Saturday, June 30, 2007

Cucumber and Madarin Orange Salad in the Kitchen

1 medium cucumber, peeled and sliced into very thin rounds (about 2 cups)
1 (11-ounce) can Mandarin oranges, drained (about 1-1/4 cups)
1 medium Vidalia onion, sliced into very thin rings (about 1 cup)
2 tsp granulated sugar
1/3 cup distilled white vinegar
1 tsp chopped fresh tarragon
Salt and freshly ground pepper
In a serving bowl, combine the cucumbers, oranges, and onion rings. In a small bowl, stir together the sugar and vinegar until the sugar dissolves. Pour the vinegar sugar mixture over the cucumber salad. Toss well. Add the chopped tarragon. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Chill the salad before serving.
Yield: 4 servings
Note: You may substitute any other fresh herb for the tarragon if you wish.

BB e-mailed the above recipe. She found "Sweet Cucumber and Mandarin Orange Salad Recipe" which she wrote is the "only cooking database I use because it's easy to search, no pop ups and there's always something I stumble across that I hadn't thought of." As I noted last weekend, my daughter-in-law and son (oldest son) moved in and she is craving mandarin oranes in the last weeks of her pregnancy. A number of you were kind enough to offer suggestions so a big thank you to all who did. The recipe BB offered was my daughter-in-law's favorite of the 12 we had and it's also one that doesn't require cooking for those who are easing into their kitchens. Salads are good any time of year but especially with the Fourth of July coming up. This recipe was a big hit with the neighbors, who are dropping by a lot more with the excitement of a baby on the way, so if you're invited to a gathering on the 4th and asked to bring something, this has been a popular and easy to make dish.

Some general business to get out of the way. I barely checked the e-mails last week due to the fact that we were cleaning out the spare bedroom and getting things ready for the move in. The weekend before, I was in Chicago and Jess was kind enough to fill in for me. So I was running behind and missed something. Melanie e-mailed me the following:

We're trying to promote a contest called the One Sheet Challenge where entrants have a chance to win a $30,000 kitchen makeover. As a cooking blog, I thought you or your readers might be interested in the grand prize.
Here's how it works:
Put one new sheet of Bounty to the test on any household mess, and share the details on For more information and a complete list of prizes, check out
To help you along, I can offer you a roll of Bounty to use for tough cleaning jobs. If you're interested, feel free to share the contest and your story with your readers.
Please let me know if you have any questions.

That's Melanie with the company that makes Bounty and not the communities, just to clarify. Also, I did not write back with, "Give me that free roll!" I haven't written back at all, not out of rudeness but because I just saw it. I do use Bounty, the quicker picker upper. With a large family, I've scrimped on a number of things over the years and there are a lot of off label and plain label brands I've used and would continue to use. Bounty was one of two products I had to go with a brand no matter what. (Tampax was the other for anyone wondering.) The towels are tough and, especially when more the one of the kids was little (common thing with eight children), there just was not time to start cleaning a mess only to have the paper towel split or tear in half in the middle of cleaning a mess. We've always had them in the kitchen and in the garage, my husband will tell you the same thing about other towels tearing or falling apart when you're trying to wipe your hands after working on the car, so I am happy to note the contest without fearing that I'm plugging something I don't believe in.

I believe I mentioned last week, I better have, that Wally, who was spending some time with us, took off the old cabinet doors and replaced them with glass ones. Since we moved into the house, years and years ago, that was the big thing I wanted. It was agreed to many times and something would come up financially, as I'm sure everyone can relate to, so it would be postponed. Now, at this late date, it's one of those things that my husband and I talk about doing but never get around to as a result of time. Everything else in my kitchen, I've changed over the years and that just left the cabinets. As with last year, when Wally came to hang out with our son Mike for the summer, he ended up doing more than his share around the house. (Wally's mother will tell you he's the same way at home and that he's always replacing something or fixing something.) Last year during his 'vacation,' his big project was our garage -- his big project he assigned himself, we don't assign tasks to our guests -- and this year, he made it the cabinets. I'm glad he asked my husband if it was okay before hand because I feel bad enough that our summer guest is doing so much around here and would feel even worse if Wally had spent his money on the project. So I left one morning with on idea anything was being changed and came back to find out that I finally had the cabinet doors I'd been wanting for over 20 years. They look wonderful and he did an amazing job.

My point with the above story, besides giving Wally credit, was to explain that if you're someone who wishes something was different about your kitchen, we've all been there and chances is we'll either live with it -- as I did with the cabinet doors -- or wish it had been changed or fixed.
Bounty's contest has to have a winner and you could be the lucky one.

My kitchen is now just as I want it so I won't be entering the contest. I also won't be requesting a free roll. I'm putting those disclaimers in so that no one wonders if I'm getting anything out promoting the contest. I'm not. I use Bounty on my own and have for years because I do appreciate their durability. And if someone knows something non-environmental friendly about them, my reply would be, you clean up after eight kids and then talk to me about helping about the environment. I am really serious about that, by the way. We do recycle and try to do other things for the environment. But from time to time, I'll read a book and think, "That would be great. If I just had one kid." When they were younger, it really was like the movie Yours, Mine and Ours. That's a Lucille Ball and Henry Fonda movie for younger readers.

Still on general business, Jess did a really great job filling in two Saturdays ago. I really appreciated it. But I may be calling that into question because I need to take next Saturday off and asked him if there was any chance he could fill in again? He said he'd be happy too (proof that his mother raised him with the good manners to say, "No, you crazy woman!") so he'll be 'in the kitchen' next weekend and thank you in advance.

BB wrote that she'd been dying to e-mail and was glad my e-mail address was up. That's back up. When we all switched to Beta . . . Don't ask me, it's something about Blogger/Blogspot, Dona called me and said she'd just switched The Third Estate Sunday Review over and figured Mike would be doing it for me but she'd do my site if I wanted? For months we were all being asked to do the switch and it was an option. You'd go to log in and get a message that X had already switched to Beta mode and now you could as well. I'd select "ignore" or "remind me next time" or whatever the alternative was. But it was going to stop being an option and become mandatory, they were clear about that. So I gladly took Dona up on her kind offer.

When we all switched to Beta, our e-mail addresses stopped displaying on our profiles. Except Kat who can be reached via The Common Ills. That wasn't a problem for community members because the community newsletters list our contact information. And for hard working visitors, who know how to Google, they could find posts with our e-mail addresses mentioned in them by searching. And it wasn't a problem for The Common Ills because C.I. ends entries with "The e-mail address for this site is" In fact, some wrote to other sites via that public address.

But we had no idea that our e-mail addresses were no longer on our profiles. We don't check our profiles and, before the big Beta switch, it had been up. My address is and it's on the profile but just in case Blogger/Blogspot has another must switch and it disappears "trina's kitchen e-mail address" is"

BB, who's about to become a grandmother as well, was wondering how others were handling it? That's what she'd wanted to e-mail me about? For me, after giving birth eight times, I'm all for someone else taking over the process. I'm happy about it. I know, for other generations, it was more of a huge marker. I'm sure for some women today, it still is and causing panic for a few. I was raised in a big family and I had a big family. My biggest surprise was that I hadn't already become a grandmother.

We were very up front with our kids about birth control and make every child a wanted child. If any of my daughters had gotten pregnant (I have four daughters and four sons) and they had decided on abortion, I would've supported the decision. Still would. But until this pregnancy, the biggest thing I wondered was, "Where are the grandkids?"

I was really starting to wonder if we'd done something so horrible, my husband and I, that our children had decided "We're not having kids ever!" I know of one pregnancy scare (which I'm not supposed to know of) in the eight and that's it. My youngest son is in college, Mike, and my youngest daughter starts college in the fall. So it was odd that we weren't grandparents already, just due to the numbers and the ages of our children.

I wasn't running to the oldest children and asking, "When are you going to make me a grandmother?" I never asked that. But, for example, Tony's like one of our children. He's my son Mike's best friend and Tony's father is my husband's best friend from like third or fourth grade, they've been best friends forever, he was best man at our wedding and my husband was best man at his wedding. They have a 'smaller' family -- four kids -- and it was about two years ago when they became grandparents for the first time. Joanna, Tony's mother, mentioned to me that she was honestly surprised it would be her before me. Her oldest was two years younger than our oldest, for example, and they only had half the children we did. And that had me wondering about the grandchild issue.

