6/13/2008

the rollercoaster

doesn't it seem like the roller coaster never ends?

last weekend, hillary was giving the great speech that still left me sad. that was saturday.

it seems so very long ago.

we live in exciting times.

to bad it's bad excitement.

sunday you've got a veteran, matthis chiroux ordered to deploy to iraq and saying that he will not. he's taking a brave stand and the military's ready to prosecute him. he already finished his service contract, was discharged honorably and now they want to send him to iraq.

july 10th, canada's saying that corey glass will be deported if he hasn't already left the country. he would be the 1st u.s. war resister to be deported.
and then there's lt. Ehren Watada who finished his contract in december of 2006 but the military refuses to discharge him even after they screwed up their court-martial of him.

that's just some of what's going on in the world of war resistance.

and if you thought war resisters just weren't getting attention from crap ass 'independent' media because they were so determined to destroy hillary and install barack, uh, what's their excuse now?

where are they? doing nothing.

as always.

in other news, next week, same-sex couples can finally get married ... in california. but 2 counties are so offended by the idea of marrying 2 people who are actually in love that they've decided to stop issuing marriage licenses all together. they are kern county and butte county. the san francisco business news has the best story on that nonsense response:

"The idea that they don't have the resources is absurd," Newsom said. "It's ridiculous -- raise your fees to cover your costs and get volunteers."
He urged officials in the two counties to "be more honest and say we can't stand the idea of gay people getting married so we're going to break the law."
Newsom also quipped that he doesn't anticipate an onslaught of gay nuptials in Butte County.
"How many gay couples are going into Butte County to get married?" he asked.


gavin newsom is hot. and he's got a sense of humor.

and along with efforts to deny american citizens equal rights due to sexual orientation, we had rampant sexism called out by katie couric and a media that didn't want to discuss it. hats off to katie. t and i were talking on the phone yesterday about it and noting how there was no 'up' for katie in this. she knew she'd be slammed. she spoke up because some 1 had to and i am very grateful she did. that took courage. we don't see a lot of courage these days.

sexist republican and kooky 'religion' member arianna naturally provides 'equal time' to let a sexist respond that his calling hillary's voice 'shrill' wasn't sexist.

what would the world do without the socialite's cat litter box?

isn't it time progressives stopped considering arianna progressive?

what's the life lesson there?

position yourself as a right-wing crazy and then become a crazy for the other side when you can't hack it on the right anymore?

or maybe it's marry a gay man and grab half the money?

arianna, my 1st husband was gay. when i grasped that, we divorced. we are still friends and i've never told him he can't talk about me.

i also didn't stay married to him after i knew. or use gay porn videos to get him aroused so we could have a child.

your life's pretty pathetic only because you refuse to discuss it.

but i really don't think there's a life lesson in your example.

i really don't think you have anything to offer.

except cloaking hate in an accent and dubbing it 'progressive.'

jossip gets it right. and c.i.'s hitting the roof. ms. magazine has apparently done something even worse than before. (a friend at ms. is on the phone with c.i.). here's jossip:

Let’s not kid ourselves: As a whole, the mainstream media was biased against Clinton’s womanhood, whether they’ll own it or not. Perhaps they didn’t go out of their way to make stereotypical references when covering her campaign, but the most egregious moments in front of the camera – Chris Matthews calling her a “she-devil” – were only evidence of the underlying slant against her. Pundits, as they so often do, will hide behind the excuse that they don’t feel this way; they’re just communicating some of America’s sentiments about the candidate. And this is a farce. We would know: It’s the same line of reasoning Jossip uses daily. What better means to voice your true feelings about something than by claiming to be a voice of the under-represented? We’d love to call it a nasty little secret, but it’s not — secret, that is.

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

Friday, June 13, 2008. Chaos and violence continue, SOFA talks break off (or do they?), Laura Bush sees a mending, al-Sadr issues instructions to resistance fighters, and more.

Starting with war resistance. As Dusti Fansler (Wellington Daily News) explains, "Soldiers strained by six years at war are deserting their posts at the highest rate since 1980, with the number of Army deserters this year showing an 80 percent increase since the United States invaded Iraq in 2003. While the totals are still far lower than they were during the Vietnam War, when the draft was in effect, they show a steady increase over the past four years and a 42 percent jump since last year." Sunday Matthis Chiroux is order to deploy to Iraq. This despite the fact that he was discharged and is in the IRR.

Chiroux made his decision public May 15th and Iraq Veterans Against the War carried his statements (text, video):

Good afternoon. My name is Sgt. Matthis Chiroux, and I served in the Army as a Photojournalist until being honorable discharged last summer after over four years of service in Afghanistan, Japan, Europe and the Phillipines. As an Army journalist whose job it was to collect and filter servicemember's stories, I heard many stomach-churning testimonies of the horrors and crimes taking place in Iraq. For fear of retaliation from the military, I failed to report these crimes, but never again will I allow fear to silence me. Never again will I fail to stand. In February, I received a letter from the Army ordering my return to active duty, for the purpose of mobilization for Operation Iraqi Freedom. Thanks in great part to the truths of war being fearlessly spoken by my fellow IVAW members, I stand before you today with the strength, clarity and resolve to declare to the military and the world that this Soldier will not be deploying to Iraq. This occupation is unconstitutional and illegal and I hereby lawfully refuse to participate as I will surely be a party to war crimes. Furthermore, deployment in support of illegal war violates all of my core values as a human being, but in keeping with those values, I choose to remain in the United States to defend myself from charges brought by the Army if they so wish to pursue them. I refuse to participate in the occupation of Iraq.
Courage to Resist has posted an interview with him (audio only). At the end of last month, California's New University weighed in on the issue, "Whether you have signed up for the military, are currently enlisted, are open to the idea or are violently opposed to serving, what remains clear is that if you are tapped to serve in Iraq, just don't go. First, the conflict has proven to be aimless, as little has gone smoothly since the toppling of Saddam Hussein's regime in 2003. Second, because so many individuals are already unwilling to serve in Iraq, the U.S. army is ready to send just about anyone, whether they are prepared or not. Lastly, make no mistake that Iraq is a war zone. Despite the invasion being invalid, this illegal war can have the same effect on its soldiers as any credible conflict. . . . Over the years, the objectives of the war in Iraq have changed from toppling a dictator to finding harmful weapons to flat-out nation-building. As such, the Baush administration or its successor may attempt to shift the aim of the conflict again, to something that is anybody's guess. Still, know that the war in Iraq is an illegal and aimless conflicts and that soldiers such as Chioux should be applauded for their refusal to support it." May 23rd, he explained to Leia Petty (US Socialist Worker), "I didn't like the war from the start. I always thought it smelled fishy, but I knew at the time, the Army owned my ass for at least the next four-and-a-half years. So I got in line like most soldiers, and prayed night and day that I could trust American civilians to end the war. I was so disappointed when my prayers went unaswered. . . . I do want to be clear though that I did not make this decision to benefit any movement or serve anyone's agenda. I made this decision for myself, based on an intense personal conviction that what I am doing is not only right, but the only decision possible for me as a person and a veteran."
Two years ago this month, Ehren Watada became the first officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq. He cited the illegality of the Iraq War. In August 2006, an Article 32 hearing was held. In February 2007, a kangaroo court-martial took place. Over defense objection, Judge Toilet (John Head) ruled a mistrial. Toilet insisted that a new court-martial would take place immediately (March 2007 was when Head said it would take place). It has never
taken place. The Constitution forbids double jeopardy and the US military has been trying
Watada, 30, is an unlikely icon of war resistance. At 5 feet 7 inches, he is unimposing and even shy, dressed in a Hawaiian shirt and sandals, with his dark hair cut Army-short and his ears sticking out. He was raised in Honolulu, where his father, Bob, worked for decades in campaign-finance reform, and his mother, Carolyn Ho, was a high school guidance counselor. Watada, an Eagle Scout,
joined the Army in March 2003, his senior year at Hawaii Pacific University and,
like everyone who enlists, pledged an oath that members of the U.S. military have taken since 1789. "It doesn't say, 'I, Ehren Watada, will do as I'm told.' It says I will protect the Constitution," Watada says. He supports war in principle and is not a conscientious objector--in fact, he offered to go to Afghanistan (his commanders turned him down). "I'm against the Iraq War," he says. "By law, the war is
wrong."

