Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Other Items

This June Canada's parliament passed a resolution calling on its government to "cease any removal or deportation actions" against US soldiers who have refused to take part in the Iraq war, and to allow them to apply for permanent resident status and stay in Canada - a position backed by 64% of Canadians.
Even so, last month Canada deported its first war resister - Robin Long, now serving a 15-month jail term in Colorado - and a second, Jeremy Hinzman, has now been given a September 23 deadline to leave Canada with his wife, son and baby daughter, or be deported.
Today, to mark the 60th anniversary of the founding of the Central Committee for Conscientious Objectors, we will be holding a 10-hour vigil outside the Canadian high commission in Trafalgar Square, calling on the Canadian government to abide by the will of its parliament and people, and make provision for US war resisters to have sanctuary in Canada. We urge your readers to join us by writing to the high commissioner, James R Wright.
Glenn Bassett, Gabriel Carlyle, Susan Clarkson, Sian Colley, Pat Gaffney, Salih Ibrahim, Joanne Macinnes, Jonathan Stevenson, Susan Wood

The above is "War resisters" and that's the Guardian of London for you, if someone writes a letter, a topic might get covered. Might. But the 'reporters' have so many 'better' things to do. (Trying to influence a foreign election takes a lot of work!) Orillia Packet & Times offers the following letter:

Letter the the editor:
On June 3, the House of Commons voted to stop the deportations of American servicemen and women who come to Canada rather than participate in the fighting in Iraq.
Incredibly, the Harper government has chosen to ignore the decision of the House of Commons. In spite of that clear vote, they deported Robin Long, an American soldier seeking sanctuary in Canada, back to the U. S.
Last week, Robin was sentenced to 15 months in prison at a military penitentiary. He also received a dis-honourable discharge. This has huge implications for the rest of his life: he will be ineligible for student loans, mortgages, and many employment opportunities. Even worse, he will never be able to return to Canada, where his two-year-old son lives.
His crime? Refusing to participate in an illegal and immoral war, once its true nature became clear to him.
In Robin's own words: "I remember that a soldier is just a uniform following orders, a warrior is the man or woman that follows their conscience and does the right thing in the face of adversity." This he has done, and continues to do.
Jeremy Hinzman has received his deportation date: Sept. 23. It is clear that he is a conscientious objector. It is wrong that he be punished for following his conscience.
What has been done to Robin Long cannot be fixed. But it must not be repeated.
The Harper government has an obligation to comply with the will of the House. The deportations must stop.
J. Gilbert Orillia

US war resister Jeremy Hinzman went to Canada for safe harboer and was informed August 13th, that he had until September 23rd to leave Canada or be deported. Jeremy has taped an appeal to Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada, and you can find the video at the War Resisters Support Campaign (the video features Jeremy Hinzman, with his wife Nga Nguyen and their children Liam and Meghan):

The London chapter of War Resisters Support Campaign notes the following action:

War Resisters National Day of Action

National Day of Action BannerNational Day of Action Banner

Let Them Stay! Keep US war resisters here in Canada! Stop the deportations!Tell the government to respect democracy and implement Parliament's motion. Rally on the National Day of Action

Saturday, September 13, 2008, 1:00 p.m. Richmond/Central at Victoria Park
March to the Federal Building and then to Covent Garden Market.

Speakers include war resisters Josh Randall and Tim Richard. Lots of dramatic street theatre. Bring your enthusiasm, your indignation, and your own sign, and your noise-makers!

From Iraq, Leila Fadel's "Dazed Iraqi teen suicide bomber says she didn't want to die" (McClatchy Newspapers, link has text and video) reports on a bomber who had a change of heart:

The 15-year-old girl had the chubby cheeks of a child who hadn't lost her baby fat when she was arrested Sunday by an alert policeman. Around her chest was a vest packed with explosives. The policeman chained her to the bars of a window, stripped off her dress, found the vest and deactivated the bomb. Had he not intervened, Rania would have been this year's 31st suicide bomber in Iraq.
A day later, Rania seemed in a daze as she spoke about the people who put her up to it: the relatives who forced her to don the vest and apparently drugged her, her husband, whom police accuse of being a member of the group al Qaida in Iraq, and her mother, who seemed to play a central role in turning Rania into a human bomb but whom she looked to as a rescuer.

