long friday

the day started really early with some nut banging on our front door. flyboy got out of bed and i was wondering what idiot would come by before 6 in the morning because every 1 knows i get up around 7?

the nut? there were three. c.i., dona and jim.

they stopped by before flying back home. i woke up immediately (well, after some tea) and it was a really nice visit. i was warned, when jim's alarm on his watch went off, no long goodbyes, they had to go then.

they had some sacks with them and i was still too out of it to figure out or even wonder what that was about. it was probably at the start of my 2nd cup of tea (i prefer coffee but i've given it up while i'm pregnant, for the longest i was going cold turkey period but i've started drinking hot tea in the morning) that i noticed c.i. was showing flyboy something.

they'd brought a ton of chicken and c.i. was making bbq chicken. i haven't had that in forever and that's probably 1 of my favorites. i always ask for the recipe, but not seriously. over the years, i've never made any effort to write it down. but c.i. was showing it to flyboy.

then, i was awake and hopped in the shower. i got dressed and was going to just let my hair dry but dona said, 'you too!' she said c.i. had showered, tossed on hair care product ('without combing or brushing') and 'it looks like that!' it's the cut and the hair product (it's that stuff they're using on the tv show crossing jordan and it really is some good stuff) and also the hair and cut. i think i've noted this here before but c.i.'s never gone for the 'incredible cut' - it's always a cut that's suited to the face. i've been talked into the 'incredible cut' many times only to find, over and over, that if it doesn't work with your face, a wonderful hair cut isn't going to do anything for you. t's been doing my hair for the last few years and is a wonderful friend because she gently steers me away from what she calls the 'cookie cutter hair styles' and makes me go with something that flatters my face.

but dona and i headed into the bathroom and both fixed our hair. that gave me time to talk to her (while i was awake, i'd been talking before my shower). so we put in the curls and waves and made ourselves presentable. and had a lot of fun being silly in the process.

so we get back just as the chicken's going in the oven and then it hits me, (a) flyboy better have paid attention because i need to be walked through a recipe and (b) they're not going to be eating lunch with us. but we had a bit more time and we all got to talk.

c.i. made a ton of chicken. we had some at lunch, flyboy and myself, with ruth and her grandson elijah and we had some more tonight with elaine and mike. i didn't even want mine heated up. i love it cold and i love it hot. but i'd already had it warm earlier.

but it seemed like it went way too fast. it was great hearing about where they'd been speaking and talking about the baby. (c.i. is still convinced i'm going to deliver early.) and we talked about the trip next month.

and we talked a lot about iraq and how the latest 'crackdown' was going to mean more of the same and the violence wasn't stopping. but the press is ready to pretend like it is. they love them some bully boy, the press.

flyboy kept offering stuff to eat and drink but c.i. just wanted water (they've been on planes all week and were about to fly home - c.i. doesn't like to feel dehydrated). jim and dona did have some breakfast at least. they really make a nice couple, jim and dona.

they argue as much as flyboy and i can but, like us, they just seem to want to be sure they got their opinion in and then they don't care. as long as the other made a point to hear, they don't care.

i'll gossip about them a bit because i'm tired and don't want to do a short post.

i didn't help out with the editions right away, i don't think. so i heard of them from c.i. and then, later on, heard of them from each other. but, as i understand it, part of the reason for starting up that site was that jim was interested in dona and they knew each other from classes but he wanted to know her better. (and who wouldn't, she's interesting and pretty.) so when jim saw the chance to start up the site (after hearing c.i. speak and guessing that it was c.i. and saying 'you've got to help us, we've been talking about starting a site forever!'), part of the excitement was over getting to spend time with dona.

she plays it closer to the vest but she was interested in him before that too. ava says 'she couldn't shut up about him.' so ty and jess were having to hear about dona-dona-dona from jim and ava was having to hear about jim-jim-jim from dona.

then they did the 1st weekend of working on their site and jess and ty were dogging jim about how he didn't even ask her out after that. it was the 2nd weekend when he asked her out. they went out that night (sunday) and they've been together ever since.

they really do compliment each other.

so that's their story. briefly.

ava and jess are a couple now too but that moved much slower and ava's a private person so i won't discuss how that unfolded.

i was really sad when the alarm went off (and mad at myself for being such a slow waker) but i just smiled and said goodbye because i knew they needed to go.

ruth and i listened to CounterSpin today and enjoyed steve rendall's report on air america radio.
he exploded a few myths - such as the idea that right-wing talk radio is something new, he traced its development to the 60s and the move to f.m. for the better sound by many stations which led to a lot of people abandoning a.m. radio and that's when talk radio really makes it move. (but he also noted that it thrived during mccarthyism as well.)

he talked about how right-wing radio advanced the right-wing beliefs but the air america radio network didn't really prod the democratic party. i'd agree with that. he listed some exceptions, including laura flanders. i didn't agree with the others (and ruth and i both remember 1 name being the focus of a fair action alert in the days before he was on air america radio) but i did agree about laura flanders.

he also did his part to dispell the myth of 'lefty al franken' by noting that franken supported the illegal war before it began and supported it still in that he is not for withdrawal. he noted that baby cries a lot had recently told playboy magazine that he's not for withdrawal.

the best thing that could happen to air america radio is for baby cries a lot to leave.

busy day. and busy night. we've spent the evening, mike, elaine, flyboy and myself, talking news music and you name it. it was a really relaxed evening and a fun 1 but a lon gday for me so i'm going to go ahead and call it a night.

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

Friday, February 16, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq (despite the capital crackdown), the House acts 'symoblically,' Ralph Nader explains the importance of making demands, and The Russians Are Snickering!

Starting with news of war resisters. In June 0f 2006,
Ehren Watada became the first officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq. Last week, he faced a court-martial at Fort Lewis in Washington.

On Monday, the court-martial of Ehren Watada began with jury selection for the military panel (seven officers were selected) who would, as Hal Bernton (Seattle Times) pointed out, "determine whether Watada spends up to four years in prison in one of the most high-profile cases to be tried at Fort Lewis." Watada was facing up to four years in prison and Lt. Col. John Head (aka Judge Toilet) refused to allow him to argue the reasons why he refused to deploy. This is why Norman Solomon (CounterPunch) called the proceedings "a kangaroo court-martial." . On Tuesday, the prosectution presented their case. Aaron Glantz discussed the day's events with Sandra Lupien on The KPFA Evening News noting: "The prosecution had 3 witnesses. It did not go as well as the prosecution would have liked. Lt. Col Bruce Antonia, who was the prosecution's star witness, as Lt. Watada's commander, said that nothing tangibly bad happened from Lt. Watada's refusal to go to" Iraq and "[a]nother thing that did not go well for the prosecution today was that their own witnesses clearly showed that Lt. Watada tried other methods of expressing . . . [his opposition] to the Iraq war, internally within the military, before coming forward to speak to the public." Also noting the prosecution's poor performance on Tuesday (when they rested their case), was civil rights attorney Bill Simpich who told Geoffrey Millard (Truthout): "The prosecution asked too many questions. By the time it was over, the prosecution witness had become a defense witness because the field was open. The defense was able to ask nuanced questions, it told the story clearly to the jury." On Wednesday, Judge Toilet began talking mistrial and, due to the lousy performance by the prosecution, it was seen as an attempt at a "do over" even before he called the mistrial.

That was last week and, since then, many legal experts have weighed in to offer that, as Watada's civilian attorney Eric Seitz has stated, Watada can't be retried without double-jeopardy entering into the picture.
John Catalinotto (Socialist Worker) observes: "Watada's military defense lawyer -- appointed by the Army -- Capt. Mark Kim, said that he agreed with Seitz's interpretation of military law." Geov Parrish (Eat The State) offers that Watada may have won not just the round but the battle: "How did this happen? It happened because one young officer stuck to his principles, even under enormous pressure, and the Army didn't know how to react. Its handling of the case has allowed Ehren Watada -- young, photogenic, articulate, and deeply moral -- to become a folk hero within the antiwar movement, so much so that even his (supportive) parents have become minor celebrities in their own rights. US House Rep and 2008 presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich issued a statement last week: "The court improperly denied Lt. Watada's right to a dfense by blocking him from explaining why he believes the war in Iraq is illegal. Procedural decisions by the court have effectively denied Lt. Watada the right to engage in a protected activity -- freedom of speech. This [the declaration of a mistrial] is a significant ruling which empowers people to speak out against this unjust war."

