Thursday, March 20, 2014

Yusuf Islam and Hal Ashby

Yusuf Islam.  I think I called him Cat Stevens in a recent post on male singer-songwriters I liked.

Cat changed his name to Yusuf.  We have the album cover of Tea for Tilleman up in the bedroom, on the wall.  Because it's one of my all time favorite albums.  (I knew him in the 70s, by the way. I'm sure Rebecca's noted that somewhere on her blog and I don't want someone e-mailing, "How come you acted like you didn't know him!"  I knew him.  C.I. did and I know she still has contact with him.)

He was Cat then and when I say or type Cat Stevens, it's out of habit and not meant as a comment on anything else.

He changed his name to Yusuf Islam, as he had every right to do and I have no problem with that other than my memory (sometimes forgetting).  Also, Cat Stevens was his stage name.

So anyway.

In the snapshot, C.I. notes Yusuf (I typed "Cat" and had to go back and change it) today, specifically his song "If You Want To Sing Out, Sing Out" -- a song we both love.

That's the version most people know.  C.I. linked to a demo version in the snapshot.

Yusuf has a voice that's both delicate and strong -- not a different points but in the same phrasing.

It's almost as though two people are singing at once, striking a harmony.

Harold and Maude is the film the song's from.

It's one of the great Hal Asbhy films. His other great films include "Second-Hand Hearts," "Being There," "Coming Home," "The Last Detail," "The Landlord" and, of course, "Shampoo."

That Yusuf could have produced the body of music he did or Asbhy the films he did seems impossible when you look at music and film today.

Both Yusuf and Ashby actually had something to say and share.  When's the last time new music or a new film made you feel that way?

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Wednesday, March 19, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue, the assault on Anbar continues, the media's actions get some attention, Ed Snowden speaks at a conference, a writer feels Chelsea Manning has been abandoned, and more.

Hugh Gusterson (Truthout) has an important piece on the lack of Iraq coverage in the US news media and how it gets covered when it does get covered it's very hollow coverage that is phoned in and always grasps at "al Qaeda" as the possible culprit and that passes for an 'explanation.'  Gusterson observes:

In other words, this article normalizes the violence in Iraq. By disconnecting the violence from the Iraqi political process, it renders it politically unintelligible and somehow intrinsic to Iraqi society. Like hot summers, it just is. It is as if a journalist reported IRA bombing attacks without mentioning that Irish Republicans felt they were oppressed and disenfranchised by the British government and Anglo-Irish protestants. Once you take away the political logic of violence - which US journalists never did to US military forces in Iraq - then you are left with the illusion that violence is being carried out for violence's sake.

It's a good analysis, very good, make a point to read it in full.

News isn't wall paper.

That's a point a friend at The Nation doesn't seem to grasp.

I called out Greg Mitchell in yesterday's snapshot and a friend with the magazine called to gripe that Mitchell is raising attention on Iraq with his bad reposts of information from 2002.

No, he's not.

And you're an idiot if you think he is.

Greg's garbage is so bad that The Nation won't print it.  They just toss it online.

Well, here's the thing.

There's a ton of stuff online already if anyone's looking for past history on the Iraq War -- that includes Greg's 'new' articles.

People clicking on Greg's tired retread due to interest in Iraq?

A small segment will feel their blood pump with lust and hatred and read through Greg's ancient history and relive their Bully Boy Bush hatred.

A larger group will just move on.

And not only will they move on -- because they already know this old story -- but they will also move on assuming that there's nothing new in Iraq because, surely, if there was anything that happened in Iraq in the last few years, The Nation wouldn't be boring us with tales of 2002 in 2014.

Greg's nonsense is harmful.  It leave the false impression that there is no story in Iraq today -- that the country matters solely because of events leading up to the Iraq War.

Considering the absence of coverage in the US on Iraq, there is no excuse for The Nation magazine to print Greg's garbage.  If he can't write about events of today or connect to the past to what's going on right now (Fatimah can and does at Carbonated TV), he doesn't need to be writing 'about' Iraq because all he does is create the false impression that time stopped in 2002.

