Friday, February 23, 2007

The Peace Resister & The Pooper

Friday! Rebecca and Elaine are picking out music to listen to and I'm doing a quick post. We just got back from dinner and it was really cool. Flyboy too! He's just kicked off his shoes and said he's not moving for at least half an hour. :D He goes, "You'd think I was the pregnant one!" :D

Lots of laughs tonight like at the peace resister Katrina vanden Heuvel who's such a dumb ass she's promoting a right-wing movie. What a dumb ass! She really is a dumb ass.

Let's go from the dumb ass to what falls out, The Pooper! In "Mainstream Media Discover Antiwar GIs" (no link, as C.I. would say, "We don't link to trash") The Pooper can't stop flinging his own feces. Here's his opening: "A story The Nation broke eight weeks ago about the growing movement of active-duty military dissenters against the war will get a nationwide television audience Sunday on CBS News' 60 Minutes."

The Nation broke that story, did it? Hell no. And first off, Katrina vanden Heuvel wrote about it twice and at least one of those two times was before The Pooper's dumb ass article appeared. (It was dumb ass. The Pooper included a slam against Ehren Watada for no reason except to prove what an ass he is. Things haven't gone too well for The Poooper since he lost his radio gig. :D)

Second of all, long before The Pooper or Katrina vanden Heuvel, many others were covering it. That's Nora Barrows-Friedman, that's Law & Disorder, that's C.I. who covered it from the start and only dropped it when Katrina covered it the second time because when the walking version of Town & Country is talking about it, it's been covered. :D

So dumb ass wants to act like he's done something amazing. AP's covered it for some time and Amy Goodman's covered long before The Pooper had his bowel movement.

But isn't that cute the way The Pooper LIES and implies he found a story all by himself, wrote it up when no one even knew about it and now CBS is following up.

Get real. What a freak. He really is the Wolfman Jack of the psuedo-left.

I'm beginning to think The Nation is the dumping ground for all the dumb asses who can't go elsewhere. Ruth will be addressing one tomorrow. Cedric called her and said Betty was enraged. He, Betty and Ty wanted to address the dumb ass but they decided it was too personal at this point. So tomorrow Ruth will tell you about the dumb ass. (I heard about it because Ruth and her grandson were still here when Elaine and I got here. She wanted our opinion. Rebecca and her filled us in on the radio broadcast. I said, "That dumb ass's nose is so high in the air the nose bleeds must be deadly!")

The Pooper didn't do damn thing for war resisters. He did insult Ehren Watada (running with that quote calling him a coward) and that's all The Dumb Ass Nation can do. But, as I think everyone already thought when they heard CBS, uh, Ava and C.I. have much more pull behind the scenes there than does The Pooper. And unlike The Pooper and other 'press' that are really just servants (to the powerful and famous), Ava and C.I. don't have to enter through the servants' door.

Speaking of C.I., Elaine is pissed at me because I knew C.I. was going back out on the road to speak on campuses this week and didn't say a word. C.I. really was sick. There was the passing out Sunday and the cold which was really step throat. But it was Florida and I knew Wally would go with. Which he did and Wally said they had a blast from the moment he met C.I. at the airport. Elaine really is pissed at me. C.I. didn't say, "Don't tell Elaine." But I knew better than to pass that on. But C.I.'s attitude was "I feel like crap and all I do is work on an entry and then hop in bed. I feel worse every day." Already C.I. felt better on Thursday just from getting out. The throat hurts still but a lot less and C.I. said, "I'm not sleeping 16 hours a day."

I was pretty sure Rebecca knew and, sure enough, at dinner she lets it slip that she knew. Elaine wasn't mad at her. She said Rebecca always finds that sort of thing funny. She started talking about college and how she'd be on C.I.'s ass about being up 48 hours or so straight with doing this and that and C.I. would say, "Oh, I slept four hours awhile ago" and Rebecca would always lie and say, "That's right!" :D

So Rebecca's forgiven but she really is mad at me. We're not going to be arguing this weekend because she said there's no point but she wanted me to know she is really mad.

By the way, while The Pooper plays in his own feces and Katrina vanden Heuvel gushes over a right-wing film, no one bothers to write a damn word about Abeer or any of the other rapes. They live in their own little nose-bleed world, inbred pets yapping in each other's ear drums. :D

But my favorite prof stopped me on campus today and he goes, "Tell C.I. amazing!" :D OMG, it has been an amazing week for C.I. While the bulk of the left ignored it or "the little girls" (as Ma calls one site) tried to write something quick yesterday to prove "I'm a feminist even if I dither on about nonsense day after day," and write it so quick that they get it wrong (Barker didn't testify this week, idiot!), C.I.'s been hitting hard on the rapes and attempted rapes. Prof was going the whole class was talking about how hard it was to pick just one thing from The Common Ills this week.

It really is and that's because ain't no gas baggery at The Common Ills. No offering up sermons as you float past on a cloud or doing shout outs to yourself while you roll around in your own feces.

Let me wind down, here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" (which Wally said was written in 20 minutes with a lot of yelling "Help!" in the cell phones :D):

Friday, February 23, 2007. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq, the military demonstrates that "justice" is still a joke to them despite one sex scandal after another, the press is all over the crying rapist, Turkey voices its opposition to partitioning Iraq, and Antonia Juhasz and Kris Welch address the topic of the push to privatize Iraq's oil.

Starting with war resisters.
Yesterday, Mark Wilkerson was court-martialed at Fort Lewis in Texas and sentenced to seven months in a military prison and given a bad conduct discharge. Jim Bergamo (KVUE) reports that Wilkerson's mother, wife and brother were sitting behind him during the hearing and that "it was his good behavior in that first tour of duty and after he returned to his unit in August of last year that helped sway the judge to sentence him to only seven months in jail and give him a bad conduct discharge" while his attorney Michael Duncan told Bergamo that "in a general court-martial, no confinement is very rare". Angela K. Brown (AP) reports that Rebecca Barker, his mother, testified about the home life: "Barker said that in 1996 her estranged husband -- who had adopted Mark as a child -- broke into their house, fatally beat her friend with a baseball bat and then beat her before Mark, then 12, intervened and ran for help. Her husband committed suicide before his murder trial."

In other war resister news,
El Universal reports that Agustin Aguayo's mother, Susana Aguayo, appeal to the Mexican government has been heard -- "The Foreign Relations Secretariat said it would seek information on the health and legal situation of Agustin Aguayo, who faces charges of desertion and missing troop movement. . . . given Aguayo's 'nationality of origin and the fact that his relatives are Mexican, the department has ordered the Mexican Embassy in Germany to offer consular assistance, which consists of using its good offices to gather information on the health and legal situation' of Aguayo." Agustin Aguayo is scheduled to be court-martialed March 6th in Germany.

Ehren Watada, we're going to repeat two points because they are important ones.
Friday's snapshot, while noting Ehren Watada, the following appeared: "John Catalinotto (Socialist Worker) observes: 'Watada's military defense lawyer -- appointed by the Army -- Capt. Mark Kim, said that he agreed with Seitz's interpretation of military law'." That was incorrect. John Catalinotto's article appeared in Workers' World, not Socialist Worker, my apologies. This was noted Tuesday, but it is important to again stress that the military attorney, Mark Kim, is in agreement with Seitz re: double-jeopardy. Let's also repeat from yesterday: " Gregg K. Kakesako (Honolulu Star-Bulletin) reports that Eric Seitz, Watada's civilian attorney, doesn't expect a court-martial to even be possible before summer due to scheduling issues and that the military hasn't even refiled the charges for the March 19th date that Judge Toilet (John Head) was tossing around when he declared a mistrial."

Wilkerson, Aguayo and Watada are a part of a movement of resistance with the military that includes others such as
Kyle Snyder, Patrick Hart, Ivan Brobeck, Darrell Anderson, Ricky Clousing, Aidan Delgado, Joshua Key, Camilo Meija, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Jeremy Hinzman, Stephen Funk, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Corey Glass, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Katherine Jashinski, Chris Teske, Matt Lowell, Jimmy Massey, Tim Richard and Kevin Benderman. In total, thirty-eight 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, and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters.

