Friday, May 12, 2006

Bully Boy's sinking -- weekend's looking great!

Friday! And the pox is gone. I got a lot of teasing for getting chicken pox at my age. Made me laugh to hear it. But I'm glad I got it because a) it's out of the way and b) I get it. Like someday when I have kids and they get it, I'll get what they're going through. Cause it's mainly a kid's disease, I don't think most people realize how awful it is to have chicken pox. It's pretty awful. Like the flu, I had fever and my joints ached. But the worst thing is having your whole body itch and not being able to scratch. You're going to cheat, I did. But I didn't cheat all the time. I'd spend hours trying to ignore it and then just have to scratch. And if you only had it as a kid, you may forget how hard it is not to scratch.

So hopefully I learned something. And just in time for the weekend! :D

Let's kick things off with Democracy Now!

Bush's Approval Rating Sinks to 29%
And President Bush's approval rating has hit another new low. According to a poll by Harris Interactive, just 29% of Americans believe the President is doing a good job. Another poll tracking views on the President and the outlook for the United States led the New York Times to conclude: "Americans have a bleaker view of the country's direction than at any time in more than two decades."

Do a quarter back dance with me now. Spike the football and dance around. Bully Boy's bad, he's toast. :D Bully the Incompetent. You think he gets this, in his little bubble, that he's not considered a great leader and that the public is sick of him? We are. We know him as the incompentent liar. He lied us into war. He let New Orleans be destroyed and just sat around lying. He doesn't do a damn thing for the people. Pretty soon, it may end up just being a 1% poll approval, just the people who get millions in tax breaks. He's toast. Butter on both sides.

Bush Admin. Stonewalls Questions on Latest NSA Revelations
The Bush administration has responded to the latest in the domestic spy scandal with near silence. At the White House, President Bush declined to address Thursday's report the National Security Agency was creating a database of phone call records with the help of three of the country's largest telecom companies. The President said only that the spy program was lawful -- but did cite any constitutional or legal authority to back up his claim. At another press conference, CIA Director nominee Michael Hayden, who headed the NSA at the time the spy program was implemented, said he would not discuss any specifics. Hayden made the comments after he unexpectedly cancelled meetings with Senators to discuss his nomination. On Capitol Hill, Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Arlen Specter announced he would call officials from the three telecom companies -- AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth -- accused of helping the government spy on US citizens. Congressmember Maurice Hinchey repeated his calls for a full investigation.

This is why I think he doesn't get it, why I think everyone in his bubble says, "Bully Boy, the people love you! You are the greatest! Everyone loves you!" Tony had this funny thing about how he was like Britney Spears. Tony goes that they're both trashy and they both think the world likes them. Britney doesn't get that she's only talked about in a tabloid way. Her music career's over. After she gives birth to the latest kid, she'll only be covered by the Enquirer.
Nobody takes her serious and nobody takes him serious. America should be scared to death of Iran right now if we trusted the fool. But we're not. We're basically, "Eh, didn't you say that stuff about Iraq too?" He's like Britney, no one wants to see them anymore. Tony goes no one buys Britney as sexy and no one buys Bully Boy as tough. They're jokes.

Maybe they can do a duet together?

The press all week has been pushing Jeb like crazy. Jeb in 2008! Bully Boy thinks he'd make a great president! If anything, the fact that Bully Boy thinks that only hurts his brother. But I'm sick of the Bushes and the Clintons. They both need to stay away from the White House. Bill Clinton did a better job than Bully Boy as president but that's not saying a whole lot. We don't need another Clinton or Bush in the Oval Office.

