Monday, August 31, 2009

Breast cancer

Before we get into a serious topic, Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Bernanked" went up late last night.


I do enjoy that comic. It also appears he's doing something with textures in this comic and I am sure that is part of the subtext but I honestly cannot figure it out.

Now for the serious topic. Breast cancer is one of the diseases you really think they should have a cure for now. When I was in college, breast cancer was not even discussed publicly. A woman went to huge extremes to hide it. Some women refused to have surgery. We have come far since then but we still do not have a cure for it. We have treatment, better treatment, and we have wellness; however, we have no cure. With that in mind, this is from Sandra S. Park's "How the Patents on the Breast Cancer Genes Harm Physicians and Patients" (ACLU's Blog Of Rights):

Yesterday, the American Medical Association (PDF) and several other major medical and patient organizations (PDF) filed briefs in support of our lawsuit challenging the patents on two human genes associated with breast and ovarian cancer (the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes).
Why would the AMA get involved in a patent case? Because
"[t]he use of patents . . . to limit the availability of medical procedures places significant limitation on the dissemination of medical knowledge, and is therefore unethical."
The patents we have challenged claim the actual BRCA1 and BRCA2 genetic sequences and directly violate this ethical principle. While all of us have these two genes in our bodies, the patents give the patent holder the exclusive right to determine who can examine these genes. As a result, Myriad Genetics, one of the defendants in the case, is the sole provider of BRCA1/2 full sequencing testing in the United States. A woman who wants to know whether she has a mutation on these genes that places her at greater risk for cancer, and a physician who wants to order that test for her, have only one option, leading to less access to medical treatment and knowledge.

Should people -- excuse me, should corporations be allowed to patent genes? They did not create them. In the past, if you wanted a patent, you had to create something. I think I will take out a patent tomorrow on the sun and then begin charging everyone for sunshine. Staying with breast cancer, this is from Tiffany Sharples' "How useful are breast exams in screening for cancer?" (Time magazine):

The value of self-breast exams as a cancer screening tool has been debated in the medical community, with some physicians arguing that the stress, worry and unnecessary medical procedures that often result when women identify a mysterious lump may do more harm than good. Yet, on the other hand, there are patients and professionals alike who point to stories in which cancer was caught early, or make the point that a woman who regularly examines her own body would be an ideal candidate for identifying changes in her breast tissue.
Adding to the debate over the merits of physical breast exams, a new study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute suggests that in conjunction with mammograms, clinical breast exams—those performed by a trained professional—may not yield much greater protection than mammography alone. What's more, the researchers point out, due to a relatively high incidence of false positives, for every actual case of breast cancer detected using clinical exams, many more would be inaccurately diagnosed, leading to an increased incidence of unnecessary procedures—and emotional trauma.

On Thursday, a neighbor learned she had breast cancer. She had been hoping it would just be a lump. She learned at work. She came over to my house after because she did not want to be in an empty house (her husband was driving home but not there yet). I was amazed that she would be told this over the phone and cannot understand that happened nor can I understand how she was told over the phone and then told that the soonest the doctor could see her was today. I do not understand how that took place.

She did see the doctor today for about five seconds. He had no time for her at all. I was afraid that might happen based on the fact that he gave her the results over the phone last week and I had called some of my late husband's friends and business associates to find a doctor who could see her. So when she called me, as I had asked her to, at 9:40 this morning, I made a few calls and she now has a new doctor (who saw her that afternoon).

And when I think about the advances that have been made and then something like telling someone over the phone, "You have cancer," I am not sure we have advanced very much at all.
This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" for today:

Monday, August 31, 2009. Chaos and violence continue, Nouri rages in front of the international community, a Shi'ite political party appears to have a new leader, 20-year-old planes found in Serbia, frauds and fakes and John F. Burns, and so much more.

Today a Shi'ite political party goes through the motions of choosing a leader. The story starts on
Wednesday when Iraqi politician Abdul Aziz al-Hakim died of lung cancer in Iran. Thursday a memorial was held in Tehran, Friday in Baghdad and Saturday he was buried in Najaf. Liz Sly (Los Angeles Times) reported, "Hakim, carried in a plain wooden coffin, was buried in a public square next to his late brother Ayatollah Mohammed Baqr Hakim, whom he had succeeded as leader of the Council in 2003 after his sibling's assassination in a deadly car bombing. At the public ceremony, Hussein Hakim, a member of an affiliated charitable group, the Mihrab Matyr Foundation, read passages from Hakim's will, anointing Ammar Hakim, 38, as the Supreme Council's new chief." If you're scratching your head, it may be because of "Supreme Council" which is a Shi'ite political party Abdul Aziz al-Hakim was the head of: the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq. Or you might be scratching your head over the fact that a father willed a political party to his son? Yes, it is strange. Suadad al-Salhy and Tim Cocks (Reuters) report that, today, party elders nominated Ammar al-Hakim to lead the party -- the party his father already willed him -- and that it's "a choice that must now be voted on." Supposedly the advisory council votes on the nomination tomorrow.

Get to the top and slide back down
Get to the bottom and climb back up
Sell the vineyard
Call the lawyer
Get to the top and slide back down
Get to the bottom climb back up
-- "Snakes and Ladders," written by
Joni Mitchell, recorded by Joni and Don Henley on her album Chalk Mark In A Rainstorm

Staying with Iraqi politics, snakes and ladders,
AFP reports that out of concerns over traffic congestions, Nouri al-Maliki has banned convoys . . . unless it's his convoy, or convoys for Iraq's President or Speaker of Parliament. An Iraqi corresondent for McClatchy Newspapers (at Inside Iraq) states Nouri's only recommending the banning and goes on to explain, "The problem of these convoys is blocking roads. Sometimes we are obliged to wait for more than half an hour in intersections waiting for the convoy to arrive to and then pass. People are forced to wait and wait in order to allow 'the masters' pass. We have 275 parliament members, more than 30 ministers, three members of presidency council, three members of parliament presidency panel, the deputies of prime minister and ministers in addition to tens of parties' leaderships and prominent figures. Those people are accompanied by tens of vehicles and tens of soldiers who are armed to the teeth. Can you imagine life with all these convoys?"

In other snakes and ladders developments, today comes news on the national census in Iraq.
Missy Ryan and Aseel Kami (Reuters) report that the national census -- long promised, long mandated, never implemented -- got kicked down the road again and Nouri's spokesmodel Ali al-Dabbagh announced the news today declaring that the census announced for October 2009 will be held in April 2010. Nouri has no time for the census but he's got plenty of time to scream "Ba'athists! Ba'athists!" Black Wednesday took place two Wednesdays ago and was when numbrous bombs went of in Baghdad with the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs being two targets. Over 101 Iraqis died in the bombings and over 500 were injured. Nouri has accused Ba'athist in Syria. He had a for-show confession broadcast with the person (probably tortured into confessing) claiming to be responsible for the Ministry of Finance bombing -- that was the smaller of the two. The claim was more confessions would be broadcast that week. The week has passed. Where are those confessions, Nouri?

