Archive for November, 2006

Peace on earth? Not in our subdivision!

Tuesday, November 28th, 2006

DENVER, Colorado (AP) — A homeowners’ association in southwestern Colorado has threatened to fine a resident $25 a day until she removes a Christmas wreath with a peace sign that some say is an anti-Iraq war protest or a symbol of Satan.

Some residents who have complained have children serving in Iraq, said Bob Kearns, president of the Loma Linda Homeowners Association in Pagosa Springs.

He said some residents believed the wreath was a symbol of Satan.

Cut and Run, the Only Brave Thing to Do

Sunday, November 26th, 2006

Michael Moore

Sunday, November 26th, 2006

Friends,

Tomorrow marks the day that we will have been in Iraq longer than we were in all of World War II.

That’s right. We were able to defeat all of Nazi Germany, Mussolini, and the entire Japanese empire in LESS time than it’s taken the world’s only superpower to secure the road from the airport to downtown Baghdad.

And we haven’t even done THAT. After 1,347 days, in the same time it took us to took us to sweep across North Africa, storm the beaches of Italy, conquer the South Pacific, and liberate all of Western Europe, we cannot, after over 3 and 1/2 years, even take over a single highway and protect ourselves from a homemade device of two tin cans placed in a pothole. No wonder the cab fare from the airport into Baghdad is now running around $35,000 for the 25-minute ride. And that doesn’t even include a friggin’ helmet.

Is this utter failure the fault of our troops? Hardly. That’s because no amount of troops or choppers or democracy shot out of the barrel of a gun is ever going to “win” the war in Iraq. It is a lost war, lost because it never had a right to be won, lost because it was started by men who have never been to war, men who hide behind others sent to fight and die.

Let’s listen to what the Iraqi people are saying, according to a recent poll conducted by the University of Maryland:

** 71% of all Iraqis now want the U.S. out of Iraq.

** 61% of all Iraqis SUPPORT insurgent attacks on U.S. troops.

Yes, the vast majority of Iraqi citizens believe that our soldiers should be killed and maimed! So what the hell are we still doing there? Talk about not getting the hint.

There are many ways to liberate a country. Usually the residents of that country rise up and liberate themselves. That’s how we did it. You can also do it through nonviolent, mass civil disobedience. That’s how India did it. You can get the world to boycott a regime until they are so ostracized they capitulate. That’s how South Africa did it. Or you can just wait them out and, sooner or later, the king’s legions simply leave (sometimes just because they’re too cold). That’s how Canada did it.

The one way that DOESN’T work is to invade a country and tell the people, “We are here to liberate you!” — when they have done NOTHING to liberate themselves. Where were all the suicide bombers when Saddam was oppressing them? Where were the insurgents planting bombs along the roadside as the evildoer Saddam’s convoy passed them by? I guess ol’ Saddam was a cruel despot — but not cruel enough for thousands to risk their necks. “Oh no, Mike, they couldn’t do that! Saddam would have had them killed!” Really? You don’t think King George had any of the colonial insurgents killed? You don’t think Patrick Henry or Tom Paine were afraid? That didn’t stop them. When tens of thousands aren’t willing to shed their own blood to remove a dictator, that should be the first clue that they aren’t going to be willing participants when you decide you’re going to do the liberating for them.

A country can HELP another people overthrow a tyrant (that’s what the French did for us in our revolution), but after you help them, you leave. Immediately. The French didn’t stay and tell us how to set up our government. They didn’t say, “we’re not leaving because we want your natural resources.” They left us to our own devices and it took us six years before we had an election. And then we had a bloody civil war. That’s what happens, and history is full of these examples. The French didn’t say, “Oh, we better stay in America, otherwise they’re going to kill each other over that slavery issue!”

The only way a war of liberation has a chance of succeeding is if the oppressed people being liberated have their own citizens behind them — and a group of Washingtons, Jeffersons, Franklins, Ghandis and Mandellas leading them. Where are these beacons of liberty in Iraq? This is a joke and it’s been a joke since the beginning. Yes, the joke’s been on us, but with 655,000 Iraqis now dead as a result of our invasion (source: Johns Hopkins University), I guess the cruel joke is on them. At least they’ve been liberated, permanently.

