Friday, March 21, 2008

And the idiot of the week is . . .

"MEMO: Obama Campaign: Just Words"
To: Interested Parties

From: The Clinton Campaign
Date: March 21, 2008
RE: Obama Campaign: Just Words
At this point, it's no secret that the Obama campaign is in political hot water given the news stories of the last few weeks and is desperate to change the subject.
The ground is shifting away from them and their response?
First, disenfranchise voters - Prevent new votes in Florida and Michigan. Stop voting in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Oregon, West Virginia, Puerto Rico, Kentucky, South Dakota, Montana, West Virginia and Indiana.
Second, peddle photos of President Clinton shaking hands with Reverend Wright less than 48 hours after calling for a high-minded conversation on race. Well, President Clinton took tens of thousands of photos during his eight years as president. Stop the presses.
Third, accuse our campaign of having something to do with Senator Obama's passport file being breached, a reckless charge that has zero merit.
Fourth, continue attacks on Senator Clinton's character in an effort to implement what the Chicago Tribune called a full assault on her ethics.
Fifth, stonewall the press: no tax returns, no state records, no answers about the inconsistencies in the Rezko story.
So it's not a pretty sight - it's all part of a pattern of just words.
Senator Obama talks about voter participation while actively disenfranchising millions.
He calls for high minded debates while practicing lowdown politics.
He promises a different kind of campaign while attacking Hillary's character.
He promises transparency while hiding basic info and stonewalling the press.
It's no wonder that Americans are coming to see that for all of his lofty rhetoric, Senator Obama's candidacy is really just words.
It's no surprise that Americans are expressing serious doubts about his ability to answer the 3am call.
It’s no wonder that top journalists are calling the Obama campaign desperate, saying that it's amateur hour in Chicago.

It's Friday! And we've got Idiot of the Week because mutli-winner Paul Rogat Loeb decided to crawl back out from under his rock. When last spotted, Paul Rogat Loeb was lying to listeners of Uprising, telling them he was a John Edwards supporter who switched over to Obama because Bambi spoke to him. LIE. He supported both and gave to both campaigns. He wrote a column admitting that at the end of last year. But he figured he could lie to radio listeners because most people never read his bad writing.

He decided to bad write and lie again. Paully Girl tells us that it's time for Super Delegates to STOP THE RACE! Hey, Paully Girl's a Republican! Who knew?

Remember who says "STOP!" James Baker and all the other ones trying to prevent Florida from getting counted in 2000. Now comes the Paully Girl and like all of the other Obama Girls, he uses GOP tactics. The race should go on. Paully Girl's worried cause his LOVER is plummeting in the polls over the whole damning America thing. So Paully Girl wants to wrap this up and stick Democrats with a LOSER who would probably LOSE in the general election. Paully Girl doesn't care as long as Hillary (a real woman, unlike Paully Girl) is stopped.

Not being born with a vagina, Paully Girl suffers from vagina envy and his whole life is about lashing out at women.

Here's a cute LIE from Paully Girl: "Given Obama’s nearly insurmountable lead in elected . . ."
Paully Girl, if your WET DREAM was the clear choice, you wouldn't be asking Super Delegates to force Hillary out, would you? Truth is "Given Hillary's nearly insurmountable lead in elected . . ." Bambi can't reach the magic number on his own. Which means the party is still deciding.

Quit trying to tongue bath your LOVER, Paully Girl.

Most of all, quit lying.

What a disgusting excuse for a human being Paully Girl is.

Paully Girl doesn't just write her bad articles, she comments on them as well:

But it seems to me that something different happens when Clinton gives the Republican talking points legitimacy. And when she whips up Democrats to boo Obama in a kind of Orwellian festival of hating. As I said, you just can’t turn then and get these people back.
So I’m fine with continued primaries, but with the real threat that if Clinton crosses the line she’ll lose the support of the superdelegates who are her only shot.

Paully Girl, for that to be true, the nomination would have to be Obama's. It's not, you stupid, stupid, little man.

You really are disgusting and, week in and week out, the Idiot of the Week.

Best lie from Paully Girl is this: "Last week, in Harrisburg PA, Hillary whipped up a crowd to boo Obama, something I’ve never witnessed in a Democratic presidential primary. " Sorry, moron, but your fellow liar Melissa Harris Lacewell told Charlie Rose at the start of the month that Hillary was booed at Obama gatherings.

Paully Girl's a disgusting writer and actually looks like a freak as well. As if part of him got lost in the afterbirth. Poor Paully Girl. I'll guess that's what happened to his brain as well.

Common Dreams SUCKS. C.I.'s delinking and none of us are linking to that Crap-fest again in any entry. We may, however, repost something in full from it since that's all Common Dreams does. It's not like the big names are WRITING FOR COMMON DREAMS. Howard Zinn didn't write a column for COMMON DREAMS. It's just a little rip-off site.

That begs for money. :D

Here's their notice: "This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner." Aren't they pathetic? Grown ups spending their entire days making the equivalent of a mix tape. Between bong hits? :D

Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Friday, March 21, 2008. Chaos and violence continue, the cease-fire gets frazzled, Antonia Juhasz spoke at Winter Soldier and we highlight her and Iraq vet James Gilligan, Cheney's out of the country, Ralph Nader and Matt Gonzalez propose a military draft for the children of elected officials, Joe Wilson attempts to set the record straight re: Bambi, and more.

Starting with war resistance. Remember James Burmeister? Probably not. He was never interviewed on Democracy Now!, he was never profiled in The Nation. He was one of the war resisters of 2007 who were ignored non-stop by Panhandle Media. (
August 24th, Maria Hinojosa interviewed Burmeister for NOW on PBS.) Ava and my summary:

James Burmeister also self-checked out while in Germany. He was lifted out of Iraq and taken there after he was injured. He enlisted to do humanitarian work (e.g. rebuilding in Iraq) and, of course, that didn't end up being the case. ("Of course" is not a judgement of Burmeister's intelligence, it is noting that we are probably far more cynical than he is.) "Humanitarian work" for the US military translated as leaving US military items out in public so that when an Iraqi touched them, he or she could be shot for touching US property. Your tax dollars at work in the illegal war. Following the third bombing he was the victim of, Brumeister was sent to Germany to recover. At that point, he and his family made the decision to go to Canada.

Courage to Resist reports 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."
Meanwhile Duluth's
Budgeteer News reports: "War resister Melanie McPherson, an Army reservist from Tofte, will speak at 7 p.m. in UMD's Montague Hall, Room 70" on March 25th next week. Also speaking next week is Iraq Veterans Against the War's chair Camilo Mejia who, Burlington Free Press reports, "plans to speak at Green Mountain College on at 7 p.m. on March 27 in Ackley Auditorium."

War resisters in Canada were dealt a setback in November the Canadian Supreme Court refused to hear the appeals of
Jeremy Hinzman and Brandon Hughey. Today, Canada's Parliament remaining 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 ( -- 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. 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).

Like most things Iraq related,
Iraq Veterans Against the War's Winter Soldier Investigation is not receiving the attention it deserves. Noting the media silences on Iraq and actually writing about Winter Soldier, Osagie Ighile (North Carolina's Duke Chronicle) observes:

In the three days of testimony by war veterans, one thing that has emerged is that Abu Ghraib and other atrocities are not exceptions, but are commonplace. The main cause is not an innate wickedness in our troops but is rather the necessary outcome of placing them in a situation where friend and foe are indistinguishable and soldiers are forced to choose between their survival instinct and their moral code.
Marine Corps Sgt.
Adam Kokesh, who served in Falluja from February to September 2004 on a civil affairs team, specifically explained this confusion of the rules of engagement, which state that 'positive identification is required prior to engagement' where positive identification means "'reasonable certainty' that you target is a legitimate military target." However, Kokesh said when all soldiers see is a muzzle flash from a building in a civilian area, they are forced to choose between increasing their chance of survival by returning fire and not breaking the rules of engagement. Consequently, he stated that "we changed the rules of engagement more often that we changed our underwear."

