Thursday! One day until the weekend! Are you ready? I am. :D
Jim asked me to note Ava and C.I.'s "TV: Democracy Sometimes?" because the reception has been phenomonal (sp?). That thing's being passed around in the MSM and you've got them weighing in -- including some people who've been called out in the past who are saying things like "Well they are fair." And Ava and C.I. are. If they don't think they can be fair, they don't cover a show. There's a producer who does TV entertainment shows and they don't think they can be fair about his shows because they know him too well so they have never covered his shows. Jim, Dona and Ty have been working their butts off just trying to read all the feedback coming in on that and they're never though. Each day, Jim said, they tell themselves, "Okay, we're almost caught up, we'll read the rest tomorrow." Then tomorrow comes and they've got even more e-mails.
I think it goes to four things. 1) Ava and C.I. know their stuff. 2) They've got everything lined up and backed up and they write so wonderful. If I'm any better here it's largely because of being fans of their work and because of working with everyone at Third. 3) They tell the truth! They're like Phoebe on that episode of Friends where the kids are used to hearing animal songs and she sings about life. :D 4) People who were feeling something was off about Democracy Now! but couldn't figure it out or thought it was just them seeing it now see that it's not.
And when you get what they're talking about which goes beyond bias but actual journalistic breaches it's no surprise that they've had such a huge response. Jim says that in one week (and noted the week wasn't over) it's gotten more responses than anything they've written in a one week's time. (They have people finding their stuff all the time, years later. Jim's talking about in the immediate one week shelf life of one of their pieces.) This thing has just gone through the roof. And that's happened plenty of times with Ava and C.I.'s stuff. Each week, their feature article is the most popular thing. And it's not uncommon for it to get a huge life beyond their normal readers. But it's never been like this. This is just huge beyond words.
Which means they'll probably scale back this week because that's their way. If something gets more attention than they are comfortable with, they'll pull back. Otherwise, people expect that sort of thing every week. I've talked about that before and how I learned how that works when I got reposted at a site. People start wanting you to write the same thing the same way. So it's better to pull back or else you just end up copying yourself.
Hans Bennet has a great piece on movies, by the way. It's called "The Bourne Ultimatum: Rejecting the CIA:"
Along with the previously mentioned films, two other post 9-11 spy thrillers are highly recommended. The 2007 film Shooter, starring Mark Wahlberg and Danny Glover, is based on the book Point of Impact, about the fictional ex-Marine sniper Bob Lee Swagger, written by The Washington Post film critic Stephen Hunter. Interestingly, in the beginning of Shooter, the disaffected Swagger (played by Wahlberg) is seen viewing the prominently displayed the radical-activist Znet website. After Glover's character talks him into doing one last favor for the government, Swagger is double-crossed, and proceeds to use his Marine skills to hunt down the private military contractors and politicians who skillfully framed him for a murder that he didn't commit.
The 2004 version of the 1962 movie, The Manchurian Candidate, starring Denzel Washington and Meryl Streep, is a riveting critique of the post-911 climate of fear-mongering, the power of transnational corporations like Haliburton, and the chilling real-life history of experiments in mind-control similar to the CIA's MK-Ultra program.
The whole thing's great but I really love The Shooter. I wrote about it back in December. And we picked it for the best of "2007 in DVDs" at Third. If you haven't seen the movie yet, go rent it. You will not be disappointed.
Just like I wasn't disappointed by Chuck tonight. It's on NBC again and there are two episodes tonight. I tried to blog during the first one and got one line written. It comes back on in another hour with another new episode. I want to be done before that so I can enjoy it. I had forgotten how much I loved the show. I knew I loved it but I forgot how much. C.I. had told me about this episode, the first one tonight, awhile back and I knew I was going to like it. John's ex-girlfriends is his ex because she died but she didn't die. This was just a great episode. They changed the opening of the show as well. I think I like it. But I know I love the show. I'm kind of bummed they're showing two new episodes tonight because that means it'll be over all the quicker.
