Saturday, December 09, 2006

Carolyn Ho on Saturday's RadioNation with Laura Flanders

The East coast gang posted early (right after The People's Iraq Study Group finished, I'm guessing). So let me note that.

Trina's "Baked Bananas in the Kitchen" is an essay you'll enjoy reading. She's got a recipe, don't worry, but she's also addressing issues of raising children and you don't want to miss it.

Rebecca's "robert parry" notes a truth teller (Robert Parry) and notes how we're surrounded by so many fakers and so few truth tellers.

Mike's "Krugman" addresses the not-so-brave-limb Paul Krugman chose to scamper out on Friday and I don't think many of us will forget that he chose to wax it on about the fifites on the anniversary of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg's execution. Oh the fifites were all that, were they, Krugman? Someone's suffering from Happy Days damage and it was on display in Friday's New York Times as well.

Elaine's "Danny Schechter on John Lennon" addresses thoughts on the meaning of art and the meaning of product. (I love it when Elaine writes about music.) I'll also give a heads up that Monday, Elaine will be writing about the community's latest weekly newsletter. Maria, Francisco and Miguel are putting this one out and they wanted two issues behind them before talking about. So check out Like Maria Said Paz for that on Monday. (And, if you're not aware, Elaine's site is named after Maria.)

Betty's "Choke a Moron and Send Him Packing" is hilarious. I was laughing when she read it over the phone to me this morning. Last night, I got asked what happens to the site and Betinna once she has all the pieces of her missing memory? I think it's obvious to any reader that Thomas Friedman lied to Betinna about her background. That's been built into the online novel from the beginning and you're getting the pay off right now. I can understand the concern because if Betinna knows what happened, or when, it seems like a logical conclusion to the novel, right? It's not the end. It will end in 2008.

Betty worked weeks and weeks figuring out what kind of a site she wanted to do, she did test pieces for weeks and weeks before she first posted anything. She has an outline she's working from. Betinna's discovery is only one piece of the plot. If you're worried, don't be. There's a big plot twist that will happen at the end of this coming summer. That will turn the whole thing off into another aspect and carry her through November of 2008.

November of 2008 is the target date for the community sites to stop. (Newsletters will continue.) Are we going to stick that? Some never agreed to that. Some are probably going to continue after that point. C.I.'s the one who came up with that (and just for The Common Ills). With all the time put into that site, C.I. needed a target date to work towards (to avoid being overwhelmed and to say, "Okay, I can do this it's only X more months."). But that's two years from now so who knows what will happen? Betty's talked of, if people continue past that date, keeping the title of her site the same but turning it into a blog.

I've read her outline, I know how the last chapter ends. It's an ending. I don't think there's any way that she can continue Betinna's story after the final chapter. But she's spent a lot of time on that site and, if she continues it after Betina's story comes to a close, it would make sense to keep the title and just turn it into a blog.

Let me also note Wally's "THIS JUST IN! GUNS AND BOMBS AND RUMSFLED!" and Cedric's "Donald wants to be a rock star" because Wally was putting it down. Ty, Wally and C.I. spent the last three days speaking to students and yesterday they were booked solid. C.I. was dictating the snapshot over the phone as they were headed to the airport. As soon as they got there, Wally and Cedric were on the phone with each other trying to get a post together and "we had nothing" (Wally). They had something, read the joint-post and see.

Carolyn Ho, Ehren Watada's mother, is on Radio Nation with Laura Flanders today (starts at 7:00 pm EST) so make a point to listen. And, as the snapshot notes, this is the weekend of resistance and awareness for war resisters so take part in activities, create your own, but get the word out.

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

Friday, December 8, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq; US war resister Kyle Snyder continues speaking out against the illegal war; Bitter, bitter, bitter, bitter Peggy Poop demonstrates that not everyone ages well; over 200 protest the war in San Francisco;
you know it's ugly when the US military dubs children 'insurgents'; and the Rumsfled has one more persona to test before he bows off the public stage.

Starting with peace news within the United States.
Kyle Snyder is currently traveling the West coast speaking out against the illegal war. Snyder was heavily and repeatedly targeted by a recruiter who promised the moon and delivered nothing. Because verbal agreements can be broken . . . on their end. On leave from Iraq, Snyder self-checked out and went to Canada in April of 2005. Happy there, speaking out, a job he enjoyed working with disabled children that paid well. Snyder began to consider returning to the United States. As October drew to a close, he did just that and on October 31st, turned himself in at Fort Knox only to self-check out again after discovering that the military that lied to him before had lied yet again.

KPFA's Flashpoints yesterday, Nora Barrows-Friedman interviewed Snyder. Barrows-Friedman noted his Army Corps of Engineers training and Snyder explained that he thought he'd be in Iraq doing construction "asphalt and concrete, laying foundations for schools, hospitals, roads." Instead, they made him a gunner and "an escort for high ranking officials." He saw a number of things in Iraq, reconstruction wasn't one of them.

Kyle Snyder: The things that I saw there for instance, you know, when we're told that we're liberating the people of Iraq and we're doing positive things you know I expect to at least see the civilians and stuff, you know, accepting us more. And basically accepting what we're doing. But children were flipping us off, they were begging for food and water almost all the time when I was out. I had seen people killed, I had seen people injured and it's just basically what led me to leave the war in the first place were the policies that drove the war. You know, when the Bush administration in 2004 and 2005 were saying 'We're liberating the people of Iraq' like I said I expect to see some of that happening. You know, no matter what rank you are, I think that we deserve to know why we're fighting. And basically it felt like a lie. It felt like a lie. And mainly because we couldn't explain what the mission was.

Despite a warrant for his arrest, Snyder's "going around speaking to povertized areas, mainly African-American and Latino communities, around the country because they're targeted by recruiters and I think that recruiters should tell people the truth." He didn't have that himself. No one was warning him. The mood of the country then was still Rah-Rah, he was targeted heavily in high school (recruiter evern came to his graduation) and he grew up in foster homes. Snyder knows what it's like to think some adult's really interested in you, really concerned about you, only to realize after they were just trying to hit their month's target goal.

Nora Barrows-Friedman: And Kyle, if you were speaking with a young person who was considering joining the military right now, they were weighing their options, what advice would you have for them and what would you talk about with their families?

Kyle Snyder: . . When a recruiter comes up and talks to you, it's not because you're a special kind of person. It's not because you have any type of thing that some other human being doesn't. And a lot of 17 and 18-year-olds assume that, you know? 'Oh a recruiters talking to me because I have some kind of special ability that no other person has.' And they over-glorify it making you know basically the Army into Rambo-like figures and things that you know are in action movies when that's not the case. They really need to look at what they'll be doing. . . . You're a gunner, medic, driver or, you know, an escort. Those are the only four jobs that are in Iraq regardless of what you sign up to do. I'd say, you know, if somebody signed up no matter what branch of service, I'd say it's about an 80% chance you're going to Iraq as long as the Bush administration is in power. So they really need to look at that and understand that, yes, they're going to Iraq as long as, like I say, the Bush administration has their say, the war's going to last. So they just need to understand that. And I can understand people that do join the military and that believe in what they're doing but they need to understand people like me as well --that are lied to to get into the military. And, you know . . . I don't know. That's basically all I can say.

