Wednesday, July 04, 2007


Exactly 10 hours ago, we began working on (reworking) the July 4th feature. It will go up at all sites throughout the day. As you read it, you'll understand why we, despite having written the piece, despite it being "locked," thoughts that we could actually have a damn day off went out the window. Kat will not have a review up today. There was no way she could work on what we did and also finish her Mavis Staple CD review.

Thank you to a friend at The Nation who called late last night and said the e-mail sent to the public account was nonsense and pointed out that the result (on my end) was not helpful to this community. I had spent hours attempting to figure out what 'errors' had been made at The Third Estate Sunday Review? (The 'errors' were not errors, I was informed. They were objections. We'll be noting that Sunday.)

That's more than enough time spent on that.

Turning to the New York Times. Iraq makes page A3. Usually, it's A6 or A8 but they believe the oil law has been passed and it's time for songs of joy. So the decision is get it close to the front! Praise be!

Alissa J. Rubin's "Iraqi Cabinet Moves Foward on Oil Measure" addresses the issue.

Read it if you want. I'm not fact checking. I have focused on the crap from The Nation yesterday stopping only to do the Iraq snapshot.

Rubin may be on the money, she may be slightly off, she may be way off the mark. I cannot take staring at this computer screen for very much longer. I'll chalk it up as a learned lesson never again to give weight to any e-mail coming in to this site again.

Reuters reports passage of an oil law will be "rocky" and that the al-Sadr bloc has already stated no contracts to foreign countries with troops in Iraq. Reuters also reports 39 people killed in Iraq thus far today (check my math).

Today, in Denver, Colorado, Iraq Veterans Against the War will stage Operation First Casualty from 11:00 am to 6:00 pm in the area between Market Street station and the Civic Center. Those able to go should, you'll see for yourself that this is street theater and not a rally or a demonstration as so many in the press have wrongly reported.

Returning to the issue of the oil law, Joshua Partlow (Washington Post) reports:

Iraq's Cabinet has again approved draft legislation establishing a framework to manage the country's vast oil resources, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said Tuesday, but has not yet acted on a potentially more contentious companion law that would govern the distribution of oil revenues.
In a televised press conference, al-Maliki also expressed disappointment that a “national unity government” has not been achieved as had hoped, and that recent boycotts by some Sunni and Shiite Parliament members and Cabinet ministers were “causing harm to the citizens and creating depression and disappointment.”
In February of this year, Iraqi officials heralded the Cabinet's approval of the oil law and said it was headed to Parliament for review, but disagreement halted its progress.
Kurdish officials in particular have been concerned about what power their semi-autonomous state in northern Iraq would have to negotiate oil contracts independent of the rest of the country. Ashti Hawrami, the minister of natural resources for the Kurdish regional government, said he was unsure what was agreed upon Tuesday. The text approved in February is the only acceptable draft for the Kurds, he said.

Returning to events, an upcoming film showing this month. In full, we'll note this press release:

Veterans Voices in Ventura: Soldiers and Family Members Expose Human Cost of War
Members of the military and their families will discuss the real casualties of war and exchange resources and information on how communities can help facilitate change.
Ventura, CA (
PRWEB) July 4, 2007 -- Join Veterans and family members of those who have served on Saturday July 14th at 7PM in Ventura for a film screening and discussion on the truth about military recruiting and the nonviolent alternatives available to students and especially children of immigrant families.We will be screening "Reveille! Reveille!" the film that chronicles the Iraq Veterans Against the War in their earliest attempts to prevent further atrocities and regain their humanity. From their initial gathering to their stand at the gates of the White House (which resulted in the largest mass arrest by U.S. Park Police since the Vietnam War) "Reveille! Reveille!" is an eye-opening experience that features Dennis Kyne, Jeff Key, Jimmey Massey and other Iraq War veterans.
Come and take your part in a movement that will not be silenced. Members of the military and their families will discuss the real casualties of war and exchange resources and information on how communities can help facilitate change.Special Guest Speakers Include:
Dennis Kyne - Dennis is a combat veteran, author, musician and speaker living in San Jose, CA. Kyne is founding member of Veterans for Peace Chapter 101- Bay Area California. Veterans Working Together for Peace & Justice Through Non-Violence. Kyne has spend his adulthood directly with concerned soldiers, non-soldiers, lawyers, policy experts, scientists, elected officials and the media to increase analysis, awareness and activism against depleted uranium misinformation and in support of meaningful alternatives to uranium mining. His public presentations include his personal experiences both on the battlefield and at the VA Hospitals.
Maricela Guzman - Los Angeles-born Maricela Guzman was attacked and raped while on night watch duty during her Navy boot camp training. U. S. Department of Veterans Affairs records obtained by the Weekly show that more that 20percent of female veterans who used VA health care services nationwide between October 2001 and September 2005-that's nearly 44,000 women-reported being victims of sexual assault or harassment, sometimes by fellow service members.

