Friday, October 20, 2006

War resister Kyle Snyder prepares to return to the US (C.I.)

Kyle Snyder, AWOL Iraq veteran and war resister, to return from Canada and turn self in at Ft. Knox later this month. Your support is urgently needed!
Kyle Snyder speaks at Peace Arch Park on the US/Canadian border, August 13, 2006 photo by: Jeff Paterson
"Going to Iraq meant I was going to reconstruct a city, not kill people. That’s what I believed I was going to do," explains Kyle Snyder, a 22-year-old Iraq War veteran.
After arriving in Iraq, the heavy construction equipment operator was reassigned to a security detail. Kyle quickly realized that no reconstruction was taking place with the exception of military bases. "I can't take this anymore!' That's what I thought to myself." A survivor of string of foster homes since he was 13-years-old, Kyle joined the Army in 2004.
Faced with few job prospects and wanting to provide for himself and his family, "I was an easy target for recruiters, plain and simple," explains Kyle. "This is not what I signed up for and it’s not what’s being shown to the American public. So, why the hell should I fight?"

C.I. filling in for Kat and the above is from Courage to Resist. If you click here you can watch a video of Kyle Snyder and there are videos of other war resisters who went to Canada including Darrell Anderson. This is a movement. It's not just one person. Camilo Mejia, Ehren Watada, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Ricky Clousing, Mark Wilkerson, Jeremy Hinzman, Aidan Delgado, Corey Glass, Brandon Hughey, Patrick Hart, Cliff Cornell, Joshua Key, Ryan Johnson, Ivan Brobeck and Robin Long are only some of the names of war resisters who've gone public. It's not 2003 and it's not just Camilo Mejia anymore. In addition to the ones who've gone public, there are many who've resisted whose names we'll never know. The movement continues to grow and with each person that comes forward, it results in others asking themselves questions.

If you click here, you can read Melanie McPherson's statements (scroll down) on why she went AWOL. She's not self-defining as a war resister. She checked out when she discovered that after being trained and serving as a military journalist (since 1999), as her contract came to an end, she was being deployed to Iraq as a military police officer which she had not been trained in. The point she's attempting to make with her resistance is that training short cuts are being made. When you put someone into a war without the proper training, you are risking their lives and the people they are serving with. She is facing a court-marital currently. She deserves support. But what will probably stand out after you absorb the basics of her case is this statement: "The command has also gone so far as to accuse me of encouraging other soldiers not to deploy. This is a very false accusation."

That is their biggest fear. That this will spread. Unfortunately for the military, it is already spreading. That's why it's important to get the word out. Each person who takes a brave stand against the war deserves support. They'll only get that if people are aware of their stand. And with increased awareness it's not just an issue of raising awareness on one person, it's an issue of raising awareness on an entire movement.

That's my thought for tonight. Here's today's "Iraq snapshot:"
Friday, October 20, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq; an area the British abandoned heats up; Rumsfeld's 'big fellow' vouches for his honor; Max Boot demonstrates he was cursed with not only porcine features but analytical challenges as well; Bully Boy's Iraq to Vietnam comparison continues to be discussed (and will continue); another US soldier dies today in Iraq bringing the total for the month to 75; Ramadi's parade/independence statement is echoed elsewhere in Iraq today.

Starting in Amara. On August 24th, came news that too much violence, too many attacks, led British troops to exit Amara quickly. Spinning would continue August 25th and then it was largely forgotten. Today, actions in Amara have reminded why British troops left and left so quickly. Al Jazeera reports that "overnight clashes left 15 dead" and that the fighting continued today "after police arrested a member of cleric Maqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army on suspicion of killing a local intelligence officer in a bomb attack". Christopher Bodeen (AP) reports that the town has been "seized" and that it's "one of the boldest acts of defiance yet by the country's powerful, unofficial armies, witnesses and police said." CNN reports that 16 people have died and 90 wounded. They also speak with British military flack Charlie Burbridge who stated that between 200 and 300 people attacked two police stations in Amara Thursday. Christine Hauser (New York Times) reports: "The nearest British troops are now stationed more than 20 miles from the city" and that other police stations and "state facilities in Amara were attacked." On the subject of British troops, AFP reports: "A British battle group of 600 troops backed by attack jets and armoured vehicles is standing by to intervene if Iraqi forces need support" according to Charlie Burbridge (so take it for what it is worth).

Kirk Semple (New York Times) reports that the militia have gain "control of entire neighborhoods" and notes theories that that a split between Maktada al-Sadr (whom some are linking the militias too) and puppet of the occupation Nouri al-Maliki could impact the "stability" of the puppet government. Meanwhile, James Hider (Times of London) notes: "As in Balad, militiamen set up roadblocks around the town and warned residents to stay indoors."

