Friday, June 06, 2008

What matters

"TV: Grime & Grit TV"
Betsy offered, "I think sexism has definitely hindered her campaign." But, Betsy wanted the world to know, it had also rallied supporters to her. Betsy, the question was about the media -- which you're supposed to be a part of. What Betsy offered was basically a refutation of not only the work of Durkheim and Merton but also Foucault and Marx. We're sure it's the last one that will have Betsy feeling sheepish.

That's Ava and C.I. tackling Grit TV last Sunday. Mike and I got the memo. I'm joking about memo. I was part of the roundtable Thursday evening for the gina & krista round-robin. One community member participating was very angry and, when speaking, called us out for not highlighting each other more. C.I. immediately apologized (when blame's served at the table, C.I. will always grab the first slice) and was corrected with, "I'm not talking about you. You've linked to everyone this week." And C.I. had. Go back and look and you'll see C.I. provided links to all of from Sunday through the "Iraq snapshot" on Thursday. (Which went up shortly before the roundtable started.) C.I. explained that we had all put everything we had to getting out the vote for Hillary in the last weeks (four weeks for some, six weeks for others). And it was pointed out that Ava, C.I. and I hadn't even been home in over five weeks. (We really haven't. And it may be six weeks or more.) The point was that everyone was tired. And Gina and Krista added that they have heard the complaint being made all week in e-mails.

I'm the worst about replying but I do read e-mails if I get them. If anyone had told me there was a problem, I would have been doing links right away. I'm lazy even on good days but I don't ignore the community. That's not my saying, "It's your fault!" It is clearly my fault. I own that. But I want to be clear that I first heard about the problem Thursday night.

Let me explain a problem that we all have on our end (including C.I.). Blogger/Blogspot is again adding "features" and the result is that on our laptops, it keeps freezing. After my last sentence,
I grabbed a cigarette from Dona (I smoke about ten a year) and lit up waiting for when I could type again. I got three drags before I could. That's been happening to everyone and it started about three weeks ago. We pressed on for Hillary but last week, with Obama stealing the nomination (barring a convention floor flight or another Barack scandal), we were all depressed as well as tired. Not in the mood to blog but knowing full well if we didn't and said we weren't in the mood, C.I. would be filling in for us at all of our sites. Which would be pushing it off on C.I. And none of us wanted to do that. So we slogged along and did as little as possible.

There was no effort to ignore other sites in the community. We were usually all around one another. I doubt we all read what each other wrote due to that. We'd generally all be sitting down across from one another with our laptops and blogging. "I've got nothing!" "Oh, well take this!" or "I'm writing about this and I was going to write about ___ but you take it if you want it!" In that climate, with the Blogger/Blogspot problems, the end of the Hillary campaign (which hopefully is suspended and not closed), the exhuastion from being on the road non-stop (and for Ava, C.I. and myself -- double time because we weren't just on the hectic schedule to speak about Iraq, we were also working to get out the vote for Hillary -- we were doing both things and did not let Iraq fall off our speaking radar or cancel our already scheduled appearances. We were also in DC several times during the last six weeks when Ava and C.I. would go to talk to super delegates in Congress and in the DC area but not in Congress directly to make the case for Hillary.) all led to us being tired.

We apologized during the roundtable for that. Then C.I. wanted to know, since it's obvious that we all know and love each other, where the hurt was coming from because the issue was raised with what can only be described as "hurt"?

C.I.'s been ripped off three times this week. The most offensive time was by a woman. A friend of C.I.'s asked C.I. to highlight a mutual aquaintence and C.I. said, "I didn't know she had a blog. Of course I will." The friend then asked C.I. to highlight something she'd written last month on Hillary. She told C.I. about that blog post and C.I. said, "Absolutely, it will go in the snapshot." When it was time for C.I. to do links (C.I. puts in links and then saves the draft, later C.I. will call a friend who will grab dictation which is C.I. dictating around the links -- a few are added while C.I.'s dictating), searching for the site wasn't working. C.I. couldn't find the site via Google. Finally, C.I. went to ___ (a feminist periodical) and rushed through pages at that site to find something, hoping the site would be listed. It was. C.I. went to that site and went through the posts looking for the post on Hillary, found it and highlighted it.

A woman who regularly raids C.I.'s work, decided to raid it Thursday morning. She had, she informed her readers, just discovered this website and wanted to share it. It was the post that C.I. had highlighted. She hadn't just discovered it, she'd been steered to it by C.I. but although C.I. has been more than happy to link to her (she's e-mailed and asked to be linked to), she's never returned the favor. Not returning the favor is bad manners, ripping off is theft.

Here's the thing, the post was May 14th, the one C.I. linked to. She wanted her readers to believe she'd just come across, by her own research, a May 14th post. That alone was questionable.

It only got worse because she linked to the woman's old site. So did C.I. After the snapshot went up, C.I. got a call explaining, "You linked to ___'s old site. She's moved it."

C.I. apologized, explained how the site was found and said that in the next two weeks, a point will be made to link to the new site.

That's how C.I. ended up at the old site. How did the female Christopher Columbus? She ended up there because she didn't 'discover' the woman's site, she went to the linked post C.I. provided.
There were two other rip-offs and one included a blogger taking six sentences word for word as his own. But this was the one that outraged the community because here is a woman claiming to be pro-woman, claiming to also be for Hillary and yet she's stabbing C.I. in the back and ripping off C.I.

It's amazing how many show up at the public account begging for links to their stuff but they never are kind enough (or raised with manners apparently) to do a link to C.I. They want the community to come to them but they're not interested in helping anyone else.

A lot of bloggers have been linked to recently and C.I. didn't do that out of new love for bloggers. C.I. did it because the MSM was repeating that people weren't blogging about Hillary and that the interest wasn't there. C.I. was demonstrating that the interest was there.

In the process, a lot of people got links that didn't deserve them. I'll name one. Susan UnPC. I have no idea why she wrote Ruth. She said she was writing Ruth because she loved Ruth's writing. Ruth's a great writer but I think Susan was just on a fishing expedition.

If that was the case, she went home with an empty line.

We don't write anything in e-mails we wouldn't write at our sites because FAIR passed on Jess' reply to their e-mail to The Nation. (There was nothing embarrassing in the e-mail Jess wrote about him or anyone else. The e-mail did mention that we'd be doing our six month study of The Nation's poor record of publishing women.) FAIR thought they could score some brownie points by passing on an e-mail; what they didn't grasp was that C.I. has a lot of friends at The Nation and C.I. heard about Jess' reply (which C.I. never read before it went out or the days immediately after) from friends at The Nation who said, "FAIR's passed on one of your e-mails." C.I. refused to believe that FAIR would do such a thing. (C.I. never read the e-mail that FAIR had sent the public account. In that e-mail, they were passing on e-mails from a journalist. Had C.I. read that e-mail, it would have been less surprising.) So C.I. refuses to believe it and is told, "I'm forwarding it to you right now" which it was and is also read it over the phone. That was July of 2007. We don't write anything in e-mails these days that we don't want to say publicly. In August of 2007 or September, David Swanson of AfterDowningStreet (no links for trash) e-mailed Rebecca praising her site and her work and, oh, he had one question about Lennox Yearwood. Rebecca, who liked Swanson's work, was excited by the e-mail and wrote a brief reply. A little while later, she checks her account and has an e-mail from Yearwood. He's out of the country. It's an automated reply to everyone who e-mails his account. Rebecca didn't e-mail him and she's scrolling down and sees it's an automated reply to David Swanson's e-mail. David Swanson's e-mail where he's forwarding Rebecca's e-mail.

Swanson didn't realize that the automated reply had come back to Rebecca as well. When she asked him why he forwarded her e-mail, he denied it over several e-mail exchanges. He suggested she was 'emotional' and acted like the injured party. He didn't know what she was talking about, he never forwarded her e-mail!

But he did forward her e-mail and Rebecca knew he had and that he was lying because Yearwood's automated reply bounced back to her.

That's why Yearwood's never highlighted in the community, by the way. Betty, Cedric and Ty thinks he's a joke and were already on record thinking that before the forward. But when that happpened, it really hurt Rebecca's feelings. Was this something planned? Two guys got together to make fun of her? A little ha-ha at her expense?

Rebecca wrote Yearwood asking for an explanation weeks later and he never replied. So C.I. wrote for an explanation and Yearwood never replied.

I should explain that C.I. wrote Yearwood at the e-mail address from which he sends out several things to the public account of The Common Ills every week to get them highlighted. When Yearwood refused to reply, C.I. stopped highlighting him. We all have.

We'll never highlight him or his organization again. At one point, he got into some trouble with the police and C.I. had to include it because it was news but C.I. did so as briefly as possible because Yearwood is clearly no friend of the community although he's happy to use it to promote his own organization.

So, Susan UnPC, we're used to the fishing e-mails and no one's giving up s**t in one.