Trina wrote about Kokesh's testimony on Friday's Rules of Engagment morning panel and she noted him explaining, "During the seige of Falluja, we changed rules of engagement more often than we changed our underwear. At first it was, you follow the rules of engagement you do what you're supposed to do and then there were times when you could shoot any suspicious observers or someone with binoculars or someone with a cell phone was fair game. And that really opened things up to a lot of subjectivity. But also firing at muzzle flashes into the city. Firing Mark 19s became common practice. At one point we imposed a curfer on the city of Falluja and at that point we were told we could shoot anything after dark." Which goes back to Jason Hurd's testimony on the same panel about how civilians were supposed to recognize a checkpoint easily but, as Hurd noted, "I was in front of a desert colored vehicle, preceeding a desert colored building in desert colored camoflauge."

James Gilligan testified about both Afghanistan and Iraq. Our focus is Iraq but his testimony on Afghanistan was very powerful for any who want to pursue it.

James Gilligan: 2003, Iraq. My HNS Company first sergeant. He had a thing for handing out candy to the children who would come up to our Humvees -- winning the hearts and minds. My first sergeant had seen that there was a little girl next to the Humvee and he personally handed her a lollypop. The little girl, excited, ran away from the vehicle and we're guessing her brother or a neighborhood kid came up behind her and hit her. My first sergeant then proceeded to get out of the vehicle in the crowded marketplace endangering our entire convoy, withdrew his M9 pistol and ran after the kid, picked the kid up approximately 30 feet away from our vehicle and hoisted him one foot in the air, threatening him with the M9 pistol. In 2003, in Iraq, we were ordered to . . . secure an expeditionary runway. It was my job to pull overwatch security. . . . In 2003, while securing this expeditionary runway we had observed that there was a gentleman at the end of the runway collecting souveniers. I was my job as a corporal to go down and investigate and, of course, push this guy away and inform him that he was not to be at the end of our runway collecting souveneirs. I took Lance Cprl. Jermone with me and we had went all the way down to the runway on foot, it's approximately 200 meters. After walking down there, the gentleman was collecting bits of rounds set from a previous battle. I radioed over what we were doing and of course we searched him and took away any kind of munitions that we had found I was then ordered to search the vehicle. As I told Lance Cpl. Jerome "Secure my detainee," I went ahead and I searched the vehicle. Afterwhich, I reported back that I did not find anything futher other than what was on the ground and we had already taken away from the gentleman, I was informed to make the vehicle inoperable. It is at this time that I pulled out my knife. I opened up the seats, I cut every single wire that I could find, I slashed tires and I made sure that his vehicle could not be used again without even thinking that this could be this man's lifeblood.

He spoke last Friday, on the second Rules of Engagement panel.
Antonia Juhasz was among the speakers on the corruption and contractors panel that took place immediately before the second Rules of Engagement panel. Among the tiny attention that's been doled out, this hearing has had almost no attention. (There's one that got even less attention.) So we're going to note her comments at length (and Wally and Cedric noted her last week).

Antonia Juhasz: The problem is that when these grants were given, first of all, Iraqis were of course overlooked. But not only were Iraqis overlooked, the entire structure of the economic
reconstruction laid in place the results we're seeing now. So one of the first acts of the US occupation government led by Paul Bremer was called the de-Baathification order. This was the order by which Bremer fired 120,000 of all of the key ministerial leaders in Iraq, all of the engineers, all of the scientists, all of the people who ran the water ministry, the electrical ministry, the oil ministry. He fired them all. 120,000 people. He fired them all because he didn't want anyone standing in the way of the restructing that was being planned. That left an enormous brain vaccum. The next step that Bremer did was to fire 500,00 Iraqi soldiers. . . . Half a million Iraqi soldiers. The US military had intended that those soldiers would be put to work to do the reconstruction but the Bush administration's economic plan didn't include that. The Bush administration's economic plan was to bring in private contractors. So immediatly at the get-go you had half-a-million men with guns made unemployed, without jobs, without money and their families left without hope, without money. And some estimates put that number at 2.5 million Iraqis -- ten percent of the population -- who from the get-go were now very, very hostile to the reconstruction and to the invasion, and to the occupation. All of these people also knew that US companies were being given billions of dollars to reconstruct the country and you'll hear many people testify to the fact that there were many Iraqis who while they were upset that Iraqis companies -- of which there were many, Iraqi workers -- of which there were many, who were more than capable of doing the work, were being jumped over. But there was a sense that, "If America was going to spend 10 billion dollars fixing our electricity, that's no so bad and, you know, maybe that'll be good." And there was a sense of allowing this to take place. The reconstruction failed and one of the primary reasons that it failed was that objective was not to just get the services up and running. The objective was this longer term permanent presence which I mentioned.
So that you had companies like Bechtel spending the first six weeks in country . . . walking around doing an assessment of the situation. They could have talked to the Iraqis who ran the water systems. They could have hired the Iraqis to run the water systems. But they didn't. They walked around, they checked out the scene. In that time there was no electricty, there was no water being provided and that built up, of course, bad will and by the time Bechtel got to work it became very unsafe for Bechtel to be at work. The failure of the reconstruction continues but one of the things that's important for us to remain aware of today is that many of the companies have radically failed. So Bechtel, a recent report found that they completed less than half of the projects that they were contracted to fulfill and that was water, electricity, schools, basic rebuilding. Parsons, another analysis just done that Parsons had barely fulfilled any of its comittments. Of the statistics that Louis just gave, Parsons was hired to rebuild 150 primary health centers across the country. They built 34 and not all of them are even functional. But not all of that money has been paid out and that's an area where we can take action. I just don't have nearly the time to say the things I'd planned to say so let me just say a couple of things. The first is, the intention of the war to be about oil. Right now we are in a situation where five oil companies -- Exxon, Chevron, BP, Shell and Total, have just signed, within the last week, contracts to get oil -- to go into Iraq. Anyone with any sense of Iraqi history recognizes the names of these companies. These are the exact same companies that from the end of WWII until 1970 owned all of Iraq's oil. They were given it as a war bounty at the end of WWI. They owned it, they controlled it and they controlled Iraq's fate because of owning the oil. Since they were kicked out in the early 1970s, they've been trying to get back in. This is the second or third and maybe the largest pot of oil in the world depending on who's counting. The world is running out of oil; however, oil sells for $110 a barrel. This oil is sitting there like a gleaming prize at the end of the finish line. And believe me, they have been planning and plotting to get it. These five contracts are the tip of the iceberg. The intent is to get the Iraqis to pass a law that would put everything back the way it was in the '20s, to take it from a nationalized oil system to a privatized oil system where US oil companies -- and a little bit for the French and a little bit for the British because, you know, we like them -- would own and control the oil. Now, if that happens a US government report that was leaked by ABC News said -- and just so we are using the terminolgoy, this is one of the president's benchmarks for Iraq, which the Congress adopted, passage of an oil law in Iraq. Another one of the benchmarks, by the way, was reversing the de-Baathification law that Bremer put into place that fired all of those experts. The oil law, if it is to be put into place and if US companies that are angling are Exxon, Cheveron, Conoco, Marthon, BP, Shell and Total. If they stay, they will need to be quote "underwritten by the US government." I take "underwritten by the US government" to mean you, to be underwritten by the US military. That we will have to stay to ensure their safety and the continuation of their mission which was the whole reason we went there in the first place.

