Sunday, October 01, 2006

A Note to Our Readers

Hey --

Highlights? We got 'em:

C.I.: "Baghdad Under House Arrest"
Blog Spotlight: Mike discusses Darrell Anderson, Iraq and Jim McGreevey
Elaine explains "Mama was a Jihadist Terrorist And Papa Used to Follow All Her Plans"
Humor Spotlight: Wally & Cedric on Bully Boy's Bump & Grind
Humor Spotlight: Cedric & Wally on the On the Job Condi
Humor Spotlight: Betinna enjoys life without Thomas Friedman
Note: Kat is in Ireland
Blog Spotlight: Rebecca on activism
Cooking Spotlight: Bean and Tomato Casserole in the Kitchen

Thank you to everyone for allowing us to repost.

New Content? Got that too. The following worked on it:

The Third Estate Sunday Review's Dona, Jess, Ty, Ava and, me, 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 Ils);
Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix;
Mike of Mikey Likes It!;
Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz;
and Wally of The Daily Jot

We thank the above and thank Dallas for hunting down links and being a sounding board.

Editorial: The importance of supporting the war resistance -- Get the word out. A lot is happening. You cover it. You get the word out.

TV: White Man Talking (and talking and talking . . .) -- Ava and C.I.'s latest and they don't pull punches. They don't fluff either -- the way the Water Cooler Critics set has.

The lost chapter to State of Denial -- Humor. We write the missing chaptered to Woody's book.

Somebody tip Gramps' rocker already -- a response to the "youth today' slam.

They trashed paradise, put in a torture czar -- with an illustration, links and lyrics, we tackle the stripping of habeas corpus.

Baghdad Placed Under House Arrest -- Reality. No one wants to use the term "house arrest.

Condi Flips the Bird at America -- The "stylish" Condi Rice.

Separated At The Turnip Truck -- gasbags, like Russert and Roberts should be not seen nor heard.

See you next week!

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

Editorial: The importance of supporting the war resistance

If we had questioned the Army and the war before, now the questioning became the focus for our anger and our outrage. The antiwar militans in the platoon became point men against the officers. In Army indoctrination classes, the officers would try to convince us that the war was right, and that we should fight. The militants would question the officers, asking, "Wasn't our intervention illegal under international law? Didn't the CIA set up the Saigon regime as a puppet government? What about the atrocities?" The officers acted like macho straight men in a bad comedy. A typical exchange went like this:
Militant: "Sir, why should we fight when this is an illegal and immoral war of capitalist imperialism?"
Lieutenant: "Because we're fighting for freedom and democracy against Communist aggression, and as an American fighting man, you ought to understand that."
Militant: "Sir, if we're fighting for freedom and democracy, then why, after the French left, did we support the Saigon regime in blocking internationally supervised free elections to reunite Viet Nam?"
Sergeant: "Shut up, troop! Don't talk to the lieutenant like that!"
Militan: "Sir, does this mean you can't answer my question?"

The more thing stay the same, the more you should scream, "Quagmire." The above is from Michael Wong's "Honor's Death" (p. 582 of Veterans of War, Veterans of Peace, edited by Maxine Hong Kingston, published by Koa Books) where Wong explains how his attempts at c.o. status didn't work out and how he ended up self-checking out of the army and going to Canada during Vietnam. Yesterday, Darrell Anderson returned to the United States from Canada.

Anderson served one tour of duty in Iraq. He was injured by a roadside bomb and awarded the Purple Heart. Then, facing a second tour of duty, he elected to self-check out of the military and go to Canada in January of 2005. In Canada, he applied for sancutary but, unlike during the Vietnam era, the Canadian government has not chosen to legally welcome war resisters.

As we started this editorial, there was only one story we could locate (through searches and phone calls) on Darrell Anderson's return, Lynne Olver's "Army deserter back in U.S., faces uncertainty" published late Saturday by Reuters:

After nearly two years in Canada, U.S. Army deserter Darrell Anderson rode over the Peace Bridge into New York state on Saturday and headed for Kentucky where he will turn himself in to military authorities, he said."It feels good to be back in the United States," he said by cell phone in Ohio. "It's been a long time."

Jim Warren has been covering Darrell Anderson's story for the Lexington Herald-Leader and he reports that there were at least three cars crossing the Peace Bridge -- the first contained Darrell Anderson and his mother Anita Anderson, the second contained Gail Greer (Darrell Anderson's wife), Jim Fennerty (Anderson's lawyer) and a photographer for the Lexington Herald-Leader, while the third car contained a reporter for the paper. The Andersons showed identification and were waived on through, the next two cars had to go through a questioning and search process.

Fennerty tells Warren that nothing is in writing; however, he's been told by a major handling the AWOL cases "that the Army had decided not to court-martial Anderson, and plans to release him within three to five days. Fennerty said the officer told him that a discharge would be mailed to Anderson a few days after that." The military would not confirm that to the press and Anderson's lawyer says, "Hopefully, this will be honored when he gets there."

As planned, if not arrested crossing the border, Anderson will now travel to Fort Knox to turn himself in Tuesday. Is the military sincere in their statements to Fennerty?

If so, why this approach? Maybe because of publicity concerns in court-martialing a veteran awarded a Purple Heart? Maybe concerns over exactly how big this movement could be?

In June, Ehren Watada became the first officer to publicly refuse to serve in the illegal war. An Article 32 hearing completed with the recommendation of court-martialing Watada. (No decision has yet been announced as to whether or not there will be a court-martial or not. Bob Watada, Ehren's father, begins another speaking tour to raise awareness on his son's case Monday. Click here for his schedule in PDF form, click here for his schedule in HTML.) In August, Ricky Clousing announced at the Veterans for Peace conference in Seattle that he was turning himself in after self-checking out and that he would refuse to go to Iraq. (Clousing's lawyer has been advised the Clousing will be charged with desertion.) As August wound down, Mark Wilkerson held a news conference at Camp Casey III announcing that he too would be turning himself in and refusing to go to Iraq (after self-checking out of the military). September? You've got Darrell Anderson and you've also got Agustin Aguayo who turned himself in Tuesday after self-checking out September 2nd when the Army refused to grant him C.O. status.

As noted at his site, Aguayo has not only been informed that he's facing a hearing but that he will be transported to either Germany or Kuwait for that hearing and they are preventing any contact (phone or in person) between him and his wife or between him and his two daughters. In the meantime, his case in civilian courts (Writ of Habeas Corpus v. the Secretary of the Army) is scheduled for November 21st and "is the first such case brought before the District of Columbia Circuit since the Vietnam War era."

In addition, there is also Sir! No Sir!, ". . . in the summer of 68 as thousands of supporters protested the jailing of the Presido 27, the G.I. movement had arrived."

This is why it's important to talk about the war resisters. If they're seen as a lone individual with no support base, the military doesn't worry. They just don't sweat it. They do whatever they want and know they can because no one's watching, no civilian oversight of the military is taking place. But when a war resister has the country's attention, has support, it can make a difference in the way the military responds.

The Army may go back on their oral promise to Darrell Anderson's attorney. They may not. Whichever way they go doesn't excuse you from following his case or the case of anyone saying no to war. We need to hear the "no"s, we need to hear them from activists, we need to hear them from war resisters and we need to hear them from the people around us. Even when the media's not watching, the world needs to be and, for that, in the end it comes down to you. Are you willing to, at the very least, get the word out on opposition to the war?

Long before the press recognized it, the country turned against the war. Some calcified opinion makers (well, they fancy themselves as that), have recently written that country has turned against the war. If they checked the actually polling, they'd find that turning happened some time ago. (We called it the tripping point and made that call in the summer of 2005.) Those types ride their desks really well, they just don't get out among the people. The running of the beltway bulls never really effects (or reflects) the people but it does throw down the gauntlet to the politicians.

When they've lost the gasbags, they can either admit that they've lost period or they can go further into delusion (like Tricky Dick Nixon, Bully Boy may invent a non-existant 'silent majority' that supports him). The country's turned on the war and the truth is the would be opinion-makers probably grasp that. But they have to step lightly because being a Beltway Bull means forever running with the pack, never getting ahead of it. No one wants to be the first to challenge the conventional wisdom. You may not see the fences of el encierro, but trust us, they've been internalized and gas bags know the limits that have been placed upon them.

Which is why you didn't see any opinion pieces on Darrell Anderson in the mainstream outlets this month. Some columnists basically strung together several old columns, wrote a wrap around about Bob Woodward's new book and their papers printed that. The lesson here is that if you want a story to be known, you have to work to get it known. Not by contacting the media that will probably Continue to Resist covering war resisters. (Continue to Resist should be set up as a group in support of the delusioned.) You get the story out by talking it up in your own circles, by making it an issue your circle knows about and cares about. The circle expands and expands. That's how the word gets out these days. This week, you need to continue to get the word out on war resistance. Bare minimum, you need to find five people to talk to (face to face, over the phone, i.m.) or write to (e-mail or letter) to get the word out. And doing it one day alone won't mean a thing. A one-day news cycle carries little weight.

Think about a CD you bought or downloaded this year or a film you saw -- one that you really loved. Did you get the word on that from the media? Very unlikely. You heard about it from the people around you. Just as you can (and should) get the word out on Michael Franti & Spearhead's Yell Fire!, you can get the word out on the war resisters of this summer. Be the media. Don't wait for them to do their job (you're waiting in vain). For more information on war resisters, check out Courage to Resist.

TV: White Man Talking (and talking and talking . . .)

Studio 60 Yadda-Yadda-Yadda airs on NBC's. It's the latest from a press created "genius" and we're all supposed to ooh-aah over it. Which only demonstrates that the Water Cooler Critics have water on the brain.

How bad is the show?

Pretty damn awful.

