Saturday, January 26, 2008

THIS JUST IN! BAMBI & THE KINGPIN

 
THE BIG MAN ARRIVES  
SYCOPHANTS GREET HIM
PLAINCLOTHES COPS GREET HIM
CHICAGO BIG MAN FRESH LIPSTICK GLISTENING
FRESHMAN SENATOR JIVE
FROM WHORES OF TYPEWRITERS
THE PRESS SOUNDS LIKE TYPEWRITERS
THE BIG MAN HE'S NOT LISTENING
HIS LEFT HAND HOLDS HIS RIGHT
WHAT DOES THAT HAND DESIRE
THAT HE GRIPS IT SO TIGHT
 
THE PASSED OVER POLITICIANS ARE CONFERRING
THE MAN WITH THE FEDERAL INDICTMENT IS PURRING
ALL CLAWS FOR NOW WITHDRAWN
ONE BY ONE THEY BRING
HIS RENEGADE STORIES TO BAMBI
HIS CRIMES AND HIS GLORIES TO BAMBI
IN CHALLENGE THEY LOOK ON
POLITIICANS HE HAS TAKEN GROW OLD TOO SOON
HE TILS THEIR TIRED FACES
GENTLY TO THE SPOON.
 
BAMBI IN HIS BED
THE COPS IN THE RAIN ARE HUMMING
THE WIRES IN THE WALLS ARE HUMMING
SOME SONG SOME CRIMINAL SONG
BARS IN HER HEAD
BEATEN FRANTIC AND WHITE WASHED
ROMANTIC AND WHITE WASHED
EACH WITH CHARM TO SWAY
ARE STARING EYE TO EYE
THEY DARE NOT LOOK AWAY
YOU KNOW THEY DARE NOT LOOK AWAY.
 
[ADAPTED FROM JONI MITCHELL'S "EDITH AND THE KINGPIN" OFF HER THE HISSING OF SUMMER LAWNS.]
 
 
 
Starting with war resistance.  Candace Hechman (Seattle Post Intelligencer) notes that Project Safe Haven is staging a "vigil in front of the Canadian consulate in downtown Seattle to plead that AWOL Iraq veterans be allowed to remain in sanctuary in the Great White North" and quotes Gerry Condon explaining, "Canada has a rich tradition of providing sanctuary to those who conscientiously refused to fight in war.  Now it is time for the Canadian government to do the right thing, before it's too late."
 
What's Condon referring to? On 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 (pm@pm.gc.ca -- that's pm at gc.ca) who is with the Conservative party and these two Liberals, Stephane Dion (Dion.S@parl.gc.ca -- that's Dion.S at parl.gc.ca) who is the leader of the Liberal Party and Maurizio Bevilacqua (Bevilacqua.M@parl.gc.ca -- that's Bevilacqua.M at parl.gc.ca) 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.  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.
 
 
Join and support January 25 vigils and delegations in support of U.S. war resisters currently seeking sanctuary Canada. Actions are being planned in Washington D.C., New York, Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles. Supporters will meet with officials at Canadian Consulates across the United States in order underscore that many Americans hope that the Canadian Parliament votes (possible as early as February) in favor of a provision to allow war resisters to remain. Download and distribute Jan. 25-26 action leaflet (PDF).
Supporting the war resisters in Canada is a concrete way to demonstrate your support of the troops who refuse to fight. Help end the war by supporting the growing GI resistance movement today!
Organize a delegation to a Canadian Consulate near you .
Host an event or house-party in support of war resisters.
 
War resister Patrick Hart states, "It's great that people all across Canada and the US are coming out to show support for the war resisters.  My family could be told we have to go back to the States anytime now.  We just want to be able to live here in peace and raise our son, Rian.  We hope that the politicians will let us do that."  Among the actions taking place in Canada on Saturday the 26th:
 
* Toronto at the Bloor Street United Church, 300 Bloor St. West, beginning at 1:00 p.m. and will feature, among others, activist and actress Shirley Douglas, Lawrence Hill (co-author of The Deserter's Tale with Joshua Key) and Member of Parliament Olivia Chow who has led on the issue of war resisters from early on.
 
*Saskaton at Frances Morrison Library Theatre, 311 23rd Street East, from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. in which Joshua Key will be the featured speaker, Navdeep Sidhu and Friends will provide music and Michelle Mason's documentary on war resisters () will be shown.
 
*Vancouver at the main branch of Vancouver Public Library (Georgia and Homer), starting at 1:00 p.m., and featuring IVAW's Ash Woolson and Canadian MP Bill Siksay.
 
