Friday, April 27, 2007

Kat attack

Impeachment Day is tomorrow, Saturday April 28th- so join fellow New Yorkers at the Great Hill to spell out IMPEACH with our bodies! Their will be an aerial photo taken as well! Don't forget to wear your 'pink slip'. The weather report says that there will be sun, late afternoon showers (we will be done by then) and a high of 68 degrees. CODEPINK will be turning the "C" in IMPEACH pink. So JOIN US... RAIN OR SHINE!
When: Saturday, April 28th 11am.
Where: The Great Hill in Central Park (North End Quadrant of Central Park), 103rd Street or 110th Street stops of B/C (or with extra walk, 103rd or 110th Street stops of #1)
Enter park at West 106 Street (wheel chair accessible at West 110th)
CODEPINK Meet Up will be at the Great Hill, just look for the big pink sign!
What to bring: Wear your pink, a blanket, some sunscreen/sunglasses/hat, water and a snack.
For more information contact or call 202 422 8624. And visit our Impeach page!
From "C" to shining "C",

That's from CODEPINK and I really need to note peace at the beginning of tonight's post. Why?
I hit a homeless man today. I didn't mean to. I was at Maggie's this morning and her fridge is a nightmare. Always. You can count on the beer being cold but that's about it. I needed some coffee and, like an idiot, asked the dumb question, "Do you have any milk?" Sure, she said. I open the fridge, grab a container of milk that hasn't been opened. I open it and try to pour. It won't pour. It's gone bad and it's not clumps, it's one large clump. The smell is awful and I'm asking Maggie how you can buy milk, never open it, and let it go bad. I'm headed out the door to go toss it in a dumpster in her parking lot. I toss it and turn to walk back when I hear "OW!"
On the other side of the dumpster, a homeless man was digging through the trash, I hadn't seen him. I hit him in the head with the container of milk (fortunately the bottom half, not the top, so the bad milk didn't end up on him). I felt so bad. I had a twenty in my pocket, my purse was inside. If I had brought my purse with me, I would've given him everything in it.

He didn't ask for anything, I just felt so bad. Here was a homeless man trying to find something to eat or sell or keep and I just show up and hit him in the head with a half-gallon of milk.

I got back to Maggie's apartment and she started telling jokes about "Kat attacks the homeless." That's the thing about longterm friends, you always press those sore spots.

Yes, unintentionally, I did attack a homeless person today. And I still, honestly, feel so awful about that. In my high school junior year, a group of us used to run around together. And one of my girlfriends had a boyfriend who was cheating on her. We all told her, "Break up with him." (Then and now, I was no Hillary Clinton. You cheat, you hit the door.) She wouldn't do that. But one day, when we were all in her car and she was crusing the parking lot (the student parking lot), she made a point to hit the back of the bumper on his Camarro. She thought that was so funny and I always felt guilty (for being in her car at the time and for never speaking up).
If she'd broken up with him, publicly humilated him, even slapped him, I could have supported that. But I know how a lot of people are about their cars. I make a rule never to screw with someone's car or job. But I probably spent a good two years feeling guilty about that. (Catholic guilt.)

So I'm trying to figure out how long I'll feel guilty about today? Like an idiot, I keep telling this story. I've told it all day and here I am blabbing about it again. Maybe it's being raised Catholic (confession and all) but I can logically say, "Okay, Kat, you didn't know anyone was there. He may end up with a bump on his head but he's not dead or bleeding and you didn't mean to." But I have a feeling I'll feel guilty for a couple of years over this.

Ty tried to cheer me up saying, "Maybe he wasn't homeless. Maybe he was Homeland Security spying on Maggie or someone else." That did make me laugh at least.

