Friday, June 23, 2006

White House thumbs its nose at the Supreme Court (Bully Boy Press & Cedric's Big Mix)











*Should the Commission revise the limits adopted in the 2002 Biennial Review Order on the number of stations that can be commonly owned in one market, or is there additional evidence or analysis available now upon which the Commission can rely to further justify the limits adopted then?
*Similarly, in order to address the court’s concerns, should the Commission revise these numerical limits or is additional evidence available to further justify them?
*How should the Commission address radio/television and newspaper/broadcast cross-ownership issues?

Recommended: "NYT: Striving for tabloid (again)"
"And the war drags on . . . (Indymedia Roundup)""Democracy Now: Nadia McCaffrey, Julia Wright"
"NYT: Michael Gordon cups war pornography, Zernike plays dumb (it is playing, right?)"
"mccain the pain"
"Bonnie interviewed Sanders Hicks Wednesday""Law and Disorder on tasers""A number of topics"
"WBAI's Law and Disorder covered Mumia Abu-Jamal and David Gilbert"
"Other Items (Nadia McCaffrey discusses the Pentagon lying about her son on Democracy Now! today)"
"Army Lies to Mother of Slain Guardsman for Two Years, Says Killed by Insurgents Instead of Allied Iraqi Soldiers"
"This Is Your Life, Dan Rather"
"Katie Was a Cheerleader"
"Dan Rather, RIP, Assassinated by the Media Company He Loved"
"Lieutenant Watada Refused Iraq Deployment Orders Today"
"Access of Evil"
"Stop Fake Clinics from Deceiving Women"

Thursday, June 22, 2006

WBAI's Law and Disorder covered Mumia Abu-Jamal and David Gilbert

"7 Marines, Naval Corporal Charged With Murdering Iraqi Civilian" (Democracy Now):
The US military has charged eight service members with the murder and kidnapping of an unarmed Iraqi. Hashim Ibrahim Awad was pulled from his home last April in the town of Hamdania. Military investigators believe the Marines shot him and then planted a shovel and an AK-47 rifle at the scene to make it appear he was an insurgent. Awad was in his 50's with a lame leg and bad eyesight. His family has alleged a small group of U.S. servicemembers offered them money in exchange for supporting the Marines' version of the killing. The charges were announced Wednesday at California's Camp Pendleton, where the servicemembers are being held. If convicted, the suspects could face the death penalty.
Marine spokesperson Colonel Stewart Navarre: "It is important to note that the charges are accusations, against the individual, and the accused is presumed innocent. All marines are trained in the law of armed conflict, and are expected to fully comply with it. The marine corps takes allegations of wrongdoings by its members very seriously, and is committed to thoroughly investigating such allegations."

In The Third Estate Sunday Review's "When War Hawks Lied," we wrote:

Look if you will at the faces
Don't you dare turn away
This is the war that was heavily sold
This is what we get when
War Hawks Lie

Get the feeling that a lot are turning away? I do. I can't believe that there are eight charged with such an awful crime and we get so little on it. I didn't even hear anyone talking about this for the longest today. I went into work this morning and said, "I'm just going to wait and see how long it takes." If it wasn't brought up by lunch, I'd bring it up. It was ten o'clock before someone brought it up. I heard about Mark Cuban saying the NBA was rigged and a lot of talk wondering if he was right (most felt he was) and whether or not he'd sell off his team (Dallas Mavericks -- though one guy participating thought Cuban owned the LA Lakers -- he was trying to act like he followed basketball). I heard about internet predators. After 20 minutes of that from the woman and the man whose desk was closest to mine, I had to pipe up and say "Brian Doyle." Who, they asked? The deputy press secretary of Homeland Security until he was busted in April when he got soliciting sexual relations with a child online.

At ten, the boss came in. He was going desk to desk and saying hi. He stopped at mine and said, "Please tell me you heard about the troops being charged." He'd gone desk to desk and found no one who had. Sort of tells you what we get out of our corporate news.

"Senate Rejects Minimum Wage Increase" (Democracy Now):
Back in the United States, the Senate rejected a measure Wednesday that would have raised the minimum wage for the first time in nearly a decade. The proposal called for a 40 percent increase from the current wage of Five Dollars and Fifteen cents an hour. A study released this week by the Economic Policy Institute and the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities says the real-dollar value of the minimum wage is now at its lowest level in more than fifty years. But Congress has not rejected all federal pay hikes: last week, House lawmakers voted to increase their salaries by more than Three Thousand Dollars. It was their seventh straight pay raise.

