a gaggle of military officers who had been clamoring for his resignation. Bush said he decided to oust Rumsfeld before Tuesday's voting but lied to reporters so it wouldn't affect the election. Putting aside the incredulity of that claim, Bush likely waited to see if there would be a changing of the legislative guard before giving Rumsfeld his walking papers. If the GOP had retained control of Congress, Bush would probably have retained Rumsfeld. But in hindsight, Bush has to wish he had ejected Rumsfeld before the election to demonstrate a new direction in the Iraq war to angry voters.
Rumsfeld's sin was not in failing to develop a winning strategy for Iraq. There is no winning in Iraq, because we never belonged there in the first place. The war in Iraq is a war of aggression. It violates the United Nations Charter which only permits one country to invade another in self-defense or with the blessing of the Security Council.

[. . .]
On November 14, the Center for Constitutional Rights, the National Lawyers Guild, and other organizations will ask the German federal prosecutor to initiate a criminal investigation into the war crimes of Rumsfeld and other Bush administration officials. Although Bush has immunized his team from prosecution in the International Criminal Court, they could be tried in any country under the well-established principle of universal jurisdiction.

But that probably doesn't matter if you're a dumb ass gas bag who thinks the only news is who gets what's position in the Congress. If you're a dumb ass gas bag who buddies up to Baby Cries A Lot, you probably don't think too much about Iraq or anything that really does effect people.
You just continue your useless life, offering useless commentaries, and boring the hell out of everyone outside the beltway.

Slow news day? Try slow brain on the gas bag. Gas bags don't live in our world, they float above it on their own hot air, never giving a damn about anyone or anything that doesn't make them look like a Beltway Baby. They're useless and they're stupid.

Now for those of us who need something that offers actual depth, actual things that effect our lives, you have to leave the gas bags and all their b.s. crud. This is from Saul Landau and Farrah Hassen's "Talking Tough on Iraq Isn't Courageous:"

Interestingly, political leaders and media have not dramatized the contradiction between democracy and US occupation. The failure to recognize Bush's illogical word play coincides with a more gruesome lapse: the non-recognition that institutionalized torture and democracy are incompatible. On October 17, Bush signed the Military Commissions Act of 2006 into law, which permits the CIA to continue rendering terrorism suspects abroad for torture and restricts their ability to challenge their incarceration.
It therefore follows that the US-backed Iraqis would also practice such methods. In September 2006, Manfred Nowak, a UN special investigator on torture, called torture in Iraq by terrorists groups, police, the military and militias "totally out of hand."
Bush has ignored such reports and repeatedly declared that Iraqis are better off than under Saddam. Not really, says Novak. "The situation is so bad many people say it is worse than it has been in the times of Saddam Hussein." (Guardian, Sept. 21)
The UNDP's 2004 Arab Human Development Report also concluded that the occupation of Iraq and the "dismantling of the structure of the State" are antithetical to human development and good governance. The war has "increased human suffering" and the "spread of chaos in the country [has]undermined Iraqis' security and freedom." (pp. 33-34)
Three and a half years of occupation have meant one long blood bath. When will conscience grab legislators and journalists (even their editors) and provoke them to scream facts and logic at Bush and those Republicans--and many Democrats -- who still cling to his "tough on terror" rhetoric?

Gas bags can't tell you that because they're not really sure where they stand on the war. So they gas bag to be insiders. They're useless and they prolong the war. That's why they say "slow news day" on a day that C.I. passed on Dan Eggan's "CIA Acknowledges Two Interrogation Memos: Papers Called Too Sensitive for Release:"

After years of denials, the CIA has formally acknowledged the existence of two classified documents governing aggressive interrogation and detention policies for terrorism suspects, according to the American Civil Liberties Union.
But CIA lawyers say the documents - memos from President Bush and the Justice Department - are still so sensitive that no portion can be released to the public.
The disclosures by the CIA general counsel's office came in a letter Friday to attorneys for the ACLU. The group had filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in New York two years ago under the Freedom of Information Act, seeking records related to U.S. interrogation and detention policies.
The lawsuit has resulted in the release of more than 100,000 pages of documents, including some that revealed internal debates over the policies governing prisoners held at the military detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Many other records have not been released and, in some cases, their existence has been revealed only in media reports.