In some of the other violence today, Reuters notes that one person died and three were wounded in Baghdad from a roadside bomb (Dora district). Also Reuters reports that one person was shot dead near Baiji and three others wounded. AFP reports that three people are dead and three wounded from an attack in Khalis.

It's Friday. News of violence trickles out slowly on a normal day. Events in Amara meant today wouldn't be a normal Friday.

In other news, Frank Jordans (AP) reports that the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees estimates that "914,000 Iraqis have fled their homes since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003". This at the same time as Patrick Cockburn (Independent of London) reports on the increased dangers in Iraqi hospitals both from the fact that the medical "system is breaking down" and also because of claims that "hospitals are now being used by al-Sadr's Mehdi Army militia as its headquarters and hospital basements are used as prisons."

But no need to be concerned about any of the above. For one thing, Peter Pace is standing by his man. AFP reports the US general said of Secretary of State Donald Rumsfeld, "He leads in a way that the good Lord tells him is best for our country." God responds, "Don't blame that ___ on me!"

While Pace tells the world he's fond of his fella' Rumsfeld, Tony Blair warns the world that he's the house guest from hell. Philip Webster (Times of London) reports that is bandying around the term "progressive withdrawal" and insisting that Iraqis won't be put out by foreign forces 'staying too long.' At three years and eight months, Blair's stayed too long at the fair and then some.

Meanwhile, AP reports that Bully Boy's poodle-in-waiting, John Howard, declares there "is no reason to for international forces to quite Iraq". Pooh-pahhing Little Willie Caldwell's use of the term "disheartening" yesterday, Howard declared, "In any military operation, you have heartening and disheartening things". Backing him was Australia's former chief of the Defence Force, Peter Cosgrove, who doesn't believe that Vietnam and Iraq are anything alike. It helps his self-serving refusal to focus on the conflict in Indochine and the Indochina War which, for the record, wasn't the question put to Bully Boy on Wednesday. Possibly Cosgrove misunderstood the question?

For those confused, the Khaleej Times brings you up to speed: "At last, President Bush has come to acknowledge what many in and outside US have been arguing for some time. That Iraq is increasingly looking like Vietnam. In a rare confession during his interview with ABC's George Stephanopoulus, the president admitted that as in Vietnam, America faces 'a stepped-up level of violence' in Iraq. Stepped-up level of violence, Mr. President? This is an all-out and free-for-all bloody civil war, which has already claimed 655,000 Iraqi lives, as medical journal Lancet disclosed last week."

For anyone who may still be confused, from yesterday's snapshot [C.I. Saturday note: Friday, I was more tired than I knew, thanks to Marci who e-mailed to note that all before "yesterday's snapshot" was here but the snapshot itself wasn't. My apologies. I've added it below.]:

Starting with the Bully Boy. As Demetri Sevastopulo (Financial Times) noted, Bully Boy "drew a comparison between Iraq and the Vietnam war for the first time on Wednesday when he said Thomas Friedman, a New York Times columinst, 'could be right' in writing that the violent situation in Iraq was the 'jihadist equivalent of the Tet offensive." Summarizing the interview, Ed O'Keefe (ABC) notes, "Bush said he could not imagine any circumstances under which all U.S. troops would be withdrawn from Iraq before the end of his presidency." Bully Boy doesn't seem to register of what his comparison would result in. Mark Tran (Guardian of London) walks readers through: "Mr Bush has strongly resisted comparisons between Vietnam and Iraq. Vietnam remains a touchy subject for America; the war deeply divided the country, ended in an ignominious retreat for the US after the loss of more than 57,000 American lives, and has become synonymous with political and military debacle. The 1968 Tet offensive was a military failure for the Vietcong and the North Vietnamese, but it turned American public opinion against the war and fatally damaged President Lyndon Johnson, who abandoned his re-election campaign two months later."

The 'crackdown' cracked . . . down. Up? The measure began in mid-June was supposed to secure the capital but violence not only continued in Baghdad, it increased. As John F. Burns (New York Times) reported, Bully Boy "is now left with only a handful of tough and politically unattractive options" as a result of the cracked-up 'crackdown.' Michael Abramowitz and Thomas E. Ricks (Washington Post) reported, "Senior figures in both parties are coming to the conclusion that the Bush administration will be unable to achieve its goal of a stable, democratic Iraq within a politically feasible time frame." Despite that, CNN reports that White House flack Tony Snow has stated, "There will be no change in strategy." Bully Boy would publicly agree later in the day. Steve Holland (Reuters) reports that Bully Boy, deluded or in denial, insists there will be no changes while Democratic House Representative John Murtha notes: "We've lost the hearts and minds of the people and we've become caught in a civil war." CBS and AP report that Bully Boy's pushing a teleconference tomorrow "with U.S. generals" to determine what to do next. (Those who remember the infamous Hurricane Katrina teleconference will rightly shudder.)

