Saturday, August 16, 2008

Split Pea Soup in the Kitchen

I had a busy week and am behind in the e-mails. I've read most. Taking my granddaughter to the doctor was among the things on the list this week and there's also the fact that she's in a grabby phase. That just surfaced Tuesday. She wants to be held which was regular prior to this week; however, she usually wants to be set down (unless she's sleepy) after five minutes tops. This week she didn't want to be set down at all. Her father had to work late on Wednesday and Thursday (and that was known ahead of time so I wasn't surprised) which might have been some of it but it started Tuesday (when he didn't work late). Who knows why and three of my eight children went through that so it's not all that uncommon and may have little to do with anything other than her own personality developing as she matures. My husband is being teased by all of us because her birthday was last month and he blew up a photo of her (it was her first birthday) so that it was lifesize and put it in her room. It frightened her. Then it seemed to make her angry. She'd reach for it with a closed hand when he held her next to it to show her it wasn't anything scary. So he took it down and she got really upset about that. It's back up. (And that was Thursday evening so that's after she started her never-put-me-down phase. And I rocked her Thursday from seven p.m. until after ten o'clock hoping she would fall asleep. She never did. Mike, her uncle, came in and took over and I went onto bed.) (For those who will leap to some conclusion about her father working late, the fiscal year ends shortly and he's grabbing additional hours twice a week right now so that it won't be every night the last two weeks of September.)

Before I get to the recipe, Julie e-mailed and I wanted to clear something up. My granddaughter is not a burden in terms of helping out. I had eight children. Not having a child in the house is more different than the norm. I don't want anyone to think I'm the great, suffering Trina. After eight children of my own, my granddaughter is a breeze. Around baby number five or six, I stopped obsessing. The phase my granddaughter is in now would have, for the first four children, had me wondering what was happening, why it was happening, what does it mean? After eight, I'm fully aware that this is the stage where they really develop their personalities. I'm sure outside influences are effecting her as well but I'm also sure this is part of her personality as well. (And, yes, her mother no longer living here would be one of the outside influences.)

Tonight, she's got everyone. Everyone's over and right now C.I.'s rocking her. She'll probably expect to be rocked until she falls asleep. Right now, she's fighting going to sleep. Her little eyes will close for a second and then open back up. And she's a very happy baby. She's not a crier. There's nothing wrong with a crier. My first four were all criers. I have no idea why the last four weren't but that might have had something to do with them having so many older brothers and sisters. Meaning both modeled behavior and extra hands to hold them and play with them. When she's upset she flaps her arms and you know she's displeased. Crying's usually when she's fighting off sleep (which is why I'm surprised she's not crying right now but C.I.'s singing to her while rocking her and that may be why she's not crying).

Mike wrote two weeks ago about how he's leaving. It's almost time for move out day. I am going to miss him but he does need to go. Not because he's not welcome here. He's always welcome. But because he really is at a stage in his life (including his relationship with Elaine) where he really needs some more private space. I'm not going to link to it because if I look it up, I will then read it and then I'll cry or blubber; however, two Mondays ago he wrote about it at his site and did so very well.

I'm hopeful my oldest son will be here for a long spell. He could meet someone else and immediately decide to marry and that they needed their own place. If so, it's his life and he needs to do what makes him happy. But Mike's the last one out of the nest shortly (his younger sister moved into a dorm room last year) and I would probably be freaking out over Mike leaving if our grandchild (and her father) weren't living here.

I'm hesitant to write about this because I don't want Mike to read it and think, "Okay, I've got to stay." But I always did try to be honest in terms of age appropriate. Mike's a young man, he's not a child. He knows I'm going to miss him. He also knows that he's (my words) put in his time.

That was my argument when he first floated it back in June.

I would love to have him here forever but he needs to live his life. My husband took the news so hard (when it was just floated) that I felt I'd better be the strong one. He and Mike are very much alike, as I've noted here many times. And with the other six children out of the house, Mike was really his running buddy. But that was true before as well. With the other boys, they got to a point where, in establishing that they were becoming young men, they needed to distance from their father. A natural process. Mike never had that need. Which isn't my way of suggesting he's clingy. He's not. But the other three went through this hero worship of their father and then the normal growing up where you realize your parents have their own issues and aren't infallible.

Mike's over six-feet-tall and he gets that from his father. With all the children, that seemed to be an intimidating factor. It never was with Mike. Mike just decided his father was his best friend at an early age and I love my husband but patience is not his strong suit. (Ask any of the children and they'll back that up.) Mike's temperment is such that it was never an issue. Mike's always been an old man in many ways and seemed to sidestep many growing phases (which is why I always say if he has some sort of young adult crisis or mid-life one, it won't surprise me, he's always been overly responsible). The other boys will tell you that they went through their estrangement periods with their father as they became teenagers.

