I've got a little bit of this evening (about 20 minutes) and I thought I'd do a solo entry.
First, let me thank Wally. His site is The Daily Jot. I was working on getting out the vote in my city and not really sure how I was going to be able to find time to post. We'd done joint-posts before. One weekend when we were all working on The Third Estate Sunday Review and I mentioned that I'd probably be cutting back to one or two posts a month until the election was over.
Wally didn't say anything while we were all working but he called Sunday evening and said we'd had fun doing joint-posts before and what if we teamed up again?
It's easier to write with someone else than to write by yourself, so I grabbed it and it's been a lot of fun.
We'll probably continue this through the end of the year.
With the joint-posts, we're trying to be funny but there are days when one of us is ticked off about something so we'll tackle that and not worry about whether or not it's funny.
It's a lot of fun and, one more time, thank you, Wally.
That's a thank you that's long overdue.
Ticking off the list, the next thing is Black Agenda Report. Since C.I. noted them, I've been meaning to add them to my links but I only just did. I'm not pulling The Black Commentator, it's still there. But Black Agenda Report has Glen Ford, Bruce Dixon and Margaret Kimberley. Those are the three main reasons I'd check out The Black Commentator every Thursday.
Now their work is at Black Agenda Report. They post on Thursdays so, if you haven't already visited their site, take a second or make a second. If you have already visited, you don't need me to tell you to visit because you're probably already going.
If you haven't visited, you may be wondering, "Why visit?"
Okay, take Obama. Barak Obama. The media can't stop shining it on about him. It's as though he's their designated African-American. Now when the mainstream (White) media starts holding up an African-American as an ideal, there's always the hope that they're finally getting past racism. But are they? Or have they found someone who will put the interests of corporate America ahead of other issues (including race) which will always get the mainstream media excited?
Glen Ford's "Barack Obama and the Winds of War: Turning Right" at Black Agenda Report takes a serious look at Obama that you won't find in mainstream media (or in a lot of the left media):
Barack Obama is a windblown politician. The junior Illinois senator avoids anchoring himself to any principle, lest his political sails fail to catch the slightest breeze blowing from the left or the right. His political direction is always tentative, although his ultimate destination is never in doubt: he will be a formidable national presence maybe even president.
But Barack Obama who has never claimed to be a Black leader is in fact not a leader at all. Nowhere is this more evident than in the most critical issue facing Americans and the world at this dangerous juncture in history: the war in Iraq.
One year after his bland and idea-less speech on Iraq to the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations (see Obama Mouths Mush on War, December 1, 2005), Obama returned to mush more of the same to the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. The U.S. should begin to move towards a phased redeployment of American troops from Iraqi soil, he told the business-oriented crowd. Since the objective reality on the ground in Iraq and in U.S. public opinion had changed dramatically in the intervening year resulting in Democratic capture of the House and Senate Obamas failure to substantively revise his previous, timid prescriptions actually amounts to a turn to the right.
So that's what I wanted to note. In our joint-posts, we are pulling from the snapshot each day. At my mirror site, I usually have time to post the snapshot in full.
C.I.'s doing the heavy lifting on Iraq for the whole community. We know it, we appreciate it. Iraq is the reason most of us, including me, ended up members of The Common Ills community to begin with. It's easy to forget now that after the November 2004 election, a lot of people were ditching the war. One fake/phoney, she wants to play like she's against the war now, even wrote a long, boring thing dismissing the war as an issue. Others just moved on -- like MoveOn. But when Keesha brought up the snapshot when we were doing a roundtable for the gina & krista round-robin, she made the point that if we all posted the snapshot each time we posted, no matter what we wrote about ourselves, we'd be doing our part to keep the attention on Iraq. So we're all doing that now. If you go to a community site, you'll find the snapshot. The only exception is The Third Estate Sunday Review.
Everyone's been okay with that because they know (a) there are always technical problems with each edition and (b) we can't even e-mail highlights these days (they switched their site to Beta, I haven't done that yet). But when we're all working on those editions, we are writing about Iraq. I think we've done some really strong stuff there that's been more hard hitting than most of our leading left magazines. I'm frankly digusted with the magazines. They've got nothing to point to with pride on Iraq these days. They won't cover war resisters, they rarely cover Iraq, they cheerlead any Democrat (regardless of whether they deserve it or not).
