Tuesday, March 20, 2007

KPFA, I'm pissed!

Okay, I'm pissed. Sandra Lupien, on the news tonight, finally mentions John Stauber and Sheldon Rampton's article (it's in the snapshot). Now this was the first time she covered it so the "finally" refers to all day long having to hear about "the liberal group" from Alfandary and others. As Lupien noted, other than candle light vigils, MoveOn refused to post announcements about vigils. So why, on Monday, did everyone keep saying to check on MoveOn for information about local events? Alfandary said it four damn times during the two hour Morning Show. She also kept going on about "85%" voting for it and MoveOn claims three million plus members but only a little over 100,000 bothered to vote in the damn poll. So it should have been presented as, "Of the less than 10% of alleged members who bothered to vote, 85% of them supported the House leadership's proposal."

I'm also not real thrilled with Mark right now who gave a report on the evening news that was WRONG. The bill the House Leadership is pushing (and that MoveOn is backing) does not mean troops will come home on the date that's in the bill. Read the damn bill! Bully Boy can cite "national security" and ignore anything in the bill on those grounds which includes the date for withdrawal.

Mark needs to study the bill before he speaks again and I don't need to hear the words "MoveOn" on the news again. All day long, starting with Alfandary, I had to hear about "the liberal" group MoveOn supporting the Pelosi bill and then, at the very end, that Barbara Lee and Lynn Woolsey didn't support it. As though they were out of step.

It's bad enough that KPFA sold out listeners on Monday (and they did SELL OUT listeners) by sending them to that crappy website, but to continue to push that ass-wipe group is just not cutting it.

So Alfandary needs to do what Sandra Lupien was always comfortable doing when she did the newsbreaks on The Morning Show. She needs to say tomorrow, "A correction to Monday's news breaks, MoveOn didn't have the local events posted." And then she needs to explain why. And never again does KPFA need to promote MoveOn as a resource for anything other than the crappy candle light vigils they do at night. How many listeners to KPFA missed out on events during the day Monday because they went to MoveOn and didn't see anything listed?

KPFA needs to either post the events on their website or send you to an organization that carries the events.

I love KPFA but that's just bullshit. I love Kris Welch but she's another one who has to toss out MoveOn (or Daily Kos) constantly. I'm not sure, with Welch, if it's because they're "buzz words" or something else. But KPFA doesn't need to be promoting MoveOn. MoveOn is not about peace. It's a political party organization. For anti-war rallies, you send the listeners where they can get information, not to that damn MoveOn that's just going to tell them that there's a candle light vigil.

On the subject of KPFA, visitors continue to ask (in the public e-mail account at The Common Ills), why doesn't C.I. link to it? C.I. does link to it and to the archive page. C.I. does not link to any MySpace pages. That's even true of Carl Webb's page -- whom we all support. But MySpace is owned by Rupert Murdoch. KPFA has it's own page, it's linked to at The Common Ills. You will not find a MySpace page linked to at The Common Ills (or anywhere else). We don't support MySpace, we' don't exist to drive traffic that puts dollars in the pockets of Rupert Murdoch.

There's also the fact that MySpace is an embarrassment. I wasn't aware of that. I will apologize for the half-assed nature of pretty much everything I post here at my site. And I will mean it. But MySpace is nothing but a bulletin board at your local grocers. Those aren't blogs. It's "Oh, you're sexy" and all this other nonsense. Maggie's niece has a page and she was all excited that she'd gotten 120 to link to her (or whatever they call it there). I asked her to show me her page which she did. There was nothing to it. She's got two paragraphs that have been up there for six months, two paragraphs that she wrote. And then you've got all these little kids (or adults pretending) leaving "messages" that wouldn't even pass for a greeting in a high school hall.

Since I'm just making this a personal post (AlterPunk can get over it), I'll talk goings on in my building. Remember my friend who broke up with the little hustler who not only used him but also cheated on him? Well he's got new problems. He came over for a cup of tea after he got off work today and asked me how much everyone hates his new boyfriend? Completely. They hate him completely.

