todd chretien, music and wmd

kpfa's flashpoints tonight took a look at a race for a senate seat. difi? no, she wasn't on. (i'm sure she's too scared to go anywhere that she might be asked some real questions - better to stick to the sunday chat & chews where they all agree to avoid any real issues.) todd chretien was the guest. unlike difi, todd knows what's going on in the war and doesn't avoid talking about it or resort to happy talk to make the disgusting seem stomachable.

this wasn't addressed on the show, but i want to point it out. for anyone in california worried that the seat could go republican, it could do that with difi in the race. a number of people are disgusted with her over immigration, the war, and a host of other issues. third parties are third parties only because enough people won't support them. you can change that by showing up for todd. if you're sick of the war and sick of all the lies, if you want to see a congress that fights back instead of rolling over, you can make a difference with your vote. you have a real candidate running, someone who is addressing the issues and is meeting with voters.

end of lecture.

if you need more information go to kpfa's archives or the flashpoints website and you can listen to the interview yourself (it's in the 2nd 1/2 of the show).

june 1st is tomorrow which means you should check the body count from iraq, official count, about three days later. if the pattern holds, that's when all the official military deaths are reported by the united states, as c.i.'s pointed out, long after the press has run with a figure as the count. (and no, the new york times and others do not revisit the numbers after the administration tacks on two or so more.)

danny schechter's news dissector (a site i always visit if i'm online) offered a link to a washington post piece that i missed in the print edition. the national review did a 50 great rock songs for conservatives piece (laughable but we'll move on) and a columnist at the post responded with five songs.

what stands out? as he points out, he's stuck in the past. (life ended in the mid-seventies for him.) i'll also fault him for giving the impression that marvin gaye wrote 'what's going on?' - i'm not talking about the issues of authorship that have arisen since gaye's death (though those could be tackled) but about the fact that even the official credit doesn't list only marvin gaye.

other than that? sam cooke was a wonderful singer but no 1, not even tina turner with robert cray on guitar, has ever done a better job on 'a change is going to come' for me than otis. otis is the king of that song. (and most songs - aretha owns 'respect' and that's an exception.)

focusing on the time period the columnist does, i would put the temptations 'ball of confusion' on the list. i'd also work in nina simone's cover of 'pirate jenny' (and have no dispute over his choice of simone's 'missippi goddamn') as well as her own 'young, gifted and black.' i'd probably toss in aretha's version of elton john & bernie taupin's 'border song (holy moses)' as well. and diana ross and the supremes 'young folks' as well as diana's medley of 'brown baby/save the children' and 'young mothers.' so that's 7 to his 5. i applaud him for choosing songs by african-americans (the national review had one token in their 50). and i bet we could make a top 50 from songs recorded by african-americans in the time frame the columnist has created quite easily. let me add an 8th because i'm not afraid to be 'unfashionable.' i like the 5th dimension and have no need to pretend otherwise. i'd include their hit of laura nyro's 'save the country.'

that's a great song, their version or laura's, and if you've never heard it, make a point to seek it out. 'in my mind i can't study war no more' is one line from it.

on the outskirts of paris, demonstrations continue. for the last 2 nights. have you heard much about that because i haven't.

over 100 were involved last night. which reminds me of something i saw on democracy now today. let me see if c.i. highlighted it. yep, here it is:

600,000 Students Walk Out of Classes in Chile
In Chile, nearly 600,000 high school students walked out of classes on Tuesday to demand the government spend more on education. In the capital of Santiago, police arrested nearly 400 student protesters. Police also used tear gas and water cannons to try to break up the demonstrations, which are the largest student protests in Chile in decades. The protests began two weeks ago when students began taking over schools in Santiago.

there is activism in the air. bully boy probably wonders why things aren't as passive as when his poppy was pres?

i always read c.i.'s iraq snapshot. elaine and mike always highlight it and that's there thing (which i applaud); however, i usually try to go for something different since we're all a part of the same community. that said, i want to highlight it tonight. there's too much in it and i want to be sure every 1 reads it.

