Saturday, September 16, 2006

Mamas & Papas

Snowqueen of Texas
Left Paris in a cloud of smoke
They say she may be broken
But I know that she's not broke

I'm listening to The Mamas and the Papas Complete Anothology this morning. That's a four disc set. And "Snowqueen of Texas" was on when I finally was able to log in this morning. I've tried for about 20 minutes without luck. "Snowqueen of Texas" is from the last album the group made, the one they were forced to make when the label that bought their label was suing them. (Their fifth album People Like Us.) It's not the strongest of their albums but considering how it's trashed, it's actually better than some might think. I think it's sequenced very poorly. "Snowqueen of Texas" is one of the stronger tracks and I would have opened with that and then moved to "Step Out" (which has some great lead vocals by Denny). (On that song, I think they should have grabbed some lines leading up to the choruse -- "He doesn't even know, he doesn't even care, it doesn't even matter if you're even there" -- and opened the song with it before going into the first verse.) Then I would put "I Wanna Be A Star," "People Like Us," "Blueberries for Breakfast," "Grashooper," "No Dough," "Shooting Star," "European Blueboy" which would prepare you for the pace of "Pacific Coast Highway," "Pearl" and then "Lady Genevieve" (which is my least favorite track on the collection).

Changing the order wouldn't have made a great album but the solid moments do tend to be spaced out. That's not a big deal today when you can program a CD to play in whatever order you want. However, in the days of vinyl (People Like Us came out in 1971) unless you moved the record player's arm (always risky in terms of creating skips) over and over, you listened in the order the tracks came in. I remember the first time I listened and I get a little excited when some of the old magic was in evidence and then it would vanish completely.

This was the album they made to stop the lawsuits and Cass was sick (very sick) at the time. ("Pearl" may be on the songs she's strongest in the mix of.) It doesn't stand with the other four, but it's not as awful as some have made out. In fact, there are days when I prefer it to the second album (The Mamas and the Papas). I think their strongest albums are If You Can Believe Your Eyes & Ears (debut), Deliver (third) and The Papas & The Mamas (fourth). The Papas & The Mamas could have signaled a new way for the group to go but that was the real break up (1968) so when they regrouped three years later for People Like Us (without producer Lou Adler, by then working with Carole King), it sounds like everyone was in a different place. People Like Us is the only album they did that didn't include any cover songs. Michelle wrote "I Want To Be A Star" (a stronger effort on the album) and all the rest were written by John. Not John and Denny or John and Michelle which may also explain a few things.

So that's some music talk for the week. I never did get around to finishing the review I was working on but Lloyd e-mailed with another suggestion which was a great one. Since we'll be participating in peace events at the end of next week and all be traveling as well, it would probably be better to save anything for those days. So I'll shoot for that and plan to have two reviews up next week. Provided Drunk Uncle doesn't decide to pollute the net again.

Yesterday's press conference with the Bully Boy was laughable and I think the joint post by Wally ("THIS JUST IN! D.C. LOVE GOES SOUR! ON A MUSICAL NOTE!") and Cedric [The end of a love affair (humor)"] underscored that. Media Matters' "Softball in the Rose Garden: White House press corps failed to challenge Bush's non-answers at press conference" outlines many of the problems and I'll grab this section:

Near the end of the press conference, Newsweek senior White House correspondent Richard Wolffe noted that Bush had previously said that "the idea of sending Special Forces to Pakistan to hunt down bin Laden was as a strategy that would not work." Wolffe went on to ask Bush why he thinks "it's a bad idea to send more resources to hunt down bin Laden wherever he is." Following is Bush's response:
BUSH: We are, Richard. ... Pakistan is a sovereign nation. In order for us to send thousands of troops into a sovereign nation, we've got to be invited by the government of Pakistan.
Secondly, the best way to find somebody who is hiding is to enhance your intelligence and to spend the resources necessary to do that; then when you find him, you bring him to justice. And there is a kind of an urban myth here in Washington about how this administration hasn't stayed focused on Osama bin Laden. Forget it. It's convenient throw-away lines when people say that. We have been on the hunt, and we'll stay on the hunt until we bring him to justice, and we're doing it in a smart fashion, Richard. We are. And I look forward to talking to [Pakistani] President [Pervez] Musharraf.
Look, he doesn't like Al Qaeda. They tried to kill him. And we've had a good record of bringing people to justice inside of Pakistan, because the Paks are in the lead. They know the stakes about dealing with a violent form of ideological extremists. And so we will continue on the hunt. And we've been effective about bringing to justice most of those who planned and plotted the 9/11 attacks, and we've still got a lot of pressure on them. The best way to protect the homeland is to stay on the offense and keep pressure on them.
This answer could have provoked several follow-up questions:
If allegations that your administration has not stayed focused on bin Laden are nothing more than an "urban myth," how do you explain the CIA's decision in late 2005 to
disband the unit that for a decade had focused solely on locating and capturing the Al Qaeda leader? Further, if we "have been on the hunt," why did you state in a March 13, 2002, press conference, "I truly am not that concerned about [bin Laden]"?
You asserted that Pakistan is committed to bringing bin Laden to justice. But how do you explain reports that the Pakistani army recently negotiated a "
peace agreement" with Al Qaeda militants along the Afghan border -- where many believe bin Laden is hiding?
If bin Laden is in fact in Pakistan, how do you square the United States' continued alliance with Pakistan with your own
previous statement that any country harboring terrorists is no better than terrorists?
Bush proceeded to call on the final reporter, Time magazine White House correspondent Mike Allen. But rather than address any of these issues, Allen shifted to an entirely different topic: reports that Bush brought up the concept of a "Third Awakening" during a recent meeting with conservative journalists.

Trina's going to grab another section of this, I think. We were talking about it on the phone earlier. And Betty's "The Colleague Heist" is her latest chapter so be sure to check that out.

For Friday events in Iraq, here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Friday, September 15, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq and among the dead are US troops; the count of discovered corpses in Baghdad continue to rise, meanwhile the latest US 'answer' is "Castle!"; war resister Darrell Anderson prepares to return to the United States; and Camp Democracy continues in Washington, DC.

Starting with the violence (stick around for the 'answer'),
CBS and AP report that five US troops died on Thursday ("making it a particularly bloody day for U.S. forces" -- well not to the New York Times) and that a marine has died today in al Anbar province. al Anbar? For those who missed it, Thomas E. Ricks (Washington Post) reported Monday that that Marine Col Pete Devlin's assesment "that the prospects for securing that country's western Anbar province are dim and that there is almost nothing the U.S. military can do to improve the political and social situation there, said several military officers and intelligence officials familiar with its contents." Today Will Dunham (Reuters) reports: "U.S. commanders in Iraq have demoted their long effort to subdue insurgents in Anbar province . . . 'Baghdad is our main effort right now,' Army Lt. Gen. Peter Chiarelli, the top U.S. operational commander in Iraq, told Pentagon reporters in a briefing from Iraq."

Staying with the violence.


A senior Interior Ministry official
remarks to Reuters, on the continued discovery of corpses, "Forty bodies, 60 bodies -- it's become a daily routine." Friday started with Rebecca Santana (AP) noting the discovery of 30 corpses in Baghdad. AFP gives the announced figures for the last three days as 64 (Wednesday), 20 (Thursday) and 51 (last 24 hours). In addition to those corpses which were discovered in Baghdad, Reuters reports that in Mussayab a corpse "with a missing head" was discovered.


Reuters reports one person was shot dead and five others wounded in Baghdad. AP reports the incident: "In central Baghdad, a gunman opened fire from the top of an abandoned building in a Sunni Arab neighborhood, killing an Iraqi civilian and wounding five others, said police Lt. Ahmed Mohammed Ali."


Reuters reports a car bomb in Mosul that left nine wounded, while, in Mussayab, a roadside bomb "late on Thursday" left three police officers wounded.

In addition,
Al Jazeera reports that a US soldier is missing after Thursday's car bombing in Baghdad that left two troops dead on Thursday and 25 others wounded. AP raises the wounded from that bombing to 30 and notes the missing soldier "has been reported as Duty Status Whereabouts Unknown".

AFP reminds: "The United Nations has also warned that Iraq could slide into civil war as the daily bloodshed shows no signs of abating despire political efforts for national reconciliation." CBS and AP report that John Bolton told the UN Security Council yesterday "that Iraq's sectarian killings and kidnappings had increased in the last three months, along with a rise in the numbef of displaced people."

So where does it stand? Even John Bolton's sounding alarms, US troops are pulling out of al Anabar,
Reuters reports that the 147,000 American troops in Iraq are "the most since January," and the violence and chaos continue.

But don't fret 'a new plan' finally emerges as the 'answer.'