So I did my mental checklist then. Were any of the children gay? No. If they were, that would be fine. And, of course, these days being gay doesn't mean you can't have kids. Were they these career focused, career centric type people? Maybe so, but I didn't see that. No one had left the home with the 'virtue' intact. I hadn't expected that they would. (Although one daughter, if she reads this, will probably exclaim, "She knew!?!?")

But I guess the mantra we drilled into them of "make every child a wanted child" and the very serious talks about birth control paid off. One thing, true of the six oldest, is that it's a lot different now than when my husband and I were starting out. In many ways, but I'm referring to economcis. Social Security doesn't need "saving." It's more than solvent. But I can remember, for instance, at least two times when it had to be "saved" which involved cutting the monies received and also taking more out of each paycheck for FICA. That may not seem like a great deal on weekly basis, but add it up. It's also true that wages have remained stagnant while costs have gone up. For my generation, it was a matter of swinging things and tightening up a bit. Now days, I marvel that anyone can afford children. And that's before you factor in the ever increasing sales taxes and the sky rocketing cost of health care.

Being part of a big family probably made them aware of what they did without and what they got passed on from others if they were the younger kids. One area that I would do different is money in terms of raising them. I think we were very practical about money and that's a good thing. But I think, looking back, we should have been more open as they got older. I never blinked at saying "no" when we didn't have the money for something and explaining that. But, when they got older, I wish we'd talked to them about it in terms of the history of our family.

I say that because our oldest son, the one who's moved in, had a huge student loan debt. He was the first in college and we still had seven younger kids to support so he went to college on loans and working his way through. That didn't worry me too much because I knew people my age who had loans. They paid when they could. I actually know one woman who never paid anything on her college, still hasn't, and graduated in 1972. I knew my son would pay off his debts and thought it would be like the people my age, where they'd pay it off as the years went by.

Things have really changed there. They garnish your wages. They aren't content to just add interest on and collect later these days. I had no idea things were bad. But the way it's worked, and Ted Kennedy -- one of my senators -- you said you were getting to work on this issue but I'm still waiting for results, is that you apply to the government, you get the money and, long before you have graduated, you're sold off and then the loan is sold off again. So each semester's loan is now owned by a different company. If Ted Kennedy is serious about wanting to help young people, he needs to put forward a limit on garnishing. My son has four companies taking out of his bi-weekly check starting next month. Right now, it's five. They all want a little over ninety dollars. Could you go to work each week, full time, knowing that when the check came in every two weeks, over $450 was being taken out before it got to you just for student loans?

He jokes about it and says that he knows his wife married him out of love. I'm glad he can joke about it because I would be going crazy. His wife's insurance cut back and so he added her to his policy. When that happened, his check was good for a stick of gum and that was about all.

If Ted Kennedy is serious about helping people with student loans, he should propose a set amount that can be garnished (I'm assuming there is one and will get back to that) and then set a limit so that no more than one student loan could be garnished for at a time. (I honestly don't believe in garnishing wages for anything short of child support.)

We knew nothing about this, my husband and I. When he was buying Christmas presents with our son Mike, he mentioned it. That's how we eventually found out. We should have caught the clues Mike was dropping immediately. Such as saying we should give cash that Christmas. I think cash is a really rude gift and says, "I didn't have time to shop for you or you're not important enough for me to shop for." So when Mike kept pressing us to give his brother cash, we finally did and assumed he had plans for a vacation or something and needed the money for some big get away. We finally caught on, as we'd replace soemthing around the house, a phone a can opener whatever, and start to donate it to Goodwill and Mike would insist we call and see if his brother could use it?

We stock up, on Bounty and everything, in our home. When the kids were younger, we were always running out of something at the worst time, so we'd just make a point to buy things in bulk. I'd noticed that stuff seemed to be running out faster and didn't think much of it. Then my husband saw Mike 'stocking up' and we just assumed that there was someone Mike knew in need. We weren't bothered or offended. It was a can of something here, a roll there, etc. We were glad that Mike was doing that because we really tried to raise our kids with the concept that we're all in need and, if you can help someone, you do so.

But then one day, no Nick and Nora Charles or Tommy and Tupence were we, it finally hit us what was going on. It was after we'd learned about the pregnancy. We'd noticed they were nervous when they told us and we figured that was just first baby jitters but then it didn't go away. So one night, we were just wondering what it could be that had them so nervous and that's when it hit us. Mike was already asleep, which was good, so we woke him up. Good because he talks for about 15 minutes after he wakes up without realizing what he's saying. If he's got a secret and you want to get him out of it, that's when to do it. He's groggy for about 15 minutes.

We got over our hurt that they hadn't asked us for help because what's the point of worrying about that when there's a problem in the here and now to address? Both of us left home early, when we got married, but we both had brothers that continue to live at home long after 18. When our kids would move out, we'd always tell them, and mean it, that they could move back in. There's one daughter who has a huge car payment that we've repeatedly tried to talk into moving home. I do understand the importance of having your own space. But this is their home, everyone of them, and they could all move back tomorrow with spouses or whomever they're seeing now, and it would be crowded but we'd all manage.

So we went to work on them when we finally learned how things were. And last weekend, they moved back in. They're planning a year and that's fine. They can stay longer, they can stay here for years and years. I'm not having any more children. Our youngest moves out in the fall, she wants to live on campus when she starts college, there's no way we need a home this big for all of us. I assume at some point Mike will move in with Elaine. (That's not get Mike out the door. He can live here his whole life and it wouldn't be a problem.)

All the children have their strong points and one thing I'll note is Mike's strong point. (If you're new, my children are only named here if they give permission. Mike's the only one who has.) Mike is the most practical. That's not an insult to the others. I often fear that being so practical means he's less likely to dream and picture opportunities. And a lot of that comes from being the one near the end of the line. (We have one daughter who is younger.)

And some of that has to do with how we raised him. But Mike is very money practical. When he got his own car, he paid for it and he didn't buy a shiny new one. Others did and they have really nice cars. Mike's concern was that it ran and, if it broke down, he was able to fix it. And there's the fact that while everyone else was hitting the door at 18, he asked if it was okay to live here during college. (It was more than okay. He can stay forever. Any of our children can move back.) But the point of this story is that, and my husband agrees, he and I have taken far too much credit for Mike being so practical. Though it was only recently that Mike found out how bad things were for his oldest brother, they had been talking for some time about money issues. If there's a bright point in all of these money problems it's two-fold. One, the house isn't empty. Two, where we didn't go into money in depth with our children, our oldest son did. Some didn't listen, Mike took to it heart, but he picked up the slack and, as the oldest, he did that a lot growing up and is still doing it.

I didn't mean to go on so long about that but a few did wonder in e-mails if I was okay? Last week, I didn't write that much apparently. That was because I wrote late and I was nervous about the move in. And we also had the incident with our youngest that Mike wrote of last week. E-mails came in on that so let me do one paragraph and only one paragraph on that topic.

She is not the first to throw a party when left alone. She is not the first to throw a party and have something break during it. She is the first to throw a party (actually parties) and not bother to clean up before we got home. I won't speculate as to why that happened, Mike has and you can read his site for his thoughts. But for someone about to start college, that was really disappointing. Thank you to Wally and Mike for cleaning up her mess the Sunday we all returned. My husband was so angry he had to leave and I mainly wandered room to room shaking my head in a daze. I cleaned up some but was mainly in shock because none of the seven older children had done that (proof that each child is different) and I couldn't believe someone would go "out with friends" when things like a TV was broken, glass from the broken screen left on the floor, when the kitchen table was piled with dirty dishes, when curtains were torn, and I won't do the whole list. I will note the house was completely trashed and that I would assume anyone eager to go off to college would, knowing when everyone was due to return, would at least pick up their mess. As Mike noted this week, she's holed up in her room now. When she decides she wants to talk to any of us (she's not even talking to her sisters, all of whom have come by and tried to talk to her), helpful hint, the first words should be, "I am sorry." So if you noticed something different last week, it was probably the fact that I was and am still stunned that what took place happened. It's not the end of the world but it was and is a shock.

