Friday, August 19, 2005

The spark's lit a fire and Camilo Mejia on Kevin Benderman

Good evening, we're going to start out with three things from Democracy Now!

Cindy Sheehan Leaves Crawford
We turn now to Crawford, Texas. Antiwar protester Cindy Sheehan left the site where she has camped out since President Bush began his 5-week vacation 2 weeks ago. Sheehan said her mother had suffered a stroke and that she was heading to Los Angeles to be with her. Almost immediately after Sheehan made the announcement, other parents of soldiers killed in Iraq said they would continue the protest at the makeshift campsite, called "Camp Casey." We will go directly to Amy Goodman, who is in Crawford, in just a moment.

Sheehan's had to leave but others are there and she's started something and if you doubt that check out the next two stories.

Republicans Join Calls for Iraq Withdrawal
Even as the protest continues in Texas, there are new developments in the antiwar effort on Capitol Hill. North Carolina Republican Congressman Walter Jones says he has about 50 co-sponsors on a joint resolution that calls on President Bush to announce a plan for withdrawal from Iraq by the end of this year. This is the latest twist in the dramatic shift in position by Jones who was the politician behind the move to change the name of French fries to "Freedom Fries" in the Congressional cafeteria. The resolution was introduced in June by Jones, Republican Ron Paul of Texas, as well as Democrat Dennis Kucinich. It calls on the president to begin the withdrawal by Oct. 1, 2006, but it does not set an end date. Jones said the new supporters include five Republicans.

That's momentum and you're seeing it in Congress and around the nation. Cindy Sheehan helped spark that and so did all the people who took the time to show support. Still doubting?

Sen. Hagel: US 'More and More Bogged Down' in Iraq
Meanwhile, Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska said Thursday that the United States is getting "more and more bogged down" in Iraq and stood by his comments that the White House is disconnected from reality and losing the war. Hagel mocked Vice President Dick Cheney's assertion in June that the resistance in Iraq was in its "last throes," saying, "Maybe the vice president can explain the increase in casualties we're taking. If that's winning, then he's got a different definition of winning than I do."

Hagel mocks Cheney. That comes from the fact that the people are asking questions and trying to start a dialogue. Some people wondered about L.B. earlier this week. "Who is L.B.?" a few wrote. C.I. wouldn't touch the issue if L.B. was called out by name. Elaine told me that but I already knew it. C.I. would feel that it was personalizing something when an issue was the focus. So I didn't name L.B. and I won't. But L.B. wanted to say Cindy Sheehan wasn't for bringing the troops home now. And then wanted to mock anti-war people by saying: "anti-war."
L.B. has a problem with the peace movement and needs to get over it. L.B. also needs to learn some facts before blogging. Now I started out as a Common Ills community member (still am) before I started blogging so I got a pretty good education on Cindy Sheehan. That's why I pointed out this week that if you read The Common Ills, you already knew who Cindy Sheehan was, long before she went to Crawford.

You knew who she was and what she stood for. C.I. was nice about it over at The Common Ills saying that people like L.B. might not know the facts due to mainstream coverage. I don't buy that. "Anti-war" was use that L.B. made a choice to use. L.B. knew better is my hunch but L.B. wanted to play hawk and so Cindy Sheehan's statements got distorted. If you read The Common Ills this afternoon you noted that C.I. once again included Cindy Sheehan's latest statements which, again, include the call to bring the troops home now.

If L.B. honestly didn't know that when L.B. blogged on how Cindy Sheehan wants the war fine tuned than L.B. needs to do some serious work before blogging. But the thing is, that stuff is still up there. L.B. hasn't corrected anything. People going to L.B.'s site will still see L.B. claiming that Cindy Sheehan is not calling for the troops to come home. So if my hunch was wrong, I don't care. L.B. should know by now the truth if you want to give L.B. the benefit of the doubt and L.B. has not corrected the error which means it is now a lie.