C.I.'s "And the war drags on . . ." notes the 40th anniversary issue of Rolling Stone and I thought I'd blog a bit about the issue. Let me echo C.I.'s point that the issue needs more diversity (20 people interviewed -- 2 women, 18 men, 0 persons of color). That's a very big issue. What I am grateful for is none of the idiots. When RS does these type of features, we usually get a host of idiots. I remember an issue that had, not an interview, but pull quotes from various people on whether Bill Clinton should be impeached. Speaking only for myself (though I suspect a large portion of other people), Stephan Jenkins, no one gave a damn what you thought. (He was pro-impeachment. Because it was "sex." He called the consensual affair between Clinton and Monica Lewinsky, sexual abuse or harassment or some nonsense.) By that point, Third Eye Blind was already crashing and burning. "Semi-Charmed Kind of Life" was a nice bit of pop candy and "Jumper" was listenable. I'd even say that entire, self-titled album was. But the writing was already on the wall that Third Eye Blind was going down. And it didn't take Stephan Jenkins looking like an idiot a year later as he sported what appeared to a haircut copying George Washington's wig to know that.

So it was refereshing to flip through the pages and not, for instance, have to read some Disney Kid's struggle to produce actual thoughts. The 20 chosen, whether you like what they say, have all stood the test of time. (1 has time on his side but no art -- it's a director and it's not Scorsese that I'm talking about.)

Bill Moyers talks about the current state of journalism, politics and so much more. I enjoyed these two statements, "Then ROLLING STONE started carrying Bill Greider, and it was his pieces that truly awakened me to issues of power that I had not even appreciated when I was in Washington. Greider would write not about who wins and loses the political race, but about who wins and loses in the policy decisions that are made after the winners are chosen." Yeah, Greider did used to write amazing. Then he moved to The Nation and now seems himself as some sort of soggy Dr. Phil. It's heartbreaking to read what he does today if you've ever read his intricate analysis from RS. I'll note Bob Weir (Greatfule Dead and Ratdog) talking about the difference in coverage during Vietnam and today's illegal war:

It's a matter of media. When we moved into 710, we put a TV in the living room. We would watch the news and see the bodies coming back [from Vietnam]. We don't see bodies coming back these days. The carnage is the same. But we don't see it on TV. The politicians don't want the full visual impact of the war, what it's costing this country in human lives, coming back here. So people aren't as galvanized. That was a very astute move -- not in terms of wise, but in terms of conniving.

Most embarrassing interviews? Jimmy Carter (interviewed by Tom Brokaw). He'll remind you that he isn't just about building houses for charity. War dog, war dog, won't you go away? Stephen Spielberg who manages one sentence about Iraq. What's a matter, Stevie? You were happy to sell war with that hideous Saving Private Ryan. He's not really an artist. He's Frank Capra offering Capra-corn. It's amazing to read him say he wasn't sheltered from politics as a child in the 60s and offer up, as examples, JFK being shot and the moon landing. He really is that weak ass. Can't think about Vietnam if you're spending all your time staring at a movie screen. And of course, no surprise, Boy Dylan shoots down every effort by Jann Wenner to get him to weigh in on Iraq. Tom Wolfe is babbling on about how the biggest crisis facing the country is a lack of faith/belief in God. What polls does he read? He's a dumb ass conservative and he avoids Iraq as well. Better to invent non-problems than to address reality.

Otherwise? There was something I could enjoy in each interview. My favorites were Jane Fonda, Patti Smith, Jackson Browne, Martin Scorsese, Michael Moore and Neil Young. And George McGovern, I enjoyed his a great deal as well. I also enjoyed Jack Nicholson just because he lacks the self-censor button so you never know what he's going to say. Ringo Starr came off much better than Paul McCartney.

Paul was so bad . . . You know what, if you're going to try to reinvent reality, find a fall guy. Blame it on your ex Heather, blame it on something. But after you preached jingoism publicly (and for a country you're not even a citizen of) don't think your one-time fans are going to forget. The Beatles were on sales high before McCartney decided he was both "honorary American" and "Bully Boy's best friend." He got some media praise for that period but he lost the audience. The Beatles Let It Be came out in the intended mix (not the Phil Spector soaked production) and it was a natural number one for several weeks . . . except his actions and behaviors had turned off the public. Even with a bonus DVD disc, it never made it to number one. It wasn't a rejection of the Beatles, it was a rejection of Paul who was always a cheesy little kiss ass punk and reminded us all of that.