Though Max Boot hasn't lost his heart (can't lose what you don't have), he appears to be losing his grip on reality. Speaking to Michelle Nichols (Reuters), the balding gas bag offered that American troops dying in Iraq has a less of an impact than Americans dying in the Vietnam conflict due to the fact that today "the impact here is more isolated because so many soldiers come from military communities which are clustered in a handful of states." Oh really?

American troop fatalties? Alabama: 47; Alaska: 10; Arizona: 66; Arkansas: 35; California: 284; Colorado: 34; Connecticut: 22; Delaware: 12; Florida: 117; Georgia: 83; Hawaii: 13; Idaho: 16; Illinois: 107; Indiana: 56; Iowa: 33; Kansas: 31; Kentucky: 46; Louisiana: 63; Maine: 12; Maryland: 52; Massachusetts: 45; Michigan: 97; Minnesota: 39; Mississippi: 35; Missouri: 48; Montana: 12; Nebraska: 29; Nevada: 24; New Hampshire: 14; New Jersey: 47; New Mexico: 21; New York: 132; North Carolina: 63; North Dakota: 13; Ohio: 125; Oklahoma: 47; Oregon: 46; Pennsylvania: 135; Rhode Island: 10; South Carolina: 39; South Dakota: 17; Tennessee: 58; Texas: 245; Utah: 14; Vermont: 18; Virginia: 83; Washington: 53; West Virginia: 18; Wisconsin: 60; Wyoming: 7.

A "handful of states"? Can we get some talcum powder for Max Boot? His desk jockeys have apparently left his brain chafed.

The Booty's foolish remarks come as the US military announces another death: a US soldier died in Baghad today from an IED. This death brings the total US fatalities in Iraq for the month of October to 75 and the total of US troop fatalities since the start of the illegal war now stands at 2788.

The news of the death comes as Hamza Hendwai (AP) reports that the parade/declaration of independence earlier this week in Ramadi have now been echoed today "in a string of towns west of Baghdad . . . . the latest parades -- including two less than a mile from U.S. military bases -- were staged in support of an announcement this week by a militant Sunni Arab group that it had created an Islamic state in six of Iraq's 18 provinces, including the capital, Baghdad."

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Guns & Butter (Ruth)

Ruth here filling in for Kat on Wednesdays. Betty called and asked me to note something regarding her post here on Monday entitled "Kat's Place (Betty)." Her oldest niece is perfectly happy to let Betty borrow her laptop and has several times when she's known Betty needed to listen to something online. "Or even thinks I do," Betty added. Betty was writing about her average day and how, on most of them, she cannot listen online. But her niece read that and
Betty wanted to be sure that it was noted that her niece is always offering her laptop. This was so important to Betty, that this was noted, that she was considering trying to swing church and a post here tonight. I told her I would note it. Let me also note that her niece did not ask that it be noted. She was just surprised it was not mentioned and Betty wanted to be sure that it was noted.

While we were on the phone, I asked Betty if it would be okay to visit in May? I had so much fun last May doing a road trip with my best friend from college, Treva, and we're planning another this one for this coming year. Treva mentioned Georgia when she phoned this weekend as one of the places we might want to visit which I was all for. I wanted to check with Betty to see if it would be okay to drop by and visit and she loved the idea so Georgia is now on our list of places to visit this May.

KPFA's Guns and Butter was a two hour special today that offered presentations from the recent conference which, I believe, was in Oakland, California. Kevin Ryan was one of the two presenters and he spoke of how tests had been done, over the years, on the structure of the World Trade Centers and how, when he began raising that issue, Underwriters Laboratories fired him.

Webster Griffin Tarpley, author of 9/11 Synthetic Terror, was the second presenter and he was both informative and humorous. He addressed topics such as patsies and flags.

If you missed the broadcast, you can listen to an archived version for free at KPFA or Guns and Butter and it is already up at the radio station. It was aired during a pledge drive which I enjoyed. I wish I could think of the man, I want to say "young man" though I am sure he is in his late thirties or early forties, who was on with them. He is probably the director of the station. Jeff, I believe, is his first name. I stayed with KPFA today because they had a special featuring Michael Franti. "Kat's review of Yell Fire!," in quotes because I am grabbing that link from Ava and C.I.'s "About the TV reviews." Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude, also grabbed, was kind enough to tell me that I could stop trying to figure out how to do links if I would just copy and paste from a page using the link I wanted. Dallas has been helping me here as has C.I. but tonight Dallas had plans he could not break, and had warned me of that two weeks ago. C.I. offered to help by talking me through or going into my draft and putting in the links for me but C.I. does more than enough already.

