darren manzella and other things

Robert Castillo and John Pennycuff live in Chicago. This is the second time they've come to San Francisco to get hitched.
"It's a big thrill to marry the person you love, the person you want to spend the rest of your life with," said Pennycuff.
They were married in San Francisco back in 2004. That marriage was nullified, and when they heard the Supreme Court had ruled to allow gay marriages in California again, they had one question.
"How much are the flights?" asked Pennycuff.
They're one of hundreds of gay couples getting married at San Francisco City Hall on Friday. About a quarter of them are from out of state, visiting the area for the Gay Pride Weekend.

that's from anne makovec's 'SF gears up for Gay Pride Weekend' (abc san francisco). it is gay pride month and, as it winds down, this weekend is gay pride weekend.

darren manzella has been discharged from the army and he didn't want to be. he wanted to continue serving. he was kicked out because he is gay. in december, lesley stahl interviewed him for 60 minutes:

"So, what you did, in effect, by telling him, was trigger the investigation you feared was underway?" Stahl asks.
"I did. And I felt more comfortable with that. I felt more comfortable bein' the one to say, 'This is the truth. This is what is real,'" he says.
"What a Catch-22. You go and tell your lieutenant the truth and now you violated the Army's rule," Stahl remarks.
"I didn't know how else to do it and keep my sanity," Manzella explains.
Manzella didn't hold anything back in the investigation, submitting photos of himself and A.J., and a video of a road trip, including passionate kissing. But when the investigation ended, Manzella says he was told to go back to work. "There was no evidence of homosexuality and go back to work," he says.
"Wait a minute. You've given them photographs of you and A.J.," Stahl remarks.
"Yes, and then they're like, 'Go back to work. You're not gay," Manzella says.
"So, no one ever said anything to you about the -- I don't even know what word to use, absurdity, confusing response?" Stahl asks.
"The closest thing that I was given by my superiors was, "I don't care if you're gay or not."

now they care and they want him out. they kicked him out. the press release is in the snapshot.

it's gay pride month and if you need to see how screwed up the country is, darren was kicked out of the army. he wanted to continue serving, but he was kicked out for being 'gay.' i say 'gay' like that because it's not really that he's gay.

find a military in any country, at any time in history, and you can be damn sure that gay men were serving in it.

gay men have always served.

but the problem isn't that darren's gay, it's that he's 'gay'. meaning who he is isn't the problem. he's the same person they promoted to sgt. he's the same person who did the job asked. he's the same person praised by superiors.

and all of that goes to who he is which includes being gay.

but gay's not the problem, 'gay' is.

'gay' is that he won't tiptoe off to a closet and slam the door. he won't pretend he's not gay and he certainly won't pretend like he has a girlfriend or some woman he's going to married or some woman that broke his heart so badly that he just can't handle dating.

he won't play the game.

gay is fine. gay the military tolerates.

what they don't tolerate is refusing to stay in the closet.

so, at a time when the military can't even meet recruitment goals and has to lower the standards repeatedly, they have a qualified soldier, with the rank of sgt., who wants to continue serving. but he won't step quietly into the closet.

so it's the heave-ho.

and exactly who is protected by that?

certainly not gays and lesbians with a message to the world that being either is so awful you must be expelled.

certainly not the military that now has to replace some 1 that was doing an outstanding job.

and certainly not the country.

but, hey, maybe next year, they'll lower the bar for recruitment again and start going to the prisons, telling convicted felons, 'sign up for iraq! X years of duty vs. staying behind bars for life!'
okay, kat's 'Nader, Carly Simon' went up thursday night and that was the post i said i'd link to when i blogged next. and kat also blogged friday night. how, i do not know. after the iraq study group, we ended up having a very late, very long discussion.