Kyle Snyder is a public US war resister. He is part of a resistance movement within the military that also includes Darrell Anderson,
Ehren Watada, Joshua Key, Ivan Brobeck, Ricky Clousing, Mark Wilkerson, Camilo Meija, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Jeremy Hinzman, Corey Glass, Patrick Hart, Clifford Cornell, Agustin Aguayo, Joshua Despain, Katherine Jashinski, and Kevin Benderman. Those are some of the war resisters who have gone public and over thirty US war resisters are currently in Canada attempting to be legally recognized.

When asked to speak about this movement, Kyle Snyder noted, "There's over 8,000 AWOL soldiers in the United States right now, 200 in Canada, 38 have applied for refugee status in Canada and I'm hoping, you know, that they start coming out. And I know that some of them are going to be coming out in the next few months. . . . I could use Bush's words, 'Are we going to solve this problem now or are we going to wait for the next president 5 years from now, 10 years from now when 8,000 Iraq veterans are homeless or hiding in a corner because it wasn't taken care of like it could have been?'"

Rebecca wrote about Snyder's interview here.]

Information on this movement of war resistance within the military can be found at
Center on Conscience & War, The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline, and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters. Appeal for Redress is collecting signatures of active duty service members calling on Congress to bring the troops home -- the petition will be delivered to Congress next month.

Tina Kim (WorldNow) reports on Appeal for Redress and notes that Jonathan Hutto and others involved with the appeal will be holding a news conference next Wednesday at 11:30 a.m. to raise awareness on the project which is gathering signatures of active duty service members calling for the US troops to be brought home. The appeal will be presented to Congress in January. Jonathan Hutto was a guest last week on WBAI's Law and Disorder. [Mike noted it here.]

Today begins the National Days of Action to Support GI Resistance, called for by
Courage to Resist, which run through Sunday the 10th. Indybay IMC notes: "Other Bay Area Events: On Friday, December 8th, 7:30pm at the College of Marin in Kentfield, segments of the film 'Ground Truth' will be shown, and Iraq combat veteran-turned-war-resister Darrell Anderson will speak. Also that evening, at 7:30pm at the Buena Vista United Methodist Church in Alameda, the film 'The Ground Truth' will be shown, and there will be a panel with Rev. Michael Yoshii, and Bob Watada and Rosa Sakanishi. That night in San Jose, there will be a reception and fundraiser for Kyle Snyder at 6pm at the San Jose Friends Meeting House. On Saturday December 9th, there will be a peace vigil in support of Lt. Ehren Watada, in front of the MLK, Jr. Library in San Jose from 12-4pm. Read more about these events."

Sunday, the 10th, is also Impeachment Day and click
here for David Swanson's overview of the goals and list of events. Action is needed to end the illegal war. And each day it drags on, more and more are wounded, more and more die.

They Kill Civilians, Don't They?

CBS and AP report that, on Friday, "20 insurgents, including two women," were killed in a US airstrike (in the Salahaddin Province). The US military has a breathless press release on it that's all blah, blah, blah until this line: "Coalition Forces also found that two of the terrorists killed were women. Al-Qaida in Iraq has both men and women supporting and facilitating their operations unfortunately." And children too, right?

CBS and AP note that the area's mayor, Amir Fayadh, says that "seven women and eight children" were killed. AFP reporters "found and photographed relatives weeping over several mangled bodies, including those of at least two children, near the ruined homes." AFP also notes that the US military's flack Christopher Garver denies children were killed, even when presented with photographic evidence by AFP. Sameer N. Yacoub (AP) reports that the "charred and bloody blodies laid out" were covered with blankets and "An AP photo showed an Iraqi man who had pulled back one of the blankets and uncovered the face of one of the dead, who appeared to be a boy about 10 years old". Ibon Villelabeitia (Reuters) reports that "grieving relatives showed the bodies of five children wrapped in blankets to journalists."


CNN reports a bombing in Tal Afar that left three dead and a mortar attack in Baghdad that claimed four lives and left eight more wounded. Sameer N. Yacoub (AP) reports: "On the outskirts of Baghdad, three mortar rounds hit a Shiite residential area, killing 25 men, women and children, and wounding 22" according to police.


Reuters reports that Human Nuri ("head of customs in the city of Najaf) and his brother were shot dead in Baghdad while in another Baghdad incident an unidentified person was shot dead and three more wounded.


Reuters reports 18 corpses discovered in Baghdad.

Today, the
US military announced: "An improvised explosive device detonated near a Multi-National Division -- Baghdad patrol, killing two Soldiers south of the Iraqi capital Dec. 7. The Soldiers were conducting a dismounted patrol responding to a possible IED, south of the city, when a roadside bomb detonated, killing two Soldiers and wounding two others." And earlier today, the US military announced: "An improvised explosive device detonated near a Multi-National Division - Baghdad patrol, killing one Soldier in the Iraqi capital Thursday. The combat patrol was conducting joint operations with the Iraqi Army to prevent sectarian violence in a western neighborhood of the city when the bomb exploded near one of their vehicles."

And the
US military boasted of entering Falluja General, a civilian hospital, on a whim. Blood donors were needed . .. maybe 'insurgents' were present! Screw the rules guiding civilian institutions in warfare, lock and load, baby, lock and load. And it's those incidents and many others that explain why the war is lost.

In legal news, Cindy Sheehan, Medea Benjamin, Patti Ackerman and Missy Comley Beattie are on trial for excercising their right to free speech. To summarize the case so far, a dramatic recreation
based upon the reporting of Samuel Maull (AP).



Typical municipal courtroom. Well, maybe not 'typical,' it is Manhattan.

We see the DEFENSE TABLE where FOUR WOMEN listen: PATTI ACKERMAN, MISSY COMLEY BEATTIE, MEDEA BENJAMIN and CINDY SHEEHAN -- attracitve women all. They stare ahead intently

FOUR WOMEN'S P.O.V. -- a gnome-like woman, in a faded, tattered Kerry-Edwards: 2004 t-shirt, BITTER PEGGY KERRY, sputters on the witness stand in front of D.A. HAN who smiles and nods in sympathy.

I was on my way to meet the group, to take their
petition -- then I saw --

Bitter Peggy begins sobbing. hands her a tissue. Bitter Peggy looks over at the defense table and glares.

Then I saw -- Peace Mom!

Bitter Peggy points a menacing finger. Cindy waves and grins sheepishly.


Free speech, peace doves, compassion
Peace Mom
Passion, peace sign, bravery
Is Peace Mom
She's tinsel on a tree . . .
She's everything an American should be!
If you find one to emulate
Only one to emulate
Let it be Peace Mom . . .
Peace Mom!*

Han smirks to the defense table as DEFENCE attorney rises and walks to the witness stand.

Bitter Peggy Kerry, you agree that you were
notified that a petition would be dropped off?

Yeah, so?

And you agreed to accept the petition?

What of it?

You were on your way to accept the petition and
then something stopped you.

Peace Mom.

Just the sight of Cindy Sheehan was enough to
make you break your agreement?

Damn right. "Peace"? Please. I'm bitter
and angry and mad at the world. Keep Peace Mom
away from me. Every where she travels, there's always
a chance that, at any minute, peace could break
out! I hate her. I hate her! I hate her!

Bitter Peggy goes into spastic convulsions while Defense looks on. Alarmed, D.A. Han leaps to her feet.

Your honor, a recess?

I'll get that Peace Mom. I'll get her. I hate
her. I hate her like I hate kittens and puppies.
And Christmas! And peace! I hate peace!
War! I must have war! I do want war, I do!
Screw Peace Mom, find me Kill Mom! I want
Kill Mom. Kill mommy! Kill mommy!


