written on breaks

On the November 30 edition of his nationally syndicated radio show, host Rush Limbaugh proclaimed: My "cat's taught me more about women, than anything my whole life" because his pet cat "comes to me when she wants to be fed," and "[s]he's smart enough to know she can't feed herself. She's actually [a] very smart cat. She gets loved. She gets adoration. She gets petted. She gets fed. And she doesn't have to do anything for it." Limbaugh has previously stated, on the March 1, 2005, edition of his show, that "[w]omen still live longer than men because their lives are easier"; on January 10, he suggested that some women "would love to be hired as eye candy."
Later the same day on MSNBC's Tucker, guest host Joe Scarborough, in a conversation about the November 29
appearance on ABC's The View by actor Danny DeVito in which DeVito referred to President Bush as "numbnuts," stated, "[W]e're getting so much politics on The View. Shouldn't this be a program at this time of the year about how to make Christmas balls out of popcorn and pine cones?" After Huffington Post media editor Rachel Sklar replied to Scarborough's statement by saying, "I'm just going to forget you said that," Scarborough added, "[I]t is a dayside show for women ... come on."

that's from media matters' 'Limbaugh said he learned about women from his cat, which "gets loved," "petted," and "fed" and "doesn't have to do anything for it".'

on limbaugh, 2 more things his cat doesn't do.

1) ask him to split the oxycotin stash.

2) ask him if he'd consider losing weight.

presumably, he also learned about sex from his cat?

as for joe scarborough, who is his own form of disgust, if any 1 missed it 'too political' has to do with rosie being openly lesbian and not playing like that side of her life doesn't exist.

it has energized the view. getting rid of meredith made it watchable. but with the homophobic star jones out the door and rosie as the anchor, it really is something people are talking about. when i go to t's shop, all the women getting their nails done and their hair done are talking about.
they're not complaining. they're not saying, 'oh too political!' they can't get enough of the show.

and that's not a surprise. women don't like being talked down to. we're not pets.

and what's with that popcorn and pinecombs b.s.? i don't do crafts. i've never done crafts. it sounds like the sort of b.s. scarborough's former law partner would say though, doesn't it?

women at t's shop love the view. and if you think it's lively on the tv screen, you should walk in when t's got it on. every woman there has an opinion she wants to express. funny thing, none of the opinions are about popcorn or pinecombs.

t had told me she had to turn the tv to the view a month or 2 ago. it was just too popular. but i didn't get that until i dropped in tuesday and saw it with my own eyes.

what it reminded me of, the reaction, was the movie tootsie, when dustin hoffman's dorothy michaels is suddenly just energizing all these women and making them feel empowered. it was like those scenes in that movie. as soon as a commercial came on, forget about listening to anything because every 1 was giving her opinion immediately.

i'd be surprised if there ratings were down but what they have right now, regardless of audience size, is a very dedicated following.

it's never really had that before. it was a joke, mad tv and saturday night live made fun of it constantly and that always seemed a little unfair because it was really like picking on the kid who has so many problems.

but now, with the xenophobic meredith gone and the homophobic star evicted, the show's come to life. what's the republican woman's name? elizabeth? she's pretty much booed when she speaks in t's shop. none of the women like her. but they love the show and they love rosie.

rosie was loved before in a warm embrace kind of way because she was sweet. that's probably 1 side of her but she's got more than 1 side and they're really impressed with her on the view today. i think that's partly due to the times.

when rosie shot to tv fame, clinton was president. the country was better off then. but now, the country's pissed off. look at the opinion polls. they're as disgusted with the crap as rosie is. she's the perfect fit and she does reach a lot of viewers.

the show was supposed to be about 5 women (if you count barbara walters who isn't on every show) discussing the topics of the day. that didn't usually happen because meridith was so boring and so self-involved. they also usually ganged up on the youngest woman (debbie and lisa come to mind) telling them that they didn't know yet, they weren't old enough, blah, blah, blah. that was a turn off to me and i wasn't a young woman.

but no 1 sees that day after day and enjoys it, or not many.

then you had pompous star with her 'i'm a lawyer' crap. well, honey, go practice it. (i'm swiping that from t.)

there were times, in the old days, where you would and just feel lisa about to crater because between star and meredith (and sometimes joy, they could dog pile and did), she was just ripped apart and silenced. her opinions were trashed, she was disrespected.

it's really interesting because when meredith was leading slams on women of the left (and i'm thinking of 1 time in particular when i was visiting c.i. and some 1 from abc called and said 'turn on the tv' and we both watched in horror and disgust - barbara walters came on the next day to apologize for that, that's how bad it was) little boy joey scarborough wasn't overly concerned. now he was in congress then (and the aid that died in his local office was still alive, but we're not supposed to mention that, right?) but he didn't issue any statement.

meredith is just human trash. i did watch today for years but i don't watch it now. i know too much dirt on the human trash can and i have no respect for her. she is just a disgusting human being prone to tantrums and screaming matches.

she's not a feminist and she's not supportive of women. she's just disgusting. i hope she and matt lauer get into a boxing match on air. (matt better be prepared to lose.)

that's the thing with certain career women. they want to trade on their queen bee success and get soft press off it but they're not feminists and they're just the most reactionary voices of hate in the world.

they want every 1 to look at their personal success and see it as 'empowerment.' but empowerment doesn't include screaming for a war and trashing those who don't go along.

as soon as the ratings tank for today (they may have already, but they will tank), the spin will be that she looks 'too old' on air. it has nothing to do with age, it has to do with her hatefulness coming across the airwaves. she has 1 of the worst reps in the p.r. business and a woman who used to work for me has a no-meredith policy. she will not have anything to do with that woman because the stories are too well known.

but she's a 'jack welch girl.' that's probably why she got hired. she's exactly like him. election night in 2000, she would have been snarling in the control room, 'call it for bush!' just like he was.

flyboy and i are at mike's for the study group. i'm writing this on smoke breaks and have started and stopped twice in the above so, if it leaps around, that's why.

this is from editor & publisher's 'Nora Ephron Slams George Will's 'Civility' Column:'

Columnist George Will has accused U.S. Sen.-Elect Jim Webb (D-Va.) of bad manners, which led to a strong blog response on the Huffington Post by writer Nora Ephron.According to press reports, President Bush asked Webb at a reception for new Congresspeople how his son -- currently serving in Iraq -- is doing. Webb replied that he hoped U.S. troops would be home soon. Bush said that wasn't what he asked, and again queried Webb about how his son was. Webb said that that was between him and his son.
[. . .]
Ephron, the author and filmmaker, responded: "Washington is a place where politics is just something you do all day. You lie, you send kids to war, you give them inadequate equipment, they're wounded and permanently maimed, they die, whatever. Then night falls, and you actually think you get to pretend that none of it matters. 'How's your boy?' That, according to George Will, is a civil and caring question, one parent to another? It seems to me that it's exactly the sort of guy talk that passes for conversation in Bushworld, just one-up from the frat-boy banter that is usually so seductive to Bush's guests.

good for nora ephron. of course, little joey would probably prefer she make popcorn balls and pine combs. (so he can pad his briefs?) little joey may live in a world where women don't have any thoughts about the world around them, but, if so, he's the sicko living in a fantasy world.

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

December 1, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq, early numbers for November indicate a dramatic rise (another dramatic rise) in the number of civilian deaths, does the puppet of the occupation feel the EARTH . . . MOVE . .. under his feet (nod to Carole King "I Feel The Earth Move"), and the James Baker Circle Jerk continues to raise eyebrows.

Alastair Macdonald (Reuters) reports that the Iraq Interior Ministry has released their statistics for November's death toll in Iraq, 1,850 -- and increase of 44% from their count of 1,289 for October. Macdonald reminds, "Although it does not appear to encompass all violent deaths in Iraq, the Interior Ministry's statistical series has reflected trends".

And for the living? Not much better as
Dahr Jamail discussed with Nora Barrows-Friedman on KPFA's Flashpoints yesterday. Dahr explained how the violence was so common, the attacks so rampant, that for fear of their safety, many Iraqis no longer sent their children off to school (approximately 30% was the number given). On the topic of the daily violence and the people effected, Isam Rasheed (Alive in Baghdad) provides a video report from a clinic in Adhamiya where Ahmed Hameed (cigarette vendor) explains how a car bombing resulted in his hand and leg being lost, "I was working and someone left a car bomb. It blew up shortly after they had left. I woke up and found myself thrown against a wall beside my friend Shukri."; Shukri Abdul (owner of the Al-Areesh restaurant) then explains being outside his restaurant speking with an ice vendor when the car bomb went off "And I can remember landing on the ground. I was blown into the air, and when I landed, everything piled on top of me, the pots & corrugated metals." Shurki Abdul also lost his arm and foot and experienced severe damage to his back. This is the daily reality and, as Dahr pointed out, the only area under US control was the Green Zone section of Baghdad but now even the Bremer walls that wall off the section do not translate as 'safe.' Dahr spoke of speaking with a US marine stationed in Ramadi where he was part of 200 US forces expected to provide order to a city of 400,000.

Dahr noted that move to pull forces out of Ramadi and the rest of the Al-Anbar Province in order to send them to Baghdad to secure the capital. Earlier this week,
Dafna Linzer and Thomas E. Ricks (Washington Post) reported on a Marine Corps intelligence report entitled "State of Insurgency in Al-Anbar" which tagged the area "a failed province," one that was beyond US control. Also earlier this week, Jonathan Karl (ABC News) reported that, in an effort to 'secure' the capital -- 'crackdown' in any version didn't, the Pentagon is weighing pulling the 30,000 US troops out of the province and redeploying them to Baghdad.

Also addressed by Dahr was the issue of the realignmment on the ground in Iraq's parliament where new alliances are being formed with Muqtada al-Sadr's group and Dahr wondered exactly how much longer the puppet, Nouri al-Maliki, would be in place?
CBS and AP report that Tariq al-Hashemi, one of Iraq's two vice-presidents, has stated "he wanted to see al-Maliki's government gone and another 'understanding' for a new coalition put in place with guarantees that ensure collective decision making" while Salam Zikam Ali al-Zubaie (handmaiden to the puppet) has said the fault lies with the presidency (a ceremonial position) and not with the prime minister he (al-Zuabaie) serves under. If the memo Stephen Hadley penned November 8th is taken at all seriously don't be surprised to discover US monies are being tossed around right now in an attempt to ensure that new coalitions will be to the US administration's liking. Tom Hayden (Huffington Post) examines the events and notes "the sudden move by al-Sadr's Shiite bloc, which pulled out of the Baghdad government over al-Maliki's meeting with Bush, provides the anti-occupation coalition with significant, perhaps decisive, power, if they choose to bring down al-Maliki's shaky coalition." [Hayden's earlier reports on the al-Maliki upset are: "U.S. Retreat from Iraq? The Secret Story" and followed that with "Documents Reveal Secret Talks Between U.S. and Iraqi Armed Resistance."]

