talking post

2007 would stand out as the year independent media attacked Cindy Sheehan for daring to note the reality: Democrats in Congress were not ending the illegal war despite being handed control of both houses in the November 2006 elections to do so. The Peace Mom could be kicked to the curb because the 'left' was really just schilling for the Democratic Party in most cases. Shameless "Don't Run, Cindy!" campaigns sprung up -- as ignorant and appalling as "Ralph, Don't Run!" earlier but, note, now these undemocratic 'leaders' weren't rushing to eliminate presidential contenders, they were attempting to eliminate House candidates. In 20010, look for The Nation and others to stick their big noses into municipal elections. Not surprisingly, none of the ones launching a "Don't Run, Cindy!" campaign lived in the Bay Area. If they had, they might have grasped the current House rep does not represent the eighth district of California and citizens are majorly displeased with Nancy Pelosi. (As polling of the Bay Area would later demonstrate.) But somehow the race was something for residents of Los Angeles and NYC to weigh in on -- even though they didn't know the area, didn't live in the area and wouldn't be voting in it. Instead of using their voices to support the candidates in races they COULD VOTE IN, they thought the thing to do was gang up on a woman who'd already given so much. It was disgraceful.

that's from c.i.'s '2007: the year of living useless (year in review).' that was part of the year and thank goodness c.i. wasn't going to play dumb about it. a number of people did, now didn't they, baracudda. this went up too late for me last night. i was still dragging from new year's eve. i woke up this morning and after i was fully awake and done changing and feeding the baby, i picked up on the fact that flyboy was laughing his ass off at something. i asked, 'what has you so tickeled?' it was the year-in-review.

am i wrong to note that if we all didn't expect c.i. (i include myself in 'we') to do over 20 posted entries a week at the common ills, to do the t.v. commentaries for 3rd with ava, for ava and c.i. to do the t.v. commentaries for el spirito and the radio reviews for hilda's mix, and columns for both of those plus the gina & krista round-robin and polly's brew, we could pieces like this several times a week?

again, i include myself in the 'we.' but look what happens after the cindy section:

But not surprising. Independent media isn't "independent" and at some point may face serious probes of their tax-free status. It's one thing to be of the left, it's another to be in bed with the Democratic Party and the latter actually violates the tax-free status so many hold. Fortunately for them, Democrats currently control Congress so there will be no probe in the immediate future. (If they had any brains, they'd throw a bone or two to the Green Party and independent candidates just to give the appearance that they're not an arm of the Democratic Party.)
In addition to that reality, the attacks on Cindy shouldn't have come as a surprise to anyone paying attention in March of 2007. That's when it was obvious that the Congressional Democratic leadership was selling out the voters. And that's when Pelosi's enforcer David Obey threw an abusive and public tantrum captured on video. Instead of calling out Obey, many (such as David Sirota) rushed in to defend Obey. The woman he attacked was Tina Richards and wasn't it cute the way she was either left undefended or attacked by our so-called 'left' media? It's really hard for people to even pretend you're 'independent' media when you rush to defend Obey and his tantrum while piling on the mother of wounded Iraq veteran Cloy Richards whose 'crime' was trying to get the medical attention her son was owed. It was a disgraceful moment for independent media and a lot of people would like to pretend it didn't happen.
The embarrassment might have continued for the full year had Howard Zinn's "Are We Politicians or Citizens?" (The Progressive) not made the point so many in independent media wanted to forget. That's how bad 2007 was, 'independent' media could and did go after two women working to end the illegal war, one the mother of son who died in the Iraq War, the other the mother of a son who was wounded in it. And what did independent media, so quick to slam these women, have to show for itself on Iraq? Not too damn much.

in a world where so many women writers feel the absolute height is being cutesy, c.i. cuts to the bone and does so in a humorous way - not really on display above but that's how c.i. writes these pieces - the humor pops up throughout in the early sections, then it gets chugging and it's just this powerful speech - i can always hear c.i. delivering these - and then it winds down with this sort of pull the camera all the way back, a sardonic comment or 2 and you're just sitting there in awe. this takes a lot of energy (and a lot of skill) and though c.i. usually doesn't speak that long, if it's required, c.i. can pull together a speech like that without any notes and, listening, you'll think the whole thing had an ending, middle, et al planned.

it's an awe-inspiring piece of writing - for the observations, the critiques, the humor and, most of all, the bravery.

look at this section and notice what's going on:

