Monday, May 21, 2007

Nicole Colson, Music

To listen to government officials and the mainstream media, the six New Jersey men arrested for allegedly plotting an attack on the Fort Dix military base were well organized and nearly "ready to strike."
But like all of the government's claimed victories in "fighting terrorism," there are disturbing holes in the story that should raise questions about scapegoating and scaremongering.
The U.S. attorney's office in New Jersey announced May 8 that five men--Jordanian-born U.S. citizen Mohamad Ibrahim Shnewer; Turkish-born legal U.S. resident Serdar Tatar; and brothers Dritan, Eljvir and Shain Duka, ethnic Albanians from the former Yugoslavia who were reportedly in the U.S. illegally--had been charged with "plotting to kill as many soldiers as possible in an armed assault at the Fort Dix Army base."
A sixth defendant, Agron Abdullahu, a legal resident also from the former Yugoslavia, is charged with illegally holding weapons for the others.
The FBI says it learned of the supposed plot when the men went to a Circuit City store and asked a clerk to transfer a jihad training video of themselves onto a DVD. They were arrested after allegedly attempting to purchase weapons from an undercover FBI agent.
According to the government, the men had conducted surveillance on Fort Dix, obtained computerized ballistic simulations and stolen a map of Fort Dix from a pizza shop located near the base in order to help plan their attack.
But the extent of their supposed military-style "training" appears to be trips to a firing range in the Poconos and playing paintball in the woods. According to the Washington Post, the indictment against the men "indicates that the group had no rigorous military training and did not appear close to being able to pull off an attack."
Nor do court papers indicate that the suspects themselves were convinced of their own supposed plan. At one point, for example, they express doubt at the thought of obtaining automatic weapons--noting that they are, after all, illegal.
The media's reports on the arrests immediately deemed the six as "Muslim fanatics" and "Jersey jihadists." But some of the men were known to be not particularly religious. In fact, according to the New York Times, investigators have quietly admitted that "there is little indication that they were devout--or even practicing--Muslims."
Perhaps most troubling, however, is the FBI's use of two paid "informants" in the case. One of the informants, according to the Times, "railed against the United States, helped scout out military installations for attack, offered to introduce his comrades to an arms dealer and gave them a list of weapons he could procure, including machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades."
That begs the question: how far would the supposed "plot" have gone had the FBI not been there to push it forward?

That's from Nicole Colson's "Much Ado About the Fort Dix Pizza Plot" (CounterPunch) and she goes on to jog our collective memories about all those sure thing terrorists cases, heavily promoted in the press, that never quite panned out. Read the whole article, share it with friends, discuss it, it's an important point and one you will not find in the mainstream media.

Sunday morning, "Kat's Korner: Tori wades in" went up. That's my review of Tori's new CD and you really do need to hear it. I won't say "buy it" because I think if you listen to it, you won't need anyone telling you to buy it, you'll already be rushing off to the store (or visiting an online 1) or downloading it. It's the most ambitious project of the year thus far.

Will bought it Sunday night. He wrote that he read the review and thought, "I've never listened to Tori." He had several excuses but finally ended up in a store with headphones that let you hear selections. He ended up buying it. You will too.

Will also asked about my knee. I went back to the doctor today. The excercises are helping and strengthening (strengthening is their purpose). He asked me how I felt about the brace and I said I would be more comfortable utilizing it for another week. I'll walk around my place or here (C.I.'s) without it. But if I'm doing heavy walking, I want it. Not because the pain's come back but because I am a huge baby. I can't tell you how much that hurt. I could probably go without it but better safe (or chicken) than sorry. So I'm wearing it through Friday and then taking it off for the weekend, going back to the doctor on Monday and we'll discuss it then. The excercises really are a miracle. They are so easy, so simple but they immediately did wonders. (If anyone's coming in late, lay on your back with your legs in the air -- 90 degree angle -- your feet resting against something. You then slowly bend your knee and straighten. Not a great deal, not jerky. Just slow and smooth. I do that 50 times in the morning and 50 times at night and it is the only thing that stopped the pain.)

Other e-mails asked what I am reviewing this coming Saturday?

Before I answer, I do not do a review every week. Normally, this wouldn't be happening. But I had several CDs I really enjoyed so I had noted I would do one each Saturday. My knee problems delayed my writing the Tori review. However, I do intend to do 2 more reviews. I do intend for them to be done this Saturday and next. I just want to be clear in case anyone's thinking, "Kat's doing CD reviews every Saturday from now on!"

