Thursday, August 09, 2007

John Pilger

The Clinton scam is symptomatic of the death of liberalism - not its narcissistic, war-loving wing ("humanitarian intervention"), which is ascendant, but the liberalism that speaks against crimes committed in its name, while extending rungs of the economic ladder to those below. It was Clinton's promotion of the former and crushing of the latter that so inspired new Labour's "project". Clinton, not Bush, was Cool Britannia's true Ma fia godfather. Keen observers of Tony Blair will recall that during one of his many farewell speeches, the socio path did a weird impersonation of Clinton's head wiggle.
Clinton is able to make a shedload because he is contrasted with the despised Bush as the flawed good guy who did his best for the world and brought economic boom to the US - the fabled American dream no less. Both notions are finely spun lies. What Clinton and Blair have most in common is that they are the most violent leaders of their countries in the modern era; that includes Bush. Consider Clinton's true record:
In 1993, he pursued George H W Bush's in vasion of Somalia. He invaded Haiti in 1994. He bombed Bosnia in 1995 and Serbia in 1999. In 1998, he bombed Afghanistan; and, at the height of his Monica Lewinsky troubles, he momentarily diverted the headline writers to a major "terrorist target" in Sudan that he ordered destroyed with an onslaught of missiles. It turned out to be sub-Saharan Africa's largest pharmaceutical plant, the only source of chloroquine, the treatment for malaria, and other drugs that were lifelines to hundreds of thousands. As a result, wrote Jonathan Belke, then of the Near East Foundation, "tens of thousands of people - many of them children - have suffered and died from mal aria, tuberculosis and other treatable diseases".

That's part of John Pilger's "Good Ol' Bill, the liberal hero" (New Statesman). I've been waiting to comment on Tim Howe and his trashing of everyone. It's really funny he sent that piece of crap e-mail to C.I. because C.I.'s probably nicer about Hillary Clinton than anyone other than Betty maybe. I think my favorite part of all his apparently drunken rantings and ravings was when he said that we'd all be in a gulag if it weren't for him and his friend Bobby.

Isn't it great that Timmy and Bobby are protecting us all?

Of course, they could probably do a better job of that if they knew where we were. (Or at least those of us who are not Rebecca.) For the record, I have visited NYC, but I've never lived there. Born and bred in California here. So I don't know who Timmy thinks he was keeping out of the gulag, but he wasn't saving my ass.

He probably wasn't saving anyone's. Not even his own. Maybe he wasn't even wiping his own ass? There was a stink to his e-mail.

So he's a Clinton-loving centrist who thinks that anyone to the left of Hillary Clinton is an idiot. I'd guess that's about half the population.

He hates CODEPINK. He hates women. That's probably what he and Bobby bonded over in college.

Remember Carnal Knowledge? I think it was the screenwriter who used to say that for the opening scene to be realistic, Jack Nicholson and Art Garfunkel should have been jerking off. I can see Timmy and Bobby doing that in college.

Each in their own bed, pulling their tiny puds while they pretended they were getting some. Bobby's a snotty little thing to activists from the 60s. (And seems to think Eugene McCarthy won the 1968 Democratic nomination. Apparently, even if they had no women in their room, they did have a bong -- and used it very often.)

From Bobby's online rants about those in the 60s trying to make a difference, it's fairly clear he was a big drip even then.

I think their 'help' and 'priorities' can best be seen in the fact that Bobby trashed Joe Wilson every chance he had. He said Wilson was a liar. He used the Republican Senate report to do that even though everyone knew better than to trust that. There was Wilson, calling the Bully Boy out. There was Valerie Plame, being outed by the Bully Boy because her husband told the truth and all Bobby could do was scream Joe Wilson is a liar day after day.

Of course, Bobby's little friend was Matty Cooper and Matty Cooper had rolled over on Scooter Libby by this point but was refusing to give Patrick Fitzgerald Karl Rove's name. So Bobby thought the smartest thing to do was to protect his lying, trashing friend Matty by attacking Joe Wilson's credility.

And Timmy Howe wants to lecture us?

It read like he was drunk, that e-mail. I don't know how C.I. made it through it because I had to read it in pieces. It was just the most hateful thing in the world and so uninformed.

