Friday, March 23, 2007

Didn't listen

Zach e-mailed and asked, "Did you listen at all?" Nope. When I'm feeling like this, it's better to just take a break from KPFA. If they don't want to be serious or if they want to avoid reality, I don't want to listen. If I'd listened, I'd have to write about it and the best thing is to just not listen.

I may listen Monday, I may not. Today, I just enjoyed my CDs. And how 'bout the quote in the snapshot? I'd forgotten that song by Laura Nyro, "Women of the One World." That is a really great song. I read that and my first thought was, "Damn! Why didn't I listen to Laura today?" I listened to Janis, Stevie Wonder, the Cure, and who knows what else. I might listen to Dennis Bernstein. I have no problem with his show regarding Congress because Dennis and Robert Knight have been very upfront about the realities of that nonsense bill (the Pelosi measure). That'll depend on what's going on at C.I.'s. If they're listening (that's where I'm headed shortly), I will as well.

This is from Russell Hoffman "How to Tell Big Lies to Congress" (CounterPunch):

The next day, John Edwards' wife announced a return of her cancer. Cancer is the #1 epidemic in this country, it will kill approximately 25% to 40% of us, and many of the rest will have cancer, or will have had cancer, when they die.
At low doses -- the doses you get in your day-to-day life -- radiation is probably at least a hundred times more capable of inducing cancer than official government statistics admit, especially for fetuses and infants.
Al Gore could study this, and talk about it to Congress, but he comes from the "Oak Ridge" area of Tennessee, where, he joked, "we're immune to radiation."
Funny funny.
In reality, Al Gore offers NOTHING to environmentalists but more of the same. He scares no one, certainly not anyone in Congress or the nuclear industry, or ANY polluting industry, with his "environmentalism."
It's small wonder that the Nuclear Energy Institute was taking out ads on CNN the day Al Gore was speaking to Congress, full of bouncing babies and young moms in the park and proclamations that nuclear power is necessary for a clean tomorrow.
Nuclear power is STILL not a solution to our energy needs OR our environmental needs. It does not solve global warming. It's a killer.
And Al Gore is still full of hot air.

That's another issue I wish KPFA would lead on. I'm so tired of reading of or hearing of someone dying of cancer and hearing "and s/he never smoked." That's becoming very common. Or someone developing cancer who never smoked. Our environment's are killing us. It's really easy to point to smoking and I'll assume that those who never smoked are supposed to have been the victims of second-hand smoke. The reality is that, smoker or not, we're all being polluted. Our carpets, our furniture, we're bringing so many chemicals into our homes and that's not even addressing the issues of the outside air.

I don't dispute that smoking causes cancer. I do, however, think that the continued focus on it (hasn't everyone gotten the word by now) has become more of an issue of scapegoating while letting people who don't smoke (I don't smoke) live in some sort of dream land where they believe, "I don't smoke! I'm not going to get cancer!" We're lulled into believing that when we may well get it from the air, from the water, from the things in our homes. KPFA did play a wonderful documentary (from Canada) on this topic during a fundraiser about a year ago (maybe less than a year). But I'd really love to see some real exploration of this topic.

I'll also note that the clip the KPFA Evening News played of Al Gore this week, speaking to Congress, it only made me remember how much I hated the way he spoke. I hadn't heard him speak in some time and was honestly feeling like the comedians who imitated him were unfair but there was that annoying nasal note in one of his sentences. And it all came back.

Lastly, someone e-mailed (I don't recognize the name and it was to the public account, so I'll assume it was a visitor) that Caldwell interviewed two people. Not on the House bill. The person the e-mailer is referring to was allowed to talk about the Senate bill. He got something like two short sentences while the Pelosi measure supporter spoke for about 40 seconds.

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

Friday, March 23, 2007. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq, the Pelosi measure passes in the House, the deputy prime minister of Iraq is wounded in an assassination attempt, new developments in the US military's harassment of Joshua Key, and voices opposed to the Pelosi measure that small media wouldn't bring you.

Starting with news of war resistance.
Yesterday, a family in Toronto who had taken in US war resister Joshua Key and his family when they came to Canada seeking asylum explained how they were visited by three police officers (in plainclothes) saying that they were searching for Joshua Key. This echoed an earlier attempt to harass US war resister Kyle Snyder; however, Key and his family now live elsewhere, so the 'police' were unable to detain him. Today, Leslie Ferenc (Toronto Star) reports that not only does the Toronto Police say it wasn't them, there's "no record of local officers being dispatched" to the home.
Omar El Akkad (Globe & Mail) adds another detail to the story: "The U.S. Army's Criminal Investigation Command has confirmed it is looking to question an army deserter now living in Canada about explosive allegations he made in his autobiography." El Akkad quotes Chris Grey as the person confirming. So were the three 'police' officers actually Toronto police are were they the US military?

The incident echoes an earlier one.
Bill Kaufmann (Calgary Sun) reminds readers that it was February when police officers "barged into" Kyle Snyder's home "hauling him out in his underwear in cuffs without a warrant and valid legal reason. His crime that actually isn't one in this country: Refusing to rejoin his U.S. Army unit to maintain the futile occupation of Iraq.
. . . Snyder claims federal officials told him they'd been getting pressure from the U.S. military to do something about his two-year presence in B.C. Canada Border Service Agency won't comment, but if it's even remotely true, what does it say about over sovereignty?"
Immigration official, Joci Pen has confirmed Synder was arrested at the request of the US military.

The US military maintains that they only want to discuss Joshua Key's new book,
The Deserter's Tale, apparently they're not just the military, they're also an international book club. Maybe they grew interested when they read John Freeman's (Mineapolis Star Tribune) review? Or maybe it was the shout out from Newsweek that made them thing, "We need to read this book!" Or maybe it was the recommendation fo the John Birch Society? Joshua Key's The Deserter's Tale has received good word from around the political spectrum.

Snyder and Key are part of a movement of resistance within the military that also includes
Ehren Watada, Darrell Anderson, Dean Walcott, 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.

In today's violence (reported) in Iraq, an attack on Salam al-Zobaie, the country's deputy prime minister, is getting the most attention. In what's being reported as an attempted assassination, Salam al-Zobaie's home was targeted with one bomb while the mosque he was in at the time was also targeted with a bomb.
Al Jazeera English TV reports that "many people are saying that this was an insider job" and correspondent Imad Shahib says that the mosque bombing was conducted by a man who blew himself up, "he's one of his guards." Robin Stringer and Heather Langan (Bloomberg News) note that the attack at th mosque took place "near the fortified Green Zone. AFP reports: "Zubayi, one of the most prominent Sunni Arab leaders in the Shiite-led government was rushed to a US military hospital in Baghdad with chest and face injuries after the bombers strcuk while he was performing Muslim prayers" and notes that at least six people are dead and at least 15 wounded. Elsa McLaren (Times of London) reports that Salam al-Zubaie was having surgery and also notes: "One aide said that the suicide bomber appeared to have been one of Mr al-Zubaie's own guards." Sameer N. Yacoub (AP) reports that nine deaths are being reported by the police, up from six. Christian Berthelsen (Los Angeles Times) also reports the 9 deaths and that 14 are wounded and that the bomber at the mosque (the one some reports are saying was an aide to al-Zubaie) wore a belt filled with explosives.

This follows the attack (in the Green Zone) yesterday.
Allen Pizzey (CBS News) observes, "And on the subject of targest, a short while ago a rocket slammed into the 'Green Zone' or, as the Americans prefer to call it, the 'IZ' short for 'International Zone', a word game that allows them to pretend someone other than America runs the place. The rocket, fired from across the rive, slammed in about 50 yards from where U.N. Secretary-General Bank Ki Moon and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki were meeting the press. Pool pictures from the scene showed the U.N. chief ducking, a not unnatural or unwise move, and then looking somewhat puzzled."


Guardian of London reports that a Baghdad car bombing in the Sadr City neighborhood resulted in five deaths and 20 injured. Reuters reports one police officer dead and another wounded in a Yusufiya roadside bombing and three police officers wounded from a car bombing -- for some reason they use the term "suicide bomber" which seems to imply the bomber would be dead but, although using the term, they note: "The suicide bomber surivived the blast and was captured by police as he tried to run away."


Oh come on. What? You don't know the drill? There were no bullets exchanged on Friday! Seriously, Friday everyone cuts out early. McClatchy may file later today but everyone else pretty much ended the day several hours ago. (Around 7:00 pm in Baghdad, actually.)


