Saturday, July 01, 2006

NYT: There is no grace, even at Graceland even in the Green Zone

Late in posting this morning due to the fact that I tried to check the public account and found an e-mail from an idiot (see previous post). That required calling a friend to find out what had been said (as opposed to what the e-mail claimed had been said) and led to a long conversation.

Billie wrote, "You're sleeping in! Good!" I wish, Billie. So let's go through today's New York Times quickly. On the front page, you see Bully Boy (is he trying for the Barbara Bush again or does he just need a hair cut really badly -- there's something sad about grown men who wear their hair like their mothers) in an embarrassing photo. World leaders shouldn't try to "bust a move." Does Priscilla Presley have an "old lady chin"?

I can't tell, she's got it covered it up. Wally wrote about this 'event' in "" yesterday. For those wondering, yes, Wally is an Elvis fan. (I didn't know that until he read "THIS JUST IN! WHERE THERE IS GREED, THERE IS BULLY BOY" to me yesterday over the phone.) Her hair does look ridiculous. One thing I would've suggested if I'd seen photos yesterday would have been that he address the color of her outfit. For someone who spent so much time (once spent) harping against Presley, it's interesting that she's wearing her own version of the white suit. God, Bully Boy's fat. I'm looking at th photo closely (Matthew Cavanaugh/European Pressphoto Agency) and after realizing that Junichio Koizumi looks (and acts) like Richard Gere in the flop (which one? I know! Give me a minute.), I noticed the overhanging waist. Mr. Jones, that's the film. Wasn't it about a mid-life crisis? The photo on the front page appears to capture several. You've got the woman, who rode her ex-husband into some semblance of fame, clearly thinking she looks classy (a mistake's she made all too frequently), you've got Lisa-Will-I-Ever-Have-A-Career? suffering fools for money, and you've got Bully Boy in mid-snort. The more I look at Presley's outfit (Priscilla) the more it looks like something she stole from the Dallas set. She tried hard but never found her own sense of style, did she? Well they got their photo all over the world and hopefully can continue to live off Elvis -- I suppose it beats working. (I'm just being snide about someone who's never been taken seriously. Wally truly was offended and probably many an Elvis fan was.) (And I can be snide as much as I want, I don't make 'tone' arguments or write for the business section of the New York Times.)

Edward Wong cover the latest scandal in "G.I.'s Investigated In Slayings of 4 And Rape In Iraq." We covered that in the snapshot yesterday. Wong writes of one G.I. admitting to it in a "counseling-type session." I have no idea whether the admission is true or not. I'm not calling Wong a liar. That was reported yesterday in the wire reports. I did wonder about the "counseling-type" sessions and whether they're in place to help (domestic abuse was one of the reasons the debriefings were created) or to ferret out information? Did the G.I. go public or did his "healer" decide to?

I'm not seeing much that wasn't in yesterday's breaking reports. Due to the time difference in Iraq, that may be expected. (I belive they broke a little after noon EST.) Wong tries to pad by noting fatality counts. With regards to the month of June, it's the first day of July. Translation, the figures aren't in yet. He writes 60. Since the military is often slow in releasing data, it's not uncommon for two, three or five to be added to the month's fatality count a few days after the press runs with the day-of-figure. He also writes of Iraqi fatalities and notes Iraq Coalition Casualty Count. I'm not seeing his figure (840) on their page. I see a notation of their estimate for deaths in June since June 7th (719) and possibly he's adding in a figure they provide for Iraqi troops and police officers killed (134, though would that qualify as civilians?). Is that how he got his estimate?

In Baghdad, the morturary has stated that they've recevied at least thirty corpses a day this month. That would put the figure at over 900 for Baghdad alone. It matters for a number of reasons including the fact that deaths do matter. Another reason is because Wong can pick up the phone and call the Baghdad morturary and ask for their figure. That's necessary if he wants to use the figure to write of 'trends.' And considering that radio reports right now say at least sixty people have died in an explosion in Baghdad, probably not the best time to write of the 'trend' where civilian fatalities are going down. (It's called "timing.") You'll note that like just about everyone in the world, he ignores the fact, reported by Nancy A. Youssef on Monday, that the American military has admitted that they are keeping track of civilians fatalities. From Youssef's article:

The death of civilians at the hands of U.S. troops has fueled the insurgency in Iraq, according to a top-level U.S. military commander, who said U.S. officials began keeping records of these deaths last summer.
Lt. Gen. Peter Chiarelli, who as head of the Multinational Force-Iraq is the No. 2 U.S. commander in Iraq, said the number of civilian dead and wounded is an important measurement of how effectively U.S. forces are interacting with the Iraqi people.
"We have people who were on the fence or supported us who in the last two years or three years have in fact decided to strike out against us. And you have to ask: Why is that? And I would argue in many instances we are our own worst enemy,'' Chiarelli said.
Chiarelli said he reviews the figures daily. If fewer civilians are killed, "I think that will make our soldiers safer,'' Chiarelli said.
U.S. officials previously have said they don't keep track of civilian causalities, and Iraqi officials stopped releasing numbers of U.S.-caused casualties after Knight Ridder reported in September 2004 that the Iraqi Ministry of Health had attributed more than twice as many civilian deaths to the actions of U.S. forces than to "terrorist'' attacks during the period from June to September 2004.

I believe that's the fifth time this week we've noted Youssef's article. Why others don't feel Youssef's scoop that the military is indeed keeping track of civilian fatalities isn't news is a question you should put them -- and some did. Mike has a column on this in Sunday's Polly's Brew so check your inboxes for it Sunday.

In the meantime we get nonsense instead of Youssef. E-mails note several bits of nonsense popular today. The Brave Bill Keller. The Times repeatedly met (social occassion meetings, not journalistic ones) on the financial spying story with the White House and various flunkies. Bill Keller's roaring like a lion but they had the story months and months ago, they didn't print all they could confirm and they were happy to suppress it and suppress it. This isn't a journalistic highpoint (and friends at the Times can't believe how it's being passed off as that). Keller's in no danger, the paper's in no danger. The White House won't charge them. (If they do and it's received well, panic.) The White House needs a whipping boy and the Times needs to do something to demonstrate they aren't still the Timid (actually printing reality would help there). This is mutual self-stroking case, why people want to turn it into a First Amendment issue (especially considering the paper of no record's record) is beyond me. Maybe it makes them feel good.

There's another nonsense story that we'll bite our tongue because it's such huge nonsense and so many are taken in. (Clue, check the validity of the thing you're citing as "proof." Check the sample size, check where the sample comes from. Also check basic facts. For instance, this site didn't start in 1999 and if some 'measurement' is stating we did then they have problems with their measurements.)

This entry's taking too long. Mainly because I keep going through the e-mails and writing comments (in e-mails and here) on the suggested links. For anyone who missed it, we don't celebrate, even in a single sentence, frauds and phonies, racists and homophobes here. There's a link to something that oversimplifies Steinem (Steinem is not any of the four) and works in another bit of praise for the biggest fraud of all who dumbed herself down for 'the masses' (while ripping off a book available only in French and damn lucky that she slid by with so little calling her on it -- now that she's dead maybe someone will?). I like Steinem so I have no interest in what it's an oversimplification about her and I have always despised Fraud-an so I have no desire to link to something siting her yet again in uncritical terms. Homophobe, racist, fraud and phoney. Queen of the rip-offs. Some of her crowd went neo-conservative, some went into hiding. We'll all be better off when they simply die off.

Gloria Steinem we're always happy to highlight. Things on Gloria Steinem that set her up against Fraud-an or oversimplify Steinem's position, not interested. Never will be.

Here's the opening of Michael Ratner's "For His Eyes Only: Bush's Secret Crimes" (The Nation) which we will gladly note:

The Justice Department has finally taken decisive action in the mounting legal challenges to the President Bush's domestic spying program. But there's only one problem: It has acted to defend illegal spying, not stop it.
On June 15, the Justice Department filed a lawsuit to block the New Jersey Attorney General from demanding that telephone companies answer whether they have broken the law by providing records to the National Security Agency (NSA). On behalf of the Bush Administration, government attorneys argued that New Jersey cannot investigate whether the phone companies broke the law, because this could compromise national security.
Government attorneys used the same argument in May to demand a federal court drop a case challenging warrantless domestic wiretapping--without even hearing the evidence. They declared that the court case itself would compromise national security. The Bush Administration demanded the judge throw out the case without any more review.

Ruth's planning to write something. She's got Law and Disorder and two other programs and that's it. I've told her, "Take the weekend off, if you want to." It's not her fault that no one was interested in discussing Iraq this week. She's going to try for a report (mainly, my opinion, because Law and Disorder is her favorite program and she wants to get the word out on it). (Ratner is a co-host of the program, for any who are wondering about the transistion.)

Carl wondered if the hate mail from visitors was getting to me and the reason we hadn't noted Margaret Kimberley this week? We're noting her on Saturdays now. Thursdays, it often comes out (The Black Commentator) after the DN! entry is completed. Friday's would be ideal but I'm dead tired from the "And the war drags on . . ." entries on Thursday nights. So we'll make Saturday her day. From her latest, entitled "McKinney, Jackson Lee: Separated at Birth" (The Black Commentator):

How odd that the White House would quote McKinney, even mistakenly. She was used as the Republican’s favorite punching bag, called everything but a child of God and was even criticized for her hairstyle. McKinney has been one of the most outspoken if not the most outspoken critic of the administration's foreign policy. The White House and their allies were gleeful about her troubles, and yet they had the gall to use her name in order to bolster their arguments in favor of the occupation of Iraq.
The Capitol Hill police made a federal case out of the McKinney incident by claiming that a new hairstyle made the Congresswoman unidentifiable. Jackson Lee has a hairstyle similar to McKinney's older look, hence the confusion for white America.
McKinney was dismissed, ridiculed and called crazy when she said she was the victim of racial profiling. She was certainly proven right when the White House used her name for its own purposes. The woman who was treated like public enemy number one was suddenly quoted when the powers thought she might be useful to them.
The moral of this story is clear. It doesn't matter what McKinney, Jackson Lee or any other black person does or achieves. One is a former college professor and the other an attorney who graduated from an Ivy League school. Both are United States congressional representatives. Tony Snow doesn’t think either one of them is worthy of respect or consideration of any kind. One is indistinguishable from the other and they will be treated the same, with disdain, regardless of their opinions, actions, or CBC monitor grades. Apparently it is true. We all do look alike.

