Sunday, March 08, 2009
The only hope now lies in renewed protests against the war and a reinvigorated anti-war movement. This time the movement should hold fast, as stalwarts like Cindy Sheehan, Cynthia McKinney and Ralph Nader have, to the moral imperative of peace and not the false hopes offered by the Democrats. They cannot be trusted. Politics is a game of pressure. Abandon that pressure and you lose.
-- Chris Hedges, "It’s Obama’s War, Now" (Information Clearing House).
Those who are breathing a sigh of relief that US troops are being slowly removed from Iraq should stop and realize that this is part of an overall strategy to deepen and strengthen, not end, US domination of the region. Those who think our job is to "help" Barack Obama carry out this plan are not looking at the interests of the people here, or in the Middle East, in stopping this occupation immediately.
-- Debra Sweet, "Continuing Occupations, “Good” Wars, and the Wartime President" (World Can't Wait).
Another Sunday and way behind for reasons other than daylight savings time.
Here's who helped out -- along with Dallas who hunted down links, was a sounding board and so much more -- and we thank all:
The Third Estate Sunday Review's Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess, and Ava,
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,
Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills),
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,
Marcia of SICKOFITRDLZ
and Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends.
What did we come up with?
Truest statement of the week -- Chris Hedges. He will be delivering this speech at actions to mark the anniversary of the Iraq War this month.
Truest statement of the week II -- Debra Sweet another worthy choice. Not an easy week to get a truest, by the way. Other nominees included Cynthia McKinney and John Pilger. (There were ten other nominess. That's just two of the ten.)
Editorial: Ms. magazine gets punked -- This wasn't the editorial we all worked on. That got scrapped. This editorial was written by the core six plus Kat, Betty and Wally. We caught the Today Show as we were rushing to finish editing, finish illustrations, finish typing, etc. We felt we had to scrap our editorial and make this the one. We do not support the Afghanistan War, we have never supported it. But when Barack says it's time to hold hands with the Taliban, even we are shocked at the new low.
TV: Alessandra Stanley, far funnier than Tina Fey -- Could Ava and C.I. just cover entertainment? That was the request from Dona who knew by Thursday this would be a very political, very charged edition and hoped Ava and C.I. would be able to grab entertainment and offer something there because otherwise the edition would be 'beyond heavy.' They could do glancing blows (their term) on 30 Rock based on an Alessandra Stanley article. Great! That was the reply and great's how it turned out. We thank Ava and C.I. so much. By the way, when people complain that the TV commentaries on Twins and Pepper Dennison, to name two, ran in newsletters and not here, this is why we sometimes ask them to cover something else -- in terms of providing balance to the edition. Sometimes it's just me being stupid. I'll gladly own up to that. But sometimes we actually do have a reason for requesting them to cover something when they may have other things planned (or even written). (In the old days, they sometimes showed up with a commentary already written or half-way written.)
The Thomas E. Ricks Dialogue -- This is C.I. and me. (Me is Jim.) I play Thomas E. Ricks and C.I. plays C.I. This is an Iraq debate. I really like the way this turned out. Yes, I am aware that C.I. gets the best of me. I'm not surprised by that. But I was trying. And trying to convey Thomas E. Ricks' position as honestly as I could. I may or may not have succeeded. Illustration by Kat and Betty's oldest son and Wally.
Talking Iraq -- This is the core six of Third, Wally, Betty and Kat plus Elaine. We will be doing a roundtable next edition -- on Iraq -- and Rebecca will moderate a roundtable Friday night on Iraq. We are doing our part to put the focus where it belongs. Thank you to Elaine for agreeing to participate and for what she brought to the roundtable. She was a last minute addition. Illustration by Betty's oldest son.
Amnesty Provincial -- The illustration (the Barack one) was an hour of work after we thought it was done and it may have taken up more time than anything else. While we were trying to get this uploaded, this is when we were watching Today and realized we'd have to scrap the editorial we'd written on another topic. This was written by all listed in the thank yous as was every thing until ETAN and "Highlights."
The Puta Janine Jackson -- No, we're not letting FAIR off the hook, especially when they continue to refuse to call out sexism. And that has nothing to do with a FAIR member passing on a private e-mail (from Jess) to The Nation magazine. It was 2006 when Jess replied to their e-mail. So FAIR can stop whining in e-mails to this site (firstname.lastname@example.org) about how we're so mean and it's all about the passed on e-mail. That was three years ago. We would have immediately gone after FAIR if we wanted to. We would have named the journalist whose e-mails FAIR passed on to C.I. (C.I. had not written them and had not requested copies of any e-mails.) But if they don't learn how to drop that -- they're the ones obsessed with the 2006 e-mail -- we may post it here as well as all the others that have begun flooding in since FAIR got seriously called out (beginning in 2008). We had called them out on sexism even before the 2006 e-mail. We're getting damn tired of their e-mails that say the same things, whine the same whine. Cease and desist or we can print all the e-mails. And when we repost the June 2006 e-mail with FAIR copying and pasting another journalist's e-mail to pass on to C.I., it won't be pretty for FAIR. Don't poke the bear.
Al Distraction, Domestic Arts Czar -- We thank Isaiah for his permission to reprint these. We thank Stan who had actually asked. Stan showed up this edition with one suggestion -- this one. We weren't sure if we could get ahold of Isaiah and said so (he's supposed to be vacationing). Stan explained he'd already asked Isaiah Thursday and received permission.
The Katrina goes to . . . -- Betty brought this idea and we loved it. How much? We had a Bronze Booby going to Tom Hayden. We needed 30 more minutes to work on it for it to be worth appearing here. We ditched it when we still needed work on this as well.
ETAN offers Power Plant Information -- from ETAN.
Friday roundtable on Iraq -- The roundtable Rebecca moderated on Friday.
Highlights -- Mike, Elaine, Kat, Betty, Wally, Rebecca, Marcia, Stan, Ruth and Cedric wrote this and picked all the highlights unless otherwise noted. We thank them for this.
And that's what we have. We'll see you next week.
-- Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess, Ava and C.I.
Oh, yes, that's right. They were saying that Barack was a feminist. They were lying, actually, that Barack was a feminist.
We were reminded of that this morning while catching The Today Show and hearing David Gregory explain to Lester Holt (celebrating his 50th birthday today) that Barack thought what was done in Iraq could be done in Afghanistan, that 'moderate' Taliban members could be put on the US payroll and relied on.
What Gregory was referring to was the "Awakening" Councils in Iraq. In Iraq, Shi'ite thugs were put in charge by the US and then Sunni thugs ("Awakenings") were put on the US payroll. Gregory was referencing The New York Times article by Helene Cooper and Sheryl Gay Stolberg where Barack "opened the door to a reconciliation process in which the American military would reach out to moderate elements of the Taliban, much as it did with Sunni militias in Iraq."
Barack is what feminism looks like, Ms. magazine?
Identify the source for the following paragraph:
In 1996, when the Taliban took over Afghanistan by force, women were beaten and stoned to death for teaching girls to read or failing to conceal every inch of their bodies beneath the shroudlike burqa. If the pleas of refugee and underground Afghan women had been listened to -- or if women listening here had more influence over foreign policy -- Americans would not have been caught unaware by the Taliban and terrorist network they sheltered.
The source? That's Gloria Steinem. Who is the source for this one?
The Feminist Majority Foundation's ongoing Campaign to Stop Gender Apartheid in Afghanistan, which began in 1987, has taught us many valuable lessons about the role of the women's movement in global affairs. First, women's voices will be heard in international relations if we are organized and persistent. When we began our campaign, we were told that we would not be able to organize a grassroots movement on an issue involving women in a remote land so far away. The argument was that the public simply did not care. We proved that women do care, that they can be mobilized, and that indeed they must be mobilized. Our campaign generated more mail and e-mail to the U.S. Department and Clinton administration than any other foreign policy issue during this period and I believe in large measure resulted in the change of U.S. foreign policy to nonrecognition of the Taliban.
