Saturday, March 31, 2007

Maddison's Special Easy Bake in the Kitchen

I took some time to go through the e-mails (and check the spam folder to make sure nothing went there by mistake -- which does happen often). Sue wrote in to share that her mother and older sister are "incredible cooks, gifted even" and that, while she enjoys eating their food, growing up it left her on the outs. With two strong cooks already in the kitchen, Sue was usually relegated to setting the table and she never really cooked ("even avoided Home Ec in high school") until after college. She has two kids (a boy and a girl, 8 and 10-years-old) and she's found a lot here in discussions that remind her of herself ("like when someone shares that they were frightened of their own kitchen"). She wants to be sure that doesn't happen to her kids and shared one thing they do on weekends which is make pigs in a blanket together.

She noted that she cuts up the franks, puts them on plate, opens a can of bisquits and lets the kid roll them. She provides some grated cheddar cheese, some grape jelly and lets them put that on before they roll up the package. Then they put the tray in the oven and bake it at "according to the directions on the can." The kids will eat that with carrots and they'll dip both in mustard. She writes that they really look foward to it and her oldest is now insisting upon putting the tray in the oven and taking it out.

I really enjoyed Sue's e-mail and think a lot of readers who started kitchen phobic will relate to it. To really honor what Sue's doing, I wanted to offer a kids' recipe today and phoned Wally's mother right away (I read Sue's e-mail this morning) to ask her if she had something I could use. She didn't but she said with the two of us hitting the search engines, we could find something. She found one first. The ingredients were in both of our kitchens (and possibly in yours already as well) and the cooking time was brief enough that we could fix it and sample it.

This is from Easy Kids' Recipes. (They have many other wonderful recipes for those looking for things to make with children.)

Maddison's Special Easy Bake
1 cup frozen corn
1 tablespoon butter
1 satchet dried mashed potato
salt and pepper to taste

Defrost corn and place in a medium bowl. Melt cheese and butter in microwave, then add to bowl and mix together. Prepare the mashed potato according to instructions and add salt and pepper to taste. Spread corn, butter and cheese mix in the bottom of a casserole dish. Then spread mashed potatos over mixture.
Bake in the oven for 15 minutes on 400F degrees. Let it set for 2 minutes.
*This recipe was created by Maddison.

I did two batches, one with frozen and one with canned corn. The frozen tastes better but, in a pinch, you can use canned corn (drain the can before using). Wally's mother wondered what a "satchet" was? I had no idea but assumed it was one of the packets of dried mashed potatoes mix in the boxes. That was what it is.
She recommends that you sprinkle cheese on top of the mashed potatoes and I think that would make up for the difference in taste if you're using canned corn. She warns, "Sprinkle, it's not a layer of cheese."

That's a really easy recipe that you could make for yourself if you're an adult or you could make with children. If you're not already allowing your children to boil water, do that step but make sure they know what's going on. With my oldest, my rule was they had to be tall enough to see over the pan of boiling water before they could boil. That rule was pretty much kept until Mike began cooking, at which point, big Mac & cheese lover, I walked in to find him standing on a chair by the stove with another chair in front of the sink (for draining the noodles -- he used a cheese grater over the pan to hold the noodles in while draining). I just watched in silence, telling myself, "If he burns himself, this is his lesson to learn. He should know better." He didn't burn himself and I didn't make myself known until he'd finished preparing his snack which he made a big show of sharing with me.

I tell that story because there's no set age. There are recommended ages -- as with board games and toys -- but you know your children best. Wally used to make nachos in a regular oven because the microwave was up on the cabinet and he was too short then to really manuever it. His grandfather taught him how to do that. When I heard that story, I thought of two of my own children I would not have done that with because they had a really bad habit of wondering off to see what was on TV. But the other six could have handled it early on. So it has to do with what child can handle and your the best judge of that. One thing we both felt was that you could use sliced olives or onions as a garnish (on top of the potatoes before you put the dish into the oven) on Madison's Special Easy Bake. Wally's mother also thought a hominy and corn blend might make for an interesting mix.

A number of us signed on to "NOW members endorse Dennis Kucinich" (Kat's Korner -- Kat wrote it, we signed on). Elaine's "I endorse Dennis Kucinich for the 2008 primary" and Rebecca's "this now member is endorsing kucinich" discuss this and what I'll add is that I'm for ending the war. Is Joe Biden? Is Hillary Clinton? Is Barack Obama? I hear war noises from all three on Iran, I hear sop tossed out by all three. Dennis Kucinich is offering solutions. I noted the health care issue this week but I've been talking up Kucinich to my extended family and all my friends and the biggest surprise to me is that some don't know his stance on the illegal war.

This is from Michael Shank's "Rep. Kucinich: Stop Funding the War" (Foreign Policy in Focus) and, as you read the excerpt, ask yourself what other candidate is talking this?

Shank: Many people feel that the November elections were a referendum on the Iraq war. If so, how have the Democrats performed in their response to that referendum?
Kucinich: Democrats were elected to bring an end to the war. Now if we had told the people in October to "vote Democrat and keep the war going to the end of President Bush's term, vote Democrat we'll fund the war through 2009, vote Democrat we'll privatize Iraq's oil," I don't think people would’ve voted Democrat. They would've said, "Well, there's no difference between Democrats and Republicans." I want there to be a difference. That’s why I proposed H.R. 1234, which says: end the war, bring the troops home now, get out of Iraq, stop the privatization of Iraq's oil.
Shank: Critics say that Congress is micromanaging the war, that it is not Congress's business, but rather the responsibility of the commander in chief. What in the U.S. constitution allows Congress to engage at this level?
Kucinich: President Bush has a strange understanding of the duties of his office. He's not a king. He's subject to the will of the people, as expressed through the Congress, as to whether or not a war is authorized and as to whether or not a war is funded. He can make the decisions once he gets the money. I'm saying we shouldn’t give him the money, period. We should not have even offered a bill. We should’ve told the president that we’re not going to fund it, period.
Shank: So why has Congress been so timid in exercising its authority to fund or not fund the war?
Kucinich: I think that's a question that requires a deeper understanding of the primary process that produced candidates that may not have been so strongly in favor of ending the war. But the surge that happened in the November elections was a profoundly anti-war surge that carried in all the Democrats, whatever their positions were. And now we find ourselves in this paradox: the American people demanding an end to the war and the Democratic Congress saying “hey, not so fast, here's a Democratic version of the war that we want you to look at as opposed to a Republican version of the war."
I think that as the American people realize what's happened here they're going to be outraged and they're going to lose faith in the Democratic Party.
Shank: In the supplemental there was a clause that was pulled at the last minute stipulating that if the president chooses to wage war on Iran he must first seek authorization from Congress. Why did that clause get dropped and what are the ramifications of that edit?
Kucinich: First of all, we should be engaging in diplomacy with Iran. And in connection with that, I'm convening a meeting with members of Congress to talk about setting steps toward a diplomatic initiative that would begin to connect us with leaders in Iran. We need to do this. This idea of the United States trying to separate communities from integrating with the international community is wrong. So I raised objections to taking out from the supplemental language that would have mandated the president to come back to Congress for any action that he may intend to take against Iran.
Why is this significant? Because the administration has had a whole series of initiatives that would lead a prudent person to believe that it intends to attack Iran. Let's look at the administration's conduct with respect to Iran: declaring Iran part of an "axis of evil"; sending a fleet out to the Gulf region with the idea of sending a message to Iran; sending nuclear bunker busters and patriot missiles to the region; intercepting Iranian diplomats in the Kurdish area of Iraq who were there legally and lawfully; freezing Iran’s financial assets; pushing for sanctions at the UN.
This administration has been on the war path and they're on the war path not only against Iraq but against Iran as well. They want a war. We need to take a different direction. If we really believe in diplomacy we've got to start practicing it with Iran. And taking out of the budget a provision that said that the president has to come back to Congress if he wants to take action against Iran essentially gives him a green light. Congress has the authority to determine whether or not the president takes action.
The president has been trying to build a phony case blaming Iran for improvised explosive device technology and using that as a reason to call upon the authority of the War Powers Act to initiate an attack against Iran and to circumvent Article 1, Section 8 requirements of the U.S. constitution. I reject that approach. I think the war talk alone brings the president and the vice president within the orbit of a justifiable discussion of impeachment. According to the UN charter, a nation cannot even threaten aggressive war against another nation. And Article 6 of the U.S. constitution states that treaties constitute the law of our land. So the president is violating not only the UN charter but the U.S. constitution.
These individuals occupying the White House need to be held accountable to international law. There must not be an attack on Iran. It would destabilize the region and the international community, it would jeopardize our troops in Iraq, and it could lead to a cataclysm.

I like a candidate who assumes they're talking to adults. I don't need to be talked down to or told 'cute' stories about your family. If I agree to stipulate that, for instance, Barack Obama has a wonderful family, can he please stop campaigning on them? Can he stop telling us all how one-man-can-make-it (emphasis on "one" and on "man") and start talking about the business of our nation? In a crisis, do we all need to hear about his wife taking their daughters upstairs for a bath while he did the dishes? Will that solve health care problems? Will that end the war? It may make a few people smile with delight, but it's nothing that convinces me he's someone who can do a good job as president.

As the Democrats spent the last two weeks with their bills that do not end the war, it was as though they'd waited (and waited and . . .) to even think about Iraq. Maybe they were too busy talking about the children and their parents and their spouses. Kucinich talks like a serious candidate. He probably has a wealth of personal stories, wonderful ones, to share and, when it is appropriate to the discussion, will do so. But he's campaigning on issues and, since the election cycle has been rushed and pushed by the likes of The Nation among others, how about we use the additional time to familiarize ourselves with the issues and not the candidates personal lives?

Outside of Rudy, I'll assume that every presidential candidate I know of, regardless of party, has a wonderful family if they'll agree to stop campaigning on them and grasp that, in these serious times, we need serious discussions.