You may have seen this at Third: Medium (NBC). When C.I. had to go into the template in November of early December, it got put in. That's the link to the show's site. I didn't catch it this week but I've been watching online anyway. That's a really good show and Patricia Arquette is both a great actress and a really good person. But that had me thinking, I should put in a link to Chuck when I talk about it so if someone wants to see it and missed it, they don't have to search around for it. Ava and C.I. said it was the best new show back before the fall season started airing and they weren't wrong. I will probably get this TV show on DVD because it's so good and I could watch it over and over. I don't have any shows on DVD because my sister got Friends, two of their seasons, and I liked Friends a lot but just didn't feel like watching it over and over. I'd watch it if I was flipping channels and came across an episode in syndication but I'm just not into sitting down with a boxed set of DVDs and watching them all. But I would watch Chuck.
Ava and C.I. aren't reviewing entertainment programming due to the writers strike. So since I'm talking about TV shows, let me make up for it by explaining what happens when I watch Medium online. I see a really great show, yes. And writers get paid for that when it airs on TV. How? Well the networks make their money on advertising. Now when I go to NBC to watch Medium online, guess what happens? I watch a commercial before the episode starts. The networks sell that time. Who gets the money? Not the writers.
That's what the strike's about. The writers are not asking for raises. They're not saying, "I don't care that the economy is tanking! I want a raise!" They're asking for their share from online advertising.
See that's not been covered in commercials. But that is the new wave. And the networks are hauling in this money and they're not sharing it. The writers aren't saying, "Give us all the ad money!" They're saying, "We deserve a share." And they do.
That's why you should be glad they're striking. They're striking for basic fairness and their strike is really a strike for all of us who work. It's like they're pulling another shift and not getting paid for it. And that wouldn't be fair if it happened to you and it's not fair for them.
There are more aspects of the strike but that's the easiest one for me to explain. CounterPunch ran that piece of crap thing insulting the writers early on. That was pretty sad, that a left, supposedly pro-labor site would be mocking workers for striking.
So think about how most of them are not wealthy and going on strike means they don't get paid for stuff right now. They've been on strikes for weeks now. And they've stood up for something that matters.
We should all be supporting them because this really is what we all need to do, stand up for ourselves.
If you want to see pathetic, search "DNC Should Encourage Democrats to Campaign in Florida" for John Nichols crap. Nichols couldn't say one damn word about Michigan (he did include it in a title, just 'forgot' to write about it) and suddenly he wants to 'do the right thing.' Too little, too late. Michigan and Florida needed people standing up for them. Diane Rehm could and did. Nichols is a coward. Who wrote a really bad book on impeachment that was apparently a way to make a fast buck since he doesn't cover it since The Nation decided it wasn't a story.
But Air Berman has to take the cake for being pathetic. You sort of picture him jerking off or with a finger up his butt as he drools over his screensaver of Obama. He still can't write about anything of substance from the Monday debate. Tonight, he goes off on nonsense again. They don't have smart people at The Nation, just Koo Koo Katrinas. Pathetic little nothings who couldn't get real jobs. Little suck ups.
It may end up being hard to pick the "Idiot of the Week" tomorrow after all. Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"
Thursday, January 24, 2008. Chaos and violence continue, actions to support war resisters gear up, all the gas bags in Little Media aren't worth a nickle but General Dynamics makes a killing on the illegal war, and more.
Starting with war resistance. In Canada, people are gearing up for action. Why? On November 15th, the Supreme Court of Canada refused to hear the appeals of war resisters Jeremy Hinzman and Brandon Hughey. Parliament is the solution.Three e-mails addresses to focus on are: Prime Minister Stephen Harper (firstname.lastname@example.org -- that's pm at gc.ca) who is with the Conservative party and these two Liberals, Stephane Dion (Dion.S@parl.gc.ca -- that's Dion.S at parl.gc.ca) who is the leader of the Liberal Party and Maurizio Bevilacqua (Bevilacqua.M@parl.gc.ca -- that's Bevilacqua.M at parl.gc.ca) who is the Liberal Party's Critic for Citizenship and Immigration. A few more can be found here at War Resisters Support Campaign. For those in the US, Courage to Resist has an online form that's very easy to use. Both War Resisters Support Campaign and Courage to Resist are calling for actions from January 24-26. The War Resisters Support Campaign has more on the action in Canada:
The War Resisters Support Campaign has called a pan-Canadian mobilization on Saturday, January 26th, 2008 to ensure : 1) that deportation proceedings against U.S. war resisters currently in Canada cease immediately; and 2) that a provision be enacted by Parliament ensuring that U.S. war resisters refusing to fight in Iraq have a means to gain status in Canada. For listings of local actions, see our Events page. If you are able to organize a rally in your community, contact the Campaign -- we will list events as details come in.