I'm used to them ignoring issues of race, I'm not thrilled with that, but I'm used to it. If they're going to ignore race and the war (or 'address' the war by hiding behind officers), I have no use for them. The Nation, and I will name it, can't write a thing about war resisters that they print in their magazine but they can bore us all with some "Major" who's not really sure what he feels about the war. That's their idea of 'hard hitting.' It's disgraceful. They're bleeding subscribers and I'm happy about that. I don't feel sorry for them. I think they're kind of pathetic, actually.
Speaking out against the war took them to the top and made them profitable for the first time in their existance (they've been around since the 19th century). But instead of grasping that readers were paying for the magazine for that reason, they decided the thing to do was cheerlead disgraceful Democrats.
Editor's Cut? It's addressed the vote twice this week. That's right "the vote." Oh, hard hitting stuff there from the editor of The Nation! And they found a silver lining in the Gates' hearing and they found silver linings in the joke of a report from the James Baker Circle Jerk.
They offer the biggest nonsense now. Here's an example, a description of an 'article:' "Generation Y could help usher in a new age of progressive politics-- but they need a spark. Obama could be it." I read something like that and think, "Hey, Whitey, prove you're not a racist on your own time." The Nation loves them some Obama. (They loved them some Harold Ford Jr. before the election too.) It's insulting.
Occasionally, you'll find something like this: "What, exactly, does America look like to people like Michael Richards, Mel Gibson and Richard Viguerie?" Race? Don't get excited, it's Patricia J. Williams and she writes a monthly column. About two or three times a year (the latter if they're feeling generous), they'll make her column available online. Otherwise? Back of the bus, Patty.
They really think anyone cares or needs Eric Alterman and his "I just watched MSNBC!" or other scattered thoughts? But a law professor and someone who takes some time to think about what she writes and to write with grace, she's the Rose Parks of The Nation. They hide her. Can't promote her by allowing readers to have access to her writing unless they buy the print magazine.
Where are the leading African-American voices in any media that's not geared to "Black America"? If they're out there, they face the sort of hurdle Williams does. Not good enough to be promoted at the website, not worth noting there.
Just as bad is that they run writers who just "create" things. In his acceptance speech at the DNC convention, John Kerry didn't say what he's quoted as saying by a writer but there's apparently no fact checking at the magazine and that writer gets away with that sort of thing all the time. We noted it Sunday in "The One About The Nation."
So I'm not thrilled with the magazine and I don't really lose sleep or shed a tear when I hear another subscriber bailed on them. They're as misguided as the Democratic Party they can't stop slobbering over.
Closing with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"
Thursday, December 7, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq, AP estimates that there were 75 reported Iraqi deaths, war resister Kyle Snyder travels the West coast of the US speaking out against the illegal war, the James Baker Circle Jerk isn't fawned over by non-gas bags, Democracy Now! host a roundtable on Iraq, and Cindy Sheehan, Medea Benjamin, Missy Comley Beattie and Patti Ackerman fight for free speech in Manhattan.
Starting with peace news. As Thomas Watkins (AP) observes, "For a wanted man, Pfc. Kyle Snyder is keeping a remarkably high profile." Recapping, Snyder self-checked out of the US military while on leave after serving in Iraq. He went to Canada in April of 2005. There he spoke out publicly and, following the return from Canada of US war resister Darrell Anderson, Snyder made the decision to return as well. On October 31st, turned himself in at Fort Knox only to self-check out again after discovering the military had lied yet again. Since then Snyder has been underground, surfacing to speaking out against the war.
Watkins reports that, despite a warrant being out on Snyder, he's traveling the West coast and speaking out such as in San Diego at the start of the week where his speech included, "Seeing children begging for food and water after two years of occupation, you really start to question if you are the good guy." Speaking with Snyder is war resister Darrell Anderson and, Watkins notes, "a mobile chapter of Iraq Veterans Against the War".
