Sunday, June 25, 2006

Truest statement of last week

On a day when lawmakers in Washington were engaged in an intense debate over whether to withdraw troops from Iraq, Mr. Bush thanked the Hungarians for "playing a vital role" in Operation Iraqi Freedom, neglecting to mention that Hungary withdrew its own troops more than a year ago.

-- Sheryl Gay Stolberg, "Bush Sees Iraq Echo in '56 Hungary Revolt," The New York Times, June 23, 2006

(Don't say we've never said anything nice about the paper of no record.)

Bonus: Iraq Snapshot

Bonus added Sunday night.

Iraq snapshot

The Associated Press is reporting that Iraq's prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, "offered an olive branch to insurgents who join in rebuilding Iraq and said Sunday that lawmakers should set a timeline for the Iraqi military and police to take control of security nationwide." The AP reports maintains that there's no timeline. Discussing this news on Sunday's RadioNation with Laura Flanders, Flanders noted how key events are disappearing from the reporting as the story continues to get covered and Dahr Jamail offered his opinion that the news of setting a timeline for foreign forces to withdraw from Iraq has led to some exchanges between D.C. and Baghdad. Steve Negus (Financial Times of London) reports that: "Mr Maliki’s initiative was less detailed than some Iraqi politicians had earlier implied it might be, and did not spell out how key points such as an amnesty for some insurgents and a timetable for Iraqi troops taking over security might be implemented." Tom Hadyen (Common Dreams) notes the Senate posturing last week on the issues of who will and will not receive amnesty while pointing out: "In their quest to be macho, however, Democrats may be undercutting an avenue towards peace. All military stalemates end in agreements between enemies who have fought and suffered. If there can be no consideration of amnesty for those the US is fighting, then there can be no settlement short of US military victory. " Paul Reynolds (BBC) reports that the plan is "part of a grand strategy by the Bush administration to stabilise Iraq -- or to stabilise the perception of Iraq - in advance of the mid-term elections for Congress in November." Tom Hayden concludes:

Most likely, a contradiction is unfolding within the American political hierarchy and national security establshment over whether this war is winnable. It also is a question of maintaining the American power posture, or its appearance. Those who know the war will end in defeat or quagmire favor a political strategy aimed at cutting losses, channeling the insurgency into talks and removing the issue from American politics in 2006. Others cling to the goal of eventually subduing the insurgency militarily and maintaining 50,000 troops permanently in Iraq.

This as Autralia's ABC reports that Japanese troops have begun their withdrawal from Iraq. Meanwhile, Australia's ABC reports that Australian Peter Lockwood "has been selected as the next commander of up to 2,000 coalition naval forces in the northern Persian Gulf." This as an investigation is launched into the shooting death of a bodyguard to Iraq's Trade Minister by Australian forces.

In Baghdad on Saturday, Joshua Partlow (Washington Post) notes a bomb killed two Iraqi police officers and wounded at least five more while a car bomb killed five and wounded at least eleven people. Also on Saturday, the AP reports, a corpse was discovered in Baghdad ("handcuffed, bound by the legs . . . shot to death").

On Sunday, Baghdad was rocked by explosions. Al Jazeera reports that a bombing in a maket (clothing market) resulted in at least six deaths while a mini-van bomb took two more lives.
Reuters reports mulitple killings and bombings -- two dead thirteen wounded from a car bomb near Mosul, two shot dead "in a poultry store" in Hawija, "police General Hussein Abdul-Rahman" and two other police officers shot dead while in their car in Baquba, also in Baquba, an attack on a checkpoint led to five Iraqi soldiers being killed, a carpenter killed in Mosul, a "municipal council employee" killed in Baiji, an Iraqi soldier killed in Tikrit . . .

The AFP reports that, over the weekend, the Mujahedeen Shura Council in Iraq released a videotape claiming to have killed the four Russian diplomats kidnapped on June 3rd in Baghdad. The Russian government notes that the deaths of Fyodor Zaytsev, Rinat Aglyulin, Anatoly Smirnov and Oleg Fedosseyev have not been confirmed.

Reuters reports that: "Gunmen have abducted 16 employees of a government institute north of Baghdad, in the second mass kidnapping in the area in a week, police say."

As operations take place outside the media eye in Ramadi, Dahr Jamail and Ali Fadhil (IPS)report on Falluja which suffered similar seiges in 2004. They report that the city remains surrounded by checkpoints (biometrics measure decide whether you enter or not), the rebuilding is a joke (hospital officials note that they'll all be dead before the supposed construction of a new hospital is completed), unemployment is rampant, and as to the US "the promised compensation funds, of the 81 reconstruction projects slated for the city, less than 30 have been completed and many others will most likely be cancelled due to lack of funding."

Though the mainstream press continues to show little interest in Falluja, they were full of happy talk last week about new training and guidelines resulting in less deaths at US checkpoints in Iraq. Despite those claims, questions remain unanswered about the shooting of journalist Giuliana Sgrena's car which wounded her and killed Nicola Calipari. Fritzroy Sterling (IPS) details some of the questions in the incident. Some questions may never be answered because, as Sgrena told Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez on Thursday's Democracy Now!, the US military maintains that they have destroyed the logs of the events. Italian prosecutors are attempting to try US Army Specialist Mario Lozano for the death of Calipari.

This as Wil Cruz (Newsday) reports that National Guard Sgt. Milton Ortiz Jr. is being "charged for his role in planting an assault weapon near the slain body of an unarmed Iraqi civilian whom another guardsman had just fired upon." In addition, Cruz reports that "Nathan Lynn, 21, of South Williamsport, Pa., is accused of fatally shooting the unarmed man in front of a home near Ramadi, where Lynn was on security detail for members of his unit, the military said."

Elswhere, Brian Conley's Alive in Baghdad posts a video interview with an Iraqi woman who states that the US military killed her son in Samarra 'in cold blood.'

On the issue of "we were all wrong," one disputing answer is emerging reports the AFP (noting a Washington Post) article, Colin Powell's laughable claims to the UN were vetted and items removed. Tyler Drumheller, a CIA veteran, told The Post's Joby Warrick that the section of the speech relating to mobile biological weapons labs was crossed out by the agency -- despite that fact, it ended back in the speech when Powell delivered it.

What does "AWOL" stand for? Ann Wright reports that, more and more, it now stands for "Against War of Lies" as she documents the efforts to support war resistors. Noting the eight-thousand who are AWOL, Wright also notes: "Individual non-public resistance in the military generally results in an administrative discharge without publicity. Thousands have turned themselves in to military authorities and have been administratively discharged from the military. US military bases discharge dozens of war resisters each week."

In related news, Courage to Resist notes that Tuesday is a national day of action for war resister Ehren Watada and provides a list of national events.

"On the other hand I knew that we were not fighting for Democracy, we were not fighting just terrorist, we were fighting an indigenous insurgency who was resisting our occupation. And many loves were being sacrificed for what I thought was nothing. I came to the point where I could no longer look at the pain and suffering of so many members of the armed forces, so many families being devastated by these loses, and the grief and suffering of Iraqi citizens and all for what I felt was an intentional deception, to wage a war without any purpose, without any noble purpose."
"So, I came to the point to where I believed as a person, not only as a human being, not only as a citizen of this country, but as a member of the military, that I could make a difference in helping to end this illegal war."
[. . .]

Two websites about this courageous stand:
Courage To Resist
Thank You Lt
Many thanks to Courtney Scott for producing this interview. This file is 10 minutes in length.
Lt. Ehren Watada, RealPlayer
Lt. Ehren Watada, MP3

The above is Ehren Watada speaking. You can read about it in Jim Lockhart's "AUDIO FILE: Local Interview With Lt. Ehren Watada" (Portland Indymedia and noted by community member Portland) and you can also use the links to listen to the interview conducted by Courtney Scott. Please note that Tuesday, June 27th is a day of action where there's a call to stand up for Watada. To find out more, click here.

Snapshot (Jim's statement) "Written by C.I. with help from Rebecca, Mike, Jess, Ty, Ava, Dona and Jim."

A Note to Our Readers

Hey --
Quickly. (Technical problems swamped us in the last two hours when all we had to write was this note and post the already written stuff. Everyone's tired.)

No note, last week. All the usual suspects contributed. (C.I. and Ava wrote the TV commentary.) Due to the personal bad news, no one wanted to do a note last week. We had planned to do it Monday but C.I. was flying to Rebecca's at the last minute and, again, no one wanted to regroup for it.

Highlights? We have the following (and thank you to everyone for their permission to reprint):

Blog Spotlight: Elaine weighs in on Hillary, Bully Boy & LGBT Pride Day
NYT Critique: C.I. on Kate Zernike's drive-by taxi hit on John Kerry
Blog Spotlight: Rebecca, always a fighter
Blog Spotlight: Cedric noting Law and Disorder's coverage of Mumia Abu-Jamal and David Gilbert
Blog Spotlight: Mike summarizing part-two of Law and Disorders look at tasers
Irak declara estado de emergencia; mueren mas de dos docenas de personas
Absurdist Spotlight: Bully Boy Press & Cedric's Big Mix team up to take on the news
Humor Spotlight: Betinna explains that her husband "Thomas Friedman Wants It Hot"
Humor Spotlight: Wally on the Psychic General
Blog Spotlight: Rebecca's mid-party post
Cooking Spotlight: Burritos in the Kitchen
Blog Spotlight: Kat covers Sander Hicks appearnace on KPFA's Guns and Butter

Thank you to Dallas, for links.

