Saturday, July 12, 2008

Gumbo in the Kitchen

This recipe is one you're going to play with it and I'm just going to talk through it and start in right now.

If you can find a 14.5 ounces can of okra, tomatoes and corn (all in the same can) that is less expensive than frozen, but two of them. If you can find a mixture in the frozen section that is less expensive (that would be a one pound bag), grab two of them. It will be easier for you with either of those two as a base. You will need shrimp or clams. You can find either in a can but, on shrimp, check the frozen first to make sure there's not a better deal on "salad shrimp." Sometimes there is. You're looking at two to three dollars for shrimp and you can usually get a can of clams cheaper than two dollars. This is either shrimp or crab. You do not need both. You need one clove of garlic -- you can used garlic powder if pressed but a clover of garlic is better. You will need two cans of crushed or diced tomatoes (14.5 ounces). You will need 1 stick of butter (or butter substitue). If your store carries a Cajun spice and you can afford it, that will make it simpler. If not, you need chili powder. Salt and pepper, I will assume you have in your home. You will need one bag of cie that you cook according to the directions on the bag. One onion (white, yellow or red) will extend the dish but it's not necessary. If you use an onion, you need to dice it. You will need two eight ounce cans of tomato sauce.

Cook the rice according to directions. You can cook the entire bag and save any leftovers. Regardless of whether you cook some or all of the rice, keep it covered after you're done cooking. Remove the pan from the burner to a cold one on the stove so it does not overcook, but leave covered. This will keep it warm.

Mince or dice the garlic clove. In a large pan (a dutch oven works well), place a half of sticke of butter (or butter substitue) and melt down slowly with the garlic (if you're using a diced onion, add the onion as well). Slowly. You want the burner to be on as low heat as possible. You want to stir the garlic (and onion if you're using it) around. As it begins to melt down, you should add pepper and a spice (Cajun or chili powder -- you can also add cumin if you have it, cumin added to Cajun or chili powder). Add the shrimp or clams. Continue stirring the mixture. Add your vegetables. That is your two bags of frozen or your cans and continue stirring. The reason you are using two cans of diced tomatoes regardless of whether you use frozen or canned for the okra and corn is to extend the dish. You are going to have a very large pan of gumbo. Turn the heat up to medium or a little less below the half way point and you'll still need to stir but not as often. When the mixture begins to bubble, add more seasoning and more pepper. If you're using salt, you can add a dash then as well. Stir it well. Then stop stirring and wait for the bubbles to start again. Allowing it to go to a boil will not ruin the dish but you want to take it just to the bubbling part again. When that happens, turn off the heat, add the two cans of tomato sauce and the remaining half stick of butter and stir in so that it is blended and you don't have a yellow streak in the dish.

Place rice on the plates. You want to make a bed of rice, so spread the rice out evenly. Rice is less expensive. How much of the gumbo you place on the rice is up to you. You can drown it in gumbo or use sparingly. If you have children, you or they can add more pepper if they like pepper. I would not recommend adding more salt.

Any leftovers (a large family will have none) will be put in covered containers in the fridge. Do not place the rice and the gumbo in the same container. It may seem that is easier and will take up less space. However, if you do that, the sauce from the gumbo will be absorbed by the rice. So keep them in two different containers. If you are heating one plate, you can put rice, topped with gumbo onto a plate and heat that in the microwave. If you're reheating for a meal, you can reheat the gumbo in the mircowave by itself, just pop the container in the microwave. For the rice, add a teaspoon of water before placing that container in the microwave. For stovetop reheating, you can just heat the gumbo in a pan but add two teaspoons of water to a pan for the rice. You can reheat the gumbo on the stove at medium heat. For the rice, you will need to reheat on the stove on low and you will need to stir throughout the heating process. If you don't have a microwave and are reheating rice on the stove, remember that you can just reheat to get it warm because you will be heating the gumbo until it is hot and it will further warm the rice.

After you've made this the first time, you may want to use more or less spice next time. That's your call. You may feel that it came out just right and you had enough. But if you feel that you need to extend it, you can add one cup of water to the gumbo and you should do that when you add the vegetables (on that step).

If you run out of rice but have left over gumbo, you can make some more rice or you can use the gumbo to make a cocktail -- even if you used clams. If you've had a shrimp cocktail before, you know what to do, just fill a small glass with the mixture. You can squeeze some lime on it.

If you have leftover gumbo and do not want to make more rice or make cocktails (or you use the leftover rice for another dish or just want some variety), you can serve the gumbo on a plate without rice, but with slices of toast. (Standard slice bread toasted is fine.) You can also put the mixture on two pieces of slice bread (toasted is best) and have a sandwich.

A woman wrote me that her children have never had leftovers until gas spiked. She wasn't tossing out the food, they have two dogs and the dogs got the leftovers in the past. The children are approaching their teens -- which can mean finicky -- and they look down on leftovers. She asked that I provide something ("anything please!") on leftovers. I don't believe the country's current economic problems are temporary. But as it takes awhile for that to be grasped by finicky eaters, I would suggest on any leftover that you can make sandwiches. On this dish, if you have leftovers, toast sliced bread, spoon the mixture onto a slice. If you want, you can place a slice of cheese on top (the mixure should be hot so the cheese should melt with no additional prompting on your part). Place another piece of toast on top. Were I doing that, I would then cut the sandwich in half, place both on a plate and put a vegetable in between. Corn, green beans, whatever. The woman who wrote should probably do the sandwiches two days later at the earliest because her kids are so finicky. Have a different meal in between the two. Then when the sandwiches show up, it's not, "Oh, this is what we ate last night but on bread."

On containers, Louise had a suggestion that I enjoyed. I have too much tupperware. Until a holiday (Thanksgiving, Christmas, Fourth of July, Labor Day, Easter) at which point my cabinets are bare as everyone takes home leftovers. But Louise wrote a wonderful e-mail noting uses she found for one container and why she ended up with that container.

