Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Tony Peyser, Ron Jacobs

Tuesday. The day nothing big happens but you're finally rested from the weekend. I'm going to jump right in. Elaine's highlighting something and I'm going to as well. We're pissed off by something that happened and so is C.I. which is where Elaine heard about it. It's also true that this community does have members with special needs and as a member of this community with a site, it's my duty to call it out.

The little nobody Ryan Reynolds, whose career never took off and probably never will, now thinks he's funny. And he thinks he's funny when he writes his own lines. He's not funny and he's not a comedian. One of the things that I really hated growing up was South Park. I hated it then and I hate it now. People hear things on that show and think it's funny. (That show is done by two right-wingers.) They repeat the things they hear trying to get a laugh. That pretty much describes Ryan Reynolds. Tony Peyser's "The Column Arianna Huffington Doesn't Want You To Read" is a response and explanation of why Ryan Reynolds isn't funny and this is the first part of Peyser's column:

I contacted the higher-ups at HuffPo to complain about a recent guest column by actor Ryan Reynolds in which he used this arguably inelegant phrase:"f***ing super-retards"Should someone who appeared in 81 episodes of "Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place" be passing judgments of any kind on his fellow man? I think not but I digress. Reynolds' comment was in the context of the absurdity of competitive eating competitions but for those of us who have children with developmental disabilities, "retards" is a fighting word.It's often hard for people outside my part of the population to connect the hate speech dots. But from where we sit, "retard" is the new "ni**er." It's also the new "k*ke" and the new "f*gg*t." It's a slur that knows how to multi-task. And the fun part is the people at whom it's directed often lack verbal skills and can't talk back. S-weet! It's like picking a fight with Stephen Hawking.The special needs community has long been shamed into thinking we should just remove ourselves from the culture at large. That position -- and calling people "retards" -- is so last century. Bear in mind that it wasn't all that long ago when Blacks, Jews, and gays were routinely referred to with vile epithets. For many Southern Republicans and members of country clubs, those troubled times had a name: "the good old days."

Ryan Reynolds is disgusting and a little boy because I wouldn't do that and no man I know would. Scared, whining boys would. The column also goes on to note Bill Maher's disgusting behavior and I'll second that as well. You will never find a link to Bill Maher at any community site and you can go through the archives of any site as well. We know he's crap. We're not like The Nation, selling out our beliefs to focus on Maher or Howard Stern. Howard Stern is pretty much disgusting and it is amazing that The Nation would champion his cause (he's being censored, he's moving to satellite radio) with a cover story when they offered nothing but the weakest of weak support for Lynne Stewart and, no, they didn't put her on the cover. The argument presented in the magazine (by a 'legal scholar') was, "Yes, Stewart did wrong but she shouldn't go to jail." No, Lynne Stewart did not do anything wrong. But the WEAK ASS Nation magazine can't take a stand for the left. They'll bend over backwards to prop up a racist like Howard Stern but they run from defending the left.

And you know Katrina vanden Heuvel's not going to write one word about Ryan Reynolds because she only calls out African-Americans and women.

Ron Jacobs is a name I got to know because C.I. highlighted him a lot. I also read his book on the Weather Underground and really enjoyed that. Considering how useless The Nation is, let's all be glad that there's CounterPunch and that it regularly features Ron Jacobs' work. C.I. notes this article in the snapshot today but I used the link and read it and it's a really long article. It's a good one too so I'm going to pull from the start of "Are the Neocons Really Going?:"