As Nouri's stamped his feet demanding Syria turn over to him a list of people, Syria's responded stating that Nouri needs to follow the law and if he has evidence, present it. The two then egnaged in a race to see who could withdraw their ambassadors first.
BBC reports today that Turkey is attempting to mediate the situation as Nouri's upped the rhetoric now claiming that there are terrorists training camps in Syria. Does Nouri really want to go there? Don't we all remember the claims of terrorists training camps in Iraq? And how that never panned out. Nouri's latest claim is based on another for-show confession which broadcast Sunday. This person claimed he was trained in Syria to carry out attacks. Strangely, he doesn't appear to have confessed to any attacks.

Not content to be a screaming, raging fool in the region, Nouri's got bigger dreams.
Xinhua reports that he's demanding the UN Security Council begin a tribunal to investigate the bombings. Is Nouri aware that demanding an international tribunal makes it appear he's even weaker than many already think he is?

Yesterday, Iran's
Press TV reports, that country's Foreign Minister, Manouchehr Mottaki, had a face to face meeting with Bashar al-Assad, the president of Syria, during which al-Assad called Nouri's charges "unacceptable" and repeated the demand that evidence be presented before Syria extradite anyone. Ned Parker, Saif Hameed and Usama Redha (Los Angeles Times) reports, "Turkey's foreign minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, shuttled between Baghdad and Damascus on Monday in an effort to contain the dispute between the two countries, who only renewed diplomatic relations three years ago." CNN quotes Burak Ozugergin, spokesperson for Turkey's Foreign Ministry, stating, "Our foregin minister's visit has the objective of reducing tensions between the two sides." On the topic of the bombing targeting the Foreign Ministry in Baghdad, the Telegraph of the London reports that Iraqi officials are claiming the bomber was held by the US in Camp Bucca until three months ago. As usual, there's no evidence backing that up. If true, someone might need to explain how he apparently left Camp Bucca, headed to Syria and started training at the alleged terrorist camp. No, Nouri's paraonid rantings do not make much sense . . . ever.

In other get-it-together Thug Nouri news,
Rod Nordland (New York Times) reports the Ministry of Defense believes that they have "19 MIG-21 and MIG-23 jet fighters" in storage in Serbia. In storage . . .since 1989. Over 20 years. BBC explains, "At the moment Iraq's air force has no jet fighters, only helicopters, and it had been planning to buy 18 F-16 fighters from the US manufacturer Lockheed Martin. It is not known if the discovery of the MiGs will change that." Only Frank James (NPR) seems to grasp that planes stored for 20 years are not only out of date, they're probably going to require a lot of work to get them ready to fly. James notes how they were put in storage in Serbia -- and in Iran -- because Saddam Hussein was hiding them. Strangely, the announcement has not led --at present -- to any outcries that Serbia was 'in bed' with the Butcher of Baghdad and hiding things from the international community which, by 2002, was very interested in what Iraq did and did not have.

Iraq did not have WMDs and the UN didn't think Iraq had them and Bully Boy Bush's declaration that the US would begin bombing forced the UN inspectors to leave Iraq immediately. That's reality and it's not in dispute at present unless your a piece of crap who sold the illegal war and can't get honest all this time later. Yeah, we're talking about the New York Times' John F. Burns. Burnsie was hoping to pollute young minds so Dexter Filkins' old buddy waddled onto a college campus. While there, when not eating, Burnsie made a big ass out of himself.
Shelton Burch (K-State Collegian) reports,

It's something that the US government and a huge portion of the US press refused to recognize and it remains the lesson unlearned from the illegal war. Doubt it?In an event that lasted about three hours, Burns praised American values many times. There was a reception before and after Burns' speech, as well as a period in which audience members were able to directly question him.In the course of the speech, Burns, the longest serving war correspondent in The New York Times' history, talked about how America keeps the peace in other wars. This was a belief Burns' father, who served in the Royal airforce in World War II, taught him."That was true then, and it is true now," said Burns.In his speech, Burns compared the alliances between Britain and America during World War II to the alliance between the two now in the current Iraq War. Burns said this was a whole different war on a different scale than that of World War II. What makes this war different in Burns' eye is that America is the leader of a coalition that no longer really exists.

Burnsie's so full of crap he probably has to wear a onesie out in public. Dexy and Burnsie,
the GoGo Boys of the Green Zone, did the most to make the Iraq War a long lasting one. There were no WMDs. There was no peace. There was no 'victory' around the corner. But those two War Whores repeatedly lied in print. Dexy wants credit for being more honest in his speeches but who gives a damn what he says in public to a small crowd. He did tremendous damage in print and if Americans had known how awful the illegal war was going, before 2003 ended, you would have had a serious pushback. But liars like Dexy and Burnsie strung the public along with lies, deceptions and half-truths about what was going on in Iraq. They have twice as much blood on their hands as Judith Miller. She may have helped get the US into Iraq but it was the War Whores like Dexy and John F. Burns that kept the US military there.And if you don't grasp that or how disgusting Burnsie is (or even, yeah, let's toss it in, why the paper moved him to London after all those GoGo Boy rumors in Iraq), check out Dave Bergmeier's "Journalist talks about challenges America faces in war time" (Abilene Reflector-Chronicle) which documents the simplistic Burnsie reducing all of Iraq to either Shi'ite or Sunni and most importantly:While Iraq may have been a war of choice, he also knows that dictator Saddam Hussein would have acquired weapons of mass destruction if he could and used violence against his own people. Burns said he does not count himself with the cadre of media members who believe the war in Iraq was a terrible mistake. Hussein, if he could, would have tried to acquire weapons of mass destruction. United Nations weapons inspectors were led to believe that Hussein had them and the dictator did nothing to try to diffuse that belief. Burns believed that he did have those weapons and he thought President George W. Bush did what he thought was right at the time.

Burnsie stood in public and LIED. He flat out LIED. "The dictator did nothing to try to diffuse that belief." Uh, Saddam allowed the inspectors in, you liar John F. Burns, you damn liar. The UN didn't buy the case for war as presented by the Bush administration. That's why there was no UN authorization for war. (After the invasion, which the UN did not autorize, there was a UN authorization for the occupation.) The inspectors weren't even allowed to finish inspections which Burns damn well knows but choose to lie about nearly seven years later. Bully Boy Bush gave Saddam a get-out-town-by-sundown macho b.s. warning and the UN inspectors got out of the country. John Burns is now not just frightening to look at with that ridiculous beard which appears embedded with food and food crumbs, he's an actual menace to any democracy as he lies and rewrites history. He should be ashamed.

He's got blood on his hands, let's turn to some of today's reported violence.

Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad roadside bombing which left five people injured and a Baghdad roadside bombing which left four people wounded -- the first targeted a US military convoy and the second an Baghdad municipality convoy -- in both cases civilians were injured and, dropping back to Sunday, a Mosul roadside bombing which wounded four police officers. Reuters drops back to Sunday to note a Mosul roadside bombing which left one young boy injured.


Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 1 woman shot dead in Mosul and 1 stationary store owner shot dead in Mosul -- both were shot dead with guns brandishing silencers. Reuters drops back 1 police officer shot dead in Kirkuk.

That's 3 reported dead and fourteen reported injured today.
Sunday saw 7 people reported dead and twenty-one reported wounded. Yesterday, Third noted last week's violence (August 23rd 4 dead and eleven injured. August 24th, 11 dead, twenty-nine wounded. August 25th, 4 dead, nineteen injured. August 26th, 4 dead and ten wounded. August 27th, 4 dead and fifty-one wounded. August 28th, saw 6 reported dead, 7 injured. August 29th saw 22 dead, 55 injured.) Friday's snapshot noted reports through Thursday added up to 471 reported deaths in August and 1,822 reported injured. Adding Friday (28th), Saturday, Sunday and today, the totals for August are: 509 dead and 1919 injured. That is not a complete tally. It is based on reported deaths and I'm sure there are many reported that are missed in that tally. Steven Lee Myers' praised ICCC's "civilian count". ICCC's count stands at 438 dead. That is wrong, they always are hugely wrong. And Steven Lee Myers not only can count, he can't read. ICCC clearly labels their count "Iraqi Security Forces and Civilian Deaths Details." By the way, when Nancy Youssef was reporting from Iraq, the outlet regularly offered a monthly death toll. When she left, interest in that appeared to leave as well. (Youssef is also the reporter who broke the news that the US military was keeping its own count of civilians killed. She did that on the last day Knight Ridder was Knight Ridder before it officially became McClatchy Newspapers -- see the June 26, 2006 snapshot.)

"Unfortunately it seems liket many members of the anti-war movement have gone on vacation from protest now that we have a Democratic president. and it just makes me wonder if the past eight years we've had an anti-Bush movement and not an anti-war movement," observes Peace Mom
Cindy Sheehan on her latest broadcast of Cindy's Soapbox. Yesterday James Dao (New York Times) wanted to report on the peace movement but somehow forgot to get a comment from Cindy Sheehan. He did make time for a lot of fakes (all but Nancy Lessing, Perry O'Brien and Michael Eisenscher were fakes -- click here for a critique of the article from last night). Today Justin Rainmondo ( observes:

The Times cites Tom Andrews, national director of
Win Without War, as saying "'most liberals 'want this guy to succeed'" and fear the unfolding disaster in Afghanistan "could be a devastating albatross around the president's neck." Whether this is a prescription for picking up the pace of liberal antiwar protests, in order to alert the Obama administration to the danger, or a rationale for inaction, so as not to have that albatross weigh even heavier around the Dear Leader's neck, is not at all clear – although I rather suspect the latter.
A visit to the Web site of the main antiwar coalition,
United for Peace and Justice, reveals little urgency when it comes to the Afghan war, and I note the only national actions scheduled for fall are being launched by groups other than UFPJ. Evidence of those "local actions" calling for an end to the Afghan war is scant: a search of their events calendar notes very few.
Of course, since UFPJ is dominated by the old Commie network – the remnants of the CPUSA and its social democratic split-off, the Committees of Correspondence – this is hardly surprising. These people have long been a drag on the antiwar movement, stifling the creation of a broad-based anti-interventionism in favor of saddling protests with the familiar litany of liberal demands. Now Obama's campaign for free ice cream has totally eclipsed the ostensibly antiwar aims of the movement, inducing near complete paralysis.

Tom Andrews is a former member of the US Congress and "
is Senior Advisor to the National Democratic Insitute for International Affairs" and you may be thinking, "Well what's that?" All you need to know is the chair is Madeline Albright. Mad Maddy Albright. War Monger surpreme. No, a true 'anti-war' voice is not in bed with Mad Maddy. And you need to ask yourself what was NDI doing sticking its nose into Iraq's January elections? Erin Matthes of NDI is quoted in the linked to article about NDI's work in Iraq. It's strange that Tom Andrews hasn't felt the need to trumpet that 'wonderful' work NDI is doing in Iraq. Karl Vick and Robin Wright (Washington Post) revealed NDI had been in Iraq 'helping' since 2003. In 2004, David Lindorff offered From his "DNC Meddling in the Ukraine Elections" (CounterPunch): What, I'd like to know, was the Democratic Party, which has demonstrated an uncanny ability to lose elections it should be able to win handily here in America, doing spending $40 million in U.S. taxpayers' dollars "helping" people and organizations in other countries to compete in elections to overturn incumbent governments overseas? It turns out that even as it was blowing the presidential election in the U.S., an arm of the Democratic Party, the so called National Democratic Institute, was busy over the last year spending tens of millions of dollars provided by the State Department to help the opposition in the Ukraine to challenge the government party in that former Soviet state. (A similar Republican Party organization, the Republican International Institute, was doing the same thing with more State Department money. ) Some of that help was itself of questionable legality, which is why it was all done covertly. Does anyone else see the huge irony and hypocrisy here? The opposition party in the U.S. was actually working hand in glove with the government (and with the Republican Party!) in a subversive foreign policy effort of the Bush administration even as its chosen presidential candidate and nominal party leader, John Kerry, was campaigning against the foreign policy and foreign policy establishment of the Bush administration as inept and untrustworthy.It takes nothing away from the students and workers of the Ukraine who took to the streets and overturned the results of a corrupt election to say that citizens in America, and especially people who call themselves members of the Democratic Party, should be outraged that they and their party, the victims of fraud and voter abuse at home, were engaged in some of the same kinds of subterfuges overseas that GOP operatives and Republican-led election bureaucracies were using against them here at home.

The NDI. No, no one with the peace movement would be involved with the NDI. We'll close with this from Sherwood Ross' "
RISE OF MERCENARY ARMIES MENACE WORLD, HELP WHITE HOUSE THWART PEACE MOVEMENT" (Global Research):The growing use of private armies not only subjects target populations to savage warfare but makes it easier for the White House to subvert domestic public opinion and wage wars. Americans are less inclined to oppose a war that is being fought by hired foreign mercenaries, even when their own tax dollars are being squandered to fund it."The increasing use of contractors, private forces, or, as some would say, 'mercenaries' makes wars easier to begin and to fight---it just takes money and not the citizenry," said Michael Ratner, of New York's Center for Constitutional Rights. "To the extent a population is called upon to go to war, there is resistance, a necessary resistance to prevent wars of self-aggrandizement, foolish wars, and, in the case of the United States, hegemonic imperialist wars." Indeed, the Pentagon learned the perils of the draft from the massive public protests it provoked during the Viet Nam war. Today, it would prefer, and is working toward, an electronic battlefield where the fighting is done by robots guided by sophisticated surveillance systems that will minimize U.S. casualties. Meanwhile, it tolerates the use of private contractors to help fight its battles.Iraq offers a heart-breaking example of a war in which contract fighters so inflamed the public they were sent to "liberate" that when fighting broke out in Fallujah the bodies of privateer Blackwater's four slain mercenaries were desecrated by enraged mobs. This horrific scene was televised globally and prompted the U.S. to make a punishing, retaliatory military assault upon Fallujah, causing widespread death and destruction. Just as the American colonists despised the mercenary Hessians in the Revolutionary War, Iraqis came to hate Blackwater and its kindred contractors worse than U.S. soldiers, who often showed them kindness, according to a journalist with experience in the war zone. "It wasn't uncommon for an American soldier, or even an entire company, to develop a very friendly relationship with an Iraqi community. It didn't happen every day, but it wasn't unheard of," writes Ahmed Mansour, an Egyptian reporter and talk show host for Qatar-based al-Jazeera, the Middle East TV network."It was also definitely not uncommon to see American troops high-fiving Iraqi teenagers, holding the arm of an elderly woman to help her cross a street, or helping someone out of a difficult situation…This was not the case with mercenaries. They knew they were viewed as evil thugs, and they wanted to keep it that way." In his book "Inside Fallujah" (Olive Branch Press), Mansour says, "Mercenaries were viewed as monsters, primarily because they behaved monstrously. They never spoke to anyone using words---they only used the language of fire, bullets, and absolute lethal force. It was fairly common to see a mercenary crush a small civilian Iraqi car with passengers inside just because the mercenaries happened to be stuck in a traffic jam."