I'll note that the fundraising cycle is coming to an end (second quarter, I believe) and post this from Dennis Kuccinich's site, "A special message from Dennis:"

Dear Supporter:
Thank you so much for being involved with my campaign.
We have just a few days left for our fundraising efforts in June. Our Patriots for Peace campaign expresses how true patriotism supports peace. It is supporters like you who fuel our campaign and give hope to millions of Americans who are not represented in this debate. Help our campaign reach its goal of raising $150,000 online by June 30th in support of our message of hope and peace.
For the past few months I have traveled all over the country, talking with voters every day. I have had the chance to demonstrate the difference in what we stand for and what the other candidates stand for. And as you know - We Stand for Peace. Help us keep this message moving. Our message continues to resonate, and we continue to be a vital part of the debate to change the course of this nation. Our campaign is going strong, and it is getting stronger everyday. We have developed a comprehensive plan that you will be a part of in the coming months. Your support today will give us the resources that are needed to execute our plan and continue to spread our message of peace.
Click here to become a Patriot of Peace.
This campaign for peace is not only going to change America, but it's going to change the world. I am so grateful for your support, and I am grateful that you and I have the chance in our lifetime to transform this country from being on the war path into a path to peace. This is an important moment in our lives and the life of our nation. Help us reach our online fundraising goal of $150,000 by June 30th. Become a Patriot for Peace by making a contribution today. Again, I thank you, and I look forward to talking with you again in the very near future.
In Peace,

I had planned to blog about Iraq but I really have gone enough. Be sure to read C.I.'s "'Five IVAW Members Arrested at Fort Jackson For Wearing IVAW T-Shirt' (Adam Kokesh)" and the rest is covered in C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" for Friday:

Friday, June 29, 2007. Chaos and violence continue, the US military announces more deaths, Liam Madden gets some news, tensions continue between Turkey and northern Iraq, Bully Boy's lips are flapping so you know what that means and more.

Starting with
Iraq Veterans Against the War's Liam Madden. Madden and two other members of IVAW, Cloy Richards and Adam Kokesh, have been targeted by the US military brass in an attempt to silence and cow them. They have been threatened with the loss of benefits (Cloy Richards is classified as 80% disabled), loss of their honorable discharges and more. Kokesh participated in street theater in DC and then found himself facing the theatrics of a kangaroo court -- proving there is no bigger drama queensthan those commanders in the marines. Kokesh recevied a general discharge from the IRR -- meaning he's twice discharged: honorably from the marines, general from the IRR -- and Richards reached an agreement where he would not wear any part of his fatigues in public (his mother, Tina Richards, now usually wears his Marine Corp boonie cover at rallies and marches). Madden was being tarred with the usual trumped up charge that fatigues are the equivalent of dress uniforms and the added bonus that his speech was "disloyal" (which may echo the questioning in Kokesh's kangaroo hearing where he was asked if he was "a card carrying member of Iraq Veterans Against the War"). Now comes the news via the AP's own Ethel Mertz (Heather Hollingsworth) that although "[a]n investigating officer had recommended in May that Liam Madden, 22, of Boston receive an other-than-honorable discharge, the worst discharge possible under non-court martial conditions" the Marines issued a press release stating "that they were dropping the case because they had 'received sufficient indictation' from Madden . . ." of something. Of what? Madden has been very clear that he'll come to terms with them provided they put in writing that he made no disloyal statements about the US. He tells Hollingsworth that he's received nothing in writing but, "I think it's a total victory. The country is on our side and it really puts the Marine Corps in a bad light if they try to intimdate".

Madden and other members of
Iraq Veterans Against the War are currently conducting a summer base tour that takes them next to the US Social Forum in Atlanta, GA on June 30th at 7:00 pm; Fort Benning in Columbus, GA on July 1st at 7:00 pm; a fundraiser in Philadelphia on June 3rd at 6:00 pm; a fundraiser in NYC on July 5th at 7:00 pm; the Naval Sub Marine Base in Groton, CT on July 6th at 7:00 pm; and concluding at Fort Drum in NY on July 8th at 4:00 pm.

And in news of resistance within the military (IRR is a way station -- Richard, Madden and Kokesh were all discharged and the brass had no reason to screw with them), we'll turn to Eli Israel. Eleonai "Eli" Israel is stationed and Iraq and has announced he can no longer take part in the illegal war. He is also a supporter of
2008 presidential candidate Mike Gravel having noted, "I am taken away by the truth and clarity that is spoken by Sen. Gravel. He has my vote. The National Initiative that he proposes is what this country needs." And: "My paychecks currently comes from the Army. I have worked with and trained with Blackwater in the past, among others. I have seen this war (and it's orchestrators) from the inside out, and I'm telling anyone who has 'ears to hear', that Mike Gravel is the only voice of reason that is speaking." Those were both noted in May. In April, he posted, "My name is Eli Israel, and yes, you probably guessed it, I'm very much Jewish. I'm also a soldier in Iraq, and I'm also a HARD CORE Mike Gravel supporter." In an update at Iraq Veterans Against the War, Eli notes, "I have been in Iraq for over a year. I have served in combat. I have been awarded the Combat Infantry Badge, for my actions in Combat. I have been recommended for other medals, that I will now probably never see (nor do I want) . .. It would have been a lot 'easier' for me to simply keep doing combat missions for a couple more week, and be done with things. Moral convictions are not based on timing or convenience". Courage to Resist has more information here.

Eli Israel is part of a movement of resistance within the US military grows and includes Joshua Key,
Ehren Watada, Terri Johnson, Luke Kamunen, Leif Kamunen, Leo Kamunen, Camilo Mejia, Kimberly Rivera, Dean Walcott, Linjamin Mull, Augstin Aguayo, Justin Colby, Marc Train, Robert Zabala, Darrell Anderson, Kyle Snyder , Corey Glass, Jeremy Hinzman, Kevin Lee, Joshua Key, 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, Chris Teske, Matt Lowell, Jimmy Massey, Chris Capps, Tim Richard, Hart Viges, Michael Blake, Christopher Mogwai, Christian Care, Kyle Huwer, Vincent La Volpa, DeShawn Reed and Kevin Benderman. In total, forty US war resisters in Canada have applied for asylum.Information on war resistance within the military can be found at Center on Conscience & War, The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline, Iraq Veterans Against the War and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters.

In Iraq, where all business seems to stop anytime Moqtada al-Sadr deliberates . . .
Richard A. Oppel Jr. and Stephen Farrell (New York Times) report that Nouri al-Maliki is all but on his hands and knees regarding a planned al-Sadr march for next week (July 5th). Mike Drummond (McClatchy Newspapers) judged that "the march poses a test of his [al-Sadr's] popularity. A peaceful demonstration could arm him with broad political clout, which has eluded other Iraqi leaders so far, including Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki. A low turnout could underscore the limites of Sadr's ability to marshal ordinary citizens." AP reported this morning that al-Sadr had called off the march and cited Sheik Asad al-Nassiri's statement: "Muqtada al-Sadr has decided to postpone the march to Samarra for several reasons, including the government's inablity to secure the route and many officials' appeals for a postponement."

When not begging al-Sadr,
Alissa J. Rubin (New York Times) reports, the puppet was attempting to sideline him via an attempted partnership with alleged moderate bloc in Parliament who would make it their business to take up the "oil revenue-sharing law". However Asad al-Hashimi remains 'at large.' With Iraq's Culture Minister out and about, better hide those copies of Ram in the Thicket. Worse for al-Maliki, as he's attempting to realign himself, BBC reports that the Iraqi Accord Front and its six minister "will boycott government meetings because of legal steps being taken against one of its ministers." That would be al-Hashimi who, this week, suddenly became the main suspect in a 2005 assassination (he is now said to be in Jordan). Waleed Ibrahim and Alister Bull (Reuters) observe "the move is a blow to Shi'ite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki at a time when he is under U.S. pressure to push through laws" and that this is the second time the bloc has gone on strike this month -- last week they objected to the removal of Mahmoud al-Mashhadani who held the post of Speaker in the Parliament. In terms al-Hashimi, they further note that "there has been some confusion about the warrant. Police and court officials have not been able to confirm such a warrant has been issued for Hashemi."


Mohammed al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 2 mortar attacks in Baghdad. CBS and AP report that "the British military issued a statement saying all of its bases came under attack from mortars or rockets in the past 24 hours". Reuters notes a Tikrit roadside bombing that left three wounded and a Kut roadside bombing that left a woman wounded. CBS and AP report a bombing on an oil pipeline in Haswa "spilling crude oil and sparking a huge fire".


Mohammed al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 3 women ("one of them pregnant") and 1 man were shot dead in Baghdad, two police officers were wounded in Kirkuk and "A U.S. military convoy killed an Iraqi man in Al Rashad neighborhood, Iraq police said."


Mohammed al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 7 corpses were discoved in Baghdad today. Reuters notes 3 corpses discovered in Balad and the corpse "of a university lecturer" found in Kut.