For instance, he seemed to think we had endorsed Barack Obama. That seemed to be what pissed him off, that Hillary had been overlooked.

I really don't know what he was saying or trying to say half the time. That's why I really hope he was drunk because if that's how he writes sober, that's really sad.

But he seems to believe he's somehow changed the world and that he (with Hillary's help) will save it as well.

I've honestly never read anything like his writing before outside of some psyche case studies.

So on the off chance that Timmy's still out there lurking, I thought I'd put some truth about his heroes in tonight via John Pilger. I can picture little Timmy having a meltdown and scouring NYC for me. How stupid do you have to be to think that, by the way? C.I., Ava, Jess, Jim, Dona, Ty and I live on the West Coast. I'm glad he thinks our dialogue is so sparkling but he really, really hates NYC. He may hate NYC more than he hates us. Or it may be a toss up, who knows?

He's a little boy who needs his gods and heroes. He needs his fantasies and can't handle reality. I think there are good people in the world and that some do heroic things but I don't look to any leader to be a 'hero.' I don't think I even bought into that nonsense of "I cannot tell a lie" when we studied George Washington in 4th grade. But Timmy's still starry-eyed, still handing his power over to be the ultimate, worshipful fan.

That might be the most dangerous thing to a democracy.

Closing with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Thursday, August 9, 2007. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq, Bully Boy says Iran is the cause of the destruction of Iraq, talk of installing a new dictator surfaces, impeachment remains 'off the table,' and more.
Starting with war resisters. Camilo Mejia is the first known Iraq War veteran to become a war resister. At the end of last month, Maria Hinojosa of
NOW with David Brancaccio interviewed Mejia (transcript, audio, excerpt) about his time in Iraq, his determining that the war was illegal and his book Road from Ar Ramaid: The Private Rebellion of Staff Sergeant Mejia (The New Press) which was published in May. "When you join the military," Mejia declared, "you think that you're going to do it to protect freedom to fight for democracy. And finding yourself in a war that's not legitimate by international law standards, where you're abusing prisoners in a war that's being fought in the streets, and you see that the bulk of the human loss, it's civilian, it's very difficult to conciliate your participation in that war and what you're doing in that war with the reasons that led you to -- to sign a military contract." And in Mejia's case (and many others), a contract that is worthless for the signee because the US military isn't bound by it. (Mejia, a non US citizen, had reached the end of the 8 year contract but was the victim of 'stop loss' despite the fact that, as a non citizen, this was not allowed under prior or existing policies.) Noting that Amnesty International declared him a prisoner of conscience (following his was court-martialed and sentencing), Hinojosa asks him where he see his "place now in the year 2007 in these United States?" Mejia responds, "I see myself as part of a movment. And the number of people -- deserting the military when I returned from Iraq was 22. And I believe the number is up to nine -- 9,000 or more soldiers who have deserted or gone AWOL since the beginning of the Iraq war. And I see a l-long way ahead of us. I see a long struggle. And I see myself as part of that struggle."
Amnesty International also supported Abdullah Webster who was court-martialed in June 2004 after he refused to serve in Iraq citing religious reasons (Webster is Muslim) for refusing to serve in the illegal war. Webster joined the US military in 1985 and was set to retire in 2005. The came the illegal war. Webster had served in the first Gulf War but had converted to Islam (1994). Webster first attempted (September 2003) to be granted CO status and then followed that with a request for assignment to non-combat services. Instead, the US military said he would deploy to Iraq (Feb. 2004). His wife Sue spoke of the June 3, 2004 court-martial and his being sentenced to 14 months noting, "An abiding memory I have is of him being led off back to his cell as I watched distraught, in tears, holding our 22-month-old daughter in my arms." In April of 2005, Webster was released from military prison.