Back in 1991, she was in college. She worked on campus in the registrar's office and also on campus for the campus police (writing tickets). She took a full course load, had two part-time jobs and loans. Still she was hurting for money and had to make every penny count. She has a sweet tooth and loves ice cream. She would buy the large, generic pail of ice cream in the plastic container and justify that by the fact that it was inexpensive ice cream and, after the container was empty, she would have a covered container she could use in the fridge or freezer. In 2000, she and her husband and children moved into their first home and money was tight again. Her children inherited her sweet tooth and it was not a Friday night if they couldn't have some ice cream so she returned to the generic, plastic container. She writes that was the best thing she could have done because it was a huge help in terms of pasta. She'd forgotten (until 2000) that she used to cook a sauce on the weekend (when she was off from both jobs) and put that in the fridge to use later in the week.

We can go over her recipe next week unless I get requests for other dishes in the e-mails next week. I know some of you have already been using pasta non-stop. That's why we went with gumbo. In the gumbo dish, you have okra, corn, tomatoes and garlic, so you have covered your vegetable servings. And those on a meatless diet can cook the gumbo (with the recipe above) and just omit shrimp or clams. We ended up with six test kitchens assembling that recipe. Crab was tried, but it did not work for two. If you feel like trying it, you can use crab. A can of tuna actually did work in the place of shrimp or clams. So if the above seemed out of your means or you need to economize further, you can make the recipe with a can of tuna.

To make it even simpler, I did a talk through as opposed to the standard recipe format of ingredients listed and then directions.

For those who want to add to the recipe, a green salad and or bread goes nicely.

There are fancier recipes for gumbo, that is a basic and you can refine it yourself. Three of the cooks were making it for the first time and we did experiment with fresh vegetables. Okra was a problem for some. So we switched to canned or frozen and the results worked well with no problems for anyone.

Norma made a discovery while making the dish that I thought I would share. In her home neighborhood, there is your standard grocery chain. She generally buys her produce there. However, she was constantly needing new cans and there is a grocery store across from her work. It's not a chain, a small store that mainly serves Latino. She found that the produce was the same quality but a lot cheaper. (For example, Roma tomatoes run for $1.99 a pound at her home chain but were going for 69 cents a pound at the non-chain by her work.) If you have something similar, you might try checking the prices. I do not recommend you drive across town on a special trip to save some money because you'll be spending more on gas and you'll be adding to the pollution. But, as Norma pointed out, sometimes you pass things without ever noticing them. She is saving tremendously on produce now.

I am so happy for Joshua Key. July 4th, Judge Robert Barnes issued his opinion which was that Canada's Immigration and Refugee Board needs to revisit their decision not to give him refugee status. This is very big and hopefully will result in the granting of some form of status for himself, his wife Brandi and their four kids.

Elaine wrote about a report of Corey Glass' reaction to the news that he was not being deported July 10th and that the deportation order is being re-examined. Like Elaine, it is less easy for me to feel happy for Glass because the article does not portray him as happy.

A few of you may remember the book Mommy Dearest. I do not know if Christina Crawford told the truth of being abused or not. Since the book's publication, a number of people have disputed it (including her two sisters). Leaving aside the validity of whether or not she was abused, I remember coming to a section where she was complaining about some money being spent on something and wrote something like "but the school bills were still not paid." Now maybe Christina was asked by the headmistress of her private school about the bills constantly each day? I have no idea. But when I read the book, that's when I rejected it as true.

To me, that was a spoiled child and made me question the honesty of other comments. Natalie Wood went to a public school (the same one that Robert Redford went to, which I did not know until I was discussing this topic with C.I. last night). Here was a young woman going to private schools and the purchase by Joan Crawford of whatever it was seemed to have been a present for Christina or something Christina could take part in. But there was Christina whining about how that was bought and the school bills still weren't paid. If the book had been written by Joan Crawford's husband or lover who lived with her, there might have been a point. But Christina wasn't paying the bills and, as a student and child, shouldn't have been asked about them. (Maybe she was.) It just seemed to me that Christina really worked overtime not to be happy and made me feel the entire book was a grudge settling which is why I wasn't surprised when so many began disputing the accounts of the book.

A lot of people wanted to be happy for Corey Glass. The article Elaine notes makes that pretty difficult. Hopefully, that was due to the writer of the article and not Glass himself.

One could argue that this was not refugee status being granted or that the deporation order might be reinforced.

While that is true, so is the fact that this was a victory.

The article made Corey Glass come off like a sad sack. Debbie Downer is the character from Saturday Night Live that I thought of.

It is easy to say that Glass didn't ask to be a poster boy and should be honest about who he is and what he feels. There is validity in that.

It is equally true that people have spent months urging the Canadian parliament to take action. They did that last month (in a non-binding manner). During that time and since, actions have been taken to pressure the prime minister, Stephen Harper, and the official over immigration and citizenship to take action and let the war resisters stay.

When a victory, however small, comes about, it needs to be treated as such.

Instead, we got an article that seemed to star Debbie Downer and will make it that much harder to rally in the future.

In the US, those of us who want to end the illegal war have seen nothing but empty promises. The Democrats told us if they were in charge of just one house of Congress, things would change. In November 2006, we went to the polls and gave them control of both houses.

If you missed it, the illegal war continues.

We suffer from an idealized image of Canada. (In reality, it's implementing many of the same police state policies as the US.) And a victory, even a small one, can be enough to encourage further actions. It can energize.

But when a victory results in the victor seeming less than happy or even pleased, it is hard to rally. It is depressing.

The response might be, "Well you just aren't serious enough!"

That's a cop out and a bunch of crap. That's the sort of thing you hear from people whose entire lives are lost causes. Those are lost causes because so few care about them and/or willing to work for them. People's time is limited. They devote their energies in ways that they feel can make a difference.

Corey Glass just smiling in a photo could have lifted everyone's spirit and given renewed energy to all. Corey Glass sounding the least bit happy about what happened could have done the same.

Instead it was several photos of a glum Corey Glass who went on to gripe non-stop in the article.

Debbie Downer.