Why? Well, I think most aren't shocked or worried by the smell of pot, this is the Bay Area. But he's such a priss about smokers. We have two in the building. Now he can have the whole hall, upstairs and downstairs reeking of pot and doesn't give a damn. But he gets these fits where he runs up and down the halls spraying this thing he mixed himself (that makes everyone's eyes burn and their throats hurt) and cussing about "smokers." (Repeat, he smokes pot. I'm not really sure where he gets off complaining about other smokers.) Yesterday, he was in the hall every forty minutes from nine a.m. until just after midnight spraying over and over. I was out at a protest but I heard he did the same thing while I was gone.

His nickname by some is "Street Trash." (He has an even worse nickname that I won't type here.) But he has his hissy fit as he goes around spraying over and over, where he is cursing about everyone in the building in a loud voice so they can hear him. Street Trash, which I didn't call him until yesterday when I heard him griping about me as he was spraying, doesn't have a job. So why he's out there calling me "lazy ass bitch" I have no idea. I do have a job. My studio is here, I work out of my home. So don't call me a lazy ass when you've only got a roof over your head because you're giving it up every night.

You cannot walk in to the building these days without having your eyes burn from all of his spraying. Now I didn't care about the pot smell so maybe I don't care about cigarette smell. But I don't smoke and I've never been bothered that anyone else in the building did. But he's ticked off everyone because he's going through the hall griping about us -- all of us. While I was protesting yesterday, the oldest guy here made a point of telling him if he didn't like it, maybe he should find somewhere else to live. The little punk (he's probably middle aged, but he's very short) started screaming in the hall and basically acting like he had mental problems.

So my neighbor wanted to know what he should do. I told him unless the sex was wonderful, break it off because it's going to get ugly. Ty came back with me yesterday after the protest to listen to some music and as soon as we walked in the front door he started coughing and rubbing his eyes from the fumes of the crap that punk sprays. Ty hadn't been exposed it to before and that's what happens with anyone any of us have over. We've gotten used to it to a degree. For someone new, it's a nightmare.

I asked my neighbor, "Does any cigarette smoke get in your apartment?" He said no. I said that his boyfriend didn't need to be spraying in the halls, that the halls are for everyone and, since the punk doesn't have a job and won't look for one (he promised my neighbor weeks ago that he would and he never has), he should just be keeping his ass in my neighbor's apartment.
My neighbor said, "I have the worst love life in the world."

I consoled him with my belief that after all the assholes he's had lately, he's due for a winner at some point. As with the last time I wrote about him, he's the one who told me I could write about it.

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

March 20, 2007. Chaos and violence continue, protests continued, the state and meaning of the illegal war continues to be debated and Iraqis speak in their own voices, on their own terms.

Today on
KPFA's The Morning Show, Andrea Lewis and Philip Maldari spoke with Tom Hayden and Frances Fox Piven about Iraq (Hayden has a book on Ending the Iraq War due out in June and professor Piven authored The War At Home.). Frances Fox Piven noted that it was time to "begin withdrawal immediately and we also should push for an interim authority in the area made up of other national representatives that's either nations in the area or UN authority that tries to surpress violence while we are withdrawing. We should withdraw as fast as we can. The Democrats are as timid as they are not because they don't have the support of the American people for withdrawal but because they have their eye on the 2008 election and they want to avoid any circumstancing which they can be attacked, including attacked for 'exposing the troops' or . . . adding to the 'losing' of the war, or whatever, politicans are always going to be cautious, especially in a two-party system where there is no alternative to the left of the Democratic Party so they can position themselves very moderately and still hope to gain electorally." Hayden noted that Bully Boy "wants to put the issue to the test in the 2008 presidential election as well. He wants to push it on. It's not unusual for presidents, leaders of the state, the establishment, to want to avoid losing at all costs and escalation is always the answer to losing, you just pass it along so you can say that you finished your term without losing any honor blah, blah, blah." Maldari brought up 1968 and Nixon's secret plan for getting out of Vietnam (apparently the secret plan was the threat of his own impeachment).

Piven: Certainly one of the factors leading to the pull out from South Vietnam was the military themselves who were in --

Hayden: In revolt.

