Sunday, August 13, 2006

Blog Spotlight: Mike addressing when a crisis is treated like a car chase

 Mike tackles the issue of when a crisis is treated like a car chase.

Like Breslin said, "In Case We All Forgot, Americans Are Still Dying In Iraq"

Mondays. Ugh. Right? Not so bad today. I skipped class and my boss sent me home from work this morning. I told my professor Friday that I was going to be out because I had a friend in from Florida. Then I went to work and my boss was trying to get someone to agree to grab one extra hour. I told him I would and he goes I have class. I explained I was cutting because I had a friend in -- He cuts me off. He goes, "Wally." I'll guess my folks told him. Anyway he said I wasn't grabbing the hour and I wasn't even at work, "Go home!" :D He's really cool. I think I mentioned about how when I had the chicken pox he came by to check on me. So I go, "Are you sure?" and he was so I turned around and came straight home and Wally and me went all over today. It was pretty cool. We had a lot of fun and he's big on sight seeing so I showed him all the landmarks (you know we went by the baseball field!) Then we grabbed some pizza and brought it back here. Just chilled and watched some DVDs. (V is for Vendetta and Sir! No! Sir! which we saw when we were out in California but really enjoyed seeing again. And we say thank you to C.I. for that and and for other stuff including our copies of Michael Franti and Spearhead's Yell Fire which we're chilling to right now. Dona saw that when they were all at Tower and C.I. grabbed a copy for her and then ended up getting us all a copy. I should put in here that Dona wasn't asking for a copy or hinting. Jess is a big Franti fan but he will not loan those CDs out. Or maybe he's such a big fan that he won't loan them out. So Dona had never heard Franti and Spearhead, saw the new CD and asked C.I. if it was any good? C.I. didn't have it and grabbed three (Kat was with them in store but on a different aisle) and Dona goes that she wasn't hinting and C.I. goes, "We'll get some for everyone." So we all got it. Which is cool because it's not just a rocking CD, it's one that's got something to say.

I just asked Wally what his favorite song was and he goes probably "Time To Go Home" and "I Know I'm Not Alone" which is so wild because I was going to pick those two!!! :D I also love "Sweet Little Lies" and "What I've Seen." Those are the four that stand out right now but this is a rocking CD. You need to get this if you don't have it. It's a great CD.

This is the first part of "Time To Go Home:"

Those who start wars never fight them
And those who fight wars never like them
Those who write laws can recite them
And those of us who fight laws
We live and die them
But I know
They never gonna tell you why no
They only want to tell you lies no
Never gonna tell you why no
It's time to go home
Don't take our boys away no don't take our girls away no
It's time to go home

CD's called Yell Fire and it's by Michael Franti & Spearhead. Check it out. I was talking to Dona and Jim today and they are having so much fun in California. I can't wait until I get to go out there. Elaine's dropped the seminar she was supposed to go to so she can use that time to go out to California too. Wally, Elaine and me are all going out at the same time, same flight. It's going to be so cool!! Guess who are pilot will be? Fly Boy! Rebecca already goes we'll all go out on his plane. Wally was asking me about that and I was telling him Fly Boy is like a great pilot. He flew us to New York for the World Can't Wait thing and that was so cool. He's got an awesome plane too.

So let's get down to serious stuff. Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" for today:

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.

Can you believe all of that? That's so much going on. And Tony says "the show" (you know the one) covered everything but Iraq today: Gaza, the Congo, Lebanon. What a wonderful independent media we have, right?

It's pretty damn disgusting. All the talk and speeches about how important Iraq is and they drop it completely. They're disgusting.

I heard about that at the end of the week and again on Saturday because Ava and Jess had told me C.I. was catching shit from friends in big media about how if big media ignored it the way independent media was, C.I. would be all over them. "And the war drags on" deals with some of that. On any day of the week (Monday through Friday), C.I.'s on the phone calling friends in big media and asking them if they're covering this or that and why not? And usually C.I. can go, "Well ___ is covering it." C.I. really puts the pressure on. (When we were in DC and when we were in NYC, I saw that in person.) So when indymedia drops the ball, there's no pressure and it's thrown in C.I.'s face that indymedia's "not even covering it." I called C.I. today to go, "You listened to Law and Disorder!" Usually C.I. hears it late from a friend who catches the podcast. C.I. was on the phone with a friend at CBS in New York. The friend was listening in his office because we'd mentioned it in "Editorial: Don't let Lynne Stewart be isolated." C.I. didn't believe the guy so he holds the phone up to the radio and that's the part that C.I. caught.
But "And the war drags on" holds indymedia and mainstream media accountable. And the friend at CBS was glad. That's why he listened to Law and Disorder, because C.I. wrote that thing. I mean, people were all over C.I.'s case last week about how they (mainstream) is doing more than indymedia to cover Iraq and they were going like "You will rip us apart but you look the other way on independent media." C.I. doesn't and last week, I think you saw that over and over at The Common Ills.

But if C.I.'s badgering (and Jess says that's what it is) friends about Iraq and the coverage and there's no way to point and say, "Well ___ covered it," then independent media's letting us all down. C.I. can and does guilt friends (I heard that from a guy in DC). And all last week, it was tossed in C.I.'s face that mainstream media provided more coverage (Jess goes a cable news guy goes "good or bad, we've done more" than indymedia).

