Saturday, September 08, 2007

Searching for Nicky K, Encountering a Sea Witch

My idiot husband Thomas Friedman was waxing over Kurdistan this week as he used "Letter From Baghdad" to get 100% behind the illegal war again. He'd expressed some doubts briefly and even attempted to present himself as "anti-war" for a few columns this summer. But it's too difficult for a corporate mouthpiece like himself to be independent so these days, for instance, he overlooks the ongoing ethnic cleansing that's been going on Kuridstan -- and the support for terrorists activities inside the borders of Turkey -- and was back to preaching his "War is good" nonsense.

Me, I was busy trying to find Nicky K. My only clue was that advertisement for "Spinal Surgeries." I took a taxi to the address and found I'd come on the worst day possible. The woman handling the phones was near tears.

"No, no, that's fine. If Ms. Pelosi doesn't want the surgery --"

"What's that? Reid is cancelling as well?"

As I waited in the lobby four 45 minutes, the woman took one call after another before finally bursting into tears and placing her head down on her desk.

I approached with some trepidation, not wanting to interfere on a private moment, but this was a place of business, right?

"Are you okay?"

The woman explained that she and her partner had started the business following the 2004 elections. She explained after John Kerry caved the same way Al Gore did following a presidential election, they thought spinal surgeries -- specifically surgeries that would provide many with their first spine -- were not only a needed process, but one that would be welcomed.

"So we opened this clinic, thinking we'd be helping people and making money. And this summer, following the public's outrage with the Congress for buying into the illegal war, it actually looked like we might be able to make some money. We had a huge chunk of the House of Representatives and a sizable portion of the Senate calling to inquire about our surgeries. A few even booked appointments, and probably 15% were scheduled for the surgeries. Now everyone's cancelling. And Steny Hoyer's wanting us to pay him for taking out his spine! It's not at all like we pictured it."

Poor woman. Thinking Democrats might ever stand up was always a risky proposition and certainly nothing to sink your life savings into. I tried to word that as nicely as possible but only ended up in upsetting the woman more.

"I know! I know! And Midget and Norman have their successful Zell Miller Clinic -- but the Hoover Institute underwrites them! They've got poster boy Joe Lieberman and you can't turn on late night TV without seeing their informercial asking, 'Are you politically confused?' They're raking it in helping the transpolitical. Midget was bragging to the 'New York Daily News' this week about how the Blue Dogs had just toured their post-op facility and couldn't stop raving over it. Plus, it's a lot cheaper to remove a brain than to implant and graft a spine, so of course they're doing well! We couldn't even get 'The Nation' to run our ads! The Peace Resister told us that to suggest Democrats had spinal surgery was a wonderful idea but we should wait until after the 2008 election so as not to upset their electoral chances. The Peace Resister gave us the same speech in 2005 and used the 2006 elections as her excuse."

Possibly, they could offer The Peace Resister a spinal transplant for free, I suggested, to demonstrate the benefits of the surgery.

"We tried that! She screamed if she stood up right, she'd have to get a nose reduction to avoid the lower back pain!"

The woman was sobbing again. Actually, she was blubbering. However, she was seated upright, ramrod straight.

I didn't think she'd be any use to me today in locating Nicky K, so I patted her on the shoulder and left the building.

In the glare of the sun, I thought the city heat was getting to me as I repeatedly rubbed my eyes and told myself there was no way Disney's "Little Mermaid" had come to life and surely I couldn't be seeing Ursula the Sea Witch. But no matter how many times I rubbed my eyes, there she was.

As the floating spots, from rubbing my eyes, were still swimming, Ursula, carrying a large sign, began approaching me.

"Hey ya, I'm Cathy Pollitt," came a loud roar out of the Sea Witch's mouth.

She looked me up and down while I wondered if, even during summer, a tank top was the best way for the Sea Witch to go with those huge, flabby, upper arms?

She was dragging the sign, probably couldn't hold it up with those arms, which read: "Embrace Your Weakness."

"You're not considering an operation are you? If so, let me butt in because butting into other people's lives is my business. "

She handed me a blank business card.

"Yeah, I meant to get it fixed at the printers but I'm such a busy woman. I want you to know that no-God made you the way you are and no-God is happy with you just the way you aren't. It's okay to be weak. Look at me!"

The Sea Witch dropped her sign and immediately coiled around herself on the ground.

"See! I could never do this if I had a spine."

She was slouching in front of me again.

"I am here to tell you that it is okay to waste your life. As a woman facing down fifty, I've decided to live my life like the film '13 Going On 30' in reverse and I offer up all the depth to be expected at a pre-teen slumber party. When not doing that, I provide support for the spineless like Nancy Pelosi by attacking Cindy Sheehan. I also made the choice, helped by the good people at Sara Lee, to go from unattractive to butt-ugly in order to fool people into thinking I must have a mind because what else is there?"

As she babbled on endlessly, I wondered mainly how to get the hell away from her and feared she might break into a few choruses of "Under the Sea."

My musings were interrupted when I realized she'd asked me a question repeatedly.

"No," I replied, "I'm not spineless. I'm against the illegal war."

Cathy Pollitt look alarmed as her eyes darted back and forth while insisting I must never say that and certainly not publicly.

She suggested I choose a lighter topic "to oppose. Like the cover of the new 'Vanity Fair,' for instance. It's important to have concrete positions on transitory things," she explained, "but real positions on things that actually matter are to be avoided."

"Embrace the fluff!" she screamed repeatedly. "Like me!"

I told her I was married to Thomas Friedman so my life already had a high fluff content.

Cathy Pollitt appeared to empathize with that and informed me she was once married to the paper's ethicst but she found even being married to someone interested in ethics had struck her as too controversial.

Before she could elaborate, she suddenly remembered that Nick at Nite had a press conference for Miranda Cosgrove of "iCarly" that she had to attend "because it's really important that grown woman like myself embarrass themselves."

With that, she was lumbering off down the street. I sighed in relief.

But only for a second.

I felt someone was watching me.

Looking up and down the street, I spotted Nicky K and gave chase.

Five blocks later, he'd disappeared.

But even though I couldn't see him, I could hear him.

"Follow the Friedman," he whispered from some unknown place, "Follow the Friedman."

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills)
Friday, September 7, 2007. Chaos and violence continue, the US military announces multiple deaths, the British announce a death, Riverbend makes it to Syria, Adam Kokesh gets arrested with Tina Richards for the 'crime' of posting fliers, Ali al-Fadhily reports on a battle that the press has missed thus far, and more.