Along with Dallas, the following worked on this edition:

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.

New content? The following:

Left Eye for the Moderate Guy what to do when an aging rocker in decline realizes his audience is dwindling?

New Millenium Songbook for War Hawks and Other Vile Creatures -- a humorous feature we had a great deal of fun with. There are three online. The print version contains nine. Again, we had a lot of fun with our rewrites of popular songs to make them appealing to War Hawks and Other Vile Creatures.

Hope was the theme for RadioNation with Laura Flanders Saturday -- This was the post we were working on when the trouble started it. It was longer. "Recover post" allowed us to grab a third of it. That's what we've published (in print and online).

Where he leads, she will follow, any place that he tells her to -- short item.

Radio highlights for Sunday -- things you can listen to today.

TV review: The Simpsons -- Ava and C.I.'s latest. Different in the print version by many paragraphs (the viewpoint remains the same). The original is there in saved form, it just won't pull up. They attempted to type it up from the print edition but both say they're eyes were too tired to follow it. The biggest difference is where Bill Clinton enters into the commentary. Also, the print version includes three times as many quotes from the show. We think the online version actually reads snappier.

Editorial: Ehren Watada standing up, are you? -- this wasn't our planned editorial. When tech problems began, we made it the editorial because it was already completed. We think it works as such. (The editorial that isn't? It was on Guantamo. Stand up for Watada this week.)

Truest statement of last week -- we actually debated several. We ended up going with this one because who knows if or when the paper of no record will even be in the running. (That's not to downgrade the statement. It's worthy of noting. )

That's it for this week.
-- Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess, Ava and C.I.

Editorial: Ehren Watada standing up, are you?

I am the mother of Lt. Ehren Watada, an officer stationed at Ft. Lewis. He is part of a Stryker brigade unit that deployed today to Iraq. Despite an unflinching commitment to his men and to democratic ideals, he chose not to accompany his men. His decision came through much soul-searching and through research and consultation with experts across disciplines, inside and outside of the military and the government.
After weighing the evidence, he came to the conclusion that he could no longer be silent while atrocities were committed in the name of democracy. He could no longer be a tool of an administration that used deception and lies to make the case for pre-emptive war.
As a member of the armed forces, sworn to uphold the US Constitution, he refuses to blindly participate in a war of aggression, an illegal war that undermines who we are as a nation and violates international law. Implicit in his oath as an officer is the duty to disobey all unlawful orders, for to carry out these orders renders him an accomplice to a criminal act. Furthermore, to order his men to participate in a war of aggression multiplies his guilt a thousandfold. His conscience will not permit him to do so. He believes that he can best serve them by taking a stand against the war. In so doing, he demonstrates that one does not relinquish the freedom to choose what is right, even in the military, and that the freedom to choose what is right transcends the allegiance to man and institutions.

-- Carolyn Ho, "Open Letter From Mother of Lt. Ehren Watada, Resister of Illegal War" (Truthout)

We learned of Ehren Watada on the morning of June 7th via The Common Ills (C.I. notes, "Via Joan who found the article.") Democracy Now! summarized the breaking news as follows:

Army Lt. Refuses Iraq Deployment
Meanwhile, a US army officer has announced he's refusing his deployment to Iraq slated for later this month. The officer, First Lt. Ehren Watada, says he first asked for permission to resign his position in January. He says he wrote: "I am whole-heartedly opposed to the continued war in Iraq, the deception used to wage this war, and the lawlessness that has pervaded every aspect of our civilian leadership." Lt. Watada is believed to be the first commissioned officer to refuse deployment to Iraq since the invasion. Simultaneous news conferences by his supporters are expected to be held today in his home state of Hawaii and in Olympia, Washington. Military officials told Watada he cannot attend the news conference because he is barred from speaking publicly about his case while on duty at the base.

The following day, Amy Goodman interviewed him on Democracy Now!:

EHREN WATADA: Probably the maximum penalty I face, when I refuse orders to board the plane to go to Iraq, would be anywhere from two to five years, maybe more, in a military stockade. Dishonorable discharge and loss of all pay and allowances. There could be other punishment.
AMY GOODMAN: I was wondering, Army Lieutenant Ehren Watada, what your response was to the protest that resulted in I think something like 22 arrests in Olympia, Washington this past week as peace activists tried to stop a ship from moving out of port with striker vehicles and troops.
EHREN WATADA: I think that we all have a duty as American citizens for civil disobedience, and to do anything we can within the law to stop an illegal war.

The military refused to let him give any interviews during 'working hours.' Fortunately, that wasn't a hindrance to big media which had decided to ignore the story. Despite what was obviously a national story (the first commissioned officer to refuse to serve in the illegal war), you only heard of the story from certain media (such as Democracy Now!, WBAI's Wakeup Call, Sarah Olson reporting for, KPFA's Flashpoints, RadioNation with Laura Flanders, regional media -- Joan is a community member who lives in Hawaii --, etc.). One of the big media outlets you never heard about if from (to this day) is The New York Times. This would be the same New York Times that, as Ruth points out, noting FAIR and CounterSpin's coverage, was more than happy to print an op-ed that couldn't survive a basic fact check but did falsely attack the peace movement. Faced with an actual news story, the paper of no record chose to, yet again, shove its head in the sand.

That we can't count on big media comes as no surprise. The fact that Ehren Watada can't may not be surprising either but hopefully it underscores how much your help is needed. Visit and find out what you can do. Make time to bring up the issue in your day to day conversations. Use your voice to bring attention to this issue. Big media doesn't want Watada's case to garner attention and, if they have their way, it won't. It's up to all of us to get the word out.

C.I. offered this update Friday:

In peace news, Will Hoover (The Honolulu Advertiser) reports on Ehren Watada's refusal to ship to Iraq when his unit left Fort Lewis, Washington yesterday (6:45 am), he refused to board. Ehren's father Bob Watada tells Hoover of the three officers that spent hours on Wednesday trying to convince Ehren to change his mind: "They put the full-court press on him. They were telling him, 'You know, you're facing 10 to 15 years in jail, and do you want to do all of that?'" The Army issued a statement saying that charges wouldn't be filed "until the commander has had a chance to review all of the facts of the case and consult with the Staff Judge Advocate." Gregg K. Kakesako (Honolulu Star-Bulletin) reports that the gag order placed on Watada has been "rescinded . . . allowing Watada to talk to anyone." As Alex Fryer (Seattle Times) notes, "Peace groups around the nation plan a day of protests and vigils in support of Watada on Tuesday." For more information, click here.

He followed through. If you're opposed to the war, you should back him up. There have been enough people taking brave stances that you might not have heard of until it was too late to make any difference. You can make a difference now. Laura Flanders (RadioNation with Laura Flanders) rightly says, "Don't leave politics to the politicans." We agree 100%. We also think you don't leave the news to big media -- they'll fail you every time.

TV review: The Simpsons

Last week's commentary got its praise and its slams in the e-mails, Ty informed us. He also said we (Ava and C.I.) had to read one e-mail. We read it. Let's share it:

Love how you trash everything if it's not some liberal Hollyweird fantasy. Bet you two drool over The Simpsons every Saturday. Word to you feminazis, the only girl on the show that's any good is Maggie [who] knows how to suck good, shoot a gun and can't talk.

Maggie being an infant, we found the e-mailer sufficiently creepy. (Maggie sucks on a pacifier. We know where the e-mailer's mind is headed with "knows how to suck good.") We also wondered what universe he lived in? New episodes of The Simpsons air Sundays on Fox. Maybe he's referring to syndication and those episodes only air on Saturdays in his area?

Regardless, hate to piss on his perv-ade, but no, we aren't huge fans of The Simpsons.

The show got its starts as shorts on The Tracey Ullman Show and Ullman was shut out (by the courts) of any syndication money. Back then, it largely avoided weighty issues and just dealt with (crudely drawn) Lisa and Bart's childhood problems (such as what to watch on TV and stopping Maggie from changing the channel). (An early Simpson short is available on the video cassette of Mike Nichols' Working Girl starring Melanie Griffith.) Julie Kavner was a regular on Ullman's show and that's how she ended up voicing Marge. The shorts ran from April of 1987 until May of 1989 (plus summer reruns of Ullman's show -- over forty shorts in all) and then, on December 17, 1989, the half-hour versions of The Simpson's began airing.

They're three years short of twenty years. Two decades. We don't see a lot to show for it.

Yes, we all know The Little Red Dress episode, where Lisa starts her own newspaper (hilarious joke about where Ralph ends up writing after Lisa's paper shuts down and amusing joke when Milhouse reveals where he really filed his international coverage from). Montgomery "Monty" Burns, the Mr. Potter of this It's A Wonderful Life, is buying up all the TV and radio stations as well as all of the printed press. It was an interesting, it just wasn't an issue exclusive to the left. Media consolidation impacts everyone and that's why opponents to it come from a wide range of points on the political spectrum.

We don't see much left on the show.

