democrats play in the alberto cesspool


the above is isaiah's latest comic and i enjoyed it sunday when it went up; however, i'm really starting to get the point.

who's calling the shots here?

harriet meirs is in contempt of congress but still not cited for it.

so the democrats in congress started calling for action on alberto gonzales some time ago. and what do we have to show for it? has harriet miers yet been compelled to testify? have we seen any action?


we're getting some fiery statements but where is the action.

listening to all the talk (and i agree gonzales needs to go, he's a national disgrace and a national tragedy - actually global on both fronts), you might think something's going to be done, something's about to happen.

if, like me, you think he needs to go, are you aware that it's next week or we'll be waiting until september for action from the congress?

august 3rd begins congress' month long vacation. are you aware of that?

august 3rd through september 4th that hard working congress (it's a lot of work to do nothing) takes a month off. so this coming friday, they leave for a month.

when they make all their strong statements, are you aware of that?

alberto needs to be gone. but why is it starting to look like this is a lot like the illegal war - congress will make brave statements but actually do nothing?

a newsday editorial in today's paper begins:

Enough is enough. Or in this case, more than enough. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales' evasions, circumlocutions and now outright lies are not only an embarrassment to the Bush administration, they are a blight on the very integrity of the nation's system of justice. The latest example was the testimony of FBI Director Robert Mueller about the contents of a conversation Gonzales had as White House counsel about a dispute over a national security eavesdropping plan. Mueller directly contradicted the attorney general, who said the surveillance program never came up.

tom raum of ap offers an analysis and here's a portion of it:

Gonzales has shouldered the brunt of congressional criticism over Bush's warrantless wiretapping program and the Justice Department's firings of U.S. attorneys last year. He now faces calls for a perjury investigation, and Democrats are clamoring for a special prosecutor.
Rank-and-file Republicans are upset by his faltering performance before congressional panels. Conservatives object to his views on affirmative action and abortion.
Even FBI Director Robert Mueller, a Gonzales subordinate, appeared to contradict Gonzales' sworn testimony to senators about a 2004 hospital encounter between Gonzales and then-Attorney General John Ashcroft.
So why is Gonzales still around?

the congressional vacation may not be known to most americans but congress knew of it. they've dragged their feet and put on a good show. they haven't accomplished anything. gonzales needs to go.

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

Friday, July 27, 2007. Chaos and violence continue, the US military announces another death, Cindy Sheehan debates a moron, Operation Happy Talk continues.

Starting with war resisters. From
September 2nd through September 26th, Agustin Aguayo was absent without leave. Aguayo self-checked out when facing a second deployment to Iraq and while his case was moving through the civilian courts. Aguayo was denied CO status by a military that doesn't know their own regulations. John A. Rogowsky Jr. is another, among many others, who have been wrongly denied CO status. From "Selective Service System: Fast Facts:" "Beliefs which qualify a registrant for CO status may be religious in nature, but don't have to be." Despite that basic reality, Aguayo, Rogowsky and others have been told that they're not religious enough, that their religion is not recognized, when religion really is NOT required for CO status. In Aguayo's case, the military refused to recognize that time in Iraq deepened Aguayo's faith (already present when he enlisted).
Speaking with Don Bustany on
KPFK's Middle East in Focus Wednesday, Aguayo shared his story.and noted that when he arrived in Iraq in February of 2004, the medics were gathered for a speech that was in conflict in with the printed training material. They were told that they were medics and they were combat troops and that, "'You medics,' speaking to us, 'has to make it clear, has to make it clear in the minds of your infantry man that they must finish their job because if they don't then there will be more work for you'." As Aguayo looked around he saw acceptance and an eagerness to get back to the routine but "I could not accept that I was being told those things."
He also spoke of the eagerness to blame Iraqis for any problems as opposed to questioning the illegal war or the Bully Boy who sent them there. Aguayo began to realize, "I was a particiant, a supporter, of all the missions that took place." Today Aguayo is sharing his story publicly.
Mialka Bonadonna (LAist) reports he will be speaking tonight (Friday) in Los Angeles, 7:00 pm at 3303 Wilshire Blvd., 2nd floor.

There is a growing movement of resistance within the US military which includes Robert Weiss, Phil McDowell, Steve Yoczik, Ross Spears, Jared Hood and James Burmeister, Eli Israel, Joshua Key,
Ehren Watada, Terri Johnson, Luke Kamunen, Leif Kamunen, Leo Kamunen, Camilo Mejia, Kimberly Rivera, Dean Walcott, Linjamin Mull, Agustin Aguayo, Justin Colby, Marc Train, Robert Zabala, Darrell Anderson, Kyle Snyder, Corey Glass, Jeremy Hinzman, Kevin Lee, Joshua Key, Mark Wilkerson, Patrick Hart, Ricky Clousing, Ivan Brobeck, Aidan Delgado, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Jeremy Hinzman, Stephen Funk, Clifton Hicks, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Joshua Casteel, Katherine Jashinski, Chris Teske, Matt Lowell, Jimmy Massey, Chris Capps, Tim Richard, Hart Viges, Michael Blake, Christopher Mogwai, Christian Care, Kyle Huwer, Vincent La Volpa, DeShawn Reed and Kevin Benderman. In total, forty-one US war resisters in Canada have applied for asylum.

Information on war resistance within the military can be found at
The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline, Iraq Veterans Against the War and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters. Tom Joad maintains a list of known war resisters.

From reality to Operation Happy Talk. The push-back is on and Lt. Gen. Raymond T. Odierno has enlisted.
Ned Parker (Los Angeles Times) writes of the press briefing Odierno gave yesterday where he issued the talking points that US military deaths were falling. Parker rightly notes that seven deaths were announced after the press briefing and the one of the deaths announced on Thursday dated back to Sunday. The US military was delaying announcing deaths. Reality is that in terms of what has been annouced, the deaths were 67 on Thursday and that July is not yet over but July 2007 is already the deadliest July for US service members since the start of the illegal war. July 2006: 43 US service members were killed in Iraq. In July 2005 and July 2004, 54 US service members were killed in Iraq. In July 2003, 48 US service members were killed in Iraq.

Last week, Odierno enlisted in the push-back in a vareity of ways at a press briefing with reporters at the US Pentagon via video-link. In terms of downgrading expectations for the September report to the US Congress by the military, he declared that the report that was needed would come in November and clarified, "
What I was saying is -- again, my remarks were, in 45 days I will have a better idea if the trends are continuing, and that's September. Obviously, we have an assessment we will conduct in September that will provide -- that General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker will provide. I was not looking at extending that time frame when they have to report back. What I imagine we'll have to do is do assessments that follow that initial assessment in September, and that's -- I'm assuming we'll continue to do assessments while we're here." Yesterday, Odierno stressed "trends" as well but forgot to include 7 deaths he should have known about in his remarks.

In addition, at the same press briefing, he attempted to yet again sell the non-proven link between resistance fighters in Iraq and the Iranian government. When pressed by reporters for evidence, Odierno's confident remarks of such a link were replaced with his statements that, "
We don't see any evidence -- significant evidence". And a third way he enlisted was in calling into question the right of an open debate in a free society when he took to suggesting that discussions in the media and in the US Congress about US forces withdrawing from Iraq, was 'emboldening' al Qaeda. Again, when pressed, Odierno had to back off from his original remarks and admit he had "no specific intelligence" on any such emboldening.

Operation Happy Talk is not confined to the US military brass and the US administration.
Andrew Grice (Independent of London) reports that the UK Air Chief Marshal Jock Stirrup (I did not make that name up) has declared, "We are very close to being able to hand over Basra in my judgement. Just when we will reach that point is at the moment uncertain but I am fairly confident it'll be in the second half of the year." Basra is one base, the Basra Palace (and it's also the last of four provinces the British military currently controls -- the other three were already turned over) Grice interprets Jock Stirrup's remarks to mean control of Basra could be handed off before the year's end; however, it could come much sooner. After all, British troops, the Soldiers of the Queen's Royal Hussars, proved they could hustle when they pulled out of the Maysan province with less than 24 hours notice after their base their repeatedly was attacked back in August. As Haidar Hani (AP) reported then that following the British hitting the road in 'stripped down mode': "Looters ravaged a former British base Friday . . . taking everything from doors and window frames to corrugated roofing and metal pipes". Iraqi authorites noted then that the British had only given them 24 hours notice that the departure was coming. As with that base, the Basra Palace has been under rocket and mortar attacks repeatedly. In addition, IRIN reports that approximately "150 doctors in Basra, Iraq's second largest city about 600km south of Baghdad, began a three-day strike on 23 July, demanding the government protect them and their families." This was to call attention to the lack of security and this comes as over "618 medical employees" have been killed since the start of the illegal war.

Turning to realities that US administration prefers we don't know.
Noam N. Levey and Alexandra Zavis (Los Angeles Times) report that the White House "has stopped reporting to Congress a key quality-of-life indicator in Baghdad: how long the power stays on." This is an agreed upon 'benchmark' by the US administration and Congress -- and one even Iraqis could agree to even though they were consulted when it was time to draw on benchmarks. When you can't meet the benchmark, this administration stops reporting it.
This approach is an affront to democracy and one of many the current administration has repeatedly shown not only to people in the US but to people around the world. Today,
Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez (Democracy Now!) hosted a debate on the issue of impeachment. All sides were represented, with Cindy Sheehan representing the pro-impeachment and Dan Gerstein representing the lunatic fringe. Gerstein is a Democratic Party Hack and not even a good one. His full credentials were not listed on the program and that's probably due to the fact that if he'd had to sit through even a partial litany of his many losses, he would have walked off on air.

Gerstein doesn't want impeachment. He doesn't think anything that's been done rises to the level of impeachment. He thinks the way to 'fix' is to vote Democrats into power in 2008 (he might want to check out his consulting p.r. faxes because I'm seeing something about him being in favor of Democrats "all things being equal"). To impeach the Bully Boy and/or Cheney would be a distraction that would harm the Democrats chances to regain the White House in 2008.

Gerstein's been more wrong than right when gazing into his crystal ball and that may say it all but for those who've forgotten his nasty snit-fits when his boy Joe Lieberman lost the primary to Ned Lamont, try google-ing.

The reality, as Cindy Sheehan pointed out, is that impeachment hasn't been a problem in terms of the White House. Gerstein is wrong, Sheehan is right. Gerstein tried to use the 1998 Congressional election (not a White House election) as an example. After the 2002 Congressional election demonstrated that no patterns were holding, no tea leafs could be read, Gerstein might try sticking to reality and leaving his fantasy land where he knows the outcome. (If he truly did, he might be a player and not a Lieberman lackey.)