 
War resister Brad McCall will speak in Saturday at Fairfield United Church Hall in Victoria (1303 Fairfield Road) starting at 10:00 am, along with MP Denise Savoie.  McCall explains his story in "From the U.S. Army to Canada: a resister's journey" (The Rabble) "One Sergeant explained how he shot a man in an alleyway just for being out after dark. He expressed how easy it was to kill "hajjis" once you did it for the first time. I listened as one soldier told how a specialist in my unit kept a human finger in his wall locker during his entire tour of duty. The laughing ensued as I heard the story of a soldier in another company eating the charred flesh of an Iraqi civilian, the unfortunate victim of an IED attack aimed at American forces. I thought about how callous these men had become, and how horrified I was at the idea of disrespecting human life in such a manner. This is when doubt began to flood my mind."
 
Laura Kaminker (writing at Common Dreams) observes, "In discussing this issue with supposedly progressive Americans, I was shocked - and frankly disgusted - to learn that some people who oppose the war in Iraq do not support the war resisters' cause.  Their argument: 'If they didn't join in the first place, there wouldn't be a war!'  This strikes me as both extremely naive and horribly selfish.  Many of us were fortunate to grow up in homes where questioning authority was encouraged, where dissent and protest were a way of life - not to mention in families that could afford higher education and health care.  If you cannot imagine what kind of background might lead someone to enlist in the US military, I again recommend The Deserter's Tale.  But even if we never would have made such a choice, do we want to see people who have experienced such a radical change of mind punished for their beliefs?  Isn't this the very change of heart that we wish to instill in others?  And most importantly, should a person be imprisoned for refusing to kill?"
 
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, Clara Gomez, Luke Kamunen, Leif Kamunen, Leo Kamunen, Camilo Mejia, Kimberly Rivera, Dean Walcott, Linjamin Mull, Agustin Aguayo, Justin Colby, Marc Train, Abdullah Webster, Robert Zabala, Darrell Anderson, Kyle Snyder, Corey Glass, Jeremy Hinzman, Kevin Lee, Mark Wilkerson, Patrick Hart, Ricky Clousing, Ivan Brobeck, Aidan Delgado, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, Blake LeMoine, Clifton Hicks, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, 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. Dee Knight (Workers World) notes, "IVAW wants as many people as possible to attend the event. It is planning to provide live broadcasting of the sessions for those who cannot hear the testimony firsthand. 'We have been inspired by the tremendous support the movement has shown us,' IVAW says. 'We believe the success of Winter Soldier will ultimately depend on the support of our allies and the hard work of our members'."
 
 


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Thursday, January 24, 2008

THIS JUST IN! ANSWER SOME QUESTIONS ARIANNA!

 
NEWBIE DEMOCRAT ARIANNA HUFFINGTON LEFT THE REPUBLICAN PARTY AND STEPPED OVER TO THE DEMOCRATS WITH OUT EVER REALLY ISSUING A MEA CULPA JUST A LOT OF CRAP THAT SHE ONCE BELIEVED IN THE PARTY.
 
BECAUSE SHE HAD A LOT OF MONEY TO TOSS AROUND, A LOT OF PEOPLE GAVE HER A PASS.
 
AT THE HUFFINGTON POST -- HER BLOG THAT'S FOND OF PULLING TOGETHER QUOTES FROM GEORGE CLOONEY INTERVIEWS AND SAYING HE WROTE THE PIECE AS WELL AS ALLOWING BAD SITCOM NOBODIES TO MAKE 'JOKES' ABOUT THE MENTALLY CHALLENGED -- SHE LAUNCHES NON-STOP ATTACKS ON HILLARY CLINTON AND TODAY LET'S LITTLE KAREN RUSSELL RELY ON FACTCHECK.ORG AND BRING UP WHITEWATER TO TRY TO SILENCE CRITICISM OF BAMBI AND THE KINGPIN REZKO.
 
FACTCHECK.ORG SAID OF JOHN KERRY'S REMARKS ABOUT BULLY BOY NOT BUDGETING FOR THE RETURNING WOUNDED IN A 2004 DEBATE?  THAT BULLY BOY'S BUDGET WAS FINE AND DANDY.  FACTCHECK.ORG HAS BLOOD ON THEIR  HANDS AND ONLY AN IDIOT WOULD BELIEVE THEM.  THEY ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE HEALTH CARE CRISIS AND THEY ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR VETERANS WHO HAVE COMMITTED SUICIDE BECAUSE THEY LIED.  THEY LIED, GET IT, THEY LIED.
 
AS FOR WHITEWATER, SOMEONE TELL RUSSELL THERE WERE MANY INVESTIGATIONS INTO THAT ALREADY -- GOVERNMENT INVESTIGATIONS.  HILLARY CLINTON WAS NOT GUILTY OF ANYTHING.
 
SO THAT'S KAREN RUSSELL AT THE PLATE TWICE AND STRIKING OUT BOTH TIMES.  ARIANNA WILL HAVE TO BRING ON ANOTHER LOVE ZOMBIE.
 
IN THE MEANTIME, MAYBE SHE CAN EXPLAIN HER WEALTH?
 