That's the conclusion, please read the entire commentary if you haven't already. (And note that I rarely say that. It's worth reading.) We'll be noting her on Saturdays. On Mondays, we'll note another piece from The Black Commentator because we're not noting it enough. (My opinion.) We'll probably also be noting Kim Gandy on Saturday (every two because her column is biweekly). From her latest "Are You Pre-Pregnant?" (Below the Belt, NOW):

I know you've all been waiting for this week's "Below the Belt" update on what's in style on the right-wing runway. While fashion magazines are paying close attention to recent wide belt trends, NOW is tuning into the latest blunders in this season's Bush & Co. collection. As usual, it's far from haute couture, and it's definitely cramping women's style.
How about that barefoot-in-the-kitchen pre-pregnant look? Last month, Bush and his co-designers kicked off the season with new federal guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control--urging women of certain ages to behave as if they are pre-pregnant at all times, and to take daily precautions to make their bodies the best baby-makers around. The must-have accessory for this pre-pregnant ensemble is a bottle of folic acid vitamins. Chic, no? To heck with keeping chronic conditions like asthma and diabetes under control in the interest of your ability live a long and healthy life--do it for the babies our government is so eager to see you incubate!
That pre-conceptive, Victorian-esque style is just one in a series of attempts by Bush & Co. to bring back old trends that are unfit for revival.
And how can we leave out their new designs for education--sex-segregated public schools--appearing in state legislature across the country? Last week, the Michigan State Senate voted to amend the state's anti-segregation Civil Rights Act to allow single gender public schools, classes and programs. The
bill passed 32-5 last Thursday, a punch-in-the-face kind of tribute to the 34th anniversary of Title IX's passage. Bush & Co., predictably, was hot to the segregation-codification trend two years ago, when the administration proposed federal endorsement of single sex public schools across the country. Maybe it's just me, but I thought the whole separate-but-equal approach to education went out like using narcotics in children's cough medicine--permanently, because it wasn't a good idea in the first place.

NOW is celebrating forty years and to read more about that, see "The National Organization for Women Celebrates 40 Fabulous Years."

(Saturdays are being carved out for Kimberley and Gandy because otherwise it will be, "Okay, not time, next entry" and I'll end up forgetting. If there's a voice that you feel we're not noting enough, we can carve out a spot on Sundays for two which is why that's the current poll in the gina & krista round-robin. You need to vote by Thursday morning if you have a suggestion. As I noted in the round-robin, this should be reserved for voices that aren't commenting on Iraq with the majority of their writing. If they're commenting on Iraq, they can be worked into an entry or the Iraq snapshot. Gandy and Kimberley have not been silent on the war but they write about a number of topics so it's more difficult to work them lately.)

The e-mail address for this site is

law and disorder

Reply to a social climber who e-mailed about two fo the same

A government report ordered by Fidel Castro says that Cuba should act fast to support opposition parties as George W. Bush's rule ends and that it should get advisers on the ground within weeks of the 2008 primaries. It also recommended a "democracy fund" of $80 million (US currency) over the next two years to increase opposition and suggested yearly financing of $20 million for American democracy programs. Bush has suggested his brother, Jeb, should succeed him.

What do you think of the above item? It does kind of, sort of appear in this morning's New York Times. On page A6. But the thing is, it's not Cuba gearing up, it's the US. The dollar amounts are correct (and the items entitled "CUBA: U.S. GEARS UP FOR POST CASTRO-ERA" in "World Briefing").

It's part of the attitude that allows the Bully Boy family to look the other way with regards to terrorists -- sometimes they woo them, sometimes they pardon them. Poppy's pardon's didn't include Marc Rich, they did include a terrorist. For all Bully Boy's bluster about his War of Terror, he's made no statements about the terrorist who downed an aircraft and said of some of the victims (an Olympic fencing team) that they were legitimate targets because they praised Castro in a victory speech. That piece of trash was allowed to wink-wink sneak into this country and instead of turning him over to authorities where he could be tried, we're all supposed to look the other way.

When some piece of human trash (Pat Robertson, Simon Rosenberg) starts making noises about Hugo Chavez, it's not about democracy any more than it is when they do their war dances about Castro. It's about the human trash (the names sometimes shuffle around a bit -- the trash quality always remains) wanting to express and act on their greed and overcome their sense of impotency.

Cuba threatens America how? In no way at all. We could have diplomatic relations with them. (Though that would really upset certain elements the CIA has off and on funded for years and looked the other way while they've broken actual laws -- unlike the day campers in the FBI sting operation that the Times wants to write about yet again today.)

If you're in the United States, it's your country. You can get caught up in all this never-ending crap about Cuba that's gone on for decades or be ignorant trash like Robertson or Rosenberg (or the ones who support either -- the fundies and the psuedo-left) or you can wake up to reality that two nations that offer no threat to America are constantly suffering from attempts to destabilize via your tax dollars.

It's stupid. It's stupid that telecom whore Simon Rosenberg was pushed by some of the supposed left sites as a DNC chair. (It's stupid that Sam Seder played footsie with him during this period and then couldn't understand why listeners of The Majority Report were outraged but Seder's demonstrated that though volume's never his problem, actual thought is.) When you read the item before (as switched by me), did you wonder, "What the hell is Cuba doing trying to interfere in our democratic process?" You should have. We'd be outraged in this country if that happened.

But when your impotent, ignorant and a weak-sister (to use an old phrase) trying to make sure everyone sees you as "manly," you'll resort to anything.

When the trash that is Simon Rosenberg wanted to run for DNC chair, did anyone (we did) questions his comments about the need to deal with Hugo Chavez? No, they didn't. The little cheerleaders of the psuedo left lined up because he understood the net. Actually looking at his vile record wasn't an issue. It didn't matter to them that he was a War Hawk who supported the war on Iraq. It didn't matter that he was one of the first out of the gate (and the first of the junior-division) to stab John Kerry in the back after the election. It didn't matter that he inflicted his wound with false facts and never corrected the record. (Nor did it matter that the slime who never said one word about the Hispanic vote during the actual election or the lead up suddenly was passing himself off as the protector of the Hispanic vote.)

Nothing mattered except his close relationship with a few would-be Cokie's (one of whom might need to borrow Tom Cruise's device -- dubbed the "squeak suppresor" -- before he attempts to storm the gates of mainstream punditry) and the fact that he "got" the net. He got it so well he went to work lobbying for the telecom industry.

Slimon never had a chance at a DNC chair. Nor do social climbers have a chance at "impact." Vegas was both laughable and dismaying. Dismaying because you saw just how little independence mattered and just how little difference there was in whores (wanna-bes were as craven as the established ones). Laughable because they are this year's out-of-town publisher (no offense to ____, who learned his lesson the hardest and most publicly a few decades back). Storm the gates all you want, you're not getting access and you made yourself useless and laughable the moment you revelead your motives. Squeak may make it in, through the servants' entrance. He'll be allowed to dust and clean up after the party.

Maybe they're suffering Madonna-damage, but naked ambition's a lot like visible sweat, it doesn't get you "in." I move in several circles and there's not a damn bit of difference in any. Naked ambition gets you dubbed a "social climber" and that's what the Squeak set has revealed themselves to be. They'll be co-opted for a presidential election cycle. Then they'll storm into DC (strut more like it) and find out, as so many outsiders have found out before them, they can carry the trays, but they're not invited guests. Simon Rosenberg is this cycle's Mr. Doris Kearns Goodwin. One more fool who wants to lead a pack but can't. A social disaster on decline. There is something really sad about social climbers who can't even grasp that they're 'introductions' are on the outs. (Hopefully, unlike the aforementioned publisher, they didn't waste money picking up the tab on their hopeful social guide drinks.)

They've made themselves useless as they've fashioned themselves as "king makers." There was an e-mail from a writer of a publication asking that we note a few things. I don't care for the social climbers. I've known them as the town joke, regardless of which town I was in. But if the writer thinks he can call "chicken" to get me to publish/promote his claims, he's mistaken. (This entry is being e-mailed by Jess to the writer as a response -- members are aware that this happens quite often, confused visitors should know I don't reply privately to various writers and others -- pundits, et al -- who write the public account.) Nobody "owns' The Common Ills, including me. And we don't owe anything to either of the two your e-mail mentions. You can write your you-must-be-chicken e-mail all you want and include whatever gossip you want (like many an unimportant scribe, he's about five months behind on the gossip) but you're not going to get a rise out of me that prompts me to put your gossip up here. I'm not scared of them, they're useless. They have nothing to do with this site. I've never spoken to them in person and, honestly, wouldn't.

You name dropped someone that I did call to ask, "What the hell did you say to ___?" He denies most of your claims. He admits that he said we weren't part of that "unwashed crowd" (his term) but says that's all he said. I care for your publication about as much as I care for them. (Translation, neither of you matter.) You write that you know (you're so knowing for someone so ignorant) that it would be "death" for us (me) to go up against them (oh really?) but that I should know (I love hearing what I "should" do or know from people so ignorant) that I would have "support." I don't want your support. I don't need your support or your publication's. Maybe you missed it, but we don't link to you. When you or your magazine is mentioned in anything I write here or co-write at The Third Estate Sunday Review, we laugh.

The friend you cited and I spent two hours on the phone this morning attempting to figure out the point of your e-mail. As we see it, you thought you could "light a fire" and get me to repeat your rumors (if they're facts I would assume they'd already have appeared elsewhere). I really don't care much for Congressional scandals (personal) so I don't know why you'd assume I'd care for your rumors? (If anything, they actually made me feel sorry for one of the two you focus on in your e-mail.) You're also under some impression (or attempting to work anything that you feel might get your rumors noted) that I'm alternately courting and in fear of the two. I'm not.

They don't matter in my offline world and they're not sites that we promote here. Please apologize to my friend that you've misquoted and don't write again because I won't read you. This is the only response you're getting.

Before I checked, I thought you might have had some sincerity in your e-mail and were just mixed up on a few details. After getting off the phone with my friend, I realize that you're desperate to promote your claims (and probably yourself). Squabble with the two you wrote of. I'll enjoy laughing. But don't think I'll help you. This is your intra-mural feud. You're both serving the same sop. I'm not here to help you or to steer you or to promote you.

We don't form "alliances" (your term) outside the community. We turned down one publication that (at that time) was one we supported. We certainly wouldn't 'partner up' with you. We don't need you, we don't need them. This community has built up on it's own without help from anyone so when you write: "I understand why you'd feel you owe them something for their support . . ." What support? You don't know what you're writing about.

We don't promote them, they don't promote us. "Owe"? I don't feel I owe anyone outside of the community a ___ damn thing. More so after last night's group phone call. Members should check out Mike's column in Sunday's Polly's Brew on who ignored Nancy Youssef's article even when it was brought to their attention. We got some links early on (to entries) and I've gone from grateful over that to thinking, "Well why the hell shouldn't we have gotten them?" (A number of members, a large number, who've complained repeatedly that I've promoted a site need fear no more. I did like that site and we'll continue to provide the link to it. However, Mike contacted them personally about Youssef's article and if they're too stupid to realize that is a story worth noting, then they aren't as smart as I thought they were.) (Note to the idiot this is being e-mailed to, the site referred to now is not one of the sites you're writing about.) So I really don't care what someone did two years ago or a year ago. As Mike notes in his entry (prelude to Sunday's column), members stopped supporting that site a year ago. That's their business. I don't control what members do (I'm just a member of this community myself). But no, I don't feel we owe anything.