Reuters reports: "The bullet-riddled bodies of a woman and her teenage daughter were found in Diwaniya, police said,"

Turning to politics, the Apologist, Tinker-Toy-Sell-Out-Boy, wants to tell everyone 'how it is.' How what is? How it is to be a Party Hack? Party Hack doesn't know how it is because Party Hack's not fought to end the war. Party Hack's fought to work for congressional candidates, party flacks' fought for his right to write really bad books, he just doesn't know a damn thing about the war. Thanks for sharing, Hack, now WalkOn,

CBS and AP report that Pelosi measure passed, 218 to 212. Yesterday, US House Rep and 2008 presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich took to the House floor to offer "10 Consequences of A 'Yes' Vote:"

1) Keep the war going through the end of President Bush's term;
2) Provide money to fuel an attack on Iran;
3) Force the privatization of Iraqi oil;
4) Escalate the insurgency;
5) Increase the number of troops causalities in the middle of a civil war;
6) Increase the number of civilian causalities;
7) Create a demand for more troops;
8) Enforce cutbacks of the agenda of many in Congress because money that could be used for schools, healthcare, seniors and the environment would continue to be spent for war;
9) Forces the destabilization of the Middle East;
10) Erodes the public's confidence in Congress

CNN reports that before today's vote, Dennis Kucinich declared, "Four years ago we were told we had no alternative but to go to war. Now we're told we have no alternative but to continue war for another year ot two. The fact of the matter is we do have alternatives. . . . Congress has the power to stop funding the war. That's what we should do. That's what we should have done and that's what I'm going to continue to work toward. We have to get out of Iraq, period." notes US House Rep Mike McNulty's statement on why he voted against the Pelosi measure:

In the spring of 1970, during my first term as Twon Supervisor of Green Island, I testified against the War in Vietnam at a Congressional Field Hearing in Schenectady, New York. Several months after that testimony, my brother, HM3 William F. McNulty, a Navy Medic, was killed in Quang Nam Province. I have thought -- many times since then -- that if President Nixon had listened to the voices of reason back then, my brother Bill might still be alive. As a Member of Congress today, I believe that the Iraq War will eventually be recorded as one of the biggest blunders in the history of warfare. In October of 2002, I made a huge mistake in voting to give this President the authority to take military action in Iraq. I will not compound that error by voting to authorize this war's continuation. On the contrary, I will do all that is within my power to end this war, to bring our troops home, and to spare other families the pain that the McNulty family has endured every day since August 9th, 1970.

David Swanson ( compiled a list of the Democrats who voted against the Pelosi measure -- Kucinich, McNulty, John Lewis, Barbara Lee, Maxine Waters, Mike Michaud, Diane Watson and Lynn Woolsey -- and provides background on each of the eight.
Kevin Zeese (Democracy Rising) notes that Republican Ron Paul voted against the Pelosi measure because he has long opposed the illegal war, notes six Democrat War Hawks voted against it (John Barron, Dan Boren, Lincoln Davis, Jim Marshall, Jim Matheson and Gene Taylor) because they love an illegal war and that US House Rep Paul Kanjorski missed the vote due to illness while Mel Watt missed the vote but says he would have voted for it if he'd been there.

As the
Des Monies Register reported, Brenda Hervey knows what's at stake -- her step-son Michael Hervey was injured while serving in Iraq, so, on Monday she was at the offices of her senator Charles Grassley and Tom Harkin asking that they refuse to continue to fund the illegal war. Hervey is a member of Military Families Speak out, so is Laurie Loving who shares some of the letter she wrote to her US House Rep Mike Thompson: "It is not ridiculous to expect the Democratic leadership to end this war by not giving it one more penny. No money, the war ends. There will be money to bring the troops home. . . The House leadership is trying to get members who oppose the war, you, to support the appropriations bill by claiming it has provisions to support our troops. In reality, the bill allows the president to indefinitely extend the withdrawal date of August 2008 if the troops are 'engaging in targeted special actions limited in duration and scope to killing or capturing members of al-Qaida and other terrorist organizations with global reach; and/or if the troops are 'training members of the Iraqi Security Forces.' This provision could be used to keep tens of thousands of troops in Iraq for years." A toothless, non-enforceable date of August 2008? Why would that be? So when Bully Boy uses the override they provided him with, they can point to that for the November 2008 election? Would they then say/lie, "We tried"?
They didn't try. They treated it like it was all a game and the only thing that mattered was setting up their own finger pointing for the 2008 elections.

These are some of the voices shut out by public radio and when I say "public radio," I'm, sadly, not talking NPR
which did give Medea Benjamin the mike. Free Speech Radio News? Well yesterday, the 'report' was an editorial about how tough it is to be in Congress (health care for life -- our hearts bleed for those poor Congress members). And, in the best of the Sunday Chat & Chew 'balance,' listeners got to hear one person speak for themselves -- a Congress member who supported the weak Pelosi measure. That passes for "Free Speech Radio News" to someone. (Someone really dense and unfamiliar with the history of Pacifica Radio.) Now when you shut out the voices of the people as well as Congress members opposed to the measure, there's no way you can tell your listeners (and The KPFA Evening News demonstrated that yesterday and all week) that the so-called "benchmarks" come with an out-option for the Bully Boy to excercise. (Kat wrote of this yesterday.) These voices were apparently judged unimportant and the issues not worth raising.

Rae (rae's CODEPINK road journal) writes of taking part in an action at Nancy Pelosi's DC office yesterday:

I am crying because the Democrats' support of another $100 billion for the war means that thousands more kids my age will be killed--kid soldiers and Iraqi kids. Pelosi's support of Bush's request for money for war is a death sentence for thousands of kids. After weeks of cute, colorful, passionate actions in the halls of Congress, from caroling with the choir to valentine delivery to dog bones for Blue Dogs to pink aprons and brooms cleaning House, today was an action of a different tenor. I felt like the floodgates had come down and the halls of Congress were gushing with a bloody river. Maybe it sounds dramatic. But it felt like we were drowning in tears, in pain, in the realization of something very, very wrong. And the tragic part was that the two secretaries in Pelosi's office sat there chuckling and picking up phones, and the press liaison came out and answered reporter's questions with a blank face. My heart was pounding so loudly that I wondered why it didn't just crack the walls of the marble building. Those walls felt more sturdy and guarded than usual. How have our Democratic leaders become so enchanted by the Republican language? Pelosi has helped them back into a corner where Bush will emerge victorious. And the tragic thing is that they will tout this as a victory if it passes tomorrow.
I visited Anna Eshoo's office after the action, and her press secretary tried to explain to me why Anna is going to vote for this supplemental. He gave me the analogy of a football game, where one must work strategically one play at a time to get the ball up the field to the goal. Here's why I think that's a bogus comparison: The compromise that Pelosi and the Dems are voting for is not one step towards peace; it is one step towards prolonging violence and destruction, and killing innocent lives for nothing. The press liaison listened patiently to my opinion, and then told me that we have the same goal, just different tactics. But I am quite certain now that we don't have the same goal. The Democrats want to win. I want to see the killing stop. I want to welcome our soldiers home with open arms and fully equipped medical services. I want to see justice done to the administration. The Democrats, well, they want to win--this vote, the election in '08, the power. If Pelosi would have just come out and said, "Look, I know that this bill (or ammendment like Lee's) may fail, but I am going to take this stand because I believe in the courage of my convictions, because I am more committed to the will of my constituents and the integrity of justice." But we'll never get to find out what Dems would have done if the supplemental had been straight with Bush's desires. And now it's a mess.

It is a mess. And who usually gets stuck cleaning up the messes?

Women of the one world
We oppose war
Women of the one world
Dancers, sweepers, bookkeepers
We take you to the movies
Take you to the movies
Women of the one world
One world
-- "Women of the One World," written and performed by Laura Nyro, Live at the Bottom Line

Let's note
Anna Quindlen (UPS via Herald News) conclusions from last month: "The people who brought America reports of WMDs when none existed, and the slogan 'Mission Accomplished' when it was not true nor likely to be, now say that American troops cannot leave. Not yet. Not soon. Not on a timetable. Judge the truth of that conclusion by the truth of their past statements. They say that talk of withdrawal shows a lack of support for the troops. There is no better way to support those who have fought valiantly in Iraq than to guarantee that not one more of them dies in the service of the political miscalculation of their leaders. Not one more soldier. Not one more grave. Not one more day. Bring them home tomorrow."