The girls did that with me. With their father it was more like, "I've discovered boys, don't have time to talk to you, Dad." So there would be some Saturday outing when Mike was young and the girls would want to go out with their friends and the boys would want to do the same. Mike would say, "Come on Pops, let's hit the road." So that's been over twelve years of their Saturday activities and Mike's the only one who could get as much enjoyment out of his father in listening to records. I love music but can't sit for three to four hours listening to music and discussing it.

So my husband's immediate reaction -- and he knew this was coming, we've discussed it since Mike's senior year -- was a form of distress. I said the other night at dinner that it would hit me (that Mike had moved out) after he moved out. It will too. For now, I'm more focused on giving little "You will still be friends" speeches to my husband. (Who, to his credit, laughs. He has a wonderful sense of humor.)

If Mike decides to move back in (at any time) he is always welcome. All of our children are. But I've told his father since Mike's senior year of high school that when he moves out, he's not moving back in. I just know him and know how he is and how he defines maturity to himself.

Our youngest daughter is perfectly happy limiting visits to holidays. (Which is fine, she's establishing herself and figuring out where she fits in the world and what she wants to pursue.) She's got college and a job. She's dating. She was the baby of the family and it's even more important to her that she proves her independence and test her own strengths. It's a normal part of growing and it's silly to take it personally or think it's about you.

The biggest immediate adjustment is going to be in milk. I predict we'll either be short on it or we'll have a lot go bad because Mike drinks a lot of milk. We'll have to pay attention to shopping at the start and figure out how much we need.

I hadn't planned to write about any of this, believe it or not. This is really the longest time I've had to just sit and think all week.

And it is sad to see Mike move out. But he needs to do this and if he didn't leave soon, he was never going to. That's great if your his mother or father but pretty lousy if you're him.

In the post he wrote, he talked about his dog that died. I didn't see the post first, my husband did and he said, "You were right." For years now, I've said, "The thing that's keeping Mike here right now is that dog." He had that dog from an early age. When he got into his senior year and was doing sports, working and senior year (meaning clases and heavy socializing), he was in a time crunch and didn't spend as much time with his dog as he wanted. (For some reason, he didn't mention his dog's name so I won't. He might have not wanted to name him in the post.) So shortly after graduation, Mike's dog (who was old by this point) got really sick one night. Mike arrived home and it was obvious by then that the dog was dying. My husband had it in the living room but he'd gotten up and crawled/dragged himself into the hall by the thermost (and some vents). We laid out a blanket and put the dog on it. Mike came home and just turned pale. He stayed up all night with the dog until it passed away. Then he went and dug the hole in the backyard to bury him. And only after that did he go to sleep.

It was a very big and important moment to Mike. We had other dogs (all males) while the children were growing up but that dog was Mike's. And I knew his thoughts were, "I was so busy and didn't get to do this or that." And I have told my husband forever that if it weren't for that, Mike would have moved out long ago. But it created a What-if for him where what happened with the dog could happen to my husband or I or both. So, along with all the other valid reasons, he needs to move out just to realize that we're not going to be too busy for each other and that nothing bad's going to happen to us just because he's living his life.

I also think seeing how hard we took the other seven move outs played into it. I cried like a baby when my two oldest left. And did see it as all about me. Even though both were going to college out of state, it had to be something awful I'd done, in my mind. It had to be about me. But you experience it and you learn from it. Doesn't make it any less sadder but you get that it is about growing up.

My son whose moved back home used to call every Sunday when he was in college. We would talk on the phone for about an hour. That was my call. He called his father during the week. And he was very upfront (because he was so excited) about what he was doing. He knows this now but didn't at the time, sometimes I would be thinking, "Oh, you're creating a problem for yourself." That was true with his second girlfriend as well as with his first roommate. But these are experiences that they have to have because they'll learn from them -- mainly about themselves. It's part of growing (I don't say "up" because I don't believe we're ever done growing). So my role changed and I just learned to share his joy about all the exciting things that were happening.

My three oldest girls were always on the phone or here in person when something went wrong with a boyfriend. That's when I'd find out about their lives. And I wouldn't rush to a judgment or say, "Why didn't you tell me before that ___?" Your role changes and you can no longer prevent the boo-boos, nor should you. They have to live their own lives and you learn to be glad that when they are upset or hurt, they want to talk to you about it.