Recently, it has become popular to sound the death knells for the neoconservative movement. I, myself, am not a ready to dismiss this section of the power elite as other, but, no matter what, in order to address this question it is essential to refresh our minds as to what the neocons represent and where they come from. One thing about this group of US policy makers--they don't hide. They like to advertise themselves and are therefore quite easy to track down. The fact is that this section of the US power elite has been around since the 1960s where some of its origins can be found in the writings of Norman Podhoretz, who was once a leftist and wrote a book about his turnabout. More seeds of this movement can be found in the writings of Irving Kristol, who was editor of the once-liberal anticommunist rag Commentary before Mr. Podhoretz. Besides these fine examples of US intellectualism, other early neocons included Democratic party members that opposed the antiwar wing of their party that came to fruition in the McGovern campaign of 1972. Henry "Scoop" Jackson is the prominent name in this group of politicians. Jackson, who represented Washington State--home of Boeing and the Hanford Nuclear Reservation--was known as th e Senator who never met a defense contract he didn't like.
It was the presidency of Ronald Reagan, however, that truly brought the neocons into the upper echelons of US power. Anecdotal proof of this can be found in the fact that many of them were eventually implicated in the Iran-Contra scandal of that period. Reagan's opposition to government interference in business issues and his belief that Washington should spend as little money on social programs and as much money on the military is a simplified definition of the ideal neocon government. Many neocons were once liberals and even leftists who (as they like to say) grew up. Implicit in this statement is that they went where the money is. Other well known neocons include Wolfowitz, Perle, Negroponte, Adelman, and Cheney--all Republicans.
Now, about their philosophy---perhaps the best statement of the neocon philosophy is the document guiding the current administration--the Project for a New American Century. Briefly put, that statement calls for increased military spending and the use of that military to maintain and expand US hegemony. First and foremost, this means gaining control of the world's essential resources--oil and gas being foremost among those. Secondly, this means isolating and destroying any forces opposed to the first endeavor--and they mean any forces, whether they happen to be popular or governmental..
Culturally, and this explains in part their fascination with Reagan, the neocons are millenarianists. They want the culture of the lily-white United States of the 1950s back for everyone. Irving Kristol once wrote: "If there is any one thing that neoconservatives are unanimous about, it is their dislike of the counterculture." Norman Podhoretz agreed: "Revulsion against the counterculture accounted for more converts to neoconservatism than any other single factor." Continuing this tradition, today's neocons rail against Sixties-influenced culture, hiphop, Hollywood (other than Clint Eastwood and Rocky movies), and feminists; that is when they aren't busy railing at gays, Cindy Sheehan and the antiwar movement.

I think he's right. I think he's right throughout but I'll note that much (fair use) and just talk about it. I'm trying to think of the idiot's name at the Center for American Progress and forgetting it because I believe being an idiot is a requirement to joining the Center for American Progress. Couldn't remember and called C.I. Scott Lilly is the idiot.

Scott Lilly is a dumb ass who decided he wanted to hold (or maybe fondle) centrist David Obey's testicles. He wrote an idiotic piece -- even for the Center for American Progress -- where he basically lied about Tina Richards and they have never corrected that piece of crap. (One example, Tina Richards had not just gone to Congress, she had been there for six weeks already.) That pretty much sums up the Crap Ass Center for American Progress. The mother of a disabled veteran can be attacked so that they can prop up an elected centrist.

Scott Lilly, from his column, is also a coward. Gramps wanted everyone to identify with him down to the last liverspot so he trots out Vietnam and how, during that, he was afraid he would be called to serve in Vietnam. So Lilly didn't serve and Lilly didn't speak out. Lilly is a coward.
These days, he's a liver spotted coward who should probably be in a zoo somewhere so kids could laugh at him on field trips.

Back when that idiotic piece of drivel appeared, some idiot e-mailed it to me and I was mad and reading it to C.I. over the phone and I'll quote C.I. here: "How nice. The war lasted, according to Lilly, because of the people as opposed to the leaders who started it and continued to support it even after the public had turned on it." That's what he does. He's just a chicken s**t blaming Vietnam's length on people who were active then.

Isn't that the hallmark of 'establishment' thinking?

LBJ and Nixon both lied about Vietnam to the American people repeatedly and the problem, according to Lilly, were some hippies and Yippies? What a chicken s**t coward. There's no link to it and if you want to read that crap look it up. This community does not stand with the Scott Lillys. We stand with the Tina Richards. People who are effected by what our government does. Tina Richards suffers. You better believe her son Cloy suffers. But I've got a mother and I know how they are. Every day, she's out there fighting for her kid. Not because Cloy can't fight. He does fight. He stands up and speaks out. But she's not going to let anyone trash her son and she's not going to let the government get away with screwing over her son and then discarding him. That's what we're talking about and what Scott Lilly and the Center for American Progress can't talk about. They don't want to talk about that.