"Distorting is not supporting" C.I. wrote and that's true. And what Elaine wrote is true to:

But when someone writes "anti-war" you already know where they're coming from.

And when someone calls you on it and you write, like L.B. did, that it's not Sheehan's place or L.B.'s place to figure out strategy that's another problem because yes it is. It is all of our place. We need to stop being so passive while our lives are altered over night in back door deals. That pissed Ma off more than anything else L.B. wrote. Ma was like C.I. and thinking maybe L.B. just got bad information from the mainstream press and it was an honest mistake but the "anti-war" in quotes ticked Ma off and when she got to the part about how it's not the "place" of citizens to address the strategy of issues, Ma was pissed off big time. Ma goes, "Mike, for me, never to link to" L.B. Ma, didn't have to ask because L.B. writes nonsense like that all the time. L.B. speaks to some people but not to me. And I don't link to people who don't speak to me or to people who push war. L.B. did try to Thomas Friedman the situation. And I read Kat's "Burn Your Hatred Out On Someone Else" thing on this and thought, "Yeah, that's what it is."

I don't have a lot of respect for people who claim to be progressive but just think we should shut our mouths about bringing the troops home. Seems to me like those people aren't blogging, they're advertising for Democratic leadership in Congress.

I got some e-mails asking if I was going to endorse anyone for the 2006 elections and I don't know. C.I.'s said no presidential endorsements over at The Common Ills and may have said no endorsements for 2006. I'm not sure on the last part. But I think that's a pretty brave thing to do but me, I'm still thinking about it.

Now I want to swipe from C.I. and Elaine to note Ruminations on America which is a pretty cool site that Rita J. King runs. Camilo Mejia rocks. He's a hero in my eyes and he wrote the thing below.

"The Case of Sergeant Benderman" (Camilo E. Mejia)
The defense successfully showed how during that meeting Sgt. Benderman's chain of command, not knowing how to deal with his Conscientious Objector packet, released him to work on documents and to have dinner with his wife, just an hour prior to his unit's deployment, and how they made no effort to get him to the airfield, or to get him onboard a later flight.
The defense showed how Sgt. Benderman, far from being absent without authority or having missed movement, continued to perform a sergeant's duties while and after his unit deployed to Iraq. The defense also showed the ambiguity in Sgt. Benderman's chain of command. For instance, one of the government's arguments in seeking both a conviction and a harsh punishment was that Sgt. Benderman's logistic duties were crucial for the unit in Iraq, yet the defense proved that his chain of command had planned to fire him from his job and to assign him to latrine duty. Another argument was the hazardous component of the unit's mission in Iraq, yet the 1st Sgt. insisted that Sgt. Benderman would be perfectly safe and in a position were he would see no combat at all.
The defense successfully showed the humiliation Sgt. Benderman went through because of his Conscientious Objector beliefs, from the harassment of his wife by the Sgt. Major (who admitted to commenting on her physical figure) to his 1st Sgt. calling him a coward. Why then, one wonders, was Sgt. Benderman convicted of Missing Movement by Design, and sentenced to 15 months of confinement, reduction to the lowest rank, and a dishonorable discharge?
The defense strategy was sound and solid. The government's prejudice and Sgt. Benderman's chain of command's unmeasured persecution and incompetence were all made evident. Why the conviction and the harsh sentence then? Perhaps because a legal strategy is no match for a political strategy. The Army had in its hands a blond, blue-eyed, six foot two, all American soldier, born and raised in the south, someone white America can look up to and identify with, someone who went to Iraq and came back with his humanity enhanced, most definitely a threat to a government on a mission to militarize its society and spread its empire.
The government threw the book at Sgt. Benderman to ensure others like him don't follow behind. Therefore, his case should not have been boiled down to a forty-five minute meeting, because in doing so, the defense disconnected itself from the humanity of the action and from its message of resistance, and that is something America cannot afford at this time.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Cindy Sheehan, Sarita's nervous about college and counterrecruting in Eugene, OR

Good evening. Let's go to two things from Democracy Now!