Hey, I could use a three thousand dollar raise. I think I got 3% in the last pay raise. And no, that didn't add up to three thousand dollars. Add in that my insurance went up 2% in January so I really only got a 1% bump. C.I. put this item with "an excerpt from Antonia Juhasz' The Bush Agenda: Invading The World, One Economy at a Time (page 100):"

Just compare CEO pay to that of the average worker. Twenty years ago, U.S. corporate CEOs earned on average forty-two times more than production workers. Today, they earn a whopping 431 times more. Put another way, if the average production worker's pay had kept pace with that of CEOs, he or she would be taking home more than $110,000 a year instead of less than $28,000. Likewsie, the average minimum wage earner would be taking home over $23 an hour instead of $5.15. Imagine what one could do with an extra $18 an hour -- perhaps afford a better place to live, child care during work hours, or health insurance for the entire family.

Mike and I are teaming up tonight because Elaine has Thursday's off. Be sure to visit Mikey Likes It! I'm covering the third segment of WBAI's Law and Disorder and Mike's grabbing the second. Ruth will grab the first (she says "hopefully" because she's playing with the format of her report and trying to make them "less chatty" and "more focused"). I love her reports anyway she does them. But I know from just grabbing my segment that there's so much more to cover than I have time for.

My segement was on prisons. First up, host Heidi Boghosian talked about her recent visit with Mumia Abu-Jamal who is on death row (25 years) and deserves a fair trial -- something he's never gotten. She was visiting him on behalf of the National Lawyers Guild. (Host Michael Smith pointed out that all four hosts are members -- Dalia Hashad and Michael Ratner are the other two hosts.) The National Lawyers Guild is going to file a friend of the court brief for a new trial. She spoke of two of the many issues in his trial. There is the issue of the racism in the selection of the jury. And there's the prosecutor telling the jury that their sentence (their verdict) was "reviewable, there will be appeal after appeal." That last one is the issue the National Lawyers Guild is going to be filing their brief on because the Supreme Court has found it "clearly influences" the jury. Boghosian said that with the other issues this is "grounds for reversal" of the conviction. (Wrongful conviction in my opinion.)

She also talked about how, at his prison, there are random searches of cars in the parking lot and how "they swab your hands" inside testing "for the presence of drugs."

Michael Ratner guessed that this will be heard sometime in the fall. You can hear Abu-Jamal on Free Speech Radio, by the way. He does commentaries. If you read Amy Goodman and David Goodman's Exception to the Rulers (great book) you know that NPR wanted him to do commentaries but then chickened out when there were some protests. He does them now on Free Speech Radio.

David Gilbert was who Michael Smith visited. I don't know much about his case. Chesea Boudin is Gilbert's son. That put a face to it for me because I got to see Boudin give a speech. (Smart guy.) He was transporting bank robbers ("trying to liberate funds to fund a movement -- Black Liberation Army"). He and Kathy Boudin (Chesea's mother) were waiting in a parking lot in a U-Haul during the robbery. Those who committed the robbery then met up with them because the police would be looking for African-Americans who committed the robbery and Gilbert and Boudin are White. They were stopped by the police for some reason (maybe it was a checkpoint set up) and during the encounter, the robbers came from the back of the U-Haul and began firing and three police officers were killed. Michael Smith explained that during the sentencing, Gilbert refused to take part saying that he was a political prisoner, that the people involved were prisoners of war and that "I don't recognize the authority of your court" before turning his back. The court came down extremely hard (severly) and sentenced him to three terms of life.
Michael Smith said that the earliest Gilbert would be eligible for parole was in 2056 and right now he is already sixty-one years old. I'm not remembering him from the movie Weather Underground which I did see. C.I. gave me Thai Jones' A Radical Line (great book) but he's got only on two pages in that book. The longer of the two is where Thai Jones is talking about how he is a child living undercover with his parents (Jeff Jones and Eleanor Raskin). This is page 271:

He and Eleanor were both listening to the radio in their bedroom when the announcer flashed in with breaking news: a botched armored truck robbery in Rockland County, two police-officers and a security guard dead, four unidentified people -- two whites and two blacks -- in custody. My parents looked at each other and had the exact same thought: I bet they're friends of ours.
"No matter how this unfolds," Jeff said to her, "our lives are not going to be the same." There was no explicit reason that the trail should lead to us and nothing we could do to avoid trouble. Jeff and Eleanor took me to school and then went to work. The story of the Brink's robbery developed throughout the day. The suspects' names were released and that initial hunch had been correct: Kathy Boudin, Judy Clark, and David Gilbert were old, old friends.

