Thursday, August 30, 2007

And the war drags on . . .

Want to end the illegal war? Subscribing to a magazine's not going to do it. Candle light vigils aren't going to do anything. Wishing really hard is not going to end the illegal war. Getting active will. September is a month of action. If it doesn't include anything that you're able or willing to take part in, create your own thing. If there's nothing in your area . . .

Five community members are going from Oklahoma to Texas to be in Fort Worth for the rally Saturday. That may or may not be possible for all members who don't have an activity in their own area. But if you don't have an activity in your area or you don't have one that you can support, create your own. Make your voices heard.

In the public account, there's an e-mail from Joseph who writes, "Why the push on the Texas thing? I'm not understanding. You can quote me." Texas is not where Bully Boy was born. But many believe that. Texas gets a really bad rap. There are a huge number of people in Texas working to end the illegal war. When this community started, Texas was a huge chunk of the community. It still is.

In 2004, Google or use the archives, it's in November 2004, we did a series on the myth of the "Red States." Texas members can tell you the reality of their state. They can tell you that Bill Clinton, in 1992, went all over their state campaigning. They can tell you if they wanted to shell out big bucks, they could meet Teresa Heinz Kerry in Dallas. (THK also spoke in small areas of Texas near the end of the campaign.) John Kerry? He didn't go to Dallas. Now Dallas is not just a big city in Texas, it is in the top ten cities nationwide. Bill Clinton and Al Gore (and Hillary and Tipper) went on a bus tour around the country including Texas. Howard Dean spoke in Dallas.
Now Dallas provided a huge number of votes for the Democratic Party in 2004. So if you're thinking, "Well, that was seen as a safe area so no need to campaign there," you might want to explain why the far less populated Austin got John Kerry in person. Less votes, less people, but there he was.

Laura Flanders has pointed out the nation is purple and she is exactly right.

Texas gets a very bad reputation and the reality of Texas elections, as any member can tell you, is that the Democrats do not compete. They do not show up, they do not fund the Democratic Party headquarters (in fact, in 2004, some counties learned there were no longer party headquarters in their counties).

We've gone over this before. Use Google, use the archives. Texas is where the month of activism is kicking off. It's a big event in Fort Worth on Saturday. Iraq Veterans Against the War will be at Texans For Peace's American People's Poll on Iraq in Fort Worth, Texas as will people like Diane Wilson, Tina Richards and Ann Wright. It can be a huge turnout but for that to happen, people need to be aware of it.

In March, we did a speaking tour in Texas. Dona scheduled it in advance and did a wonderful job of that. However, she had to toss out that schedule once we got there because there were always opportunities to pick up additional engagements. There is no denying that this could be a huge crowd. But the issue is awareness.

The event is not getting a lot of publicity. It's building because of word of mouth. So (a) because of the event and (b) because of where it is, we will push that event. There were other things that I'd planned to note this week elsewhere. They're falling by the wayside and that's a decision I made. March wasn't the first time I visited Texas and I know there is a huge hunger for an event like this. So we will note it here to do our part to get the word out.

Click here for the press release on the event. You can print up tickets online. The tickets are free. There is no charge to attend. The tickets are just to help them have an accurate count of how large the crowd is. Another visitor e-mailed to say that if tickets are wanted then I shouldn't say that tickets aren't required. Not everyone has a computer (or a printer) and, more importantly, what will most likely happen is people will bump into friends along the way. You might stop for something at a 7-11 or a Wal-Greens on your way and bump into someone. You say, "Me? I'm on my way to Fort Worth for the big rally." If the person says, "What rally?" and, after you explain, wants to tag along, they are welcome to tag along. You don't have to find a Kinkos or public library to print up a ticket on your way to the event. Ideally, people with computers and printers will print up additional tickets to use if they bump into people on their way. But no one's going to say, "Oh, I'm sorry, you didn't bring a ticket, you can't participate." That's the point I've been making.