He did make time to endorse Barack Obama. Which is laughable to anyone in the US who's been trying to end the illegal war. C.I. wasn't wrong last week when noting the Cult of Barack in the 'movement.' Remember when, in this country, we thought we'd see impeachment?

Howard Zinn has noted that politicians don't end wars, people do.

Considering the non-stop apologize for Barack's caving on FISA, the LYING (especially in the nonsense CounterSpin brought you) on his caving on public finance (which has now destroyed public financing for future presidential elections), the rush to justify his offensive statements about women while allegedly addressing the topic of abortion (which he doesn't like personally -- apparently he got pregnant at some point, had an abortion and was able to make a personal judgment) and so much more, it is obvious that his groupies (passed off as a 'movement') will never pressure him. Should he be elected, they will excuse his behavior until it's too late and he's out of office. In much the same way that they did Bill Clinton.

I'm not a Bill Clinton groupie. But when people rallied in this country, we could see an impact. Those unhappy about the Clinton years (which were much better years than what we have seen since Clinton left office) might want to ask themselves what they were doing during that time?

I see no pressure on Barack. I read Norman Solomon's nonsense. In what world is an allegedly 'independent' 'media critic' also not just declared for a candidate but a delegate for the candidate to a political convention? The whole thing reeks of incest and compromised ethics.

I really don't care about the indiviual Corey Glass at all.

When Robin Long was arrested last year and was released, he was happy. He's someone who made you happy for him. As an individual, I like Robin. While I support war resisters period, I don't have to like them individually and I no longer care for Glass or his friends who like to write nasty, little e-mails.

Corey Glass came off as depressed and depressing in the article (and that wasn't the first article he came off as that in). Between his comments and his 'friends' and their nasty e-mails, I do not care for him.

People brought him a victory. From all over the world, working together, they provided him with a victory. There was no sense of gratitude from him and there was no sense of happiness.

When someone doesn't appear grateful and doesn't appear happy, you find other things to focus on. We had a woman who lived on our block for seven years. Everyone dreaded her. You never wanted to ask, "How are you doing?" or "Are you having a good day?" You'd get a half-hour of complaints. The smart thing to do was, when spotting her, holler a greeting with a smile but not break your stride. The greeting would be a "hello" or "nice to see you." After six months, we'd realized that "How are you doing?" should be avoided. At one point, her mother (who lived elsewhere and none of us ever met) passed away. We all made food for her when she returned.

And she insulted everyone of us. Either someone's dish wasn't enough or she didn't care for it. It had too much this or too little that. One family had made brownies and she'd complained about how few of the brownies there were. That family had a father out of work (taking part in a strike) and a child who had just gotten braces before the strike started. The world did not revolve around that woman but everything was judged (by her) by how it effected her and only her.

Corey Glass was handed a victory (however big or small) and it was a victory for all war resisters and for the people all over the world who did something to make it happen. All he could offer was glum and gripes.

Elaine was far kinder than I feel. I saw many other articles of whining.

And I never saw the article where he pointed out deserters were welcomed in Canada before. The one point he needed to make to the press never made it into an article. Did he not make it?

If not, it's apparently all about Corey.

Not unlike that neighbor. We had the largest party on the block when she finally moved away.

C.I. -- who can always take the high road -- pointed out to me that inteviews, for some people, were a form of therapy. That may be true. But when you will most likely need additional help from around the world, it's probably not wise to constantly present your demons and your warts.

A smile, an acknowledgement that something good had happened (even in one fleeting comment), would have lifted and rallied people around the world.

That was apparently too much for Glass to offer. Debbie Downer.

I believe it was Brandon Hughey who, back in December, cautioned that the motion decided on was a step but noted that it was hard not to feel happy about it. That I understood, that I embraced.

I am a woman who raised eight children and assumed those days were over. I am now the primary female in my new grandchild's life. My free time has disappeared. (My joys have increased.) What I do and don't work on offline will have to matter to me. Helping someone who never seems happy about anything isn't worth it to me. I've changed diapers all day, forget anything else, and I'm worn out.

On that topic, my daughter-in-law has filed for divorce. She does not want even joint-custody of the child. I am making no judgment on that. I have no ill will towards her and she is welcome in our home. If there was a problem, that would include after midnight.

Before the baby turned a year-old, my son saw his marriage fall apart. He is going through a lot. They were married for many years and all was fine until they had the child they both wanted. When his wife left, it took him by complete surprise. He has as much reason as anyone to sing the blues. And he can and he does. But he can also find moments of joy. The baby knows him and she (I will break the policy here because it's is difficult to keep saying "the baby," I have a granddaughter) is so excited at the end of the day when he returns from work. And he knows that. No matter how down he may be, he grasps that she is thrilled to see her Daddy and he grasps that is something for him to be happy about.

He really did think everything was finally going perfect. Rebecca, Elaine and C.I. made a wonderful gift to him of having off his huge student loans. He and his wife had lived under that crippling debt forever. They had even moved back in, when she got pregnant, for that reason. The debt was now wiped out and they were saving for their own home. (I really do not want to go into specifics but to offer an example of how my daughter-in-law is not a bad person, she has stated that money they had saved should go into an account for their daughter. She is not asking for half of it. She is thinking about what is best for her daughter.) They had a child -- something that had wanted forever but had postponed because the student loans were so immense. So when everything should finally be wonderful, the marriage is breaking up. That is rough.

And he can unload to me whenever he needs to or wants to. But even with all of that, he can still find moments to be happy.

As a young woman, I enjoyed Syliva Plath's way with words. But I was never a devotee of Plath's nor could I take her as a steady diet. Life can be depressing enough without choosing to go around in a constant funk.

On the heels of the decision, I read multiple interviews with Glass. Boo-hoo, now I have to get another place to live because I gave up my place because I thought I was being deported. Boo-hoo, ABC's story was wrong. Boo-hoo, I gave ABC a comment but, after I spoke to them, I found out differently from my lawyer. Boo-hoo, I might be stop-lossed . . . after I'm out of the IRR.