Did someone say shaky?

Thomas Wagner and Sinan Salaheddin (AP) report a double car bombing claimed one life and left six family members wounded in the Sadiyah section of Baghdad; while mortar rounds "near Muqdadiya" killed three and left 14 wounded; and, in Kirkuk, a car bomb took two lives and left three wounded. CBS and AP note a car bomb in Baghdad ("near a fruit and vegetable market") that killed two and left 16 more wounded. AFP notes, "A bomb exploded in the centre of Baghdad on the east side of the Tigris river, killing three people and wouding 16, while another car bomb killed three people on the outskirts of the capital."


Alastair Macdonald and Ahmed Rasheed (Reuters) report: "Machinegun fire rained from U.S. helicopters in central Baghdad . . . the Interior Ministry said one soldier had been killed and nine people wounded, including five soldiers." Reuters reports three people were killed by gunfire (two police officers, one civilian) in Samawa.


Reuters reports that 20 corpses were discovered in Baghdad and fourteen in Mosul while noting the fourteen had been kidnapped on Thursday.

Thomas Wagner and Sinan Salaheddin (AP) report that, Thursday, "Hadib Majhoul, chairman of the popular Talaba soccer club" was kidnapped.

In addition, the
US military announced: "A Multi-National Division - Baghdad Soldier was killed during combatoperations here Nov. 30." The death brings to 2,888 the total number of US troops killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war according to ICCC's count and CNN's as well. Twelve away from the 2900 mark.

This as
Antonella Cinelli (Reuters) reports that "Italy pulled its last remaining troops out of Iraq on Friday, lowering the tricolour flag at its base in the south of a country where 32 of its soldiers have died since the contingent arrived in June 2003."

Meanwhile, although the
Iraq Study Group has released its findings, people continue to ponder the James Baker Circle Jerk. As noted by Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) today, the James Baker Circle Jerk is rumored to call for a 2008 'withdrawal' that is not, in fact, a withdrawal. It's a continuation of the air war that Norman Solomon has been describing for months now. It's also the James Baker Circle Jerk stroking themselves on the public dollar. The onanistic nonsense not only revolves around the air war, it also pushes embedding US forces with Iraqi police squads and forces.

For those who've forgotten how Patrick McCaffrey died and the battle his mother Nadia McCaffrey has had to fight to force the US government to get honest could see the 'suggestion' as worthy of suggesting. (Patrick McCaffrey and Andre Tyson, with the US National Guard, were killed in Iraq. The US government told the families that the two men were killed by 'insurgents.' In reality, they were killed, June 22, 2004, by Iraqi security forces they were training.)

Addressing the James Baker Circle Jerk on this week's CounterSpin,
Gary Younge (Guardian of London; The Nation) observed to Steve Rendall,, "The fact that this study group was necessary itself highlights a flaw in American politics. Democracy should have been able to deal with this, not an appointed study group." As Younge explained the responsibility the group was tasked with was Congress' own responsibility . . . until they outsourced it.

In peace news,
Aaron Glantz (IPS) reports that the revelations of the US government spying on peace activists is not slowly plans for the march in Washington, DC January 27th. Among the groups spied on were CODEPINK, United For Peace and Justice, Veterans for Peace, Iraq Veterans Against the War, Military Families Speak Out, the War Resisters League and the American Friends Service Committee.

War Resisters League will be presenting Sir! No Sir! tomorrow (Saturday, December 2nd) at both seven pm and nine-thirty pm. This kicks off the War Resisters League and the Brecht Forum's Screenpeace: An Antiwar Film Festival that will hold screenings of other films on Fridays during January.

In other activism news,
Progressive Democrats of America (PDA) are asking for a National "Mandate for Peace" Call-in Day, Monday, December 4th. To sign the petition click here. To phone your rep and senators, you can dial 202-224-3121. PDA notes: "On Election Day, voters said enough is enough -- we want a new direction. Let's make sure Congress hears it again by jamming the switchboards on Dec. 4 with our pleas to bring our troops home immediately."


jonathan cook, robert parry

Priorities: Every day HRW has to choose which of the many abuses of international law taking place around the world it highlights. It manages to record only a tiny fraction of them. The assumption of many outsiders may be that it focuses on only the most egregious examples. That would be wrong.
The simple truth is that the worse a state's track record on human rights, the easier ride it gets, relatively speaking, from human rights organisations. That is both because, if abuses are repeated often enough, they become so commonplace as to go unremarked, and because, if the abuses are wide-ranging and systematic, only a small number of the offences will be noted.
Israel, unlike the Palestinians, benefits in both these respects. After four decades of reporting on Israel's occupation of the Palestinians, HRW has covered all of Israel's many human rights-abusing practices at least once before. The result is that after a while most violations get ignored. Why issue another report on house demolitions or "targeted assassinations", even though they are occurring all the time? And, how to record the individual violations of tens of thousands of Palestinians' rights every day at checkpoints? One report on the checkpoints once every few years has to suffice instead.
In Israel's case, there is an added reluctance on the part of organisations like HRW to tackle the extent and nature of Israel's trampling of Palestinian rights. Constant press releases denouncing Israel would provoke accusations, as they do already, that Israel is being singled out -- and with it, the implication that anti-Semitism lies behind the special treatment.
So HRW chooses instead to equivocate. It ignores most Israeli violations and highlights every Palestinian infraction, however minor. This way it makes a pact with the devil: it achieves the balance that protects it from criticism but only by sacrificing the principles of equity and justice.
In its press release, for example, HRW treats the recent appeal to Palestinians to exercise their right to protect their neighbours, and to act in soldarity with non-violent resistance to occupation, as no different from the dozens of known violations committed by the Israeli army of abducting Palestinian civilians as human shields to protect its troops.
Women vounteering to surround a mosque become the equivalent of the notorious incident in January 2003 when 21-year-old Samer Sharif was handcuffed to the hood of an army Jeep and driven towards stone-throwing youngsters in Nablus as Israeli soldiers fired their guns from behind his head.
According to HRW's approach to international law, the two incidents are comparable.

the above is from jonathan cook's 'Palestinians Are Being Denied the Right of Non-Violent Resistance?' (counterpunch). it's about human rights watch, the group i loathe. the enablers of the slaughter, my opinion. they could make a real difference if they were interested in truth telling, but they aren't. cook outlines it brilliantly.

and on the topic of brilliantly, robert parry, regardless of how the gates' hearing turns out, can look back and say, 'i told 'em.' he can't force any 1 to listen. he can't force congress to find a spine. he can tell his truth. and he's done that and is doing that.

flyboy and i were reading his latest earlier and flyboy was teasing me about the time i could have met him if i hadn't been so tongue tied.

i'd probably run the other way if i saw him on the street today. and there's a reason for that.

i didn't get iran-contra. the hearings were about to start and it was complicated (to say the least) and the media was doing an ass poor job in covering it. i did what i usually do in situations like that, pick up the phone and call c.i.: 'what is this all about?' c.i. talked me through and then a few days later i had an envelope full of clippings (highlighted, c.i. knows i can be lazy) and i started noticing that the ones that made the most sense and were easiest to comprehend were by the same guy, robert parry.

as i repeatedly prove, especially this week, i'm not big on bylines. i can read some 1 over and over with different pieces and not notice. or read and try to remember but then forget. but i did remember parry and when i saw a book by him, i grabbed it. i've read all of his books and if you haven't, your loss.

there's a wish or desire to act like iran-contra didn't happen. it did.

most of the media ignored it so it's not a big surprise that they continue to do so.

today? it matters. when lee hamilton poses as 'democrat' and gives a 'bi-partisan' air to the laughable baker-hamiliton jerk off on iraq, you're only surprised if you don't realize how he refused to pursue iran-contra. he didn't want to know, he didn't want to probe. he just wanted to get along.

the country suffered then, it suffers now.

and the failure to punish the criminals of iran-contra has a lot to do with why this country is in the mess it is today.

gates does not deserve to be approved. so that's my intro to the latest, robert parry's 'Bob Gates & Locking You Up Forever' (consortium news):

As the next Defense Secretary, Robert M. Gates will be in charge of a new star-chamber legal system that can lock up indefinitely "unlawful enemy combatants" and "any person" accused of aiding them. Yet, despite these extraordinary new powers, his confirmation is being treated more like a coronation than a time for tough questions.
Not since 2003 when Secretary of State Colin Powell wowed Official Washington with his United Nations speech on Iraq's WMD has there been such an awed consensus about any public figure as there has been for former CIA Director Gates, who is almost universally praised for his intelligence, experience and down-to-earth style.
But there are serious unresolved questions about Gates's past that the American people might want resolved before he is entrusted with the awesome new powers that the Military Commissions Act of 2006 puts in the hands of the Defense Secretary.
In 1991, for reasons mostly of political expediency and personal friendship, Gates’s last confirmation process for CIA director never got to the bottom of allegations linking Gates to some of the most serious national security scandals of the 1980s, including illegal involvement in arms deals with Iran and Iraq.
In his memoir, From the Shadows, Gates revealed why the inquiries were cut short when he thanked his friend, Sen. David Boren, the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, for shepherding him through the confirmation process.
"David took it as a personal challenge to get me confirmed," Gates wrote.
Boren's chief of staff who helped limit the investigation of Gates in 1991 was George Tenet, whose actions earned him the gratitude of then-President George H.W. Bush, who a decade later urged his son, President George W. Bush, to keep Tenet on as CIA director.
Amid all this cozy back-scratching, Gates's alleged involvement in illicit contacts between senior Republicans and Iranian representatives during the 1980 hostage crisis was never seriously vetted. Neither was Gates's alleged participation in arranging secret arms shipments to Iraq's Saddam Hussein in the early 1980s.
Though Boren promised to pursue the so-called Iraq-gate allegations against Gates, the Oklahoma senator never did.
Then, regarding a purported Gates meeting with a key Israeli intelligence officer who had linked Gates to both the 1980 Iran-hostage scandal and the later Iraq-gate operations, Gates denied that the meeting ever took place. To prove it, Gates supplied Boren and Tenet with an airtight alibi -- for the wrong day.
In 1991, when I pointed out this date discrepancy to the Senate Intelligence Committee staff, they agreed that they had the wrong day but then told me that they had simply decided to take Gates at his word that he had not met the Israeli intelligence officer, Ari Ben-Menashe.

