BULLY BOY PRESS & CEDRIC'S BIX MIX -- DC.
"WON'T GET FOOLED AGAIN." THE MAINSTREAM PRESS SHOULD REALLY TRY SINGING THAT WHO SONG AND MAYBE IT WOULD SEEP INTO THEIR BRAINS.
THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE REPORTED THIS MORNING:
Senate Democrats will want some hard promises from attorney general nominee Michael Mukasey when he appears before them this week. Whether Mukasey is willing to make them may spell the difference between a smooth path toward confirmation and yet another debate over the administration's most contentious practices.
BUT TODAY, THE SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE PATRICK LEAHY DECLARED THAT MUKASEY WILL LIKELY BE CONFIRMED TOMORROW.
WHEN REACHED FOR COMMENT THE CENTER OF CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS PRESIDENT MICHAEL RATNER DECLARED:
It is shocking to see those who should know better supporting and in some cases practically fawning over the nomination of Michael Mukasey for Attorney General. There is simply no excuse for anyone who cares about fundamental rights and civil liberties to support Mukasey's nomination. What has surprised me is that some of those people I assumed were allies in the fight to close Guantánamo, end arbitrary detentions carried out under the rubric of "enemy combatant," stop torture and say no to kangaroo courts for alleged terrorists, are willing to look the other way and let the President's nominee become Attorney General.
WHEN REACHED FOR COMMENT, THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE SCRATCHED ITS ASS AND MUMBLED SOMETHING TO THE EFFECT OF "WHO KNEW THE DEMOCRATS WOULD CAVE?"
WHAT THE PRESS DIDN'T KNOW THE AMERICAN PEOPLE DOES. WHICH EXPLAINS WHY THE COWARDLY DEMOCRATICALLY CONTROLLED CONGRESS HAS SUCH LOW FAVORABLES IN POLL AFTER POLL. THIS IS THE DEMOCRATICALLY CONTROLLED CONGRESS THAT WILL NOT CUT OFF FUNDING FOR THE ILLEGAL WAR BUT WILL TAX SMOKERS TO FUND S-CHIP. THEY DID NOT GIVE A DAMN ABOUT CHILDREN OR THEY WOULD HAVE MADE THE GOVERNMENT PAY THE BILL. INSTEAD, THE DEMOCRATS ATTACK SMOKERS WITH A FLAT TAX. THEY ARE WORTHLESS.
WHEN REACHED FOR COMMENT, SENATOR LEAHY RESPONDED, "I AGREE. I MAKE IT A POINT TO ALWAYS AGREE. I HAVEN'T HAD AN INDEPENDENT THOUGHT OR URGE IN DECADES."
FROM THE TCI WIRE:
Starting with war resistance. Another member of the US military who went to Canada has gone public. Ariel Troster (Capital Xtra) reports on Bethany "Skyler" James, a 19-years-old and out lesbian, who drove to Canada with "her friend Jeremy Daniel (also a soldier)". Troster reports James didn't plan to hide who she was but hoped to keep low key until "I was ridiculded daily by the other soldiers and even received hate letters," leading James to be out -- "even hanging a rainbow flag in her room at the military base, despite a rule which prohibits anyone who 'demonstrate(s) a propensity or intent to engage in homosexual acts' from serving in the US army." Troster observes, "You would think that by disclosing her identity, Skyler would have received a 'get out of the army free' card. By outing herself, she was clearing contravening regulations in a way that should have earned her a discharge. But according to Skyler, it isn't that easy. The US military is so desperate to enlist more troops to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan, that they are willing to turn a blind eye to even the most blatant homosexual conduct -- leaving people like Skyler to endure the double injustice of fighting in wars they don't agree with, while also being subjected to harassment and intimidation from their fellow soldiers." James was to be deployed to Afghanistan which may provide a different set of complications for her than other war resisters in Canada since Canada sends troops to Afghanistan (it doesn't send troops to Iraq). When she and her friend decided to make the trip, they went online for information, to the War Resisters' Support Campaign.
On Sunday, columnist Janice Kennedy (The Ottawa Citizen) addressed Canada's refusal to honor their history of peace:
Remember when Canada was a haven for peace lovers? That was during yesterday's Vietnam debacle, as opposed to today's Iraq debacle. Our more conservative citizenry might prefer not to be reminded of such heady times (weirdo hippie freaks, and all), but Canada actually distinguished itself by welcoming Americans who could not support, much less fight in, a war they knew was immoral.
