kat just called and warned me she had bad news. molly ivins has died.
i met molly 3 times at functions c.i. took me along for. she had such a wide smile. if i was a caricaturist and drawing her, i would have emphasized that smile because it was so wide and because that really captured her. the 2nd time i met her the iraq war had already started and i was depressed about that and everything else. we only spoke for a few minutes but i remember she talked about the need to fight and the need to fight to despair. she worded it better (of course) but i remember 'despair' being the word she used.
you can hear that and you can think, 'what a bunch of bull.'
that's because most people who say that are just patting you on the head. they're just telling you that and there's no indication that they believe it. possibly because they're sad sacks or cold people. but when she said it, it rang true because of that smile and that laugh.
as bad as things could get, i always picture her with that smile and that laugh and i hope that was true of her last days as well. breast cancer is an awful thing. and it's something that, despite the claims of it being on the downslide, 1 in 4 women will still likely face. there is no cure for it. women get treatment (and some men - men can get breast cancer) but it tends to recur.
gilda rander died of it. and now molly ivins. women who made us laugh and feel and think.
buying pink products isn't going to end it. money might find a cure. ending lies about it would help. (the bully boy has allowed the lie that breast cancer is linked to abortion to go up at government websites.)
i'm noting this in full. this summer a blogger trashed molly ivins. it was a male blogger (isn't it always a man who's threatened by a woman) and he was basically calling for her death. sadly, he thinks he's left or at least democratic. he had a big man crush on bill clinton and couldn't stand that molly ivins could turn her keen eye on hillary clinton and see a human being and not perfection. so i was nervous when i started surfing, wondering if that was going to be the attitude. i found buzzflash's wings of justice pick for this week. molly had been nominated and they had selected her and posted this before she died tonight.
i think it says more than i ever could. it's very well written. and i'm going to re-post it in full. for those who don't know the wings of justice award, each week, buzzflash picks a winner from nominations that their readers make.
here's this week's pick, honoring molly:
Just over a year ago, on January 25, 2006, a BuzzFlash reader nominated and we selected Molly Ivins for the weekly Wings of Justice Award.Molly Ivins has had cancer for several years now – and she was just hospitalized as a result of a serious recurrence. Throughout her remissions and flare ups, Ivins hasn't given up her fight for her health and her fight for justice. Bush, her long-term nemesis -- although there are few politicians that pass Ivins' barbed scrutiny -- is a manufactured phony image of a tough talkin' Texan who supposedly cares about people. As Ivins has shown us many a time in her columns, nothing could be further from the truth.
Ironically, it is Molly who is the real authentic gruff Lone Star Stater with enough compassion to fill the Astrodome -- and with enough wit to beat even Jon Stewart in a satire contest.We can't make Molly better as she faces down a ravaging disease, but we can sincerely thank her for her courage, humor, and mighty fine journalism.
She has reminded us that there are some Texans that truly talk the talk and walk the walk -- not just cardboard cutouts like Junior.
Molly, as is fitting, a fellow Texan nominated you, because they know down there the value of a yellow rose: beautiful to look at, wonderful to smell, but watch out for the thorns.May the BuzzFlash "Wings of Justice" take flight to your hospital room and return you soon to your loyal fans.
here's a buzzflash interview with her from 2003. i just called c.i. and there's apparently 1 in 2004 or 2005 as well, when she had just had who let the dogs in? published.
i just read the new york times obit. sorry, kit seelye, it's a load of crap. try knowing some facts. molly ivins contributed a column to the progressive for years - you'd think the paper would note that when their own nicholas kristof distorted 1 column and matthew rothschild's letter to the editor on nicky k's troubles with reading was printed in the paper.
i especially hated the 2nd part and thought 'kit's talking about other people's facts? kit who speared gore with every rumor and made up thing she could think of?'
well the new york times always treated molly like shit and that only continued after she left the paper. as c.i. observed somewhere at the common ills, she was the 1st wife that they just wanted to disappear and be destroyed but never was - in fact she became famous after her stint at the new york times.
Covering an annual chicken slaughter in New Mexico in 1980, she used a sexually suggestive phrase, which her editors deleted from the final article. But her effort to use it angered the executive editor, A. M. Rosenthal, who ordered her back to New York and assigned her to City Hall, where she covered routine matters with little flair.
c.i. says molly called the event a 'gang-pluck.' kit doesn't even have the guts to use it and it's not a dirty term. it should have run then and it should have run now.
molly was very bothered last summer when the media dropped iraq as a topic. she met with codepink and wrote about them and she had decided to make iraq her focus until the war ended.
we need her voice. and i doubt any 1 will step up to the plate and say 'i'll carry on what she had planned.' instead, they'll turn out their useless crap (come on, katha, a book review? the nation already has a book review section and you still haven't written about the gang rape and murder of abeer).
