gerald ford did not heal the nation

The American Right achieved its political dominance in Washington over the past quarter century with the help of more than $3 billion spent by Korean cult leader Sun Myung Moon on a daily propaganda organ, the Washington Times, according to a 21-year veteran of the newspaper.
George Archibald, who describes himself "as the first reporter hired at the Washington Times outside the founding group" and author of a commemorative book on the Times' first two decades, has now joined a long line of disillusioned conservative writers who departed and warned the public about extremism within the newspaper.
an Internet essay on recent turmoil inside the Times, Archibald also confirmed claims by some former Moon insiders that the cult leader has continued to pour in $100 million a year or more to keep the newspaper afloat. Archibald put the price tag for the newspaper's first 24 years at "more than $3 billion of cash."
At the newspaper's tenth anniversary, Moon announced that he had spent $1 billion on the Times -- or $100 million a year -- but newspaper officials and some Moon followers have since tried to low-ball Moon's subsidies in public comments by claiming they had declined to about $35 million a year.
The figure from Archibald and other defectors from Moon’s operation is about three times higher than the $35 million annual figure.
The apparent goal of downplaying Moon's subsidy has been to quiet concerns that Moon was funneling vast sums of illicit money into the United States to influence the American political process in ways favorable to right-wing leaders -- and possibly criminal cartels -- around the world.
Though best known as the founder of the Unification Church, Moon, now 86, has long worked with right-wing political forces linked to organized crime and international drug smuggling, including the Japanese yakuza gangs and South American cocaine traffickers.
Moon insiders, including his former daughter-in-law Nansook Hong, also have described Moon's system for laundering cash into the United States and then funneling much of it into his businesses and influence-buying apparatus, led by the Washington Times.

the above is from robert parry's 'The GOP's $3 Billion Propaganda Organ' (consortium news). now let's do a correction for democracy now. c.i. told me that ford's 'amnesty' was being inflated on democracy now and i checked that with my mother-in-law who agreed. jimmy carter had an amnesty for draft dodgers, ford did not have an amnesty. amy goodman and victor navasky did not know what they were talking about.

my mother-in-law e-mailed this to me today from the washington note:

[1] http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,908872,00.html
When Gerald Ford announced his conditional amnesty program last month, draft evaders and deserters seemed to have only two choices: either submit to the Government's terms and face up to 24 months of "alternative service," or remain on the lam-fugitives at home or exiles abroad. In fact, there is also the option of fighting in the courts to win complete freedom. Last week the American Civil Liberties Union announced that it would help that fight by supplying full and free legal services to any evader or deserter. Waived Rights. Henry Schwarzschild, director of the A.C.L.U.'s Project on Amnesty, argues: "The clemency program is punitive. It is not only devoid of any sense of mitigation and clemency, but it is also packed with procedural infirmities, which we will definitely challenge." The A.C.L.U. is particularly concerned about the fact that a man volunteering to enter the amnesty program must agree to waive many Fifth and Sixth Amendment rights (protection against self-incrimination and double jeopardy, as well as the guarantees of due process and a speedy trial). He must also promise not to use the statute of limitations as a defense if he is prosecuted for failing to live up to the amnesty conditions.

i personally do not care for victor navasky (for several personal reasons) but let's be really clear on what happened, he and goodman praised ford for doing something that the a.c.l.u. opposed. navasky always been a tool, goodman should have known better.

so let's be really clear, ford did not grant amnesty. jimmy carter did but only for those who doged the draft. those already in the miliatry who self-checked out were not covered in the amnesty.

let's repeat, victor navasky can be a real idiot and when he praised the so-called amnesty ford provided on democracy now this week, he was his usual idiot self. you can evaluate it for yourself but since the time i 1st met navasky i've thought he was an oily creep. in the ensuing years, nothing has ever changed that judgement.

now let's deal with victor (and the mainstream media but victor's always been a suck up to the mainstream media) bullshit about ford healing a nation by pardoning tricky dick. that didn't happen, it circumvented justice but it's the sort of lie victor always pushes because he's always struck me as an elitist pig who has no faith in the people. but in addition to it not 'healing' historically, it didn't heal in real time despite the bullshit victor was serving up (that is his speciality). this is an article from time magazine written shortly after ford pardoned nixon - find the healing:

Throughout the most painful week of Gerald Ford's fledgling presidency, public protest continued to batter the White House. Far from easing after the first shock of Ford's precipitate pardon of Richard Nixon for any and all federal crimes committed during his presidency, the controversy grew. It was fed partly by Ford's refusal to explain further his mysterious reversal on his Executive intervention, partly by White House fumbling on whether all the other Watergate offenders might also be pardoned. Ford's inexperienced aides -- almost all of whom had opposed the timing of the pardon--were left scrambling futilely to justify the President's action.
Squandered Trust. There was as yet no evidence that Ford's motives were other than high-minded and merciful. Indeed, some of the criticisms of his action were overwrought and hysterical. Suggestions that justice was dead in the U.S. or that Ford's Administration had been irrevocably compromised were exaggerations. Nevertheless, Ford's first major decision raised disturbing questions about his judgment and his leadership capabilities, and called into question his competence. He had apparently needlessly, even recklessly, squandered some of that precious public trust that is so vital to every President. By associating himself so personally with the welfare of his discredited predecessor, he had allowed himself to be tainted by Watergate--a national scandal that the courts, prosecutors and Congress had labored so long and effectively to expose and resolve.
Thus, barely a month into his presidency, Gerald Ford found himself jeered by a crowd of pardon protesters outside a hotel in Pittsburgh, where he addressed a conference on urban transportation. They waved signs bearing such taunts as THE COUNTRY WON'T STAND FOR IT--a mockery of Ford's declaration about a pardon for Nixon, which Ford made during the Senate hearings to confirm him as Vice President. In an otherwise pleasant outing to help dedicate a World Golf Hall of Fame in Pinehurst, N.C., Ford faced more banners: IS NIXON ABOVE THE LAW? and JAIL CROOKS, NOT RESISTERS.

but we got victor lying to the nation (again) on democracy now and amy goodman either wasn't paying attention or didn't give a damn. (a lot of women are taken in by his snarky charm. i never was nor were 2 of my friends who both were very brutal in their rejections of his snarky charms.) before he was made president, ford had said america wouldn't stand for nixon being pardoned yet before his 1st 30 days in office, he'd already pardoned the crook.

victor's always impressed me as the type who will say whatever is 'respectable.' it comes from caring so damn much what the mainstream media thinks, if you ask my opinion. (if you ask my mother-in-law, it comes from other things as well but, as she always notes, 'ask c.i. that's who knows where all the bodies are buried.' of course c.i. is tight-lipped on things like that around me because i'm not known for my ability to keep secrets. secrets were meant to be freed!)

a few e-mails came in congratulating me on passing the 3rd week mark. thank you for that but technically, it's tuesday morning. the doctor comes out this tuesday and i may learn that i don't have to be on house arrest anymore or i may learn that i do.

