Sunday, March 19, 2006

A Note to Our Readers

Hey --

First off, don't blame us for the delay. We finished hours ago. We should have all been in bed hours ago. (And except for those writing this note, people did get to bed by three a.m. ET -- a record for us.) What happened?

Explain it to us because we still can't figure it out. Repeatedly been knocked out of Blogger/Blogspot was only one of the new problems to surface.

(New for us, it happened to C.I. Saturday morning.)

We've got protests today and we were demonstrating yesterday, so no one wanted this up early more than us. (Okay, maybe Genie who sent three e-mails so far asking, "Where's the TV review?")

First up, highlights, we've got a few:

Estados Unidos lanza mayor ataque aereo desde invasion a Irak (Democracy Now!)
C.I. on the war pornography that encourages the war to drag on
Pacifica Spotlight: Ruth's Public Radio Report
Reality Check: War Pornographer Michael Gordon tries to shift the blame
Blog Spotlight: Cedric on Feingold and the Dems
Humor Spotlight: Bully Boy Press breaks the story of the frothing White House Lap Dog
Blog Spotlight: Rebecca provides lyrics and a report on kids in America
Blog Spotlight: Elaine wonders who is still suffering from "War Got Your Tongue?"
Humor Spotlight: Betinna crowns Thomas Friedman "First Among Fools"
Blog Spotlight: Mikey Likes It!
Do something spotlight
Cooking Spotlight: Charro Beans in the Kitchen

Thank you to everyone for their permission to repost. If you were online when they were going up, you noticed a huge time lag before anything else posted. That's when the problems started.

New content? We got some of that too. (Yes, Genie, we have a TV review for you.)

"Editorial: 3rd Anniversary and what have you done?" -- we actually hadn't planned to make demonstrating the topic of our editorial. We figured it would be covered pretty well. Then we heard a news break and thought, "Maybe Not" (to be Cat Power about it).

Yes, Genie, there is a TV review. It's "TV Review: Don't call her Elaine" and, as always, this is written by Ava and C.I. only. They have high hopes for the series. (Two of us don't but we bailed after the first episode. Apparently, the second episode aired last Monday was an improvement. And Ava and C.I. note, Wanda Sykes guest stars this Monday.)

"Why We March." See, we've all been assisting Gina and Krista with their round-robin all week. We've been busy all week. And we were thinking, "We don't have to do the protest edition. We can just go and participate and work on an easy edition to get some sleep and be ready for tomorrow." Tomorrow is today. (And no, we aren't being philosophical -- we're too tired for that.) Why We Fight is the name of the documentary out currently (worth seeing) and we decided on "Why We March" for a title. But unless we were going to present voices, what we were we going to do? (And since no one took notes, voices were out of the running.) So what we came up with was reasons we march and we've provided links to some items that you may have missed. If you did, check them out. If you didn't, they are worth a re-read. The links take you to various voices that we think are important. (Laura Flanders, Arundhati Roy, Naomi Klein, Matthew Rothschild, Dahr Jamail, Norman Solomon, Amy & David Goodman, Howard Zinn, Tom Hayden . . . It's not all the voices that speak to us, but it is some of them.)

When we were trying to figure out why the same problem happened on everyone's computer, C.I. noted that Ruth wanted a highlight but there wasn't time to include it in her report yesterday. Dallas went to work on that and that's how we ended up with "Christian Parenti on KPFA's Sunday Salon this am and Air America's RadioNation with Laura Flanders this evening."
You have two chances to hear Parenti. The only excuse for missing him is that you're so busy demonstrating that you don't have time.

"One voice applauded, one not heard?" is just to note on record (as The Common Ills did) that Thursday a character spoke out for peace on network television. We're not sure how much attention that got because we honestly haven't seen any attention to that (other than The Common Ills.)

"The ones who go missing, missing from the coverage" is part of the war (and peace) edition because stories aren't being told. We don't know why. We hope it's because the thought of telling them hasn't occurred. We just know that they should be told and they need to be told. Not once in a blue moon, but regularly and repeatedly.

"Camilo Mejia spoke with Laura Flanders about the 241 mile march" spotlights Mejia and Flanders. A perfect combination. No skipping this unless you were listening -- in which case, you can write an essay on it and e-mail it in.

"Miles Cameron can't figure out what news is." Miles Cameron. Miles, you f-ed up our cabbage patch. Dona had already put out the call for short pieces. (Ava and C.I. feel like they complied.)
The point was to get everyone some rest before today's events. Didn't happen. Miles is the part of part of the reason for that. We were going to do an impressionistic edition. A little more artsy. Then Miles Cameron mistook Air America Radio for Fox "News." If you missed it, you were lucky. Read the feature to find out why.

"It should come in a brown wrapper" -- what? Pornography. Doesn't it already? Not war pornography.

"Who uses free speech?" is actually the sort of thing (space wise) that we were going for. Ty had a funny three line, impressionistic thing prepared for this. He ran it past us and we all laughed. Then came Miles. Ty hadn't written it down and the non-news of Cameron wiped out all that came before.

All new content for this edition was written by the following:

The Third Estate Sunday Review's Dona, Jess, Ty, Ava and Jim;
Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude;
Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man;
C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review;
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;
and Wally of The Daily Jot

except the TV review which was done by Ava and C.I. (and the Parenti heads up, done predominately by Dallas). We thank Dallas for all the help (including hunting down links).
And we thank all who participated in this edition. We thank you for reading. We thank the Academy for . . .

Hopefully, something in this edition makes you think, makes you laugh or makes you mad. Even better if it made you speak out a little more today about the illegal war.

See you next week.

-- Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess, Ava and C.I.

Editorial: 3rd Anniversary and what have you done?

And so it is three years
And what have you done?
A quagmire upon us
And Iran under the gun?

We swear that if we listen closely, we can almost hear John Lennon singing that.

It's the third anniversary of the invasion. Three years of the illegal war and the occupation, like the deaths, continue.

What have you done?

Over 100,000 marched in London.

As the Associated Press noted:

From Sydney to London to New York, anti-war demonstrations were staged in cities across the United States and the world Saturday to mark the third anniversary of the Iraq war.

More than a thousand gathered in Time Square.

And estimated 5,000 in Minneapolis.

Police low-balled Chicago at over 7,000.

A thousand in Eugene, OR.

400 in Concord, New Hampshire.

"Thousands" was the AP's favorite term for any place in California. Protests took place around the nation and around the world. People showed up to demonstrate against the illegal war.

Et vous?

If not, did you gather friends for your own discussion? If not, what did you do?

We hope you did something.

If not, it's not too late to make yourself heard on the third anniversary of the war the nation was lied into. Check out Indymedia's main page and use the links on the left to see if there's a demonstration in your area. Check out CODEPINK to see if there's anything in your area. Check out United for Peace and Justice. Check out ANSWER. Check out Military Families Speak Out. See if the 241 mile march led by Camilo Mejia, Pablo Paredes, Aidan Delgado and Fernando Suarez del Solar is near you.

It's the third anniversary. Are you going to let it pass without noting it?

You are? Really? Well who are you, The New York Times?

Your voice, your choice.

But remember, excuses render you useless.

When Bush comes to shove (Laura Flanders' phrase) are you going to stand up and be counted or say, "Eh, let someone else speak out. Angel is coming on."? Not real sure how a fictional vampire is going to help bring the troops home, but lots of luck on that.

Meanwhile, in the real world, the destruction and dying continues.

For as long as you let it.

TV Review: Don't call her Elaine

Do not mistake her for Ms. Benis, okay?

She is her own person.

She is talented.

She is capable of so much more.

So don't call her Elaine.

Her name's not Elaine, it's Julia, er, Christine.

We're supposed to all agree to that. We're not sure we can. Last Monday night brought not one but two episodes of CBS' latest sitcom: The New Adventures of Old Christine.

Remember, it's not Elaine Benis. It's is so not Elaine Benis that Christine is nothing like Elaine Benis. They are radically different in every way. In so many ways. For instance . . . . Okay, okay, Elaine Benis . . . didn't wear her hair in cute little pony tails! So there.

Is it really not Elaine?

Julia Louis-Dreyfus is a very talented comedian (also a very talented straight actress). But she's failed to grasp that somethings are just there when you do comedy. Short of creating an accent for her character or wearing a body suit (with additional limbs), she's using Julia Louis-Dreyfus in the role as much as she did when playing Elaine.

That's not to say that the actress is Christine or Elaine. That is to say that certain quirks are a given. For any actress. Any actress who's smart. Lucille Ball had TV success for years because she didn't decide she needed to prove she was an actress by getting rid of her trademark red hair. Mary Tyler Moore carried the "Ooooh R-o-o-o-b-b" from New Rochelle on over to Minneapolis and turned it into "Mis-ter Gra-a-a-nt." That didn't make either actress less talented. Nor did it make them the characters they played.