Chaos and violence continue while Bully Boy strikes a pose appearing to be "troubled" by the Haditha slaughter. This as the Brookings Institute and the American Enterprise Institute find common ground as both present spokespersons who say the Bully Boy walks away from the scandal with no harm, no foul to his own image. Ann Clwyd, who both lives in a dream world and holds the post of the UK's human rights envoy to Iraq (a comical title in and of itself), falls back on the 'few bad apples' defense as she likens Haditha to Abu Ghraib.
While some fall back on mimimizing via denial and yet another wave of Operation Happy Talk, The Financial Times of London comments on both the revelations and the original cover up to address why comparisons are being made to the My Lai massacre in Vietnam. Also raising questions is The Christian Science Monitor which wonders whether or not the military can investigate itself and notes: "There is no position in the Department of Defense akin to an attorney general - someone whose job it is solely to follow up on credible allegations. Under the current system, investigations are convened by local commanders, who have many other duties - and perhaps conflicts of interest."
Meanwhile, Reuters reports, "A preliminary military inquiry found evidence that US Marines killed two dozen Iraqi civilians in an unprovoked attack in November, contradicting the troops' account." Reuters also notes a "defense official," Lance Cpl. Miguel Terrzas, stating that "Forensic data from corpses showed victims with bullet wounds, despite earlier statements by Marines that civilians were killed by a roadside bomb that also claimed the life of a Marine from El Paso, Texas."
The apparent lack of accountability at the top may be why Nuri al-Maliki, Iraqi prime minister and puppet of the occupation, bandies around terms like "iron fist" as he declares a month long "state of emergency" in Basra.With another view, Iraq's former foreign minister and current member of parliment Adnan Pachachi declared, "There must be a level of discipline imposed on the American troops and change of mentality which seems to think that Iraqi lives are expendable." Also dissenting from the group think is Iraq's ambassador to the United States, Samir Shakir al-Sumaidaie, who said of the June 25th killing of a cousin in Haditha by American forces, "I believe he was killed intentionally. I believe he was killed unnecessarily. The marines were doing house-to-house searches, and they went into the house of my cousin. He opened the door for them. His mother, his siblings were there. He let them into the bedroom of his father, and there he was shot."
Interviewed today by C.S. Soong on KPFA's Against The Grain, author Anthony Arnove (IRAQ: The Logic of Withdrawal) stated of the allegations of the November slaughter in Haditha, "In fact they just underscore the fact that the longer the United States stays, the more harm it causes to the people of Iraq. The situation in Haditha is a symptom of an occupation. Just as the torture we saw exposed in the Abu Ghraib detention facilities is a sympton of a much deeper problem."
This as the Associated Press reports that American forces shot and killed two women, one of them pregnant, at a checkpoint today in Baghdad. Nabiha Nisaif Jassim, thirty-five-years-old, was being rushed to the hospital by her brother, Khalid Nisaif Jassim, with her cousin, Saliha Mohammed Hassan, also in the car. Both women were killed. The brother, who was driving, denies the US accounts that the area was a clearly marked check point. A US spokesperson e-mailed a weasel word statement to the Associated Press where they note that the woman "may have been pregnant." Naibha Nisaif Jassim was rushed to the maternity hospital (her intended destination) but both she and the child she was carrying died. A US spokesperson, emailing Reuters, called the deaths "a mistake."
AFP notes that "Over the past two days alone more than 100 people have been killed in a wave of bombings and shootings in Iraq." Noting another sadly common feature of the occupation, Reuters reports that forty-two corpses have been found dumped in the last twenty-four hours. Australia's ABC reports an attack in southern Iraq on an Australian military vehichle. The AFP notes an attack, in Baghdad, on a police station that lasted over an hour and led to the death of four civilians and the wounding of three police officers. Reuters reports a mortar attack in Baghdad that led to the death of nine people. In Muqdadiya, the mayor, his cousin and brother were all killed when the mayor's office was bombed today.
Though the heads of the ministries of defense and interior have still not been filled, the Turkish Press reports that three ministers will be replaced "because they do not have the proper qualifications or had not been cleared by the de-Baathification commission."
Reuters notes that CBS reporter Kimberly Dozier has had shrapnel removed from her head and remains in intensive care. Meanwhile the AFP reports that another journalist has been killed while he was leaving his home in Baghdad. Reporters Without Borders notes that sports reporter Jaafar Ali became "the third journalist to be killed in Iraq in the space of 48 hours and the 11th employee of the national TV station Al-Iraqiya to be killed since the start of the war in March 2003." This as UAE diplomat Naji al-Nuaimi left Iraq and returned home following his rescue from his two-week kidnapping that began May 16th. Finally, the AFP notes that "the latest indication that US hopes for a major troop drawdown this year were fading fast."

there's some discussion over whether the iraq snapshot should continue or not? for c.i. to pull it together monday through friday takes a good chunk of time. i think it provides a great service and i get e-mails about it sometimes. but i do know that some people want highlights. today, c.i. delayed the post for 2 reasons: 1) to include anthony arnove in it and 2) to include highlights. on the latter, you're welcome to disagree but i think the highlights can go. whatever paper you read, read it tomorrow and look at the snapshot above. see how much makes it into the paper. i bet most of it doesn't. (for some, none of it will.) the snapshot provides a very real look at the events (that are covered by the press). it requires reading far more than is included. and due to time constraints, something's going to have to give. i argue it should be the highlights.

