carl webb, joshua frank, ava & c.i. do their own 'podcast' commentary

Aug. 26 7:30 pm
Socialist Action Bookstore
298 Valencia St.
San Francisco

what's that? carl webb will be there on saturday discussing his resistance to the war. he discussed his resistance with dennis bernstein on wednesday's flashpoints. by the way, i've added it to the blogroll finally. in addition, i added the kpfa evening news to the blogroll. i didn't provide a link to it last night in my post - i forgot. for future use, if i forget or don't have time, you can go to the blogroll and pull it from there.

There are other reasons we ought not act on all of our humanitarian impulses, however well intentioned they may seem. Unlike Darfur, we've got wars going on in Iraq and Afghanistan that actually involve us. In fact, we are responsible for them. Want to help bring peace to the Middle East? Why not pressure the U.S. government to halt all funding to Israel? That'd be a heck of a start.
There are atrocities for which the U.S. government is culpable, but Darfur isn't one of them. So don't jump on the Save Darfur bandwagon ­ it may only lead to more devastation.

what's that? it's joshua frank's 'save darfur?' at counterpunch and elaine e-mailed it to me today. the drums are pounding WAR-WAR-WAR and, here's the surprise, independent media is joining in.

i thought the point of independent media was supposed to be bravery? even in their huge excess of recent memory, they were (hopefully) attempting to be brave. but on darfur?

they run with the mainstream media's narrow frame. they simplify the history and appoint the same 'good' and 'bad' guys that the mainstream media has. apparently a number of 'human rights' groups are wanting war as well so we won't get any questioning from independent media, we'll only get the war push.

people lap it up. they don't even bother to use common sense. joshua frank makes his points in many ways but for the excerpt above, i went with the common sense section.

'damn you & your husband.' that's what c.i. just said to me on the phone. fly boy called c.i. about a program on tv. (flyboy may have tivoed it. i'm not sure.) if i'd known, i would have said, 'it's not airing there right now.' but fly boy gave a heads up and c.i. and ava ended up chatting with him and downloading the program (it's available as a podcast). so fly boy was laughing throughout - that's where i come in. i went into the living room thinking mel brooks or some 1 else was on tv. i was expecting to see blazing saddles. fly boy was laughing at ava & c.i.'s running commentary to the non-intentionally funny program.

every now and then, fly boy would repeat something to me and i'd burst out laughing. they should write this, ava & c.i.

but, and this is where, when the phone was handed to me, that c.i. told me 'damn you & your husband' (it was a joke), the problem lies. they're already being asked to try for 2 tv commentaries this week as it is. that's a lot to ask.

i know why jim's asking it and i'm not dogging him for doing so. but i also know c.i.'s got the common ills, a very busy life and truly needs some sleep. ava's no pool side recliner herself. but they may end up writing this up. i don't know if that will fill in for 1 of the 2 requested or if they'll try for 3. (they may be so tired that they end up only turning in 1. if that's the case, no 1, including jim, will blame them for that.)

my favorite line involved the use of nancy walker. if they write up the review they did on the phone to fly boy, you'll see what i'm talking about. if they don't, well he got a blow by blow exclusive tv commentary and should feel honored. (he's on the phone to a friend repeating ava & c.i.'s jokes right now. he's still laughing.)

due to the 1/2 hour or so that took and then talking to them both on the phone, i'm running way behind time. so let me just say that the wheels are turning against ehren watada and we need to do our part to make sure that we get the word out and build support for him.

brave stands are tough. he's made 1. he needs support. you can read more about it in c.i.'s
"Iraq snapshot:"

Friday, August 25, 2006, chaos and violence continue in Iraq despite the wave of Operation Happy Talk launched yesterday by US military boys John Abizaid and George Casey that things are looking up and corners will be turned, equally laughable was Brit military boy Charlie Burbridge claiming that a base in Amara hadn't been abandoned. He offers a new punch line today. The inquiry into the death of Jake Kovco continues and Soldier 14 testifies again. But we'll start with the latest on Ehren Watada -- the first US officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq.

Late Thursday" J.C.Matthews told the AP that a recommendation had been reached by Lt. Colonel Mark Keith in Ehren Watada's Article 32 hearing. Gregg K. Kakesako (Honolulu Star-Bulletin) reports that the recommendation is "Ehren Watada face a general court-martial for failing to join his unit in Iraq" and Keith "has endorsed two other charges: conduct unbecoming an officer and contempt toward officials." Translation, Keith has endorsed all three charges made on July 5th. As the AP notes, "Keith could have recommended anything from dismissal of the charges to a general court-martial" as he weighed the issues and the testimony given on August 17th. Gregg K. Kakesako notes that Keith did feel that Ehren Watada was "sincere in his beliefs" which "should mitigate any future punishment" and Kakesako outlines the next step: "Keith's decision now goes to Col. Cynthia Murphy, U.S. Army Garrison commander at Fort Lewis, who will review it and then submit her recommendations to Lt. Gen James Dubik".

AP quotes Ehren Watada's civilian attorney, Eric Seitz, stating: "We always believed that when they went so far as to convene an Article 32 hearing that they had alread made a decision to proceed." Hal Bernton (Seattle Times) notes Seitz was left "somewhat astounded" that the charges endorsed by Keith included anything other than "missing the troop movement" because of "important First Amendment issues" that surround the other two charges.

Sarah Olson (Truthout) reports this today (of the August 17th testimony of Denis Halliday: "Halliday was called to testify regarding the impace of war on the Iraqi people. 'The people of Iraq had become used to living under very difficult conditions after the destruction in the name of the United Nations by the United States of the civilian infrastructure, water supplies, sewer systems, electric power, use of depleted uranium and cluster bombs.' Halliday was prevented from providing complete testimony when the investigating officer presided over the Article 32 hearing ruled that the 'consequences of the war or the situation on the ground' were irrelevant to Lieutenant Watada's argument that the war was illegal and that he had an obligation to refuse to fight it." That is the most that's been written of Halliday's testimony to date (which, for the record, wasn't delivered via mime).

Bob Watada continues his speaking engagements in the San Francisco Bay Area to raise awareness of what his son, Ehren, is facing. The events include:

Fri. 8/25 7-10pm "
Sir! No, Sir!" Film Screening & Speakers Santa Cruz Veterans Building Contact: Sharon Kufeldt 650-799-1070

Sat. 8/26 7-9pm Educational & Cultural Event Berkeley Friends Church; 1600 Sacramento St., Berkeley Contact: Betty Kano 510-684-0239

Sun. 8/27 4-6pm Speaking Event AFSC building, 65-Ninth St., SF Contact: Martha Hubert 415-647-1119

A complete list of the events Bob Watada will be taking part in can be found

Cedric (Cedric's Big Mix) is advising those calling Donald Rumsfeld (703-545-6700) or mailing him (1000 Defense Pentagon, Washington, DC 20301-1000) to say: "Hands off Ehren Watada! Let him go." Billie advises that you can use public@defenselink.mil to e-mail the Pentagon. She suggests "Re: Ehren Watad" or "ATTN: DONALD RUMSFELD." Courage to Resist and ThankYouLt.org. will continue to offer resources, ideas and inspiration. Get the word out.

Turning to the illegal occupation, violence and chaos continues.


Reuters reports one Iraqi soldier dead and two others wounded from a roadside bomb in Rashad and a "hand-grenade attack on a market in Hawija" left three people wounded. AFP notes the death, late Thursday, of "an Iraqi army officer" with four soldiers left wounded.


AFP notes that five were killed by gunfire in Baquba, two in Tirkit (bakery workers) with three other people wounded,
Reuters notes that, in Nasiriya, gunfire claimed the lives of two and left two others wounded.


Reuters notes the discovery, in Qaim, of an Iraqi soldier ("signs of torture") while AFP notes that three corpses were discovered in Kirkuk ("tortured and bullet-riddled bodies").

In other violence, despite the British military flacks that were so eagerly allowed to
spin in this this morning's New York Times, Haidar Hani (AP) reports: "Looters ravaged a former British base Friday . . . taking everything from doors and window frames to corrugated roofing and metal pipes". As Ross Colvin (Reuters) reported yesterday, the base, which had come under nightly, heavy attacks, was abandoned. The AP story today notes: "Iraqi authories had complained that the British withdrawal had caught them by surprise" and allows flack Charlie Burbridge to holler Not-true-we-gave-them-24-hours-notice! Well, Charlie, on a rental, you usually have to give a minimum of 30 days notice. But it is good to know that as they packed up everything they could carry, someone did think to make a quick call saying, "Hey, we're about to split. If there's anything you want, better grab it quick, dude!"

Along with an adequate heads up, Iraqi politicians have other complaints they're sharing.
Aparism Ghosh (Time magazine) reports that Abdul-Azziz al-Hakim states that for over three years Iraqi politicians have persistently requested "and reliable evidence" that "Iran is interfering in Baghdad's affairs" only to be rebuffed. al-Hakim is quoted as saying, "[A]nd for three years we've told them, 'Show us proof.' But they never have." al-Hakim and others speaking to Ghosh make clear that they feel there is no proof and that Iran is being blamed to divert attention from the failure of the illegal war.

This as
Aaron Glantz reports for OneWorld that Nuremberg prosecutor Benjamin Ferenczz has declared that Bully Boy and Saddam Hussein "should be tried for war crimes."