CBS aired two episodes of The New Adventures of Old Christine. If you watched only the first one, you might have given up on the show. It wasn't awful, it just wasn't that funny. It was all over the place -- soggy and confusing. Half-way in, about the time Christine went to work, laughs started showing up. But it was awkard to watch. Awkward and painful as we worried that she had another Watching Ellie on her hands -- a whim of sitcom built upon musings.

That's the bad news. Here's the good. The second episode CBS aired (also on Monday night), found a lot less "NEW CHARACTER" and a lot more humor.

Part of the reason for that may be that there was a lot less of Ritchie, Christine's son. The point isn't that Dreyfus can't work with children (she can), it's that his scenes offered nothing. Louis-Dreyfus' comedy (whatever name the character's called) is based on conflict stemming from interaction and action. It was true of her Seinfeld character Elaine, it was true of Maggie Lizer (her character in Arrested Development), it was true of Eileen Swift (her character in Day by Day).

Not recognizing that basis was why Watching Ellie failed. Too often, Louis-Dreyfus was left onscreen delivering monologues to no one. (Think of that show as The Cerebral Monologues.)

CBS made a smart decision in airing two episodes last Monday because the first one alone wasn't much of an invitation for viewers to return as it conveyed every detail, every emotion, every thought through spoken word. And there was a lot of backstory to convey. She's two years divorced from Richard (played by Clark Gregg), she's raising their son Ritchie with some assistance from her live-in brother Matthew (played by Hamish Linklater). The child is switching from a public school to an exclusive, private one. And her ex-husband has just started a relationship with a younger woman who's also named Christine.

Robert Altman could have set all that up, with snatches of dialogue, in a three minute tracking shot but it take the show a full episode to get the points across. Sometimes repeatedly.

Time was wasted with a gag where Christine, aping Michelle Pfeiffer's character in Batman Returns?, phones herself to leave audio messages of things to do. Did we really need to open with the recording of a message and then move immediately to hearing it play back? No.
The gag wasn't that funny to begin with.

The second episode wasn't the-audience-finds-out-about-Christine's-life-as-she-does. It actually had foward motion and, best of all, it had Louis-Dreyfus interacting with many characters. The best of the bunch was guest-star Andy Richter.

With everyone around her having sex, Christine began to wonder if three years without didn't amount to more than a dry spell? So, on the advice of her assistant, she and her brother went to the super market. Linklater demonstrated he could be funny (in that scene and others in the second episode). After striking out in the super market, Christine bumps into Richter outside and they have a one night stand.

Only it's not.

The next day, at her son's school, it's noted that her eyes don't have the "crazy look" and her neck's less tense. Marly and Lindsay, two mothers with too much time on their hands -- played by Tricia O'Kelley and Alex Kapp Horner, quickly guess that Christine's had sex. Christine revels in the moment as she seeks to play herself off as someone much wilder than she is. Marly and Lindsay are shocked that Christine would have a one night stand. Scandalized even. Until Richter approaches and hugs her warmly.

His daughter goes to the same school. And he's been given a nickname at the school -- Sad Dad.
Louis-Dreyfus plays the scene perfectly, from the cocky attitude (full of body movement) when she's trying to prove how out there she can be, to the embarrassment when Richter hugs her, to the mortification when the women realize Christine slept with Sad Dad.

That's a complex bit -- to go through all of those emotions and hit all the rights note for them -- and Louis-Dreyfus pulls it off. From there, she's dealing with her ex, her brother and Richter (who thinks it's love). The second show is an invitation to view a long running series, let's hope viewers hung around for it.

And let's hope that Louis-Dreyfus realizes that somethings can't be helped. Such as the fact that talking about Supertramp while at the fridge was pure Elaine in terms of body movement.
Live with it. Accept that Meryl Streep has never done a sitcom and that sitcoms really aren't the place to show how far you can stretch as a performer. (Stretching usually leads to those "special" episodes of Mad About You that viewers avoid in syndication.)

The writers need to accept that they don't have Bob Newhart on their hands. Like Cher, Newhart's comedic talent derives from a detached stance. Louis-Dreyfus can't pull that off (and shouldn't try to). The only bit with the child that semi-worked in the first episode was when Louis-Dreyfus couldn't stop kissing him in the classroom. Had it been noticed by anyone other than her ex-husband and built upon (Christine getting embarrassed, Christine making a remark), it would have been funny. Newhart can gather many laughs from a long reaction shot where he's stationary but Louis-Dreyfus needs the interaction, her brand of comedy is too kinetic to be immobilized.

That's why she stood out as Elaine at a time when women were largely vanishing from sitcoms as active characters. This show is built around a physical comedian, it shouldn't ignore its strongest asset. Fortunately, the second episode doesn't.

In 1969, Mary Tyler Moore might have thought she'd forever be known to TV viewers as Laura Petrie. The Mary Tyler Moore Show changed that. It didn't do that with MTM rejecting trademarks moves and trademark styles of delivery. Instead, the show was built around Moore's (many) strengths. If everyone involved with The New Adventures of Old Christine will do the same, and stop acting as though Elaine Doesn't Live Here Anymore, CBS just found a way out of the fat/stupid husband & thin wife combo that they've built far too many sitcoms on while Julia Louis-Dreyfus will find herself with a way out of the 'Seinfeld curse.'

[Note that although it seems to have gone unremarked upon, in the second episode Monday night, Louis-Dreyfus wore a pink t-shirt -- the writing on which read: "PEOPLE FOR PEACE."
One of two peace statements on TV last week.]

Why We March

Because 2318 American troops have died in Iraq.

Because 103 British troops have died in Iraq.

Because 104 "other" ("coalition") troops have died in Iraq.

Because as many as 250,000 Iraqis have died.

Because the Bully Boy lied us into an illegal war.

Because the corporate media helped sell the lies.

Because the Bully Boy got away with his lies and now seeks to do even more damage.

Because democracy is worth standing up for.

Because not all options are on the table and addressed by corporate media.

Because though democracy has not been "brought" to Iraq, destruction has.

Because continuing the occupation means continuing the death and destruction.

Because there has never been a timetable for withdrawal.

Because Bully Boy torture does not lead to peace.

Because corporations shouldn't be allowed to trade blood for dollars.

Because silence equals approval if not death.

Because wrong is wrong.

Because history repeats.

Christian Parenti on KPFA's Sunday Salon this am and Air America's RadioNation with Laura Flanders this evening

It's a busy Sunday for Christian Parenti with at least two radio appearances.

First up, KPFA offers:

9:00 am Pacific Time
Sunday Salon
The third anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq...
In our first hour...

War is not the way to resolving conflict resolution: a Bay Area program is getting people started on non-violent solutions when they're young. We'll be joined by youth from the Berkeley-based Mosaic Project and the program's Director.
In our second hour...

A conversation about the war with author/journalists Pratap Chattergee ("Iraq Inc.: A Profitable Occupation," Seven Stories Press, 2004), Aaron Glantz ("How America Lost Irag," Tarcher, 2005), and Christian Parenti ("The Freedom," New Press, 2005)

Later, Air America offers:

RadioNation with Laura Flanders
Sunday 7:00-10:00 pm Eastern Time
Sunday's broadcast of RadioNation with Laura Flanders will include guests Christian Parenti of The Nation and Linda Foley, president of the Newspaper Guild. Flanders will also be discussing alternatives to war with UNICEF president Carol Bellamy.

One voice applauded, one not heard?

Man, oh man, that James Spader, what a mighty, mighty man. So manly.

Is that what it takes to get attention?

While Spader's character gave a very fine speech on Boston Legal, there were two other statements made by TV characters last week.

The one we expected everyone to catch occurred on Thursday's ER.

Parminder Nagra's Dr. Neela Rasgotra is married to a man serving in Iraq (Michael). Near the end of the episode, she met up with the spouses of others serving. In that gathering, as talk of Iraq floated around endlessly, Neela made it clear that she wasn't for the war in Iraq. She stated that she supported the troops but not the war. Much to the shock of some assembled.

Attempts to press her into altering her statement only resulted in her firm statement that she was pacifist. Futhermore, she said she refused "to be brainwashed into falling in line with some psuedo-patrictic vision."

In the jingo-jingo land of corporate entertainment, very few voices of resistance break through. Thursday night, one did. But does it break through if no one notices?

Is that too much like "If a tree falls when no one's around . . ."?

Neela may not be "manly" but we found her voice more than strong enough. Especially at a time when war games and war continue to be the main meals served up the networks.