Apu is a stereotype and the fact that the United States isn't 100% White, yet The Simpsons has had so little criticism of their portrayal of Apu (or his wife), is surprising. Or take the fact that only two African-Americans (in a show populated by hundreds of characters) seem to exist and play any sort of significant part on the show.

Or let's deal with the issue of women. Where are the working women who are also mothers? We aren't seeing them. They can cop out and claim, "Well Maggie's only one-year-old!" Yes, and she always will be. So what? Many mothers of one-year-old children work.

But where are the mothers that work on this show? LuAnn doesn't seem to have a job (Milhouse's mother). Nelson's mother may "work" but look at how he turned out (town bully when not bursting into tears). (Marge takes pity on him due to his home life.)

You've got Marge's sister Patty or Selma, which ever adopted the baby from China.

Want to talk about gay portrayals? (One of Marge's sister is a lesbian.) How about the fact that casting the voice for a gay character has become increasingly problematic as people refuse to take part in reinforcing stereotypes?

How about the way the working class is portrayed? All the adults are lazy and that's why they can't get ahead. (Working adults.) That is the message. Homer's not smart, he's got no drive, he's a lousy father, stupid, a drunk, and much more. That lazy lower class -- yet another stereotype the show reinforces.

But we think the most telling detail may be in the way they handle presidents of either party. Poppy Bush and Bill Clinton for example.

Poppy's big appearance comes when he moves across the street from the Simpsons and ends up the George Wilson to Bart's Dennis the Menace. Poppy's cranky and old. The jokes come from that. (This is after he's no longer president. In another appearance, he'll snarl "loser" at Jimmy Carter.)

And Bill Clinton? He's a liar, a huckster, and a pervert.

The show demonstrated how eager they were to crawl into the gutter when they made the then-president Bill Clinton a pig f**ker. A pig f**ker.

Clinton (to Marge): I know you don't think you're good enough for me, but believe me, you are. Hell, I done it with pigs. Real, no fooling, pigs.

Poppy Bush gets to be George Wilson. Clinton is a pig f**ker -- coming on to Marge.

In another appearance, aired while Clinton was still in office, he'll confess, "Hey, I'm a pretty lousy president."

And Poppy Bush is just the grumpy old neighbor across the street, Iran-Contra, arms for hostages, not withstanding.

We guess that's the sort of thing that had Jonah Goldberg praising the show for its "even-handness"?

Or take the episode everyone will toss out, when the Simpsons get ensared due to the Patriot Act. Bill Clinton's hauled out for some more nonsense. But note who helps them escape -- "I'm the last tax-and-spend Democrat! Tax-and-spend! Tax-and-spend!" cries an old man.

Now both parties tax and both parties spend. But it's so much better, and so much more New Republican, to reinforce a stereotype.

Repeatedly the ones on the losing end are the left. (Goldberg noted Homer's mother, so we won't.) Take Lisa who some, no doubt see, as the equivalent to Meathead on All in the Family. We think that's an apt comparison because there are some on the left who will embrace Lisa, as they did Meathead; there are some on the right who will boo and hiss her; and there are some in the mushy center who find her too "strident."

The last point isn't surprising when you consider how much the character's political convictions are loathed by everyone on the show (from "Monty" Burns on through to her own parents). Marge is forever worrying that Lisa might have a career when she grows up or making comments like, "Lisa, normally, I would say that you should stand up for what you believe in, but you've been doing that an awful lot lately . . ."

We don't see it as a left show. We think it crossed a line with the pig f**ker joke since there's been nothing similar for Poppy Bush (or the Bully Boy). They toss out a love pat here and there to Republicans and kick Democrats to the gutter. (And does anyone not get who Quinby is supposed to be?)

It's a show where women are rarely the focus and mothers don't work. It's a show where people of color largely don't exist. It's a show that's frequently homophobic, that portrays the working class (Carl, Lenny, Homer . . . ) as lazy.

What's in it for the left?

Is it sometimes funny? Yes. Is it a left show? No.

And it shouldn't have required Jonah Goldberg praising the show for anyone to pick up on that.

Most damaging has been the show's success. With few exceptions, every show since has had a stay-at-home mother. They've modeled themsevles on The Simpsons (with a twist! always with a twist!) to attempt to recreate its success. (One noteable exception is King of the Hill which we're not calling left but are noting was quite a bit more original than any of the knock-offs Fox has aired.)

Bill Clinton isn't the left anymore than Poppy Bush (or Bully Boy) are the right. But we've seen the treatment of both on this show. Bill Clinton? Pig f**ker. We didn't think it was funny and we didn't think there was an equivalent aired with regard to either Bush.

What we did see was yet another trashing of the working class (that's where Homer resides and what Clinton rose from). Lot of cheap laughs at the working class. Left? No.

Left Eye for the Moderate Guy

So you were the toast of the town for years and years and then your ego got to be too much, sending the fans fleeing. You managed to pull a comeback out of your ass by making your album sound exactly like what you were recording two decades prior. Now you've got yourself in hot water again and fans are drifting off.

Subject: Bono
Age: 46
Shape: Pear but prone to orange
Hair: Stringy
Face: In need of shave
Body: See "Shape" and note that subject sweats profusely at all times
Reason for killing off "The Fly?": Noted on the Zooropa tour that even Adam Clayton was attracting more groupies
Prone to: Self-important statements and self-promotion
Music Most Closely Resembles: Cher
Sell-By Date: March, 1997

When Bono waddled in, we put down our copies of LeftTurn and CounterPunch and reached for wallets thinking a homeless person had wandered in. As he started grabbing for our dollars, promising that he'd send merchandise bearing his likeness, we put away our wallets and asked him what he needed.

"No one loves me anymore!" he whined between deep breaths (he was winded from walking up the flight of stairs).

That's not true, we pointed out, the Bully Boy loves him. Imagine how fortunate the Bully Boy is to have what the mainstream press sees as the 'most political rock star' in the world silent on the issue of Iraq? This is the man who once toured for Amnesty, spoke out against South Africa, and many other noble things many, many, many years in the past.

"No one loves me anymore!" he panted again causing one of us to run for a bottle of water and another, noting the sweat cascading from his enlarged pores, to turn a fan on him.

As soon as the breeze got blowing and we got a sniff of the air, we all moved upwind of him. Leather is an unforgiving fashion choice for him, not only due to emphasizing every roll of fat but also due to the fact that it doesn't breathe and tends to trap odors.

He was handed his bottle of water and quickly gulped it down while we, again, noted his massive girth. Standing before us was a middle-aged, pudgy, male who thought stubble, which had now gone gray, was attractive and that the build up of days of sweat made for a personal scent.

"What did I ever do wrong?" he asked wiping his mouth furiously.

Well maybe it was when he said that Africa needs more globalization? Or maybe it was his joining Elevation Partners which, as The Wall Street Journal noted, is into "buyouts and investments in media and entertainment company, seeking to profit from turmoil in those sectors"? It all sounds so predatory and creepy and, honestly, Republican.

Bono waved his hand wildy while we all begged him to put it down. He stunk and he was wearing a shirtless, leather vest, after all.

"I am helping in Africa!" he insisted.

Ah, yes, that. In bed with the religious right. Taking their monies and programs. Giving cover to the Bully Boy who still hasn't provided the long promised funding but, most importantly, using that money or any other to go from educating a medical approach for the disease to one of "Just say no." How much confusion will result from that mixed message? How many lives will be lost due to that?

He started to wave his hand again but stopped when we threatened to evict him immediately.

Frowning, he told us that, "I am Africa!"

We were a bit skeptical and then he mentioned a recent poll that found his actions were hurting the group U2.

"I can still sing!" he said defensively. "I can sing my anthems! Cher sings anthems!"

Yeah, but she's got a body that people pay to see and marvel over. Bono's the flip-side of the coin, the ugly side of aging. Plus Cher's got that natural sob in her voice that grabs the listener and Bono's voice is so sterile.

He interrupted us with, "Regardless, the kids will always come to my concerts!"

We didn't know how to break it to him.

"Kids" haven't made up the audience of U2 concerts since the eighties. That might have something to do with the fact that when the average ticket price is $96.94, not a lot of kids are going to be able to attend. It's also true that even the comeback album (All That You Can't Leave Behind) didn't storm the singles chart. Mainly it's due to the fact that the illegal war is an issue on campuses (high school and college) and Bono's inability to voice an opinion (a first!) on the war makes him look like the cheap carny barker he's become.

"So what are you saying?" he asked, a puddle sweat forming at his feet.

Someone would have to clean that up later.

What we were saying was that he has remnants of the 80s and 90s college audience. Judging by the sales of the last studio album, not in large numbers. Because the group is still seen as an event, it can probably make it through one more big tour. After that, it's "Hello Vegas!" where he can share the stage with the personality his own nature most closely resembles: Wayne Newton.

He shuddered. We worried he might faint and that one of us would have to perform CPR. We all took turns pointing to one another and shaking our own heads "no."

"I've been written off before and come back!" he insisted.

Yeah, but that was when you were just seen as pompous. Now you're seen as a hypocrite and the music, honestly, doesn't cut it anymore. Maybe U2 could get a new vocalist?

While we were tossing out potential names, he screamed and stomped his foot causing the entire building structure to shake and sway.

He roared, "I came here for help!"

