josh ritter, state of entertainment (betty & my thoughts)

betty, flyboy and i just started listening to wbai a little while ago to catch the peace special that's in today's snapshot.

i'm getting used to the new browser so if links seem little, that's why.

so we came in on the special right before the good war. that's a documentary that they are playing selections from. that's really an amazing film. it's about war resisters during ww2 and what happened to them.

betty's kids were my big concern, whether they'd have fun or not because in the past, i was able to be a lot more active. fortunately, they have had a blast. flyboy went out yesterday and bought some toys. it was his audition for when our baby arrives. he did a good job actually. while the sun was out, they just wanted to run along the beach, but now they're in toy city (and having a blast with that as well). betty's daughter stared at my hair for the 1st half hour. she's used to me as a blonde but being here all the time, i needed a change and t gave me red hair (with henna) so it was, 'i think i know her but what did she do to her hair?' which she actually asked after 30 minutes, 'what did you do to your hair?' she had to touch it and play with it and then rendered her verdict, 'pretty.'

tomorrow, the adults will be watching the ground truth and kids can watch that as well if they want, or if they just want to be with the adults (betty thinks her daughter will want to be in her lap the whole time). it really is weird to think every 1's in d.c. and i'm not. i feel, honestly, like i'm letting the cause down. if i could be there, i would. this has been (knock wood) smooth sailing but with all my miscarriages in the past, there are things i can do and things i can't and travel just isn't one of the things i can do. not right now. i also have a list of foods i can't eat. we're just being hyper cautious (we = me, flyboy and my doctor).

betty says to put in 'rebecca is not fat.' i feel fat. i've told her on the phone for weeks, 'i'm huge, i'm huge!' that doesn't stop me from eating, mind you. but i am huge. betty says that's not quite true. she also asked me what is going on with this screen?

i have no idea. i type a line and there's nothing and then all the sudden letter by letter it scrolls across. it may be this new browser, it may be something else but it is weird and time consuming because after i type a few lines and there's nothing, i have to stop and wait to be sure that it's there. which is making this post take much longer than it should and will cut down on any links (i've already pasted the snapshot in from c.i.'s e-mail and i didn't have to even provide a link for the snapshot because c.i. includes that when e-mailing it to all of us).

so what can we talk about? betty says music. she wants to note 'girl in the war' by josh ritter. i love that song and betty's daughter loves that song. betty says she'd be in her room playing with her dolls and betty would walk by and hear her sing 'got a girl in the war'. it's off josh ritter's the animal years and betty's grabbing my cd off the rack to see if there's a link we can put in. if i flip to another page (a mistake i made earlier), i was waiting 5 minutes before i could get back into this screen. okay josh ritter has a website.

'this war is ... unwinnable' david (see snapshot for last name) who is hosting the wbai special just said that with a whole string of words between and betty hollered, 'say it again!'

so the animal years was reviewed by kat and you can google 'kat's korner josh ritter animal years' and pull it up. she also picked 'girl in the war' as 1 of the best songs of 2006.

'girl in the war' has this beautiful sound to it that goes up and down. the music alone will hook you. betty's picking out the lyrics:

peter said to paul you know all those words we wrote
are just the rules of the game and the rules are the first to go
but now talking to god is laurel begging hardy for a gun
i got a girl in the war man i wonder what it is we done

that's the 1st verse. there are 11 songs on the cd. betty's 2nd favorite is 'here at the right time' and that is a really beautiful song. i think i'd pick 'thin blue flame.'

betty says what we really need musically right now is some 1 to do like diana ross did near the end of vietnam and record a song like 'hey now young mothers' (betty adds it may just be 'young mothers'). i know the song, i just don't know the title.

we both think 2006 was an amazing year for music compared to previous 1s. you had ben harper, michael franti & spearhead, neil young, pink, the dixie chicks, josh, and a few others

- we were frozen. i wasn't going to reboot because we'
re still listening to the special and i'd love to see the sentence i've typed some day soon. but if we'd rebooted, we would have missed at least part of the special.

so stephan smith would be on the list and he has a third name (you can find him by searching 'stephan smith'). we can't pull that from the cds because flyboy keeps that 1 in his car. and another 1 would be david rovics with halliburton boardroom massacre. but really, are the others not aware a war is going on?

do kids put up with that (the 1s who do, i know many do not put up with the crap that's being pushed off on them) because they don't any better or do they really like that junk?

i didn't like bubble gum music even when i was a teenager. betty says she did only if the guy was cute. which i can relate to. i wouldn't care for the music, but i would eye the bubble gum boys if they had anything to offer.

the good war and those who refused to fight it is the name of the film i mentioned before. they just mentioned the title again.

but does music, we're back to that, have anything to say or is it just about escape? betty just added true of films too. she says she really can't get into fantasies today or fluff and finds herself watching documentaries more and more. (and says 'shout out to c.i. for being a 1 person netflix!' c.i. is always passing around documentaries.) it is true. if i turn on the tv these days and watch a few hours (i always have it on for background noise but i rarely pay attention to it) i feel like i've just been drug through the tabloids and have been fed goo and sugar to the point that i'm about to hurl.

it frequently seems like we have a non-stop diet of escapism and i know we are all hungry for meaning. which is why i would recommend josh ritter's cd to you. the animal years. this is not the never-grow-up, peter pan that is justin timberlake. this is an adult trying to record the world around him.

and we froze again. so i'm going to post this before i end up frozen completely.

now here's c.i.'s 'iraq snapshot:'

Friday, January 26, 2007. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq, ten days to go until Ehren Watada's February 5th court-martial begins, groups mobolize to end the war in the United States, Bully Boy issues death threats to Iranians in Iraq and a death threat to American democracy, the privatization of Iraq's assets is boldly expressed but we're all supposed to look the other way and the US military gets caught in a lie.
Starting with Ehren Watada, he, his father (Bob Watada) and his mother (Carolyn Ho) will be out in full force tomorrow. Susan Paynter (Seattle Post-Intelligencer) reports will be taking part in Seattle's events to end the war: "1 p.m. at the Center for Social Justice, 2111 E. Union St., moving to the Military Recruitment Center at 2301 S. Jackson St., then to the Langston Hughes Center at 104 17th Ave. S. at 3, where speakers will include Lt. Ehren Watada." Watada, who will be part of a panel discussion, is the first officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq and he is facing a Februarty 5th court-martial in which he will not be able to present any real defense because 'Judge' Head has a really sick sense of what "justice" is.
Michael E. Ruane (Washington Post) reports that Bob Watada will be speaking at the DC rally tomorrow and Bob Watada tells Ruane: "There is no doubt in my mind that the invasion and occupation of Iraq is wholly unwarranted. The Iraqi people have done absolutely nothing to the United States. They've done nothing to deserve the massacre and the pummeling they're getting . . . the plunder, the torture, the rape, the murder of innocent people. It's got to stop." Meredith May (San Francisco Chronicle) reports that, in San Francisco, things kick off with "a noon rally at Powell and Market streets. Carolyn Ho, the mother of Army 1st Lt. Ehren Watada of Hawaii, who is refusing orders to deploy to Iraq, will speak to the crowd."
Three different cities tomorrow where they will be attempting to get the message that the illegal war needs to end and that what will take place in the February 5th court-martial won't be justice because the 'judge' has refused to allow Ehren Watada to present his reasons for refusing to deploy, the studies he did as part of his command that led him to the conclusion that the war was illegal and immoral. Marilyn Bechtel (People's Weekly World) spoke with Marti Hiken (National Lawyers Guild) who noted that "people do not surrender all their constional rights when they enter the military" and that "Regardless of whether the military wins this court martial, they lose for silencing an individual who has so much integrity that is evident to people across the country."
Saying "no" to an illegal war is hard. It takes courage. (Note the Cowards Silence plauging the left if you doubt that, but I'm actually talking about those in the military who have said "no.") 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 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 the United States, tomorrow sees protests, rallies and marches around the country. As CODEPINK notes: "Join us on January 27 to say No More Funding for War! Bring Our Troops Home Now! We will use our feet and our lungs and our signs and our outrage to let Bush and our new Congress know that we are serious about ending this war.
If you can't make it to DC, see if there is a solidarity event being planned in your area. If not, create your own, even if that means standing alone on a street corner with a sign! In lieu of lobbying, you can call your Congressperson to demand they cut the funding for George Bush's War. Our voices are powerful, wherever we may be geographically. We know peace is the only real path to hope and opportunity for this country. Together we will make it happen."
If you can't make it to DC, you can still be heard. If there's not an event in your area, start one. Avaaz.org (formely Ceasefire Campaign Team) is attempting to get the word out on a way you can be heard in DC if you're not able to attend:
Join Saturday's global peace march... without Leaving Your House!
This Saturday, hundreds of thousands of Americans will march on Washington DC to demand peace and justice in Iraq and the Middle East. We can be there too, raising a global voice of solidarity -- through our own worldwide virtual march. Time is short, so add your voice and join the march today!