A number of women have been using their voices loudly and proudly (Ann Wright, Cindy Sheehan, Medea, Robin Morgan, Dahlia S. Wasfi, Missy Comley Beattie, Alice Walker, Maxine Hong Kingston, Diane Wilson, Kim Gandy, Laura Flanders, Kelly Dougherty, . . .) but if all the women opposed to this war would use their voices and own their power, the war would be over. The GI resistance is very important and it was important during Vietnam but it's equally true that women were actively leading the cry for an end to the war as well. It's the group that's always 'forgotten' by history.

Back to the Pelosi-measure, the
Green Party noted, "If Democrats (inculding MoveOn) really oppose the war, they should demand a cutoff of war funding and the immediate return of all U.S. troops" and they note Cres Vellucci (press secretary of the Green Party of California and Veterans for Peace member) stating, "The Democrats' resolution is a piece of phony and meaningless antiwar posturing. By proposing a plan that effectively delays the withdrawal of U.S. troops until September 2008, Democrats are trying to set themselves up as the 'antiwar party' in the 2008 election, since it's obvious that President Bush intends to keep U.S. forces in Iraq throughout 2008 and long after. If Democratic Party leaders really believe the Iraq War is a disaster -- as do the Green Party and most Americans -- they should support legislation compelling a rapid withdrawal of U.S. forces and reducing war funding to the amount it takes to bring our troops home safe and sound."

Steve Kretzmann (Oil for Change) points out, "Among the many problems with the Democrats War Supplemental is the not so small fact that it endorses passage of the Iraqi Oil Law. 'Democratic leadership is actively handing over Iraq's oil to U.S. companies as some sort of war bounty,' said Antonia Juhasz, analyst with Oil Change International.
Not so fast, say Dem Leaders and allies. Their 'clever plan' is that Bush's benchmarks will not be met in the next eight months, after which, the bill will require withdrawal. Its the best they can get right now, they say. Problem is, it'll be game over and mission accomplished for Big Oil in Iraq in that time. The
oil law is on a fast track for approval by the Iraqi Parliament within the next 2-3 months, and the Bush administration is leaning heavily on the Iraqi government for quick passage. October 1, which is the date that the Democrats set for the Benchmarks, is too late. The Iraqi oil law will be completed in 2-3 months."

As small media has largely hopped on board to sell the Pelosi measure (or at least not report on it), it's like a flashback to the 90s when big media sold NAFTA. Not everyone plays dumb.
Aaron Glantz (IPS) probes the pork aspect of the bill: "Among the so-called 'pork projects' listed by Citizens Against Government Waste: 283 million dollars for the Milk Income Loss Contract programme, 74 million dollars for peanut storage costs, 60.4 million dollars for salmon fisheries, 50 million dollars for abestos mitigation at the U.S. Capitol Plant, and 25 million dollars for spinach" and quotes CAGW president Tom Schatz pointing out, "None of this has anything to do with the war."

Dave Lindorff (CounterPunch) speaks to what could have been done (as opposed to the sop tossed out) and concludes: "I'm fed up with the gutless mini-politics of this Congress. Who gives a damn whether they've passed a minimum wage bill? It'll never get past Bush anyhow. Neither will anything else of consequence that this Congress passes. Unless they start challenging the Bush administration directly and forcefull, Congressional Democrats aren't going to do bupkis in two years and people are going to start wondering why they were voted in in the first place. People might even start to think seriously about letting the Democratic Party just wither away. Wouldn't make much of a difference without it, really, and we might even come up with something better. It wouldn't be too hard to do."

Meanwhile, Iran is not in the Pelosi measure. Reports of the Iran and British conflict abound.
AFP reports the 15 British soldiers captured in disputed waters as follows: "In southern Iraq, details of the incident in which the British sailors were detained by Iranian naval personnel remained sketchy." Not in the bulk of the Western media which, to read the reports, must be filed by eye witnesses, so sure of they of what happened. Uzi Mahnaimi (Times of London) earlier reported on the disappearances of "senior officers in its [Iran] Revolutionary Guard" noting: "One theory circulating in Israel is that a US taskforce known as the Iran Syria Policy and Operations Group (ISOG) is coordinating the campaign to take Revolutionary Guard commanders." The illegal war could expand at any moment and the Pelosi measure dropped Congressional approval for war with Iran.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

KPFA, Flashpoints, who gets so speak on the news

Oh, Lord, it's back. Sarah Olson. Worse than before. I hate that woman. I'm at C.I.'s and we're listening to KPFA's Flashpoints. I said, "I know you wanted us to back off, but she's doing more damage." C.I. said, "She is. Let's see about hanging her with her own words this weekend." So we'll be taking on the myth that Brave Sarah was never going to testify. Sorry, Sheldon, sorry, John. But that's not reality. Love your work on other things but Sarah Olson is not the woman you've promoted. I'd love to think we were going to go over all her words, but I'm sure we'll make it a short feature.

Which is cool because we already have a long feature. Jim, C.I., Ava and Jess were riffing on a topic today and I jumped in. Dona screamed, "STOP!" We all looked at her wondering, "What's her problem?" She had a pen and paper and was trying to take down what we were saying. So we've got the spine for a very funny piece. It's a parody. Jim made a joke about a book and C.I. and Ava began making comments in the "author's voice" and that's where we all got in on it. We've already e-mailed the notes/spin out to everyone so they can add input. Wally called to say he's got about twenty ideas and that he couldn't stop laughing at the stuff Dona had taken notes on. We're also hoping to get a pretty deep piece (we'd like to do two) written for this Sunday's The Third Estate Sunday Review so a light, funny feature is a good thing to have for the mix.

Though I had to hear Sarah and, I believe, the guy who insulted Ehren Watada, I'd still recommend tonight's KPFA's Flashpoints for Nora Barrows-Friedman reporting on the occupied terrortories. My comments about wrong words resulted in 5 e-mails and when I type "terrortories" I'm doing that on purpose. To live there is to live in "terror." So that was great. And Dennis did an incredible interview with Alexander Cockburn.

Sarah's boy said he signed the Appeal because he wanted better health care for the returning veterans. For the record, this is what Appeal says:

As a patriotic American proud to serve the nation in uniform, I respectfully urge my political leaders in Congress to support the prompt withdrawal of all American military forces and bases from Iraq . Staying in Iraq will not work and is not worth the price. It is time for U.S. troops to come home.

It's starting to remind me of that petition Christian Slater gets the entire school to sign in Heathers. No one seems to know what they're signing. Which is why Sarah's boy Jeff can say he signed it due to the Walter Reed conditions. Buy a clue.

I think Sarah fits in well with the people who don't like Ehren Watada because she doesn't have a high opinion of him either. Oh, but we're not supposed to know about that, right? We're all supposed to look the other way on that. Even though it's her own public words. The Myth of Sarah, The Journalistic Martyr. I don't like the airhead (which might not be fair, she's quite calculating) and you better believe I will be fighting for a strongly worded piece this weekend. C.I. plays "in fairness" and that's not a complaint. C.I.'s very good about trying to see the other side. But I'm not in the mood for "in fairness." Not after all the lies we've been forced to endure about The Journalistic Martyr. I wonder if all her defenders read her press because if they do, they didn't just get it wrong, they lied.

Guns and Butter! I just remembered I was supposed to address that! I'd forgotten. And I was winding down so let me do it quickly. It airs on KFPA once a week (Wednesdays) for an hour, Bonnie Faulkner is the host. Dr. John McMurtry was the guest and he spoke about how 9-11 in terms of systems. It was a really powerful and historical presentation (he took it all the way back to Lincoln decrying the rise of corporations during the 1800s).

Oh God, Leigh Ann Caldwell is again pimping for the Pelosi bill. Tell the people the truth, there is no pull out in the bill. There are ways for Bully Boy to override bringing the troops home. As C.I. slyly pointed out, NPR has provided more honesty on this than KPFA's news teams. I'm sick of the lies. I also love how the only Congress member who got to speak was Jim McGovern who supports it. And how Leigh Ann Caldwell left "news" to give "editorial" which was this big ass excuse for why the Dems can't put forward a strong bill. So Leigh Ann editorialized -- and didn't offer a dissenting voice that said, "Wait a minute . . ." -- and she only presented one House Rep speaking -- someone who supports the Pelosi measure. How is that Free Speech, Leigh Ann?