'we' was:

The Third Estate Sunday Review's Jess and Ava
Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude,
C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review,
Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills),
Mike of Mikey Likes It!,
Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz,
Wally of The Daily Jot,
and Trina of Trina's Kitchen

c.i said 'bring your appetite' and had ordered food (so that trina didn't have to cook or prepare anything). (we were at trina's.) so after the iraq study group broke up, there was basically an hour before we got together. jim and dona are out of town (they spent the week in france; ty goes next) and i was assuming c.i., ava and jess (who will be steering the edition with ty this weekend) were wanting to brainstorm some ideas for 3rd to get a leap on the edition. we did talk about 3rd in 2 ways. 1st we all wanted to know what ava and c.i. were going to do (their honest answer, 'we haven't even thought about that') and they wanted to talk about the war resistance features at third (they is ava, c.i., jess and elaine).

if you've missed it (next week, i'll try to link to all those previous features, i'm too tired this morning), at 3rd we're largely picking elaine and c.i.'s brains and c.i.'s journals to address war resistance during vietnam because that truly is hidden history. there is, for instance, this myth that war resisters who went to canada were a group that was evading the draft when the reality was that deserters went to canada as well. and were allowed to stay. now i was part of that time (even if it was so long ago that my long ago shot memory has forgotten almost everything) and i can tell you that elaine and c.i.'s work in the underground railroad included 'draft dodgers' and 'deserters'. but somehow this false narrative has taken hold that it was only 'draft dodgers'.

this allows people dismissing the rights of war resisters in canada today to say 'well there's no draft.' it was never about the 'draft.' and during vietnma, canada allowed both 'draft dodgers' and 'deserters' to stay. but this fictional narrative has popped up and it does SO MUCH damage to today's war resisters.

(i have written before about how i did a trip to canada when some 1 showed up at c.i., elaine and my apartment and needed to go to canada. i got the keys and we went right away. in addition, there were trips to canada with other war resisters that c.i. and elaine went on - solo or together - that i also tagged along on. but i say it was their work because they busted their asses. i would love to lie to you today and tell you 'oh, i busted my ass too!' but except for the 1 trip, i was just tagging along.)

sir! no sir! is an excellent movie. but for the subject, a multi-part pbs series is needed. like the space and time they give to ken burns' multi-part series. there is just so much history and it is so forgotten today.

so this was a discussion of that period and what we have done at 3rd and what we still need to do in terms of that at third. and it allowed those who didn't live through it to ask questions that maybe there's not time for when we're working on the edition because we're always in such a hurry. and by asking those questions, new ideas will pop up.

1 thing c.i. threw out was 'do we want to get to the point where we're covering what, based on past history, will likely happen when the iraq war ends? do we want to offer some tips and suggestions to today's war resisters?' and c.i. gave a perfect example of how you could have the charges dropped against you if you were a war resister today and the illegal war was winding down. so c.i. and elaine talked about how some war resisters in canada ('deserters') were able to end up with a clean record even though jimmy carter didn't do anything for 'deserters' (his program was focused on 'draft dodgers'). so we'll probably do something at some point based on the examples elaine and c.i. were giving of that.

throughout, it wasn't just history it was history as it applies today.

and if some 1 famous dies (not wishing that on them), c.i. and elaine will likely either tell or allude to ____'s work with war resisters which included employment. ____ was active when called upon but is not really known today for any war resistance or even opposition during vietnam. c.i. has known ____ for years and called last week to ask, 'will it hurt you in any way if we mention this?' ____'s response was, 'oh like i care.' but c.i. was always able to call upon ____ and their spouse at the time and doesn't want to 'out' the person. (and in real time, some of ____'s work was known.) ____'s largely seen today as non-political (strange, because ___ is very political) and ____ is a lot older than c.i., elaine or i are so c.i. really doesn't want to do anything that might cause some right-wing crazies to launch public attacks on ____. so what c.i. told ____ was, 'i'm going to speak about it speeches but i'm not going to write anything unless you bring it up publicly or, heaven forbid, you know' (meaning pass away). and i understand that because ____ has a lot of corporate business (i'll word it that way) and if the right-wing went into demonizing, that could hurt the business. ____'s attitude is screw it but c.i. is very protective of friends. so we talked about that and wally had a lot of questions about 'how did they travel all over the country and outside the country with a war resister?' and c.i. pointed out that no 1 was going to do a damn thing to ____ in that period. which really is true.