As Indybay IMC noted, "Friday, December 8th, 7:30pm at the College of Marin in Kentfield, segments of the film "Ground Truth" will be shown, and Iraq combat veteran-turned-war-resister Darrell Anderson will speak. Also that evening, at 7:30pm at the Buena Vista United Methodist Church in Alameda, the film "The Ground Truth" will be shown, and there will be a panel with Rev. Michael Yoshii, and Bob Watada and Rosa Sakanishi. That night in San Jose, there will be a reception and fundraiser for Kyle Snyder at 6pm at the San Jose Friends Meeting House. On Saturday December 9th, there will be a peace vigil in support of Lt. Ehren Watada, in front of the MLK, Jr. Library in San Jose from 12-4pm." [Bob Watada is Ehren's father and Rosa Sakanishi is Ehren's step-mother.]
These events are part of the National Days of Action to Support GI resistance and GI rights" that Courage to Resist is calling from this Friday (Dec. 8th) through Sunday (Dec. 10th).
David Zeiger (Common Dreams) writes of these actions and notes the importance of these actions: "Today the new GI resistance movement is growing -- more soldiers are going public with their opposition, thousands are going AWOL, the first GI coffeehouse opened recently (with internet!), and the antiwar movement is realizing that supporting these soldiers is the next step. It's time for us to escalate public pressure and action in support of the growing movement of thousands of courageous men and women soldiers who have in many different ways followed their conscience -- upholding international law, taking a principled stand against unjust, illegal war and occupation and standing up for their rights. Widespread public cupport and pressure will help create true support for courageous troops facing isolation and repression, and help protect their civil liberties and human rights."
Zieger is the director of Sir! No Sir! which documents that war resistance within the military during Vietnam and, for those planning house parties, is highly recommended. (Click here for a community review.)
Right now, events are known to be scheduled in Alameda, CA; Honolulu, HI; Kentfield, CA; Long Beach, CA; Maui, HI; Missoula, MT; Montpeiler, VT; Nanuet, NY; New York, NY; Olympia, WA; Portland, OR; San Francisco, CA; Santa Barbara, CA; San Jose, CA; Seattle, WA; Tallahassee, FL; Vancouver, B.C. Canada; Worcester, MA.
The actions are to call for:
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
As Thomas Watkins (AP) notes, "The Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force have seen some 19,000 troops total go AWOL since 2001." Kyle Snyder, Darrell Anderson and Ehren Watada are among the US war resisters who have gone public. They are part of a resistance movement within the military that also includes Joshua Key, Ivan Brobeck, Ricky Clousing, Mark Wilkerson, Camilo Meija, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Jeremy Hinzman, Corey Glass, Patrick Hart, Clifford Cornell, Agustin Aguayo, Joshua Despain, Katherine Jashinski, and Kevin Benderman. Those are some of the war resisters who have gone public and over thirty US war resisters are currently in Canada attempting to be legally recognized.Information on war resistance within the military can be found at Center on Conscience & War, The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline, and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters. Appeal for Redress is collecting signatures of active duty service members calling on Congress to bring the troops home -- the petition will be delivered to Congress next month.
As the US administration demonstrates no desire to end the war, the fatalities pile up. AP estimates 75 reported deaths of Iraqis on Thursday. Some of those deaths include:
Reuters notes one dead and another wounded from a roadside bomb in Riyad.
In Baghdad, Reuters reports, "the deputy chief of al-Sadoun police station," Basil Abdullah, and two of his guards were shot dead. AP reports an attack on "a school in western Baghdad, killing the Sunni headmaster in his office and threatening teachers not to return".
Dropping back to Wednesday, Aseel Kami (Reuters) reports that Al Harith Hassan was shot on his way to work yesterday morning and died enroute to a hospital. Kami notes that he was "[o]ne of Iraq's best-known psychiatrists" and "dean of Baghdad University's psychiatric centre".
Reuters reports three corpses were discovered in Iskandariya. AP reports that 48 corpses were discovered in Baghdad.