1 who does cover iraq is c.i. and here's today's 'Iraq snapshot:'
Wednesday, January 31, 2007. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq, the White House tries to spin two plates at once (lowering expectations and pushing spin), impeachment discussions refuse to be dismissed by the 'all knowing', and the court-martial of Ehren Watada is five days away.
Starting with Ehren Watada who is the first commissioned officer to refuse to deploy to Iraq to serve in the illegal and immoral war. He faces a court-martial this coming Monday (February 5th) and, if convicted on all charges, could serve a maximum of four years in prison. Some are weighing in.
US Rep Mike Honda (in the San Francisco Chronicle) notes that Watada's awakening to the lies of war is reflected in the similar awakenings a large number of citizens have had as time (more so than the press) has exposed Bully Boy's lies of war:
In facing charges of conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman, it is my belief that Ehren Watada has laid bare a fact that is becoming increasingly plain: Mr. Bush has handled this war in a manner unbecoming a United States president. At best, our president misled the nation on the rationale for going into Iraq. He has embroiled this great country in a cycle of brutality there that has grievously tarnished America's international reputation, has further destabilized an already precarious Middle East and has taken the lives of more than 3,000 American fathers, mothers, sons and daughters. Watada has risked being deemed guilty of breaking one law in furtherance of a higher, moral one, rather than participate in a fight that, in his and my view, needlessly sends our compatriots to their deaths. In Watada's own words: "To stop an illegal and unjust war, the soldiers and service members can choose to stop fighting it" (www.thankyoult.org, click on YouTube video).
Noting the reduction of two counts which has allowed the maximum time Watada could spend, if convicted, in prison, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer observes:
We would prefer further reductions and no prison time for a conscientious refusal to serve in what Watada believes, right or wrong, is an illegal war in Iraq.
Military leaders have shown commendable flexibility in dealing with a variety of conscience- and belief-motivated requests to be excused from service. For instance, the Marine commandant, Gen. James Conway, last week granted conscientious-objector status to Pvt. Ronnie Tallman to allow the 21-year-old to pursue a newfound calling as a Navajo medicine man. Under Navajo spiritual law, Tallman could not serve in a special group of certified spiritual healers if he participated in any killing.
Actions like Conway's have given the military greater rather than lesser stature in the difficult circumstances of the Iraq war. Similar flexibility on policy at a higher level might save many Americans from the dangers of Iraq combat. Unless Congress insists, however, the Bush administration will stay the course.
Reporting on the rally in San Francisco, Judith Scherr (Berkeley Daily Planet) notes Carolyn Ho, mother of Ehren Watada, spoke: "He went in believing he was really trying to do his duty to his country in trying to preserve our freedoms. He said to me at one point, 9/11 happened and I will never be the same again . . . But then my son, after doing the research and finding the facts realized that there were no weapons of mass destruction and that we entered a preemptive war on a lie. That has to stop." Carolyn Ho is on a speaking tour and the dates will be at the bottom of the snapshot.
Watada is a part of a movement of resistance with the military that includes others such as Agustin Aguayo (whose court-martial is currently set to begin on March
6th), Kyle Snyder, Darrell Anderson, Ivan Brobeck, Ricky Clousing, Aidan Delgado, Mark Wilkerson, Joshua Key, 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, Chris Teske, Matt Lowell 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.
In Iraq today . . .
Alexandra Zavis (Los Angeles Times) reports "a car bomb exploded in a downtown street where a crowd was waiting to catch a minibus" resulting in at least five deaths; Zavis quotes Naim Zamel who witnessed the bombing and ended up hospitalized due to injuries: "The sound and the pressure were hard. Shrapnel was flying all over the place. I saw three cars on fire, people injured and shops destroyed." Bushra Juhi (AP) notes another Baghdad bombing in "a predominatly Shiite area in eastern Baghdad earlier Wednesday, killing two people and wounding 10" and quoting Abu Talal on the alleged car bomber: "A seeminly normal person parked this car and told us that he would not be long. When that person disappeared for more than 20 minutes, we tried to call the police but the car exploded as we were trying to do so." Reuters notes a mortar attack in Baghdad that killed four and left 20 wounded; a car bomb in Tal Afar that wounded 10; a roadisde bomb in Kirkuk that killed one and wounded two, and a roadside bomb in Baiji that resulted in six police officers being wounded.