and we talked about today's peace movement and how it is failing. we talked about the earlier moratorium and how it worked as opposed to today's which seems non-existant. and i will say misconceived but c.i. shied away from blame talk. instead, c.i. offered examples of things that made the moratoriums during vietnam visible and how similar things are not being done today. so all of that was really interesting and very productive.

wally, by the way, is on the road ava, c.i. and kat non-stop. he said it was the only way to keep going after the d.n.c. stole the nomination from hillary and gave it to barack. if he'd gone home to florida, he said he'd just have stayed in bed for several days depressed. he's going to spend some time (i think 2 weeks) at mike's later this summer (right after we all spend some time at c.i.'s next month) and then head back home.

while i'm talking political campaigns, right after hillary suspened her campaign, about 4 days later, i had an angry e-mail from a hillary supporter that the community was now promoting ralph. i wrote back that it was my feeling (based on what c.i. had heard from the clinton camp) that hillary would do what she is doing now - campaigning with barack - and that we couldn't do posts every day where we focused on hillary's campaign while it was suspended.

i said some sites would (outside the community) and that was fine but that we had talked about the weekend hillary suspended and we had asked how we want to use our power?

the community members had already decided that if hillary dropped out, ralph was their vote (regardless of whether they were democrats, greens or independents) so we knew the sentiment of the community.

we only have the power we use. the feeling from people c.i. spoke to was that hillary was going to suspend the campaign on saturday (which she ended up doing) and that, barring any scandal on barack, that was going to be it. it wasn't even thought that she'd press for a 1st round of voting in denver.

that's her right. she was torn apart during this campaign by barack and the media. she fought and she earned my respect. i never knew she was that strong.

but with what we knew, it seemed dishonest to be doing the hillary posts.

the same person who e-mailed back then, e-mailed again friday to say, 'yeah, you were right to focus on ralph.'

and we were. and ralph will be on abc's this week. that's sunday morning, so check that out.

it's amazing how little his coverage his campaign has received and that made it all the more important for us to use our power.

if any 1 asks me, i'm not shy about saying, 'vote for ralph.' that's what i'm doing and what i believe in.

c.i. isn't comfortable telling any 1 'vote for ___.' that's not a slap at ralph. that's true of any candidate. c.i. will say, 'i'm voting for ___ because.' but c.i. doesn't like to say 'vote for ___!' i believe i shared the 2004 democratic primary story but in case any 1 missed that (i think i wrote about that in 2005), i couldn't decide. i knew c.i. had (but didn't know who c.i. was supporting) and i knew elaine had (she was supporting howard dean). i would talk to c.i. on the phone or on visits and c.i. would outline all the candidates to hlep me make my choice. even joe lieberman (whom c.i. does not like) would get a fair shake. (even dennis, who i didn't know c.i. disliked until the dnc convention, got a fair shake.) c.i. and i were friends and roommates in college (elaine as well) and if c.i.'s not comfortable saying, 'rebecca, support ___' to me, c.i.'s not comfortable telling any 1 how to vote. c.i. really believes that you should make your own decision and you should familarize yourself with as much information as you can and then make your decision.

i've already shared that my assumption is c.i.'s voting for ralph. but i don't know that. other options might be voting for cynthia mckinney, writing in hillary, voting for bob barr (which i doubt, but who knows) or just not voting for the president. i know c.i.'s voting. c.i.'s voting to vote in the 8th district congressional election for cindy sheehan.

and it's really too bad cindy decided to do nancy pelosi's work for her in the democratic primary.
i was high on her campaign. i'm not now (i won't be voting in california, so she doesn't need to worry about losing a vote - however, flyboy and i were going to get a 2nd home there just to vote in that election. we're not going to do that now).

going to common dreams and leaving all those hateful comments about hillary and giving the impression that barack was somehow different?