I'm stopping here because I really don't enjoy slamming KPFA. I love KPFA but, let's be honest, they've been more interested in offering cover for weak ass Dems than in telling listeners what the Pelosi measure really does. That's shameful. It was also shameful to refuse to let Medea Benjamin speak (Leigh Ann summarized). Again, even NPR let Medea speak. But Medea's very clear that the Pelosi measure is a joke and it probably wouldn't do good for the cover KPFA's provided if Medea got a soundbyte.

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

Thursday, March 22, 2007. Chaos and violence continue, the Canadian police continues to take orders from the US military, Operation Happy Talks sinks in the midst of a Green Zone presentation, and the spinning never ends in Congress.

Starting with news of war resisters. Joshua Key and
Kyle Snyder are among the war resisters who have sought asylum in Canada. Several weeks ago came news that the police of Nelson, BC -- on the orders of the US military -- took Kyle away from his home, handcuffed, wearing only a robe and boxers while bragging that he was being taken back to the US. Though there were efforts to obscure what happened, Joci Peri had already admitted that the arrest resulted from orders/request by the US military. That was then. Today, the Globe and Mail reports that on March 13th, "three plainclothes officers visited the home of a Toronto family . . . looking for Joshua Key. Mr. Key, 28, is a former combat engineer with the U.S. army who fled to Canada four years ago. According to the group, the officers identified themselves as being with the Toronto police and said they wanted to ask Mr. Key some questions about allegations he mae in his autobiographical book, The Deserter's Tale." The War Resisters Support Campaign sees the two issues as related and feels the Canadian police are yet again doing the bidding of the US military.

In his new book
The Deserter's Tale, Key shares his thoughts on life in Canada:

Although some Canadians have disagreed with me, and one man in British Columbia even threatened to put me in a boat and drag me to the American border, most of the people I've met in this country have treated me well. Yet it remains to be seen whether I will be allowed to stay in Canada. Just as this book was going to press, the Canadian Immigration and Refugee Board rejected my application for refugee status. However, I am appealing that decision in court and will not give up my fight until I have explored every avenue to make Canada a permanent home for my wife, our children, and myself. I also believe the other men and women who have deserted the American armed forces because they do not wish to serve in Iraq should be allowed to stay in Canada. I believe that it would be wrong for Canada to force me to return to a country that ordered me repeatedly to abuse Iraqi civilians and that was later found to be torturing and humiliating inmates at Abu Ghraib prison. I don't think it's right that I should be sent back to do more of the same in Iraq, or that I should serve jail time in the United States for refusing to fight in an immoral war.
Some thirty years ago, under the leadership of the late Pierre Trudeau, the Canadian government welcomed draft dodgers from the Vietnam War. The current Canadian government, led by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, has not looked favorably on such refugee claims made by recent deserters of the American army. My case is unusual because I am the first deserter in Canada to argue that I went AWOL after being ordered to take part in a steady stream of human rights violations in Iraq. Still, I am not optimistic about my future, and it is challenging to live in shadows of doubt. At some point soon, I could be told to pack my bags and leave. Any day now my family could be completely torn apart.

The excerpt is from pages 226-228 and no where in the passage does Key worry about Canadian police doing the bidding of the US military because he shouldn't have to. The Canadian police is not supposed to do the bidding of the US military nor is extradition possible due to someone going AWOL from the US military.

Snyder and Key are part of a movement of resistance within the military that also includes
Ehren Watada, Darrell Anderson, Dean Walcott, 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.

Turning to the issue of politics, today
Democracy Now! hosted a debate beween US House Rep Lynn Woolsey and MoveOn -- or a stand in for the group who was unidentified as such. Robert Borosage frequently works with ("collaborated with MoveOn" is the way the mainstream media usually reports Borosage's connection). To repeat, ". . . and Robert Borosage co-director of the Campaign for America's Future" is a huge understatement. Lynn Woolsey:

My position is that on November the 11th, the Democrats were voted into office as the majority to do bold actions to bring our troops home. And I just don't believe that this supplemental does enough. It is $100 billion more to pay for the President's surge for his escalation of this war. There are virtually no enforcement measures in this legislation that will make the President do anything that we're telling him to do. Of course, we want our troops trained, ready and rested, but guess what, he gets to waive all of that. And in each one of the benchmarks, needs to have -- if the benchmarks had good solid enforcement, I'd be more than glad to bring -- I would hope we'd bring the troops home date in sooner, but I'd go all the way to August if I thought what we were doing had enforcement. What I would rather we do is spend this money to keep our troops safe, escalate our training of the Iraqi security, and then bring our troops home so they can be home by Christmas with their families.
But more important than that amendment, there should be stronger enforcement in the bill, so that each step along the way, where we're saying to the President, one, the troops have to be trained, rested and equipped -- we shouldn't be giving him waivers. He can waive those, and he will.
Then, when we say at each date certain that we want the benchmarks -- we're going to measure the benchmarks that the President has set and that the Iraqi government is supposed to have met, when they haven't met those benchmarks, there is nothing in there that says, "And now, here's what we're going to do: we're going to sequester the money, we're going to now put that money in place to bring our troops home, because obviously the Iraqi government isn't living up to the benchmarks." And then, when we get to the end of August 2008 and the war is still going on, we're going to say to the President, "Alright, now you have to bring them home." The only way we can force him to do that in this bill is to sue him.

We'll return to WalkOn shortly; however, on
Morning Edition, David Welna reported on (among other things) the 20+ CODEPINK activists who chanted in the House of Representatives dining hall yesterday "Don't Buy Bush's war!" and spoke with Medea Benjamin who explained, "We think that if the Democrats spend another $100 billion on this war, it's basically their war. They can't keep blaming Bush. So we're saying if you buy it, you own it; don't buy it!"

Returning to the issue of,
Danny Schechter (News Dissector) notes: "The biased 'poll' that MoveOn emailed to its 3.2 million subscribers read like a Soviet ballot. How many of the 3.2 million subscribers MoveOn claims even voted in this slanted survey? A tiny minority, I'm sure, although MoveOn has not responded to my request for that information. Many liberal strategists inside the Beltway believe that what the House leadership is doing is smart and practical politics. In fact, it's power politics of the worst sort, a cynical 'Let It Bleed' strategy that abandons efforts to half the war and is geared toward getting Democrats elected in 2008 by continuing to blame the continuing war on the Republicans." John Stauber (PR Watch via Common Dreams) notes the figure that voted in the poll: "Yesterday MoveOn misleadingly claimed that the results from their recent member survey showed overwhelming support for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's bill on Iraq. 'The results are in from our poll on whether to support Speaker Pelosi's proposal on Iraq: 84.6% of MoveOn members voted to support the bill,' according to MoveOn. However, this claim flunks the smell test and is far far from accurate. MoveOn is engaging that oldest of PR games known as 'lies, damned lies and statistics.' The truth is that 96% of MoveOn's 3.2 million members did not even bother to vote in their member survey. Most of MoveOn's members probably ignored and failed to open the email, since nothing in the subject line indicated it was particularly important. MoveOn informed this reporter that about 126,000 people voted in what I pointed out to them was a very biased pro-Pelosi poll. The MoveOn question essentially provided a choice of Pelosi and peace (Yes), or Republicans and war (No). Gee, guess how that one gets answered? The real news is that 96% of MoveOn's huge list did not vote with them to support the Pelosi bill. When MoveOn says 84.6% of their members chose Pelosi's bill, they mean 86.4% of the measly four percent of their members who bothered to open their email and respond. A polling of members in which 96% do not vote is no polling at all." To repeat, the 126,000 figure was noted on page A14 of Tuesday's New York Times.