the los angeles timesliz sly
tim cocks
joni mitchell
don henley
dave lindorff
ned parker
usama redhabbc news
mcclatchy newspapers
laith hammoudi
nancy a. youssefshelton burch
cindy sheehanthe new york timesjohn f. burnsdave bergmeierthe washington postkarl vickrobin wright
sherwood ross
michael ratnerthe center for constitutional rights

Friday, August 28, 2009

Holly Near releases new album

First, thank you to all my friends who are defending me. I do appreciate it and thank you to community member Eddie who thought enough of me to actually remember what I had written over the years. I have no idea why ______ decided the thing to do was to sneer at me in an e-mail. Having avoided mentioning it at this site, I was surprised to learn he had played the victim at _______ and I was further shocked to learn that each day he seems to post another comment trashing me in some way.

I have tried to avoid it and, when it really did start to bother me, I would speak to my family or Rebecca or C.I. and they would always find a way to make me laugh. Everyone has been so kind. So thank you once again. And Mike and Trina have called me repeatedly to check on me. Everyone does and I appreciate it and appreciate everyone, so thank you.

I do believe he wants publicity, so I am going to avoid mentioning him at this site and I will just call him "X." He can say whatever he wants it is just too bad that he chooses to rewrite history.

There is a new album from Holly Near.

Untitled document

Dear Friends,

Web gremlins got into our previous email and many of you were having difficulty reading the text. Here's a new email with all the information intact. ... Holly

We Came to Sing! ~ New Release from Holly Near with emma's revolution and daring a cappella vocal arrangements of some of Holly's most requested songs plus several new ones with simple instrumental back-up.

Musical s
tyles range from a meditation on Study War No More to a lighthearted jazzy version of Swimming To The Other Side, a Pat Humphries' classic. Holly includes a smart and pointed song, The Ministry of Oil, that she learned from The Prince Myshkins. There is a divine version of Sky Dances, a song by Roy Brown and Jimmy Durham, which has become a classic in Holly's repertoire. Sail Away Lady, a traditional song that Holly learned as a young teen, is a lovely tribute to folk legend Odetta. Between them, Holly and emma's revolution bring new trio life to songs like Mountain Song, 1000 Grandmothers, Sing To Me The Dream, Fired Up and West Virginia Friend that Holly's audiences have heard solo over the years.

"Many of Holly's fans would agree that her collaborative works are among her finest, and this 2009 release is no exception - it's stunningly beautiful. hese artists - Holly, Pat Humphries and Sandy O - deliver some truly gorgeous arrangements on their 3-part harmonies, at times sounding like a full choir." Ladyslipper Music

Now available from or from CDBaby.

Fall Events -- Save the Dates!
September 19, 2009
Minneapolis, MN
Calvary Lutheran Church
3901 Chicago Avenue South
Concert with emma's revolution
Presented by EPES (Educacion Popular en Salud)
Tickets $20/adv; $25/door; $15 child; Available from True Colors Bookstore (48th & Chicago). Info at
October 3, 2009 New York, NY

Concert and CD Release show for We Came to Sing! - the new release from Holly Near and emma's revolution

People’s Voice Cafe
Community Church of NY Unitarian Universalist
40 East 35th Street
(between Madison & Park Avenues)

Info: People's Voice Cafe

Tickets: $15 for members/$18 for public/more if you can, less if you can’t, no one turned away for inability to pay. Wheelchair accessible (including bathrooms). For info call (212) 787–3903.
October 8, 2009 Saratoga Springs, NY NY State Nurses Association - Keynote (for conference attendees only)
Holly Near with John Bucchino - Three Rare Concerts
October 9, 2009
at 7:00 pm
Northampton, MA Iron Horse, 20 Center Street 413-584-0610
October 10, 2009
at 8:00 pm
Hamden, CT Unitarian Society of New Haven, 700 Hartford Turnpike 203-271-5284
October 11, 2009
at 5:00 pm
Pawtucket, RI Stone Soup Coffeehouse
St. Paul's Church, 50 Park Place, Pawtucket, RI

Holly Near / emma's revolution - Fall Dates


Concerts and CD Release shows for We Came to Sing! -- the new release from Holly Near and emma's revolution
October 15, 2009

Fort Collins, CO
Foothills Unitarian Universalist Church 1815 Yorktown Avenue
October 16, 2009 Fort Collins, CO Keynote address by Holly - for conference attendees Foothills Unitarian Universalist Church
1815 Yorktown Avenue
October 17, 2009 Oakland, CA
Montclair Women's Cultural Arts Club, 1650 Mountain Blvd. Phone: 510-339-1832
October 20, 2009 Cincinnati, OH
Benefit for MUSE, the Cincinnati Women's Choir -- 5:30 to 7:00 pm.
Info at
October 21, 2009 Wilmington, OH
Westheimer Peace Symposium, Wilmington College Holly joins others in an all-day peace symposium
October 23, 2009
Lansing, MI
Dart Auditorium, Lansing Community College
500 N. Capitol Ave,
$20/Ten Pound Fiddle members and $25/public
October 24, 2009
Kansas City, MO
Community Christian Church, 4601 Main St.
Willow Productions
October 28, 2009 at 7:00 pm Langley, WA
Hedgebrook fundraiser concert at the Langley Middle School Auditorium 360-321-4786
October 30, 2009 Venue TBA Vancouver East Cultural Center, 1892 Venables St 604-254-9478
October 31, 2009
at 8:00 pm
Lopez Island, WA Lopez Ctr. for Community & the Arts, 204 Village Road 360-468-2203
November 1, 2009
at 8:00 pm
Seattle, WA
Triple Door, 216 Union Street
November 3, 2009 Ashland, OR
Havurah Shir Hadash, 185 North Mountain Ave Tickets at the Havurah (541-488-7716) and the Music Coop (541-482-3115)
CDs, Sheet Music, and More!

