Saturday, January 12, 2008

Mushroom and Pepper Omelet

I had an e-mail asking about omelets. Jean wrote that her mother made the best omelets in the world but she can't seem to get the knack of it. We exchanged a few e-mails on the topic and the big problem appeared to be that Jean can't flip the omelet to cook the other side so it remains a large, fluffy circle.

That's something that requires a great deal of practice and, often, a lot of butter, spray or oil for beginners. But you don't have to flip it. If you eat out very often, you'll notice that most places now make omelets that are basically in the shape of a "D" and that's because it's far easier to make those. If you're attempting to make an omelet in a circle, I would advise you to use the smallest skillet you have. I have a huge non-stick one and my youngest daughter always thought she could manage an omelet easier in that but that's really not the case. You really need a small skillet that the omelet will fill up, then you go around it with the spatula and then you flip it with the spatula.

However, it is much easier to just fold it in half instead of flipping it -- hence the "D" shape -- when it's cooking and then flip the "D" over after if it's cooked some more.

Mushroom and Pepper Omelet
1 small can of mushrooms or 1 fresh mushroom chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
1 whole jalapeno pepper from a jar of them, chopped
dash of pepper
dash of Parmesan cheese
2 ounces of mozzarella cheese shredded
3 eggs

Break the 3 eggs in a bowl, add pepper and Parmesan cheese. Using a whisk or fork, stir repeatedly for about 1 minute. Add the onion, mushroom and jalapeno pepper. If you're using a spray, spray your skillet. If you're using an oil or butter or a butter substitute, add it to the skillet. Place the skillet on a stove burner. Stir the contents of the bowl and then add to the skillet (if you're using butter or a substitute, you'll need to allow time for it to melt). Pour the mixture from the bowl into the hot skillet.

If you're using butter, the temptation is to put the burner on high to melt the butter quickly. That's fine but you need to turn the burner to medium or medium low to cook the omelet. If you leave it on high, you're going to burn it.

As it cooks, the mixture will thicken. Use your spatula to make sure the edges do not stick. When you're ready to 'flip' it, instead of flipping, use the spatula to lift half of it and fold it over into a "D". This will cause some of the mixture to run so you'll allow it to cook for a bit more before flipping the "D" over.

When the "D" is sealed and cooked on both sides, the omelet is ready to serve.

I make garden omelets and many kinds of them. I went with those ingredients because they were Jean's favorites. However, you can leave out any of them -- you can make an omelet with just eggs and cheese -- or you can add anything you want. Olives -- green or black -- are very good. I've added celery before when I've had celery on hand for another dish and more than I needed for that dish. Anchovies will work, I have an aunt who loves them, but with those, tomatoes or anything damp or oily, you need to be sure that they cook.

By adding vegetables, you're increasing the nutritional value. Generally speaking, if it can be a pizza topping, it can go into an omelet. That includes meat toppings. If I'm making omelets for dinner, I might add meat -- chopped ham, Canadian Bacon, etc. -- but in the morning or afternoon, I generally just add vegetables. (Usually, onions, olives -- black and green -- and mushrooms.)

A note of caution if you're cooking it for someone. Do not be upset if they grab the catsup. Some people use it on eggs. When I first got married and cooked omelets, I was so offended when my husband added catsup to it. I thought it was saying, "I need to do something to make this taste good." His family, however, adds catsup to omelets and scrambled eggs. I had never encountered that before. I have a neighbor who adds honey to a cooked omelet and, these days, a number of people enjoy serving it with fresh salsa.

I've left out salt because the cheese should contain enough sodium for taste. But if you're someone who adds salt to everything, you can add a dash of it in the first step, when you're first mixing it in the bowl.

Please read Ava and C.I.'s excellent "TV: The Dead and Missing Persons." Between that and "Roundtable," Third really sets the bar. On the latter, Mike (Mikey Likes It!) left me a note to call C.I. before reading. C.I. does not like Dennis Kucinich. That's fine. And I certainly agree with it; however, the question in the e-mails is basically: Did you know?