The ones who go missing, missing from the coverage

The number of soldiers absconding from the British Army has trebled since the invasion of Iraq, raising fears that the military is facing a crisis in morale.
The Independent on Sunday can reveal that last year more than 380 soldiers went absent without leave and have since failed to return to duty - marking a dramatic increase since the invasion of Iraq three years ago.
Military lawyers and campaigners said that these figures suggested significant levels of disaffection in the ranks over the legality of the occupation, and growing discontent about the coalition's failure to defeat the Iraqi insurgency.
An RAF doctor was last week taken to a court martial for refusing to serve in Iraq, claiming the occupation is illegal, and a former SAS trooper, Ben Griffin, revealed he had quit the army in protest at the war.

So begins Severin Carrell's "Soldiers going Awol have trebled since the invasion of Iraq" (The Independent of London).

What's the deal with the coverage of this in the alternative media? We don't mean Democracy Now! or RadioNation with Laura Flanders (both of whom have provided regular coverage and, in fact, Flanders just had Camilo Mejia on yesterday). But we are wondering about our print magazines. It seems as though it's a one time story, at worst, a once a year story, at best. And often it's part of a moasic, as opposed to being the focus of the story itself. We don't understand why that is.

Kevin Benderman is imprisoned. Jeremy Hinzman and Brandon Hughey are but two seeking asylum in Canada. Katherine Jashinski, has anyone written a story on her?

It's been noted that:

Resistance is going on all over the world. In the United States, we know the names of (or should) people like Camilo Mejia, Aidan Delgado, Pablo Paredes, Kevin Benderman and Katherine Jashinski.

So why aren't we reading more about it?

We can read about Iraq vets running for office. But we can read about that in the mainstream media.

With the administration actively pursuing war resisters from the Vietnam era, why aren't reading more about the resisters of today?

The monthly magazines, such as Harper's and The Progressive, may feel that with twelve issues a year, their opportunities are more limited and that might be a fair call. (Matthew Rothschild interviewed war resister Carl Webb for Progressive Radio a few months back, it should be noted.) So maybe this question really goes to a biweekly like The Nation?

We just know that this is part of the story of the war and we don't feel that it's getting enough attention. Until Friday, we were unaware that a major union in Canada was supporting the efforts of Jeremy Hinzman and Brandon Hughey. (See James Clancy's "Mr Haper goes to war.")
Also Friday, we learned that "France Attracts More US 'Refuseniks'."

Cindy Sheehan put a face on the war for many. She brought home the actual costs of the illegal war. We think there are other faces out there, people with stories to share. The war has many costs. Elaine has noted repeatedly that her patients who are vets returning from Iraq don't feel their stories are told. This is even more true when it comes to covering the war resisters.

The war has many costs and that could be brought home with beefed up coverage. Patrick and Jill Hart have a story to tell. Others do as well.

The 'vet as politician' angle honestly doesn't interest us. John McCain's a vet and we haven't seen anything to indicate he learned a thing from his experience (or he wouldn't have gone along with the Graham-Levin amendment). John Kerry? It seems like he learned something in Vietnam . . . and then forgot two decades later when he ran for president.

We are interested in the human costs of the illegal war, in the choices that are made and the battles that are fought.

We think James Clancy said it well in "Mr Haper goes to war:"

In the past, Canada has provided a refuge for U.S. citizens who decide not to support their nation's military follies overseas. Another Prime Minister, Pierre Trudeau, took a clear stand in support of a generation of U.S. war resisters during the Vietnam era.
The statement Trudeau made at the time remains just as valid today: "Those who make the conscientious judgment that they must not participate in this war ... have my complete sympathy, and indeed our political approach has been to give them access to Canada. Canada should be a refuge from militarism."
The National Union absolutely agrees and joins the demand for the federal government to take whatever steps are necessary to allow US war resisters to stay in Canada.

Camilo Mejia spoke with Laura Flanders about the 241 mile march

RadioNation with Laura Flanders featured some amazing commentary, strong discussions and great music. Alexander Cockburn rightly noted that "Here we are 3 years into the war" with "two of 3 Americans" feeling the invasion of Iraq was a "bad idea" and the "biggest chickens are in DC." They can't find their voice on the war, with few exceptions (Laura Flanders noted that there were some exceptions on this in the House) and they can't find a spine that will allow them to stand upright in support of Russ Feingold's motion to censure the Bully Boy.

"What are they waiting for?" wondered Flanders, a feeling we think our readers can relate to.

But what we wanted to focus on was one guest, Camilo Mejia. For someone who gets so little attention from the media, Mejia is well known to readers and community members. That is because of the alternative media such as Flanders, Democracy Now! and various other outlets.
Since corporate media isn't interested (and it's not), it's up to alternative media to share these stories.

Former Iraq veteran and former jailed Conscientious Objector, Mejia is one of the strong voices speaking out against the occupation. Saturday, on RadioNation with Laura Flanders, he spoke on his latest action: a long distance march led by Fernando Suarez del Solar, Pablo Paredes, Aidan Delgado and himself. The 241 mile march, which started in Tijuana and will end in San Francisco, is an attempt at "raising Latino voice of opposition to the War in Iraq."

Mejia told Flanders that the number of people marching in each area varies due to the fact that "local people march with us." The march's goals including building awareness not only of Latino opposition (and encouraging opposition) but also to get people to see the relationship "between the war in Iraq and the situation in New Orleans."

"It comes down to greed," Mejia said. "It all comes down to human greed."

To get "people to the conection very clearly, you have to have the marches, the demonstrations."

The route for the march can be found here and events are currently listed through March 21st with a note of "more to come."

Latino voices have been a strong part of the anti-war movement and a large number of veterans of the Iraq war now speaking out are Latino such as Mejia, Paredes and Delgado. Aiden Delgado told C.S. Soong on KPFA's Against the Grain that he felt this resulted from the fact that Latinos are more likely to be familiar with the US actions in other nations and, therefore, more willing to question official pronouncements by an administration.

Why the march? Mejia summed it up with this, "You have to help people understand that it's not just a war happening half-way around the world, it's happening here."

Sunday's broadcast of RadioNation with Laura Flanders will include guests Christian Parenti of The Nation and Linda Foley, president of the Newspaper Guild. Flanders will also be discussing alternatives to war with UNICEF president Carol Bellamy.

Miles Cameron can't figure out what news is

Is it too much to expect that Air America Radio could provide news on the news breaks?

Saturday after Saturday, the taks seems to escape one "anchor."

Last night, at the news breaks before the second hour and the third hour, it went beyond "news." Far beyond the product promotion that Frisco Hills did for Ford and Bob Hope DVDs in a supposed new break. The culprit was, no surprise, Miles Cameron.

The two strongest anchors of the news break have been Bill Crowley and JoAnne Allen. Allen's been gone for over a year and is sorely missed. Miles Cameron? He needs to go or figure out what the news is. And this isn't a recent problem for the weekend "anchor."

There were three "items" in the news break (the same news break at both hours). The third item was pure fluff and didn't belong anywhere outside of Good Morning America. Cameron introduced it with, "Most dog owners will tell their dog is the best." And most listeners of Air America Radio, on the third anniversary of the invasion, would tell you to find some real news.
That was his third strike.

First time at bat, he struck out with a story on John McCain wherein McCain trashed Russ Feingold's call for Bully Boy to be censured. This was the lead story with two soundbytes from McCain. Is Cameron confused as to McCain's party membership? "Arizona Senator John McCain is not supporting Russ Feingold's resolution to censure George Bush," Cameron told listeners forgetting that they don't give a damn about John McCain's opinion.

McCain then is heard speaking of how he can disagree with Feingold but still work with him and that Feingold's proposal was "unwarranted, unnecessary and unfortunate." Which is followed by Cameron saying, "Speaking in Connecticut, he says Feingold actions may harm the Democratic Party." A Republican talking point repeated by Cameron. And then comes the sound clip where McCain says, yes, that it may harm the Democratic Party.

Why is McCain being given so much attention by the anchor of the news break for Air America Radio? Why does the anchor not know what Laura Flanders does which is that Feingold's call for censure is not an unpopular stance with Democrats? (Non-elected Democrats, true, also known as "voters" and "citizens.")

So let's get to the second strike, the second news item and, remember, this is the third anniversary of the invasion and protests are going on all over the world with support for the occupation at an all time low.

Cameron introduces the second bit with this, "There's unwavered support and unrestrained concern" as the US begins Operation "Swarmer" -- which we'd already learned, on the first hour of RadioNation with Laura Flanders from Flanders, was a p.r. move and not much of an "operation." Again, Cameron's in the dark. "Unwavered support"? This is Air America, right? Because it sounds like Fox "News."

He tosses to Spencer Raine who says "The US must stay the course now more than ever." Raine then presents two voices on the war. The first says of the war, "We think they're doing the right thing." The second voice says, "They're trying to divide and concur."

With the portion of Americans turning against the war, what Raine "reported" was not just surprising considering that no voice against the war featured (on the third anniversary of the invasion, just to repeat that one more time) but also because the statement (editorial?) by Raine that "The US must stay the course now more than ever" is a puzzler.