So ends the docu-drama recreation. [*Earle Hagen and Sam Denoff wrote the theme to the TV program That Girl starring Marlo Thomas -- who also was the executive producer of the show.]

In other news of courage,
Steve Rubenstein (San Francisco Chronicle) reports on the 200 plus people march yesterday from Grace Cathedral to the federal building downtown which was led by Bishop Marc Handley Andrus to protest the Iraq war. The Bishop was among those arrested and he stated, "God is with all who have suffered in Iraq. This war needs to be opposed. Even though there is widespread sentiment against the war, we need to continue to push for peace. There is good reason to believe this is an unjust war." Zach notes that Wendell Harper reported, from the protest, on yesterday's The KPFA Evening News.

And finally, he's been the White Queen, the Scold, the Nag and, on his way out the door, the soon to be former US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld decided he wanted to try on one more persona: Axel Rose.
Kristin Roberts (Reuters) reports that the Rumsfled thinks what the world . . . needs . . . now . . . is just a little patience. Just a little patience.
The tragically unhinged Rumsfled declared that Iraq was still 'winnable' "if we have the patience and only if we have the staying power." Rumsfled's "staying power" -- obviously in question now -- can surely take credit for the 655,000 estimated Iraqis killed during the illegal war. To the would-be-Axel-Rose, the world responds, "There's no room for you here, go away, girl, there's no room for you here" (White Stripes).

kyle snyder

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Kyle Snyder on KPFA's Flashpoints right now

To answer the biggest question, "Where is the next review?", give me a week. I'll have one done by then. E-mails aren't the only place I get the question, Dona asked me about it today. I explained that I wanted to review David Rovics' Halliburton Boardroom Massacre. That and Ani DiFranco's Reprieve were the two reviews I was working on when I had to drop everything and go to Ireland.

My problem since I got back has been that I haven't been able to find my copy. Maggie swears she didn't borrow it while I was gone. She'll find it in a few weeks and say, "Hey, Kat, is this your CD?" That's Maggie. We love her, we know she spazzes. Her memory is perfect once it starts jogging. But it needs a long start up jog. Right now, she remembers borrowing a Stevie Wonder and a Phil Collins. I don't have Phil Collins in my CD collection. I'm sure she's mixed up and it's David Rovics.

But when I was explaining that to Dona, she mentioned C.I.'s copy and how C.I. wouldn't mind my borrowing it or even dubbing a copy while I wait for Maggie to realize which CDs she borrowed. Going to her place didn't help. I went there and Maggie's obviously taken the CD somewhere or loaned it out.

I didn't want to be a "Maggie" or pull a "Maggie," so I called Ty on his cell and asked him to check with C.I. (I don't know C.I.'s speaking schedule and figured it would be easier to reach Ty). Ty said, "Don't be silly." A half-hour later, C.I. called and said the same thing. So I'm at C.I.'s right now, hanging out with the gang, and I'll be grabbing the CD when I leave. Now, FYI, that may mean that while I'm working on the review, I'll have briefer posts here. So you've been warned. I am trying to post Monday through Friday, each day, to be sure to do my part to keep the focus on Iraq by posting the snapshot. Oh, Kyle Snyder is going to be on Flashpoints. KPFA's Flashpoints -- archived broadcast will be at either link. I'm going to toss a tape in the stereo and record it for C.I. so it can be in tomorrow's snapshot.

Here's today's "Iraq snapshot:"

Thursday, December 7, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq, AP estimates that there were 75 reported Iraqi deaths, war resister Kyle Snyder travels the West coast of the US speaking out against the illegal war, the James Baker Circle Jerk isn't fawned over by non-gas bags, Democracy Now! host a roundtable on Iraq, and Cindy Sheehan, Medea Benjamin, Missy Comley Beattie and Patti Ackerman fight for free speech in Manhattan.

Starting with peace news. As
Thomas Watkins (AP) observes, "For a wanted man, Pfc. Kyle Snyder is keeping a remarkably high profile." Recapping, Snyder self-checked out of the US military while on leave after serving in Iraq. He went to Canada in April of 2005. There he spoke out publicly and, following the return from Canada of US war resister Darrell Anderson, Snyder made the decision to return as well. On October 31st, turned himself in at Fort Knox only to self-check out again after discovering the military had lied yet again. Since then Snyder has been underground, surfacing to speaking out against the war.

Watkins reports that, despite a warrant being out on Snyder, he's traveling the West coast and speaking out such as in San Diego at the start of the week where his speech included, "Seeing children begging for food and water after two years of occupation, you really start to question if you are the good guy." Speaking with Snyder is war resister Darrell Anderson and, Watkins notes, "a mobile chapter of Iraq Veterans Against the War".

Indybay IMC noted, "Friday, December 8th, 7:30pm at the College of Marin in Kentfield, segments of the film "Ground Truth" will be shown, and Iraq combat veteran-turned-war-resister Darrell Anderson will speak. Also that evening, at 7:30pm at the Buena Vista United Methodist Church in Alameda, the film "The Ground Truth" will be shown, and there will be a panel with Rev. Michael Yoshii, and Bob Watada and Rosa Sakanishi. That night in San Jose, there will be a reception and fundraiser for Kyle Snyder at 6pm at the San Jose Friends Meeting House. On Saturday December 9th, there will be a peace vigil in support of Lt. Ehren Watada, in front of the MLK, Jr. Library in San Jose from 12-4pm." [Bob Watada is Ehren's father and Rosa Sakanishi is Ehren's step-mother.]

These events are part of the National Days of Action to Support GI resistance and GI rights" that
Courage to Resist is calling from this Friday (Dec. 8th) through Sunday (Dec. 10th).

David Zeiger (Common Dreams) writes of these actions and notes the importance of these actions: "Today the new GI resistance movement is growing -- more soldiers are going public with their opposition, thousands are going AWOL, the first GI coffeehouse opened recently (with internet!), and the antiwar movement is realizing that supporting these soldiers is the next step. It's time for us to escalate public pressure and action in support of the growing movement of thousands of courageous men and women soldiers who have in many different ways followed their conscience -- upholding international law, taking a principled stand against unjust, illegal war and occupation and standing up for their rights. Widespread public cupport and pressure will help create true support for courageous troops facing isolation and repression, and help protect their civil liberties and human rights."

Zieger is the director of
Sir! No Sir! which documents that war resistance within the military during Vietnam and, for those planning house parties, is highly recommended. (Click here for a community review.)

Right now,
events are known to be scheduled in Alameda, CA; Honolulu, HI; Kentfield, CA; Long Beach, CA; Maui, HI; Missoula, MT; Montpeiler, VT; Nanuet, NY; New York, NY; Olympia, WA; Portland, OR; San Francisco, CA; Santa Barbara, CA; San Jose, CA; Seattle, WA; Tallahassee, FL; Vancouver, B.C. Canada; Worcester, MA.

actions are to call for:

1) Support for War Objectors

2) Protect the Right to Conscientious Objection

3) Protect the Liberties & Human Rights of GI's

4) Sanctuary for War Objectors

Thomas Watkins (AP) notes, "The Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force have seen some 19,000 troops total go AWOL since 2001." Kyle Snyder, Darrell Anderson and Ehren Watada are among the US war resisters who have gone public. They are part of a resistance movement within the military that also includes Joshua Key, Ivan Brobeck, Ricky Clousing, Mark Wilkerson, Camilo Meija, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Jeremy Hinzman, Corey Glass, Patrick Hart, Clifford Cornell, Agustin Aguayo, Joshua Despain, Katherine Jashinski, and Kevin Benderman. Those are some of the war resisters who have gone public and over thirty US war resisters are currently in Canada attempting to be legally recognized.Information on war resistance within the military can be found at Center on Conscience & War, The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline, and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters. Appeal for Redress is collecting signatures of active duty service members calling on Congress to bring the troops home -- the petition will be delivered to Congress next month.

