Friday, June 22, 2007


Friday. The up! The down? "This is not to say, however, as suggested by the tone in some left-wing commentary, that just because many Darfur activists have a naïve credence in U.S. benevolence and fail to recognize that Washington clearly has ulterior motives at stake, that the question of aiding Darfurians should be tossed aside." That's from a dopey article by two guys writing for Foreign Policy in Focus.

Now the way I see it, Keith Harmon Snow and Bonnie Faulkner (host of Guns and Butter) have done more than anyone else to get the word out on this in terms of reporting and speaking. They aren't the only ones, but they are at the forefront in this country and deserve credit. Online? I think this community has covered that "Save Darfur" nonsense for over two years now.

Within this country, that's pretty much it. You might get an article by somebody every now and then but nothing that adds up to a body of work. Keith Harmon Snow and Bonnie Faulkner have never insulted to 'activists.' Similarly, this community has focused at the top, where the psuedo-leadership is. So this talk of what "some left-wing commentary" has or has not done is really offensive to me. They cite Sarah Flounders (for one article -- she has given several speeches and may have written more than one article) and Yoshie Furuhashi (who I don't, but they cite him for one article).

I think the article is weak. I think it's a tip-toe and weak.

Their big flaw (due to when it published) is that they make no mention (as this community has repeatedly) of the news that $15 million was the 2006 budget and not a penny went to help anyone in Darfur -- full page ads in the New York Times, yes, helping out groups on the ground in Sudan, no.

Now what's really going on with this tip-toe nonsense is that they're playing chicken sh*t. They don't want to go after the supposedly all knowning Samantha Power who is the biggest hawk in this country. Wittle boys are scared to go after Our Modern Day Carrie Nations.

Is this the US contribution? The London Review of Books could address this seriously but this is what we get from our own country? What a load of crap.

The Modern Day Carrie Nations exists for war. That's what the leadership wants and has pushed. It didn't take the New York Times exposing their 'spending practices' for anyone to know that.

At the start of May (when this was published), I might have been more charitable but I don't think so. There's nonsense about 'plans' and excuse the f**k out of me but we proposed a plan in February or March of 2005. As C.I. would say "late to the party and they didn't even bring a gift." I'm sorry but you have to be willing to take on the Modern Day Carrie Nations. They have led a ton of students astray. They are well funded and they now try to hide in the shadows because hard questions have been coming for two years now. As someone who has received e-mails from the Sammy Power flunkies, I know what's what. I don't get the idea these writers do.

They're focusing on the region and not with the laser precision Keith Harmon Snow does. They're offering this travel guide that's about two years too late (at least) and those who are serious about stopping another war are focusing on the leadership of the psuedo-movement. Considering that Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess and Ava left NY for CA just to get away from these crazies, I think we're a little more informed than the two writers of the Foreign Policy in Focus piece.

I think if Common Dreams had posted the article in May (when it was published) I would've thought it was weak. The leadership needs to be called out. They need to be called out on a number of things including their loose grip on figures (both the number dead and displace as well as the number showing up for the 'demonstrations'). As long as you're not addressing the War Hawk nature of the leadership of this psuedo-movement, you're just wasting everyone's time.

They also fail to note, as we did, that unlike those protesting the Iraq war the same 2005 weekend, the Modern Day Carrie Nations got to meet Bully Boy in the White House. There is too much they don't know (nothing on their blog -- a total of 7 whopping posts -- indicates they ever saw the New York Times article). As part of a community that has repeatedly called this nonsense out, I would love a serious academic exploration but this isn't it. This is sticking your toe in the water and apologizing for it.

It's too little, too late. Again, we've covered this since 2005. And we haven't hid from calling out the leadership behind this faux group. But for two years, a lot of people who know better have hidden and trembled at the thought of Samantha Power. She's just a dumb War Hawk. Just one more coloniast (this one from Ireland) pushing to colonize the world. She's an empire junkie and Eric Reeves needs to learn to teach English and stop going on programs as an expert in genocide.

While we've been doing the hard work, where were these two writers? While this idiotic movement has been invited on every left show and gotten many articles in left publications, where were these two writers? When I say they're just sticking their toe in, I say that because I know how much work we've done on this and how hard it's been. I don't think this article adds or contributes anything.

By refusing to call out the leadership, it makes it seem as though the leadership just misunderstands. They don't misunderstand. They have no noble intentions. They are for empire and war and pretending otherwise doesn't stop that psuedo movement.

I hadn't planned to write about that. I was going to write about how C.I. set up in the backyard to do the second entry this morning after speaking to a local group. I was going to go into great detail about how I'm in the kitchen (I had the day off) and hear this noise. I go out into the backyard and there's C.I. throwing up (why C.I. set up in the backyard) repeatedly. But after every series of vomitting, C.I.'s back at the laptop trying to finish that entry. I was going to talk, in depth, about how hard C.I. pushes and how maybe we all need to start pushing harder if we want this illegal war to end. C.I. really is going all out. And maybe that, seeing C.I. throw up repeatedly to the point of the dry heaves at the end (from stress, lack of sleep, too much to do, you name it) and keep going makes me not really want to applaud two guys who think dipping their toes in the shallow end of the pool.

I think there's enough cowardice in the world already. You either show up and do the work needed or sit on your ass. You don't get points for sitting on your ass.

In four years and X months, C.I.'s refused to sit and I'm not going to applaud those who do.

Sorry I can't be a proud parent or a teacher handing out gold stars because someone showed up for class even though they added nothing to the class discussion.

After the second post was posted, it was time to speak (I'd skipped the first one for personal reasons, I'll get to that). C.I. had a cigarette (I'll get to that) and then Wally, Ava, C.I. and me were speaking with people all day.

Getting to "it." C.I. was so wiped out after the fourth or fifth series of vomiting cycles. I was saying let's go to the doctor and C.I. said no, it was just stress and being tired. C.I. then shocks me and goes, "Can you get your father's cigarettes?" I go, "What?" Dad's been smoking.

That would be fine if he was smoking because he just decided to. But it's because of stress. So that's not fine. (If someone smokes, that's their business. Grown ups can make their own decisions.) So I go off to the garage and, sure enough, find some at the back of his tool box. I took one back to C.I. (who said it would settle the stomach).

When we went to Chicago last weekend, we got back Sunday night and the house was trashed. My kid sister (the high school graduate) had promised to be responsible. She wasn't. (She'll be pissed about what I'm writing but tough sh*t.) So we get back here and she didn't even try to clean up and isn't even home. She went out with friends and lost track of time.

Now she's getting ready to start college and wanting to live on campus. So Dad's stressed (Ma probably is too) because this was just the kind of sh*t a kid does, not an adult. Wally and me ended up cleaning up. That's really not fair to Wally because he's a guest. But anyway, there's that and other stuff like my oldest brother who is about to be a father shortly. The folks want him to move back in because he's got those huge student loans. They think the smartest thing would be him and his wife moving back in and, if they're able to save anything, using it to get their own place. Between insurance and his student loans, his check is like a joke. (That's not his fault.) And my sister-in-law is about to have to stop working until she has the baby because she's going to be having the baby any day now. (She says she'll work until her water breaks. The folks think that's because the second it's down to one paycheck, it's going to be rough.)

So the good news is that I talked to my brother about this and explained to him that it (and my kid sister) were stressing Dad out. (I'm sure Ma too. But she's usually better about hiding it.) I got a call on my cell phone this afternoon and he'd talked to his wife and we're going to be moving them in tomorrow. They have to pay some penalty for not giving thirty days notice on their apartment but they won't have any bills here other than for their baby when she's born (it's going to be a girl) so that's one thing less for Dad to worry about. (That doesn't mean he has to give up smoking. That's his business. He's an adult. But that does mean he's got less stress.)

I was off work today so I offered to stay so Ma wouldn't have to. The folks told my kid sister she was getting a job. That's part of her punishment for her wild weekend. She hates her job and someone hangs around to make sure she's leaving the house each morning. She says she's treated like "a baby" and my parents said she'd never be left in the home alone again until she proves she's mature. Dad was saying they might hire Tony's younger sister to babysit if everyone else had to be somewhere else. Tony's sister is 14. My sister didn't think that was funny but I don't think Dad was joking.

I don't know why she did it. I think, my guess, is that she had a freak out because all the sudden she's not a kid anymore. And I think, my guess, she went off Sunday afternoon (knowing what time we'd all be back) and stayed gone because she wanted to get caught. I mean, if you do that, throw wild parties, you are either smart enough to clean up (and she had plenty of time) or you want to get caught. So that's my theory. She says she's moving out as soon as she has enough money. My attitude is, fine by me. Lots of luck finding an apartment on her own for just two or so months before she moves into the dorm this fall. Maybe she can move in with friends?