The violence and suffering has not stopped for the Iraqi people.  Through Tuesday, Iraq Body Count counts 585 violent deaths for the month so far.

Violence continues today.


Press TV notes, "In the town of Ishaqi, in the north of the capital Baghdad, four policemen were killed and four others were wounded as they were checking on a parked car that had a booby-trapped corpse inside. The body exploded after the officers opened the car door."   National Iraqi News Agency reports  3 Samarra houses were bombed today leaving 2 children dead and seven adults ("including two policemen, police officer"] injured, a Laitfiya sticky bombing left 1 person dead, an Alshura roadside bombing left 1 Iraqi soldier dead and two more injured, an Alfarisiys roadside bombing claimed 1 life and left four more people injured, an Albahbhan roadside bombing left 3 "army personnel" dead and four more injured, Baghdad Operations Command announced they killed 8 suspects, a Samarra bombing left 1 person dead and four more injured, and 2 western Baghdad bombings (Alnasr Wassalam area) left 1 person dead and five more injured,  Alsumaria notes the Wassalam (western Baghdad) bombing death toll increased by 1 to two people dead, and a Mosul grenade attack left two police members injured. In addition, All Iraq News reports:

Security source reported to AIN ''Nine mortar shells hit the houses of the civilians in several areas of Salah-il-Din province that resulted in killing five children, two women and four men.'
'''Seven IEDs were detonated targeting the houses of the police elements in Samarra city that resulted in killing (11) persons, among them four children and seven women,'' the source added.


National Iraqi News Agency reports an attack on a Tarqiah Village checkpoint left 3 Sahwa dead and two civilians injured, a Muqdadiyah attack left 1 police officer and 2 of his bodyguards injured, 2 people were shot dead in Taji,  a battle in Jurf al-Sakar left 2 rebels dead, the Ministry of the Interior states that they killed 5 suspects in Jurf al-Sakhar1 Shabak was shot dead in Mosul, Baghdad Operations Command announced they killed 8 suspects,   federal police colonel Abboud dawood was shot dead leaving a Mosque in Jood Village at dawn, and, late last night, the "Imam of Sheikh Abdullah mosque [was shot dead], in front of his home south of Mosul."  Alsumaria notes  2 separate shootings east of Mosul 2 bodyguards for a judge were shot dead.

Burned alive?

National Iraqi News Agency reports an Joint Operations Command boasts they they burned alive 10 suspects who were in cars they set ablaze.

Grasp that for a moment.  Wrap your mind around it.

Pretend for a second that you're seven-years-old and one of the suspects killed -- burned alive -- was your father.

This is the how  and the why of the creation of terrorism.

Your father was burned alive.

You grow up knowing that, living with that.

You didn't just lose your father because of a drunk driver, an illness or some horrible accident, the government killed him -- and they killed him by burning him alive.

And they announced it with gusto.

He wasn't even provided with one of the mock trials the current government's become so famous for.

You grow up with that and you grow up with desire for vengeance, a need to even the score.

And because of where you stand, in relation to the US-approved Iraqi government, you are judged to be a terrorist and your actions are judged to be terrorism.

Nouri al-Maliki's entire operation is breeding resistance and fighting.  And since it hasn't worked throughout his first term as prime minister or the bulk of his second term, he's decided to double down and thinks he can kill off resistance faster than it can grow up.

That's not going to happen.

AFP notes, "In Wednesday's deadliest incidents, shelling by government forces in Fallujah and clashes in and around the city killed 15 people and wounded 40, according to Ahmed Shami, the chief medic at the city's main hospital."  How many innocent people will die in Nouri's assault on Anbar before the US government slaps its forehead and exclaims, "Oh, yeah! Collective punishment, that's a defined War Crime -- by laws, including our own -- also by treaties -- ones that we've signed off on!"?

Because the US government is now a collaborator in War Crimes.  The White House has ensured that by supplying Nouri with weapons to use against the people of Anbar.  And to dress up an old saying, amnesia of the law is no excuse.

