Saturday, June 30, 2007

Burying news of war resisters & US deaths

A U.S. soldier injured in a roadside bombing in Iraq has fled to Ottawa and is seeking refugee status.
James Burmeister, 22, deserted the army while recovering from his injuries in Germany and flew to Canada with his wife and two-year-old daughter.
Now he is playing bass with other musicians in Ottawa while waiting for his refugee claim to be processed.
Burmeister, who is from Eugene, Ore., said he joined the army in 2005 after being told that as a soldier he would be doing humanitarian work to help Iraqis rebuild their country.

The above is from Canada's CBC, "U.S. military deserter seeks refuge in Ottawa," and was noted by Vic. But remember, this isn't a movement. If it was a movement, surely we could read about it in the pages of The Nation, the leading magazine for the left. Surely an actual movement would require that, at least for a second, they drop their non-stop gas bagging about the 2008 elections, right?

It is a movement. And never has The Nation come off more out of touch than in their steadfast determination to ignore the big story of 2006 and to continue to ignore it as the movement continues to grow. James Burmeister, the latest war resister to go public. Many before him (and many who didn't go public) and many will come after him. Possibly, having taxed itself so to pretend that Nancy Pelosi is not in any way responsible for the supplemental -- poor thing, Speaker of the House and she couldn't stop a bill, couldn't even stop it from being introduced --
there's no time left to cover reality. And in all the gas baggery they offer, let's not pretend that they have a visa to the 'reality based community,' let alone live here.

"Now it all begins, or continues to," as the Cowboy Junkies sing in "Spiral Down." But don't expect it to be covered in the pages of The Nation. Don't expect to find support, in fact, for any action that goes beyond signing a petition. Anything else causes a severe case of the night sweats for that crowd. "Spiral down, continue to spiral down. I'm nowhere near my peace, as you spiral down."

But there's plenty of shame to spread around. While The Nation offers the sort of crap one would expect from Readers' Digest, guess which other 'leader' fails (yet again) at their basic job?

Five US soldiers were announced dead on Friday from one incident. We covered it yesterday. Today the New York Times does. And if you're looking for it, turn to A3.

Five US soldiers die in Iraq and the paper believes that's page A3. Front page? You've got the Taliban. Okay. You've got the London non-bombing. You've got Guantanamo. What else? China and worker's rights. A joke of an upbeat article that belongs inside the paper or on the Business pages (which, granted, is a section that doesn't run on Saturday). [CORRECTION: The Business Section does run on Saturday. Thanks to Micah for catching that. Front page story? In the top center it's . . . China! ] They're suddenly interested in immigration. (Of course they are. The hideous bill they were pushing failed. Time to step it up for the Times.) And, of course, there's the very non-news that "The Man Behind Bloomberge" is Kevin Sheekey.

5 US soldiers died. When Gordo's got war porn (when doesn't he), the paper can front page it. But five US soldiers dying in one incident isn't front page news to the New York Times. It's a US story, it's an Iraq story, it's both domestic and international, but it's not front page.

Not to the paper of little record. They'd rather off that China's (hold the laughter) improving workers' rights. They'd rather gas bag on Skeekey. They've really got to get out ahead on the immigration issue because without their 'fine' work, immigrants might really get something helpful. Come on, they pushed the rate hikes on Social Security payments (into -- they also sold the decrease in the moneys retirees receive), they can screw over immigrants as well, just give them time.

And, as always, they need to continue to sell the illegal war. Which is how five dead US soldiers end up buried inside the paper when anyone claiming to be any sort of news organization should grasp that's a main story.

Richard A. Oppel Jr. contributes "Buried Bomb Kills 5 G.I.'s in Baghdad Neighborhood" and you can read it if you want. No offense to Oppel, but if the paper thought the story was worth reading, don't you think they'd front page it?

Unlike the AP (see Mike's "Patrick Cockburn"), Oppel gets the figures correct so we'll note this:

The attack on Thursday in Dora, a dangerous neighborhood in southern Baghdad, added to the toll of the deadliest quarter yet for the American military in Iraq: 330 troops have been killed over the past three months, including 100 so far during June, according to the Iraq Coalition Casuality Count.

It's a straight foward news article and possibly that's why it's buried in the paper? And another death is announced today: "One Multi-National Division - Baghdad Soldier was killed and three other Soldiers were wounded when an explosively-formed penetrator detonated near their patrol during combat operations in a southern section of the Iraqi capital June 29." This brings the monthly total to 101 thus far, the total since the start of the illegal war to 3578.

Spiral down
Continue to spiral down
I'm nowhere near my peace
As you spiral down

Forget the slogan "What the hell are we fighting for," "What the hell are they dying for?" All this time later, when there is no link between 9-11 and Iraq, when there were no WMDs in Iraq, when every lie offered (including 'to bring peace') has fully been exposed, why is the illegal war allowed to continue?