Never. C.I. never said, "Trina, your support is wrong." C.I., in fact, helped me find things to note many weekends. But it was never an issue. I called C.I. (after church, I was on my way out when I saw the note) and asked what was up? C.I. explained what was discussed and made sure that I understood that my support wasn't a problem. I appreciated that but I wouldn't have doubted it myself because I knew it was a non-issue just by the fact that when I was happy I had picked Kucinich, C.I. was happy for me being happy. I have no idea who C.I. will support and believe 100% that C.I. doesn't even know right now. The Iraq War is a bit more important than front runners who don't want to end it.

Kucinich has no chance in winning. That's reality. He gave away his Iowa support and revealed himself not to be running a real campaign. I got an e-mail Friday that only drove that point home further:

URGENT: Help defend the rights of American voters
Once again, America is faced with questions about the integrity of machine-counted ballots and about the rights of Americans to decide for themselves who they should be allowed to vote for in this crucial Presidential election.
In New Hampshire, it's a question of whether votes were counted or manipulated. In Nevada, it's a question of whether the GE-owned NBC television network should have the power to decide who your choices should be for President.
The vote counts in New Hampshire are suspicious. And, today's decision by NBC to exclude Dennis from next week's Presidential debate - even though he met the criteria - is outrageous. And, we need your help to deal with both of these matters. Because of the unexplained disparities between hand-counted and machine-counted ballots in New Hampshire, Dennis has asked for a recount. "I am not making this request in the expectation that a recount will significantly affect the number of votes that were cast on my behalf," Dennis said in his letter to the Secretary of State of New Hampshire. But, he cited “serious and credible reports, allegations and rumors" that question the integrity of the machine-controlled process.
If New Hampshire agrees to a recount, this campaign will have to pay for it. And we can't investigate what happened in New Hampshire - or protect every other state in the Union - without your help.
Likewise, NBC and MSNBC have made a corporate decision to exclude the one and only voice who represents you and those things that the Democratic Party should stand for. If you are as outraged as we are, feel free to call:
NBC/MSNBC at ********************

email NBC/MSNBC at****************
PLEASE share this message with everyone you know so that the voice of the people will be heard and their votes WILL be counted.
Strength through Peace,
The Kucinich Campaign

It's Kucinich trying to glom on something that will get attention. He's not helping anyone. New Hampshire hasn't been up in arms about the results and no reports were made about voter fraud in real time. But it's one more stunt for him to pull that takes away from the issues and marginalizes him. It's not a real issue. If you believe fraud took place, it doesn't matter. You may believe a friend should leave her husband. If she doesn't share your opinion, you don't launch a "I WILL PROTECT HER!" campaign. It basically says that New Hampshire voters are too stupid to know a theft has taken place.

He says it won't change his results (it won't) and New Hampshire voters aren't taking to the streets. So this isn't about a real issue, this is one more attempt for him to play wack-job and get some press coverage that way -- he'll embrace the ridicule if only they'll mention his name.

He's being excluded from another debate! Oh my. He had nothing to offer but his jokes and they won't be missed. I made that point here somewhere awhile back, about how I wished he would stop trying to be funny. I said maybe others felt differently. But it really did bother me that the candidate I was taking seriously didn't appear to take his own campaign seriously.

I wasted my time and I wasted your time.

I'm going to try not to waste time in the future. For instance, no "impeachment!" talk here because it's now 2008 and, barring a discovery that forces the Dems to investigate, it's not happening. It's not happening in a state like Washington either. Maybe in Texas or a state where the Democrats don't have much pull. But the Democratic National Party does not want impeachment, has made that very clear. They will not allow it to go through.

The destruction of CIA videos of torture might change that. Sibel Edmunds talking in non-code might. But unless something emerges that forces the Congress to begin impeachment, it's not happening. The people cannot force it in the limited time Bully Boy is in office (he'll be gone in almost exactly one year) because the Democrats in power don't want it. They think it will hurt their chances at election so they're not going to do a thing.

I'm not trying to pee on anyone's parade. I would love nothing more than to see Bully Boy impeached. But it's an election year and those are rarely times of bravery. A stunning revelation could force Congress to act; however, with their inaction in 2007, I do not see it happening from we the people applying pressure. They have ignored us on the Iraq War and they have ignored us on impeachment.

So I won't be pushing impeachment here unless there's something that comes up, some revelation. I'll probably focus on the Iraq War, war resisters and topics like that.