But Suzie writes Ruth this chatty, breezy, heavy on praise e-mail and also asks if she can use Ruth's writing about The Diane Rehm Show for something she wants to write. Ruth replies and tells her she can use anything she likes.

Needless to say, Susan UnPC never wrote about Diane Rehm's program nor did she ever reply to Ruth.

Before the e-mail, she had linked to Ruth and posted Isaiah's comic that Ruth had reposted.

Let's talk about that because Isaiah's been the comic for The Common Ills for about three years now and this is the year where everyone's trying to create their own cartoons. Isaiah is a trend setter and I don't say that sarcastically. Isaiah's immensely talented and has brought in visitors to The Common Ills.

Now everyone wants to copy him and most lack the talent but they try. At least they try. Others admit they have no talent and go to an online program where they can choose stock figures and type in captions and then try to call that a "comic."

How proud they must be!

They have no creativity. Isaiah has a real talent. He can capture a mood or moment in his comics and dash off a very convincing comic in about five minutes. That's all the time he has to work on them. He's been on the road with us working to get out the vote for Hillary and I've had the pleasure of watching him create those comics. He's tired, he draws them bam-boom-bam quickly. He spends more time coloring the letters of "The World Today Just Nuts" then he does drawing.

Trasy Arianna Huffington, who hopes money can buy respectability (don't try to convince her otherwise, only time will), was one of the first to steal that idea of a comic. She's also created a pathetic version of C.I.'s "Iraq snapshots" Monday through Friday.

Each day, her pathetic website sends C.I. an e-mail trying to get links (through the public e-mail account), each day, that goes right into the trash folder.

It's not the rip-offs that bother C.I. (C.I. will tell you, "I wish everyone would do something like the snapshot. It would get more people paying attention to Iraq.") It's her posting that attack on children with special needs. Arianna thought it was great to let a failed sitcom actor try his hand at writing comedy -- he had no gift for that but he has no gift for acting either. Maybe he can try carpentry next.

Outside of feminist issues, the issues C.I. has worked the hardest on in adult life have had to do with children, specifically special needs children, children with autism, etc. When you go after that group with 'wit' you are trash in C.I.'s book and that's what got Arianna banned from The Common Ills and community wide.

I know we were all offended by that crap she thought worthy of publishing but you have to know how seriously C.I. takes attacks on children. At one point, Jim proposed an editorial on that and C.I. said no. Sunday's "Roundtable" addressed the way the really hard hitting editorials for Third are written and that seems to have shocked some members. If we're all tired, it does come down to Jim and C.I. and the process is brutal. After it's over, the rest of us will smooth out the points (basically putting what was said into paragraph form) and C.I. will have to leave whatever room we were writing in and go for a walk (tears still streaming down the face). It does result in powerful editorials and any hard hitting one we have has largely come about that way. Jim and C.I. know the process, they're the ones doing it. Jim wants the strongest editorial possible and knows the way to go for that is to make a pitching thing between him and C.I. But the reason I mention that is that despite C.I. saying 'I'm an adult, I know how to say no.' (that's a paraphrase, check the roundtable for the quote), there has been some member hostility expressed to Jim.

As an artist I don't just understand the process or C.I.'s willingness to take part in it, I applaud it. (Jim's approaching as a journalist, C.I. as an artist.) But C.I. knows and will set limits. When Arianna's crap became known, Jim wanted an editorial about it and to focus on these children under attack. C.I. said "no." A firm "no." C.I. argued, "I already tackled that at The Common Ills, you can grab anything from that but I'm not ripping myself apart for this. It was hard to get out of bed Friday" it had been a Thursday "And the war drags on . . ." where C.I. dealt with Arianna's crap "and I'm not putting myself through that again. I walked it right to the line and I'm not going further."

We didn't write that editorial, we didn't try. C.I. will say "no" and, though Jim can and will badger with regards to their TV commentaries, if C.I. says "no" on an editorial, Jim drops it because if it's coming down to just the two of them, Jim knows how hard it will be on C.I. C.I. takes part in the process and I'd say "reluctantly" instead of "willingly," but C.I. will do it for important topics provided that the personal cost is not too high. If C.I.'s going to be in tears for hours after the editorial is written, it's not worth it. If it's something C.I. can walk off in a half-hour or a little more, C.I. will take part.

So -- never accuse me of not writing anything lengthy here -- the point of the highlight above specifically is that is amazing. The entire piece that Ava and C.I. wrote is amazing. And there are laughs throughout as well as hard hitting criticism. But to me, that section I quoted above speaks to Ava and C.I.'s intense and immense popularity with Third readers. You read it and you've got hardhitting criticism, you've got a reference (which may be over some people's head) that pulls on their liberal arts background and then you've got the joke. I took some sociology in college so I got the basics of the set-up but, honestly, I only knew the work of the first two and wasn't aware Marx (who I knew of) had also addressed conflict theory. Conflict theory dropped into a TV commentary? That's the curve ball that exceeds your expectations. You weren't expecting it, you're blown away by it if you catch it and right after the 'high brow' reference, you get the laugh.

I've mentioned or thought of/reflected upon the following while writing this:

The Third Estate Sunday Review's Dona, Jess, Ty, Ava and Jim,
Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude,
Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man,
C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review,
Trina of Trina's Kitchen,
Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix,
Mike of Mikey Likes It!,
Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz,
Ruth of Ruth's Report,
Wally of The Daily Jot,

Closing with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" -- Mike just corrected me, it's C.I. and Ava's snapshot this time:

Friday, June 6, 2008. Chaos and violence continue, Barack isn't 'pledging' to do anything on Iraq, the VA computer systems lack all security, Nader qualifies for Arizona ballot, and more.

Starting with war resistance.
Teviah Moro (The Orillia Packet & Times) reports that the Quakers in Orillia will demonstrate tomorrow in an attempt to register their support for war resisters in Canada. Ottawa, Nelson, B.C., Victoria, B.C., Port Dover, Sarnia and Strathory will also hold demonstrations. Moro notes: "Organizers of the Orillia rally, to be held outside the Opera House from 12:30 to 1:30 p. m., aim to explain the underlying issues of the pending deportations and will have petitions on hand."The rallies will be taking place to underscore the recent action in Canada's Parliament. Tuesday Canada's House of Commons passed a motion granting war resisters safe harbor. The motion is non-binding but it is hoped that the country's prime minister, Stephen Harper, will honor it. It is especially important with regards to US war resister Corey Glass. May 21st, US war resisters and Iraq War veteran Glass was informed that he had until June 12th to leave Canada or he would be deported. That is six days from now. Will the non-binding motion prevent the conservative Harper from ordering Glass' deportation? Rick Salutin (Toronto Globe & Mail) doesn't seem optimistic noting that from an AIDS conference (global conference) to any other issue, Harper loves to say no to the people: "Lately, it's been no to a safe-injection site in Vancouver; provincial climate plans; Ontario's budget; an inquiry into the Bernier case; letting U.S. war resisters stay. For a government, the Conservatives are uniquely, bizarrely litigious, the sign of a mentality that loves to fight."With more on that, this is from Michael Werbowski (OhmyNews International) reports that the vote on the motion "comes just in time for US army recruit Corey Glass, 25, a war resister who came to Canada in 2006 and was recently told to leave Canada by June 12 or face removal to the United States, welcomed the vote. Upon hearing the news of the motion passed by the lower house, Glass expressed his appreciation for the parliamentarians, "I'm thankful that the MPs voted to let me and the other war resisters stay in Canada. I'm also thankful to all the Canadians who urged their MPs to support us."

Meanwhile, It was two years ago today, as
Austin Jenkins (OPB News) notes, that Ehren Watada became the first officer to publicly refuse deployment to Iraq in June 2006. In August 2006, he faced and Article 32 hearing. In February, he faced a kanagroo court-martial. Judge Toilet (aka John Head) declared a mistrial over defense objection as Watada was about to take the stand (after which the defense would have rested and the military jury would have reached a decision). Judge Toilet forgot a lot that day. He announced that a new court-martial would take place in March but that was really beyond his call (and why no court-martial took place then). He also forgot about the US Constitution, popularly known as "the law of the land," and it's provision against double-jeopardy. In November of last year, as Judge Toilet repeatedly tried to force another court-martial, US District Judge Benjamin Settle ruled that no action could take place until the double-jeopardy was resolved. Watada has been in limbo since. William Cole (Honolulu Advertiser) speaks to Ehren's father, Bob Watada who has "suggested to his son's attorneys that they somehow force a conclusion to the issue" and whom Cole quotes stating, "The attorneys are talking to the Army. They aren't telling me what they are saying, but they are talking to them." Austin Jenkins (OPB News) quotes one of Watada's two civilian attorneys, Ken Kagan, declaring, "It's conceivable that the appeals process in the 9th Circuit could consume anywhere from 18 months to three years. So that is a limbo that is very hard for Lt. Watada to imagine but he's prepared to do what he needs to do."

