Sunday, August 13, 2006

Blog Spotlight: Betty filling in for Rebecca

Wrapping up her stint filling in for Rebecca,  Betty  had a number of topics she wanted to address.

Cynthia McKinney & other things (including Iraq)

Still Betty here, filling in for the honeymooning Rebecca. Tomorrow, Cynthia McKinney faces a runoff and I support her. I think she has a lot of support.

I also know she has a lot of attackers (like the Atlanta Journal Constitution and the faux Black Cynthia Tucker). But she's stood up time and again.

I help out with The Third Estate Sunday Review (and am glad to do it, it's a lot of fun, they brought me in before I started my own site because I was curious about what I was getting myself into). I always get feedback from family and friends on stuff that goes up there. The one that my family loved the most recently was "McKinney v. Lieberman -- who you gonna root for?" and I kept being asked about that and told (not asked), "I know you pushed for that!"

Actually, I didn't. I wish I could claim credit. It was C.I. who raised the topic and we all agreed.
I think it's an important piece and am proud to have participated. But I usually don't suggest things. I've usually got my kids and my sister's kids (unless we've flip-flopped which night we're grabbing) and if you ever read something there about children's DVDs or snacks, that'll be me.
When things are tossed around, I'm usually still getting the kids settled. That's what's on my mind.

I wish I had thought of it and would love to be able to say I had. Ty throws out a lot of ideas but usually he's going by the e-mails. Cedric will toss stuff out. Wally does toss out ideas. He always will then toss to me because Wally and I both have sites where we're trying to be funny. So there are things that we really can't cover. And if the pitch session was later in the evening, I would probably have ideas. But most of the time, I'm on the phone listening and standing in the kitchen passing out juice boxes.

But I am proud of participating in that.

There's a lot more that goes into the print edtion (and poor's Ty's significant other is stuck distributing that right now, around the campus, because everyone else is in California) and my mother loves the print edition. I get a copy mailed because I asked for one early on. Now I get one because my mother wants to read it. She loves it and thinks some of the best things go in there. Usually, if something goes there only, it's because it didn't quite come together or it's something we want to say (for example about the minimum wage proposal) but don't want to give Republicans ammo. (That always has to do with pending legislation.)

The most popular feature in my family is always Ava and C.I.'s TV reviews. When the print edition arrives and I drop it off with my mother, I'll find my father a day or two later, in the living room in his chair, laughing out loud at one of those reviews and he's read it days before but he's still laughing. He will read my things from my site to his friends and he reads the TV reviews to his friends. He prints my stuff up and keeps it in a folder. He's a proud and loving father. But with Ava and C.I., he's just a fan. When Ava and Jess visited this summer, he was on the phone to his friends, telling them to come over and meet Ava. He made her read a few paragraphs. Dad's one of the few people who reads their things right. I mean when he reads it aloud. He has their rhythms down pat. A lot of people will read (and laugh) but they don't do the pauses or inflections that Ava and C.I. do.

I told C.I. that once and Dad demonstrated and explained that he loves comedy and wore out his comedy albums in the days of vinyl due to playing them over and over. Dad could probably do standup and that's something I didn't grasp until I had my first child. He was caring and loving but oh so serious. My mother's funny. And was funny in front of us. But once I became a mother, Dad said I'd entered the parent club and he could treat me as an adult and not a child. (I belive that would have come later regardless of whether I had a child or not. But I had my first child at nineteen. )

Sherry wondered about "the father or fathers" of my children? It's one man. He's not involved with them and he prefers it that way. I prefer not to talk about him because I wouldn't have much to say. He thought he wanted to be a father and then, years later, decided he didn't. He's stuck with that decision.

I don't run him down to the kids. If they ask, which they usually don't anymore, I'll note that everyone makes choices of how to use their time. That's all I say to them that's negative. His parents love their grandchildren. I probably don't talk about him for that reason as well, there's no point in having them put on the spot. (He also decided that he'd done too much for everyone and that included his parents. He has no contact with them either.)

In his view, he was used by everyone. That includes me and our children. That's his view. I obviously disagree. My life didn't end nor did the children's. His involvement did. That's the way it goes.

I've said more here than I've ever said in one sitting in real life. (If my best friend since jr. high reads this, she'll be shocked because she always tells me, "You need to let it out and get it out.")
I e-mailed Sherry back (a little less than this) but figured if she was asking, others might be wanting some sort of answer as well so that's going to have to be it.

I spent my day at work, came home and fed the kids, then went out with a friend in Cynthia McKinney's district and went door to door for a few hours reminding people to vote tomorrow.
So I'm really tired and keep stopping to yawn. (You're probably yawning as you read this.) So I'll go ahead and start winding down. If you're in McKinney's district, please turn out tomorrow. We have a lot of yes-men in Congress. We need strong people who will stand up and speak up and Cynthia McKinney has never been afraid to that. She didn't wait for polls to speak out against the war on Iraq and she didn't wait for polls to speak out against the Bully Boy.

Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" and it's covering a lot:

Chaos and violence continue in Iraq today, Monday, August 7, 2006 -- even if the "world's eyes" (media) elect to focus elsewhere.
While the failed "crackdown" attempts to beef up Baghdad and
George Casey ("Top U.S. commander in Iraq") holds a press conference to proclaim the military equivalent of "Check's in the mail!" (Casey claims things will be okey-dokey by the end of September) reality suggests otherwise with the AFP reports at least 26 Iraqis dead on Monday and BBC correspondent Paul Wood noting "of John Abizaid ("head of US Central Command") "that this is the first time the generals are talking openly about the possibility of a civil war." And more details emerge into the death of Abeer Qasim Hamza and her family as a US military investigator testifies before the Article 32 hearing.
Before turning to today's violence, we'll note the latest peace news.
On Sunday, Cindy Sheehan returned to Crawford, Texas for Camp Casey III. Last summer, the first Camp Casey's were set up to honor her son Casey Sheehan who died April 4, 2004 as well as the other lost lives of this illegal war.
W. Leon Smith (Lonestar Iconoclast) reports on (and from) the new location for Camp Casey (several acres owned by Sheehan) and notes Sheehan's belief that the new location "will be safer than where we were before, and we won't be in the way as much as we were before. We are good neighbors. . . . If they can't put up with our presence for a few weeks, when our soldiers and the people of Iraq are suffering constantly because of what our other neighbor George Bush did, then I think they need to learn to relax a little bit and learn to live with us because, I promise you, I love Crawford and we will be good neighbors."
As The Lonestar Iconclast notes "
Bush Is Back . . . But So Is Sheehan" which reports this is Bully Buy's "59th" trip to the ranch and that "[a]s of Saturday, he had spent all or part of 384 days (more than a year of his presidency) in the area, which has drawn considerable criticism among those who believe that presidential vacations should be limited, especially when catastrophes abound throught the world."
This August, Bully Boy cuts his vacation short because he's a "
Bully on the Run" ("Bully on the Run") with Sheehan back in Crawford. Angela K. Brown (AP) reports that, on Sunday, "Sheehan and more than 50 demonstrators again marched a mile and a half toward Bush's ranch, stopping at a roadblock" and that the activists began a chant of "This is what democracy looks like! This is what democracy sounds like!"
As the
AFP notes, Cindy Sheehan's return to Camp Crawford follows her trip to Jordan with other activists (including Medea Benjamin, Tom Hayden, Ann Wright, Diane Wilson and others) where ""We met with Iraqi parliamentarians, elected officials, who have peace plans and goals that they want to accomplish in Iraq, and all of them said the occupation is the cause of the problem and the occupation has to end."
For the Bully Boy, the only thing ending is his retreat to Crawford since he will now spend precious few days at his ranchette but
will weekend in Maine this month and hang out at Camp David. Clayton Hallmark (North Texas Indymedia) reports on the Bully Boy's ranchette, which used to be a hog farm (and still house a pig -- at least during vacations), noting that "[t]he new main house is built like a motel but with porch on the back instead of the front"; that the "style is that of an office factory" and that it "was built by a religious commune from nearby Elm Mott, TX (the FBI-decimated Branch Davidians were from Elk, also nearby), out of yellow-beige native limestone".
While Bully Boy is planning on pulling a disappearance stunt (shades of his releationship with the National Guard),
Richard Benedetto (USA Today) reports that Sheehan intends to stay in Crawford until September 3rd.
When Sheehan returned to Camp Casey, others on the
CODEPINK and Global Exchange sponsored trip to Amman, Jordan are hoping to arrive in Lebanon today -- those include Medea Benjamin and Ann Wright. Australia's Sunday Times reports:
"Medea said the group wanted to press congress, ahead of November elections, to support calls for 'a fixed timetable for the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq and a commitment not to have permanent US bases in Iraq'." (
Marjorie Cohn noted on WBAI's Law and Disorder this morning that "we are now building six to fourteen permanent military bases" in Iraq.)
Jodie Evans reports on the first meeting in Jordan and notes some of the statements made by Iraqis including: "We witnessed with our own experience how American tanks used to break Universities and asked people to loot them. These people who started looting in the beginning were not from Iraq but other countries, Kuwait was involved." CODEPINK's Evans also notes the large number of Iraqis fleeing their country as the illegal war wages on and estimates that the city of Amman contains "about 500,000 Iraqis seeking safe harbor." Along with Evans, Hayden, Wright, Wilson and Benjamin, others on the trip to Jordan were: Dal LaMagna, Franciscan priest Louie Vitale, Gael Murphy, Jeeni Criscenzo, Raed Jarrar, Geoffrey Millard and Barbara Briggs-Letson.
