Saturday, September 06, 2008

Weekend post

"St. Paul's Police Protest the Press" (Michael Winship, Bill Moyers Journal):
Chronicling his life as a journalist in the colonial British Raj, a young Winston Churchill wrote that “nothing in life is so exhilarating as to be shot at without result.” Nor, I’d add, is there anything in life quite so discombobulating as to turn a corner and unexpectedly walk into a wall of tear gas.
It happened to me on a couple of occasions during the years of anti-Vietnam war protests, when I was a college student and young reporter in Washington, DC. One time I was gassed while filming a counterdemonstration on Honor America Day, a nationally televised celebration hosted by Bob Hope. As God is my witness, the gas hit just as Kate Smith was singing, “On a Clear Day You Can See Forever.”
The following year, 1971, demonstrators came from around the country to shut Washington down during morning rush hour. A photographer, another reporter and I were on the scene covering a failed attempt to close the Key Bridge crossing of the Potomac. Police in pursuit, we dashed uphill into the Georgetown neighborhood only to run smack into more police lobbing canister after canister of gas until it blanketed the streets. I remember then Rhode Island Senator Claiborne Pell standing at the top of his townhouse stoop in robe and slippers, bewildered at the scene unfolding below him, clutching his rolled up copy of the Washington Post for dear life. Momentarily blinded, students took us in hand and led us to a makeshift infirmary in the basement of a university building.
So, attending the Democratic National Convention in Denver and watching events at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul via television, the sights and sounds of police and protesters were familiar. And that scent, the heavy, cloying smell of gas and pepper spray, as evocative as, but far less delicate than a Proustian cookie.
In both cities, getting tickets to the big shindigs hosted by major corporations seeking to bend the ear of party VIP’s was a media challenge – they were blocked by sometimes heavy-handed attempts by police and private security to keep the press out. A very few, like ABC News’ Brian Ross got in, recording, for example, the bash thrown for Republicans by Lockheed Martin, the American Trucking Association and the NRA, featuring a band named Hookers and Blow. However, in Denver, one of Ross’ producers, Asa Eslocker, was arrested while trying to interview Democratic senators and donors leaving a private event at the Brown Palace Hotel.
What was different in St. Paul was that the police seemed especially intent on singling out independent journalists and activists covering the Republican convention for the Internet and other alternative forms of media. Over the weekend, police staged preemptive raids on several buildings where planning sessions for demonstrations were being held, one of them a meeting of various video bloggers, including I-Witness Video, a media group that monitors law enforcement. Later in the week, I-Witness’ temporary headquarters were entered by police, claiming they had received news of a possible hostage situation.
Why all this interest? One can only speculate, but footage that I-Witness shot at the Republican convention four years ago in Manhattan has helped exonerate hundreds who were arrested and detained by the New York Police Department, their cases either dismissed or resulting in acquittals at trial.
In St. Paul, two student photographers and their advisor from the University of Kentucky were held without charge for 36 hours. The ACLU of Minnesota ID’d several other journalists, bloggers and photographers from Rhode Island, California, Illinois, Florida, and other parts of the country who also were arrested. Many others were gassed or hit by pepper spray.
Perhaps the most prominent arrest was that of journalist Amy Goodman, anchor of the daily television and radio news program, “Democracy Now!” Police had taken two of her producers into custody as they were trying to cover the news. Goodman went out looking for them, but didn’t get very far. She was stopped, slapped into handcuffs, and hauled into a detention center, along with almost 200 hundred other people. They had come to demonstrate, she had come to report on them.
Goodman was released a few hours later and back on the job anchoring her daily radio and TV show, a favorite of listeners and viewers who go to her for news they won’t find in the mainstream or rightwing press.
What has those in control worried is that despite what the politicians tell us from inside their fortified compounds where the party line rules, more and more people outside have cameras and laptops, and they’re not afraid to use them.
Forty years ago, protestors in Chicago shouted, “The whole world is watching.” More and more, the whole world isn’t just watching. From Minnesota to China, citizen journalists are reporting what they see and hear, and the powers that be don’t like it.

Michael Winship writes very well. It's a pity I so often disagree with him.

Including above. I know Ava and C.I. already had Goodman penciled in for Sunday. Last Sunday they covered PBS and Goodman's coverage of the DNC and this Sunday it's the RNC's turn. As a result, I'm sure they'll provide the missing context. The context is missing. For those of us old enough to remember real violence, this pathetic for show, attention-getting stunt by Goody is just laughable. I understand the usual back channels are pushing it as an assault on the press and blah, blah, blah. They embarrass themselves -- both due to historical ignorance and a lack of awareness. But have at it. Make yourself look foolish.

C.I. promoted the following online exclusive for NOW on PBS:

NOW on PBS Host David Brancaccio sits down with RedState's Erick
Erickson in a web-exclusive interview shown only at NOW Online. The two
talk about Obama's bounce, Palin rumors, and whether or not political
blogging really counts as journalism. I think you and your audiences
will find it very intriguing.

I haven't seen it yet. I'm still too busy trying to juggle my schedule. While I know C.I. can be more than fair and I know C.I. has a very high opinion of one person at NOW (I do as well) as well as knowing a few others, I was curious about why this got promoted? (The blogger above is a right-winger.) I just felt there was something more to it. So when we spoke on the phone Friday afternoon, I asked and sure enough there was. If you saw the program (I ended up watching after the heads up from C.I.), you saw Brancaccio offer a little more skepticism than many with Goody. So I will note the above too.

Three e-mailers (two are community members) wrote wondering why it was important for me to go visit C.I. next week? They were fearful I was sitting on some information. I'm not. As most members know, this happened in 2005. C.I. was not just fine with doing everything alone, but wanted it that way. May still. But due to Gutter Trash's making it public at Gutter Trash's site, the events are a little different this time. So I've got a week when I can be out there (if I can swing it on my end and I have) and I'm taking it.

C.I. is intensely private (which I respect because I am the same way) and doesn't ever want to be fussed over. I had asked repeatedly and basically wore C.I. down. I was told last Sunday night (after asking again) that if I wanted to come out to 'calm your nerves, fine' but don't come out to turn it into drama 'because I'm just trying to get through it.'

Rebecca's going to be out there for the fourth week of treatments and that's due to a speaking engagement. She's a part of that and was a part of that before she knew. I would honestly like to stay out there throughout the treatments but I know C.I. and know that being invited for one week was a big thing. Mike will not be going out with me. Mike is going out after Rebecca. C.I. will be further along in treatment and C.I. planned Mike's visit because Mike really is shocked and upset on a very different level. Any health news is very upsetting to Mike so it had been decided by C.I. back in August that when Mike had to be told, he would also be told that he could go out on the fifth week. C.I. calls Mike twice a day at a minimum right now to make sure Mike's okay. But he and Rebecca go into severe panics at news like this. I'm not minimizing my own reaction. I'm just saying that the two of them have a very difficult time handling news like this and C.I. knows that and had planned for it.

C.I. doesn't want a crowd around, an audience. This is upsetting enough without having to perform. Her plan was to make it very low-key but Gutter Trash ensured that couldn't happen. So C.I.'s kids are staying throughout the entire treatments and that wasn't part of C.I.'s plan. In terms of the first week, C.I.'s made all three planned speaking engagements and, as everyone knows, has continued posting entries as usual. They do go up a little later and that's due to the fact that C.I. feels very queasy after treatments (scheduled for the late morning because C.I.'s attitude is, "I'm not getting up at the break of dawn for this."). I am and remain highly optimistic. I'm sorry that three people read something into my visit.

This is just my asking and asking, pestering, and being waived through a visit. (To be clear, during good times, I would have only had to ask once. But C.I. has never enjoyed having people around with just a cold. Let alone something major.)

One of the three felt like the community online wasn't holding up their end and wondered if that added more pressure to C.I.? Yes, it does. But people are dealing with the news on their own as best they can. You should have been able to tell that Rebecca and Mike were trying to more than carry their end this week. Mike's going through the news online right now and attempting to find more Kwame news (and that's a topic that will most likely be carried over to Third because it has proven popular). He's carved out that as a topic to cover and Rebecca's focused on some issues she wouldn't normally.

But everyone's still reacting to the personal news and the personal shock and doing the best they can.

But, yes, ideally, everyone finding a topic the way those two did and exploring it would be the way to go. However, they may have e-mails from readers and may need to address the personal topic as a result or they may just have their own fears and need to address it for that reason.

The community member noted that one topic is now in the trash dumpster and wrote he hoped that was the way it would be from now on in regard to that. That topic was the one C.I. led on. Covering that topic required a lot of work on C.I.'s part. It was always more information than ever made it into the snapshot.