C.I. was hoping Martha or Lloyd (or any member) would note it in the e-mails but that didn't happen and C.I. wrote that the New York Times "story was a sketch." I read it and had to agree. Can a gas bag write about this? Nope, they're too busy wasting everyone's time with a "Trent Lott gets appointed!" b.s. scribble that's not going to enrich anyone's life but let them gas bag and feel important.

Beware the gas bags. Avoid the gas bags. Invest your time in reality. Need more reality? Then don't forget to get over to Like Maria Said Paz for Elaine's thoughts and here's reality via C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

November 15, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq; there are some indications that there may be justice for Abeer and her family; testifying before Congress, John Abizaid appeared to think he was at an Atlanta Brave (check the hand gestures) and blathered on repeatedly making it clear there was no plan for Iraq; Ehren Watada's father Bob begins winding up his speaking tour; and real discussions on Iraq take place (outside of Congress).
"It's time to tell the truth! The American people want the truth. The American people want the truth. Tell the truth if you're capable of it." Today, an honest discussion on Iraq took place but it wasn't in the US Senate. On Democracy Now!,
Amy Goodman hosted a discussion with former US senator and presidential candidate George McGovern, US House Rep. Dennis Kucinich and someone scraped off the bottom of the right-wing non-thought tank AEI. The AEI-er appeared to be attempting some sort of homage to the character of Audrey with his constant whining. (Clea Lewis intended to be humorous when she played Audrey on Ellen.) He whined "Let me have my turn" repeatedly and also referred to Goodman as "Miss moderator" proving that Iraq wasn't the only thing he failed to grasp, he'd also missed the last forty years (try "Ms. moderator"). Meanwhile Kucinich challenged the AEI-er with, "It's time to tell the truth! The American people want the truth. The American people want the truth. Tell the truth if you're capable of it." The AEI-er, Joshua Muravchik, wasn't up to the truth and tossed around the usual (pre-9-11?) nonsense of 'blame America first' and 'blood is on your hand' but has no answers. Goodman asked if he was "proposing staying in Iraq and bombing Iran?" to which he replied "Yes and yes."
McGovern reminded, "Well they were saying the same thing they're saying about Iraq. We were told all during those long years when I and others were trying to terminate our military involvement in Vietnam -- an intervention that the chief architects now say was a dreadful mistake -- and they said that if we pulled out, maybe it was a mistake, to go in, but if we pulled out there would be a slaughter of people in Vietnam of indescribable dimensions, that Ho Chi Minh and his people would just slaughter everybody in the country that disagreed with him. We also were told that the countries next door would start toppling into communism if we left Vietnam. None of that happened. There was no great bloodbath inside Vietnam and the Vietnamese became our friends almost immediately after we took our army out of their country. They assisted us in trying to locate missing American soldiers. They were ready for diplomatic relations. We have no problem with Vietnam today and as a matter of fact none of the countries next door toppled into communism so those were the scare tactics that were used to keep us in Vietnam for about twenty years. The president has said recently that maybe we have to stay [in Iraq] until the year 2010 and that's another four years during which time we'll probably kill several thousand more American troops and the terror now going on inside Iraq that began when we invaded the country will only get worse. No country in the long term wants a foreign army lodged in their country."
Goodman asked: "How did, how did it ultimately end up that the troops were pulled out of Vietnam?" McGovern replied, "Well, you know, we were finally forced out. You remember the pictures of the American ambassador being air lifted off the, off the roof of the embassy there and Vietnamese trying to cling to the helicopters that took him out? I don't want to see that happen in Iraq. I don't want to see us just kicked out. I want to see an orderly withdrawal that would begin next month in December and be completed by June and we can do that. Let me cite one poll that was conducted recently in Iraq. It was conducted by our newspaper USA Today, CNN -- the television network -- in cooperation with the Gallup polling organization, America's oldest polling. And they asked the people of Iraq 'Do you regard the Americans as liberators or as occupiers of your country?' 81% of the people said they didn't see us any longer as liberators, they see us as occupiers of the country and they made it very clear they want us out."
Kucinich spoke the words many shy from: Congress voting to cut off funding of the illegal war in Iraq. "I believe that we're going to be able to get a consensus among progressives to cut off funds . . . I think support is growing in the direction of getting out of Iraq and I think that we'll see a cut off of the funds, we'll use the money in the pipeline to have the orderly withdrawal that Senator McGovern so wisely spoke of. People want a new direction. They know that we have to involve the world community and they know that the direction has to be out of Iraq. I mean, we're losing soldiers at an increasing clip , we're seeing the civil violence increase, the Iraqi people want us out, the American people by and large want us out of Iraq. We need to take a new direction."