whatever it is, it's fine. the pregnancy has already gone on longer than any i've had before. i feel really good about this pregnancy and i do think it will result in a birth. that's not me trying to talk myself into being positive, i really do believe that.

it's irritating sometimes not to be able to get out of the house (other than the patio) but if i do end up needing to do this for the rest of the pregnancy, i can. i've already done it this far and, of course, given up cigarettes and coffee.

i've also made every 1 give up coffee in the house. i can't smell it and not want it so we're not even keeping it in the house these days. i feel like a real tyrant when a guest asks for some but i find i crave it more than cigarettes. my mother and my mother-in-law picked out new drapes and put them up this week because they were sure there was cigarette smell in the 'old' 1s ('old' because we'd just redecorated) and that may have been but i don't even want a cigarette these days. but if i smell coffee, i want it so bad and am a monster to be around while others are having it.

t was over yesterday around noon and she, flyboy, ruth and i played some boardgames she brought along. that was actually a lot of fun. we played life and clue.

i am sleeping a lot and i'd love to say that wasn't the case but i really do find myself tired these days. that's usually even with taking a nap during the day.

ruth has been so great and i told her today 'the 1 reason i want to be able to leave the house is so you don't keep traveling here every day.' she has been such a wonderful friend and she's been here every day since she learned i was pregnant. she's also the 1 i usually complain to because she'll say she knows it's bugging me (staying home) and to just let loose about it. so i'll usually rant to her for 5 to 15 minutes and then feel better. her grandchildren tracey and jayson have been along with her several times this week and that's been a lot of fun as well. (of course elijah, her youngest grandson, is always with her when she visits but flyboy's his best friend. they have to have their shore visits every day. that's their thing to do, go outside and walk by the water.)

so, to answer the question about the 3 weeks, 4 mornings from now, the critical period should be over.

i should also say thanks to mike and elaine who've come out every weekend. (and are here now.) i really appreciate that and the calls from every 1. and the packages. c.i. sent a box of books this week and looking through them, i wondered when i'd have time to read them all. the reality is i'm almost done with them already. i'm in the middle of a book of speeches by jane fonda that i'm really enjoying. it's put out by the new press but i can't think of the title and am too comfortable right now to get off my lazy butt and grab the book to find out. i'll write about it next week. (if i haven't by friday, remind me with an e-mail. i feel like i'm forgetting everything these days.)