On contractors, at the start of the week
Hannah Allem (McClatchy Newspapers) reported on the opinions expressed by Iraq's clerics that "the real crime is that five years after the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, they still swelter in the summer and freeze in the winter because of a lack of electricity. Government rations are inevitably late, incomplete or expired. Garbage piles up for days, sometimes weeks, emanaging toxic fumes" and Allam noted that now worms are being found in the water.

Staying with the topic of contractors,
Sahara Zahav (Florida Alligator) notes Iraq veteran Anthony Maroun's speaking to students at Santa Fe Community College prior to Winter Soldier:

As the team leader of his unit, it was part of Maroun's job to keep the Dell computers they used from overheating in the desert climate. But as hard as he tried, Maroun couldn't manage to get the necessary air conditioner, which meant his unit couldn't do its mission.
"I finally asked a friend of mine, this contractor, to help me out," Maroun said. "He got the air conditioner so fast. But me, a leader in the Marines, wasn't connected enough to get the equipment we needed."
Maroun said for him, that air conditioner stood for the "corporate takeover of a country."

We'll be noting Winter Soldier in Monday's snapshot. Visitors have e-mailed to complain that this or that person hasn't been noted. Regarding civilians offering testimony, Nancy Lessin of
Military Families Speak Out is someone that will be hopefull noted on Monday. Otherwise? None of us are interested in highlighting someone who says -- to wide applause -- that there's no difference between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama on the illegal war and then rushes off to give an embarrassing interview where he maintains there is a difference and, since he can peer into the souls of both, he knows Barack is all things wonderful. So if he says, to applause at Winter Soldier, that the candidates need to be pressed and now is the time and he then rushes off to give an interview where he completely dismisses Hillary's signing onto US Senator Bernie Sanders' call to ban Blackwater (while offering the valentine of an excuse for Bambi that it's "complicated"), we're not interested. We're not interested in liars. We're not interested in people who went to Winter Soldier to get some applause and some attention and then turned around and gave interviews taking back their applause lines. Six snapshots have covered Winter Soldier and Monday we'll probably wind things down. We don't have time to note hypocrites so those visitors needing their 'man' noted can just forget it. He danced pretty at Winter Soldier and then -- like his earlier interview subject Samantha Power -- said something completely different. We're not interested. We could further add that while others had to stick to a time limit, the visitors' 'man' was allowed to run on and on, always promising to wrap up but avoiding that repeatedly. If you missed Winter Soldier you can stream online at Iraq Veterans Against the War, at War Comes Home, at KPFK, at the Pacifica Radio homepage and at KPFA, here for Friday, here for Saturday, here for Sunday. Aimee Allison (co-host of the station's The Morning Show and co-author with David Solnit of Army Of None) and Aaron Glantz were the anchors for Pacifica's live coverage.

Juhasz also spoke of oil, so let's note
Deb Riechmann (AP) reported that two months after Bully Boy went to Saudi Arabia to beg, Dick Cheney does so now:
During his trip to Saudi Arabia in January, President Bush urged the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries to increase production, saying it was a mistake to have the economies of its largest customers slowing down as a result of higher energy prices.The oil-producing nations ignored Bush's request. The White House said it disagreed with OPEC's decision to rebuff that request, and that the oil-producing nations themselves could be hurt by gas prices that are more than $3 a gallon.Cheney was greeted at King Khaled International Airport by Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal. The two shared tea inside the airport before heading to the king's horse farm, a posh retreat with a towering water fountain and statues of four show horses, their tails standing high.

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


Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Tikrit roadside bombing that wounded "a little boy". Reuters notes a Dour mortar attack that left four children injured.


Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Diyala Province 2 people wounded by unknown assailants who shot up their car in Diyala Province, 3 police officers wounded in a shooting in Diyala Province, a Tikrit home invasion that left 1 person dead and an attack in Balad on the Chief of Police of al-Mahata area that killed him and 2 of his guards as well as leaving two bystanders wounded.


Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 2 corpses discovered in Baghdad.

Alexandra Zavis (Los Angeles Times) reports on the "Awakening" Council -- thugs changed to turncoats against the Iraqi people when the US tossed coin their way -- who are now getting antsy because another thug -- Nouri al-Maliki -- won't bring them into the government already. Zavis notes that "the fighters need jobs now. If not, many openly declare that they will have no choice but to work for the insurgency" -- of course not, they only turned to begin with because they were bought off. This as Reuters reports that the cease-fire/truce between the US and forces alligned (at one time?) with Moqtada al-Sadr battled in Baghdad and Kut -- 3 followers dead in Kut, five injured in Baghdad.

In political news, Military Families Speak Out
[PDF format] notes Diane and Neil Santoriello are calling on Senators Hillary Clinton, John McCain and Barack Obama "to meet them at their son's grave in Arlington National Cemetry -- a a grave they visit every month." Their son Neil Santoriello "was the 930th [US] soldier killed" in the Iraq War (August 13, 2004). Both parents are quoted. This is Diane Santoriello:

I would like to see the presidential candidates utilize the leadership that they each claim to have. With each funding bill that the President signs, he is actually signing the death warrant for more soldiers and more Iraqi civilians. The Senate has the power to stop that death warrant from reaching his desk. Senator McCain, Senator Clinton, and Senator Obama all share responsibility for continuing this war. Senator Clinton, Senator Obama, Senator McCain, do you have the courage and honor to face up to the reality of section 60? If so give us the day and time and we will meet you there. (Leave the wreaths, the media and your staffers at the gate.)

And this is Neil Santoriello:

I challenge each presidential candidate to meet us at our son's grave in section 60 of Arlington Cemetery. I want them to stand at his grave and face the Memorial Bridge. I want them to see how many more soldiers have been laid to rest since he was buried in 2004. He was the 930th soldier killed. How many more rows need to be created before they say enough?

Ralph Nader is running for president and Matt Gonzales is the vice-president on the ticket.
At their campaign website, it's noted today: "President Bush believes that the war in Iraq is 'worth the sacrifice.' The question then becomes -- sacrifice by whom? What about George Bush's daughters Jenna and Barbara? Prince Harry served in Afghanistan. Senator Jim Webb and Senator John McCain each have a son who served in Iraq. During World War II four of Franklin Delano Roosevelt's sons entered the armed forces, as did General Eisenhower's son, John Eisenhower. No double standard for them. So, why not Jenna and Barbara Bush? And why not military service for the children of all members of Congress -- who have funded this criminal war in Iraq? . . . It's called -- draft at the top. Pass a law that says this -- whenever Congress and the White House take our country to war, all able-bodied military-age children of every member of Congress, the President and the Vice-President will be conscripted automatically into the armed forces."

Dominque Soguel (WeNews) speaks with US service members Luz Gonzalez, Carolyn Schapper, Emily Stroia and Chrissy DeCaprio who state their concerns for the next president include "vision, experience and patriotism." If your candidate of choice wasn't mentioned and you're not a community member, tough. This week was the fifth anniversary of the Iraq War, not the fifth anniversary of a Venezuelan War, for example. Maybe your candidate needs to learn to focus? Regardless, we don't have time for nonsense. We do have time to support our own. As Gina's long noted, this is a private conversation in a public sphere. If you're a visitor, you can listen in, but you cannot steer it.