Reuters reports that a teenager was shot dead in Falluja.
AFP reports that the corpses of "three law professors and a student kidnapper Sunday from near the university in Baghdad, a government statement said." AP reports that six corpses were discovered in Falluja. Reuters reports that a corpse was discovered in Mosul and two were discovered in Baiji.
In addition, Claudia Parsons (Reuters) reports that the US military announced an additional four deaths of US troops while Wlliam Fallon ("tapped to take over command of U.S. forces in the Middle East") stated progress on the illegal war will "be a long time coming." Lowered expectations -- hallmark of the Bully Boy White House.
From lowered expectations to Operation Happy Talk, James Glanz and Mark Mazzetti (New York Times) did their part to be out US government spin that was also quite racist: Iraqis weren't 'smart' enough to have planned the Saturday attack in Karbala that led to 1 US soldier being killed on the spot while 4 others were killed after they'd been kidnapped. The weapons, Glanz and Mazzetti write as the US military whispers in their ears, just weren't available in Iraq! (Apparently Times reporters have never visited the blackmarket? Possibly they can't get a military escort to it?) "The uniforms!!!" cry the boys of the pre-Times. They tick off this and that when the reality is that you truly have to believe that Iraqis are stupid to believe they couldn't accomplish what was done and you have to work for the Times to believe you can sell a war of choice (this time Iran) with whispers and unsourced statements. But damned if the pre-Boys of the pre-Times don't get so excited they keep checking one another to see who's sprouting pubes first? Keep looking boys.
Along with promoting a war with Iran, the US spin allows the puppet government to hide. Puppet in chief Nouri al-Maliki, CNN reports, is screaming in agreement that, yes, the violence is Iran's fault. As opposed to the inability of a puppet to do anything other than move when his strings are pulled? CNN tells you that the "theory is only a preliminary view, and there is no conclusion." The New York Times prefers the much weaker "may" -- Iran "May" have done this and left the other half of the sentence ("may not") for readers to fill in.
Now if puppet Nouri believed it for a moment, it's doubtful Iran would still be invited to the regional peace conference in March -- but they are as the AFP notes.
In other news of things-aren't-quite-what-the-US-government-says, Patrick Cockburn (Independent of London) reports that "suspicions in Iraq" are emerging that the Najaf 'cult' story "in wich 263 people were killed and 210 wounded, is a fabrication. The heavy casualties may be evidence of an unpremeditated massacre."
CBS and AP are reporting that the toothless, symbolic, time consuming, non-binding measure proposed by US senators Joe Biden, Carl Levin and Chuck Hagel will most likely be overtaken by an even weaker version of do nothing, this one proposed by Republican senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham. Sharyl Attkisson of CBS News notes that, on the other hand, "You don't usually hear cheers like that in Senate hearing rooms" -- Attkisson was speaking of the reaction yesterday to US Senator Russ Feingold's hearing into Congressional powers with regards to war where Feingold declared, "Congress has the power to stop a war if it wants to."
Yesterday, Feingold used his power as the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee to hold a hearing entitled "Exercising Congress's Constitutional Power to End a War" where he concluded his opening remarks with this:
The answer should be clear. Since the President is adamant about pursuing his failed policies in Iraq, Congress has the duty to stand up and use its power to stop him. If Congress doesn't stop this war, it's not because it doesn't have the power. It's because it doesn't have the will.
At the end of yesterday's hearing, Feingold noted, "It is clear that this administration took the country into war on a fraudulent basis with the president insisting we had no other option
but to pre-emptively attack Iraq. Now four years into the war we are still in Iraq, and the president insists that we have no other options but to stay -- with no end in sight and we have to say. As long as this president goes unchecked by Congress our troops will remain needlessly at risk and our national security will be compromised. Today we have heard convinciny testimony and analysis that Congress has the power to stop a war if it wants to.
[Applause, chants of "DO IT!" DO IT!] The president has no plan for ending our mission in Iraq, worse still, his Iraq centered policies have undercut our national security worldwide."
Feingold's plan for addressing the Iraq war is summarized in this fact sheet.
In other political news, CODEPINK continues to demand Congress represent the people. Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) reported that the DC office of US Senator Hillary Clinton was occupied, that activists carried banner ("We want a woman for peace, not just a woman.") and six were arrested. Yesterday's actions were part of a series of actions by CODEPINK following Saturday's protest and march in DC. In a press release issued before Tuesday's actions, Jodie Evans explained, "We met with Hillary Clinton right before the war, begging her to oppose the invasion but she refused. She gave Bush the green light to invade Iraq and now pretends she was against the war. Worse yet, she still refuses to take a clear position to defund the war and bring the troops home." Medea Benjamin explained, "We're tired of the lies, the obfuscations, the spin. If Hillary wants to become president, she better start being a leader. If she's in to win, she better stop the spin." And Gale Murphy observed, "This country is hungry for leaders who will get us out of Iraq. We'll be giving Hillary a chance to cut her web of war and join the majority of people in this country who want to bring the troops home."