More Than 1,500 Antiwar Vigils Held Across the US
Last night, people across the United States participated in more than 1,500 candlelight vigils calling for an end to the occupation of Iraq. The vigils were called by Cindy Sheehan who is continuing her antiwar protest outside of President Bush's property near Crawford, Texas. Here is the mother of a soldier who was wounded in Iraq, speaking at a vigil in Washington DC.
Gilda, mother of soldier wounded in Iraq:"What is unforgivable is that you betrayed our idealistic American sons and daughters who trustingly placed their lives in your hands. we, their mothers, will not let you move on with your life."
One mother of a soldier who served in Iraq, speaking in Washington DC. Meanwhile, in Crawford Cindy Sheehan has been joined by a growing number of people at her protest and has now begun setting up camp on the property of one of President Bush's neighbors who offered his land to Sheehan. Among the people joining her are several parents of soldiers killed in Iraq, as well as Minnesota State Senator Becky Lourey, whose son died in Iraq, as well as FBI whistleblower Colleen Rowley--who is running for Congress in Minnesota. Former CIA analyst Ray McGovern is also in Crawford and many more people are expected to pour in for a rally planned for Thursday evening.
Cindy Sheehan:"Our spirits are always good here at Camp Casey 'cause we feel the support of everybody around the world."

So do you think it's having an effect? I do. I think people are paying attention and that's what I hear on campus. People call her brave and say that they're tired of no one talking about the war.

Here's the second thing from Democracy Now!

Court Hears Details of Killing of Afghan Prisoner by US Soldier
Now to the ongoing prisoner abuse scandal. An Afghan detainee who died in US military custody in 2002 was injured so severely that his leg muscles were split apart. This according to an Air Force medical examiner's testimony this week in the trial of a soldier accused in the beating. The examiner who performed the autopsy on the prisoner said his muscles were "crumbling and falling apart." She testified that the injuries could have been caused by repeated knee strikes or by a fist. Army Private Willie Brand is accused of abusing the two prisoners in Afghanistan in 2002. Both later died.

C.I. had a great thing last night and I was thinking about it when I heard the second headline on Democracy Now! The thing was called "Scattered Thoughts" and C.I. was talking about national hysteria and how the press helped whip it up.

Let me go to the e-mail. Sarita e-mailed wondering if it's normal to worry before your first semester in college. She's worried about making good enough grades and about making friends.
I think that those are pretty normal worries. It's a new situation and I think it's pretty common to worry. Sarita's going to one college and all her friends are going somewhere else. So that probably is a normal fear after you've spent four years of high school with the same people (unless you've moved or something). It probably will be nerve wracking the way anything is but it will probably be exciting too. I talked about Sarita's e-mail with my friend Tony and he said when he was starting high school he was nervous and to psyche himself up he pretended that he was an undercover spy and that got him through the first classes until lunch by which time he was okay with high school. So maybe a game like that would help?

Another thing that was suggested was treating yourself in a little way. Like if you like Ruffles or Gardettos, grab a little bag that first day. Tell yourself, "I'll eat some of this after my first class." Or maybe you like the park or movies. Tell yourself, "After I get through my first day, I'm going to go there." Just so you have something to look forward to when you start the day. But I think you'll end up enjoying it.

It's okay to be nervous when you're doing something new. So remind yourself of that and just go through the day knowing that there are other people nervous in class with you.

If anyone has any other tips, e-mail and we'll put them up here.