Charlie e-mailed wondering if I could list all the CDs I'd reviewed because he has trouble finding them. I have trouble remembering them! But I can list this year's because, when I mentioned Charlie's e-mail to Dona, she said she'd actually printed them all up. So if I'm missing one, blame Dona.

In January, I reviewed Carly Simon's Into White. In February, I reviewed Diana Ross' I Love You. In March, I reviewed Holly Near's Show Up. In April, I reviewed Bright Eyes' Cassadaga. This month, I reviewed Patti Smith's Twelve and Tori Amos' American Doll Posse.
I'm planning to review the new CDs by Rickie Lee Jones, Norah Jones and Albert Hammond Jr.
After that?

All I ever agreed to was 12 a year. (With myself, agreed with myself. When I started doing this, at C.I.'s urging, I was told whenever I wanted to review something, even 1 time a year, it was fine.) So the 3 albums should result in 2 reviews (one is a combo). That would be eight and I would only need 4 more for the year. Hopefully, I'll have more than four; however, that depends on what gets released. Around this time last year, I wasn't expecting much for the rest of the year. Then Neil Young's Living With War, Ben Harper's Both Sides of the Gun, Ani DiFranco's Reprieve, Michael Franti & Spearhead's Yell Fire! and David Rovics' Halliburton Boardroom Massacre all seemed to come out one after another. Those were such wonderful CDs that I had to review them. And I'm probably forgetting something.

Charlie wrote that he had forgotten about my review of Aimee Mann's The Forgotten Arm until C.I. linked to it in an Iraq snapshot last week. He noted that his favorite is "probably" my review of Justy's crap, "Kat's Korner: 'Mommy, May I Pet With Danger?'" That's one I couldn't forget because I had so much fun laughing at all the Justy lovers who stumbled across the review (they're non-political types, natch) and just had to vouch for their boy-child.

When Tower was still open (sob), I had a good idea of what was coming out. Not just from their release board, but also from talking to various clerks I was friendly with. I really miss Tower. I have not yet started downloading over the internet (to answer a question Beau e-mailed to ask). EMI is about to start letting Amazon sell their downloads with no 'protection software.' So I'll probably wait for that to go up. Wilco has a new CD. I haven't had time to listen to it yet, Sumner got it for me as a gift, but I'm hoping there's a review in that. If nothing else, December will offer my year in review picks.

I also should drop back and do a review of something older. Eli had asked for that and people do enjoy those. I've reviewed Carole King's Tapestry, Carly Simon's No Secrets and Free Design's Kites Are Fun.

Ava and C.I.'s latest TV commentary is "TV: The lows and the really lows." I mention that for two reasons. (1) You've got to read it! (2) I don't have their problem. Their problem is they have pretty much reviewed everything. They do a TV commentary each week. They've done it for over two years now. They have real pressures on them because their commentaries are so popular and readers drop by just for them. Their reviews are a calling card.

My reviews? Members usually enjoy them. I'm glad. I don't feel any tremendous pressure most of the time. I don't have the kind of discipline that Ava and C.I. do. I could not turn out a review every week. No way, no how. I'm naturally lazy. I'd rather be in C.I.'s living room right now than blogging. I do have to have a CD that speaks to me and I do have to toss it around in my head for awhile but I'm also very lazy.

They have to be funny, they have to make you think. I'm just telling a story. Music's important. And, regardless of format, we need to reclaim it. We need to take it away from the safety kids (both the ones 'performing' and the ones buying). When I read some professional review, written by adult and then some, praising the likes of Justin Timberlake, I really get (a) what a battle we've got in front of us and (b) why music sucks so. Years ago, in my college and high school days, I did reviews. I also discovered the camera which was fun and a great way to make a living. The camera thankfully won out. But I was flattered when, after C.I. and I were sharing e-mails about music for a few weeks, C.I. suggested that I should review CDs. C.I. said to start my own site and it would be linked to. I didn't want my own site (I really still don't) but we talked some more and I was willing to do my part (or as much of my part as a lazy person can do). So that's why I review music at The Common Ills and I never planned to do more than 12 a year. (I'm sure I've gone over that at least one year.)

So that's what's what. Please check out Betty's latest chapter "The Janet Jackson-ing of Thomas Friedman." Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Monday, May 21, 2007. Chaos and violence continue, Iraq war resister Ehren Watada gets some good legal news, war resisters online this evening, day 10 of the search for 3 missing US soldiers in Iraq, presidential contender Mike Gravel offers his plan for out of Iraq, the theft of Iraqi oil hits a snag, and more.

