Thursday, January 10, 2008

Iraq snapshot

Thursday, January 10, 2007.  Chaos and violence continue, civilians are targeted, femicide continues, Pigs say oink-oink-oink all the way home (to the arms of Bambi?) and more.
Starting with war resistance.  Proving the knowledge is power, Peter J. Swing (Asian Week) explains how Ehren Watada became convinced that he had to refuse to deploy to the Iraq War, "He haunted the Fort Lewis library, which contains an extraordinary number of military documents, archives and databases, and scoured volumes on military history, particularly in Iraq. 'I read the history of units that have gone during the initial invasion to gain a broader knowledge of what I could expect,' he said. At the time, it was more than the war that was making headlines; the Valerie Plame case, Supreme Court nominations and the country's heightened surveillance, all questioned the legitimacy of the war in Iraq. 'I was looking at who was trying to protect us,' Watada said. 'Who is standing up and speaking out for the soldiers' I told myself that nobody is'."  Which is how Watada began the process that led him (June 2006) to become the first officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq.
Stephen Funk is the first public war resister after the illegal war broke out.  Camilo Mejia is the first public war resister who served in the war.  Jeremy Hinzman and Brandon Hughey were the first war resisters to publicy seek refugee status in Canada.  November 15th, the Supreme Court of Canada refused to hear the appeals of  war resisters Jeremy Hinzman and Brandon Hughey.  Parliament is the solution.Three e-mails addresses to focus on are: Prime Minister Stephen Harper ( -- that's pm at who is with the Conservative party and these two Liberals, Stephane Dion ( -- that's Dion.S at who is the leader of the Liberal Party and Maurizio Bevilacqua ( -- that's Bevilacqua.M at who is the Liberal Party's Critic for Citizenship and Immigration. A few more can be found here at War Resisters Support Campaign. For those in the US, Courage to Resist has an online form that's very easy to use. Both War Resisters Support Campaign and Courage to Resist are calling for actions from January 24-26.  The War Resisters Support Campaign has more on the action in Canada:
The War Resisters Support Campaign has called a pan-Canadian mobilization on Saturday, January 26th, 2008 to ensure :
1) that deportation proceedings against U.S. war resisters currently in Canada cease immediately; and 2) that a provision be enacted by Parliament ensuring that U.S. war resisters refusing to fight in Iraq have a means to gain status in Canada.
For listings of local actions, see our
Events page. If you are able to organize a rally in your community, contact the Campaign -- we will list events as details come in.
There is a growing movement of resistance within the US military which includes James Stepp, Rodney Watson, Michael Espinal, Matthew Lowell, Derek Hess, Diedra Cobb, Brad McCall, Justin Cliburn, Timothy Richard, Robert Weiss, Phil McDowell, Steve Yoczik, Ross Spears, Peter Brown, Bethany "Skylar" James, Zamesha Dominique, Chrisopther Scott Magaoay, Jared Hood, James Burmeister, Eli Israel, Joshua Key, Ehren Watada, Terri Johnson, Carla Gomez, Luke Kamunen, Leif Kamunen, Leo Kamunen, Camilo Mejia, Kimberly Rivera, Dean Walcott, Linjamin Mull, Agustin Aguayo, Justin Colby, Marc Train, Abdullah Webster, Robert Zabala, Darrell Anderson, Kyle Snyder, Corey Glass, Jeremy Hinzman, Kevin Lee, Mark Wilkerson, Patrick Hart, Ricky Clousing, Ivan Brobeck, Aidan Delgado, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, Blake LeMoine, Clifton Hicks, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Joshua Casteel, Katherine Jashinski, Dale Bartell, Chris Teske, Matt Lowell, Jimmy Massey, Chris Capps, Tim Richard, Hart Viges, Michael Blake, Christopher Mogwai, Christian Kjar, Kyle Huwer, Wilfredo Torres, Michael Sudbury, Ghanim Khalil, Vincent La Volpa, DeShawn Reed and Kevin Benderman. In total, at least fifty US war resisters in Canada have applied for asylum.