if she'd asked, pelosi probably would have been willing to pay her to do that.

she wasn't paid to do that, she was just stupid.

and now he will likely have the nomination and he's not promising to end the illegal war (as he himself said on cnn june 5th). way to go, cindy!

when hillary really got strong on iraq, c.i. was checking to be sure that this was not just campaign words. it wasn't hillary meant it. and if the peace movement had any real leaders, they would have thrown their support behind hillary.

some 1 can say, 'oh, i don't believe her.' doesn't matter. if they'd gotten behind hillary publicly or even just noted her stand positively, it would have made barack move to the left.

they should have been playing both candidates off each other. they were idiots.

they decided to buy the myth of barack and to promote that.

and now he's not even shy about saying publicly that his 'promises' on iraq were just words.

and they still don't hold him accountable.

by the way, lance selfa wrote an article this week which made the point c.i.'s been making for some time, samantha power is back with the barack campaign. no 1's supposed to notice that. i won't link to selfa but i'll give him credit for realizing that.

i won't link to him because it's the socialist worker and they really embarrassed themselves (i don't know that lance himself did) this primary as they hyped and lied for barack non-stop. i think sharon smith was the most disgusting in her 'white momma' piece. with all outlets, i think we saw how shallow they were, how they would lie, how it wasn't about ending the illegal war for them. it was important to get on board with bi-racial barack and to portray him as black.

there is finally a bit of crack there in the mainstream. there should be. he's bi-racial and the bi- and multi-racial community has worked so hard for recognition in this country. all of their work was trashed thanks to barack deciding it was easier to get elected using 'black' as a crutch. it's really interesting when he himself used bi-racial for most of his adult life. he even used it publicly. but it was time to betray that movement because if he used 'black' he could use it as a crutch to beat people over the head with. had his mother been asian, you have to wonder if it would have been so easy to get away with?

but the white liberal guilt - nader's right about that - kicked in. and idiots like sharon smith were happy to stab diversity in the back and write as if the year was 1948 and not 2008. they were happy to trot out the civil rights (a movement barack sneers at as evidenced by his remarks about jeremiah wright and 'anger'). it was really shameful and, let's be honest, hurtful.

bi-racial and multi-racial are not the past, they are the trend of the future.

there have always been bi- and multi-racial people. but we will see more and more in the population. and they have a right to respect and recognition. and they worked so hard in the 90s and actually achieved recognition - finally - from the u.s. census. all that work went down the drain as the left pushed the nonsense meme of 'black' barack. it's going to be real hard to come away from that and c.i., who has many friends in that movement, was always vocal about that. but let's face it, the left media is nothing but white people and a few token african-americans. they really don't get the country because they are so far removed from it. so it was no big deal for them to rip apart the work done by the bi- and multi-racial community. all for 1 man. their christ-child.

let's close with c.i.'s 'Iraq snapshot:'

Friday, June 27, 2008. Chaos and violence continue, the deporation clock ticks down for Corey Glass, another Iraqi judge is assassinated, MTV accepts political advertisements . . . or at least some, and more.

Starting with war resistance. Iraq Veterans Against the War Matthis Chiroux remains in the news. Chiroux announced June 15th that he would not report to duty (as he'd stated he wouldn't on May 15th). South Carolina's WIS News 10 reported on some reactions yesterday (link has text and video):

David Stanton: Being called to deploy? It is a possibility that all of South Carolina's bravest face but the refusal of one soldier to go to Iraq has many military members talking. Sgt. Mathhis Chiroux was honorably discharged about a year ago. He served in Germany, Japan, Afghanistan and the Phillipines. Chiroux was then called back to duty for service in Iraq. But Chiroux says he will not report to Fort Jackson as ordered. As Trey Paul found out some have a hard time supporting the decision.

Mst. Sgt. Gary Villanueva: My father always taught me that a handshake was a man's honor. And signing on the dotted line is equivalent to a handshake. And s-s-so if they made that comitment I believe they should honor it and if they didn't, quite frankly, I question them as a man.

