Saturday, January 27, 2007

The Wino Friedman

Knock. Knock. Knockknockknockknock. Knock. Knock.

"Betinna, it's me!"

Mrs. K? What did she want? I'd been avoiding returning her calls because I'm not sure how much she knows and didn't want to break it to her that her husband took part in a kidnapping -- in my kidnapping. Besides the fact that it was a crime, it might also call into question all those overseas brothel visits Nicky K was always making 'for the good of the girls.'

So not knowing what to say, I just avoided her.

Now I was rushing around, trying to get everything together for the trip to DC where Elaine, Rebecca and I would join thousands of others in calling for an end to the illegal war.

Heading to the door, I said a semi-silent prayer, "Lord, please don't let her be wordy."

I opened and it was shocked to see my husband Thomas Friedman.

Now he hadn't learned to intimidate Mrs. K's voice. She was there.

So were two men I'd never seen before.

They were holding Thomas Friedman. Mrs. K would shortly explain that she'd hired them to move him.

It seemed Thomas Friedman had been couching at the Kristofs since I kicked him out.

And Mrs. K had finally had enough of it.

The last blow was, apparently, his getting drunk and trying to squeeze into new white Chanel number. I'm sure it was lovely.

It looked fairly nice, what was left of it, even stretched out on my husband. The straps to the top had broken off, the puffy skirt wasn't quite puffy enough for his fat ass and what appeared to be a corn based vomit on the front marred the overall effect; however, I was sure it was once a lovely dress.

Waving a hand at Thomas Friedman, whom the movers deposited on the couch, Mrs. K said, "I can't take it anymore. It has gotten on my last nerve."

And haven't we all been there with Thomas Friedman before?

Even so, I wasn't prepared to let him back in my home.

"B-b-b-but," I sputtered.

Mrs. K was already at the door, the movers walking ahead of her, as she called back, "If butts were horses, then dreamers would have tails. Bye-bye."

Holy crap.

Now what I was going to do?

I could smell the booze from across the room. We'd back Sunday evening. He'd have slept it off by then.

I had to think of something to occupy him from getting into trouble (well, changing the locks on me while I was gone). Thinking quickly, I ran to the hall closet where I'd put his body pillow with "Saved By The Bell"'s Slater on it. As if by instinct, he curled around it the second I put him on the couch. That would take care of his post-wake up humping. I grabbed the DVD of "The Greg Louganis Story," popped it into the DVD player, turned on the TV and put it on "repeat." When he was done with the pillow, he could watch the movie because, as he always says, "I watch it because I'm a sports nut." He's some kind of nut but a real "sports nut" probably wouldn't watch that movie over and over and continue to call it "The Greg Lew-gains Story." Okay, assuming he semi-sobered up Sunday morning, the body pillow gave me about two minutes, maybe three. He tends to last longer when he's drunk. The DVD was probably good for at least four hours. But I still needed to keep him occupied and not thinking about calling a locksmith.

I ran to the kitchen, threw open the pantry door and began dragging and pushing the case of canned cheese to the living room. I opened it next to the couch and, to be sure he would find it, sprayed canned cheese in a little trail from the case to the couch. There were over thirty cans in the case. That would give me about two hours. He tends to nap after a mass pig out. That was at least two hours. After a mass pig out nap, he needs to use the bathroom so that was 90 minutes right there. I keep telling him to lay off the cheese and eat some fiber, but here is eating habits could work to my benefit. If I could put his wig in the bathroom, chances are he'd spend even more time in there preening in front of the mirror and . . .

As Elaine and Rebecca were knocking at the door, I hoped I'd thought of enough things to keep him occupied, my latchkey husband. He titled his most recent column "Running on Empty" but if you ask me, it was fumes -- smelled like cheap wine.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills)
Friday, January 26, 2007. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq, ten days to go until
Ehren Watada's February 5th court-martial begins, groups mobolize to end the war in the United States, Bully Boy issues death threats to Iranians in Iraq and a death threat to American democracy, the privatization of Iraq's assets is boldly expressed but we're all supposed to look the other way and the US military gets caught in a lie.