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

Friday, December 29, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq, Decemeber is now the deadliest month this year for US troops, Ehren Watada finally appears in print in The Nation, is Sabrina Tavernise angling to be the new joke of the New York Times, and the US military reveals how little heart and compassion they have as they move to court-martial a soldier suffering from PTSD -- one they did nothing to help.
Starting with fatality news. Today the
US military announced: "Three Marines assigned to Regimental Combat Team 5 died Thursday from wounds sustained due to enemy action while operating in Al Anbar Province." Watch for the New York Times to ignore that or Little Man Marcs to report "One marine died" if the pattern this month holds true. The Times can't say they weren't warned when they decided to ignore fatalities and minimize the few that they covered but readers of the paper who depend on it to provide reality (no chuckles) may end up shocked when they discover that today December became the deadliest month for US troops. The three deaths up the total for the month to 107. Prior to this announcement, October had been the deadliest month with 106.
Some outlets report 105 and that has to do with the fact that the US military tends to hold the deaths a bit, and has the since the start of the war, waiting for those first of the month look back press accounts to be published and then noting a death or two afterwards.
106 is the number ICCC uses, 106 is the one we'll go with here. 107 is now the total number of US troops who have died in Iraq this month. The total number of US troops who have died since the start of the illegal war stands at 2996 -- four shy of the 3,000 mark.
US troops have not been the only military fatalities and England's
Ministry of Defense notes:"It is with deep regret that the Ministry of Defence must confirm that a UK serviceman was killed yesterday, Thursday 28 December 2006, in Basrah, southern Iraq. The soldier, from 2nd Battalion, The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, was taking part in a routine patrol in Basra City when the Warrior Armoured Fighting Vehicle he was travelling in was targeted by a roadside bomb. He was very seriously injured and airlifted to the Field Hospital at Shaibah Logistics Base, but unfortunately died later as a result of his injuries." That death brought the total number of British troops killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war to 127.
Turning to the issue of war resistance and starting with The Nation magazine. On page 14 of the January 8/15 2007 issue (a double issue) Marc Cooper has an article entitled "Lt. Ehren Watada: Resister." The Nation makes the article
availble online to subscribrs only for whatever reasons but seems unaware that they've published it for all (subscribers and non-subscribers) on Yahoo -- click here. Cooper describes Ehren Watada as "the lighning rod case of resistance" (Watada is the first officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq); and notes the speech he gave in August at the Veterans for Peace conference in Seattle (click here for text at CounterPunch and here at Truthout which offers both text and video of the speech) where Watada declared, "The idea is this: that to stop an illegal and unjust war, the soldiers can choose to stop fighting it."; and notes that, in January, "a 'Citizen's Hearing on the Legality of U.S. Actions in Iraq,' featuring Daniel Ellsberg and Princeton professor emeritus Richard Falk will be convened in Tacoma, Washinginton, in support of Watada".
January 4th is the date scheduled for the military's pre-trial hearing and Feb. 5th is when the court-martial is scheduled to begin. The US military is attempting to force journalists to testify at the pre-trial hearing (see
yesterday's snapshot).
Watada is part of a movement of resistance within the military that includes
Kyle Snyder, Darrell Anderson, Ricky Clousing (who was released from the military brig on Satuday) Mark Wilkerson, Agustin Aguayo, Joshua Key, Ivan Brobeck, Camilo Meija, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Jeremy Hinzman, Corey Glass, Patrick Hart, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Katherine Jashinski, and Kevin Benderman. In total, thirty-eight US war resisters in Canada have applied for asylum.
Information on war resistance within the military can be found at
Center on Conscience & War, The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline, and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters. Appeal for Redress is collecting signatures of active duty service members calling on Congress to bring the troops home -- the petition will be delivered to Congress next month.
Resistance takes many forms in the peace movement. As noted in yesterday's snapshot,
Cindy Sheehan was arrested in Crawford, Texas outside Bully Boy's ranchette along with four other activists. Sheehan called the action a "peace surge" to combat Bully Boy's notions of escalating the number of US troops in Iraq. The AP reports that Sheehan's attorney Robert Gottlieb believes the arrest will have no impact on the conditional verdict the judge issued this month in Manhattan. The Smoking Gun reports that, were Sheehan convicted, the maximum sentence is six months in prison and the maximum fine is $2,000.
In another mother for peace news,
Theresa Hogue (Corvallis Gazette-Times) reported last week on Michelle Darr, a mother of six, who was arrested December 12th for attempting to get US Senator Gordon Smith to sign the Declaration of Peace (her third arrest this year for attempting to lobby Smith, she was arrested twice in September) and will face a tril in January. Darr told Hogue, "What they (her children) see me doing is as important as what they don't see me doing. If Im not using my voice and efforts in the cause of the common good, how can I expect them to take initiative when the need arises? I don’t want them to ever think oppression and genocide are acceptable, or that war is a way to solve problems."
Along with courageous acts of resistance like Sheehan's and Darr's, demonstrations will take part around the United States to note the 3,000 mark for US fatalities in Iraq.
United for Peace and Justice notes:
Another Grim Milestone -- 3,000 Deaths Too Many
More than 2,990 U.S. troops have died in Iraq. By the time you read this, the death toll may have reached 3,000. We must bear witness to this tragic milestone, even though many people are already beginning their celebrations of the new year. And when we do take action on this occasion, we must remind others that hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children, women and men have also died in this outrageous war and occupation. Our call to end this war and to bring all the troops home now must be heard in every corner of the country! The killing must stop. Click here for some suggested ways to bear witness.
Military Families Speak Out notes:
MILITARY FAMILIES MOURN 3,000TH TROOP DEATH, PARTICIPATE IN NATIONWIDE VIGILS AND CALL ON CONGRESS TO END THE IRAQ WAR Family Members of Fallen Soldiers and Families of Troops Currently Deployed in Iraq Available for Interview Dec 29, 06 On the eve of the 3,000th troop death, the next horrific milestone in the Iraq war, Military Families Speak Out (MFSO), an organization of over 3,100 military families opposed to the war in Iraq, calls on the 110th Congress to honor the fallen and prevent further deaths by taking action to end the Iraq war. read more »
3000 Deaths Too Many As Bush considers sending thousands of additional troops to Iraq to control the violence, our troop death toll nears the 3,000 mark. It is crucial that we commemorate this grim milestone in Bush's disastrous war by pressuring Congress to bring the troops home NOW, and to stop this insanity NOW! Click here for CODEPINK suggested actions you can take.
Also refer to
World Can't Wait's Protests & Vigils Planned the Day After the Number of US Troops Killed in Iraq Reaches 3,000
As the press continues to note that Bully Boy is seriously considering escalating the number of US troops on the ground in Iraq,
Warren P. Strobel and Nancy A. Youssef (McClatchy Newspapers) note: "Two attempts last summer to stabilize Baghdad by sending in more troops failed. The increased U.S. presence led to a brief drop in violence, but as soon as the troops left the neighborhoods where they'd deployed, the violence skyrocketed." That was the crackdown that cracked up and accomplished nothing. It began in June and by August, the US military was noting that, in July, attacks on US forces were up (double the January amount) and bombing attacks on civilians were up 10%. And last week Ann Scott Tyson (Washington Post) reported on the US Pentagon's findings "that the violence in Iraq soared this fall to its highest level on record" and this during the continued increase of US troops in Iraq. But like a greedy tele-evangilist, Bully Boy can just cry out, "Send more! Send more!"
CNN reports a bomber "waited near the house of Sheik Kadhim Hameed Qassim" in northern Bagdad and then detonated the bomb "when the clearic, his security and family members arrived after Friday prayers" leaving the Shi'ite cleric dead and also killing "his brother and severn others" and leaving 15 wounded.
Reuters reports two police officers were shot dead in Jurf al-Sakhar and seven more wounded. AFP reports a police officer and "a bystander" were shot dead in Hindiya while, in Mussayib, a police officer was shot dead and five more wounded. KUNA reports four Iraqi soldiers were shot dead "southwest of Kirkuk" and a fifth Iraqi soldier was injured while, in nothern Iraq, "two employees who . . . worked for the Petroleum State Company" were shot dead.
KUNA reports that the corpse of a kidnapped police officer was discovered in Kirkuk.
AFP reports on the increasing demise of communal baths in Baghdad from violence and financial costs: "In its glory days when Iraq was one of the most developed Arab countries in the Middle East, the hammam used to employ 16 people. Today only four permanent staff remains on the payroll as massive inflation takes hold." and quotes the owner of the bathhouse explaining, "The electricity is often down. Gas for heating has become too expensive. We pay 20,000 dinars ($14) for a bottle compared to 1,000 just two or three years ago. How do you expect me to carry on? There are days when it costs me more to open than doing nothing. I love my profession but it's disappearing."
In I-Schilled-for-the-U.S.-military-and-all-I-got-was-a-red-face news,
Sabrina Tavernise's 'scoop' in the New York Times had holes blown through it earlier this week and has now fallen apart completely. The US military announced (to her and James Glanz of the New York Times) that they had been holding Iranian 'terrorists' and 'insurgents' since the 12th of December. In the latest development to rip the story of Iranian 'terrorists' to shreds, the BBC reports that the two diplomats who were held by US forces but in the country of Iraq at the invitation of Iraq's president, Jalal Talabani, were released. On the detention of the two diplomats, AFP quotes the Iranian ambassador to Iraq, Hasan Kazemi Qomi, stating: "Fortunately with the effort exerted by the Iraqi officials, the US forces who firstly denied their arrest were obliged to admit it and under pressure from the Iraqi government to release them. The arrest of these diplomats was carried out contrary to international laws and the Geneva convention."
In the US, the
AP reports: "Sgt. Edward W. Shaffer, 24, of Mont Alto, died Wednesday afternoon at Brooke Army Medical Center in Texas" after being injured in November 13th bombing in Ramadi and quotes his grandfather, Edward Shaffer, stating that "All they could do was try to keep him comfortable. They couldn't do any more for him." 24 year-old Shaffer is among many troops who die from physical injuries recieved in Iraq but, due to dying after they are shipped out of Iraq, do not get included in the official body count.
Another war related death not included in the count is
covered by Megan Greenwell (Washington Post), 29-year-old James E. Dean, who had served in Afghanistan and recently recieved orders to deploy to Iraq, barricaded himself in his father's house on Christmas day, and was killed in an exchange with police officers.
NPR's Daniel Zwerdling reported that the US army's crappy record on addressing PTSD within the ranks just got worse: the army is moving to court-martial Tyler Jennings who suffers from PTSD and was diagnosed with "Crying spells... hopelessness... helplessness... worthlessness" five months ago and received no assistance.


c.i. calls 2006

give it for c.i. '2006: The Year of Living Dumbly (Year in Review)' is hard hitting, truthful and funny as hell. c.i. had downplayed it on the phone all week. between really bad coughing fits, a fever and non-stop puking, c.i. would say, 'it's going to suck, rebecca.' i doubted that very seriously but i do know c.i. has a nasty case of the flu. (and, typical of c.i., waited until all the holiday guests left to let the flu go full blown.)

so i'm trying to find a reason to get off the couch today and flyboy is laughing his butt off at something online. it was '2006: The Year of Living Dumbly (Year in Review)' and flyboy was saying, 'i'll read it to you' but i needed to get off the couch and i also get really ticked off when some 1 reads c.i. to me and reads c.i. wrong. (being old friends, i know where c.i. goes deadpan, rushes a phrase, etc.) but i didn't end up reading it online because the phone rings and it was c.i. telling me it was up. i said 'flyboy's loving it, i was just about to read it' and c.i. said, 'get back on the couch, i'll read it to you.' c.i. swore i wouldn't laugh, swore it wasn't funny, swore it missed 'everything' but i disagreed and loved it.