Ma suspected Dad was smoking. She knows now (from him, not me, it's not my business to go tattle on my father). If there are any problems there, that's their business. (I'm not aware of any problems.) But Dad's been so stressed already over my oldest brother and for my kid sister to pull this nonsense, knowing how stressed Dad was getting, was just nonsense and kiddie sh*t.
So she can be mad if she even reads this (or hears about it from one of her friends) but she needs to grow up. Ma told her no one needs to see her pouting and if she can't help but pout she knows where her room is. :D That made me laugh because when Ma is mad, she doesn't show it. She gets real cool. Like a poker player. :D

It was sad seeing Wally, Ava, Kat and C.I. off at the airport. Like when the gang (Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess and Ava) moved out west to stay with C.I.

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

Friday, June 22, 2007. Chaos and violence continue, the US military announces another death, CounterSpin covers a report the mainstream media (domestic) has shown no interest in, Falluja is addressed (and on going), watch out for that tidal wave of Operation Happy Talk!, and more.

Starting with news of war resistance. Joshua Key's
The Deserter's Tale continues to garner good reviews. Anita Joshua (India's The Hindu) reviews the book and concludes, "For over a year, he lived in the U.S. in constant fear of being caught before he fled with his family to Canada in search of asylum. But, he makes no attempt to exaggerate his travails to sell his story, and it is this honesty that reflects through all the detail." Key served in Iraq and, while back in the US, made the decision to self-check out instead of returning to an illegal war. He, his wife Brandi Key and their children then lived underground in the US before crossing the border into Canada where he is attempting to win refugee status. From page 171 of his book (written with Lawrence Hill):

One morning in Ramadi, while I was sitting on top of my armored personnel carrier outside a little house controlled by men from another platoon in the 3rd Armored Calvary Regiment, I saw soldiers open the door and push a naked prisoner outside. The prisoner looked like he was about forty years old. One soldier kicked him as he stumbled out the door and into the light, and another soldier kicked him as he passed through the gate. The detainee was sent to stand in the middle of the street, and for an instant I wondered why he had been brought out like that. And then, in full view of passerby, the naked man defecated in the street. I turned my head guiltily, but not before I had witnessed his humiliation. He stood up and was kicked on his way back inside the building. I never saw him again, and I don't know what happened to him.
It would not be until much later, after I deserted the army, that I heard of Abu Ghraib prison, west of Baghdad, or about the abuses of Iraqi prisoners at the hands of Americans, or about human rights violations at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.

Also noting Key is Kim Peterson (Dissident Voice) in his exploration of genocide which puts the illegal war into that context and quotes Key and Jimmy Massey. Massey is quoted stating, "As far as I'm concerned, the real war did not begin until they saw us murdering innocent civilians. I mean, they were witnessing their loved ones being murdered by US Marines. It's kind of hard to tell someone that they are being liberated when they just saw their child shot or lost thei husband or grandmother."

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

Speaking out to end the war is a duty
Iraq Veterans Against the War takes very seriously. Monday IVAW's Adam Kokesh appeared on Mark Levine's Inside Scoop for the hour. We've noted the interview all week (and the link was left out of yesterday's snapshot when it first went up, my apologies) and we'll close out the week by noting it again:

Mark Levine: Tell me about combat stress?

Adam Kokesh: As you said, it's hard to get care. It's one of those things we're fighting for with Iraq Veterans Against the War, full funding of the Department of Veteran Affairs. But for me, when I came home, I didn't even allow myself to get into PTSD because I didn't want to think about my experiences in a way that would have that kind of emotional reaction.

Mark Levine: Denial. Just forget. Denial. [crosstalk]

Adam Kokesh: . . . and for me, when I came back, I had combat stress which is distinctly different because it's much more superficial and about habitual things. But the worst of it for me, was I had, I had a few anxiety attacks. You know, you just lose control of your brain for a few minutes and it's a little disturbing but it was something we were warned about. And for me, it was kind of a good thing. [cross talk] . . . No, no, no. You lose control of your brain and you just shut down. It's more of a --

Mark Levine: You just shut down.

Adam Kokesh: It's more of an internal thing than an external thing.

Mark Levine: So people don't even realize it's going on maybe.

Adam Kokesh: Yeah, sometimes. Sometimes I would cry. Sometimes I would shake. But it was internal. But it's mainly because of being overwhelmed by the environment and being in such a beautiful enivornment as my college campus was. To go from Falluja one week to campus the next week. . . . That caused the anxiety for me. The other things were I would wake up early well before my alarm and feel this strange sense of urgency, like I had to be somewhere, and not be able to go back to sleep.

Adam Kokesh's service in Iraq was not ingored by the US military. It was 'rewarded' with a witch hunt and Liam Madden and Cloy Richards are also targeted. The US military feels harrassment is a form of a 'thank you'. That's the reality of the US administration and the US military brass when it comes to veterans.

And if how little the lives and wounds (on all sides) from the illegal war matter isn't coming through, check out Robert Gates and Peter Pace.
Josh White (Washington Post) reports Gates and Pace have launched a new wave of Operation Happy Talk -- the number of US service members who have died and are dying in Iraq is not an issue, that's the "wrong metric". That is the wrong thing to focus on, say Gates and Pace, as CBS and AP note that at least 16 US service members have been announced dead "over the past three days."
Nancy A. Youssef (McClatchy Newspapers) notes that the Operation Happy Talkers also said success "should be measured not by whether violence is reduced, but by whether Iraqis feel better about their nation's future." Gates and Pace, after splashing one another with waves of Operation Happy Talk, ran down to the beach to enter a wet t-shirt contest before expounding further on the notion of deluded levels of self-esteem being the true measure of success while living in a combat zone. No word on whether the rumors are true that both will dress up in silk nighties and have a pillow fight late tonight.

Realities on Iraq were addressed today on
CounterSpin where co-host Janine Jackson interviewed Celine Nahory, co-author of [PDF format warning] "Independent Report on Iraq" which examines the causes of violence in Iraq. A sample of the discussion.

Janine Jackson: Well, I want to draw you out on another issue in the report -- there are many of them, of course -- but you talked about attacks on cities and I think many people, of course, as we've mentioned may believe that the 'coalition' is in the position of mainly defending or protecting but I think they still could tell you that the US-led 'coalition' did fiercely attack the city of Falluja. I think most people remember that but that would be a very incomplete picture, wouldn't it?

Celine Nahory: Well, at the very moment the US is actually imposing another siege on Falluja. There were two in 2004 and there is one going on right now -- for about a month now. But Falluja is absolutely not the only city on which there have been assaults. Part of the "anti-insurgency operation" that the US is pursuing in Iraq. A dozen other cities have suffered: Najaf, Tal Afar, Samarra, al Qaim, Haditha, Ramadi, Baquba, many others. And this is not something that happened here and there. It's really ongoing operations. And usually those operations follow the same pattern where the city is sealed off, a very harsh curfew is imposed, residents are encouraged to leave resulting in massive displacement of people. After awhile they assume that those who stay inside are only 'insurgents' and they cut water, food, electricity, medical supplies and carry massive bombardments on urban households and this destructs a very large part of the city. Reports say that more than 75% of the city of Falluja lies in ruins today. And many of those occasions, the US military has taken over medical facitilies such as hospitals. In those cities, very often hospitals are the tallest building in those cities. So the US takes them over and puts snipers on top and you have once again control over the city or neighborhoods.

