Saturday, November 25, 2006

Back to posting

For example, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed described the design of planned attacks of buildings inside the U.S. and how operatives were directed to carry them out. That is valuable information for those of us who have the responsibility to protect the American people. He told us the operatives had been instructed to ensure that the explosives went off at a high -- a point that was high enough to prevent people trapped above from escaping.

That's from the Bully Boy's September 15, 2006 Rose Garden press conference. What's he talking of? I have no idea but Chris e-mailed this to me (I'm catching up on e-mails) while I was in Ireland. KSM is thought to be, according to the press and the administration, one of the 9-11 masterminds. It would appear that Bully Boy is saying that KSM had a plan to plant explosives.
Whether that was before or after 9-11, I have no idea. But this strange statement didn't prompt a follow up from anyone in the press. You can use the link to go to the press conference and read it or watch it yourself. In fairness to the press, (a) Bully Boy has spent so long making a fool out of himself in public that they might not bat an eyes these days when he offers something as strange as the above and (b) a number of them have been fawning over him so long (take Sheryl Gay Stolberg who comes off like she's doing the laugh-hair-toss flirt with him) that they wouldn't follow up if they could.

It's Kat, I'm back. I intended to blog last night. C.I. and I were listening to Betty's last chapter because she wanted input before she posted it, "A Crossdresser or Two." Then I logged on here in order to blog. However, the "beta switch." Or is it "The Great Beta Switch"?

All sites have to switch over at some point. C.I. twice tried to set my site up for the switch. And both times would get to the page saying something like: "We're sorry. We can't switch you now." I expected that to happen to me as well. However, it did allow the switch to start.

What I hadn't counted on was it taking sooooooooooooo long.

Rebecca switched first and reported that happening. But everyone else who's switched over hasn't had that same problem (everyone with a site in the community). I waited about two and half hours, reading e-mails and listening to music, before I finally went to bed.

Thank you to Rebecca who did a post here while I was on vacation. She was waiting so long for the switch that she ended up posting here to have something for the night. Thank you to Betty, Ruth and C.I. who posted each week while I was gone. I appreciate all four and spent Tuesday catching up on things online, including reading their substitute posts.

No one heard a damn thing I said.

Seriously, early on, they attempted to but that got chucked out the window.

I didn't say, "I've got to go to Ireland, I wish someone would fill in." I know they're all busy. When the three of them, Betty, Ruth and C.I., came up with a schedule to fill in for me, my only request was no more than three paragraphs plus the day's snapshot.

That lasts maybe for the first week, then you've got these entire essays.

Don't get me wrong, they're wonderful essays.

But no one should expect the same from me. And I may only post twice a week, or I may do little posts and post five times a week. Ideally, I'd like to the do the latter because C.I.'s Iraq snapshots are too important not to note.

You'll remember when the vote was ongoing, I offered that I was going with the snapshot (and got creamed by a few members for weighing in during the voting -- although people were weiging in the round-robin, hello!).

But with the lack of attention given to Iraq by many press outlets ("big and small"), the snapshots are especially important to me. So, time permitting, the ideal would be to do a few jots each day (much shorter than this post is becoming already) and then include the snapshot just to get it out there.

All three of them did wonderful posts. I enjoyed reading them Tuesday. Betty was coming in here on Mondays, a difficult day, start of the week, end of the day for her, which is the end of a work day, the end of a Mom day, and she was exhuasted, I know. But she always found something interesting to write about and did so in a very involving manner. So thank you very much.

Ruth? Oh my God! I was against all three of them filling in (against anyone filling in) but I know Ruth has a report each week and that she trashes drafts, pulls 'completed' ones at the last minute to rework something, you name it. Giving her one more 'assignement' seemed to be overload. But didn't she do a wonderful job? I'm blown away by her post Wednesday which really does tell a personal story but, at the same time, really address some of the themes of KPFA's Guns and Butter's broadcast. Thank you very much.

C.I.? I added to C.I.'s burden with two phone calls and postcards. I would write a sentence, scribble, on a postcard, just in passing, friend to friend, and C.I. would think it was a suggestion for a post, or think that if I were here, I'd be writing about whatever I scribbled, and attempt to do that. That includes, "What's on the community's mind?" which resulted in C.I. soliciting e-mails and attempting to respond to as many as possible (which required not just writing a post but also reading a ton of e-mails). I did ask for one entry while I was gone and did so over the phone, that was about the KPFA elections. With that, I asked directly and assumed C.I. was off writing three paragraphs about it. Instead, it was pretty much a brief history/overview. In that case, I had asked for a topic to be written, but I truly didn't expect that essay and I honestly wasn't suggesting topics for her when I sent out postcards. I was just attempting to stay in touch. Postcards were easy to jot a thought on. (I also wrote Betty and Ruth letters while I was in Ireland.) So thank you to C.I.

I know all three are busy and I appreciate they're filling in.

I'm back now so don't expect . . . anything!

I do have two other topics I want to address.

First up, Drunk Uncle. Leslie referred me to a debate that aired before I left for Ireland. I didn't know about the debate. Leslie wrote the first week of November. I did listen to it and wanted to share a few thoughts.