Jim Cohen (Pepperdine University's The Graphic) ties recent news on the US administration's lies into the Watada story: "A recent report from the Pentagon has concluded that the former policy chief from the Pentagon, Douglas J. Feith, took 'inappropriate' actions by advancing unsubstantiated evidence to bolster the Bush administration's case for war in Iraq. Watada's justification of abstention to fight in Iraq has, in fact, been substantiated. This new information will hopefully give Watada the peace of mind by knowing he was right for following his former commander's advice to study everything, our government's arguments for going to war in Iraq as well as the purpose of the mission. By failing to do this kind of hard work, the commander in chief has left the troops without a mission caught in the middle of a civil sectarian war."

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, Mark Wilkerson, Ricky Clousing, Aidan Delgado, Joshua Key, Camilo Meija, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Jeremy Hinzman, Corey Glass, Patrick Hart, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Katherine Jashinski, Chris Teske, Matt Lowell, Jimmy Massey, Tim Richard 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.

Dave Ward (The Gazette) profiles Tim Richard, a war resister from Iowa who now attends the University of Western Ontario, who tells Ward: "I joined the army with the idea that I would be defending America. But Iraq has nothing to do with defending America. . . . I did have to pay some personal prices. My marriage broke up over it. Not to mention [I lost] what I had identified myself as, which was a U.S. soldier, a very patriotic American. At the same time, I did what I felt was the right thing to do -- which was not to participate in something I knew to be wrong. So I don't regret doing that."

Meanwhile Lance Hering's parents have
been interviewed by Jodi Brooks for Boulder's CBS affiliate (CBS4). Hering, a marine who served in Iraq, was on leave and back in the United States when he disappeared on an August 29th hike. Hering, whose rank is Lance Cpl., has no made press statements but the friend he was hiking with has maintained they staged/arranged Hering's disappearance so that he would not have to return to Iraq. That is what his friend, Steve Powers, has told the press. Hering has not spoken to the press. He may or may not be a war resister. His parents, Lloyd and Ellyne Hering, tell Brooks that Lance's disappearance has led them to begin "talking about the war. Lloyd said he and Ellyne realized that supporting the troops meant stopping the war. Lloyd and Ellyne have traveled to Washington, D.C. twice to urge Congress to stop funding the war. Ellyne writes postcards as part of a nationwide campaign to stop special appropriations for Iraq." Lloyd Hering tells Brooks: "We're here to help him whenever he decides to come back. He'll get legal help, financial help, counseling help, and all the love that we can provide anytime he comes back."

Also in the United States, the House of Representatives passed their nonbinding resolution opposing Bully Boy's planned escalation of US troops in Iraq. As noted by Kris Welch in the middle of
KPFA's Living Room, the vote was 246 in favor of the resolution and 182 against. Nicholas Johnston (Bloomberg News) puts it this way: "The House of Representatives renounced President George W. Bush's latest strategy to resolve the four-year war in Iraq, passing a nonbinding resolution that disapproves of his decision to send about 21,000 more U.S. troops to the conflict. The vote may be the strongest rebuke of a president during wartime since Congress in 1970 rescinded the Gulf of Tonkin resolution that authorized military action in Southeast Asia." Susan Cornwell (Reuters) notes the measure was "symoblic but politically potent". M.E. Sprengelmeyer (Rocky Mountain News) offers excerpts (text) of statements made during the days of deliberation by Colorado Representatives and KPFA has exceprts (audio) of Nancy Pelosi, John Boehner, John Conyers, Lynn Woolsey, Mike Thompson, Dennis Kucinich, Barbara Lee, Mike Honda, Ellen Tauscher. As CNN notes, the Senate now prepares to vote on the resolution tomorrow (yes, that is Saturday, yes they will be in session).

US Rep Dennis Kucinch noted that the measure "is a nonbinding resolution. The war, however, is binding. The real -- and Constitutional -- power of Congress, as a co-equal branch of government, is to cut off fund for an immoral and illegal war. Money is there right now to bring our troops home, and bringing our brave troops home is part of a plan that involves enlisting the support of the United Nations to mobilize international peacekeepers so our men and women can come home. I have a 12-point plan which I have circulated among Members of Congress as to how we can get out of Iraq. The American people will not tolerate nonbinding resolutions as being an excuse for strong and substantive action to end the war as quickly as possible." Meanwhile Reps Lynn Woolsey, Barbara Lee and Maxine Waters issued their statement on the measure yesterday as well (Roll Call via Truthout): "Contrary to Republican claims that Democrats have no alternative plan for Iraq, there are in fact several on the table. Our own comprehensive bill, the Bring Our Troops Home and Sovereignty of Iraq Resotration Act, would complete a fully funded military withdrawal from Iraq within six months while ensuring that our troops and contractors leave safely and accelerate the training of Iraqi security forces. In addition, our bill would remove the specter of an endless occupation by preventing the establishment of permanent military bases and reiterate our commitment, at the invitation of the Iraqi government, to working with the international community to assist Iraq in its reconstruction and reconciliation efforts. We also would stand ready, if asked by the Iraqis, to participate in an international stabilization force."

US Rep Maxine Waters is
BuzzFlash's Wings of Justice honoree for the week and among the examples cited is this statement Waters made on the House floor: "The citizens of this country are sick and tired of this war. It is not enough to talk the talk. You have got to walk the walk. They know the difference between nuancing and posturing, and they want action.
. . . They will know whether or not we mean business if we are prepared to stop funding this war."

Matthew Schofield (McClatchy Newspapers) surveys Soviet veterans of the Afghanistan war and learns "many soldiers who fought there believe they're seeing history repeat itself. The United States -- then the force behind the Afghan resistance -- now appears trapped in a similar downward spiral in Iraq, besieged by a collection of forces not unlike those it trained and equipped to crippled the Soviets two decades ago." This as AP notes that Philip H. Bloom "whose companies made more than $8 million in Iraq reconstruction money through a gifts-for contracts scheme was sentenced Friday to nearly four years in prison." And as the AP reports that "three top auditors overseeing work in Iraq told a House committee their review of $57 billion in Iraq contracts found that Defense and State department officials condoned or allowed repeated work delays, bloated expenses and payments for shoddy work or work never done. . . Of the $10 billion in overpriced contracts or undocumented costs, more than $2,7 billion were charged by Halliburton Co., the oil-field services company once headed by Vice President Dick Cheney."

Would you rather have health insurance
you can actually aford, or bomb Iraq?
Would you rather have enough inspectors
to keep your kids from getting poisoned
by bad hamburgers, or bomb Iraq?
Would you rather breate clean air
and drink water free from pesticides
and upriver sh*t, or bomb Iraq?
-- "Choices," by Marge Piercy, Poets Against The War, p. 179

Stephany Kerns (Military Families Speak Out, mother of Nickolas Schiavoni who was killed November 15, 2005 in Iraq) writes: "Every time I hear George Bush talk about his determination to make those tax cuts of his permanent it makes me so upset. In reality, he is setting up this scenario: military families grandchildren will be part of the population that pays for this war. If these tax cuts are made permanent, it won't be George Bush or Dick Cheney's grandchildren that pay for it. It will be your grandchildren and my grandchildren who pay. Yes, my grandchildren, who lost their father in this war, will pay for the war that killed their Dad." Grandparents are in other binds as well. Donna St. George (Washington Post) reports on children being raised by grandparents when their parent dies in Iraq and finds that it's not at all uncommon for the $100,000 benefit to either be held (until the child turns 18) or to go elsewhere (such as the husband of Hannah McKinney who got her $400,000 life insurance but is not taking care of her son -- her parents Barbie and Matt Heavrin are.) The stories are all too common and the lack of foresight and compassion on the part of the US administration (can't have it all when you're rushing into an illegal war) is echoed in the (mis)treatment of veterans. Aaron Glantz (IPS) reports on the lack of a support system, the lack of money and the lack of oversight in the supposed 'care' for returning veterans.