Since December 30, Nouri has been assaulting Anbar.  Violence hasn't gone down.  It's increased throughout Iraq.  And yet the assault continues.  Today is March 19th.  Iraq is supposed to hold parliamentary elections April 30th.  How's that going to happen with the ongoing assault on Anbar?

January 20th, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon declared, "I have just returned from the region, including my fifth visit to Iraq. The country is again facing serious threats to its stability. I discussed my concerns with many Iraqi leaders and urged all sides to remain committed to political dialogue and uphold respect for the rule of law and human rights. I was reassured by their pledge to hold parliamentary elections as scheduled on 30 April."  But they're not.

Already they're not.

I don't know if it's that people don't get it or if it's that they don't care.  The illegal war in Iraq created the largest refugee crisis the region had seen in over sixty years.  Many fled to neighboring countries.  That's why, in 2010, polling stations for the elections were all over the world.  Syria has a large number -- even now -- of Iraqi refugees.  It has been decided that refugees in Syria will not be allowed to vote (see the March 3rd snapshot).  That's received very little coverage.

Then again, it really just effects the Sunnis so maybe that's why it didn't receive any coverage?

Will elections take place elsewhere?  It's been a question for some time.  Last fall,  Adnan Hussein (Al-Monitor) reported:

As soon as the results of the Iraqi provincial council elections in April 2013 were announced, some within political circles and the media speculated that Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki may seek to postpone parliamentary elections scheduled for next spring to an unspecified date.
The speculations were triggered by a significant decline in Maliki’s popularity, as seen in the provincial elections. This decline, of course, is due to the failure of Maliki's government to achieve its promises, particularly in the area of ​​security and public services.
Initially, there were speculations that Maliki may resort to postponement to buy some time and regain his lost popularity. But later, a rumor arose of the possibility that Maliki and his coalition may conduct a coup against the democratic path of the political process.
This possibility was raised by a Sadrist MP, thus making the coup scenario more credible. The Sadrists are the allies of the State of Law coalition within the National Iraqi Alliance, the largest partner in the current government. They know what is happening on the inside.
In a press statement, Iraqi MP Amir al-Kanani said he feared that there will be no peaceful transfer of power if “the results of the upcoming elections turn out different than what Maliki is aiming for.” 

Ayad Allawi's Iraqiya won the 2010 parliamentary elections but Barack Obama went around the will of the people to give Nouri al-Maliki a second term the voters didn't want him to have.  Allawi spoke about the elections yesterday.   National Iraqi News Agency reported:

Allawi said in a speech during a meeting with youth organizations of the coalition, that there are indications that the parliamentary elections will not be held in Iraq under the current conditions in Iraq.
He added that one of these indicators is the announcement of the Electoral Commission for elections for the presence of the sale and falsification of voter electronic cards.
He said Allawi that the another indicator is the processes of exclusion of candidates from political activists forcibly, and expressed his confidence that Iraqi judiciary keep on the legal situation in Iraq and the government institutions needed to apply the law.

On disqualifying candidates, Mushreq Abbas (Al Monitor) reports:

This time the controversy was accompanied by a debate on the loose mechanisms preventing those covered by the de-Baathification measures from running in the elections, after the judicial committee, which is associated with the Independent High Electoral Commission, issued a resolute and unappealable decision against a group of current members of parliament and ministers. This group includes Rafi al-Issawi from the Mutahidoun bloc, Abdul Dhiab al-Ojailim member of the Iraqiya List, Jawad al-Shahyla and Sabah al-Saadi from the al-Ahrar movement and Mithal al-Alusi of the Civil Movement.
The legal framework for this disqualification comes under Article 8 of the Iraqi Electoral Law, which sets forth conditions that electoral candidates must meet. This includes the condition that candidates "shall be of good conduct and shall not be convicted for a dishonorable crime." Meanwhile, the lawsuits that have been filed against the disqualified MPs have mostly been related to statements they made, or corruption charges that have not been ruled on given the legislative immunity granted to MPs.
In form, the disqualification goes in line with the text of the aforementioned article and ensures that defendants are brought to court once immunity is removed, and that their victory in the elections will prevent them from facing the charges brought against them for four more years.
As a matter of content, the immunity prevents MPs from being legally considered as "defendants," and therefore are innocent until proven guilty. The guilt shall only be proven in a resolute and applicable court ruling, which was stated in the same article, provided that a ruling is issued against the disqualified candidate.