In Australia, the inquiry into the April 21st death of Baghdad of Jake Kovco continues.
Figuring into the most recent testimony were "
NSW Police scientific officer Stephanie Hales" and Soldier 14. Soldier 14 has made mutliple appearances in the hearing. On August 9th, his testimony rejected the so-called buddy system where a pair was responsible for checking one another's weapons at the end of a shift (he also testified that what he said and what the military wrote up in his official statement were quite different). Last Friday, a DNA witness, Michelle Franco, identified some of the DNA on Jake Kovco's gun as belonging to Soldier 14. [Again from last Friday: The Herald-Sun reports that only the DNA "on the pistol's slide" were ruled by expert Franco to be a direct match (DNA on the "trigger, hand grip and magazine" are believed, by Franco, to be Soldier 14's but are "not direct matches."] Soldier 14 has maintained that he did not touch Jake Kovco's pistol (and he's refused to be questioned by the NSW).

At the start of this week, Soldier 14 again testified to the hearing and maintained that the DNA must have gotten on the pistol some other way such as via other equipment he acknowledges that he and Jake Kovco both handled such as a megaphone, a radio or telephone. Also in that testimony, Soldier 14 declared that "people" had warned him that Jake Kovco's widow, Shelley Kovco, was 'out to get him.' That was his excuse for avodiging her. Belinda Tasker (The Daily Telegraph) noted, of that testimony, that Soldier 14's avoidance of Shelley Kovco -- out of fear of being accused of something,apparently -- translates as Soldier 14 aoviding contact with her for "more than three months" and notes that Soldier 14 said "people were telling me" that Shelley Kovco was out to get him. Who these 'people' were warning him of Shelley Kovco will apparently not be explored.

That was some of the previous testimony. Today Soldier 14 testified again (not via video-link and remember he has stated he wants to get back to the apparent calm of Baghdad).
Malcolm Brown (Sydney Morning Herald) reports that the issues today revolved around: "Did you silently cock Private Kovco's pistol?" which Soldier 14 asserted he did not. Soldier 14 has maintained that he saw Jake Kovco a few days prior to his death. Brown describes the process as "a silent cocking operation, where the weapon is stripped down, a round put in he chamber, then reassembled, leaving the round in the chamber." Soldier 14 will also be testifying Monday.

Stephanie Hales' testimony is
characterized by the AAP as asserting that residue tests can not determine "whether Private Jake Kovco shot himself in Iraq or if someone else pulled the trigger" for a variety of reasons including the fact that Jake Kovco's "clothes . . . were destroyed," "the barracks room where PTE Kovco was shot was cleaned before NSW Police arrived in Baghdad to carry out their forensic tests," Jake Kovco's body was washed in a Kuwait morgue, Jake Kovco's hands were not wrapped "in paper bags" and the two roommates were allowed to shower and wash their clothing with no forensic tests being performed.

Finally, in England, British soldier Jason Chelsea has been buried. The
BBC reports that the nineteen-year-old "killed himself because he feared . . . he might have to shoot children" as he asserted he had been told in his training. The BBC notes that:
"Earlier this month the MoD released figures showing 1,541 soldiers who served in Iraq are suffering from psychiatric illness."


thoughts on the bully boy with the emphasis on 'boy'

A decision to call former marines back to active duty reflects deepening strains on the US military amid spiralling violence in Iraq, a Taliban resurgence in Afghanistan and tensions with Iran, analysts said.
The US Marine Corps disclosed this week that it has been authorized to call up as many as 2,500 marines at a time from its inactive reserves to fill shortfalls in the elite force.
"It's no secret that we're very busy," said Brigadier General Michael Barbero, the deputy director of operations for the Joint Staff.
The marines have relied on reservists to volunteer for active duty when they had gaps to fill and have only rarely resorted to involuntary call-ups in the past, most recently during the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
Barbero said the number of volunteers has fallen off over the past two years while demands on the marines, which with the army have carried the burden of combat in Iraq and Afghanistan, have increased.

that's the opening of afp's 'Marines Call-up Reflects Deepening Strains on US Military.' kat's already posted tonight but she called (and it's not 'tonight' yet in her area though it's close to ten in mine) to ask if i'd heard about a story. i hadn't. she heard it on the kpfa evening news today and i looked for something online in print. (if you prefer audio and missed the kpfa evening news, check it out. i would but it's on right now and won't be available until 15 minutes after 10. i'm tired and wanting to post.) so the ap has a story on it (and the story is at yahoo so if you're trying to find it a few weeks after this posts, cry to some 1 else or listen to the audio at the kpfa evening news for more on the story.)

the army's going to be reviewing fatalities. pat tilman is a famous case but a lot of families have been told 1 story only to learn later that what the military told them wasn't true.

so i think about that, i think about the call-up, the back door draft that's been going on for some time - where at the end of your tour, you're suddenly told, 'guess what, you're not leaving.' and it's no surprise that the military can't meet quotas or that, with 2 wars raging and iran on the horizon, bully boy can't get enough troops to fight all the wars that he hopes will somehow, someway turn him into a 'real man.'

he probably carries a lot of guilt now over his decision to skip out on his national guard duty. maybe even realizes, as he struts like a war hawk, that if that's what he thinks (that human lives should be sacrificed for foolish leaders) his butt should have been over vietnam during that war.

he can keep starting wars. it won't make him a 'real man.' it won't erase the memories of big babs kicking off her shoes to hop out on the field and cheerlead with him (he was a cheerleader during prep school and there's nothing wrong with male cheerleaders but if you're a man trying to prove your manhood it's an obvious minus - if mommy joins you to cheer, it's even worse).

he's the boy who never amounted to anything.

he couldn't cut it in the business world. he could never stand alone and be a success and would have gone under (and possibly to jail - hello, harken) if daddy's friends hadn't bailed him out over and over.

daddy's friends on the supreme court handed him the oval office after he couldn't win an election. and installed in the white house, he's ruined everything he touched. he is the eternal peter pan and all the lives he sacrifices won't give him maturity or manhood.

you know what i'd love to see? carolyn ho asking big babs why her son should go to war when bully boy didn't. carolyn ho is ehren watada's mother.

last week wally did 'THIS JUST IN! BULLY BOY HAS SOME TIPS FOR EHREN WATADA!' and cedric did 'Bully Boy offers Ehren Watada some tips (humor)' (joint post) and that really is the difference between an adult and a child. an adult acts on their own.

ehren watada acted on his own. he made the decision not to go to iraq and he stood up. adult actions. jeremy hinzman made the decision not to go and he went to canada. adult actions. a little child, a boy in this case, runs to daddy and says 'daddy, i's scared, save your little boy' and daddy makes a few calls and the little prince leaps ahead of other applicants and ends up in the so-called champaegn unit avoiding serving while his country is at war but never having to take a stand against the war thanks to the easy out.

adults stand up. children hide.

bully boy is probably wonderful at hide-n-seek but that's not really what we look for in a leader. we saw the hide-n-seek with katrina. 'look, there's the bully boy! oh wait, where'd he go?' we've seen it with every issue and we'll see it a lot more now that the sheen is off and he realizes what a laughing stock he is. (i would love it if he'd play dress up again just so the nation could laugh.)

here's what i find most distasteful about the bully boy's personality: he is in this huge competition with his father. it was bad enough when, drunk off his ass and running over trash cans, he confronts with his father with a 'mano y mano' threat. but that was drunk and, though not a teenager or really a young adult, many years ago. that he still does that now, that he still has to compete with the man who saved his ass repeately is just ingratitude personified.

you'd think he'd be kissing his father's ass because the little baby wouldn't have made it the last decades without daddy. but instead, now he wants to prove he's better than his father. (this isn't a defense of poppy.) and the reality is he can't because he's done nothing with his life.

he can't speak english well despite an education at the supposed best facilities in the country. he got there because of daddy (and granddaddy). every opportunity meant the little coward looked for the easy way out instead of attempting to make something of himself. he wants to proclaim himself better, he just doesn't want to do the work.

he's a failure on every level. his father (whom i don't like or agree with) can point to things and take pride in them. (i'd be ashamed if they were my accomplishments.) he actually did them. bully boy?

he lets dick cheney run the show so he can get in his work outs and his early bed time and his nap and ...

he's a child. he's the peter pan syndrome occupying the white house.

people keep thinking they can appeal to his better nature. this is the boy who had access to education facilities that people work their butts off to get into and he couldn't even be bothered with learning anything. (and he bickered with his economics professor because, he thought, poor people were poor because they didn't want to work. were that what made some 1 poor, bully boy would have been government welfare his entire life. instead, he got by on social welfare.)

there is no better nature. that's why he couldn't meet with cindy sheehan. an adult could have. hillary clinton (whom i detest) did meet with sheehan. she blew smoke up cindy's ass, but she could go face to face with her because, whatever her faults, hillary clinton is an adult. she could probably even relate a tiny bit (despite being a war hawk) with sheehan. not just because they were both parents but also because they both had a drive. cindy's drive right now is ending the war and hillary didn't coast through college, she worked very hard.

but bully boy? he has to run from cindy sheehan. he has to avoid her because, face to face with cindy sheehan, he's revealed as the scared little boy he is.

he's spent his life running from self-reality. though he should be tried for war crimes, i take comfort in the fact that he'll have his own daily hell once he leaves the white house and grasps how little any 1 cares about him. they won't. this is no jimmy carter. this isn't any 1 who will do public service. he'll sit around his ranchette and tell stories about the time dick decided to do this or condi said do that or ... and even any syncophants a weakling like him manages to attract after he's out of the white house will have to think, 'you really didn't do anything, did you?'

and he'll have to face that on some level as well. though he played dress up, in middle age, he'll have to accept the fact that his life was a wretched failure because he never accomplished anything.