And the deaths do not happen is isolation or in a vacuum. Dahr Jamail and Ali Al-Fahdily (IPS) address the issue of a nation where "Widows are the flip side of violence that has meant more than a million men dead, detained or disabled" and how this growing and increasing reality happens in a country where international NGO's pulled out in October 2005. Jamail and Al-Fahdily note that if a woman can afford a bribe, she may be able to get on the country's new relief program that pays out widows one hundred dollars a month which, as Haja Saadiya Hussein notes, "is not enough to support my big family." This at a time when, as Matt Weaver (Guardian of London) notes "what is becoming the biggest refugee crisis in the world" (according to Refugees International) is resulting from the daily chaos and violence in Iraq with (UN figures) over 100,000 Iraqis leaving the country each month and over 1.8 million Iraqis now living outside of Iraq not by 'choice' but for safety.
In the face of these realities, CNN reports, Iraq has scheduled, not one, but two, conferences -- with one among neighboring nations and the other "to include the United Nations and Arab League" but, no real rush apparently, they'll take place in 2007. Also in no real apparent rush is the US administration. On CNN's Larry King Live last night, King attempted to pin Tony Snow down about a "timely fashion" asking that he "Define that" and Tony Snow, admistration's mouth piece, declared that "maybe by the end of the year, the president can announce a new way forward." Maybe. Or, as Cat Power would sing, "Maybe Not."
As AFP reports, Bully Boy and England's prime minister Tony Blair are meeting in DC. And any thoughts that the laughable report issued by the James Baker Circle Jerk would have taken any Bully out of the Boy were misguided. CNN reports that Bully Boy's already tossing the bull/weight around as he tells two soverign nations, Iran and Syria, what they need to do in order to participate in any talks regarding Iraq. Phyllis Bennis (Institute for Policy Studies), speaking with Philip Maldari and Andrea Lewis on KPFA's The Morning Show, today explained that the US administration has created a climate where neither Iran or Syria may feel the need to meet the US administration half-way. [Thanks to Zach for noting that.]
While most in the mainstream press fawn over the report from the James Baker Circle Jerk, Democracy Now! devoted the hour to a serious critique of the report today. Amy Goodman spoke with Congress members Barbara Lee and Lynn Woolsey. Woolsey termed it "too little, too late." Lee stated, "too many of our young men and women have died. This is a senseless war. It's wrong. We need to bring our troops home and we need to bring them home now. I do not agree with the timetable that they laid out in the report. I mean, look at how many -- eleven more young people died yesterday." Also participating in the roundtable was author Anthony Arnove (IRAQ: The Logic of Withdrawal) who stated that "the report offers only a slight correction of course for a policy that needs fundamental reversal." Woolsey noted that Democratcs in Congress should be listening to the people, that the message of the November election was change and that people are ahead of elected officials on this issue . Sami Rasouli, of the Muslim Peacemakers Team, joined the roundtable discussion from Najaf and observed that if American forces left Iraq, any al-Qaeda forces would as well. Rasouli also noted that only 1300 al-Qaeda forces are said to be in Iraq and that the report demonstrates that Bully Boy's false claims before the start of the illegal war and to this day (that the US is there to fight 'terror'). Antonia Juhasz, author of The BU$H Agenda, joined the discussion to note that the James Baker Circle Jerk report advocates the privatization of Iraq's oil industry: "should be reorganized as a commercial enterprise, the proposal also says that, as you [Amy Goodman] say, Iraq's oil should be opened up to private, foreign energy and oil companies, also, another radical proposal, that all of Iraq's oil revenues should be centralized in the central government, and the report calls for a US advisor to ensure that a new national oil law is passed in Iraq to make all this possible and that the Constitution of Iraq is ammended to ensure that the central government gains control of the all of Iraq's oil, oil revenues. All told the report calls for privatization of Iraq's oil, turning it over to private, foreign, corporate hands, putting all the oil in the hands of the central government and essentially, I would argue, extending the war in Iraq to ensure that US oil companies get what the Bush administration went in there for, control and greater access to Iraq's oil."