That's Eleanor Smeal. They are among the women contributing essays to 2002's Women For Afghan Women. (Sunita Mehta is the editor.) Hey, Ellie, hey, Glo, help us out here, a feminist looks like Barack and Barack floats the idea that the US should hold hands with the Taliban. Therefore . . .
The feminist thing to do is to hold hands with the Taliban!
Ellie, do we need to wear burqas to really get on board with Barry OBam-Bam? Glo, should we encourage all American women to drop out of schools and colleges since the Taliban is a feminist organization and since the Taliban does not condone the education of women?
Remind us again, gals, that Barry is what a feminist looks like.
Are you choking on them right now? Oh, that's too bad, isn't it?
Too bad for you. Too bad that you whored out Ms. magazine for a man. Too bad that you attempted to use your positions to whore our feminism for a man. Too damn bad, girls.
Too. Damn. Bad.
There is nothing feminist about Barack. This is the man who put dreams of his deadbeat father to paper while ignoring the single mother who birthed him and raised him for the bulk of his childhood. This is the man who showed no emotion when speaking of his mother's death and appeared to only speak of it because Hillary was proposing more money to find a cure for breast cancer -- so there was Barry tossing out uh uh uh my mother uhm she died of cancer.
This is the man who stated to a packed crowd that Michelle could just sit there and look pretty because "that's okay with me." This is the man who actively used sexism to attack Hillary. It wasn't just his campaign, it was him. "Periodically feeling blue."
Barack is not a feminist.
And you sold out American women to pimp that lie. Well American women will recover. But will the women of Afghanistan?
Already betrayed, already suffering, and now Barry wants to hold hands with the Taliban?
It's past time that the illegal Afghan War ended and the fact that Barry wants to hold hands just underscores that there are no possibilities of 'victory' (and that the US is desperate for the pipeline). The fact that feminist leaders were willing to hold hands with him means they might need to examine their own sexual histories because, like a sexual disease, cowardice is transmittable. Hey, Ms. magazine, we believe this is what punked looks like, how proud you must be.
"30 Rock" on NBC is a new-economy sitcom. It's very funny -- even about turmoil in the Asian markets -- but its ratings are still mediocre. (Last week's episode was beaten by a rerun of "Grey's Anatomy" on ABC.)
That had us howling so loudly and ,we quickly realized, no sitcom's brought us so much joy in some time. If they can ship whatever Alessandra's sipping to sitcom writers, can they just hire her?
30 Rock funny -- wait! Excuse us, "very funny." Well maybe we missed it. We can take another look at 30 Rock, what would the harm be, right? And then we saw Poodle Hair. That hair looks more ridiculous with each passing day. But we agreed to table Tina Fey's efforts to be a Wella Balsam Girl and look for this new economy sitcom stuff. We'd missed all this economic commentary the show allegedly provides and couldn't believe that a new Roseanne had emerged without our even registering. We felt we'd been remiss -- if not sleeping on the job, certainly power napping.
We power napped before watching 30 Rock because it's so boring and we didn't want to risk missing any of that keen, economic insight.
NBC described the episode as: "Liz befriends a pregnant teenage donut shop employee, in an attempt to adopt her baby. Back on set, Jenna vies for more attention from the TGS staff as her birthday approaches." "Pregnant teenage donut shop employee"? Maybe it would be like Roseanne? Maybe the working class wouldn't be portrayed as stupid and ignorant? Maybe Fey would actually prove herself to be a writer? And maybe Barack would end the Iraq War.
Apparently any of the above was hoping for too much. But we're getting ahead of ourselves.
Liz was told that a group of people were going "to that bar where the waiters are dressed like ninjas, you in?" Everyone headed off to party? Well maybe this was an economic storyline? Maybe the bar trip would end with someone not having money or someone running up credit card debt they couldn't pay off, right? Wrong.
But that was the subplot, the plot was surely going to address the economy because we had that pregnant teenager, the one who works in the donut shop. Where was she?
Oh, there she is. She's on the phone behind the counter and there's Tina Fey's Liz showing how she interacts with working class people, hollering, "Excuse me! Could we get a little service over here!" That Liz, she's a regular Mother Jones. Or at least Norma Rae . . . by way of Leona Helmsley.
Liz treats the young women like trash until she notices that the woman is pregnant. Then, because Tina Fey can't think up storylines, we're back to the episode where Rhoda and Mary went shopping for young clothes. Excuse us, threads. Young threads. Yes, the whole point is how insulting can you be to Young America. That entire episode of The Mary Tyler Moore Show shocked us because (a) it was poorly written and (b) the show didn't generally make an effort to run off viewers by insulting them. We were not surprised in the least that no-original-thought Fey would glom on it and rip it off. And why not, it allowed her to rip off Baby Mama (Amy Poehler's film) in an episode that had already mugged Harry and the Hendersons as well as How I Met Your Mother. In fact, it appeared Sticky Fingers Fey spent more time casing other writers than actually writing.
The pregnant teen shows up at Liz's work. Liz has hired her, Liz explains from a distance, as everyone watches the woman enter, because the CW does stuff like that. Does it? No one knows. But it let Tina Fey toss out to the CW and note another significant demographic that avoids her show.
What do you do after you're hired in this faltering, Bully Boy economy? You sip tea and nest. That's what Liz and the teen were doing. We wondered if possibly others might want to work at NBC and just sip tea all day? We also wondered how much that would pay?
The teen explained that her boyfriend wasn't interested in the baby and wasn't acting very fatherly. For example, "his MySpace page still says: 'Status: HORNY'." That poorly crafted joke stood out like the sore thumb it was.
See 'writer' Tina Fey, honed her 'craft' on Saturday Night Live. A show famous for 'dropping the cow.' Meaning a show famous for not being able to write a full skit. Not being able to write an ending to a skit. Get a few laughs and get out. How? It doesn't matter. Just get your laughs, that don't add up and don't make sense, and flee like the time thief you are!
And that pretty much describes the approach to writing Tina Fey takes. The tea drinking stops for a music break. Where did that guitar come from? And suddenly the teen is performing one of her songs.
Cobwebs and rainbows or some such nonsense. A bit that exists, apparently, not to provide a laugh but so that Tina Fey can yet again grudge f**k The Doors. Jim Morrison -- like most attractive men -- would never have looked twice at Tina and apparently her efforts to comically lash out at the men who spurned her brought her no satisfaction so now she's going after the men who died before they could spurn her. Tina has Liz call The Doors untalented. Trust us, Tina, no one will remember you in 20, let alone forty years.
Just like no one's going to remember Seth Meyers in five years, except to groan over him collectively the way some still do over Kevin Nealon's mirthless run as a Weekend Update anchor. Seth's still soloing and still unable to get laughs. But, don't worry, that just means they put on the applause sign extra long. So the audience claps for Seth's jokes. It's really surprising that as Lorne relies more and more on that APPLAUSE sign, he's yet to attempt a LAUGH sign. There was Seth making the usual ass out of himself on camera. And anyone paying attention caught that four males joined Seth for Update and only one woman. The woman had to play a cartoon character, Jessica Rabbit, and they couldn't even get her curves right (the padded butt required a padded chest, her hair was also too flat for the character). She walked on and off and stayed just long enough to invite one man to bed her and suggest a three-way. That's what a woman can do in Seth's world. Seth would shoot back that Andy played the comic strip character Cathy. Andy's not funny in that character. Even if SNL had a ton of opportunities for women, it would be bad for Andy to play the character because he's not funny in the role and it only emphasizes his own unconventional looks and leads to him being dubbed "ugly." If he had an agent worth a damn, Andy would not do another skit where he played a woman.
But with a real agent, he also wouldn't have participated in the idiotic skit where he was overjoyed to see Barack tossing US senators out of a window at the White House. It's a sign of how pathetic Saturday Night Live has become that we're supposed to want King George behavior in America. The skit was built around the lie that Barack's 'eternal cool' and never loses his temper. Did they miss his hissy fit last month? If you did, we'd suggest you check out the February 13th broadcast of Washington Week which used a snippet of it in their opening. ("This is the epitome -- the epitome! -- of what I came here to stop!" snapped Barack sounding even more foppish than usual.) Typical in today's SNL, the skit was authoritarian, rooting for a dicatorship, uninformed, not funny and it featured four males (five if you count the two Baracks) and only one woman.