Yeah, well, we're really not about helping the moderates try to fool the left. But we understand they're having another training session on that just down the street at The New Republic. If he hurries, he can still make that seminar?

Dejected, he asked us if we validated? We told him "no" and sent him on his way.

About a minute later, we wished we'd stopped him. Asked him to clean up the sweat puddles he'd left on the floor. Somebody crack a window.

New Millenium Songbook for War Hawks and Other Vile Creatures

In all our focus on finding music that spoke to the times and against the war, we overlooked the fact that War Hawks need tunes too. So we've altered a few well known songs so that they can make them their own.

For landlords, slumlords, and sadists of all kinds, "The Poor Man's Shack:"

Well, I went down to the poor man's shack
Went down to the poor man's shack
And I stole back what he earned from me
Stole back what he earned from me.
Well I went down to the poor man's shack
I stomped on his dignity
I spat on humanity
And now he's under my feet
Under my feet
Under my feet
Ain't no one gonna talk equality.
Well I went down to the poor man's shack
Went down to the poor man's shack
And I stole back what he earned from me
Stole back what he earned from me . . .

For corporate media and all its supporters, "Sister It's All Mine:"

My papa told me stomp on their dream, be obscene,
When there was land to grab, pockets to clean.
My papa told me stomp on their dream, take it all
Why should I wait in line, when it was all mine?
Once I owned a paper, then a radio station, a TV station
Once I owned a paper, now I own it all. Sister, it's all mine!
Once I was one stadium, now I'm on a roll
Once I was a little big fish, now I swallow them whole, Sister, it's all mine!

Once in Armani suits, gee I looked swell
Full of the 'war is good' talk.
Half a million boots went slogging through hell
And I was the kid holding the stocks.
Say, don't you know, they call me Sir; it is Sir on all the blocks.
Why, don't you remember, I own it all! Sister, it's all mine!
Once in Armani suits, gee I looked swell
Full of the 'war is good' talk.
Half a million boots went slogging through hell
And I was the kid holding the stocks.
Say, don't you know, they call me Sir, it is Sir on all the blocks.
Why, don't you remember, I own it all! Sister, it's all mine!

For the disenchanted War Hawk bothered by the ever thinning herd but determined to continue selling the war, "Where Have All The War Hawks Gone?":

Where have all the War Hawks gone?
Doubts are rising.
Where have all the War Hawks gone?
Doubts are rising.
Where have all the War Hawks gone?
Petey Beinart's knees have buckled.
Oh when will Petey ever learn?
Oh, when will Petey ever learn?

Where have all the War Hawks gone?
Doubts keep rising.
Where have all the War Hawks gone?
Doubts keep rising.
Petey, Robert Kagan, every one.
Oh, when will you ever learn?
Oh, when will you ever learn?

Where's big business gone?
Still supporting!
Where's big business gone?
Still supporting!
Where's big business gone?
They'll keep selling
Oh, we will see our return.
Oh, we will see our return.

Where have all the soldiers gone?
We don't give a damn.
Where have all the soldiers gone?
Don't give a damn.
Where have all the soldiers gone?
They've gone to graveyards, every one.
Draft their daughters and their sons.
Draft their daughters and their sons.

Where have all the slogans gone?
We'll think up new ones.
Where have all the slogans gone?
Bring on the new ones.
Where have all the slogans gone?
Soaked in blood, discard them.
Oh, we've got a war to sell.
Still got a war to sell.

Where have all the War Hawks gone?

They sold short.
Where have all the War Hawks gone?
They sold short.
Where have all the War Hawks gone?
You got to have big brass ones
If you want to see your return
If you want to see your return.

Hope was the theme for RadioNation with Laura Flanders Saturday

Saturday on RadioNation with Laura Flanders, Flanders explored a wide range of topics and issues. Janice Mathis of the Rainbow-Push Coalition (their general counsel and also director of the Atlanta branch) addressed the issue of voting.

Mathis noted the newly passed legislation in Georgia that will impact the July primary: voters must produce photo i.d. (generally driver's licenses are used). Mathis noted that 33.2 % elderly African-Americans and 20% of Whites over 65 don't have the i.d. They've traditionally voted by producing their voter registration cards. (A poll worker matches their signature at the polls with their signature on the card.) This is a new form of Jim Crowe that's spreading to other states in an effort to supress the voter turnout. (It will also effect some environmentalists who may not have acceptable photo i.d.s if they refuse to drive. Urban areas such as NYC would find many voters ineligable to vote should such guidelines be adopted.)

Mathis noted that Indiana and South Carolina are proposing similar legislation. She advises that people contact Alberto Gonzales since section five of the Voting Rights Act gives Gonzales authority of approval. Flanders asked how often Gonzales had been willing to side with minorities and Mathis noted it was so little that it wasn't worth counting.

Noting that the new legislation is "so outrageous, so over the top, I think people may wake up" and could galvanize a new movement. For more information, she suggested their website:

and also gave out the following phone number:

(404) 525-5663

Author and journalist (columnist for The Nation), William Greider addressed a number of issues including the non-recovering economy (Bully Boy's presided over the lowest job growth following a recession). Saturday's theme seemed to be hope. Mathis noted her hope that this hideous legislation would lead to a new energy being poured into voting rights. Greider noted that he thought what was being provided with our current economy was a very clear view of what was wrong with it placing us on the precipice of transformation (if we choose to act).

Activist, playwright, actress, Eve Ensler spoke of the hope she found in truth telling and in the shared stories of people she encountered who shared how The Vagina Monologues had given the nerve to tell their own stories. (As many, including Gloria Steinem, have noted, if one day every woman told the truth about her own life, the world as we know it would forever change.)
Current V-Day events are being held to raise awareness and to raise funds for women's shelters and to combat the abuse of women. Ensler also spoke of the effect that the abuse could have men, noting several men who were staging events and how one grew up seeing his father beat his mother. How does that effect a person and what kind of toll is the continued violence against women taking on all of us?

It was Saturday so there was time for the arts (actually two spots were reserved for the arts -- Ensler being the first -- there doesn't have to be a line between activism and the arts as Flanders repeatedly demonstrates each weekend) and this Saturday it was Lila Downs discussing her new album La Catina (Entre Copa y Copa). It was a lively mix.

Tonight, get ready for more (swiping from Kat) :

The one and only Dahr Jamail. You've got to listen. (Awarded "Embedded in our hearts" in the 2004 year-in-review and only more so today. Listen!)
Need more reasons? Holly Sklar who always has something worth hearing on the economy and, guess what, talk of the economy includes much more than stock tips. Holly keeps it real.
And a name we've grown familiar with at this site, Sharon Smith -- a woman who's not afraid to ask the questions about the illegal war that need to be asked. Subterranean Fire: A History of Working Class Radicalism in the United States is her latest book. I'm adding it to my reading list and you will add it to yours if you remember some of her strong writing that's appeared in/at CounterPunch.

That's tonight on Air America Radio's RadioNation with Laura Flanders from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm EST.

Not enough for you? Laura Flanders will be filling in this week (from Monday, June 26th to Friday, June 30th) for Mike Malloy on his The Mike Malloy Show. which airs live on Air America Radio from ten p.m. to one a.m. EST. If she's planning on hosting new shows next weekend, that means Flanders is on for nine days straight, three hours a night.

Where he leads, she will follow, any place that he tells her to

Looking like Farrah Fawcett made up for the battered scenes in The Burning Bed, Hillary Clinton flounced over to the DLC front group (NDN) to proclaim that Republicans follow the Bully Boy blindly!

Clinton, who either needs to invest in a comb or switch shampoos to get rid of the build up, on the other hand, follows her Bully Boy with eyes wide open.

As Norman Solomon pointed out, she was in favor of the 2001 bankruptcy bill.

In April of 2004, speaking of Iraq, she told Larry King, "I don't understand how they had such an unrealistic view of what was going to happen."

The War Hawk's issue wasn't the illegal war, it was the planning of how it would go on the ground. As CODEPINK has pointed out she supports the war, supports banning free speech (flag burning) and deems abortion "tragic."

She supported the Patriot Act and the reauthorization of it. She was opposed to Russ Feingold's proposal of censuring Bully Boy for his illegal, warrantless spying on Americans.

At 'go time,' she's always got Bully Boy's back.

"What can I say," she might giggle, "I've always been a sucker for a man who lies to me."

Radio highlights for Sunday

What follows is a listing of radio programs that you can listen to over the airwaves or online. There is no fee for listening online nor a registration required. This is Pride Month and there are a few programs noting that. There are also progams offering music and plays. Dahr Jamail will be on the airwaves this evening. Quite a bit to choose from.

KPFA in Berkeley offers a look at the LGBT community and and a play. Times listed are Pacific Standard Time. Sandra Lupien will be filling in for Larry Bensky on Sunday Salon today:

Sunday Salon
Sunday, June 25th, 09:00a.m.
An LGBT Pride Day Special...
Hour 1: Elders in the Queer Community;
Hour 2: Coming out after 30

Act One Radio Drama
Sunday, June 25th, 7:30p.m.
Top Girls by Caryl Churchill.
A bold comedy from a playwright that critics have called "one of the best writers today." Obie Award Winner!