Remember how
Mark Wilkerson was sentenced to seven months in military prison? Let's turn to the reality of the joke that is military justice. Sgt. 1st Class Daniel Edwards Franklin is now a "private" and somehow that's "justice" in the snicker-snicker, dirty joke world of the US military. In a press release, the US military tells you he was busted down to private as punishment determined in his court-martial today. Punishment for? "[I]ndecent acts upon a female Private 2nd Class in the junior Soldier's room and then lying about his involvment to CID personnel. On 20 Ocotber 2006 Sgt. 1st Class Franklin followed a female Private 2nd Class into her room on LSA Anaconda. He attempted to force intimate contact upon the solider." Let's be clear because the US military tends to gloss over rape -- as does the press. What Franklin was trying to do, "force intimate contact," is what's known as attempted rape. Back to the press release: "During a CID interview and on the witness stand at trial" denied touching the woman or being in her room for more than five minutes.
And here's where the US military proves what a sad joke is: "A panel of officers and enlisted personnel, sentenced Sgt. 1st Class Franklin to reduction in grade to E-1." Wow. Aren't we all just blown away. Wilkerson's spending seven-months in a military prison and Franklin gets no jail time for attempted rape. As noted in The Third Estate Sunday Review's "
Women and the military" one in every seven US service members serving in Iraq is a woman but there's no real safety guarantees for women. Crimes aren't punished and for any who doubt it, a superior attempts to rape a woman and his "punishment" doesn't include jail time. It's all a joke or a game to the military but not even a game that includes the instruction "Go immediately to jail, do not collect 200 dollars." From The Third Estate Sunday Review feature:

Do you know the name Michael Sydney? As Cheryl Seelhoff reported in Off Our Backs (vol 35, no 2, p. 22), Sgt. Sydney was found guilty, July 2006, "of pandering, mistreating, subordinates, and obstruction of justice, smong other things, for what amounts to his having pimped women under his command. Sydney threatened to extend the tour of duty of female erservists called to active duty if they did not have sex with his superior officers." The brave US military 'justice' system did not court-martial him but they did give him a slap on the wrist: "sentence to six months in jail." Where does someone like Syndey get the idea that women in the military can be used as whores? The same attitude that Antonia expressed which renders service members as males (with wives to kiss) and women invisible.In the same edition of Off Our Backs, Allison Tobey (p. 16) noted Col Janis Karpinski's testimony that General Ricardo Sanchez issued an order barring "dehydration" being noted as cause of death on the death certificates of female service members. Why? Because, according to Karpinski, women were dying from that "because they did not drink liquids in the afternoons in an effort to avoid going to the latrines at night, where they were afrid male soldiers would rape them." Sanchez' 'solution' didn't address the problem, it hid it -- as too many 'solutions' to the abuse and mistreatment of women in the military repeatedly does.In the January 2007 edition of The Progressive,
Traci Hukill examined sexual harassment and sexual assualt in the military and cited a VA report from 2003 (lead to Congress in 2005) which found "60 percent of women and 27 percent of men had experience Military Sexual Trauma" and that it "found the prevalence of actual sexual assualt -- 'unwanted sexual conduct of a physical nature' -- to be 23 percent among female reservists."

Much is being made about Paul Cortez crying at his hearing yesterday and being sentenced to 100 years of prison time for his part in the gang rape and murder of
Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi as well as the murder of her parents and her five-year-old sister. Reality check -- BBC points out he "will be eligible to seek parole in 10 years." AFP has Cortez as his most tearful when he says: "I'm sorry I let you guys down; you guys treat me better than this." How about a few tears for the 14-year-old girl who was gang raped and murdered? The one Cortez tesified "kept screaming and tried to keep her legs closed. At no point did I think that I had consent to have sex with Abeer." CBS News notes that Cortez couldn't explain to the court "why he did it" -- well, how about he repeat the jokes and ha-has he and the others shared over beer and grilled chicken after the gang rapes and murders?

Rose French (AP) reports that Jesse Speilman's attorneys are saying that he didn't take part in the planning of the rapes and murders. They're also saying that he was under stress. More laughs should ensue April 2nd when his court-martial begins. Steven D. Green is the only one who will be tried in a civilian court. (Green has maintained his innocence. James Barker and Cortez both confessed to their own actions and named Green as the ringleader who planned it all and the one who shot all four family members dead.)

Turning to news of Bully Boy's eye on the prize,
Antonia Juhasz spoke with Kris Welch on KPFA's Living Room today about the oil law that would privatize Iraq's oil and that had Condi storming through Baghdad last weekend to apply pressure.

Welch started the discussion by citing
Juan Gonzalez (New York Daily News) article on the oil law: "Under the proposed law, Iraq's immense oil reserves would not simply be opened to foreign oil exploration, as many had expected. Amazingly, executives from those companies would actually be given seats on a new Federal Oil and Gas Council that would control all of Iraq's reserves. In other words, Chevron, ExxonMobil, British Petroleum and the other Western oil giants could end up on the board of directors of the Iraqi Federal Oil and Gas Council, while Iraq's own national oil company would become just another competitor."

"Basically it says that executives of oil companies can be on the council and it doesn't say whether or not that is foreign and/or domestic. What I find most depressing about this law is frankly the speed with which it is moving now through the Iraqi government. We, those of us who have been working globally against this push for this essentially privatization of Iraq's oil thought that we had more time and it's really been fast-tracked in Iraq and what is so depressing is that the way this law is written in my mind if it is completed and if it implemented, which we can talk about more later, US oil companies will have at least on paper won the war in Iraq

Kris Welch pointed out that the Iraq oil law is sold as being "very key to settling the increasing violence and chaos in Iraq, that who is in control of the oil is vital and it's in everyone's interest".

Juhasz: It's really American, and let me clarify that as Bush administration, propaganda that this law is the path towards stability in Iraq. It is absolutely propaganda. This law is being sold as the mechanism for helping the Iraqis determine how they will distribute their oil revenue. That is not what this law is about. That is the bottom end of an enormous hammer that is this oil law. This oil law is about foreign access to Iraq's oil and the terms by which that access will be determined. It is also about the distribution of decision making power between the central government and the region as to who has ultimate decision making power and the types of contracts that will be signed. There are powers that be within Iraq that would very much like to see that power divvied up into the regions, between the Kurds and the Shia in particular, and then there are powers that would like to see Iraq retained as a central authority. The Bush administration would like the central government of Iraq to have ultimate control over contracting decisions because it believes it has more allies in the central government than it would if it was split up into regions. The Bush administration is most concerned with getting an oil law passed now and passed quickly to take advantage of the weakness of the Iraqi government. The Iraqi government couldn't be in a weaker negotiating position and the law locks the government in to twenty to thirty-five year committments to granting the most extreme versions of exploration and production contracts to US companies or foreign companies. Meaning that foreign companies would have access to the vast majorities of Iraq's oil fields and they would own the oil under the ground --
they would control the production and they would in contracts yet to be determined get a percentage of that profit but they'd be negotiating essentially when Iraq is at its weakest when Iraq is hardly a country. And that's what this oil law is all about. What Iraqis are saying very clearly and have said to
Raed [Jarrar] and, in particular, to the loudest voices being the Iraqi oil unions is that the only people who want to see this law passed now are the Americans. There's no other reason to push that law through."

Welch and Juhasz then discussed how the government's creation (and election) influences the chances that the law could be passed which put the US administration in the position to call shots. Juhasz: "Now that influence isn't complete and that's why the law hasn't passed yet but it's been slowly and progressively making it's way through and now as you said it's passed through the cabinet or is on the verge of passing in the cabinet it would then go to the parliatment and there's great concern . . .
Raed [Jarrar] has done a monumental job of trying to inform the Iraqi parliamentarians just about the law. Until he had helped unearth the draft and help retreive it from the internet that most parliamentarians, or almost all Iraq parliamentarians haven't even seen the law."

Juhasz cited
Hands off Iraqi Oil and Oil Change International as resources for activism geared for the fourth anniversary of the start of the illegal war next month. [Thank you to Megan, Zach and Ty for noting & transcribing the above.]

Picking up on the issue of Iraq being split into regions,
KUNA reports that Abdullah Gul, Turkey's foreign minister, declared yesterday that splitting Iraq into regions or partitions would lead "bloody wars": "Why we refuse the establishment of a Kurdish state in the North of Iraq, the reason is clear, we are against the partition of Iraq because this will trigger engless wars in the region."

Meanwhile Tony Blair's claims of 'success' in Iraq are about as 'truthful' as his claims of a pullout.
Stephen Farrell, Ned Parker and Richard Beeston (Times of London) report: "Tony Blair says Iraq has made 'remarkable' progress. Clusters of red on the British Army's own maps of Basra suggest otherwise. . . . Although the initial perception of British forces in Basra was of experienced troops putting the population at ease by patrolling in berets, instead of the more aggressive posture adopted by US forces further north, the reality has varied widely from town to town."

In WOOPSIE! news,
Kim Gamel (AP) reported the US military arrested "Amar al-Hakim, son of political leader Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim" -- who had face time with Bully Boy in DC last December. CNN reports that the Zalmay Khalilzad (still US ambassador to Iraq for now) "issued an apology" for the arrest and the son has been released.

In other political news,
BBC reports that "Democrats in the US are planning a challenge to President George W Bush's handling of the war in Iraq" with the premise that the authority granted by the resolution was for set things and new things need to be set. CBS and AP report that the new resolution is still unclear but would "leave U.S. troops with a limited mission as they prepare to withdraw."

In Iraq? It's Friday. Did anyone work besides McClatchy Newspapers?


Mohammed al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a child was killed in a mortar attack in the Amil neighborhood of Baghdad and five other people were injured in the attack while, in the Abu Disheer neighborhood of Baghdad, a mortar attack injured three people.


Mohammed al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports "a U.S. military convoy killed one civilian and injured other two in Zafaraniya, Iraqi police said. The source said the patrol didn't stop after the shooting and the man who was killed was walking on the side road."