It's certainly not news. It's propaganda and it shouldn't have made it over the airwaves of Air America Radio.

As Peter Hart noted on last week's CounterSpin:

On Fox News channel the next day the pundits on the show Special Report were discussing the Iraq war which led NPR reporter Mara Liasson to make this claim. QUOTE "Poll after poll has shown that no matter how pessimistic Americans are about Iraq, there is no big support for a pull out now movement. In other words, still it's like one-in-six think we should withdraw our troops. There is basic support for the project of forming some kind of a stable democracy in Iraq." That's a curious assertion since the latest CBS poll showed twenty-nine percent of the public favor immediate withdrawal of US troops which is more than one-in-six. Another thirty-percent favor decreasing troop levels. And that same poll found that fifty-four percent of Americans think Iraq will never become a stable democracy. Instead of reporting on polls, these reporter/pundits seem to be wishing that the public would see things the way they see them.

It's bad enough that, on Air America Radio, Miles Cameron doesn't even know the basics. But a bigger issue is why the hell this nonsense was covered instead of the protests going on today?
Whether the network as a whole is left of "slightly left-of-center" (as one described it to The New York Times Sunday Magazine shortly before the network went on air), there's no reason for that nonsense.

Product placement and animal stories aren't news, they're filler. They don't belong on a news break. If that's too hard for a Frisco Hills or a Miles Cameron to grasp then they don't need a microphone placed in front of them by Air America. Laura Flanders doesn't need propaganda undermining her show during the news breaks.

In the past, when confronted personally about the weekend news breaks (Frisco Hill), one AAR brass grew enraged. (The news break, the Frisco Hill news break, had obsessed over Lacy Peterson and Scott Peterson -- the sort of crap that's best left to MSNBC.) The brass in question is no longer with the network. If the people upstairs are smart, they'll deal with this situation. At least two complaints showed up on the Flanders' blog about this "news" break. On February 26, 2005 there were similar complaints on the Flanders' blog. At what point does Air America Radio pay attention? (We're not referring to Flanders or her staff, they have nothing to do with the news breaks.)

Did the mainstream not cover the protests? Is that the excuse? (We have no idea, we were out protesting not sitting around watching TV "news.") If that is indeed the excuse, we're sure that some arrangement could have been made with Pacifia Radio for a soundbyte. Before the next protests take place, the news break staff of Air America Radio needs to have their bases covered. They need to provide information on protests. Not just on the third anniversary (though not providing it on this occasion was journalistic malpractice), but on any day where there's significant opposition to the Bully Boy. Don't wait until the night of to start wondering how to get ahold of some audio.

If the news break staff can't figure out what news is, think about running some of the headlines from Friday's Democracy Now! instead. People don't need fluff on the news break. They don't need to hear about a new Bob Hope DVD set, or a new car from Ford or a poll on favorite pets.
On any day. But especially on the the weekend of the third anniversary of the invasion, people don't need fluff about how popular "labs" are as a pet.

And on the third anniversary of the invasion, they don't need a right wing "news" story of how we need to "stay the course" and hear from only those supporting that (unpopular) position. That "balance" is the sort of crap that the mainstream media spits out. (Well, not out of their mouth, to the back and lower.) Air America Radio needs to take a serious look at what the weekend news breaks are providing because they are in strong need of supervision.

It should come in a brown wrapper

FOR a couple of days last week, the political complexities and sectarian murders in Iraq were finally off the TV screens. Instead, the networks showed spectacular pictures – provided by the Pentagon – of square-jawed soldiers jumping out of helicopters with their Iraqi buddies and going into action against al-Qaeda fighters in what was billed as the biggest air assault since the invasion in 2003.
[. . .]
As Operation Swarmer fizzled to a close yesterday, it became clear that the biggest air assault since 2003 wasn’t really such a knock-out blow against terrorism after all. 50 helicopters and 1500 troops managed to find just one insurgent and a few weapons caches, according to an Iraqi official. Nearly 50 people were detained, but many were quickly released. Sunni politicians complained that the operation showed a reliance on military solutions when what was needed was political answers.

-- Nick Meo, "3 Years Of War: Iraq Eyewitness: It will take more than media-friendly air assaults to save the country from civil war," Scotland's Sunday Herald.

So as the American support for the illegal war continues to crater, while the war pornographers take to the airwaves, bookstores and newspapers to promote 'strategy' mis-steps, Bully Boy just happens to have a new photo-op version of Operation Happy Talk.

"See," the combo seems to imply, "we've learned from our failures, now we work together."

About as convincing as the psyops operation where we (and a handful of Chalabi flunkies) pulled down the statue of Saddam.

Pornography can be defined as "the depiction of erotic behavior (as in pictures and writing" intended to cause sexual excitement" (Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary). War pornography? The depiction of military strategies (as in fluff and coulda-shoulda-woulda) intended to distract from the larger issue of the validity of a war.

That's what book author and New York Times "reporter" Michael Gordon peddles. It's not a "war," after all, it's "a policy decision" he maintained on Democracy Now! ("Michael Gordon and General Bernard Trainor on the Inside Story of the Invasion and Occupation of Iraq"). Therefore, he didn't "have a dog in this fight."

Not having a dog in the fight (or a functioning brain) allows him to wax on about strategy as though Iraq was populated with toy soldiers and it was all a game.

War pornographers get so excited, so juiced, at the thought of intoning on how this battle should have been staged, how many troops should have been here, what equipment should have been there, that they overlook/ignore the fact that there are people involved. Like a snuff film addict, they just want to blow their wad and they really don't care who got hurt for them to reach climax.

Bully Boy can't argue that everything's gone as planned and gone well. The reality is something even he can't avoid this time. So look for the new roll out: Mistakes were made, but we've learned.

And look for the war pornographers to pick up on that. To treat that as the issue. Professional busy bodies like Thomas Friedman will jump into the fray. The sound of their own voice and the opportunity to dispense their own conventional wisdom is too great a lure for them to resist pontificating at length.

However, that's not really the issue, is it? The issue is whether we should continue the illegal war or bring the troops home.

Look for the war pornographers to flash glimpes of strategy at you to try to interest you in their circle jerk. Look for it and avoid it.

Who uses free speech?

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld answered critics of the war in a guest column in Sunday's editions of The Washington Post, asserting that if Americans were to turn away from Iraq, it would be "the modern equivalent of handing postwar Germany back to the Nazis."

Donny Rummy, drunk on power, war and who knows what else, makes a Nazi comparison (the above is from Paul Burkhardt's "Anti-War Rallies Mark Iraq Anniversary," Associated Press). It must be nice to have free speech.

The right does. They make Nazi comparisons and no one bats an eyes. They make jokes about, as Ann Coulter did, bombing The New York Times and no one gets outraged.

They say whatever the hell they want. And, of course, they don't manufacture outrage against their own.

At some point, the left might want to take a look at that. Well, not the left. The left, the real left, isn't worried that a joke Whoopi Goldberg told upset a few blue hairs. It's just the timid leadership. And the timid kind-of-maybe-left writers (like the one who couldn't bring himself to lisp a defense of Susan Sontag).

We disagree with Rumsfeld comparison and his "logic." We'll say he's wrong. We won't scream, "How dare he!" It's free speech. Maybe if more people used it, not just the right, we wouldn't have embarrassing moments like Dick Durbin offering an apology under pressure?

Rumsfeld comparison fails on many levels. But in terms of free speech, he has every right to make it (and flaunt his ignorance).

Estados Unidos lanza mayor ataque aereo desde invasion a Irak (Democracy Now!)

Estados Unidos lanza mayor ataque aereo desde invasion a Irak (Democracy Now!)

Maria: Buenos dias. De parte de "Democracy Now!" diez cosas que vale hacer notar este fin de semana. Paz.

Estados Unidos lanza mayor ataque aéreo desde invasión a Irak
Soldados estadounidenses e iraquíes lanzaron lo que las Fuerzas Armadas denominan el mayor ataque aéreo en los tres años desde que comenzó la invasión a Irak. En un comunicado de prensa, el ejército dijo que se desplegaron más de 1.500 soldados y 50 aviones en un "área donde se sospecha que opera la insurgencia" en el noreste de Samarra. Se espera que la operación "Enjambre" dure varios días. Hasta ahora no se han informado muertes.

Culpan a ataques estadounidenses de la muerte de integrantes de una familia iraquí
Mientras tanto, se responsabiliza a un ataque militar estadounidense a la localidad iraquí de Balad, de la muerte de por lo menos una docena de integrantes de una familia. Entre los muertos se encontraban cinco niños y seis mujeres. "Associated Press" informa que la casa de esta familia fue derribada por un ataque aéreo de un helicóptero estadounidense. Las víctimas fueron envueltas en mantas y llevadas al Hospital General de Tíkrit. Ahmed Khalaf, el hermano de una de las víctimas, dijo: "La familia asesinada no era parte de la resistencia, eran mujeres y niños. Los estadounidenses nos prometieron una vida mejor, pero sólo obtenemos muerte".

