so we're back home as of sunday (we stayed at mike's this weekend) and today - the road trip having cured me of my nervousness about the pregnancy - was my 1st really active day in terms of baby stuff.
flyboy and i went looking for a hundred things for the baby. he dropped me off at t's salon where she touched up my roots (i've gone red head for the pregnancy - it's all natural henna which isn't supposed to be damaging). then, after t and i had caught up (and i'd polled all the women re: iraq), flyboy was back. we'd planned to go straight home. but i pointed out, if we eat before we catch the ferry, you don't have to cook tonight.
since we were near mike's, we figured we'd stop by and invite trina and her husband to dinner. but trina had dinner almost ready and insisted we eat with them instead. which we did. (trina is a great cook.)
we told ruth to stay home and enjoy her day of not being the most overworked best friend on the face of the planet. (ruth has been at my front door every morning - monday through friday - since i learned i was pregnant. i would have freaked out and worried about miscarrying non-stop if it weren't for ruth.) (courtney wondered why ruth didn't write a report last weekend. c.i. told her 'no.' c.i. pointed out that she'd be on the road coming back from texas and she had more than earned some downtime.) tomorrow, we're going to visit ruth for a change.
it is strange because i'm bigger (and bigger and bigger) and suddenly more mobile. it feels good actually. it feels really good to not worry about miscarrying. it was also the 1st day i was able to buy. buy period. but i was buying stuff for the baby. if you're late to the party, i have a history of miscarriages (i'd never carried to term) and when i found out i was pregnant (and then some - i just assumed i was hitting menapause and missing the 'vistior' for that reason) the doctor wanted me to stay on bed rest which became house rest which, even when the critical period was over, i was still nervous about. ('visitor' was a joke. i have no problem saying period.) so i stayed around the house. the trip to texas (3 weeks, 1 getting there, 1 in texas, 1 back) was a big deal to me because i hadn't been out of the house (other than to go walk on the beach) for months. i'd made myself a nervous wreck. so the trip was really a great thing. treva (ruth's best friend from college to today) is so great. especially when we started, those 1st days on the road, she seemed to know exactly when i was about to freak out and know just what to say.
so, for some 1 like me who shops more than any 1 should, 1 of the worst things about the pregnancy has been no shopping. my grandmother, my mother and ruth have all brought over wonderful things - outfits, etc. and the gang has sent me so many wonderful things. but i'm a shopper. don't get me wrong, if elaine brought over something, i loved it. but as much as i loved it, a part of me was still thinking, 'it's my baby! when am i going to be able to buy something!'
if the trip to texas hadn't come up, i would've gotten over my fears at some point just because i was starting to dream about going through baby clothes all by myself and picking out what i wanted to buy. if we're having a girl, she's not going to be dressed all pink 24 hours, 7 days a week. ditto blue if it's a boy. so that wasn't a problem but i think flyboy really is getting antsy about whether we'll have a boy or girl (just curiousity - no preference that i know of) so we'll probably say, 'go ahead and tell us' on the next visit.
i'm the 1 who can't keep a secret so it's really funny to me that it's him that has to know.
so, here's the point, for any still worrying, don't. you've heard me say that 100 times and then some, i know. but i'm focused on preparing the room and getting the outfits and toys and other stuff we need.
this is my talking entry for the week, i just decided that. i'm not in the mood for gonzales' press tonight. plainfield today has a wonderful post that just tracks everything so read that.
what i can tell you re: gonzales and re: iraq is my non-scientific polling at t's salon today.
i spoke to a little over 30 women. some were on their lunch hours, some didn't work at a job outside the home. so what i wanted to know re: gonzales was how closely were they following it?
it must be getting some serious tv coverage because there was a strong grasp on what was going on there. the basics could be expressed by pretty much every 1. so that was good news to me.
on iraq? not so good.
i'd say 10 realized the democrats were just blowing hot air. at least 5 thought that the house measure meant troops were coming home and they also thought it's target date was much sooner. (there are multiple target dates - all meaingless and unenforceable - in the pelosi bill.)