It's being called trenches which is really implying something it's not. When people think of trenches, they tend to think of trench warfare. What's being described is more along the lines of a mote --
AFP reports that Brigadier General Abdel Karim Khalaf described it this way, "We will surround the city with trenches. The entry to the captial will be permitted through 28 roads, as against 21 at the moment, but at the same time we will seal off dozens of other minor roads with access to Baghdad."

Quote: "We will surround the city with trenches." That's the 'new plan.' Baghdad goes from capital to castle. But not overnight.
Al Jazeera notes "an operation of this scale would take months to complete."

In the real world,
Cal Perry (CNN) takes a look at the wounded US troops ("more than 20,000" have been "wounded in Iraq") at the 10th Combat Support Hospital in Baghdad.

In peace news,
Courage to Resist has reported that war resister Darrell Anderson will return to the United States (from Canada): "Support is mounting for Darrell and his courageous stand. Two events are planned in conjunction with his return to the U.S. In Fort Erie on Saturday, Septemeber 30 at Noon there will be a rally in Lions Sugar Bowl and then supporters, including Iraq war veterans and military family members, will accompany Darrell as he crosses the border back into the U.S. over Peace Bridge."

Other peace actions are going on and will be going on including a three-day event in NYC that begins this evening at 7:00 pm, continues Saturday at 7:00 pm and concludes on Sunday at 3:00 pm. What is it? The People Speak directed by Will Pomerantz and Rob Urbinati. This is a workshop adaptation of
Howard Zinn and Anthony Arnove's Voices of a People's History of the United States. The workshop will take place at The Culture Project's Bleecker Street Theater on 45 Bleecker Street. Tickets are ten dollars and can be ordered online here or here or purchased in person at the box office (box office does not take ticket orders). For those in NYC, or who will be during those dates, click here for a map. The presentation is part of the Impact Festival.

In Washington, DC,
Camp Democracy continues, free and open to the public. Today's events have focused on Electoral Reform and include an 8:00 pm (EST) showing of the film Stealing America, Vote by Vote." Among those speaking today were Bob Firtakis. Saturday is peace day and will include Kevin Zeese, Nadine Bloch, Allison Hantschel. CODEPINK's Gael Muphy will report on the visit to Jordan at the start of last month to meet with Iraqis as well as the trip to Lebanon. And war resister Ricky Clousing will discuss the court-martial he's facing. (This may be the first major discussion he's given publicly on the topic since August 11th.)

And on Sunday,
Camp Democracy will host a number of events and the theme will be Impeachment Day. Among those participating: Elizabeth Holtzman, Michael Avery, Ray McGovern, David Green, John Nichols, Marcus Raskin, Elizabeth De La Vega, Dave Lindorff, David Swanson, Jennifer Van Bergen, Geoff King, David Waldman, Dan DeWalt, Steve Cobble, Anthony St. Martin, Cindy Bogard, Mubarak Awad, Susan Crane, Frank Anderson. The camp has daily activities and admission is free. A complete schedule can be found here. Free and open to the public with daily activites.

Finally, in Australia,
ABC reports that Brendan Nelson (Defence Minister) will be expanding their role in Iraq when "Italian forces withdraw at the end of next month." Reuters notes this will be 20 troops added to "the extra 38 troops announced on Sept. 4". The 58 need to be weighed next to the intent, as Dan Box (The Australian) reported earlier this week, the Australian government wants to up the army from 2,600 to 30,000 ("its biggest intake since the Vietnam war")

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Ann Richards

"Former Texas Governor and Feminist Leader Ann Richards Dies" (Feminist Daily Wire):
Former Texas Governor and feminist leader Ann Richards died Wednesday after a six-month long struggle with esophageal cancer. Richards was the first female governor of Texas to win in her own right, beating out Republican millionaire Clayton Williams in 1990. Prior to becoming governor, Richards was county commissioner and state treasurer. Helping others usually ignored by Texas politics, especially women and minorities, was Richards’ reason for entering politics, according to the Associated Press. Living up to this goal, Richards appointed more women and minorities during her time in office than any of her predecessors, dubbing her administration the "New Texas". After losing her re-election bid to George W. Bush in 1994, Richards continued to advocate for women's equality, including the development of a women's leadership school set to open in 2007.

Ann Richards is dead and it's very weird because I've never lived in Texas and yet she's someone I can picture very clearly with that mass of white hair upswept and that straight way of talking. I was talking to some people tonight, at C.I.'s (where I am now and most evenings), and we all had this really clear picture of her. Man or woman, everyone could picture her. It's rare that a governor makes that kind of impression.

I'm aware that everyone knows my governor -- Ahhh-nuld. But that's really because they knew him before he was governor. If the news about Ann Richards' death touched you, think about that and think about how little we know about other state's governors. (This excercise doesn't work for those community members who live in Texas.) The fact that we can picture her and, probably also, hear her when we think back.

So that's a tribute to her, that so many of us who were never represented her by in an electoral system have memories of her. She was a strong woman. And she probably plowed a path that we'll see others marching down in the next few years.

Honestly, I always felt like Bully Boy tried to be Ann Richards. He failed at it, not surprising, he fails at everything. But Ann Richards was a Texan. When you picture your idea of a Texan, someone like Richards can come to mind. She was feisty, strong and colorful.

And she actually grew up in Texas, unlike the Bully Boy, and was born there, ditto. She could tell a Texas tale without stumbling over her words. You laughed because she wanted you to, not because she made a fool of herself.

So Ann Richards, the woman Bully Boy wishes he were -- but he's not fit to carry her pumps. Her death is a sad because she meant something to people, because she had a strength about her and because she had a warmth about her. She'll be missed. Aaron Glantz offered a look back at her life on today's The KPFA Evening News.

For those wondering if I've had further thoughts about Drunk Uncle, I have had many. I saw the e-mails that have been forwarded about where Drunk Uncle all but cackles about the "hornet's nest I stirred up". He should be ashamed but he's not capable of it. Instead, the whole thing becomes a promotional stunt which, were it coming from Madonna, might make sense but coming from Drunk Uncle are just pathetic.

We're addressing it Sunday (C.I. had a funny joke that we all want to use) so I'll just bide my time.

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

Thursday, September 14, 2006. The chaos and violence continues in Iraq, William Caldwell gets lost in his own spin while Harry Reid comes out swinging, two US soldiers are dead, actions on the part of Suzanne Swift result in some US Congressional support, Camp Democracy continues in DC, and 110 Australian soldiers return to Iraq from Australia.

William Caldwell IV, the liveliest Gabor in the Green Zone, explained the mounting corpses (about 100 in the last two days) discovered in the capital as "
murder-executions" -- as opposed to "group hugs"? Somebody ask Willie to adjust the bra strap before the commercial break's over. Not content with being the giddiest Gabor in the Green Zone, Caldwell also told reporters today that another major terrorist had been captured. CNN reports that the Ethel Mertz of the occupation won't identify the captured but will give lots of non-specific details and, apparently, whine that Fred won't ever take her out anywhere! The non-specific details will allow gas bags to fill in their own details and a non-story to eat hours and hours of psuedo-commentary and it certainly minimizes the tragic reality that two more American troops lost their lives.

CBS and AP report: "Two U.S. soldiers died Thursday in and around Baghdad, the U.S. Command said. The first soldier died from wounds in the early morning hours after his unit came under attack by small arms. The second was killed after his vehicle was struck by a roadside bomb south of Baghdad." AFP notes that the two deaths follow the Wednesday death of a US soldier as a result of "enemy fire" and CNN notes: "He was attached to the 25th Combat Aviation Brigade, 25th Infantry Division."

If it seems like Willie Gabor isn't aware of the body count, the
AFP's reporting demonstrates US Senator Harry Reid is: "We have to change course in Iraq, we are approaching 2,700 dead American men and women, more than 20,000 wounded, a third of them greviously wounded, missing arms, and legs, and eyes, paralysis, brain damage. The cost is three billion a week. If Iraq is not in a civil war, I don't know what a civil war is, 100 killed yesterday, 100 killed the day before."



Associated Press reports two car bombs in Baghdad that resulted in at least ten deaths and thirty wounded. CBS and AP note the second blast, outside the passport office, "created a large crater in the street in front of the office, destroyed at least three cars, scattered debris and knocked down the walls of a neibhoring house".

KUNA notes four wounded as a result of a bomb in Mosul. Reuters notes a "sucicide bomber" in Tal Afar has left one police officer dead and two civilians wounded; a roadside bomb in Falluja has left five civilians dead and 15 more wounded; and that "[a] bomb struck a U.S. military vehicle in Ur district, northern Baghdad, as the coalition forces were starting a serach operation. Witnesses at the scene said smoke was rising from the area. The U.S. military said it was unaware of the incident."