In Iraq? It's Friday. There's never a great deal of reporting coming out of Iraq about Iraqis. Officials? Maybe on a day where they issue non-stop statements.


Reuters notes a roadside bomb in Kirkuk that killed one person and left three more wounded. Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports an IED killed one Iraqi soldier and left another wounded in Baghdad.


Reuters notes the discovery of eleven corpses in Baghdad and four in Mosul.

Kim Gamel (AP) reports that Iraqi Brig. Gen. Qassim Moussawi claims the "only 10 bodies" (eleven) demonstrates "a big reduction in terror and killing operations in Baghdad" because the average is 40 or 50 corpses and that his remarks were echoed by US Major General Joseph Fil. Really? I suppose some will buy it, some idiots.

But the reality is the figures come from Iraqi officials and US officials. Which may be why many have ignored noting the deaths in the past few days. So citing a decrease in figures you largely control the release of really proves nothing. That also explains why the shooting deaths the press is reporting today are from Thursday. (As
AFP notes, they previously tried to pitch five corpses as success.) It'll be interesting to see if "___ died February 16th" announcements are released tomorrow, Saturday or Sunday by the US military.

Ned Parker and Michael Evans (Times of London) paint a more accurate picture of the latest 'extreme crackdown' in Baghdad noting that both it "and Basra ground to a halt yesterday" which is why the crackdown -- ongoing since June in Baghdad -- has never been a 'strategy' or a 'plan.' It's a holding move and every few weeks, the US administration and the puppet of the occupation, Nouri al-Maliki, increase it even more.

Tom Hayden (Huffington Post) offers four points to end the illegal war and occupation and we'll focus on the first: "Stop funding a sectarian Baghdad regime based on lethal militias. . . . . The coalition is carrying out ethnic cleansing in the name of security. Baghdad, once a mixed city of five million people, is dominated by a huge Shi'a majority." [Hayden recommends the creation of a transitional regime.]

CODEPINK, Ralph Nader, the Green Party and other activists are forming Pelosi Watch "to get Pelosi to take the lead in efforts to defund the war and get all U.S. troops out of the Middle East."

Nader spoke with Kris Welch today on
KPFA's Living Room and noted of the two party system that encourages cowardice, "We've got to really ask ourselves, 'What's our breaking point?' . . . [when you make no demands] You just say, 'You've got my vote, take it and run with it.' If you don't make demands . . . the corporate interests are pulling in the other directions 24 hours a day. which is why both parties get worse when you engage in least worst voting without putting demands on the least worst candidate." He also noted that, "The Democrats have become very good in the last 20 years at electing very bad Republicans."

Finally, as
Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) noted today: "College and high school students across the nation walked out class Thursday in a national student strike against the Iraq war. In California, an estimated 1,000 students at UC Santa Barbara blocked traffic on a freeway. Up to 3,000 students turned out for an anti-war rally at UC Berkeley. And at least four hundred rallied at Columbia University here in New York. More than a dozen other schools took part around the country."


this & that

so yesterday, baby cries a lot said goodbye to air america. i totally forgot or i would have listened just to enjoy something i've long wanted to happen actually happening.

the most overrated host is gone. the man who hogged all the attention, couldn't even mention randi rhodes or any 1 else when he went on the tonight show, told the progressive that no 1 really had radio experience at air america radio (take that randi, take that laura flanders, take that mike malloy and a host of others).

as his tenure ends let's be really clear that he cheerleaded the war.

he was his own one-man fox network. when people attempted to talk about bringing the troops home, he wasn't having anything of that. he would do 1 of his phoney tear bits and start talking about his children (who don't serve in the military) and blubbering and people (those who still listened) would forget what the whole point was but know that america just couldn't leave iraq, it would be awful!

baby cries a lot is 1 of many who has prolonged the illegal war and clamped down on dissent.

he'll be made a hero because he's running for the senate. it will be non-stop butt smooching but the reality is he is just another war hawk.

no 1 will address it and we'll all be expected to act like we don't know about it.

i'm sick of this shit.

i'm tired of hacks running and we're all supposed to shut our mouths for the good of the party.

al franken is a 2-bit comedian who was never really funny. his 'big moment' with bill o'reilly resulted in franken blubbering and sobbing. that'll play well.

funniest of all will be when the press gets tough with him and he snaps. he's known for that explosive temper and it's doubtful he'll hide it on the campaign trail.

so we've got a hack who couldn't even succeed at his chosen career (sucess isn't a string of failed tv shows, a belly flop of a film and a low rated radio program). even his books stopped selling as people got to hear the show and realize that he was just 1 more war hawk.

so for 2008, we're all supposed to rally round the party for a war hawk?

that's the best we can do?

and you wonder why the democratic party is in the state it is.

on a happier topic, ruth and i enjoyed listening to kpfa's the visonary activist today which had jane fonda as a guest. that was a really incredible discussion on ... just about every topic you can imagine. it was a free wheeling discussion. if you missed it, you can use the link to go to the archived broadcast and listen - without charge or registration, as c.i. always points out. war, children, child raising, honor, animals, you name it, it was all touched on. and more!

c.i.'s working on 'and the war drags on' right now so check the common ills for that later (if you're up - or now if you're reading this in the morning). we were on the phone awhile ago. i was wondering if i was up to the big texas trip and c.i. said, 'becky, don't if you're not up to it. you'll be missed, but no 1 is going to be mad.' we're going to texas next month. i just have the worst time getting around. i think it's because as soon as i learned i was pregnant, it was bed rest and then limited mobility. but as soon as c.i. told me 'you don't have to go' i felt this pressure vanishing. not because i planned not to go. i'm honestly excited about it now. but because it was back to being something i wanted to do and, for the last few weeks, i've really felt more like it was becoming something i had to do.

of course, i then felt bad about whining (c.i. said 'it's not a whine') because i could hear in c.i.'s voice exhaustion. but i'm excited about the trip now. flyboy and i won't be flying, we'll be driving and we've both got a few friends along the way. (i'll be blogging as we travel.) after i got off the phone, i was ready to talk about the trip and flyboy will tell you that i've pretty much avoided the topic. he's got it all mapped out, the trip and where we'll stop, but now i'm interested and we were going over that tonight. i'm probably too jazzed to get sleep now.

so here's c.i.'s 'Iraq snapshot' and hopefully, next week will be more restful (c.i., jim and dona were all over the place this week getting the word out on today's students strikes):

Thursday, February 15, 2007. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq -- despite the never ending 'crackdown' and it's latest phase, the Iraqi refugee crisis continues to be largely ignored though Bully Boy wants applause for doing practically nothing, the US military announces the death of more troops and reality slaps against the latest Operation Happy Talk.

Starting with news of war resistance. Today, City on a Hill Press editorialized in favor of
Ehren Watada, the first officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq and the subject of a recent court-martial that ended in a mistrial. City on a Hill Press notes: "As the house of cards that was constructed to lead us into Iraq continues to fall down, City on a Hill Press salutes US Army First Lieutenant Ehren Watada, who is courageously standing atop the most solid of foundations--the United States Constitution. The first active-duty soldier to refuse deployment in Iraq and publicly speak out against the war, Lt. Watada has joined the growing group of brave dissenters whose voices and rights are being repressed after questioning the unjust decisions of the Bush Administration. With the war in Iraq escalating toward more violence and chaos each day, and Bush's preparations to attack Iran, this country desperately needs the likes of Lt. Watada to fulfill duties as soldiers, as Americans, and as humans."