From the broadcast:

CINDY SHEEHAN: Well, also in Article II, yeah, Clause 4, it says for treason and bribery and other high crimes and misdemeanors. I believe that -- and there's, you know, legal proof out there that when he commuted Scooter Libby's sentence, he committed treason, because Scooter Libby was convicted of obstructing justice in the cover-up of the Bush administration outing Valerie Plame. And I believe that the American people will be behind this. The Democrats aren't trying to end the war. They just gave George Bush $120 billion more to wage it. And he has said the troops aren't coming home while he's president. So I think we need to look at it as human-based and not political. John Conyers told me in a meeting previously to the one we had on Monday that winning the presidency in '08 was more important to him than ending the war in Iraq. When are our leaders going to -- I guarantee there's 150,000 mothers in this country, who it's more important to them to end the war in Iraq and get their children home safely than who's president in '08. And I think, historically, when this impeachment has been tried, like I said before, the party who tried it, even though it hasn't been successful, has -- it has galvanized the base of that party to say, "Wow, our leaders are courageous. Our leaders have integrity. Our leaders are leading us from a moral base, not from political expediency."

It was hilarious to see the Sterile Gerstein LIE and we'll use the word even though he will take offense but that is reality. A liar, for instance, is someone who attacks Cindy Sheehan as an attention hog (or whatever the term he used) only a short time ago but pretends to have the upmost respect for her during the debate today. The Peace Mom cleaned his clock.
In today's violence,
CNN reports that 17 Iraqis -- count includes 2 women -- were killed by the US military and the Iraqi military today in Karbala with hospital officials reporting at least twenty-five wounded ("including women and children") had been brought to the hospital. To no one's surprise the US military is claiming "Not true!" The US military asserts, in the same press release -- keep that in mind, that "No Iraqi civilians were present in the area while the strike was performed" -- the strike involved "aeiral fires" -- and that this was "a raid in a neighborhood in Karbala." One of those, no doubt, ghost town neighborhoods in Karbala? By their own admission, the raid took place in a neighborhood. The raid took place during the sleeping hours. The raid involved air strikes as well as shooting on the ground. And there is the matter of the bodies of the dead and the wounded.

Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a man was killed in a Baghdad bombing when the car he was driving was stopped by assailants who put "explosives into his car" and then attempted to use the man and his car in an attack on a police check point (two police officers were wounded), a Baghdad mortar attack that left four wounded, two people wounded when "U.S. troops bombed Al Husseiniya district" in Baghdad, an Al Muqdadiyah roadside bombing claimed 1 life with five others wounded, a Kirkuk rocket attack that claimed 2 lives, and a Karbala roadside bombing targeting Brig. Gen. Raed Shakir Hamed that left 3 of his bodyguards killed while he survived. Reuters notes a Mahmudiya mortar attack that claimed the life of 1 woman and left a child and an adult wounded, that a Samarra roadside bombing that claimed the lives of 7 police officers so . . .Shootings?

Reuters notes the Samarra police decided to open fire and 3 innocent civilians were killed (open fire after the bombing). Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports Saidiyah and Adeeb Abdul Salam were shot dead in a Baghdad home invasion, a person shot dead in Buhruz and attorney Hussam Al Nahi was shot dead in Basra. Reuters notes an Iraqi soldier shot dead in Kirkuk.Corpses?Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 7 corpses discovered in Baghdad, two corpses delivered to Al Muqdadiyah hospital, 1 corpse discovered in Baquba. KUNA reports the corpses of five women were discovered in Mosul today and that the women had been kidnapped yesterday while returning from work.

Today, the
US military announced: "One Task Force Lightning Soldier died as a result of injuries sustained from an explosion near his vehicle while conducting operations in Diyala province, Thursday." The death brings ICCC's current total to 3646 US service members killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war with 67 killed for the month thus far.


tony snow tries to dance around the cesspool

the alberto cesspool.

it just keeps stinking up the country.

democracy now played part of an exchange in the senate yesterday when alberto took his stink to the senate judiciary committee:

SEN. RICHARD DURBIN: I think that this administration and your tenure as Attorney General will be haunted in history by another issue, and that's the issue of torture -- is the reason I couldn't vote for your confirmation, the role that you played as counsel to the President in saying that we as a nation did not have to follow the torture statute and the provisions of the Geneva Conventions.
Now, last Friday, President Bush signed an executive order, interpreting Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions for the purposes of CIA's secret detention interrogation techniques. The executive order rejected your earlier position and acknowledges that the CIA must follow applicable law, including Common Article 3 of the Geneva Convention, the torture statute, and the McCain torture amendment, which I was happy to co-sponsor.
Do you now agree that Common Article 3 applies to all detainees held by the United States?

ALBERTO GONZALES: What I can say is, is that certainly Common Article 3 applies to all detainees held by the United States in our conflict with al-Qaeda.

SEN. RICHARD DURBIN: In -- I'm sorry, what's --

ALBERTO GONZALES: In our conflict with al-Qaeda, yes.

SEN. RICHARD DURBIN: Well, I'm worried about the qualification at the end. Are you suggesting that other terrorist conflicts are not covered by Common Article 3, in terms of the treatment of detainees?

ALBERTO GONZALES: You know, we have to look at the words of Common Article 3. The Supreme Court rendered a decision about the application of Common Article 3 with respect to our conflict with al-Qaeda only. And so, I believe, if I recall correctly, if that were the case, if there were a different kind of conflict that on its face isn't covered by Common Article 3, then obviously we would not be legally bound by Common Article 3, although I think the President has said we’re going to treat people humanely nonetheless.

torture is illegal. alberto, author of the infamous torture memo, refuses to call out torture or state that the u.s. won't use it. the u.s. has used it and it's illegal. he has disgraced the nation and he needs to go.

as well as disgracing the nation, alberto's also a liar. cbs reports:

FBI Director Robert S. Mueller said Thursday the government's terrorist surveillance program was the topic of a 2004 hospital room dispute between top Bush administration officials, contradicting Attorney General Alberto Gonzales' sworn Senate testimony.

before mueller came foward, tony snow tried to dance around the issue in today's press briefing:

Q On Gonzales, this Negroponte memo shows an apparent contradiction in what he told the committee two days ago about that briefing at the White House. But yet Gonzales' spokesman says that what he said on Tuesday was true. How can that be? Can you explain that?

MR. SNOW: Unfortunately we get into areas that you cannot discuss openly. It's a very complex issue. But the Attorney General was speaking consistently. The President supports him. I think at some point this is going to be something where members are going to have to go behind closed doors and have a fuller discussion of the issues. But I can't go any further than that.

Q Everyone else says the meeting was about the TSP. Negroponte says it, people who were there said it, Comey said it. How could that not be right?

MR. SNOW: It's simply more complex than that, and I can't go into any more detail.

or maybe he can't lie any further ... without leaving himself open to looking ridiculous?

abc reports that the white house is calling congress 'out of control' and whining that congress isn't working on a whole host of issues - issues that the white house has had 7 years to work on. abc also notes that 4 democrats in the senate held a press conference calling "for the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate Gonzales for perjury after mounting challenges to his sworn testimony before Congress."

also note this from the press briefing today on the end run by the white house to protect the likes of harriet miers et al:

Q Tony, if the President can order the U.S. attorney in the District of Columbia not to pursue criminal contempt charges, doesn't that sort of put him in the position of being able to determine unilaterally what executive privilege is?

MR. SNOW: Well, the President can assert executive privilege, but you've misstated the way this works. In fact, the Department of Justice has the responsibility -- the Department of Justice has already published an opinion; furthermore, there is a longstanding series of opinions out of the Department of Justice from Democratic and Republican administrations that talk about the inapplicability of criminal contempt of Congress citations when it comes to people asserting executive privilege.

So, number one, the President is not issuing orders; this is something that falls under the purview of the Department of Justice. And number two, legal precedent all points in one way and it would not be the way contemplated by the House Judiciary Committee.

Q The Nixon tapes case, though, presents certain limitations on the President's assertion of executive privilege, doesn't it?

MR. SNOW: How on earth are you trying to apply the Nixon's tapes case here? That seems an awful stretch.

Q I read it in the paper. It sounded logical when I read it.

this is the crowd that operates as if watergate never brought down richard nixon.

but the most offensive moment of the briefing may have been this by tony snow: "After returning to the White House, at 11:45 a.m. the President and Mrs. Bush will participate in a Special Olympics Global Law Enforcement Torch Run Ceremony. That will be in the Rose Garden, open press." a photo op. after the former surgeon general has revealed that he was discouraged by the white house from participating with special olympics because it might be helpful to the kennedy family. but bully boy's happy to pretend otherwise and grab an easy photo-op ... after he's politicized the special olympics.

so that's what's what in the cesspool. i participated in the roundtable for the gina & krista round-robin tonight. you don't want to miss it so check your inboxes for that tomorrow morning. let me note that i echo pru's praise of c.i. 100%. i would quote it here but i don't want to spoil it for any 1.

let's close with c.i.'s 'Iraq snapshot:'

Thursday, July 26, 2007. Chaos and violence continue, jock boys in the press treat a soccer match (not even a title win) as bigger news than 50 dead, the White House is all a titter over Bully Boy's upcoming meeting with Gordon Brown, the US military announces multiple deaths in Iraq (announces seven deaths, not the five many press outlets are reporting), the refugee crisis continues, and more.

Starting with war resisters.
The San Francisco Chapter of Veterans for Peace (Chapter 69) and Asian Pacific Islanders Resist have penned an op-ed (San Francisco Bay Guardian) noting that responsibilities don't fly out the window during an illegal war. In this section, they address the kanagroo courts that those who speak out face in the alleged name of military 'justice': "Many soldiers of conscience who dared to speak openly about the immorality and illegality of the war have been court-martialed and imprisoned. Their cases, dating back to 2004, raise serious doubts about the capacity of our soldiers to receive justice in our military courts. Five months prior to the Abu Ghraib scandal, a soft-spoken Army soldier named Camilo Mejía was visibly upset by the atrocities he observed during his tour of duty in Iraq. Repulsed by the slaughter of civilians and the needless deaths of American GIs -- all reported in his riveting combat memoir, Road from Ar Ramadi (New Press, 2007) -- Mejía gathered his courage and made formal complaints to his superiors. Commanders refused to listen and questioned his patriotism. Eventually Mejía was sentenced to a year in prison for speaking out, for telling the truth. His trial, like subsequent trials of war resisters, was a travesty of justice. The judge, Col. Gary Smith, ruled that evidence of the illegality of the war was inadmissible in court, that international law is irrelevant, and that a soldier's only duty is to follow orders, regardless of their legality. In essence, Mejía spent months in prison for upholding the rule of law in wartime. Had commanders listened to Mejía, had judges respected due process and the rule of law, the Abu Ghraib scandal that humiliated our troops might never have occurred."