Trey Paul: We asked and Mst. Sgt. Gary Villanueva did not hold back.

Gary Villanueva: Maybe it's best if they don't come into the military because that type of person I would really question my . . . uh . . . back half of my life. And then protecting me or any other individuals I fight with.

Trey Paul: When it comes to a soldier who doesn't complete a military contract lets just say Villanueva doesn't agree

Gary Villanueva: I-I-I uh really think that uh there subject to the punishment that the military law stipulates because they signed a contract.

Trey Paul: Villanueva is one of several soldiers here at Fort Jackson taking part in the IRR -- that's the Individual Ready Reserve. It's the same type of program that Sgt. Matthis Chiroux was required to attend. Other reservists like Sgt. Nolze don't agree with Chiroux either but he thinks he understands where Chiroux's coming from.

Specialist Joshua Nolze: Up until a couple of years ago the military never really used IRR and they told you when you signed the contract, 'Don't really worry about it. You're not going to get called up.' Now days, it's a different story, different world. You're getting called up so it's something you've got to think about before you sign up.

Trey Paul: The IRR works like this: As a soldier you always sign at least an eight-year contract. Most spend at least two of those years serving active duty. The remainder of the contract is spent in some form of the reserves. Mostly the IRR. First Sgt. Reid is helping train these reservists.

1st Sgt. Michael Reid: I also have mixed feelings because some of these young fellows have already been two or three times and probably don't want to go back.

Trey Paul: Since 9-11 a spokesman for the national IRR says Chiroux is just one of seven-hundred who have been a no-show

Gary Villanueva: Whether I agree or disagree with this war is im-imaterial. But one thing I'm soli- I'm sure of, that there are servicemen overseas that need support and that's why I'm coming back to support them.

Trey Paul: At Fort Jackson, Trey Paul, WIS News 10.

IVAW notes:

How you can help:

Find out more about Matthis Chiroux.

Moving to Canada, "I'm refusing to kill innocent people and I'm the one waiting to go to prison and they're the ones setting us up to commit war crimes and they go free," US war resister Ryan Johnson explains to Bill Kaufmann in "Writing on wall for deserters" (The Calgary Sun). Ryan and his wife Jenna Johnson moved to Canada in June 2005. Johnson notes that if a war resister is deported in July, he would most likely be the next one. May 21st was when Corey Glass was told he would be deported. Corey Glass is an Iraq War veteran and a US war resister. He went to Canada seeking asylum -- the kind of welcoming Canada provided to war resisters ("draft dodgers" and "deserters") during Vietnam. After being told he was being deported, he's been 'extended' through July 10th. June 3rd Canada's House of Commons voted (non-binding motion) in favor of Canada being a safe harbor for war resisters. Douglas Glynn (The Barrie Examiner) quotes Corey stating, "The motion is not legally binding, though the majority of Parliament voted for it. I realized innocent people were being killed. I tried to quit the military while in Iraq," he said, "but my commander told me I was just stressed out and needed some R and R (rest and relaxation), because I was doing a job I was not trained to do. I went home on leave and said I was not coming back." Ryan also notes the motion and points to the apparent dismissal of it by Stephan Harper (prime minister of Canada) wondering, "He ran on a platform of democratic reform -- he should take some advice of his own."

Canada's War Resisters Support Campaign will hold a "Rally to Stop the Deportation of Parkdale Resident Corey Glass" July 3rd, begins at 7:00 p.m. (with doors opening at six p.m.) at the May Robinson Building, 20 West Lodge, Toronto: "In 2002, Corey joined the Indiana National Guard. He was told he would not have to fight on foreign shores. But in 2005 he was sent to Iraq. What he saw there caused him to become a conscientious objector and he came to Canada. On May 21, 2008, he got his final order to leave Canada by July 10, 2008. Then on June 3 Parliament passed a motion for all the war resisters to stay in Canada. However the Harper government says it will ignore this motion." They are also asking for a July 2nd call-in. Diane Finley is the Immigration and Citizenship Minister and her phone numbers are (613) 996-4974 and (519) 426-3400 -- they also provide her e-mail addresses minister@cic.gc.ca ("minister" at "cic.gc.ca") and finled1@parl.gc.ca ("finled1" at "parl.gc.ca").