New Evidence
Since 1991, however, new evidence has emerged supporting the plausibility of Ben-Menashe's claims.

we're going to do something on this topic at the third estate sunday review this weekend. not like robert parry, he's the expert on this. but the issue does matter and jim called today about the picture in the new york times. it gave ty an idea for an illustration that they're going to work on (no, harry reid won't be in it, they're going in a different direction).

yes, i'm working with them this weekend. flyboy told me there was no way i would be taking off the weekend. (he wasn't griping. he actually enjoys listening on those and we all keep waiting for him to toss something in.) i am going to take off christmas weekend off.

closing with c.i.'s 'Iraq snapshot' and there's a lot of information. as you read it, notice how quickly the mainstream press sidelines iraq to run after the 'officials':

November 30, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq, the Baker-Hamiliton Love-Fest sucks up more headlines than the addled-brain panel deserves, shifts on the political ground occur but the media's too busy being whimpering little dogs chasing after their master to note reality, and peace organizations call for a show of support for war resisters and for some action.

Starting with yesterday's
The KPFA Evening News where Sandra Lupien spoke with Global Exchange's Raed Jarrar who explained that some members of Iraq's parliament were under the impression that they would be discussing the possibility of renewing the UN mandate for US forces next week and were unaware that the puppet of the occupation had already 'addressed' that (on Tuesday). Jarrar discussed how what support there was for the puppet had faded as it had been apparent how ineffectual Nouri al-Maliki was, how he's now seen as a failure and how hope is pretty much destroyed.

Raed Jarrar: Let me add one thing, during the last three days some major developments are happening. Yesterday one of the secular groups pulled out of the government -- a group called Reconciliation and Liberation Front, they pulled out from the government. And today a southern group pulled out from the government. And tommorow it's a big possiblity that a number of secular and Sunni and Shia are planning to pull out from the government as well and form this newly, form a front under the name Iraq Salvation Government or the National Iraqi Salvation Front or something.

So all of these things are happening now, at the same time that Maliki is meeting with Bush, so it seems the Iraqi political map is going to change radically within the next few days or

Staying with that topic (the one the New York Times may trip over and discover tomorrow),
CNN reports that Muqtada al-Sadr announced a possible new political alliance with Sunnis and Christians. Calling the group" you know this is coming "'a national front,' the head of al-Sadr's bloc in Parliament -- Falah Hassan Shanshel -- said the groups would target the U.N. Security Council's decision to extend the mandate of 160,000 multinational force in Iraq for another year."

Meanwhile, the
Iraq Study Group has issued their findings: (1) All US troops should be brought home immediately; (2) Reparations shall be paid by the US government to Iraq through the United Nations; (3) The US Congress should immediately begin impeachments hearings; (4) A War Crimes Tribunal should hear testimony into the destruction of Falluja; (5) Dexter Filkins shall be charged with crimes against humanity for his 'reporting' on Falluja and, in fact, all of his reporting on or from Iraq.

The findings were published today by the original Iraq Study Group, not the lame Lee Hamilton-James Baker Circle Jerk. The findings are signed by the original chairs: Nina, Tony and
Mike. And if the findings seem more democratic than those of the James Baker Circle Jerk, well one was of the people, the other was created to provide cover for the US administration.

Turning to news of the James Baker Circle Jerk. They did not recommend withdrawal.
David E. Sanger and David S. Cloud (New York Times) reported in this morning's paper that the James Baker Circle Jerk would recommend that 15 combat brigades be stationed at bases in Iraq or neighboring countries and the James Baker Circle Jerk would not endorse withdrawal of US troops. The James Baker Circle Jerk hopefully checked with "neighboring countries" because, as many will remember, Turkey got aid from the US while hemming and hawwing and, woops, what do you know, their air space would not be used for Bully Boy's illegal war. The James Baker Circle Jerk was a way for him to tap into the Saudi monies he's always tapped into and greed merchants like Lee Hamilton got to go along for the ride. At 75-years-old, there may be nothing left for him to do but stand around open mouthed. But then the James Baker Circle Jerk was never about the "best and brightest." It was, instead, the tired, the corrupt and the cronies.

The Davids are back with their update to say, "Our sources were right." Yes, in what passes for bravery at the Times, all that sucking up allows them their exclusives about reports that will be released. So they've twice wasted everyone's time stroking their sources off on in print while real issues went uncovered and critical abilities (which are supposed to be in a journalist's bag of tricks) again get shoved to the curb. They've chased after Bully Boy, they've chased after the James Baker Circle Jerk.

They just can't find Iraq with a seeing eye dog and an escort. (Should that read a heavily armed escorts? It should.) As
Tom Hayden (The Huffington Post) noted Tuesday, on potential findings of the cover group, "It only postpones the inevitable, the need to exit Iraq before the blood of war sills over into the national presidential election."

Let's leave the James Baker Circle Jerk to the boys (and Sandy Day O'Connor) and instead focus on reality. The
BBC reports that two Iraqi women were killed in Baquba on Wednesday by US forces which follows by one day the killing of "five girls . . . by US tank fire in Ramadi." This comes at a time when the ICRC issues a statement ending with: "The ICRC calls again upon all parties to the conflict to respect the rules of international humanitarian law and to spare civilians and civilian property. In addition, it urges all those who can make use of their moral and political influence on the ground to call for respect of human life and dignity." "All parties." Yes, the Red Cross/Red Crescent would be referring to "all parties" which does include foreign fighters such as the US.

Al Jazeera reports Bully Boy has stated no troops are leaving, that they'll remain till his "job is complete" which apparently means his Blood Lust has yet to be satisfied, after three years, and more will need to die as a result.

A lot is being made of the brief meeting (Brief Encounter?) between Bully Boy and Nouri al-Maliki that finally took place on Thursday.
'A 'speedy handover' (of Iraq forces) to the puppet!' pants CBS and AP. Did no one read the memo yesterday? The memo was published (online) by the New York Times. Did anyone bother to read it? What did Stephen Hadley write about ways that the puppet could look strong? Handing him "additional control over Iraq forces, although we must recognize that in the immediate time frame, we would likely be able to give him more authority over existing forces, not more forces."

Apparently there was no point in the Times publishing that memo, even those who read it appear to act as though they hadn't.

AFP notes Bully Boy wanted to put an end to the "speculation" that the US might attempt "some kind of graceful exit out of Iraq." No word on whether Bully Boy belched after that remark but the lack of grace hardly needs underscoring after three years of an illegal war.

While Bully Boy demonstrates his lack of grace, common sense, et al,
AFP reports that South Korea is pulling their 2,300 troops out of Iraq by the end of 2007. KUNA reports that: "The government also accepted the ruling party's proposal to draw up an action plan for the all-out withdrwal by June 2007, according to Yonhap News Agency." The so-called 'coalition' gets increasingly smaller. Meanwhile, Nouri al-Maliki announces, according to Reuters, that Iraqi troops can take over control in June 2007. Predictions from the Puppet who couldn't meet the Constitutionally mandated deadline for selecting his cabinet? The man who went on to miss the 'bonus' time he gave himself to select the cabinet?

As the press rushes to cover the circle jerk or the Bully Boy,
Dave Clark (AFP) reports: "Baghdad's overlowing morgues have welcomed another grim daily harvest of bullet-riddled coprses".


DPA reports three Iraq police officers were killed by a roadside bomb in al-Mosayyab and three more were left wounded. Dave Clark (AFP) reports that mortar attacks wounded 13 in Samawa.


Thomas Wagner and Sameer N. Yacoub (AP) report that, in Basra, Nasir Gatami ("deputy of the local chapter of a group called Sunni Endowment) and three of his bodyguards were shot dead. The BBC raises the number of bodyguards killed to six. Dave Clark (AFP) reports six shot dead in sectarian conflict in Baquba while a police officer was shot dead in Falluja.


BBC reports that "At least 80 bodies" were discovered in Iraq "in the past 24 hours." The Daily Telegraph notes that 58 of those corpses were discovered in Baghdad.

That's the reality of Iraq -- some of it. What managed to get reported by the ones not confusing the James Baker Circle Jerk or the Bully Boy's travel itineray with the Beatles landing at JFK. Worshipful fans don't generally make for solid reporters and, for those noticing how Iraq has been sidelined by "Follow The Officials!", that's tragically clear.

Not tomorrow, but the Friday after next, December 8th,
Courage to Resist will beging three days of public action:

Military resisters, their families, veterans and concerned community members call for public action Dec. 8-10th!

It's time for us to escalate public pressure and action in support of the growing movement of thousands of courageous men and women GI's who have in many different ways followed the their conscience, upholding international law, taking a principled stand against unjust, illegal war and occupation and stood up for their rights. Widespread public support and pressure will help create true support for courageous troops facing isolation and repression, and help protect their civil liberties and human rights. We call for the following:1) Support for War Objectors 2) Protect the Right to Conscientious Objection 3) Protect the Liberties & Human Rights of GI's 4) Sanctuary for War Objectors. We urge you to join us December 8-10th for a weekend of action in supportof GI Resistance and GI Rights!
Participating Groups and Individuals
Downloadable Organizing Kit

And United for Peace and Justice notes:

It takes courage to say that you will not fight -- especially if you are a soldier. As more members of the U.S. military step forward for peace, the peace movement must step forward to support them.
Large numbers are now refusing to serve: The Department of Defense estimates that there are about 8,000 AWOL service members. The
GI Rights Hotline (800-394-9544) is currently receiving about 3,000 calls a month.
Most importantly, a growing number of soldiers are speaking out, against the illegality and immorality of the Iraq war and the orders they are being told to carry out. These brave men and women are risking jail time and their futures to stand up against the war.
Click here to find out how you can support them.

On Monday,
WBAI's Law and Disorder interviewed Jonathan Hutto with Appeal for Redress which is gathering signatures calling for Congress to bring the troops. Signatures of those currently serving in the military. Michael Ratner, Heidi Boghosian, Dalia Hashad and Michael Smith spoke about the historical importance of this and how the rights for those serving were won, not given and Hutto stated that currently they have "a little over 1200" signatures.

