Friday, July 14, 2006


It's Friday!!!!!! :D Did you think it would ever get here? Me neither! But it's here. And for me, that means the Friday group later tonight where we talk about Iraq. That's really cool and I know Beau's trying to get his own group started on that. I hope everyone tries because the war drags on until we say "no!" Until we shout: "NO!" Let me hear you: "NO!" Let's kick things off with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

The Operation Happy Talk goes on.
Sean McFarland becomes the biggest doofus outside the administration by delcaring, "I think we have turned a corner her in Ramadi." MacFarland is both an Army Col. and a Happy Talker.
In news that's a little harder to Happy Talk,
Antonio Castaneda (AP) reports that of the 1000 Sunni soldiers who made up the May 2006 graduating class "only about 300 of them have reported for duty".
In other news from the real world,
Reuters reports that the US Congressional Budget Office predicts: "The Iraq war could cost U.S. taxpayers between $202 billion and $406 billion more over the next 10 years".
These projections come at a time when, as
Martha Burk has pointed out (Ms.), the US government has cut "[d]omestic-violence prevention by $35 million, Medicaid by $17 billion over five years and child care programs by 1.03 billion over five years."
In other costs paid,
Reuters reports 12 corpses were discovered in Tal Afar. CBS and the AP note a corpse ("shot in the chest . . . signs of torture") discovered in Azizyah".
noted earlier this morning, seven people were killed ("after Friday prayers") when a Sunni mosque in Baghdad was bombed. Meanwhile Reuters reports that a mosque in Balad Ruz was hit by mortar rounds leaving at least two dead and four wounded while a car bomber in Mosul who killed himself and five others. The AFP covers a mortar attack in Baghdad that left one person dead and nine wounded.
Shooting deaths?
Reuters notes that two policeman were killed by a sniper in Tal Afar while a minibus near Kut was attacked "with machine gun fire" resulting in five dead ("including a wwoman and a child"). Meanwhile, the AFP reports attacks in two cities: a car was "ambushed" in Tikrit by assailants who shot the father dead and wounded the son; and, in Mosul, two different attacks left a police officer dead as well as the bodyguard of a judge. And the Associated Press reports a drive-by in Baghdad that killed a taxi driver.
BBC noted the death of several Iraqi soldiers (12 at that point) in Kirkuk when they were attacked with "rocket-propelled grenades and machine guns". AFX raised the number dead to 13 (citing "colonel Mahmud Abdulla").
following yesterday's kidnapping attempt that left wrestling coach Mohammed Karim Abid Sahib dead, the AP reports that: "Iraq's national wrestling team [has] pulled out of a tournament in the United Arab Emirates".
In the United States,
Saturday July 15th is a day of action calling for Suzanne Swift to receive an honorable discharge including a protest, "at the gates of Ft. Lewis (exit 119) beginning at 12 pm with a press converence at 3 pm" in Washington state -- while in Eugen, Oregon there will be a demonstration outside the Federal Building at noon.
In DC (and across the globe -- over 22 countries), the fast led by
CODEPINK and others continues. As Thursday's The KPFA Evening News reported some Congressional members, including Barbara Lee, Maxine Waters, Dennis Kucinich, Cynthia McKinney and Lynne Woolsey took part in a one-day fast on Thursday. Ann Wright, who ressigned from the State Department on May 19, 2003 and is taking part in the actions stated: "The only reason we fast is to force us to remember what's going on here. That innocent Iraqis are dying every day, Americans are dying every day. We need to get this war ended. So, yeah, we're going to up the ante".
Wednesday July 19th, San Antonio, TX will be the location for a "public hearing held by the the independent Commission on the National Guard and Reserves" -- "in the Iberia Ballroom of the La Mansion Del Rio Hotel, 112 College Street, San Antonio."
There will be two panels with the first lasting from 9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. and focused on "
roles and missions to funding requirements" and the second, lasting from 2:00 pm to 4 pm, focusing on how reserves were "involuntarily mobilized after September 11, 2001".

I used the Ms. link to the Martha Burk story and it's like a paragraph and a half. I called C.I. and C.I. didn't go to it and was using the print edition. Ma gets the magazine so I'll check with her later. (Not now. We're having the meeting here tonight and me and Dad already sat out the chairs and she's fixing snacks. I asked if I could do anything and she said if I'd go out for ice in about an hour that's all she needed. So I'll do that. I'd be happy to do more but I know she's rushing around and with this many people and so little time, she's probably thinking, "Just get out of my kitchen and I can do this!") But do you get how much money is going into the war and that because it's going to get into the war, things are being cut here. Programs are being cut and taxes are being cut (for the wealthy) so we're all suffering. The other thing that stood out was the thing coming up in Texas. I didn't know one word about that. If I was near Texas, I'd go to it for the second panel (it's a public meeting, that means anyone can go) because I'd want to hear
what the reserves think about the "involuntarily mobilized" stuff. They sign up to defend their states and stuff and end up over in Iraq and not just for a few weeks but months and months. So I'd be real interested in hearing what was said during that panel discussion.

Katrina vanden Heuvel gave a speech (at what I think was a bad convention) but I liked her speech. I saw it online and agreed with a lot of it and thought these were points community members would appreciate because we've heard similar stuff for awhile now. So this is from her "A Politics of the Common Good:"

In another vital area, I would argue that we have the intellectual upper hand, if not yet the political one. I think that its now commonly recognized that neoliberal internationalization was vastly oversold as a panacea for the world's poor, and an opportunity for workers in the North. I think most recognize now that for internationalization to proceed, workers in the richer north need much better insurance against the risks that it entails. And I think that a lot of good work in local organizing, to stop or reverse the worst effects of the "low road" that employers long thought they could pursue without resistance, is beginning to show us what the "high road" path of national reconstruction might look like--high wage, low waste, democratically accountable--and be compatible with sustainable development in the south.
And we have a public that has finally grown tired of George W. Bush, whose approval ratings are now in the toilet, and tired of the broader Republican message of the past 30 years of what Jared Bernstein has called 'yoyo politics'--"you're on your own, and anybody who tells you different is a liar!"--and the destructive policies needed to achieve the truth of that: division, inequality, ruined public goods, weakened popular organization, constraints on democracy itself. We need to counter that "Yoyo" message at its core. We need to say clearly to all that "whether you like it or not, we're in this together." ...if we don't hang together, we're going to hang separately. And that leads me to a final take on what a renewed and real politics of the common good might look like.
Some have argued, recently and rightly, that progressives and Democrats should return to their tradition of "civic republicanism." That we're all in this together and that together we can build a more perfect union. Who's against building a more perfect union? But I'd argue that some of these advocating this path are wrong to suggest the problem Democrats have had with putting a forth a clear governing philosophy is grounded in the success of movements of the 1960s--the antiwar, civil rights or women's movement, or of interest-group pluralism focused on rights. With less venom, our friends and allies are echoing arguments of the Democratic Leadership Council...and this misdiagnosis leads them to a 2006 Sister Souljah moment --that is, a kind of calculated, if symbolic, straight-arming of own own base to demonstrate independence. Wrong. These are times to tap into the passions and energy of our core constituencies, of movements on the ground. Times to learn from our base...the working poor, the disenfranchised, Latino community, African-Americans, single women, the young, labor, the religious left--and inspire them and be inspired by them.
I worry that this appeal to the common good will turn out to be a cover to disempower important groups. To ignore their legitimate issues. Furthermore, and in light of what has happened to the country under this administration, the notion of common good seems somewhat too innocent and not attentive enough to the scale of corruption, abuse of power, public disinvestment and inequality that now characterizes American society. Yes, common good but only if it means economic dignity and social justice and the ending of corruption and the special privileges that have allowed the very richest to amass great fortunes while the vast majority of Americans struggle to make ends meet without any of the security of affordable health care, good jobs and a quality education. Common good if it means making the government more responsive to the needs of the majority of Americans. Common good, if it means public investment in our people, in our infrastructure, in research and development that serves human needs. Common good, if it means political reform and making every person's vote count. Common good, if it means being a good neighbor to the world and a force for building common security and common prosperity.