Corey Glass might argue, "Your son's problems aren't like mine. I'm fighting to stay in a country!" To which I would respond, yesterday it was announced that POWs Alex Jimenez and Byron Fouty were dead. You got troubles? Everyone's got troubles. And everyone always will. That's what life is: Trouble mixed in with some good news or good moment from time to time. Those who can't appreciate the bits of the good mixed in are just too depressing to me.

My son's divorce will be the first in our immediate family. My husband has taken it badly. Not in a "how could you?" but in a how does that happen? He asked me last week if I ever thought of leaving? I said on many a Monday but by Wednesday, it would go away. That's not to imply that my daughter-in-law and son should stay married. That is to say that life's not perfect and things that would irriate me to no end would generally be mitigated by something else that came along later. I can remember one Monday when everything he did ticked me off. We were struggling like crazy and Mike (my youngest son) was probably five-years-old. He had busted his head open playing with other kids. We had gone to the hospital so he could get stiches. When we came back home, I was at the end of my rope. My youngest daughter (the youngest child we have) needed feeding and bathing. A few hours later, when was settled in, I carried her with me to Mike's room. I looked in to find his brothers and sisters and his father making him laugh in his room. I still remember that because I was angry about so many other things and seeing the family pull together just wiped it all away. It didn't mean the bills were all paid (or even one), it didn't mean my husband's annoying habit of cracking his knuckles had disappeared, it didn't mean anything vanished. It just meant that there was something else along with those things and that something else was pretty special.

I don't think I'm a sunny, cheery opitmist. That's not my nature. I'm realistic. And I'm as apt to point out the bad as the good. But I can see the good when it happens. I can see it and celebrate it. If I couldn't, I wouldn't want to know me. And I wouldn't have the life I've had which was a pretty worthwhile life. Nothing grand. But eight children I love. A husband who loves me and who I love more than I did when I married. I was in love with my husband when we married. But we married young and changed and grew. His good qualities have strengthened and he's added some new ones. My only complaint in the last years is the continued knuckle cracking. It set me on edge when we were dating. But I thought I would either talk him out of it or grow to accept it. Neither happened. Neither will. Nor will I ever grow used to it or find it charming. That after all these years of marriage, that's my only serious complaint is why I can say I have a good marriage. But I won't pretend that if he cracks those knuckles before I have had my first cup of coffee, my teeth aren't on edge.

My children are not saints but they know the difference between right and wrong. They make mistakes and always will. (I said that to my oldest daughter and she pointed to Mike and said, "He never does." I have shared before but will do so again: I am expecting a major meltdown from Mike at some point. He has always been mature for his age. Totally unlike anyone in the family -- that's the other children, myself, my huband, our parents. I have been predicting that meltdown for over a decade now. It may never come. But if it does, I'm prepared for it. And having been so responsible for so long, he will have earned his time of acting out.)

One of my good friends lives next door and has for years. One of our longstanding conversations is whether or not you can choose to be happy? She thinks she can. I think she is just a naturally happy person. But whether you can choose it or not, you can certainly recognize when something good happens and take the time to appreciate it. You do have that power. If you abdicate it, you're Debbie Downer.

I mentioned the following in this post:

Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude,
Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man,
C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review,
Mike of Mikey Likes It!,
Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz,
Wally of The Daily Jot

I did not mention Betty but should have since she and I are the once a week bloggers. Wally's mother is one of the six test kitchens.

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

Friday, July 11, 2008. Chaos and violence continue, 2 US soldiers classified MIA/POW are discovered dead, the Green Party convention kicked off yesterday and runs through Sunday and more.

Starting with war resistance.
Patrick Arden (Metro) reported earlier this week on the NYC demonstrations to show support for Canadian war resisters and noted Matthis Chiroux:

Wearing his dog tags and waving a copy of the U.S. Constitution, Matthis Chiroux is a sergeant in the Army's Individual Ready Reserve. Last summer he was honorably discharged after five years of active duty that included a stint in Afghanistan. In February he received a reactivation order. "I was supposed to report for deployment to Iraq on June 15," said Chiroux, 24, who intends to stay in Brooklyn. "They'll have to arrest me."

Iraq Veterans Against the War asks that you:

Contact your congressional representatives and ask them to publicly support Matthis.
Contribute to IVAW's legal defense fund to help Matthis and other resisters.
Send a message of support to Sgt Matthis Chiroux at

Joy Wiltermuth (Downtown Express) profiles Fabian Bouthillette who "is the secretary and outreach coordinator for Iraq Veterans Against the War's New York chapter, which shares space with the War Resisters' League in Noho, at 339 Lafayette St." as he lays out his last night years (he enlisted at 18). He explains, "I'm a guy who grew up ppor. It was just that simple. . . I was quick to jump on it [leaving the Navy -- he did not self-checkout]. I was not going to work hard to support the war machine anymore. Once I came to that realization, I could no longer do it."

Meanwhile in Canada,
Judge Robert Barnes' decision in US war resister Joshua Key's case last week opens up a number of possibilities for war resisters. Dee Knight (Workers World) reports on the latest and also provides the background such as: "Joshua Key went to Canada with his wife Brandi and their four small children following 16 months living underground in the United States after he decided not to return to Iraq. He served as a combat engineer in Iraq for eight months in 2003. His book, 'The Deserter's Tale,' has been an international best seller. He said he and his family have felt support from 'about 95 percent of the Canadian people'."