Now we'll close with something C.I. passed on to me because it's about recruiting. It's from Euguene Weekly and it's called "Break From Recruiting:"

How will the teens and young adults in our community deal effectively with ubiquitous military recruiters in schools and on the phone? Eugene peace activists are doing some recruiting of their own for a regional counter-recruitment camp to be held Aug. 29 to Sept. 1 near Goldendale, Wash.
PeaceWorks and CALC's Committee for Countering Military Recruitment are promoting the Northwest "Not Your Soldier" student activist training camp for youth age 13 to 22. The cost of the camp is $25-$250 sliding scale, with scholarships available.
Registration includes meals, housing, transportation, activities and workshops. "The focus of this event is to empower young people to return to high school and college campuses ready to oppose military recruitment and work to demilitarize their schools," says Phil Weaver of PeaceWorks.
Sessions will include training in nonviolent direct action, basic rights, issues of race in military recruitment, guerilla theater, public speaking, working with adult allies, alternatives to the military, student privacy, conscientious objection and the draft .
The camps are a joint project of the Ruckus Society, Code Pink, War Resisters League, Teen Peace and the Committee for Countering Military Recruitment. For more information or to register, visit
www.notyoursoldier.orgor e-mail or call 343-8548 ext. 1.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Camilo Mejia and an interview with Dona of The Third Estate Sunday Review

Good evening. Let's start out with two things from Democracy Now!

Anti-War Camp in Crawford Texas Vandalized
In Crawford Texas, Cindy Sheehan has announced her 11-day-old anti-war vigil will move locations - in order to get closer to president Bush's vacation ranch. A local Crawford resident has offered her to set up Camp Casey on his property. Sheehan has vowed to remain in Crawford until the president meets with her. Last year Sheehan's oldest son Casey died in Iraq. He was 24 years old. The right-wing attack on Sheehan is intensifying. Last week Fox News host Bill O'Reilly described Sheehan's actions as treasonous. On Monday night a Texas man drove his pickup truck through the vigil site running over hundreds of white wooden crosses and American flags that had been put up to honor soldiers killed in Iraq. The man -- Larry Northern - was arrested and charged with criminal mischief. Sheehan vowed there would be no retaliation. "We're all here for peace, and we're not going to lower ourselves down to the level of the violence," Sheehan said. "And we're going to let them get us off our mission either. This isn't only about my son. This is about all of the 1,800, over 1,800 people who have been killed in this mistake of a war. This is about the 130,000 who are still over there for no reason. This is about the millions of Iraqis in harm's way for no reason. We want this to end." Meanwhile support for the anti-war protest in Crawford is growing. Tonight MoveOn is helping to organize more than 1,000 candlelight vigils around the United States to support Sheehan.

Report: UK Police Lied About Shooting of Innocent Man
In Britain the tv network ITV has obtained leaked information that indicate the British government may have lied about key details involving the police shooting of an innocent Brazilian electrician aboard a subway car. According to the leaked witness statements, the Brazilian man, Jean Charles de Menezes, was being restrained by a member of Scotland Yard's surveillance team at the time that he was shot. In addition, the leaked information indicate Menezes was wearing a thin denim jacket -- not a bulky jacket as police said. It also now appears that Menezes never ran from the police. He only began to run when he saw his train pull into the station. Menezes was shot by police shortly after the July 21st attempted bombings in London.

Those are two disgusting bits of news. In the first one, Camp Casey is vandalized and in the second one, we knew the guy was innocent, the news here is that the police tried to cover up their actions.

Now I want to note something that C.I. sent me, it's from La Prensa San Diego and it's
Camilo E. Mejia's "A veteran of the Iraq War addresses potential recruits"

I'd like to tell young people what awaits them if they join the military and go to Iraq.
You will find yourself patrolling the alleyways and streets of Baghdad or Fallujah. Improvised explosive devices will be going off. You will see some of your fellow soldiers get blown up. And you yourself may get seriously injured or die. Your whole mission will be to get back home alive in one piece.
It is only when you -- if you are among the lucky ones -- make it home, when you yourself are away from the inferno you just left, that you start asking the questions: the "why" and "was it worth it" questions.
I know.
I've been in the military for more than 10 years, serving as an infantryman and later as a reservist with the Florida National Guard on active duty in Iraq.
It is only when we try to find answers to the questions that haunt us that we begin to question our participation in the war -- as a military, as soldiers, as individuals.
Sometimes it takes years. In other cases, like my own and those of some other veterans I've talked with, the realization hits us right away.
That realization is that we were used and abused, that we signed to protect America and
fight for freedom, but the government tricked us. Instead, we realize we are killing and being killed so that President Bush can strut and corporations can haul off the profits.