The Santa Barbara Independent reports on the January 20-21st Citizens' Hearing on the Legality of U.S.Actions in Iraq and we'll note this conclusion from the hearing: "Institute mandatory training of all members to recognize their responsibility not to follow illegal orders that violate international law, and to cease training that may condition soldiers to view civilians as the enemy". Ben Hamamoto (Nichi Bei Times) reports that Judge Toilet has scheduled the next court-martial of Watada for March 19th but notes Eric Seitz (Watada's civilian attorney): "It's my belief that there are going to be serious problems re-instating this case" due to the issue of double-jeopardy and quotes attorney Robert Rusky explaining, "The problem appears to be that the Army wanted to argue that Ehren had implicity stipulated he had a duty to deploy to Iraq once he received his orders. . . . How can the Army be allowed to argue Ehren had a duty to comply with the deployment order, which necessarily assumes it was a lawful order, while denying Ehren the right to contest that it was a lawful order? (The ruling) inherently and clearly frames the issue. I think we need to emphasize: the legality of the Iraq invasion that the deployment order was part of."

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, Mark Wilkerson, Ricky Clousing, Aidan Delgado, Joshua Key, Camilo Meija, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Jeremy Hinzman, Corey Glass, Patrick Hart, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Katherine Jashinski, Chris Teske, Matt Lowell, Jimmy Massey 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.

Courage to Resist noted the following yesterday:

Demand Army drop charges and accept Lt. Watada's resignation now! Next step following mistrial victory: Demand that the Army respect the constitutional prohibition on double jeopardy by not attempting to court martial him again. Also: "How Lt. Watada and GI resistance movement beat the Army"We (heart) "Augie"U.S. Army Spc. Agustin Aguayo is a Iraq War vet facing court martial in Germany on March 6 for refusing to return to Iraq. Send him a Valentine's Day support greeting!Mark Wilkerson refused to redeploy, sentencing Feb. 22"There comes a time in a person's life when they must do the right moral decision for themselves, doubtless of how popular," he told the media in Crawford, Texas last August. (link only)Ivan Brobeck, Iraq vet and war resister, released from brig!Marine L/Cpl Ivan Brobeck was released from the Marine Corps brig at Quantico, Virginia on Feb. 5, three months after returning to the United States from Canada with a letter to President Bush asking him to "Bring the Troops Home Now!" (link only)

On January 27th in DC, following the massive rally and march, people gathered at
Busboys and Poets later in the evening to hear Kelly Dougherty and Anthony Arnove speak. The Socialist Worker provides the text of Kelly Dougherty (co-founder and executive director of Iraq Veterans Against the War) speech and we'll focus on this section:

People ask me: If the war is wrong, and soldiers know it, why don't they just not go? I think that leads to the bigger issue of war resisters. We were joking in the
Iraq Veterans Against the War office that February and March are the two court-martial months, because Lt. Ehren Watada is being court-martialed at Fort Lewis on February 5, Spc. Mark Wilkerson at Fort Hood on February 22, and Specialist Agustin Aguayo in Germany on March 6. There are all these public war resisters, taking the lead, following those who came before them, and standing up and saying no -- and putting themselves and their families at a big risk, because people are getting sentenced to prison. Lt. Watada faces six years in prison, and the judge said that he couldn't use his defense, which is that the war is illegal. So basically, he has no defense. He's facing six years for refusing to go. Other men and women have spent up to a year in prison. When people say that they support the war resisters, I think they really need to do more than just say, "Oh, that's great." Because these are men and women who are poised to lose everything. They can lose the people they care about, because a lot of their friends and family may not agree with their stance. And there's a huge financial drain as well, because attorneys are hugely expensive. So I think this is really one of the crucial things -- to encourage GI resistance. We need for us all to put our money where our mouth is, so to speak -- and really show that we're in solidarity with war resisters. We're going to be there."

Iraq Veterans Against the War was there, leading the demonstrations, at Fort Lewis and doing an amazing job. Anthony Arnove spoke after and The Socialist Worker also provides his speech in text form -- we'll highlight the following:

We're almost four years into the occupation of Iraq, and you have to laugh because the media says, "Oh, you're talking about a hasty withdrawal from Iraq." First of all, as Kelly pointed out, we've been there for a lot longer than four years. The United States was bombing Iraq. Their presence in the Middle East goes back a long time. It's not just this occupation, but the occupation of Palestine goes back more than 40 years. So this isn't a hasty withdrawal that we're talking about. The United States had no right to invade in the first place, and it should get out immediately now. But all of the reasons that they put forward for why we should stay in Iraq are as bogus as the reasons for why they said we had to go in. Let's spend a moment on democracy. First of all, right now, we're in Washington, D.C. Would anyone like to speak to the level of democracy here in Washington, D.C.? We just had an election in November where the majority of people in this country said they want the troops to come hom and they reject the policies of this administration. And we have a president who says he doesn't give a damn, and a Congress that doesn't seem to have heard us either. Is that democracy? We have an opposition party whose form of criticizing the occupation of Iraq is to pass a nonbinding resolution criticizing the escalation of an additional 21,500 troops -- but not questioning the fundamental presence of the United States as an occupying power in Iraq. It's not about the 21,500 additional troops alone. It's a whole package. You cannot fund the war, you cannot support 132,000 troops in Iraq, as Hillary Clinton is doing, and say you're against the war. You're not -- you're for the war.

Anthony Arnove is the author, most recently of, IRAQ: The Logic for Withdrawal.

Meanwhile, Bully Boy is expecting applause, Hail Marys and apparently a Nobel Peace Prize for allowing 5,000 to 7,000 Iraqi refugees to resettle in the United States. 5,000 is a laughable figure when the United Nations has estimated that over two million Iraqi refugees have left the country while almost two million refugees (1.8 million) are internally displaced within Iraq.
Rachel L. Swarns (New York Times) reports that the proposed "legislation being considered" wouldn't be based upon need but would give extra points to those "who have worked for the United States government in various capacities or have associated with American officials". Some are calling the proposed plan "Snitch Relief" others point out that it's in keeping with a White House that has always, domestically, put who you know ahead of the needs of the people. On Monday, the UN noted that there were over "5,000 Iraqis, fearful of being deported under Syrian immigration regulations, queued up outside the United Nations refugee agency office in Damascus today to register." "Snitch Relief" won't address that. Snitch Relief won't address the nearly 4 million Iraqi refugees. The BBC notes that since the start of the illegal war, the US has only taken in 463 Iraqi refugees and that it has only recently pledged the laughably low $18 million "to the UNHCR to help the millions of people who have fled Iraq since the war began."

The Financial Times of London editorializes: "Nobody in the world with access to a televsion can be in any doubt that the US-led invasion of Iraq four years ago has been a disaster. What they, and we, are much less aware of is that it has already produced the worst refugee crisis in the Middle East since the mass exodus of Palestinians that was part of the violent birth of the state of Israel in 1948. And what we should all be scandalised by is how little the two countries most responsible for the Iraq misadventure -- the US and the UK -- are doing to alleviate this crisis." While Mark Turner (Financial Times of London) notes that the laughable 5,000 to 7,000 'news' "came after Ms [Condi] Rice met Antonio Guterres, the head of the UNHCR, who has recently returned from a tour of the Middle East where he had complained that the burden of the refugee crisis meant that 'a very limited number of countries is paying a very heavy price'." Meanwhile, IRIN reports that the latest version of the ongoing crackdown in Baghdad is resulting in concerns that it "would create more problems than it would solve" and quoted Mizzal Jassim Wasfi ("Baghdad-based independent political analysis") stating, "It is impossible to achieve this goal -- at least for the time being. You can't solve a problem by creating more problems. The government has to find places for those who are occupying such houses or ensure security in the neighbourhoods they have been displaced from to go back to their homes." The analyst is referring to a pattern of homes being claimed by someone other than their occupants. Yesterday, Said Rifai (Los Angeles Times) reported on how his parents home, after they sought refuge in Jordan, was taken over ("house-jacked") by "armed gunmen" and there was really little to do -- the US military "wouldn't do anything," the Iraqi police had done nothing during a home invasion prior so "it's unlikely they would do anything now" and attempts to seek help through Sunni politicians resulted in no help or assistance. So the crackdown, juiced up yet again, ongoing since June, having destroyed any prospect of life in the capital, now sees more hours added to the curfews, more checkpoints, the closing of libraries, searches (home and body) and other 'fun' things. Richard A. Oppel Jr. and Damien Cave (New York Times) quote positive Iraqis on the crackdown. In the real world, a report aired on Al Jazeera today (2:17 pm EST) by Al Jazeera correspondent Hoda Abdel-Hamid presented alternate views from Iraqis -- one tired man stated, "We hope it's the last one. Everyday people are getting killed" and another man who points out that the crackdown hasn't stopped the violence at all: "There was a traffic jam near a checkpoint. A man left his car and it immediately exploded."