BBC reports that a police officer "was shot dead on his way to work in Baghdad."
CNN identifies him as Col. Muthana Ali Hussein. Reuters notes that that a family of six ("including a three-month-old boy") "were shot dead in their home" in Baghdad.
CBS and AP note that two police officers were shot dead in a drive-by in Baquba while three people were shot dead in Ghazaniya. KUNA reports that a police officer was wounded in Kirkuk after being shot by "unidentified armed men". Reuters notes the death of a city council member (Abdulla Khalaf) and his son in Daquq; and "a police lieutenant--colonel" in Mosul.


CNN reports that 20 corpses were discovered in Baghdad ("most with signs of torture").

That's 53 that were reported dead so far today. (Includes the 20 corpses and the two U.S. soldiers.)

In peace news,
Haveeru Daily reports that war resister Mark Wilkerson, "[n]early two weeks after he turned himself in to his unit at Fort Hood in Texas, the baby-faced 22-year-old soldier is still awaiting word on his punishment." Wilkerson returned from Iraq and attempted to receive conscientious objector status only to be denied and told he was redeploying to Iraq. Wilkerson then self-checked out and was AWOL for a year-and-a-half. Writing of Wilkerson's August 31st announcement that he was turning himself in, Aaron Glant (IPS) noted: "Observers say these developments are reminiscent of the Vietnam War, when the refusal to fight by hundreds of thousands of soldiers was a major force toward U.S. withdrawal. According to journalist and Vietnam War resister Peter Laufer, 170,000 U.S. soldiers filed for conscientious objector status during the Vietnam War. Between 50,000 and 60,000 fled to Canada. Others deliberately injured themselves or simply went AWOL." That topic is explored in depth in the documentary Sir! No Sir!, directed by David Zeiger. Wilkerson himself noted the historical connections writing, before his press conference at Camp Casey III, that "I am joining a long history of war resistors, many of whom have died for their beliefs and I know tomorrow they will be looking down on me and war resistors who are alive hopefully will respect what I have to say and I hope that with as big a stage as I am going to have tomorrow that I can make people proud of my message and that I can say everything I truly want to say."

his own web site, Mark Wilkerson reports his first week at Fort Hood "was a good week. . . . I've spent a lot of time speaking with fellow soldiers about how their experiences were in Iraq. And while some had better experiences than others, they all expressed how lucky they were to make it back to the U.S. alive. And some have expressed their anxiety about having to return to Iraq for possibly the third time -- Imagine -- Three year-long deployments to Iraq in 5 years! For anyone reading this, let that sink in for a moment."

In news of war resister
Suzanne Swift, actions on her behalf (a sit-in, phone calls, e-mails and faxes) have resulted in US Rep. Peter DaFazio of Oregon to promise "that he will be initiating a congressional investigation into" her case. Swift self-checked out of the Army after returning from a tour in Iraq where she has reported she was sexually assaulted. Supporters are calling for an honorable discharge of Swift.

In Washington, DC,
Camp Democracy continues, free and open to the public. Today's events includes participation from the Green Party: Joyce Robinson-Paul, Steve Shafarman and Bob Firtakis. Greens are due to speak "between 4:15 and 5:30 p.m." and will address topics including the 2004 election. This evening, Danny Schechter scheduled to be among the participants with a screening of his documentary WMD: Weapons of Mass Deceptions. Friday's topics include election reform, Saturday's peace with Pat Elder, Nadine Bloch, Kevin Zeese and others participating. And on Sunday, Camp Democracy will host a number of events and the theme will be Impeachment Day. Among those participating: Elizabeth Holtzman, Michael Avery, Ray McGovern, David Green, John Nichols, Marcus Raskin, Elizabeth De La Vega, Dave Lindorff, David Swanson, Jennifer Van Bergen, Geoff King, David Waldman, Dan DeWalt, Steve Cobble, Anthony St. Martin, Cindy Bogard, Mubarak Awad, Susan Crane, Frank Anderson. The camp has daily activities and admission is free. A complete schedule can be found here. Free and open to the public with daily activites.

In Australia, Security Detachment IX returned from Baghdad. One member didn't return, Jake Kovco who died in Baghdad on April 21st.
Edmund Tadros (Sydney Morning Herald) reports that Jake Kovco's widow Shelley Kovco was there to greet those returning. Belinda Tasker (NewsCom) reports that Shelley Kovco "finally had the chance to speak to one of the men who was with him [Jake Kovco] when he died" -- Ray Johnson who has previously been identified as "Soldier 17." Dan Box (The Australian) reports: "With the unit's return, however, restrictions imposed by the inquiry on reporting the names of soldiers have been lifted. Although not legally binding, these restrictions were imposed for operational safety and have been followed by The Australian." While the second half of the last sentence is correct (The Australian and most others have readily followed the restrictions), the first half? That's the claim by the government, not established fact. Noting that "One of the cornerstones of our justice system is transparency," Anthony McClellan went on to point out (in The Australian, one week ago today): "When the inquiry began, it was set in a small room that could not accommodate all the media who wanted to be there. On occasions such as this, the media are the public representatives. We have a right to know what happened, and why. Was making it harder for the media to report a deliberate decision or an example of military contempt for civilians being privy to this tragedy? Or was it plain incompetence? Whatever the reason, it neatly encapsulates the past five months. The larger issue is the suppression of the identities of many of the key soldiers connected with Kovco's death. We read about them as Soldier 14, Soldier 17 and Soldier 47. Why? If this set of events had occurred in a civilian setting, they would certainly be named. But no, the names are kept from us because the soldiers are serving in Iraq. It was interesting to see defence chief Air Chief Marshall Angus Houston and Defence Minister Brendan Nelson squirming in public this week when asked why the names were being kept secret."

Soldier 19" is now identified as Rob Shore. "Soldier 14"? Belinda Tasker notes that he is Steve Carr. Box notes Carr is "a person of interest" to the inquiry into Jake Kovco's death due to his DNA being "found on the barrel of Kovco's pistol". The Herald-Sun notes: "The Kovco inquiry, at Sydney's Victoria Barracks, resumes on Monday for closing submissions. Ms. Kovco is to make a statement to the inquiry on Tuesday."

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

What's news? How does it effect you?

Thank you for all the e-mails of support. I was really surprised by them to be honest. Lloyd wrote about something that was bothering me, the issue of the review. He said everyone could wait and not to rush it. I didn't feel like working on it today so, this morning, I ran over to C.I.'s. I figured I'd tag along partly to avoid working on the review and also because C.I.'s been so sick the last few days and I figured I could be supportive. I enjoyed myself but the second-half of the last sentence? No need to bother. C.I. went from puking to speaking throughout the day and never missed a beat. You'd have no idea that C.I. even had a headache to watch. I can't do that. When I'm under the weather, it shows. And I certainly don't feel like being in a room of strangers.

But these were groups of students that a friend of C.I.'s who had just started teaching college classes and they really were a fun group. Almost all of them had only recently started following any news, due to their professor and they'd give her full credit. So they were three groups eager to talk and they had a lot of questions.

One thing the professor makes them do is to talk about the news at the start of class and she'll ask them, "How is this news? How does this effect your lives?" That's been really helpful, as they admitted, to helping them discern from junk news as opposed to real news. There was this one young woman who spoke about how she never realized how much filler was on each newscast until she started taking her current class and would do like the professor said and ask, "How is this news? How does this effect my life?"

We went to lunch with the professor and some of the students and that's the only time anyone realized C.I. was under the weather. We ate outdoors because the smell of food makes C.I. sick right now. On the plus side, on the way back, C.I. had the worst fever and it broke so hopefully, healthy days are just around the corner.

Elaine's "Because of Kat, because of boredom with 'tales of every day housewife' . . ." was very wonderful (right back at you, Elaine) and it's also the main reason I figured I'd tag along today. It is true that sick or well, busy or less-busy, C.I.'s out there every day working the Iraq issue. Today, there was no thought of, "I'm not getting on a plane, I'm sick, I'll just stay in bed."

Guns and Butter was on KPFA today but I haven't had time to listen yet (we only got back less than an hour ago). I'll listen to it tomorrow and hopefully blog on it then. Toni taped it for me.
I was really encouraged by the students today. Both because they are analyzing the "news" to determine whether or not it was news and because they're so vocal against the war. That's true of most these days but there were a lot of people who were probably very apethetic before they'd started classes this fall. I think the professor is doing wonderful work just getting her students to ask themselves: How is this news, how does it effect our lives? There was a guy who brought up a number of stories that he'd seen that weren't news but were broadcast as such. That's really what it takes, educators being willing to show them the way and to walk them through it. Hopefully, even if they stop following the news regularly after the class, they'll always apply the lesson. Honestly, it's their lesson. That's what the professor pointed out. She doesn't stand in front of the class saying, "No, that's not news and here's why." They discuss an item and discuss it's worth. So they're already part of the process, part of the analysis.