I haven't raised that topic with C.I. Based on my knowledge of C.I., that topic is not covered currently because (a) it is too time consuming to do so, (b) community members have the attitude of 'those people are now on their own' and (c) if something is soured for C.I. it is usually soured for good. (Think of the Stevie Nicks' song which includes the line, "You were gone, you were gone from me, when I remember someone, I remember their dreams." The song is "Enchanted," by the way.) There was a music festival we went to in college and all we had was some chips Rebecca had brought. We had other food at the beginning. But by the end, just these chips -- that weren't that good -- and after eating them and eating them, C.I. never ate them again. (We'd been up all day and all night at the festival. We were headed home and C.I. was driving. C.I. was eating those chips to stay awake. C.I. never wanted to even see those chips after that weekend.)

Just to be clear, the topic is seen by the community as resulting in ingratitude. There was no, "Thank you!" There was no, "You have really helped us!" It was, however, something that led the unhinged Gutter Trash to attack. Why would C.I., in the middle of treatments, invite more attacks from that deranged woman by even mentioning the topic?

C.I. was attacked for covering it and for being right about it. What's the point in ever covering it again? C.I. may decide to. But right now, C.I.'s focus is her own health and she's not going to waste her time after what went beyond ingratitude into open hostility. None of the rest of us are going to help with that topic either. There is a good chance that C.I. might pick it up again but the rest of us will not.

It has to do with not just the attack but with why the attack was launched. It was not about ___ (what was focused on). It actually goes back to July. C.I. suspected that early on and it was confirmed by the investigators C.I.'s attorneys hired. I'll carry that over to the gina & krista round-robin in a column the last week of September. It was a petty grudge and it was very real hatred. By saying "July," I think most members will know exactly what I'm talking about. A few have been intent on waging a war against C.I. That's why Gutter Trash got involved, egged on. You always need a village idiot to pull off something like this and that's all Gutter Trash was.

So they're all on their own now. Lots of luck with that. Their helpers are inept and they aren't very bright. After what was done to my friend, I'll shed no tears for them. You would think that people who made stupid mistakes only a few years back would grasp that they're not all that smart. But the same stupidity that got them into their current situtations has never been acknowledged. Instead it's, "We know everything now!" No, you don't. Not only have you not awakened, you're still in denial. Now you've lost the support of a large number of people. You brought it on yourselves. At a time when you should have shown some gratitude, you started a petty war. Now you deal with the fall out.

All of that is on our end -- those of us who are not C.I. I've outlined the three reasons C.I. isn't tackling it currently and noted "currently." C.I. can focus on the work and put personal issues aside. I feel no ndeed to. C.I.'s going through a very difficult time and focusing on just getting entries up at The Common Ills throughout this. That's not easy. There's no reason for her to add to her burden by inviting more attacks. What was done to C.I. was offensive and I do not forget it. It showed a lack of gratitude and it showed bad manners. I don't tolerate bad manners.

It should also be noted that one chose to amplify the attacks on C.I. Yeah, he took them down. But knowing what C.I. was going through and choosing to pile on attack, I have no respect for him. I'm speaking for me, not C.I. C.I. has regularly cut people off before if they attacked me or Rebecca. What you're seeing is the rest of us standing by C.I. the same way she has always stood by us. Equally true is a great deal was done offline that is no longer being done offline. Support has dried up. They have antagonized a number of people including ones (I'm not speaking of myself or C.I.) that they couldn't afford to antagonize. I've gotten a number of calls from friends in that country in powerful positions who've asked exactly what they should do now. I'm very upfront about what they should do and always add "speaking for me."

I don't think any of them had the good sense to grasp how their attacks on C.I. would look. It didn't win them any points. It did the complete opposite. I'm referring to the offline world and to the people who can effect the change needed who aren't really interested in doing so now. Again, they brought it on themselves. Unless C.I.'s doing damage control offline (and she may very well be), you're going to see what's happened before happen now but at a quicker pace. That's because they've disgraced themselves publicly and there's no one to blame for that but themselves. They're very lucky Rebecca's followed C.I.'s request to not launch an offline and online attack or you would see it happening at a very accelerated pace.

They created a public relations nightmare for themselves and a lot of wells are drying up as a result. No one's fault but their own.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Friday, September 5, 2008. Chaos and violence continue, the US military announces another death, no cutbacks (let alone withdrawals) is the word, al-Maliki pretends his feelings are hurt, Adam Kokesh shares his thoughts at a rally in Minn., and more.

Starting with the news of no 'cutback' (forget withdrawal).
Tony Capaccio (Bloomberg News) explains, "Top U.S. military advisers have recommended that President George W. Bush delay futher combat-troop withdrawals from Iraq until early next year, according to two administration officials." Julian E. Barnes (Los Angeles Times) reveals, "Under the recommendation, the current level of about 140,000 troops would remain in Iraq through the end of Bush's presidency in January. Then a combat brigade of about 3,500 troops would be removed by February a senior Pentagon official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the recommendation has not been made public." Al Jazeera adds: "The recommendation that George Bush withdraw one combat brigade, or up to 5,000 soldiers, from Iraq only early next year was contrary to expectations that improved security in Iraq would allow for quicker cuts." At the White House today, Dana Perino declared, "I don't recall in the last few times when President Bush has worked with, or has gotten recommendations from General Petraeus, that we have gone too far outside. Of course we -- the President gets an update, as he did on Wednesday evening from Admiral Mullen and Secretary Gates. They took Secretary -- I'm sorry -- General Petraeus' recommendation and ran that through the chain of command. And then they presented it to the President. He's obviously talking to his national security team, and we'll be consulting with members of Congress before we move forward." US forces aren't leaving. Two presidential candidates (Barack Obama and John McCain) have no intention of withdrawing US troops. At what point does the Iraqi puppet face the wrath of the Iraqi people (many of whom have already figured out that Obama and McCain are the same on Iraq)?

UPI reports on yesterday's press conference held by Iraq's Sunni vice president Tariq al-Hashimi. The press conference focused on the proposed treaties between the puppet government and the White House and al-Hashimi declared, "I think that we are not in need of an agreement that does not guarantee sovereignty and brings Iraq out from under Chapter VII, and also guarantees Iraqi law as a whole." Which would seem to put al-Hashimi in a better position with the Iraqi people than the puppet Nouri al-Maliki. However, al-Maliki was handed a gift today with advance publicity for Bob Woodward's latest book due out Monday. The book asserts that the White House spied on the puppet. Not a shocking or surprising claim. (A) He is there puppet and they don't trust him (as well as see him as inept). (B) This is the same White House that spied on the United Nations in the lead up to the illegal war. But al-Maliki's trying to turn it into a national pride issue. BBC reports that the puppet government is making noises about being shocked and how, gosh darn it, they think they maybe plan to ask the White House if this is true! Maybe.

At the US State Dept today, Robert Wood (Deputy Spokesperson) handled the press briefing and was asked about the charges made in Woodward's forthcoming book. He stated originally, "I don't have anything to say other than, you know, I read books, but I don't do book reviews, basically." Pressed later, he would state he hadn't read the book and "I'm not going to give you a review of it." The most Wood would offer was, "Well, again, I'm not going to get into the substance of this book and, you know, our characterization of it, except to say that, look, we have a good working relationship, a strong working relationship, with the Government of Iraq. We've worked very closely with Prime Minister Maliki. We'll continue to do so and -- in our efforts to strengthen Iraq's democracy."

Wood was more expansive on the issue of the "Awakening" Council members, stating, ". . . we believe transitioning some members of the Sons of Iraq into the Iraqi security forces, while providing the others with vocational training and other employment opportunities, will be key to sustaining the security gains that have been realized in Anbar and elsewhere in 2007. But I don't have anything beyond that." In other words, "Thank goodness the puppet government might soon start paying the thugs so we don't have to. Liability concerns, you understand." They certainly have the money to pay it since al-Maliki sits on millions and millions while Iraqis suffer. At Inside Iraq, one of McClatchy's Iraqi correspondents contributes "
Why Does Iraq Need This Loan" which notes the central government in Baghdad issued a press release Wednesday proclaiming the Italian ambassador and Iraq's Minister of Finance addressed the topic of the "400 million euro" loan:

Until now, everything seems normal and logical. A third world country takes loan money from an industrial country. That would be completely acceptable if this third world country is a poor country but is it acceptable for a country that gained 32 billions dollars only as supplementary budget from the increasing of oil prices?Why does Iraq need this loan? Our government wastes millions of dollar everyday in putting more blast walls, renewing pavements and of course in buying new armored vehicles for the enormous and increasing number of Iraqi officials. We can buy thousands of agricultural machines with the millions that have been wasted for the faked projects. Of course I'm not talking about the millions that had been stolen by the former ministers or even by the contractors.