I think it's true now more than ever that the whole thing has been, as C.I. called it, attention seeking behavior. I think he came off rude and uninformed in the debate. Neither surprised me. Though the other guest, the one he debated, and the host never raised the issue of explosives at the base of the Twin Towers, Drunk Uncle kept tossing that out as a red herring repeatedly, with sneers. I note that because he went to that well every time and no one else was. It was his standard bait and switch.

I'll also note that he's not a Democrat. C.I.'s stated that before (and may have noted it at The Common Ills) but Drunk Uncle said he wasn't a Democrat. I'm noting that here only because I know there's been some disputing of that. Since I listened to the debate and since he raised that point, let me note that he said he wasn't in this entry before I forget it a few weeks on down the line.

You know what else he's not? Informed. He's not informed.

Despite his claim that "I studied this very closely," he hasn't. He's so underinformed the debate was worth listening to just to hear him make an idiot out of himself repeatedly. A caller from Texas raised the issue of Dick Cheney, NORAD and war games. Drunk Uncle had no idea what was being raised. He pompously 'answered' the question. He made a fool of himself. So much so that the caller from Texas responded, "I think you should do your research a little more."

Have truer words ever been spoken?

Should Drunk Uncle ever get around to doing that (I'm not holding my breath), he might want to realize that "Paul Wolf" or possibly "Paul Wolfe" is not the name of anyone most of us know from the first Bully Boy administration. When he doesn't even know the names of the primaries advising Bully Boy, there's a problem.

He made a fool out of himself.


Leslie, thank you, I loved listening to the debate. I've never laughed so hard in my life.

Third thing. Kelefa Sanneh's "Beyoncé Bounces Back: Film, Album and Warning." I've never disagreed with an opinion more and I've never enjoyed reading one more. Beyonce is the eternal joke to me and her sheltered outlook will never make her an artist. (Time and experience might destroy that outlook and leave with her something resembling maturity.)
But I did enjoy Kelefa's piece and would rate among the finest things she's written and among the finest written in the Times or most outlets this year. She wrote as someone who loves music, not the cut-and-dry crap we get so much of. I've noted before that I enjoy her writing and I've noted before when I've strongly disagreed with her. Since she wrote the best piece of musical writing to appear in the mainstream, I told myself all week that, on Friday, I'd be sure to give her credit she was due for that. (I note it on Saturday due to the "Beta" switch.)

Thank you to everyone for their e-mails and well wishes. I'm almost done reading them. It was a difficult time and I appreciate the support.