His father keeps talking about how weird it is going to be to walk past Mike's room after he moves out. And, for me at least, that has always been the stomach kicker. One of the kids would call or drop by and we'd have this great visit and then they'd be hitting the road and I'd walk by their old room a few hours later and just get all choked up. You just want to hold them forever. No matter how proud you are of who they've turned out to be, how mature they've become, you still want to be able to hold them.

My son who moved back in tells the story on me about how his first Christmas after he moved out, he spent a fortune (and he did) on gifts for me. I appreciated them. He spent too much money. But I appreciated them. So he loves to go over every gift (there were six plus flowers) and how I would say thank you and agree it was a great gift and add that it was too much. But then he gave me a hug and I just started crying. That was the gift that meant the most to me.

I better stop blubbering and get to the recipe. I'm just doing the recipe and the snapshot from here on out. I hadn't planned to talk about everything I wrote about. But . . .

Okay, last week I mentioned soaking beans and peas and a number of you did that. A lot of you were surprised by how many beans you get from a single bag. Yes, they are dried beans. And peas.

This is a soup recipe. I'll add things after the basic that you can do but the basic recipe will make a satisfying soup. You can fancy it up if you like.

Split Pea Soup
1 onion chopped
6 large-to-medium carrots chopped
2 bags of split pea beans

Soak the peas according to the directions on the package (that's a quick soak or an overnight so plan your time needed). After you have soaked the peas, drain the pot and rinse the beans.

Put the peas back in the pan with fresh water. Make sure an inch of water is covering the peas. Add the carrots and onions and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for one hour, stirring frequently and adding water.

You need to stir to make sure the peas don't burn.

If you use salt, you can add salt while it's cooking.

Serve the soup in bowls. I think a dash of pepper and a few drops of hot sauce (red hot sauce like you'd add to a BBQ sandwich) bring out the taste. You can eat with crackers but it's creamy enough and thick enough that they aren't needed.

If you've made a ham and have a ham bone, you can add that to the pot and boil it. The soup, however, does not require meat or a meaty taste. The 'stock' comes from the peas, onion and carrot.

You may decide you want more carrots or more onions. That's fine. Play with the recipe each time you make it to determine what you like best. You can chop up a bell pepper and add that when you're cooking the soup.

This soup keeps for days in the fridge (covered) but I wouldn't go more than four days. When eating it as a leftover, you can heat it on the stove (add a 1/2 cup to 1 cup of water and stir frequently) or place some in a bowl and heat in the microwave. (I like a thick soup so if I heat in the microwave, I don't add water. You may think it's needed but heat a bowl of it up first and see if you don't agree.)

Kids and leftovers, I have found, work well with this. What you want to do is to get some crackers. Take it from the fridge, put it in a bowl (cold) and let them spoon the soup onto crackers. It can be a snack as well as a soup.

The bad news? If this soup works for your family and there are more than two members (counting yourself) don't expect a lot of leftovers. My mother has always said split pea soup is the potato chip of soups -- meaning, "You can't eat just one." You'll find an excuse for "one more bowl" very easily.

With the peas, the onions and the carrots, you've got a nutrious soup, you've got vitamins and fiber and protein. So that's part of the good news. Other good news includes that if this soup is a hit, it's very inexpensive.

I lied. I need to add one other thing. Jess called the Denver office of the Nader campaign and C.I. wrote about that in Thursday's snapshot:

Turning to the US presidential race. As they prepare to rock Denver, the Ralph Nader - Matt Gonzalez campaign opened up their Denver headquarters today. The office is located in Suite 111 on 1155 Sherman Street, a tree-lined street whose intersection with East 12th Avenue makes it very accessible becuase East 12th is a bus route. The office is wheel chair accessible. Jess spoke with Junue Millan this afternoon about the opening and the news confernce which was attended by at least five media people including Univision. The office was "specifically created" for the Super Rally that will be held in Denver (at the Magness Arena) on August 27th. They are expecting between 5,000 and 7,000 people to attend and are currently working on a website just for the Denver office.

The Denver event will take place as the Democratic Party stages there convention and there is a great deal of excitement for the Super Rally and volunteers are needed to help with fliers and getting the word out. Those interested in assisting can e-mail Junue Millan at as well as call the office (303) 832-2509 or walk in. They intend to be open from nine in the morning until nine in the evening Monday through Friday as they work to pull together this large project. Both Ralph and Matt will be speaking at the event and, as the event gets closer, they will begin announcing some of the guest speakers they've already confirmed. Artist, activist and rocker Jello Biafra is among those who will be participating.