Nueva encuesta: 36 por ciento aprueba gestión de Bush, mientras que el 60 por ciento dice que la guerra va mal
Bush anunció durante un discurso que lanzó una nueva campaña de relaciones públicas para obtener más apoyo para la guerra en Irak y su presidencia. La última encuesta de "USA Today"/CNN indica que el índice de aprobación del presidente es de sólo el 36 por ciento. Y el 60 por ciento de la población del país dice que la guerra en Irak va mal.

Principal general estadounidense en Irak señala que bases militares podrían volverse permanentes
En otras noticias, el principal comandante militar estadounidense en Irak señaló que Estados Unidos podría tener intenciones de mantener varias bases militares que construyó en este país. El General John Abizaid, compareció el martes ante un subcomité del Congreso y dijo que Estados Unidos podría querer conservar su posición en Irak para apoyar a los "moderados" regionales y proteger los suministros de petróleo.

Informe: Ataques aéreos estadounidenses aumentan un 50 por ciento en Irak
En otras noticias sobre Irak, "Knight Ridder" informa que el gobierno estadounidense incrementó los ataques aéreos más de un 50 por ciento en los últimos cinco meses. Según las cifras militares, las fuerzas estadounidenses arrojaron al menos el doble de bombas en ciudades iraquíes que durante el mismo período el año pasado. Este año, los aviones de guerra estadounidenses atacaron por lo menos 18 ciudades distintas.

Nivel más bajo de generación eléctrica en Irak desde período posterior a la invasión
En otras noticias sobre Irak, "Associated Press" informa que la generación eléctrica alcanzó el nivel más bajo desde el período posterior a la invasión estadounidense a Irak, hace tres años. Algunos analistas creen que Irak podría tener que recurrir a su país vecino, Irán, para resolver la crisis energética, este mismo verano. El sistema eléctrico de Irak sufrió numerosos problemas desde que fue atacado en la invasión dirigida por Estados Unidos en 1991. Actualmente, es capaz de cubrir menos de la mitad de las necesidades de Irak. La preocupación de los iraquíes por la recuperación del sistema ha aumentando debido a la disminución de los fondos de reconstrucción provenientes de Estados Unidos. Según el inspector general para la reconstrucción de Irak, los fondos actuales son de 200 millones de dólares menos que los necesarios para cubrir las necesidades mínimas del sistema.

Soldado británico de élite se niega a luchar con Estados Unidos en Irak
En Gran Bretaña, un soldado de la élite SAS (Servicio Especial Aéreo) se niega a volver a luchar en Irak en lo que describe como una guerra de agresión moralmente incorrecta. Se cree que el soldado, Ben Griffin, es el primer soldado del SAS en negarse a luchar y en abandonar el ejército por motivos morales. Griffin dijo que se negaba a luchar junto con soldados estadounidenses porque veían a los iraquíes como "untermenschen", el término Nazi para denominar razas consideradas infrahumanas. También acusó a los soldados estadounidenses de cometer "docenas de actos ilegales" en Irak.

Más de 500 eventos planificados para conmemorar el tercer año de la guerra en Irak
Y mientras la invasión y ocupación de Irak cumplen su tercer año este domingo, los activistas están organizando eventos en contra de la guerra en todo el mundo. Tan sólo en Estados Unidos, se llevarán a cabo al menos 500 protestas durante el fin de semana. United for Peace and Justice (Unidos por la Paz y la Justicia) organizó actividades en los 50 estados. Algunas comenzaron a principios de esta semana. Una marcha de veteranos por la paz, que comenzó el martes en Alabama, terminará en Nueva Orleáns. Según "USA Today", una nueva encuesta indica que el 60 por ciento de los estadounidenses creen que la guerra no "valía la pena". En Londres, Stop the War Coalition llevará a cabo una protesta el sábado para exigir la retirada de los soldados estadounidenses y británicos de Irak. Manifestaciones similares se llevarán a cabo en ciudades de Irak, así como también en México, Japón, y en otras partes de Europa.

Estados Unidos criticado por juzgar a prisionero detenido desde que tenía 15 años de edad
Esta noticia es sobre la Bahía de Guantánamo. Los abogados de derechos humanos le pedirán hoy a la Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos que suspenda el tribunal militar de un ciudadano canadiense que ha estado detenido en la prisión militar desde que tenía 15 años. Los abogados dijeron que Omar Khadr es la primer persona en la historia del mundo moderno en afrontar una comisión militar por presuntos delitos cometidos cuando era niño.

Sandra Day O'Connor advierte que Estados Unidos se está encaminando hacia la "dictadura"
La ex ministra de la Corte Suprema, Sandra Day O'Connor, advirtió la semana pasada que Estados Unidos corre peligro de encaminarse hacia una dictadura si los derechistas continúan atacando al Poder Judicial. En uno de sus primeros discursos públicos desde que abandonó su cargo, O'Connor, que fue postulada por Ronald Reagan, criticó severamente a los republicanos por utilizar tácticas para manipular al Poder Judicial. Según un informe de NPR, O'Connor dijo: "Un país debe degenerarse mucho antes de caer en la dictadura, pero para evitar terminar así, debemos evitar comenzar así".

Maria: Good morning. Now in English, here are ten news stories from Democracy Now! Peace.

US Launches Largest Air Assault Since Iraq Invasion
US and Iraqi troops have launched what the military is calling the largest air assault in the three years since the Iraq invasion. In a press release, the army said over fifteen hundred troops and fifty aircraft have been deployed in a "suspected insurgent operating area" northeast of Samarra. Operation "Swarmer" is expected to last for several days. No casualties have been reported so far.

US Strikes Blamed for Death of Iraqi Family Members
Meanwhile, a US military attack in the Iraqi town of Balad is being blamed for the deaths of at least a dozen members of the same family. The dead include five children and six women. The Associated Press is reporting the family’s house was flattened by an airstrike from a US helicopter. The victims were wrapped in blankets and driven to the Tikrit General Hospital. Ahmed Khalaf, the brother of one of the victims, said: "The dead family was not part of the resistance, they were women and children. The Americans have promised us a better life, but we get only death."

New Poll: 36% Approve Bush; 60% Say War is Going Badly
Bush made the announcement during a speech that launched a new public relations campaign to win greater support for the war in Iraq and his presidency. The latest USA Today/CNN poll shows the president's approval rating is at just 36 percent. And 60 percent of the country says the war in Iraq is going badly.

Top US General in Iraq Says Bases May Be Permanent
In other news, the top US military commander in Iraq has indicated the US may want to hold on to the several military bases it has built in the country. Appearing before a Congressional subcommittee Tuesday, General John Abizaid said the US may want to keep a foothold in Iraq to support regional "moderates" and protect oil supplies.

Report: US Airstrikes Up 50% in Iraq
In further Iraq news, Knight Ridder is reporting the US government has increased airstrikes by more than half in the last five months. According to military figures, US forces have dropped at least double the number of bombs on Iraqi cities than they did during the same period one year ago. This year, U.S. warplanes have struck at least 18 different cities.

Iraq Electricity Output At Lowest Point Since Invasion Aftermath
In other Iraq news, the Associated Press is reporting electricity output has reached its lowest point since the period right after the US invasion of Iraq three years ago. Some analysts believe Iraq may have to turn to neighboring Iran to solve its energy crisis -- as early as this summer. Iraq’s electricity grid has suffered numerous problems since it was targeted in the US-led invasion in 1991. It is currently able to meet less than half of Iraq’s needs. Iraqi concerns for the grid’s recovery have been stoked by dwindling reconstruction funding from the US. According to the inspector-general for Iraq reconstruction, current funding is over $200 million dollars short of meeting the grid’s minimal needs.

Elite UK Soldier Refuses to Fight w/ U.S. in Iraq
In Britain, an elite SAS soldier is refusing to return to fight in Iraq in what he describes as a morally wrong war of aggression. The soldier, Ben Griffin, is believed to be the first SAS soldier to refuse to go into combat and to leave the army on moral grounds. Griffin said he refused to fight alongside U.S. troops because they viewed Iraqis as "untermenschen" -- the Nazi term for races regarded as sub-human. He also accused U.S. troops of committing "dozens of illegal acts" in Iraq.