Starting with war resisters.
Daryl Shandro (Political Affairs) reports on how the influx of war resisters into Canada has created the need for new chapters to be created (they were -- Ottawa, Kingston, Hamilton and London) and shares how war resister Steve Yoczik spoke informatively and amusingly about his own experience to a group in Sudbury: "Steve waged a concerted bid to be kicked out of the army. Over a period of months, he deliberately failed between 50 and 100 physical tests. When it became obvious that the officers would not file three consecutive failing reports so as to have his status reviewed, Steve started to fail to appear for the tests and was flippant, if not outright insubordinate, if these absences brought any reporach. Steve figures he was gone for a while before anyone realized that he was AWOL. He found out about the War Resisters Support Campaign in Canada through a friend -- a model soldier and US patriot who disagreed so strongly with the war in Iraq that he fled to Canada rather than participate in it." Shandro notes Jeremy Hinzman and Brandon Hughey's appeals to Canada's Supreme Court and that the "continues to lobby for the political solution: these War Resisters must be given sanctuary under a separate immigration category, much like the US war resisters of the Vietnam era received under the Trudeau government. In Sudbuy we are now fielding a serious inquiry every week from War Resisters. These are people 'checking into' Toronot and then moving to their host city within hours or days. They are calling from Germany (military hosipital) and bases all over the continental U.S., and they are coming. In Toronto the serious inquiries are about three a week; arrivals, both anticipated and unanticipated, are becoming more and more frequent."

Ehren Watada is also resisting the Iraq War. In June 2006, he became the first known officer to publicly refuse to deploy the war (he cited the illegal nature of the war). In February of this year, Judge Toilet (aka John Head) presided over the court-martial of Watada. Watada had elected to go with a jury of his peers. Judge Toilet saw Watada's case was being made for him by the prosecution witness and attempted to flush justice by delcaring a mistrial -- over defense objection and over the initial objection of the prosecution -- Toilet had to coax the prosecution into seeing that what he was offering was a 'do over.' However, the Constitution does not allow for 'do overs' and, as National Lawyers Guild president Marjorie Cohn has noted, double-jeopardy had already attached. Currently, Watada is due to stand for another court-martial next month. The appeals process are ongoing. Judge Toilet has said there is no double-jeopary and that he can be impartial and should be allowed to sit on a second court-martial. Howls of laughter echo through the land at both assertions. Last month, we noted the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL)'s statement regarding Watada. On Wednesday, Caroline Aoyagi-Strom (New American Media) noted the JACL's statement and the struggle it took to get that weak statement and notes Mas Hashimoto declaring, "Today we are at a crossroads. What kind of organization are we going to be? We need to take a stand, a firm and dedicated stand." while Alan Nishi declares, "We should take a more solid stance than we have in the past." The stand taken thus far is to note that Watada has civil rights and that he is "protected from double jeopardy" and, as Aoyagi-Strom notes, JALC is now supposed "to help educate other groups on the controversial issue."

There is a growing movement of resistance within the US military which includes Timothy Richard, Robert Weiss, Phil McDowell, Steve Yoczik, Ross Spears, Zamesha Dominique, Jared Hood, James Burmeister, Eli Israel, Joshua Key,
Ehren Watada, Terri Johnson, Carla 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, Clifton Hicks, David Sanders, Dan Felushko,Brandon Hughey, 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, Vincent La Volpa, DeShawn Reed and Kevin Benderman. In total, forty-one 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, Iraq Veterans Against the War and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters. Tom Joad maintains a list of known war resisters. The G.I. Rights Hotline link has been included in the snapshots forever now, but please note that this is a new website. The new website is still being upgarded (but working) and with the new website comes a new phone number (877) 4474487 which is "GI RGHTS" the name but missing the second "I". To make sure everyone's aware that there is a new number and a new (toll free) number, we'll included this notice in the snapshot all week. Again, The G.I. Rights Hotline is a new and improved (and new and improving) website that will begin replacing the old site.

Last month,
NOW with David Brancaccio covered war resisters Agustin Aguayo and James Burmeister. Tonight (in most PBS markets, the program airs tonight) NOW with David Brancaccio examines the issue of sexual abuse in the military:

Roughly one in seven of America's active duty military soldiers is a woman, but a NOW investigation found that sexual assault and rape is widespread. One study of National Guard and Reserve forces found that almost one in four women had been assaulted or raped. Last year alone, almost 3,000 soldiers reported sexual assault and rape by other soldiers. On Friday, September 7 (check your local listings), in one of the only national television broadcasts of the issue, NOW features women who speak out for the first time about what happened. One woman recounts her ordeal of rape by her superior officer. Many more don't report the incidents for fear of how it will affect their careers. The shocking phenomenon has a label: military sexual trauma, or MST. NOW meets women courageously battling to overcome their MST, bringing light to an issue that's putting the army in shame. A NOW exclusive investigation. The NOW website at will offer the latest statistics on MST and insight into the challenges of reporting sexual abuse in the military

NOW with David Branccacio has a fact sheet regarding the percentages. Some that should immediately stand out include "60% of women have experienced military sexual trauma" and "23% of women have experienced military sexual assault." (27% of males have also "experienced military sexual trauma".) Also online, they interview (text) Kate Summers (Miles Foundation) about the issue and offer advice from Rev. Dorthy Mackey: "I encourage any survivor of sexual abuse in the military to immediately contact family or friends who love them. Tell them the complete sotry of the facts, have them record or get e-mails of the facts from the survivor. These friends and family who are not traumatized must be willing to act as guides/support and spokesperson for the survivor. Within the military system, the already traumatized survivor is lost. Once the covert or overt hostility begins, the survivor is multiply re-victimized." Rev. Mackey founded Survivors Take Action Against Abuse by Military Personnel, served nine years in the Air Force and, as she discussed with Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) in July of 2004, was raped three times, "twice by military doctors during appointments. Rev. Mackey explained to Goodman, "So there's a lot more to this, and yet no one wants to invite those of us who know. And one of the moves on right now is to have the Pentagon itself establish a victim's advocacy office. I would hate to tell you, but from the Congressional Congress' own lips, the Women's Congressional Congress' own lips, they said, as we have been telling them, that rapists keep getting promoted into the senior ranks. Up into the Pentagon. And when you have the Pentagon itself, who has refused any recommendations in the last 16 years with 19 task forces of sexual misconduct, it's not being addressed. What's going to happen is the same that many of us who've lived through it have seen, and they will typically shut down these victims even more so. I mean, a nice term they really should do for this victim's advocacy office they're considering, call it the Pentagon's Lobotomy Shop, because that's what it will be for these victims."

More recently,
Traci Hukill (The Progressive, January 2007) examined the issue and offered many important details such as: "Last year, the Pentagon received reports of 2,374 rapes or attempted rapes from all of its bases worldwide, about 40 percent more than the year before. But that's probably just a fraction of the real number. One reason the crime still goes unreported may lurk in the annual [Pentago] report: Last year, just seventy-nine servicemembers were court-martialed for sexual assault. Why bother reporting if nothing will happen to the perpetrator?"

The most famous example of sexual abuse and command rape during this illegal war is
Suzanne Swift. Swift attempted to work through military channels. Nothing was done. Finally, 'help' was offering her a class on how women could work not to 'invite' rape and abuse. Swift self-checked out when she returned from Iraq. She was taken from her mother's home in handcuffs. The military wanted the entire matter to go away. Even their white wash investigation verified some of the details of assault. Instead of doing the honorable thing and immediately discharge Swift (with full benefits and an honorable discharge), the US military elected to punish her. Sarah Rich, her mother, continues to fight for her daughter and other victims of sexual assault. The US Congress continues to pretend that nothing happened to Swift and that, if it did, it's not like they have oversight of the military.