Throughout last week, Lupien asked listeners who had come out after thirty to call in. There should be a lot to cover. Also note that all month (and this will continue), KPFA has been regularly noting TLGB people as part of Pride Month. (We all agree to vary the letters from time to time because we are aware that the four groups do not always receive equal treatment or equal coverage. Dona heard an interview Deepa Fernades did last week, on WBAI's Wakeup Call, with a member of the transgendered community on the struggle going on just to make sure that the transgendered would be included in the celebration.)

Sunday on NYC's WBAI, they also celebrate Pride Month, offer Equal Time for Freethought and the music of Judy Garland. We remember that two readers wrote in the last time Everything Old Is New Again spotlighted Garland (with her historic Carneige Hall concert) so we'll put this in all caps: THE MUSIC OF JUDY GARLAND ON EVERYTHING OLD IS NEW AGAIN, SUNDAY NIGHT FROM NINE TO ELEVEN P.M. EST. Note that all times given are Eastern Standard Time.

10:00 am-6:00 pm: LGBT Pride Special
Join the Out-FM collective, the Beyond the Pale collective and programmers from sister station WPFW for 4 hours of the LGBT Pride Special, then listen to programmers from KPFA give their views on pride from Berkeley in the remaining 4 hours.

6:30-7:00 pm: Equal Time for Freethought
Brian Trent on:"Keeping the Darkness at Bay, or How to Avoid Reliving the Lowest Moment in Human History." Just before the dark ages began, there was a moment, when centuries of the total accumulated evidence-based knowledge, as well as the empirical approach to knowing, had people struggling for it not to be eviscerated by the forces of superstition, faith, and authoritarianism.

9:00-11:00 pm: Everything Old is New Again
Judy on film, Judy on radio, Judy on television, Judy in duets, Judy in concert--yes, it's our 28th Annual Judy Garland Broadcast!

And, swiping from Kat, on Air America Radio's RadioNation with Laura Flanders tonight from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm EST:

The one and only Dahr Jamail. You've got to listen. (Awarded "Embedded in our hearts" in the 2004 year-in-review and only more so today. Listen!)
Need more reasons? Holly Sklar who always has something worth hearing on the economy and, guess what, talk of the economy includes much more than stock tips. Holly keeps it real.
And a name we've grown familiar with at this site, Sharon Smith -- a woman who's not afraid to ask the questions about the illegal war that need to be asked. Subterranean Fire: A History of Working Class Radicalism in the United States is her latest book. I'm adding it to my reading list and you will add it to yours if you remember some of her strong writing that's appeared in/at CounterPunch.

Need more Laura Flanders? She'll be filling in this week (from Monday, June 26th to Friday, June 30th) for Mike Malloy on his The Mike Malloy Show. which airs live on Air America Radio from ten p.m. to one a.m. EST. If she's planning on hosting new shows next weekend, that means Flanders is on for nine days straight, three hours a night.

Blog Spotlight: Elaine weighs in on Hillary, Bully Boy & LGBT Pride Day

Elaine also said "one post and only one post."  We're split but going with this one.

Hillary, Bully Boy, LGBT Pride Day

Mike and I are trying to blog quickly tonight. I'm over at his house (with my boyfriend "of the moment," as Rebecca calls him) because Trina (Mike's mother) wanted to try out a recipe and he's got a wonderful family (and a wonderful girlfriend, Nina is here before any rumors get started). Please visit Mikey Likes It! for Mike's thoughts. Also, please note there is a joint collaboration between "BULLY BOY PRESS & CEDRIC'S BIG MIX" today so please read Cedric's "White House thumbs its nose at the Supreme Court (Bully Boy Press & Cedric's Big Mix)" or Wally's "THIS JUST IN! THE WHITE HOUSE THUMBS ITS NOSE AT THE SUPREME COURT!" (it's a joint entry, they're the same). We all enjoy doing joint entries -- it's more fun to work with someone else and it also makes the time go by faster.

"Senate Rejects Iraq Withdrawal" (Democracy Now!):
Meanwhile on Capitol Hill, the Senate rejected two separate measures calling for the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq.
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist: "None of us know for sure exactly how the democratic reform in Iraq will turn out as we stay committed. But, we do know it will fail if it is abandoned prematurely by the United States. Withdrawal is not an option. Surrender is not a solution."Both measures were proposed by Democrats. A proposal calling for a withdrawal without a firm deadline was defeated 60 to 39. Another measure calling for a troop withdrawal by July of next year was defeated by an even wider margin -- 89 to 13. The measure was introduced by Massachusets Senator John Kerry. Speaking on the Senate floor, Kerry argued that a firm timetable is necessary.
Senator John Kerry: "Why on earth would senators come to the floor and argue 'Let's just stay the course and do the same old thing' when our own generals have told us the same old thing is part of the part of the problem? The same old thing is attracting terrorists. The same old thing is losing us allies. The same old thing is costing us unbelievable sums of money and lives unnecessarily."

I feel like C.I. here, noting this, but, as Donovan sang, "And the war drags on . . ." The War Hawks, of both parties, should be ashamed of themselves. Sunny showed me a photo online this afternoon of Hillary Clinton speaking to the DLC front group New Democrats or whatever they go by. The photo, Sunny hissed, "Look at her face!" It was as though she had wallnuts in her mouth, on the side, down low. Maybe we all do get the face we deserve after a certain age?

Her face looked like someone determined to hoard everything, in secret. Sadly, that reflects Hillary Clinton today more than anything else. It was as though a blonde wig had been plopped onto Madeline Albright's head. There was a time when I found Hillary Clinton inspiring but that time was long ago. Really it was the 1992 campaign. I thought she was someone who spoke her mind and stuck by her beliefs. ("What was I supposed to do? Stay home and bake cookies?" didn't enrage me. I thought it was an honest moment and respected her for it.) There's something really sad about seeing her today because this is an educated woman who has had breaks from society and made the most of them. Today, she could be as inspiring as Barbara Boxer if she wanted to be. Instead, she can't speak out against the war, she can't speak of abortion without treating it as something shameful.

That bothers me because abortion is the first thing the fundamental right has their eyes on. They hope to trash it and then move on to birth control. At which point, Hillary will probably give speeches saying, with a note of concern, how troubled she is by the use of birth control and what we need to do is move beyond support for birth control and work to make sure it's not needed.

She knows better and that's why she's so disappointing today.

"Secret Bush Admin Program Monitors International Bank Records" (Democracy Now!):
The Bush administration has been secretly monitoring thousands of international bank transactions without court-approval. The secret program was enacted shortly after the 9/11 attacks in what government officials say is a crucial weapon in tracking the financing of terrorist activity. The information has been obtained from the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, or SWIFT. The organization helps direct trillions of dollars in daily international bank transfers. Officials told the Los Angeles Times the program has been "marginally successful" in tracking the financial activity of al Qaeda. SWIFT executives apparently tried to withdraw from the program after becoming concerned over its legality. The executives were persuaded to continue their cooperation only after the intervention of top government officials, including former Federal Reserve Chair Alan Greenspan.

It was just last weekend that I made C.I.'s "On the Dangers of an Unchecked Bully Boy" a link on my blogroll and was writing of how important it is to read that. I expected to go a month or two without having to note it again because I honestly thought nothing could disgust me again. I was wrong. Bully Boy's spying is bigger than we know and even with the disgusting revelation today, there's still more we don't know. Maybe we'll never know -- future generations will read of it and wonder, "How could they have not known?" Forgive me if I'm doubtful of their explanation. Sunny had KPFA on at work this morning (she usually has it or WBAI on at her computer) and I was between sessions (someone was running late) so I listened to The Morning Show. I don't know who the guests were. I know Andrea Lewis was doing the interview but I came in late on the segment and was gone before it was over (when my patient showed up, we went into my office). But one of the points being made was about Mexico's economy. What is the biggest income after oil? Apparently money that people in this country send back to their families to help them out. You want to tell me that's not being watched in this program?

You can't tell me that. Why? Because you can't prove it's not being watched. The program's "secret" so we, the citizens of the United States that our government is supposed to work for, can't be told what is going on -- or that's the Bully Boy's argument.

Amy Goodman noted in another headline that the White House tried to talk the press from covering the story. Since they knew it was breaking, I have to wonder about Alberto Gonzales' dog & pony show today. From all I've been able to read and hear, a terrorist cell that was a threat to America didn't get busted up, they just nabbed The Gang Who Couldn't Shoot Straight.
The Feminist Daily News Wire has a story that I wanted to note, "Pentagon Document Classifies Homosexuality as a Mental Disorder." It's obviously not a mental disorder and the mental health care profession changed the classification on it decades ago. (After strong efforts by GLBT activists to raise awareness and confront bias -- I don't want it to appear that "it just happened" and strip people of the credit their hard worked earned them.) When I read the item, it didn't surprise me. The reason for that is while so many have buffed and shined Colin Powell's image, the truth is he was the holdover from Poppy Bush's administration fighting Bill Clinton's effort to open the military to all. Gays and lesbians (and transgendered people and bi-sexuals) serve in the military. They always have. They always will. Whether you think so or not, they are a part of every job, every profession. But the overly praised Powell had a hissy fit (He doesn't think he's attractive enough that he'd have to fend off all the fellows? If so does he fear that he might not be able to fend all off due to some unnamed temptation?)