War resisters also include Kyle Snyder,
Ehren Watada, Joshua Key, Ivan Brobeck, Darrell Anderson, Ricky Clousing, Mark Wilkerson, Camilo Meija, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Jeremy Hinzman, Corey Glass, Joshua Casteel, Clifford Cornell, Agustin Aguayo, Patrick Hart, Joshua Despain, Katherine Jashinski, and Kevin Benderman. Those are only some of the names of those resisting who have gone public.Information on war resistance within the military can be found at Center on Conscience & War, The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline, Soldier Say No!, the War Resisters Support Campaign, Iraq Veterans Against the War and Veterans For Peace. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters.


bully boy gets stood up, ray mcgovern & more

first, mia e-mailed to tell me kpfb was not an a.m. station. she was very kind about it. my apologies.

she also shared her favorite thing was with archive clips of gloria steinem, medea benjamin and others. it aired tuesday. that must have been during the time i went out to grab some take out for dinner. i wish i had caught that.

listening online means i don't have reception in my car. none of the pacifica stations are on satellite radio, are they?

but i listened yesterday and today and never found myself bored so it's amazing that i missed something that i really wish i'd heard. it shows how much they have to offer - a lot more than they aired, they would need hours and hours, days and days, and weeks and weeks for that.

so these 2 days a year where they give us a taste are really worth catching. they're entertaining, educational and inspiring.

i think my favorite today was dorothy healey. she was new to me. she had a really interesting life (she died in august). what a long and amazing life.

and what an amazing job pacifica did with the archive broadcast. as i type, the program on malcom x is about to go off. there have been so many amazing moments.

this is from martha raddatz' 'Diplomatic Embarrassment or Simple Schedule Clarification?' (abc news):

The White House tried to play down the significance of President Bush's meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki being delayed, but it is a huge embarrassment for the president to have a foreign leader cancel a meeting, especially one who has 150,000 American troops in his country.
Bush and Maliki both arrived in Amman today to look for a way to bring the spiraling violence in Iraq under control. They were expected to meet with Jordan's King Abdullah, but only Abdullah and Bush appeared in a photo opportunity with reporters.
After Maliki abruptly cancelled his appearance at the scheduled meeting, the White House insisted this was not a snub.

bully boy traveled all that way for a 3-way and it got called off. poor bully boy. snubbed in front of the whole world. cedric's 'Bully Boy's mystery date goes bust' and wally's 'THIS JUST IN! BULLY BOY GETS STOOD UP BY A "DUD"!' take a comic look at this.

now today, during the section of the pacifica archives where they played portions of larry bensky's interview with oliver north from 1991, larry said that the robert gates hearings will be covered by pacifica but all may not carry it. kpfa (or for me, kpfb) will. (and if you listen to kpfa and have a buffering problem repeatedly or drop out, switch over to kpfb, the stream's available on kpfa's web page by clicking on 'other streams.'

is he going to be rubber stamped? i think so. there was a photo of him standing with harry reid in today's new york times. harry looked pleased and gates looked fat. why do i think it will be a rubber stamp? dems aren't talking to the press about it. even with samuel alito, whose butt they really kissed, they had floated some stuff to the press ahead of the hearings. since nothing's really being floated, i think they're going to roll over.

while it's true that they don't have the majority until the next congress is sworn in come january, it's also true that it appears they're still waiting for the day when it's 'safe' to fight.

this is from ray mcgovern's 'Gates, Hadley: More of the Same' (consortium news):

Initial press reports on information provided to the Senate by Robert Gates, President George W. Bush's nominee for the post of defense secretary, show Gates hewing very closely to the rhetoric of his predecessor. Gates is more parrot than innovator in his responses to a questionnaire given him by the Senate Armed Services Committee, which takes up his nomination on Dec. 5.
None of this surprises those of us who for decades have watched Gates make career after career out of trimming his sails to the prevailing winds. No one should expect Gates to depart one iota from the position of the President, who
said Nov. 28, "I'm not going to pull the troops off the battlefield before the mission is complete." In answering the senators' questions, Gates insisted that an early pullout would risk "leaving Iraq in chaos [with] dangerous consequences both in the region and globally for many years to come."
No surprise either in Gates' strong endorsement of spending billions more on--and prematurely deploying--the missile defense system that was Rumsfeld's pet project. Even if it can be made to work (and this has yet to be demonstrated), the system is of highly dubious utility in preventing the kinds of terrorist attacks that appear far more likely than a nuclear-tipped missile from a "rogue" state like North Korea or Iran--if they ever succeed in developing one.
Gates lumps the two together, saying, "North Korea and Iran continue to develop longer range missiles and are determined to pursue weapons of mass destruction." In attributing this intention to Iran, Gates demonstrates that he has lost none of his verve as master-practitioner of what we intelligence alumni call "faith-based intelligence." Among serious intelligence analysts, especially in the Department of Energy, where the expertise lies, the jury is out on whether Iran is embarked on a weapons-related nuclear program--and, if so, how soon it might have a deliverable nuclear weapon. And the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), led by Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mohamed ElBaradei, also keeps saying existing evidence permits no hard and fast conclusions.
In prejudging that key issue, Gates has elevated the status of Iranian intentions, in Rumsfeldian parlance, from a "known unknown" to a "known known." In doing so, he has thrown in his lot with the neo-conservatives, whose record of accuracy in such judgments leaves much to be desired, and who--after a pre-election lull--have been revving up for another try at prevailing on the President to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities. Gates' position on Iran’s nuclear weapons plans suggests he will not put up much resistance to importuning by Vice President Dick Cheney and the neo-cons--not to mention the Israelis--that Iran's fledgling nuclear program must be nipped in the bud.
In what is known so far of the information in the completed questionnaire, Gates made one departure from long established White House policy. Very much in tune with the admonishment of his patron Jim Baker that talking directly with adversaries is not "appeasement," Gates implicitly criticized the opposition to negotiating with the likes of Syria and Iran, stressing that such talks could come "as part of an international conference" of the kind the Baker/Hamilton group is said to be suggesting.

2 new readers asked a question each.

g.s. wondered why my links aren't exact (the underlines beneath them when you read)? g.s., i have very long fingernails and if i'm on my laptop it's a big problem because my 'mouse' is a little red stick in the center of the keyboard. but even when i'm my computer with a tower, monitor and keyboard, getting the link just right isn't big on my agenda.

sonia askes what i'd pick as the best movie of 2006? if i can include a documentary, sir! no sir! because it's amazing. if you haven't seen it, please check it out. it moves so quickly, it is not boring. you'll love it.

if i can't include a documentary? i don't think there's 1. there's a movie i want to see this month and if it turns out to be as good as it looks, it will probably be my choice. i have been watching brokeback mountain a lot lately. i saw that in 2005 but it came out on dvd in 2006. that's the only thing that i've been impressed with. i'm really getting into the way the camera frames the scenery and considering if there's a message beyond 'oh, pretty!' (i think there is). i also think jake gyllenhaal is amazingly hot.

he and michelle williams give amazing performances. i can watch brokeback over and over.

before i go further, i know c.i. does not have the time to do entries all the time. i also know that speaking today and tomorrow especially means no time. but an amazing taxi cab story. i said, 'oh you should write about that this week.' c.i. said, 'isn't that thomas friedman-esque? "my cab driver said ..." well isn't it?' it is. but the conversation, about the illegal war, was the sort thomas friedman would never write up.

i told flyboy about it and he agreed that it was worth writing up. he also passed on something his mother-in-law wanted me to note. this came up at 1 of her dinners, a woman who knew c.i. brought up some of the speaking trips. she made some comment like 'well, i guess some people will do anything for money.' my mother-in-law was offended. (she knows c.i. and they get along. old money.) she told that woman she didn't know what she was talking about and corrected her on it. she asked flyboy to get me to note that ('because you know it will never go up at the common ills'). c.i. doesn't get paid for speaking. c.i. doesn't take money for it, doesn't let any 1 pay for travel or for hotels. that all comes out of c.i.'s pocket. it's been that way since feb. 2003.

c.i. hasn't just made it a focal point of life, c.i.'s refused money for it.

that's not a surprise to me because that's how c.i. is, outside of the birthday, it's a struggle to even get c.i. to let you pay for a meal. 1 of the guys i dated in college was a sculpter. he had sold something, his 1st piece sold, and he invited a number of friends out to celebrate. i was ordering like i would at any meal. c.i. and elaine just had a glass of tea each. as soon as it was over, elaine and c.i. split and i found later that was because they were starving. i didn't understand that and they explained that the 1st check was wonderful but he really didn't need to blow it. (and he did end up doing that.) they weren't comfortable having a meal on him. i was but i always remind myself we were dating and sleeping together.

but there were probably 13 people there and they weren't sleeping with him. (as far as i know!) all of them except elaine and c.i. were eating like it was their last supper. it's something that probably didn't occur to them, that this check would hopefully be 1 of many but they wouldn't be rolling in every day.

but i think the rest of us, including me, were thinking 'oh money.' elaine and c.i. never had to worry about and both prefer to pay their own way. and they keep track on the meals they buy. they don't get in a fight over the check but you will hear, 'no, you got it last time.' i never know who got it last time. once i started working, i was able to pay my own way as well. but i still love big presents and they both do not. they'd prefer you get something small. it has to do with the way they were raised. if you get either of them a big gift they're less pleased than if you picked up something small.

that's why, now that elaine and mike are dating, i always tell him, 'call me before you get her anything.' elaine would be even more appalled at mike buying a big gift due to the fact that he's in college. with me, she'll just roll her eyes. but mike's a college student and works hard at his part-time job. if he went out and blew a check on her, she'd feel bad for days.

with both elaine and c.i., i think they appreciate the freedom. they can't be bought. and they aren't dependent upon any 1.

flyboy surprised me with a new stereo. it was his contribution to the remodeling. now i can afford that myself but, yeah, i did freak out. i was thrilled. i'm not at all 'don't buy me anything big!' hopefully, our child will probably be more like elaine and c.i. because he or she will grow up with it and not be dreaming of the big presents.

sherry and i've been talking about that in e-mails, adoption, and in case any 1 else was wondering, we are going through legal channels. a friend knew of an adoption that was coming up and i appreciated her heads up but i don't want to be accused of being madonna! so we're going the slow route. we're assuming 12 or so months from now. but, yes, we are going to be adopting (and have started the process) but, no, we won't be baby shopping. we'll do it legally, legal by the laws of the united states not 'oh, well it's legal by that country's laws.'

now for a highlight. i really don't want to write about this but will at the end. this is norman g. finkelstein's 'Rush to Judgment: Human Rights Watch Must Retract Its Shameful Press Release' (counterpunch):