US military announced today, "Five Multi-National Division-Baghdad Soldiers were killed when a roadside bomb detonated near a combat patrol in a southern section of Baghdad June 28. Small arms and rocket-propelled attacks followed shortly after the blast. Seven other Soldiers were wounded in the attack." The deaths bring to 3577 the total number of US troops killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war and to 100 fatalties for the month of June. June is the third deadliest month for US service members so far this year. June 2007 is also the deadliest June for service members stationed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war. The attack was one of the combination attacks that isn't new and has been going on for over a year. BBC notes their "Baghdad correspondent Andrew North says that incidents like Thursday's, in which insurgents first use roadside bombs to attack US troops, then exploit the confusion afterwards to fire on them, have become more common. . . . Our correspondent says this is a sign yet again of how the conflict here keeps changing, with insurgents often one step ahead."

Turning to world leaders do the craziest things . . .

As an election looms in Australia and (Australia's)
ABC News reports Labour's Kevin Rudd has declared John Howard (prime minister) will reduce the number of Australians stationed in Iraq "as an election ploy, but his overall strategy is to keep them there indefinitely." Last week, Bill Taylor's remarks, such as "The majority of Australians across the country would very much like to see us come out of that mess as soon as possible," caused a stirbecause it was seen as coming from within Howard's own party (Liberal). Ed Johnson (Bloomberg News) reports today that Alexander Downer, the country's Foreign Minister, has announced, "I made it clear that Australian troops would stay" in Iraq and dismissing Rudd's observations that any of the country's approximately 1,500 troops would be leaving Iraq.
That would be the same Alexander Downer who was in Iraq yesterday meeting with Iraq's Foreign Minister to discuss trade.
Iraq's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which must be the country's equivalent of Liz Smith, announces, "Mr. Downer thanked Mister Zebari for the briefing he gave concerning the latest developments, and assured his country's obligations in supporting the new Iraq, and to develop relations between Canberra and Baghdad."

Moving from the satellite of Howard to the Bully of them all, Bully Boy gave more of the same yesterday at the Naval War College in Rhode Island.
Jim Rutenberg and Jeff Zeleny (New York Times) report: "Mr. Bush in effect pleaded for more time on Thursday, saying that the deployments in Iraq he ordered in his so-called troop surge have only recently been completed and were already producing positive results. . . .Even at this pre-screened location, Mr. Bush faced some skepticism from questioners in the audience, including a woman who asked him pointedly if he was indeed listening to the advice of his commanders (yes, he said) and a professor who asked if the Iraq campaign was stretching United States forces too think to cope with other challenges elsewhere (no, he said)." Thomas E. Ricks (Washington Post) noted that Bully Boy wants the US to support death globally and focus locally as evidenced by Bully Boy's claim that "citizens are forming neighborhood watch groups" in Baghdad is a sign of encouragement. Ricks notes, "It is not clear what the difference is between those groups and armed militias, which U.S. officials have said in the past must be disbanded or incorporated into Iraqi security forces."
Flashback to almost exactly this time last year (July 2006) when al-Maliki was claiming his 'plan' would create just that -- only, they were all created. Bully Boy's seeing 'progress' in a questionable development and one that existed before the June 2006 'crackdown' began on Baghdad.
Jonathan S. Landay (McClatchy Newspapers) points out that Bully Boy did his usual stunt: "Facing eroding support for his Iraq policy, even among Republicans, President Bush on Thursday called al Qaida 'the main enemy' in Iraq, an assertion rejected by his administration's senior intelligence analaysts. The reference, in a major speech at the Naval War College that referred to al Qaida at least 27 times, seemed calculated to use lingering outrage over the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, to bolster support for the current buildup of U.S. troops in Iraq, despite evidence that sending more troops hasn't reduced the violence or sped Iraqi government action on key issues." And despite the fact that Iraq had no connection to 9-11. Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) observed, "The President went on to say he views Israel as a model for what Iraq should become. Bush says Israel is able to carry out its democratic functions despite the constant threat of attacks." Along with the massive insult such statements are to the region (maybe Bully Boy feels at this late date, there are no hearts and minds left to win?), it's also true that the Israeli government is in the news today for actions/behaviors that hardly deserve copying. Donald Macintyre (Independent of London) reports how Moshe Katsav (Israel's president) "yesterday escaped jail by agreeing a plea bargain under which rape charges against him will be dropped. In return he is admitting charges of lesser sexual offences against former employees."

And turning to England, we find Blair-lite.
Kim Sengupta and Colin Brown (Independent of London) observe, "Yesterday should have been a day of political triumph for Gordon Brown. Instead events in Basra provided a brutal and intimate reminder of the scale of the challenge he faces in Iraq." Scott Kennedy, James "Jamie" Kerr and Paul Joszko, three British soldiers, were all announced dead. Andrew Pierce and David Blair (Telegraph of London) note that Jamie Kerr was "from Mr Brown's Cowdenbeath constituency" and that "Mr Brown, as a local MP, will now face the dilemma of whether to be present when the body of his constituent is flown home." Richard Beeston, Michael Evans and Melanie Reid (Times of London) quote John Paul Ward, Jamie Kerr's step-father, on the soldier's last phone call to his mother, "Jamie said being out there was not what he thought it would be. He didn't want to be there. He was more scared than anything else. He said he wanted to come home and I think being out there was a reality check for him."

For those who have forgotten, the 156 British troops who have died and the 3577 US troops who have died, the nearly one million Iraqis who have died, and others, all died because Tony Blair and Bully Boy insisted that Iraq had WMD and that we couldn't wait for a "mushroom cloud."
CBS and AP report: "The Security Council voted Friday to immediately shut down the U.N. bodies key to monitoring Iraq's weapons of mass destruction programs under Saddam Hussein, a decision an Iraqi diplomat said would close 'an appalling chapter' in his country's history."

Meanwhile, tensions between Turkey and the northern section of Iraq continue with
Reuters reporting that Masoud Barzani ("head of the autonomous Kurdish region in northern Iraq") has declared there will be a "catastrophe" should Turkey enter into the region.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Mandarin Oranges & Wild Rice in the Kitchen

Okay, there's cooking this recipe but not much.

1 can of mandarin oranges (11 ounces)
1 package of wild rice (6 ounces -- can include long grain rice and wild rice)
4 green onions slice
1 stalk of celery chopped
1 can of waterchestnuts (8 ounces, sliced and drained)
3 tablespoons of olive oil
3 teaspoons of lemon juice
1/2 cup seedless red grapes sliced in half
1 small package of pecans (6 to 8 ounces)
dash of pepper

The rice you have to cook. Just follow the directions on the box or package. Allow it to cool.
Once it has cooled, mix in one bowl the rice and all ingreidents except oranges, pecans, olive oil, lemon juice and pepper. In a small container with a cover (you can use tupperware or an empty jar with a lid) mix the olive oil, lemon juice and pepper, cover and shake. Now pour this mixture onto the mix in the bowl. Toss the mixture to make sure the liquid mix is distributed. You have still not used the oranges and pecans.

Cover the bowl with a lid or a wrap and place in the refrigerator for a minimum of four hours. When you are ready to serve, you will remove the cover, add the oranges (these are in slices) and the pecans and stir. You are now ready to serve.

Thank you to Wally's mother for the above recipe. Mandarin oranges, I asked on the phone tonight, what do you have with those in them?

The reason I need mandarin orange recipes all the sudden is that one of my sons and my daughter-in-law are moving in tomorrow. She is pregnant and due to give birth before the end of the month. My husband and I have both talked and talked to them about moving back. She's going to be off work for awhile and they have his student loans to pay. They were making it as a two-income family with two members. I am sure they could have pulled it off with one check until she returned to work even after the baby is born. But there is no reason they should have to settle for making it. They can live here and save up for their own place. We have presented that suggestion repeatedly since we learned the happy news; however, the suggestion was shot down constantly. Mike, my youngest son, spoke with his brother today and that did the trick.

But the mandarin oranges? I asked my daughter-in-law if there was anything special we needed to stock up on and she revealed she's been craving mandarin oranges for the last three weeks.

In political news, Michael Moore has endorsed Dennis Kucinich and John Conyers health care legislation:

"Thank you Dennis Kucinich for running for President," says award-winning filmmaker Michael Moore as he endorsed the Conyers/Kucinich universal health insurance bill (HR 676) currently being considered by the U.S. House of Representatives. And, "thank you," Moore continued, for "at each of the debates, bringing up this very important issue and requesting that our fellow Democrats state their specific positions of how we're going to bring health care to all Americans and remove the profit incentive from health care. It has to be removed, and thank you for saying that over and over again."
Click here for a transcript of the entire speech.