Patriotism. Jeremiah Wright's damning of America has offended many Americans and will only offend more as time passes. Barack Obama's Tuesday speech was met with the usual press nonsense which was to focus on the pretty words he offered and not grasp that the speech was a distraction and an avoidance. As the polling indicates, Americans grasped it far better than the press did. We all love
Betty and what Cedric has termed her "deep wisdoms from the south." We love them because she's usually right on the money. This was Betty in Sunday's "Roundtable:" "We've seen a very ugly campaign season and I was so disappointed when it was announced on Friday that they were calling a truce. Whenever the heat gets turned up on Bambi, it's time for a truce. Jesse Jackson Jr. can get on TV and lie about Hillary and not be called out but when realities emerge about Bambi, it's time for a truce? There should be no truce and there should be no nonsense that race hasn't played a part or that White people have repeatedly ignored the way the Obama campaign has used racism throughout the campaign." Betty's correct that everytime the Obama campaign gets into hot water they insist on a truce and then they don't honor it. Jeremiah Wright's damning of America was offensive to many. It was time for a "truce" insisted the Obama campaing and then, not a full week later, they show up to "peddle photos of President Clinton shaking hands with . . . Wright less than 48 hours after calling for a high-minded conversation on race. Well, President Clinton took tens of thousands of photos during his eight years as president. Stop the presses." Neither Bill or Hillary Clinton were members of Wright's church. This is the same crap that the George W. Bush campaign repeatedly pulled in the 2000 election. And you need to be noticing Hillary's response.

Democrats have stated since 2000 -- when Al Gore didn't fight hard enough after the election -- and again in 2004 -- when John Kerry refused to stand up for Ohio voters -- that the party needed a fighter. Hillary Clinton is a fighter. She's fighting for the nomination and doing so against one of the most rigged systems in recent memory.
Panhandle Media has churned out embarrassing, fawning copy for Obama since 2006 in anticipation of his run while running 'exposes' on Hillary. It hasn't changed a thing with the core of the Democratic Party, working class people, who continue to support her. Panhandle Media's non-stop lying has allowed some very smart Obama supporters to believe such lies as "Obama voted against the Iraq resolution in 2002." They believe that because the LIARS of Panhandle Media repeatedly suggest that. Last year on KPFA we saw Professor Patti Williams float that lie and when called on it, by a woman of MidEastern descent who pointed out Obama wasn't in the Senate in 2002, Professor Patti had her meltdown on air, snarling at a woman who obvioulsy had dificulty speaking on air. How proud Professor Patti must be -- both for attempting to lie and for attacking a woman who pointed out that Professor Patti was wrong. We saw all this crap during the 2000 George W. Bush campaign. We're seeing it all again but it's coming from Democrats and it's not Hillary, despite Panhandle Media's non-stop lying. It's the Barack team.

Meanwhile, having offended a good portion of Americans, what has Barack done? It is now Friday and the best he can offer is to try to smear the Clintons by pointing out that Wright was among many clergy invited to one prayer breakfast at the White House. If you're not alarmed by that, you're not paying attention. Wright is toxic. He is pulling the Obama campaign down. And the campaign's best response is to pull out a photo-op shot of the man with Bill Clinton? How does Barack Obama plan to address a Republican opponent because he's running a losing campaign right now. You need to think about Florida 2000 and ask yourself which of the two would be fighting and which would be saying, "Oh, well, we all need to heal and blah blah blah" thereby stabbing voters in the back. I don't think anyone can argue that Hillary would say, "Oh well, it's over. Heal, America, let's all heal!" Democrats have complained and, yes, whined for eight years now that they wanted a figher. You've got your fighter, it's Hillary Clinton.

Now the rejects of Panhandle Media -- who couldn't work in the Real Media -- are facing their own little awakening. They have to face that all their talk of 'democracy' and of 'participation' and of embracing the 'working class' is just b.s. They've spat on all three notions this election cycle. They've stamped their feet and amplified their LIES when they didn't get their way. It is a testament to the spirit of working class Democrats that with all the lies, all the distortions, they have refused to be taken in. But then real Democrats didn't vote for the Bully Boy in 2000 or 2004. And maybe Panhandle Media should start including disclaimers when they LIE about Obama. Maybe readers do, as
Mike and Marcia both noted yesterday, have a right to know, when reading yet another endorsement of Obama, whether the writer can even vote in the election, whether the writer is a Democrat, whether the writer is a Communist, whether the writer voted Democrat before or -- again -- even can vote.

They've created their little artisan class (highly undemocratic) to act as an echo chamber and they've enlisted people who HAVE TO PASS for Democrats. When someone has to pass for a Democrat, there's a problem and that's an indication that they probably shouldn't be addressing a Democratic primary to begin with. Hillary's fighting and Panhandle Media can't stand that. They're working overtime to say that damning the United States does not matter -- how very cosmopolitan of them -- or is it European of them. It does matter and they need to get out of their elitist little nooks and crannies to start interacting with real Americans. If they do that, they'll quickly grasp how serious Barack Obama's 20-year-relationship with Jeremiah Wright is.

Panhandle Media can't allow for dissent at something as 'serious' as rigging an election. So they (like the Obama campaign) toss people to the curb. One such person is Joe Wilson. you may remember him and how the likes of David Corn, BuzzFlash, Amy Goodman and all the other sorry excuses for 'media' can't seem to find him today -- because he is supporting Hillary Clinton.
Via, here's Joe Wilson, former US ambassador:

Senator Clinton has a long and well documented history of involvement in many of critical foreign policy issues we have confronted and will continue to confront as a nation. Critics can quibble about the details of the health plan she fought for in the 1990s, or whether hers was the decisive or merely an important voice in the Northern Ireland peace efforts, but there can be no denying that she has been in the arena for a generation fighting for what she believes in, gaining experience and developing leadership skills. She has traveled the world and met with international leaders both as the First Lady and as a respected senator on the Senate Armed Services Committee. As NSC director on Africa I experienced her direct positive involvement in U.S.-African relations; it was she, as First Lady who advanced through her own travel, then urged and made possible President Clinton's historic trip. In the Senate, she has aggressively exercised her oversight responsibility and held the Pentagon's feet to the fire on plans related to withdrawal from Iraq, shaped legislation requiring reports to Congress, and cosponsored legislation with Senator Byrd to deauthorize the war with Iraq. She has exercised the levers of power because she knows how to do so. That is not a small thing; it is not a campaign theme. It is simply true and goes to the heart of whether she, or anyone, is prepared to be the president to manage at once two wars and a global economic crisis.
Senator Obama is clearly a gifted politician and orator. I disagree profoundly with his transparently political efforts to turn George Bush's war into Hillary Clinton's responsibility. I was present in that debate, in Washington, from beginning to end, and Obama was nowhere to be seen. His current campaign aides in foreign policy, Tony Lake and Susan Rice, were also in Washington, but they chose to remain silent during that debate, when it mattered.
Claims of superior intuitive judgment by his campaign and by him are self-evidently disingenuous, especially in light of disclosures about his long associations with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright and Tony Rezko. But his assertions of advanced judgment are also ludicrous when the question of what Obama has accomplished in his four years in the Senate is considered.
As the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee subcommittee on Europe, he has not chaired a single substantive oversight hearing, even though the breakdown in our relations with Europe and NATO is harming our operations in Afghanistan. Nor did he take a single official trip to Europe as chairman. This is the sum total of his actions in the most important responsibility he has had in the Senate. What are his actual experiences that reassure us that when the phone rings at 3 a.m. he will know what to do, which levers of power to pull, or which world leaders he can count on?
Obama has stated that he will rely upon his advisers. But how will he know which ones to depend upon and how will he be able to evaluate what they say? Already, one of his chief foreign policy advisers, Samantha Power, has been compelled to resign for, among other indiscretions, honestly revealing on a British television program that Obama's public position on withdrawal from Iraq is not really his true position, nor does it reflect what he would do. Her gaffe exposed a vein of cynicism on national security. How confident can we be in his judgment? In fact, the hard truth is that he has no such experience.