"If it makes me happy, why the hell is Friedman so sad?" is Betty's latest chapter. Be sure to check it out. I'm told there's an upcoming twist in April, so watch for that. Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" from Friday:

March 30, 2007. Chaos and violence continues in Iraq, war resister Corey Glass appears before a supposed independent body, and the puppet of the occupation plays catch & release while the 'crackdown' again cracks up.

Starting with war resisters. In Canada, a US war resister appeared before the Immigration and Refugee Board today.
Matthew Chung (Toronto Star) reports that Corey Glass and his attorney, Jeffrey House, will attempt to argue that the Iraq war is illegal. Chung notes: "Glass joined the National Guard in Indiana four years ago to, so he says, fill sand bags and help guard U.S. soil. Instead he was sent to Iraq, a war he said he doesn't believe in. He fled during a two-week leave." So he says, Chung? He's maintained that repeatedly including when he spoke at Tilley Hall Auditorium in October of last year "filling sand bags to stop a flood on American soil". After self-checking out, Glass was underground for seven months before going to Canada and, during that time, the Army (which supposedly just waits for traffic violations to catch self-check outs) was visiting his parents, calling phone numbers trying to track him down. As October started last year, Corey Glass, Justin Colby, Ryan Johnson and other war resisters in Canada were considering returning to US as a result of the way Darrell Anderson's discharge was resolved. However, once the military attempted to screw over Kyle Snyder, that changed. Glass told Brett Barrouqere (AP) at the start of November, "After what they did to him, I don't see anybody going back." In September of last year, Glass stated, "I knew the war was wrong before I went, but I was going to fulfil my end of the bargain, right or wrong and eventually my conscience just caught up with me. . . I felt horrible for being a part of it. If I could apologise to those people [Iraqis], every single on, I would." The supposed independent body of the Immigration and Review Board has refused to grant asylum thus far to every Iraq war resister who has come before it.

Staying on war resistance, Joshua Key, who is in Canada with his wife Brandi Key and their children, wrote, with Lawrence Hill, his story in the new book
The Deserter's Tale which has been receiving favorable reviews across the political spectrum. Karen Alego Krizman (Rocky Mountain News) is the latest to review the book and observes, "Key admits he believed the recruiter who promised he wouldn't have to go overseas or into combat if he joined the Army - mere months after 9/11. Couple this naivete with the steady dose of racism Key says the Army fed recruits and it's no wonder that abuses such as Abu Ghraib occur." Paul Gessel (Ottawa Citizen) notes the Ottawa International Writers Festival from April 15-22 will include Lawrence hill, David Suzuki, Tom Harpur, Roy MacGregor and Barbara Gowdy and reports: "Hill is riding high this year with two books, one a novel about the slave trade called The Book of Negroes and the other a non-fiction story called The Deserter's Tale, about an American soldier who went AWOL while home on leave from fighting in Iraq. That soldier, Joshua Key, is trying to obtain refugee status in Canada and will be joining Hill at the festival April 16."

On Monday, CNN's Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees took a look at Kyle Snyder and other war resisters who were making a life in Nelson British Columbia. Cooper noted, "We all know the stories about Vietnam War-era deserters who fled to Canada. But less well-known are the members of today's armed forces who are refusing to serve in Iraq. Many have fled to the same town in Canada where they're being welcomed with open arms." Thelma Gutierrez was the reporter for the segment.

Kyle Snyder: I joined when I was 19. . . I sat back, I put my weapon down beside me, and then, ba, ba, ba, ba, ba, real quick, very, very loud, I could just remember the look on the man's face. . . . I was a .50 cal. machine gunner and I was an escort for very high-ranking officials. What drew the line for me was one mission in particular where I had witnessed an innocent civilian shot in front of me. . . . I was first angry at that. And then I became angry at the fact that there were no repercussions. This -- there was nothing done to prevent this from happening again. . . . I made my decision off of the things that I personally witnessed in Iraq. I didn't just wake up one morning and say, 'I'm going to leave my country, I'm going to leave my friends behind, I'm going to leave everything that I know and everything that I love and built my entire life on,' nobody does that. . . . I can walk around shops here and, you know, I see "war resisters welcome here" signs. I see community getting involved and getting together. High schoolers come up and say, what can I do to support the anti-war movement?

Meanwhile, Canada's
Chronicle Herald reports, "Police have initiated an investigation into" Snyder's arrest "which will be conducted by the Abbotsford police". Snyder was pulled from the home he shares with Ryan and Jen Johnson, the day before his wedding, arrested in his boxers and carried to a jail where he was held (still in his boxers) for several hours as a result of some sort of 'special' and 'unofficial' deal between the police and the US military.

Glass, Key, Snyder and Johnson are part of a movement of resistance within the military that also includes
Ehren Watada, Darrell Anderson, Joshua Key, Dean Walcott, Ricky Clousing, Mark Wilkerson, Agustin Aguayo, Camilo Mejia, Patrick Hart, Ivan Brobeck, Aidan Delgado, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Jeremy Hinzman, Stephen Funk, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Katherine Jashinski, Chris Teske, Matt Lowell, Jimmy Massey, Tim Richard, Hart Viges, Michael Blake and Kevin Benderman. In total, thirty-eight US war resisters in Canada have applied for asylum.Information on war resistance within the military can be found at Center on Conscience & War, The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline, and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters.

In the United States, the press continues to believe that claims of a withdrawal garner more interest than headlines of "Some Troops May Come Home . . . Someday." The realities were addressed on yesterday's

Meanwhile in Washington the Senate a sort time ago passed a long discussed resolution that ties military funding to non-specific suggestions that President Bush accept the goal but not the requirement of removing less than half of the 150,000 US occupation troops from Iraq by the unenforceable deadline of March 2008. Nevertheless, President Bush has promised a veto. Today's 51 to 47 vote was mostly along party lines and now the Senate and House must resolve their respective legislation neither of which require a full withdrawal of US troops from Iraq till well after the installation of the next American president. And that's some of the news this Thursday, March 29th, 2007. From exile, I'm Robert Knight.

Robert Knight has been one of the consistent voices throughout. (Also on yesterday's
Flashpoints, Dennis Bernstein interviewed the Washington Post's Peter Eisner. Rebecca will be covering that late tonight.) This week's CounterSpin (which began airing today) featured a discussion on the issue of what the US House and Senate bills actually state as opposed to the way the press has portrayed them. Co-host Janine Jackson spoke with The Institute for Policy Studies Erik Leaver. Leaver noted that
the bills' "terms of reference only are for combat troops and if you look at the current number of troops deployed in Iraq only half of them would be considered as are combat troops." Jackson, noting reality versus coverage, asked, "Well then are some of the press characterizations or glosses of this as a withdrawal bill, it sounds as though that's not quite on the money?" To which Leaver responded, "That's exactly correct."

Janine Jackson: Well looking at that broader context and we don't have much time left, the majority of the population want an end to the occupation and the war and media acknowledge that, it's their polls that show that, but it doesn't seem somehow guide the questions that they ask or the sources that speak to and I wonder in this case were there not other pieces of legislation that maybe came closer to what the public was calling for? Was there no way for journalists to kind of put this in the context of: "Is this going to end the war sooner?"

Eric Leavler: I think that is the missing element in the story. Again, if the news media reported on: "This brings half the troops home" I think you would see a lot more public discontent about the bill and they would perhaps I think there would be a lot more dissatisfied with Democrats than they are.

Michael Shank (Foreign Policy in Focus) interviews US House Rep and 2008 presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich explains why he refused to vote 'yes' on the House bill, "It's very simple: the bill kept the war going. I want to see this war end. I have created, with the help of people who worked on security and peacekeeping missions for years, a plan to end the war. It's embodied in H.R. 1234. It would end the U.S. occupation, close the bases, bring the troops home, establisha parallel process creating a peacekeeping and security force, reach out to the nations of the region and the international community for help -- something we won't get as long as we continue to occupy Iraq. That plan is much more expansive and in the course of this interview I'd be happy to over it with you but in short, I oppose the resolution because it kept funding the war. And I say we need to the war now. Not a year from now, not two years from now, not five or ten years from now, but now."

Military Families Speak Out issued (PDF format) "Military Families Speak Out Responds to Senate Vote To Continue Funding For Iraq War" yesterday which notes:

"People across this nation voted in November for an end to the war, not for Congress to provide President Bush with the funds to continue it. Our loved ones were first betrayed when they were sent off to fight a war based on lies. Congress is now continuing that betrayal by failing [to] cut off funding for this unjustifiable war."Miliary Familes Speak Out renews our calls for Congress to use their 'power of the purse' to support our troops and de-fund the war. We call on Congres to fund our troops by funding a safe and orderly withdrawal from Iraq and by funding care for our troops when they return home. This is the 'funding for troops' that is desperately needed."Leadership and courage, two character traits that our loved ones rely on every day as they put their lives on the line, seem to be in short supply on Capitol Hill. We hope that as the Supplemental Appropriations bill goes through the House-Senate Conference Committee and then back to the floors of the House and Senate, we will see our elected officials stand up for our troops and for our nation by ending the funds that allow this unjustifiable war to continue and providing the funds for a safe and orderly withdrawal and the care they need when they get home."

Richard W. Behan (CounterPunch) zeroes in on one aspect of both the Senate and the House's measures, the privatization of Iraq's oil law, defined by the Bully Boy and both houses of Congress as a 'benchmark' Iraqis must meet, "If passed, the law will make available to Exxon/Mobil, Chevron/Texaco, BP/Amoco, and Royal Dutch/Shell about 4/5's of the stupendous petroleum reserves in Iraq. That is the wretched goals of the Bush Administration, and in his speech setting the revenue-sharing 'benchmark' Mr. Bush conscisously avoided any hint of it. The legislation pending now in Washington requires the President to certify to Congress by next october that the benchmarks have been met -- specifically that the Iraqi hydrocarbon law has been passed. That's the land mine: he will certify the American and British oil companies have access to Iraqi oil. This is not likely what Congress intended, but it is precisely what Mr. Bush has sought for the better part of six years." Steve Kretzmann (Oil Change) notes that the Iraqi oil unions were locked out of the drafting process but they are quite clear where they stand on the law: "The British and American oil companies were the first to obtain the concession to extract and invest Iraqi oil, nearly 80 years ago. After Iraq got rid of this octopus network, these foreign oil companies have again attempted to dominate this important oil wealth, under numerous pretexts and invalid excuses."