Meanwhile Gold Star Families for Peace's Carlos Arredondo is in Times Square. Reuters reports that he's gone to NYC with "a pick-up truck carrying an empty flag-draped coffin and a picture of his son's open casket and funeral." Carlos Arredondo's son Alex died in Iraq on August 25, 2004. Last Saturday, he was among the speakers in DC. Arrendondo recognized the other families who had lost loved ones and noted, "This is the cost of war!"
Do costs ever get paid? Sanford Levinson -- sometime law professor & full time psychic -- said "No" and argued in The Nation that impeachment shouldn't happen because of some gut feeling he had (I believe that was gas). In the real world, Robert Scheer (Truthdig) notes the various developments emerging in the trial of Scooter Libby and notes that Cathie Martin's testmony revealed her own and the vice-president's office role in lying to the people and to Congress when they crafted a statement/cover for George Tenet -- Scheer: "Certainly this deliberate corruption of the integrity of the CIA, the nation's premier source of national security information, rises to the level of 'high crimes and misdemeanors,' which the Constitution holds out as the standard for impeachment. And can there be any more egregious example of betraying the oath of office of president to uphold the Constitution than his deceiving Congress from the very well of the House on the reasons for going to war? The Constitution clearly delegates to Congress, and not to the president, the exclusive power to declare war, and deceiving our representatives in making the case for war is a far more important crime than the perjury charge against Libby."
On the same topic, historian Howard Zinn, in the (The Progressive), observes:
The time is right, then, for a national campaign calling for the impeachment of President Bush and Vice President Cheney. Representative John Conyers, who held extensive hearings and introduced an impeachment resolution when the Republicans controlled Congress, is now head of the House Judiciary Committee and in a position to fight for such a resolution. He has apparently been silenced by his Democratic colleagues who throw out as nuggets of wisdom the usual political palaver about "realism" (while ignoring the realities staring them in the face) and politics being "the art of the possible" (while setting limits on what is possible).
I know I'm not the first to talk about impeachment. Indeed, judging by the public opinion polls, there are millions of Americans, indeed a majority of those polled, who declare themselves in favor if it is shown that the President lied us into war (a fact that is not debatable). There are at least a half-dozen books out on impeachment, and it's been argued for eloquently by some of our finest journalists, John Nichols and Lewis Lapham among them. Indeed, an actual "indictment" has been drawn up by a former federal prosecutor, Elizabeth de la Vega, in a new book called United States v. George W. Bush et al, making a case, in devastating detail, to a fictional grand jury.
There is a logical next step in this development of an impeachment movement: the convening of "people's impeachment hearings" all over the country. This is especially important given the timidity of the Democratic Party. Such hearings would bypass Congress, which is not representing the will of the people, and would constitute an inspiring example of grassroots democracy.
Attempting to get the word out on her son Ehren Watada, Carolyn Ho is rallying for one more speaking tour before the court-martial next Monday. Some of her dates this week include:
Wednesday January 31 3:00 to 5:00pm
The Center for Race, Politics & Religion University of Chicago Chicago, IL
St. Xavier University 3700 West 103rd St. (103rd & Pulaski) McGuire Hall Professor Peter N. Kirstein (773) 298-3283 Kirstein@sxu.edu
Thursday February 1 10:00 to 12:00am
Emerson High School 716 East 7th Avenue Gary, Indiana Carolyn McCrady (219) 938-1302 Jim Spicer (219) 938-9615
12:30 to 2:30pm
Purdue Calumet University 2200 169th St. Hammond, Indiana Professor Kathy Tobin (219) 989-3192 email@example.com Classroom Office Building CLO 110
Valparaiso University U.S. Hwy 30 & Sturdy Rd Room 234 Neils Science Center Valparaiso, Indiana Libby A Hearn Partners for Peace (student group) (309) 834-2199 Libby.AHearn@valpo.edu Lorri Cornett Northwest Indiana Coalition Against the Iraq War (219) 916-0449 firstname.lastname@example.org
Friday February 2
Noon Purdue University Wesley Foundation 435 West State St. West Lafayette, Indiana Sheila Rosenthal (765) 404-5489Lafayette Area Peace Coalition