There is a growing movement of resistance within the US military which includes Robert Weiss, Phil McDowell, Steve Yoczik, Ross Spears, Zamesha Dominique, Jared Hood, James Burmeister, Eli Israel, Joshua Key,
Ehren Watada, Terri Johnson, Carla Gomez, Luke Kamunen, Leif Kamunen, Leo Kamunen, Camilo Mejia, Kimberly Rivera, Dean Walcott, Linjamin Mull, Agustin Aguayo, Justin Colby, Marc Train, Abdullah Webster, Robert Zabala, Darrell Anderson, Kyle Snyder, Corey Glass, Jeremy Hinzman, Kevin Lee, 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, Dale Bartell, Chris Teske, Matt Lowell, Jimmy Massey, Chris Capps, Tim Richard, Hart Viges, Michael Blake, Christopher Mogwai, Christian Kjar, Kyle Huwer, Vincent La Volpa, DeShawn Reed and Kevin Benderman. In total, forty-one US war resisters in Canada have applied for asylum.
Information on war resistance within the military can be found at
The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline, Iraq Veterans Against the War and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters. Tom Joad maintains a list of known war resisters. IVAW and others will be joining Veterans For Peace's conference in St. Louis, Missouri August 15th to 19th.

To stay on PBS'
NOW with David Brancaccio for a moment before moving on, this week's show will feature David Cay Johnston (New York Times) and Beth Shuman discussing with Brancaccio "the state of our country's vast income divide and how it's hurting those just trying to make ends meet." The program begins airing Friday on most PBS stations, check your local listings.

Moving to the New York Times, has the new, smaller size resulted in less need for facts?
Damien Cave semi-reports on the US bombing a resedential section of Baghdad but forgets to list the number of civilians local authorities say died. This is the same Damien Cave who couldn't tear himself away from any detail in February 2005 (including the very serious crime -- we're sure -- of manure being flung in Ohio) to push the "ATTACKS ON US MILITARY WITHIN THE US" alarmist nonsense that (we're sure) he wishes everyone could forget. Ladies and gentlemen, the Divine Damien, Dung Will Be Flung Tonight. When it comes to vandalism (being passed off as terrorism), Cave doesn't miss a detail. When it comes to human lives, he apparently misses 17. That is the number of civilians Megan Greenwell (Washington Post) reports killed in the US air strike on Sadr Ctiy citing "military and Iraqi police". Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) noted that "U.S. troops and warplanes have waged a major attack on the Shiite neighborhood of Sadr City in Baghdad. . . . The Washington Post described the raid as one of the largest in a series of U.S. attacks against Shiite militias. The raid on Sadr City came shortly after Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki left Baghdad for Tehran where he met with several Iranian leaders. Hundreds of Baghdad residents held protests last night against the U.S. for attacking Sadr City less than 24 hours before the start of a major Shiite holiday. Meanwhile Iraqi officials have imposed a strict curfew and banned all vehicular traffic in Baghdad until Saturday in an attempt to prevent car bombings during the holiday." Also in today's Washington Post, Ann Scott Tyson reported on the lastest switcheroo by the US which is now backing the Sunni leading to worries and concerns within the puppet government and, presumably, within the US military. Col. Steve Townsend seems rather blase as he tells the Post, "I assume they . . . have killed some of us [US troops]. We have killed a lot of them. If they are willing to move foward with us, I'm willing to keep an open mind." Of course, "Col" Townsend won't be the one doing any training, that will fall to lower leveled service members. While any meaningful peace plan would have to pull him the resistance (which the US has been in talks with for over a year now), there is a difference between that and what's being done here. It's equally true that the real point is to keep everyone off balance -- or at least Sunni and Shia (the US has operated the illegal war as if no one else was present in Iraq). You can apply the "learned helplessness" technique Jane Mayer discussed with Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) yesterday. Keep 'em off balance, keep 'em guessing. Pit Sunni against Shia, Shia against Sunni, let chaos and violence run free and maybe the US won't be seen as the illegal invader it is but instead as the great savior.

On the topic of Iraqi deaths, Patrick McElwee appeared on
KPFK's Uprising today where he spoke with host Sonali Kolhatkar about the 'benchmark' the US administration probably won't flaunt. Next week, Iraqi fatalities since the start of the illegal war are expected to reach the one million mark. Where is the coverage? McElwee noted that Fox "News" recently had Britty Hume embed in Iraq where he was on US aircraft while it dropped around 25 bombs and though there was time for rah-rah, there was not one report about where the bombs landed and what happened to the people present. McElwee declared that's "what's needed now is some organized pressure on our leaders to end this war." McElwee is with Just Foreign Policy and you can learn more by visiting this page of their site.