Michael Smith and Michael Ratner talked about how Gilbert has written a book called No Surrender. You can also find some of his writings by clicking here.

Check out Wally's "THIS JUST IN! PSYCHIC CASEY SAYS 'HONEY, THEY SHRUNK THE ARMY!'" and I'm closing with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Chaos and violence continue in Iraq. Elsewhere some merely strike poses.
In the United States, the Senate has said "NO!" to US forces leaving Iraq by July 2007. As the so-called coalition continues to break apart with other nations deciding to pull their troops out of Iraq, one might think the issue would garner a serious debate. Always one to posture, John McCain (Senator from Arizona) declared: "The United States, with our Iraqi partners, has the responsibility to see this through" apparently auditioning for the role of passenger on the Titanic. Russ Feingold (Senator from Wisconsin) stated: "It is time to tell the Iraqis that we have done what we can do militarily." Instead of addressing that reality, most preferred to posture; however, 13 senators did vote in favor of the proposal John Kerry and Feingold were supporting (troops out by July 2007). The other (weaker and, as Sandra Lupien noted on KPFA's The Morning Show, "nonbinding") proposal much supported by Democratic Party hacks such as DiFi and Harry Reid? It lost in a 60-39 vote. In Vienna, the Bully Boy faced questions about Iraq. "What's past is past," declared the Bully Boy on the issue of Iraq. What's past? How about what's passed? The 2500 mark for American military fatalities. As Amy Goodman noted today on Democracy Now!, 2512 is the current fatality count.
While the United States Congress can't say "Withdrawal" and the Bully Boy can't even toss out a phrase correctly (it is: "What's done is done."), it's not suprising that it has become increasing harder for US military recruiters to meet the needed recruitment numbers. As the UK's Daily Mail notes, the U.S. Army's decision to raise the maximum age for recruitment, to forty-two, is the second time this year that the military has raised the age. In January, the maxium age was raised from 35 years-old to 40. Why the Army? As Reuters notes: "More than three years into the war, the Army continues to provide the bulk of U.S. ground forces in Iraq." Which is why military recruiters, when not stalking school campuses, attempt to recruit at NASCAR events.
Speaking to Fluxview, for their AWOL in Canada series, Christopher Mogwai noted that, "In the Vietnam era they didn't kick you out for drugs, now they do" so some choose any number of means to leave the service. Fluxview also interviews war resistors Darrell Anderson and Ryan Johnson.
Noting the charging of "eight US troops with kidnapping and murdering a handicapped Iraqi civilian," Demetri Sevastolulo and Neil Buckley (Financial Times of London) note that the speaker of the Iraqi parliment is asking "the US to investigate the killings of 'many innocent people' by American forces." According to CNN, Masmoud al-Mashhadani is specifically calling for "an investigation . . . into this week's U.S. bombing of a poultry farm in northern Iraq." This is the incident Amy Goodman noted yesterday where a human rights worker states that "two of the dead were young boys aged ten and twelve." As Al Jazeera noted: "The Association of Muslim Scholars said US warplanes bombed a house and a poultry farm in al-Bushahin village in northeast Baquba, then dropped soldiers to kill the survivors of the attack."
In Baghdad today, CNN notes a car bomb went off by a movie theater and two people were killed, five wounded. Reuters notes a motorcycle bombing, in Baghdad, which resulted in two dead and eight injured.
In Baquba, Reuters reports that Raad al-Mowla was wounded in a roadside bomb (al-Mowla is the governor of the Diyala province). The Associated Press notes a bomb in Jibla that resulted in the death of an unidentified civilian and an "Iraqi army solider." As Amy Goodman noted this morning, "at least fifty of the more than eighty [kidnapped] workers have been released or freed."
Reuters notes the discovery of 14 corpses of electricity plant workers who were "abducted and killed June 12". Associated Press notes that six corpses ("bullet-riddled bodies") were found in Kut. In Najaf, a police officer was shot dead, Reuters notes, and, in Dhuluiya, an Iraqi soldier was shot dead. Like the US Congress, John Howard (prime minister of Australia) plays baby Bully Boy and speaks of how things might get even riskier for Australians stationed in Iraq, Australia's ABC reports Labor leader Kim Beazley's response in Parliment: "Iraq is a quagmire and staying htere is not in our national interest. Make no mistake about it, we are opposed to the war in Iraq, we want these troops in Al Muthanna province home now."
While Japan used the Iraq government's decision to take over responsiblity for the Al Muthanna province as a sign to withdraw troops, Howard has decided to move Australian troops to other areas in Iraq. Though of little concern to the mainstream US press, the shooting by Australian security guards yesterday of three Iraqi bodyguards (one dead, two wounded) for Iraq Trade Minister Abdel Falah al-Sudany has resulted in an expression of regret from the Australian Defense Force and, today, has led al-Sudany to issue a statement that he "demands an apology and payment of compsenation." Reuters notes: "The incident could potentially embarrass Australia, which has been trying to imrpove trade ties with Iraq after Iraq suspended dealings with Australia's monopoly wheat exporter AWB over a kickbacks scandal."
Besides trade deals being put at risk (remember, it's the markets), Labor and Green reps in Australia says that the incident is another reason Australia needs to withdraw troops from Iraq. Kim Bezley stated, "The point is this: we shouldn't be there." Bob Brown, Greens leader, stated: "It should send a signal to this Prime Minister, who just does not seem to connect that we should be bringing the troops home. They shouldn't have been there, they should be brought home."
Speaking to Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzales on Democracy Now! today, Italian journalist Giulana Sgrena discussed the details of her kidnapping in Iraq as well as the details of the rescue that went wrong when US troops fired on her vehicle as it was enroute to the airport. During the interview, Sgrena stated: "So there are many things that we don't know and we would like to know. I don't want to accuse Mario Lozano to know who was in the car and to shoot because he knew that there, there were agents and me. But we want the prosecution just to know, to have more information of what happened, because we gave the information to the commander, the Italian one that was in touch with the American one in the airport, that we were on this road to the airport. And we know that they were monitoring the telephone that we used in the car, the Americans, and they were monitoring the mobile telephone on the satellite." Remember that: Sgrena will be in New York City Friday June 23rd for an event with Amy Goodman at Columbia University. (Event starts at 7:30 p.m.)

