Thursday, June 12, 2008

I Hate The War

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," said Lee Zaslofsky, Coordinator of the War Resisters Support Campaign and a Vietnam War deserter who came to Canada in 1970.

The above, noted by Vince, is from "House of Commons votes to let U.S. War resisters stay in Canada." Corey Glass has been extended until July 10th. After that date, the Canadian government is currently stating, he can be deported if he is still in the country. There are a few e-mails about Ehren Watada. He has been covered throughout the week, check the morning entries, but he's not been included in the snapshot. That's because July 10th may seem far, far away, but it's not. That's because the House of Commons vote was historic but we're apparently supposed to be thrilled that 'independent' media (aka Panhandle Media) could touch on it as a brief item -- or that some could. This is history before our eyes. It will be forgotten if it's not recorded, it will vanish and be very difficult to dig up years from now because it didn't get the needed coverage in real time. Ehren Watada will be in tomorrow's snapshot. I had intended to cover him at some point prior to Friday but was going to include him on Friday (as he was last Friday) because, in the community, that's the snapshot that gets reposted the most. Also true is that Liang e-mailed yesterday to warn that Watada's website was no longer up. (It is back up today.) There was another war resister that could have made the snapshot this week and didn't.

That's because the article's insulting. I'll include it here but we probably won't reference it in a snapshot. Ryan Jackson is the war resister, Charles Tremblay is the reporter, Metro Spirit is the publication and "Reefer resister" is the title. Tremblay asserts that Courage to Resist is not noting Jackson failed a drug test after smoking a joint. Really?

Ryan Jackson is a war resister I knew nothing about until Courage to Resist highlighted him. I have not seen coverage of him elsewhere except for the Waterbury item. It did not note the pot but I knew about the pot. I'm having a hard time believing I knew about it by osmosis. I don't know Jackson's attorney, I've never met Jackson and the outlet that has told his story is Courage to Resist. So if I know about the pot, it's from their coverage.

What does the pot matter? That's not an argument for or against legalization. It's noting that many in the military fail drug tests. It doesn't get them kicked out in most cases (even when they attempt to get kicked out by using drugs). I believe Brad McCall's shared his own story there. Does it shock me that someone might use pot? No. Does it shock me that someone waiting to find out whether or not they will receive CO status would use pot?


It doesn't shock me that some veterans returning to the US use drugs. In fact, the military dopes a significant number up in Iraq to avoid dealing with PTSD so obviously the military has some understanding of the stress. To argue otherwise would mean declaring that the US military is actively attempting to create drug addicts.

The joint was never the issue with Jackson's case. Tremblay seems to miss that and also seems to live in some MGM, forties film where everyone says "Golly gee" when swearing. And most enlisted, on leave, break out into song and dance. Anchors Away!

Tremblay writes:

Michael Thames, who writes for the Metro Spirit and who was honorably discharged from service after filing as a conscientious objector, concedes that the process is tedious, harrowing and long. However, he says that although the number of applicants who are accepted is relatively low, the Army “gives you every opportunity to make your case."
You can have a lawyer, or call character witnesses, and after the paperwork is accepted there is a time limit on a decision. When asked what part of the process could be considered immoral, Thames could not come up with a single idea.
Jackson says the immoral part lies in the very concept of a panel of strangers deliberating and deciding if your beliefs are authentic or valid.

Good for Michael Thames that he got CO status but, as he indicates, it's not the easy for everyone. Robert Zabala had to sue in a civilian court to get it. Agustin Aguayo's case was pending in a federal court when the military tried to ship him to Iraq (for a second tour of duty).
Tremblay doesn't know what he's writing about. That's all I'm going to say here. We'll prove with the government's own findings at Third Sunday.

And it's a real shame that these things have to be proven over and over. It's a real shame that Panhandle Media isn't interested in getting the word out or even in recording the historic times we are living in.

We're also living in a world where people are wasting their time as well as the time of anyone working the public account.

Ava went off on two wanting their crap highlighted today. One wrote back this evening, "You didn't have to bite my head off, you could have just marked me spam."

Oh, golly, thanks. There are 502 e-mails currently in the spam folder. Some things go there because they're marked, some go by accident. After hurt feelings on the part of someone attempting to get something highlighted, we do try to go through the spam folder several times a day. It's not treat for us to mark you as spam. You need to stop writing. Which is what Ava told you in her e-mail. How did you fail to understand that?

I'm going to have to do some repeating here. Unless it's an issue of someone being gay and fighting against gay rights because they're in the closet, I'm not interested in sex scandals. I'm not interested in your write up of the New York Times (months ago) gutter story of whispers about John McCain. On the other person Ava went off on, McCain's first marriage is not a secret and both parties in the first marriage have spoken publicly, there appears to be no ill will. Your wasting your time to write a trashy tabloid piece of smut isn't of any interest to me.

It's sad that it's interesting to you.

They tried to sell it again on the word McCain supposedly called Cindy McCain.

I should care because?

Has no one ever been married? Or, if married, did they divorce at the first ill word?