They want to hide behind leaders and probably tongue the asses of leaders. They don't want to stand up for the people who need it. David Obey is important to them because he's in Congress. They don't give a damn about Tina Richards or Cloy Richards. And you better believe they don't give a damn about you. They're all about the DC power. They don't give a damn about the people.

Now I'm talking about Americans above, but it's true that they don't give a damn about Iraqis either and you can read C.I. critiquing that dumb ass 'plan' from them in the snapshot.

But Ron Jacobs is talking about the threads in the establishment and how, forget the labels, they all do work together. It's not about the people. And they are threatened by people movements, like feminism or anything else. They are for official power and that is all they embrace.

And they're not doing crap to end the war and they never will. They're trying to hop a wave and trying to steer it in a new direction because they fear and hate the people. It's much too late for those dip sh*ts to get traction at this point. And, basic point, "progress" never comes from the "center" so they really are idiots to call themselves the Center for American Progress.

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

Tuesday, June 26, 2007. Chaos and violence continue, Liam Madden gets an offer from the US military, a faux left think tank blathers, and more.

Starting with news of war resistance. Eli Israel is an Army Specialist resisting the illegal war while stationed in Iraq.
Iraq Veterans Against the War and Courage to Resist (among others) have been getting the word out on the 26 year-old who "told his commanding officer and sergeants that he will no longer be a combatant in this illegal, unjustified war." Courage to Resist notes that he did have a MySpace blog until the military cracked down on that and includes these statements:

I want you all to know, that most of us that are over here, came to Iraq, with the very best of intentions, and really thought that the Iraqi people wanted us here. Now that I'm here, I realize that they want to work it out themselves, and I know we should respect that.

We'll return to that later on, for now note the wisdom -- far more wisdom than some paid for 'insight' can manage. Resisting the war takes courage and the stand not only results in attacks from the right, it leads many on the left and 'left' to play mute. But covered or not, it remains an important action.

The movement of resistance within the US military grows and includes Joshua Key,
Ehren Watada, Terri Johnson, Luke Kamunen, Leif Kamunen, Leo Kamunen, Camilo Mejia, Kimberly Rivera, Dean Walcott, Linjamin Mull, Augstin Aguayo, Justin Colby, Marc Train, Robert Zabala, Darrell Anderson, Kyle Snyder , Corey Glass, Jeremy Hinzman, Kevin Lee, Joshua Key, Mark Wilkerson, Patrick Hart, Ricky Clousing, Ivan Brobeck, Aidan Delgado, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Jeremy Hinzman, Stephen Funk, Clifton Hicks, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Joshua Casteel, Katherine Jashinski, Chris Teske, Matt Lowell, Jimmy Massey, Chris Capps, Tim Richard, Hart Viges, Michael Blake, Christopher Mogwai, Christian Care, Kyle Huwer, Vincent La Volpa, DeShawn Reed and Kevin Benderman. In total, forty US war resisters in Canada have applied for asylum.Information on war resistance within the military can be found at Center on Conscience & War, The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline, Iraq Veterans Against the War and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters.

In addition to highlight Eli Israel's brave stand,
Iraq Veterans Against the War are also launching a new action -- a summer base tour and have already visited Washington DC (June 23), Norfolk, VA (June 24). Next up? Camp Lejune in Jacksonville, NC on June 27th at 7:00 pm; Fort Jackson in Columbia, South Carolina on June 18th 7:00 pm; the US Social Forum in Atlanta, GA on June 30th at 7:00 pm; Fort Benning in Columbus, GA on July 1st at 7:00 pm; a fundraiser in Philadelphia on June 3rd at 6:00 pm; a fundraiser in NYC on July 5th at 7:00 pm; the Naval Sub Marine Base in Groton, CT on July 6th at 7:00 pm; and concluding at Fort Drum in NY on July 8th at 4:00 pm.