This could signal the rebirth of the US peace movement. We need to show them the world is on their side. Let's bring our call for peace to the streets of power in Washington. Join the global peace march and tell your friends today!
Events will be covered by some media. Known coverage will include: KPFA which will broadcast live from the DC demonstrations from 10:00 am to noon PST. (At which point it will begin covering demonstrations in the Bay Area.) and Laura Flanders who will cover the days demonstration Saturday night (7:00 to 10:00 pm EST) on her program RadioNation with Laura Flanders (heard on Air America Radio and other outlets). (Both KPFA and Air America Radio offer online streaming.) (KPFA also offers their achived broadcasts for free, so if you miss the live coverage and would like to hear it later, check out the KPFA Archives). Rachel notes that WBAI will broadcast live coverage of the demonstrations from
11:00 am to 1:00 pm EST. In addition, she notes that tonight (Friday) on WBAI, David Occhiuto will host a special which will feature anti-war films, interviews and will include coverage of Ehren Watada including sections of the speech he gave in Seattle that the the Article 32 hearing in August included and the court-martial next month plans to include in their prosecution of him. Tune in to hear the message that so frightened the military brass that 'Judge' Head has gagged Watada's defense from presenting. That's tonight, WBAI,
7:00 pm to 11:00 pm EST (over the airwaves in NYC and surrounding areas as well as online).
As people mobilize to get the truth out, the US military finds some cover-ups implode faster than others. New details emerge regarding Saturday's reported violence. Saturday, five US troops were killed in Karbala when resistance fighters reportedly wearing US uniforms were waived through checkpoints and made it to a meeting in Karbala. Five US troops were reported as dying during the attack that followed. The AP is reporting (based on US and Iraqi military sources) that four of the five were kidnapped and the four were then killed with bodies being discovered as far away as 25 miles. There was a lot of Happy Talk this week. There was the lie that corpses discovered in Baghdad were tapering off (42 discovered yesterday), there was the lie that what's happening on Haifa Street is normal and not an attack that's killing civilians, there were showy moments in the US Congress and there were the lies of Bully Boy's State of the Union address. When we're neck-deep in lies, it's really easy for the US military to lie (that is what happened) and misinform the public.
Without the lies, the escalation couldn't be sold and a lot of people are vested in selling the escalation. And note that when the AP asked about it, the US military played dumb. As Steven R. Hurst and Qassim Abdul-Zahra (AP) reported later, the US military has now confirmed that four were kidnapped and killed later (1 of the 4 was apparently discovered "mortally wounded").
CBS and AP report a bombing of a pet market utilizing a bomb hidden among pigeons that has resulted in the death of at least 14 people in Baghdad. Stephen Farrell (Times of London) reports: "Police said insurgents concealed the explosives inside a cardboard box punched with holes to make it appear a container for pigeons, parrots or other birds which are prime attractions at the market. The blast, which also wounded 55, hit the Ghazel market on the eastern banks of the Tigris just before the weekly curfew intended to protect crowds attending mosques during noon prayers on the Islamic day of prayer." Farrell notes that the explosion allowed some caged pets to be let loose but many died. Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports: "Two civilians were injured when an IED exploded in Milhaniya, a part of Amil neighborhood at 1 pm." Reuters notes: "On Friday, a suicide bomber blew himself up in a Shi'ite mosque on the outskirts of Mosul, killing seven and wounding 17 more after prayers, a police source said."
Reuters notes: "Gunmen opened fire on a crowd in Baghdad's Bayaa district, killing one person and wounding two, a police source said."
CBS and AP report: "Seven tortured bodies of people who had been blindfolded and had their hands and legs bound before they were shot in the head were found in the capital Friday, according to police." Reuters notes that number of corpses discovered in Baghdad today has risen to 27 while one corpse was discovered in Kirkuk and a headless corpse was discovered in Hawija. Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports: "The body of the Iraqi boxer Hussein Hadi was found in Haifa street. Police said that Hadi was kidnapped three days ago and he found hanged today."
Also today, the US military announced: "One Marine assigned to Regimental Combat Team 6 died today from wounds sustained due to enemy action while operating in Al Anbar Province."
Meanwhile, CNN reports that the Iranian government is calling "terrorism" on Bully Boy's recent order (backed up by US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates) for US troops to kill (on the spot) Iranians they suspect of plotting terrorism. These execution orders by the Bully Boy come with no jury or defense, just an instant passing of judgement.
In financial news, AFP reports that one of Iraq's two vice presidents, Shi'ite Adel Abdul Mahdi, has called the illegal occupation of Iraq "idiotic" but is pushing the 'we will be safe if we have to raid and terrorize school children, residents of homes, etc' that was so popular with the puppet of the occupation yesterday. Those confused by the both-sides-talking Mahdi can refer to a commentary by Antonia Juhasz (Huffington Post) last May: "The re-appointment of Mahdi may yet provide the Bush Administration with its most important victory in the Iraq war since Saddam Hussein was pulled out of a rabbit hole in Tikrit. However, Mahdi's Vice Presidency may also ultimately generate at least as much hostility towards the United States as the invasion itself. Over the course of the war, Mahdi emerged as one of the most aggressive proponents of the Bush administration's economic agenda for Iraq, including the implementation of controversial corporate globalization rules and greater U.S. corporate access to Iraq's oil." Mahdi earlier served in the Bremer 'government' and will probably serve in a great many other puppet governments to follow.
MarketWatch reports: "Over the next several years, the minister [Mahdi] said Iraq would look to privatize all of state-owned industry, which number around 60 companies. He also said Asian companies were keen to enter discussions with the Iraqi government over industrial contracts. Hariri said Iraq was also in discussions with San Francisco-based Bechtel Corp over engineering contracts, without elaborating."
The privatization. Antonia Juhasz (author of The BU$H Agenda: Invading the World, One Economy at a Time) attempted to address the realities of the oil law on KPFA's Living Room
January 11th. But a (male) guest, of course, new better and felt that whatever laws were passed, Iraqis could undue the damage many years on down the line. That's confronting the problem! For those who didn't grasp the importance of what Juhasz was addressing, The San Jose Mercury News reports "Iraq is in negotiations with San Ramon-based Chevron Corp. and Exxon Mobil Corp. to build a new $3 billion petrochemical facility, and is in talks with several other Western companies over industrial projects. In an interview Thursday, Iraq's minister for industry and minerals Fowzi Hariri said the discussions with Chevron and Exxon began this week in Washington and are at an early stage." The New York Times fluffed their coverage of the law last Saturday. Apparently, we're all supposed to pretend it doesn't matter or take the attitude of, "Hey, they can fix in 20 years!"
For those who've forgotten, in polling where Iraqis side with the resistance on the topic of attacking foreign fighters (including American troops), they also note the belief that the continued war is nothing but an attempt for foreigners to get their hands on Iraqi assets. Prvatization laws and multi-billion dollar deals by outsiders tend to convey that impression.
In political news, CNN reports that that the Democratic leadership in the US Congress may push for a revamping of the 2002 act that the Bully Boy cited as his authorization for starting a pre-emptive, illegal war of agression on Iraq. Of course, with Democrat leadership, "maybe" means basically what "We'll see" means when said by a parent.
In news of dictators, CNN reports on Bully Boy of the United States latest string of I statements: "I am the decider . . . I've picked the plan . . . I know . . ." Though his love affair with self continues unabated, as the recent poll by CBS News found on Bully Boy's desired escalation: "More than 70 percent of Americans think he should have to get congressional approval before he commits those troops." (68% of poll respondents stated they were "uneasy" with Bully Boy's ability to make decisions regarding Iraq.) Though Bully Boy appears to have forgotten this basic fact, in a democracy, the people are "the deciders."
Reminder: Those in DC Saturday should check out Anthony Arnove, author most recently of IRAQ: The Logic of Withdrawal, who will be speaking at Busboys and Poets at 5:00 pm and those in the NYC area on Sunday should check out Joan Mellen speech at 7:30 p.m. at the 92nd Street Y (92nd Street and Lesington Avenue). Mellan, a professor at Temple University and the author of seventeen books, will be presenting a lecture on the JFK assasination . . . and beyond. Tickets are $25. Mellen's latest book is A Farewell to Justice which probes the assasination of JFK. She was a guest on Law and Disorder November 7, 2005. And the March 15, 2006 broadcast of KPFA's Guns and Butter featured her speech "How the Failure to Identify, Prosecute and Convict President Kennedy's Assassins Has Led to Today's Crisis of Democracy." You can also read a transcript of that speech here.


