Saturday, March 08, 2008

Ruth's Report

Ruth (of Ruth's Report): E-mails suggested I cover Extra! this weekend and, having checked Friday at my local bookstore to be sure a new issue had not hit the magazine racks, I decided anything was better than having to listen to Katty Kay guest host one of my favorite radio programs.

The big news in the January/February 2008 issue probably comes on page five which is where "Crying Wolf" runs under the "Soundbites" roundup. In that brief item, some unknown FAIR staffer takes on Naomi Wolf for a column in last year's Washington Post. I actually agree with Wolf's assertion and disagree with the unnamed FAIR staffer but I was happy to see that FAIR was willing to take on the left. Of course, that probably would not be the case if Wolf were a man, as the slobbering over Keith Olbermann indicates. But, for at least a paragraph, FAIR was willing to apply the same critical standards to a lefty writing in the mainstream media.

To be clear on that, for any drive-by visitors, this is a left site you have stopped at. I am not suggesting that the left be criticized out of some hatred of the left. I am aware that Extra! is published FAIR which also does a weekly progam entitled CounterSpin and that all three are supposed to provide media criticism.

FAIR usually gets some attention when they offer one of their studies on the gender balance, or imbalance as the cases has been, on the news and public affairs programming in the mainstream. As a media watchdog, one of their biggest failures has been making those critiques by finger-pointing outward when they have had their own gender imbalance problems with who they book and do not book for their weekly radio program. More to the point, they are far from alone as any consumer of Little or Panhandle Media should grasp if they would peel the starry-eyed lust from their eyes.

So while I thought they simplified in their criticsm of Wolf, who had also simplified, I was glad to see that and hope it is extended to other left voices and other left outlets. The lack of self-examination in Panhandle Media is really killing off independent media or at least any interest in it.

Robin Anderson's drooling over Keith Olbermann in the issue. I always think of Mr. Olbermann as James Wolcott's kid brother who really wishes he could turn a phrase as well as Mr. Wolcott and dreams of possessing the kind of insight Mr. Wolcott does but, instead of applying himself, just ups the volume. When I think of Mr. Oblermann, a Nation magazine cover boy who has apparently replaced Bill Maher as the man the left and 'left' works hard to turn into a god, I always think of the woman who is a photo editor at my local paper. A nice enough woman, to be sure, and a devoted fan of Mr. Olberman. She is also someone I have long learned to avoid but, sometimes, she will sneak up on me in the grocery store and I will spend the duration of the talk, as her voice gets louder and louder until she is screaming, smiling apologetically to everyone around us, especially those with young children because, about mid-stream, she will be screaming "F**k Bush!" at the top of her lungs and so lost in praising "the only one who tells us the truth" Mr. Olbermann, that she does not appear to be able to consider that fact that some parents and grandparents might not want their young children exposed to such language.

She is a great deal like Mr. Olbermann and he can certainly claim her as a "success" story. The woman has been a Republican all her life and is now a devout supporter of Senator Barack Obama. Former Senator John Edwards never made the grade for her due to his being a "trial lawyer" and, of course, like her idol, she believes Senator Hillary Clinton just wants to take over the world. But Mr. Olbermann has persuaded her that Senator Obama is the second-coming. He has done so by, of course, un-informing her. That comes through loud and clear, and remember the woman works for a newspaper, when she stops for air and you attempt to add to any comment she has made. Details that the rest of us may take for granted are news to her whether it is Guantanamo Bay or Iraq.

Robin Anderson writes about Iraq and the article is entitled "Hollywood's Meida-- And Washington's." Anderson, I am not sure whether that is a man or a woman, so I will just use "Anderson," wants to talk about Guantamo, torture and the film Rendition. That is a full plate, an overflowing one in fact. As any who have ever attended an outdoor gathering know, it is generally the people who pile up their plates that leave the bulk of it untouched. Anderson is so busy offering citations, or at least shout-outs, that your mind may reel. You may also notice that Mr. Olbermann's shout-out, for what is a monlogue disquised as a commentary, appears in the second paragraph of the first page while Jane Mayer, an actual reporter for The New Yorker who has repeatedly covered torture and Guantamo, is reduced to the second page. As long as we have priorities imbalanced, eh?

Mixed among the shout-outs is commentary on Rendition that never seems to grasp what the film is or what film itself is and has been. Anderson is hopefully very, very young and not a film buff. That would explain the hand-wringing over "a conventional sense of media 'balance'" present in the film that presents the press as the one who sets everything right. Even in the darkest mainstream films of the early seventies that "conventional sense" existed, though Anderson seems caught unaware by that reality and may need to view Three Days of the Condor immediately before next writing an article. After that complaint, Anderson offers up a summary of the film's plot that reminds me of why I avoid reading book reports attempting to pass themselves off as film reviews. Nuance is lost on Anderson and too much time is spent making false comparisons. Too much time is also spent on the repeated shout-outs. If you manage to get through the article, you may marvel at over all the topics, and space, wasted to say so very little.

Whomever selected the photo to run the piece did a little more work than Anderson. It is a screen capture of Maher Arar from Democracy Now! That is a resource not mentioned in Anderson's article and the argument on that may be, "I was covering the mainstream!" But, in fact, Anderson was miscovering and it is the sort of detail my photo editor friend is always unaware of when convinced that Mr. Olbermann is the first to ever call out the occupant of the White House.

Amy Goodman is the host of Democracy Now! and while the program is not worth wasting time on these days, and everyone should read Ava and C.I.'s TV commentary tomorrow at The Third Estate Sunday Review, Ms. Goodman was on the story of Mr. Arar and never dropped it. The article's illustration tells you that; however, to read the article, you would never know that. The article is a lot like the 'information' Mr. Olbermann provides only at a lower volume that will not enduce headaches.

One of the co-cooridantor's of Just Foreign Policy shows up with an article on the number of Iraqis who have died during the illegal war and that article might carry a little more weight had JFP not stopped ceased counting on or around February 10th of last month. Friday, they finally updated their counter. A critique can be made of the words offered by the author in light of that but I believe C.I. has already covered that. The issue contains a must read, one C.I. has noted at least three times in recent weeks, Julie Hollar's "The Humanitarian Tempatation."

Deploying the wounded

A 10th Mountain Division soldier who went AWOL claiming his commanding officers threatened to send him back to Iraq despite his listing as medically unfit for combat planned to surrender Friday to Fort Drum authorities and ask for an investigation into his treatment.
Spec. Bryan Currie, 21, of Charleston, S.C., will ask U.S. Secretary of the Army Pete Geren to convene a Court of Inquiry -- a rarely used administrative fact-finding process -- to investigate top generals at Fort Carson, Colo.; Fort Drum, N.Y.; and Fort Hood, Texas, said Tod Ensign of the New York City-based veterans' advocacy group CitizenSoldier.
The request calls for convening a panel to investigate the case of Currie and four other soldiers at Fort Carson and Fort Hood who also were set to be deployed despite medical holds.

The above is from AP's "AWOL soldier claims mistreatment by commanders, wants inquiry" and Amy Ohler's "Soldier files deployment probe" (News 10 Now, link has text and video) also covers this:

With his lawyer and family by his side Specialist Bryan Currie spoke out about why he went AWOL.
"There was no care everywhere I looked. There was a lot of hazing from higher-ups. People that should be there to help platoon sergeants and stuff were just not there or didn't care," said Spec Bryan Currie, 10th Mountain Division.
While serving in Afghanistan with the 10th Mountain Division Currie was hit by a roadside bomb.
"Sustained a broken jaw, broken cheek bone, lost four teeth, burned my hands. I've got shrapnel wounds, PTSD, lacerated my lip I had to get stitches, my knees were swollen, I couldn't walk the dashboard crushed my legs," said Currie.
Currie said he had a hard time receiving care but once he found a doctor that would listen, that doctor wrote in his physical profile, "cannot deploy." It stated that Currie could not run, carry a weapon or wear protective gear.