Mohammed al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports five corpses were discovered in Baghdad.

Today, the
US military announced: "Three Soldiers assigned to Multi-National Force-West were killed Feb. 22 while conducting combat operations in Al Anbar Province."

agustin aguayo
ehren watada
antonia juhaszraed jarrar

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Yifat Susskind, Cindy Litman

Thursday! Okay, first up, the NYC thing -- it was worth noting just due to Black History but I guessed correctly when I called C.I. and asked, "Did ___ e-mail this?" ___ did. Anytime a war resister wants something noted by C.I., consider it automatic that I'll note it here. Second, I'll be blogging a bit later tonight. Elaine will, Rebecca will. Rebecca's been off house rest/bed rest for a month but she's really only gone to the doctor's and taken walks around her house. There's a nice place to eat not far from her and she was wondering if it would be okay to go there? Sure would. She's limited her actions this month partly out of being nervous. So this will be a good way to do something, have some fun and get ready for March.

Now Leigh Ann wrote an e-mail where she goes she's "begging" me to highlight something. She goes C.I. is hitting hard on the rapes and shouldn't be left out in the cold. I agree. Ma was pointing that out today, that yet again, you've got a lot of so-called feminists writing at so-called left magazines like The Nation and The Progressive and nobody saying one word about Abeer or the two rape victims this week. Ma said, "Once again, C.I.'s doing all the heavy work while others slack off." Dad pointed out, "Yeah, and the slack offs are paid to write." So Leigh Ann wanted Yifat Susskind's "Iraqi Police Commit Rape--Armed, Trained, and Funded by the US" noted:

The international news media is flooded with images of a woman in a pink headscarf recounting a shattering experience of rape by members of the Iraqi National Police. Most of the coverage has focused on her taboo-breaking decision to speak publicly about the assault, but has ignored the context for understanding--and combating--sexual violence by Iraqi security forces.
As Iraqi women’s organizations have documented, sexualized torture is a routine horror in Iraqi jails. While this woman may be the first Iraqi rape survivor to appear on television, she is hardly the first to accuse the Iraqi National Police of sexual assault. At least nine Iraqi organizations (including
Women’s Will, Occupation Watch, the Women's Rights Association , the Iraqi League, the Iraqi National Association of Human Rights, the Human Rights' Voice of Freedom, the Association of Muslim Scholars, the Iraqi Islamic Party and the Iraqi National Media and Culture Organization) as well as Amnesty International, the UN Assistance Mission in Iraq, and the Brussels Tribunal have documented the sexualized torture of Iraqi women while in police custody. And as this case attests, sexual violence is woven into the fabric of the civil war now raging across Iraq. According to Iraqi human rights advocate and writer Haifa Zangana, the first question asked of female detainees in Iraq is, "Are you Sunni or Shia?" The second is, "Are you a virgin?"
Next week,
MADRE, an international women's human rights organization, will release a report that documents the widespread use of rape and other forms of torture against women detainees in Iraq by US and Iraqi forces.* The report includes testimonies of numerous rape survivors, collected by the Organization of Women's Freedom in Iraq (OWFI). Since November 2005, OWFI has conducted a Women's Prison Watch project and has found that, "Torture and rape are common procedure of investigation in police stations run by the militias affiliated with the government, mostly the Mahdi and Badr militias," according to their summer 2006 report.
These are the same sectarian Shiite militias that are prosecuting Iraq's civil war, the same militias that stepped into the power vacuum created by the US overthrow of Saddam Hussein, and the same militias that have been systematically attacking women in their bid to establish an Islamist theocracy. Since 2003, the political leadership of these militias has been handed control of the Iraqi state by the US, while the militants themselves have waged a campaign of assassinations, rapes, abductions, beheadings, acid attacks, and public beatings targeting women--particularly women who pose a challenge to the project of turning Iraq into a theocracy. As the occupying power in Iraq, the US was obligated under the Hague and Geneva Conventions to provide security to Iraqi civilians, including protection from gender-based violence. But the US military, preoccupied with battling the Iraqi insurgency, simply ignored the reign of terror that Islamist militias have imposed on women.

I think she was on Laura Flanders' show in December talking about the criminal attacks on women in Iraq. Leigh Ann asked why Katrina vanden Heuvel never wrote about Abeer and won't write about this week's rapes? I asked Ma if she had a guess? She said some women think "rape" is a "low" topic to discuss and some women think rape only happens when a woman "asks" for it so maybe that's why Katrina vanden Heuvel can never write one damn word about the topic? I think those are good guesses.

But let me echo Leigh Ann because she's right, C.I. has hit hard on the rapes all week long. Great job and it really makes a difference. Doing book reports on the Washington Post's series (and getting it wrong) doesn't do much but that's what Katrina vanden Heuvel did. And that's who Elaine was talking about in '"Fact" and Monica Benderman' -- she had a hilarious thing that she took out at the last minute. But you can still giggle. :D

C.I. really does an amazing job. And I can't walk around campus without hearing that. It always makes me happy to hear that. :D

Now I'm going to highlight something by Cindy Litman called "Defund the War and Fund Reparations Instead:"

The landscape has shifted and we are finally hearing significant bipartisan opposition to the war. Yet little of this opposition focuses on the plight of the Iraqi people. Even the peace movement, with its focus on supporting the troops by bringing them home, is largely silent on the question of Iraqi victims of the war.
Six years ago, I wrote an OpEd piece for the Davis (California) Enterprise opposing the US/UN sanctions against Iraq. At that time, a small handful of Davis activists were trying to raise awareness about the effects of the sanctions on the Iraqi people. Week after week we tabled at the Davis Farmers Market, and week after week I witnessed an outpouring of empathy and donations-not for the 500,000 Iraqi children who had died as a result of the sanctions, but for the neighboring booth, Labrador Retriever Rescue. I puzzled over the question of what it would take to rouse similar interest in the plight of Iraqis.

Okay, first off, I don't know what she means that the peace movement doesn't talk about the monies owed to Iraq. Anthony Arnove's Iraq: The Logic of Withdrawal addresses that. Now I haven't read stuff by Congress members or former ones so I have no idea what they're saying but I don't think of John Edwards or George McGovern as part of the peace movement. Maybe she's talking about the Carrie Nations who claim to be "peace" people and think peace is pulling the troops out of Iraq to send them to Darfur? I don't know. But I know Arnove's covered it and Howard Zinn's covered it, I got to hear Alice Walker give a speech in person about that, I've read a lot of articles about it . . . Wait! Maybe that's the problem. Maybe she's including The Nation as part of the peace movement even though the editor and publisher is the peace resister? Look, those dumb shits can't run an article on war resisters in their crap ass print editions. Katrina vanden Heuvel's such a joke. Tony was pulling up the website at the library all last week to get people to laugh at that stupid picture of her for some video thing where her hair and face looked like a really old woman's. She's just a joke. So maybe that's what Litman's thinking of? But Tom Hayden, there's another name that's talked about the money that is owed Iraq. Naomi Klein's another. So it's just the dumb asses who don't say a word.

And I'll include Katha Pollitt on the dumb ass list because, as Martha pointed out, Ms. Feminist who snapped at CODEPINK to back off Hillary Clinton couldn't WRITE ONE DAMN WORD ABOUT ABEER. Then, this year, after ignoring Iraq for all of 2006, she wants to tell other people to BE HONEST? Why doesn't she go back to hectoring the NAACP because I'm sure they're all waiting for the next list of what some White woman thinks they should focus on. It's funny that she wanted to tell people to BE HONEST about Iraq in 2007 when she couldn't mention them in 2006. Hold on, I'm hunting down Martha's e-mail and putting it in here. Elaine read it into a roundtable at The Third Estate Sunday Review, no surprise, The Nation didn't print it:

Reading Katha Pollitt's "Ho-Ho-Holiday Donations -- 2006" two questions arose
1) Ms. Pollitt refers to In These Times as The Nation's "sister publication." In light of concerns regarding media consolidation, that phrase needs to be explained.
2) Looking through the ten recommended organizations and publications, I see Hurricane Katrina, I see Vietnam, et al. I don't see Iraq. Is Ms. Pollitt aware that a war is going on? MADRE, an organization recently recommended on RadioNation with Laura Flanders, seems much more fitting than a periodical (two make Ms. Pollitt's list). In addition, there are numerous organizations working for peace and supporting C.O.s.
If Ms. Pollitt is unaware that a war is going on in Iraq, that might explain why she has never written one word about the rape and murder of fourteen-year-old Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi -- a topic that strikes me as much more important than Hillary Clinton being 'bird-dogged."

See? Katha Pollitt = Dumb Ass. She's made herself equal that. I don't want anyone to ever say "brave feminist" about Pollitt after she chose not to write one damn word about the rape and murder of a fourteen-year-old Iraqi girl. She's useless. Others in the community have different feelings and that's fine, but she's useless to me. And Ms. "Real Stab" who wanted to slam Gloria Steinem and Jane Fonda? She never wrote about Abeer either. Lot of so-called feminists doing dopey top ten lists and doing their "comedy" columns and wasting everyone's time.