There is a growing movement of resistance within the US military which includes Megan Bean, Chris Bean, Matthis Chiroux, Richard Droste, Michael Barnes, Matt Mishler, Josh Randall, Robby Keller, Justiniano Rodrigues, Chuck Wiley, James Stepp, Rodney Watson, Michael Espinal, Matthew Lowell, Derek Hess, Diedra Cobb,
Brad McCall, Justin Cliburn, Timothy Richard, Robert Weiss, Phil McDowell, Steve Yoczik, Ross Spears, Peter Brown, Bethany "Skylar" James, Zamesha Dominique, Chrisopther Scott Magaoay, Jared Hood, James Burmeister, Jose Vasquez, Eli Israel, Joshua Key, Ehren Watada, Terri Johnson, Clara 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, Stephen Funk, Blake LeMoine, Clifton Hicks, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Logan Laituri, Jason Marek, 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, Wilfredo Torres, Michael Sudbury, Ghanim Khalil, Vincent La Volpa, DeShawn Reed and Kevin Benderman. In total, at least fifty 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 [(877) 447-4487], Iraq Veterans Against the War and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters. In addition, VETWOW is an organization that assists those suffering from MST (Military Sexual Trauma).

Shhhh. Listen? It's the sound of hundreds of computers in
Panhandle Media booting up over their sobs as they force determination to yet again sell their political crush as someone who will end the illegal war. Media anointed Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama is not 'anti-war' and is not seriously opposed to the illegal war. But if you didn't have Tommy Hayden, Laura Flanders and the gang lying for him non-stop, people wouldn't think otherwise, now would they? (Those two named because they have both -- in February -- talked about how Barack's feet need to be held to the fire and yet they've never done so. Someday I suppose, as the Mighty Bosstones once sang.)

The Press Trust of India reports that Barack told CNN he would "not tule out the possibility that conditions on the ground could alter his policy of immediately beginning a troop withdrawal and that Barack insisted of his 'pledge' to end the illegal war, "Well, you know, I'd never say there's 'nothing' or 'never' or 'no way' in which I'd change my mind."
Confronted with his statements on withdrawal policy, Obama replied, "Well, you know, I'd never say there's 'nothing' or 'never' or 'no way' in which I'd change my mind". He spoke of "broader perspective"s and offered praise for Gen David Petraeus. It's shocking only if you've trusted the liars of Panhandle Media. Barack has changed his position on the Iraq War repeatedly. While running for the US Senate, he told
Elaine and I at a big money, private fundraiser that he didn't favor withdrawal. His attitude was that the US was in Iraq now and had to win. (Neither Elaine nor I contributed to his run. We both immediately walked out of the fundraiser.) At that point he was a myth of the radical left, an "anti-war" candidate. The press picked up on that and he became the "anti-war" Senator which required ignoring not only his public statements (his many public statements) but his continued voting for the illegal war once he got into the US Senate. Throughout the campaign, he has signaled (and sometimes stated) to the mainstream press that his stance is far from it's portrayed. "Hopelessly Devoted To Barack" Tom Hayden made a real ass out of himself doing a quickie write up of an NYT article co-written by Michael Gordon. The reality of what was what was in the transcript of the interview which the paper posted online. In February, after his advertsiments where he robotically declared that his mother died of cancer, the campaign went into overtime with an advertisement that played like the Pepsi Generation (truly, it was the late 60s and early seventies Pepsi generation commercials). To a bad 'rock' guitar, the commercial opened and featured quick shots of Barack barking out sentences while groupies swooned. "We want . . ." he barked over and over, a laundry list of demands. The Iraq War was on it. But Barack wasn't running to be "we," he was running to become the nominee of the Democratic Party and then the president. There were no "I will end the Iraq War." All he did was offer what "we" wanted. It got the psychos in Panhandle Media excited. Of course, were he serious about ending the illegal war, his campaign would have stolen not the Pepsi commercials of that period, but the Coke commericals: I'd like to teach the world to sing, in perfect harmony . . .

There was no "pledge" or "promise" made to end the illegal war, despite the groupies like Tom Hayden going bug-eyed crazy in their efforts to pretend otherwise (a fleeting sentence delivered in Houston, TX, as ginned up by Hayden into a new plan for Iraq). Then came the crash and burn of his advisor (a counter-insurgency supporter and War Hawk) Samantha Power. The pathetics in Panhandle Media made themselves laughable -- and include John Nichols, Davey D and BuzzFlash at the top of that list. Poor Samantha "fired" (Power resigned) for calling Hillary Clinton a "monster." Poor sweet Sammy. No, she resigned because of the damage she did with the press in England. The "monster" insult was the trivia the MSM pumped out. On that same trip, she insulted Gordon Brown, Prime Minister of the UK and presumed ally of the next US administration regardless of who becomes president, and
she gave an interview (that Panhandle Media refused to cover) to the BBC where she explained that Barack would be not be held accountable, if elected president, to any 'pledges' about Iraq he's making on the campaign trail. She explained, as an advisor to Barack and a campaign insider, that any plans about what to do in Iraq would be decided only after he entered the White House. Had that interview gotten the attention it should have, Barack would have faced tough questions. That didn't happen. It wasn't of interest to the corporate media (which still wants the illegal war) to give it much traction and the rejects of Panhandle Media are in love with Barack because of his 'connections' (his using of) Saul, Bernardine and Bill. They deluded themselves into believing he was a Socialist when he is just a user who will use anyone regardless of political ideology in his efforts to climb to the top.

The Queen of the Beggars,
Amy Goodman, wanted credit for a few minutes (two?) she aired of her speaking with Barack. In it, he basically repeated what Samantha Power had said. Goody never pursued that in panel discussions (all panel discussions accepted the lie that he was against the illegal war and would immediately end it). Goody never connected it with the Samantha Power BBC interview (though Barack was making the same points Power had months prior) and she never wrote one of her bad columns, where she recycles some segment of her show, on the topic. It was lie, lie, lie, denial, denial. They worked overtime not to include Eli Lake (New York Sun) report in the narrative. Lake reported that the "day-to-day coordinator" of Barack's campaign had just written a paper which argued for 60,000 to 80,000 US troops to remain in Iraq "as of late 2010, a plan at odds with the public pledge of the Illinois senator to withdraw combat forces from Iraq within 16 months of taking office."

Among the very few who have tried to maintain perspective and stick to reality about War Hawk Barack are
Phyllis Bennis, John Pilger, Doug Henwood and Juan Gonzalez. It's a very small list. By contrast, most have offered 'reasons' of support for Barack like the insane Dave Lindorff who believes Barack should be supported because Barak is "a black candiate who has risked jail by doing drugs."

The violence continues every day in Iraq and Barack, not even having the nomination, already signals it's a-okay with him. In some of today's reported violence . . .


Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a home bombing in Sulaiman Beck, a Jalwla roadside bombing that wounded one person. Reuters notes a woman blew herself in at a Ramadi police station claiming the life of 1 police officer and injuring four more and, dropping back to Thursday, that 4 people were killed in Sadr City from a US air strike.

Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 4 suspects shot dead in Al Anbar Province, 1 police officer shot twice in Al Anbar Province and wounded and 1 civilian shot in Kirkuk. Reuters notes 3 police officers were shot dead in Dour.


Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 1 person kidnapped in Kirkuk.

Yesterday CNN's Jamie McIntyre broke the latest Department of Defense news on
CNN Newsroom:

JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN SR. PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Asked to resign, which is code for firing, is the top civilian in charge of the Air Force, Air Force Secretary Michael Wynne and the top military general in charge of the Air Force, Air Force Chief of Staff General Mike Moseley. The two top leaders of the Air Force are being replaced because Secretary Gates has received a highly critical report of how the Air Force has reacted to an embarrassing incident last year which a B-52 bomber flew across country with six nuclear-tipped cruise missiles that nobody knew were live nuclear weapons until the plane landed in Barksdale , Louisiana .There were supposed to be big changes made from that. But a recent inspection of the base was less than satisfactory, and Secretary Gates just got a report on his desk from an independent investigator, a Navy admiral who has been in charge of reviewing what the Air Force has done to take care of this. It's not just this issue though. There have been a number of leadership issues in the Air Force including questions about a conflict of interest around a high-profile public relations contract that was left from the Air Force. And all of that together led Secretary Gates to decide that he was going to take decisive action.It's not unlike what he did when he heard about the shortcomings at Walter Reed Army Medical Hospital . In that case, he fired the Army secretary and head of the hospital there, as well -- Brianna.