CNN reports 5 children dead ("ranging in age from 4 to 8") from a roadside bomb in Tikrit.
Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports four dead and twenty wounded from "two parked car bombs . . . near one of the main vegetable markets in the southern section of Baghdad", 3 dead and 25 wounded from "a parked car bomb . . . near Al Hay Market in Sadr City eastern Baghdad" and two British soldiers wounded "by Katyusha rockets and small arms fire in Al Hussein neighborhood . . . west of Basra". Reuters notes three car bombs in Hawija that killed three people and one police officer dead from a roadside bomb in Mosul.


Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a woman was shot dead and two more were wounded in an attack on a minibus en route to Balad, an Iraqi soldier in Baghdad was shot dead, a police officer was shot dead in west Baghdad, while gunfire and mortar attacks in the Diyala province claimed 8 lives and left 14 wounded, and a police officer was shot dead in Khalis. Reuters notes a police officer shot dead in Mosul. AFP notes an attack on the bodyguards of Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari "in Iraqi Kurdistan" that resulted in three of them being shot dead and two more wounded.


Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 20 corpses discovered in Baghdad.

US military announced today: "Task Force Lightning Soliders were attacked while conducting combat operations in Diyala Province Feb. 14. Three Task Force Lightning Soldiers were killed as a result of injuries sustained following explosions near their vehicles. A fourth Soldier later died of wounds at a Coalition medical facility." And they announced: "A Marine assigned to Multi-National Force-West was killed Wednesday while conducting combat operations in Al Anbar Province."


war resisters, richard l. fricker

okay, this is from Courage to Resist:

Demand Army drop charges and accept Lt. Watada's resignation now! Next step following mistrial victory: Demand that the Army respect the constitutional prohibition on double jeopardy by not attempting to court martial him again. Also: "How Lt. Watada and GI resistance movement beat the Army"
We (heart) "Augie"U.S. Army Spc. Agustin Aguayo is a Iraq War vet facing court martial in Germany on March 6 for refusing to return to Iraq. Send him a Valentine's Day support greeting!
Mark Wilkerson refused to redeploy, sentencing Feb. 22"There comes a time in a person's life when they must do the right moral decision for themselves, doubtless of how popular," he told the media in Crawford, Texas last August. (link only)
Ivan Brobeck, Iraq vet and war resister, released from brig!Marine L/Cpl Ivan Brobeck was released from the Marine Corps brig at Quantico, Virginia on Feb. 5, three months after returning to the United States from Canada with a letter to President Bush asking him to "Bring the Troops Home Now!" (link only)

i'm late posting because flyboy and i tried for a romantic evening. i think it came off pretty well considering it was here and i do not want to move once i sit down. i'm sure far stronger women than i have enjoyed v-day while pregnant. i appreciated all the effort and loved the white roses but there's only so much i'm going to be able offer. i'm just a lazy slug these days.

on the plus side, it was very sweet of flyboy to go to all that trouble and i will remember it. at 1 point, he had candles on the table and was bringing the food out and all i could think was, 'i do not want to get off this couch. i am not going to get off this couch. i am on this couch. don't make me move.'

i did. finally.

it was really nice but more in a 'when i look back' kind of way.

but because of that (and then not wanting to leave the table - or the chair i was sitting in) i hadn't posted yet and that's a good thing because c.i. phoned and asked if i could note the thing at the top which wasn't a problem. i also mentioned that there was a letter in 1 of the magazines in the latest care package that arrived today.

c.i.: i didn't have time to write a letter.

me: it's a letter to you.

c.i. was rushing when that thing got sealed up. i asked if i could note some from the letter and c.i. said 'well don't make it obvious who it is from!'

so here's a section of the letter. this guy is writing about his dreams (pretty boring 1s) which include a ridiculously large check for 3 pieces of fiction (well, dream big) and then gets to this:

pitching the screenplay next week. i think you had a great comment on __'s character at the beginning of the script - i hope that was clear when we spoke on the phone. i've considered that comment a lot and thought of how to change it since. i wish you'd seen my e-mail. i wish you'd give me your complete critique - i sense you're giving me encourgament when you may feel other weaknesses. i've always depended on you for the feedback so desperately.

blah, blah, blah. that a professional screenwriter could be so boring was so amazing.

flyboy and i were reading it together earlier today and he said, 'you realize how many people depend on c.i. like that?' and, i thought about it, a huge, huge number.

then i thought about how sherry's always writing that ava and c.i. should be put in charge of running primetime (they do write great tv commentaries) and i just wanted to note that because there's a reason those critiques are so strong. they both know the business, yes. and they are both very smart, yes. but that's about all i can say without getting blasted from c.i. so i'll just say 'read between my lines!'

but c.i.'s always doing that. what the letter's talking about. (i'll write about this in my column sunday in maria, francisco and miguel's newsletter.)

(c.i. hasn't read the letter. and let me note that my comments are my comments. they do not reflect c.i.'s opinions. i'm sure c.i. will not think the letter is boring.)

cheryl e-mailed me asking about yesterday's post. it was a hard 1 to write and i got why c.i. had so much trouble writing it. but cheryl got the point and also had a question about my not liking hillary clinton.

i don't know hillary clinton, to answer cheryl's question. i've met her at least twice, both times at fundraisers (both before the iraq war) and c.i. dragged me along. (i did contribute.)

i want to note richard l. fricker's 'Inhofe and the Old/New Republicans' (consortium news):

After the Democrats won control of Congress last November, the conventional wisdom was that George W. Bush and other Republicans would look for ways to moderate far-right positions on key issues like the Iraq War and global warming, tacking closer to positions held by most American voters.
But that isn't what happened. Instead, the Republican leadership has dug in its heels on Iraq, lambasted scientists who warn about climate change and -- despite a few rhetorical concessions here and there -- continued to support the same ol' stuff.
In that sense, Sen. James Mountain Inhofe of Oklahoma may be the poster boy of modern Republicanism, the guy who puts the certainty of his instincts and ideology ahead of contrary facts.
As chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, Inhofe has steadfastly maintained that global warming is a "hoax" -- and won't back down whatever the overwhelming scientific consensus might be.
Inhofe used his Senate position to block any environmental legislation that would put burdens on business, especially the petroleum industry which filled his campaign coffers with at least $900,000 in the last funding cycle. Like Bush, Inhofe wanted nothing to do with the Kyoto Treaty and its requirements for cutting carbon-dioxide emissions.
Nearly 500 American cities -- from Missouri hamlets to major cities like New York, Chicago and San Francisco -- have challenged the Bush administration's resistance to Kyoto by passing local legislation endorsing the accords.
But the nearer the issue of global warming has gotten to center stage the more vitriol Inhofe has poured on environmentalists, scientists and the media. Environmentalists became "Nazis," the regulators at the Environmental Protection Agency were the "Gestapo," the media’s references to global warming were a "hoax."
Though this strategy of demeaning opponents didn't work in Election 2006, Inhofe remained unbowed. The senator fired off a letter to various CEOs complaining that environmentalists were about to take over his committee and warning that Wall Street would not look kindly on executives who succumbed to the environmental agenda.

i want to couple that with this from democracy now today:

GOP Memo: "We Lose" if Debate Focuses on Iraq
As discussion continues in the House today, a newly leaked memo has revealed how some Republican congressmembers are trying to approach the debate. In a letter to fellow Republicans, Congressmembers John Shadegg and Peter Hoekstra urge their House colleagues to avoid debating the Iraq war and instead focus on "radical Islamists." The Republican Congressmembers write: "The debate should not be about the surge or its details. This debate should not even be about the Iraq war to date, mistakes that have been made, or whether we can, or cannot, win militarily. If we let Democrats force us into a debate on the surge or the current situation in Iraq, we lose."

i think the 2 are releated in that this is the republicans digging in and if the democrats buckle or cave, that's really it. there is no middle ground. the republicans have run things as those they were the only party in town and they're acting as though the 2006 elections didn't happen. they cannot be appeased at this point. they need to be scared and dems standing their ground is how to do that. dems caving and trying to meet them 1/2 way is just keeping the country tilted the right. it's the whole 'yes' and 'no' excercise i wrote about earlier this week.

now i'm going to bed. so here is c.i.'s 'Iraq snapshot' which also touches on the need not to buckle in the last paragraph:

Wednesday, February 14, 2007. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq; Baghad's under more 'extreme' crackdown and nothing's changed; Bully Boy says "Who needs proofs?"; the US military announces more deaths; and who is getting into the US military?

