Saturday, June 14, 2008

Other Items

In the past several months the name of 1st Lt. Ehren Watada has seen very little press time. That's a major change from last November when the JA officer's name was a frequent presence in both the mainstream and Japanese American press.
It was seven months ago that a federal judge blocked the U.S. Army from conducting a second court-martial of Watada for refusing to deploy to Iraq with his unit in June of 2006.
U.S. District Judge Benjamin H. Settle ruled that a second trial would violate Watada's constitutional rights, essentially agreeing with the officer's attorneys who argued double jeopardy - that a person could not be tried twice for the same crime.
Although the Army had indicated its intention to file paperwork to prevent the federal judge's injunction from becoming permanent, no paperwork has been filed to date.
It's left the 30-year-old Hawaii officer in a state of limbo.
"I kind of think it's like Guantanamo - just hold him ," said the officer's father Bob Watada in an interview with the Honolulu Advertiser.

The above is is from New America Media's "The Price of Dissen: 1st Lt. Watada's Future Still a Mystery." A visitor notes Kimberly Hefling's "Study sees discrepancies in VA care for men, women" (AP):

Health care for female military veterans lags behind the care offered to male vets at many VA facilities, an internal agency report says, even as women are serving on front lines at historic levels.
There are clear needs for more physicians trained in women's care and more equipment to meet women's health needs, said Friday's review by the Department of Veterans Affairs.It did add that strides are being made, such as creating onsite mammography services and establishing women's clinics at most VA medical centers. The department also is attempting to recruit more clinicians with training in women's care.
For now, female veterans aren't getting the same quality of outpatient care as men in about one-third of the VA's 139 facilities that offer it, the report said. That appeared to validate the complaints of advocates and some members of Congress who have said more emphasis needs to be placed on women's health.

The visitor wonders "how you missed this big story!" I didn't miss it. I saw it yesterday. I was (and am) still waiting on an article worth highlighting. The problem is the VA's treament of women? We've covered that issue. AP? They write about a study and 'round' it out by rushing to a male veteran (one who's a joke and a War Hawk and, since he's publicly insulted Watada on CNN, we won't even give his filthy name here)? I'm real sorry that the AP can't grasp how stupid that looks. The VA, as we've long noted, is shutting out women, female veterans are not getting the services they need. So someone checks her limited rolodex for a 'vet' to quote and runs with a man? Add to it it's a man who refers to legitimate concerns as "complaints" by female veterans?

The article's a piece of trash. The VA ignores the needs of female veterans and the AP thinks the way to 'explore' that is to run to a male veteran to tell us all what's what? Don't think so. It's a crappy and insulting article. We've quoted about all there is worth quoting. Hopefully some outlet will cover the story and grasp that if female veterans are having problems with the VA (which they are, and Patty Murray made that very clear a few weeks back, or did everyone miss that?) the go to is not a male veteran to add 'perspective' on what it's like to be a female veteran attempting to get promised care from the VA. As awful as AP is, it needs to be noted that the male vet could have and SHOULD HAVE said, "Here's ____'s number. Call her because I'm a man and I'm really not the person to comment because (a) I haven't led on this issue and (b) I am a man."

It's amazing how male is the 'universal' for the press even when it's an issue that is effecting women. The AP should be embarrassed and ashamed. When women finally make the article, it's a 65-year-old and a 64-year-old. Those women are not part of the new influx and do not know what women returning from Iraq are up against. It's an insulting article.

Murray gets a quick shout out. They don't rush to quote her. May 21st, calling to order the Senate Committe on Veterans Affairs, Murray (the chair wasn't there for the start of the committee hearing and asked her to call the meeting to order) stated:

Senator Patty Murray: Women have always played a role in our military going back to the founding of of our nation. However, as we all know, in today's conflicts women are playing a far different and far greater role. Women now make up 14% of our current active duty guard and reserve forces. Some units, including military police, are using an increased number of females to fill jobs that were traditionally held by male personnel. And because of the conflicts of today, we have no clear frontlines and women, like all of our service members, are always on the frontline -- riding on dangerous patrols, guarding pivotal check points and witnessing the horrors of war first hand. However, while women's numbers are rising on the battle field, up until now women have remained a small minority at the VA. According to the VA, there are more than 1.7 million women veterans but only 255,000 of those women actually use the VA health care services. For too long the reasons for this discrepancy have been elusive but today we are getting a clear picture. In fact, when I first started holding roundtables around my home state of Washington to talk to veterans about their experiences with the VA, I heard almost exclusively from men. They would sit at the table with me, they would stand up, they would tell their stories and talk about their issues. But inevitably, as I was leaving the room, a woman would come up to me and whisper to me her experiences. Some told me they had been intimidated by the VA and viewed the VA as a male only facility. Others simply told me that they couldn't find someone to watch their kids so they could attend a counseling session or find time for other care. But as some members of this committee and those who will testify today know the voices of women veterans are no longer whispers. Today they are full throated calls for equal access to care at the VA. And I believe that now, as we sit on the brink of seeing more returning veterans than ever before, it is time that we heed those calls. We simply cannot allow the attitudes of the past or the VA's lack of preparation for the influx of new women veterans to linger a moment longer. As The Independent Budget has noted [PDF format warning, here], the number of women using VA health care services will double in less than 5 years if women veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan continue to enroll at the current enrollment rate. We need to make sure now that the VA is prepared to care for the needs of these honorable veterans today. And that is exactly why Senator [Kay Baily] Hutchison and I introduced The Women's Health Care and Improvement Act of 2008. This important legislation will increase the number of women accessing care at the VA by increasing the VA's understanding of the needs of women vets and the practices that will best help them. It will do so by requiring the VA to study the health care needs of women who are serving or who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan, study the effectiveness of current services being provided to women veterans, study barriers to care for women veterans who are not accessing the VA health care system and it will also help provide child care for new born children of a woman veteran who is receiving maternity care at the VA. It will implement a program to train, educate and certify VA mental health professionals to care for women with Military Sexual Trauma [MST] and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder [PTSD]. It will begin a pilot program that provides child care to women veterans that seek mental health care or other intensive health care services at the VA. It will begin a pilot program that provides readjustment counseling to women veterans in group retreat settings. It will make the position of Women Veterans Program Manger at all VA medical centers a full time position. And finally, it will include women that are recently separated from service on VA advisory boards. Now I know that the VA recognizes that they need to improve services for our women veterans and the department has taken several steps to do that. But a lot more needs to be done if we're going to ensure that women get access to equal care at the VA for health care benefits and services and that the VA health care system is tailored to meet the unique needs of our women veterans. Planning for the wave of new women veterans is going to be a difficult and complex task but the effort has to start today and it has to start with this bill.

The snapshots, due to Yahoo mail's 'upgrade' (which adds a background now that takes up a lot of K and requires the snapshots be shorter or not be able to 'hit' the site when e-mailed), are shorter. Friday's emphasis was on war resisters and on the treaty talks. Calling out the bad AP article (required if it was included in the snapshot) would have taken more space than was available.

Since yesterday morning, the following community websites have updated:

Rebecca's Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude;
Cedric's Cedric's Big Mix;
Kat's Kat's Korner;
Betty's Thomas Friedman is a Great Man;
Mike's Mikey Likes It!;
Elaine's Like Maria Said Paz;
Wally's The Daily Jot;
Trina's Trina's Kitchen;
Ruth's Ruth's Report;

The number of US service members killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war currently stands at 4099, one away from 4100. AP reports:

Iraqi police say a female suicide bomber has targeted soccer fans near a cafe north of Baghdad as they were celebrating Iraq's win in a World Cup qualifying game.
The top administrator in Qara Tappah says at least 34 people were wounded when the woman detonated her explosives belt as she walked toward the crowd emerging from the cafe after Iraq's 2-1 win over China in an away game.