i'm about to post for tonight but before i do, i did post last night. i wasn't able to log in here, so i posted at elaine's site. if you missed it, here it is:

rebecca here, not elaine. elaine's off. i'm here because i'm such a great friend. no, really!

actually, i'm here because i caught her as she and mike were going through the airport (i had to wait for them to land) and i told her 'i can't log in. can i blog at your site?' she said sure and gave me the password. at some point, i'll be back at my site. hopefully tomorrow. wally, elaine and c.i. are the only 1s who are still using old blogger that i'm aware of. cedric was until he went to post today.

he got a message that he had to switch. it was no 'if you'd like to switch now' (switch to beta) so we'll probably soon all be on it. (c.i. will probably be the last just due to the fact that the common ills is so huge with all those entries. elaine doesn't want to switch but we know at some point every 1's getting switched.)

so that's what's what. hello to elaine's readers. warning: i have a foul mouth. and then some.

so i web surfed tonight to get stuff to write about and ended up wondering - what was the point?

let me explain.

1) editor & publisher tells you about the offensive non-joke where an iraqi soldier points a gun at a reporter, squeezes the trigger and laughs because the gun did not go off. they posted that at 11:55 a.m. today est. which would mean 8:55 am pst.

matters because?

4:26 am pst is the time stamp on c.i.'s 'The Times disgrace themselves -- New York and LA' - covering the same thing.

2) then i find rory o'connor and david olson's 'Helping Lara Logan' and think, 'well sure, i'll help lara out. what's she need?' what she needs is to get the slaughter of haditha street on air at cbs. the slaughter that c.i.'s been pointing out for weeks now. (including today, including yesterday, including last week.) (i forgot to ask c.i. if friends at cbs news were talking about it. they may have been and that may have been why c.i.'s hit so hard on it.)

elaine loves isaiah's comics (i do too) so let me give you a heads up there. you do not want to miss sunday's comic. if you've had it with the media types who present left but can't do a damn thing to help war resisters, be sure to check it out. 'born useless' - as my mother-in-law & i like to think of a certain woman - is 1st out of the gate. (with that old horse face.)

but i did find 1 thing i really, really loved. this is from david rovics' 'They Kept On Walking' (truthout):

Our taxi dropped us off at the checkpoint outside Nablus, so we could walk through the checkpoint and take another taxi into the city. With the travel restrictions and hundreds of checkpoints everywhere, this is the way you have to travel, if you're lucky enough to be allowed to travel at all.
There, on the outskirts of this ancient Palestinian city, as with every other city in the West Bank, was a heavily armed gang of young Israeli men and women in green IDF uniforms. One of the men inspected my passport and spent a few minutes trying to discourage me from entering Nablus. "It's crazy in there. There are Arab terrorists. There are bombs every night. It's not safe." I thanked him for his warning, and I thought to myself that he might have an entirely different experience in Nablus if he visited the city in a role other than an occupation soldier.
We got into another taxi and drove towards the city center, passing one destroyed factory after another. They were bombed in 2002 when Israel invaded, leaving much of the city in ruins. Several of the factories used to make soap. Nablus was known for them, but no longer.
Inching along in gnarled traffic, we eventually got to the campus of An-Najah National University. I was to do a concert there that evening to a large and appreciative audience. Due to circumstances beyond my control, each organizer on my tour of Palestine had only a few days to put together a concert, and Saed Abu-Hijleh managed to pull it off brilliantly.
Contrary to the warnings of the Israeli soldier, I only met really nice people like Saed during my stay in Nablus. Saed was my age, in his late thirties, a good-looking man in a sports jacket. He greeted us warmly, and together we walked across the campus to his office. As we passed hundreds of students and other people on this extremely crowded, bustling campus, it was obvious that Saed commanded a deep respect and admiration from everyone.
Saed is a professor and is the administrator in charge of public relations. Under the current restrictions of the Israeli occupation, the only way he could potentially get out of Nablus would be on foot at great personal danger. He and his car are not allowed to leave the city. Before the Al-Aqsa Intifada, when travel was easier for most Palestinians, he had studied for nine years in Iowa City, and he remembered his time there fondly.
We got to his small office, and Saed was showing me a lovely booklet one of his students had made with Arabic translations of some of my songs. It was to be handed out to everybody coming to the concert that night. There was a picture of a woman on his desk, and I asked him who she was. He explained to me that she was his mother, and he said she had recently been killed by Israeli occupation soldiers.