Not content to be useless, a number are gearing up for DC actions this month.
Paul Schwartzman (Washington Post) reports that in Lafayette Square Thursday, the police staged a big rollout to disrupt a press conference and 'deal' with the very important 'crime' of sign posting. One police officer attempted to 'disarm' Tina Richards who held menacing glue (wheat paste). Schwartman reports, "A few feet away, Kristine Klein, 13, Richards's daughter, started crying. She said that another officer had grabbed her arm and pushed her. As Richards tried to call to her daughter from the cruiser, another officer closed the window." What a proud moment for DC police. They also nabbed Adam Kokesh and Ian Thompson. Don't you feel safer? The three were charged with "defacing public property." Descrating the Constitution is a-okay in DC which is why Bully Boy's still sitting pretty and not facing impeachment. But try to post a flier, and it's SWAT time. The Times of India quotes A.N.S.W.E.R.'s Brian Becker declaring, "The police suppressed the press conference. In the middle of the speeches, they grabbed the podium. Then, mounted police charged the media present to disperse them." The Times of India notes, "The charge caused a peaceful crowd of some 20 journalists and four or five protestors to scatter in terror, an AFP correspondent at the event in Layfayette Square said." The press conference was intended to get the word out on the actions in DC beginning September 15th with a march and a die-in. A.N.S.W.E.R. has a press release with photos and note the police officer pulling Kokesh's left arm behind his back to save the capital from . . . a posted flier. A video is posted on YouTube. You'll hear chatter about "a national security threat" as DC police swarm in. You'll see a police officer jerk Tina Richards by her arm repeatedly, call for "backup" over his radio before grabbing the bucket of paste. Backup takes a while to arrive (with sirens). Then a real idiot on horseback comes galloping up screeching, "Back up, folks, back up, back up, back up, back up" over and over like the idiot he is. The entire point was to disrupt the statements that Tina Richards was making to the press at the time.

Richards and Kokesh do not represent a minority view in the US. Nor are they in the minority around the world. A new
BBC poll of 22 countries has found 39% say troops home right now and another "28% backed a gradual pull-out" while only 23% declared US troops should "stay until Iraq was safe".

And yet . . .
yesterday came the news from the US Pentagon that the number of US forces in Iraq had reached 168,000 and were expected to rise to 172,000 shortly. Before Democrats won control of both houses in the US Congress in the November 2006 elections and before the US Congress was sworn in (January 2007) the number of US troops in Iraq was approximately 144,000. Robin Wright and Jonathan Weisman (Washington Post) report that US General and White House spokesperson David Petraeus is reportedly showing "a willingness to consider a drawdown of one brigade of between 3,500 and 4,500 US troops from Iraq early next year" and that Fancy Nancy Pelosi (Speaker of the House) and her right hand, Steny Hoyer, are yet again throwing in the towel with Hoyer stating, "Clearly we don't have the numbers to override the president's vetoes, as has been clearly demonstrated, nor do we expect to for a long time." Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) also notes the cowardice in Congress: "On Capitol Hill, the Democratic leadership appears set to give up its efforts on setting a deadline for the withdrawal of troops from Iraq. The Senate is expected to vote on a bill later this month that would call for withdrawal to begin this year but it would include no language on when the troop withdrawal had to be completed." Susan Cornwell (Reuters) reports US Senator Dick Durbin gave a speech today where he declared: "This Congress can't give President (George W.) Bush another blank check for Iraq. I can't support an open-ended appropriation which allows this president to continue this failed policy." While it's great that Durbin realizes Congress did give Bully Boy a "blank check," he'll need more than straight talk to combat his own party's rush to cave again.

Outside the spineless DC bubble,
Greg Mitchell (Editor & Publisher) quotes Cathy Fish, mother of John Fish III, explaining, "Three weeks ago I was hugging a happy loving wonderful son. And now as you can see . . . I've got pictures." John Fish committed sucide after returning from Iraq.

It's Friday which means news of violence trickles out slowly. So we'll start out with
Ali al-Fadhily (IPS) reporting that Samarra has been the site of fighting between the US and Iraqis beginning August 26th when, an Iraqi explains, "there was fierce fighting between armed men and American forces in the Armooshiya district, and I saw Americans evacuate many of their soldiers by stretchers. As usual, Americans took revenge by bombing the district." Iman, an Iraqi woman, tells Fadhily that a US bombing "killed a woman with her seven children" and that the violence has been confirmed in a statement from the Muslim Scholars Association
while the associations Sheikh Taha tells al-Fadhily, "They think their crimes would stop Iraqis from demanding their rights for liberty and prosperity, but the results are always different from what the American leaders hope. They are only pushing more Iraqis to be armed against them, and you can see that the facts on the ground are the opposite of what they tell their people. Their soldiers are getting killed every day and they (U.S. military) are losing in Iraq."
In the small reported violence that will lead to many filing reports of "Yesterday in . . ." tomorrow . . .

Robert H. Reid (AP) reports in 'peaceful' Al Anbar Province, the 'model' Bully Boy touts, "two suspension bridges" were blown up and brought to five the number of bridges in Al Anbar Province blown up this year..


Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports Dwood Salman ("member of the municipality council") was shot dead outside of his home in Suleiman Beck.


Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 8 corpses were discovered in Baghdad.

Today the
US military announced: "Three Task Force Lightning Soldiers were killed in Nineveh province Thursday when an explosion occurred near their vehicle." And they announced: "Four Marines assigned to Multi National Force-West were killed Sept. 6 while conducting combat operations in Al Anbar Province." ICCC lists the total number for US service members who have died in the illegal war at 3760 and, for the month thus far, at 18. And four of the seven deaths were in Al Anbar Province, the 'model' province.

Today the
UK Ministry of Defence announced: "It is with deep sadness that the MOD must confirm the death of a British soldier from the Parachute Regiment in Iraq on Wednesday 5, September 2007. The soldier sustained fatal injuries in the early hours of Wednesday while conducting routine operations". The death bringsthe number of United Kingdom troops killed in Iraq to 169.

In other news, the Online Predator has turned his attention away from underage girls and is now attacking Katie Couric online. One might wonder why he hates all women were it not for the howls of laughter at his latest blunder -- which should make everyone wonder about his previous 'facts' on Iran. Let's quote Pig Predator: "CBS is owned by General Electric. GE is working hard to get favorable trading status with any number of foreign trading partners. The U.S. trade representative is working hard on GE's behalf." GE owns NBC. Facts are tough, eh, Online Predator? [FYI,
The Progressive's Matthew Rothschild -- who has not engaged in Bash the Bitch -- has posted the efforts CBS' Early Show took, while on location, to avoid allowing people against the illegal war to be on camera in the background.] So CBS Evening News went to Iraq and did any of the critics watch? Apparently not. Probably Piggy Pedophile tried to. He probably pulled the lever down on his GE toaster and got confused when no picture came on.