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Summary post

I'm going for four posts this week, maybe five. Nothing long. Rebecca says she's doing better and Mike's got a long thing on that going up. I told Mike I wasn't in the mood to do a long post tonight and asked him if he was doing WBAI's Law and Disorder? He said he forgot and has been online forever. So I'll use that as my out tonight. He's grabbing the taser, I'm grabbing the prison segment and Ruth will grab the first segment. "Ruth's Public Radio Report" went up this morning. She didn't cover the first segment from last week. She was hoping to but then she found out about Rebecca miscarrying and, like everybody else, she knows how Rebecca wants children so she just wasn't in the mood to do much with her report.

I think it was a strong report. Check it out.

I'll talk about The Third Estate Sunday Review and do C.I.'s snapshot and call that my entry. Here's the new content at The Third Estate Sunday Review:

"Truest statement of last week" -- we all agreed Barbara Lee had the best statement that we heard last week.
"Editorial: What's news?" -- I didn't work much on this. I tossed out some ideas right around the time we heard Rebecca's news (or around the time C.I. figured out what had happened). Ty said they really weren't in the mood and that it was basically C.I. and Jim coming up with stuff and the rest of them smoothing it over.

"Iraq snapshot" -- Dona, Jess, Ty, Ava and Jim helped C.I. by going through the e-mails for Sunday's "And the war drags on . . ." -- picking highlights. That gave C.I. the time to do the snapshot for the entry (which they've pulled and posted as it went up at The Common Ills). C.I. thinks the entry was a joint entry because without that help there wouldn't have been time for the snapshot Sunday. They disagree and say that's C.I.'s work and give C.I. the credit.