Anthony Arnove brought up the issue of reparations noting the need to think "about what happens after withdrawal and I think we have to raise a demand for reparations to be paid to the Iraqi people, reparations not only for the harm and destruction caused by this illegal invasion and occupation, but all the years before that, when the United States supported sanctions on the country, and before that supported the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein, armed, trained, funded and backed Saddam Hussein as he carried out the worst of his abuses."
Meanwhile, David Swanson (Let's Try Democracy) notes that the James Baker Circle Jerk recommends toothless talking points re: permanante bases in Iraq while "we are spending billions of dollars to construct bases in Iraq for the U.S. military. The new Democratic majority in Congress knows this, knows the damages these bases are doing, and knows the good that could be done by making better use of all that money, not to mention the lives lost in the process. If we speak up, perhaps the new majority will also know how quickly it can become a minority again if it does not seize this issue, expose it, and set it right."
Edward Wong and Abdul Razzaq Al-Saidi (New York Times) survey Iraqi people (the ones that the James Baker Circle Jerk was allegedly concerned about) and find that the hand jive is most popular . . . inside the heavily fortified Green Zone but even there it's not overwhelmingly popular. In the United States, Peter Smith(Courier-Journal) looks at Kentucky's reaction -- apparently having little interest in 'official sources' and gas bags, decides that the plan is far from embraced -- and quotes Anita Anderson, mother of US war resister Darrell Anderson, who notes the 'maybe' of some-sort of withdrawal in 2008 and states, "I can't even imagine the young boys that are going to be damaged, and the young girls. I've talked to active-duty soldiers, ones in Iraq. They're not doing well over there."
Tom Hayden (The Huffington Post) offers a six point plan that addresses Anita Anderson's concern of time by advocating a US withdrawal "in months rather than years," peace talks, a "special envoy" working towards "conflict resolution, not a military solution," acceptance that the puppet government doesn't represent Iraqis and much more. Military Families Speak Out's co-founder Nancy Lessin declares of the James Baker Circle Group's report, "Each one of these is wrong and will not produce the desired effect. The real problem is the U.S. occuaption." And Nancy A. Youssef and Hannah Allam (McClatchy Newspapers) note that the report has many flaws and zoom in on: "The group also recommends that the U.S. add more advisers, including Department of Justice officials for Iraq's frail judicial system. But the U.S. already has advisers throughout the government. Indeed, scores of coalition soldiers fill the halls of the Interior Ministry on any given day."
So what's a person to do?
"Go for your dreams, be true to your heart and listen to your gut. If your path starts to go astray, jump out of the road and take a romp through the woods."
That's activist and CODEPINK co-founder Medea Benjamin's advice for young girls and women which she shares with Bay Area Business Women. It's advice she puts into practice in her own life and currently that's taken her to Manhattan where she, Cindy Sheehan, Patti Ackerman and Missy Comley Beattie are on trial for . . . failure to yield right-of-way? Refusal to disown the right to peaceable assembly?
In a new release calling for charges to be dropped, CODEPINK notes that the charges stem from the attempt on March 6th to deliver a petition calling for the end of the war (a petition 72,000 people had signed) to the then UN Ambassador for the US, John Bolton. In 2005, the petition had been dropped off with no problem. In 2006, the four women were part of a group of fifty that "was stopped by the New York City police and four of the leaders were arrested and charged with trespassing, disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and obstructing government adrministration." As they had done in 2005, they had phoned ahead of time to say that they would be dropping off the petition. Dropping off a petition signed by American citizens now means that a building (US Mission to UN) needs to go into lockdown and the police need to be called? In Bully Boy's America, apparently so.
As Rebecca (Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude) observes, "when cindy sheehan's on trial, we're all on trial. . . a public building meaning 'open to the public,' the women wanted to deliver a petition (no danger there), they called ahead of time, the place decides to shut down to avoid them. if the place's business was interfered with, that came when the building decided to go into lockdown. if a manhattan prosecutor wants to prosecute some 1, prosecute the people who made the call that u.s. citiznes were not welcome." (Rebecca notes that an audio report of the case can be found on yesterday's The KPFA Evening News.)
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