Saturday, December 09, 2006

Day 2 of national call for honoring war resisters

On October 31, 2006 Snyder crossed the border back to the U.S. and went to Fort Knox, Kentucky "because Major Brian Patterson had promised me orally that I would be discharged," he said. "Instead, I was refused because my unit is stateside and it is being deployed to Iraq a third time." Fearful that he'd either be court-martialed or forcibly returned to his unit for another stint in Iraq, Snyder went AWOL "and since then I’ve been fearful and hate the things that have been said about me."
The things that have been said about Snyder include the usual hate letters -- "People have sent me e-mails saying I should be hanged or shot," he said -- as well as the total rejection of his parents. While the foster parents who actually raised him "are really for me," Snyder explained, "My father thinks I'm a disgrace, and my mother thinks my leaving Iraq was a sin and I should repent. It's been 4 1/2 years since I've seen them. The first thing I would have done if I'd been discharged was to go to a Thanksgiving dinner with my family. But I don't want to see them when I'm in this position."

One thing Snyder did when he returned to the U.S. was hook up with Iraqi Veterans Against the War (IVAW) and join the bus tour they're taking around the country. Indeed, the bus was parked outside the Church of the Brethren while Snyder spoke and some fellow resisters, including Darrell Anderson and Ethan Crowell, attended the meeting. Anderson briefly took the microphone himself while Snyder was wrapping up an interview with an Associated Press reporter.

The above is from Mark Gabrish Conlan's "Kyle Snyder, War Resister, Speaks to Peace & Justice Coalition" (Zenger's Newsmagazine). Kyle Snyder, Darrell Anderson, Ehren Watada, Joshua Key, Ivan Brobeck, Ricky Clousing, Mark Wilkerson, Camilo Meija, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Jeremy Hinzman, Corey Glass, Patrick Hart, Clifford Cornell, Agustin Aguayo, Joshua Despain, Katherine Jashinski, and Kevin Benderman -- some of the war resisters who have gone public.

This is day two of a three day for activism on the issue of war resistance by Courage to Resist:

"The GI resistance was one of the main things that ended the Vietnam war, and it's going to be a very important part of ending the one we're in now." -Kyle Snyder, AWOL Iraq veteran and war resister
This weekend people across the U.S. are taking action to support the growing gi resistance movement. There are three days of events Dec 8-10 in over 20 cities from New York City to Honolulu, HI! Showing widespread support for soldiers who resist is one of the best ways those of us outside the military can encourage the growing momentum of the GI resistance movement--a movement that has the direct power to end this war.We need to build momentum and CONTINUED SUPPORT for soldiers who have the courage to resist. You can do this by continuing to educate your community about the GI resistance movement and why support is crucial.

[. . .]
Support the GI Movement and End the War, Again by David Zieger, published on Common Dreams, December 6, 2006
GET INVOLVED TODAY! HERE'S HOW..Downloadable Organizing Kit
Participating Groups and Individuals

And Laura Flanders has Carolyn Ho (Ehren Watada's mother) on her program today. Also today, Yanar Mohammed, an Iraqi feminist, and Joan Wile & Vinie Burrows (Granny Rockettes for Peace). If I'm understanding the e-mails Martha and Joan both passed on Rev. Billy and the Church of Stopping Choir will be on as well. If that sounds like an amazing show (and it does), Sunday?

As most members know, after working on the edition of The Third Estate Sunday Review all night Saturday and all morning Sunday, those of us out here (Ava, Jess, Jim, Ty, Dona and Kat) are exhausted. Usually, we'll catch the last hour (on bad days, the last thirty minutes) of the Sunday broadcast. We'll have to figure out something because Sunday's show is a must. Angela Y. Davis on commercial, national radio is a rare event. Community favorite (and truth teller) Robert Parry is also on the Sunday show. John Nichols who was fighting for media reform before most of us knew the term and Ian Williams (who covers the United Nations for The Nation) will also be on. Four reasons not to miss Sunday's show. RadioNation with Laura Flanders on Air America radio, online, XM satellite radio, from 7:00 pm EST till 10:00 pm EST Saturday and Sunday. Sidebar: If you're one of the members who e-mailed The Third Estate Sunday Review last Saturday about not being able to stream at AAR -- hopefully the problem's fixed. If not, refer to the station you were e-mailed about. It's the same station I noted in yesterday's gina & krista round-robin.

Back to Carolyn Ho. She has been speaking out and raising awareness about her son. Bob Watada has done speaking tours on the West coast twice and throughout America on the last tour. Carolyn Ho has been very active and, Joan asked that we note this, Hawaii doesn't receive much attention ("or any campaign stops") "as a rule." Joan's seen Carolyn Ho speak twice. "Do not miss her," she writes. Carolyn Ho also held a press conference yesterday in NYC.
This is an exclusive interview Flanders has and it's one that will probably be referred to years from now, when the next illegal war rages and people have to speak up and fight back again.

Liang has a Saturday listening party each week with friends (they listen to Flanders). If you're trying to find something you can do this weekend and running out of ideas, invite some friends over and listen to the program. Discuss it after (or during). Kevin e-mailed that he's had Sir! No Sir! on his list of things to purchase for months and now it's too late (I believe it's only available at the website, you can rent it via NetFlix). He's trying to get together friends tonight and asked for an idea in an e-mail he labeled "URGENT!!!!"

That's what you can do. You can listen to the program on the radio (traditional or satellite) or stream it online. If you're wanting to provide some printed material as well (hand outs can have a long life), information on this movement of war resistance within the military can be found at Center on Conscience & War, The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline, and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters.

The e-mail address for this site is

kyle snyder

NYT: So much to cover, so much to cover up

The failure to speak truth is all over the New York Times today. I'm skiping Kirk Semple's article because the headline screams tabloid. It probably is or aspires to journalism but as long as the word "Times" and not "Sun" follows "New York," it doesn't belong on the front page.

What does? Well the story Sabrina Tavernise is covering should be on the front page but that would require a real newspaper. Reading "U.S. and Iraqi Accounts Vary Concerning Airstrke That Kills At Least 20" you realize that a real newspaper would probe the story and that the officials' newsletter has no interest.

All that Tavernise offers that can be praised is her opening sentence: "The only thing that was clear from the accounts of Friday's airstrike by American forces north of Baghdad was that at least 20 Iraqis had been killed." That and the fact that she reports it was US forces. That wasn't being confirmed yesterday.

I'll pin most of the blame on the paper's institutional problems but there's only so much you can excuse. The snapshot was dictated and dictated quickly yesterday. I thought it would be a brief day because I had no interest in another word about the James Baker Circle Jerk and had typed the parts about Nora Barrows-Friedman and Kyle Snyder the night before. I'd added a bit to it and thought it was done when a call from a friend changed that and I had to check if it had been typed up yet? It hadn't so we added what was known.