I just really enjoyed some parts of the speech and I'm glad it's online. There's a lot of stuff online. (C.I. and I talked about this speech today, this is the thing I mentioned I'd link to in my post yesterday, by the way, and C.I. asked if I was going to link to the thing on Dan Rather? I really liked this best. C.I.'s not linking to the Dan Rather piece because of friends with 60 Minutes who are really upset that people keep saying "60 Minutes" when the segment that Rather did with the documents was broadcast on 60 Minutes II. They think, C.I.'s friends with the show, that everytime people just say "60 Minutes," it hurts the Sunday show which did not broadcast that segment. It's a good piece and we both think so but there's no way C.I. can't note it at The Common Ills without some friends getting upset because they take this very seriously, that it wasn't the Sunday show that broadcast that segment that had so much criticism. That was the Tuesday show and they weren't the same show and didn't have the same people working on each show. The Sunday show, and I didn't know this, maybe you do, didn't even want the Tuesday show to be called "60 Minutes II" when it first started because it really didn't have anything to do with the Sunday show and they were worried it would do something that would end up backfiring on the real 60 Minutes. You could say they were right about that because everyone just says "60 Minutes" now. CBS cancelled the Tuesday show.) But back to the speech, I think it had some important stuff in it.

Okay, I just got the call for ice, so let me stop here but be sure to go Like to Maria Said Paz and check out Elaine's post tonight. And check out Wally's "THIS JUST IN! DON'T TAKE YOUR WORK HOME WITH YOU!," C.I's : "NYT: Trying to give out that peaceful, easy feeling (someone break it to them -- they're a paper, not a rock group)" and Betty's "The War Paint Council."

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Covering What Matters To Me

If you missed it, all is well and good in Iraq.
Or that's the latest Operation Happy Talk spin we're all supposed to get behind. The Associated Press leads the pack (I'm sure the Times will grab the baton tomorrow) in trumpeting the fact that a single province is now under Iraqi control. Any questions about the nature of this province could be put to rest by noting the dwindling coalition's fatality figures for that province (non-existant) but reality must never mar happy talk. As AFP notes: "Aside from Basra, most southern provinces are considered fairly stable and several are slated for security handovers in the next few months -- though coalition force officials admit that immediately following the handovers security may decline as insurgents test the system."
Which is why the AP trumpets the 'small' number of US troops who've lost their lives thus far this month (11) while burying the fact that Iraqi witnesses saw a US helicopter shot down today. ("Iraqi authorities said the helicopter was shot down near Youssifiyah, 12 miles southwest of Baghdad in an area where al-Qaida in Iraq and other insurgents operate. The Iraqis spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to talk to media.") Reuters notes the helicopter was on a "combat air patrol."
Things look peaceful?
Earlier today, the AP reported on a bombing of a village council headquarters in Baghdad (bicycle bomb, at least four council members left dead) and the shooting death of a police officer -- in the city under a month's "crackdown." Terry McCarthy (ABC -- America) reports on how fake identification sells for the US equivalent of ten and fifteen dollars and many Iraqis are puchasing them to reduce risk to their lives at checkpoints. McCarthy reports: "Now many Iraqis carry two IDs in their pockets and will produce one or the other, depending on who is asking for it." Packing your fake i.d.? Don't forget your gun. Mariam Karouny (Reuters) takes a look at the conditions that lead many of Baghdad's seven million to arm themselves as the chaos and violence continues around the country and in the capital.
That's reality and some correspondents (such as reportedly one with the New York Times) calling the Bully Boy and his 'plan' for Iraq "delusional" at a college appearance is meaningless when he continues to churn out the sort of nonsense at his paying job that prolongs the delusion.
Other bombs across the country. Reuters reports bombs in Mosul (roadside, five wounded) where a bomber took his own life and six others in a city council in Abi Saida while a car bomb killed four people and wounded at least nineteen; a car bomber took his own life and that of three others in Kirkuk (at least eight more wounded); and mortar rounds in Baghdad left two wounded. The AFP reports a bomb in Baghdad took the lives of five "municipal road sweepers."
The AP reports a kidnapping attempt on a wrestler and wrestling coach that left the coach, Mohammed Karim Abid Sahib, dead (the wrestler managed to escape).
Reuters notes three corpses discovered near Muqdadiya (three brothers who had been kidnapped the day before).
And in the United States, Joe Biden is raising doubts about Nouri al-Maliki's efforts as prime minister.
But surely, the most important point today is that a restive province with little violence will now be babysat by Iraqi forces (who may find it not so restive, as the AFP noted). And surely, mainstream correspondents will continue to churn out the spin that prolongs the illegal war while wanting points for being "brave" while speaking to college audiences.

That's from C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot." Yeah, I'm glad that the show's dropped. Ton of e-mails on that.

I'm going to address one and it's someone griping. I replied to almost all the others. I thought I'd reply to this one up here.

We'll call him "Peter." Peter thinks "so what if the show's gotten bad, it's all we've got." I've got me. I think that's a song from that musical Rebecca likes. :D But I've got me. I've got the community because I'm a member of it.

It's not my job to promote Democracy Now! When it was doing a better job, I was happy to. I'll promote anything (like the garage sale Tony's parents are having this weekend -- everyone who reads this and went to school with me and Tone, be there! -- but be there late! His pop's selling off his vinyl and Dad wants first crack. :D).

There wasn't a one day decision, I think C.I. does a great job of tracking how head shakes became nagging problems with that show. Peter thinks C.I. "destroyed the show" with that entry and I have to ask Peter, "Have you ever read C.I. and Ava's TV reviews? How about C.I.'s critiques of the New York Times?"

C.I. didn't destroy the program. C.I. was kinder than any of us.

Peter says in one paragraph that we've got a "playbook" and then the next he goes on about how I said there shouldn't be two days off for the Fourth and C.I. says "they should take time off." Well, there's not a playbook, there's no quarterback. But if you need the two opinions to match up, you can think in terms of guest anchors. Or, as Ruth said, the holiday special could have pulled together previous reporting on Iraq.

Rebecca's entry was funny as hell and Peter and I will just disagree with that (and I won't shed any tears over disagreeing with a Peter). But Peter says if C.I. really liked the show, "Nothing's stopping it from being noted at The Common Ills." Spoken like a visitor and not a member of the community.

C.I.'s just a member. I'm just a member. C.I. writes about hoping to ride it out last week (when the criticism had members demanding that it not be noted) but this week it went up another notch. The community doesn't exist to promote a show. The Common Ills isn't a "blog." C.I. speaks for the community on the issues they want addressed.

To continue ignoring the concerns of members wouldn't be speaking for the community. Ignoring the concerns would split the community. The community's more important than anything outside of it. Ehren Watada? Saw it first at The Common Ills. Jeremy Hinzman and others have fallen off the media landscape in this country. Them and Patrick Hart and others, hear about them from The Common Ills.

It is true that the site's gone from being an outspoken voice against the illegal war to largely focusing solely on it. That didn't happen overnight. C.I. cares about other issues, members care about other issues. But the feeling was that there wasn't enough coverage of Iraq. It was like we were at war but weren't supposed to think too much about it. When that feeling became a community feeling, a wide one, the site began moving more and more towards narrowing the focus on Iraq only. (Highlights by members can be on anything.)

That's the focus. A few weeks back, I said you can't be everything. I was good at baseball. I couldn't be a short stop and a catcher and a pitcher. You find your focus and you stick with it. On the right, there are tons of people sticking to the focus of Iraq. On the left, everybody's spread out pretty thin. (I don't consider the center to be the left and the center is defined, by me, as anyone who says "We can't leave!" The right is anyone who says we must stay.) People need to focus.

I'm not listening to the TV or radio tonight because I know they'll all be little dogs sniffing out the latest from Israel. That matters. I've read the paper today and some websites on it. But when you have X minutes or X space, you hunker down or you accept that you're doing a lousy job.

Remember Hurricane Katrina and all the complaints about how the corporate press just moved on one day? Well that's true in independent media as well. Our message today is social security, no, it's health care, no, it's minimum wage, no, it's Mexico, no, it's Gaza, no, it's Haiti, no, it's North Korea, no, it's Iran, oh, look, there's Iraq.

A magazine or a newspaper can do that better because they have people who are covering those areas. There only problem in chasing the tail of the dog is that they lose focus on other things. But for a show to think they can do that is sad. I won't name the show but there's a show that had Dahr Jamail on and Wally told me to listen so I did. I don't know how Dahr Jamail avoided strangling the host. This was last month and the host was talking about Falluja and knew nothing about it. He thought it was a 'success.' Dahr was nice about it but I would've said, "It's two years ago, you're bringing it up and you don't know what you're talking about."