That was a long aside. Yell Fire! is a wonderful album and I was happily surprised that they had a special on that today. I am a rocking granny thanks to my grandchildren, especially Tracey and Jayson. If they don't already have something Kat is reviewing, they rush out to get it and the whole family gets to hear it. Jayson asked me to link to a TV review by Ava and C.I. and I am attempting to locate it. Here it is "TV: Bo provides the B.O. stinking up Fashion House." He loves that review and, like Rebecca, finds laughing at how awful Bo Derek is to be a great pick me up.

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

Wednesday, October 18, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq; Wednesday begins with the news of ten more US toops dying (on Tuesday) in Iraq; step back, Tricia, Bully Boy's now the Littlest Nixon; while Bully Boy gets cover the Poodle and the Puppet stumble; and the so-called coalition of the willing continues to dwindle.

Reuters reports that Slovakia will be leaving the coalition and taking all but 11 of their 110 troops with them and quotes Robert Fico (prime minister) stating, "Slovak soldiers can start packing their stuff because they have to be home in Feburary 2007".

Their eyes are all askingAre you in, or are you outAnd I think, oh man,What is this about?-- "In or Out" written by Ani DiFranco

Slovakia is out. The Poodle? He's trying to hang on as prime minister of England. AFP reports that Tony Blair "admitted" that troops might be "exacerbating" the continued chaos and violence in Iraq and might act as "provocation" for other acts of violence. It has not been an easy time for the Poodle. As his leaked schedule pointed out, he was supposed to be glad handing and in the midst of a publicity blitz. Instead, questions dog him. The questions continue due to Richard Norton-Taylor (Guardian of London) reporting British Brigadier Ed Butler's comments on the Afghanistan fighting in light of also declaring war in Iraq "meant British soldiers faced a much tougher task now." This follows on the heels of last weeks criticism by British General Richard Dannatt and Colin Brown (Independent of London) reporting yesterday that England's Home Secretary, John Reid, had admitted the wars were "radicalizing young Muslims." Reuters notes: "Blair and U.S. President George W. Bush are facing a barrage of criticism over Iraq as the death toll rises." Well at least they have each other (who else would have them), right? Or maybe not.

The puppet of the occupation? Is Nouri al-Maliki taking Bully Boy's promise that the US will not set a timetable for withdrawal of US forces too seriously? Probably so. The BBC reports that al-Maliki "ordered the release of a senior figure in the orgainsation headed by radical Shia cleric Moqtada Sadr." AFP observes the release is "another setback for US plans," notes that Sheikh Mazen al-Saedi was not only released but also "driven to a Sadrist office by the ministry of the interior." This at the same time that nearly 3,000 Iraqi police officers have been fired for breaking the law and/or derelicition of duty and, as Sabrina Tavernise (New York Times) reports, on the firing of the "two most senior police commanders from their posts" following the earlier "suspension of an entire Iraqi police brigade . . . on suspicions that some members may have permitted or even participated in death squad killings".

As the puppet government's concept of 'justice' continues to be questioned, al-Maliki holds dear to Bully Boy's promise that he's not planning on pulling his government's support. The puppet would do well to grasp he's dealing with the Littlest Nixon and that it's election time in the US. Or, as Jim Lobe (IPS) puts it, "If Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki were inclined to bet his life on President George W. Bush's latest assurances that there will be no timetable for withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq, he should probably give it a second thought." After all, Borzou Daragahi (Los Angeles Times) reports the strangely time re-emergence in Iraq of CIA-puppet and former Iraqi prime minister Iyad Allawi, while Paul Reynolds (BBC) and Julian Borger (Guardian of London) attempt to cover the strangely leaked 'plan' coming out of the James Baker study group which boils down to (a) involve Syria and Iran or (b) redeploy US troops so they're stationed outside of Iraq but able to 'swoop in' in hit-and-run type actions. The feasibility of either option is doubtful but, if Baker sings "I will be your father figure" loud enough, the hope is that it will appear Bully Boy has a 'plan' or is being handed a 'plan.' It's the Nixon playbook and why, despite Baker's many statements that nothing would be released before the election, the 'plan' has been leaked. It's also why Baker drew attention to his study group in the first place -- certainly not the smartest thing to do if you're hoping to keep it quiet.