On the front page of this morning's New York Times, Lizette Alvarez offers "War Veterans’ Concussions Are Often Overlooked" which has a large scope that may explain many weaknesses. Here's an excerpt:

Even now, with traumatic brain injury called the signature injury of the Iraq war, some soldiers and their advocates say that complications from mild concussions often are not recognized.
Mr. Owsley's request for a Purple Heart, given to troops wounded or killed in action, was denied by the military, a devastating blow. Others say that their mild brain injury entitled them only to low disability payments, or, if the diagnosis was inconclusive, to none at all.
This has happened in large part because there is no quantifiable diagnostic test for the injury, and the language used by the Veterans Affairs Department to rate traumatic brain injury, or T.B.I., is vague. The military, in particular, seldom rates each symptom from a concussion separately, which it is required to do, said Kerry Baker, associate national legislative director for Disabled American Veterans.
"The criteria remains ambiguous," Mr. Baker said. "The military way underrates T.B.I. and its symptoms."

The article's biggest problem is the glancing manner in which it looks at things which gives off the impression that things have worked much more smoothly than they have and that -- other than a few cases for veterans -- the struggle on veterans care is in the distant past.

US House Rep Susan Davis' remarks at the opening of the July 22nd US House Armed Services Committee's Military Personnel Subcommittee:

The purpose of today's hearing is to take a hard look at the current state of the Army Medical Action Plan This will be the third hearing this subcomitt has held on the Army Medical Action Plan -- the army's response to the revelations at Walter Reed Army Medical Center last year, since it was issued in June 2007. When the Army Medical Action Plan execution order was issued last summer, the military personnel subcomittee believed that the army had finally demonstrated a full understanding and acceptance of the organizational and systemic short comings that had led to the scandalous conditions at Walter Reed. We felt that the Army Medical Action Plan was a comprehensive and ambitious blue print to tackle these issues head on. After years of frustration many on the subcomittee believed that the army was finally ready to take the necessary steps to solve these problems. However, from our very first briefing on the Army Medical Action Plan, we had two significant concerns. The first was that the army would be unable to initially dedicate and then maintain over the long haul the level of resources required by the Army Medical Action Plan. Specifically, we were worried that the army would be unable to assign adequate numbers of personnel to the Warrior Transition Units. Why? Because the core of the Warrior Transition Units were to be the same soldiers that make up the backbone of our brigade combat teams: mid-grade, non-commissioned officers. And these soldiers were already in short supply. The second concern was that army commanders would overwhelm the Warrior Tranistion Units by sending them all of their soldiers with medical issues rather than just those with complex injuries or conditions that required comprehensive case management. In truth, we do not feel that this was necessarily a bad thing especially if it helped units deploy at full strength while injured or ill soldiers had the opportunity to fully recover Of course, this would only work if Warrior Transition Units were properly resourced to take care of these soldiers. From June 2007 through February 2008, the members and staff of this subcommittee made numerous visits to Warrior Transition Units throughout the army. The overall trend we observed was positive. The Army Medical Action Plan was clearly providing better support for recovering soldiers than the previous medical holdover system. One wounded warrior commented, 'Thank God for the Warrior Transition Unit. Things are so much better than they were before.' That was good to hear but despite the positive trends we were frustrated at the slow progress of implementing the AMAP. We felt that things should have and could have been moving faster. We also felt that there was a discconnect between how quickly the army leadership believed things were happening and what the facts on the ground seemed to indicate. Again, despite the challenges, we felt things were moving in an overall, positive direction. However our concerns about Warrior Transition Unit staffing levels and the potential of line units, quote, 'dumping ' soldier on the Warrior Transition Unit continued. We asked General [Eric] Schoomaker about this repeatedly during our hearing in February to get an update on the AMAP In response to a question asked by Mr. [John] McHugh, the army surgeon-general declared, 'For all intents and purposes we are entirely staffed at the point we need to be staffed.' As the facts at Fort Hood demonstrate that is clearly not the case now. Gentlemen, the Army Medical Action Plan was designed by the army. It is your plan. The army senior leadership has publicly trumpeted your commitment to wounded soldiers at every opportunity -- and we believe that that is true. But the Secretary of Defense agrees -- as Dr. [Robert] Gates has made clear -- "Apart from the war itself, this department and I have no higher priority." . Over the course of this hearing we will review the following topics. Resources. Why has the army failed to properly resource the Warriror Transition Units population growth. Why did the army fail to predict the growth in the WT population. We were assured by the army in Feb. that you had the processes and reviews in place to stay on top of the population and clearly that's not the case today. Priority. Is the Army Medical Action Plan truly the army's number two priority? Our visits do not leave us with that impression. And creativity. From the outset the Army Medical Action Plan has been sold as a bold roadmap to overhaul outdated, inefficient and deteremental policies and procedures. . . . And oversight. Finally and perhaps most importantly why did it take oversight visits from the subcommittee to identify and spure the army to fix these issues and what will take to ensure that the army follows its own plan and lives up to its own promises it Gentlemen, aside from telling us that you will will harder to implement it -- and we do believe that, we know that you are working very hard at this -- what concrete steps are being taken to ensure better follow through?

