Sunday, October 02, 2011

And the war drags on . . .

Think Progress has an interview with Iraq War veteran Ryan Cahill. He's talking about Occupy Boston which is a local effort of Occupy Together. You can also refer to the Occupy Together Facebook page if you're not able to use the other link or if you'd like an additional resource.

I know about the interview because of five e-mails. Two from Iraq War veterans. All five are from people who can't understand a word that's said in the interview.

They have hearing issues. There's no closed captioning and there's no transcript. We've gone over this before and gone over the messages that are sent.

First off, you're putting up a wall between yourself and a lot of readers. That wall sends, intentionally or not, a message of non-inclusion.

Second of all, approximately half of Iraq War and Afghanistan War veterans suffer from what?



Tinnitus. As the American Tinnitus Association notes, "It is the number one disability for military veterans." It can be slight, it can be severe. It can include hearing loss. At some point, people who are attempting to get a message out are going to need to realize that they would reach a lot more people if they grasped that everyone is not just like them.

Here's the transcript that five asked for.

Ryan Cahill: My name's Ryan Cahill. I'm an unemployed veteran-student here in Boston. And we're down here at Dewey Square protesting the top 1% of American who control 50% of America's wealth and are using that wealth to circumvent the democratic process.

Think Progress: And when you say that you are a veteran-student, what do you mean?

Ryan Cahill: I served in Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2005 and 2007 and now I'm a student at Bunker Hill Community College.

Think Progress: And so you're - you're a student now but what's your concern about the future of this country? Like how it effects you and how it effects the people you know?

Ryan Cahill: Uh, you know, after serving in the army, I'm a little bit older now as a sophomore college student and a lot of my counterparts who have already graduated college are having trouble getting - getting jobs that, you know, would fit their degree. And, you know, my problem is now that I can go and get a job bussing tables, waiting tables but none of it is commiserate to the skills that I possess from the army and, you know, along with my college degree.

Think Progress: So how -- so how long have you been out here and involved with Occupy Boston?

Ryan Cahill: This is -- this is day two of our actual occupation. We started planning general assemblies last Tuesday and so we're close to a week now of planning and occupying.

Think Progress: And if there's kind of just one message or, you know, something that you personally want to be able to say to the rest of the other 99% of America or even the top 1%, what would that message be?

Ryan Cahill: Get involved. You know, get involved in your -- There's occupations going on all over the country right now and, you know, this is -- this is your future at stake. And it's not -- it's not going to fix itself at this point, I think that's pretty clear.

Again, you can stream the video here.

They're just there to try and make the people free,
But the way that they're doing it, it don't seem like that to me.
Just more blood-letting and misery and tears
That this poor country's known for the last twenty years,
And the war drags on.
-- words and lyrics by Mick Softly (available on Donovan's Fairytale)

Last Sunday, the number of US military people killed in the Iraq War since the start of the illegal war was 4480. Tonight? PDF format warning, DoD lists the the number of Americans killed serving in Iraq at 4481. That's five for the month of September. Screen snap of latest Pentagon count below.

10-2-11 dod

Aswat al-Iraq reports an Iraqi Christian was at work, in a restaurant when assailants barged in and shot him dead.

Al Sabaah reports that a ceremony was held today (it says "yesterday" in the article but the article's stamped 10-3-11, the ceremony took place Sunday) in Baghdad Province and it was announced that 50% of the housing crisis would be solved next year. Does anyone believe that? Probably not. And probably the government's hoping that this time next year the promise will be forgotten.

What's not forgotten is Political Stalemate II. The tensions remain unresolved between Nouri and the Kurds. Dar Addustour reports that the political meet-up at Jalal Talabani's home is scheduled for Tuesday night and that the blocs will meet and attempt to sort out differences.

A number of tanks and other US military equipment is being transferred over to Iraq. (Some outlets have run "Oh, the horror!" stories. They need to get a grip. It was known in 2006 that this would take place and it was known that part of the reason was because the equipment would be close to out of date and the US military wanted new equipment.) Dar Addustour reports that US Lt-Gen Michael Frater says it will take somewhere between twelve months and eighteen months to train Iraqis on the equipment. That end of the year 'withdrawal' becomes every more mythical and symbolic, doesn't it?

Al Mada reports that the Reputation Foundation has released a survey on countries around the world and Iraq, Iran and Pakistan were rated the worst (Canada was rated the best).

Meanwhile need a new license plate in Baghdad? You're out of luck. Al Sabaah reports that they've run out of the material to make them and won't have any replacement materials for months.

New content at Third:

Isaiah's latest goes up after this. Pru notes this from Great Britain's Socialist Worker:

Miliband attacks rich and poor in equal measure

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by Tom Walker at the Labour Party conference in Liverpool

Ed Miliband used his keynote speech at the Labour Party conference on Tuesday to justify the anti-union laws and the sell-off of council housing.

He also said it would be “irresponsible” to scrap university tuition fees.

He attacked the unions, saying, “It was right to change the rules on the closed shop, on strikes before ballots.”

Miliband refused to tackle the question of the upcoming strikes. Instead he called for “cooperation not conflict in the workplace”.

He claimed there is a crisis of “irresponsibility” at the top and bottom of society—the first illustrated by the financial crisis, the second by the summer riots.

So he said he is standing up for people “who don’t hack phones, loot shops, fiddle their expenses, or earn telephone number salaries at the banks”. Spot the odd one out in that list.

With one face he attacked “predatory, asset-stripping” firms like collapsed care home privateers Southern Cross, saying they won’t be “treated the same” as “good” businesses.

But with the other he lashed out at “anti-social” tenants, saying housing waiting lists should be based on “whether the recipients are working, whether they look after their property and are good neighbours”.

This method—one bash at the poor for every one at the rich—is the hallmark of Blue Labour’s Baron Maurice Glasman, “the peer with Ed’s ear”.

“We’ve got to be balanced,” Glasman told a fringe meeting. “Punch with both hands—reform unions and business power.”

He added that both the market and the state “humiliate people”.

Miliband got the loudest applause when he attacked the Tories. But that didn’t stop him attacking the poor. He said Labour is making a “new bargain”, rewarding the “right people”.

“Benefits are too easy to come by for those who abuse the system,” he said. “Our first duty should be to help the person who shows responsibility.”

As if millions are unemployed by choice in this era of massive Tory cuts.

It is little more than a Victorian theory of the undeserving poor, now extended to cover some rich people as well.

Glasman claims there is a “genuine, angry insurgent side” to Ed Miliband. Not in this speech.

The following should be read alongside this article:

Unions applauded, but not by leaders

Competing colours do battle to out-Tory the Tories

After Ed Miliband's speech... where is the Labour Party going?

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