The e-mail address for this site is

ehren watada

The treaty

When Debra Filter enlisted in the Army in 1978 as a 22-year-old high school graduate, she saw it as a way to escape childhood abuse, get an education, and see the world.
She didn't get what she signed up for.
On the night of her graduation from basic training, Filter said several fellow soldiers raped her. The next day, her drill sergeant told her, in front of the rest of her platoon, that she ought to be ashamed of herself.
It was like pouring salt on an open wound--Filter had suffered years of sexual and physical abuse during her childhood. Distraught, she said she did not report the rape; she went AWOL for two days.
She was discharged from the Army shortly thereafter with an honorable discharge, according to her military records.
"I joined the military to escape abuse in civilian life," said Filter, 49. "But I found it again in the military."

The above is the opening to Melissa Schmitt's "Homelessness a problem for women veterans" (Medill Reports). In the New York Times today, Alissa J. Rubin's "Talks With U.S. on Security Pact Are at an Impasse, the Iraqi Prime Minister Says" begins on A5 and continues on A9.

Let's deal with the most important aspect first. Rubin's report ends with this: "Meanwhile hundreds of followers of Mr. Sadr -- long an opponent of American involvement in Iraq -- also rallied in Karbala to protest the agreement." Huh? The article appears to have had a quick edit which pulled any comment on the protests in Baghdad Friday, the ones the large photo on A5 (Khalid Mohammed, AP) note with the caption: "Followers of the rebel Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sdar protested in Baghdad on Friday against a proposed security agreement. American politicians played down the severity of a disagreement." And, somehow, the Times has played down the Baghdad protest since the printed article does not mention them though the article's conclusion "also rallied in" indicates the Baghdad protests were mentioned in some version of the article. Moqtada al-Sadr called for protests on every Friday and they continue to take place. Though not clearly reported on, they would indicate that al-Sadr's power remains intact. To what degree? You'd have to have reports on the actual protests to know that.

What's known? In the snapshot yesterday, US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates was quoted: "I had not heard that and I'm not quite sure what the exact circumstances are. So I will have to, when I get home, find out what the status of those negotiations is, and whether there's a difference between what's actually going on in negotiations and the public posture. I just don't know the answer at this point." Rubin's left to try to sort out the unknown. She notes that it's not clear whether al-Maliki's remarks about the talks reaching a "dead end" refer to an older draft version or a new one. The new draft, according to Iraq's Foreign Minister and a member of the Iraqi Parliament (Iman al-Saadi), has dropped the provision granting immunity to foreign contractors working in Iraq. Rubin notes the UN mandate expires at year's end (yes, that's the same mandate Amy Goodman falsely claimed on air this week ended this month)

"It was not clear that Mr. Maliki had reviewed the new draft, because he had been traveling," Rubin reports. Rubin also notes al-Maliki's public comments regarding another issue, what al-Maliki has called "Washington's demand" that the US has a "free hand in undertaking military operations" in Iraq "without cooperation with the Iraqi government" (all in quotes are al-Maliki's direct words). Rubin states that it would appear the contractor immunity has been dropped from the latest version; however, immunity for US service members remains. She also notes:

During a sermon on Friday in the holy city of Karbala, an aide to Iraq's most senior Shiite regligious leader, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, urged Iraqi negotiators to protect the national interest.
"Iraq's sovereignty and economy must be protected," the aide, Ahmed al-Safi, told worshipers.

CNN reports Bully Boy is blustering in Paris that the treaty will come to pass insisting, "If I were a betting man, we'll reach an agreement with the Iraqis." Some would argue Bully Boy long ago bet America's future on an illegal war and lost.

From Leila Fadel and Mike Tharp's "Maliki raises possibility that Iraq might ask U.S. to leave" (McClatchy Newspapers) report:

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki raised the possibility that his country won't sign a status of forces agreement with the United States and will ask U.S. troops to go home when their U.N. mandate to be in Iraq expires at the end of the year.
Maliki made the comment after weeks of complaints from Shiite Muslim lawmakers that U.S. proposals that would govern a continued troop presence in Iraq would infringe on Iraq's sovereignty.
"Iraq has another option that it may use," Maliki said during a visit to Amman, Jordan. "The Iraqi government, if it wants, has the right to demand that the U.N. terminate the presence of international forces on Iraqi sovereign soil."

Such an action would mean the US leave Iraq or be in violation of the United Nations and international law. Of course, that wasn't a concern to start the illegal war. Rubin notes that Barack Obama's campaign refused to make any comment on Friday -- that can be read as a would-be Bully Boy not wanting to shut himself off to future illegal war.

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Friday, June 13, 2008

Iraq snapshot

Friday, June 13, 2008.  Chaos and violence continue, SOFA talks break off (or do they?), Laura Bush sees a mending, al-Sadr issues instructions to resistance fighters, and more.


Starting with war resistance.  As Dusti Fansler (Wellington Daily News) explains, "Soldiers strained by six years at war are deserting their posts at the highest rate since 1980, with the number of Army deserters this year showing an 80 percent increase since the United States invaded Iraq in 2003.  While the totals are still far lower than they were during the Vietnam War, when the draft was in effect, they show a steady increase over the past four years and a 42 percent jump since last year."  Sunday Matthis Chiroux is order to deploy to Iraq.  This despite the fact that he was discharged and is in the IRR. 


Chiroux made his decision public May 15th and Iraq Veterans Against the War carried his statements (text, video):

Good afternoon.  My name is Sgt. Matthis Chiroux, and I served in the Army as a Photojournalist until being honorable discharged last summer after over four years of service in Afghanistan, Japan, Europe and the Phillipines.  As an Army journalist whose job it was to collect and filter servicemember's stories, I heard many stomach-churning testimonies of the horrors and crimes taking place in Iraq.  For fear of retaliation from the military, I failed to report these crimes, but never again will I allow fear to silence me.  Never again will I fail to stand.  In February, I received a letter from the Army ordering my return to active duty, for the purpose of mobilization for Operation Iraqi Freedom.  Thanks in great part to the truths of war being fearlessly spoken by my fellow IVAW members, I stand before you today with the strength, clarity and resolve to declare to the military and the world that this Soldier will not be deploying to Iraq.  This occupation is unconstitutional and illegal and I hereby lawfully refuse to participate as I will surely be a party to war crimes.  Furthermore, deployment in support of illegal war violates all of my core values as a human being, but in keeping with those values, I choose to remain in the United States to defend myself from charges brought by the Army if they so wish to pursue them.  I refuse to participate in the occupation of Iraq.
Courage to Resist has posted an interview with him (audio only).  At the end of last month,  California's New University weighed in on the issue, "Whether you have signed up for the military, are currently enlisted, are open to the idea or are violently opposed to serving, what remains clear is that if you are tapped to serve in Iraq, just don't go.  First, the conflict has proven to be aimless, as little has gone smoothly since the toppling of Saddam Hussein's regime in 2003.  Second, because so many individuals are already unwilling to serve in Iraq, the U.S. army is ready to send just about anyone, whether they are prepared or not.  Lastly, make no mistake that Iraq is a war zone.  Despite the invasion being invalid, this illegal war can have the same effect on its soldiers as any credible conflict. . . .  Over the years, the objectives of the war in Iraq have changed from toppling a dictator to finding harmful weapons to flat-out nation-building.  As such, the Baush administration or its successor may attempt to shift the aim of the conflict again, to something that is anybody's guess.  Still, know that the war in Iraq is an illegal and aimless conflicts and that soldiers such as Chioux should be applauded for their refusal to support it."  May 23rd, he explained to Leia Petty (US Socialist Worker), "I didn't like the war from the start.  I always thought it smelled fishy, but I knew at the time, the Army owned my ass for at least the next four-and-a-half years.  So I got in line like most soldiers, and prayed night and day that I could trust American civilians to end the war.  I was so disappointed when my prayers went unaswered. . . . I do want to be clear though that I did not make this decision to benefit any movement or serve anyone's agenda.  I made this decision for myself, based on an intense personal conviction that what I am doing is not only right, but the only decision possible for me as a person and a veteran."
Two years ago this month, Ehren Watada became the first officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq. He cited the illegality of the Iraq War. In August 2006, an Article 32 hearing was held. In February 2007, a kangaroo court-martial took place. Over defense objection, Judge Toilet (John Head) ruled a mistrial. Toilet insisted that a new court-martial would take place immediately (March 2007 was when Head said it would take place). It has never
taken place. The Constitution forbids double jeopardy and the US military has been trying
Watada, 30, is an unlikely icon of war resistance. At 5 feet 7 inches, he is unimposing and even shy, dressed in a Hawaiian shirt and sandals, with his dark hair cut Army-short and his ears sticking out. He was raised in Honolulu, where his father, Bob, worked for decades in campaign-finance reform, and his mother, Carolyn Ho, was a high school guidance counselor. Watada, an Eagle Scout,
joined the Army in March 2003, his senior year at Hawaii Pacific University and,
like everyone who enlists, pledged an oath that members of the U.S. military have taken since 1789. "It doesn't say, 'I, Ehren Watada, will do as I'm told.' It says I will protect the Constitution," Watada says. He supports war in principle and is not a conscientious objector--in fact, he offered to go to Afghanistan (his commanders turned him down). "I'm against the Iraq War," he says. "By law, the war is