Road from Ar Ramaid: The Private Rebellion of Staff Sergeant Mejia is Mejia's story of becmoing the first Iraq veteran to publicly become a war resisters (Stephen Funk is the first known war resisters in this illegal war and his resistance began when he refused to take part in an illegal war). Along with detailing the court-martial, Mejia also explains how, as that was about to get underweigh, the US military suddenly needed him to refile his CO application. Why? Well he'd outlined abuses and the military had ignored them so refiling it would make it appear that he was just then, as the court-martial approached, for the first time, noting the abuses he'd witnessed. Another point in the Mejia case that is often overlooked is that the US military was in violation of their own rules. Non-US citizen Mejia's eight-year contract was coming to an end. From Iraq, he and superiors made a call during which Mejia learned that his mother had contacted their senator (US Senator Bill Nelson) who had already made an issue of this -- as a noncitizen, Mejia could not be extended. That was the rule and Mejia was informed of that on the phone, when he repeated that and handed the phone to his superior, the superior "lost" the call. The same military that refused to grant Mejia CO status was also in violation of their own rules and this was all before Mejia self-checked out. That's why mainstream (or alternative) media dubbing Mejia a "deserter" without ever exploring those facts is more than a little simplistic.

Mejia's book came out in May and is one of two books published by war resisters this year.
Joshua Key's
The Deserter's Tale is the other one and, in it, Key outlines his own experiences in Iraq and how he came to the decision to self-check out. Joshua and Brandi Key and their children went underground and then moved to Canada. The Deserter's Tale has repeatedly won positive reviews since its release including an unwritten 'rave' from the US military which so enjoyed it, they sent two members to Canada to pose as Canadian police officers and badger Winnie Ng as to Key's whereabouts. Though far less fanatical, Phil Shannon (Autralia's Green Left Weekly) recently reviewed the book and found it to be
"told with unadorned but compelling simplicity, follows the life-altering path of a US citizen who turned from super-patriot to war-resister."

Currently, war resister
Agustin Aguayo is on a speaking tour telling his story and The Acorn reports that Aguayo will speak this Thursday from 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm at Grant Brimhall, Thousand Oaks Library, 1401 E. James Rd., that the event is "free and open to the public" and more information is available by calling (805) 375-9939. War resister Pablo Paredes will also be at the event.

This comes as
Terry Lee Goodrich (Fort Worth Star-Telegram) reports on yesterday's meeting of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) General Assembly during which they passed a resolution "opposing the war in Iraq as contrary to Jesus' teachings" and
supporting war resisters who refuse to serve in the illegal war based upon church teachings.

There is a growing movement of resistance within the US military which includes Robert Weiss, Phil McDowell, Steve Yoczik, Ross Spears, Jared Hood and James Burmeister, Eli Israel, Joshua Key,
Ehren Watada, Terri Johnson, Luke Kamunen, Leif Kamunen, Leo Kamunen, Camilo Mejia, Kimberly Rivera, Dean Walcott, Linjamin Mull, Agustin Aguayo, Justin Colby, Marc Train, Robert Zabala, Darrell Anderson, Kyle Snyder, Corey Glass, Jeremy Hinzman, Kevin Lee, Joshua Key, Mark Wilkerson, Patrick Hart, Ricky Clousing, Ivan Brobeck, Aidan Delgado, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Jeremy Hinzman, Stephen Funk, Clifton Hicks, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Joshua Casteel, Katherine Jashinski, Chris Teske, Matt Lowell, Jimmy Massey, Chris Capps, Tim Richard, Hart Viges, Michael Blake, Christopher Mogwai, Christian Care, Kyle Huwer, Vincent La Volpa, DeShawn Reed and Kevin Benderman. In total, forty-one US war resisters in Canada have applied for asylum.
Information on war resistance within the military can be found at
The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline, Iraq Veterans Against the War and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters. Tom Joad maintains a list of known war resisters.

Meanwhile, the White House has to deal with not one but two reports in September. On September 15th, General David Petraeus will present his report detailing the 'progress' resulting from Bully Boy's escalation of US troops in Iraq (approximately 160,000 are now on the ground).
Robin Wright (Washington Post) reveals the General Accounting Office will also be presenting a report on September 1st: "The GAO's international affairs team has had far more experience in Iraq than the study group led by former secretary of state James A. Baker III and former congressman Lee Hamilton (D-Ind.) or any of the other independent panels that have weighed in on Iraq. Indeed, the study group consulted the GAO team in preparing its report. Over the past four years, the GAO has issued 91 reports on Iraq, on topics including the mismanagement of Iraq's oil industry and problems in its new army.The GAO team is back in Iraq this week doing research to make its own assessment of the 18 benchmarks covered by the administration's reports." The 'benchmarks' were pushed by the White House and Congress mandated them. These are the same 'benchmarks' that the White House and the US military now attempts to play down as part of the push-back on the September deadline.

They aren't pushing back against the US Congress which still has no real desire to end the illegal war, instead they are pushing back against public opinion domestically which repeatedly finds approximately 70% of Americans are opposed to Bully Boy's illegal war of choice with 61% now wanting any futher funding of the illegal war to come with a timeline for withdrawal.

Norman Solomon observes (at Common Dreams), "Despite all the talk about how members of Congress have been turning against the war, few are clearly advocating a genuine end to U.S. military intervention in Iraq" and that the media joins in prolonging the illegal war, "Media outlets will keep telling us that the U.S. government is developing serious plans to 'leave' Iraq. But we would be foolish to believe those tall tales. The antiwar movement has an enormous amount of grassroots work to do -- changing the political terrain of the United States from the bottom up -- before the calculus of political opportunism in Washington determines that it would be more expedient to end the U.S. occupation of Iraq than to keep it going under one guise or another." Solomon details the efforts by PBS' NewsHour and Time magazine to mitigate public outrage, " The game involves dangling illusionary references to 'withdrawal' in front of the public" while no real withdrawal is being proposed and Solomon cites IPS' Phylis Bennis on yesterday's House amendment regarding permanent bases in Iraq, "The bill states an important principle opposing the 'establishment' of new bases in Iraq and 'not to exercise United States control of the oil resources of Iraq.' But it is limited in several ways. It prohibits only those bases which are acknowledged to be for the purpose of permanently stationing U.S. troops in Iraq; therefore any base constructed for temporarily stationing troops, or rotating troops, or anything less than an officially permanent deployment, would still be accepted. Further, the bill says nothing about the need to decommission the existing U.S. bases already built in Iraq; it only prohibits 'establishing' military installations, implying only new ones would be prohibited."

Meanwhile the press corps are in a frenzy over
a gaggle where White House flack Tony Snow confirmed that, grab the tissues, Bully Boy will host new UK prime minister Gordon Brown at Camp David. A two day meeting -- Sunday and Monday! And "they'll have a dinner" after Brown arrives Sunday. They'll take meeting "the following day." Of course, it's really not news since it's been in the British papers for days but let's all pretend and pretend that Tony Snow wasn't short on specifics, "This will be their first meeting" . . . well "at least here in the States" . . . "since Mr. Brown has become Prime Minister." Snow was probably closer to reality when he noted that the two would cover "sort of the predictable topics".

In other "feel good" news,
Richard A. Oppel Jr and Qais Mizher (New York Times) gush excitedly over a soccer game (one that is apparently so important, the paper front pages an AFP photo by Ali Yussef of boys and men running around in a frenzy) including two paragraphs on the fact that at least 50 Iraqis DIED while offering 17 paragraphs about the games and 'reactions' which the reporters didn't actually observe. But why should at least 50 dead interfere with selling 'good news' and letting alleged reporters grab their moment to play "Boys will be boys"?

Left out of their mouth breathing coverage are any women and why bother there? Why bother intruding on a jock moment with some actual reality? As
IRIN has noted, women activists in Iraq are under attack and receiving no support from the US and WFO's Haifaa Nour explains, "I know my life is under threat and I might be killed at any time especially for refusing to wear a veil or other traditional clothes, but if I do so, I will just be abetting the extremists." But the jock boys are too busy tearing off their shirts, beating their sunken chests and pounding away on the keyboards to note any of that reality. The jock boys also miss out on what some see as a telling bit of information. Angeel Hussein (Telegraph of London) observes, "American attempts to co-opt Iraqi insurgents in Baghdad have suffered a set back after Sunni and Shia Muslim militants in a key district of the city forged an alliance against United States forces. . . . the al-Girtani tribe reached across Iraq's sectarian divide, in what is believed to be the first partnership of its kind. 'We fought the Shia because of pressure from al-Qa'eda,' said Turki al-Girtani, the tribe leader. 'Now after they were beaten we have to refocus on the real enemy, which is the US army'." Rah, rah, boys of the New York Times, rah, rah!

BBC reports on the conference in Jordan to explore the Iraqi refugee crisis (4 million refugees when internally and externally displaced are counted) and notes the UN estimates 50,000 Iraqi refugees are being created each month. The CBC notes that Jordan has an estimated 750,000 Iraqi refugees and that they are asking for help. Voices in the Wilderness Kathy Kelly (CounterPunch) observes, "The U.S. could direct the amount of money spent on just six hours of the war in Iraq and fully meet the UNHCR request to assist millions of people who have barely survived this U.S. 'war of choice'." In other news of money spent or not spent, James Glanz (New York Times) continues to report on the contract waste in Iraq, noting today, "One of the largest American contractors working in Iraq, Bechtel National, met its original objectives on fewer than half of the projects it received as part of a $1.8 billion reconstruction contract, while most of the rest were canceled, reduced in scope or never completed as designed, federal investigators have found in a report released yesterday." [Glanz' article appears on A6 within the paper and has no 'cheery' photo illustrating the paper's front page.]

Despite the rah-rah over a sports match, violence continued in Iraq today including in the land of the 'crackdown' Baghdad.
CBS and AP report on a Baghdad car bombing that claimed the lives of at least 21 (at least sixty wounded) and left smoke billowing "into the sky after the thunderous explosion" while "nine cars burned" as well as a three story building. Paul Tait (Reuters) reports the death toll has climbed to at least 25 with at least 115 wounded and that the death toll is expected to climb while describing the scene, "Bodies lay strewn around the street after the blast, which smashed three buildings into piles of masonry and concrete. It was at least the fourth to hit the predominantly Shi'ite district of Karrada this week."

In other violence . . .


Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad bombing that claimed 4 lives in the south, one in the west that claimed 6 lives (including an Iraqi soldier), a Hilla bombing that claimed 7 lives (five of which were police officer), Reuters notes mortar attacks in Mosul that claimed 1 life and left seven wounded.


Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 5 police officers were killed in Tikrit "while chasing gunmen" and the Karrada shooting death of Abdul Satar Abdul Jabar who had been "a general manager in the ministry of housing and rebuilding." Reuters notes three police officers shot dead in Yarubiya.


Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 20 corpses discovered in Baghdad. Reuters notes two corpses discovered in Latifiya ("blindfolded, handcuffed and riddled with bullets").