Tavernise tells you that images were shown by "Iraqi satellite channel, Sharquiya". Prior to that happening, it was already known that AFP had photos of children killed and that, when shown the photos, the US military was playing dumb. It was already known that AP had footage of a ten-year-old boy. Now Tavernise may not get calls from friends in the press saying, "You've got to note this!" But she should be aware of what others are reporting.

Three such friends walked me quickly through what was known and emphasized what to link to. Don't identify where it happened because it's in dispute. (Which is why we went with the province and any specific area is noted as a report by an outlet.) Tavernise is a reporter (I'm not), she shouldn't need anyone to walk her through slowly or quickly.

AFP and AP are 'respectable' mainstream news sources and the paper notes them frequently (more so AP). For a reporter to be attempting to make sense of what happened and yet to fail to note the reports from wire services with eye witness reports is really sad.

This isn't a he-said, she-said story. This isn't a case where US officials say one thing and Iraqi officials say another. AP and AFP had eyewitness reporting of the carnage. It's also true that the US military did not immediately note that two women were killed. That came after the initial announcements and they quickly tacked on their 'feminist' statement that even women can be 'insurgents.'

Having already allowed that, it's too much for them to admit to the death of children because it's much more difficult to tack on a "Kids Are Insurgents Too!" statement.

But civilians were killed in the 'precision' strike. That's reality. And it's not a 'he-said, she-said but no one can be sure' issue when you have confirmation from two wire services.

How much of the blame is Tavernise and how much the blame is the paper's is the only question about the whole issue.

David S. Cloud's article had me excited and then I saw that it was "Still-serving" and not "Self-serving." "A Still-Serving Rumsfeld Is Set for Mustering Out." The only thing of use is that slowly the fact that Rumsfled was on his way out before the election (this was decided mid-October) is emerging. Some day the press may tell you why, but don't hold your breath.

Paul von Zielbauer's "Former Detainees Argue for Right to Sue Rumsfeld Over Torture" belongs on the front page (next to Rumsfled's front page photo), not on A8. The issue is whether people tortured in American operated prisons outside the US' geographic boundaires can sue in a federal court or not? As von Zielbauer notes, two of the defense arguments are (a) torture is illegal in the US and (b) the Bremer laws make accountability from within Iraq impossible. (A colony is how Iraq's legally set up and foreign forces operate with impunity there -- legally.)

Instead of a news analysis about Rumsfled, the paper would better serve readers by analyzing this. (von Zielbauer is reporting. It's not a "news analysis.") The editorials? "Back to the Moon!" or some such nonsense. So don't expect probing of the issue elsewhere. The article is news. If Rumsfled rates a "Pentagon memo" and a front page photo, his being sued for torture rates a front page piece. It's as though it's the 70s and we've suddenly been transported to Chile where Pinochet must be covered gingerly. The article isn't even touted within the "INSIDE" box on the front page, nor is the article advertised in the caption to the front page photo.

Apparently, a US Secretary of Defense being sued in an American court for torture is so common that it's not to be considered news?

Edward Wong's "Iraqis Near Deal On Distribution Of Oil Revenues" describes a world that Americans won't recognize because what's being forced off (by the US administration) on Iraq isn't reflective of any system in existance in the US. "Democracy" has not been exported.
But the story is based upon what "Iraqi and American officials say" (noted in the first paragraph) so no one should be fooled that Iraq has an independent government. (Well, it's independent from the Iraqi people -- but it serves the US administration.) It's one of those 'free' trade stories the paper loves. There's more coverage of the James Baker Circle Jerk which really shouldn't have a say as to what the Iraqi people will do. But if the Times couldn't get behind xenophobia, they'd have a hard time filling out the daily paper. (Maybe they could just get behind the "Wednesday Repeats" notion?)

On page A9, James Glanz gets a whopping six paragraphs to note a story that is more important to Iraqis and to Americans than anything to be found in the James Baker Circle Jerk, oversight of contracts for reconstruction will continue since the Senate (on Wednesday) and the House (on Friday) voted to continue the office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction.

It's Saturday and Carl notes Margaret Kimberley's "Police State" (Black Agenda Report):

Not to be stopped again by pesky civil libertarians and a nosy press, Homeland Security is proposing that all passengers must be cleared by that agency before traveling into or out of the United States. "A carrier must not board any passenger subject to a 'not-cleared' instruction, or any other passenger, or their baggage, unless cleared by CBP." The proposed rule does not define what information provokes a "not cleared" instruction, provides no means of legal redress and doesn’t exclude American citizens.
Homeland Security didn't make a public announcement regarding this plan. They stuck it deep inside the Federal Register, hoping not to be noticed. That shifty method has worked very well for big brother. No one knew until recently that this federal agency has been keeping records on international travelers for the last four years.
Since 2002, Homeland Security has attached threat assessments to the names of anyone crossing U.S. borders. The assessments are based on criminal records, any purchases of one way tickets, seating preferences, meal preferences and DMV records. Whatever information the government finds and whatever assessment is made will be kept on file
for 40 years.

On the topic of radio, Rachel notes that WBAI

Sunday, December 10, 11am-noon
Kate Valk, actress and founding member of The Wooster Group hosts with
post-Warholian radio artists Andrew Andrew.

Monday, December 11, 2-3pm
Playwright Mac Wellman on "Two September," his new play about the
origins of the Vietnam conflict; playwright Sabina Berman on "Heresy," her
new play about hidden Jews in Mexico; theatre visionary Peter Schumann
on the latest production of The Bread and Puppet Theatre; Bruce Adler on
his one-man show on "Yiddish Vaudeville." Hosted by Janet Coleman and
David Dozer.

And the following community sites have updated since yesterday morning:

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

Laura Flanders? We note her program in the next entry.

The e-mail address for this site is

Kirkpatrick: RIH

Two deaths make the front page of today's New York Times: Donald Rumsfeld's political one and Jeane Kirkpatrick's more permanent one. On the latter, Tim Weiner's laughable piece does contain one bit of news -- Kirkpatrick had a heart -- who knew?

So the ogre is dead and the Times fawns over her and her misadventures. Not only did she applaud and endorse the death squads of Latin America but she had a "secret mission" to sell the illegal Iraq war and "head off a diplomatic uprising" in the UN "against the immenent war against Iraq." She was always a dumb idiot and now she's a dead one.

If that's too harsh for some, read the Times article (we don't link to trash so hunt it down yourself) and wonder exactly how Adolf Hitler's death would have been noted in papers had Germany won WWII?

Iran-Contra, where she was there advocating for it. Death squads, she stood and was counted.

She wasn't just stupid, she was evil.

Most of the time when people die, really sick and disgusting people, we don't comment here. This site wasn't around when Ronald Reagan died. But Baby Cries A Lot was and didn't he fawn over Reagan? Didn't he get his panties in a wad when Greg Palast attempted to inject some reality into the proceedings by noting the very real deaths caused by Ray-gun?