Puppet al-Maliki better hope he can get some traction with his mock outrage of "The White House Spied On Me! Who Could Have Guessed!"
James Denselow (Guardian of London) contemplates al-Maliki, "So how has this situation come to pass and how are things likely to develop? Is Maliki going to detach from his perceived political masters in Washington and be allowed to show independence? Or will such posturing result in Maliki suffering a similar fate to his predecessor, who was replaced when he became too independent?"

Turning to some of today's reported violence . . .


Reuters notes Ahmed Chalabi was the target of an assassination in Baghdad today via a car bombing that claimed the lives of 2 and left seventeen injured (Chalabi was not among the dead or injured).


Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports Dbdulameer Hasen Abbas ("Advisor to the Ministry of Defence") was assassinated in Baghdad.


Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 1 corpse was discovered in Nineveh Province today (a police officer who was kidnapped yesterday).

Today the
US military announced: "A Multi-National Division – Center Soldier died of non-combat related injuries in Baghdad Sept. 5." The announcement brought to 4154 the number of US service members killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war.

This as
Ann Scott Tyson (Washington Post) reports, "Suicides among active-duty soldiers this year are on pace to exceed both last year's all-time record and, for the first time since the Vietnam War, the rate among the general U.S. population, Army officials said yesterday. Ninety-three active-duty soldiers had killed themselves through the end of August, the latest data show. A third of those cases are under investigation by the Armed Forces Medical Examiner's Office. In 2007, 115 soldiers committed suicide." Pauline Jelinek (AP) adds, "As officials have said before, [Brig. Gen. Rhonda L.] Cornum said the main factors in soldier suicides continues to be problems with their personal relationships, legal and financial issues, work problems and the repeated deployments and longer tour lengths prompted by an Afghan war entering its eighth year and Iraq campaign in its sixth."
While the military does keep saying the same thing over and over, it really doesn't hold up. Take the case of Dustin Mark Tucker whom
Mary Callahan (The Press Democrat) reported on Thursday. The doctors can't explain the death (kidney failure is suspected -- the cause, no one knows) and his family can't either:

"He has no family history or personal history of any kind of medical issues," said his mother, Cindy Tucker. "He didn't complain of not feeling well . . . He was happy. He was busy. He was excited for his vacation. He was on top of the world."Tucker, 22, was home for an 18-day leave, his first since his March deployment as a gunner with the Army's 7th Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division out of Fort Hood, Texas. He was thrilled to be home, where his family had planned plenty of free time for golf, fishing and other activities. He was fatigued and jet-lagged after days of traveling from Baghdad to Kuwait, then Ireland, Atlanta and Los Angeles before finally flying into San Francisco and the embrace of his family. Despite the lengthy trip, he seemed ready for some fun, they said. Since arriving home Aug. 25, he had visited family and friends, played golf, bought a motorcycle and was looking forward to a family fishing trip at Clear Lake this week. He complained of no pain, discomfort or illness, but did mention being tired Aug. 27 when he decided to hang out with his two brothers rather than go out with friends, Cindy Tucker said.

Dustin Mark Tucker, apparently healthy, got on the couch and died there. And there are no answers. And there doesn't appear to be a great deal of interest in finding out what happened -- the same way they're not all that interested in the suicides. It's a pattern of pass-the-buck that hasn't been deal with despite the scandals of the Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

Turning to the US presidential race.
Yesterday's financial goal for the Ralph Nader campaign was to reach $100,000 in the donations for the Nader Media Fund which led to some mocking in the press. Not only did they reach $100,000, the campaign surpassed it, hitting $104,500 via donaors from around the country -- Texas, Wisconsin, Arizona, California, Oregon, Illinois, Colorado, Hawaii and elsewhere. Meanwhile Richard Winger's Ballot Access News reports Ralph Nader is currently on the ballot in 38 states (the Green Party in 31, the Constitution Party in 33 and the Libertarian Party in 42 -- see chart at the top of the page). Hamza Shaban (The Cavalier Daily) observes, "What Democrats have failed to realize is this: Nader is most dangerous when he is ignored. As a politician on the fringe, he does not seek the broadest coalition but makes new ones. If his platform is not integrated into the Democratic party's, then he will relentlessly go after the disaffected and carve out his own demographic. What loyal Democrats call "spoiling," Nader calls a systemic and deliberate boycott." Team Nader notes:

The Invisible Man, song by 98 Degrees -
Justin Jeffre and Jeff Timmons.

The revolution will not be televised - but thanks to your help, it will be on youtube.
We passed our media fund goal of $100,000 and brought in over $20,000 yesterday alone!
This video is our highlight reel from the "Open the Debates" super rally in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The rally took place on September 4, at the same time as the Republican National Convention in neighboring St. Paul. I flew to Minnesota to shoot video of this exciting event, then stayed up all night editing - I hope you enjoy the
result. Also, because of your generous support, you will see much more coverage of future events.
Please forward this video to your friends & family. Also please help us -
subscribe to our youtube channel and rate our videos and comments!
Haven't had a chance to help our media fund grow? There's still time...
contribute to our campaign today.

The RNC wrapped up their convention last night. John McCain is the Republican nominee. Governor Sarah Palin will be his running mate.
CBS Evening News' Cynthia Bowers reported on Palin (link has video and text) today. CBS Evening News with Katie Couric found the anchor interviewing Cindy McCain on Wednesday (link has text and video). Barack supporter Hillary Rosen (CNN) shows a stronger grasp of feminism than a number of leaders when she compiles her reasons for not supporting the John McCain-Sarah Palin ticket but first calls out rank sexism, "I am a woman who someone took a chance on several years ago when they gave me a job that had only previously been done by old white guys. Experience? How do you get any if no one takes a chance on you? And the decision to take a chance can be instinctive, as John McCain said. And what about the argument that she is a negligent mother who will be distracted from her important role? I am a mother who constantly feels the pressure from others about whether I am fit to be a parent, whether I put my kids first often enough and whether my children get enough of my attention. Who has the right to judge my family? My grandmother always said, 'You can't tell time on someone else's clock.' Judgments about people's personal lives are better left unsaid and unrealized."

Tuesday night in Minneapolis,
IVAW's Adam Kokesh participated in the Rally For The Republic. Kokesh has posted a video of his speech at his website and below is transcription of the remarks he delivered:

Adam Kokesh: Thanks to a few neocon, chicken-hawk draft dodgers I was sent to Falluja in 2004 with the Marine Corps Civil Affairs Team and I found out the hard way that the greatest enemies of the Constitution of the United States of America are not to be found in the sands of some far off land but rather right here at home. It's not enough to understand that the war in Iraq is simply unjust, illegal, unconstitutional, costing us a horrendous amount of money and destroying our military. The issues before us today are a matter of life and death. I continue to serve my country today as a member of
Iraq Veterans Against the War, Veterans for Peace and the Campaign for Liberty. It is through the Campaign for Liberty that we will take Ron Paul's message, we will take the torch of freedom that he has borne so well for us, we will take it back to our communities and set brushfires of freedom in the mind of every liberty loving man, woman and child in this great country. I'd like to take a second to recognize the veterans in the room -- if you would please stand -- and any active duty service members please stand. These are the brave men and women who swore an oath with their lives to support and defend the Constitution of the United States of America. And while it is our responsibility now to resist tyranny civily while we still can, there may come a time when we will say to the powers that be "With your blood or ours, we have come to water the tree of liberty." And it is those veterans and myself, we will be on the frontlines. Who will stand with us? Thank you for taking that stand. To all of you loyal soldiers in this new revolutionary army, it is an honor to count myself among your ranks and I salute you. You want a revolution? You better be ready to fight for it. Now I want you all to get back on your feet, take that stance for liberty with me, with all the veterans in this room, make for yourself the same committment with your lives, your fortunes and your sacred honor to our cause and make that pledge from your hearts where the fire of liberty burns that we will not rest 'till we achieve our goals and we get this new revolution in America. Now I want you to stay on your feet for just for just another minute -- you're going to want to stay on your feet for this -- because now I have the great pleaure of introducing on behalf of the Campaign for Liberty, someone you have all been waiting to see, Aimee Allen.

Note, Adam is co-chair of IVAW. He was speaking for himself at the Ron Paul rally as do all IVAW members participating in political campaigns for candidates. IVAW does not endorse any single candidate, they do not belong to or serve one party. IVAW is a diverse group in all ways including politically. Their shared beliefs include an end to the illegal war, reperations for the Iraqi people and that US veterans' service is honored (and promises kept) by the US government.