There's really nothing for women to do on Saturday Night Live. Every now and then, you get a Gilda Radner who can write and co-write wonderful skits and bypass the Boys Club that is SNL's writers den. Barring that, maybe you can wring laughs out of skits you're plugged into that feature no laugh lines for you (the way Jane Curtain managed for years due to her immense talents). You can always, as many a SNL tootsie has done, whore yourself out to the writers and they'll put your untalented ass into skits. We pondered whether to mention that or not. But we talked to three women who'd been performers on SNL and they asked us to include it because, in the words of one, that's actually the most damaging thing for women because (a) it promotes the myth of women as whores who'll sleep with anyone (just keep up the pressure!) and (b) it makes the women who actually do the work to get front and center have their abilities downgraded because the whores rep is widely known and it's assumed that, for example, Molly Shannon must have slept her way to funny skits. (She didn't. Molly earned her laughs in the writing and the performing.)
But it was better under Tina, right? When Tina was headwriter, it was better? We asked three men and two women who worked under Tina. She might be more encouraging of a skit written with a woman but that's really it. It wasn't like they had anyone actively supporting women. And Tina herself really didn't go out of her way to create skits for women. When she did, they were usually stereotypical.
That would have surprised us . . . once. But we've seen what she's done. The promise of 30 Rock in its first year long ago vanished. NBC didn't care for Rachel Dratch and Tina Fey -- who fights like crazy for her own perks -- quickly went along with ditching Dratch (who'd left Saturday Night Live to do 30 Rock). The first year, Dratch played various characters. Who knows what it might have been if Dratch had remained with the show?
Maybe no more than the crap it is now. Jane Krakowski has been with the show since the first episode. She plays Jenna. And Jane's wonderful in this awful role. It is an awful role. The character is nothing but a stereotype of women. An insulting one, of course. That is what Tina's comfortable with. She writes the "crazy bitch" and every other male-created stereotype to prove she is one of the boys. She writes them to put these stereotypes up against Liz so that every man can feel Liz is so special and so wonderful and one of the boys but with breasts -- not as big as Alec Baldwin's but boobs none the less.
Jenna was crazy bitch again last week. Not 'wicked fun crazy' like Tracy, just bitch crazy.
And, if you paid attention, you saw Tina with that male actor who wears a baseball cap. We're sure he has a name but who gives a damn. And Jack (Alec Baldwin) was busy running with another male (Frank?) who is just like the ball cap guy but that guy's going bald and this guy has long hair. And we saw Kevin, the page, try to move heaven and earth for Tracy.
Kevin's really the worst character because he's still the exact same and the actor's gotten older and thicker and can't really play it anymore. Is it worth noting that at some point that character either becomes gay or John Edwards -- or that becoming gay is more honest and probably more enjoyable?
Crazy Bitch Jenna. It's her birthday. But Kevin finds out Tracy doesn't have a birthday! He doesn't even have a birth certificate! And so, they turn Jenna's birthday party over to Tracy and ignore Jenna. And Jenna, Crazy and Stupid Bitch, can't go along with that.
That's how the episode is written and we're all supposed to roll our eyes at Jenna's latest 'womanly' issues. We can't imagine anyone not being ticked off to show up at their birthday party and find everyone fussing over someone else and pretending it's his birthday while ignoring us.
And we certainly wouldn't believe the story if it was told to us as an excuse. In fact, if we were Jenna (well, smarter than Jenna, if we had a walk on and played ourselves with no input from 'writer' Liz), we'd have said, "What the f__ is this lie about no birth certificate? You're a damn liar and, Kevin, you're a stupid idiot."
Why would we say that besides the fact that it would feel good? Because, unlike Tina Fey, we know the show's past episodes. Anyone remember Samurai I Am Awry? Where did Tracy spend nine months filming that? Japan.
So how did he get into Japan -- and work in Japan -- without a birth certificate and how did he get back into the US because no American citizen claiming they don't have a birth certificate is going to be given a passport.
But that's Tina Fey's 'writing' for you. It never makes sense. Things that we assumed in season one would get sorted out at some point never did. And people aren't refusing to watch this bad show because it's 'nervy,' they're not watching it because it's a sketch that never got developed. Because it's an insulting show that insults women and insults all viewers.
The economy? Really, Alessandra?
Here's reality on the economic issue. People in this country are losing their jobs. Unemployment is now over 8% -- "highest level in a quarter century." 30 Rock does not reflect it or speak for the anxiety. You've got a pampered group of characters who have no connection with the real world. This season alone, Liz has been able to take the network jet to go to her high school reunion. That's reflective of the bad economy? No cast member has been dropped from the show -- either from 30 Rock or from TGS, the show Liz allegedly runs. Has Liz had to fire any writers this season? No. Has she had to do without anything? No.
The economy has not effected these pampered characters in the least although Fey frequently crafts a line where they insult working class people. And people wonder why this show gets such lousy ratings? A good case could be made that the characters on this show are the fictional equivalent of those getting rich while the average American suffers.
The longer we watched, the more we kept coming back to how Alessandra divided up the sitcom world into twos, as if she were Noah on the Lido deck, working from a passenger manifest list. You were either a "new-economy sitcom" or an "old-economy sitcom." You're apparently either 'nervy' and taking on the economy or "comfort food." And then it hit us, Alessandra was just attempting to meet a deadline.
She had a deadline and she'd been thinking a lot of Judy Davis and, specifically, how Davis manages to make that dreary scene in Husbands & Wives interesting where she's ticking off who is a fox and who is a hedgehog. 'Judy. Judy is a fox. But Gabe. Gabe is a hedgehog. And I started thinking of everyone I know and who was a fox and who was a hedgehog . . .'
How does she make it interesting? By weighing her words. The actress weighs the word to make it appear she's thinking them up as she says them. Judy Davis weighs her words. That's something Alessandra Stanley didn't do last week and something Tina Fey's never learned to do.
Jim: So now I'm being Thomas E. Ricks and I'll debate C.I., being C.I. The first issue I have is the refusal of the anti-war movement to address the genocide that will come in Iraq when the US pulls out. I was in Los Angeles, or Mill Valley, a liberal place, and this one man said, during my talk, we need to leave Iraq and when I asked, from the podium, what about the genocide, he didn't care.
C.I.: Yeah, 'Dad,' we've heard that story. And if you tell it one more time we'll be saying, "Yes, Grandpa, we've heard that story." You've blogged about it at least twice, I've heard you tell that story on two different NPR programs and, intentionally or not, it's starting to get offensive because you're creating a straw man and it's coming off as a slur. You don't know the person who spoke up -- or 'people,' since sometimes the story has two people. You didn't speak to 'em. I've been on the road speaking about Iraq since February 2003. I don't pretend that I can mind read the people who show up. There are some that I speak with after the discussion and I do know them better than the other ones. But you don't know the first thing about this person as you've repeatedly told this story. You have no idea if this person was genuine or a crank or a prank. And there are differences between the last two categories. Regardless this person is one person and you're wasting my time and you're wasting our time on this stupid, completely incidental story.
Jim: Well I would say that you're refusing to address the issue.
C.I.: I would say you're not addressing it. Again, two blog posts, two radio shows, you've never addressed the issue, you've advanced a slur, intentionally or not. You could use it for a jumping off point to discuss what you think will happen, but you don't. I have no idea why you're wasting my time with it, but I'll set a barrier with you right now on this because I haven't got time for the crap, I haven't got room for the crap, I haven't the need for the crap. February 19th, I addressed this issue. This is before the incident or the alleged incident took place.
Jim: Well you're one person.
C.I.: And the person you keep quoting is one person. Quit trying to extrapolate from one person. You want to have a conversation about this issue, start it.
Jim: Well I believe the Iraq War was a misguided war, a monumental foreign policy mistake, but I also believe that US forces cannot leave. When they leave, there will be a genocide and we need to be concerned about that.