2 of the 10 who knew the measure wasn't ending the war cited the diane rehm show as the thing they counted on most for their news and understanding so i'm assuming she covered it pretty well or her guests did. but i don't think it's getting covered well in most outlets - big or small, as c.i. would say.
when i would go over the bills in basics - bully boy certifies benchmarks, not congress; no enforcement of pullouts; new categories for troops which allows over 1/2 to remain in iraq even after august of 2008; etc. - the women would get really mad. 1 even told me i had it all wrong. i think i shocked her by pulling a copy out of my bag and we went over parts of it together. after wards, her opinion was that bully boy 'is right, it is just political theater.'
i don't think i'd ever say bully boy was right about anything, but it is hot air. it is tricking the public and it needs to stop. i'm not sure why the dems thought they could pull the wool over everyone's eyes but they did. i guess they were thinking the finger pointing come august 2008 would be so loud that no 1 would be thinking, 'wait a 2nd, you're saying he didn't live up to the deal but you didn't put anything in it to enforce the measures? what the hell have you done for the last 2 years?'
what they did was buy the war. (and the woman i went over the bill with came to that on her own. i didn't prompt her. she said, 'it's their war now too.')
what they did was buy the war and how they did it was by using the worst of the clinton years - triangulation. they got their majorities because people wanted the war over. so they took that sentiment and then went with the sentiment of continue the war and triangulated into a bill that does nothing.
they demonstrated that all those excuses for the last 6 years of 'we don't even control a house' were meaningless. now they control 2 and they still won't end the war. and it's more, from the reactions, not that they won't end it but that they won't even try.
we'll never know what the out of iraq caucus could have done because 'experts' decided it couldn't pass. now if the 'experts' wanted it to pass, it could have. they could have shut the hell up on tv about the bill they wanted and used the chat & chews and other outlets to promote the measures that would get the troops out of iraq.
they didn't do that. then they wanted to say, 'this is the best we could do.' no, it wasn't. and if nancy pelosi wanted the out of iraq caucus to have support, they would have.
would it have been enough to pass their measure? we don't know because that wasn't forced.
but what the women i spoke with know is that they didn't try to pass it but they did try to trick the public.
'they won't fight for 1 damn thing,' said 1 woman in disgust.
and they won't. bully boy should sign it into law. i'm not in the mind to help bully boy but, seriously, he should do it. and if the dems don't offer anything stronger between now and august 2008, when they start finger pointing, he should say, 'look, i lived up to your bill.'
it won't be hard to do. he's the 1 who gets to judge if the benchmarks have been set. he can overide things by declaring 'national security.'
the dems, if they offer nothing else, have set their own trap.
and that's what happens when they go cowardly. they thought they could farm off a d.l.c. plan as a 'troops home now' plan. they couldn't. and more and more people are going to realize how screwed the public (and the service members) were by the democrats as time passes.
i said yesterday that the 'partisan' remark offended me because i don't give 2 shits about the democratic party right now and i don't.
they had a peace mandate. if you'll use your memory and not the happy spin of the media, they took that peace mandate and did nothing with it. it was only when the public demanded action that they finally started talking about iraq. it wasn't in their laughable 100 days program.
so i'm sick of being lied to and i'm not here to drum up votes for any 1. screw 'em all, a pox on both their houses attitude.
the only thing that will save the democratic party (i've already offered bully boy advise) is if people start finding out what that crappy measure really does and grasps that they were sold out.
then the dems might be forced to do something.
they were so stupid. bully boy had said he'd veto it before they even had anything passed. they should have gone for some really strong steps so that when he vetoed it, they could say, 'look what we tried to do. it failed. it failed because he wouldn't sign it and because we don't have enough votes to override him in congress which is why you need to vote democrat in 2008 so we can have large enough majorities that we can end this war.'
that's what they should have done.
but they're stupid and craven and thought they could have it all ways. not both ways, all ways.
that's it for me tonight. i spoke with kat on the phone when we got back here and told her i really didn't know if i had a post in me tonight because i was tired. so i did have 1, provided it was a talking post.
i'm going to recommend 4 things to read on iraq - from c.i.:
'Other Items (Robert Knight's commentary)' - they now want to let the baathist back in (which i support) but notice how the mainstream media bends itself into pretzels to avoid telling you that the 1s who ran off the bathists were the u.s.