So I don’t want to hear another word about sending more troops (wake up, America, John McCain is bonkers), or “redeploying” them, or waiting four months to begin the “phase-out.” There is only one solution and it is this: Leave. Now. Start tonight. Get out of there as fast as we can. As much as people of good heart and conscience don’t want to believe this, as much as it kills us to accept defeat, there is nothing we can do to undo the damage we have done. What’s happened has happened. If you were to drive drunk down the road and you killed a child, there would be nothing you could do to bring that child back to life. If you invade and destroy a country, plunging it into a civil war, there isn’t much you can do ’til the smoke settles and blood is mopped up. Then maybe you can atone for the atrocity you have committed and help the living come back to a better life.

The Soviet Union got out of Afghanistan in 36 weeks. They did so and suffered hardly any losses as they left. They realized the mistake they had made and removed their troops. A civil war ensued. The bad guys won. Later, we overthrew the bad guys and everybody lived happily ever after. See! It all works out in the end!

The responsibility to end this war now falls upon the Democrats. Congress controls the purse strings and the Constitution says only Congress can declare war. Mr. Reid and Ms. Pelosi now hold the power to put an end to this madness. Failure to do so will bring the wrath of the voters. We aren’t kidding around, Democrats, and if you don’t believe us, just go ahead and continue this war another month. We will fight you harder than we did the Republicans. The opening page of my website has a photo of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, each made up by a collage of photos of the American soldiers who have died in Bush’s War. But it is now about to become the Bush/Democratic Party War unless swift action is taken.

This is what we demand:

1. Bring the troops home now. Not six months from now. NOW. Quit looking for a way to win. We can’t win. We’ve lost. Sometimes you lose. This is one of those times. Be brave and admit it.

2. Apologize to our soldiers and make amends. Tell them we are sorry they were used to fight a war that had NOTHING to do with our national security. We must commit to taking care of them so that they suffer as little as possible. The mentally and physically maimed must get the best care and significant financial compensation. The families of the deceased deserve the biggest apology and they must be taken care of for the rest of their lives.

3. We must atone for the atrocity we have perpetuated on the people of Iraq. There are few evils worse than waging a war based on a lie, invading another country because you want what they have buried under the ground. Now many more will die. Their blood is on our hands, regardless for whom we voted. If you pay taxes, you have contributed to the three billion dollars a week now being spent to drive Iraq into the hellhole it’s become. When the civil war is over, we will have to help rebuild Iraq. We can receive no redemption until we have atoned.

In closing, there is one final thing I know. We Americans are better than what has been done in our name. A majority of us were upset and angry after 9/11 and we lost our minds. We didn’t think straight and we never looked at a map. Because we are kept stupid through our pathetic education system and our lazy media, we knew nothing of history. We didn’t know that WE were the ones funding and arming Saddam for many years, including those when he massacred the Kurds. He was our guy. We didn’t know what a Sunni or a Shiite was, never even heard the words. Eighty percent of our young adults (according to National Geographic) were not able to find Iraq on the map. Our leaders played off our stupidity, manipulated us with lies, and scared us to death.

But at our core we are a good people. We may be slow learners, but that “Mission Accomplished” banner struck us as odd, and soon we began to ask some questions. Then we began to get smart. By this past November 7th, we got mad and tried to right our wrongs. The majority now know the truth. The majority now feel a deep sadness and guilt and a hope that somehow we can make make it all right again.

Unfortunately, we can’t. So we will accept the consequences of our actions and do our best to be there should the Iraqi people ever dare to seek our help in the future. We ask for their forgiveness.

We demand the Democrats listen to us and get out of Iraq now.

Yours,

Michael Moore

Monday, November 20th, 2006

Thanksgiving

Saturday, November 18th, 2006

OK, kids. Here are all the Thanksgiving recipes I have.

To do
Sunday: Go to the market and order the turkey.

Monday: Make cranberry-orange relish. Make the cornbread for the stuffing.

Tuesday or Wednesday: Make the pumpkin chiffon pie.