C.I.: I accept that you're sincerely concerned and I think it is possible that a genocide could take place. Likely. Doesn't mean it'll happen. Doesn't mean it won't. It's one possibility. Another possibility is that the number of Iraqis already dead, over 1.6 million since the start of the illegal war, will continue to rise. That's a genocide as well and we can deliberate that. But the US presence has not brought peace, it is the cause of the violence, it is the reason for the bulk of deaths in Iraq -- either directly or indirectly. And that's a point I've yet to hear acknowledged by you. You seem to think the US can stop a genocide but you -- in your very strong, highly recommended book "The Gamble," -- acknowledge a genocide that already took place, the sectarian conflict which you label a civil war and I have no problem with that label but I think it can also be seen as a genocide. I further think that the problems much more serious and that the true genocide is what was done to Iraqi Jews, Christians and other religious minorities. Some of those were Sunnis, to be clear. And, Iraqi Christians for example, make up the hugest portion of the external refugees. The Jewish population is non-existent in Baghdad, it's dropped to less than 13 -- much lower by some counts -- and prior to the start of the illegal war there was healthy Jewish population in Baghdad. The civil war -- which was a genocide -- and the targeting of the religious minorities. The Catholic Church estimates Iraq had approximately 1.5 Christians in the country prior to the start of the illegal war and that number is now down to below 600,000. Other sources have higher numbers for pre-war and lower numbers for today. Many, though not all, Iraqi Christian groups had ties to the Catholic Church which is why I'm using it as the reference. There has been a genocide, there remains an ongoing one. And, just for the record, whether Christians are returning to Mosul -- as a US propaganda outlet with the Voice of America reported last week -- or not, the fact remains that the targeting that took place in Mosul is an example of the genocide and is an example of how the regime of Nouri al-Maliki will not do anything to stop it. The US military did nothing to stop it. It began in the summer of -- and Jim, I'll stay in debate mode, but please let me sketch this out because the religious and ethnic minorities get very little attention and they are connected to the attacks on other minorities -- 2008 and by November there was no ignoring it, even for al-Maliki. His response was underwhelming. You had the United Nations denouncing the targeting, you had the Catholic Church denouncing it, you had the Pope himself speak on the subject and you had inter-faith gatherings at the Vatican attempting to address the issue. With all that going on, al-Maliki's response was underwhelming and ineffective, as was the US response. Some Christians in Mosul believe -- rightly or wrongly -- that the Kurdistan Regional Government was behind the attacks. The KRG has denied that charge. Their security force, the pesh merga, did restore order. Whether that was because they started the chaos and wanted to make the region their own, I have no idea, no one does. There's been no investigation or pursuit of who was behind the latest wave of attacks. Again, the KRG denies that they were responsible. But I'm not seeing you discuss this at all when you raise the point of genocide.
Jim: When the US leaves Iraq, I believe a genocide will take place --
C.I.: Stopping you, define the equation. What's the genocide that's going to take place.
Jim: Well . . . Shi'ites slaughtering Sunnis.
C.I.: That would be the most obvious one. Shi'ites are in power, some have grievances, many Nouri's put in place are nothing but thugs, so, yes, absolutely, the Shi'ite majority could decide to go after the Sunni minority which was in power for many decades.
Jim: And if the US military pulls out, then there will be no way to prevent it from taking place.
C.I.: Have you been listening? When has the US military prevented the genocides in Iraq? It was the Kurdish pesh merga that stopped the targeting in Mosul most recently. It wasn't the US military -- the US military that does a back down whenever it comes into contact with the pesh merga, the same way Nouri's so called 'national police' and 'national army' does a back down. The pesh merga were there and -- regardless of who started the targeting -- it was the pesh merga that restored order. Or what passes for it in Mosul. It's a war zone, it remains one.
Jim: Okay, well that was an area in the disputed north and, as you point out, Iraq forces and US forces do not engage with the pesh merga in that area. I remember earlier problems in 2008 with Nineveh Province. How following Nouri al-Maliki trying to play the big dog by attacking Basra and the al-Sadr section of Baghdad, he was going to move on to other regions but he blinked when moving north and encountering the pesh merga.
C.I.: So you're point is you're agreeing with me?
Jim: No, I'm saying the Kurdish north is a complicated region and I don't know that we can use it as a template for the rest of Iraq due to various factors.
C.I.: We could debate that point but I'll move on to another issue. In the KRG and elsewhere in Iraq, throughout Iraq, there is an ongoing femicide. That's a genocide targeting women. The US military has prevented that how? I'm not seeing it. They've been on the ground in Iraq for nearly six years and there was no femicide before they showed up and there is an ongoing one now. There was violence against women, not on the scale that takes place currently and women had legal rights and legal avenues which they now do not have and they have a police force that thinks it can ignore the attacks on them. The most recent report on it is, PDF format warning, Amnesty International's "Trapped By Violence: Women In Iraq." Do the lives of Iraqi women matter less? I don't think you'd argue that. But there needs to be an awareness -- as evidenced by words on the subject from you -- that Iraqi women have been targeted non-stop, that the destruction of their way of life is not just about the bombings and mortars and whatever else someone wants to call 'normal' in Iraq. These behaviors, these attacks, are seen as normal because of who the US installed. They went with thugs, Shi'ites ones at first, and thugs don't have a lot of respect for women or anyone else who isn't a thuggy as they are. They don't have a lot of respect for democracy or anything else. And I believe we saw that thug attitude with the Sunni thugs on the US payroll in Al Anbar Province during the immediate after of the January 31st provincial election there. You have this idea that the US military is going to be able to prevent a genocide and I'm saying that the US military has been on the ground in Iraq for six years as various new threats have emerged and the US military has not solved them. In fairness to the US military, that's really not what they're trained in, nor is it what they should be used for. So my question to you would be, "How are they going to stop a genocide in Iraq?"
Jim: If a genocide began taking place before they left, due to their numbers, they, the US military, would be able to quell it.
C.I.: What numbers? Until January 2010, Barack's plan will only drop the number of US service members in Iraq from 146,000 or 142,000 down to the 136,000 or 132,000, that's ten thousand at most, as Martha Raddatz of ABC News has pointed out. Beginning in January 2010, supposedly, there will be a flight of 80,000 to 100,000 US service members out of Iraq -- between January of 2010 and August 2010.
Jim: And I've stated that I'm not on board with Barack's plan and that I think he will have to rework it, that situations on the ground will require him to rework it.
C.I.: Okay, well for this argument, pick a time, pick a point where the genocide will start.
Jim: Okay, I'll be fair. I'll go with November 2011 and I'll say there are 42,000 US troops there. The genocide starts --
C.I.: Shi'ite on Sunni?
Jim: Yes, and the US military steps in.
C.I.: Where I'm disagreeing with you is the fact that the US military steps in. If such a genocide takes place, it would have to take place with the ruling Shi'ite faction's approval. I don't see the US stepping in. I see the attitude being that it's a problem, an internal one, for Iraq to address, for the Iraqi government -- Shi'ite dominated to address.
Jim: Well I believe the US military would step in.
C.I.: And I believe the children are our future. What the hell's your point? February 23rd, in Baghdad, a press conference took place. It was Brig Gen David Quantock addressing the press, predominately the Iraqi press. They asked what happens, with Abu Ghraib reopening, if a new series of crimes take place there. Brig Gen David Quantock declared that if that happened, it would be the Iraqis issue to deal with because the US had turned the prison over and Iraq was it's own country with its own government. You used October 2011?
C.I.: Okay, by November 2011, the US long ago turned over control of the provinces to Iraq. So why is the US getting involved in preventing a genocide. By Brig Gen David Quantock's own words, an argument can be made that should a genocide take place it would be an issue for the Iraqi government. He might -- or might not -- state that if the Iraqi government asked for US help, the US military might get involved. Well if the Sunnis are the ones being targeted and the Shi'ite majority dominates the government, who is going to ask the US military to step in? The minority voice in the Iraqi government? How does the US justify stepping in when the minority members of the government, not the rulers, are requesting assistance and Iraq is an allegedly sovereign nation-state?