Over 500 Events Planned For Events Marking Third Year of Iraq War
And as the invasion and occupation of Iraq reaches the three-year mark this Sunday, activists are staging anti-war events around the world. At least 500 protests are being held in the US this weekend alone. United for Peace and Justice has organized actions in all 50 states. Some began earlier this week. A veterans march for peace, which began in Alabama Tuesday, will end in New Orleans. According to USA Today, a new poll shows 60 percent of Americans believe the war was not "worth it." In London, the Stop the War Coalition will stage a protest Saturday to demand the withdrawal of US and British troops from Iraq. Similar demonstrations are to be held in cities in Iraq, as well as in Mexico, Japan, and other parts of Europe.

U.S. Criticized for Trying Detainee Held Since He Was 15
In news from Guantanamo Bay, human rights lawyers will be asking the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights today to suspend the military tribunal of a Canadian citizen who has been held at the military prison since he was 15 years old. Lawyers said Omar Khadr is the first person in modern world history to face a military commission for alleged crimes committed as a child.

Sandra Day O'Connor Warns About U.S. Edging Towards 'Dictatorship'
Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor warned last week that the United States is in danger of edging towards a dictatorship if right-wingers continued to attack the judiciary. In one of her first public speeches since leaving the bench, O'Connor -- who was nominated by Ronald Reagan -- sharply criticized Republicans for strong-arming the judiciary. According to a report on NPR, O'Connor said "It takes a lot of degeneration before a country falls into dictatorship, but we should avoid these ends by avoiding these beginnings."

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C.I. on the war pornography that encourages the war to drag on

C.I. wrote this entry while participating in a roundtable discussion for the gina & krista round-robin.  We're still shocked by that because we remember C.I. commenting on what others were saying and bringing up additional points.  If we hadn't heard the click-click-click of the keyboard during the discussion, we still wouldn't believe it.  War pornagraphers?  They're the ones pushing 'strategy' instead of addressing the roots of the illegal occupation.

And the war drags on . . . (Indymedia Roundup)

When the media watch group FAIR conducted a survey of network news sources during the Gulf War's first two weeks, the most frequent repeat analyst was ABC's Anthony Cordesman. Not surprisingly, the former high-ranking official at the Defense Department and National Security Council gave the war-makers high marks for being trustworthy.
"I think the Pentagon is giving it to you absolutely straight," Cordesman said (Newsday, 1/23/91).
The standard media coverage boosted the war. "Usually missing from the news was analysis from a perspective critical of U.S. policy," FAIR reported (Extra!, Winter/91). "The media's rule of thumb seemed to be that to support the war was to be objective, while to be anti-war was to carry a bias." Eased along by that media rule of thumb was the sanitized language of Pentagonspeak as mediaspeak: "Again and again, the mantra of 'surgical strikes against military targets' was repeated by journalists, even though Pentagon briefers acknowledged that they were aiming at civilian roads, bridges and public utilities vital to the survival of the civilian population."
As the Gulf War came to an end, people watching CBS saw Dan Rather close an interview with the 1st Marine Division commander by shaking his hand and exclaiming (2/27/91): "Again, general, congratulations on a job wonderfully done!"
Chris Hedges covered the Gulf War for the New York Times. More than a decade later, he wrote in a book (War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning):
"The notion that the press was used in the war is incorrect. The press wanted to be used. It saw itself as part of the war effort." Truth-seeking independence was far from the media agenda. "The press was as eager to be of service to the state during the war as most everyone else. Such docility on the part of the press made it easier to do what governments do in wartime, indeed what governments do much of the time, and that is lie."
Variations in news coverage did not change the overwhelming sameness of outlook:
"I boycotted the pool system, but my reports did not puncture the myth or question the grand crusade to free Kuwait. I allowed soldiers to grumble. I shed a little light on the lies spread to make the war look like a coalition, but I did not challenge in any real way the patriotism and jingoism that enthused the crowds back home. We all used the same phrases. We all looked at Iraq through the same lens."

The above, noted by Ryan, is from Norman Solomon's "The Military-Industrial-Media Complex: Why war is covered from the warriors’ perspective" (FAIR). It's always worth noting but especially on the third anniversary of the invasion, at a time when the new effort appears to be "Only we can bring peace" (when the occupation had done anything but that in Iraq). And to get the public behind the latest efforts, what better to do than to spotlight generals who grumble about strategy? Generals who explain that someone was tying their hands.

It's the old argument, you heard it for years in the revisionary Vietnam histories, "We could have won! We could have! But our hands were tied, we weren't given what we needed, we . . ."
Blah, blah, f-ing blah. On the Times' dopey article (actually a two-parter) this week, we already noted that the authors (who will be on Democracy Now! tomorrow) weren't historians, weren't anything. They're part of the roll out (knowingly or not) for the, "Okay, we screwed up the occupation before, but now we're going to do things right!" b.s.

That the administration screwed up is not a surprise -- in any area. That they screwed up in Iraq is not news. Naomi Klein charted the intentional screw ups in Iraq back in September of 2004 with "Baghdad Year Zero" (Harper's magazine). Let's quote Klein to be sure no one's forgotten:

Looking at the honey billboard, I was also reminded of the most common explanation for what has gone wrong in Iraq, a complaint echoed by everyone from John Kerry to Pat Buchanan: Iraq is mired in blood and deprivation because George W. Bush didn't have "a postwar plan." The only problem with this theory is that it isn't true. The Bush Administration did have a plan for what it would do after the war; put simply, it was to lay out as much honey as possible, then sit back and wait for the flies.

They did have a postwar plan. It was to shut the Iraqis out of the process, privatize as much as they could, and haul off as much money as they were able to. Learning that the British were shocked that Bully Boy didn't do this or that military is besides the point.

That wasn't his aim. His aim was to lie us over there and then create, from the ground -- hence Baghdad Year Zero, the free market -- from scratch and a gun barrel.

Talking military strategy is b.s. That's all it is, that's all it ever will be.

Talk about what was done in Iraq. Talk about how we got over there. Hearing tales from high ranking military officials about how they wished they had more whatever (bombs? troops?) is nonsense. We shouldn't have been over there and trying to sell the hogwash that there could have been a "win" is nonsense, it's jerking off, it's fantasizing and it's attempting to tack on even more days to the occupation as Americans are told if-only's and led to believe that Rumsfeld can carry it off this time.

It doesn't need to be 'carried off.' It needs to be ended. It never should have started. For three years a lot of people have deluded themselves about the tensions (against the occupiers) in Iraq. As though we could trample around their country and impose our concept of "order" upon a people -- an intelligent people, not a group of ignorant children. We can't. If that's not obvious to people now, it never will be.

Fortunately for those who practice the religion of denail, the likes of Michael Gordon scribble badly written articles that let them think, "If only we'd fought this way or that way, we'd have peace now!" No, we wouldn't. When one country occupies another, you don't get peace. When the host country wants the occupiers to leave, you don't get peace. When you import workers from out of the country and deny jobs to Iraqis, you don't get peace. When you have a tag sale on their public goods, you don't get peace. When you make noises about taking away their food subsidies, you don't get peace.

Why take away their food subsidies? Especially if they don't want them taken away? Because it doesn't fit the "free market" model we've attempted to impose upon Iraq, that we've attempted to force onto the people.

That's not democracy. That's occupation. We're calling the shots, and Iraqis don't like it. That's not a surprise to anyone awake. And hearing about the grumbles from the leadership of the military doesn't begin to address reality.

To note Naomi Klein again:

At first, the shock-therapy theory seemed to hold: Iraqis, reeling from violence both military and economic, were far too busy staying alive to mount a political response to Bremer’s campaign. Worrying about the privatization of the sewage system was an unimaginable luxury with half the population lacking access to clean drinking water; the debate over the flat tax would have to wait until the lights were back on. Even in the international press, Bremer's new laws, though radical, were easily upstaged by more dramatic news of political chaos and rising crime.
Some people were paying attention, of course. That autumn was awash in "rebuilding Iraq" trade shows, in Washington, London, Madrid, and Amman. The Economist described Iraq under Bremer as "a capitalist dream," and a flurry of new consulting firms were launched promising to help companies get access to the Iraqi market, their boards of directors stacked with well-connected Republicans. The most prominent was New Bridge Strategies, started by Joe Allbaugh, former Bush-Cheney campaign manager. "Getting the rights to distribute Procter & Gamble products can be a gold mine," one of the company's partners enthused. "One well-stocked 7-Eleven could knock out thirty Iraqi stores; a Wal-Mart could take over the country."

That was the plan, that is the plan. The military were used as rent-a-cops to protect the tag sales and the corporations. They were dispensible. That's why there was no guilt on the part of the Bully Boy about hiding coffins, about not attending funerals, go down the list. They weren't his "base." They were the servants sent in to do the chores. That some generals want to whine about the feather duster they were given or not given is beside the point.

The only plan is, and was always, to take over Iraq. Not to spread democracy. Not to help the Iraqis. It wasn't just creating a "free market," it was about opening a "new market." One created with rules by the United States for the United States.