Katie Couric (CBS Evening News) interviewed Syrian president Bashar Assad who responded to the charges that the Syrian government was funding, training or whatever else the US military brass wants to offer as the current justification for the failure of the illegal war (it failed because it was illegal), "What do they do, those terrorists in Iraq? They kill civilians, they create chaos. What interest have Syria in having chaos in Iraq? Chaos is contagious. If we help the chaos in Iraq, this means we we work against our interest. So we do our best to control our borders, first of all for Syrians; second, for the Iraqis; third, for the region." This morning Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) reported that "Israeli Air Force jets purportedly entered Syrian airspace" and Syria fired back. So you might think some of the 'critics' would take a moment to check out yesterday's interview with the president of Syria. However, you would be wrong.

Couric interviewed Assad and Iraq was the topic. Assad explained that Syria pays "the price for the chaos in Iraq today," criticized the US administration for attempting to respond to political situations with military non-answers, and observed, "It's getting worse every day, nothing is better. Sometimes it gets better, but it's like a flash in the pan; it just disappears, it's transient. We're talking about the result, the chaos is worse, the killing is worse than before. . . ." Assad also declared his belief that US troops should leave Iraq pointing out that "after four years . . . every day is getting worse than before. So I cannot say that American forces will bring stability to Iraq."

It's cute the way another round of Bash the Bitch allows alleged 'media critics' to ignore the fact that one of the biggest complaints about network news is the decrease in international coverage but a whole crowd ignored an interview on Iraq with the president of one of Iraq's neighboring countries. Same way they didn't appear to notice the slack off in coverage from Iraq by Los Angeles Times and New York Times correspondents this week (most noticeable today).

Syria is where Riverbend is now. The Iraqi blogger of Baghdad Burning recounts how she and her family waited and waited for the safest time to make their journey and
she writes:

The tears had stopped about an hour after we'd left Baghdad. Just seeing the dirty streets, the ruins of buildings and houses, the smoke-filled horizon all helped me realize how fortunate I was to have a chance for something safer.
By the time we were out of Baghdad, my heart was no longer aching as it had been while we were still leaving it. The cars around us on the border were making me nervous. I hated being in the middle of so many possibly explosive vehicles. A part of me wanted to study the faces of the people around me, mostly families, and the other part of me, the one that's been trained to stay out of trouble the last four years, told me to keep my eyes to myself- it was almost over.
It was finally our turn. I sat stiffly in the car and waited as money passed hands; our passports were looked over and finally stamped. We were ushered along and the driver smiled with satisfaction, "It's been an easy trip, Alhamdulillah," he said cheerfully.
As we crossed the border and saw the last of the Iraqi flags, the tears began again. The car was silent except for the prattling of the driver who was telling us stories of escapades he had while crossing the border. I sneaked a look at my mother sitting beside me and her tears were flowing as well. There was simply nothing to say as we left Iraq. I wanted to sob, but I didn't want to seem like a baby. I didn't want the driver to think I was ungrateful for the chance to leave what had become a hellish place over the last four and a half years.

Riverbend and her family join over 4 million Iraqi refugees (internal and external) whom the illegal war has 'liberated'.
Relief Web released a new study today on the refugee crisis
noting that their numbers increase "[a]s the security situation continues to deteriorate inside Iraq, human displacement escalates to levels unparalleled in the region" and that it threatens the entire region.
The report notes: "The exodus of Iraq's professionals has led to severe brain drain, hitting the health, education, and government sectors particularly hard. This will have serious implications for Iraq's ability to rebuild the country when the violence decreases. Internal displacement is resulting in ethnic and sectarian homogenization of the country, and displaced communities are increasingly vulnerable to violence, kidnappings, and control by militias. Displacement is both a consequence and a cause of sectarian polarization in the country. Jordan and Syria now face internal security threats related to the immense economic burden of hosting the Iraqi populations, new sectarian demographics, tension among host and refugee populations as well as across sectarian divides, the potential of increased regime opposition, and the possibility that refugees will be recruited into armed militias if humanitarian assistance isn't sufficient to meet their needs."

Unrelated note, Michael Ratner (
Center for Constitutional Rights, co-host of Law and Disorder) has a website entitled Just Left. Community member Jonah noted that we plug things in the snapshot from time to time and asked if that could be worked in.

iraqehren watada
now with david branccaciopbs
democracy nowamy goodman
adam kokeshiraq veterans against the war
the washington post

Monday, September 03, 2007

The Nation refuses to cover war resisters while publishing the child of one

Do you know Adam, Anna, Philip and Zackary Key?

According to a woman who decided to make herself the spokesperson on war resisters who go to Canada, their parents made a HUGE mistake. HUGE. It's not like, she insisted to a reporter, it was during Vietnam!

Reality check for the dumb and stupid, it wasn't all that easy during Vietnam. Long before Canada's prime minister Pierre Trudeau's 1969 decision to legally welcome war resisters (as opposed to merely looking the other way), they had been streaming into Canada. Most place the start date as 1965 but, in fact, war resisters were going into even earlier.

Those from the US who went to Canada to avoid taking part in an illegal war usually did so with little more than hopes and dreams. There was no set happy ending. There were no guarantees. So when someone today wants to LIE and say, "It's not like it was during Vietnam," she needs to be questioned on exactly what she knows about that time period because it would appear she knows damn little and is helping even less.

Adam, Anna, Philip and Zackary are being raised in Canada because their parents, Joshua and Brandi Key, made a very brave decision for their family after Joshua returned from Iraq. To go back to that illegal war would be wrong. Life doesn't always provide multiple options and you often go with the best possible. For the Keys, that was Canada.

And though an ahistorical worrywart wants to smear that decision publicly with her own gross ignorance, it was a brave decision. And it's a decision many are making today, as they did during Vietnam.

What's life going to be like for the Keys? No one knows. But the family is together and they are rebuilding their lives.

Anna may grow up to be a member of Canada's parliament. Zackary may grow up to be a police officer. Philip may become an internationally known artist. Adam may end up one of the great political minds of the future. Any of that could happen. The children have the support and love of both parents.

Adam Key might even end up someday writing at The Nation.

Think that's so hard?

Naomi Klein writes there.

And Naomi Klein holds dual citizenship in Canada and in the United States because her parents went to Canada to avoid her father serving in an illegal war. No, that's not in her official biography. That is reality.

Naomi Klein, one of the left's strongest voices today, grew up in Canada due to an illegal war.
That's important to know at any time. It's especially important to know when fools want to caution that going to Canada will be the demise for everyone. No, it won't. That's never been the reality and it's not the reality today.

Klein, and many others who are known, were raised in Canada as the children of war resisters. Klein often talks about her teenage mall days and her rejection of her parents' principles (a phase common in many teenagers) and how she ended up becoming politically aware. We'd argue Klein is politically aware because of the family she was raised in and that, after the normal separation process that the adolescent years bring, it goes to very strong lessons from her childhood.