Now here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Friday, November 24, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq, over 200 die in Baghdad on Thursday, war resister John A. Rogowskyj Jr. finds that the US military feels no obligation to follow even their own written policy, Bully Boy's meet up in Jordan comes under attack, and is Nouri al-Maliki on the way out?
Starting with resistance within the US military. Conscientious objector John A. Rogowskyj Jr. was deployed to Iraq at the start of this month. The twenty-two-year-old Marine was deployed, as the
Associated Press notes, after a Marine captain recommended he be discharged, after a major said he couldn't serve in compbat duty in June, because a D.V. Odell Jr. ("commander of the Fourth Marine Division") doesn't seem to grasp what a c.o. is the policy that the US military has on them. The AP notes that Odell, a major general, found Rogowskyj to be "theologically confused and [he] does not reflect any officially recognized faith group."
Take that, America's fore fathers. The slow witted Odell Junior might also make some time to check out "
Selective Service System: Fast Facts" which notes: "Beliefs which qualify a registrant for CO status may be religious in nature, but don't have to be. Beliefs may be moral or ethical; however, a man's reasons for not wanting to participate in a war must not be based on politics, expediency, or self-interest." By the military's own guidelines, Odell Junior's statements are not only insulting but ignorant. "May be religious in nature, but don't have to be." Rogowskyj was deployed as a result of Odell Junior's failure to grasp the policies the military has set in place. There ought to be disciplinary actions for Odell (busted back down to a New Orleans post?). More likely, everyone will play stupid (well the tone is set from the Oval Office).
Edward Colimore (Philadelphia Inquirer) reports that Rogowskyj declares in the court papers: "I see now that I must separate from the military with all due haste, or suffer without the forgiveness of grace, for defying the truth that I see plainly before me, that violence as a means or end cannot be tolerated."To repeat for the slow witted Odell Junior, who not only fails to grasp the freedom of religion clause in the Constitution but also fails to grasp official military policy, Rogowkyj need not belong to any church or faith, need not subscribe to Odell Junior's notions of 'old time religion,' in order to be granted c.o. status.
Rogowskyj signed up for the reserves in 2002 thinking he would be helping stateside during national emergencies.
In Iraq, yesterday the violence prompted ABC to break in to their daytime lineup with a breaking news announcement by Elizabeth Vargas on what is being called the most deadly attack in Iraq since the illegal war began. For which ABC got the usual number of complaints, though nothing like the concerned and outraged comments they received in 2003 when they broke in to announce that Bully Boy was carrying a fake turkey around a base in Iraq.
Kirk Semple (New York Times) reports that 144 people were killed. That number is incorrect today and was wrong yesterday as well when AFP reported that 152 were already dead. Today, All Headline News reports that the death toll is now 202, that at least 250 more are injured with doctors not expecting all to live and that "Officials said that the death toll could rise, as body parts and bodies are dispersed throughout the city and could not be counted." The BBC reports that "at least three" car bombs were used in the cooridnated attacks on Thursday followed by mortar rounds and quotes photo journalist Kareem al-Rubaie on witnessing the violence, "I saw a car from a wedding party, covered in ribbons and flowers. It was burning. There were pools of blood on the street and children dead on the ground." Reuters places the number of bombs at six. CNN reported Thursday: "Thursday's attacks, launched within the course of half an hour, were part of a spasm of violence that shook two Baghdad bastions of support for anti-American Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr -- the Sadr City slum in the Iraqi capital's northeast and the Health Ministry compound, controlled by the cleric's political movement."
BBC reports that Baghdad is now under curfew and the Baghdad Airport has been closed. Reuters states that all vehicle traffic is banned in Baghdad for Saturday as well. AFP adds that the airport in Basra has been closed as well as well as "its southern seaports."
The 202 dead and counting from Thursday's attack surpasses the previous reported most violent day in Iraq. The
BBC notes September 14, 2005 as a day when there were 182 reported deaths in Baghdad.
As if the violence on Thursday wasn't bad enough, rumors floated that Dick Cheney was in Iraq on Thursday.
CBS and AP report that the White House denies those rumors. Current rumor is that Cheney was supposed to be in Baghdad and the press would be alerted after landing; however, the violence on Thursday resulted in the trip being cancelled.
Press reports continue to caution that Iraq might be on the brink of civil war which leaves one wondering how they might have reported Sherman's March to the Sea?
The violence and chaos continued today.
CBS and AP report that a mortar attack was launched at the Association of Muslim Scholars in Baghdad leaving four guards injured. This is seen as a retaliation for Thursday's attack as are the multiple attacks, noted by Al Jazeera, in the Hurriay district of Baghdad that targeted "four Sunni Mosques with rocket-propelled grenades" and claimed the lives of at least thirty. Reuters reports one dead and two wounded from mortar attacks in Diwaniya and the bombing of "an office of radical cleric Moqtada al-Sadr's . . . in . . . Baquba". CNN reports that a man set off a bomb "strapped to his body" and one in his car in a parking lot in Tal Afar and killed at least 22 people while wounding 30 more.
Reuters reports that at least two funeral goers are wounded in Baghdad after a US helicopter fired on a funeral.
Reuters reports that thirty corpses were discovered in Baghdad while three were discovered in Mosul. Reporting on Wednesday's UN report, Sabrina Tavernise (New York Times) noted that, in the September and October period studied by the UN, "Sixty-five percent of all deaths in Baghdad were categorized as unindentified corpses, the signature of militias, who kidnap, kill and throw away bodies at a rate that now outstrips the slaughter inflicted by suicide bombers."They do so even when the capitol is under 'curfew' (and the never ending 'crackdown').
In addition,
AP reports: "Militiamen grabbed six Sunnis as they left Friday worship services, doused them with kerosene and burned them alive as Iraqi soldiers stood by, and seven Sunni mosques came under attack as Shiites took revenge for the slaughter of 215 people in the Sadr City slum."
BBC reports the death of a British solider in Basra and notes that 126 British soldiers have been killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war. The British military announces: "The soldier sustained gunshot wounds during the operation and was evacuated to a nearby military hospital. Despite the best possible medical care, the soldier later died from his injuries. The soldier was a member of the Parachute Regiment, on secondment to Headquarters Multinational Division South East, Iraq."
Thursday's attacks and today's is having ripple effects in Iraq that go beyond bombs and bullets.
Charles Wolfson (CBS) reported on next week's planned meet up in Jordan between Bully Boy and puppet of the occupation Nouri al-Maliki. The meet up was quickly announced following the announcement of al-Maliki going to Tehran for a Saturday meeting with the presidents of Iran and Syria. The meet up with the Bully Boy is now in question.
CNN reports that, today, "Muqtada al-Sadr's bloc threatened to withdraw support for Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki should he meet President Bush as planned next week" and quotes spokesperson Salih al-Aleiki stating: "We announce that if the security situation and the basic services do not improve, and if the prime minister goes ahead and meets with the criminal Bush in Amman, then we will suspend our memberships with the Iraqi parliament and the government." As Robin Stringer (Bloomberg News) notes, it's not an idle threat: "The United Iraqi Alliance, a coalition of Shiite political parties, won 128 of the 275 seats in the Iraqi parliament in December's elections." Should the al-Sadr block withdraw their support, the United Iraqi Alliance would fall from a 128 member bloc to a 98 member one. That's on the condition that all 98 remain behind al-Maliki -- should he find new support his bloc could increase. The second largest bloc, with 53 members, is the Democratic Patriotic Alliance of Kurdistan which successfully backed (with US support) Jalal Talabani for president of Iraq.
The above follows on the heels of
Tom Hayden's report (for Common Dreams) that the US is putting out feelers for new governing officials in Iraq which could include the disposing of al-Maliki.