He will rely on his advisors? Oh, didn't we all hear that in the 2000 campaign and, after all these years of that man occupying the White House, don't we all grasp how dangerous that is. That's in for two reasons. 1) Betty's father asked for the topic to be addressed and 2) Jim thinks we'll also grab it at Third on Sunday. On the first, that's how it works: the community dictates content, not outsiders.

aaron glantz

mcclatchy newspapers

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Jesse Hamilton, Babsie the non-believer

Thursday! One day to the weekend!

This is Winter Soldier and thank you Kat and C.I. for explaining what to do.

That's Jesse Hamilton. (Kat says I'll get an error message when I try to post but just override it. If I do and it doesn't work, I screwed something up.)

And this is Adam Kokesh at Winter Soldier.

Did you see the latest smear from The Nation? No, not Gary Younge. Marcia's covering that tonight. I'm talking about Barbara Ehrenreich or whatever her stupid name is. You know the alleged feminist who has been trashing other feminists since before Bambi declared he was running for president?

I'm confused. Is Babara a just a Communist posing as a Socialist or is she a Communist posing as a Socialist posing as a Democrat? I know she's no Democrat. And I know she doesn't believe in God. (I know she has a wild past, but we'll get back to that.) She's writing a dopey, dip-s**t piece of trash on Hillary's religion because Bambi's in big doo-doo over his pastor damning the United States of America. So Babs tries to create something. But she's got nothing.

There's no quotes, there's nothing. Red Babsie is alarmed that Hillary and other women have their own study groups. If you're laughing your ass off at that it's because, unlike Red Babsie, you've been to a church. You're familiar that many of them have a women's group and a men's group. It's not a big deal and there's no segregation in the general congregation.

But it looks frightening to Red Babsie but then all religion looks frightening to her. "Godless Communist" is what my grandfather (the Socialist) calls her. And that's what she is. She thinks all religion is b.s. and a racket.

So who gives a s**t what that non-believer thinks? She spits on all religions.

You know there should be a disclaimer at the front of pieces like this that reads, "The author does not believe in God or Jesus and hates all religions."

Poor Red Babsie, she had one book that sold at the first of the decade. She thought she was onto something. She even cut that ugly hair. But she wrote two more books and no one bought them. You can find them at Borders and other bookstores . . . in the discontinued books where hardcovers sell for like $3.99 No one wanted to read the stupid writing of a stupid writer.

And why would they? Besides being a bad writer, she's also a 'funny' kind of feminist. Take her book on a Greek God. You read that correctly. 'Feminist' Babsie doesn't really want to be seen as a woman. She wants to pimp men and their accomplishments even if she has to resort to mythical gods. (Babsie would state all gods are myths.)

Babsie's alarmed that Hillary believes in God. She's shocked! She's appalled!

Big f**king deal, Babsie is shocked that anyone believes in God.

"This is how Stalin came to power," my grandfather said at dinner tonight and he was only half-joking. People like Babsie need a MAN to worship, they need to drool over the thought of his PENIS and how they would SUCK ON IT. Babsie isn't a feminist, she's just a horny queen bee.

She doesn't like women and that's been the hallmark of her writing. She's doesn't believe in God. Put 'em together and it's time for her RED ASS to go after Hillary yet again.

Now Babsie tried to start a workers organization last year or the year before and it went nowhere because it was her usual half-ass nonsense.

She's a half-assed writer too. If she had any brains, she'd stop writing her bad columns which have turned her into a non-stop joke.

If such a pathetic writer really wants to be a writer, she needs to focus all her time on writing and doesn't have the time to spare jotting down her random thoughts that she calls a "column" in The Progressive.

She publicly attacked Gloria Steinem and Jane Fonda long before Bambi announced his presidency. She attacks all women. It's probably because she's ugly and her body gave out long ago. She believes in sex or used to.


You're digging through garbage on Hillary's religion and YOU DO NOT BELIEVE IN GOD.

You've got no business sticking your fat nose into Hillary's religion when you don't believe in God.

I believe in sex so maybe I should write about your wild days?

I think I'll try to do the high road. But if you don't believe in God, shut up already about other people's religion.

You really have no right to comment on Hillary's religion when, in fact, you don't believe in God and Jesus.

Bambi's TOXIC pastor means Red Babsie has to go trolling around in Hillary's religion. Babsie never wrote about Obama's religion because TRASH like Babsie doesn't do that. They shut their big yaps on the ones they love and then apply a different standard to the ones they hate.

She really needs someone to do an intervention and explain to her that she's not a writer that no one writes The Progressive saying, "That was a great column by Babsie!" No one likes her doodles. She has ignored the Iraq War in every one of her damn columns for at least two years now. She's useless. She needs to seriously consider retirement because she has nothing to say and all she can offer is digging through someone's garbage can and trying to pass off a bread wrapper as something appalling.

Hillary believes in God and Jesus. Get over it, Red Babsie.

And get over the idea that anyone gives a damn what you say. The non-existant sales of your last two bad books should have clued you in that you're a bad writer, a boring writer, and a stupid, stupid writer.

Just shut your big yap.

If she doesn't want people digging around her garbage, she needs to stop doing that with Hillary. No one's going to be offended that Hillary belongs to a Bible study group. No one's going to care that it's an all women Bible study group. People are going to hear it and think, "I knew she was Methodist but I didn't realize she put so much time in it. That's another side of her I haven't seen it. And good for her for not trying to turn it into campaign fodder because it's a private thing."

But it shows you both how out of touch The Nation is with middle America and how much they hate, HATE religion that they're trying to smear Hillary with this nonsense. They need to face facts that a lot of American believe and practice a religion. They may not like that fact at The Nation but The Nation doesn't represent the United States.

They have totally disrespected working class Americans and religious Americans. From their Ivy League, cushy posts at Columbia, they rail against the working class and the religious (and a lot of working class is religious) and then they wonder why no one listens to them. They think they can insult us and we'll say, "Oh great, spit on me again, Katrina." Maybe that's how it works in her house but I'm not a masochist.

They and Panhandle Media have offended a HUGE number of Democrats and a HUGE number of people on the left. No matter how the election goes, they have done SERIOUS DAMAGE. The Nation's circulation had already declined but it's now fading even faster. Katrina took over when The Nation was at the highest circulation it had ever been and she's running the magazine into the ground. Shed no tears for her, the good news is she won't be on TV in a little while. She'll be the editor and publisher of a magazine that the mainstream gets no one is reading. They'll stop booking her and we won't have to see that huge nose or hear her fake purr.