So those are (some) of my thoughts re: the 40th anniversary issue. I'd recommend you pick it up for Jane Fonda, Patti Smith, Martin Scorsese, Jackson Browne, Neil Young, Michael Moore and George McGovern. The photo of the elderly Tom Wolfe still looking like a fop (or like a demented Blanche du Bois) is also good for a laugh.

Be sure to check out Betty's "Tom-Tom Goes to the Public Library." Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Friday, April 27, 2007. Chaos and violence continue, another prisoner in Iraq dies in US custody, the death of 3 US service members are announced, Riverbend and her family decide it's time to leave Iraq, students continue their activism in the US, and more.

Starting with war resisters,
Richard Brown (KXLY) profiles war resister Ryan Johnson who self-checked out in 2005 and went to Canada with his wife Jenny to seek asylum. Johnson states, "I decided that I didn't want to participate in what I preceived to be an illegal war. I have no problem serving my country. I love the United States. That's where I grew up, that's my home, that's where my family is." Death of the party Lizzie Knudson shows up to puff out her chest and strut like any macho b.s. artist while expressing her hate and rage by declaring that she hopes he's thrown in prison for life and that she knows people who have died in Iraq. Pass that rage on over to the Bully Boy, Lizzie, Ryan Johnson didn't send anyone into an illegal war to die. Had Brown spent less time offering Lizzie's rants, he might have been able to provide some actual information (and it would have pleased War Hawk Liz). He could have, for instance, noted that the Johnsons share a home in Canada with
Kyle Snyder and Maleah Friesen. The latter are now married. Of course their planned February wedding got put on hold when Canadian police -- taking orders from the US military -- showed up at the home to drag Snyder away in handcuffs (and in his boxers -- wouldn't even let him get dressed) with the intent to start immediate deportation on Snyder. That's a story that would have tickled War Hawk Lizzie even if it has Canadians outraged (whether they support war resisters or not) because (a) war resistance is not a deportable offense and (b) the Canadian police is not supposed to take orders from a foreign government. The US media continues its silence on that event and also avoids noting that US military crossed over into Canada on a search for war resister Joshua Key. Brown does note, "In the last seven years, nearly 22,500 member of the United States military have gone AWOL or deserted and every year the numbers rise."

And as the numbers rise, more and more go public and speak out. As
Courage to Resist reports war resisters Camilo Mejia, Pablo Paredes, Agustin Aguayo and Robert Zabala will be speking out from May 9th through 17th in the San Francisco Bay Area. This will be Aguayo's first publicly speaking appearances since being released from the brig earlier this month (April 18th). The announced dates include:

Wednesday May 9 - Marin 7pm at College of Marin, Student Services Center, 835 College Ave, Kentfield. Featuring Agustin Aguayo, Pablo Paredes and David Solnit. Sponsored by Courage to Resist and Students for Social Responsibility.