The House and the Senate managed to endorse the privatization of Iraq's oil even if they didn't bother to address the malnutrition --
Cartias Internationalis reports "[o]ver 11 percent of newborn babies are born underweight in Iraq today," that one third of Iraqi children now suffer from malnutrition, and quotes President of Caritas Middle East North Africa Claudette Habesch stating, "Iraq has the second largest oil supplies in the world, but it has levels of poverty, hunger and underdevelopment comparble to sub-Saharan Africa. The last four years, but in particular 2006, we have seen life get worser rather than better for the ordinary Iraqi. And people are voting with their feet. Everday 5000 people leave Iraq. In 2007, one in ten Iraqis is expected to leave the country. We are seeing minority groups such as Christians completely disappear from the country or leave their homes for safer areas."

And when someone tries to return?
Edward Wong and Ashley Gilbertson (New York Times -- Wong text, Gilbertson photos) report on Suaada Saadoun, a 49-year-old Iraqi woman who made the mistake of believing a wave of Operation Happy Talk that the latest juiced up version of the eternal 'crackdown' would make Baghdad safe. Suaada returned to her home last month amidst the big talk of the protection and how things would be safer. She, her four daughters, her son-in-law, and grandchildren returned to her Baghdad home after fleeing Iraq for Syria when the Shia gangs and militias became too threatening. Upon returning, Suaada attempted to deal with the new threats by notificing the Kurdish and US military. When two thugs, Abbas Radhi and Zuhair Naama, showed up with papers from the Ministry of Finance (which, make the connection, they obviously worked for), she phoned the Kurdish and American military. The Kurdish military was able to stop the two men at a checkpoint. They and the US military arrested the two men. Suaada was shot dead the next morning in front of a bakery. Her family has now fled the home.

But it was safer, said US military flacks, things were better in Baghdad -- this version of the crackdown was really something, really accomplishing something . . . Really nothing but more of the same. Oh, there is a difference. More attacks. Attacks on the fortified Green Zone are up.
Kristin Roberts (Reuters) reports the US military is saying that car bombs have "soared 30 percent since the start of a security crackdown in Iraq last month" -- since the start of the latest version of the crackdown that's been ongoing since June of 2006 is ther reality. David Byers (Times of London) reports that "the death toll rose to nearly 400 in four days following a multitude of deadly bomb and shooting attacks." Leila Fadel (McClatchy Newspapers) reports that "violence is returning to previous levels throughout the country. The number of unidentified bodies found dumped on Baghdad streets, which had dropped to an average of 13 per day in the weeks just after the plan began, has averaged 19 a day for the past two weeks. The average numbers of people killed and of car bombs also have increased slightly, according to statistics that McClatchy compiled."

CNN reports that Moqtada al-Sadr "is calling for an anti-American protest in the Iraqi city of Najaf on April 9, the fourth anniversary of the fall of Baghdad." Sounds like Clear Channel needs to get off their asses and head on over to Iraq to stage some of their propaganda rallies they held in the US during 2003. CBS and AP note that al-Sadr's call comes as "Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, whose backing is dropping even among fellow Shiites, issued an angry statement pledging to bring the bombers responsible for Thursday's attacks to justice." That apparently means al-Maliki will make a big show about detaining them and then release them hours later with no fanfare. Kirk Semple (New York Times) ["More Than 100 Are Killed in Iraq as a Wave of Sectarian Attacks Shows No Sign of Letting Up"] reports that the 18 police officers who went on a massacre in Tal Afar, dragging people from their homes, killing at least 70 people, the ones identified by survivors, the ones who were taken into custody with much, much fanfare -- "had been freed after being detained for only a few hours." CNN reports that they were arrested (re-arrested) today. No word yet on whether they've also already been released.


CNN reports: "A U.S. airstrike in Baghdad's Sadr City neighborhood about 2 a.m. Friday killed at least 16 people and wounded 14 others, an Iraqi Interior Ministry official said. He said all of those killed were guards who protect neighborhoods in Sadr City. The U.S. military said it is looking into the report."


Reuters reports two police officers were shot dead in Hilla.


CNN reports 25 corpses were discovered in Mosul.

Today, the
US military announced: "While conducting a combat security patrol, a MND-B Soldier died and another was wounded when an improvised explosive device detonated near the Soldiers in a southern section of the Iraqi capital March 29." AP notes this brought the total number of US service members killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal to 3,245.

CBS and AP report that six weeks after the Washington Post (Dana Priest and Anne Hull) and ABC News Brian Woodruff put the scandals of veterans health 'care' front and center, Bully Boy mosied down to Walter Reed Army Medical Center to throw some empty words around about how "we're going to fix the problem" and that he toured an "empty" patient room. Hopefully, his prepared remarks weren't delivered there but with the Bully Boy who knows . . .

Finally, students in the US have been protesting and continue to protest the Iraq war. The latest indication that gas bags need to rethink is The Nation magazine which makes the new SDS (
Students for a Democratic Society) their latest cover and includes a sketch (no articles -- it's fastly becoming the Highlights of the political set). Been there, done that and never awarded a student, as The Nation did not that long ago, for writing an essay spitting on her peers, LeftTurn was there first and best with Doug Viehmeyer's article "Steppin It Up: The New SDS." From the article: "SDS has gone forward, with 250 chapters springing up nationwide (and internationally). The most surprising aspect of the growth of SDS has been the number of chapters established at high schools and community colleges. When compared with the initial years after the founding of the original SDS, we are ahead of the curve. The spring and summer of 2006 was the incubation period for SDS, with the initial chapters getting off the ground and spreading via word of mouth and the web, participating in joint actions with other groups, and beginning the slow development of organizational vision and strategy." Applause to Viehmeyer and LeftTurn for doing such an amazing article that The Nation (already suffering bad campus cred -- for good reason) had to rush to copy.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Bean Salad in the Kitchen

I'll be sharing some of the recipes from foods I sampled while we were in all Texas over the next few months. I actually had written a post this morning with a different recipe and lost the whole thing while trying to post. So I went into the e-mails, after I was done feeling angry (WHY! WHY! WHY!) about the lost post and Bonnie had e-mailed wondering if I knew of any bean salad recipes other than green bean and three bean?

I know of several and I'll share this one here and e-mail two more to Bonnie. The one I'm sharing was brought to a talk we did in East Texas and Stacy and her husband Jeff brought it. They said they figured that those of us from the East Coast might especially be cursing the Texas weather and appreciate a chilled dish. East Texas was actually cooler than any other part of Texas we visited that week, so heat wasn't a problem there. (Austin and Dallas were the two hottest during the week we visited. Not hot in a summer sense for them, but really warm for what was still officially winter.) Elaine, Betty and I pretty much ensured no one else had a taste because we were the first to have some and, honestly, knocked it out before anyone else could because it was so tasty.

It's very easy to make. There is no cooking involved so no one should panic, regardless of their kitchen comfort level.

2 celery stocks, chopped
1 can of kidney beans
mandarin organges
salad dressing
2 tablespoons of sugar or sugar substitue

On the oranges, you can use a can (11 ounces) and that's fine. But Stacy had recently started buying manadrin oranges in a plastic jar by Dole. Fresh is fine, if you have it but she's got one grocery story (Brookshires -- which seemed to be all over East Texas) and fresh mandarin oranges aren't a given and seem to pop up seasonally. She prefers the Dole jar because it's less syrupy than what she has available in the can. But you can use a can if that's all you have or if you prefer the taste. If you're using Dole, you'll need to spoon out 22 tablespoons (2 tablespoons equal an ounce). With the kidney beans, you'll need to drain and rinse them. That's part of the recipe but it's also true if you're watching your sodium count.
On the salad dressing, she used Italian and it tasted wonderful. She said her mother also enjoys it with French dressing or Green Goddess dressing.
Combine all the ingredients in a bowl. Cover the bowl. If the bowl you are using doesn't have a cover (glass or plastic), use some plastic wrap. Refrigerate it. What we had was chilled overnight and that's the ideal but you can also chill it for a few hours (I would say no less than three) if you are in a rush.

That's it. You can serve it on plates or in bowls like that or you can serve it on a bed of lettuce. It's a very easy recipe. Summer's coming up and it's a recipe that's perfect for summer (both for eating and for 'cooking' since you're not standing over a hot stove).

Feel free to play around with it but Jeff cautioned that he loves peaches (they even have a peach tree -- that has still not produced fruit -- he noted) so he attempted to substitute peaches in the recipe but he said it didn't turn out well. I think you would get a different taste with basic oranges but it would still be tasty. In addition to lettuce, you can serve it on a bed of spinach which is what I've been doing this week because there was some really good spinach in my area.
If you're using lettuce, your favorite will do and that includes iceberg.

Eddie e-mailed to ask what I thought of the Hillary ad online at YouTube, or the anti-Hillary ad, I guess it is. I thought it was nonsense. I thought it was the sort of thing that dumbs down the political process. Anyone who's read any of my comments on Hillary Clinton should have already guessed that I'm not supporting Hillary. But the ad didn't cover her record, didn't do anything at all, other than tap into 'the fear of Hillary.' It may be effective in terms of sending people running but what it added to the conversation was? Nothing. I hadn't planned to write about that (I responded to Eddie in an e-mail) but I was looking through the morning paper and except for a Washington Post article that our paper carried, I didn't see a lot else that was worth noting. This is from the Associated Press:

Sen. Barack Obama said Friday that his campaign had nothing to do with a Web ad portraying his chief rival for the Democratic presidential nomination as an Orwellian figure. Nevertheless, Obama declined to denounce the ad, which depicts New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton as Big Brother. He said the ad apparently "captured the public's imagination."

His campaign had nothing to do with it although the ad was created by an employee of a company working on Obama's campaign? I did want to comment on that because, as C.I. pointed out this week, it's actually a pattern. I'm not referring to David Geffen's comments about Hillary, I'm referring to a pattern in Obama's campaigning and I'll cite one example.

