Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A deal for probation, a house foreclosed

Elisha Dawkins is an Iraq War veteran who serves in the US military or did until paperwork became an excuse for the government to persecute him. Carol Rosenberg (Miami Herald) reports he accepted a probation deal yesterday which should allow him to remain in the US and in the Navy, "In a surprise, his court-appointed lawyer Clark Mervis notified Judge Cecilia Altonaga that they had accepted the offer late Monday. Details were still secret Tuesday but his attorney said it did not address the issue of Dawkins’ citizenship. Separately, the U.S. immigration agency has agreed not to detain him on a 1992 removal order." Susannah Nesmith (New York Times) adds, "Before serving in the Navy, he was in the Army, and both branches believed he was a citizen when he enlisted, as did the State Department when it issued him a passport, in spite of a deportation order dating to 1992." Whether or not Elisha is a US citizen became an issue after the persecution began. Prior to this year, he assumed that, as he had had been told his whole life, he was a citizen. Part of the reason the government agreed to halt any pursuit of deportation is that they can't currently prove he's not a citizen. Brian Hamacher (NBC Miami) explains, "Under Tuesday's deal, Dawkins admitted to checking the wrong box on the application but didn't admit guilt to any crime. The charge is expected to be dropped, with Dawkins performing community service."

Meanwhile Sgt Jore Rodriguez continues his pursuit of justice. While he was training and service, CitiMortgage, in violation of the law and apparently falsifying evidence, foreclosed on his home. Late Monday afternoon, the Dow Jones Wire updated a report to note that CitiMortgage finally had a comment to this story that garnered press attention over the weekend: They were looking into the charges. Of course they were. Leigh Remizowski (CNNMoney) reports on the issue:

His home had also been sold at a foreclosure sale, and the affidavit stated that Rodriguez was "not on active duty with any branch of the Armed Forces of the United States or was not protected by the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act," according to the suit.
The law prevents foreclosure proceedings from beginning until nine months after the service member returns from active duty.

Remizowski gets a statement from CitiMortgage that offers more words than they provided on Monday but still says nothing. On the topic of veterans issues, Senator Patty Murray is Chair of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee and her office notes:

VETERANS: Murray to Hold Hearing to Discuss Closing the Gaps in VA's Mental Health Care

(Washington, D.C.) --Thursday, July 14th, U.S. Senator Patty Murray, Chairman of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee, will hold a hearing to discuss access to mental health care services, including waiting times and staffing levels, outreach to veterans, integration of mental health care into primary care, suicide prevention and problems identified by VAOIG at mental health residential rehabilitation treatment programs. During the hearing, the committee will question professionals from the VA's various mental health programs, a Veterans Council Representative for the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill, the caregiver and spouse of U.S. Army Sgt. Loyd Sawyer, the Assistant Inspector General for Health Care, and the head of a private sector health care delivery system. A full list of witnesses is available HERE.

WHO: U.S. Senator Patty Murray, Chairman Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee

WHAT: Hearing to discuss VA's mental health care services

WHEN: Thursday, July 14th, 2011
10:00 AM ET

WHERE: Russell Senate Office Building
Room 418
Washington, D.C.

Yesterday's snapshot covered a veterans hearing in the House and Mike's "House Veterans Affairs Subcommittee on Health hearing" last night continued the coverage with a focus on the third panel. The following community sites -- plus, Jane Fonda and Watching America -- updated last night and this morning:

Tonight on Adam vs. the Man (7:00 pm EST on RT), Adam Kokesh interviews US House Rep Ron Paul about his run for the GOP presidential nomination and Paul's decision not to seek re-election to the House. Still on the House, yesterday US House Rep Lynn Woolsey gave her 400th House floor speech on the wars (we noted it in full in the snapshot yesterday and we'll close this entry with it) Guy Kovner (Press Democrat) reports on the speech which called for an end to the wars and noted that Americans were tired of the never-ending wars:

Two polls support her contention.
Pew Research Center found in April 2003 that 74 percent of respondents felt the U.S. was right to use force in Iraq and 19 percent felt it was wrong. Last September, 41 percent said it was right; 51 percent wrong.
CBS News Polls in August 2003 found a virtual tie on the question of whether the Iraq war was worth the loss of American lives and other costs: 46 percent said yes; 45 percent no. Last August, 20 percent said the war was worth the costs; 72 percent said it was not.
Woolsey said she is “proud of what we have accomplished” but also frustrated because the wars continue, with more than 6,100 Americans dead and $3.2 trillion spent over 10 years.

Like Paul, Woolsey has decided not to seek re-election to the House. Her office notes the speech in full and the link also provides video to stream of it:

"Madam Speaker, in April 2004 my staff gave me a memo, asking if I wanted to give a special order speech on some long-forgotten issue. My answer was no, I didn't want to speak on that issue. But I did want to deliver a speech, that day and every other day we were in session -- to express my opposition to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and my belief that there is a smarter way to achieve our national security goals.

"And so since that day, I've stood here in this spot to say over and over again that these wars are eroding our spiritual core; bankrupting us morally and fiscally; teaching our children that warfare is 'the new normal.'

"I have delivered these speeches as a member of the majority and the minority…when the President was a member of my party and when he was not. And today, I am doing it for the 400th time.

"When I began, we were just one year removed from the invasion of Iraq. The war was still quite popular, as was the president who launched it. But we spoke out anyway, refusing to bend on principle. My colleagues Barbara Lee, Maxine Waters and I --'the Triad', we called ourselves -- started the Out of Iraq Caucus, and we forced the first House vote to bring our troops home. Along the way, I visited Iraq, a trip that confirmed my feelings about the war, even as it increased my admiration for our troops.

"Gradually, the tide of public opinion turned. President Bush lost the confidence of the American people and eventually had to start winding down the war. I don't believe that would have happened unless a few lonely voices had dared to be heard in those early days.

"I'm proud of what we've accomplished, but I'm also frustrated. Because nearly a decade after the first American boots hit the ground in Afghanistan…here we are. Still at war. Still occupying sovereign countries, on missions that aren't making us safer or advancing our interests.

"The cost has been devastating. Over 6,100 Americans are dead. Thousands more civilians have died for the cause of their so-called liberation. Thousands of U.S. servicemembers have come home alive but may never be the same, either because of physical wounds or mental health trauma, which can destroy lives just as well.

"In addition to the staggering $3.2 trillion price tag that has piled up over the last 10 years, I don't think we've even come to grips with the resources the V.A. will need for the next 50 years to meet the responsibility we have to our veterans as a result of these wars.

"I'm not suggesting we abandon the people of Afghanistan or Iraq. Anti-war doesn't mean anti-engagement or anti-security. The underlying principle behind my 400 speeches has been that we need a completely different approach to protecting America, one that emphasizes diplomacy, reconciliation and peaceful conflict resolution.

"From the beginning, I've been pushing my own solution called Smart Security-- fighting terrorism with better intelligence and multilateral cooperation; with a stronger nuclear nonproliferation program; with humanitarian and economic aid that will give hope to people around the world; with less spending on weapons systems and more on homeland security, human rights monitoring and energy independence.

"Most importantly, Smart Security insists that war be an absolute last resort. Because, for the sake of the future of the human race, we must – and we can – figure out a way to resolve our differences without resorting to violence and warfare.

"I will continue to do this for my remaining year and a half in Congress, giving as many of these speeches as I can. Madam Speaker, I will not rest until we finally bring all our troops home and we adopt a Smart Security approach to preventing war and preserving peace."

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thomas friedman is a great man

oh boy it never ends