Wednesday: Pick up the turkey and buy some broccoli. Make the turkey stock. Make John’s candied yams but refrigerate and bake tomorrow.

Thursday: Make the stuffing. Let the candied yams sit till they’re room temperature, then bake. Prepare and roast the turkey. Prepare the broccoli. Make the gravy. Don’t start drinking until the rue is done. Then start on the salty dogs (5 oz. grapefruit juice, 2 oz. vodka, and 1/4 teaspoon salt).

Cornbread Stuffing, Roast Turkey & Pan Gravy

Saturday, November 18th, 2006

Cornbread Stuffing
2 cubes of butter
1 1/2 cups finely chopped onion
1 lb. Italian sausage
The turkey liver
6 cups of cornbread, coarsely crumbled (give the rest to the chickens)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup Madeira or sherry
1/4 cup heavy cream

Melt all but a couple of tablespoons of butter in a heavy skillet, add chopped onions and cook over moderate heat for 6 to 8 minutes, or until the onions color lightly. Scrape into a large mixing bowl. Squeeze sausage from casing, put it in the same skillet, and set over medium heat. Break up the meat as it cooks. When it’s lightly browned, transfer it to a sieve set over a small bowl and let the fat drain through. Meanwhile, in the same pan, melt the remaining butter, add the turkey liver. Brown it over high heat for 2 to 3 minutes, then chop it coarsely and combine with the onions in your bowl. Add drained sausage meat, cornbread crumbs, salt, a few grindings of black pepper, thyme, and parsley. When you’re ready to stuff the bird, moisten the stuffing with the booze and cream and taste for seasoning. Remember to wait to stuff the bird until just before roasting, and to only fill it about 3/4 full–it will expand.

Roast Stuffed Turkey
Try to get an organic bird, or at least one that hasn’t been fed hormones and antibiotics.

Have your 10- to 16-pound turkey at about 70 degrees before roasting. Allow 20 minutes per pound roasting time.

Preheat your oven to 450. Melt a cube of butter. Wash your bird under cold water, rinsing out the cavities, then dry it inside and out, taking care not to puncture or tear the skin. Stuff the crop and cavity with cornbread stuffing, then sew those openings shut or use safety pins to close. Tie ends of legs together so they’ll stay close to the body, and bind wings close, too. Set stuffed and trussed bird on an oiled rack in your roasting pan, breast side up. With a pastry brush, brush the outside of your turkey with some of your melted butter. Place your turkey, uncovered, in your oven and immediately reduce heat to 350. Brush with melted butter every 20 minutes while the bird cooks, until you can start basting with your pan drippings. If the bird starts to get too brown before it’s done, cover it. Cook to an internal temperature of 190 degrees or until the thigh juice runs clear. When you’re sure it’s done, let it sit on a warm platter while you make your gravy.

Pan Gravy
Skim fat from your pan juices into a small bowl. Pour defatted pan juices into another bowl, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to get all the stuck bits. Pour 3 tablespoons of the fat into a small skillet. Add 3 tablespoons of flour and stir over low heat until the flour is absorbed and slightly toasted. Add about 1/2 cups of the liquid–the degreased pan juices and the stock you made yesterday–and cook over a low heat, stirring constantly, until you have a good rue. Add another 1 1/2 cups of the liquid. Bring to a boil and simmer, stirring constantly with a wire whisk until your gravy is thick and smooth. Don’t let it get lumpy. If it gets too thick, add more stock, or ass milk or cream or beer. Season with salt and pepper and the giblets you chopped. Pour into a warm saucepan or piutcher and serve.

Mom’s Stock for Gravy & John’s Candied Yams

Saturday, November 18th, 2006

Stock
Get the giblets (minus the liver, which you’ll want to use in the stuffing) and the neck out of your turkey. It’s probably in a little bag in the cavity. Put them in a saucepan with a little onion, carrot, celery, salt, pepper, and 4 cups of water. Simmer it all for about an hour. Strain and refrigerate. Now you’ve got your stock for your gravy. Chop the giblets finely and save, refrigerated, also for your gravy. Give the turkey neck to the cats.