it's wonderful. it captures 2006 perfectly and it's laugh out loud funny.

tonight on flashpoints, ralph nader was interviewed by nora barrows-friedman and that was a wonderful interview. nader spoke of how cowardly it was to pull impeachment off the table when there's never been a more impeachable oval office occupant than the bully boy.

he was glad that some chairs are 'old progressives' who, unlike 'new progressives,' don't make decisions with 1 finger in the wind.

he expressed his dismay that democrats wouldn't go after the corruption in military contracts. and spoke of his hope in the people. it's always easy to try to focus on macro ways to try to turn a country around but the macro ways always rest on individual pillars'. he spoke of the importance of the person-to-person conversation in building movements. and noted that
'you cannot say to yourself what's my letter going to do, what's my phone call going to do, what's my participation in this march going to do' because you rationalize away your power if you do.

it was a really wonderful interview.

also highly recommended is norman finkelstein's 'The Ludicrous Attacks on Jimmy Carter's Book' (counterpunch):

As Jimmy Carter's new book Palestine Peace Not Apartheid climbs the bestseller list, the reaction of Israel's apologists scales new peaks of lunacy. I will examine a pair of typical examples and then look at the latest weapon to silence Carter.
Apartheid Analogy
No aspect of Carter's book has evoked more outrage than its identification of Israeli policy in the Occupied Palestinian Territory with apartheid. Michael Kinsley in the Washington Post called it "foolish and unfair," the Boston Globe editorialized that it was "irresponsibly provocative," while the New York Times reported that Jewish groups condemned it as "dangerous and anti-Semitic." (1)
In fact the comparison is a commonplace among informed commentators.
From its initial encounter with Palestine the Zionist movement confronted a seemingly intractable dilemma: How to create a Jewish state in a territory that was overwhelmingly non-Jewish? Israeli historian Benny Morris observes that Zionists could choose from only two options: "the way of South Africa"--i.e., "the establishment of an apartheid state, with a settler minority lording it over a large, exploited native majority"--or "the way of transfer"--i.e., "you could create a homogeneous Jewish state or at least a state with an overwhelming Jewish majority by moving or transferring all or most of the Arabs out." (2)
During the British Mandate period (1917-1947) Zionist settlers labored on both fronts, laying the foundations of an apartheid-like regime in Palestine while exploring the prospect of expelling the indigenous population. Norman Bentwich, a Jewish officer in the Mandatory government who later taught at the Hebrew University, recalled in his memoir that, "One of the causes of resentment between Arabs and Jews was the determined policy of the Jewish public bodies to employ only Jewish workers.This policy of 'economic apartheid' was bound to strengthen the resistance of Arabs to Jewish immigration." (3)

it's really something to see jimmy carter attacked so and really indicates the level of the special interest lobby in this country. i think norman finkelstein has been a strong voice on this issue which, to pick up on themes from 2006, translated as the nation magazine wrote a stab him in the back piece.

2006, for the nation, was all about worrying about what other people thought as opposed to speaking truths which is why they couldn't cover war resisters, wouldn't cover lynne stewart, and regularly stabbed in the back any 1 who tried to stand up from norman to harry belafonte to ann jones, go down the list.

it was so bad, the magazine should have changed their title to the coward. sherry wondered if it was okay for mike to quote my mother-in-law yesterday? yes! my mother-in-law wanted that noted. and more. i had a lengthy post that i edited which was just full of her thoughts on how disappointing katrina vanden heuvel is.

c.i. wouldn't have said a word to me about it but i know c.i. likes katrina so i ended up editing stuff out. but my mother-in-law is less than impressed with katrina (and notes that c.i. always roots for the underdog) and she's far from alone. in conn. alone, many feel she led the magazine into cowardice on ned lamont, waiting far too long to weigh in and doing far too little for some 1 whose family had long connections to the magazine. her actions were seen as 'ignorant' and 'tacky.' which i will leave at that. except to note that the nation didn't lead on 1 goddamn thing all year so it's not a surprise that it didn't lead on ned lamont. my mother-in-law loved the year-in-review and noted her only regret was that c.i. didn't dub it 'campaign politics.' that's another good name for this cowardly, spineless incarnation of the nation.

she also drilled me with questions about trina - she loved the quote c.i. included from trina and went to read trina's post about that idiotic 'mommys are we, this piece is soggy' that the nation ran. she met mike last weekend and she was really curious about trina after reading her post.

i'm tired, here's c.i.'s 'Iraq snapshot:'

Thursday, December 28, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq with 41 corpses discovered just in the capital, Bully Boy continues to string along the world as he hints at a 'new' 'plan,' the 3,000 mark for US troops killed in Iraq hovers ever closer, Cindy Sheehan continues speaking out and is arrested in Crawford, Texas, and US war resister Ricky Clousing speaks about his decision to stand up against the war and the 73 days he spent in military prison.
Starting with peace news. "I feel like I chose the path that was meant for me." That's
Ricky Clousing speaking to Steve Maynard (Washington's The News Tribune) about his decision to say no to the illegal war. Maynard interviewed Clousing in his mother and step-father's home in Washington and the 73 days he spent in a military brig after his court-martial, his plans for the future (long range, college -- "I've always wanted to be a teacher") and his decision to say "no" to the illegal war: "I don't regret my decision to go AWOL in any way. I served my country better by saying 'no' to being in uniform."
Reflecting on the year,
Mark Schneider (The Palestine Chronicle) finds reasons for hope in a number of things including war resisters like Clousing:

Closer to home, cheers of love out to the thousands of U.S. soldiers who have gone AWOL instead of violating their conscience to involve themselves in the U.S. genocide of Iraq. Many have rightly fled to Canada, some have faced court-martial and years in prison in the U.S. The first officer to refuse orders is Lt. Ehren Watada, whose mom, Carolyn Ho, this month has been on a speaking tour talking about parents have a duty to prevent their children from participating in illegal wars.For years I've had this dream of getting hundreds of U.S. moms and dads taking flights into Amman and Baghdad and then dramatically going to find and retrieve (yanking them by their ears?) their soldier-children. What shame that would bring the U.S.! Cindy Sheehan and Fernando Suarez del Solar are vestiges of such a drama.
During a speech at the August, 2006 Veterans for Peace convention in Seattle, Watada cracked emotion stating, "to stop an illegal and unjust war, soldiers can choose to stop fighting it."The most powerful element of the anti-war movement against U.S. genocide in Vietnam were the returning Vets, resisters and deserters who used their privileged positions to take radical positions and action. Though I have a separate post with a quick run-down of the best movies I saw this year, this is a good segue to
Sir No Sir, a new film documentary (that has been released for rental), about those Vietnam Vets who resisted. In their promotional material, the filmmakers, thank them, have made the obvious links between then and now go to their website and click on the "Punk Ass Crusade" link).
This film will leave you teared up and inspired.
And, if you're in the Phoenix area, you can see
Sir! No Sir! this Saturday. Mike Millard (The Phoenix News) reports that David Zeiger's documentary will be shown at the First Annual Peace on Earth Event in Jamaica Plain at 6:00 pm (85 Seaverns St.) and will be followed by a discussion with Halsey Bernard who served in Iraq and Afghanistan and Joe Bangert who served in Vietnam. The event is co-sponsored by Military Families Speak Out and People United for Peace with a two dollar admission fee.
David Swanson (AfterDowningStreet) reports that the US military continues to attempt to force reporters to be witnesses for the prosecution in the January 4th pre-trial hearing of US war resister Ehren Watada (to be followed by his Feb. 5th court-martial) and quotes independent journalists Sarah Olson ("It's my job to report the news, not to participate in a government prosecution. Testifying against my source would turn the press into an investigative tool of the government and chill dissenting voices in the United States.") and Dahr Jamail ("I don't believe that reporters should be put in the position of having to participate in a prosecution. This is particularly poignant in this case, where journalists would be used to build a case against free speech for military personnel.").
Clousing and Watada are part of a movement of resistance within the military that includes
Kyle Snyder, Darrell Anderson, Mark Wilkerson, Agustin Aguayo, Joshua Key, Ivan Brobeck, Camilo Meija, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Jeremy Hinzman, Corey Glass, Patrick Hart, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Katherine Jashinski, and Kevin Benderman. In total, thirty-eight US war resisters in Canada have applied for asylum.
Information on war resistance within the military can be found at
Center on Conscience & War, The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline, and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters. Appeal for Redress is collecting signatures of active duty service members calling on Congress to bring the troops home -- the petition will be delivered to Congress next month.
War resistance and the peace movement are the only things that will end the illegal war. This morning, the
US military announced: "An improvised explosive device detonated near a dismounted Multi-National Division - Baghdad patrol, killing two Soldiers southwest of the Iraqi capital Dec. 27. " And the US military announced: "An improvised explosive device detonated near a Multi-National Division - Baghdad patrol, killing one Soldier in an eastern section of the Iraqi capital Dec. 27." Since then, the US military has announced: "One Marine assigned to Regimental Combat Team 5 was killed in action while conducting combat operations in the Al Anbar Province December 27." And they have announced: "An improvised explosive device detonated near a dismounted Multi-National Division - Baghdad patrol, killing one Soldier north of the Iraqi capital Dec. 28." The total number of US military deaths in Iraq for the month of December thus far now stands at 102 -- only four less than the month with the highest count this year (October, with 106). The death brings the total number of US troops killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war to 2991 -- nine short of 3,000. [AFP notes: "medical advances mean the number is a lot lower than would have been expected." Which also means a rise in the number of seriously injured.]
Carey Gillam (Reuters) reports that "some 140 demonstrations in 37 states are planned to mark the 3,000th U.S. military death in Iraq, a milestone that is likely only days away" and quotes Military Families Speak Out's Nancy Lessin: "This horrific and tragic milestone allows us to remind this country of the daily unending human toll of a war that didn't have to happen."As the 3,000 mark edges ever closer, Bully Boy continues to contemplate escalation as a 'new' 'plan' to 'win' the unwinnable war and says he is making "good progress" (he grades on a curve).CNN reports that Cindy Sheehan has once again stood up to the Bully Boy and his war machine and been arrested in Crawford, Texas (along with four other activists) for doing so. On the possible escalation, AP reports: "Many of the American soldiers trying to quell sectarian killings in Baghdad don't appear to be looking for reinforcements. They say a surge in troop levels some people are calling for is a bad idea."
CNN reports two people dead and 19 wounded from a car bomb in Mosul that apparently targeted "an office of the Kurdistan Democratic Party in Mosul". The Canadian Press reportsa bombing in Baghdad this morning using two bombs ("opposite a park in the South Gate area") that claimed 9 lives and left 43 more wounded, 12 more killed and 26 wounded by a bombing "near al-Sha'ab stadium in Eastern Baghdad" and a bombing in western Baghdad that killed two people and left four more wounded. Meanwhile Reuters notes a roadside bomb in Hawija that left 3 police officers wounded.
Reuters reports one police officer shot dead in Kirkuk and another wounded, two Iraqi soldiers shot dead in Tikrit and another wounded and a police officer shot dead in Baquba with two more wounded.
Reuters notes 49 corpses discovered in Baghdad and three in Mosul.
On Cindy Sheehan's arrest,
AP notes that she and four others "lay or sat" on a road near Bully Boy's ranchette in Crawford, TX for 20 minutes before they were arrested and that they were part of a "peace surge" to refute Bully Boy's talk of an escalation in the number of US troops in Iraq. (The 3,5000 who will go to Kuwait in January will be used as a reserve to deploy as needed.) Waco's KWTX reports: " The five were taken to the Crawford Police Department and a van was dispatched to transport them to the McLennan County Jail. They were charged with obstructing a highway or other passageway, which is a Class B misdemeanor. The protesters told a News Ten crew as they were led into the police department they didn’t know why they had been taken into custody. In the video KWTX posts, Cindy Sheehan states, "They should have arrested George Bush, not us."


dear democracy now

dear democracy now,

at the end of today's broadcast, you asked for feedback.

here's some.

broadcasting barbara ehrenreich's uninformed slam on greenstone media was offensive. since you elected to broadcast a portion of the speech and included the factually incorrect slams on greenstone media, it's incumbent upon democracy now to provide a correction. if you're confused, you can read c.i.'s "Correction to Barbara Ehrenreich on Democracy Now! today."

what did i least enjoy about democracy now in 2006?

there's so much.

1) why do you feel the need to repeatedly book a man arrested for being a sexual predator online of girls under the age of 17? do you support all sexual predators or just that 1? will you issue an apology if and when he gets busted a 3rd time? if he's busted not in a sting but when a young girl is actually hurt, will you apologize to his victim?

what do you feel is your responsibility as a broadcaster since it doesn't seem to include warning your audience, each time you provide the former u.n. inspector as a 'respected' voice, that he was twice arrested for attempting to seek out sexual encounters with underage girls?

2) i've dubbed your war resister coverage 'baby cried the day the circus came to town' in honor of the melissa manchester song 'don't cry out loud.' i've done that because the coverage tends to treat war resisters as a 1 day story.

if you disagree with that 'honor,' could you explain why the program did not cover ehren watada's article 32 hearing in august? why it has not covered darrell anderson's court-martial or ricky clousing's court-martial? ricky clousing served nearly 3 months in a brig and was released on saturday. do you have any intention of telling your audience that fact or is it a better service to provide announcements about james brown's service?

if it is the latter, how do you reconcile that 'information' with the fact that brown was repeatedly arrested for beating his 3rd wife?

3) as part of your intended audience, i would have preferred to hear angela davis' speech this morning (as was planned) but instead i got gerald ford talk non-stop. if democracy now is an alternative to the mainstream media, shouldn't the purpose be to cover topics the mainstream doesn't cover as opposed to covering the same topics but 'with a twist!'

4) short answer question: please tell me everything you know about ivan brobeck because after the full brobeck i'm curious to know how many who ignored ivan knew about him ahead of time.