so we get an issue i really care about and it's written by some 1 whose music i really enjoy. david rovics is a singer-songwriter and you can read 'Kat's Korner: David Rovic's Halliburton Boardroom Masscre' if you haven't heard it yet. kat picked it as one of the best of 2006. the cd actual comes with a bonus dvd and we've been intending to do something on that at the third estate sunday review. fingers crossed, we'll do it this weekend.

okay, i am late starting (due to blogger's problems - if mike doesn't blog tonight, that's the problem) so let me wind it on down. i won't be able to go to dc and i wish i could. but airplane travel is out of the question (due to pregnancy) and it would be a road trip (with me worrying the whole time, see what i wrote yesterday) so i'll be here. betty will be here tomorrow with her kids and, on saturday, we're going to have a big gathering. we'll be watching and discussing the ground truth.

maybe you can't make it either? maybe, like me, for health reasons, d.c. is out of the question. if that's the case, i hope you will do something in your own area. and there is something every 1 can do (c.i. passed this on to me):

Dear friends,
I just joined a global virtual peace march demanding that the new US Congress stop President Bush's escalation in Iraq and demand a real peace plan, and I thought you might be interested. Please see the email below.
Subject: Join Saturday's global peace march... without Leaving Your House!
This Saturday, hundreds of thousands of Americans will march on Washington DC to demand peace and justice in Iraq and the Middle East. We can be there too, raising a global voice of solidarity -- through our own worldwide virtual march. Time is short, so add your voice and join the march today!
This could signal the rebirth of the US peace movement. We need to show them the world is on their side. Let's bring our call for peace to the streets of power in Washington. Join the global peace march and tell your friends today!
With hope,
Ricken, Paul, Tom, Rachel, Galit, Lee-Sean and the rest of the Ceasefire Campaign (now Avaaz.org! ) Team

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

Thursday, January 25, 2007. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq, the Green Zone comes under attack, more people with courage speak out for Ehren Watada, US war resister Agustin Aguayo recevies a court-martial date, Nouri al-Maliki prepares to target schools and homes, and the delusional Dick Cheney makes like a Starship cover band as he sings "Nothing's Going to Stop Us Now."

Starting with news of war resistance.
Bobbie Morgan (Bainbridge Buzz) observes, "Sometimes it takes a travesty to create a hearo. We have a hero close by, awaiting a court martial for refusing to participate in the Iraq war because he feels it was never a lawful war."
Morgan is writing of
Ehren Watada, the first commissioned officer to publicly refuse to deploy to the Iraq war. Next month, February 5th, Watada faces a court-martial.

Speaking recently with Ken Mochizuki (International Examiner), Watada stated: "I've said publicly that I'm willing to face the consequences for my action. But, I would ask that I be given a fair trial. So, there's no desertion there. And, when it comes to dissension, I have dissented, obviously, against the orders I've been given. Watada's referring to the ruling by 'Judge' Head which strips him of the ability to mount a defense or even offer his reasons for refusing to deploy. Stanley Campbell (Rock River Times) notes Watada's reasons that Watada will not be allowed to uttered in court: "It's my conclusion as an officer of the armed forces that the Iraq war is not only morally wrong but a horrible breach of American law. Although I have tried to resign out of protest, I am forced to participate in a war that is manifestly illegal. As the order to take part in an illegal act is ultimately unlawful as well, I must, as an officer of honor and integrity, refuse that order." Again, the court-martial is scheduled for February 5th, Fort Lewis, Washington.

Meanwhile, in Germany, a court-martial date has been set for US war resister
Agustin Aguayo. Kevin Dougherty (Stars & Stripes) reports that at today's arrinment hearing, the judge decided ("barring any delays") that the court-martial will start on March 6th. Aguayo
served in Iraq and, based on what he witnessed, decided serving in Iraq was against his religious beliefs. He then applied for conscientious objector status but was denied that status and expected to deploy to Iraq for a second tour. From
September 2nd through September 26th of last year, Aguayo was absent from the military. He turned himself on the 26th. He has appealed his denial of C.O. status and, although the US Court of Appeals heard arguments on November 21, 2006, they have yet to issue a ruling.

Agustin Aguayo, Ehren Watada are part of a movement of resistance within the military that also includes 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 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 the United States, many demonstrations will be held on Saturday including a rally and march in DC. For information on that, you can check out CODEPINK's
Bring the Peace Mandate to D.C. on J27! KPFA will be broadcasting live from the DC demonstrations from 10:00 am to noon PST. (At which point it will begin covering demonstrations in the Bay Area.) Saturday night (7:00 to 10:00 pm EST), Laura Flanders will cover the days demonstrations and more on RadioNation with Laura Flanders.

United for Peace & Justice and many other groups are taking part in Saturday's DC demonstration and march and in activites around the United States (at least fifty cities in the US have activities scheduled -- fifty in addition to DC -- at this time and more are expected to be added to the lists).

As the mobilizations gear up, shades of Tricky Dick, Bully Boy is spying on peace groups.
Aaron Glantz (OneWorld) reports on US Defense Department documents obtained by the ACLU which reveal that 186 demonstrations have been spied on and recorded by the Defense Department: "The internal Defense Department documents show it is monitoring the activities of a wide swath of peace groups, including Veterans for Peace, Iraq Veterans Against the War, Military Families Speak Out, Code Pink, the American Friends Service Committee, the War Resisters League, and the umbrella group United for Peace and Justice, which is spearheading what organizers hope will be a massive march on Washington this Saturday."

In Iraq today,
CNN reports that occupation puppet Nouri al-Maliki declared, "I ask everyone to excuse us as we do the job. No school, house, mosque or husseiniya [Shiite mosques] will be out of reach of our forces if they are harboring outlaws. The same for political party headquarters." If that doesn't trouble you, imagine it as the school in your neighborhood, your house. Civilians are being targeted and al-Maliki wants "everyone" to "excuse us" while the BBC reports that the the Iraqi parliament has voted in favor of this death wish.

Not unlike the continued slaughter on Haifa Street which the Muslim Scholars Association has termed "
a campaign of genocide." Richard Mauer (McClatchy Newspapers) reports on eye witness Omar Abu Khatab who stated, "We have many people wounded and badly injured and we have also people killed. We want someone to help us bury them but we cannot get any help. We don't have any food or water. Until now, 16 days under this curfew and we cannot go out." Another resident, Abu Ali, explains to Mauer how the slaughter continued even after most media lost interest, "The Americans left; only the Iraqi forces stayed in Haifa. There were snipers on the buildings, Iraqi Army snipers. It kep people home because they shot two people that tried to go out to the street. They burned four buildings. They closed the area, which left the families with no food -- we had to whare with others what we had."

This 'fine' Iraqi military that al-Maliki intends to turn loose on homes and schools includes some real thugs as evidenced by incident
reported this morning by Damien Cave and James Glanz (New York Times): "One Iraqi soldier in the alley pointed his rifle at an American reporter and pulled the trigger. There was only a click, the weapon had no ammunition. The soldier laughed at his joke." Hate to break it to Cave and Glanz, it's not a joke. Any fool knows you don't aim guns at people for a joke. That applies if you're cleaning it or at target practice and you better believe it applies in a war zone.

Reporters Without Borders counted 146 journalists killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war through January 18, 2007. Does someone really think it's funny that an Iraqi soldier is aiming a gun at journalists and squeezing the trigger? Had a journalist been hit (or, worse, killed), you better believe the excuse would be "I didn't know it was loaded." Guns aren't toys and anyone who isn't smart enough to grasp that, who thinks a gun is a prop for a joke, needs to have his butt kicked out of the Iraqi military right away. Instead, he (and no doubt others like him) will be doing house raids, school raids. Maybe he can be 'funny' by aiming the gun at children and squeezing the trigger when that happens?