If you missed it, Hillary is now in the lead and she'll stay there because you can't hang out (for 20 years!) with a 'mentor' who advises you and damns the United States. Barack Obama thought he could do that. The American people are saying, "Oh no, you can't." What Wright said was offensive and, as C.I. pointed out, Tuesday's big speech was a bust! He didn't address the damning of America. That was his big address, his big statement and he avoided the issue. If he tries to bring it up now, people will take the attitude of, "Oh, he's just saying that because he's losing." He yacked forever and could have talked about the real problem but instead wanted to call his grandmother a racist and Geraldine Ferraro a racist and blah, blah, blah. The issue wasn't his race, the issue was his long-term association with a pastor who damns the United States. That does not play. If you're an out of touch elitist at The Nation who doesn't believe in God, it's no big deal and you do like John Nichols and pretend it was about race. That's not what it was about. And The Nation, after Katrina's tired ass is fired, needs to hire at least one writer who understands religion. This is from Hillary's campaign, "Polling Memo: The Shift to Hillary:"

To: Interested Parties
From: Mark Penn, Chief Strategist
Date: Thursday, March 20, 2008
Re: Polling Memo - The Shift to Hillary
There are some pretty big changes happening out there with the voters. Barack Obama recently declared himself the frontrunner in the race, although there are 10 contests remaining and MI and FL have not yet been decided. But a look at the polls shows that Sen. Obama’s lead nationally with Democrats has been evaporating. The Gallup daily tracking poll shows Hillary leading Sen. Obama among Democrats by 7 points, and the latest Zogby/Reuters poll has Sen. Obama’s lead down from 14 points last month to just 3 points now. This suggests a strong swing in momentum in the race to Hillary since the Texas and Ohio primaries earlier this month.
The more that the voters learn about Barack Obama, the more his ability to beat John McCain is declining compared to Hillary. For a long time we have explained that poll numbers for a candidate who has not yet been vetted or tested are not firm numbers, and we are beginning to see that clearly. Just a month ago, the Obama campaign claimed that the polls showed Barack Obama doing better than Hillary against Sen. McCain. Now such numbers are a lot harder to find.
In the latest USA Today/Gallup poll, Hillary leads John McCain by 5 points (Hillary 51 / McCain 46) while Sen. Obama is only 2 points ahead of Sen. McCain (Obama 49 / McCain 47). This is a reversal from February, when Sen. McCain led Hillary by 4 points. The latest CNN poll also shows that Hillary leads Sen. McCain by a bigger margin than Barack Obama.
In several key states, Hillary is a stronger general election candidate than Barack Obama against John McCain. For example, the latest Survey USA poll has Hillary leading Sen. McCain by 6 points in Ohio while Sen. Obama trails Sen. McCain by 7 points. In Kentucky, Hillary’s margin against Sen. McCain is 26 points better than Barack Obama’s. In Missouri, Sen. Obama lags John McCain by 14 points while Hillary comes within 2 points of Sen. McCain. In Florida, the latest PPP poll shows Barack Obama losing to John McCain by 11 points while Hillary comes within 4 points of Sen. McCain. Last week's University of Central Arkansas poll showed Hillary leading Sen. Sen. McCain by 15 points in that state while Sen. Obama trails Sen. McCain by 16 points. And the latest Rasmussen poll showed Hillary leading Sen. McCain by 11 points in New Jersey while Sen. Obama trails Sen. McCain by 2 points.
Moreover, 24 percent of Florida Democrats say that if Florida's delegates are not counted at the Democratic convention in August, they are less likely to vote for a Democrat in November, according to the latest St. Petersburg Times/Bay News 9/Miami Herald poll. Since Florida is the single largest and most important swing state in the country and nearly 1.8 million Florida Democrats voted in the January primary, Democrats must find a solution to allow Florida's delegates to count if we are to have any hope of winning in November.
And in the crucial state of Pennsylvania - the next Democratic primary battleground and the biggest state which has not yet voted - the latest Quinnipiac poll shows Hillary doubling her Democratic primary lead over Barack Obama from 6 points to 12 points. In Pennsylvania, Hillary improved among men, maintained her 24 point advantage among women, and improved among younger, older, more educated and less educated voters. She leads in every region across the state (NE, SE, NW, SW, Central, Alleghany) with the exception of Philadelphia.
Ultimately, this Democratic nominating process is meant to select the candidate who will: a) be the best president - the best commander-in-chief, steward of the economy, and exercise leadership; b) defeat John McCain; and c) promote and defend core Democratic principles such as universal health care. On all three fronts, Hillary is the best choice for the Democratic Party.
Hillary is the runaway leader on most qualified to be commander-in-chief. In the Ohio exit poll, 60 percent of Democratic primary voters said Hillary was most qualified to be commander-in-chief, compared with 37 percent for Barack Obama. In Texas, she led by 16 points, and in most other states, she led by 10 points or more. She also won among those who said the economy was the most important issue - by 12 points in Ohio, for example. And in the latest CNN poll, more voters say Hillary would do a good job on the economy than Barack Obama or John McCain. Finally, in the latest USA Today/Gallup poll, Hillary leads Barack Obama on strong and decisive leadership, managing the government effectively and having a clear plan for solving the country’s problems.

Hillary's in the lead and Bambi

Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Thursday, March 20, 2008. Chaos and violence continue, which outlets are covering Winter Soldier and more.

Starting with war resistance.
Aaron Glantz (OneWorld) reports on a CO testifying at Winter Soldier:

"The problem that we face in Iraq is that policy makers in leadership have set a precedent of lawlessness where we don't abide by the rule of law, we don't respect internationl treaties," argued U.S. Army Sgt. Logan Laituri, who served a tour in Iraq from 2004 to 2005 before being discharged as a conscientious objector. "So when that atmosphere exists, it lends itself to criminal activity." Laituri told OneWorld that precedent of lawlessness makes itself felt in the rules of engagement handed down by commanders to soldiers on the front lines. For example, when he was stationed in Samarra, he said, one of his fellow soldiers shot an unarmed man while he walkded down the street.
The problem is that that soldier was not committing a crime as you might call it, because the rules of engagement were very clear that no one was supposed to be walking down the street," Laituri said. "But I have a problem with that. You can't tell a family to leave everything they know so you can bomb the [expletive] out of their house or their city. So while he definitely has protection under the law, I don't think that legitimates that type of violence."

We'll come back to Winter Soldier in a moment but it concluded on Sunday and also over the weekend, protests against the war took place in Canada.
Jenny Yuen (Toronto Sun) reports that among those taking part was war resister Linjamin Mull who was among at least 500 protesting in Toronto.

War resisters in Canada were dealt a setback in November the Canadian Supreme Court refused to hear the appeals of
Jeremy Hinzman and Brandon Hughey. Today, Canada's Parliament remaining 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 ( -- 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. 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).

FAIR asks why Iraq Veterans Against the War Winter Soldier Investigation isn't news in the US and it's a question worth asking but that requires more honesty and facts than FAIR is providing. They give two shout-outs to Democracy Now! which is about one too many. Fact check FAIR in this statement: "While the tetimony of soldiers who had served multiple tours of duty was broadcast on Pacifica Radio's Democracy Now!, Free Speech TV and the Real News network, the major broadcast networks and PBS instead . . . " Free Speech TV and Real News Network broadcast the hearings in real time. Democracy Now! did not. Where in that sentence -- or anywhere else in their action alert -- is there any acknowledgement that KPFA broadcast the hearings live, that the stream was available at Pacifica's homepage, at The War Comes Home, at KPFK? Where in that action alert do Aaron Glantz and Aimee Allison receive any credit for anchoring the live coverage?

We've noted that Christopher Hayes did two blog posts at The Nation -- the first noting that the hearings were streaming live and the second noting Camilo Mejia. That's not included. More importantly the wasteland that is Panhandle Media gets a walk. The Progressive did nothing on them (it's finally published it's written ahead of time story today and we're not linking to that crap -- community wide, we're not linking to that crap), Mother Jones couldn't be found either. In These Times' article that ran AFTER we linked to but it needs to be noted they were among the ones contacted AHEAD of time to ask if they'd be covering Winter Soldier and, of course, they had something else to do. As did Mother Jones and assorted others in Panhandle Media who elected to blow off Winter Soldier.

