Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Other Items

In one of the most lethal stretches for Americans in Iraq in recent months, nine soldiers and security officers were killed in four attacks in the past two days.
British military officials in Basra, in the south, also faced harsh criticism from the Iraqi government on Tuesday over their siege of a police station there.

The above is from Richard Oppel, Jr. and Sabrina Tavernise's "Attacks in Iraq Kill 9 Americans, Including State Dept. Aide" in this morning's New York Times. Re: the second paragraph ("harsh criticism") the only "work safe environment" reply is "duh!"

Consider the story a "for the record correction:"

In Basra, the bizarre fight on Monday between some police officers and British soldiers threatened to further destabilize the region, a Shiite-dominated area that had been relatively calm but has had a surge of skirmishes among rival Shiite militias that control much of the Iraqi police and military forces there. The fight broke out when British forces attacked a police station after the detention of two British soldiers apparently disguised in local dress.
Offering new details about the incident, the British military accused the Basra police of turning over the soldiers to hostile Shiite militiamen. That action was a crucial factor in the decision to begin a rescue attempt and knock down the police station's walls with armored vehicles, British officials said.
Pictures of the fighting included images of a British soldier aflame as he scrambled from his burning armored vehicle, and of hundreds of Iraqis throwing rocks and Molotov cocktails at the troops. The British military said no soldiers were seriously wounded.
Ultimately, the two soldiers were not at the jail but were later rescued from a home in Basra, the British military said.

On the last above, the location of the soldiers, most of the reports sent in by members yesterday differed on that point. (They weren't in fact in the jail. That is known and Democracy Now! noted it yesterday morning.) As for the other details above that could have been in yesterday's report . . .

Well it's in today's paper.

If it seems like they're getting a pass or I'm having "an Oprah moment," I'll offer that Blogger is messed up still. Two entries were done last night. One is completely lost. The other is in a holding pattern of sorts. It shows up unpublished in the posts manager. The problem, as I start these posts, isn't fixed. If it is by the time these are completed, I'll post them the usual way, otherwise, they'll be sent in and hopefully hit the site.

In fairness (Yazz's teeth just went on edge), we have noted before that there are problems inherent in a daily paper. That might have been one of them. (UK members disagree and they may very well be correct.)

The New York Times (that's the byline of the piece) reports that "Governors Ask For Inquiry in Oil Prices."

"When the wholesale price of gas went up by 60 cents almost overnight, oil companies were obviously using the most devastating natural disaster in our nation's history to reap a windfall at the expense of American consumers," said the letter, which was initiated by Gov. James E. Doyle of Wisconsin and was signed by governors from Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Montana, New Mexico, Oregon and Washington.

Sheryl Gay Stolberg and David D. Kirkpatrick's "Top Democrat Says He'll Vote No on Roberts" seems like good news. Seems like it. Then you read all the way through the story. Bendy Harry Reid will vote no (at this moment in time) on Robert. He says other Dems in the Senate can vote as they please. He says he won't filibuster over it.

Translation, when Roe v. Wade is shot down, Bendy Reid will show up saying, "I begged them not to pull the trigger! I said no!" As for the others? Maybe they'll get some pork tossed their way. Maybe Ken Salazar will get his memo. It's a game.

Ted Kennedy provides the voice of sanity from the Senate:

"This is really a leap of faith, isn't it?" Mr. Kennedy told reporters. "I mean, I think there are those that took the leap in terms of the war, there were those that took the leap in terms of taxes and now they're being invited to take the leap again in terms of Judge Roberts, and" - here, Mr. Kennedy paused for effect - "I don't think I'm going to be among them."

Bendy Ried is upset over derogatory remarks, he concerned about civil rights so he'll . . . vote no but not put any pressure on anyone else. It's a "let me get this off my chest and then we can all act like it never happened" stand. As opposed to a real stand, a spine or bravery.

Tara e-mails to note John Nichol's "Winning the Peace" (The Nation):

In the crowd that gathered outside the Catonsville, Maryland, public library in August to support antiwar mom Cindy Sheehan's demand that President Bush listen to her plea for an end to the US occupation of Iraq, the distinguished gentleman in "CEO casual" dress was instantly recognizable. Women holding BRING OUR CHILDREN HOME banners nodded, men with STOP THE WAR signs waved and eventually one person after another edged over to shake the hand of Kweisi Mfume, the former NAACP president who is seeking an open Senate seat from Maryland. They were thanking Mfume for being something that is still all too rare--a prominent Democrat who is willing to stand unapologetically with the movement to bring troops home from a war that has gone horribly awry. Mfume smiled and told his well-wishers, "This is the right place to be for the right reasons."

Mfume will get no argument from the party faithful on that point. There is a growing sense that any Democrat who wants to be a leader of what is supposed to be America's opposition party--and of the nation in which it is competing for power--must be front and center in the antiwar movement. Of course, this is not yet the case. As Mfume told the crowd in Catonsville, there are now "two voices in the Democratic Party" when it comes to Iraq. Such Democratic luminaries as senators Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden and minority leader Harry Reid continue to echo Bush Administration spin about how the United States must "stay the course." But the antiwar voice is growing louder. Loud enough, perhaps, to force the Democratic leadership to offer something more than an echo--or, if need be, to replace that leadership with Democrats who can present a genuine alternative to the neoconservative national security policies that have made America anything but secure.