"TV Review: There's always a platform for some" -- Ava and C.I. weren't in the mood. They'd spoken to two people for this review and thought they'd have something really funny. They said it was a pain to write (because their minds were elsewhere) and Ava points out that one section (the part around the "Woops!") was just for them to get through and they'd go back and fix it before it posted. Jim read it and said it was perfect as is. So they had to wait to get someone's permission to include the "Woops!" section. I think it is funny. I also think it's true about how it is easier to get a White point of view on TV than anything else.

"Incident you should have heard of" -- Look at the right, at the top and you'll see my CODEPINK button. We were working on this story, about how CODEPINK was stabbed in the back, and saying we wish we could do something more than just that story. Dallas, who always hunts down the links, ended up looking around the CODEPINK site and told us they had web buttons. Great idea on Dallas' part. (Great find too.) Kat's crashed, her site. It took awhile to fix it and after that we were all asking C.I. what to do? So C.I. copied the code and that's why we're all using the same button. We can change it now and C.I. told us where to put the code in but I'll probably stay with that one. Even Trina added one. She got up at 4:20 her time to get things ready because she wanted her husband to have a good father's day. Mike heard her in the kitchen (she's Mike's mother) and went down to ask her if she wanted a button on her site. She did so we've all got them now. We mean what we say in this piece but the buttons are just a visual way for us to show our support for a group that works hard to do what needs to be done. They do a great job.

"When War Hawks Lied" -- We were using another song. I said, "How about Prince's 'When Doves Cry?' and that might be my only input. At first, it was called "When War Hawks Lied." That got changed but the title didn't get fixed. You can sing it to "When Doves Cry" too (try it).
I think this was mainly Kat, Betty, C.I. and Jess with the rest of us trying to stay out of their way. It went very quickly. We were all tired (and wiped out from the news) so this was actually a good, easy piece where most of us, including me, were mainly just saying, "Yeah!"

"RadioNation with Laura Flanders" -- This got lost. No backup copy. Had to redo from scratch. It was a nightmare. (The show was great.)

'"We Were All Wrong!' Not so fast Pt. II" -- Should have been quick. Wasn't. We'll grab Howard Zinn next time, if you're wondering. There's a hateful woman who was interviewed by The Progressive last week. C.I., Elaine, Dona, Betty, Rebecca, Jess and Ava were adament that no links go to The Progressive website until the woman's interview wasn't on the front page. C.I.'s attitude was that they can interview whomever they want but they're not getting traffic while their interview with her is on the front page. I ended up getting upset the more I heard. She's a woman who trashes other women. I said I doubted they'd provide a reactionary African-American. She's considered by some to be progressive. Her statements are more along the lines of Ann Coulter but because they're aimed at women, it's apparently okay. Katha Pollitt, Gloria Steinem, Naomi Wolf . . . There's pretty much no woman she hasn't trashed. Since then, I've looked at some of her stuff (library and I didn't check it out so she didn't get "circulation" off me) and I really just get more offended. I guess the magazine was 'big tenting' last week. There's always room in the 'big tent' for those who attack women or people of color.

There was also a roundtable that we did early on. It ran in the print edition that goes out Sunday morning. But Dona said, "Hold on" about posting it. (I'd already bailed.) I asked her why and she remembered there were some comments Rebecca made when she thought everyone would just think she was having cramps from a period. Dona said that since it would probably be discussed at sites (the miscarriage), she didn't want the roundtable posted online. Rebecca was being open and under the impression of one understanding when it was being done (the roundtable) and she (Dona) just felt it wasn't fair to Rebecca to run it online. (And wished she'd realized that before the print edition went out.) There was also two other things in the print edition. A poem and I'm not even remembering the other thing. It's been a long week and it's only Tuesday.