The Super Rally in Denver (
September 4th, a Nader Super Rally will be held at Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis, during the GOP convention) will start at seven o'clock p.m and will PUT ON THE TABLE the issues that the two major parties refuse to address -- the Iraq War, single-payer universal health care, corporate crime, impeachment and more. It will also challenge the two-party duopoly by insisting that the presidential debates be opened. As Kat noted last night, " I really find it offensive that Ralph Nader, Bob Barr and Cynthia McKinney (or Chuck Baldwin for that matter) have to fight to get into the debates. They are presidential candidates and should be in the debates. What are the Democrats and Republicans so scared of? Are their candidates so weak that they can't hold their own against Ralph, Bob, Cynthia and Chuck? Do John McCain and Barack Obama get the night sweats just thinking about being on stage with the other candidates? In a real democracy, debates would be open to all on the ballots. This nonsense that you have to meet X% would be called out. It's not a popularity contest. It's supposed to be a race for the presidency."

If you're in the Denver area, the Nader campaign could use you.

This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" for Friday and since I only post on the weekends, C.I. told me an error. It's "Meghan" -- Jeremy and Nga's three-week-old daughter (there's a typo that reads "Megahn," C.I. will note it was a typo in Monday's snapshot):

Friday, August 15, 2008. Chaos and violence continue, the US military announces more deaths, Ralph Nader keeps issues on the table and more.

Starting with war resistance.
Wednesday US war resister Jeremy Hinzman learned that the Canadian government has ordered him out of that country by September 23rd. Today he appeared on Democracy Now! where Juan Gonzalez and Amy Goodman interviewed him.

JEREMY HINZMAN: Well, essentially, it turns our lives upside down. We, as you said, just had a baby [daughter Megahn]. Our son [Liam] knows nothing else aside from Canada. And if we do go back, which it's looking like, I will undoubtedly be court-martialed and serve some time in jail.

JUAN GONZALEZ: Is there any appeal process left to you yet that might delay the September 23rd deadline?

JEREMY HINZMAN: There is. It's not guaranteed that we'll be granted leave to appeal, but if my lawyer can find errors in the compassionate and humanitarian decision that the Canadian Border Services rendered, then we can--we can appeal. But there's no guarantee that the court will grant us leave.
JUAN GONZALEZ: And what were the arguments the court used in rejecting your appeal?

JEREMY HINZMAN: Well, in a compassionate and humanitarian case, you need to show that there would be undue hardship if you returned to your country of origin, and we--and you also need to show that you've been established in Canada and can live independently. And we did that. In the decision, the officer said we've established ourselves well in Canada. We haven't been a hindrance to the social assistance programs. But he said that wasn't enough for us to stay. He said the US has a fair justice system. My First Amendment right to free speech is protected. And they also mentioned that--for whatever reason, I don't know--they mentioned George Bush's No School Left Behind program to say that our son would be able to get a good education. I found that kind of humorous.

[. . .]

JUAN GONZALEZ: Have you maintained ties with other US war resisters who are in Canada, who have gone there in recent years?

JEREMY HINZMAN: There are a number of us in Toronto, and I am acquainted with them. There's a movement called the War Resisters Support Campaign that's been active pretty much since we got here, and we have meetings, and there's been a lot of lobbying in support of us. And on June 3rd, the Canadian parliament passed a nonbinding motion by a vote of 137-to-110 saying that US war resisters should be able to remain in Canada. However, the conservative government is refusing to enact the legislation.

JUAN GONZALEZ: Now, Canada, of course, has a long history of giving refugee status to resisters from American wars. Obviously, during the Vietnam War, there were many who went there. How would you characterize the difference between this government's treatment of war resisters and what you know of past times?

JEREMY HINZMAN: Well, during the Vietnam era, of course, Pierre Trudeau, who was a liberal, was in power, and he famously stated--at least up here--that Canada should be a haven from militarism, and that kind of opened the floodgates for American soldiers to come to Canada. I think 50,000 eventually settled here. Right now, there's a conservative minority government. Canada has a parliamentary system, and they hold the balance of power. And I wouldn't say they're lapdogs to the US, but they share many of the same values of the Bush administration and aren't really sympathetic to what we're doing.