There have been a number of issues with the Veterans Administration Dept as well but no heads are rolling. At the start of the week,
Mary Mosquera (FCW) reported, "Sensitive data on about 1,000 patients at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and other military hospitals might have been compromised, Walter Reed spokesman Chuck Dasey said. The names of the patients, who are enrolled in the Military Health System, their Social Security numbers and birth dates were among the personally identifiable information in a computer file that was shared without authorization, officials said June 2." AP broke this news about the May 2006 breach at Walter Reed. The key point of the reports is how the Office of Management and Budget issued orders, in 2006, for increased securit on the part of the VA. But they broke it with the government explaining this week about the 2006 computer breach. We (Ava and C.I.) revealed earlier this week that there's a VA breach that took place after the breach the government is now admitting to. This breach has nothing to do with Walter Reed. The basics are that an over-forty-years-old male (who name rhymes with "Los Lobos" and who is a veteran) used a civilian computer to access veterans records. The government is not only aware of the breach, they investigated it. They didn't do a very good job. The government does not know what the person viewed or changed. They know that, from the basement of a non-federal government building, he used a PC to enter the VA's computer database without permission or authorization. Present when he did this was a woman (also a civilian and one who has never served in the military) whom the government never questioned. What the government did do was call together the suspect's superiors at his place of employment -- a four story building whose fourth floor is not used for anything (the basement counted as a floor makes for five floors) -- on the second floor in what passed for an investigation. Those civlians 'assisting' in the investigation of the breach that happened at their place of business were known as "administration." (E.g., they spoke with "administration.") The investigation could not figure out whether the supsect was telling the truth about why he entered the VA system without permission and, certainly, to know about that they should have spoken with the woman present when the breach occurred. The suspect offered two versions of his story and that may be what confused the investigators (though it was very simple for us to track down the particulars). They do know, due to the suspect admitting to it, that the records of someone who served during Vietnam (and only during Vietnam) were accessed. (Hint to reporters, that leads to your human interest angle). The suspect briefly told government investigators a story regarding that Vietnam era veteran that the investigators did not buy; however, it was easily checked out had they bothered to speak to the Vietnam veteran (which they never did). There is fear that the suspect altered the Vietnam veteran's record (we are told by civilian sources that no alteration of that record took place). Why does the government think that? It goes to the human interest angle. In terms of hard news, the angle is the "how." The "how" of it goes to a huge flaw that was supposed to have been addressed and was never addressed. It goes to lack of oversight at the VA.

We're not here to spoonfeed news outlets, get off your lazy asses and don't expect two media critics to do all your work. (It's as if today's Woodward & Bernsteins expect you not only to spill the beans, but also type up their reports and then wipe their asses.) The federal goverment made a big deal this week about honesty and 'fessed up to problems in May of 2006. The 2007 breach is more serious not because of the suspect or what he may or may not have done but how he got into the system without authorization. The breach should never happened and were basic guidelines followed (guidelines that any civilian computer system would follow), it never would have happened. The big story is the "how" of the breach, not the "who." And it goes to the OMB's orders not being followed. The first three digits of the civilian location where the breach took place are "312." The street has "East" in it. And the street's name was also the name of a long running TV show but in singular not plural. We're done spoonfeeding the press except to advise NYT that Ralph should have had this story.

This is our third (
here's the second) and last spoonfeeding. After the "how," the "who" still isn't the next big story. The big story then is how the federal government attempted to bury the breach. That wasn't just by still not telling the public about it. It also included a rush to wrap up the investigation before it was complete (the orders for the wrap up came from high up). That's why the woman who witnessed the breach was never interviewed. It was that woman's computer that was used to breach the VA system. There's no reason not to interview her. All this time later, she's still not been interviewed by the government. When the investigation was ongoing, a family emergy meant she was "unaccessible" (to her place of employment but nothing prevented the investigators from seeking her out away from her place of her work) and the rush to wrap up the investigation and keep the entire matter on the down low meant she was never interviewed. The big story is the "how" and goes to the lack of security. The next angle is the rush to keep the story as quiet as possible which includes rushing through an investigation. The suspect himself is really not a huge part of the hard news story. (And the suspect, for the record, is the only person we have not spoken to.) (There are feature articles to be found throughout.)

In other news,
the UN Rights of the Child Committee is calling out the US government for (a) the imprisonment of juvelines in Iraq, Afghanstan and Guantamo and for (b) military recruitment of under-18-year-olds in the US.

Turning to US political news,
Team Nader reports that US presidential candidate Ralph Nader needed nearly 22,000 signatures to get on the ballot in Arizona and that over 65,000 were collected. Ralph Nader and his running mate Matt Gonzalez should now be on the ballot in Arizona -- barring any dirty tricks on the part of the DNC. Despite Nader's strong polling when his name included in the polling, there is an effort on the part of the MSM and Panhandle Media to ignore his campaign. Today, Team Nader points to another example of how the independent candidate is shut out of the discussions and argues the case for Nader-Gonzalez as the only agents of change:

"How do you get people to vote against their own self interest? That's the trick.
One way is to make people believe in a dream. That's what all of the mainstream politicians are doing - feeding that dream. Obama is feeding a dream - a dream of change and renewal. He's feeding a dream that the conditions that surround us - Iraq, the economy, the racial divide, the class divide in this country - that they are magically going to go away by voting for this centrist Democrat. That is nonsense, of course. Obama is not proposing any structural changes. McCain is feeding us the dream, the fantasy of power and control. That somehow the military might of the U.S. will prevail across the globe. These are fantasies that are being fed by the politicians. They are not so much lies, as delusions. But we will have brought it on ourselves by supporting these politicians.
By ignoring any candidate or any ideas that might conflict with those dreams. The Obama moment is a feel good moment. It makes us feel good. But the programs Obama is proposing - up and down and all around - are the same centrist Democratic positions.
The same people are going to be running the show. All of the corporations are rapidly switching their contributions to the Democrats."
These are the words of the American novelist Russell Banks.
We heard Banks the other day interviewed by Chris Lydon on Radio Open Source. (
Listen to the interview here.) What wasn't mentioned was Nader/Gonzalez. So, let us say it loud and clear. Nader/Gonzalez. Shift the power from the few to the many. Free our government of corporate domination. Restore the sovereignty of an engaged people. Don't fall for the trick. Help us put Nader/Gonzalez on the ballot. We're on our way to give the American people a choice in November. But we need your help. And we need it now.
You can give up to $4,600. But please, give whatever you can. Shift the power.
Feed the living, breathing people-powered alternative.
Support Nader/Gonzalez.

iraqcorey glassteviah moroehren watadaaustin jenkinsrick salutinmichael werbowskiwilliam cole
cnn newsroomjamie mcintyrejohn walcott

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Women's vote up for grabs

Angling for the backing of women voters, the Obama campaign has created a wide array of support groups: Prime Time Women for Obama, Boomer Women for Obama, Middle-Aged Women for Obama, Women over 50 for Obama, and even Obama's Mamas.
But after wrapping up the Democratic nomination in a long and bruising battle against a popular female politician, Sen. Barack Obama will begin his general election push trying to attract women voters who feel a keen sense of disappointment that Sen. Hillary Clinton will not become the first female president next year.
Those women may be open to hearing what Sen. John McCain has to say, creating an opening for him to make inroads into a group of voters that traditionally leans Democratic.

The above is from Jill Zuckerman's "Opportunity ahead for McCain among women voters" (Chicago Tribune). Well good for John McCain. I won't be voting for him but I do know some Democratic women will be. I also know he scored a homerun Tuesday night even with women who won't be voting for him due to his recognition of Hillary's historic run -- something Democratic males, if you haven't noticed, couldn't do.

I'll be voting for Ralph Nader if Hillary's not the nominee come August. But let me clear it up for anyone stumbling by, it is not my 'job' to slam John McCain. Do I look like Taylor Marsh?

If you need that, if you need that lock-step with the DNC, you can move along.

If McCain does something worthy of calling out, I'll do so. I don't mean the usual RNC stuff. He's a Republican. That's why I won't be voting for him. But I'm not going to get my knickers in a wad everytime he speaks like a Republican.

I'm not part of the pathetic MoveOn and will not participate in their lies.

In fact, I may call those LIARS out from time to time and that includes when they smear John McCain.

The left wing does not need an echo chamber.

In the past, even when we lost, we largely had integrity.

The DNC can sell their own but I won't follow suit.

Barack has a problem with women. Barack created that problem with women. He did it by "sweetie," he did it by saying Hillary needs to make herself feel better "periodically" (PMS -- and Hillary hasn't PMS in years, but never expect a sexist to know that), his flipping the bird at her name (to cheers from his cult) and so much more. It includes his sexist Cult that he never called out. It includes so much.

It includes his lack of support for abortion rights.

Barack's got a problem with women. And thing is, he's going to have a problem with most women on the left. A lot of closeted Communists of both genders did their part to drive Barack Mania. Now the ones who aren't in the closet, Communists who have never felt the need to hide who they are, they're already gearing up to call out the myth of Barack.

It's going to be a fun summer as the not-ashamed Communists tackle the Closet Cases.

Speaking of Closet Cases, Sharon Smith is a liar, a cheap liar, and a world class liar. Marcia's writing about her tonight and I assume C.I. will as well.

It's going to be a fun summer.

