Saturday, August 11, 2007

Spinach, Orange and Almond Salad in the Kitchen

Noting my fondness for spinach, Elizabeth e-mailed two spinach recipes. The recipes look delicious but my son Mike is allergic to strawberries and has been since he was a child. (His father either developed the allery as an adult or it was minor in childhood because it was only in the last ten years that he'd break out in hives when eating strawberries.) One recipe called for fresh strawberries in the salad and the other for the dressing. To make either, I would have to carefully handle the strawberries and be sure to not just wash my hands after but wash clean any surface that the berries were on.

I e-mailed back thanking her for the recipes and explaining why they wouldn't work for me personally. She replied with another spinach salad recipe and we worked on it to simplify it. Originally it called for a lot more work than needed. For example, you had to use a knife on an orange and remove membrane, et al. You're only using the pulp and juice from the orange so that's extra work.

1 bunch of spinach (or 1 package of spinach fresh)
1 medium red onion thinly sliced (1 large if you enjoy red onions)
3 oranges
1 small package of almonds

For approximately 3 minutes, you will toast the almonds in a skillet. You don't need to put any oil into the skillet. You will need to stir throughout. (And mircowaving will not work.)
Peel the skin off the 3 oranges. Pull the oranges into slices. Cut each slice in half and then squeeze the contents (juices and pulp) into a bowl bowl. Using a slotted spoon (or regular spoon if you don't have a slotted one) pick up the pulp pieces while leaving the juices in the bowl. Transfer the pulp pieces into your salad bowl. In the salad bowl, toss the fresh spinach and pulp pieces (which will contain some juice even if you use a slotted spoon, that's fine).

The orange juice in the other bowl. Does the bowl have a cover? If not transfer it to a container with a cover for shaking. You will add 1 tablespoon of Dijon-style mustard, 1 teaspoon of honey, and 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar (it has to be balsamic -- regular vinegar will not work). Cover the container and shake repeatedly to mix. This is your vinagrette. (You can also add some freshly ground pepper to the mix before shaking. If so, it's season to taste, so don't overdue it.)

Place the salad on 4 to 6 plates, drizzle the vinagrette over each plate, spoon toasted almonds on top.

Thank you to Elizabeth for the recipe and also for being concerned (the point of her e-mails) about me. I just was tired of cooking main dishes, of the heat and wanting to spend time with my grandbaby. She's barely a month old and this is my first grandchild. I steamed a lot of vegetables this week but stuck to frozen main dishes. I also boiled corn on the cob three times this week due to the fact that it was on sale and everyone loves it. When we have good corn on the cob like that, my husband could make an entire meal out of it. He's like an addict when it comes to corn on the cob. I have a baked recipe that I do when I also serve baked salmon and I may share that if anyone's interested.

Last night (and I've not yet been to sleep), we had everyone over for the Iraq study group and C.I., Jim, Ty, Jess and Ava were visiting. C.I. actually cooked. There's a recipe that I love (I had it when we were all in DC) which is this wonderful, thick sauce with Italian sausage and peppers served with pasta. C.I. showed up with the ingredients (ingredients for everyone) and kept darting out of the meeting to check on the sauce. When we broke at ten, everyone chowed down. They cleaned up the kitchen but I would have gladly helped out. I know there were several huge pots of the sauce made (from scratch) and I'm sure the cleanup was a nightmare. But the meal was delicious. (We had loaves of garlic bread with it which was bought at the store and a green salad.) C.I. made me go last because the recipe tastes better the longer it simmers and C.I. felt the three hours the other pots simmered were rushing it. No one complained. But, honestly, it really does taste better after the three hour point. They'd finish off one stock pot and start cleaning that one so by the time it was down to the last stock pot, the kitchen was pretty much clean.

I don't know the exact recipe or I'd share it. I thought I did because I got it in DC (September 2006, I believe) and have made it repeatedly but cannot get it quite right. It tastes good but not as good. So I must be leaving out something. And before everyone thinks, "Trina, you have a lot of stock pots!" . . . I do not have enough to feed the forty or so people present. C.I. brought those too and noted, "I'm not flying on the plane with them so give them away or keep them." Just two weeks ago, I was thinking, "It's time to get a new stock pot." Now I have eight.
This week, I'll try to think, "It's time to get someone new in the Oval Office."