That was last month. The article today provides no indication of just how little has been done and what a struggle it has been to get that little done. In terms of individual cases, a better job's done but, even there, there's not one case that you can't go to a statement by Davis, Shelley Berkley or any number of members in a hearing this year -- over and over.

Turning to the presidential race, Susan Faludi's "Second-Place Citizens" runs on A19 and makes some larger points:

In one poll, 40 percent of Mrs. Clinton's constituency expressed dissatisfaction; in another, more than a quarter favored the clear insanity of voicing their feminist protest by voting for John McCain. "This is not the usual reaction to an election loss," said Diane Mantouvalos, the founder of JustSayNoDeal.com, a clearinghouse for the pro-Clinton organizations. "I know that is the way it is being spun, but it's not prototypical. Anyone who doesn't take time to analyze it will do so at their own peril."
The despondency of Mrs. Clinton's supporters -- or their "vitriolic" and "rabid" wrath, as the punditry prefers to put it -- has been the subject of perplexed and often irritable news media speculation. Why don’t these dead-enders get over it already and exit stage right?
Shouldn't they be celebrating, not protesting? After all, Hillary Clinton's campaign made unprecedented strides. She garnered 18 million-plus votes, and proved by her solid showing that a woman could indeed be a viable candidate for the nation's highest office. She didn't get the gold, but in this case isn’t a silver a significant triumph?

Susan then pulls the punch. Why should women be celebrating? When were we allowed to? In week after week of Bill Moyers psuedo-talks about race and blah-blah-blah about the 'historic nature' of Barack's run? Are we supposed to play like we are as STUPID as they think we are? That we didn't notice that CRAP day after damn day? You don't have to go to the sewer of MSNBC to find things to call out. And it's past time Bill Moyers was called out for his bulls**t throughout the primaries and how he refused to explore Hillary's run, how he REFUSES to book female guests and how SEXISM has been dished out non-stop this year by The Journal.

Lengthy excerpt from Ava and my "TV: Strength greeted with confusion, attacks & silence" which ends with "----" due to the bold quotes already in it:

Wednesday, Katie Couric opened her "Notebook" (CBS Evening News) and proved the old adage, "If every woman in the world told the truth at the same time, the world as we know it would change forever."

If you doubted it, you missed what followed Couric calling out sexism. An intense effort to play dumb, attack or stay silent. On Friday, The New York Times went with with the first tactic. In a long article that said very little (no women in broadcast or cable news were sought out for the story), Katharine Q. Seelye and Julie Bosman offer "Critics and News Executives Split Over Sexism in Clinton Coverage." Heavy on featuring men (all quotes on the front page are from men) and short on women. All women featured show up late in the story (and inside the paper where it continues). Among the tiny number featured is one our readers know very well, Dr. Kathy:

"Largely, the problem was on cable and in the blogosphere and on the Internet, and that's a relatively small audience," said Kathleen Hall Jamieson, director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania. "But while it was limited, it was limited to influential people."

Oh, Dr. Kathy, we try to be nice. We tried. But as Staci Lattisaw once suggested, "Nail It To The Wall." "It" would be your ass, Dr. Kathy. Dr. Kathy lied to The New York Times and let's deal with that first. "Relatively small audience," she insisted last week. Well, golly, what did she say in May?