The meeting in Amman is thought to have come about from the
Troops Home Fast actions. The fast continues and it is on day 35 with 4,549 people from around the world participating. The action started July 4th and continues through September 21st. If you're interested in participating, it is an ongoing fast and you can join at any time for a one-day strike, a one-day-a-week strike, or whatever works best for you. More information can be found at Troops Home Fast.
Rawya Rageh (AP) reports on a "suicide truck bomber" in Samarra whose actions have resulted in the death of nine Iraqi troops as well as ten civilians wounded. CBS and AP report two bombs in Baghdad, on Palestine Street ("major shopping area of Baghdad"), resulted in ten people being injured. Reuters reports a roadside bomb near Khalis killed four civilians and wounded at least seven; a bomb in Khan Bani Saad killed two (police officer and a civilians) and left seven more wounded; and, in Faulluja, a roadside bomb claimed the lives of six civilians leaving two more wounded.
Reuters reports that an attack by armed assailants in Baquba resulted in the death of six Iraqi soldiers and fifteen more wounded. The Associated Press notes fighting going on in Iraq, cites Col. Hassan Chaloub (police chief of Sadr City -- a district in Baghdad) noting that three people have died "including a woman and a 3-year-old girl" while "three cars and three houses also were destroyed."
AP also notes that two cars did a drive-by aimed at a barbershop in Baghdad and resulting in the death of "the owner and four customers"; while in Mosul, two police officers in a taxi were shot to death.
I believe the above incidents add up to 35 reported dead in Iraq (and that's not touching on US military claims of "insurgents" killed). Corpses?
AP notes that two corpses were discovered in Baghdad ("hancuffed . . . shot in the head").
From corpses to courts . . . New reports are coming out of the military inquiry into the death and alleged rape of
Abeer Qasim Hamza, the fourteen-year-old Iraqi girl who was killed along with three family members reported by US troops. Reuters reports that the "U.S. military court heard graphic testimony on Monday on how U.S. soldiers took turns holding down and raping" Abeer Sasim Hamza. Elsa McLaren "and agencies" (Times of London) reports that Benjamin Bierce testified on what James Barker told him when he (Bierce) began investigating the incident: " Barker said that he held the girl's hands while Sergeant Paul Cortez raped her or tried to rape her. Barker then switched positions with Cortez and attempted to rape the girl, but said he was not sure if he had done so, Special Agent Bierce told the hearing." After this, Bierce testifies, Steven Green came into the room "put down an AK-47 assault rifle and raped the girl while Cortez held her down". CBS and AP report that: "U.S. soldiers accused of raping and murdering a 14-year-old Iraqi girl in the town of Mahmoudiya last March drank alcohol and hit golf balls before the attack, and one of them grilled chicken wings afterward, an investigator told a U.S. military hearing Monday, citing a soldier's sworn statement."
In peace news,
Caroline Aoygi-Stom (New America Media) notes that the national JACL (Japanese American Citizens League) has taken a non-stand on Ehren Watada (sitting out another issue they could be impacting) despite the fact that "the Honolulu JACL has come out in full support of Watada, backing his decision to refuse deployment to Iraq." Watada is the first commissioned US officer known to have refused deployment in Iraq. Aoygi-Stom notes the latter's statement: "'The JACL Hawai'i, Honolulu chapter supports Lt. Ehren Watada's thoughtful and deliberate act of conscience. We believe Lt. Watada's refusal to participate in a war that violates the U.S. Constitution and international law is a principled act of patriotism,' the chapter said in their statement. 'We believe a staunch defense of the Constitution is in keeping with JACL Hawai'i's primary mission of protecting the civil and human rights of all'."
To read the national JACL's statement you
can click here (PDF format).
Remember that
Courage to Resist and are calling for a "National Day of Education" on August 16th, the day before Ehren Watada would be due to "face a pre-trial hearing for refusing to deploy to Iraq." ThankYouLt.Org notes: "On August 16, the day prior to the hearing, The Friends and Family of Lt. Ehren Watada are calling for a 'National Day of Education' to pose the question, 'Is the war illegal?' This day can also serve to anchor a 'week of outreach' leading up to the pre-trial hearing."
Meredith May (San Francisco Chronicle) reports on the war resistance movement and notes that attorneys in "Toronto and Vancouver . . . compared numbers" and estimate they've advised 200 Americans soldiers who've gone AWOL. War resister Brandon Hughey is quoted saying: "I've always believed if you need to defend yourself or your family from killing, then killing could be justified, but I can't kill someone without a good reason." May also speaks to Patrick Hart, Ryan Johnson, Darryl Anderson and others and May's report is also available as a podcast.
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