HAMMERNEWS- Michael Hammerschlag

Current Political Commentary by journalist Michael Hammerschlag; Thoughts on foreign policy, Republican outrages, liberal strategies, science by 8 year correspondent in Russia/Ukraine over 22 years and longtime commentator; Website: http://HAMMERNEWS.com

Monday, June 27, 2005

LAT WIKITORIAL + Crossfire on women

I wrote about 1/4- 1/3 of the LAT Wikitorial and edited the lousy writing of the rest of it, as it went through rapid and violent permutations, and my changes were holding through other peoples alterations. Some were quite stupid: changing the name to Dreams About War and Retribution, was inappropriate, but I tried too much to respect others ideas and cleaned up lousy paras rather than delete them. Earlier Version from 2am Fri night June 18 . Right wingers would periodically try to change the whole point of the article to the opposite- notably the long suppressed Downing St. Memo info, but it would quickly be reverted to the liberal version. It had become much more liberal and anti-administration than the original, but became more moderate and accurate as extreme views were pruned, as wikis are wont to do.

THEN on Sat night, some scumbag (presumably in Eastern Europe or Russia) put up some porn picture, which I deleted. Then we engaged in running battle for over 3 hours 3:30am-7:30am EDT, me (and one other) replacing the gnarly pic with the article and the e-terrorist replacing it every minute. The history shows all changes and user names, but obviously there was no control on registration, which only required an email address. Called LAT, but nobody works anywhere in the middle of the night- the security guard said if some big news event happened, they'd "turn on the TV". But by 7:30am, others had taken over and the editor had locked out changes.

By Sunday afternoon, they had yanked it; and I thought they would just replace it after blocking pictures, but it's stayed down. Apparently they're terrified by the ramifications or liability; really too bad, but it's inexplicable they couldn't predict this.

Great experiment- they should have courage to finish it- just needed to block image or video links. Michael Kinsley is right- the unsigned editorial is weak- I really don't read them, because they're committee productions rife with poor writing, compromised ideals, and fuzzy thinking. He and Andrew Newman deserve much credit for taking such a clever populist step. NYT is too stogy, WashPost has become a sneering pro-war rag, any real innovations could come from LAT.

Rather than give unlimited control to the masses, how about replace some of the forced commentaries by spent columnists with one rotating column, written once or twice a month by 15-20 of the best commentary writers without regular venue. Like, uh, me, who has been turning out prescient commentaries for 25 years.

The horific bombing/shooting of mostly women Marines who search Iraqi women in Fallujah show a quantum leap in insurgent tactics. This wasn't a typical bomb and run- this was a bombing followed by triangulated fire from 3 sides- it's surprising any survived (4 women died and 11 were wounded). It's possible they were specifically targeted to maximize shock to US populace; so far we've been lucky that Muslim fear/distaste/respect of women has precluded gang rape or targeted killings of women (like probably would have happened in Bosnia if we'd had female ground troops). 40 women have died now in Iraq, more than in 10 years of Vietnam. As someone mentioned, men with 4 kids once received deferments- why should similar women serve in combat? Feminists who demand this "right" are locked in a 70's flashback of feminism. I've seen women in Russia forced to work all kinds of government jobs- they have no such illusion that killing in combat is a "right" they should aspire to.

"In a CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll last month, 54 percent said they opposed female combat troops, while 44 percent said they favored it. " -CNN

Meanwhile Iraqis are being blasted by the thousands in industrial level bomb attacks. Yet, the Dick Cheney thinks the "insurgency is in its last throes." By, uh, deadenders. That might be right, since they are all blowing themselves up.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Downing St. Memo heats up + BUSH WANTED to INVADE in 1999 + Tears for America

DOWNING the PRESIDENT: Finally after a month and a half, the cowed press dared to ask Bush about the Downing St. Memo on the event of a joint press conference with Tony Blair. Bush of course, denied it, without a qualm, "There's nothing farther from the truth," Bush said. , and for the first time Blair did too: "No," Blair added, "the facts were not being fixed in any shape or form at all." Now, you can't nondeny some scandal for 6 weeks and then suddenly deny it. But I guess it's easier to pee when your standing in a waterfall, and Bush's profligate lying rubs off on all he comes in contact with.