There is also a video posted so you can watch or listen. Hilda sent me the nicest e-mail. She does Hilda's Mix, the community newsletter that comes out on Tuesdays and focuses on issues involving the disabled. She regularly notes what presidential candidates' websites are accessible to all and which aren't. She asked if I could note, since I'm noting Kucinich each time I post, when I come across something that includes more than one format. She shouldn't have had to ask. I've been reading Hilda's Mix and enjoying it but hadn't really thought about caring that over to this site. So the item above contains the text posted, the transcript (which isn't PDF format, so no concerns there) and you can click here to get sound and video.

I'll try to remember to note if something has more than one format in the future and am counting on Hilda to remind me if I slip up.

A very big thank you to Jess who not only filled in for me last week but also wrote a wonderful post: "Green Beans and Jess in the Kitchen." That was appreciated and I thank him for that.

That was also last week. This week? How many US service members were announced dead? On Sunday, the count was 3525 US service members killed in the Iraq war. 3547 is the current count which means 22 deaths. Of course, we also saw Ted Kennedy and John Kerry have to step in to get the deportation issue tabled on the wife of Alex Jimenez. Who is Alex Jimenez? A US soldier. He was sent to Iraq. May 12th there was an attack and he was among three soldiers who went missing. One has turned up dead and there is a video claiming that Jimenez and the other soldier have been killed. He is considered captured. So, for a young woman trying to deal with that, the so supportive US administration felt the perfect thing to do was to let a deportation threat to linger. That's helpful in their eyes. It was one thing after another. And many waves of what C.I. dubbed in 2004 "Operation Happy Talk." You'd think we'd be taking to the streets but apparently we're waiting on some sign that things can get even worse. Which they will. So those are some of the things that went down this week.

For more, you can read C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Friday, June 22, 2007. Chaos and violence continue, the US military announces another death, CounterSpin covers a report the mainstream media (domestic) has shown no interest in, Falluja is addressed (and on going), watch out for that tidal wave of Operation Happy Talk!, and more.

Starting with news of war resistance. Joshua Key's
The Deserter's Tale continues to garner good reviews. Anita Joshua (India's The Hindu) reviews the book and concludes, "For over a year, he lived in the U.S. in constant fear of being caught before he fled with his family to Canada in search of asylum. But, he makes no attempt to exaggerate his travails to sell his story, and it is this honesty that reflects through all the detail." Key served in Iraq and, while back in the US, made the decision to self-check out instead of returning to an illegal war. He, his wife Brandi Key and their children then lived underground in the US before crossing the border into Canada where he is attempting to win refugee status. From page 171 of his book (written with Lawrence Hill):

One morning in Ramadi, while I was sitting on top of my armored personnel carrier outside a little house controlled by men from another platoon in the 3rd Armored Calvary Regiment, I saw soldiers open the door and push a naked prisoner outside. The prisoner looked like he was about forty years old. One soldier kicked him as he stumbled out the door and into the light, and another soldier kicked him as he passed through the gate. The detainee was sent to stand in the middle of the street, and for an instant I wondered why he had been brought out like that. And then, in full view of passerby, the naked man defecated in the street. I turned my head guiltily, but not before I had witnessed his humiliation. He stood up and was kicked on his way back inside the building. I never saw him again, and I don't know what happened to him.
It would not be until much later, after I deserted the army, that I heard of Abu Ghraib prison, west of Baghdad, or about the abuses of Iraqi prisoners at the hands of Americans, or about human rights violations at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.

Also noting Key is Kim Peterson (Dissident Voice) in his exploration of genocide which puts the illegal war into that context and quotes Key and Jimmy Massey. Massey is quoted stating, "As far as I'm concerned, the real war did not begin until they saw us murdering innocent civilians. I mean, they were witnessing their loved ones being murdered by US Marines. It's kind of hard to tell someone that they are being liberated when they just saw their child shot or lost thei husband or grandmother."

The movement of resistance within the US military grows and includes Joshua Key,
Ehren Watada, Terri Johnson, Luke Kamunen, Leif Kamunen, Leo Kamunen, Camilo Mejia, Kimberly Rivera, Dean Walcott, Linjamin Mull, Augstin Aguayo, Justin Colby, Marc Train, Robert Zabala, Darrell Anderson, Kyle Snyder , Corey Glass, Jeremy Hinzman, Kevin Lee, Joshua Key, 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, Chris Teske, Matt Lowell, Jimmy Massey, Chris Capps, Tim Richard, Hart Viges, Michael Blake, Christopher Mogwai, Christian Care, Kyle Huwer, Vincent La Volpa, DeShawn Reed and Kevin Benderman. In total, forty US war resisters in Canada have applied for asylum.Information on war resistance within the military can be found at Center on Conscience & War, The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline, Iraq Veterans Against the War and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters.

Speaking out to end the war is a duty
Iraq Veterans Against the War takes very seriously. Monday IVAW's Adam Kokesh appeared on Mark Levine's Inside Scoop for the hour. We've noted the interview all week (and the link was left out of yesterday's snapshot when it first went up, my apologies) and we'll close out the week by noting it again:

Mark Levine: Tell me about combat stress?

Adam Kokesh: As you said, it's hard to get care. It's one of those things we're fighting for with Iraq Veterans Against the War, full funding of the Department of Veteran Affairs. But for me, when I came home, I didn't even allow myself to get into PTSD because I didn't want to think about my experiences in a way that would have that kind of emotional reaction.

Mark Levine: Denial. Just forget. Denial. [crosstalk]

Adam Kokesh: . . . and for me, when I came back, I had combat stress which is distinctly different because it's much more superficial and about habitual things. But the worst of it for me, was I had, I had a few anxiety attacks. You know, you just lose control of your brain for a few minutes and it's a little disturbing but it was something we were warned about. And for me, it was kind of a good thing. [cross talk] . . . No, no, no. You lose control of your brain and you just shut down. It's more of a --

Mark Levine: You just shut down.

Adam Kokesh: It's more of an internal thing than an external thing.

Mark Levine: So people don't even realize it's going on maybe.

Adam Kokesh: Yeah, sometimes. Sometimes I would cry. Sometimes I would shake. But it was internal. But it's mainly because of being overwhelmed by the environment and being in such a beautiful enivornment as my college campus was. To go from Falluja one week to campus the next week. . . . That caused the anxiety for me. The other things were I would wake up early well before my alarm and feel this strange sense of urgency, like I had to be somewhere, and not be able to go back to sleep.

Adam Kokesh's service in Iraq was not ingored by the US military. It was 'rewarded' with a witch hunt and Liam Madden and Cloy Richards are also targeted. The US military feels harrassment is a form of a 'thank you'. That's the reality of the US administration and the US military brass when it comes to veterans.

And if how little the lives and wounds (on all sides) from the illegal war matter isn't coming through, check out Robert Gates and Peter Pace.
Josh White (Washington Post) reports Gates and Pace have launched a new wave of Operation Happy Talk -- the number of US service members who have died and are dying in Iraq is not an issue, that's the "wrong metric". That is the wrong thing to focus on, say Gates and Pace, as CBS and AP note that at least 16 US service members have been announced dead "over the past three days."
Nancy A. Youssef (McClatchy Newspapers) notes that the Operation Happy Talkers also said success "should be measured not by whether violence is reduced, but by whether Iraqis feel better about their nation's future." Gates and Pace, after splashing one another with waves of Operation Happy Talk, ran down to the beach to enter a wet t-shirt contest before expounding further on the notion of deluded levels of self-esteem being the true measure of success while living in a combat zone. No word on whether the rumors are true that both will dress up in silk nighties and have a pillow fight late tonight.

Realities on Iraq were addressed today on
CounterSpin where co-host Janine Jackson interviewed Celine Nahory, co-author of [PDF format warning] "Independent Report on Iraq" which examines the causes of violence in Iraq. A sample of the discussion.

Janine Jackson: Well, I want to draw you out on another issue in the report -- there are many of them, of course -- but you talked about attacks on cities and I think many people, of course, as we've mentioned may believe that the 'coalition' is in the position of mainly defending or protecting but I think they still could tell you that the US-led 'coalition' did fiercely attack the city of Falluja. I think most people remember that but that would be a very incomplete picture, wouldn't it?