So, let's be really clear, war resisters moving to Canada does not equal "death" or "despair" for them. Opportunties will still exist. We have no doubt that one of the children of the today's war resisters will step forward on the national stage, as Klein has done, thirty years from now and emerge as a genuine leader.

When that happens, we hope that he or she will speak honestly about their lives growing up because after the current illegal war ends, another one will come. There's too much money to be made, too much greed, too much power to be sought for that not to be the case.

And it's especially important for young families making the decision to resist to know that their children are not automatically sentenced to horrible lives as a result of the decisions the parents' make. That was true before an idiot decided to play fortune teller on a subject she knew nothing about it. It will always be true.

Unlike The Peace Resister Katrina vanden Heuvel, Naomi Klein is internationally known. Unlike The Peace Resister, Klein didn't buy her way into the table. She's an international voice who's known around the world and not for something as embarrassing as attempting to show 'wit' with explicit non-jokes about oral sex.

In that tale of two women, you see one woman whose made her own way thanks to the strong foundation she was provided and you see another who bought herself a seat at the table thanks to her grandfather's money. If you looked at a photo of either woman when they were five-years-old, you wouldn't know where they'd end up. Due to family money, you might assume vanden Heuvel would end up with a bigger playground, but you wouldn't know which would grow up to be a strong, mature woman and leader.

Had you bet on money, you would have lost.

So no one knows the future. But the Keys give their children a step up by standing for what they believe in. That always makes a difference.

If one of them, or one of Jill and Patrick Hart's children, or the children of any war resister who moves to Canada, ends up an important voice thirty years from now, we hope they talk about it, we hope they write about it.

The Nation have very little to be proud of post-2004 elections. A lot of nonsense, a lot of skimming the surface, a lot of playing Democratic Party organ and a hell of a lot of wasted time. That all comes under the 'leadership' of Peace Resister Katrina vanden Heuvel who, when not embarrassing herself with oral sex 'jokes' on Comedy Central, dabbles at putting out a weekly 'political' magazine.

It must be like Bizarro World to be the child of a war resister and published by a magazine that refuses to write about them. In print, only Ehren Watada has been written about. A sidebar, to a January 2007 issue, after he's called a "coward" in the main article (on a petition). More recently, The Nation ran an overly praised article in July. In the article, they boasted of 'dozens' of photos provided to them of abuse of Iraqis. They failed to run one photo.

We've never doubted the photos. We know they exist. We know, for instance, that CO Aidan Delgado provided them with one involving a spoon. But there is no bravery at the top of The Nation so the photos didn't run. The same article labels war resister Camilo Mejia a "deserter" and leaves it at that. It refuses to note that Mejia's contract with the US military was over, that as a non-citizen his contract could not be extended, that Senator Bill Nelson had already made an issue out of the fact that Mejia should be sent home, that Mejia attempted to handle that through channels, that Mejia attempted to be granted CO status. The laughable article just tells you that Mejia is a 'deserter'. That's how it goes at the simplistic Nation magazine these days.

That's what happens when a smutty mouthed 'girl' decides to dabble beyond her depth, she betrays everything the magazine is supposed to stand for.

In March, the illegal war hits the five-year-mark. All Katrina vanden Heuvel appears concerned about in terms of the illegal war is that Cindy Sheehan not run from California's eighth district for a Congressional seat.

In a laughable, self-serving response to Cindy Sheehan's calling The Nation out on their appalling record on Iraq, Katrina vanden Heuvel offers a reply that may be even more phony than her faux public speaking voice.

She declares her sadness (she learned of Eleanor Roosevelt's trick -- from aquaintences if not from college, as the person who takes credit for teaching her of it says) over Sheehan's letter and then rushes to declare "As you well know, The Nation has, from the very beginning, been in the forefront of opposing this disastrous war. In fact, very few media outlets have been more strongly and consistently opposed to the war than this magazine, whether in its conception, planning or execution."

Oh, were that it were true. Anyone reading the magazine is well aware that The Nation offers up their yearly editorial against the illegal war each year and little else. When the 2004 elections took place, a lot of people moved away from the topic of the illegal war (the myth was it was a 'downer' and voters didn't care) and that certainly included The Nation. The Peace Resister goes on to mention feature articles but fails to note that the bulk of those articles appeared in print prior to her officially becoming publisher. She also fails to note that many of those articles didn't originate with The Nation but, such as Klein's exposure of the graft Mad Maddie Albright and James Baker were involved in, appeared in other outlets outside the US and The Nation just reprinted them.

She makes the laughable claim that Democrats (and "Republicans and Independents") have been taken to task by the magazine. We think Katha Pollitt got closer to truth following her advisory blog that Cindy Sheehan shouldn't run for Congress, when she explained that the strategy she supports is to target "Blue Dog" Democrats. That's who The Nation targets as well. It gives a pass to all other Democrats.

The claim that The Nation has opposed the illegal war as few other media outlets have requires that people be unaware of the monthly Progessive magazine, CounterPunch, Democracy Now! and a host of other outlets. With regards to The Progressive, that's especially appalling since it's not a weekly.

The Nation has not reviewed any book authored by a war resister (The Progressive and International Socialist Review have). The Nation has not explored the case of Suzanne Swift or Ehren Watada in print. (Sidebars are not explorations.) The strong opposition to the illegal war comes from the magazine before Katrina vanden Heuvel was installed as publisher of the 'leading magazine of the left'. That a member of the centrist Council for Foreign Relations (which was cheerleaing the illegal war from the start) now heads the magazine goes a long way towards explaining why it's fastly becoming the magazine more and more subscribers are dropping.
vanden Heuvel rushes to defend Pollitt (she always rushes to defend her pets which is why David Corn is largely left on his own -- a good thing for him and may the huge interest in him at other -- mainstream -- outlets mean he soons moves on to better things) and tells Sheehan that Pollitt's "criticism is framed by real respect for your 'crucial role in our politics: as an activist'." Katrina vanden Heuvel, who did not win an award from Planned Parenthood (she was not named in the award ceremonies, The Nation magazine won an award, stop the lying) is not a feminist.

So it's no surprise that she doesn't see anything appalling in the fact that Pollitt thinks she can tell a woman, any woman, not to run for public office. But let's deal with this alleged 'real respect' Pollitt allegedly has for Cindy Sheehan.

"Cindy Sheehan put a family face on the antiwar movement." Pollitt wrote that single sentence. It runs in the January 9/16, 2006 issue. ("9/16"? One of those alleged 'double issues' that are the same size as regular issues but subscribers get to pay 'double' for them.) That appears to be Katha Pollitt's entire writing output on Cindy Sheehan prior to Sheehan deciding to run for Congress. Real respect? For the "'crucial role in our politics: as an activist'." Well, golly gee, imagaine if Pollitt had no respect, Sheehan might have been 'robbed' of that single sentence commentary.