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

Thursday, August 24, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq, John Abizaid must be drinking something stronger than cough syrup, Ehren Watada's father Bob continues speaking out to raise awareness about his son, a British military flack plays word games, Operation Happy Talk launches a new wave and reality (as is so often the case) crashes into the propaganda.

BBC sums up the reality this way: "At least 12 Iraqis and three US soldiers have died in bombings and gun attacks across Iraq in the last 24 hours, officials say." As Elena Becatoros (Associated Press) notes: "The killings came despite assurances from U.S. officials that progress was being made to improve security in the capital."

We'll start with the violence and chaos.


Elena Beatoros (AP) notes that a US soldier died today "when his vehicle was hit by a a roadside bomb south of Baghdad." Reuters notes three car bombs and two roadside bombs today in Baghdad have taken at least four lives and left 24 injured. The AP notes that three police officers were killed in Baquba (minivan bomb) that left another wounded and, on the edges of Baquba, a roadside bomb claimed the lives of three Iraqi soldiers.


A US soldier was killed on Wednesday (one of the three noted at the beginning) in what the BBC describes as "
small-arms fire" to the south of Baghdad. Also dying on Wednesday from gunfire (and not included in yesterday's snapshot -- it wasn't reported then) were three police officers in Balad. Reuters reports seven who had been shot dead were taken to a hospital in Mosul and that three police officers were shot dead in Balad (those six are today, yesterday three police officers were shot dead in Balad).

Elena Becatoros (AP) notes that a US soldier was shot dead in Baghdad today while on a patrol.


Reuters reports a corpse discovered in Suwayra ("handcuffed . . . gunshot wounds"); one discovered near Latifiya ("handcuffed, blindfolded . . . gunshot wounds"), a third discovered in Tikrit; a fourth discovered Baiji (this was the body that went with an earlier discovered severed head) and three more ("handuffed . . . gunshot wounds") were discovered in Baghdad.

And in the face of the above, General John Abizaid launched a wave of Operation Happy Talk that out does the strongest happy talker. (Okay, maybe not
Dexy Filkins.) "I think there has been great progress on the security front in Baghdad recently," declared Abizaid. Nouri al-Maliki, Iraqi prime minister and puppet of the occupation, knew Happy Talk wasn't enough. Instead, AFP reports, he "has banned television channels from broadcasting gory images of daily bloodshed in the country". Keep it off the TV screens, the thinking seems to go, and Iraqis will forget that they're occupied. This 'policy' seems to invite government censorship as someone has to determine what will "arouse passions and sectarian feelings". All this time after Paul Bremer had a hissy fit over an editorial cartoon, the press is still the occupation's first target.

Meanwhile British troops of the Soldiers of the Queen's Royal Hussars are . . . on the move.
Ross Colvin (Reuters) reports a lot of talk about how they're 'stripped-down' and mobile (in Landrovers) but the reality is that they're also homeless -- they've "abandoned their base in Iraq's southern Maysan province on Thursday". Though the base was under "nightly attack" and though it has, indeed, been abandoned, British flack Charlie Burbridge disagrees that "the British had been forced out of Amara".

Meanwhile, in the United States, Ehren Watada's father Bob continues his efforts to get the word out on his son, the first known commissioned officer to refuse to deploy to Iraq.
Momo Chang (Oakland Tribune) quotes Bob Watada saying: "Ehren is not doing this for himself. He is doing this for every American who believes in democracy and the Constitution. . . . And I am very proud of him." NBC11 reports Bob Watada, speaking in San Jose, saying, "My son is very strong. He's going to -- even if there's a court-martial, he's going to go to jail instead of killing innocent Iraqis -- that's the real tragedy here."

Chang notes that Bob Watada will have taken part in 25 speaking engagements during his brief time in the San Francisco Bay Area and that Sarah Olson (one of two journalists the governments wants as witnesses against Ehren Watada should a court-martial be scheduled) has stated, "It's not my job as a journalist to help the Army prosecute Lt. Watada."

Bob Watada continues to speak out and here are some of the upcoming events:

Thu. 8/24
7pm Reception & Educational Event Newman Center, 5900 Newman Ct.,
Sacramento Contact: Sacramento-Yolo Peace Action 916-448-7157

Fri. 8/25
No. Cal. Japanese Christian Theological Forum Berkeley Methodist United Church- chapel 1710 Carleton St/McGee in Berkeley Contact: Laura Takeuchi 510-848-3614

Sir! No, Sir!"
Film Screening & Speakers Santa Cruz Veterans Building Contact: Sharon Kufeldt 650-799-1070

Sat. 8/26
Educational & Cultural Event Berkeley Friends Church; 1600 Sacramento St., Berkeley Contact: Betty Kano 510-684-0239

Sun. 8/27
4-6pm Speaking Event AFSC building, 65-Ninth St., SF Contact: Martha Hubert 415-647-1119

A complete list of the events Bob Watada will be taking part in can be found

Cedric (Cedric's Big Mix) is advising those calling Donald Rumsfeld (703-545-6700) or mailing him (1000 Defense Pentagon, Washington, DC 20301-1000) to say: "Hands off Ehren Watada! Let him go." Billie advises that you can use public@defenselink.mil to e-mail the Pentagon. She suggests "Re: Ehren Watad" or "ATTN: DONALD RUMSFELD." Courage to Resist and ThankYouLt.org. will continue to offer resources, ideas and inspiration. Get the word out.

Ehren Watada is only one resister. Yesterday on
KPFA's Flashpoints, Dennis Bernstein spoke with war resister Carl Webb who has repeatedly refused to serve in the Iraq war. As noted at The Third Estate Sunday Review, Webb recieved a letter saying that he was released from the Texas National Guard but, as Jeff Mackler pointed out, Webb also got a second letter saying that "they were reassinging him to the pool for the people who could be drafted." ("Drafted" refers to the stop-loss/backdoor draft program. Those new to this topic can refer to Scott Cannon and Rick Montgomery's "Back-Door Draft Shakes The Military" from the Kansas City Star.)

Replying to a question from Bernstein as to whether or not he had any regrets, Webb replied, "No, I have no regrets at all" and noted the importance of raising awareness about the GI resistance and getting the word out on "how much GI resistance there is in the military because that's why I'm here, to tell my fellow soldiers that they don't have to obey orders, that they have to refuse by any means necessary."

Webb discussed the story of his refusal to serve in an illegal war and noted, "I'm here hoping to be an example not only to do those being called up but to anyone in the military". Webb will be speaking this Saturday in San Francisco:

Aug. 26 7:30 pm
Socialist Action Bookstore
298 Valencia St.
San Francisco

Jeff Mackler is running for the US Senate out of California the seat currently occupied by War Hawk Dianne Feinstein. Yesterday, on The KPFA Evening News, Feinstein revealed that she'd come to the conclusion intelligence was misused and abused to lead us into war. Three years and a primary challenger was all it took. Possibly in three more years she may be able to note the illegal nature of the war as well.

Rebecca noted Bernstein's interview with Carl Webb yesterday.]

In Australia, the military inquiry into the April 21st death of Jake Kovco in Baghdad continues. The lead in the reports is about a big, teary performance delivered by a witness -- Brigadier Paul Symon. The
AAP tells you Symon is "Australia's former commander in Iraq" and that he "says he will take responsiblity for the bungled return of Private Jake Kovco's body" and he did so, according to the AAP, via "emotional evidence". Australia's ABC informs that poor Symon "was reduced to tears". If some felt it was performance akin to the one Patrick Walters reported on March 9th of this year (where Symon announced to the world that the corner had been turned and that troops were 'turning the tables') it may go to the fact that he blew his credibility in the eyes of some a long time ago. It may also have to do with the excessive coverage his dramatics overshadow a genuine response by the family of Jake Kovco.

But let's back up, for those who've forgotten or are late to the discussion, Jake Kovco didn't make it back to Australia as planned. Instead,
Juso Sinanovic was sent to Austrlia -- a problem since he should have been sent to Bosnia (Sinanovic died on April 17th). As Elizabeth Jackson reported on AM (Australia's ABC), April 27th: "The Body of an Australian soldier killed in a shooting accident last week in Baghdad has been accidentally left behind in Kuwait. Privated Jake Kovco's body was due to arrive in Melbourne late last night on a flight from Kuwait. But it didn't." Jackson interviewed Brendan Nelson (Defence Minister) who declared that Kovco "was at all times appropriately identified by the Australian Defence Force and the Australian Army" which we now know, one of the few things the inquiry has established, that's not true.

In terms of Paul Symon, he was the commander when Kovco died. He was reponsible. That he broke down in tears after reading "
a statement he had written to his superiors on April 27, explaining how the wrong body was sent back to Australia" says little about his compassion for Jake Kovco (it can be argued he had none, hold on for that), it has to do with the public humilitation of having to publicly have all eyes on him while he read his "Oops" in public.

The delicate flower was weeping for himself. After cry baby dried up his tears, he resumed testifying and went on to refer to Jake Kovco, as
Tracy Ong (The Australian) reports (and one of the few to lead with this), as "a piece of cargo." This caused a genuine objection from Judy Kovco (as opposed to the earlier theatrics from Symon) who shouted, "He's not a piece of cargo. Don't you dare. He was my son."