Information on war resistance within the military can be found at The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline [(877) 447-4487], Iraq Veterans Against the War and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters. Tom Joad maintains a list of known war resisters. In addition, VETWOW is an organization that assists those suffering from MST (Military Sexual Trauma).

In 1971, over one hundred members of Vietnam Veterans Against the War gathered in Detroit to share their stories with America. Atrocities like the My Lai massacre had ignited popular opposition to the war, but political and military leaders insisted that such crimes were isolated exceptions. The members of VVAW knew differently.
Over three days in January, these soldiers testified on the systematic brutality they had seen visited upon the people of Vietnam. They called it the Winter Soldier investigation, after Thomas Paine's famous admonishing of the "summer soldier" who shirks his duty during difficult times. In a time of war and lies, the veterans who gathered in Detroit knew it was their duty to tell the truth.
Over thirty years later, we find ourselves faced with a new war. But the lies are the same. Once again, American troops are sinking into increasingly bloody occupations. Once again, war crimes in places like Haditha, Fallujah, and Abu Ghraib have turned the public against the war. Once again, politicians and generals are blaming "a few bad apples" instead of examining the military policies that have destroyed Iraq and Afghanistan.
Once again, our country needs Winter Soldiers.
In March of 2008, Iraq Veterans Against the War will gather in our nation's capital to break the silence and hold our leaders accountable for these wars. We hope you'll join us, because yours is a story that every American needs to hear.

March 13th through 16th are the dates for the Winter Soldier Iraq & Afghanistan Investigation. 
Maria Lauterbach is missing.  AP reports she is eight-months pregnant and a Lance Corporal marine whose mother filed a missing person report on her December 19th.  CNN reports that she "was assaulted by a superior officer" and, according to Sherrif Ed Brown, that she was due to give testimony about the assault.  WARL reports, "Lauterbach's debit card was used on Christmas Eve to withdraw money from an automated teller machine, according to an affidavit attached to a search warrant in the case.  The white man who used the card tried to cover the ATM camera with a rag, the affidavit said."  Margo Rutledge Kissell (Dayton Daily News) reports, "Onslow County Sherriff Ed Brown said in a news conference Thursday that the Marine sergeant who had been deployed to California is being brought back to North Carolina 'so we can look him in the eyes and ask him some questions.'  Brown said the decision to return him came after authorities met Wednesday with the commander at Camp Lejeune, where Lauterback is stationed."  Rutledge Kissel also notes that Lauterbach's baby "is due Tuesday".  
On Monday, we noted that Saturday's US military press release that Rowdy Inman and Benjamin Portell were apparently shot dead by a member of the Iraqi army in what was not a case of 'friendly fire' and how the families weren't told of that until after they held the services.  Maria Lauterbach was living off base but still on military property.  If her family hadn't sprung into action, would the US military?  Lanny Davis would probably answer "no."  His son Richard Davis went 'missing' and the military wasn't interested.  The Belfast Telgraph explains how US service member Richard Davis was killed by soldiers and how the military refused to search for Davis, refused to do a damn thing.  Father Lanny served in Vietnam, his son signed up in 1999 and served in Bosnia and later Iraq.  In Iraq, Richard served with some people who didn't need to be in the service such as Jacob Burgonyne: "Army doctors reportedly examined him and said he was suffering from PTSD and should not be allowed near a weapon. But, trumpeted as a battle hero by his commanders, he was released and rejoined his comrades.  Soon afterwards, Richard Davis was murdered."  On July 14, 2003, Richard Davis was beaten, repeatedly stabbed ("at least 33 times") and then attempts were made to set his corpse on fire.  They apparently targeted Richard Davis because he was multi-racial ("They looked at my son as a mulatto, a half-breed.").  What followed was the US military contacting Lanny Davis and telling him that his son was AWOL -- "as opposed to a missing person, which meant that no official search by military authorities would be made."  Then they put obstacles in his path when he tried to find out what happened to his son. Lanny Davis had to start the search himself, had to prod the military, people who served with his son and the local authorities and finally one soldier pointed to Jacob Burgoyne, Alberto Martinez, Mario Navarrette and Douglas Woodcoff -- the latter "took investigators to a highway in Columbus, Georgia.  'He took them out to the road where there was a place where they keep trash.  That's when they started finding bits of my son'."  Burgoyne serves time in a prison in Georgia while Martinez and Naverrette "are up for parole in three or four years and they will probably get it," according to Davis.  Or, as Ruth noted earlier this week,  NPR's Day by Day reported on Jason Scheuerman who took his own life in Iraq (after the military refused to provide him with help for PTSD -- a chaplain 'diagnosed' him as "possessed by demons") and the parents were told one lie after another including that their son left no suicide note.  Lies, and lies.