Kara notes Howard Zinn's "Put away the flags" (The Progressive):

On this July 4, we would do well to renounce nationalism and all its symbols: its flags, its pledges of allegiance, its anthems, its insistence in song that God must single out America to be blessed.
Is not nationalism -- that devotion to a flag, an anthem, a boundary so fierce it engenders mass murder -- one of the great evils of our time, along with racism, along with religious hatred?
These ways of thinking -- cultivated, nurtured, indoctrinated from childhood on -- have been useful to those in power, and deadly for those out of power.
National spirit can be benign in a country that is small and lacking both in military power and a hunger for expansion (Switzerland, Norway, Costa Rica and many more). But in a nation like ours -- huge, possessing thousands of weapons of mass destruction -- what might have been harmless pride becomes an arrogant nationalism dangerous to others and to ourselves.
Our citizenry has been brought up to see our nation as different from others, an exception in the world, uniquely moral, expanding into other lands in order to bring civilization, liberty, democracy.
That self-deception started early.
When the first English settlers moved into Indian land in Massachusetts Bay and were resisted, the violence escalated into war with the Pequot Indians. The killing of Indians was seen as approved by God, the taking of land as commanded by the Bible. The Puritans cited one of the Psalms, which says: "Ask of me, and I shall give thee, the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the Earth for thy possession."

Rachel notes the following programs on WBAI this coming week, times given are EST:

Sunday, July 1, 11:00 am to noon
Post Warholian radio artists Andrew Andrew host a special guest.

Monday, July 2, 2-3pm
Cat Radio Cafe
Steve Cosson and The Civilians talk about "Gone Fishin'," their newdocu-musical about lost things; poet Omar Shapli on his newcollection, "The General is Asked His Opinion (and other sad songs2002-2005)"; and Robin Hirsch and Angelo Verga celebrate the 40th July4th anniversary of the Cornelia Street Cafe. Hosted by Janet Colemanand David Dozer.

The following community sites have updated since yesterday morning:

Rebecca's Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude;
Cedric's Cedric's Big Mix;
Kat's Kat's Korner;
Betty's Thomas Friedman is a Great Man;
Mike's Mikey Likes It!;
Elaine's Like Maria Said Paz;
Wally's The Daily Jot;
and Trina's Trina's Kitchen

Susan e-mailed asking if Kat knew about the Cowboy Junkies new CD? Yes. That's her second planned review. She hopes to have one up this weekend. Ruth will be posting her report this weekend as well. (Intended to post tonight.) The Cowboy Junkies new CD is entitled at the end of paths taken and "Spiral Down" was written by Michael Timmins.

Keesha was the first to note Margaret Kimberley's "Marianne Pearl Is Black" (Freedom Rider, Black Agenda Report):

When Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl was kidnapped in Pakistan in 2002 his wife, Marianne, became a fixture in international media. The first time I saw her I made a very simple observation. "His wife is black," I said to myself. I know a black person when I see one, and I saw one in Marianne Pearl. In the new film A Mighty Heart, Pearl is portrayed by actress Angelina Jolie. Jolie is white.
Here we are in the 21st century and a white actor is portraying a black character. Not just any character, but a real life, well-known, still living human being. Anyone who sees Marianne Pearl knows she isn't white, but the powers that be in Hollywood didn't care and knew they could get away with this offensive charade.
Marianne Pearl was born in France to a Cuban mother and a Dutch father. Her mother was quite obviously black, photos are unambiguous on that point. Her father was European, so she can be described as multi-racial or biracial. It doesn't really matter what term or words Pearl uses to describe herself. She is clearly a person of African ancestry, and putting dark make up and a curly wig on Angelina Jolie doesn't change that fact or fool anyone.

[. . .]
Pearl and Jolie are just fine with the arrangement, and why not. Jolie gets a role she wanted and Pearl gets to see her story on the silver screen. Both are defensive about the casting criticisms and plead with the peasantry to remain silent.
"I know that people are frustrated at the lack of great roles [for people of color], but I think they've picked the wrong example here," Jolie opined. Why is this example wrong? Is it because honesty and integrity would have denied her the part? If Jolie can possibly think of a reason why the rest of us should just shut up and accept modern day blackface she needs to come up with a better explanation.

Keesha wanted it noted, "Too bad they didn't make her a singer in the movie. If it had been a musical, I'm sure they would have considered casting a Black woman in what is, for all intents and purposes, the story of a Black woman. I look foward to next seeing Brad Pitt and Angeline Jolie take on the Julian Bond story with Pitt cast in the lead. Musicals and sports films remain the easiest way for Blacks to get cast in the movies."

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