Last night we were noting continued failure of the war resistance 'movement' to get across the point (or even be aware of it) that Canada gave asylum to deserters during Vietnam (and didn't ask: "Were you drafted or did you enlist?") and reviewing real time press noting war resisters (who were deserters) like Jeff Enger, Jack Colhoun, Victor Schwarzmann who did make lives for themselves in Canada. And it's all wiped away/ignored by today's 'movement' which continues to blater on about "draft dodgers" when there is no draft today so it's really not pertinent to the discussion but certainly does allow the right-wing to dismiss calls for asylumn by insisting, "Well that was draft dodgers. There's no draft today!" Today, the the Wall St. Journal's offered the editorial "AWOL in Canada" which shows 'reason' and 'sympathy' by stating, "Vietnam-era draft dodgers were breaking the law, but at least they could claim to be avoiding conscription. Today's U.S. soldiers and reserves are volunteers, who enlist knowing full well that they could be sent overseas and into combat." Repeating: Five years the 'movement' has wasted. Five years of gas bagging about a draft -- when there is no draft today. Five years of insisting that Canada took in draft dodgers -- when there are no draft dodgers today. Five years of blathering on about crap that doesn't matter. The only point today's 'movement' should have made regarding Canada granting asylum to today's war resisters was: "They should because they welcomed deserters during Vietnam." That's not a difficult sentence. And, unlike what the 'movement' offers today, it is factually correct. Until the basics are correct -- until they are stressed over and over -- the 'movement' will continue to muddle along. "Almost 40 years ago we accepted deserters from an illegal war" is the talking point the movement in Canada should be using and the US side should be noting, "Hey, 40 years ago, they accepted deseters from an illegal war." Canada is not being asked to do anything it hasn't done the past.

To pressure the Stephen Harper government to honor the House of Commons vote,
Gerry Condon, War Resisters Support Campaign and Courage to Resist all encourage contacting the Diane Finley (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration -- 613.996.4974, phone; 613.996.9749, fax; e-mail -- that's "finley.d" at "") and Stephen Harper (Prime Minister, 613.992.4211, phone; 613.941.6900, fax; e-mail -- that's "pm" at ""). Courage to Resist collected more than 10,000 letters to send before the vote. Now they've started a new letter you can use online here. The War Resisters Support Campaign's petition can be found here.

There is a growing movement of resistance within the US military which includes Megan Bean, Chris Bean, Matthis Chiroux, Richard Droste, Michael Barnes, Matt Mishler, Josh Randall, Robby Keller, Justiniano Rodrigues, Chuck Wiley, 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, Jose Vasquez, Eli Israel, Joshua Key, Ehren Watada, Terri Johnson, Clara 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, Logan Laituri, Jason Marek, 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. In addition, VETWOW is an organization that assists those suffering from MST (Military Sexual Trauma).

Early this morning,
Patrick Donahue (Bloomberg News) reported AP was stating -- but the DoD has not confirmed -- that Alex Jimenez and Byron Fouty's corpses have been discovered while David Aguila (AP) cited Fouty's step-father as confirmation that the corpses of both were "found in the Iraqi village of Jurf as Sakhr." Jeannie Nuss and Milton J. Valencia (Boston Globe) speak with Ramon "Andy" Jimenez (Alex's father) who states that, in his grief, "It comforts you when you accept something, and Alex did what he wanted to do." Korie Wilkins (Detroit Free Press) quotes Byron's friend Ashley Tremble stating, "What was important [for him] was the here-and-now. There is no bad to Byron" while his mother Hilary Meunier states, "A part of me believes he's already gone, but I still have hope." And please note, there's no mention of his body being found in Wilkins' article. David Aguilar spoke with his step-father Gordon Dibler who said Byron's corpse was found on Thursday. Boston's NECN has video of the family of Alex Jimenez gathering and lighting candles. O'Ryan Johnson (Boston Herald) quotes Ramon Jimenez stating of his son, "He always had the hope that he would return back to the city. But due to the nature of where he was, it was difficult for him to return alive." Mark E. Vogler (Eagle Tribune) reports that, in Lawrence, "American flags fly at half staff on municipal buildings throughout the city today in honor of the late Army Sgt. Alex Jimenez." This afternoon the US Dept of Defense released a statement: "The Department of Defense today announced the deaths of two soldiers previously listed as "Missing-Captured" while supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom. On July 10, the Armed Forces Medical Examiner positively identified human remains recovered in Iraq July 9 to be those of two soldiers who had been previously listed as 'Missing-Captured.' . . . Jimenez and Fouty were part of a patrol that was ambushed by enemy forces south of Baghdad on May 12, 2007. They were assigned to the 4th Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry), Fort Drum, N.Y. The Department of Defense previously announced the names of soldiers killed in the attack. They were Pfc. Joseph J. Anzack, Jr., 20, of Torrance, Calif.; Sgt. 1st Class James D. Connell, Jr., 40, of Lake City, Tenn.; Pfc. Daniel W. Courneya, 19, of Nashville, Mich.; Cpl. Christopher E. Murphy, 21, of Lynchburg, Va.; and Sgt. Anthony J. Schober, 23, of Reno, Nev."

From the May 14, 2007 snapshot:

On Saturday an attack took place outside Mahmudiya.
Damien Cave (New York Times) reported: "A cooridnated attack on seven American soldiers an Iraqi Army interpreter Saturday morning south of Baghdad left five of them dead and three missing". Initial reports, based on what the US military was saying, included that five US service members were killed. The US military corrected this on Sunday: 4 US soldiers died as did 1 Iraqi translator. Three US soldiers are still missing. Scott Canon (McClatchy Newspapers) reported that approximately 4,000 US service members were searching for the 3 missing soldiers on Sunday. Tina Susman (Los Angeles Times) reports that at least one of the five dead had "gunshot woundes, though it was unclear whether he was shot before or after blasts enveloped the soldiers' two vehicles in flames, said U.S. Army Lt. Col. Christopher Garver, a military spokesman." Joshua Partlow (Washington Post) notes that the group was "parked in two Humvees in an area 12 miles west of Mahmudiyah" when the attack took place with "a roadside bomb . . . followed by gunfire, officials said. The two vehicles went up in flames and were spotted 15 minutes later by a surveillance drone, after a nearby unit that heard explosions could not make contact with the Humvees. The extent of the damage made it difficult to identify the slain soldiers." Stephen Farrell and Tom Baldwin (Times of London) note that the Islamic State in Iraq has claimed, via a website, responsibility for the raid and that they have the three missing US soldiers. Scott Canon (McClatchy Newspapers) noted that the grop has "offered no proof". CBS and AP report that the group claiming to have the three American soldiers issued a warning: "'If you want their safety do not look for them,' the Islamic State of Iraq said on a militant web site. 'You should remember what you have done to our sister Abeer in the same area,' the statement said, referring to five American soldiers who were charged in the rape and killing of 14-year-old Abeer Qassim al-Janabi and the killings of her parents and her younger sister last year. Three soldiers have pleaded guilty in the case." AFP notes that, in June of last year, two US soldiers were captured and their "bodies . . . were later found outside a power station south of Baghdad, mutilated and bearing signs of torture." That attack was also seen as resulting from the gang-rape and murder of Abeer in Mahmoudiyah on March 12, 2006 and, as Gregg Zoroya (USA Today) reported last September, Justin Watt came forward with what he was hearing about Abeer and her family when the June attack on US soldiers took place. Though the statement put up by the group claiming to have the 3 missing US soldiers is cited often in part, most outlets have avoided noting the mention of Abeer. (But then many avodied reporting on the Article 32 hearing last August or much that has happened since. As CBS and AP noted, 3 US soldiers have confessed to their part. Steven D. Green, who has been portrayed as the ringleader in press accounts as well as the testimonies of those who have pleaded guilty, maintains he is innocent.) Julie Rawe and Aparisim Ghosh (Time) reported last June, "Abeer's brother Mohammed, 13, told TIME he once watched his sister, frozen in fear, as a U.S. soldier ran his index finger down her cheek. Mohammed has since learned that soldier's name: Steven Green."