Thursday May 10 - Sacramento Details TBA
Friday May 11 - Stockton 6pm at the Mexican Community Center, 609 S Lincoln St, Stockton. Featuring Agustin Aguayo.
Saturday May 12 - Monterey 7pm at the Unitarian Universalist Church, 490 Aguajito Rd, Carmel. Featuring Agustin Aguayo and Camilo Mejia. Sponsored by Veterans for Peace Chp. 69, Hartnell Students for Peace, Salinas Action League, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom and Courage to Resist. More info: Kurt Brux 831-424-6447
Sunday May 13 - San Francisco 7pm at the Veterans War Memorial Bldg. (Room 223) , 401 Van Ness St, San Francisco. Featuring Agustin Aguayo, Camilo Mejia and Pablo Paredes. Sponsored by Courage to Resist, Veteran's for Peace Chp. 69 and SF Codepink.
Monday May 14 - Watsonville 7pm at the United Presbyterian Church, 112 E. Beach, Watsonville. Featuring Agustin Aguayo, Camilo Mejia, Pablo Paredes and Robert Zabala. Sponsored by the GI Rights Hotline & Draft Alternatives program of the Resource Center for Nonviolence (RCNV), Santa Cruz Peace Coalition, Watsonville Women's International League for Peace & Freedom (WILPF), Watsonville Brown Berets, Courage to Resist and Santa Cruz Veterans for Peace Chp. 11. More info: Bob Fitch 831-722-3311
Tuesday May 15 - Palo Alto 7 PM at the First Presbyterian Church (Fellowship Hall), 1140 Cowper, Palo Alto. Featuring Camilo Mejia. Sponsored by Pennisula Peace and Justice Center. More info: Paul George 650-326-8837
Wednesday May 16 - Eureka 7pm at the Eureka Labor Temple, 840 E St. (@9th), Eureka. Featuring Camilo Mejia. More info: Becky Luening 707-826-9197Thursday May 17 - Oakland 4pm youth event and 7pm program at the Humanist Hall, 411 28th St, Oakland. Featuring Camilo Mejia, Pablo Paredes and the Alternatives to War through Education (A.W.E.) Youth Action Team. Sponsored by Veteran's for Peace Chp. 69, Courage to Resist, Central Committee for Conscientious Objector's (CCCO) and AWE Youth Action Team.

The are all part of a growing movement of war resistance within the military: Camilo Mejia,
Ehren Watada, Terri Johnson, Dean Walcott, Camilo Mejia, Linjamin Mull, Joshua Key, Augstin Aguayo, Justin Colby, Marc Train, Camilo Mejia, Robert Zabala, Darrell Anderson, Kyle Snyder , Corey Glass, Jeremy Hinzman, Joshua Key, Mark Wilkerson, Camilo Mejia, Patrick Hart, Ricky Clousing, Ivan Brobeck, Aidan Delgado, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Jeremy Hinzman, Stephen Funk, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Joshua Casteel, 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. In addition, the documentary Sir! No Sir! traces the war resistance within the military during Vietnam and it will air at 9:00 pm (EST) on The Sundance Channel followed at 10:30 p.m. by The Ground Truth which examines the Iraq war and features Jimmy Massey and Iraq Veterans Against the War's Kelly Dougherty among others.

From the topic of courage, we turn to craven -- taking us to the halls of Congress. As
Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) noted today, "The Senate has voted provide nearly one hundred billion dollars for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan while setting a non-binding timetable for withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq.". Non-bidning timetable remains one of the most left out aspects of the measure. Also usually left out is that Bully Boy can reclassify those serving in Iraq (as "military police," for example) and avoid the pleas for withdrawals. (Pleas because "calls" is too strong for what is now headed to the White House for a signature.) Marilyn Bechtel (People's Weekly World) reminds that "the Congressional Research Service said that nearly half the $94 billion earmarked in the supplemental for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan would really be used for non-urgent items like sending an aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf, and funding a U.S.-established Arabic-language TV station. The CRS report also pointed out that the Pentagon has funds available to continue the war until June or July." The sense of urgency being pushed by both major parties is as much smoke and mirrors as what left Congress. Bill Van Auken (World Socialist Web) tackles the realities, noting, "While media reports on the Congressional legislation routinely refers to it as a plan for the withdrawal of US troops from occupied Iraq and ending the war, the language of the bill makes clear that what is involved is a tactical 'redeployment' that would leave tens of thousands of US soldiers and marines in Iraq for years to come. . . . The bill includes a provision for keeping US armed forces in Iraq for three purposes: 'protecting United States and coalition personnel and infrastructure; training and equipping Iraqi forces and conducting targeted counter-terrorism operation.' This language would essentially allow the occupation and war to continue indefinitely, with US troops deployed to protect a massive new embassy being constructed in Baghdad to house a virtual colonial government and to guard 'American citizens' sent by the oil companies to reap massive profits off of Iraq's oil fields."