As the US administration demonstrates no desire to end the war, the fatalities pile up.
AP estimates 75 reported deaths of Iraqis on Thursday. Some of those deaths include:


Reuters notes one dead and another wounded from a roadside bomb in Riyad.


In Baghdad,
Reuters reports, "the deputy chief of al-Sadoun police station," Basil Abdullah, and two of his guards were shot dead. AP reports an attack on "a school in western Baghdad, killing the Sunni headmaster in his office and threatening teachers not to return".

Dropping back to Wednesday,
Aseel Kami (Reuters) reports that Al Harith Hassan was shot on his way to work yesterday morning and died enroute to a hospital. Kami notes that he was "[o]ne of Iraq's best-known psychiatrists" and "dean of Baghdad University's psychiatric centre".


Reuters reports three corpses were discovered in Iskandariya. AP reports that 48 corpses were discovered in Baghdad.

And the deaths do not happen is isolation or in a vacuum.
Dahr Jamail and Ali Al-Fahdily (IPS) address the issue of a nation where "Widows are the flip side of violence that has meant more than a million men dead, detained or disabled" and how this growing and increasing reality happens in a country where international NGO's pulled out in October 2005. Jamail and Al-Fahdily note that if a woman can afford a bribe, she may be able to get on the country's new relief program that pays out widows one hundred dollars a month which, as Haja Saadiya Hussein notes, "is not enough to support my big family." This at a time when, as Matt Weaver (Guardian of London) notes "what is becoming the biggest refugee crisis in the world" (according to Refugees International) is resulting from the daily chaos and violence in Iraq with (UN figures) over 100,000 Iraqis leaving the country each month and over 1.8 million Iraqis now living outside of Iraq not by 'choice' but for safety.

In the face of these realities,
CNN reports, Iraq has scheduled, not one, but two, conferences -- with one among neighboring nations and the other "to include the United Nations and Arab League" but, no real rush apparently, they'll take place in 2007. Also in no real apparent rush is the US administration. On CNN's Larry King Live last night, King attempted to pin Tony Snow down about a "timely fashion" asking that he "Define that" and Tony Snow, admistration's mouth piece, declared that "maybe by the end of the year, the president can announce a new way forward." Maybe. Or, as Cat Power would sing, "Maybe Not."

AFP reports, Bully Boy and England's prime minister Tony Blair are meeting in DC. And any thoughts that the laughable report issued by the James Baker Circle Jerk would have taken any Bully out of the Boy were misguided. CNN reports that Bully Boy's already tossing the bull/weight around as he tells two soverign nations, Iran and Syria, what they need to do in order to participate in any talks regarding Iraq. Phyllis Bennis (Institute for Policy Studies), speaking with Philip Maldari and Andrea Lewis on KPFA's The Morning Show, today explained that the US administration has created a climate where neither Iran or Syria may feel the need to meet the US administration half-way. [Thanks to Zach for noting that.]

While most in the mainstream press fawn over the report from the James Baker Circle Jerk,
Democracy Now! devoted the hour to a serious critique of the report today. Amy Goodman spoke with Congress members Barbara Lee and Lynn Woolsey. Woolsey termed it "too little, too late." Lee stated, "too many of our young men and women have died. This is a senseless war. It's wrong. We need to bring our troops home and we need to bring them home now. I do not agree with the timetable that they laid out in the report. I mean, look at how many -- eleven more young people died yesterday." Also participating in the roundtable was author Anthony Arnove (IRAQ: The Logic of Withdrawal) who stated that "the report offers only a slight correction of course for a policy that needs fundamental reversal." Woolsey noted that Democratcs in Congress should be listening to the people, that the message of the November election was change and that people are ahead of elected officials on this issue . Sami Rasouli, of the Muslim Peacemakers Team, joined the roundtable discussion from Najaf and observed that if American forces left Iraq, any al-Qaeda forces would as well. Rasouli also noted that only 1300 al-Qaeda forces are said to be in Iraq and that the report demonstrates that Bully Boy's false claims before the start of the illegal war and to this day (that the US is there to fight 'terror'). Antonia Juhasz, author of The BU$H Agenda, joined the discussion to note that the James Baker Circle Jerk report advocates the privatization of Iraq's oil industry: "should be reorganized as a commercial enterprise, the proposal also says that, as you [Amy Goodman] say, Iraq's oil should be opened up to private, foreign energy and oil companies, also, another radical proposal, that all of Iraq's oil revenues should be centralized in the central government, and the report calls for a US advisor to ensure that a new national oil law is passed in Iraq to make all this possible and that the Constitution of Iraq is ammended to ensure that the central government gains control of the all of Iraq's oil, oil revenues. All told the report calls for privatization of Iraq's oil, turning it over to private, foreign, corporate hands, putting all the oil in the hands of the central government and essentially, I would argue, extending the war in Iraq to ensure that US oil companies get what the Bush administration went in there for, control and greater access to Iraq's oil."

Anthony Arnove brought up the issue of reparations noting the need to think "about what happens after withdrawal and I think we have to raise a demand for reparations to be paid to the Iraqi people, reparations not only for the harm and destruction caused by this illegal invasion and occupation, but all the years before that, when the United States supported sanctions on the country, and before that supported the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein, armed, trained, funded and backed Saddam Hussein as he carried out the worst of his abuses."

David Swanson (Let's Try Democracy) notes that the James Baker Circle Jerk recommends toothless talking points re: permanante bases in Iraq while "we are spending billions of dollars to construct bases in Iraq for the U.S. military. The new Democratic majority in Congress knows this, knows the damages these bases are doing, and knows the good that could be done by making better use of all that money, not to mention the lives lost in the process. If we speak up, perhaps the new majority will also know how quickly it can become a minority again if it does not seize this issue, expose it, and set it right."

Edward Wong and Abdul Razzaq Al-Saidi (New York Times) survey Iraqi people (the ones that the James Baker Circle Jerk was allegedly concerned about) and find that the hand jive is most popular . . . inside the heavily fortified Green Zone but even there it's not overwhelmingly popular. In the United States, Peter Smith(Courier-Journal) looks at Kentucky's reaction -- apparently having little interest in 'official sources' and gas bags, decides that the plan is far from embraced -- and quotes Anita Anderson, mother of US war resister Darrell Anderson, who notes the 'maybe' of some-sort of withdrawal in 2008 and states, "I can't even imagine the young boys that are going to be damaged, and the young girls. I've talked to active-duty soldiers, ones in Iraq. They're not doing well over there."
Tom Hayden (The Huffington Post) offers a six point plan that addresses Anita Anderson's concern of time by advocating a US withdrawal "in months rather than years," peace talks, a "special envoy" working towards "conflict resolution, not a military solution," acceptance that the puppet government doesn't represent Iraqis and much more. Military Families Speak Out's co-founder Nancy Lessin declares of the James Baker Circle Group's report, "Each one of these is wrong and will not produce the desired effect. The real problem is the U.S. occuaption." And Nancy A. Youssef and Hannah Allam (McClatchy Newspapers) note that the report has many flaws and zoom in on: "The group also recommends that the U.S. add more advisers, including Department of Justice officials for Iraq's frail judicial system. But the U.S. already has advisers throughout the government. Indeed, scores of coalition soldiers fill the halls of the Interior Ministry on any given day."