WHY DOESN'T SHE START WITH HER MARRIAGE SINCE SHE SPENT SO MUCH TIME SNOOPING INTO THE CLINTON'S MARRIAGE?
 
WHAT SORT OF WOMAN STAYS MARRIED TO A GAY MAN?
 
MAYBE SHE DIDN'T KNOW WHEN THEY GOT MARRIED BUT BY THE TIME SHE'S HAVING TO USE VIDEOS OF SCANTILY CLAD MEN SO THAT MICHAEL HUFFINGTON CAN GET IT UP JUST SO THEY CAN TRY TO HAVE A CHILD, SHE KNOWS THE SCORE.
 
SO WHAT WAS IT ARIANNA?  DID YOU SELL YOURSELF OUT FOR MONEY? 
 
WERE YOU TEARING INTO BILL AND HILLARY IN THE 90S BECAUSE YOU WEREN'T GETTING ANY AND YOUR OWN HUSBAND WAS STEPPING OUT?
 
EXPLAIN TO AMERICA HOW YOU COULD LECTURE ABOUT MORALITY WHILE PRETENDING TO BE HAPPILY MARRIED.  AND AS A MEMBER OF THE REPUBLICAN PARTY WHICH WAS LAUNCHING YET ANOTHER ATTACK ON GAY AMERICANS.
 
THE COUNTRY IS DYING TO KNOW.
 
YOU MADE SCANDALS YOUR BUSINESS IN THE 90S, SO AIR YOUR OWN DIRTY PANTIES, ARIANNA. 
 
 
WHILE YOU'RE ANSWERING QUESTIONS, ANSWER WHERE THE HELL YOU GET OFF INSULTING AN ANTHEM OF THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT?  OR ARE YOU TOO STUPID TO KNOW THAT "KUMBAYA" WAS AN ANTHEM?
 
REMEMBER EVERYONE, THIS DECADE ARIANNA SAYS VOTE FOR BAMBI, LAST DECADE SHE SAID VOTE FOR NEWT.  SHE ALSO SAID SHE WAS HAPPILY MARRIED.  HER RECORD OF TRUTHFULNESS JUST ISN'T THERE.
 
 
Starting with war resistance.  In Canada, people are gearing up for action.  Why?   On 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 (pm@pm.gc.ca -- that's pm at gc.ca) who is with the Conservative party and these two Liberals, Stephane Dion (Dion.S@parl.gc.ca -- that's Dion.S at parl.gc.ca) who is the leader of the Liberal Party and Maurizio Bevilacqua (Bevilacqua.M@parl.gc.ca -- that's Bevilacqua.M at parl.gc.ca) 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.
 
 
Join and support January 25 vigils and delegations in support of U.S. war resisters currently seeking sanctuary Canada. Actions are being planned in Washington D.C., New York, Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles. Supporters will meet with officials at Canadian Consulates across the United States in order underscore that many Americans hope that the Canadian Parliament votes (possible as early as February) in favor of a provision to allow war resisters to remain. Download and distribute Jan. 25-26 action leaflet (PDF).
Supporting the war resisters in Canada is a concrete way to demonstrate your support of the troops who refuse to fight. Help end the war by supporting the growing GI resistance movement today!
Organize a delegation to a Canadian Consulate near you .
Host an event or house-party in support of war resisters.
 
Jason Youman (Canada's Monday Magazine) reports "Canada's War Resisters Support Campaign is mobilizing for a Pan-Canadian Day of Action on Saturday, January 26.
The purpose, says Victoria organizer Valerie Lannon, is to persuade the federal government to halt deportation proceedings against U.S. army deserters already in Canada, and pass legislation that would allow future resisters to stay in the country as refugees once they cross the border."  Youman notes the Victoria event will be held at Fairfield United Church Hall, 1303 Fairfield road (beginning at ten a.m.) and that speakers will include Member of Parliament Denise Savoie and "American war resister Brad McCall, who has lived in Vancouver since leaving his army company in Colorado Springs in September. McCall has been vocal in his distaste of America's current role in Iraq, telling the Georgia Straight he didn't want to participate in 'war crimes.' McCall allegedly spent two days in a Surrey detention centre when he crossed the Canadian border."
 
The War Resisters Support Campaign's Lee Zaslofsky explains to NOW magazine, "The rally is one of a number being held across Canada because we believe we are close to a decision on two issues: that deportation proceedings against U.S. war resisters currently in Canada cease immediately; and 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."  The rally he is speaking of -- also on Saturday -- takes place in Toronto at the Bloor Street United Church, 300 Bloor St. West, beginning at 1:00 p.m. and will feature, among others, activist and actress Shirley Douglas, Lawrence Hill (co-author of The Deserter's Tale with Joshua Key) and Member of Parliament Olivia Chow who has led on the issue of war resisters from early on. Those and other actions in Canada take place on Saturday.  Go to War Resisters Support Campaign for more information and if you won't be in Canada, actions will take place everywhere with Courage to Resist calling for actions beginning tomorrow.
 