Jim: Okay, well what I'm saying, and I think this is getting lost, what I'm saying is that as long as the US is on the ground in Iraq it prevents a genocide.
C.I.: And I've made clear that I understand your viewpoint but I disagree. I disagree because of the targeting of the Iraqi Christians and Jews, I disagree because of the targeting of Sunnis and I disagree of the targeting of all Iraqi women. I see a genocide, an ongoing one, that the US military has either been unwilling or unable to stop. You're saying one will take place when the US military withdraws. I'm saying one's already taking place and will continue to while the US military remains in Iraq.
Jim: I don't see how you can pin that on the US military.
C.I.: I believe it was then-Senator Joe Biden who said last April that we have armed one side in a civil war and that an illegitimate government is in place. Do I need to quote him directly? I can.
Jim: Sure, go for it.
C.I.: April 10, 2008. These are Joe chaired the hearing about the US and Iraq and he addressed early on the call for the US to remain in Iraq. He noted the so-called "Internal threat" argument
and how it was being used to make the US "support the Iraqi government in its battle with all 'outlaw groups' -- that's a pretty expansive commitment," how this meant the US was required "to take sides in Iraq's civil war" and that "there is no Iraqi government that we know of that will be in place a year from now -- half the government has walked out." He continued, "Just understand my frustration. We want to normalize a government that really doesn't exist." Senator Russ Feingold was in agreement and he wasn't the only senator in agrement. He askes that "given the fact that the Maliki government doesn't represent a true coalition, won't this agreement" -- he's talking about the then proposed Status Of Forces Agreement, which Democrats and Republicans on the panel were majority opposed to, so he was asking if this agreement wouldn't make it appear that "we are taking sides in the civil war especially when most Iraqi Parliamentarians have called for the withdrawal of troops?" That's Russ Feingold and Joe Biden. I could give other comments from that hearing, I could pull out my notes from it, but I think that establishes the fact -- and Barbara Boxer has made similar public statements about al-Maliki's thug regime, as has Hillary Clinton as has US House Rep Susan Davis and many, many more -- that our government does not see the puppet regime of al-Maliki's as a legitimate or functioning government.
Jim: Well I don't see what that has to do with my points.
C.I.: You're saying the US remaining in Iraq will prevent a genocide. I'm saying a genocide has taken place and is taking place and that the US military presence supports al-Maliki's regime, an illegimate one. He was the choice of the United States for Iraq's prime minister. He was not the choice of the Parliament. The White House overruled the Parliament's first choice for Prime Minister. Nouri's another thug who fled the country instead of fighting for it. After US forces did the work of desposing of Saddam, he showed up to strut around the country. He's not a leader, he's not legitimate. He's an exile who only returned when the US went in. To Iraqis, he's one more person the US installed and there is dislike for him and there is opposition to him -- within Parliament and within the country.
Jim: Well the parliamentary elections seemed to suggest he is popular.
C.I.: Just stopping this role play for a second, I'm unaware of Thomas E. Ricks' advancing that point in any way, shape or form. I'll respond to it but I do want it noted that he hasn't stated that. My opinion is, the provincial elections -- which only took place in 14 of Iraq's 18 provinces despite the benchmark being ALL provinces -- were not a victory for al-Maliki. They were an indicator that Iraq is not a democracy. Like many a thug, Marcos, Pinochet, etc., al-Maliki abused the system. These elections were the equivalent of us electing our state legislature here in California and across the country. al-Maliki is the prime minister of the country. He had no business going around and campaigning. Can you imagine our outrage in this country if we saw, for example, Barack show up -- while in office -- to campaign for candidates in Colorado's state government, Maine's, etc. And remember too that this was different from the last election where people were voting for slates, here they were voting for individuals. So in a competative race, al-Maliki used his position -- undemocratically -- to attempt to influence the elections. His actions got the local candidates' covered when there were thousands of candidates competing for these 400 seats. Exact figures, I believe, were 440 seats with 14,428 candidates competing for them. So al-Maliki going all over the country to push candidates, he abused his office. And that should have been noted and called out. It's the sort of crap despots pull all the time and the fact that it was not called out by the US press is frightening because that wasn't democracy. It was an abuse of the process. But, repeating, I have never seen or heard Thomas E. Ricks' advance that argument or anything remotely similar to it.
Jim: Okay, well you're saying that al-Maliki is installed, that a genocide is ongoing daily already and that the US miliary can't prevent it. But when the US leaves, won't it get worse?
C.I.: It might, it might not. If forced to guess right now, I would argue it would get worse immediately after the departure of the US. I would also argue it would end in one way or another. The Iraqi people would rebel against the genocide or they would say they're fine with it. We, the United States, have set up the ongoing genocide by the choices that we made. This isn't about whether we should have started the illegal war or not. We shouldn't have. But I'm talking about the choices the White House made on who to support and on what to rank as important. The priorties set and the people installed created the genocide and these people are empowered and will remain in power if the US leaves completely in the next four years or less.
Jim: Four years!
C.I.: Whatever date barring a revolution in Iraq. Conceivably, the United States military could remain in Iraq for the next 20 years and a wave of subsequent al-Malikis would be kinder and gentler and some approximation of democracy might take place. But this, "The US must stay to prevent a genocide" -- when? When does the US leave? Every other month, there's another 'reason' the US has to stay. I accept that you are genuinely concerned on humanitarian grounds, I accept the fact that you're not a War Hawk latching onto humanitarian concerns as a guise to push for a longer war. But there's always been a reason why the US can't leave. The Iraqis need their own country, they need to run it, they need to do so without US interference. The US has set the stage for a genocide. It may or may not happen. al-Maliki's already making it clear, my opinion, that he sees himself as the strong-man who will replace Saddam and should he remain the prime minister after the next round of Parliamentary elections, there's even less reason for the US to remain in Iraq. I think the US should leave right now. And they can withdraw in 100 days, in less that that. We saw that when emergencies at home forced the Georgia armed forces to pull out quickly and return to the former USSR -- worded that way so no one thinks "The US state of Georgia pulled out of Iraq." You can look at the rate at which they left Iraq and it's very clear that the US can leave Iraq in less than 100 days and even get some equipment out though most of that equipment is out of date, has wear and tear and the Pentagon's yearly Christmas wish list makes the bulk of that equpiment obsolete. But there's always going to be some reason for the US to remain in Iraq -- some 'reason' or reason. And we've heard them over and over for the last six years. Either Iraq will stand on its own or it won't.
Jim: Well, the genocide is the factor to me and you're sounding like the person at my book talk who said you don't care about a genocide.
C.I.: Then that's what you're choosing to hear. What I am saying is that a genocide is likely -- not absolute -- when the US finally chooses to leave. And we can have a serious discussion about who would be leading it and how it would most likely go down, which we haven't. But I am not saying, "You're wrong! There will be no genocide! The Iraqis will hand daises to one another, make peace signs and groove on the love." I'm saying it is very likely that violence will take place when the US leaves. Whenever that is barring the US remaining decades and even then it is still likely a US departure will lead to some violence.
Jim: But you're not concerned by it.