Violence and chaos continue in Iraq.


CBS and AP report that a roadisd bomb killed four body guards and Ali Qassim al-Tamimi ("head of intelligence for the Maysan provincial police force") as they traveled between Amarah and Basra. AFP reports the death of three Iraqi soldiers (with three more injured) -- victims of a bombing in Kirkuk. Reuters notes a car bombing in Iraq that left five wounded ("central Baghdad") while "[a] car bomb targeting an Iraqi army patrol in central Baghdad" left five people wounded.


AFP reports the shooting death, in Suweira, of "a guard escorting an electricity company repair team". Reuters notes a police officer was shot dead in Baghdad.


AFP reports that three corpses were discovered in Suweira. Reuters reports that a police officer's corpse was discovered "between Kerbala and Hilla."

Meanwhile, CBS and AP report: "Local Sunni and Shiite leaders were meeting in an attempt to resolve the fate of more than 40 people missing since their 13-car convoy was waylaid at a checkpoint on Sunday outside Balad, where almost 100 people were killed in five days of sectarian fighting. The head of Iraq's security commission angrily accused the government of failing to resolve the crisis."

All the above as IRIN notes that Iraqi children aren't able to attend school due to the violence: " . . . only 30 percent of Iraq's 3.5 million students are currently attending classes. This compares to approximately 75 percent of students attending classes the previous year, according to UK-based NGO Save the Children." Also while Mariam Karouny (Reuters) reports that Ramadi has been 'staked': "Dozens of al Qaeda-linked gunmen took to the streets of Ramadi on Wednesday in a show of force to announce the city was joining an Islamic state comprising Iraq's mostlly Sunni Arab provinces, Islamists and witnesses said." Doesn't sound like something the Jimmy Baker Study Group planned for -- quick, someone order them some juiceboxes and fruit rollups so they can get back to 'work.' "Secession". Someone help Condi to her feet, sounds like "civil war" just became official.

Last week, The Lancet published the study on Iraqi deaths since the start of the illegal war and arrived at the estimate that the war had cost the lives of approximately 655,000 Iraqis. Dr. Curren Warf (at Consortium News) examines the study and notes that "the media has been unable to find a scientist critical of the study, [so] they've turned to policy wonks with literally no expertise in the health scienes." Those having questions about the study or wanting to learn more can attend The Medical Consequences of the War in Iraq: Health Challenges Beyond the Battlefield this Saturday (Oct. 21st) at the Grand Ballroom, Ackerman Union, UCLA -- registration for the conference begins at 8:30 a.m.(registration is $25) and the conference will last until 5:30 p.m. Dr. Warf will be among those attending. Also noting the study, Robert Scheer (Truthdig) concludes: "The point is that it is time for the Iraqis, like the Vietnamese, to make their own history. They can hardly make a worse mess of it."

Scheer's point is dead on but maybe it's hard to recognize reality in the Green Zone? James Hider (Times of London) provides Green Zone in a snapshot: "In the US-protected fortress, Iraq's Government huddles, riven by sectarian splits and cut off from its terrified people. Inside their bubble ministers live in comparatively luxurious compounds, each sectarian bloc divided from the next by barricades. They are hard to reach by telephone. Some spend more time outside the country than in it."

Today, the Washington Post reported that ten US troops died in Iraq on Tuesday (US military announced the deaths on Wednesday). The deaths are 'honored' by the US Defense Dept., Heather Wokusch (GNN) reports, which "quietly announced on Monday that mandatory anthrax vaccinations would resume for military personnel and civilians deploying to 28 countries across the globe and even for some based in the U.S." Prior to the illegal war in Iraq, one of the hottest topics within the military, for many years, had been the forced anthrax vaccinations. Don't suggest Donald Rumsfeld doesn't care . . . about screwing everyone over.

Turning to peace news, Ehren Watada's father has now done two speaking tours to raise awareness of his son's case. reported on his Monday appearance noting that: "If he [Ehren Watada[ is found guilty of all charges, he could get eight years in prison." Pam Wight (San Gabriel Tribune) reports on Bob Watada's Thursday engagement at First Friends Church and quotes Bob Watada stating: "After the Nurember trials you can't use 'I was just following orders' as an excuse anymore. He started thinking that he would be complicit in war crimes and crimes against humanity for participating in an illegal and immoral war." More information on Ehren Watada and other war resisters can be found at Courage to Resist.