Ruth asked me to add something she forgot. We will not be installing anything to promote the conference tomorrow on the death of RFK. C.I. noted it at The Common Ills this morning and the e-mails poured in saying that the conference's website is promoting HIllary hatred. C.I.'s not mentioning the conference again and made it clear (with Ruth and my complete support) that no widgets or whatever HTML would be installed at any site (by C.I.) to promote that conference. We may tackle this topic at Third. But Ruth and I both said, "Don't worry about it." If we'd checked the site out and found it was repeating the kind of lies Majorie Cohn did, we wouldn't have promoted it to begin with. I think we'll do an open letter to that 'commission' at Third if time permits.

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

Thursday, June 5, 2008. Chaos and violence continue, the US military announces a death, the Senate releases a report and more.

Starting with war resistance.
On Tuesday, Canada's House of Commons passed a motion to grant safe harbor status to US war resisters in Canada. Aaron Wherry ( observes, "Liberal Jim Karygiannis and New Democrat Olivia Chow put together a motion and got it to a vote." Ontario Now notes that the Tory party was against the motiong but they "were outvoted by the other three opposition parties, 1137-110 in the vote" and quotes MP Olivia Chow explaining, "There is a lot of support by ordinary citizens to allow U.S. war deserters the right to stay in Canada." Travis Lupik (The Straight) speaks with US war resister Brad McCall: "Reacting to the news, McCall told the Straight that he planned to celebrate, and then field interviews and prepare for the next battle. McCall said that he was hopeful that the Conservative government will abide by the House's recommendation, but cautioned that the war resisters had not won yet. 'I think they [the Conservatives] will probably just ignore it and see if anybody notices,' he said." [For previous coverage of McCall from The Straight click here and here.] Elliot Robins (Kootenay Western Star) speaks with US war resister Ryan Johnson who states, "We're pretty excited. It's a big step for war resisters here in Canada. We have a direct show of support from Parliament and it could be a very important thing to help end this [Iraq] war. . . . It's pretty hard to start your life based on the hope that a country that you've never been to before will suddenly decide to change its entire law around something to allow me to stay here. My life has been dramatically changed by our [Johnson and his wife, Jenna] decision to come to Canada, but even if I was deported, I wouldn't take back my decision to have come here."

Chris Cook (Pacific Free Press) takes a look at media in Canada (such as the CBC) and finds it lacking as it works hard to ignore the news about Tuesday's vote. What of so-called 'independent' media in the US? What's Panhandle Media in the US doing? As usual, not a damn thing. The Nation hasn't done a story on it or even a blog post (they have at least nine blogs supposedly updated regularly). It's not news to our 'friends' at The Nation. (Ask Katrina what happened on Wife Swap last night and she'll write you an essay.) The Progressive? Matty Rothschild and company are far too busy. CounterPunch -- the allegedly non-electoral hokum Counterpunch? At least 20 articles published today and yesterday. Number on war resisters? Zero. Cost of publicly pretending to give a damn about ending the illegal war? Priceless. Amy Goodman, apparently putting down her copy of Hu**ler magazine for a moment or two, surfaced yesterday morning with four sentences on the ruling. And still managed to do severe damages. "As many as 200 U.S. war resisters are currently living in Canada," she gushed. As many as? 200 was surpassed in 2006. But Goody hasn't sat down with one since November of 2006 so we can't expect up to date info from her. Mike addressed trashy Amy Goodman last night (including linking to the piece on Hu**ler that we can't here due to being 'work safe' for all readers). 14 days and she still hasn't found it worth informing her listeners that US war resister Corey Glass was ordered to leave Canada. May 21st, US war resisters and Iraq War veteran Glass was informed that he had until June 12th to leave Canada or he would be deported. Apparently that's not news and not important to Panhandle Media.

Laughably, a Panhandle Media 'conference' takes place this weekend to talk up the importance of a . . . useless echo chamber? We're supposed to strengthen something that already refuses to deliver the news we need? We're supposed to give a damn about Panhandle Media? It's really past time to stop rewarding bad behavior. Now if we didn't have so many in Panhandle Media who were stupid, uncaring or damaged from intensive drug use, we might be able to end the illegal war. We might have ended it some time ago. But to do that, we'd need to be informed of two things (1) what is actually happening and (2) our own history.

Panhandle Media will never save one person, let alone the world. So let's save ourselves while they stay useless. In 1969, a member of the US Congress went to Canada to speak with war resisters. His name? Ed Koch. Better known today as the former mayor of NYC. Between then and the end of 1974, Kokch introduced how many amnesty bills in the US House of Representatives? Four. Now if we know that, we can ask why none of our 'friends' in Congress have yet to make that trip? Dennis Kucinich, Canada is calling. Where are our bills in Congress calling for amnesty for war resisters? Forget "laws" -- which are bills that have been passed -- where are our bills arguing for amnesty. By the end of 1974, because of the work by people like Koch, a Republican would step forward in the Senate with a bill for war resisters (only one group of them). Who was that Republican? Ask Panhandle Media. Remember they care sooo much and they are soooo informed and they have all the information to give you . . . right after the never ending pledge drive cycles.

In the real world,
Gerry Condon, War Resisters Support Campaign and Courage to Resist all encourage contacting the Diane Finley (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration -- 613.996.4974, phone; 613.996.9749, fax; e-mail -- that's "finley.d" at "") and Stephen Harper (Prime Minister, 613.992.4211, phone; 613.941.6900, fax; e-mail -- that's "pm" at "").

There is a growing movement of resistance within the US military which includes Megan Bean, Chris Bean, Matthis Chiroux, Richard Droste, Michael Barnes, Matt Mishler, Josh Randall, Robby Keller, Justiniano Rodrigues, Chuck Wiley, James Stepp, Rodney Watson, Michael Espinal, Matthew Lowell, Derek Hess, Diedra Cobb,
Brad McCall, Justin Cliburn, Timothy Richard, Robert Weiss, Phil McDowell, Steve Yoczik, Ross Spears, Peter Brown, Bethany "Skylar" James, Zamesha Dominique, Chrisopther Scott Magaoay, Jared Hood, James Burmeister, Jose Vasquez, Eli Israel, Joshua Key, Ehren Watada, Terri Johnson, Clara 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, Stephen Funk, Blake LeMoine, Clifton Hicks, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Logan Laituri, Jason Marek, 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, Wilfredo Torres, Michael Sudbury, Ghanim Khalil, Vincent La Volpa, DeShawn Reed and Kevin Benderman. In total, at least fifty 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 [(877) 447-4487], Iraq Veterans Against the War and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters. In addition, VETWOW is an organization that assists those suffering from MST (Military Sexual Trauma).

In today's New York Times,
Andrew E. Kramer reports, "American airstrikes in Hilla, the city once known as Babylon, wounded five people on Wednesday, according to the local police, who said the Americans were responding to a mortar attack on the American Consulate." So five people wounded in another 'precision' air strike. File it under 'helping' along with the topic Elaine examined last night (Iraqi women). Also in today's papers is Patrick Cockburn (Independent of London) stating that the White House and the puppet of the occupation (Nouri al-Maliki) are putting together "[a] secret deal" which would allow permanent US bases, the US to "conduct military operations, arrest Iraqis and enjoy immunity from Iraqi law, will destabilise Iraq's position in the Middle East and lay the basis for the unending conflict in their country." Cockburn was off the mark when attempting to predict US reaction (he thought it would be explosive, Amy Goodman buried the news in a fleeting headline today). What else was he right or wrong about? Sue Pleming (Reuters) quotes Ryan Crocker, the US Amabassador to Iraq, declaring that the White House doesn't want permanent bases and were not putting together anything that would extend in the "long-term." So Cockburn was way off the mark?

No. These statements were repeated in April as well and, to any watching, weren't at all believable. Dropping back to the
April 9th snapshot, US House Rep Susan Davis was asking about and echoing US Senator Hillary Clinton's April 8th questions (to Crocker and Petraeus) as to why the US Congress was being cut out of the process. Davis: "That strikes people in our districts as strange. I wonder if you could talk on that" and how such an agreement might or might not "be used as leverage?"

From the statement Senator Hillary Clinton released April 9th:

"I also asked Ambassador Crocker if the United States Congress would have the same opportunity as the Iraqi Parliament will have to review any agreement or long-term security pact that President Bush is negotiating with the Iraqis. Ambassador Crocker said that the Congress, your representatives, would not have that chance. I have two requests of President Bush for his speech on Thursday. First, I call on the President to answer the question that General Petraeus did not. What is our end game in Iraq given the failure of surge to achieve the objective that the president outlined for it? Second, I call on President Bush to pledge to the American people, who have sacrificed greatly for this effort that the United States Congress will have the chance to review and vote on any long-term security agreement he has negotiated with the Iraqis."

It was also an issue in Congress
April 10th when the US Senate's Committee on Foreign Relations heard testimony from the State Dept's David Satterfield and the Defense Dept's Mary Beth Long. The chair of the committee outlined the topics of interest in his opening statements.