Or as Aaron Sorkin might put it: "The show is tragically misquided, weighted with excess wordage, moralistic in the most simplistic way and will leave you dazed in a most unfortunate manner."

What most people could say in three words takes at least twenty for Sorkin. If he needed a psuedonym, we'd suggest Gabby Hayes. But when all you excell at is wordy bits of dialogue, you market it like an aging pitcher reduced to sliders and curve balls.

Brief history. Sorkin wanted to be an actor and couldn't cut it (we're told he recited dialogue word for word but couldn't manage emotion). So he stumbled around and became a "playwright." The play, A Few Good Men, flounders around with the usual conventions and provides various monologues. When he adapted it for the big screen (with Rob Reiner directing), he had to an add a female character (played by Demi Moore). Pay attention, this does matter. He was brought in on numerous scripts to provide a flashy speech here or there. (Carrie Fisher, by contrast, actually writes dialogue when she script doctors.) The modest-sized hit An American President was more of the usual conventions and wordy-words from Sorkin.
With the spare parts/wordy-words cut from that project, he crafted West Wing. Prior to that he crafted a half-hour show, Sport's Night, that the promos swore would make you laugh but audience thought otherwise so now it's usually referred to as a "dramedy."

So NBC decides to make his Studio 60 Yadda-Yadda-Yadda their tent pole for the fall season. They don't have enough confidence in it (for good reason) to air it, as originally planned, on Thursdays, so they bench Medium for the fall and give that spot to Sorkin's show.

Thus far, two episodes have aired* (we've also seen the third and fourth, expect more of the same) and the Water Cooler Set is drooling like crazy. So spellbound by dialogue, they've yet to notice that there's no writer behind it, not a thinking one, not an instinctual one. Speeches do not make for exchanges. Which is why the majority of the actors flounder as they attempt to do slow dead-pan line readings.

Let's talk characters and actors, then we'll get back to the bad writing.

The only one who succeeds is Amanda Peet. She succeeds in spite of the writing and in spite of Water Cooler Critics grabbing bits she thought up for her character and crediting Sorkin for them. Sorkin's put no thought into her character -- she's a female, he has no interest. For those who missed that obvious fault, West Wing started filming without a First Lady -- a look at the White House with no First Lady? The character Stockard Channing would bring to life was an after thought to Sorkin -- so it's no surprise that Peet's getting by largely on her likeability. There's no character for her to play so the show's very lucky that someone as likeable as Peet is in the cast.


And that's really it. Matthew Perry (Friends fame) and Steven Weber (Wings fame) are like Carol Burnett in a seventies TV drama: desperate to prove they can "Act" (with capital "A") and not just make you chuckle. The Burnett path means that you water down every talent you possess, you slow your delivery and you reduce all body movement to eye motion. Water Cooler Critics declare Weber 'reborn' and Perry 'gifted' -- we just think they look like they're underwater.

Who else? Well Water Cooler Critics say this is a 'diverse' cast so we should probably note that D.L. Hughley plays a poorly written stereotype and can't seem to figure out what he's doing in the cast (the audience won't be able to figure it out either). Diversity?

Sarah Paulson has the worst problem of anyone in the cast, Sorkin's basing the sketch on an actual person he knows. He's placed the sketch of a character into a world that she would never be in and you grimace as Paulson goes from moment to moment with dialogue and scenes that not only make no sense, they also aren't consistent.

Studio 60 Blah-Blah-Blah is a behind the scenes look at a live, sketch comedy, late night show. It wishes it were Saturday Night Live. (Sadly, the show within a show plays more like ABC's forgotten Fridays.) Paulson plays Harriet Hayes who is supposed to be the star, the audience favorite, of the live, sketch show. That would never happen and not just because no one in their right mind can think of a funny comedy star named "Harriet."

It would never happen because Harriet's a priss and a drip. This has nothing to do with the character's religion (which we'll get to in a moment), it has to do with the fact that Harriet is not Gilda Radner, she's not Lily Tomlin, she's not Whoopi Goldberg, she's not Molly Shannon, she's not even Christina Applegate. She does not catch your eye. She's a sad sack. She's a wet blanket. She couldn't even hack it as the last billed performer on Mad TV. (We're speaking of the character Harriet, not the actress Paulson.)

Outside of Paula Poundstone, we're having a hard time thinking of any female comic that's found success (forget stardom) doing deadpan. Poundstone didn't achieve fame by doing comedy and Harriet couldn't get booked at the lowest of low comedy dives. There's nothing magical about Harriet. Performing in a skit, she's a scold. A polite one. That doesn't bring in the laughs. If you don't bring in the laughs, you don't become a star.

That's the character as comic. Now let's talk the character as character. Harriet's a prissy thing there as well. She's the soul of the show (presumably because the character is religious) so when someone comes to her concerned about their job, you don't have two characters communicating, you have two speech makers moralizing. Now when this comes from Perry's character, for instance, it might make sense. Glib is what all the characters except for Harriet are supposed to be. Harriet's supposed to be quite a bit more. She's not.

Paulson needs to dye the hair red, cut it and figure out what the hell she can bring to the show because only she can save Harriet at this point -- Sorkin's not interested in the character as anything but a moralizer.

Sorkin, the man who knows nothing about comedy (knows nothing other than how to write speeches) wants to take an inner look at comedy. In the second episode, he swiped lines from The Mary Tyler Moore Show's first episode ("Love Is All Around") but he seems to have missed the one about "whimsical" (which, for the record, Lou Grant also hated). That's really too bad because the show within a show is nothing but whimsy.

Why does it matter? Well, it would be good if the audiences watching actually thought the onscreen writers and cast could be funny. It's a bit like watching Mickey and Judy try to put on a show and discovering Rooney has two left feet and Judy has a range of one note.

Sorkin's all talk and it's not funny, and it's not deep and it serves no real purpose other than to mark time and show Karl Rove that there's more than one press created 'boy genius.' Now you may be thinking, "But Ava, C.I., the Water Cooler Critics love this show."

That's because they're idiots. There's no other reason for it. There are certain rules in drama and you either obey them or you don't. Sorkin's not a "maverick," he's an incompetent.

Here's what the babbling Water Cooler Critics failed to notice. On the first episode of Studio 60 Blah-Blah-Blah, the show-within-a-show's producer is fired after he goes out on live air ranting and raving (a sermon meant to inspire and alarm) after a skit is pulled moments before air. Amanda Peet hires Perry and Bradley Whitford (playing Danny) to run the show-within-a-show. She promises them they can lead their first show with the canned skit. The skit's called "Crazy Christians" and you hear that over and over. Over and over. In the first episode and in the second. There's an uproar over the skit. There are boycotts and threats. Peet puts her job on the line so that this skit can air.

The second episode ends with the show-within-a-show performing a skit. Guess what? The much talked about (a given in a Sorkin show) isn't shown. No "Crazy Christians." Instead you get a song and dance number.

Now the song and dance number isn't funny. (Not even prissy Harriet's aside qualifies for funny.) It's also nothing a studio audience at a sketch show would cheer even with the "APPLAUSE" sign flashing. It's not funny. This matters for a number of reasons including that Perry and Whitford are supposed to be making the show-within-a-show funny again -- that's why they were hired. The song-and-dance is a nice little pandering sermonette so you grasp that Sorkin has a second talent -- besides writing bad dialogue, he can also set bad dialogue to music.

But it's not funny. No one's going to chuckle out loud, not even politely. The real audience watching Studio 60 Yadda-Yadda-Yadda is supposed to root for Perry and Whitford and think they can pull it off. Sorkin's not interested in that, he just wants to sermonize.

Bad writing is spending two episodes refusing to shut up about one skit ("Crazy Christians"), hearing about who really wrote it, hearing about the outrage the planned airing of it is causing, hearing that Peet's job hangs in the balance, hearing of how the show's original producer went loco on air because the skit was pulled. Bad writing is wasting two hours of primetime with that crap and then, when you finally show the show-within-a-show, failing to deliver even thirty-seconds of "Crazy Christians."

You go to a circus, you expect to see a clown. You go to a fair, you expect to see rides. Studio 60 Yada-Yada-Yada opens with a producer being told "Crazy Christians" is being pulled, suffers an on air meltdown and loses his job, Peet promises "the boys" they can do "Crazy Christians" on their first show, the big brass tries to get Peet to break her promise, a boycott starts, yada-yada-yada. Habeas "Crazy Christians" -- produce the sketch! Sorkin can't even grasp that.

It's always tease, tease, tease, as the Clash once sang. And that's because the press created 'genius' can't write comedy and he can't write drama. He can write speeches and sermonettes and Water Cooler Critics are too terrified to tell you the emperor (that they created) has no clothes on so they waste even more words than Sorkin could dream of to prop this empty show up.

[*Last week, we reviewed Heroes and apologize because we weren't aware that the show hadn't aired yet. At least two readers felt the review had spoilers. They were unintentional. We were watching tapes provided by friends -- as with this review -- we weren't watching it over the airwaves. Our apologies. Clash song is "Should I Stay or Should I Go?" off Combat Rock.]

The lost chapter to State of Denial

The Third Estate Sunday Review presents a chapter of Bob Woodward's State of Denial that did not make the final cut. Woodward had intended it to run as the preface. After it was pointed out to him that it was "too frank," he yipped, snapped and howled to have it included as the epilogue until he was hit over the snout with a rolled newspaper.

Behind Stoic Face, Elites Have Doubts About the Administration

At the start of August, as elites who had championed the war, opposed it (small numbers) or stood on the sidelines with a "I'm up for anything!" attitude, the Bully Boy's bonafides were being questioned.