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, Clara Gomez, Luke Kamunen, Leif Kamunen, Leo Kamunen, Camilo Mejia, Kimberly Rivera, Dean Walcott, Linjamin Mull, Agustin Aguayo, Justin Colby, Marc Train, Abdullah Webster, Robert Zabala, Darrell Anderson, Kyle Snyder, Corey Glass, Jeremy Hinzman, Kevin Lee, Mark Wilkerson, Patrick Hart, Ricky Clousing, Ivan Brobeck, Aidan Delgado, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, Blake LeMoine, Clifton Hicks, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, 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. Dee Knight (Workers World) notes, "IVAW wants as many people as possible to attend the event. It is planning to provide live broadcasting of the sessions for those who cannot hear the testimony firsthand. 'We have been inspired by the tremendous support the movement has shown us,' IVAW says. 'We believe the success of Winter Soldier will ultimately depend on the support of our allies and the hard work of our members'."
 
Monday night, Democratic presidential contenders had a debate.  And the same little media that whines about big media's lack of substance was where the next day?  Or, in the continued embarrassment that is William Greider, days later?  Greider seems intent to telegraph to anyone that everything he had he gave to Rolling Stone and reading him now is like watching a dying man waste away.  Yesterday he sputtered about "Slick Willie" and a "blue dress."  Yes, he really is that pathetic and so is The Nation.  Maybe after this election he can return to another multi-page piffle of 'lessons' he learned about heart and soul from his mommy?  From  Tuesday's "Iraq snapshot:"

Hillary Clinton: We don't know what we're going to inherent from President Bush, but there is a big problem looming on the horizon that we had better pay attention to, and that is President Bush is intent upon negotiating a long-term agreement with Iraq which would have permanent bases, permanent troop presence. And he claims he does not need to come to the United States Congress to get permission, he only needs to go to the Iraqi parliament. That is his stated public position. He was recently in the region, and it is clear that he intends to push forward on this to try to bind the United States government and his successor to his failed policy. I have been strongly opposed to that. We should not be planning permanent bases and long-term troop commitments. Obvioulsy, we've got to rein in President Bush. And I've proposed legislation and I know that members of the Congressional Black Caucus are looking at this, as well. We need legislation in a hurry which says, "No, Mr. Bush, you are the president of the United States of America. You cannot bind our country without coming to the United States Congress." This is a treaty that would have to be presented and approved, and it will not be.
 
Yes, that was said in the debate.  But try to find out about it from the Hillary Hating left.  Katrina vanden Heuvel can't sniff it -- surprising.  Little Matty Rothschild (who will receive "Smut Merchant of the Week" at The Third Estate Sunday Review this week -- and he earned it and then some, hiding behind the right-wing to make the slur he's too 'tasteful' to make on his own) can't find it.  John Nichols, Amy Goodman, the Air No-Stars of The Nation's Campaign blog, not even Stab's half-witted daughter (that's half a wit more than her mother) can find it.  They all pretended to write about and comment on the debate.  But they just showed glimpses of their own inner madness -- and, no, they didn't work through their madness, just flashed it.
 
Michael Abramowitz (Washington Post) explains, "The leading Democratic presidential candidates and their allies on Capitol Hill have launched fierce attacks in recent days on a White House plan to forge a new, long-term security agreement with the Iraqi government, complaining that the administration is trying to lock in a lasting U.S. military presence in Iraq before the next president takes office. Among the top critics is Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.). She has used the past two Democratic presidential debates to blast President Bush for his effort, as she put it Monday in South Carolina, 'to try to bind the United States government and his successor to his failed policy'."  It is a big issue, it is a monumental issue for this country and Iraq but it's not one the Half-Wits and Dim-Bulbs of today's 'independent' media could catch with both hands and their big mouths wide open.  It's amazing what the gas bags produced this week, the same ones who whine and whine about Big Media.  In their own spaces this week, they threw tantrums, soiled their nappys and demonstrated they could pout for days at a time.
 
At the grown ups table, Guy Raz (NPR) explains that Bully Boy and his puppet, Nouri al-Maliki started the whole thing in November with "Declaration of Principles" and "includes a provision that promises to maintain the stability of Iraq's government from 'internal and external threats.'  This sentence is raising alarms for some U.S. lawmakers.  Any such agreement would be considered a treaty by many legal experts.  And under the U.S. Constitution, treaties have to be ratified by Congress."  vanen Heuvel purrs about democracy this week but somehow the checks and balances set out in the Constitution, the separation of powers, doesn't enter into her concept of 'democracy'. 
 