Baby Cries A Lot hustled Palast off the air quickly. Nothing could interfere with Baby Cries A Lot's sob-fest for Reagan. (The two had much common in politically.) Not a surprise because Baby Cries A Lot is a Hawk and always has been one. Listening to Baby Cries A Lot enable the myth of Reagan (from "the left") was disgusting. So is the Times' refusal to note the realities of Kirkpatrick's actions. Millions are dead but they want to talk policies. Her victims can't talk and they weren't recognized with front page obits.

I guess we should note the sexism that kept her a second-tier Kissinger as opposed to a full blown one. These days, Condi has a seat at the table. The Bully Boy Ceiling has broken but forgive us if we don't rejoice.

It's all policies and shop talk in the Times "in depth" obit today. You can't divorce policies from realities nor consequences from actions -- though the Times tries really hard.

I went back and forth this morning on whether or not to note this. With most deaths, I'll just look the other way. But since the idiot (and remember, we're "work safe," so feel free to substitue your own favorite curse word for "idiot"), as Weiner discloses, shut down one of the few avenues that might have stopped the current illegal war and since Iraq is the focus here (at the request of community members), something needed to be said.

And at a time when far too many are giddy over this first or that potential first, it's important to remember and note that gender is not the root of feminism. Equality is the root. Kirkpatrick was never interested in equality. She was interested in death and destruction.

Last year at this time, the hoopla was still on for some about Commander-in-Chief. "She" is making the decisions somehow allowed many to avoid addressing what the decisions were -- all that mattered was the pronoun. The show was thankfully cancelled and it would be nice if that could be read as the American people's rejection of bullies and sell out (unilateral actions and selling out your own beliefs were at the heart of that program). The reality was that Geena Davis' 'pluck' has never sold (Thelma & Louise contains a performance that was ripped out of her, not one she created) and The Accidental Oscar winner starring in a mish-mash of political drama meets body wash operatta killed the show, not the odious principles it espoused.

So we'll note Kirkpatrick's death and note that the only great loss was that it didn't happen decades prior before she could advocate the death and destruction of so many people around the world.

The e-mail address for this site is

[C.I. note: Post corrected for typo -- "where."]

