Thursday, January 10, 2008


Starting with war resistance.  Proving the knowledge is power, Peter J. Swing (Asian Week) explains how Ehren Watada became convinced that he had to refuse to deploy to the Iraq War, "He haunted the Fort Lewis library, which contains an extraordinary number of military documents, archives and databases, and scoured volumes on military history, particularly in Iraq. 'I read the history of units that have gone during the initial invasion to gain a broader knowledge of what I could expect,' he said. At the time, it was more than the war that was making headlines; the Valerie Plame case, Supreme Court nominations and the country's heightened surveillance, all questioned the legitimacy of the war in Iraq. 'I was looking at who was trying to protect us,' Watada said. 'Who is standing up and speaking out for the soldiers' I told myself that nobody is'."  Which is how Watada began the process that led him (June 2006) to become the first officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq.
Stephen Funk is the first public war resister after the illegal war broke out.  Camilo Mejia is the first public war resister who served in the war.  Jeremy Hinzman and Brandon Hughey were the first war resisters to publicy seek refugee status in Canada.  November 15th, the Supreme Court of Canada refused to hear the appeals of  war resisters Jeremy Hinzman and Brandon Hughey.  Parliament is the solution.Three e-mails addresses to focus on are: Prime Minister Stephen Harper ( -- that's pm at who is with the Conservative party and these two Liberals, Stephane Dion ( -- that's Dion.S at who is the leader of the Liberal Party and Maurizio Bevilacqua ( -- that's Bevilacqua.M at who is the Liberal Party's Critic for Citizenship and Immigration. A few more can be found here at War Resisters Support Campaign. For those in the US, Courage to Resist has an online form that's very easy to use. Both War Resisters Support Campaign and Courage to Resist are calling for actions from January 24-26.  The War Resisters Support Campaign has more on the action in Canada:
The War Resisters Support Campaign has called a pan-Canadian mobilization on Saturday, January 26th, 2008 to ensure :
1) that deportation proceedings against U.S. war resisters currently in Canada cease immediately; and 2) that a provision be enacted by Parliament ensuring that U.S. war resisters refusing to fight in Iraq have a means to gain status in Canada.
For listings of local actions, see our
Events page. If you are able to organize a rally in your community, contact the Campaign -- we will list events as details come in.
There is a growing movement of resistance within the US military which includes James Stepp, Rodney Watson, Michael Espinal, Matthew Lowell, Derek Hess, Diedra Cobb, Brad McCall, Justin Cliburn, Timothy Richard, Robert Weiss, Phil McDowell, Steve Yoczik, Ross Spears, Peter Brown, Bethany "Skylar" James, Zamesha Dominique, Chrisopther Scott Magaoay, Jared Hood, James Burmeister, Eli Israel, Joshua Key, Ehren Watada, Terri Johnson, Carla Gomez, Luke Kamunen, Leif Kamunen, Leo Kamunen, Camilo Mejia, Kimberly Rivera, Dean Walcott, Linjamin Mull, Agustin Aguayo, Justin Colby, Marc Train, Abdullah Webster, Robert Zabala, Darrell Anderson, Kyle Snyder, Corey Glass, Jeremy Hinzman, Kevin Lee, Mark Wilkerson, Patrick Hart, Ricky Clousing, Ivan Brobeck, Aidan Delgado, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, Blake LeMoine, Clifton Hicks, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Joshua Casteel, Katherine Jashinski, Dale Bartell, Chris Teske, Matt Lowell, Jimmy Massey, Chris Capps, Tim Richard, Hart Viges, Michael Blake, Christopher Mogwai, Christian Kjar, Kyle Huwer, Wilfredo Torres, Michael Sudbury, Ghanim Khalil, Vincent La Volpa, DeShawn Reed and Kevin Benderman. In total, at least fifty US war resisters in Canada have applied for asylum.