So what's a person to do?

"Go for your dreams, be true to your heart and listen to your gut. If your path starts to go astray, jump out of the road and take a romp through the woods."

That's activist and
CODEPINK co-founder Medea Benjamin's advice for young girls and women which she shares with Bay Area Business Women. It's advice she puts into practice in her own life and currently that's taken her to Manhattan where she, Cindy Sheehan, Patti Ackerman and Missy Comley Beattie are on trial for . . . failure to yield right-of-way? Refusal to disown the right to peaceable assembly?

In a
new release calling for charges to be dropped, CODEPINK notes that the charges stem from the attempt on March 6th to deliver a petition calling for the end of the war (a petition 72,000 people had signed) to the then UN Ambassador for the US, John Bolton. In 2005, the petition had been dropped off with no problem. In 2006, the four women were part of a group of fifty that "was stopped by the New York City police and four of the leaders were arrested and charged with trespassing, disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and obstructing government adrministration." As they had done in 2005, they had phoned ahead of time to say that they would be dropping off the petition. Dropping off a petition signed by American citizens now means that a building (US Mission to UN) needs to go into lockdown and the police need to be called? In Bully Boy's America, apparently so.

Rebecca (Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude) observes, "when cindy sheehan's on trial, we're all on trial. . . a public building meaning 'open to the public,' the women wanted to deliver a petition (no danger there), they called ahead of time, the place decides to shut down to avoid them. if the place's business was interfered with, that came when the building decided to go into lockdown. if a manhattan prosecutor wants to prosecute some 1, prosecute the people who made the call that u.s. citiznes were not welcome." (Rebecca notes that an audio report of the case can be found on yesterday's The KPFA Evening News.)

iraqehren watadabob watadakyle snyder

amy goodmandemocracy now

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Guns and Butter

Today, KPFA aired the latest Guns and Butter episode and you can listen to it at either link if you have the computer capabilities and the hearing capabilities. I know we have members have in the community who self-describe as hard of hearing, hearing impaired and deaf. And I know they're more than forgiving when we say, "You can listen . . ." They realize that the audio links that we all try to provide are mainly for some couples who are members where one of them has vision problems or is blind. They don't see it as a slap in the face when any of us write, "You can listen." Bronwyn e-mailed today and we exchanged several e-mails throughout the day (and she gave permission for me to note this here).

Last week, I didn't mention KPFA's Guns and Butter. Bronwyn enjoys the entries on the program and enjoyed it when Ruth would pick it up while I was in Ireland. She's never going to be able to listen because she is deaf. So the summaries here are helpful and "It's my favorite show to read about."

What prompted the e-mail was that I hadn't written about the show last week. The week before, Ruth had noted that it wasn't going to air but Bronwyn had forgotten that and was just e-mailing to say she hoped I'd note it today and she knew I was probably still depressed (over the death of a relative) so she'd understand if I didn't have the time.

It didn't air last week. That's why I didn't mention it. And, like an idiot, I assumed anyone interested in the show would know that. If they didn't, they could just go to either KPFA or Guns and Butter like they would to listen, right?

I wasn't thinking and I'll try to remember to note it when the show doesn't air. I just took something for granted that I shouldn't have.

So let's talk about today's program which was a rebroadcast from 2003 and one of my favorites (my list of favorites for this show would be very, very long). My all time favorite? The one where Bonnie Faulkner highlighted the work of Mae Brussel.

Lawrence Teeter is dead now. He died in July of 2005. He was an attorney and the speech revolved around the case of one of his clients, Sirhan Sirhan who was accused of killing Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Teeter wasn't the original attorney. In fact, he wouldn't have been old enough to be. In 1968, I don't believe he would have been twenty-years-old. (He died very young.)

He came into the case much later. After Sirhan Sirhan was in prison.

Working through archives of various evidence and research, he was able to poke holes into the official story.

Grant Cooper was the attorney in court and he not only provided a lousy defense, he had huge conflicts of interests.

One of the biggest holes is that if Sirhan Sirhan was in front of RFK why do the shots not much up to him being shot from the front?

But there is evidence tampering and destruction, leads not pursued, you name it.

I think most people agree he was hypnotized in some form -- that was a part of the defense argument from the beginning and backed up by an expert. When the expert showed him a quarter in the jail cell, Sirhan Sirhan immediately went under and then the doctor instructed him to climb his jail cell like a monkey which Sirhan Sirhan ended up doing.

For those who would like to more, I made a point to surf around the net and this is a statement (text) Lawrence Teeter put out on the 30th anniversary of RFK's murder.

Another point I'll raise is that Bonnie Faulkner didn't know whether Sihran Sirhan has a new attorney yet? I couldn't find out anything on that either. Not a surprise, Faulkner's a journalist and if she couldn't find it, I wouldn't. But that's not what I was looking for.

I was interested in his death. This is a LA Times obit (that ran in the Contra Costa Times):

Lawrence Teeter, a criminal defense and civil rights attorney who had tried for the past decade to overturn the conviction of Sirhan Sirhan for the 1968 assassination of Robert F. Kennedy, has died. He was 56.
Teeter died Sunday in Conchitas, Mexico, where he had gone to seek alternative treatment for advanced lymphoma, said attorney Frank Weiser.

I was interested not in the cause, but whether it was natural causes. Not because that would mean whether or not Teeter was 'taken out' but because if it was natural causes, and it was a disease, it seems like a lawyer would prepare for it. For most of us, that would be a will. For an attorney, I would expect preparation to include who would represent the clients. So I found that strange.

That's it for me tonight. Oh! One more thing. Ruth did a wonderful job filling in for me (as did everyone) and, if you've missed it, her latest "Ruth's Report" went up Sunday. Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Wednesday, December 6, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq, the James Baker Circle Jerk finally spews, Dow Jones reports ten US soldiers dead in Iraq today from two IEDs, and the Democrats demonstrate that "bipartisan" is Beltway Latin for "Screw the voter."

Starting with the vocab lesson first, for all the gas bagging after the election by The Elector (in all their forms) and all the talk of "change" and "listening to the people," Democrats -- swept into power by voters wanting change -- demonstrate that "bipartisanship" is just Beltway Latin for "Screw the voter." First up was the character assassination took John Murtha out of the running for the post of House Majority Leader and allowed War Hawk Steny Hoyer to be installed. Last week Dems were supposed to be cheerleading around the nation over Silvestre Reyes who was being installed as House Intelligence Committee chair. "Yeah, Silvestre!" was the kind of "critique" the public got as the gas bags of the left (and 'left') tried to paint over the fact that others were (again) passed over. Now,
Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) notes an interview Reyes gave to Newsweek where he expressed his desire to send an "up to 30,000" additional US troops to Iraq.

The vocabulary lesson is not limited to House Dems, Democrats on the Senate Armed Service Committee collectively stated, "Screw the voter." As
Robert Parry (Consortium News) observes, "Despite winning the Nov. 7 elections largely due to public anger over the Iraq War, congressional Democrats crumbled in their first post-election confrontation with President George W. Bush on the future direction of that conflict."