C.I.: I'm not saying that, I am saying that a genocide is ongoing -- saying and I wrote this back in February -- and that I think the thing to do is to weigh then and now when weighing possibilities. I am saying that an ongoing genocide is taking place and that the death toll from that is huge. I believe that if a period of violence took place after the US left -- likely -- it would be on a lower level if only because it would be much more brief. I also do not believe that the US can or should remain in Iraq and must choose a time to depart. The military was given various tasks. Many of those tasks were beyond their training. There is no military reason for US forces to remain in Iraq. The reason you're citing is fear of a genocide. I accept that you're sincere and genuinely concerned about that. I am saying that any killing and violence -- genocide on any level -- would most likely be brief and not result in the ongoing genocide that has led to the deaths of all the Iraqis. You like to point to Cambodia. I didn't know the US was officially in there. I think you mix actions when you bring that semi-secret war in. Iraq is more like Vietnam which you also frequently use as an example. Will there be refugees? Of course there will. There are people collaborating with the US. No one trusts anyone who collabortes with an occupying power. I'm sure we'll have a wave or two of Iraqi refugees brought to US shores and I'm sure at least one will hate democracy as much as Viet Diem did and he too will craft 'reasons' for a Patriot Act and for a war on a democracy. That's the point of suck-ups, they suck up to power and have no respect for a democratic process. There will be other refugees as well -- as there were with the Vietnamese -- but that's a given. The US destabilized the country. When that takes place, the departure of the occupying power always leads to displacement. I'm not historically ignorant, you're not going to overwhelm me by ticking off a list of countries -- some, such as Cambodia, which have no real relation to what we're discussing but it is 'fun,' I guess, to presume that Pol Pot's killing fields weren't supported by the US. I mean, if the comparison is Pol Pot to al-Maliki, let's have at it. I can certainly see similarities. But the comparison you're making is to the war in Cambodia -- which is an off-the-books war for most in the United States, one that is rarely acknowledged -- and the declared and illegal war on Iraq. The US supported Pol Pot. The 1970 invasion was about the establishment of the Khmer Rouge. Without the US approval and backing, the Khmer Rouge would not have risen to the level that it did. And had the US not began bombing the country in 1969 and continuing to do so for many years, the resistance to the Khmer Rouge might have been greater and able to defend themselves. To be clear, because this is off-the-books history that won't make the chat and chews, people can see John Pilger's excellent work on this issue and, also to be clear, Cambodia was attacked by the US because the US believed they were supplying North Vietnam. That made the bombings 'worth it' to the US White House and it made the support for the Khmer Rouge 'worth it' as well.
The US backed Pol Pot. Again, it's mixing apples and oranges unless your comparison is of Nouri al-Maliki to Pol Pot. In which case, I would be very interested in hearing that analogy. But, as presented, as name-checked by you, Cambodia is just given a shout-out due to the killings that took place there and the shout-out provides no historical context.
Jim: So there's no agreement on this issue?
C.I.: I'm allowing that you could be correct and some form of genocide or increase in violence could follow a US withdrawal. And I'm saying that the ongoing violence while the US is present, in my opinion, outweighs what could follow a US withdrawal.
Jim: But you don't know that.
C.I.: No and I don't -- and you don't -- know that a genocide will follow a US withdrawal. That is your guess based on many factors but it is a guess just as mine is a guess. The only way we'll know who was 'right' or 'wrong' or who 'won' is by what happens when the US withdraws. Neither of us is offering theories, they are, at best, hypotheses and a hypothesis has to be tested before it can prove or disprove or find an inconclusive result.
Jim: And that's where we'll leave it. I was attempting to offer the Thomas E. Ricks' point of view. You can read his book The Gamble.
Ava: Friday a roundtable took place that was posted at all sites. C.I. and I transcribed it and we didn't catch that something was left out. Rebecca didn't catch that she left it either. The three of us say we are very sorry because Elaine, who did participate and is quoted in that roundtable, is not mentioned in the introduction or elsewhere. Our apologies to Elaine.
Elaine: Who, for the record, could care less. Don't worry. If I'd been paying attention, I might have joked, "Uh, Rebeeca, I'm here too." I didn't. We were tired and rushing to do the roundtable quickly and then to post it. I had no idea until C.I. called me Saturday afternoon and apologized. It's not a big deal, it's not any deal at all. But Rebecca, Ava and C.I. made it clear they'd feel better if I participated in this roundtable so I am for that reason.
Jim: That roundtable went up Friday and the links are "The Roundtable in the Kitchen," "Roundtable on Iraq ," "roundtable on iraq," "Putting Iraq back on the table," "Roundtable," "Roundtabling Iraq," "Iraq roundtable," "Iraq roundtable," "Iraq" and "Iraq roundtable" -- we'll also be reposting it here since our own Ava and C.I. took part in it. As with that roundtable, this one will be on Iraq. How come? Because Iraq's getting so little attention. Because the sixth anniversary of the illegal war is coming up and because there are actions coming up. Ty?
Ty: There are many actions this anniversary and we encourage to participate in as many as you can. The one we're promoting is the one whose sponsors include The National Assembly to End the Wars, the ANSWER coalition, World Can't Wait and Iraq Veterans Against the War. This is a March 21st march on the Pentagon in DC as well as actions in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Orlando. For more information, you can see any of the previous links. There are actions taking place on the 19th and we support those actions as well and many of us will be participating in those locally -- that would be San Francisco, for us, but local actions will take place across the country. However, we are getting the word out on the 21st. Not because it is the most important but because that's the action we first learned of and the one we have been promoting since at least January.
Dona: So we'll stay on message.
Ty: Correct and also because we haven't talked at all about the 19th until now. I'm comfortable noting that their local actions taking place. But I have no problem stating, "You need to take part in actions on the 21st." No one, none of our regular readers, can shoot back, "Well this is the first I'm hearing of it and I have to plan and . . ." We've been noting it. We expect you to take part in it because we expect you to stand up to the illegal war.
Jim: Worst case scenario: 100 or so people -- or even less -- show up for the march on the Pentagon. What does that say?
Betty: It says the peace movement is dead. It doesn't just say that some leaders -- faux leaders like Leslie Cagan, Tom Hayden, etc. -- are useless, it says the peace movement is. If that's the message those who care about ending the illegal war want to send, then we should all stay home. I'm sure we can find some interesting cooking shows to watch on PBS and, no doubt, the current administration will be thrilled to know that they have the go-ahead from the American people to continue the illegal war as long as they want.
Jess: Betty's being bitingly sarcastic but also very true. It will say that there's no real point in a peace movement if we can't even stage a march on the Pentagon. That's not a popular position to stake out -- within the peace movement -- because we don't know what the turnout will be and it may be very low. But we're not about trying to be popular or suck up.
Ty: We're about keeping it real and reality is that if there's not a sizeable level of participation, it will be a very devastating report card.
Jess: So if you're on the fence about participating, you need to ask yourself if you're okay with sending that message.
Ava: And not just sending that message within the US but around the globe.
Jim: I do feel excitement about this action. I mean I feel excitement from others about that. Am I the only one picking up that signal? Anyone else?
Wally: There is huge interest and Kat and I were talking about this a little in Friday's roundtable and we talked about it a little on the plane ride back yesterday. But, believe it or not, we think United For Peace and Justice's craven behavior has actually been liberating for young people. Kat?
Kat: Right. Wally's talking about high schoolers and college students and we see a relief with regards to UPFJ. Where does it fit in the scheme of things? It doesn't. And the fact that it doesn't is being absorbed by students across the country. And it's actually very liberating.
Wally: I was telling Kat, it's like a guy pursued a woman and pursued her and finally found out she's not at all interested. If I was the guy, I'd be hurt and upset but I'd also know I didn't need to waste anymore energy on her and that would be liberating. So I compare it to that.
Elaine: It's always better to know. Not to drop back to Goldie Hawn's great speech in Shampoo where she asks Warren Beatty about his cheating on her, but it's always better to know. It's liberating and it's powerful. I'm curious what Jim's sensing and also when Kat and Wally think this started or if they can pinpoint it to a start?
Jim: Wally and Kat are pointing to me. Dona and I are in grad school and I'm basing my statements on what I'm seeing on campus, what I'm hearing.
Kat: And, Wally disagree if you do, I would say the last three weeks is when we've seen what we're seeing. Would you agree with that?
Elaine: Dona, you're on the same campus as Jim, do you agree with his call?
Dona: Jim's far more social. Grad school is a club to Jim, so he'd know far better than I do. I do sense it somewhat but not to the degree that Jim does. But, repeating, it's more of a club for Jim. I have to study and study.
Jim: Well, she doubts herself so she overstudies. But it should be noted that Wally and Kat are basing their opinions on more than one campus.
Kat: Right. Monday through Friday, we're on the road with Ava and C.I. We're on multiple campuses. Just to stick with the young people. So it's a sense that's not bound to one state or one region. What Wally and I are sensing. Elaine, other than Mike, who you are involved with, your input on this would come from veterans whom you treat so I'm assuming you can't comment on anything you sense.