ICCC has moved the two over the total for deaths in Iraq since the start of the illegal war bringing that total to
4118. The third missing soldier was Joseph Anzack who was later found dead (and it listed in the DoD announcement). As for Steven D. Green? Green's scheduled trial was postpone for a quilting bee and, apparently, hasn't been rescheduled even though that was months ago. (All other US soldiers involved in the incident entered pleas of guilty.)

On the subject of Iraqi women,
Zaineb Naji tells her story at Baghdad Life (Wall St. Journal) and explains that the decrease in violence (that's how she judges it) means some tentative steps back towards the time before the start of the Iraq War, "After sectarian violence increased after the Samarra shrine bombing in February 2006, fundamentalist insurgents and Shiite militias started to forbid women to drive cars, saying it was unacceptable according to Islamic law. They threatened to kidnap women drivers or kill them and leave their bodies by the road. They also said women would have a similar fate if they didn't wear the traditional Islamic clothing -- an abaya and a hijab (head scarf). So women, including me, stopped driving. I stopped driving even in my neighborhood, which made me feel depressed because I felt like I had lost one of my rights. I had always worn a hijab, but women who didn't started to wear one to protect themselves. Not driving affected my work as a reporter and it was difficult to use other means of transportation, such as taxis or buses. I couldn't take my children to school or pick them up, or even go shopping alone. In the early 1950s, Iraq was one of the first Arab countries that allowed women to drive cars. During the Hussein regime, women drivers were very common on the streets and women even drove public buses or tractors in the countryside."

From life on the ground in Iraq to in the air. Iraq does not control their air space currently and the treaty being discussed by the White House and the puppet government in Baghdad had one puppet so excited that maybe Iraq could control its own air space! So what's going on in the air in the meantime.
The Jerusalem Post reports the back and forth in Iraq as to whether Irsraeli Air Force has been utilizing Iraqi air space to prepare "for a possible attack against Iran in its airspace" (the article has the latest official statement from Iraq as "no" it is not happening). UPI carries the denials from the US government and the Israeli government. On claims, Ann Scott Tyson and Dan Eggan (Washington Post) report the latest claim of success just around the corner -- Lt Gen James Dubik Happy Talked Congress yesterday: "The ground forces will mostly be done by middle of next year; their divisions, brigades and battalions are on a good timeline." Can you die from a whopper? I believe Bully Boy's false claims of yellow cake uranium demonstrate that many can.

In some of today's reported violence . . .


Reuters notes a Mosul roadside bombing that left six people wounded, a suspected bombing attempt outside Samarra that led to 4 suspects being shot dead by Iraqi police.


Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports an attack on a Baghdad checkpoint this afternoon "and casualties are still unknown."


Reuters notes 2 corpses discovered in Iskandariya today and 1 in Hilla yesterday.