While WalkOn provides cover, many still object.
Kevin Zeese (Democracy Rising) has posted an open letter from Cloy Richards (former Marine and son of Tina Richards) which concludes: "Either way the ball is in your court. Will you make the bold adjustment necessary by voting no against the supplemental, or will you support this bill simply voting along party lines and exposing your true cowardice? Make the right choice and vote your conscience -- thousands of lives depend on it." Also weighing in is Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Santiy with an open letter (at Truthout) signed by their steering group (Ray Close, Larry Johnson, David C. MacMichael, Ray McGovern and Coleen Rowley) which concludes: "Domestic politics is not part of our portfolio, but as American citizens, parents and grandparents, we will permit ourselves this observation. We note that the amendment offered by Congressomwan Barbara Lee, mandating the supplemental funding be used exclusively for the 'safe and complete withdrawal' of all US troops and contractors from Iraq not later than December 31, 2007, offers the most realistic approach in terms of what the US can accomplish on the ground in Iraq. The main difference boils down to the saving of thousands of American and Iraqi lives this year, with little-to-no chance for the administration to diddle Congress. Your draft legislation makes the dubious assumption that the president believes the Constitution still applies to him -- and that he should be taken at his word. Rather, his behavior has shown that he has little but contempt for Congress, which he has had little trouble manipulating -- at least until now. Again, what remains indisputably in your quiver is the power of the purse. This is your chance to use it, and save an untold number of lives in the process. You may wish to let the chips, rather than our soldiers, fall where they may." As Rep Woolsey noted, Democratic House leadership has decided there will be no amendments. As noted Tuesday, other groups speaking out against the Pelosi backed measure include Military Families Speak Out, Iraq Veterans Against the War and Veterans For Peace. In addition, US House Rep and 2008 presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich is asking that people call their Congress members (202-22403121): "Instead of true accountablility on the war, this week Congress may give the President and Vice President more than $100 billion to keep the war going through the end of their term. More war, more civilian deaths, more U.S. soldiers killed or maimed. Less money for housing, for health care, for education, for seniors here at home as we borrow money from Beijing to keep the war going in Baghdad. Instead of accountability, the appropriations bill will mandate the privatization of $6 trillion in Iraq oil assets, and it will provide money which can be used to attack Iran in an attempt to grab another $6 trillion in Iranian oil assets for the oil companies. We must support the troops, stop the war, end the occupation, and support HR 1234." (To read HR 1234 -- in PDF format -- click here.)

Remember those groups (and
CODEPINK) and individuals because, short of impeachment, Bully Boy's not budging. So when the 'benchmarks' roll around and nothing happens, remember that they were toothless and non-binding. They were warned. The media's been warned as well but still a large number (big and small) present the Pelosi backed measure as one that promises a withdrawal. Robert Parry and Greg Palast spoke with Dennis Bernstein on KPFA's Flashpoints yesterday and one of the points Parry was making had to do with the complicity on the part of the Democratic Party and the willingness of the media to ignore their watchdog role. We've seen that (I'm arguing, not Parry) in the way the Pelosi backed measure has been 'covered' (big and small). [For other topics, especially Alberto Gonzales, that Parry and Palast addressed, see Rebecca's post.]

Lance Selfa (ISR) observes that the "no-confidence" vote in November 2006 has allowed the Democrats to hold hearings but "they continue to vote to support the war at its current level while proposing various scenarios for troop redeploymnet in the future. At this point, only a few liberals have tabled bills asserting Congress's right to cut off funds for the Iraq adventure. While these fund cut offs will give manyr annk-and-file leberals hope that their 'vote to end the war' will succeed, Democratic leaders, from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif) to foot-in-the-mouth Senate Foreign Relations Committee chair Joe Biden (D-Del.) have been far more cautious -- and in Biden's case, dismissive -- of these proposals. All of this positioning shows that the Democrats have embraced the recommendations of the establishment-dominated Iraq Study Group as their road map out of the Iraq debacle. . . . The Democrats, and some Republicans, are providing a vehicle through which sections of the ruling class (embodied in the Iraq Study Group) are expressing their vote of no confidence in the Bush administration and its failure in Iraq. There are many indications of this: an increased willingness of the media to expose Bush's lies; the votes against the troop surge in Congress; open addmission from generals and admirals that the Bush plan will not work. But it is crucial to recognize that this opposition to Bush represents the ruling class's concern with saving, rather than burying, the U.S. imperial project. These forces are worried that continued failure in Iraq will weaken the U.S. military overall. They fear that Bush's unilateralism and clumsiness has wrought a political cost in the 'soft power' of the U.S. (i.e. it's ideological, policital, and cultural influence) across the world. So while leading Democrats are bashing Bush's escalation in Iraq, they remain hawkish in their crticisms of Iran, unshaken in their support for Israel's most outrageous atrocitieis, and quietly supportive of Defense Secretary Robert Gates' call to increase the size of the armed forces by almost 100,000. This is not to mention that leading liberals and Democrats are the ones clamoring for 'humanitarian intervention' in the Darfur region of Sudan. The problem for the Democrats is that they can only play the role of virtual opposition for so long."

And that, especially "virtual opposition," pretty much says it all.

Today, United Nations Secetary General Ban Ki-Moon surprised many by visiting Baghdad (not part of the itenary presented).
AFP reports this was Ban Ki-Moon's first visit and reminds of the August 19, 2003 attack on the UN headquarters in Baghdad. As the United Nations Development Program notes, "The attack on UN headquarters in Baghdad on 19th August and futher attacks on UN facilities prompted the withdrawal of most international UN staff from Iraq, including senior UNDP personnel. As a result, some projects were scaled down or put on hold."

Ban Ki-Moon met in the heavily fortified Green Zone with the puppet of the occupation, Nouri al-Maliki, where the two intended to hold a press conference . . .
AFP reports that Ban Ki-Moon had just stated, "As we see an improvement in the situation on the ground I'm considering to increase the presence of the United Nations," when a mortar round landed, Ban Ki-Moon had "an involuntary flinch," and "a column of smoke and dust" filled "the sky near the northern edge of the Green Zone". NPR reported that he "flinched and ducked down" behind the podium. Christian Berthelsen (Los Angeles Times) observes: "Ban was shaken. He ducked, looking shocked. Maliki and Ban took one more question before the session ended." Canada's CBC reports: "Small chips of debris floated down from the ceiling above the UN chief after the explosion rattled the building in the Green Zone. Al-Maliki's security officials said it was a rocket attack. The explosion caused a crater one metre in diameter and about 50 metres from the building where the news conference was in progress". Not only did the UN Secretary General boast of the progress (right before the attack) but Al Jazeera reports that al-Maliki boasted as well, "We consider it [the visit] a positive message to the world in which you [Ban] confirm that Baghdad has returned to playing host to important world figures because it has made huge strides on the road toward stability." Call it a wave of reality splashing their Operation Happy Talk right back at them.

Other violence? It has gone on. Even if it's yet another day when pretty much all the orgs seem to be on holiday.


Christian Berthelsen (Los Angeles Times) notes that "a roadside bomb and a car bomb killed one and injured three in the Amiriya neighborhood" in Baghdad today.


Qassim Abdul-Zahra (AP) reports "in Basra, police said gunmen on a motorcycle killed a postgraduate female student at Basra University outside her home Wednesday night. The motive was unknown." Christian Berthelsen (Los Angeles Times) notes an attack, in Dora, upon a mini-bus that left one person dead and two injured.


Qassim Abdul-Zahra (AP) reports: "In the volatile city of Baqouba northeast of Baghdad, the bullet-ridden body of a kindapped official and mother of three was found dumped on a street after masked gunmen stormed her house Wednesday night and took her away handcuffed, plice said. Ilham Namik Shahin, 43, was a Shiite member of the Baqouba provincial council."

Today, the
US military announced: "While returning to base after conducting combat security operations, a MND-B patrol was attacked with small arms fire in a western section of the Iraqi capital, killing one soldier." And they announced: "A Soldier assigned to Multi National Force-West died March 21 while conducting combat operations in Al Anbar Province." And they announced: "A Marine assigned to Multi National Force-West died March 21 while conducting combat operations in Al Anbar Province." For the total number of US service members who have died in Iraq since the start of the illegal war, ICCC puts the count at 3228, AFP's count is 3,225 and AP's count is 3227.

UNICEF is calling attention to the continued sorry state of water in Iraq, 4 years after the US invaded and occupied the country and "millions of Iraqi children still find that safe water is no easier to access" and quotes Roger Wright stating, "Iraq's young children are particularly vulnerable to diarrhoea, which can easily kill or lead to severe malnutrition and stunted growth. Latest reports suggest we are already seeing an increse in diarrhoea cases, even before the usual onset of the 'diarrhoea season' in June."

Yesterday, Nouri al-Maliki ordered the release of Ahmed Shibani, an aide to Moqtada al-Sadr who had been held by US forces for over two years. Today,
BBC and Reuters report that al-Maliki met with Shibani on the same day, Al Jazeera reports, that US forces arrested Qais Khazali and Laith Khazali for the weekend kidnapping that led to the death of US service members -- Qais Khazali is described as "[a] former leading supporter of Muqtada al-Sadr".