He won his Senate seat because he was a shoe-in. He became that after the only serious rival he had dropped out, Jack Ryan. Jack Ryan is a Republican so I'm not boo-hooing over him. But I do think it was tacky and tasteless the way that went down. Ryan and his then former wife had some problems in the marriage. This was not domestic abuse and the court documents were not for public viewing. I seriously doubt his ex-wife, the actress Jeri Ryan, was thrilled to see her personal life splashed on the front page. That was gutter politics and it's strange how all the below-the-belt hits that always benefit Obama are never seen to be part of a history of campaign dirty tricks.

Dennis Kucinich is the only Democratic candidate I see offering real solutions and not soundbytes. I think John Edwards has matured as a candidate and that, as the race continues, he may offer some real solutions (I don't support his health care plan which strikes me as a lot of pretty words and little substance). But in terms of who is addressing issues, the only one I see right now is Dennis Kucinich.

I think he's being very straight foward about what is needed and why. If the election were held this Tuesday, he'd have my vote. I'm not going to gas bag about candidates week after week. But I think the point needs to be made that he's not gas bagging. He is the only candidate I see who is offering plans and talking about them. That's Republican or Democrat. I'm not voting Republican but they are covered in the media -- unlike third party candidates. If I had Rudy's record, I'd prefer to talk about the fact that my current wife was married three other times and not twice like she'd maintained. I see a lot of that, a lot of running from records, and I honestly don't blame them considering their records.

Kucinich doesn't have to run from the Iraq war issue because he got it right. He voted against war on Iraq. He was an anti-war candidate. (Obama stopped being that as soon as Jack Ryan dropped out. That's probably lost on many because his star making moment was the DNC 2004 convention. By the time he gave that speech, he'd already moved away from Iraq. In meetings in his state, after he was elected, he avoided addressing the issue with constituents. Now he wants to say "I wouldn't have voted for the war. I was against it." He was against it, quietly as his election approached and quietly after he was elected.)

He has a plan for health care that is practical and do-able. That is a big issue to me because that's an issue that effects all of us. That's only become more clear as so many of us (my generation) are seeing older relatives (parents, aunts, uncles, etc.) live longer than was possible in earlier times and face more difficulties of aging. That's only become more clear as we've seen the safety net destroyed repeatedly (under the Bully Boy, under Bill Clinton, both parties have worked to destroy the safety net) and we have so many children (and parents) without health care. I've mentioned parents and children because, as the mother of eight, that's where my mind goes first. But health care, or the lack of it, effects everyone. It's very basic and it should be the right of every American.

Of the domestic issues, I put health care first. Of the international issues, I put the Iraq war first. Kucinich didn't sell out to please Nancy Pelosi. What passed the House Friday is a joke on the people if it's not spitting in the face of the people. That's the people in the United States and the people in Iraq. The snapshot contains some of the criticisms Kucinich made of the measure so I won't repeat them (the snapshot will be copy and pasted in full at the end of my post). But I will note that while we are being lied to -- and we are being lied to -- by Pelosi and the Democratic leadership about what this bill does, Kucinich is talking reality.

I have two friends who have already decided they are supporting him. One worries that he's not going to be 'electable' because the mass media will not seriously cover him. She's correct that they ridicule him. They did that in 2004 as well. I will be mentioning him from time to time here because (a) I do support him and (b) I don't own a network or a paper but I can determine what I post online. There was a lot of support for him in Texas. He is far from Texas (Ohio) so if the word can get out in states other than Ohio, he is electable. But that's not going to come from the mass media. Howard Dean didn't get treated seriously by the mass media. He built up outside of it. Then the mass media had treat him slightly seriously (and then, of course, they tore him down).

If I just thought he was a "good guy," I wouldn't even bother. I'm sure he is a "good guy." I'm sure everyone running has some good personal qualities. But I'm not out shopping for a new best friend, I'm trying to figure out who would make the best leader, the best president. Dennis Kucinich is the only one I see oferring real leadership. When I wrote of him last time, a 'funny' e-mail came in saying that it was "cute" the way the entire community had endorsed him and were pretending they hadn't. Offered as proof was the fact that "he's mentioned more than any other presidential candidate in those snapshots." Those snapshots are the "Iraq snapshot" that C.I. does Monday through Friday. He's mentioned in those because he's addressing the war. I have no idea whom C.I. will support. Betty was, until Hillary refused to apologize for her vote in favor of the war and then suggested people look elsewhere if the war's important to them, for Hillary and that was very clear in the statements she made at The Third Estate Sunday Review. Jess is a Green and I doubt he'll be voting for a Democratic. He might, but I doubt it.
Cedric's leaning towards three candidates and Kucinich is one of the three but he's not made a decision yet. When we were all together on the trip to Texas, the issue of the 2008 presidential campaign isn't something we brought up. 2008 did come up in terms of the fact that the illegal war would probably still be dragging be on. But there's no 'secret plan' to push Dennis Kucinich. If there were and I was part of it, you'd probably see my son pushing Kucinich at his site.

If or when others get serious about the illegal war, you'll see them mentioned in the snapshot. Soundbytes isn't serious. If the election were held this Tuesday, I'd be voting for Kucinich. What others in the community with sites would do, I don't know. I speak to them on the phone, I see Elaine and Rebecca in person each week. (I see my son Mike every day.) The 2008 election isn't one of our main topics.

On candidates, I will note Elaine's "MoveOn, Elizabeth Edwards" which makes some strong points. (My feelings were similar to Matthew Rothschild's until I read Elaine's post.) Let me also note that Betty's latest chapter went up last night, "Thomas Friedman tries to work it." And, I enjoyed Ava and C.I.'s "TV: The Road to Boyville" so much that I actually watched October Road to see how bad it was. I think they captured it perfectly in their review.

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

Friday, March 23, 2007. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq, the Pelosi measure passes in the House, the deputy prime minister of Iraq is wounded in an assassination attempt, new developments in the US military's harassment of Joshua Key, and voices opposed to the Pelosi measure that small media wouldn't bring you.

Starting with news of war resistance.
Yesterday, a family in Toronto who had taken in US war resister Joshua Key and his family when they came to Canada seeking asylum explained how they were visited by three police officers (in plainclothes) saying that they were searching for Joshua Key. This echoed an earlier attempt to harass US war resister Kyle Snyder; however, Key and his family now live elsewhere, so the 'police' were unable to detain him. Today, Leslie Ferenc (Toronto Star) reports that not only does the Toronto Police say it wasn't them, there's "no record of local officers being dispatched" to the home.
Omar El Akkad (Globe & Mail) adds another detail to the story: "The U.S. Army's Criminal Investigation Command has confirmed it is looking to question an army deserter now living in Canada about explosive allegations he made in his autobiography." El Akkad quotes Chris Grey as the person confirming. So were the three 'police' officers actually Toronto police are were they the US military?

The incident echoes an earlier one.
Bill Kaufmann (Calgary Sun) reminds readers that it was February when police officers "barged into" Kyle Snyder's home "hauling him out in his underwear in cuffs without a warrant and valid legal reason. His crime that actually isn't one in this country: Refusing to rejoin his U.S. Army unit to maintain the futile occupation of Iraq.
. . . Snyder claims federal officials told him they'd been getting pressure from the U.S. military to do something about his two-year presence in B.C. Canada Border Service Agency won't comment, but if it's even remotely true, what does it say about over sovereignty?"
Immigration official, Joci Pen has confirmed Synder was arrested at the request of the US military.

The US military maintains that they only want to discuss Joshua Key's new book,
The Deserter's Tale, apparently they're not just the military, they're also an international book club. Maybe they grew interested when they read John Freeman's (Mineapolis Star Tribune) review? Or maybe it was the shout out from Newsweek that made them thing, "We need to read this book!" Or maybe it was the recommendation fo the John Birch Society? Joshua Key's The Deserter's Tale has received good word from around the political spectrum.

Snyder and Key are part of a movement of resistance within the military that also includes
Ehren Watada, Darrell Anderson, Dean Walcott, Joshua Key, Agustin Aguayo, Mark Wilkerson, Camilo Mejia, Patrick Hart, Ivan Brobeck, Ricky Clousing, Aidan Delgado, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Jeremy Hinzman, Stephen Funk, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Corey Glass, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Katherine Jashinski, Chris Teske, Matt Lowell, Jimmy Massey, Tim Richard, Hart Viges, Michael Blake and Kevin Benderman. In total, thirty-eight US war resisters in Canada have applied for asylum.Information on war resistance within the military can be found at Center on Conscience & War, The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline, and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters.

In today's violence (reported) in Iraq, an attack on Salam al-Zobaie, the country's deputy prime minister, is getting the most attention. In what's being reported as an attempted assassination, Salam al-Zobaie's home was targeted with one bomb while the mosque he was in at the time was also targeted with a bomb.
Al Jazeera English TV reports that "many people are saying that this was an insider job" and correspondent Imad Shahib says that the mosque bombing was conducted by a man who blew himself up, "he's one of his guards." Robin Stringer and Heather Langan (Bloomberg News) note that the attack at th mosque took place "near the fortified Green Zone. AFP reports: "Zubayi, one of the most prominent Sunni Arab leaders in the Shiite-led government was rushed to a US military hospital in Baghdad with chest and face injuries after the bombers strcuk while he was performing Muslim prayers" and notes that at least six people are dead and at least 15 wounded. Elsa McLaren (Times of London) reports that Salam al-Zubaie was having surgery and also notes: "One aide said that the suicide bomber appeared to have been one of Mr al-Zubaie's own guards." Sameer N. Yacoub (AP) reports that nine deaths are being reported by the police, up from six. Christian Berthelsen (Los Angeles Times) also reports the 9 deaths and that 14 are wounded and that the bomber at the mosque (the one some reports are saying was an aide to al-Zubaie) wore a belt filled with explosives.