The KPFA Evening News Monday, Mitch Jeserich interviewed US House Rep. Lynn Woolsey who stated she would consider cutting off Congressional funds but no one wanted to make that their first choice. She also felt their support was for this option in Congress.
(The interview may have been for Pacifica's
Informed Dissent which Jeserich hosts or for WBAI's Wakeup Call where Jeserich is the news editor.)
The realities of Iraq were also explored . . . in Congress? No, on
KPFA's The Morning Show today. Philip Maldari spoke with Carl Conetta (Project on Defense Alternatives) and Natalie Goldring (Security Studies Program and Center for Peace and Security Studies at Georgetown). They discussed the possibility that the US Congress would be inactive on the Iraq war and Goldring pointed out that this would lead to spreading the blame and allowing the GOP presidential candidate in 2008 to point to the Democratic controlled Congress as part of the problem with regards to the illegal war. Concetta noted it would "tar the Democrats as co-signers" to the war. Goldring noted that it wasn't clear how the administration or the United States "would bring stability to Iraq" and Concetta noted that the spin made "withdrawal . . . always on the horizon, two years in the future" that never seems to arrive. (Or 12 months, a favorite with the US military and tossed around by John Abizaid today -- we'll get to that shortly.)
What does arrive, daily in Iraq, is continued chaos and violence.
CNN reports that eight people are dead and 32 wounded in Baghdad from a car bomb apparently targeting a gas station. CNN updated the figures to twelve dead and 33 wounded while also noting an attack on a Baghdad funeral that claimed the lives of three and left 12 injured.
CNN reports a council member and his bodyguard were shot dead in Baghdad. Reuters notes that two construction workers were shot dead and three wounded while they traveled in a car. Xinua reports that journalist Fadiyah Muhammad al-Taie and her driver were killed in Mosul while she was on her way to work.
CNN notes the discovery of 55 corpses ("bullet-riddled") in Baghdad. Reuters notes that four corpses were discovered in Mosul and one in Samarra.
US military announced today: "One Soldier assigned to 1st Brigade, 1st Armored Division and three Marines assigned to Regimental Combat Team 7 died Tuesday from wounds sustained due to enemy action while operating in Al Anbar Province." That announcement was followed by this one: "Two Multi-National Division -- Baghdad Soldiers were killed at approximately 11:30 p.m. Nov. 14 when their vehicle was struck by an improvised-explosive device in northwest Baghdad while conducting combat operations."
In legal news,
Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi was mudered and raped in Mahmoudiyah on March 12, 2006. Also killed in the attack were her parents, Qassim Hamza Raheem and Fakhriya Taha Muhasen, and her five-year-old sister. Abeer was fourteen-years-old. Five Americans are accused of being the ones who committed the crimes. Last week, Steven D. Green entered a plea of 'not guilty' in a federal court in Kenutcky. Green had been discharged from the US military before the revelations of the crimes was revealed. Due to the fact that Green is no longer in the military, he is being charged in civilian courts. The other four charged with rape, murder and arson are Paul Cortez, Jesse Spielman, Bryan Howard and James P. Barker. Today, AP reports that James P. Barker has enter a plea of guilty. Writing for the New York Times about the then expected plea, Paul von Zielbauer continued the paper's long tradition of rendering AbeerQassim Hamza al-Janabi invisible by providing twelve paragraphs of text that never once managed to give Abeer's name. By contrast, the Guardian of London features a photo of Abeer and manages to name her. The Guardian notes that Cortez "has deferred entering a plea" and that "Spielman will not enter a plea until December." The Guardian notes the following based upon Barker's written statement: ". . . Green dragged the father, mother and younger sister into a bedroom, while Abeer was left in the living room. . . . Barker said Cortez appeared to rape the girl [Abeer], and he followed. He said he heard gunshots and Mr. Green came out of the bedroom, saying he had killed the family, before raping the girl and shooting her with an AK-47."
At the Article 32 hearing for the four still serving in Iraq (plus Anthony W. Yribe, charged with dereliction of duty for not reporting the incident),
AFP reported the testimony of an Iraqi doctor who discovered Abeer deceased and "naked with her legs spread". Al Jazeera added that Abeer was also "burned from the waist up, with a single bullet wound beneath her left eye." During that military inquiry in August, US military investigator Benjamin Bierce testified that "Barker said that he held the girl's hands while Sergeant Paul Cortez raped her or tried to rape her. Barker then switched positions with Cortez and attempted to rape the girl" -- Bierce also testified that prior to the rape and murders, those accused spent their time consuming booze and hitting golf balls only to, after the murder and rape, grill chicken wings. Bierce's statements were based upon what James Barker had already told him. The fact that Barker had already confessed to the crimes may be what prompted today's guilty plea. Howard? As Gregg Zoroya (USA Today) reported, Bierce testified that Howard was the designated lookout. Zoroya's report also notes Justin Watt who came forward with what he was hearing in June about the crimes that took place in March. [Watt was not present, was not involved. He has however received death threats for coming forward.]
