Monday, June 9, 2008

Foon Rhee, Walter Pincus

Foon Rhee's "McCain questions Obama V.P. vetter" (Boston Globe) reports that Barack Obama's helper, Jim Johnson, in the selection of the vice presidential nominee has some problems: "The Wall Street Journal reported on Saturday that Johnson, the former CEO of Fannie Mae, received more than $7 million in favorable loans from Countrywide Financial Corp. with the help of the firm's chief executive, Angelo Mozilo. One of the loans came while Johnson was still at Fannie Mae, the federal mortgage guarantor that works closely with Countrywide, one of the nation's largest mortgage lenders." Naturally, the Christ-child's campaign says there is no story there; however, Senator John McCain's campaign points out that Saint Barack "is being hypocritical because he criticized former Democratic rival Hillary Clinton over her ties to Countrywide." While Americans lose their homes and worry about their losing homes, Saint Barack of Effete is tight with the crooks that created the housing crisis.

Moving over to Iraq, this is from Walter Pincus' "Records Could Shed Light on Iraq Group" (Washington Post):

There is an important line in last week's Senate intelligence committee report on the Bush administration's prewar exaggerations of the threat posed by Saddam Hussein. It says that the panel did not review "less formal communications between intelligence agencies and other parts of the Executive Branch."
[. . .]
One obvious target for such an expanded inquiry would have been the records of the White House Iraq Group (WHIG), a group set up in August 2002 by then-White House Chief of Staff Andrew H. Card Jr.
[. . .]
In an interview with the New York Times published Sept. 6, 2002, Card did not mention the group, but he hinted at its mission. "From a marketing point of view, you don't introduce new products in August," he said.
Two days later, WHIG's product placement was on display. It began with a front-page story in the Times describing Iraq's clandestine purchase of aluminum tubes that, the story said, could be used to produce weapons-grade uranium. The story said that information came from "senior administration officials."

So that's the most recent on the lies that started the illegal war. The latest edition of The Third Estate Sunday Review went up Sunday and I thought I would share some brief thoughts on that.

Truest statement of the week -- This is Ellen Willis. Each week Third picks a "truest statement." I didn't participate in this. Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess, Ava and C.I. picked this at the last minute. We were all so tired we were going to ignore the feature this week but readers complained or at least wondered so it went up Sunday night when the note did.

A note to our readers -- Each week, Jim rights a note about the edition. Before I started doing reports for The Common Ills, there was not always a note. I do not remember when it came in but it was started mainly because it was easy to navigate the site. If they had more than X articles that week, they were not all displayed on the front page. As late as 2006, they would sometimes forget the note but readers complained and they never forget it now. This is Jim's forum to speak. He speaks it as he types and Dona, Jess, Ava, C.I. and Ty holler things out that he includes or not.

Editorial: Know Your History! You Have The Right! -- Each week, they do an editorial. I have been working with them for some time now. I have been helping out from time to time since I started doing the report but just a stray week a month. I always help out at Christmas because some like to have the weekend off and, being Jewish, I do not celebrate Christmas. The focus here is on war resisters and I wish I had C.I. and Elaine's memories. We all worked on this, and I will note "we" at the end.

TV: The Ugly People's Orgy -- Each week, Ava and C.I. do a TV commentary. This is always the most popular feature every week. The backstory here is that when the site started, Ava and C.I. did not want to cover TV. They were putting together the very first edition (January 2005) and Jim was insistent that TV had to be covered. He noted everyone on campus pretty much watched television. The first few were written by Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess, Ava and C.I. The e-mails on this feature would always note lines that stood out and they were always Ava and C.I.'s line. So they quickly turned it over to Ava and C.I. because that is what the readers were responding to. For many weeks after, it was not noted that Ava and C.I. were writing them solo. When they started, they wanted to do group bylines to avoid ego issues. After Ava and C.I. began soloing, the e-mails soared and they would hear from their family, "I really loved this piece." They spent forever explaining, "We love it too. But we didn't write it, Ava and C.I. did." So they quickly began noting that Ava and C.I. were writing it. Ava and C.I. reject a weekly byline so Jim notes it in the note and it is also on the "About us." If they're writing something they think may appear controversial, they will put their names in by typing, "We (Ava and C.I.) . . ." to avoid drive-by e-mails blaming anyone else. They really do a wonderful job. It is a great mix of strong critique and humor and they cover TV from a feminist viewpoint which really was not being done regularly. So this feature became the calling card for the site. The humor, Jim likes to point out, is that Ava and C.I. would not watch TV if they did not have to write this and Ava and C.I. were the ones saying "no" to a TV feature back in January 2005. But despite not wanting it and not wanting to watch TV, they have a gift for this.