AP files another story where they quote Jeremy stating, "I went through all the training. I served honorably in my unit. I used army provisions to try become a noncombatant and remain in the army as a medic or something, but I still would be subject to going on combat missions as a medic. I can't bring myself to shoot another person. If people want to criticize me for that, then I'm honored to be criticized because I'm not a killer."
Jeremy Hinzman and other war resisters in Canada need support and 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. Long expulsion does not change the need for action and the War Resisters Support Campaign explains: "The War Resisters Support Campaign is calling on supporters across Canada to urgently continue to put pressure on the minority conservative government to immediately cease deportation proceedings against other US war resisters and to respect the will of Canadians and their elected representatives by implementing the motion adopted by Parliament on June 3rd. Please see the take action page for what you can do." The War Resisters Support Campaign has called an "Emergency Meeting to Stop the Deportation of Jeremy Hinzman and his family, Wednesday August 20 at 7 p.m. at the Steelworkers Hall, 25, Cecil Street" (Toronto) and encourages everyone to "Read the War Resisters Support Campaign press release and circulate it widely

James Burmeister is a US war resister. He is the whistle blower who went to Canada and told the world (or those who would listen) about the kill teams. Last month, Dee Knight's "
Army court-martials resister for blowing whistle on 'bait-and-kill'" (Workers World) offered an overview of Burmeister's court-martial providing the context and why the US military brass wanted to silence him. Today Evan Kornfeld (US Socialist Worker) also offers a look at James court-martial (James was not deported or extradited, he returned to the US from Canada of his own accord earlier this year and was court-martialed July 16th):

The Eugene Weekly has pointed out that of the 4,698 soldiers who have been charged with desertion in 2007, only 108 have been convicted. [Erich] Burmeister, James' father, believes that his son was prosecuted as punishment for speaking out about the bait and kill teams.After the trial, at which he testified on his son's behalf, he said, "I obviously now believe that James has been made an example to the rest of the soldiers and to the rest of those who dare think about what James did, that the punishment can be quite severe."

Courage to Resist has noted that "The PFC James Burmeister Support Campaign can be reached at" and that he can receive mail at this address:

James Burmeister
Box A
Fort Knox, KY 40121

There is a growing movement of resistance within the US military which includes Yovany Rivero, William Shearer, Michael Thurman, Andrei Hurancyk, 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).

Turning to Iraq.
Tina Susman (Los Angeles Times) reports that the death toll for yesterday's bombing attack on pilgrims is 20 "and it raised the specter of more bloodshed as the pilgrimage route becomes crowded before the event Saturday." Sami al-Jumaili (Reuters) explains that "Despite the [security] precautions, Kerbala is bracing for the worst. Local health director Alaa Hammoudi said that 40 medical units were standing by, and that extra hospital beds were made ready. Near the mosque, makeshift clinics were set up in tents and trailers. Some pilgrims donated blood." Campbell Robertson and Riyadh Muhammed (New York Times) quote an eye witness to yesterday's bombing, Ali, who explains, "I saw smoke, and I smelled the very bad smell of burned flesh and blood. The reactions were a little less than at the last blast maybe because they already have been shocked." Sudarsan Raghavan and Saad Sarhan (Washington Post) cite Iskandariyah police chief Ali al-Zahawi insisting there is "a shortage of female police officers in the town". And why is that? Hey, remember when women were being purged? Remember when female police officers were informed they could not carry fire arms? And remember how the pig and thug and puppet Nouri al-Maliki was pleased as punch with all of that and shocked when a few (very few reports) objections were raised? The puppet needs the illegal war to stay in power. And the White House doesn't give a damn about the rights of Iraqi women. So it was the perfect blend for pigs everywhere. Anna Badkhen (Salon) reports that, even in the crack-downed Baghdad, "women here still feel threatened. One can't yet see a pervasive shift in the way women dress. They continue to wear the conservative clothing that the militias began compelling them to wear after the U.S. invasion. Most women remain cocooned in shapeless, black abaya dresses and hijab scarves that covered their hair. . . . Before the war, Tammy says, she could walk down the streets of her hometown, the southern and heavily Shia Iraqi port city of Basra, dressed like most teenagers in the United States -- in jeans and no head scarf. Saddam Hussein's regime was one of the world's most despotic, but it was secular and allowed Iraqi women personal rights and freedoms unparalleled in the Persian Gulf. Women, who make up more than half of the country's populartion, could drive, travel abroad alone, serve in Iraqi security forces and work side-by-side with men. They chose whom to marry and whether to marry at all, and were among the most educated in the region. . . . After the U.S. invasion in 2003, conservative Muslim clerics called for Iraq to become an Islamic state. In the name of Islamic values, they eroded the liberties women here enjoyed even under Saddam's oppressive regime. Schools, once coed, became segregated by gender; women were afraid to go outside without a head scarf. As sectarian violence engulfed Baghdad and other parts of the country in 2006, it brought in its wake even more constraints on women's freedoms." And the White House didn't just let it happen, they encouraged and, in fact, still encourage it. At a time when female bombers are said to be the biggest threat to stability in Iraq (foreign forces on the ground in Iraq are the biggest threat to the country's stability), the US military actively recruits women into their "Awakening" Councils and yet -- despite a supposed need which should be driving the market forces -- they pay these women 20% less than their male counterparts. No one objects. No one calls it out. And it reinforces the message to those installed into power in Iraq (by the US) that women are not equal and that their worth is less than that of a man's.