Now Litman also talks about the sanctions and I can't tell you what it was like in the period she's talking about. I was a kid. I didn't know about the sanctions. Sorry to shock all the hand wringers, but except for a few jokes, I really didn't hear about Monica Lewinsky and Bill Clinton. I was a kid in middle school playing my sports. I didn't usually watch TV because of practice and games and if I didn't have either of those or homework, I was hanging with my buds and we were interested in middle school things.

The first time I heard about the sanctions, I was probably in high school and the talk about war with Iraq was probably going on. I asked my parents about it and they explained it to me. But my point here is people my age, college kids, and younger weren't all aware of that then. I can't tell you how come it sailed over so many people's heads at the time. But I do know people care about it now. It may just be getting the word out.

It may also be this refusal to confront Democrats like Bill Clinton. He was all for the sanctions, him and Mad Maddie and a lot of people see them as gods who walk on water. I don't. A lot of people don't now. I also think the alternative media is stronger now. So we do hear about it. I would hate to have been an adult in the mid to late 90s because the music started sucking and the 'news' was such crap -- O.J. on the run! Lewinsky! and other nonsense. But alternative media has built up and not that elitist nonsense of The Nation where they want to tell you what to do but real media that wants to inform you.

And like CounterPunch. Between Elaine and C.I., I don't know anyone of my friends that doesn't at least know of the site and that wasn't true two years ago. I didn't even know about CounterPunch until The Common Ills. I mean look at the lie that still exists about how Ralph Nader "stole" votes from Al Gore in 2000. That's not true. But a lot of people aren't really about the truth, they're just about rah-rah Democrats! And those people are never going to call Mad Maddie out.

Okay, here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Thursday, February 22, 2007. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq, the media obsesses over royalty (Harry in Iraq in May! Or June! OMG), the puppet learns rape doesn't just go away, the military still hasn't refiled charges against Ehren Watada, Mark Wilkerson faces his court-martial at Fort Hood, and activism and calls for it abound.

Starting with the issue of rape.
Riverbend (Baghdad Burning) offers a breakdown for those who still can't get it:

No Iraqi woman under the circumstances -- under any circumstances -- would publicly, falsely claim she was raped. There are just too many risks. There is the risk of being shunned socially. There is the risk of beginning an endless chain of retaliations and revenge killings between tribes. There is the shame of coming out publicly and talking about a subject so taboo, she and her husband are not only risking their reputations by telling this story, they are risking their lives.
No one would lie about something like this simply to undermine the Baghdad security operation. That can be done simply by calculating the dozens of dead this last week. Or by writing about the mass detentions of innocents, or how people are once again burying their valuables so that Iraqi and American troops don't steal them.
It was less than 14 hours between Sabrine's claims and Maliki's rewarding the people she accused. In 14 hours, Maliki not only established their innocence, but turned them into his own personal heroes. I wonder if Maliki would entrust the safety his own wife and daughter to these men.

Riverbend is writing of the 20-year-old woman who came forward Monday stating she had been raped. al-Maliki promised an investigation and . . . didn't follow through. What he did do was release something -- a second page of a three page report on someone -- that he said was proof that the woman wasn't raped.

It wasn't proof of anything. And it doesn't even prove that whatever woman the report is on wasn't raped.
Richard Mauer (McClatchy Newspapers) reports that rape experts who have looked at the page say it "didn't disprove the woman's allegations, . . . and it indicated that the woman suffered extensive injuries, including at least eight bruises on the front of her thighs consistent with a sexual assualt." Christian Berthelsen (Los Angeles Times) offers a timeline of many of the generally known details; however, he leaves out the fact that the woman was taken to a US medical facility by US forces. That detail was left out of the official version by the Giddiest Gabor in the Green Zone, Willie Caldwell -- despite being previously reported. Among the experts Mauer cites are Dr. Karen Simmons of the Rape Treatment Center in Miami ("They did a CT scan of the head, the pelvis, and the neck. These tests would not have shown if someone was sexually assaulted, so there had to have been some kind of other trauma that they found.") and Josuah Weintraub ("It shows that she was brought into a trauma unit in bad shape.").

Marc Santora (New York Times) notes that news conferences were called by Sunni and Shi'ites "to condemn one aonther" with Abdul Nasir al-Janabi stating that "the government was covering up many rapes of Iraqi women by the security forces" and al-Maliki issuing a statement proclaiming: "We expected this fabricated propaganda. The purpose of this is to obstruct and distort the law enforcing plan."

Oren Dorell (USA Today) reported: "The U.S. military said Wednesday that it will launch its own investigation into an alleged rape that has created a furor among Iraq's Sunnis and bitterly split the country's government." However, Hamza Hendawi (AP) corrected that, "But [Willie] Caldwell clarified his remarks Thursday, saying the U.S. military was not conducting an independent probe. He said Petraeus has ordered that any evidence pertinent to the case be secured and preserved 'so that it may be provided to the appropriate Iraqi judicial official in accordance with U.S. policy'."

While the US military refuses to live up to its obligations as an occupying power, the reports have already had some impact. One response to the public charges "and the Iraqi government's dismissive response" was,
CNN reports, to lead another rape victim to come forward -- a 45-year-old Sunni woman was raped and her daughters were almost raped in Tal Afar by four Iraqi soldiers. A fifth Iraqi soldier arrived in the midst of the crimes and ordered the four to leave but that was apparently to be 'justice' because nothing else was done until the woman came forward. AP is going with fifty-years-old for the woman but CNN notes where their confirmation for the details come from (mayor of Tal Afar). (BBC pins her age at 40.) The BBC quotes the woman stating: "They threatened me that if I did not co-operate they would . . . cause me a scandal. . . . Who do I complian to? No one allows us to complain."

In other rape news, the New York Times manages to run
Andrea Hopkins (Reuters) report on Paul Cortez' confession to taking part in the gang rape of Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi. Yet it's a selectively edited version of Hopkins report, one that somehow manages to leave out Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi thereby continuing the not-so-proud tradition of the New York Times of rendering Abeer invisible. While this scrubbed version of a Reuters appears on A8 and never manages to mention the victim's name, flip to A14 and a story on a death sentence and you'll see both murder victims named. Some victims matter more to the paper than other victims and, as Carolyn Marshall and Robert F. Worth demonstrated early on, the paper's goal was to sell 'no crimes took place but, if anything did happen, it was just due to stress.' Credit to Kristin M. Hall of AP who reported it for what it was "gang rape."

You say it's so women in Iraq can vote
from the privacy of their graves.
-- Connie Wanek, "You Say," Poets Against The War, p. 245

Turning to the United States, war resister
Mark Wilkerson's court-martial took place todayat Fort Hood in Texas. Shelton Green (Austin's KVUE) reports that Wilkerson spent his last night with his wife and family. Thursday, August 31st, Wilkerson spoke at Camp Casey III -- a press conference -- where he announced his intent to turn himself in after having self-checked out a year and a half ago. Angela K. Brown (AP) reported, "Wilkerson said his views of the war changed and he realized he could no longer stay in the military, so he applied for conscientious objector status. But his request was denied a month before his unit was to return to Iraq. He said he was told his appeal would not be considered until after he came back. So Wilkerson then decided not to return from the two weeks of approved leave before the January 2005 deployment."

Also on August 31st, As Mark Wilkerson was interviewed by Dennis Bernstein for
KPFA's Flashpoints, discussing the expected charge of desertion, a charge that, if found guilty of, people have been executed for. Wilkerson discussed serving in Iraq and how his views changed from those he'd held at 17-years-old. He attempted to receive c.o. status but his was denied. He attempted to prepare for the rebuttal process but was informed he'd be redeploying to Iraq and any rebuttal would have to wait until his second deployment ended.
Wilkerson, in that interview, emphasized how difficult it could be to have access to news becuase not everyone has internet access and, for many, Stars & Stripes is basically it. Bernstein asked him if he regretted his decision to self-check out? Wilkerson responded, "I completely stand by my decision. For me, this was a time in my life when I decided I had to make a stand regardless of whether [it meant] prison or death".

Wilkerson wrote (last October): "Before I deployed to Iraq during OIF1, I was full of optimism for what we could do to help the people of Iraq. One of our missions, after all, was to 'win the hearts and the minds of the Iraqi people.' And in this reagard, we have failed miserably. In the year I was in Iraq, I saw kids waving American flags in the first month. Then they threw rocks. Then they planeted IEDs. Then they blew themselves and others up in city squares full of people. The only conclusion I can come up with as to why this has happened is the way the American troops have treated the Iraqi people as a whole. From random raids of whole city blocks, to checkpoints that interrupted the daily lives of the Iraqis, to incidents of torture and even massacres, a majority of Iraqis now feel as that the American soliders, once hailed as heroes and saviors, are now seen as conquerors. Civil was has erupted in the streets, and Americans are caught in the crossfire."