Today the
US military announced: "One MNC-I Soldier was killed when an improvised explosive device detonated during clearing operations in Baghdad July 24." That death took place two days ago and was announced today. And they announced: "A Marine assigned to Multi National Force-West died July 22 in a non-combat related incident in Al Anbar Province." That death took place four days ago and was announced today. And they announced: "A Multi-National Division-Baghdad Soldier was killed during a small arms fire engagement in a southern section of the Iraqi capital July 25." That death took place one day ago. And they announced: "Three Marines and one Sailor assigned to Multi National Force-West died July 24 while conducting combat operations in Diyala Province." Those deaths took place two days ago and were announced today. Before someone wants to harp on "time differences" all announcements are coming out of Baghdad. Also note that this is seven deaths and not, as so many in the press are reporting, five deaths. It's easy to be confused with the MNF's new pattern of delaying death announcements -- but the press isn't commenting on that either. The totals currently at ICCC are 3645 US service members killed in the illegal war since it started with 66 for the month thus far.

Svea Herbst-Bayliss (Reuters) reports that the parents of Jeffrey Lucey have filed a federal lawsuit against the US government over the suicide of their son "in his parents' Massachusetts basement less than a year after returning home from fighting during the invasion of Iraq in 2003" with the father, Kevin Lucey, maintaining, "The government is guilty of not taking care of the troops after they come home."

Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez (Democracy Now!) interviewed Iraqi Nesreen (last name withheld) and Brooklyn teacher Bruce Wallace about their project to dispell "the other" and bridge the physical distance between Iraqi and US students. From the broadcast:

AMY GOODMAN: Nesreen, let's begin with you. Talk about the situation in Baghdad, what it's like for you to teach, for your kids to go to school.
NESREEN: Well, everything is difficult in Baghdad. Me, as a teacher, when I go to school, it is hard to get to my school, simply because the American troops are there in the streets, and they sometimes close all the streets or sometimes they are stuck or stop in the streets to -- you know, it's a kind of delay there will be for going to school, and looking for landmines or trying to attack some people, some Iraqi people, looking for insurgents.
And on my way to school, I saw many, many bad things, such as dead bodies or sometimes the random shooting all of a sudden started. And when I go to a school, sometimes I find students and sometimes very few students and sometimes no students.
JUAN GONZALEZ: In terms of the -- the images that we see here, obviously, in the United States, when they are presented, are of constant bombings that occur on an almost daily basis. On a day-to-day level for your students, what is life like? Does that violence -- is it there constantly or is it once in a while?
NESREEN: Constantly. Yeah, because, you know, the situation is very, very difficult right there in the school. Some of my students stopped coming to school, because their parents were threatened or family is threatened, some of them afraid to come to school because of the bad situation in the streets or afraid of kidnapping, things like that.
[. . .]
AMY GOODMAN: How about your kids in the Brooklyn school? We asked Nesreen about her girls. What about the effect of this email exchange with your kids? How old are they?
BRUCE WALLACE: They're high school students in Brooklyn, so they are between twelve and eighteen years old. For them, it was partly an awakening of knowledge, and for myself also. I have a few college degrees. I went up to the Master's level. I knew nothing about Iraq. I had to look for it on the map. I knew nothing about the culture, nothing about the people. For me, it was an awakening, and for my students also. I remember one email that said, "Oh, you hear Jay-Z in Baghdad?" We just had no idea of who these people were, and little by little learned to understand them as people very much like ourselves. And that was a very powerful thing for the students.

No front page photo on the New York Times of that.

Finally, in political news,
CBS and AP report, "Iraq's Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi's office said the moderate Sunni leader had met with U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker on Wednesday to discuss his political bloc's objections to the leadership of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. The meeting occurred on the same day al-Hashemi's Iraqi Accordance Front suspended membership in the government, a bid that appeared timed to deepen disenchantment in Washington with the Shiite prime minister's faltering leadership." Things get worse for the puppet of the occupation Nouri al-Maliki but, by all means, let's all focus on a soccer game.


the cesspool and smarten up

there's not really any new news on the alberto gonzales' cesspool front. this is from the ap:

Documents indicate eight congressional leaders were briefed about the Bush administration's terrorist surveillance program on the eve of its expiration in 2004, contradicting sworn Senate testimony this week by Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.
The documents underscore questions about Gonzales' credibility as senators consider whether a perjury investigation should be opened into conflicting accounts about the program and a dramatic March 2004 confrontation leading up to its potentially illegal reauthorization.
A Gonzales spokesman maintained Wednesday that the attorney general stands by his testimony.

if you remember, gonzales' claim that he was speaking of another program were discredited in the hearings. this story adds to that noting not only that it contradicts with sworn testimony and briefings, it also contradicts with the written documents.

alberto lies. he can't help but lie. he's dug himself into a hole and now it's time to lie some more.

he's a joke and that he's still heading the justice department is making all of us a joke as well.

turning to other bad jokes, what is about centrists?

why do they think they have any pull in this community?

1 thinks he can threaten c.i. and then, when that doesn't work (c.i. doesn't back down - there's a story from childhood that c.i.'s mother told me years ago and i've tried to include it in the roundtables at third because the 2nd i heard it, i grasped how tough c.i. is - this isn't a family story or a cute story, this is about a tough as nails 8-year-old and c.i.'s only gotten stronger as the years have gone by) he wants to start trashing c.i. in d.c. to nobodies - sorry if that hurts any 1's feelings but c.i.'s not running with the grassroots in d.c.

so the centrist is trashing c.i. and trying to get a friend (of his) to intercede on his behalf with c.i.
oh, a stranger, a nobody wants to councel c.i.? you know that's going over about as well as britney spears trying to be an opera star.

i am sick of the centrists and i'm sick of their whining. most of all, i'm sick of the bully males who think they can threaten women and then want to come off all sweetness. typical abuser.

if you're a guy, let me tell you that nothing will make you lower on this earth than physically threatening a woman or physically harming 1. you may get your jollies for a 2nd (and hopefully none of the young males who read me every would) but that's all you'll have. for the young women, if a man threatens you, that's a warning sign. he may lay it on thick about feeling bad, but that's your warning sign. if he lays a hand on you, you need to not only end it, you need to report it because he will do it to other women again (and has probably already done it to some woman who didn't step forward).

we live in a society where the encouragement of abuse of women is always just under the surface. popular culture and other things encourage it. it's always there waiting to burst alive.
if you're a guy, you need to be calling our your male friends who encourage it or find it funny. if you're a woman, you need to respect yourself and other women enough not to laugh at 'humor' that is really just flirting with the abuse of women.

let's close with c.i.'s 'Iraq snapshot:'

Wednesday, July 25, 2007. Chaos and violence continue, Ann Wright explains what John Conyers can't grasp (or pretends not to grasp), Katrina vanden Heuvel thinks being editor & publisher means playing favorites, Baraba Lee proves there are some leaders in Congress, Tina Richards proves there are truth tellers, BBC tells about back in the day when the Bush family tried to overthrow FDR, and more.

Starting with war resistance. Today on
KPFK's Uprising, Sonali Kohatkar interviewed Agustin Aguayo and Helga Aguayo. Aguayo self-checked out the US military at the start of September on the eve of his second deployment to Iraq (and while his CO requests were being ignored to such a point that they were now fighting in the civilian courts) and turned himself before the end of the month. Earlier this year, in Germany, Aguayo was court-martialed. He is now speaking out about his experiences.

Agustin explained to Kohatkar that the time since being released from military prison and returning to the United States have been an adjustment becuase "for so long I was part of a system where everything was laid out." Helga spoke of what it was like for her when the persecution of her husband was taking place, "It's been very difficult. . . . It's been very stressful. My health has detirated a little but I'm getting stronger." Helga and Agusin are the parents of twin daughters (12-year-olds). Agustin declared that he speaks now to get the word out and "something of great importance to me is reaching out to the youth". Agustin noted the recruitment efforts targeting young people today and hopes that by speaking he can count that "and share with them the other side of the story, the side advertisements and recruiters won't ever tell them."

In addition to the false promises recruiters to make to all children (generally the children of low income families), Kohatkar noted that there is also the promise of citizenship offered to those who will fight in the US military although they are not citizens. Kohatkar noted that 32,000 immigrants had been naturalized as a result of serving in the US miltiary.

Reflecting on his awakening (it was a religious awakening and Agustin has spoken of it in those terms), Agustin stated, "I came to see myself as what I truly am. A person that is peaceful. . . . The missions I was participating in were not naturally peaceful ones so I regret some of them."

Helga spoke to the issues of what can be done from the outside. She termed the period during which the military was persecuting her husband "sheer terror for us" and spoke of living in fear that the military would physically harm if she spoke out or retaliate against him. What she discovered was, "The louder I spoke, the more support I got. The louder I spoke, the more media attention it got him. So I had to get over my fear."

Where things stand now is that Agustin is "still part of the military" and "basically I have a legal right to appeal my court-martial". Kohtkar asked what was the worst that could happen right now? Noting the current "political environment," Agustin pointed out that "recently Marines and soldiers with the inactive-ready reserves have been prosecuted for speaking out." That would include
Adam Kokesh (Cloy Richards and Liam Madden have also been among those harassed). Agustin also noted how many were leaving the military often "in a quiet way without making any statements, including to their family." Helga credited IVAW and others with "The moral support, the guidance" they offered and noted, "I do believe that we can stop this war. You know the politicians have failed us and now it's up to us. . . . Maybe I'm being too optimistic but I think that eventually we can stop this war."

Aguayo is telling his story publicly and
The Acorn reports that Aguayo will speak this Thursday from 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm at Grant Brimhall, Thousand Oaks Library, 1401 E. James Rd., that the event is "free and open to the public" and more information is available by calling (805) 375-9939. War resister Pablo Paredes will also be at the event.

There is a growing movement of resistance within the US military which includes Robert Weiss, Phil McDowell, Steve Yoczik, Ross Spears, Jared Hood and James Burmeister, Eli Israel, Joshua Key,
Ehren Watada, Terri Johnson, Luke Kamunen, Leif Kamunen, Leo Kamunen, Camilo Mejia, Kimberly Rivera, Dean Walcott, Linjamin Mull, Agustin Aguayo, Justin Colby, Marc Train, Robert Zabala, Darrell Anderson, Kyle Snyder, Corey Glass, Jeremy Hinzman, Kevin Lee, Joshua Key, Mark Wilkerson, Patrick Hart, Ricky Clousing, Ivan Brobeck, Aidan Delgado, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Jeremy Hinzman, Stephen Funk, Clifton Hicks, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Joshua Casteel, Katherine Jashinski, Chris Teske, Matt Lowell, Jimmy Massey, Chris Capps, Tim Richard, Hart Viges, Michael Blake, Christopher Mogwai, Christian Care, Kyle Huwer, Vincent La Volpa, DeShawn Reed and Kevin Benderman. In total, forty-one US war resisters in Canada have applied for asylum.

Information on war resistance within the military can be found at
The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline, Iraq Veterans Against the War and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters. Tom Joad maintains a list of known war resisters.

Now let's turn to periodical news and the biggest laugh (cited by friends at two networks and three daily papers),
the Peace Resister Katrina vanden Heuvel. Itwas embarrassing enough that (once again) she was pushing a group on her blog (Editor's Cut) whose board both she and her father serve on (without DISLCOSING THAT while lavishing praise on the centrist group). But she's not a journalist. She's not a trained jouranlist and she continues to run The Nation as if it is the Palm Beach Social Pictoral and not an alleged independent weekly.