Check out Trina's "Potato Casserole in the Kitchen." Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Chaos and violence continue in Iraq. Outside of Iraq?
As noted by Amy Goodman on Democracy Now!, "the so-called coalition of the willing continues to shrink:" Junichiro Koizumi, prime minister of Japan, declared that Japanese troops are leaving Iraq by "year's end.". Reuters notes that, although no Japanese troops were "killed or wounded in Iraq," "six Japanese citizens, including two diplomats, have been killed by insurgents in Iraq." China's Xinhau reports that the prime ministers discussed the intended withdrawal "with leaders of the ruling coalition and opposition parties" on Tuesday morning "shortly before the announcement." As Amy Goodman reported, Japan joins Italy with the announcement of pulling troops out by year's end and that "Spain, The Netherlands, Ukraine, Nicaragua, the Philipines and Honduras have already pulled out." Noting "Japan's Kyodo news agency," the Financial Times of London states the withdrawal "process could be completed by the end of July." Xinhua notes the same possibility and credits word on it to "Japanese government officials."
While Japan prepares to remove troops from the ground in Iraq, in the United States, a watered-down, weaker version of John Kerry's call for US troops out of Iraq is allowing for posturing. Caterwauling on the Senate floor today, Bill Frist exclaimed, "We cannot surrender. We cannot go wobbly. The price is far too high." Possibly a mantra he once repeated to himself while dissecting felines? Meanwhile, always one to run from a fight, Harry Reid's less concerned with exit plans for the US, and knowing there's no democracy in Iraq, focuses instead on a possible amnesty plan Nouri al-Maliki, Iraqi prime minister and occupation puppet Nouri al-Maliki. Adnan Ali al-Kadhimi was fired/resigned following his comments to the press regarding the potential plan. But it's a nice, dead-hypothetical to rage and rattle about as opposed to dealing with reality. In other news on the spineless, John Walsh (CounterPunch) reports that what recent book sales didn't get across, phone calls might have -- Baby Cries a Lot took three calls complaining about his War Hawk position on the war. Walsh does not note if Baby Cries a Lot attempted to garner sympathy by sobbing, breaking into tears or using his own children to justify an ongoing war (children who do not and have not served in Iraq or, for that matter, the military). In non-spineless news, AP reports that Barbara Boxer, Russ Feingold and John Kerry "intend to push for a vote on their own proposal."
In Seattle yesterday, Sara Jean Green reports: "Ann Wright appeared with 1st Lt. Ehren Watada and his parents at a news conference at University Lutheran Church to announce a national day of action June 27, when anti-war demonstrations will be held in cities across the country in support of Watada." Green reports that Wright, "retired army colonel and former State Department official," will appear at a "news conference today at University Lutheran Church on behalf of another Fort Lewis soldier, Suzanne Swift". Watada, whose parents joined him for yesterday's news conference, is the first commission officer to refuse deployment in Iraq. Click here to sign an online petition supporting Watada. Suzanne Swift was arrested last week after deciding she couldn't return to Iraq and going AWOL.
In Iraq, as reported by Jonathan Finer (Washington Post), Kristian Menchaca and Thomas L. Tucker, two US soldiers who were abducted last Friday, were found dead "near a power plant in Yusifiyah." The discovered corpses are said to have signs of "barbaric" torture. Meanwhile, the Mujahedeen Shura Council is claiming credit for the deaths. The Financial Times of London concludes: "The news will tarnish the positive image US and Iraqi officials have been projecting recently of a government that is gradually getting to grips with the security situation and turning the tide against the insurgents."Other corpses were discovered in Iraq today, Reuters notes that two were found in Hilla ("blindfolded and hands tied") while in Baghdad, five corpses were found ("handcuffed with gunshot wounds in the head").
Bombings? Baghdad saw a series of bombings. RTE News reports on one near "a second-hand clothes market in central Baghdad" which resulted in at least two dead and and at least 28 wounded. Al Jazeera notes that roadside bomb as well as a cra bomb "in a a crowded market in the eastern district of Jamila in Baghdad" that left seven dead and 18 wounded. The BBC reports that, in Basra, "at least one elderly woman was killed along with a suicide bomber who blew himself up inside a home for the elderly". Reuters notes that five others were wounded. Another car bomb went off in the Hurriya district of Baghdad "killing at least five people and wounding 11".
Reuters reports that while the US miliatry is saying Ramadi is not the target for a major offensive, the Red Cross has "voiced concern on difficult living conditions in Ramadi". Reporting for IPS, Dahr Jamail and Ali Fdhil write: "A week spent in Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province west of Baghdad, reveals that residents are suffering from lack of water, electricity, cooking gas and medical supplies for the hospitals. The streets are eerily empty, and it appears that many people have now left the city, althought possibly as many as 150,000 still remain in their homes, either because they are too afraid to leave or they have nowhere to go."
As noted by Sandra Lupien on KPFA's The Morning Show the US military is claiming an exchange was aimed at insurgents with 15 dead while Iraqi witnesses disputing the official (US) account*. The exchange took place in Bushahin ("village . . . north of Baghdad") The AP reports that "AP Television News footage showed blood splattered on the ground and matresses and spent bullet casings inside a poultry farm, where residents said the civilians were killed." Reuters quotes Mohammed Jaba al-Qaduir, father of Jassem and Mazen killed in the raid, "They did not attack any Americans or Humvees. We don't have any problems with the Americans. We don't have any foreigners here." Reuters mentions that one of the corpses, according to a "police source" was that of a twelve-year-old boy."
Finally, Barbara McMahon, Michael Howard and Julian Borger report (for the Guardian of London) that four prosecutors in Rome have signed "[t]he request to charge Mario Lozano, a national guardsman from New York, with the murder of Nicola Calipari." As noted by Amy Goodman on Democracy Now!: "Calipari was escorting Italian journalist Giuliana Sgrena after she had been released by kidnappers. U.S. troops opened fire on their car killing Calipari and injuring Sgrena. . . . Tune in to Democracy Now on Thursday when Giuliana Sgrena joins us in the Firehouse studio." Also remember that: Sgrena will be in New York City Friday June 23rd for an event with Amy Goodman at Columbia University. (Event starts at 7:30 p.m.)
*Thanks to Zach and Mia for passing on the Lupien item.