Pacific Citizen Staff reminds: "It was seven months ago that a federal judge blocked the U.S. Army from conducting a second court-martial of Watada for refusing to deploy to Iraq with his unit in June of 2006. U.S. District Judge Benjamin H. Settle ruled that a second
trial would violate Watada's constitutional rights, essentially agreeing with the officer's attorneys who argued double jeopardy -- that a person could not be tried twice for the
same crime."  And Gregg K. Kakesako (Honolulu Star-Bulletin) spoke with one of Watada's two civilian attorneys, Ken Kagan, and reports that Kagan believes "federal judge Benjamin Settle in Tacoma will probably take up the matter early this fall. . . . Kagan said he expects the case to eventually go before the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals where it may take up to three years before a decision is rendered."
May 21st was when Corey Glass was told he would be deported. Iraq War vet and a US war resister Corey Glass was to be deported yesterday, however he's been 'extended' through July 10thJune 3rd Canada's House of Commons voted (non-binding motion) in favor of Canada being a safe harbor for war resisters.  The Laval News quotes War Resisters Support Campaign's  Lee Zaslofksy stating, "This is a great victory for the courageous men and women who have come to Canada because they refuse to take part in the illegal, immoral Iraq War, and for the many organizations and individuals who have supported this campaign over the past four years." In the US, the press has played mute with few exceptions.  Already noted last week were Bloomberg News and the Los Angeles Times which did report the historic vote. Sunday, Jim Fox (Tampa Bay Times) included it in news roundup. Liam Lahey (Ontario Mirror Guardian) profiled Corey Glass this week noting, "Glass, who arrived in Canada in August 2007 and resides in a modest apartment in Parkdale, hails from Fiarmount, Ind. He voluntarily joined the National Guard in 2004 believing he could help in disaster zoen scenarious or to defend American soil should the country fall under an enemy attack and quotes Glass explaining, "It got to me one day after something that happened and I can't go into that detail but I had to quit.  I didn't feel (the war) was the right thing to do from the beginning and I definitely didn't feel we should be doing this to the Iraqis." Dan Glaister (Guardian of London) notes, "A former US national guardsman will learn next month whether he can remain in Canada, where he has sought refuge from military service in Iraq."  Mary MacCarthy (FRANCE 24) reports, "Corey joined the National Guard hoping to do humanitarian work, but ended up being sent to Iraq to work in military intelligence."

To keep the pressure on, Gerry Condon, War Resisters Support Campaign and Courage to Resist all encourage contacting the Diane Finley (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration -- 613.996.4974, phone; 613.996.9749, fax; e-mail -- that's "finley.d" at "") and Stephen Harper (Prime Minister, 613.992.4211, phone; 613.941.6900, fax; e-mail -- that's "pm" at "").


There is a growing movement of resistance within the US military which includes Megan Bean, Chris Bean,  Matthis Chiroux, Richard Droste, Michael Barnes, Matt Mishler, Josh Randall, Robby Keller, Justiniano Rodrigues, Chuck Wiley, James Stepp, Rodney Watson, Michael Espinal, Matthew Lowell, Derek Hess, Diedra Cobb, Brad McCall, Justin Cliburn, Timothy Richard, Robert Weiss, Phil McDowell, Steve Yoczik, Ross Spears, Peter Brown, Bethany "Skylar" James, Zamesha Dominique, Chrisopther Scott Magaoay, Jared Hood, James Burmeister, Jose Vasquez, Eli Israel, Joshua Key, Ehren Watada, Terri Johnson, Clara Gomez, Luke Kamunen, Leif Kamunen, Leo Kamunen, Camilo Mejia, Kimberly Rivera, Dean Walcott, Linjamin Mull, Agustin Aguayo, Justin Colby, Marc Train, Abdullah Webster, Robert Zabala, Darrell Anderson, Kyle Snyder, Corey Glass, Jeremy Hinzman, Kevin Lee, Mark Wilkerson, Patrick Hart, Ricky Clousing, Ivan Brobeck, Aidan Delgado, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, Blake LeMoine, Clifton Hicks, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Logan Laituri, Jason Marek, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Joshua Casteel, Katherine Jashinski, Dale Bartell, Chris Teske, Matt Lowell, Jimmy Massey, Chris Capps, Tim Richard, Hart Viges, Michael Blake, Christopher Mogwai, Christian Kjar, Kyle Huwer, Wilfredo Torres, Michael Sudbury, Ghanim Khalil, Vincent La Volpa, DeShawn Reed and Kevin Benderman. In total, at least fifty US war resisters in Canada have applied for asylum.