How has Human Rights Watch responded to the challenge? It criticized Israel for destroying Gaza's only electrical plant, and also called on Israel to "investigate" why its forces were targeting Palestinian medical personnel in Gaza and to "investigate" the Beit Hanoun massacre.
On the other hand, it accused Palestinians of committing a "war crime" after they captured an Israeli soldier and offered to exchange him for Palestinian women and children held in Israeli jails. (Israel was holding 10,000 Palestinians prisoner.) It demanded that Palestinians "bring an immediate end to the lawlessness and vigilante violence" in Gaza. (Compare Amira Hass's words.) It issued a 101-page report chastising the Palestinian Authority for failing to protect women and girls. It called on the Palestinian Authority to take "immediate steps to halt" Palestinian rocket attacks on Israel.
Were this record not shameful enough, HRW crossed a new threshold at the end of November.
After Palestinians spontaneously responded to that "unknown voice on a cell phone" by putting their own bare bodies in harm's way, HRW rushed to issue a press release warning that Palestinians might be committing a "war crime" and might be guilty of "human shielding." ("Civilians Must Not Be Used to Shield Homes Against Military Attacks")

finkelstein wants you to e-mail and ask them to retract their press release ('Email HRW Middle East director Sarah Leah Whitson--whitsos@hrw.org - and HRW executive director Kenneth
Roth -- RothK@hrw.org.'). that's why i didn't want to write about it. i really like finkelstein and he's smarter than i am, so if you want to write, please do.

i just don't think it will make any difference. i hate human rights watch. so much that c.i. will call and say, 'will you be upset if i highlight this?' (c.i.'s highlighted them once or twice and both times asked my permission. c.i. wouldn't dream of calling me to ask me not to highlight something and if i called to check something, i would be told, as i always have been, 'it's your site, you highlight what you want.') but i just hate human rights watch. somewhere at the third estate sunday review, we mention them. i've always said they're all about appeasing critics. then roth gave a comment to the nation that basically read like 'we don't give a damn what the left thinks of us but we have to watch out for the right-wing.' that's how they act as well. i think their 'findings' are tilted not just to the right but in favor of the israeli government. i have no use for them.

i think they're timid and biased 'reports' allow others to remain complacent and stupid. i don't see them concerned with human rights, i see them as concerned with pleasing the right wing fringe that worships the israeli government. if you're really concerned with human rights, you should be making waves, not sailing happily along. i'm sick of them.

i think norman (don't make me look up his last name again) is very smart (he's also kind of hot) so he probably knows better about whether they'll respond or not to complaints. i just don't care for the organization at all.

if they'd tell the truth and not shade it, i think they'd really be able to help the issue but there's no bravery, just appeasement.

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

Wedensday, November 29, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq; a classified US assessment, jotted down in memo form by Stephen Hadley, finds the puppet of the occupation untrustworthy; whack-a-mole continues to be the game of choice for US military heads, and the big meet up in Jordan hits a snag right out of the box.

Starting with
the memo:

We returned from Iraq convinced we need to determine if Prime Minister Maliki is both willing and able to rise above the sectarian agendas being promoted by others. Do we and Prime Minister Maliki share the same vision for Iraq? If so, is he able to curb those who seek Shia hegemony or the reassertion of Sunni power? The answers to these questions are key in determining whether we have the right strategy in Iraq.

Maliki reiterated a vision of Shia, Sunni, and Kurdish partnership, and in my one-on-one meeting with him, he impressed me as a leader who wanted to be strong but was having difficulty figuring out how to do so. Maliki pointed to incidents, such as the use of Iraqi forces in Shia Karbala, to demonstrate his even hand. Perhaps because he is frustrated over his limited ability to command Iraqi forces against terrorists and insurgents, Maliki has been trying to show strength by standing up to the coalition. Hence the public spats with us over benchmarks and the Sadr City roadblocks.
Despite Maliki's reassuring words, repeated reports from our commanders on the ground contributed to our concerns about Maliki's government. Reports of nondelivery of services to Sunni areas, intervention by the prime minister's office to stop military action against Shia targets and to encourage them against Sunni ones, removal of Iraq's most effective commanders on a sectarian basis and efforts to ensure Shia majorities in all ministries -- when combined with the escalation of Jaish al-Mahdi's (JAM) [the Arabic name for the Mahdi Army] killings -- all suggest a campaign to consolidate Shia power in Baghdad.

Michael R. Gordon (New York Times) reports that author of the memo is National Securtiy Adviser Stephen J. Hadley and that Hadley wrote the memo November 8, 2006. The memo was based on conclusions Hadley drew while visiting the Green Zone on October 30th, a visit John F. Burns and David E. Sanger (New York Times) noted was spoken of "only in the vaguest of terms". The memo's distrust of Nouri al-Maliki and its suggestions fly in the face of what Geroge W. Casey Jr. was publicly pushing immediately prior to Hadley's visit. As Amit R. Paley (Washington Post) reported the US' military commander's claims of Iraqi security forces 'success' was doubted by American troops on the ground.

The memo covers a number of topics. Mainly it attempts to chart how the puppet can be propped up if he agrees to continue to following orders from the US administration (such as "support the renewal of the UN mandate for multinational forces" -- done yesterday -- through the end of 2007 as Sandra Lupien noted on yesterday's The KPFA Evening News). If that is the case, US tax dollars can be used to prop up political parties that do not support Moktada al-Sadr and thereby sideline al-Sadr from the process. ("This bloc would not require a new election, but would rather involve a realignment of political actors within the Parliament.") Mainly the memo's concerned with appearances, ways to make it appear the puppet is independent and strong. Such as: "Encourage Zal [Zalmay Khalilzad, the American ambassador] to move into the background and let Maliki take more credit for positive developments." As noted in previous snapshots, Zalmay-Take-Me-Away is on his way out. His supposed 'success' in Afghanistan began to implode in front of the world shortly after he was shipped to Iraq to create more 'success.' Reality didn't wait and Zalmay is on the way out.

The memo offers that al-Maliki can appear 'strong' if the US administration will: "Seek ways to strengthen Maliki immediately by giving him additional control over Iraq forces, although we musr tecognize that in the immediate time frame, we would likely be able to give him more authority over existing forces, not more forces" While pushing appearances, Hadley makes it very clear that al-Maliki is extremely out of touchand that he has one self-presentation "when he talks with Americans" and another at other times. Hadley writes: "But the reality on the streets of Baghdad suggest Maliki is either ignorant of what is going on, misrepresenting his intentions, or that his capabilities are not yet sufficient to turn his good intentions into action."

The memo reveals the doubts, all the times after, that the US administration still has of their puppet.
Mark Silva (Chicago Tribune) reports that Tony Snow Job issued a statement of Bully Boy's confidence in al-Maliki which should make the puppet shudder if he's aware of "Heck of a job, Brownie." [Or of November 1st, when Bully Boy was singing Rummy's praises. As Ron Hutcheson (McClatchy Newspapers) reported: "Rumsfeld's ouster came a week after Bush told a small group of reporters that he wanted the defense secretary to stay on the job until end of his presidency."]

Silva also speaks with a nameless administration official who states that the memo is about raising questions and it "doesn't mean you're casting judgment" which is either cover up or the nameless hasn't read the memo. The third step Hadley outlines that al-Maliki "should take" is to "Shake up his cabinet by appointing nonsectarian, capable technocrats in key service (and security) ministries."

For those paying attention months ago, al-Maliki's claimed that was happening. He began saying it was happening after he finally got a cabinet semi together. He missed the Constitutional deadline as well as his own appointed deadline. When he finally had a 'cabinet' it was short three positions. As soon as those were filled, al-Maliki began making repeated noises about a 'shake up' that has still not taken place. That was telling when Hadley visited in October, it was telling when Hadley wrote the memo on November 8th and, as November draws to a close, it's even more telling.

As Tony Snow Job tries to spin the memo, the US administration still attempts to deny the reality of the civil war that has been raging in Iraq.
Shatha al-Awsy (McClatchy Newspapers) registers quite clearly what she has seen in the last year in the neighborhood she lived, the neighbors who left as strangers began showing up, the talk of impending attacks, the need to build a secret passage way between her home and her parents, the night when violence was only streets away, her baby crying from the mortar rounds falling and her promise to herself to leave if they made it through tomorrow.

In the face of such reality,
the US administration continues to deny Iraq is in a civil war. James Coomarasamy (BBC) reports that Stephen Hadley, of all people, "has said the Iraqi government does not see it in those terms, while the president himself described the latest attacks as part of an ongoing campaign by al-Qaeda militants." The same Hadley who wrote "the reality on the streets of Baghdad suggests Maliki is either ignorant of what is going on"? Meanwhile, Diala Saadeh (Reuters) reports Colin Powell, former US Secretary of State, has stated, "I would call it a civil war. . . I have been using it (civil war) because I like to face the reality." (Like your blot?) On CBS' The Early Show, Bob Schieffer (host of Face the Nation) offered, "This is not a memo that was leaked by some Democrat in Congress. This is something that obviously came from someone within the administration itself. It shows that the situation in Iraq is the kind of chaos that has been described by others at every level, political and military. It paints a picture that is unlike what we have been hearing from the administration. We've been hearing that things are getting better and so on and so forth, that al-Maliki is doing his best. Now this memo raises questions about those statements."

CNN reports, ahead of the Jordan meeting with Bully Boy, Nouri al-Maliki has seen "his support erode on two fronts Wednesday as a White House memo questioned his leadership and a powerful political bloc suspended participation in Iraq's government." The suspension of participation was made quite clear Friday when al-Sadr's bloc stated that if al-Maliki went to Jordan to meet with the puppet, they would be pulling their support for al-Maliki.

Thomas Wagner and Sameer N. Yacoub (AP) report that "the 30 lawmakers and six Cabinet members" in the Sadr bloc "said their boycott was necessary because the meeting" between Bully Boy and al-Maliki "constituted a 'provocation to the feelings of the Iraqi people and a violation of their constitutional rights'." As Amy Goodman noted on Democracy Now! today, the bloc announced they were boycotting because "Bush is a criminal who killed a lot of Iraqis and we do not want him to interfere in Iraq's affairs" but prefer that the puppet instead do business with the U.N. Security Council. Deb Riechmann (AP) reports that the meet up in Amman, Jordan that was due to start today (Bully Boy & puppet) has now been put off with the US administration declaring it would take place "on Thuresday."

Meanwhile the city of Baquba is "
shutdown" by violence. "Shutdown"? The sequel to 'crackdown'? (Which Baghdad is still under.) AP reports bombing raids by US aircraft while "the univeristy, public schools and many stores remained closed" and the deaths of five Iraqi police officers.