Friday, December 08, 2006

Iraq snapshot

Friday, December 8, 2006.  Chaos and violence continue in Iraq; US war resister Kyle Snyder continues speaking out against the illegal war; Bitter, bitter, bitter, bitter Peggy Poop demonstrates that not everyone ages well; over 200 protest the war in San Francisco;
you know it's ugly when the US military dubs children 'insurgents'; and the Rumsfled has one more persona to test before he bows off the public stage.
Starting with peace news within the United States. Kyle Snyder is currently traveling the West coast speaking out against the illegal war.  Snyder was heavily and repeatedly targeted by a recruiter who promised the moon and delivered nothing.  Because verbal agreements can be broken . . . on their end.  On leave from Iraq, Snyder self-checked out and went to Canada in April of 2005.  Happy there, speaking out, a job he enjoyed working with disabled children that paid well.  Snyder began to consider returning to the United States.  As October drew to a close, he did just that and on October 31st, turned himself in at Fort Knox only to self-check out again after discovering that the military that lied to him before had lied yet again.
On KPFA's Flashpoints yesterday, Nora Barrows-Friedman interviewed Snyder.  Barrows-Friedman noted his Army Corps of Engineers training and Snyder explained that he thought he'd be in Iraq doing construction "asphalt and concrete, laying foundations for schools, hospitals, roads."  Instead, they made him a gunner and "an escort for high ranking officials."  He saw a number of things in Iraq, reconstruction wasn't one of them.
Kyle Snyder: The things that I saw there for instance, you know, when we're told that we're liberating the people of Iraq and we're doing positive things you know I expect to at least see the civilians and stuff, you know, accepting us more.  And basically accepting what we're doing.  But children were flipping us off, they were begging for food and water almost all the time when I was out.  I had seen people killed, I had seen people injured and it's just basically what led me to leave the war in the first place were the policies that drove the war.  You know, when the Bush administration in 2004 and 2005 were saying 'We're liberating the people of Iraq' like I said I expect to see some of that happening.  You know, no matter what rank you are, I think that we deserve to know why we're fighting.  And basically it felt like a lie. It felt like a lie.  And mainly because we couldn't explain what the mission was.
Despite a warrant for his arrest, Snyder's "going around speaking to povertized areas, mainly African-American and Latino communities, around the country because they're targeted by recruiters and I think that recruiters should tell people the truth."  He didn't have that himself.  No one was warning him.  The mood of the country then was still Rah-Rah, he was targeted heavily in high school (recruiter evern came to his graduation) and he grew up in foster homes.  Snyder knows what it's like to think some adult's really interested in you, really concerned about you, only to realize after they were just trying to hit their month's target goal.
Nora Barrows-Friedman: And Kyle, if you were speaking with a young person who was considering joining the military right now, they were weighing their options, what advice would you have for them and what would you talk about with their families?
Kyle Snyder: . . When a recruiter comes up and talks to you, it's not because you're a special kind of person.  It's not because you have any type of thing that some other human being doesn't.  And a lot of 17 and 18-year-olds assume that, you know? 'Oh a  recruiters talking to me because I have some kind of special ability that no other person has.'  And they over-glorify it making you know basically the Army into Rambo-like figures and things that you know are in action movies when that's not the case.  They really need to look at what they'll be doing. . . . You're a gunner, medic, driver or, you know, an escort.  Those are the only four jobs that are in Iraq regardless of what you sign up to do.  I'd say, you know, if somebody signed up no matter what branch of service, I'd say it's about an 80% chance you're going to Iraq as long as the Bush administration is in power.  So they really need to look at that and understand that, yes, they're going to Iraq as long as, like I say, the Bush administration has their say, the war's going to last.  So they just need to understand that.  And I can understand people that do join the military and that believe in what they're doing but they need to understand people like me as well --that are lied to to get into the military.  And, you know  . . . I don't know.  That's basically all I can say.
Kyle Snyder is a public US war resister.  He is part of a resistance movement within the military that also includes Darrell Anderson, Ehren Watada,  Joshua Key, Ivan Brobeck, Ricky Clousing, Mark Wilkerson, Camilo Meija, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Jeremy Hinzman, Corey Glass, Patrick Hart, Clifford Cornell, Agustin Aguayo, Joshua Despain, Katherine Jashinski, and Kevin Benderman. Those are some of the war resisters who have gone public and over thirty US war resisters are currently in Canada attempting to be legally recognized.
When asked to speak about this movement, Kyle Snyder noted, "There's over 8,000 AWOL soldiers in the United States right now, 200 in Canada, 38 have applied for refugee status in Canada and I'm hoping, you know, that they start coming out.  And I know that some of them are going to be coming out in the next few months. . . . I could use Bush's words, 'Are we going to solve this problem now or are we going to wait for the next president 5 years from now, 10 years from now when 8,000 Iraq veterans are homeless or hiding in a corner because it wasn't taken care of like it could have been?'"
Information on this movement of war resistance within the military can be found at Center on Conscience & War, The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline, and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters. Appeal for Redress is collecting signatures of active duty service members calling on Congress to bring the troops home -- the petition will be delivered to Congress next month.
Tina Kim (WorldNow) reports on Appeal for Redress and notes that Jonathan Hutto and others involved with the appeal will be holding a news conference next Wednesday at 11:30 a.m. to raise awareness on the project which is gathering signatures of active duty service members calling for the US troops to be brought home.  The appeal will be presented to Congress in January.  Jonathan Hutto was a guest last week on WBAI's Law and Disorder. [Mike noted it here.]
Today begins the National Days of Action to Support GI Resistance, called for by Courage to Resist, which run through Sunday the 10th.  Indybay IMC notes: "Other Bay Area Events: On Friday, December 8th, 7:30pm at the College of Marin in Kentfield, segments of the film 'Ground Truth' will be shown, and Iraq combat veteran-turned-war-resister Darrell Anderson will speak. Also that evening, at 7:30pm at the Buena Vista United Methodist Church in Alameda, the film 'The Ground Truth' will be shown, and there will be a panel with Rev. Michael Yoshii, and Bob Watada and Rosa Sakanishi. That night in San Jose, there will be a reception and fundraiser for Kyle Snyder at 6pm at the San Jose Friends Meeting House. On Saturday December 9th, there will be a peace vigil in support of Lt. Ehren Watada, in front of the MLK, Jr. Library in San Jose from 12-4pm. Read more about these events."
Sunday, the 10th, is also Impeachment Day and click here for David Swanson's overview of the goals and list of events.  Action is needed to end the illegal war.  And each day it drags on, more and more are wounded, more and more die.
They Kill Civilians, Don't They?
CBS and AP report that, on Friday, "20 insurgents, including two women," were killed in a US airstrike (in the Salahaddin Province).  The US military has a breathless press release on it that's all blah, blah, blah until this line: "Coalition Forces also found that two of the terrorists killed were women.  Al-Qaida in Iraq has both men and women supporting and facilitating their operations unfortunately."  And children too, right?
CBS and AP note that the area's mayor, Amir Fayadh, says that "seven women and eight children" were killed. AFP reporters "found and photographed relatives weeping over several mangled bodies, including those of at least two children, near the ruined homes."  AFP also notes that the US military's flack Christopher Garver denies children were killed, even when presented with photographic evidence by AFP. Sameer N. Yacoub (AP) reports that the "charred and bloody blodies laid out" were covered with blankets and "An AP photo showed an Iraqi man who had pulled back one of the blankets and uncovered the face of one of the dead, who appeared to be a boy about 10 years old".  Ibon Villelabeitia (Reuters) reports that "grieving relatives showed the bodies of five children wrapped in blankets to journalists."   
CNN reports a bombing in Tal Afar that left three dead and a mortar attack in Baghdad that claimed four lives and left eight more wounded.  Sameer N. Yacoub (AP) reports: "On the outskirts of Baghdad, three mortar rounds hit a Shiite residential area, killing 25 men, women and children, and wounding 22" according to police.
Reuters reports that Human Nuri ("head of customs in the city of Najaf) and his brother were shot dead in Baghdad while in another Baghdad incident an unidentified person was shot dead and three more wounded.
Reuters reports 18 corpses discovered in Baghdad.
Today, the US military announced: "An improvised explosive device detonated near a Multi-National Division -- Baghdad patrol, killing two Soldiers south of the Iraqi capital Dec. 7. The Soldiers were conducting a dismounted patrol responding to a possible IED, south of the city, when a roadside bomb detonated, killing two Soldiers and wounding two others."  And earlier today, the US military announced: "An improvised explosive device detonated near a Multi-National Division - Baghdad patrol, killing one Soldier in the Iraqi capital Thursday. 
The combat patrol was conducting joint operations with the Iraqi Army to prevent sectarian violence in a western neighborhood of the city when the bomb exploded near one of their vehicles."
And the US military boasted of entering Falluja General, a civilian hospital, on a whim.  Blood donors were needed . .. maybe 'insurgents' were present!  Screw the rules guiding civilian institutions in warfare, lock and load, baby, lock and load.  And it's those incidents and many others that explain why the war is lost.
In legal news, Cindy Sheehan, Medea Benjamin, Patti Ackerman and Missy Comley Beattie are on trial for excercising their right to free speech.  To summarize the case so far, a dramatic recreation based upon the reporting of Samuel Maull (AP).
Typical municipal courtroom.  Well, maybe not 'typical,' it is Manhattan.
We see the DEFENSE TABLE where FOUR WOMEN listen: PATTI ACKERMAN, MISSY COMLEY BEATTIE, MEDEA BENJAMIN and CINDY SHEEHAN -- attracitve women all.  They stare ahead intently
FOUR WOMEN'S P.O.V.  -- a gnome-like woman, in a faded, tattered Kerry-Edwards: 2004 t-shirt, BITTER PEGGY KERRY, sputters on the witness stand in front of D.A. HAN who smiles and nods in sympathy.
                                                   BITTER PEGGY
                            I was on my way to meet the group, to take their
                            petition -- then I saw --
Bitter Peggy begins sobbing.  hands her a tissue.  Bitter Peggy looks over at the defense table and glares.
                                                     BITTER PEGGY
                              Then I saw -- Peace Mom!
Bitter Peggy points a menacing finger.  Cindy waves and grins sheepishly.
Free speech, peace doves, compassion
Peace Mom
Passion, peace sign, bravery
Is Peace Mom
She's tinsel on a tree . . .
She's everything an American should be!
If you find one to emulate
Only one to emulate
Let it be Peace Mom . . .
Peace Mom!*
Han smirks to the defense table as DEFENCE attorney rises and walks to the witness stand.
                                    Bitter Peggy Kerry, you agree that you were
                                    notified that a petition would be dropped off?
                                                          BITTER PEGGY
                                    Yeah, so?
                                     And you agreed to accept the petition?
                                                             BITTER PEGGY
                                     What of it?
                                      You were on your way to accept the petition and
                                       then something stopped you.
                                                              BITTER PEGGY
                                        Peace Mom.
                                        Just the sight of Cindy Sheehan was enough to
                                        make you break your agreement? 
                                                                BITTER PEGGY
                                          Damn right.  "Peace"?  Please.  I'm bitter
                                          and angry and mad at the world.  Keep Peace Mom
                                          away from me.  Every where she travels, there's always
                                          a chance that, at any minute, peace could break
                                          out!  I hate her.  I hate her!  I hate her! 
Bitter Peggy goes into spastic convulsions while Defense looks on.  Alarmed, D.A. Han leaps to her feet.
                                                                  D.A. HAN
                                             Your honor, a recess?
                                                                  BITTER PEGGY
                                               I'll get that Peace Mom.  I'll get her.  I hate
                                               her.  I hate her like I hate kittens and puppies.
                                               And Christmas!  And peace!  I hate peace! 
                                               War!  I must have war!  I do want war, I do! 
                                                Screw Peace Mom, find me Kill Mom!  I want
                                                Kill Mom.  Kill mommy!  Kill mommy!
                                                                                                            FADE OUT
So ends the docu-drama recreation.  [*Earle Hagen and Sam Denoff wrote the theme to the TV program That Girl starring Marlo Thomas -- who also was the executive producer of the show.]
In other news of courage, Steve Rubenstein (San Francisco Chronicle) reports on the 200 plus people march yesterday from Grace Cathedral to the federal building downtown which was led by Bishop Marc Handley Andrus to protest the Iraq war.  The Bishop was among those arrested and he stated, "God is with all who have suffered in Iraq.  This war needs to be opposed.  Even though there is widespread sentiment against the war, we need to continue to push for peace.  There is good reason to believe this is an unjust war."  Zach notes that Wendell Harper reported, from the protest, on yesterday's The KPFA Evening News
And finally, he's been the White Queen, the Scold, the Nag and, on his way out the door, the soon to be former US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld decided he wanted to try on one more persona: Axel Rose.  Kristin Roberts (Reuters) reports that the Rumsfled thinks what the world . . . needs . . . now . . . is just a little patience.  Just a little patience.
The tragically unhinged Rumsfled declared that Iraq was still 'winnable' "if we have the patience and only if we have the staying power."  Rumsfled's "staying power" -- obviously in question now -- can surely take credit for the 655,000 estimated Iraqis killed during the illegal war.  To the would-be-Axel-Rose, the world responds, "There's no room for you here, go away, girl, there's no room for you here" (White Stripes).