Helen Benedict (In These Times) reports on the increased number of sexual assaults in the US military -- women serving assaulted and abused by their "comrades-in-arms" -- and notes that "the attention always focuses on the women: where they were when assaulted, their relations with the assailant, the effects on their mental health and careers, whether they are being adequately helped, and so on. That discussion, as valuable as it is, misses a fundamental point. To understand military sexual assault, let alone know how to stop it, we must focus on the perpetrators. We need to ask: Why do soldiers rape?" It's the culture of the institution (which includes looking the other way) and that institution has had a bigger impact than any other US institution in Iraq.

Institutions, organizations. How does the peace movement ever plan to be effective in the US with such sorry-ass 'leaders.' Tom Hayden shows up to soil his own name at The Nation this week with "The Defunding of the Peace Movement." He pretends to be talking straight (no doubt inflicting howls of laughter from all who know Tom-Tom) and pretends like Barack has pledged to end the illegal war. Barack has pledged no such thing. He might reduce the number of US forces in Iraq (to send them to Afghanistan) but he has not called for all US troops out of Iraq -- and long ago refused to promise in a televised debate that, if elected president, all US troops would be out of Iraq by 2012. Tom-Tom's heart-heart races for Barack so he lies and lies. The problem, as Tom-Tom sees it, is that people aren't giving money to peace organizations. Or 527s. 527s? No, those are not peace organizations but Tom was never a peace leader. Not now, not back then. He was always someone lusting after a political career and that motivated him then and does so now. It's always been about setting Tom's end up. He talks to Leslie Cagan of UPFJ and she's wondering what her organization could do with $100,000? More of the same, Leslie, absolutely nothing. Say it again.

When UPFJ (not one of the worst offenders in my opinion) had more money it didn't change the way they operated. At best, they were silent on John Kerry. Other orgs and 'leaders' made it their life's work to shill for his 2004 election. If UPFJ is facing fund shortages it goes to the lousy leadership they've shown since the start of the illegal war. Engaging in their sniping with A.N.S.W.E.R. which is fine if it's just an open debate but is not fine when it prevents actions from taking place. There has not been a huge peace rally since January 2007. No one's in the mood to give one damn dime to any of these useless organizations. (IVAW remains the only organization that is working at ending the illegal war.) They all go rushing off to "War With Iran Tomorrow!" or "Saint Bhutto Has Died!" or one hundred and one other causes while they abandon Iraq. (Again, my opinion, UPFJ has not been the worst offender there. CODESTINK has been the worst and the most hypocritical. UPFJ has tended to go for silence as opposed to hawking non-peace events/candidates.) Barack's greedy. How surprising that people are just now grasping that. How pathetic that Leslie's going to whine to Tom-Tom instead of taking to the UPFJ website to state, "We are an organization trying to end the illegal war. We are not endorsing any candidate. We are endorsing the end of the Iraq War. If you are with us on that, we could use some donations to continue this struggle." Tom-Tom lies as well and claims, "The Obama finance committee is under more pressure, literally, to pay Hillary Clinton's debt to Mark Penn than to fund any messages on war, recession and global warming." Tom Hayden, you sexist pig, drop the
Bash The Bitch games. At your age, it only makes you look older, uglier and more pathetic. Barack hasn't done a damn thing to retire Clinton's debt (and Hillary has stated that she's paying off small vendors first). That joint-appearance where he gave the speech and 'forgot' to ask people to donate to Hillary and only returned to the stage when reporters questioned him on it? He's done nothing to help her with her debt and shame on you, a man who'd be living on the streets were it not for his divorce settlement, for pretending otherwise and yet again trying to make it all about Hillary. Your Lover Man has failed you Tom. Your limp and inactive and it has nothing to do with Hillary. You fell in love with Barack and he broke your heart. Those are the breaks, grow the hell up before senility sets in.

