BOMBED OUT OF HIS MIND ON SHIRLEY TEMPLES, SENATOR BAMBI OBAMA LURCHED AROUND THE BEACH TODAY ASKING, "HAVE THEY FORGOTTEN YET? HAVE THEY?"
NO, THEY HAVE NOT. HE WAS REFERRING TO HIS 20 YEAR RELATIONSHIP WITH MENTOR, FRIEND, PASTOR AND ROLL DOG JEREMIAH WRIGHT WHO STOOD UP IN THE FRONT OF OBAMA'S CHURCH AND DECLARED "G-- DAMN THE UNITED STATES."
ATTEMPTING TO DUCK THE ISSUE, AS HE DID LAST WEEK IN HIS NEARLY 5,000 WORD SPEECH, BAMBI HOPPED IT OVER TO THE VIRGIN ISLANDS HOPING IT WOULD DIE DOWN.
BUT YOU CAN'T KEEP AN AMERICA HATER OUT OF THE NEWS AND WHAT WAS TO BE A CEREMONY HONORING THE AMERICA HATER WRIGHT AT TEXAS CHRISTIAN UNIVERSITY WAS MOVED WITH TCU STATING THEY WOULD NOT HONOR WRIGHT. GO HORNED FROGS!
BAMBI ORDERED ANOTHER SHIRLEY TEMPLE AND LAUGHED BITTERLY BEFORE EXPLAINING, "IT DOESN'T MATTER. OBVIOUSLY OUR ARGUMENT FOR 'CONTEXT' DIDN'T FLY. GUESS THERE'S NO 'CONTEXT' FOR DAMNING YOUR COUNTRY. BUT WE'VE GOT A NEW ONE. WE'RE GOING TO FLIP IT. REMEMBER FLIP WILSON'S GERALDINE, SHE WAS A CUTIE. LOOKS A LITTLE LIKE MY MICHELLE IF YOU THINK ABOUT IT. WELL GERALDINE USED TO ALWAYS SAY THE DEVIL MADE HER DO IT. WE'RE GOING TO ARGUE NOW THAT GOD MADE JEREMIAH DO IT. WE'RE GOING TO SAY THAT DAMNING AMERICA WAS GOD'S WORDS AND WHO CAN ARGUE WITH THAT?"
THESE REPORTERS WONDERED IF THE CAMPAIGN WASN'T SMOKING SOMETHING?
Starting with war resisters and returning to something from last week, James Burmeister.
Courage to Resist reported that "Burmeister recently returned from Canada and turned himself in to the Army at Fort Knox, Kentucky on March 4. In May 2007, James refused redeployment to Iraq. He lived in Canada for the last ten months with the help of the War Resisters Support Campaign. James' father Erich Burmeister of Eugene, Oregon believes that the Army is getting ready to prosecute James. He is asking people to call the Fort Knox Public Affairs office at 502-624-7451 and let them know you are concerned about PFC James Burmeister." Burmeister returned to the United States, many still remain in Canada.
For those in Canada, the nation's Parliament remains the best hope for safe harbor war resisters have, you can make your voice heard by the Canadian parliament which has the ability to pass legislation to grant war resisters the right to remain in Canada. Three e-mails addresses to focus on are: Prime Minister Stephen Harper (firstname.lastname@example.org -- 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. That is the sort of thing that should receive attention but instead it's ignored. We will note war resisters in Canada tomorrow. There is not time today, my apologies.
There is a growing movement of resistance within the US military which includes Matt Mishler, Josh Randall, Robby Keller, Justiniano Rodrigues, Chuck Wiley, 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, Logan Laituri, 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).