Jackson observed that outside of AFP, she hasn't seen any press coverage of the report. The report is in PDF format and you can read it by sections:
Executive Summary [
Read] [French]Map of Major Coalition Attacks, Bases and Prisons [See map]Political Map of Iraq [See map]1. Introduction [Read]2. Destruction of Cultural Heritage [Read]3. Indiscriminate and Especially Injurious Weapons [Read]4. Unlawful Detention [Read]5. Abuse and Torture of Prisoners [Read]6. Attacks on Cities [Read]7. Killing Civilians, Murder and Atrocities [Read]8. Displacement and Mortality [Read]9. Corruption, Fraud and Gross Malfeasance [Read]10. Long-Term Bases and the New Embassy Compound [Read]11. Other Issues [Read]- Iraqi Public Opinion and the Occupation- Cost of the War and Occupation12. Conclusion and Recommendations [Read]

On the subject of Falluja, let's turn to a speech from last weekend's conference in Chicago,
given by Dahlia Wasfi and focus on the Falluja section of her talk, "Falluja -- God help us for what we have done to the people of Falluja. On March 31, 2004, four American civilians lost their lives in Falluja. They were civilians with military backgrounds, in the same that a paramilitary death squad in El Salvador responsible for the brutal rape, torture and murder of four American nuns was comprised of civilians. Though they had GPS systems from Blackwater, those systems were not working that day, and they became disoriented. But they should have known long before, when they were boarding a plane for Baghdad, that they were going the wrong way. Perhaps they only signed a contract with Blackwater to achieve financial security for their loved ones. But there is a word in the English language to describe an individual who sells his body, his principles and his soul for monetary reward. That's a congressman. In the same way that Nazi soldiers fell victim to their system during the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, these hired killers from Blackwater got justice served to them on a silver platter. Then, revenge was carried out on a people who can truly be identified as civilians. In April 2004, U.S. Marines closed the bridge to the city and a hospital road -- a war crime. The U.S. military and its vehicles stood at the hospital entrance -- a war crime. And snipers were positioned on rooftops, targeting ambulances and the clinic doors. Between 600 and 800 civilians were killed in that siege, but that wasn't enough. In November 2004, the second major siege of Falluja began. The Nazzal Emergency Hospital, protected by the Geneva Conventions, was leveled to the ground, and Falluja General Hospital, was seized by the U.S. military. Doctors described being tied and beaten, despite being unarmed and having only medical instruments. Burhan Fasa'a, a cameraman with the Lebanese broadcasting company, reported that there were American snipers on top of the hospital, shooting everyone in sight. In addition, the U.S. military blocked the Iraqi Red Crescent from entering the city for seven days. The result was a death toll of between 6,000 and 8,000 civilians. This means that the Iraqi death toll in November 2004 alone surpassed the invaders' death toll for all of Operation Enduring Freedom thus far."

Many of those people driven from their homes can't go back. In chapter eight of [PDF format warning] "
Independent Report on Iraq," the issues involved in Iraq exploding refugee crisis are explored (over 4 million if you combine internally displaced and externally displaced). It is noted that, on the Iraqi death toll, "Washington insists that the lowest numbers are most accurate, while refusing to publish its own official statistics." As Nancy A. Youssef noted almost exactly one year ago, the US is keeping figures, the US military in Iraq is provided with those figures, and yet the American people are kept in the dark. The section concludes with the following:

Iraq faces a growing humanitarian emergency, with unprecedented death and displacement. As of April 2007, the United Nations estimated that up to 8 million people were vulnerable and in need of immediate assistance. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have been forced to flee from their homes and hundreds of thousands more are casualties of the violence through death and injury. Education has broken down. Unemployment has reached about 60% and the annual inflation rate peaked at about 70% in July 2006. An estimated 54% of the Iraqi population lives on less than a dollar day, among capacity. Electricity is in short supply. Only 32% of Iraqis have access to clean drinking water. The Public Distribution System food ration has stopped functioning in certain areas of the country, leaving 4 million Iraqis acutely vulnerable due to food insecurity. Severe malnutrition doubled between 2003 and 2005. Iraq's humanitarian emergency has reached a crisis level that compares with some of the world's most urgent calamities.

And as the crisis grows even worse, some of the violence in Iraq today includes . . .


Mohammed al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad mortar attack that wounded four people, a Baghdad roadside bombing that wounded 2 police officers, US missiles launched from US helicopters that killed 17 Iraqis whom the US says were suspected 'gunmen' or suspected 'al Qaeda' or both depending upon the report but 17 are dead and they are dead on nothing more than, at best, suspicion, a Qara Taba roadside bombing that wounded three Iraqi soldiers, and an al Hawija roadside bombing that wounded one peson. Reuters reports that a Falluja bombing killed two civilians and left four wounded.


Mohammed al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a person shot dead in a Bahgdad market today and a person shot dead in Dali Abbas village.


Mohammed al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 11 corpses were discovered in Baghdad today.

Also today, the
US military announced: "A Multi-National Division-Baghdad Soldier was killed during combat operations in a southwestern section of the Iraqi capital June 21.

Finally, in political news, US Senator Hillary Clinton would like to be the Democratic nominee in 2008 for president.
Turkish Daily News reports that she announced Tuesday she was happy to keep US forces in Iraq to defend "close U.S. allies" Iraqi Kurds. Due to the pronounced and ongoing tensions between Turkey and northern Iraq, they would highlight that because it goes to their own security but . . . what's the excuse for that photo of Hillary? Seriously. Ouch.

In other political news,
Robin Wright (Washington Post) reports that the US House of Representatives -- in a 355 pro and 69 against vote -- decided to get James Baker to round up his friends in the James Baker Circle Jerk to listen to the September reports from the US administration and the US military about 'progress' in Iraq, decipher and figure out what to do. Translation, the US House would like to outsource their own jobs, duties and responsiblities to a center-right group which can provide cover. If the duties are too much for any US House Rep, I do believe they have all been informed of the resignation process and possibly some should considering putting that process in motion? James Baker and Lee Hamilton were not voted into Congress in 2006. The Democratic upset resulted from voters wanting change and believing Democrats could deliver. So far Americans join Diana Ross in singing, "And I'm still waiting . . . Ooooh-oooh-oh . . . Still waiting . . ."

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Laura Flanders, Stanley Aronowitz, Michael J.Smith

Thursday, at last! Only a few hours to go before the weekend starts! Leigh Ann asked about my finger nail and I've been dying to write about it! :D Okay, the thing I pulled is called the cuticle. And that was a while back. It was hanging loose and I pulled it and it started beleeding. Then. Yeah, there's a then. Right before the nail shows up, my skin got this huge blister that I went a few days before popping because my sister goes, "You're not supposed to pop it." My kid sister. Last time I listen to her!

So while the blister was there, it was huge. And it messed up the way the finger nail was growing out. I had this big gap and I was going to just peel the nail off but everybody goes "NO! DON'T DO IT!" So I didn't.

But it's been growing out slowly and slowly. Now it's about 2/3 of the way or so. And where the gap is should be cut off in 3 or so weeks. But now it gets stuff in the gap. Like I'll be grabbing a pair of socks and the stringy part inside your sock will get caught in it. It's a real pain. And you can tell where the blister was because not only do I have a gap in almost half the nail, the section above the gap is higher than the section below and it's like my finger nail has this big bump on it. Who would have thought all that could happen just because I used my teeth to pull a piece hanging off (The cuticle). My kid sister keeps going, "I have clear polish, you need to paint it so it doesn't tear off." That's cause it keeps catching on everything. But I'm not wearing nail polish. No way, no how. I wish it would grow faster and I'm having computer problems, or Blogger/Blogspot problems so let me move on.

On Monday, Stanley Aronowitz and Laura Flanders had a debate in NYC. Michael J. Smith has written about it in "Who Among Us Will Step Up to Destroy the Democratic Party?:"

Asked by moderator [deleted], in another rare moment of directness, whether he wouldn't prefer to see a Democratic president in 2008, Aronowitz got quite a laugh by replying, "Of course--because he won't do anything! I'm all for gridlock!" Flanders rather hotly replied that she wasn't for gridlock -- "I want troops out of Iraq, I want universal health care." Unfortunately, [Moderator's name deleted] did not ask her what connection there might be between these good things and a Democratic president. Perhaps that would have been immoderate.
Maybe that was the problem: the moderation quotient was way too high. Flanders was ready to agree with any bad thing anybody might say about the Democratic Party, except that activists ought to be working night and day to destroy it -- and Aronowitz was unwilling to say that. He didn't say that working within the Democratic Party is a deadly, damning error. He didn't call it the graveyard of activists, though no doubt he's heard that old truism before. He didn't say that the Democratic party absorbs the energies of left-wing activists and turns those energies against the activists' own purposes--though I bet he would agree with the proposition. He should have been like the sepulchral voice in The Amityville Horror, hollowly booming "Get oooout!" -- but alas, he wasn't.
Flanders took the 'pro,' moderately, but Aronowitz moderately didn't quite take the 'con'. So though it was fun for a while, and a great deal of well-deserved and enjoyable abuse was poured on the dear old donkeys' heads, there was a slight feeling of coitus-interruptus at the end of the evening. Perhaps we should blame the Upas-tree influence of The Nation magazine, breathing its long-brewed suffocating vapors into the already mephitic Manhattan air.
I wonder how many of those disgruntled old veterans and peppery youths in the audience will trudge reluctantly into the shambles of '08 behind some Judas-goat from the Democratic Party. Oh Laura, so fresh, so fair, why must you be among them? And oh Stanley -- you might have saved a few!