As polling came in showing that the people would not be moved and that the feelings against the war were entrenched, elites began to worry. Bully Boy was already thought to be out of control, even by some War Hawk elites, over his trampling of the Constitution. The attacks from the administration on Judge Anna Diggs Taylor (fifth circuit) would alarm even a few of the die hards who began to wonder if the true heir to Richard Nixon was now installed in the Oval Office and what it might take to dislodge him. In think tanks and boardrooms, in Georgetown salons and on spacious estates, the word was out: BULLY BOY GOING DOWN.

The only question was how and who was going down with him? Donald Rumsfeld had always struck too many as both arrogant and corn-pone. The lack of supervision was the least of his problems. Like Dick Cheney, Rumsfeld had rubbed far too many (who mattered) the wrong way. Both would be easily dispensed with an establishment hit-job but Cheney would be portrayed as someone stupid yet caring. Rumsfeld would just be stupid.

Colin Powell? The owners of the press had already invested too much air time and ink turning him into Saint Colie. To do a turn around at this point might confuse the masses. It was decided he would be portrayed as unwilling and rumors were floated that he gave his United Nations testimony at gun point.

Condi Rice? The gal-pal segment of the media wasn't going to let her fall on her face. There was something so uncontrollable about Helene Cooper's devotion to Rice (it was feared Cooper might fall on her pen to save Rice) that alarmed the sections of the family in control of The New York Times. Besides, Gwen Ifell had done an end run around the press by going to big oil and pleading that Rice not be part of the limited hang out. Hearing the sounds of gas pump money being shut off, PBS had no choice but agree to the demands of those who had made Condi that should other establishment outlets commence a hit job, they would air a three hour tribute to all things Rice.

The rest mere bit players in the drama save one, the Bully Boy himself. Though not the embracer of the establishment that his father Prescott was, Poppy Bush was still "one of them." Limited hang out had to allow for Poppy to be protected. Realizing that, an oedipal narrative was decided upon. The son who slew the king to take the throne.

Variations on this theme had been floated before but it was decided that to really sell this point, harridan Big Babs must be redeamed as well.

With those elements locked-down, I was contacted to and instructed to stop my planned book (David Corn's Full Of Beans and Sometimes An Outing Is Just a Banana) and begin writing the slow take down of the Bully Boy. Was I up for it? Up for it, I was giddy with delight.

[Third Estate Sunday Review note: This was a parody piece.]

Somebody tip Gramps' rocker already

Did you catch American Idol this week? Wow. When that guy sang Michael Franti & Spearhead's "Time To Go Home?" -- it was awesome. Then we checked out Ellen and there was Ben Harper explaining why he was against the war. We were watching The New Kopplettes on Nightline interviewing Medea Benjamin ("What does the peace movement want?" was the first question) and almost missed Neil Young's firey musical performance on Leno. But we caught it just in time to hear the last chorus of "Living With War." Then, later in the week, we were flipping through Vogue and just amazed at the new fashions being sold to "Young America" and how it was called "The New Peace Look." We'd barely put that down before we picked up Rolling Stone's cover story asking "When Will Teeny Boppers Who Say They're Growing Up Address the War?" They had a drawing of Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears in diapers. It was so funny. They were crying like they'd dirtied their nappies so we were joking about how their CDs must be in there. We almost missed the cover of People magazine: "Darrell Anderson Comes Home" read the headline. And over on PBS' NewsHour, there was Norman Solomon, Tom Hayden and Leslie Cagan as guests for a roundtable.

All in all, a pretty amazing week.

If it had happened. But it didn't. In September of 2005, we went to DC and asked people why they were participating in the demonstrations? Ivan (62, from Michigan) told us:

I think today is great and am thrilled with the turnout. I protested against the war on Vietnam and there it took us years to get the momentum going. What I worry about is where are the people? I don't mean the protestors, I'm really encouraged with the cross-section today. But, okay, you've got Cindy Sheehan. Great spokesperson. Ralph Nader's here and maybe he can make up for the recent past or maybe not, but he's here. The actress from Tootsie and Cape Fear, right Jessica Lange. She's here and I didn't remember her name but she really did give a great speech. I'm glad those people are here. But we need more.
And in my day, the people had others. Yes, we had Jane Fonda, Fred Gardner, Joan Baez, Tom Hayden and others front and center. But you also had people backing it up. Like Bob Dylan. I think he went to one protest with Joan Baez for civil rights. But his songs backed up what his actions didn't. Or you turned on Dick Cavett or David Frost and there was an author or singer or someone and they weren't at the protests but they'd put it on the line and they'd say, like John Phillips [Mamas and the Papas] that the war was wrong. I caught Jane Fonda on David Letterman, when her book came out. And he asked her about the war and she said she was against it and the audience just went crazy with applause and cheers. But are there younger people doing that? Is it just people my age? Maybe there are and I just don't know them. But part of the reason the movement finally did end the war is that our cultural heroes were willing to speak out. You hear a lot of that sneering "You're a celebrity, shut up" talk and that's really fearing the power if they do speak out. With Vietnam, and this isn't a full list, just names that come to mind, you had Joan Baez and Jane Fonda front and center, but you also had Phil Ochs, you had the whole Mamas & the Papas, you had John Lennon, Mia Farrow, Tim Hardin, Laura Nyro, Peter Fonda, Crosby, Stills & Nash, Joni Mitchell, Jim Morrison, Janis [Joplin], the Rolling Stones, Grace Slick and the [Jefferson] Airplane, this whole list of people. And you had people my age and younger and we weren't that different from kids today, we thought about what was in front of us. So when you have these people that you watch or listen to talking about it, it put it front and center. There were a lot of priests and a lot of Quakers and a lot of really solid activists who worked and gave their time to ending the war. But what kept it on the front page was a) real reporting with real photos and b) the fact that you couldn't escape it. You turned on the TV to escape but there was some entertainer talking about it. It was front and center. Now maybe there are people doing that today. I don't watch much TV now. Maybe if I turned on Letterman every night, I'd see some young people coming on to talk about a movie or TV show and I'd hear them speak out against the war. But I really don't get the sense that's happening.The right spent a lifetime demonizing Jane Fonda. There's a reason for that. They want to make sure no one else is tempted to use their power. They're scared of what would happen if entertainers really started throwing their weight around and making the people buying tickets or records think about this war.

That's the way it was. The way it is? In 2004, Diane Sawyer wouldn't go on the air with Natalie Portman in a John Kerry t-shirt. Forget an anti-war message, just a John Kerry t-shirt was enough to panic the woman who did her best to shame the Dixie Chicks in 2003.

Depending on the poll, 59% to 70% of Americans are against the war today but you can't tell it from your TV. You can't tell it from your popular magazines. You can't tell it from the music on the "Hot 100" stations.

We bring that up because it was time for another lecture from the rocking chair this week. Not yet forty, Michael Socolow was still feeling a bit like Gramps last week and forgetting anything he may have learned growing up (including the power of TV -- which he should have grasped despite being born the year after Cronkite's "But it is increasingly clear to this reporter that the only rational way out then will be to negotiate, not as victors, but as an honorable people who lived up to their pledge to defend democracy, and did the best they could" Vietnam broadcast), he needed to trot out the Kids-today-ecch bit. It's tired, it's boring, it's not true. But damned if it didn't get him linked by Common Dreams. (See "War Protests: Ardent Elders, Unaware Youth.") Gramps, you trotted out a tired speech. Doesn't reflect reality, but, hey, it paid a bill, right?

(For C.I.'s take click here and here.)

If Socolow hadn't been so bound and determined to play Gramps, maybe he could have talked to his own father who should have been able to tell him some of the many differences between what got covered during Vietnam and what gets covered today.

It's not just the coffins returning to Dover that are hidden. The activism against the war is hidden. That's on the news (or what passes for it), that's on the entertainment programs. Rolling Stone which one covered the peace movement now makes do with a New York Press reject who's busy setting himself up as the next P.J. O'Rourke. (Though we can't remember O'Rourke using the 'journalistic' term "dipshit" in the pages of Rolling Stone. Possibly the 'terminology' is why the gutter dweller writes "The Low Post"?) When the Hawks have landed at Rolling Stone, maybe all would-be Gramps need to do a reality self-check?

And maybe, instead of whining from their desks about what "Youth Today" are doing, they might actually do a little work before writing their pieces? (We will note that Socolow, unlike the reject, was not a "nerd" throughout school and college. Why he feels the need to write like one now is anyone's guess?)

The "sixties" (which they didn't witness) were a time of exploration and upheaval. The alternative press came alive. Not as some sort of Moony-wanna-be press that reject wrote for, but as an honest attempt at being alternative. That exploration had more to do with demography (population size) than anything else. For the babyboom a term would be coined ("teenagers") and they soaked up the media attention's then (and still do). As Jim Morrison sang, "We got the numbers."

Today, media has consolidated. The only "youth culture" that dominates is a heavily marketed one. (Justy and Britty would have been gone long ago were that not the case. Never before have those with so little dominated the airwaves for so long. We're surprised Bully Boy hasn't put one of them on the FCC already.) It hands "messages" from on high about what to buy, what to fear.

It does not provide models for activism. It does not provide stories of activism. Surveying this non-reflective coverage (imposed from above), the Gramps set wants to diss the "kids." The alternative media isn't any better. We'll give three examples. The Nation (finally) takes a look at campus activism and they do so by interviewing centrist kids fronted by foundations. Our next examples revolve around the immigration rights movement. You may remember the reality of how that happened, California students taking the lead. But Democracy Now! gave us big media (Belo) in an over long interview (where he managed to slam the kids) and The Progressive decided somebody had to cover this youth movement and who better than a Gramps?