5) when a guest goes on and on, such as victor this morning, is it not possible to interrupt, walk them through, get them to the point before every 1's walking around from their tv?

6) having decided to cover gerald ford, was it impossible to book an african-american guest? considering ford's war on government assistance (a major topic that wasn't addressed), it seems that such a guest was needed if you were going to address ford's record.

7) i love robert parry, but he was dead wrong about the pardoning of nixon being in any way good. that lie got started with dan rather, as those of us with longer memories well know, who rushed onto the evening news to announce how wonderful the pardon was. would it have not better served the audience to have also booked a michael ratner, marjorie cohn, or other attorney who could have spoken clearly about the actual legal realities involved in the pardon and how unpopular the pardon was with the american people?

8) where was the discussion/debate about ford's actions on the warren commison?

from a 1997 ap article:

Thirty-three years ago, Gerald R. Ford took pen in hand and changed - ever so slightly - the Warren Commission's key sentence on the place where a bullet entered John F. Kennedy's body when he was killed in Dallas.
The effect of Ford's change was to strengthen the commission's conclusion that a single bullet passed through Kennedy and severely wounded Texas Gov. John Connally - a crucial element in its finding that Lee Harvey Oswald was the sole gunman.
A small change, said Ford on Wednesday when it came to light, one intended to clarify meaning, not alter history.
''My changes had nothing to do with a conspiracy theory,'' he said in a telephone interview from Beaver Creek, Colo. ''My changes were only an attempt to be more precise.''

as with lee hamiliton, some of the same people are repeatedly called upon to be the estabishment's cleaners/schills. audiences would have been better informed of ford's character today had they been told of his actions on the warren commission.

this was a glaring oversight. though democracy now is happy to cover the conspiracy that killed malcom x and fred hampton, there seems to be a huge reluctance to cover the obvious questions raised by the jfk assassination. that's true of 2006 and true of every year. joan mellen would make an ideal guest for 2007. i fully grasp that the nation prefers to smear those who ask questions and possibly democracy now is scared of being smeared?

i'd argue that the audience is made up of more than members of the nation's staff. i'd argue that the actual audience that supports the show would be better served if the program didn't so frequently seem to fret over what the nation might think.


rebecca winters

in the real world, Flashpoints covered ethiopa's war of aggression on somolia and how the u.s. state department is siding with ethiopa (and encouraging and supporting the country) and also offered a wonderful poem by alex olson called 'america on sale.' i really am enjoying the 'in the margins' segment that provides poets reading their own work.

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

Wednesday, December 27, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq, the US military announces more deaths of US troops while they call up 3,500 more troops, a British general calls for more war money while lowering expectations, England and the United States face strong backlashes in Iraq and the puppet of the occupation proves unpopular.
As December has become the second deadliest month in 2006 it's easy to see who covers the fatalities (Washington Post -- usually
Nancy Trejos) and who doesn't (New York Times). Today the US military announced: "A 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) Soldier died as a result of non-combat related injuries on Logistics Support Area Anaconda Dec 23." And they also announced: "A second Multi-National Division – Baghdad Soldier died of injuries received when a High Mobility Multi-Purpose Wheeled Vehicle rolled over along a dirt canal trail during a combat reconnaissance mission south of the Iraqi capital Dec. 26." And they announced: "One Marine assigned to Regimental Combat Team 5 died today from wounds sustained due to enemy action while operating in Al Anbar Province." ICCC lists the total for the month of December thus far at 94. October is the month with the highest US fatalities in 2006 (thus far): 106. The total number of US troops who have died in Iraq since the start of the illegal war stands at 2983, 17 away from the 3,000 mark.
Meanwhile the
US Defense Department reports that US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates hasapproved John Abizaid's request and 3,500 troops of the 82nd Airborne Division's 2nd Brigade Combat Team were informed today that at the start of next month they will deploy to Kuwait to replace the 15h MEU who moved to al-Anbar Province last month.
The call up means that 3,500 troops have had to head to Fort Bragg and cut short the holidays. In Iraq, the holiday reflected the illegal war.
Dahr Jamail and Ali Al-Fadhily (IPS) report that, for little girls, crying dolls were the most popular gift and, for little boys, tanks and guns because, as Ahmed Ghazi told the reporters, "Children try to imitate what they see out of their windows." Jamil and Al-Fadhily write:
Social researcher Nuha Khalil from the Iraqi Institute for Childhood Development in Baghdad told IPS that young girls are now expressingtheir repressed sadness often by playing the role of a mother who takes care of her small daughter.
"Looking around, they only see gatherings of mourning ladies who lost their beloved ones," said Khalil. "Our job of comforting these little girls and remedying the damage within them is next to impossible."
[. . .]
"The only things they have on their minds are guns, bullets, death and a fear of the U.S. occupation," Maruan Abdullah, spokesman for the Association of Psychologists of Iraq told reporters at the launch of a study in February this year.

Meanwhile, Sam Knight (Times of London) reports that Major General Richard Shirreff ("commander of British troops in southern Iraq") is stating that the British Army is underfunded and lowering expectations for 'democracy' and/or 'liberation' in Iraq -- Shirref stated: "When I set up, came up here and initiated the operations we have been conducting, I was looking for a 100% solution. But this is Iraq, this is Arabia and this is reality, so a 60% solution is good enough for me." This as Steve Negus (Financial Times of London) reports that Monday's raid and destruction, by British forces, on a police station in Basra is resulting in a backlash: " Several local leaders, including the head of the city council and a Basra police commander, have condemned Monday's raid. Mohammed al-Ibadi, provincial council chairman, said the council had decided to cut off ties with British forces pending an explanation of why they destroyed an 'Iraq government building flying the Iraqi flag' and removed detainees he described as suspected terrorists'."
This as the US faces their own backlash over a death in Najaf. Earlier today, Reuters reported that,
despite earlier denails by the US military, a US soldier was the one who shot an official of Moqtada al-Sadr's bloc. Khaled Farhan (Reuters) reports: "Thousands of supporters of anti-American Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr marched through the holy Iraqi city of Najaf in an angry funeral procession after a senior Sadr aide was killed by a U.S. soldier on Wednesday. Chanting 'No to America' and carrying placards decrying U.S. occupation, mourners, including black-robed clerics, carried the coffin of Saheb al-Amiri through the streets." Supporters maintain that Saheb al-Amiri was shot dead "in front of his wife and children" and that he was a charity lawyer, not a 'terrorist.' The attack on the member of al-Sadr's bloc follows last week's (unsuccessful) efforts by the US to isolate Moqtada al-Sadr as outlined by Hannah Allam (McClatchy Newspapers) Friday.
While England and the United States face backlashes,
Reuters reports that a bomb has killed two Latvian soldiers and left three more wounded. In other violence today . . .
BBC reports a car bombing in east Baghdad that has claimed 8 lives and left 10 more wounded. The Press Association reports that seven British troops were wounded by a roadside bomb in Basra. Reuters notes a roadside bomb in Baghdad that left five people wounded and a roadisde bomb in Suwayra that killed three Iraqi soldiers.
Reuters notes an attack on "a bus carrying employees of the Ministry of Higher Education" that left two wounded.
In peace news, Dana Hull (San Jose Mercury News) reports that Nadia McCaffrey, mother of Patrick Ryan McCaffrey who was killed in Iraq by Iraqi security forces he was training, is planning to build a retreat for returning troops -- Nadia McCaffrey: "Patrick isn't dead. His spirit is very much alive, in me and all around us. The rest of my life is going to be dedicated to peace and justice, and to helping the veterans coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan.''
Dahr Jamail and Ali Al-Fadhily (IPS) report that the support for puppet of the occupation Nouri al-Maliki continues to nose dive among Iraqis (some polls noting 90% of Iraqis are displeased with al-Maliki's 'governing') and notes that Tariq al-Hashimi ("leader of the Islamic Party") feels that many have been shut out in al-Maliki's so-called unity coalition while Dr. Salih al-Mutlaq tells the reporters, "This government will definitely lead the country into a disaster."