This follows the attack (in the Green Zone) yesterday.
Allen Pizzey (CBS News) observes, "And on the subject of targest, a short while ago a rocket slammed into the 'Green Zone' or, as the Americans prefer to call it, the 'IZ' short for 'International Zone', a word game that allows them to pretend someone other than America runs the place. The rocket, fired from across the rive, slammed in about 50 yards from where U.N. Secretary-General Bank Ki Moon and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki were meeting the press. Pool pictures from the scene showed the U.N. chief ducking, a not unnatural or unwise move, and then looking somewhat puzzled."


Guardian of London reports that a Baghdad car bombing in the Sadr City neighborhood resulted in five deaths and 20 injured. Reuters reports one police officer dead and another wounded in a Yusufiya roadside bombing and three police officers wounded from a car bombing -- for some reason they use the term "suicide bomber" which seems to imply the bomber would be dead but, although using the term, they note: "The suicide bomber surivived the blast and was captured by police as he tried to run away."


Oh come on. What? You don't know the drill? There were no bullets exchanged on Friday! Seriously, Friday everyone cuts out early. McClatchy may file later today but everyone else pretty much ended the day several hours ago. (Around 7:00 pm in Baghdad, actually.)


Reuters reports: "The bullet-riddled bodies of a woman and her teenage daughter were found in Diwaniya, police said,"

Turning to politics, the Apologist, Tinker-Toy-Sell-Out-Boy, wants to tell everyone 'how it is.' How what is? How it is to be a Party Hack? Party Hack doesn't know how it is because Party Hack's not fought to end the war. Party Hack's fought to work for congressional candidates, party flacks' fought for his right to write really bad books, he just doesn't know a damn thing about the war. Thanks for sharing, Hack, now WalkOn,

CBS and AP report that Pelosi measure passed, 218 to 212. Yesterday, US House Rep and 2008 presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich took to the House floor to offer "10 Consequences of A 'Yes' Vote:"

1) Keep the war going through the end of President Bush's term;
2) Provide money to fuel an attack on Iran;
3) Force the privatization of Iraqi oil;
4) Escalate the insurgency;
5) Increase the number of troops causalities in the middle of a civil war;
6) Increase the number of civilian causalities;
7) Create a demand for more troops;
8) Enforce cutbacks of the agenda of many in Congress because money that could be used for schools, healthcare, seniors and the environment would continue to be spent for war;
9) Forces the destabilization of the Middle East;
10) Erodes the public's confidence in Congress

CNN reports that before today's vote, Dennis Kucinich declared, "Four years ago we were told we had no alternative but to go to war. Now we're told we have no alternative but to continue war for another year ot two. The fact of the matter is we do have alternatives. . . . Congress has the power to stop funding the war. That's what we should do. That's what we should have done and that's what I'm going to continue to work toward. We have to get out of Iraq, period." notes US House Rep Mike McNulty's statement on why he voted against the Pelosi measure:

In the spring of 1970, during my first term as Twon Supervisor of Green Island, I testified against the War in Vietnam at a Congressional Field Hearing in Schenectady, New York. Several months after that testimony, my brother, HM3 William F. McNulty, a Navy Medic, was killed in Quang Nam Province. I have thought -- many times since then -- that if President Nixon had listened to the voices of reason back then, my brother Bill might still be alive. As a Member of Congress today, I believe that the Iraq War will eventually be recorded as one of the biggest blunders in the history of warfare. In October of 2002, I made a huge mistake in voting to give this President the authority to take military action in Iraq. I will not compound that error by voting to authorize this war's continuation. On the contrary, I will do all that is within my power to end this war, to bring our troops home, and to spare other families the pain that the McNulty family has endured every day since August 9th, 1970.

David Swanson ( compiled a list of the Democrats who voted against the Pelosi measure -- Kucinich, McNulty, John Lewis, Barbara Lee, Maxine Waters, Mike Michaud, Diane Watson and Lynn Woolsey -- and provides background on each of the eight.
Kevin Zeese (Democracy Rising) notes that Republican Ron Paul voted against the Pelosi measure because he has long opposed the illegal war, notes six Democrat War Hawks voted against it (John Barron, Dan Boren, Lincoln Davis, Jim Marshall, Jim Matheson and Gene Taylor) because they love an illegal war and that US House Rep Paul Kanjorski missed the vote due to illness while Mel Watt missed the vote but says he would have voted for it if he'd been there.

As the
Des Monies Register reported, Brenda Hervey knows what's at stake -- her step-son Michael Hervey was injured while serving in Iraq, so, on Monday she was at the offices of her senator Charles Grassley and Tom Harkin asking that they refuse to continue to fund the illegal war. Hervey is a member of Military Families Speak out, so is Laurie Loving who shares some of the letter she wrote to her US House Rep Mike Thompson: "It is not ridiculous to expect the Democratic leadership to end this war by not giving it one more penny. No money, the war ends. There will be money to bring the troops home. . . The House leadership is trying to get members who oppose the war, you, to support the appropriations bill by claiming it has provisions to support our troops. In reality, the bill allows the president to indefinitely extend the withdrawal date of August 2008 if the troops are 'engaging in targeted special actions limited in duration and scope to killing or capturing members of al-Qaida and other terrorist organizations with global reach; and/or if the troops are 'training members of the Iraqi Security Forces.' This provision could be used to keep tens of thousands of troops in Iraq for years." A toothless, non-enforceable date of August 2008? Why would that be? So when Bully Boy uses the override they provided him with, they can point to that for the November 2008 election? Would they then say/lie, "We tried"?
They didn't try. They treated it like it was all a game and the only thing that mattered was setting up their own finger pointing for the 2008 elections.

These are some of the voices shut out by public radio and when I say "public radio," I'm, sadly, not talking NPR
which did give Medea Benjamin the mike. Free Speech Radio News? Well yesterday, the 'report' was an editorial about how tough it is to be in Congress (health care for life -- our hearts bleed for those poor Congress members). And, in the best of the Sunday Chat & Chew 'balance,' listeners got to hear one person speak for themselves -- a Congress member who supported the weak Pelosi measure. That passes for "Free Speech Radio News" to someone. (Someone really dense and unfamiliar with the history of Pacifica Radio.) Now when you shut out the voices of the people as well as Congress members opposed to the measure, there's no way you can tell your listeners (and The KPFA Evening News demonstrated that yesterday and all week) that the so-called "benchmarks" come with an out-option for the Bully Boy to excercise. (Kat wrote of this yesterday.) These voices were apparently judged unimportant and the issues not worth raising.

Rae (rae's CODEPINK road journal) writes of taking part in an action at Nancy Pelosi's DC office yesterday:

I am crying because the Democrats' support of another $100 billion for the war means that thousands more kids my age will be killed--kid soldiers and Iraqi kids. Pelosi's support of Bush's request for money for war is a death sentence for thousands of kids. After weeks of cute, colorful, passionate actions in the halls of Congress, from caroling with the choir to valentine delivery to dog bones for Blue Dogs to pink aprons and brooms cleaning House, today was an action of a different tenor. I felt like the floodgates had come down and the halls of Congress were gushing with a bloody river. Maybe it sounds dramatic. But it felt like we were drowning in tears, in pain, in the realization of something very, very wrong. And the tragic part was that the two secretaries in Pelosi's office sat there chuckling and picking up phones, and the press liaison came out and answered reporter's questions with a blank face. My heart was pounding so loudly that I wondered why it didn't just crack the walls of the marble building. Those walls felt more sturdy and guarded than usual. How have our Democratic leaders become so enchanted by the Republican language? Pelosi has helped them back into a corner where Bush will emerge victorious. And the tragic thing is that they will tout this as a victory if it passes tomorrow.
I visited Anna Eshoo's office after the action, and her press secretary tried to explain to me why Anna is going to vote for this supplemental. He gave me the analogy of a football game, where one must work strategically one play at a time to get the ball up the field to the goal. Here's why I think that's a bogus comparison: The compromise that Pelosi and the Dems are voting for is not one step towards peace; it is one step towards prolonging violence and destruction, and killing innocent lives for nothing. The press liaison listened patiently to my opinion, and then told me that we have the same goal, just different tactics. But I am quite certain now that we don't have the same goal. The Democrats want to win. I want to see the killing stop. I want to welcome our soldiers home with open arms and fully equipped medical services. I want to see justice done to the administration. The Democrats, well, they want to win--this vote, the election in '08, the power. If Pelosi would have just come out and said, "Look, I know that this bill (or ammendment like Lee's) may fail, but I am going to take this stand because I believe in the courage of my convictions, because I am more committed to the will of my constituents and the integrity of justice." But we'll never get to find out what Dems would have done if the supplemental had been straight with Bush's desires. And now it's a mess.

It is a mess. And who usually gets stuck cleaning up the messes?

Women of the one world
We oppose war
Women of the one world
Dancers, sweepers, bookkeepers
We take you to the movies
Take you to the movies
Women of the one world
One world
-- "Women of the One World," written and performed by Laura Nyro, Live at the Bottom Line

Let's note
Anna Quindlen (UPS via Herald News) conclusions from last month: "The people who brought America reports of WMDs when none existed, and the slogan 'Mission Accomplished' when it was not true nor likely to be, now say that American troops cannot leave. Not yet. Not soon. Not on a timetable. Judge the truth of that conclusion by the truth of their past statements. They say that talk of withdrawal shows a lack of support for the troops. There is no better way to support those who have fought valiantly in Iraq than to guarantee that not one more of them dies in the service of the political miscalculation of their leaders. Not one more soldier. Not one more grave. Not one more day. Bring them home tomorrow."

A number of women have been using their voices loudly and proudly (Ann Wright, Cindy Sheehan, Medea, Robin Morgan, Dahlia S. Wasfi, Missy Comley Beattie, Alice Walker, Maxine Hong Kingston, Diane Wilson, Kim Gandy, Laura Flanders, Kelly Dougherty, . . .) but if all the women opposed to this war would use their voices and own their power, the war would be over. The GI resistance is very important and it was important during Vietnam but it's equally true that women were actively leading the cry for an end to the war as well. It's the group that's always 'forgotten' by history.