Normally I dip into the e-mails except on Wednesdays. On Wednesdays lately, I've been interviewing people from The Third Estate Sunday Review. This Wednesday, I'm lucky to have Dona.

I want to start out by talking about how you have been one of the strongest voices pushing for a "best of" edition of The Third Estate Sunday Review. I wanted to get you to talk about that.

Dona: Okay well, you know, the things generally start on Saturday afternoon or evening and they tend to go all night. Where there's a problem is when it's Sunday morning and it's 7 am or later and we're just getting done. That's asking a lot of people. And when it's something that happens week after week it gets old and wears on people.

But when people were saying that the "best of" would be last Sunday, you ended up voting no on that.

Dona: Well, two Sundays ago, we had the problem with getting things posted to the site. It wasn't fixed until Thursday evening. That's really not enough time to do an edition. But the issue of the press corp shrugging their shoulders, basically, over John H. Johnson's death was an important one. So we went from feeling that Sunday would be the "best of" edition to feeling like there was no way we could do that and be silent on something this because this is really the sort of reason we started The Third Estate Sunday Review.

What do you think of this Sunday's edition?

Dona: I told Jim you were going to ask that. Well I'm really not in favor of the push, push, rush, rush, inspiration will come school or view. I'm someone who believes that you really need to prepare ahead of time. I'm not saying my view is better and it's certainly not the only way. But I do think the editions are stronger when we've batted around ideas and actually started drafts before Saturday rolls around. I say all of that to say that despite that, I think the edition is one of our strongest ones. I believe the reason is that we were bothered by the treatment of John H. Johnson's death. That really motivated us. I think you can see it in the pieces dealing with Johnson like the essay and the parody of World News Tonight as well as in the pieces that don't address him like the editorial, the news review and the TV review Ava and C.I. did. I think, in terms of media criticism, it's the strongest edition we've done. But, having said that, I think that's the exception. I don't think strong work often results from this fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants way of putting an edition together.

I wanted to talk about the news review because you came up with that feature?

Dona: A great deal of our features go through many, many drafts. We're all adding something to each one.

Except the TV reviews.

Dona: Correct, those are the work of Ava and C.I. But the other features go through drafts and go through everyone tossing out things and looking at what's been pulled together. That's great and probably makes them stronger more often than not; however, it does take up time. One of the hopes with the roundtable feature was that we could get an easy feature. Just a transcript of what was said and we're done. As you know, a roundtable can go on for four hours. So with the news review, we stop at 59 minutes if possible and do not go over 60 for any reason. It's our roundup of news stories and we do it in a manner similar to Democracy Now! which we all love.

C.I.'s the anchor.

Dona: And hates being an anchor. But the anchor needs to be someone who can stretch because it's got to go in real time. Someone who can stretch shouldn't be asking, "So how are you today?" C.I. is someone who, when told to stretch, can bring up points that go to what's being addressed. Look at when Betty was reporting on Marilyn Monroe in the first news review. The e-mails on that were really impressed with the exchange between Betty & C.I. which wasn't planned by either and only came up because I told them to stretch since the next story up wasn't ready. I mean, I read some of the e-mails on that and people would write, "Marilyn did say she made up things up for her sessions!" Did you know that? I didn't. I couldn't have gone there. And this time we saw C.I. bring up things from, for instance, The New Yorker when it was time to stretch. They add, they round out the story.

I think C.I. doesn't like doing that.