C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Chaos and violence.
Sabrina Tavernise noted, Thursday "was . . . the deadliest day for the American military in a month, with the deaths of seven service members and the announcement of an eighth death that had occurred on Tuesday." This did not include the death of four marines on Thursday when, as reported by the Associated Press, a "tank rolled off a bridge into a canal" resulting in the drowning deaths of four marines.
Thursday was also the day that Nikola Radovanovic denied that Bosnia had shipped "
200,00 small arms to Iraq in a secret and non-trasnperanet fashion" (China's Xinhua).
Amnesty International has made the charges that Radovanovic (Defense Minister of Bosnia) was denying. The charges come in a report on how the transfer of arms threatens human rights.
Today? The
Shia party Islamic Virture has withdrawn from cabinet negotiations. The BBC notes that party spokesperson Sabah al-Saadi has "criticised what he said were external pressures from the US ambassador in Iraq." A joint story by CBS and AP, identifying the party as Fadhila, notes that the criticism also includes the assertion that "the Cabinet selection process was being dictated by personal interests and pressure by the United States that ran counter to the spirit of national unity." As cabinet negotiations continue to fail to meet the much touted timetable, Reuters reports that a "bomb in a parked car" went off outside the office of Dawa (the Shi'ite party of Nuri al-Maliki). The AFP notes that Nuri al-Maliki (Iraq's prime minister to be) continues to to tell "the ambassadors of Britain and Iran that the cabinet would be ready in the next 'few days.'" Al Jazeera notes that the real timetable, constitutional as opposed to the one al-Maliki has promised and missed, leaves only ten days to meet the "one-month constitutional deadline to present his cabinet to parliament."
In Baghdad,
CNN reports, an Iraqi soldier was killed in an attack on a convoy. Reuters notes the death of Ahmed Midhat Mahmoud and two of his bodyguards as a result of an ambush (Mahmoud was "the son of a senior judge). Kuna identifies Mahmoud as the "son of chief of Iraqi judicial council." The Associated Press notes that a police officer was killed with at least two more wounded as a result of drive by shootings. Road side bombs continued in Baghdad, at least one resulted in no deaths or casualties but another resulted in one police officer being wounded.
Associated Press notes that Basra saw violence as Sheik Khalil Ibrahim and his son were killed as they departed the Sunni Khudairi mosque.
Kuna reports that, in Tal Afar, an attack on a police patrol resulted in three being wounded (police officers) and two being killed (attackers).
In Dhuluiya,
the BBC notes, at least four Iraqi soldiers have died and at least seven civilians have been wounded as people clash with "Iraqi forces."
Throughout Iraq, corpses continued to turn up.
Reuters notes four ("military uniform, two of them beheaded") being discovered in Khan Bani Saad and one ("gunshot wounds to the head and . . . signs of torture) being discovered in Baghdad while KUNA also notes the discovery of a corpse in Sadr City ("blindfolded, with hands bound and the victim appears to have been shot dead."). Al Jazeera notes the kidnapping of Carlo Daccache "snatched on Friday in Baghdad by unidentified armed men."
In the United States, Congress member
John Murtha has told the Associated Press that he predicts America will brings its troops home "by 2007" as a result of the Bully Boy "bow[ing] to public pressure or [because] Democrats will have won control of the House of Representatives."
Finally, as
noted this morning on Democracy Now!, an event sponsored by CODEPINK and other organizations will take place Saturday and Sunday in DC:
Declare peace on Mother's Day with CODEPINK! We will be gathering in Washington DC for a 24-hour vigil outside the White House on May 13-14, and will be joined by amazing celebrity actresses, singers, writers, and moms, including Cindy Sheehan, Patch Adams, and Susan Sarandon! Bring your mother, children, grandmothers, friends, and loved ones. We will be honoring the mothers of the fallen by sending them organic roses. Click here to send your rose! We're also writing letters to Laura Bush to appeal to her own mother-heart, turning them into a book, "Letters to Laura." For event info click here, read our blogs and check out our online store for gift ideas.

Okay, here are my favorite five songs for the week. Neil Young's "After the Garden" and "Let's Impeach the President" are my big two. I listened to Living With War a lot this week. (Thanks to Rebecca for the CD.) I only listened to two other CDs this week. White Stripes Get Behind Me, Satan and I'd pick "Blue Orchid" off that. The other thing was my parents boxed set Complete Anthology of the Mamas and the Papas. Dad felt sorry for me having chicken pox and he brought it to my room. I think I'll pick "Nowhere Man" and "Safe in my Garden."

Be sure to check Like Maria Said Paz for Elaine's thoughts and also check out:

C.I.'s "NYT: Says nah-nah, we did in December, though they really didn't (Shane & Lichtblau)"
C.I.'s "And the war drags on . . . (Indymedia Roundup)" (pay attention to the part on ER and and I hope everyone remembered to watch -- Parminder Nagra's Dr. Neela Rasgotra found out that her husband died in Iraq)
Rebecca's "preaching to the converted"
Cedric's "Different stuff"
Kat's "
Guns & Butter and the crappy 1000th issue of Rolling Stone"

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Bully Boy caught lying & spying again

Good evening. Fever has broken, pox are going down and my boss came by today, takes a look at me and goes, "I don't care how you feel tomorrow, don't come in." :D

He said he didn't want me to think he was checking up on me. I think he waited until today because he was afraid I was faking and would come by Wednesday only to find I'd gone to see Amy Goodman give that speech. :D

He's a pretty cool guy. He and my dad were Little League coaches together for my brothers. (I was too young, by the time I was in Little League, he'd served his time.)

Elaine's off on Thursdays but you can check out Cedric's Big Mix tonight for Cedric's thoughts on the news. So let's get to the news from Democracy Now!

Telecom Companies Helped NSA Spy on Millions of US Citizens
Three of the country's largest telecom companies have provided the National Security Agency with the phone call records of tens of millions of Americans. This according to a report in USA Today. One source with direct knowledge of the program called it "the largest database ever assembled in the world" whose goal is to collect a record of "every call ever made" within the United States. The Bush administration has insisted its spy program focuses solely on international calls. The companies -- AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth -- have been under contract since after the 9/11 attacks. Only one major telecom company declined to participate in the program. The company, Qwest, reportedly asked the NSA to get FISA-court approval before it would hand over the records. The NSA refused. Although the program does not involve the direct monitoring of phone conservations, it amasses detailed records on who people have called and when they've called them. At least one company had already been implicated in the program. In a lawsuit filed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation earlier this year, former AT&T technician Mark Klein said AT&T has been working with the National Security Agency to spy on Americans. In addition to raising new questions about the extent of the NSA spy program and the companies involved, the disclosure also raises new questions about CIA Director-nominee Michael Hayden. Hayden headed the National Security Agency at the time the spy program was implemented. He declined USA Today's request for comment.

