Thursday, December 10, 2009

The US military announces another death

Today the US military announced: "BAGHDAD -- A Multi-National Division–Baghdad Soldier died, Dec. 10, of non-combat related injuries. The name of the deceased is being withheld pending notification of next of kin and release by the Department of Defense. The names of service members are announced through the U.S. Department of Defense official website at The announcements are made on the Web site no earlier than 24 hours after notification of the service member’s primary next of kin. The incident is under investigation." When ICCC updates, the death toll will be 4368.

Meanwhile, as November wound down, the US saw the highest number of service member fatalities in Iraq since June. (And though the US news outlets looked the other way on that fact, foreign outlets did report it.) Pfc Derrick Daniel Gwaltney died in Basra November 29th. Richard Payerchin (Morning Journal) reports on Daniel Gwatltney's life and speaks with his high school principal, Dan Poggiali, who remembers, "He was one of those kids who came in; he did what he was asked to do." Payerchin notes: "The family suggests memorial donations in his memory be made to the St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital, 262 Danny Thomas Place, Memphis, TN 38105."

The family suggests memorial donations in his memory be made to the St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital, 262 Danny Thomas Place, Memphis, TN 38105.

Meanwhile a send-off ceremony was held for 15 soldiers with the New York Army National Guards 1108th Ordnance Company Tuesday as they head for Fort Lewis for further training and then onto Iraq. Jim Bellis (Tennessean) notes members of the 1/278 Armored Cavalry Regiment of Tennessee's National Guard left Sunday for Fort Shelby before heading to Iraq. Amy Schlesing (Arkansas Democrat Gazette) reports on the 61st Airlift Squadron of the Arkansas National Guard departing for Iraq yesterday.

At Third Sunday, Ava and I will tackle NPR's efforts -- intentional or otherwise -- to sell war throughout the week. I mention that because I've already heard insanity on Morning Edition this morning and you can add that to programming all week. NPR is supposed to be a news outlet. They are supposed to inform. That goes to asking questions, that goes to challenging lies -- lies were heard yesterday on NPR -- and that goes to who they book (yesterday's 'expert' wasn't an expert but did need publicity for his company -- I didn't realize NPR stood for National Press Release, I thought it was National Public Radio). I'm anticipating e-mails on at least three programs because community members listen to them so I'm tossing out right now that Ava and I will grab it at Third. Semi-related, if someone had the press' attention and the Congress' attention and chose to give embarrassing testimony about 'hardships' I'm not interested in their hardships now. As I said at the time, women are rarely 'experts' in Congress' eyes. So when one does testify, she needs to have her act together. She's boo-hooing in a new article. I don't give a damn. She sat on a panel and refused to bring any of these issues up while minimizing others and implying that any woman who served in the military had 'masculinity' issues. I'm not interested in her heart ache or her tall tales. And if they aren't tall tales? Why couldn't she tell them in front of Congress? Maybe because you're expected to tell the truth when you appear before Congress but there's no criminal penalty for lying to a reporter. Again, I'm not interested. She had her chance, she blew it and she was offensive with her remarks about women in the military.

On the topic of women in the military, we'll note this from the opening of Carolyn Davis' "Women in the ranks" (Philadelphia Inquirer):

Deborah Samson would be brimming with envy over Marine Lance Cpl. Ryann Campion's current tour of duty in Afghanistan.
In 1782, enraged that women were not allowed to fight the British in the Revolutionary War, Samson used the identity of her deceased brother Robert Shurtliff, cutting her hair and dressing in men's clothing to join the Continental Army. She became a heralded soldier - and the first woman to fight for her country.
Campion's enlistment required no such extraordinary efforts. A few years ago, the 19-year-old from Hatboro merely walked over to Marine recruiters near a local car show as they challenged passersby to try a pull-up bar.
"I hopped up. After I was done, I talked to them for a brief moment and I was hooked," Campion writes in an e-mail from Afghanistan, where she is a driver, cook, and member of a female military team that interacts with Afghan women.

There is nothing 'unnatural' about women in the service anymore than there's anything 'unnatural' about men in the service. It's a really sad sign of the times that we have to state that because an idiot appeared before Congress and, apparently too skitish about her own sexuality, had to cast aspersions on the many women who have and who do serve in the military.

There is something very unusual and very wrong and very criminal about KBR and the way they treat their female employees. Jamie Leigh Jones' story is well known (working for KBR in Iraq, she was drugged and gang-raped, reporting it did not lead to her getting assistance, instead KBR locked her away in isolation and it required US House Rep Ted Poe's intervention to get her released and back home). James Pinkerton (Houston Chronicle) reports another woman is stating she was raped while working for KBR in Iraq with this latest alleged attack taking place on November 30th and notes, "The report of the incident at the base north of Baghdad is the latest in a series of complaints of sexual harassment and assault by women working for the international construction and services contractor." Related, AP notes that February 7, 2011 has been set as the starting date for Jaime Leigh Jones' case against Halliburton and KBR.

Sherwood Ross notes:


500 Federal Street, Andover, Massachusetts, 01810

From the law school that presents vital information on important legal and non-legal topics.

Contact: Lawrence Velvel, Dean


In view of Goldman, Sachs’ pervasive influence over Washington and the bailout that benefitted it so extensively, America’s name should be changed to the “United States of Goldman, Sachs,” a law school dean said.