The compromise that was worked out was "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." To his credit, Bill Clinton, in a farewell interview with Rolling Stone shortly before he left the White House (I believe the interview was done before the 2000 election and ran right after) admitted how offensive this 'workable' option was. You're asking someone to deny who they are and you're not asking that of everyone. Straights can parade around talking about their signifcant others, swapping stories, but for GLBT members of the military is either pretend to be straight or stay silent. "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" only applies to those who have same-sex relations. But there's still no protection even if you live a lie or cut off a portion of your life because all it takes is someone finding out and you can, and many have been since Sept. 11th despite our supposed need for everyone the military can get to sign up, and you're out of the military.

Before, they had to live in the closet. The only thing the policy did was tell them to be silent and tell others not to ask directly. Our next president needs to address this issue immediately.

Sunday is LGBT Pride Day. (C.I. regularly scrambles the initals. I thought once that was just the dyslexia but C.I. corrected me recently and made the point that why should one always come first? Good point.) KPFA is doing some special programming on Sunday to mark the day (I heard Andrea Lewis, at another point today, the end of the show, making that point.)

One of the special programs will be:

Sunday Salon
Sunday, June 25th, 09:00a.m.
An LGBT Pride Day Special...
Hour 1: Elders in the Queer Community;
Hour 2: Coming out after 30

Sandra Lupien will be filling in on host duties for Larry Bensky. In the 90s, it seemed like everyone was making strides. Not economically. But, as a country, our awareness was being raised. Now I hear snickers and "punch lines" like, "That is so gay!" The tone is set at the top and Bully Boy's given the nation all the excuses they needed to release their inner Bully Boys.
If you're bothered by the attacks on women, the attacks upon TLGB people, the attacks upon immigrants, upon African-Americans (in this week where our Congress decided to shelve discussing the Voting Rights Act), please make a point to tune if you're able to. That's 9:00 am Pacific Time. It will be noon for me (I'm in the EST zone). If you're not able to listen, maybe there's an event going on in your area (or maybe you can do both). But, whether you're a Clintonista or not (I'm not), there's no denying that the nation seemed to be a lot more caring under Clinton. (It could have been and should have been even more caring. But I'm speaking of the huge reactionary mood the Bully Boy's inspired.) Whether you're LBGT, a person of color, a woman (or all three), take a moment in some way to realize that the attacks are on all of us. (If that's not clear, remember Pat Robertson's hate list he read from as the Twin Towers still burned.)

Please read Kat's "Bonnie interviewed Sanders Hicks Wednesday."

"Iraq snapshot" ("Democracy Now: Nadia McCaffrey, Julia Wright," The Common Ills):
Chaos and violence continue.The ten day old "crackdown" in Baghdad, which has had little measurable impact on stopping violence, sprouted a new development today: "State of emergency." As
Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) noted this morning, "Earlier today, insurgents set up roadblocks and opened fire on U.S. and Iraqi troops close to the US-run Green Zone." The Associated Press reports this was done as fighting forces seemed intent on breaching "the heavily fortified Green Zone." As Sandra Lupien noted on KPFA's The Morning Show, amidst the violence, US troops "rushed to the area." Current prime minister Nouri al-Maliki has "ordered everyone off the streets" of Baghdad, provided "broader arrest powers" and placed "a ban on carrying weapons."
last declared a state of emergency (or martial law) in November of 2004 for the entire country (exempting only Kurdish areas in the north).Then prime minister Iyad Allawi declared it when violence broke out through much of the country as US forces geared up for their attack on/slaughter of Falluja. Current prime minister al-Maliki has declared a state of emergency for Baghdad only. A state of emergency was declared for the city of Basra in May of this year. Euronews notes that the Basra state of emergency "has not deterred militants." Omar al-Ibadi and Haider Salahaddin (Reuters) report that today in Basra a car bomb went off (police say ten killed, hospital says five).
Sam Knight (Times of London) reports that "the 5 million inhabitants of the Iraqi capital [were] given just two hours notice of a curfew" (started at 2:00 pm in Baghdad, as Knight notes, but it was set to end at 5:00 pm and not, as Knight reports, on Saturday -- since Knight filed, al-Maliki shortened the curfew). Knight notes the paper's Baghdad correspondent Ned Parker terming the "extended gun battle . . . just north of the fortified Green Zone" a "free-for-all." Along with gunfire and mortars, Reuters reports that two US troops died today "when their vehicle struck a roadside bomb southeast of Baghdad."
In Hibhib, the
Associated Press notes the bombing of a Sunni mosque resulted in at least ten dead and fifteen wounded. Reuters notes two police officers shot to death in Hilla. The AFP reports that five corpses were found in Mishada.
In peace news,
Will Hoover (The Honolulu Advertiser) reports on Ehren Watada's refusal to ship to Iraq when his unit left Fort Lewis, Washington yesterday (6:45 am), he refused to board. Ehren's father Bob Watada tells Hoover of the three officers that spent hours on Wednesday trying to convince Ehren to change his mind: "They put the full-court press on him. They were telling him, 'You know, you're facing 10 to 15 years in jail, and do you want to do all of that?'" The Army issued a statement saying that charges wouldn't be filed "until the commander has had a chance to review all of the facts of the case and consult with the Staff Judge Advocate." Gregg K. Kakesako (Honolulu Star-Bulletin) reports that the gag order placed on Watada has been "rescinded . . . allowing Watada to talk to anyone." As Alex Fryer (Seattle Times) notes, "Peace groups around the nation plan a day of protests and vigils in support of Watada on Tuesday." For more information, click here.
Australia's ABC reports that the Australian government "is playing down reports" of a threat to future trade arrangments with Iraq as a result of Australian troops shooting bodyguards of Abdel Falah al-Sudany (Iraqi Trade Minister) -- one died "at least three others [were] injured." Despite John Howard (prime minister of Australia) continuing to downplay the issue (he won't apologize at present), ABC notes "reports [that] the Iraqi Trade Minister is threatening to ditch all trade deals".
AFP reports that the United States Senate "unanimously approved a $707 billion defence bill for the next financial year that includes almost $70 billion in funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan."
In news of future wars,
Col. Dan Smith reports, for CounterPunch, on a little known development from June 20, 2006. As the 2007 Defense Department Appropriations bill was being addressed, Representative Maurice Hinchey attempted to attach the following amendment: "None of the funds made available in this Act may be used to initiate military operations against Iran except in accordance with Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution of the United States." Though the amendment was only underscoring the true powers of the U.S. Congress, it failed on a 215/47 vote. Unlike Michael R. Gordon, war pornographer and his "Iran Aiding Shiite Attacks Inside Iraq, General Says" (New York Times), the AFP notes of George W. Casey's allegations against Iran: "The White House and Pentagon have repeatedly accused elements in Tehran of arming Iraqi insurgent groups. But they concede they have no clear proof that the Iranian government is sponsoring the activities."

Did you make it this far? You are a dedicated reader or someone who practices self-harm. I was just about to post and I remembered two e-mails asking why I regretted linking to Ruth Conniff last week. It's been a long week, if I've forgotten anything else, please let me know. Progressive Radio, which I'm sure is a wonderful program, elected to interview professional woman hater Camile Paglia. That was on their main page all last week and why C.I. gave no links to The Progressive. If I'd known about it, I wouldn't have either. Matthew Rothschild can interview anyone he wants but I'm not doing anything to promote her. She's a non-academic academic who's launched one attack on feminism after another.

I didn't even read Ruth Conniff this week because I was still kicking myself over the link last week. He can interview whomever he wants. But I don't link to something that's promoting that interview. That's my right.

(Julie wondered if I hated Ruth Conniff? No. If I hated her, she wouldn't be on my blogroll. At another time, I'd read her and, if I disagreed, shrug my shoulders and forget about it. But there's too much playing, pretending and clowning from too many for me to stay silent.)

How low will we go? Check out Yahoo! Messenger’s low PC-to-Phone call rates.

NYT Critique: C.I. on Kate Zernike's drive-by taxi hit on John Kerry

C.I. said one and only one highlight.  It was hard to pick just one.  Then we remembered how The New York Times spent basically a week trashing John Kerry and thought of how C.I. put everyone wise to cab driver Kate Zernike from Wednesday morning (June 21st). 

NYT: Zernike's drive-by taxi ride to nowhere

When Senator John Kerry was their presidential nominee in 2004, Democrats fervently wished he would express himself firmly about the Iraq war.

So begins the nonsense of Kate Zernike's "On Iraq, Kerry Again Leaves Democrats Fuming" in this New York Times (a piece I was given a heads up to yesterday and one that a friend at the Times and I dub "Zernikie, take the taxi back to the garage -- your shift is over"). So, in 2004, Zernike writes that Dems "fervently wished" Kerry "would express himself firmly about the Iraq war"? How many?

She's talking about voters, by the way. She's about to conflate them with office holders, but here's she's talking about voters.

I'm sure there were some. I'm also aware that for all the hearts and flowers over that lousy convention in Boston, there weren't that many.

Now it's time to really begin the lies and we're using "lies" and sticking with it. The paper's ran a slam-piece and passed it off as journalism. (Which was the stated inent and the source of laughter and giggles.) Zernike follows that opening with this:

Mr. Kerry has found his resolve. But it has not made his fellow Democrats any happier.