Before we go futher, if you missed Winter Soldier you can stream online at
Iraq Veterans Against the War, at War Comes Home, at KPFK, at the Pacifica Radio homepage and at KPFA, here for Friday, here for Saturday, here for Sunday. Aimee Allison (co-host of the station's The Morning Show and co-author with David Solnit of Army Of None) and Aaron Glantz were the anchors for Pacifica's live coverage. That's credit FAIR forgot to give. Anthony Swofford (Slate) attended the hearings and his article was published Monday. He quotes Jose Vasquez, who oversaw the verification process for witnesses taking part in the panels, stating, "We were willing at least to take testimony from anybody, whether or not they were a member. They didn't even have to agree with our points of unity. If you had a story to tell about Iraq and you were able to prove your service, then we would give you a venue to spread that word." He focuses on the the first Rules of Engagement panel on Friday and notes Jon Turner provided video clips during his testimony:

He then played a few videos he'd made while in Iraq. The first video he played was of his executive officer, after having called in a 500-pound bomb, saying, "I think I just killed half the population of northern Ramadi. F**k the red tape."
Then he played video of a missile attack on a Ministry of Health building. He spoke about the standard procedure of a "weapon drop": When mistakes are made, you drop a weapon on the innocent dead man so it appears he was a combatant. He showed photos of a man's brain. "This wasn't my kill, it was my friend's," he stated.
When the next image of a corpse appeared on the big screens in the hall, he continued, "On April 18, 2006, I had my first confirmed kill. Ahh. This man was innocent. I don't know his name. I call him the Fat Man. He was walking back to his house, and I shot him in front of his friend and father. The first round didn't kill him after I hit him up here in his neck area. So I looked at my friend who I was on post with and said, 'Well, can't let that happen.' So I took another shot and took him out." It took seven members of the Fat Man's family to move his body.

Linda Milazzo (OpEdNews) notes the blackout from big broadcast and observes, "Had Winter Soldier been televised, viewers would have seen the anguish of young Americans who saw and committed acts that torment them every day. The public would have heard stories of returning veterans abandoned by their government and by their V.A. (Veterans' Administration). The public would have seen the agony of parents whose 23 year old son hung himself in their closet due to untreated PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). If Winter soldier had been televised, The People could no longer accpe the deceptions of those who had alterted the facts. The people would have received the knowledge they need to motivate them to act -- to stop the atrocities -- to end the war -- NOW!" OpEdNews, FYI, may have been the only website of its kind (Truthout, BuzzFlash, et al) to actually COVER Winter Soldier. Throughout the hearings, various contributors to OpEdNews were filing stories. By the way, here's a folder The Real News Network has created for its Winter Soldier coverage. Celeste De Vore (Boise State's Arbiter) observes, "Many people may not even know this is happening; the event has been completely ignored by the corporate media. I suppose I can understand why: If America really took hold of the message portrayed by these brave veterans and soldiers (a message of betrayal, brutality, dismay and disillusionment) its citizens couldn't stand in silent ignorance anymore. We would demand an end to the Iraq occupation now." Eric Ruder (Socialist Worker) reports on the hearings and we'll note this section on Bryan Casler:

Bryan Casler was a Marine who, in the course of his four years of action-duty service, was deployed first to Iraq, then to Afghanistan, and then again to Iraq. His testimony captured the indifference of the U.S. military for the well-being of Iraqis, as well as U.S. soldiers.
"During my first deployment, I was deployed to Kuwait in support of the invasion of Iraq," said Casler. "This was in 2003. Our unit was responsible for guarding Gen. Tommy Franks. While stationed in Kuwait, we received alerts for incoming missiles or possible gas attacks.
"As a Marine, being with the general, you feel like you're going to get the most current information, and you're going to be protected because you are going to be up to date and around these other important people.
"It was very disheartening to see the generals running out of their tents, putting on their gas masks, and I look over to our commander and say, 'Shouldn't we put on our gas masks?' He said, 'We'll wait. The siren hasn't been sounded yet.'
"And several minutes later, maybe five or 10 minutes, they would come running back out because they had forgotten to sound the siren for the rest of the base. As Marines, we knew our place. We were at the bottom of the food chain. We are the ones that get forgotten about."
Casler went on to explain that his unit had no clearly defined mission except to keep moving forward. In such circumstances, he said, the first instinct of every Marine is to rely on the tactical training that is drilled into recruits from the start of basic training, which is to use lethal force to repel attacks and destroy the enemy.
"When you mission is not defined, you are going to use . . . those skills that you have to handle hostile people -- not friendly people, not people that are looking for your help or looking for a hand," said Casler. "All you have is hammers, and everything you find is nails. And you are going to crush it. You are going to crush every nail that you find. We are crushing the Iraqi people with the training we're given."

Michael Kramer (Workers World) offers testimony and backround and we'll highlight this section:

While most of the panelists were IVAW members, expert witnesses also testified. Iraqi civilians, including refugees, described their experiences with the occupation through detailed interviews that had been video recorded in Iraq, Jordan and Syria. IVAW Advisory Board member Dr. Dahlia Wasfi raised the occupation of PalestineIVAW is a growing organization with over 800 members. The leadership is diverse: the chair of its Board of Directors was born in Nicaragua and the co-chair is African-American. The treasurer and executive director are women. The group is LGBT-friendly. Most members come from the enlisted ranks and are under 30 years old. They are from both urban and rural areas. Many were on track to be career noncommissioned officers--the foundation of any military organization. Their membership in IVAW is a major defeat for the U.S. imperialist war machine.

Kat wrote about Dahlai Wasfi's testimony on Monday. Tim Wheeler and Joel Wendland (People's Weekly World) provide a cross-section report and we'l lfocus on this section:

Marine Lars Ekstrom said he suffered an emotional breakdown from brutal "hazing" during his tour in Iraq. It included ordering him to do pushups and then to crawl with his face pressed against the ground causing cuts, a bloody nose, and sand filling his eyelids. "I was more afraid of my own unit than I was of the enemy," he said. He finally accepted "administrative separation" from his unit.
Marine Matt Howard said the Marine Corps "bases itself on subjugation and abuse" of lower-ranking enlisted personnel. "I was beaten and then I was kicked out of my platoon for being beaten," he said.
Many of the casualties in Iraq "are from friendly fire," he said.
Howard was the at the front in Kuwait the day the invasion began in March 2003. The first Abrams M-1 tank to cross into Iraq was destroyed by a U.S. helicopter gunship firing rockets armed with depleted uranium, he said. Luckily, the American soldiers escaped. "Why are we using these weapons?" he demanded. "We're poisoning the soldiers. We're poisoning Iraq. We're poisonin the world. Depleted uranium is the Agent Orange of the Iraq war."

Matt Howard's who we're focusing on today. "The Marine Corps bases itself on dehumanization and subjegation and abuse of its lower enlisted in order for it to function," Howard stated early on. He testified on Sunday's The Breakdown of the Military panel and noted being beaten during bootcamp "and ended up being kicked out of my platoon." He noted being on the border between Iraq and Kuwait before the invasion officially started and learning that Captain Banning of Alpha Company a helffire missile was launched into a tank.