Read Wally's "THIS JUST IN! BULLY BOY DUMMIES UP FOR THE PRESS!" which is a great (and funny!) take on this news. It's one lie after another with Bully Boy. "Let's impeach the president for lying" is on the stereo right now. Rebecca had a CD in her get well package she dropped of Tuesday and it was Neil Young's Living With War which I was just going to listen to online because I've got a birthday to buy for coming up so I was watching the dollars and cents.
It's really good. It's a great gift (thank you, Rebecca). You can listen to it online at Living With War and if you have a problem with it dropping in and out (I did), just let it play all the way through once and then when it starts up the second time, it won't drop out. And read Kat's
"Kat's Korner: Neil Young's Living With War -- key word 'Living'."

It's a good CD and on days like today, when the news makes you go "Say what?" you'll really appreciate it even more. So Bully Boy got caught in another lie. What is the thing that makes everyone scream "IMPEACH!" at Congress? It seems like we should have passed that point a long, long time ago. It's just one abuse and one lie after another with Bully Boy.

UK Attorney General Calls For Guantanamo Closure
Britain's Attorney General has called for the closure of the US prison facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. In a speech in London, Lord Peter Goldsmith said: "The existence of Guantanamo remains unacceptable."

See, that's more shame he's brought on us. How will we ever explain that? The only explanation is, "We were cowards, a bully was in the White House, and we went along." It's time to shut down Guantamo and time to impeach Bully Boy. When England's version of Alberto Gonzales is saying "shut it down," you know the pressure's gotten bad. That's probably because the administration's trying to defend it to the United Nations and even if that's not a big deal in this country, it is outside of it.

There was a guest on Democracy Now! this week that I fell asleep in the middle of so he may have made the point I'm about to but he was trying to talk about the Guantanamo's in this country. I forgot that until Tony brought by this thing today on the UN panel looking into torture. It was on tasers.

I thought, "What the ___!"

Tasers should be pulled, no question. But we're talking about planned, intended torture and one other thing. (I'll get to the other thing.) So it just seemed like someone was trying to piggyback their cause on to this issue. That's how I felt about the story on DN! which was talking about the Guantanamo's in this country.

There are not any Guantanamo's in this country (unless they're secret prisons). What goes on at Guantamao and Bagram and secret prisons isn't just torture. It's also the fact that people who have never had their day in court have been imprisoned. They've been held prisoner without ever being convicted.

That's a big difference.

I know that techniques used at Guantamo were used in some prisons here. I'm not dismissing that. But I am saying that this isn't the "same" as Guantamo.

Whether you got a fair trial or were railroaded, you got a day in court. Your family knew where you were. You weren't picked off the streets by CIA and taken away without anyone knowing.

It's not the same thing. The physical abuse may be the same but there is another level to Guantamo, the whole secrecy factor.

Crimes are going on in American prisons and they need to be brought out into the open and the guards and others participating need to be put on trial and face long, stiff sentences. But Guantamo brings in the whole internment issue that this nation was supposedly shamed by when they did that to Japanese-Americans. Guantanamo goes against the basic core of our justice system: innocent until proven guilty.

To me, you don't act like the two are equal.

That's how I felt when I read the story about how tasers are killing people in America (they are) and how this is "just like" what's going on in Guantanamo.

Torture is always wrong and always needs to be punished. But torture alone isn't the reason Guantamo is so shameful. That's only one part of it.

Closing because I'm tired. Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Chaos and violence continue.
Today? The
parliament continued to make the issue of who heads the Iraqi oil ministry the main topic. (Does that not demonstrate how important that position is?) As the AFP notes, yesterday was the self-imposed deadline the US backed Iraqi prime minister designate Nuri al-Maliki had set for finaliing his cabinet. The deadline was missed.
This as Rod Barton, an Australian Defence sciene intelligence officer, has made statements
that Australia was lied into war. Speaking to the Australian Broadcasting Company's Kerry O'Brien, Barton also addressed the issue of US torture:

KERRY O'BRIEN: Why do you believe he was beaten to death and how clear is the evidence that he was beaten to death?

ROD BARTON: I now know, and I didn't know this when I wrote the book, that he underwent a process called purgatory when he was arrested. Purgatory is, again, by this Special Forces 626. When they arrest the person they're trying to disorient the person. They put a hessian bag over the person's head and for three days or more the person is beaten, deprived of food and sleep and so on. There was a lot of stuff he was involved with. He developed poisons for assassination purposes. But I believe, I now know, that he knew about actual operations of assassinations of Iraqi dissidents overseas. And I believe that was the information that they were trying to get from him when they beat him again. The autopsy showed that he died not of a brain tumour or a brain aneurysm, or whatever they told me - not of natural causes, but the autopsy showed he died of blunt force trauma to the head. In other words, someone hit him too hard on the head.