Starting with news of war resistance and staring with
Ehren Watada. Watada became the first officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq in June. Last week, he became the first officer to be court-martialed for refusing to deploy in the illegal war. The court-martial ended in a mistrial. Many rush to weigh in and while we disagree with the right, we can respect their passion. It's the useless we have no respect for. Meet Kati Irons.

Apparently upset that she can't bore everyone with her thoughts on Battlestar Galatica one more time, Irons hems and haws and throws some stones. For instance, she doesn't care for Sean Penn's speech in Tacoma. Now in a very small setting, she's quite happy to stay silent even while she is disturbed by a conversation - dumb ass and a coward. Congratulations, Kati! And congratulations on being offensive to everyone: "Under present circumstances, to have one child in the military may be considered a source of pride, but four seems like carelessness," Irons offers. Insulting everyone doesn't mean you're "telling it like it is" -- it just means you're an idiot. (Irons scractched down a few thoughts for Blogcritics -- we don't link to trash.)

Fortunately, not all are useless idiots. As
Paul Guggenheimer (Sioux City Journal) notes,
"If there is one story that strikes at the heart of the immorality and unethical nature of the war in Iraq, it is the story of U.S. Army 1st Lt.
Ehren Watada'." As Mike Davis (Great Britain's Socialist Worker) reminds: "He has refused to serve on the ground that the war is 'immoral and unlawful . . . and would compel complicity in war crimes'." Jason Farbman and Sam Bernstein (Socialist Worker) report on the double jeopardy issue that Judge Toilet's (aka Lt. Col. John Head) decision to call a mistrial (over the objection of the defense) is only one issue that may prevent a retrial: "If the court-martial does resume March 19, Watada's lawyers will object and appeal, possibly pushing the trial back to May. But in the meantime, Watada will have served out his remaining time in the Army. His lawyers are now saying they think he could walk away a free man."

Dan Carptener (The Indianapolis Star) reports on Carolyn Ho ( Ehren Watada''s mother) whose "voice was cracking from overuse and a lingering cold as the soldier's mother recounted the story, having spent the past six months traveling the country on his behalf" who spoke of the change she'd seen since her son went public in June: "In the early days one individual wrote me that I was a terrible mother and he was going to send me a one-way ticket to France. Since that time we've had an overwhelmingly positive response. It's a telling commentary on how people feel about this war."

Talking about the war and the mistrial, David Mitchell spoke yesterday at the Fellowship of Reconciliation in Upper Nyack.
Akiko Matsuda's (The Journal News) reports: "Mitchell gave his own analysis, saying the judge manipulated the trial because as it proceeded, Watada's good standing as a soldier became apparent. Mitchell also thought the judge was afraid of the impact on the other soldiers should Watada be acquitted. Mitchell said that at one point in the trial, a female officer told the judge she was impressed by Watada's action because he stood by what he believed in."

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, Mark Wilkerson, Ricky Clousing, Aidan Delgado, Joshua Key, Camilo Meija, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Jeremy Hinzman, Corey Glass, Patrick Hart, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Katherine Jashinski, Chris Teske, Matt Lowell, Jimmy Massey 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.

Patrick Hart, noted above, is a war resister who went to Canadal.
The Buffalo News reports that "Hart was a dealt a setback when the Canadian Immigration and Refugee Board denied his claim of refugee status" and that his next step is to "appeal the decision to the Canadian Federal Court." In July, Patrick, Jill and Rian Hart appeared before Canada's Immigration and Refugee Board to make their appeal. Peter Koch (Art Voice) noted in July that "everyonw who has received a decision has been denied." The denial was a denial to Patrick Hart and it was also a denial to Jill Hart and to their son Rian. These are people who are attempting to start a life in a Canada. The Harts, like Joshua and Brandi Key, have uprooted their families and moved to Canada not as a stop-over, but as a final destination. During Vietnam, Canada was welcoming of war resisters. Today, the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada makes laughable their claim to be the "largest independent administrative tribunal" as they show no independence and make the same 'finding' repeatedly, over and over with no indication of indepence, no indication of thought, but strong indications that they are afraid to take a stand. Since none of the war resisters can be called a "security risk" or seen as having violated human or internatioinal rights, committed a serious crime or been involved in organized crime, the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada has made a loud, repeated joke of itself and done so while the world was watching.

Meanwhile, England is in violation of UN protocol,
Robert Stansfield and Maggie Barry (The Daily Mirror) report, since they've been sending service members under the age of 18 to fight in Iraq and, while Armed Forces Minister Adam Ingram can claim that was a mistake, it was also illegal. Stansfield and Barry speak with one who was under 18, "Chris," and he explained why he decided to self-check out and joined over 1,000 British soldiers who have done just that since the start of the illegal war as well as sharing his opinions of the illegal war: "I think they should just take everyone out of Iraq. If the Americans want to stay then just let them but they should take our troops out. It's not worth being in there. It's not worth getting killed for."

Original Zinn: Conversations on History and Politics by Howard Zinn and David Barsamian, pp. 118-119:

David Barsamian: You're 1967 book Vietnam: The Logic of Withdrawal was reissued by South End Press. I was reading some of the exchanges in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that you reproduce there. And although there are no such hearings going on now, it almost replicates a lot of the media commentary about how we cannot just quit and run from Iraq, that our prestige would suffer, we would lose credibility. What do these things mean? What is prestige? What is credibility?

Howard Zinn: That's an interesting point because those statements are made again and again, from war to war to war, that we must continue doing this because if we don't continue doing this, we will lose standing, lose prestige, that other countries in this, we will lose standing, lose prestige, that other countries in the world will lose respect for us. I think what they really mean is that other countries will stop fearing us. The truth is that the United States in general does not get the respect of other countries in the world, but it instills fear in other countries, fear that they will lose economic benefits given to them by the United States. As a result, some of them go along. But, of course, those words prestige and fear need to be examined to see what they mean because if you looked at them in moral terms, you would ask, What presitge adheres to a government that conducts an immoral war? What respect does the United States get from the rest of the world when it engages in such a war? What's interesting in this case, and I think this is really unprecedented in the case of Iraq, is that on the eve of the war the world as a whole rose up everywhere and protested agains the U.S. entrance into the war, making it claer that by going into the war the United States was losing the respect, losing whatever prestige it had in the world.

Something to remember as the
US House of Represenatives debates the nonbinding resolution. The vote is expected Friday, it is expected to pass in the House, it is nonbinding. KPFA has posted online various statements during the House Debate for those who can listen online. AFP notes: "Democrats won control of Congress in November elections marked by voter anger at the war." Now Vermont's legislature passed a symoblic measure calling for withdrawal, as Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) noted, but that's what is within their power. The US Congress has the power to do more (as Bully Boy knows, read on). As Vermont state rep Michael Fisher explained to Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) the resolution passed both state houses (House and Senate) -- Michael Fisher: "Sometimes states have to step up and lead, when Congress is not doing enough and this was a time when Vermonters were able to speak up and say clearly that it was time to take some real leadership and to end this war. . . . The resolution . . . calls for the immediate and orderly . . . withdrawal of American military forces from Iraq."

