BULLY BOY PRESS & CEDRIC'S BIX MIX -- DC.
D.C. IS STILL REELING OVER THE BULLY BOY'S LATEST SPENDING PLAN THAT THE WHITE HOUSE PRESENTED TODAY -- $2.9 TRILLION AND IT'S ALL GOING TO WAR-WAR-WAR!
AS ALL THE TRILLIONS GO TO THE IRAQ WAR, CUTS HAVE TO COME SOMEWHERE -- FOR INSTANCE MEDICARE WILL TAKE A $78 MILLION HIT.
BULLY BOY SKIPPED AND SCAMPERED THROUGH THE ROSE GARDEN TODAY AND THESE REPORTERS APPROACHED HIM.
HE AGREED TO AN INTERVIEW PROVIDED WE WOULD PLAY JACKS WITH HIM.
HE SAID WE COULD NOT GO OVER "TWO-SIES" BECAUSE "COUNTING IS HARD."
SURE ENOUGH WHEN HE ATTEMPTED "THREE-SIES" HE FAILED. DITTO WHEN HE ATTEMPTED "FOUR-SIES" BUT, HE SAID, "YOU HAVE TO KEEP DOING WHAT FAILS. IF I DIDN'T, WE'D BE OUT OF IRAQ BY NOW."
WHEN NEW SECRETARY OF DEFENSE ROBERT GATES BROUGHT OUT JUICE BOXES AND FRUIT ROLL UPS, BULLY BOY AGREED HIS PLAN WAS "TOUGH FOR SOME PEOPLE" BUT, HE ADDED, "WHO CARES? THEY DIDN'T VOTE FOR ME. I OWE IT TO THE VOTING MACHINES THAT WAS RIGGED AND THEY AIN'T COMPLAINING."
BULLY BOY THEN CHOKED ON A FRUIT ROLL UP WHICH PRESENTED THESE REPORTERS WITH BOTH A MORAL AND PROFESSIONAL DILEMMA: IF WE SAVE HIM WERE WE HARMING THE WORLD? AND, IF WE SAVED HIM WERE WE BECOMING A PART OF THE STORY -- A JOURNALISTIC NO-NO.
FORTUNATELY, VICE DICK CHENEY WAS SKEET SHOOTING AND THE GUN BLAST STARTLED BULLY BOY ENOUGH TO DISLODGE THE FRUIT ROLL UP AND THE N.I.E. ON IRAN. (WAVING THE LATTER, HE SAID HE KNEW HE'D PUT IT SOMEWHERE.)
HE THEN AGREED THAT IT WASN'T JUST CROOKED VOTING MACHINES AND THE SUPREME COURT THAT INSTALLED HIM, "IT WAS DEFENSE CONTRACTORS! THEY LOVE KILLING ALMOST AS MUCH AS I DO AND THEY LOVE ME!"
AS A RESULT HE POINTED OUT THAT OSHKOSH TRUCK AND OTHER DEFENSE CONTRACTORS WOULD "CLEAN UP PRETTY."
FROM THE TCI WIRE:
As noted by Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) today: "In the state of Washington, the court-martial of First Lt. Ehren Watada begins today. Seven months ago, he became the first commissioned officer in the country to publicly refuse deployment to Iraq. He faces four years in prison. He is charged with one count of missing movement and two counts of conduct unbecoming an officer for refusing to ship out with his unit." Aaron Glantz (IPS) reports on actions that took place Sunday in Tacoma, Washington as Iraq Veterans Against the War and others organized a strong show of support for Watada and notes that Helga Aguayo and her children left California to be present and speak to the crowd: "We are here because it's important to show support for people who resist wars. We know what Watada's family is going through. My husband has been fighting for more than three years to be declared a conscientious objector. He is so opposed to war that when his commander sent him out on patrol he did so without putting any bullets in his gun." Helga Aguayo is married to Agustin Aguayo who awaits word from the US Court of Appeals on his c.o. status but the military isn't waiting on the verdict and has scheduled his court-martial for March 6th.
Aaron Glantz also reported this morning on the news break of KPFA's The Morning Show, where he described to Aileen Alfandary that "hundreds of people" were present on Sunday (including Sean Penn) and that "People feel that this a very important moment for the anti-war movement." Glantz will be reporting on the court-martial for The KPFA Evening News today (6:00 pm PST) as well as for KPFA's The Morning Show while the court-martial lasts.
Sunday Medea Benjamin told The KPFA Evening News, "I think that there's a lot of pressure coming down on the military to not allow this officer to prove the unconstitutionality of this war because that would open the floodgates not only for other people in the miliitary to make the same claim but what does that say about President Bush and the Bush administration for getting us into this war in an unconstitituional way. That would lead, to me, to say there's grounds for impeachment." They are attempting to make an example of Ehren Watada with the mistaken belief that coming down hard on him will 'whip' the others into line. Of course, it was doing his job that led Watada to his stand. As Watada explained to Tomas Alex Tizon (Los Angeles Times), he began researching the issue of Iraq on the advice of his battalion commander, "He told us, 'If you don't know all there is to know about your mission, you're failing yourself and you're failing your soldiers." Attempting to honor and live up to his commission led Watada to discover the realities of the illegal war and to the stand he has taken.