Courage to Resist notes:
Join and support January 25 vigils and delegations in support of U.S. war resisters currently seeking sanctuary Canada. Actions are being planned in Washington D.C., New York, Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles. Supporters will meet with officials at Canadian Consulates across the United States in order underscore that many Americans hope that the Canadian Parliament votes (possible as early as February) in favor of a provision to allow war resisters to remain. Download and distribute Jan. 25-26 action leaflet (PDF).Supporting the war resisters in Canada is a concrete way to demonstrate your support of the troops who refuse to fight. Help end the war by supporting the growing GI resistance movement today!
Details January 25-26 actions/events in support of U.S. war resisters.
Sign the letter "Dear Canada: Let U.S. War Resisters Stay!" and encourage others to sign.
Organize a delegation to a Canadian Consulate near you .
Host an event or house-party in support of war resisters.
Jason Youman (Canada's Monday Magazine) reports "Canada's War Resisters Support Campaign is mobilizing for a Pan-Canadian Day of Action on Saturday, January 26.The purpose, says Victoria organizer Valerie Lannon, is to persuade the federal government to halt deportation proceedings against U.S. army deserters already in Canada, and pass legislation that would allow future resisters to stay in the country as refugees once they cross the border." Youman notes the Victoria event will be held at Fairfield United Church Hall, 1303 Fairfield road (beginning at ten a.m.) and that speakers will include Member of Parliament Denise Savoie and "American war resister Brad McCall, who has lived in Vancouver since leaving his army company in Colorado Springs in September. McCall has been vocal in his distaste of America's current role in Iraq, telling the Georgia Straight he didn't want to participate in 'war crimes.' McCall allegedly spent two days in a Surrey detention centre when he crossed the Canadian border."
The War Resisters Support Campaign's Lee Zaslofsky explains to NOW magazine, "The rally is one of a number being held across Canada because we believe we are close to a decision on two issues: that deportation proceedings against U.S. war resisters currently in Canada cease immediately; and that a provision be enacted by Parliament ensuring that U.S. war resisters refusing to fight in Iraq have a means to gain status in Canada." The rally he is speaking of -- also on Saturday -- takes place in Toronto at the Bloor Street United Church, 300 Bloor St. West, beginning at 1:00 p.m. and will feature, among others, activist and actress Shirley Douglas, Lawrence Hill (co-author of The Deserter's Tale with Joshua Key) and Member of Parliament Olivia Chow who has led on the issue of war resisters from early on. Those and other actions in Canada take place on Saturday. Go to War Resisters Support Campaign for more information and if you won't be in Canada, actions will take place everywhere with Courage to Resist calling for actions beginning tomorrow.
There is a growing movement of resistance within the US military which includes James Stepp, Rodney Watson, Michael Espinal, Matthew Lowell, Derek Hess, Diedra Cobb, Brad McCall, Justin Cliburn, Timothy Richard, Robert Weiss, Phil McDowell, Steve Yoczik, Ross Spears, Peter Brown, Bethany "Skylar" James, Zamesha Dominique, Chrisopther Scott Magaoay, Jared Hood, James Burmeister, Eli Israel, Joshua Key, Ehren Watada, Terri Johnson, Clara Gomez, Luke Kamunen, Leif Kamunen, Leo Kamunen, Camilo Mejia, Kimberly Rivera, Dean Walcott, Linjamin Mull, Agustin Aguayo, Justin Colby, Marc Train, Abdullah Webster, Robert Zabala, Darrell Anderson, Kyle Snyder, Corey Glass, Jeremy Hinzman, Kevin Lee, Mark Wilkerson, Patrick Hart, Ricky Clousing, Ivan Brobeck, Aidan Delgado, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, Blake LeMoine, Clifton Hicks, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Joshua Casteel, Katherine Jashinski, Dale Bartell, Chris Teske, Matt Lowell, Jimmy Massey, Chris Capps, Tim Richard, Hart Viges, Michael Blake, Christopher Mogwai, Christian Kjar, Kyle Huwer, Wilfredo Torres, Michael Sudbury, Ghanim Khalil, Vincent La Volpa, DeShawn Reed and Kevin Benderman. In total, at least fifty US war resisters in Canada have applied for asylum.