In the capital of Iraq, the never ending crackdown goes on and the latest additions include, the
BBC reports, the suspension of permitted weapons "to all but Iraqi and US forces and registered security firms" (registered security firms would be mercenaries), the ongoing curfew was "extended by an hour," and "[i]ncreased stop and search powers in the capital." Reuters notes that Samawa is also under curfew (9:00 pm to 6:00 pm).


Reuters reports a car bombing in Baghdad ('near a hospital") which killed four and left ten more wounded, a roadside Baghdad bomb that killed one person and left three more wounded, another car bombing in Baghdad ("in a market in the southern Bayaa district") claimed two lives and left seven wounded, a mortar attack in Baghdad killed one and wounded at least 16 more, another roadside bombing in Baghdad ("in the western Yarmouk district") killed one person, and a Mosul car bombing killed three and left 20 wounded. Mohammed al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports* an IED explosion in Baghdad that wounded two civilians and a mortar attack on a Shi'ite mosque in eastern Baghdad that wounded two people.


Reuters reports a man ("former police captain") was shot dead in front of his home in Diwaniya and three Iraqi soldiers were shot (wounded not dead) in Baghdad. Mohammed al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports* "three passengers in" a vehicle in west Baghdad were injured when their car was attacked with gunfire and: "Around 10:00 a.m. an Iraqi university student was killed said Haider Hamid, a student of a technical college in Basra, today. A British military convoy randomly opened fire after an IED exploded targeting the convoy near the college (10 miles west of Basra) on the road leading to Zubair town. The random shooting killed the student Ahmed Fahmi, a second year student of the electricity department, Hamid said."


Ryan Lenz (AP) reports that five corpses were discovered in Baghdad ("bullet riddeled").

[*Note Mohammed al Dulaimy's report is of today's violence -- the date in the headline is incorrect -- check the posted date and you can click
here for the actual roundup of February 6, 2007 to see that the date in the headline is incorrect. Ali Faddam covered the roundup on February 6th.]

Also today, the
US military announced: "A Task Force Lightning Soldier died Tuesday in a non-combated related incident which is currently under investigation." And they announced: "A Multi-National Division - Baghdad Soldier died when insurgents targeted a combat patrol north of the Iraqi capital Feb. 13."

Question of the day,
per CBS News: "Where Is Muqtada Al-Sadr?" Answer -- no one knows despite US officials claiming otherwise.

Claims were all Bully Boy had to offer when he held yet another dog & pony show (if dogs and ponies are this ugly).
CBS and AP report that he's okay with the US Congress wasting time on non-binding resolutions but it's another story if they use their Congressional power to cut the funds for the illegal war. Bully Boy also continued to insist that Iran is supplying Iraq (sometimes it's Sunnis, sometimes it's Shias, it always changes -- that's what happens with lies) with weapons but he had nothing to offer but his word. His word is worth even less than Michael R. Gordon's -- if that's possible. As Lebanon's Daily Star reports, Bully Boy "does not know whethere the weapons were 'ordered from the top echelons of government'" which did not stop him from adding, "But my point is what's worse? Them ordering it and it happening, or them not ordering it and it happening?"

Finally, who is the US military signing up these days?
Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) noted that waivers for recruits with criminal records were up 65%." Lizette Alvarez (New York Times) reports this increase has come in the last three years, that "[t]he number of waivers for felony convictions also increased, to 11 percent of the 8,129 moral waivers granted in 2006, from 8 percent," and that "[t]he Defense Department has also expanded its applicant pool by accepting soldiers with criminal backgrounds and medical problems like asthma, high blood pressure and attention deficit disorder". These facts, by the way, were the ones John Kerry could have made on October 31, 2006. Instead, he backed down, buckled and took himself out of the presidential race on November 1, 2006.



sherry and janet both e-mailed about the same thing: c.i.'s 'other items' today. i was already planning to write something on that so the three of us were on the same page.

c.i. called me because they had to get to the airport and c.i. was writing the section on the photos over and over and deleting it and starting again. i said it was fine. (it was.)

but sherry and janet wondered why any 1 would think that photos of hillary clinton would be bad photos?

good question.

months and months and months ago (i believe in 2005), c.i. referred, in passing, to a joke by rosie o'donnell about hillary clinton. c.i. didn't quote the joke. but it snow balled into this 'hillary is gay!' with republican visitors. c.i. responded to every 1 of those e-mails saying, 'rosie told no joke about hillary being gay. hillary is not gay. you've misunderstood.' that went on for about a month. so when 1 of them popped up in the e-mails last night and c.i. saw it this morning, c.i. just wanted to make it clear to any 1 who was hating hillary that if any photos were used, they wouldn't be bad 1s. c.i. has no bad 1s of hillary.

c.i. is much more private than i am (as any 1 who reads both our sites will know). and that's where the rejection of the photos going up online has come from. c.i.'s attitude is basically: 'those are my photos'.

when jim, dona, ava, ty and jess moved in, they went through the photo books. (i believe jess and ava had seen them already and, of course, ty moved out there 1st due to his summer intern job.) if you go through the photo albums (and thank kat for that because c.i. never has time for that. kat organized those at the end of 2005.) , it's not a problem. if you're a guest. but there's a difference between friends seeing things and sharing things online.

i've seen the photos (or most of them, i'm sure there are photos loose in some box or file cabinet) and they're nice photos, hillary looks good in them. people know i'm not a hillary lover. i really can't stand her.

if she looked bad, i'd laugh my ass off at them. but she actually looks better than in her newspaper photos and i think that's because she's not being yelled at (if only 'over here!') or having to be put on spot or maybe just a long day.

jim thought she looked better than in anything he'd seen. (he thinks her book cover photo is her best photo.) that's why he wanted to use some. c.i. said 'no.' jim doesn't take 'no' easy. (jim will admit to that, i'm not talking out of school.) there is 1 that is jim's favorite and c.i. said 'maybe' on that 1. that's a real 'maybe' - not a 'maybe' means 'no.'

but when the e-mail was read by c.i. today, the big concern was that there were people thinking (a) incriminating photos and (b) that it was going to snowball like all those dumb e-mails after the rosie reference.

on the (a) part, they aren't incriminating photos. the reason, again, c.i. doesn't want to post them is that they are c.i.'s photos. there's a big line between what is public and what is private with c.i. always has been. that's why they will never appear, except possibly that 1, at the third estate sunday review. the hold up was never about anything other than c.i.'s belief that you don't toss everything that has happened online.

i'm remembering some from 1992 and i think the most recent was 2003.

c.i.'s photos (and kat can tell you this) are huge. every now and then, when there's downtime (that has happened in years), c.i. will organize them in photo albums. but there are a tons of photos that would be wonderful online of many, many different people. the photo c.i. refers to (being used in an ava and c.i. tv review) is a photo that's a publicity shot of an actress. there's a show they plan on reviewing and jim was watching it and mentioned too bad they weren't going to use that 1 photo. c.i. said that was a publicity photo and it wouldn't be a problem if that was used. so the only hold up there is on when they have time to review the show.

there's another photo that jim really wants to use that won't be used because it's of an actor and actress in a semi-public place smoking and both are non-smokers publicly. jim didn't realize that they were non-smokers to the public. if it was the same photo without cigarettes, jim could probably talk c.i. into that due to the fact that it is a semi-public place. but with the cigarettes, you'll never see it up and you won't see any photos that weren't taken in a public places.

i doubt you'll even see any hillary photos that were public (speeches, etc.) because there's also the fact that a number of people love to morph her photos online and c.i. wouldn't want to be part of that - even in having just posted the original.

c.i.'s been upfront about being hugely disappointed in hillary on the war issue. but even with that disappointment, i know c.i. would be screaming 'why did i do that!' if a photo was taken from the third estate sunday review by some right-winger and morphed into something else.

i hope that explains it. as c.i. noted, 1 has run in the round-robin. but that's the same as sharing a photo album with friends. and if jim wanted to do something for the gina & krista round-robin or any of the community newsletters with those photos, i know c.i. wouldn't have a problem with that. but the newsletters are seen by a closed group. that's very different from someone grabbing a photo online and doing something with it.

sherry asked about the comic isaiah did of hillary and he did 2 of them. isaiah can draw whatever he wants. that's established. that's his space. c.i. has told him that over and over. isaiah can't use the f-word in dialogue for the comic because the common ills has to be work-safe due to the fact that a lot of members view it online at work. but other than language (and isaiah had bully boy flipping the bird and that was fine, just not writing in the f-word) there are no rules for isaiah. it's his space and c.i. has told him that and told ruth that and told kat that about their space. kat will tell you sometimes it is hard not to use the f-word or something else in 1 of her reviews. ruth really doesn't curse (kat and i must shock her with our word choices!) so she's never had any kind of problem other than worrying that she might have said something that c.i. didn't agree with. (that's not a problem if she had. i think she's finally beginning to realize that.)

flyboy just reminded me that i needed to link to elaine's 'John R. MacArthur, Student strike against the war.' we both enjoyed that very much - we usually do, of course, but we really enjoyed this 1.