Turning to Iraq. In August, Moqtada al-Sadr declared a cease-fire truce with the US and the puppet government of Baghdad which is widely credited as part of the 'success' of the escalation. In February, he extended the cease-fire/true. Leila Fadel and Nancy A. Youssef (McClatchy Newspapers) reports, "A cease-fire critical to the improved security situation in Iraq appeared to unravel Monday when a militia loyal to radical Shiite Muslim cleric Muqtada al Sadr began shutting down neighborhoods in west Baghdad and issuing demands of the central government. Simultaneously, in the strategic southern port city of Basra, where Sadr's Mahdi militia is in control, the Iraqi government launched a crackdown in the face of warnings by Sadr's followers that they'll fight government forces if any Sadrists are detained. By 1 a.m. Arab satellite news channels reported clashes between the Mahdi Army and police in Basra." Ned Parker and Saif Hameed (Los Angeles Times) add these details: "The capital witnessed its own friction between Shiite factions Monday as the Sadr movement organized protests in west Baghdad. Leaders from Sadr's movement vowed to mount daily protests until the Shiite-run Iraqi government stops targeting its members in raids, releases detainees and apologizes for the conduct of security force members. They accused the government of trying to weaken Sadr's organization ahead of provincial elections scheduled for October." Those descriptions were of yesterday. Gina Chon (Wall St. Journal) reports,
"Fighting broke out Tuesday on the streets of Sadr City . . . and the Mahdi Army militia announced it had taken over Iraqi army checkpoints in an escalation of tension with Iraqi government security forces. The sound of gunfire could be heard in Sadr City throughout the morning and Mahdi Army members walked down the streets carrying rifles, rocket-propelled grenade launchers and other weapons in what appeared to be a show of force, accodring to two witnesses." AFP reports that fighting was ongoing in Baghdad, Basra, Kut and Hilla with the clash between Sadr's forces and the US in Baghdad being "the first time since last October". Atul Aneja (The Hindu) explains, "The Iraqi government's decision to establish its hold over the oil city of Basra dominated by Shia armed militias has sparked heavy fighting there" and that "field commanders of the Mahdi army in Najaf ordered to the militia 'to strike the occupiers' and their Iraqi allies." Robin Stringer (Bloomberg News) notes 18 dead and forty wounded from the Basra fighting alone and threats that the actions will go "nationwide."
The southern port of Basra was shut down, Leila Fadel and Ali al Basri (McClatchy Newspapers) report, while citizens of the area "cowered in their homes as Mahdi Army militiamen and Iraqi security forces battled" and a college student on the outskirts of the city saw the corpses of two members of Mahdi Army and one child. PBS' NewsHour quotes Um Hussein who was caught by suprise by the outbreak and she states, "It is a difficult situation. Not many shops or grocery stores are open since the curfew and since the fighting began. We have not stored households items at all." Sam Dagher (Christian Science Monitor) adds "US air power" to the battle. Alex Kingsbury (US News and World Reports) sees the current clashes as an indication of a power struggle for control of more than Basra -- control of Iraq -- and offers, "There are indications that the United States is, to some extent, choosing sides in the inter-Shiite power struggle. When Vice President Dick Cheney made a visit to Baghdad earlier this month, his one foray outside the heavily fortified Green Zone was to visit Hakim's office in Baghdad. Hakim also traveled to the White House and met with President Bush in December 2006." Hakim is Abdul Aziz al-Hakim whose political party (Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council) is the largest. Alexandra Zavis (Los Angeles Times) points out, "Sadr loyalists accuse his Shiite rivals in the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council and Maliki's Islamic Dawa party of using the Iraqi army and police to round up the cleric's followers ahead of the Oct. 1 elections." This believe is noted by Reuters as well, "Sadrists say the truce has been abused by US and Iraqi forces to make indiscriminate arrests ahead of provincial elecitons due in October, but the US military says it only targets 'rogue' members who have ignored the ceasefire." Paul Wood (BBC) maintains that it is Iraqi military and US military against Sadrists because the British are sitting it out, "saying the Iraqi army is demonstrating it is capable of acting on its own" and also states "Moqtada Sadr believes his hundreds of thousands of followers, many of them armed, will eventually deliver power into his hands." CNN puts the Basra dead at "at least 50 . . . and 150 others were wounded, an official with Basra's Provincial Council said" and notes Sadrists are credited with taking "down part of a bridge in nothern Basra" via bombings today. Leila Fadel and Ali al Basri (McClatchy Newspapers) report al-Sadr has "ordered his followers to remain calm and said they should give copies of the Quran and olive branches to the police."
RECOMMENDED: "Iraq snapshot"
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