Today she demonstrates that not only may the posts editor and publisher beyond her grasp but so may be basic comprehension. In the Democratic 'debate' this week, US Senator Barack Obama was asked a question and offered a response. It demonstrated his lack of experience
but Katrina vanden Heuvel drums up the case against Hillary Clinton and pushes the DLC Barack Obama by altering reality. "In Monday's debate," she writes, "and with the benefit of having time to think through her response, Hillary Clinton posed as the foreign policy sophisticate to Barack Obama the bold leader who did not hesitate to say that he would meet with the leaders of Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Syria, and Venezuela." No that is not what happened.

Transcript of the 'debate' (New York Times) shows Obama was asked if he would "meet separately, without precondition, during the first year of your administration, in Washington or anywhere else, with the leaders of Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea, in order to bridge the gap that divides our countries?" The first year. Would he meet in the first year. Obama responded, "I would." Blah blah blah followed.

David Corn gets it right. And it is a mistake. (Tim Russert slipped in "insurgent Obama" on NBC's Today this morning.) There is nothing wrong with diplomatic meetings, they should be encouraged. But Katrina vanden Heuvel fudges reality to make it appear that's the issue when it isn't. Obama agreed to meetings his first year in office. You don't do that. You don't show your hand in that way and you certainly don't announce first year meetings when you're not even in office. This has nothing to do with Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez or any other leader, it has nothing to do with other countries. It has everything to do with the way diplomacy is conducted. You can indicate you're willing to consider it, you don't say, "Yes, I will have those meetings." In terms of the way diplomacy is conducted and in terms of the way Obama's mistake will continue to play out, David Corn is correct.

Corn writes for The Nation. Katrina vanden Heuvel holds the magazine's posts of editor and publisher. Disagreeing with a writer for the magazine -- someone serving under -- publicly might or might not be 'bad form' but the fact that she then holds up another writer at the magazine is causing huge laughs: "My colleague Ari Berman posted his smart and sharp counter to David's argument . . ." As the editor and the publisher, vanden Heuvel should give the appearance of detatchment with regards to those working beneath her. Instead, she picks a favorite. Again, she's not trained in journalism. But she sure did provide a lot of laughter today.

Berman also shades reality by changing the issue at stake (the first year vanishes from Berman's critique as it did from Katrina vanden Heuvel's). Now let's get to the real reality here. (Friends pushed for this to be noted but that alone wouldn't have gotten it included in the snapshot.) The tongue baths of Obama from The Nation are appalling.
As Bruce Dixon and Glen Ford have explained, Barack Obama was DLC in 2004. He only ran from it when it threatened to become harmful. Katrina vanden Heuvel and Ari Berman are gushing over Obama. They are far, far from reality. Barack Obama repeatedly stated in 2004 that the US could not withdraw from Iraq. He repeatedly (publicly and privately) went on record being opposed to a withdrawal. Why is it that an alleged left magazine has elected not to explore that and instead play cheerleader for him? (While giving non-stop hisses to Hillary Clinton.)

The Nation's not trying to end the illegal war. A strong but ultimately meaningless editorial every two years is not trying to end the illegal war.
An article that boasts of "dozens" of photos of abuse to Iraqis being turned over to the magazine that fails to feature any of those photographs isn't trying to end the illegal war or even to be a distant relation of journalism. But the magazine wants to pretend (and really needs) it cares about the illegal war. If it cares about the illegal war, it's past time for the magazine to get honest about Barack Obama. It's beyond time for them to quit repeating the mainstream narrative of how Barack was right about the illegal war before it started unlike Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, Joe Biden and Chris Dodd without noting that repeatedly in 2004, Barack Obama argued that the US must not withdraw, must 'win' the illegal war, etc. The one who wants credit for being right that the illegal war was wrong also needs to take his blame for saying that an illegal war should continue to drag on. Pretending otherwise isn't helping anyone.

Pretending that Congressional leaders are attempting to end the illegal war isn't helping anyone either.
Tina Richards (via Democracy Rising) notes the obvious that's treated as if it must be kept unspoken -- the Levin-Reed Amendment will not "bring our troops home" or "end the war": "I had an opportunity to ask [Senate Majority] Leader [Harry] Reid about how many troops will be abandoned in Iraq. He bluntly stated, 'we haven't spoken to the military yet, at this stage we don't know.' We don't know? They have pushed and prodded for this Amendment and they don't know? If Members of Congress do not have any idea how large of a future force this amendment calls for, then how can we as military families possibly support it? Senator Reid has admitted that this proposed 'pull-out plan' does nothing yet leave the decision up to the military leadership, who take their direction from President Bush. It must be made clear to the public that the Levin-Reed Amendment does not call for a specific withdrawal from Iraq nor does it seek to revamp the American mission in the region."

Funding the war is Killing The Troops. The message of Tina Richards' Grassroots America and Iraq Veterans Against the War. It's basic, it's easy to communicate. Want to bring the troops home safely? Stop funding the illegal war. Want to stop the US military air war on Iraq? Stop funding the illegal war.

Want to stop the illegal war? Stop farming yourself as the Pep Squad for Democratic Leadership in Congress which refuses to end the illegal war but prefers 'symbolic' action and shell games.

Appearing on
KPFK 's Radio Active yesterday, Cindy Sheehan explained to host Michael Slate why she was running for the Congressional seat currently held by Nancy Pelosi (who also holds the title of House Majority Leader). Sheehan explained that, in light of US House Rep John Conyers' public promises (that the MSM has ignored) in recent days, she was hopeful going into the meeting on Monday with Conyers. The meeting didn't go well. Sheehan explained that Conyers said they didn't have the votes "he doesn't want to look foolish . . . Fox News would have a field day with that." Conyers proposed that the answer was in voting for Democrats in 2008. Sheehan explained that this is an example of how "the two-party system that really gets nothing done. Congress has made themselves invalid and irrelevant . . . I think it's about time that they do their job." And if they won't, then it is up to the voters, Sheehan explained, noting that the most recent legislation has shown "more earmarks for defense spending than the Republicans did."

Today on
KPFK Uprising featured a Global Voices for Justice interview with John Conyers that was taped over the weekend. Conyers described the situtation as "really bad. We've never been in this situation before, with someone like that in the White House." But, Conyers wanted the public to understand, "You don't have to be in office to get impeached. You can get impeached for something you did in office."

Conyers is off his rocker or insane. The US Congress has never impeached a non-sitting president. In a two-party system, such a move would provide both parties pause. It is insane to think (or suggest, as Conyers did) that the impeachment of the Bully Boy can take place after 2008, after he leaves office. Right now, with him occupying the White House, it is like moving mountains to get the Congressional leaders just to acknowledge the option of impeachment exists. We're supposed to believe that will change after Bully Boy leaves office?

Conyers also declared that Congress has "a job . . . We're supposed to be creating legislation for the country." If he really believes that lie, then in 2009, won't Congress still have "a job to do"? Won't they still need to create legislation?

But Conyers wanted to lie and declare that impeachment "means there's no more legislation. . . . That's it."

On Radio Active yesterday, retired diplomat and retired Col. Ann Wright addressed Conyer's nonsense noting that there were plenty of people in DC who could be added to Congressional staffs: "You can do more than 2 or 3 things at once that there are plenty of young men and young women in this town that could be hired onto committees to do a multiple number of things. And should not we the people of the United States have a little bit of accountabiliy for this administration when we know what's being going on? And when we elected a Congress, changed the Congress around so that the Democrats are in charge specifically to get some accountability -- and now those same Democrats are backing off from it."

Jimmy Breslin addressed the topic of impeachment this week (Newsday via Common Dreams):

The other day, Bush said he couldn't understand why in the world would some people say that millions of Americans have no health insurance. "Why, all they have to do is go to the emergency room," he said.

Said this with the smirk, the insolent smug, contemptuous way he speaks to citizens.

People, particularly these politicians, these frightened beggars in suits, seem petrified about impeachment. It could wreck the country.

Ridiculous. I've been around this business twice and we're all still here and no politician was even injured. Richard Nixon lied during a war and helped get some 58,500 Americans killed and many escaped by hanging onto helicopter skids. Nixon left peacefully. Mike Mansfield of Montana, the Democratic Senate majority leader, said on television that the Senate impeachment trial of Nixon would be televised and there would be no immunity. That meant Nixon would have to face the country under oath and if he lied he would go to prison. He knew he was finished as he heard this. Mansfield said no more. He got up and left. Barbara Walters, on the "Today" show, said, "He doesn't say very much, does he?"

The second time the subject was Bill Clinton for illegal holding in the hallway.

This time, we have dead bodies involved. Consider what is accomplished by the simple power of the word impeachment. If you read these broken-down news writers or terrified politicians claiming that an impeachment would leave the nation in pieces, don't give a moment to them.

It opens with the appointing of an investigator to report to the House on evidence that calls for impeachment. He could bring witnesses forward. That would be all you'd need. Here in the impeachment proceedings against Richard Nixon came John Dean. His history shows how far down the honesty and honor of this country has gone. Dean was the White House counsel. Richard Nixon, at his worst, never told him not to appear or to remain silent in front of the Congress. Dean went on and did his best to fill prisons. After that came Alexander Butterfield, a nobody. All he had to say was that the White House had a taping system that caught all the conversations in the White House. Any of them not on tape were erased by a participant.

The same is desperately needed now. Curious, following the words, an investigator -- the mind here sees George Mitchell and Warren Rudman, and you name me better -- can slap a hand on the slitherers and sneaks who have kept us in war for five years and who use failing generals to beg for more time and more lives of our young. A final word in September? Two years more, the generals and Bush people say.

Say impeachment and you'll get your troops home.

David Swanson's AfterDowningStreet goes historical and steers to people to a BBC special entitled "The Whitehouse Coup" which "uncovers details of a planned coup in the USA in 1933 by a group of right-wing American. The coup was aimed at toppling President Franklin D. Roosevelt with the help of half-a-million war veterans. The plotters, who were alleged to involve some of the most famous families in America, (owners of Heinz, Birds Eye, Goodtea, Maxwell Hse & George Bush's Grandfather, Prescott) believed that their country should adopt the policies of Hitler and Mussolini to beat the great depression. Mike Thomas investigates why so little is known about this biggest ever peacetime threat to American democracy."

In the US currently, US House Rep Barbara Lee put forward proposed legislation in the House today "
to prevent permanent military bases in Iraq and bar U.S. control over Iraqi oil resources." H.R. 2929 passed on a 399 to 24 vote. It would need to pass the Senate as well before it can be law. Said Lee, "We must soundly reject the vision of an open ended occupation as bad policy that undermines the safety of our troops and recognize it for what it is: another recruiting poster for terrorists."