The feminist movement from the early days of the second wave got demands that young feminist take part in the decision making process. And that movement responded to it. It's awfully strange that so-called alternative media can't give the "youth" of today a voice. (But then feminism was far more inclusive in the "sixties" than the anti-war movement tended to be at the top. Toad still bears the battle scars from his attempts to "man" the gates and protect the "citadel.") Inclusion sends a message and so does exclusion and alternative media might need to grasp the fact that, for the most part, those under thirty are not being invited to the table.

Along with sending a message of non-inclusion, it's also true that a movement without coverage grows slowly. But despite the tsk-tsking from rocking chairs, students are a part of the peace movement and their numbers are increasing.

Last week's Gramps wanted to tell you about how "the youth" didn't participate in sit-in actions last week. Using C.I.'s phone lists, we contacted "youth" activists in this area (something Gramps didn't do) and they stated there was no effort at reaching out to them, that they learned of it after the fact. Want bodies there for your demonstration? Go beyond the people you know. The fact that students active against the war didn't even know about the activities goes to several issues (including media coverage) but it doesn't go to apathy and, possibly, if Gramps hadn't wanted to shine it on about the good old days (that he didn't participate in due to his age), he might have looked for reality.

Ignore the Grumpy Gramps, let Franti and Spearhead put you wise (from "Yell Fire!"):

A revolution never come with a warning
A revolution never sends you an omen

[Note: C.I.'s phone lists are not for sale nor are they going to be shared. We're noting that because of some of the e-mails we get here and because Ty's expecting a lot of e-mails asking, "How can I get a copy?" You can't. (A) No one knows you from Adam. (B) You could be the government. (C) Those lists were built up the hard way, going city to city. In a period of e-activism, it may be hard to grasp -- the political parties largely don't -- but face to face is still the best way to build a movement.]

They trashed paradise, put in a torture czar

As Dirty Depends month came to end, Republicans did what they wanted, strip a legal right enshrined long before the United States was formed. They couldn't do it on their own, they needed Democrats to help out. And 15 weak souls joined the efforts to blast the bedrock our legal system was built upon.

If you're new to the story, use the links. We wanted to touch on this but it's depressing as hell. We painted an illustration ("Look up in the air! It's a bird! It's a plane! No, it's democracy falling!") and then ended up putting some new lines to Joni Mitchell's "Big Yellow Taxi" (first available on her Ladies of the Canyon album).

They trashed paradise
And put in a torture czar
With no habeas corpus
But you can still wish on a star
Don't it always seem to go
That you don't know what you've got
Till it's gone
They trashed paradise
And put in
a torture czar

They took all the rights
And put them in a rights museum
And they charged all the people
5,000 dollars plus just to see 'em
Don't it always seem to go
That you don't know what you've got
Till it's gone
They trashed paradise
And put in a torture czar

Hey Bully, Bully
Put away that 'detainee' now
Strip me of all my freedoms
But leave me my flat-screen TVs
Don't it always seem to go
That you don't know what you've got
Till it's gone
They trashed paradise
And put in a torture czar

Late last night
I heard the screen door slam
And big useless Congress
Took away the rights I had
Don't it always seem to go
That you don't know what you've got
Till it's gone
They trashed paradise
And put in a torture czar

Baghdad Placed Under House Arrest

Baghdad is under house arrest.

That's what it is. Reading the wires Sunday morning, we came across jazzy little terms like "curfew" and "no pedistrian traffic." As we read further down, we'd usually see that do to the weekly Friday ban on vehicle traffic (part of that jaw droppingly bad 'crackdown'), that many couldn't get to the store to get bread. So they couldn't on Friday and, come Saturday morning, they weren't even allowed to leave their homes.

Baghdad is under house arrest.

That's what we're seeing. But in a world where prisoners are kept from contact with their families, where prisoners just disappear, where they're called "detainees" as though they tried to sneak a bit of fresh produce through customs, what do you expect? In a world where Bully Boy wants to say "We don't torture" and that's only true if you ignore the legal definition of the word, the definition that our own government applies to actions taken by other government. And here's the kicker, the press accepts his logic.

So it's no real surprise that they're using terms like "curfew."

Why the ban on foot traffic and car traffic?

Supposedly -- Supposedly because they've offered no proof. Evidence, apparently. is now as "quaint" as the Geneva Conventions. But supposedly, there were plans to bomb within the fortified Green Zone where the reporters live, the parliament meets, the embassies are. More or less safe in the Green Zone for the last three years. If there's an attack in the Green Zone, don't be surprised if a number of reporters start telling some of the tales they've been sitting on for some time.

One bad moment and the Bully Boy's carefully constructed illusion of 'progress,' will tumble faster than a house of cards.

So Baghdad got placed under house arrest -- over three months after the 'crackdown' began. We'll assume they're now, in the words of the Bully Boy, "Safer but not safe."

Nor will they be, nor will the troops be as long as the illegal war drags on.

From Cindy Sheehan's "Lift Your Head" (BuzzFlash):

I have a story to share. When I was in Jordan with the peace contingent, meeting with Iraqi parliamentarians, we heard the testimony of a Sheik who is also a respected mullah in Iraq. He told us that members of the US Army broke into his house, raped his wife, beat him severely, and took him to prison where he was further tortured in compliance with George‘s barbaric and cruel policies. All of this happened in front of his teenage son.
Listening to him describe his injuries and the awful treatment he received from my country, I apologized to him, weeping. No human being should treat another human being so inhumanely.
He listened, then he said this: "My son's dream is to get a rifle and climb up on to a roof top and assassinate Americans. I will tell him that there are Americans like you and encourage him not to do this thing."
Now, imagine that you are sitting at home with your family. Maybe you are all watching "Dancing with the Stars." A foreign invader breaks in rapes the mom and beats and hauls off the dad. How would your son feel? How would you feel? Would your family be justified in resisting the violence and repression? Or would you just bow your head and say: thank God for the freedom and democracy these fine people are bestowing on me?

Pair that with Kory Turnbow's "Soldier's Story" (

As a soldier, what gives me the most cause for concern in Iraq was the fact that I never knew who my enemy was. Even the people sniping at us from a distance, launching mortars and rockets, or putting bombs on the side of the road didn’t usually have an axe to grind with us, nor were they fighting as Jihadists for some perceived noble cause. In fact, most of the people doing these things were just ordinary citizens looking for a few extra dinar to pad their paychecks. As I found out the hard way after being struck by an IED shortly after my arrival in-country, Islamic hardliners from countries like Iran and Jordan would infiltrate Iraq and have the Imams announce after the Friday sermon that they were willing to pay $100-$300 for every IED accompanied by a photo or video of the explosion going off on a U.S. or Iraqi Security Forces convoy. Since the average Iraqi family took home about $150 a month, it didn't take very much to convince the average person to plant an IED or two each month for a little extra pocket money.

If those are new perspectives to you, either your media has failed you or you haven't been paying attention. To catch up, you can watch the trailer to Michelle Mason's Breaking Ranks where the tales are often more gruesome. Or you can check out Amit R. Paley's "Most Iraqis Favor Immediate U.S. Pullout, Polls Show" (Washington Post) which looks at recent polling that has one consistent message: Iraqis want US troops to leave.

Is it any wonder?

Bully Boy wants to "stay the course" -- with other people's lives, of course. He didn't do anything in Vietnam. He didn't protest, he didn't serve. His father got him into an elite National Guard unit (guaranteeing he'd never go to Vietnam) and his 'gratitude' was so much that he didn't bother to complete his agreed time. Not because he was 'morally opposed' to reading comic books and eating doughnuts, you understand. He just, like Dick Cheney, had better things to do.

Lives are being lost, lives are being destroyed. Many die, many will go through the rest of their lives with wounds (external and internal). But Bully Boy (who couldn't even stick to his pledge to give up sweets for the duration of the war) is okay with that. "Stay the course!" he sqawks.
The "course" is killing Iraqis, it's killing Americans. The reason Bully Boy wants to "stay the course" is because there has never been any planning (there's no Plan B waiting to be implemented) and he's more worried about his own image than he is about the lives of others.

It's time for the troops to come home. Instead, there are calls for more troops.

The war's not going to end as long as we 'cute up' the truth. Baghdad was under house arrest on Saturday. That's reality.

Condi Flips the Bird at America

That stylish Condi Rice. The press can't stop playing yenta and trying to fix her up with a man. We just wish she'd do her job.

Last week, she had the gall to pipe off with a statement that may have topped her catch-phrase of "No one could have guessed . . ."

Contrasting her husba- er, the Bully Boy to Bill Clinton, Rice told The New York Post, "The notion somehow for eight months the Bush administration sat there and didn't do that is just flatly false -- and I think the 9/11 commission understood that."

This is what we know is flatly true, August 6, 2001 the administration got a PDB (presidential daily briefing) entitled "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US." Bully Boy was in Crawford (as was Condi) vacationing. He didn't stop his vacation, the American people were not warned, there's no indication that the airlines were warned.

Back then, Condi Rice wasn't the Secretary of State, she was the National Security Advisor. "National Security." "Bin Laden determined to Strike in US."

Condi should have been canned a long time ago. But there is no accountability in that administration.

From that PDB:

Nevertheless, FBI information since that time indicates patterns of suspicious activity in this country consistent with preparations for hijackings or other types of attacks, including recent surveillance of federal buildings in New York.

She didn't get kicked to the curb (the way she should have been) and now "stylish" Condi's flipping the bird at America yet again.

Separated At The Turnip Truck

Separated At The Turnip Truck -- after they both fell off -- Kookie Cokie Roberts and Tiny Timmy Russert attempt to turn greetings cards into "books." Their titles say it all: "We Are Our Mothers Daughters" (Thank goodness, we're afraid Kookie was birthed by a wombat) and "Wisdoms of Our Fathers" (Tiny Timmy's still worried about 'measuring up' we feel for Orth, we really feel for her).