Information on war resistance within the military can be found at The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline [(877) 447-4487], Iraq Veterans Against the War and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters. Tom Joad maintains a list of known war resisters. In addition, VETWOW is an organization that assists those suffering from MST (Military Sexual Trauma).
Meanwhile IVAW is organizing a March 2008 DC event:
In 1971, over one hundred members of Vietnam Veterans Against the War gathered in Detroit to share their stories with America. Atrocities like the My Lai massacre had ignited popular opposition to the war, but political and military leaders insisted that such crimes were isolated exceptions. The members of VVAW knew differently.
Over three days in January, these soldiers testified on the systematic brutality they had seen visited upon the people of Vietnam. They called it the Winter Soldier investigation, after Thomas Paine's famous admonishing of the "summer soldier" who shirks his duty during difficult times. In a time of war and lies, the veterans who gathered in Detroit knew it was their duty to tell the truth.
Over thirty years later, we find ourselves faced with a new war. But the lies are the same. Once again, American troops are sinking into increasingly bloody occupations. Once again, war crimes in places like Haditha, Fallujah, and Abu Ghraib have turned the public against the war. Once again, politicians and generals are blaming "a few bad apples" instead of examining the military policies that have destroyed Iraq and Afghanistan.
Once again, our country needs Winter Soldiers.
In March of 2008, Iraq Veterans Against the War will gather in our nation's capital to break the silence and hold our leaders accountable for these wars. We hope you'll join us, because yours is a story that every American needs to hear.
Click here to sign a statement of support for Winter Soldier: Iraq & Afghanistan
March 13th through 16th are the dates for the Winter Soldier Iraq & Afghanistan Investigation. Dee Knight (Workers World) notes, "IVAW wants as many people as possible to attend the event. It is planning to provide live broadcasting of the sessions for those who cannot hear the testimony firsthand. 'We have been inspired by the tremendous support the movement has shown us,' IVAW says. 'We believe the success of Winter Soldier will ultimately depend on the support of our allies and the hard work of our members'."
Monday night, Democratic presidential contenders had a debate. And the same little media that whines about big media's lack of substance was where the next day? Or, in the continued embarrassment that is William Greider, days later? Greider seems intent to telegraph to anyone that everything he had he gave to Rolling Stone and reading him now is like watching a dying man waste away. Yesterday he sputtered about "Slick Willie" and a "blue dress." Yes, he really is that pathetic and so is The Nation. Maybe after this election he can return to another multi-page piffle of 'lessons' he learned about heart and soul from his mommy? From Tuesday's "Iraq snapshot:"Hillary Clinton: We don't know what we're going to inherent from President Bush, but there is a big problem looming on the horizon that we had better pay attention to, and that is President Bush is intent upon negotiating a long-term agreement with Iraq which would have permanent bases, permanent troop presence. And he claims he does not need to come to the United States Congress to get permission, he only needs to go to the Iraqi parliament. That is his stated public position. He was recently in the region, and it is clear that he intends to push forward on this to try to bind the United States government and his successor to his failed policy. I have been strongly opposed to that. We should not be planning permanent bases and long-term troop commitments. Obvioulsy, we've got to rein in President Bush. And I've proposed legislation and I know that members of the Congressional Black Caucus are looking at this, as well. We need legislation in a hurry which says, "No, Mr. Bush, you are the president of the United States of America. You cannot bind our country without coming to the United States Congress." This is a treaty that would have to be presented and approved, and it will not be.