things are already noted in the early morning posts. there's too much denial about reality and too much operation happy talk for the snapshot to be lost.

c.i. started it because either another wave of operation happy talk had started or 1 was due to begin (i forget which). since it started, t's been able to refute any 1 who comes into her salon and starts talking about how great the illegal war is going. she doesn't have to say 'last week,' she can say, 'today' or 'yesterday' and she'll pull it up on the computer in her salon and read it off to the really deluded.

what's stood out to me is how many deaths there are. if there are details or just a name, c.i. will note it. it becomes more than 'x number of iraqis died yesterday' in the paper. members are supposed to vote on this by tomorrow afternoon and friday's gina and krista round-robin will have the results. i called krista and asked her if she had a problem with me writing about it. she didn't and neither did gina. she said that i could add that both she and gina feel the same way i do. i do endorsements here and my endorsement is that the iraqi snapshot continue and if that means no highlights some days (or all days) so be it. it's too important and i know of no other place i can get that compilation of reports.

my grandmother recently showed me a scrapbook. when her brother signed up to fight in wwii, her mother started the scrapbook. this was all from one paper, a chicago 1, probably the tribune, and the thing that stuck out the most to me was how much news there was on each day. contrast that with what we get today which may be 1 article on iraq, 2 or 3 on a lucky day. the coverage of iraq, just the quantity, forget the quality, is shallow and does not reflect the fact that we are engaged in a war. the snapshot serves as a reminder and if you haven't voted already, please think about that.

does c.i. want to continue the snapshot? you know c.i.'s not going to comment 1 way or another until after the vote. (even to me.) (or especially to loose tongued me!) but i think it's clear that everything cannot be done and a choice needs to be made. i go with the snapshot and those who want highlights might want to put the pressure on the papers they read to beef up their own coverage of iraq (with something other than the official word coming out of dc) at which point there would probably be no need for the snapshot.

but there is a huge need for it currently and it provides a wonderful and valuable service.

sherry saw the note on the poll in the last gina & krista round-robin and wondered in an e-mail why c.i. puts that out there? c.i. looks at it as the community's resource and no member (including c.i.) being more important than any other. i don't run my site that way, obviously. but i don't have the following that the common ills (c.i.) does.

highlights can be provided in the morning and you can also go to common dreams or buzzflash for some. but the iraq snapshot isn't everywhere. everyone's not doing it. it's 1 of those things that either just came to c.i. or that some 1 noted when c.i. was speaking to a group (i have no idea which and if it was c.i.'s idea, you know there won't be any credit given by c.i.). but it's 1 more example of the service that the common ills provides to the community. i also think it's perfectly in keeping with what c.i.'s done from the start which is to put the war front and center - even when, as was the case when the common ills started - others felt it was something to move on from (including moveon.org). for those who have forgotten, moveon which champions many films didn't have any interest in danny schechter's wmd documentary which is both funny and educational. if you had to see just 1 film about the way the press handled iraq, it would be his film because it has a wide scope and covers so much. i think it was an inspired choice (by schechter) to open it with him weary from the tv coverage and wondering what was a dream and what wasn't. he has captured something very real and it's a huge service not only to understanding this war but, i fear, to understanding later wars and how they are sold and how they are covered. if you haven't seen weapons of mass deception, you need to. maybe you have a friend who's not into reading (some people aren't). if you want to reach them, try showing wmd and see if that doesn't open their eyes. i think it might actually be more effective today than it was when it came out.

that's because the rah-rah coverage has dropped some. so audiences should be able to see what seemed normal then and grasp that it was abnormal and part of a sell-the-war effort.

i put up a botton for the film earlier today on this site. i doubt it will help much because i think every 1 who comes here already knows about the film. but maybe seeing it will remind people with copies to pull them out and watch the film again, with friends who haven't seen it. wmd isn't a 1-time-film. you don't just watch it once. it has layers and, due to events that are ongoing, it has continued importance. so pop it in the dvd player and give it another look.

yes, i watched it today. jess and ava had been over at c.i.'s monday and were helping with cleaning out a number of items. 1 of the things they came across was the wmd script. jess borrowed that - it wasn't a give away nor was it a prospect for the donations boxes or the trash heap - and ended up reading it through on the plane ride back home. the film's been noted many times at the third estate sunday review and we've all seen it. but jess watched it again last night and called me this morning asking me to watch it again to see if it was just him? it's not. wmd is an incredible film that demands repeat viewings.