This has happened repeatedly, where families are told one thing and another thing actually happened.  On June 23, 2006, Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) spoke with Nadi McCaffrey whose son Patrick and Andre Tyson were both killed in Iraq and the US military claimed it was by 'insurgents' when it was by Iraqis in the Iraqi Civil Defense Corps that Patrick McCaffrey and Andre Tyson were training:
AMY GOODMAN: But no member of his unit came to you and said, "It's not as the Army has told you. I was there."        
NADIA McCAFFREY: Yes. Yes, two or three people did.        
AMY GOODMAN: And did they tell you this?         
NADIA McCAFFREY: They told me, yes, what they saw and what they have heard. As a matter of fact, just after Patrick and Andre were killed, one of the soldiers made his own report. And very complete, I may say. And this report was actually sent to the Sacramento Bee in Sacramento, newspaper. And this article was actually published by the Sacramento Bee. Immediately after that, this article was all over the world, because when Patrick's body returned to the airport in San Francisco, I called the media, and that made a huge fire within the news and so on, since the Pentagon had a ban on that.           
AMY GOODMAN: Let's explain the idea that you called the national press to be at Sacramento airport, international airport, when Patrick's body came home, because President Bush had issued this executive order, saying that you shouldn't videotape, photograph, film the flag-draped coffins of the soldiers coming home. But you defied that?         
NADIA McCAFFREY: Yes, yes. I didn't want to. That was my son. Frankly, I didn't really care, you know. I needed to do it this way for us, and I wanted to honor my son. I was not going to pass him in the dark, returning home, no. He didn't leave in the dark; why should I do that when he comes back? No. But because of that, immediately after this, this article took off and was everywhere. What happened was, the soldier who wrote this article was threatened to be court-martialed immediately. And the only reason that the court-martial didn't happen is because it became too public too fast. But he nonetheless was in serious trouble. I know that through his mother, and she was extremely worried about it. So I talked to other soldiers in his unit, and I called, you know, [inaudible] in San Francisco that I know. I needed advice from just in case something would turn ugly. He's okay. But it was not easy for him for quite a long time.       
Meanwhile, in Iraq the femicide continues.  MADRE's Yifat Susskind (at Common Dreams) explores the ongoing femicide in Basra, "City officials reported on December 31 that 133 women were killed and mutilated last year, their bodies dumped in trash bings with notes warning others against 'violating Islamic teachings . . .'  But ambulance drivers who are hired to troll the city streets in the early mornings to collect the bodies confirm what most residents believe: the actual numbers are much higher.  The killers' leaflets are not very original.  They usually accuse the women of being prostitutes or adulterers.  But those murdered are more likely to be doctors, professors, or journalists.  We know this because activists from the Organization of Women's Freedom in Iraq (OWFI) have taken on the gruesome task of visiting city morgues to try and determine the scale and pattern of the killings.  According to OWFI, most of the women who have been murdered 'are PhD holders, professionals, activists, and office workers.'  Their crime is not 'promiscuity,' but rather opposition to the transformation of Iraq into an Islamist state.  That bloody transition has been the main political trend under US occupation.  It's no secret who is killing the woman of Basra.  Shiite political forces empowered by the US invasion have been terrorizing women there since 2003."  The US was not unaware of what was going on.  June 21, 2006, Eve Ensler and Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) discussed the realities for women in Iraq

AMY GOODMAN: Well, I wanted to read from an explosive U.S. government document about the situation in Iraq that was recently leaked to the Washington Post. It's an internal memo from the U.S. embassy in Baghdad that describes the situation in the Iraqi capital.      