GPM_snap.jpgAll your favorite Holly Near CDs and much more available from

Sheet Music: limited selection of sheet music (Holly's songs only)

Legacy CDs: Been trying to find A Live Album, Hang In There, or You Can Know All I Am? You can now order custom-printed CDs. See website for info on how to order.

Holly Near Archive - Be Part of the Story!

If you have a story, memory, or anecdote about Holly that you'd like to add to the archive, you can email it to and it will be housed with her music and papers at the Schlesinger Library at Radcliffe.

Holly Near Website and Photo Gallery
Keep up-to-date with news about Holly by visiting her website,

That really sounds interesting and it is also a format Carly Simon will be doing on her new album. Not the a cappella part. But the part about revisiting some of the most popular songs. Her album is called Never Been Gone. So many rich and rewarding albums are out or are coming out. I was teasing Kat that I might have to grab some reviews to help her out. I have not heard Holly Near's CD yet but I will head over to CD Baby right now and order a copy.

This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" for today:

Friday, August 28, 2009. Chaos and violence continue, the US military announces more deaths, Human Rights Watch's report on the targeting of Iraq's LGBT community gets some attention, a Shi'ite leader is mourned, from the start of the month until yesterday there have been 471 reported deaths and 1,822 Iraqis reported injured, Steven Lee Myers is a tiny man but a huge fool, and more.
Today the US military announced: "BAGHDAD – Two 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) Soldiers died of wounds suffered following an improvised explosive device in eastern Baghdad Aug. 28 at approximately 2:30 a.m. The Soldiers names are being withheld pending notification of next-of-kin and release by the Department of Defense. The incident is currently under investigation." The deaths bring the total number of US service members killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war to 4336.
Before Steven Lee Myers wrote his dumb ass blog post at the New York Times website, I thought we could wait on unpacking the violence this month until, golly, the month ended. But whores are always lying and Steven's no reporter. August 1st, McClatchy reported 1 soldier dead in Mosul. August 2nd, 8 people were reported killed and twenty injured. August 3rd, 23 were reported dead and sixty-five wounded (these include late reporting of the day before's violence -- these are the deaths reported that day -- also note that we will not include Swine Flu deaths and that US military deaths and contractors will not be noted in this count). August 4th, 2 dead and nine wounded. August 5th, 9 reported dead and twelve reported injured. August 6th, 8 dead and thirty-two injured. August 7th, 59 dead and injured one-hundred and ninety-eight wounded. August 8th, 1 death was reported and two people injured. Because there is an UNDERCOUNT every month of the reported dead and because ICCC's count is WAY OFF each month on civilians, we've started monitoring the reported toll at Third. Third noted August 16th, there were 122 reported deaths in Iraq the previous week and 414 reported wounded ("Last Sunday found the press reporting 6 deaths and 12 people injured. Monday saw 61 deaths reported and 252 injuries. Tuesday saw 11 dead and 57 wounded. Wednesday's numbers were 11 dead and 21 injured. Thursday 25 lives were claimed and 51 people were wounded. Friday there were 2 reported deaths and 6 reported injured. Saturday saw 6 dead and 15 injured.") Third noted August 23rd resulted in 211 reported deaths and 950 wounded. ("Last Sunday saw 13 reported dead and 41 reported injured. Monday saw 24 dead 59 wounded. Tuesday the reported death toll was 5 and 24 were reported injured. Wednesday 102 were reported dead and 572 wounded. By Thursday evening, 22 were reported dead with 67 injured. Thursday night 33 more deaths were reported and 145 wounded. Friday saw 8 deaths reported and 31 people wounded. Saturday saw 4 dead 11.") This week? August 23rd 4 dead and eleven injured. August 24th, 11 dead, twenty-nine wounded. August 25th, 4 dead, nineteen injured. August 26th, 4 dead and ten wounded. August 27th, 4 dead and fifty-one wounded. Leaving out today, that's 27 dead and 120 wounded this week. ICCC shows 413 dead. That's incorrect. Use the links, there have been 471 reported deaths -- not including today -- in August and 1,822 reported injured. That's Reuters and McClatchy with one inclusion of Xinhau. Use the links. So Steven Lee Myers, you stupid liar, ICCC's count is not "invaluable" -- it's not even correct, you stupid moron. That the New York Times can't do their own count tells how damn little Iraq and Iraqis matter to them. So Steven Lee shows up whoring again and hoping we're all so stupid we mistake it for reporting. He not only whores on the civilian count, he whores on the number of US service members killed.
"In Iraq," Steven types, "fewer American soliders have died this month -- seven, including two in a roadside bombing early Friday -- than any other month of the war, a figure that . . ." The month isn't over. How many damn times do we have to point that out each year? Hmm. And how many were reported dead in July in the first days of August? 7. 7 were reported dead. The same damn number that outlets like the New York Times trumpted at the start of August as "lowest!!!!!"
He can't tell you that. From the August 4th snapshot:
Late yesterday, DoD announced: "Staff Sgt. Johnny R. Polk, 39, of Gulfport, Miss., died July 25 at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, Landstuhl, Germany, of wounds suffered when his vehicle was struck by anti-tank grenade on July 23 in Kirkuk, Iraq." That July 25th death was never reported by M-NF and, again, was only announced late yesterday -- long after the outlets had done their 'end of the month' pieces. This happens over and over and the press falls for it everytime -- like saps, like suckers.
Yeah, they fell for it at the start of the month and, late August 3rd (after all the outlets had done their month-in-review pieces on July), the US military finally, FINALLY, announced a July death.
I'm not in the mood for nonsense. We are talking numbers, they are not supposed to be fluid, they are supposed to be fixed. That's why they are numbers and not ranges. Do you get the difference you damn glorified general studies major or that just beyond your highly limited education? I'm not in the mood.
Steven Lee Myers did an early roll-out on how the military wants August spun: Low deaths for civilians! Lowest month evah for US military! Evah! In fact, the whole thing reads like Maj Gen John Johnson wrote it. He gave a press briefing yesterday at the Pentagon (he appeared via videolink from Baghdad) and about the only thing of interest there was that he was asked about the 135,000 US troops in Iraq and didn't correct on that number. We'll come back to his briefing later in the snapshot.
Steven Lee Myers' cluelessness reminds me of two friends. One is a producer, the other is a singer. The singer wanted an arrangment in B flat. The singer then insisted that the arrangement was in some other key and the producer replied that the singer wouldn't know a car key from a music key "but let's go over to the piano right now and I will teach you a musical key." The singer let it go and sang the arrangement as arranged. I'm reminded of that story when I think of Steven. Who was right? The song was recorded as the producer wanted. The singer hit number one with it and it's also gave the singer the longest number of weeks in the Hot 100 -- more than any of the singer's other hits. (Yeah, I'm avoiding gender and trying to keep this very much a blind item.) Like the singer, Steven Lee Myers doesn't know what the hell he's talking about. And yet he's doing the early roll out and this is what we'll have to put up with because the press never self-corrects. (Nor does the press have a good beat that you can dance too.)
This was the month the the Project for Excellence in Journalism noted a 92% drop in Iraq coverage took place from the first part of 2007 "to the middle of 2009." So we get less coverage and, thanks to the likes of Steven Lee Myers, we get worse coverage.
One of the few outlets -- the very few media outlets -- which has not forgotten Iraq is NPR's The Diane Rehm Show. Diane Rehm tripped last Thursday and while she recovers from her fall, guest hosts are filling in. USA Today's Susan Page filled in for her today and Iraq was addressed during the second hour (the international hour) with panelists David Ignatius (Washington Post), Barbara Slavin (Washington Times) and Janine Zacharia (Bloomberg News).
Susan Page: Lots of developments in Iraq this week, including the death of a Shi'ite leader. Tell us what's happening there, Barbara.
Barbara Slavin: Abdul Aziz al-Hakim headed something which used to be called the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, SCIRI. It changed it's name to the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq, taking out "Revolution." But it's a very important organization it was essentially created in Iran by Iran's Revolutionary Guard corps in the 1980s, after the beginning of the Iran-Iraq War. The Hakims returned to Iraq after the US overthrew Saddam. And Abdul Aziz al-Hakim has had lung cancer for some time and so this is not unexpected. But it still happens at a very delicate phase where we are anticipating elections in Iraq next year and there is a reorganization going on among the Shi'ite parties. His party, others affialiated with Moqtada al-Sadr -- a militant leader, with Ahmed Chalabi whom we'll talk about in a little bit have formed an alliance that excludes the prime minister who is a Shi'ite, Nouri al-Maliki. And they are all manuevering to see who will take power as the US withdraws from Iraq.
Susan Page: How important is this situation, David? And how perilous for US interests?
David Ignatius: Well as the US now withdraws its forces in ernest from Iraq -- we've pulled back from the cities and are really not a factor in day-to-day security -- we are seeing an increase in violence and in political chaos in the country. The death of Abdul Aziz al-Hakim a figurehead for the Shi'ite religious parties, is an example of this but in every direction I look in Iraq, I see similar uncertainty. Maliki is increasingly cocky about his own role as prime minister and I-I think has decided he can go it alone separating himself from the other Shi'ite parties. He's got his own complicated dealings with Iran. You've got the Kurds who are pushing for their own interests ever more stridently. I think the question that we need to think about is: Going forward in Iraq, is this project of the new Iraqi state that was created in 2003, after the United States invasion, do Iraqis think it's going to continue? And are they going to buy into it? And are they going to make the deals that would be part of having some kind of viable country and democracy? And right now it's really tough to be confident about that.
Susan Page: Janine?