Which is why this isn't surprising (from Democracy Now!):

Top US General in Iraq Says Bases May Be Permanent
In other news, the top US military commander in Iraq has indicated the US may want to hold on to the several military bases it has built in the country. Appearing before a Congressional subcommittee Tuesday, General John Abizaid said the US may want to keep a foothold in Iraq to support regional "moderates" and protect oil supplies.

Rachel asked that we note it again. It's worth noting again.

Bring the troops home? Not when people are pushing the nonsense that we could have "won" if only we'd utilized this military option or that military option. It's the same nonsense, the same sell war b.s. we've gotten in the post-Vietnam era as the likes of Rumsfeld, et al, have committed themselves to overcoming the "Vietnam syndrome."

What was that "syndrome"? A realization that war has costs, that leaders lie (from both of the dominant parties in the United States), a realization that Americans should not be sacrificed at the whim of a leader. This wasn't a "syndrome," it was an awakening.

Brenda wanted us to highlight "Lessons of Iraq War start with U.S. history" (The Progressive Media Project, The Progressive) again:

On the third anniversary of President Bush's Iraq debacle, it's important to consider why the administration so easily fooled so many people into supporting the war.I believe there are two reasons, which go deep into our national culture.
One is an absence of historical perspective. The other is an inability to think outside the boundaries of nationalism.
If we don't know history, then we are ready meat for carnivorous politicians and the intellectuals and journalists who supply the carving knives. But if we know some history, if we know how many times presidents have lied to us, we will not be fooled again.
[. . .]
Our leaders have taken it for granted, and planted the belief in the minds of many people that we are entitled, because of our moral superiority, to dominate the world. Both the Republican and Democratic Parties have embraced this notion.

It's that superiority that leads us to debate military strategies instead of the actual realities of how we got over there and of what we're doing over there.

Military porn, war lust, won't get to the heart of the problem. It's not even telling us anything useful. So some generals are unhappy that they couldn't do this or that, or some Brits were shocked by how we occupied -- so what? The issue is the occupation. The issue is why we are occupying.

But instead, we're encouraged to focus on the military 'strategy.' Why? Are we going to invade our own occupation? Hardly. But give people something to focus on other than reality and they'll go all dreamy-eyed. Many years ago, in a poli sci class, we had an assignment where we would be divided into five (or more) countries. Some would have the nuclear bomb and some wouldn't. If I'm vague on the assignment, there's a reason. I didn't participate. As the time for this major assignment (that would last two weeks) approached, you could just see people getting excited about having the 'bomb.' You could hear the jokes and see that the whole excercise was nothing but a war game and people were getting off on it. So I went to the professor and said that I couldn't participate. I was told my 'moral stance' was admirable but I might want to rethink it since I'd be getting a zero on that project. I took the zero. But before I left the office, I did ask what the objectives were? Not because I was on the fence, I'd already announced that I would be absent from two weeks worth of classes, but because I wanted to know exactly what was supposed to happen with the lesson. To raise awareness about the way nations relate, that was the goal.

Thing is, that's not what anyone got out of it. Not then, not since. (I spoke to ten classmates last weekend.) (The whole class participated, except for me.) What they got was how 'cool' it was to have 'power.' The ones with 'power' didn't have an understanding of the ones representing countries without 'power.' The ones in the latter category didn't come out with an understanding of how important diplomacy was or any sense of fairness/unfairness in the system. They just knew they needed to get the 'bomb' or represent another country the next time.

One of the people I spoke to was the strongest supporter (prior to and during) of the excercise. He said last weekend, looking back, the whole course seemed to exist just to "justify imperialism." It did that quite well.

And that's what military strategy discussions will do. If only we'd . . . Why didn't we . . . Never questions as to the actual right or wrong of the war itself. Just 'strategies.' And the administration's hope is that we'll get caught up in that 'game' and we'll lose sight of the fact that the occupation is as illegal as was the invasion, that Iraqis are dying, that troops in the so-called coaltion are dying. And maybe as we gear up for some sort of NFL fantasy war, we'll stop focusing on reality.

The invasion that was sold as a video game could become a game again! That's the hope.

The reality? That we're three years into the "cakewalk" that wasn't. That democracy wasn't the goal. That there was no interest in the Iraqi people as evidenced by the lack of interest the occupation has had in providing basics like running electricity and running water.

Here's some more reality, noted by In Dallas, "Rally and March, Downtown Dallas, March 19, 2006" (North Texas Indymedia):

On the third anniversary of the war, Sunday, March 19, 2006 a rally and march to Stop the War Now and Bring Our Troops Home will take place in Dallas at 2:00 p.m.
For those interested in bringing this war to an end, the rallying point will be:St. Paul United Methodist Church1816 Routh St. (downtown Dallas)
Participants will begin gathering outside the church at 1:30 p.m., and a rally consisting of speakers and music will start at 2:00 p.m.
The march immediately following will be to the Earle Cabell Federal Building.
People of all faiths are encouraged to show their support for Rev. L. Charles Stovall and his call for peace at St. Paul United Methodist Church. Morning services begining at 10:45 a.m.
For more information:
Walt Harrison, Camp Casey Dallas, (800) 490-8161 ext. 103,
Trish Major, Dallas Peace Center Communications Director, (214) 823-7793

Why is it important to be heard this weekend? Because the war drags on, within you, without you. Sing the song:

They're just there to try and make the people free,
But the way that they're doing it, it don't seem like that to me.
Just more blood-letting and misery and tears
That this poor country's known for the last twenty years,
And the war drags on.
-- words and lyrics by Mick Softly (available on Donovan's Fairytale)

It's Thursday, indymedia roundup with a focus on Iraq. The third annivesary of the invasion is upon us. Three years. Make yourself heard or accept that the war will continue to drag on. Accept, embrace it and make yourself useless.

Ben notes Mark Jurkowitz's "Numbing carnage: Once an upbeat hit, Bush's Iraq show has jumped the shark" (The Boston Phoenix):

As the brutal onslaught of chaos and bloodshed in Iraq steadily erodes Americans’ patience, a number of pollsters and analysts assert that those blaming the media for instilling defeatism in the American public -- in a reprise of the so-called Vietnam syndrome -- are wrong on two key counts.
For one thing, they say, the track of the media's performance in Iraq suggests that coverage, rather than being inalterably negative, has focused on both the upbeat (such as elections) and the downbeat (such as violence), as events have dictated. And second, the evidence suggests that the American vox populi is genuinely responsive to actual events as they unfold on the ground.
On Monday, in another of his repeated attempts to reverse the slide of support for his policy, George Bush gave a speech that discussed a "hopeful future" in Iraq and told Americans that despite "images of violence and anger and despair," the Iraqi people have opted for "a future of freedom and peace."
But Frank Newport, editor in chief of the Gallup poll, suggests that at this point the president is in the position of basically asking the public not to believe its eyes.
"Obviously, what Americans know about the war comes from the media, so their attitudes are crystallized by that, [and] their attitude toward the war reacts to what really happens."
"If I would talk to the administration," Newport adds, "I would say, 'Speeches don't do much anymore.' "

Durham Gal notes two items. First up, Patrick O'Neill's "Protests this weekend: March part of larger anti-war process" (Raleigh-Durham Independent):

Liz Seymour, a spokeswoman for the interim steering committee of the N.C. Peace and Justice Coalition, the main sponsor of the march, said this year more of the people working on the march are newcomers who became active because they were inspired after attending previous Fayetteville events.
Seymour said she knows Saturday's event will not make an impact on George Bush, but it will likely be part of an effort to build a comprehensive, long-range movement that goes beyond stopping the Iraq war.
"It's not about the right combination of programs and words to change the minds of the people elected to higher office," Seymour says. "The point is to broaden the movement, to give people direction toward their political goals. It's more about being in it for the long haul. It's more a demonstration of the way people are feeling the world could work."
Seymour says this year's gathering may be smaller than last year's crowd of more than 4,000 because several national groups, such as Iraq Veterans Against the War and Military Families Speak Out, will skip Fayetteville to be involved in a march from Mobile, Ala., to New Orleans, linking Iraqi war victims with victims displaced by Hurricane Katrina. It was those families and veterans who gave last year's event a national focus.
The steady decline in Bush's approval rating is an indication that more and more people are linking objections to the war with objections to Bush's overall policies, such as the PATRIOT Act, illegal domestic spying and allegations of torture at U.S.-operated prisons, Seymour says.
"It's all part of a larger mess," Seymour says. "The movement is growing in people who are working on social justice issues and linking them to the anti-war movement."

