mike's 'Crazyville War Hawks, and Naomi Klein (DN!)' is a must read. it's my favorite of all he's done this week. and democracy now did broadcast a great speech by naomi klein today so let me also note it:
As we think about reaching this other possible world, I want to be very clear that I don't believe the problem is a lack of ideas. I think we’re swimming in ideas: universal healthcare; living wages; cooperatives; participatory democracy; public services that are accountable to the people who use them; food, medicine and shelter as a human right. These aren't new ideas. They're enshrined in the UN Charter. And I think most of us still believe in them.
I don't think our problem is money, lack of resources to act on these basic ideas. Now, at the risk of being accused of economic populism, I would just point out that in this city, the employees of Goldman Sachs received more than $16 billion in Christmas bonuses last year, and ExxonMobil earned $40 billion in annual profits, a world record. It seems to me that there’s clearly enough money sloshing around to pay for our modest dreams. We can tax the polluters and the casino capitalists to pay for alternative energy development and a global social safety net. We don't lack ideas. Neither are we short on cash.
And unlike Jeffrey Sachs, I actually don't believe that what is lacking is political will at the highest levels, cooperation between world leaders. I don't think that if we could just present our elites with the right graphs and PowerPoint presentations -- no offense -- that we would finally convince them to make poverty history. I don't believe that. I don't believe we could do it, even if that PowerPoint presentation was being delivered Angelina Jolie wearing a (Product) Red TM Gap tank top and carrying a (Product) Red cell phone. Even if she had a (Product) Red iPhone, I still don't think they would listen. That's because elites don't make justice because we ask them to nicely and appealingly. They do it when the alternative to justice is worse. And that is what happened all those years ago when the income gap began to close. That was the motivation behind the New Deal and the Marshall Plan. Communism spreading around the world, that was the fear. Capitalism needed to embellish itself. It needed to soften its edges. It was in a competition. So ideas aren't the problem, and money is not the problem, and I don't think political will is ever the problem.
i enjoyed all of the speech. i also enjoy the angelina jolie section because bono's (product) red is nonsense. i can remember a decade ago when we all knew that gap was hideous with hideous policies. now bono's in bed with them and jolie seems determined to turn the world off by refusing to ration the star power. seriously, as some 1 who worked p.r., her people need to tell her she's about 2 months away from jennifer lopez status.
she's not a bankable star. she is a true movie star in the sense that the camera loves her. but the more she's in the tabloids and headlines, the quicker people turn against her. c.i. and ava were right by the way, they predicted her film this summer would flop huge and it did. but outside of them calling it at third, did you see that? no, you saw a lot of panting even after the film was released.
part of being a star with legs is knowing when to ration it by going away. the real stars that last (gene hackman, barbra streisand, etc.) are the 1s who know to get away for awhile. when you're so familiar you're practically the next door neighbor, no 1 wants to pay for a ticket to see you. at this point, you're starting hear people saying, 'i feel sorry for jennifer aniston' a lot more. it's because there's way too much exposure of angelina jolie.
sharon stone (who is talented) had the same problem. she just couldn't go away. and people got bored. (i'm not talking about stone's talent. i think she's very talented.) angelina jolie appears to be headed down the same road.
when you seem dependent upon the adulation, the same ones that love you turn on you.
and, to steal from c.i. (as others are, i saw the quote in ___), pimping your personal life is never a good idea. at this point, there's nothing left to interest any 1 there except a break up. jessica lange can tell an anecdote in an interview about sam (sheppard, shepard - i always mispell that) and people will enjoy it and be eager for more. but she doesn't pimp her personal life. at this point, we know far too much about angelina jolie.
and angelina activist isn't playing.
i'm sure she cares or she wouldn't give her time but when you do what she's doing it turns you off.
i wasn't a p.r. type who said 'don't be political!' but with a client who appeared to live for the crowds of worshipful fans and dressed to the hilt, i would've said, 'try a.i.d.s. or a children's charity.' because people do not see you as serious. even if you are serious. i'm guessing mad tv will have many parodies of angelina this year.
there's also the rumor that katrina vanden heuvel recruited her for the war hawk, centrist org. council for foreign relations.
speaking of rumors ... what does the snapshot mean?
my mother-in-law wanted to know. there have been rumors of kvh stepping out forever and a day. c.i. killed them (offline) by dubbing the boys 'coffee fetchers' which caught on and replaced 'boy toys.' when that caught on, it muted the rumors (which i know was c.i.'s intent). then today ...