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As I sat in court in New York City yesterday listening to the "People's" "case" against me and my co-defendants actions on March 6th when we were arrested in front of the US mission to the UN, 10 of our troops were slaughtered in Iraq by BushCo and Congress. As we were having our time wasted and the tax-payer's money of the people of the State of New York wasted, 10 more mothers were collapsing in a pile of grief, shock, and agony while our government is staying an evidently wrong course in Iraq. We don't even know how many Iraqis were killed yesterday for the sins of BushCo and the complicity of Congress.
Gold Star Families for Peace, Code Pink, World Can’t Wait, and the After Downing Street Coalition will be in Congress as the new Congress returns on January 3rd and 4th to remind the new and old members that funding war gives approval for war and that we are setting the table when it comes to the agenda for the 110th Congress. But even more important than these days to Walk for Change, we need to bring a massive presence to DC in the spring to enforce OUR words with action!
Long gone are the days when we allow our employees to tell us what they are going to do. We write the job description; we hold the cards; we are the bosses and we want our troop’s home and we want BushCo to be held accountable.

Kayla noted the above from Cindy Sheehan's "Breakfast with Dennis Kucinich" (Common Dreams). As Rebecca noted Wednesday, "cindy sheehan on trial means we're all on trial." Sheehan's latest column is about attempts to cut off funding of the illegal war but Kayla wanted to focus on this section dealing with the trial.

Staying on the trial but turning to the New York Times, this is from the I-don't-know-my-facts-but-let's-pretend-that-I-do Anemona Hartocollis' "Trial Centers on Dispute Over War Protesters' Arrests:"

It started as a tiny act of protest. Cindy Sheehan, the mother of a soldier killed in Iraq who had held a vigil near President Bush’s ranch, and a group of women wanted to submit a petition to the United States Mission to the United Nations in Manhattan, demanding an end to the war.
But Ms. Sheehan and three other women were handcuffed, arrested and jailed overnight. Now their misdemeanor trial in Manhattan Criminal Court has turned into a look at the use -- and they say abuse -- of police power, in the face of an antiwar protest.
At the trial, the police and security officers told the jury that the four women had sat down and blocked the entrance to the building, and had resisted arrest by refusing to follow the instructions of arresting officers.
And yesterday, Peggy Kerry, the sister of Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts and a liaison at the mission, testified that she was planning to meet with the protesters, but told one of them that she would not meet with the press because that was not her job. After learning that they had a celebrity, Ms. Sheehan, with them, Ms. Kerry turned off her phone and had no further contact with them.
"I was angry that they had not told me Cindy Sheehan would be there," Ms. Kerry, a prosecution witness, said, under questioning by Ms. Sheehan's lawyer, Robert Gottlieb.

Gee, Pegs, it's a long, long way from 1968, eh? Is the entire family all in 'cave down'? Is this some sort of dominant gene in the DNA? Who knows but Peggy Kerry's dined out once too often on her "I'm opposed to the war" song & dance.

So Pegs has a snit fit and the tax payers have to pick up the tab?

Bitter, bitter, bitter, bitter, Peggy Pooh

Bitter, bitter, bitter, bitter, Peggy Pooh

I'm biting my tongue -- oh, am I biting my tongue. (But "Peggy Sue" -- nodded to above -- was written by Buddy Holly, Jerry Allison, and Norman Petty.)

And we're going to move on quickly, but let's note this listing from the article: "Ms. Sheehan, 49, who lives in Northern California; the Rev. Patricia Ackerman, 48, an Episcopal priest; Susan Benjamin, 54, known as Medea; and Melissa Beattie, 57, known as Missy . . ." Hey, New York Times, Pegs' first name is Margaret -- maybe you should mention that if you're going to treat "Missy" and "Medea" as 'aliases.'

It's a good thing John Kerry already killed his own prospects for a 2008 run.*

Back to the Times. When did Bitter, Bitter, Peggy Pooh decide to cut off contact? Apparently not quite the way the story in the paper of record makes it out to be. From Samuel Maull's "Nyack woman among defendants in 'Peace Mom' trial" (AP):

Peggy Kerry, the former Democratic presidential candidate's sister, said she went outside and saw about 100 women, including Sheehan, and "a gaggle of press." She said she went back inside the mission.
"I was angry that they had not told me Cindy Sheehan would be there," Kerry said. "It (her presence) explained to me why there was a gaggle of press outside."

So what the Times can't quite tell you is that the women had called to drop off the petition and Bitter Bitter Peggy Pooh had agreed to accept. Bitter Bitter Peggy Pooh had even gone outside to meet them and accept the petition.

But then, OH NO!, she saw Cindy Sheehan.

Spineless cowards and, in their cowardice, they don't just prolong the war, they advance it. From one war promoter to another, the Bully Boy. This is from the transcript of yesterday's press conference (via Washington Post) and it's Bully Boy speaking:

Make no mistake about it: I understand how tough it is, sir.
I talk to the families who die. I understand there's sectarian violence.
I also understand that we're hunting down Al Qaida on a regular basis and we're bringing them to justice. I understand how hard our troops are working. I know how brave the men and women who wear the uniform are.

A) 1300, as noted on Democracy Now!, is the number of al-Qaida the James Baker Circle Jerk estimates are in Iraq. But there's Bully Boy trotting out his scare tactics again. (It actually gets worse after the excerpt.)

