Friday, July 25, 2008

Other Items

While serving in Iraq several years ago, Thomas James Hermann had what he called an awakening.
Hermann, a Barre farm worker, spent 16 months in the country after signing up for the Army soon after the March 2003 invasion. At the time, it was a war he supported. That perspective quickly changed.
"I began to have a lot of empathy for the people of Iraq and that really opened my eyes," said the Iraq war veteran on Thursday at the Old Labor Hall in Barre. "I saw that there are more than just two sides to every situation."
Hermann is now challenging U.S. Rep. Peter Welch, Vermont's freshman Democrat, who he says has fallen far short of his campaign promises in 2006 to rein in the politics of President Bush's administration and end the five-year-old war in Iraq.
The 29-year-old is running as a member of the Vermont Progressive Party and is the only major party candidate challenging Welch this year in the general election after the state's Republican Party failed to put forward a candidate.

The above is from Daniel Barlow's "Veteran of Iraq war challenges Welch for seat" (The Barre Montpelier Times Argus) and Hermann doesn't appear to have a website yet. Staying with the topic of veterans, Les Blumenthal (McClatchy Newspapers) reports on *Wednesday's* Senate Veterans Affairs Committee hearing:

The Department of Veterans Affairs failed to send benefit packages to nearly 37,000 National Guard and Reserve members who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan because it mistakenly thought they were ineligible.
Several senators raised the discovery Wednesday, detailed in a report by the VA's Office of Inspector General, as the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee held a hearing on whether Guard and Reserve members are being adequately informed of the benefits that are available to them.
"While the VA has targeted outreach programs in place to help service members, we still miss far too many veterans who need help and aren't aware of the services and benefits they have earned," said Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., a senior member of the committee.
Murray and others have long criticized the VA and the Defense Department as not doing enough to ensure that the more than 488,000 members of the National Guard and Reserves who've been mobilized and deployed are notified of and receive the benefits they're entitled to.

Turning to US politics, we'll again note this from Team Nader:

Nader Releases Letter to Conyers on Impeachment Hearing

Wednesday, July 23, 2008 at 12:00:00 AM


News Release
Contact: Chris Driscoll, 202-360-3273,


WASHINGTON, July 23, 2008----Independent Presidential Candidate Ralph Nader today sent the following letter to U.S. House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers on the hearings about presidential misconduct scheduled for Friday, July 25.

July 23, 2008

Chairman John Conyers
House Judiciary Committee
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Chairman Conyers:

For years I have been urging you to initiate a resolution of impeachment of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney for chronic, repeated violations of our Constitution and the many "high crimes and misdemeanors" they commit day after day. These two men are the worst recidivist impeachable occupiers of the Presidency and Vice Presidency in American history.

Since assuming power over both Houses, the Democratic leadership declared impeachment to be "off the table."

During our 2004 Nader/Camejo independent campaign for the Presidency, we invited the American people to sign on in support of our demand for the impeachment of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. Many thousands of citizens signed.

We have had several conversations and two meetings where impeachment was discussed. On March 24, 2008, I wrote you a letter describing the various options open to you as chairman of the House Judiciary Committee (see enclosed.)

A few days ago, it was reported that your Committee will hold hearings this Friday July 25, 2008 on Congressman Dennis Kucinich's article of impeachment referred to your jurisdiction.

You have invited four members of the House to testify including, of course, Congressman Kucinich and several observers of the subject, including the inestimable former mayor of Salt Lake City Rocky Anderson, Bruce Fein and John Dean. The Libertarian candidate for President, Bob Barr is also on the witness list, but I am not.

This is not the first time that I have been excluded from testifying on subjects both of us have been concerned about and have discussed. Remember your invitation to testify at your unofficial public hearing right after the 2004 elections regarding "irregularities" in Ohio? Within two days, your chief of staff, Perry Applebaum, persuaded you to disinvite me.

Applebaum has been a problem with my appearing before a Committee Chairman whom I have known, admired and worked with for nearly forty years. He has performed his exclusionary behavior on other occasions. It is time to make this public and to ascertain why he prevails again and again with his superior either not to invite or to deny requests to testify regarding subjects well within my knowledge, experience, and forthrightness.


Ralph Nader

Ralph Nader
P.O. Box 34103
Washington, D.C. 20043

For more information on the Nader/Gonzalez Campaign, see:



The hearing takes place today; however, Conyers and others think they can use the Congress for their own partisan gain. They think they can decide who is the "good" Democrat (Barack's really taken over the party!) and it's appalling.

The Nader team has many events beginning today and extending over the weekend:

Friday July 25th, 12pm
Lunch w/ Ralph Nader
Columbia, SC

RSVP (202) 471-5833
Suggested Contribution $50
Map it
Friday July 25th, 5:30pm
Nader for President 2008 Rally
Athens, GA
University of Georgia, Georgia Center- "Masters Hall"
1127 South Lumpkin St. Athens, GA 30602
Contribution- $10/ $5 student
(404) 446-7093 or
Map it
Friday July 25th, 8pm
Evening with Ralph
Atlanta, GA

Suggested Contribution $100 min
RSVP (202) 471-5833
Map it
Sat. July 26th, 6pm
Book Signing/ Speech
Jackson, MS
Lemuria Bookstore
202 Banner Hall- I-55 North Jackson, MS 39206

(601) 842-6769 or
Map it
Sat. July 26th, 8:00pm
Evening with Ralph Nader
Jackson, MS

RSVP (202) 471-5833
Suggested Contribution $50
Map it
Sun. July 27th, 2pm
Ralph Nader w/ Matt Gonzalez
Houston, TX
Hilton University of Houston
4800 Calhoun Suite 207, Houston, TX77204
Contribution- $10/$5 student
(202) 471-5833 or
Map it
Sun. July 27th, 7:30pm
Ralph Nader w/ Matt Gonzalez
Austin, TX
Trinity United Methodist Church
600 East 50th St. Austin, TX 78751
Contribution $10/$5 student
(202) 471-5833 or
Map it

NOW on PBS (begins airing tonight in most markets) sits down with John Edwards to discuss the troubles facing families across the country, some struggle to make it in single parent homes, for example. Bill Moyers Journal explores torture (among other topics). On Washington Week, Gwen and the Gas Bags jaw over the non-news. Helene Cooper (New York Times) is the only one qualified to address the international scene so expect a lot of snorts, bromides and tidbits from the rest.

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