'Gordo does it in public AGAIN -- call the police' - i thought we were all bound and determined not to be lied into another war? so with judith miller's former co-writer pimping a war with iran based on intelligence & official whispers that all go unnamed, shouldn't this be the biggest story online? it's not. there's a reason the community asked that the focus for the common ills be iraq. there's 2 reasons actually. 1) a lot of people play at coverage, dropping it when they can rush off to something else - anything else. 2) c.i. hits hard. c.i.'s not playing 'like me mainstream media, really like me.' i'll add 1 more comment re: gordo. a lot of people suddenly, as 2006 entered it's last 3 months, wanted to call out gordo and act like they'd been doing so all along. they hadn't. c.i. had. that t&a story he wrote, not a peep from the 1s wanting to act like they were all up in gordo's kool-aid. just like today when they all had so much to write on that they couldn't call out the exact kind of 'reporting' that allowed the public to be rushed into a war built on lies. i know c.i.'s exhausted. the rest of us took a nap in the writing for the third estate sunday review (except kat, c.i., ava, dona, ty, jess and jim). they worked so hard this weekend on that. and all of them are tired, but like jim told me, they didn't have to face writing anything else after. c.i. was so tired sunday evening, with eyes so red, every 1 said 'pink eye.' thankfully, it wasn't. but when i think of all the puffed up boys self-stroking over so little, the reality is c.i. is hitting hard. jim's trying to come up with an easy edition for sunday's third because it's the only way c.i.'s getting any rest.
'Stupid Ass Sirota' - i couldn't believe that. we were about to leave and i hadn't really spoken to mike because he was on the phone with elaine and really mad or focused. we were about to leave when he asked me to read over this before he posted it. i checked sirota's latest article because mike had printed it up and i was stunned. the 1 who wasted every 1's time telling us the pelosi measure was the best we could hope for (and who pressured congressional members to support it) now wants to act like he's champion of the people and in the struggle with the rest of us, and like he didn't write that shit he wrote last week. mike's got a brilliant post.
'Joshua Frank, Monica Benderman' - i love my laine. i feel like i'm back in college wondering how c.i. and elaine do all that do and put so much into it while i rush to finish the same assignment more focused on just being done with it than what i'm actually saying? this is 1 of my favorite posts elaine's ever done.
here's c.i.'s 'Iraq snapshot:'
Tuesday, March 27, 2007. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq and since it involves a mass bombing the media wakes up a little, waking up does not include -- for most -- getting the Pelosi measure right, 2 nuns are killed in Iraq due to their gender and their religion but see who in the mainstream tackles it, and what's Michael Gordon selling this time -- war! war! war!
Starting with this from Iraq Veterans Against the War:
Last week, as the U.S. death toll in Iraq climbed over 3,242, Congress voted to continue the war by approving the $124 billion supplemental bill. This week, the Senate is expected to similarly approve funding for this war that continues to violently destroy U.S. and Iraqi lives every day. The Democratic leadership claims that, to end the war, they must continue funding it. Iraq Veterans Against the War knows that, despite the Democrats guarantees of time tables and restrictions, the supplemental will not end the occupation of Iraq or prevent further escalation of the war. It is time for our brothers and sisters in the military to come home and for the Iraqi people to be allowed their right to self-determination.
"To end the war, they must continue to fund it". Emphasized for those who will hear that and remember the 'logic' of "to save the village, we had to destroy the village." (That's the popular version of the quote. Following the slaughter of Ben Tre, the actual quote was: "It became necessary to destroy the village in order to save it.") So that's where it stands now, as Iraq Veterans Against the War points out, the solution of the US Congress is that "to end the war, they must continue to fund it."