AP reports a roadside bomb in Bahgdad left three Iraqis dead and 11 more wounded and
"[t]wo mortar rounds also exploded near the Health Ministry, wounding two soliders" in the heavily fortified Green Zone.
Reuters notes: two car bombs in Iraq (one in central Baghdad, the other in southwestern Baghdad) that left two police officers dead and five Iraqis wounded;
a car bomb in Samarra that killed six police officers; a car bomb in Mosul that left one civilian dead and 23 more injured; On the car bomb in Samarra,
AP notes that it was a coordinated attack using the car bomb and guns and reports that four police officers were killed and four more wounded.


AP reports that the Green Zone in Baghdad was ringed with gunfire "for most of the morning." AFP reports that four guards of the Pensions Department in central Baghdad were shot dead while on duty.


Reuters notes that the corpse "of a teacher with gunshot wounds" was discovered in Diwaniya today.

Today, the
US military announced: "A Task Force Lightning Soldier assigned to 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, was killed when an improvised explosive device exploded near his vehicle while conducting operations in Salah ad Din Province Tuesday. A second Soldier from this unit was wounded and transported to a CoalitionForces' medical treatment facility."; and they also announced: "One Soldier assigned to Regimental Combat Team 7 died today from wounds sustained due to enemy action while operating in Al Anbar Province." Al-Anbar Province? Before we move on, let's note that the count for US troops who have died in Iraq this month thus far is 65. (Which doesn't include Major Troy L. Gilbert whose plane crashed this week and who is classified as missing by the US military while other press reports report he died in the crash or following the crash.)

We're going to
flash back to the August 3rd United States Senate Armed Services Committee hearing when the following exchange took place:

Senator John McCain: So, General Abizaid, we're moving 7,500 troops into Baghdad, is that correct?

General John Abizaid: The number is closer to 3,500.
[. . .]
McCain: And where are these troops coming from?
Abizaid: Uh, the troops, the Styker Brigade, is coming down from Mosul.
McCain: From Mosul? Is the situation under control in Ramadi?
Abizaid: Uh, the situation in Ramadi, is better than it was two months ago.
McCain: Is the situation under control in Ramadi?
Abizaid: I think the situation in Ramadi is workable.McCain: And the troops from Ramadi came from Falluja, isn't that correct?Abizaid: I can't say senator, I know that --
McCain: Well that's my information. What I worry about is we're playing a game of whack-a-mole here. We move troops from -- It flares up, we move troops there. Everybody knows we've got big problems in Ramadi and I said, "Where you gonna get the troops?" 'Well we're going to have to move them from Falluja.' Now we're going to have to move troops into Baghdad from someplace else. It's very disturbing.

Is the situation in Ramadi under control, McCain repeatedly asked?

Ramadi is in Al-Anbar and the entire province is not "under control" (nor could it be).

Edward Wong (New York Times) reported, "American troops killed five girls, including at least one baby" on Tuesday in Al-Anbar Province. Andrew Buncombe and Nick Paton Walsh (Independent of London) report that in addition to the five dead, "Fighting broke out in the city of Ramadi, considered a stronghold of the anti-US insurgency, after a US patrol discovered a roadside bomb in the Hamaniyah section of the city."

This comes as
Jonathan Karl (ABC News) reports that the "Pentagon officials are considering a major strategic shift in Iraq, to move U.S. forces out of the dangerous Sunni-dominated al-Anbar province and join the fight to secure Baghdad." Has Al-Anbar Province been 'pacified'? No (and it won't be). As the four year anniversary of the illegal war comes ever closer, the US military is still attempting to impose order on Baghdad -- the only area that's ever been 'safe,' the area that's now been under a 'crackdown' (in all its variations) since June. And nothing's stopped the chaos and violence.

So the 'answer,' for the US government, is the same 'answer' they always have, what John McCain labeled "whack-a-mole." Writing in the Guardian of London,
Dilip Hiro proposes another answer: "Now, a revived proposal should have the American and British troops withdraw in stages from Iraq and hand over the stabilization task to a combined force of Muslim countries under UN command. Stationing a Muslim stabilization force in Iraq would dispel the intense alienation that exists now between Iraqis and the Anglo-American troops. The brown-skinned Muslim troops would be seen praying in the same mosques as Iraqis, and they would have an innate understanding of the social and cultural mores of the local people since they come from societies similar to that in Iraq. Unlike the Anglo-American troops, they would not be advancing an agenda like planting a Jeffersonian model of democracy or seeking preference in exploiting Iraqi oil."

Reuters reports, the 'answer' remains to 'shift' "a couple of battalions" here and there. It hasn't worked, it won't work. But the US adminstration refuses to face reality. Which is why CNN reports that "the U.S. military plans to move at least three more battalions of American soldiers into the Iraqi captial". And which is why the illegal war continues to drag on.

Remember, the
Pacifica's Archives is on day two of a two-day special: Pacifica Radio Archives Presents Voices For Peace And Non-Violence. It is airing on all Pacifica stations (KPFA, KFCF, KPFT, WBAI, KPFK, WPFW), many affiliates and online. The special started today and pulls from the fifty plus years of archives. (Donations made during this two day period go to preserve the archives.) Among the voices heard since yesterday MLK, Coretta Scott King, Rosa Parks, Camilo Mejia, Medea Benjamin, Lena Horne, Fannie Lou Hamer, Gloria Steinem, Flo Kennedy, Gore Vidal, Kurt Vonnegut, Jane Fonda, Bette Davis, Ruth Gordon, Malcolm X, Angela Y. Davis, and many others.


robert parry, iraq, pacifica radio

While in charge of the CIA's analytical division in the mid-1980s, Robert M. Gates made wildly erroneous predictions about the dangers posed by leftist-ruled Nicaragua and espoused policy prescriptions considered too extreme even by the Reagan administration, in one case advocating the U.S. bombing of Nicaragua.
Gates -- now President George W. Bush' nominee to replace Donald Rumsfeld as Defense Secretary -- expressed his alarmist views about Nicaragua and the need to bomb the country’s military targets in a secret Dec. 14, 1984,
memorandum to then-CIA Director William Casey.
The memo has new relevance today because Gates's private advice to Casey suggests that Gates was either more of an extremist ideologue than many in Washington believe or he was pandering to Casey's personal zealotry.
Either possibility raises questions about Gates's fitness to run the Pentagon at a time when many observers believe it needs strong doses of realism and independence to stand up to both a strong-willed President and influential neoconservative theorists who promoted the invasion of Iraq.
The Iraq War -- now exceeding the length of U.S. participation in World War II -- has been marked by politicized intelligence, over-reliance on force, fear of challenging the insider tough-guy talk, and lack of respect for international law -- all tendencies that Gates has demonstrated in his career.
Cold Warrior
In the 1980s, Gates was a Cold War hardliner prone to exaggerate the Soviet threat, which put him in the good graces of Reagan administration officials. They also rejected the growing evidence of a rapid Soviet decline in order to justify a massive U.S. military build-up and aggressive interventions in Third World conflicts.
Put in charge of the CIA’s analytical division, which supposedly is dedicated to objective analysis, Gates instead pleased his boss Casey by taking an over-the-top view of the danger posed by Nicaragua, an impoverished Third World nation then ruled by leftist Sandinista revolutionaries who had ousted right-wing dictator Anastasio Somoza in 1979.
Though Gates opens his December 1984 memo with the declaration that "it is time to talk absolutely straight about Nicaragua," he then ignores many relevant facts that get in the way of his thesis about the need to launch air strikes against Sandinista military targets and to overthrow the supposedly "Marxist-Leninist" regime.
For instance, Gates makes no mention of the fact that only a month earlier, the Sandinistas had won an election widely praised for its fairness by European and other international observers. But the Reagan administration had pressured pro-U.S. candidate Arturo Cruz into withdrawing when it became clear he would lose -- and then denounced the election as a "sham."

that's from robert parry's 'Why Trust Robert Gates on Iraq' (consortium news). i'm rushing and i believe that gates is supposed to be confirmed the 1st week of december. we really need to think about this and parry's 1 of the few raising questions. he doesn't need to be given a pass. we need to be sure that he's qualified to be a defense secretary. i don't think he is. but if the dems rubber stamp him, that's going to let us know they're not going to fight even with a majority. i'm adding as i can, blogger/blogspot's about to go down.

others should be covering this. please follow parry's coverage. he knows this area very well and he is 1 of the few who will cover it. in real time, that was true as well. most were happy to look the other way on iran-contra and that's part of the reason we're in the mess we're in now.

when those crooks weren't punished, they came back to roost in the bully boy's administration.

okay, i was cursing out robert parry. not in the post, but at the computer. his '-' and his ''' and his '"' have to be changed in a copy & paste by me if copy & paste or they turn into squares when i post. and i was rushing and cursing, 'get a different font, damn it!'

i thought i had 10 or so minutes. i even called poor kat and told her that.

i was rushing and posting every few lines so something would be up if blogger/blogspot went out before i was done. then i say 'damn it, it's 9' and flyboy says, 'yeah, but it [blogger/blogspot] goes out at 10.'

woops. apologies to kat.

and no blame on mike. he told me he thought it was going out at 9 but to check for myself because he wasn't sure he did the time right. (mike and i are on the east coast. the outage note was in pacific time.) so now i can breathe.

my body was nothing but tension. my brow was furrowed, my shoulders were raised and i was just typing like crazy.

let me take a breath.

okay, kat had planned to talk about the pacifia radio archives broadcast on pacifica stations today. she may have, let me go see if she posted.

oh, i hate kat!

she has posted. and she's got the snapshot in it and she wrote 4 paragraphs you can follow. i'm on the phone with her now griping. she said i can grab anything we talked about today because she's not going in to add to it. ('it is what it is.')

that's cool. i'm going to be lazy for a bit so let me note that there are links in the snapshot to pacifica and to pacifica stations.

they're spending today and tomorrow covering their archives. they're opening them and airing some key bits. some, not all.

this is a fundraiser, by the way. so if you hear something you like, think about donating.

if you have $50 bucks or more, you can donate and get a gift.

why a fundraiser? their archives are on tape.

do you know about tapes?

i can't even think of the word but it's the same thing that happens with your skin, the thing that causes cross-linking (which cause wrinkles). c.i. has the softest skin of any 1 i know. to this day.
it's like baby skin.

yeah, i'm just chatting, i'll get back to the archives. but c.i. never had acne. not even a pimple. i mention that because c.i. rarely washes the face. if it doesn't get wet in the shower, it may not get washed and i always think that's why the skin is so soft.