And the sites the e-mailer's writing of have never done anything I'm aware of to promote this site so I have no debt to them. I'm not "silent out of fear," I just don't care for them. (I feel sorry for one of them based upon the e-mail that I'm responding to in this entry.) The e-mailer writes that "like everyone, you're scared of their power." You've got a ___-up notion of what power is. Power is personal. It's come from telling your truth.

There are things I've sat on because friends have asked me to. (Such as the vile Matt Cooper because to address that while the issue was before the court re: Miller was said to hurt the larger cause.) And there are times when I've been so embarrassed for someone that I've avoided naming them but I have commented (and everyone knew whom I was writing about).

Power comes from speaking your truth, not from shady alliances or back-door deals. Your as bad a social climber as the two you're writing about and if you knew anything about me personally, you'd know I've never had any use for pretenders or social climbers. (I've noted before, many times, I'm not a nice person.) Your hope was that your claims would make it up here. They're not going to. All you've accomplished is that I will be laughing at you with a number of friends and it's going to be in the set that you and the two you write of wish you were in.

Your full of promises (bribes) and under the impression that your idea of "success" matches mine. It doesn't. If it weren't for Iraq, I wouldn't even be online. Your offer of an interview both fails to grasp that I wouldn't appear in your rag (either as C.I. or myself) and that it's been stated many times here that I will not do interviews as C.I. (and genuine requests have been turned down or ignored so your bribe's even more laughable). You also offer other outlets.

I'm not interested. I've made that clear from the start of this. The community's actually too large as it is now and we don't need your help or anyone else's. (With or without strings attached.) In case you missed it (you seem to have missed quite a bit) I would like for this site to go dark after the November 2008 election. I want my life back. This was never a means to promote myself. The reason this site started in the first place was because I was looking at what I didn't do in the lead up to 2004. I didn't jump on the blame John Kerry bandwagon. I didn't whine and moan that someone else had let "us" down. Instead, it was look at what worked and what didn't. I made changes based on that. I also looked at what I didn't do. One thing, that many, had suggested was doing a "blog." That's the reason this site started. It's not a "blog." It's not what-I-want-to-write-about. I added the Cuba item to the top because otherwise I had no interest in even writing about this. But your offensive e-mail demands some sort of reply so we'll force it together with the Cuba item. They relate because they're both 'macho' mind games and they both make me sick.

Please don't e-mail me again.

For non-social climbers who aren't members (members need to use the two private e-mail addresses), the e-mail address for this site is

Friday, June 30, 2006

Corte Suprema reprende a la Casa Blanca por tribunales de Guantanamo

Miguel: Buenos noches. Aqui estan diez noticias de "Democracy Now!". Buen fin de semana. Paz.

Corte Suprema reprende a la Casa Blanca por tribunales de Guantánamo
En una decisión trascendental, la Corte Suprema reprendió al gobierno de Bush por crear tribunales militares para juzgar a los detenidos de la Bahía de Guantánamo. La corte dictaminó por cinco votos a favor y tres en contra que los tribunales militares violaban tanto el Código Uniforme de la Justicia Militar como la Convención de Ginebra.

Jueces dicen que Estados Unidos debe respetar la Convención de Ginebra
Se prevé que el impacto del caso se extenderá mucho más allá de Guantánamo, porque los jueces dictaminaron que la llamada "guerra contra el terrorismo" debe ser luchada respetando las leyes internacionales. Los expertos legales dicen que el fallo también pone en cuestionamiento la defensa por parte del gobierno de Bush de la legalidad de los duros métodos de interrogatorio, las prisiones secretas de la CIA y el programa de vigilancia a nivel nacional de la Agencia de Seguridad Nacional (NSA, por sus siglas en inglés). La Corte decidió que se debe aplicar la Convención de Ginebra a los detenidos capturados en la guerra contra el terrorismo. "Los Angeles Times" informó: "Lo realmente trascendental en el caso de Hamdan es el fallo de la corte de que el Artículo Común 3 de la Convención de Ginebra se aplica al conflicto con Al Qaeda, un fallo que provoca que los funcionarios de alto rango del gobierno de Bush posiblemente sean procesados en virtud de la Ley federal de Crímenes de Guerra". En el fallo del jueves, el Juez John Paul Stevens escribió: "El Ejecutivo debe acatar el mandato de la ley que rige en ésta jurisdicción".

Cindy Sheehan y otras personas lanzarán huelga de hambre frente a la Casa Blanca
Las organizaciones Code Pink, Global Exchange y Gold Star Families for Peace anunciaron que lanzarán una huelga de hambre el 4 de julio frente a la Casa Blanca, como forma de protesta contra la guerra en Irak. Docenas de familiares de militares, veteranos de guerra, activistas y celebridades prometieron participar en la huelga de hambre. La lista de participantes incluye a Cindy Sheehan, Dolores Huerta, Willie Nelson, Danny Glover, Sean Penn y Susan Sarandon. Cindy Sheehan dijo en una declaración: "Hemos marchado, hemos llevado a cabo vigilias, hemos hecho lobby en el Congreso, hemos acampado frene al rancho de Bush. Incluso hemos ido a prisión. Ahora es tiempo de hacer más".

Liberan a diez integrantes de la Granny Peace Brigade en Filadelfia
En Filadelfia, diez integrantes de la Granny Peace Brigade (Brigada de Abuelas por la Paz) fueron arrestadas el miércoles, tras negarse a abandonar un centro de reclutamiento militar.

ONU: 150.000 iraquíes desalojados de sus hogares en los últimos meses
En noticias sobre Irak, la Organización de las Naciones Unidas calcula que 150.000 iraquíes han sido desalojados de sus hogares en los últimos cuatro meses debido a la intensificación de los combates. El desalojo masivo comenzó tras el bombardeo a un santuario chiíta en Samarra en febrero.

Fuerzas Armadas estadounidenses admiten que la seguridad en Bagdad no ha mejorado mucho
Mientras tanto, las Fuerzas Armadas estadounidenses reconocieron que la seguridad prácticamente no ha mejorado en Bagdad, a pesar de que durante dos semanas se tomaron medidas drásticas en materia de seguridad que implicaban a 75.000 soldados iraquíes y estadounidenses. El martes, al menos dieciocho personas murieron en Irak, incluyendo a un infante de marina y a tres soldados estadounidenses.

Mueren 350 civiles iraquíes en puntos de control estadounidenses durante 2005
Mientras tanto, las Fuerzas Armadas estadounidenses anunciaron que 350 iraquíes inocentes fueron asesinados en puntos de control estadounidenses durante el año pasado, lo que arroja un promedio de al menos seis asesinatos por semana. Un alto funcionario de inteligencia le dijo a Reuters que de un total de cuatro mil incidentes en los que los soldados estadounidenses respondieron a una aparente amenaza, menos del 2% realmente la representaban.

Pentágono admite nuevo espionaje de grupos estudiantiles
Crece la lista de los grupos activistas vigilados en virtud de un programa secreto del Pentágono. La Red de Defensa Legal de Miembros de las Fuerzas Armadas (SLDN, por sus siglas en inglés) dice que el Departamento de Defensa admitió que espió a personas protegidas bajo la política "No pregunte, No diga" ("Don't Ask, Don't Tell") -- que establece que la policía no pregunte por el status de inmigración de la persona que solicita protección -- así como también espió protestas en contra de la guerra de varias universidades: la Universidad Estatal de Nueva York en Albany, La Universidad William Peterson en Nueva Jersey, la Universidad Estatal de Connecticut del Sur y la Universidad de California, en Berkeley. Documentos desclasificados indican que el gobierno interceptó los mensajes de correo electrónico de los estudiantes, y utilizó agentes encubiertos en al menos una protesta. El gobierno también se negó a confirmar o negar si había espiado a activistas de la comunidad lesbiana, gay, bisexual o transgénero. Esta revelación marca el caso más recientemente conocido de espionaje por parte del gobierno en virtud de un programa de inteligencia nacional secreto, que también se ha centrado en el movimiento Cuáquero y en otros grupos en contra de la guerra.

Ex oficial de la CIA: El gobierno de Bush ignoró las advertencias sobre "Curveball" Un oficial retirado de la CIA reveló nuevos detalles sobre cómo el gobierno de Bush construyó el caso para invadir Irak. En una entrevista con el Washington Post, el ex oficial de la CIA Tyler Drumheller dijo que advirtió en reiteradas ocasiones a funcionarios del gobierno sobre la fuente iraquí desacreditada conocida como "Curveball". "Curveball" es el expatriado iraquí cuyas declaraciones fueron utilizadas para ayudar a construir la acusación de que Saddam Hussein tenía armas de destrucción masiva. Drumheller dice que él personalmente quitó un párrafo del borrador del discurso de Colin Powell ante la Organización de las Naciones Unidas, que afirmaba que Irak tenía laboratorios móviles de armas biológicas. Pero los funcionarios del gobierno de Bush intervinieron y Powell pronunció su discurso intacto, con la afirmación de la existencia de estos laboratorios.

Demandan al gobierno por nuevas exigencias de ciudadanía para Medicaid
Una coalición de grupos defensores está demandando al gobierno federal, en un intento por recusar una ley que exige a los beneficiarios de Medicaid el comprobar su ciudadanía, ya que de lo contrario pierden los beneficios de asistencia médica a largo plazo. La ley entrará en vigencia mañana. Quienes critican ésta ley temen que millones de ciudadanos estadounidenses no puedan obtener toda la documentación necesaria. Las personas que se verán más afectadas podrían ser los ancianos afrodescendientes que nacieron en la zona rural del sur, en una época en que muchas mujeres negras no tenían derecho a ser atendidas en las salas de maternidad.

Miguel: Good evening. Here are ten news headlines from this week's Democracy Now! Peace.

Supreme Court Rebukes White House Over Guantanamo Tribunals
In a landmark decision the Supreme Court has rebuked the Bush administration for forming military tribunals to try prisoners at Guantanamo Bay. In a five to three ruling, the court said the military tribunals violated both the Uniform Code of Military Justice and the Geneva Convention.