Yesterday, on Flashpoints, Robert Knight devoted his entire Knight Report to the realities of the Pelosi measure: "Pelosi bragged that the measure was 'a giant step to end the war and responsibly redeploy our troops out of Iraq.' But in reality, the bill fulfills neither claim. The measure grants President Bush the unimpeded prerogative of maintaining his current escalation in Iraq through October 2007 at which time he is merely requested to self-certify success in his self-defined benchmarks. Those benchmarks include provisions for the Iraqi occupation regime to reign in death squads and to enact the US designed and multi-national friendly oil law that is presently before Iraq's absentee occupation parliament. Regardless of Bush's automatic auto-certification, no actual troop withdrawals would be required before August 2008 during the height of the national party conventions at which time the Democrats would then blame the Republicans with a war whose continuation they would have guaranteed until the eve of November 2008 presidential election. But even when the August deadline matures, Bush would still be allowed to maintain more than half of the 150,00 troops in Iraq due to a term of art in the legislation that requests the redeployment but not the homecoming of some 70,000 so-called combat troops. This would leave an equal or greater number of US troops in Iraq under the vague but permanent classifications of counter-insurgency, security and training for what New York Senator Hillary Clinton calls 'remaining vital national security interests in the heart of the oil region'." To hear The Knight Report in full check Flashpoints and in the KPFA archives. (Those unable to listen can click here for a 'rush' and 'rushed' transcript.)
Also decrying the Pelosi measure is Joshua Frank (CounterPunch): "Having been one of the unfortunate geeks who actually read the bill, I can tell you only one thing -- it's a complete farce. In order for troops to come home the Bushies would have to confim whether or not 'progress' has been made in Iraq, not Congress. So with more money in hand and sole authority on deciding whether or not the war is going as planned, the White House, even if Bush signed the bill, would never have to end the thing. The proposal wasn't a compromise as many have claimed, but a dagger in the heart of all those of us who want to bring this war to a screeching halt."
Turning to news of war resistance, Ricky Clousing spoke March 17, 2007 at a rally in Fayetteville, "Hello, my name is Sgt. Ricky Clousing. I was stationed here in Fort Bragg
in the 82 Airborn division. I served with the 82nd in December of 2004 in Iraq as an interroagtor and after witnessing the abuse of power and the injustices that happened on a daily basis I decided I no longer could be a part of not only the 82nd airborn but also the organization of the military. So after deciding to go AWOL and serving a few months in jail, I'm here to say thank you guys because I received amazing support through my process and my journey. I'm not going to share my whole story because a lot of you might be familiar with it but I really want to just let you guys know how much it meant to me the support and letters and the organization for events like this and what not that you guys really blazed a trail for people like me for refusing to fight anymore and my brothers here that decided not to do it. So I just want to say that a lot of the times since I've gone and spoken at a different place that people, a lot of times, put things on a pedestal and different situations or people or places. And I think that it's important to express that we are all part of this bigger puzzle and this bigger of collective idea of peace and how to attain that Just be careful of putting people in those positions because it takes the responsibility that we all have to do our part -- and part of that is being here today and marching and walking and spreading the word on an individual level. So just remember that war isn't good for children and other living things. Thank you guys very, very much."
On August 11, 2006, Ricky Clousing went public with his story of how he checked himself out of the military following his service in Iraq -- making an announcement in Seattle at the
Veterans for Peace conference. October 12, 2006, Clousing was court-martialed. The sentence was three months, bad conduct discharge and a reduction in rank. Clousing referred in the speech to the letters and support he received. Currently, US war resister Mark Wilkerson is is serving a sentence for self-checking out. From Courage to Resist: "Write to Mark while he is in the brig c/o his wife Sarah: Mark and Sarah Wilkerson, PO Box 25037, Colorado Springs CO 80936. Please consider a donation to Mark Wilkerson's legal defense fund.." On August 31st, Wilkerson spoke at Camp Casey III -- a press conference -- announcing his intent to turn himself in after having self-checked out a year and a half ago. That evening he was interviewed by Dennis Bernstein for KPFA's Flashpoints, where they discussed Wilkerson's service in Iraq and how his views changed from those he'd held at 17-years-old. He attempted to receive c.o. status but his was denied. He attempted to prepare for the rebuttal process but was informed he'd be redeploying to Iraq and any rebuttal would have to wait until his second deployment ended. When Bernstein asked him if he had any regrets about his decision to self-check out, Wilkerson responded, "I completely stand by my decision. For me, this was a time in my life when I decided I had to make a stand regardless of whether [it meant] prison or death". On February 22nd of this year, his court-martial began at Fort Hood in Texas. Wilkerson was sentenced to seven months in military prison and will receive a bad conduct discharge.