I certainly won't be focusing on Kucinich's attention-getting stunts. I thought it was a huge mistake to go for impeachment of Cheney instead of Bully Boy. Supposedly, he was going for Cheney first. Well the Cheney motion is buried in committee and going nowhere.

I think a large portion of the people do support impeaching Bully Boy. I think going after Cheney is a big mistake. What I fear would happen, if the motion went forward, is that the media which is hostile to impeachment, would be issuing decrees (and when the press talks, politicians listen) so that if Cheney was impeached, the attitude of Congress would be, "That's over." There would be no higher up.

I'm basing that on Richard Nixon. He should have been impeached. Instead, Gerry Ford pardoned him. Ford was not called out for that (though he should have been) and the press was pleased as punch with Gerry. I think we'd see the press undermining an impeachment process (of Cheney) and, when it came to an end, if Congress had the guts to defy the establishment press, that would be all the guts they had. There would be no, "Now we go after the Bully Boy!" It would be, "We impeached Cheney!"

It is 2008, an election year. By September, I doubt Congress will be doing anything at all other than show votes. The House, where impeachment originates (the Senate tries the 'case'), has members who are elected every two years so everyone in the House will be up for re-election. In 2007, if they'd listened to the people, I think impeachment was possible; however, they didn't and the closer we get to the election, the less likely impeachment is.

If the White House declares war on Iran, that, supposedly, would lead to impeachment, based on statements by senators such as Joe Biden.

I do think Bully Boy (and Cheney) need to be impeached. I just do not see how we're going to see that happen in 2008. Maybe Cindy Sheehan's campaign will be so hugely popular (I don't doubt that it will be), that Nancy Pelosi will say, "Cindy, if you drop out of the race, I will move impeachment to the floor." That could bring about impeachment. So those really wanting impeachment could make a real difference by supporting Cindy Sheehan.

I know John Conyers said, on KPFK (because C.I. noted it and, suddenly, a day later, the impeachment blogger 'found' it) that Bully Boy could be impeached after he left office. Do we believe John Conyers?

I like Conyers but he's been up against Pelosi all last year and I can't imagine him having any real sway on this issue in 2009. I would like to believe he would. But I also know how the establishment press works which is to always say, "We need to move on." So if impeachment is impossible while Bully Boy's in office, I think trying to impeach him after he's out of office is even more difficult.

If you disagree with any of the points I'm making, that's great. Use your energy to prove me wrong. I'm not being sarcastic when I say that. If impeachment is your big issue, you should devote as much time as you can to it. I won't assume you're wasting your time because you really think it can happen. But, on my end, I don't see it happening and it would be false of me to blog otherwise.

Before Kucinich sold his supporters out by making a deal with Bambi Obama for Iowa, I was already beginning to wonder. I had doubt for about two weeks, serious doubts. He was still playing funny-guy and using a ton of time to talk about every issue in the world and defocus from his strongest points -- healthcare and the illegal war. Before the deal, my last post wasn't even about Kucinich. It was about Bambi and how people shouldn't get fooled.

So I was even more offended that Kucinich sold us out and told us to support Bambi.

And the lesson for me in it was that I'm blogging, from now on, in only what I strongly believe in. That's ending the illegal war. If you disagree with me, please start your own blog and advocate for what you believe in. Don't think, "Trina says it's not happening, so it's not." I could be wrong. If your reaction reading this is, "I disagree," please fight for what you believe in. Blogger/Blogspot is free and if I can do a blog, anyone can. So if you disagree, please consider starting your own site to make your case and get your voice out there.

This post was started last night and I completed about half of it. But we all looked at Rebecca (Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude), who was flushed and sweat was pouring off her. She had a nasty bug. Since she's a friend and a house guest, I offered to take care of but C.I. pointed out that my son and his wife had gone off for a weekend because I'd agreed to watch their baby. Point was, if I got sick, I would either be no help there or else pass it on to my grand baby. C.I. said Elaine (Like Maria Said Paz) gets so little time to spend with my other son (Mike) that they shouldn't give up 'relationship time.'