"Secondly, we know something about how the electorate is using the new media environment," Dr. Kathy told Bill Moyers on May 2nd. "Meaning lots of cable channels that you have an option to go to, even when you're watching traditional, mainstream broadcast. People aren't watching 30 minutes of NBC or CBS or ABC anymore. There's a whole part of the electorate that is watching a segment of it. It gets what it needs of politics, and it starts to channel-surf to find other political information. And over a third of the electorate says, it's done that at least once or twice in this most recent viewing experience."

To the paper last week, she insisted "the problem" (what is it, vaginal odor -- she can't say "sexism"?) was exposed to a "very small audience." Yet last month, on PBS, she was stating one-third of the electorate (ONE THIRD!) was utilizing cable channels and the web for information. Dr. Kathy has always struggled to build a relationship with the truth. The two remain estranged.

During the primary campaign, Dr. Kathy was brought on frequently as an 'expert' by Bill Moyers (to his Bill Moyers Journal -- which airs on the non-cable PBS and has a very large audience). On one of those segments (January 9th), Senator Hillary Clinton 'crying' was addressed. Hillary didn't cry but Dr. Kathy felt the need to bring that moment up and, 'expert' that she is, she credits it with Hillary's success in New Hampshire despite the fact that late breaking voters identified their reasons for going with Clinton as the Saturday debate. From the transcript of the January 9th broadcast:

KATHLEEN HALL JAMIESON: But that's not the whole story. In the Hillary moment, characterized very differently by people-
BILL MOYERS: The moisty moment?
KATHLEEN HALL JAMIESON: Well, whatever adjective or adverb you use, Hillary Clinton has this moment in the diner.
BILL MOYERS: The national press was cynical. Clinton is hoping that showing that other side will bring women in particular to the polls, almost as if she had done it deliberate. We don't know whether she did or not. But the two significant newspapers in New Hampshire didn't cover the event at all. And local television coverage in New Hampshire was pretty matter of fact about it. It became a bigger national story than it did a local story.
KATHLEEN HALL JAMIESON: Mm-hm. But what's also interesting to me is you're not sure whether she did it deliberately or not.

What's interesting to us is that 'expert' Dr. Kathy brought it up on her own, interjected it and didn't know what the hell she was talking about. What's interesting to us is that Bill Moyers calls it a 'moisty' moment -- oh, ha, ha, you are so very funny.

But along with trying to be funny, he also likes pranks. The same episode.

JESSE JACKSON, JR.: We saw a sensitivity factor…But there are a lot of issues for which we can be emotion on this campaign.

That's how the transcript 'plays' that moment. It is not how it played on TV. (And we called it out in real time.) The "..." was not used on PBS, Jackson's actual words (aired on MSNBC) were. Dr. Kathy wants to tell The New York Times it was the bad world of blogs and the bad world of cable. But Moyers played Jackson entire sexist attack on Hillary. (Watch the episode online if you doubt us.)

And Dr. Kathy? Not a word. Brought on as an 'expert.' Moyers plays the sexist attack on Hillary and Dr. Kathy responds?

BILL MOYERS: What do you think?
KATHLEEN HALL JAMIESON: Much of the commentary about that moment is simply a Rorschach read on people's ideological relationship to Hillary Clinton. The question for the electorate at large is: Does it speak to her capacity to lead? It's the same question that one should ask of everything one sees of candidates.

Jackson has just falsely lied and attacked Clinton in sexist terms and Dr. Kathy doesn't address that. She doesn't point out that he's lying when he says she cried about her appearance and she certainly doesn't point out that he had a chunk of his intestines removed to lose fifty pounds -- so who is he to accuse anyone else of vanity?

Dr. Kathy just let it skirt on by. Dr. Kathy can insist it was 'cable, all cable!' But people like Bill Moyers amplified it by replaying on non-cable and Dr. Kathy was present for that. And it should be noted that journalists know the difference between primary and secondary sources. Meaning? Bill Moyers should explain why he REFUSED to play Clinton's moment but was happy to air an attack on that moment while pretending he wanted to address the moment. But Dr. Kathy was present and she didn't call out the lies or the sexism. She just called it a "Rorschach read." Dr. Kathy, you're an embarrassment.

Don't believe us? Check over her various visits 'explaining' what was what to Moyers. Dr. Kathy, even when Hillary won New Hampshire, never attempted to portray it as anything for women to take pride in or to connect it to the centuries old and ongoing women's movement. But golly, bi-racial Barack was to be connected to history.