John’s Candied Yams
12 medium-sized yams
salt and paprika
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 teaspoon lemon zest or grated lemon peel
3 tablespoons lemon juice or 1/4 teaspoon grated fresh ginger (peel it first!)
4 tablespoons butter

Preheat your oven to 375. Cook the yams in their jackets by dropping them into boiling water and cooking, covered, for about 25 minutes or until tender. Cool and then peel. Cut lengthwise into 1/2-inch slices or mash them. Set aside a little bit for the baby. Put the rest in a shallow buttered baking dish. Season with salt and paprika. Spinkle with brown sugar, lemon zest, and lemon juice or ginger. Dot with butter. Bake, uncovered, for about 20 minutes.

Gammie Garrett’s Pumpkin Chiffon Pie

Saturday, November 18th, 2006

Crumb Crust
1 1/2 cups (4 1/2 ounces) gingersnap crumbs
2 tablespoons sugar
pinch of salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted

Preheat your oven to 325. Crush your gingersnaps with a rolling pin or make the crumbs in a food processor. Combine crumbs, sugar, and salt in a mixing bowl and stir. Add melted butter and stir until well-blended. Press and pat mixture over bottom and sides of 9-inch pie pan. Don’t make your sides too thick. Bake crust 8 minutes and cool completely before filling.

Filling
3 fresh organic eggs, separated
1 cup sugar
1 1/4 cups fresh baked and pureed pumpkin (or canned pumpkin if you must)
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon each salt, nutmeg, cinnamon, and ginger
1/4 cup cold water
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
1/2 pint whipping cream

To slightly-beaten egg yolks add 1/2 cup of your sugar, the pumpkin, milk, salt, and spices. Cook in the top of a double-boiler until thick, stirring constantly; don’t let it get lumpy. Pour the cold water into a small bowl and sprinkle gelatin into it. Let stand for 5 minutes. Add this to hot pumpkin mixture. Mix thoroughly, then cool. When it begins to thicken, add remaining sugar and fold in stiffly-beaten egg whites. Pour into crust and refrigerate.

Whip the cream, but don’t sweeten it–the pie is plenty sweet. Add a tablespoon of brandy just toward the end of whipping if you like.

Take your pie out of the frige 15 minutes before serving so the crust won’t stick to the pan. Serve with whipped cream.

Mom’s Cranberry Relish & Cornbread

Saturday, November 18th, 2006

Cranberry-Orange Relish
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup fresh-squeezed orange juice
1 cup sugar
1 lb. whole fresh cranberries
2 tablespoons orange zest or grated orange rind

In a 3- to 4-quart sauce pan, stir water, orange juice, and sugar together until your sugar is thoroughly dissolved. Add cranberries, bring to a boil, and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the skins of your berries start to pop and the berries are tender but not mushy. Don’t overcook them.

Remove the pan from heat and stir in your orange rind. Transfer the mixture to a serving bowl, let cool, then cover and refrigerate. Makes a quart.

Cornbread
(This cornbread is specifically for the stuffing; otherwise you have to add 1/3 cup sugar.)

Have all your ingredients at room temperature:

1 1/2 cups yellow cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 eggs
1 cube melted and cooled butter
1 1/2 cups milk

Preheat your oven to 400. Sift the cornmeal, flour, salt, and baking powder into a mixing bowl. Beat eggs lightly, add melted butter, and stir in your milk. Pour these liquids into the bowl of dry ingredients and beat together for about a minute until smooth. Do not overbeat. Lightly butter a 9- x 5- x 3-inch loaf pan or an 8- x 12-inch shallow baking pan and pour in your batter. Bake in the center of your oven for about 30 minutes or until the bread comes lightly away from the edge of the pan and is golden brown. When cooled to room temperature, wrap and refrigerate until it’s time to make your stuffing.