What is it about impeachment that so scares Congress? It's their duty at this point, considering all the crimes and lies of the Bully Boy. But Nancy Pelosi, John Conyers, and pretty much the majority of Democrats in the House refuse to put it "on the table." "On the table," FYI, refers to Nancy Pelosi's statement that impeachment was off the table. To clarify on that, because a number of writers are getting it wrong, she made that statement last year to 60 Minutes. She did not make that statement this year. A number of writers attempting to provide cover for Conyers feel the need to claim that she made it after she was sworn in as Speaker of the House.

I don't believe in providing cover to anyone. I don't care what the gender is, I don't care what their race is, I don't care what their ethnicity is. If you're not signing on for impeachment and you are a member of Congress, you're not doing your job and you deserve to be called out. I'm reminded of when alleged 'progressives' rushed to defend David Obey (White) after he got nasty with Tina Richardson. I think we're seeing that now with John Conyers. A lot of writers who pretend they are independent are confronted with a personal hero who has feet of clay and they can't accept that fact. So they insist it's racism or racist to call out John Conyers when the actual racism is in staying silent because he's African-American. I think some of them will snap out of their current positions shortly.

It's really hard when you look up to someone not to rush in and defend them. Especially if they have any kind of a past record -- the way some felt Obey did and the way Conyers actually does. But what's past is past. We're living today. You're either working for change today or you are obstructing it. You can't rest on your laurels.

I'm more sympathetic to the ones defending Conyers than I was to those defending Obey because Conyers really did do great, liberal things in the past. But while I'm sympathetic to his defenders, I am less sympathetic to Conyers. He knows the importance of standing up more than most which is why he needs to stand up now. Unlike Nancy Pelosi, he wasn't born into money and didn't make a name for himself as a political fundraiser as a result. He has a very real history he can point to with pride. But if you don't act upon the wealth of wisdom you've gained from those years, you either relegate yourself to the past or your betray your own history.

So while I am sympathetic to his defenders, I am not sympathetic to him. He was born in 1929. Exactly how long does he intend to remain in Congress and is he at all concerned with leaving a legacy in his final years?

It's not as if he has to be convinced that impeachment is the right thing to do. He's spoken about it. He's campaigned on the need for it. He's edited a book on the topic. So he knows what needs to be done. His refusal to use every bit of power he has to make it move forward is a grave disappointment and taints his legacy.

I'm a grandmother now (by one month or so) and my granddaughter is my concern. I took part in the '60s' and I'm not sure that's enough. In fact, I know it isn't. It's not enough to have brought the country to one point (even when you forget all the erosions that have taken place since 1977). People have been born since and they're not impressed with tales of the old days, nor should they be. Past actions not used to press for actions today are just old memories.

We'll be going to DC again for the rally. We'll be taking even more with us this time. We've seen the Iraq study group (started by my son Mike, my godson Tony and Nina) go from one group to now five. The group was started to get serious about Iraq and we discuss it each Friday night. We cover the news, we cover the actions, we try to think of things we're not doing. It's not a bunch of people sitting around saying, "Let me tell you how it was when the US was attacking Vietnam."

Life goes on and you either engage in today's problems or you run from them. If you run from them, you're part of the problem. The war is the biggest problem today. It is not the only problem, but it is the biggest problem. It is an illegal war. It has destroyed Iraq and made life worse (in every measurable way) for Iraqis. For that reason alone, citizens of the United States have an obligation to end the illegal war. It is also true that the ilegal war has resulted in massive US deaths and we need to stop it for that reason as well. The monies being spent on the illegal war are huge debts that prevent and will prevent needed programs in this country. We are farming out a debt to future generations. It is also true that if we do not end this illegal war we are giving our government permission to start other illegal wars both in the immediate future and in the long term.

So the illegal war is the biggest problem today and until Bully Boy is held accountable for it (and his other crimes), we are saying we are okay with this being done in our names.

Before the study group(s) began, I had a circle of friends I would talk about the illegal war with. What the groups have done is demonstrated just how widespread the opposition to the illegal war is.

So those are my thoughts this early morning. I'm sleeping in. Rebecca and I are in the kitchen doing our posts and I believe everyone else is asleep. I'm sorry that I caused so many to panic last week and worry about me. I'm not in a phase or stage. But my first grandchild has really brought home to me the responsibilities those of us who are adults have to clean up this mess and not leave it for the young to deal with.

Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" from Friday:

Friday, August 10, 2007. Chaos and violence continue, the US military starts another whisper campaign about al-Sadr, a US helicopter goes down, Joe Biden comes out against the privatization of Iraqi oil, and the draft is in the (US) air again.