I wasn't there, so I don't know. I like Stanley and Laura both but I'll be honest that I was rooting for Stanley because of the position he was advocating. From what Smith's written, I didn't miss anything. Wally and me thought about going but we'd just gotten back from Chicago from the Socialism conference and we were too tired for road tripping so quick.

My buddy's splitting tomorrow. He's heading out west with C.I., Kat and Ava. Kat's staying at Rebecca's tonight. We'll go pick her up tomorrow. Ava and C.I. are here. It was so much fun having Wally here. On the way back, we'll all be in California together, he thinks he might be able to swing a week here before heading back. Oh, Dad got something highlighted by C.I. this morning, so I better highlight it too or I will hear about it.

Our senators, Ted Kennedy and John Kerry are actually doing something good. I'm not surprised to say that about Kennedy but Kerry's been a bit of a question mark since 2005. This is from Maria Cramer's "Senators aid wife of missing soldier:"

Yaderlin Hiraldo and Army Specialist Alex R. Jimenez met in a small village in Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic. But the couple fell in love in the United States, after she arrived illegally in 2001.They married in 2004 and Jimenez, a US citizen who lived in the Dominican Republic as a boy and later moved to New York, tried to obtain permanent legal status for his bride. When federal immigration officials learned she entered the country illegally, however, they started deportation proceedings.
In May 2006, she received a reprieve -- US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agreed to halt the proceedings after her husband had been sent to Iraq. Last month, Jimenez and two other soldiers were abducted by Sunni insurgents. One of the men was found dead, and the insurgent group claimed to have killed Jimenez and the third soldier. The two have not been found, though their Army IDs were discovered last week.

She needs to be made a citizen, that's what she wants and there's no excuse for it or for making her have more worries right now.

Dad goes, "Could you include this?" C.I. goes no need to ask. So you know if Dad can just say, "Put this in" with The Common Ills, he's really going to be expecting me to mention the story. :D

They've added this new feature to Blogger/Blogspot and I don't care for it tonight. It's "autosave" and it saves your post while you write it -- over and over. What it does for me is I can see the "T" at the start of the paragraph I'm on right now and nothing else. That's nonsense. It doesn't usually save all the time. Usually, it's a few minutes at a time but it's in save mode and I'm a slow typist so you know it's really slow tonight if I can only see the "T" at the start of the paragraph. It's screwing me up and making me even slower tonight.

If I have more typos than usual, that's why. I can't see what I'm typing and going back and trying to correct what I caught is taking forever because the mouse moves but the curser takes forever to show up on the screen. Betty's "Torch Songs Between Dust and Bad Delivery" went up Saturday and I never noted it so I need to now. Otherwise, the way Blogger/Blogspot's acting, I'd say screw it. The worst part is about two words later realizing you typed something wrong and having to wait for the text to display onscreen to catch the mistake.

This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Thursday, June 21, 2007. Chaos and violence continue, the US military annouces the deaths of more service members, IPA presents a report on Iraq, and more.

Starting with war resistance. In June 2006,
Ehren Watada became the first US officer to refuse to deploy to Iraq. He explained his reasons for that publicly (illegal war, violation of treaties, setting those serving under him up for charges of war crimes); however, in Judge Toilet's court (John Head) all that got flushed for the February 2007 court-martial as Watada was prevented why explaining his reasons for refusing deployment. Despite this, Watada was coming out ahead and the prosecution's own witnesses were very effective . . . for the defense. Sensing this, Judge Toilet immediately called a mistrial on the third day, before Watada could take the stand and testify, and did so over the objection of the defense (and, initially, over the objection of the prosecution which took a bit to grasp the gift of 'do over' Judge Toilet was attempting to hand them). Due to the fact that there was no reason for a mistrial (Judge Toilet did a song and dance about a signing statement that he had reviewed prior, that he had instructed the jury on and now, on the third day, wanted to play dumb about) and that it was called over the objection of the defense, the double-jeopardy clause of the Constitution should prevent Watada from being retried. As Marjorie Cohn (president of the National Lawyers Guild) has pointed out, the judge in a trial -- any trial -- cannot just call a mistrial because s/he doesn't like the anticipated verdict. Next month, Ehren Watada's court-martial is scheduled for July 23rd; however, as his website points out, "legal proceedings are occuring on two fronts:

* a second trial in Ft Lewis, Washington, based on the original charges against Lt. Watada for failing to deploy and speaking agains the war, and

* a Defense motion before the Army Court of Criminal Appeals in Arlington, Virginia to dismiss all charges on the basis of Double Jeopardy.

In their "
MISTRIAL SYNOPSIS," Judge Toilet's mistakes are noted and they include immediately scheduling a new trial (for March 19th) which was a case where the judge "exceed his authority, because a trial date cannot be set until the charges against Lt. Watada are again referred for court martial by the Ft. Lewis base commander and convening authority, Lt. General James Dubik."

Earlier this week Pulitzer Prize winning columnist
Anna Quindlen (Newsweek) examined war resistance and noted Watada's statement, "My participation would make me party to war crimes." Watada made that statement at a June 7, 2006 Tacoma, Washington press conference. August 12, 2006, he would speak at the Veterans for Peace conference in Seattle, Washington where he noted (PDF format warning), "I have broken no law but the code of silence and unquestioning loyalty. If I am guilty of any crime, it is that I learned too much and cared too deeply for the meaningless loss of my fellow soldiers and my fellow human beings. If I am to be punished it should be for following the rule of law over the immoral orders of one man. If I am to be punished it should be for not acting sooner. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, 'History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period . . . was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people'."

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

Information on war resistance within the military can be found at
Center on Conscience & War, The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline, Iraq Veterans Against the War and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters.

Turning to
Iraq Veterans Against the War's Liam Madden who, along with Cloy Richards and
Adam Kokesh, has been targeted by the US military for actions and free speech in an attempt to silence voices speaking out against the illegal war. Ron Jacobs (here for OpEd News, here for CounterPunch) interviews Madden about the US military's efforts to strip him of his honorable discharge and instead discharge him from the IRR with an other-than-honorable discharge for the 'crimes' of "Wearing a partial USMC camoflage uniform at a political protest" and "Making Disloyal Statements at a speech in New York City. I said that 'The war in Iraq is, by Nuremberg standards, a war crime and a war of agression' and 'the president has betrayed U.S. service members by committimg them to a war crime." Madden tells Jacobs that, "Normally people aren't discharged from the IRR. It is simply a list of names the military can call upon in times of national crisis. When they don't want someone on the list they typically just cross them off. However it is not unusal that the government cracks down on those who are questioning the motives of their actions. For example, COINTELPRO, the imprisonmnet of Eugene Debs, and harassment of Martin Luther King, Jr." The IRR is a list of service members who have been discharged from the military. Should a president declare a national emergency, some names on the IRR list can be called up but only 30,000 -- in a declared national emergency -- can be called from the IRR list. If they are called up, UCMJ then applies to them (and nearly 15,000 have been called up since the start of the illegal war) (as explained by a friend in the US Marine Corps Judge Advocate Division). Clicking on Liam Madden's name takes you to a petition you can sign to show your support for Madden, democracy and free speech.

From Madden to
Iraq Veterans Against the War's Adam Kokesh who appeared Monday on Mark Levine's Inside Scoop discussing multiple topics for the hour. We've noted the interview all week (and the link was left out of yesterday's snapshot when it first went up, my apologies) and we'll note it again today and here he is speaking of his return to the US after serving in Iraq:

Adam Kokesh: It was already like a bad dream. Like you wake up and it already feels like it happened to someone else. But I had to stay on active duty for two more weeks and go through all these debriefing classes and all this administrative b.s. And I was actually more stressed out from these classes teaching me about post-traumatic stress disorder because I was missing class [college], I wanted to be in school, I was already late.

Mark Levine: So you weren't having post-traumatic stress disorder?

Adam Kokesh: No, but what I experienced then was more what I learned in those classes, at least the one bit of useful information is that typical combat stress symptoms last twelve to sixteen weeks. And for me, it took me about three months to really feel comfortable being a student again.