Moving to a different topic . . .

Well if you want to sing out, sing out
And if you want to be free, be free
Cause there's a million things to be
You know that there are
-- "If You Want To Sing Out, Sing Out,"  written by Yusuf Islam, first appeared in the film Harold and Maude and most recently appeared on The Very Best of Cat Stevens.

Turning to the topic of whistle-blowers, the US has produced many but the two most notable of recent times have been Ed Snowden and Chelsea Manning.

Let's start with Ed because he did a brave thing and didn't play coy or be a little tease about it.

What did he do?   Ed Snowden is an American citizen and whistle-blower who had been employed by the CIA and by the NSA before leaving government employment for the more lucrative world of contracting.  At the time he blew the whistle, he was working for Booz Allen Hamilton doing NSA work.  Glenn Greenwald (Guardian) had the first scoop (and many that followed) on Snowden's revelations that the US government was spying on American citizens, keeping the data on every phone call made in the United States (and in Europe as well) while also spying on internet use via PRISM and Tempora.  US Senator Bernie Sanders decried the fact that a "secret court order" had been used to collect information on American citizens "whether they are suspected of any wrongdoing."  Sanders went on to say, "That is not what democracy is about.  That is not what freedom is about. [. . .] While we must aggressively pursue international terrorists and all of those who would do us harm, we must do it in a way that protects the Constitution and civil liberties which make us proud to be Americans."  The immediate response of the White House, as Dan Roberts and Spencer Ackerman (Guardian) reported,  was to insist that there was nothing unusual and to get creaky and compromised Senator Dianne Feinstein to insist, in her best Third Reich voice, "People want to keep the homeland safe."  The spin included statements from Barack himself.   Anita Kumar (McClatchy Newspapers) reported, "Obama described the uproar this week over the programs as 'hype' and sought to ensure Americans that Big Brother is not watching their every move."  Josh Richman (San Jose Mercury News) quoted Barack insisting that "we have established a process and a procedure that the American people should feel comfortable about."  Apparently not feeling the gratitude, the New York Times editorial board weighed in on the White House efforts at spin, noting that "the Obama administration issued the same platitude it has offered every time President Obama has been caught overreaching in the use of his powers: Terrorists are a real menace and you should just trust us to deal with them because we have internal mechanisms (that we are not going to tell you about) to make sure we do not violate your rights."  Former US President Jimmy Carter told CNN, "I think that the secrecy that has been surrounding this invasion of privacy has been excessive, so I think that the bringing of it to the public notice has probably been, in the long term, beneficial."  Since August, he has temporary asylum status in Russia.

Today,  Iain Thomson (UK's Register) reports Ed "appeared on stage at a TED conference in Canada via a remote-controlled robotic screen -- and was hailed as a hero by the Web's founding father Sir Tim Berners-Lee."  Ed spoke to conference about the need for "a Magna Carta for the internet" and stated there were more explosive articles to come on the US government's illegal spying.