Senator Joe Biden: We will hear today about the two agreements that the Administration is negotiating with Iraq which were anticipated in the November Declaration. On Tuesday, Ambassador Crocker told us that these agreements would set forth the "vision" -- his phrase -- of our bilateral relationship with Iraq. One agreement is a "strategic framework agreement" that will include the economic, political and security issues outlined in the Declaration of Principles. The document might be better titled "What the United States will do for Iraq," because it consists mostly of a series of promises that flow in one direction -- promises by the United States to a sectarian government that has thus far failed to reach the political compromises necessary to have a stable country. We're told that the reason why we're not continuing under the UN umbrella is because the Iraqis say they have a sovereign country. But they don't want a Status of Forces Agreement because that flows two ways. The Administration tells us it's not binding, but the Iraqi parliament is going to think it is. The second agreement is what Administration officials call a "standard" Status of Forces Agreement, which will govern the presence of U.S. forces in Iraq, including their entry into the country and the immunities to be granted to them under Iraqi law. Unlike most SOFAs, however, it would permit U.S. forces -- for the purposes of Iraqi law -- to engage in combat operations and detain insurgents. In other words, to detain people that we think are bad guys. I don't know any of the other nearly 90 Status of Forces Agreements that would allow a U.S. commander to arrest anyone he believes is a bad guy.

Meanwhile in the White House today, spokesperson Dana Perino faced some semi-tough questioning and se danced away from every one of them with statements such as "I would say that the issue of pre-war intelligence on Iraq has been thoroughly reviewed over the years by the Congress, as well as by the independent WMD Commission." What was Perino avoiding? The latest report on Iraq from the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.
The chair, Senator Jay Rockefeller, stated today, "Before taking the country to war, this Administration owed it to the American people to give them a 100 percent accurate picture of the threat we faced. Unfortunately, our Committee has concluded that the Administration made significant claims that were not supported by intelligence. In making the case for war, the Administration repeatedly presented intelligence as fact when in reality it was unsubstantiated, contradicted, or even non-existent. As a result, the American people were led to believe the threat from Iraq was much greater than actuall existed."

Key points from the report summarized by Rockefeller include:

* Statements and implications by the President and Secretary of State suggesting that Iraq and al-Qa'ida had a partnership, or that Iraq had provided al-Qa'ida with weapons training, were not substantiated by the intelligence.
* Statements by the President and the Vice President indicating that Saddam Hussein was prepared to give weapons of mass destruction to terrorist groups for attacks against the United States were contradicted by available intelligence information.
* Statements by President Bush and Vice President Cheney regarding the postwar situation in Iraq, in terms of the political, security, and economic, did not reflect the concerns and uncertainties expressed in the intelligence products.
* Statements by the President and Vice President prior to the October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate regarding Iraq's chemical weapons production capability and activities did not reflect the intelligence community's uncertainties as to whether such production was ongoing.
* The Secretary of Defense's statement that the Iraqi government operated underground WMD facilities that were not vulnerable to conventional airstrikes because they were underground and deeply buried was not substantiated by available intelligence information.
* The Intelligence Community did not confirm that Muhammad Atta met an Iraqi intelligence officer in Prague in 2001 as the Vice President repeatedly claimed.

In a press conference today (
here for audio or video), Rockefeller declared, "It has often been said that truth is the first casualty of war and today the Senate Intelligence Committee reports in detail that this was the case in the Bush administration's march to war in Iraq. You don't get to tell the truth just some of the time when going to war. The American people expect their government to tell the truth all the time, that being 100% of the time. Let's be clear as far too many of our own country men and their families know this is a very deadly serious matter Making the case for war is categorically different than any other approach to public policy. There is nothing more serious in public life than the decision to go to war. There is a fundamental difference between relying on incorrect intelligence and deliberatly painting a picture to the American people that you know is not fully supported by intelligence. The bottom line is this, we owed it to the troops and the American people to tell the truth about how we got there. These reports are about holding our government accountable and making sure that these mistakes never happen again." PDF format warning, the first report is on public statements (and runs 171 pages), also PDF, the second report focuses on the Counterrorism Evaluation Group and Office of Special Plans within the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (and is 56 pages).

Turning to some of today's reported violence . . .


Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad roadside bombing killed 1 Iraqi soldier and a Kirkuk roadside bombing wounded seven people.


Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 2 corpses discovered in Baghdad today.

Today the
US military announced: "A Coalition force Soldier was killed by small arms fire June 4 during a patrol south of Baghdad."

John Stauber (PR Watch) observes, "Eight thousand pages of documents related to the Pentagon's illegal propaganda campaign, known as the Pentagon military analyst program, are now online for the world to see, although in a format that makes it impossible to easily search them and therefore difficult to read and dissect. This trove includes the documents pried out of the Pentagon by David Barstow and used as the basis for his stunning investigation that appeared in the New York Times on April 20, 2008." Stauber explains that "every major commercial TV network has failed to report this story, covering up their complicity and keeping the existence of this scandal from their audience."

May 22nd we noted Lavena Johnson who died while serving Iraq and whose parents do not buy the official 'explanation' of Lavena's death. As KMOV reported (link has text and video) last year, "Lavena was apparently abused" and it was impossible for her to have used the gun she's said to have killed herself with. Veterans For Peace notes "After viewing the black and white copies of crime scene photos, viewing multiple bruises on her body, and speaking to different military personnel as they prepared for her burial, her father and uncles realized that LeVena had been murdered. Eight days before her twenthieth birthday, LaVena was beaten, raped, set on fire, shot, and left in a contractor's tent in Iraq. Her family has been fighting for justice for LaVena for over two years now." They are asking you to help Dr. John Johnson (LaVena's father) find out what really happened to his daughter in Iraq by calling 202.225.2876 which is Ike Skelton's number, Skelton is the chair of the House Armed Service Committee. This will be picked up tomorrow and be a regular part of the snapshots.

Turning to the US political race,
Allison Stevens (Women's eNews) reports on Hillary Clinton's primary campaign: "And Clinton's candidacy shined a high beam on stubborn strains of sexism, said Clare Giesen, executive director of the National Women's Political Caucus, a group in Washington, D.C., that works to elect pro-choice women to office. 'This campaign has unveiled sexism as none of us thought existed," she said. "It's like some feral object; it's just out of control.' The depth of sexist attitudes became apparent in national news media coverage of Clinton, Giesen said. A Feb. 1 media study by the Center for Media and Public Affairs in Washington, D.C., showed that from Dec. 16 through Jan. 27, five out of six on-air evaluations of Obama were favorable but only half of Clinton were.
Giesen said sexist comments in the media serve as a rallying cry for women's rights advocates. 'There is a definite second act that comes after this election. Even if she got the nomination, what we have looked at is a real resistance to women in power, and a fear. And we've got to do a lot to educate people'."
Froma Harrop (Rasmussen Reports) observes, "What's dangerous for the Democratic Party is that, for many women, the eye of the storm has moved beyond Hillary or anything she does at this point. The offense has turned personal. They are now in their own orbit, having abandoned popular Democratic Websites that reveled in crude anti-Hillary outpourings -- and established new ones on which they trade stories of the Obama people's nastiness. But worse than the online malice has been the affronts to their faces." Rev. Renita J. Weems (Something Within) compiles a list of what the campaign season taught her: "Fourth, now I know what I always suspected, namely that while racism is a sin, sexism is perfectly acceptable and tolerated in this country. Women are the worst culprits. The outright woman-hating jibes, the prejudice against Clinton as a middle-age woman, the physical mockery, and the anti-white woman rage have not been easy to witness. Clinton has not run a faultless campaign-- far from it. (Her surrogates need to be fired!) But Hillary Clinton the woman and the politician did not deserve the venom, the acrimony, the hatred, and the name-calling commentators and the public heaped on her throughout this race."

aaron wherrytravis lupickbrad mccallchris cookryan johnsonelliot robins
patrick cockburnandrew e. kramerthe new york times
john stauber

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

COPA on Friday

What is COPA? It's the Coalition On Political Assassinations (COPA) and here's some information on them: COPA is a group of dedicated academics, forensics experts, documentary film makers, medical and ballistic experts. This June we will be holding a conference on the assassination of Senator Robert Kennedy. The conference is from Friday 6th of June until the 8th. We plan to stream the first night of the conference this Friday. We would like to invite you to share the conference video with your readership by embedding some html code that will enable the live stream to appear on your blog. The live stream will start at 7pm Los Angeles time and end at 10pm. So, by my calculations, the conference will start at 10pm EST.The conference will be attended by William Pepper (attorney for Sirhan Sirhan, James Earl Ray and the King family), Philip Van Praag and Robert Joling (audio experts who have proven the existence of more shots fired), Paul Schrade (Kennedy campaign worker and eyewitness to the assassination), Cynthia McKinney (former Democratic congresswoman and Green party presidential candidate), and several other film makers and researchers. Full listing available here,

Enabling html? Huh?