Having convinced their tiny audiences that they possessed wisdom, they now churn out "books" which prove that a philosopher might be born every moment (sucker's twin?) but, just as surely, intelligence drops every second.

C.I.: "Baghdad Under House Arrest"

Baghdad Under House Arrest

American officials have warned Iraqi leaders that they might have to curtail aid to the Interior Ministry police because of a United States law that prohibits the financing of foreign security forces that commit "gross violations of human rights" and are not brought to justice.
[. . .]
The issue centers on one of the most sensitive subjects within the Iraqi government: the joint Iraqi-American inspection in May and subsequent investigation of a prison in eastern Baghdad known as Site 4.
Within the prison there was clear evidence of systematic abuse and torture, including victims who had "lesions resulting from torture" as well as "equipment used for this purpose," according to a human rights report later published by the United Nations mission in Iraq.

The above is from Richard A. Oppel Jr.'s "U.S. May Cut Aid to Iraqi Police Cited in Abuses" in this morning's New York Times (front page). So let's recap some of the developments. In the so-called 'liberated' Iraq, beacon of 'democracy,' security forces may lose their funding for refusing to punish gross human rights abuses, women's rights have gone from most advanced in the area to women shouldn't even drive a car, the so-called 'crackdown' has entered its fourth month and there's been no let up in the the chaos and violence (in the capital), a waterless moat surrounding Baghdad is still floated as an 'answer,' residents of Baghdad (outside the Green Zone) complain (still) of a lack of electricity for more than a few hours a day and the war hits the four year mark in March? That's 'liberation'?

The funding notion, it's interesting. The US can't provide funds for a regime that does that. But the bigger issue is that the US is the occupying power. They have legal responsibility by international law. It's easy for Zalmay Khalitlzad to point the fingter at Iraqi security forces, but the power in charge is the US.

The 'crackdown,' Sabrina Tavernise and Qaid Mizher tell you, includes a ban on all "traffic in Baghdad until Sunday morning." These bans aren't uncommon. Here's the new twist, it's a ban on cars "and pedistrian traffic." Ashford & Simpson sang "Nobody Walks in L.A." and they can add Baghdad to the list.

That's not a "ban" on traffic, that's putting the capital under house arrest. Why? An unindentifed man ("Iraqi working for one of Iraq's most prominent Sunni Arab political leaders") has been arrested. The reason is he was believed to plotting "mulitple-car suicided bombings inside the Green Zone". Inside the Green Zone is key.

[If you doubt that it's a house arrest of the city, and you may from the Times' careful wording, Reuters: "Iraq declared a curfew on Saturday in the capital Baghdad, ordering all cars off the streets and telling people to remain in their homes." That's a house arrest -- city wide. It's not "traffic," it's a house arrest.]

US forces have to maintain the Green Zone. They're fully aware that if the Green Zone suffers a serious attack, there will be multiple Walter Cronkite moments for the press, which is confined there. The 'crackdown' began when the outer edges of the Green Zone were stormed back in June, that was the cause for panic. Not the bodies piling up outside the Green Zone. In January of 2005, an attack led the Australian embassy to being moved inside the Green Zone. (The cry for the move began in earnest in October of 2004 when Australian troops were attacked. It took the January attack to make the move.) In August of this year, Australian troops were injured when one of several mortars fired into the Green Zone made it in.

The Green Zone's not Iraq. It's a heavily secured island. As we noted here before, the resistance will move to attack the Green Zone. It's a symbol of the occupation and it has built a great deal of resentment in all Iraqis (whether they participate in the resistance or not). The thought of an attack within the Green Zone (and the realization of how that will play on American television and in American newspapers) is enough to force the puppet of the occupation (Nouri al-Maliki) to put the whole capital under house arrest. Don't think that's going to decrease tensions. It's a pressure cooker and the lid's going to blow.

For some strange reason, the Times runs (A6) a story on al-Qaeda on the same page as the Iraq reporting. Why is that? Does an editor believe there's a link between 9-11 (heavily mentioned in the article, though Iraq isn't)? For a press supposedly so surprised that some Americans still believe the false link between Iraq and 9-11, Hassan M. Fattah's article could have and should have run on another page. There's no reason for it to be on this page and for a press so worried about the false link being so widespread, there's no excuse to run that story on what will be seen as "the Iraq page" by people who just scan the headlines. The paper could have put Sheryl Gay Stolberg's story (from the page before) on the page, they could have put Marc Lacey's on the page. When you're placing an al-Qaeda story (that has nothing to do with Iraq) and talking 9-11 with Iraq reports, you can't claim, "I have no idea why so many people still believe Saddam Hussein was behind 9-11. We've certainly stated otherwise in print."

Martha notes Amit R. Paley and Sudarsan Raghavan's "U.S. Envoy Says Iraqi Premier Has Short Time to Quell Violence" (Washington Post) which contains more warnings to the puppet of the occupation (Nouri al-Maliki) that he can be dropped at any moment and another puppet installed:

The U.S. ambassador to Iraq warned on Friday that time is running out for Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to contain the burgeoning sectarian bloodshed that threatens to plunge the country into civil war.
"He has a window of a couple months," said the ambassador, Zalmay Khalilzad. "If the perception is that this unity government is not able to deal with this issue, then a big opportunity would have been lost and it would take a long time to address this issue."

His remarks, which came during a surge in reprisal killings across Baghdad, reinforced comments by several senior U.S. military officials this week that Maliki's government must move urgently to tackle the militias and death squads wreaking havoc across the country.

He is a puppet, that's all he is. He has to dance for the Americans and, if they're not pleased with is performance, he's out. If it were a real democracy, what US officials thought wouldn't matter. But it's not a democracy and Iraq hasn't been liberated. What you're seeing is the same type of actions that installed Saddam Hussein in the first place. Jay Garner was pulled from Iraq for having the notion that Iraqis should vote (and vote immediately). Bremer and Khalilzad have been happy to play "Let's talk democracy but not really allow it" game for some time. Which is why the polling of Iraqis shows they want Americans out of their country. The troops need to come home but, at this rate, it may take an attack on the Green Zone for the obvious to be stated widely. (It's widely stated by Americans now.)

Darrell Anderson returns to the US today. We'll note this from Canada's City News' "American Army Deserter Leaves T.O. To Face Justice Back Home:"

"I'm not happy to be going to jail but I'm not scared," the 24-year-old maintains. "I wasn't scared when I went to Iraq. I wasn't scared when I came to Canada. It's just another step in this long, hard process I've been going through."
He's grateful for the support he's received while he's been here. But it hasn't been easy. When he arrived, he hoped to start a new life. But when his lawyer failed to properly file the paperwork that might have secured his refugee status, it became clear he'd be deported.
He married Gayle Greer just two weeks ago, but even that failed to secure his status. Unable to work or guarantee his future on this side of the border, he's decided to return and face the military music, whatever it brings.
Still, despite his fate, he doesn't regret anything he's done. "If I didn't come to Canada, I wouldn't have made it," he affirms. "I was so messed up after coming back from Iraq that I needed to escape."

Note, another spelling for Gail Greer. (This one says "Gayle.") We're sticking with "Gail Greer" until we learn otherwise (and that is how her film credit reads).

Today on RadioNation with Laura Flanders:

We blow the whistle and bang the drum with DANIEL ELLSBERG who leaked the Pentagon Papers. He wants a CIA employee to leak the full national intelligence estimate on Iraq. RETIRED MAJOR GENERAL JOHN BATISTE wants Donald Rumsfeld to be sacked.
JEFF COHEN ventured inside cable news and now he's telling tales out of propaganda school. Plus a report from House hearings on electronic voting machines, and the YOUNGBLOOD BRASS BAND, live, in house.

RadioNation with Laura Flanders airs 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm EST on Air American Radio stations, XM satellite radio and online. There's a "book" that I haven't seen that's noted in five e-mails this morning. Mia's the most offended. A supposed Air America Radio book that doesn't even mention Laura Flanders on the cover (she's noted on the back cover, not on the front). What can you say to that? She's written two best selling books, she's got radio experience that predates AAR by many years. If they don't grasp her value, all the more reason for you to. If you miss the show, Saturday's live broadcast and Sunday's live broadcast are compiled into a one hour commercial free that you can catch by mid-week here.

The following community members have posted new content at their sites in the last 24 hours:

Trina of Trina's Kitchen
Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude;
Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man;
Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix;
Mike of Mikey Likes It!;
Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz;
and Wally of The Daily Jot.

In addition, I subbed for Kat (who is in Ireland) at her site last night.

Get your email and more, right on the new

Blog Spotlight: Mike discusses Darrell Anderson, Iraq and Jim McGreevey

Mike's covering a number of topics including relationships.

Darrell Anderson, Iraq, Jim McGreevey

Saturday and Rebecca, Elaine and I are all blogging today. Despite the plan to knock out quick posts last night. That's because last night's group was just too good. It ended around eleven-thirty but people hung around talking and it was probably after one before it was really over. There's just so much to talk about. I don't believe the nonsense that people don't care about Iraq and what happens because I see too many people who do and there was so much to discuss last night.

See the painting of Darrell Anderson? He comes back today. From Canada. Be sure to talk about that today. We were talking about it last night and how important it is for everyone to know about this, to talk about this and to get the word out on it. His actions matter. Make sure you do your part to get the word out on war resisters.

You can read more about him in The Third Estate Sunday Review's "Editorial: Darrell Anderson Needs You" and at Courage to Resist. Maybe on Monday this will get some attention? I didn't see much on Anderson this week (and what I did see, I'd usually see in C.I.'s snapshots). It's up to us to create excitement and get the word out. Don't let him down.