Celine Nahory: Well, at the very moment the US is actually imposing another siege on Falluja. There were two in 2004 and there is one going on right now -- for about a month now. But Falluja is absolutely not the only city on which there have been assaults. Part of the "anti-insurgency operation" that the US is pursuing in Iraq. A dozen other cities have suffered: Najaf, Tal Afar, Samarra, al Qaim, Haditha, Ramadi, Baquba, many others. And this is not something that happened here and there. It's really ongoing operations. And usually those operations follow the same pattern where the city is sealed off, a very harsh curfew is imposed, residents are encouraged to leave resulting in massive displacement of people. After awhile they assume that those who stay inside are only 'insurgents' and they cut water, food, electricity, medical supplies and carry massive bombardments on urban households and this destructs a very large part of the city. Reports say that more than 75% of the city of Falluja lies in ruins today. And many of those occasions, the US military has taken over medical facitilies such as hospitals. In those cities, very often hospitals are the tallest building in those cities. So the US takes them over and puts snipers on top and you have once again control over the city or neighborhoods.

Jackson observed that outside of AFP, she hasn't seen any press coverage of the report. The report is in PDF format and you can read it by sections:
Executive Summary [
Read] [French]Map of Major Coalition Attacks, Bases and Prisons [See map]Political Map of Iraq [See map]1. Introduction [Read]2. Destruction of Cultural Heritage [Read]3. Indiscriminate and Especially Injurious Weapons [Read]4. Unlawful Detention [Read]5. Abuse and Torture of Prisoners [Read]6. Attacks on Cities [Read]7. Killing Civilians, Murder and Atrocities [Read]8. Displacement and Mortality [Read]9. Corruption, Fraud and Gross Malfeasance [Read]10. Long-Term Bases and the New Embassy Compound [Read]11. Other Issues [Read]- Iraqi Public Opinion and the Occupation- Cost of the War and Occupation12. Conclusion and Recommendations [Read]

On the subject of Falluja, let's turn to a speech from last weekend's conference in Chicago,
given by Dahlia Wasfi and focus on the Falluja section of her talk, "Falluja -- God help us for what we have done to the people of Falluja. On March 31, 2004, four American civilians lost their lives in Falluja. They were civilians with military backgrounds, in the same that a paramilitary death squad in El Salvador responsible for the brutal rape, torture and murder of four American nuns was comprised of civilians. Though they had GPS systems from Blackwater, those systems were not working that day, and they became disoriented. But they should have known long before, when they were boarding a plane for Baghdad, that they were going the wrong way. Perhaps they only signed a contract with Blackwater to achieve financial security for their loved ones. But there is a word in the English language to describe an individual who sells his body, his principles and his soul for monetary reward. That's a congressman. In the same way that Nazi soldiers fell victim to their system during the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, these hired killers from Blackwater got justice served to them on a silver platter. Then, revenge was carried out on a people who can truly be identified as civilians. In April 2004, U.S. Marines closed the bridge to the city and a hospital road -- a war crime. The U.S. military and its vehicles stood at the hospital entrance -- a war crime. And snipers were positioned on rooftops, targeting ambulances and the clinic doors. Between 600 and 800 civilians were killed in that siege, but that wasn't enough. In November 2004, the second major siege of Falluja began. The Nazzal Emergency Hospital, protected by the Geneva Conventions, was leveled to the ground, and Falluja General Hospital, was seized by the U.S. military. Doctors described being tied and beaten, despite being unarmed and having only medical instruments. Burhan Fasa'a, a cameraman with the Lebanese broadcasting company, reported that there were American snipers on top of the hospital, shooting everyone in sight. In addition, the U.S. military blocked the Iraqi Red Crescent from entering the city for seven days. The result was a death toll of between 6,000 and 8,000 civilians. This means that the Iraqi death toll in November 2004 alone surpassed the invaders' death toll for all of Operation Enduring Freedom thus far."

Many of those people driven from their homes can't go back. In chapter eight of [PDF format warning] "
Independent Report on Iraq," the issues involved in Iraq exploding refugee crisis are explored (over 4 million if you combine internally displaced and externally displaced). It is noted that, on the Iraqi death toll, "Washington insists that the lowest numbers are most accurate, while refusing to publish its own official statistics." As Nancy A. Youssef noted almost exactly one year ago, the US is keeping figures, the US military in Iraq is provided with those figures, and yet the American people are kept in the dark. The section concludes with the following:

Iraq faces a growing humanitarian emergency, with unprecedented death and displacement. As of April 2007, the United Nations estimated that up to 8 million people were vulnerable and in need of immediate assistance. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have been forced to flee from their homes and hundreds of thousands more are casualties of the violence through death and injury. Education has broken down. Unemployment has reached about 60% and the annual inflation rate peaked at about 70% in July 2006. An estimated 54% of the Iraqi population lives on less than a dollar day, among capacity. Electricity is in short supply. Only 32% of Iraqis have access to clean drinking water. The Public Distribution System food ration has stopped functioning in certain areas of the country, leaving 4 million Iraqis acutely vulnerable due to food insecurity. Severe malnutrition doubled between 2003 and 2005. Iraq's humanitarian emergency has reached a crisis level that compares with some of the world's most urgent calamities.

And as the crisis grows even worse, some of the violence in Iraq today includes . . .


Mohammed al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad mortar attack that wounded four people, a Baghdad roadside bombing that wounded 2 police officers, US missiles launched from US helicopters that killed 17 Iraqis whom the US says were suspected 'gunmen' or suspected 'al Qaeda' or both depending upon the report but 17 are dead and they are dead on nothing more than, at best, suspicion, a Qara Taba roadside bombing that wounded three Iraqi soldiers, and an al Hawija roadside bombing that wounded one peson. Reuters reports that a Falluja bombing killed two civilians and left four wounded.


Mohammed al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a person shot dead in a Bahgdad market today and a person shot dead in Dali Abbas village.


Mohammed al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 11 corpses were discovered in Baghdad today.

Also today, the
US military announced: "A Multi-National Division-Baghdad Soldier was killed during combat operations in a southwestern section of the Iraqi capital June 21.

Finally, in political news, US Senator Hillary Clinton would like to be the Democratic nominee in 2008 for president.
Turkish Daily News reports that she announced Tuesday she was happy to keep US forces in Iraq to defend "close U.S. allies" Iraqi Kurds. Due to the pronounced and ongoing tensions between Turkey and northern Iraq, they would highlight that because it goes to their own security but . . . what's the excuse for that photo of Hillary? Seriously. Ouch.

In other political news,
Robin Wright (Washington Post) reports that the US House of Representatives -- in a 355 pro and 69 against vote -- decided to get James Baker to round up his friends in the James Baker Circle Jerk to listen to the September reports from the US administration and the US military about 'progress' in Iraq, decipher and figure out what to do. Translation, the US House would like to outsource their own jobs, duties and responsiblities to a center-right group which can provide cover. If the duties are too much for any US House Rep, I do believe they have all been informed of the resignation process and possibly some should considering putting that process in motion? James Baker and Lee Hamilton were not voted into Congress in 2006. The Democratic upset resulted from voters wanting change and believing Democrats could deliver. So far Americans join Diana Ross in singing, "And I'm still waiting . . . Ooooh-oooh-oh . . . Still waiting . . ."

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Green Beans and Jess in the Kitchen

Jess with you tonight (or this morning depending upon where you live) and Trina's attending the conference in Chicago so I'm filling in for her and Kat's doing her fill in post at Mike's right now.

Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Bye-bye"


Kilian Melloy reports in "Peter Pace Reveals: 'I've Been Told I'm Done" (Edge) reveals that Pace didn't want to step down, was told he was gone, and given the choice between announcing he was retiring or the administration announcing they were replacing him.

Okay, we're all here in Trina's Kitchen so let me think of something to offer. How about this? I met Jim and Ty first semester. We roomed together and got our own place. (And now we, Dona and Ava live out west with C.I.) If we were counting on Jim to cook, it was always hot dogs. Ty would beg him to boil them because Jim burns them in the microwave -- burns to the point that not only are they black in places, they either split in half or explode. You can't even trust him with microwave popcorn. I don't eat meat so that wasn't going to work. Ty knew how to cook some stuff before he got to college fortunately. But I'm big on vegetables. One time there was this huge sale on canned goods and Jim stocked up like crazy because we were three college students on a tight budget. He was so proud of himself (and his dented cans) and couldn't wipe the happy smirk off his face as he pointed out that he even remembered me. Canned vegetables are okay and probably more than that in some areas. But I really prefer fresh.

But we had all these canned vegetables. And they weren't name brand and didn't taste all that good. I'm going to guess Jim had 30 cans of green beans alone. (French style which I really hate.) He also had some little cans of mushrooms and I got the idea to mix the two cans together once and that really made the green beans digestable and you could chew without grimacing. (That "score" was billed as "our score" even though Jim selected it all. "Our score" meant we all owed a third on it.) So after the mushrooms, I started playing around some more.