There's a point to this. C.I. was so tired but stayed up all night taking care of Rebecca (her husband was watching their baby). My grand baby woke up around three this morning and I took her into the kitchen to get a bottle. Rebecca's fever had finally broken and C.I. was in here working on the morning entry at The Common Ills (which Mike will post when all the community sites have posted this morning). And I thought about how we all expect C.I. to cover Iraq every day, every entry. C.I. shows a focus that no one else does. That's no one in the community, no one outside of it.

Think about paid media -- Big or Small -- and how they don't cover Iraq. Even if that's their alleged area. They drop it when Lebanon is under attack or when something else in the MidEast flares up. C.I. just stays focused on Iraq.

I supported Dennis Kucinich when I thought he was a real candidate. I supported him first and foremost because of his position on the illegal war. He's not a real candidate and pinning false hopes on his campaign isn't ending the illegal war. So, due to all the above, I just want to focus on what matters. I don't want to be like The Nation magazine, hopping all over the place and never having any impact.

Betty's latest chapter ("Unbelievable") is up, so please read that. Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" from yesterday:

Friday, January 11, 2008. Chaos and violence continue, false predictions come back to haunt the White House, Adam Kokesh and Cindy Sheehan receive good legal news, guess who's made an agreement with the US to transport Iraqi oil, and more.

Starting with war resisters. In 2005, David Hughey spoke at the
Veterans for Peace conference in Irving, Texas:

I am the father of Private
Brandon Hughey who is at this time in Canada. I'm basically a card-carrying Republican. Used to be.
My story basically began when my young son called me from Canada and told me that he didn't want to risk his life for Bush and Cheney's son. That cuased me a great deal of concern. As a matter of fact, it caused great conflicts. Our first several conversations over the telephone were basically fights.
But I started reading. I did a lot of research, an incredible amount of research. And I actually found myself not being able to believe what I was seeing happen to this country. So I sent my son basically a manifesto that said I support him. It took a lot out of me.
as I guess you can tell, I'm not much of a speaker.
So it's brought me to this point, basically, to make a long story short. You know, I've read the Constitution of the United States of America. I've read a lot of books written by a man named James Madison, a lot of things by Thomas Jefferson. When I did that, it helped me figure out that all of this is totally wrong.
I had some really good quotes, but I can't recall 'em off the top of my head.
I just thought I'd come up and introduce myself. I do support my son.

The speech can be found in journalist Peter Laufer's
Mission Rejected: U.S. Soldiers Who Say No to Iraq. Laufer co-hosts Washington Monthly Radio which will feature, among other guests, Gore Vidal on the January 13th broadcast. Jeremy Hinzman and Brandon Hughey were the first war resisters to publicy seek refugee status in Canada. November 15th, the Supreme Court of Canada refused to hear the appeals of war resisters Jeremy Hinzman and Brandon Hughey. Parliament is the solution.Three e-mails addresses to focus on are: Prime Minister Stephen Harper ( -- that's pm at who is with the Conservative party and these two Liberals, Stephane Dion ( -- that's Dion.S at who is the leader of the Liberal Party and Maurizio Bevilacqua ( -- that's Bevilacqua.M at who is the Liberal Party's Critic for Citizenship and Immigration. A few more can be found here at War Resisters Support Campaign. For those in the US, Courage to Resist has an online form that's very easy to use. Both War Resisters Support Campaign and Courage to Resist are calling for actions from January 24-26. The War Resisters Support Campaign has more on the action in Canada:

The War Resisters Support Campaign has called a pan-Canadian mobilization on Saturday, January 26th, 2008 to ensure : 1) that deportation proceedings against U.S. war resisters currently in Canada cease immediately; and 2) that a provision be enacted by Parliament ensuring that U.S. war resisters refusing to fight in Iraq have a means to gain status in Canada. For listings of local actions, see our
Events page. If you are able to organize a rally in your community, contact the Campaign -- we will list events as details come in.