In fairness to Katrina, she's always been opposed to war resisters. In 2007, what's the excuse from others?
Doesn't independent media exist to tell the stories of resistance? And isn't their claim to increased fame and larger audiences the illegal war in Iraq? Didn't they tell us the truth in real time? Didn't they tell us that they loved peace, baby? They said they'd keep coming back to this topic, baby, baby, baby, baby, baby, oh, baby . . .
Like a Carpenters song, the illegal war apparently dated quickly. (Maybe Sonic Youth could try to revive independent media?)

when the series of questions started, i had no idea where it was headed but when i got to 'loved peace, baby' i knew it was going to that song. (which is a favorite song of mine, f.y.i.)

there are so many strands running through this. once in college, advanced comp, the professor put our stuff on the overhead (essays) and he was nice to most. he got to c.i.'s and you couldn't read what was projected after a minute or 2. he was raing over c.i.'s essay and circling this sentence and noting how, 2 paragraphs before it's set up, and how it doubles-back right here and blah blah blah and there were all these arrows and circles over the whole thing. the professor was a published author. for the final project, c.i. turned in 2 pieces of lengthy writing. the professor tried to get c.i. to agree to publish the 100 plus page novel. it was way over 100 pages, i have no idea how much over. the professor was an author and manic. we had 2 final assignments because 3 days before it was due, he changed it on us. we were supposed to do something creative and i mean, i knocked out a few (bad) poems. c.i. sat down at the typewriter and i still remember sections of that project.

when we got the pieces back (after the semester! long after!), i grabbed c.i.'s (c.i. was going to trash it and just didn't want it left laying out at the professor's office for any 1 to grab) and it was 1 bit of praise after another. things like, 'i wish i had written this paragraph!'

and i'm reading over it and thinking, 'is this a professor or a fan?' :D

so it's good to see c.i. can still toss off something on demand. (i'm not insulting it. it's awe-inspiring. but i was on the phone with c.i. yesterday evening and all c.i. had was topics people had brought up over the year and was going to pick through those and construct something. it was done quickly and that's the 1 and only draft.)

there are 2 other year 2007 pieces and i'm going to note them individually with 1 tomorrow night and the last on friday.

meanwhile, read kat's 'One less . . . candidate to vote for' and elaine's 'Bye-bye Dennis' and be appalled by dennis kucinich's who is endorsing obama in iowa after his voters vote for him in 1 round. then go on to vote for obama.

i will make it about obama.

obama's a war hawk and he's disgusting.

any 1 who tells his supporters to vote for obama isn't some 1 serious about ending the illegal war.

and any 1 who tries to lose an election isn't some 1 i want to vote for.

we saw elections stolen in 2000 and 2004 and any 1 who's not fighting in the primaries has lost my trust. telling people to go with obama is offensive just because obama's a war hawk (and a liar). but this whole 'put up a fight for a bit and then give it up to obama' is just cowardly.

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

Wednesday, January 2, 2008. Chaos and violence continue, John Edwards speaks to Gordo (who goes after Elizabeth Edwards), the femicide in Iraq continues, and the well to do partied in Baghdad.

Starting with war resistance. Little Artie Weinreb (of the right-wing Canada Free Press) blows a gasket over war resisters in a post entitled, "Canada readies to give U.S. deserters refuge." The foam from Artie's mouth makes it hard to understand him or maybe it's Artie who doesn't understand? That would explain why he can argue that
Jeremy Hinzman served in Afhganistan, so he can't be a CO! Actually he can be . . . even if he served in Afghanistan. But, for the record, Hinzman served in a non-combat role and that was due to his beliefs about war. It's not strange that Artie doesn't know US policies -- he is Canadian -- but he appears to feel it's just him and the US' Peggy Noons standing up for the red, white and blue. Maple left, Artie, remember the maple leaf.The fact that Artie's launching a pre-emptive strike on a potential vote in Canada's Parliament (he says this month but most say the earliest a vote could come would be February) can be seen as good thing in that it demonstrates Artie thinks there's a good chance it will pass. But that's only if people make their voices heard. The Canadian Parliament has the power to let war resisters stay in Canada. Three e-mails addresses to focus on are: Prime Minister Stephen Harper (pm@pm.gc.ca -- that's pm at gc.ca) who is with the Conservative party and these two Liberals, Stephane Dion (Dion.S@parl.gc.ca -- that's Dion.S at parl.gc.ca) who is the leader of the Liberal Party and Maurizio Bevilacqua (Bevilacqua.M@parl.gc.ca -- that's Bevilacqua.M at parl.gc.ca) who is the Liberal Party's Critic for Citizenship and Immigration. A few more can be found here at War Resisters Support Campaign. For those in the US, Courage to Resist has an online form that's very easy to use. Both War Resisters Support Campaign and Courage to Resist are calling for actions from January 24-26.