Starting with
Ehren Watada, he, his father (Bob Watada) and his mother (Carolyn Ho) will be out in full force tomorrow. Susan Paynter (Seattle Post-Intelligencer) reports will be taking part in Seattle's events to end the war: "1 p.m. at the Center for Social Justice, 2111 E. Union St., moving to the Military Recruitment Center at 2301 S. Jackson St., then to the Langston Hughes Center at 104 17th Ave. S. at 3, where speakers will include Lt. Ehren Watada." Watada, who will be part of a panel discussion, is the first officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq and he is facing a Februarty 5th court-martial in which he will not be able to present any real defense because 'Judge' Head has a really sick sense of what "justice" is.
Michael E. Ruane (Washington Post) reports that Bob Watada will be speaking at the DC rally tomorrow and Bob Watada tells Ruane: "There is no doubt in my mind that the invasion and occupation of Iraq is wholly unwarranted. The Iraqi people have done absolutely nothing to the United States. They've done nothing to deserve the massacre and the pummeling they're getting . . . the plunder, the torture, the rape, the murder of innocent people. It's got to stop." Meredith May (San Francisco Chronicle) reports that, in San Francisco, things kick off with "a noon rally at Powell and Market streets. Carolyn Ho, the mother of Army 1st Lt. Ehren Watada of Hawaii, who is refusing orders to deploy to Iraq, will speak to the crowd."

Three different cities tomorrow where they will be attempting to get the message that the illegal war needs to end and that what will take place in the February 5th court-martial won't be justice because the 'judge' has refused to allow
Ehren Watada to present his reasons for refusing to deploy, the studies he did as part of his command that led him to the conclusion that the war was illegal and immoral. Marilyn Bechtel (People's Weekly World) spoke with Marti Hiken (National Lawyers Guild) who noted that "people do not surrender all their constional rights when they enter the military" and that "Regardless of whether the military wins this court martial, they lose for silencing an individual who has so much integrity that is evident to people across the country."

Saying "no" to an illegal war is hard. It takes courage. (Note the Cowards Silence plauging the left if you doubt that, but I'm actually talking about those in the military who have said "no.") Watada is a part of a movement of resistance with the military that includes others such as
Agustin Aguayo (whose court-martial is currently set to begin on March
Kyle Snyder, Darrell Anderson, Ivan Brobeck, Ricky Clousing, Aidan Delgado, Mark Wilkerson, Joshua Key, Camilo Meija, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Jeremy Hinzman, Corey Glass, Patrick Hart, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Katherine Jashinski, Chris Teske and Kevin Benderman. In total, thirty-eight US war resisters in Canada have applied for asylum.

Information on war resistance within the military can be found at
Center on Conscience & War, The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline, and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters.

In the United States, tomorrow sees protests, rallies and marches around the country. As
CODEPINK notes: "Join us on January 27 to say No More Funding for War! Bring Our Troops Home Now! We will use our feet and our lungs and our signs and our outrage to let Bush and our new Congress know that we are serious about ending this war.If you can't make it to DC, see if there is a solidarity event being planned in your area. If not, create your own, even if that means standing alone on a street corner with a sign! In lieu of lobbying, you can call your Congressperson to demand they cut the funding for George Bush's War. Our voices are powerful, wherever we may be geographically. We know peace is the only real path to hope and opportunity for this country. Together we will make it happen."

If you can't make it to DC, you can still be heard. If there's not an event in your area, start one. (formely Ceasefire Campaign Team) is attempting to get the word out on a way you can be heard in DC if you're not able to attend:

Join Saturday's global peace march... without Leaving Your House!This Saturday, hundreds of thousands of Americans will march on Washington DC to demand peace and justice in Iraq and the Middle East. We can be there too, raising a global voice of solidarity -- through our own worldwide virtual march. Time is short, so add your voice and join the march today! This could signal the rebirth of the US peace movement. We need to show them the world is on their side. Let's bring our call for peace to the streets of power in Washington. Join the global peace march and tell your friends today!