"Too many of the leading figures in the Democratic Party made a terrible mistake in 2002 and 2004: They allowed the White House to intimidate them into not opposing an unpopular and misguided war," says Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold, a maverick Democrat who has emerged as one of the party's most thoughtful dissenters. "If we don't want to make the same mistake in 2006 and 2008, we have to be moving now to break the taboo that says we cannot talk about ending our involvement in Iraq and bringing our troops home."

Lloyd e-mails to note Matthew Rothschild's "Hollow Words From the Hollow Man" (This Just In, The Progressive):

Forget about Bush’s words. Watch his actions.
For all of Bush's pious pronouncements last week about his concern for racism and poverty on the Gulf Coast, he's already taken steps that belie that concern.
If he's so worried about poverty, why did he lift the requirement that government contractors pay the prevailing wage on construction jobs?
If he's so worried about racism, why did he lift the requirement that government contractors have an affirmative action plan in place?
The answer is obvious. He isn't worried about poverty or racism. He's worried about helping out his friends in the business community.
That the disaster vultures like Halliburton are already feasting on Katrina is shameless enough.
But that Bush would use Katrina as an excuse to rollback regulations that help the very people who were hit so hard by this storm is startling in its brazenness.

[Note, Lloyd's not the only member who enjoys Matthew Rothschild, he is usually the first one out of the gate with an e-mail when something new goes up at The Progressive's web site.]

Wally e-mails to note Paul Craig Roberts' "Will Neocon Fanaticism Destroy America?" (CounterPunch):

The "cakewalk war" is now two and one-half years old. US casualties (dead and wounded) number 20,000. As 20,000 is the number of Iraqi insurgents according to US military commanders, each insurgent is responsible for one US casualty.
US troops in Iraq number about 150,000. Obviously, US troops have not inflicted 150,000 casualties on the Iraqi insurgents. US troops have perhaps inflicted 150,000 casualties on the Iraqi civilian population, primarily women and children who are the "collateral damage" of the "righteous" and "virtuous" US invasion that is spreading civilian deaths all over Mesopotamia in the name of democracy
What could the US have possibly done to give America a worse name than to invade Iraq and murder its citizens?
According to the September 1 Manufacturing & Technology News, the Government Accounting Office has reported that over the course of the cakewalk war, the US military's use of small caliber ammunition has risen to 1.8 billion rounds. Think about that number. If there are 20,000 insurgents, it means US troops have fired 90,000 rounds at each insurgent.
Very few have been hit. We don't know how many. To avoid the analogy with Vietnam, until last week the US military studiously avoided body counts. If 2,000 insurgents have been killed, each death required 900,000 rounds of ammunition.
The combination of US government owned ammo plants and those of US commercial producers together cannot make bullets as fast as US troops are firing them. The Bush administration has had to turn to foreign producers such as Israel Military Industries. Think about that. Hollowed out US industry cannot produce enough ammunition to defeat a 20,000 man insurgency.
US military analysts are beginning to wonder if the US has been defeated by the insurgency. Increasingly, Bush administration spokesmen sound like "Baghdad Bob." On September 19 the Washington Post reported that US military spinmeister Major General Rich Lynch declared "great success" against the insurgency that had just inflicted the worst casualties of the war, including a three-day mortar attack on the "safe" Green Zone.

Via Rod, the scheduled topics for today's Democracy Now! include:

A rare extended interview with Ricardo Alarcon, the President of the Cuban National Assembly on Hurricane Katrina, the Cuban Five, Luis Posada Carriles and more.

Also we'll note the upcoming appearences for the Un-Embed the Media Tour:

* Amy Goodman in Santa Fe, NM:
Wed, Sept 21 *

Lannan Readings & Conversations
Robert Fisk with Amy Goodman
Lensic Performing Arts Center
211 W. San Francisco St
Santa Fe, NM 87501
Tickets: $6 general public, $3 with student ID
Tickets for each event go on sale the first SATURDAY in the month prior to the event.
By phone:
505.988.1234 (Lensic Box Office), Mon-Sat, 10-5
In person:
Lensic Performing Arts Center, 211 W. San Francisco St, Santa Fe, NM 87501, Mon-Sat, 10-5
Order tickets online at the Lensic website,

* Amy Goodman in Washington, DC:
Fri, Sept 23
*TIME: 5:30 PM
First Annual Unvarnished Truth Awards
Amy Goodman will be a recipient.
Busboys & Poets Restaurant
14th and V St. NW
Washington, DC
5:30 Jazz Reception
6:30 Dinner and Awards Ceremony
Attire: Semi-formal
Reservations for the dinner and awards ceremony are $150 per person
(fundraiser for Pacifica Radio's Washington Bureau)
Reservations (no ticket sales) for this event will be taken at (202)588-0999 x 348 beginning Sept. 1

* Amy Goodman in Washington, DC:

Sun, Sept 25
Green Festival
MainstageWashington D.C. Convention Center
801 Mount Vernon Place NW
Day of Ticket Prices:
Adults--$15 each day
Kids 12 & Under--Free
Ride Your Bike--$5
For more information, visit

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