Back in Iraq, as factions move towards the consolidation of militaries, Grand Ayatolla Hli al-Sistani has "ordered all Shi'ite mosques to close for three days" in Zubayr
reports the Associated Press. This as AFP is reporting that "official sanction" will be needed for clerics in Iraq. As part of the agreement, "capital and Iraqi forces" cannot raid mosques without US troops being present. Presumably 'sanctioning' of cleric will take place with US permission as well. (US military spokesperson, Rick Lynch, stated of the deal: "That's news to me, that's a surprise to me.")
In Baghdad, as noted on
KPFA's The Morning Show newsbreaks anchored by Sandra Lupien and by CNN, roadside bombs have claimed the lives of at least three American troops today (Lupien also noted the death of two Iraqi soldiers from a roadside bomb -- as does Reuters). The Associated Press notes a roadside bomb took the lives of five "municipal workers." (CNN also puts the number of dead at five and notes one wounded.) Reuters, which puts the previous number at four, reports assailents shot and killed a "judicial investigator near a courthouse." Courthouses and schools continue to be the targets for violence. And the corpse of a police officer was discovered ("hands bound, signs of torture and shot in the head").
In Baquba,
Reuters notes that a school teacher was killed and her fourteen-year-old nephew wounded by assailants. Is this the same woman, Widad al-Shimri, whose death the AP reports? They identify her as a Shi'ite "history professor" and note that her seven-year-old daughter was also killed. So at least one educator was killed in Baquba, possibly two. Also in Baquba, at least twenty-five men, suspected gunmen, have been arrested "wearing army uniforms" but not with the army.
In Haqlaniyah, US troops have fired on abandoned hotel where resistance fighters were believed to be while, in Kirkuk, assailants "ambushed and killed a police lieutenant colonel."

I could write about the next three items if I had any energy but, instead, I'll just note C.I.'s
"NYT: The intentionally blind and the willfully useless (yes, Dexy's back in print)" and
"Other Items" plus Kat's "Kat's Korner: Pink's not dead or silent" which may be my favorite review she's done so far. Oh and Rebecca's "more on hud's lead liar alphonso jackson."

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Barry Bonds, Repubes drool over tax breaks, peace activists go to Iran

Hump day. Still a pox day. Let's get to Democracy Now!

Republicans Reach Agreement on Controversial Tax Bill
On Capitol Hill, House and Senate Republicans have agreed on a new tax bill critics say will disproportionately favor the wealthiest Americans. The $70 billion dollar measure would extend the 15 percent tax rate on capital and dividends until the year 2010. According to the Tax Policy Center, households earning more than $1 million dollars would save $42,000 dollars in taxes. Meanwhile, households earning around $45,000 dollars would save $46 dollars.

Okay, but if you earn something else? I think it would go like this:

Those in the top group would see their tax bill cut 4.8 percent, while Americans at the center of the income distribution -- the middle fifth of taxpayers, who will earn an average of $36,000 this year -- could expect a 0.4 percent reduction in their tax bill, or about $20.Those who make less than $75,000 -- which includes about 75 percent of all taxpayers -- would save, at most, $110 each. Those making more than $1 million would save, on average, almost $42,000.

I'm so smart, right? Wrong. That's David Cay Johnston of the New York Times. ("Analysis of Tax Bill Finds More Benefits for the Rich.") When I saw that today (I got to watch it on TV from the sickbed) I remembered that C.I. had noted that thing of Johnston's and asked Nina to look it up for me. I hope everyone who gets screwed (pretty much all of us) reads that, especially the ones who thought "Bully Boy is for the little people like me!" and they have to say, "Woah."

US Peace Activists Travel to Tehran
Twenty-two US citizens have traveled to Iran to promote peace between Washington and Tehran. "(We are here to promote) understanding between our peoples so that our governments don't get us into a situation where we go into a Conflict," said delegate member Dave Robinson, Executive Director Of The National Catholic Peace Movement."We're here to learn about Iran firsthand so that we don't succumb to the enemy building and demonising that's going in the United States at the moment."

I don't know what's going to happen with Iran. C.I. called and we were talking about that and all and how the press is attacking the letter from Iran because Condi and Bully Boy dismissed it. Which reminds me, Barry Bonds got trashed on the front page of the New York Times Sunday. Hold on a second.

That piece of trash rag has been trashing Bonds so much that you'd think he must be Irish-American. This is from Sunday, by an idiot named George Vecsey, "It's Boos, Aches and Bad Karma as Bonds Limps Toward Ruth:"

That the bad vibes are largely Bonds's fault -- he may have lied about using illegal steroids and is generally unpleasant -- is almost irrelevant. This sour exercise would best be performed quickly, and let us all move on to something more becoming than youths' heckling Bonds from the safety of the stands, accusing him of using steroids.

Bonds is reponsible for "bad vibes"? Like the press didn't attack, attack, attack. Where's Mark McGwire? Or like the whole New York Timid doesn't dog pile on Bonds every chance they get? Like Jack Curry did on Monday? Or apparent wino Eric Asimov mocking him today? As Bonds gears to break Babe Ruth's record, I don't think you can say he "fell apart under close scrutiny" but then I'm not drunk off my ass on wine. Nor do I wear lipstick and looking at his photo, I'd say he's wearing lipstick. He also looks like the son of that weird guy on PBS Jacques Pepin. But Pepin probably knows what he's talking about. Where's the "bad vibes" coming from? Fru fru writers who think they're smarter than they are. Go back to writing for Martha Stewart's magazine where no one expects you to make "quips" about Barry Bonds or any other sports star.