A subject touched on in the last few weeks is who gets left behind?
Hannah Allam (McClatchy Newspapers) reports on an Iraqi translator, Ansam, for the US military who has considerable support "from a Marine brigadier general, several colonels and a number of other officers" advocating that she be allowed entry into the US after she has served "at least six troop rotations at Camp Fallujah, the Marine base in Anbar province". McClatchy Newspapers offers excerpts from eight letters written by US military officers in support of Ansam. This is a good time to again note John R. MacArthur's (writing for the Providence Journal) commentary on withdrawal of US troops also means planning who gets withdrawn.

from Veterans for Peace:

Tuesday, March 20, members of Veterans For Peace, along with Iraq Veterans Against the War, and Military Families Speak Out, launched the Veterans For Peace Convoy through the Southeast. Over 15 people loaded onto the Mendicino Chapter 116 Impeachment Tour bus and the Wheels of Justice bus and traveled to Columbia, SC, home of Fort Jackson. There they participated in a vigil outside of the state capital building.So far, a large part of this convoy has been in reaching out to those currently serving in the military. Copies of the
Appeal for Redress, the GI Rights Hotline information, and copies of "Sir! No Sir!" and "The Ground Truth" are being distributed military personnel as they travel through the military towns.The convoy is set to arrive in the Gulf Coast on Sunday, March 25th.[Contribute to the Gulf Build/Convoy See the convoy schedule]

Wednesday, March 21, 2007


Maggie, bless her, asked why C.I. didn't cover KPFA's The Morning Show because "they talked about Iraq today." Well, (a) there's not time for everything and (b) no, they really didn't.

Peter Hart was one of two guests and he did try to talk about Iraq. But for some reason they teamed him with Paul Waldman who was on to talk about the lack of balance in the guests for morning's shows. For some reason, this turned into a discussion of Al Gore. Peter Hart was pretty much left out of the discussion. (Though, it should be noted, FAIR has long charted the lack of balance on the Sunday chat and chews.) Paul Waldman didn't say anything wrong and I enjoyed much that he spoke of (I think all, but I may be forgetting something). But it wasn't an Iraq discussion. Hart was supposed to talk about the lead up to the illegal war and how the press sold it. He really wasn't given the time to do so. It was a lively segment but it wasn't about Iraq (and, again, Hart was basically ignored). I have no idea why it was billed as being about Iraq. If Hart had been given the time, my guess is his point would be that voices calling for an end to the war are shut out from the Sunday chat & chews. Instead, with Waldman, it was all about Dems shut out. That's not surprising because Media Matters is an admitted partisan group. And there's a place for that. Good for them. There are more than enough groups that are doing that for the Republicans from the right. But FAIR's supposed to be non-partisan. FAIR has, in the past, raised the issue of why is it all Beltway guests, so I would assume Hart would have spoken of how insular the whole thing is -- a point that whether it's an elected Dem or elected Repube doesn't address. But he didn't get to talk.

Paul Waldman was a good guest and I hope they'll bring him back on. But that wasn't an Iraq segment. I didn't discuss the segment with C.I. but I'm sure our opinion is the same on that. Abu Ghraib Maggie didn't ask about. Democracy Now! did a segment on that. It was okay, I guess. But the fact was Naomi Klein was announced on air yesterday as a guest today. Naomi Klein is huge favorite of the community. When Klein wasn't on, you could forget about Democracy Now! getting a mention. It would have just enraged members and C.I. wasn't about to do that. I was glad that C.I. said, "I'm not issuing a retraction." Nor should one be needed. It was announced on air. Jess told me there were a ton of e-mails complaing that they had turned on the show (viewers get it before those of us who listen to it on radio do) and C.I. held the 2nd entry this morning until the show started to see if Klein was mentioned in the opening. She wasn't. Like C.I. wrote, "Take it up with the program." (Actually, C.I. wrote "Apologies to members. Visitors, take it up with the program.") I wouldn't have offered that. It was announced. Jess said the only ones griping at C.I. (as opposed to griping to C.I.) were visitors. But to mention it in the snapshot today would have been a huge mistake because visitors and members were upset about it. I don't think people get how much Klein's work has held up. While she's worked on her book, I think people have gone back and read her old stuff on Iraq and see how it holds up. (You can't say that about everyone.) So when it was announced that she was going to be on and the topic would obviously be Iraq, this was a big deal. When it didn't come to be, people were angry.

Someone e-mailed me (Jess passed it on) saying Alfandery couldn't announce it four times. Yes, she did. Three during The Morning Show, once in the news break that preceeds the first broadcast of DN! on KPFA. I was really angry when I wrote and if that's not clear, I'll take the fall. But it was announced four times by her.

Frances Fox Piven, Sumner pointed out, not Francis Fox Piven. So let me note that. I don't go back and change. I had an e-mail a few months back about one of the reviews I did where I thought I was typing "gum" but had instead typed "gun." I'm at the airport and checking my purse to be sure I packed my "gun." I think that's funny. I don't have a gun. But I still think it's funny. I think me, standing in the airport, about to board a plane, with a "gun" is actually funny. Or as I always say, "It is what it is."

Am I still pissed at KPFA? I was asked that in e-mails and in person. Yeah. More disappointed today as no one wants to tackle MoveOn. That includes Leigh Ann Caldwell who notes that Lynn Woolsey isn't backing down to them but fails to note that MoveOn's being called out everywhere. I'm also disappointed that neither John Stauber or Sheldon Rampton have been booked to discuss their recent piece (pieces for Stauber) about MoveOn.

KPFA needs to serve the KPFA audience. And anytime they act scared (which is how I'm seeing it) of calling out an organization that the audience already knows it a joke, they betray the audience. When it's an issue of war and peace, it's all the more important that they call it considering their history. But they won't do it.

I also love how I'm hearing Al Gore jaw bone in the Congress right now (I'm listening to the evening news). I don't believe Jimmy Carter had a speech broadcast when he was addressing the Middle East. No, he didn't speak to Congress, he spoke elsewhere. I'm not sure why everything that happens in Congress is suddenly news? Maybe Nancy Sinatra can testify about how much she loves the Hell's Angels, to Congress, and KPFA can cover that?

I thought Gore's film was static -- he didn't direct it. I think he's a populizer of ideas, I don't think he's a leader (I'm referring to the environment) and I'm getting really tired of hearing how wonderful he is on the environment. That wasn't true from 1992-2000. Now they're covering testimony that took place on Monday -- read"THIS JUST IN! THE NEW EXCUSE!" and "It's not 'lying,' it's 'alining'"-- Wally and Cedric's joint-post from Monday about this testimony. We get far shorter soundbytes than when Gore was speaking, but this is the more important story.

I don't dislike Al Gore. But I don't worship him. Reality "curbs my enthusiasm." And I really did think that, as a film, that documentary didn't cut it. I was bored. I was yawning. I was wishing they'd offer something up. The documentary on Ralph Nader was the better film -- it had movement and was an actual film where the Gore thing played like a taped lecture.

I'm at C.I.'s and have to praise the red raspberries and blueberries I'm eating right now. These are really wonderful. I haven't had raspberries in years. I'd forgotten how much I loved them.
I taped Bonnie Faulkner today but haven't listened yet. I had to shoot some photos so I put in a tape as I was headed out the door and then headed for C.I.'s after I finished taking pictures. I promise I'll write about it tomorrow (mainly because I intend to listen as soon as I get home).

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

Wednesday, March 21, 2007. Chaos and violence continue; Kristin M. Hall covers the latest on "one of the worst atrocities in the Iraq war" and she and co-workers at AP are some of the few who can hold their heads high because most everyone took a pass; but the key thing about today is that it's the day after March 20th and we're seeing what Rebecca long ago termed the "Baby cried the day the circus came to town" coverage: It settles, then it picks ups and leaves.

