Thursday, May 31, 2007

Other Items

Cindy got sick and tired too of all the cowardly deal-making and betrayals, She wrote bitterly to Congress and then about herself:
"How can you even go to sleep at night or look at yourselves in a mirror? How do you put behind you the screaming mothers on both sides of the conflict? How does the agony you have created escape you? It will never escape me … I can’t run far enough or hide well enough to get away from it.

By the end of September, we will be about 80 troops short of another bloody milestone: 4000, and will hold nationwide candlelight vigils and you all will be busy passing legislation that will snuff the lights out of thousands more human beings."
Personally, I know how she feels. When I made the film, WMD (Weapons of Mass Deception) challenging the media role in the war, many anti-war groups paid lip service to its message and then did little or nothing to promote it. Perhaps that’s why some activists call "" when it comes to the issues of media deception or for that matter any issues that also holds Democrats and corporate media institutions accountable.
It is so much easier and emotionally self-righteous to attack easier targets like the Republicans and Bush White House.
Lets face it, the media has not really changed and nor have many Democrats. They believe in convenient truths and don’t recognize the importance of demanding media integrity. Don’t forget that most of the media coverage was hostile to Democrats setting a timeline and many pundits pressured them to relent in the name of "pragmatism," patriotism, or getting the pork they wanted for their own districts.
I don’t think Cindy has really resigned from politics. But she is upset and has a right to be. She has lost so much and is also apparently in debt--something this director of the film In Debt We Trust can relate to
Sometimes I wish I could resign from the media reform movement that I helped organize because it has been so hard for us to get support for, our fabulous media and democracy online network now in its 7th year. We will have to close our doors in a month unless we can find the funding to keep our modest operation alive.
Unfortunately, our movement, like many others, has a hard time working together and prefers pricey conferences, "events" and behind the scenes lobbying to mass outreach, education and organizing. Again, it's predictable to bash Fox News rather than focus on all the biased coverage across the spectrum.

The above is from Danny Schechter's "A Letter To Cindy Sheehan: Darkness Comes Just Before Dawn" (Common Dreams). Danny's always called it straight, he's never tailored an opinion or "sold out." He also isn't the late to the party on Iraq. A lot play at concern over the issue or caring, he was there speaking out from the start. He didn't need to wait on polls or a catch phrase. He didn't need to wait until it was "safe" because the country had turned against the illegal war. He didn't need to push the myth of 'values voters' and get on board the reshaping of the Democratic Party because he's a journalist, he's not a hack. He's never given up his independence or his independent voice. That really doesn't seem to get prized in 'informed discussions' which want to be ahistorical and push talking points. (Francisco wrote about In Debt We Trust for Hilda's Mix yesterday, DK's trying to find out details about the film's showing in Germany this week to cover it for Polly's Brew.) Since the illegal war began, Danny's offered his News Dissector, two films, at least two books, and has lived on the road constantly. If you've been lucky enough to hear him speak, you know he's a powerful speaker. More than most, he's qualified to write about Cindy Sheehan because it's not an abstract for him, he's been on the front lines of the Iraq war, media reform, and much more.

In Iraq today, AP reports:

A suicide bomber hit a police recruiting center in Fallujah on Thursday, killing at least 25 people and wounding 50, police said. U.S. forces backed by helicopter gunships clashed with suspected al-Qaida gunmen in western Baghdad in an engagement that lasted several hours.
At least 10 policemen were among the dead in the Fallujah attack, which occurred about 11 a.m., according to a police official in the city who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release the information.

Brandon notes this from Jose Vasquez' "Operation First Casualty II (New York City) a success!" (Iraq Veterans Against the War):

OFC II in New York City was a big success! We had over 20 members in attendance and more than 30 volunteers. The New York City chapter took the model that DC established and expanded on it coming up with new leaflets, a detailed route plan, and an OFC checklist. All these materials along with white t-shirts, zip-cuffs, and sandbags will be sent to Chicago for the next OFC on June 17-18.
Memorial Day for most folks could mean a number of things: cook-outs, travel, sales, a day off, a solemn day of mourning and reflection, or a political opportunity. For some it's a combination of these. It's meaning is never fixed, but continually being contested and shaped by the social and political climate of the time. A lot of the news coverage I saw yesterday highlighted politicians, generals, flags, and wreath-laying ceremonies. The usual fanfare and contrived emotion.
I had an email exchange with a veteran who thought Memorial Day was not a time to put forward political messages like "End the War" or "Stay the Course." He didn't disagree with the message--in fact he was quite supportive of it--but rather the timing of it. Is Memorial Day the right time to call for an end to the occupation? IVAW's position is decidedly to the left. We're calling for immediate withdrawal, increased benefits for vets, and reparations for Iraqis. These may not be the dominant views on the hill, but they are the right ones in our opinion.
As a main organizer for OFC in New York City, a veteran, and a patriot I think Memorial Day weekend was the right time for this action. The places we chose to patrol were not Memorial Day ceremonies but shopping malls and tourist traps where the war dead was the furthest from people's minds. We placed flowers at the World Trade Center and had a respectful closing ceremony at Grand Army Plaza in Brooklyn. It was our way observing Memorial Day. Honoring the dead, while being mindful of the living.
During the planning phase of OFC-NYC the issue he raised about Memorial Day never really came up. Everyone seemed to feel that it was the right weekend for this action. As a scholar, this intrigues me because it says a lot about how people relate to the mainstream thinking in this country. The most compelling part of this event is that IVAW members have a pretty good understanding of the sacred nature of Memorial Day. Many of the guys on patrol on Sunday lost friends during their tours in Iraq. Our goal with OFC is to wake people up to the reality of the occupation in Iraq.
I think there is no apolitical position one can take regarding the troops or the war. We can't hide behind the slogan Support the Troops without thinking about what support really constitutes. Why are they being supported? For what purpose? Are we to blindly accept the civilian leadership's decision to send our troops in harm's way without question? The fact is the occupation needs to end and until people start demanding that, politicians and corporations will continue to profit. Meanwhile, the troops we support continue to get blown to bits. Ten did just this weekend. Everyday is a good day to struggle for an end to the occupation. Memorial Day should be no different.

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