Briefly, when I defended Jim McGreevey awhile back, I got some e-mails on that. Some were people going, "What are you gay?" No, but I can relate to his story and I think most guys can if they think about it. It's got a sexuality element, absolutely. But it's also got the fact that guys are conditioned to play certain roles by society. And guys should be able to relate to that aspect. It's easier for those of us my age compared to his age but it still exists.

McGreevey was raised in a time when gay was considered a mental illness and worse. So he covered up/denied his sexuality. That explains why it was hard for him and others his age (though not all) to admit they were gay to themselves. But there's another issue too and that's the issue of 'manhood' and what we're told we have to do and what we have to be. I think all guys should be able to relate to that. (I also think it's not hard to relate to the other aspect as well, the sexuality, unless you're someone who doesn't think about sex or someone who gets the heebies jeebies about sex.)

But Leigh Ann had a point in an e-mail she wrote and I passed it on to Nina to get her thoughts just for private. She agrees with Leigh Ann and said I could note it here. Leigh Ann thinks that I relate to McGreevey because he was married (twice) and engaged in relationships on the side. She's drawing a comparison between his actions and the fact that I'm not with Elaine and arguing that I wanted to be with Elaine while I was dating Nina.

That was Nina's concern while we were dating and that is what Nina believes. So Leigh Ann and Nina may be right but I don't think so. I didn't even think about Elaine in that way while I was with Nina because I had no reason to. But if it turns out that they're both right and I'm wrong, cool, that's one more way that McGreevey's story is relatable.

Jim McGreevey isn't an alien. There was a friend of C.I.'s who's a journalist and told me that my thing was kind of reflected in the people that show up for book signings and that the journalist was surprised by that. People shouldn't be surprised by it. This idea that he's "just gay" is an easy cop out. Who he sleeps with matters to him and needs to be noted because no one should have to hide their sexuality. It's part of who he is and part of his story. But there are other parts of his story too and they go beyond gay.

I keep saying that guys should be able to relate (and they should be) but it should be the same for a lot of women, they're not living in a world without societal pressure or in a world that doesn't try to dictate the roles they play.

I don't want to suggest that his being gay doesn't matter because I've said stuff like that before myself. And I really think, looking back, that those kind of statements aren't helpful. "It doesn't matter that he's gay." Yes, it does. It matters the same way anyone's relationships matter. It's who he is and I think about those kind of statements and about my high school teammate who came out after we all graduated and wonder if those kind of statements (I'm sure I made them around him when I didn't know he was gay) made it worse?

"It doesn't matter that he's gay." Yes, it does and saying otherwise could sound like you're saying, "Talk about something else." McGreevey's gay and that's part of his story and hopefully people will relate or be interested in that part because it's different from their own life. But it's one part of the story and another part is the fact that he played a role he was expected to play and that's something that a lot of people should be able to relate to.

I only know about him through the Oprah episode and the news when he came out. I did get his book but haven't had time to read it yet. (I've got stuff to read for classes and other things right now so I'm hoping to read it when we get the Thanksgiving break.) So I can't vouch for his life story in terms of everything he ever did. But he seems to me like a pretty cool guy and I think he's done something brave which is another way people should be able to relate him.

Nina really doesn't want to be talked about here and doesn't want our breakup talked about. But she did agree with Leigh Ann's e-mail (and I figured she would) so thanks to her for letting me talk about it here.

Four things real quick. Betty's "Islam and the Dope (Thomas Friedman)" is her latest chapter, C.I. filled in at Kat's site last night with "Iraq and students (C.I.)," Wally's "THIS JUST IN! INTERN SCANDAL!" & Cedric's "Foley Speaks about the Intern scandal (humor)" joint-post is a must read.

Now here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot :"

Friday, September 29, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq, the British military officers say out-of-Iraq, Medea Benjamin asks are you willing to "Give Peace a Vote"?,
is the US military writing off Al-Anbar Province, and tomorrow war resister Darrell Anderson is set to return to the United States.
CBC reports that, after eighteen months in Canada, war resister Darrell Anderson is readying for his journey home with his wife, Gail Greer, stating, "He needs to be home. This is not his home." [Note: CBC continues to list his wife as "Gail Green." US news outlets, other Canadian outlets and her film credits list her as "Gail Greer." If Gail Greer is not the correct name, we'll note that in a future snapshot.] Darrell Anderson was wounded by a roadside bomb while serving in Iraq. Facing a second deployment to Iraq, Anderson elected to self-check out of the US military and, as Jeremy Hinzman, Brandon Hughey, Patrick Hart, Kyle Snyder and others during this illegal war, head to Canada. Once there, he applied for legal status but, as with other war resisters, the government did not grant asylum. (This in marked contrast to Canada's actions during the Vietnam era.) Anita Anderson, his mother, tells CBC "there is no front line" in Iraq and that soldiers "are not supposed to be fighting this fight of war." If not arrested Saturday when he returns, Darrell Anderson intends to drive to Fort Knox where he will turn himself in. Information on Darrell Anderson and other war resisters can be found at Courage to Resist.
Meanwhile, in England,
Richard Norton-Taylor (Guardian of London) reports: "Senior military officers have been pressing the government to withdraw British troops from Iraq and concentrate on what they now regard as a more worthwhile and winnable battleground in Afghanistan. They believe there is a limit to wath British soldiers can achieve in southern Iraq and that it is time the Iraqis took responsiblity for their own security, defence sources say." The report comes as Bonnie Malkin (Guardian of London) notes that "former foreign secretary Jack Straw has described the situation in Iraq as 'dire,' blaming mistakes made by the US for the escalating crisis." Straw has words of praise for former US Secreatry of State Colin Powell which is only a surprise to those who never noticed their mutual admiration society until today. The report that military officials want British troops out of Iraq (and into Afghanistan) has already led to a denial from Defence Secretary Des Browne who, AFP reports, denied the report on BBC radio.
While the truth battles spin, Mark Malloch Brown, deputy secretary general of the United Nations makes a call of his own.
Paul Vallely (Independent of London) reports
Malloch Brown has stated that it was Tony Blair's Iraq policy that "fatally undermined his position as Prime Minister and forced him to step down" and Vallely also quotes an unnamed "UN source" who declares of Blair, "But Iraq has finished him. Mr. Blair seems not to appreciate just how disliked and distrusted he is in other nations."
In the United States,
Reuters reports: "The U.S. Congress on Friday moved to block the Bush adminstration from building permanent U.S. military bases in Iraq or controlling the country's oil sector, as it approved $70 billion for funding the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan." As Amit R. Paley (Washington Post) noted Wednesday when reporting on recent polling of Iraqis, ". . . the Program on Itnerantional Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland, found . . . 77 percent of those polled saying the United States intends to keep permanent military bases in the country." Noting the polling, Arianna Huffington (The Huffington Post) notes: "The writing is on the wall -- and on page after page of report after report. All leading to the same inescapable conclusion. Iraq has made us less safe; it's time to bring our troops home." What will it take for that? Not buying into the fear mania, which is a topic Huffington addressed with Andrea Lewis today on KPFA, The Morning Show[and is also the topic of On Becoming Fearless, Huffington's new book]. [Remember that KPFA broadcasts are archived and you can listen to them, free of charge, 24/7.]
The US Congress' decision comes as
Robert Burns (AP) reports Army Col. Sean B. Macfarland ("commander of 1st Brigade, 1st Armored Division" in Iraq) stated that the resistance in Al-Anbar Province will not be defeated by American forces and will "probably" continue "until after U.S. troops leave the country". Most recent actions in Al-Anbar have revolved around Ramadi which is being carved up into a series of Green Zones (to little effect). [Currently at Alive in Baghdad, there is a video report on a man who was "Falsely Arrested and Abused In Ramadi.]
In the most noted violence in Iraq today, Kadhim Abdel has been shot dead.
CNN reports that "the brother-in-law of Judge Mohammad Orabi Majeed Al-Khalefa, was driving in Ghazaliya on Friday with his son aged 10 and another 10-year-old boy when their car was attacked. Both boys were wounded." The Australian combines AP and Reuters to note: "It was not immediately clear whether they were targeted because they were related to judge Mohammed Oreibi al-Khalifa, who took over the Saddam trial last week, or if it was another of the sectarian attacks that have been plaguing Baghdad." (That statement is actually all AP.)
AP reports that a police officer died ("and two civilians injured") from a bombing in downtown Baghdad; while two Iraqi soldiers lost their lives in Anah from a roadside bomb (with two more wounded).
AFP reports that two police officers were shot dead in Dura. CNN reports that four people were shot dead in Balad.
AP reports that eight corpses were discovered in Iraq, three were discovered in Baquba and that two corpses "were pulled from the Tigris River in Suwayrah". AFP reports that two corpses were discovered in Kut. (The Times of London ups the Baghdad corpse count to ten.)
In peace news,
BuzzFlash declares the Dixie Chicks this weeks Wings of Justice winners for using their voices to speak truth to power. In 2003, the Chicks were savaged by some (and Diane Sawyer attempted a public shaming). They didn't back down and, to quote a song off their new, best selling CD, they're "not ready to make nice." [Click here for Kat's review of the CD.] The Dixie Chicks stood strong and a lot of people stood with them. There's a lesson in that.
CODEPINK is celebrating it's fourth anniversary on Sunday and Andrea Lewis spoke with Medea Benjamin about that today on KPFA's The Morning Show today. Addressing the organization's latest action -- Give Peace a Vote! -- Benjamin noted that: "We have November elections coming up and then we have presidential elections coming up and unfortunately If we don't translate the silent majority voice that's against this war into a voter bloc, we're going to be faced with another opportunity to vote for two major parties giving us war candidates. So Give Peace a Vote!is a way to say, 'I will not vote for anybody that does not call for an end to this war and no more wars of aggression.'"
Speaking with Kris Welch today on
KPFA's Living Room, Daniel Ellsberg noted the upcoming World Can't Wait protest (October 5th -- day of mass resistance), his being named as the recipient of the Right Livelihood Award and the importance of speaking out.
As noted by
James Glanz (New York Times) and Gritte Witte (Washington Post) this morning, American contractor Parsons has a 1/14 success rate for their construction projects in Iraq --- actually less than 1 in 14 because, as Witte notes, ""The one project reviewed by auditors that was being constructed correctly, a prison, was taken away from Parsons before its completion because of escalating costs." With that in mind, pay attention to Janis Karpinski (writing for The Huffington Post): "Our silence will beget more of the same and worse. We must find courage. We must stand up. One of the ways to do this is by screening and sharing a new documentary I appeared in called Iraq For Sale: The War Profiteers -- which calls for a stop to the shameful war profiteering this administration has allowed to occur. We must speak up. We must because we are Americans and we know better than this. We can move beyond the shame only when we stop this from getting worse and participate in making it better."
Finally, next week, Bob Watada, father of
Ehren Watada, hits the road again to raise awareness on his son -- the first commissioned officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq. After an Article 32 hearing in August, Ehren Watada awaits word on what the chain of command will do with the findings (court-martial, discharge him, ignore the findings . . .). Here are Bob Watada's speaking engagements for Monday through Friday of next week:
Mon. 10/2 8:30 am KPFK Sonali Kolhatkur 3729 Cahuenga Bl. West, No. Hollywood Contact: KPFK 818-985-2711 email:
Tues 10/3 7:00pm ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism) 1800 Argyle Ave. #400, Los Angeles Contact: Carlos Alvarez, 323-464-1636, email:
Wed. 10/4 12:00-2:30 pm Angela Oh's Korean American Experience Class Life Sciences Bldg., RM 4127, UCLA Westwood Campus Contact:
Wed. 10/4 Southern California Library for Social Studies and Research 6120 S. Vermont Ave, Los Angeles Contact: So Cal Library 323-759-6063
Thurs 10/5 5:00 pm World Can't Wait March & Rally (March starts at noon at pershing S1) Bob speaks in front of Federal Bldg 300 N. Los Angeles St. at 5:00 pm. Contact: Nicole Lee 323-462-4771 email:
Fri. 10/6 7:00 am Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace (ICUJP) Immanuel Presbyterian Church, 3300 Wilshire Bl., Los Angeles Contact: Thalia 626-683-9004 email:
Fri 10/6 12:30 San Fernando Valley Japanese Community Center SFV Japanese American Community Center, 12953 Branford St., Pacoima 91331 Contact: Phil Shigkuni 818-893-1851, cell: 818-357-7488, email
On a non-Iraq note, Lynda pointed out that a link was wrong this morning (and yesterday) so I'll note it here (it's corrected on the main site, but not on the mirror site)from
Ms.: "Before the new Ms. comes out on October 10, we're doing a last push to get signatures on our "We Had Abortions" petition. With our right to choose in danger, we at Ms. think it's important for us to take a stand now for abortion rights. We'd love to have your help!"