Supposedly the gas bags of Little Media want 'issues.'  But look at the trash they offered this week -- and William Kristol at his worst couldn't have provided more trash, not even with an assist from David Brock before his transformation -- and try to figure out where any issue was?  As they offered their smut, where was any issue?  They wasted 2007 covering the 2008 elections and they offered nothing.  It's now 2008 and they still offer nothing.  William Greider thinks a "blue dress" is a way to tar and feather Hillary and doesn't grasp that it only makes him look like the cheap scum he's become.
 
 
RECOMMENDED: "Iraq snapshot"  
 


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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

THIS JUST IN! AP & NPR GET LOOSE AND FRISKY!

 
NPR AND AP 'SHAPE' THE TRUTH WHILE COMPARING SENATOR HILLARY CLINTON AND STILL IN HIS FIRST TERM SENATOR BARACK OBAMA. 
 
TWO EXAMPLES. 
 
I. (1) THEY SAY OBAMA TOLD THE RENO GAZETTE-JOURNAL THAT "HE ADMIRED REAGAN'S SENSE OF INNOVANTION"
FALSE: HE BRAGGED ON REAGAN AND DIDN'T USE THE TERM "INNOVATION"
 "EVEN IF HE DID NOT AGREE WITH THE SUBSTANCE OF THOSE IDEAS"
FALSE: HE DIDN'T SAY HE DISAGREED WITH THE IDEAS WHILE MEETING WITH THE EDITORIAL BOARD.  THAT STATEMENT CAME ONLY AFTER BAMBI GOT CRITICIZED.
 
II.  HEAR THEY WHITE WASH BAMBI'S INVOLEMENT WITH SLUMLORD TONY REZKO:
 
Obama later became acquainted with Rezko, who became a campaign contributor to several Chicago politicians, including Obama.
In 2005, Obama and his wife also bought a 10-foot-wide strip of land from Rezko's wife; the land was adjacent to the Obama family's Chicago home. Some Illinois politicians criticized this land deal as an apparent conflict of interest. Rezko was widely reported to be under grand jury investigation at the time of the transactions, although Obama said this week that he had had no indication of any problems.
 
COMPARE THAT TO WHAT THE NEW YORK TIMES REPORTED LAST YEAR:
 
Mr. Obama has portrayed Mr. Rezko as a one-time fund-raiser whom he had occasionally seen socially. But interviews with more than a dozen political and business associates suggest that the two men were closer than the senator has indicated.
Mr. Obama turned to Mr. Rezko for help at several important junctures. Records show that when Mr. Obama needed cash in the waning days of his losing 2000 Congressional campaign, Mr. Rezko rounded up thousands of dollars from business contacts. In 2003, Mr. Rezko helped Mr. Obama expand his fund-raising for the Senate primary by being host of a dinner at his Mediterranean-style home for 150 people, including some whose names have since come up in the influence scandal.
And when Mr. Obama and his wife, Michelle, bought a house in 2005, Mr. Rezko stepped in again. Even though his finances were deteriorating, Mr. Rezko arranged for his wife to buy an adjacent lot, and she later sold the Obamas a 10-foot-wide strip of land that expanded their yard.
The land sale occurred after it had been reported that Mr. Rezko was under federal investigation. That awkward fact prompted Mr. Obama, who has cast himself as largely free from the normal influences of politics, to express regret over what he called his own bad judgment.
 
OH! YEAH! THAT WHOLE BUYING THE HOUSE PART.  YEAH, NPR AND AP FORGOT ABOUT THAT.  HOW BAMBI COULDN'T AFFORD THE VACANT LOT SO HIS BUDDY GANGSTA REZKO JUST HAPPENS TO BUY IT AT THE SAME TIME.
 
WHEN REACHED FOR COMMENT, NPR STATED THEY WERE HEAVY PETTING WITH AP AND PRETTY SURE "THIS IS GOING ALL THE WAY.  CALL BACK LATER!"
 
 
Starting with war resistance. 
 
A Lieutenant in the army
in his heart and his soul he believes
in the land of the free
and the home of the brave
now he's standing on trial
for he will not behave
as they wish
ya-iya-a-wayy
He said "I believe the constitution
to dfend it and uphold
I will not fight your war for profit 
no sir I will not go"
Imagine that. 
 
So sings Melissa Ethridge on track fifteen ("Imagine That") of her lastest CD The Awakening about Ehren Watada.  [The Awakening gets a strong review from Detorit's Metro Times.]  Watada is the first commissioned officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq.  He has rightly termed it an illegal war.  After a kangaroo court-martial in February, Watada -- whose service contract ran out in December 2006 -- remains in the military as he waits to see what happens next.  The Constitutional provision against double-jeopardy should mean he can't be court-martialed again and, thus far, the court of appeals has held that to be the case with Judge Benjamin Settle noting in November that Watada will likely win on the double-jeopardy clause.
 