The VA Computer Breach You Don't Know About (Jim) -- Every now and then, one of the core six will write a solo feature. Jim wrote this one and it is about the VA scandal that is still on the "down low."

Piggies on parade -- Feminism is never forgotten at Third. Ava and C.I. are feminists. They are not afraid of the label. Dona has become a very strong feminist. But what is really incredible, to me anyway, is that over the three years, they all use the label now: Dona, Jess, Jim, Ty, Ava and C.I. That is also true of the males with sites in the community. As a second-wave feminist, it makes me very happy to see how strong feminsim is, how it still continues to grow. In this feature, the focus is on the males who used sexism to destroy Senator Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign.

What Did You Do In The War, Mommy? -- We focus on several levels of people this edition. This is the second-part in the four-part feminism focus on the Clinton campaign. This focues on the Queen Bees who joined in the attacks on Senator Clinton.

Norman Solomon remembers 'the ladies' -- The third-part was going to focus on the lectures from men, delivered to women, throughout the campaign season. The fact that Norman Solomon decided to chime in last week led this to focusing solely on him. This is an example of a piece that went through several drafts changing each time. We wrote a draft. Jim punched it up solo. He read it out loud and the reaction was, "NO!" Ava and C.I. went back and did another draft putting back parts in and adding a few new lines. We loved it. But . . . could they do another draft and punch up the whole thing? They did.

Ms.went from playing dumb to outright insulting -- So we have the men who used sexism, the women who used sexism, the men who felt the need to lecture women, and then was had the silence. One of the biggest shocks for me this election cycle will always be Ms. magazine's silence. As someone who can remember the first issue of the magazine inducing so much excitement, the silence today was shocking and sad.

Watch your back, Ralph -- Obamabots are all over the web today. Stories about them. Usually the same story reposted. This one goes deeper.

Nader, McCain & Barr, pay attention -- Short feature on how you cannot win with Barack Obama so do not try.

Name that racist! -- Try to guess who made this statement.

Typical Obama supporter -- Dallas found this comment by an Obama supporter online. He or she is a homophobic and has issues with writing as well.

Highlights -- Each week, this feature highlights different writing from community members.

Along with Dallas, this is "we":

The Third Estate Sunday Review's Dona, Jess, Ty, Ava and Jim,
Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude,
Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man,
C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review,
Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills),
Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix,
Mike of Mikey Likes It!,
Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz,
Ruth of Ruth's Report,
Wally of The Daily Jot,

And this is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Monday, June 9, 2008. Chaos and violence continue, justice in England (if not in the US), Corey Glass is told he does not have to leave Canada June 12th, the US military pumps service members full of drugs, and more.

Starting with Corey Glass.
May 21st, US war resisters and Iraq War veteran Glass was informed that he had until June 12th to leave Canada or he would be deported. He will not be deported Thursday (the 12th). Torstar News Service reports: "Initially ordered to leave the country by June 12, Glass' departure date has been extended to July 10, after a month-long appeal process by his lawyer was finally approved last week." So he has a month to appeal. Dan Robson (Toronto Star) explains, "The former American soldier was set to become the first Iraq-war resister to be deported from Canada, after his application for refugee status was rejected more than two weeks ago. Glass said his lawyer put forward the appeal so he would have sufficient time to properly settle his accounts and allow him to leave his job in a professional manner." Friday, Amnesty issued their statement, "USA: James Corey Glass has right not to serve in Iraq," which noted, "Amnesty International believes James Corey Glass to have a genuine conscientious objection to serving as a combatant in the US forces in Iraq, and would consider him to be a prisoner of conscience if imprisoned on his return to the USA."