That's a problem. There are interrelations and if you don't know the topic, you can't make those connections. That's true when you're talking about something other than Iraq. I heard, last month, another host do a great job of tying in a guest talking about Latin America to what was going on in Iraq right now.

If you're a show on radio or TV, you need to have a focus. You can't be all over the map because you probably do not know enough to be all over the map. Even if you know history, you probably don't know all the details of current happenings.

Oba-Bore has a video that we're all supposed to be shocked by. Two incidents, a ballot stuffing (six votes) and I forget the other thing. That's it? After all your talk of stolen election (and all the indymedia talk) we're left with that?

That's how you prove your case?

I don't have a problem with advocacy journalism. I think the world would be better with more of it. But there's a reporter that I will never trust again because he, a White American, was more concerned with his personal love for Oba-Bore than reporting. Did the two blow each other or something? Was he promised a position in a cabinet?

From the start, he's been hollering and hollering. Greg Palast doesn't holler. If he's raising issues about voter fraud and theft, he's not suffering a case of hero worship. He's not that crazy about Bill Clinton, Al Gore or John Kerry. He's not a "sore loser" as he writes (Armed Madhouse) the New York Times asked him. But this big whiner that's been on every show acts like a sore loser. He acts like it is a personal affront to him that Oba-Bore might not be president. It wasn't about the people of Mexico who he didn't talk about except to slam the Zapatistas.

Watching that on Democracy Now! last week was probably the last straw for me. I felt like I was being told to be outraged because a whiner was outraged. I felt like I was being pushed to do something. People need to know their limitations and their priorities.

If every other week there's a new list of ten things jumping ahead of Iraq, we're going to be there forever.

If Amy Goodman had interviewed some people from Mexico, some voters, giving voice to the people we wouldn't hear normally, I'd probably have cared a great deal. But I really don't care that an American journalist is acting like Oba-Dore's mistress and screaming to spare his head.
I also don't think America (or any country) needs to but in everywhere. I think this tendancy to scream, "America must act!" is part of the reason we have so much unrest in the world.

Let's say the right's not total creeps inside. Let's say they have some good motives and just don't get it. Okay? Well they're screaming for us to but in everywhere. They think we needed to but in with an illegal war in Iraq. They think we needed to but in on Chile and install Pinochet.

Right or left, the "we must save them!" impulse hurts the world. We act on our motives and our interests which may not be the same as the people that we're supposedly "helping."

Mexico had a crooked election. Should we hear about it? Sure. Should we hear a bunch of whining, moaning and all that nonsense? No.

If the Mexican people want to address it, they will. That's their right. While the US upends every notion of right and wrong in Iraq, I don't know that we're helping anyone, as US citizens, by saying, "Okay, let's all focus on Mexico this week!" Want to do people of the world a favor? End the Iraq war.

Look at what's going on with Israel. A lot of responsibility for that goes right back to the United States and efforts to be "helpful." Bully Boy wants to be "helpful" again. We blocked a resolution calling out Israel by the United Nations.

Maybe it's time to stop saying, "We must help" and asking ourselves why we think we have a right to lead action and outrage?

That's not "isolationsim." That is about respecting the right of the self-rule. If we'd done that in the last century, the United States wouldn't have propped up so many brutal dictators. Now, me in MASS, is supposed to be outraged and ready for action over an election in another country with two candidates that weren't all that different? I'm supposed to put Iraq on the backburner and start screaming for "justice" (as explained to me by the people who suddenly got interested in the election right before it took place)?

I don't think Mexico's election comes close to what's going on in the Middle East right now.

I don't know why that became the go-to issue for so many on the left. (I don't mean Palast, he covers elections. That's one of his things.)

I don't think the "war and peace report" has the role or task of becoming the "election report" and I don't see how a group of blowhards is giving voice to the voiceless.

It's not about "justice." It's about a flavor of the month. Somethings get favorable attention and something's get ignored or slammed. Talk to anyone in the community, but especially the Irish and the Irish-Americans, and you'll know how the mainstream media and the independent media ignored realities (Bill Clinton's visit for one) and only felt the need to talk about it at all over some bar brawl. Someone died in a bar brawl.

I'm supposed to be shocked. Like I'm supposed to be shocked that an election was crooked.

I don't mind op-eds, but I'm losing faith in advocacy journalism because I'm losing faith in so many advocates who probably say, "I'm trying to cover everything." But you're not trying that. On any given day, you've got fluff and puff while you ignore areas that matter to people. You pick and choose who you're going to support.

You stay on the fence with Israel (out of fear) and you want to note the illegal occupation of Iraq every now and then. But you want to slam Ireland which many see as occupied forever. With them, and probably true with Israel, your attitude is, "Enough! Just get along!"

There are reasons for the conflicts in Israel, there are reasons for the conflicts in Ireland. If you're about "justice," you don't act like those reasons don't exist just because you're bored or have some stupid election results to cover.

Before I started this site, I was pretty pissed off about the coverage of Ireland in this country. I was bothered by the fact that most stayed silent or aired the slams. (Democracy Now! aired the slams.) I wrote to various sites, various watchdogs, and I get a mealy mouthed e-mail about how they thought it was important and, if they had time, they'd cover it. They never had time.

It's a selective form of "justice" and it's a cowardly one. And all you have to do is get the tar brush and smear "terrorism" and everyone runs. We're seeing it right now with the silence on the armed aggression that's gone beyond Gaza. We saw it with Ireland.

So four gasbags acting like Oba-Bore is their boyfriend doesn't mean shit to me. And on the gasbags, did you notice there was no anti-Oba-Bore? I sure as hell did. Israel can't be covered on Democracy Now! without bringing on some pro-voice. But we can have a discussion (for basically the full program) on an election where everyone's in agreement?

It's a funny kind of "coverage." And there's also the issue of the non-coverage of CODEPINK's booing of Hillary. ("Peace Activists at Hillary Clinton's Speech Try to Take Back 'Take Back America'") McCain's booed and it's world shattering news, covered. But the show takes a pass on this and a lot of people wondered if a conference was more important to the show than peace? Gotta protect your friends or at least your own ass which must be why that nonsense in Vegas never got the criticism it deserved either. (CounterPunch didn't worry about taking on the 'clicque.')

Maria and Ava both think Mexico's elections got so much coverage from the left because you had a lot on the left surprised by the immigration rallies. So they thought, "Here's a home run! They'll love me for this!" It really is two different issues. One is an election in Mexico. One is a struggle for rights in this country. It's kind of patronizing to think, "Oh I'll cover this because I bet it's 'hot!' Those Mexicans will love this! And love me for it!"

Ongoing armed aggression on the part of the Israeli government during that gasbag chat. But we're focused on some crooked election?

There's no perspective. There's no focus.

And let me be real clear here, I think the Gaza coverage on Democracy Now! was cowardly. That's an area where C.I. and I disagree. I understand where C.I.'s coming from giving the show the benefit of the doubt. C.I.'s a little less taken in by hype. But I bought it into it. I bought the idea of giving voice to the powerless so when I saw everything but in Democracy Now!'s coverage, I was outraged.

C.I.'s attitude isn't dependent on the Amy Goodman hype. C.I. thinks she's a good journalist but doesn't think she's our bravest voice. I did. I bought into that and into the "I challenge the powerful" garbage that her book (which I still like) and her speeches promoted.

(By the way, just FYI cause a lot have asked, C.I. was the one who insisted we use "armed agression" in our news roundup last week. Rebecca was trying to think of a way to word that sentence and C.I. said the only term was "armed agression." I say that because I also disagree with C.I.'s judgement that, in Amy Goodman's shoes, that coverage would have gone the same. It wouldn't have. C.I.'s being kind.)

In fact, C.I. was very kind throughout that entry that bent Peter out of shape. There are mutiple examples that could have been used, things C.I. would point out to me when there was concern that I'd bought into the hype. (I did buy into the hype.)

The book (which I still like) says don't trade reporting for access. What was that Thomas Friedman nonsense about but "access"? He's on my show so I won't ask the questions that need to be asked -- that's how that interview played.

Peter asks what the big deal is that they didn't note Nancy Youssef. Well, I only know her because she was a guest on the show (more than once) so I'd guess they think she has something to say or they wouldn't have brought her on. So she breaks the news that the administration does have a body count of Iraqis killed. The show ignores it.