Yes, that was said in the debate. But try to find out about it from the Hillary Hating left. Katrina vanden Heuvel can't sniff it -- surprising. Little Matty Rothschild (who will receive "Smut Merchant of the Week" at The Third Estate Sunday Review this week -- and he earned it and then some, hiding behind the right-wing to make the slur he's too 'tasteful' to make on his own) can't find it. John Nichols, Amy Goodman, the Air No-Stars of The Nation's Campaign blog, not even Stab's half-witted daughter (that's half a wit more than her mother) can find it. They all pretended to write about and comment on the debate. But they just showed glimpses of their own inner madness -- and, no, they didn't work through their madness, just flashed it.
Michael Abramowitz (Washington Post) explains, "The leading Democratic presidential candidates and their allies on Capitol Hill have launched fierce attacks in recent days on a White House plan to forge a new, long-term security agreement with the Iraqi government, complaining that the administration is trying to lock in a lasting U.S. military presence in Iraq before the next president takes office. Among the top critics is Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.). She has used the past two Democratic presidential debates to blast President Bush for his effort, as she put it Monday in South Carolina, 'to try to bind the United States government and his successor to his failed policy'." It is a big issue, it is a monumental issue for this country and Iraq but it's not one the Half-Wits and Dim-Bulbs of today's 'independent' media could catch with both hands and their big mouths wide open. It's amazing what the gas bags produced this week, the same ones who whine and whine about Big Media. In their own spaces this week, they threw tantrums, soiled their nappys and demonstrated they could pout for days at a time.
At the grown ups table, Guy Raz (NPR) explains that Bully Boy and his puppet, Nouri al-Maliki started the whole thing in November with "Declaration of Principles" and "includes a provision that promises to maintain the stability of Iraq's government from 'internal and external threats.' This sentence is raising alarms for some U.S. lawmakers. Any such agreement would be considered a treaty by many legal experts. And under the U.S. Constitution, treaties have to be ratified by Congress." vanen Heuvel purrs about democracy this week but somehow the checks and balances set out in the Constitution, the separation of powers, doesn't enter into her concept of 'democracy'.
Supposedly the gas bags of Little Media want 'issues.' But look at the trash they offered this week -- and William Kristol at his worst couldn't have provided more trash, not even with an assist from David Brock before his transformation -- and try to figure out where any issue was? As they offered their smut, where was any issue? They wasted 2007 covering the 2008 elections and they offered nothing. It's now 2008 and they still offer nothing. William Greider thinks a "blue dress" is a way to tar and feather Hillary and doesn't grasp that it only makes him look like the cheap scum he's become.
At issue in terms of the illegal war is how long the US will be 'locked into' Iraq and, if Bully Boy gets his way, it will be for a long, long time. Guy Raz (NPR) notes "could last decades" and points out that al-Maliki's cabinet is referring to it as a "treaty." Raz:
Yet nearly half of Iraq's elected members of Parliament have signed a letter demanding a full U.S. military withdrawal from Iraq within the next two years.
But Iraq's top Cabinet ministers -- people who depend on U.S. protection and the same officials negotiating on Iraq's behalf -- have implied that large numbers of U.S. troops will be needed in Iraq for at least another decade.
That poses a problem because the U.S. Congress has passed three laws that prohibit any U.S. funding for permanent U.S. military installations in Iraq.
But according to Kurt Campbell -- a top Pentagon official during the 1990s and now the head of the Center for a New American Security -- there are also ways around that.
"While no one will say anything about permanent bases, [there are] lots of ways to create the potential for bases to be in Iraq for decades to come," he says.
So White House and Pentagon lawyers may opt to use adjectives like "enduring" or "continuing" instead of the word "permanent" when they announce the final agreement.
And to Campbell, the agreement is an attempt, "in the last days of the Bush administration, to hand a new administration a done deal."
When does Little Media plan to get around to addressing that? Now every one of them begs for money. Money, money, money, give money. They're like those tele-evangelists. Those con artists sell the idea that you can buy an after-life by handing them your money. What is independent media selling when it's begging time? They claim they do amazing work and maybe they did . . . once. But what we're seeing is the 90s on replay only this time it's coming from the left speaker of your stereo and not the right one. It really is pathetic and they're doing it on your dime.