And yesterday, we noted Erin Emery's "Soldiers seek deployment probe: The Army will be asked to investigate generals for deploying ailing GIs" (Denver Post) on this subject. As these stunts are pulled, you need to be asking where Congress is? (Wasting time, more often than not. They embarrassed themselves as the White House sent the decorated suits to this committee and that last week doing their War Dance for more money -- money to destroy, not to help any of the people serving -- it was particularly appalling to see one Thursday hearing that offered nothing but greedy little boys, wide-eyed over 313 naval ships -- we'll be kind and not name the Congressional members embarrassing themselves.) KeShawn asks that "Hillary Clinton: Protecting Those Who Protect Us" be noted:

Today in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, Lt. General Joe Ballard and Brigadier General John M. Watkins, Jr. joined Hillary Clinton as she spoke about her plans to ensure that we take care of our brave young men and women in uniform. She outlined her plans to provide health care for all veterans, make sure that all veterans and families receive the benefits they are entitled to, and to ease their transition to life back home.
Hillary Clinton has a long history of fighting for our veterans and, as President, will work to ensure our country fulfills its obligations to those who have served and sacrificed for the nation. Hillary has the record and experience to deliver that change.
That's why she has always fought for veterans in the Senate. From tokens of respect, like free postage when you write to a service member in Iraq or Afghanistan. To practical help, like providing expanded access to temporary housing when you move so you don’t have to pay out of your own pocket. To the critical work of helping care for our wounded warriors by expanding the Family and Medical Leave Act and by passing elements of the Heroes at Home Act to help family members care for those with Traumatic Brain Injury. And she will always fight for you as President.
Expanding TRICARE Access. Hillary Clinton crossed the aisle to work with Senator Lindsey Graham to get access to TRICARE, the military health insurance program, for all National Guard members and Reservists, even when they are not deployed. As a result of Hillary's work with Senator Graham, the more than 12,000 members of Mississippi's National Guard have access to TRICARE.
Supporting Service Members with TBI. Senator Clinton authored the Heroes at Home Act, which would establish a program to help families learn how to care for returning veterans with TBI, as well as require DoD to do pre- and post-deployment screenings.
Increasing Survivor Benefit. She worked with others in the Senate to pass legislation to increase the military survivor benefit from $12,000 to $100,000.
Extending FMLA Benefits. She helped pass the Support for Injured Servicemembers Act, which extends the benefits provided under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) by allowing the families of wounded military personnel to take up to six months of unpaid leave to care for their loved ones during the often lengthy rehabilitation process.
Improving TBI Screening and Care. She successfully included a provision in the recently enacted Fiscal Year 2008 National Defense Authorization Act to mandate that the Department of Defense implement a screening protocol for Traumatic Brain Injury within 180 days. In addition, in 2006, Senator Clinton authored provisions in the John Warner National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2007 that increased research into ways to improve TBI care for veterans injured in Iraq and Afghanistan.
When Hillary is President, she will make sure that every member of our armed forces will receive a fair shot at the American Dream when their service is over. She will ensure that every veteran in America will have health care. She will work so that every veteran receives the benefits they have earned and the assistance they need - right from the start. And she will make sure no soldier ever loses a bonus because he or she has been injured in service. As President, Hillary will:
Enact a GI Bill of Rights for the Twenty-first Century. Hillary will enact a GI Bill of Rights for the 21st Century that will resurrect the spirit of the original 1944 GI Bill and offer service members, veterans and their families with expanded education, housing and entrepreneurial benefits. Her plan will guarantee equal access for all components of the Armed Forces -- Active, Guard and Reserve -- that have deployed overseas in support of a combat operation since September 11 or served two years of active duty since September 11. She will fund undergraduate education for service members, as well as education for specialized trade or technical training, and certification and licensing programs. She will make GI educational benefits transferable within families. She will expand the VA Home Loan Guaranty program to allow veterans to use low-interest, no-fee loans to purchase, build or improve a home valued up to $625,000. She will establish a Veterans Microloan Program to provide veterans with no-collateral, low-interest microloans of up to $100,000 for entrepreneurial ventures.
Fully Fund the VA. Senator Clinton believes there is no more important way of honoring veterans than ensuring they can receive quality care through the VA. As President, she will push to have guaranteed funding for the VA. She does not believe the VA should be fighting every year to get money for the people who take care of us.
Provide Affordable and Quality Health Care for All Veterans. As President, Hillary will ensure that all of the 1.8 million uninsured veterans in this country have access to quality, affordable health care. She will restore the Clinton-era policy that opened the VA's excellent and cost-effective health care system to all veterans who seek to enroll. She will make a long-term commitment to the VA system to ensure it is adequately funded and has the capacity to avoid backlogs and to handle greater enrollments. And she will provide coverage through the American Health Choices Plan to all veterans who choose not to use the VA system.
Ensure All Veterans Receive the Benefits They Have Earned and the Assistance They Need -- Right from the Start. As President, Hillary will commit to getting a fair, accurate, and timely decision for every veteran filing a disability claim. She will increase the number of qualified VA evaluators to reduce the backlog of claims. She will provide fast-track training for new claims specialists and expand the Benefits Delivery at Discharge Program to smooth the transition from service to discharge for all those who serve our country.
Extend Hiring Preferences to Veterans-friendly Contractors. Today, there are between 7.2 and 7.6 million federal contractors, 2 million more than there were five years ago. The privatization of government by the Bush administration has meant veterans are losing job opportunities, because contractors do not necessarily have the same hiring policies as the federal government. Hillary will cut the number of contractors working for the federal government by 500,000 over the next 10 years, saving $10 to $18 billion a year. And she will restore and expand job opportunities for veterans by working to establish a system through which federal contractors afford veterans hiring preference comparable to the federal government’s.
Give Veterans Additional Opportunities to Serve. Hillary will make vouchers worth up to $10,000 available to returning veterans who want to serve in AmeriCorps and select not-for-profit organizations. These organizations would provide at least $5,000 to supplement the voucher. This system will help veterans create normal routines and reenter their communities while doing meaningful work serving their country. Hillary will make this subsidy available to as many as 20,000 veterans a year.
Reduce Homelessness among Veterans. In 2006, nearly 200,000 veterans were homeless on any given night. Hillary will establish a pilot program on homelessness prevention for veterans that will provide subsidies, eviction prevention, and one-time assistance for veterans who fall behind on their rent. She will also expand rental assistance for veterans by calling on Congress to fund an additional 20,000 housing choice vouchers exclusively for homeless veterans.
Expand the Helmets to Hardhats Program. Hillary will increase funding for the Helmets to Hardhats program. This program links veterans with local job opportunities in the construction and trade industries by offering apprenticeship programs that teach veterans through on-the-job training supplemented by classroom instruction.
Expand Veterans Homeownership. Hillary will make homeownership more affordable for veterans. Veterans will receive a 50% discount on foreclosed properties in the government’s inventory, which currently stands at 35,000 homes. And she will eliminate the upfront fees on VA mortgages for veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars who take out VA loans within two years of leaving active duty.

KeShawn writes that he hoped that would go into the snapshot yesterday. It would have been nice if it could and it'll get a link of some kind on Monday; however, it didn't go in for the reasons Rebecca notes in "sammy power gone, bambi scrambles" which are, "Where's Bambi?" I was on the phone with Bambi's campaign about Sammy Power (and prepared, as Mike noted, to say something nice about that campaign for firing Sammy but they didn't fire her) so I asked, "Well do you have anything this week on veterans?" Now I only asked one of the two friends I spoke to (about Sammy) and he didn't know. He started talking up an old (and non-specific) policy paper. Rebecca makes the point very well in her post from last night. When she was working on that, we all gathered around one laptop (in Trina's Kitchen) and were going through that ego-worshipping website. He has nothing. (Except his head emerging from the clouds.) That was the impression I was left with yesterday on the phone but didn't have time to check the site while dictating the snapshot. Also true is that today is International Women's Day and the report that came out Thursday on Iraqi women was always going to be noted in Friday's snapshot for that reason so there was limited space (which resulted in several things being pulled from the snapshot before it was e-mailed). In his e-mail KeShawn wondered if Bambi had any plans like Hillary? None that's he's ever expressed, apparently, but you can be sure were it to be asked as a question in a debate and Hillary answered first, Barack would then follow with "I agree with Hillary" and proceed to restate every point she made while pretending like he'd done his own work.

The report -- Women for Women International's [PDF format warning] "Stronger Women, Stronger Nations: 2008 Iraq Report" -- is important and wasn't it great of Amy Goodman to note it yesterday? Oh, wait, she didn't. There was (as usual) no time on her hour long show to devote a segment to Iraq. And she gave Women's International Day less than four minutes. Maybe she'll type up something on the topic and send it off to be published in her 'mainstream' outlet of choice (Hu**ler magazine)?

On the issue of Iraqi women, a visitor e-mails outraged that a story (in a regional daily) wasn't noted. He doesn't note the story but I believe I know the one he means. It's about the US military's efforts to 'help' Iraqi women. When someone embarrasses themselves while trying to help, we don't generally make a point to highlight it unless they're an ass (hello, Sammy Power!). The story I believe the e-mails referring to is a "news" article. Or that's how it's presented. It's not a news article, it's a feature article and the reporter is such an idiot that he or she (I believe it was a she) doesn't even try to get facts to balance out the woefully uninformed female service member. (I'm giving her the benefit of the doubt that she's uninformed and not lying.) The female service member puts foward all these (false) claims about life for Iraqi women in Iraq before the start of the illegal war. The female service member does not know what she's talking about and seems to have confused Afghanistan (either before the start of that current war or right now -- there's no difference in the quality of women's lives there) with Iraq. Hopefully, something comes from the service member's interaction with Iraqi women but I saw that article and it didn't pass the test here (which is your average person -- not a name -- gets two mistakes in their quotes, after that, they're not eligible for a linking). (And thought the program itself is a sham, individual female service members may be making a difference and that includes the woman so quick to weigh in on a history she knew nothing about. For those who didn't see the article, claims included that before the US invaded, Iraqi women could not hold jobs or drive cars -- they could and did. It's different today as a result of the illegal war -- women are afraid of what will happen to them if they're seen driving and they're usually the first the thugs of the puppet government intimidate into closing shop.)