Starting with war resisters.
Agustin Aguayo served as a medic in Iraq and refused to load his weapon. He had applied for CO status but was told he'd have to wait until after deploying to Iraq to find out the status. His CO status was denied and he took the issue to the civilian courts. After serving one tour in Iraq and while his case was working through the courts, the military expected him to deploy a second time. Aguayo self-checked out and was gone for less than thirty days before turning himself in. Despite being gone less than thirty days (September 2nd through September 26th) and turning himself in, the US military prosecuted Aguayo for desertion (the general rule is that you have to be gone 30 or more days for desertion). Aguayo and his wife Helga Aguayo are now telling his story and how it effected their family. Rosalino Munoz (People's Weekly World) reports that Agustin and Helga are attempting to decide what to do with regards to the civilian case and must decide by September 5th whether or not to appeal to the Supreme court. Munoz notes, " At issue is whether a soldier's conscienctious objection to war can develop after enlistment and outside of an organized religion, as well as whether the Army can deny a soldier's claim to conscientious objection without a response to the soldier's arguments."

Were the military to follow their own stated policies, there would be no questions as to what qualifies for a CO but they don't, as Aguayo, John A. Rogowsky Jr. and many others have discovered. From the US military's "
Selective Service System: Fast Facts:" "Beliefs which qualify a registrant for CO status may be religious in nature, but don't have to be." Despite that basic reality, Aguayo, Rogowsky and others have been told that they're not religious enough, that their religion is not recognized, when religion really is NOT required for CO status. In Aguayo's case, the military refused to recognize that time in Iraq deepened Aguayo's faith (already present when he enlisted).

Munoz notes that Aguayo's attorneys believe he has a strong case but Aguayo wants to review the strengths with them before going further with the case due to a concern that a loss in the Supreme Court could reverse the gains that service members had made during Vietnam. Aguayo is a member of Iraq Veterans Against the War and another IVAW member, provides an update on war resister Marc Train. Adamo Kokesh (Sgt. Kokesh Goes to Washington) reports that Train has been charged "under Article 15 of the UCMJ for being AWOL for 114 days . . . They are now in the process of kicking him out under Chapter 12-14. . . . So a little soft time at Fort Stewart and he should be home free." Train self-checked out after taking part in the DC actions to end the illegal war in March of this year. Kokesh also reposts Eli Israel (the first service member to publicy refuse to continue serving in the illegal war while stationed in Iraq) story, told in Israel's own words. Sarah Olson (Political Affairs) reported on Train in June and quoted him stating, "Just because we volunteered, doesn't mean we volunteered to throw our lives away for nothing. You can only push human beings so far. Soldiers are going to Iraq multiple times. The reasons we're there are obviously lies. We're reaching a breaking point, and I believe you're going to see a lot more resistance inside the military." Tran is a member of IVAW (and was on his way to being discharged from the military -- by mutual agreement between him and the brass -- until he signed on to Appeal for Redress) and, like other IVAW members, has posted about his experiences and observations there. At the end of April, he wrote, "This Administartion has been emboldened by the lack of effective mass outrage. Now, what I mean by that is that our country as a whole has not effectively demonstrated its outrage about the policies of this Administration; the workers are still going to their jobs, the traffic is still flowing; products are still being consumed. As long as this is all functioning and every measure of control is in place, and as long as Congress continues to nervously shift about and take no determined action, the Administration does not feel threatened by the anger of its opposition."

There is a growing movement of resistance within the US military which includes 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, Jeremy Hinzman, 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. IVAW and others will be joining Veterans For Peace's conference in St. Louis, Missouri August 15th to 19th.