She's now switching to elected officials. Readers may or may not catch that. When Zernike wants to lose the reader she can be very effective.

The point of the article isn't to inform (and I would assume most people grasped that about the paper a long time ago), it's to mock the idea of withdrawal by July 2007. (Which is just too soon for some at the paper. Zernike takes the story for a drive much to the delight of higher ups.)

Zernike, for those who don't read closely, has now had Kerry angering the voters and the elected officials. Some voters were bothered by his 2004 reluctance to speak of Iraq (or Abu Ghraib or many other topics -- I was one -- he would speak of the Patriot Act and John Ashcroft because there was always a bump in fundraising when he did) but elected Dems in Congress (as a whole) weren't bothered by it. It gave them all the cover they needed.

Now his stance is popular with many voters (better get in a hit job, thinks the Times that lied us into war and still plans on keeping us there) but not with Dems in Congress.

Zernike has a hilarious moment (which is supposedly true) where Kerry speaks to her and says that he's not feeling any heat to change his call for withdrawal. Christopher Dodd, standing behind Kerry while Zernike is speaking to Kerry, winks his eye at her. That's a ha-ha.

Until you think too much about it and realize that Dodd is just a cheap, little backstabber. (Which shouldn't come as a surprise to many.) Dodd later speaks to Zernike. He tells her he's not sure where the "value" is and that a deadline may "confuse" voters -- because we're all so stupid apparently. (Stupid enough to vote Dodd for president in 2008? Not likely.) The real confusion may be why Congress thinks they can continue to ignore the people re: Iraq.

(The Times? It always thinks it can "shape" opinion -- reporting or editorial.)

So after Dodd follows up his stab-in-the-back wink with another knife, it's time for Zernike to check in with a Democratic group. Any number of groups might support Kerry's stance (many do) so she heads for the extreme right, the Zell Miller group, the Americans for "Smart" Gun Safety crowd and gets Evan Blah's main fellow Matt Bennett to offer his "independent" opinion (can you have an independent opinion when your group is so beholden to big corporations?).

So Dodd speaks of how a date "hurts us" and make no mistake, he doesn't mean the country but the cowards (including him) in his party. Kerry's accused by Dodd and Bennett of attempting to make political hay when the reality is they're the ones with an eye on the elections.

Joe Biden issues a quote. We won't spend too much time on it since who knows if it's his own words or if he's again borrowing?

It's really interesting how the ones who are afraid to take a stand out of fear that it might upset their hopes for November accuse someone else (never themselves) of attempting to trick the voters. It's the sort of piece the Times loves, where they can put one over on the readers. Will it work? No. Opinion has hardened on the war. It's not "soft" and it won't be swayed at this late date. Opinion makers/shapers like to think they've possess the ability to (again) trick to the public but they're only fooling themselves. Zernike should put on the "Off Duty" sign because, although she's pleased her bosses, she's lost her way (and then some). (And, for the record, Kerry's 2004 position did not leave Congressional Dems "fuming.")

Martha notes Michael Abramowitz's "Bush's Unpopularity in Europe Hangs Over Summit" (Washington Post):

President Bush arrived here Tuesday for his 15th visit to Europe since taking office, at a time when the populace remains generally wary of him despite concerted efforts by political leaders on both sides of the Atlantic to patch up their differences.
In meetings here Wednesday, Bush and European Union officials are to confer on issues including trade, energy security and their mutual efforts to persuade Iran to halt activities that could lead to the development of nuclear weapons.

On the above, remember this from Monday:

Finally, Bully Boy is due to visit Vienna this week (Tuesday and Wednesday) and a group is attempting to organize a loud, if not welcoming, reception for him. "Bush Go Home" organizer Michael Proebsting tells the AAP: "The name George Bush, the name of the American president, has become a symbol for war crimes, for Abu Ghraib, for Guantanamo, for Jenin."

And remember to listen, watch or read (transcripts) of Democracy Now! (Rod passes on scheduled topics):

Award-winning author of the The Vagina Monologues, Eve Ensler, and Law Professor Kimberle Crenshaw on the global movement to end violence against women and girls

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Blog Spotlight: Rebecca, always a fighter

C.I. made a generic statement Monday morning at The Common Ills regarding the fact that a friend had some bad news.  C.I. then hit the roof when e-mails came in wondering about Rebecca and citing a sentence penned here last week when highlighting Rebecca's post.  It was late and we weren't thinking.  (For the record, C.I. and Ty wrote the intro to Mike's post we highlighted.  C.I. doesn't want to know "who wrote it" but points out that someone should have gotten Rebecca's permission before noting it in any way here.  That is quite true and our apologies for that.)  On Monday, Rebecca addressed the miscarriage and a number of other issues at her site.  It's a strong post.  She's a strong woman.

nancy keenan, rick hertzberg (the useless 1s)

hey, everybody, i'm nancy keenan. i'm president of naral and i'm, uh, just pretty, um upset, and i'm, uh, so mad, right now, i just might let some expression come into my voice. no, i don't think i will. i think i'll just play poor pathetic for another year. i like that. i like to picture the supreme court as tonya harding and myself as nancy kerrigan. i bet if i just sit here and do nothing but hold my knee and scream 'it hurts' then america will love me.

nancy keenan was on kpfa's evening news tonight and she played bland when not saying 'uh' and 'um' a lot. she had another repeater, maybe it was 'i ... i' but i don't remember. 9you can go the archives and listen yourself.)

naral has made them useless and there was la-la nancy making herself more useless. it's not just that it was a snooze-fest while she used words about how 'alarmed' we should all be without ever sounding alarmed (or prepared for an interview, or, as she would put it, prepared for an, uh, uh, interview). you're useless, nancy. if there's any 1 in power at naral that is useful, let them speak. you're a lousy speaker. or, if you prefer, you're a, uh, lousy, um, speaker.

get kim gandy (president of now) on the air or any other woman who is a passionate fighter. don't let little nancy whine about the boo-boo on her knee while we see roe v. wade under attack again.

she's bound and determined to destroy abortion rights.

at 1 point she spoke of how the late-term abortion (the issue's been picked up, via a case the supreme court will be hearing) should be a medical decision. then she went on to say it should be a decision between a doctor, a woman and, um, her family.

her family?

know your shit. seriously. it's an issue for a woman and her doctor only.

nancy, did you have an abortion for medical reason?

i did. it was my decision. the doctor presented me with the facts after the test and i made the decision. it's my body. my body wouldn't belong to a 'family.'

what an idiot. every time she opens her mouth, she chips away at abortion rights. she needed to step down as president a long time ago. it's too late for that now. but it's not too late for her to designate some 1 else as the public speaker for naral.

so, here's the deal every 1's worrying about. during the third estate sunday review edition, i explained, as i did here saturday, that i was cramping. c.i., elaine and betty started saying, 'rebecca, you need to go to a doctor.' with c.i. asking which doctor's office i was writing about saturday - my dentist or my dermatologist? i avoid medical doctors. (it was my dentist. a dentist is a doctor.) i can deal with the externals like skin and teeth. i can't handle the internals. (and c.i. and elaine would go to town on that admission.)

this was probably a 30 minute discussion during the edition putting us all behind. then we were working on some piece, i don't remember which 1. and some 1, jim?, asked c.i.'s opinion after i had weighed in. c.i.'s response was a shocker: 'oh my god. you're not getting your period. you miscarried.'

yes, that's what the cramps were. i love c.i. but it always freaks me out when that happens. and it's always the same way. you think something's over and you've moved on and then out of the blue, it will hit c.i. what's going on (it was the same with my divorce from fly boy which i wasn't rushing to tell c.i. or elaine about, with an annullment - 'i don't care what we eat ... oh my god, rebecca he's gay' - and over and over throughout the years). i used to kid, 'what are you, psychic?' c.i. just has always been able to zero in on something if you're trying to put a happy face on it. and when the realization hits, it's usually as c.i.'s speaking - taking even c.i. by surprise.

i wasn't that far along. i hadn't even told fly boy. i wasn't surprised because i had miscarried twice with fly boy and once with my first husband.

i was surprised because we were using birth control, surprised to be pregnant.

that's just the way it goes.

did i cry. yes, i cried saturday afternoon for several hours. then saturday night, i put on my thinking cap and got to work with the gang on the latest edition. i hadn't planned on telling any 1 but my saturday entry came up and then elaine, betty and c.i. were saying 'you need to go to the doctor.' then c.i. realized what was going on. every 1 was supportive and caring, i thank them for that, but it put the whole edition behind and brought every 1 down. don't feel down. it's life.

i am going to the doctor tomorrow. elaine arranged the appointment. everything's fine.

i know everyone's sad for me and i appreciate that.

things happen.

you live with them.

i purposely started off the post with nancy keelen to show i'm fine. i'm not sobbing. i'm not whimpering. i'm fine.

now let's talk about something else. rick hertzberg. t is pissed and i don't blame her 1 bit.

in the new yorker, hertzberg has another 1 of his nonsense pieces (he's new republican and then some) 'distraction.' what's it about? among other things same-sex marriage.

talk about your bullshit. talk about your nonsense.

who but an unfeeling straight boy (white) would label the right to marry for all a 'distraction.'

i'm really sorry that little ricky thinks the issue is eating up his valuable time.

but it's an issue to a lot of people.