Nigel Yin (The Daily Egyptian) observes, "People these days throw the word 'hero' around without a second thought. Devin Hester opens the Super Bowl with a kickoff-return TD -- He's a hero! Bob Barker retires after 35 years of hosting the Price is Right -- What a hero! Kobayashi eats a whole lot of hot dogs -- Hero! Hero! Hero! But I'd like to pay respect to a hero whose contributions go unsung: Sgt. Adam Kokesh, a Marine who strives to protect veterans' right of dissent. . . . So while certain political figures may openly mock a mother of a deceased soldier, they now cower behind the uniform code of military justice to quell the seeds of dissent of a decorated Iraqi war veteran to avoid a PR backlash." And while Kokesh and others demonstrate heroism, Congress does nothing and Bully Boy thinks adding more fuel to the fire will put it out. Or possibly, he just thinks that when everything's burned away, no objections will exist?

But reality is that today the
US military announced: "Four Multi-National Division-Baghdad Soldiers were killed when their convoy was struck by a roadside bomb in a western Baghdad neighborhood June 20. One other Soldier was wounded in the attack." And they announced: "Five Multi-National Division-Baghdad Soldiers, three Iraqi civilians and one Iraqi interpreter were killed when a roadside bomb detonated near a Coalition vehicle during combat operations in a northeastern section of Baghdad June 21." And they announced: "Two Marines assigned to Multi National Force-West were killed June 20 while conducting combat operations in Al Anbar Province." Now those 11 deaths may not be as fun to write about as American Idol or your daughter's sweet sixteen (you don't think it's your sweet sixteen, do you?) but it happened and it continues to happen. 3545 is the current total for the number of US service members killed in Iraq with 68 being this month's total thus far.

Marie Cocco (Truthdig) attempts to address other realities. She notes that Iraq can now be considered a "failed state" and that "[t]o bring Iraq to the brink, we have invested half a trillion dollars in military alone and staffed the largest U.S. embassy anywhere and now have 150,000 U.S. troops on the ground." She notes that the food crisis results in 60% of children and pregnant women in the capital being anemic, thyphoid fever being common in Basra, etc. She also correctly notes: "The Bush White House and, for their part, the Republican presidential candidates, continue to push a military solution that alread has been shown to be no solution. The Democrats, including the party's presidential candidates, want to withdraw troops but promote the notion that the factionalized and corrupt Iraqi government can somehow pick up the slack." The last statment doesn't apply to Democratic candidates for the 2008 presidential nomination Dennis Kucinich, Mike Gravel and Bill Richardson. (It can be argued that it doesn't apply to John Edwards as well.) But Cocco, possibly exhausted by the killings, the never ending illegal war, notes the James Baker Circle Jerk's proposal of partioning Iraq ("along sectarian lines" -- so the 8 Christian college students kidnapped yesterday -- if they turn up alive -- would live where?) and wonders if that would work. And then Cocco quickly winds down. The US (or the US and England) dividing up Iraq is not an "answer" and it's not "self-determination." The US government has provided non-stop promises of democracy never delivered (like the Iraq constitution which has never been addressed or modified even though the push through on that promised it would be) and US solutions are not the answer to Iraq. Iraq is a nation-state filled with adults. It is not a nation of children that needs another government to impose its will. Iraq needs to be allowed to decide what's best for Iraq and that will not happen while a US installed puppet government is in place and it will not happen by the US decreeing that Iraq is now three different "partitions." The US has no business being in Iraq (never did) and it certainly has no right to determine what another country (an inhabited country, please remember) will be like. That's not democracy, that's not self-rule, that's not self-determination. US Senator and 2008 Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden also favors partitioning Iraq.)

This week the
Institute for Public Accuracy released their "Independent Report on Iraq" co-authored by James Paul and Celine Nahory with Paul noting of the report: "While most people focus on the sectarian bloodshed, our report highlights the enormous violence of the occupation forces. There is an increasing air war that results in heavy casualties as well as the daily killing of civilians at checkpoints, during house searches, by snipers, and by ground bombardment. Nearly a million Iraqis have died due to the effects of the occupation and 4 million have fled their homes. . . . Under the control or influence of U.S. authorities, public funds in Iraq have been drained by massive corruption and stolen oil, leaving the country unable to provide basic services and incapable of rebuilding. The U.S. government has repeatedly violated many international laws, but top officials reject any accountability."

The [PDF format warning] 117 paged "
Independent Report on Iraq" can be accessed in full or by section:

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

Focusing on Chapter 6 ("Attack on Cities") because Norman Solomon has been sounding the alarm about the air war for some time now (Solomon is a member of IPA), we learn of the collective punishments on cities which are judged or just guessed to be 'insurgent strongholds.' (Being against the occupation is often enough to get you judged 'insurgent.') Once that judgement/guess has been made the process usually begins with razor wire, sanbags, and various barricades being utilized to 'wall off' the city in question while US troops gather around it and "seize control of all movement into and out . . . including goods and supplies, water, food, medicines and emergency assistance of all kinds. This 'sealing off' strategy seeks to isloate insurgents and show ordinary civilians the heavy cost of not cooperating." Citizens are then encouraged to leave (and we've seen that with the reporting of the current actions in the Diyala province). Those who can (and that generally does not include all males of the city) do and as they become refugees, their city becomes a free-fire zone. As the US military cuts off water, power and anything else, they also cut off access to journalists not in bed (to steal
Amy Goodman's term) with the military. And then comes the bombings:

Coalition forces have inflicted prolonged and intesne air and ground bombardment on these cities, destroying thousands of homes, shops, mosques, clinics and schools, and inevitably -- killing and injuring many civilians. The strategy of indiscriminate and massive bombardment, in advance of ground offensives, has reduced the number of Coalition casualties, at a heavy cost in life and injury to the remaining Iraqi city residents.
The Washington Post reported that in Falluja, an "official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, described 12 hours of overnight strikes by American helicopters, fighter-bombers, field artillery and tanks as 'shaping operations.' Military commanders use the term as shorthand for battlefield preparation, combat operations specifically intended to remove enemy strong points in advance of an assault. In the second assault on Falluja, the air strikes began on October 15, the first day of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, and continued for three weeks prior to the assault of November 7. In Najaf, US Marines bombarded the cementery near the famous Imam Ali Shrine as well as much of the city center, in a massive attack backed by aircraft and tanks. In Ramadi, US forces carried out intensive bombardment, targeting the city's power stations, water treatment facilities, and water pipes, leaving many destroyed houses and no civilian services functioning.
US military bombardment has destroyed large areas of the cities. Reports have confirmed that whole neighborhoods have been leveled and elsewhere just hulks of buildings stand. "Those who have witnessed US aircraft firing missiles into packed tenements in Sadr City, and have seen the resulting carnage, treat claims of 'precision strikes' . . . with deep skepticism" commented the London-based Independent newspaper.
Air strikes and artillery bombardment are typically indiscriminate. According to an Iraq Body Count study on different types of weapons, aircraft attacks have been responsible for the largest proportion of children killed. In addition to massive bombardment with high explosives, there is clear evidence of the use of indiscriminate and especially injurious weapons, particularly incendiaries, in these ferociously violent campaigns.

In the New York Times today,
War Pornographer Michael Gordon and Alissa J. Rubin contributed "Heavy Fighting as U.S. Troops Squeeze Insurgents in Iraq City." Just as sure Gordo will go soft in the head and sticky in his y-fronts, he will usually use "precision strike" and similar terms (as he did on his own yesterday) but today -- either due to a co-writer or a 'discovery' -- he forgets the term. The 'discovery.' A medical center. And it's an "insurgent!" one. How is that "known"? "The hsopital, uncovered by troops from the Fifth Battalion, 20th Infantry, was equpped with oxygen tanks, defibrillators, generators and surgical equipment, as well as pieces of insurgent propaganda." It's that latter group, the pamphlets, that tell Gordo all he needs to 'know.' The same pamphlets can be found throughout Iraq, including in the capital. Also noted is an airstrike in Nasiriya (no mention of wounded or dead) -- again no 'precision strike' -- he must have felt so awkward, wanting to pull his War-On out with Rubin standing there. Meanwhile, Reuters notes: "A U.S. air strike on a booby-trapped house in Baquba north of Baghdad on Wednesday missed its target and hit a nearby structure, wounding 11 people".

On the topic of peace, in 2005,
Veterans for Peace staged their conference in Irving, Texas and Cindy Sheehan went right from there to Crawford, Texas where she started Camp Casey. In 2006, Veterans for Peace staged their conference in Seattle, Washington and Ehren Watada was among the speakers. This year, Veterans for Peace will be holding their conference in St. Louis, Missouri and the dates for that are August 15 through 19th -- click here for more information. What will happen? Chances are it will set the stage for much to follow. Sheehan kick started the peace movement. Watada kicked off a summer and fall of war resisters speaking out and coming forward. What 2007 will be a springboard for is anyone's guess, but it is scheduled for St. Louis, Missouri in August.