In addition to the bus tour,
Iraq Veterans Against the War continue to fight the US military brass that is both (a) scared of them and (b) attempting to silence them. Liam Madden, Cloy Richards and Adam Kokesh have all been targeted. At his site, Kokesh gives a heads up to the latest on Madden via Madden's reply to Lt Col Blessing:

This letter is in response to the offer of the Marine Corps Mobilization Command relayed to me via my military appointed attorney. I am prepared to accept the settlement proposed in which the Marine Corps agrees not to continue with the discharge proceeding regarding my alleged disloyal statements and protest activity. I understand that this is contingent on my oral promise not to engage n further political protest while wearing articles of my Marine uniform.
I will make such an oral agreement and stand by my good word if the Marine Corps is prepared to meet the following condition.
I will orally agree to not wear my military uniforms while engaged in any political protests, hell, I'll have it carved into stone if you'd like, upon receiving a signed, written statement on official USMC letterhead acknowledging that my statements in question were neither disloyal nor inaccurate. If the Marine Corps issues this statement, apologizing for erroneously (or possibly vindictively) accusing me of disloyalty to my country, I will not share it with another living soul.

Madden's letter continues at Kokesh's site.

Turning to Iraq and focusing on trends of violence, in yesterday's New York Times,
Alissa J. Rubin noted, "Farther north, in Mosul, a policewoman was shot to death by gunmen as she left home for work. A 35-year-old Iraqi journalist was also shot to death on her way home from work in Mosul, The Associated Press reported. The journalist, Zeena Shakir Mahmoud, had been writing about women's affairs for the newspaper Al Haqiqa." Ellen Massey (IPS) reports on the "one important group that has largely been left out of the process: women. But they are refusing to be left behind. With little international support or media attention, a network of more than 150 women's organisations across Iraq is fighting to preserve their rights in the new constitutional revision." And, Massey reports, they are attempting to enlist support from US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon. Not all have been silent on the attacks on women and women's rights. In March, MADRE issued "Promising Democracy, Imposing Theocracy: Gender-Based Violence and the US War on Iraq" (which can be read in full in PDF format or, by sections, in HTML). RadioNation with Laura Flanders' Laura Flanders (writing at The Huffington Post) observed: "Call me crazy but it still gets my goat that the entire Iraq debate takes place without the input of the female majority." Flanders also interviewed MADRE's Yanar Mohammed on RadioNation with Laura Flanders in December (December 9, 2006).
May 14th,
Amy Goodman spoke with Yanar Mohammed (Organization of Women's Freedom in Iraq). In April, Bay Fang's "The Talibanization of Iraq" (Ms. magazine, spring 2007 issue) addressed the issue. Yifat Susskind, author of the MADRE report, wrote, at CounterPunch, a very realistic look at the attacks on women and their rights in Iraq and notes: "The US has empowered Islamist political parties whose clerics promote 'honor killing' as a religious duty. The US has empowered Islamist political parties whose clerics promote 'honor killing' as a religious duty. . . The US also destroyed the Iraqi state, including much of the judicial system, leaving people more reliant on conservative tribal authorities to settle disputes and on unofficial 'religious courts' to mete out sentencing, including 'honor killings'." To be fair, those and others have noted to attacks on women. Most media has sat out (big and small) but it's equally true that so have the faux think tanks. Women are also facing other problems created by the US war and occupation (illegal war, illegal occupation). Last month, Katherine Zdepf (New York Times) examined life for Iraqi demale refugees and found . . . prostitution. Nihal Hassan (Independent of London) addressed the topic this week and noted, "There are more than a million Iraqi refugees in Syria, many are women whose husbands or fathers have been killed. Banned from working legally, they have few options outside the sex trade. No one knows how many end up as prostitutes, but Hana Ibrahim, founded of the Iraqi women's group Women's Will, puts the figure at 50,000." In a further sign of how bad things are for women in Iraq, the US military reports that an Iraqi women "safely delivered a newborwn thanks to the efforts of Multi-National Division - Baghdad Soliders and the Iraqi Army." A pregnant woman nows needs "the help of troops from 2nd Company, 3rd Battalion, 5th Brigade, 6th Iraqi Army Division" in order to avoid a home birth. Speaking in Chicago last week, Dahlia Wasfi (via the US Socialist Worker) summed the situation up: "Women have all but disappeared from their roles in the workforce. Once contributors to Iraqi society as teachers, judges, lawyers, doctors, engineers, traffic police and more, the threat of violence and kidnapping now imprisons many women in their homes. But even there, they are not safe from the terrorism of daily house raids by American soldiers and their subordinate Iraqi police."