Get your own web address for just $1.99/1st yr. We'll help. Yahoo! Small Business.

Elaine explains "Mama was a Jihadist Terrorist And Papa Used to Follow All Her Plans"

Elaine's covering a number of topics in this one and we could have gone with it or another but got tired of arguing back and forth.  This is a strong one.  There were other strong ones this week at Like Maria Said Paz.

NIE, Gibson & Williams, Lindorff and Iraq

If you need to laugh (who doesn't?), please read Cedric's "Bully Boy's bump and grind (humor)" and/or Wally's "THIS JUST IN! BULLY BOY PLAYS GYPSY ROSE LEE!" (a joint-post -- those will continue up to the election as both are now working on turning out the vote in their areas). Yesterday, I noted a program that aired today and it wasn't what I stated it would be. If you listened, I think you heard an equally worthy segment, but if you don't agree, I apologize. (C.I. covers this in "Other Items.") For Mike's thoughts, please visit Mikey Likes It!.

On the NIE, I'll note this.

"Network news coverage of declassified NIE fraught with misinformation, GOP talking points" (Media Matters for America):
In covering the September 26 release of
declassified portions of the April 2006 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), ABC's World News with Charles Gibson and NBC's Nightly News uncritically aired President Bush's nonsensical non-responses to questions about the NIE, while NBC and the CBS Evening News presented misleading reports on the NIE's conclusions, both asserting that the declassified portion of the report at least in part backs up Bush.

Why? Because come Friday a certain radio program will, no doubt, once again tell us everything they feel Katie Couric did wrong at CBS this week. They will, no doubt, once again cackle and giggle over "ratings" (in parenthesis because they didn't know what they were talking about and their point was wrong when they made it yet they have failed to correct it). Media Matters notes Couric's errors. This is not to state that she doesn't make them. She does. They need to be noted. Media Matters covers all three networks. A program which airs in many markets on Friday has made themselves the unofficial Katie Couric watch. Apparently the only errors made during the evening news occur on CBS. I don't stand for "bash the bitch." If you've got a problem with errors, you treat everyone equally. The program doesn't. Which is why they turned bird-dogging Judith Miller into a cottage industry and presented only one view re: sources (that she should name them) but has never had the guts to go after the mythical reports from the New York Times' Dexter Filkins. The program has no guts and deserves no glory. It appears it exists only to fluff and play "bash the bitch." For a so-called left program, that is a problem.

If this is an issue of some people not making it to the networks (or at them) and having a little envy towards Couric, they need to get over it. They're embarrassing themselves. If it's a case of her moving from daytime to evening, it's very obvious that the program has refused to call out Charlie Gibson who made the same move. (Prior to joining Good Morning America, he dabbled in serious news. He elected to co-anchor fluff in the morning, to leave news for it. Couric worked her way up, there's a world of difference.)

Women don't need to cover up for other women, but they should be willing to insist (I'm willing) that women be judged be fairly. The nonsense over Katie Couric has gone far enough. If everyone can get over the shock that someone with breasts can deliver the news, maybe all anchors of the three evening news broadcasts can be held to the same standard?

Possibly, all the petty grudges and sexim could be instead fueled into covering something that truly matters such as what's the administration's plan with regards to Iran.

"Bush War III: Going to War to Save His Own Ass" (Dave Lindorff, Truthout):
War talk is in the air again, and because of the looming November election, it has to be taken extra seriously.
The latest to warn about a Bush War III is former Democratic senator and failed presidential contender Gary Hart, long an expert on national security issues, who says that targeting drones and Special Forces targeting specialists are already operating over and inside Iran, sizing up and locating as many as 400 targets for US cruise missiles and bombers. This is in anticipation of an aerial strike which my own investigating suggests could come as early as late October (See the article
"War Signals" in The Nation.).
Of course, this could all be bluster - a Karl Rove/Dick Cheney strategy to get the public all worked up they way they used to get over color-coded terror alerts, until that strategy wore out its effectiveness through overuse. But the actual sending of Special Forces units into harm's way in Iran, and the preparation of Navy battle groups for deployment to the Iran Theater, make it more probable that an actual attack is in the offing. Word that regular military units are being prepared for third tours to the region, that the administration is changing the guidelines to make longer call-ups of National Guard units for longer and more frequent overseas tours of active duty, and that units in Iraq are being given stop-loss orders to delay their return home also suggest something major may be in the offing. Otherwise logic would lead to the expectation that the administration would be announcing a reduction in troop levels in Iraq before Election Day, as was past practice.
Ordinarily one would say that the real sign of an imminent attack would be a convening of Congress to approve a use of force authorization, or perhaps an attempt in the United Nations to win endorsement for an attack from the UN Security Council, but clearly this is not happening. And for good reason. Bush would never succeed in winning Security Council approval for a military action against Iran, particularly after insulting the council members by the massive package of lies that he and Colin Powell presented the last time he sought such a vote - for an attack on Iraq - in 2003. Nor would he likely be given the go-ahead by Congress this time around, with all of the House and a third of the Senate facing re-election on November 7 by an electorate that has grown weary of war, angry at a half trillion dollars wasted, and sick about the thousands of flag-draped coffins and broken GIs returning home, with nothing to show for it all but two dysfunctional, war-torn former countries in the Middle East.
The problem is that Bush, who has trashed the Constitution to the point that it is now little more than a historical artifact, doesn't think he needs approval from the UN or even from the Congress to embark on his most dangerous, bloody and immoral war yet.