Justices Say U.S. Must Follow Geneva Conventions
The impact of the case is expected to go well beyond Guantanamo as the justices ruled that the so-called war on terror must be fought under international rules. Legal experts say the ruling challenges the Bush administration’s legal defense of harsh interrogation methods, the CIA's secret prisons and the National Security Agency’s domestic surveillance program. The court ruled that the Geneva Convention must apply to detainees captured in the war on terror. [The Los Angeles Times reported "The real blockbuster in the Hamdan decision is the court's holding that Common Article 3 of the Geneva Convention applies to the conflict with Al Qaeda -- a holding that makes high-ranking Bush administration officials potentially subject to prosecution under the federal War Crimes Act."] In Thursday's ruling, Justice John Paul Stevens wrote "the Executive is bound to comply with the Rule of Law that prevails in this jurisdiction."

Cindy Sheehan and Others to Launch White House Hunger Strike
Code Pink, Global Exchange and Gold Star Families for Peace have announced they will launch a hunger strike on July 4th outside the White House to protest the war in Iraq. Dozens of military family members, veterans, activists and celebrities have vowed to take part in the hunger strike. The list includes Cindy Sheehan, Dolores Huerta, Willie Nelson, Danny Glover, Sean Penn and Susan Sarandon. Cindy Sheehan said in a statement: "We've marched, held vigils, lobbied Congress, camped out at Bush's ranch. We’ve even gone to jail. Now it’s time to do more."

10 Members of Granny Peace Brigade Released in Philly
In Philadelphia, 10 members of the Granny Peace Brigade were arrested Wednesday after refusing to leave a military recruiting center.

UN: 150,000 Iraqis Displaced From Homes in Recent Months
In news from Iraq, the United Nations is estimating 150,000 Iraqis have been displaced from their homes in the past four months due to increased fighting. The mass displacement began after the bombing of a Shiite shrine in Samarra in February.

U.S. Military Admits Security Not Improving Much In Baghdad
Meanwhile the U.S. military has acknowledged that the security situation has barely improved in Baghdad despite a two-week-old security clampdown involving 75,000 Iraqi and U.S. troops. On Tuesday at least 18 people died in Iraq including a U.S. Marine and three U.S. soldiers.

350 Iraqi Civilians Killed at US Checkpoints in '05
Meanwhile, the US military has announced 350 innocent Iraqis were killed at US checkpoints last year -- an average of at least six killings per week. A senior intelligence official told Reuters that out of a total 4,000 incidents in which US troops responded to a perceived threat -- less than two percent were later found to have posed an actual threat.

Pentagon Admits To New Spying of Student Groups
The list of activist groups monitored under a secret Pentagon program is growing. The Servicemembers Legal Defense Network says the Defense Department has admitted to spying on "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and anti-war protests at several universities: the State University of New York at Albany, William Paterson University in New Jersey, Southern Connecticut State University and the University of California at Berkeley. De-classified documents show the government intercepted the students' e-mails and planted undercover agents at at least one protest. The government also refused to confirm or deny whether it had spied on activists in the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community. The disclosure marks the latest case of known government spying under a secret domestic intelligence program, which has also targeted the Quaker movement and other anti-war groups.

Ex-CIA Officer: Bush Admin Ignored "Curveball" Warnings
A veteran CIA officer has revealed new details of how the Bush administration built the case for invading Iraq. In an interview with the Washington Post, former CIA officer Tyler Drumheller said he repeatedly warned administration officials over the discredited Iraqi source known as "Curveball." "Curveball" is the Iraqi expatriate whose claims were used to help build the case Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction. Drumheller says he personally removed the paragraph from a draft of Colin Powell's United Nations speech that claimed Iraq had mobile biological weapons laboratories. But Bush administration officials intervened, and Powell delivered the speech with the bio-lab claim intact.

Gov't Sued Over New Medicaid Citizenship Rules
And a coalition of advocacy groups are suing the federal government in effort to challenge a new law that requires all Medicaid recipients to prove their citizenship or lose their benefits or long-term care. The rule goes into effect tomorrow. Critics fear millions of U.S. citizens may not be able to produce the necessary paperwork. Most affected might be elderly African Americans who were born in the rural South at a time when many black women were barred from maternity wards.

Democracy Now: Barbara Olshansky, Steven Miles

Supreme Court Rebukes White House Over Guantanamo Tribunals
In a landmark decision the Supreme Court has rebuked the Bush administration for forming military tribunals to try prisoners at Guantanamo Bay. In a five to three ruling, the court said the military tribunals violated both the Uniform Code of Military Justice and the Geneva Convention.

Justices Say U.S. Must Follow Geneva Conventions
The impact of the case is expected to go well beyond Guantanamo as the justices ruled that the so-called war on terror must be fought under international rules. Legal experts say the ruling challenges the Bush administration's legal defense of harsh interrogation methods, the CIA's secret prisons and the National Security Agency's domestic surveillance program. The court ruled that the Geneva Convention must apply to detainees captured in the war on terror. [The Los Angeles Times reported "The real blockbuster in the Hamdan decision is the court's holding that Common Article 3 of the Geneva Convention applies to the conflict with Al Qaeda -- a holding that makes high-ranking Bush administration officials potentially subject to prosecution under the federal War Crimes Act."] In Thursday's ruling, Justice John Paul Stevens wrote "the Executive is bound to comply with the Rule of Law that prevails in this jurisdiction."

Gov't Sued Over New Medicaid Citizenship Rules
And a coalition of advocacy groups are suing the federal government in effort to challenge a new law that requires all Medicaid recipients to prove their citizenship or lose their benefits or long-term care. The rule goes into effect tomorrow. Critics fear millions of U.S. citizens may not be able to produce the necessary paperwork. Most affected might be elderly African Americans who were born in the rural South at a time when many black women were barred from maternity wards.

UN Council Approves Anti-Disappearances Treaty
The United Nations Human Rights Council has approved a new international treaty to ban states from abducting individuals and hiding them in secret prisons or killing them. The treaty --- which still has to be approved by the UN General Assembly -- would require nations to keep registers of detainees and tell their families the truth about their disappearance. The United States is not expected to ratify the pact, the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.

The above four items are from today's Democracy Now! Headlines and were selected by Barbara, Joan, Micah and KeShawn. Democracy Now! ("always informing you," as Marcia says):

Headlines for June 30, 2006

- Supreme Court Rebukes White House Over Guantanamo Tribunals
- Justices Say U.S. Must Follow Geneva Conventions
- Israeli Bombs Palestinian Interior Ministry
- UN Warns of Humanitarian Crisis in Gaza
- Romania Orders Withdrawal of U.S. Troops From Iraq
- 84% of National Security Experts Say U.S. Not Winning War on Terror
- House GOP: Gov't "Expects The Cooperation of All News Media"
- UN Council Approves Anti-Disappearances Treaty
- Gov't Sued Over New Medicaid Citizenship Rules

Guantanamo Attorney: The Supreme Court Ruling on Tribunals Proves "The Entire Structure of the War on Terror is Unlawful"

In a landmark decision, the Supreme Court has rebuked the Bush administration for forming military tribunals to try detainees at Guantanamo Bay. In a 5-3 ruling, the court said the military tribunals violated both the Uniform Code of Military Justice and the Geneva Convention. We speak with Barbara Olshansky, an attorney with the Center for Constitutional Rights which filed two briefs in the Hamdan case, and has represented scores Guantanamo detainees. [includes rush transcript]
AMY GOODMAN: First, your response to this landmark ruling of the Supreme Court.
BARBARA OLSHANSKY: You know, for us, I think it was a tremendous reaffirmation that -- of the institutions and how they can work in the country. The fact that the judiciary was willing to step up to the plate and look at what the executive is doing and do the right thing, take the action to make sure that the executive complies with the law. And for me, although it sounds so basic, it’s something that we were watching erode over the last five years, and so that was, you know, probably the most heartening part of it, and that they were willing to look at it in its entire scope.
And what this decision says in very sort of calm, rational, historical terms is that the entire structure of the war on terror is unlawful, that it was based on a premise, an idea of an enemy combatant, which is a status that was created by the President, that it was intended to take place on an island that was outside the law somehow, and that the President could create all of the laws that applied there, like it was his own constructed universe.
And what this decision does in a very rational way is say you can't do that. No piece of what you have done is lawful. And it’s quite an astounding decision for that reason. It really goes to, as you said, every part of the war on terror.
JUAN GONZALEZ: But at the same time, it does appear that Congress is poised possibly to make some of the very things that the Supreme Court declared unlawful lawful. Certainly in December, when it passed -- when it eliminated habeas corpus for detainees at Guantanamo, it signaled that it was ready to do so. And now, as the President said, Arlen Specter is already readying a bill to fix some of the problems that the Supreme Court saw in the President's actions here.
BARBARA OLSHANSKY: Yeah, that's true. We had about five minutes of elation before we heard about the proposed legislation. And that is true. I think Congress is going to be very cautious. I know that Senator Specter has said that he’s going to convene hearings of the judiciary committee, which didn't happen last time. It gives us an opportunity to have a role and to make clear what the ramifications are of everything that would happen.
And also, this decision makes clear that anything that comes out of this is bound by the Geneva Conventions. And for us at the Center for Constitutional Rights, that has been our rallying cry from the beginning, is that the law applies and that the Geneva Conventions -- we signed and ratified them. We helped make them in 1949. And they apply wherever we act. There's no corner of the globe where people are unprotected, and that's what this court says. The next time you try and do something, you better look at these, you better look at the four Geneva Conventions. You've got to look at Common Article 3. You can't create something out of whole cloth.

Oath Betrayed: Torture, Medical Complicity, and the War on Terror

After 9/11, the U.S. military began using physicians, psychologists and other medical personnel to assist in the interrogations of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay and elsewhere. We take a look at the role of doctors and interrogation with Dr. Steven Miles, an expert in medical ethics and author of the new book, "Oath Betrayed: Torture, Medical Complicity, and the War on Terror."

Iraq snapshot.

Chaos and violence continue. So much so that Jeffrey Snow (US "Army Col.") tells Reuters the obvious, "I think since we have started Operation Together Forward, you'll find that the number of attacks are going up." He's referring to the "crackdown" in Baghdad. As other news emerged, the latest allegations of crimes committed by US forces, Snow began making noise that "bad" media coverage could "lose" the war. Considering bad media sold the war it would be poetic if "bad" media could end it -- poetic but not likely.

Also continuing is the confusion regarding Romania. AP leads with the withdrawal is now a dead issue which isn't correct. The Supreme Defence Council said no to "withdrawal." Kind of, sort of. What they're doing (today, at this moment) is dropping the number of troops from 890 to 628. That's today's comprise with an emphasis on "today." Why? The council's decision is meaningless if parliament doesn't back it up. (A point Edward Wong failed to grasp in the Times this morning.) For that reason as well as the fact that it will be parliament who will make the decision whether or not the Romanian troops mission is extended at the end of the year (six months away), Calin Popescu Tariceanu (Romania's prime minister) stated: "The decision was only delayed today."

Meanwhile, AFP reports: "In a new blow to the coalition, Poland said it will pull its troops out of Iraq by the middle of next year."