In Lyndon Johnson's America, to be a "draft dodger" or "peacenik" could be both unpopular and dangerous. In Canada, the same person was mostly (if not universally) recognized as a person of principle and conviction.The Americans sent 8.7 million troops to Vietnam over the course of a pointless war that ended for them in total defeat in 1975. Fifty thousand young Americans died needlessly, as did 1.3 million Vietnamese, north and south. The deep scar across the American psyche remains angry and livid to this day.
It was Pierre Trudeau who made the tough decision to risk U.S. governmental wrath and welcome Vietnam war resisters. (Yes, yes, I hear you: Of course it was Trudeau, the coward who refused to fight the Nazis, et cetera, et cetera. Whatever. You can choose to keep your viewpoint fixed in 1940, or else you can see a man who learned, grew and became a leader with vision, conviction and moral courage.)There was an unanticipated reward for our acceptance of the estimated 30,000-40,000 American war resisters who came to Canada. Many of those who ended up staying and making their homes here -- a disproportionately bright and educated lot -- also ended up enriching Canadian society immeasurably. Untold contributions over the past four decades in science, business, journalism, the arts and the academic world have been made by those very people.
On the 25th anniversary of the end of the Vietnam war, Montreal Gazette journalist Jack Todd -- who made that profound border-crossing himself -- spoke with the CBC. "That decision to come to Canada in 1970," he said, "is the bravest thing I ever did, and I'm damn proud of it ... I think we were right, and what we did was an important thing."
The refusal to support today's war resisters effects James and many others including Joshua Key, Brandon Hughey, Jeremy Hinzman, Corey Glass, Ryan Johnson, Ross Spears, Phil McDowell, Kimberly Rivera, Patrick Hart, Robin Long, Dean Walcott and many others.
Meanwhile war resister Camilo Mejia, chair of Iraq Veterans Against the War, will be in New York City participating in the latest readings of Howard Zinn and Anthony Arnove's Voices of a People's History of the United States presented by the Culture Project (55 Mercer St., NY, NY, 10013). Adam Hetrick (Playbill News) reports that this adaptation will be Rebel Voices and quotes a press release that states the adaptation provide "an important testimony to the strength of the individual voice, as told through first-hand accounts from people who have shaped the course of U.S. history, often struggling against seemingly insurmountable odds. The Rebel Voices include Sojourner Truth, Frederick Douglass and Malcolm X as well as lesser-known figures like Maria Stewart, a pioneer Black abolitionist from the early 1800s; Stella Nowicki, a union organizer in the 1930s; and such contempary voices as Iraq war resister Camilo Mejia and Patricia Thompson, a survivor of Hurricane Katrina." Other participants will include Lili Taylor, Ally Sheedy, Staceyann Chin, Allison Moorer, Wallace Shawn and David Strathairn. Preview performances start November 10th. The official opening is Sunday November 18th and Zinn will be present for that performance. Currently, the production is scheduled to run from November 10th through December 16th. For more information (times, ticket pricing, etc.) visit Culture Project. Last week, IVAW's Amadee Braxton was among thirty people ("30 for 30 Tribute to Change: Building Paths to Social Justice") honored by Bread & Roses. Also among the thirty honored was Military Families Speak Out and Gold Star Families Speak Out Celeste Zappala -- the latter of which she is a co-founder of. A full list of those honored can be found here.
In June 2006, Ehren Watada became the first officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq. Watada could not serve in the Iraq War because it is an illegal war. Sherwood Ross (OpEdNews) reviews the the illegality of the war and and notes international law expert Francis Boyle who testified at Watada's Article 32 hearing (the mockery of justice that was the Feburary court-martial of Watada refused to allow the defense to mount a defense which is why Boyle and others weren't allowed to testify). Watada's second court-martial was halted by Judge Benjamin Settle who issued a stay through at least October 26th and will hear arugments on October 19th. Jeremy Brecher and Brendan Smith (reposted at David Swanson's AfterDowningStreet) explain, "The double jeopardy clause of the US Constitution ensures that no American can be tried twice for the same offense. But at a time when our civil liberties are rapidly eroding, a drama is unfolding in Washington State over whether that constitutional protection applies to a US soldier. . . . Watada has consistently maintained that the Iraq War is illegal under international law and the US Constitution, and that to participate in it would make him guilty of a war crime. . . . The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution states that no person shall be 'subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb.' As the Supreme Court explained in a seminal 1978 double jeopardy case, United States v. Scott, 'The underlying idea, one that is deeply ingrained in at least the Anglo-American system of jurisprudence, is that the State with all its resources and power should not be allowed to make repeated attempts to convict an individual for an alleged offence."