On Saturdays we generally highlight Margaret Kimberley's latest at Black Agenda Report ("generally" -- unless it's already made the snapshot that week, it's been highlighted on the for the last two years plus all but twice -- once because I forgot and the other because the New York Times so ticked me off that morning, I wasn't in the mood to do anything but post the entries and be done). We're not highlighting it today. We'll try to do so tomorrow. The reason is three e-mails from overnight that say they can't get Black Agenda Report to display. It's early as I write this but I have gone to the site and gotten the same error message. Hopefully by the time this posts later today, Black Agenda Report will be up and working. But it's not right now. Sabrina has the Kimberley excerpt already picked (and e-mailed to note it Thursday night). If the site's up by tomorrow, we'll note it Sunday morning. It's called "Economic Meltdown" and we'll try to grab it tomorrow.

The following community sites have updated since yesterday morning:

Rebecca's Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude;
Cedric's Cedric's Big Mix;
Kat's Kat's Korner;
Betty's Thomas Friedman is a Great Man;
Mike's Mikey Likes It!;
Elaine's Like Maria Said Paz;
Wally's The Daily Jot;
Trina's Trina's Kitchen;
Ruth's Ruth's Report;

We'll close with this from Borzou Daragahi's "Iraqi neighborhood mourns dead after bombings" (Los Angeles Times):

Grief engulfed this city's most prosperous and lively enclave Friday as residents mourned loved ones who were lost in a suicide bomb attack a night earlier.
Authorities said the death toll had risen to 68 and that 120 other people were injured in the Thursday evening assault, which targeted the busy Karada shopping and residential district. Fatalities climbed steadily overnight as patients who had suffered severe burns and shrapnel wounds died.
The carefully planned attack was one of the worst in Baghdad in months. After the first bomb went off, a huge crowd of people gathered, and minutes later they became the target of an assailant wearing a bomb underneath his leather jacket, police said.
Along Karada's streets Friday, funeral tents were spread open. Weeping relatives strapped simple wooden coffins to the roofs of white Chevy Suburbans and creaky Korean-made minivans, driving slowly through the neighborhood's main streets as people in black walked behind, beating their chests and wailing.

The e-mail address for this site is

borzou daragahi
the los angeles times

John Nichols employs 'girl power' for Sammy Power

Samantha Power, the able foreign policy advisor to Barack Obama who referred to Hillary Clinton as a "monster," has quit her role with the Obama campaign.
That's too bad, because Power has always been more open and honest than most key players you will find in or around presidential campaigns.
Of course, the off-hand remark by Power in a discussion recorded by a Scottish journalist was politically incorrect -- both because it was hurtful to Clinton, someone the Anna Lindh Professor of Practice of Global Leadership and Public Policy at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government has known for a number of years, and because they suggested an ineptness on the part of the Obama campaign at precisely the time when it did the most harm.

That's more lies from the never ending drivel of John Nichols. The piece is called "Samantha Power and the Danger of Gotcha Politics." Link goes to Yahoo, not The Nation, and provided solely for your laughing pleasure. We could fact check the entire thing but The Nation has people paid to do that -- they just can't do their job. Let's start with Nichols' lie that War Hawk Sammy Power has "known" Hillary Clinton "for a number of years". Really, Johnny? What's your source or do you think merely pulling it out of your ass qualifies for sourcing?

October 16, 2007, Samantha Power declared to Charlie Rose, "I have only met her once, and I find her very, very affable and actually very intellectually curious and not ideological.''

According to Power herself, as of October 2007, she had met Hillary only one time but John's so busy lying for his ManCrush's campaign that he (wrongly) asserts that Power has "known" Hillary "for a number of years." That's incorrect. Will The Nation correct that lie? Probably not, when they smeared John Kerry in the summer of 2006, they never corrected that LIE even though the magazine's editorial staff and the writer of the piece all knew it was a lie after the complaints came in. [Coffee fetchers at the magazine, don't try to argue with me, I have the e-mails admitting to the never corrected problem.]

Is she "an able foreign policy advisor"? Coming from Johnny Five Cents that's a rather astounding claim. This is the man who smeared Barbra Streisand, trashed her, for the 2002 Iraq Congressional vote. For those who have forgotten, she has never served in Congress. For those who don't know, she was against the illegal war before it started. But that didn't prevent the bug-eyed freak show from going after her, ripping into her, for a vote she wasn't part of and for an authorization she was opposed to from the beginning.

But if inept, dysfunctional boys couldn't attack women, who would they go after? They're too chicken s**t to go after their own gender, realizing (rightly), they'd get clobbered. (They shouldn't be so sure that they can do their drive-bys on women without getting cut down to size.)

Let's turn to people who don't have to beg for money, who have a little respect, for the truth about Our Modern Day Carrie Nations, our Problem From Hell, Sammy Power. From John R. MacArthur's "Pro-War Liberals Frozen in the Headlights" (Common Dreams):

In journalism, the current handwringer-in-chief is the New Yorker writer George Packer, whose book The Assassins' Gate has met with high praise from handwringers, hawks, and a subset of pundits I call trimmers. Handwringers "anguish" over their past or current support for the war; hawks don't apologize for anything; and trimmers criticize Bush the foolish president, but avoid unequivocal denunciations of this foolish war.
Christopher Hitchens, a ferocious hawk, has embraced The Assassins' Gate, calling Packer "both tough-minded enough, and sufficiently sensitive, to register all [the] complexities [of the Iraq conflict]." The handwringer Samantha Power went even gushier in her blurb on the back cover: "Packer . . . cuts past the simplistic recriminations and takes us on an unforgettable journey that begins on a trail of good intentions and winds up on a devastating trail of tears."
Trimmer Frank Rich, of The New York Times, settled for calling Packer's book "essential," and quoting it favorably in a column.
I think a better description of George Packer is "useful idiot," as invoked by some Western anti-communists when they ridiculed liberals sympathetic to the ruthless Soviet state. Too harsh, you say? After all, "humanists" such as Packer, Power, and Michael Ignatieff signed on with the neo-conservative crowd for a "democracy-building" project in Iraq, not a proletarian overthrow of capitalism.

Macarthur is correct, Samantha Powers was on board with the illegal war. She likes to rewrite history today and claim she was a fierce opponent of it. Maybe in the same way that Mikey of the Brookings Institute is a 'critic' of the illegal war.

Here's Howard Zinn on what we'll kindly term Power's "myopia":

She believes that "there is a moral difference between setting out to destroy as many civilians as possible and killing civilians unintentionally and reluctantly in pursuit of a military objective." Of
course, there's a difference, but is there a "moral" difference? That is, can you say one action is more reprehensible than the other?
In countless news briefings, Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney, responding to reporters' questions about civilian deaths in bombing, would say those deaths were "unintentional" or "inadvertent" or "accidental," as if that disposed of the problem. In the Vietnam War,
the massive deaths of civilians by bombing were justified in the same way by Lyndon Johnson, Hubert Humphrey, Richard Nixon and various generals.
These words are misleading because they assume an action is either "deliberate" or "unintentional." There is something in between, for which the word is "inevitable." If you engage in an action, like aerial bombing, in which you cannot possibly distinguish between combatants
and civilians (as a former Air Force bombardier, I will attest to that), the deaths of civilians are inevitable, even if not "intentional." Does that difference exonerate you morally?
The terrorism of the suicide bomber and the terrorism of aerial bombardment are indeed morally equivalent. To say otherwise (as either side might) is to give one moral superiority over the other, and thus serve to perpetuate the horrors of our time.

From Edward Herman responding to Zinn's letter (to the New York Times -- and both can be found here):

Samantha Power's conclusion is that the U.S. policy toward genocide has been very imperfect and needs reorientation, less opportunism, and greater vigor. For Power, the United States is the solution, not the problem. These conclusions and policy recommendations rest *heavily on
her spectacular bias in case selection: She simply bypasses those that are ideologically inconvenient, where the United States has arguably committed genocide (Vietnam, Cambodia 1969-75, Iraq 1991-2003), or has given genocidal processes positive support (Indonesia, West Papua, East Timor, Guatemala, Israel, and South Africa). Incorporating them into an analysis would lead to sharply different conclusions and policy agendas, such as calling upon the
United States to simply stop doing it, or urging stronger global opposition to U.S. aggression and support of genocide, and proposing a much needed revolutionary change within the United States to remove the roots of its imperialistic and genocidal thrust. But the actual huge
bias, nicely leavened by admissions of imperfections and need for improvement in U.S. policy, readily explains why Samantha Power is loved by the New York Times and won a Pulitzer prize for her masterpiece of evasion and apologetics for "our" genocides and call for a more aggressive pursuit of "theirs."