Elaine: Correct. I'm not comfortable commenting.
Jim: Okay. One topic not covered in Friday's roundtable was war resistance -- with the exception of Matthis Chiroux. Is there any update on Kristoffer Walker?
Ava: I'm grabbing that. He is the 28-year-old Iraq War veteran who came home to Wisconsin on a pass and has stated publicly he will not be returning to Iraq. He's not been in the news of late. Around February 26th was the last time anything was filed on him. At that point, he was stating he was searching for an attorney to take his case.
C.I.: We don't like to speak after one another, Ava and I, because we're the ones taking notes. But as Ava said, there's been no news for days. However, this morning's Green Bay Press Gazette does include a letter of support for Kristoffer Walker. The letter, written by Briana Nestler, calls out the very bad editorial the paper offered noting: "First, moral reasons and political reasons aren't mutually exclusive. Objections to apartheid were moral and political. Second, the editorial does not reference a single statement Walker made to demonstrate a political motive and, seeing none myself in the original article, that claim was particularly unconvincing. The editorial further chastises Spc. Kristoffer Walker, saying: 'Refusing to report is not going to resolve the situation.' Neither would reporting -- obviously. The situation is that Walker now recognizes the Iraq war as immoral -- not to mention illegal and unconstitutional -- and he has too much integrity to tolerate being a party to it any longer." The press may be ignoring him but the people have not forgotten the stand he's taken or the courage required to make that stand.
Jim: Okay, now Matthis Chiroux. C.I., could you repeat your summary from Friday's roundtable?
C.I.: "Matthis Chiroux, first off, has a hearing March 12th in St. Louis, Missouri, regarding his decision to stick with his discharge, thank you very much, and refuse to ship off to Iraq when the military tried to pull him back into the service. " Is that what you wanted?
Jim: Yeah. Jess, explain the situation Matthis is in.
Jess: Matthis was discharged back in 2007. He'd completed his five-year service contract. Then all the sudden, and remember that he's been discharged, February 2008 rolls around and he's being told that he has to deploy to Iraq. June 15, 2008 was the day he was supposed to report. He refused to do so.
Elaine: And he was in CD prior to June 15th attempting to round up Congressional support. He and another IVAW member.
C.I.: Kris Goldsmith.
Elaine: Yes, thank you.
Jim: Okay, he's discharged in 2007. February 2008, he's told he's going to Iraq and that he needs to report on June 15th. Any other dates we need to note here?
C.I.: May 15th was when he announced he would not be deploying, when he announced it publicly. June 15th, gave a speech explaining why he had reached that decision.
Betty: I'll jump in because I pulled up the speech with the snapshot in it and printed it up to bring into this roundtable. This is the section of his speech that I found most memorable: "Today I stand in resistance to the occupation of Iraq because I believe in our nation, its military and her people. I resist because I swore an oath to this nation that I would not allow it to fall into decay when I may be serving on the side of right. And my country is in decay and in these times of crisis Thomas Paine once said, 'The summer soldier and sunshine patriot will flee from service to our country.' I stand here today as a Winter Soldier. To serve our nation, its military and its people in this dark time of confusion and corruption. I stand here to make it known that my duty as a soldier is first to the higher ideals and guiding principles of this country which our leaders have failed to uphold.I stand here today in defense of the US Constitution which has known no greater enemy, foreign or domestic, than those highest in this land who are sworn to be governed by its word. I stand here today in defense of those who have been stripped of their voices in this occupation for the warriors of this nation have been silenced to the people who need to start listening." I really applaud the entire speech; however, that is my favorite section.
Jim: And that was delivered June 15th and March 12th,
Dona: Which is this Thursday.
Jim: March 12th, which is this Thursday he is in St. Louis. What did he say, this was in Friday's snapshot, what did he say about the charges?
Ava: In a conversation with Debra Sweet and Elaine Browder, which you can stream by clicking here, he declared, "I, right now, have a hearing with the military where I'm going to have to defend my decision not to report to duty last summer to deploy to Iraq The army's decision [applause], I say that because the army's decision to prosecute me, to set a date and show up, didn't come until after Obama took office. If we could expect serious change that would have stopped. But it's not."
Dona: Which is an important point and one that a number of people and sites have attempted to make. We've certainly made it here, we're not seeing a change.
Jim: So if we --
Elaine: Jim, if I can cut you off for a second. There's actually something I was asked to note by a group of veterans.
Jim: Go for it. Gladly yielding to you.
Elaine: I'd said I'd note it in Friday's roundtable if I remembered and I forgot. That's why it's no great problem that Rebecca accidentally didn't list me. I forgot things on my own. If you're actively resisting, and Matthis Chiroux is, you really need your own website. Matthis has his own. But earlier we were talking about Kristoffer Walker and that's an example that's been brought up all last week. After a session, or even during one, Walker's come up in terms of do I know anything new? And it came up again in group on Thursday so I said I'd try to carry it into the roundtable Friday -- which I forgot to do -- that in terms of following what's going on with you and in terms of contacting you with support, veterans really would appreciate if those who were actively resisting had websites. They love C.I.'s snapshots and devour them for any information on that but there's sometimes no information and that can be because nothing's happening. Kristoffer is of especial interest because there is curiosity as to whether he will stick with his decision or change his mind. That's the sort of thing that would be updated at his own website presumably. So there is a desire for people to have individual websites.
Dona: I'm not disagreeing, I support that 100%, but I'm adding that if they are members of Iraq Veterans Against the War, generally there is information at the IVAW website. And others.
Elaine: IVAW would be true, hopefully, of Matthis. Hopefully, because a Friday afternoon session had someone asking about Matthis and complaining that there was nothing noting his March 12th hearing on the main IVAW page. But "others"? Domestic "others"? There's a domestic site that has lost all support -- another point I was supposed to make -- because an 'appeal' confused resistance with support for Barack Obama.
Jess: I know which group you mean. They were ripped apart by those students for peace at my law school. (laughing) The law school I attend. Not "my"! But, yeah, they note Barack but can't call him out. Call him out or be the next United For Peace and Justice. And I don't just mean worthless, I mean shamed.
Jim: Rebecca passed on a question for me to ask C.I. about Friday's snapshot that she didn't get around today. In that snapshot, C.I. not only calls out Judith LeBlanc of UPFJ, C.I. also does a blind item --
Kat: And we all know who it was.
Jim: And we all know who it was, a blind item on a member of Congress who advances a lie for public sympathy and knows it is a lie. Rebecca, who knows C.I. very, very well and has for years, argues that each got included to draw more attention to the March actions. Correct?
C.I.: Probably so. And to send a message that I'm not in the mood. You've had how many years to do something and you've done nothing? Not in the mood. My attitude is, too damn bad. Seriously. I liken it to when magazines had to remain in circulation. The peace movement needs to go on.
Jim: What time period are you talking about?
C.I.: Good point. I'm talking about the mid fifites to the late fifties. The press had a huge change and not just magazines. Newspapers as well. And, it's famously said, that the first to be burned was St. Joan of the Fan Mags. Meaning Joan Crawford. The Los Angeles Mirror, fighting for readers, did a multi-part series on Crawford, ripping her apart, with various people -- including Marilyn Monroe -- weighing in for the article which was also syndicated. The peace movement needs to continue. If Judith's going to whore it for Barack, I have no problem burning St. Judith of the Cult of Barack.
Ty: There was actually a question about that snapshot that I wanted to cover. In it, you talk about how Judith LeBlanc calling Barack "Black" is spitting on her own heritage. I believe I know why that is, but an e-mail came in asking.
C.I.: Judith LeBlanc has long self-billed as bi-racial. That's her identity, that's her family's identity. It's only a surprise that she'd sell out the peace movement for Barack if you're not aware she's also selling out her own family for the Myth of Barack.