Dona: Because of the spotlight issue and not wanting to be in it as well as because C.I. would rather focus on putting together a story. I know and I understand that. If we had anyone else that could do it and wanted to, I'd be the first to say, "Thank you for anchoring now go put together a story this time." But the reality is the reality. You know, from when we're all working together, that C.I. may bring up anything in passing. It might be a movie or something historical or whatever. You need someone well versed in case you end up needing to stretch. But the feature's done with me holding a stop watch and we stay on time for it so you're looking at one hour of time basically.

I really enjoy it and think it's exciting because, for me at least, I'm thinking, "Will I be able to pull this together?"

Dona: Which is part of the fun and does fit Jim's belief that the pressure can be a benefit. I wish Elaine's piece could have gotten into the news review. But Elaine said the fact that I wish something had made it in instead of wishing that we'd taken something out should always be the goal and I agree with that.

Cedric feels bad about that.

Dona: He doesn't need to. We had, I think, 52 seconds left and it was easier to cut the report he did to fit that then it was to cut Elaine's. But we tried. Jim, Cedric, Elaine and I were all trying to make it fit but her report was complex and cuts just made it confusing.

I'll close by congratulating you. Yesterday was The Third Estate Sunday Review's seventh month anniversary.

Dona: Really? Some days it seemed like we only started last week, other days -- usually the day after an all nighter -- it feels like we've done it for 60 years. 7 months? Wow. Hopefully we've learned something in that time and hopefully it shows a little. You've interviewed Ava and Jim already and I was told to ask who was next?


Dona: Well I look forward to reading that and I'll let him know that it's relatively painless.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Advice for Amber and John H. Johnson

Good evening, we'll start off with Democracy Now! which I hope everybody watches or listens to.

August On Pace to Be One of Deadliest Months of War For U.S.
Meanwhile August is shaping up to be one of the deadliest months so far for U.S. troops in Iraq. 44 U.S. soldiers were killed in the first 10 days of the month alone. The week beginning Aug. 3 marked the fourth deadliest week of the war for U.S. forces.

'Marine of the Year' Faces Attempted Murder Charges
In Massachusetts, a decorated Marine who served in Iraq is facing attempted murder charges after he fired a shotgun from his apartment window at a group of revelers outside a nightclub. Just last month the Marine -- Daniel Cotnoir - was named 2005 Marine of the Year by the Marine Corps Times. After he won the award Cotnoir posed for a photo with Massachusetts Senator John Kerry. Cotnoir has reportedly been suffering from post-war stress since serving in Iraq where he worked as a mortician preparing bodies of U.S. soldiers for burial.

A lot of e-mails with advice for Amber. Yesterday, I told you about Amber. One of her best friend's is Foxized by her father and thinks that Amber's speaking out against the war is not supportive. Wally wrote that besides asking the friend to list what she thinks "supports the troops" but also to explain why she thinks Amber's beliefs don't. Bobbie thinks Amber needs to "keep being upfront about what she stands for because a lot of it is probably just that her friend hasn't heard that point of view because we've heard such a narrow range of views in the media." My bud Tony thinks Amber should back up her views with stuff on Iraq because he doesn't think that her friend probably knows much beyond the Operation Happy Talk and purple fingers crap. But what most of the e-mails wondered was if Amber was in school (she's in high school). If the person writing was in high school, like Kristi, Jock, Delia, Heather, Genie and Damon, they were talking about how when the occupation started, the whole school seemed like a war rally but that in the two years since, the mood changed big time. Too many deaths and too many lies is what Damon thinks changed it and Genie thinks it's because "we may be kids but we know right from wrong."

And that's what I saw on my school campus and see on my college campus now. And there's a Common Ills community member named Maria and she teaches and she's talked about that over at The Common Ills for months now, about how it's us kids who woke up and saw the obvious quick. She's talked about how it might have something to do with you got a group of people learning about their country and what it's supposed to stand for and at the same time that we're learning about democracy, self-rule, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and facing forming our own opinions and all, it's easier for us to look at the Bully Boy and say, "The emperor has no no clothes on" than it is for a lot of our parents.