In other war resisters news, Reuters reports Peter Brown ("who served in Iraq for more than a year and was a graduate of the elite U.S. military accademy West Point") has been granted conscientious objector status. NYCLU (the NY chapter of the ACLU) handled Brown's case and have a press release on it quoting Brown stating, "I'm relieved the Army recognized that my religious beliefs made it impossible for me to serve as a soldier. In following Jesus' example, I could not have fired my weapon at another human being, even if he were shooting at me." and quoting NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman declaring, "The NYCLU and ACLU have long championed the cause of religious freedom, including the religious freedom of Christian and other conscientious objectors in the military. Peter Brown's discharge is an important moment in that history, and more importantly, it is a victory for religious freedom in America."
There is a growing movement of resistance within the US military which includes James Stepp, 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, Carla Gomez, Luke Kamunen, Leif Kamunen, Leo Kamunen, Camilo Mejia, Kimberly Rivera, Dean Walcott, Linjamin Mull, Agustin Aguayo, Justin Colby, Marc Train, Abdullah Webster, Robert Zabala, Darrell Anderson, Kyle Snyder, Corey Glass, Jeremy Hinzman, Kevin Lee, Mark Wilkerson, Patrick Hart, Ricky Clousing, Ivan Brobeck, Aidan Delgado, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, Blake LeMoine, Clifton Hicks, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Joshua Casteel, Katherine Jashinski, Dale Bartell, Chris Teske, Matt Lowell, Jimmy Massey, Chris Capps, Tim Richard, Hart Viges, Michael Blake, Christopher Mogwai, Christian Kjar, Kyle Huwer, Wilfredo Torres, Michael Sudbury, Ghanim Khalil, Vincent La Volpa, DeShawn Reed and Kevin Benderman. In total, forty-one 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.
The National Lawyers Guild's convention begins shortly: The Military Law Task Force and the Center on Conscience & War are sponsoring a Continuing Legal Education seminar -- Representing Conscientious Objectors in Habeas Corpus Proceedings -- as part of the National Lawyers Guild National Convention in Washington, D.C. The half-day seminar will be held on Thursday, November 1st, from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., at the convention site, the Holiday Inn on the Hill in D.C. This is a must-attend seminar, with excelent speakers and a wealth of information. The seminar will be moderated by the Military Law Task Force's co-chair Kathleen Gilberd and scheduled speakers are NYC Bar Association's Committee on Military Affairs and Justice's Deborah Karpatkin, the Center on Conscience & War's J.E. McNeil, the National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee's Peter Goldberger, Louis Font who has represented Camilo Mejia, Dr. Mary Hanna and others, and the Central Committee for Conscientious Objector's James Feldman. The fee is $60 for attorneys; $25 for non-profit attorneys, students and legal workers; and you can also enquire about scholarships or reduced fees. The convention itself will run from October 31st through November 4th and it's full circle on the 70th anniversary of NLG since they "began in Washington, D.C." where "the founding convention took place in the District at the height of the New Deal in 1937, Activist, progressive lawyers, tired of butting heads with the reactionary white male lawyers then comprising the American Bar Association, formed the nucleus of the Guild."
[. . .]
Peace was among the topics today when Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez (Democracy Now!) interviewed Yoko Ono in a broadcast exclusive that explored the Imagine Peace Tower, her past and present activism and, of course, her collaborations with and marriage to John Lennon:
AMY GOODMAN: As we were playing that song ["Imagine"] for our TV viewers, Yoko Ono, we were showing images. One of them was a poster that said, "The war is over!" Explain.
YOKO ONO: Well, one day I thought, well, it's great to say "War is over" and have all these people -- well, this was the first idea, that I would have many famous people partying in Ascot House, and then somebody would just come in and say, "War is over." And they all say, "Oh, my god, the war is over, if you want it." But the thing is, then, you know, we decided to do it as a poster, and then John decided to do it on a billboard. And it just became "War is over! If you want it." It was much better than having a party and then having some TV camera crew to come and film it and all that, because it was a much better idea, so we just did it that way.
On John Lennon . . .
AMY GOODMAN: What you think he would be doing today?
YOKO ONO: Well, I think that we'll be doing exactly what we've been doing then. I think this time it's not the bed-in; we can't repeat the act. But probably he will be in Iceland with me, standing at the Imagine Peace Tower. And I really felt that he was standing with me. And Ringo was there, and I thought it was very nice that he came, but he even gave me a little sort of rubber bracelet. And it's a white rubber bracelet. I said, "What is this for?" "Oh, it's for peace, and I'm sort of giving it to people." And that was very nice of him. And also Olivia, Olivia Harrison, she's an incredibly intelligent woman, and somehow she was kind of overshadowed by George Harrison, of course, but they were doing things together. And I just know that now, because she's been so helpful with the awful situation in many ways.
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