Journalists have died in Iraq and for the Times to report it as a "joke" is an insult to all journalists, those in Iraq and outside of it. It also insults the memory of the journalists killed in Iraq or any other conflict. It's a "joke" to them. Just a "joke." The New York Times needs to get their priiorities straight and if the slaughter on Haifa Street doesn't trouble you, maybe when they target school children it will bother you.


Reuters reports that a car bomb in a central Baghdad market killed 20 and left 18 wounded.
Qassim Abdul-Zahra (AP) reports the death toll from the bombing climed to 26 and the number wounded to 54. AFP reports "that the explosion set a bus loaded with passengers ablaze, and destroyed half the front of a nearby building."

In addition,
Reuters notes one person died and 13 were wounded in a Sadr City market in Baghad while three died and 10 were wounded from a roadside bomb in west Baghdad, a motorcycle bomb "killed a boy and an elderly woman in the city of Falluja" not far from a school, and four civilians were wounded in a bombing in Tal Afar.

In addition to the motorcycle bomb in Falluja,
AFP reports one struck a central Baghdad market killing 4 and wounding 2o while destroying "stalls and carts" and quotes an official stating, "The bomb was strapped to a morotocycle which was parked on one side of the road that runs through the market."

Most important in terms of the press the Green Zone was attacked today. In June, when the Green Zone was almost breached, Nouri al-Maliki began the 'crackdown' that long ago cracked up.
Qassim Abdul-Zahra (AP) reports that two or three rockets hit the Green Zone and six people were wounded. The Green Zone is the heavily fortified bunker area of Baghdad where the US is building its embassy, where the Iraqi government meets and where many reporters are stationed. AP notes that during the attack a voice came blaring over the PA system insisting that "This is not a drill" in English.


Reuters notes that two people were wounded near Haswa and that Hussein Abdul Aziz ("a member of the city council of al-Gayara") was shot dead near Mosul.


Reuters reports two corpses were discovered in Mosul and two in Dujail.

In political news,
a toothless, symbolic measure passed through a Senate committee yesterday and now awaits a vote in the full Senate. CBS and AP report that Dick Cheney (second to the Bully Boy) has responded that, even if the resolution passes the full Senate, "It won't stop us." Margaret Taliv (McClatchy Newspapers) reports that US Senator Dick Durbin has called Cheney "delusional." Though Cheney, no doubt, is delusional, it should be remembered that he shot his own friend. Delusional, crazed and a (hopefully) bad shot.

Hopefully a bad shot? Otherwise that incident was intentional which would result in charges of assault or attempted murder and Cheney might be confessing today. Which brings us to legal news,
Beth Rucker (AP) reports that Corey R. Clagett "pleaded guilty to charges of murder, attempted murder, conspiracy to commit murder and conspiracy to obstruct justice." Earlier this month, Juston Graber did the same (to charges of aggravated assault with a dangerous weapon) for his actions in the same May 9, 2006 incident where three Iraqis were detained near Tikrit, then released and killed after the relase with the claim that they had been 'escaping.' Corey Clagett was asked his intentions when he shot at the three men and he told the court, "To kill them, your honor,"

Those in DC Saturday should check out
Anthony Arnove, author most recently of IRAQ: The Logic of Withdrawal, who will be speaking at Busboys and Poets at 5:00 pm and those in the NYC area on Sunday should check out Joan Mellen speech at 7:30 p.m. at the 92nd Street Y (92nd Street and Lesington Avenue). Mellan, a professor at Temple University and the author of seventeen books, will be presenting a lecture on the JFK assasination . . . and beyond. Tickets are $25. Mellen's latest book is A Farewell to Justice which probes the assasination of JFK. She was a guest on Law and Disorder November 7, 2005. And the March 15, 2006 broadcast of KPFA's Guns and Butter featured her speech "How the Failure to Identify, Prosecute and Convict President Kennedy's Assassins Has Led to Today's Crisis of Democracy." You can also read a transcript of that speech here.


pregnancy, elizabeth de la vega, dennis kucinich

1st, do not upgrade to the new windows' explorer. we did tonight and it is a nightmare. the page never loads and slows your computer down on top of that.

i knew the gang was headed to d.c. but i put in a call to kat and she only got my message i left on her voice mail. i told her 'call me. i'm going to sleep, i don't care what time, but call me.' which she kindly did. i know she hates explorer so she used something else. she uses crazy broswer and flyboy and installed that tonight. i can't believe we downloaded the new explorer on all 3 computers here. big mistake. repeat: do not install it. it must still have bugs and you won't be able to do anything.

you can't even close it. i tried to using the control, alt, delete keys that bring up that box. so i highlighted explorer ('not responding' was right next to it, no shit). right after i clicked on it, i got that tool box over and over and the computer froze.

it was 1 nightmare after another.

maybe bill gates has so much money now that he doesn't care if the new explorer is a piece of crap?

on the plus side, i had time to cook. my recipes that i can make are highly limited. if it's a breakfast food, i can do it. any kind of eggs, etc. after that i know a few dishes that elaine and c.i. have shown me over the years. but 1 thing i always knew how to do was make meatloaf.

i make pretty good 1s, if i do say so myself.

tonight i made the 1 i make with sausage, bell peppers, red onions, white onions, green onions (i like onions), bread crumbs, mushrooms, rice, paprika, tomato sauce (made with fresh ingredients), garlic and white pepper.

i'm not a stickler, but when possible, i use ground chicken or ground turkey. tonight i just used pork sausage.

flyboy loved it. he loves anything he doesn't have to cook. i'm just not a cook. if he could eat key lime pie, i'd make dinner every night.

so it was his night off as a result of my making meatloaf. we had baked potatoes with that and some green beans with almonds. (on the latter, don't get excited. that was just popping a frozen bag into a bowl and then into the microwave.)

flyboy can cook. the 1st time we were married, he knew probably 5 dishes. when he realized i wasn't going to cook every night, he learned a few more and now ruth's always showing him something. he jokes that i have burned things in the past on purpose to have my easy out excuse. i wish i had thought that far ahead.

but most of the time we order out.

ruth keeps saying 'thank you' because we didn't want her and elijah driving out here so we got a driver to take them back and forth. so let me say 'thank you' to ruth who shows monday through friday with a dish she's made that i usually pig out on and don't share. from there, she usually goes into the kitchen at lunch and will either show flyboy a new recipe or sit there so he can ask to be sure he's doing it right.

i love ruth. i did not ask her to do this. she insisted and showed up the day after she learned i was pregnant. she is a great friend and i am so lucky to have a friend like that. she keeps pointing out that when the babysitter who was supposed to watch elijah (her grandson) bailed at the last minute before she and her best friend from college (treva) were due to take a summer vacation together, i showed up and said, 'go, i'll watch him.'

i did do that. i did that gladly because she really hadn't had a vacation like that since her husband passed away. i was not going to let her miss that. but like i told her again today, i wasn't driving back and forth. i stayed at her house all week.

with this being winter and with her bound and determined to be here for support, flyboy and i both agreed we didn't want her driving in this weather. we knew if it got really bad, she'd just drive slow and still try to come out here. so it just made sense to get a driver so she wouldn't have to do that.