In Iraq,
CBS and AP report more political trouble for puppet of the occupation Nouri al-Maliki with the "largest Sunni Arab bloc" in Parliament has put its membership on hold and should they resign "al-Maliki's Cabinet would limp along with about a third of its seats vacant and without its billing as a 'national unity' government."

National unity? Today in Iraq . . .


Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 53 dead from bombings in Baghdad alone -- 20 from a car bombing at a check point, 30 from a car bombing targeting people celebrating a soccer victory, 3 from a car bomb in northern Baghdad .


Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 2 farmers were shot dead in Kirkuk. Reuters reports seven people making a pilgrimage to Baghdad were wounded in Kerbala.


>Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports Mustafa Qaid Mizhir Al Asi was kidnapped in Kirkuk, while 4 were kidnapped in Sadiyah -- the heads of the 4 were later found -- no signs of the rest of the bodies.


Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 18 corpses were discovered in the capital. Reuters reports 5 corpses discovered in Iskandairya.

Today, the
US military announced: "A 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) Soldier died of a non-battle related cause July 24."

In DC today, a nonsense committe made up of 9 members (including Donna Shalala and Bob Dole) announced recommendations. This was to address veterans' care. As the Washington Post's Dana Priest expected,
speaking on NPR's Morning Edition today, there were no specifics on Walter Reed Army Medical Center and the recommendations were instead about systematic changes. The Final Report can be read [PDF format warning] here. and [PDF format warning] here for the findings. Your thoughts mayrun along the lines of "What planet have they been living on?" Proving they are 'hip' and 'with it' they want to create a "My eBenefits" page and it would allow medical information to be shared. Were they in comas when the Veterans Dept. repeatedly lost computers and put the privacy of veterans medical information at risk? The panel takes issue (rightly) with the VA for it's refusal to address the PTSD issues of returning service members; however, it then proposes that the VA get increased responsibility in determining the disability pay system. Does no one see the conflict? On the one hand, the VA hasn't been recognizing the very serious PTSD issues but on the other they would now be in charge of dispensing the benefit monies. As AP noted earlier this week, the VA is being sued by veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan "on behalf of hundreds of veterans, it charges that the VA has failed warriors on several fronts -- from providing prompt disability benefits, to adding staff to reduce wait times for medical care to boosting services for post-traumatic stress disorder."

Ron Jacobs (CounterPunch) reports on upcoming actions to follow the Bully Boy and share his Maine vacation with him: "a broad coalition of antiwar groups are holding a protest and covergence over the August 24-26 weekend. Like the encampment spearheaded by Cindy Sheehan outside of Crawford, Texas last summer, this protest aims to bring the antiwar message to the man who claims the war as his won." Among those present for the August 25th events will be Agustin Aguayo, David Rovics, the Indigo Girls and Dennis Kucinich.


who will drain the alberto cesspool?

did you listen to radio active with michael slate on KPFK? a lot can happen between now and election day but cindy sheehan sounded like a winner to me. she said the right things that resounded with those sick of the do-nothing congress which still refuses to end the illegal war and continues to resort to shell games in their attempts to fool the public - a public that has caught on to the goins on in d.c. if things do not change quickly, 2008 will probably be about the outsider in congressional races and nancy pelosi is nothing but an insider.

ann wright was also on and she talked about the need to impeach as well. she also spoke of alberto gonzales before congress today. she was in the audience for that (prompting michael slate to ask her how she keeps getting in - she responded they are open to the public and you'd be surprised how many in government jobs, including police, supported the work they were doing). she talked about alberto saying 'you'll just have to trust us.'

on what?

he wants congress to approve new powers for him without congress knowing what the powers are. he just wants them to trust him and what is more trust worthy than alberto gonzales?

ann wright also noted that all justice dept. criminal investigation files are now available to the vice president's chief of staff and others in the administration. that's not how the justice dept. is supposed to work. alberto said he didn't know how that could have happened. he signed the paper but wanted to play dumb about how it happened.

ibs reports on alberto's show boating before the senate judiciary committe and notes alberot claimed that he didn't force john ashcroft or try to - he apparently was just visiting the hospitalized john to wish him well - so apparently james comey is a liar, if you believe alber-rot.
who still believes alberto?

ibs notes gonzales read from 26 pages of remarks prepared ahead of time and tried to act as though he'd been the barry bonds & hank aaron of the justice dept. combined. ibs notes (and this isn't a surprise) that senator arlen specter (republican) 'was harder on Gonzales Tuesday than any Democrats' - of course he was. dems refuse to stand up.

jay newton-small (time magazine) reports that gonzles' appearance 'raised a lot more troubling questions than it answered" and notes specter as well and notes 'Specter really wanted to know ... how that meeting' rushing to ashcroft's hospital room because comey refused to re-certify the illegal spying operation - 'squared with gonzales' previous testimony that there had been no serious internal disagreements over the program.' newton-small tells you gonzales tried to weasel out by claiming the visit to the hospital room had nothing to do with the illegal spying program and that, on this, specter was joined by charles schumer pointing out that every sworn and public statement gonzales has made in the past 'has named the Terrorist Surveillance Program as the one at issue during the hospital visit to Ashcroft's room.'

he just lies and lies again. and congress will probably put up with it. jay rockefeller said albe-rot committed perjury. (so charge him already.)

note this from netwon-small:

Much of Gonzales' time was spent telling the committee he couldn't remember, wasn't up to date or wasn't at liberty to discuss the details on everything from the department's controversial settlement with the makers of Oxycotin, a drug believed responsible for dozens of deaths and his consideration of death penalty cases. to his involvement in drafting U.S. torture guidelines while working at the White House and why he apparently lied to a Senate panel over President George W. Bush's warrantless wiretapping programs.

he's the perfect partner for the bully boy - you always want some 1 who won't turn on you and will dummy up claiming not to remember when you launch a crime spree.

richard b. schmitt (los angeles times) notes:

The testimony was part of an effort by Gonzales to repair his credibility with members of Congress, who complain, among other concerns, about his firing of eight U.S. attorneys last year.
But he did not appear to do himself any good with members of the panel, and in some ways he lost ground.He was repeatedly on the defensive, even with top Republicans, while a dozen or so protesters periodically interrupted the hearing with chants of "Resign!" and "Liar!"

lara jakes jordan (ap) reports that senators are considering wheter or not to appoint a special prosecutor to look into the gonzales' cesspool and that 'He would not answer numerous questions, including whether the Bush administration would bar its U.S. attorneys from pursuing contempt charges against former White House officials who have defied congressional subpoenas for their testimony.'

we'll wrap the cesspool up with emily bazelon (slate):

Even after all these months of tacking and backtracking, Gonzales' lack of command of the details is something to behold. He doesn't know the total number of U.S. attorneys who were fired. He doesn't recall his participation in reversing former U.S. Attorney Paul Charlton's decision about whether to seek the death penalty in a case where all the evidence was circumstantial. He doesn't know why DoJ's new guide to prosecuting voter fraud removed or watered down key directives against pursuing cases in a way that could interfere with the outcome of an election. He doesn't know why the Justice Department's guidelines restricting communications with the White House now suddenly include a blanket exception for contact between the attorney general and the vice president and his counsel. And, of course, he doesn't know who put the names of the U.S. attorneys on the list he approved for firing.

that really sums it up. let's close with c.i.'s 'Iraq snapshot:'

Tuesday, July 24, 2007. Chaos and violence continue, a US service member announces he is not going to Iraq, the DNC makes a mockery of a 'debate' without any need of YouTube 'gadgets,' the US military announces more deaths (late Monday -- and deaths that could have been announced no later than Sunday), the New York Times tries to sell the illegal war again, Cindy Sheehan declares a Congressional run, and more.

Starting with war resistance.
Memphis Vets Against the War (Chapter 149 of Iraq Veternas Against the War) note (at Memphis Flyer) "soldiers of conscience, who dared to speak openly about the immorality and illegality of the war, [who] have been court-martialed and imprsioned. Their cases, dating back to 2004, raise serious doubts about the capacity of our soldiers to receive justice in our military courts. Five months prior to Abu Ghraib scandal, a soft-spoken Army soldier named Camilo Mejia was visibly upset by the atrocities he observed during his tour of duty in Iraq. Repelled by the slaughter of civilians and the needless deaths of American GIs (all reported in Mejia's riveting combat memoir, The Road to Ar Ramadi, 2007), Camilo gathered up his courage and made formal complaints to his superiors. Commanders refused to listen and questioned his patriotism. Eventually Mejia was sentenced to a year in prison for speaking out, for telling the truth. His trial, like subsequent trials of war resisters, was a travesty of justice. Judge Col. Gary Smith ruled that evidence of the illegality of the war was inadmissible in court, that international law is irrelevant, that a soldier's only duty to follow orders, regardless of their legality. It is a sad day in military jurisprudence when a soldier of conscience is court-martialed, not for lying, but for telling the truth . . . Our military system is passing through a profound moral and legal crisis." IVAW's Adam Kokesh posts an e-mail from Robert Weiss who has filed for conscientious objector status and "informed my chain of command that the only way I will go to Iraq is if they tranquilize me, cuff me, and throw me on a plane. That being the case I won't perform any duties or wear a uniform anyways. I don't plan on letting the situation progress that far. I am hopeful that I will be placed on rear detachment until the decision on my application comes in. When it becomes apparent that they won't do this I will simply refuse to follow any orders given to me or wear a uniform. This will surely result in some jail time but that doesn't deter me one bit. It makes more sense to me to resist the military now rather than in Iraq where the situation would be much more difficult."

Agustin Aguayo was in Germany (as Weiss is now) when he was told he would be handcuffed/chained and put on a plane to Iraq. That prompted his self-checkout. Aguayo is telling his story publicly and The Acorn reports that Aguayo will speak this Thursday from 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm at Grant Brimhall, Thousand Oaks Library, 1401 E. James Rd., that the event is "free and open to the public" and more information is available by calling (805) 375-9939. War resister Pablo Paredes will also be at the event.

There is a growing movement of resistance within the US military which includes Robert Weiss, Phil McDowell, Steve Yoczik, Ross Spears, Jared Hood and James Burmeister, Eli Israel, Joshua Key,
Ehren Watada, Terri Johnson, Luke Kamunen, Leif Kamunen, Leo Kamunen, Camilo Mejia, Kimberly Rivera, Dean Walcott, Linjamin Mull, Agustin Aguayo, Justin Colby, Marc Train, Robert Zabala, Darrell Anderson, Kyle Snyder, Corey Glass, Jeremy Hinzman, Kevin Lee, Joshua Key, Mark Wilkerson, Patrick Hart, Ricky Clousing, Ivan Brobeck, Aidan Delgado, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Jeremy Hinzman, Stephen Funk, Clifton Hicks, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Joshua Casteel, Katherine Jashinski, Chris Teske, Matt Lowell, Jimmy Massey, Chris Capps, Tim Richard, Hart Viges, Michael Blake, Christopher Mogwai, Christian Care, Kyle Huwer, Vincent La Volpa, DeShawn Reed and Kevin Benderman. In total, forty-one US war resisters in Canada have applied for asylum.