This is from a subsection titled, "Women's Rights," and it says, "Two of our three female employees report stepped-up harassment beginning in mid-May. One, a Shia who favors Western clothing was advised by an unknown woman in her Baghdad neighborhood to wear a veil and not to drive her own car. She said some groups are pushing women to cover even their face, a step not taken in Iran, even at its most conservative. Another, a Sunni, said people in her neighborhood are harassing women and telling them to cover up and stop using cell phones. She said the taxi driver who brings her every day to the Green Zone has told her he cannot let her ride unless she wears a head cover. A female in the cultural section" -- this is in the U.S. cultural section -- "is now wearing a full abaya after receiving direct threats.  
"The women say they cannot identify the groups pressuring them. The cautions come from other women, sometimes from men who could be Sunni or Shia, but appear conservative. Some ministries, notably the Sadrist-controlled Ministry of Transportation, have been forcing females to wear the hijab at work." 
Now, again, that's from an internal memo from the U.S. embassy in Baghdad, and at the end of the memo, it's the name of the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, Khalilzad. Your response. You have gone to Afghanistan repeatedly. In fact, we last spoke to you on a mountain in Afghanistan. But can you talk about this?    
EVE ENSLER: Well, we have been supporting women -- Yanar Mohammed, we've been supporting, who's running the women's organization in Baghdad. We have been in touch with women now for the last three years, and everything we're hearing about the situation of the women in Baghdad is just -- it is shocking, and it actually really mirrors what happened in Afghanistan. It is the Talibanization of Iraq. And if we look at the fact that sex trafficking has escalated, honor killings have escalated, women's security is abysmal, we are talking about the reversal of women's rights, in terms of Sharia law being reintroduced into the constitution.
What most people forget is the status of women in Iraq during Saddam Hussein was actually far better off than many women throughout the region. It has now been completely undermined. And we have this illusion in this country that we have freed women in Afghanistan and freed women in Iraq. Every report we're getting now from Afghanistan is that the situation is terrible and that warlords are everywhere, and the Taliban is completely present.        
The US government was completely aware of what was going on and didn't give a damn.  It hopped into bed with thugs because it was thought that thugs (using violence) would bring 'stability' quickly.  In March of last year  MADRE released a report entitled "Promising Democracy, Imposing Theocracy: Gender-Based Violence and the US War on Iraq."  The report can be read in full in PDF format or, by sections, in HTML. As the first section makes clear, Paul Bremer was more than ready to strip women of their rights and only the protests by Iraqi women to Resolution 137 prevented it.  Bremer never gave a damn.  Nor did Zalmay Khalilzad whom the report notes, "As in Afghanistan, Khalilzad supported the Islamist factions of the Iraqi constitutional drafting committee.  The result was a new constitution that declared Islam to be the official religion of the state and a fundamental source of legislation." The destruction is all there in the report.  And the killings took place throughout and continue, see Bay Fang's "The Talibanization of Iraq" (Ms. magazine, spring 2007 issue).