So that was my day. With any luck, tomorrow I'll get back to the review. Here's C.I.'s
"Iraq snapshot" and pay attention to Kofi Annan's statements:

Wednesday, September 13, 2006 and chaos and violence continue in Iraq claiming the lives of at least 39 Iraqis (AP), occupation puppet Nouri al-Maliki continues his Tehran visit, the US military announces two deaths (one soldier died Monday, the other Tuesday), United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Anan tells some hard truths, and Camp Democracy continues in Iraq.

reported by CNN yesterday, at least 60 corpses were discovered in Baghdad on Tuesday. The BBC reports: "They were found all over the city, from Sunni areas in the west to Shia districts in the east -- but most were found in largely Sunni west Baghdad. Secretarin killings are not unusal in the city but this is a large number for oen day, a BBC corrspondent says." Reuters reminds of the UN estimate in July (100 people killed each day in Iraq from violence) and notes that "[m]orgue officials" have stopped providing figures. CBS corrspondent Pete Gow provides an audio report here that calls into question the 'success' of the 'crackdown' that's been going on in Baghdad since June. CNN also raises questions about the 'crackdown' and notes: "On Monday, the U.S. Command acknowledged that its [own] report of a dramatic drop in murders in Baghdad last month did not include people killed by bombs, mortars, rockets or other mass attacks, The Associated Press reported. The count only included victims of drive-by shootings and those killed by torture and execution."

Puppet of the occupation Nouri al-Maliki continued the second day of his visit to Tehran.
Devika Bhat (Times of London) reports: "Yesterday, Washington reacted with caution to comments from President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran that he would offer full support in restoring security to Iraq. . . . A member of Mr al-Maliki's Dawa party said . . . Today Ayatollah Ali Khameni, Iran's supereme leader, . . . [blamed] US troops for Iraq's misfortunes and [told] Mr al-Maliki that the way to end instability was for American forces to withdraw altogether." CNN quotes Kahmenei: "A major portion of Iraq's problems will be solved when the occupying forces leave that country, and that is why we desire and hope that occupiers leave Iraq."

Kahmenei's opinions are hardly surprising and,
Nick Wadhams (AP) reports, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, declared today "that most leaders in the Middle East believe the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq and its aftermath" is "a real disaster". Annan: "Most of the leaders I spoke to felt the invasion of Iraq and its aftermath has been a real disaster for them. They believe it has destabilized the region."

So it's also not surprising that the
AP reports "a resolution setting a timetable for the withdrawal of all foreign troops" managed to get 104 members of the 275 member Iraqi parliament "before [it] was effectively sheleved by being sent to a committe for review."

In the United States, as Robert Knight noted on
KPFA's Flashpoints yesterday, the Government Accountability Office issued a report on Monday that also recommended Congress members ask themselves several questions such as:

-- What political, economic and security conditions must be acheived before the United States can draw down and withdraw military forces from Iraq?

-- Why have security conditions continued to worsen even as Iraq has met political milestones, increased the number of trained and equipped forces and increasingly assumed the lead for security?

Drew Brown (McClatchy Newspapers) reports on the findings and notes: "Though the Bush administration has hailed each political milestone in Iraq as another step on the march to freedom, the report cited a Defense Intelligence Agency finding that 'the December 2005 elections appeared to heighten sectarian tensions and polarize sectarian divides'."

AFP reports that the US military "announced the deaths of two of its servicemen, taking its total losses in Iraq since the March 2003 invasion to 2,670, according to an AFP count based on Pentagon figures. A soldier was killed on Tuesday, south of Baghdad, while another died of wounds on Monday in the western Al-Anbar province, the military said."

Al-Anbar? On Monday,
Thomas E. Ricks (Washington Post) reported on the assessment of Col. Pete Develin, "chief of intelligence for the Marine Corps in Iraq,"
that "prospects for securing that country's western Anbar province are dim and that there is almost nothing the U.S. military can do to improve the political and social situation there". Today,
Ricks reports that Marine Maj. Gen. Richard C. Zilmer "agrees with the findings of a pessimistic classified report recently filed by his top intelligence officer but also insisted that 'tremendous progress' is being made in that part of the country." Ricks also notes: "According to several Defense Department officials who have read the report, Devlin also argued that the lack of political progress has crated a political vacuum in the province."

And as the war drags on . . .


In Baghdad, as
reported by Amit R. Paley (Washington Post), "a car bomb exploeded near an indoor stadium" killing and injuring a number of people and then, as people came forward to help, "another bomb detonated". CNN puts the toll at 14 dead and 67 wounded. AP later raised the death toll to 19 and noted "[b]ut the U.S. military reported the death toll at 15 killed and 25 wounded, and said the blast was caused by two car bombs."

Also in Baghdad,
Reuters reports a car bomb that was aimed at "police protecting an electricity distribution plant [which] killed eight people and wounded 19." The AP reports that the U.S. military states the bomb ended up "killing at least 12 people and wounding 34."

Still in Baghdad,
Al Jazeera notes two separate mortar attacks the claimed one life (police officer) and left six wounded. Reuters reports that mortar attacks wounded four in Samawa. Back to Baghdad, Demka Bhat (Times of London) reports a mortar attack that killed "[a] further two police" officers.


AP reports that, in Falluja, "two pedistrians were killed and two others injured apparently in the crossfire between U.S. troops and unidentified gunmen" and that a man in his car was shot dead in Baghdad. Reuters reports that an attempted kidnapping of "the owner of a currency exchange shop" in Baghdad resulted in the death of "[t]wo bystanders" and two more wounded.


Reuters reports four corpses were discovered in Suwayra. Reuters also notes that Safaa Ismail Inad's corpse was discovered ("journalist at al-Watan Newspaper") in Baghdad.

In peace news,
Cindy Sheehan (Common Dreams) advises: "Don't wait until the creeping militarism and budding fascism of the Bush State comes knocking at your door for one of your loved ones. It will happen unless we stand up and say 'no' with our loudest and most annoying voices" and urges people to take part in Camp Democracy which is ongoing in Washington, DC and free and open to the public.
Ann Wright (Scoop) writes of the genesis for the Camp (from Camp Casey to Camp Democracy): "Since we were in Bush's backyard in Crawford, why not bring our concerns on the direction of America and the need to use and preserve our democracy to the backyard (or frontyard) of Bush in the White House and to other government officials and lawmakers? Well, that's what Camp Democracy is doing right now. Every day concerned Americans are coming to Camp Democracy to think, listen, and act on important concerns."

Today's events included
The Commission of Inquiry on Crimes Against Humanity Committed by the Bush Administration release of their verdict: GUILTY: "The panel of jurists consisted of Adjoa A. Aiyetoro, William H. Bowen School of Law, Little Rock; former executive director, National Conference of Black Lawyers (NCBL). Dennis Brutus, former prisoner, Robben Island (South Africa), poet, professor emeritus, University of Pittsburgh. Abdeen Jabara, former president, American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee. Ajamu Sankofa, former executive director, Physicians for Social Responsibility-NY. Ann Wright, former US diplomat and retired US Army Reserve Colonel."

Tomorrow's events include peace and election education with
Danny Schechter scheduled to be among the participants with a screening of his documentary WMD: Weapons of Mass Deceptions. And on Sunday, Camp Democracy will host a number of events and the theme will be Impeachment Day. Among those participating: Elizabeth Holtzman, Michael Avery, Ray McGovern, David Green, John Nichols, Marcus Raskin, Elizabeth De La Vega, Dave Lindorff, David Swanson, Jennifer Van Bergen, Geoff King, David Waldman, Dan DeWalt, Steve Cobble, Anthony St. Martin, Cindy Bogard, Mubarak Awad, Susan Crane, Frank Anderson. The camp has daily activities and admission is free. A complete schedule can be found here.

In election,
John Nichols (The Nation) examines the primary win of Keith Ellison in Minnesota: "The Ellison victory was one of several for anti-war Democrats seeking open seats. Others came in in New York, where City Council member Yvette Clarke won a fierce fight for a Brooklyn seat once held by Shirley Chisholm, and in Maryland, where John Sarbanes, the son of retiring Senator Paul Sarbanes, led in a crowded House race. In Maryland's highest-profile race, however, former NAACP head Kweisi Mfume, who was outspoken in his opposition to the war, lost to the decidely more cautious Representative Ben Cardin by a 46-38 margin."