Green Party presidential candidate
Cynthia McKinney has held multiple events in Wisconsin today and has more planned for tomorrow: Today she held a lunch (10:30 a.m.), a town hall (Walden III School, Racine) at one p.m., and a Park Six meet and greet starting at 4:30. Saturday she will be speaking at the Fighting Bob Festival (Baraboo, Wisconsin at 10:20 in the morning and will be hosting another meet and greet this time at High Noon Salloon in Madison beginning at 5:30 p.m.).

NOW on PBS begins airing tonight in most markets. (Check local listings.) On the program this weekend (the above is a web exclusive and not a part of the show), Brancaccio interviews Christine Todd Whitman (billed as a moderate Republican) about the state of the GOP. Bill Moyers Journal brings back Dr. Kathy -- no doubt because America doesn't have enough worthless gas bagging on TV. The program moves into reality with a look at the National Guard members serving in Iraq. Gwen and the gas bags reteam to scare America on the latest installment of Washington Week. The Washington Post's David Broder and Vanity Fair's Todd S. Purdum are the two names that can be mentioned with minimal shudders. The others would produce screaming. In terms of radio, The Next Hour airs on WBAI Sunday (eleven to noon EST) and this week Janet Coleman and David Dozer "appear with yarrow sticks and The Book of Changes." Bill Moyers Journal tackles protests (and, some would say attention getting) so we'll include this section:

Perhaps the most prominent arrest was that of journalist Amy Goodman, anchor of the daily television and radio news program, "Democracy Now!" Police had taken two of her producers into custody as they were trying to cover the news. Goodman went out looking for them, but didn't get very far. She was stopped, slapped into handcuffs, and hauled into a detention center, along with almost 200 hundred other people. They had come to demonstrate, she had come to report on them. Goodman was released a few hours later and back on the job anchoring her daily radio and TV show, a favorite of listeners and viewers who go to her for news they won't find in the mainstream or rightwing press.

Winship is very kind to attention seeking Goody and what she actually offers. The essay is available in full online at
Bill Moyers Journal.

adam kokesh
iraq veterans against the warmcclatchy newspapersthe los angeles timesjulian e. barnes
the washington postann scott tysonmary callahan
the next hourjanet colemandavid dozerwbaiwashington weekbill moyers journalpbsnow on pbs
michael winship

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Thoughts on sour grapes from some 'leaders'

"I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a 'community organizer,' except that you have actual responsibilities." That's a comment from Sarah Palin's speech (not delivered yet as I start typing). I laughed out loud at the remark.

I was talking to C.I. today to check and see how she was doing and to explain I'll probably be out next week. Somehow the topic got around to Palin. (I'm going to include this for the last time, I am not voting for McCain-Palin.) We were discussing how idiotic feminist 'leaders' are acting.

I seem to recall Mad Maddie Albright getting a gushing tribute in Ms. this decade. I seem to recall a number of women who were not feminists (and some of whom didn't believe in abortion) being celebrated.

But Palin?

Here's reality.

Sarah Palin is now the second women to be on a major party's ticket. She might end up the vice-president.

Does Feminist Wire Daily intend to ignore her if that happens as well?

Do they think they can, forty years from now, cut her out of the history books?

The thing that C.I. and I were talking about was how many Republican feminists held on throughout the 80s and 90s thinking they could change their party. We can probably come up with six names between us, but there are surely more. Six names who are still Republicans.

So is the feminist movement now the Democratic Party?

That would explain the celebrating of Mad Maddie.

That would explain the silence on Palin.

Here's the reality feminist 'leaders' are ignoring: An eight-year-old girl just knows a woman got to do something. She doesn't know the woman's life story. Abortion? I'd be surprised if she had an opinion, let alone knew what anyone else thought.

So this idea that the feminist movement can sit on the sidelines right now is really depressing.

No one has to vote for Palin to be happy she got the nomination.

The Democratic Party could have made history this year by making Hillary Clinton the nominee. She got the most votes.

But they didn't want to do that.

Barack didn't want to make Hillary his running mate.

The Democratic Party made their choices.

Too damn bad.

I grew up aware of the women who came before. I didn't know everything they did and how. But I am aware that the first woman to go after the nomination of one of the two major parties was a Republican and, shocker, she got a roll call vote.

Whatever happens in the election, Palin's earned her place in women's history. She might not be my favorite person. She might not agree with what I do. But it's really funny to watch and read all the boos and hisses from 'leaders' who are also telling you that you have to get on board with Barack.

I could understand if the women were saying, "Get on board with Cynthia." I could respect that. I'm voting for Nader but I don't begrudge Cynthia a single vote she earns. (Cynthia McKinney is the Green Party presidential nominee.) It's amazing how our 'leaders' render Cynthia invisible as well.

I guess the only woman that matters to certain feminists is the woman who will sell her own interests out to act like Barack is a real candidate.

Keep dreaming.

He's no friend to women.

Feminists who have sold out the movement to the Democratic Party need to be held accountable after this election.

Feminists who think other feminists are so stupid that information must be kept from them, need to be replaced. The inability to say, "Good for her," about Cynthia McKinney or Sarah Palin, demonstrates some real problems in the movement.

It's not about either woman or what we want. It's about our daughters having the right to dream. Good for Cynthia. Good for Sarah.

Doesn't mean I'll vote for either. But both women are knocking down barriers to all women by running. I never expected the entire world to agree with me. Maybe that's the difference between myself and some 'leaders'? Maybe that's why I figure you're smart enough to decide who to vote for. I assume you're old enough to know who you want to vote for and why.

It's amazing I have more faith in women thatn do some of our 'leaders' in the feminist movement.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Wednesday, September 3, 2008. Chaos and violence continue, China gets a windfall, US forces and Iraqi forces clash, reporters remain targeted and more.

Starting with Monday's 'handover' of Al Anbar Province. The Los Angeles Times filed an interesting report . . . at the paper's blog Babylon & Beyond. The byline-less article (16 paragraphs) talks about the very clear tensions evident in the for-show ceremony itself with Abdul-Salam Ani ("head of the Anbar provincial council") stating the tribal leaders were "trying to stir up sedition with their claims that the Islamic Party leaders ar corrupt" and Sheik Ahmed B. Abu Risha, a tribal leader and "Awakening" Movement 'fellow' who claimed it was the other way around. The article reminds, "The sharp words at the podium highlight the reason that the original handover date, in late June, was delayed. There are concerns among locals and officials that the political animosity could lead to an unraveling of the security here. Despite the tribes' actions since 2006, they remain politically disadvantaged in Anbar because they did not take part in provincial elections in 2005. Hence, the Islamic Party holds 36 of the provincial council's 41 seats."

The provincial elections will most likely not take place in 2008. Time is running out to put them in place in what remains of this year. Over the weekend Leila Fadel (McClathy Newspapers) reported that puppet of the occupation Nouri al-Maliki was said to be "on a roll, and American officials are getting worried." al-Maliki is the White House puppet. He wasn't the choice of Iraq. (He wasn't even the first-round pick in the puppet pageant.) But most puppets have some form of brain. Bully Boy's on the way out. Bully Boy can't protect him. The puppet does not the "Awakening" Council members in the Iraqi military or the Iraqi police. He controls both and has staffed them with Shi'ite thugs so he doesn't want to allow in Sunni thugs. Since the start of the illegal war the US has repeatedly sided with thugs within Iraq because it was hoped that a thug could 'snap' the people into 'order' quickly. So they leaned towards Shia extremists early on and the Sunni extremists came into play only after reports on the Interior Ministry's 'security' guards' actions and other issues became news. That leaves the "Awakening" Council as a very real threat to al-Maliki. They may be more of a threat currently than the White House. Ned Parker (Los Angeles Times) reported over the weekend that al-Maliki had tossed out the "negotiating team" that was representing his interests in the treaty with the US. So al-Maliki has a new team advising him? B-b-but we were told it was all taken care of! (Told by the press rushing to create a story where there was none and ignoring repeated remarks by the US State Dept that no agreement had been reached).