Here's more Herman from ZNet:

It is of course revealing that Richard Holbrooke is a favorite at the Carr Center (see the photo below, with Samantha Power, a former Carr official, and Sarah Sewell, its current Executive Director, casting admiring glances at this notable genocidist) as well as with Human Right Watch. After all, there is the record just noted, and Holbrooke being a former official with continuing political aspirations, may not tell the truth, so that he is someone a human rights group should keep at arms length in order to maintain its independence and integrity. But in the United States, self-righeousness is so great that such principles are unrecognized in the mainstream. Back in the 1980s when the alleged (but false) Bulgarian-KGB link to the shooting of Pope John Paul II was a big issue, Paul Henze, a 30-year CIA veteran and former CIA station chief in Turkey was a major "expert" tapped by the media, who never once suggested any doubts about Henze’s possible bias and compromised credentials as a source. We are so good and right that our high officials and spooks can be trusted to speak unbiased truth, at least for the mainstream media and the Carr Center and HRW.
But in reality, what the warm and collegial Holbrooke link suggests is that the Carr Center and HRW are members of the establishment and will surely speak only partial truths at best. As its name suggests the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy is policy oriented. But it is certainly not oriented to policy assistance for groups and countries under U.S. attack. A dead giveaway is the fact that its current Executive Director, Sarah Sewall, has been a consultant to the Pentagon and is a specialist in counter-insurgency warfare (see her "
Modernizing U.S. Counterinsurgency Practice," Military Review, Sept./Oct., 2006). As a Pentagon consultant, and with other Carr linkages to the government and military establishment, there is no way that Sewall and her associates are going to look objectively at U.S. human rights violations and criticize them in no uncertain terms. They premise the U.S. right to intervene across the globe, their function being to bring it into line with humanitarian principles! (As regards one of its major program areas a Carr description states that: "Ultimately, the project aims to affect the way nations intervene militarily, making the use of military power more consistent with humanitarian principles.") By the nature of their linkages and rule Carr is going to gloss over U.S. violations of the UN Charter and human rights abuses. It cannot bring in Richard Holbrooke as an honored guest, Samantha Power cannot hold a joint seminar with him at Carr, and Carr cannot attract guest speakers like Central Command General Abizaid, while maintaining any kind of less-than-collegial relationship with government.
In fact, the Carr Center has a relationship with the government very similar to that of various institutes that have dealt with "terrorism." In a study of the "terrorism industry" in which I engaged some years back, some of the clearest findings were the extent to which that industry's definitions of terrorism and policy focus coincided with those of the government, and the regularity with which its members served the state and private parties in need of "security" protection from retail terrorists--who were often under siege by state (wholesale) terrorists. [7] It was very clear that Guatemalan peasants being murdered by the genocidal Guatemalan state or members of the African National Congress (ANC) or Angolans under attack by the South African apartheid government were never going to be advised by members of the industry. But the governments attacking them were advised, and those governments were also being serviced at the same time by the U.S. government. The peasants under attack were the "terrorists" and the governments engaging in very serious state terror were, in the Western establishment lexicon, engaging in "counter-terror." [8] The South African "Terrorism Research Centre" had collegial relations with U.S. and British terrorism research groups and with the CIA, Mossad, and M-16, and the latter three were also closely aligned. The Pentagon defined the ANC as one of "the more notorious terrorism groups," and terrorism analysts such as Clair Sterling, Paul Wilkinson, Robert Kupperman, Brian Crozier, and Walter Laqueur all worked with the same system of definitions and toward the same ends. Sewall, Power, Holbrooke and General Abizaid are also using similar definitions and working toward the same ends.

Sarah Sewer (aka Sarah Sewall) is also an advisor to Obama and also a Bloody War Hawk. As Ava and I noted in December, she went nutso on The Charlie Rose Show insisting that the Iraq War could not be termed a failure or it might prevent other 'humanitarian' wars -- 'humanitarian wars? We're back to the point MacArthur was making about Power earlier.

Need more? Here's Noam Chomsky at ZNet:

But in general US participation in horrendous crimes is simply ignored in Problem from Hell. Few seem to able to perceive that a similar book, excoriating Stalin for not paying enough attention to US crimes, would very likely have been very highly praised in the old Soviet Union. What better service could one provide to the cause of massacre, torture, and destruction -- by the Holy State and its clients, of course, whose only fault is that they do not attend sufficiently to the crimes of others. I don't think, incidentally, that it would be fair to criticize Power for her extraordinary services to state violence and terror. I am sure she is a decent and honorable person, and sincerely believes that she really is condemning the US leadership and political culture. From a desk at the Carr Center for Human Rights at the Kennedy School at Harvard, that's doubtless how it looks. Insufficient attention has been paid to Orwell's observations on how in free England, unpopular ideas can be suppressed without the use of force. One factor, he proposed, is a good education. When you have been through the best schools, finally Oxford and Cambridge, you simply have instilled into you the understanding that there are certain things "it wouldn't do to say" -- and we may add, even to think. His insight is quite real, and important. These cases are a good illustration, hardly unique.

We could include Tom Hayden's article The Nation posted last summer, but I think the point's been made to everyone but Johnny Fool who writes in his column, "Power was so frank and remorseful that I was left feeling that this is not the sort of person we should want to see pushed away from the political process." It's really amazing how Sammy Power insults Hillary Clinton and Johnny Fool is weeping tears for the wounded . . . Sammy Power.

Were it last week, we'd offer a song for Johnny called "ManCrush In Vermont" (to the tune of "Moonlight In Vermont") but with that primary having passed, we'll instead grab the shiny, knee-high boots, mini-skirts and teased out wigs to sing a song to Johnny, "Heaven Ain't Gonna Help Ya': "

You're just a fool
And maybe a tool
You got no shame
Destroying your name
It's no surprise
You tell little lies
When day is done
You're cleaning your gun
You're just a thug
Stabbing while you hug
You can
Call for the angels
Call for the saints
Still heaven ain't gonna help ya'
And I might just yet hurt ya'

You're just a fool
And maybe a tool
You got no shame
Destroying your name
You ain't no man
The girls understand
You're lost in lust
Obama or bust
You can
Call for the angels
Call for the saints
Still heaven ain't gonna help ya'
And I might just yet hurt ya'

You're just a fool
And maybe a tool
Sing it
You're just a fool
And maybe a tool
Telling it like it is
You're just a fool
And maybe a tool
You're just a fool . . .

Meanwhile IVAW has a DC action this month:

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.
Click here to sign a statement of support for Winter Soldier: Iraq & Afghanistan

March 13th through 16th are the dates for the Winter Soldier Iraq & Afghanistan Investigation. Dee Knight (Workers World) notes, "IVAW wants as many people as possible to attend the event. It is planning to provide live broadcasting of the sessions for those who cannot hear the testimony firsthand. 'We have been inspired by the tremendous support the movement has shown us,' IVAW says. 'We believe the success of Winter Soldier will ultimately depend on the support of our allies and the hard work of our members'." IVAW's co-chair Adam Kokesh will, of course, be participating and he explains why at his site, "But out of a strong sense of duty, some of us are trying to put our experiences to use for a good cause. Some of us couldn't live with ourselves if weren't doing everything we could to bring our brothers and sisters home as soon as possible. The environment may be unking, but that is why I will be testifying to shooting at civilians as a result of changing Rules of Engagement, abuse of detainees, and desecration of Iraqi bodies. It won't be easy but it must be done. Some of the stories are things that are difficult to admit that I was a part of, but if one more veteran realizes that they are not alone because of my testimony it will be worth it." The hearings will be broadcast throughout at the Iraq Veterans Against the War home page an on KPFA March 14th and 16th with Aimee Allison (co-host of the station's The Morning Show and co-author with David Solnit of Army Of None) and Aaron Glantz hosting and the KPFA live stream will also be available at Glantz' War Comes Home.