Fernando Suarez del Solar - On March 27, 2003, Fernando lost his son Jesus when he stepped on a U.S. cluster bomb while fighting in Iraq. Since then, Fernando has been traveling around the country speaking out against the invasion and occupation of Iraq. In December he traveled to Iraq with Global Exchange and a group of military families to listen to the needs and desires of the Iraqi people, and returned home to meet with congress people, UN officials and the media to call for the withdrawal of US troops. Fernando is also an active member of Military Families Speak Out.
Arlene Inouye - Coordinator and founder of CAMS (The Coalition Against Militarism in Our Schools) which began after the global protest to stop the war in 2003. She is a bilingual Speech and Language Specialist in East Los Angeles and spent her life addressing oppression and working for social change in education, multiculturalism, human relations, nonprofit organizations and parent/community activism. She is on the Steering Committee of NNOMY the National Network Opposed to the Militarization of Youth. Sponsored By: Veterans for Peace Ventura Chapter 112, Unitarian Universalist Church of Ventura, The Coalition Against Militarism in Our Schools, Brokenrope (Representing Native Americans in Ventura ) and Good Karma Public Relations
Event Details: Veterans Voices in Ventura takes place on Saturday July 14th at 7PM at the Unitarian Universalist Church located at 5654 Ralston Street Ventura, CA 93003. There will be a $10 suggested donation at the door. For more information or media inquiries please call Good Karma PR at (805) 653-1588

The issue of contractors stems from the privatization of the military. It has caused many, many problems for those not receiving the big money contracts and it's 'reinventing government' in a way to screw over everyone. There are some tasks that only the government should provide and a sure sign of how out of control the privatization movement is can be found in the privatizing of the military. T. Christian Miller (Los Angeles Times) notes:

The number of U.S.-paid private contractors in Iraq now exceeds that of American combat troops, newly released figures show, raising fresh questions about the privatization of the war effort and the government's capacity to carry out military and rebuilding campaigns.
More than 180,000 civilians -- including Americans, foreigners and Iraqis -- are working in Iraq under U.S. contracts, according to State and Defense department figures obtained by the Los Angeles Times. Including the recent troop buildup, 160,000 soldiers and a few thousand civilian government employees are stationed in Iraq.
The total number of private contractors, far higher than previously reported, shows how heavily the Bush administration has relied on corporations to carry out the occupation of Iraq -- a mission criticized as being undermanned.

Now read the following excerpt from Josh White's "Death Sought For Ex-GI In Slayings, Rape in Iraq" (Washington Post) closley:

Justice Department attorneys will pursue the death penalty against a former U.S. Army soldier accused of raping and killing an Iraqi teenager and slaying her family members last year, according to papers filed yesterday in federal court. It could be the first capital case to proceed against a U.S. service member arising out of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Prosecutors revealed that they will seek death for former Pfc. Steven D. Green should he be convicted of the March 12, 2006, slayings of Abeer Qassim al-Janabi, 14, her parents and her young sister -- one of the worst homicide cases of the war. Green is accused of plotting the attack with three other U.S. soldiers in the hotly contested Mahmudiyah area south of Baghdad.

Did you catch it? Abeer. Named. But, thing is, the Washington Post (and the AP and CNN and others) have never felt the need to strip a young girl who was gang-raped and murdered of her own name. They've not felt the need to render her invisible, to disrespet her or to conjure up a defense for her rapists and killer. That would be the New York Times.

The e-mail address for this site is Give me ten minutes to walk around (and try to get a second wind) and the planned feature will go up.

The e-mail address for this site is