So al-Maliki has a new team. Where's the team fighting for Iraqis. Sarmad Ali (Baghdad Life, Wall St. Journal) observes the US concerns over oil prices but has "a harder time understanding why Iraqis -- with their oases of crude oil reserves and untapped oilfields in the south and the north -- have had to put up with high oil prices and severe shortages of gasoline, diesel and cooking gas." Ali explains that "ordinary Iraqis still face fueld shortage and high rates . . . three-hour lines of cars queued up for gas . . ." Nouri al-Maliki (my point, not Ali's) sits on millions and refuses to use them to make life better for the Iraqis. And the money just keeps rolling in. Eric Watkins (Oil & Gas Journal) states the oil contract to China National Petroleum Co (CNPC) has been approved by the Iraqi Oil Ministry today. Today's Azzaman sees an exclusion of the US from the oil deals and insists this is due to pressure from Iran. David Berman (Globe & Mail) dismisses "the concern about China cornering Iraqi oil, it's nonsense". BBC via redOrbit documents the press conference in Baghdad today, presided over by Husayn al-Shahrastani

Reuters new photographer Ibrahim Jassam Mohammed has been held by the US since the first of the month. Reporters Without Borders is calling for Ibrahim's immediate release and notes: "Ibrahim Jassam was picked up from his home in the capital and soldiers took him to an unknown location after checking the ID of members of his family and seizing four cameras along with his phone and laptop computer. His family still do not know why he was arrested. Jassam had worked for Reuters for four years and had received a number of anonymous death threats. More than 20 journalists have been arrested in Iraq in similar circumstances since 1st January 2008, all of whom have been released after spending days or even months in custody without any charges being made against them." Reuters quotes their Editor-in-Chief David Schlesinger, "We are concerned to hear about Jassam's detention, and urge the U.S. military to either charge or release him once an initial investigatory stage is concluded. Any accusation against a journalist should be aired publicly and dealt with fairly and swiftly, with the journalist having the right to counsel and present a defense. Iraqi journalists llike Jassam play a vital role in telling this story in the world."

Anna Johnson (AP) reports on a shootout between the US and Iraqi forces -- yes, "between" the two -- that resulted in the deaths of at least 6 Iraqis and involved US boats, US helicopters (two) and who knows what else. Johnson reports the dead includes 2 Iraqi police officers, 2 Iraqi soldiers and 2 "Awakening" Council members. Reuters reports 10 more Iraqis were wounded. Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) contacted M-NF and received this comment, "We have initial reports that while coalition forces were conducting operations against suspected AQI there was an incident involving weapons fire between Coalition and Iraqi Security Forces north of Tarmiyah, Baghdad. Reports indicate ISF sustained casualties. Coalition aircraft were involved in this incident. It is always regrettable when incidents of mistaken fire occur on the battlefield; a review of the circumstances is under way."

In other of today's reported violence . . .


Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad roadside bombing that left two people wounded, a Diyala Province roadside bombing that claimed the life of 1 Iraqi solider with four more wounded, 2 Mosul roadside bombings which claimed 1 life and left seven wounded and a Tikrit roadside bombing that left "[s]ome policemen injured".


Reuters reports 1 Iraqi soldier shot dead in Mosul yesterday (as well as 1 civilian shot dead in Mosul). Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a US house raid in Salahuddin province that resulted in student Tahseen Mikhlif being shot dead.


Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 1 corpse discovered in Baghdad.

Turning to two journalists. John Pilger will tale questions at an event this Friday in London (Institute of Education). For ticket prices and other details click here for the notice by the UK Socialist Worker. (Click here for Pilger's most recent article at The New Statesman.) Second, independent journalist David Bacon details (at Truth Out) an immigration raid in Mississippi and quotes the National Immigration Law Center's Marielena Hincapie stating that "raids drive down wages because they intimidate workers, even citizens and legal residents. The employer brings in another batch of employees and continues business as usual, while people who protest get targeted and workers get deported. Raids really demonstrate the employer's power." Bacon's latest book has just been released: Illegal People -- How Globalization Creates Migration and Criminalizes Immigrants (Beacon Press).

Ralph's Daily Audio is a segment of the Nader-Gonzalez presidential campaign that offers audio commentaries. This is "Nixon and Ford Now Seem Progressive:"

This is Ralph Nader. In recent weeks, I've been making the point that if voters don't condition their vote on some response by the candidates to the priority issues on the voter's minds, every four years both parties will become worse. Because, twenty-four seven, the corporate lobbies are pulling on both parties and if voters who are liberal or progressive are not pulling in the other way to make the least worse candidate accord with the important priorities favored by a majority of the American people, then the corporate interests have a pull without any pull in the other direction and you know where that leads. I was reading the other day some of the policies by Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford in the 1970s. Richard Nixon, for example, besides signing into law with enthusiastic statements, the EPA Bill, the OSHA Bill, the Product Safety Bill, among other legislation we pressed through Congress in those heady days. He offered a policy on drugs in the streets and addiction that emphasized rehabilitation of drug addicts, not incarceration and imprisonment. He proposed a health insurance plan that observers say was better than the Clinton plan, He supported and articulated a minimum income plan to move the country toward abolishing poverty No other president has done that since. And he favored vocally the voting rights for the disenfranchised citizens of the District of Columbia.
Can you imagine a president today demanding an excess profit tax on the oil companies and demanding higher fuel efficiency for motor vehicles in no uncertain terms? Well that's what President Gerald Ford did following Richard Nixon in the 1970s.
See what I mean about both parties getting worse when we as voters freak out, vote for the least worst and let the least worst be pulled by the corporate interest closer to the worst every four years? This is Ralph Nader.

And this is "Corporate Hands in Your Pockets:"

This is Ralph Nader. I was watching the CBS national Evening News with Katie Couric on Friday. And she came on with an interesting segment about how people are charged for services they never receive. She highlighted one woman who had a back operation and She was billed about $60,000 and it turned out $40,000 of that $60,000 were for phantom charges -- things she never received, were never treated with. Well that's just the tip of the iceberg. The General Accounting Office years ago estimated that billing fraud in the health care industry is 10% the entire health care bill of the whole nation. This year that would mean $230 billion.
Imagine $230 billion dollars. Malcom Sparrow the applied mathametician at Harvard who specialises in health care billing fraud thinks that that is the most conservative estimate. Have you ever heard any of the presidential candidates talk about billing fraud phenomena year after year that costs more than the war in Iraq?
Have you ever heard any of the presidential candidates -- John McCain, Barack Obama, or the primary candidates for that matter in the Republican-Democratic Party ever mention or pay attention to a rip-off phenomon that is costing more than the Iraq War at least in dollas --
Well that's why the Nader - Gonzales is so necessary to provide the contrast, the alternative to focus on the need to crack down on corporate crime, fraud and abuse that is looting or draining trillions of dollars from consumers, worker-pensions, savers, mutual funds
It's all reported in the mainstream press except this billing fraud that I just mentioned from Enron to Wall St. and yet John McCain and Barack Obama have no program to engage in the necessary resources and willpower to crack down and prevent corporate crime fraud and abuse including corporate crime ripping off Medicare in the billions of dollars.
Just another difference between Nader-Gonzalez and McCain-Obama the corporate candidate. Thank you.

Ralph Nader in the independent presidential candidate. Cynthia McKinney is the Green Party's presidential candidate. Cynthia willl be on C-Span1's Road to the White House this Sunday (September 7th) which will air at 6:30 p.m. EST (repeating at 9:30 p.m. EST the same night). Among those supporting Cynthia's run are the one and only Roseanne, Black Agenda Report and Carolyn of MakeThemAccountable. In the August 26th snapshot, we noted her interview with Gabriel San Roman (Uprising Radio). Gabriel San Roman provides a text version of that audio interview at Black Agenda Report this week:

GSR: How do you seek to redefine sources of electoral power come November?CM: My political career started in the state of Georgia as a member of the Georgia Legislature. When I ran for that particular position, the corporate press all touted the fact that I was not going to win and yet we were able to win. We won because of people power. We went outside the existing electorate. We brought new people in. That is, of course, one of the hopes that we have with this campaign. We hope we are going to bring new people into the political process and let them see the efficacy of their vote. Now how is it that we can do that? We have to talk about the fact that we are operating in a political environment that lacks election integrity. One of the things I have been able to say quite convincingly because of the precedent set four years ago by the Green Party and David Cobb is that the day after the election when there are reports of disfranchisement and fraud, the Green Party is going to be there when the Democratic Party capitulates. It was in 2000 that we know that the voters of this country gave the Democrats the White House and instead they didn't even fight for the victory that the voters gave them. They capitulated to the Republicans and allowed George W. Bush to assume the presidency. Again in 2004, John Kerry promised that we would not see this kind of action on behalf of the Democratic Party that took place in 2000. In 2004, on the very next day, even as the reports were coming in from Ohio, John Kerry conceded. He gave up once again. He gave up the White House, so that George W. Bush could continue this reign of terror on people inside of this country and outside this country.
So now comes 2008. We understand that there are already efforts afoot to disenfranchise certain populations through the Voter ID laws that have been passed in various legislatures as well as with voter caging. Voter caging is just a fancy way of saying you show up at the polls on election day and you find out that your name is not on the voter list. What is your recourse? You have none. You don't get to vote. If you have the opportunity to cast a provisional ballot, there's no guarantee that the provisional ballot will be counted. We still have to deal with the electronic voting machines. The ills of the 2000 election remain with us. The ills of the 2004 election remain with us. New ills have been placed on top of those ills for the 2008 election. It will be the Green Party and activists across this country who will demand election integrity and who will move from protest to resistance. That is what we have to do now.