Turning to another Iraq topic that trends repeatedly, bridges. What should now be apparent is that Iraqi bridges are being targeted not by accident or whim but with an intent to control the traffic flow and deny access.
IRIN reports today that the destruction of and to bridges is impeding "delivery of humanitarian aid in war-torn Iraq" and "Some analysts see the attacks on the bridges as an attempt to make it difficult for Iraqi and US troops to bring supplies from one side of the [Tigris] river to the other. Others believe the goal is to divide the city's predominately Shia east bank, known as Risafa, from the mostly Sunni west bank, or Karkh." And for those who still can't grasp how serious the issue is, note that the US military has issued a press release on it in which the world learns that, following the June 2nd bombing of the Sarihah Bridge, the US military and Iraqi forces were able to create "a critical bypass road to reestablish traffic around the Sarihah Bridge near Tuz Khurmatu, Iraq, June 24." Now potable water, among many other things, the Iraqis have waited and waited in vain for. But on June 2nd a bridge is bombed and within three weeks a "critical bypass" had been completed. Even if some still do not grasp what's going on, the US military brass grasps the danger.

Another trend story that can't be captured in the daily violence summaries is life for Iraqi children.
IRIN noted in May that Iraqi's vaccination supplies have been largely destroyed. In April, IRIN sounded the alarm for the increased risk of "[d]ehydration, cholera and bacterial infections" which would impact children (and the elderly) in greater numbers. And near the middle of this month, IRIN noted that thousands of Iraqi children now live on the streets and are forced to work, as young as 12, to provide family income. As Dahlia Wasfi observed last week, "For the children . . ., during the first three and a half years of occupation, 270,000 newborns received no immunizations. Eight hundred thousand Iraqi children are not in school due to the chaos, lack of security and severe poverty. According to the State of the World's Mothers report, released last month by Save the Children, the chance that an Iraqi child will live beyond age 5 has plummeted faster in Iraq than anywhere in the world since 1990. In 2005, one in eight Iraqi children died of disease or violence before reaching the age of 5. Operation Enduring Freedom would more appropriately be named Operation Dead Children." And today, Sudarsan Raghavan (Washington Post) reported on the "immense and largely unnoticed psychological toll on children and youth that will have long-term consequnes" and noted: "Since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003, 4 million Iraqis have fled their homes, half of them children, according to the United Nations Children's Fund. Many are being killed inside their sanctuaries -- at playgrounds, on soccer fields and in schools. Criminals are routinely kidnapping children for ransom as lawlessness goes unchecked. Violence has orphaned tens of thousands."

The above three trends result from the illegal war and occupation. But no 'benchmarks' address women, children or infrastructure. Faux think tanks are happy to press for
the theft of Iraqi oil but no interest at all in something as basic as vaccinations for children.

The violence continued today and among the events were . . .


Reuters reports a Baghdad roadside bombing that left three wounded. The US military notes that British Royal Air Force GR-4 Tornado bombed a building "near Slman Pak" today with a "2,000-pound bomb" and, with the help of two OH-58D helicopters, killed at least six people who they hope, really, really hope were so-called 'insurgents.'


Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports Dr. Nihad Mohammed Abdul Rhman ("assistant dean of Al Nahrain college") was shot dead in Baghdad, that Hussein Al Najjar ("Iman of Al Arab msoque") was shot dead in Basra and Hamid Abid Sarhan Al Shijiri ("sheikh of Shijirat tribe") was shot dead in Baghdad. Following yesterday's Baghdad hotel bombing, which claimed the lives of four sheikhs, this 'random act of violence' might not be so random. Reuters note a police officer shot dead in Baghdad (three more injured) and a student shot dead in Mosul.


Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 21 corpses were discovered in the capital.

Turning to faux think tanks, allegedly on the left. Today, on NPR's
The Diane Reham Show, Zbigniew Brzezinski and Republican Lawrence Hart (there will be no correction to that characterization, words and actions indicate he remains a member of the Reagan cabinet in heart and mind). Now if our goal was to waste time, we could gush and note every word out of Brezezinski's mouth. But we don't give a damn. Similarly, we do not give a damn about a xenophobic, faux peace plan coming out of the centrist Democratic think tank known as The Center for American Progress. Yes, some of the left are stroking it. We won't.