Some war resisters refuse to go, some refuse to return.  In both groups, some go to Canada and attempt to be granted asylum.  On 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 (pm@pm.gc.ca -- that's pm at gc.ca) who is with the Conservative party and these two Liberals, Stephane Dion (Dion.S@parl.gc.ca -- that's Dion.S at parl.gc.ca) who is the leader of the Liberal Party and Maurizio Bevilacqua (Bevilacqua.M@parl.gc.ca -- that's Bevilacqua.M at parl.gc.ca) 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.
 
 
Join and support January 25 vigils and delegations in support of U.S. war resisters currently seeking sanctuary Canada. Actions are being planned in Washington D.C., New York, Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles. Supporters will meet with officials at Canadian Consulates across the United States in order underscore that many Americans hope that the Canadian Parliament votes (possible as early as February) in favor of a provision to allow war resisters to remain. Download and distribute Jan. 25-26 action leaflet (PDF).
Supporting the war resisters in Canada is a concrete way to demonstrate your support of the troops who refuse to fight. Help end the war by supporting the growing GI resistance movement today!
Organize a delegation to a Canadian Consulate near you .
Host an event or house-party in support of war resisters.
 
 
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, Clara Gomez, Luke Kamunen, Leif Kamunen, Leo Kamunen, Camilo Mejia, Kimberly Rivera, Dean Walcott, Linjamin Mull, Agustin Aguayo, Justin Colby, Marc Train, Abdullah Webster, Robert Zabala, Darrell Anderson, Kyle Snyder, Corey Glass, Jeremy Hinzman, Kevin Lee, Mark Wilkerson, Patrick Hart, Ricky Clousing, Ivan Brobeck, Aidan Delgado, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, Blake LeMoine, Clifton Hicks, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, 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. Dee Knight (Workers World) notes, "IVAW wants as many people as possible to attend the event. It is planning to provide live broadcasting of the sessions for those who cannot hear the testimony firsthand. 'We have been inspired by the tremendous support the movement has shown us,' IVAW says. 'We believe the success of Winter Soldier will ultimately depend on the support of our allies and the hard work of our members'."
 
Today Bryan Bender (Boston Globe) reports that the number of recruits to the US army who hold a high school diploma has reached "a 25-year-low" and had "dropped more than 12 percent between 2005 and 2007"  -- "from almost 84 percent in 2005 to less than 71 percent last year" according to a new study conducted by the National Priorities Project.  Let's flashback to the October 31, 2006 snapshot: "In ridiculous news, CBS and AP report that the White House (which can't even give an accurate count on how many US troops have died in Iraq -- not even one that matches their own Pentagon's count) is attacking US Senator John Kerry as a 'troop basher' because he noted in a California speech on Monday: 'You know education, if you make the most of it, you study hard, you do your homework and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well.  If you don't, you get stuck in Iraq.'  The truth in those remarks (recruiters target the lower class with less hopes of a college education) struck to close to home with the White House leading Tony Snow to demand that Kerry apologize to all those serving.  The apology should come right after Bully Boy apologizes for (a) starting the illegal war and (b) using Daddy's connections to get out of serving in Iraq and yet not even bothering to show up for his National Guard Training."  The February 14, 2007 snapshot noted that 'moral' waivers to recruits who had criminal records had increased by 65% and that " Lizette Alvarez (New York Times) reports this increase has come in the last three years, that '[t]he number of waivers for felony convictions also increased, to 11 percent of the 8,129 moral waivers granted in 2006, from 8 percent,' and that '[t]he Defense Department has also expanded its applicant pool by accepting soldiers with criminal backgrounds and medical problems like asthma, high blood pressure and attention deficit disorder'."   Today on KPFK's Uprising Radio, Sonali Kolhatkar addressed the findings noting that "the army's failure to meet the benchmark last year is part of a downward trend since 2005."  What's not being noted are the lies the army only recently put out.  Lolita C. Baldor (AP) reported on January 10th of this year that the army was singing the praises of their Active First program for recruits and  "The Defense Department also announced that all services met or exceeded their recruiting goals in December." Really?  A twenty-five year low on recruits with at least a high school diploma is 'meeting or exceeding' goals? As Kolhatkar noted the Department of Defense's goal was 90% and it didn't meet it.  Exceeding goals? Josh White (Washington Post) notes that "Army officials confirmed that they have lowered their standards to meet high recruiting goals in the middle of two ongoing wars" and quotes the National Priorities Project's Anita Dancs stating, "The trend is clear.  They're missing their benchmarks, and I think it's strongly linked to the impact [of] the Iraq war."  Dancs was Kolhatkar's guest today for the first segment of Uprising Radio and they addressed how the Freedom of Information requests resulted in the data and other topics.
 
Sonali Kolhatkar: Now the army attributes this drop in getting high school recruits to declining high school graduation rates over all. Is that something that the National Priorities Project agrees with?
 