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

There is a growing movement of resistance within the US military which includes Megan Bean, Chris Bean, Matthis Chiroux, Richard Droste, Michael Barnes, Matt Mishler, Josh Randall, Robby Keller, Justiniano Rodrigues, Chuck Wiley, James Stepp, Rodney Watson, Michael Espinal, Matthew Lowell, Derek Hess, Diedra Cobb, Brad McCall, Justin Cliburn, Timothy Richard, Robert Weiss, Phil McDowell, Steve Yoczik, Ross Spears, Peter Brown, Bethany "Skylar" James, Zamesha Dominique, Chrisopther Scott Magaoay, Jared Hood, James Burmeister, Jose Vasquez, Eli Israel, Joshua Key, Ehren Watada, Terri Johnson, Clara Gomez, Luke Kamunen, Leif Kamunen, Leo Kamunen, Camilo Mejia, Kimberly Rivera, Dean Walcott, Linjamin Mull, Agustin Aguayo, Justin Colby, Marc Train, Abdullah Webster, Robert Zabala, Darrell Anderson, Kyle Snyder, Corey Glass, Jeremy Hinzman, Kevin Lee, Mark Wilkerson, Patrick Hart, Ricky Clousing, Ivan Brobeck, Aidan Delgado, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, Blake LeMoine, Clifton Hicks, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Logan Laituri, Jason Marek, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Joshua Casteel, Katherine Jashinski, Dale Bartell, Chris Teske, Matt Lowell, Jimmy Massey, Chris Capps, Tim Richard, Hart Viges, Michael Blake, Christopher Mogwai, Christian Kjar, Kyle Huwer, Wilfredo Torres, Michael Sudbury, Ghanim Khalil, Vincent La Volpa, DeShawn Reed and Kevin Benderman. In total, at least fifty US war resisters in Canada have applied for asylum.

Information on war resistance within the military can be found at The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline [(877) 447-4487], Iraq Veterans Against the War and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters. In addition, VETWOW is an organization that assists those suffering from MST (Military Sexual Trauma).

"Ultimately, the way I look at it is," McClatchy Newspaper's Leila Fadel offered to Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez (Democracy Now!) yesterday, "there were 23 death certificates, 24 people died. Among them were toddlers and women, and Sergeant Wuterich has said this is what his training told him to do--go into the houses, throw grenades, and apparently shoot children and women. And it did happen, no one disputes that these women and children were killed. And that is what is angering the people of Haditha, that somehow, even with all of these bodies, that no one is being held accountable. And from what I understand, the case against Sergeant Wuterich is particularly strong and he's given eight--I think seven Marines immunity in order to have testimony against the sergeant. And he says, 'I did the right thing.' But toddlers--three-year-olds--and women died." Fadel was on to discuss the realities she reported in "Hadith victims' kin outraged as Marines go free" (McClatchy Newspapers, and link has text and video):"Khadija Hassan still shrouds her body in black, nearly three years after the deaths of her four sons. They were killed on Nov. 19, 2005, along with 20 other people in the deadliest documented case of U.S. troops killing civilians since the Vietnam War. Eight Marines were charged in the case, but in the intervening years, criminal charges have been dismissed against six. A seventh Marine was acquitted. The residents of Haditha, after being told they could depend on U.S. justice, feel betrayed." With Gonzalez and Goodman, Fadel shared, "We took a drive back to Haditha last week, trying to get a reaction to the dismissals and the one acquittal regarding this case of 24 people being killed on November 19, 2005. And the ultimate feeling I came away with: people felt betrayed. They felt betrayed that journalists told them if they told their story, somebody would be held accountable. They felt betrayed investigators told them that U.S. justice--that they could depend on that, and nobody is being held accountable. Many of them said, 'How many bodies does there have to be for someone to be punished for this?'"