They could have just noted it in a headline and there's been enough headlines lately that weren't that pressing. Cedric talked about one nonsense one at his site. I was talking to Cedric about this because Ty had told me some stuff and I'm White so I'm not going to immediately pick up on everything. But Cedric does have an issue with the guests. Why is Margaret Kimberly never on? That's just one, Cedric has a long list. He also wonders why there's so little criticism of some of the sell outs like Obama? He told me, look for the Voting Rights issue to explode in terms of coverage during a slow week and an attitude of "Look how we covered that. We're so good."

He points to Thomas Friedman's interview and asks why he was on? His opinions on the war aren't already known? It's not like he was challenged on them. He wasn't challenged on his hate speech about Hugo Chavez, that just sailed past. There was a bickering about Israel which was mainly, "You don't understand" with Goodman shooting back, "I've had ___ on my show."

C.I.'s been talking about how we don't water down our beliefs to make them "sell." That was touched on when Fraudan died and it's been picked up many times since then. If people are ready for change, you don't give them change-lite. There's a column on that I saw today so it's obviously something others are thinking about too -- I'll link to it tomorrow.

But a time when so much is going on, why are we wasting our time? Democracy Now! is trying to be NPR. Maybe it will get its act together. I hope it does. But maybe if people had said enough when NPR began its long slide, NPR wouldn't be where it is today.

There wasn't a playbook. The issue came from the community. C.I. ran interference for the program all last week. If there was a playbook, how are we supposed to know the calls if we can't hear each other? (I didn't talk to C.I. until this evening. We went so long without talking that C.I. had to send me a message in an online post.)

I got me. Here I can not water down what I think or feel. I may have a few readers or many readers, but I'm not posing.

And that's another issue about the shout-out/link that the "Daily Digest" kept pushing. If you're independent media, you support it. There was no support of Yes! or Common Dreams in the "Daily Digest" when they had actual stories on Amy Goodman. But that nonsense (I howled with laughter when I read C.I. comparing it to a year book entry!) gets linked to. Why? That's a valid question. The answer may be someone on the show wrote it. The answer may be that "we have to build indymedia" really just means we have to ass kiss.

It doesn't matter how many on the left have been pissed off by that site. It doesn't really matter that questions swirl around what happened with Hackett's Ohio race. It doesn't matter that women have been repeatedly trashed in a sexist manner. It doesn't matter that a lot of African-Americans don't feel welcome there.

What matters is "traffic." It's a long journey from brave voice for East Timor to link-whore online. And that's all that was. The "year book entry" provided no information. It wasn't worth reading. It was kissing ass to get traffic and if Democracy Now! wants to kiss ass to any website, that's pretty sad. Someone sent me something from GNN called Democracy When? and I can see that the slide didn't just happen. But I've been clear about what my problems are.

Rebecca was hilarious, just the whole way she approached it. But that's her way. My approach is different, C.I.'s is different, Cedric's is different, Elaine's is different.

And sorry to Elaine because until I read her entry, I didn't get how insulted she was by the coverage of her profession (the really bad coverage) on Democracy Now!

Elaine was on the fence about which way to go, Rebecca's explained this to me before, and went the way she did because it was a time when sexism was rife in the other profession and that profession seemed to address every problem with medicine. You're unhappy, take a pill.

She made a decision and wrestled with it for months, Rebecca's said. To have her decision trashed with insults about how it is less of a profession and it has less ethics really did bother her. There was no correction to the false information aired. I know as a college student, if they slammed college students, I would've bailed. When we'd pick out the headlines after that, Elaine would say, "Oh, I was so busy today, read them to me first." I should have picked up on the fact that kept happening over and over.

That's a perfect example of Goodman not knowing her basics and covering a story that misinforms. And there was no correction. That's why you can't cover everything. You don't know everything. And when you're anchoring a show, you need to know what you're talking about. That's true of Ted Koppel and it's true of Amy Goodman.

I've got a cousin who goes to Shippensberg and he wanted me to note this:

Please note: Contrary to popular belief, the majority of new physicians do not take any oath upon receiving their diplomas or certifications.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Yeah, that site's gone.

C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

The daily life continues to be marred by chaos and violence. And apparently role playing Geoffrey Miller, Donald Rumsfeld went from Afghanistan to Iraq with violence following in his wake as he apparently pulled the strings of Nouri al-Maliki, US puppet of the illegal occupation.
As noted this morning: "AP is reporting that a bus station in Baghdad was stormed by 'gunmen' and at least 24 people were seized with at least 20 of those 24 being killed."
The AFP reports that 22 corpses were discovered ("Blindfolded, hands tied behind them, and most shot in the head") and that the number kidnapped was much larger than 24, "up to 80." For those who question that number, the AFP quotes "Senior Shiite MP Jaladdin al-Saghir" saying: "There was a very serious breach of security in Diyala province today when 60-80 Shiites were kidnapped from the bus station".
The AP reports, on the corpses discovered from the mass kidnapping, "Relatives wept over loved ones, with one man leaning over an open coffin and kissing the hand of a victim."
The AFP notes. of the continued violence in the the city where the "crackdown" is ongoing. "Violence in Baghdad has raged despite the fact that more than 50,000 troops, mostly Iraqi, have been patrolling the capital's streets since last month."
Other shootings? Reuters reports: "clashes . . . between Iraqi policemen and gunmen" in Baghdad that left a civilian and a police officer dead as well as two patrol cars burned; in Tikrit, a police officer was shot dead; in Kirkuk, a police officer was shot dead; and, in Baghdad, a "Baghdad University professor" was shot dead.
CBS and the AP report a car bomb exploding "near an Iraqi army base in Haswa" leaving eight wounded. Reuters notes that a civilian died in the blast (and spells it "Hasswa") and notes two bombs in Baghdad. One "suicide bomber" entered a restaurant, engaged the bomb killing himself and seven people while leaving twenty more wounded. Reuters also notes a roadside bomb that wounded three ("including a child").
Reuters reports that two corpses were found (carpenters) in Tikrit, while another corpse ("gunshot wounds and signs of torture") was discovered in Kirkuk.As Dahr Jamail and others have noted, Iraqis are fleeing the country. The BBC offers the stories of three who have left (in their own words). The fleeing continues though the AP notes that "flyers circulated in a predominately Sunni area north of Baghdad, uring Shi'ite families no tto flee and warning people not to hurt members of the majority sect."
Meanwhile the AFP is reporting that 150 women "protested at Baghdad's Yamuk club and demanded that the former soldier Steven Green be tried as a 'war criminal.'" The former 101st Airborne Division Green was the first person arrested in the alleged rape and murder of 14 year-old Abeer Qasim Hamza al-Janabi as well as the murder of three of her family members. (That arrest, FOR THE RECORD, took place on Friday June 30th and not "last week" as too many keep misreporting.)
The Associated Press reports that following all the scandals, Dick Cheney's former company Halliburton has lost a "multibillion contract" and that the Army will "rebid" it which seems strange wording since, as the article notes, Halliburton's Iraq contracts with the US have included "no-bid contracts" with Halliburton. Can you re-bid what was a no-bid? Does the AP know more than they're telling?
Meanwhile, the AFP is reporting that Parsons Global Services has also had its US military contract cancelled "due to cost overruns and incompetency".
Shh. Can you hear that? The sound of hundred War Hawks sobbing.
And the US administration's walking scandal, Secretary of Defense Donnie Rumsfeld visited Iraq where he pompously declared, "I don't talk deadlines." Of course Tommy Franks infamously said "we don't do body counts" at the start of the illegal war and we now know that was a lie. (We know that. Big media and indymedia failed on that, but here we know the truth.) On June 26th, Nancy A. Youssef broke the story that the US was keeping a body count on Iraqi civilians. Lt. Gen. Peter Chiarelli went on the record and confirmed it, saying that it was a form of 'measurement' by the US and the US has been doing that since at least "last summer."
CNN reports that Rumsfeld, speaking inside a heavily guarded military base, declared,""Each time I come to Iraq, I see progress" -- revealing he is both a liar and blind.
Rumsfeld breezed through to pull the puppet's strings and Nouri al-Maliki stated, according to Reuters, that this was the Iraq's 'last chance for peace' -- which no doubt struck many in Iraq as strange since nothing resembling "peace" has been seen since the start of the illegal occupation.
But apparently feeling stand-up might be his next profession, after the US government tires of him and replaces with yet another prime minister, al-Maliki stated: "We all have a last chance to reconcile and agree among ourselves on avoiding conflict and blood. If we fail, God forbid, I don't know what the fate of Iraq will be" (CBS and AP).
The dire warning was in direct contrast to his stated remarks yesterday: "I don't see the country falling into a civil war despite the regrettable activities of certain people who ignore that Iraq is united . . . The security services are still in control of the situation and we would like to see matters move towards political (compromise) rather than resort to force" (AFP).
Possibly Rumsfeld pulled the strings too tight or else he's cracking up during the crackdown, but al-Maliki is also now threatening TV stations with being shut down. That move would be neither democratic nor smart. On the latter, Paul L. Bremer could explain to him the probable reaction when you try to shut down the press.