As elected Dems attempt to 'educate,' the mainstream press attempts to present the marginalized as the norm. Though polls repeatedly demonstrate US citizens want US troops out of Iraq, though polls repeatedly demonstrate that Iraqi citizens wants US troops out of Iraq, Big Media thinks they can pull one over on the public again.

Tossing Judith Miller onto the stake and burning her as the public scapegoat is supposed to satiate the masses and allow
War Pornographer Michael Gordon to get off scott free again. (Gordo was Miller's writing partner quite often including on one story that was mentioned in the Times' mini-culpa.) Norman Solomon (Common Dreams) observes that Gordo and David Sanger have both contributed articles pushing the "the US must stay myth" and concludes: "What's now going on in mainline news media is some kind of repetition compulsion. And, while media professionals engage in yet another round of conformist opportunism, many people will pay with their lives."

It's not limited to the New York Times, but to stay on Gordo and the Times,
FAIR notes that, on November 15, 2006, Gordo was on CNN telling Anderson Cooper "while the politicians in the United States would like to see a withdrawal of forces, particularly on the Democratic side, that's simply not realistic given how precarious the security situation is at this point in time" and drawing a comparison between Democrats who actually call for a withdrawal (there are a few of those) and 'insurgents': ". . . there are a significant number of players in Baghdad today who don't mind if the Americans withdraw. These are the militia leaders. They would be happy if the United States withdrew . . ." Now does any of that sound anything like a policy judgement or recommendation?

Because when attempting to foist his bad book off on the public, Gordo refused to weigh in on the war itself,
telling Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!), "Well, that's a policy judgement and a political judgement that's really beyound the scope of our book."

But now, he can can make those judgements? Of course he can, he made them during the invasion as well -- in fact, he made them on CNN. March 25, 2003,
Gordo took the CNN airwaves (Aaron Brown's now cancelled show) to cheerlead a US attack of a civilian target, a TV station, stating, "And personally, I think the television, based on what I've seen of Iraqi television, with Saddam Hussein presenting propaganda to his people and showing off the Apache helicopter and claiming a farmer shot it down and trying to persuade his own public that he was really in charge, when we're trying to send the exact opposite message, I think, was an appropriate target." Three year later, Juan Gonzalez (Democracy Now!) noted to Gordo that his [Gordo's] remark were "condemned by many journalism organizations around the world" and Gordo sputtered: "Well, I think, when -- you know, I don't know what was in General Franks' mind . . ." Blah, blah, blah. Gordo can't own his own mistakes, neither the can the paper.

Judith Miller was one person. The dog pile on her while others were ignored created a climate of impunity. Ditch digger Dexy is outed as a the go-to-boy (outed by a mainstream daily) for the US military and, if noted, it's reduced to an aside. While everyone obsessed and dog piled on Judith Miller's pre-war 'reporting' (which included co-writers), there wasn't time to call
sob sister Dexy out. Even now, as the paper's attempts to marginalize US public opinion is called out, who's noting the story, filed from Iraq, that couldn't find a single Iraqi who wanted the US to withdraw (a position held by the majority of Iraqis)? No one.

Miller's departure changed nothing at the paper. But bash-the-bitch and golden oldies did allow many to feel, three years later, that they were 'commenting' as they again trotted out the name "Judy Miller." The only thing surprising about Gordo is that
his war porn has taken so long to be called out.


Qais Al-Bashir (AP) reports a mortar attack in the Sadr City section of Baghdad which took 8 lives and left "dozens" wounded. while in Iskandariyah, a bomb claimed 4 lives and left at least 12 wounded. The US military reports a blast "near the Old Ministry of Defense building in the Rusafa neighborhood of central Baghdad" which killed at least 15 Iraqis and left 25 more wounded. Reuters reports that a bomber "blew himself up inside a minibus" in Baghdad resulting in 3 other deaths and at least 16 people wounded


KUNA reports a British soldier wounded in Basra "after armed clashes between British troops and an armed group". Conflicts in Basra have already resulted in the British pulling embassy staff out of the area. Reuters reports a police officer was shot dead in Hawija while a police brigadier was wounded in an attack in Baghdad and his driver shot dead, another shooting attack in Mosul left a college professor wounded, and in Khalis an attack on a farm workers traveling in a bus left one dead and eight wounded. On the college professor, CNN notes this is "a day after Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki pledged that the government would protect professors and students in the wake of a Sunni insurgent group's threat to target professors and students."


Reuters reports three corpses were discovered in Mahmudiya, one in Kirkuk and a headless one in Mosul. And, in an update, Reuters notes that 48 corpses ("gunshot wounds . . . signs of torture) were discovered in Baghdad.

US military notes: "A Multi-National Division - Baghdad Soldier was killed during combatoperations in the Iraqi capital Dec. 3" and also says 'Woops! We issued the information on two deaths in two different press releases Sunday!' ICCC counts 2907 US troops dead in Iraq since the start of the illegal war. And AFP notes that the total of US troops who have died in Iraq has passed the 2900 mark and counting. This comes as Dow Jones reports that 10 US troops have been killed in Iraq today and cites MSNBC on the "two incidents involving improvised explosive devices." That would take the 2907 up to 2917. And possibly it will also give the New York Times and others still silent the chance to note that the 2900 mark was passed?

The James Baker Circle Jerk released their report today. The thing that should stand out the most is that the 142 page report is actually 96 pages (with illustrations) and that 36 pages are end credits -- including a special spotlight for each member. Apparently, notions of a group shot were ditched due to the fact that a visual like that would have most Americans asking who those Circle Jerkers were supposed to reflect? They're old, they're White (one African-American), they're male (one woman). "Tell Us What To Do About The War, Rich Gramps?" could be the working title.

Having stroked each other raw, the Circle Jerk spews 79 recommendations. With few exceptions, they're all based on a principle: "Stupid Iraqis! We will educate you!" You see that in "Recommendation 76" and its focus on "civilian tasks" and "key civilian agencies, including Treasury, Justice, and Agriculture" which "need to create similar technical assistance capabilities." Every now and then, a concrete recommendation stumbles in such as "Recommendation 72" which addresses the requesting of funds for the war ("should be included in the President's annual budget request, starting in FY 2008: the war is in its fourth year") or noting that need to keep an accurate count of incidents of violence and death.

But in the end, you're left with gas bags tasked to do the job that Congress should have. In the real world, the people's
Iraq Study Group released their findings last week. Using the same phrase, The Nation notes a poll by World Public Opinion who will release their full results tomorrow. The summary of the polling is currently available. From that:

*1,326 Americans were surveyed.

*75% of respondents desire talks between the US and Iran (something Bully Boy is nixing,
click here)

*58% of respondents want a timetable for withdrawal

*78% of those who identified Democrat "think U.S. forces should be out within two-years or less, including 61 percent who favor a one-year or less"

*Withdrawal is supported even stronger by respondents "if the majority of the Iraqi people say they want the U.S. to commit to withdraw U.S. forces"

From the summary: "A poll of the Iraqi public conducted by in September 2006 found that 71 percent want U.S.-led forces to commit to withdraw within a year." Again, the full results will be released tomorrow.

William Roberts (Bloomberg) reports that Tom Vilsak (who declared he was running for the Democratic Presidential nomination in 2008) has called for the withdrawal of "most American troops from Baghdad and southern Iraq" and declares, "We have created an opportunity for the people of that nation and its government to make fundamental decisions for themselves. We have given them enough time."