Information on war resistance within the military can be found at The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline [(877) 447-4487], Iraq Veterans Against the War and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters. In addition, VETWOW is an organization that assists those suffering from MST (Military Sexual Trauma).
Turning to Iraq.  The White House wants to push through a treaty with Iraq (the UN authorization expires at the end of this year).  Steve Negus and Harvey Morris (Financial Times of London) report that the puppet of the occupation, Nouri al-Maliki, declares talks over a Status Of Forces Agreement is at a "dead end"  and they noted the White House attempts to play down the news: "Zalmay Khalilzad, US envoy to the UN, told the Financial Times the Bush administration remained optimistic that a bilateral aggreement would be reached." At the US State Dept, they were spinning yesterday as well with press flack Gonzalo R. Gallegos insisted on denying to reporters that there was in prolbem in negotiations on the SOFA and declared, "I think that the UN mandate does run through the end of the year, we've got about six more months to get to that point.  I believe that we had Ambassador [Ryan] Crocker up here last week.  He spoke very clearly about his concerns that this be done -- more important to him, this be done right, be done correctly than quickly.  There's time left.  We're continuing with our discussions with the government of Iraq.  It's important to us that this be done correctly and we will see where we got with that."
In Brussels today US Secretary of State Robert Gates was caught by surprise when confronted with the "dead end" remarks declaring, "I had not heard that and I'm not quite sure what the exact circumstances are.  So I will have to, when I get home, find out what the status of those negotiations is, and whether there's a difference between what's actually going on in negotiations and the public posture.  I just don't know the answer at this point." Which actually might be a wise position to take.  Patrick Worsnip (Reuters) reports Hoshiyar Zebari (Foreign Minister of Iraq) states the talks are still ongoing.
Meanwhile AP reports Moqtada al-Sadr issued a statement today declaring that resistance fighters battling the illegal occupation of Iraq "should be limited to a select group" (AP not al-Sadr quoted) and (al-Sadr quoted) "weapons will be in the hands of this group exclusively and will only be directed at the occupier."  Mike Tharp (McClatchy Newspapers) reports, "Sadr's statement was issued to his Mahdi Army militia and is the latest evidence that he is reacting to pressure from the U.S. and Iraqi military to disarm his followers, estimated at some 60,000. In August last year, he called for a cease-fire by his supporters, which was renewed in February for six months."
In the United States, Ben Pershing (Washington Post) documents that the war between Nancy Pelosi (Speaker of the House) and Harry Reid (Senate Majority Leader) continues well after she trashed the Senate to the San Francisco Chronicle editorial board. At issue? The supplemental spending for the illegal war.  Despite the fact that continuing to fund the illegal war continues the killing and Pelosi's Show Dancing of Opposition to the Iraq War, she insists that Congress must send Bully Boy something before July 4th: "I have made clear to the White House ... that we want to pass a bill that will be signed by the president, and that will happen before we leave for the 4th of July. I feel confident that will happen. . . . . We don't have that much time left. There are two and a half weeks left until the recess, and we will have a bill sent to the president by then, and it will have to be a bill that will pass in the House and the Senate."  However, Pershing notes that US Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid states there's no rush, "They [the Pentagon] have enough money till the end of July, so we're not really that panicked about it." 
Today US First Lady Laura Bush gave the press conference on Air Force One while it headed to France.  During the press conference, she spoke warmly of France, Italy and Slovenia (but didn't cite Germany by name -- read the transcript of the press conference, I'm being kind) before agreeing with a reporter that the relationship between the US and Europe is mending ("I think it -- yes, I think it's on the mend, and --" at which point someone told Laura Bush the conference was over).  If Germany was frosty, Sunday doesn't appear to be shaping into a church social either.  UK's Socialist Worker gets instructive with, "Tell George Bush: 'Go to hell!'" and notes, "He will land in Britain this Sunday 15 June and his final stop will be Belfast.  Since he stole the US elections in 2000, Bush has brought untold disaster on the world.  He has launched wars without end, run a worldwide regime of kidnapping and torture, and brought death and ruin to every corner of the world."  And they also note:

Socialist Worker is calling on anti-war activists to defy a police ban on the George Bush Not Welcome Here demonstration.     

A Stop the War Coalition (StWC) statement says, "We are calling on those who care for our democratic rights to come to Parliament Square at 5pm on Sunday 15 June. Some of those who signed statements accusing Bush of war crimes will be leading this protest."

StWC convenor Lindsey German said, "George Bush has been dictating British foreign policy for many years. Now it appears his security services are determining our rights of protest. This is a disgrace and we will challenge the ban."        

Playwright Harold Pinter commented, "The ban on the Stop The War Coalition march in protest at the visit of President Bush to this country is a totalitarian act. In what is supposed to be a free country the Coalition has every right to express its views peacefully and openly. This ban is outrageous and makes the term 'democracy' laughable."


Turning to some of what Bully Boy (and Dems who refuse to stand up to him) have brought Iraq . . .




Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad roadside bombing that claimed 1 life and left three injured and a Baiji roadside bombing wounded a police officer.
Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports the male in charge of an "Awakening" council in Uthaim was shot dead as were his 2 guards.  CBS and AP report: "U.S. troops killed five suspected Shiite gunmen and detained two others Friday in a raid south of Baghdad, according to the U.S. military, and Iraqi police said two civilians were killed when they were caught in the crossfire."
Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports  2 corpses discovered in Baghdad.
Turning to the US political race for president, will sexism ever be seriously examined?  Let's not even consult Magic 8ball, it's too depressing.  But Katharine Q. Seelye and Julie Bowman offer  "Critics and News Executives Split Over Sexism in Clinton Coverage" today on the primary season.  Women's Media Center -- not mentioned in the article -- is holding a panel on this topic Tuesday in NYC, free and open to the public.  From nine in the morning until noon at The Paley Center for Media (25 West 52nd Street, NYC) and participants will include Juan Gonzalez, Christiane Amanpour, Sue Carroll, Courtney Martin, Celinda Lake, Mika Brzezinski, Catalina Camia, Geneva Overholser, Ron Wlaters, Dr. Kathy and Patricia Williams.  "Sponsored by The White House Project, The Women's Media Center and the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education, the forum is free of charge and open to the press and the public." Click here for the announcement and for information on registering.
Staying with the US political race,  Team Nader issues the following:

2008 Presidential Candidate Ralph Nader discusses a remark made to him by a fellow alumnus at a recent Princeton reunion. Watch the video here, read the transcript below.

Do you think Ralph Nader should run? If so, let him know now with your contribution. (Your contribution could be doubled. Public campaign financing may match your contribution total up to $250.) - The Nader Team             


I was at my Princeton reunion the other day, and a young alumnus came up to me - he was very kind - and he said "You know, I really like what you're doing - I like what you did - but please don't run."           

I said "Do you realize what you are saying?"    

And he said "Yes, I said please don't run."         

I said "You're telling me not to use my First Amendment rights of speech, assembly, and petition inside the electoral arena. You're telling me to shut up. Are you aware of what you're saying?"       

He said "I understand, I understand, I like what you're doing, but please don't run." 

So I went through and I said "Well, would you tell those voters instead of trying to determine which one was worse between the Democrats and the Whigs, the two major parties in the 19th century, and instead cut out and voted for the Liberty Party, which was the anti-slavery party - would you say to those candidates, 'Don't run'?"          

And he sort of paused.       

And I said "How about the people who refused to go least-worst between the Republicans and Democrats on women's suffrage? Would you tell those candidates 'don't run'? What do you say to that?"          

And he paused.      

And I took it up to date and I said "Would you tell Buchanan not to run?"         

And he said "I understand what you are saying, but please don't run."      

And I said "You know, unwittingly, you are engaging in a politically bigoted statement. Because you can oppose, and you can support, any candidates you want. But when you are saying to someone 'don't run' you are saying to someone 'do not speak, do not petition, do not assemble inside the electoral arena.'"         

Now I'm saying this because I'm sure you've had these conversations with people. Look at the word spoiler. Spoiler is a contemptuous word of political bigotry. They do not accuse George W. Bush of being the spoiler in 2000, and last I heard he got more votes than I did, vis-a-vis Al Gore. It's only the independent and third parties that are called spoilers.       

And think of the hubris here - these two parties have spoiled our elections, they've spoiled our government, they've spoiled our politics - and to have the temerity to say to someone who wants to reform the process that they are spoilers - they have no sense of humor - I mean, how do you satire satire?       

- Ralph Nader, New York City, May 31, 2008 - Watch the video

"Ralph Nader should run for President so we all have a better choice in November. Please accept my support!"     


Other Items

A leading Sunni political party’s headquarters in western Iraq was blown up early Thursday morning, while in southern Iraq, where Shiite factions have been fighting one another, a powerful bomb was discovered on the road to an important Shiite shrine.
Both episodes pointed to probable tensions in the months ahead of provincial elections in which factions are fighting hard to ensure that they have a place at the political table.
The explosion of the headquarters of the Iraqi Islamic Party in Falluja, west of Baghdad, happened about 6 a.m., according to witnesses, who said the American military had been near the site of the bombing until about an hour before the detonation.
The Falluja City Council blamed the Americans for the blast, saying it had also damaged a health center next door. Iraqi Islamic Party members were more circumspect.