Courage to Resist notes:

Join and support January 25 vigils and delegations in support of U.S. war resisters currently seeking sanctuary Canada.
Actions are being planned in Washington D.C., New York, Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles. Supporters will meet with officials at Canadian Consulates across the United States in order underscore that many Americans hope that the Canadian Parliament votes (possible as early as February) in favor of a provision to allow war resisters to remain. Download and distribute Jan. 25-26 action leaflet (PDF).Supporting the war resisters in Canada is a concrete way to demonstrate your support of the troops who refuse to fight. Help end the war by supporting the growing GI resistance movement today!
Details January 25-26 actions/events in support of U.S. war resisters.
Sign the letter "Dear Canada: Let U.S. War Resisters Stay!" and encourage others to sign.
Organize a delegation to a
Canadian Consulate near you .
Host an event or house-party in support of war resisters.

There is a growing movement of resistance within the US military which includes James Stepp, Rodney Watson, Michael Espinal, Matthew Lowell, Derek Hess, Diedra Cobb,
Brad McCall, Justin Cliburn, Timothy Richard, Robert Weiss, Phil McDowell, Steve Yoczik, Ross Spears, Peter Brown, Bethany "Skylar" James, Zamesha Dominique, Chrisopther Scott Magaoay, Jared Hood, James Burmeister, Eli Israel, Joshua Key, Ehren Watada, Terri Johnson, Carla Gomez, Luke Kamunen, Leif Kamunen, Leo Kamunen, Camilo Mejia, Kimberly Rivera, Dean Walcott, Linjamin Mull, Agustin Aguayo, Justin Colby, Marc Train, Abdullah Webster, Robert Zabala, Darrell Anderson, Kyle Snyder, Corey Glass, Jeremy Hinzman, Kevin Lee, Mark Wilkerson, Patrick Hart, Ricky Clousing, Ivan Brobeck, Aidan Delgado, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, Blake LeMoine, 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, Wilfredo Torres, Michael Sudbury, Ghanim Khalil, Vincent La Volpa, DeShawn Reed and Kevin Benderman. In total, at least fifty 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 [(877) 447-4487], 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. In addition, VETWOW is an organization that assists those suffering from MST (Military Sexual Trauma).

IVAW is organizing a March 2008 DC event:

In 1971, over one hundred members of Vietnam Veterans Against the War gathered in Detroit to share their stories with America. Atrocities like the My Lai massacre had ignited popular opposition to the war, but political and military leaders insisted that such crimes were isolated exceptions. The members of VVAW knew differently.
Over three days in January, these soldiers testified on the systematic brutality they had seen visited upon the people of Vietnam. They called it the Winter Soldier investigation, after Thomas Paine's famous admonishing of the "summer soldier" who shirks his duty during difficult times. In a time of war and lies, the veterans who gathered in Detroit knew it was their duty to tell the truth.
Over thirty years later, we find ourselves faced with a new war. But the lies are the same. Once again, American troops are sinking into increasingly bloody occupations. Once again, war crimes in places like Haditha, Fallujah, and Abu Ghraib have turned the public against the war. Once again, politicians and generals are blaming "a few bad apples" instead of examining the military policies that have destroyed Iraq and Afghanistan.
Once again, our country needs Winter Soldiers.
In March of 2008, Iraq Veterans Against the War will gather in our nation's capital to break the silence and hold our leaders accountable for these wars. We hope you'll join us, because yours is a story that every American needs to hear.
Click here to sign a statement of support for Winter Soldier: Iraq & Afghanistan

March 13th through 16th are the dates for the Winter Soldier Iraq & Afghanistan Investigation.

Yesterday, we ntoed that Maria Lauterbach had been missing since mid-December. The soldier who was eight months pregnant when she went missing is now said to have been murdered and CNN reports that Onslow Country Sherriff Ed Brown stated today that they are looking for her corpse and that Ceasar Armando Lauren ("a fellow Marine whom Lauterbach had accused of sexual assault") is a suspect. WTOL quotes family neighbor Kent Zimmerman saying that Maria Lauterbach was "very polite, very respectful." The Cleveland Leader states, "According to court documents, the anticipated birth of Lauterbach's baby 'might provide evidentiary credence to charges that she was sexually assaulted by a senior military person.' Investigators also said that the military had been pursuing rape charges against Lauren, and had plans to hold a hearing in December."