Matt Howard: Contained in that Hellfire Missile was depleted uranium. Contained in the armor of the M1A1 tank was depleted uranium. Maximum exposure time for depleted uranium or when you're most susceptible to exposure is directly after impact. You should not be in the vincity of a vehicle that was just hit by friendly fire. I certainly don't have a science background. I won't get into the issue of depleted uranium too much, I expect you to do that and do the research. But I can speak briefly to the fact that this is the Agent Orange of this occupation. This weapon has no purpose in Iraq. Granted this was during the initial invasion so I can maybe understand its deployment but let's be clear here depleted uranium is an anti-armor weapon. The Iraqis do not have armor. They don't have tanks. They don't have bombers. Why are we using this? And, again, I urge you to do the research yourself. I can quickly say that we're using this because it's a way to get rid of atomic waste. We do not know what to do with that. We are posioning our soldiers. We are posioning the people of Iraq. But make no mistake, we are posioning the world. I can test every single person in this room and I can find depleted uranium in your hair. I was tested myself personally. in Australia. I had begged the VA for testing. I received this letter recently: "Dear Mr. Howard, I checked with the provider who has been with the VA and many branches of the services and he does not know of any depleted uranium testing. I have put in a request for your dental visit but it will be most likely only cover an evaluation for mouth-jaw pain due to grinding teeth for PTSD. For routine cleaning, we would need a letter from your command stating you were due for routine dental work prior to leaving the service." The VA has continually denied my requests to be tested for depleted uranium. This letter clearly shows they're saying a test doesn't even exist. And I will say for the record a test does exist. It's the wrong test. It's an urinalysis used to detect exposure, immediate exposure. The problem with depleted uranimum is that these particles dig deep within your body and you will not find them in your urine after a couple of days. You need a very expensive test, one that the VA is certainly not willing to pay for. But I would also like to point out that the VA does recognize the danger of depleted uranium. While they might not want to test for it, or talk about it, or give us any briefings on it beforehand. I specifically remember still holding this round . . . When we were issued tank rounds in Kuwait, most of the tankers had never seen this weapon. They don't use it, at least the Marines don't use it, in training. Probably because they don't just have the money for it compared to the other branches. But we finally got to Kuwait and we're being issued this ammunition, I just so clearly remember these Marines coming up and saying, "Hey, Howard, will you take my picture, will you take my picture?" They wanted the picture of them holding the Black Widow because this is the first time they ever got to actually have their hands on it. And this was a depleted uranium sable round that went in the tank. That round on impact aerosols and vaporizes and these particles go up in the air. And that's why I was saying I can test every single one of you for depleted uranium and find it in your hair. These particles blow up into the atmosphere and they are disseminated all around the entire globe. They have found depleted uranium on the skin of NASA vehicles in space. We are changing the entire genome of our planet -- human beings, cats and dogs, plants. We're changing the genetic makeup of our planet by using these munitions in Iraq and Afhganistan. And as I said, the VA does recognize the danger albeit in a different way. I'm holding here is a depleted uranium questionnaire that I had dowload from the VA. I certainly never saw this in Iraq. And it says: "Did you enter an Abrams battle tank to retrieve sensitive items immediately after it was struck by friendly fire?" Why do they ask that question? Because they know how dangerous a situation that is. And my best friend, Lance Cpl. Greg ____ did exactly that he entered an Abrams battle tank to retrieve sensitive items immediately after it was struck by friendly fire. And those sensitive items did not need to be retrieved. The tank was already destroyed. In fact there were live rounds still on that tank. My command that ordered him to retrieve those sensitive items put his life at risk -- those rounds could have cooked off. And not only that, they weren't that sensitive to begin with. Another Hellfire could have been launched into that tank and we could have moved on. Instead he was ordered to stay on that tank for an extended period of time and was exposed to depleted uranium in the process.

Greg's last name given sounds likes Stroll but I'm not sure I transcribed that correctly so there's ____ instead.

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


Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad rocket attack that left two people wounded, a Baghdad mortar attack wounded two police officers, Nineveh Province car bombing wounded two police officers and a Mosul roadside bombing wounded two police officers.


Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports an Iraqi soldier was shot and wounded in Kirkuk today by unknown assailants. Reuters notes 2 police officers shot dead in Mosul.


Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports Raad Shallal and his driver were kidnapped yesterday and are being held for a $250,000 ransom while today Khalid al-Seyid was kidnapped in Kirkuk as was the owner of a story in Kirkuk.


Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 5 corpses discovered in Baghdad, 1 corpse discovered in Sulaimaniyah Province.

Meanwhile Marcus Baram (ABC News) reports on Ryan D. Maseth who died January 2nd of this year while serving in Iraq as a result of electrocution in the base shower due to "an improperly grounded electric water pump [which] short-circuited and flowed through the pipes. Since the coiled hose was touching his arm, he was hit with an electrical jolt and went into cardiac arrest and died." He was at least the 12th US service member to die "in Iraq due to accidental electrocution". Guess who had that contract? KBR.

With over four milliion Iraqi refugees (internal and external), the
International Rescue Committee issues a report entitled "Five Years Later, A Hidden Crisis." In the (PDF format warning] report, they make four recommendations. 1) Displaced Iraqis need more aid delivered more effectively and efficiently. 2) Calls for the international community to work on the problem. 3) The US must lead on admitting Iraqi refugees. 4) Hold a talk with Ban Ki-moon chairing. It really is that superficial and that disappointing. On step 3, for example, they note that 12,000 is the number of Iraqis the White House has promised to allow into the US in this year (fiscal year). They said it needs to be "more". While that may be true (I wouldn't argue with that) it also needs to be at least 12,000. The US is not on track to admit 12,000 currently and the fiscal year started October 1st -- not January 1st. Last year (last fiscal year), the US government did not meet the total they pledged and this year is already on track to be a repeat. Yes, more would be nice but how about we point out the reality that even the number the White House has promised to admit isn't happening?

In a community-wide correction, Barack Obama's maternal grandmother -- the one he chose to shame in his speech Tuesday -- is alive and our apologies. With wife number two or three of his father is paraded around on TV as his paternal grandmother (his father and his paternal grandfather had multiple wives), one would assume his maternal grandmother must be dead. But that's not the case.
Taylor Marsh ( reports Bambi can't stop shaming the woman and that he's now called her "a typical white person". This is the grandmother he painted as a racist in his speech (though that 'creative tale' doesn't go with what he wrote in his book if anyone in the press wants to check that out).

For those worrying about a US war with Iran,
William M. Arkin (Washington Post) offers a score card:When it comes to making sense on Iran, Hillary Clinton wins hands down over Barack Obama, John McCain and George Bush. In his zeal to describe the mess created by the war in Iraq, Obama falls into the trap of lumping Iran in with our "enemies." McCain is even more offensive, borrowing from the president's always-change-the-justification playbook to argue that the Iraq war is ultimately about Iran. And President Bush is more confused than ever, fretting about emboldening Iran if we leave Iraq, but oblivious to how invading and occupying Iraq may have had the same effect. [. . .] We throw the word "enemy" around way too much these days. Is that what Obama thinks Iran is? The same country he has pledged to negotiate with? In his five-year anniversary speech about Iraq yesterday, Obama said Iran "poses the greatest challenge to American interests in the Middle East in a generation, continuing its nuclear program and threatening our ally, Israel." It is time to present Iran "with a clear choice," Obama said, to abandon its nuclear program, its support for terrorism and its threats to Israel. "Make no mistake," Obama bellowed about Iran, "if and when we ever have to use military force against any country, we must exert the power of American diplomacy first." Gee, I'm no Republican and have no confidence in the Bush administration. But that sounds like current White House policy.

aaron glantz

mcclatchy newspapers