last Tuesday, the House of Commons in Canada voted to let war resisters stay in the country. Krystalline Kraus (Rabble News) reports, "Liberal, NDP and Bloc MPs (137 in total) stood in favour -- literally stood up to vote as procedure dictates, though for a second the line of MPs could be confused for a makeshift honour guard of sorts -- of the 'war resister' motiong. From the ranks of the Conservative Party, 110 MPs stood against" and quotes US war resister Robin Long explaining, "I feel a small but growing and powerful group of people have woken up and are taking a stand . . . and these people are going to wake everyone else up, leading the people back to power and away from the corporate agenda Bush." October 1, 2007, Robin Long was arrested and told he would be deported.
The New Democratic Party of Canada issued a statement "calling on the [prime minister Stephen] Harper government to reexamine their decision to deport Long and allow him to stay in Canada." By October 4, 2007 the threat volume was lowered. Last week, Dianne Mathiowetz and Jaimeson Champion (Workers World) reported, "The motion to halt the deportations is a strong step against a series of recent reactionary rulings issued by the Canadian Supreme Court. The court's refusals to hear the appeals for refugee status filed by numerous GI resisters have paved the way for the possible deportation of dozens, if not hundreds, of conscientious objectors. The vote in the Canadian Parliament comes on the heels of a deportation order given to GI resister Corey Glass. Glass, an Indiana resident, signed up for the National Guard in 2002. He was deployed to Iraq in 2005 and served five months as a military intelligence sergeant before going AWOL to protest what he deemed an 'illegal and immoral' war. Glass moved to Toronto, Canada, in August 2006." Kevin Brooker (Calgary Herald) argues, "There are many outward reasons why granting sanctuary to an estimated 200 former soldiers should be an automatic gesture for Canada. Foremost is the simple fact that the United Nations itself, not to mention enlightened voices around the world, declared the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq to be a violation of the UN charter. It also would support the Nuremberg Principles, which compel a soldier to withdraw from military acts, like this one, which are patently illegal." And Jan Heynen writes to the Ottawa Citizen to support war resisters:

Let them stay Last Tuesday, the Opposition parties in the House of Commons joined together to adopt a recommendation which, if implemented, would require the Canadian government to allow permanent resident status to U.S. war resistors and their families and to cease all deportation and removal proceedings against the war resisters. Canada refused to join the war in Iraq. It is consistent with that decision to accept people into the country who don't agree either with the legality of that war.The illegality of that war has been demonstrated many times. It has cost the lives of hundreds of thousands of lives, both Iraqi and U.S. Our own government should follow the parliamentary directive, which many people agree with. It can restore some of the shine to our reputation in the world as a peacemaker. Jan Heynen, Ottawa

To keep the pressure on,
Gerry Condon, War Resisters Support Campaign and Courage to Resist all encourage contacting the Diane Finley (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration -- 613.996.4974, phone; 613.996.9749, fax; e-mail -- that's "finley.d" at "") and Stephen Harper (Prime Minister, 613.992.4211, phone; 613.941.6900, fax; e-mail -- that's "pm" at "").