Noting the indifference to Iraq (which I would place with the media), Danny Schechter wonders if we need a "War Clock" to bring the economic costs home since "[t]he drama of human beings dying and a country like Iraq being devastated doesn't seem to register"?

We need something. Iraq's not registering. We'll probably hear some of it even though it's the 4th Weekend so everyone's rushing off to their vacations. What will we hear? Ryan Lenz (Associated Press) reports: "Five U.S. Army soldiers are being investigated for allegedly raping a young woman, then killing her and three members of her family in Iraq" in Mahmoudiyah. The alleged crimes are said to have taken place in March and the five are alleged to have burned the body of the rape victim.

CNN is reporting that it was a "deadly" day for children, noting that a clash "between gunmen and Iraqi soldiers left a teenage girl dead" in Latifiya and that one of six corpses discovered in Baghdad was "a boy believed to be between 4 and 6. . . . shot . . . signs of torture." Corpses? AFP reports that four corpses were discovered in Al-Rashaad, near Kirkuk ("bullet-riddled"). That's ten corpses total reported thus far.

CBS and AP report that, in Abu Saida, Sunni Sheik Hatam Mitaab al-Khazraji was gunned down. RTE News notes that three are dead and at least seven wounded from a roadside bomb that went off Kirkuk.

AFP is currently estimating that "at least 14 people" died in violent attacks today (Iraiqi civilians) and the AP notes that Kyle Miller, member of 682nd Engineer Battalion, has been identified by Dean Johnson ("Guard Brig. Gen.") as the National Guardsman who died today in Iraq (a bomb "detonated near his convoy").

Remember this from Danny Schechter's News Dissector site:

Panel on Threats to the press and democracy; Friday night, June 30th, 7:30 PM, SUNY Ulster, Stone Ridge, from Congressperson Maurice Hinchey, Amy Goodman, Danny Schechter and Jeff Cohen, Alan Chartock, emcee,
Sunday, July 2nd, 5:00 PM, Rosendale (NY) Theatre -- sneak preview of my new film In Debt We Trust. (For more on film, See
Hope to see those of you who can make it. Everyone welcome to read, join, and support Mediachannel. Check out our new home page with articles about the World Cup, The Bush strategy, and why citizens have to join the media as well as a new Mediachannel Europe page. Just click on the EU Flag.

Lastly, West notes Howard Zinn's "Put Away the Flags" (The Progressive):

On this July 4, we would do well to renounce nationalism and all its symbols: its flags, its pledges of allegiance, its anthems, its insistence in song that God must single out America to be blessed.
Is not nationalism -- that devotion to a flag, an anthem, a boundary so fierce it engenders mass murder -- one of the great evils of our time, along with racism, along with religious hatred?
These ways of thinking -- cultivated, nurtured, indoctrinated from childhood on -- have been useful to those in power, and deadly for those out of power.
National spirit can be benign in a country that is small and lacking both in military power and a hunger for expansion (Switzerland, Norway, Costa Rica and many more). But in a nation like ours -- huge, possessing thousands of weapons of mass destruction -- what might have been harmless pride becomes an arrogant nationalism dangerous to others and to ourselves.
Our citizenry has been brought up to see our nation as different from others, an exception in the world, uniquely moral, expanding into other lands in order to bring civilization, liberty, democracy.
That self-deception started early.

The e-mail address for this site is

Other Items (Barbara Olshansky on Democracy Now! today)

As the Supreme Court prepared to rule on the Bush administration's plan to try terror suspects before special military tribunals here, the commander of Guantanamo's military detention center was asked what impact the court's decision might have on its operations.
[. . .]
Over the last six weeks, the military custodians at Guantanamo have been rocked by desperate protests -- the suicides of three detainees who hanged themselves from the steel-mesh walls of their small cells, the intentional drug overdoses of at least two other prisoners, and a riot against guards in a showcase camp for the most compliant detainees. Those events, in turn, set off new waves of criticism of the camp from foreign governments, legal associations and human rights groups.
Thursday, in rejecting the administration's elaborate plan to try Guantanamo detainees by military commission, as the tribunals are called, the court struck at one of the first ramparts the administration built to defend itself against criticism that Guantanamo was a "black hole" in which men declared to be enemies of the United States were stripped of rights guaranteed by the Constitution.
"It strengthens calls for solving 'the Guantanamo problem,' " the administration lawyer said. "Not because it deals with the detention issue directly, but because it removes the argument that soon there would be more legal process there."

The above is from Tim Golden's "After Ruling, Uncertainty Hovers at Cuba Prison" in this morning's New York Times. This entry will be added to in about an hour. I'm going to workout. After that, we've got Martha's highlight, an event to note, Francisco's pointed out (rightly) that something noted in Polly's Brew wasn't noted here (by me on both counts), so we'll add that.

Till then, that's it for now.

ADDED. [Everything from here on to the end.] First Francisco, pointed out that I'd noted the Zapatista opinion of the upcoming elections at Polly's Brew but not here. Members are still signing up for Polly's Brew so if anyone missed it, the Zapatista view is that the vast number of people will not be helped/aided by the candidates on display for president of Mexico. If you're a member and you weren't signed up for Polly's Brew when that ran, e-mail me and I'll send the thing to you. (Francisco also noted it was a nice way to work in a mention of Polly's Brew and notes that when Sunday rolls around, it usually doesn't get the attention it deserves here. He's correct.) Thanks to Francisco for making those points.

The official State Department version is that "there was absolutely no friction whatsoever" between Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov during a meeting of foreign ministers in Moscow on Thursday.But a recording of the ministers' private lunch, made when an audio link into the room was accidentally left on, showed that "Condi" and "Sergei" -- as they called each other -- had several long and testy exchanges over Iraq. The disputes concerned relatively minor wording changes in the five-page statement issued after the meeting, but grew out of basic differences between the two governments over how to proceed on Iraq.The State Department's subsequent denial of tensions illustrates how officials manage the information that flows to the public from such closed-door meetings to create an image meant to advance foreign policy objectives. Reporters often have no independent account of such discussions.

The above, noted by Martha, is from Glenn Kessler's "A Spat Over Iraq Revealed On Tape:Rice and Russian Caught Bickering At Private Lunch" (Washington Post). Martha notes that there's nothing on it on the New York Times. And thinks that's something to remember in all this "Oh the poor Times" talk.

It's a good point. We haven't engaged in "Oh the poor Times" talk here. No charges have been filed against the paper (or the Wall St. Journal or the LA Times which all broke the story on the same day). The paper of record had talks with the White House repeatedly about the story on spying (this one on the financial records of America). We noted it Saturday. They were ongoing talks.

Laura Flanders (who has been filling in for Mike Malloy all week on The Mike Malloy Show -- airs live on Air America Radio from ten p.m. to one a.m. EST) took a call from one woman who was now buying the paper to show her "support." As Flanders said, "You don't have to go that far."

The paper will get the usual mileage out of this that it always does, people will (and are) rallying around it. Inside the paper, some people are disgusted with how long the story was sat on and with the paper's ongoing talks (who were the "insurgents" in these talks?) with the White House before they'd finally run the story. You make that call right before five p.m. You say, "We're about to go to press with ___. Does the White House have a response?"

That's what a free press does. A free press doesn't meet with the White House and say, "Well, what if we cover this, but not that."

So while the Times gets all the "poor paper" talk, what do they do with it? They can't be bothered noting that Condi the diplomat (they loved pushing that and every outfit she wore) had a little melt down. It's still the administration's "pal" in print. Nothing's changed. Which is why they won't be charged and they won't 'get' the point that they're on the "hit list." (They're not on the 'hit list.' This is nothing but a way for the paper of no record to look important and for the administration and Republicans to score some easy points on the press and get their base all excited.)

One of the good things about doing this entry in two parts is being able to include Noah's highlight. It's one of those highlights that requires changing every *"* and *'* to avoid sqaures, however, it's also, LANGUAGE WARNING if you use the link, required replacing letters. For those who can read anything on any computer they are on, please do. For those who don't have that freedom, enjoy the excerpt and hopefully you can check it out later. From Nir Rosen's "Ugly Americans in Iraq" (Truthdig):

My friend wanted to begin his recounting of his time in Iraq by discussing "the character of the American men fighting this war." He joked that "it might be a shock to some of the architects of this war that our fighters don't read magazines like The Weekly Standard or The New Republic or give a rat's ass about where our occupation in Iraq is headed."
He continued: "The reason most of them signed up for service (me included) was to get some action, destroy Al Qaeda and come home with a body count to brag about at a local bar. Who gives a f**k about the rest? I think it can be best summed up in a conversation I overheard at my recruitment station. When one kid was asked why he joined the infantry, he didn't have any doubts: 'I enlisted to kill towelheads.'"
The very nature of special operations and the infantry is to kill and/or capture dangerous people, destroy s**t and prevent attacks. Creating rapport with the local population isn't really part of the vocabulary--especially if the local population is as insanely dangerous as Iraq. In the eyes of many fellow soldiers who signed up because of 9/11, and because of the Bush administration’s portrayal of Iraq as part of the 'war on terror,' many of the guys fully believed that they were in a hunt [for] men responsible for the blood bath in lower Manhattan."
My friend added that regardless of where soldiers are, "be that a foreign country or a local bar in a military town, they usually wear out their welcome anywhere they go--they've perfected the skill."
My friend stressed that "our officers took extra special care to fully explain the Rules of Engagement (ROE) in formal briefings to men in my company, and over the course of 140 missions they practiced professional restraint with their actions. But there is also a golden explicit rule with everything you do in war: Make sure that your ass comes home alive. This necessitates aggressive infantry platoon behavior on the part of the U.S. military that ultimately results in something quite the opposite of our stated goals: 'building democracy' and winning 'hearts and minds.' While we were largely successful in hunting the men we were pursuing, my personal impression was that we probably created two times more insurgents than we caught, not to mention the communities we greatly angered with our raids. Our actions were a direct contribution to, as [allied commander] Gen. George Casey said in September 2005, an occupation that is 'fueling the insurgency.'"
He told me a story about his platoon’s return to the U.S. after its second deployment to Iraq, when its members went to see the premiere of the film "Team America." Made by the creators of television's "South Park," “Team America" was a comical marionette action flick about a jingoistic fire team whose utter recklessness was matched by their righteous yahoo attitude that America must preserve the very fabric of civilization. No film has more accurately depicted our presence in Iraq; it was a looking glass and it instantly became a platoon favorite. There is a classic scene in the movie where Team America's overbearing red, white and blue helicopter lands on top of a bazaar in the Middle East, crushing an Arab's cashew stand. The side of the helicopter read: "We Protect, We Serve, We Care." That scene hit so close to home, it was scary. Later in the movie, in a high-speed chase against terrorists, a missile gets misfired and destroys the Sphinx (in Egypt). "The movie theater, packed with guys from my platoon, was howling with laughter. We even sarcastically recited lines from the theme songs 'Freedom Isn't Free' and 'America, F**k Yeah' before and after missions on our third tour in the winter of 2005. By then the disconnect between the lofty rhetoric of our leaders and the crap we dealt with on the ground couldn't have been greater. The mentality of soldiers in Iraq is compounded by a group of factors--wrecked relationships, senselessly drawn-out deployments, sex/alcohol deprivation, and getting mortared on a nightly basis, to name a few." He added that "Iraq is a scary f**king place. Every hard-hitting thing we did there was due in large part to our fear of that place."