Information on war resistance within the military can be found at
The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline, Iraq Veterans Against the War and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters. Tom Joad maintains a list of known war resisters.

Turning to news of activism, bravery and disappointment.
Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) reported today that DC was the location, specifically John Conyers' office, for a rather surprising development, "45 protesters calling for the impeachment of President Bush and Vice President Cheney were arrested Monday at the U.S. Capitol. The arrests occurred after the demonstrators refused to leave the office and hallway of Congressman John Conyers of Michigan. The arrested included Cindy Sheehan and former CIA analyst Ray McGovern. They were urging Conyers -- the chair of the House Judiciary -- to introduce articles of impeachment." In addition, they were delivering a petition, with over one million signatures, calling for impeachment. As Rebecca (Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude) noted last night, "That's really sad. John Conyers, who knows all about civil disobedience, sicks the cops on civil disobedience. Oh how the mighty have fallen." Dave Lindorff (CounterPunch) shares that sentiment noting, "The arrest of impeachment activists and their forcible eviction from his office was a betrayal of people who were doing the very thing that had allowed Conyers to make his way into Congress in the first place: sitting in to insist on action on their demands for justice. It was, after all, sit-ins that helped lead to the Voting Rights Act which allowed African American candidates like Conyers to finally win seats in the US Congress. It's ironic that Rep. Conyers, speaking in 2005 on Democracy Now! following Rosa Parks' death at the age of 92, said her passing 'is probably the end of an era.' Certainly, with his request to have Capitol Police officers enter his office (the very office where Parks once had worked as a staff member!) to cuff and arrest peaceful protesters who were trying to defend the Constitution, he has made that point far more clearly than he could have expressed it in mere words."
David Swanson (AfterDowningStreet) was among those arrested and he notes that John Conyers' office is under a lot of pressure or feels that way: "The staffer was annoyed and complained to his colleague 'It's bad enough they shut the office down with phone calls'." Oh, those pesky citizens, foolishy thinking they have a voice in democracy! Don't they know the John Conyers staff doesn't need their input! Democracy in the Conyers office translates as "We give you what we want, be happy!" Now here's John Conyers singing with backing assitance from his staffers (and a down dirty rap by Nancy Pelosi): "Don't protest . . . be happy. Ain't got no guts . . . ain't got no spine. Ain't gonna help you . . . just get mine. But don't protest . . . be happy."

As Lindorff notes, Swanson has detailed the Two Faces of John Conyers -- says one thing when before crowds, says another when back on the hill.
Swanson reveals today that Conyers "said, if he were to do that [move forward with impeachment] Fox News would go after him and accuse him of being partisan. I kid you not. The Democratic Chairman of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee is basing his decisions on whether a Republican cable TV station would approve. As Cindy Sheehan told me outside the jail last night: 'If I based my decisions on Fox, I would never do anything'." (As noted Sunday, "Politicians crave their good publicity and when the media tilts to the right, they grasp which way to lean to get valentines. . . . Politicians aren't naturally brave -- it's difficult to win a popularity contest/election on bravery".) Lindorff notes that Iraq Veterans Against the War's Rev. Lennox Yearwood was arrested (really, shame on Conyers -- he's now having the clergy arrested) while Nadir (Distorted Soul via AfterDowningStreet) noted that -- in the worst tradition of The Nation magazine -- John Conyers' staff played dumb, "They asked why this action was directed at him, and not at other congress members. It was explained that protests were also being held in DC and at district offices all over the country. Conyers was being targeted because as Judiciary Chair, he has the power to put H. Res. 333 on the Judiciary Committee agenda." Cindy Sheehan (AfterDowningStreet) reminds, of Conyers, "A year ago he introduced HR635 to impeach George Bush while he was Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee and not even chairman. He wrote the book on impeachment called: The Constitution in Crisis and he readily admits that BushCo have committed impeachable offenses. It's about partisan politics, pure and simple. The Congressman claims that there is absolutley no way that impeachment can go forward and when I was nearing the end of my hope I cried out: 'So, if the people's house won't help us then we the people have no recourse against the executive branch.' To which he replied: 'Yes you do, vote the enablers out in '08.' Firstly, Congressman Conyers told us to put Democrats back in [power in] Congress to end the war and impeach BushCo. We did that and instead of ending the war, they gave George Bush more money to wage it and to conduct his deadly and tragic surge." CODEPINK's Medea Benjamin (Common Dreams) observes, "The arrest of impeachment activists and their forcible eviction from Conyers' office today is proof of the bankruptcy of the two-party system. It is shameful that Conyers and Pelosi are putting their perceived interest of their party above the Constitution, which clearly makes impeachment the remedy for dealing with presidential 'high crimes and misdemeanors'. With the Democratic leadership refusing to rein in an administration run amok, it is crystal clear that we, the people, must uphold the Constitution. People's power, like the kind in evidence today in the normally solemn halls of Congress, is our only hope."

Impeachment is widely supported in the few national polls that survey on it and muncipalities across the nation have passed resolutions in support of it.
Robert Parry (Consortium News) observed, "If some historic challenge is not made to the extraordinary assertions of power by President Bush and Vice President Cheney, the United States might lose its status as a democratic Republic based on a Constitution that adheres to the twin principles that no one is above the law and everyone is endowed with 'inalienable rights.' . . . Even if impeachment didn't reach the ultimate goal of removing Bush and Cheney, it would put down a marker of congressional resistance to executive abuses. The public would get the point, too. The current Democratic strategy of fighting and losing legislative battles over symbolic resolutions of disapproval or meaningless votes of no confidence only invites the consolidation of the Bush-Cheney vision of an all-powerful presidency." [Parry's latest book, Neck Deep: The Disastrous Presidency of George W. Bush has just been released. Also Rev. Yearwood is the chair of the Hip Hop Caucus in addition to being a member of IVAW.] >

Ray McGovern (writing at Consortium News) reveals that during the meeting with Conyers yesterday, he, Sheehan and Yearwood were informed by the Rep that what was needed was a "Town Hall meeting in Detroit so we can talk about impeachment" but, as McGovern points out, that already happened: "On May 29, 2007, Col. Ann Wright and I were among those who flew to Detroit for a highly advertised Town Hall meeting on impeachment, because we were assured that John Conyers would be there. The Town Hall/panel discussion was arranged by the Michigan chapter of the
National Lawyers Guild less than two weeks after the Detroit City Council passed a resolution, cosponsored by Conyers' wife Monica Conyers -- calling for the impeachment of Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney. We had hoped that Monica's clear vision and courage must be contagious. I had to remind the congressman that he did not show up for the Town Hall." And while Conyers can't remember which events took place and which did not, Matthew Rothschild (The Progressive) sounds the alarms about Bully Boy's latest power grabs including the July 17th Executive Order that allows "the Secretary of the Treasury . . . to freeze the assets of any person opposing Bush's Iraq policy" which can be seen to include actions such as a rally calling for the end of the illegal war, throwing "a pie in the face of legislator," arranging for "an Iraqi oil worker" to speak, etc. Rothschild concludes of the Bully Boy, "He's got our democracy by the throat, and he keeps squeezing it. And still the Democratic leadership in the House won't wave their hands for impeachment? We have a renegade in the Oval Office. He is suberting our Constitution. And the only remedy is impeachment. We must apply that remedy before it's too late." [Rothschild's new book is You Have No Rights: Stories of America In An Age of Repression (The New Press, $16.99). Rothschild has concluded one leg of his book tour and will begin a second leg next month: August 14th 7:00 pm, San Luis Obispo Public Library, 995 Palm St, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401; August 15th 7:00 pm, Borders Books, 900 State Street, Santa Barbara, CA 93101 and August 16th 7:00 pm, Book Soup, 8818 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90069.]

Returning to Peace Mom Cindy Sheehan,
she has now declared her run in the 2008 elections: "It is also with a heavy heart that I announce my candidacy against Nancy Pelosi in California's 8th. If anybody would dare think that I am not serious, I would hope that they would look back at the last three years of my life and everything that I have sacrificed to restore our nation to one that obeys the rule of law and can be looked up to with respect once again in the international community and not as the hated laughingstock on the block. I am committed to challenging a two party system that has kept us in a state of constant warfare for the last 60 years and has become more and more beholden to special interests and has forgotten the faces of the people whom it represents." Today, at 4:00 pm PST, 6:00 Central and 7:00 EST, Cindy Sheehan will be on KPFK discussing her meeting with Conyers and her decision to run. (Those who see the heads up too late should remember they can utilize the KPFK archives.)

Larry Pinkney (The Black Commentator) may make the case best of the current self-created swamp the US finds itself in (domestically) listing various lies and concluding, "Thus is should come as no surprise that even as America sinks deeper into the self-created bloody quagmire of Iraq, its President, Vice President, the entire US Senate, and a sizeable portion of the US House of Representatives are selectively ignoring the lies which led to the American invasion and occupation of Iraq in the first place. Now these same elements are clamoring for war with Iran while blaming that nation for the deaths of US troops who were themselves taken into Iraq under the patent 'weapons of mass destruction' lie. This insanity will stop only when the people of the United States bring it to an end. The politicians, be they Democrats or Republicans will never end this insanity as they and their corporate bosses are irretrievably intertwined in this symbiotic cycle of insanity."

The insanity largely continued in yesterday's 'debate' (the hyped YouTube debate -- so hyped, so trendy, that even Pat Robertson had to file a YouTube story yesterday on The 700 Club before his sit-down chat with Prince of Darkness Robert Novack). The DNC planned 'debate' brought together candidates for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination . . . at the Citadel in yet another cowardly attempt to hide behind the military. As bad as it is that Democrats sought to represent the people by appearing at a military venue, there's also the fact that the college was originally created,
as their own press release notes, "to educate young men whose duty was to protect the city of Charleston from the threat of a slave rebellion." In all the rah-rah, that's not being noted and it should be noted loudly before the next 'debate' includes the donning of white sheets. In a non-ironic moment, the issue of reparations for slavery was raised and, as Jens Manuel Krogstad (Waterloo Ceder Falls Courier) notes, Barack Obama felt it was more important to fund "struggling schools" -- as if that has anything to do with reparations or as if it's an either/or issue -- either we fund schools or we address reparations.

A lot of hot air (possibly no more than usual) filled the auditorium. Two speaking to realities were
Dennis Kucinich and Mike Gravel. US House Rep Kucinich declared, "I introduced a plan four years ago, Anderson [Cooper], that was a full plan to remove our troops. I'm the only one on this stage -- excuse me -- who not only voted against this war, but voted against funding the war. It is not credible to say you oppose the war from the start when you voted to fund it 100 percent of the time, 70 percent, 5 percent of the time. Let's get real about this war. Let's get those troops home and let's take a stand and do it now. Send a message to Congress now. We cannot wait until the next president takes office." It's cute the way commentators see that line in relation to US Senator Hillary and former US Senator John Edwards while ignoring the very obvious point that it applies firmly and completely to US Senator Barack Obama. Former US Senator Gravel stated, "Our soldiers died in Vietnam in vain. You can now, John, go to Hanoi and get a Baskin-robbins ice cream cone. That's what you can do. And now we have most favored nation trade. What did all these people die for? What are they dying for right now in Iraq every single day? Let me tell you: There's only one thing worse than a soldier dying in vain; it's more soldiers dying in vain."