Events will be covered by some media. Known coverage will include:
KPFA which will broadcast live from the DC demonstrations from 10:00 am to noon PST. (At which point it will begin covering demonstrations in the Bay Area.) and Laura Flanders who will cover the days demonstration Saturday night (7:00 to 10:00 pm EST) on her program RadioNation with Laura Flanders (heard on Air America Radio and other outlets). (Both KPFA and Air America Radio offer online streaming.) (KPFA also offers their achived broadcasts for free, so if you miss the live coverage and would like to hear it later, check out the KPFA Archives). Rachel notes that WBAI will broadcast live coverage of the demonstrations from
11:00 am to 1:00 pm EST. In addition, she notes that tonight (Friday) on
WBAI, David Occhiuto will host a special which will feature anti-war films, interviews and will include coverage of Ehren Watada including sections of the speech he gave in Seattle that the the Article 32 hearing in August included and the court-martial next month plans to include in their prosecution of him. Tune in to hear the message that so frightened the military brass that 'Judge' Head has gagged Watada's defense from presenting. That's tonight, WBAI,
7:00 pm to 11:00 pm EST (over the airwaves in NYC and surrounding areas as well as online).

As people mobilize to get the truth out, the US military finds some cover-ups implode faster than others. New details emerge regarding Saturday's reported violence. Saturday, five US troops were killed in Karbala when resistance fighters reportedly wearing US uniforms were waived through checkpoints and made it to a meeting in Karbala. Five US troops were reported as dying during the attack that followed. The
AP is reporting (based on US and Iraqi military sources) that four of the five were kidnapped and the four were then killed with bodies being discovered as far away as 25 miles. There was a lot of Happy Talk this week. There was the lie that corpses discovered in Baghdad were tapering off (42 discovered yesterday), there was the lie that what's happening on Haifa Street is normal and not an attack that's killing civilians, there were showy moments in the US Congress and there were the lies of Bully Boy's State of the Union address. When we're neck-deep in lies, it's really easy for the US military to lie (that is what happened) and misinform the public.

Without the lies, the escalation couldn't be sold and a lot of people are vested in selling the escalation. And note that when the AP asked about it, the US military played dumb. As
Steven R. Hurst and Qassim Abdul-Zahra (AP) reported later, the US military has now confirmed that four were kidnapped and killed later (1 of the 4 was apparently discovered "mortally wounded").


CBS and AP report a bombing of a pet market utilizing a bomb hidden among pigeons that has resulted in the death of at least 14 people in Baghdad. Stephen Farrell (Times of London) reports: "Police said insurgents concealed the explosives inside a cardboard box punched with holes to make it appear a container for pigeons, parrots or other birds which are prime attractions at the market. The blast, which also wounded 55, hit the Ghazel market on the eastern banks of the Tigris just before the weekly curfew intended to protect crowds attending mosques during noon prayers on the Islamic day of prayer." Farrell notes that the explosion allowed some caged pets to be let loose but many died. Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports: "Two civilians were injured when an IED exploded in Milhaniya, a part of Amil neighborhood at 1 pm." Reuters notes: "On Friday, a suicide bomber blew himself up in a Shi'ite mosque on the outskirts of Mosul, killing seven and wounding 17 more after prayers, a police source said."


Reuters notes: "Gunmen opened fire on a crowd in Baghdad's Bayaa district, killing one person and wounding two, a police source said."


CBS and AP report: "Seven tortured bodies of people who had been blindfolded and had their hands and legs bound before they were shot in the head were found in the capital Friday, according to police." Reuters notes that number of corpses discovered in Baghdad today has risen to 27 while one corpse was discovered in Kirkuk and a headless corpse was discovered in Hawija. Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports: "The body of the Iraqi boxer Hussein Hadi was found in Haifa street. Police said that Hadi was kidnapped three days ago and he found hanged today."

Also today, the
US military announced: "One Marine assigned to Regimental Combat Team 6 died today from wounds sustained due to enemy action while operating in Al Anbar Province."

CNN reports that the Iranian government is calling "terrorism" on Bully Boy's recent order (backed up by US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates) for US troops to kill (on the spot) Iranians they suspect of plotting terrorism. These execution orders by the Bully Boy come with no jury or defense, just an instant passing of judgement.