And we'll close with this from Yuri Loudon (Internationalist Magazine)'s interview with Howard Zinn, Zinn explaining the illegal war: "The government set out to present false information. Colin Powell presented a detailed account of Hussein's WMDs, probably the most compact assembly of falsehoods that have ever been uttered in front of the United Nations. They then bombarded the public, aided by an uncritical press, with information that led them to believe that the United States was somehow in imminent danger and that we had to go to war. There was a barrage of information given to the public by the government, and then repeated by the press. This is clear evidence that the government cannot depend on the public's natural instinct to go to war; they have to work very, very hard; they have to propagandize and persuade them [the public] that war is necessary."

Monday, October 16, 2006

Kat's Place (Betty)

Betty with you tonight and let me say from the start, I think Ruth does a wonderful job filling in here on Wednesdays and C.I. on Fridays. In fact, I think Mondays are your weakest nights while Kat's gone but she's built up a sizeable following and we don't want her to lose that.

I was asked about Kat's place and I'll share a little on that. My kids and I usually stay with her when we go to California because Kat's so great with kids and because I always think, "People are going to get tired of them." (That's just me. Everyone's always wonderful with them.) I had my own images of Kat's place before we visited and I had given my kids a lecture about not playing with things. (Kat had told me it probably wasn't child proof.) They love Kat's place and except for my daughter who has to pat the ivy, they were very well behaved. (It helped that Kat provided a wicker basket full of toys and things they could play with.)

Kat has so many plants. It's almost like you're at a florist shop. Her ivy is huge. She's basically running it around the living room. It snakes around three walls now and then hangs (because it's not yet long enough for the fourth wall but getting there). My daughter knows plants because my parents have a garden and house plants. I have some fake flowers around my home but I don't have time to water so that's it for me. All three of my kids just stared at the ivy when they saw it. For some reason, I think because she saw Kat mixing some stuff together with the water to feed the ivy, my daughter is convinced that it's not a plant but a pet. So she has to pat it whenever we visit and usually talk to it.

The other thing you notice right off is all the vinyl albums in plastic sleeves. Kat has shelves and shelves of vinyl. She also has this amazing sound system and that's more prominent than her TV which shouldn't be a surprise to anyone coming to this site. She has a TV in the living room and a little one in the kitchen but she's pretty much listening to the radio (KPFA) and only turns on the TV if something's mentioned on a news break that she wants to catch video of.

She did some music writing in high school and college which I knew but I didn't realize who she'd met during that and since. She has a lot of photos of herself with various rock stars. There's also a rock or pop star who she always says she's going to note here (she slept with him). I wish she would. She takes a lot of photographs herself and they're all over the place, framed. (Me? All my photos are in this large Target sack. I keep meaning to put them into photo albums. I have baby books on all three kids and I did keep those up to date. But I've never found the time to put the photos into albums.) (I do have framed photos of my kids and family around my house.)

What else? She has all the Beatles lunch boxes that came out a few years ago but she also has a huge collection of lunch boxes period. My kids flipped over those. And Kat was too kind and told them they could use one while they were down. I said, "Just metal." But my daughter, who always manages to get her way without whining, worked Kat around her finger and got a plastic one (I was afraid they'd rip a plastic one) that was Dawn. I don't know Dawn. Or didn't. But my daughter loved that lunch box. (I think it's pink with Dawn's face real large and then pictures of Dawn's friends on it -- smaller pictues.) Since I didn't know Dawn, Kat took me to her parents house and drug out the doll collection (not Kat's, she was older up in the chain and any of her dolls are long gone). Dawn's are like Barbies (but less stacked and shorter, about six or seven inches tall, I think). Kat's mother insisted I let my daughter take them with her. I said no but Kat insisted (noting all of her own dolls got passed down and if her sister wanted these to go to her children, they'd be with them now and not in their parents home). So she, my daughter, cleaned up.

I think she's going to be a nightmare later in life. She doesn't ask and she doesn't insist. She just compliments it in such a way that she usually ends up with it. She likes her baby dolls but she's not really into Barbies. She'll play with them but not that much. I wonder if it's their size? The Dawns, she loves them.

I love Kat's mother. She reminds me of mine, they've both seen it all. They're just really no nonsense and straight forward and funny. I can't believe she raised so many children. I've got three and sometimes feel like I should get an award (Nobel Peace Prize?) just because they haven't ripped each other apart.

She knows everyone who lives around her, Kat, and that was a surprise. I have some neighbors that I know but not all of them. There's a couple two houses over and the husband was two grades ahead of me (the wife is from out of the area), so I know them and if I have a problem that needs to be fixed right away (lighting the heater, for instance), I can and do call on them. But that and a friend of my brother's are really it for me and we've been in this house for about four or five years now. That's really sad. But I'm getting out of the car at the end of the day and trying to get them inside and out of the school clothes. Then I'm cooking dinner, then we're eating, then I'm cleaning the dishes, then it's homework time for my two boys and by the time it's all over, the sun's down . . .