The e-mail address for this site is

aaron glantz

Friday, March 07, 2008

Iraq snapshot

Friday, March 7, 2008.  Chaos and violence continue, War Hawk Sammy Power Down and taking the Obama campaign with her, International Women's Day, Bambi's not so 'anti-war' and more.
Starting with war resistance. Julie Muhlstein (HeraldNet) reports that Catherine Ryan and Gary Weimber's documentary Soldiers of Conscience will be shown at 10:30 Saturday morning in the Historic Everett Theatre as part of the Everett Women's Film Festival.  "Their country asked them to kill, their hearts told them to stop" is the tagline in some promotional materials for the film that won Best Documentary at both the Rhode Island International Film Festival and Ireland's Foyle Film Festival.  Ryan (co-director and co-producer) will be present Saturday as part of the filmmaker forum.  Among those featured in the documentary is war resister Aidan Delgado who told his story of serving in Iraq and rejecting the illegal war in The Sutras Of Abu Ghraib: Notes From A Conscientious Objector In Iraq.  In the book, Delgado explains how he knew the whispers of abuse at Abu Ghraib weren't false speculation -- they're all called in for a speech by a commander:
There's no doubt now that everything we've heard about is true, and it must be even worse than we thought, for the commander himself to get on our backs about it. All a family? I laugh. We're only a family when the captain wants us to do his bidding or conceal some wrongdoing. The Army has tried that rhetoric before, talking about family and Army pride and everything else to try to get you to buy into what they do. When the Army talks about "handling something internally," it's only because they've done something so obviously wrong, they can't allow the rest of the country to see it. This doesn't surprise me. After all, if Americans back home saw Iraqi prisoners shot dead for throwing stones, saw the wretched conditions inside Abu, or saw the way the MPs dealt with the prisoners, what would they think of our glorious and righteous invasion? The truth about Abu Ghraib has to be concealed, has to be "kept in the family," because if the average citizen saw what we're doing to the people here, they would know in their guts that it's un-American.
Delgado's journey doesn't begin in the excerpt (read the book) and every war resister has a moment where they realize they can't take part in the illegal war.  For some, it may be after they serve in Iraq and see it with their own eyes, for others it may come as they begin exploring the 'reasons' given for the Iraq War, some have a religous awakening . . . Every individual has their own story and these are the stories that are not being told.
Among the stories that need to be told due to a window of time are the stories of war resisters who went to Canada.  They  were dealt a serious set-back when the Canadian Supreme Court refused to hear the appeals of Jeremy Hinzman and Brandon Hughey. Today, Canada's Parliament remaining the best hope for safe harbor war resisters have, you can make your voice heard by the Canadian parliament which has the ability to pass legislation to grant war resisters the right to remain in Canada. 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. That is the sort of thing that should receive attention but instead it's ignored.

There is a growing movement of resistance within the US military which includes Matt Mishler, Josh Randall, Robby Keller, Justiniano Rodrigues, Chuck Wiley, 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, Clara 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).

Meanwhile IVAW has a DC action this month:

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.
Click here to sign a statement of support for Winter Soldier: Iraq & Afghanistan

March 13th through 16th are the dates for the Winter Soldier Iraq & Afghanistan Investigation. Dee Knight (Workers World) notes, "IVAW wants as many people as possible to attend the event. It is planning to provide live broadcasting of the sessions for those who cannot hear the testimony firsthand. 'We have been inspired by the tremendous support the movement has shown us,' IVAW says. 'We believe the success of Winter Soldier will ultimately depend on the support of our allies and the hard work of our members'." IVAW's co-chair Adam Kokesh will, of course, be participating and he explains why at his site, "But out of a strong sense of duty, some of us are trying to put our experiences to use for a good cause. Some of us couldn't live with ourselves if weren't doing everything we could to bring our brothers and sisters home as soon as possible. The environment may be unking, but that is why I will be testifying to shooting at civilians as a result of changing Rules of Engagement, abuse of detainees, and desecration of Iraqi bodies. It won't be easy but it must be done. Some of the stories are things that are difficult to admit that I was a part of, but if one more veteran realizes that they are not alone because of my testimony it will be worth it." The hearings will be broadcast throughout at the Iraq Veterans Against the War home page an on KPFA March 14th and 16th with Aimee Allison (co-host of the station's The Morning Show and co-author with David Solnit of Army Of None) and Aaron Glantz hosting and the KPFA live stream will also be available at Glantz' War Comes Home.
Today, at Foreign Policy in Focus, Aaron Glantz reports more on the upcoming action:
"We have given a blanket invitation to Congress," said Camilo Mejia, the Chair of the Board of Iraq Veterans Against the War.  "We hope the Congress will give these hearings the same attention they did during the Vietnam era." 
But action from politicians is only one possible outcome.  Mejia says IVAW also hopes Winter Soldier will increase the size and strength of GI Resistance against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. 
"The event is going to empower soldiers to follow their conscience whatever that means for them," said Mejia . . .  "The kinds of things we're talking about are non-partisan.  They're non-political.  They have to do with human being trapped in this atrocity producing situation." 
Meanwhile, it was not a good day to be Our Modern Day Carrie Nations or, as Samantha Power prefers to be called, "the humanitarian War Hawk."  Last night, The Scotsman was making news with Power's insults of US Senator Hillary Clinton and "the poor" in America and, generally, just flashing that foul mouth everyone knows about but generally ignroes.  The morning started with Sammy Power expressing 'sorrow.'  She wasn't sorry and we're not going to play around with this story.  Here's reality, the press was lining up this morning the stories on this and talking to one another (as they are prone to do) for background examples of other times Sammy Power has personally (and destructively) insulted Hillary Clinton.  When it was obvious that those stories would come out if she stayed with the campaign she 'resigned.'  At The New Statesman, she was flaunting her War Hawk nature in an interview (as well as that foul mouth). [Personal note: I'm sure I could match Sammy swear word for swear word, but I wasn't planning on becoming Secretary of State.] Lynn Sweet (Chicago Sun-Times) was one of the first out of the gate noting that Sammy Power "resigned as a foreign policy advisor to Sen. Barack Obama" this afternoon.  Her calling Hillary a "monster" did matter, it was off sides -- both for a future Secretary of State as well as for a professor at Harvard.  It's a shame Obama still lacks the leadership to take control of his campaign -- that would have required firing Power.  Instead she resigned indicating that he's unable to run a campaign as well as unable to tell the truth.  Power -- who also went to work for Obama in 2005 when he was first elected to the US Senate (November 2004) -- also had to deal with the BBC interview she'd given.  Barack Obama has not promised to pull ALL troops out of Iraq in 16 months.  He has promised the American people that "combat" troops would be removed.  But promises, promises (as Dionne Warwick once sang) . . .
Stephen Sackur: You said that he'll revisit it [the decision to pull troops] when he goes to the White House.  So what the American public thinks is a commitment to get combat forces out within sixteen months, isn't a commitment is it?
Samantha Power: You can't make a commitment in whatever month we're in now, in March of 2008 about what circumstances are going to be like in January 2009.  We can'te ven tell what Bush is up to in terms of troops pauses and so forth.  He will of course not rely upon some plan that he's crafted as a presidential candidate or as a US Senator.
Which would mean Mr. Pretty Speeches has been lying to the American people.  (Add the "AGAIN!") 
Her rise was swift, her fall even faster.  Our Modern Day Carrie Nations took part in the "Bring the troops home and send them to Darfur" nonsense.  [For more on that nutso crowd, see Julie Hollar's "The Humanitarian Tempatation" (Extra!).]  Despite presenting herself recently as against the Iraq War from the start, the public record has never backed that up.  But it is true that she wanted wars in Africa and was selling them under "humanitarian" guise.  "Stop the killing!" she cried but if she really wanted to stop the killing, she might have tried to speak out against the ongoing genocie in Iraq (which has also produced the largest refugee crisis in the world).  She didn't care about that.  Probably because it demonstrates that sending armed forces in is not an answer.  Again, if Barack Obama had any leadership abilities, he would have announced today that he fired his longterm advisor.  He did not, she resigned.  (She foolishly doesn't grasp that this is her Alexander Haig moment and there is no comeback.)  Power was not a campaigner, she was a high level, longterm foreign policy advisor being groomed to be the next Secretary of State.  As Krissah Williams (Washington Post) notes, Senator Clinton's response to Power's BBC interview was to note Power's agreement that Obama's pledge to have "combat" troops out in 16 months was never more than a "best-case scenario".  Hillary Clinton: "Senator Obama has made his speech opposing Iraq in 2002 and the war in Iraq the core of his campaign, which makes these comments especially troubling.  While Senator Obama campaigns on his [pledge] to end the war, his top advisers tell people abroad that he will not rely on his own plan should he become president.  This is the latest example of promising the American people one thing on the campaign trail and telling people in other countries another.  You saw this with NAFTA as well." 
Meanwhile Tom Hayden again offers Barack advice from the heart, from love.  At Common Dreams, Hayden feels that, "The only policy difference favoring Obama that goes straight to the issue of 'experience' is Iraq. It no longer is enough that Obama opposed the war five years ago, especially if it appears that there are no differences between the candidates now. For whatever reason, Obama has allowed Clinton to appear to take an identical stand on the war. Is that true? Or is it time for Obama to issue a further clarification of his position separating him from both Clinton and McCain? The peace movement and media can play a role here."  Tom then asks, "Does Clinton propose a timetable for withdrawing combat troops, like Obama does?"  Apparently Tom missed Sammy's interview -- Obama has no proposal.  As Sammy notes, things change, who can say?  Should we expect Hayden's endorsement of Hillary anytime soon?  Or will he again plan to 'represent' the peace movement by covering for the 'anti-war' candidate -- one whose own foreign policy advisor (she was that when she gave the interview) informs is saying words he'd not planning to live up to?
Meanwhile violence continues in Iraq . . .
Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports two Mosul roadside bombings that wounded fourteen people and claimed the life of 1 police officer and a Mosul car bombing that claimed the lives of 4 police officers and left thirty-three people wounded.
Reuters notes US forces in Samarra "killed eight suspected al Qaeda fighters" (and they note the death toll from yesterday's Baghdad bombings rose to 68).
Iraqi president Jalal Talabani is in Turkey for day one of a two-day visit.  Zerin Elci (Reuters) reports that he has "pledged Iraq's backing for Turkey in its fight against Kurdish PKK rebels on Friday, just one week after Ankara ended a major army ground offensive against the guerrillas in northern Iraq."  That's where Talabani is, where's Moqtada al-Sadr?  Earlier today,  Khaled Farhan (Reuters) reported:

Powerful Iraqi Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, who has not been seen in public for months, issued an unusual statement on Friday explaining his absence to his followers and admitting splits in his movement.
"I swear that I live with you and among you. I am a part of you. I will not change this unless death separates us," he said in a two-page statement bearing his personal stamp.
The statement was issued two weeks after Sadr extended a ceasefire by his Mehdi Army for another six months. He first called on the militia, blamed by the U.S. military and Sunni Arabs for fuelling sectarian violence, to halt its activities in August so that he could reorganise it.
BBC notes, "May of his followers had split from him 'for materalistic reasons or because they wanted to be independent,' he said" in the statement.  While Sadr City residents feel targeted, al-Sadr's not there. He's renewed a cease-fire/truce that the residents didn't favor and the attitude then (which is only growing) is, "Why should we listen to someone who's not even here standing with us?" (He's rumored to be in Najaf, working as a hotel clerk.) A "leader" has to be seen as standing with (and suffering with) the people. al-Sadr is not seen as such currently and his little 'gift' of a message won't have much impact. Already the rumbles have moved on to wonder if he is collaborating with the US and every day he is out of Sadr City, he is futher weakened. That isn't at all surprising and any student of history could have seen it coming. In his absence, the rumors circulate and issuing 'press releases' to the residents of Sadr City will not raise his standing.
And we'll close with one topic.  Saturday is International Women's Day.  Feminist Wire Daily explains, "International Women's Day (IWD) will be celebrated this Saturday across the world.  According to the IWD website, this year marks the 97th annual celebration.  Counties including Armenia, Russia, and Vietnam recognize IWD as an official holiday, but hundreds of celebrations happen all over the world on March 8th." and arrives as Women for Women International has released a new study on Iraqi women.  Zainab Salbi writes in the introduction to [PDF format warning] "Stronger Women, Stronger Nations: 2008 Iraq Report:"
In Iraq, violence against women increased within months of March 2003 U.S. invasion.  There were assassinations and abductions of Iraqi professional women, in the country and abroad.  Hair salons were bombed, and there were threats to women who drove or didn't cover their hair.  Soon every politician, businessperson, professional Iraqi and foreigner became vulnerable to kidnapping and attack and remains so today.  This issue has become menacing enough to impede development efforts in the country.  But the increasingly precarious status of women was and continues to be seen as a secondary issue, a distraction from the bigger political debates.   
Since 2003, the discussion of women's role in Iraqi society and their earnest participation in reconstruction has shrunk from one of legitimate substance to obligatory quantity.  In 2004, as plans for Iraq's new constitution were underway and "women's issues" were designated as a priority, the initial request of setting aside 40 percent of the seats in parliament for women was negotiated down to 25 percent. 
[. . .]
Once the fighting ends, it is women who pick up the pieces of their families and mend the social fabric of their communities.  Yet this crucial role is rarely acknowledged.  Sustainable peace, democracy and economic development depend on women's social, political and economic participation.  Unless there is a clear understanding of the obstacles and avenues to women's access to development resources and the political will to enact gender equitable policies, any blueprint for sustainable peace risks being place perilously out of reach.  Thus, the incorporation of women's views into traditionally male-dominated political processes is vital to achieving sustainable peace, democracy, and prosperity.
Of course, to believe that, you'd have to believe that women matter, you'd have to accept the realities of the gender barriers worldwide and you'd have to grasp how under attack all women are, every day, around the globe.  If you're a woman, you'd also have to have at least a little self-respect.  As evidenced by the non-stop attacks on Hillary Clinton coming from so many and the refusal of women in the United States who do not support Hillary to call these attacks out, women still don't matter in the United States and Bash the Bitch remains the national pasttime.
The report informs that in 2004, 90.6 percent of Iraqi women surveyed were "optimistic about the future" and that, in 2007, the number stating they were optimistic fell to 26.9 percent.  88 percent of respondents "expressed a great deal of concern that they or someone living in their households would become a victim of violence."  In addition, the number stating that the presence of US forces and British forces were making things worse was 65.3 percent and 67.9 percent "stated that their ability to walk down the street as they please has gotten worse since the U.S. invasion."  As the illegal war hits the fifth year mark this year, things are not improving, they are only getting worse.  The report details the hazards of just conducting the survey with details such as "For security reasons, women in Al-Sadr City, Al-Kamalyah, and Al-Ubadi gathered in groups of five in a woman's home and met with a staff member to complete the questionnaire."  The respondents repeatedly cited the following as "the biggest problems facing Iraq as a whole":
* High/rising prices  
* Housing availability/prices 
* Lack of security
* US occupation/presence
On basic issues of mobility, the illegal war has had a huge impace: "86.0% of respondents said they are not able to walk down the street as they please; 67.9% of respondents stated that their ability to walkd won the street as they please has gotten worse since the U.S. invasion; 68.3% of women are not able to drive a car; 53.7% of respondents say that their ability to drive a car has gotten worse since the U.S. invasion; 48.6% of respondents said that they are not able to work outside the home; and 56.7% of respondents said that their ability to work outside the home has gotten worse since the U.S. invasion."  As a result, 74.5 percent of Iraqi women now avoid leaving the home, 63.2 percent are not allowing their children to go to school ("most commonly in parts of Baghdad"), 38.5 percent say rape is increasing, 30.4 percent see an increase in the trafficking of women, 29.6 percent see an increase in prostitution.  Why is that?  The three most repeated answers were:
* There is less respect for women's rights than before  
* Women are thought of as possessions  
* The economy has gotten worse
Asked to rank "the biggest threat to national security," the women chose US and British soldiers (43.9 percent) followed closely by the Iraqi militias (32.6 percent).  From the report:
A group of women in Karbala was asked what they would do if they were in charge of the country.  They said, "We would first ask the Americans to leave immediately.  Second, we will address the poverty situation in Iraq which is impacting us the most."  One woman added, "If I was the president of the country, I would make filling the stomach of the old people as my utmost priority."  When asked what was neeeded, 70.0% of respondents said that rebuilding infrastructure such as roads, wells, drains and public buildings was necessary for the welfare of their communities. Other priorities included programs designed to help communities take care of their own needs and emergency relief such as food, shelter and emergency medical services. 
The report concludes with "Action Agenda for Women" which argues for proving "that freedom is not inconsistent with safety"; restoring infrastructure throughout the country, addressing the economic needs of women, supporting "women's organizations and umbrella groups" and strengthening "democracy through education."  Again the thirty-four page report is in PDF format and entitled "Stronger Women, Stronger Nations: 2008 Iraq Report."  In non-PDF form, an overview is provided here. The founder of Women for Women, Zainab Salbi, remembers (at Womens Media Center) her own last visit to Iraq (in 2004), "My colleague who picked me up turned to me in the car and said: 'Zainab, remember the basketball hoop your family put in the cul-de-sac in front your home? Al-Mahdi militia has been using the basketball pole to execute Sunnis.' I couldn't believe what he was telling me.  'Zainab,' he continued, 'every day I saw tens of bodies lying in front of your house after being executed.  Every day there was a body hanging from the basketball pole.  Your home has turned into an execution center'."  She remembers traveling Iraq that year and encountering many women including Shatha who told her, "If I was the president of the country, the first thing I would do is ask the Americans to leave.  I then would make filling the stomachs of the people my utmost priority, by ending poverty and creating jobs.  And thirdly I will focus on education.  We can't have a real democracy if we don't have educated people pushing for a real democracy." Zainab Salbi asks that everyone "remember the women who struggle in Iraq and around the world to create peace."  AFP notes the report and speaks with two Iraqi women: Asma Kadhim and Eman Ahmad.  The latter states, "Before the war in 2003, I used to work in complete freedom.  I had my shop and my own car.  I was threatened a year back and since then I have stopped working and stopped driving."  She had operated a clothing store while Asma Kadhim had operated a hair salon but one day, "There was a stranger at the door.  He gave me an envelope which had two bullets and a letter that said 'if you do not close your beauty parlour, we will kill you.  Your work is haram (forbidden)'."
January 29th, Deborah Amos (NPR's Day to Day) reported how 'democracy' played out for Iraqi women:
Deborah Amos: Rima, a 48-year-old mother of four, escaped to Syria a year ago.  She doesn't want her family name broadcast because of relatives back home.   In the kitchen, Rima seems a traditional Iraqi mother preparing food for her son and three daughters but when it came to education, her daughters have advanced college degrees just like her son.  In Baghdad, Rima worked for a western aid organization helping improve the lives of poor Iraqi women until militants threatened to kill her. 
Rima: So many times I went to places that poor women are living.  They knew me.  They knew my face.
Deborah Amos: Rima acknowledges that from a distance Baghdad seems safer now but she says she needs guarantees that go beyond safety to take her daughters back there. 
Rima: There is no freedom.  Can any girl, woman, dressing as she likes,  going to jobs, going to colleges  as before?
Deborah Amos: There are women in college, there are some.
Rima: But all of them are frightened.
Deborah Amos: Historically Iraqi women had more rights and freedom than many in the Middle East.  That status declined in the last years of Saddam's rule, deteriorated further still after the US invastion.  Religious conservatives swept to office in Iraq's elections, the new constitution reduced women's rights  and religious radicals directly threatened women -- a story told be refugees across the Middle East.  In Lebanon, 53-year-old Bosaf and her brother Feraz, live in a low rent neighborhood outside the capital.  They fled Iraq's northern city of Mosul in June.  Bosaf -- the head librarian at Mosul University -- was threatened she says because of her head scarf.  Her university i.d. shows her blond hair covered by a flowered scarf -- a hijab.  But that wasn't good enough for Islamist militants in Mosul.  Basama -- a dignified, middle-aged woman -- displays a wicked sense of humor when it comes to the young men who dictated her head gear.  She drapes a long, black garmet over her head, rolls her eyes in a can-you-believe-they-made-me-wear-this expression and twirls across the living room.    
Unidentified woman: They killed many Christians, that's why she had to wear it. 
Deborah Amos: But even a proper headscarf was no protection in Basra.  Just ask 35-year-old Ala, the name she agrees to use for her family's safety.  She worked as a translator for a western aid organization delivering food and school supplies -- a job she knew came with risks.  But Ala says the bigger danger is the well armed and powerful in Basra imposing an extreme form of Islam.
Ala: What's happened, the whole change, attract every wrong value -- this is the religion: "God say that!"
Deborah Amos: Do you think it's more dangerous because you're a woman or because you were a translator? 
Ala: Woman.  Woman, yeah.
Deborah Amos: Ala now expresses her opinions in the relative saftey of exile.  She fled to neighboring Jordan last year.  But as a refugee there are other dangers for women.  Many have been trapped into prostitution, she says.  
Ala: Let me show you something.
Deborah Amos:  Ala takes a folded piece of paper from her wallet.  She says a Jordanian man -- old enough to be her father -- handed it to her when she first arrived.
Ala: Okay.  And then he said, just in case my dear daughter -- you need anything, anybody bother you in this country call me any time. And you'll never believe what he gave me.  Oh my God.
Deborah Amos: She smooths out the paper, points to a phone number and one Arabic word underlined.  A code she understood.
Ala: Marriage.  (Ala laughs.)
Deborah Amos:  So he was actually proposing marriage to you?
Ala: If that was his proposal.  This is what they're using women here unfortunately.  Marriage is the gate or the knock for the door.
Deborah Amos:  This is how the prostituion happens?  You get a note like this?
Ala: How many women actually show the note to the police?
Deborah Amos: Ala has finally left Jordan accepted for resettlement in the United States.  Basama in Lebanon and Rima in Syria hope for resettlement too because they believe they have no future in Iraq. 
And it's not just Iraqi women who are targeted in Iraq.  Jamie Leigh Jones went to Iraq to work for Halliburton's KBR and was drugged, gang-raped and imprisoned . . . by her co-workers.  As the Associated Press notes, she currently engaged in a battle to have her case heard in a court while KBR claims an employment contract should cover 'grievances.'