CCR Submitted Two Amicus Briefs on Behalf of Hamdan, Arguing Against Military Commissions and Detainee Treatment Act
NEW YORK, June 29, 2006 -- Today the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) declared the Supreme Court’s decision in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld as a significant victory for the Constitution, fairness and due process, vindicating the Center’s five-year legal fight for due process and human rights against the Bush Administration’s illegal detention policies. CCR filed two amicus briefs in the case, which is the first Guantánamo case to reach the Court since its June 2004 decision in Rasul v. Bush, which CCR brought and won.
"The Supreme Court has firmly rejected President Bush's attempt to sidestep American courts. Now the President must act: try our clients in lawful U.S. courts or release them. The game is up. There is no way for President Bush to continue hiding behind a purported lack of judicial guidance to avoid addressing the illegal and immoral prison in Guantánamo Bay. Significantly, the Court decided that the Geneva Conventions apply to the so-called 'War on Terror' - people must be treated humanely and the administration cannot put itself above the law," said CCR President Michael Ratner. "We are gratified that the Court accepted our argument that fundamental human rights are protected by the Geneva Conventions, and this decision vindicates our five-year legal struggle," he added.
Mr. Hamdan is a detainee who was designated to be tried before a military commission in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. His lawsuit challenges the President's authority to establish military commissions in the absence of specific congressional action, and it also challenges the trial proceedings as violating the Constitution, U.S. military law, and the Geneva Conventions. CCR filed two amicus briefs in support of Mr. Hamdan's case, arguing that the administration's military commission system "violate the well-established norms of international humanitarian law" such as the Geneva Conventions, and challenging the legality of the Detainee Treatment Act. (The first brief was filed jointly with pro bono attorneys representing hundreds of detainees at Guantánamo, and the second was filed jointly with Human Rights First and FIDH.)
CCR Legal Director Bill Goodman explained the significance of today's ruling in light of CCR's 2004 victory in Rasul v. Bush: "Ever since we won the 2004 Supreme Court decision requiring due process at Guantánamo, the administration has been evading the decision, breaking American law and undermining America's stature in the process. Today the Court firmly rejected President Bush's unlawful and immoral Guantánamo policies, and I hope we can begin rebuilding due process and respect for human rights in our legal system."

Event today for those in or near the NYC area:

* Amy Goodman in Stony Ridge, NY:
Fri, June 30*
TIME: 7:30 PM
Sounding the Alarm for Freedom: Media Responsibility in Time of WarTickets are $5 (students free)
For more information: (845) 876 7535
Panel Discussion featuring:
Congressman Maurice Hinchey: leader in media reform legislation
Amy Goodman: award winning investigative journalist for "Democracy Now"
Jeff Cohen: founder of FAIR, panelist on "News Watch" (Fox) and"Crossfire" (CNN)
Danny Schechter: media critic and filmmaker ("Weapons of MassDeception")
Dr. Alan Chartock, President and CEO of WAMC, will host the panel,which will be broadcast by member stations of WAMC/NPR.

Amy Goodman, Jeff Cohen and Danny Schechter. If you're in that area sounds like a wonderful evening. Today's scheduled topics on Democracy Now!:

* The Supreme Court rules 5-3 that President Bush overstepped his
in ordering military trials for detainees at Guantánamo Bay. We'll
with the Center for Constitutional Rights that brought the case.
* Dr. Steven Miles on his new book "Oath Betrayed: Torture, Medical
Complicity and the War on Terror."

I'll be checking it out and recommend you do as well. (Rebecca, Ty, Ava and I are actually listening right now. Barbara Olshansky is about to be on.) I will not be wasting a day, however. (See last night's entry.) Rebecca's a house guest and she's already said, "Let's listen to The Randi Rhodes Show today" (Air America) and since I doubt Randi will forget that there's a war going on in Iraq (as too many shows did this week never noting Iraq), that's what we'll listen to. I feel like four days have been wasted waiting for information, discussions, you name it, that never came. I'll start anew next week but I know the topics for today and I have no interest in wasting my time. (I don't think DN! wasted time this week.)

The e-mail address for this site is

NYT: The oversimplifier in residence, Edward Wong

Peace groups began adopting a position articulated in a November 2005 Nation editorial, declaring they would refuse to support any candidate in 2006 or 2008 who did not favor a "speedy end to the war in Iraq." Progressive Democrats in Southern California supported an insurgent challenge against Democratic hawk Jane Harman, gaining 38 percent of the primary vote for Marcy Winograd. Independent Democrat Ned Lamont went after incumbent Joe Lieberman in Connecticut. Jonathan Tasini campaigned against Hillary Clinton. Angry voters, joined by activists like Code Pink, began to boo Senator Clinton at campaign appearances, climaxing at the recent "Take Back America" liberal gathering in Washington, DC.
At the same time, the Center for American Progress, a think tank led by Clinton Democrats, put together "
Strategic Redeployment 2.0," an effective guidebook substituting the more muscular term "redeployment" for "withdrawal," which provided significant comfort for Democrats too timid to be associated with the antiwar movement.
booing of Hillary Clinton, which was covered by all major media outlets, was a harbinger of what lies ahead if she campaigns for President in New Hampshire or Iowa. It was becoming intensely personal, ugly and divisive.

The above is from Tom Hayden's "Shifting Winds on Iraq" (The Nation) (which Brandon noted yesterday). We'll start with reality. Now let's go to Edward Wong's "Sunnis and Shiites Clash North of Baghdad" in this morning's New York Times:

The Romanian prime minister, Calin Popescu-Tariceanu, said in Bucharest that he would ask for the withdrawal of the country's 890 troops from Iraq by the end of this year, citing the increasing dangers and costs of the deployment. But the withdrawal requires approval from the State Security Council, which is headed by Romania's president, Traian Basescu, who immediately criticized the proposal.

We're starting there because Wong oversimplifies. We linked to a Reuters story on this and Reuter's taken out the embarrassing quote from the United States car parts vendor turned diplomat; however, this remains:

The proposal to withdraw the mission -- on the grounds it was too costly -- needs to be approved by the 10-member Supreme Defence Council, which is headed by Basescu, and by parliament.

"And by parliament." Repeat And by parliament. Wong seems to have missed that. Wong's covering the fighting north of Baghdad (some of it) in his article this morning. What he forgets to tell you is that this is the area that the so-called "insurgent" groups sent envoys from -- you know the ones singing "Lay down, lay down, lay it all down . . ."? That's some 'peace talks' that al-Maliki is having. (But then, there are no talks. Even those groups -- eight to eleven of how many hundreds across the country? -- aren't pleased with the 'plan' and Donald Rumsfeld already nixed it because he has more control over the country than the puppet al-Maliki.)

Wong gives you a rundown of some of the events. Some of the known events. He also notes: "Violence was not confined to the Baquba area, however, with at least 31 other people killed or found dead across the country on Thursday." (Yes, AFP reported 18 corpses found in Iraq yesterday. So, yes, that sentence is laughable.)

Remember to watch, listen or read Democracy Now! today.

The e-mail address for this site is

Thursday, June 29, 2006

And the war drags on . . . (Indymedia Roundup)

JUAN GONZALEZ: And the responses to your request, have they been saying that they have no material that meets your request or that they're precluded, in one way or another, from releasing it?
BEN WIZNER: No, we have not yet gotten the substantive request from the military saying that they don't have responsive material. Essentially they ignore us until a federal judge requires them to respond to us. But if we were in a functioning democracy, we wouldn't need FOIA requests to get to the bottom of what's going on here. The minute that report was leaked to NBC News, the minute NBC News reported that grannies and Quakers and people protesting “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” at law schools were in a Pentagon secret database, there would have been hearings the next week, and Don Rumsfeld and Stephen Cambone would have been dragged up to Capitol Hill, and there would have been a full airing of what was going on. And that really is what's needed here. I mean, we will find out more information through this FOIA, but Congress's silence here is really remarkable.
AMY GOODMAN: When you say if we were really functioning in a democracy, what exactly do you mean?
BEN WIZNER: What I mean is that we have not had any meaningful congressional oversight of any of these surveillance activities over the last five or six years. You know, I do know, Amy, I’ve been here on the program talking about what we've uncovered through our FOIAs against the F.B.I., F.B.I. surveillance of peaceful protesters. What's going on with the N.S.A. really is a constitutional crisis, and Congress has yet to play a meaningful role. The reason why the FOIA, the Freedom of Information Act, has taken on such great importance over the last four or five years is that there is no meaningful oversight whatsoever going on on Capitol Hill. And so, our only choice is to get this information, bring it before the public and hope that there's some pressure on the administration to change its policies.

The above is from Democracy Now!'s "Pentagon Spying on Gay, Antiwar Groups More Widespread than Previously Acknowledged" today. The Pentagon spying issue is a big issue. If you missed the segment you can watch it, listen to it or read it online (at Democracy Now!). (You can also check out their segment on "Former Bush Spokesman Urges Newspapers to Run Pro-War Stories by Former Vets With GOP Ties.") That's the good news.

The bad? Ruth called to say she'll cover Michael Ratner's speech and hopes CounterSpin has something on Iraq because otherwise, she has nothing to cover. If you heard a discussion, she's asking that you e-mail (put "Ruth" in your heading and we'll forward or use her private e-mail address that runs in the gina & krista round-robin on fridays and polly's brew on sundays). She's tried to find the Iraq coverage. She can't.

It's been a strange week. Nouri al-Maliki presented a so-called peace plan. Among the critics have been Dahr Jamail and Medea Benjamin. You could read them online. You couldn't hear about it on Pacifica. The news programs and the news break covered Iraq. Did anything else?
Ruth says no and I can say I didn't hear anything on KPFA.

So the peace 'plan' ('peace' 'plan'?) comes out and we're going to roll over into silence? That's how it's going to be? (If you're a Wakeup Call listener, WBAI, Mike's already passed on to Ruth that Deepa Fernandes and company have covered Iraq this week.) We've had coverage of Mexico's upcoming elections (and someone from the Zapitistas had to explain -- s-l-o-w-l-y -- the group's position which is rather obvious and has been for some time -- Dennis Bernstein covered this weeks ago). But the elections are coming up and apparently there's some betting pool reasoning for why there's a need for predicitions? Or maybe there are a lot of absentee votes that are expected to be mailed from the United States? I'm not talking about one segment. I'm not talking about two. Tomorrow we'll get the third or fourth segment on the impending elections.