This as Deutsche Presse-Agentur reports a US military raid in Karbala today resulted in 1 civilian being killed. On the heels of three bank employees being shot to death by the US military while on their way to work and a family air bombed by the US military. Earlier this week at Inside Iraq, an Iraqi correspondent remembered "Yasser Salihee, a physician and a father of one lovely girl" who had worked for McClatchy until being shot dead by a US soldier "Friday June 24, 2005". "Your friends and colleagues never forgot you and will not," writes the correspondent, "[. . .] I've been in so many places Yasser, I saw many die. I saw children, women and men were killed by terrorists or troops and we will keep trying to tell their stories. If we die my friend we will be dying telling the truth, telling the people what really happens here."

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


Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Diyala Province roadside bombing last night that claimed the life of 1 shepherd and left two more wounded. Reuters notes a Shirqat roadside bombing that claimed the lives of 2 "Awakening" Council members and left three more wounded.


Mohammed Tawfeeq (CNN) reports 1 "senior city appeals judge" was shot dead in Baghdad Thursday. Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) identifies the judge of "Kamil al-Swaili, Head of Appeal Court" and quotes a High Judiciary Council spokesperson explaining over "40 judges have been assassinated since March 2003". Reuters explains, "Assailants using two vehicles blocked the judge's way, a police source said. They shot the judge, who was alone in his vehicle, before driving away, he said." Iran's Press TV states, "The assassination of al-Shewaili -- head of one of Baghdad's two appeals courts -- is the latest in a series of judges, academics and other professionals to be targeted by militants." Reuters notes a police officer was injured in a Jurf al-Sakhar shooting.


Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 2 corpses discovered in Baghdad. Reuters notes 1 corpse discovered in Mahaweel.

Meanwhile at the same the US military calls back service members who have been discharged, they kick out those who want to serve. Servicemembers Legal Defense Network explains:

Decorated Army Sergeant Darren Manzella has been discharged under the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law banning lesbian, gay and bisexual Americans from military service, effective June 10. The Iraq war veteran was one of the first openly gay active duty service members to speak with the media while serving inside a war zone. In December 2007, Manzella was profiled by the CBS news magazine 60 Minutes. He told correspondent Lesley Stahl that he served openly during much of his time in the Army, with the full support of his colleagues and command.

"The discharge of battle-tested, talented service members like Sergeant Manzella weakens our military in a time of war. National security requires that Congress lift the ban on gays in the military and allow commanders to judge troops on their qualifications, not their sexuality," said Adam Ebbin, Communications Director of Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN).

SLDN reports that a growing number of service members are also serving openly without incident. The organization is aware of more than 500 troops who are 'out' to their colleagues and, in some cases, their commands.

Sergeant Manzella said, "My sexual orientation certainly didn't make a difference when I treated injuries and saved lives in the streets of Baghdad. It shouldn't be a factor in allowing me to continue to serve."

Manzella, 30, enlisted in the U.S. Army in 2002 and was twice deployed to the Middle East in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. While under fire on the streets of Baghdad, he provided medical care to his fellow soldiers, Iraqi National Guardsmen and civilians. He was awarded the Combat Medical Badge, and also received several other awards recognizing his courage and service.
For more information on Sergeant Manzella, SLDN and the campaign to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," visit

In December of last year, Leslie Stahl spoke with Manzella for CBS' 60 Minutes (link has video and text)

Turning to the US political race for president, Josie Swindler (Radar) reports MTV had decided to take political advertising. Wait? Madonna, naked with the flag around her wasn't political speech? (Well, it sure wasn't art.) But, Swindler reports, there's a catch. They will allow the GOP and the Democratic nominees -- whomever they might be -- to buy ads. And other candidates? MTV v.p. of communion (I'm being sarcastic) Jeannie Kedas states, "We would consider and accept third-party advertisements on a case by case basis." Which is a good time to note that Bill Coleman shares his thoughts on the presidential race in a letter to the Bennington Banner:

In reality, candidates such as Ralph Nader are disregarded from the outset because the election of someone such as Mr. Nader would bring about a true day of reckoning for American corporations.
As long as these corporations are permitted to on the one hand have the same or greater rights than individual citizens, and on the other hand to never face the death penalty or anything more than self regulation or slap on the wrist fines, they can continue to wreak havoc everywhere they go and drain average people of every last cent of economic vitality they can muster.
Yes, Ralph Nader supports an end to corporate personhood, in contrast to Barack Obama or John McCain, whose campaigns are awash in contributions from corporate America.
The differences between Mr. Nader and the candidates that you are permitted to read about or see on television each day are very far reaching and vast.

The candidates you are allowed to see . . . To MTV, according to today's news, or not to MTV.

Two upcoming events for the Nader campaign: (1) "Private Conversation and Fresh Summer Buffet on the River" fundraiser in Litchfield, Conn. Sunday at 2:00 pm and (2) a Honolulu Nader for President 2008 Rally Thursday (July 3) at 8:00 pm at the Univeristy of Hawiaii. For more information on the events, click here. Team Nader notes:

Ralph Nader will be a guest on ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulos, Sunday June 29, 2008. (Check here for broadcast times in your area).

By the way, there are many definitions of "talking white."

Here's our definition, from the Nader/Gonzalez dictionary:

Talking white means telling the white corporate power structure what they want to hear, rather than calling them out and telling them what they need to hear.


And please note, whether George Steph plays it straight or goes into attack mode, don't turn off your television after -- you'll miss out on the unintentionally hilarious roundtable to follow featuring two Punches and two Judys. In other TV news, US Senator Barbara Boxer will be among the guests on this week's Bill Moyers Journal. Moyers broadcasts Friday nights on most PBS stations (and may repeat in some markets so check local listings). The Journal features online transcripts, online audio, online video and a blog to leave comments. In addition, Bill Moyers and Michael Winship often post commentaries there, either a Moyers commentary or a Winship commentary, or this week, a commentary by both. From the opening of "It Was Oil, All Along:"

Oh, no, they told us, Iraq isn't a war about oil. That's cynical and simplistic, they said. It's about terror and al Qaeda and toppling a dictator and spreading democracy and protecting ourselves from weapons of mass destruction. But one by one, these concocted rationales went up in smoke, fire, and ashes. And now the bottom line turns out to be....the bottom line. It is about oil.
Alan Greenspan said so last fall. The former chairman of the Federal Reserve, safely out of office, confessed in his memoir, "....Everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil." He elaborated in an interview with the Washington Post's Bob Woodward, "If Saddam Hussein had been head of Iraq and there was no oil under those sands, our response to him would not have been as strong as it was in the first gulf war."
Remember, also, that soon after the invasion, Donald Rumsfeld.s deputy, Paul Wolfowitz, told the press that war was our only strategic choice. "...We had virtually no economic options with Iraq," he explained, "because the country floats on a sea of oil."
Shades of Daniel Plainview, the monstrous petroleum tycoon in the movie There Will Be Blood. Half-mad, he exclaims, "There's a whole ocean of oil under our feet!" then adds, "No one can get at it except for me!"

as does NOW on PBS which asks, "Is there a way to keep desperate homeowners in their houses? One enterprising entrepreneur has come up with a creative and self-sustaining way to prevent foreclosures and protect individuals from predatory subprime lenders, but not everyone agrees with his approach. Is this another cautionary tale in the making?" PBS' Washington Week will find Gwyn speaking with the New York Times' Linda Greenhouse and NBC's Pete Williams about the Court's latest rulings; Peter Baker (New York Times) and Shailagh Murray (Washington Post) will round out the roundtable. And independent journalist and artist David Bacon continues to cover the immigration experiences and his latest photos from Mixteca are amazing. Click here for his photos of documenting the experiences of immigrants. This fall (September) Bacon's Illegal People -- How Globalization Creates Migration and Criminalizes Immigrants us released by Beacon Press.


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