Turning to the race for US president, Drew Pritt denies masturbating in public. Yesterday's snapshot note
Austin Cassidy's Independent Political Report article on Drew Pritt's attack on presumed Green Party presidential nominee Cynthia McKinney. Pritt only continued his attack after the article published by taking to the comments section repeatedly. Insisting, "I do not stomp squirrels, or masturbate in public, or do the other things I am accuesd of," and blaming malicious gossip on any rumors to the contrary, he then goes on to repeat an obvious lie, that his hero Jesse Johnson will be "denied a nomination, by a woman who used the Green Party REPORTEDLY to pay off her debt, before she switched parties." That is a lie. It's an ugly lie. And while whining about the meaness towards him, Drew Pritt wants to lie about McKinney. Democratic Party member Pritt (who's run for several state offices in Arkansas) maintains, "If the Green Party is to thrive it has to appeal to progressives like myself. Cynthia McKinney does not appeal but repels." Again, Democrats need to stay out of the selection of the Green Party's presidential nominee. He does not know what he's talking about (McKinney's "HIGH WATER MARK" is not 3%, she's defined victory -- if she's the nominee -- as 5%). If any Greens are offended by Pritt's attempts to derail their own selection (and they should be), hopefully, they'll remember that in 2012 because a number of 'high profile' Greens damn sure didn't feel bad about butting into the Democratic primary. Kimberly Wilder (On The Wilder Side) annouces the "hope to have video up sometime today" of the ongoing Green Party Convention taking place in Chicago through Sunday and notes, "There is a great feeling that Cynthia McKinney will be the next candidate." Regardless of whom the nominee is, the acceptance speech will be made Saturday and a press conference with the presidential and vice-presidential nominee will be held after. Yesterday, Kat Swift's questionnaire response was not mentioned. It had not been posted. It still hasn't. ("Questionnaire from Kat Swift will be posted shortly.") Since she has publicly asked people to donate to Cynthia's campaign, it may not end up posted. The convention isn't just about the national ticket. On the charitable side, Green Party 2004 v.p. nominee Pat LaMarche is overseeing "donations for area shelters" and states, "I would like for folks with less agreeable resting places for their heads to know that Greens came to town and that we did not forget them." A noble effort and one that the big-money RNC and DNC might consider emulating. Green Party Congressional candidate Steve Alesch spoke yesterday at the start of the convention. Patrick Ferrell (Suburban Chicago News) notes that was one of two "high-profile positions at the group's national convention" for 2 "local Green Party candidates" and explains the other, IVAW's Jason Wallace, was slotted for "a Friday morning speech" and "selected to serve as the convention's election administrator. In that role he will oversee the casting of delegate votes for the presidential and vice presidential nominations as well as the approval of the national party platform." Tuesday Jason Wallace's campaign announced: "Veterans issues are of key importance to 11th Congressional district Green Party candidate Jason Wallace. Wallace, the only veteran in the race, is calling for several key changes in the government's approach to caring for those who have served in the United States military. These include changes in funding and coverage as well as his support for the idea of replacing Silver Cross in Joliet with a VA hospital. . . . Wallace calls for complete, mandatory funding for the VA. This is an idea that is supported by voters in the district." [The press release will run in full tomorrow, there isn't room for it in the snapshot.] Ron (Green Party Watch) reports: "Jason Wallace, Illinois candidate for the 11th district CD, noted that he is running in one of the top five competitive races in America. Wallace noted that his campaign is committed to run for ten thousand dollars only, 10K in 08, versus the multimillion dollar campaigns his Republican and Democrat opponents are working with. Education is probably his number one issue, and he has seen first hand the impact of underfunded education on middle class families. Wallace is also a member of Veterans for Peace, attended Winter Soldier, Wallace was serving in the Iraq 'Occupation'. The war is obviously a big issue for Wallace. Wallace also wants to make his district in Illinois a leader in the production of "green manufacturing"."

Though the votes haven't been made (let alone counted)
National Journal states: "Road to the White House features Bob Barr, and will cover Green Party WH candidate Cynthia McKinney's Green Party Convo speech (C-Span, SUN, 6:30 pm/9:30 pm)." (The other Cynthia, the evil faux-gressive, will be on The Chris Matthews Show so she'll probably make time for a hate-out to McKinney.) The Minneapolis Star Tribune notes, "Former U.S. Rep. Cynthia McKinney's trek back from defeat takes her to Chicago this weekend and an improbable political rebirth. She is expected to be nominated as the presidential candidate for the Green Party of the United States and could appear on the ballot in as many as 36 states." Grist magazine picks up on McKinney's v.p. choice, "Yesterday hip-hop activist Rosa Clemente accepted McKinney's invitation to run as the VP candidate. More to come on the Green ticket soon." NYC IMC offers, "Clemente, born in the South Bronx, is a graduate of SUNY Albany and Cornell Univeristy." What About Our Daughters? explains that, if McKinney is the nominee, this is the third time two women of color would be on the ticket with the first being Lenora Fulani and Maria Elizabeth Munoz in 1992 (New Alliance Party) and Monica Moorehead and Gloria La Riva (Workers World Party) in 1996. Deanna Taylor (Dee's 'Dotes) observes, "It will be interesting to see how Cynthia McKinney's choice affects her chances for obtaining the GPUS Presidential nomination." Wake Me Now advocates for Cynthia, "Former Georgia congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, who seems poised to capture the Green Party presidential nomination, in Chicago, this month, 'is at this juncture in history the only vehicle through which progressives can both register their outrage at Barack Obama and begin the process of rebuilding a mass, Black-led movement for real social change.' Meanwhile, the frequency of Obama's Right turns seem to increase in direct proportion to the nearness of the general election. 'Surely no one with a brain any longer believes that Obama is a closet progressive, or even a genuine liberal.' The question is, How many progressives will put their votes and resources to honorable use?" Matt (The Underview) notes Cynthia McKinney will be among his guests on Shared Sacrifice Saturday which airs "from Noon to 2:00 PM mountain time" and is also downloadable. Rick Pearson (Baltimore Sun) sums up Cynthia's positions on the issues: "In her presidential campaign, she has pushed for a quick end to the Iraq War and has promoted impeachment proceedings against the Bush administration. She also has advocated a 10-point human rights plan that includes integrity in the nation's voting system, full employment and reparations to African Americans over slavery--which has been a plank in the Green Party platform." Cynthia's campaign site has reposted an essay by Vivian Berryhill which asserts, "Securing the Green Party's 2008 standard-bearer position would bestow on McKinney the historic title of 'first' African American woman to be on the ballot as a viable candidate of a major party for President of the United States. That title alone will not only lessen the aura surrounding Barack Obama's position as the 'first' African American male presidential nominee, but she may also siphon off just-enough left-wing, African American, and women voters, to sink both their chances for victory in the Fall." The one and only Roseanne weighed in Wednesday at her site (Roseanne World) stating: "for president GREEN PARTY. . . .the party for feminists. Let's replace pelosi with sheehan as soon as possible, and then as fast as we can replace the entire woman hating democrat party with a green ecofeminist progressive socialist one that really works and is not afraid to make campaign finance reform a priority." Pacifica Radio will broadcast a three hour special on Sunday "as the convention comes to a close) that will stream online at the Pacifica website (noon to 3:00 p.m. EST; 11:00 a.m. to 2 p.m. Central and 9:00 a.m. to noon PST).