It's also why people who might have seemed like brave voices in March of 2003 strike us as hopelessly out of touch if they've got the same message they had all that time ago. There's been a shift in us and a shift in the country and it's the tipping point thing that Ruth talked about at The Third Estate Sunday Review and in her Ruth's Morning Edition Report and that The Third Estate Sunday Review and The Common Ills has been talking about for some time. Things are changing and Elaine had a great thing about that last night.

And I want to note my buddy Cedric writing about Howard Kurtz yesterday and how Kurtz dismissed the lack of big coverage on the death of John H. Johnson with nonsense about how Johnson didn't anchor a TV show:

See, some people are noting it. Amy Goodman and the folks of Democracy Now! covered Johnson last week and are again this week and Susan of Random Thoughts gets it and Trey and Marcia and C.I.
As for Howard Kurtz, he's a bigger stooge than my cousin who just got patterns shaved into his scalp that make his head look like one of those stickers you put down in the tub to prevent someone from falling.
With Vernon, I said, "What the heck were you thinking?" With Kurtz, he obviously doesn't think. Peter Jennings got massive coverage and John H. Johnson very little coverage because, according to Howard Kurts, Peter Jennings was on TV. And because he was an anchor of an evening news program. So that means no one of my race gets that kind of coverage, right Zowie Howie? I mean, I don't hear that CBS is looking to replace Rather's white rabbit replacement with a brother. And Brian Williams looks like he applies man-tan. So we don't have a black anchor on the evening news of any of the big three broadcast networks. By Zowie's logic, we, therefore, don't get any coverage.

You're only matter, Zowie Howie says, if you're on TV. Of course he would say that since he is on TV. If you lose your TV outlet, do you no longer matter, Zowie?
Most Americans don't know who John H. Johnson was, according to Howie. I'm guessing he doesn't know many black people other than maybe his servants. What Howie's saying is that not many white people he knows know who John H. Johnson is. A lot of important people die that your average person of any color never heard about and I kinda thought that was what the press did, let you know someone important passed but I guess I was wrong. Howie tells us it's all about if you are on TV or not.
Howie needs to leave his, what did C.I. call it?, "restricted comfort zone." I love that. Restricted zone. That's Howie Kurtz. And black people get restricted right out of his area.

Democracy Now! did a thing on John H. Johnson's memorial today so I'll close with that:

ROLAND MARTIN: Well, I think first of all, we need to broaden the scope of John H. Johnson's influence. I do not consider him to be the greatest black publisher in the history of our industry. I consider him to be one of the greatest publishers. I think if there was a Mount Rushmore of the media magnates, I believe that John H. Johnson's bust would be alongside Henry Luce, David Sarnoff, Bill Paley, Ted Turner, and the other icons of our industry.
For me personally, I had a chance to sit with him and his daughter, Linda Johnson Rice, who is now the C.E.O. of Johnson Publishing Company, a couple of months ago. I had an opportunity to talk with him, talk about his vision and how he built the company. But the first time we met was in 1990, when I was an intern at the Houston Defender, and it was interesting, when John H. Johnson came through the office, I mean, it was as if royalty was there, because that's how so many people looked at him and held him with such high regard. Clearly one of the greatest giants we have ever seen in this industry, and his impact goes far beyond the pages of Ebony and Jet.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Cindy Sheehan, CounterRecruiter, Amber's questions and people who don't know the facts about Cindy Sheehan

Good evening, we'll start off with Democracy Now!