i got the dish tonight from my mother-in-law. (who was also trying to reach c.i. but couldn't. i think they're in a rural or rustic setting speaking and the cell phone signal's probably spotty. i know that the snapshot will be late tomorrow because they're actually grabbing another speaking engagement like that since c.i. was surprised the snapshot could be done so quickly monday.)
but my mother-in-law was on the phone all evening try to find out the dirt on the screenwriter and asking 'how does c.i. know?' before saying 'stupid question.' i'd never heard of the man before. and when i talked to c.i. early this morning, the snapshot hadn't been done.
so he's a failed screenwriter, her co-writer. or her latest co-writer.
because c.i. included the title of the failed screenplay, my mother-in-law was able to find a bit but she's still digging. i enjoy the rumors and of course believe them. but i should note, c.i. has never believed them (if i didn't note that, i'd hear about it. not in a 'how dare you' but just in a 'i don't think they're true and others don't so it might have been better to include that not every 1 believes them.' i mentioned them awhile back. c.i. didn't bring it up. i kept pressuring and finally got that. so let me be clear, some believe, some don't. i love gossip. i don't like kvh, so of course i'm going to believe them. some people, like c.i., don't believe them. but when i read about her latest male co-writer in the snapshot, that's immediately where i went in my head. so did my mother-in-law.)
anyway, i really enjoyed a critique online and wanted to give a taste of it and encourage you to read it. this is from felice pace's 'When Will Linda Gradstein Go to Gaza?' (counterpunch):
This morning (August 14th) we once again had to listen to a report about an Israeli raid into Gaza reported by Linda Gradstein from Jerusalem. Why is it that NPR regularly reports about events in Gaza from Jerusalem; and why is it that Ms.Gradstein, who has reported for NPR on Middle East issues for several years now, rarely if ever has set foot in Gaza?
As usual, Ms. Gradstein's report was carefully crafted to satisfy the Israeli government's desire that its illegal occupation of the West Bank, collective punishment of the Palestinian People and military raids into Gaza be reported in terms that present it in the best possible light. They must positively love Ms. Gradstein who apparently has never seen an Israeli Press Release that she did not endorse and mimic.
This morning Gradstein described the illegal military raid as an "incursion". MS Word lists the following synonyms for incursion: raid, night raid, attack, sortie, invasion, storming. Has Ms. Gradstein ever used any of these words to describe an Israeli attack into Gaza? When reporting these "incursions" has she ever pointed out that they are a violation of international law? Has Gradstein ever taken the time to interview any of the thousands of innocent victims that these illegal raids have killed and maimed?
okay, that's it for me tonight. busy day tomorrow. we're going to visit my grandmother and there are a thousand things i want to grab on the way. (she is not a home. she has her own home. she is not in need. but due to the bed rest and my own nerves during the pregnancy, i wasn't visiting. now that i am, i have so much time to make up for! and she's hard to shop for. you can't get her a big gift or an expensive 1. i'd find more things she'd like in a gas station. i'm not joking. you know those plastic hearts with the hard candy? she hates the hard candy, but she enjoys those plastic hearts. for sentimental reasons. and i always love hearing that story. it's an hour of travel time but it'll be at least 2 and 1/2 to get there because i'll be screaming 'stop!' whenever i can think of something she'll like.) so let's close with c.i.'s 'Iraq snapshot:'
Wednesday, August 15, 2007. Chaos and violence continue, over 200 Iraqis dead from yesterday's bombing with the death toll climbing, Cindy Sheehan highlights the Iraqi refugee situation, PR Watch shines a spotlight so it's the Peace Resister to the rescue, and more.
Starting with war resistance. Jeremy Hinzman is the first war resister to self-check, go to Canada and do so publicly. Hinzman, his wife Nga Nguyen and their son Liam went to Canada in January 2004. He hoped to be granted asylum in Canada and began the process to be granted refugee status. In December of 2004, his case was heard. December 13, 2005, he spoke with Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) and explained, "Well, before the hearing even commenced, we had our hands tied a bit. As you have stated, the solicitor general of the Canadian government intervened in our case, and that's only done in about 5% of cases. Anyway, they raised the issue that they felt that the legality of the war in Iraq was irrelevant to our refugee claims. So, we were unable to argue that in any way. . . . Well, basically, they said whether war is legal or whether it's illegal, it's irrelevant to what you are trying to do here. Which, I mean, I would argue is pretty ludicrous, because that was almost my entire rationale for coming here in the first place." Although the hearing was technically held by the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada the reality is the 'board' for each case is one person.