Barack Obama is the presumed Democratic Party nominee.
Susan (Random Thoughts) notes Tom Hayden's July 4th moment of "WHAT'S WRONG WITH HIS EYES!" (Mia Farrow in Rosemary's Baby -- the response is "He has his father's eyes.") and advises, "Well, Tom, maybe you SHOULD have critically looked at Obama's slipperiness on this and many other issues before making a fool out of yourself." I have to disagree with Susan on this because if Tom Hayden couldn't make a fool out of himself, what would he have to offer at this point? Yes, I really agree with Susan (though Tom-Tom has nothing left to offer) and Glen Ford (Black Agenda Report) also notes Hayden and Hayden's (drug induced?) belief that a 'movement' exists for Barack and it can and will (didn't happen with FISA) pressure him: "Nothing of that nature will occur, because Hayden and other progressives are not organizing to make it occur. They are too concerned with remaining 'for' Obama. Not only are Hayden's and Fletcher's peculiar 'movements' without political content - they emerge like magic, requiring none of the hard work of organizing. And just how were those popular 'rising expectations' that Hayden speaks of supposed to express themselves? Progressives waited until it was far too late to bring these 'expectations' - to whatever extent they exist - to bear on the candidate. Obama coasted through the primaries with virtually no dissent from his loyal progressives, and now sees his way clear to publicly dismiss them, so as to never again be 'tagged as being on the Left'." Tom-Tom's probably hopping from foot to foot and straining to contain himself -- it's truly been years (decades) since he received so much attention. Black Agenda Report -- Ford, Margaret Kimberly and Bruce Dixon -- are not 'waking up,' they always called it like it was and if Tom-Tom needs tuturing, he might try contacting them. In the meantime, he can read Kimberley's latest: "All hell broke loose and tongues wagged endlessly and needlessly because of an accurate statement made by the candidate first husband and former president Bill Clinton. 'It is wrong that Senator Obama got to go through 15 debates trumpeting his superior judgment and how he had been against the war. There's no difference in your (Obama's) voting record, and Hillary's, ever since. Give me a break. This whole thing is the biggest fairy tale I've ever seen'. The words fairy tale resonated in millions of ears, but the validity of Clinton's comments were lost on a public incapable of distinguishing fact from fiction, or trivia from substance." Added note, the Green Party will be discussing impeachment at their convention. "Calls for impeachment have become so common in the last few years that we forget how recently it has entered the political arsenal. Once viewed as a blunderbuss, it is now used as a bludgeon." That's from Jo Freeman's review of David E. Kyvig's The Age of Impeachment (link goes to her own site, it's also available at Senior Women Web here). In terms of the current administration, you can refer to Jason Leopold's latest at The Public Record. While the Green Party convention goes on, Bill Moyers Journal explores the GOP and, no doubt, has Cynthia, Ralph and Bob Barr penciled in for an upcoming show in order to maintain the PBS diversity mandate. Tonight also provides a new feature "What's your vision for the future of the American Dream?" It's a segment tonight (tonight in most markets) and will also be an online feature. Click here for YouTube video.

Ralph Nader is running for president. Check the transcript of "
Election 2008: Presidential Candidate Ralph Nader" (Washington Post) and Team Nader notes:

Here's is your task for today.
Drop a $20 bill on Nader/Gonzalez.
Why $20?
Because we want to get to $20,000 by the end of the day.
On our way to 15 states.
And $60,000.
By July 20.
We are now at over $15,000.
In just two days.
So, $20,000 by the end of the day shouldn't be a heavy lift.
(If we get there early, take us to $25,000. We're easy.)
On our way to 15 states.
And then 45 states.
By September 20.
Nader/Gonzalez is the positivo campaign.
Two rules here at Nader/Gonzalez headquarters:
Rule Number One: No whining.
And Rule Number Two: Get it done.
It's not that we don't take our world seriously.
We do.
But whining and negativo man attitude doesn't get us where we need to go.
Which is 45 states by September 20.
Take the telecom immunity/spying bill that Obama voted for, McCain dodged, and Bush signed into law.
It's an unconstitutional law.
Did we whine and cry about it?
No, we did not.
We spoke out against it.
We're running this campaign, in part, to defend the Fourth Amendment and the Constitution.
And we've produced
an awesome video denouncing the new law.
Or take ballot access.
Our young roadtrippers are busting it all around the country to leap the ballot access hurdles the Democrats and Republicans have erected to make life miserable for us.
But we refuse to be miserable.
Check out
this neat video about our roadtrippers in Nevada.
No whining there.
We tried to get on the ballot in 2004 but only made it on 34 states. (We're shooting for 45 this time around.)
Why only 34 states?
One reason: The Democrats organized an underground campaign to knock us off.
When we say this, people don't believe us.
But just yesterday, a grand jury in Pennsylvania indicted twelve Democratic political operatives for the illegal use of millions of dollars in taxpayers' funds, resources and state employees for political campaign purposes. (
See Nader/Gonzalez press release here.)
The grand jury found that as many as 50 Democratic House Caucus staff members contributed "a staggering number of man-hours" to successfully knock Ralph Nader off the ballot in 2004.
A House Democratic employee testified before the grand jury that "everybody was working on this."
"A veritable Army" of Democratic staffers were enlisted in the effort to deny Nader ballot status, the grand jury found.
It was virtually a caucus-wide endeavor and many of the employees spent an entire week on the Nader petition challenge, the grand jury found.
This is a scandal of immense proportions.
And twelve Democrats in Pennsylvania now stand charged with crimes.
Attorneys General Oregon, Illinois and Ohio - three states where Democrats successfully knocked us off in 2004 - should launch similar investigations.
This year, we're not taking no for an answer.
We're building our funds to secure ballot access and to fight back if they come after us again.
So, please,
drop a $20 bill now on Nader/Gonzalez.
We're fighting not just for 2008 - but for future generations of independent citizen activists, candidates and campaigners.
(In case you missed it, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals knocked out a requirement that only residents of Arizona be allowed to petition in the state. Ralph Nader challenged this requirement as unconstitutional We're hoping to carry this victory to other states that have similar requirements.
See story here.)
We're a positivo locomotive.
We've got the Big Mo.
Nothing will stop us now.
Together, we are making a difference.

iraqtom squitierijoshua key
iraq veterans against the war
matthis chiroux
the wall street journaldee knightthe new york timesdamien cave
tina susman
the washington postjoshua partlow
ann scott tysondan eggen
greg zoroya
bill moyers journal