Pollitt had no respect for Cindy Sheehan. It never translated into coverage. You walk it like you talk it. The Nation wants credit for a million things and they haven't done any of them. They apparently think they have, they seem to have tricked themselves into believing that. Of course it helps that they disappear online articles. Such as the praise for the James Baker Circle Jerk report which they praised. For those who were spared the Circle Jerk, it enshrines the theft of Iraqi oil and it's really difficult to applaud that and to claim you're strongly opposed to the illegal war. It's really difficult to claim you opposed to the illegal war when, as Congress votes on whether or not to fund the illegal war, you're off Blogging With Retainer about American Idol. It helps that these embarrassments, these pieces that endorse the continued illegal war can, in fact, be disappeared from the magazine's website. It does not, however, change the fact that they went up in the first place. [To read an editor and a publisher blogging on the 'very important' topic of American Idol while avoiding the issue of Congress' voting whether or not to fund the illegal war, you can see Mike's "The Third Estate Sunday Review " and then Elaine's "Monday" and then Rebecca's "cynthia mckinney" -- each excerpted a section of the column after it had been 'disappeared' but before it was also gone from Google cache.]

"Week in and week out, we publish writers who may not agree on everything but who share a fundamental belief in the necessity of ending this war and occupation," vanden Heuvel writes apparently either willing to lie or unaware of the many centrists she continues to bring into the magazine. There's this alleged split between The Nation and The New Republic(an). The split was among readers of the magazines, never among the periodicals. Which is why The Nation website, as late as 2005, linked to The New Republic(an) as one of their "sites we like" and only pulled the link when the complaints poured in. It's why The Nation has regularly published writers from The New Republic(an). Little Lee Lee would probably still be polluting the magazine, in fact, had he not gotten busted at The New Republic(an) for posting favorable comments to his own pieces at that magazine's website.

Every week, vanden Heuvel would have you believe, writers who believe the illegal war should be ended are published. That's really not true. And many weeks they find a way to avoid the illegal war. Take the July 16/23, 2007 issue. It's another "double" issue with the same number of pages as a regular issue. (Well, to be fair, many issues are 38 pages and this one is 46, eight extra pages qualifies as "double"?) In that issue the editors urged the Democrats to "Get in It to Win It" (how very "You go, girl!" of them), the Peace Resister teamed up with a man (it's always a man) to write about health care, Canadian publisher, 'death' of LA Weekly, Micheal Bloomberg, Al Gore being distored by the press in 2000, Michael Moore's latest documentary, Medicare, SEIU, Richard Nixon, India, Iran and Israel are the topics of the issue. Iraq?

Go fish.

Well, let's drop back a week to the July 9, 2007 issue. The topics covered? Editorial on Gaza, pieces on "red tape," Venezuela, immigration, public health, Pollitt babbling in that useless way that is her hallmark (she appears ticked off by The Dangerous Book for Boys), the progressive majority, school reform (or 'reform'), Hong Kong, a book review of Leonard Michaels (who died in 2003), a review of a book on Lincoln Kirstein's contributions to the world of ballet, and four movie reviews. On the last, none of the reviews are about films on Iraq. They've avoided that topic repeatedly. They will most likely break that rule for the documentary by the non-filmmaker who is one of vanden Heuvel's peers at the Council for Foreign Relations. But the reality is the film ignores the illegality of the war and wants to leap into the occupation thereby selling that the premise that illegal war is not the problem, just better planning.

So again, those asking about Iraq are instructed to "Go fish."

And that's pretty much the way it's gone week after week. They still do those firey editorials on the illegal war once a year. They don't stand by them. There was the claim, at the end of 2005, that the magazine refused to support anyone running for Congress not calling for an end to the illegal war. They hit the newsstands the week before the election with a mushy profile on War Hawk Harold Ford, Jnr. Democratic primary challengers (forget third parties, The Nation's current incarnation does) who supported withdrawal while the incumbent supported continued illegal war? They didn't bother to show 'em any love, to get their names out to the public, to use the magazine's power in any manner that was useful in 2006 and they will probably do the same in 2008.

By the time you're going soft and mushy on a candidate who's not only a War Hawk but also posing in front of the Confederate flag at the Little Rebel, you're scraping the bottom of the barrel.

So vanden Heuvel should spare Cindy Sheehan the lecture on how much The Nation allegedly cares about ending the illegal war since it has never translated into "week in and week out" coverage. Nor has Sheehan garnered much coverage from the magazine. When she became the face of the peace movement, she wasn't placed on the cover of The Nation (they had placed her on the cover prior for a story about families who had lost loved ones in the illegal war). Other than John Nichols, no one appears to have been overly interested in covering Cindy Sheehan when she became the face of the peace movement. But, as Sheehan notes, "The Nation also invited me to its foundation dinner in NYC at the end of 2005, presumably to exploit my popularity to sell tickets."

While the magazine avoided the topic of Cindy Sheehan (the same way they avoided the peace movement itself), vanden Heuvel wants to purr that Pollitt has "real respect" for Sheehan when the reality is that respect translates into coverage. Concern translates into coverage. The Nation was more interested in doing a 'special issue' on food than it was in covering the illegal war. So much for 'real respect.'

vanden Heuvel wants to dub Pollitt's 'Please, Cindy, Don't Run' nonsense as "legitimate criticism" and can only get away with that because she's no feminist. But Pollitt's supposed to be a feminist and no feminist tells another woman not to run.

All of vanden Heuvel's New Age babble in soothing tones is undercut by yet another snide smear from Pollitt who posts another attack on Sheehan after vanden Heuvel's fluff was posted.
vanden Heuvel boasts of The Nation's website and well she should -- it misinforms many about the actual content of the print magazine. Those who know the magazine only through the website are misinformed about the magazine. For instance, as C.I. addressed in "2006: The Year of Living Dumbly," the website has allowed many to believe that the magazine covers war resisters when, in fact, it doesn't. When Ehren Watada became the first officer to publicly refuse to serve in the illegal war, The Nation's website did cover it and did so through the end of 2006. The magazine? No. Those were "online exclusives." Cindy Sheehan and CODEPINKs 2006 summer trip to Jordan to meet with Iraqis was covered "online" by Tom Hayden (who was on the trip) but it never ran in the magazine. Though Pollitt wasn't interested in covering CODEPINK's trip, she was interested in slamming the organization for bird-dogging War Hawk Hillary Clinton in 2006. As community member Martha wrote The Nation on December 22, 2006 (in a letter the magazine didn't run, strange, isn't it? -- we first noted it here):

Reading Katha Pollitt's "Ho-Ho-Holiday Donations -- 2006" two questions arose
1) Ms. Pollitt refers to In These Times as The Nation's "sister publication." In light of concerns regarding media consolidation, that phrase needs to be explained.
2) Looking through the ten recommended organizations and publications, I see Hurricane Katrina, I see Vietnam, et al. I don't see Iraq. Is Ms. Pollitt aware that a war is going on? MADRE, an organization recently recommended on
RadioNation with Laura Flanders, seems much more fitting than a periodical (two make Ms. Pollitt's list). In addition, there are numerous organizations working for peace and supporting C.O.s.
If Ms. Pollitt is unaware that a war is going on in Iraq, that might explain why she has never written one word about the rape and murder of fourteen-year-old Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi -- a topic that strikes me as much more important than Hillary Clinton being 'bird-dogged."