Monday, June 19, 2006

On the bus

Not much to say tonight, but Rebecca called and asked me to post something. She thinks we're all too worried about her [read "nancy keenan, rick hertzberg (the useless 1s)] and insists she's fine. I'm sure she is but I'm also sure she's trying really hard to keep things as usual. If my posting helps any, I'm happy to do what I can.

Not much to talk about. How about two guys on the bus today? They apparently never learned how to speak in public. They were loudly using the f-word, another word for a cat, a word that rhymes with rich and 'ho' this and 'ho' that. They were also talking about their 'peckers' and how they'd lean on some 1 with that. For all their talk of women, this was the surprise to me and came up when I went up to say something, it turns out that they're gay.

There were kids on the bus, it was the evening. And they didn't need to hear the f-word or all the other curse words. I was thinking, should I say something or not because by kids, I'm talking 5 years old through 9 years old. So I decide I should and move to the front, they'd grabbed the front seats, to say something. As I'm almost there, they're talking about 1 of the boyfriends and about how they don't let anyone do anal them, just oral. "I'm a f**king pitcher."

So then I ended up thinking, do I have a right to say anything?

But I said something. I told them they needed to clean up the language because everyone could hear them all over the bus (I was on the very back seat and heard them) and kids were on the bus. That's actually the job of the driver, by the way. I've seen them kick off high school kids who couldn't clean up the language.

One of them got angry but the other said I was "cute" and promised to keep it down. Which they more or less did.

Why would two gay men trash women like that? There's a director with a film this summer and he was trashing 'chick flicks' recently in a paper. I saw it because my cousin and I want to see the movie and he sends me everything he finds online about the movie. I asked C.I. about it and C.I. said, "What? He's gay. He said that?"

He did say it. (I'd name it if I knew he was out. Rebecca said she thought everyone knew but until I see something online, I won't name him.)

I don't expect a gay man to act like a stereotype. But I also don't expect a gay man to endorse a stereotype. So they're gay, they're African-American, and all they can do is talk about how women are (fill in any curse word).

I just don't get it. I know African-American, straight males who do that and it always bothers me because, as African-Americans, we should know better than to go around using stereotypes.