t was insulted and i didn't blame her 1 bit.

she wondered if, since she was both african-american and a lesbian, she was a 'double distraction'?

that's my best friend, little ricky, who are you to label issues that matter to her a distraction?

little ricky is an idiot. in 2004, during 1 of the conventions, i think the democratic 1, he was a guest on the majority report on air america. if you remember back then, you know that the networks decided the conventions weren't worthy of a great deal coverage. it was all a dog and pony show, blah, blah, blah.

so janeane made the point that there were stories there (and they found some) and that reporters shouldn't allow themselves to be managed, or something like that, by the party. about how the delegates were left outside. and she asks rick about that because he's written about it. his basic response is: what are you talking about?

little ricky has written about it over and over. i called my ex-mother-in-law (they love the new republican - though i was glad to hear that they'd finally stopped reading it - apparently it's gotten even worse - who thought that was possible?). her husband has each few months leatherbound (or had) and i wanted her to go summer 1988 because i remember that 1 where little ricky was whining about how all the delegates weren't even allowed in the democratic convention hall (it was too small for them all). she found it. it's ran in the august 8, 1988 issue.

that's not the only 1. that's just the 1 i could remember off hand (i wasn't going to make my ex-mother-in-law go through every election year convention).

now hertzberg would probably argue he didn't say anything bad about gays and lesbians. he didn't. he did the 'tolerance' speech. oh how brave.

he's running scared like all the other 'career pundits.'

stop being scared. let's have the discussion.

quit playing like now-is-not-the-time.

if you wait for 'career pundits,' it's never the time.

he's tolerant.

tolerant enough to allow that they are serious issues to gays and lesbians (despite the column's title 'distraction'). i'm sorry, i'm not 'tolerant.' i embrace the right of gays and lesbians to live in an equal world with equal benefits, equal access, go down the list.

little ricky's too old to not grasp that running scared is not going to play. not for equality and not for an election.

bully boy wants to paint some 1 as a gay and lesbian friend? go for it.

the natural response is: 'yes, i support equality. i'm not sure why he doesn't. but i believe in america that we are equal.'

b-b-but some nutcase like james dobson says if you allow same-sex marriages, the next thing you know some 1 will want to marry a goat!

'i have to wonder what sort of fantasy life a person like that has? let's just say i wouldn't visit a farm with them.'

ha-ha. big laugh for the nation. point made.

instead, the nation's leaders want to run from. why should we support a run for office by anyone we only see running AWAY FROM issues?

leave it to a career pundit.

paul krugman isn't a career pundit. but his column pissed me off. today, he's waxing on about the 50s. oh yeah, he tells you, it wasn't great for every 1 and not every 1 got to be middle class, but we were closer together then and there wasn't bipartisanship (he credits that to wwii).

does he not get how offensive that is?

on today of all days?

if you're blanking, while he's praising the 50s and noting how the policitians could work together in the column that ran today, today is also the day on which, in 1953, ethel and julius rosenberg were executed. that's the 50s he's waxing on about and about the story in time magazine that he read blah-blah-blah.

yeah, there was a bond between a lot of dems and a lot of repubes - it was the desire to launch a witch hunt. ethel and julius were only 2 of the casualities.

krugman should be embarrassed that his paen to the 50s ran today, on the 53rd anniversary of their executions.

hertzberg would rather talk about the economy too. at least krugman is an economist.

but the point here is, and it's what ava and c.i. were getting at in their wonderful review this week, it's easy for those white, straight males, to scream 'single-issue' on anything that doesn't effect them directly. but white, straight, male does not cover every 1. it doesn't even cover the majority of americans.

'single-issue' allows abortion to be pushed aside, gay rights, civil rights, just go down the list.

if bully boy could pull a wonderful economy out of his ass tomorrow, it wouldn't address racism. it wouldn't address any of these issue.

it's really funny because he writes (and he was on a progam, krugman, that i'm not providing a link for because i'm pissed at him for publishing that column on the anniversary of julius and ethel's executions, talking about it as well) how the 'other' was used as a dividing issue before.

guess what, it will be again. until the 'career pundits' stop dismissing issues that impact people's lives as 'side issues,' there will always be an 'other' and it will always be used to demonize.

'demonize' that's the title a thinking person would have used - not, as hertzberg did, 'distraction.'

what's the biggest distraction (and election turnout drag)? straight, white males who think only the issues in their lives matter.

so that's my entry for tonight. any 1 reading it should be able to tell, i'm my usual self. things happen. i appreciate the concern. i really do. i'm glad that so many take my life so seriously and care so much for me. but there's no reason to worry.

what happened happened. it's happened to me before. it happens to many women. it's life.

want to worry? worry about c.i. who has nightmares, i'm told wake up screaming 1s, since friday about what's being done at guantanamo.

here's c.i.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Chaos and violence continue.
In Baghdad, Reuters notes two bombings, a "car bomb" at "a police checkpoint" resulted in three deaths and three wounded and a "sucicide car bomber" who killed at least four others and wounded at least ten. CBS and the AP note "[a] parked car bomb" that killed five and wounded nine.
The BBC notes: "Violence is continuing in Baghdad despite the introduction of stringent new security measures last week that have seen more than 40,000 Iraqi and US forces deployed in the city." Dahr Jamail reports on the days since Bully Boy's photo-op in the Green Zone and concludes: "Each passing day only brings the people of Iraq and soldiers serving in the US military deeper into the quagmire that the brutal, despicable, tortured occupation has become."
Bombings also took place outside of Baghdad. The AP notes that three people were killed in Fallujah when a roadside bomb exploded while another roadside bomb, in Hillah, killed at least person and wounded at least four others. Reuters notes that, in Najaf, one person died from a bombing while at least five were wounded.
Reuters also reports an attack in Karbala where "a senior police officer" was shot to death and two of his bodyguards were wounded. AP identifies the man as Abdel-Shahid Saleh and notes that Saadoun Abdul-Hussein Radi, electrician, was shot to death in Amarah.Kidnappings? Reuters reports that the Mujahideen Shura Council, which most recently claimed credit for four of the seven Saturday bombings in Baghdad, is now claiming to be holding four Russian diplomats which, Reuters notes, appears to be a reference to the June 3rd attack. The attack resulted in the death of Russian diplomat Vitaly Vitalyevich Titov and the four who were kidnapped were identified by the Russian embassy as: Feodor Zaycev, Rinat Agliulin, Anatolii Smirnov and Oleg Feodosiev. AFP reports that the Mujahideen Shura Council is also claiming that it has the two US soldiers reported to have been taken by "masked gunmen" on Friday. AFP describes it as a body that "groups eight armed factions led by Al-Qaeda."The US military has not confirmed the abduction of the two soldiers. AFP reports that their names have been released: "Kristian Menchaca, 23, and Thomas L. Tucker, 25."
Richard A. Oppel Jr. (New York Times) reported that "more than 8,000" US and Iraqis are searching for Menchaca and Tucker and the AFP notes that seven US troops have been wounded since the search began Friday.
Meanwhile, CBS and AP quote Christina Menchaca, wife of Kristian, saying, "We're basically just watching the news because no one else knows anything about it, no one has heard anything about it."
On the American, Keith Maupin, who has been MIA since April 8, 2004, the AFP reports: "The Arabic news channel Al-Jazeera aired a video a week later that showed the American seated on the floor surrounded by masked gunmen. A month later it aired what it said was the execution of an American soldier, but the images were unclear and the army said it was inconclusive."
Al Jazeera is reporting that Iraq forces will be responsible for Muthanna relieving the British forces. This is the area that Japanese troops were also responsible for possibly adding creedence to the press coverage of the rumors that Japan will be announcing, prior to June 29th, that it is withdrawing all of its troops from Iraq. CBS and the AP note that Japan, England and Australia will "continue moving to "support role." The AP notes: "The decision, announced after [Nouri] al-Maliki met with Japan's ambassador, does not necessarily mean that any U.S.-led coalition forces will be withdrawn from Muthana province."
Ramadi? As noted by Sandra Lupien on KPFA's The Morning Show, "major military operations" continue as "helicopters and airplanes are flying over the town." Reuters reports that "seven tanks moved along Maarif Street and July 17 Street. Two explosions were heard but the cause was not clear." Ali Hussein Mohammed is quoted as saying: "The water is totally cut off. We have to go to the river to get water. There has been no water for 24 hours and we have no gas to boil the river water to drink it."
Meanwhile, in Italy, the AFP reports that prosecutors are saying that the US marine who shot Nicola Calipari should be put on trial. Calipari had been sent to Iraq by the Italian government to rescue kidnapped Italian journalist Giuliana Sgrena. Though he and Sgrena made it safely to the car, while traveling to the airport to leave Iraq, their car (or "caravan" in some reports at the time) was shot at by US forces. In the attack, Calipari was killed. Sgrena will be in New York City Friday June 23rd for an event with Amy Goodman at Columiba University. (Event starts at 7:30 p.m.)
Finally, Bully Boy is due to visit Vienna this week (Tuesday and Wednesday) and a group is attempting to organize a loud, if not welcoming, reception for him. "Bush Go Home" organizer Michael Proebsting tells the AAP: "The name George Bush, the name of the American president, has become a symbol for war crimes, for Abu Ghraib, for Guantanamo, for Jenin."

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