In other Iraq violence, the air war goes on.  Deborah Haynes (Times of London) calls it "fast, powerful and loud."  Apparently "deadly" wasn't in her thesaurus.  Alexandra Zavis and Julian E. Barnes (Los Angeles Times) note that the US military "dropped 40,000 pounds of bombs on Arab Jabour, in an area of mostly farmland, the U.S. military said in a statement."  Actually, the US military command brags about the 40,000 tons being "dropped within the first ten minutes" of a strike on Arab Jabour today.  Repeating, 40,000 pounds in ten minutes on "mostly farmland."  CBS and AP explain the 'target' is "what the military called al Qaeda in Iraq safehavens on the southern outskirts of the capital."  The campaign targets the Diyala Providence -- an inhabited provence despite the US bombings and despite, as  CBS and AP note, Major General Mark P. Hertling's 'judgement' that "[a]ll indications are that the al Qaeda fighters retreated north from Diyala".  So who's there?  Sylvie Briand (AFP) reports, "Four men are lined up along an earthen wall in a Sunni village north of Baghdad as US soldiers quiz them about Al-Qaeda.  'There is no Al-Qaeda here,' says one suspect.  'But I can give you the names of Shiite militias' in a neighbouring village."  He fingers al-Sadr's Mahdi Army as "the problem".  Al Jazeera notes Sbdallah el-Jbouri ("local Sunni tribal leader") stating that "many civilians were feared dead and 300 families had fled" while "at least 40 hourse and the main road out of the villege were destroyed.  He said that residents told him that people were believed to be trapped under the rubble of the ruined buildings and the injured were unable to reach hospital because of the damage to the road."
IPA quotes IVAW's co-chair Adam Kokesh explaning, "This underscores how inappropriate traditional military tactics are in what should be a police action, and how an increase in bombing goes against what we are told the 'surge' is supposed to accomplish, namely creating space for political reconciliation."
While the MSM gets giddy over the smell of destruction, one reporter is working in Iraq and guess which outlet?
Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad bombing on Sa'doon Street that lured police officers to a second bombing which claimed the lives of 1 police officer and 1 soldier (ten more were wounded) and a Baghdad bombing on Palestine Street claimed 1 life and left four more people wounded.
Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 3 corpses were discovered in Baghdad
Turning to US 'political' commentary.  The long list of embarrassments just gets longer.  Mike observed Robert Scheer's disgrace yesterday.   Today Lotta' Links weighs in.  Lotta' Links ponders "identity politics" in terms of Hillary Clinton's win -- but he rushes to assure that "identity politics" played no part in Iowa.  Isn't it always interesting to hear allegedly left male gas bags tell us that an attack on a man is out of bounds and must be called out; however, calling out an attack on a woman is "identity politics."  What they fail to grasp is that they're playing "identity politics."  The male is not universal but that's the lie, right?  Then and now.  Sexism exists and is repeatedly minimized.  That's among the many points Gloria Steinem made in "Women Are Never Front-Runners" (New York Times) and obviously it was too much reality for many. 
Lotta Links gets off a lot of laughable claims (such as "No generally progressive news website has been stronger than" Lotta Links "in championing the full empowerment of women" -- Ha!  They can't even highlight the majority of female newspaper columnists on the left) but this may be the big one: "Women over 40 all have had countless sexist experiences".  The pigs & piglets like to admit sexism -- in the past, you understand.  'Before they were adults, some men may have done some really bad things, you understand, but that was then and this is now.'  Reality, women under forty can tell you about their experiences with sexism as well.  (Not all, some women -- of either age group -- maintain it doesn't exist.)  But Lotta Links is a student of today's hula-hoop, like so many other of these men, and remember it's the 'framing' (it took women to call out the nonsense of that hula-hoop -- and men to ignore it).  So the 'frame' is, "I'll admit some bad things were done to women -- years ago -- and then I'll explain, 'Hey, Chickie-baby-boom-boom, get over it.  That's the past.  Get with the program!'" 
The program is: "Vote for Bambi."  Women, we've been thrown under the bus.  It shouldn't shock us.  Gays and lesbians were thrown under the bus at the end of October by Bambi.  That didn't matter either.  The left stayed silent and played dumb.  A Democrat held an event in South Carolina -- a Democrat who wants to be president of the United States -- and he put known homophobes (plural) onstage.  He did so despite many organizations asking him not to.  He did so and he got away with it.  Note the silence on the left.  That was October and it's still not resulted in angry editorials.  Has Matthew Rothschild bothered to sound the alarms?  Not only did homophobes take the stage, they expressed their homophobia to those gathered.  And Bambi got a pass.  Meanwhile, in the real world where facts matter, Peggy Simpson (WMC) points out the obvious, Clinton "won among all Democrats older than 40" -- that's women and men and pay attention for the shocker -- "but, in contrast to Iowa, also won voters aged 25-29.  She took the majority of married voters, by 38 to 33, and scored big among single women, who were 22 percent of the overall vote."  In other words, she appealed to a wide range of Democratic voters.  None of the gas bags want to talk about how Barack Obama can't even fire up the Democratic base, do they?