Clousing and Wilkerson are a part of movement of resistance within the military that also includes Ehren Watada, Darrell Anderson, Kyle Snyder, Joshua Key, Dean Walcott, Joshua Key, Agustin Aguayo, Camilo Mejia, Patrick Hart, Ivan Brobeck, Aidan Delgado, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Jeremy Hinzman, Stephen Funk, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Corey Glass, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Katherine Jashinski, Chris Teske, Matt Lowell, Jimmy Massey, Tim Richard, Hart Viges, Michael Blake 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.
The editorial page editor of the San Jose Mercury News, Stephen E. Wright, wrote of the changes in his own life since his son shipped off to the illegal war this month, "But now we talk about the war, via my son, almost daily: How's he doing? Have you heard from him? Is he in Iraq yet? In a far more presonal way, we discuss the impact on families and friends, the political meaneuvering and the lack of progress in bringing stability to the country. What we don't talk about are the daily news stories about soldiers killed in action. Having a son on his way to Iraq hasn't changed my view of the war. We should not have invaded the country. If this were a righteous war, it would be more bearable to see him go. But now there's a knot in the pit of my stomach every time I think about where he's headed, what he might have to do and what might be done to him."
Taking a look at what happens to some who return, Tom Roeder and Cary Leider (Colorado Springs Gazette) report on the increase in Post Traumatic Stress Disorder among returning service members, "Nearly 600 Fort Carson soldiers were diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder last year, up from 102 cases in 2003 when soldiers started returning from their first tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. It was the fourth straight year with a significant increase in the number of soldiers being diagnosed with PTSD. With symptoms that range from hyperawareness, to angry outbursts, PTSD is an anxiety reaction to traumatic events, which Iraq brings by the truckload. It plauges up to 10 percent of soldiers returning from war. Now the military is discovering a new problem. Substantial numbers of troops are showing lingering signs of traumatic brain injuries suffered in Iraq, mainly concussions caused by roadside bombs."
Turning to Iraq, let's dispense with the nonsense right away. CNN speaks with Admiral William J. Fallon who's new to Iraq and new to the world of reality. Fallon puts forward the laughable belief that though Baghdad is chaos, outside things are just peachy keen and notes southern Iraq as a reference point. He may fool many US audiences that haven't received much reality about southern Iraq. For those who do not know better: YOU ARE BEING LIED TO. He also cites a region in the Kurdish north. Remember that when the elections for the boraders of that area get closer. Selcan Hacaoglu (AP) reports that Tariq al-Hashimi (Iraq's Sunni vice president) has "warned against a possible Turkish incursion into Iraq to fight separatist Kurdish guerrillas and promised to prevent cross-border attacks by the rebels." Though the domestic, US media prefers to ignore it, there's a battle raging over who will have claim to that area and the actual, physical make up of the area.