They could be making a difference, they could be helping to end the war, but indymedia just wants to jerk off and waste our time lately. And Jess goes a guy at CNN does a hilarious thing on "the show" (you know the one I mean) and how "scattered" and "defocused" it is. He brings up the book slamming mainstream media and just ridicules "the show" and the author and "all her big talk" when now when the nation's turned against the war, she's covering everything but it.
(I'm just saying "the show" because I know C.I. is already pissed that it's being made fun of friends in big media. Any other time and I would name "the show" here. Everyone knows how much I hate it now.) C.I. was defending "the show" and the author to the guy from CNN and he was one of those going, "Oh you always look the other way when it's independent media."

So I was glad C.I. wrote it because independent media is doing nothing. They're not doing a damn thing on Iraq. And I was glad because I know if C.I. hadn't written that it was going to be really hard to twist arms this week about Iraq.

And my opinion, big media's right to laugh about independent media right now. They aren't interested in Iraq. They're not exploring it. They may toss out a headline or two (like "the show") but they won't cover it anymore. They've let it fall of the map. They should be ashamed of themselves. They rush in on Lebanon wall to wall. Program after program. It's worse than the O.J. Simpson car chase.

And today, "the show" makes time for another topic and it's . . . the Congo! I think "the show" is a joke and it's made itself one. I think the author needs to shut up about "the lies of the Times" when she can't even get it together to cover Iraq anymore. I really don't like her anymore.
They should all be forced to read Jimmy Breslin's "In Case We All Forgot, Americans Are Still Dying in Iraq" out loud. That'a great piece of writing.

Joseph Palermo's "Hey Joe, Why'd You Put That Gun in Your Hand?" is something Dad, Wally and me really liked so check it out:

In 1968, when New York Senator Robert F. Kennedy challenged President Lyndon Johnson in the Democratic primaries it was because of the Administration's commitment to the war in Vietnam. When Kennedy took on the incumbent president he faced harsh criticism from pro-war Democrats similar in tone to some of the recent attacks on Ned Lamont. Like Lamont, Kennedy ran a grassroots campaign and he was extremely wealthy, and his opponents held these against him.
Kennedy ran as a peace candidate against a president who had delivered for the liberal agenda. Johnson had pushed through the Congress the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts, Medicare and Medicaid, fair housing, student loans, consumer protection, etc. But it was the Vietnam War -- that "single issue" -- that led Kennedy to seek the nomination. All of this talk about Ned Lamont upsetting a Liberal stalwart embodied in Joe Lieberman is a joke. Lieberman's "liberal" record -- supporting NAFTA, ending AFDC, taking money from Enron, etc. -- is nothing compared to LBJ's.
As Donald Rumsfeld's testimony last week indicates, we are now expected to claim a victory because the country that we have given 2,600 lives and $325 billion to defend has not yet slid into total civil war. Well done! And Joe Lieberman still supports this folly.
Robert Kennedy was also alarmed that the war in Vietnam had eroded the standing of the United States in the eyes of the world. Kennedy said that the US slaughter of innocents in Southeast Asia had led "our best and oldest friends to ask, more in sorrow than in anger, what has happened to America?"
The kinky torture at Abu Ghraib, the mass killings in Haditha, and the rape of a 14-year old girl and the murder of her family in Mahmudiya, have done more damage to the idea that America is bringing "democracy" to Iraq than any other events. The current US-Israeli destruction of Lebanon, with its multiple war crimes, has delivered the coup de grace to the Bush Administration's project for a "new Middle East." Does it give Joe Lieberman pause that nearly the entire world is against what the United States is doing in that beleaguered region?
Both Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr. argued that the goals of social reform at home died in the jungles of Vietnam. For every American in poverty, they said, the US government spent $52; and for every "Vietcong" killed, over $120,000. Today, the spilling of American blood and treasure in Iraq is not an "issue" that can be shunted aside so we can indulge in cheery talk about health care, education, and the environment. As long as that occupation continues it will be a debilitating drain on scarce resources that we need to invest here at home; resources upon which any Democratic agenda worthy of the name depends. "No war has ever demanded more bravery from our people and our government," Kennedy said about Vietnam, "not just the bravery under fire or the bravery to make sacrifices, but the bravery to discard the comfort of illusion, to do away with false hopes and alluring promises."
The Democratic voters of Connecticut have the opportunity to begin the long process of cutting through the illusions of the war in Iraq, and extricating our country from the icy grip of the Republican Party.

C.I. passed this on ("if you want it, don't use it if you don't") "John Edwards Calls for Withdrawal of Some Troops From Iraq:"

Moultonboro, New Hampshire -- Former vice presidential candidate John Edwards, who is considering another run for the Democratic nomination for president, said Saturday the United States should start pulling troops out of Iraq immediately.
The former U.S. Sen. from North Carolina told reporters America should "make it clear (to Iraqis) we are leaving, and the best way is to start leaving. We should take 40,000 combat troops out now."
Edwards, who has said he regretted his vote as a U.S. senator authorizing President Bush to declare war in Iraq, said he would ask the country's military leaders for a strategy "to have the (rest of the) troops out in roughly 12 to 18 months."
"There is no chance other countries in the world will help Iraq as long as we are an occupying force," he said.

Yeah, I'll use it. I am glad John Edwards spoke out. I'm not an Edwards freak (like people who've already decided they're voting for him in 2008) but this is something that makes me think he might not be a bad candiate. I'll follow him and see what else he does. Did you check out Ma's "Jess' Summer Vegetable Blend in the Kitchen"? You better. :D And remember to get haul it over to Like Maria Said Paz immediately to find out Elaine's thoughts.
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