Nancy Trejos (Washington Post) reports that Nouri al-Maliki wants a "regional conference on stabilizing his country but rejected a proposal from U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan that it take place outside Iraq."

Finally, in peace news US war resister
Ehren Watada is noted as the United Methodists reflect on 2006: "United Methodists rallied in support of Army Lt. Ehren Watada, 28, who has refused deployment to Iraq because he feels the war is 'morally wrong' and 'a breach of American law.' He faces charges of missing troop movement, conduct unbecoming an officer and contempt towards officials. United Methodists joined a vigil and rally at Fort Lewis in Tacoma, where Watada is being held."

And as
Indybay IMC notes, "December 8th through 10th with be National Days of Action to Support GI resistance and GI rights." More information can be found at Courage to Resist and in the Bay Area, "Friday, December 8th, 7:30pm at the College of Marin in Kentfield, segments of the film "Ground Truth" will be shown, and Iraq combat veteran-turned-war-resister Darrell Anderson will speak. Also that evening, at 7:30pm at the Buena Vista United Methodist Church in Alameda, the film "The Ground Truth" will be shown, and there will be a panel with Rev. Michael Yoshii, and Bob Watada and Rosa Sakanishi. That night in San Jose, there will be a reception and fundraiser for Kyle Snyder at 6pm at the San Jose Friends Meeting House. On Saturday December 9th, there will be a peace vigil in support of Lt. Ehren Watada, in front of the MLK, Jr. Library in San Jose from 12-4pm. Read more about these events."

democracy nowamy goodmanjuan gonzalezthe new york timesmichael r. gordon
the washington postnancy trejos
robert parry
norman solomon
ehren watada

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Hype express hits a pothole

Have you ever had a dream where you see something happening? Let's say a car wreck. You can see it about to happen and you can scream at the top of your lungs but nothing will prevent it. That's pretty much what listening to today's hearing on Robert Gates' nomination to be Secretary of Defense was like. It happened in slow motion. And there was no way the committee was going to give him a thumbs down (possibly they were sleeping as well?). They've approved him, unanimously. What a proud moment for slackers and shirkers everywhere.

Did the November elections even happen or were they a dream too? I thought all our leading magazines of the left were telling us it's all changed! Now!

Guess the hype express hit a pot hole, huh?

Well if small media can hype, you know big media can. And on that, Norman Solomon's "Media Sham for Iraq War -- It's Happening Again" (Common Dreams):

The lead-up to the invasion of Iraq has become notorious in the annals of American journalism. Even many reporters, editors and commentators who fueled the drive to war in 2002 and early 2003 now acknowledge that major media routinely tossed real journalism out the window in favor of boosting war.
But it's happening again.
The current media travesty is a drumbeat for the idea that the U.S. war effort must keep going. And again, in its news coverage, the New York Times is a bellwether for the latest media parade to the cadence of the warfare state.
During the run-up to the invasion, news stories repeatedly told about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction while the Times and other key media outlets insisted that their coverage was factually reliable. Now the same media outlets insist that their coverage is analytically reliable.
Instead of authoritative media information about aluminum tubes and mobile weapons labs, we're now getting authoritative media illumination of why a swift pullout of U.S. troops isn't realistic or desirable. The result is similar to what was happening four years ago -- a huge betrayal of journalistic responsibility.

Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" and I'm kicking myself for saying Sunday, when asked, that I thought I'd just hang out at the home base this week. Wally, Ty and C.I. went to DC. Next time.

Tuesday, December 5, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq, the Senate Armed Service Committee stages a new comedy, and the 2900-dead mark has been passed, who's noting it?
Starting with the American troop fatality count.
On Sunday, ICCC made the call that 2900 US troops had died in Iraq since the start of the illegal war. Yesterday, Sandra Lupien noted the 2900 mark on The KPFA Evening News. Today, Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) notes: "The US death toll in the war has topped 2900." CNN's counts 2,901 while also reporting 2899. The latter figure is what the Defense Department goes with as well, 2899. ICCC reports the number is 2906 (which is what we'll go with).
Does the number matter? It should. It should matter especially if you're appearing before Congress.
Robert Gates, who would like to replace Donald the Rumsfled as Secretary of Defense, cited another number: 2892. Testifying today, he goes with 2892? If this is Gates "on the ball," let's all worry.
KPFA's Larry Bensky and Aaron Glantz are anchoring the gavel-to-gavel coverage of Gates' confirmation hearing and it's being carried live on KPFA, WBAI, KPFT, KPFK, KCFC and at
at the
Pacifica website. Those not in broadcast range can listen online at any of the links provided in the previous sentence. (And if you missed the live coverage, you can use the links for an archived broadcast.) While Pacifica Radio covers the hearings live NPR decided to 'hit hard' by covering the celebrity auction of Dick Clark.

So along with grasping that Gates doesn't care enough about the job to use any accepted figure for the US military's fatality toll, what else have we learned? Bob Dole did standup early on. The former US senator was one of two walking Gates down the aisle. Who gives Gates away? Dole and Doren. Dole told a joke about how the phone rang asking that "Senator Dole" introduce Gates and, too late, Bob Dole realized they meant Elizabeth Dole (his wife who is currently a US senator). Having wowed 'em like he hasn't since he schilled for Pepsi with Britney Spears, Dole stepped aside for the Senate's own Norma Desmond: David L. Boren.

Boren was supposed to be introducing Gates but instead seemed lost in the past, a murky one, that needed to be reclaimed unless we were are prepared to "ultimately destroy the fabric" of the country. Boren couldn't shut up about the past including "15 years ago." So let's take a look at the Senate when Boren still served on it.

Boren did sometimes work with people on the other side of the aisles: Democrats. Though supposedly a Democrat, he was usually to be found triangulating with Republicans. Boren's 'bipartisanship' resulted in many things, a greatest hits reel can't be provided here. But two highlights. Boren voted to confirm Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court. The country still suffers as a result. Boren was among those who put "civility" above the truth regarding Iran-Contra and, it can be argued since many of the same players repeat today, that doing so implicates him in today's illegal war.

Possibly, he shouldn't grab that white Bible with his bloodied hands? White Bible? Oh, the one he used to publicly swear that he wasn't gay back when those rumors floated. Today's heart-felt intro recalled a great deal of the drama of that 1979 moment.

Robert Gates told Senator John Warner that he felt the Bully Boy wanted him "to take a fresh look and all options are on the table" regarding Iraq. But some things do not require a "fresh look," apparently. On the issue of remaining in Iraq, Gates stated that it seemed to him that the US would "have to have some presence in Iraq for a long time." He then offered the WRONG number and mentioned a woman who approached him to declare, "I have two sons in Iraq. For God's sake, bring them home safe."

After that, it all got even zanier as there appeared to be a contest among Republicans to see who could look the most insane as they attempted to scare Americans and spin the illegal war.

Honorable mentions go to the following:

Jeff Sessions who declared both the need to "reach out and grasp each other's hands" (stay of the cloakroom) went even touchier-and-feelier, soaring into clouds that the laughable Peggy Noons (Noonan) couldn't even approach as he spoke of US troops who had died in Iraq: "I talked to their families. I talked to those who lost their lives."

No word as to whether "those who lost their lives" talked back to Jeff Sessions.

Pat Roberts wants the troops home but frets over how it could be done "the wrong way." See, pulling them out too soon, bringing them home, could cause problems. Such as? Roberts didn't know. He was suddenly discussing "sleeper cells in this country" and terrorists of a second generation. If he truly believes there are "sleeper cells" in the United States, one would assume that the troops might be needed in the US. But Roberts was busy trying to frighten America and that appeared to be the Republican game plan.