Before self-checking out, Hinzman had attempted to be granted CO status but, like many, he was turned down. In March 2005, Hinzman's claim for refugee status was rejected by the 'board' (Brian Goodman, in this case). Amnesty International declared (May 2005): "Amnesty International considers Mr. Jeremy Hinzman to have a genuine conscientious objection to serving as a combatant in the US forces in Iraq. Amnesty International further considers that the took reasonable steps to register his conscientious objection through seeking non-combatant status in 2002, an application which was rejected. Accordingly, should he be imprisoned upon his return to the United States, Amnesty International would consider him to be a prisoner of conscience."
."I object to the Iraqi war because it is an act of agression with no defensive basis. It has been supported by pretenses that cannot withstand even elementary scrutiny. First, before the U.S. dropped the first bomb, it was quite evident that Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction. Second, the Bush administration had the gall to exploit the American public's fear of terrorists by making the absurd assertion that a secular Baathist government was working with a fundamentalist terrorist group. There was never any intelligence to substantiate this. Third, the notion that the U.S. wants to export democracy to Iraq is laughable. Democracy is by the people, not an appointed puppet theater," Peter Laufer's Mission Rejected: U.S. Soldiers Who Say No to Iraq quotes Hinzman explaining.
Gerry Condon (ZNet) explained of Hinzman, "He had converted to Catholicism in high school. While in Army training, he was reading about the Buddhist philosophy of living. On Sundays Hinzman and his wife attended the Quaker meetings in Fayetteville, North Carolina, next to Fort Bragg, the 'Home of the Airborne.' They enjoyed the weekly group mediations and were inspired by the Quakers' pacifist message. Hinzman came to realize that he could not in good conscience carry a weapon or kill another human being." Condon, a war resister during Vietnam, has been one of the ones giving back to today's war resisters as has attorney Jeffry House and they have been there for every step of the appeals process for Hinzman and war resister Brandon Hughey. In April of 2006, the Federal Court ruled against Hinzman and Hughey so they carried their cases on up the chain.
May 5, 2007, Jack Lakey (Toronto Star) reported the Federal Court of Appeal ruled that Hinzman and Hughey "are not entitled to refugee status" and that "The latest ruling noted neither made full use of steps open to them in the U.S. to win conscientious objector status, before fleeing here." The next move is Canada's Supreme Court and, as Cindy Chan (Epoch Times) noted earlier this month, that body will announce "late September or early October" whether or not they will hear the cases of Hinzman and Hughey. If the body refuses to hear the appeal, that is not the end of the story.
As Gerry Condon noted in 2004, "If Hinzman and Hughey are ultimately denied refugee status in Canada, they will not have exhausted their legal bids to remain in Canada. They may still petition the government to remain in Canada on humanitarian and compassionate grounds. By this time they may be well established in Canada, one of the criteria for granting this residency. Or they could ask for permission to apply from within Canada for immigrant status, due to special circumstances (if they were to apply from the U.S., they could be arrested and imprisoned for desertion)."
Whatever happens, one thing is known. Hinzman, Hughey and others have based their applications on the illegality of the war and their refusal to participate in it. This has been refuted repeatedly by Canadian bodies even when war resisters like Jimmy Massey testify before them as a witness. In the November 2006, Democrats in the US were swept into power and they campaigned on ending the illegal war. While US Speaker of the House may or may not be able to 'table' impeachment, the fact remains that the American people were promised serious Congressional probes of the illegal war. Those probes have not taken place. It's been no better than when the Republicans controlled Congress because no one was surprised that they would stall and bury reports on the intell that was embarrassing to the White House. Where are the Congressional hearings? As Congress has done very little, it has had effects, in this country and around the world.