Earlier this month,
Dick Foster (Rocky Mountain News) reported on the plea agreement that had been reached which would guarantee no "more than 10 months in prison. But he also faces a possible dishorable or bad conduct discharge and a felony conviction on his record."

Today, Wilkerson had to enter his plea and later face sentencing.
Jim Bergramo (KVUE) reports: "The military judge, who is hearing the case, accepted Wilkerson's guilty plea. Wiklerson told the judge he quit the Army and made his decision with a clear mind. He also said he planned to leave his unit, and changed his address, phone number and email address so no one in his unit could find him." Angela K. Brown (AP) reports that the prosecution called no witnesses but Wilkerson's relatives "testified on his behalf . . . and more witnesses were expected later in the afternoon at the sentecing." Jim Bergamo (KVUE) quotes Iraq Veterans Against the War Kelly Dougherty stating: "For those in the military who see the war in Iraq as immoral and wrong, I think it takes a lot of courage . . . because this is not what they signed up for. The military stresses that when you're given an illegal order, it's your duty to refuse it, so I think they see it as their duty to refuse it." [Sentenced to 7 months. See last sentence in snapshot.]

War resister
Agustin Aguayo faces a court-martail on March 6th in Germany. Ehren Watada is someone the US military would love to court-martial again; however, the double-jeopardy clause may prevent that. Iraq Veterans Against the War's Ryan Elsey writes (Foreign Policy in Focus) that "Lt. Watada's lawyer is hoping to invoke the principle of double jeopardy to argue that a second trial cannot lawfully take place. Just as many members of Iraq Veterans Against the War stood by Lt. Watada as he spoke before the Veterans for Peace convention, the organization stands by him now. Even though everyone in uniform is a volunteer, it is absurd to think that a contract can relinquish a human being
of the responsibility to act in a just way. It is equally abominable to claim that service members should lack the right to free speech. Those who give up so much--time, energy, blood, sweat, and even their lives--to serve deserve the right to free speech more than anyone; service members have clearly given the most to earn free speech. Service members of all ranks have the right to contribute to the public debate on any war and to provide a tempering voice when issues of war are discussed. They have perspectives that are vastly more valuable than armchair punditry. And when they are ordered to carry out unjust acts and fight in immoral wars, if they choose to resist, they at the very least have
the right to a fair defense. Yet, the Army is still attempting to prosecute Lt. Watada for speaking out about the Iraq War and for refusing orders. The silent majority of Americans opposed to the Iraq War must stand up and support Lt. Watada. Now is the time to praise the war's objectors as equally as we have praised the heroes who have fought and died. If we all had Lt. Watada's courage, we could finally facilitate an end to this war and steer our country toward a foreign policy based on cooperation, diplomacy, and a respect for international law."

Gregg K. Kakesako (Honolulu Star-Bulletin) reports that Eric Seitz, Watada's civilian attorney, doesn't expect a court-martial to even be possible before summer due to scheduling issues and that the military hasn't even refiled the charges for the March 19th date that Judge Toilet (John Head) was tossing around when he declared a mistrial.

Wilkerson, Aguayo and Watada are a part of a movement of resistance with the military that includes others such as
Kyle Snyder, Patrick Hart, Ivan Brobeck, Darrell Anderson, Ricky Clousing, Aidan Delgado, Joshua Key, Camilo Meija, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Jeremy Hinzman, Stephen Funk, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Corey Glass, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Katherine Jashinski, Chris Teske, Matt Lowell, Jimmy Massey, Tim Richard and Kevin Benderman. In total, thirty-eight 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, and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters.

Turning to US politics,
Kevin Zeese (CounterPunch) reports on Democratic presidential candidate Mike Gravel who didn't cower while serving in the Senate during the days of Tricky Dick and who has said "that anyone who voted for the use of force resolution that allowed President Bush to invade Iraq has shown they do not have the judgment to serve as prsident of the United States. Gravel, during the build-up to the war, publicly opposed the invasion. In an interview on MSNBC he insisted that intelligence showed there were indeed no weapons of mass destruction, Iraq posed no threat to the United States and that invading Iraq was against America's national interests."

the Green Party (US), this week, reissued their call for Congress to "address the war as a criminal act of military aggression. Greens called on Democrats and Republicans in Congress who claim to oppose the war to interrupt President Bush's agenda in Iraq by cutting off funding for the U.S. occupation."

This as
NOW asks that you "Surge for Peace": "It's time for Congress to excercise their oversight authority and pass BINDING legislation to deal with the costly and deadly situation in Iraq. After last week's pros-and-cons marathon in the House, they finally passed the "non-binding" resolution opposing the troops surge by a vote of 246 to 182. Now it's time to get serious. We must urge, no demand, that our Representatives cosponsor H.R. 508, introduced by Lynn Woolsey (D-Calif), a comprehensive plan to disengage from Iraq within 6 months after enactment and make reparations for the damages that our invasion and occupation have caused to Iraq's people and infrastructure. Take Action NOW"

The Illinois Students Against The War protested Democratic presidential candidate (and US senator) Barack Obama's speech two Sundays ago and
explain why at CounterPunch: "Many have felt that we interrupted the rally one to many times. Our plan was to drop the banner and chant once during a pause to make our presence noticed -- which we did. But because we were being roughed up and 'escorted' out of the pavilion by security we felt it necessary to again make our point. It was then that we started a second chant; 'No justice, no peace -- U.S. out of the Middle East.' Later in his speech, Obama acknowledged our concerns. 'I'm glad they were there,' he told the crowd. 'They feel a sense of urgency about a war that should have never been authorized and a war that should have never been fought.' But Obama added that he doesn't want to cut funding for the war. 'We need to bring this war to an end,' he said, 'but we need to do it in a way that makes our troops safe.' In reality, the longer the troops stay in Iraq -- the more unsafe they are." In addition, it needs to be noted that evicting protestors is something Democrats act appalled by when Republicans do it. The whole thing has a shade of 'protest pens' that so disgraced the 2004 DNC convention in Boston.

Also taking action were
four activists who staged a sit-in at US Rep Marcy Kaptur's office in Toledo, Ohio. AP reports 17 participated and 4 were arrested.

Meanwhile, while everyone obsessed over Mr. Tony's announcement,
Free Speech Radio News reported yesterday that Denmark "will completely withdraw its troops from Iraq by August." On Mr. Tony's announcement, Patrick Cockburn (Independent of London) reports: "It is an admission of defeat. Iraq is turning into one of the world's bloodiest battlefields in which nobody is safe. Blind to this reality, Tony Blair said yesterday that Britain could safely cut its forces in Iraq because the apparatus of the Iraqi government is growing stronger. In fact the civil war is getting worse by the day. Food is short in parts of the country. A quarter of the population would starve without government rations. Many Iraqis are ill because their only drinking water comes from the highly polluted Tigris and Euphrates rivers. Nowhere in Mr Blair's statement was any admission of regret for reducing Iraq to a wasteland from which 2 million people have fled and 1.5 million are displaced internally."

Spiegel, high on something, offers: "The allies have had very different Iraq Wars since the invasion and overthrow of Saddam Hussein in 2003. While the British control the Shiite-dominated southern part of the country, which has been relatively calm, the United States has become bogged down in Sunni-dominated central Iraq, and in the capital Baghdad -- home to both Sunnis and Shiites. Blair acknowledged this difference during his speech, saying 'the situation in Basra is very different from Baghdad -- there is no Sunni insurgency, no al-Qaida base, little Sunni on Shia violence,' adding that it was nothing like the 'challenge of Baghdad'." Apparently, we're all supposed to pretend that sourthern Iraq is patrolled? We're supposed to pretend that the British didn't abandon one base in August -- with no notice -- that was stripped down by the resistance in a matter of hours? We're supposed to pretend that the Basra base wasn't under daily attack? In fact, let's pretend that Al Jazeera didn't just report: "The two British bases, located in central Basra and in the city's Shat al-Arab hotel, were bombed on Wednesday night and early Thursday morning".

In other violence in Iraq . . .


CBS and AP report a mortar attack in Baghdad that left 4 wounded. Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a woman was wounded by an IED in Baghdad, two other civilians were wounded by an IED earlier today (10:00 am), a mortar attack left one person dead and three wounded (this was two hours after the mortar attack CBS and AP note) and, in Slah ad Din, "A source in the Iraqi police said that two policemen were killed and other 9 were wounded in an attack launched by insurgents on Hay Al Tamim police station in Biji city north of Baghdad. The source added that Iraqi security forces imposed a curfew in the city after the incident. It's to be mentioned that the insurgents blew up a communication tower belonging to Asia Cell phone company which stopped the communication inside the city."


Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports two Iraqi police officers were wounded in Baghdad.


Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports ten corpses were discovered in Baghdad.

AP is reporting that Mark Wilkerson was "sentenced to seven months in military prison . . . also given a bad conduct discharge".

ehren watada

NYT Tonight Healthcare-Now! honors Black History Month

Event tonight that C.I. asked me to note.