As the deaths pile up, so do the insults.
Kim Gamel (AP) reports that Saad Eskander, director of the Iraqi National Library, has repeatedly attempted to get US and Iraqi troops to leave the facilities but has been ignored while windows have been broken and US forces have repeatedly "entered the building without permission".


Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Basra mortar attack that wounded a police officer "and other civilians." Reuters notes a Baghdad roadside bombing that claimed 3 lives and a Baghdad mortar attack that killed 1 person and left 2 more injured and that "two small bridges in Salahudding province" were blown up. AP reports a bombing "near the house of a Shiite family" which claimed the lives of a wife and husband and left their child injured.


Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 3 Iraqi soldiers wounded by gunfire. Reuters notes a man shot dead in Najaf.


Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 9 corpses discovered in Baghdad.

Yesterday, the UK Ministry of Defence announced the death of one British soldier in Basra. Today,
they identified him, 20-year-old Martin Beard. And they announced two more deaths: "It is with deep regret that the Ministry of Defence must confirm the deaths of two British soldiers from 1st Battalion The Irish Guards in Basra, southern Iraq in the early hours of this morning, Thursday 9 August 2007. The soldiers were killed, and another two seriously injured, when an Improvised Explosive Device detonated next to their patrol just after midnight local time." This announcement brought the total number of British soldiers killed in the illegal war to 168. David Byers (Times of London) notes, "Britain has now lost four soldiers in Basra in one week, as the Shia Mahdi Army increases its attacks in the southern city."

Today, the
US military announced: "A Marine assigned to Multi National Force-West died Aug. 7 in a non-combat related incident in Al Anbar Province." And they announced: "A Marine assigned to Multi National Force-West died Aug. 7 in a non-combat related incident in Al Anbar Province." And they announced: "A Multi-National Division - Baghdad soldier died from a non-combat related cause Aug. 8." ICCC's total for US service members killed in the illegal war thus far this month is 25 and is 3684 since the start of the illegal war.

In the Joke for the Day news,
Matt Spetalnick (Reuters) reports the Bully Boy of the United States has stated "Iran is a destabilizing force in Iraq". Not since Bully Boy joked about WMD in public has he made a bigger fool of himself. As The Toledo Blade editorialized yesterday, "the United States has essentially destroyed Iraq as a country".

Damien McElroy (Telgraph of London) reports that NYU's Michael Oppenheimer is arguing that the answer for Iraq is a dictator. Oppenheimer is an associate professor has been arguing that since at least mid-July when he declared following a workshop, "The best idea we were able to generate -- a National Unity Dictatorship -- is the only plausible route to stability in both Iraq and the region, and one we can make more likely if we choose to. This would, of course, represent the failure of democratization in Iraq, at least in the short term." McElroy notes that Oppenheimer believes the US could 'create' "a viable dictatorship in Iraq." So now the US is going to explore imposing a dictatorship?

In activism news, members of
Military Families Speak Out were among those arrested at the Garden Grove office of US House Rep. Loretta Sanchez yesterday, Jennifer Delson (Los Angeles Times) reports, after Sanchez refused to agree not to vote for the $145 billion funding bill for the Iraq war noting that "$2.1 billion for C-17 production" -- pork she steered her own way via her spot on the House Armed Services committee -- was too important to her, more important than any deaths in Iraq. "Funding the war is killing the troops!" cry Iraq Veterans Against the War and Tina Richards and Military Families Speak Out while Sanchez plays Gimmie! Gimmie! Gimmie! How proud she must be and how untroubled her sleep.

In news of other cowardice,
St. John Conyers, burned at the stake of his own words, is the Congress member who could start impeachment. He refuses to. He refuses a great deal. Ken Silverstein (Harper's magazine) reports that he was supposed to interview Conyers back in May and, as requested, he did it via e-mailed questions. Despite following up repeatedly, Conyers still hasn't replied. Possibly questions about whether "leading the country into the war in Iraq" constitutes high crimes and misdemeanors and why impeachment isn't "on the table" are questions St. Conyers prefers to avoid? The topic of impeachment wasn't avoided on PBS where Bill Moyers examined it seriously last month. That one hour look (including guests such as John Nichols) at impeachment on Bill Moyers Journal is repeating and can also be viewed, listened to or read online currently.