If you noticed yesterday, I deleted a sentence from yesterday's report. I will do that anytime that program pops up in the snapshot. Hopefully, that won't be necessary. C.I. put together an amazing snapshot . . . without even noting that program.

The most depressing thing about last week was realizing that the brave program wasn't just unaware about the Nancy A. Youssef story but that they were choosing to ignore it. That's what happens when you're aware of it and you don't do anything about it.

"War as an After Thought" addressed my feelings on those who wasted time and that includes the so-called "war and peace report." Israel is now fighting war, real war, they say on Nightline right now. And on "the war and peace report"? Not a word.

And there shouldn't be a word on it if you can't cover it fairly. The show can't. I thought Rebecca was really nice to take that approach instead of saying, "Quit lying!"

When I realized that they were sitting on the Youssef report instead of announcing it, I was very sad. I still am a little. The actions this week make it easy not to be too sad anymore.

C.I.'s been working on things with metaphors and stuff like for the talk that's being given these days. (Dona said this morning's talk went so well, C.I. ended up speaking to two more groups.)
The point of the metaphor is that we need to increase awareness.

Doing what you did in 2003 or 2004 in 2006 isn't increasing awareness.

I am firmly against the war in Iraq.

I assume the show is still against it. I find the coverage lacking. The rushed segments on Ehren Watada last week were embarrassing. That was a major story. Instead of getting coverage, we got the last part of the show and repeated comments of, "We only have five seconds" when someone was attempting to answer.

That's not good enough.

Nor was it good enough that they didn't cover the call to action on the day they took place. They also didn't cover them. And the March demonstrations were reduced to a tiny segment where they shared time with Darfur. That wasn't doing the job needed.

This week, after people were fasting for six or seven days, the show finally got around to discussing the fast. They didn't do it really last week when they had a guest on who was participating in that and had been arrested. Again, that was a last of the show segment, a "we only have X number of minutes, so quickly."

Rebecca's has many good points in her post and one that stands out is about Michael Gordon. Juan did do the heavy lifting. Where was the challenging there? It came only from Juan for the longest. Why was the man even on?

And I started thinking about all the "Judy Miller" nonsense. It's nonsense when you forget Warren Hoge and Michael Gordon and her other co-writers.

Jim said that we were too busy cheerleading for too long and that's true. It took Dona pointing that out to get us thinking about it. It's not good enough that you mentioned the war if you did it badly. That might have been good when the country was on the fence or for the war, now that it's against the war, it's not good enough.

All last week, I would delete paragraphs. One night (Weds?) I had a long post and just deleted it all. I was hoping things would get better. If you'd read my columns, you knew what was going on but even if you just saw what was here, you knew that I wasn't following the show when I was talking about music instead of the show.

I'm done with the show.

It may be part of the "net roots" revolution but I don't. That site is against everything I believe in. (One example, shining it on for War Hawks or anti-choice candidates.)

What Rebecca wrote made me feel a lot better. When Wally called today and he told me he'd talked to Rebecca, I was so happy. :D

She is the warrior woman.

C.I. is the cheerleader and I love that about C.I.

But the issue wasn't going to be dealt with by being nice or cheerleading.

C.I. has worked really hard to promote the left (even people C.I. hates) because the left needs building up.

I understand that and I know I learned a lot.

But I also think when someone breaks the faith with you, as that show did, you don't promote them.

They had also started to get sloppy with the facts. I thought, one day last week when they actually did an on air correction, that things would get better. But, like Rebecca points out, they still can't get the date of Steven Green's arrest right.

Why does that matter?

I could hold the show up against the New York Times and talk about what an amazing job the show did. But when even the paper of no record issues a correction on the date Green was arrested and the show still gets it wrong (as they did with Tuesday's headline), they don't have a grasp of the facts.

It's not a small thing.

And when the Times can correct it, that show should be able to. That they didn't and that they continue to get it wrong are as distressing to me as the shout out to the "net roots" blog.

It embarrasses all of us when they are so loose and careless with the facts.

On July 4th, we did headlines together that went up at all of our sites. We were all against noting the "special" programs of that show. C.I. told us to think of what it had offered in the past so we played good sports and agreed.

But my feelings then were two days of special programming?

I thought you were a news show?

The network news doesn't take Thanksgiving off. You don't sit down in front of the TV, turn on the TV and find that the anchor's gone and no one's filling in. If your a news program, you're a news program. July 4th was one day. That's how long I was off from my job.

But they took two days off. While two wars are raging.

While Baghdad was already non-stop violence.

That's crap.

I didn't need to hear or watch two special programs. I didn't promote them here except in the headlines. I usually talk about how I get everyone to watch when they come over for a gathering. I didn't do that on the Fourth.

"Come on, we'll learn about what's going on in the world . . . with Pete Seeger's career." (I think Seeger was the Monday show. No offense to him, but he's not why I watch a news program.)

I wasn't playing on the Fourth. I was fasting. I was talking about the war. I was making others think and talk about it. I didn't need Storycorps or whatever they showed Tuesday.

I didn't break my promise with them. They broke their promise with the audience.

They treated war as an after thought. Despite the best selling book, despite the many speeches, they treated it as an after thought.

I don't have time for that.

I had a lot more fun listening to CDs than I had the previous weeks listening to the show. I did try to listen Tuesday but noticed that a segment we were supposed to get didn't come, the interview with Suzanne Swift's grandfather. They said it would come the next day. I get that crappy "Daily Digest." They didn't air it today. Another broken promise.

I thought it was "the war and peace report." Instead, it's the around the world report. That's fine. But the war isn't going away and I don't have time to play.

I'm looking for a program that covers the war every day. If you know a program like that, pass it on. I'm not listening or watching that show again. They broke the trust I had with them.

I was talking to Dad about this and he pointe d out that Laura Flanders doesn't say "This is the war and the peace report." She's got a wide slate of things to cover and is upfront about it. So why call your show the war and peace report if war becomes an after thought.

Rebecca talks about how the protests could hurt the immigrants rights issue. I hope that doesn't happen but if it does, probably dedicating your entire show to the topic last week wasn't a smart thing to do.

Elaine's back and will be posting tonight. I hope to interview Sunny when she's back subbing next time. I had planned to interview her Tuesday but that's when we all learned the show was "net roots" and I wasn't in the mood and Sunny wasn't in the mood.

Nobody was in the mood. When you're already treating war as an after thought, it's not a good idea to turn around and repeatedly promote a website that's happy to get behind war mongers.

I learned a lot from the show. Maybe I just outgrew it? If so, that's sad because there's not a show I'm aware of that's willing to get serious about the war and give it the kind of coverage it needs. No wonder the war drags on.

I didn't get to talk to C.I. today (because of all the speeches) and I'm not going to call now. Knowing C.I., the whole thing is resulting in a sick stomach. If C.I. reads this, I am truly sorry for hammering you on this. From the e-mails I've gotten, others are saying the same thing. So let me apologize for me. Your concern was with getting the word out and you didn't need my yelling.

I know C.I. works hard on the site and the community and I know that with the fast the last thing needed is some screaming guy yelling, "That show sold out!" So I really regret that and I apologize for it.

If it's any consolation, it won't happen again because I'll never be as disappointed as I was. No one will ever again let me down the way that show did.

I was young, I was gullible. I believed if someone always talked about the war, they really would cover it. But when Iraq's going to shit and you're taking days off and on the days when you work you're covering everything but the war, you're not taking it seriously.

I woke up. And some of my anger was at being tricked into believing I'd found something that would seriously address the war and treat it as a real issue, not an after thought.

What's saddest is that I now have more respect for the mainstream media than I do for that show. They really have upped their coverage. (I'm sure that will change.) And the little brave show I trusted so much thought the most pressing issue to America last week was the elections in Mexico. I wasn't aware we were at war with Mexico. Apparently we must be. If the war can be forgotten for several days, it must be because we have another war going on.