There is a growing movement of resistance within the US military which includes James Stepp, Rodney Watson, Michael Espinal, Matthew Lowell, Derek Hess, Diedra Cobb,
Brad McCall, Justin Cliburn, Timothy Richard, Robert Weiss, Phil McDowell, Steve Yoczik, Ross Spears, Peter Brown, Bethany "Skylar" James, Zamesha Dominique, Chrisopther Scott Magaoay, Jared Hood, James Burmeister, Eli Israel, Joshua Key, Ehren Watada, Terri Johnson, Carla Gomez, Luke Kamunen, Leif Kamunen, Leo Kamunen, Camilo Mejia, Kimberly Rivera, Dean Walcott, Linjamin Mull, Agustin Aguayo, Justin Colby, Marc Train, Abdullah Webster, Robert Zabala, Darrell Anderson, Kyle Snyder, Corey Glass, Jeremy Hinzman, Kevin Lee, Mark Wilkerson, Patrick Hart, Ricky Clousing, Ivan Brobeck, Aidan Delgado, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, Blake LeMoine, Clifton Hicks, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Joshua Casteel, Katherine Jashinski, Dale Bartell, Chris Teske, Matt Lowell, Jimmy Massey, Chris Capps, Tim Richard, Hart Viges, Michael Blake, Christopher Mogwai, Christian Kjar, Kyle Huwer, Wilfredo Torres, Michael Sudbury, Ghanim Khalil, Vincent La Volpa, DeShawn Reed and Kevin Benderman. In total, at least fifty 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 [(877) 447-4487], 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. In addition, VETWOW is an organization that assists those suffering from MST (Military Sexual Trauma).

IVAW is organizing a March 2008 DC event:
In 1971, over one hundred members of Vietnam Veterans Against the War gathered in Detroit to share their stories with America. Atrocities like the My Lai massacre had ignited popular opposition to the war, but political and military leaders insisted that such crimes were isolated exceptions. The members of VVAW knew differently.
Over three days in January, these soldiers testified on the systematic brutality they had seen visited upon the people of Vietnam. They called it the Winter Soldier investigation, after Thomas Paine's famous admonishing of the "summer soldier" who shirks his duty during difficult times. In a time of war and lies, the veterans who gathered in Detroit knew it was their duty to tell the truth.
Over thirty years later, we find ourselves faced with a new war. But the lies are the same. Once again, American troops are sinking into increasingly bloody occupations. Once again, war crimes in places like Haditha, Fallujah, and Abu Ghraib have turned the public against the war. Once again, politicians and generals are blaming "a few bad apples" instead of examining the military policies that have destroyed Iraq and Afghanistan.
Once again, our country needs Winter Soldiers.
In March of 2008, Iraq Veterans Against the War will gather in our nation's capital to break the silence and hold our leaders accountable for these wars. We hope you'll join us, because yours is a story that every American needs to hear.
Click here to sign a statement of support for Winter Soldier: Iraq & Afghanistan

March 13th through 16th are the dates for the Winter Soldier Iraq & Afghanistan Investigation.

Recapping since Monday's snapshot. Tuesday was January 1st and
Solomon Moore and Stephen Farrell (New York Times) covered the glitterati of Baghdad, where, at the capital's two biggest hotels, "scores of perfumed and bare-headed Iraqi women" turned out for New Year's Eve. Robin Leach in the Green Zone. Baghdad Country Club, in fact, bills itself thusly: "In the world of chaos which is Baghdad there is an oasis of calm. If James Bond were to walk of the pages of a book; if Hemingway was again reporting on the world's troubles, they could probably both be found relaxing over a drink at the Baghdad Country Club. So if you happen to be in central Baghdad and know a person . . . " But remember: "No weapons are allowed in the club. The management is happy to secure any firearms, grenades, flash bangs or knives in the club armory." Maybe you're in the mood for Salmon with White Wine Caper Sauce? Or Chicken Crepe Riviera? Their wine list, sadly, is effected by "political and meterological climate" so the oldest vintage they offer on the list is a 1982 Chateau Lafitte Rothschild, 1er Grand Cru Classe. But if you're in the mood for port, they go back to 1955 with that. And just because the US is occupying the country doesn't mean that they can't offer Cuban cigars (Cohiba, Montecristo, Partagas and more). (The country club is inside the Green Zone, for any who didn't already get that.) Brian Bennett (Time magazine) reported on it last April and noted it opened in October of 2006. It was left to an Iraqi correspondent for McClatchy to explain the 'joys' weren't all that and what it's like to take away a balloon from a child for fear that it may contain poisonous gas.