The event is sponsored and Endorsed by Texans for Peace, Dallas Peace Center, IVAW, Veterans for Peace, Crawford Peace House, Military Families Speak Out, Gold Star Families for Peace, CODEPINK - Dallas Chapter, Peace Action Texas, Peace and Justice - Arlington, Vietnam Veterans Against the War and more and all are working their butts off to get the word out. I'm very serious about the fact that if you have friends or family in Texas, you should give them a heads up (e-mail or call) to let them know about Saturday's rally in Fort Worth. The news media's really not covering it right now. Fort Worth is part of the D-FW area. (Some say "DFW" -- I usually put in a hyphen due to the airport.) That is a huge, huge area. It has suburbs, surrounding towns and big cities. East Texas community members are going. They're driving from East Texas to DFW on hours long drives. Every member that's e-mailed on that has said they weren't even aware of the event. So it's really important to get the word out and it's really important that if you're driving from Lindale or Tyler and you stop somewhere along the way and bump into a friend who hears about the rally from you that you don't say, "Oh, yeah, you should be there. But you have to print out a ticket and I don't have any extra." So, to repeat, no one will be turned away. If you're going and you're able to print out extra tickets, do so. Diana's printing up extras in case anyone needs some at the train station. (TRE in Dallas will take you to Fort Worth. Diana and others note you can pick that up at Union Station in downtown Dallas. You can pick it up elsewhere as well but no one's noted that and I don't know anything about the trains.)

If you're against the illegal war, this is a place you can make your voice heard. The larger the turnout, the louder the voices. Silence isn't going to end the illegal war. E-activism isn't going to end to end the illegal war.

They're just there to try and make the people free,
But the way that they're doing it, it don't seem like that to me.
Just more blood-letting and misery and tears
That this poor country's known for the last twenty years,
And the war drags on.
-- words and lyrics by Mick Softly (available on Donovan's Fairytale)

Last Thursday, ICCC's number of US troops killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war was 3724. Tonight? 3735 with 77 for the month. Just Foreign Policy's current total for the number of Iraqis killed since the start of the illegal war stands at 1,028,360, up from 1,018,263 last week.

And Lucy highlights Mary Orndoff (The Birmingham News) reporting that a plane "carrying Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., and Rep. Bud Cramer, D-Huntsville, and two other sentors" was en route to Baghdad when it was fired upon by three rockets. No person or plane was hurt. But remember the days when flacks for the US military could still get away with claiming that the techonology for attacks on helicopters and planes really didn't exist in Iraq? They could make that claim (and did) without fear of questioning. Those were the days of 'hard landings' as opposed to 'crash landings' or 'crashes.'

In the public account, a visitor notes something he wishes we would note but assumes we won't because it calls out Peter Galbrath's support for the partitionng of Iraq. Galbrath was highlighted Friday with an analysis of the current situation in Iraq and again yesterday. His partition plan was not endorsed and was rejected some time ago. Joe Biden also supports partitioning and it's been noted we don't support his push for that either. We've noted Chris Floyd before and there's no problem with noting him now. This is from "Liberals, Bush Unite in Ethnic Cleansing of Iraq" (Information Clearing House):

While Bush pursues ethnic cleansing by stealth in Iraq -- or rather, pursues it quite openly, but just doesn't call it ethnic cleansing -- the Democrats and their outriders, the "liberal hawks" (or "humanitarian interventionists" or "Wilsonian idealists" or whatever tag they're wearing these days) are championing the policy in the public sphere. The idea of a three-way split of Iraq between Sunnis, Shias and Kurds has long been mooted in some quarters -- Joe Biden and "liberal" intellectuals like Leslie Gelb and Peter Galbraith were early enthusiasts -- and it is now gaining force within the foreign policy "clerisy" that Glenn Greenwald and Arthur Silber have been dissecting in recent days. Firedoglake points us to the incisive commentaries of Reidar Visser, "an actual expert on the regional aspects of Iraq and its history," who has lately been debunking the deeply ignorant and murderously arrogant "partition" proposals of Galbraith and others.Visser takes aim at one of the most hideous of these proposals: "The Case for Soft Partition in Iraq," by respected "scholars" Michael O'Hanlon (see A Tiny Revolution for more on this fine mind of our time) and Edward Joseph. When I first read of these gentlemen's work, I thought it must surely be a parody, a take-off on the deadly serious, genocidal fantasies of Philip Atkinson, who, on a website hardwired to the rightwing power grid of Frank Gaffney, James Woolsey and Dick Cheney, called for Bush to nuke Iraq, repopulate it with Americans and declare himself President-for-Life. The O-Hanlon-Joseph piece for the highly respectable Brookings Institution partakes of that same kind of murderous fantasy.