US Senator Joe Biden held a press conference today to note Bully Boy attempting to circumvent Congress. In the press conference he released the December 19th letter he sent the Bully Boy -- one that has still not received a reply:
At the core of this issue is, of course, the war power of Congress. A careful study of the Constitution and the intent of the framers as reflected, for example, in statements made at the Constitutional Convention, leave no doubt that, except for repelling sudden attacks on the United States, the Founding Fathers intended decisions to initiate either general or limited hostilities against foreign countries to be made by the Congress and not the Executive. The President is to direct and lead the Armed Forces and put them to any use specified by Congress.
Over the years Administrations that have taken a particularly expansive view of the presidential power to repel sudden attacks have encroached on this original understanding of the war power of Congress. This theory of executive power has frequently been justified on the basis of expediency and practical necessity in view of the nature of modern conflict. But no prior Administration has suggested that the Executive's power in this area is unlimited or that it applies to ex ante agreements where there is ample time for Congress to participate. Moreover, in my view, the division of war powers specified in the Constitution is both compatible with modern warfare and essential to constitutional government.
A commitment that the United States will act to assist Iraq, potentially through the use of our Armed Forces in the event of an attack on Iraq, could effectively commit the nation to engage in hostilities. Such a commitment cannot be made by the Executive Branch on its own under our Constitution. Congress must participate in formulating, and ultimately authorizing, such a commitment. As stated in the report of the Committee on Foreign Relations that accompanied the National Commitments Resolution in 1969, "[t]he means of a democracy are its ends; when we set aside democratic procedures in making our foreign policy, we are undermining the purpose of that policy."
I expect that the Committee will review this issue in hearings next year, and look forward to close consultation with your Administration. In advance of such hearings, I would welcome a clarification from you on the scope of the agreement you are considering, and the specific security assurances and commitments that it might entail. I would also appreciate a definitive statement from you affirming that Congress must authorize or approve any "security commitments" the United States negotiates with Iraq.
Biden released the letter right before Tom Casey, deputy spokesperson for the US State Department, held today's briefings and Casey appeared surprised to be confronted with a press eager to question. Casey noted that the United Nations had "governed" the US presence in Iraq but that now the US and Iraq would enter into their own agreement. He then tried to distract everyone with Uniform Military Code of Justic. Then he got to the issue of permanent bases and tying the hands of future presidents and insisted "that's certainly not the case" but it just provides a "full range of policy options". Asked directly whether the 'agreement' (it's a treaty) would "require Congressional approval," Casey responded no and insisted that the 'agreement' covers things that "are obviously things that are determined by the military commanders and unltimately by the President." Really.
Tom Casey, in reply to the next question, will state, "Again, it's a legal framework." Legal framework -- or legislation -- doesn't come through the US military or the executive branch. Pressed again, Tom Casey insisted that future presidents or prime ministers "are obviously going to be up to their discretion." Asked directly if he was "saying that SOFA agreements notwithstanding, the Bush administration doesn't intend to -- in any way, to commit US forces to Iraq after it leaves office," Casey responded that "we believe that we need to have a long-term relationship with Iraq" followed with a speech of the 'importance' to "lay the groundwork" for some undefined relationship. And again he reveals this is a Congressional duty by stating the agreement needs to provide "a solid, legal basis" -- that's not the executive branch, Tom Casey. He denied that permanent bases were desired or sought and some will believe that nonsense.
On US political campaigns, John Pilger (New Statesman) has a great column and normally we'd quote it but considering the current environment Little Media's created, we'll just note his column and link to it. Someone still remembers what "independent" is supposed to mean.