Meanwhile, the
US military is trumpeting the news that the Army met its targeted recruitment goals for the month of July . . . while hoping no reporters note that the target was brought down some time ago both in terms of numbers and qualifications. And hoping no one notices how much money is being spent on a still non-existant draft in the US. In an indication of things being explored and floated, if not yet on the way, Bully Boy's assistant and deptuty National Security Director on Iraq and Afghanistan Lt. General Douglas Lute spoke with Michelle Norris on NPR's All Things Considered today where he pushed the draft
("a national policy decision point that we have not yet reached, Michelle" -- note, "not yet reached") and declared of the draft, "I think it makes sense to certainly consider it and I can tell you, this has always been an option on the table, but ultimately, this is a policy matter between meeting the demands for the nation's security by one means or another." While "one means or another" may be a nicer way of saying "by all means necessary," there's no denying that draft boards have been set up, that tax payer monies are being spent on them and that Bully Boy's assistant is now floating the option which -- pay attention, Nancy Pelosi -- unlike impeachment is not 'off the table.' Returning to the issue of the qualifications waived to meet the targets, Stephen D. Green, fingered as the ring leader by others who participated in the war crimes against 14-year-old Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi and her family (Abeer was gang-raped while her parents and five-year-old sister were murdered in the next room, then she was murdered and her body set on fire to destroy any evidence) is an example of the lowering standards since he went from jail to the military via a 'moral waiver' that overlooked not only his most recent arrest but his prior arrests. In other military crime news,
Feminist Wire Daily reports that Cassandra Hernandez' rape by "three of her malecounterparts" in the US Air Force has led not to punishment for the alleged rapists, but instead to charges against Hernandez with the three alleged rapists being "granted immunity from the sexual assault charges" for agreeing to testify against Hernandez. This assault on Cassandra Hernandez is only a surprise to those who have looked the other way while the US military brass has regularly and repeatedly excused and ignored the assualts on women serving in the military. The assault by the brass on Suzanne Swift is only one of the more recent public disgraces. The US military brass has repeatedly and consistently refused to address the assaults on women (and on gay male victims of assualt) and Congress has repeatedly and consistently refused to excercise their oversight obligations.

On a related crime note,
Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) noted today: "In other news on Iraq, the U.S. military has dropped all charges against two Marines connected to the shooting deaths of 24 Iraqi civilians in Haditha. Lance Cpl. Justin Sharratt had been charged with three counts of premeditated murder and Capt. Randy Stone with dereliction of duty for failing to properly report the civilian deaths. Five Marines still face charges for shooting dead two dozen unarmed men, women and children in Haditha on November 19, 2005."

Goodman also notes Joe Biden's nosies with regards to punishments for the Bully Boy (we'll get back to that) but that's not really the big news regarding US Senator and 2008 Democratic presidential hopeful
Joe Biden. Appearing yesterday on PBS' The Charlie Rose Show, Biden discussed the upcoming September 'progress' reports to Congress and noted that there has been no military progress in Iraq though he understood why Gen. David Petraeus would attempt to finesse that bit of reality. Biden then went on to offer his take on the administration's political attempts (which have failed, as Biden noted) in Iraq and identified Dick Cheney as the one blocking progress. (I'm not endorsing that, or endorsing Biden's kind words for US Secretary of State and Anger Condi Rice, et al.) Rose questioned whether Cheney could really be against progress and Biden utilized the oil revenue sharing 'benchmark'. We've heard that utilized before by all Dem candidates for president except Mike Gravel and Dennis Kucinich in a manner that lumps the oil revenue sharing and the theft of Iraqi oil into one provision. Biden didn't lump them together -- a possible sign that other candidates may also join Kucinich and Gravel in calling out the theft of Iraqi oil. Biden delcared, "Look at what we keept trying to write into the law: privatization. Who are we to tell them to privatize?"

Biden's comments come as growing resistance mounts in the US (led by United Steel Workers) to the theft of Iraqi oil and as news of a poll gains traction.
Aaron Glantz (OneWorld via Common Dreams) reports on the Oil Change International poll of Iraqis that "found nearly two thirds od Iraqis oppose plans to open the country's oilfields to foreign companies. The poll found a majority of every Iraqi ethnic and religious group believe their oil should remain nationalized. Some 66 percent of Shi'ites and 62 percent of Sunnis support government control of the oil sector, along with 52 percent of Kurds." Glantz quotes Antonia Juhasz (author of The BU$H Agenda: Invading the World, One Economy at a Time) explaining, "We're talking about opening up the second largest oil reserves in the entire world to foreign investment. It costs about $75 a barrel -- and about 60 cents to get it out of the ground. Do the math."

Great Britain's Socialist Worker reports, "The pro-US Iraqi government has outlawed the country's oil workers' union under a law passed during the regime of Saddam Hussein. The order comes as opposition is mounting to a proposed oil law that would hand over the country's natural resource to foreign companies. The Iraqi Federation of Oil Unions (IFOU) has spearheaded opposition to the proposed law."

On February 23, 2007,
Antonia Juhasz spoke with Kris Welch on KPFA's Living Room
about the oil law and explained the basics:.