Pacific Citizen Staff reminds: "It was seven months ago that a federal judge blocked the U.S. Army from conducting a second court-martial of Watada for refusing to deploy to Iraq with his unit in June of 2006. U.S. District Judge Benjamin H. Settle ruled that a second
trial would violate Watada's constitutional rights, essentially agreeing with the officer's attorneys who argued double jeopardy -- that a person could not be tried twice for the
same crime." And Gregg K. Kakesako (Honolulu Star-Bulletin) spoke with one of Watada's two civilian attorneys, Ken Kagan, and reports that Kagan believes "federal judge Benjamin Settle in Tacoma will probably take up the matter early this fall. . . . Kagan said he expects the case to eventually go before the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals where it may take up to three years before a decision is rendered."
May 21st was when Corey Glass was told he would be deported. Iraq War vet and a US war resister Corey Glass was to be deported yesterday, however 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. The Laval News quotes War Resisters Support Campaign's Lee Zaslofksy stating, "This is a great victory for the courageous men and women who have come to Canada because they refuse to take part in the illegal, immoral Iraq War, and for the many organizations and individuals who have supported this campaign over the past four years." In the US, the press has played mute with few exceptions. Already noted last week were Bloomberg News and the Los Angeles Times which did report the historic vote. Sunday, Jim Fox (Tampa Bay Times) included it in news roundup. Liam Lahey (Ontario Mirror Guardian) profiled Corey Glass this week noting, "Glass, who arrived in Canada in August 2007 and resides in a modest apartment in Parkdale, hails from Fiarmount, Ind. He voluntarily joined the National Guard in 2004 believing he could help in disaster zoen scenarious or to defend American soil should the country fall under an enemy attack and quotes Glass explaining, "It got to me one day after something that happened and I can't go into that detail but I had to quit. I didn't feel (the war) was the right thing to do from the beginning and I definitely didn't feel we should be doing this to the Iraqis." Dan Glaister (Guardian of London) notes, "A former US national guardsman will learn next month whether he can remain in Canada, where he has sought refuge from military service in Iraq." Mary MacCarthy (FRANCE 24) reports, "Corey joined the National Guard hoping to do humanitarian work, but ended up being sent to Iraq to work in military intelligence."

To keep the pressure on, 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 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 pm@pm.gc.ca -- that's "pm" at "pm.gc.ca").

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).
Turning to Iraq. The White House wants to push through a treaty with Iraq (the UN authorization expires at the end of this year). Steve Negus and Harvey Morris (Financial Times of London) report that the puppet of the occupation, Nouri al-Maliki, declares talks over a Status Of Forces Agreement is at a "dead end" and they noted the White House attempts to play down the news: "Zalmay Khalilzad, US envoy to the UN, told the Financial Times the Bush administration remained optimistic that a bilateral aggreement would be reached." At the US State Dept, they were spinning yesterday as well with press flack Gonzalo R. Gallegos insisted on denying to reporters that there was in prolbem in negotiations on the SOFA and declared, "I think that the UN mandate does run through the end of the year, we've got about six more months to get to that point. I believe that we had Ambassador [Ryan] Crocker up here last week. He spoke very clearly about his concerns that this be done -- more important to him, this be done right, be done correctly than quickly. There's time left. We're continuing with our discussions with the government of Iraq. It's important to us that this be done correctly and we will see where we got with that."
In Brussels today US Secretary of State Robert Gates was caught by surprise when confronted with the "dead end" remarks declaring, "I had not heard that and I'm not quite sure what the exact circumstances are. So I will have to, when I get home, find out what the status of those negotiations is, and whether there's a difference between what's actually going on in negotiations and the public posture. I just don't know the answer at this point." Which actually might be a wise position to take. Patrick Worsnip (Reuters) reports Hoshiyar Zebari (Foreign Minister of Iraq) states the talks are still ongoing.
Meanwhile AP reports Moqtada al-Sadr issued a statement today declaring that resistance fighters battling the illegal occupation of Iraq "should be limited to a select group" (AP not al-Sadr quoted) and (al-Sadr quoted) "weapons will be in the hands of this group exclusively and will only be directed at the occupier." Mike Tharp (McClatchy Newspapers) reports, "Sadr's statement was issued to his Mahdi Army militia and is the latest evidence that he is reacting to pressure from the U.S. and Iraqi military to disarm his followers, estimated at some 60,000. In August last year, he called for a cease-fire by his supporters, which was renewed in February for six months."
In the United States, Ben Pershing (Washington Post) documents that the war between Nancy Pelosi (Speaker of the House) and Harry Reid (Senate Majority Leader) continues well after she trashed the Senate to the San Francisco Chronicle editorial board. At issue? The supplemental spending for the illegal war. Despite the fact that continuing to fund the illegal war continues the killing and Pelosi's Show Dancing of Opposition to the Iraq War, she insists that Congress must send Bully Boy something before July 4th: "I have made clear to the White House ... that we want to pass a bill that will be signed by the president, and that will happen before we leave for the 4th of July. I feel confident that will happen. . . . . We don't have that much time left. There are two and a half weeks left until the recess, and we will have a bill sent to the president by then, and it will have to be a bill that will pass in the House and the Senate." However, Pershing notes that US Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid states there's no rush, "They [the Pentagon] have enough money till the end of July, so we're not really that panicked about it."
Today US First Lady Laura Bush gave the press conference on Air Force One while it headed to France. During the press conference, she spoke warmly of France, Italy and Slovenia (but didn't cite Germany by name -- read the transcript of the press conference, I'm being kind) before agreeing with a reporter that the relationship between the US and Europe is mending ("I think it -- yes, I think it's on the mend, and --" at which point someone told Laura Bush the conference was over). If Germany was frosty, Sunday doesn't appear to be shaping into a church social either. UK's Socialist Worker gets instructive with, "Tell George Bush: 'Go to hell!'" and notes, "He will land in Britain this Sunday 15 June and his final stop will be Belfast. Since he stole the US elections in 2000, Bush has brought untold disaster on the world. He has launched wars without end, run a worldwide regime of kidnapping and torture, and brought death and ruin to every corner of the world." And they also note:

Socialist Worker is calling on anti-war activists to defy a police ban on the George Bush Not Welcome Here demonstration.