We'll open by noting something worthy.
Pacifica Radio deserves praise for a program, which originated at WBAI, noting the 4th anniversary with a two hour special program American War in Iraq: The Fraud, the Folly, the Failure featuring speeches, interviews and discussions. Daniel Ellsberg spoke of the opposition during the Vietnam era and the importance of the opposition. "They say it will take a lot more courage than we've seen," Ellsberg said, "to end this war." Bernard White hosted the two-hour program with David Occhiuto. Howard Zinn shared, "It's just about four years since the United States invaded and attacked Iraq with an enormous arsenel of weaponry . . . what was called 'shock and awe'. And so we've had four years to evaluate what we have accomplished. Have we brought democracy or freedom to Iraq in these four years? Have we brought peace or security to Iraq? I think it's quite clear -- we've brought the opposite. We've brought choas and death and misery to Iraq." He also noted the US Congress' comedy of ineptitude as they debate "timetables for withdrawal" when each day brings more of our soldiers will be dead, more amputees, more Iraqi children dead, more Iraqi families forced from their homes, more of those shameful scenes that we've seen of US soldiers breaking down the doors of an Iraq family. There's something absurd about a timetable for withdrawal given what we are doing. If someone broke into your home, smashed everything, terrorized your children, would you give them a timetable to leave? No. . . . They say, and this to me has always been ridiculous, if we withdrawal we will create chaos and violence. Well what do we have there now?"

We'll note a few more of the voices featured.

Elizabeth de la Vega: "I think it's critical that we address the legal and political terrain that led up to the war because it's never really been addressed. . . . What we know, based on public information, now is that various members of the Bush administration. including the president. set about -- at least starting openly in September 2002 -- to persuade Congress by doing this marketing campaign aimed at both Congress and the public. Which, of course, if they had been truthful (in stating their grounds for war and so forth), there would be no fraud but there is really overwhelming evidence that the administration was deceitful in almost every regard about whether that had in fact decided to go to war, what their reasons were in a more general sense, but also the details they offered in support of their arguments for example that Saddam Hussein had reconstituted nuclear weapons, and that he had chemical weapons and so forth. Virutally every area of the marketing campaign involved both general deceits and very specific deceits that were made over and over again.

Dahlia S. Wasfi: "In the spirit that all human lives carries equal, immeasurable worth, we need to stop our practice of seperate bodycounts. There are at least 4,000 American dead. The Pentagon's tally counts only those service men and women who die in the sands of Iraq. There are at least 4,000 American dead. But this was the death toll of Iraq after the first few hours of our campaigns to shock and awe them. I'm quite sure that a report estimating 655,000 Americans dead due to our bloody occupation would mandate an end to the slaughter. Why do we value Iraqi blood less? And with all do respect, it is a discriminatory practice to identify dead Americans as husbands, wives, sisters, brothers, sons and daughters, and not do the same for Iraqis. They are all human beings. The difference is that the Americans followed illegal orders and are guilty of the Nuremberg crime against peace. Iraqis, 7,000 miles away, are guilty of being born Iraqi. The death toll we need to mark is the human toll, 659,000 and counting. The civilians at the other end of our weapons don't have a choice but American soldiers have choices. And we know the truth, our soldiers don't sacrifice for duty, honor, country, they sacrifice for Kellogg Brown and Root. Our soldiers, they don't fight for America, they fight for their lives and their buddies beside them because they are in a war zone. They're not defending our freedoms. They're laying the foundation for fourteen permanent military bases to defend the freedoms of Exxon Mobile and British Petroleum. They're not establishing democracy. They're establishing the basis for an economic occupation to continue after the military occupation has ended. I recently received this message from a friend in Baghdad who found my Congressional testimony on the internet. "Dear Dahlia, I have tried to write you back but I have been so busy with moving my mother and two brothers out of Baghdad. They are now living with my relatives in another city I am still in Baghdad as I can't leave my job. My father was kidnapped on December 16th of 2006 couple of blocks away from my family's house. He was taken by men who were using Glock pistols. The same pistols used by the new police force we are training" so don't talk to me about civil war "We have paid the ransom money but it has been over a month and there has been no word. As dangerous as it is I still have to go to the Baghdad morgue every week searching for the man who I owe him all my life. Just imagine the kind of mentality you have when you go there and expect to see your father on the widescreen they have displaying the bodies I am too afraid to go to the house where I was raised. The house has probably been taken by gang or militia the usual thing in Baghdad today. We are moving towards a dead end. There is no way out, no fire escape, no exit. We Iraqis are all registered on the very long list of death and nobody is exempted. Do not let your courageous voice stop." We must dare to speak out in support of the Iraqi people who resist and endure the horrific existance we brought upon them through our blood thirsty imperial crusade. We must dare to speak out in support of those American soldiers the real heroes who uphold their oath to defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, including those inside the Beltway. As Lt. Watada said, and you've heard it before, To stop an illegal and unjust war the soldiers can choose to stop fighting it. The organization Iraq Veterans Against the War is comprised of young men and women with a wisdom, courage and conviction of those well beyond their years. It is these veterans, like Vietnam veterans against the war before them who know the ground truth and they are demanding that Congress support the troops by cutting the funding. That is they are demanding that Congress support the troops by cutting the funding to mandate their immediate, unconditional withdrawal. I close with a quote from Frederick Douglas: "Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never has and it never will." Everyone of us must keep demanding, keep fighting, keep speaking, keep struggling until justice is served.
No justice, no peace.

White and Occhiuto had a discussion with
Iraq Veterans Against the War's Michael Harmon, Demond Mullins and Jason LeMieux and here's a sample of some of the discussion:

Jason: In my experience, it's largely counter-productive. At best, it's completely worthless because in the process of doing the sweeps, you supposedly cordon off an area and the troops form just one long line, however big the area is that's going to be sweeped, and they go through and search every home. Now generally speaking in the process of cordoning off the area they give whoever is in there plenty of time to either hide whatever evidence they have of resistance activity or to get out, to just exiltrate out just put down your weapons, just walk away. In my three tours we hardly ever found anything, hardly ever found any weapons, and those that we did, when we did find them, would usually be much less than we were expecting in the area and at the same time when the troops are going through and they're searching, they're usually acting in a very oppresive manner to the civilians because I mean you're in a -- you're searching peoples' homes. You know? People don't understand that. When we talk about fighting the insurgency and fighting the enemy this is in people's homes, it's in their neighorhoods it's actually people who live there that we're fighting. So troops go through and they talk directly to women, sometimes they'll actually physically touch them and push them to get them all into a room and this is all just a horribly, horribly dishonest thing to do to these people. And all it's doing is fueling the insugency. It's just creating more anger and resistance for us and making people want to fight us more. So at best it's useless and at worst, it's completely counter-productive.

Demond Mullins: Your whole life you have your parents teaching you what is right and what is wrong. What is the right way to treat people and what is the wrong way to treat people and then you're put into a situation where you have to behave violently towards people, you have to be oppressive towards people. And it's totally a mob mentality, you know? You get into character. I completely . . . I can say there were times when I was in Iraq and I was in tough situations where I completely lost myself and who I was as a person and who my parents raised me to be. And those are the moments that I look back now on, those are the moments that in retrospect I am the most embarrassed about because it was as if I was a different person and it was as if it was a whole lifetime ago that I behaved in that manner. And to be honest with myself I can't forgive myself for the way that I behaved towards people
when I was in Iraq and that's partially the reason why I'm doing the work that I'm doing.

Michael Harmon: I signed up as a "health care specialist," as the Army calls it, which turns out to be a combat medic. So I didn't sign up to really rush people's homes, I signed up to help the injured and the sick. But Geneva Conventions says they're not allowed to use medical vehicles and medical personnel for those type of activities but that was out the window over there. I used my M113 which is, our medical vehicle, it's a slightly, lightly armored, maybe like a tank, like a PC, and we smashed down gates with it. When infranty couldn't kick it in, if there was locks behind the gate, one of those bolt locks. And I was used also, like Jason was saying, to sweep areas. And it was . . . It wasn't what I signed up . . . I saw the fear on people's faces. The Americans get upset when tele-marketers call them at dinner time. Imagine if we kicked in your door and cornored you off in a little corner and rummaged through your stuff. I mean, this is not -- we're violating the rights of people. George says 'Oh, yeah, we want to give them their freedom and democracy' but yet we're not showing them that. We're showing them Nazi-ism really, that's what it comes down to.