My mind's elsewhere tonight. I'll note C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Chaos and violence continue.
In Baghdad, Reuters notes two bombings, a "car bomb" at "a police checkpoint" resulted in three deaths and three wounded and a "sucicide car bomber" who killed at least four others and wounded at least ten. CBS and the AP note "[a] parked car bomb" that killed five and wounded nine.
The BBC notes: "Violence is continuing in Baghdad despite the introduction of stringent new security measures last week that have seen more than 40,000 Iraqi and US forces deployed in the city." Dahr Jamail reports on the days since Bully Boy's photo-op in the Green Zone and concludes: "Each passing day only brings the people of Iraq and soldiers serving in the US military deeper into the quagmire that the brutal, despicable, tortured occupation has become."
Bombings also took place outside of Baghdad. The AP notes that three people were killed in Fallujah when a roadside bomb exploded while another roadside bomb, in Hillah, killed at least person and wounded at least four others. Reuters notes that, in Najaf, one person died from a bombing while at least five were wounded.
Reuters also reports an attack in Karbala where "a senior police officer" was shot to death and two of his bodyguards were wounded. AP identifies the man as Abdel-Shahid Saleh and notes that Saadoun Abdul-Hussein Radi, electrician, was shot to death in Amarah.
Kidnappings? Reuters reports that the Mujahideen Shura Council, which most recently claimed credit for four of the seven Saturday bombings in Baghdad, is now claiming to be holding four Russian diplomats which, Reuters notes, appears to be a reference to the June 3rd attack. The attack resulted in the death of Russian diplomat Vitaly Vitalyevich Titov and the four who were kidnapped were identified by the Russian embassy as: Feodor Zaycev, Rinat Agliulin, Anatolii Smirnov and Oleg Feodosiev. AFP reports that the Mujahideen Shura Council is also claiming that it has the two US soldiers reported to have been taken by "masked gunmen" on Friday. AFP describes it as a body that "groups eight armed factions led by Al-Qaeda."
The US military has not confirmed the abduction of the two soldiers. AFP reports that their names have been released: "Kristian Menchaca, 23, and Thomas L. Tucker, 25."
Richard A. Oppel Jr. (New York Times) reported that "more than 8,000" US and Iraqis are searching for Menchaca and Tucker and the AFP notes that seven US troops have been wounded since the search began Friday.
Meanwhile, CBS and AP quote Christina Menchaca, wife of Kristian, saying, "We're basically just watching the news because no one else knows anything about it, no one has heard anything about it."
On the American, Keith Maupin, who has been MIA since April 8, 2004, the AFP reports: "The Arabic news channel Al-Jazeera aired a video a week later that showed the American seated on the floor surrounded by masked gunmen. A month later it aired what it said was the execution of an American soldier, but the images were unclear and the army said it was inconclusive."
Al Jazeera is reporting that Iraq forces will be responsible for Muthanna relieving the British forces. This is the area that Japanese troops were also responsible for possibly adding creedence to the press coverage of the rumors that Japan will be announcing, prior to June 29th, that it is withdrawing all of its troops from Iraq. CBS and the AP note that Japan, England and Australia will "continue moving to "support role." The AP notes: "The decision, announced after [Nouri] al-Maliki met with Japan's ambassador, does not necessarily mean that any U.S.-led coalition forces will be withdrawn from Muthana province."
Ramadi? As noted by Sandra Lupien on KPFA's The Morning Show, "major military operations" continue as "helicopters and airplanes are flying over the town." Reuters reports that "seven tanks moved along Maarif Street and July 17 Street. Two explosions were heard but the cause was not clear." Ali Hussein Mohammed is quoted as saying: "The water is totally cut off. We have to go to the river to get water. There has been no water for 24 hours and we have no gas to boil the river water to drink it."
Meanwhile, in Italy, the AFP reports that prosecutors are saying that the US marine who shot Nicola Calipari should be put on trial. Calipari had been sent to Iraq by the Italian government to rescue kidnapped Italian journalist Giuliana Sgrena. Though he and Sgrena made it safely to the car, while traveling to the airport to leave Iraq, their car (or "caravan" in some reports at the time) was shot at by US forces. In the attack, Calipari was killed. Sgrena will be in New York City Friday June 23rd for an event with Amy Goodman at Columiba University. (Event starts at 7:30 p.m.)
Finally, Bully Boy is due to visit Vienna this week (Tuesday and Wednesday) and a group is attempting to organize a loud, if not welcoming, reception for him. "Bush Go Home" organizer Michael Proebsting tells the AAP: "The name George Bush, the name of the American president, has become a symbol for war crimes, for Abu Ghraib, for Guantanamo, for Jenin."