ruth has made me laugh so much. even on days when my body is adjusting to what i call 'the never ending expansion.' we went to the doctor yesterday, my 1st time out since i got the news.
sherry wondered if i was nervous?

i was never so nervous in my life. i wasn't driving but even when i'm not driving, i'm always cursing every other drive on the road. i'll reach over and honk the horn from the passenger side. flyboy always hates it when he's driving and i do that.

but yesterday, i was aware of every car on the road and thinking not 'speed up!' but 'is that 1 getting too close?'

i'm a hypochondriac now when it comes to driving. i see crashes where there are none.

when ruth and i were talking today, i pointed out that i was scared to death of elijah. he is a wonderful boy. i love him and he loves me (children love everybody). but when ruth was heading off with treva, i had a big smile plastered on my face and was holding elijah so we could wave bye-bye to them but i was thinking, 'this kid is going to kick my ass.'

that didn't end up happening. he made it very clear that he wasn't happy with me and pretty much avoided me for hours. then he seemed to realize he was stuck with me and put up with me. seriously, that's what he did. then, as the days went by (ruth watches him during the day because his parents both work), he warmed up to me. but before then i got these looks of 'she is so stupid' whenever i didn't do something the way his grandmother did it.

for instance, they listen to pacifica radio. when they do that, ruth usually takes notes and he draws or colors. i wasn't taking notes! that was a major thing with him! when i finally understood what i wasn't doing, he was cool with me. he really is a wonderful little boy. and his parents and all of ruth's children and grandchildren made it so easy. they refused to let me eat dinner alone. they were always inviting me over. (and credit elijah's parents because they barely knew me. they knew i was ruth's friends and they knew she needed this vacation. so they were fine with letting me watch their son.)

he's so big now. that was almost a year ago and it's hard to believe that's all when i look at him. his favorite part of the day is when he and flyboy go for a walk on the beach. he's always excited about that and if you look out the window, you can see him running on his way back. he'll try to walk but he'll break out in a run, then stop and walk, then run. he can't wait to get back inside and tell what he saw.

so, there is a point, if it weren't for ruth's trip with treva last year, i'd be plagued with doubt and worries right now. instead, thanks to elijah who is so laid back, i'm probably under concerned about what the baby will be like.

elizabeth de la vega is in the snapshot and i just found this by her. from 'Lying and Spying: How the Administration Slip-Slides Away' (common dreams):

I hope I can be forgiven if animal images kept coming into my mind during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing last week. On the eve of the first such hearing to be held by the newly-elected Democratic majority, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales sent a letter to Committee Chairmen Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Arlen Specter (R-PA) announcing that, henceforth, the President's Terrorist Surveillance Program would be conducted under the supervision of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. Listening to Alberto Gonzales "answering" questions about this development during the hearing, the thoughts I kept having were of seals and snakes: Had the administration really flip-flopped on warrantless electronic surveillance -- like, say, a seal -- or was it merely attempting to slither away -- like, say, a snake?
Unfortunately, it appears to be the latter. As with so many of its other activities -- pre-invasion intelligence fraud, detention of enemy combatants, systematic torture -- the closer the Bush administration comes to intersecting with the law and with Congress on its illegal spying, in the words of Paul Simon, "the more you're slip-slidin' away."
Well, Where Have We Been?
Unbeknownst to the American people and Congress -- the phrase that should begin so many stories about the Bush administration -- the President, starting in late 2001, authorized a secret domestic surveillance program to be run by the National Security Agency (NSA). By the time the secret wiretapping was revealed in a New York Times article on December 16, 2005, George W. Bush had issued more than 30 orders authorizing surveillance for what the administration claimed were foreign intelligence purposes, without ever attempting to comply with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act ("FISA"). A law Congress enacted in 1978 to prevent the Executive Branch from conducting such surveillance without any court supervision whatsoever, FISA was simultaneously to provide a more expeditious procedure than that required for a standard search warrant.
In the four years between the inception of the program and its revelation, the Bush administration affirmatively concealed its existence, with the President, famously, even going so far as to preemptively -- and falsely -- announce that "any time you hear the United States government talking about wiretap, it requires -- a wiretap requires a court order. Nothing has changed by the way."
Even worse, in that time span, Attorney General John Ashcroft and then Alberto Gonzales successfully negotiated with Congress four rounds of requested changes to FISA, the very statute they were routinely violating. Not once during the faux debate about security and civil liberty generated by the amendments they sought did the administration advise Congress in any official or unofficial way that it was violating the statute on a daily basis; nor did it seek revisions that would address the problems it later claimed existed.

last thoughts. if russ feingold won't run for president (he says he won't), i don't see any 1 yet who impresses me but dennis kucinich. i could vote for kucinich without holding my nose. i can't say that about any other declared candidate yet.

joe biden? wasn't he stick of used gum 20 years ago? hillary? don't trust her. don't trust her to end the war, don't trust her not to sell out the voters. obama? get some experience under your belt (and a spine) and then we'll talk. who else is there? the governor of iowa (or former)? tom v.? does any 1 seem to hate iraqis as much as tom? if you find some 1 let me know. he's all 'we baby them!' if kucinich is still in it at primary time (and i have no reason to doubt he wouldn't be), i could vote for him without hating myself the day after.

in 2004, my concern with him was the abortion issue. he had been anti-choice (or portrayed that way) earlier in his career. i needed a bit more at that time to feel comfortable. he's got 3 more years of being pro-choice right now and i don't question his postion.

he was against the war from the start and gets credit for that.

he did challenge bully boy and the press when he ran for president last time. the press tried to marginalize him and he didn't just go along saying 'kick me in my ass again, please.'

he's done a lot of strong work (including before he got into congress) and, at a time when the country's turned against the war, when something like 2/3s of the american people oppose bully boy's proposed escalation, you've got senate dems wasting every 1's time with toothless symbolism. dennis kucinich has a plan and didn't need to wait to be led to it.

he has been a leader. he hasn't waited for winds to change to figure out what was going on.

so i respect that.

some 1 else may join the race and i may end up being for them. (i have no problem endorsing when i make up my mind.) but what i'd say for today is that if you are following the 2008 race already (no reason you should be), check out dennis kucinich. learn about him. he may not be for you and that's fine if he isn't. but make the decision yourself.

don't let the press make it for you. they did that with him and others last time. don't let them play you for a fool.

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

Wednesday, January 24, 2007. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq, Dahr Jamail explains the importance of war resisters, Bully Boy bombs (or, as Mike called him, "Bully Boy Butt Wipe") with his State of the Union address, the slaughter on Haifa Street continues, a Senate committee feels really proud of themselves but Russ Feingold pops their hot air, US Rep Maxine Waters speaks with Amy Goodman about this weekends demonstrations to end the war, US Rep Dennis Kucinich explains what puts him ahead of other Democratic candidates attempting to win their party's nomination for the 2008 presidential election, and Tony Blair's whimper is the whine heard round the world.