Currently there is tension in Australia and England over the issue of blood provided by the US in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Richard Norton-Taylor (Guardian of London) reports, "British soldiers and civilians contractors seriously injured in Iraq and Afghanistan are being tested for HIV, hepatitis and other diseases as a health campaigners reacted angrily to the news that they had been given blood from American donors who [had] not been properly screened. British defence officials confirmed that the US military had not followed its own procedures by testing all the donors after the blood was given to 18 British service personnel and six civilians." The Daily Mall reports that Frances Shine, whose son Steve Shine lost "his left leg when his tank was blown up in Basra, southern Iraq" and who now must wait to find out if he received tainted blood. In Australia, Mark Dodd (The Australian) reports, "Defence officials are urgently checking whether Australian soldiers have been exposed to contaminated blood amid fears 18 British troops wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan received tainted transfusions. . . . ADF spokesman Brigadier Andrew Nikolic said he believed the risk of Australian troops being infected was low but checks were being made." The Australian Defence Force spokesperson states, "It's a very low probability any of our people would have been infected." Michael Evans (Times of London) explains, "The Pentagon revealed at a meeting in Washington in early November that, according to its records, 11 British servicemen had received life-saving blood transfusions from American volunteer donors at US military centres in Iraq and Afghanistan over the six-year period. None of the donors had been pre-screened to detect for any sign of HIV, hepatitis C, syphilis or other blood diseases." CNN quotes the UK undersecretary of defense Derek Twigg stating, "The (U.S. Defense Department) has told us that for the British service personnel they have records for, they know that the blood that they received is clean. However they do admit that their records are incomplete." Thomas Harding (Telegraph of London) points out, "The infections could have occurred any time between 2001 and last year to soldiers or civilian security guards who needed emergency blood transfusion while being treated in American field hospitals in Iraq or Afghanistan." Pay attention to this from the CBC: "In emergency situations, military forces sometimes use other coalition medical facilities, blood or blood products if they are available sooner, the ministry explained on its website. If supplies are exhausted, medical officials use emergency donor panels which are later screened." The warning went out in November -- so why did the UK wait so long to notify anyone? And when you put the above together, it may apply to US service members serving in Iraq and Afghanistan as well. The US military supplied the blood -- not some US hospital's mobile blood bank doing runs through Ramadi.

Yesterday at the US State Department, the department's deputy spokesperson
Tom Casey delivered the briefing. He was asked, "Mr. Casey, on Turkey, do you favor a political dialogue between Turkey and the Kurdish organization PKK?" He rsponsed, "We favor putting the PKK out of business. It's a terrorist organization. . . . We want a political dialogue between the Government of Turkey and the Government of Iraq, which is ongoing and continuous, over how to defeat the PKK. I don't believe anyone in the U.S. Administration has ever called for dialogue with a terrorist organization." That was yesterday. Today Reuters reports, "Turkish artillery shelled northern Iraq on Friday morning, but there were no immediate reports of any casualties or material damage, a Kurdish government official said." This as Reuters reports that Turkey and the US have reached an agreement where "Turkey will help the United States to operate and transport neighbouring Iraq's oil as part of its drive to become an energy hunb" according Hilmi Guler, the Energy Minister of Turkey.

Meanwhile, the escalation is set to wind down in Iraq.
Thomas E. Ricks and Karen DeYoung (Washington Post) noted yesterday that it was one year since Bully Boy announced that the "surge" would take place (and Congress, of course, rolled over offering only 'symbolic' resistance). Ricks and DeYoung observe, "In many cases -- particularly on the political front -- Iraqi solutions bear little resemblance to the ambitious goals for 2007 that Bush laid out in his speech to the nation last Jan. 10. 'To give every Iraqi citizen a stake in the country's economy, Iraq will pass legislation to share oil revenues among all Iraqis,' he pledged. 'Iraqis plan to hold provincial elections later this year . . . the government will reform de-Baathification laws, and establish a fair process for considering amendments to Iraq's constitution.' Although some progress has been made and legislation in some cases has begun to slowly work its way through the parliament, none of these benchmarks has been achieved. Nor has the government of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki taken over security responsibility for all 18 provinces, as Bush forecast it would. Last month's transfer of Basra province by British forces brought to nine the number of provinces under Iraqi control." There were no provincial elections, there was nothing. Yesterday, in a Pentagon briefing, US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates declared, "And so I think that our hope is that in the relatively near future we will see some progress on one or more of the key pieces of legislation that we've talked about at the national level, but we clearly are hoping that the reconciliation and improvement in the political environment that has taken place at the local and provincial level over the past number of months will now meet further progress coming at the national level." Yes, we have repeatedly heard that song and dance every year of the illegal war.