A Stop the War Coalition (StWC) statement says, "We are calling on those who care for our democratic rights to come to Parliament Square at 5pm on Sunday 15 June. Some of those who signed statements accusing Bush of war crimes will be leading this protest."

StWC convenor Lindsey German said, "George Bush has been dictating British foreign policy for many years. Now it appears his security services are determining our rights of protest. This is a disgrace and we will challenge the ban."

Playwright Harold Pinter commented, "The ban on the Stop The War Coalition march in protest at the visit of President Bush to this country is a totalitarian act. In what is supposed to be a free country the Coalition has every right to express its views peacefully and openly. This ban is outrageous and makes the term 'democracy' laughable."

Turning to some of what Bully Boy (and Dems who refuse to stand up to him) have brought Iraq . . .

Bombings?

Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad roadside bombing that claimed 1 life and left three injured and a Baiji roadside bombing wounded a police officer.
Shootings?
Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports the male in charge of an "Awakening" council in Uthaim was shot dead as were his 2 guards. CBS and AP report: "U.S. troops killed five suspected Shiite gunmen and detained two others Friday in a raid south of Baghdad, according to the U.S. military, and Iraqi police said two civilians were killed when they were caught in the crossfire."
Corpses?
Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 2 corpses discovered in Baghdad.
Turning to the US political race for president, will sexism ever be seriously examined? Let's not even consult Magic 8ball, it's too depressing. But Katharine Q. Seelye and Julie Bowman offer "Critics and News Executives Split Over Sexism in Clinton Coverage" today on the primary season. Women's Media Center -- not mentioned in the article -- is holding a panel on this topic Tuesday in NYC, free and open to the public. From nine in the morning until noon at The Paley Center for Media (25 West 52nd Street, NYC) and participants will include Juan Gonzalez, Christiane Amanpour, Sue Carroll, Courtney Martin, Celinda Lake, Mika Brzezinski, Catalina Camia, Geneva Overholser, Ron Wlaters, Dr. Kathy and Patricia Williams. "Sponsored by The White House Project, The Women's Media Center and the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education, the forum is free of charge and open to the press and the public." Click here for the announcement and for information on registering.
Staying with the US political race, Team Nader issues the following:

2008 Presidential Candidate Ralph Nader discusses a remark made to him by a fellow alumnus at a recent Princeton reunion. Watch the video here, read the transcript below.

Do you think Ralph Nader should run? If so, let him know now with your contribution. (Your contribution could be doubled. Public campaign financing may match your contribution total up to $250.) - The Nader Team

****

I was at my Princeton reunion the other day, and a young alumnus came up to me - he was very kind - and he said "You know, I really like what you're doing - I like what you did - but please don't run."

I said "Do you realize what you are saying?"

And he said "Yes, I said please don't run."

I said "You're telling me not to use my First Amendment rights of speech, assembly, and petition inside the electoral arena. You're telling me to shut up. Are you aware of what you're saying?"

He said "I understand, I understand, I like what you're doing, but please don't run."

So I went through and I said "Well, would you tell those voters instead of trying to determine which one was worse between the Democrats and the Whigs, the two major parties in the 19th century, and instead cut out and voted for the Liberty Party, which was the anti-slavery party - would you say to those candidates, 'Don't run'?"

And he sort of paused.

And I said "How about the people who refused to go least-worst between the Republicans and Democrats on women's suffrage? Would you tell those candidates 'don't run'? What do you say to that?"

And he paused.

And I took it up to date and I said "Would you tell Buchanan not to run?"

And he said "I understand what you are saying, but please don't run."

And I said "You know, unwittingly, you are engaging in a politically bigoted statement. Because you can oppose, and you can support, any candidates you want. But when you are saying to someone 'don't run' you are saying to someone 'do not speak, do not petition, do not assemble inside the electoral arena.'"

Now I'm saying this because I'm sure you've had these conversations with people. Look at the word spoiler. Spoiler is a contemptuous word of political bigotry. They do not accuse George W. Bush of being the spoiler in 2000, and last I heard he got more votes than I did, vis-a-vis Al Gore. It's only the independent and third parties that are called spoilers.

And think of the hubris here - these two parties have spoiled our elections, they've spoiled our government, they've spoiled our politics - and to have the temerity to say to someone who wants to reform the process that they are spoilers - they have no sense of humor - I mean, how do you satire satire?

- Ralph Nader, New York City, May 31, 2008 - Watch the video

"Ralph Nader should run for President so we all have a better choice in November. Please accept my support!"

6/12/2008

lee cowan not a reporter nor is keith

sherry e-mailed to ask why i couldn't post the video on my own?

none of us can for the most part. we put the code in and then it either vanishes immediately (if we're in compose) or it vanished after we switch from "edit" to "compose." c.i. knows tricks around it and other things.

so the increasingly pathetic and limp keith olbermann needed to get it up last night (it must be tiring to have a girlfriend 1/2 his age) and just knew attacking a woman was the way to go. it's worked so well for him, hasn' t it? largely because the pathetic 'fair' and others have refused to call him out. so he went after katie couric for her editorial comment on wednesday's broadcast of the cbs evening news and also on a speech where she spoke of an unnamed commentator who couldn't be objective - by his own confession - on barack.

keith thinks she means lee cowan. from ava and c.i.'s 'TV: The Surreal Life stages comeback!' back in janurary of this year:

As many laughs as Gibson provided, it was more shocking what was going on at NBC/MSNBC. Correspondent Lee Cowan confessed on air to Brian Williams that it was "hard" for him to be objective about Barack Obama, whom Cowan was assigned to cover. Now in the world of a functioning mainstream press, Cowan would have immediately been reassigned. And should have been. Reporters are supposed to be objective and just the hint that you aren't, forget confessing on air that you find it "hard," is enough to damage the credibility of the news organization. At NPR, Michelle Norris has a set list of things she can do and cannot do in election cycles due to her husband's work. It's not that Norris couldn't be objective, most assume she could be, but it's that they don't want even the appearance that they're not being objective. Brian Williams, who bragged of his desire to censor the news before he took over as anchor (bragged on air to Jay Leno -- which is where all the really great news anchors go, right?), embarrassed himself by posting to his blog, "Lee was talking about the swirl of excitement that has hit the Obama campaign after Iowa -- the crowds, the hoopla -- all of it. Today we learned that rival political efforts were spinning this as some kind of 'bias' on the part of either Lee, or me, or this News Division, and that's just ridiculous. My response is as it always is in these situations: look at it again, listen to what's being said, and judge us by the quality and fairness of our journalism." Guess what, in a functioning news organization, you're biggest complaints wouldn't be coming from candidates, it would be coming internally. The fact that NBC didn't grasp the problem, didn't immediately pull Cowan off the beat and reassign him, goes a long way towards explaining the destruction of news standards in the MSM.