Starting with war resistance. Ehren Watada has won what
Melanthia Mitchell (AP) dubs "a small victory." In June of last year, Watada became the first officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq. The first day of the court-martial (Monday, Feb. 5th) was your basic first day of court. On Tuesday, the prosecution presented their case. Wednesday, the defense was supposed to mount their limited defense. Limited? Judge Toilet (aka John Head) had already ruled that the defense could not address the legality of the war, had been happy to pay for prosecution witnesses but would not do the same for the defense (and wouldn't allow witnesses). Wednesday the case would depend on Watada's testimony. The judge called a mistrial (over defense objection) before Watada could testify -- most likely because the prosecution's witnesses on Tuesday had, in different ways, backed up Watada's stand. Many legal commentators have pointed out (including Marjorie Cohn, president of the National Lawyers Guild), Judge Toilet's decision to call a mistrial after the case began, over the objection of the defense, a second court-martial would violate the Constitution's ban on double-jeopardy. February 8th, on Flashpoints, Marjorie Cohn explained that, "When a mistrial is declared, the defense has to agree to it. The only thing that will defeat a finding of double-jeopardy . . . is if there was a manifest necessity to declare the mistrial . . . . There wasn't a manifest destiny." (Those who can't listen can click here to read Rebecca on Cohn's appearance.) Manifest necessity.

Cohn was addressing how double-jeopardy attached the moment the jury was sworn in (Watada elected to go with a jury of his peers -- there is a choice of whether to allow a military judge to decide the verdict or to go with a jury of military members). This was not an opinion pulled out of thin air, it gets to heart of the US Constitution's Fifth Amendment. Speaking on Flashpoints, she offered the example that a jury couldn't reach a verdict. Had Watada's jury been unable to reach a verdict, the judge would have had reason to declare a mistrial. Judge Toilet had no reason to declare one (his actual reason for declaring a mistrial was that the prosecution's witnesses ended up making statements helpful to the defense and the prosecution's easy victory had vanished). A judge cannot stop a trial in the middle of proceedings because he fears the probable verdict.

The July 23rd court-martial faces a new obstacle.
Hal Bernton (Seattle Times) reported Saturday that the Army Court of Appeals has "granted a partial stay of defense motion. It has given Fort Lewis prosecutors 10 days to respond to the defense arguments, and also extended to the defense the option of filing a second round of briefs." Melanthia Mitchell (AP) reported Sunday that the Court declared: "Assembly of the court-martial and all proceedings ordinarily following assembly of the court-martial are hereby stayed." Mitchell also notes that Watada's attorneys, Kenneth Kagan and James Lobsenz, argued "there was no 'manifest necessity' for the mistrial." Now the prosecution will decided their next move. Bernton reports: "According to Lobsenz, once the briefs are filed, the appeals court could: dissolve the stay and allow the case to proceed; hear oral arguments and then issue a ruling; or issue a ruling based on a review of the briefs."

In other war resister news,
Aaron Glantz (IPS) reports on Agustin Aguayo's return to the United States and Aguayo discusses his time in Iraq, his reasons for enlisting and his resistance. On his imprisonment in Germany, Aguayo states, "Initially it was that shocking moment. I had never gotten in trouble in any kind of way. Just two speeding tickets back when I started driving in 1990. But on the other hand it was also a moment of peace where I could reflect and I'm really at peace because I finally have what I wanted for so long. I wanted to be separated from the military because this is wrong, because morally I couldn't continue down this path." Glantz notes the speaking tour Aguayo took part in along with Camilo Mejia (author of the just released Road from Ar Ramaid: The Private Rebellion of Staff Sergeant Mejia), Pablo Paredes and Robert Zabala and how all four are Latino:

"It's hard to overlook," Paredes told IPS. "The evidence is pretty clear that there's a lot of Latino resistance. Part of it is that we're disproportionately targeted for jobs that are high risk -- combat roles, infantry roles. We make up a very small percentage of elit jobs like officers and Blue Angels [a naval aviation show squadron]. We make up only four percent of the officer corps but when the invasion started we were 20 percent of the infantry."