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The Problem From Hell: Samantha Power

As noted last night, Sammy Power went nuts in public. She's been doing it all along, trashing Hillary to the press. She pulled it two Mondays ago in public stating that Hillary Clinton only began voting against Iraq because Barack Obama (Sammy's political interest) did so. She did that on Democracy Now! and, had it just been the trashy Amy Goodman, she would have gotten away with it. Juan Gonzalez challenged Sammy's abilities to peer into the soul of Hillary and Sammy backed down.

But the reality is, most don't challenge her and most of the time she doesn't go so public. She just calls Hillary Clinton vile names and those in the press chuckle along with her. It doesn't get printed and she's gotten away with conducting herself in that manner repeatedly. With The Scotsman, she didn't get away with it. The interview was on the record and agreed to beforehand. A Problem From Hell couldn't help herself, she had to (as she always does with the press) rip into Hillary Clinton.

Ms Power told The Scotsman Mrs Clinton was stopping at nothing to try to seize the lead from Mr Obama."We f***** up in Ohio," she admitted. "In Ohio, they are obsessed and Hillary is going to town on it, because she knows Ohio's the only place they can win. "She is a monster, too – that is off the record – she is stooping to anything," Ms Power said, hastily trying to withdraw her remark."Interestingly, the people in her innermost circle seem to not mind her; I think they really love her." But she added: "There is this middle circle – they are really on the warpath. But the truth is she has proved herself really willing to stoop."
[. . .]
"You just look at her and think: ergh. But if you are poor and she is telling you some story about how Obama is going to take your job away, maybe it will be more effective. The amount of deceit she has put forward is really unattractive."

At No Woman Left Unstoned (aka Common Dreams) yesterday, Ruth Rosen fretted over Hillary Clinton raising the issue of national security. Will Rosen now weigh in on how damaging a Democratic candidate's campaign calling another candidate for the presidential nomination a "monster"? Probably not. But if she does, don't expect Common Dreams to run it. As they've demonstrated repeatedly, trashing Hillary is allowed. Hiding your trashing by pretending to be 'concerned' is encouraged and non-stop praise of Barack Obama gets posted immediately -- even without a basic fact check which has served to only demonstrate how stupid so many pretending to represent the left are.

Michael Saul and Kenneth R. Bazinet (New York Daily News) report this morning:

"She is a monster, too - that is off the record - she is stooping to anything," Power said, hastily trying to withdraw her remark.
In addition to calling Clinton a monster, Power made other unflattering comments about the former First Lady.
"Interestingly, the people in her innermost circle seem to not mind her; I think they really love her," she said.
Power said Clinton has looked desperate in her recent TV appearances.
"You just look at her and think: ergh. But if you are poor and she is telling you some story about how Obama is going to take your job away, maybe it will be more effective. The amount of deceit she has put forward is really unattractive," she said.
Late last night, the campaign issued an apology from Power and a statement condemning the remark.

The campaign issued an apology. That's not good enough. This is the campaign that asserts on its website:

Obama has emerged by displaying precisely the kind of character and judgment we need in a president: renouncing the politics of fear, speaking frankly on the most pressing issues facing the country and sticking to his principles. He recognizes that running for president is an opportunity to inspire an entire nation.

Already, the issue is being muddied. Chris Matthews was brought on by David Gregory (NBC's Today) and allowed to string together a bunch of words that said nothing and didn't address the issue. Some accounts forget to note that Power is a journalist, that's how she made her name (such as it is). Power is not an 'academic' who is a newbie to the world of the press. (And this isn't the first time she's trashed Hillary to the press). This time, the press didn't play by Sammy's rule and she finally got outed.

Power isn't just advising the Obama campaign. She also worked for him after he got into the Senate. She and her motley crew (which includes Sewell) have been calling the shots for some time. The same way they sell war as 'humanitarian,' they've cloaked their imperialistic candidate in 'compassion.' Power is very much a power-player in the Obama campaign.

Where's the firing? No one gets fired in the Obama campaign. One smut merchant with the campaign tells The Atlantic Monthly that the magazine needs to dig around in Bill Clinton's sex life last year and there's no apology and no firing. There has never been a 'hope' campaign run to the press. With the press, it has been non-stop gutter balls. It's been a little less obvious in public, but even there they haven't sent out the surrogates to trash Hillary (and Bill).