At Black Agenda Report, real journalists have repeatedly noted bi-racial Barack gears his campaign, his speeches, his whole persona to White voters. As BAR's Glen Ford noted on Democracy Now! yesterday, Bambi's "done that at the expense of black people, by constantly, relentlessly sending out signals to white people that a vote for Barack Obama, an Obama presidency, would signal the beginning of the end of black-specific agitation, that it would take race discourse off of the table."  And White media gives Bambi a pass there. So women have already been tossed under the bus by Bambi -- African-American women, lesbians of all races -- and now it's time for him to toss the entire gender.  And you know what, beyond the gas bags, Democratic voters really don't like that game.  They're insulted by it and that's why Democratic voters have not given Bambi women thus far -- even in laughable Iowa he depended upon 'indpendents.'
But it's women voters who are playing "indentity politics."  Only in the minds of so many PIGS could self-respect be seen as "identity politics."  But "women voters" gave Hillary New Hampshire (so did a lot of men) and you know how we are, I mean our minds are still reeling from those kind men 'giving' us the vote, right?  And there was that gorgeous strappie that we really, really wanted so, in those two minutes of thought that we're capable of, we said, 'Hmm, Hillary! Okay, where do we go to lunch?' 
That's really what this nonsense is.  It's saying women aren't smart enough to know how to vote.  Lotta Link's Pig-In-Chief Mark shows up to tell us how to vote because we need reminders from a man.  You know those paper ballots can be heavy and those touch screen's can be confusing, maybe a man can help us with those as well? 
Bambi "has no generally relied on identity politics" Piggy Mark says.  Of course, not, he's a man and he is 'universal,' right.  Pig continues, "he has risen above it" -- must have been that dangling Y chromosome, right?  Let's cut through the crap, a woman wins New Hampshire -- apparently fueled by women showing up at the polls, and Piggy Mark  oinks, "Let's make our choice on what is best for the nation, not what is best for us personally."  Yeah, we gals need the reminder, right?  Without a man to try to shame us, we'd just go voting willy-nilly.  Good of the nation?  Didn't occur to us.  We're not all that smart, right?
That's what the lectures and the whines from all these men really says.  And it makes clear that our needs -- which our universal needs -- will always be written off as "identity politics."  Our experience is the universal.  We are in the majority. We are the norm. 
Thank goodness Bambi has all of his White Male defenders.  Without them, where would he be?  People might discuss his homophobia -- HIS homophobia.  When he chooses to put homophobes on stage, it is homophobia.  It doesn't matter if he says, "Some of my best friends are gays and lesbians," as a politican he put homphobes on stage last October.  Or people might notice that Bambi's not 'anti-war.'  He's not anti-Iraq War, obviously, but he's not anti-war.  Without his groupies, Bambi might actually have to compete for votes -- and that would include competing with John Edwards and Hillary Clinton.  For the Bambi Groupies, that is very scary and the "and Hillary Clinton" is probably scariest of all for them.  Bill Clinton spoke the truth on Bambi and Iraq.  Matthew Rothschild was wrong (and has issued no correction, so read Elaine's post on the pathetic nature of independent media since Rothschild's bound and determined to prove her right). Bill Clinton was right.