i had to use astringents and everything else. even now, all this time later, i still will get a pimple outbreak (always near the left cheek and people will think it's a mole) when i get my period.

okay so there's a process where oxygen or something causes changes in your skin. with tapes, it changes them as well. (i think it's the same process, if not, oops.)

it causes bits to drop out, bits of sound.

they degrade over time.

you may be aware of that because dvds usually boast that they contain a restored print when they're older movies.

over time film and tape degrade.

so the fundraiser is to preserve the recordings. this costs money. and it's money not just for the technical process but also to pay for people to go through the library.

that's to check stuff and to catalogue it.

when you go into a libarary today, the whole inventory is on computer. they used to have little files with cards (called that a card catalogue, i believe). that's a cost for pacifica as well. they need the money to pay for people to go through and catalogue what they have.

the bette davis thing kat writes about, they didn't even know they had that. it's either from the 60s or the early 70s. i think the 60s. but there are all these things in the archives that they don't know they have.

i enjoyed hearing about that during the broadcast today.

just the idea of discovery.

when we'd do research papers in college, elaine and i always wanted to do them when c.i. was going to the library because c.i. just has a knack for finding the very thing that cements the paper. we'd be at a table with all these books around and i'd usually be bored and trudging through 1 book at a time. c.i. would go through several at the same time and something would spark. i can't remember who it was, but 1 time there was some 1 who committed suicide but it wasn't in the books. it was sort of a tone or something that raised c.i.'s interest. so the ref librarian starts assisting and she was amazed that c.i. had picked up that possibility, they finally found a death notice and it was suicide. the reference librarians loved c.i.

they loved c.i.'s topics, they loved c.i.'s research methods, they just loved c.i.

if i went in with c.i., they'd help me if i needed it. they'd always help elaine. but i would get the dumb blonde attitude (that i was a dumb blonde) if i went in alone.

but it was always a lot of fun. the referance librians loved c.i. so much, i assume it's okay to tell this all these years later, they'd let c.i. go in after hours.

that was so much fun and spooky as hell. the lights would be off unless we were in that area. and it was just so spooky. i remember when i needed something, always on the 2nd floor, i'd be scared to go up there. elaine would take a flashlight but c.i. would just go on through in the dark.
when it was time to find a book on a shelf (c.i. knew the shelving system), it was pull out the lighter and use that to look at the numbers and letters on the book's spine. when c.i. would find my book, i was such a coward. i would grab it, holler 'you're on your own' and go running towards the stairs to get back to the lit area. and i'd make c.i. and elaine both escort me to the ladies' room. elaine played the worst trick on me once. she'd been away from the table for a bit and c.i. had to go off for some rolled microfilm so i was all alone at the table, in this pool of light. i heard this book fall to the floor.

i was scared and looking for elaine and c.i. then another book falls. then another. and they're falling closer and closer to me.

when i screamed, elaine finally started laughing and then i knew it was her. but i was so scared before i knew it was her. some people thought the library was haunted by a woman who used to be a libraian there.

by the end of college, i was comfortable when we'd all be in there after hours. and then it was honestly a lot of fun. (i also was smart enough to carry a flashlight then.)

so i can just imagine how much fun it must be to be in the pacifica archives and discovering something that you didn't know was there. a find.

the rosa parks interview is used at a museum now. i believe the 1 that has the bus she refused to give her seat up on. that interview isn't years and years after it happened. it was when the issue was still being debated and discussed. and that's what they do best, talk to people who are changing history even when the mainstream doesn't grasp that's happening.

who knows what else is in there?

the archives aren't just for 1 pacifica station, they're for all of them, as i understand it. any tape from any of the stations ends up there.

kpfa is the oldest and 1st. it is, in fact, the first public radio station in the country. it started in 1946. kpfk started as a pacifica station in 1959, wbai in 1960, kpft in 1970 (the only radio station in the country to be bombed by the kkk), and wpfw? i have no idea. when we were in d.c. for the march 2005 protests, i was excited about listening to it. as ava and c.i. would say 'and then i listened.'

i like music and c.i. always said if the community didn't want it that way, they'd change it.

so i'll guess d.c. listeners love music. i don't find much of use on that station.

but you've got 5 stations and affiliates.

and you're looking at decades on the air.

think about when bob watada was on his speaking tour. philip maldari interviewed him for kpfa. (c.i. told me kpfk interviewed him as well on a program of their's, i think it was uprising). so they've got that. they've got their march and rallies coverage and who knows what else?

kpfa's book programs interview a lot of authors (cover to cover). dennis and nora interview lots of people on flashpoints. i can think of, for instance, their coverage of the students movement last spring on the immigrant rights issue, and their coverage of the world can't wait rally, and their interview with rita moreno, ivan brobeck, go down the list.

i usually listen to kpfa. that's because it's what c.i. listens to and i usually hear about it on the phone when we're talking. but with the gang moving out there, jim, dona, ty, jess and ava now listen to kpfa as well (instead of wbai) so they're always talking about it as well.

so you can argue i listen to that 1 because it saves the 'explain that again' comments from me.

if i had 1 that broadcast over the airwaves in my area, i'd probably listen to it as well (unless i lived in d.c., i really do not like that station). but i have to listen online and i usually listen to kpfb actually, the a.m. station, because i have less problems with that stream dropping out (it's the a.m. station for kpfa and has the same programming).

of course kat listens to kpfa over the airwaves and she tapes the morning show for betty so they're all talking about it during the editions.

i'm not saying that to say 'it's not that great.' it is a strong radio station and i enjoy listening to it (especially flashpoints) but i could probably enjoy the other 3 as well. i just go with kpfa because that's what every 1 talks about.

elaine listens to wbai online (she'll also listen to kpfa) and she'll give me a heads up about programming that i'll catch from time to time. i'm just trying to be clear so, for instance, no texas community member rags me out for not pushing the houston station.

although i know at least twenty community members in texas listen to kpfa, from gina & krista's polling, but i know there are members in texas who go with kpft and wbai as well. the los angeles station isn't as popular not because people don't enjoy it but due to the fact that there were streaming issues. c.i.'s tried to make a point of noting that they've upgraded their website.
i should probably check it out but i'm probably set with kpfa at this point.

it's like i was writing yesterday about bill and kathleen (i'm not looking up the spelling of their last name) really got a 'face' when i heard bill on radio nation with laura flanders and then when we were all discussing the interview while working on the third estate sunday review right after.

sandra lupien, bonnie faulkner, andrea lewis, philip maldari, larry benksy and of course dennis bernstein and nora barrows-friedman are people who have a 'face.'

we spend more time talking about kpfa shows, while we're working on the editions and while we're on the phone just talking during the week, then we ever do discussing a tv show. that's probably not surprising since we really don't watch a lot of tv. i probably watch the most tv of any 1 because i always have the tv on.

i can be listening to the radio and have it on cnn in the background or whatever. i'll look up every now and then and see if anything's breaking. i'm not sure if that's due to the war or maybe some after effects of 9-11.

it's also true that right after flyboy and i split (before the divorce was final), i couldn't stand walking into a quiet room. i'd have tvs on, radios on, cd players on. i'm not as bad now but i really did need sound back then.

the most serious pacifica listeners are probably kat, c.i., ava and jess. by most 'serious,' i mean they will have it on if they're by a radio. jim'll grab some sports radio from time to time. he'll shudder at that so let me clarify, jim will listen to a game on the radio. he doesn't like most of the sports chat shows.

i do agree with kat's opinion, by the way, that if pacifica was the public radio network across the airwaves in this country and not npr, it would make a huge difference. kat's opinion is that there is so much activity in california due to kpfa, kpfb, kpfk and others makes a huge contribution.
it gets ideas out there and listeners get them further out there because people listening don't just listen and go 'hmm' - they talk about it with friends.

i'm sorry to be so sour on air america radio but i'm really not interested in democratic radio. i think a lot of punches get pulled (the exceptions i noted yesterday apply on this as well). i also think there's a tendancy to jump on 'issues' that aren't issues but are part of a feeding frenzy for mainstream dems.

npr is nothing but cnn with even more lightness.

most of the funds for pacifia come from listeners and that's obvious in the programming. they're not owned by big oil, the way npr is - or by the drug companies, the way npr is.

i do think it's past time that pacifica offers a program that just deals with the war.

other than that, i don't have huge problems with the network and i enjoy kpfa. sunny (elaine's assistant) told me that marjorie cohn (president of the national lawyers guild) is a regular guest on mondays on a wbai program. i might try to listen to that. (i like marjorie cohn. she's a straight shooter.) (in fact call her 'straight talk,' not the hideous john mccain.)

people like marjorie and medea benjamin and michael ratner (and others) don't really turn up on other radio. these are voices that matter and you can hear them on pacifica.

30 years from now, people will want to know, for instance, what michael had to say about donald rumsfeld (rumsfled) due to the court case (that's historic). and you won't have a lot of outlets to go to other than pacifica.

some 1, during the day, said it was people's history (like howard zinn's work) and that's true. so if you haven't caught it, it's going on tonight and it will be going on tomorrow. a wonderful peak at the archives.

bette davis opened her q&a with 'what a dump' - her famous line from beyond the forest. then she took questions about her films. she was kind to crawford but with enough edge (and the request to ask her in private if you want more) that you got the point. she said dark victory was her favorite film. they had ruth gordon discussing writing and thornton wilder.

so maybe you're thinking, 'oh, it's all so political.' there are historical and political things and there's also some wonderful arts coverage.

so make a point to check it out. they're about to air pete seeger shortly (interviewed by tim robbins) or i think that's what i heard. the special programming continues through the night and tomorrow. (links in the snapshot.)

c.i. tried to just say 'pacifica' for the longest time so it wouldn't result in some 1 feeling their favorite station was being overlooked.

but before, i was puffing away on my cigarette and swearing at poor bob parry for his font like crazy.

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

Tuesday, November 28, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq, Bully Boy plays petulant and ignorant (well . . . maybe he's not playing), freedom of speech takes another blow in Iraq, the US Air Force asks for more money, Tony Blair takes a leak in public, and who gave what orders?

Starting with children's games, the US administration remains in denial about the civil war raging in Iraq.
Peter Walker (Guardian of London) reports Bully Boy says Iraq is not in a civil war. It's not, it's not, it's not, and if you don't stop saying it is, he's going to run to Big Babs and you'll be sorry. Bully Boy pins the blame on al Qaeda. He's 'assisted' by the likes of Michael R. Gordon and Dexy-Dexy "Pads a Million" Filkins (New York Times) who take dictation very well in this morning's paper as they single-source the 'news' with an anonymous source who just happens to pin the blame on "the Iranian-backed group Hezbollah." Congratulations to Gordo and Dexy for proving that the male secretary is far from a thing of the past.