I've removed the link to Glen Greenwald because he's in awe of Samantha Power and she's at the heart of the problem. The "Foreign Policy" crowd includes her. Noam Chomsky and Howard Zinn have both recently noted the Modern Day Carrie Nation with Chomsky noting that she criticizes foreign governments but not the US for their violence and Zinn noting that she draws a wall between deaths that are by the US and by others (Zinn notes that air bombing an area with civilians is not as 'noble' as Sammy thinks it is). She is a War Hawk. Greenwald

If Iraq's going to be partitioned, that would be a decision Iraqis (not a puppet government during occupation) would have to reach. It is not for the US or any foreign power to decide 'what to do with Iraq?'. This isn't a development that homes will be built in and then inhabited, Iraq is inhabited. Iraqis exist and they will determine what it best for them or not.

The three-split shouldn't be imposed upon Iraq. It's also demonstrating huge ignorance (or a disrespect for minorities) because Iraq is not just Kurds, Shias and Sunnis. Behind the push for partition, for many, is the continued endorsement of the Kurds that the US has practiced for some time. (Though not during the 80s, of course.) The three groups are the majority groups, they are not the only groups. Other groups include: Armenians, Baha'is, Chald-Assyrians, Fali Kurds, Jews, Mandaens, Palestinians, Shabaks, Turkomans and Yazidis. Where will they go if the US divides Iraq into three regions?

The decision the US government has to make is to withdraw from Iraq. Decisions about Iraq itself belong to the people of Iraq.

Odds and ends. (I'm participating in the roundtable for the gina & krista round-robin right now and this probably hops around, sorry.) Politcs Attitude is Rebecca's backup site. High schoolers (and middle schoolers) have always been a huge segment of her readers and there's a problem with three school systems now blocking her site due to the title. The backup site is up now. The title should allow it to be accessed. PBS' NOW with David Brancaccio begins airing on most PBS stations tomorrow (check local listings for times and dates):

When Tom Siebel, a billionaire software developer and part time Montana resident, learned the devastating effect methamphetamine addiction was having on the big sky state, he decided to use his successful marketing techniques - and 20 million dollars from his own wallet - to "un-sell" the deadly and highly addictive drug. It's called the Montana Meth Project. On Friday, August 31 (check your local listings), NOW's David Brancaccio talks with the venture philanthropist about blitzing the state with stark and shocking ad campaigns designed to drag meth use out of the shadows and get into the faces of kids. The results are promising, and his idea is spreading around the country.
Also on the show, another "Enterprising Idea": a business model focusing on ethnic foods that's creating local jobs for Boston's inner city.
To complement this week's show the NOW website at will offer access to the Montana Meth ad campaigns, statistics on methamphetamine use, and an exclusive interview with the Partnership for a Drug Free America CEO on what it takes to fight meth addiction.
**Note that on September 14, we'll be airing a one-hour NOW special, which follows up -- in Iraq -- on the soldiers we profiled deploying from Fort Stewart in our January 19 show "Back to the Front": **

Katha Pollitt and Katrina vanden Heuvel . . . "showed their ass" is how we used to put it. I am aware of the e-mails and have read many of them. I can't get into that tonight. There's too much to do and the Labor Day piece is coming. Ideally, I'd like to wait on that topic until after Labor Day. If that's not possible, that's fine. Gina and Krista were kind enough to make that their polling question for tomorrow's gina & krista round-robin but you need to vote early if you want it addressed before Labor Day. The bad news is that David Corn has a very strong article that should be up or going up. If Common Dreams or someone else reposts it (or if it goes up at his own site), we'll note it that way but until the nonsense of Pollitt and vanden Heuvel is addressed, we won't note The Nation.

Briefly (and I mean brief), there's really no reason for vanden Heuvel to respond to the letter. The response comes off insincere and is full of distortions. In fact, we'll leave at that here and work it into the Labor Day piece because her nonsense really goes to the heart of the Labor Day piece. (Which will go up at all community sites on Labor Day.) Pollitt?