On Tuesday, the
US military announced: "A U.S. Soldier died as a result of a non-combat related injury in the vicinity of Qayyarah Airfield West Dec. 31. The name of the deceased is being withheld pending notification of next of kin and release by the Department of Defense. The incident is under investigation." Among the Tuesday violence, Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reported a Baghdad bombing at "a funeral" that claimed 30 lives and left thrity-eight wounded. And, in political news, Reuter's Andy Sullivan explained the 20008 GOP presidential contender Mitt Romney declared "the Bush administration mismanged the Iraq war, distancing himself from his party's unpopular president two days before Iowa's first-in-the-nation presidential contest." Sadly, among the GOP, that does count as 'brave.' Future distancing may include GOP candidates noting that education is actually good for people and that a person's health improves when they have a roof over their head. Bit by bit, they may make it up to the 20th century before the 21st ends.

Back to Tuesday's Baghdad bombing at the funeral,
Richard A. Oppel Jr. and Qais Mizher (New York Times) call it "the most brazen and deadly attack in the capital in months. The force of the blast scattered severed arms and legs about the site of the attack, a house where scores of friends and relatives had gathered to pay tribute to a man killed three days earlier by a car bomb in Tayaran Square in central Baghdad." Joshua Partlow and Zaid Sabah (Washington Post) report on Adil Ahmed (chemistry professor) responding to the fire as "mourner were screaming with grief and rage, and many others were scattered on the ground, dead or dying. The chemistry professore recalled bending down to one man who had saliva running down his ching. He pumped his chest and breathed into his mouth, again and again, in a vain attempt to save him. He ran to other, less seriously injured men, and helped drag or carry them to cars waiting to rush them to the hospital. He noticed that some of the dead were still sitting upright in the burning tent on their plastic chairs. After an hour of this, his clothes were messy with blood." BBC notes the dead at 30 and the wounded at thirty-two. Reuters notes today the death toll is now 34 from the funeral bombing.

And the violence continued today . . .


Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad explosion that injured five people and a woman exploded herself (via a bomb filled vest) in Baquba resulting in dead and wounded. Reuters notes the death toll from the Baquba bombing has climbed to 10 and that "The attack came a day after a bomber detonated his explosive vest in a tent crowded with mourners at a Baghdad funeral." Peter Graff (Reuters) reports it is "the latest in a string of suicide bombings that has seen a major strike nearly every day of the past week despite an overall decline in violence. The woman blew herself up with an explosive vest at a checkpoint of neighborhood patrol volunteers in Baquba, capital of the restive Diyala province. Twenty-eight people were wounded including some women, police said." BBC notes, "Most of the casualties are said to be members of a local volunteer force opposed to al-Qaeda. Another 15 people were wounded in the explosion." The "Awakening" councils which, Reuters reminds, are "paid by U.S. forces . . . and are now springing up throughout Sunni Arab areas with U.S. funding and support." And the US military has issued a statement declaring that "the suicide bomber was in fact a male".


Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 2 civilians wounded by unknown assailants firing in Basra. Reuters notes a home invasion outside Kut in which two brothers were shot dead.


Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 3 corpses discovered in Baghdad.

Reuters also notes, "U.S. forces said they had accidentally killed a woman when they fired a missile from a helicopter at a group planting a bomb on Tuesday evening in the northern city of Mosul, 390 km (240 miles) north of Baghdad. The missile missed its target and struck a nearby building, the U.S. military said."

IRIN reports 133 "women were killed last year in Basra . . . either by religious vigilantes or as a result of so-called 'honor' killings" according to the Basra Security Committee which said 79 were assassinated for "violating Islamic teachings," while 47 were assassinated via "'honor' killings". Assassinated? Yes, I'm using that term. This is the feminicide that's been ongoing in Iraq. There women were assassinated as part of a war against women. For more on the topic, you can see Bay Fang's "The Talibanization of Iraq" (Ms. magazine, spring 2007 issue) and MADRE.