Now remember, this was the grown man who broke down in tears when he had to read his "Oops" to the hearing. That wasn't about Kovco, the tears. That was about the humilitation of having to own up to mistakes under his command. Demonstrating this point further is Symon's response to Judy Kovco which was to describe his reference to Jake Kovco as "
a piece of cargo" as being "not well chosen."

Tara Ravens (News.com) reports on his "Oops" he read to the hearing: "If mistakes are found to be made . . . I accept responsibility for those mistakes. If mistakes have been made outside . . . I would expect their senior management to accept responsiblity in exactly the same manner. After all, someone has to take responsiblity for this dreadful mistake." Yes, someone does. And despite the April 27 "Oops" where he spoke of "responsibility" it's still not happening. The AAP notes that, at the hearing, while doing his responsiblity 'talk,' he "implored the federal government to adopt better repatriation policies." Blah, blah, blah, "human emotions" are messy (this is a summary of Symon's supposed acceptance of responsibility) and we need "technical solutions" blah blah blah. Referring to the body of Jake Kovco (the first Australian on the ground death in the current war) as "we have here a piece of cargo" doesn't indicate that Symon's lost in "human emotions."

The inquiry also addressed the movement of Kovco's body. Again, Symon says it wasn't his fault.
Symon states: "When the advice came not to move the body, it had already been moved so I could not turn the clock back".

Yesterday, Soldier 47 gave testimony stating that he had "instructed authorities in Baghdad not to move the body" -- before leaving for Baghdad "immediately." Though Symon congratulated himself for "common sense and good judgement," there's no indication that he applied either. Tracy Ong reports: "Brigadier Symon said a request from military policy in Syndey that Kovco's body remain in Baghdad came after it had been moved to the US morgue at the airport at the request of medical staff. He said he thought he was helping military police by having the body moved to the evacuation point in Kuwait where they could see it sooner." The evacuation point refers to the private morgue -- soldiers have testified that if the US morgue had been used, the mix up wouldn't have happened and they've criticized what they saw as the cheapness in the decision. Ong notes Anzac Day and Symon denies that there was a rush to get Kovco home in time for that holiday while admitting "I could see a certain poignancy in a good soldier being returned to the nation on Anzac Day."

Anzac Day is April 25th. It's a national holiday in Australia, a day of memorial beginning in the 1920s and furthered by the human costs of WWII (it became an official holiday in 1916 to mark the actions of the newly independent Australia in WWI). A certain poignancy in Jake Kovco being returned to Australia on that day?

Does Symon mean poignancy or does he mean PR?

Possibly the remark underscores the PR hopes of Symon who's had his hand in selling and shelling an illegal war. The hopes of a PR coup (remember, the month prior Symon was -- falsely -- telling reporters a corner had been turned) may be the what added further stress to an already difficult mourning for Jake Kovco's family and friends.


house cleaning and preparing for the future

i read some of the e-mails today. only some. we were picking out some new things for the home. i never repainted anything when we divorced and i hated some of the colors we'd chosen. in the case of the dining room, the paint turned out nothing like it was supposed to and i just grew tired of fighting with the painters. so 1 of the things we were going to do was figure out what colors we really wanted and make sure we get them this time. i've been interviewing and trying to do a real job of it. (we were foolish newlyweds the 1st time, thinking we could live with/tolerate anything.) so if you wrote and didn't get a reply (regular readers), i'll try to grab it tomorrow. we're also going to pick out some new furniture for a few rooms on saturday. this is our 1st week back since the honeymoon so probably for the next few weeks, i'll be as focused on the house as i am on this site or anything else.

t and her girlfriend as well as fly boy's best friend and his current date came to dinner tonight so i'm probably wiped out (from interviewing most of the day and from entertaining). sherry wondered if we would be going to mike's iraq group on fridays? i hadn't thought about it, honestly. elaine is going to them. i asked fly boy and he did a 'woops, i meant to tell you' thing. we're going friday, he promised mike. so thank you sherry because without your question, i still wouldn't know we had plans friday.

goldie wondered what the biggest problem was (and said not to answer if it was too personal). the biggest problem? he doesn't need to work, why does he? seriously, if you've got the money, use it to go after something you've dreamed of. don't do the rat race. (no, we aren't arguing. but that was my attitude and i expressed in the last year or so when we resumed seeing one another.)

courtney wondered if i would still talk about guy's bodies here? absolutely. not tonight because i'm wiped out and just want to crawl into bed. but i didn't realize how many people were worried about the site.

it didn't change when i miscarried. it won't change now because fly boy and i got remarried. (fly boy was mike's nickname for him and it's really stuck. even his friend charles is calling him 'fly boy' now.)

the site will remain the same. i'll probably be less focused while we're trying to get the house redecorated but i don't intend to change it or to adopt a 'quieter' voice.

i did check to see if joker-jeff had written again because i'd deal with that here if he had. (i only reply in e-mails to my longterm readers.) he didn't. i'll assume he got the point.

before i forget, carrie wondered if i'd be participating in the third estate sunday review still? i will be. there may be weekends where something comes up or we're traveling or something. hopefully, if that happens, i'll be able to participate on at least one thing. but i do intend to continue to participate. (and i will.) i will continue to take holidays off. i know jim and c.i. and jess haven't. (dona has. ty has, i believe. ava kind of did. i say 'kind of' because she and c.i. wrote their commentary ahead of time for the edition she skipped out on - at christmas - so i really don't think that counts for taking time off.)

this is the house cleaning post and i probably should have done it on monday when i officially returned to blogging from home. i want to thank kyle for pointing out to me that i didn't have flashpoints linked on my blogroll. that was an oversight. by monday it will be up. (it won't be tonight, i'm too tired to mess with the template.)

there was a great show tonight where they talked about a number of things including an important segment on immigration. t was talking about the show, she'd never listened, so i put it on. we were listening and talking throughout. carl webb was on. he is a war resister you should know about it (and he's been covered at the common ills as well as at the third estate sunday review which is how i knew his name - that and because ty and c.i. have mentioned him frequently in conversations). he said no to serving in iraq. so he's some 1 who refused to serve and finally heard that his national guard unit in texas was letting him go but there's another letter and he could be grabbed by another unit. which means he could get orders to deploy to irag as part of another group. if you missed that, thousands of people are getting those letters. people who thought there service was completed and had come back to the u.s. only to now learn, guess what, you're going back to iraq.

they should all follow carl's lead and say no. carl deserves attention because of his stance but also because of the length of his stance. he's an early name in the resistance to the war on iraq that could be forgotten because so much has happened. he shouldn't be forgotten.

have you seen sir! no sir!? if so, you realize how our history was robbed from us (by revisionists). it could happen again. it would be to the government's benefit for it to be forgotten. teaching the resistance will lead to others realizing they can resist.

so along with our battles we're engaged in today, we need to realize that one of the long term battles will be passing on what we saw, what we heard about and what we took part in. we were talking about duing the show and t keeps a journal. tonight's she's going to journal about the war resisters and we all tossed out names for her (carl, camilo mejia, brandon hughey, jeremy hinzman, etc.). of course every 1 knew ehren watada's name.

that's because we make a point to discuss him. i hope every 1 who comes to this site regularly does the same.

elaine's favorite writer, howard zinn, has dedicated his life's work to rescuing the people's history. we can honor his accomplishments by continuing his work. 30 years from now, a lot of people won't know what happened, what we've lived through. they'll see some crappy movie starring cody what's his name (kathy lee's kid) or whomever where they play an iraqi vet wronged by society and those 'damn hippies' - a mythical creation like rambo. when that comes along, we need to not be responding to it then, we need to have laid the groundwork long before that so that we're ready to respond.

i have no use for democracy now these days but i will give amy goodman credit for keeping issues alive like fred hampton, to cite 1 example. she will bring that topic up whenever possible. we need to be willing to do the same. the names we know today, the people we applaud, will likely be forgotten or attacked.

look at the way the right wing has made it their life's work to attack jane fonda. (aided by more than a few on the left.) she makes them nervous. they need to attack her not just for vietnam but because in her life is the history of many movements and many struggles. that's the same reason the 60s are attacked or any other person or period where we can see the power of the people.

howard zinn's rescued so much history and we need to be willing to aid him now and continue his work when he's gone. we need to be aware of what happened, who did what and why.

it's obvious now but memories can fade. with vietnam, there was too much nonsense after it. by that i mean, 'oh we can't talk about it' or 'we might hurt feelings'. the result was that a revisionary b.s. version took hold and many people who weren't alive then really believe that a) that war was 'winnable' and b) that it was just 'hippies' who protested.

it was all americans. near the end, over 70% of americans were against the war. those resisting the war included soldiers and that's often forgotten as well.

so looking at that history, we need to realize that the best thing we can do for future generations is refuse to forget what we're living through and refuse to stay silent in the face of revisionary tactics.

resist the clampdown. there's a clintonista who's scared to death that democrats will come in to power after the november elections and he's penned, i'm so sure it's sincere, a helpful guideline of tasteful manners - the dems should do nothing. they shouldn't try for impeachment (something his delicate sensibilities can't name but it wafts from his dopey piece). they shouldn't try for anything. they should be in power, apparently, to do nothing.

that's the kind of b.s. we had to live through under clinton. we need to show more bravery and we need to demand that our elected officials serve the people.

those are my thoughts for tonight.