There is a growing movement of resistance within the US military which includes Robert Weiss, Phil McDowell, Steve Yoczik, Ross Spears, Zamesha Dominique, Jared Hood, James Burmeister, Eli Israel, Joshua Key, Ehren Watada, Terri Johnson, Carla Gomez, Luke Kamunen, Leif Kamunen, Leo Kamunen, Camilo Mejia, Kimberly Rivera, Dean Walcott, Linjamin Mull, Agustin Aguayo, Justin Colby, Marc Train, Abdullah Webster, Robert Zabala, Darrell Anderson, Kyle Snyder, Corey Glass, Jeremy Hinzman, Kevin Lee, Mark Wilkerson, Patrick Hart, Ricky Clousing, Ivan Brobeck, Aidan Delgado, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Jeremy Hinzman, Stephen Funk, Clifton Hicks, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Joshua Casteel, Katherine Jashinski, Dale Bartell, Chris Teske, Matt Lowell, Jimmy Massey, Chris Capps, Tim Richard, Hart Viges, Michael Blake, Christopher Mogwai, Christian Kjar, Kyle Huwer, Vincent La Volpa, DeShawn Reed and Kevin Benderman. In total, forty-one US war resisters in Canada have applied for asylum.
Information on war resistance within the military can be found at The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline, Iraq Veterans Against the War and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters. Tom Joad maintains a list of known war resisters. IVAW and others will be joining Veterans For Peace's conference in St. Louis, Missouri August 15th to 19th.
Yesterday in northern Iraq, bombings resulted in mass deaths. Kim Gamel (AP) reports the death toll has risen to 200 this morning and it is still rising. AFP notes "growing fears last night that more dead were trapped under the rubble." Megan Greenwell and Dlovan Brwari (Washington Post) quote survivor Khidr Farhan declaring, "I found myself flying through the air, and my face was burning. I felt my leg hurting, and I knew my head was bleeding. Then I couldn't feel anything. When I woke up, I was in the hospital" and Haji Sido declaring, "I ran past people screaming on the ground. I didn't care, because I had to get to my family. When I got home, my wife said: 'Calm down and thank God. We are safe'." Carol J. Williams (Los Angeles Times) quotes survivor Aydan Shikh declaring, "There is no justification for this. What crime have the Yazidis committed to deserve this?" and Subhee Abdullah declaring, "I saw people drowning in their own blood. More people are sure to die."
Paul Tait (Reuters) notes that digging through the rubble continues with many people "dazed and crying" as they attempt to locate missing family members and friends. In addition, Tait notes 330 people are classified as wounded. Sam Knight and Deborah Haynes (Times of London) list the number of dead at 250 (wounded at 350) and quote Dakhil Qassim ("mayor of the nearby town of Sinjar") declaring, "We are expecting to reach the final death toll tomorrow or day after tomorrow as we are getting only pieces of bodies." BBC, citing a Tal Afar official, notes the death toll is 257 (350 wounded) and that the attacks precede the upcoming vote on the fate of the area (it's own independent area -- "Correspondents say the planned referendum makes northern Iraq's Kurds a target for politically-motivated attacks." Tim Butcher and Sally Peck (Telegraph of London) note that the attacks have overwhelmed health care facilities resulting in survivors being "ferried to hospitals across northern Iraq" and they remind that US Gen. George Casy Jr.had recently declared "Our guys are seeing progress on the security front." Casey made those remarks to the National Press Club in DC only yesterday, August 14, 2007 where he made one baseless claim after another (and yes, he falsely linked it all to 9-11). He also stated that "The successes" remain unreported.
While Casey got caught by surprise, the US military appears unsure of what it's doing today at any given minutes. First Gen. David Petraues and US Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker issue a joint-statment decrying "the barbaric attacks on innocent Iraqi men, women and children in Ninawah Province yesterday." Then the US military insists to CBS News that the death toll was only 30. They also maintain it is the work of al Qaeda . . . no doubt too startled yet to try and create a link to Iran.
In some of the other violence reported today . . .
Today Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) reported, "The violence comes as U.S. forces have launched new crackdowns across Iraq. More than sixteen thousand U.S. and Iraqi troops are taking part in Operation Lightning Hammer around the Diyala River. In Baghdad, at least two people were killed in a U.S.-led raid on the Shiite neighborhood of Sadr City. The victims were reported to be a father and his three-year old daughter, asleep in the summer heat on the roof of their home. Nine others were arrested, including the three sons of local resident Umm Falah" and Falah was quoted explaining, "I used to bake breads and sell it to feed them and when they grew they started to work to help me. We though that we would be relieved when Saddam fell, we did not expect that he was replaced with the worst. Only God can beat them (the Americans)."
Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports two Mosul car bombings that claimed 10 lives. Reuters reports 5 lives ended by a Hilla bombing in an attack on "a judge's house".
Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 4 people shot dead in Baghdad (one from "random fire by an American convoy") and three police officers were shot dead in Baghdad. Reuters reports one person shot dead in Madaen, "a member of a joint Iraqi and U.S. security coordination" was shot dead in Najaf, 3 "police commandos" shot dead in Doura and one person shot dead in Buhriz.
Kim Gamel (AP) reports that 24 corpses were discovered today "bullet-riddled bodies of apparent victimes of sectarian death squads usually run by Shiite militias."
In other violence, there are the displaced. Over four million Iraqis have been displaced (internally and externally) due to the illegal war. Cindy Sheehan (Common Dreams) notes that the bulk of the externally displaced have gone to Jordan and Syria: "The refugee catastrophe is going a long way to destabilize the countries to which the Iraqis . . . emergency CPR needs to flow to Jordan and Syria immediately to help the Iraqi people and the two mentioned countries. Significantly, both countries also have vast populations of Palestinian refugees that has now become a generational problem. Solving the problems in Israel will help the Palestinian refugees who want the right of return to their homes as well as help solving our own 'terrorism' problem at home. This is also an issue that needs to be pressed and exposed back in the states." This as IRIN notes the effects on Iraqi children being raised within Iraq "in a climate of fear and violence" And pregnant women in labor try to avoid going to hospitals after nightfall due to the violence. IRIN reports that in 1989, 117 Iraqi women "died during pregnancy or childbirth" but today the "figures has now gone up by 65 per cent." These results didn't happen by chance, they are the direct effects of an illegal war.
Turning to the political situations. At Inside Iraq (a blog run by McClatchy Newspapers Iraqi staff), a correspondent captures the endless repetition: "Did anyone hear about the meetings our great politician would start soon? OMG Here we are again, again and again and again, we are standing on the first square. new meetings but do these meetings have any solutions to the daily massacre that we live in? I'm sure the demands of the political blocs would be the same, each party and bloc will ask for sure for more power to control, more money to steal and more weapons to kill the people of the other sect. and guess what? Again the US Godfather will sponsor the great meetings. its the same old game, keep them busy, let them kill each other on the name of democracy."
Meanwhile the Center for Media and Democracy's PR Watch.org notes that the partisan groups Vets for Freedom and VoteVets have been hailed by the AP as "valuable public relations tools" . . . for elected and those seeking elections and notes VoteVets (with a board of advisers that includes War Hawk Bob Kerrey) " is part of Americans Against Escalation in Iraq, the [WalkOn] and SEIU coalition that pressures pro-war Republicans but not Democrats." Too much reality for some and apparently that includes the Peace Resister who felt the need to team with a failed screenwriter (how did Rooster work out? Oh, that's right) to offer the usual sop that the Peace Resister is now known for. Does anyone else wonder why she only teams up with male co-writers or are we never supposed to notice that? That inability to work with women as co-writers may go a long way towards explaining why the magazine published nearly 4 men for every 1 woman in the first six months of this year. So Useless and Failed Screenwriter team up to offer that 'things are changing' (sadly, not at the magazine) and it's a turned corner for the movement thanks to the useless people of WalkOn.org and others and provide plenty of 'love' to Americans Against Escalation and a hell of a lot of cover.
The Nation wasn't always worthless and a few at the magazine (or distributed by it) still try to make a difference. Today, Democracy Now! featured 25 minutes of a recent speech Naomi Klein entitled "Another World Is Possible." From that speech:
We who say we believe in this other world need to know that we are not losers. We did not lose the battle of ideas. We were not outsmarted, and we were not out-argued. We lost because we were crushed. Sometimes we were crushed by army tanks, and sometimes we were crushed by think tanks. And by think tanks, I mean the people who are paid to think by the makers of tanks. Now, most effective we have seen is when the army tanks and the think tanks team up. The quest to impose a single world market has casualties now in the millions, from Chile then to Iraq today. These blueprints for another world were crushed and disappeared because they are popular and because, when tried, they work. They're popular because they have the power to give millions of people lives with dignity, with the basics guaranteed. They are dangerous because they put real limits on the rich, who respond accordingly. Understanding this history, understanding that we never lost the battle of ideas, that we only lost a series of dirty wars, is key to building the confidence that we lack, to igniting the passionate intensity that we need.