"Lee was talking . . ." only follows an announcement that, "To avoid the appearance of conflict, Lee Cowan will now be covering the Mitt Romney campaign after having stated on air that he found objectivity 'hard' when covering Obama." But we don't have a functioning press, do we?

if you ever doubted that, look at keith olbermann, proof positive that we don't have a functioning press or, for that matter, a functioning media critic set.

oh, i'm laughing now. i thought i would try to be fair and check out feminist wire daily. if they had something on keith olbermann's sexist attack on katie couric, i was going to highlight. no surprise, they didn't have anything on it. they've got nothing period. they have nothing on katie receiving the alice paul award tuesday - despite alice paul being a ground breaking feminist. what they do have this week (posted yesterday) is a news story on the womens media center's campaign against sexism. if you remember, we posted that video community wide over 2 weeks ago. but ms. magazine's feminist wire daily just learned of it.

how pathetic can you get?

( read 'Ms.went from playing dumb to outright insulting' for more on how pathetic that magazine can get.)


and i'm sure i'll be accused by some 1 in an e-mail that i was lazy but actually the roundtable for gina & krista's round-robin went a little over 2 hours and i have to give the baby a bath because i meant to do that this evening but there wasn't time. so that's going to be it for me tonight.


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



Thursday, June 12, 2008. Chaos and violence continue, today was the day Corey Glass was deported from Canada, what agreement did Iran and Iraq work out, Katie Couric stands up against sexism and Pig Olbermann attacks, and more.

Starting with war resistance.
May 21st was when Corey Glass was told he would be deported. Glass is an Iraq War vet and a US war resister in Canada. He was to be deported today. Now 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. And people and organizations are fighting very hard for Glass and other war resisters to be welcomed in Canada, not deported. Sault This Week carries the following:

FROM LEE ZASLOSKY, coordinator,
War Resisters Support Campaign: The Opposition parties in the House of Commons joined together to adopt a recommendation which, if implemented, would make it possible for U.S. Iraq War resisters to obtain permanent resident status in Canada. The recommendation was adopted by a majority of Members of Parliament from the Liberal, Bloc Quebecois, and New Democratic Parties. The Conservatives voted against the motion. The motion, which originated in the House of Commons Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration in December 2007, calls on the government to "immediately implement a program to allow conscientious objectors and their immediate family members...to apply for permanent resident status and remain in Canada; and...the government should immediately cease any removal or deportation actions...against such individuals." Corey Glass, 25, a war resister who came to Canada in 2006 and was recently told to leave Canada by June 12 or face removal to the United States, welcomed the vote. "I'm thankful that the MPs voted to let me and the other war resisters stay in Canada. I'm also thankful to all the Canadians who urged their MPs to support us."This is a great victory for the courageous men and women who have come to Canada because they refuse to take part in the illegal, immoral Iraq War, and for the many organizations and individuals who have supported this campaign over the past four years. The War Resisters Support Campaign is calling on the Conservative government to respect the democratic decision of the Canadian Parliament and immediately implement the motion and cease deportation proceedings against Corey Glass and other war resisters. Lee Zaslofsky, coordinator of the War Resisters Support Campaign, is a Vietnam War deserter who came to Canada in 1970.


To keep the pressure on,
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 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 pm@pm.gc.ca -- that's "pm" at "pm.gc.ca").

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).



Turning to prisoners. The Supreme Court issued a landmark decision today in Boumediene et al v. Bush, President of the United States, et al [PDF
format warning, click here for opinion]. CCR announces: "In one of the most important human rights cases of the decade, the Supreme Court of the United States held today, in a 5-4 decision, that the men imprisoned at Guant√°namo Bay have the constitutional right to habeas corpus. One of the oldest and most basic legal protections, habeas corpus affords the incarcerated the right to stand before a judge and confront the charges presented against him or her. The Center for Constitutional Rights has been sending habeas counsel to represent the prisoners at the base since winning the first Guant√°namo case, Rasul v. Bush, in 2004, and applauds today's decision." Ari Shapiro (NPR and link has text as well as audio from Shapiro and Ninan Totenberg) observes, "This is the third times the justices have told President Bush that his paln for handling foreign terrorists violates the Constitution." But there's more to today's news than that one aspect. James Oliphant (Baltimore Sun) points out, "In a decision related to its landmark holding Thursday granting Guantanamo detainees habeas corpus rights, the Supreme Court held that American citizens held prisoner in Iraq can also challenge their detentions in federal court. The court's ruling, written by Chief Justice John Roberts, was unanimous in holding that two American Muslims who traveled to Iraq to fight coalition forces there have access to U.S. federal courts to object to their continued detention in Iraq." The opinion, written by Chief Justice John Roberts, is acknowledging that any American citizen held by American forces has a right to appeal that to the US court system; however, the opinion then offers that the two men (Mohammad Munaf and Shawqi Omar) are held in Iraq and that the US courts cannot prevent them from being handed over to the Iraqi government. So it was a victory in terms of affirming that US citizens around the world do have access to the federal courts to appeal imprisonment by the US military but it will not prevent Munaf and Omar from being turned over to the puppet government in Iraq.


On Tuesday,
Walter Pincus (Washington Post) reported that prisoners "were likely to be held for longer periods as security risks than those prisoners taken when the U.S. troop buildup first began last year, according to Maj. Gen. Douglas Stone Jr., the former head of the Iraq detention program." Earlier this year, the US military [PDF format, CRC.OPAC.USA.Q1] noted: "Approximately 50 percent of those initially detained in Iraq are determined not to be inperative security threat, and these individuals are released at the unit location. Those assessed to be a threat are transferred to the TIF. At the TIF, the detaining command Magistrate Cell, consisting of judge adocates, conducts a thorough review of each individual's case. Based on this review, the Magistrate Cell either recommends the detainee be expeditiously released or retained as an imperative security threat." "TIF" refers to "Theater Internment Facility." Those claims, presented to the United Nations, just got tossed out the window via Stone's press conference this week. Felicity Arbuthnot (UN Observer) provides some reality on US prisons in Iraq:

However, "quis custodiat ipsos custodes?" "Who guards the guards?" Suppose the abusers are the United States military and the abused children are in their custody in Iraq. Neither Save the Children, Amnesty, Human Rights Watch (HRW) or other agencies have been allowed in to facilities where Iraqi children as young as ten are incarcerated in Iraq, under the oversight of Major General Douglas Stone, Deputy Commanding General Detainee Operations, Multi National Force-Iraq.
The US army has detained 2,400 children as young as ten years old since March 2003, according to a 21st May 2008 Human Rights Watch statement (some estimates are highter). Stone, who took over the position in May 2007, has named one correctional facility "The House of Wisdom", after the famous 9th to 13th century Bayt al Hikmah (House of Wisdom) at which scholars from around the globe studied and where Plato, Hippocrates, Euclid and Pythagoras were translated from the Greek and where Algebra was born.
In its 21st May statement, HRW said detention rates for children had risen drastically in 2007 to an average of 100 new cases a month from 25 a month in 2006. As of 12 May this year, the US military authorities were holding 513 Iraqi children classified as "imperative threats to security", HRW said in a statement.
Stone has said he is now fighting a "battlefield of the mind", introducing education and "religious enlightenment" to detainees. Amongst his charges of all ages are: "rotton eggs, you know, hiding in the Easter basket". Psychiatrists, psychologists, counsellors and interrogators help identify these 'miscreants.' Juveniles are allowed no outside legal representation, according to the UN Special Representative for Children in Armed Conflict, Radhika Coomaraswarmy and there are allegations that, as with women, they are often held to force an adult family male to give himself up. Human rights abuses plummet little lower, apart from rape and child abuse.

Today the
ACLU announced they had "filed a federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit today for documents related to an investigation by the Justice Department's Office of Inspector General (OIG) of the abuse and torture of prisoners in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay. Last month, the OIG released a report on the investigation, which was launched after internal government documents -- uncovered by another ACUL lawsuit -- revealed that FBI agents at Guantanamo raised concerns about abusive techniques used by military interrogators." The Bully Boy of the Unites States, in Rome making nice with Berlusconi, had his own announcement, "First of all, it's a Supreme Court decision; we'll abide by the Court's decision. That doesn't mean I have to agree with it."

And NPR doesn't have to agree with reality. Monday they aired a report on Iraq that's no longer up at their website. "The improved security situation in Baghdad has allowed government officials to reclaim abandoned government property. Displaced Iraqis had been living in the buildings after they were forced to flee their homes because of fighting. Now, they are finding themselves homeless again." Sound familiar?
It aired Monday on Morning Edition. It's no longer part of the broadcast. But it was aired and it was disgusting. It was also offensive news re-pimped. If you paid attention, you heard that assertion in 2006. If you paid attention in 2003, you heard how the buildings ended up occupied and why. Edward Wong (New York Times) reported that "American military officials say that although they have allowed squatters to remain in public buildings throughout the city, the Iraqi transitional government that will take power on July 1 will almost certainly want the buildings back for their own use, or at least will want to charge rent. . . . But the transitional government will probably try to sell much of the city's public property, since there is no need to hold on to it, Colonel [Paul L.] Aswell said." The tag sale the White House was lusting for. So, to go by what's known, there is talk (again) that Iraqis squatting in government buildings may be forced out. But, as Anna Badkhen (Salon) reports, there's really nowhere go. Badkhen notes al-Maliki's announcement that refugees need to return and return to their homes; however "in a twist that exemplifies the difficulty of restoring normalcy in Iraq, many of the Iraqis who do decide to return home will face a new obstacle that is a byproduct of American and Iraqi efforts to quell sectarian violence. It is a new law called the National Policy for Displacement, and it states that no displaced Iraqis can be forcibly removed from the place where they found refuge. . . . Many Iraqis who fled their homes found refuge in homes that belong to other people, who had run away from the fighting to go someplace else. Now, as the owners return home, encouraged by their government, they are finding their homes occupied by squatters who are protected by the new rules."

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

Bombings?

Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad grenade attack that left six Iraqi soldiers injured, a Baghdad roadside bomb which "targeted the Shaab's mayor in Shaab neighborhood" and resulted in five people being injured, a Baghdad roadside bombing which "targeted the major general's convoy Sameer Al-Waeli, the head of the social attention in the ministry of interior" and left six injured, three more Baghdad roadside bombing which resulted in nine Iraqi soldiers being wounded, a Baghdad home bombing that claimed the lives of 3 people and left fifteen injured.

Corpses?

Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 4 corpses discovered in Baghdad.

Yesterday at the US State Dept, Gonzalo R. Gallegos (Press Relations Dir) held a media conference and was asked about Nouri al-Maliki's visit to Iran and he replied that he didn't "have an assessment in terms of that" and stated they were "neighbors" and his "hope that the Iranians can engage with the Iraqi Government in a positive manner." But did the Iraqi leader (or 'leader') and the Iranian government come to an agreement? At a time when the White House and the puppet are having so many problems over the treaty disguised as a SOFA?
Reuters reported this week that there was an agreement (according to IRNA news agency) that papers were signed (Mostafa Mohammad Najjar and Abdul Qader Jassim -- Iran and Iraq's Defence Ministers respectively) on defense, on "[m]ine clearance and the search for soldiers missing in action" and who knows what else. How would Gallegos or anyone at the State Dept asses that?

Turning to US politics.
Yesterday on The CBS Evening News, anchor Katie Couric delivered one of her Notebook pieces. The piece addressed the fact that sexism was rampant in the media coverage.

Katie Couric: Over the last week it's been almost impossible to pick up a newspaper or turn on a cable show and avoid the endless post-mortems on Hillary Clinton's campaign. Senator Clinton has received her fair share of the blame and so has her political team. But, like her or not, one of the great lessons of that campaign is the continued and accepted role of sexism in American life -- particularly in the media. Many women have made the point that if Senator Obama had to confront the racist equivalent of an "Iron My Shirt!" poster at campaign rallies or a Hillary nutcracker sold at airports or mainstream pundints saying they instictively cross their legs at the mention of her name, the outrage would not be a footnote, it would be front page news. It isn't just Hillary Clinton who needs to learn a lesson from this primary season, it's all the people who crossed the line -- and all the women and men who let them get away with it. That's a page from my Notebook, I'm Katie Couric, CBS News.

As
Peggy Simpson (WMC) noted earlier this week, Couric was just awarded an Alice award (named after the groundbreaking Alice Paul) by the Sewell-Belmont House. At the ceremony, she gave a speech where she noted that the media's job was to be objective. Some are seeing this as reference to Lee Cowan's on air confession to Brian Williams that it's "hard" for him to be objective about Barack Obama. If it was a reference to Cowan specifically, Couric was correct and media critics would be quick to agree. When you confess on air that you have a "hard" time being objective about someone you're covering, in a real news world, your ass is pulled from that beat because it's not only an issue of whether you can or cannot be objective, it's also an issue of how you are perceived. Couric was 100% correct. And FAIR and other outlets -- all strangely silent today -- have long made that point. What gives with the silence? As Jake Tapper (ABC News) points out, Keith Olbermann -- supreme PIG -- elected to 'award' Katie Couric the "Worst Person in the World" 'award' last night in yet another of his foaming at the mouth attacks on women which MSNBC so loves to broadcast. Couric's media criticism in her speech accepting the Alice was correct and there's not an ombudsperson that can beg to differ with her (and NPR and Washington Post ombudspersons in the past have made the exact same call on the need to avoid even the perception of a conflict of interest). Katie Couric's real 'crime' was daring to think that sexism was worth calling out because, as we have all seen for months and months, media 'critics' have stayed silent. They've treated sexism as a non-issue. Or, as Mike noted, when forced to deal with it, the way Howard Dean was, they toss out a word or two and then rush off to the topic of racism -- implying that sexism doesn't qualify as a topic in and of itself, certainly not an important one. Katie Couric was correct in her criticism and Keith Olbermann has attacked another woman for the 'crime' of expressing of an opinion. On the plus side, some seem to have received the message and we're not seeing non-trashing of Couric; however, some need to stand up and call Olbermann out. They egged him or gave their approval by refusing to call him out. Couric's comments are not out of bounds. They 'dare' to treat sexism as an offensive issue and 'dare' to say, yes, women matter in this world. For that, Pig Olbermann labels her the "Worst Person of the Week." Will FAIR stay silent? Will The Nation? We saw them stay silent for months as Olbermann foamed at the mouth and ripped apart women. Ava and I will be picking up this topic Sunday.