Joe Lieberman (officially billed these days as "Independent") attempted to work through his own issues, publicly, in front of the committee. He warned of what could happen "if we end up leaving Iraq in chaos" because, apparently Joe Lieberman has missed the fact that Iraq is in chaos and has been. "Bipartisanship" was a buzz word for NoMentum as well and he wanted the entire nation to band together to go after all the enemies he sees elsewhere in the world ("everybody around the world who wishes us evil") which demonstrated that Lieberman hasn't lost his sense of persecution.

But the winner? James Inhofe in the first round. Inhofe's never met a fact he can't fudge or mangle. His statements were concerned with pushing the illegal war except when he went into alarmist mode of Chinese computer hackers and raged that others (on the Senate? in the United States?) "don't seem to read these, they don't seem concerned about this!" What Inhofe was concerned primarily with was noting that "the mass graves [in Iraq], that's not taking place anymore."

Oh Inhofe, apparently you're not reading what you need to read.
November 30, 2006, the US military announced the discovery of a "mass grave" with 28 bodies in it. And, no, it's not from the era of Saddam Hussein.

The Democrats? Evan Blah showed what a suck up he could be, Carl Levin probed and Hillary Clinton appeared to be setting up for the next round of questioning. (The hearings are on a lunch break. During that Pacifica will be offering analysis.)

The big news is supposed to be that
Gates noted (the obvious fact) that the US isn't "winning." (Nor can it, unsaid by Gates.) What should be noted is how often he couldn't remark, he didn't know enough, his "view is too uninformed," "I'm not well enough informed at this point to make a decision" blah, blah, blah. This is the man who was sitting on the James Baker Circle Jerk, right? He was tasked with recommendations the US should take re: Iraq, right?

And in Iraq?


AFP reports an attack on bus in Baghdad that began with a car bomb and was followed with gunfire resulting in at least 15 dead and 9 wounded, while an attack on a police academy in Baghdad with a car bomb followed by gunfire resulted in 7 people killed and 12 wounded, a roadside bomb in Baghdad resulted in 2 Iraqi soldiers being killed, a car bomb in Baghdad claimed three lives, and a mortar attack in Baghdad left 2 children dead. Reuters notes three car bombs in Baghdad ("near a fuel station) that resulted in 16 deaths and at least 25 injured. The BBC reports that "[m]ost of the victims were people queuing for petrol."


See above combined attacks.


Reuters reports the corpse of a police officer was found in Kirkuk.

Today, the
US military announced: "Insurgents attacked a Multi-National Division - Baghdad patrol Dec. 4, killing one Soldier and wounding five others. The patrol was conducting operations to deny enemy movements and enforce curfew restrictions in a northeastern neighborhood of the city when it was attacked"; and "A 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) Soldier was killed in an accident when his M-1117 Armored Security Vehicle rolled over North of Logistics Support Area Adder Dec. 4."

In news of sick mind games (played to cover their own ass?, played to keep the news coverage more 'upbeat'?), on Monday
the Department of Defenense announced: "Spc. Dustin M. Adkins, 22, of Finger, Tenn, has been unaccounted for since Dec. 3 in Haditha, Iraq, when the Chinook helicopter he was in made an emergency landing. He is assigned to the Group Support Battalion, 5th Special Forces Group, Fort Campbell, Ky." But AP reports that "relatives of 22 year old Dustin Adkins of Finger told The Jackson Sun newspaper Monday night that his body has been recovered after the soldier was listed as missing." Note the key word "after." Ned B. Hunter (AP) reports that "Mayrine Adkins, the soldier's grandmother, said the family was notified about 3 p.m. Monday that his body had been found. Mayrine Adkins said her grandson was one of two Army soldiers on the helicopter along with several Marines."

This is the Sunday helicopter crash ('crash landing,' if you prefer, but it's a crash) that
claimed the lives of four Marines. Kirk Semple (New York Times) reports that there were 16 people on board and that the lake it crashed onto was Lake Qadisiya. Though the military claims it was 'mechanical' issues that brought about the crash, Nancy Trejos (Washington Post) reports two sources who state differently: "The mayor of Haditha, Ibraheem al-Bayati, and Iraqi army Lt. Hussein Muslih said the helicopter had been shot down by insurgents with machine guns as it was taking off from the town" and Trejos notes: "the Islamic State of Iraq posted a sign on a nearby mosque in Haditha announcing that the helicopter had 30 passengers on board and had been downed".

Turning to Australia, the military inquiry into the April 21st Baghdad death of Jake Kovco
released their report December 1st. Dan Box (The Australian) reports that Judy Kovco (Jake's mother) and Shelley Kovco (Jake's wife) have "received legal advice" and will "demand an independent review of the military's finding that the young paratrooper was skylarking with his pistol when he was fatally shot." Ian McPhedran (Herald-Sun) feels that the inquiry has demonstrated "why a civilian should run such investigations" and McPhedran provides strong examples including "ruling out suicide even before its hearings had concluded"; refusal to apportion blame for the failure to preserve evidence in terms of Kovco's room, et al; and a failure to seriously explore the mix up of Jake Kovco's body with the body of Juso Sinanovic.

MCPhedran notes: "Jake Kovco's mother, Judy, has labelled the excercise a cover-up and she is absolutely correct." Last weekend, Judy Kovco spoke out about some of the problems with the inquiry and its findings noting that she had "sat through three months of listening to all of this" and that no explanations have been provided including why there was "more DNA on that gun that Jacob's own DNA inside and out and their excuse for that DNA being on the gun and the cartridge is just laughable."

Judy Kovco is specifically referring to Steven Carr, identified during the inquiry as "Soldier 14," whose DNA was found on Jake Kovco's gun. Carr maintained that he never touched Jake Kovco's weapon and offered laughable excuses such as maybe he touched a radio and then Jake touched a radio and then Jake touched his gun and that's how his (Carr's) DNA got on Jake's gun. It was laughable but it got picked up and run with as though it was even possible. Forensice expert
Michelle Franco rejected that laughable claim to the inquiry and noted that were that transfer nonsense true that within a half-hour, Carr's DNA would have been all but gone from the gun. Instead, it was found on the gun's slide in significant amounts (it was also found elsewhere) that were consistent with Carr having handled the gun.

The inquiry's findings sidestepped and ignored the government's witness and avoided this issue which is only example of how they failed to address the death of Jake Kovco.

Yesterday, in the US, Bully Boy met with Shi'ite Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim and appeared to offer a 'strategy' that Robert Knight (
KPFA's Flashpoints) called addressing death squads with . . . death squads. Dilip Hiro (Guardian of London) sees the meet up with the Bully Boy as an attempt to divide Shias (and neutralize Sadr). On The KPFA Evening News yesterday, Sandra Lupien noted that "al-Hakim said the only way to stave off civil war in Iraq is for US forces to strike harder against Sunni-led resistance fighters" and that his organization fought on the side of Iran in the 80s Iraq-Iran war. Sheryl Gay Stolberg (New York Times) reports that al-Hakim "remarked last week that if Iraq deteriorated into civil war, Sunni Arabs would be the 'biggest losers' -- a comment that was widely interpreted as a veiled threat to Sunnis." Divide and conquer has worked so well for the US administration -- oops!, it hasn't. It's resulted in a civil war in Iraq.