They have done that repeatedly. Sammy Power got caught and is truly surprised because everyone else in the press has just laughed at her remarks and left them off-the-record. This time her smut drifted to the public. It is not and never has been a hopeful campaign.

Sammy Power needs to be fired. If Obama wants to continue to claim that he's run a campaign of 'hope,' he needs to fire her immediately. His refusal to do so not only gives the impression that he can't control his own campaign, it demonstrates that an Obama presidency would show no accountability -- something all these years under the Bully Boy does not have the American people clamoring for more of.

Amy Goodman was gushing three Friday ago (while begging for money on WBAI) that Sammy Power could be the next Secretary of State. Two Mondays ago, when the complete interview was played on Democracy Now!, she was bringing it up in the interview. Sammy Power is very much a player in the campaign. If she continues to be one, Barack Obama is sending the message that he holds no one accountable loud and clear.

On Amy Goodman, Ava and I will be addressing today's schilling for Bambi on Sunday. To recount all of her lies (especially her self-serving ones) would take far too long. Yes, she lied repeatedly during her 'interview' with John Nichols who matched her lie for lie. It was hilarious to hear either claim to have watched Florida and Michigan since they did not and they were called out, community wide, in real time for their silence. The second segment was even more offensive as Amy Goodman went to town on a John McCain endorser, repeatedly acting shocked that the man has made homophobic comments. Of course, reality is that John McCain hasn't put him on stage. Barack Obama, however, put homophobes on stage in South Carolina and despite the protests over that, Amy Goodman never said a word.

Amy Goodman, concerned about homophobia when it suits her own interests.

No one's noted it in e-mails but Women's International Day gets less than four minutes though Goody promotes it in the teaser before the show and during headlines. Apparently, after you've written for a skin magazine, you think less than four minutes for an international action covers it. But if she'd made time for it, she never would have had time to schill for Obama yet again. There are so many lies and distortions in today's broadcast that Ava and I both have a headache just thinking about how we'll have to document them come Sunday. John Nichols' having finally cut off the curls, still sported his usual lies.

And NPR and PBS need to ask what 'service' is provide by airing Amy Goodman's obviously biased program?

John Nichols was the guest allegedly to speak of what may happen in *Michigan and Florida*. Nichols is a supporter of Barack Obama. Amy was happy to allow him to offer whispers (he passed them off as "revelations") that smeared Hillary Clinton.

Again, what is being accomplished by NPR and PBS airing this one-side program?

"The largest community cesspool in the country" is how the show should be billed. 68 Iraqis died yesterday. Amy Goodman had no segment on Iraq. She's not interested in it. She's interested in attacking John McCain and getting Obama into the White House. She's so interested in that, in fact, that she holds John McCain to a standard she doesn't have for Obama. If she's as outraged by homophobia as she tries to pretend today, she probably should have called out Obama's use of it in South Carolina. But she didn't. She never even mentioned it. Now she wants to take a John McCain endorser to task for homophobia?

Lou Dobbs should have Goody on his show now. He should confront her with her record, the way she did with his record. Her record can't stand up because she's trashed it by using her program to promote the Obama campaing non-stop. An NPR friend has been screaming on the phone all week about headlines and how her included quotes from Obama and Clinton -- in the headlines -- have been biased (biased in selection, biased in word count), so members e-mailing this morning, take comfort in the fact that her schilling has been noted where it can have an impact.

She's a liar and exposed herself as a liar today. Ava and I will be addressing it on Sunday in full. In the meantime, people should wait for Ruth Rosen's next column, to see if Ruth Rosen expresses outrage over Sammy Power's statements? To see if Rosen, who stayed silent during the smears of Hillary using Chelsea, has a word to offer. Probably not, because when you're fired from Real Media, you know not to anger Panhandle Media, you know to tow their line. Ruth Rosen couldn't get a job today in Real Media so of course she ended up in Panhandle Media.

She uses 'feminism' to play like she is proud of both candidates but, golly, Hillary shouldn't have raised the national security issue. Rosen says John McCain's camp will do that. Yes, McCain's camp will do that. The GOP did it in 2004. They will do it again. Democrats better be prepared for that and better be able to answer and respond immediately. Instead of making that point, Rosen plays a card we're all familiar with. It was used on Elizabeth Holtzman as well -- in the alleged name of 'feminism': women shouldn't want public office and they should be encouraging and supportive of their fellow candidates. That's a load of crap. Every candidate is in an election to win or they shouldn't be running for office to begin with. Hillary's ad was effective and it was needed. Bambi supporters operate under the assumption that no issue must be raised (it's why his foot soldiers refer people to the website and are ordered to only talk about how Bambi makes them 'feel'). They think they can offer some dopey New Age primary campaign and then, against the GOP attack machine, they'll be standing. They won't. Hillary's ad worked not because it played into 'fear.' Hillary's ad worked because it addressed the elephant in the room.

Rosen and Scheer and all the other reporters fired from their Real Media jobs (for good reasons in many cases) aren't elevating the standards of Panhandle Media, they're wallowing in the lack of standards and trying to play the American people for fools. This fall, all the cries of "That's not fair! Be uplifting!" aren't going to work on the GOP and Bambi's groupies need to stop trying to use them now.

Harvard's Sammy Power called another candidate in the Democratic race a "monster." That's not allowed. But don't wait to see Panhandle Media rushing to weigh in on that unless they can chuckle about it. Otherwise, they'll just minimize it. They'll trot out her lie that she's "long admired" Hillary. The reality is she has trashed Hillary non-stop to the press. This time someone printed it. She got caught. She needs to be fired for it. If Obama can't even handle that basic duty, he's not up to running for the presidential nomination of a political party, let alone the presidency of the United States.

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Added: Dona note to C.I.'s entry above. Per C.I., I've added links due to the fact that so many e-mails coming into the public account express shock over the basics (such as the talk that Sammy Power would be Obama's choice for Secretary of State). C.I. also asked me to note that Mike's "Sammy Power blows a gasket!" discussed this last night. C.I. noted the topic in "I Hate The War" and, in that entry, noted Larry Johnson's "Obama Amateur Hour" (No Quarter). For those visitors e-mailing the public account and wondering why a wait to address TV on Sunday: since the start of 2005, Ava and C.I. have covered TV every Sunday at The Third Estate Sunday Review (there's one week where they covered a movie -- they came back the following week with two TV commentaries). They had hoped to return to covering entertainment televsion; however, that was before the lies of this week began airing. During the writers strike, they began covering news and public affairs programming exclusively (they had covered it before but not every week). For those late to the party, in descending order, here's what they've offered at Third on news and public affair programming during the writers strike:

TV: The strong and the weak
TV: Bad TV takes no holiday
TV: What's the measurement?
TV: Nah-nah-nah, Hey-hey-hey, Goodbye
TV: Cullum's Big B.O.
TV: Democracy Sometimes?
TV: The Surreal Life stages comeback!
TV: The Dead and Missing Persons
TV: Charlie Rose by any other name would still be as bad
TV: The Weak Get Weaker
TV: ABC's Cesspool
TV: 60 Wasted Minutes
TV: Fumble Line
TV: The either or

Ava and C.I. cover TV every week at Third. They write the TV features (Jim comes up with the titles to their commentaries) and they've been doing that since January 2005 (that month, we -- Jim, Ty, Jess and myself -- wrote them with Ava and C.I., in Feb. 2005, Ava and C.I. began doing the pieces all by themselves). For those e-mailing the public account screaming "tease" and worse, Ava and C.I. have to have a TV topic come Saturday night/Sunday morning. There's no way in hell that, on Friday morning, C.I.'s going to tackle TV and return to the topic on Sunday.

Lastly, for my mother (a huge Hillary supporter) this is "Hillary Clinton Statement on February Job Loss:"

Today's dismal jobs new should put to rest any doubts that our economy is in deep trouble. We have now seen two straight months of job loss, and the 63,000 decline in February is the worst since March of 2003. This troubling news comes at the end of a week where oil toped $104 a barrel and we learned that home foreclosures hit an all time high in the fourth quarter of 2007.
These are painful reminders that we need a President who is ready to be a steward of our economy, starting on day one. Because behind these statistics, every job lost means there is another family missing a paycheck, another parent worried about providing for their kids, and another family in danger of losing their home.
The time for action is now. While the stimulus measures in the pipeline are important, it's going to take more than tax rebates to avoid a deep economic downturn. We need to immediately extend unemployment insurance and invest at least $5 billion right now in green-collar jobs to help avert a recession. And we need a comprehensive solution to the housing crisis, not more half-measures and hand-wringing. That is why I've called for a 90-day moratorium on foreclosures, a 5-year freeze on interest rates for subprime mortgages and a $30 billion emergency fund to help states handle the crisis in their communities.