Back to the Pelosi-measure, the
Green Party noted, "If Democrats (inculding MoveOn) really oppose the war, they should demand a cutoff of war funding and the immediate return of all U.S. troops" and they note Cres Vellucci (press secretary of the Green Party of California and Veterans for Peace member) stating, "The Democrats' resolution is a piece of phony and meaningless antiwar posturing. By proposing a plan that effectively delays the withdrawal of U.S. troops until September 2008, Democrats are trying to set themselves up as the 'antiwar party' in the 2008 election, since it's obvious that President Bush intends to keep U.S. forces in Iraq throughout 2008 and long after. If Democratic Party leaders really believe the Iraq War is a disaster -- as do the Green Party and most Americans -- they should support legislation compelling a rapid withdrawal of U.S. forces and reducing war funding to the amount it takes to bring our troops home safe and sound."

Steve Kretzmann (Oil for Change) points out, "Among the many problems with the Democrats War Supplemental is the not so small fact that it endorses passage of the Iraqi Oil Law. 'Democratic leadership is actively handing over Iraq's oil to U.S. companies as some sort of war bounty,' said Antonia Juhasz, analyst with Oil Change International.
Not so fast, say Dem Leaders and allies. Their 'clever plan' is that Bush's benchmarks will not be met in the next eight months, after which, the bill will require withdrawal. Its the best they can get right now, they say. Problem is, it'll be game over and mission accomplished for Big Oil in Iraq in that time. The
oil law is on a fast track for approval by the Iraqi Parliament within the next 2-3 months, and the Bush administration is leaning heavily on the Iraqi government for quick passage. October 1, which is the date that the Democrats set for the Benchmarks, is too late. The Iraqi oil law will be completed in 2-3 months."

As small media has largely hopped on board to sell the Pelosi measure (or at least not report on it), it's like a flashback to the 90s when big media sold NAFTA. Not everyone plays dumb.
Aaron Glantz (IPS) probes the pork aspect of the bill: "Among the so-called 'pork projects' listed by Citizens Against Government Waste: 283 million dollars for the Milk Income Loss Contract programme, 74 million dollars for peanut storage costs, 60.4 million dollars for salmon fisheries, 50 million dollars for abestos mitigation at the U.S. Capitol Plant, and 25 million dollars for spinach" and quotes CAGW president Tom Schatz pointing out, "None of this has anything to do with the war."

Dave Lindorff (CounterPunch) speaks to what could have been done (as opposed to the sop tossed out) and concludes: "I'm fed up with the gutless mini-politics of this Congress. Who gives a damn whether they've passed a minimum wage bill? It'll never get past Bush anyhow. Neither will anything else of consequence that this Congress passes. Unless they start challenging the Bush administration directly and forcefull, Congressional Democrats aren't going to do bupkis in two years and people are going to start wondering why they were voted in in the first place. People might even start to think seriously about letting the Democratic Party just wither away. Wouldn't make much of a difference without it, really, and we might even come up with something better. It wouldn't be too hard to do."

Meanwhile, Iran is not in the Pelosi measure. Reports of the Iran and British conflict abound.
AFP reports the 15 British soldiers captured in disputed waters as follows: "In southern Iraq, details of the incident in which the British sailors were detained by Iranian naval personnel remained sketchy." Not in the bulk of the Western media which, to read the reports, must be filed by eye witnesses, so sure of they of what happened. Uzi Mahnaimi (Times of London) earlier reported on the disappearances of "senior officers in its [Iran] Revolutionary Guard" noting: "One theory circulating in Israel is that a US taskforce known as the Iran Syria Policy and Operations Group (ISOG) is coordinating the campaign to take Revolutionary Guard commanders." The illegal war could expand at any moment and the Pelosi measure dropped Congressional approval for war with Iran.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Steamed Fish and Green Apples in the Kitchen

I spent this week in Texas and that was a blast. I always hear about the speaking events and this one was a whole week in Texas with an emphasis on meeting the community members so I really did not want to miss out.

Here's who was speaking: The Third Estate Sunday Review's Dona, Jess, Ty, Ava and Jim, 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, Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills), Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix, Mike of Mikey Likes It!, Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz, Wally of The Daily Jot, and Ruth of Ruth's Report. In addition, Ruth's friend from way back, Treva, was with us. (I say from "way back" because I always am impressed with longterm friendships. Treva and Ruth met in college in the early 60s and have been best friends ever since.) Betty's three kids were with us, Elijah (Ruth's grandson) and Rebecca's husband were with us. There was a lot of great food and, in fact, I have a recipe by Texas community member Billie.

Steamed Fish and Green Apples
White fish (catfish is probably the easiest to find)
Green apples
White onions

How much of the above? Salt (you can skip salt if you're low sodium) and pepper are just used to taste. The rest depends upon how much fish you are using. If you're using a single filet (fresh fish is best, then frozen filet -- nothing breaded) you need one green apple, one half of a lemon and one onion. If you love apples, you could up that two. Let's assume you're using four fish filets to start. You'll need one large white onion, three green apples, one lemon and an 8 ounce package of shredded Mozzarella cheese. Slice the apple into wedges or slices, leaving the skin on. (Always wash fresh fruits before you begin cooking with them.) With the onion, you will slice it into thin rings or half rings. You'll leave the fish as is but the steam will break it into smaller pieces.

How do you steam it? I have a steamer but Billie has her own versions. Because there were so many of us that she was cooking this for, she had two "steamers" going. She uses collanders, like you'd drain pasta in. They're large. She has a plastic one and a metal one. She sets the metal one in a large pot and the plastic one in a large stock pot. If she puts it in a large pot it can melt a little over time. If she uses it in the stock pot, she doesn't have that problem. She pours water in to each pot and will then place the collander on top -- the collander's handles keep it from the boiling water. She then puts the fish, apple and onion into the collander as the water comes to a boil, squeezes half a lemon over it and covers the pots with lids for six minutes.

First version: After the six minutes is up, using a large slotted spoon, you spoon fish, apples and onions onto plates and then sprinkle with cheese (which will begin to melt because the steamed portions are hot). Sprinkle with ground pepper and salt.

Second version: You cook some rice. Billie prefers white rice. You spoon as in the first version but instead of directly onto an empty plate, you spoon it ontop of a bed of rice.

Billie said she'd always wanted to e-mail this recipe to me but was afraid I'd think, "There's no way this tastes good." I don't know if I would've thought that but I probably would have wondered what it tasted like until I made it.

While Billie was cooking, I was wondering just that: What's it going to taste like?

When she lifted the top off the first pot and the scent of the fish, apples and onions was released, I had no questions. Just from the aroma, I knew it was going to be something to taste.

The apples (and onions) give the fish a nice contrasting taste. Since it's green apples (or granny smiths) and you use the lemmon as seasoning, it's not too sweet (the way it would be with red apples). It's a really great taste.

Billie came up with the recipe when, like many parents, she was thinking, "My kids are not eating enough fruits and vegetables." So one Friday, they wanted fish and she'd bought green apples two days before, set them in the fruit bowl and watched as the kids never touched them.
The first time she made it, she used a skillet. You can do the above in a skillet. Use butter for cooking oil and remember you're cooking the fish, not frying it. She had onions on hand, so she sliced some of those and threw them in. If she makes it in the skillet, she usually uses the spice lemmon pepper (as well as fresh lemon -- but the lemmon pepper is in place of ground pepper and salt). For steaming, the lemmon pepper seems to sharp for her.

So the first time she made it, her kids were staring at it (as opposed to eating it) so she grabbed cheese from the fridge and sprinkled their plates with that. At which point, they dove in. She's played around with the recipe and really prefers the taste of it when it's steamed. But if you have concerns about steaming (if you haven't steamed anything before, it may make you nervous), you can cook it on the stove top in a skillet. We did that with two filets. I also had it with and without rice. Either way, it makes for a filling meal. If you like rice or are trying to stretch out the portions, you can have it over rice.

I was surprised at the flavors and intend to cook this dish as soon as I get home.

I'll talk a little about foods we had in Texas and that may be it. We came to DC late Friday to participate in the march today and we all overslept (compounded by no one remembering the time change). So we're all running behind today (I can't say "this morning" because morning ended some time ago).

I have never had a Chess Pie before but that's a very tasty pie. Devona is sending me the recipe and I'll share that as it gets warmer. (I think it would be perfect dessert for a summer picnic or gathering.) In East Texas, we not only had a wonderful pecan pie, I also got two large grocery sacks of pecans. Those were from Andre and his wife who have pecan trees on their property and gather pecans. The pecans fall from the tree onto the ground and ripen. October through December are the real harvesting time and Andre said they had more than they could use. Treva was kind enough to offer to bring them back in her RV. So I'll let her have on bag and we'll take the other.

Tex-Mex is very popular in Texas. If you don't know you're geography, Texas borders Mexico. If you don't know your history, Texas was part of Mexico. Cedric thought he could handle it with no problems because he loves Mexican foods and was only a little taken aback by some of the 'heat' when he ate it in California last summer. In Texas, 'heat' is a big thing if you're eating in a real Tex-Mex or Mexican place. If you're having it at a Luby's (there were a lot of those throughout Texas), you're getting a blander version. So, if you ever visit Texas and you're not from the area or the south, just be prepared that "hot" means "hot." Cedric got used to it quickly but the first time was drinking iced water and tea nonstop to cool his tongue off. (He'd told them he could handle everything as hot as they could make it.) This is true of the meal and the sauce with chips. It's not always what those of us outside would consider "salsa," so I used "sauce." If it's a dark red, it's going to be very hot. Pico de gallo is more along the lines of what most people outside the south will think of as salsa ("salsa" just means sauce in Spanish) -- that's the tomatoes, cilantro, onions and peppers uncooked. Mole or salsa ranchero (the latter is what really had Cedric grabbing for the iced water) are generally cooked. Miranda explained that to us in Houston and I thank her for patience because I know she must have thought, "How many questions does this woman have?"