Pictures from Oaxaca

Friday, November 3rd, 2006



Attack on the University, Thursday 2 Nov

Friday, November 3rd, 2006

From George:

Radio Universidad remains a strong voice at 1:30 pm, but how much longer it will continue is unclear. As the only station still broadcasting for the Popular Assembly movement of Oaxaca, it is a critically important link as well as a source of the most current information on the struggle. This morning an army of troops dressed in PFP uniforms began the frontal assault on the University enclave, called University City, where the station is located. This army looks like a mass of mostly grunts, young guys in their late teens and early twenties, surely drafted by economic necessity into the military ranks.

This morning we heard that the PFP was going to invade Ciudad Universidad on the grounds that there were reported to be firearms there. That’s a typical pretext the police use. It’s easy enough to get some corrupt state official or PRI-affiliated thug to file a denunciation that firearms or other illegal possessions are in a particular location. Radio Universidad was calling for citizens to come to protect the university, with a great sense of urgency. A friend dropped me off a few blocks from the Cinco Senores intersection, which was blocked on all sides by the PFP. As usual, I was able to circle the blocked intersection on a few side streets, and soon was ‘inside’ on Avenida Universidad in a mass of people, most facing the lines of shield-equipped PFP troops.

Many in the dense crowd were busy photographing and videotaping the then-still-peaceful confrontation, several of them perched atop a burned-out VW-bug. Some people on a raised platform with a loudspeaker were telling the troops that they were the same as the protestors and shouldn’t have been sent to Oaxaca. The PFP lines stood inert, as trained. Several older women in the crowd, right at the front, not more than a foot or two from the plastic shields facing them, forcefully told the troops right in front of them that they are citizens, without arms, capable of running their own lives, and the PFP should leave Oaxaca.

By about 11:30 I started south. After the first barricade, which was north of university property, students were passing pieces of split wood through the barred fence from the university grounds to others on the street side with shopping carts. They use the wood for fires at the barricades. Suddenly an alert spread that an attack was imminent at the south end of Avenida Universidad, and people streamed past me, leaving, I supposed, a smaller crowd at the north intersection. The shopping carts barrelled by, along with people with cameras, many folks adjusting their bandanas getting ready for tear gas. Apparently the PFP, who had been massed at the Plaza del Valle end of the road, began advancing in a solid front, and the fireworks began. From the distance I saw clouds of smoke and/or gas and the wobbly arched paths of the home-made rockets launched towards the police, which left a trace of white smoke as they streaked across the space between the protestors and the PFP forces.

When one of the projectiles hit the ground and burst into flame in front of the first line of troops a wave of adrenaline swept the protestors, many of whom ran forward and hurled rocks at the police. I’ve written a lot about the teachers and APPO maintaining a militant but non-violent struggle, which I remain concvinced is correct. But this was a different matter: this was people trying to protect their own turf from being invaded by lethally-armed forces, and there’s no way the attempted defense could be described as non-violent. Had the police been ordered to shoot, it could have been a massacre. All that can be said is that the imbalance of power was incomparably in favor of the police; had it been used, it would have been overwhelming.

Most of the defenders were younger men. But not all. Their major weapon was a stream of rocks. In addition to their homemade incendiary rockets they may also have had some molotov cocktails. As the police shot tear gas canisters and began a slow step-by-step advance, I headed back a ways and entered the university athletic fields, located on the west side of the avenida behind a fence, and then came forward again, close to but separated from the exchange. Not, however, separated from the tear gas by the chain-link fence. People were taking large rocks and smashing them against other rocks on the ground to break them up into sizes suitable for hurling a considerable distance. Their courage and determination not to yield to the PFP was incredible. I’ve never before seen anything close to it.

Finally I decided to head back to make a report. Back on the Avenida some distance from the front line, I saw an older man picking up and ‘bowling’ rocks to be used in the defense along the road towards the actual combatants. I expected that it would not be very long before the PFP got into the Ciudad Universidad and captured and silenced Radio Universidad. But I was wrong. Things were still at a standoff at the north intersection, and I made my way out by the same roundabout route I’d used earlier.

It’s 8:40 pm and Radio Universidad is still alive. Don’t know what will happen later tonight or tomorrow. It appears that the PFP were driven back. The Oaxaquenos really believe that Los pueblos unidos, jamas sera vencidos (The people united will never be defeated). I hope to hell they’re right.