And of course Iraq always matters. I called C.I. shortly after this went up and asked, "What happened to your plan to keep these shorter?" We both laughed (and supposedly that starts tomorrow). I've also recommended that Thursday's "And the war drags on" be delayed to Friday due to the fact that C.I.'s still recovering from surgery. (That idea was floated by Gina in Saturday's special round-robin. I agree with Gina 100%.) Before the snapshot, Sonny & Cher had a song entitled "Mama Was A Rock-n-Roller Singer And Papa Used To Write All Her Songs." It was one of their latest top 100 charting singles. That's noted to be sure you get a joke coming up in the snapshot.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Wednesday, September 17, 2006. Chaos and violence contine in Iraq with
CBS calling it a "blood soaked morning in Iraq", a war resister turns himself in, Basra operations appear aptly dubbed as England lives out a fable, Bully Boy flashes the public but refuses to reveal all, Bill Clinton provides a cringe-worthy flashback in England, and the US military learns that just because they say so doesn't make it true.
Starting with the "blood soaked" day in Iraq where the violence and chaos continue.
Reuters reports that two roadside bombs in Baghdad took the life of one and left three wounded; while three police officers were wounded by a roadside bomb in Mussayab; four were killed by a roadside bomb in Baquba; and mortar rounds in Rashad killed two Iraqi soldiers and left three wounded. CBS and AP report that a police officer was killed in Baghdad by "a bomb hidden in his car". AFP reports that the Giddiest Gabor in the Green Zone, William Caldwell IV, has stated that "this week's suicide attacks were at the highest leavel of any given week" apparently too busy checking the Eva Gabor wig catalogue to register the news reported earlier this month that so-called suicide bombers are not limited to people intentionally exploding bombs. (As reported earlier, those that have been classified as such also include unknowing persons who die when the bombs are exploded by remote control.)
Reuters reports that today's attack in Baghdad ("near a Sunni mosque" resulted in ten civilians being shot dead. CBS and AP report that two people were shot dead in Baghdad and an Iraqi soldier was shot dead in Karma. CBS and AP also report that, on Tuesday, two Iraqi soldiers were shot dead in Baghdad. Also shot dead on Tuesday, Reuters reports, was "Nima al-Yaseen, the sister of Shi'ite MP Ligaa al-Yaseen."
CNN reports that 17 corpses were discovered in Baghdad and that, since Sunday, 77 corpses have been found in the capital. CBS and AP note that nine corpses "were pulled out of the Tigris river" showing the now common signs of torture and, in addition, they report "the bodies of 23 men were found dumped in the streets" of Baghdad today..
In one of the day's most controversial events, the US military continues to maintain one point of view and everyone else another.
As the
US military tells it: "Coalition forces killed four suspected terrorists and wounded two others during a raid the morning of Sept. 27 targeting a terrorist tied to extremist leaders of al-Qaida in Iraq in Iraq's Diyalah and Salah ah Din provinces. As Coalition forces approached the objective, they received sporadic small arms fire from throughout the neighborhood and sustained small arms fire from the objective building. Coalition forces, through their Iraqi interpreters, announced they were in the area, whereupon the shooting ceased from most locations except the target building. Coalition forces killed two terrorists during this engagement. Due to the heavy volume of enemy fire from the target building, they also engaged the building with Coalition aircraft." Apparently the statement was written by an old Sonny & Cher fan who wanted to update an early 70s song to "Mama was a Jihadist Terrorist And Papa Used to Follow All Her Plans."
On a less musical note,
Reuters reported: "A U.S. raid and air strike killed eight people, including seven members of one family, and wounded two others in the town of Baquba, 65 km (40 miles) north of Baghdad, the U.S. military and police said. The U.S. said the four men in the family of seven were suspected militants with links to al Qaeda." And Aileen Alfandary, KPFA's The Morning Show, noted that among those killed in the airstrike was a pregnant woman. Though initially weighting their report heavy on the official US military version, the AP now reports that family members "disputed the U.S. account"; that they "cried and consoled on another as the bodies of the women were taken away"; that Manal Jassim ("who lost her parents and other relatives in the attack") states: "This is an ungly criminal act by the U.S. solderis against Iraqi citizens"; and that the Association of Muslim Scholars call the air strike a "terrorist massacre."
In news of more successful propaganda efforts,
AP reports that the spin-meisters of the American-based Lincoln Group have been awarded a US government contract worth approximately $6.2 million after their bang up job planting 'Happy Talk' in Iraqi outlets (which, despite the continued focus on print was not limited to print and included radio and TV). In addition to continuing to play the mouth of Mary Sunshine of the illegal war (William Caldwell IV apparently having his hands full playing the Giddiest Gabor of the Green Zone), the $6.2 million also covers their "monitoring" of US domestic news outlets inclduing the New York Times. (Apparently in order to crown the new Dexter Filkins -- Sabrina Tavernise appears to be in the lead as the new go-to-guy for the US military when suggesting/planting stories.)
In military news,
AP reports on British troops in Basra and notes that their efforts are part of "the security drive . . . dubbed 'Operation Sinbad'.'' Those with longer memories than the AP my find that amusing for a number of reasons. Literally speaking, Sinbad hails from the epic The Book of One Thousand and One Nights -- a variety of epic tales with one told each night by Scheherazade, to her husband, King Shahryar, to stall her planned execution and allow her to live for another day. Is England attempting to suggest that all the troops are doing is forestalling and, in the end, will have to plead for mercy? A question worth asking because, though the AP sidesteps this, England first began "Operation Sinbad" in Basra on April 6th -- April 6, 2003. A smashing success, to be sure, just like Amara.
Meanwhile, on
KPFA's The Morning Show today, Andrea Lewis and Philip Maldari spoke with Carl Conetta about the "General's revolt" and the growing resistance among top military brass to the 'leadership' provided by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. The issues of concern for the military were the readyness of equipment and US forces both of which, it was argued, are in need of upgrading. The discussion addressed the further lowering of the bar for recruits in an effort to meet targets. Also in news of generals, today's AP report that two generals suffered from food poisioning after dining in DC last week: Lt. Gen. Karl Eikenberry, U.S. commander in Afghanistan, and Gen. John Abizaid -- the latter of which had to be hospitalized for three nights at Walter Reed Medical Center.
In peace news,
AP reports that war resister Agustin Aguayo turned himself at Fort Irwin last night. Aguayo self-checked out of the US military, from a Gernany base, on September 2nd after learning he would redeployed to Iraq (even if getting him there required hancuffing him). Adrienne Ziegler (Desert Dispatch) reports his self-checkout came as he was waiting for word on his appeal to be designated conscientious objector status and that his wife, Helga Aguayo, stated, "The greatest lesson he could teach (our daughters) is to stand up for what you believe in, and if you don't, you hurt the people around you. . . . If my husband can inspire one person to become a conscientious objector, then all this hassle was worth it." Like war resister Mark Wilkerson, there is no word on what, if any, charges Aguayo will face. War resister Ricky Clousing, who also self-checked out, has been informed he has been charged with desertion. (A technical charge that may not be levied against Aguayo who was gone for less than thirty days.) More information on Aguayo can be found at his official website.
his own web site, Mark Wilkerson recommends the film Jarhead and writes, "Speaking from my own experience in Iraq: Every day in Iraq was an inner struggle to keep from going crazy and just blasting away into the crowds that gathered around our trucks. I had to make a conscious effort to stay in focus and not use my MK-19 or SAW machine gun to level a whole city block."
Meanwhile, war resister Darrell Anderson intends to return from Canada to the United States on Saturday. If not arrested at the border, Anderson will then turn himself in at Fort Knox. The Purple Heart awarded Anderson was injured by a roadside bomb while serving in Baghdad and, facing a second deployment to Iraq, elected to self-check out in January 2005 and go to Canada. More information on war resisters can be found at
Courage to Resist and that includes information on Ehren Watada, the first commissioned officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq.
Peace resister Bully Boy has his own problems as his efforts to clamp down on discussions of the effects that the (illegal) war in Iraq had on safety for the United States and the world proved unsuccessful. After releasing pre-selected pages (approximately three pages) of the approximately thirty page April NIE assessment,
AP reports that White House Fluffer Tony Snow Job dismissed cries to release the full report under the pretext that doing so would reveal the identities of intel agents and assests whom, apparently, embedded messages within the report such as, "Hi, I'm Jody. For a good time, call me at . . . " AP notes: "In the bleak National Intelligence Estimate, the government's top analysts concluded Iraq has become a 'cause celebre' for jihadists, who are growing in number and geographic reach. If the trend continues, the analysts found, the risks to the U.S. interests at home and abroad will grow." AP also reports the House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has joined US Congress member Jane Harmon's request that the White House release another intel report that is apparently lying in wait to be sprung on the American public after the November elections.
While Bully Boy continues to insist that the US is "safer but not safe" and the "democracy" is taking root in Iraq, both
Tom Hayden (The Huffington Post) and Amit R. Paley (The Washington Post) have noted the reality of polls demonstrating that Iraqis overwhelmingly want the US out of Iraq. Look for a third Post, the New York Post, to attempt spin control -- possibly by claiming that the representative pool naturally favored "jihadists."
The results are not surpising (nor new, they reflect ongoing polling since the war started) and
Sudarsan Raghavan (Washington Post) reports on how neighborhoods of Bahgdad are turned into guarded barricades and quotes one resident, Ibrahim Abdul Sattar, as declaring, "We have been living together for 30 years. We've never had such tensions like this before. We are fearing for our future."
Obviously the so-called 'safer but not safe' effect hasn't reached Baghdad (despite the three-month-old 'crackdown'). The polls of Iraqis follow CNN's most recent polling of Americans (see "
Poll: Terrorism, Iraq very important to midterm voters") which found that, as with their polling in August, 59% of Americans oppose the Iraq war and, if you rank all those describing the issue as important to them (includes anti-war and pro-war and the categories about to be lumped together are "extremely important," "very important" and "moderately important") 96% of those polled ranked the Iraq war as important. If only the media shared the same view.
Finally, Bill Clinton went to England to prop up Tony Blair and, no doubt rankled many, with his effusive praise of Tony Blair ("
a stunning success") which may have many recalling that it was Clinton, not Reagan or Poppy Bush, that worked to rehabilitate the justly tarnished image of Richard Nixon. Republican presidents couldn't have done that because Tricky Dick was, rightly, radioactive, so they had to steer clear. It takes a village . . . healer? Though far more popular than the Bully Boy (but then who isn't?) in England, Bill Clinton's remarks ("ringing praise" exclaims Australia's Daily Telegraph) attempting to prop up the increasingly unpopular Blair and to promote prime minister wanna-be Gordon Brown ("brilliant ecnomic leadership") may not carry weight with British voters and, especially the citing of Brown, may lead to the already shaky Labour support growing even shakier.

Get your own web address for just $1.99/1st yr. We'll help. Yahoo! Small Business.
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
Poll1 { display:none; }