Turning to Chelsea Manning who was Bradley Manning until recently.  Monday April 5, 2010, WikiLeaks released  military video of a July 12, 2007 assault in Iraq. 12 people were killed in the assault including two Reuters journalists Namie Noor-Eldeen and Saeed Chmagh. Monday June 7, 2010, the US military announced that they had arrested Bradley Manning and he stood accused of being the leaker of the video. Leila Fadel (Washington Post) reported in August 2010 that Manning had been charged -- "two charges under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. The first encompasses four counts of violating Army regulations by transferring classified information to his personal computer between November and May and adding unauthorized software to a classified computer system. The second comprises eight counts of violating federal laws governing the handling of classified information." In March, 2011, David S. Cloud (Los Angeles Times) reported that the military has added 22 additional counts to the charges including one that could be seen as "aiding the enemy" which could result in the death penalty if convicted. The Article 32 hearing took place in December. At the start of this year, there was an Article 32 hearing and, February 3rd, it was announced that the government would be moving forward with a court-martial. Bradley has yet to enter a plea. The court-martial was supposed to begin before the November 2012 election but it was postponed until after the election so that Barack wouldn't have to run on a record of his actual actions. adds, "A court martial is set to be held in June at Ford Meade in Maryland, with supporters treating him as a hero, but opponents describing him as a traitor."  February 28, 2013, Bradley admitted he leaked to WikiLeaks.  And why.

Bradley Manning:   In attempting to conduct counter-terrorism or CT and counter-insurgency COIN operations we became obsessed with capturing and killing human targets on lists and not being suspicious of and avoiding cooperation with our Host Nation partners, and ignoring the second and third order effects of accomplishing short-term goals and missions. I believe that if the general public, especially the American public, had access to the information contained within the CIDNE-I and CIDNE-A tables this could spark a domestic debate on the role of the military and our foreign policy in general as [missed word] as it related to Iraq and Afghanistan.
I also believed the detailed analysis of the data over a long period of time by different sectors of society might cause society to reevaluate the need or even the desire to even to engage in counterterrorism and counterinsurgency operations that ignore the complex dynamics of the people living in the effected environment everyday.

Tuesday, July 30th, Bradley was convicted of all but two counts by Colonel Denise Lind, the military judge in his court-martial.  August 21st, Bradley was given a lengthy prison sentence. Following the verdict, Manning issued a press release which included, "I am Chelsea Manning.  I am a female."

Today, Katey Pants (PQ Monthly) argues that Chelsea has been abandoned:

During her service, her arrest, detainment, and trial, she was talked about as Bradley Manning. Those who cared about her and those who reviled her, however, knew she was not just a gay man serving in the military—but a trans woman. This was a queer person. Simultaneously happening was the debate around and ultimately the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT). Now, if you have really been living under a rock, DADT was the homophobic policy of how LGBT folks could approach disclosing their sexuality—i.e. don’t ask people about their sexuality and don’t tell people about yours.
It was interesting, telling, and saddening to watch these two debates about the future of Chelsea and the future of queer people in the military be so compartmentalized. I remember plenty of times trying to bring it up—one conversation after another with those who don’t share my worldview—and I was told, “These are separate,” “This is different,” “This has nothing to do with Chelsea Manning, this is about our rights.”

I have been confused about the lack of dialogue or really any sort of action from the greater LGBT community—especially groups whose voice can often be heard. The coverage of her gender identity, the clinical uses of gender identity disorder, and how her actions in relation to her being trans—all these gave the world the impression that this was not a critical person with impeccable ethics but instead an insane trans woman. Not a word came from the gays with power when highly-pixelated, dehumanizing photos of her in a wig were paraded around the internet so people could gawk at this woman who would now be portrayed a national traitor.

Unless you're new to this site, you know I have a very low tolerance for crap.

This claim is an outright falsehood, "Those who cared about her and those who reviled her, however, knew she was not just a gay man serving in the military -- but a trans woman."

They knew no such thing.  Chelsea didn't even know at that point in 2010.  If she had, she would have announced it immeidately to avoid being known as Bradley Manning.  Justin Raimondo ( wrote of feeling that they were attempting to portray her sexuality -- the US media and the government (or have they melded enough that we can refer to them as US mediament?) -- in a way to make her seem strange and weird.  Chelsea didn't speak to the public, didn't issue any statements to the public.

So stop lying.  You cheapen your entire argument with that lie.

After the verdict last year, Chelsea immediately issued a statement briefly (very briefly) acknowlding the support she had received and then announncing that she was now a woman and would be called Chelsea Manning.

The only time she bothered to issue a staement -- and this long way towards explaining one reason she has so little support today -- slamming Ann Wright because Ann called her a peace activist and Chelsea wants the world to know she's just not that in fact, she coyly offered, maybe she's even pro-war.