As the US Institute of Peace's Barbara Slavin (on leave from USA Today) declared on the second hour of NPR's
The Diane Rehm Show today, "One disturbing note, I mean, there has been an increase in violence apart from the US combat. There have been more suicide bombings, more attacks. It seems to be stepping up again. So you know, we've had all these stories celebrating the surge and saying what a huge success it's been, obviously it has not succeed in securing the country." To see the failures of Bully Boy you don't have to drop back a year. South of Baghdad and Diyala Province (to the north) are targeted for slaughter this week. In ten minutes Thursday, 40,000 pounds of bombs were dropped outside of Arab Jabour and Jamie Gumbrecht and Nancy A. Youssef (McClatchy Newspapers) remind the administration "recently held" the region "up as a security success" with Bully Boy, speaking in November, declaring, "Slowly but surely the people of Iraq are reclaiming a normal society. You see, when Iraqis don't have to fear the terrorists, they have a chance to build better lives for themselves."

From Bully Boy's November 2, 2007 speech at Fort Jackson, South Carolina (remember, he can't really appear before the general public with his disapproval ratings):

Here's what this progress means to one shopkeeper in the former al Qaeda stronghold of Arab Jabour. He's a local butcher. He says that as recently as June, he was selling only one or two sheep per week. Now, the terrorists cleaned out and residents returning home, he's selling one or two sheep per day. Slowly but surely, the people of Iraq are reclaiming a normal society. You see, when Iraqis don't have to fear the terrorists, they have a chance to build better lives for themselves. You must undertand an Iraqi mom wants her child to grow up in peach just like an American mom does.

Does that "Iraqi mom" see the bombs falling and say, "It's okay, it's just the US bombing us this time?" Or does she it as terrorism as well? In the same speech, Bully Boy got a qucik shout out to Diyala Province, "In Diyala province, tribal groups come together for the first time to foster reconcillation." The 'success' stories only a two months ago has fallen apart and civilian populations are now being targeted in collective punishment which is in violation of the Geneva Conventions. As
Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) noted today, "The US is claiming success in a massive air-strike campaign sough of Baghdad. More than 40,000 pounds of bombs were dropped on the Arab Jabour district in one of the most intense air attacks since the US invasion. . . . The Pentagon says no civilians were killed but the claim hasn't been independently verified." However, in their briefing yesterday Gates babbled on -- apparently thinking no one was listening -- and declared the latest attacks on the population were going well because "frankly, after these places, there's not much else -- not many places they can go." That statement led to this, "Three follow-ups, then. The current bombing south of Baghdad, after this you say there's not many places they can go. I mean, after this, is it all over? And what should Americans, after yesterday seeing -- nine service members killed in Iraq, what would you say to the American people? Should they still expect days of heavy casualties? What do you forecast?" Gates had no real replies but noted he didn't find it to be "a suprise" that the US would "see some higher casualties" -- all heart -- and that "this job is not finished. There is more to do." Yeah, we've heard that every year of the illegal war as well.

But, hey,
speaking with NBC's David Gregory today (link has text and video), Bully Boy showed no concern. NBC reports: "Asked about recent comments by Republican presidential hopefuly Sen. John McCain that it would be fine to have a U.S. military presence in Iraq for 100 years, Bush said it's up to Iraq. 'That's a long time,' he said, adding that there could 'very well be' a long-term U.S. presence in Iraq at the invitation of the government in Baghdad. When asked if it could be 10 years, Bush replied, 'It could easily be that, absolutely."

So, as Barbara Slavin noted, "Obviously" the escalation has "not succeeded in securing" Iraq.

It's Friday, very little violence gets reported. Among the reported violence today . . .


Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad car bombing claimed 2 lives with eight more wounded. Reuters notes a Mahmudiya roadside bombing that left three police officers injured.

US military announces it shot 2 people yesterday and labels them "terrorists" -- strangely the 11 also arrested are just "suspects". If you die, you're a terrorist, apparently.


Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 3 corpses discovered in Baghdad.

IVAW co-chair
Adam Kokesh blogs, "After the government had three and a half months to preapre their case against those of us challenging our arrests from September 15th, the case finally went to trial January 3rd. Sort of. One of my tendefendants, Sholom Keller had come down from Philadelphia the day before and was staying at our new house in the Petworth neighborhood where our new office is set up. S**** ***** (an active duty US Army soldier and member of IVAW) who had been present on September 15th came up from Pensacola as a witness." "How do you resist liars?" Kokesh asked speaking to the September 15th rally before answering, "Speak the truth. How do you stop a war based on lies? It starts with the truth!" He ended his speech (available in full here) stating, "Today may very well mark the beginning of the American anti-fascism revolution. March with us. Honor the dead with us. If you are willing to risk arrest, lie in the street, if not, lie in the grass. Die-in when you hear the air raid sirens. Raise your voice and your fist with us in defiance to send a message to our leadership. If you will not make peace for us, we will make it for ourselves! Power to the people!" As Karissa Marcum (The Hill) reported that day, approximately 200 demonstrators were arrested, "[a]t least two protestors were pepper-sprayed after they tried to breach the police barricade on the west end of the Capitol. The men joined the 187 other anti-war activists who were arrested after crossing a police line. One person was charged with a felony. Iraq Veterans Against the War co-chairman-elect Adam Kokesh stood on the concrete fence and was arrested by Capitol Police wearing riot gear." In other peace and legal news, Reuters reports, "A U.S. appeals court on Friday overturned Iraq war protester Cindy Sheehan's conviction for demonstrating without a permit on the White House sidewalk in 2005 and ordered a new trial. The unanimous three-judge panel ruled that Sheehan's conviction had been based on errors of law by the magistrate judge that eliminated the prosecutor's burden to show her criminal intent." On a related note, this Sunday, January 13th, the Green Party presidential debate is held in San Francisco (moderated by Cindy Sheehan) with Cynthia McKinney, Kent Mesplay, Jard Bell, Kat Swift, Jesse Johnson Jr. and Ralph Nader to participate. The Green Party notes, "The first, and only, live debate between candidates on the Green Party's California ballot for President of the United States - featuring a former Democratic Party member of Congress, consumer protection icon, professor and environmental engineer - is scheduled here January 13, said John Morton of the Green Party Presidential Debate Committee." The debate starts at two p.m., Herbst Theater in the Veterans Memorial Building on 401 Van Ness Avenue.

Today a photo exhibit of the work of artist and journalist
David Bacon opens at the Galeria de la Raza (2857 24th St, San Francisco 94110): "Living under the trees" "Viviendo bajo los arboles." The exhibit is from January 11th through February 23rd (Enero 11 - Febrero 23, 2008). "An exhibition documenting communities of indigenous Mexican farm workers in California through photographs and the narrative experiences of community residents and leaders" y "Una exposicion que documenta a traves de fotografias y testmonios de lideres y residentes las comundades indigenas de campesinos mexicanos." Inauguracion de exposicion (Opening Reception) Enero 11 7:30 p.m. (January 11th). Y mesa redonda de fotografos (photographers' panel) Sabado, Enero 26, 2:00 p.m. (photographers' panel, Saturday, January 26). And on WBAI, Sunday, The Next Hour features Malachy McCourt (broadcasts NYC, streams live online, 11:00 am to noon) while Monday's Cat Radio Cafe finds Janet Coleman and David Dozer joined by Hattie Gossert (author of "the immigrant suite: hey zenophobe! who you calling a foreigner?), Paul Browde and Murray Nossel (from the Barrow Street Fortnight's Two Men Talking), Dan Barrett (International Street Cannibals) and the latest on the Save Carnegie Hall Towers actions. Lastly in audio Time 4 Hemp is a podcast (free podcast) whose broadcasts feature, among others Ed Rosenthal (a regular guest on Kris Welch's Living Room), Tere Joyce, Keith Stroup, Steve Hager, Allen St. Pierre, Steve Bloom, Jack Cole, Gatewood Galbraith and Carl Olsen. Upcoming interviews will include Andy Dick.

jeremy hinzmanbrandon hughey