And the coverage of Iraq?

The United States is occupying Iraq. As Jennifer Stone noted today (on her Stone's Throw), quoting Voltaire, tend to your garden. Or, as Joni Mitchell once sang (and wrote), "Wouldn't they like their peace, don't we get bored?"

There's a place for upcoming elections, there's a place for covering everything. But when it's at the expense of what your own country's doing, then there's a problem. For me, anyway. If Air America still had the archives, Ruth said she'd note Laura Flanders because she's covered Iraq and a great deal more. But she's focusing on Iraq and if other's aren't, she's not covering them in that week's report. So if you heard something on Pacifica that addressed Iraq this week (other than the news hours or news half-hours), drop a line, she's describing herself as "desperate" to find coverage of the war that the United States is in.

We're also at war in Afghanistan. We can't cover everything. I don't make the mistake of assuming that we can. Our focus is Iraq more and more. I wasn't a news consumer in WWII but did we take a week long break in the middle of that to note this happening there and that happening here? Considering that campaigning is over in Mexico, do we need all (three or four times this week, on one program, it's been a twenty minute segment) this pre-election coverage?

We hear that the peace movement isn't doing enough or doesn't have much impact. I disagree with both statements. But when we're turning on to listen and hear coverage of the war in/on Iraq and getting news on everything but, don't blame the peace movement. Don't you dare blame the peace movement.

Ehren Watada? There were demonstrations across the country. That wasn't worth a segment on any show I caught (news programs excluded). Pacifica may as well have been NPR this week as I heard about the environment and I heard about Mexico and I heard about this and that and hula hoops on "framining." I didn't hear about the war.

With or without coverage, the war will be a discussion as people gather with friends and families. It's a real shame that it hasn't been a focus on many of the programs we expect to hear of it on.

Dahr Jamail has an appeal, by the way. I'm not noting anymore appeals after this. Sorry. Not in the mood too. I've been happy to note it before but if others are in for something else, I'm not interested. Dahr Jamail's going back to Iraq. He's going to be unembedded (again). If you can give, if you can spare anything, please do. I'll say that for Dahr Jamail. I won't say for anyone else again. People's fundings are their only problems. Organization's fundings are their own problem. Dahr's going back to Iraq because it's obvious that the news from Iraq needs to get out. If you agree with that and you can spare it, please contribute. From his website:

June 28, 2006
Request for Support
Dahr Jamail will soon return to the Middle East to continue his independent reporting. As usual, reporting independently is a costly enterprise; for example, an average hotel room is $50, a fixer runs $50 per day, and phone/food average $25 per day. Dahr will report from the Middle East for one month, and thus needs to raise $5,750 in order to cover his plane ticket and daily operating expenses.
A rare opportunity has arisen for Dahr to cover several stories regarding the occupation of Iraq, as well as U.S. policy in the region, which have been entirely absent from mainstream media.
With the need for independent, unfiltered information greater than ever, your financial support is deeply appreciated. Without donations from readers, ongoing independent reports from Dahr are simply not possible.
All donations go directly towards covering Dahr's on the ground operating expenses.
You may donate with Paypal here
Or you may mail a check here:
Dahr Jamail

P.O. Box 90790
Anchorage, AK 99509

Do I sound frustrated? I am. I'm very frustrated. Has nothing been going on in Iraq? You might think that. But last week the American fatality count stood at 2510. 2529 tonight. Who knows how many Iraqis? The Baghdad morgue is stating they receive 30 corpses every day. But do you get that from this week's coverage? Excuse me, do you get that from this week's lack of coverage? No, you don't.

You get a lot of predictions about elections in Mexico, you get some good coverage of what's going on in Gaza and some bad coverage, you get a lot news about the way to vote. (Greg Palast says don't vote on absentee ballots, others say use them.) Rebecca's pointed out that Democracy Now! had time for AIPAC. They didn't have time to get a response to the spying scandal. I have no idea why that issue wasn't raised. If it can't be raised, don't bring the organization on. If they're brought on, they get asked about it.

It's basic.

Where is Iraq on indymedia? The question pops up in e-mail after e-mail. Ditto the weeklies. I have no idea. Apparently, though the war drags on, the topic's of little interest.

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

On the body count, there was a revelation this week. Programs could have explored it. They didn't. Nancy A. Youssef broke the news that the United States government was keeping a body count on Iraqis. I wasn't surprised. When we noted it here, I heard from two right-wing visitors who've been quite vocal about how "stupid" or "dumb" I was to claim that the United States government was keeping a body count on Iraqis. They both, to their credit, admitted they were wrong. A little coverage of that from others and it might have gotten out. It might have been a story. Instead Nancy A. Youssef (Knight Ridder) broke one of the most important stories of the week and we're having to hear someone explain why this candidate (in Mexico) is or isn't a liberal (or "liberal"). I believe at least one program intends to explore that topic (again) tomorrow. Can't wait. Boy, am I being informed.

(Yes, that was sarcasm. I avoid chat & chews for a reason.)

Tom Hayden made a very strong point this past weekend. (We noted it here.) That an amensty plan has to be realistic. We made that point here and I got creamed for it as well. So obviously, it's not something that most people are aware of. (I think those who can remember the sixties are aware of it.) That's something that should have been aired. That's something that should have been discussed. It wasn't.

Hayden, Benjamin, Jamail and others weren't on the list of guests. Those on the list had other topics to discuss. There's nothing wrong with covering a variety of topics, but when you're covering everything but the war, there is a problem.

Was everyone on holiday?

I've read the e-mails, I understand the frustration, I share the frustation. Martha said she wished I had called her for a quote this morning because she had a great deal to say about the reporting in the Washington Post today. She thinks of any media, independent or corporate, it "not only did the best job, it really did the only job. I've never been more disappointed in independent media than I was this week."

Don't blame the peace movement. Not when the coverage is starts-and-stops, off-and-on. When we can be working towards the fourth year since the illegal invasion and we don't get coverage of it, don't blame the peace movement. Blame the media outlets (independent and corporate).

Maybe there's an attitude of "Oh . . . I don't want to talk about Iraq again!" Well, the Iraqis don't have that option, those serving in Iraq don't have that option. That a week can go by, I'll name it, it's one of my favorite shows, and KPFA's The Morning Show can't offer a single segment on Iraq but can offer multiple segments on elections in Mexico, that's a problem. That's also Ruth's favorite show (well, one of them, Law and Disorder is her favorite show) and when we were on the phone, she was talking around it. I didn't know if that was due to my admiration for the show or her own, but I finally pointed out the elephant in the room and said, "Like KPFA's The Morning Show?" Yes, exactly like that.

They've done a brilliant job covering Gaza. But where was Iraq? I'm not big on pre-election coverage, of US elections or anywhere else, but, according to the Baghdad morgue, since Sunday, you had at least 150 dead Iraqis, according to the Defense Department, you had 19 American soldiers die. Where was Iraq?

Sandra and Brian covered it in the news breaks. It never left the news break. (I checked with Kat and Ruth on that because I'm not always able to catch the full two hours each morning.) That's not the only show that didn't cover it. It's my favorite and I'll name it so I'm not accused of playing favorites.

Like Ruth, I'm so glad that Laura Flanders filled in for Mike Malloy this week because that's been it, outside of the official news programs, in terms of Iraq coverage, discussions, you name it. I love The Morning Show. If I don't hear at least part of it during the day, I jones for it. I think Andrea Lewis and Philip Maldari do a wonderful job. And I'm sure there have been other weeks where they didn't cover Iraq. But when that's happened, I could count on Against the Grain or some other program.

Gaza is a story. Flashpoints covers Gaza, it's one of their main focuses. I was not surprised that it would be their main focus this week. That is the area they specialize in (and do it quite well). But I can't believe I heard hour after hour of programming and never got a discussion of Iraq in any form on other shows. (Again, the news programming is exempted from this.) I heard about upcoming elections, I heard interviews with authors, I heard about the environment, I heard many things. Where was Iraq?

Maybe it's time to create a program that focuses solely on Iraq?

Zach noted Arianna Huffington's "Don't Be A Hack, Hillary" (LA Times):

Tuesday's Senate debate on flag desecration was emblematic of Hillary Rodham Clinton's ongoing attempt to rebrand herself as a red-state-friendly Dem by supporting a bill that would have criminalized flag descrcration, while still holding on to her liberal bonafides by voting against the Constitutional amendment banning that desecration. It was eating your patriotism cake and having it too.
Even if Clinton doesn't know what she stands for any longer, doesn't she at least read the polls? The latest analysis by Democracy Corps, a Democratic polling firm, couldn't be clearer: Democrats need to draw sharp distinctions between themselves and the GOP -- especially by stressing their opposition to the war in Iraq. Oh, that's right, Clinton doesn't see things that way. She wants to have it both ways on Iraq too.
"I do not think," she said earlier this month at a Take Back America conference, , "it is a smart strategy for the president to continue with his open-ended commitment, which I think does not put enough pressure on the new Iraqi government. Nor do I think it is smart strategy to set a date certain."
Is that not the second coming of "I voted for it before I voted against it"?
And will Democratic leaders ever learn that this kind of have-it-both-ways hedging on matters of war and security is electoral death? Voters have an instinctive aversion to it. Something in their guts tells them that if a leader can't take a stand and clearly speak her heartfelt beliefs on such life-and-death matters, she won't be able to keep us safe.

[. . .]
On Iraq, Clinton has told confidants that, as a woman, she cannot take a position against the war and still be electable. The debate over Iraq, Clinton says, is "a difficult conversation." Difficult for whom? The American people have already had this difficult conversation, and 62% of them in a recent poll disapproved of Bush's handling of the war.

Possibly that could have been a discussion? Arianna found it a topic worth writing on.