Both because of the area's history and because of it's population makeup, Tex-Mex and Mexican foods are very popular. There are chains in the state (El Chico, Taco Bueno, etc.) but mainly there are many non-chains. In addition, there were Spanish places that served something other than Mexican. We were going into one place because Cedric wanted Mexican and Ava stopped us and told us the food would be fine but it was either Guatamalan or Honduran. This was in Dallas and I can't remember which she said it was. She said the food would taste very good but Cedric might feel it was more "watery" than what he was looking for. So there are a whole host of places to eat Latin American food in Texas.

Tex-Mex and Mexican aren't the only kinds of foods served in Texas. One of my favorites, in Dallas, was a place that community member In Dallas took us to, Thai Lotus Kitchen. Everything looked wonderful but I had the see through noodles and highly recommend those (as well as the spring rolls that come with every dish, I believe). I had mine with chicken pieces and just thinking about it now, my mouth is watering.

Another place I enjoyed eating at was Mercados in Tyler, Texas. Their food is Tex-Mex but it's less spicy. Which wasn't why I enjoyed it. I enjoyed it because their chicken is cooked in such a way that it has a smoky quality to the taste. I had the chicken fajitas. The sauce they serve with chips is a pico de galla that's been processed and is more sweet than hot. If you're ever in Tyler and you consume alcohol, they made the best margaritas I believe I've ever had. I also enjoyed the space in Mercados. I was told it's very packed at night and I can picture kids running around. In the pre-dinner time, you notice how much space there is between tables and how they keep it dark and cool inside. You come in from the hot, Texas, blazing sun, and it's just refreshing to sit down at a table or booth. The lighting there is like you're sitting in your living rooom mid-day with the lights off. If I'm remembering right, there's a lot of bricks inside the building and the bathrooms were hard for me to find. Finding the bathrooms would be my only complaint. I had to walk from one section and take a turn, which I missed the first time, and then finally discovered the ladies' room next to the kitchen. If you're a regular, you probably know right where to head but I honestly felt like I should have asked for a guide. (Maybe that was due to the very strong margarita? They really do make incredible margaritas.)

Dona filled me in on what she'd noticed going around to various states with C.I. which is C.I. emphasizes the fruits and vegetables. Monday night, we were staying with a friend's of C.I.'s who had an authentic Texas cookout. C.I. sampled a little of everything (samples means a bite, exactly one) but stuck to the corn on the cob. Throughout the week, all the food was so wonderful that it was hard not to pig out. Wally and Mike would often feel stuffed hours after eating which can you slow you down when you've got to be here and right after somewhere else and right after . . . (At Mercados in Tyler, Texas, C.I. and Kat both had the spinach enchiladas and shared some of that with me so let me also recommend the spinach enchiladas.) If you're going to the area for a leisurally trip, there is much to savor. If you're going there on a tight schedule, you will probably want to eat light throughout the day. (Mike and Wally's most constant remark was, "I am stuffed." With "am" drawn out.)

This may have been due to the weather (which changed throughout the week) but my impressions are that East Texas is generally cooler than South Texas or North Texas. (We didn't go to West Texas.) Dallas was hot.

Betty's oldest son was taking pictures for a school project he's doing. His only problem was running out film (we quickly got more) because there was so much to take photos of. I really think you could spend weeks traveling through Texas and have a very enjoyable vacation. Treva said we really needed to see Galveston, Texas if we came through again. She's retired and widowed so she spends a lot of time traveling around the United States in her RV. If Betty's son had a question, it didn't seem like there was ever a time when Treva couldn't field it. She told me that she had been lousy at geography and didn't even know the northern most states' layout until she got the RV. Now she could probably teach geography.

We didn't just speak with college students but, with all the myths out there, I feel it's important to note that this idea that students aren't paying attention to Iraq is a myth. I know that's true at home but it's also true in Texas. The Senate's weak measure didn't pass this week and there was a great deal of talk about the measure before it even came to a vote. The House measure? I learned that the requirement that Bully Boy get authorization from Congress before attacking Iran was stripped from the measure from students. They were very on top of it and know not only the names of their own members of Congress but can also tell you about Barbara Lee, Lynn Woolsey, Maxine Waters and Dennis Kucinich. I think Kucinich might have a strong base of support from Texas college students based on the conversations.

He is elevated far above the rest of the candidates in general. Clinton and Obama? They didn't fair well. Both are saying "no options are off the table" re: Iran and that's not playing well. It's also true that they both weaseled out of the issue of gays in the military following General Peter Pace's homophobic comments. The fact that it took them a full day to issue statements in support of gays was seen as even more evidence of their weakness.

Betty has made the point to refer to Obama as bi-racial and, among African-Americans in Texas, I heard that term repeatedly. The strongest critiques I heard of him came from African-Americans and though this was reported by the mainstream early on, it seems to have faded in the reporting. I'm not sure it's faded among voters.

With Clinton, I would hear a variation of "I would like to vote her" but couldn't because of her pro-war stance. There's a residual of good will about Bill Clinton and people we spoke with would like to be able to transfer that to Hillary but they are just appalled by her stand on Iraq. It's not even an issue of her stating plainly: "I made a mistake." It's an issue that she comes off as though she continues to support the illegal war. I believe it was mid-week when she told the New York Times that, if she were elected president, she would continue to keep some troops in Iraq. Between that and her noting the oil in the interview, it went from wanting to like her but not being able to straight to flat out disgust.

If I were to rank the support for the primary based on the discussions this week, Kucinich would be far ahead of the rest (not just among students), and then there would be solid layer of Clinton, Obama and Edwards. None appears to have pulled ahead of the others for a solid second place. Joe Biden was the only other name that ever came up and that was very rare -- also it came up with eye rolls.

If people running for office still don't get how important Iraq is to voters, I don't think they will grasp it anytime soon. The 2006 elections should have sent them a message. There's a feeling that Clinton thinks she can get Republican support by continuing to support the illegal war but if that's what she's thinking, she needs to hire better pollsters.

It was a wonderful trip. It was educational and fun. I thank everyone who shared food or recipes with me. A woman whose son is in the military shared a number of things with C.I. and that may get noted in "And the war drags on . . ." on Sunday. We met a lot of people whose children were in the military -- and they were against the illegal war. The country has turned against the war and politicians would do well to grasp that.

Be sure to check out Betty's "Couching with a Potato Head." Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" from Friday:

Friday, March 16, 2007. Chaos and violence continues in Iraq; US Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid proclaims "The war has gone on too long. We must change direction in Iraq" but apparently can't control senators in his own party; protests rock Sadr City in Baghdad; Vicky Toejam will have to think of a new falsehood now that Valerie Plame has testified to the US Congress that she was a covert CIA agent; and the health 'care' for veterans remains a scandal.

Starting with war resistance, today on
KPFA's Making Contact, Aaron Glantz addressed the topic of Ehren Watada, the first commissioned officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq (June 2006) and the first to be court-martialed (last month). Glantz noted that before the court-martial began, on a rainy Sunday night, people gathered to show their support. Among those speaking were retired Lt. Col. and retired State Department Ann Wright, "
I have been here so many times and so many times for justice and principle." Glantz noted how the presiding judge, Lt. Col. John Head (aka Judge Toilet) refused to allow Watada to put foward his best defense -- explaining why he refused to deploy. A review of the court-martial's second day included Geoffrey Millard's observations (
Millard reported on the court-martial for Truthout) that the prosecutions' own witnesses backed up Watada under cross examination. This point was echoed by Jeff Paterson who told Glantz, "All the prosecution's witnesses stood up there and said miltary service are important oaths are important but on cross examination they explained how Ehren Watada was trying to fulfill his oath." (Paterson covered the court-martial for Courage to Resist.) Glantz noted that the prosecution witnesses had stated that intent was important as the second day ended so there was a belief that Watada might be able to present his motivations when he took the stand the following day.

"On Wednseday morning the court room was filled with anticipation," Glantz noted. But that quickly changed as Judge Toilet zeroed in on a stipulation where Watada agreed to making public statements. Judge Toilet had seen the stipulation the week prior, on Monday he had instructed the jury on the stipulation. On Wednesday, it was suddenly an issue. Judge Toilet declared a mistrail (over the defense's objections). Eric Seitz, Watada's civilian attorney, notes that double-jeopardy should prevent Watada from being court-martialed again; however, the military has scheduled Juyl 16th for the start of his second court-martial.

US war resister Joshua Key has told his story in the new book
The Deserter's Tale. In addition, he is also one of the war resisters profiled in Peter Laufer's Mission Rejected: U.S. Soldiers Who Say No to Iraq, from page 14:

Joshua still does not understand what he was doing in Iraq in the first place. "I still couldn't tell you why I was there. What purpose was it for? Whose gain was it for? I don't know the truth to it. Like I tell my wife, that's the problem with war -- your president, your generals, they send you off to go fight these battles. And all the way down to your commanding officers, they don't go out there with you. They send you out there to fight and do the crazy sh*t and do the dirty stuff. You're the one who has to live with the nightmares from it. You come back, you're nothing, you know? Guys are living on the streets that fought in Iraq just as well as I did. I mean it's horrific."

Ehren Watada and Joshua Key are part of a movement of resistance within the military that also includes Darrell Anderson, Agustin Aguayo, Kyle Snyder, Mark Wilkerson, Camilo Mejia, Patrick Hart, Ivan Brobeck, Ricky Clousing, Aidan Delgado, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Jeremy Hinzman, Stephen Funk, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Corey Glass, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Katherine Jashinski, Chris Teske, Matt Lowell, Jimmy Massey, Tim Richard, Hart Viges, Michael Blake and Kevin Benderman. In total, thirty-eight US war resisters in Canada have applied for asylum.Information on war resistance within the military can be found at Center on Conscience & War, The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline, and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters.