In the US,
Ehren Watada is the first officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq and faces a court-martial on February 5th at Fort Lewis. Last week, the 'judge' (John Head) ruled on the parameters of the case. As Matt Hutaff (The Simon) reports the ruling amounts to "stripping the defendant of his constitutional rights. When Watada faces prosecution on February 5, he will be unable to assert free speech in questioning the legality of the war and is forbidden from using Nurember laws as defense. Watada's entire argument rests on the fact that troops are bound to serve honorably and follow lawful orders, and that the Iraq war is a hodepodge of neither." Paul Rockwell (San Francisco Bay Guardian) observes, "It is a sad day in American jurisprudence when a soldier of conscience is court-martialed -- not for lying, but for telling the truth; not for breaking a covenant with the military, but for upholding the rule of law in wartime." Eric Ruder (Socialist Worker) notes, "Activists in the Northwest and around the country are planning a February 5 day of action to show support for Watada, timed to coincide with the beginning of the Army's court-martial against him. Defending war resisters is a critical part of ending the war, because it gives confidence to other soldiers considering their options as Bush plans a 'surge' of 21,500 more troops to Iraq." Jim Warren (Lexington Herald-Leader) notes that among those people showing support for Watada on February 5th at Fort Lewis will be war resister Darrell Anderson who "set off on a cross-country bus tour with the Iraq Veterans Against the War organization, making stops in several cities to support war resisters."

Meanwhile, war resister
Agustin Aguayo was due to be arraigned on Monday but Stars & Stripes reports that the arraingment has now been postponed until Thursday. Aguayo served in Iraq and applied for Conscientious Objector status afterwards. The military denied that and Aguayo has been appealing that. On November 21, 2006, the US Court of Appeals in Washington, DC heard Aguayo's appeal. They have not yet ruled on it. As Aaron Glantz reported on the November 20, 2006 broadcast of The KPFA Evening News, Aguayo's case was the first of it's kind hear in "a federal court since 1971". Despite the fact that the case was on appeal, the military had told Aguayo he had to redeploy to Iraq. In September, Aguayo self-checked out and turned himself in the same month. He was gone less than 30 days (September 2nd through September 26th.). However, last week, the military announced that they would be charging him with desertion. As Kevin Dougherty (Stars & Stripes) noted in November, 30 days, though not a rule, is "the standard benchmark." That charge and missing movement could, if convicted on both counts, result in Aguayo serving seven years in prison.

Interviewed by Alan Maass (Socialist Worker), Dahr Jamail noted the importance of war resisters and observed: "There are between 8,000 and 10,000 people AWOL from the military, and I imagine that number has increased dramatically over just the last week. I know it was starting to increase dramatically even before Bush made his speech. More people than ever are heading off to Canada or going underground, so that they don't have to go to Iraq and be targets. If anyone is seriously interested in ending this occupation and wants to do something to make it happen, people should follow the instruction of Lt. Ehren Watada. In his speech at the Veterans for Peace national convention in August of last year, he said that the best thing people could do is adopt the family of someone who wants to become a resister, and do what they need to do to support those families, economically and morally, so that their people don't have to go to Iraq."

Agustin Aguayo, Ehren Watada and Darrell Anderson are part of a movement of resistance within the military that also includes Kyle Snyder, 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 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, the Independent of London's Patrick Cockburn,
speaking with Amy Goodman on Democracy Now!, noted the Bully Boy's laughable speech from Tuesday evening, "He talked about chaos coming to Iraq. Well, I mean, I'm in the center of Baghdad, and it's difficult to imagine anything more chaotic. There's heavy fighting going on in an area called Haifa Street just near the Green Zone. I can hear mortars occasionally going off. It's said that there is an attempt to assassinate one of the vice presidents a few streets away from here. So we have almost total chaos in Baghad at the moment."


KUNA reports a bombing in Mosul that left a police officer and a civilian wounded. Reuters reports a bombing that killed four police officers and left three civilians wounded in Baghdad, a mortar attack in Baghdad that left one man wounded, and a mortar attack on City Hospital in Baghdad that killed two and left 20 wounded. Shootings?

Reuters reports that two people wounded in an attack "on a minibus carrying Shi'ite pilgrims" in Baghdad. The BBC reports that another educator has been killed in Iraq and describe Diya al-Meqoter as "a well-known professor and econcomist who presented a programme on Sharquiya television. . . He was known for supporting poor people needing loans to set up business, and he also headed Iraq's consumer association, a non-government agency which campaigned for fair pricing." RTE reports an attack on the country's minister of higher education, Abd Dhiab al-Ajili, that left one of his body guard dead "and another was shot in the head and seriously wounded."

KUNA reports 52 corpses discovered in Mosul (all with"scars of torture") which comes after Borzou Daragahi (Los Angeles Times) reported that the number of corpses discovered in Baghdad was decreasing.

Meanwhile the slaughter on Haifa Street in Baghdad continues.
Ross Colvin and Ahmed Rasheed (Reuters) repeat the US military's version of events ('insurgents, insurgents, insurgents') to explain the US military's air raid on high rises on the largely residential street; however, they also note: "A local journalist said he helped transport 37 wounded people to hospital, including women and children, in three ambulances that managed to get through the security cordon." KUNA reports: "An Iraqi security source and eyewitnesses said US helicopters had been bombing the street compound since early morning today, noting the clashes were most intense near Al-Sheikh Cemetery, which witnessed similar clashes last week. Eyewitnesses told KUNA over the phone that ambulances were rushed to the scene of the clashes." This attack is what Patrick Cockburn was describing to Amy Goodman on today's Democracy Now!

Today the
US military announced today: "One Marine assigned to 1st Marine Expeditionary Force Headquarters Group and one Marine assigned to Regimental Combat Team 5 died Tuesday from wounds sustained due to enemy action while operating in Al Anbar Province" and they announced: "Insurgent small arms fire targeting a Multi-National Division – Baghdad patrol killed one Soldier near the city’s center Jan. 24."

US military also announced that Adam L. Huryta was court-martialed on January 22nd "for assaulting a fellow soldier with a survival knife." Huryta, as the release goes, disagreed with a position he was ordered to take while an Iraqi was being questioned so he repeatedly stabbed another US soldier and, having been found guilty in the court-martial held at LSA Anaconda, Huryta has received: "eight months in jail, reduction to E-1, and a bad conduct discharge." Ponder that. Ponder that as Ehren Watada faces six years in prison if convicted and Agustin Aguayo faces seven -- neither of whom went after another US service member with a hunting knife.

On Tuesday, Bully Boy yammered on for a little less than fity-minutes as he delivered a Constitutionally mandated State of the Union speech. At one point he spoke of the need to find resolve -- possibly he lost it on one of his many vacations? (If he ever had it.) On
KPFA's The Morning Show today, Andrea Lewis and Philip Maldari addressed the speech with Elizabeth de la Vega (author of United States versus George W. Bush) and US Rep Dennis Kucinich. de la Veage noted that "we heard almost the same exact statements about Iraq that we've heard since before 9-11 on the Middle East" and characterized it as "more of the same" talk about Iraq while noting her alarm over Bully Boy's words regarding Iran.

Kucinich noted his plan for ending the war which includes: "First that the US announced it will end the occupation, closes the bases and withdraws" -- using the existing funds to bring US troops back to the US, allow reconstruction contracts to be turned over to Iraqis, build and international peace keeping force, etc. On the subject of impeachment, which de la Vega has written of, Kucinich stated his "focus right now is to end the war and bring the troops home" but "I don't take issue with anything that anybody's doing to hold this administration accountable." He did note that if Bully Boy attacked Iran without Congressional authorization, he did expect there would be an impeachment.