Information on war resistance within the military can be found at The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline [(877) 447-4487], Iraq Veterans Against the War and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters. Tom Joad maintains a list of known war resisters. In addition, VETWOW is an organization that assists those suffering from MST (Military Sexual Trauma).

In 1971, over one hundred members of Vietnam Veterans Against the War gathered in Detroit to share their stories with America. Atrocities like the My Lai massacre had ignited popular opposition to the war, but political and military leaders insisted that such crimes were isolated exceptions. The members of VVAW knew differently.
Over three days in January, these soldiers testified on the systematic brutality they had seen visited upon the people of Vietnam. They called it the Winter Soldier investigation, after Thomas Paine's famous admonishing of the "summer soldier" who shirks his duty during difficult times. In a time of war and lies, the veterans who gathered in Detroit knew it was their duty to tell the truth.
Over thirty years later, we find ourselves faced with a new war. But the lies are the same. Once again, American troops are sinking into increasingly bloody occupations. Once again, war crimes in places like Haditha, Fallujah, and Abu Ghraib have turned the public against the war. Once again, politicians and generals are blaming "a few bad apples" instead of examining the military policies that have destroyed Iraq and Afghanistan.
Once again, our country needs Winter Soldiers.
In March of 2008, Iraq Veterans Against the War will gather in our nation's capital to break the silence and hold our leaders accountable for these wars. We hope you'll join us, because yours is a story that every American needs to hear.

March 13th through 16th are the dates for the Winter Soldier Iraq & Afghanistan Investigation. 
[. . .]
Turning to US 'political' commentary.  The long list of embarrassments just gets longer.  Mike observed Robert Scheer's disgrace yesterday.   Today Lotta' Links weighs in.  Lotta' Links ponders "identity politics" in terms of Hillary Clinton's win -- but he rushes to assure that "identity politics" played no part in Iowa.  Isn't it always interesting to hear allegedly left male gas bags tell us that an attack on a man is out of bounds and must be called out; however, calling out an attack on a woman is "identity politics."  What they fail to grasp is that they're playing "identity politics."  The male is not universal but that's the lie, right?  Then and now.  Sexism exists and is repeatedly minimized.  That's among the many points Gloria Steinem made in "Women Are Never Front-Runners" (New York Times) and obviously it was too much reality for many. 
Lotta Links gets off a lot of laughable claims (such as "No generally progressive news website has been stronger than" Lotta Links "in championing the full empowerment of women" -- Ha!  They can't even highlight the majority of female newspaper columnists on the left) but this may be the big one: "Women over 40 all have had countless sexist experiences".  The pigs & piglets like to admit sexism -- in the past, you understand.  'Before they were adults, some men may have done some really bad things, you understand, but that was then and this is now.'  Reality, women under forty can tell you about their experiences with sexism as well.  (Not all, some women -- of either age group -- maintain it doesn't exist.)  But Lotta Links is a student of today's hula-hoop, like so many other of these men, and remember it's the 'framing' (it took women to call out the nonsense of that hula-hoop -- and men to ignore it).  So the 'frame' is, "I'll admit some bad things were done to women -- years ago -- and then I'll explain, 'Hey, Chickie-baby-boom-boom, get over it.  That's the past.  Get with the program!'" 
The program is: "Vote for Bambi."  Women, we've been thrown under the bus.  It shouldn't shock us.  Gays and lesbians were thrown under the bus at the end of October by Bambi.  That didn't matter either.  The left stayed silent and played dumb.  A Democrat held an event in South Carolina -- a Democrat who wants to be president of the United States -- and he put known homophobes (plural) onstage.  He did so despite many organizations asking him not to.  He did so and he got away with it.  Note the silence on the left.  That was October and it's still not resulted in angry editorials.  Has Matthew Rothschild bothered to sound the alarms?  Not only did homophobes take the stage, they expressed their homophobia to those gathered.  And Bambi got a pass.  Meanwhile, in the real world where facts matter, Peggy Simpson (WMC) points out the obvious, Clinton "won among all Democrats older than 40" -- that's women and men and pay attention for the shocker -- "but, in contrast to Iowa, also won voters aged 25-29.  She took the majority of married voters, by 38 to 33, and scored big among single women, who were 22 percent of the overall vote."  In other words, she appealed to a wide range of Democratic voters.  None of the gas bags want to talk about how Barack Obama can't even fire up the Democratic base, do they?