Since the government bailout that saved GS’s bacon, (and “about $85 billion worth of its bacon”) writes Lawrence Velvel, dean of the Massachusetts School of Law at Andover, “We now live in the United States of Goldman, Sachs.”

So Americans could now change their coinage, their music, the wording of their anthems, the names of their warships, and even the name of their continent to reflect the bounty Congress hath showered upon the New York bank.

The song whose first line begins, “O beautiful for spacious skies,” could be renamed “Goldman, Sachs The Beautiful” and the line that starts “America, America,” could be changed to “Goldman, Sachs, Goldman, Sachs, God shed his grace on thee.” Another famous song invoking the deity could become, “God bless Goldman, Sachs, Land that I love.”

And although it is not known whether Latin Americans will go along with the idea, Velvel proposes to change the names of the New World continents to “South Goldman, Sachs” and “North Goldman, Sachs.”

The changeover would take some getting used to even for Americans, whose passports, for example, would all be stamped “The United States of Goldman, Sachs.”

And the English language would come in for some apparently much needed alterations as well. In honor of the fact that bailing out American International Group (AIG) simultaneously saved Goldman, Sachs, which otherwise would probably have lost scores of billions. To help a friend in trouble would be to “give him aig” and Congressional assistants would become legislative aiges. And, “To give assistance to a particular nation in order to pull it out of possible deep trouble is now to give it foreign,” writes Velvel.

The names of U.S. warships would also be changed. The U.S.S. Ronald Reagan would become the U.S.G.S.S. (U.S. Goldman Sachs Ship) Ronald Reagan, etc.

Still under consideration, Velvel writes, “is the question of whether the motto on our coins should be changed to, ‘In Goldman, Sachs We Trust.’ Some people think that would be going too far. They say that it is one thing to change the name of the country, but quite another to equate the country with God,” Velvel writes.

“Their position is undercut,” he explains, “by the fact that they are religious fundamentalists. Secularists find nothing wrong with changing the motto on our coins. And economists who are monetarists, or who think well of what the Federal Reserve has done, are vociferously in favor of the change,” he explained.

Velvel added this parting shot: “They (monetarists) also want the head of the Federal Reserve to change his name to Ben Bankee. This would make him Ben Bankee, Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board of the United States of Goldman, Sachs.”

The Massachusetts School of Law at Andover is a 21-year-old law school whose pioneering mission is to inexpensively provide rigorous legal education, a pathway into the legal profession, and social mobility to members of the working class, minorities, people in midlife, and immigrants.

Through its television shows, videotaped conferences, an intellectual magazine, and internet postings, MSL - - uniquely for a law school - - also seeks to provide the public with information about crucial legal and non legal subjects facing the country. #

(Further information or to arrange for interviews with MSL Dean and Cofounder Lawrence Velvel, please contact Sherwood Ross, media consultant to Massachusetts School of Law at Andover, at )

The following community sites updated last night:

TV notes. Friday on most PBS stations (check local listings), NOW on PBS asks: "Why are we sending thousands of military personnel to Guam?"

Over the next five years, as many as 30,000 servicemembers and their families will descend on the small island of Guam, nearly tripling its presence there. It's part of a larger agreement that the U.S. signed with Japan to realign American forces in the Pacific, but how will this multi-billion dollar move impact the lives and lifestyle of Guam's nearly 180,000 residents? On Friday, December 11 at 8:30 pm (check local listings), NOW on PBS travels to the U.S. territory of Guam to find out whether their environment and infrastructure can support such a large
and quick infusion of people, and why the buildup is vital to our national security.

This Sunday the History Channel airs The People Speak, Anthony Arnove notes it's "the long awaited documentary film inspired by Howard Zinn's books A People's History of the United States and Voices of a People's History of the United States." It airs Sunday, December 13th at 8:00pm EST and 7:00 Central (8:00pm Pacific as well):
Using dramatic and musical performances of the letters, diaries and speeches of everyday Americans, the documentary feature film THE PEOPLE SPEAK gives voice to those who spoke up for social change throughout U.S. history, forging a nation from the bottom up with their insistence on equality and justice.

Narrated by acclaimed historian Howard Zinn and based on his best-selling books, A People's History of the United States and, with Anthony Arnove, Voices of a People's History, THE PEOPLE SPEAK illustrates the relevance of these passionate historical moments to our society today and reminds us never to take liberty for granted.

THE PEOPLE SPEAK is produced by Matt Damon, Josh Brolin, Chris Moore, Anthony Arnove, and Howard Zinn, co-directed by Moore, Arnove and Zinn, and features dramatic and musical performances by Allison Moorer, Benjamin Bratt, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Chris Robinson, Christina Kirk, Danny Glover, Darryl "DMC" McDaniels, David Strathairn, Don Cheadle, Eddie Vedder, Harris Yulin, Jasmine Guy, John Legend, Josh Brolin, Kathleen Chalfant, Kerry Washington, Lupe Fiasco, Marisa Tomei, Martín Espada, Matt Damon, Michael Ealy, Mike O'Malley, Morgan Freeman, Q'orianka Kilcher, Reg E. Cathey, Rich Robinson, Rosario Dawson, Sandra Oh, Staceyann Chin, and Viggo Mortensen.

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oh boy it never ends