mr. tony, jimmy carter, iraq

we're all doing quick posts tonight.

i wanted to use the illustration of 'mr. tony' that kat, ava and c.i. did for 'mr. tony's appointment.'
mr. tony holds a brush and stands in front of a chair awaiting his next appointment. 'mr. tony' is what tony blair wants to be called these days - i think he feels it will make him sound 'of the people.' tony blair has become such a joke that now even he supplies the punch lines.

i was going to post tonight anyway because this is the 3rd week of the critical 3 and i didn't want any 1 to start thinking, 'she's not posting! something must have gone wrong!' everything's fine. no need for any worries.

i am tired and cold. so i'll keep this short. there's a thing on jimmy carter i want to note and, of course, the snapshot. on the latter, the fatality count for u.s. trooops is so large now and the new york times doesn't seem to think it's a story. as c.i. pointed out sunday, it's already the 2nd highest month of the year. the new york times doesn't think that's a story. but it probably would make it hard for them to keep selling the war if they noted reality. and guess what, lazy critics, you can't blame that 1 on judith miller, she's gone. it's a real shame the watchdogs didn't warn you about the rest of the new york times reporters.

jimmy carter. this is from john v. walsh's 'Peace Movement is AWOL, Again: Dershowitz vs. Carter in Beantown' (counterpunch):

At long last the Boston Globe published an op-ed by former President Jimmy Carter, defending his book "Palestine, Peace Not Apartheid," from the predictable, scurrilous attacks (e.g.,"lie" and "blood libel") by Alan Dershowitz, Abe Foxman and David Horowitz. Quite wisely, Carter used most of his space to reiterate the main contentions of his book, making his op-ed (1) must reading for those who cannot get to the book. In perhaps the most interesting paragraph, Carter links his book to war on Iraq, thus:"As recommended by the Hamilton-Baker report, renewed negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians are a prime factor in promoting peace in the region. Although my book concentrates on the Palestinian territories, I noted that the report also recommended peace talks with Syria concerning the Golan Heights. Both recommendations have been rejected by Israel's prime minister."
It is not hard to conclude from this that American blood is being spilled in Iraq, in part because of Israeli rejectionism. No wonder the neocons are so disturbed by Carter's book. It is also remarkable, but not surprising, that Carter has had so few champions of his important book on the "Left."
The precipitating event in the Beantown brouhaha was a speaking invitation to Carter by a professor at Brandeis University, a "traditionally Jewish college." The invitation was issued way back in the middle of November when Carter's book was publishe. Upon learning that there was opposition on the campus to the invitation, Carter consulted an old adviser Stuart Eizenstadt, now on the Brandeis board of trustees, and good old Stu offered to be an intermediary. But Stu betrayed Carter. (Shades of Menachim Begin.) Eizenstadt contacted Brandeis president, Jehuda Reinharz, and suggested that Carter only be allowed to appear if he debated Alan Dershowitz. A debate "would make this a real academic exercise," Eizenstat enthused to the Globe, adding, "The president of the university is not in the business of inviting someone, even a former president, for a book tour." (Excellent put-down, Stu.) Carter was "stunned by the proposal," according to The Globe, saying: "I don't want to have a conversation even indirectly with Dershowitz. There is no need to for me to debate somebody who, in my opinion, knows nothing about the situation in Palestine." Now let's see. Dershowitz is best know for his high-priced defense of Claus von Bulow and O.J. Simpson, and Carter for making peace between Egypt and Israel, a peace agreed to by the Israeli government and defended by such principled defenders of Palestinian rights as the late Edward Said. (That last endorsement may go some way in explaining the neocons' enduring hatred of Carter.)
The Globe did not cover the controversy in its news section until the debate topic was broached (December 15), ensuring that the content of the book receded far into the background. (Excellent job of distraction, Boston Globe.) The very next day after the news coverage the Globe ran an editorial, charging that Carter, unlike the neocons' much beloved war criminal, Harry Truman, "can't take the heat." Another put down by the Globe. And the day after Carter's op-ed finally appeared on December 20, the Globe ran an op-ed by Dershowitz, again sliming Carter and ensuring that Dershowitz had the last word. In fact the Globe, like the New York Times and other major papers, has not given "Palestine, Peace Not Apartheid," a best-selling book by a former president and Nobel Prize winner, a legitimate review. If that is not testimony to the power of the Israeli Lobby, I do not know what is.

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

Tuesday, December 26, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq, the 3,000 mark for US troops killed in Iraq looms ever closer, Bully Boy continues to remain inactive and mum on what's next in his illegal war, a US war resister returns home and another gets some of the attention his stance warrants (no surprise, it doesn't come from independent media print division).
Starting with US military fatalities, there was no link between Iraq and 9-11. Now the number of US troops killed in Iraq tops the number of people killed on September 11, 2001.
AFP reports their count of US troops who have died in Iraq is 2975 which "is two more than the 2,973 people killed on September 11, 2001, when Al-Qaeda hijackers seized four airliners and crashed them into the World Trade Centre, the Pentagon and a Pennsylvanian field. . . . The landmark American death toll, emerging over the Christmas holiday season, represents another political blow for Bush, who earlier this month was forced to admit for the first time that the US was not winning in Iraq."
CBS and AP note: "CBS News correspondent Randall Pinkston reports that December is already the second deadliest month of 2006 for U.S. forces in Iraq. The depressing question now, Pinkston says, is whether the final figure will exceed October's of 106" and "Another sobering statistic; Iraqi officials report that 12,000 national police officers have been killed since the invasion in 2003, says Pinkston."
noted this morning:

The US military announced today: "An improvised explosive device detonated near a Multi-National Division - Baghdad patrol, killing two Soldiers southwest of the Iraqi capital Dec. 25." And today they announced: "An improvised explosive device detonated near a Multi-National Division - Baghdad patrol, killing one Soldier southwest of the Iraqi capital Dec. 25." And finally (thus far) today they announced: "An improvised explosive device detonated near a Multi-National Division - Baghdad patrol, killing three Soldiers northwest of the Iraqi capital Dec. 26."