Or has that already happened. Tom-Tom was one of the signers of that ridiculous ass-kiss to Barack from The Nation.
As we observed at Third:

Because The Nation is run by the brain dead and the socially stunted today, they decide to copy that with an open letter. (They only know how to do what was done before, no visionaries or dreamers they.) The open letter is called "Change *We* Can Believe In" and if the starring of "We" didn't indicate to you there was a lot of ego tripping going down, you only had to read the names of those who signed on to the garbage -- including non-Democrat Frances Fox Piven (billed as Francis Piven -- what happened, she looked in a mirror?), The Ego Of Us All's Red Buddy who pimped her hard to The New York Times and did more to lie for Friedan than even she herself did, Democratic Groupie (in the worst sense of "groupie" in the rock world) Norm Solomon, Tom-Tom Hayden (still fretting about the 1969 violence we pointed out recently), Red Billy Fletcher, Take Me To My Divorce Pay Day! Jodie Evans, Emma Goldman lookalike Barbara Ehrenreich, Does-Marlo-Know-You-Signed-That-Garbage Phil Donahue, School Girl Katrina vanden Heuvel (who reportedly came up with the embarrassing phrase "the long night of greed" -- to which C.I. responded, "Oh, she's turned her hand to autobigoraphy?") and, yes, Howard Zinn.

At Dissident Voice, John Walsh calls out that nonsense:

The letter is also frankly dishonest when it says that Obama is simply moving to a more "centrist stance" In what sense "centrist"? The war is wildly unpopular and close to 70% of Americans want the U.S. out of Iraq asap. What is "centrist" about moving away from a landslide majoritarian position? And what is the "peace" candidate doing when he calls for 100,000 more active duty army and marines, when he calls for more military spending, when he calls for stepping up the war on Afghanistan, when he talks belligerently about Iran, and when he equivocates on how many tens of thousands of troops are to be left in Iraq? All these are positions that the "peace" candidate took during the primary. They are not new.

[. . .]

What is awfully irritating is that Katrina Vanden Heuval and the rest of the "liberal" elite criticize supporters of McKinney/Clemente and Nader/Gonzalez for "wishful thinking." Compared to the sentiments and views of the supplicants' letter, supporters of third party candidates are hard core realists. And it is very sad to see some of the signatories of this letter who in better times would have been men and women who put principle over "lesser evil" politics. Read the letter carefully. Look at the signatories. It may bring tears.

Turning to some of today's reported violence . . .


Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports pilgrims continue to be targeted with a Baghdad roadside bombing claimed the life of 1 (nine more wounded), a Baghdad mortar attack left two people wounded, another Baghdad roadside bombing left six people wounded, and a Salahudding car bombing that claimed 5 lives (twenty more wounded).


Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports an armed clash in Kirkuk that resulted in 1 death and an Al Anbar Province assassination attempt on "Sheikh Kahmees Al-Dulaimi, the Imam of one of the mosques in Falluja" who was taken to the hospital for medical care

Today the
US military announced: "A Multi-National Force -- West Marine was killed Aug. 14 when his unit received small-arms fire during security operations approximately 1 km east of Fallujah." And they announced: "A Multi-National Corps-Iraq Soldier died of non-battle related causes Aug. 15 in Baghdad. An investigation into the cause of death is under way." That brings the total number of US service members killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war to 4143 and the death toll for the month thus far is 16 -- which is 3 more than the July total that all the news outlets thought was news.

Neil Conan: We're talking with independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader here at the Newseum. I'm Neil Conan along with
NPR Political Junkie Ken Rudin. If you'd like to join us, 800-989-8255 e-mail This is Talk of the Nation from NPR News. And let's get a question from here in the Newseum.

Patty: Hi, good afternoon. I'm Patty from San Francisco, California and as a retired public school principal I'd like to know your views on No Child Left Behind. And I'd also like to know what your education platform is.

Ralph Nader: Well the way No Child Left Behind has been implemented is not good. First of all, there are too many tests. It ruptures the relationship between teachers and students -- they've got to have a test Tuesday and a test Thursday. They're the wrong kind of tests in my opinion: A, B, C, D, "None of the above." That's not the assessment test that I think are better evaluators They make teachers teach to the test. It's this frantic test mania. It creates unnecessary anxiety among children. So I'm against it. Teachers are against it too. A lot of people think it was underfunded and I think the key thing in environmental agenda for a presidential candidate is more decent facilities -- I mean a lot of these inner-city schools are crumbling, we have gleaming stadiums funded by you the tax payer in the same cities the schools, and clinics and libraries are crumbling. The second thing is decent pay for competent teachers. They should be assessed too. And the third is citizen skills, civic skills. We should teach students connecting the classroom with their town with their community so they can learn about the history, the geography, economics, government of their town and in the process learn citizen skills. How to use the Freedom of Information Act in your state, how to build coalitions, how to get information from City Hall. How to do comparative price analysis of staples in supermarket. That's what makes student learn indirectly reading, writing and arithmetic. I hope a lot of teachers will . . . push to replace No Child Left Behind with this kind or practical and down to earth and very exciting educational process.