There is a growing movement of resistance within the US military which includes Megan Bean, Chris Bean, Matthis Chiroux, Richard Droste, Michael Barnes, Matt Mishler, Josh Randall, Robby Keller, Justiniano Rodrigues, Chuck Wiley, James Stepp, Rodney Watson, Michael Espinal, Matthew Lowell, Derek Hess, Diedra Cobb,
Brad McCall, Justin Cliburn, Timothy Richard, Robert Weiss, Phil McDowell, Steve Yoczik, Ross Spears, Peter Brown, Bethany "Skylar" James, Zamesha Dominique, Chrisopther Scott Magaoay, Jared Hood, James Burmeister, Jose Vasquez, Eli Israel, Joshua Key, Ehren Watada, Terri Johnson, Clara Gomez, Luke Kamunen, Leif Kamunen, Leo Kamunen, Camilo Mejia, Kimberly Rivera, Dean Walcott, Linjamin Mull, Agustin Aguayo, Justin Colby, Marc Train, Abdullah Webster, Robert Zabala, Darrell Anderson, Kyle Snyder, Corey Glass, Jeremy Hinzman, Kevin Lee, Mark Wilkerson, Patrick Hart, Ricky Clousing, Ivan Brobeck, Aidan Delgado, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, Blake LeMoine, Clifton Hicks, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Logan Laituri, Jason Marek, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Joshua Casteel, Katherine Jashinski, Dale Bartell, Chris Teske, Matt Lowell, Jimmy Massey, Chris Capps, Tim Richard, Hart Viges, Michael Blake, Christopher Mogwai, Christian Kjar, Kyle Huwer, Wilfredo Torres, Michael Sudbury, Ghanim Khalil, Vincent La Volpa, DeShawn Reed and Kevin Benderman. In total, at least fifty US war resisters in Canada have applied for asylum.
Information on war resistance within the military can be found at
The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline [(877) 447-4487], Iraq Veterans Against the War and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters. In addition, VETWOW is an organization that assists those suffering from MST (Military Sexual Trauma).

Turning to England where gender discrimation and harasment appears to be taken much more seriously than in the US.
Caroline Gammel (Telegraph of London) reports that Rabia Siddique ("female major who helped rescue two SAS Soldiers" and also "a lawyer who worked for the Army Legal Services") went public about being being "victimised by senior officers and subjected to months of religious, racial and sex discrimination and quotes her stating, "For the last several years I have very much enjoyed and been honoured to serve my country as a legal officer in the armed forces. Unfortunately I have been treated unfavourably because I am a Muslim, Asian woman. As a result of this treatment my career, which I was fully committed to, has suffered which has caused me great distress. Because of this I have felt compelled to bring a claim to this employment tribunal." In the US, Rabia Siddique might next pop up in the news a year and a half from now. Instead, Caroline Gammel later reported that Siddique's case had been resolved and "an undisclosed settlement was agreed. Her lawyer Joanna Wade said Major Siddique had been 'very happy' with the agreement, but refused to divulge details. Part of the deal was the latter from Gen Sir Richard" and quotes Siddique declaring, "I am also pleased to hear what the Chief of the General Staff has said about lessons that may be learnt, which is primarily what I was seeking by bringing these claims." Tom Kelley and Michael Seamark (The Daily Mail) report, "Military chiefs have vowed to learn lessons from the treatment of a female Muslim Army lawyer who was 'given a hug instead of a medal' for her part in trying to free soldiers kidnapped in Iraq. , , , A last-minute settlement was agreed yesterday as her case was due to be heard by Central London employment tribunal." The kidnapping case referred to was the two British military personnel caught in Basra with bombs, guns, etc. in a civlian car, wearing wigs and disguises to appear "Iraqi". Robert F. Worth (New York Times) noted in real time, "The arrest and detention of the British officers, who were in Arab dress, was handled appropriately, said the spokesman, who agreed to discuss the episode on the condition of anonymity. A judge issued an arrest warrant and informed both the Basra governor and the city council about the case, he said." Richard A. Oppel Jr. and Sabrina Tavernise (New York Times) observed then, "The fight broke out when British forces attacked a police station after the detention of two British soldiers apparently disguised in local dress." Solo, Tavernise reported, "The official said that the soldiers were undercover officers dressed as Iraqis and that Iraqi police officers had arrested them after the men fired at a traffic police officer." Sean Rayment (Telegraph of London) first reported on Rabia Siddique's case at the first of this month. Military service member or civilian contractor, think of all the US women who wait and wait for something resembling justice. Which usually never arrives.