We think Martha's December 2006 e-mail backs up Cindy Sheehan's current letter and then some.

Katha Pollitt's offended that Sheehan used "stridently" in a sentence about her. Suddenly Pollitt wants to play 'feminist' voice. That's real cute for a useless chatterer who refused to cover the gang-rape and murder of Abeer. That news broke in June 2006. Pollitt avoided it. Consistently. US soldiers have now confessed to their involvement in the gang-rape and murder and been convicted. Steven D. Green had already been discharged (and never should have been inducted) so he will face trial in a civilian court. He maintains his innocence but others have testified he was the ring leader.

"Murder, not war. Rape, not war. That's what we're here talking about today. Not all that business about cold food, checkpoints, personnel assignments. Cold food didn't kill that family. Personnel assignments didn't rape and murder that 14-year-old little girl."

That's Captain Alex Pickands speaking in the August 2006 Article 32 hearing on the War Crimes.

Pollitt was too busy throughout all of 2006, alleged feminist that she is, to weigh in on Abeer. As the criticim mounted, she finally got off her useless horse to 'contribute' to the dialogue with this: "Think of Abeer Qassim al-Janabi, the 14-year-old girl raped and then murdered with her family by US soldiers in Mahmoudiya in March of last year." Her family was raped with her? No, and she was gang-raped. Her family was murdered during the gang-rape in the next room and Abeer could hear the gun shots and the screams while two soldiers took 'turns' raping her and before Steven D. Green allegedly joined in the gang-rape and then allegedly shot her dead.
Pollitt finally 'discovered' Abeer when it was time to write her column for the May 28, 2007 issue. What a friend feminists have in Katha. The most documented War Crime of the illegal war, one that even the military brass couldn't white wash, and Pollitt's avoiding it for six months. It should also be noted that 'feminist' Pollitt's full statement on Abeer is in the single sentence quoted above. As with Cindy Sheehan, Pollitt's alleged concern didn't translate into coverage.

Instead, the laughable piece allows Katha Pollitt to flashback to her girlhood days when she read Romeo & Juliet. As C.I. noted August 12th:

Over at The Nation, Katha Pollitt scribbles in the useless way that's become her hallmark for this century. Pollitt, who in 2006, took the time to call out CODEPINK when she could have been writing about Abeer (a story that feminists especially should have been writing about), enlists in the "Cindy Don't Run" campaign. In fairness to Pollitt, it should be noted that she finally wrote about Abeer late this year, after Alexander Cockburn's column had finally gotten the name "Abeer" into print at The Nation. Pollitt did a shout out in one sentence while drooling, prolonged adolesecent she now writes as, over Romeo & Juliet possibilities. Let's be real clear on that damn story, a couple gets married from two tribes, the wife is stoned to death. Save your drama about the great love story because the man didn't sacrifice s__. This wasn't Romeo & Juliet and many believe this wasn't a marriage of choice. But the MSM put out the spin and damned if all the saps didn't buy into it even though the tribe in question was repeatedly under assault and women from it were being kidnapped and "married" into forced marriages. Pollitt wrote like a fool singing the score to Seven Brides For Seven Brothers who stares at you blankly when you bring up the rape of the Sabine women.

That sums up Pollitt's nonsense. It ran in the "Spring Books" issue so maybe she felt the need to rise to the level of 'dramatic'? For 18 lines, Pollitt went on about, yes, a very real stoning but also about a mythical reason. The stoned woman "had fallen in love," Pollitt tells you and this was the "crime" for which she was stoned. The stoning happened and it is criminal. We're not disputing that. (Some media outlets are.) The reasons for the stoning? Even the media is now putting distance between themselves and the Shakespeare in the Park narrative. As Elaine noted August 15th:

Then I read the snapshot and, some good news, if you use the links on the bombings in northern Iraq, you'll see some MSM outlets are expressing skepticsm of the narrative and not merely repeating it. It may very well be true, about the whys of the stoning; however, there's been no evidence offered of that Romeo & Juliet narrative. If it is true, I'd just like to know how it is true. I don't think there's any excuse for stoning anyone. I'm not even questioning the stoning (although, maybe I should, at least one story did not[e] the cell phone captures were not verified). I'm only questioning how you look [at] a sect that is being targeted with forced marriage and decide, "Oh, no, this was love. This was true love."

If it was, all I think is that the press should have offered proof of it and I never saw any. I saw a cute little narrative, I saw a lot of what looked like leaping to conclusions.

But I never saw anything resembling proof that it wasn't a forced marriage.

Now while it is true that this community avoided leaping onto the Romeo & Juliet bandwagon because a reporter in Iraq warned C.I. that the popular narrative wasn't supported by any facts, it probably helps to know the facts and, BE HONEST, Pollitt doesn't.

In February, Minority Rights Group International issued a (PDF format) report , authored by Preti Taneja and entitled "Assimilation, Exodus, Eradication: Iraq's minority communities since 2003." The report noted that women were being kidnapped and forced to convert to other religion by men they 'married' (post-kidnapping) under duress and cited the Mandaen and Yazidi women as especially being targeted. So Pollitt rushing in during the month of May to scribble about 'love' was always going to be a hard sell. For the record, the myth that the 'young' 'lovers' were in love overlooked the man's age and the fact that no one in the press ever spoke to him but depended upon second and third-hand 'reporting.' Right about now, a genuine feminist might want to feel a little shame for scribbles that 'celebrated' a man who most likely kidnapped and raped a much younger woman. In May 2007, when Pollitt wrote, the War Crimes against Abeer were not in dispute. So, naturally, she reduced Abeer to a single-sentence (in the only thing she ever wrote about Abeer) and instead (this is where the xenophobia allegations against Pollitt really take root -- though reach another level when she slams Alexander Cockburn) went to town on a story that including many non-verified details to write about what we'll term those 'savages'.

vanden Heuvel wants to stress that the magazine has covered "week in and week out" Iraq when, not only is that false, they couldn't even cover the news in real time. It's not that they weren't aware of Abeer, they just didn't care. It didn't fit the 'frame' they were into. So much easier to, as Pollitt did, slam the 'savages' than to hold Americans accountable for what were crimes and what have resulted in convictions. And that's really at the heart (or 'frame') of The Nation's alleged Iraq coverage since the 2004 election. The issue is never the very real tragedy for Iraqis, it's all about the US. (Alexander Cockburn remains the exception and, as we've noted before, we count him as being part of CounterPunch, not The Nation. The slams from The Nation in print and online have only encouraged our belief more so.)

So possibly, Cindy Sheehan's noting that reality when she writes, "Maybe Katha Pollitt et al. should go to the Middle East and view the carnage that this Administration has caused with the complicity of the Democratic Party, which she so stridently defends."