GSR: You mentioned protest. Define a vote for Cynthia McKinney in this election. Is it a protest vote or something more substantive?CM: It's a values vote. What we are asking people to do is vote their values. I am so proud to say that at a recent meeting with Rosanne Barr she said, "I'm sick and tired of being put in a box. I'm going to vote my values. I'm going to vote Green." We invite people to join the Power to the People campaign. This is a campaign that seeks to include everyone. We want to draw from every population that feels that somehow their values are not represented by the powers that be. They are not represented by the two corporate parties. They are not represented by any other way, shape, fashion or form. And so perhaps the Power to the People campaign and the Green Party can express the views and the values of people who want peace for a change. They want ecological wisdom for a change. They want social justice for a change. They want real democracy for a change. That's what the Green Party vote represents and so I invite everyone to vote your values and vote Green.
Glen Ford (Black Agenda Report) explains, "Cynthia McKinney and Rosa Clemente are running for president and vice-president on the Green Party ticket, but their larger goal is to reignite a mass movement based on principles that are anathema to the financiers that call the shots in the Obama campaign. They are among the voices that have not been silenced in this deformed election cycle." Meanwhile Chris Hedges encourages people to examine the health care plan Barack is proposing and to show spine, "We on the left, those who should be out there fighting for universal health care and total and immediate withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan, sit like lap dogs on the short leashes of our Democratic (read corporate) masters. We yap now and then, but we have forgotten how to snarl and bite. We have been domesticated. And until we punish the two main parties the way big corporations do, by withdrawing support and funding when our issues are ignored, we will remain irrelevant and impotent. I detest Bill O'Reilly, but he is right on one thing-we liberals are a spineless lot. . . . We need to throw our support behind alternative candidates who champion what we care about, whether Cynthia McKinney or Ralph Nader."

david bacon
john pilger
glen fordblack agenda report
uprising radio
chris hedges
mcclatchy newspapers
hussein kadhim
leila fadel
the los angeles timesned parker
sarmad ali
the wall st. journal
cbs evening newskatie couric

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Responses to 'I do not support the WRSC'

I want to start out by thanking all the people who e-mailed. Sunny and I were looking at those e-mails and they are amazing.

I want to write back a male whose name starts with "W" myself. Hopefully, I will be able to. If not, Sunny will. (Sunny is my assistant at work and my friend. Neither being my assistant or my friend requires her to go through my e-mails. She just does that because she enjoys reading the e-mails.) If time does not permit, Sunny will respond to "W." I have read all the e-mails but "W" was the only one who seemed to require a personal response from me.

As most of you know, my best friend of too many years is sick with cancer again and I am currently trying to find people who can take my clients (I don't like the term "patient") so I can get out to California. That is consuming my free time and if Sunny or I don't write you back, it's due to the work we're attempting to do on that.

The post that prompted so many e-mails was ""I don't support the War Resisters Support Campaign..." and let me thank everyone for not pointing out the typos. I was very tired and transcription on a good day isn't my suit.

The plan was to do a wrap up at the end but there just wasn't time. I thank everyone who spoke to me for that post. Not just Deserter and Law Professor, but everyone. Even without the wrap up, your comments informed the questions I asked and the topics we discussed.

The big take-away for most of you e-mailing was the realization that the WRSC is fighting the exact same battle over and over. Lynette said I could use her name and talk about her comments because she didn't think anyone else noticed. (Luckily, Lynette, others have noticed.)
She writes:

Jeremy Hinzman was the first to go through the process. Every one after has gone through the same process. It doesn't matter if their experiences or issues are different. The War Resister Support Campaign keeps fighting it the exact same way. I had noticed that and thought it was a huge mistake but figured I was missing something. Thanks for explaining what was going on. This is about Vietnam and not about today. We [Canada] had no process back then. You came here, you could stay. You could be a citizen or a resident. I think the War Resister Support Campaign is failing in trying to get a judgment that the Iraq War is wrong. That is not the issue as your two speakers point out. The issue is getting these young men and women the status they need not to be at risk of deportation.
I had forgotten about the proposed statue honoring War Resisters during Vietnam and how that was shot down earlier this decade. I do think that adds in to the feeling on the part of the leaders of the War Resisters Support Campaign that a legal judgment finding the Iraq War wrong is a vindication of their own refusal during Vietnam.
I feel too much time is being wasted refighting Vietnam by those with the War Resisters Support Campaign. I feel no time has been spent ensuring status for today's war resisters. Get the young men and women status and worry about the Iraq War after. I think we should all be focusing on that and that we should demand that the War Resister Support Campaign focuses on that or else we ignore them.

Again, Lynette was not the only to share that opinion. Many others writing did as well.

The issue is: Are you helping war resisters stay in Canada or are you refighting Vietnam?

They are not the same issues. Robin Long demonstrates that they are not the same issue.

As is noted in the comments during the post that went up this weekend, I do not care for Lee and I never have. I lived through that time period and, for obvious reasons, didn't find Lee effective back then. All I spoke to back then scratched their heads over Lee's actions today.

One e-mail asked, noting that if I don't like someone, C.I. doesn't either, how C.I. could highlight Lee all this time? C.I. doesn't make it about personality. C.I. sets all that aside and has always been able to. C.I. does not work with with the WRSC because they are ineffective. C.I. has started/developed a program that has worked repeatedly and did so because there wasn't an effective program. C.I. utilizes both people who helped during Vietnam and people who were helped. It's a large network and they have many, many results. But, as both Deserter and Law Professor, explain, there are qualifications you have to meet and the chief one is you are willing to 'keep your nose clean.' The issue C.I. works on is getting resisters to Canada and getting them some form of status that prevents them from being expelled.

While the WRSC still has not one success story to show for itself after four years, it's quite different with C.I.'s group. (C.I. would be appalled that I was calling it her group. It's made up of many, many people.) These results are why people are even more critical of the lack of results for the WRSC.

Were the WRSC able to point to even more victory, you would find many more resisters going to Canada (as they did during Vietnam). If WRSC has any brains at all, they will take the criticism and try to do something different. The issue is not the illegal war for Canada, the issue getting status for service members refusing to fight. When they can grasp that and leave their vanity out of it, they may be able to accomplish something. At present, they accomplish nothing and you grasp why.

That the WRSC has been so inept is not surprising for anyone who knows Lee. We all point out that he consistently missed the big picture during Vietnam as well. Deserter's point about how some days Lee wants to self-represent as a draft dodger during Vietnam and other times wants to self-represent as a deserter during Vietnam registered with many who e-mailed and had noticed that constant shift back and forth.

When you cannot even be consistent on that point, you've got a problem.

I heard from three attorneys in Canada who had shunned WRSC (as most have) and who asked if I was the person they knew during Vietnam. Sunny asked me that on a break. A, "Do you know ___, ____ and ____." I said, "Of course, great people." Then I went into my next session. I really didn't have time to even grab the cup of coffee I was getting.

Sunny wrote those three back. If you write back with your phone number, I will call you. I had no idea you had e-mailed. Yes, I remember you very well from back then. One of you was a resister and two of you were Canadian activists working on the issue back then. Congratulations to all three for becoming lawyers. I will advise C.I. that you are willing to work on the issue today and I know the attorneys in Canada already working with C.I. will appreciate any help they get.

I heard from many wonderful Canadians about the post (and about surrounding issues that everyone knows about). The general consensus is that the WRSC has demonstrated they will gladly destroy whatever is left of their image. I don't disagree with that. (To put it mildly.)

It was repeatedly pointed out how much the WRSC is avoided and it is avoided. There's no question that it is. Groups back then that C.I. and I worked with were able to garner the support of MPs and celebrities. You do not see that for the WRSC. There is a reason.

The only e-mail I got from anyone offended was a young woman who said this would hurt war resisters. No, it won't. Hurting them would continue to be silent. The information's out there now. What they do or don't do with it is their business.

I believe it's pointed out in the interviews I published Friday at least once that what the war resister in Canada today needs to do right now is ask their attorney how anything the attorney is doing for him or her is any different than what has been done for someone else? If it's not different, you might want to see about getting another attorney.

Unhelpful would be saying nothing. It has been four years. Where is their single success?

It also helps because Lee hates being called out and always has. That was pointed out repeatedly in all the interviews I did (not just the two published). By pointing out the very obvious fact that the focus has been on getting a judgment on the Iraq War and the focus has not been on all the various ways a resister (like any Canadian immigrant) can get status to remain in Canada. By pointing out that fact, the ball is now in Lee's court. He continue doing the same thing over and over (as he has for four years) or he can set aside the rightness/wrongness of the war and focus on the resisters.