Cindy Sheehan Begins Day Nine of Her Protest in Crawford, TX
In Crawford Texas, Cindy Sheehan has begun day nine of her vigil outside President Bush's vacation ranch. Sheehan has vowed to remain in Crawford until the president meets with her. Last year Sheehan's oldest son Casey died in Iraq. He was 24 years old. Hundreds of anti-war activists have now joined Sheehan in a protest that has received international attention. "You know, this is really hard. Not only am I, like, trying to stop the war, but I have to grieve my son every day," Cindy Sheehan said. "Every day I wake up, it's like April 4th all over again. I have to realize that I have to go for another day without my son, and it's really, really hard. And then I do this on top of that." On Saturday, Bush defended his decision not to meet with Sheehan. He said "I think it's important for me to be thoughtful and sensitive to those who have got something to say. But. I think it's also important for me to go on with my life." Bush's comments came before he went on a two-hour bike ride with journalists and aides. In addition, Bush spent Saturday attending a Little League baseball game, having lunch w/ Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, napping, fishing and reading. On Friday Bush attended a political fundraiser. Tensions are also rising in Crawford. One local farmer fired a gun on his property near the protest site. When asked if he was trying to send a message the farmer said, "Figure it out for yourself."

So now let's hop over to the e-mails. I've got one from Amber and she's got a problem. First, she's been talking about Cindy Sheehan every chance she gets. So good for Amber! Way to go! Second, she's got a friend who told her that she doesn't "support the troops" if she supports Cindy Sheehan and Amber's wondering what to tell that friend.

Amber says "I can't tell her to f--k off because she's one of my best friends and because I think if I work hard, I can reach her because she's just repeating stuff her dad told her."

Amber, I think it's great that you faced that and decided to work harder. So my advice is ask her what "support the troops" means? Make her define what it means.

I think she's probably not thought about it and just repeats it as a slogan.

So make her do some thinking and ask her to tell you what "support the troops" means or to make a list of things she thinks "supports the troops."

Then discuss the list with her calmly. And ask questions. Like ask if she thinks it supports the troops if you shut your mouth when you feel your country is making a huge mistake.

Amber says she keeps getting told by some right wingers that Cindy Sheehan wanted the war fought smarter. Amber, you got punked. Cindy Sheehan wants the troops home now. She's said that over and over. I read that and thought, "Call C.I." I did. C.I.'s going to try to address that nonsense tonight.

And see, here's the thing, The Common Ills knew who Cindy Sheehan was before Crawford. The Common Ills linked to Gold Star Families for Peace and Military Families Speak Out before Crawford. The Common Ills has quoted her from Stop The Next War Now, the CODEPINK book. Any right winger who says that crap is an idiot. I've read Stop The Next War Now and I've watched Cindy Sheehan on Democracy Now! so I think it's really sad that some people want to use her to push their own agenda of "fine tune the war!" ("Fine tune the war" is a phrase C.I. or Elaine came up with, I can't remember who right now.)

Cedric told me he saw a "liberal" blogger blogging on it too. L.B. needs to do some research before weighing in because L.B. doesn't know anything. I don't go to that site. I called Elaine because she pulled that site from Rebecca's list. Elaine said she's sick of permalinks from Rebecca to people who won't give Rebecca permalinks so she pulled that site 2 weeks ago. She also didn't care for L.B.'s playing Thomas Friedman while acting "liberal." That's why I don't go to L.B.'s site. C.I. mentioned L.B. when I was doing links and I said, "I don't want to link to that. Or to anyone that pushes Council for Foreign Relations. I may be only 19 but I'm not an idiot." And that's sad, real sad. Here I am 19, not knowing half of what to do and learning as I go and I know more than L.B.

From CounterRecruiter (a great site), I want to note Joshua Breitbart's "Selling the Parents" which about the new push-the-war front where they try to get parents up on the war:

The ads have been running since April on old-person cable channels, like Hallmark and the Game Show Network. One in Spanish is running on Spanish-language television and in Puerto Rico. The Army recently expanded their circulation and claims they will reach 58 percent of influencers of potential recruits by September. With Cindy Sheehan and the Gold Star Families for Peace in the news so much these days, the recruiters have a lot to compete with when it comes to reaching parents.
Army ads encourage parents to let their children sign up"