Piven: . . . the GI anti-war movement was escalating, really, beginning in 1970, the prospect of losing control of the military, the prospect of this kind of international disaster certainly had a lot to do with the ultimate pull out from Vietnam. It also had a lot to do with the reluctance of the American military to go to war on that scale again. Instead we had a lot of small wars.

Hayden spoke of the importance of setting a deadline and planning for an orderly departure.
and observed, "No one in the media has ever called for the withdrawal of American troops or setting the deadline for withdrawal." Which is a good time to drop back to the start of the month when John R. MacArthur (
writing for the Providence Journal) noted that withdrawal of US troops also means planning who gets withdrawn -- as in Vietnam, there are many who've aided US troops and who among them will be allowed (most have already been promised that they will be) to leave with the US military. The issue of the financial costs for the illegal war was addressed and how the losses were more complex than some might realize.

Piven: I think that the official figures bring the costs of the wars in Afgahnistan and Iraq up to around 400 billion at this point and yes they are cutting Medicad and Medicare. And they stopped building low-cost housing. There's a very long list of domestic needs that are going unmet. I think it's a little more complicated than that. All that's true but at the same time I think it's also true that their motives for going into war in the first place had a lot to do with the way war and war time enthusiasm would allow them, at least for a time, to manipulate the American public. They depicted a great menace overseas. They evoked all kind of foreign dragons that nobody could asses in terms of their own experience or their own perceptions, And they created a lot of war like enthusiasm in the United States. And then they used that enthusiasm not only to get themselves elected -- their majority increased in 2002, to get re-elected in 2004 -- but they also used that kind of enthusiasm, and the domination of all branches of government that it gave them, to slash taxes on the very rich and to do that again and again and again. And Tom DeLay said 'nothing is more important in a time of war than cutting taxes'. And they used the war time enthusiasm to push through subsidies for the pharmaceutical companies, for the energy corporations. So . . . the domestic costs to the war are truly profound. They go beyond the simple arithmetic of 'we could have spent the money that went for Iraq on what our children need'. That's true but the war also corrupted democracy to an extent that one can choke on and also allowed them to engage in this very predatory behavior in domestic politics.

Hayden noted the polling of Iraqis and how they want troops out. (A point made in the segment, was also that it's up to the people to educate one another on what withdrawal means as opposed to what it's sometimes portrayed as. He
wrote about this last week at The Huffington Post.) As time ran out, one of the most important points was made. Hayden stated, "The Baghdad government is a sectarian police state that's based on militias and death squads and that's the issue for funding should funding tax dollars go continually to that regime? That was a big issue in '73. It's a big issue today."

And that is who is being supported and the support needs to be questioned. Earlier this month,
Joseph Forrest (Socialist Appeal) interviewed US war resister Darrell Anderson and asked Anderson if he thought the Democrats would be ending the war anytime soon? "No, no," Darrell Anderson replied. "If anything the Democrats will go into Iran or have a draft of something. I have no belief in Hillary Clinton or any of them, because they're all politicians. They're not going to stop the war." Anderson, who self-checked out after serving in Iraq and receiving the Purple Heart, returned from Canada last year to turn himself in and he discussed with Forrest how that went, "I went to turn myself in at Fort Knox and I found the Generals at Fort Knox, and they had the choice to either Court Marshall me or not, and I told them that they're going to have to put my uniform on me and pin my medals to my chest, put me on Court Martial, and that my whole defense is going to be talking about all the war crimes we committed, all the friends I've seen beating prisoners to death, all the times we killed innocent civilians. They told me I was going to go to jail for one to five years, and when I got to the base they started to break, saying, 'Come in quietly and we'll let you go.' I told them no. I was gonna keep talking, and I got to the base and three days later I was sent away with discharge papers, because the soldiers on the base were really reacting to me being there. They were like, 'What the hell is going on? This guy against the war and he has a purple heart.' So they released me. I guess they felt the longer I was at the base, the more trouble I was going to cause, the more soldiers would have gotten on my side, and they felt it was better for the military to get rid of me basically."