A bombing took place in Tal Afar resulting in mass casulties. Al Jazeera reports "bodies and wounded were brought to hospital after the two vehicle-borne bombings." Mohammed al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports that one vehicle was a a truck carrying flour and that the death toll was at least 55 with 130 injured. AFP reports a mortar attack in the Abu Chir section of Baghdad that killed "[t]wo children, a man and a woman" with 14 others left wounded. Reuters notes a Baghdad roadside bombing that killed a police officer and left two more wounded and a car bombing in Ramadi that claimed 17 lives and left 32 wounded. And Mohammed al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) also reports a rocket attack: "This morning gunmen attacked the car of Sheikh Harith al Thari the son of the tribal leader Sheikh Thahir al Thari not far from his house. The attackers wanted to kidnap him, he and his companion resisted and killed some of the attackers. The attackers used an RPG rocket and destroyed the car. Later in the day the 1920 Revolution Brigades announced he was one of their field leaders. Sources from the area said he was a media man for the Brigades and his death comes after refusing to pledge loyalty to the Iraq Islamic State, Al Qaeda linked group."
Mohammed al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports that US and Iraqi forces conducted a raid in Najaf and "shot at a driving by car and killed the driver and injured a pregnant woman, they were heading to the hospital" while, in Baghdad, Abbas Salah was shot dead.
AFP notes two people shot dead and seven more wounded in the Shorja section of Baghdad while two police officers and two civilians were shot dead in Mosul. Reuters notes three people shot dead in Ishaqi, a police lieutenant shot dead in Baghdad,
Okay, the New York Times continues to want to push the myths of the huge return to Baghdad. To do that, they have to ignore the minorities that have been run out of the city (including Catholics and Jews). CBS and AP report that, in Kirkuk, two Chaldean Catholic nuns were stabbed to death ("no sign of a robbery" -- of course not, it was a crime against women and religious persecution) at the home of Margaret Naoum (the younger sister, 79-years-old). The older sister (85-years-old) was named Fawzeiyah Naoum. They stabbed older sister Fawzeiyah to death with three stabs, and they stabbed younger sister Margaret seven times.
Reuters notes 15 corpses were discovered in Baghdad today, 3 in Mosul, and 6 in Diwaniya.
Today the US military announced: "A Marine assigned to Multi National Force-West died March 24 while conducting combat operations in Al Anbar Province."
In the US, US House Rep and 2008 presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich has taken a strong stand against the illegal war. Recently, his wife Elizabeth Kucinich has begun posting to his presidential campaign website and noted this of the Pelosi measure that passed: "Dennis and I are in mourning. We mourn the deaths of those who have passed and those whose lives are now on the line, both in the military and civilian Iraqis. We mourn the destruction, the ecocide. We mourn with families in Iraq and the US who will see more death and devastation. We mourn the callous and calculated political spin cloaking the Congress's hawkish support of war with the rhetoric of peace."
Dennis Kucinich will appear on Wednesday's Democracy Now! -- and, hopefully, before then it can be explained to the program that the Pelosi measure does not, as was stated on today's show, "also establish a timeline for the withdrawal of troops from Iraq by next year." Assuming that Bully Boy will go along with the toothless measure, only "combat troops" would be withdrawn (Robert Knight: "recalls the tactic by which earlier administrations once referred to US soldiers in Vietnam as advisers rather than troops.") This is too important to get it wrong and basic journalism provides no excuses. As Tom Engelhardts (TomDispatch) observed on the "troops" myth and "combat troops" reality, "The two categories are now so conveniently blurred that it would be pardonable if few Americans grasped the difference any more than did Charles Gibson, anchor of ABC's World News Tonight. On last Friday's news, he claimed the House had voted to get 'all US forces' out when his own White House correspondent used the correct phrase, 'combat forces'." How the House leadership wants to pimp the bill is not reality so Tell The Truth. That's what we'll call this item should it need to be be repeated in the snapshot: Tell The Truth & Know The Truth because, in fairness, some people may not know what the bill does say.
Then there are those who haven't earned the same benefit of the doubt. Alissa J. Rubin (New York Times) may not know what Paul Bremer does which would explain why she was all over the US orders to the puppet government to do away with the de-Baathifcation laws -- the same laws that didn't exist until the US administration's Paul Bremer decided to create it and enforce it. Tell The Truth, Rubin!
Finally, the Ultimate War Pornographer Michael Gordon took Scott Shane with him on an unsourced wet dream of further war, of expanding it to Iran.