The above is from Alissa J. Rubin's "Blast in Falluja Damages Sunni Party’s Main Office" (New York Times) in this morning's New York Times. Neil MacFarquhar offers up "Iraq Seeks Shield Against Claims by Hussein Victims" (both run on A12). Meanwhile Hannah Allam's "Kidnapped, threatened, Iraqi doctor won't abandon post" (McClatchy Newspapers) examines the costs of living under the illegal war:

Amal Private Hospital, named after the Arabic word for hope, stands in the center of Baghdad. Each morning, the war's broken, contorted and burned human casualties gather in the first-floor waiting room for checkups with one of Iraq's most renowned bone surgeons.
One by one, a nurse summons the patients, who are sitting outside in layers of bandages that give them the deathly look of mummies. The surgeon checks on shrapnel still embedded in the bodies of bombing survivors. He resets the broken bones of torture victims. He studies X-rays of legs shredded by bullets.
Then the doctor quickly steals home to his blockaded sanctuary a few yards from a police station, not to emerge until it's time for the next day's rounds at the hospital. He's already survived a kidnapping. His staff has dwindled from 36 surgeons to six.
With his British residency and comfortable savings, Dr. Muthaffar Kurukchi could leave, too, joining more than 15,000 Iraqi medical professionals who've fled the country since the war began.
Yet he continues to show up each morning, smiling and bespectacled as he works his way through at least 60 cases before 4 p.m.
He's heartbroken over the fragmenting of his country and disillusioned by the unfulfilled promises of the U.S. occupation, but he's determined to stay.

On the issue of Shawqi Omar and Mohammad Munaf (noted in yesterday's snapshot), from Carrie Johnson's "Ability to Challenge Transfer to Foreign Custody Is Limited" (Washington Post):

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. made clear that the men had the right to file habeas corpus petitions in U.S. courts attacking their detention. But he said that option offered little comfort for Omar and Munaf, as it would be inappropriate for American judges to bar the military from transferring accused criminals into the custody of foreign governments that wish to prosecute them.
"Iraq has a sovereign right to prosecute them for crimes committed on its soil, even if its criminal process does not come with all the rights guaranteed by the Constitution," Roberts wrote.

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Pelosi v. Reid

Ben Pershing (Washington Post) documents that the war between Nancy Pelosi (Speaker of the House) and Harry Reid (Senate Majority Leader) continues well after she trashed the Senate to the San Francisco Chronicle editorial board. At issue? The supplemental spending for the illegal war.

Spending that Congress really shouldn't be worrying about. Supplemental funding for the illegal war is something to be called out. As Grassroots for America points out, "Funding the war is killing the troops." Dems are supposed to be trying to end the illegal war, right? That's the lie, right? There's also the fact that you do not use supplementals to fund an ongoing war (legal or illegal). It's hiding the true financial costs to the country. Congress has no business helping the White House deceive the American people.

But the White House is whining they won't have their money to continue the illegal war -- won't have it when they want it (by July 4th). Pelosi rushes in to act the fool, "I have made clear to the White House ... that we want to pass a bill that will be signed by the president, and that will happen before we leave for the 4th of July. I feel confident that will happen. . . . . We don't have that much time left. There are two and a half weeks left until the recess, and we will have a bill sent to the president by then, and it will have to be a bill that will pass in the House and the Senate."

Pershing then reports:

But little more than an hour after Pelosi made her remarks, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said there was little urgency for a July 4th deadline because the Pentagon has enough money to cover the cost of wars for another six weeks or so.
"They have enough money till the end of July, so we're not really that panicked about it," Reid said.

Nancy Pelosi, furthering the White House's own talking points, and prolonging the illegal war.

From the May 29th snapshot:

On US withdrawal (partial) from Iraq, Pelosi declared "it is essential and it will happen and it will happen in my view with a Democratic president and that will begin in a matter of months and that is the optimism" she's feeling. Let the rest of us know when her feet touch back down to earth. A November election is nothing to pin all your hopes upon but that's the game Pelosi wants to play.

Apparently a Democratic president will be able to control that US Senate which keeps letting her down over and over. She explained to the editorial board and reporters of the San Francisco Chronicle that she's all for withdrawal dates, it's that Senate that keeps insisting on 'goals': "The house keeps passing these bills with deadlines or, to accomodate the Senate sometimes, goals. We just sent them another one we'll see -- they sent it back without the redeployment language, we'll send something back to them."

However, she wasn't done pinning the blame on the Democratically controlled Senate. She was queried if the "Democratic Congress had pushed as hard as they could"? She insisted,
"The House has always voted to have the redeployment of the troops out. . . . From the House we have always fought but the senate [let's voice trail off into silence]" I'm not really sure the best way for the Speaker of the House to conduct themselves is to declare war on the Senate semi-privately. Maybe a war between the two houses of Congress is what it will take to end the illegal war? If so, Pelosi needs to take her comments to a very public forum which, apparently, this meeting was not since it was not reported on. She further instead of the Democratically controlled Senate, "they are guarding the president's desk."

It's the sort of thing that might have once fooled people. Apparently the only fool in the room was Pelosi. She was questioned: "Why not put withdrawal dates in this bill with the Senate and just stand up to them and say, 'it's got to be this way, we're not going to give in'?" In stops and starts, Pelosi gave a response that appears below word for word minus a stammer or two. If you can find more than three complete sentences in the following, wipe your glasses.

Nancy Pelosi: Well they see, that's -- there is a bi-partisan majority for that in the Senate -- Democrats and Republicans alike -- but there aren't sixty votes and so nothing would ever get to the president's desk. And there just isn't a -- a -- that just won't happen -- it -- this has been the obstacle from day one. Every -- we've sent now maybe a half dozen times to the Senate. They will not. They will not and I don't think that there is a -- I don't, I don't believe as much as I have opposed this war from the start and have said from the start there is no intelligence to support the threat that this administration is claiming so it has been a misrepresentation from the start, I know that. But it is -- I don't think people would want to think, although we're sending the bill with conditions, that the money is supposed to be used for the redeployment of troops out of Iraq, that anybody's going to leave them high and dry. And that's just really the -- uh - - uh dichotmy -- if that's the word and -- and -- and exists in the mind of the Am -- they don't -- they want 'em out but they -- we can't leave them high and dry. We're saying this is the way we'll do it. We'll do it with the conditions that this money is used to bring them home uh to leave some of there to fight al Qaeda, if that's still necessary, to protect our embassy but otherwise -- and that isn't a lot of troops -- but otherwise they should be coming home if they don't go with these conditions --

Nancy Pelosi.

AP reports that puppet of the occupation Nouri al-Maliki has stated today that talks with with the White House "dead end."

On the front page of the New York Times this morning, Katharine Q. Seelye and Julie Bosman offer "Critics and News Executives Split Over Sexism in Clinton Coverage." The article continues inside the paper. On the front page you get three men -- quoted -- explaining sexism doesn't exist, it's not a problem. Thanks for sharing, pricks.

Inside the paper Candy Crowley (CNN) becomes the first woman to be quoted for the article and she sees the sexist in the "commentary."

Howard Dean, then we get Dr. Kathy (I'll get back to her), then it's time for Keith Olbermann to share with the reporters (via e-mail), back to manly Rem Rieder, reference to a laughable study (that did not address sexism and that did not address whether coverage -- when critical -- was accurate), Jeff Greenfield acts foolish (redundant) and it's tme to start winding down so we finally get to hear from another woman: Allida M. Black. Ellen Malcolm, then Kim Gandy. It's cute the way so many men are trotted out through the article. In fairness to the two reporters, going on the record would limit them; however, the paper could have quoted women in broadcast and cable TV without naming them and what I'm hearing this morning is if that had happened and they'd been contacted, they would have spoken. (But most of the women I've spoken with this morning were not contacted.)