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Enough of the Mindless Blather, Already

I wasn't planning on blogging tonight because I was hoping to (a) get a little done on my latest review and (b) relax. But Ty showed me a piece that really pisses me off. It's by Matthew Rothschild, or as I like to think of it, the latest in the screech parade.

Knowing apparently very little about what he's writing (but he watched the laughable program on Monday) but sure as hell that he knows it all, he spits on those questioning the 9-11 narrative. He offers as his proof that NORAD tapes that recently emerged while failing to note that their emergence revealed lies in the earlier 9-11 story.

It's ironic, Bully Boy used 9-11 to politicize the event and divide the country while Matthew Rothschild is only one of many who wanted to use the day to split the left. I told C.I. how pissed off I was by Rothschild and was told (a) if the column was known of, the comments wouldn't have gone up about the radio show and (b) I should write whatever I wanted and the community stands together "and behind you."

I appreciate that. I appreciate C.I.'s attitude which has always been, "I don't know what happened, I wasn't there." But Matthew Rothschild apparently knows everything and wants to shut down any discussion.

He steals from Alexander Cockburn with his sarcastic comment about "Of course, any conspiracy theorist worth his or her salt will claim that all these people are in on the plot.
And that I am in on it, too." No, you wouldn't be smart enough to be on in anything.

How mad am I? C.I. said, "Look, Kat, we can pull it. We can pull the link, don't worry about it."

Why am I mad? Because Matthew Rothschild who's written nothing on this subject wants to come along and tell us -- what? Forget questioning?

No, what he's saying is that if you're questions are different than his, you're an idiot. You're a fool and he knows best.

This from the man who employs two of the biggest blathers online. Soccer Mama Ruth Conniff who in June couldn't grasp the American people's disgust with the war. And Dumb Ass who interviews the Dahli Lama. Oh thank God, The Progressive is there to offer us the political wisdoms of the Dahli. Next up, the secrets of success from Tony Robbins.

It's ironic that this is the longest piece I've seen from Rothschild. Supposedly, he has important to focus on; however, the reality is, he jots a little hear about an arrest or employment issue and he jots a little there. If Iraq is so all important to him, I can't tell it from the website or the magazine.

If he thinks he's funny, he's not. Ava and C.I. could demolish anyone and any subject without breaking a sweat. If they wanted to tackle the 9-11 theorists, they could do it and they'd even make me laugh. Because they are funny.

Matthew Rothschild is probably a very nice man. But I'm not going to look the other way while he attempts to trash people who have asked questions while most haven't.

If he's not interested in it, I'm not surprised. He's never addressed it. But for him to write his lenghty rant (the lengthiest thing I've seen his name put to in some time) attacking people who are asking questions, is just too much for me.

This sort of "looney" talk greeted the people who said Allende had been killed with US backing, who said that Nazis were brought into the US after WWII by the government (and, as the New York Times revealed not that long ago, they were). My attitude has been share your ideas and I'll listen. Which is the other thing Rothschild doesn't understand (because he doesn't know what he's writing about), there's not one universal theory. "Here’s what the conspiracists believe:" he writes reducing a complex issue of questions coming from a variety of movements and groups down to one universal group. No doubt while Steven Jones' university job is in jeporady, Rothshchild's rant will be pointed to in a manner of "even the left thinks he's a crackpot." McCarthyism Watch, anyone?

While Ruth Conniff's sucked up to the beltway for month after month and written about any "woman's" issue that concerned children (and only that -- she also favors restricting abortion rights), I don't know that I'd be getting on my high horse were I the editor of his magazine. I don't know that if I continuously failed to give a voice of platform to young Americans, if when I finally wrote of the immigration rallies, I turned it over to middle-aged man to write of . . . middle-aged men, I'd think I had enough time to waste by penning a lengthy rant.

Maybe he's scared to death of the upcoming event in California? Who knows. But let's be really clear here that The Progressive doesn't cut it more often than not. Is it a domestic magazine? Where's the peace movement then? Is it an international political magazine? Why's it blowing off readers by interviewing the Dahli Lami? Is it an interview magazine? Then why do they reduce lengthy radio discussions to simplistic nonsense (take the Gore Vidal cutting most recently). I didn't write in to protest Ruth Conniff's interview with Lewis Lapham. There was a reason for that, I know not to be impressed with her increasingly limited view.

Now Matthew Rothschild could have written an "I don't believe in the various theories" and I wouldn't have had a problem. For one thing, he would have grasped that there were "various" theories. But that's not what he did. What he did was stomp his feet, scream "Stop it!" and go on to insult people that his magazine has never supported or covered. At this late date, why?

Why even bother? If he thought anyone might have mistaken him for someone open to discussing the events, he was mistaken. Not readers of the magazine who know this is a non-topic that will never be touched upon there.

Do I think this was a "conspiracy"? No. I don't think he's smart enough to plan a conspiracy. I think it's a case of a number of people attempting to establish their 'cred' with the mainstream. Lord knows Ruth Conniff would love to be back on the gasbag circuit so she could giggle and be as ineffective today as she was during the Clinton-era.

Ruth, the good Ruth, our Ruth of Ruth's Report, wrote of the nonsense that is Ruth Conniff. I asked C.I. when that was and was told that was one of the reports Ruth asked be posted but not read (by C.I.) -- who really doesn't read something when asked not to. But I was steered to "Page 65 of James Wolcott's Attack Poodles:"

The spiral staircase of punditry is strewn with the skeletal remains of writers who couldn't quite make the climb to the top. In the mid-nineties, Ruth Conniff of the Progressive surfaced on CNN talk shows: so young, so idealistic, so blessed with flowing auburn hair. And where is she now? Where did she go? (Lassie, come home!)

Conniff is like Thomas Friedman's more idealistic kid sister. Full of blather and saying very little. A gas bag for the mini-van set rushing from their Mommys For Me groups to their pilate classes. They should call her column, "If Deborah Barone Could Write . . ."

While The Nation makes some efforts to cover third parties, The Progressive doesn't and when it was time to send in the hit squad on Ralph Nader in 2004, Ruth Conniff was their Femme Nikita. Rothschild himself claims to be neither a Republican or a Democrat which might provide some comfort if that meant he was a member of a third party; however, since he's never stated that, the impression is also created that he's just wishy-washy. That would certainly explain his desire to sit down and interview war cheerleader George Packer and feminist-basher Camille Paglia. No doubt he just feels he should hear all sides -- except, as with 9-11, when he doesn't feel that way.

Alexander Cockburn's screech-fest wasn't surprising. Anyone who's read him for any lenth of time is fully aware that he's not usually interested in alternative theories or questions and that he enjoys a good cackle. That's who he is and, if you like him, you accept it as part of his makeup. (I like Cockburn.) Rothschild, on the other hand, plays like he's Garrison Keillor in print which is why his nasty rant is all the more shocking. It's as though you went to visit a sick uncle at Christmas and when he opened the door, he grabbed your breasts.

Scary Rothschild concludes his rant with this:

The 9/11 conspiracy theories are a cul-de-sac. They lead nowhere. And they aren’t necessary to prove the venality of the Bush Administration. There’s plenty of that proof lying around. We don’t need to make it up.

To which I'd reply, he's yet to assign his writers to do a full blown issue that led anywhere. Oh, let's dabble here and let's dabble there and Ruth's lactating some thought in a golden glow of motherhood so lets sop that up and put on the page too. Howard Zinn and Barbara Ehnrenreich write for that magazine. In a humorous manner Molly Ivins and Kate Clinton write for that magazine. The others?

There's a woman (C.I. would know her name) who actually writes. But mainly you're wading through crap (which includes superficial interviews -- and that includes the waste of time interview with Dar Williams which supposedly was far more intense than anything that appeared in print -- their interview policy appears to be "humanize" and "likeable" and "never hard hitting").

C.I. just came through to check on me and I asked if the latest issue of The Progressive was lying around anywhere? C.I. said it was probably packed up in luggage but found the August issue for me. Iraq is explored nowhere in the issue. (Don't point to the laughable Gore Vidal interview that's so cut up he sounds like Sally Field on a Gidget promotional tour.)

Want to know what I think leads nowhere? Magazines that are all over the place and rife with poor writing. Dona just came in and said, "Let me find a Ruth Conniff column for you because I hate that idiot." She said Jim, who also loathes Conniff "easy-bake 'solutions'" is hunting down Ruth's Report on Conniff's lame brame attempt to treat KPFA as a chat & chew.