Teena e-mailed to ask me why I wasn't talking about WBAI's Wakeup Call and that's cause I'm sick. I did listen this morning, for instance. I know Deepa Fernades interviewed some professor from Puerto Rico and right after, I think it was right after, they did sports (not Dave Zirin, he's on tomorrow). I have no idea what was being discussed. That's not an insult to Deepa who does great interviews. Everybody knows I love sports and I couldn't tell you what he was talking about (though I'd bet it had something to do with the Yankees) and ended up falling asleep. It's a great show.

I got up this morning, still covered in pox, showered thinking I'd feel better and also cool me down because my fever still hasn't broken. Then thought I'd get something to eat. Got half way and turned around, went back to the bedroom and flopped down on the bed. I figured I'd listen a little to Deepa and get my energy back up but I was thinking "Puerto Rico. This should be good." And then a second later, I think I fell asleep, I was like, "Woah, what are they talking about." Then my mind drifted (or I probably fell back asleep) and the next thing I know the sports guy is on and I'm thinking, "Okay, this I can focus on." But next thing I knew, it was noon and I was waking up.

It's a really good show but I'm just sick -- itchy with the pox, waiting for a fever to break, and real tired.

If I'd had the energy, even covered with pox, I probably would have tried to go see Amy Goodman. I wouldn't have cared about looking like Thing from the Fantastic Four. :D
But Dad read C.I.'s thing this morning and goes "I'm quoting: 'If you're noncontagious and in the Boston area, make a point to check out the luncheon (provided they aren't all booked up).'"

Good point. Somebody there might not have had the pox or maybe just a mild case. (Ma has checked and I did have them as a kid but just in one area -- my lower back -- and she thinks that I didn't have enough of them to build up an immunity.)

I'm fading, so let's do C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Iraq snapshot.
Chaos and violence.
But apparently those days over because
Condi Rice is confident and Jalal Talabani (president of Iraq) is issuing statements on the need to stop the killings (1,1000 Iraqis, according to Talabani, in the month of April -- BBC says 1,091). Yeah, that'll end the conflict.
Meanwhile, back on planet earth . . .
RTE updates the death toll on the Tal Afar bombing yesterday, from 17 dead to at least 24 currently with the "US military" saying at least 134 wounded.
Australia's ABC and AFP report that the "coalition-run Fort Suse prison" has seen five Iraqi "terror suspects" break out. On a similar topic, the Iraqi parliment, that's supposed to be on track and moving forward, hit a stumbling block today "over who should head the oil ministry." Now didn't you just know oil was going to be involved?
Though bombs, car bombs or otherwise, are no longer uncommon in Iraq,
CBS and AP report that that a bus was targeted not only by "gunmen" but that the "gunmen" went on to plant "a bomb aboard the vehicle" which killed at least eleven and wounded at least four. The BBC notes that the bus "reportedly" carried "employees of a state-run electricity company." RTE places the death toll at at least 12. The attack on the bus took place near Baquba. In Baquba, Lt. Col. Kanan Hassan and two of his body guards were killed, Reuters notes.
In Baghdad, "
Defense Ministry press office employee" Mohammed Musab Talal al-Amari died when his car when assailants ambused his car and opened fire. Also injured in the gunfire was a pedestrian. The Associated Press notes the killing of "two traffic" police officers, a taxi driver and a civilian. A roadside bomb took the life of one Iraqi soldier. And corpses continued to turn up -- today thirteen were discovered("signs of torture").
A victim of a roadside bombing, US soldier, is
Cal Perry's entry point in a report he does on the conditions army medics face in Iraq.He estimates the American troop wounded at "roughly 17,500." (17,869 is the figure that Iraq Coalition Casualties gives.)
Associated Press notes that road side bombs took the life of at least one and wounded at least three.

Be sure to check out Like Maria Said Paz for Elaine's thoughts. And Kat's done another review,
"Kat's Korner: Need deeper? Check out Josh Ritter's The Animal Years" and Josh Ritter is one of Nina's favorites so read the review. Rebecca wrote "hud run by a liar" and you should check it out. (I put Kat's name with a link because the link goes to her site and the review is at The Common Ills -- and I'm tired.) Cedric's got a new post called "Rove about to be indicted?" and Betty's got a new chapter called "The hopping mad Thomas Friedman."

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

I got the pox!

So I get up this morning feeling worse than yesterday and sweating like a pig. I go to the bathroom and wonder what the heck happened to my face? I'm pimple city. Then I bump into Dad in the hall and he tells me those aren't pimples, they're pox!

I got chicken pox. Ma is pretty sure I had them when I was a kid, but maybe not. I got them now. They itch and you're not supposed to scratch. I can avoid scratching my face but there are some on my triceps that just itch like crazy and I am scratching those. I'm also scratching some on my ankles which Ma pointed out might not have spread all over my body if I hadn't been scratching to begin with.

Let's do Democracy Now!