ON FEBRUARY 22, 2007



Harriet Washington, a medical historian, will present
her groundbreaking work that uncovers the sordid
history of medical experimentation on African
descendants from colonial times to the present,
including the current use of unethical methods to
provide health "care" to Black people. She will sign
her new book Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of
Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from
Colonial Times to the Present.

Frederick Newsome, M.D., an attending physician at
Harlem Hospital, will present his paradigm-shifting
analysis and examination of unique and profound issues
regarding the meaning of clinical practice for the
African- descendant professional health provider. He
will sign his new book An African American Philosophy
of Medicine.

Ajamu Sankofa, a national organizer for
Healthcare-Now! will offer brief remarks of why a
national single-payer health system (H.R. 676) in the
United States is urgently relevant to the quality of
life of all people of African descent residing in the
United States.

Torian Easterling, a fourth-year medical student at
the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New
Jersey, will moderate the event.

Books will be available for sale. Information is

DATE: Thursday, February 22, 2007
PLACE: St. Mary’s Episcopal Church
521 West 126th Street New York, NY 10027
TIME: 7 PM-9:30 PM

Co-sponsors: New York City Chapter of Healthcare-NOW!;
Latinos for National Health Insurance; Million Worker
March; Muslim Women’s Institute for Research and
Development; Brenda Stokely of the NYC Katrina
Solidarity Committee; National Coalition of Blacks for
Reparations in America (N’COBRA); NYC Chapter of
National Conference of Black Lawyers (NCBL); Student
National Medical Association-Region IX; The Institute
of the Black World, 21st Century, and Physicians for a
National Health Program--NY Chapter.

339 Lafayette St.
New York, NY 10012-2725

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

War Hawk Clinton

Tuesday. Elaine's hitting hard tonight, so be sure to check out Like Maria Said Paz. She keeps alternating calls to me with calls to C.I. because it's a topic she's covered before but one that's only become obviously wrong (the liars at in the last few days. I think I'm going to focus on Hillary Clinton for this entry because I've got some stuff that Leigh Ann e-mailed, some stuff Tony found and a thing I've been wanting to share.

But we're still on health care, single payer, this is from Corporate Crime Reporter's "Why Hillary, Obama, Edwards, Romney and Schwarzenegger Don't Support Single-Payer Health Care:"

The majority of the American people want a single-payer health care system ­ Medicare for all.
The majority of doctors want it.
A good chunk of hospital CEOs want it.
But what they want doesn't appear to matter.
Because a single-payer health care plan would mean the death of the private health insurance industry and reduced profits for the pharmaceutical industry.
Presidential candidates John Edwards, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Mitt Romney and California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger talk a lot about universal health care.
But not one of them advocates for single-payer ­ because single-payer too directly confronts the big corporate interests profiting off the miserable health care system we are currently saddled with.
"Currently, we are spending almost a third of every health care dollar on administration and paperwork generated by the private health insurance industry," said Dr. Stephanie Woolhandler, an Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and co-founder of Physicians for a National Health Program. "Countries like Canada spend about half that much on the billing and paperwork side of medicine. If we go to a single-payer system and are able to cut the billing and paperwork costs of health care, that frees up about $300 billion per year. That's the money we need to cover the uninsured and then improve the coverage for those who have private insurance but are under-insured."
"The idea behind single-payer is you don't have to increase total health care spending," Woolhandler said in an interview with Corporate Crime Reporter. "You take the money we are now spending but cut the administrative fat and use that money to cover people."
None of the declared Presidential candidates ­ with the exception of Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) ­ is supporting single-payer.

So she's too busy pleasing big business to help the people. That's just one side of Hillary the War Hawk. Here's another from Robert Scheer's "Hillary's Calculations Add Up to War:"

Let's face it: No matter how much many of us who oppose the war in Iraq would also love to elect a female president, Hillary Clinton is not a peace candidate. She is an unrepentant hawk, a la Joe Lieberman. She believed invading Iraq was a good idea, all available evidence to the contrary, and she has, once again, made it clear that she still does.
"If the most important thing to any of you is choosing someone who did not cast a vote [to authorize the war] or has said his vote was a mistake, then there are others to choose from," she said in New Hampshire last week, confusing contempt for antiwar Americans--now a majority--with the courage of her indefensible conviction that she bears no responsibility for the humanitarian, economic and military disaster our occupation has wrought.
As a candidate for '08, Hillary clearly calculates that her war chest, star power, gender and pro-choice positions will be sufficient for her to triumph in the primaries, while being "tough," pro-military and "supporting our president" will secure her flank in the general election against those who would paint her as that horrible beast, "a liberal."
A winning strategy? That remains to be seen. It certainly does not bode well for the future of the nation, however, should it be. Consider the parallel case of President Lyndon Johnson, who can be heard on tapes of his White House conversations ruminating that he never believed in the Vietnam War and pursued it only to deny Barry Goldwater and the Republicans a winning campaign issue.

It's worth remembering that back then, Hillary was a "Goldwater Girl" and those roots appear to be showing more and more. I also want to note C.I.'s thing on this from yesterday's snapshot because I thought it was pretty cool and pretty funny:

In US political news, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton has underscored that, although politically active for many years, she has held public office for far too few. As Amy Goodman noted on Monday's Democracy Now!, Clinton, speaking in New Hampshire, not only continued to refuse to term her vote supporting the invasion of Iraq "a mistake," she went further by stating: "If the most important thing to any of you is choosing someone who did not cast that vote or has said his [or her] vote was a mistake, then there are others to choose from." Indeed there are and it takes an arrogance born of campaign stupidity to make such a public declaration. We'll also note that "[or her]" was added here to be inclusive -- something that Hillary Clinton once could have take care of all on her own. But who would have ever guessed she'd waste the opening weeks of her campaign refusing to say something as simple as "I made a mistake"? Probably the same people who would have guessed that a candidate who cannot count on peeling off Republican voters, who may or may not have a hard time with swing voters, would thumb her nose at the Democratic base with one of the most idiotic statements made on the campaign trail. When you are campaigning for a national office, the last thing you need to do is to tell voters "there are others to choose from." Despite rumors to the contrary, Clinton's not scripted but New Hampshire may demonstrate that she needs to be. In one decade, we've gone from Bill Clinton's "I feel your pain" to what passes for "Piss off" from Hillary Clinton. (Which may remind many of the health care debacle which went from universal to some managed care option when, as Robin Toner pointed out, Clinton got cozy in the backrooms.)

That's really what it was. Bill's tag line was "I feel your pain" and Hillary appears eager to make her tag line "Piss off." That's really what it says: Piss off if you're expecting me to apologize.

She's a dumb ass. If she'd just said, "I made a mistake" she could have moved on. But she didn't. I don't know why. Guess she just doesn't think she makes mistake. But there's another reason and it's that she supported this illegal war. She supported it before she was senator. Jeremy Scahill can really talk about that live, how Bill Clinton isn't innocent in the Iraq war. And Hillary knew all that (I'm saying that, JS might say it or might not). She knew it and she still wanted to support an illegal war.

She didn't make a mistake. That's why she won't say she did. She wanted an illegal war and that's why she voted for one. And if she gets in office, we'll end up with a lot more illegal wars because she's no different from than Bully Boy.

Now this is from Alan Maas and Jeffrey St. Clair's discussion "The Clintons: the Art of Politics Without Conscience:"

ALAN MAASS: With the Bush presidency being such a disaster in every way, a lot of people now seem to look back at the Clinton years with nostalgia. Do the Clintons deserve this?
JEFFREY ST. CLAIR: I GUESS it depends on what side of those years you were on. If you made a lot of money in the stock market in those days, you might look back on it with nostalgia. For the rest of us, I think you only look back if you're forced to--at the scene of eight years of crime.
The Clinton administration opened the doors for Bush Junior in ways that Junior's father never did. Aside from the obvious Oedipal things going on with Bush Junior, his father hasn't been a big help to him. But Clinton certainly has. When Bush talks about his "other father," people are assuming that he's talking to the supreme deity. But I think that maybe it's Clinton who's on the speed dial.
Because in so many ways, Clinton provided the final transition between decaying old-style liberalism and the new neoliberalism and neoconservatism--which are kind of incestuous first cousins.
That goes for trade policy; for deregulation of major industries, from the utilities to communications companies to the banking industry to the insurance industry; all the way to continuing to wage war on Iraq. All of that is a living artifact of Clinton Time.
It goes for the USA PATRIOT Act. People say they rushed in the Patriot Act--this thousand-page bill that the person who wrote it probably didn't even have a chance to read. Well, the fact is that the Patriot Act had been sitting on the desk at the Department of Justice for the last two years of Clinton Time. They were all ready to update their horrendous and horrifying Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act, which was passed in 1996 after the Oklahoma City bombing.
For a lot of these things, the left has a case of political Alzheimer's disease. That's the most gracious way of putting it--how they could immediately wipe from their minds every betrayal of Clinton Time, and heap all of it on poor Bush.
I look back at the Clinton administration as eight years of a fundamental transformation in the direction of the country--toward favoring big business, and toward almost frontal assaults on the most underprivileged members of the society.
It was much more than cutting the social safety net. Clinton followed that by the abuse of those at the lowest rungs of our society--in ways that I don't think Bush, for all of his manifest faults, has done to the same degree.
For example, blaming the victim. It's almost like a political spelunking or something when you go into Clinton's psyche. This is a guy who always saw himself as a victim, the wounded little boy president.
But at the drop of a hat, he would be the first one to sort of blame the victim--whether it was Ricky Ray Rector, who he executed as a way to boost his poll numbers during the campaign for the Democratic nomination, or the treatment of Lani Guinier, when Clinton nominated her for assistant attorney general for civil rights, and then withdrew her name.
Loyalty, personal or political, has never been a big thing for the Clintons. Jim McDougal, who was once Bill's closest friend, adviser and financier, later said that the Clinton's tore through people's lives like a tornado, leaving behind only wreckage.
The McDougals weren't alone. So many close friends and allies were pitched overboard when they became inconvenient: Lani Gunier, Peter Edelman, Joycelyn Elders. All road kill on the Clintons' path to power. They've perfected the art of politics without conscience.