Seriously, I'll try to do that Thursday or Friday. Note "try." I won't be able to do it. I've tried to embed HTML code before. It never works. The only one who knows how is C.I. It's some blogger/blogspot problem. We put it in and then we publish and it's gone. Not only is it gone, it screws up our site.

C.I. is 'instictive.' You can look over the shoulder and think you've figured out how to do it but try it on your own and realize you didn't. C.I. can't tell you how to fix it, C.I. has to log in and do it through trial and error (often involving utilizing various browsers). So for it to be up at my site, I'm going to have to ask C.I. to spare some of that non-existant 'free time' and put it up at my site.

That will most likely take place tomorrow and either early in the day on a break from speaking or at lunch. So it will go up when it goes up. And that's me assuming C.I. will be able to pull it off. It takes multiple tries on C.I.'s part. We did an embedded video at Third Sunday and that was C.I. doing it. It took three tries before it worked. It's supposed to work easily but it never does. We even have a video icon in Blogger/Blogspot but you can try to use that and it never works.

So, anyway, you've been alerted to that.

Do I sound pissy?

I am.

I am pissy that a woman can make it to the convention and the press and the Obama campaign are working overtime to deny her that right.

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

Wednesday, June 4, 2008. Chaos and violence continue, the US military announces more deaths, a Baghdad bombing results in mass deaths, the war resisters in Canada score a historic victory but work remains, and more.

Starting with war resistance. As noted in
yesterday's snapshot, Canada's House of Commons voted on the motion to grant safe harbor to war resisters and it passed (137 in favor, 110 against). The motion was first proposed in December of 2007. It took Corey Glass and other war resisters to make it happen as much as it took any political party. May 21st, US war resisters and Iraq War veteran Glass was informed that he had until June 12th to leave Canada or he would be deported. Maggie Farley (Los Angeles Times) notes of Glass, "he became the first deserter to receive orders to leave the country -- and ended up a symbol of Canada's conflicted sentiments about the war. On Tuesday, Canada's House of Commons passed a motion urging the government to allow deserters to stay. The measure, though nonbinding, could lead to a last-minute reprieve for Glass and nearly 40 others who have asked for refugee statues." UPI files a brief and quotes NDP's Olivia Chow stating, "Ordinary people want the Iraq war resisters to stay. The Harper Conservatives must respect this and immediately implement this motion." Joanna Smith (Toronto Star) explains how US war resisters Megan and Chris Bean (husband and wife) went to Ottawa to observe the House of Commons Vote. Megan Bean explains of their decision to come to Canada, "We were over there to maintain the peace and we were trying to hand it over to the Iraqis. This is what we always heard. You don't sign up for (the U.S. Navy) to see a bunch of people kill for no reason." Paige Aarhus (London Free Press) quotes war resister Rich Droste on the vote, "I almost wanted to cry when I heard, it was amazing. This just shows that support is growing and Canada can still be a refuge against militarism." He wasn't the only one excited by the verdict. "We are very happy that we won. We're hopeful that the government wll respect the democratic process," Phil McDowell tells John Ward (Canadian Press via Nova Scotia News) who also quotes Joshua Key: "We've had one hand tied behind our back because we can't argue the illegality of the Iraq war, which we all know is illegal. But, with that we just take it one step at a time. I just hope it continues going forward." Janice Tibbetts (CanWest News Service) offers an overview of the resistance today explaining how Canada's Federal Court of Appeals refused to grant the first two public war resisters in Canada, Jeremy Hinzman and Brandon Hughey, who went on to appeal that decision to Canada's Supreme Court and were denied on November 15, 2007. Vietnam era war resister Gerry Condon (writing at Courage to Resist) notes the "historic vote" and how "all the opposition parties -- the Liberal Party, the New Democratic Party, the Bloc Quebecois and the Green Party" came together to vote in favor the motion. Condon outlines a number of steps to take here. In addition, Gerry Condon, War Resisters Support Campaign and Courage to Resist all encourage contacting the Diane Finley (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration -- 613.996.4974, phone; 613.996.9749, fax; e-mail -- that's "finley.d" at "") and Stephen Harper (Prime Minister, 613.992.4211, phone; 613.941.6900, fax; e-mail -- that's "pm" at "").


Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a truck bombing that claimed 5 lives (add in another for the driver of the truck) and left ten wounded, a Baghdad car bombing that claimed the lives of 3 police officers and left three police officers and "three civilians" wounded and an Al Anbar Province roadside bombing claimed the lives of 3 police officers with four more wounded. Deborah Haynes (Times of London) reports "Up to 18 people were killed and many more wounded today when a truck exploded near the house of a police commander in Baghdad" while CBS and AP note over 50 individuals are injured from the blast "near the northeast Baghdad home of a top Inetrior Ministry official".


Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports "Col. Dhafir Al-Ani of the general inspector office in the interior ministry" was shot dead in Baghdad (his brother was wounded in the assassination) and a jewelry shop owner and his son were shot dead in Zubair.


Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 4 corpses discovered in Baghdad. CBS and AP report 13 corpses discovered in Latifiyah (and that 10 were discovered Tuesday in Baghdad).

Kadhim also notes the continued attacks on journalists which includes a TV crew filming a special entitled "The Death Road" in Al Anbar Province and were targeted in a roadside bombing that may have been aimed at the Iraqi military (the military was with the TV crew) while a camer operator for an Iraqi TV station was wounding in a Basra roadside bombing.

Today the
US military announced: "Three Multi-National Division -- North Soldiers were killed as a result of a small-arms fire attack in Al Hawijah near Kirkuk June 4." As Haynes (Times of London) notes, this brings the number of US service members killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war to 4090.

There is a growing movement of resistance within the US military which includes Matthis Chiroux, Richard Droste, Michael Barnes, Matt Mishler, Josh Randall, Robby Keller, Justiniano Rodrigues, Chuck Wiley, James Stepp, Rodney Watson, Michael Espinal, Matthew Lowell, Derek Hess, Diedra Cobb,
Brad McCall, Justin Cliburn, Timothy Richard, Robert Weiss, Phil McDowell, Steve Yoczik, Ross Spears, Peter Brown, Bethany "Skylar" James, Zamesha Dominique, Chrisopther Scott Magaoay, Jared Hood, James Burmeister, Jose Vasquez, Eli Israel, Joshua Key, Ehren Watada, Terri Johnson, Clara 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, Stephen Funk, Blake LeMoine, Clifton Hicks, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Logan Laituri, Jason Marek, 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, Wilfredo Torres, Michael Sudbury, Ghanim Khalil, Vincent La Volpa, DeShawn Reed and Kevin Benderman. In total, at least fifty 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 [(877) 447-4487], Iraq Veterans Against the War and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters. In addition, VETWOW is an organization that assists those suffering from MST (Military Sexual Trauma).

Turning to US political news. Two primaries were held last night, the last two in the contest: South Dakota and Montana. The press told the country Barack Obama was a winner. While he did win Montana, he lost South Dakota. The Christ-child lost South Dakota to Hillary by over 10% --
55.35% for Hillary, 44.65% for Barack. The same media that told you all day yesterday that Hillary would conceed (see Bob Somerby's piece today) spends today asking when she will drop out of the race? Hillary Is 44 observes, "Obama is unelectable and not qualified to be president. On the night Obama lost South Dakota (Obama's own projections had him winning South Dakota by 15 percent) he spoke in the same hall in which Mondale conceded to the Reagan landslide. Obama will either concede now or in November. Obama won't win Democrats he needs to win (like the Democrats on this very website). In state after state many Democrats clearly state they will either NOT vote, vote for the unacceptable John McCain, or write in Hillary's name. That Democrats, many who have never voted for a Republican or nightmared about voting for a Republican, to say they will vote for a Republican is shocking and foreshadows doom for the Democratic? Party in November - if Superdelegates actually vote for Rezko/Ayres/Pfleger/Wright/Farrakhan's friend - Obama." Actually, some will vote for Ralph Nader if Barack's the nominee. Yesterday, CBS Evening News offered a roundtable (link has transcript and video) featuring some Hillary supporters in Penn.

Sandra Miller, former county commissioner: I think from the very beginning she's been mistreated. I know -- I watched a lot of interviews and so forth where Sen. Clinton was referred to as "Mrs. Clinton" whereas Sen. Obama was "Sen. Obama." Meredith Ciambrello, teacher: It bothers me to think with the kind of coverage that we've had, that we're speaking of, that it's influencing the voters. And when I talk to young men or other young women and they say, "I hate Hillary" and just the venom that comes out of them. And I wonder where is that coming from. Kathleen O'Dell, sales manager: I think we have a little different standard with sexism than we do with, say, racism. I mean there have been people who go to their rallies and stand up - the guy who stood up and said, "hey, iron my shirt." Now consider that if somebody had showed up at an Obama campaign and had a banner saying something about his race or about somebody's religion, we'd be up in arms. Everybody would be like, "how disgusting."