Yes, the topic of oil. In the supposed illegal war that had nothing to do with oil. The New York Times editorial board pimped the privatization of oil this week as did
War Pornographer Michael Gordon today where he noted, "American officials" were "pressing" the passage of the law and that it's apparently so important that even General David H. Petraeus has to stick his nose in (apparently commanding the US military in Iraq allows him much free time) to share that "he considered passage of the oil law, which would distribute revenues from oil production among Iraq's regions, a priority among the so-called benchmark items that the Americans would like to see become law." It does redistribute the monies -- redistributes them right out of Iraq and into the pockets of Big Oil which, under the proposed legislation, would receive over 70% of the profits in some cases.

In Iraq,
Riverbend (Baghdad Burning) reports that her family has decided to leave Iraq which, despite the Operation Happy Talk operatives, never achieved 'liberation' or 'democracy' (but then those were never the Bully Boy's intended aims. Noting the issue of the very unpopular wall in Baghdad, Riverbend writes: "It's a wall that is intended to separate and isolate what is now considered the largest 'Sunni' area in Baghdad - let no one say the Americans are not building anything. According to plans the Iraqi puppets and Americans cooked up, it will 'protects' A'adhamiya, a residential/mercantile area that the current Iraqi government and their death squads couldn't empty of Sunnis. . . . The Wall is the latest effort to further break Iraqi society apart. Promoting and supporting civil war isn't enough, apparently - Iraqis have generally proven to be more tenacisiou and tolerant than their mullahs, ayatollahs, and Vichy leaders. It's time for America to physically divide and conquer - like Berlin before the wall came down or Palestine today. This way, they can continue chasing Sunnis out of 'Shia areas' and Shia out of 'Sunni areas'."


Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad mortar attack that wounded 2, a Baghdad roadside bomb that killed 1 and left 1 wounded, a Kirkuk bombing that killed 4 police officers and left 5 more wounded, a Kirkuk roadside bomb that killed 1 person and left 3 wounded,


Reuters reports three people were shot dead in Mussayab and a "human rights activist was shot dead by gunmen near his home, 70 km (45 miles) southwest of Kirkuk".


Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 7 corpses discovered in Baghdad. and 3 corpses discovered in Kirkuk.

In addition,
Reuters reports that a prisoner at the US military operated prison Camp Bucca died "after he was apparently assaulted by other prisoners." As Damien Cave (New York Times) noted this morning of the US military controlled Camp Cropper, "Several detainees there have died mysteriously in the past year, with the most recent death occurring April 4. The causes of death for these detainees are rarely divulged." The US military reports the figure of prisoners who have died in US custody in Iraq to be six "in the past year."

In other time lag news,
AP reports that the British helicopter crash in May of 2006 that resulted in the death of five British soldiers resulted from being "shot down by a surface-to-air missile, using a man-portable air defense system, fired from the ground." The US helicopters that crashed this year? Still under investigation.

Also today, the
US military announced: "Three Marines assigned to Multi National Force West died April 26 while conducting combat operations in Al Anbar Province." Al Anbar Province is the region that, as Anna Badkhen (San Francisco Chronicle) noted, Michael Gordon's man crush, General David Petraeus hailed as an area of progress, a "breathtaking" area of progress. Julian E. Barnes (Los Angeles Times), reporting on Petraeus' testimony to Congress Thursday, notes Petraues' claim to be "forthright" in September when it's time to evaluate the ongong escalation. The claim was all the more laughable considering that this was the week Congress took testimony on the lies the military spread about Pat Tilman's death in Afghanistan and Jessica Lynch testified to the lies told about her service in Iraq by the US military. The escalation is generally stated as having begun in February (the latest wave of the eternal crackdown), The idea that a judgement on it cannot be rendered until September goes unquestioned although few in the US are aware of jobs that come with an eight month probationary period.
On Wednesday, the
US military announced: "A Soldier assigned to Multi-National Corps, Iraq, died April 24, 2007 in a non-combat related incident." Today, (AP) reports that the soldier was Jeremy Maresh (24-years-old) and quotes Lt. Col. Chris Cleaver stating he "died from an apparent suicide." To be clear, there have been other deaths that were ruled suicides by the US military and families have strongly disagreed with the ruling.