But Kat knows all her neighbors.

She's got two bedrooms and that was good when her younger siblings were doing the in and out of the parents' home journey. But now, it's home and it's reasonable. (It's actually three bedrooms but she's turned one into her dark room.) She has a lot of art stuff and the kids loved her showing them how to use some of that. She grows her own herbs in her kitchen window. Her place is really warm with a lot of natural light.

Let me plug "Ruth's Report" which I loved. Trina's "Halloween in the Kitchen" is her latest and she blogs on Saturdays so I always worry she gets overlooked. I love her recipes and use many of them in my own kitchen. And let me plug myself, "The Queen Bee Gets Stung." Also let me plug Mike's "Informed Dissent, Iraq, elections, and more" and he's really trying to get the word out on Informed Dissent. I can't listen to it unless someone makes me a tape. I'm one of the community members with an old computer and a dial up connection. Reading Mike's "Informed Dissent, Iraq, elections, and more" makes me want to listen. (Kat tapes The Morning Show for me. I don't get it in Atlanta. And thanks to C.I. who's been taping it for me while Kat's in Ireland.)

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

Monday, October 16, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq, Lynndie England speaks, Iraq's health care system continues to 'collapse,' Iraqi school children offer their opinions, Bully Boy makes another pledge that others will have to back up and, related note, two more US troops die in Iraq as CNN reports that the death count for 'coalition' forces has reached 3,000.

Starting with some of the reported violence in the continued chaos that is the illegal war.


Ibon Villelabetia (Reuters) reports that tweny people died in Baghdad as a result of two car bombings. CBS and AP note two more bombs, in Baghdad, that took the life of one police officer. Reuters reports three roadside bombs left three dead in Baghdad, while two security guards were wounded elsewhere (in Basra by "rocket-propelled grenades" and in Najaf by a roadside bomb). AFP reports a car bomb in Suweira left 15 dead and 35 wounded.


AFP reports that four people were shot dead in Khalis "near a bus terminal". Al Jazeera reports that Emad al-Farron ("brother of Munqith al-Faroon, the chief prosecutor in the genocide trial of deposed Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein") was shot dead in Baghdad. CNN reports that three poeple were shot dead in Muqdadiya. Reuters reports that a police officer was shot dead in Madaen and "two bodyguards of former Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari" were shot dead in Khalis.


Reuters reports that two corpses were discovered in Mosul. Al Jazeera notes that three corpses were discovered in Baquba. CNN reports that 26 corpses were discovered in Baghdad today.

CNN noted, the death toll for those serving in the 'coalition' has now hit the 3,000 mark and that includes: "119 British, 32 Italians, 18 Ukrainians, 17 Poles, 13 Bulgarians, and 11 Spaniards, as well as service members from Australia, Denmark, Estonia, Fiji, Holland, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Lativa, Romania, Salvador, Slovakia, and Thailand." US? Busy day for the US military as they issued three statements on deaths (all were announced today): two soldiers died Sunday in Salah Ad Din Province, two others also died Sunday in Kirkuk, and one died in Baghdad Sunday night. The toll for the month of October (US military fatalities) now stands at 58 with 2771 being the total since the start of the illegal war.

As the
Anchorage Daily News notes five soldiers from the 172nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team have died "since the unit's deployment was extended in August". AP reports that the fifth to die was Nicholas Sowinksi, a twenty-five year old from Tempe arizona who died Wednesday. As the AP notes: "Member of the Fort Wainwright-based brigade were told just days before they were preparing to return to Alaska that their one-year tour in Iraq would be extended. Some soldiers had already returned to Alaska and were sent back to Iraq." They died, to be clear, after they were backdoor drafted by completing their tour only to learn, at the last minute, that their tour was being extended. Also on the topic of Alaska, Charlie LeDuff (New York Times) reports on the burial of Billy Brown of North Slope, Alaska. Brown died during "training maneuvers at Camp Shelby in Missippi" so will not be included in the count of those who have died in Iraq -- he was fifty-four-years-old.

Despite all the above, Bully Boy apparently woke up this morning feeling groovy and wanted to share that "No April rain, No flowers bloom, No wedding Saturday within the month of June, But what it is, Is something true, Made up of these three words that I must say to you, I just called to say I love you . . ." And who better to share that with than the puppet of the occupation?
Daniela Deane (Washington Post) reports that Bully Boy called Nouri al-Maliki who'd heard rumors that he might be ditched in two months ("I put out for you!") and that Bully Boy explained he had no intention of leaving (while he leered at Iran and gave North Korea the once over). Deane reports the news came from Miss Rona -- Tony Snow who gushed over the call at today's press briefing.