At Black Agenda Report, real journalists have repeatedly noted bi-racial Barack gears his campaign, his speeches, his whole persona to White voters. As BAR's Glen Ford noted on Democracy Now! yesterday, Bambi's "done that at the expense of black people, by constantly, relentlessly sending out signals to white people that a vote for Barack Obama, an Obama presidency, would signal the beginning of the end of black-specific agitation, that it would take race discourse off of the table."  And White media gives Bambi a pass there. So women have already been tossed under the bus by Bambi -- African-American women, lesbians of all races -- and now it's time for him to toss the entire gender.  And you know what, beyond the gas bags, Democratic voters really don't like that game.  They're insulted by it and that's why Democratic voters have not given Bambi women thus far -- even in laughable Iowa he depended upon 'indpendents.'
But it's women voters who are playing "indentity politics."  Only in the minds of so many PIGS could self-respect be seen as "identity politics."  But "women voters" gave Hillary New Hampshire (so did a lot of men) and you know how we are, I mean our minds are still reeling from those kind men 'giving' us the vote, right?  And there was that gorgeous strappie that we really, really wanted so, in those two minutes of thought that we're capable of, we said, 'Hmm, Hillary! Okay, where do we go to lunch?' 
That's really what this nonsense is.  It's saying women aren't smart enough to know how to vote.  Lotta Link's Pig-In-Chief Mark shows up to tell us how to vote because we need reminders from a man.  You know those paper ballots can be heavy and those touch screen's can be confusing, maybe a man can help us with those as well? 
Bambi "has no generally relied on identity politics" Piggy Mark says.  Of course, not, he's a man and he is 'universal,' right.  Pig continues, "he has risen above it" -- must have been that dangling Y chromosome, right?  Let's cut through the crap, a woman wins New Hampshire -- apparently fueled by women showing up at the polls, and Piggy Mark  oinks, "Let's make our choice on what is best for the nation, not what is best for us personally."  Yeah, we gals need the reminder, right?  Without a man to try to shame us, we'd just go voting willy-nilly.  Good of the nation?  Didn't occur to us.  We're not all that smart, right?
That's what the lectures and the whines from all these men really says.  And it makes clear that our needs -- which our universal needs -- will always be written off as "identity politics."  Our experience is the universal.  We are in the majority. We are the norm. 
Thank goodness Bambi has all of his White Male defenders.  Without them, where would he be?  People might discuss his homophobia -- HIS homophobia.  When he chooses to put homophobes on stage, it is homophobia.  It doesn't matter if he says, "Some of my best friends are gays and lesbians," as a politican he put homphobes on stage last October.  Or people might notice that Bambi's not 'anti-war.'  He's not anti-Iraq War, obviously, but he's not anti-war.  Without his groupies, Bambi might actually have to compete for votes -- and that would include competing with John Edwards and Hillary Clinton.  For the Bambi Groupies, that is very scary and the "and Hillary Clinton" is probably scariest of all for them.  Bill Clinton spoke the truth on Bambi and Iraq.  Matthew Rothschild was wrong (and has issued no correction, so read Elaine's post on the pathetic nature of independent media since Rothschild's bound and determined to prove her right). Bill Clinton was right.
"But since you raised the judgment issue, let's go over this again. That is the central argument for his campaign. 'It doesn't matter that I started running for president less a year after I got to the Senate from the Illinois State Senate. I am a great speaker and a charismatic figure and I'm the only one who had the judgment to oppose this war from the beginning. Always, always, always.' "
"First it is factually not true that everybody that supported that resolution supported Bush attacking Iraq before the UN inspectors were through. Chuck Hagel was one of the co-authors of that resolution. The only Republican Senator that always opposed the war. Every day from the get-go. He authored the resolution to say that Bush could go to war only if they didn't co-operate with the inspectors and he was assured personally by Condi Rice as many of the other Senators were. So, first the case is wrong that way."