"And I said, 'Look, maybe something good will come from this Vietnam tragedy. It's such an obvious blunder, we'll never go down that road again. So maybe it will save us from repeating this on an even more costly scale.' And of course, now I don't know what to tell my daughters," so
explains George McGovern to Laura S. Washington (In These Times). It's a point that escapes many including War Pornographer Michael Gordon who shows up in this morning's New York Times with a write up of an interview with John Edwards. The article's 'value' includes: (a) noting that Sunday in Iowa, Edwards hadn't planned to speak about Iraq but people attending the events brought it up and (b) revealing just how much Gordo hates women. On the front page of the paper, he takes a paragraph to paint Elizabeth Edwards as 'intruding' at the end of the interview to note he didn't ask John Edwards about one point and, because she's such a brazen hussy in his mind, he uses another paragraph on A12 to return to the same point. The Times has posted the transcript (with Gordo edited for 'clarity' and 'brevity') online and, anyone reading it will quickly see, Elizabeth Edwards spoke twice (one sentence the first time to raise the point Gordo had ignored -- Iraqi forces could be trained outside of Iraq under John Edwards' plan; two sentences to remind Gordo, who was gaping at her as John Edwards discussed this part of his plan, that her husband was one the speaking). The transcript is always a must with Gordo who is a very 'creative' type of reporter. John Edwards tells Gordo, "My own judgment is, let's assume for a minute that come January 2009 we still have a significant troop presence in Iraq, which I think is likely. If that is the case then I think another nine to ten months of American troop involvement and expenditure of taxpayer money with an intense effort to resolve the political conflict and intense diplomacy, then at that point America has done what it can do." What Edwards proposes in the interview is troops start coming home and trainers are not keep in Iraq because he feels it fuels dependency on those being trained and keeping them there requires keeping more US forces there. That's why Elizabeth Edwards was correct to note that Gordo had gone through the entire (long) interview without asking about that point. Gordo misses that point and misses most of the points. He has no concept of the remarks or experience George McGovern speaks of when he's relating the horror of Vietnam to the horror of today. He does attempt to play concerned about Iraqis -- he uses them to hide behind his desire for the illegal war to continue. The obvious response to Gordo's "What if?" is that no one knows and Edwards does get into that noting he's not going to respond to a hypothetical. As John Edwards explains his plan to Gordo, the bulk of troops would begin moving out of Iraq within nine months of Edwards being sworn in. Gordo doesn't ask many questions at all (read the transcript, he's more interested in attempting to badger and browbeat) so the issue of the US Embassy in Iraq is not touched on. (However, all US embassies around the world have military support stationed with them.)

On the issue of citizens bringing up Iraq to Edwards on Sunday,
The MoJo Blog notes this Des Moines Register poll of "likely Democratic caucus participants" on issues (scroll down almost mid-way and it's on the left) which finds "War in Iraq" the number one issue (28%) with health care the next largest issue (22%). For all the media-created drama since last week, "terrorism" was cited by only two-percent. December 23rd, Ava and I reviewed PBS' Washington Weak's year-end wrap up and noted of one gas bag: "Gloria Borger is just a dope period. After we got over the shock of her face (and a new hairstyle and color), we were left with the same old Gloria, pushing water cooler spin off as fact. We watched in wonder as she lied and proclaimed (prefaced with the weasel words 'I think') 'the big issue on both sides is immigration.' 'We think' she's got too many miles on her to think anyone sees her as young and fresh despite all the work done." and "immigration." For the record, the poll lists "immigration" as a concern to only 2% of likely Democratic cacus participants.

Edwards, in the interview with Gordo (transcript) notes that there is no progress in the political situation in Iraq. As an Iraqi correspondent for McClatchy Newspapers observes at Inside Iraq, why should there be:

We have 275 members who suppose to represent the Iraqi people in their demands and suffering. On the contrary, they have the highest salaries in Iraq or in the world with the incredible privilege they have from houses and mansions, cars, body guards, real states, free tickets to go abroad and above all their space of freedom to go wherever they want to go without taking any kind of permission or telling the government that they go to this place or that one. They are really careless of the Iraqi people's demands and needs. If we came back to 2006 and 2007 to find out what achievements did the parliament do , we would find nothing. I tried to call some prominent members to have a bit of information of their achievements during the last 20 months of their work in the parliament within Al-Maliki government. I got none of them …really none of them. They suppose to represent Iraqis, but they are not even trouble themselves to answer the phones as they are either switched off or out of the coverage area. Yes, they are because most of them are not in Iraq spending their time with their families who settle in London, Amman, Dubai, Cairo and Doha or they want to enjoy their time away of their families in Beirut, Paris , Damascus or Rome

The correspondent goes on to note Ayad Allawi resides in London, Adnan Al-Duleimi wasn't reachable and is apparently in Jordan. Ibrahim Al-Jafrai is in London and Rose Shawis is traveling "abroad". All four men (Rose is a man) are apparently out of the country. Summering?