"But since you raised the judgment issue, let's go over this again. That is the central argument for his campaign. 'It doesn't matter that I started running for president less a year after I got to the Senate from the Illinois State Senate. I am a great speaker and a charismatic figure and I'm the only one who had the judgment to oppose this war from the beginning. Always, always, always.' "
"First it is factually not true that everybody that supported that resolution supported Bush attacking Iraq before the UN inspectors were through. Chuck Hagel was one of the co-authors of that resolution. The only Republican Senator that always opposed the war. Every day from the get-go. He authored the resolution to say that Bush could go to war only if they didn't co-operate with the inspectors and he was assured personally by Condi Rice as many of the other Senators were. So, first the case is wrong that way."
"Second, it is wrong that Senator Obama got to go through 15 debates trumpeting his superior judgment and how he had been against the war in every year, numerating the years, and never got asked one time, not once, 'Well, how could you say, that when you said in 2004 you didn't know how you would have voted on the resolution? You said in 2004 there was no difference between you and George Bush on the war and you took that speech you're now running on off your website in 2004* and there's no difference in your voting record and Hillary's ever since?' Give me a break.
"This whole thing is the biggest fairy tale I've ever seen...So you can talk about Mark Penn all you want. What did you think about the Obama thing calling Hillary the Senator from Punjab? Did you like that?"
"Or what about the Obama hand out that was covered up, the press never reported on, implying that I was a crook? Scouring me, scathing criticism, over my financial reports. Ken Starr spent $70 million and indicted innocent people to find out that I wouldn't take a nickel to see the cow jump over the moon.
"So, you can take a shot at Mark Penn if you want. It wasn't his best day. He was hurt, he felt badly that we didn't do better in Iowa. But you know, the idea that one of these campaigns is positive and the other is negative when I know the reverse is true and I have seen it and I have been blistered by it for months, is a little tough to take. Just because of the sanitizing coverage that's in the media, doesn't mean the facts aren't out there. "
"*" It was 2003 when it was first disappeared as Glen Ford pointed out yesterday.  There's another narrative out there right now.  Lotta Links and others couldn't shut up about the "Big Dog" for years and years.  Bill's every word was gold.  They rushed to praise him, they rushed to quote him.  Now? They ridicule or ignore him.  The underlying narrative there is that Hillary is so all-powerful she's controlled his mind.  He's no longer speaking for himself -- so he doesn't need to be quoted -- he's being controlled by a woman.  If you're missing it, this is the right-wing smear coming from the center-left and the left.  Repeating, I don't care who you vote for (or even if you vote -- nor I have endorsed any candidate except Cindy Sheehan for the 8th US Congressional district in California).  Unlike like Little Media, I do care about Iraq.  And it's neither fair nor honest to apply one standard to one candidate (Hillary) and to apply no standards to Bambi.  He's a media-created fantasy and didn't we see how nasty it could get over the last few days as a little sunlight flooded in?  If you support the illegal war then applaud Big and Little Media because they have refused to apply standards to Barack Obama (and they don't want to touch on his think-tank -- doing so would underscore that a Bambi president would result in even more wars).  But if ending the Iraq War matters to you, the lessons to take away is that there are three Democrats in the race: John Edwards, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.  Two of them are not different on Iraq (Clinton and Obama).  One makes noises about being different (John Edwards) but isn't running on it and for every brave remark he makes on Iraq, he falls silent for many days.  The peace movement isn't the Democratic Party.  Nor is the Democratic Party the only game in town for voters.  Those planning to vote Democratic currently should be informed of the realities regarding the candidates and Iraq and Little Media hasn't done that.  Those looking elsewhere or open to doing so should especially pay attention this Sunday, January 13th, when the Green Party presidential debate in San Francisco (moderated by Cindy Sheehan) is held with Cynthia McKinney, Kent Mesplay, Jard Bell and Ralph Nader to participate.  The Green Party notes, "The first, and only, live debate between candidates on the Green Party's California ballot for President of the United States - featuring a former Democratic Party member of Congress, consumer protection icon, professor and environmental engineer - is scheduled here January 13, said John Morton of the Green Party Presidential Debate Committee."  The debate starts at two p.m., Herbst Theater in the Veterans Memorial Building on 401 Van Ness Avenue. 

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