My own advice to war resisters is if Jeremy Hinzman is not allowed to stay, you need to make a decision. You either come back to the US on your own and go through whatever process here or you get new attornies because nothing has happened for four years and will not happen with you repeatedly pursuing the same legal avenues. To someone like Jill Hart, I would say come back to the US. Go back into Canada officially with the intent to declare citizenship. Start your process that way and let Patrick piggy-back on it. (I do not know Jill Hart.) War resisters who are single don't have that option. However, C.I. has had a very good record with spouses by getting one to hold off (the one in the service) while the spouse officially enters Canada to become a citizen and then the resister follows in.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Tuesday, September 2, 2008. Chaos and violence continue, propaganda continues, the US military announces a death and more.

On Monday, Al Anbar Province was 'turned' over to the Iraqis (don't try to define that term -- it's in dispute) and
M-NF (Multi-National Forces) issued a press release officially and unofficially in the New York Times via their backchannel boy Dexy Filkins. There's not a great deal of difference between the two, there never is. The US military spits and Dexy's mouth is open trying to catch it. Nowhere in that overly long article does he even acknowledge that the 'handover' was repeatedly announced and repeatedly postponed. It's all rah-rah from Dexy. Reality, the US military long ago realized that they couldn't have any impact on Anbar. Which is why the "Awakening" Councils (Sunni thugs placed on the US payroll) were originally created. If the US couldn't scare the hell of out of the inhabitants, lets put thugs on the payroll, put them in charge and let that scare the hell out of the inhabitants. It's not a 'success' strategy but, hey, Dexy got to attend a parade and who knows how much praise he'll get from the US military for his 'reporting' this go-round. He certainly got plenty last time and, as Thomas E. Ricks revealed in the Washington Post (after Dexy left Iraq the first time), the US military considered Dexy to be their go-to-guy. As Christian Parenti long ago noted (2005), the reality is that Dexy of the paper and Dexy in person bear no recognizable relationship to one another. As if to prove that point made earlier today, this afternoon The Atlantic has published Jeffy Goldberg and Dexy's dishing in Q&A form and there's Dexy saying "I don't think so" (to whether Iraq is a democracy") and offering this on 'progress' and 'safety': "A couple of days later I went to Sadr City, also at dusk. Sadr City is a vast slum that takes in about three million people. It's the stronghold of the Mahdi Army, the Shiite militia, and it's been the scene of heavy fighting, as recently as a few months ago. I was with some Iraqi friends. It felt perfectly normal. Then one of my Iraqi friends said to me, 'What do you think would happen if you were alone?' And I said, 'What?' And he and the other Iraqis laughed and said: 'You'd be dead in ten seconds'." Go down, Dexy indeed.

In order to sell Anbar as 'progress' a number of facts need to be forgotten such as how many times Anbar was already supposed to have been handed over (last June most prominently). Forgetting is also required of last Thursday's Baghdad press confrence when 'freedom of the press' got a little too 'free' for US Lt Gen Frank G Helmick as he barked "one question, please, at a time" when realities began emerging about Anbar in the questions. Among the many hard-to-find-rah-rah-in-that statements was Iraq's Interior Minister Jawad al-Bulani's insistence that, "We're having a plan to develop the capability of Anbar police through providing them with arms." Good to know you're having a plan, to bad it's a bad plan and one that's not even implemented.
AFP quotes US Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker (whom they call "US ambassador to Bagdhad" -- which is certainly more telling) declaring limited success with Gen David Petraeus at the Monday events as the Americans cautioned that they were just withdrawing to their base and would still be around 'as needed' should the need arise. (Think the UK and Basra.) AP quotes US Maj Gen John Kelly at the same ceremonies declaring, "Al Qaeda has not been entirely defeated in Anbar, but their end is near and they know it." And, apparently, so does Psychic John.

No one's supposed to notice that Monday's big to do about nothing was to cover the fact that Iraq is no closer to holding provincial elections (a White House imposed benchmark) before the end of the year.
AFP reports that there are exactly two weeks left for Iraqi lawmakers to come to agreement or else there will be no elections until next year,

Turning to the "Awakening" Councils. They are the thugs on the US payroll (men are paid $300 a month, women are paid far less -- and on one lodged an objection to that). They are the thugs who sold their allegience for coin. al-Maliki has surrounded himself with Shi'ite thugs and has always been threatened by the prospect of their Sunni counter-parts. He's made clear that the bulk of them will not be absorbed into any Iraqi body (police or military) and, in fact, has launched attacks on the Diyala Province.
Erica Goode (New York Times) reports the al-Maliki government says it will begin issuing payment at the first of October and she quotes "Awakening" commander in Baghdad Ali Bahjet dismissing all the Happy Talk by noting that he has been "assured" by the US military "that 'our contracts will be renewed for the next six months, beginning Sept. 1'" and quotes him adding, "We are sure that the American will continue financing our program because this program . . ."

Turning to some of today's reported violence.


Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 2 Baghdad roadside bombings that claimed 4 lives and left twenty-three wounded, a Ninevah car bombing that claimed 7 lives and left seven peopl injured and, dropping back to Monday, a Kirkuk roadside bombing that claimed the life of 1 child and left his father and brother wounded. Reuters notes a Mosul car bombing that claimed 4 lives (plus the drive) and left six people wounded.


Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports "a mother and her two children" were kidnapped in Nineveh.


Reuters notes 2 corpses were discoverd in Suwayra.

Today the
US military announces: "Multi-National Division -- Center reported a non-combat related death in Baghdad Sept. 2." It's the first death M-NF has announced for Septemeber (which doesn't mean it's the first death, especially considering how often they forget to do their job of announcing) and it brings the total number of US service members who have died in Iraq since the start of the illegal war to 4152.

Barbara Starr (CNN) reports US Secretary of Defense "Robert Gates is expected to present proposals to cut U.S. troop levels in Iraq to President Bush, along with proposals for beefing up American forces in Afghanistan". Barring some huge change of direction at this week's Republican Party convention, the two major parties will both be offering the American people cuts and calling them "withdrawal." Turning to the US presidential race, not content to disgrace themselves on the front page of the New York Times today, the press decided to do so at the White House. "One last question for you," a reporter who will remain nameless asks, "because this is another on that you hear a lot -- this issue is raising a lot of questions and sort of prompting a lot of debate about -- the idea of Sarah Palin, mother of five, soon to be grandmother of one, coming to Washington potentially as a vice president, in the most demanding job one could imagine. Any issues raised there about the whole motherhood-work divide?" Pay attention to Dana Perino (White House flack) responding because even WMC blows it (and Feminist Wire Daily still doesn't appear to have noticed a woman had been named as a running mate), " You know, I don't think that those questions would be asked if it was Todd Palin that was the nominee. And I think that Sarah Palin has proven that you can choose as a woman to be a mother and be a strong executive, and to have a wonderful, loving family. And that's what she's chosen to do. And I think that's why the party has rallied around her so fully." Exactly right. Dana Perino got something 100% right today -- a rare thing for her. But not only was it rare for her, it's too much for many 'lefties.' The question WOULD NOT and HAS NOT been asked of a man. But Palin, John McCain's running mate pick if he gets the GOP nomination, is being 'probed' in what should damn well remind many of the crap Kimba Woods and others had to put up with over 15 years ago. It wasn't right then, it's not now. The paper of little record tries to hide behind "Mommy Wars" to 'cover' the non-story. Susan (Random Thoughts) gets right to the point, noting no one gives a damn about Barak's two children while he's on a ticket but Palin is supposed to be uanble to have kids and run for VP: "The article reeks of sexism. The message is clear: If you're a woman and you've just had kids, don't bother running for high political office." Joseph (Cannonfire) notes the garbage that's been thrown at Palin already (false rumors) and where it's coming from: The Daily Toilet Scrubber and Andrew Bareback Mountain Sullivan. Somehow Bob Somerby, covering similar terrain, can only hiss at Andy Sullivan -- well Somerby's always been scared of his own shadow. As for a non-rumor regarding Palin's family that is also non-news, my opinion is here and Anglachel offers her own here. It's a real shame that Stephanie Miller (who wants no one digging through her closets) has chosen to demonstrate just how trashy she is on this topic and it's even sadder that Women's Media Center finds her to be a voice worth quoting in an article. As pointed out here last night, "And 'scoring' a 'win' for Barack via smut only further adds to the perception that he has nothing to run on and no qualifications. Why else would you be tearing into a young girl?"