Jim just came in with the link for Ruth's Report where she speaks of women:

But some make themselves useless. For feminism, that is not a bad thing. It serves to remind us all that a woman can be everything a man can be. Commanding, on top of their game, brilliant -- to be sure. But the list also includes "useless."
Ruth Conniff cast herself in that role Friday. Ms. Conniff appeared on Kris Welch's Living Room on KPFA Friday. Ms. Welch specifically asked Ms. Conniff about the 2004 election results. Ms. Conniff did not to respond to the question. I have no use for that. I have no use for people who cannot speak up. If Ms. Conniff feels the election was not stolen, that is her right and I would have listened to her reasoning. Instead, she spoke of everything but the 2004 election results. Possibly she misheard the question?
With too much too cover, I will not waste my time, or any member's time, by recording lengthy statements from those who, for whatever reason, cannot address an issue put to them.
On Iraq, Robert Parry, another guest, spoke of what he was saw around the country, what he heard. Ms. Conniff spoke in generalities about the war ("professionalized military . . ."). It was as though it was being spit out by a machine. Our time is too valuable to waste with robotics.
The question was about the war and how it had not made the top ten of's poll. There is a reason for that. It has been covered most recently in John Walsh's "MoveOn Rigs Its Own Vote; Betrays Its Membership" (CounterPunch). has a history of silencing the war issue. That includes the March 2005 protests, the second anniversary of the illegal invasion, where, under pressure, they suddenly hooked up at the last minute with Sojouner's to do something, anything.
Mr. Parry spoke of what he saw in this country and how it was innaccurate to claim that the war was not an issue to people. Ms. Conniff's answer would not offend since it gave them every excuse and plenty of cover to hide behind. It had nothing to do with reality or people (represented as "the people," far removed). Ms. Conniff mentioned only one actual person, a neighbor. Goddess of the hearth at this late date? Sounding like a cross between a Bronte shut-in and June Cleaver, Ms. Conniff, after dispensing with her coffee clatch, went on to provide dull remarks. If that is what I enjoyed hearing, I would be doing Ruth's Meet the Press Report.
I have no time or interest in noting her superficial remarks on Al Gore (with giggles) that did not address the press attacks on him in 2000 but did endorse them. She honestly struck me as the sort of pundit that Bob Somerby rails against regularly.
Former Vice-President Gore is not above criticism. But silly giggles and remarks that follow what Mr. Somerby has dubbed the "script" are of no use to me. Being a woman, and a Ruth, I was sad to find that Ruth Conniff was of no use to me. That was, however, the reality.
[. . .]
Ms. Conniff was a guest for an hour, for the hour. I heard nothing but dime-store analysis dressed up in a motivational talk. Helpmate of the party isn't a role that interests me. If this house is on fire, you scream, "Fire!" You do not say, "I'll get the marshmellows." Like a Stepford Wife with a hobby, Ms. Conniff batted the Democratic Party with a tissue while Mr. Parry, feet firmly in the real world, spoke of real issues.
She not only found hope in the man Rebecca has christened Evan Blah, she felt the need to share that she had found hope. It was as though she was breathlessly exclaiming, "Did you see the clean hands on our mugger? Wasn't that delightful?" Having cast herself in the role of the party's helpmate, she is now left to explain away the bruises, cuts and other injuries that would have any thinking woman running to a women's shelter. Instead, Mr. Conniff asks only that when she next gets battered, her "man" not hit her in the face.

I could continue to pull from Ruth's wonderful column (our Ruth) she captures the uselessness that is Conniff perfectly. Dona found a Ruth column and it's so putrid I can't get past the opening. It's what Wolcott was talking about where gasbags on the TV left offer a counter-spin.
Rothschild needs to get to work on finding a straight woman not obsessed with children to write about the world. Conniff needs to move on over to Good Housekeeping where she can share cooking recipes with Laura Bush. Or mabye The Progressive isn't so progressive and sees women as either Mommies or lesbians?

(As for Conniff dodging the issue of the 2004 elections -- no doubt, she didn't want to be associated with those 'loonies' at Harper's or Mark Crispin Miller or, go down the list of reputable names who have gone on the record.)

Again, Rothschild heard or watched Monday's program and suddenly he's an expert. Which is really scary when you think of the fact that he's an editor of a magazine. He doesn't need to do any research (one call to Bonnie Faulkner would have told him that there are a myriad of theories -- not one "universal" theory). But who needs research when you can be as superficial as Soccer Mama?

Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" and while Rothschild was blathering, C.I. was working:

Tuesday, September 12, 2006 chaos and violence continue in Iraq with AFP estimating that at least 27 Iraqis were reported dead today, in the United States the divider shows his ugly/only face again, CODEPINK asks that you Give Peace a Vote,

In the United States, Bully Boy is coming under fire for a speech given Monday night in front of photos of his twin daughters who were apparently supposed to represent Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein. Speaking to the nation in a nineteen minute pitch during the second night of ABC's VOTE GOP! infomercial, Bully Boy attempted to sell his illegal war on the shaky grounds that "I know I said it would make things worse not to invade and I was wrong, but it will make things worse to leave, forget that I was wrong before."

Using his circular illogic in his seventeen minute pitch, as the AP notes, "most of his 17-minute speech was devoted to justifying his foreign policy since that day. With his party’s control of Congress at stake in elections less than two months away, Bush suggested that political opponents who are calling for withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq would be giving victory to the terrorists."

Sounding like Ike Turner (or any other abusive husband), Bully Boy looked a nation of soul-surviving Tina Turners in the face and dared to offer, "Whatever mistakes have been made in Iraq, the worst mistake would be" to leave.

Leave it to David Stout (New Yokr Times) to play Ben Fong-Torres, embrace the tawdry and notice nothing while concluding, "Democrats have long accused Mr. Bush and his top aides of disingenuously implying a link between the Iraq of Saddam Huessien and the 9/11 attacks."

To clarify for Stout and other would be Fong-Torreses, the two latest sections of the
Senate Intel Report (released Friday) once again found no link, none, between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda -- no links, none, between Saddam Hussein and 9-11.
On the fifth anniversary of 9-11, in the midst of a myth-series, Bully Boy elects to address the nation in some sort of effort to offer Frito Pie for the Soul and he is yet again spending "most of his time," talking about? Iraq.

It's not reporting. It's saying that Democrats called heads in the coin toss and now Democrats charge that they won the coin toss without ever noting the fact that, yes, heads won. [David Corn (The Nation) addresses Dick Cheney's only loose grasp of reality regarding the fact that there is no link.]

Among those Democrats rightly calling the Bully Boy out on his continued and false linkage of 9-11 and Iraq are US Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. Reid spoke of 9-11 on Monday at the Palo Verde High School in Las Vegas and nowhere in the nineteen lines did he seek to slam Americans or cite Iraq. Pelosi's sixteen line statement on Monday also failed to politicize the anniversary. By contrast, the Bully Boy offered 31 lines that directly brought Iraq, which, again, has nothing to do with 9-11, into the anniversary.

Even a he-said/she-said press could point out that obvious fact. Possibly all the time spent on Iraq prevented the Bully Boy from noting the obvious, which Greg Palast has,
"It's been five years and the Bush regime has not done that. Instead, the War on Terror is reduced to taking off our shoes in airports, hoping we can bomb Muslims into loving America and chasing journalists around the bayou. Meanwhile, King Abdullah, the Gambino of oil, whose princelings funded the murderers, gets a free ride in the President's golf cart at the Crawford ranch." No word on what's preventing the so-called mainstream press for noting that reality on the fifth anniversary of 9-11. An earlier BBC News Night report by Palast on the Bully Boy's blocking bin Laden probes can be viewed here.

Bully Boy did get one thing right in his Monday speech: "America did not ask for this war". No, but the administration did and resorted to lies, then and now, to have their request granted and continued.

In other "I can't believe it's not butter moment"s, Reuters reports that Richard Zilmer (Marine Major General in Iraq) declared from Baghdad, outside the al Anbar Province, that the Marines have not lost the province. Citing unspecified "areas," citing them from Baghdad, outside the al Anbar Province, Zilmer stated all was going swimmingly in some "areas" -- unspecified areas. Reuters notes: "The statement did not indicate which parts of the province he believed had effective local government." Prepare for tomorrow's audio-visual presentation where Zilmer, using a projection screen and pointer demonstrates that he can find the province on a map so, therefore, it has not been lost.

Zilmer was attempting to spin Thomas E. Rick's (Washington Post) Monday report of Marine Col. Pete Devlin's assesment that "that the prospects for securing that country's western Anbar province are dim and that there is almost nothing the U.S. military can do to improve the political and social situation there, said several military officers and intelligence officials familiar with its contents."

The violence and chaos continues throughout Iraq.