I'm not voting for John McCain, I'm not promoting his campaign.

I do know him (and he wouldn't vote for me if I was running for public office). I also know Cindy and I'm telling you right now (a) their marriage is something they are both committed to or they wouldn't be together and (b) I like Cindy and am not in the mood for attacks on her. I know Cindy from the work she does for children. That's noble work. I have no ill will towards her and I have a lot of admiration for her dedication.

That doesn't mean I'll vote for John, obviously. But it does mean I'm not going to jump on whatever nonsense bandwagon some loony fringe element thinks is going to 'win' it for the Democratic Party.

We've called out McCain here many times. We'll call him out again. We're not promoting his campaign. The community voted and if Hillary was not the Democratic nominee, Hillary supporters were going with Ralph supporters in the community and voting for Ralph Nader. (I didn't vote in the poll. I have not stated who I will vote for, nor will I because I believe in a secret ballot. However, I have called McCain out enough over the years here and have noted repeatedly that I would never vote for him for any office.)

I'm not interested in your smutty writing. I find it offensive and always have. I have repeatedly stated I'm not interested in sex scandals and I'm not. As someone who had a good marriage (he passed away), I know marriage takes a lot of work and I know I sure as hell wasn't perfect in mine. I don't know how immature someone has to be to try to create smut out of John McCain's first marriage (where both parties say kind things publicly about one another) or in his marriage to Cindy. No one ever knows from the outside whether it's a 'good' marriage or not but I know Cindy's adult enough to end it if she wanted to. She's happy in her marriage or she'd be divorced. So I really don't think the state of their marriage is anyone's business and I'm not interested in your smut writing about it. That would be true if I didn't know her but it's all the more true because I do know her and I know her work with children.

McCain can be defeated. I'm not sure Barack could win but McCain could be defeated. That won't come about by smut tactics. Yes, Karl Rove used them against McCain in 2000 and they were effective. In a primary. Not in a general election. But Democrats aren't supposed to be Republicans. Democrats are supposed to stand for something.

This week, that was their problem. They stood nothing for. They thought ('leadership') just slagging and insulting John McCain was enough. It's not. And you go to the well on that too often and you create a backlash. Considering all of Barack's current problems, I would assume another backlash was the last thing his campaign needed.

They had the perfect opportunity to take on John McCain's plan for Iraq. It's a loser. It's a loser with the public. It's a losing strategy. Instead of grabbing that and saying, "Here's what we would do!" they just offered insults. It was embarrassing.

For all the whining about what Karl Rove did in 2000 and 2004, it appears a lot of Democrats were really just whining because they didn't think of it first.

The Democratic base wants to see Democrats who stand up and fight back, no question. They don't want to see Dems who think they're 'cool' by ranking on the opponent. It was as if Joan Rivers was scripting the Democratic Party. And there's a reason Johnny Carson knew Rivers wouldn't work as the host of The Tonight Show. As a guest host, she could pull in viewers but people were not going to tune in (as her own shows proved) for that kind of humor on a regular basis.

Instead of trying to craft (bad) one-liners, the Democrats could have said, "See! That's what he wants! Here's what we're offering!" But they didn't do that. And the message sent out was McCain has a plan and Democrats have one-liners. It's not a confidence builder.

Had it been on another issue, I probably wouldn't have weighed in. But the issue was what will the US government do regarding Iraq. That's falls under the focus of this site. Another topic, I might have, at most mentioned it once here. I might have advocated for it at Third or Ava and I might have tackled it in our feature for Third. But this was about Iraq.

This community strongly disagrees with McCain's Iraq stance. We've loudly called it out. The Dems didn't do that this week. They offered up catty little remarks. It was embarrassing. The fact that they thought they could get away with it goes not only to their own lack of maturity but to how they see the voters.

Where's your strategy? Where's your plan? As long as people let the Dems toss out their bad one-liners, we're not talking about Iraq. As long as we're not talking about Iraq, the Dems aren't being pressured to address it.

It's not that Pelosi, Reid, Kerry, et al thought they were suddenly comedians. It's that they didn't want to put foward a proposal. If you laughed at that crap they served up, be aware that they laughed at you for buying it and allowing them to again avoid addressing the Iraq War.

It's over, I'm done writing songs about love
There's a war going on
So I'm holding my gun with a strap and a glove
And I'm writing a song about war
And it goes
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Oh oh oh oh
-- "I Hate The War" (written by Greg Goldberg, on The Ballet's Mattachine!)

Last Thursday, ICCC's number of US troops killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war was 4092. Tonight? 4098. Two away from 4100. Today the US military announced: "A Multi-National Force -- West Marine died as the result of a non-combat related incident June 11.
The Marine’s name is being withheld pending notification of next of kin and release by the Department of Defense. The incident is under investigation." And they announced: "A Multi-National Division – Baghdad Soldier was killed from wounds sustained when the Soldier’s vehicle was struck by an improvised explosive device in west Baghdad at approximately 3:30 p.m. June 12." Just Foreign Policy lists 1,221,154 (same as last Thursday) as the number of Iraqis killed since the start of the Iraq War.