US troops will leave Iraq. No matter how long Congress sits on its collective and ass and does nothing, US troops will leave. What happens then?
Phyllis Bennis and Robert Jensen (CounterPunch) address this issue: "The first step is, of course, crucial. When 78 percent of the Iraqi people oppose the presence of U.S. troops and 61 percent support attacks on those troops, it's clear that our presence in the country is causing -- not preventing -- much of the violence. Pulling out U.S. troops (including the 100,000-plus mercenaries who back the U.S. military) won't eliminate all Iraqi-on-Iraqi violence, but it will remove the reasons many Iraqis are fighting. The would take away the protective umbrella that the widely supported anti-occupation violence currently gives the real terrorists -- those engaged in killing civilians for
political or sectarian reasons. Once U.S. forces are gone and the reason for the legitmate resistance to foreign occupation is eliminated, the ugly terrorist violence will be exposed for what it is and it will be possible for Iraqis themselves to isolate the terrorists and eliminate them as a fighting force. But what comes after a U.S. withdrawal? We clearly owe the Iraqi people massive reparations for the devastation our illegal invasion has brought. Only in the United States is that illegality questioned; in the rest of the world it's understood. Equally obvious around the world is that the decision to launch an aggressive war was rooted in the desire to expand U.S. military power in the strategically crucial-oil-rich region, and that as a result the war fails every test of moral legitimacy."

In news of student activism in the US,
Justin Horwath (Minnesota Daily) reports on Monday's meeting at the University of Minnesota's Coffman Union where students who had formed a new chapter of SDS (Students for a Democratic Society) met with members gathered to organize and heard Dave Biking speak of what SDS had accomplished during the 60s (when Bicking was a member). Howarth notes that today's SDS "has 148 university chapters and 58 high school chapters nationwide." Kyle Johnson tells Howarth, "SDS gives us the legitimacy to work on other issues, but the war is the No. 1 issue nationally, period." Erika Zurawski states that the new chapter is about "the issues of the day" and that "[t]here's a lot of issues to work on."

Arnie Passman (Berkeley Daily Planet) traces the history and popularization of the peace symbol noting, "In its Golden Jubilee year (right behind last 9/11's 100th anniversary of Gandhi creating the pledge of satyagraha--soul force), the peace symbol has weathered numerous wars -- and the best marketing opportunities money can buy. Facing today's horrors of Asian wars, increased nuclear disfunction, global warming, racial injustice, the irreversible military-industrial complex?. . ., it still calls from great city protests and hamlets to all Earth's colors and creeds for nonviolent resistance (peace marches between the 7 or 8 Gandhi statues--from Boston to San Francisco?) and civil disobedience (sit-ins at the largest defense contracting congressional districts?). And all from the mind of one person that deep '50s, dead winter day in grimy ol' London Town--and the pioneering march through the English countryside to mad western science's Aldermaston." Gerlad Holtom was the designer of the peace symbol.

Finally, Wednesday, May 2nd at 6:30 pm in The Great Hall, Cooper Union (NYC),
Howard Zinn and Anthony Arnove will be presenting readings from their Voices of a People's History of the United States featuring music performed by Allison Moorer and Steve Earle and readings and vocal performances by Ally Sheedy, Brian Jones, Danny Glover, Deepa Fernandes, Erin Cherry, Harris Yulin, Kathleen Chalfant, Kerry Washington, Opal Alladin, Staceyann Chin and Stanley Tucci. Zinn and Arnove will provide both the introduction and the narration.

joshua key