Antonia Juhasz: It's really American, and let me clarify that as Bush administration, propaganda that this law is the path towards stability in Iraq. It is absolutely propaganda. This law is being sold as the mechanism for helping the Iraqis determine how they will distribute their oil revenue. That is not what this law is about. That is the bottom end of an enormous hammer that is this oil law. This oil law is about foreign access to Iraq's oil and the terms by which that access will be determined. It is also about the distribution of decision making power between the central government and the region as to who has ultimate decision making power and the types of contracts that will be signed. There are powers that be within Iraq that would very much like to see that power divvied up into the regions, between the Kurds and the Shia in particular, and then there are powers that would like to see Iraq retained as a central authority. The Bush administration would like the central government of Iraq to have ultimate control over contracting decisions because it believes it has more allies in the central government than it would if it was split up into regions. The Bush administration is most concerned with getting an oil law passed now and passed quickly to take advantage of the weakness of the Iraqi government. The Iraqi government couldn't be in a weaker negotiating position and the law locks the government in to twenty to thirty-five year committments to granting the most extreme versions of exploration and production contracts to US companies or foreign companies. Meaning that foreign companies would have access to the vast majorities of Iraq's oil fields and they would own the oil under the ground -- they would control the production and they would in contracts yet to be determined get a percentage of that profit but they'd be negotiating essentially when Iraq is at its weakest when Iraq is hardly a country. And that's what this oil law is all about. What Iraqis are saying very clearly and have said to
Raed [Jarrar] and, in particular, to the loudest voices being the Iraqi oil unions is that the only people who want to see this law passed now are the Americans. There's no other reason to push that law through."

Turning to some of the violence on the ground in Iraq . . .

CBS and AP report a US helicopter that went down in Kirkuk, wounding two Americans on board, cite the Iraqi military as the source for the news that the helicopter hit an electric pole and note that on July 31st and July 3rd US helicopters were brought down "after coming under fire".

Reuters reports a Kirkuk car bombing that claimed 11 lives (with at least 45 more people wounded). CBS and AP report a Baquba roadside bombing that claimed the lives of 2 bus passengers and left at least four others wounded.


Reuters reports Wisam al-Maliki (the son of sheikh over puppet Nouri al-Maliki's tribe) was shot dead in Garna. CBS and AP report a man was shot dead in Baquba.


Reuters reports that three corpses were discovered in Rutba.

In other news,
Reuters reports that the UN Security Counsel has backed a proposal for a slightly more visible United Nations role in Iraq and denies charges that the US strong-armed the proposal in order to shift the responsibilites off on the UN; however, they do note that Hoshiyar Zebari, Iraq's Foreign Minister, has stated the obvious via a letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon that "prior consent" for any authorization having to do with Iraq needs to have the "prior consent" from Iraq's government. Iraqi's Parliament was rightly outraged when the US government got the UN to extend authorization for their role as 'peace keepers' in Iraq without either the US or the UN bothering to seek the input or authorization of the Iraqi government.

Meanwhile, as the government of US puppet Nouri al-Maliki is in disarray (while he visits Iran),
Sue Pleming (Reuters) reports that the US administration continues to (publicly) stress their support for al-Maliki while Olga Oliker (Rand Corporation) notes that replacing the puppet now would "backfire" on the administration and states, "To be a colonial puppet master you need a much stronger understanding and subtle knowled of the culture and history than the U.S. has demonstrated over the past few years in Iraq." In an apparent move to defocus attention from the US puppet government's many failures (security, electritcy, water, food, etc.), AFP reports that Col. John Castles is the point-person to restart the whisper campaign that Moqtada al-Sadr is in Iran. Though the allegations earlier this year were never proven, they did serve to distract for a number of weeks. No doubt that is again the hope with the latest whisper campaign.

In political news, Peace Mom Cindy Sheehan officially announced her candidacy for California's 8th Congressional District in the 2008 election yesterday in San Francisco. Sheehan will be competing with other candidates including US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi who currently holds the seat. Among those present for the announcement was whistle blower Daniel Ellsberg who endorses the run. Sheehan will be running as independent candidate and for more on this see
Rebecca's post from last night.