It's cute what gets noting and what doesn't in the article. What was William Kristol's little comment that had NPR's Juan Williams in stitches? What was it about White women?

There were so many moments to pick from and, certainly, WASTING so much time asking men, "Do you think the press coverage of Hillary was sexist?" doesn't allow for much. My hands are tied on what I can say here because Ava and I are tackling it on Sunday. We were going back and forth on whether or not to mention Dr. Kathy. By playing LIAR yet again, Dr. Kathy, we'll nail your ass to wall and enjoy doing so.

The reality is that it wasn't just Hillary who was attacked, it was all women. And there was always time to slam women supporting Hillary. Those women were just obsessed with gender. Where was the similar comment about Barack's core support which was African-American voters? Oh, it was never said. No lectures were ever given to them about how they didn't need to vote 'identity politics.' Women were disrespected and insulted throughout. The media knew they couldn't get away with racism but they had no problem using sexism over and over.

It's interesting that the two reporters want to talk about the smaller audience for cable and fail to mention how it amplifies but that brings us back to the pathetic Dr. Kathy.

A number of dumb asses state that this is all due to Hillary's primary outcome. Really?

Note the following:

"TV: What's the measurement?"
"TV: The strong and the weak"
"TV: Goodman and Rose 'honoring' bad TV past"
"TV: Nothing-ness"
"TV: Mission Impossible"
"TV: The return of I Dream of Jeannie"
"TV: A very strange week"
"TV: The Big Blather"
"TV: The Beauty & The Grump"
"TV: The Dead and Missing Persons"
"TV: The Surreal Life stages comeback!"
"TV: The Christ-child fumbles"
"TV: Tiny Tots"
"TV: Democracy Sometimes?"
"TV: Recyling the tired and the damaging"
"TV: Broadcasting False Narratives"
"TV: American Oh-Dull"

That's January to May. Ava and I also covered a cartoon and other programs that didn't apply. In the above, you should find examples of one standard for Hillary and another for Barack. When Ava and I started that (and we can drop back to our 2007 pieces as well), we weren't for Hillary. We're focused on Iraq. It's a really easy out to claim that pointing out sexism is just "sour grapes" over the outcome. But it's not reality. We were calling it in real time and that was before we were even supporting Hillary.

There was rampant sexism and Hillary was subjected to critiques Barack never was -- despite constant promises of "We're going to treat Barack the same soon." Go through Washington Week -- not mentioned by the Times -- and you'll be surprised by how many MSM reporters repeatedly stated, "Oh, we're going to start exploring Barack." They never did. Anything was a-okay with Hillary, it was kids gloves for Barack. And THEY ADMITTED IT. Go through the commentaries Ava and I wrote, you'll find us quoting them on that. There is no question that Hillary was subjected to a different standard of criticism and that sexism was regularly deployed in the attacks on her. There is no question that bi-racial was supposed to lead to "YEA!" and hosannas in the press but gender was nothing to take pride in. Try to and get smeared by Robert Scheer, Robert Parry, Norman Solomon, Mark Karlin, Keith Olbermann, etc.

It wasn't just Hillary being attacked, it was Gloria Steinem, it was Robin Morgan, it was women supporting Hillary, it was all women. And the attackers certainly included women. Jim's reading over my shoulder and freaking that I'm about to blow the piece Ava and I plan to do Sunday, so I'll stop on that note.

But think about all the columns on racism that were churned out. Where's the column on sexism? And don't just point to MSM. Or even just Panhandle Media. It's also the Pathetic Left. Take Kevin Zeese whose crap-ass organization never saw sexism worth calling out.

Kevin Zeese, Kat's name is "Kat," not "Kate." When ranting at a "Kate" in the public e-mail account, you only provide laughter but then your "I'm for the end of the war! Oh, Obama's so dreamy" crap has already provided many chuckles. The idea that Bambi groupies criticize you does not indicate you're doing a good job holding Obama accountable, it just goes to how little scrutiny Barack's received from the left. [Obvious exceptions include Black Agenda Report and Joshua Frank.] Want to prove Kat wrong? Kick the training wheels off your Obama criticism. Until then, don't clog up the public account with your e-mails. In fact, don't clog up the public e-mail account period. You never said ___ about sexism, no one needs to hear from you.

Since Kim Gandy was largely shut out of the Times, this is from Gandy's most recent "Below the Belt" column:

Indeed, Hillary Clinton's campaign inspired millions of women across the country, and the increased female voter turnout has helped many women running for Congress or local office in those primaries - but will those women candidates now face a media gauntlet that is more about their gender than their qualifications?

Yes, Hillary Clinton persevered to win contest after contest, despite the ridicule, scorn and derision that was heaped on her by the frat-boy commentariat, and we salute her courage and determination not to allow the self-important pundit class to drum her out of the race with their endless name-calling. But will that treatment be the norm for women who run in the future? Has it become acceptable?

Television commentary on her voice, her laugh, her clapping, her clothing, even her ankles - not to mention calling her a bitch and a she-devil, and comparing her to a crazed murderer, a hated ex-wife or a scolding mother - became so commonplace that we came to expect it. And Hillary rose above it, as we knew she would, but it took a toll on her campaign and on all of us. We should vow today, here and now, that we will not allow the media to do it to any woman ever again.

The worst offenders, NBC and CNN, have been hearing from women who are fed up with their bias and sexism, but that's not enough. For my next column, I'm working on the sexist media "Hall of Shame" -- and yes, you'll have an opportunity to weigh in with your own nominations.

Until then, a salute to Hillary Clinton, who said on Tuesday: "I made you -- and everyone who supported me -- a promise: to stand up for our shared values and to never back down. I'm going to keep that promise today, tomorrow, and for the rest of my life."

Hillary, you have made a mark on history for eternity, giving little girls and little boys the full knowledge that women can compete, take risks, take the heat, make hard decisions, and be strong leaders. Whether you are President, Vice President, on the Supreme Court, serving as the Senate Majority Leader or just plain being the best-ever senator for New York and for ALL of us, we will be with you -- as we work together for equality for all, and a better, safer, more peaceful world for everyone, not just the privileged few. Yes, we will. Thank you, Hillary.

Send a thank you card to Hillary!

By the way, is the Times unaware that the sexism in the campaign has been addressed on TV program regularly throughout the primary and that they somehow avoided contacting the host of that program? A host who wrote about the sexism on parade this week? Wrote in a major mainstream publication? A lot got left out to feature a bunch of males telling you there was no sexism.

Oh, look! It's Bonnie Erbe! And she's writing for US News & World Reports! And she hosts PBS' weekly program To The Contrary -- the only program to seriously address the sexism in the primaries in real time and to do so regularly. Wow, Kit and Julie, don't you think you should have considered contacting Erbe? From Erbe's "Obama and the Democrats Owe Hillary Clinton and Her Supporters a Formal Apology for the Campaign's Sexism:"

Sen. Hillary Clinton may have come out full bore for the Barack Obama campaign on Saturday, but many of her supporters are having none of it.
Check out this CNN video on YouTube, which sums up the palpable anger many of her supporters feel. Another must-see Web stop is Ed Hale's site, That is shorthand for Hillary Clinton Supporters for John McCain. Hale claims to have garnered 35,000 supporters within a week of launching the site.

The Democratic National Committee either doesn't get it or refuses to admit it. Nothing short of a lengthy, detailed mea culpa by the DNC and by Obama himself, directed to Clinton supporters for the sexist name-calling and personal, nasty characterizations Clinton was alone forced to endure, will do. Even that may not persuade these voters to consider supporting the party this fall. The DNC, Democratic Party leaders in Congress, and Obama should have been at her side, calling her treatment by the media (and even by some Obama supporters) unacceptable.