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

February 13, 2007. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq; will it expand into Iran?; a new poll finds most Americans aren't please with Bully Boy but Congress shouldn't breathe easy, and a war resister prepares for a court-martial next week.

Starting with news of war resistance,
on August 31st of last year, at Camp Casey III, Mark Wilkerson turned himself in. Wilkerson had served in Iraq, applied for conscientious objector status, had the status denied and told that he could not appeal the decision until after he had served his second deployment in Iraq. While on leave before his second deployment, Wilkerson decided to self-check out of the military. He was gone for approximately a year and a half and then, on August 31st, held a press conference with Cindy Sheehan and others standing with him to announce he was turning himself in. Ryan (Indybay IMC) reports that Wilkerson will be court-martialed at Fort Hood (Texas) on February 22nd. Dick Foster (Rocky Mountain News) reports: "As part of his plea agreement with the Army, Wilkerson will serve not more than 10 months in prison. But he also faces a possible dishonorable or bad conduct discharge and a felony conviction on his record." Reflecting on his time serving in Iraq, Wilkerson wrote (last October): "Before I deployed to Iraq during OIF1, I was full of optimism for what we could do to help the people of Iraq. One of our missions, after all, was to 'win the hearts and the minds of the Iraqi people.' And in this reagard, we have failed miserably. In the year I was in Iraq, I saw kids waving American flags in the first month. Then they threw rocks. Then they planeted IEDs. Then they blew themselves and others up in city squares full of people. The only conclusion I can come up with as to why this has happened is the way the American troops have treated the Iraqi people as a whole. From random raids of whole city blocks, to checkpoints that interrupted the daily lives of the Iraqis, to incidents of torture and even massacres, a majority of Iraqis now feel as that the American soliders, once hailed as heroes and saviors, are now seen as conquerors. Civil was has erupted in the streets, and Americans are caught in the crossfire."

Turning to the topic of
Ehren Watada whose court-martial at Fort Lewis last week ended with a mistrial, Ann Wright (retired col., retired State Dept., writing at Truthout) notes: "The US Army prosecution called only three witnesses to meet its burden of providing evidence beyond a reasonable doubt that Lieutenant Watada had failed to deploy to Iraq and had committed conduct 'unbecoming an officer' for public statements about the war on Iraq he made in June and August 2006. Ironically, in my opinion, the testimony of the prosecution witnesses underscored Lieutenant Watada's professionalism, dedication to duty and respect for the chain of command as he attempted to resolve his ethical and moral concerns about the war. In effect, prosecution witnesses undercut the prosecution's own case against Watada before the jury panel of seven US Army officers." The prosecution bungled their case. Instead of allowing it to continue and risk the military losing, Judge Toilet (Lt. Col. John Head) declared a mistrial. Wright concludes: "As an old soldier with nearly three decades of service, I suggest that the 'good order and discipline' of the Army has not been negatively affected by Lieutenant Watada's actions. Until his unit deployed to Iraq on June 22, Watada had not disobeyed an order from his command. He did not go AWOL. After he was charged, he worked professionally and diligently everyday while awaiting his court-martial. I urge the Army to let the lieutenant, who has acted in good faith, with courtesy and respect for the military and responsibility for his oath to the military and to the country, resign." The Journal News reports that Vietnam war resister David Mitchell (Rockland Coalition for Peace and Justice) will speak Tuesday night at 7:00 pm about what he observed while attending Watada's court-martial last week. The location for the speech is the Fellowship of Reconciliation at 521 North Broadway in Upper Nyack.

Watada and Wilkerson are 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, Joshua Key, Camilo Meija, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Jeremy Hinzman, Corey Glass, Patrick Hart, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Katherine Jashinski, Chris Teske, Matt Lowell, Jimmy Massey 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.


CBS and AP report: "A suicide truck bomber blew himself up near a college and a ration office in a mainly Shiite area of the capital Tuesday, killing at least 15 people, officials said, a day after car bombs devastated a Baghdad marketplace." Reuters reports the count of those dead rose to 18 and that 40 are wounded. CNN reports a car bombinb ("outside a bakery in southereatern Baghdad") that left four dead.


Qassim Abdul-Zahra (AP) reports that 28 corpses were discovered in Baghdad. Reuters notes that three corpses were found in Mahmudiya.

And today, the
US military announced: "A soldier assigned to Multi-National Force-West was killed Sunday while conducting combat operations in Al Anbar Province."

Meanwhile the crackdown gets a curfew -- another curfew. David Chazan, reporting for
BBC News, noted the latest curfew announcement from Iraqi Lt. Gen Abboud Gambar: "A curfew on people and vehicles will be imposed at a day to be announced soon around Baghdad security zone. This curfew will be effective from 20:00 to 06:00 local time." Chazan: "The curfews have been tried before and they haven't freed the capital from sectarian violence. This time the borders with Iran and Syria will be closed for at least three days."

Turning to the subject of Iran,
Karen DeYoung (Washington Post) reported that "Marine Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said yesterday that he has no information indicating Iran's government is directly the supply of lethat weapons to Shiite insurgent groups in Iraq" -- Pace: "We know that the explosively formed projecticles are manufactured in Iran. What I would not say is that the Iranian government, per se, knows abou this. It is clear that Iranians are involved, and it's clear that materials from Iran are involved but I would not say by what I know that the Iranian government clearly knows or is complicit."

Various people in the administration and
war pornographer Michael R. Gordon of the New York Times are pushing a link that has not been established as existing. Dennis Bernstein discussed this with Robert Parry and Larry Everest on KPFA's Flashpoints yesterday. Parry: "One has to remember some of the ludicrous stories that Judy Miller of the New York Times published -- including some on the front page of the New York Times which were, in retrospect, laughable. But they're not laughable because they led to the death of so many people." Parry also noted some of the phoney claims used to market the illegal war on Iraq such as: "remember he was going to spray us, he was supposed to have these model planes that were going to fly over the United States spraying us with poisonous gasses." Everest and Parry discussed the likelihood that Bully Boy will attempt to strike Iran, possibly in April, possibly by forcing them to make the first move or possibly after Israel initiates an attack.

John R. MacArthur (Harper's magazine) spoke with Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! today noting the 'repoting' on Iran: "And the most damning ommission in the story, if you want to talk about overall perspective, is complete lack of perspective on who's fighting whom, who's shooting at whom in Iraq? Does the Iranian government really have an interest in destabilizing what's now a Shi'ite dominated government? Doesn't make any sense -- if it does make sense to the administration, that the Iranians want to destabilize a Shi'ite-dominated government, when they're a Shi'ite rule nation, then they should explain it. But there's no logic to it, and there's just this massive ommission."

Susan Page (USA Today) reports on the latest USA Today/Gallup Poll which found "six in 10 oppose President Bush's plan to use more troops" in Iraq and that "Seven of 10 say their representative's vote on the war will affect their vote in the next congressional election; more than four in 10 call it a major factor." Where is the New York Times poll on this topic? While other outlets have been providing their polling results for over two months now, the paper of record has been strangely silent.