While the stenogs provide cover for the Bully Boy,
Patrick Cockburn (Independent of London via CounterPunch) reports: "Iraq is rending itself apart. The signs of collapse are everywhere. In Baghdad the police often pick up over 100 tortured and mutiliated bodies in a single day. Government ministries make war on each other. A new and ominoous stage in the disingration of the Iraqi state came earlier this month when police commandos from the Shia-controlled Interior Ministry kidnapped 150 people from the Sunni-run Higher Education Ministry in the hear of Baghdad. Iraq may be getting close to what Americans call 'the Saigon moment, the time when it becomes evident to all that the government is expiring." All but the stenogs.

Sunday's stoning of and jeeering and shouting at the puppet of the occupation in the Sadr City section of Baghdad demonstrates the risks of reality intruding when Nouri al-Maliki leaves the heavily fortified Green Zone. And outside of Baghdad, Dafna Linzer and Thomas E. Ricks (Washington Post) report, things are as bad if not worse. Linzer and Ricks report on a Marine Corps intelligence report, "State of Insurgency in Al-Anbar," which finds that Al-Anbar Province is beyond US control, that it's become "a failed province" and that the Sunnis in the region are fleeing.

On the subject of fleeing,
The Arizona Daily Star reports that the lifting of the cufew in Baghdad on Monday resulted in "[h]undreds of Iraqi families . . . [making] a beeline for the airport, where they handed over their savings for one-way tickets to anyplace safe. Others ran for the border, with suitcases strapped to cars bound for Syria and Jordan. Families that stayed stocked up on food, kept their children home from school and waited for another round of sectarian bloodshed." IRIN reports that Human Rights Watch is calling "on Jordan to provide a Temporary Protection Regime (TPR) for the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi refugees living in its territory."

In the face of reality, Bully Boy turns a blind eye.
CBS and AP quote him stating, "There's one thing I'm not going to do, I'm not going to pull our troops off the battlefield before the mission is complete." Ask him what the mission is and prepare for vague statements with no concrete markers. As Bully Boy gets pouty, Tony Blair takes a leak on Des Browne and the British public. Yesterday, England's Defense Secretary Des Browne stated, "I can tell you that by the end of next year I expect numbers of British forces in Iraq to be significantly lower -- by a matter of thousands”. Reuters reports today that Blair has declared, "We will remain there (in Iraq) in significant numbers even if there is . . . an adjustment to our role, there will still be a requirement." The promised handover of Basra will apparently change nothing. Meanwhile, AFP reports that South Korea has decided "to extend the mission for another year" in Iraq but will be cutting it's troops from 2,3000 "to around 1,200".

Andy Sullivan (Reuters) reports Bill Keller has issued a statement stating that the New York Times will call Iraq what it is, a civil war. Keller is quoted: "It's hard to argue that this war does not fit the generally accepted definition of civil war." The article notes LA Times has been doing so since October and that McClatchy Newspapers, The Christian Science Monitor, the Minneapolis Star Tribune and the Sacremento Bee have called it a civil war. Yesterday, NBC became the first network to officially call it what it was.]

Meanwhile, in Australia, Peter Tinley, former Australian soldier who served in Iraq and declared the illegal war "morally bankrupt,"
tells ABC's Lateline that Australian forces are maxed out: "I'm not talking about the number of troops on the ground . . . I'm talking about the span of command, the span by which the Defence Force can operate and manage the number of operations."

Can Baghdad be 'managed'?
Ned Parker and Ali Hamdani (Times of London) report that
"In the war for Baghdad, mosques serve as garrisons. Sunnis use religious sanctuaries as strongholds to fight for mixed neighbourhoods. Shia extremists covert their mosques and prayer rooms, called husseiniyas, into execution chambers. As Iraq falls apart, people like [Hassan] Mahmoud are now terrified by Baghdad's places of worship, which they regard as potential gulags and gallows in the Sunni-Shiar war."

But the problem? The media. Apparently. As Sandra Lupien reported onn yesterday's
The KPFA Evening News, "Iraq's parliament speaker implemented new rules banning reporters from the legislative building and imposed a thirty minute delay on broadcast of sessions This in an apparent bid to hide from the public what are increasingly bitter debates between Shi'ite and Sunni lawmakers." "Freedom" still doesn't include a free press in Iraq.


BBC reports the deaths of at least four in Baghdad with at least seven wounded as a results of car bombs outside Yarmouk hospital. Reuters raises the wounded from those bombings to 40 and notes a home in Tal Afar which had been "booby-trapped with explosives" and left two police officers wounded while another two police officers were wounded in Mosul from a roadside bomb. Peter Walker (Guardian of London) reports that Kirkuk was the site of an assassination attempt on the governor of the province -- "The attacker, wearing a hidden explosives belt, tried to get inside the governor's car, but when he found the door locked he detonated his explosives, killing one civilian and wounding 17 other people, police said." AP notes three dead from a roadside bomb in Baladrooz (four more were reported wounded). And Reuters reports mortars injured 23 people in Baghdad.


AFP notes the shooting deaths of five in Mahmudiyah and seven people shot dead in Baquba.


Reuters reports thirty-six corpses were discovered in Baghdad.

US military announced today, "One Marine assigned to 1st Brigade, 1st Armored Division died Nov. 27 from wounds sustained due to enemy action while operating in Al Anbar Province." The announcement comes as Aaron Glantz (OneWorld) reports on "a new study by the Caresey Institute" which finds that "[t]he mortality rate for soldiers from rural America is about 60 percent higher than the mortality rate for soliders from metropolitan areas." Glantz notes that the study finds that those "from rural Vermont have the highest death rate in the nation followed by Delaware, South Dakota, and Arizona."

Andrea Shalal-Esa (Reuters) reports that the United States Air Force says it needs "$33.4 billion in extra funding for fiscal 2007 to pay for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and costs related to the 'longer war on terror'."

Current cost of the illegal war,
via counter on Tom Hayden's website, $346,000,000,000.

And all the money going to support the illegal war couldn't be used in a better way, right?
New Orleans?

Kyle Snyder: There are over 20 engineering units, there's more than 20 engineering units in the U.S. military. I was part of an engineering unit. And to see places that look worse than Iraq in my own country makes me sick, it makes me disgusted, that they're not doing any rebuilding effort for the poor, for the African-American community. It's like they just left it there. They're not even cleaning it up. It's a disaster area. It's, logistically, it's the most horrible thing I've seen because we have engineering units in Iraq when they should be here. . . . This should be first priority. . . . Start pulling troops from Iraq and rebuilding in New Orleans.

US war resister Kyle Snyder spent Thanksgiving week by joining with
Iraq Veterans Against the War, Col. Ann Wright, war resister Darrell Anderson and others to protest the School of Americas in Georgia and then going to New Orleans with Iraq Veterans Against the War to work on the rebuilding. Video clips are available at Soldier Say No! and the one quoted from is also available at Google Video. Snyder self-checked out of the US military in April of 2005, moved to Canada and then returned to the US and turned himself in at Fort Knox on October 31st, only to self-check out again after discovering the military had lied yet again. Snyder is now underground and on the road.

Also traveling is
CODEPINK's Medea Benjamin who was recently in South Korea and spoke with Christopher Brown (OhmyNews International): ". . . the job of the peace movement is going to be not [to] put down its guard, to really be forcing the Congress to carry out what is a mandate for radical change, and the radical change is to bring the troops home, to stop allocating money for this war and to have no permanent bases in Iraq. And I think the issue of more money for the war will come up very soon in January when the new Congress reconvenes because they are going to be asked for over a hundred billion dollars more for this war."

Benjamin and others were in South Korea to support the people objecting to US base being expanded and asking that South Korea's troops be brought home from Iraq. Other activists on the trip included Cindy Sheehan who was interviewed about it by Jennifer Veale (Time magazine). In her latest column (BuzzFlash), Sheehan considers the proposal of returning to the draft and is "100% categorically opposed to forced conscription" and outlines her reasons which include that the draft didn't stop earlier wars, the "draft will never be fair and balanced," and that "a draft will only give the war maching more of our children to consume to generate its wealth."

The peace movement includes Cindy Sheehan (who sparked it back to life), Medea Benjamin, Ann Wright, Diane Wilson, Kyle Snyder, Darrell Anderson, Camilo Mejia,
Alice Walker, Aidan Delgado, Pablo Parades, Missy Comley-Beattie, Agustin Aguayo, Stephen Funk, Carl Webb, Stan Goff, David Swanson (who examines war resistance here), . . . and many more (hopefully including you).

Writing for the San Francisco Chronicle, Tom Hayden notes that "the anti-war movement has been a major factor in mobilizing a majority of the American public to oppose the occupation and killing in Iraq" and, noting the failure of media to cover the movement: "the only recourse is to prepare widespread demonstrations and ground organizing in the key presidential primary states, to make it impossible for any candidate to become president in 2008 without pledging to end the war and occupation. If there is no peace movement, there will be no peace."

What would there be instead? More abuses, probably done more openly. On Saturday,
Reuters reported Janis Karpinski's statement about the letter "signed by Rumsfeld which allowed civilian contractors to use techniques such as sleep deprivation during interrogation." (Karpinski wrote about that in her book, spoke about it with Amy Goodman and Dennis Bernstein.) We can pair that with The Socialist Worker's report on British major Antony Royce's statements in the court-martial for the abuses of Iraqi prisoners where he testified that he was instructed "by Major Mark Robinson, a brigade intelligence adviser, to 'condition' prisoners. Royce said that he then checked with Major Russel Clifton, the brigade's legal adviser, and was again told that 'conditioning' and hooding were acceptable."
[Pru highlighted the article on Royce.]

Lastly, the
Pacifica's Archives is presenting a two-day special: Pacifica Radio Archives Presents Voices For Peace And Non-Violence. It is airing on all Pacifica stations (KPFA, KFCF, KPFT, WBAI, KPFK, WPFW), many affiliates and online. The special started today and pulls from the fifty plus years of archives. (Donations made during this two day period go to preserve the archives.) Among the voices heard today were MLK, Coretta Scott King, Rosa Parks, Camilo Mejia, Lena Horne, Fannie Lou Hamer, Gore Vidal, Kurt Vonnegut, Jane Fonda, and many others.