Also speaking out was US war resister Dean Walcott who is attempting to be granted refugee status in Canada.
Melanie Patten (The Canadian Press) reports on his participation at the rally in Hallifax where he was received by a "cheering crowd" and declared that, "I'm not a politician I don't know the ins and outs of political theory but I do know that there's got be a better way for a nation to be free whether than us putting a gun in their face and demanding it of them."

Anderson and Walcott are part of a movement of resistance within the military that also includes
Ehren Watada, Kyle Snyder, Joshua Key, Agustin Aguayo, Mark Wilkerson, Camilo Mejia, Patrick Hart, Ivan Brobeck, Ricky Clousing, Aidan Delgado, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Jeremy Hinzman, Stephen Funk, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Corey Glass, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Katherine Jashinski, Chris Teske, Matt Lowell, Jimmy Massey, Tim Richard, Hart Viges, Michael Blake and Kevin Benderman. In total, thirty-eight US war resisters in Canada have applied for asylum.Information on war resistance within the military can be found at Center on Conscience & War, The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline, and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters.

Protests have been going on since Friday to demonstrate opposition to the illegal war. Yesterday,
Karen Miller (Free Speech Radio News) reported on Saturday's march on the Pentagon and noted this from a speech given by Cindy Sheehan: "We're only part of the world. We're only 5% of the population and we use up to 40% of the resources. It's gotta stop. We have to share with our brothers and sisters around the world. We have to start saying, 'We have enough, do you want to have enough too?' We have to stop demonizing other people to allow our leaders to send our young people off to kill them, to send our young people off -- like my son Casey -- to die for nothing, to die for the war machine." Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) noted Monday's protests at the New York Stock Exchange on Monday where 44 protesters were arrested and quoted Margio Farr stating, "If people sit down and they refuse to move and they create a dent in the effectivity of the market today, hopefully that will send a message to government officials that this war needs to end and that corporations have to stop profiting off of people's lives."

In the Bay Area yesterday,
many actions took place. Flashpoints Nora Barrows- Friedman spoke with Antonia Juhasz who was at the San Ramon Chevron headquarters and explained, "I have been locked into two barrels since about seven o'clock this morning. We have been blockading the entrance to Cheveron's world headquaters. We've got about a 150 people and we successfully and significantly not only disrupted their business day but definately gave every employee at Cheveron a conversation piece for the day with a full protest against not only their involvement in the war but their advancement of climate chaos and a very successful action. . . . We had a funeral for the last cube of ice that just finished. We also had a tug of war between the Bush administration and Chevron oil executives and the people . . . and we're just now finishing that up. . . . We're here to talk in particular about Chevron's role in trying to steal Iraq's oil through the war and the passage of a new Iraqi oil law . . "

Brian Edwards-Tiekert reported from the protests for yesterday's
The KPFA Evening News.
("It felt like a carnival at the gates to Chevron's world headquarters") and spoke with
Antonia Juhasz who explained the proposed Iraqi oil legislation, "The law changes Iraq from an oil system closed to US oil companies into an oil system in which . . . American oil companies including Chevron could own and control at least two-thirds of Iraq's oil for a generation or more."

The KPFA Evening News yesterday noted actions by the Declaration of Peace at Senator Dianne Feinstein's office in San Francisco that then became a street action with at least 57 people being arrested as well as actions at Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi's San Francisco offices by CODEPINK and others including Sean O'Neill:

O'Neill (president of the Berkeley chapter
Iraq Veterans Against the War): "I speak for the men in my platoon who do not have the opportunity to because they were killed in this pointless military adventure that we call 'Operation Iraqi Freedom.' There's the courage of those like Ehren Watada who stand on a principled, moral ground and with decency say that they will not participate in this mockery of the military and American values. But there are others who, like myself were not quite the same moral fabric, were not as strong as they are, and we went knowing that this was wrong, knowing that this was completely ineffective. We are trying to provide our experiences to you the public so that you know you are right because you are. This war is a travesty."