B) What is it with Republicans that they want to pretend they talk to ghosts?** "I talk to the families who die." That's what he said. On Tuesday, Jeff Sessions was claiming, of those US troops who had died in Iraq, "I talked to their families. I talked to those who lost their lives."

Now Bully Boy's saying it to.

Micah notes this, on an event happening today, from the New York Observer:

Carolyn Ho, mother of Lt. Ehren Watada, charged with refusing to deploy to Iraq, holds a press conference with peace activists at Church Center in UN Plaza.

Ehren Watada faces a pre-court-martial proceeding next month with the court-martial itself scheduled to being in February. Watada is the first commissioned officer to publicly refuse to serve in the illegal war. Carolyn Ho is raising awareness of her son on the East coast, on the West? Ehren's father Bob Watada is keeping the issue alive.

As Indybay IMC noted, "Friday, December 8th, 7:30pm at the College of Marin in Kentfield, segments of the film 'Ground Truth' will be shown, and Iraq combat veteran-turned-war-resister Darrell Anderson will speak. Also that evening, at 7:30pm at the Buena Vista United Methodist Church in Alameda, the film 'The Ground Truth' will be shown, and there will be a panel with Rev. Michael Yoshii, and Bob Watada and Rosa Sakanishi. That night in San Jose, there will be a reception and fundraiser for Kyle Snyder at 6pm at the San Jose Friends Meeting House. On Saturday December 9th, there will be a peace vigil in support of Lt. Ehren Watada, in front of the MLK, Jr. Library in San Jose from 12-4pm."

War resister Kyle Snyder was interviewed by Nora Barrows Friedman on yesterday's KPFA's Flashpoints. Rebecca covers it here and we noted it in last night's entry. We'll note it later in today's snapshot but Zach asked that we emphasize: Gunner, medic, driver or escort.

Those are the four jobs Kyle Snyder said awaited those signing up with recruiters. He spoke of how the 'excitement' factor the recuriters attempt to sell people on, painting a picture with "things that are like action movies." There were two realities that Snyder wanted to get across when Nora Barrows Friedman asked him what he'd tell a young person who's being targeted by a recruiter. 1) You're more than likely going to Iraq if you sign up, no matter what you're recruiter tells you. 2) "They overglorify it" to make it sound like a videogame. Four jobs: gunner, medic, driver or escort.

Actually, there was a third point, the issue of don't buy into that you're specially qualified and that's why a recruiter's contacting you constantly.

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[Jess note added to C.I.'s entry. *C.I.'s referring to November 1st. You can see the snapshot for that day, Rebecca's "dear john" and Patricia Kennealy Morrison's "Kerry On." 27 visitors are lost and e-mailing so that's your road map. C.I. and Ty are flying back later today (Wally's tagging along for a weekend visit) and we're all hoping to make Darrell Anderson's event, "7:30pm at the College of Marin in Kentfield," so I'm clearing that up since there won't be time for C.I. to do an evening entry tonight. **Kara and Brad suggest that maybe Republicans think they are ghost whisperers.]

NYT: "With Foe's Change of Heart, Iraq Watchdog Is Likely to Survive" (James Glanz)

A bill that would extend the life of the federal agency that oversees billions of dollars of reconstruction money in Iraq appeared headed to passage after a key House Republican dropped his opposition on Thursday and declared that he would vote for the bill.
[. . .]
Some degree of American financial assistance is likely to flow to Iraq for as long as American troops are stationed there. But that kind of extension for the agency, the Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, had been opposed by Duncan Hunter, the California Republican who recently declared himself a likely candidate for president in 2008.
In October, members of Mr. Duncan's staff inserted an obscure provision into a huge defense authorization bill that would force the inspector general’s office to begin shutting down almost immediately. Because the office, led by a Republican lawyer, Stuart W. Bowen Jr., has repeatedly uncovered instances of wasted money, shoddy construction and criminal fraud in the rebuilding program, the move caused an outcry among Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill.

The above is from James Glanz' "With Foe's Change of Heart, Iraq Watchdog Is Likely to Survive" in this morning's New York Times. The above matters and thankfully, it's not yet another James Baker Circle Jerk article. Violence did continue in Iraq. Thomas Wagner (AP) was able to cover it. Who knows, maybe today Reuters will remember that off the printed pages of the James Baker Circle Jerk, a nation is in crisis, civil war, and that violence continues?
Or maybe not. Martha notes Nancy Trejos' "Wednesday's Toll for U.S. Troops in Iraq Rises to 11" (Washington Post) which does remember that beyond the Beltway, life and death continue:

Civilian casualties also continued to mount Thursday, as 52 bodies were found across Baghdad in a 24-hour period, an Interior Ministry source said. All had gunshot wounds, nine had been beheaded and many bore signs of torture. Five of the victims were women, the source said.
Officials have attributed the surge in U.S. military deaths to stepped-up efforts to quell sectarian violence in Baghdad and a continuing campaign against insurgents in Anbar province.
On Thursday, the military released more details about the deaths. "It was a variety of events and a variety of operations," said Lt. Christopher C. Garver, a U.S. military spokesman.
Most of the casualties were in Anbar. Three soldiers from the 1st Armored Division, one Marine from the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force Headquarters Group and one Marine from the 15th Marine Expeditionary Force died of wounds suffered in enemy action. Another Marine from the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force died of nonhostile causes.
Five soldiers from the 25th Infantry Division were killed by a roadside bomb during combat operations in Kirkuk province, north of Baghdad, the military reported.

The US military announced today: "An improvised explosive device detonated near a Multi-National Division - Baghdad patrol, killing one Soldier in the Iraqi capital Thursday. The combat patrol was conducting joint operations with the Iraqi Army to prevent sectarian violence in a western neighborhood of the city when the bomb exploded near one of their vehicles."

And guess what? I'm not going to attempt to tease out news of Iraq. There's nearly none. It's wall-to-wall James Baker Circle Jerk. We've got two things for the next entry, I'll go through some more e-mails but otherwise that will be it.

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Thursday, December 07, 2006

And the war drags on . . .

ANTHONY ARNOVE: Well, I think the report offers only a slight correction of course for a policy that needs fundamental reversal. We need to bring the troops home, not to talk about prolonging the presence of the United States in Iraq. This report of the Iraq Study Group lays out keeping troops, not only combat troops, in Iraq until 2008, but well beyond that.
And, in effect, it continues a policy that the Bush administration has put forward, of we will stand down as the Iraqis stand up, and it suggests that there's somehow a technical solution to the problem of Iraq, if we just had better training of the Iraqi security forces. But the problem isn't a technical problem, it’s a political problem. The Iraqis want the US troops to leave. They reject a foreign occupation. And as long as US troops are there, the US troops will be a source of instability and will fuel sectarian conflict, rather than dampen it, and they will fuel the kind of violence which we see escalating and getting worse every day in Iraq.