Dad said maybe the show and the host were people who take you to one level and then you graduate and need a higher level. Maybe that's what's going on. Maybe when I was searching for answers, it served a purpose but I'm done with first grade and need something that takes the war more seriously now?

I delinked. Everyone has except C.I. I don't think C.I. will and that's cool. I know how C.I. feels about delinking. Whatever C.I. chooses to do now, I'm cool with. I know the breather period that was 24 hours got extended, Dona told me, because the "Daily Digest" promoted net roots again. I also know people are calmer who are writing me. They haven't changed their mind, they're done with the show. But it's a calmer done with.

Leigh Ann wrote that she couldn't believe how desperate for attention the host was to promote herself at another site that is against what she supposedly believes in. I agree with that.

I'm disappointed right now. I hope some day soon to be able to think, "Well thank you for what you did do." Not in a, I'll watch again! way. But in a, "You helped once. Thank you." kind of way.

I got tricked and the part that's my fault is that I let myself get tricked. I saw the coverage sag and drop. I saw the useless interviews with Thomas Friedman (what was THAT about?) and Bill Richardson. I kept hoping and deluding until I found out that they didn't miss Youssef's story they just, apparently, didn't care.

The troops have been in Iraq for over three years now, there's got to be a show somewhere, even if it's only a half-hour a week, that just follows that. If you know that show, let me know. Ruth knows a lot of radio and even she couldn't find enough to do a real report last weekend. So I'm not the only one missing it. Tracey said she's thinking about returning to covering Morning Edition because the public radio programs she's been listening to have a million stories to run after and too little time for Iraq. She said her grandmother doesn't want to insult the other programs so she might just move back to covering NPR.

You need a focus. And sometimes, the smartest thing you can do is say, "I can't cover everything. So I'll focus on one thing." A lot of shows think they're giving a lot more value than they are. Law and Disorder focuses on the law. I have no problems with that show. If you're wondering why I'm not noting it this week, it's a repeat of a show I already noted.

It's not an issue of the show, the show I'm disappointed with, not being able to cover it. There are indy journalists in Iraq that never get on the show. There are topics that never get covered.
The host is obviously interested in the world and that's a great thing. But if you're promoting yourself as the war and peace report, the issue of elections (anywhere) shouldn't push war out of the coverage.

Tomorrow, I'll be apologizing to C.I. Otherwise, I don't intend to raise the issue with C.I. again.
If you're one of the members who've written me or one of the ones who've written C.I. (Jess has told me all about those e-mails), remember that it's not C.I. that you're mad at. C.I.'s doing the Iraq coverage. C.I.'s not playing. When I spoke to C.I. yesterday, I was so mad at the show that I just yelled like crazy. That wasn't fair and I feel so bad about that. So don't make the same mistake I did. And if you think you did the same in an e-mail, you should probably follow my lead and do an apology.

I'll be back tomorrow. I'm not stopping blogging. But I won't be noting that show again. Elaine said we should grab wire reports at night so we may do that. But we won't be noting that show. We won't be promoting it. "Net roots" to enshrine a cult leader isn't our thing. And we've never felt the need to kiss his ass out of an effort to promote our sites. It's probably only a matter of time before she does a sit down with him anyway so it's good to get while the getting's good.
I never got how much she self-promoted. I know C.I. disagreed with some of the judgements about Tom Brokaw in the book. (And discussed that online.) That didn't stop C.I. from promoting the hell out of the site. C.I. tries to focus on the good and what it is worth noting. That might mean the show gets noted there and if that happens, cool. That's who C.I. is. That's what built up the community. And that's why we've had, there, coverage of Iraq that's only been beefed up month after month.

When Falluja was going on, C.I. was doing "Here Come The Madmen." Others still can't utter the words "Dexter Filkins." That tells you C.I.'s committed. Others are too worried about what someone might think or say about them. It influences their coverage. C.I. doesn't give a damn about self-promotion so we don't have to fear a "net roots" promo coming from The Common Ills.

If I contrasted the two, I'd say C.I.'s digging a grave with the dedication to the issue of the war and the host is too busy self-promoting with interviews and speeches and spreading herself too thin to be effective on the show. Rebecca asks if she's got a price tag on her ass, if she's uninformed or if she's just tired. Hopefully, at some point, I'll be able to look back and say, "She just got tired from doing all the interviews and all the speeches and couldn't focus on what mattered." But right now, I feel like that show prolongs the war by spreading itself too thin and trying to do "Korea!", "Mexico!", "India!" etc. Maybe if those countries were my primary topic, I'd feel short changed by that coverage. Rebecca was short changed by the coverage of Gaza. As it is, they're trying to cover too much and not covering anything in depth. It's become as bad as network news. (And I agree the 'debates' are a joke and a bad copy of network and cable TV.)

In 2008, if the war's still dragging on, I want to be like C.I. and able to look back and say, "I did everything I could." I don't want to feel like more Iraqis and Americans died because I was trying to cover everything.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Iraq and nonsense

Good evening, let's kick things off with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Iraq snapshot.
Chaos and violence continue . . . to continue.
And are we surprised? The usual Hawsk strut and pander while the violence claims more lives.
As Sandra Lupien noted on today's KPFA's The Morning Show, 2 bombers blew themselves up "outside the so-called Geen Zone." Along with being home to various embedded reporters and their bodygaurds, the Green Zone also houses Iraq's parliament, Defense Ministry, High Criminal Court and the US embassy -- a huge complex, as the AP noted in April, with "21 buildings on 103 acres" which makes it "six times larger than the United Nations compound in New York, and two-thirds the acreage of Washington's National Mall."
The 'grandness' of it all suggests to some that the United States has no intent of handing over power or leaving. On the latter, Robert MacPherson (Mail & Guardian) reports that today, in England, Tony Blair announced England wasn't withdrawing anytime soon and that his wife, Cherie Booth, explained that he wasn't ready to step down. England's prime minister demonstrated what long ago led to him being dubbed the Bully Boy's poodle as he took slams at two nations in a single sentence: "Not for us the malaise of France or the angst of Germany."
In other nonsense, Gulf Times reports the William McCoy (US Army Corps of Engineers, "Major General") believes that, by the end of summer, electricity in Baghdad might be available for eleven hours. That's apparently "eleven hours" on some sort of Operation Happy Talk Clock since McCoy notes that right now electricity is available for six to eight hours -- a claim most media reports dismiss and note the figure is closer to between two and four hours a day.
More nonsense comes from Angel Ortiz (the Army Corps seems to have hacks and flacks all over today issuing press releases) who maintains that by the end of the year Falluja will have "clean water" in 80 percent of all homes as well as "an $8 million wireless telecommunications project". Falluja was reduced to rubble in November 2004 (the article notes the need to more "laborers to haul away seemingly endless piles of rubble) and there's been little done to assist or help with many residents of Falluja who fled as the US forces began their attacks nearly two years ago, still homeless. Expect both inflated predictions to be forgotten as the deadlines draw near.
Meanwhile back in the real word, Sunni parliamentarian Ayad al-Samaraie has asked that the United Nations supply peace keepers immediately due to the fact that: "the occupation forces cannot protect the people." This as the Associated Press estimates the chaos and the violence in Iraq today claimed the lives of "at least 47 people nationwide." (Look for the New York Times to pooh-pah that number as they've done with press reports for the last two days -- today with Edward Wong, yesterday with Kirk Semple. If you thought it was hard work selling an illegal war, step back and watch the paper of no record really get down to the business of selling the illegal occupation.)
Early on, the BBC estimated that the bombings in the Green Zone resulted in five deaths and ten injured. Reuters woud place the fatalities at 15 as the day wore on. Al Jazeera notes that in addition to the two bombers who blew themselves up, there was also a car bomb. The BBC notes that police assume the target was "a restaurant frequented by police" while the AP reports that Gufran al-Saadi (female Shi'ite parliamentarian) states that she believes she was the target. The car bomb went of near the restaurant, according to Al Jazeera, while "[a]n Aljazeera witness" place one of the bombers "in front of the governmental compound in the Green Zone".
The BBC reports the kidnapping of Wissam Jabr in Baghdad "an Iraqi foreign ministry official who had been serving as a diplomat in neighbouring Iran." Reuters reports his name as Wissam Abdulla al-Awadi.Also in Baghdad, Reuters notes that "eight employees of an Iarqge contracting company" were killed when their office was stormed by "gunmen" while the Associated Press notes two bakery workers were shot dead while on the job. CBS and the AP report two more bombs in Baghdad (one under a fuel tanker, the other a car bomb) that resulted in the death of at least four and and twenty-four wounded).Outside of Baghdad, CBS and the AP report that "an engineer with Iraq's North Oil Co. and his driver" were ambushed and killed in Kirkuk. Reuters reports the shooting deaths of 19 in Baquba and of nine (Iraq soldiers) in Al-Shirqat. And the AP reports that, in Tikrit, three people were wounded when a bomb went off near a "private clinic." Later the three wounded would become two wounded and one dead. Dr. Amira Qassim al-Rubaie died, "the wife of the governor of the dangerous Salahuddin province".
Reuters notes the end of the Sunni boycott of parliament following the kidnapping of Taiseer Najah al-Mashhadani. (No, al-Mashhadani has not been released.) The Associated Press quotes Adnan al-Dulaimi: "We have decied to attend the meetings as of tomorrow in response to the call Muqtada al-Sadr." Various reports note that those holding al-Mashhadani have stated they are treating her as "a guest" and that she will be released in the next few days. Reuters notes that the Iraqi Accordance Front (the Sunni bloc in parliament with 44 seats) has been in contact with the kidnappers.
[. . .]
On July 15th, a rally will be held "at the gates of Ft. Lewis in Tacoma, WA." Courage to Resist is getting the word on that event [and on Suzanne Swift]. Kevin Zeese recently spoke with Max Diorio who explained "resisters need to feel that they are being upheld and supported by people in their communities. To take such a large step into the unknown, it is invaluable for resisters to feel that they'll have people to rely on when they are being persecuted by the US military."

