Friday, June 17, 2011

Respecting and (for some officials) disrespecting the fallen

When people talk about how trashy Illinois is, they generally are referring to the politicians -- and for good reason as we saw this week. Little Dickie Durbin managed to shame himself far worse than his 2005 blubbering before the cameras. A solider from Illinois died serving in Iraq. Now if this were another state, someone in the Senate would have noted it. The governor's office would have issued a proclamation.

But this is Illinois where the trash doesn't pile up on the streets, it runs for office.

So the next time Dick Durbin or Pat Quinn want to grand stand on veterans issues, want to pretend that they give a damn, just remember they let a citizen of their state who died while serving in a war be buried without ever having made even the smallest public statement. That's trashy.

Dickie's one of two US senators from the state. Mark Kirk is the other. Kirk's been a senator for less than two years. Durbin's been in there for approximately 14 years.

Not everyone was inactive. Homer Glen's municipal representatives had ordered flags at half-staff on June 6th, for example. But their statewide and national politicians (thought they) had something better to do than honor the fallen. And Dickie may want to grand stand on his "I didn't vote for the war in 2002" but equally true he hasn't done a damn thing to stop the Iraq War.

Susan Demar Lafferty (Chicago Sun-Times) has the best text report on yesterday's funeral:

Flags waved, tears flowed and hundreds of supporters lined roads from Homer Glen to Elwood on Thursday to pay tribute to U.S. Army Pfc. Michael Olivieri, who was laid to rest at Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery.
The Homer Glen resident, remembered as a “great guy” and respected for his military service by those who came out to pay tribute, was killed in Iraq on June 6 along with four others when militants attacked their base.
At a brief and somber graveside military service, Olivieri’s wife, Sharon; parents Michael and Jody; and three siblings were surrounded by hundreds of mourners as they sat tearfully in white folding chairs in front of a flag-draped casket.

The worst text report? Homer Glen is a suburb of Chicago. Chicago has two major dailies. While the Sun-Times did their job, the Tribune wasn't up to the task. At three brief sentences, it's practically a Tweet. And if you had written it, you'd be glad there was no byline as well. Video of Lockport High School students watching the procession is here. WGN notes, "Olivier was laid to rest at Abraham Lincoln national cemetery in Elwood."

Wednesday was the wake, yesterday was the funeral and burial. Bob Rakow (Southtown Star) reports on the wake and quotes Rosemary Koning, a family friend who attended, stating, "I think for the family, it helps to know that people support them. His life was not in vain."

Michael Olivieri died Monday, June 6th in a Baghdad attack along with four other US soldiers. He is one of at least eight US soldiers to die serving in Iraq in the last two weeks.

Susan Demar Lafferty reports, "Sharon Olivieri put her head down on the casket while clutching her husband’s flag. The couple were one week shy of their first wedding anniversary when the 26-year-old Olivieri was killed."

The following community sites -- plus -- updated last night and this morning:

And we'll close with this from "Sheriffs and FBI Raid Home of Chicano Activist in Los Angeles" (Revolution via World Can't Wait):

There have been significant new developments in the targeting of antiwar and international solidarity activists by Obama's Justice Department. On May 17 the LA County Sheriff's SWAT team and members of the FBI raided the home of Chicano activist Carlos Montes. In Minneapolis, the next day, FBI documents were brought to light that further expose the escalation of political repression of political organizations that began last September.

From a statement by the Committee to Stop FBI Repression, at 5 a.m. on May 17:

"The SWAT Team smashed the front door and rushed in with automatic weapons as Carlos slept. The team of Sheriffs and FBI proceeded to ransack his house, taking his computer, cell phones and hundreds of documents, photos, diskettes and mementos of his current political activities in the pro-immigrant rights and Chicano civil rights movement. Also taken were hundreds of historical documents related to Carlos Montes' involvement in the Chicano movement for the past 44 years."

The statement continues:

"Carlos was arrested on one charge dealing with a firearm code and released on bail the following morning. His first court appearance is set for June 16, 2011.

"This attack on Carlos Montes is part of the campaign of FBI harassment taking place against the 23 peace and justice activists which has until now been centered in the Midwest. Carlos Montes' name was listed on the subpoena left in the office of the Twin Cities Anti-War Committee last September 24. When Carlos Montes was placed in the LA County Sheriff's car, an FBI agent approached and asked him questions about the Freedom Road Socialist Organization."

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