Joshua Key's statements ("You come back, you're nothing, you know? Guys are living on the streets that fought in Iraq just as well as I did. I mean it's horrific.") are the jumping off point to the realities now more openly addressed: what passes for 'care' that many returning receive (or 'receive'). In light of the recent scandals about Walter Reed Army Medical Center,
Gregg Zoroya (USA Today) establishes the point that not all have to deal with mold, rats and roaches -- some quarters are very nice such as the Esienhower Executive Nursing Suite (Ward 72) which "features heightened security, including bullet-proof windows and secure telephone lines. Among the other touches are flat-panel television and curio cabinets filled with gifts from foreign leaders." This is the VIP suite but US Rep John Tierney feels "the true VIPs" are the returning service members and not the ones who get the Esienhower Executive Nursing Suite: "the presidents, the vice president, federal judges, members of Congress and the Cabinet, high-ranking military officials and even foreign dignitaries and their spouse. The only enlisted members of the military who are eligible to stay there are receipients of the Medal of Honor." Conn Hallinan (Berkeley Daily Planet) observes that the problems with Walter Reed require more than show firings, "'addressing' the problem will require jettisoning former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's high-tech subsidies to the nation's arms makers at the expense of the grunts, as well as the White House's mania for privitaziation. [Francis] Harvey [Army Secretary until recently] was brought in by Rumsfeld specifically to reduce the federal work force and, as he said in a speech last year, 'improve efficiency.' A former executive for one of the nation's leading arms producers, Westinghouse, Harvey hired IAP Worldwide Services -- run by two former Halliburton executives -- which promptly reduced the number of people providing service at Walter Reed from 300 to 60. The cutback and resulting increase in workloads kicked off an exodus of trained personnel, which an in-hospital study just released by the House Committee on Oversight and Governance found could lead to 'mission failure'."

One person who has been fighting for better service and for an end to the illegal war is Tina Richards whose son Cloy Richards has served two tours of duty in Iraq and now suffers from PTSD.
Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez (Democracy Now!) spoke with Richards today and she explained what was next for her son in the Veterans Affairs system: "On March 24th, he's supposed to report in with documentation from Veterans Affairs as to his disabilities. The problem is, is that he doesn't have that documentation, because we've ben fighting with the VA system for close to a year now, just trying to get him treatment. Recently, I've been sitting in on the hearings, and I was interviewed by a Veterans Affairs Committee on the House. And it appears that a lot symptoms that my son has is actually from traumatic brain injury, which can sometimbes be confused with PTSD, or it can be a combination of both. You know, he definitely has undiagnosed traumatic brain injury."

On today's Democracy Now!,
Gonzalez and Goodman also spoke with Jean Stentz whose husband, Vietnam vet Willie Dougherty, died last year in a series of injustices that began when he was denied a VA hospital in his area -- Jean Stenz: "Because the VA hospital was full, and they wanted him to go to another one. And so, Beaumont's two hours away from us, and Houston's an hour away, but they sent him to Beaumont. And then, when they released him, I took him down by ambulance to the VA hospital emergency room, who refused him at that time, because they said he wasn't sick enough. He had an infection. He was perspiring profusely. I mean, the pillows were wet. He had fever. He had trouble breathing. But he wasn't sick enough. So we came home. We called on the phone -- in fact, my daughter and I had two phones going, the cell and the home phone -- trying to find help for him. Finally, the VA doctor in Lufkin decided that he should be put in a nursing home. He was in a nursing home in Huntsville less than two days and was very sick, was transferred to the Huntsville emergency room, who transferred him finally to the VA hospital in Houston, where he was in ICU -- very ill -- and transferred to their hospice room and died."

And though the US administration shows no genuine efforts at caring for those injured in combat, they're more than prepared to send even more over to Iraq.
Bryan Bender (Boston Globe) reports the escalation goes on, the escalation goes on: "The top US commander in Iraq has requested another Army brigade . . . . The appeal -- not yet made public -- by General David Petraeus for a combat aviation unti would involved between 2,500 and 3,000 more soldiers and dozens of transport helicopters and powerful gunships, said the Pentagon sources. That would bring the planned expansion of US forces to close to 30,000 troops." Meanwhile, Pauline Jelinek (AP) reports that an additional 2,600 troops "from a combat aviation unit" are going to Iraq "45 days earlier than planned" and that the excuse for not including it in Bully Boy's January numbers was because, Col. Steven Boylan, "This was requested over a month ago as part of the surge." For those who've forgotten, in January Bully Boy announced his intentions to send 21,500 more US service members into Iraq. The response from the American people was "NO!" The US Congress couldn't find it's spine and now that number is not threatened so Bully Boy's upped it. Bender reports that it's about to be upped again and Jelinek reports that in addition to those numbers made public, the White House has numbers they have not made public -- apparently to the people or the Congress.

Edward Wong and Damien Cave (New York Times) and Sudarsan Raghavan (Washington Post) reported, yesterday Rahim al-Daraji was attacked (mayor of Sadr City) and Tina Susman (Los Angeles Times) reports that, today, Moqtada al Sadr "denounced the presences of U.S. troops in his Baghdad stronghold of Sadr City, and thousands of his followers waved banners and marched through the neighborhood to back his call for a withdrawal of foreign forces." Prior to the attack, al-Sadr was widely reported to have instructed his militia to lay low during the US sweeps of Sadr City.

In violence today . . .


Reuters notes a mortar attack in Baghdad that killed one and wounded five "in southern Baghdad" and a Kirkuk roadside bomb the resulted in the deaths of two police officers and left three wounded. Qassim Abdul-Zahra (AP) notes the Baghdad mortar attack was on a Sunni mosque. Tina Susman (Los Angeles Times) reports that the mortar attack on the mosque found two mortars landing behind the structure and an third landing in front and Susman also notes another mortar in Hillah which killed one person. Mohammed al Dulainy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a roadside bombing in Baghdad damaged a US military vehicle, a mortar attack on a home "in Al Muasllat neighborhood" killed three members of one family, and three police officers were wounded id Diyala when a man with a "vest bomb" staged an attack.


Qassim Abdul-Zahra (AP) notes the shooting death of "a member of the governmental facilities protection service in Suwayrah, 25 miles south of Baghdad." Mohammed al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a fake checkpoint was set up in Diyala and "3 Kurd brothers" were shot dead -- "two of them were less than 10 years old" -- and that, in Kirkuk, an attack on police officers that started with a roadside bomb ended in gunfire with two police officers being killed, and 10 people wounded (6 of whom were police officers).


Mohammed al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) notes that 9 corpses were found in Baghdad and 2 corpses were discovered in Kirkuk today.

Also today, the US military made announcements: First,
they announce: "A Marine assigned to Multi National Force-West died March 14 in a noncombat related incident in Al Anbar Province." Then they announce: "One Soldier died as a result of injuries sustained from an explosion when Task Force Lightning Soldiers were attacked while conducting combat operations in Salah ad Din Province, Thursday."

Noting yesterday's US Congressional news,
Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) summarized today: "On Thursday, Democrats advanced an Iraq withdrawal resolution in the House but failed to pass a similar measure in the Senate. The House Appropriations Committee voted to send the military spending bill to the House floor. The vote was thirty-six to twenty-eight. The bill would link war funding in part to the withdrawal of combat troops by September of 2008. Democratic Congressmember Barbara Lee of California broke party ranks to vote against the measure. Lee says the resolution doesn't go far enough to end the war. Lee said: 'I believe the American people sent a mandate to us to bring home our men and women before the end of the year.' Meanwhile, the Senate voted down a measure to withdraw troops by April of 2008. The final vote was fifty to forty-eight. Before voting, Senate Majority leader Harry Reid hailed the measure as an opportunity to change course. . . . Two Democratic Senators -- Mark Pryor of Arkansas and Ben Nelson of Nebraska -- joined Republicans in voting against the proposal. Independent Senator Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut also sided with Republicans." As noted on page A8 of today's New York Times (AP box, lower left hand corner), Republican Gordon Smith (Oregon) voted in favote of the measure and was the only Republican to do so. In addition, Socialist Bernie Sanders (Vermont) voted for the measure. AFP reports that Senator and 2008 presidential hopeful Joe Biden stated those who voted against the measure would hear from their constituents on the vote; therefore, "It is ony a matter of time before our Republican colleagues come to that conclusion . . . In the meantime a lot of innocent lives are going to be lost."

The day prior, US House Rep and 2008 presidential hopeful
Dennis Kucinich proposed an amendment to the supplemental which would address the Iraqi oil law: "The United States should not be requiring Iraq to open their oil fields to private foreign companies as a condition of ending our occupation. The Administration's strong push to enact a hydrocarbon law has little to do with the needs of the Iraqi people. Instead it is a concerted effort to ensure that American oil companies are granted access to Iraqi oil fields. By adopting this benchmark in the supplemental, and requiring the enactment of this law by the Iraqi government, Democrats will be instrumental in privatizing Iraqi oil. We must remove this benchmark from the supplemental and work to ensure any hydrocarbon law put in place is truly the best interests of all Iraqi people."

The House bill that passed the committee vote yesterday does not include any statement regarding the Bully Boy to get Congressional authorization should he decide to go to war on Iran next. Kucinich: "
The House Appropriates Committee removed language from the Iraq war funding bill requiring the Administration, under Article 1, Section 8, Clause 11 of the Constitution, to see permission before it launched an attack against Iran. Since war with Iran is an option of this Administration, and since such war is patently illegal, then impeachment may well be the only remedy which remainst to stop a war of aggression against Iran."

CNN reports that Valerie Plame testifed to Congress today (a) that she was a covert agent and that (b) the outing of her for political reasons was harmful not only to her but to other (and that it hurt morale). In addition, CNN reports that she "testified her work involved gathering intelligence on weapons of mass destruction." Plame is married to former ambassador Joe Wilson who went to Niger to determine whether or not Iraq had attempted to obtain yellow cake uranium from that country. Wilson found no evidence of an attempt. Despite that fact (which was reported back, through channels, up to the administration), Bully Boy elected to include the false claim (known false) in his 2003 State of the Union address as part of his attempt to scare a nation into war. Wilson would speak privately to Nicholas Kristof (New York Times) about the falsehood and then write his own New York Times op-ed entitled "What I Didn't Find In Africa." The result was the White House conspired to out a CIA covert agent. The Vicky Toejam brigade has long tried to obscure the realities with false claims and the press has often helped them playing fast and loose with the facts -- such as Darlene Superville (AP) -- see Wally and Cedric's entry from yesterday.

kpfaaaron glantz
joshua key