Wow. Cindy Sheehan really touched a nerve when she pointed out Pollitt hadn't gone to the Middle East, didn't she? Not really a surprise when Pollitt's image took a beating when she displayed her xenophobia recently. It's amazing that Pollitt's so touchy after she refuted a right-winger (on the letters' page not all that long ago) by ridiculing the woman's book sales. Pollitt started the nonsense with Sheehan and now wants to play injured party. Cindy Sheehan wrote honestly and truthfully. Pollitt (and vanden Heuvel) treated Sheehan in a patronizing manner (for Pollitt it goes back to her first piece on Sheehan -- which arrived this month, all the time Sheehan was so 'valuable' to the peace movement according to Pollitt, Pollitt had no interest in writing about her). Pollitt probably shouldn't write about political races that she knows nothing about and that she won't be voting in. That was her first mistake. She's in NYC, she has no business writing about a San Francisco race she knows nothing about. She doesn't live in the area, she's really not welcome in large portions by feminists after her xenophobia. (She may or may not be aware of how she has angered feminists over that nonsense.) She then followed xenophobia by telling a woman (Sheehan) that she shouldn't run, by being patronizing about Sheehan's chances of winning. Sheehan hasn't even started campaigning. Pollitt doesn't know the voters, there's no polling. Pollitt's doing that useless writing that has become the hallmark of her career.

An illegal war has lasted over four years and Pollitt has avoided it. She avoided Abeer, she avoided all of it. She has wasted her voice with silly-ninny columns that weren't worth the paper they were printed on. No one needs her yearly "Most Needy Causes" (which have not even mentioned Iraq) or her scolding at the start of the year to "BE HONEST" about Iraq. She didn't write about Iraq. She doesn't know the first thing about what's going on. She's a useless, chatty, fuzzy headed columnist who muddles feminism and goes running to the pop-cultural well every chance she gets to make the most shallow 'observations'. She's totally useless and she's made herself that. She should be embarrassed. (vanden Heuvel should be ashamed of herself and I'm biting my tongue on that.)

So the point is, two useless people weighed in on something and they don't care about Iraq, they don't try to end the illegal war. They waste everyone's time and they did again this week.

They are the reason the illegal war drags on. It's really amazing to grasp that Cindy Sheehan has now been the subject of three pieces by Katha Pollitt this month. Prior to this month? Never a focus. In fact, unless I'm remembering wrong, Pollitt's commentary in full on Cindy Sheehan previously consists of "Cindy Sheehan put a family face on the antiwar movement." That's page ten, January 2006, I can't remember the week, sorry. It's where she's writing that dippy column that she had to e-mail friends on to find topics to write about. Prior to Sheehan deciding to run, that, I believe, is the full extent of Pollitt's 'commentary' on Sheehan.

So instead of being offended that two posers want to now speak for the peace movement, grasp that no one listens to them anyway (no one who's serious about ending the illegal war) and it's a testimony to the power of Cindy Sheehan that Pollitt's now three times felt the need to pull out the darts and aim them at Cindy Sheehan in one month. How pathetic is that anyway?

It's pretty pathetic. Katha Pathetic. But this is the woman who made the 2004 election night all about getting huffy that her first name was mispronounced by Janeane Garofalo. Yes, Katha Pathetic, that was the most important issue on election night 2004 . . . in your mind.

If that can stand as addressing the two until after the Labor Day piece runs, that's great. If not, make your voice heard in the latest poll tomorrow and I will make time to address it.

But get the word out on Saturday's rally in Fort Worth. This isn't a DC rally where people all come in, then leave. This is a rally that can plant seeds and is an action that will lead to further action.

The e-mail address for this site is And if the above is not enough because you're thinking of certain topics, please note that some topics are reserved for the Labor Day piece and I really do not want to go into those ahead of time. So if I do address it again before Labor Day and you think, "You've missed the biggest points," wait until Labor Day before getting upset because the biggest points to you may be the ones included in that. After The Nation was passed an e-mail on the last one and tried to do a last minute end run, we're avoiding discussing the topics ahead of time. (And only Elaine and I know one aspect of the piece right now.) The July 4th piece, if you missed it, was:

"Are You A Writer For The Nation? If so, chances are you must have a penis"
"Are You A Writer For The Nation? If so, chances are you have a penis"
"Are You A Writer For The Nation? If so, chances are you have a penis"
"Are You A Writer For The Nation? If so, chances are you have a penis"
"Are You A Writer For The Nation? If so, chances are you have a penis"
"Are You A Writer For The Nation? If so, chances are you have a penis"
"Are You A Writer For The Nation? If so, chances are you have a penis"
"Are You A Writer For The Nation? If so, chances are you have a penis"
"Are You A Writer For The Nation? If so, chances are you have a penis"
"Are You A Writer For The Nation? If so, chances are you have a penis"