Another person who wasn't silent (and she was at a demonstration for Watada as well) was
Majorie Cohn's "Playing Politics with Timetables" (CounterPunch):

In another Woody Allen moment reminiscent of George W. Bush pinning the Medal of Freedom on disgraced ex-CIA Director George Tenet, a third George - General Casey - has taken a page from the Democrats' troop withdrawal playbook. After being prepped with the Pentagon's 74-page cheat sheet about "staying the course" rather than "cutting-and-running" from Iraq, the Republicans walked in lockstep for the past two weeks, shooting down the Democrats' calls for bringing our soldiers home.
Late last week, Casey, the US commander in Iraq, condemned the concept of a withdrawal timetable. "I don't like it," he declared. "I feel it would limit my flexibility. I think it would give the enemy a fixed timetable, and I think it would send a terrible signal to a new government of national unity in Iraq that's trying to stand up and get its legs underneath it."
At the same time, speaking out of both sides of his medals, Casey was secretly recommending that Bush drastically reduce our troop commitment, coincidentally, just before the November elections. How bizarre.
Maybe it wasn't Woody Allen who said, "When you're being run out of town, get in front of the crowd and make it look like a parade." But that's just what the un-indicted Karl Rove is best at.
Rove knows that the mess his boss created in Iraq will be on voters' minds come November. By pulling the rug out from under the (semi-unified) Democrats' strongest issue, he maximizes the chances of GOP retention of Congress.
Senator John Kerry, who finally admitted a couple of weeks ago he was wrong to vote for the war, said Casey's plan "looks an awful lot like what the Republicans spent the last week attacking. Will the partisan attack dogs now turn their venom and disinformation campaign on General Casey?" Unlikely, given the GOP's proclivity to goosestep to its commander in chief.

There were several interesting highlights from members who gave up after searching and searching the indymedia sites and the alternative weeklies for Iraq and finding nothing. Usually someone would write something to the effect of, "I know it's not Iraq, but it's the best I could find." I appreciate that. But I'm not noting it.

I don't see the point in rewarding those who can't cover Iraq. (Everyone appears to have given up early today -- if there's an alternative weekly that publishes later or an indymedia site you frequent that posted something late, e-mail and we'll note a few on Saturday.)

In all honesty, I don't expect that we'll be out of Iraq when this site shuts down (when it's planned for this site to shut down -- for those who get upset when I say that we're shutting down in November of 2008). I didn't expect it when that date was picked. I expect it even less now since we can apparently take whole weeks off from covering Iraq. It's not a "pressing issue" or maybe it's not a "hot issue" so don't expect to end by 2008. Not when people are being silent or chasing after this or that.

As I wrote last week in the r0und-robin, I didn't plan the "Iraq snapshot" as a way to avoid highlights. It's done because I'm sick of each wave of Operation Happy Talk. I'm tired of the corporate media following the talking points. With few exceptions. (Martha asked that we again note Joshua Partlow's "Iraqi Official Says Insurgent Cell Bombed Shiite Shrine.") It would be easier to do highlights and write the wrap around then scour for information on Iraq. (When it goes up late, that entry, it's sometimes because the press isn't interested that day in what's going on. So I delay the entry until news starts trickling out.)

I keep checking the e-mails as I write this, which delays it going up, hoping someone will e-mail with something they just found on Iraq. And it paid off. Brandon notes Tom Hayden's "Shifting Winds on Iraq" (The Nation):

Events in Iraq and Washington, DC, are changing by the day, offering the peace movement and Democrats new dilemmas--and new opportunities to take the antiwar initiative as the midterm elections approach.
It wasn't so long ago that Washington insiders were advising peace groups to expect no moves toward withdrawal during 2006. Both political parties, the activists were told, were locked into a Beltway consensus against any gestures toward peace. The Senate was particularly frozen, with only Senator Russ Feingold offering a flexible plan for gradual withdrawal. Feingold was unable to stir any sympathy in the Democratic caucus. A seasoned expert in one senior senator's office predicted the silence would continue. One reason was that unannounced presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Joseph Biden, the ranking Democrat on the foreign relations committee, were posturing as hawks.
In the House of Representatives it appeared that the Out of Iraq Caucus was frozen at seventy members. Even after feisty ex-Marine John Murtha stepped forward with an immediate withdrawal plan in mid-November 2005, he was largely abandoned by his colleagues.

But as the quagmire deepens, peace sentiments are steadily rising. According to a June 16 CNN poll, 53 percent of Americans now favor a timeline for withdrawal of troops. A phenomenal 70 percent of Iraqis are demanding a deadline. A Zogby survey of American troops in Iraq shows the same pattern, with a majority supporting a one-year deadline and 29 percent favoring immediate withdrawal.

We're noting another section tomorrow. That's the section Brandon picked. It's a good section and we'll go with his strong choice. But I'm reading the copy and paste of the full thing and thinking there's another section to quote.

I don't mind cheerleading someone who's covering Iraq but I don't have time to waste on nonsense. I've heard (and read) a lot of nonsense this week. We noted The Nation had beefed up its coverage of Iraq last Thursday. Good for The Nation. (I'm not being sarcastic.) Ruth said, "My time's too important to me to waste. I'll do a Law and Disorder report from now on if people aren't going to cover Iraq." I don't blame her. I feel the same way. I'll start listening to music. I enjoy music. I'm listening to news programs and talk shows to be informed. If I'm not being informed, there are thousands and thousands of CDs I have that I could be listening to. They'd nourish me more than repeated segments on an upcoming election.

I did sort of renew my subscription to The Nation. It lapsed a bit ago and I let it lapse but took out a new one at a friend's address. (I don't subscribe in my name.) I get the issues on time now. (It was never a problem on The Nation's end.) But as other publications expire, I'm looking at them and seeing what they offer. Are they covering Iraq? If not, I'll save a tree and let them lapse. I don't have time for it.

There are two wars going, if people don't want to deal with them (Iraq and/or Afghanistan -- Iraq is our focus here), I don't want to pay for it. I

(Some magazines like Ms. have areas of interest. If Ms. can devote two issues to the war out of the last three, then no one else has an excuse. No one else can say, "Oh, but I've covered that already." No, you haven't. Ms. is stepping up to the plate, where are the others?)

(And no, I'm not referring to the lifestyle magazine we dropped. It's not interested in Iraq. They made their decision when they added someone who infamously wrote a stay-the-course piece when the Dems, MoveOn, et all lost interest in Iraq after the November elections.)

I don't need to read someone's handicapping of the races. I don't give a ___. The little secret they never tell: Everyone lies. They lie about how good their candidate is doing. They lie about whatever helps the campaign. The reason Judge (a Republican) and I can talk during elections is because we've always had a no b.s. rule. I don't think any of the "election experts" knows anymore than you do or I do. I don't need someone playing DC chat & chewer to waste my time, a tree and other things covering races. "This governor is a progressive!" I don't need it. I don't give a damn. I don't want to read a puff piece on some candidate who wants to play silent on the war.

In these pieces, it's always interesting what makes someone a "progressive." Usually, it's the environment and maybe some mealy mouthed statement on wages. We, apparnetly, don't factor in reproductive rights or what programs will help the poor (all boats lift at once! -- that's the lie, right?) or how they'll deal with racial discrimination or sexism. The Democratic Party isn't pushing those issues so the majority of the candidates being hailed as "progressive" aren't either.

Jonah wrote that he was so tired this week of looking for Iraq coverage and not finding it at the sites he visits or the programs he listens to. I hear you, Jonah, believe me, I hear you.

It's been a very disappointing week. With few exceptions, the coverage has been very, very disappointing. Does the right care about the illegal war more than the left does? It appears they do. It appears they're support for it is stronger than our opposition to it.

That's not what people feel, that's not what I hear from students (high school and students) but apparently it's more important to find a way to make a hideous candidate palitable (Casey Junior to cite but one example) than it is to really strengthen the dialogue on Iraq. This week, it wasn't just our Congress that couldn't address the topic. It's been a ___y week.

How I do these entries is I pull the copy and paste highlights from members and then write around it. In my comments, anything I add, I grab the link after the fact. But I'm not linking, I'm not filling in links, for those who didn't address Iraq. That means no link for The Morning Show, for instance.

I don't believe the subject of Iraq has been exhausted. There were plenty of developments this week, they just didn't get covered. And of course the peace movment remains largely uncovered. There were no heads up from most about the protests to support Watada. (Truthout and CounterPunch gave heads up and we linked to them in entries.) Common Dreams does a fine job of providing links to stories on Iraq (including the hideous Dexter Filkins article).

I've been weighing whether or not I should do an Iraq snapshot for this entry? I don't think so. I think the point is made strongest, of how little coverage there's been this week, by not doing the Iraq snapshot. Was the war ended? Apparently so to judge by the bulk of the coverage (or lack of it) this week. Frustrated, yes. Disgusted as well.

Lloyd had a highlight and Cedric did as well. I was intending to save them for tomorrow but to be sure those who are focusing on the war get the credit they've earned, we'll not them now (and don't expect much tomorrow morning). First up, Lloyd highlights Amitabh Pal's "Withdrawal from Iraq or political sleight of hand?" (The Progressive):

New York Times columnist Bob Herbert, whose anger at the Bush people has reached an amazing intensity, recently laid bare the Bush Administration’s political chicanery.
"From the Bush-Rove perspective, General Casey’s plan is not a serious strategic proposal," writes Herbert in the June 26 Times. "It's a straw in the political wind."
Herbert points out the irony of Casey putting together his strategy around the same time that Republicans were excoriating Democrats in Congressional debates for supposedly suggesting to cut and run from Iraq.
Let's be clear: Even if fully implemented, Casey's proposal doesn't amount to a full American withdrawal from Iraq. But the fact that Rove and his fellow tacticians feel it necessary to offer even this concession to the American public shows how worried they are about the war's unpopularity and its effects on the Republicans' prospects in the fall and two years from now. Fleeting pieces of good news such as the killing of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi has done little to change recent public opinion on withdrawal. A USA Today poll released on June 26 shows that 57 percent of Americans want Congress to set a withdrawal plan, with 50 percent of the population wanting troops out either immediately or within a year.
Such numbers must be staring Rove in the face.
In comments that are laughable even by the standards of this crowd, the White House is trying to maintain that it is above gauging public opinion on the subject.

Yeah, remember that "plan"? That was a topic that could have been explored. (Credit to Pal for tackling it. But I'm talking an interview, a discussion, a debate.) Cedric highlights Shea Howell's "Lessons from Baghdad" (Michigan Citizen via The Boggs Center):

President Bush missed the city of Baghdad. He could not go to a market, a mosque or a home for the elderly. He could not walk down a street, visit a school or even review the troops in the Green Zone.
The harsh truth that Bush and his supporters want to evade is that civil relationships depend on the good will and cooperation of the people. All the guns, tanks, drones, helicopters or soldiers in the world cannot impose the intricate relationships necessary for peace.
For peace to come to Iraq we must first acknowledge that the global war on terror is a political fiction. The occupation of Iraq is a crime against a specific people, with a specific history. The Iraqi people are fighting against our overwhelming might with the only weapons they have, their bodies. We cannot kill them into peace.
Baghdad has been the heart of Iraq for more than a thousand years. It is home to Art, Science, Literature, Music, Philosophy, Medicine and Religious studies. It is a holy city that has welcomed people from around the world. And it is a city that resists occupation. In the late19th century 23 Ottoman- appointed governors were killed in a year.
Most never made it to the capital.
It is madness to believe we can create peace through war. Such illusions only take us down the road to more violence.

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