On the issue of 'bipartisanship,' Kucinich declared, "If we have a bipartisan effort to keep the troops in Iraq, that's not the kind of bipartisanship I'm lookng for." Andrea Lewis pointed out that Kucinich is
running to become the Democratic Party's 2008 presidential nominee and asked him to explain how he stands apart from other declared candidates. Kucinich responded that "the single most important decision anyone in the Oval Office will make is whether or not to commit America's young men and women to war" and, unlike other declared nominees, the American people know that Kucinich has opposed the illegal war from the start, from before it began while the others "all offered to vote for the war or they voted to fund the war" and, unlike the others, he never "bought George Bush's line."

Some did. Less and less are buying it today which explains the underwhelming response to the State of the Union speech.
Al Jazeera reports that the reaction to Bully Boy's speech was 'indifference' -- Hoda Abdel Hamid: "Iraqis told me 'we don't believe in all his promises -- he's goin gto ask us to be patient, but he's not the one living under the bombs. All Iraqis can hear this morning is explosions -- there are mortars going off and there is a heavy gun battle going on just a couple of hundred metres away. This is what Iraqis are listening to."

In England the on-his-way-out-the-door Tony Blair continues to face strong calls to take British troops out of Iraq. (
On Tuesday, the British consulate in Basra was attacked -- as it often is -- and two British soldiers were wounded.) The Guardian of London reports that Menzies Campbell, the leader of the Liberal Democrats, "called for the first time for a pull-out of all British forces from the country by the end of October" which Blair rejected and Campbell then went on to challenge Blair to stay for the debate. Tony Blair whimpered, left a puddle on the floor, and scurried off quickly.

In what
Andrew North (BBC) has called the "first sign of disagreement" regarding Iraq, Tony Blair's cabinet and Bully Boy's appear to be odds regarding southern Iraq. The BBC reports that Zalmay Khalilzad, in an interview with them, voiced his belief that "UK forces . . . remain at their current levels in southern Iraq" despite the fact that at least "a partial withdrawal of British foces from Basra this year" has long been discussed publicly by Blair as well England's Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett.

Turning to the US Senate where a toothless, symbolic measure has passed through committee,
Frederic J. Frommer (AP) reports that Senator Russ Feingold has declared, "My far, Mr. Chairman, is this is slow walking. This is not a time for legislative nuancing. This is not a time for trying to forge a compromise that everybody can be a part of. This is a time to stop the needless deaths of American troops in Iraq. We have a moral responsibility, as well as a responsibility to the lives of the American people, to start doing it now." The toothless, feckless, symbolic measure, the BBC reports, passed on a 12-9 vote.

A measure so meaningless, it took three men to devise it: Carl Levin, Joe Biden, and Chuck Hagel. The
lunchtime poll reads: "It's really, really, really, really-really, really not in the best interests of the United States for Bully Boy to send more troops to Iraq and if he does so they will be really, really, really, really-really, really ticked off -- so ticked off, in fact, they might just decide to take another lunchtime poll! Watch your step, Bully Boy! Blah, blah, blah." The poll was a vote on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and, CNN reports, the non-binding, toothless measure should go before the full Senate for a vote next week.

Joe Biden is of course interested in flaunting his useless nature with something far more than meaningless legislation, he also wants to run for the Democratic nomination for president in 2008. John Kerry has announced what we noted here weeks ago -- stick the fork in, he's done. One candidate who is still in the race is US Senator Hillary Clinton.
Weighing in at Truthout, Cindy Sheehan recalls, "I, my sister Dede and another Gold Star Mother, Lynn Braddach, whose son, Travis Nall was killed in Iraq in 2003, met with Senator Clinton in DC in September of 2005. We poured our hearts and souls out to her. We cried as we told her of our sons and our fear for the people of Iraq and the escalating body count of our brave young people. She sat there stone-faced and walked out and told Sarah Ferguson of the Village Voice, 'My bottom line is that I don't want their sons to die in vain. . . . I don't believe it's smart to set a date for withdrawal. . . I don't think it's the right time to withdraw.' She may as well have slapped us in the face using Bloody George's line and using our sons' sacrifice to justify her war mongering. On Thursday, January 18th, Senator Clinton introduced a meaningless bill to put a cap on the number of soldiers that can be in Iraq, set at January 1st levels. It is as weak and meaningless as a nonbinding resolution -- and a politically safe move, since almost three fourts of the country oppose Bloody George. By the time she introduced her Senate bill last Thursday, over 1000 of our young people had come home in body bags and tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis had died, while she was waiting for the best political time to be semi-against the war. How many of our troops are lying in Walter Reed with devastating injuries that could have been prevented if a Senate leader like Clinton had taken a moral stance instead of a political one?"

Which is a good time to offer the contrast:
US Representative Maxine Waters. Appearing on Democracy Now! today, Waters discussed the proposal she and US Reps. Barbara Lee and Lynn Woolsey have on the table: "No more troops going to Iraq. Number two, to start to wind out of Iraq. Make sure that you work with the Iraqis for a security plan that they come up with that would include the international community and those in the region and no American soldiers in that kind of security plan. We also talk about reconstruction. We have bombed Baghdad and other parts of Iraq to smithereens. We owe it to them to be involved in a reconstruction plan that's real. Thirdly, we would leave some troops over the horizon in neighboring communities, in the event the coalition forces that are put together by the Iraqis would ask for a bit of assistance at any given time." Waters and Goodman also discussed the Saturday protest in DC and that the representative has "sent a letter to all members of Congress" encouraging them to also take part.

Information on the demonstrations can be found at CODEPINK's
Bring the Peace Mandate to D.C. on J27! activities will also be taking place in communities around the country. Saturday, Laura Flanders will be broadcasting live from DC to cover the demonstrations on RadioNation with Laura Flanders. Aaron Glantz (IPS) reports on the upcoming demonstrations and notes United for Peace & Justice's Leslie Cagan stating, "The voters of this country figured out that they could use the November elections as a vehicle to voice their opposition to the war. What happened there was that the voters gave Congress a mandate to end the war in Iraq and bring the troops home." Glanz notes that in addition to events in DC, there are "large mobilisations planned for Los Angeles, Seattle and San Francisco. In addition smaller actions are planned for more than 50 cities." In DC, Saturday the rally will be held at the National Mall from eleven in the morning to one p.m. at which point a march will begin. Larry Margasak (AP) notes of the DC rally and march: "Scheduled speakers include members of Congress sponsoring anti-war measures; civili rights activist Jesse Jackson; veterans against the war; actors such as Danny Glover, Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon; and a voice from the . . . [pro-peace] past, Jane Fonda."

Those in DC Saturday may want to check out
Anthony Arnove, author most recently of IRAQ: The Logic of Withdrawal, who will be speaking at Busboys and Poets at 5:00 pm while those in the NYC area on Sunday should check out Joan Mellen speech at 7:30 p.m. at the 92nd Street Y (92nd Street and Lesington Avenue). Mellan, a professor at Temple University and the author of seventeen books, will be presenting a lecture on the JFK assasination . . . and beyond. Tickets are $25. Mellen's latest book is A Farewell to Justice which probes the assasination of JFK. She was a guest on Law and Disorder November 7, 2005. And the March 15, 2006 broadcast of KPFA's Guns and Butter featured her speech "How the Failure to Identify, Prosecute and Convict President Kennedy's Assassins Has Led to Today's Crisis of Democracy." You can also read a transcript of that speech here.Again, that's Sunday, January 28th, 7:30 p.m. the 92nd Street Y in NYC.