Team Nader notes the following:

If you haven't donated to Nader/Gonzalez yet, please give
five dollars now.
Here's why: despite what you've heard, we're making a difference in the here and now.
According to an
article in today's Politico, two words explain the reason Obama and the Democrats are sounding more populist: Ralph Nader.
The author, Jeremy Lott, writes this:
"Nader's challenge convinced the powers that be in the party that they simply cannot afford to let a serious challenger get to the left of the party's presidential candidate. That helps explain why Dean was given the DNC chairmanship over a Clinton loyalist and why concerns about electability were brushed aside to make way for the junior Illinois senator's nomination."
We don't buy Lott's conclusion that the Democratic Party is now Nader's party.
Most of the Democrats' populism is mere posturing.
They talk national health insurance, but reject single payer public health insurance.
They talk about peace in the Middle East, but bow down to the right wing Israel lobby.
They talk about change, but want to increase the bloated wasteful military budget.
So, yes, Ralph Nader has had an effect.
The Democrats are now talking a more progressive game.
But it's mostly talk, talk, talk, no action.
Nader, on the other hand, is the real deal.
The mainstream media, like Politico, is starting to take note of our grassroots, independent campaign.
Nader is at six percent in national polls.
We're moving aggressively nationwide to put Nader/Gonzalez on the ballot.
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But now, more than ever, we need your help.
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iraqcorey glasswalter pincusthe washington post
center for constitutional rightsnina totenberg
npr
katie couricthe cbs evening newsanna badkhen
mcclatchy newspapers
jake tapper
peggy simpson

katie couric video

here's katie couric on last night's cbs evening news talking about the sexism in the 2008 primary season


6/11/2008

barack follies

Barack Obama's promise to deliver a "new kind of politics" took a knock yesterday with the departure of the man hired to check out potential vice-presidential running mates.
Jim Johnson, quit as unpaid head of a three-person search team after facing criticism from Republicans for the sweetheart loans he received from a sub-prime mortgage company.


that's from the independent of london and they're so in the tank for barack that the byline doesn't really matter. poor pond scum (that didn't report on the downing street memos), their crush isn't all that.

a george vandervoort writes the chicago tribune about 'reporter' zorn:


From reading Mr. Zorn's article, one might get the impression that this house purchase was Sen. Obama's only contact with the currently imprisoned Mr. Rezko. In reality, Tony Rezko has been a social friend and mentor of Barack Obama's for about 15 years. Rezko offered Obama a job in the early 1990s, while Obama as at Harvard Law School. Obama did not take them, but the two stayed in touch over the years. Obama and Rezko used to socialize over breakfast or lunch. Mr. and Mrs. Obama visited Rezko's home in Lake Geneva, Wisc. Rezko raised $250,000 for Obama's Senate campaign.


the reality (and george probably knows this) is that zorn is in the tank for obama and has been since barack's senate run. zorn was actively swallowing every thing the campaign fed him and was instrumental in launching attacks against jack ryan (obama's 1-time republican opponent) as well as earlier at the more popular candidate in the democratic primary (who was smeared with domestic abuses charges). zorn has been allowed to do this because the libertarian minders at the tribune think barack's a good right-leaner. a real paper would have removed zorn from covering obama about 4-years ago due to intense conflicts of interest. but the chicago tribune isn't a real newspaper.

or, as robert t. johnson puts it:

Over the years, we loyal Tribune readers have come to expect one-sided columns from Eric Zorn which seem designed to either smear or whitewash people and/or events. His recent piece on the Tony Rezko-Sen. Obama real estate deal does not disappoint. In his effort to absolve Sen. Obama of any wrongdoing, Mr. Zorn concentrates on trivia such as the price paid by Mr. Rezko for the lot adjoining the Senator's house, and the prices offered by competing bidders.

zorn doesn't know how to report. he only knows how to run a fan club.

go watch katie couric talking about sexism in the primary race.

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

Wednesday, June 11, 2008. Chaos and violence continue, the US military announces another death, issues fall by the wayside for the 'issues' (smears and distortions) and more.

Starting with war resistance.
May 21st was when Corey Glass was told he would be deported. June 3rd Canada's House of Commons voted (non-binding motion) in favor of Canada being a safe harbor for war resisters. He's no longer threatened with deporation on the 12th (Thursday) but has been 'extended' to July 10th. Will the Stephen Harper government really attempt to deport him? That will depend upon how much support Corey Glass has. Over the weekend Canada's National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) issued "NUPGE urges Harper to let Iraq war resisters stay in Canada:"James Clancy calls on minority Conservative government to respect the will of Parliament and stop the deportation of Corey Glass on June 12 Ottawa (9 June 2008) - The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is asking the Harper government to honour a House of Commons motion that clears U.S. Iraq war resisters and their families to live permanently in Canada.The non-binding parliamentary motion was approved June 3 with support from all three opposition parties by a margin of 137 to 110. Conservative MPs opposed the motion and the minority government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper has indicated it will ignore parliament on the issue. The War Resisters Support Campaign, based in Toronto, estimates that as many as 200 American soldiers have come to Canada to avoid serving in Iraq. Many of those active in the campaign are resisters who were granted refuge in Canada during the Vietnam war in the 1960s and 1970s. In a letter to Harper, NUPGE president James Clancy urged Harper to intervene in the case of Corey Glass, who has been in Canada for the past two years. His application for citizenship on "humanitarian and compassionate" grounds was denied on May 21 and the Canadian Border Services Agency has ordered him to be deported on June 12. "From all indications, your government is planning to ignore the democratic will of the House of Commons," Clancy wrote. "I am urging you and your government to reconsider this position. This is a matter of some urgency. The war resisters have taken a principled stand against participating in an illegal and disastrous war in Iraq. Their reasons echo those that Canada used when it, too, refused to participate in this war," Clancy said. "Canada must continue to act to honour its own principles and maintain our status in the world community as a peace-building nation. We should quickly welcome the young men and women and their families who have come here to live in peace and who are already starting to contribute to our country's future," he said.Clancy urged Harper to "act now to make it possible" for the resisters to stay in Canada by: ● Stopping the deportation of people of conscience who have resisted an illegal war; and ● Supporting the democratic decision of the House of Commons and the will of the Canadian people. NUPGE More information: ● War Resisters Support Campaign

That's their statement in full and it's very important. A huge cross-section of people ensured that war resisters could stay in Canada during Vietnam -- students, labor, churches. NUPGE's stepping up is important. To keep the pressure on,
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 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 pm@pm.gc.ca -- that's "pm" at "pm.gc.ca").