That last line really sums it up. But to look at what happened to unions and the working class, read this from Sharon Smith's "Where have all the liberals gone?:"

Class inequality predictably escalated during Reagan's eight years and the four years of his Republican successor, George H.W. Bush. But Democratic President Bill Clinton, elected in 1992, hammered the nail in the coffin of the New Deal Coalition.
Clinton pledged to "put people first" and end the misery caused by "12 years of trickle-down economics" while on the campaign trail in 1992. But Clinton was a new breed of Democrat, at the helm of a conservative Democratic Party faction that formed the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) in 1985 to break the Democratic Party’s identification with so-called "special interests"--organized labor, civil rights, and other traditionally liberal causes. Clinton sought to dismantle the New Deal, once and for all. As he assured BusinessWeek while campaigning, "I want to generate a lot of millionaires."36
One of Clinton's first accomplishments as president was the successful ratification of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in 1993. Deregulation and open markets were the watchwords of the Clinton administration, and protests from labor and environmentalists did not get in the way. "NAFTA established 'free trade' as the holy writ of the Clinton-Gore foreign economic strategy," Lance Selfa noted in the International Socialist Review.37 Clinton went on to pursue other free trade initiatives--including the 1994 ratification of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the 2000 approval of "permanent normal trade relations" with China, further advancing the cause of unbridled corporate greed around the globe.
But welfare reform was Clinton's domestic trump card, as he made good on his campaign pledge to "end welfare as we know it." In 1994, he transformed AFDC into a temporary program requiring all able-bodied recipients to go to work after two years. In 1996, facing reelection, Clinton signed the Republican-sponsored Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act, extinguishing the hallmark of the New Deal by relieving the government of any responsibility to care for the poor, limiting poor women and children to a five-year lifetime limit.
Clinton succeeded in shifting the political parameters of mainstream discourse, as the Democratic Party lurched rightward in the 1990s. Yet liberal organizations continued to support Clinton as he embraced a range of conservative domestic policies.
The feminist movement never protested against Clinton, even as he allowed the erosion of legal abortion and dismantled welfare for poor women and children. Most gay rights organizations maintained their loyalty even after Clinton signed the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, banning same-sex marriage. The collapse of liberalism as a force during the Clinton era allowed mainstream politics to shift rightward in the years before Bush took office in 2001. The Defense of Marriage Act paved the way for Bush's more draconian proposal for a federal ban on gay marriage, while the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act made more palatable the more repressive Patriot Act passed after September 11, 2001.
Likewise, no significant antiwar movement materialized to protest Clinton's so-called humanitarian invasions that paved the way for U.S. imperialism's post 9-11 wars against Afghanistan and Iraq.
Liberalism was extinguished as a political force well before George W. Bush took office in 2001. The Democrats' failure to offer an aggressive opposition to the corruption of the Bush administration enabled all of Bush's post 9-11 policies.

That's just a part of the article and not even my favorite part. But this part was on the Clintons and I'm working a mood here :D. Seriously though, the International Socialist Review. I didn't even know of the magazine (my grandfather told me later that he'd tried to pass that on to me and this must have been like years ago because I don't remember it). We were in Tacoma to show our support for Ehren Watada and I was always still charged at the end of the evening and just talking and bouncing off the walls. So that first night, I don't think I slept at all. C.I. was up returning calls and making calls so I played tag along and was reading through magazines C.I. had brought and we'd be talking in between calls. So I pulled this magazine and C.I. saw me and motioned for me to flip to the contents. I did and C.I. tapped on this article and the one by Anthony Arnove. I read the Arnove one first because I knew him and I really liked that one. Then I read this one and it's a long because it's a history. It's like FDR to present. But you'll read it real quick.

That's it for me, here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Wednesday, February 21, 2007. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq, Mr. Tony soaks up headlines with his non-statements, Abeer was gang raped but the same press that couldn't mention her name appears too delicate to use the word "gang rape" (one wire report even uses "assault" to avoid the term "rape" -- such shy maidens), the Black Hawk was shot down and it takes the US military the better part of a daily news cycle to come forward with that information, and rape may be the thing that finally gets the puppet pulled from Baghdad as he continues to botch things up.

Starting with Mr. Tony. Tony Blair, Bully Boy's lapdog and personal poodle, was hailed during a mini-news cycle for his talk of bringing British troops home. Now the bloom is off the rose as reality sets in.
AFP and Reuters report that 5,500 British troops will remain in Iraq, as Mr. Tony puts it, "for as long as we are needed." Mr. Tony had hoped to use the slight withdrawal as the staging for a series of victory laps as he prepares to step down as prime minister but, as with his earlier plans of how to get slavish praise from the press, it didn't turn out quite the way he wanted. Mark Rice-Oxley and Dan Murphy (Christian Science Monitor) note that it's only a 25% withdrawal of British forces from Iraq.

Interviewed by Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) today, Tony Benn cut through Mr. Tony's nonsense noting that "there wasn't really any change. But Blair is due to retire in a matter of weeks. And I'm afraid, I suspect, that this is a gimmick at this stage, so that he can claim that the mission is being accomplished and, therefore, the troops can be withdrawn. And on the question of Iran, he repeated ominous warnings. So I don't think too much will be read into this." Amy Goodman noted: "Here you have Tony Blair just moments ago making this announcement in the House of Commons. Then you have Cheney speaking on an aircraft carrier near Tokyo, saying the American people will not support a policy of retreat."

Goodman was referring to Cheney's attempt to shore up the support of the Japanese government in a little trip that
Brendan Murray (Bloomberg News) reports didn't turn into a love-fest what with the embassy 'greeting' of "Yankee Go Home" blared over a speaker as he arrived and the lies and fear he has to resort to in order to get even a sliver of copy. Pulling from his bag of tricks, Dick -- who avoided Vietnam -- is using the same if-we-leave-they-will-come-after-us. Now that didn't frighten Dickie enough to enlist during Vietnam but he obviously thinks the American people are stupider than he is (prolonged exposure to the Bully Boy will make one feel smarter). As for the retreat, perhaps it's time polls started asking "Should Cheney and Bully Boy announce a retreat from their war" because that is how many Americans see this illegal war. Murray notes 63% of Americans now favor US forces pulling out of Iraq.

Though Cheney attempts to scare up support for the war and put the blame for inept leadership on the backs of the American people,
Sharon Smith (CounterPunch) voices the reality that more Americans are coming around to: "The Iraq war marks the first major war in the last century fought in the interests of America's ruling elite without even the pretense of 'shared sacrifice.' During the First World War, the tax rate for top income earners stood at 77 percent; during the Second World War, at 94 percent. Even during Vietnam, the wealthiest taxpayers faced a rate of 70 percent on personal income. Yet, as the bloodletting in Iraq has been proven a war for nothing more than U.S. control over Middle Eastern oil, the corporate class continues to enjoy an income tax rate that has been capped at only 35 percent since 2003 -- the year the U.S. invaded Iraq. Bush's plan to permanently extend these tax cuts, which are set to expire in 2010 would cost an estimated $211 billion in 2012 and $1.6 trillion over the next decade. Added to their profit windfalls and soaring executive salaries, the corporate class has every reason to celebrate. Bush's budget makes clear that the growing numbers of economically disadvantaged Americans -- already supplying the cannon fodder to kill and die in Iraq and Afghanistan -- must also continue to shoulder the suffocating financial burden for U.S. imperialism's twenty-first centruy follies.Bush's budget proposal brazenly takes aim at veterans themselves, nearly doubling their out-of-pocket fees from $8 to $15 for prescription medications when they return home from a war zone battered and traumatized, and often looking for work. In this war, only the working class is expected to sacrifice."

Smith's statements are echoed in the AP data
Kimberly Hefling (AP) reported on yesterday which found that those Americans paying the costs with their own lives tend to come from small, rural communities "where the per capita income was below the national average. More than half came from towns where the percentage of people living in poverty topped the national average."