If you've got a can of green beans in the house and you're not into just having green beans, let me make a suggestion. Open the can, drain it and place it in a pan. You don't want the juice from the can, it's too salty. Add a little margarine (did I spell that right?) so that, when it melts, there's a sheen (not layer) between the bottom of the pan and the beans. You don't want them standing it. Stir quickly too allow all the beans to heat evenly. Add a 2 ounce package of almonds (you can find the size on next to Snickers and candies on most aisles) and continuing stirring for a minute more. Stop stirring and grind some fresh pepper over it. Turn off the oven and you can eat it. You can put it in a bowl that everyone can use but, to be honest, when Ty, Jim and I were roommates on our own, we just spooned it onto our plates from the pan on the stove. One less thing to clean after.

Now how about C.I. and my Ava? Did you read their "Adam Kokesh"? Here's the back story. Adam needed to be covered, of course, that's news that matters. But C.I. was on the road and Thursday morning, he and Jim are heading out when C.I.'s listening to voice mails on the cell and calling the service (C.I. doesn't have an answering machine here, uses a service) for messages only to find out Katrina vanden Heuvel pretty much pissed off every woman in broadcasting with her false assertion that there was nothing sexist in the criticism of Katie Couric. (That 'criticism' has been going on for fourteen months now, several of which were before she even did her first broadcast of the CBS Evening News.) We knew at the house that this was going to be a big issue because we do pick up the main line. And we heard about it from C.I.'s friend the day before. So C.I. had to write something and it ended up being dictated. It was very long and C.I. told the friend to save the draft and C.I. would call back in 90 minutes after they'd spoken. So Jim and C.I. get done and C.I. prunes the longer version down over the phone. But the friend saved the long version and e-mailed it to several people including Ava. It was so hilarious. (Some of which you'll see on July 4th.) What C.I. has up is still hilarious. But one of Katrina vanden Heuvel's slaves (this one's been freed) e-mails to complain (and this is a regular thing with this guy) so Ava had enough and she went in and added her views to the thing. So you got an Ava and C.I. piece during the week. A special bonus. And they are funny.

Be sure to check that out. My mom loved it. She loves Ava as well. Ava's the only one she ever has out of everyone I've ever been involved with. How come? Read that joint-entry by Ava and C.I. and you'll see why. As Mom put it, "Ava doesn't take any crap." That's what she really loves about Ava. I love that about Ava and a whole lot of other things.

So let's see, we had some politics in the kitchen, some cooking talk and a little love talk. None of it as good as Trina could have done but I'm just subbing for her and it let's her have fun in Chicago without thinking, "I've got to get online."

This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" from Friday:

Friday, June 15, 2007. Chaos and violence continue, the US military announces the deaths of more US service members, a US jet crashes in Iraq, gas shortages plauge Iraq and more.

Starting with US service members. Today, the US military has announced multiple deaths of US service members.
They announced: "Three Task Force Lightning Soldiers were killed as a result of injuries sustained from an explosion near their vehicle while conducting operations in Kirkuk Province, Thursday." And they announced: "One Task Force Lightning Soldier was killed as a result of injuries sustained from small arms fire while conducting operations in Diyala Province, Thursday." And they announced [PDF format warning]: "A Task Force Lightning Soldier died Wednesday in a non-combat related incident, which is currently under investigation." That was five announced deaths which took the current ICCC total for the number of US service members killed in the illegal war since it began (March 2003) to 3519 with the total for the month of June thus far at 42.

That was before a F-16 crashed in Iraq today.
CBS and AP report that the US Air Force is calling the crash "an accident" and not giving out any details which includes the status of the pilot. CNN reports that plan "crashed in Iraq at 12:27 a.m." and that "Pentagon sources" have told them the pilot died in the crash. Reuters notes the crash comes as 9 helicopters have already crashed in Iraq this year. The Toledo Blade reports, "A fighter pilot from Toledo's 180th Fighter Wing, Ohio Air National Guard, is unaccounted for after a crash while flying an F-16 today during a mission in Iraq."

Turning to war resistance. In June of 2006,
Ehren Watada became the first US officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq and in February of 2007 his kangaroo court-martial ended in a mistrial over the objections of the defense when Judge Toilet sensed (rightly) things weren't going well for the prosecution. As noted Tuesday, Mike Barber (Seattle Post-Intelligencer) reports the second court-martial is set to start July 23rd. Barbara Kelly (Juneau Empire) covers the issue of war resistance in a recent column (June 12th) and notes "those who take such a stand are execrcising a certain kind of moral courage . . . In speaking of Lt. Ehren Watada's refusal to deploy to Iraq, Maj. Gen. John Batiste who has been outspoken in his criticism of the president's Iraq policy, recentlyl stated that Watada followed his conscience. Batiste says he respects Watada even though he does not agree with what the lieutenant did. Batiste does not consider Watada a coward." But he has become a cultural touchstone. Zbignew Zingh (Dissident Voice) uses Watada as one of his examples of how we have now arrived at "Cola Crime." Also today, Megan Kung (Asian Week) writing about an exhibit of Tezuka Osaumu's artwork notes: "With Guantanamo Bay, Karl Rove, Iraq and 9/11, it does seem like we're living an anime. Too bad fighting those 'shadowy' forces in real life is not that easy -- remember Ehren Watada?" A lot do. His story has traveled far and wide and, if the military does attempt another court-martial, even more people will be paying attention than in February.

The movement of resistance within the US military grows and includes Joshua Key,
Ehren Watada, Terri Johnson, Luke Kamunen, Leif Kamunen, Leo Kamunen, Camilo Mejia, Kimberly Rivera, Dean Walcott, Linjamin Mull, Augstin Aguayo, Justin Colby, Marc Train, Robert Zabala, Darrell Anderson, Kyle Snyder , Corey Glass, Jeremy Hinzman, Kevin Lee, Joshua Key, 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, Chris Teske, Matt Lowell, Jimmy Massey, Chris Capps, Tim Richard, Hart Viges, Michael Blake, Christopher Mogwai, Christian Care, Kyle Huwer, Vincent La Volpa, DeShawn Reed and Kevin Benderman. In total, forty US war resisters in Canada have applied for asylum.

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

This week,
Iraq Veterans Against the War Adam Kokesh learned that the kangaroo 'court' on him had rendered a verdict: the honorably discharged marine was informed he'd received a general discharge from the IRR. Earlier, Geoffrey Millard (Truthout) reported on Kokesh and the compilation tells the story up through the news that came out Wednesday -- this is a video report. Kokesh states at the end, "I think what they were hoping to achieve with this decision is that because it won't effect my benefits the way an other-than-honorable-discharge would that I would go away quietly but that's not but that's not the case and I don't think they understood or any of the things that I've written or bothered to read the e-mail responses to the plea bargain but I'm standing on principle and we're going to contest this on principle and it's not going to go away."

Liam Madden and Cloy Richards are also targeted for speaking out against the illegal war.
Cloy's mother, Tina Richards wrote (at
Grassroots America) about their recent Memorial Day march, "He [Cloy] could have chosen to march with the Marines and received numerous cheers. For him, it's not a choice. He has a moral imperative to speak out to end this war, and for this he is booed. It is not an easy route to take, but the one our family has chosen. Our children are being killed and maimed as others celeberate and we will not let them forget it. That Memorial Day was one of distress; I waited to see if my son was going to make it through another tough day. Another memory of what Iraq wrough him. Would I walk in and find him with a gun in his mouth, or even worse, I didn't come in time. Every day I fear my son will not survive this war." The US military has no such concerns. They've been happy to launch a witch hunt and a campaign of intimidation and silence at Cloy Richards despite knowing full well that he suffers from PTSD. That was the US military's own 'special thank you' to Cloy Richards.

In different ways, it's a thank you they hand out to many as
Aaron Glantz (IPS) demonstrates as he explores the realities for today's returning Iraq veterans which already includes at least 400 homeless while Vietnam homeless veterans "did not usually become homelss until nine to 12 years after their discharge." Today, the Pentagon announces more money is needed for veterans. Kristin Roberts (Reuters) reports that the Pentagon announced today that America's "military's mental health system fails to meet the needs of troops and is too short of funds and staff to help service members sent to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan . . . Repeated and extended deployments to those war zones over the past five years have driven the need for mental health services higher, but resources have not climbed in response, members of a Defense Department task force said." Are you shocked and suprised? Then you must work for the alleged which made a point of denying this issue in 2004. Aaron Glantz notes, "A recent study by Harvard's Kennedy School of Government found that by the time the Iraq and Afghanistan wars end, there will be at least two and a half million vets. Because of that, the Harvard study concluded, Congress will have to double the VA's budget simply to avoid cutting services."