The above is from Democracy Now!'s "Anthony Arnove On Iraq Study Group: 'Report Offers Only A Slight Correction For a Policy That Needs Fundamental Reversal'" today. Jonah noted it and wanted to urge everyone to attend a workshop of Arnove and Howard Zinn's The People Speak, based upon their Voices of a People's History of the United States. (I can, and will, echo that.)

Jonah wasn't the only one noting a highlight from today's Democracy Now! and we'll work the other two (there may be three) in as we move along. If you missed the program today, Amy Goodman had a roundtable discussion on the James Baker Circle Jerk's report. From Congress, Representatives Barbara Lee and Lynn Woolsey participated, Arnove (of course),
Sami Rasouli who is an Iraqi-American who has returned to Iraq to help that country (something the James Baker Circle Jerk didn't appear to concerned with doing) and Antonia Juhasz (The BU$H Agenda). One member asked if it might be offered as a premium during the next fundraising drive? It might but you can purchase a copy at the Democracy Now! website.

What's helping to end the war? Serious discussions like that (contrast any segment with the 'reporting' in this morning's New York Times).

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

-- words and lyrics by Mick Softly (available on Donovan's Fairytale)

Last Thursday, the number of US troops killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war was 2887. 13 away from the 2900 mark and that mark was passed Sunday. Right now? 2921. 34 in seven days. Do you see that in the coverage? Does anything indicate that as people file puff pieces on the James Baker Circle Jerk? 11 died on Wednesday alone. Visitor "DunCle" e-mailed asking why the 11 deaths weren't noted in today's snapshots? They were noted this morning in "Wednesday was one of the deadliest days for US troops in Iraq, but NYT missed that story" and "Other Items" and ten of the eleven were noted in Wednesday's snapshot. Every day there are things that don't get noted. Sometimes I can't figure out how to work it in it, sometimes it's an issue of having a very limited amount of time to do the snapshot in but it's called a "snapshot," not a "poster" or "billboard."

Today's actually could have been e-mailed an hour before it was (there is a point to this ramble). But there was nothing on Iraq. There were tons of reports on the James Baker Circle Jerk. In fact, Reuters seemed to have been trapped in some sort of loop. They never even updated their Factbox (they usually do that several times a day) on the events in Iraq. There was Bully Boy and Blair, there was the Circle Jerk. But Iraq?

A friend called with the heads up to the AP story on deaths in Iraq, that was added and then the thing was e-mailed and, unlike yesterday, it hit within an hour.

But Thomas Wagner (AP) has an update on today's reported events in Iraq which included: 12 dead, nine injured while Iraqi police and resistance fighters fought in Ramadi (the dead and injured were bystanders); two police officers dead from a car bomb in Falluja with another wounded; a seven-year-old girl who will not see eight-years-old (she's dead) end up a bystander in a fight (as in Ramadi) between Iraqi police and resistance fighters; another professor (Mohammed Haidar Sulaiman) shot dead (Mosul is the locale); and a car bomb in Baghdad that claimed one life and left two wounded.

On another issue, Wally (he and Ty are along on this trip) wanted it noted that there are over 70 links in today's snapshot. Why? He has an e-mail about a post he and Cedric did in November where someone's telling him he should have linked to ___. Wally and Cedric have been grabbing an excerpt of the snapshot and posting that in their daily entries. The reader who wrote him didn't read too closley because they weren't referring to what Wally and Cedric had written, they were referring to the snapshot. So just to note this here, there are as many links in those as I have time for. Sorry. (And apologies to Wally that he gets scolded for something he didn't write.)

The link that someone thought should have been included had nothing to do with anything in the snapshot and had nothing to do with Iraq. Many things don't get included each day that actually do have something to do with Iraq. Patti Ackerson, Cindy Sheehan, Medea Benjamin and Missy Comley Beattie should have been in a snapshot before today. They weren't. And that is Iraq related. I asked Rebecca to cover it because, if nothing else, I could have just done one sentence, if time was short, steering people to Rebecca's post. (Thank you, to Rebecca, for picking that up.) There are impeachment rallies going on around the country this weekend and those are important. If the past coverage is any indication, they'll be covered elsewhere. I skipped them today because I wanted to note the weekend's activities of war resisters because war resisters do not get the coverage they deserve. Hopefully, people will participate in both. But I went back and forth on that and decided that we'd emphasize the war resisters. David Swanson, Cindy Sheehan and many others will be participating in the impeachment rallies and, hopefully, there will be time to note them in some form tomorrow. It's an important issue and has to do with Iraq -- it's not a tangent, it has to do with Iraq directly. But somethings have to go into the snapshot and, for community members, war resisters are one of those things.

Someone who has been covering war resisters is Nora Barrows Friedman (as has her co-host Dennis Bernstein) and today's KPFA's Flashpoints featured an interview (thank you to Kat for taping it and playing it over the phone, I wasn't in the area and was speaking when it was broadcasting). If you missed it, or would like to hear it again, you can access the archives at KPFA or Flashpoints. Rebecca's "kyle snyder, nora barrows friedman, the james baker circle jerk" covers some of it and I won't repeat what she's already covered.

Snyder self-checked out in April 2005, went to Canada. He returned to the US at the end of October and turned himself in on October 31st. An agreement had been made between the military and his attorney, Jim Fennerty, and, after his attorney left, the military decided to toss aside the agreement (burning him the same way they did with his recruiter and while he was serving -- he wasn't allowed to attend his grandfather's funeral, his fiancee received no health care and her pregnancy didn't result in a child as a result, and there's so much more). He refused to sign a statement saying he'd agreed to return to his old unit and, when left at a Greyhound station to board a bus and join his old unit (heading to Iraq next month), Kyle checked out again. "I went out to eat, I enjoyed Halloween."

Snyder went to Iraq to help with the reconstruction. He wasn't doing engineering work. Instead they "made me an escort . . . for high ranking people." What he saw in Iraq wasn't what he expected (what the Bully Boy repeatedly lied to the people about). He didn't see 'grateful' Iraqis. "I expected to at least see the civilians . . . accepting us . . . [Instead] children were flipping us off." Bully Boy hyped the policies and seeing the reality of the policies (not the hype) was what brought home the reality to Kyle Snyder.

He's still speaking out against the war now. "I'm not hiding from the government," he noted. And he's not, it's the most public 'underground' you can find. Now he's out there "fighing for the rights of AWOL soldiers" and speaking out "to areas targeted by recruiters" which include poor areas, minority areas. He encounters soldiers who are AWOL where ever he speaks and some of them are planning to go public with their resistance in the immediate future ("more will be coming out in the next months").

He is in contact with active duty soldiers and recieves encouragement from them because they're discovering that the stated reasons for the war "were false, they were all lies."

Nora Barrows Friedman asked him what he'd tell people that were thinking of signing up and he stated that he "would encourage them to get both sides of the picture." Those who are being targeted by recruiters, he would advise to realize that they aren't "special," someone's just trying to make their recruiting targets for the month. In doing so, "they overglorify it" and turn it into a Rambo movie. When the reality is that it's not an action film over there. "Gunner, medic, driver or escort. Those are the four jobs there are."