If you missed Democracy Now! today, you didn't miss anything. It was time to go back to 2002 and 2003 and step lightly because avoding ever mentioning that Chris Hedges put the false link between 9-11 and Iraq on the front page of the New York Times (October 2001) requires goose-stepping. We noted "False Pretenses" in yesterday's snapshot for three medium size paragraphs and that's probably about as much time as it requires (if not too much). If you missed it, it's a tabluation of all the lies ("false statements" insisted a reporter brought on for who knows why, he didn't participate in the "False Pretenses" and had nothing to add) the White House made to start the illegal war. In yesterday's snapshot, we gave more weight to an actual study, one that required Freedom of Information requests -- the National Priorities Project study about recruitment. That has serious implications. But it's nothing far enough in the past for the comfort of Amy Goodman apparently -- possibly, she'll next interview the woman raped in Central Park a la Dateline. In addition to that study, we also noted the developments in England yesterday. The Guardian of London's Jonathan Steele states, "The only way to get the truth is to have a full-scale inquiry. What did the government's experts really do? Why didn't they go beyond Whitehall and regularly consult specialists outside? What questions did ministers ask? How an inquiry should be conducted - in public, partly in private, by privy counsellors or a select committee - are matters for debate. The crucial issue is that the government must open itself up to scrutiny." What's Steele talking about? [Kat wrote about this last night.]
The lies of the illegal war. He's talking about a full blown investigation and Americans with long memories might remember during the lead up to the November 2006 elections, US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi couldn't stop raving about the way things would change if the Democratic Party took control (of even one house!) and had subpeona power. They got both houses. Where are the investigations?
The New Statesman proclaims, "Fresh from securing the collapse of the Official Secrets trial agains Foreign Office whistleblower Derek Pasquill, we are delighted to announce another victory. The Information Tribunal has just rejected an appeal by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) to stop the release, under the Freedom of Information Act, of an early draft of the now infamous Weapons of Mass Destruction dossier." Andrew Sparrow (Guardian of London) explains, "A Whitehall spin doctor may have played a greater role in the drafting of the famous dossier on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction than the government admitted at the time . . . The dossier, which claimed Iraq could launch weapons of mass destruction within 45 minutes, became the subject of huge controversy when the BBC reported that it had been 'sexed up' by Downing Street." The Scotsman reminds, "Dr David Kelly, a weapons expert, was found dead shortly after being named as the source of a BBC report suggesting that the dossier, used to support an invasion of Iraq, was 'sexed up'."
The BBC picks up there noting, "Dr Kelly cited the example of the claim that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction which could be used within 45 minutes of him giving an order. The report led to a high profile dispute between the BBC and Downing Street which culminated in Dr Kelly's death." The BBC also informs that two people have "annoated" the report but "the tribunal has ordered that one of the handwritten notes should be taken off the draft when it is released. The ruling was welcomed by the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats, who said it strengthened the case for an independent inquiry into the war." Richard Norton-Taylor (Guardian of London) points out, "[John] Williams' role in the affair was not disclosed to the Hutton inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the death of David Kelly, the government weapons expert who questioned the way the dossier was drawn up."
At his blog, Martin Rosenbaum (BBC) notes that it's "almost exactly four years ago" since the release of the Hutton Inquiry report: "I had been seconded from my job as a BBC journalist to work with BBC management on the inquiry, spending many weeks involved in meticulous scrutiny of consistencies and inconsistencies between all the accounts of who said what where when and why. I didn't expect Lord Hutton's conclusion, I didn't expect the resignations that followed, and I didn't expect that four years later the Freedom of Information Act might lead to disclosure of further documents which would allow another burst of such scrutiny for those of us who remain interested." The one who moved mountains, Chris Ames (New Statesman) walks through the process and the history and ends by quoting MP John Baron of the Conservative Party declaring, "I am now pressing the Foreign Secretary immediately to make public the Williams draft, so that we can asses for ourselves the significance of this document in the run up to war -- a war which we should never had been party to. The Tribunal agrees that the Williams draft could have played a greater part in influencing the drafting of the dossier than the Government has so far admitted even to the Hutton Inquiry. The Government cannot hide this document any longer."
And in the US, no efforts to press towards accountablity. Why bother? It's so very good for . . . so very few.
So you could make a killing
Oh you could make a killing
Oh you could make a killing
-- "You Could Make a Killing," written by Aimee Mann, from I'm With Stupid.