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

Wednesday, August 23, 2006 chaos and violence continue in Iraq, Ehren Watada's father Bob continues traveling and speaking to raise awareness about his son's case, a new poll by the New York Times continues to demonstrate the trend of Americans turning against the war and another witness in the military inquiry into the death of Jake Kovco blasts the way the investigation was conducted.
Today Bob Watada spoke with Philip Maldari on
KPFA's The Morning Show about his son Ehren Watada, the first known officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq. Bob Watada spoke of the potential consequences that his son could face but noted that Ehren was aware of the consenquences, that there's " a real crisis in this country," and that even "knowing that he may got to jail" his son knew he had to take the stand he did an refuse to deploy. Bob Watada spoke of how his son's discovery of the lies that led a nation into an illegal war changed everything: "When he found out what was going on in Iraq, the president lying to the people, lying to Congress, lying to the military," he knew that he couldn't go to Iraq both for himself and for those who'd be serving under him.
Bob Watada spoke of the expectation that the US military will use Ehren Watada as an example in an effort clamp down on the dissent within the military. And, in answer to Maldari's question of what can be done, he spoke of the importance of public opinion in his son's case: "If the military sees that there is a large swell of public opinion on behalf of Lt. Ehren Watada, they're going to think twice about what they're doing."
The importance of public support/action was also demonstrated in the calls. One that stands out is caller Alden, WWII veteran, in The Underwater Demolition, spoke of being stationed in Hawaii and "about March of '46 the word came through that all the G.I.s were going to be sent back into China to start a war against the new Chinese government. Following this, a couple of days later, there was about 10,000 GIs in Honolulu protesting, saying 'We are going home' and about three days later another one, ten-to-twelve thousand G.I.s saying 'We are going home' and that stopped it. And that was what was going on back in those days and I'm just so supportive and feel completely what Watada is doing and the way he put it and the father and the way he puts it -- that is just outstanding."
Bob Watada is attempting to raise awareness of his son's case and upcoming events include:

Wed. 8/23
7-9:30pm Reception & Educational Event St. Paul's Church, 405 S. 10th St,
San Jose Contact: Rose Takamoto 408-725-2933

Thu. 8/24

World Can't Wait ­Youth & Students Conference San Francisco (site TBA) Contact: Jessalyn Gagui 415-286-3408

7pm Reception & Educational Event Newman Center, 5900 Newman Ct.,
Sacramento Contact: Sacramento-Yolo Peace Action 916-448-7157

Fri. 8/25
No. Cal. Japanese Christian Theological Forum Berkeley Methodist United Church- chapel 1710 Carleton St/McGee in Berkeley Contact: Laura Takeuchi 510-848-3614

Sir! No, Sir!"
Film Screening & Speakers Santa Cruz Veterans Building Contact: Sharon Kufeldt 650-799-1070

Sat. 8/26
Educational & Cultural Event Berkeley Friends Church; 1600 Sacramento St., Berkeley Contact: Betty Kano 510-684-0239

Sun. 8/27
4-6pm Speaking Event AFSC building, 65-Ninth St., SF Contact: Martha Hubert 415-647-1119

A complete list of the events Bob Watada will be taking part in can be found
We will again note: :
Cedric (Cedric's Big Mix) is advising those calling Donald Rumsfeld (703-545-6700) or mailing him (1000 Defense Pentagon, Washington, DC 20301-1000) to say: "Hands off Ehren Watada! Let him go." Billie advises that you can use public@defenselink.mil to e-mail the Pentagon. She suggests "Re: Ehren Watad" or "ATTN: DONALD RUMSFELD." Courage to Resist and ThankYouLt.org. will continue to offer resources, ideas and inspiration. Get the word out.
Of the various stops he's made so far to speak of his son, Bob Watada said, "It's been really postive here in the Bay Area. Just about everywhere we've gone, we've had packed crowds. . . The other day I had somebody who came up before the program started and said he was a veteran and he didn't really think he could support me or my son. . . . At the end of the evening he came up to me and said 'Whatever you need, whatever your son needs, I want to help you out.'"
In other peace news, Cindy Sheehan will rejoin
Camp Casey III after "several days" reports the Associated Press. Sheehan is back in the Providence Health Center in Waco "recovering . . . after having a hysterctomy" on Tuesday. Next week, Sheehan is scheduled to be in Salt Lake City participating with the city's mayor Rocky Anderson and others in protesting Bully Boy's August 31st speech (during a trip on which Condi Rice is accompanying him).
That's how Sheehan plans to end the month, at the beginning of the month she went to Jordan with Ann Wright, Tom Hayden, Medea Benjamin, Geal Murphy, Jodie Evans, Diane Wilson and others to meet with Iraqi legislators.
Eric Horsting (Washington Beachcomber) reports that also on the trip was filmmaker David Rothmiller who shot footage "to create campaign material for Jeeni Criscenzo, a Democratic candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives from the 49th district in California."
As the November elections approach, many get edgy and itchy. A new poll by the New York Times and CBS News continues to note the shift in public opinion of the illegal war. Summarizing the poll,
Carl Hulse and Marjorie Connelly (New York Times) note of those surveyed: 51 percent "saw no link between the war in Iraq and the broader antiterror effort"; 53% said the "war was a mistake"; 62% agreed that things in Iraq could be rated "somewhat or very badly"; 46 percent felt the Bully Boy "had concentrated too much on Iraq". Hulse and Connelly's article also features comments from three follow up interviews. Those views worthy of being noted? Two Republicans and a self-described independent.
In Iraq, the violence and the chaos, to no one's surprise, continues.
In the Baghdad, city of so-called crackdowns, a roadside bomb (possibly targeting Jawad al-Bolani, the Interior Minister) claimed the lives of two civilians and left others wounded
according to the Associated Press. AFP notes that a roadside bomb killed two civilians "between Basra and Nasiriyah." KUNA reports that "[a] car exploded . . . near an army special ops check-point in Dorra" and "that the explosion resulted in several deaths and injuries among the special ops troops in the area." In Mosul, the AP reports, one woman was killed and ten people were wounded by a suicide bomber while, in Falljua, a roadside bomb claimed two lives and left twelve wounded.
AP reports that "1st Lt. Hassanein Saadi al-Zerjawi . . . was gunned down in a drive-by shooting in Amarah". Reuters notes that eight people were shot dead in Baquba and a police officer shot dead in al-Hay. AFP notes that, in Kut, "two civilians were shot dead" with a child and one other adult wounded.
AFP reports that six corpses were found beneath a bridge "between the two volatile cities of Mahmudiyah and Latifyah" and three were discovered in Baquba.
In Australia, the military inquiry into the April 21st death in Baghdad of Jake Kovco continues. The most recent developments revolve around Soldier 47's testimony. Australia's
ABC reports that Soldier 47, "[a] military police investigator" went to Baghdad from Melbourne to investigate the death of Jake Kovco and that "he was informed on the day of Pte Kovco's death to deploy immediately to Baghdad." AAP notes that during Soldier 47 three hour, video-link testimony (from Baghdad), he "detailed a litany of miscommunication and army bungles surrounding the death of the Victorian soldier who was shot in his Baghdad barracks room on April 21." The Daily Telegraph reports of the testiomony that "he was also angerd and surprised that Pte Kovco's body had been flown from Baghdad to Kuwait agains the orgers of the military police's special investigations branch" and "frustrated that forensic evidence was lost when the body had been washed and treated while Pte Kovco's clothes had been destroyed." ABC New South Wales notes that Soldier 47 voiced his frustration over being "told he could not view notes made by Private Kovco's room-mates" and finding out that "the room-mates were in Kuwait, not Baghdad, so he could not immediately interview them." Tracy Ong (The Australian) reports that Soldier 47 gave up custody of Jake Kovco's body because a) he wanted to "get to the scene of the shooting" and because "certain integrites had already been compromised" (see "forensic evidence was lost" two sentences prior).
Soldier 47's testimony of frustration and anger over the investigation echoes
Major Mark Willetts testimony yesterday where he complained about being refused access to the room Kovco died in (Willetts was "the officer in charge of the immediate investigation") and feeling that Jake Kovco's two roommates were being less than fully forthcoming.
In addition,
ABC notes that Soldier 30 is asserting that "some of the claims made about his troops during the course of the inquiry are simply not true" specifically he refutes Soldier 21's claim that "quick draw" games were played with weapons. Two weeks ago, Soldier 30 (who spoke today as he spoke then -- via video-link from Baghdad) asserted that he had given orders that the death/crime scene not be preserved for morale issues Soldier 21, the section commander, is most famous for issuing a statement following the death of Jake Kovco that he heard a cry (in the barracks) of "Allah Akbar" which translates as "God is great." When Soldier 21 testified to the inquiry earlier this month, he renounced that assertion. Then, as
Sydney 2GB reported, "He told the inquiry it had become unclear whether he'd in fact heard the comment."
In other legal news, on April 26th, Hashim Ibrahim Awad died in Hamdania after being allegedly kidnapped by US troops. Charged with kidnapping and the killing were the "Pendelton Eight" -- Saul H. Lopezromo, Derek I. Lewis, Henry D. Lever, Lawrence G. Hutchins II, Trent D. Thomas, Tyler Jackson, Marshall Magincadla, and Jerry E. Schumate Jr.
Thomas Watkins (AP) reports that four of the eight want to skip the Article 32 hearing and instead "proceed straight to trial." Reportedly, John Jodka III's attorney was the one who made the request first (and did so on Friday) which isn't in the AP report. Reportedly not all involved were informed of the request when it was first made. Jerry E. Shumate was the last to join the four in making the request. Watkins reports that the military has denied the request and the Article 32 hearing could start as early as August 28th. But Gidget Fuentes (Navy Times) reports the schedule for the hearings as: September 12th: Jerry E. Shumate Jr.; September 25th: Marshall L. Magincalda, Robert B. Pennington, John J. Jodka, Melson J. Bacos; and October 18th: Lawrence G. Hutchins, Trent D. Thomas and Tyler A. Jackson.


joker jeff defends his 'girl' who leaves the audience with a wrong impression

joker jeff e-mailed again.

he was on a high horse, all excited that 'my girl amy' goodman had reported on ehren watada 'and i don't see in that snapshot anything about ehren being charged.'

did you read the snapshot, jeff?

do you know how to read?