Jim: Alright. In the dialogue, I grabbed some issues and C.I., arguing various points, brought in multiple Iraq issues. There are many Iraq stories that the press either ignores outright or doesn't give enough attention to. Of last week's, the one I would pick -- of all the things not discussed here or in the dialogue -- would be War Crimes. Dona, how about doing a set up?
Dona: People can refer to C.I.'s Thursday snapshot. UN General Assembly President Miguel D'Escoto issued a call for an investigation into the ongoing crimes in Iraq while speaking in Geneva before the UN Human Rights Council. I believe the money quote is, "The illegality of the use of force against Iraq cannot be doubted as it runs contrary to the prohibition of the use of force in . . . the United Nations Charter. All pretended justifications not withstanding, the aggressions against Iraq and Afghanistan and their occupations, constitute atrocities that must be condemned and repudiated by all who believe in the rule of law in international relations."
Jim: Thoughts? Comments?
Jess: I would love to see something happen but I don't expect it to.
Wally: I'd agree. Both due to the fact that the US government doesn't want it to and because the press reaction was so underwhelmingly. Are you going to go out on a limb if you don't feel there's even press interest? Forget support from the press, there's not even interest.
Elaine: I agree. I wish I didn't. But maybe we'll see some bravery from the General Assembly which the US does not control. I'm sure Susan Rice will do everything possible to derail any efforts at action but it is true that this isn't the Security Council. The US doesn't have a veto vote on this.
Betty: I'm with Elaine. I hope something will happen, I'd be thrilled; however, I'm not going to expect anything to happen. But if it did, it would go a long way towards restoring the reputation of the United Nations.
Jim: Okay, this has been a rush transcript. Rebecca will moderate an Iraq roundtable next Friday that will appear at various group sites and we'll do another one here next Sunday. In the lead up to the Iraq anniversary actions, we are trying to do our part to cover the issues the media has little interest in. Illustration by Betty's oldest son.
You're used to hearing that chant at the Olympics, but who expects it from Amnesty International?
You might even be able to take it from Amnesty USA, but from Amnesty International?
The alleged human rights organization should remain itself Amnesty Provincial.
Those who haven't visited the website may not be aware that this 'international' organization has decided to track a leader. The leader?
Below is their icon to track his FIRST 100 DAYS.
Because surely nothing ever could matter as much in the world than what takes place in the United States!!!!!!
Well Amnesty Provincial thinks so. Xenophobia, what a proud moment for Amnesty. The flame is alive!
Some might assume that Amnesty International, seeing all the fluff passing for coverage, would be doing some hard hitting work. They would be wrong.
As a quick examination of the 'responses' (Feb. 25th backwards) reveals that in January it was Barack did this and Barack did that and it was all groovy, wonderful and guaranteed to peel the hair off Joan Baez's back.
But goodness golly, it takes more than pretty words, it takes action. And Barack doesn't do a damn thing. He flaps his gums.
We're actually surprised that they have no 'response' for last week. Apparently, they missed what happened in court? Ali al-Marri? From the BBC:
He had appealed against the right of the US president to hold terrorism suspects in the US indefinitely without charge.
But the government of President Barack Obama moved to put Mr al-Marri into the civilian justice system, charging him last Friday with conspiracy and providing support to terrorists while he was a student in Illinois.
The charges, which carry a maximum of 30 years in prison, meant Mr al-Marri would be transferred from a military prison to civilian custody.
Government lawyers were then able to argue that he was no longer being held as an enemy combatant.
Imprisoned since 2003, quickly slid over to civilian custody in an effort to attempt to prevent a Supreme Court ruling. We don't speak craven -- help us out, Michelle Obama -- but we believe that's called "the oikey doke." The bugaloo? The hulley gulley? Again, we don't speak craven. But we damn well know George W. Bush's third term when we see it. That's what Barack's offering. That's what Amnesty International is endorsing.
We hope they all wake up fresh, we're sure playing with their crotches all night while biting their pillows and moaning Barack doesn't allow for much rest. But if they ever decide to be a human rights organization again, let us know.
And if they apologize for the insult, for the huge gob of spit they've hurled at the rest of the world by 'charting' their baby's first-steps while refusing to do so for other countries, please let us know. Until then, they're Amnesty Provincial and we value and trust them about as much as we do President Barry.
Those who wonder why Janine struggles need only read "Coverage of Obama and Ethnicity Says More About The Media." Her bad article certainly says a great deal about how far allegedly honest brokers will go to whore themselves out.
Bi-racial Barack is turned into "Black" by Janine Jackson. That's insulting and frightening enough but to see what a real whore the liar is you have to read the following:
Obama could also prove himself to be the right sort of black leader--the kind who places responsibility for black people’s problems largely with black people themselves--with an embrace of the Bush administration’s No Child Left Behind law. USA Today (1/6/09) draped the case in appropriately patronizing tones with the cringe-worthy "How to Turn Obama’s Success Into Gains for Black Boys":
"You can see the message on brick wall murals in inner cities: Yes we can. You can hear it in the music of Black Eyed Peas' frontman will.i.am: Yes we can.
"You can imagine hearing it pass the lips of thousands of black mothers, perhaps after awakening their sons early to complete homework before they head off to school, just as President-elect Barack Obama’s mother did: Yes you can."
Black mothers encouraging their children? Just imagine!
Where above does Janine Jackson say one word about sexism? Women's roles, their only visible roles, for Janine is as mothers who birth men. "Sons" are not "children." "Sons" are male children. That and the absence of daughters doesn't even register with Janine Jackson. An alleged media critic, one not swinging that fat and tired ass for Barry, would take a moment to note that. But Janine has no time for that. Just like FAIR, during the Democratic Party primaries, had no time to call out sexism.
In May, as the primaries wound down, this was the only critique of sexism FAIR (in any of its forms) offered of sexism on display during the primaries:
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.
That is their critique of sexism in full.
To underscore how damn little sexism means to them, Janine shows up babbling like an airhead, unable to grasp the sexism in the passage she herself quotes. Unable to grasp it, unable to care.
That doesn't merit a Katrina because it's not just stupid. It doesn't merit a Bronze Booby because it's far more than embarrassing and shameful. It's damaging and whore is the only term to describe Janine Jackson.
Congratulations Janine for actions so despicable we had to invent a new category. Along with the award, we offer you a tip, before you speak in public, be sure to wipe the cum off your lips.
Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Al Distraction"
Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Domestic Arts Czar"
Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Rounding up Lucy"
Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Making Dennis the Menace"
Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Shutting Down The Domestic Arts Czar"
This week's Katrina goes to Boston Boomer who made an error and corrected it but refused to note that she'd corrected it and wanted to pretend she'd always had it down.
On Monday the Department of Justice posted nine memos containing legal opinions that were kept secret during the Bush years. These memos were used to justify a shocking expansion of executive power and to nullify most of our Constitutional rights. Scott Horton of the Atlantic Monthly writes:
We may not have realized it at [...]
That's from PUMA Hub. Google "The Confluence," "Scott Horton of the Atlantic" and you will find this in the search results.
But Boston Boomer corrected her post and it now reads:
These memos were used to justify a shocking expansion of executive power and to nullify most of our Constitutional rights. Scott Horton of the Harpers Magazine writes:
No, Scott Horton does not write for The Atlantic Monthly. And it really was a pretty big error to make. He does not write for "the Harpers Magazine," either. He writes for Harper's but you leave in the "the" when you're rushing to correct your error. Boston Boomer does not note that the post was changed.
There are no "*" around the section and certainly no note of correction.
It was a real Katrina vanden Heuvel move to make. Dumb.
"Finally, the truth breaks into the mainstream media. Some of us did realize it, Scott; but I’m glad you’re writing about it now," Boston Boomer writes indicating what?
That she really earned the Katrina. Scott Horton is a Barack Obama Kool-Aid Drinker and we have no use for him at all currently for that, his sexism and a number of other issues; however, we are aware that when George W. Bush occupied the White House, Horton regularly and repeatedly called out the abuses of the Bully Boy, regularly sounded the alarms. Possibly Boston Boomer's unaware of that due to the fact that she spent the last years attempting to read his work in The Atlantic Monthly?