U.S. Dismisses Iranian Letter to Bush as Ploy
The Bush administration is dismissing a diplomatic attempt by Iran to resolve the international debate over Tehran’s nuclear program. On Monday Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad sent President Bush an 18-page letter suggesting "new ways" to settle the dispute. The letter marked the first communication between the two countries leaders since the fall of the shah 27 years ago. The text of the letter has not been released but U.S. officials downplayed its significance. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice said, "This letter is not the place that one would find an opening to engage on the nuclear issue or anything of the sort." US intelligence chief John Negroponte suggested the letter was a ploy by the Iranians to undermine international pressure on the nuclear issue.
John Negroponte: "Given the fact that the issue of Iran is before the United Nations at this time, certainly one of the hypotheses you'd have to examine is whether and in what way the timing of the dispatch of that letter is connected with trying in some manner to influence the debate before the Security Council, but again having not read the letter I don't think I could comment further."

Meanwhile on Monday night ministers from the five permanent members of the UN Security Council as well as Germany and the European Union met in New York to discuss Iran. But they failed to reach an agreement on a possible UN resolution. The U.S. is pushing for a resolution to authorize sanctions and the possible use of force.

They got a lot of nerve talking about timing, huh? The ones who sent the UN inspectors packing in their rush to war (because they didn't want the world to know Iraq had no WMD). Now they're blowing off the letter from Iran and you have to remember if it has anything to do with the fact that oil prices dropped when news of the letter got out? As soon as Bully Boy and his cronies said, "So what!" the prices sky rocketed again. (Check out this "Oil up as Iran letter hopes fade." ) He works for them, not for us.

CIA’s Third Highest Official, Dusty Foggo, Resigns
The number three man at the CIA, Kyle 'Dusty' Foggo, has resigned just days after the unexpected resignation of CIA Director Porter Goss. The FBI is investigating whether Foggo helped defense contractor Brent Wilkes win government contracts. The two are childhood friend and so close they have named their children after each other. Wilkes has been accused of bribing former Republican Congressman Duke Cunningham with prostitutes, limos and hotel rooms and arranging private poker games attended by Foggo and others. Meanwhile a number of top Republicans, including House Speaker Dennis Hastert, are voicing concern over President Bush's decision to nominate four-star General Michael Hayden to become the head of the CIA. Hayden acknowledged his critics during a brief ceremony at the White House.
Gen. Michael Hayden: "In the confirmation process I look forward to meeting members of the congress and better understanding their concerns and working with them to move the American intelligence community forward," Hayden said. "This is simply too important to get absolutely right."A spokesperson for House Speaker Dennis Hastert said the country "should not have a military person leading the CIA, a civilian agency." Republicans are also concerned that Hayden's confirmation hearing will center on his role at the National Security Agency where he approved President Bush's plan to illegally conduct domestic surveillance without court warrants. Earlier this year NSA whistleblower Russell Tice appeared on Democracy Now and criticized Hayden’s role in the spy operation. "Certainly General Alexander and General Hayden and Bill Black knew that this was illegal," Tice said.

Prostitutes, gambling? Gotta agree with my buddy Wally, "THIS JUST IN! THE TONE IS RED LIGHT DISTRICT!" But that's how it was under Poppy as well. It was a gay scandal here, a sex scandal there. Then Bill Clinton's in office and they all want to act like the previous administration was a bunch of choir boys.

Hayden's not qualified. And when Bully Boy calls him "Mike," that shows you how much he's not qualified. It's like when he tried to sell Harriet Miers on her personality because she didn't have any qualifications. I really think this was Elaine's point but she said I could use it and that I was the one -- I have no idea, I'm just waiting for my fever to break. But the way he kept saying "Mike" yesterday, Bully Boy saying it, it was like "Mike" had been kidnapped and he was trying to establish "Mike" as a person. Like in Silence of the Lambs, when the senator keeps saying her daughter's name to try to get the kidnapper to see the daughter as a person.

That's how lame Republicans are, they saw the movie (probably thought it was "dirty") on basic cable a few months back and are convinced that no one else could have seen it before them so they'll use that "trick."

Thanks to Rebecca who heard from Elaine I was sick and made a point of dropping by this evening. Sorry I was asleep during that but I do love the cookies (chocolate chip) and am eating them right now. Rebecca's strong and I think most people get that, but I hope they also get that she's a really caring person who always thinks about friends and stuff. I wish they'd woken me up when she was here. But I'm glad she visited (and really love the cookies, there's a CD and a book in her get well package too but I just grabbed the cookies because they were on top).

Also sorry to Elaine who called a lot earlier. I was asleep then too. I was asleep most of the day. I had the TV on and remember waking up during some cartoon I can't even remember now. I watched for like a few seconds and then rolled over and went back to sleep. Dad did try to wake me up when Elaine was on the phone but he said I would open my eyes and stare at him for a second and then go back to sleep. He tried like three times.

So Elaine ended up waiting until a little bit ago when I woke up and called her back. If that happens again (like if I get malaria next!) she can go ahead and pick the stuff from Democracy Now! and I'll follow her lead. She held off blogging so I we could pick the two together.