'a program' refers to democracy now. members who caught the show e-mailed c.i. asking when ehren watada got charged?

let's go over what jeff's 'girl' told listeners & viewers today:

In an update in a story we’ve been following: First Lt. Ehren Watada has been charged with three offenses for refusing to fight in Iraq. In June he became the first US military officer to openly oppose the war in Iraq. He was charged with Conduct Unbecoming an Officer, Missing Movement, and Contempt toward Officials.

jeff's 'girl' is referring, on tuesday of this week, to the charges against ehren watada in the article 32 hearing that began and concluded last thursday. people who have been following this story, unlike jeff's girl, were shocked by this item because they thought a decision had been reached in the article 32 hearing.

this was really bad reporting. maybe there's a reluctance to tell listeners and viewers how much they missed in the 5-plus weeks where democracy now became look what israel's done now day after damn day?

goodman's reporting on what happened last week and reporting on it badly. she needed to say that those were the charges that are being decided currently. these are not new charges but people hearing goodman today thought they were. jess said there were 35 e-mails on this to the common ills. that may not seem like a lot but most members have given up on that show.

there were just too many problems for too long. c.i. still supports the show but the community doesn't and that's why it is not covered or linked to in entries anymore.

it wasn't 1 thing. it built and built and built. then came the news that they had been contacted about nancy youssef's article on the fact that the us military was keeping a body count on how many iraqi civilians had died. it was bad enough that the program didn't cover that news - and it was news! - on their own. the fact that it had been pointed out to them and pointed out that the journalist was some 1 they had on their show regularly, that was the beginning of the end.

c.i. defended it in the round-robin and in polly's brew and the community was outraged - with the show and with c.i. then, for some stupid reason, the program used their daily e-mail to promote a site that's highly objectionable to the community (and i'd guess to chris floyd but i could be wrong - he was banned by that site). the site is not supportive of reproductive rights or of women. the site raises money for democratic candidates and only democratic candidates which, as jess pointed out, could get the show in trouble with the npr stations that air it since they were sending traffic to a site raising monies for democratic candidates and they offered nothing for republican candidates, green candidates or any other party. that would get them in serious trouble with npr. they are supposed to news program.

that site is hated and it's got a host of ethical issues according to the mainstream press. on my end, i just know that i personally wrote the man who runs the site to tell him about the treatment of west and he never bothered to reply that's when i thought 'chicken shit' - he wasn't the only 1 - west pushed 4 sites, the common ills, mine and 2 others. only c.i. and i bothered to call the so-called lefty site out on spying on a kid, a little teenager, on trying to get dirt on him, on trying to bully him. i didn't know west until i got the e-mail that went out to all 4 sites. where he apologizes because now a lefty site was saying they wouldn't link to any of the 4 unless he groveled (and he groveled in that e-mail). i read that and thought, 'fuck 'em.' seriously, they didn't link to me so i might have been able to take the attitude of how dare these grown ups bully a little kid. i think that would have been my attitude anyway.

but the other 3 sites? they were linked and noted by the lefty site. and 2 of them stayed silent. they didn't care that some kid who was a big fan of their writing (he isn't anymore) tried to get some attention for them and because he made a comment that got some 1's humorless panties in a wad (NO LEFTY SITE SHOULD EVER PRAISE MICHELLE MALKIN AND IF THEY DO, THEY DAMN WELL BETTER BE PREPARED FOR CRITICISM) he was now being blackmailed.

that's disgraceful.

and i think i would have responded as i did regardless.

but look at c.i. the common ills was mentioned at that big site in entries and also linked on their blog roll. the easiest thing to do (the thing the other 2 did) would have been to stay silent and do nothing. c.i. didn't do that.

c.i. noted it, noted it wasn't left behavior (to bully a teenager, to try to dig up dirt on him) and noted it wouldn't be stood for. c.i. said 'west you're a member now' and stood with west (whom c.i. had never heard of until i called - c.i. hadn't even read west's e-mail that went to all 4 sites because there's too much e-mail each day at the common ills).

west wrote about this in polly's brew when democracy now chose to push 1 of the 2 sites that never bothered to stand up for him. with his permission, i'll note that he called the 2 who stayed silent 'cowards' and said they weren't interested in anything other than trying to have careers as talk show guests. that's all they are interested in.

i used to get so mad at c.i. for turning down interview requests for 'c.i.' but i see the point now. (besides the fact that c.i. hates press and has always done as little press as possible in real life for years and years.) i was thinking, 'if you took just some of those requests, just 1 of them a month, think how huge the common ills would be!' it wouldn't matter.

it wouldn't matter to c.i. because that's not the thing. (and like community member brad, c.i. worries that it's too big now. for the first 3 months or so, c.i. was able to reply to every 1 who wrote. that's no longer possible and there are e-mails in the public account that c.i. never even reads.) popularity wasn't the issue. once it was obvious it was a community and not a blog, c.i.'s concern was that it was a community of people who really did give a damn. who'd do more than 1 little online activity a month and kid themselves that they were active.

the community is huge and you have members pushing themselves to go the extra mile. for some that's talking about the war in their own circles. others got comfortable with that and moved on to public speaking. you have people going to demonstrations that never attended a protest. that's the community c.i. wanted, big or small, people who put their money where there mouths were, got off their butts, and got active in their own lives.

i was e-mailing with brady last week and this week because he lives in conn. and fly boy (and his family vote there) and he wanted to compare notes and just talk about lamont. i explained why my in-laws voted for lamont (because we asked for it as a wedding gift) and why fly boy supported him. and during that back and forth, brady talked about his canvasing near the end of july, where he went door to door for 6 blocks asking people who they planned to vote for (or if they planned to vote) and why. he said he'd never done anything like that.

in january 2005, brady declared (at the common ills) that he wouldn't vote for joe lieberman. that was a huge step for him and we e-mailed about that. there was no challenger to lieberman then, brady had always voted straight ticket (democrat). he's voted for every 1 that was tossed at him by the democratic party. in january 2005, he stated 'no more' to that. and it has just been this continual progression for him. and when you hear members' stories, you hear that a lot.

that's what c.i.'s goal was. not to raise money for a candidate. c.i. doesn't even endorse candidates. seriously. in 2003, c.i. was already donating to a campaign. i couldn't find out who because i hadn't decided - and wouldn't until 2004. c.i. would say, 'you need to pick the 1 that speaks to you.' there was no effort to sway me. i knew c.i. had thought john edwards had a compelling 'narrative' back in 2002 so i thought that was 1 possibility. i figured howard dean was another and john kerry. so i said i was trying to decide between those 3. still nothing from c.i. except for sending me campaign literature on every 1. i tried to get a spoon feeding and c.i. said 'read the literature and then call back.' i did. of the 3, c.i. listed the positives and the minuses of each 1. i had no idea who c.i. was supporting. (by this time elaine knew because she'd selected her own candidate to support. she wouldn't tell me who she was supporting or who c.i. was.)

but that's really true and why people don't need to worry (some still do) that come 2008, ___ will be endorsed. it won't happen. not from c.i. it's your decision and even if you make the wrong 1 (in c.i.'s view), you'll learn something. you'll learn how to support your candidate, how to research issues and identify your choice. you'll learn about disappointments (they always disappoint) and you'll learn about yourself.

the common ills is not a 'vote for ___' site.

i'm completely different. if the democratic primary (for president) were held today, i'd be voting for russ feingold and i have no problem saying that. (2008 is far off and other factors could emerge. i'm only stating who i would vote for if it were today.)

but the common ills came about because a number of us were telling c.i. 'you should blog.' c.i. started speaking out against the war publicly right before the invasion. the minute the invasion began, it was go here, go there, go everywhere and speak against the war. and c.i. was everywhere. we worried about it, friends of c.i.'s, because everything (everything) was put on hold due to the war. somewhere near the end of 2003, c.i. said 'i'll just do it until the election in 2004.' so most of us shut up. but i still couldn't believe the schedule c.i. was doing.

elaine, c.i. and i were together on election night (at what should have been the victory party) and every 1 was such a sad sack. the next morning they still were. i saw c.i. speak to a group of young people who were at the end of their ropes and inspire them. i said again, 'you need to blog.'

c.i. had no idea what a blog was. the whole time we were saying 'you need to blog' (and this got up to over 50 people by the election), c.i. would say, 'i don't know what a blog is. i don't have time to learn.' so after the election, c.i. met with other friends working to end the war and they reviewed what worked and what didn't. the big question of that meeting was 'what didn't i do that i could have?' for c.i. that was blog. immediately after that meeting, c.i. created the common ills.

there was no time to learn. i have no idea how c.i. ended up with blogger (nor does c.i. - it popped up in a search). c.i. started to read the tips and advice and thought, 'if i do, i'll never do it.' so you get that 1st entry, from when it was going to be a blog. that was friday. on saturday, c.i. felt a little more comfortable and blogged 3 times. and by the third time, comments (back then the site allowed comments) were going up. (dona and jim were two of the original members of the community.) e-mails were coming in.

c.i. didn't know shit from blogging but c.i. knows communities. and it was obvious this was going to be a community within a couple of weeks as people would write in and say, 'could you tackle this?' or 'could you address this?'