"Second, it is wrong that Senator Obama got to go through 15 debates trumpeting his superior judgment and how he had been against the war in every year, numerating the years, and never got asked one time, not once, 'Well, how could you say, that when you said in 2004 you didn't know how you would have voted on the resolution? You said in 2004 there was no difference between you and George Bush on the war and you took that speech you're now running on off your website in 2004* and there's no difference in your voting record and Hillary's ever since?' Give me a break.
"This whole thing is the biggest fairy tale I've ever seen...So you can talk about Mark Penn all you want. What did you think about the Obama thing calling Hillary the Senator from Punjab? Did you like that?"
"Or what about the Obama hand out that was covered up, the press never reported on, implying that I was a crook? Scouring me, scathing criticism, over my financial reports. Ken Starr spent $70 million and indicted innocent people to find out that I wouldn't take a nickel to see the cow jump over the moon.
"So, you can take a shot at Mark Penn if you want. It wasn't his best day. He was hurt, he felt badly that we didn't do better in Iowa. But you know, the idea that one of these campaigns is positive and the other is negative when I know the reverse is true and I have seen it and I have been blistered by it for months, is a little tough to take. Just because of the sanitizing coverage that's in the media, doesn't mean the facts aren't out there. "
"*" It was 2003 when it was first disappeared as Glen Ford pointed out yesterday.  There's another narrative out there right now.  Lotta Links and others couldn't shut up about the "Big Dog" for years and years.  Bill's every word was gold.  They rushed to praise him, they rushed to quote him.  Now? They ridicule or ignore him.  The underlying narrative there is that Hillary is so all-powerful she's controlled his mind.  He's no longer speaking for himself -- so he doesn't need to be quoted -- he's being controlled by a woman.  If you're missing it, this is the right-wing smear coming from the center-left and the left.  Repeating, I don't care who you vote for (or even if you vote -- nor I have endorsed any candidate except Cindy Sheehan for the 8th US Congressional district in California).  Unlike like Little Media, I do care about Iraq.  And it's neither fair nor honest to apply one standard to one candidate (Hillary) and to apply no standards to Bambi.  He's a media-created fantasy and didn't we see how nasty it could get over the last few days as a little sunlight flooded in?  If you support the illegal war then applaud Big and Little Media because they have refused to apply standards to Barack Obama (and they don't want to touch on his think-tank -- doing so would underscore that a Bambi president would result in even more wars).  But if ending the Iraq War matters to you, the lessons to take away is that there are three Democrats in the race: John Edwards, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.  Two of them are not different on Iraq (Clinton and Obama).  One makes noises about being different (John Edwards) but isn't running on it and for every brave remark he makes on Iraq, he falls silent for many days.  The peace movement isn't the Democratic Party.  Nor is the Democratic Party the only game in town for voters.  Those planning to vote Democratic currently should be informed of the realities regarding the candidates and Iraq and Little Media hasn't done that.  Those looking elsewhere or open to doing so should especially pay attention this Sunday, January 13th, when the Green Party presidential debate in San Francisco (moderated by Cindy Sheehan) is held with Cynthia McKinney, Kent Mesplay, Jard Bell and Ralph Nader to participate.  The Green Party notes, "The first, and only, live debate between candidates on the Green Party's California ballot for President of the United States - featuring a former Democratic Party member of Congress, consumer protection icon, professor and environmental engineer - is scheduled here January 13, said John Morton of the Green Party Presidential Debate Committee."  The debate starts at two p.m., Herbst Theater in the Veterans Memorial Building on 401 Van Ness Avenue. 
RECOMMENDED: "Iraq snapshot"

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