On most PBS stations tomorrow night, Bill Moyers Journal airs. Either on the program or at the site, Michael Winship will have a commentary on media reform, the campaigns of the two main parties and more. Here's an excerpt:

Thirty six and a half million Americans -- one in eight Americans, one in six children -- that we KNOW of, because there are no good ways to really measure -- live below the official federal poverty level, $20,000 a year for a family of four. Half of us -- half! -- will have gone through a year or more of poverty by the time we turn 60. In contrast, behold the woeful case of Alan Schwartz, former CEO of the now defunct investment bank Bear Stearns. As that company nosedived last year, subprime mortgage hedge funds crashing in flames, Schwartz relinquished his usual annual bonus, which meant that his total compensation for 2007 and the prior four years was a piddling $141 million. Poor guy had to rent out his 7800 square foot house in the New York suburbs and squat at his new, $28 million Manhattan apartment; his seven-acre home in Greenwich, Connecticut; and his Colorado condo. Just a couple of weeks ago, shareholders approved Bear Stearns' merger with JP Morgan, which received $30 billion in taxpayer-funded, federal loan guarantees to take over what little was left.
John McCain says the fundamentals of the economy are strong but admits it’s a subject he doesn’t know a lot about. He counts among his economic advisors Carly Fiorina, fired chief executive of Hewlett Packard, where you'll recall she was accused of breathtaking mismanagement and street-bully tactics. Of her role in the McCain campaign, Jeffrey Sonnenfeld of the Yale School of Management told
The New York Times, "You couldn't pick a worse, non-imprisoned C.E.O. to be your standard-bearer."
Among McCain's other top advisors are John Green and Wayne Berman, who received $720,000 in lobbying fees from Ameriquest Mortgage, one of the noteworthy, predatory lenders in the country’s mortgage mess. As the New York Daily News reported this past spring, Ameriquest, which has since been bought out by Citigroup, "was forced to settle suits with 49 states for $325 million.
More than 13,680 New York homeowners got taken for a ride by the company, records show."
Barack Obama believes our current economic crisis is "the logical conclusion of a tired and misguided philosophy that has dominated Washington for far too long." Nonetheless, his economic policy director, Jason Furman, has been a defender of
Wal-Mart and was director of former treasury secretary Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project at the Brookings Institution, a group of Wall Street Democrats committed to continuing Bill Clinton’s economic doctrine -- i.e., growth based on deficit reduction and free trade.
Until his resignation Wednesday, Obama's team also included Jim Johnson, ex-Mondale chief of staff and former CEO of Fannie Mae, the government-sanctioned banker that buys and resells loans from other banks and lenders. According to the Wall Street Journal, Johnson, who was leading the search for Obama's running mate, was given preferential treatment when he received $2 million in personal loans from one of Fannie Mae’s biggest customers, subprime lender Countrywide Financial Services.
A front page story in Wednesday's Washington Post added that Johnson also was "the beneficiary of accounting in which Fannie Mae's earnings were manipulated so that executives could earn larger bonuses. The accounting manipulation for 1998 resulted in the maximum payouts to Fannie Mae's senior executives -- $1.9 million in Johnson's case -- when the company's performance that year would have otherwise resulted in no bonuses at all, according to reports in 2004 and 2006 by the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight."

Now you'll note, the criticism of McCain is included. And it would have been included if Winship had made some jokes. I don't support McCain and I will not be voting for him. That wasn't my problem with this week's nonsense. Winship is addressing the issues. He's earned the right to joke if he wants. He's conducted himself with more professionalism then our Democratic 'leaders' in Congress did. That was the problem with the Iraq nonsense. As I stated, it's not a 'tone' argument. I wasn't concerned with the 'tone.' I was bothered that McCain talked about Iraq and the Democrats refused to address Iraq. Instead it was a bunch of insults. Where in any of that was a damn plan? I care because I want to see the illegal war end. Barack supporters should care because it sent the message that the campaign was juvenile and didn't have anything to offer on Iraq other than a lot of insults to John McCain.

Again, Winship could have tossed in a few jokes and it still would have gotten noted. He covered the bases. But this idea that our elected officials think they can skirt the discussion, ignore presenting their own plan and just hurl insults? That's not ever going to end the illegal war.

Lastly, if you asked for a highlight last week and got it only to then insult the community, don't bother writing. I not only don't have time for you, your little stunt ate into my limited time as I had to fix all the problems you caused. You have a lot of nerve showing up and asking for another link. I would have to be really stupid to link to you, I would have to say, "Hmm, I could get some sleep this week or I could create a problem for myself by linking to ___ and then deal with all the outraged community members." You made your own problems. You're not my child and I'm not here to kiss your boo-boos and make it alright. You ticked off a lot of community members by the way you elected to insult two. And, thing is, they were right in their comments. Instead of addressing those issues, you chose to attack. And now you show up asking for another link?

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