In financial news,
AFP reports that one of Iraq's two vice presidents, Shi'ite Adel Abdul Mahdi, has called the illegal occupation of Iraq "idiotic" but is pushing the 'we will be safe if we have to raid and terrorize school children, residents of homes, etc' that was so popular with the puppet of the occupation yesterday. Those confused by the both-sides-talking Mahdi can refer to a commentary by Antonia Juhasz (Huffington Post) last May: "The re-appointment of Mahdi may yet provide the Bush Administration with its most important victory in the Iraq war since Saddam Hussein was pulled out of a rabbit hole in Tikrit. However, Mahdi's Vice Presidency may also ultimately generate at least as much hostility towards the United States as the invasion itself. Over the course of the war, Mahdi emerged as one of the most aggressive proponents of the Bush administration's economic agenda for Iraq, including the implementation of controversial corporate globalization rules and greater U.S. corporate access to Iraq's oil." Mahdi earlier served in the Bremer 'government' and will probably serve in a great many other puppet governments to follow.

MarketWatch reports: "Over the next several years, the minister [Mahdi] said Iraq would look to privatize all of state-owned industry, which number around 60 companies. He also said Asian companies were keen to enter discussions with the Iraqi government over industrial contracts. Hariri said Iraq was also in discussions with San Francisco-based Bechtel Corp over engineering contracts, without elaborating."

The privatization. Antonia Juhasz (author of
The BU$H Agenda: Invading the World, One Economy at a Time) attempted to address the realities of the oil law on KPFA's Living Room
January 11th. But a (male) guest, of course, new better and felt that whatever laws were passed, Iraqis could undue the damage many years on down the line. That's confronting the problem! For those who didn't grasp the importance of what Juhasz was addressing,
The San Jose Mercury News reports "Iraq is in negotiations with San Ramon-based Chevron Corp. and Exxon Mobil Corp. to build a new $3 billion petrochemical facility, and is in talks with several other Western companies over industrial projects. In an interview Thursday, Iraq's minister for industry and minerals Fowzi Hariri said the discussions with Chevron and Exxon began this week in Washington and are at an early stage." The New York Times fluffed their coverage of the law last Saturday. Apparently, we're all supposed to pretend it doesn't matter or take the attitude of, "Hey, they can fix in 20 years!"

For those who've forgotten, in polling where Iraqis side with the resistance on the topic of attacking foreign fighters (including American troops), they also note the belief that the continued war is nothing but an attempt for foreigners to get their hands on Iraqi assets. Prvatization laws and multi-billion dollar deals by outsiders tend to convey that impression.

In political news,
CNN reports that that the Democratic leadership in the US Congress may push for a revamping of the 2002 act that the Bully Boy cited as his authorization for starting a pre-emptive, illegal war of agression on Iraq. Of course, with Democrat leadership, "maybe" means basically what "We'll see" means when said by a parent.

In news of dictators,
CNN reports on Bully Boy of the United States latest string of I statements: "I am the decider . . . I've picked the plan . . . I know . . ." Though his love affair with self continues unabated, as the recent poll by CBS News found on Bully Boy's desired escalation: "More than 70 percent of Americans think he should have to get congressional approval before he commits those troops." (68% of poll respondents stated they were "uneasy" with Bully Boy's ability to make decisions regarding Iraq.) Though Bully Boy appears to have forgotten this basic fact, in a democracy, the people are "the deciders."

Reminder: Those in DC Saturday should check out
Anthony Arnove, author most recently of IRAQ: The Logic of Withdrawal, who will be speaking at Busboys and Poets at 5:00 pm and those in the NYC area on Sunday should check out Joan Mellen speech at 7:30 p.m. at the 92nd Street Y (92nd Street and Lesington Avenue). Mellan, a professor at Temple University and the author of seventeen books, will be presenting a lecture on the JFK assasination . . . and beyond. Tickets are $25. Mellen's latest book is A Farewell to Justice which probes the assasination of JFK. She was a guest on Law and Disorder November 7, 2005. And the March 15, 2006 broadcast of KPFA's Guns and Butter featured her speech "How the Failure to Identify, Prosecute and Convict President Kennedy's Assassins Has Led to Today's Crisis of Democracy." You can also read a transcript of that speech here.

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