Jeff Paterson (at
Courage to Resist and Indybay IMC) also reports on Aguayo's return to the US and the report includes many photos (including of Helga Aguayo's wife, Camilo Mejia, Robert Zabala, Pablo Paredes, Sean O'Neill and many more). Jeff Paterson, Camilo Mejia and Pablo Paredes join Michael Wong tonight on for the program Questioning War-Organizing Resistance which airs from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm PST. More information can be found in Carol Brouillet's "Questioning War- Organizing Resistance- War Resisters Radio Show" (Indybay IMC).

US war resisters are part of a growing movement of war resistance within the military: Camilo Mejia,
Ehren Watada, Terri Johnson, Kimberly Rivera, Dean Walcott, Linjamin Mull, Joshua Key, Augstin Aguayo, Justin Colby, Marc Train, Robert Zabala, Darrell Anderson, Kyle Snyder , Corey Glass, Jeremy Hinzman, Kevin Lee, Joshua Key, Mark Wilkerson, Patrick Hart, Ricky Clousing, Ivan Brobeck, Aidan Delgado, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Jeremy Hinzman, Stephen Funk, Clifton Hicks, 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, forty 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.

Turning to Iraq, today is the 10th day since
Alex R. Jimenez (25 y.o.), Joseph J. Anzack Jr. (20 y.o.) and Byron W. Fouty (19 y.o.) went missing following an attack that left 4 other US soldiers and 1 Iraqi translator dead. The three are assumed to be captured and the US military continues to search for them. CBS and AP note, via CBS' Mark Strassman, that David Petraues, "top U.S. commander in Iraq," made a claim to the Army Times that "couldn't be confirmed. Petraeus gave no details or proof." His claim, also reported by Damien Cave of the New York Times on Sunday, is that he knows 2 of the 3 missing soldiers are still alive. Cave did not note that there was no confirmation, no details nor any proof. Cave did note that Petraues claims to know who captured the soldiers ("We know who that guy is"). At this point, there is little indication that Petraues knows anything.

CNN reports that the search was focused "around the site where they were attacked May 12 south of Baghdad." Aaron Sheldrick (Bloomberg News) reported yesterday, "Thousands of U.S. personnel are still searching for three soldiers missing in Iraq since a May 12 ambush that killed four others and Iraqi army interpreter near Mahmudiyah, south of Baghdad. The search is diverting soldiers from a security clampdown in Baghdad".

In some of today's violence . . .


Mohammed al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 3 Iraqi soldiers killed (2 more wounded) from a Baghdad bombing, 4 police officers wounded from a Baghdad bombing, 7 Iraqi civilians killed by a Baghdad bombing, a Baghdad car bombing that wounded 5 people, 2 Baghdad mortar attacks that killed 2 and left 15 wounded as well as the mortar attack on the heavily fortified Green Zone, a Baquba mortar attack that killed 1 person and left 12 wounded "(8 of the injured were women)," and an Al Khalis car bombing that wounded 3 police officers and "and one judge, Thamir Al Baiati".


Mohammed al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports an attack on mini-bus enroute to Baghdad that left 4 people shot dead ("including a 4 year old child") "an injured 4 women," and that "Masoud Shukr, a Kurd taxi driver" was shot dead in Mosul.


Mohammed al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 24 corpses discovered in Baghdad.

Today the
UK Defence Ministry announced: "It is with deep sadness that the Ministry of Defence must confirm that a British soldier has died as a result of wounds sustained in Basra City today, Monday 21 May 2007. The soldier died as a result of wounds sustained in an incident in the Al Tuwaysa district of central Basra today. The soldier was injured during an attack on the resupply convoy that he was travelling in, en route to a Multi National Forces base." This comes on the heels of the Guardian of London's Saturday editorial entitled "The bad news from Basra:"

There was no containing the mutual admiration of George Bush and Tony Blair as they stood in the Rose Garden for one last time on Thursday. They were so close, we were informed, they could read each other's minds and finish each other's sentences. Mr Bush rounded on British reporters for tap dancing on his friend's political grave. Cut from the choreographed pas de deux in Washington and over to Basra, where our reporter Ghaith Abdul Ahad spent nine days with militiamen, generals, city officials and intelligence officers. His remarkable report should freeze the smiles on coalition faces.
Is it the scene where three men dismount from two new police SUVs, assemble two Katyusha rockets, fire them at a British base in Saddam's former compound in the city and drive off? Or is it the interior ministry general who greets our reporter with the words "Welcome to Tehran" and goes on to explain how 60% of his officers are militiamen, how almost all the policemen in the city are gangsters, how the police are divided between the Fadhila, who control the oil terminals, and Moqtada al Sadr's men, who control the ports?

Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) noted today, "In Iraq, at least 15 U.S. troops have died since Friday." ICCC's count is 3422 US service members have thus far died in Iraq since the start of the illegal war -- of which, 71 have died so far this month.

Turning to political issues,
AP reports that the Iraq's Defense Minister Abdul-Qader al-Obeidi has announced that Iraq has its own military "plans on how to cope if U.S.-led forces leave the country quickly". This as Ann Scott Tyson (Washington Post) reports that the US military has plans for "[a] second Fallujah" to 'address' the Sadr City section of Baghdad. Patrick Cockburn (Independent of London via CounterPunch) revealed that in 2004, the US military had another plan for 'addressing' Sadr City, kill Muqtada al-Sadr. Falluja ended in a standoff in April of 2004 and in slaughter in November of 2004.

Meanwhile the proposed theft of Iraqi oil is greeted with more opposition. Yesterday,
Rick Jervis (USA Today) noted: "Disagreement over the future role of foreign investment in Iraq's oil fields has stalled passage of an oil law the Bush administration says is crucial to Iraq's future." Today, Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) noted Tariq Al-Hashemi (Iraq's Sunni vice president) has begun "publicly criticizing a proposed Iraqi oil law because it is too favorable to foreign oil companies. The Bush administration and Congressional Democrats are pushing the Iraqi parliament to pass the oil law which would open up Iraq's oil reserves to foreign companies. Al-Hashemi said Iraq wants foreign oil companies to invest in Iraq but he said the current bill gives the companies too many privileges." Gail Russell Chaddock (Christian Science Monitor) observed that the US designated 'benchmark' "is emerging as a flash point in both Baghdad and Washington" with the DC set largely grumbling over "the Iraqi government's perceived foot-dragging" but US House Rep Joe Sestak noting "reports out that that appear to indicate that undue, unfair preference and the influence of our oil companies are part of the Iraqi hydrocarbon law" and US House Rep and 2008 US presidential contender Dennis Kucinich calling "on Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senator [Harry] Reid to drop the Iraqi oil law as a benchmark for progress in Iraq." Emma Sabry (Al Jazeera Magazine) noted that the proposed privatization law also has created concern over Iraq's future with some believing the passage would lead Iraq to split into three regions, destroying the country and creating a federation. Andy Rowell (Oil Change) notes Iraqi Parliamentarian Mahmoud Othman declaring that the bill will not be passed on May 31s: "There's no way it will be done by then. Not even close."

Turning to US political news,
Joe Lauria (The Progressive) profiles Mike Gravel who is running for the Democratic nomination for president. Gravel, a former US senator, returned to politics and Laurie recounts some of Gravel's past actions with regards to ending the illegal war in Vietnam which included co-sponsoring a resolution to cut off funding and reading the Pentagon Papers into the Congressional record June 29, 1971: "Gravel not only released the Pentagon Papers and filibustered an end to the draft, he also spearheaded the opposition in the Senate to nuclear weapons testing in Alaska, an issue that led to the creation of Greenpeace. His iconoclastic stands against the draft, government secrecy, American adventurism, and corporate dominance and for public financing of elections, national government by popular ballot initiative, a universal single-payer health care voucher plan, and a national sales tax were essentially laid out while he was still in the Senate. But he believes current times have resurrected those positions and refurbished his relevance."

How would Gravel end the illegal war? He's provided an example at his website, "
United States Armed Forces Withdrawal From Iraq Act:"