Since then, the US military has announced: "One Multi-National Division – Baghdad Soldier was killed and two others injured when a High Mobility Multi-Purpose Wheeled Vehicle rolled over along a dirt canal trail during a combat reconnaissance mission south of the Iraqi capital Dec. 26." This brings the total number of US troops killed in Iraq for the month thus far to 90 and the total since the start of the illegal war to 2979 -- 21 away from the 3,000 mark.
In the face of this, all Bully Boy has to offer is the so-called 'surge' option which failed miserably in the continued 'crackdown' of Baghdad -- failed in June, failed in July, failed in August, failed in September, failed in October (when even the Pentagon had to note the all time rise in the number of attacks), failed in November and is failing in December.
AP reports that US Senator Joseph Biden is against the 'surge' option calling it "the absolute wrong strategy," noting he will fight efforts to implement it and that he continues to advocate "a drawdown of U.S. forces and finding a political settlement among the various ethnic factions there." CNN reports that Biden, who is expected to chair the Foreign Relations Committee in the Senate next month, has asked US Secretary of State Condi "to testify during three weeks of hearings in January about the Iraq war" that would begin January 9th and would also seek testimony from "former secretaries of state, academics, Iraq Study Group members and other witnesses from outside the administration as the committee examines various approaches to the war."
BBC reports 15 dead and 35 wounded in a bombing of a Sunni mosque today (northern Baghdad) which was preceeded by an earlier attack, using multiple bombs, in southwest Baghdad that "was severe, even by Iraqi standards, the BBC's Peter Greste reports from Baghdad" that claimed at least 15 lives and left at least 60 wounded. Christopher Torchia (AP) reports that the number of people killed in the latter attack rose to 25 and also notes an eastern Baghdad bombing that killed four police officers. AFP reports a roadside bomb killed three Iraqi children ("under the age of 12") and left eight more wounded when they were attempting to go to school.

Reuters notes two police officers were injured in a drive-by shooting near Kirkuk.
Lauren Frayer (AP) reports: "Police found 49 bodies bearing signs of torture dumped across the country, mostly in Baghdad." Reuters notes six corpses were found in Baquba.
In peace news, US war resister
Ricky Clousing was released from the brig at Camp Lejeune on Saturday where he had been sentenced for three months following an October court-martial. Clousing self-checked out of the military in June 2005 and, on August 11, 2006, announced that he was turning himself in. Cheryl Johnston Sadgrove (The News & Observer) reports that Clousing and some supporters first gathered Saturday at Raleigh's Vietnam Veterans Memorial before heading to the Quaker meeting house and meeting up with about 36 more people where Clousing spoke about his decision to refuse to participate in the illegal war and life in military prison: "I had a bed and food and shelter. To me -- it was a time out. I took that time to read and think about what I want to do after that." The Associated Press reports that Clousing stated, "It feels good, but it feels surreal because I don't have to deal with the military anymore. . . . My decision was never personal to my command. I had to honor my own personal convictions. I'm excited to finally be finished with the military. I've gotten the opportunity to learn a lot about myself and the system I fell under." Kelley Chambers (Jacksonville's The Daily News) quotes Veterans for Peace's Dave Taylor, “(Clousing) said to me, “I was willing to do my duty but I’m not going back to that war because I think it’s wrong,’” said Taylor. “I can’t not back him up because of that.”
Another US war resister,
Ehren Watada, has been the topic of year end media attention (no, not from independent media). Rolling Stone picked Watada for their 2006 Honor Roll noting:

Watada, who enlisted in 2003, was praised by his superiors as an "exemplary" officer. But when he refused to ship out to Iraq, he not only became the first commissioned officer to do so -- he even rejected a desk job. "My participation would make me a party to war crimes," declared Watada, who calls the war a "horrible breach of American law." He now faces court-martial and eight years in the brig.

The Honolulu Star-Bulletin picked him for their "10 Who Made a Difference" series and Robert Shikina observed: "Watada brought his case to the public's attention, appearing at anti-war demonstrations -- he spoke to a crowd of more than 300 recently in Honolulu -- and speaking to the media to defend his beliefs. The army initiated a court-martial against Watada for missing movement and conduct unbecoming an officer for statemens he made about the war. A charge of contempt toward a government official for statements he made about President Bush was later dropped. Watada has criticized the government of committing lies to drag the U.S. into war in Iraq for the benefit of large corporations. He said he is defending the U.S. Constitution."
Phil Tajitsu Nash (Asian Week) picked Watada as one of the "Real People of the Year" noting:"When it was more damaging to his career to do so, however, Army 1st Lt. Ehren Watada did not flinch when he publicly stated he believes the Iraq war is illegal, and publicly refused orders to deploy to Iraq to lead his troops later that month. He now faces possible court martial and prison time for his position, but refuses to back down. 'It is the duty, the obligation of every soldier, and specifically the officers, to evaluate the legality, the truth behind every order -- including the order to go to war,' he said. 'The wholesale slaughter and mistreatment of the Iraqi people with only limited accountability is not only a terrible moral injustice, but a contradiction to the Army's own Law of Land Warfare. My participation would make me party to war crimes'."
Clousing and Watada are part of a movement of resistance within the military that includes
Kyle Snyder, Darrell Anderson, Mark Wilkerson, Agustin Aguayo, Joshua Key, Ivan Brobeck, Camilo Meija, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Jeremy Hinzman, Corey Glass, Patrick Hart, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Katherine Jashinski, and Kevin Benderman. In total, thirty-eight US war resisters in Canada have applied for asylum.
Joel Wendland (Political Affairs) reviews Peter Laufer's Mission Rejected: U.S. Soldiers Who Say No to the War in Iraq which examines the resistance and a large number of the resisters (including Joshua Key, Darrell Anderson, Jeremy Hinzman, Ryan Johnson and others). Wendland notes: "While this military-based movement falls numerically short of such opposition during the Vietnam War (approximately 170,000 draftees refused to fight by registering as conscientious objectors), today's numbers are still significant within the context of a so-called volunteer army. Indeed, many war resisters have been denied conscientious objector status and subsequently punished for their refusal to participate in what they consider an immoral or illegal war."
Information on war resistance within the military can be found at
Center on Conscience & War, The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline, and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters. Appeal for Redress is collecting signatures of active duty service members calling on Congress to bring the troops home -- the petition will be delivered to Congress next month. Information on past and present war resistance can also be found in David Zeiger's Sir! No Sir! which tells the story of war resistance during the Vietnam era and, in the new director's edition, also includes bonus material on Camilo Mejia's court-martial, interviews with Cindy Sheehan and Jane Fonda about today's war resistance, and more. The director's cut is availabe for $23.95 and the original version is currently available for $12.95.
CNN reports on the Iranians arrested in Baghdad (that the US government and the New York Times -- they still are seperate entities, right? -- has spun as 'terrorists' who entered the country to add to the chaos and violence) noting that Iraq's president, Jalal Talabani states they were in the country at his invitation and Iran's Foreign Ministry has stated "this action is not justifiable by any international rules or regulations and will have unpleasant consequences."