Meanwhile, speaking with Jason Farbman and Darrin Hoop (Socialist Worker), US war resister
Darrell Anderson explains why he decided to return to the US and turn himself in,
"I felt that I had to go to jail and stand with these other resisters. There's nothing more powerful than soldiers who have been to Iraq saying that it's wrong, and we're not going to do it again. That's where I believe the heart of the movement is -- in these 20 or 30 or 40 of us who resisted now. . . . When I turned myself in, they gave me a piece of paper that asked why I'd gone AWOL. I said because I'm a combat veteran, I have post-traumatic stress, and the war is wrong. Basically, I said that I dare you to put my uniform on me, put my Purple Heart on me and send me to prison so people can see that we're going to jail." On the topic of
Ehren Watada and court-martials, Anderson declares: "These court-martials are the front line of where we're fighting the war. This needs to be the focus for the antiwar movement -- Watada and all the war resisters. We need more soldiers like Watada, and more soldiers who come back from Iraq and say, 'I'm a veteran, I watched my buddies die in Iraq, and now I'm going to jail because I won't do it anymore."

Agustin Aguayo is set for a March 6th court-martial in Germany. Eric Ruder (Socialist Worker) speaks to Helga Aguayo, Agustin's wife, who tells him: "One of the care packages sent to the soldiers was a book on the history of Iraq. He said that it really changed what he believed, I mean he was a conscientious objector, he believed that killing was wrong, but after reading that book he realized that the war in Iraq has essentially been created for the personal gain of a few people. What he told me was that for a few corporations, it's in their best interests to keep the chaos going in Iraq. And he just came to believe that killing is wrong, but this war is wrong, too, because it's all motivated by money."

Anderson, Aguayo and Watada are a part of a movement of resistance with the military that includes others such as
Kyle Snyder, Patrick Hart, Ivan Brobeck, Mark Wilkerson, Ricky Clousing, Aidan Delgado, Joshua Key, Camilo Meija, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Jeremy Hinzman, Stephen Funk, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Corey Glass, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Katherine Jashinski, Chris Teske, Matt Lowell, Jimmy Massey, Tim Richard and Kevin Benderman. In total, thirty-eight 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, and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters.


Mohammed al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports the following bombings in Baghdad, a roadside bomb on Al Jadiria Bridge that killed one police officer and left three more wounded, a parked car bomb that killed two civilians left seven wounded and 25 poisoned from bottles of Chlroine gas that were in the car, a parked car bomb in Sadr city that took 3 lives and left five more wounded, a mortar attack that wounded 2 police officers near a bus station, a mortar attack the killed three people and left ten wounded. Reuters notes a mortar attack that "wounded four children in Adil district in western Baghdad." Outside of Baghdad, Reuters notes 11 people dead 38 wounded in Najaf from a car bomb. Mohammed al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports: "Diyala - Mortar shelling targeted Al Abara town north of Baqouba. The shelling claimed the life of one resident and injured other three. - A security source in Baladrouz city (45 Km east of Baqouba) said that men in Iraqi military uniforms raided the houses of Al Shah town (6 km from Baladrouz) and executed 17 men." And AFP reports: "In the flashpoint northern city of Kirkuk, a hub of Iraq's oil industry that is disputed by Kurds and Arabs, a car bomb and two booby-traps exploded in Kurdish areas, wounding 19 people, police Captain Imad Jassim told AFP


Reuters reports seven corpses discovered in western Baghdad today and, on Tuesday, 25 discovered in Baghdad, 8 in Mosul.

Today, the
US military announced: " A Marine assigned to Multi-National Force-West was killed Feb. 20 while conducting combat operations in Al Anbar Province." And they announced: "On Feb. 20, an MND-B unit was conducting a clearing operation in order to search a residential area and reduce the levels of violence in a northern urban district of the Iraqi capital when they received small arms fire, killing one Soldier."

In other US military news do the paid flacks enjoy spinning? Do they ever get tired of egg on their face? The day began with news of a Black Hawk having a "hard landing" north of Baghdad. It's a crash. It's not a "hard landing." Later in the day, the
US military released this statement: "A U.S. Army UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter went down today north of Baghdad while conducting operations." Still later, CBS and AP reported: "A U.S. helicopter that crashed Wednesday north of Baghdad was shot down, the military said, reversing its initial statement that the chopper made a 'hard landing.' Military spokesman Lt. Col. Christopher Garver said all the occupants were safely evacuated by a second helicopter." Nine people on board and the military didn't know from the start what happened?

Turning to the topic of rape, we'll start with
Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi. Andrea Hopkins (Reuters) reports on Paul Cortez confession ("broke down in tears as he described how he and others planned the rape of a 14-year-old Iraqi girl, murdered along with her family") that those paying attention in November already knew of when James P. Barker confessed -- gang rape of Abeer, she's then shot dead, kerosene is poured on her body as they try to burn her body and hide the evidence of their crimes, etc. Hopkins "While we were playing cards Barker and Green started talking about having sex with an Iraq female" -- only rape isn't "sex," is it? -- "Barker and Green had already known" where Abeer, 14-years-old, lived "what house they wanted to go to . . . knew only one male was in the house, and knew it would be an easy target."

Now let's remember that
Carolyn Marshall and Robert F. Worth of the New York Times worked overtime to cover up what happened -- the paper even refused to print Abeer's name or a photo of her, USA Today was able to locate photos of her and her family -- but the Times was far from alone. Those brave voices sat the summer out. Scolds online tried to intimidate people into even discussing the case with b.s. about "Don't you dare call them baby killers!" We never called the gang rapists of Abeer 'baby killers' -- apparently someone had slapped their bumper stickers across their brains. What they did do was murder two parents, a 14-year-old and a 5-year-old. Cortez, confronted with evidence and the confession of Barker wants to blubber in court -- he should and it doesn't change the fact that they stalked Abeer, they planned to rape her and he can kid that it was "sex" all he wants but it was gang rape.

Let's repeat that because the press seems to have a really hard time doing so: GANG RAPE. Three men taking turns raping a female is GANG RAPE. It's not just rape -- as bad as rape is -- it's GANG RAPE. Abeer was gang raped and while she was being gang raped she could hear the gun going off as her parents and her sister were shot dead. Barker and Cortez both say that Steven D. Green killed the three, then he joined them in the living room where he raped Abeer and then shot her dead. Green will get to offer his version in a civilian court.

But a 14-year-old girl was gang raped and murdered, while she was being gang raped she heard her own parents and her five-year-old sister being murdered. And all the little enablers from May to now, the ones who helped shut this story down, need to step into the real world and own up to the fact that despite their denials and their silences, Abeer was gang raped and murdered by US soldiers. In retaliation, US soldiers who had nothing to do with the gang rapes were killed. But for some of the big babies (and this includes the Big Babies of the left) it was more important to live in denial than to acknowledge what happened to Abeer.

Cortez states of his part in the gang rape, "She kept squirming and trying to keep her legs closed and saying stuff in Arabic. During the time me and Barker were raping Abeer, I heard five or six gunshots that came from the bedroom. After Barker was done, Green came out of the bedroom and said that he had killed them all, that all of them were dead. Green then placed himself between Abeer's legs to rape her". Somehow the report leaves out the drinking before and after, the changing of clothes after, the grilling of chicken breasts and the party atmosphere that followed these crimes. Hopkins tells you he was tearful. So was Abeer back when she could still cry.

As CNN reported during the August Article 32 hearing, Captain Alex Pickands' closing remarks included: "
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." It's really amazing that these war crimes received a stronger rebuke from the military than they did from much of the so-called left press.

Meanwhile the Iraqi government is much more involved in the allegations of another rape. As noted yesterday, a 20-year-old woman told Al Jazeera that she was detained by a Shia militia and gang raped. Recapping, Nouri al-Maliki voiced some of the same strong statements he made when Abeer was in the news last year. However, he backed off even quicker. After promising a full investigation, he then issued a statement calling the woman a liar, saying she would be charged criminally, and denying that anything had happened. The US press still can't report what the European press reported yesterday -- that Omar Jaburi maintains an "initial hospital report confirmed what she has said." However,
Marc Santora (New York Times) reports: "A nurse who said she treated the woman after the attack said that she saw signs of sexual and physical assault. The woman, according to the nurse, could identify one of her attackers because he was not wearing a mask, as were the others, and could identify a second attacker by a mark on his genitals."

This as
Hamza Hendawi (AP) reports that Nouri al-Mailiki has fired the head of the Sunni Endowments, Abdul-Ghafour al-Samaraie, for calling "for an international investigation into the rape allegations leveled by a Sunni Arab woman against three members of the Shiite- dominated security forces." CBS and AP report that Willie Caldwell, Giddiest Gabor in the Green Zone, has confirmed that the US military took the woman to a hospital but says that patient privacy prevents him from adding much more. They also note a 'report' al-Maliki faxed to the media which is one page of a three page report that has no name on it and appears to prove nothing. al-Maliki has been teetering for months with many of his US handlers eager to dump him. The way he's botched this incident makes that very easy to do so now.

iraqehren watadaamy goodmandemocracy nowagustin aguayo