A few basics. You cannot say you are opposed to "permanent bases in Iraq" (as the laughable report claims) and that this a 'troops home now' proposal when the reality is, your plan staffs the "embassy" with troops and the Baghdad embassy is not an embassy,
it is a fortress -- 104 acres. In addition, the report would allow troops to be left in Iraq in order to "work with Kurdish peshmerga in protecting Iraqis who have fled to northern Iraq to escape the violence . . ." Oh, are we still serving that lie? Are we still pretending that there's any real difference in that section?

There's not. The attention's been on the Shi'ite and Sunni conflict, the bloodbath in nothern Iraq's never received much attention outside of a few human rights organizations. That region, and the people holding power in it, got the gold star and the US looked the other way. The reality is the same competition of resources and power going on throughout Iraq (and instigated and stoked by the US) is going on there as well (and expected to increase).

It's one falsehood after another from the laughable report put out by the laughable Center for American Progress. Take the claim that moving thousands of US troops (remember -- people are calling this a 'peace plan') to "Afghanistan to complete the unaccomplished missing of eradicating Al Qaeda there." Eradicating al Qaeda? First of all, the US military is currently responsible for more deaths in Afghanistan than any other group or grouping. Second of all, the problems throughout the 90s are the same problems today and you can thank the US administration for bombing an already war torn country, strutting around with big words, only to turn the country back over to the same war lords.

Now the centrist Center may not be stupid. They may just be attempting to take the easiest road. Or they may be attempting to clampdown on very real outrage (the Center includes a lot of Council for Foreign Relations types including Lawrence J. Korb)? It doesn't matter.

If you have any respect for Iraqis, for Americans, for humanity, read through the 61 page (counting end credits) report and try not to be offended. It won't be easy and what the Center is STILL selling is the notion that the US can or should dictate terms to Iraqis. Equally appalling is that the report fails to note that the US presence fuels the resistance (let alone why that reaction is). When you can't even talk that reality, you have nothing worth saying.

Last week, a report was issued [PDF format warning] that did actually attempt to address reality, the "
Independent Report on Iraq:"

Executive Summary [
Read] [French]Map of Major Coalition Attacks, Bases and Prisons [See map]Political Map of Iraq [See map]1. Introduction [Read]2. Destruction of Cultural Heritage [Read]3. Indiscriminate and Especially Injurious Weapons [Read]4. Unlawful Detention [Read]5. Abuse and Torture of Prisoners [Read]6. Attacks on Cities [Read]7. Killing Civilians, Murder and Atrocities [Read]8. Displacement and Mortality [Read]9. Corruption, Fraud and Gross Malfeasance [Read]10. Long-Term Bases and the New Embassy Compound [Read]11. Other Issues [Read]- Iraqi Public Opinion and the Occupation- Cost of the War and Occupation12. Conclusion and Recommendations [Read]

CounterSpin is to be the only national media that will cover it?

Meanwhile the faux think tank gets attention, gets coverage and the reality is that it has nothing to offer. Assume for a moment that the plan was not so offensive and did not assume Iraqis are 'bad' children, is Bully Boy going to implement it? No. It's nothing but cover. "We had a plan!" And, apparently, if a Dem gets in the White House, this 'plan' will allow the Dem to propose another year of illegal war?

As is too often the case,
Ron Jacobs (CounterPunch) is ahead of the curve. Today he addresses the realities of neocons ("their goals for the US are no different than the goals of the rest of the Washington establishment. Only their means differ at times.") and the realities of the lead up to this war which did not come in 2002 or 2001:

But, someone might say, Al Gore wouldn't have invaded Iraq. Yet, Bill Clinton and Al Gore attacked Iraq several times, maintained an illegal flyover program on the country that bombed the country almost daily, and enforced sanctions that killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqis. All of these policies along with others not mentioned created the situation George Bush and his administration found themselves in in March 2003.

That's why the left doesn't need faux 'left' think tanks and why the left shouldn't be in bed with them. Yes, so-called "Student Nation" that means you.