An idiot ("fuzkida") posting at CBS states, "Any so-called Hillary supporter who votes for McCain is not a true progressive. NO progressive wuould [sic] be that spiteful as to screw up the country for another 4 years just bc. they are sore losers." No true "progressive" (unless that's The Idiot Lakoff's 'framing' for "closted Communist") could support a candidate who used homophobia in South Carolina to scare up votes, who demonized gays and lesbians because it could help him recover momentum after losing New Hampshire. So spare us the lectures "fuzkida."

No feminist could support Barack in the primaries. Any who said she was a feminist and did was either uninformed (and didn't know about the use of homophobia) or she's not a feminist because she elected to ignore it. There's no middle ground on this. Some may come around to Barack. But the reality is a number of 'feminists' exposed themselves as not by refusing to call out the use of homophobia as a campaign strategy. "fuzkida" is not a feminist, obviously. And women don't need to hear you lecture. I believe the idiot Mark Karlin of BuzzFlash tried that after Hillary won New Hampshire. It certainly was cute to see those pieces throughout the campaign, where men lectured women telling them over and over that they shouldn't vote based on gender (naturally, they assumed that only by voting based on gender could a woman support Hillary -- working from the sexist premise that no woman could be worthy of the nomination). But, thing is, did they ever lecture any group supporting Barack? Nope. It was only women they thought they felt comfortable trying to boss around. Why was that?

Ellen Willis ("Up from Radicalism: A Feminist Journal") explaining it in 1969:

A genuine alliance with male radicals will not be possible until sexism sickens them as much as racism. This will not be accomplished through persuasion, conciliation, or love, but through independence and solidarity; radical men will stop oppressing us and make our fight their own when they can't get us to join them on any other terms.

True then, true today. But no one was supposed to notice and it was easy not to as
Panhandle Media worked overtime not just to smear Hillary Clinton with lies but also to ignore the sexism in the MSM (while contributing their own sexism). Take CounterSpin, the weekly radio program by 'media watchdog' FAIR, which ignored the sexism non-stop and finally, when called out loudly and, repeating, I never asked for that, those were unsolicited e-mails from FAIR) and repeatedly, managed to include Hillary being called a bitch in their May 24th broadcast. Here is CounterSpin's criticism of sexism in the 2008 race in full: "CNN viewers were treated to one pundit explanation that people might call Hillary Clinton a bitch because well isn't that just what some women are." You'll note they don't identify the program or the gas bag speaking. That's a funny sort of 'media criticism,' isn't it? And sadly, that's all the weekly radio program CounterSpin can point to. How very proud they must be. Then there's Free Speech TV's laughable Grit TV ("with Laura Flanders!") which not only brought on sexists who had slammed Hillary to say there was no problem but also got off a joke that Latinos and Latinas in California can't speak English. I guess that was supposed to pass for 'progressive' as well? It was especially hilarious to see Laura Flanders and Betsy Reed move away from Hillary to actually fret over sexism and homophobia (!) as 'applied' to John Edwards who is neither a woman nor gay.

"Now there were days when I had the strength enough to fight for all of us,"
declared Hillary last night, "and on the days that I didn't, I leaned on you, the soldier on his third tour of duty in Iraq who told his wife, an Iraqi veteran herself, to take his spending money and donate it to our campaign instead. The 11-year-old boy in Kentucky who sold his bike and video games to raise money for our campaign. The woman who came to a rally hours early, waited and waited to give me a rosary. And all those who whispered to me, simply to say I am praying for you."

Peggy Simpson (Womens Media Center) reports:

Hillary Clinton preempted the morning-after critics. She asked the question herslef in a Tuesday night speech after the delegate count from South Dakota and Montana pushed Barack Obama over the top as the Democrats' probably nominee for president.
"I understand that a lot of people are asking: 'What does Hillarywant? What does she WANT?"
Ignoring mounting speculation that she had told the New York congressional delegation that she'd be open to the vice presidential position, which some cynics said was the start of overt lobbying for that post, she said instead:
"Well, what I want is what I have always fought for in this whole campaign. I want to end the war in Iraq. I want to turn this economy around. I want health care for every American. I want every child to live up to his or her God-given potential."
And then she added significantly: "And I want the nearly eighteen million Americans who voted for me to be respected, to be heard, and no longer to be invisible."
The Hillary skeptics who bemoaned her ambition should read that and absorb the message. It means far more than being on a national ticket.

Hillary's a fighter and as long as she wants to be in the race, she will be. She won the popular vote. (My own personal feelings -- and those of the community -- are that she should carry this to the convention.) It's cute how the goons and loons want to lecture. They pull that nonsense every four years and whine between about how a message should be sent. The difference for all Hillary supporters is that we saw the pass Barack was given over and over and we found him vapid and lacking. The difference for women especially is that we're not Spastic Keith Olbermann spewing his 'thoughts' instantly. As with Anita Hill earlier, the treatment of Hillary was about all women and it's not about 'sore losers.' The 'unity' talk ignores that (a) there's nothing in the Obama campaign for voters and (b) why would women want to 'unify' with their attackers. Now when the vile Ike Turner died, many of the male gas bags online didn't get it. They thought Tina Turner should forgive her torturer of many, many decades. But that's not how it works.

And I'm down to
Your last cigarette and
this "We are one" crap
as you're invading . . .
-- "Taxi Ride," written and recorded by
Tori Amos

'Unity' says the press today just as they said it when Bully Boy stole Florida from Al Gore. The bit players are all the same, they just had facial reconstruction. And I think you'll see a number of women who refuse to play cheerleaders for
Princess Tiny Meat Barack. Not all, as Susan (Random Notes) point out, someone will gladly sell out. For the record, whomever the Democratic nominee is, Gloria Steinem will campaign for them. She does that every four years. I am not talking about Gloria. I have not and will not ever insult Gloria. But Gloria's always been the sweetest. Which isn't denying that's she's also very strong. It is pointing out that if Barack's given the nomination, don't expect to see a crowd of feminists skipping happily along -- several paces behind him. Women have witnessed non-stop sexism and grasped that feminism is needed now more than ever. This is the rebirth, not a time to be afraid. (True regardless of whom the Democratic nominee is in August.) And some can be cast aside like Christine and her beau Bernie who launched an attack on our own Kat -- demanding that she change a written opinion and demanding that she do so in his words and act like it was her opinion and her words -- that should have clued us into just how sick and vapid so many passing for 'contemporary' and 'popcult' 'feminists' actually were. So it's a good time for feminism and one in which faux feminists can hit the road and take their (at best) half-assed 'principles' with them.

John Bentley (CBS News) reports John McCain, presumed GOP presidential nominee, stated, "There are many of Sen. Clinton's supporters who believe that I am by far the best qualified to secure this nation's future, who don't want us to sit down with Ahmadinejad and other tyrants. I think there's a lot of Sen. Clinton's supporters who will support me because of their belief that Sen. Obama does not have the experience or the knowledge or the judgement to address this nation's national security challenges when we're in two wars."

Ralph Nader has selected Matt Gonzalez as his running mate and Team Nader's "
The Uprising" notes yesterday's Democracy Now where the hosts and guest David Sirota talked a good game about an "uprising against Wall Street and Washington" but somehow avoided ever mentioning the Nader-Gonzalez ticket:

On Democracy Now, Sirota said that there is great anger and disaffection in America directed at not just the government, but also at corporate America, at big business, at banks and the financial system.
And for twenty minutes, he talked and talked and talked about the uprising in this momentous Presidential election year.
But not once did Sirota mention Ralph Nader's candidacy -- which polls indicate millions of people support.
And not once did Amy Goodman or Juan Gonzalez ask him about the Nader/Gonzalez candidacy.
Anger at corporations, big business and banks.
Presidential election year.
And no mention of Ralph Nader?
What we are to make of this?
That David Sirota doesn't really give a damn about the uprising.
If he did, he would happily welcome Nader/Gonzalez into the political arena as the most meaningful political expression of the uprising in 2008.
Sirota has spent hundreds of hours surveying the uprising, but refuses to even acknowledge the work of hundreds of young people working non-stop around the country to put Nader/Gonzalez on the ballot for what is shaping up to be a four way Presidential race -- McCain, Obama, Nader, Barr.
And Nader/Gonzalez will be the Presidential campaign for the uprising against corporate power in this Presidential election year.
And Sirota doesn't say a peep about it.
Why not?
Because he's concerned but not serious about change.

Meanwhile presumed Green Party nominee Cynthia McKinney has bigger problems now than defining 'victory' as getting 5% of the votes (revealing her campaign as not a real run for the office), she now has to deal with her online supporters running voters off. (Yeah, I heard about the e-mails. We'll probably address "Miss Prissy for Cynthia" at Third this weekend.)

So what do we know?
Hillary's still in the race. Supporters want her to go to Denver (but that will be her decision -- and after the way she and her family have been smeared and slimed, even her strongest supporters would understand her deciding the victory was in staying in the race when everyone said drop out, staying in the race and winning the popular vote, staying in the race and showing the world just how strong women are). Nader's running a real campaign.