At this late date, she can't say whether she supported the illegal war or not?

Maybe that's why people aren't rushing to 'support' her.

More to the point, she was sentenced (and renounced her own actions -- the actions  so many of us applauded).  She's not been abandoned.  Robin Long and Ivan Brobeck, to name but two, can argue they were abandoned.  They spoke out and told the truth about Iraq, they refused to serve in the illegal war.  Long was forced out of Canada in what can only be called extraordinary rendition and was then pretty much forgotten by the media (by pretty much everyone except for Courage To Resist).


Poor Ivan.  We coined the term "The Full Brobeck" for the way the media disappeared war resisters and no one was disappeared more than Ivan who returned to the US and turned himself in on the day of the 2006 US mid-term elections and who even released a public letter to Bully Boy Bush:

I left for Iraq in March of 2004. It wasn't until I got there that I found out what was really happening. I didn't need the news or to hear speeches to tell me that what was happening there was wrong. It was all as clear as day. The city I went to was called Mahmudiyah, and had around 200,000 people. There was just a constant disrespect for the people, like pointing guns at the people just to get them to stop. There was also harsh treatment of detainees.
I remember one night I had come back to base after a nighttime raid, and was clearing my rifle in a clearing barrel. I turned around, and out of the corner of my eye I saw something get thrown out of the back of a truck called a 7 ton (the bed of the truck is about 6 to 7ft high). It looked like a person, but I thought I was mistaken, that since it was dark outside my eyes were probably playing tricks on me.
When a lot of Marines started gathering around and quietly talking I went to see what they were looking at. It was an Iraqi detainee with his hands behind his back and a sandbag over is head. The detainee's body was convulsing and his breathing sounded like he was snoring. When the sand bag was taken off his head and a light was shined in his face I could see that his eyes were swollen shut and his nose was clogged with blood.

Despite that, he was ignored by the press.  And they were disappeared, Robin and Ivan, the minute they were put behind bars.  So was Kim Rivera.  And she gave birth behind bars. This month, Bob Meola and Michael McKee (Courage to Resist) reported on Kim who is finally free:

After returning to the United States after five years in Canadian exile with her family (husband Mario and four children), Kimberly, then pregnant with their fifth, was arrested and sentenced to 10 months in brig. Despite public pressure for leniency and Amnesty International recognizing her as a prisoner of conscience, Kimberly was denied even a meager 45-day early release to give birth and bond with her new son outside of prison.
Forced to give birth in military custody under a chain of command seemingly unable or unwilling to coordinate procedures, Kimberly and her family were subjected to various indignities, ranging from subtle frustrations and discomfort to poor treatment putting both mother and child at risk. As a final insult, Mario was prevented from witnessing his son’s actual birth, while Kimberly was separated from her newborn shortly after giving birth.

“I could have been in worse prison facilities, but they didn’t follow their own rules at the Miramar brig,” says Kimberly. “There was no way I could follow everyone’s different and conflicting rules. There was always drama in that regard.”

You should use the link.  It's an important story.


Just not very important anymore.

She's been sentenced.  After being found guilty, she renounced her actions.  If you want mercy from a military court you seek it minutes before they impose a sentence (but, hey, she had an idiot for an attorney).

I'm unclear on what we're supposed to be doing for Chelsea now.  If she admits that she was wrong to do what she did, I've got others to focus on.  So do most people.

Ann Wright tried to keep Chelsea in the news and her thank you for that -- the entire 'thank you' to the peace movement -- was a bitchy little letter from Chelsea insisting she did not want to be called anti-war and she just might be pro-war.

Look, I can understand her difficulty in admitting she was a woman trapped in a man's body.

But being anti-war doesn't carry a lot of social stigmas.  Even the Pope (every one of them) tries to cultivate the image of being a person of peace.

So Chelsea's 'struggle' with where she stands on war, I don't have the damn time and I'm not in the mood for her drama.  Go live your soap opera in something other than press releases.