The "special" point, Snyder was heavily targeted by recruiters. He was noting that the attention can make a person feel that they really must be cut out for this and that is not the reality. Recruiters will tell you anything.

He also noted that there are 38 war resisters in Canada who are applying for refugee status.

That matters. It was a strong interview, war resistance matters, Kyle Snyder matters. The attention that he and others in the war resistance movement receive is no where near the level their actions merit so, when choosing things for snapshots, war resisters are high up on the list.

If the war's going to end, it's not going to be because someone encourages you to take that activism into the voting booth. It's going to take more than that. The war is not going to be a 'win' and even the establishment has accepted that it's lost. The James Baker Circle Jerk is a face saving move and not much else. But without pressure and awareness, the war will continue to drag on.

Which was why Mia noted this exchange from Democracy Now!'s "Anthony Arnove On Iraq Study Group: 'Report Offers Only A Slight Correction For a Policy That Needs Fundamental Reversal':"

AMY GOODMAN: I want to thank Congressmember Woolsey for joining us. We're going to stay with Anthony Arnove, and we're going to head to Iraq. But I want to ask you a final question, Congressmember Woolsey, on the issue of what difference it makes now for people around the country, for constituents, to weigh in on this issue with their congress members?
REP. LYNN WOOLSEY: It makes a great difference. We know they’re ahead of the Congress on what we should be doing and that we must leave Iraq, and they need to tell their members of Congress. I hope the people of this country aren't lulled by this report, because, you see, it's way too late. This is too little, too late to start, all of a sudden, realizing we've got a disaster in Iraq.

Either real pressure is put on or people practice 'activism' every two years when an election is held. With more on the James Baker Circle Jerk, Gareth notes Jonathan Steele's "Baker's predictable plan is what Bush is already doing" (Guardian of London):

James Baker is a lawyer, a fixer, a Republican, a friend of the Bush family, and a deeply political animal. He is not an independent radical or a man known for original thinking. So the question in the wake of his Iraq Study Group's predictably uncontroversial report is why it was ever set up. The first purpose was to provide an alibi for the president ahead of last month's congressional elections. Critics of his disastrous strategy in Iraq could be told that Bush was listening to the American people and understood their concerns. That was why he had set up a blue-ribbon panel to evaluate all options. Nothing was taboo. The tactic did not work, and Bush and his Republican party took a heavy beating. It was not Baker's fault so much as a sign that voters felt they had to send a message to Baker as well as Bush. A majority of Americans, as well as Iraqis, want US troops to leave.
The second purpose of the study group was to co-opt the Democrats, to get them behind Bush's war. Having a bipartisan panel with an equal number of members from both parties was intended to make it hard for Democrats to reject its report. Baker, after all, was the man who masterminded the manoeuvrings in 2000 over whether Florida should have a full recount. His job was to get Al Gore and the rest of the Democrats to swallow their anger and fall into line behind the argument that there was no time and that the better strategy was to take the dispute to the supreme court - where Bush's side had a clear judicial majority.
Now the plan is to lock the Democrats into agreeing with the main thrust of Bush's Iraq policy over the next two years, with the aim of preventing it from provoking a major divide during the 2008 campaign for the White House. It is not a difficult task. The main Democratic contenders, starting with Hillary Clinton, are weak fence-sitters who show no desire to challenge Bush directly. None are as clear-sighted as John Murtha, the Pennsylvania congressman who started calling for a US troop withdrawal a year ago. Nor, unless he or she is yet to emerge, is there a Eugene McCarthy or Robert Kennedy figure with the authority to rally voters against a failed president, as there was when Lyndon Johnson was mired in Vietnam.

Pru wrote that she wasn't even going to bother to send a link but that there are some in England wondering why England doesn't have their own James Baker Circle Jerk. (Isn't that what the ones standing beside Tony Blair still are?)

Pru: The United States Congress abdicated their responsibilities and tried to save face by farming them out to an unelected group composed of people who've never called for a withdrawal. I honestly think that's the last thing my country [England] needs and would be rather embarrassed if some heeded the call for the creation of one.

She has a blistering column in tomorrow's gina & krista round-robin so look for that.
Maria notes this from today's Democracy Now!, "Iraq Study Group: A Response From 'Out of Iraq' House Caucus Co-Founders Barbara Lee and Lynn Woolsey:"

AMY GOODMAN: And what about Congressmember Pelosi, the Speaker of the House to be, saying that cutting off funding is off the table?
REP. BARBARA LEE: Well, let me just say, I believe that we should not support this supplemental. Everyone has their points of views on how we end this occupation and civil war in Iraq. I do not support the supplemental, but I have not supported it since I have been here, nor have I supported a $400 billion-plus military budget.
When you look at this military budget, we have identified -- Congresswoman Woolsey and myself have identified $60 billion that could be cut: the development of Cold War era weapons systems. We have our Common Sense Budget Act. So there are some of us who believe that the military budget is no more about national security and a strong national defense, but it’s about funding military contractors and the military construction industry. So I believe that we need to begin to not only not support the war and end this occupation, but we also provide for reconstruction and redevelopment and humanitarian assistance for the Iraqis, but we need to support our troops by bringing them home.

And in case there's not time for it in tomorrow's snapshot, here's information from David Swanson's "December 10, 2006: Human Rights and Impeachment Day" (

December 10 is Human Rights Day, and this year we're making it Human Rights and Impeachment Day. Slogan: "Putting Impeachment on the Table."
We encourage you to organize a town hall forum or rally on this day for the impeachment of Bush and Cheney.

You can create a public listing of your event here. You will be able to communicate with the people who sign up for your event, and to edit the listing for your event, changing or filling in details later.
You can view existing events and sign up to attend one here.
Here is a list of
available speakers with their contact info.
Be sure also to invite your Congress Member or newly elected future Congress Member to speak.
Here are
resources that will make your event easy and effective.
If you want to include war resisters in your event, you may want to join forces with
this effort by Courage to Resist and also list your event on their website.
Big December 9 Event in New York City
Big December 10 Event in Santa Barbara, Calif.
Lots of December 10 Plans in Los Angeles, Calif.
Big December 10 Event in San Francisco, Calif.
Big December 10 Event in Washington DC
There are also events planned outside the United States. The technology of the events system we're using won't include them, but you can submit them to us to be posted here.

No members e-mailed asking because we've covered it before many times but since we seem to be getting a number of visitors with assumptions, to be very clear, I favor impeachment of Bully Boy. "To teach, you must impeach." Both to teach him and to teach future Oval Office occupants that illegal wars are not minor offenses. We're still living with the fallout from the failure to addrss Iran-Contra (only one example and if you're a visitor who is new to that, check out Robert Parry's Consortium News). That will be nothing compared to what the country will face if we avert our eyes on what Bully Boy has done. (From the war, to the illegal spying, to the criminal incompetence on display everywhere including those areas hit by Hurricane Katrina.)

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