CNN reports six dead in Baghdad when "a car bomb exploded at a busy shopping district" and that fifteen were left wounded. AFP notes that a police officer and a civilian were killed by a roadside bomb "near Baghdad's University of Technology" and left seven more wounded, while, in Abu Sayda, a bomb took the life of "Brigadier General Ali Hassan Jubur, head of operations in Muqdadiyah's police headquarters" and the deaths from roadside bombings of a police officer (in Samarra) and an Iraqi soldier (in Kirkuk). CBS and AP report a bombing in Middadiyah resulted in at least 4 dead and 24 wounded (and that the same location resulted in gunfire Monday night leaving seven dead). Reuters reports that, in Kirkuk, a roadside bomb wounded Kassem al-Bayati and that three other roadside bombs in Baghdad left at least eight Iraqis wounded.


KUNA reports that, in Mosul, Iraqi police captain Ziad Ramzi was shot dead and, in a separate attack, four other people were shot dead. Reuters reports that they were four family members and that a fifth was wounded. CNN reports that a police officer was shot dead in Baghdad ("outside his house"). Reuters reports: "Dolonel Abbas al-Nuaimi was gunned down Monday outside a jail in Hindiya" while "in police custody" to stand "trial for crimes committed during Saddam Hussein's rule."


CNN reports that 60 corpses were discovered around Iraq and one severed head carried the message: "This is the fate of those who deal with the U.S. forces." AFP reports three corpses were discovered in the Diyala province. Remember that discovered corpses never make the media's daily tabulation of the death toll.

On the issue of corpses, CNN reports: "Of the bodies taken to the morgue last month, 90 percent had been shot, the official said. The other 10 percent were killed by other means, such as torture, beheading and stabbing, the official said. The official noted that the morgue figures do not include most bombing victims, as that number is calculated separately."
CBS and AP report that Sunnis in the parliament are attempting "to work together to prevent" a bill that would turn the occupied nation into a federation "from being implemented without changes." This as puppet of the occupation is once again out of the country. CNN notes that Nouri al-Maliki is in Tehran establishing relations with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, president of Iran. As the BBC notes, al-Maliki "lived in Iran during the 1980s" and he will be meeting "Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, on Wednesday."

In peace news, Camp Democracy continues in Washington, DC. Today's events focus on the environmental crisis caused by global warming and this evening Mark Karlin (the editor and publisher of BuzzFlash) will be presenting. Tomorrow is verdict day and Ann Wright and Ray McGovern are among the scheduled participants of the Bush Crimes Commission and World Can't Wait sponsored events. While on Thursday, Danny Schechter is scheduled to be among the participants with a screening of his documentary WMD: Weapons of Mass Deceptions. On Sunday, Camp Democracy will host a number of events and the theme will be Impeachment Day. Among those participating: Elizabeth Holtzman, Michael Avery, Ray McGovern, David Green, John Nichols, Marcus Raskin, Elizabeth De La Vega, Dave Lindorff, David Swanson, Jennifer Van Bergen, Geoff King, David Waldman, Dan DeWalt, Steve Cobble, Anthony St. Martin, Cindy Bogard, Mubarak Awad, Susan Crane, Frank Anderson. The camp has daily activities and admission is free. A complete schedule can be found here.

Events are scheduled through September 21st, the same day that CODEPINK's Troops Home Fast concludes. Troops Home Fast is currently on day 69 with at least 5023 people participating. CODEPINK is also promoting Give Peace a Vote (Medea Benjamin: "Part of a coalition effort of Voters for Peace designed to create a strong anti-war voting bloc, the petition asks people to pledge that they will only vote for candidates who support a speedy withdrawal from Iraq and no future wars of aggression.") which over 14,000 people have currently pledged to support.

Writing in The Nation, John Nichols reminds Americans to watch the results of the primaries today and zooms in on the Maryland Congressional race John Sarbanes is running in. (He also notes other races.)

Meanwhile, in Australia, Dan Box (The Australian) reports that the government wants to up the army from 2,600 to 30,000 ("its biggest intake since the Vietnam war") and that this comes while there seems to be no accountability for officers as evidenced by the abuse of Charles Williams and the hearing into the April 21st Baghdad death of Jake Kovco ("Last week, the family of Private Jake Kovco accused a military board of inquiry into his death of being a 'face-saving exercise' to protect officers.").

Monday, September 11, 2006

Just say no . . . to fear

Big get together at C.I.'s and praise to whomever grabbed the stereo remote and pumped up the volume (on music) during The KPFA Evening News while Bully Boy was speaking. (Not a complaint, his speech was news and they covered it but the last thing I needed today was to hear his whiney voice spitting out his endless lies.)

So what did you do? Did you take part in fear today or celebrate life and survival.

I refused to engage in his so-called "wahr" on terror and live in fear.

Let me do a strong shout out on David Rovics' new CD Halliburton Boardroom Massacre which is wonderful (and among the discs blasting tonight). That won't be my next review (I hope to have one completed by Saturday). But, time permitting, I will be reviewing it. This is a really strong CD and for more than that, I'll need to live with it for awhile more. (Which won't be a punishment, it's wonderful.)

So are you engaging in fear? Or refuting it? (Refuting it the way adults did when the United States had them -- like during WWII when we were urged to remember that we have nothing to fear but fear itself.) I prefer to live standing up, not cowering from fear.

There was a plane 'scare' today. Where a plane headed to Georgia got re-routed (to Dallas, I think) because a cell phone and back pack were found on it. This underscores the real problems in the airline industry. Instead of, as the dumb ass New York Times urged, surrendering all carry on items, the industry needs to do its job.

How did a backpack end up left on a plane? Turns out it was from a previous flight. What does that tell you about safety. People deboard from a flight and a backpack is left on it and not taken care of between flights. You'd think the airline industry would be checking every nook and cranny after a flight. That obviously wasn't the case.

So the US had a few moments of "Fear!" if they wanted to grab it. And of course the scare monkey showed up this evening to try to scare America some more. He sure was wordy for a man who couldn't find his voice on September 11, 2001.

I'll note a few 9-11 things. First Marc Ash's "September 11th, Our Report:"

We find that the Bush administration used the power of the executive branch for months after the attacks of 9/11 to block the creation of any official investigation into the action of the US government. Further, such resistance by the Bush administration to an official investigation continued in the face of repeated demands by the families of the victims of the attacks. It was, in fact, that very pressure from the victims' families that forced the Bush administration to reverse their position and negotiate the creation of investigative body. However, during those negotiations, the Bush administration refused - again - to cooperate, until two demands were met: The 9/11 Commission must agree not to investigate the executive branch, and the Bush administration itself must be allowed to appoint - without review - the chairman of the commission.
Clearly the Bush administration used, from the start, the power it had negotiated to protect its own interests. The appointment of former Nixon secretary of state Henry Kissinger as 9/11C chairman drew immediate fire from critics, who charged that Kissinger would be more likely to obscure the truth than reveal it. Kissinger resigned less than two weeks later, after refusing to reveal the names of corporations whose interests he represented. The subsequent appointment of former New Jersey Republican governor Thomas Kean was less controversial but ultimately subject to the final authority, the Bush administration.
We find that the objectivity and impartiality of the 9/11C must have been compromised by being under the direct control of the Bush administration. Further, such direct control of the 9/11C by Bush administration officials renders the conclusions of the actions of the Bush administration before, during, and after the attacks of 9/11 by the 9/11C fatally discredited. In short: We find that there has been no meaningful independent official investigation of the actions of the Bush administration's actions before, during, and after the attacks of 9/11.
We find that many high-ranking Bush administration officials hold personal financial interests in the Middle East region. We find that the attacks and resulting military campaigns did significantly enrich - personally - many high-ranking Bush administration officials. Those officials include, but are not limited to: George W. Bush, through his family's oil and energy holdings in the region and their interest in the international arms trade through the Carlyle group; and Richard Cheney, through an ongoing relationship with the Halliburton Corporation and its subsidiaries. In addition, Condoleezza Rice's free movement back and forth between the job of National Security Adviser to Chevron director and back to National Security Adviser again creates a conflict of interest.