That was Monday, we noted the column in Tuesday's snapshot. How did Kit and Julie miss it? (In fairness to the two reporters, it's going to take a lot of space and work to cover what went on and mainly because so few called it while it was going on.)

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Thursday, June 12, 2008

I Hate The War

Corey Glass, 25, a war resister who came to Canada in 2006 and was recently told to leave Canada by June 12 or face removal to the United States, welcomed the vote. "I'm thankful that the MPs voted to let me and the other war resisters stay in Canada. I'm also thankful to all the Canadians who urged their MPs to support us.
"This is a great victory for the courageous men and women who have come to Canada because they refuse to take part in the illegal, immoral Iraq War, and for the many organizations and individuals who have supported this campaign over the past four years," said Lee Zaslofsky, Coordinator of the War Resisters Support Campaign and a Vietnam War deserter who came to Canada in 1970.

The above, noted by Vince, is from "House of Commons votes to let U.S. War resisters stay in Canada." Corey Glass has been extended until July 10th. After that date, the Canadian government is currently stating, he can be deported if he is still in the country. There are a few e-mails about Ehren Watada. He has been covered throughout the week, check the morning entries, but he's not been included in the snapshot. That's because July 10th may seem far, far away, but it's not. That's because the House of Commons vote was historic but we're apparently supposed to be thrilled that 'independent' media (aka Panhandle Media) could touch on it as a brief item -- or that some could. This is history before our eyes. It will be forgotten if it's not recorded, it will vanish and be very difficult to dig up years from now because it didn't get the needed coverage in real time. Ehren Watada will be in tomorrow's snapshot. I had intended to cover him at some point prior to Friday but was going to include him on Friday (as he was last Friday) because, in the community, that's the snapshot that gets reposted the most. Also true is that Liang e-mailed yesterday to warn that Watada's website was no longer up. (It is back up today.) There was another war resister that could have made the snapshot this week and didn't.

That's because the article's insulting. I'll include it here but we probably won't reference it in a snapshot. Ryan Jackson is the war resister, Charles Tremblay is the reporter, Metro Spirit is the publication and "Reefer resister" is the title. Tremblay asserts that Courage to Resist is not noting Jackson failed a drug test after smoking a joint. Really?

Ryan Jackson is a war resister I knew nothing about until Courage to Resist highlighted him. I have not seen coverage of him elsewhere except for the Waterbury item. It did not note the pot but I knew about the pot. I'm having a hard time believing I knew about it by osmosis. I don't know Jackson's attorney, I've never met Jackson and the outlet that has told his story is Courage to Resist. So if I know about the pot, it's from their coverage.

What does the pot matter? That's not an argument for or against legalization. It's noting that many in the military fail drug tests. It doesn't get them kicked out in most cases (even when they attempt to get kicked out by using drugs). I believe Brad McCall's shared his own story there. Does it shock me that someone might use pot? No. Does it shock me that someone waiting to find out whether or not they will receive CO status would use pot?


It doesn't shock me that some veterans returning to the US use drugs. In fact, the military dopes a significant number up in Iraq to avoid dealing with PTSD so obviously the military has some understanding of the stress. To argue otherwise would mean declaring that the US military is actively attempting to create drug addicts.

The joint was never the issue with Jackson's case. Tremblay seems to miss that and also seems to live in some MGM, forties film where everyone says "Golly gee" when swearing. And most enlisted, on leave, break out into song and dance. Anchors Away!

Tremblay writes:

Michael Thames, who writes for the Metro Spirit and who was honorably discharged from service after filing as a conscientious objector, concedes that the process is tedious, harrowing and long. However, he says that although the number of applicants who are accepted is relatively low, the Army “gives you every opportunity to make your case."
You can have a lawyer, or call character witnesses, and after the paperwork is accepted there is a time limit on a decision. When asked what part of the process could be considered immoral, Thames could not come up with a single idea.
Jackson says the immoral part lies in the very concept of a panel of strangers deliberating and deciding if your beliefs are authentic or valid.

Good for Michael Thames that he got CO status but, as he indicates, it's not the easy for everyone. Robert Zabala had to sue in a civilian court to get it. Agustin Aguayo's case was pending in a federal court when the military tried to ship him to Iraq (for a second tour of duty).
Tremblay doesn't know what he's writing about. That's all I'm going to say here. We'll prove with the government's own findings at Third Sunday.

And it's a real shame that these things have to be proven over and over. It's a real shame that Panhandle Media isn't interested in getting the word out or even in recording the historic times we are living in.

We're also living in a world where people are wasting their time as well as the time of anyone working the public account.

Ava went off on two wanting their crap highlighted today. One wrote back this evening, "You didn't have to bite my head off, you could have just marked me spam."

Oh, golly, thanks. There are 502 e-mails currently in the spam folder. Some things go there because they're marked, some go by accident. After hurt feelings on the part of someone attempting to get something highlighted, we do try to go through the spam folder several times a day. It's not treat for us to mark you as spam. You need to stop writing. Which is what Ava told you in her e-mail. How did you fail to understand that?

I'm going to have to do some repeating here. Unless it's an issue of someone being gay and fighting against gay rights because they're in the closet, I'm not interested in sex scandals. I'm not interested in your write up of the New York Times (months ago) gutter story of whispers about John McCain. On the other person Ava went off on, McCain's first marriage is not a secret and both parties in the first marriage have spoken publicly, there appears to be no ill will. Your wasting your time to write a trashy tabloid piece of smut isn't of any interest to me.

It's sad that it's interesting to you.

They tried to sell it again on the word McCain supposedly called Cindy McCain.

I should care because?

Has no one ever been married? Or, if married, did they divorce at the first ill word?

I'm not voting for John McCain, I'm not promoting his campaign.

I do know him (and he wouldn't vote for me if I was running for public office). I also know Cindy and I'm telling you right now (a) their marriage is something they are both committed to or they wouldn't be together and (b) I like Cindy and am not in the mood for attacks on her. I know Cindy from the work she does for children. That's noble work. I have no ill will towards her and I have a lot of admiration for her dedication.

That doesn't mean I'll vote for John, obviously. But it does mean I'm not going to jump on whatever nonsense bandwagon some loony fringe element thinks is going to 'win' it for the Democratic Party.

We've called out McCain here many times. We'll call him out again. We're not promoting his campaign. The community voted and if Hillary was not the Democratic nominee, Hillary supporters were going with Ralph supporters in the community and voting for Ralph Nader. (I didn't vote in the poll. I have not stated who I will vote for, nor will I because I believe in a secret ballot. However, I have called McCain out enough over the years here and have noted repeatedly that I would never vote for him for any office.)

I'm not interested in your smutty writing. I find it offensive and always have. I have repeatedly stated I'm not interested in sex scandals and I'm not. As someone who had a good marriage (he passed away), I know marriage takes a lot of work and I know I sure as hell wasn't perfect in mine. I don't know how immature someone has to be to try to create smut out of John McCain's first marriage (where both parties say kind things publicly about one another) or in his marriage to Cindy. No one ever knows from the outside whether it's a 'good' marriage or not but I know Cindy's adult enough to end it if she wanted to. She's happy in her marriage or she'd be divorced. So I really don't think the state of their marriage is anyone's business and I'm not interested in your smut writing about it. That would be true if I didn't know her but it's all the more true because I do know her and I know her work with children.

McCain can be defeated. I'm not sure Barack could win but McCain could be defeated. That won't come about by smut tactics. Yes, Karl Rove used them against McCain in 2000 and they were effective. In a primary. Not in a general election. But Democrats aren't supposed to be Republicans. Democrats are supposed to stand for something.

This week, that was their problem. They stood nothing for. They thought ('leadership') just slagging and insulting John McCain was enough. It's not. And you go to the well on that too often and you create a backlash. Considering all of Barack's current problems, I would assume another backlash was the last thing his campaign needed.