Today, Mike Barber and Kery Murakami (Seattle Post-Intelligencer) report that the main expected issue at the 9:00 am start of the court-martial was to be the selection of officers to serve on the jury. As Hal Bernton (Seattle Times) reported on Sunday: "The officers will form a 'panel of peers,' the military equivalent of a jury, and determine whether Watada spends up to four years in prison in one of the most high-profile cases to be tried at Fort Lewis." Present at today's court-martial, to show support, was Vietnam war resister David Mitchell. Khurram Saeed (The Journal News, White Plains) noted that Mitchell states Watada's "stand is the same" as the one he took during Vietnam and that Bob Watada and Rosa Sakanishi (Watada's father and step-mother) requested he attend. Hal Bernton and Nancy Bartley (Seattle Times) report: "As the court-martial began, anti-war activists converged outside the fort for vigils and rallies in support of Watada. By late morning protesters were setting up in a park a few blocks from the fort's main gate. Many trucks and cars arriving at the park bore anti-Bush bumper stickers. A charter bus from Portland drove up and a stream of Watada supporters emerged carrying signs. One sign said, "Thank you Ehren Watada."
There was action inside Building 2027 as well. Adam Lynn (The News Tribune, Tacoma) reports: "Honlulu attorney Eric Seitz said rulings that have gone against the Stryker Brigade officer in pre-trial motions, including the exclusion of many defense witnesses, rendered the proceedings 'almost comical' and at one point called the case 'an attrocity.' 'There's really nothing for us to say in this courtroom,' Seitz said during pre-trial motions in a wood-paneled courtroom." Needless to say, Judge Toliet wasn't pleased. (Judge Toliet? From The Third Estate Sunday Review: "The 'judge by the way is John Head. We think it's fitting that his first and last name are both slang for toilets. We think the 'judge' has taken justice into the crapper and flushed it down.") Pleased or not, Seitz made his points.
And others are making a point of standing up. Anita Weier (The Capital Times) reports that actions are ongoing at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where students are showing their support for Watada and quotes student Chris Dols: "Today is the date of Watada's court martial. We wanted to show soldiers who resist that they have our support, and others who are thinking about resisting that they will have our support. I agree with Ehren Watada that this is an illegal war, and that it is right to refuse to carry out illegal orders. The U.S. was not acting in defense. This was an agressive war based on lies."
Watada is a part of a movement of resistance with the military that includes others such as Agustin Aguayo (whose court-martial is currently set to begin on March 6th), Kyle Snyder, Darrell Anderson, Ivan Brobeck, Ricky Clousing, Aidan Delgado, Mark Wilkerson, Joshua Key, Camilo Meija, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Jeremy Hinzman, Corey Glass, Patrick Hart, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Katherine Jashinski, Chris Teske, Matt Lowell and Kevin Benderman. In total, thirty-eight US war resisters in Canada have applied for asylum.
Information on war resistance within the military can be found at Center on Conscience & War, The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline, and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters.
As today we are a nation at war, it is good to keep in mind that things can change. People learn, little by little. Lies are exposed. Wars once popular gradually come under suspicion. That happens when enough people speak and act in accord with their conscience, appealing to the American jury with the power of truth.
-- Howard Zinn, "A Break-In For Peace," A Power Governments Cannot Suppress, page 219.
Ehren Watada and all war resisters expose the lies. They do so when there is coverage and when there isn't. And, as we all know, they do it when independent media, print division, can't be bothered to cover them or to honor the honor the power of the people or what Zinn's rightly called "the American jury".
In other news of war resistance, US war resister Kyle Snyder has returned to Canada. Gerry Condon (Soldier Say No!) reports that Kyle Snyder and Maleah Friesen "moved to the quaint little town of Nelson" where "they have joined another war resister couple, Ryan and Jenna Johnson from California. Now the four of them are urgently seeking funds so they can rent a 2-bedroom apartment together" -- donations can be sent to Kyle Snyder, 310 A Victoria St., Nelson, BC, V1L 4K4, Canada or online via Courage to Resist (where they are tax-deductable). Synder depolyed to Iraq and, returning to the US in April of 2005, made the decision to self-check out and went to Canada. Following war resister Darrell Anderson's return from Canada to the US, Snyder decided to return as well, his attorney worked out an agreement with the US military, so, on October 31st, he turned himself in at Fort Knox only to self-check out again when the military refused to live up to the agreement. Condon quotes Synder stating: "I didn't leave Canada in order to go to jail -- just the opposite. I returned to the U.S. because the Army said they would discharge me with no jail time. But the Army lied to me -- again."
Following his decision to self-check out again, Snyder remained in the United States speaking out against the war, raising awareness on the issue of war resisters, doing reconstruction work in New Orleans over the Thanksgiving week. During all of that, a warrant for his arrest existed. In December, things changed a bit as police began showing up at his scheduled appearances with the intent to arrest him. They never managed. Synder would speak via cell phone when unable to appear in person and he is now back in Canada.
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