Sheehan declared last month that she would run for Congress if Pelosi refused to put impeachment back on the table by July 23rd after repeated (and rightful) anger over the Democratically controlled Congress' refusal to end the illegal war. As legal scholar
Francis A. Boyle (Dissident Voice) observes, ."Despite the massive, overwhelming repudiation of the Iraq war and the Bush Jr. administration by the American people in the November 2006 national elections conjoined with their consequent installation of a Congress controlled by the Democratic Party with a mandate to terminate the Iraq war, since its ascent to power in January 2007 the Democrats in Congress have taken no effective steps to stop, impede, or thwart the Bush Jr. administration's wars of aggression against Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, or anywhere else, including their long-standing threatened war against Iran. To the contrary, the new Democrat-controlled Congress decisively facilitated these serial Nuremberg crimes against peace on May 24, 2007 by enacting a $95 billion supplemental appropriation to fund war operations through September 30, 2007." Or as veteran DC correspondent Helen Thomas (Seattle Post-Intelligencer via Common Dreams) points out, "President Bush has the Democrats' number on Capitol Hill. All he has to do is play the fear card and invoke the war on terror and they will cave.What's more, the president has found out that he can break the law and the rubber stamp. Democratic Congress will give him a pass every time." Sheehan's announced candidacy comes as Matt Renner (Truthout) reports, "The Blue Dogs have apparently informed the Democratic leadership in the House that they support the ongoing occupation of Iraq. According to Mahoney, he met with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and told her 'The president should be free to maintain troops in Iraq, if the purpose is to thwart terrorism'." The Blue Dogs are War Hawks (and include Loretta Sanchez whose greedy hands would rather grabs billions in pork than end the illegal war) and centrists who have repeatedly stabbed the Democrats base in the back. The 2004 demise of Blue Doggie Martin Frost should have been a lesson -- a Republican-lite running against a Republican will lose every time. That's what happened to Texas' Frost who shortly before his political demise was toying challenging Pelosi for the House leadership post. Frost, like most Blue Dogs, runs from the Democratic Party while taking the national monies. Frost's campaigns were noted by Texas community members for their use of yard signs and campaign materials that never mentioned Frost was a Democrat and for slurs and slams against other Democrats perceived as liberal (such as Pelosi) to assure voters he wasn't one of those 'crazy Democrats'. Long term Congress member Frost went up against newbie incumbent Pete Sessions thanks to the illegal redistricting of Texas' congressional lines (assisted in the process by the US Homeland Security Dept. which spied on state Democrats). Voters presented with wishy washy Frost and proud-to-be-a-Republican Sessions chose Sessions. There's a moral in the story. There's a moral in the story of St. John Conyers as well as in some outlets rush to claim that racism is involved in expecting a senior member of Congress who has repeatedly advocated impeachment of the Bully Boy, who has written a book about the necessity to impeach the Bully Boy, and who shows up at various gatherings (such as the large peace rally in DC this year) to state the people can fire Bully Boy. St. Conyers wants all the applause and refuses to do anything. For some reason, some outlets see themselves as defenders not of the people or the Constitution but as St. Conyers' personal fan club. The reality is Conyers could move on impeachment and, by his public statements (which his office often later recants or distorts) but elects not to. Disgusing those realities by suggesting a racist attack is going on against Conyers is really pathetic and, interesting to note, that many suggesting that lie were no where to be found when Cynthia McKinney was twice ousted from the House of Representatives via racial slurs. As Betty, Cedric and Ty have noted: "As we said last week, he's old, he's tired, it's past time he gave up his seat and let some new blood in. The only disgrace has been what he has done to his own image." (Betty's seen the latest nonsense and notes that it will be addressed by her in Sunday's roundtable.) The topic of impeachment wasn't avoided on PBS where Bill Moyers examined it seriously last month. That one hour look (including guests such as John Nichols) at impeachment on Bill Moyers Journal is repeating and can also be viewed, listened to or read online currently. As a weak alternative to impeachment, Senator Joe Biden is floating 'later actions.' As Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) noted today: "Impeachment has been making headlines recently in the city of Kent, Ohio. Democratic Presidential candidate Senator Joe Biden has suggested criminal charges could someday be filed against members of the Bush administration. In a recent interview with Newsweek, Biden said there are alternatives to the impeachment of President Bush. Biden said: 'I think we should be acquiring and accumulating all the data that is appropriate for possibly bringing criminal charges against members of this administration at a later date'." This 'later' nonsense has also been floated by St. Conyers is nothing but nonsense. The 1992 elections gave Democrats the control of Congress and the White House and they unwisely decided to put Iran-Contra behind them. The crimes of Reagan and Bush were swept under the rug and we're all paying for that today. By the same token, in January 2009, after Bully Boy leaves office, the DC conventional wisdom (that so many elected Dems are held hostage by) would be, "He's out of office, leave it alone." If impeachment does not take place, Bully Boy walks and anyone suggesting otherwise is taking an ahistorical view of the situation.

aaron glantz