Janine Zacharia: Just to follow up on what David was saying, I think the August 19th co-ordinated attacks where nearly 100 people were killed and 600 were wounded and US forces who were pulled back on June 30th were sitting on the outskirts and couldn't get in there because the Iraqis had not invited them, I think that this is something the US is going to be looking closely at going forward and we have to see how that's going to effect Obama's promises of doing a complete US pullout by the end of 2011. Just quickly on al-Hakim, some people have said that he's been, because of his illness, as Barbara said, he hasn't been as important day-to-day in Shi'ite politics right now and one US diplomat I spoke to said they're hoping actually this will clear the way for fresh Shia leadership within that party who can challenge Moqtada al-Sadr who is the more radical concern for them.
Susan Page: David.
David Ignatius: I've met Abdul Aziz al-Hakim's son Ammar who's the new leader of this party. We had a long and very interesting breakfast conversation and he's the sort of young man who, you know, when you meet him and talk to him, you think, "Gee, maybe things are really going to work out in this country." He is surrounded by some of the toughest, meanest politicians and I think of this nice, young man, this cleric from Najaf, getting eaten alive by the -- by the wolves of Baghdad.
Susan Page: You mentioned, Barbara, Chalabi, a familiar name to Americans from the very beginning of the Iraq War. What happened this week to an aid of his?
Barbara Slavin: Yeah, well, the twists and turns involving Ahmed Chalabi are just incredible. This is the guy, to remind people, who led Iraqi exiles after the Gulf War, who lobbied so hard to overthrow Saddam Hussein, who presented information to the media about alleged Weapons of Mass Destruction that didn't turn out to actually exist in Iraq once the US got there and he also, throughout this time, had maintained good relations with Iran -- which makes sense if you're an Iraqi Shia, since Iran is the neighbor and the biggest Shi'ite country. And what we have now is more evidence that his connection with the Iranians are closer perhaps than we even thought. The Washington Times has a front page story today about the arrest of a top aide to Chalabi on charges that he was a liason to an Iraqi Shi'ite militant group called the League of the Righteous which, among other things, is believed responsible for the execution-style murder of five US marines in 2007. And Chalabi, of course, denies it, the aide denise it, but, uh, senior US military officials say that, indeed, Chalabi's links and the links to this group are-are documented and that Chalabi has been playing both sides of the fence.
The article Barbara Slavin's referring to was written by Eli Lake who notes, "Mr. Chalabi is a top Iraqi politician best known in the West for helping to persuade the Bush administration to go to war to remove Saddam Hussein from power. In 2004, he sat with first lady Laura Bush during Mr. Bush's State of the Union address to Congress." Lake quotes anonymice US officials (three). The aide's name is Ali Faisal al-Lami.
For those late to the party on who the League of Righteous is, we'll drop back to the June 9th snapshot:
This morning the New York Times' Alissa J. Rubin and Michael Gordon offered "U.S. Frees Suspect in Killing of 5 G.I.'s." Martin Chulov (Guardian) covered the same story, Kim Gamel (AP) reported on it, BBC offered "Kidnap hope after Shia's handover" and Deborah Haynes contributed "Hope for British hostages in Iraq after release of Shia militant" (Times of London). The basics of the story are this. 5 British citizens have been hostages since May 29, 2007. The US military had in their custody Laith al-Khazali. He is a member of Asa'ib al-Haq. He is also accused of murdering five US troops. The US military released him and allegedly did so because his organization was not going to release any of the five British hostages until he was released. This is a big story and the US military is attempting to state this is just diplomacy, has nothing to do with the British hostages and, besides, they just released him to Iraq. Sami al-askari told the New York Times, "This is a very sensitive topic because you know the position that the Iraqi government, the U.S. and British governments, and all the governments do not accept the idea of exchanging hostages for prisoners. So we put it in another format, and we told them that if they want to participate in the political process they cannot do so while they are holding hostages. And we mentioned to the American side that they cannot join the political process and release their hostages while their leaders are behind bars or imprisoned." In other words, a prisoner was traded for hostages and they attempted to not only make the trade but to lie to people about it. At the US State Dept, the tired and bored reporters were unable to even broach the subject. Poor declawed tabbies. Pentagon reporters did press the issue and got the standard line from the department's spokesperson, Bryan Whitman, that the US handed the prisoner to Iraq, the US didn't hand him over to any organization -- terrorist or otherwise. What Iraq did, Whitman wanted the press to know, was what Iraq did. A complete lie that really insults the intelligence of the American people. CNN reminds the five US soldiers killed "were: Capt. Brian S. Freeman, 31, of Temecula, California; 1st Lt. Jacob N. Fritz, 25, of Verdon, Nebraska; Spc. Johnathan B. Chism, 22, of Gonzales, Louisiana; Pfc. Shawn P. Falter, 25, of Cortland, New York; and Pfc. Johnathon M. Millican, 20, of Trafford, Alabama." Those are the five from January 2007 that al-Khazali and his brother Qais al-Khazali are supposed to be responsible for the deaths of. Qassim Abdul-Zahra and Robert H. Reid (AP) states that Jonathan B. Chism's father Danny Chism is outraged over the release and has declared, "They freed them? The American military did? Somebody needs to answer for it."
That's what Barbara Slavin was referring to and she noted that she was only citing one example of the group. Another involves British citizens. From the August 6th snapshot:
Jason Swindlehurst, Jason Creswell, Alec Maclachlan, Alan McMenemy and Peter Moore, all British citizens, were kidnapped in Baghdad May 29, 2007. Jason Swindlehurst and Jason Creswell were dead when their bodies were turned over to the British authorities after the two leaders of the group bragging about having done the kidnappings were released from US custody. (The same group, and why the brothers had been imprisoned originally by the US, bragged about their actions in assaulting a US base and killing 5 American soldiers.) The British government considers Alec and Alan to be dead (the families remain hopeful) and it is thought (by the British government) that Peter Moore is alive. The group taking credit for the kidnappings and for the deaths of 5 US soldiers is alternately called the Righteous League or the League of Righteous by the press. The press? They got press this week, see Monday's snapshot, because Nouri met with them to bring them back into the government. As noted in the Tuesday snapshot, the press spin that the group has given up violence is false. Their spokesperson says they will not attack Iraqis but that they will continue to go after US service members.
Recapping: the League of Righteous has claimed credit for the deaths of 5 US soldiers and credit for kidnapping 5 British citizens, at least 2 of whom are known to be dead. In addition, British outlets noted last month that the Iraqi government appeared to be involved in the kidnappings (see the July 31st snapshot if you're late on this story). Gareth Porter (Asia Times) reported in August that recent developments demonstrate how Nouri al-Maliki, puppet of the occupation and US-installed thug, has long been working with the League of Righteous:
The history of the new agreement confirms what was evident from existing information: the League of the Righteous was actually the underground wing of the Mahdi Army all along, and the Sadrist insurgents were secretly working closely with the Maliki regime against the Americans and the British - even as it was at war with armed elements within the regime.
The contradictory nature of the relationship between Maliki and the Sadrists reflects the tensions between pro-Sadrist elements within the regime - including Maliki's Da'wa Party - and the anti-Sadrist elements led by the Supreme Council of Islamic Revolution in Iraq.
The relationship between Maliki and the US was also marked by contradictions. Even though he was ostensibly cooperating with the US against the Sadrists in 2007 and 2008, the Maliki regime was also cooperating secretly with the Sadrist forces against the Americans. And Maliki - with the encouragement of Iran -- was working on a strategy for achieving the complete withdrawal of US forces from Iraq through diplomatic means, which he did not reveal to the Americans until summer 2008.
That was earlier this month and no one really followed up on what Gareth Porter was reporting. But that is the League of Righteous. Nouri has some ties to it and now the Washington Times is stating that three US government officials (who may or may not be telling the truth) are stating that Ahmed Chalabi also has a relationship with them. On The Diane Rehm Show, Steve Roberts has also been filling in for Diane and Monday's show featured him with a panel discussing Iraq and Afghanistan with three people. I'll provide a link to it and note that Steve did a strong job filling in but the guests were decidely unimpressive and that's why we didn't note it.
While we're in the US, Peace Mom Cindy Sheehan has been on Martha's Vineyard protesting the continued illegal war and the Afghanistan War and the undeclared war on Pakistan. Mike Seccombe (Vineyard Gazette) reports her events included a press conference where she stated of Barack Obama, US president, "Just because he's better than Bush doesn't sell me, because practically everybody in the world is better than Bush." George Brennan (Cape Cod Times) adds, "Like she has since her son, Casey, was killed in Iraq in 2004, Sheehan is using the backdrop of a presidential vacation to make her pitch for peace. It's an effective way to get her anti-war protests attention, she said. 'The only change in foreign policy has been a change for the worse,' she said, wearing a pink T-shirt with a peace symbol and the words, 'Peace. Love. Vineyard'."
The White House states that due to a funeral, Barack will be leaving the island. Not the funeral that has the world's attention. That funeral hardly gets noticed in the US -- outside of those mourning the passing. BBC News (link has text and video) reports that Abdul Aziz al-Hakim's body has been taken to Baghdad and "PM Nouri Maliki and hundreds of officials met the coffin of Hakim, the leader of one of Iraq's most powerful Shia parties, at Baghdad airport. The body is to be taken to the Shia shrine city of Karbala, before being buried in Najaf on Saturday." Xinhua quotes Nouri stating at the airport, "We lose you in a delicate and sensitive period, when we are in need of a strong an experienced man." That's always been Nouri's problem, like Melissa on thirty-something, he needs a man. Al Jazeera hails al-Hakim, who died Wednesday, as "the most powerful Shia politician in Iraq". A memorial service was held yesterday in Tehran and the central government in Baghdad has declared a three-day mourning period. CCTV has video of Nouri at the memorial service in Baghdad. Alsumaria provides this sketch of al-Hakim's life:

He is the son of Grand Ayatollah Mohsen Al Hakim and the youngest of his ten children who most of them were killed during the former regime.
Abdul Aziz Al Hakim co-founded the Islamic Revolution Supreme Council in Iraq and fled the country in the early eighties after his family was chased and assassinated. He lived in Iran leading the Iraqi opposition against the regime of former President Saddam Hussein.
Sayyed Abdul Aziz Al Hakim returned to Iraq on April 17 2003 following the topple of the former regime.
He gained an influential political role when he took over as head of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq after his elder brother, Grand Ayatollah Muhammad Baqer Al Hakim, died in a car bombing.
Jomana Karadsheh (CNN -- link has video and I'm told it includes the shot of the thousands reaching for the coffin that CNN was running throughout the afternoon -- footage which resulted in a high number of e-mails to CNN about the funeral because that footage caught a number of American viewers' attention) reports that security was tight in Baghdad with streets "sealed off Friday, and Iraqi air forces helicopters hovered overhead. Sobbing mourners beat their chests and heads, a traditional Shiite way of mourning. They swarmed around the coffin trying to touch it as it was carried into the Kadhimiya shrine, one of Shiite Islam's holiest." Jane Arraf (Christian Science Monitor) notes, "The black turban signifying his family's descent from the prophet Muhammed was placed on Hakim's coffin which was covered in flowers and placed on a covered platform on the tarmac." Gulf Times reports that Ammar al-Hakim (his son) led the mourners and wore a black robe and turban while President Jalal Talabani was the first mourner to speak and stated, "He was a leader, a devoted fighter of Iraq. We are confident that the void left in his family and in the Supreme Council will be filled by the men of his family, such as Ammar al-Hakim."
The security was tight but how tight is underscored by the decision to hold that memorial ceremony at Baghdad International which means that the US forces were also out in force. Camp Victory is a US base (not handed over to iraq) and it surrounds Baghdad International Airport. Turning to some of today's reported violence . . .
Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Nineveh Province roadside bombing which claimed 1 life (civilian) and wounded an Iraqi soldier and, dropping back to last night, a Mosul roadside bombing which claimed the lives of 2 people and left four injured.
Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports Nineveh Provincial Council member Tariq Ali Abbawi was assassinated last night. Reuters notes the US military shot dead 1 man and injured another stating the two were suspected bombers and, dropping back to last night, note an attack in Mosul on Iraqi police which claimed the life of 1 young girl and left another civilian injured.
None of that was included in the earlier count. Yesterday, US Maj Gen John Johnson spoke to the press and Military Times' Bill McMichael asked about Sahwa, aka Sons Of Iraq, aka "Awakening." These are the Sunnis the US government armed and trained (they
dispute arming them) and paid to stop fighting US troops. Nouri al-Maliki does not want to bring them into Iraq's security forces. Many a reporter has WRONGLY stated that they've been brought in. Since November. They have not been brought in. Johnson stated that of the "over 90,000 Sons Of Iraq," only "about 20% of them will be integrated into the Iraqi security forces" and he then stated that "over 3,300, as I said, have already been pulled into the Iraqi ministries" and then he would say that was just in Baghdad and throughout Iraq there were "a little over 13,000 that have been integrated into Iraqi security forces, either into the army or into the Iraqi police" -- no, that's not really 20% which is why it appears he's helping Steven Lee Myers, neither can handle numbers. And when you can't handle 20%, I really fear for your wait staff. I mean, however do you tip? Like Steven Lee Myers, another US general tried to play down the violence today. Diana Elias (AP) reports that Gen George Casey yammered away about "ebb and flow" -- he sounds like a Righteous Brother but not, however, a member of the League of Righteous.
Human Rights Watch released "'They Want Us Exterminated': Murder, Torture, Sexual Orientation and Gender in Iraq," a 67-page report [PDF format warning] click here, last week. In the US, it's received more attention this week than last. Wayne Besen (Windy City Times) noted of the revelations about the targeting of Iraq's LGBT community, "In Iraq, 'extremism' is too mild a word to describe the acts of those who abuse gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people." Rex Wockner (San Francisco Bay Times) adds, "The killers invade homes and grab people on the street, HRW reported. Victims are interrogated for names of others before being murdered. Torture practices include supergluing victim's anuses shut, then feeding them laxatives." At CounterPunch, David Rosen notes the report and attempts to find some larger points:
Sexuality, and the attendant issue of "honor" killings, provides a unique window into the alleged clash of civilizations. It is that sphere of human existence in which the twin dimensions of being human are forged. In sex, the truely human (i.e., consciousness) and the truely animal (i.e., physicality) are unified into a singluar experience. This unity is lived out as both species reproduction and erotic pleasure.
Sexuality is also one aspect of socio-personal life that is very much sharpened by "civilization," by cultural values and religious beliefs as well as by the marketplace and battles between geopolitical empires. Peoples, nations and civilizations have struggled for millennia over the meaning of sexuality, whether for men, women or young people and whether defined as hetrosexual or homosexual.
Explicit and aggressive sexuality is a powerful force dividing the West from, for example, the Arab and Islamic world. It is one of the most threatening dimensions of Western capitalism's cultural system that is pushing ever-deeper into the intimate, private lives of people throughout the world.
For many, the experience of globalization resonates less in the plunder of a nation's natural resources or the exploitation of its collective labor power than in the flood of erotic sensibilities challenging established power relations. This apparent assault often provokes the greatest resistance.
I do not believe David Rosen is attempting to state or imply that same-sex attraction and relationships are new or just emerging in Iraq. Someone will e-mail to protest. To be clear, HRW's report makes a point of noting that LGBTs are not new to Iraq and they're certainly not new to any region or area.