David Montgomery (Washington Post) reports on DC actions by Iraq Veterans Against the War where thirteen members dressed in "desert camo" as they marched "from Union Station to Arlingotn National Cementary" and "carried imaginary assault rifles, barked commands, roughly 'detained' suspected hostiles with flex cuffs and hoods -- and generally shocked frightened and delighted tourists and office workers." Operation First Casualty was the name of the action and it "aims to bring the story of the war to the American people."
Garrett Reppenhagen: "
We are calling Monday's action Operation First Casualty because we believe that truth was the first casualty of this war. Our aim is to show the American public the truth of the US occupation in Iraq. It is time for the American people to know the truth so they will act to bring the troops home now."

As these and other actions take place (remember Darrell Anderson's quote), the leadership in the US House of Representatives promotes a weak measure. As Robert Knight noted in his Knight Report on
KPFA's Flashpoints yesterday, the Democratic leadership "angling to extend the Republican launched war until the eve of the 2008 presidential election while running out the clock with do nothing resolutions in the House and Senate that impose no budgetary restraints or mandatory withdrawals."

Sheldon Rampton and John Stauber (Center for Media and Democracy) walk everyone through how MoveOn's recent 'polling' (of 'members'), how the 'poll' severly limited options and how the organization's leaders refuse to support US House Reps Barbara Lee, Lynn Woolsey and Maxine Waters' bill (HR 508). Rampton and Stauber write: "Politically, the Lee amendment cannot pass; fewer than 100 members of Congress are expected to vote for it. However, the same thing is true of weaker legislation that MoveOn is currently supporting, in league with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, John Murtha and David Obey. The Pelosi bill merely establishes 'benchmarks' of progress in Iraq, so that all Bush has to do is certify that he is making progress on those goals to keep funding flowing for the war. Instead of withdrawing troops this year, the Pelosi bill talks about beginning to withdraw them in March 2008. Even so, it faces united Republican opposition and is not expected to pass the U.S. Senate, even if it is approved by the House of Representatives. And even if it does pass, Bash has already said he will veto it. So why was the Democratic Party leadership so determined to prevent the Lee amendment from even coming to the floor -- and why has MoveOn.org avoided even mentioning the Lee proposal to its members?" Another question is why MoveOn is called a "liberal" organization? The organization began 'reformist' (at best), or "appeasement" (at worst and that's the label many in the Clinton White House tagged it with). The story of MoveOn is told in it's beginnings. It was an organization that came about when there was talk of impeaching then US president Bill Clinton. There were impeachment petitions gathering signatures. The people never supported impeachment and a truly liberal organization might have started a petition entitled "Nobody's Damn Business! Back The Hell Off!" Instead, MoveOn took what the Republicans were pushing for (which had a minority of public support) and said, "Censure! Don't Impeach! And Move On!" If there was a time to fight, that was it. Instead of fighting, MoveOn appeased Republican leadership and provided cover for impeachment by allowing right-wingers to claim that even 'liberals' supported some action by pointing to MoveOn's call for censure. If you found the impeachment circus ridiculous, and many Americans did, remember that the efforts were aided by some 'liberal' groups. It's worth remembering that as we find another situation where the American people (the majority) want real action on Iraq, want a timeline, want troops home. Again, MoveOn is appeasing elected leaders and MovingOn away from their supposed membership.

Military Families Speak Out, Iraq Veterans Against the War and Veterans For Peace are among the groups who have come out against the measure backed by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. And this is a good place to note Robert Parry's (Consortium News) observation, "George W. Bush and Dick Cheney may deserve the most blame for the Iraq war, but a core reality shouldn't be missed: the four-year-old conflict resulted from a systemic failure in Washingtonn -- from the White House, to congressional Republicans and Democrats, to an insular national news media, to Inside-the-Beltway think tanks."

Ron Jacobs (CounterPunch) raises another issue for the peace movment to consider, debate and discuss: whether a new umbrella organization is needed "that would emcompass the two current supposedly umbrella antiwar organizations: UFPJ and ANSWER"? It's a conversation worth having whatever your position. (The community's position is reflected in this roundtable for The Third Estate Sunday Review. United for Peace and Justice, A.N.S.W.E.R.have done wonderful work and deserve praise. New groups emerging are not a threat, they further the message and promote even more action. As for a larger umbrellas group, it's something to consider and hopefully Jacobs will return to that topic in the future.)