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).


Turning to US catty-claws. Senator John McCain made a statement that was clear and one that this community disagrees with. Appearing on
NBC's Today Show, he was asked about withdrawal from Iraq. And stated he wasn't worried about withdrawal estimates ("that's not too important") and somehow it was time for Democrats to embarrass themsleves. What's McCain talking about? His position is that troops should stay in Iraq. He would argue he's not talking about a continued war, he would state that (as he said on Today this morning), troops should remain there as they do in Japan, South Korea, etc.

Anyone truly opposed to the illegal war has an opening to go after McCain. Sadly, we don't have a lot of elected officials really opposed to the illegal war. So instead it was time for hypocrisy and catty natures. Susan Rice -- a long time War Hawk and monger working for the Obama camapign -- repeated talking points of how McCain was "confused," "confusing," etc. As
Lynn Sweet (Chicago Sun-Times) wonders, "Is that a code for suggesting McCain is too old to understand what is going on?" Rice denies it but the Catty Obama Crew has already attempted that nonsense before. They are the cattiest campaign. Senator John Kerry tried to rescue Rice. As usual, he failed (and needs to stop worrying about Obama's campaign and start worrying about the Democratic challenger to his own seat). US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi saw an opening and immediately issued her own statement: "Senator McCain's statement that it is 'not too important' when U.S. troops are redeployed from Iraq is yeat another indication how out of touch he is with the effect the war in Iraq is having on the readiness of our military. Addressing the national security implications . . ." blah, blah, blah. No one cares, Nancy. Everyone knows you're the Speaker of the House. Everyone knows you took power in January 2007. Everyone knows the illegal war drags on. Before you hop on your high horse you need to grasp just how disliked you are around the country. (Visit some campuses, Nancy.) Your self-serving statements only reflect poorly on you and Democratic leadership.

And that's the real revelation here, how Iraq is now a non-issue for Democrats. They can't even showboat convincingly because they've had nearly two years in which they controlled both houses of Congress and they didn't do a damn thing to end the illegal war. Harry Reid, the Senate Majority Leader, uses a lot of words as well. He only makes himself sound like a hypocrite. Too many to name embarrass themselves deliberately twisting McCain's meaning. Of all the people in the world who make sense on McCain's remarks, it's Senator Joe Lieberman. (Whom I personally loathe.) Lieberman labels the organized hit "reflexive attacks" and notes, "It's very obvious what John McCain is saying, and it's consistent with what he's said along the way." [
Click here for the Baltimore Sun's Mark Silva's write up which includes text but also includes video of McCain on Today.] Lieberman also notes what Pelosi, Reid, Biden, Kerry and Rice don't, John McCain actually has a child DEPLOYED to Iraq.

We're not getting issues, we're getting smears. McCain firmly believes the US needs to remain in Iraq and he's not arguing for the illegal war to be continued, he thinks the illegal war (which he doesn't think is illegal) can be tranferred to a smaller US presence which would include many decades on Iraqi soil. That is his position.

It's a position the Democrats should love because it should provide them with the ability to present a strong contrast between McCain and themselves. Today we get smears, catty remarks (that were intended to be about McCain's age or mental well being), we get hypocrisy and so much more. The country (US) would be better off if we could address the issue. The issue isn't "Is McCain senile?" (he's not) nor is it "McCain disrespects the military!" (he doesn't). The issue is McCain has a viewpoint on how he sees the US presence in Iraq. Why can't the Democrats take that issue and run with it?

Partly because for all the nonsense of 'hope' and 'change,' Barack's advanced via character assassinations on his opponents and that's what's going on when McCain's sanity or his support for the military is questioned. It's catty, it's embarrassing and it doesn't help Barack appear mature. But there's no real difference Barack's calling for.
June 5th he told Candy Crowley (CNN, link has text and video) that his Iraq 'policy' on withdrawal (his 'promise' throughout the campaign that US troops would be out of Iraq within 10 months of his becoming president -- in a speech in Houston, Texas, he dropped from 16 months down to 10), "Well, you know, I'd never say there's 'nothing' or 'never' or 'no way' in which I'd change my mind." Really? Because in your speeches you don't include that qualifier. He added, "Obviously, I'm open to the facts and to reason. And there's no doubt that we've seen significant improvements in security on the ground in Iraq. And our troops, and Gen. Petraeus, deserve enormous credit for that. I have to look at this issue from a broader perspective, though." He has to look at it from a broader perspective? Does anyone remember his stump speech that included that 'applause' line? No, because he didn't include it in his speeches.

Barack Obama is not promising to end the illegal war. He is not promising anything. That's the point Samantha Power was making to the BBC in April and why she explained that these 'pledges' he makes on the campaign trail mean nothing, that he'd decide what to do about Iraq if he got into the White House. Not before then.

And that's why this mock outrage is being created by various Democrats [on the very day that
Michael Scherer (Time magazine) points out how faux outrage bit Barack in the butt]. It's a way to create the appearance of a difference between Barack Obama and John McCain. Heaven forbid we have a real difference.

When Barack is asked hard questions or hit with real criticism, his response is to whine that he wants to focus on the issues, that he wishes he could focus on the issues (and his waffles) but instead . . . His campaign launched a smear job on John McCain today. They didn't have to do that. They could have taken the issue of Iraq and presented an actual difference. Instead, it was John McCain's too old, he's senile, he doesn't appreciate military service, blah, blah, blah. Not an ounce of truth in any of those charges.

It didn't have to be that way. If Iraq's going to be an issue, let's have it be one, a real one. Let's see Barack stop the character assassinations and start having that always postponed conversation about the issues he keeps insisting he wants.

And anyone considering themselves part of the peace movement better start hollering. If this is what's going to pass for "Iraq discussions" ('McCain's old and crazy and he hates the military!'), don't even pretend that the illegal war is ending in the next four years. We should all be appalled and saying, "ENOUGH!"
Joshua Frank (Dissident Voice) explains, "Four years ago, as the sentiment against George W. Bush's administration mounted, the entire left-wing spectrum hung on tight to the coattails of John Kerry, grasping for dear life. Critics called it the 'Anybody but Bush' syndrome, but it should have been more aptly coined 'Nobody but Kerry.' Virtually every progressive cause, from labor to environment, had been co-opted by a mindset that would have ensured more of the same. There was no pressure put on Kerry to change, and he didn't." Naomi Klein called that nonsense out in real time and has repeatedly warned since then that the peace movement does not need to go silent for the 'good' of an election.