Neil Conan: Thanks for the question. Let's go the phones, line six, and Mike is with us from Boca Raton in Florida.

Mike: Good morning or good afternoon. Mister candidate, considering what's happened since the year 2000, don't you think that your candidacy creates too much of a risk of unintended consequences based on your past performance?

Ralph Nader: Well the social scientists who studied that say that [Al] Gore won the election, he won the popular vote. The electoral college stood in his way and the press investigations and others in Florida indicate, and Gore believes this, that he won Florida but it was taken from him before, during and after election day in all kinds of tricky ways that have been subject to documentaries and investigations, to the five Republicans in the Supreme Court who selected George Bush. I keep saying to Democrats "Look in the mirror Go after the thieves because they might do it again and there was a lot of shenanigans in Ohio -- the swing state that left Kerry behind --

Mike: You obviously can't win. Which of the two candidates would you prefer to be president. The other two candidates.

Ralph Nader: The ones that are closer to the agenda of Nader - Gonzalez and we don't have time to go through a checklist but if you want to look at we have a sheet which says these are the issues on the table for Nader - Gonzalez -- like full health insurance -- and they're off the table for McCain and Obama. It's quite remarkable how similar they are on about 15 major re-directions for country and the reason is they've been dialing too much for corporate dollars and they're too close to these corporate interests.

Mike: Well you know, I'm all for anyone being able to run but candidly we can't stand another eight years of George Bush, McCain and that crowd.

Ralph Nader: Nor can we. In fact if Al Gore picked up my withering criticism in detail of Bush's record in Texas when he was governor, he'd have won even over the obstacles that these Republican illegally put in his way.

Team Nader has set up
Ralph's Daily Audio to leave audio commentaries and the one that went up today is entitled "Impeachment:"

This is Ralph Nader. George W. Bush and Dick Cheney are the most impeachable president and vice president in the history of the United States. The Constitution of the United States structures our democracy within the rule of law. Democratic Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Senator Barack Obama and their Republican associates are seriously subverting the rule of law by blocking the impeachment of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney.
Bill Clinton must be shaking his head in wonderment. High Crimes and Misdemeanors are what get a president impeached. That's in Article II, Section IV of our Constitution. Let's consider the case of Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney.
High crimes and misdemeanor number one: The criminal war, invasion and occupation of Iraq in violation of our Constitution, federal statutes and international treaties that our country belongs to. The second is systemic torture condoned at the top of our government. That even violates the US Army Field Manual as well as FBI procedures. High crimes and misdemeanor number three: the arrests and imprisonment of thousands of Americans without charges, denying ha beaus corpus the fundamental requirement for a restraining power to show why the liberty of a person is being restrained. High crimes and misdemeanor number four: spying on millions of Americans without a judicial warrant. This one violates the FISA Act which provides for a five-year jail term. High crimes and misdemeanor number five are all those signing statements that George W. Bush declared when he signed one bill after another from Congress saying that it would be up to him to decide whether or not to obey the law. I guess one could call him King George IV.
The American Bar Association, the largest barre association in the world, quite conservative, has sent three major reports to President George W. Bush outlining his serious violations of provisions in our Constitution. I stood in front of the White House for 45 minutes a few weeks ago and declared the reasons for the impeachment or resignation or subsequent prosecution of Bush and Cheney for the five categories of High Crimes and Misdemeanors.
If we allow rampant, recidivist criminal activity in the White House -- as Speaker Pelosi, Senators Barack Obama and John McCain have done week after week, month after month -- that'll simply set the stage for future presidents to think that they too can break the law with impunity and run our civil liberties, our civil rights, our safety, our freedoms, our status before the world into the ground. I'm Ralph Nader.

Friday (in most markets, check local listings),
Bill Moyers sits down with Andrew Bacevich to discuss the imperial impresidency. PBS tonight (and throughout the weekend depending on when your local station airs it) will also feature Washington Week. Janine Zacharia (Bloomberg News) will be among the guests. She's been doing a ton of research on refugees so she should be able to pull that into her topic (the positions of Barack and McCain), Todd S. Purdum (Vanity Fair) will discuss the upcoming Democratic National Convention (will Gwen or anyone mention the Nadar Super Rally that will take place in Denver August 27th?), and Jeffrey Birnbaum (Washington Post) will be among the guests (Birnbuam will be addressing campaign monies and laws). And NOW on PBS explores the US and Mexican border.

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james burmeisterrobin longevan kornfeldt
democracy nowjuan gonzalez
dee knight
tina susmanthe los angeles timesthe new york timescampbell robertsonriyadh muhammedthe washington postsudarsan raghavansaad sarhan
anna badkhen
john walsh
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