And some really do rake it in. Edmond Lococo (Bloomberg News) reports, "General Dynamics Corp., the largest maker of armored vehicles for the U.S. military, said fourth-quarter earnings surged 42 percent on higher sales for the war in Iraq. Net income rose to $579 million, or $1.42 a share, from $408 million, or $1, a year earlier, the Falls Church, Virginia-based company said in a statement today. . . . The Iraq war boosted quarterly combat-systems sales 47 percent on rising demand for the Abrams tank and Stryker troop transport." Krystal Chow (Ottawa Business Journal) makes clear the "double-digit jump in both sales and profits" was the "result of strong demand from the U.S. military for the war in Iraq". AP works overtime to white-out the Iraq War. (The Wall St. Journal doesn't.) BBC points out that there are potential problems for the profit margin with "analysts" fretting "that there may be a possible change in defence policy under a new US president. Calls to reduce the number of US troops in Iraq could lead to weaker demand for military equipment, they said." That would, indeed, be a pity -- if the illegal war ended before Big Business could get all the blood money they craved. Reuters notes General Dynamics is only ranked fourth among US defense contractors and that others are expected to release their quarterly earnings shortly. Yesterday's snapshot noted the Congressional Budget Office's findings that the costs of the illegal war increase each year. This year, Bully Boy wants $193 billion which is $100 billion more than it cost in the first year. Think about that -- the illegal war costs more in its fifth year than in its first and the claim of 'winning' seems even shakier. Today, Peter R. Orszag, CBO director, testified to the US Senate Committee on the Budget where he warned that "additional funding for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan could further increase the deficit for this year" and that "additional funding that is likely to be needed to finance military operation in Iraq and Afghanistan could add $30 billion to outlays this year."
Yesterday Orszag testified to the US House Committee on the Budget giving the same prepared remarks. Kent Conrad, the chair of the Senate Budget Committee, noted in today's hearing, "We looked at the CBO deficit estimate, and we put with that the President's policies -- that is the extension of the tax cuts and additional war cost -- and we see that by 2018 we would face a deficit of nearly $600 billion. All of this leaves us with a picture of ever escalating debt." In the new issue of Ms. magazine, Martha Burk ("Gender Budgets, Anyone?," pp. 57-58) observes, "To date the war in Iraq has cost over a trillion dollars and counting. The money spent on one day of the war could buy health care for 423,529 kids, or homes for 6,500 families." [The article is not yet available online and the new issue -- Winter 2008 -- hits bookstores and magazine racks January 29th.]
Alissa J. Rubin (New York Times) notes yesterday's Mosul bombing and that "[v]ictims were still being pulled from the rubble late Wednesday night" and Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) notes that the number dead climed to 40 and 220 wounded. It was just Tuesday that the New York Times was cleaning up for the 'Awakening' Councils attack on a family, burning their home down, refusing to allow them the head of a dead member for a burial. Today Solomon Moore and Richard A. Oppel Jr. note the attacks on the US collaborators with "[a]t least 100 . . . killed in the past month" but they fail to note the thug nature of the thugs for hire. The article notes what's been noticeable for some time in terms of the attacks on the increasingly unpopular 'Awakening' Councils; however, it's one-sided and refuses to note the very real violence that the thugs are inflicting. Not surprising since, as a general rule, anyone who has to be paid/bribed to 'come over' to a side isn't generally thought of as 'trust worthy' or 'noble.'
Turning to some of today's reported violence . . .
Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a downtown Baghdad bombing that claimed the lives of 2 police officers and three wounded, three other Baghdad bombings left three people injured and, in the continued targeting of officials, a Karbala bombing targeting Sheikh Abdul Mahdi al Karbala'i ("Sistani's representative") claimed the lives of two bodyguards and left two more wounded. Matthew Weaver (Guardian of London) notes a Mosul bombing that claimed 3 lives -- Iraq police chief and two police officers -- when a bomber dressed as a police officer killed himself and the other three.:
Reuters reports an armed clash in Dhuluiya that left 3 dead and four people wounded and a man shot dead by police in Khalidya.
Reuters reports 7 "oil tanker drivers" were kidnapped yesterday outside Samarra.
Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 3 corpses discovered in Baghdad. Reuters notes 1 corpse discovered in Iskandariya.
the common ills
mikey likes it
brad mccalljason youmanslee zaslofsky
iraq veterans against the war
the new york timesrichard a. oppel jr.alissa j. rubinthe washington postmichael abramowitzmatthew weaver
martha burkms.ms. magazine