They had the perfect opportunity to take on John McCain's plan for Iraq. It's a loser. It's a loser with the public. It's a losing strategy. Instead of grabbing that and saying, "Here's what we would do!" they just offered insults. It was embarrassing.

For all the whining about what Karl Rove did in 2000 and 2004, it appears a lot of Democrats were really just whining because they didn't think of it first.

The Democratic base wants to see Democrats who stand up and fight back, no question. They don't want to see Dems who think they're 'cool' by ranking on the opponent. It was as if Joan Rivers was scripting the Democratic Party. And there's a reason Johnny Carson knew Rivers wouldn't work as the host of The Tonight Show. As a guest host, she could pull in viewers but people were not going to tune in (as her own shows proved) for that kind of humor on a regular basis.

Instead of trying to craft (bad) one-liners, the Democrats could have said, "See! That's what he wants! Here's what we're offering!" But they didn't do that. And the message sent out was McCain has a plan and Democrats have one-liners. It's not a confidence builder.

Had it been on another issue, I probably wouldn't have weighed in. But the issue was what will the US government do regarding Iraq. That's falls under the focus of this site. Another topic, I might have, at most mentioned it once here. I might have advocated for it at Third or Ava and I might have tackled it in our feature for Third. But this was about Iraq.

This community strongly disagrees with McCain's Iraq stance. We've loudly called it out. The Dems didn't do that this week. They offered up catty little remarks. It was embarrassing. The fact that they thought they could get away with it goes not only to their own lack of maturity but to how they see the voters.

Where's your strategy? Where's your plan? As long as people let the Dems toss out their bad one-liners, we're not talking about Iraq. As long as we're not talking about Iraq, the Dems aren't being pressured to address it.

It's not that Pelosi, Reid, Kerry, et al thought they were suddenly comedians. It's that they didn't want to put foward a proposal. If you laughed at that crap they served up, be aware that they laughed at you for buying it and allowing them to again avoid addressing the Iraq War.

It's over, I'm done writing songs about love
There's a war going on
So I'm holding my gun with a strap and a glove
And I'm writing a song about war
And it goes
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Oh oh oh oh
-- "I Hate The War" (written by Greg Goldberg, on The Ballet's Mattachine!)

Last Thursday, ICCC's number of US troops killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war was 4092. Tonight? 4098. Two away from 4100. Today the US military announced: "A Multi-National Force -- West Marine died as the result of a non-combat related incident June 11.
The Marine’s name is being withheld pending notification of next of kin and release by the Department of Defense. The incident is under investigation." And they announced: "A Multi-National Division – Baghdad Soldier was killed from wounds sustained when the Soldier’s vehicle was struck by an improvised explosive device in west Baghdad at approximately 3:30 p.m. June 12." Just Foreign Policy lists 1,221,154 (same as last Thursday) as the number of Iraqis killed since the start of the Iraq War.

On most PBS stations tomorrow night, Bill Moyers Journal airs. Either on the program or at the site, Michael Winship will have a commentary on media reform, the campaigns of the two main parties and more. Here's an excerpt:

Thirty six and a half million Americans -- one in eight Americans, one in six children -- that we KNOW of, because there are no good ways to really measure -- live below the official federal poverty level, $20,000 a year for a family of four. Half of us -- half! -- will have gone through a year or more of poverty by the time we turn 60. In contrast, behold the woeful case of Alan Schwartz, former CEO of the now defunct investment bank Bear Stearns. As that company nosedived last year, subprime mortgage hedge funds crashing in flames, Schwartz relinquished his usual annual bonus, which meant that his total compensation for 2007 and the prior four years was a piddling $141 million. Poor guy had to rent out his 7800 square foot house in the New York suburbs and squat at his new, $28 million Manhattan apartment; his seven-acre home in Greenwich, Connecticut; and his Colorado condo. Just a couple of weeks ago, shareholders approved Bear Stearns' merger with JP Morgan, which received $30 billion in taxpayer-funded, federal loan guarantees to take over what little was left.
John McCain says the fundamentals of the economy are strong but admits it’s a subject he doesn’t know a lot about. He counts among his economic advisors Carly Fiorina, fired chief executive of Hewlett Packard, where you'll recall she was accused of breathtaking mismanagement and street-bully tactics. Of her role in the McCain campaign, Jeffrey Sonnenfeld of the Yale School of Management told
The New York Times, "You couldn't pick a worse, non-imprisoned C.E.O. to be your standard-bearer."
Among McCain's other top advisors are John Green and Wayne Berman, who received $720,000 in lobbying fees from Ameriquest Mortgage, one of the noteworthy, predatory lenders in the country’s mortgage mess. As the New York Daily News reported this past spring, Ameriquest, which has since been bought out by Citigroup, "was forced to settle suits with 49 states for $325 million.
More than 13,680 New York homeowners got taken for a ride by the company, records show."
Barack Obama believes our current economic crisis is "the logical conclusion of a tired and misguided philosophy that has dominated Washington for far too long." Nonetheless, his economic policy director, Jason Furman, has been a defender of
Wal-Mart and was director of former treasury secretary Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project at the Brookings Institution, a group of Wall Street Democrats committed to continuing Bill Clinton’s economic doctrine -- i.e., growth based on deficit reduction and free trade.
Until his resignation Wednesday, Obama's team also included Jim Johnson, ex-Mondale chief of staff and former CEO of Fannie Mae, the government-sanctioned banker that buys and resells loans from other banks and lenders. According to the Wall Street Journal, Johnson, who was leading the search for Obama's running mate, was given preferential treatment when he received $2 million in personal loans from one of Fannie Mae’s biggest customers, subprime lender Countrywide Financial Services.
A front page story in Wednesday's Washington Post added that Johnson also was "the beneficiary of accounting in which Fannie Mae's earnings were manipulated so that executives could earn larger bonuses. The accounting manipulation for 1998 resulted in the maximum payouts to Fannie Mae's senior executives -- $1.9 million in Johnson's case -- when the company's performance that year would have otherwise resulted in no bonuses at all, according to reports in 2004 and 2006 by the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight."

Now you'll note, the criticism of McCain is included. And it would have been included if Winship had made some jokes. I don't support McCain and I will not be voting for him. That wasn't my problem with this week's nonsense. Winship is addressing the issues. He's earned the right to joke if he wants. He's conducted himself with more professionalism then our Democratic 'leaders' in Congress did. That was the problem with the Iraq nonsense. As I stated, it's not a 'tone' argument. I wasn't concerned with the 'tone.' I was bothered that McCain talked about Iraq and the Democrats refused to address Iraq. Instead it was a bunch of insults. Where in any of that was a damn plan? I care because I want to see the illegal war end. Barack supporters should care because it sent the message that the campaign was juvenile and didn't have anything to offer on Iraq other than a lot of insults to John McCain.

Again, Winship could have tossed in a few jokes and it still would have gotten noted. He covered the bases. But this idea that our elected officials think they can skirt the discussion, ignore presenting their own plan and just hurl insults? That's not ever going to end the illegal war.

Lastly, if you asked for a highlight last week and got it only to then insult the community, don't bother writing. I not only don't have time for you, your little stunt ate into my limited time as I had to fix all the problems you caused. You have a lot of nerve showing up and asking for another link. I would have to be really stupid to link to you, I would have to say, "Hmm, I could get some sleep this week or I could create a problem for myself by linking to ___ and then deal with all the outraged community members." You made your own problems. You're not my child and I'm not here to kiss your boo-boos and make it alright. You ticked off a lot of community members by the way you elected to insult two. And, thing is, they were right in their comments. Instead of addressing those issues, you chose to attack. And now you show up asking for another link?

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