Veronica Jarret Mackey: For me my personal experiences, I was there when the war originally broke out and also I was there in 2005 but from my personal experience, especially the first time there, my mission was to transport fuel from one military installation to another installation that was the only thing we did. We didn't enforce anything, we didn't build anything. We were just picking up fuel from one military base to another base and that was my whole mission the whole time I was there. And is it worth it? No. Is it worth just taking up something to bring it to somewhere else? No. There was no growth, no anything. So that was my personal experience. . . . When I did my mission, I had this thought in my head, "Oh my goodness I might be going out today and not coming back. I might never see my family again, I might never see my husband again, I might never see my buddy that's riding in the truck with me." We were targeted. We were hit with IEDs, small arms fire, RPGs, name it, we were hit with it on our convoys, so of course anxiety, everything mixed up together, going out not, knowing if we were going to come back."

There were other guests, other conversations. If you missed the special, you can listen to it at the
WBAI archives -- Monday, 9:00 p.m., filed under "Home Fries" (the program it aired in place of) or you can listen to it at the Pacifica Radio main page.

On the special, Howard Zinn noted, "Soldiers like
Ehren Watada are refusing to fight in Iraq and when more and more do that, well, maybe the war will come to an end." Elaine Pasquini (WRMEA) notes that the speaking out and opposition to the war includes the war resisters and notes how Darrell Anderson, Kyle Snyder and others have taken the issue to the people.

Watada, Anderson and Snyder are part of a movement of resistance within the military that also includes Dean Walcott, 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.

In Iraq today, two events compete for attention. One is a desire for a dialogue.
In an exclusive interview with the BBC, Iraq's Sunni vice president, Tareq al-Hashemi stated that talks needed to begin with all Iraqis including so-called 'insurgents' because they are "just part of the Iraqi communities." The other? First some of today's violence.


CNN reports that a roadside bomb in Baghdad killed a police officer and left three more wounded and another roadside bomb in Baghdad that killed two people and also injured three police officers. Reuters notes that a bombing aimed "at the headquaters of a Kurdish party" in Mosul left five dead and 40 wounded. CBS and AP note a mortar attack in Madain that claimed three lives and left ten wounded. AFP notes that the number dead from the mortar attack in al-Madain is 8 with 18 injured. Reuters notes that an attempt by Iraqi police to dispose of "a huge truck bomb near the Finance Ministry in Baghdad" resulted in 12 people being injured and "collapsed part of the main highway linking the north and south of the capital." Sinan Salaheddin (AP) reports that at least one person died in the Iraqi police's attempt to dispose of the truck bomb. AFP notes a bombing in Mosul that killed three people and one in Kirkuk that killed one person.


Reuters reports that "a former army brigadier and a friend" were shot dead in Falluja.


CBS and AP report the corpses of two police officer were discovered in Diwaniyah. Reuters notes three corpses discovered in Kut ("Shi'ite Mehdi Army militia members"). AFP reports: "On Wednesday, officials reported . . . another 33 corpses found shot and dumped in the capital."

Staying on the topic of violence,
Kristin M. Hall (AP) reports on the latest regarding "one of the worst atrocities in the Iraq war" -- and she can use that language, anyone at AP can because they actually covered the story -- then and now. Yes, we're talking Abeer -- gang raped by US soldiers while her parents and five-year-old sister were murdered and then she was murdered as well. Paul Cortez and James P. Barker have already confessed in court (and been sentenced) to the part in the war crimes. Hall was reporting on Bryan Howard's trial which started today. He is thought to have been a "look out" who knew what was planned. After Howard, the next military trial will be Jesse Spielman's "scheduled for April 2." Steven D. Green, whom Cortez and Barker have portrayed as the ringleader, will be tried in a civilian court due to the fact that he had been discharged back when the story was still that 'insurgents' had attacked Abeer's home. In an update, Hall reports that Bryan Howard "pleaded guilty Wednesday to being an accessory to the rape and murder of an Iraqi girl and the slaying of her family" and "also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to obstruct justice by lying to his superior officers". We'll again note the words of Captain Alex Pickands in the August Article 32 hearing into the death of Abeer and her family: "Murder, not war. Rape, not war. That's what we're here talking about today. Not all that business about cold food, checkpoints, personnel assignments. Cold food didn't kill that family. Personnel assignments didn't rape and murder that 14-year-old little girl."

The news of another guilty plea comes at a time when
Lucinda Marshall (CounterPunch) rightly notes that "issues such as the violence against women that occur as a result of militarism become all but invisble at events such as the March on the Pentagon." Marshall recommends that everyone read "Statement of Conscience: A Feminist Vision for Peace" by the Feminist Peace Network.

With all the press al-Sadr has received recently, one big topic may be why al-Maliki -- supposedly standing up to al-Sadr (yeah, right) -- did him a solid?
CNN notes Moqtada al-Sadr's "top aide" -- Ahmed Shibani -- was released from jail after two years behind bars on the orders of Nouri al-Maliki. Mariam Karouny (Reuters) reports, "Shibani's release is likely to boost the standing of Maliki, a Shi'ite Islamist who relies on Sadr for political support, with the Sadrist movement which holds a quarter of the parliamentary seats in the ruling Shi'ite Alliance."

Turning to Australia, John Howard, who, try as he may, never managed to nudge ahead of Tony Blair, still remains a Bully Boy poodle.
Patrick Walters (The Australian) reports that Howard, desperate to be re-elected, bellowed and blustered with statements about "The staes are extraordinarily high" and "I believe strongly that to signal our departure now would be against Australia's national interest." He's referring to Iraq. It's in Australia's national interest to be in Iraq? Well that must mean that they have 100,000 troops there. No? 50,000? No? 25,000? No? About 1,400. If it was truly important to the security of Australia, shouldn't that figure be higher? Well, he's trying hard to hold on to his office as prime minister and behind in the polls. Rod McGuirk (AP) reports that Howard "conceded Wednesday that keeping Australian troops in Iraq could cost him re-election" As Australia's ABC notes, Kevin Rudd and the Labor party support a withdrawal of Australian troops from Iraq. And AP notes that a recent poll found that 68% found Howard "arrogant" (29% found Rudd "arrogant").

Turning to the US, House Rep and 2008 presidential hopeful
Dennis Kucinich has stated, "This week, we have the power to cut off the funding for the war and bring our troops home. If we continue to fund the war, our troops will continue to remain in harm's way. . . . How much more time are we going to give this misguided quagmire of a war? More than 3,200 of our brave men and women have perished in a needless, selfless war that does not have an end in sight. I have a real plan in place, HR 1234, that actually has the power to bring the troops home while transitioning to an international security and peacekeeping force. The people of the United States are way ahead of Congress in wanting to get out of Iraq. We need to listen to the mandate given to us by the American people on November 7, and act now to use the money that is in the pipeline to bring the troops home." The office of US House Rep Lynn Woolsey notes, "While the Congress debates a $120 billion supplemental that would continue the occupation of Iraq through 2008, Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey (CA) today laid out her plan for a 6-month withdrawal from Iraq before the House Foreign Affairs Committee." That's HR 508 which provides for a six-month withdrawal, cancels Bully Boy's War Powers Act (that he's used to abuse the Constitution and the world ever since), say "NO" to US bases in Iraq, "return all oil licenses back to the Iraqi people . . . and establish a commission to investigate the run-up to the war."

As the Pelosi measure attracts a lot of people and organizations who never accomplished anything (there's a personal "ouch" in there for someone),
Kevin Zeese (Democracy Rising) notes that Gallup has polled and -- guess what -- Congress's numbers are falling -- approval numbers -- "and the pollster speculates that the Democrats failure to 'do anything substantive' on Iraq is the likely reason why." WalkOn has supported the measure and Democracy Rising features Howard Zinn's reply: "I'm disappointed in MoveOn. We are not politicians, we are citizens. Let the politicians advocate half-way measures if they choose, but only after they have felt the full force of citizens who speak for what is right, not what is winnable in a shameful timorous Congress." And David Lindorff (This Can't Be Happening)notes: "If Democrats wanted to end the war, they could do so immediately by refusing to pass a supplemental funding measure to support it, but they don't want to do this. It's not that they fear being called unpatriotic -- hell, with 70 percent of the public wanting the war to end immediately, nobody would fault Congress for pulling the plug. . . . But ending the war would leave the Democrats without their best issue going into the 2008 national election: Bush's war. So instead of ending the war, they vote to oppose it, but then continue to fund it."

And finally,
Tom Hayden takes a look back to yesterday to find meaning for today. Writing at The Huffington Post, Hayden notes: "Yes, history repeats and these days, increasingly so. For those fighting over Iraq funding today, I believe history offers useful lessons in the role of patient political organizing."