History and events Bully Boy couldn't cite in his fear jaw boning tonight. Things that vanish from the memory as we're supposed to crawl to him, clutch his knees and cry out, "Think you for making us 'safer,' not safe!" With more things that are forgotten, Robert Scheer's "Gaping Holes in the 9/11 Narrative:"

Last week, Bush conceded that there were indeed secret CIA prisons, when finally announcing that the group of "key witnesses" to the 9/11 disaster would be moved to Guantanamo and for once afforded visits form the Red Cross and minimal legal representation. Some of them have been interrogated in secret for up to five years, with the Bush Administration left as the sole interpreter of what they revealed.
After five years of official deceit, it is not too difficult to believe that the isolation of those prisoners was done less for reasons of learning the truth about 9/11 and more in an effort to politically manage the narrative released to the public.
There is glaring evidence that the latter was the case. The 9/11 Commission report contains a disclaimer box on page 146, in which it is stated that the report’s account of what happened on 9/11 was in considerable measure based on what those key witnesses allegedly told interrogators, and that the commissioners were not allowed to meet the witnesses or their interrogators.
"We submitted questions for use in the interrogations, but had no control over whether, when or how questions of particular interest would be asked. Nor were we allowed to talk to the interrogators so that we could better judge the credibility of the detainees and clarify ambiguities in the reporting."
In short, the most cited source that we have on what happened on 9/11, the much celebrated 9/11 Commission Report, was stage-managed by the Bush administration, just as it has controlled and distorted so much other information.
In light of that sorry record of the propagandistic exploitation of the 9/11 tragedy for partisan political purpose, is it any wonder that large numbers of Americans have doubts about all of it and that a considerable industry of documentaries and investigative reports has sprung up with alternative theories ranging from the plausible to the absurd?

So as the Bully Boy tries to scare us all yet again on the eve of another election, remember the above. And don't forget Iraq. The reality of it which will never tumble out of his mouth. Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Monday September 11, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq, military intelligence declares al-Anbar province lost, a US soldier was shot dead on Sunday, Ehren Watada's parents continue to get the word out on their son and the White House offers a divided front as various spinners rush to figure out the party line on the revelations from last week that there was no link between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda.

In the United States, Friday saw the release of the latest two sections of the
Senate Intel Report which underscored there was no link between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda. As outlined by Jonathan Weisman's (Washington Post) report, the committee findings were based on CIA assessments before the war and (2002 assessments) and during (most recently in October 2005). US Senator Olympia Snowe specifically cited that "the report concluded that Colin Powell recieved his "blot," when testifying to the United Nations before the illegal war, by citing information that "two April 2002 CIA assessments, a May 2002 Defense Intelligence Agency fabrication notice and a July 2002 National Intelligence Council warning" had already refuted.

At the White House, flack Tony Snow Job decired the report as "
nothing new" (BBC News) apparently of the opinion that all Americans already grasped that the nation was lied into war.

On Sunday, fear's playground pusher Condi Rice stormed the airwaves like the star of a tanking big-budget film (think Ahnuld and Last Action Hero) desperate to goose the gross. The always good for a laugh US Secretary of State Rice assured Americans that Iraq still made Speed look like a slow ride to Grandma's; that they should forget the gross, the net on this war was going to be unbelievable; and, oh yeah, forget what the Senate report said, it was wrong. Rice, as
reported by the AFP, stated, "There were ties between Iraq and Al Qaeda" and "We know that Zarqawi was running a poison network in Iraq." So much 'knowledge,' so little awareness. One more time, Condi, for chuckles, what was the name of the August 6, 2001 PDB that you apparently also 'knew' was nothing to fret over?

A White House in shambles divided further on Sunday. After offical flak Tony Snow Job said "nothing new" about the Senate report, after Condi Rice followed that Sunday with her assertion that the report was just plain wrong, the man a heart beat away from the Bully Boy went a different way. Looking America in the face, Dick Cheney basically said, "So f**king what?"

Steven Thomma (McClatchy Newspapers) reports Cheney's money-quote (pay attention, America): "It was the right thing to do and if we had it to do over again, we'd do exactly the same." But would the 2669 Americans who lost their lives in the illegal Iraq war, would they? While Rice tried to dispell the stench of bad box office, Cheney came off like a never-was whose lingered too long and is desperate for that best supporting actress nomination. He's busy preparing his "For your consideration" ad and will probably use this tagline: "Clearly, the intelligence that said he [Hussein] did [have WMD] was wrong." An understatement to be sure and, as Thomma notes, the Dickster failed at "elaborating on his own role or the White House decision to later honor [George] Tenet with the Medal of Freedom."

On Monday,
Thomas E. Ricks (Washington Post) reported that a military assessment has written off al Anbara Province in southern Iraq. Ricks reports that Col. Pete Devlin, "chief of intelligence for the Marine Corps in Iraq," wrote a report on August 16th of this year "concluding that the prospects for securing that country's western Anbar province are dim and that there is almost nothing the U.S. military can do to improve the political and social situation there".

On the ground in Iraq today, the violence and chaos continued.


CBS and AP note a mini bus bomb in Baghdad that has killed at least 16 Iraqis. BBC says it resulted from a "bomber, who was wearing an explosive belt . . . reported to have boarded the bus at the centre." AFP states: "The minibus was rammed by a car rigged with explosives right next to Muthanna recruiting center". The bus was carry army recruits and CBS and AP state: "Although further details were not avaialbe, such mini buses are often used by suicide bombers."

In addition to the above bombing,
Reuters notes a two in Baghdad (one in Talbiya district, the other in Jihad district) that left at least six wounded while one in Mosul left one person wounded.


In Baghdad, the
AP reports a man and a woman were shot dead "at a telephone exchange center". Reuters reports a police officer (Hasan Radhi al-Azzawi) was shot dead in Kut, a civilian was shot dead ("outside his home") in Iskandariya, a female postal worker was shot dead in Baghdad and a person was shot dead in Hilla.


AFP reports a corpse was discovered in Suweira, two in the Diyala province and three in the Babel province. Reuters reports a severed head was discovered in Hindiya.

Not taking into account the corpses,
CBS and AP report that at least 20 died in Baghdad today and at least nine more elsewhere in Iraq.

In peace news,
Ehren Watada's parents continue getting their word out on their son, the first commissioned officer to publicly refuse to deploy in Iraq. Speaking with Sandip Roy (Asian Weekly), father Bob Watada explained his son's decision, "It's in the code of military justice, it's in the field manuals that you have a duty to disobey an unlawful order. The Nuremberg Tribunal that we signed on to and probably drafted parts of, clearly says any military official can be prosecuted if they are complicit in war crimes and clearly we have massive war crimes going on in Iraq."

While Bob Watada gets the word out in the mainland, Ehren Watada's mother Carolyn Ho has been speaking in Hawaii.
Amanda C. Gregg (Kauai News) reports on one recent gathering where Ho spoke of, "The [United Nations] charter . . . expressly states that countries cannot go to war unless the security council votes for it. . . . People say the U.S. Congress can allow the president to make war, but the U.S. Congress was given information that was deceptive -- that there was evidence of weapons of mass destruction -- and it made a decision on that basis." Ho hopes for the response to the growing awareness is as follows: "What we've envisioned is to have thousands of people come out to the highway and the streets that surround Fort Lewis and have a group that plans to do so with demonstrations."

That is in the case that Ehren Watada is scheduled for a court-martial. An
Article 32 hearing, heard testiomony Thursday August 17th and the presiding officer's recommendation was to proceed with a court-martial. Lt. Col. Mark Keith's recommendation is now winding its way through the chain of command and, as Gregg notes, a court martial is "expected to be scheduled within the next few months." More information on Watada can be found at Courage to Resist and

Writing for Op-Ed News, David Swanson notes, "Only, we the people of the United States, getting off our couches and acting will put an end to this growing nightmare."
And one way to act (and one of the many ways Swanson is making a stand) is via
Camp Democracy in DC which is free and open to the public and continues daily through September 21st. As David Ceasar (GW Hatchet Online) notes, today's activities revolve around "an all-day festival with workshops, speakers and entertainment on the National Mall between 3rd and 7th streets." Tomorrow's activities include Climate Crisis Day (sponsored by Rainforest Action Network) and an evening presentation by Mark Karlin (the editor and publisher of BuzzFlash). A complete schedule can be found here.

CODEPINK's Troops Home Fast action continues and is on day 68, and due to continue like Camp Democracy, is set to wrap run through September 21st (International Peace Day).Currently, at least 5023 people are participating. Those wanting to fast can grab a one-day fast at any point between now and the 21st or grab a one-day a week fast. Long term fasts are also possible but seek out advice before embarking on any long term fast.

Other peace actions are going on and will be going on. In a correction to an NYC event
noted last week, one that starts this Friday, all performances do not start at 7:00 pm each night. Friday September 15, Saturday September 16 will start at 7:00 pm; however, Sunday September 17's performance will begin at 3:00 p.m. What are we speaking of? The People Speak directed by Will Pomerantz and Rob Urbinati. This is a workshop adaptation of Howard Zinn and Anthony Arnove's Voices of a People's History of the United States. The workshop will take place at The Culture Project's Bleecker Street Theater on 45 Bleecker Street. Tickets are ten dollars and can be ordered online here or here or purchased in person at the box office (box office does not take ticket orders). For those in NYC, or who will be during those dates, click here for a map. The presentation is part of the Impact Festival.