Mark Thompson (Time magazine) reports on 'treatment,' "For the first time in history, a sizable and growing number of U.S. combat troops are taking daily doses of antidepressants to calm nerves strained by repeated and lengthy tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. The medicaines are intended not only to help troops keep their cool but also to enable the already strapped Army to preserve its most precious resources: soldiers on the front lines." Yeah, I think Louis Mayer used to trot a line like that out years ago at Metro and we all know it did wonders for Judy Garland. Remember, when everything falls apart (as it does), the defense is always that it's never the organization's fault, only the individuals. While US service members are pumped with drugs, AP reported on puppet of the occupation Nouri al-Maliki visiting Iraq and insisting to Iran that the treaty and he the White House are trying to force through will not allow Iraq to be used as a stage to launch a US war with Iran. The question of course is does the puppet tell the White House the truth or does he tell Iran the truth? AP notes: "Iran fiercely opposes the deal, fearing it will lead to permanent US bases on its doorstep amid fears of an eventual American attack. Iran has led a vocal campaign against the deal, with powerful former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani vowing last week that people in Iraq and the region won't allow it. That has led to US accusations that Tehran is actively trying to scuttle the agreement - putting al-Maliki's government in a tight spot between its two rival allies." Asraf Khalil (Los Angeles Times) reports that while the talks went on, "a public affairs program broadcast on Iranian television" featured "one panelist" who "compared American bases in Iraq to the installation of Russian missiles in Cuba during the Cold War betwen the United States and the Soviet Union." Andrew E. Kramer (New York Times) reports that while the meetings were going on, the US military in Iraq was yet again trumpeting the capture of a supect that they insisted was linked to Iran but, as Kramer noted, "The United States military regularly announces the detention of militia fighters it says are operating with Iranian support. Iranian authorities deny they have a hand in the fighting."

Kramer also notes 2 US service members died from bombings Sunday (one in Baghad, the otehr in Kirkuk). The number of US service members killed since the start of the illegal war currently stands at
4094. Also on Sunday, Reuters reports, the Turkish military and the PKK again fought on the border and "an operation against the rebels" PKK "continued on Monday." CBS and AP notes, "U.S. soldiers under heavy fire during a raid Monday in northwestern Iraq called in airstrikes and killed five suspected al Qaeda in Iraq militants, the military said." The airstrike comes as Deborah Haynes (Times of London) reports Iraqi officials are saying they want the US service members "confined to their bases" and off the streets. In other Iraq news, Deborah Haynes (Times of London) also reports on the diplomatic front: "The Turkish Prime Minister is preparing to make his first trip to Iraq since the invasion, while Jordan will soon send an ambassador to Baghdad, in the latest signs of a desire in the region to work with the US-backed Iraqi Government. Recep Tayyip Erdogan will meet Nouri al-Maliki, the Iraqi Prime Minister, and Jalal Talabani, the President, during his forthcoming stay, according to Ali al-Dabbagh, the Iraqi Government spokesman." Who would Jordan be sending? The post has not been filled.
Turning to some of today's reported violence . . .


Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad roadside bombing that wounded five people, a Baghdad car bombing that claimed 3 lives and left twelve injured, a Baghdad grenade attack that left two police officers wounded, a Mosul roadside bombing that wounded five people, a Mosul roadside bombing that wounded two police officers, a Zanjili grenade attack that wounded two Iraqi police officers, a Mosul roadside bombing that wounded one police officer, an Al-Muradiyah roadside bombing that injured four women who "were doing farming in one of the orachards," an Al Wahihiya mortar attack that claimed 1 life and left two injured and a Dali Abbas roadside bombing injured one person.


Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports unknown assailants shot up a Baghdad jewelry store resulting in 3 deaths and two police officers wounded, unknown assailants shot dead "two prominent Sheikhs in Mosul," a woman was shot dead in Balad Ruz, a "retired officer" was shot dead in Hibhib and a shooting in Muqdadiyah left two "seriously wounded". Reuters notes a Mosul home invasion where two residents were murdered and a police officer shot dead in Mosul.


Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 3 corpses discovered in Baghdad and 25 corpses (unidentified) at the Baquba morgue were buried after 40 days without being claimed.

iraqcorey glass
kevin brookerdan robsondianne mathiowetzjaimeson champion
robin longamnesty
the new york timessabrina tavernise
andrew e. kramermcclatchy newspapers
richard a. oppel jr.
robert f. worth
ashraf khalilthe los angeles times
deborah haynes