'here come the madmen' - in the middle of the slaughter of falluja - was a brave post and people grasped that. that, more than anything else, helped the common ills find an audience.

in a landscape where most on the left were wrapping themselves in the flag or hiding behind it, c.i. was opposed to the war. it probably helped that in the coming weeks, every 1 moved on (including move on) and that dopey idiot (you know the woman I mean) wrote that thing about how we can't leave iraq. every 1 was doing some version of that it seemed like. c.i. hit hard on the war.

that's the only focus (or main) now because there's so little focus elsewhere. (and that's never been more true than in the last 6 weeks). after the 2004 election, the 'message' was 'don't talk about the war, don't question it and think of how to appeal to 'vangical voters.' c.i. didn't play that bullshit. and the little slam from the bull-moose flunky at c.i. for calling james dobson a fool (the bull-moose flunkie responded with 'we have to respect and listen to the james dobsons of the world') only helped add members to the common ills. (most attacks have had that result.)

when your supposed brave and independent lefty net was all praising the telecom lobbyist simon rosenberg, c.i. wasn't. the bull-moose flunky even wrote a dopey thing and then got bent out of shape saying he hadn't endorsed simon. (he had, read that dopey post.) and the dope didn't even know that simon was a war cheerleader. c.i. wrote the dope back and asked if the dope was aware of that and the dope replied no and acted shocked. but the dope never put that up at his site. if you wanted to know where simon stood (publicly) on the war, you couldn't find it from the supposed brave lefties.

people noticed that. they know they're not getting talking points. they know the community decides if there's an endorsement. they know c.i. wasn't rooting for howard dean (a friend of c.i.'s was in that race) but when then community backed howard dean, they saw c.i. back dean for dnc chair.

they saw the bullshit of others trying to attack the common ills or rip it off (which c.i. alluded to last night - c.i. must have been pissed because it's never been noted at the site before even though members note it all the time). or take rachel.

rachel was a huge fan of the majority report. (was.) she posted and posted 1 night on that blog asking them to address a topic (as did other people according to her). finally sam seder did. he read her last post on the air but, somehow, managed to avoid reading 'the common ills' which was clearly mentioned in that post.

c.i. knew --- [deleted so i don't get yelled at by c.i.]. that show knew the common ills as did several frequent guests. but sam wasn't going to plug it. that was noticed. that's why no 1 in the community is going to rush forward to try to save sam's bullshit show which is on the cutting block now.

he read rachel's entire post but left out 'the common ills' (i believe he substituted 'the web') and that was noted. a lot of members were listening to that show then (and c.i. promoted that show). (heavily.) while janeane was on the show, the show would continue to be promoted. with janeane gone, even c.i. won't plug that show.

so to take this back to west, c.i.'s earned the following. and with west it was stand by west and lose a big link and big coverage. which was more important?

c.i. didn't know west or know of west. but c.i. knew a kid was being bullied and it was a kid who was trying to get the word out on 4 blogs he liked. for that he was being bullied (and dirt sought on him, the round-robin printed those e-mails - it's amazing what presumably smart people will put into writing). there was no blinking. c.i. returned my call, said 'i don't have time to read the e-mail tonight, walk me through it.' i did. c.i. posted, and noted the link would obviously be lost as a result but oh well. and the next day the biggie delinked from the common ills.

c.i.'s never complained about it. if it's brought up, c.i. laughs about it. (jim and i both wish c.i. would do less laughing when some 1 rips off the common ills - and it gets ripped off a lot.)

in addition to the e-mails trying to get dirt on west, several sites passed on the biggie's e-mails saying 'do not link to the common ills.' and it was noted that some of the sites passing on the e-mails, claiming to be friends, stopped linking. that was fine. c.i. didn't give a damn.

c.i. said to members 'do not promote the site to other sites' and presumably all members have followed that for over a year now. when the complaints went into beth (the ombudsperson) c.i. told her, for the record, that if it helped any, the community would see who just wanted to promote themselves (people always ask for stuff to be highlighted at the common ills) and who really supported the community. members paid attention.

they don't go to the site mike's dubbed 'lotta links.' they're aware that the minute the do-not-link e-mail went out, the common ills never got a link again. despite that, c.i. continued to link to them in entries. that only stopped when it was discovered that they'd been contacted (repeatedly by various members) to link to nancy a. youssef's article and didn't. they haven't been linked to since and ava and jess will tell you that not a week goes by where they don't offer up some 'great' piece of writing that they want linked.

that's really amazing when you think about it. that people think they can use the community and give nothing back. and they did get to for months. for over a year, they linked to nothing at the common ills but got a link every week (at least one) from c.i. when they'd e-mail begging. that only changed because they didn't link to the youssef article.

that's c.i. that's always been c.i. what you do or don't do for c.i. doesn't matter. if you take a holiday from reality, that does matter.

so to jeff who feels his 'girl' informed him and c.i. was asleep on the job by not noting that ehren watada was charged, ehren watada was not charged this week. those were the 3 charges going into thursday's article 32 hearing which jeff's 'girl' didn't cover.

i'll close this out by stressing what i said to beth for her last column because several members really wanted to know if c.i. would prefer to focus on something other than iraq? c.i. focuses on iraq. it's the whole reason that every state but alaska has been visited at least twice since the war began. but yeah, there are other topics. but the focus is decided by the community and they made that decision before independent media decided to ignore iraq (around the start of june). c.i. writes for the community and speaks for the community in those entries. it's a community and c.i.'s the designated voice. i can write whatever i want here (and do). i don't have to speak for any 1 and if a reader's mad, oh well. even as large as the membership is today, c.i. knows the community. we can be working on something at the third estate sunday review and it will be 'no i can't be a part of that' because of a member or 'no, i can't go along with that joke' for the same reason.

i see it as burden. c.i.'s attitude is that the whole thing stops in november of 2008 (i'm not sure that's happening) and until then, it's the role assigned. (c.i.'s always been good about living up to roles and expecations.)

beth wrote that it was probably easier to have a life and a public life offline - in terms of turning down interviews and all that other stuff. there's no need for c.i.. to chase celebrity. and that's probably got some truth in it but as i said back to her, that was always true. it was true in college, it was true after college. from the moment i knew c.i. it was always, 'well ask her what she thinks' or 'well take a picture of her.' celebrity status was never an issue with c.i. and there's no scrapbooks laying around. i did try, early on, to do 1. and i got a lecture from c.i. - who didn't even keep yearbooks to avoid living in the past. i'm not joking. that was the 1st big surprise in college. 'where are your yearbooks?' there were none. i was told something like 'i don't want to be 1 of those people who pulls out the yearbook and lives in the past.'

so that's basically what the community is. it's c.i. keeping the nose down, doing the work (and people like me just have fun doing whatever we want). it has always been about the work for c.i. and that's probably why c.i. can still listen to democracy now even though the community turned against it.

the work right now, the work since before the invasion, has been stopping the war. that's why, unlike 1 silly ninny, c.i. didn't write, during camp casey the 1st, that cindy sheehan wasn't calling for the troops to come home. when a silly ninny wrote that and then, when corrected at the ninny's own site about that, the ninny responsed that it was up to our elected leaders and not cindy sheehan, the silly ninny got pulled from the blogroll (c.i. says 'permalinks') and never got linked again. you can do whatever you want and c.i. really doesn't give a damn. but when you hurt the anti-war movement, it does make a difference.

so joker-jeff, love your 'girl' and take from her what you can. but don't kid yourself that today's headline was reality. it wasn't. it was, however, a big joke.