Now if there's news around Chelsea, we'll note it.  But in terms of people walking away from her?  I believe her rudeness and her lack of gratitude to people who spent years defending her goes a long, long way towards explaining why Ms. Chelsea Manning lacks the support which Private Bradley Manning had.

I don't even understand how we now advoate on Chelsea behalf?  Does a letter to Barack go something like this now:

Dear President Barack Obama,

Chelsea Manning was a person who served in Iraq and leaked cables to WikiLeaks.  Last year, she was convicted.  Right before being sentenced, she told the court she was wrong to have released the documents to WikiLeaks.

So, Mr. President, since she's admitted she was wrong -- since she's agreeing she should have been convicted -- isn't that enough?  Can't you pardon since she admits she's guilty.  I think she even said she was sorry, Mr. President, so isn't that enough?

Best to Michelle and hope she has a blast in China.

Your number one fan, 

Chelsea's a damn idiot who disrespected the people who defended her.  Having declared her own actions to be wrong, Manning isn't someone most of us have time to waste on.

As one point Katey Pants insists:

Most importantly, Chelsea Manning is ignored because she is a trans woman and in the framework of good gays versus bad queers, trans women are often cast as the undesirable, the embarrassing, and the unwanted. And by ignoring her, mainstream LGBT groups have created an effective political strategy that is inseparable from nationalism and hetero-normativity.

There's an argument that Pants' remarks are only with regards to the LGBTQ community (she's publishing it in a magazine for the gay community).  If so, her argument's also very, very tired and one most people were making (and we made it here) when Chelsea was stripped of  a title for a San Francisco pride parade.  That was June.  Let it go.  There are greater injustices in the world.

Yes, we protested it in real time (and I gave money to a group of people attempting to combat the decision).  And if it happens next week to someone else, we'll object again.  But in the scheme of things for Chelsea Manning, who is behind bars for 35 years (8 if she gets parole), not having the parade title (she was never going to represent in person, it was just a token honor) is really the least of her problems today.

She has an idiot attorney and she's a public relations disaster.  She's done more harm to herself than anyone and that started with her refusal, for nearly three years, to issue statements.  She couldn't even say she did it while she and her attorney expected the public to defend her.  Then, after three years of defending her, she thanks to the public by renouncing her actions?  Then she gets pissy in a press release over the fact that Ann Wright called her a peace activist?  And she states she may be pro-war?

I really don't know who is supposed to be her supporters at this point?

Transgendered War Hawks serving time in prison on felony convictions?

She's not abandoned, she pushed people away.  That's on her.  Tom Selleck had a thriving career and talent and then he seemed distance himself from a certain segment of his fans(gay ones) and he found out how quickly the public could turn.  He had to start over, he had to make it very publicly clear that he didn't consider being gay something hideous.  He was able to rebuild and has a successful TV show today. By contrast, a TV 'teen' actor didn't like being known for playing a gay character.  And his promising career slipped away.  He was able to get some right-wing work (NCIS being one of the most right-wing shows -- in front and behind the camera), guest work, but his career's over.  Myself, were a man with so-so looks and receding hairline trying to continue work beyond playing 'teens'?  I would have been grateful for every fan in the world and not making it known how distasteful I found it that some people thought I was gay (or hoped it) because of the character I played.

Whenever anyone approaches me for an autograph or a photo, I sign or pose and do so gladly.  I have never taken an attitude or been insulted because I wouldn't have had a career if people didn't like my work. You can't reject people and then wonder why they don't support you.  And in terms of the gay community, I can't speak on behalf of them but I can offer based on what I just wrote, that it was a little insulting that Bradley couldn't say he was gay or that he was trans.  Why are they supposed to rush to defend him?  For all they knew, he was straight.  And then, only after he's convicted, does he acknowledge his sexual identity? As a general rule of thumb, GLAAD and other organizations don't make a point to rush to defend those public personalities who are in the closet.  If Bradley didn't get support from LGBTQ organizations it might be because, while he was Bradley Manning, she remained closeted.