At the August hearing,
Captain Alex Pickand closed his argument for prosecution noting: "They gathered over cards and booze to come up with a plan to rape and murder that little girl. She was young and attractive. They knew where she was because they had seen her on a previous patrol. She was close. She was vulnerable."
Decked out like Janet Jackson on the cover of Rhythm Nation, John Abizaid, the general, blathered in Congress today. Quote: "Blah blah blah blah blah [karate chop with hand] blah blah blah."
CBS and AP report that Johnny says no timetables because they don't give him 'flexibility' and that he stated he "remains optimistic that we can stabilize Iraq." The yearly physicaly doesn't include some sort of mental evaluation? How bad was it? So bad that John McCain had to declare: "I'm of course disappointed that basically you're advocating the status quo here today, which I think the American people in the last election said that is not an acceptable condition." What may have prompted the battle of the Johns was that Abizaid didn't advocate for more US troops on the ground in Iraq -- something McCain favors. Andrew Gray and Kristin Roberts (Reuters) report Abizaid declared, "I believe more American forces prevent the Iraqis from doing more, taking more responsibility for their future." [The gut wrenching sobs you hear are Michael R. Gordon crying for all the war pornographers.] Abizaid also saw 'progress' since August. Apparently, no one handed him a copy of today's newspaper with the front page stories of the mass kidnappings yesterday in Baghdad? To recap, Abizaid said, "Blah blah blah no withdrawal of US troops blah blah blah no timetables blah blah blah I need to be flexible blah blah blah watch me touch my nose blah blah blah."
AP notes US Senator Carl Levin's remarks: "We cannot save the Iraqis from themselves. The only way for Iraqi leaders to squarely face that reality is for President Bush to tell them that the United States will begin a phased redeployment of our forces within four to six months."
Jason Szep (Reuters) interviews Ann Clwyd, British MP, who proves you don't have to be a general or American to spin -- Clwyd is against an "early withdrawal" she informed Wellesley College -- because certainly there's nothing more important for a British MP than to address US college audiences in the midst of a war. While MP Clwyd is quite sure of herself, Terri Judd and Kim Sengupta (Independent of London) report that Ted Elliott, father of British soldier Sharron Elliott who died Sunday in Basra. Ted Elliott wonders, "Why did she have to die for such a silly cause?"
He won't find the answers from Clwyd, Abizaid or the Bully Boy.
On yesterday's mass kidnappings,
John F. Burns and Michael Luo (New York Times) reported in today's paper that the number of people kidnapped was still not clear and that remains true. CBS and AP report that currently 70 people kidnapped have been released. Strange when you consider that both the 'informed' puppet Nouri al-Maliki and the US military put the number much lower when attempting to downplay the reality of what took place --- al-Maliki went with 50, the US military with 55. Sudarsan Raghavan (Washington Post) provides the details of Tuesday's mass kidnapping: kidnappers came in the front door, told the receptionist they were police (and were dresed accordingly), divided the males and females, left with victims and "blood smeared on the gray floor . . . dirt outlines of boot prints on a door" and also quotes the brother of one of those abducted who wonders, "Where can we go? The police kidnapped him?" It's doubtful comfort will come from AFP's report that puppet al-Maliki has "demanded Wednesday the arrest of all those who were behind the kidnapping operation of 100 government employees on Tuesday." That's how bad the situation is. al-Maliki has to "demand" that kidnappers be arrested.
CNN reports that Abed Dhiyab al-Ajili, Iraq's Minister of Higher Education, has turned in his resignation and states he will follow through on it if nothing is done because "I have to protect my people." CNN estimates that 40 people remain missing and 70 who were kidnapped have been freed. That would result in at least 110 people having been kidnapped on Tuesday. At least. Possibly the puppet and the US military flacks should spend more time addressing reality and far less time spinning?
Spending his time getting the word out on his son
Ehren Watada, Bob Watada continues his speaking tour. Cordell Whitlock (St. Louis' KSDK) noted what was at stake: "Lt. Watada will go to trial early next year in military court. A panel of officers will serve as jury. If convicted, Watada could spend six years in prison and be dismissed from the army."
Ehren Watada is the first officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq. Last week, the military announced that they had decided to proceed with a court-martial against Watada. Bob Watada and his wife Rosa Sakanishi (Ehren's step-mother) are finishing a tour, a full schedule can be found here, this Friday to raise awareness on Ehren's stand:

Nov. 15, Norfolk, VA, Location: Norfolk/Virginia Beach, 40th Street Stage, 809 W 40th St (corner 40th St and Colley Ave -- across from Felini's), Sponsors: Veterans For Peace National In Affiliation with the Norfolk Catholic Worker, Local members of VFP, Military Families Speak Out, and the Active Duty Military Project, Contacts: Tom Palumbo,
DissentingSoldier@Yahoo.Com, 757-470-9797, Ann Williams, 703-867-2174

Nov 16, Noon, Asheville, NC, Location: TBA -- Media Conference, Sponsor: Veterans For Peace Chapter 99, Contact: Tim Pluta, 828-645-1717,
Nov 16, 2PM, Asheville, NC, Location: Mars Hill College -- Class Presentation
Sponsor: Veterans For Peace Chapter 99, Contact: Tim Pluta, 828-645-1717,

Nov 16, 7PM, Asheville, NC, Location: University of North Carolina -- Public Presentation, Sponsor: Veterans For Peace Chapter 99, Contact: Tim Pluta, 828-645-1717, , Lyle Peterson, 828-206-0245, Ahmad Daniels, War Resister Vietnam Era (appears in "Sir, No Sir!"), Mark Gibney Human Rights, International & Constitutional Law, Law, Ethics and Public Policy

Nov 17, 11:00AM, Asheville, NC, Location: Warren Wilson College, Sponsor: Veterans For Peace Chapter 99, Contact: Tim Pluta, 828-645-1717,, Lyle Peterson, 828-206-0245, Professor Paul Magnarella (Peace Studies, Warren Wilson College)

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

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

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

mikey likes it

amy goodman
democracy now