Effective 60 days after this bill becomes law:
1. The Joint Resolution to authorize the use of United States Armed Forces against Iraq (H.J. Res. 114), approved by the House of Representatives on October 10, 2002 and by the Senate on October 11, 2002, is hereby repealed.
2. All members of the United States Armed Forces must be withdrawn from Iraq, except the Marine Corps guards serving on the sovereign territory of the United States at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and performing solely typical embassy guard duties. No member of the United States armed forces may remain within the borders of Iraq on and after the 61st day after this bill becomes law.
3. No funds authorized or appropriated at any time by any other Act of Congress or controlled by the United States or any of its officers, employees, or agents (whether or not the use of such controlled funds has been authorized or appropriated by an Act of Congress) may be used to conduct or support military or para-military operations (whether conducted by members of the United States Armed Forces or by military personnel or civilians of any nation) within or over the territory of Iraq (which territory of Iraq includes the waters within 3 miles of the Iraqi coast) except for travel by the Marine Corps embassy guards allowed by Section 2.
4. On the 62nd day after this bill becomes law and on the first business day of each month thereafter (for a period of one year following the 62nd day after this bill becomes law), each of the following officials shall deliver to the Congress a separate written certificate signed by the official under penalty of perjury certifying that since the 61st day after this bill becomes law the United States has complied with the sections of this law indicated immediately after each official's position:
a. the President - sections 2 and 3
b. the Vice President - sections 2 and 3
c. the Secretary of Defense - sections 2 and 3
d. the Secretary of the Treasury - section 3
5. It shall be unlawful for any person willfully and knowingly to violate, or to conspire to violate, any provision of this law or to deliver a written certificate to the Congress as required by Section 4 which certificate is false. The provisions of this Section 5 shall not apply to any person who, at the time of the violation, was a uniformed member of any branch of the United States Armed Forces below general officer or flag rank (below the rank of Brigadier General or below the rank of Rear Admiral). Any violation of any provision of this law, and conspiracies to commit such a violation, occurring outside the United States, shall be prosecuted only in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, which shall have exclusive original jurisdiction over any such prosecution. Each act constituting a violation of this section shall be punished by a fine of $1,000,000 and by imprisonment for five years (without the possibility of parole, probation, or reduction in fine or sentence for any reason other than a written certificate from the prosecuting attorney representing the United States to the effect that the convicted person has provided information necessary to a conviction actually obtained of some person of higher rank for a violation of any provision of this law). Notwithstanding any other provision of law, in the event any fine is not paid as ordered by the court, the Secretary of the Treasury shall deduct the unpaid amount of the fine from any funds otherwise payable for any reason by the United States to any person convicted of a violation of any provision of this law. Such deductions shall continue until the fine has been paid in full. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, any prosecution of a violation of any provision of this law must commence within fifteen (15) years after the violation occurred.

From DC,
CODEPINK's Medea Benjamin (writing at Common Dreams) shares her observations of the political situation (Senators more detatched from the voters, most politicians having to make some attempt to respond to the people) and concludes: "It's obvious that these Democratic candidates, who are out among the public day after day, feel the pulse of the nation and are taking anti-war positions to win votes. Unfortunately, other Senators aren't feeling that same kind of pressure.If we want to end the war, this must change. Our Senators-especially the 71 who failed to support Feingold's bill-need to hear from us on a regular basis. So why not add to your morning routine a call to your Senator with a simple reminder to bring our troops home in 2007? If enough of us make those calls, perhaps the Senators will actually wake up and smell the coffee."

In other activism news,
Jonathan Nack (Indybay IMC) -- has text and audio/video -- and Jeff Paterson(Indybay IMC) report on Sunday's successful efforts to shut down the Port of Oakland where "longshoremen honored an anti-war community picket line at the SSA Terminal in the Port of Oalkand. Three ships sat at the SSA docks, and cargo did not move." The Oakland actions follows similar actions that have taken place in Washington.
Ron Jacobs (CounterPunch) reports on the student movements to end the war forcusing on actions in Vermont (which "has the highest number of per capita deaths from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan") "Mary Coleman-Howard, a student at the university of Vermont and one of the primary organizers of the recent VTCN conference. My first question regarding the conference concerned numbers and the general mood of those attending. Mary estimated that between forty-five and fifty students from six campuses were in attendance. Their general mood was one of excitement and a desire to do everything they can to end the war, including civil disobedience and extralegal forms of direct action. If there was one drawback to the conference, it was the lack of high school students. Mary attributed this to the fact that she and other oganizers focused mostly on colleges this time around."

Lastly, a look at another activist airs tomorrow night
The Sundance Channel:Tuesday, May 22nd 9:30 pm e/pForest For The Trees (U.S. Television Premiere) -- Directed by Bernadine Mellis. Mellis follows her father, civil rights lawyer Dennis Cunningham, as he goes to federal court in 2002 on behalf of his client, the late environmental activist Judi Bari. A leader of EarthFirst!, Bari was injured in a car bombing as she prepared for 1990's "Redwood Summer," a peaceful action protesting the logging of old-growth redwoods in Northern California. Arrested for the crime but never charged, Bari believed she was targeted in order to discredit her organization and sued the FBI and the Oakland Police. A suspenseful chronicle of an important trial, Forest for the Trees is also a profile of a dynamic and funny woman, who earned the respect of loggers as well as environmentalists.