A growing chorus is calling for investigations of this sterling evidence for lying America into a counterproductive war- John Conyers just held House hearings- 3 hours June 17 on C-SPAN. In the cheap high school thuggery that is their hallmark, Repubs denied Dems a room anywhere, so they packed themselves into a tiny basement room for this vital hearing on a scandal worse than Watergate. Repubs also held 11 important votes simultaneously, desperate to prevent this story from getting legs- it won't even be saved in Congressional Record! CIA's Ray McGovern, Joe Wilson, and founder of AfterDowningSt.org, were joined by almost every notable liberal Dem Congressman. I believe talk of impeachment will build to a dull roar in 1-2 years as 1000 more troops are sacrificed to George's imperial visions.

How miserably the war is actually going can be read in a front page WashPost story. DSM stories have appeared in Orlando Sentinel, St. Petersburg Times, Knight Ridder (who carried it originally). A new followup story in The Times (of London)

BUSH WANTED TO INVADE in 1999: Incredible important story by Russell Baker about Bush biographer (yanked off My Charge to Keep, when Bush spilled too many beans.) Many incredible revelations about National Guard story too. http://www.commondreams.org/headlines04/1028-01.htm

-----"He was thinking about invading Iraq in 1999," said author and journalist Mickey Herskowitz. "It was on his mind. He said to me: 'One of the keys to being seen as a great leader is to be seen as a commander-in-chief.' And he said, 'My father had all this political capital built up when he drove the Iraqis out of Kuwait and he wasted it.' He said, 'If I have a chance to invade...if I had that much capital, I'm not going to waste it. I'm going to get everything passed that I want to get passed and I'm going to have a successful presidency." Herskowitz said that Bush expressed frustration at a lifetime as an underachiever in the shadow of an accomplished father. In aggressive military action, he saw the opportunity to emerge from his father's shadow. The moment, Herskowitz said, came in the wake of the September 11 attacks. "Suddenly, he's at 91 percent in the polls, and he'd barely crawled out of the bunker."

George W. Bush's beliefs on Iraq were based in part on a notion dating back to the Reagan White House - ascribed in part to now-vice president Dick Cheney, Chairman of the House Republican Policy Committee under Reagan. "Start a small war. Pick a country where there is justification you can jump on, go ahead and invade." -----

As I said in my seminal article: FIRM of MIND, SOFT on FACTS : March 2003
---Again and again GB2 has tried to tie Saddam with Osama: Saddam supports him, he gives Al Qaida refuge, he’s about to finish a nuclear bomb. All lies. OBL hates Saddam, he is an unbeliever who’s annihilated Moslem leaders along with any others who could lift a finger in opposition. Worse, he’s done it in the heart of the Islamic world, at the very cradle of civilization. OBL would boil him in oil, if given his druthers. Trumped up evidence, repackaged long past its freshness date, till it stinks with the corruption of this regime. Saddam had aluminum tubes for nuclear fabrication: not really; Iraq was buying uranium from Niger: the papers were forged. ("Fine," said Colin.); prohibited missiles: not if loaded with a warhead (they destroyed the short range missiles anyway); dangerous drones: actually ramshackle junk (though this might be an Iraqi scam). The truth is- Bush planned to invade Iraq, to outdo and avenge his father, to kill a persistent irritant, to guarantee a stable source of oil, to cow the world… before he became President (new proof 6/2005) . All rationales, all reasons, all explanations, are window dressing on a clumsy thuggish foreign policy, one opposed by 98% of the world (not all their leaders, who can be bought and bullied). If Saddam was stripped naked and staked to the ground in the western Iraq desert, it wouldn’t be enough to stop Bush’s Wanton War. -----

As far as I know, I'm the only centrist writer to claim that Bush planned this before 9-11, yet another prescient analysis.

DON''T CRY for ME, George: If you didn't see the amazing spectacle of Ohio Sen. George Voinovich attacking Bolton, as tears streamed down his face on the Senate floor, see video here. You must ask yourself- what would make a US Senator publicly cry while doing his Advise and Consent duties. Answer: brutal threats by the Bushmen that they would destroy his position, his works, his family. Nothing illustrates the festering sickness at the soul of this corrupt administration and hence America itself, than this display of Imperial cruelty and idle power.

Sometimes, amidst all the prevarication, Bush accidentally tells the truth:
See, in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda. (Applause.)” - Bush in Greece, NY