Packing in all the news you need and then some.

And that's a pointed remark.

I'll plug the community because the community doesn't drop Iraq from one day to the next or plug a sexist website. And to be real honest, considering who notes ____ each day and who doesn't, who notes public appearances and who doesn't . . . if you're mad, I am too. People know I spear headed a movement before and I'll do it again. I've already argued (with Jim and Dona backing me up) that ___ shouldn't be noted at all tomorrow at The Common Ills.

When you consider all the crap C.I. got for noting it all last week when it jerked off and wasted everyone's time and add in that it DID NOT, EVEN THOUGH EDDIE CONTACTED THEM ABOUT THE THE US GOVERNMENT KEEPING AN IRAQI BODY COUNT, FIND TIME TO EVER NOTE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!

I wrote the above before Blogger went down and thought I could post before it went down but I went to post and nothing. I'm lucky I didn't lose the post.

I feel like a dick right now. Not for anything above, I stand by it.

But I really did hammer C.I. on the above (I wasn't the only one). Dona pointed out a little while ago that C.I.'s already gotten e-mails on this and that the fast is ongoing. (And it goes without saying but I know she was thinking it too, C.I.'s not really someone who can afford to be on a fast for seven or eight days straight -- weight wise. ) So I feel like a real dick right now.

I think we always expect that C.I. has the energy of a thousand of us and can do it all and take it all. And now I'm thinking I should have toned it down a lot more.

Dona said C.I.'s posting something, cross posting it and then going to bed. It's about 9:47 p.m. right now so that means it's like 6:47 there right now. If C.I.'s that tired, there was really no need for my hammering.

So anyway. Hmm.

I'm tired of crap. I should have found a nicer way to talk about it. C.I.'s didn't write that e-mail.

At the end of it, C.I. said, "Fine, it's not worth it to me. I don't need two weeks worth of headaches. I took shit last week for them. I won't do it two weeks in a row."

So tomorrow you won't see them at The Common Ills.

I can't believe that they plugged that crap in their e-mail. In terms of links, I've given them more links than they ever got there. (That's not saying plug me.) But that website is such a 'lite' clone. I won't get into all the rumors about it but most people know about that.

So my attitude is if you're going to plug that sexist, poli-lite, "it's all about winning the election no matter what a candidate stands for!" b.s., don't expect support from this community.

Miguel was not in the mood to note that show last week. C.I. asked Francisco and he did it but only because C.I. asked him.


C.I. said, "I'm not going through week two of shit because of that ___."

I think it's pretty cool actually because I think if people don't represent you, you don't support them. Pretty clear to me.

So if someone wants to play like they're interested in the news but they can't note Nancy Youssef, even when they get e-mails about it, hey, go play somewhere else.

Are they banned?

To be honest, I wish they would be banned for a few weeks. Or they'd only be noted if they did something worth noting. But I'm not bringing it up again. (I'm not telling any member what to do. I'm speaking of me, myself. I really think I crossed a line. That's not "Oh no, C.I.'s going to be mad at me." C.I.'s not mad at me. I wish that were the case, then I wouldn't feel so bad right now.)

When I saw the site that they were plugging in their crappy e-mail and remembered all the stuff about it's sexism and how it's got all the rumors of pay-for-play around it now, I thought screw it and screw __. But there was no reason to be yelling, and I was yelling, about it at C.I.

I'm thinking of banning them from my site.

I'm not joking. I talked to Elaine about that before she left on vacation. She said, "I'll go along with whatever you decide." She can't believe that they didn't note the Youssef story to begin with but especially after she found Eddie contacted to them to request that they note it.

I don't think you plug websites in your e-mails. If you're going to be on a TV show, plug that, fine. But if you're plugging a website, then, whether you intend it or not, you are saying, "This site is endorsed by me." Because you are asking people to visit it. You're recommending it.

They ignore you all the time and they're a site with all this nonsense swirling around it. It just strikes me as sucking up. Kissing ass.

As someone who plugged ___ to everyone I knew, I took that e-mail as a personal insult. It was like spitting on the whole indy movement. Get the word out! I got the word out and all the sudden e-mails are plugging sites and they're going with a site that does nothing for ___ and that isn't a site that gets behind stopping the war? Or maybe ____ thinks supporting candidates who say they we have to stay in Iraq is somehow 'stopping the war'? It was just this huge gob of spit at the people who are going to protests and who are taking stands.

It was like "Dig me, I'm respectable! Go here so I can be loved."

All last week, I kept deleting things here. I kept remembering what C.I. said about no one's perfect and take what you can use. And after last week to have that e-mail this week?

I'm tired of it.

No wonder the war's an after thought, it's not about ending the war it's about "hits" and "visits."

Monday, July 10, 2006


Good evening. Be sure to check out Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude tonight. Rebecca's on vacation but Betty's subbing for her and tonight Betty and I are blogging on the same headlines from Democracy Now!

Dozens Dead in Iraq Violence
Dozens of people are dead following a wave of attacks targeting Shiite and Sunni areas of Baghdad. On Sunday, at least forty-two people were killed when masked gunmen attacked a Sunni neighborhood. Within hours, at least nineteen people were killed and fifty-nine wounded when two car bombs hit a Shiite mosque in northern Baghdad.

Where's that turned corner? I'm looking for it, I keep hearing about it, but I can't find it. Seems like everywhere you turn, things just get worse. Now why do you suppose that? Could it be that the same liars who lied us into war, lie to keep us over there?

Notice I didn't say "administration." The administration isn't the only liar in this. The press lied too. Some of them just didn't do their job, others lied. If on a comparative shoe string budget, Amy Goodman could report the truth, the New York Times lied in their reporting. Amy Goodman sounded alarms. Amy Goodman questioned Colin Powell's speech.

It's not that "we all got it wrong," it's that fools and liars aided the administration.

They didn't "aid" democracy, they didn't "aid" us, the people. Bully Boy's got blood on his hand and so does the press. Thomas Friedman (I checked with Betty to make sure she wasn't going to make this point since at her own blog, she writes about Friedman) can't say he didn't know. He really doesn't try to. He tries to argue that he thought it was good to get rid of Saddam. Saddam was evil, so it was "good" to lie this nation into war. Thomas Friedman strikes me as evil. Would it be "good" for me to lie about him to take him out?

There's no morality there, it's just "I want what I want and I want it now." They wanted this war, big media, and the blood's on their hands as much as it is on the Bully Boy's.

Probe: Senior Officers Negligent Over Haditha Killings
Meanwhile, a high-ranking military probe has concluded senior Marine officers were negligent in investigating last year's massacre of twenty-four Iraqi civilians in the town of Haditha. The investigator, Lt. Gen. Peter Chiarelli, says the officers failed to question inaccurate and misleading information when it was first reported to them. Chiarelli has recommended unspecified disciplinary action. If charged, the Marine officers would be among the most senior US military officials to be brought to justice since the start of the Iraq war.