She also told me to get an ice pack for my crotch to make sure I don't scratch there! :D

So the boys are on ice which is good, that's the only spot that's not itching right now! Even the back of my neck is starting to itch. Let me post C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" tag this thing and hop in the shower:

Iraq snapshot.
Chaos and violence continue. And are you surprised?
Yesterday, a courthouse in Baghdad was bombed. Today, Judge Muhaimin Mahmoud Abbod "was gunned down . . . while he was driving his car." That took place in western Baghdad while elsewhere in Baghdad, three more Iraqis were killed by 'unknown gunmen' (a popular phrase in today's press reports). Amara saw the death of "a civilian and a political activist" from unknown assailants and Kirkuk was where an Iraqi soldier was shot dead and at least two others wounded. Reuters notes the deaths of four police officers in Ramadi.
Tal Afar was rocked by an explosion today. CBS and the Associated Press report that the explosion was another car bomb (though, in this case, a truck bomber) and at least 17 have died while at least 35 more are wounded. Baghdad was also the sight of bombings. Reuters reports a roadside bomb took the lives of two and wounded at least five more (including two police officers).
In what's become a day to day occurrence, corpses turned up across Iraq on Tuesday. Latifiya, as noted by Reuters, was the location for the discovery of three corpses (all had their hands tied, one wore a police uniform). CNN reports the discovery of ten corpses in Baghdad. Reuters reports that, near Suwayra, at least eleven corpses were found "dumped in the Tigris river" ("including the headless corpse of a 10-year-old boy"). On those corpses, CNN reports that at least three wore "Iraqi military uniforms" and had been beheaded. Reuters reports that of the eleven, at least nine were beheaded.
China's Xinhau reports the kidnapping of two Iraqi contractors in Tikrit and the attack on a taxi north of Tikrit that left at least one person dead and two more wounded.
As the chaos and violence become the norm, people continue to flee the country. The BBC reports that that 244 Palestinians, who were refused entry by Jordan, have been allowed to enter Syria.
The deployment of "roughly 3,500 [American] soldiers of the 2nd Brigade of the Army's 1st Infantry Division at their base in Schweinfurt, Germany" to Iraq remains on hold; however, the Pentagon (and Rumsfeld) stress that this just a delay not a drawdown.
Meanwhile, the laughable attempt on the part of someone (the US?) to create a sort of Tattler/Insurgency Exposed! on al Qaeda is met with skepticsm by experts who fail to see the document as a genuine one. Next up Rumsfeld, offers mash notes passed during al Qaeda study hall.
Finally, Scotland's Herald notes that Sarah Mulvihill, among the five British troops who died Saturday when the helicopter she and the other four RAFs were traveling in was brought down by a rocket, was "[t]he first British servicewoman to be killed in action for more than 20 years."

I almost forgot, check out Kat's "Kat's Korner: Richie Havens: The Economical Collection." I really love that CD. I know it wasn't something she was thrilled with and probably if you know Richie Havens' stuff, you're like, "Eh." But if you're new to him like me, you'll love it. It's probably like loving a Fleetwood Mac greatest hits if you've never heard Rumors. You get that they rock but you really don't get how much until you move beyond the greatest hits. Kat's doing another review tonight and Elaine told me what it was but I forgot. But look for it.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Monday headache

Monday. Ugh-day. If we lived in Europe, we'd have more time off. Maybe in this country, someday. Let's kick things off with Democracy Now!

Porter Goss On His Resignation: "[It is] Just One of Those Mysteries"
Questions still remain over why Porter Goss resigned from the CIA. Neither Goss nor President Bush have publicly given any reason for the resignation. On Saturday Goss told CNN his departure is "just one of those mysteries."

He really was a smart ass, wasn't he?

Here's another question? Bully Boy's nominated Michael Hayden. Why does the press keep saying he's the next CIA director? He's got to be confirmed to be the new one.

Tens of Thousands Protest in Greece Against U.S. Wars
In Greece, tens of thousands of protesters marched in Athens on Saturday to condemn the Iraq invasion and a possible U.S. attack on Iran. According to press account, one small group of protesters fired petrol bombs and stones at police outside the U.S. embassy. Riot police responded with tear gas.

We are loved all over the world!

Thank you, Bully Boy.

Bush: Catching 7.5 Pound Perch as Highlight Of Presidency
Meanwhile in another interview with the German press, President Bush was questioned about the high point of his presidency. Bush said "I would say the best moment of all was when I caught a 7.5 pound perch in my lake."

Didn't you just know something would have to die for his favorite moment?

Be sure to visit Like Maria Said Paz for Elaine's thoughts which will probably be way deeper than mine. I've got a really bad headache tonight.

What I'm going to do tonight is just talk about The Third Estate Sunday Review's latest edition. I may do this the rest of the week or just this evening. (Elaine suggested it because my head is killing me.)

This evening I'm talking about two pieces that go together. First up, "Darfur." People are losing their lives. And there's this push to do something. But what they're pushing seems to be "military solution." You hear the Force Wagon talk about troops and sometimes NATO. Is that the only solution? That's what we were geting at here. People are saying it is genocide. If it's genocide what would be a way to rescue the victims without resorting to allowing Bully Boy to put troops down for another occupation?

"Head on Home (a musical in four scenes)" follows that up. It's really cool. I'm really proud that we did this. This could have failed and we were okay with that because we were just trying to do something beyond what we usually do. And anytime we've tried something different, we've learned from it. I don't mean, "Oh, next time we do this, we should . . ." I mean, it's pushed us to think in new ways and so we were willing to fail because we wanted to shake ourselves up.