In Iraq today . . .


Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a mortar attack on the heavily fortified Green Zone, the bombing of "a primary school in Qara Taba village," and a truck bombing in Sleiman Bek village that killed 15 (70 wounded). Reuters notes a Madaen truck bombing that killed two police officers (12 more wounded) and a Baghdad mortar attack that claimed one life.


Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports "a corporal of the Iraqi army" was shot dead "between Kirkuk and Biji".


Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports three corpses discovered in Khalis. Reuters notes 20 corpses discovered in Baghdad.

In a reality check on 'progress' in Iraq,
Jamie Tarabay (NPR's Morning Edition) reported yesterday on musicians who've performed the "Baghdadi Square" for years in the capital -- on the streets, at functions, etc. "Baghdad was safe," says Mouwafak al-Tayar. "We could go out and perform as we liked. Everybody would come out from their homes and take part. Kids would follow us. They liked this kind of music because it's very lively." Today they have to travel "incongnito about Baghdad. They leave their traditional costumes, white robes and turbans, at home. Fearing Islamist extremists who condemn music of any kind, they also conceal their music when they travel."

Finally, in the United States, Yaderlin Hiraldo may no longer need to worry about deportation. Hiradlo's husband is Alex Jimenez who is serving in Iraq and went missing on May 12th and is assumed captured.
US Senators Ted Kennedy and John Kerry have spoken out strongly about the treatment. Jose Martinez and Richard Sisk (New York Daily News) report that that Homeland Security stated Yaderlin "no longer faces deportation."

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Elizabeth de la Vega, Dave Lindorff

Hump day. And doesn't each day get hotter and hotter. Guess that's how we know it's summer. Okay, in tonight's post there will be a question (and an answer provided) and you can also play along by attempting to figure out a link between Elizabeth de la Vega and Dave Lindorff?

Is Leigh Ann Cadwell an idiot? The answer to that question after this excerpt from Elizabeth de la Vega's "This Week With Libby: A Reality-Based View:"

Equally pervasive, if not more so, is the false assumption that the Libby sentence was harsh. Apparently, this opinion, voiced as it is by so many so-called experts who know precisely nothing about federal sentencing, is some type of visceral assessment, perhaps emanating from their second brains, because no one who actually conducted a straightforward analysis of the applicable sentencing guidelines could honestly conclude that Fitzgerald argued for, and that Walton imposed, an unduly severe sentence.
On the contrary, the truth is that both Fitzgerald and Walton simply followed the guidelines. As the government argued in United States vs. Lemoure, 474 F. 3d 37 (1st Cir. 2007), when someone is convicted of obstruction of justice, the guidelines "instruct" that the sentence should be calculated with reference to the sentence for whatever crime was under investigation. This is true, whether or not the underlying crime was charged. Indeed, the government argued for this calculation in Lemoure even though the jury had been unable to reach a verdict on the underlying crime. And the First Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the rule, noting that the cross-reference requirement "looks to what the grand jury was investigating, not what indictment was returned or what crime actually occurred." Whose name appears on the government's brief in that case? Why, it's none other than Wan J. Kim, another darling of conservatives who has replaced Bradley Schlozman as assistant attorney general for the Civil Rights Division.

And now the answer to the question: Yes, Leigh Ann Caldwell is an idiot. From "Ruth's Report"

So listening to Ms. Caldwell Tuesday [on KPFA's The Morning Show] repeatedly state how "harsh" his sentence was took us well beyond what we expect from news and straight into the Gas Bag Beltway. Mr. Libby has not received a "harsh" sentence and Ms. Caldwell's asinine commentary might play well in the Beltway but she is supposed to be reporting to the real world.
Mr. Libby did something very offensive to American democracy and justice which led to him being sentenced to thirty months in prison and fined $250,000. Is that "harsh"? Considering the trust and faith he was supposed to be representing, I do not believe that can be called harsh. But if we leave opinion and go to the facts, we discover that the crimes Mr. Libby was convicted of could have resulted in a one-million-dollar fine and up to twenty-five years in prison. Instead, Mr. Libby has received approximately an eighth of the maximum sentencing time and one-fourth of the maximum fine. That is not "harsh."
Ms. Caldwell would do well to stick to the facts and leave her questionable judgements to the right-wing spin cycle. As embarrassing as that is to Pacifica news, it got worse.

For more, read "Ruth's Report." And you really need to ask yourself why Leigh Ann Caldwell, reporting for the left-wing, independent Pacifica radio network felt the need, as a guest on a program, an expert guest, tell listeners that Scooter Libby had a "harsh" sentence? With friends like that, is it any wonder the right seized control?

Now Elizabeth de la Vega wrote a great book on impeachment and so did Dave Lindorff (with Barbara Olshansky as co-writer). So that's the common thread between those two highlights.
This is from his "Democratic Disconnect:"

The wheels are coming off the Democratic machine, with angry voters starting to lose patience with the Party's chronic inability to act decisively on any of the key issues of public concern.
In a Reuters dispatch on June 18, Democratic leaders in Congress concede that voters are angry with them for not doing enough to end the Iraq War. They might have added that voters are also angry at them for not impeaching the president or even for moving on Rep. Dennis Kucinich's bill to impeach Vice President Dick Cheney (H Res. 333).
"I understand their disappointment. We raised the bar too high," bleats Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid (D-NV).
No Harry. You didn't raise the bar too high. You ducked under the bar, when it came time to act to defund the war.
Last month, instead of cutting off funding for Bush's war in Iraq, Congress passed a measure providing him with over $100 billion to fund it, attaching no strings to the measure-not even any deadlines for starting to withdraw troops. This after running a 2006 campaign on ending the war.
No wonder Democrats and the independents and, yes, even Republicans who voted Democrats into control of Congress last November are furious.

I liked C.I.'s take on the Reuters story too:

A symbolic Pelosi-Reid measure (March) that was toothless and non-binding and they (and their Party Hacks) wanted to promote it as "action!" And then The Great Sell Out where they claimed there was nothing to do. As a party, they have done nothing. They have refused to do anything. Voters aren't stupid and Reid can act like, "Golly, gosh, I guess I built Christmas up too much this year but . . ." Truth of the matter, not a single damn present under the tree. And voters grasp that.

"Truth of the matter, not a single damn present under the tree." :D Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Wednesday, June 20, 2007. Chaos and violence continue, a US service member in Iraq announces his resistance, the US threatens to deport the wife of a US service member, the British military announces the death of a service member, Amy Goodman wonders since when did Iraq become a banned topic in high schools, and more.

Starting with Iraq Veterans Against the War's Adam Kokesh who was selected for the Wings of Justice Award today -- BuzzFlash's weekly honor which concludes: "The Marine Corps treated Kokesh unfairly for expressing his viewpoints, a freedom he put his life on the line for in Fallujah. That is what Bush says we are fighting for there, doesn't he? Adam Kokesh, to us, you served honoroably and bravely. You truly merit this week's BuzzFlash Wings of Justice award."

Iraq Veterans Against the War's Adam Kokesh appeared Monday on Mark Levine's Inside Scoop discussing many topics for the hour.

Adam Kokesh: To call it a protest isn't exactly accurate. This was a demonstration conducted by Iraq Veterans Against the War called Operation First Casulty and it's called that because it has long been said that the first casulty of war is truth and the purpose of the demonstration was to bring a small part of the truth of the occupation home to the American people who have largely forgotten that there is a military force representing our people imposing martial law in another country on the other side of the world. And we did that by conducting a mock combat patrol through the streets of DC and we had civilian actors who were playing effected peoples -- they weren't playing Iraqis, they weren't pretending to speak Arabic or anything like that -- but as average Americans being subjected to the same thing that Iraqis are subjected to every day.

Mark Levine: So you were showing Americans what the Iraqi civilians have to go through?

Adam Kokesh: Well, yes, but not just that. But also giving them a taste of what it's like to come around a street corner and see a squad of armed men in uniform in a patrol. And these actors that we had were integrated into wherever they were standing in the city, we had them in lines full of tourists, we had them in parks and so on -- and we would randomly accost them, search them, zip cuff them and put sandbags over their heads.