In Iraq,
John Ward Anderson and Joshua Partlow (Washington Post) report the escalation has reached its target and 28,500 additional US service members have been put on the ground and quote Giddy Gabor Sister II of the Green Zone, Chris Gaver, declaring the "we'll be able to execute the strategy as it was designed." Such a Happy Talker. In the real world, Andrew North (BBC) reports that fuel shortages in Baghdad are leading to massive lines (including one where the people went out at daybreak and over 900 were in line), notes that the Ministry of Oil has declared it "a crisis," and that the "attacks on bridges . . . have seriously disrupted fuel tanker traffic into the city." What, what? Didn't the US military, Garver in fact, at the start of the week assure the world that the bridge bombings were of little effect? Alissa J. Rubin (New York Times) reported Tuesday on Garver's reassurance that it was of no great consequence "because we have other resources, we have 20,000 troops on each side of the river" but did allow it may be "inconvenient for the people who live there". You think? (It's more than 'inconvenient' for the US military -- no matter how Garver spins it.)

This is the sort of thing
Matthew Rothschild (The Progressive) is addressing when he notes Iraq is "going to hell" while other things are focused on. Rothschild goes on to recount Admirall Fallon and John Negroponte 'lobbying' al-Maliki on the oil law "which would turn over Iraqi's liquid treasure to foreign corporations like ExxonMobil. This is the paramount concern of the Bush administration. It is being sold to the American people as a way to equalize revenues to various segments of Iraqi society. But the true reason for it is to line the pockets of U.S. oil executives." Marilyn Bechtel (People's Weekly World) notes that, in the US, "We rarely hear that a powerful labor movement is defending workers' rights, campaigning for an end to the U.S.-led occupation and for better daily living conditions for ordinary people, and upholding the Iraqi people's right to keep control of their country's great oil resources. This month, people across the U.S. are getting a glimpse of that other reality, as they hear from two Iraqi trade union leaders, Faleh Abood Umara, general secertary of the Oil Workers Union, and Hashmeya Muhsin Hussein, president of the Electrical Utility Workers Union and the first woman to head a national union in Iraq." The tour continues through the 29th and information is available at US Labor Against the War. Bechtel notes that during the tour thus far, they have met with AFL-CIO's John Sweeny as well as US Congress members Lynn Woolsey and Dennis Kucinich -- Kucinich is, of course, both a member of Congress and running for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination.

From the criminal theft of Iraqi oil to violence . . . It's Friday. Most are following the F-16 story or Robert Gates surprise visit.


Tina Susman (Los Angeles Times) reports a roadside bombing in Baghdad that left seven Iraqis injured. the mosque attacks continue today with Reuters noting that one in "Basra was destroyed" John Ward Anderson and Joshua Partlow (Washington Post) report "At least 13 Sunni mosques were attacked on Thursday" and today the mosque attacks continued with Reuters noting that one in "Basra was destroyed" today. AP informs that the attacks on the mosque began on Thursday with some damage and then, on Friday, a new attack ("planting bombs inside the structure and exploding it completely"). Deborah Haynes (Times of London) reports: "Only the front gate of the Talha Ibn Abdellah mosque was left standing after the gang planted bombs around the compound, blowing up two domes and a minaret."


CBS and AP note, "The remains of a Brazilian engineer who was kidnapped in Iraq in 2005 have been found and positively identified, the Brazilian foreign ministry said Thursday. The remains of engineer Joao Jose Vasconcellos were identified by forensic experts in Kuwait with support from Brazilian embassy personnel, the ministry said in a statement. It did not say when or where the remains were found, which arrived Thursday in the Brazilian city of Sao Paulo." From CNN: "Baghdad authorities also reported finding 25 bodies." [Reuters notes 5 corpses discovered in Baghdad yesterday.]

Robert Gates, US Secretary of Defense, made a surprise visit to Baghdad today. This follows an incident yesterday.
Thomas E. Ricks (Washington Post) reports that US Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid stated David Petraues "isn't in touch with what's going on in Baghdad" after he saw Thursday's USA Today Q&A where David Petraues gushed over alleged "astonishing signs of normalcy" in Baghdad. Senator John McCain, naturally, clutched his chest, wept and soldiered on as only Senator Crazy can do: with High Drama. CBS and AP report that, in Baghdad, Gates attempted to find a middle between the general and Senate Majority Leader Reid declaring the results to be "a mixed bag." No confirmation to rumors that Gates then hollered "Hit me! Papa's got a mixed bag!" while breaking it down old school with the Mashed Potato.

one of McClatchy Newspapers' Iraqi correspondents has posted (at Insided Iraq) about Falluja noting, "The city is under seige. You cann not go in only through certain checkpoints witha badge issued by the marines. The main soccer field in the city is now a cemetery. The only amusement park in the city was looted and destroyed; its trees were used by the locals to bake their bread. Now the former amusment park is intended to be the next cemetery. Instead of being the city of mosques it will be the city of cemeteries and this will be another achieveement of the invasion that residents of Fallujah will remember through generations." The correspondent goes on to note the need for burials, for cell phone service to be restored, electricity, water and notes that the US military does not allow people to come and go freely: "In a prison you can enter but you can not leave. In Fallujah you can not enter and you can not leave."

In media news, the latest episode of
Bill Moyers Journal airs on PBS in many markets tonight (check your local listings) and in a commentary in the latest episode, he notes:

We have yet another remarkable revelation of the mindset of Washington's ruling clique of neoconservative elites--the people who took us to war from the safety of their Beltway bunkers. Even as Iraq grows bloodier by the day, their passion of the week is to keep one of their own from going to jail.
It is well known that I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby--once Vice President Cheney's most trust adviser--has been sentenced to 30 months in jail for perjury. Lying. Not a white lie, mind you. A killer lie.
Scooter Libby deliberately poured poising into the drinking water of democracy by lying to federal investigators, for the purpose of obstructing justice. Attempting to trash critics of the war, Libby and his pals in high places -- including his boss Dick Cheney-- outed a covert CIA agent. Libby then lied to cover their tracks. To throw investigators off the trail, he kicked sand in the eyes of truth. "Libby lied about nearly everything that mattered," wrote the chief prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald.
The jury agreed and found him guilty on four felony counts.


You'll need to check out
Bill Moyers Journal. Remember, Hilda (Hilda's Mix) notes that, online, Bill Moyers Journal is welcoming to all -- it has text, audio and video. And that can't be stressed enough.

In other media news, as independent media continues to be under attack,
News Dissector Danny Schechter's "Special Blog: Can Our Media Channel Survive?" announces the potential fate of which may shut down: "If we can get 1500 of our readers (that means you) to give $25, we can keep going for another quarter. [PLEASE CLICK HERE TO MAKE A TAX-DEDUCTIBLE DONATION ONLINE]"

Finally, independent journalist John Pilger is on a speaking tour with his new book Freedom Next Time and his documentary Breaking the Silence: Truth and Lies in the War on Terror (which looks at DC, Afghanistan and Iraq). His next stop is Chicago for the 2007 Socialism conference. At 11:30 am Saturday June 16th, he and
Anthony Arnove will participate in a conversation, audience dialogue and book signing (Arnove is the author most recently of IRAQ: The Logic of Withdrawal) and that evening (still June 16th) at 7:30 Pilger will be at Chicago Crowne Plaza O'Hare (5440 North River Road, Rosemont, IL 60018) as part of a panel of international activists. To attend the conference, the fee is $85. For Saturday and Sunday only, the price is $70. To attend only one session, the cost is ten dollars. "Presented by The Center for Economic Research and Social Change, The Nation Institute, with support from the Wallace Global Fund. Co-sponsors: Obrera Socialista, Socialist Worker, International Socialist Review, and Haymarket Books. For ticket information, call 773-583-8665 or e-mail For media inquiries, contact (212) 209-5407 or For more information, email" The Socialism 2007 conference will take place in Chicago from June 14-17. Along with Pilger and Arnove, others participating will include Laura Flanders, Kelly Dougherty, Joshua Frank, Amy Goodman, Sharon Smith, Dave Zirin, Camilo Mejia, Jeremy Scahill, Jeffrey St. Clair and many others.