The RNC is currently holding their convention and will select their presidential nominee (presumably John McCain). Amy Goodman's already found attention getting stunts to get her name in the headlines. She could have pulled the same stunts in Denver and faced the same police treatment. But Denver was about her selling the Democratic Party and Minneapolis is about her tarring and feathering the RNC. (Most years, we generally let the RNC tar and feather itself. But it's CrackPot time these days.)
Ava and I addressed Goody's garbage Sunday but two things need to be noted Obama Groupie Patricia Wilson-Smith LIED on air and got away with it. She said early on (sticking with the talking point) that she was for Hillary originally, as she became more heated she wanted the whole world to know about the work she's been doing: ". . . I've been working so tirelessly over the last year and a half for Senator Obama". It's not both ways. Wilson-Smith lied. Get used to it. You'll see a lot more woman trying to tell you they were Hillary supporters at the start and then went over to Barack with the implication being that you can as well! Don't believe liars. Do what you want, but don't believe liars. The second thing is that, as noted, there was no convention bounce for Barack. As Ava and I noted:

The Thursday speech was a whimper (and
as we feared last week, no one taught Barack to modulate). The entire week was a Love-In. Only, unlike past love-ins, it wasn't about "us" (however, you define the noun), it was about Barack. Try to get it if you support Barack (we don't) because you (his supporters and the media) continue to hurt his chances of winning in November. Americans want to elect a president to work for them. Americans aren't electing a Love God, a Second Coming, a Homecoming King. James Carville has famously (and rightly) called the first night as a disaster. It was a disaster. The disaster continued all week, with few exceptions. The convention was supposed to bring America on board. What was being sold? It wasn't the Democratic Party. It wasn't a need to make the country better. It was Barack, Barack, Barack, Barack. Over and over. Here's reality that the campaign better start accepting: Barack is not experienced. That's a reality. America will gladly take a chance on a candidate if they believe the candidate has something to offer them. You need to accept the reality and you need to drop the testimonials. If you're serious about getting Barack into the White House (we plan to offer advice when we cover the GOP convention as well), you need to start making it about America and not about Barack. It was a vanity parade. It was grown adults embarrassing themselves like Baby Soxers. It was never about where American can go, only that Barack could lead.
"Change to what?" was the question created during the primaries by the campaign refusing to be specific. "Lead us where?" is the question they replaced it with as a result of the convention. And, just like during the primaries, they had no answer to the question their actions raised. Four nights of non-stop infomercials told you there was a product named Barack and that you should buy it. But no one could ever tell you what Barack could or would do. Now people may buy a number of things from infomercials. They might buy a treadmill or a hair care product or anything else. But the infomerical has to tell you what it does. Repeating "It's great!" over and over doesn't sell the product. And the convention didn't sell to America. It may have picked up a few converts. It didn't provide what Barack needed or anything he could build on. Four percent is what we're told the 'bounce' was. Four percent isn't a bounce and isn't even beyond the statistical margin of error. In other words, four four days, a non-stop infomercial ran and it didn't sell a damn thing.

Yesterday, Cedric's "
The polling doth not riseth" and Wally's "THIS JUST IN! CHRIST-CHILD FALTERS!" noted the polls being released reflected no bounce. This is where reasonable take their heads out of their asses and begin to notice there is a problem -- yes, even if they are Barack supporters. Someone who is not a Barack supporter is Eric Patton (Dissident Voice) and he demonstrates how the right plays to win and the left plays to lose

The right wing makes their candidates earn their support. They don't beg and plead. On the other hand, it seems like the only thing liberals know how to do is piss, whine, cry, moan, complain -- and especially beg and plead.
If you have to do a "Progressives for ," instead of doing it after the candidate has wrapped up the nomination, a better strategy -- if you really want to win -- would be to pick a candidate like Kucinich (whom I personally am not enamored with for reasons that go beyond the scope of this essay; however, there is no doubt he was the farthest left of the Democratic candidates, and massive left support for him would not have been, I don't think, a bad tactical move) and get behind him strongly at least two years before the election, if not sooner.
Let's put this another way: Suppose McCain wins, which I think is likely. If you must support somebody, then begin in December 2008 planning for the election in November 2012. Find out if Kucinich is planning on running again. If he is, start your Progressives for Kucinich website then, bust your ass for four years, and see what happens.
So why didn't the liberals behind Progressives for Obama do that? Because for them, it's not about winning change -- it's about electing Democrats. It's about the home team. It's about the gang colors. As Obama was making his expected (by radicals) moves to the right, the phenomenal left-wing writer Paul Street asked Obama supporters how far was too far? Their answer was, in effect, that it made no difference.

Cynthia McKinney and Ralph Nader are running for president and both candidates want a real end to the illegal war, not smoke and mirrors, not word games, just the illegal war ended.
At McKinney's website John Judge outlines the differences between the Green ticket and the Democrat ticket:

As the Democratic National Convention continued, Green Party leaders called attention to sharp differences between the Democratic ticket and Green nominees Cynthia McKinney and Rosa Clemente.
Greens congratulated Mr. Obama on his historic nomination as the first African American presidential candidate of an established party in the US. But Greens noted that the nomination of Cynthia McKinney and Rosa Clemente in July is also historically significant -- the first time a national political party has chosen two women of color. Ms. McKinney is African American and Ms. Clemente is Black Puerto Rican.
"There's a whole list of urgent issues that Cynthia McKinney and Rosa Clemente are talking about, while Barack Obama and Joe Biden remain silent," said Cliff Thornton, co-chair of the Green Party of the United States and co-founder of Efficacy, Inc. ( "The Democrats don't want to discuss the
devastation caused by the failed War on Drugs, or abuses by the police, courts, and Homeland Security authorities. They won't mention the theft of the 2000 and 2004 elections by the Republicans or address the mass displacement of poor and African American people from New Orleans. For Cynthia and Rosa, these are major issues affecting the future of our country."

Meanwhile, the
Ralph Nader-Matt Gonzalez ticket files for the ballot in Kentucky tomorrow and their state coordinator, Jim Wiese, will hold a news conference at the Secretary of State's office at three o'clock in the afternoon tomorrow: "A broad range of issues face Kentucky voters this election. Kentucky has one of the nation's highest illiteracy rates, compounded by fluctuating, and sometimes frozen, teacher salaries. Coal strip mining continues in Eastern Kentucky, despite its devastating effects on the environment. Lastly, a universal health care plan is definitely needed in a state which holds a high incidence of diabetes cases. The Nader/Gonzalez Campaign offers solutions to these and many other problems facing the working families of Kentucky that Obama /McCain fail to offer. For example, Nader and Gonzalez will guarantee a decent education for all, ban mountaintop removal and launch a "Marshall Plan" to repair the Nation's crumbling schools, clinic, roads, bridges and other important infrastructure, creating millions of new jobs. Nader/Gonzalez favors a Canadian-style, private delivery, free choice of hospital and doctor, public health insurance system." Team Nader notes:

The general election campaign kicks off today.
To rev up our engines,
drop $8 on Nader/Gonzalez now.
That's one dollar a week between now and election day--November 4.
I've worked on all three Nader campaigns--2000, 2004, and 2008.
And trust me on this one. This year, we have the best chance to break through.
There's a serious and growing independent movement away from the corporate Democrats and Republicans.
We're going to be on more state ballots this year -- 45 states (plus the District of Columbia) compared to 34 in 2004 and 44 in 2000.
We're heading toward double digits in a number of key state polls.
And because we are going to implement a nationwide get out the vote drive that will put 2000 and 2004 to shame.
Translation -- we're shooting for a three way race.
The last sixty days between now and election day will be a blur.
We have our Minneapolis rally coming up later this week. (If we don't all get arrested first -- apparently the police in Minneapolis arrest you for political organizing.)
We're in the process of transferring our ballot access crew over to our nationwide get out the vote drive.
And then it's going to be all out, pedal to the metal --- precinct by precinct drive --- until November 4--to let the American people know that they have a choice.
It's been one helluva year so far.
And it's going one knock down drag out fight.
Bring it on.
But first things first.
Thanks to your help, we have not missed one fundraising goal this year. And we don't plan to start now.
We're entering the home stretch of our most recent drive.
We're at $55,000.
But we need to hit $100,000 in three days -- by this coming Thursday September 4. That's $15,000 a day. It's go time.
So, give whatever you can afford now -- $10, $20, $50, $100.
And remember,
if you give $100 or more now, we'll send you three DVDs -- the Denver rally, the Minneapolis rally, and a special debate DVD. (Three DVD offer ends September 4 at 11:59 p.m.)
Onward to November.
And what we hope will be a three-way race.
Jason Kafoury, National Campaign Coordinator

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