Anita Dancs: No.  I think -- that may be a slight factor.  But the real factor we're talking about is the impact of the Iraq War.  This just, our analysis of army recruiting data, just points to the larger failure of the Iraq War.  Increasingly youth are realizing that the Iraq War was an unneccessary war, it was one led by deception on the part of the administration, it's bad foreign policy, and youth -- and youth that have alternatives, other alternatives, are just much more reluctant to go into the army and fight in a war that is unnecessary and that, at this point, looks like it's never going to end.
 
Sonali Kolhatkar: Now I understand the military has had to increase the number of waivers and raise enlistment bonuses
 
Anita Dancs: Right
 
Sonali Kolhatkar: -- to try to entice people and I think at the same time, as I mentioned, your group found that upper-middle and high income neighborhoods were under-represented among US army recruits.  Essentially, are we seeing a trend towards an army of poorer and poorer Americans?
 
Anita Dancs: Right.  I think, I think the first time we did this study was with 2004 data and what we found was that the upper-middle and high income neighborhoods are under-represented but with this most recent study of the 2007 data we found that those neighborhoods are even less represented than they were in 2004.  And low to middle income neighborhoods are even more over-represented and I think this really speaks to when you're looking at the strategies by the Department of Defense that has been increasing enlistment bonuses, increasing re-enlistment bonuses, introducing new bonus programs where kids in high school can sign up to join the army later and get paid a thousand dollars a month now.  It's crazy but they're using economic incentives and it does appear that the youth with the fewest alternatives who maybe can't afford to go to college or maybe didn't make it through high school are being recruited into the army because they don't have other economic alternatives. 
 
Part of alternatives is knowing that they are out there, a point Aimee Allison and David Solnit's Army Of None cover in their book.  Dancs felt that counter-recruitment was having some effects but noted that the are up against the overwhelming US military budget (funded by tax payers).  Earlier this month Brandi Cummings (South Carolina's WIStv -- link has text and video) reported on military recruiter Sgt. Robert Jordan going to the local Target and inserting cards in clothing there in violation of the "no solicitation" policy that Target has. Leigh Nichols tipped the station off after she bought her thirteen-year-old son a pair of pants and they found Jordan's business card.  At the National Priorities Project you can find more information.
 
 
RECOMMENDED: "Iraq snapshot"


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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

THIS JUST IN! CHECKING IN WITH ACTORS THOMPSON & GOODMAN!

 
IN THE PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARIES, THE PEOPLE ARE REPRESENTED BY TWO SEPARATE GROUPINGS OF FOOLS: REPUBLICANS WHO COMMIT THE CRIMES
AND DEMOCRATS WHO PRETEND NO CRIMES TOOK PLACE.
 
THESE ARE THEIR STORIES.
 
 
 
ACROSS THE AISLE AMY GOODMAN CONTINUES TO TURN THE SO-CALLED 'DEMOCRACY NOW!' PROGRAM INTO A 60-MINUTE DAILY INFOMERCIAL FOR BARACK OBAMA.  TODAY SHE PROVIDED GRACE LEE BOGGS OFFERING AN ENDORSEMENT OF BAMBI BASED ON . . .  WELL, NO ONE'S REALLY SURE.  BUT GOODMAN PUT HER ON AND PUSHED BAMBI SO HARD THAT, IF YOU DIDN'T KNOW BETTER, YOU'D THINK SHE WAS IN LOVE WITH BAMBI.
 
WHEN CORNERED ON THE STREET TODAY, GOODMAN TOLD THESE REPORTERS, "IT BEATS GIVING HAND JOBS IN TIME SQUARE."
 
ALL THINGS CONSIDERED, GOODMAN SHOULD BE THE LAST PERSON TO KNOCK AN HONEST DAY'S WORK.
 
 
Starting with war resistance.  As UPI noted yesterday, it was 30 years ago that "President Jimmy Carter pardoned American Vietnam War-era draft evaders and ordered a case-by-case study of deserters."  30 years ago.  This week actions take place allowing us to show support for some of today's war resisters.
 
A number of war resisters have gone to Canada and attempted to be granted asylum.
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 (pm@pm.gc.ca -- that's pm at gc.ca) who is with the Conservative party and these two Liberals, Stephane Dion (Dion.S@parl.gc.ca -- that's Dion.S at parl.gc.ca) who is the leader of the Liberal Party and Maurizio Bevilacqua (Bevilacqua.M@parl.gc.ca -- that's Bevilacqua.M at parl.gc.ca) 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.
 
 
Join and support January 25 vigils and delegations in support of U.S. war resisters currently seeking sanctuary Canada. Actions are being planned in Washington D.C., New York, Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles. Supporters will meet with officials at Canadian Consulates across the United States in order underscore that many Americans hope that the Canadian Parliament votes (possible as early as February) in favor of a provision to allow war resisters to remain. Download and distribute Jan. 25-26 action leaflet (PDF).
Supporting the war resisters in Canada is a concrete way to demonstrate your support of the troops who refuse to fight. Help end the war by supporting the growing GI resistance movement today!
Organize a delegation to a Canadian Consulate near you .
Host an event or house-party in support of war resisters.
 