And as Kokesh and other members of Iraq Veterans Against the War attempt to bring the war home via street theater and truth telling, a US service member takes resistance to Iraq.
Iraq Veterans Against the War posts the following:

Yesterday, June 19, 26 year old SPC Eli Israel put himself at great personal risk by making the courageous decision to refuse futher participation in the U.S. occupation of Iraq. Eli told his commanding officer and sergeants that he will no longer be a combatant in this illegal, unjustified war. Eli believes that the U.S. government used the attacks of September 11, 2001 as a pretense to invade Iraq and that "we are now violating the people of this country (Iraq) in ways that we would never accept on our own soil." Eli is stationed at Camp Victory in Baghdad with JBV Bravo Company, 1-149 Infantry of the Kentucky Army National Guard. This soldier's decision to refuse orders put him at great risk, especially because he's in Iraq, isolated from legal assistance and other support. The following is a message that Eli sent yesterday to a friend back home:
"I have told them that I will no longer play a 'combat role' in this confllict or 'protect corporate representatives,' and they have taken this as 'violating a direct order.' I may bein jail or worse in the next 24 hours. Please rally whoever you can, call whoever you can, bring as much attention to this as you can. I have no doubt that the military will bury me and hide the whole situation if they can. I'm in big trouble. I'm in the middle of Iraq, surrounded by people who are not on my side. Please help me. Please contact whoever you can, and tell them who I am, so I don't 'disappear'."
Eli is taking an incredible risk by refusing orders in Iraq and will most likely be court martialed. Please help him by contacting his Senator and requesting that he take any steps necessary to support and protect this soldier and ensure that the Army respects his rights and does not illegally retaliate against him.
Senator Mitch McConnell:
Washington Office
361-A Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Phone: (202) 224-2541
Fax: (202) 224-2499

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

Information on war resistance within the military can be found at Center on Conscience & War, The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline, Iraq Veterans Against the War and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters.

And resistance is going on everywhere -- around the world. Turning to England, where the mother of a British soldier serving in Iraq has issued a public message to Gordon Brown (Tony Blair is expected to step down next Wednesday -- June 27th -- and Gordon Brown would then become prime minister of the UK). Lily Walker states (via Great Britain's Socialist Worker), "My message to Gordon Brown is that we must get the troops home now. My son is a serving soldier just back from Iraq. I am not a pacisfist, but I am against what is happening in Iraq -- the illegality and the lies. None of the troops enlisted to fight for a lie. I won't sit back and be quiet about what is happening in Iraq. I live in Tameside, just outside Manchester, and I have been calling on people to come to the demonstration on Sunday 24 June. Together we can make a difference. Tony Blair has let people down. It remains to be seen what Gordon Brown will do." Lily Walker is a member of Military Families Against the War and the demonstration this coming Sunday is "Gordon Brown's coronation as Tony Blair's successor" in Manchester (starting at noon at St. Peters Square, more information by clicking here).

Turning to the United States, June 13th, Amy Goodman (writing at Truthdig) reported on Voices in Conflit -- the Wilton High School production kicked off school property because the principal didn't want a play about Iraq; not only that, didn't want discussions about Iraq in any class; and quoted student Jimmy Presson stating, "We are not allowed to talk about the war while discussing current events." Today, Goodman (Democracy Now!) spoke with Presson, student Courtney Stack, Bonnie Dickinson (director of Voices in Conflict) and Iraq Veterans Against the War's Charlie Anderson about the experience and the NYC off-broadway performances of their play. Goodman questioned Presson about the ban on Iraq in his high school:

AMY GOODMAN: Jimmy, how often do you get to talk about war at school?
JIMMY PRESSON: We very rarely to never talk about the war through the curriculum. In classes in which we discuss current events, we are required to not bring in current events that relate to the war.
AMY GOODMAN: Wait, what do you mean? What about social studies or history?
JIMMY PRESSON: In history classes, the current events that we bring in are -- we've been instructed to have the articles be unrelated to the war.
AMY GOODMAN: You're not allowed to talk about war in your history class?
JIMMY PRESSON: We're not allowed to talk about the war.
JIMMY PRESSON: Because it's too controversial, I guess. Because they don't want kids arguing in class.
AMY GOODMAN: Is there any class that you can talk about it?
JIMMY PRESSON: We can talk about it a little bit in Middle Eastern studies, a little bit, but it's not even that much in that class.
BONNIE DICKINSON: That class is not offered.
JIMMY PRESSON: Every year. It's only offered every other year.
AMY GOODMAN: So this past year, it wasn't offered?
JIMMY PRESSON: It was not offered this past year.
AMY GOODMAN: So the only class to discuss this was in drama?

A war is ongoing, it passed the four year mark in March and a high school thinks it's a topic to be banned? Let's all pretend it's not going on and it won't be? Is that the 'plan'? It's certainly not education. Presson portrays Charlie Anderson in the play and Anderson gave the play and Presson high marks. Some attempted to silence the students -- they did not succeed.

"It's really simple," Dr. Dahlia Wasfi says, "You bring the troops home, they stop dying there." Wasfi speaks with James Harris and Robert Scheer (Truthdig -- transcript and audio at the link) and addresses the Salvadorian model utilized in Iraq to create divisions and a number of other topics including nothing that "first and foremost, there's no security now. People used to stay out to the late hours, having a social life, meeting at the tea cafes, coffee cafes. From the days of the invasion, 'Everybody inside by 6 o'clock!' Because it was out responsibility, American forces' responsibility, to establish law and order, and we faield miserably. In addition, the infrastructure continues to deteriorate. The services, as has been documented by the U.S. Government Accounting Office, even in 2004, the services had already deteriorated to be worse than under Saddam Hussein. So you have a population whose government, the puppet government in the Green Zone, is not providing security, is not providing electricity, is not providing potable water. What are they doing? They're working on oil laws that will privatize Iraq's oil and give up ownership to foreign companies. Unless you have a government in place that will serve the people, it will not last. If you need a military force to maintain a government in power, what does that tell you?"

Meanwhile, the US Congress is gearing up for it's summer break which will begin August 6th. Jeff Lays (CounterPunch) notes that is also the kick off of the Occupation Project, "a reinvigorated campaign of sustained noviolent civil disobedience/civil resistance to end Iraq war funding" and but before that takes place, there is an ongoing action lasting "[t]hrough the end of July, Grassroots America for Us is organizing the Swarm on Congress, intensive and extensive lobbying on Capitol Hill." Kevin Zeese (writing at Grassroots for America) notes, "The 'SWARM' will build on the successful efforts of activists in DC and around the country who have been occupying offices, protesting in the Halls of Congress and sending a consistent message. It will build on the Occupation Project, Voices for Creative Non-Violence, and the Declaration of Peace as well as the works of Code Pink and our Maryland peace coalition. Already, key anti-war groups are supporting this effort including United For Peace and Justice and Voters For Peace, among others."

As pressure is brought to bear on Congress, US Senator and Democratic presidential nominee hopeful Hillary Clinton's speech yesterday is getting attention. Matthew Rothschild (The Progressive) observes that after winning over some of the crowd mid-speech "then she got into trouble by returning to the topic of the Iraq war. First, she tried to align herself with the crowd. 'We need to end the war in Iraq and finally bring our troops home,' she said. 'I voted against the supplemental.' She also said that the United States has no reason to be a part of the sectarian war there. But she blamed the Iraqis for the mess. 'The American military has succeeded,' she said. 'It is the Iraqi government that has failed to make the tough decisions.' This brought the boo birds out in force, with the Code Pink contingent holding up signs saying 'Lead Us Out of Iraq Now!'" David Swanson (AfterDowning Street) also reports "loud booing" and concludes with this: "Clinton never mentioned the point Ted Koppel reported last week and Bill Richardson raised here yesterday that she intends to have the occupation of Iraq still going at the end of her second term, should she be elected." Susan J. Douglas (In These Times) explores the contradiction in Clinton's campaign and whom the core voters would be expected to be.

In Iraq, the death toll from yesterday's truck bombing in Baghdad continues to rise. 78 was the count yesterday. AP, Reuters, CNN and Al Jazeera report that the death toll has now climbed to 87 and CNN notes the tally for wounded stands at 214. Alissa J. Rubin (New York Times) quotes Abu Muhammed ("one of the custodians of the bombed mosque") stating, "The Americans know everything, they can do everything, they can repair the space shuttle without touching it, why do they let these things happen here in Iraq? We think the Americans want these things to happen in Iraq, to keep things like this."