They don't care. They don't care and most people here don't care. You hear about a crime, a murder, and some blowhard, supposedly on the left, starts screaming online that if anyone says "killers" he's coming after them. And people link to that crap.

There is no real value placed on Iraqi lives in this country. We're too busy bending over backwards to give a benefit of the doubt and then another and then another. Awhile back, Amy Goodman interviewed a psychiatrist or psycholigist. (Elaine would know which. It was last month by the way.) Amy Goodman asked him specifically about the guilt. He pointed to the Bully Boy like our 'brave' online crowd, but he also said that those who committed the crimes were responsible, those who personally committed them.

That's really obvious. But C.I. made that point early on (one of the few to do so) and Jess said you wouldn't belive the hate mail that came in on that. C.I.'s C.I. "Translation" (as C.I. would say), it didn't make a difference. C.I. didn't back off from what a huge number of visitors ranted and raved about and threatened over. I only found out about that hate mail Saturday when Jess called me Saturday afternoon and we were just talking. The subject of Iraqis and the way most Americans see them came up (I mention that in my speech that I turned into the column that ran Sunday) and Jess starts telling me about the hate mail C.I. got over that and I couldn't believe it.

People want to blame the Bully Boy and only the Bully Boy. I didn't get any hate mail when I wrote about this but I think I followed C.I. on it by three or four days. Jess said the hate mail continued for three days or so and always from the same people. He said after the third day, they went away. He thinks that was partly because another scandal broke (where Iraqis were said to be killed by US forces) and because C.I. didn't back down and continued to mention it each day.

That's the only way to deal with baby bullies, you don't change the topic, you don't water it down, you just stand your ground and keep saying it. When they realize they can't do anything to scare you, they go find someone they can scare.

Some of that hate mail came from supposed 'lefties' or at least people who pose that way online.
You expect it from the ones on the right who are still drinking the Kool Aid but that it came from supposed 'lefties' is just disgusting.

Until we start placing some value on the lives of Iraqis, 'superiors' will continue to 'fail to investigate' because they know there's no outrage. They know no one will blame the individuals. That's why there were all those checkpoint killings. If people had been screaming their heads off in this country, there would have been pressure a long time ago. Now, last month, we hear that supposedly the checkpoint killings are down. Over 38 months after they started.

Until we can realize that Iraqi lives matter (the lives that the lie told us we went over there to 'liberate'), none of it matters. The occupation doesn't matter because who cares if the Iraqis are occupied -- if we don't value them, why should we care? The killings don't matter for the same reason.

We need to start realizing what's going on there and that the Iraqis have value. That they are people not whatever racist word someone wants to call. We need to realize that they have children, they have dreams and they want to live their lives -- not under the Bully Boy's thumb, not under an illegal occupation.

Be sure to check out Wally's "THIS JUST IN! ASSOCIATED PRESS BREAKS CHILD LABOR LAWS!" and Cedric's "ANOTHER BULLY BOY PRESS & BIG MIX (HUMOROUS) EXCLUSIVE" because it's a joint entry and it's funny! :D Also check out C.I.'s "And the war drags on . . ." which amazed me and amazed Nina. And check out "Troops Home Fast: Nationwide Hunger Strikes Protest Iraq War" from Democracy Now! because that's amazing too. Oh, Leigh Ann asked if C.I. went off the hunger strike after Friday? I don't know about today but C.I. was on it Saturday and Sunday. I forgot to ask Jess today. C.I. was planning on going off Saturday morning but there are three community members who are still on it and they said they could do a full week if C.I. would so it's ongoing. Since Jess didn't mention C.I. going off it, I'm guessing it's still ongoing. Check out Like Maria Said Paz for Sunni's latest tonight. Tomorrow I hope to tell you about my smart ass buddy Tony. :D

Thank you to everyone for the great e-mails about my column in Polly's Brew yesterday. (And thanks to Polly for running it.)

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

Violence and chaos continue.
Bombings, shootings, corpses, kidnappings -- characteristics of daily life in Iraq -- continue while the miliary releases the name of the five US troops charged this weekend in the Mahmoudiya incident and Iraq attempts to overturn the immunity law that exempts suspects from being charged in and by Iraq (foreign troops and contractors).
AFP notes that a car bomb in Baghdad killed at least ten and left at least fifty-one wounded. The Associated Press notes that this car bomb happened "near a repair shop on the edge of . . . Sadr City". Al Jazeera notes the second bombing which occurred "outside a restaurant near the central bank in central Baghdad" resulting in at least six dead and at least 28 wounded. A third bomb, roadside, resulted in the wounding of five police officers according to Reuters.
Also in Baghdad,
CBS and AP note that a bus was "ambushed" with the seven people on it killed (six passengers and the driver) and the bus set on fire.
As Brian Edwards-Tiekert noted today on
KPFA's The Morning Show, "violence came despite a security crackdown in the capital raising new questions about the effectiveness of the police and Iraqi army."
Outside of Baghdad,
Al Jazeera notes a roadside bomb in Hillah killed one police officer and wounded four while, in Kirkuk, "a sucide truck bomb struck an office of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan" leaving five dead and twelve wounded. Reuters reports a roadside bomb in Yusifya that took the life of one person and left two more wounded; and a car bomb in Baquba that left eleven wounded. CBS and the AP note a bomb in Mahmoudiya that left ten wounded and a car bomb in Ramadi that wounded four US troops.
BBC notes that Adnan Iskandar al-Mahdawi ("member of the provincial council in Diyala province") is dead as a result of a drive-by. CBS and AP report that, in Baghdad, a doctor was "forced . . . out of his car . . . and killed in front of his family."
Reuters notes two attacks in Baghdad -- one which left three police officers dead and wounded another and a second where two "bodyguards of a judge" were killed and three were wounded.
Reuters reports five corpses were found in Suwayra, one in Kut ("shotgun wounds") and one near Dugail ("gunshot wounds . . . signs of torture") while CBS and AP note the discovery of "two bullet-riddled" corpses in Baghdad and notes five corpses, not one, discovered in Kut.
Reuters notes that "an agriculture official" was kidnapped in Dujail.
Associated Press reports that the latest five charged in the incident involving the alleged rape of 14-year-old Abeer Qassim Hamza as well as her murder, and that of three members of her family, are Paul E. Cortez, Anthony W. Yribe, James P. Barker, Jesse V. Spielman, and Bryan L. Howard. Yribe is identified as the one who, as Amy Goodman noted on Democracy Now!, is "charged with dereliction of duty for failing to report the crime." The AP notes that "[t]he others face more serious charges as participants" as well as the fact that two of the five charged are sergeants (Cortez and Yribe). The five join Steven D. Green who was charged on June 30th.
The names of the five are released as Mariam Karouny (Reuters) reports that the US crafted laws for Iraq are facing a challenge according to Wigdan Michael (human rights minister in Iraq) who states "We're very serious about" requesting the "United Nations . . . end immunity from local law for U.S. troops". Michael tells Karouny: "One of the reasons for this is the U.N. resolution, which gives the multinational force soldiers immunity. Without punishment, you get violations. This happens when there is no punishment."
In peace news,
Amy Goodman and Medea Benjamin discussed the Troops Home Fast today. Benjamin stated: ". . . we think this fast is one way that they can do it. We've had people who have read about the fast in the paper, and they're in West Palm Beach, for example, and just jumped on a plane and came and joined us. We have a woman from Vancouver, in Washington state, who heard about the fast and decided that she had to do something more, came and joined us for this week. People who thought they were going to fast for one day have ended up fasting for the entire week and are going into their second week. This can really be a catalyst if people join. Every day we have hundreds more signing up on the website and saying they want to participate."
In other peace news, Ehren Watada's mother
Carolyn Ho has stated, of her son's refusal to deploy to Iraq for the illegal war, "He is sending that message to all the armed forces, the message that they need to examine carefully the war they are choosing to fight." Ehren's father, Bob Watada, is comparing the fight against the charges the military has brought against his son to a competition and tells Alyssa S. Navares (Honolulu Star Bulletin), "I have always been one of those dads at every game and practice . . . Although I whip him in a singles match, together we pravail on the court. And trust me, we're going to do it again when we fight these charges."
Reuters is reporting that 200 ex-police officers ("fired . . . for forgery and bribery") stormed the Muthanna governor's office "demanding they be reinstated in their jobs in the southern city of Samawa, the capital of Muthanna province."