Providing Iraqis the chance to speak for themselves,
Hilba Dawood (Free Speech Radio News) got the views of two Iraqis yesterday. A 44-year-old "businessman" in Baghdad offered that: "Americans have turned Iraq into a guinnea pig. They have tried everything in hand until they have turned Iraq into chaos. They created this chaos waiting to see who was the strongest to be in power. This is not going to work without a good plan." A 35-year-old teacher in Karbala shared, "No one is optimistic. Our people are scared. Though the bombs are a bit less frequent now. The people of Iraq are tired of the situation -- which was a lot better during Saddam's times. No one wants him back but we need security. We don't want the Americans to stay. No single side in Iraq wants them to stay."

Meanwhile the
BBC reports that Iraqi police chief Abdul Hussein Al Saffe ("head of policing in Dhi Qhar province") has stated "that many of his officers were disloyal. They could not be sacked because they had political protection" and "Brigadier General Ghalib al Jaza'aere, said he had been forced to hire 300-4000 officers who were completely illiterate." This comes as Karin Brulliard (Washington Post) reports on events in Duluiyah yesterday ("45 miles north of Baghdad") where people with machine guns surrounded the police station and were told "Repent or die" -- at which point they quit the police force on the spot after which the police station was blown up.


CBS and AP note 5 deaths and 18 wounded in a car bombing at a bus station in Baghdad,
Reuters notes a mortar attack in southern Baghdad that claimed at least 7 lives and left 20 injured. The BBC notes that the wounded included "women and children." CNN reports, "second car bomb ripped through a commercial district in the capital's Karrada neighborhood, killing two people and wounding at least seven others. Karrada is a predominatly Shiite area in central Baghdad." Reuters notes a bombing "near a mosque" that took one life and left three wounded, while a bombing near a police station left five dead and 17 wounded.


Reuters notes a police officer was shot dead just outside of Kirkuk and that 39 people were killed (suspected of . . . something) by "[p]olice and tribal fighters" in Amiriya.


Reuters notes that a corpse was discovered in Kirkuk, one corpse was discovered in Falluja,

Today the
US military announced: "Two MND-B Soldiers died when an improvised explosive device struck the unit's vehicle during a combat security patrol in a souther section of the Iraqi capital, wounding another."

This as
Atef Hassan (Reuters) reports, "British troops in Iraq's southern Basra oil port pulled out of their heavily attacked base in the heart of the city on Tuesday, the first to be handed to Iraqi forces who are slowly taking control of security." Today, PTI reports that a new poll of British sentiment found that only 29% of respondents felt the illegal war was "justified" and that "nearly 60 per cent" felt it wasn't.

Yesterday, at
Inside Iraq, Laith blogged: "Now and while I'm writing these words, the American troops are attacking a part of my neighborhood west Baghdad. At the same time, I got a call from my nephew that some insurgents are attacking her neighborhood south west Baghdad. I'm sure the American army knows about the insurgents but I'm sure they ignore them or let me say they allow them to do everything they want. . . . A question just jumped in my mind, Shouldn't the American go to the place where the insurgents are attacking the civilians? Shouldn't they do their duty as they say to protect Iraqis and fight terror? It looks that the American government and Mr. President Bush don't care about anything except for his own capital friends' interest. The strategy the US army follows in Iraq is not more than another lie to cheat us both Iraqis and Americans and we all, Iraqis and Americans pay the price. . . . I just hope that someone reads these words and tell the poor Americans that your soldiers are not fighting Al Qaida or the terrorists in Iraq as the military commanders claim. They are here to do their role of killing the innocents and to complete the play the politicians started since the American administration decided to get [rid] of its crazy fool agent Saddam Hussein."

Heads up -- Tomorrow on
Democracy Now!, Jeremy Scahill and Naomi Klein are scheduled guests. (Scahill was on today's show as well.)