"In an update in a story we’ve been following:"

that is a joke. they haven't followed the story. they didn't cover the demonstrations in support of watada last week and they didn't cover his article 32 hearing.

sunday, we wrote 'Iraq, the war independent media forgot' (the third estate sunday review) the following:

Watada now awaits the decision of whether or not he will face a court-martial and, a tip for independent media, when the word comes down, if you manage to cover it, don't you dare say, "And now on a story we've been covering . . ." because you haven't been covering it. Your performance has been disgraceful with few exceptions.

maybe goodman thinks 'following' is a lesser extreme than 'covering'? i don't. i think it's shameful that watada's article 32 took place last week (with the charges she's offering as news today) and she couldn't be bothered but now she wants to misinform her audience and also say 'a story we've been following.' she didn't follow it. she let it fall through the cracks.

here's c.i.'s snapshot for today:

Tuesday, August 22, 2005. A day after the Bully Boy's inner-dialogue in front of the world, chaos and violence continue in Iraq, British whispers say there may be a pull out, a witness says he didn't believe Jake Kovco's roommates told the truth about what happened when Kovco died April 21st, and Ehren Watada's father Bob continues traveling and speaking to raise awareness about his son's case.
Starting with the Bully Boy of the United States,
Oliver Knox (AFP) reports on the "revolt" Bullly Boy's facing with some Republicans (Chris Shays) calling for a timeframe for withdrawal, some cheerleaders lagging and the general mood of the United States.
On the mood,
CNN's latest polling (released Monday) found that only 35% of those surveyed "favor the war in Iraq" while 61% were opposed to it which is "the highest opposition noted in any CNN poll since the conflict began more than three years ago."
Though Bully Boy boasted yesterday that, as long as he was the leader, US troops would remain in Iraq, there is good news in the CNN poll for Bully Boy as well. He can break that promise without shocking many -- "
Most Americans (54 percent) don't consider him honest, most (54 percent) don't think he shares their values and most (58 percent) say he does not inspire confidence."
On the topic of the cheerleaders . . . Did someone cry "War Cheerleader Down!"?
Or was that the sound of Thomas Friedman ripping
another pair of tights/pantyhose? Robert Parry (Consortium News) examines the laughable Thomas Friedman's record of 'analysis' and concludes that it's past time that Friedman and his fellow War Cheerleaders, who got it all wrong from the start, "have the decency to admit their incompetence and resign." Parry digs into the writings/record of Friedman and notes that: "Friedman, despite botching the biggest foreign-policy story in the post-Cold War era, . . . retains his prized space on the New York Times Op-Ed page".
As the War Cheerleaders cheer a little lower and think a little slower (is that even possible?), the
Guardian of London reports that "a senior military commander" (British) has stated that British forces in Iraq could drop from "7,000 to between 3,00 and 4,000 by the middle of next year". This as another British commander, "British Royal Marine Lt. Gen. Robert Fry," calls Iraq "a civil war in minature." Fry tells Robert Burns (Associated Press) that it's "important that the conflict not be described as 'civil war'" (this after doing just that) because, among other things, it "encourages . . . adventurous media reporting." Perish the thought.
As one British commander offers (carless?) whispers of a partial pull-out and another wants to play word games,
Bloomberg reports that "U.K. voter support for Prime Minister Tony Blair's Labour Party fell to its lowest in 19 years" and that "[t]he Liberal Democrats, who opposed the war in Iraq and have criticized Blair's relationship with U.S. President George W. Bush, gained more than the Conservatives in the past month." The BBC breaks down the poll's findings as follows: "Tories on 40% -- nine points ahead of Labour on 31%, with the Lib Dems on 22%." The Times of London, on the same poll, reports: "Nearly three-quarters of the public believe that Tony Blair's foreign policy has made Britain more of a target for terrorists". Support for Blair, like support for Bully Boy, has fallen.
In Iraq?
CBS and AP report a hidden bomb claimed the lives of two civilians in Baghdad. Reuters notes a mortar attack in Muqdadiya which has wounded at least fifteen and a roadside bomb "near Yusufiya" which has wounded two civilians and killed a third. AFP reports what we'll call a 'corpse bomb' in Muqdadiya which caused damages to a police vehicle.
AFP reports that eight "young Shiite men from Najaf . . . were pulled from buses by gunmen late Monday . . . and shot dead in the street." CBS and AP note that, in Baghdad, an engineer "was shot dead while . . . in his car" while "crossfire" claimed the lives of two civilians in Amarah. Reuters notes the following: Ramadi -- a body guard of the governor of the Anbar Province was killed in a drive-by; near Kirkuk -- two civilians shot dead; Baquba -- a police major was shot dead (his driver wounded); and in Mosul -- a civilian shot dead.
Reuters notes that Dawoud Salman (Shi'ite Endowment employee) was found dead in Baghdad while another corpse was found "near Hilla."
Turning to kidnapping news, the priest kidnapped last Tuesday (
hit the wires on Friday, the Pope issued a plea for his return this weekend) in Baghdad is apparently alive. Reuters reports that a ransom note has been recived and that the Misna news agency has spoken to Father Saad Syrop Hanna.
Ehren Watada is the first commissioned officer known to refuse to deploy to Iraq. Despite confusion in the e-mails, he has not been charged with anything today. (A program announced he had, they were covering Thursday's Article 32 hearing.) Lt. Col. Mark Keith is weighing the testimony and will issue a conclusion on whether or not action should be pursued. Tuesday
The KPFA Evening News had a report on Watada and they spoke to his father Bob Watada who supports his son and is currently speaking in and around the San Francisco Bay Area.
Bob Watada stated of the illegal war, "They're killing innocent men, women and children -- that's a violation of the Geenva convention which we agreed to. We're using depleted uranium, we're using cluster bombs, we're using phosphoric, we used to call it naplam, but they're phosphoric gases to burn the people. These are all war crimes. Talk about the torture that's going on in Abu Ghraib and other places. You know the rapes of the civilians and so forth. And Ehren would be forced to participate in this illegal war and would be forced to participate in these war crimes that are going on every day."
Bob Watada is attempting to raise awareness of his son's case and upcoming events include:

Tu. 8/22
1-3 pm brown bag lunch & educational event Peace & Justice Center of Sonoma County 467 Sebastopol Ave.,
Santa Rosa Contact: Elizabeth 707-575-8902

6-9pm Buena Vista United Methodist Church- Reception & Event 2311 Buena Vista Ave.
Alameda Contact: Rev. Michael Yoshii 510/522-2688

Wed. 8/23
10:30-noon UC Berkeley gathering with students and campus organizers Heller Lounge, Student Union Building, UC Berkeley Contact: Nina Falleunbaum 510-812-8026

Event at UC Berkeley ­ Sproul Plaza Contact: Wesley Ueunten 510-579-2711 7-9:30pm Reception & Educational Event St. Paul's Church, 405 S. 10th St,
San Jose Contact: Rose Takamoto 408-725-2933

Thu. 8/24
noon-3pm World Can't Wait­Youth & Students Conference San Francisco (site TBA) Contact: Jessalyn Gagui 415-286-3408

7pm Reception & Educational Event Newman Center, 5900 Newman Ct.,
Sacramento Contact: Sacramento-Yolo Peace Action 916-448-7157

A complete list of the events Bob Watada will be taking part in can be found
"I'm trying to publicize my son's cause and publicize what's going on in Iraq,"
he tells
Judith Scherr (Berkeley Daily Planet). Scherr reports that Ehren Watada's civilian attorney, Eric Seitz, told her that, if there is a court-martial, "our intent" is to "put the Iraq War on trial". Meanwhile, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer is preparing an editorial to run on Ehren Watada's case.
We will again note: :
Cedric (Cedric's Big Mix) is advising those calling Donald Rumsfeld (703-545-6700) or mailing him (1000 Defense Pentagon, Washington, DC 20301-1000) to say: "Hands off Ehren Watada! Let him go." Billie advises that you can use public@defenselink.mil to e-mail the Pentagon. She suggests "Re: Ehren Watad" or "ATTN: DONALD RUMSFELD." Courage to Resist and ThankYouLt.org. will continue to offer resources, ideas and inspiration. Get the word out.
In other resistance news,
Jeff Paterson (Indybay IMC) reports on this past weekend's rally "outside Fort Lewis, Washington" in support of Suzanne Swift which calls for "an honorable discharge for the Iraq veteran and sexual assault victim who went AWOL instead of returning to Iraq." Among those taking part were Swift's mother Sara Rich and CODEPINK's Ann Wright (US army Col. retired). [And yesterday, Jeff Paterson, of Not In Our Name, was wrongly billed by me as "Jeff Patterson." My apologies.]
In Australia, the military inquiry into the April 21st Bagdad death of Jake Kovco continues and apparently the only one not allowed to traipse through the crime scene was the officer making the assessment.
Tracy Ong (The Australian) reports that, in his testimony to the inquiry, Major Mark Willetts was "refused permission to enter the room at the Australian embassy compound in Baghdad but observed it from outside and saw photos." Australia's ABC notes that Willetts testified that while he wasn't allowed to enter "the room was occupied by military people, with no investigative skills". Paul Mulvey (Perth Now) reports that Willetts encounters with Kovco's roommates (Soldiers 17 & 19) weren't productive and that Willets "believed . . . they were witholding evidence" because "I find it difficult [to believe] that two men in the room would not have had more information in regards to what happened." For those who've fogotten, both roommates have stated they saw nothing (19 has stated he was getting a drink out of the room's mini-fridge, 17 states he was looking elsewhere ). The AAP quotes Willetts stating: "It's a small room; there were three people in there; it would have been very difficult not to have known what was going on in there." Tracey Ong notes Willetts' testimony regarding Soldier 21 who has now retracted his statement that he heard "Allah Akbar" yelled "10 seconds before the shooting" -- of Soldier 21, Willetts testified: "He was quite adament, in fact he was emphatic he heard Allah Akbar."
CBS and AP report this on Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi: "An Iraqi investigative panel has launched an independent probe into the rape and murder of a 14-year-old girl allegedly by American soldiers currently in U.S. custody, who will be tried in absentia if necessary, an official said Tuesday." The probe actually began Thursday and is expected to last at least a week. Abeer's 15th birthday would have been last Saturday.
Robin Morgan reported the following (Guardian of London via Common Dreams): "The victim's name was Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi. Abeer means 'fragrance of flowers'. She was 14 years old. According to a statement by one of the accused, the soldiers first noticed her at a checkpoint. On March 12, after playing cards while slugging whisky, they changed into civvies and burst into Abeer's home. They killed her mother, father and five-year-old sister and 'took turns' raping Abeer. Finally, according to the statement, they murdered her, drenched the bodies with kerosene, and set them on fire. Then the GIs grilled chicken wings."