Meanwhile, the offensive in the Diyala province continues. The New York Times' imploded star, War Pornographer Michael Gordon, is allowed to soil the front page with his War-On drippings this morning in an alleged "military analysis" which fails to offer any analysis but does provide much rah-rah-rah Operation Happy Talk. Gordo fails to note what Damien McElroy (Telegraph of London) can: "The offensive has seen the revival of a tactic rarely used since the Vietnam war: air assaults by troops dropped into fighting zones by helicopter." Gordo gets all giddy over the detention of Iraqis noting that "the goal is to capture or kill" alleged 'insurgents' (an elastic term which can include any Iraqi opposed to the illegal military occupation of Iraq) and so much blood rushes to Gordo's nether regions he fails to wonder how many people are already imprisoned in Iraq? 20,000 is the figure for Iraqis currently imprisoned (not counting imprisoned at secret sites off the books) with 8,000 of those having been held for more than one year (via Socialist Worker compiling figures from UNHCR, UN, World Vision, Brookings Institution and Global Poverty Forum to present "Iraq in figures"). Gordo's also so busy with both hands digging in his pants (apparently in search of something very small) that he gets Falluja wrong (only women and boys thought to be under 12 years old were allowed to leave when that city was under attack), that he minimizes the death of a US service member when a Bradley is attacked ("What made the loss of the Bradley particularly worrisome is that the exposion occurred in a heavily trafficked area" -- actually, the family and friends of the dead service member would probably argue that the death itself was "particularly worrisome" and much more) and tries to slap some life into his libido with this, "American forces have already fired more than 20 satellite-guided rockets intwo western Baquba. . . . Warplanes have also dropped satellite-guided bombs on suspected roadside bombs and a wapons cache, which produced spectacular secondary expolsions after it was struck." And presumably an unspectacular one in the front of Gordo's pants which would explain why 20 satellite-guided rockets and multiple bombs being dropped in a civilian area does nothing to prevent from Gordo from getting off on the blood bath.

Gordo also fails to point out what Phil Ittner (CBS News) does, house to house searches are going on in Baquba -- read Gordo in vain for any mention of that. CBS and AP also report gun battles in the city.

In Iraq today . . .


The mosque bombings go on. CBS and AP report: "In a renewed blow to stability Wednesday, suspected Shiite militans blew up three Sunni mosques south of Baghdad, causing heavy damage but no casualties. The bombings were apparently revenge strikes for a suicide truck bombing a day before that badly damaged an important Shiite mosque in the heart of the capital." Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad bombing that killed 1 person (3 wounded) and a Baghdad mortar attack that injured 3 people. Reuters reports a Ramadi car bombing that claimed the lives of 5 police officers (12 more injured) and a Baquba mortar attack that claimed the lives of 2 children and 3 women (8 people were injured).


Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports Ali Kadhim Jwad Allaw was shot dead in Baghdad -- he had been "the general director of the Iraq American contracts company" and 7 police officers were shot dead in Khalis. Reuters notes that "a police major" was shot dead in Aziziya.


Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 29 coprses discovered in Baghdad. Reuters notes 2 corpses ("a young woman and a man") were discovered in Kut.

Today, the UK's Ministry of Defence announced: "It is with great sadness that the Ministry of Defence must confirm the death of a soldier from the 4th Battalion The Rifles in Basra City today, Wednesday 20 June 2007." This death brings to 152 the total number of UK soldiers killed while serving in the illegal war.

Late yesterday, the US military announced the deaths of three more US soldiers. They announced: "A Task Force Marne Soldier was killed and three were wounded when their patrol was struck by a roadside bomb south of Baghdad Monday." And they announced: " One Task Force Lightning Soldier died as a result of injuries sustained from an explosion near his vehicle while conducting operations in Diyala Province June 19." And they announced: "A Multi-National Division-Baghdad Soldier was killed when a patrol was attacked with small arms fire during combat operations in an eastern section of the Iraqi capital June 18." These three deaths bring the ICCC count to 3531 US troops have died in the illegal war since it began with 54 of those deaths being in the month of June.

This as Martin Fletcher (Times of London) journeys to Fort Hood (Texas) to report on conditions there and is told by Major Ben Phillips that between "15 to 30 per cent of soldiers are returning from Iraq with psychological problems -- mostly posttraumatic stress disorder and a condition known as traumatic brain injury, a bruising of the brain caused by explosions. He says that a soldier's vulnerability to psychological disorders increases with each deployment, and he was now seeing soldiers who had served in Iraq four or five times. . . . Asked whether soldiers were returning to Iraq before they were fully recovered, he equivocates. 'Our goal is to ensure everybody is ready to go back.' As the Smith Middle School, on Fort Hood's Tank Destroyer Boulevard, 70 per cent of the 500 pupils have a parent serving in Iraq and five had one killed."

Yesterday on NPR's The Diane Rehm Show, Rehm spoke with Anne Hull and Dana Priest of the Washington Post about their reporting on the Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

Anne Hulle: When we started our reporting last fall, many of the soldiers we dealt with had physical wounds but many also had signs of post-traumatic-stress -- if not disorder then heavy symptoms of post-traumatic-stress -- and it just became the next natural step to explore. A lot of these soldiers weren't getting psychological help they needed. Our original reporting focused at Walter Reed and, even there, at the country's top hospital, we noticed they weren't getting enough help.

Hull noted that the official figures currently are 18% for marines and 20% for soldiers and 25% army and Priest commented that in the last five years the army has diagnosed 27,000 service members with PTSD the VA has "treated 45,000 people from Iraq and Afghanistan largely who believe they have PTSD." Priest and Hull's reporting (and Bob Woodruff's for ABC and others as well) has resulted in the departures of the follow: Major Generarl George W. Weightman, Lt. General Kevin C. Kiley and Francis J. Harvey who had been the Secretary of the Army. In other Iraq and Washington Post news, Ben Hoyle (Times of London) notes Rajiv Chandrasekaran's Imperial Life in the Emerald City -- an inside look at the Green Zone -- has been awarded the Samuel Johnson Prize. Michael, who had just returned from serving in Afghanistan weeks ago, called in to Rehm's show and spoke of needing help but most of all needing someone to talk to. 1-800-984-8523 is the toll free number the US military has set up in the wake of the Walter Reed scandals and it is a toll free number that is supposed to be staffed from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm EST, Monday through Friday. The military expert, Col. E. Cameron Ritchie, brought on the show failed to give that number out. She did speak of a toll free number where counseling could be provided and referred people to the Army Behavioral Health website which is a mess, a waste of time and refers you to crappy things you can print out such as "Two-page Tri-fold Brochure"s. If there is a counseling number for service members, let's be really damn clear here, the US military needs to have it displayed on the front page of the website. Otherwise it's a bunch of b.s. created to sound like the military's addressed the situation when, in reality, they have done nothing. It should also be noted, Ritchie appeared on Rehm's show yesterday and this 'wonderful' website was last updated? March 29, 2007. Ritchie needs to quit kidding that this website's offering anything other than sop and needs to get off her ass and get someone post to the counseling number at the top of the main page or else she needs to quit thinking she's fooling anyone.

And no one's being fooled that the US military 'cares' when the wife of a service member is threatened with expulsion from the United States. Since May 12th, following an attack, Byron W. Fouty and Alex R. Jimenez were missing assumed captured. They remain classified as missing. Dominican Today reports that Yaderlin Hiraldo, the wife of Alex Jimenez, is being threatened with deportation back to the Dominican Republic and "Hiraldo's green card processing was stopped by an immigration judge when her husband went missing, and the government has so far refused to grant a so-called hardship waiver that would allow her to stay in the country." Her attorney, Matthew Kolken, tells the AP: "I can't imagine a bigger injustice than that, to be deporting someone's wife who is fighting and possibly dying for our country." To repeat, the woman's husband is missing in Iraq and now, on top of that, the US government thinks "helpful" is informing that her citizenship might not go through and they may be returning her to the Dominican Republic. CBS and AP feature a photo of the couple and notes that US Senator John Kerry "has asked federal immigration officials not to deport Hiraldo" writing Michel Chertoff (head of 'Homeland Security'): "Under no condition should our country ever deport the spouse of a soldier who is currently serving in uniform abroad. I feel even more strongly in this case, given the terrible uncertainty surrounding Army Specialist Alex Jimenez."

Returning to the topic of PTSD, Robin Wright (Washington Post) reports that Steven Kashkett (American Foreign Service Association) testified to Congress Tuesday that appoximately "40 percent of State Department diplomats who have served in danger zones suffer some symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder". Following that testimony, it's now been made public that US Ambassador to Iraq, Ryan Crocker sent a memo to Condi Rice (US Secretary of State) where Crocker notes, "In essence, the issue is whether we are a Department and a service at war. If we are, we need to organize and prioritize in a way that reflects this, something we have not done thus far." Richard Beeston (Times of London) terms the memo "blunt" and feels it will "cause consternation" for those wanting "America to reduce, not expand, its presence in Iraq." Crocker's arguing for the diplomatic service to be intensified and out beyond the Green Zone.

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