Democracy Now! noted, Senator Joe Biden declared (in what should be front page news everywhere) that he's been "inside the Green Zone, where I've been seven times and shot at." Biden was shot at inside the Green Zone? That should be front page news. And reporters should be attempting to verify the veracity of that astounding claim. Obama played the weasel he's so good at. Just as he was telling would-be donors in 2004 that he wasn't for withdrawal, his comments in the 'debate' should have also been shocking: "The time for us to ask how we were going to get out of Iraq was before we went in, and that is something that too many of us failed to do. We failed to do it. And I do think that that is something that both Republicans and Democrats have to take responsiblity for." But Obama was taking on responsibilty. He went on to talk about future wars (no surprise to anyone paying attention the war imagery he incorporated into speeches in 2004) and avoided the real issue of withdrawal. In fact, his statements noted above can be seen as a refusal to call for complete withdrawal. He's fond of harping on the fact that he was against the war before it began, he's less prone to point out that he publicly came out against withdrawal repeatedly in 2004.

Former Governor
Bill Richardson's website notes Richardon's statement in the 'debate', "This is what I stand for: I believe we should bring all of the troops home in six months with no residual forces" and proclaims, "The Governor was frustrated by the lack of time devoted to exploring the candidate's positions on the Iraq War, and other critical topics. 'If we had more time we could have had a real discussion so people could see my plan is clearly different than the other candidates'."

Meanwhile a citizen named
Pat weighs in at Hillary Clinton's website, "During last nights debate it came out that the Iraqi Parlement is going to take a '3 week' vacation 'now', while the country is in the middle of a war. Not to mention the U.S. troops dieing on 'their' streets daily. Now tell me does this make any sence? I suggest we 'all' immediately call/write/or e-mail the President protesting such action. This is outrageous! Also I would like to hear Hillary's response to this situation. Thank you. Pat." Pat seems unaware that while US service members have been dying and while the US has been "in the middle of a war" for over four years now, the US Congress has regularly gone on vacation (declared vacations) -- they took a recess for the 4th, will do so for Labor Day, did so for Memorial Day, etc. Did it make sense? In Baghdad today the high was predicted to be 117 degrees farenheit (that's why so many Iraqis in the summer sleep on the roofs when possible). The temperature is the reason for the planned, announced break. Possibly Pat is comfortable debating in 117 degrees temperatures but that's not really Pat's call to make for others. The White House has made noises of complaint as have some Republicans. The first willing to forgo their own scheduled vacation will probably be taken somewhat serious but, as it is, the Iraqi Parliament already gave up the month of July (part of the two-month vacation). Pat may not be aware of it but the US Congress is scheduled to begin it's own vacation next month -- August 3rd to September 4th. The US Congress really isn't in any position to finger point at the Iraqi Parliament over the issue of vacations.

The biggest whiners in the US about the Iraqi Parliament going on vacation are those who fret over the fact that US imposed benchmarks aren't being met, such as passage of US drafted legislation which would permit the theft of Iraqi oil. The
Green Party of the US has "declared their support for the tens of thousands of Iraqis, including labor unions, who are protesting the Iraqi oil law 'benchmark' that the Bush Administration and supporters are seeking to impose as a condition for reconstruction aid. On July 16, Iraqis took to the streets of Basra in a demonstration organized by the Iraqi Federation of Oil Unions against the proposed law, which would place 2/3 of Iraqi oil under foreign control, granting 30-year contracts to US and UK energy corporations for 'development' of Iraq's oil resources."

At The Notion,
Ari Berman takes on the New York Times for their . . . headline. Yesterday, Wally addressed the realities here, Cedric here and we did so this morning here. Berman's late to the party and only semi-dressed. The headline in question is to Megan Thee's "Support for Initial Invasion Has Risen, Poll Shows" and the headline is the least of the problems. Thee repeatedly compares the latest CBS-New York Times poll to the previous one. Anyone paying attention would immediately grasp the earlier poll had 1554 respondents while this one has 889. They would also grasp why this was -- when you poll on the weekend, you get a lower number of respondents and you also tend to get a more sedentary grouping. Seizing a statistical anomaly, Thee sells the myth that there is a rise in support for the illegal invasion. A poll is useless on its own. Where it is reliable is when it finds trends over times. Running with an anomaly as news is not only ignorant, it's unprofessional. When CBS News noted the joint poll yesterday, they didn't run with the anomaly (the difference between professionals and idiots?). They noted the trends and what the Times runs with is billed (near the end of CBS' report) as "slightly" not trumpeted as "Support for Initial Invasion Has Risen, Polls Shows!" Megan Thee and the New York Times are pushing nonsense and calling out the headline hardly cuts it (as "real time" criticism or otherwise). The trends? Bully Boy's at 25% approval for Iraq, Congress is at 26% approval overall, 63% say that there should be no funding without a timetable for withdrawal, etc.

Staying with polling news
Jon Cohen and Dan Balz (Washington Post) report on the Washington Post-ABC News poll (1,125 respondents) which finds low marks for the Bully Boy and for Congress but the public citing a preference for "the Democratic-controlled Congress [to] make decisions about a possible withdrawal of U.S. forces" (6/10s state Congress has final say).

Today on
KPFK's Uprising, Rahul Mahajan delivered a commentary on the United States lousy practice of accepting refugees from Iraq and the historical practice of 'rewarding': "But the US record of dealing decently with its allies and collaborators is a remarkabley poor one. In Iraq, the United States three times abandoned the Kurds to their fate -- in 1974, 1991, and 1996. The first time around, Henry Kissinger, explaining the abandonment to Congress, explained superciliously that 'covert action should not be confused with missionary work.' The second time was part of one of the worst crimes of the United States in the post-Vietnam era -- when the sainted George Bush Sr. called on the Iraqi people to rise upagainst Saddam, then panicked when they did and helped Saddam in brutally suppressing them. The third time, in what some have called the 'Bay of Camels,' a sudden invasion of northern Iraq (nominally part of the same country, but under autonomous administration since the Gulf War) caught the CIA completely unprepared and resulted in the slaughter of thousands of locals with whom they had been working, most of whom they made no effort to remove from harm's way." In addition to audio being available at the KPFA archives, Rahul Mahajan's commentary can also be read at his website Empire Notes. (Sonali Kohatkar also interviewed journalist David Enders about a number of topics including his decision to become an embedded reporter on his recent trip to Iraq.)

On Sunday,
Spence S. Hsu (Washington Post) reported Ryan Crocker was requesting that the US government "take the unusual step of granting immigrant visas to all Iraqis employed by the U.S. government in Iraq because of growing concern that they will quit and flee the country if they cannot be assured eventual safe passage to the United States" and reveals that despite public promises/goals of admitting 7,000 by September, since last October, only 133 have been admitted. Today, Helene Cooper (New York Times) reported that the administration is "trying to help." One would hope so, Crocker is the US ambassador to Iraq.

In Baghdad today, Iran and the US met. As
Mohammed al Dulaimy and Hannah Allam (McClatchy Newspapers) reportedyesterday, Iraqis weren't immediately included in the talks taking place in their own capital and directly impacting their country: "some Iraqi officials had complained that they were being sidelined; another example of overlapping forces at play in Iraq. It was later agreed that Iraqi officials would observe the talks, though U.S.-Iranian interests would take center stage." CBS and AP report that the meeting led to an agreement "to set up a security subcommittee to carry foward talks on restoring stability in Iraq" according to Ryan Crocker. CBS News' Pamela Falk states that "the point of the talks is broader, and that is to open channels of communication". Alexandra Zavis (Los Angeles Times) reports that accusations were exchanged while puppet of the occupation, Nouri al-Maliki, pleaded for both sides to be sincere and keep Iraq's best interests in mind. This as War Pornographer Michael Gordon (New York Times) salivates over the US military's Joint Campaign Plan which plans for the next two years of illegal war in Iraq. Robert Burns and Pauline Jelinek (AP) report that the plan sees 2009 as when "local authorities" will be "enforcing security" and yet "leaves open the question of how many US troops will still be needed". Alexandra Zavis (Los Angeles Times) reported on the Green Zone "embassy" the US is building ("nearly $600-million cost") which truly serves notice that the US isn't planning on leaving. (And demonstrates the centrist and creepy Council for Foreign Relations can also be offensive as Stephen Biddle spits out a little about Native Americans and no one's supposed to notice.)

In Iraq today . . .


The bombing causing the most fatalities took place in Hilla today.
The Telegraph of London reports that the bombing took place "opposite a children's hospital . . . setting cars ablaze in a street packed with shoppers and people on their way to work." CBS and AP note that "Eassam Rashid, 32, was selling vegetables at his stall when the blast sent shrapnel over his head." AFX notes that at least 24 people were killed in the blast while approximately 66 are listed as wounded and Lt. Eid al-Shammari declaring, "Most of the wounded were women and children, and the blast destroyed 15 vehicles and about 20 nearby shops." Al Jazeera reports the death toll rose to 26.

Mohammed al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports that there are 27 dead and 68 wounded and also notes a Baghdad roadside bombing that left 2 Iraqi soldiers wounded, a mortar attack on the Green Zone, a Baghdad roadside bombing that killed one police officer (three more wounded), a Basra mortar attack (on a hospital) claimed 3 lives (fourteen wounded), a mortar attack in Diyala that claimed 1 life and injured the man's wife.


Mohammed al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports: "Gunmen killed Brigadier General Kamal Tahir in Al Kadhmiya. Tahir is an officer of the Iraqi minister of defense and a member of Kadhemiya city council, Iraq police said." Reuters reports, "Gunmen seriously wounded a police colonel and his son and blew up three houses in Dhuluiya" and that "a civil servant" was shot dead in Kirkuk.


Mohammed al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports that 18 corpses were discovered in Baghdad. The total number of US service members killed in the illegal war has now reached 3637 since the start of the illegal war (ICCC). Since yesterday's snapshot, the US military announced: "A 13th SC(E) Soldier was killed July 21 as a result of injuries sustained when an improvised explosive device detonated near his Humvee while conducting a combat logistics patrol south of Samarra, Iraq." And they announced: "A Task Force Marne Soldier died of wounds sustained after an improvised explosive device attack July 22."

Finally, last week in Iraq Peter McFerran was killed. The
BBC reports that his father, professor Robert McFeran who served in the Royal Air Force for 10 years, is now calling "on Prime Minister Gordon Brown to start withdrawing British troops."