Check out the babble from the January 4th broadcast, after Barack won Iowa, "echo of Martin Luther King, Jr." (Dr. Kathy), MLK and Moses (Moyers), "Civil Rights movement" (Dr. Kathy), "Selma and Montgomery" (Dr. Kathy), "father from Kenya" (Dr. Kathy), "transcend the racial divide" (Dr. Kathy), "unification" (Dr. Kathy), "Obama changes the metaphor; because King took his people to the mountain, Obama can take them somewhere else" (Moyers and, yes, it is racist as well as laughable since Barack's bi-racial and made no promises to America's Black community), and that's all from one appearance. In that appearance she also casts Hillary "as the establishment" -- Dr. Kathy would argue she said the press did but Dr. Kathy was brought on to 'see beyond' the press spin as Moyers stated ("Her calling is to mine the facts hidden in all the spin," Jan. 11th, BMJ)) and she didn't question and certainly didn't point out that Barack, first entering the Illinois state legislature in 1995, was no political virgin.

Speaking to The New York Times, Dr. Kathy left out the fact that whatever happens on cable is amplified elsewhere. She seemed to 'forget' Jackson's MSNBC attack was re-played by Moyers on PBS and that she was present for it and that she didn't call out. She forgets a lot.
end of excerpt

It's not just Moyers but sexism isn't just the attacks Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann launched. Sexism is also silence. It's how women are historically 'forgotten' when it's time to 'create' the canon. It's how women are left out history repeatedly. It's how each wave of feminism has to first re-invent the wheel. And NO FEMINIST is doing feminism any favors by pretending what went down didn't. This bulls**t of why can't women be happy IGNORES the reality that they weren't allowed to be. Moyers never offered one damn story on gender. Check his archives and see what he did offer, see how PBS allowed him to turn his show into an infomercial for Barack.

It didn't just happen. But it continued to happen because too many 'leaders' refused to call it out.
Lying about it today or playing 'nice' isn't going to change a damn thing. You confront abuse or it continues. That's reality. And damn well PATHETIC that feminist 'leaders' refuse to write about what happened which was far beyond the crap MSNBC broadcast. It's past time for 'leaders' to grow the hell up or face that fact that grassroots feminism no longer needs them, no longer wants them. (Which is why the Kim Gandy mailing sent out after midnight last night is already a joke.)

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-mortums 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 instinctively 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.

Independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader is gearing up for the Denver Super Rally tomorrow night. This is from Team Nader:

Nader Flix


Nader Flix .

As a big part of the homestretch push to Election Day, we are starting a new media fund drive -- $100,000 in ten days -- by the end of the Republican convention.

We're cruising. You've helped get us on 37 state ballots thus far (more to come soon) and Nader/Gonzalez has been at 5% or above in several national polls. But the big bucks news media has responded with a deep freeze-out. So, it's up to us to break through and get our own message out.

Enter the Nader Media Fund.

We aren't tied down by narrow stylistic constraints. We don't worry about offending corporate America. We just need to get much busier creating, filming, editing, and distributing.

You can help us create high-impact media that will get the Nader/Gonzalez campaign message out there -- on television, radio, and the Web. Your contributions will fund radio ads, our creative campaigns will garner free television media (as our "puppet" debate did in 2004), and we will put high quality content in your hands for you to show to your friends and family.

Donate $100 to Nader/Gonzalez now and we will mail to you three 30-45 minute DVDs over the next month with exclusive behind-the-scenes footage hot out of the editing room -- "Nader Flix." First, the Denver Super Rally, then the Minneapolis Super Rally, then a special debate project that we are creating.

RN Video Team

Our crew of professional filmmakers includes people from the pinnacle of the business. The photo here shows them in the middle of their drive from Los Angeles to Denver yesterday. They need tape and access to top-notch gear, lodging and transportation. They need your support.

Make our own media. It's what we've got to do. We need your help to make it happen.

Onward to November.

(The 3-DVDs for $100 offer is good until September 4, 2008, 11:59 p.m.).


The e-mail address for this site is common_ills@yahoo.com.

 robin long
 jeremy hinzman

mcclatchy newspapers
 leila fadel