Second item, same source and also same reporter, Patrick O'Neill's "Ray McGovern to speak at protest: Ex-CIA analyst leads charge against Iraq war:"

In his career as a CIA analyst, Ray McGovern was responsible for preparing the President's Daily Brief for Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan. He was about as far from being an anti-war activist as you could get .
But this weekend he'll be in North Carolina speaking against the war in Iraq. And part of the former White House insider's message will be: George W. Bush is taking the United States toward fascism, and he must be stopped.
Impeachment will be a big part of McGovern's theme when he's the featured speaker at Saturday's anti-war march and rally in Fayetteville. He then speaks Sunday at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Raleigh.
"My general effort lately has been to challenge people to wake up and watch what's happening," McGovern said in a telephone interview.

[. . .]
Ray McGovern speaks Sunday at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Raleigh (3313 Wade Ave.) at 7:30 p.m. Info, 828-3499 or 942-2535.

Needing to hear some truth from Iraqis? Remember the CODEPINK tour is ongoing. Portland notes "News" from the Eugene Weekly which addresses one stop on the tour:

A member of a delegation of Iraqi women will be in Eugene next week speaking about daily life in Iraq and the possibility of an impending civil war. Eman Ahmed Khamas will speak at 7:30 pm Tuesday, March 21 at the Campbell Senior Center, 3rd and High. Suggested donation is $5-$10.
Khamas will talk first-hand about the escalation of violence that's occurred since the bombing of the Golden Mosque in Samarra Feb. 22. Khamas arrived in the U.S. March 5 with a delegation of Iraqi women seeking to tell their stories to the American public and urge U.S. and U.N. officials to create a peace plan to end the escalating cycle of violence.
The delegation has been traveling throughout the U.S. promoting a Women's Call for Peace that was signed by 100,000 women around the globe. The peace petition was delivered to the White House March 8, International Women's Day, by a large group of women wearing pink and marching with the Iraqi delegation. The group met at the Iraq Embassy and walked to the White House, chanting "Money for heath and education, not for war and occupation."
The call urges a shift in strategy in Iraq, from a military model to a conflict resolution model. It requests the withdrawal of all foreign troops and foreign fighters from Iraq, negotiations to reincorporate disenfranchised Iraqis, full representation of women in the peacemaking process, and a commitment to women's equality in the post-war Iraq. The full text is available at
Khamas is a journalist, translator and human rights activist who lives in Baghdad with her husband and two daughters. She is a member of the Women's Will organization, which focuses on defining and defending women's rights outside of political party interests and opposing incarceration of women as hostages. Khamas regularly publishes articles on women's conditions in Iraq since the March 2003 invasion, and has documented human rights violations committed by U.S. and Iraqi forces. She is also involved in mobilizing emergency relief (medicines, food and clothing) for victims of the war, especially women and children living in refugee camps.
Khamas is being hosted by Eugene CODEPINK, a small band of women from a variety of peace groups who believe the time is right for a new attitude to Eugene's traditional peace activist approach. Eugene CODEPINK founders Karla Cohen (Justice Not War Coalition), Pam Garrison (Justice Not War, Women in Black, WAND) and Aria Seligmann (WAND, Nonviolent Peaceforce) marched together in the Sept. 24 Peace Parade in Washington, D.C.

Need more reality? Not surprising if so. It's hard to come by in the big media. In full, here's an announcement of a new feature at Dahr Jamail's Iraq Dispatches, "Translated Daily News Feeds from the Middle East:"

Dahr Jamail Iraq is happy to announce new daily video streams of translated Middle East News on line. The daily Mosaic streams, produced by LinkTV, features selections from daily TV news programs produced by national broadcasters throughout the Middle East. The news reports are presented unedited and translated, when necessary, into English. Mosaic includes television news broadcasts from selected national and regional entities listed on the right. These news reports are regularly watched by 280 million people in 22 countries all over the Middle East.
Thus, people unable to speak or understand Arabic or Persian are now able to get news directly from the Middle East. You are no longer forced to rely on people who can read Arabic to give you the information, as you can watch or read the news yourself and make up your own mind. Between the Mosaic and MidEastWire daily Iraq news feeds, is now a daily source of fresh news directly from major Middle Eastern news agencies, all translated into English.
How to watch Mosaic: Please watch the quicktime stream while reviewing the information about the broadcasters linked to from the Dahr Jamail Iraq website. Mosaic represents a diversity of media sources from state controlled to US funded to private networks affiliated with political factions. Mosaic is best understood, appreciated and digested within the context of the specific news outlets being watched.
You can see the News Broadcasts
And subscribe to our Mosiac RSS feed here

From reality to denial -- John Burns (New York Times) continues to disgrace his own reputation without even noticing. Candice notes Bonnie Azab Powell's "Top Iraq war correspondents discuss risking their lives to tell a truth that few want to hear -- or believe" (UC Berkeley News). We'll start by noting Jackie Spinner of the Washington Post:

"I went to Iraq not because I was for or against it, but because there was a war," Spinner said, adding she believes it is inappropriate for journalists to take sides publicly, as they are supposed to write from a neutral stance.

Burns, of course, continues to betray that "neutral stance" in all public remarks. (See this entry.) He tops himself. From the article:

The torture of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib by U.S. soldiers was unarguably the biggest single story of the war today, Burns said, calling it "an arrow in the back of every American soldier who goes to Iraq."

Burns goes on to talk feel-good stories, but focus on the above. It's a story that Burns and Dexter Filkins missed. (The article mentions a caller to a radio station noting the story was known for over a year before it broke. That is true.) And here's Burns, "international war correspondent" speaking. What does he say about Abu Ghraib? "Unarguably the biggest single story of the war today." And why is that? Burns puts it through the filter of "every American solider." The provencial "international correspondent" John F. Burns. There is your answer as to why Iraqis are reduced to bit players in their own drama when the Times manages to mention them at all. The prison scandal, the treatment of Iraqi's? Even when speaking of it, Burns renders the Iraqis invisible (while they hold their "bows" which may or may not be a slur against both Iraqis and Native Americans).

Need some reality to wash Burns' delusions down? How about this? Last Thursday, the American military fatality count was 2306. This Thursday? 2314. Toral for March? 17.

And while Tony Blair whistles "Let's Do It Again:"

His own anti-war Labour MPs will be joining a mass demonstration against the continued occupation of Iraq in London on Saturday. They will be calling for the troops to be brought home, but Mr Blair ruled out, "leaving a small minority who want terror and violence to overwhelm the majority who show they are prepared for democracy".

That was noted by James in Brighton and it's from "Blair on Iraq: 'I'd do it all again'" written by Colin Brown, Patrick Cockburn and Rupert Cornwell. While Blair can't stop cheerleading, Gareth notes one who is saying no more. From Richard Norton-Taylor's "RAF doctor refused Iraq return because 'invasion was unlawful'" (The Guardian of London):

The continuing presence of British troops in Iraq is as unlawful as the initial invasion, a military court hearing into the first British officer charged with refusing to serve in Iraq was told yesterday.
Moreover, members of the armed forces individually shared responsibility for complicity in these unlawful actions, the court heard.
The claims were made by counsel for Flight Lieutenant Malcolm Kendall-Smith, 37, an RAF doctor facing a court martial for refusing to return to the war-torn country.
"The flight lieutenant's case is that Iraq is and remains under occupation," defence counsel Philip Sapsford QC told an open pre-trial hearing at the court martial centre in Aldershot barracks, Hampshire.
Flt Lt Kendal-Smith, based at RAF Kinloss in Scotland, is charged with five counts of disobeying lawful commands in 2005 when he was asked to return to Iraq. Though he has served there before, he only later came to the view that the war was illegal, partly after reading the attorney-general's advice which raised doubts about the lawfulness of the invasion.

Malcolm Kendall-Smith's standing up. Will you? As the Bully Boy launches as massive air raid on Iraq (dubbed "Operation Swarmer"), will you be silent?

This week's song pick:

but what if the enemy
isn't in a distant land
what if the enemy lies behind
the voice of command
the sound of war
is a childs cry
behind tinted windows
they just drive by
and all I know is that those

that are going to be killed
aren't those that preside
on capital hill
-- "Roll With It," words and music by Ani DiFranco, available on the DiFranco CD Not So Soft as well as on Like I Said (Songs 1990-1991).

If you missed it (I did, I was on the phone participating in Gina and Krista's discussion for tomorrow's round-robin), tonight on ER, Parminder Nagra's Dr. Neela Rasgotra spoke out against the war. She was in a gathering with other people whose spouses are in Iraq and she refused to play rah-rah-rah. (One of her lines was supposed to be something like, she refused "to be brainwashed into falling in line with some psuedo patrictic vision.") That was one of two messages for peace onscreen this week. When even TV characters can speak out, don't you think you need to do your part as well?

The e-mail address for this site is (And I clearly loathe Gordon and Lt. General retired's New York Times reporting. I haven't read their book. If anyone can get a good interview out of the two it would be Amy Goodman. So make a point to check out Democracy Now! tomorrow as always.)

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