Snow Job plays yenta while
Rick Jervis (USA Today) reports that puppet of the occupation Nouri al-Maliki "will not force militias to disarm until later this year" and that he explained the importance of patience from "his expansive, marble-and-gold-trimmed residence, a former palace of deposed leader Saddam Hussein located inside the tightly guarded Green Zone."

Outside the safety of the Green Zone,
Charles J. Hanley (AP) reports, the reality is that "reconstruction funds are drying up and they're [contractors] are pulling out" despite the fact that "[f]ewer than half the electricity and oil projects planned have been completed".

On the same issue,
David Wilson (CounterPunch) reports that that a little under a third of all Iraqis "live on less than $1 per day," that "[m]ore than 500,000 residents of Baghdad can only get water for a few hours a day due to leaking pipes and the inability of the city's water purifying plant to meet demand," "Iraq's power generation and supply grid is in a state of collapse," that a quarter of all Iraqi doctors have left the country since 2003, and that doctors practice at the risk of death squads, US snipers and more. [On the topic of fleeing, Sinan Salaheddin (AP) reports that the continued fighting in Balad, which has claimed at least 91 lives since Friday, has led "Sunni Muslims" to flee "across the Tigris River today."]

Reconstruction isn't the only thing being cancelled.
Michael Howard (Guardian of London) reports that the Iraqi reconciliation converence that was to have been held this coming Saturday has been cancelled and that "emergency reasons" are cited. If that seems strangely familiar, drop back to June 14th when the Arab League conference was yet again postponed because of 'instability.' The so-called 'crackdown' in Baghdad was about to start back then. It's been ongoing ever since with no real results.

Though the reconcialition conference is once again shoved back,
Stephen Negus (Financial Times of London) reports that a group calling itself the Mutayibeen Coalition is calling "for the creation of a separate Sunni Islamic state in the country."

As the illegal war continues,
Ali Al-Fadhily and Dahr Jamail (IPS) report on the mood in Iraq among school children in Khaldiya. One tells them, "Americans are bad. They killed my family" and another states, "God will send all Americans to hellfire."

Mike noted Pacifica's new program Informed Dissent which is a thirty minute, weekly program covering the national election. The September 23rd broadcast focused on the Iraq war and featured many discussions and reports. On the war, Jodie Evans (CODEPINK) declared, "This issue is effecting every other" and listed concrete examples of what isn't being funded as the illegal war is. Evans also noted that, "It's baffling to look at the Democratic Party and see how spineless and lacking in leadership they are." Informed Dissent airs once a week, a half-hour show, looking at the 2006 US elections, hosted by Mitch Jeserich and featuring contributions from many Pacifica broadcasters.

On the topic of elections,
Arianna Huffington (The Huffington Post) explains why No-Momentum may overtake Ned Lamont and urges Lamont to free himself of his handlers and find his own voice.

Tara McKelvey reports on Lynndie England who (a) has learned, via her lawyer, to say "I heard . . ." when speaking of incidents to avoid further charges, (b) is an animal lover who enjoyed, in Iraq, the corpses of goats and cats being used for 'fun,' (c) has not placed Charles Graner on the birth certificate or asked for a blood test because she does not want him to have any legal rights to her two-year-old son Carter. Janis Karpinsky offers that England chose to go along with Graner in abusing Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib (as directed from above) because: "In situations like Iraq, the first thing some young female soldiers look for is a protector -- a senior male, let's say, who's sitting in a vehicle with her. She says, 'I'm really afraid.' And he says, 'Don't worry.' A closeness develops. It's intentional on his part. And naive on hers. Graner is a big, hunky guy. He can probably put his arms around England and still touch his shoulders. Does she feel safe with him? Yes. And all she has to do is be sexually wild with him." McKelvey reports that for . . . Marie Claire. Let's repeat that, McKelvey reported it for Marie Claire. Translation, where is independent media? Good for Marie Claire, but where is independent media?

In peace news,
Ehren Watada is the first US military officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq. His father, Bob Watada, is completing his second speaking tour to raise awareness on his son:
Mon. 10/16 4:30-5:30 pm National Lawyers Guild of San DiegoRoom 300, Thomas Jefferson Law School, 2120 San Diego Ave, San Diego

Teresa Watanabe (Los Angeles Times) reports Bob Watada explaining that his son "heard the father of an injured soldier lament on a radio show: 'Why can't anyone stand up and stop all of this?'" and decided he had to stand up.

More information on Ehren Watada can be found at and more information on him and other war resisters can be found at Courage to Resist.