Wednesday, December 28, 2005

"The evils of government are directly proportional to the tolerance of the people"

Mike and I are, as on most evenings, discussing the same headlines from Democracy Now! so be sure to check out Mikey Likes It!; however, C.I. advised us of a DC Indymedia story and we'll both be noting a different section of that.

Lawyers For Terror Suspects Plan Legal Challenges Over Wiretaps (Democracy Now!):
The New York Times is reporting defense lawyers for several Muslim men detained for alleged ties to Al Qaeda plan to bring legal challenges to determine whether the government used illegal wiretaps against them. Two weeks ago, the Times revealed the Bush administration has authorized eavesdropping on Americans and foreign nationals within the United States without court orders.
The challenges would affect some of the biggest terrorism cases in the country. Several lawyers said they intend to press the government on whether prosecutors misled the courts about the origins of their investigations and whether the government may have withheld wiretaps that could prove their clients' innocence. Meanwhile, Justice Department prosecutors told the Times they were concerned the wiretaps could create problems for past and future terrorism cases. One prosecutor said: "If I'm a defense attorney, the first thing I'm going to say in court is, 'This was an illegal wiretap.' "

I have serious questions about the government's "convictions" (a portion of which were plea bargains, I'd be interested in knowing how many were) but I think it's fitting that in his over-reach (reaching past all laws including the Constitution), Bully Boy screws up his own Justice Department. Well, he's screwed the country for five years, why not the Justice Department.
Unlike J-Ass (who apparently had a problem with James Yoo), Alberto Gonzales (is he a "Junior"? There sure are a lot of them in the Bully Boy's world) had a hand in all of this as the White House attorney before becoming the Attorney General this year. So give him "credit" as well.

Enron Accountant To Testify Against Former Top Execs (Democracy Now!):
In other news, the former chief accountant for the scandal-plagued energy corporation Enron has reached a plea deal that will see him testify against two of the company’s top former executives. Richard Causey will appear in a Houston court today to plead guilty to at least one of the dozens of criminal charges against him. In return for leniency, Causey will testify against Enron founder Kenneth Lay and former CEO Jeffrey Skilling. Causey is the 16th former Enron executive to reach a plea bargain. He was expected to stand trial alongside Lay and Skilling next month. Enron's collapse in 2001 ended the jobs of more than 5,000 workers and decimated the retirement savings of millions of investors.

If, after four years, Kenneth Lay walks, that may be . . . I was going to say the worst thing of all but with this administation it would be par for the course. How do you select the worst thing about this adminstartion from such a huge list? Lying us into war? Spying on Americans illegally? Doing nothing to prevent 9-11 but willing to trot it out anytime they need to trick people? The war on reproductive freedom? The war on gays and lesbians? The way they've destroyed the economy and destroyed the lives of so many? Their push to destroy public schools? It's just one thing after another with this crowd. Lay shouldn't walk. Which, in a Bully Boy administration, means he probably will.

C.I. called Mike and I today and I was talking to Mike about it. If I wanted something highlighted and asked C.I., it would be highlighted. I know that. Same with Mike, same with anyone. But C.I. doesn't want to seem pushy or try to tell anyone what to do at their site. Which isn't how any of us would see it. So C.I. mentions that Bonnie found an item and was very worried that it wouldn't get the attention it deserved. So C.I. made it the only link, outside of the New York Times, in an entry this morning and, due to the topic, called Mike and I to see if we might be interested in it? We are interested in it.

C.I. highlighted the section on Katherine Jashinski this morning. Mike's grabbing another section and I'm going with another one. All the people noted are worth noting because they've taken brave stands.

Support GI Resister Katherine Jashinski Now!" (DC Indymedia):
Kevin Benderman:
"The only way to bring peace to the world is to let the people of the world decide for themselves what they want to spend their efforts on. I feel that in this day and age governments start wars, and not people, and since the governments want the wars then why don’t we let the government fight the war? All of the politicians that want to fight a war are free to trade places with me at any time. I will gladly go and learn war no more."
After serving in the military for eight years, including a tour of duty in Iraq, Kevin Benderman filed for conscientious objector status in December 2004. His application was quickly denied, and on the weekend of Jan. 7, 2005 Benderman refused to re-deploy to Iraq with his unit.

"As I went through the process which led to my decision to refuse deployment to Iraq for the second time, I was torn between thoughts of abandoning the soldiers that I serve with, or following my conscience, which tells me: war is the ultimate in destruction and waste of humanity." As stated in Benderman’s article, "A Matter of Conscience."
Sergeant Kevin Benderman was sentenced by U.S. court-martial on July 28th, 2005 to a 15 month sentence of imprisonment for failure to return for a second tour of duty with the US Army in Iraq. Kevin is a conscientious objector to war who has been callously imprisoned and refused his C.O. status by the U.S. Armed Services. Kevin's legal team continues appeals of the verdict.
Kevin Benderman has been declared a "Prisoner of Conscience" by Amnesty International, and has been widely supported by many who oppose the U.S. war in Iraq. Kevin and his wife, Monica are prolific speakers and writers who have waged a very personal and courageous campaign to bring the true horrors of war to light. Kevin remains imprisoned at Fort Lewis, Washington State.
For more information on Kevin Benderman and the history of his case

When I was substituting for Rebecca, I was completely lost. I thank everyone who helped me (C.I., Cedric, Dona, Mike, Ty, Jess, Jim, Ava, Betty and Kat) but I didn't feel like I did anything even "okay" until I found out about Kevin Benderman. His wife wanted to get the word out. I have no idea if any of my posts helped, but I know I tried to do my part.

If we all tried to do our part, we'd make such a difference in this world. Kevin Benderman tried to do his part and he made a difference. Monica Benderman made a difference as well. In fact it was the fact that she was fighting for him, and continues to do so, that made me take notice of their story. What will it take to make the mainstream media notice? More than is humanly possible appears to be the answer. So please think about signing up for the monthly e-mail alerts at Courage to Resist which will keep you informed about what's going on with people like Kevin Benderman who are saying no to Bully Boy's illegal war of choice. It's one way, a start, that you can do your part.

"Peace Quotes" (Peace Center):
The evils of government are directly proportional to the tolerance of the people.
Frank Kent