Of course Pollitt misses the point (or pretends to) writing, "Sheehan accuses me of 'stridently' (nice --does anyone EVER use that word for a man?) defending the Democratic Party's 'complicity' in the war and of not caring about the sufferings of Iraqis the way she does."

Pollitt needs to get a new set of glasses in her advanced age because Sheehan never writes what Pollitt's claiming (however, Sheehan should write it). As for "strident," we've USED the term and applied it to many males. Pollitt's bound to her NYC bubble and only gets out, apparently, when it's time to carpet bag by voting in another state.

Sheehan's writing is actually a letter to the magazine. Katrina vanden Heuvel attempts to bill it as a "dialogue." As Ellen Willis once said, vanden Heuvel likes and courts weak personalities because they're so much easier to control. And it's so much easier to dub something a 'dialogue' when vanden Heuvel can ensure she gets the last word. It's not a dialogue. Sheehan wrote a letter to the editor and instead of doing the smart thing and considering it, vanden Heuvel strikes her floating-on-a-cloud pose to get in the last word. We find her pose laughable but do prefer it to the smutty mouth she sports on Comedy Central. Or maybe she honestly believes an independent woman of the left should attempt to come off like Monica Lewinsky?

What we do know is that the magazine has the child of war resisters in the midst. And they work really hard to avoid noting that in the same way they work really hard to avoid covering Ivan Brobeck, Patrick Hart, Joshua Key, Kimberly Rivera, Linjamin Mull, Corey Glass, Marc Train, Ross Spears, Phil McDowell, Robin Long, Ryan Johnson, Kyle Snyder, Christian Kjar, Phil McDowell, Dean Walcott and the many others who have gone to Canada as a result of the US engaging in an illegal war.

What we do know is that their laughable article avoid interviewing any of those people. Strange since even the US military wanted to interview Joshua Key after he wrote about (see his book The Deserter's Tale) War Crimes in Iraq -- wanted it so badly they crossed the border into Canada, posed as Canadian police and harassed Winnie Ng.

"What!" readers of The Nation gasp. They gasp because The Nation ignored that story as well.

Gregory Levey (writing in Salon) would cover that topic while The Nation would ignore it. That story also includes the pre-wedding arrest of Kyle Snyder, in Canada, on the orders of the US military. An investigation is currently underweigh in Canada on that issue and, while we expect a white wash, that an investigation has been launched goes to the outrage Canadians have over the violation of their national sovereignty by Canadian police willing to be tools in service of the US military.

We enjoyed Pollitt's faux outrage at her writing being dubbed done "stridently" especially since that high horse Pollitt loves to hop on, BE HONEST, never includes calling out her own magazine. As we noted July 4th (though Pollitt stayed silent), The Nation's record of publishing women is shameful.

"Are You A Writer For The Nation? If so, chances are you must have a penis"
Are You A Writer For The Nation? If so, chances are you have a penis"
Are You A Writer For The Nation? If so, chances are you have a penis"
Are You A Writer For The Nation? If so, chances are you have a penis"
Are You A Writer For The Nation? If so, chances are you have a penis"
Are You A Writer For The Nation? If so, chances are you have a penis"
Are You A Writer For The Nation? If so, chances are you have a penis"
Are You A Writer For The Nation? If so, chances are you have a penis"
Are You A Writer For The Nation? If so, chances are you have a penis"
Are You A Writer For The Nation? If so, chances are you have a penis"

Pollitt never bothered to express outrage over that publicly though she has (repeatedly) taken the New York Times to task for the number of women they run on the op-ed pages -- from the Glass House she resides in.

July 4th, we tackled the magazine's disgraceful record of publishing women. Jess mentioned that to someone at an organization when replying to their e-mail to C.I. The result was that the e-mail was passed on. (And we're still waiting for the apology which better be coming soon or we may run the e-mail Jess was replying to at The Third Estate Sunday Review. If the pass on was supposed to 'embarrass' Jess, trust us, the original e-mail will be embarrassing for the organization. C.I. has given permission for the e-mail to be published because Jess was replying for C.I. and "If replies can be passed on, so can the original e-mail. No privacy protection works one way.") As a result, The Nation attempted an end-run at the last minute (July 2nd) where they tried to derail our article. For that reason, no one discussed this article other than to note it would run at all sites and would cover The Nation. Even when a sudden 'fan' with The Nation showed up last week to ask what the topic would be? (Friends at the magazine revealed the 'fan' wasn't and that it was most likely a fishing trip to gear up for another attempted pre-empt.) July 7th, Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez spoke with one author of The Nation's laughable piece and we've been accused of ignoring that. We weren't ignoring that Democracy Now! broadcast. We were holding our comments for this article. If you watched the broadcast you should have noticed what Goodman and Gonzalez, not The Nation provided, excerpts from interviews with war resisters that they (Goodman and Gonzalez) had conducted. We applaud them for seeing the obvious flaw in The Nation's overly praised report and doing their part to make sure they didn't fall into the same trap.

This article focused on war resisters and it may be news to some at The Nation that Naomi Klein is the child of war resisters. It may cause some uncomfortable moments among the many who have avoided the topic of war resisters. Later this month, Naomi Klein's The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism is released (September 18th). We've all read it, it's amazing. (It will also be available in audio format on CD.) You can write something that amazing when you're a true independent voice as opposed to a party organ playing the notes instructed by a 'frame'. It's also worth noting that the most in depth article Klein wrote on Iraq, the must read "Baghdad Year Zero," ran not in The Nation, but in Harper's Magazine.

As for The Nation, we'd hope to be done with it. We don't bother to read it anymore. But we're hearing stories -- including the destroying of Laura Flanders' brilliant radio show to turn it into an hour long infomerical each week for The Nation magazine -- and may have to tackle those at a future date. We hear a great deal from friends on the masthead of the magazine -- and we should probably note here that everyone with the magazine does not endorse or embrace the embarrassment it has become -- so we can't rule out tackling it again. We'd honestly prefer to be done with it. If community members make it an issue, C.I. has to tackle it at The Common Ills. The rest of us have the luxury of writing about whatever we want and we really don't see much value in writing about a useless magazine whose editor and publisher is bound and determined to make it increasingly useless (while plugging organizations that she and her father belong to without ever disclosing that fact). But when someone with the magazine wants to unload, as they frequently do, we will still listen and possibly write about.

It's easy to write off the useless magazine because it's not interested in war resistance at a time of illegal war. To learn about that, you have to go elsewhere. For 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.

-- 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,
Wally of
The Daily Jot,
Trina of
Trina's Kitchen,
and Ruth of
Ruth's Report

naomi klein

war resisters

peace resister

Katrina vanden Heuvel
iraqaidan delgadocamilo mejia
joshua keykyle snyderdemocracy now
juan gonzalezamy goodmangregory levey
laura flanders

alexander cockburn

international socialist review

the progressive

like maria said paz

kats korner

sex and politics and screeds and attitude

trinas kitchen

the daily jot

cedrics big mix

mikey likes it

thomas friedman is a great man

the third estate sunday review

ruths reportthe common ills