It was going to be longer but the edition got shook up itself (I wrote about that on Friday). So the basic story is that there's Tiffany and this guy Dakota. She sees him playing his guitar and singing for the troops to come home. These five guys (big business) are worried about losing out on the money in Iraq. Tiffany listens to Dakota sing and gets really excited. The whole thing is in song, by the way. She starts singing along and is full of enthusiasm even though he's cautioning her that it will be a long process.

She goes around trying to recruit others to call for the troops to come home. She finds three people who are protesting something and they basically tell her they have their own issue -- which is to lobby their Senator about Darfur.

The Senator tries to avoid them but they corner her. They want her to save the people in Darfur. She's not interested until she realizes, and she voted for the war in/on Iraq, that it will give her a chance to deploy US forces. The three take up the chant with her and Tiffany gets swept away and goes along with it.

Now the Senator's speaking out against it. There's a huge crowd. Big business is nervous until they hear "show of force" and then they are happy and eager to contribute to her campaign.

Everything goes to crap. People are dying. And the Senator's worried about her polls and her chances for the presidency. Tiffany leaves her office shocked.

Dakota's picked up two more people who support his cause. Tiffany tries to explain what happened. Then the Senator walks up nearby with a crowd following her. She does this hilarious song about "Vote for me!" Tiffany tries to tell the truth on her but it looks like everyone belives the Senator. The crowd leaves with the Senator except for three people who join Dakota, Tiffany and the couple in calling for the troops to come home. So it starts off with just Dakota and ends with him and six others.

I like it and am really glad we worked on it.

Read "Kat's Korner: Neil Young's Living With War -- key word 'Living'" and remember Neil Young's CD comes out tomorrow.

I'll close with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Chaos and violence continue.
Sunday, Australia's ABC reports, car bombs took the lives of at least 21 and wounded at least 52 in Kerbala while two went off in Baghdad killing at least nine and wounding at least 20. CNN notes the death of one police officer and two others wounded in Baquba on Sunday evening as well as ten Iraqis wounded from a bomb blast in Muqdadiya. CBS & the AP note the names of the five British soldiers who died when their helicopter crashed (shot down with a rocket) this weekend: Sarah Mulvihill, John Coxen, Darren Chapman, David Dobson and Paul Collins. Sarah Mulvihill was "[t]he first British servicewomen to die in action in Iraq." Today?
As noted this morning by Sandra Lupien during the news breaks of KPFA's The Morning Show, a car bomb outside a courthouse in Baghdad claimed the lives of at least five and wounded at least ten, while 2 Iraqi journalists kidnapped Sunday have been found (dead, bullets to the head).
The bombing at the courthouse wasn't the only one in Baghdad. Reuters reports a second one (in the al-Tayaran Square) took the lives of at least five and wounded at least eight. Another bombing in Baghdad, "eastern Baghdad," resulted in at least 17 wounded (four of which were police officers). While southeast of Baghdad, the Associated Press notes (as did Lupien) the death of an American soldier from a roadside bomb.
In Sunday's New York Times, Sabrina Tavernise noted the kidnapping (on Saturday) of three with the Interrior Ministry. Today in Baghdad, Reuters reports that a bus with employess of the Ministry of Higher Education was fired upon (the driver was killed, at least three others on the bus were wounded). (BBC notes only one wounded "policeman who was guarding the bus.") Taverinse also noted that on Saturday, 43 corpses had been found in Iraq ("All of the victims were handcuffed and shot in the head."). In Baghdad today, Reuters notes, six more corpses have been discovered ("signs of torture . . . gun wounds to their heads"). Three corpses were found in Khan al-Mahawil, CNN reports. The three had been "police commandos" and were kidnapped Friday ("single bullet to the head").
BBC notes the attack on a pipeline that's shut down "Mussayab power station." MSNBC notes Iraqi "police Col. Ahmed Mijwayl" as explaining that the pipeline carried "oil from Dora refinery in Baghdad to Musayyib power station."
Finally, on today's The Morning Show, Andrea Lewis interviewed Dr. Dahlia Wasfi, an Iraqi-American who reported on her recent visit to Iraq (Dec. 2005 to March 2006). Wasfi found limited electricity, no potable water (none "through tap water, people have to buy water") and no security. From 2 hours of blackouts two years ago, they now have rolling blackouts which means those with electricity are buying generators (and buying gas to fuel them). The American bases and the British bases have electricity and running water, Wasfi noted. Which says, "We could not care less about the suffering of the Iraqi people. . . . The Iraqis have had about all the help they can take from the American people." She repeatedly found that things were worse now "than before 2004 . . . before we invaded and life wasn't great then." Healthcare is a "disaster." She cited several examples but this one may be the one underscores the point the most: Hospitals "in Basra . . . couldn't do operations for a week because they had no gauze." She summarized the current state with this: "There is chaos, there is anarchy in Iraq and it will continue after we leave . . . because we destroyed the civilian infrastructure . . . We don't belong there."
By the way Dahlia Wasfi, Christian Peacemaker Team Beth Pyles, Pablo Paredes and Yussef El Guindi will be at an event ("Building Resistance" A Not in Our Name Benefit of Theatre and Conscience") in Oakland, CA (The Grand Lake Theater, 3200 Grand Avenue) and Andrea Lewis will be the moderator of the event. ** Thursday, May 11th; 7:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.**