 
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, Clara Gomez, Luke Kamunen, Leif Kamunen, Leo Kamunen, Camilo Mejia, Kimberly Rivera, Dean Walcott, Linjamin Mull, Agustin Aguayo, Justin Colby, Marc Train, Abdullah Webster, Robert Zabala, Darrell Anderson, Kyle Snyder, Corey Glass, Jeremy Hinzman, Kevin Lee, Mark Wilkerson, Patrick Hart, Ricky Clousing, Ivan Brobeck, Aidan Delgado, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, Blake LeMoine, Clifton Hicks, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, 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. Dee Knight (Workers World) notes, "IVAW wants as many people as possible to attend the event. It is planning to provide live broadcasting of the sessions for those who cannot hear the testimony firsthand. 'We have been inspired by the tremendous support the movement has shown us,' IVAW says. 'We believe the success of Winter Soldier will ultimately depend on the support of our allies and the hard work of our members'."
 
[. . .]
 
Turning to the US, in South Carolina yesterday the Democratic party's presidential debate took place, participating were John Edwards, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.  Noting that Senator Crazy (aka John McCain) loved the escalation in Iraq, moderator Wolf Blitzer asked Edwards why McCain was wrong?
 
John Edwards: He's wrong because George Bush himself said the entire reason for the surge was to create an environment for political progress.  Everyone from the Iraq Study Group, to even Bush recognized -- and if Bush recognizes it, man, it's really got to be out there.  Even President Bush recognizes that unless the Sunni and Shia reach some political reconiciliation, there cannot be stability in Iraq.  And the problem with this definition and evaluation of where the progress has been made is that there has been no meaningful political progress.  There has been a little bit, in fairness.  A little bit, but very little.  And I don't think it changes anything.  The one thing I would say is -- and I would actually like for both of them to have a chance to respond to is this -- what I have said very clearly, all of us has said, we would end the war.  And I don't have any doubt that all of us are committed to that, I don't doubt that.  But how aggressively and how quickly is an important question.  And I have said in the first year that I am president, I will have all combat troops out of Iraq.  All combat missions will end in Iraq, and there will be no permanent military bases in Iraq.   I have no heard -- now, admittedly, just to be fair, I don't hear everything they say on the campaign trail, but I have no heard either of them say that definitively.  So I would be interested in knowing whether they will commit to having all combat troops out and ending combat missions in the first year.
 
Barack Obama responded first and, as usual, he used a lot of words.  The answer was "no," Bambi can't commit to that (he offered maybe "some time in 2009").  And that's just combat troops.  Please note, combat troops pulling out of Iraq does not mean "TROOPS HOME NOW!" But Bambi couldn't commit to it.  While Bambi meandered, Hillary Clinton's first two sentences gave her answer: "What I have said is that I will move as quickly as possible.  I hope to have nearly all out within a year."  She then raised the issue that an independent media with an ounce of life left in it would have made the focus daily.
 
Hillary Clinton: We don't know what we're going to inherent from President Bush, but there is a big problem looming on the horizon that we had better pay attention to, and that is President Bush is intent upon negotiating a long-term agreement with Iraq which would have permanent bases, permanent troop presence.  And he claims he does not need to come to the United States Congress to get permission, he only needs to go to the Iraqi parliament.  That is his stated public position.  He was recently in the region, and it is clear that he intends to push forward on this to try to bind the United States government and his successor to his failed policy.  I have been strongly opposed to that.  We should not be planning permanent bases and long-term troop commitments.  Obvioulsy, we've got to rein in President Bush.  And I've proposed legislation and I know that members of the Congressional Black Caucus are looking at this, as well.  We need legislation in a hurry which says, "No, Mr. Bush, you are the president of the United States of America.  You cannot bind our country without coming to the United States Congress."  This is a treaty that would have to be presented and approved, and it will not be.
 
Both of the above are important.  Naturally Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) ignored both.  She did, however, elect to promote Bambi full time and even offered a lengthy interview with Grace Lee Boggs, a noted intellectual -- and someone who has done a lifetime of amazing work -- but who states there is no difference in the records of the front runners for the Democratic Party therefore people should vote for Obama because of the engineered mania around him or, as Grace Lee Boggs put it at one point, because "he has unleased that, though his policies are not that different from Clinton, but he has unleashed an energy" -- when elders start trying to play rate-a-record on American Bandstand, it's not pretty.  Hitler unleashed an energy, Mussolini unleashed an energy.  Bambi is about high-voltage as Pat Boone.  What does the candidate stand for and what does s/he say?  Pointing those factors out qualify as "wisdom."  Anything else is just being a disappointment, a huge disappointment.  Even more so considering what Amy Goodman (naturally) didn't explore Rezko -- we'll get to him.
 


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