The peace movement can get co-opted again, it can buy into the Iraq War 'really doesn't matter,' or any other nonsense it wants but as someone who was on campuses after that crap, 'leaders' who think they can pull the wool over the young people again better grasp there will be fallout. The peace movement should call out any candidate who refuses to address Iraq. When Team Obama has the perfect opportunity to draw a real distinction and instead results to smears, it's an indication that Barack's not overly concerned about Iraq. The Iraq War is an ongoing, illegal war that will hit the six year mark next year. Any candidate who thinks character attacks are addressing it really isn't fit to run for the presidency. And anyone thinking "We just have to be silent until November" better accept the illegal war isn't ending via silence. As
Joshua Frank notes, despite Democrats being given control of both houses in the November 2006 elections, "Two years later, we have nothing to show for it. The Democrats have controlled both houses of Congress, yet have rubber stamped virtually ever Iraq war spending bill that has come down the pipeline -- ensuring the bloodbath for years to come."

Let's go straight into some of today's reported violence because the refusal to address Iraq allows the dying to continue.

Bombings?

Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad roadside bombing that claimed the life of 1 police officer and left seven more wounded, a Baghdad roadside bombing that claimed 5 lives with ten more people wounded, a third Baghdad roadside bombing that injured two, a Kirkuk roadside bombing that wounded six people and a Wasit bombing that claimed the life of 1 police officer with four more wounded.

Corpses?

Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 4 corpses discovered in Baghdad and 4 in Kirkuk. Reuters notes 5 corpses discovered in Falluja ("shot and tortured").

Today the
US military announced: "A Multi-National Corps -- Iraq Soldier died of non-battle related causes in Baghdad, June 11. An investigation into the cause of death is under way." 4095 is the number of US service members killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war, 11 is the number for the month thus far.

As the
Seattle Post-Intelligencer points out, "It doesn't matter that people of two nations -- the U.S. and Iraq -- are dead set against an agreement, or treaty -- for permanent, er, long-term military bases in Iraq. And never mind what having such a presence in Iraq would do to that nation's relationship with Iran (a major player on the ground), where leaders suspect that the bases in the 'enslaved' Iraq might be used as launching points to attack their country. The Bush administration is hellbent on banging out the much-denied treaty by the end of July." Leila Fadel and Warren P. Strobel (McClatchy Newspapers) report that the White Hous insists the negotiations on the treaty "can be completed by a July 31 target date" but the White House "is apparently scaling back some of its demands, including backing off one that particularly incenses Iraqis, blanket immunity for private security contractors." They also report that in the US Congress objections are coming from both sides of the aisle as well as from the chairs of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (Joe Biden) and the Senate Armed Services Committee (Carl Levin). Amit R. Paley and Karen DeYoung (Washington Post) explore objections to the treaty in Iraq and quote Sami al-Askari ("senior Shiite politician on parliament's foreign relations committee who is close to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki") stating, "The Americans are making demands that would lead to the colonization of Iraq. If we can't reach a fair agreement, many people think we should say, 'Goodbye, U.S. troops. We don't need you hear anymore.'" Ned Parker (Los Angeles Times) also quotes al-Askari, "There is the camp who still believe that we need the Americans to stay and the other camp that says we don't need them anymore. . . . If I'm from the group that believes in the need for the Americans to stay, and then they face me with such a draft, then I'll say, look, I'd rather go with the others." As was noted (and objected to) throughout The Petraeus & Crocker Variety Show that played Congress in April, the Iraqi Parliament will get a vote on the treaty (disguised as a "Status Of Forces Agreement" by the White House) but the US Senate will not. Apparently, Bully Boy needed to wipe his rear on the US Constitution at least one more time before leaving office so that Constitutional mandate that all treaties be approved by the Senate got tossed out the window. M.D. Nalapat (UPI Asia) argues that if SOFA goes through, the puppet of the occupation (al-Maliki) will fall and "other moderate politicians in Iraq could soon become history. From then onwards, public opinion in Iraq will almost certainly turn in favor of those Shia and Sunni politicians opposed to the pact, creating more followers of Moqtada al-Sadr and the former Baathists." Ghida Fakhry (Al Jazeera) asserts, "If the original deadline is missed, it could mean that major obstacles have emerged and that the plan to rush through a deal before George Bush steps down as president might also be in jeopardy." As Dan Eggen (Washington Post) observes, speaking from Germany, Bully Boy referred to Iraq opposition as "noise".

The Bully Boy of the United States: "First of all, I think we'll end up with a strategic agreement with Iraq. You know, it's all kinds of noise in their system and our system. What eventually will win out is the truth. For example, you read stories perhaps in your newspaper that the U.S. is planning all kinds of permanent bases in Iraq. That's an erroneous story. [58 bases.] The Iraqis know -- will learn it's erroneous, too. We're there at the invitation of the sovereign [puppet] government of Iraq. And I strongly support the agreement because I think it helps send a clear message to the people of Iraq that, you know, that security you're now seeing will continue. And one of the lessons of Iraq is, is that in order for a democracy to develop or in order for an economy to develop, there has to be a measure of security, which is now happening. So I think we'll get the agreement done."

Bully Boy went on to declare, "You know, as to -- look, Eggen, you can find any voice you want in the Iraqi political scene and quote them, which is interesting, isn't it, because in the past you could only find one voice, and now you can find a myriad of voices. It's a vibrant democracy; people are debating." Yes, it appears that one thing the America has transferred to Iraq is relief that the reign of the Bully Boy will end in a few months.

On the US political front,
Team Nader breaks down the Lehman Brothers scandal whose Richard S. Fuld announced "a staggering $2.8 billion loss in the second quarter, exceeding the most dire forecasts" and yet nothing changes on Wall Street or, for that matter in Congress: "Still, there is no regulatory action in Washington which doesn't even move on behalf of consumers to regulate the New York Mercantile Exchange where rampant speculation, not supply and demand, decides what you are paying for gasoline and heating oil. With the politicians sleepwalking in Washington, while their campaign pockets are filled by Wall Street cash, isn't it time for the people of America to rouse themselves civically and politically? Act before the financial sector, using your money, shreds itself under the weight of its own top-heavy greed and cliff-hanging mismanagement." Ralph Nader is running for the White House. Matt Gonzalez is his running mate. Team Nader also addresses the NBA today by noting an objection Nader raised in 2000. Steve Powell (The Olympian), writing today of the criminal activity of "former referee Tim Donaghy" who has entered guilty pleas to multiple felony charges, points out: "Donaghy claims it happened in a playoff game in 2002. And looking at the Los Angeles Lakers-Sacramento Kings series, he makes a good case. Even at the time, consumer advocate Ralph Nader, a presidential candidate this year, sent a letter to Stern complaining about the officiating. The Lakers won the game after shooting 27 free throws in the fourth quarter.".


iraqcorey glasswarren p. strobel
mcclatchy newspapersleila fadel
the los angeles timesned parker
the washington postamit r. paleykaren deyoung