Finally Sherwood Ross (Veterans Today) weighs in on Lawrence Velvel's America 2008 (Velvel is the Dean of Massachusetts School of Law at Andover):

Iraq's bloodshed is worse, Velvel writes "because today we not only have a years-long unwinnable war, but also torture, kidnappings and renderings to foreign countries for torture, many years of detention without trial of people who are innocent, the use of massive private armies to help carry out Executive policies" suppression of the media far beyond anything experienced during Viet Nam"the use of Executive Branch lawyers to write professionally incompetent secret memoranda giving clearance to awful policies, and the use of retired generals who are making a fortune from the Pentagon to spread its gospel on the mainstream media."

Today's wars of aggression are being waged, Velvel notes, because previous Washington officials were not held to account for their crimes: "Lyndon Johnson retired to his ranch, Nixon received a pardon and went back to San Clemente, McNamara became the long time President of the World Bank, Kissinger became richer and richer (and secretly advised Bush and Cheney on Iraq)"Wolfowitz was given a sinecure at the World Bank, lawyers who facilitated the misdeeds---such as Jay Bybee and John Yoo---are federal judges or professors at leading law schools."

TV notes, and all PBS programs begin airing tonight in most markets. NOW on PBS offers:

Would you pay more in taxes to fix roads and rail?
The majority of American goods are transported by trucks, even though freight trains are greener and more fuel-efficient. Where should America be placing its bets for moving our economy and what would you personally sacrifice for it?
This week, Correspondent Miles O'Brien looks at the contemporary needs, challenges, and solutions for transporting vital cargo across America, and how those decisions affect the way you live, work, and travel.
This program is part of a PBS-wide series on the country's infrastructure called "Blueprint America."

On Washington Week, Gwen sits around the table with David Broder (Washington Post), Karen Tumulty (Time magazine), David Wessel (Wall St. Journal) and Pete Williams (NBC News).
Meanwhile Bonnie Erbe and her guests Karen Czarnecki, Ann Friedman, Irene Natividad and Tara Setmayer discuss the week's news on this week's edition of PBS' To The Contrary. Check local listings, on many stations, it begins airing tonight. And turning to broadcast TV, Sunday CBS' 60 Minutes offers:

The Wasteland
Where do the millions of computer monitors, cell phones and other electronic refuse our society generates end up? Some of it is shipped illegally from the U.S. to China, reports Scott Pelley, where it is harming the environment and the people who salvage its valuable components. | Watch Video

Financial Weapons of Mass Destruction
Steve Kroft examines the complicated financial instruments known as credit default swaps and the central role they are playing in the unfolding economic crisis. | Watch Video

Forrest Bird's invention, the respirator, has saved millions of lives and, approaching his ninth decade, he's still living his life to the fullest, flying his airplanes and working 12-hour days. Morley Safer reports. | Watch Video

60 Minutes Sunday, Aug. 30, at 7 p.m. ET/PT.