BULLY BOY PRESS & CEDRIC'S BIX MIX -- MICHIGAN.
APPEARING IN A REPUBLICAN 2008 PRESIDENTIAL FORUM TODAY IN MICHIGAN, ACTOR FRED THOMPSON LOOKED AROUND AT A STATE WHERE 1 IN 29 HOMES IS GOING THROUGH FORECLOSURE AND DECLARED, "WELL I THINK THERE ARE POCKETS IN THE ECONOMY THAT, CERTAINLY, THEY'RE HAVING DIFFICULTY. I THINK THEY'RE CERTAINLY -- THOSE IN MICHIGAN THAT ARE HAVING DIFFICULTY. I THINK YOU ALWAYS FIND THAT IN A VIBRANT DYNAMIC ECNOMY."
TO STEAL FROM EVITA, "THE ACTOR HASN'T LEARNED THE LINES . . ."
THOMPSON DEMONSTRATED THAT HE HAD NOTHING TO OFFER AND WENT FROM STATE TO STATE MAKING THE EXACT SAME STATEMENTS CONFUSING THE ACTUAL STATES WITH TV STUDIO SETS.
BECAUSE HE DIDN'T BURP, FART OR VISIBLY SOIL HIMSELF, SOME IN THE PRESS ARE HAILING IT AS A SUCCESS WHILE NOTING THAT THOMPSON'S CAMPAIGN SPENT WEEKS LOWERING THE BAR. QUESTION FOR THE PRESS: IN WHAT WORLD ARE THE CAMPAIGNS SUPPOSED TO SET THE BAR? IN WHAT JOURNALISM CLASS WERE YOU TAUGHT TO THROW OUT WHAT YOU SEE WITH YOUR OWN EYES AND LET OTHERS DETERMINE WHAT YOU REPORT?
FROM THE TCI WIRE:
Starting with war resistance. Despite Michael Winter (USA Today)'s blog post ("Lt. Ehren Watada, who refused to deploy to Iraq, faces his second court-martial at Fort Lewis, Wash.") posted last night, there is no court-martial for Ehren Watada today. The court-martial has a stay in place until at least October 26th. As Dave Lindorff (CounterPunch) observes, "US. District Judge Benjamin H. Settle in Seattle, WA took the unusual step of intervening in a military proceeding, ordering a halt to the second attempt by the Army to court-martial Lt. Ehren Watada, while he considers the merits of Lt. Watada's claim that he is being subjected to double jeopardy by being re-court-martialed a second time. Watada, who in June 2006 refused orders to ship out to Iraq with his Stryker brigade, claiming that it was an illegal war and that it would subject US military particpants to participating in war crimes, made his argument last February at a court-martial proceeding that eneded in a mistrail when the military and the military trial judge realized that the young lieutenant was winning his case. Rather than risk losing on acliam of the Iraq War's legitimacy, the judge in the prosecution sought, and the hearing officer granted a mistrial. However, under established precedent, all the way to the US Supreme Court, it has been accepted that it is not appropritate for prosecutors to declare mistrials and then seek another trial, for the obvious reason that prosecutors would always resort to such a tactic if they found themselves in danger of losing a case. Only when the defense wins a mistrial ruling can the prosecution seek a second trial. Precedent notwithstanding, the Army decided it couldn't let Lt. Watada walk away from the war claiming it is illegal, so it has attempted to court-martial him again." Mari-Ela David (Hawaii's KHNL) quotes Kenneth Kagan -- one of Watada's two civilian attorneys -- stating, "As you can imagine Lt. Watada is feeling incredibly relieved that A, he's not going to have to go to trial on Tuesday and B., that somebody finally is going to take this case seriously and give it a meaningful review.". At the Veterans for Peace confrence last year (August 12, 2006), Watada was one of the speakers (a/v and text both here) and his speech included this:
I stand before you today, not as an expert -- not as one who pretends to have all the answers. I am simply an American and a servant of the American people. My humble opinions today are just that. I realize that you may not agree with everything I have to say. However, I did not choose to be a leader for popularity. I did it to serve and make better the soldiers of this country. And I swore to carry out this charge honorably under the rule of law.Today, I speak with you about a radical idea. It is one born from the very concept of the American soldier (or service member). It became instrumental in ending the Vietnam War - but it has been long since forgotten. The idea is this: that to stop an illegal and unjust war, the soldiers can choose to stop fighting it.Now it is not an easy task for the soldier. For he or she must be aware that they are being used for ill-gain. They must hold themselves responsible for individual action. They must remember duty to the Constitution and the people supersedes the ideologies of their leadership. The soldier must be willing to face ostracism by their peers, worry over the survival of their families, and of course the loss of personal freedom. They must know that resisting an authoritarian government at home is equally important to fighting a foreign aggressor on the battlefield. Finally, those wearing the uniform must know beyond any shadow of a doubt that by refusing immoral and illegal orders they will be supported by the people not with mere words but by action.
Philip Greenspan (Swans Commentary) reflects on the historical nature of resistance within the military, "An unprecedented massive mutiny during the Vietnam War was the coup de grace for the US. Col Robert D. Heinl, Jr. in an englightening article on that mutiny states 'It is a truism that national armies closely reflect societies from which they have been raised. It would be strange indeed if the Armed Forces did not today mirror the agonizing divisions and social traumas of American society, and of course they do.' What happened then can recur and symptoms are already appearing. Reenlistments are down. The services are having difficulty meeting enlistment quotas although they have downgraded requirements and expanded the age for enlistment. West Point graduates are increasingly opting-out when their commitment is complete. Over twenty retired generals defied tradition to criticize the commander in chief. Desertions and AOWLs are increasing."
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, 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.
"I mean, is part of the problem that even though they've had this rogue reputation, they've been successful?" Joan Biskupic, USA Today, demonstrating a desire to jump into the gas baggery on PBS' Washington Week over the weekend and also demonstrating she's hopelessly out of touch when it comes to the issue of Blackwater or any other mecenaries operating under US contract in Iraq. Today, Aileen Alfandary, on KPFA's The Morning Show, noted the latest victims of the mercenaries who think the country of Iraq is a turkey shoot -- mercenaries "killed two women". Sources at the Iraqi Interior Ministry inform CNN that the women had been driving through Baghdad and the spokesperson for the Interior Ministry, Abdul Karim Khalaf, states that the women's vehicle was hit by at least nineteen bullets. CBS and AP place the slaughter "at an intersection in central Baghdad, notes the US State Dept states their own staff were not part of the convoy but "an American nongovernmental organization may have been involved" while CBS and AP note that the two "deaths threatened to increase calls for limits on the private security firms, which have come under intense scrutiny since the Sept. 15 shooting deaths of as many as 17 Iraqi civilians allegedly by guards with Blackwater" -- Blackwater is not said to be the mercenary company involved in this slaughter, to be clear. Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) notes the mercenary company is thought to be Australian. Mariam Karouny and Haider Salahudding (Reuters) report that the company is Unity Resources Group which is a Dubai-based company that has been "on a U.S. State Department list of security firms doing business in Iraq. The State Department Web site said the company was staffed and managed by experienced security professionals drawn from the special forces and police SWAT communities of the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and Europe." AFP reports eye witness Sattar Jabar states a third woman was "wounded in the shoulder" and that children in the car included at least one who "had been struck by flying glass." On the September slaughter, Juan Gonzalez (Democracy Now!) noted today, "Meanwhile the Los Angeles Times has revealed that the widow of the Iraqi vice presidential guard killed last year by a Blackwater employee has yet to receive any compensation. The Iraqi guard was fatally shot while on duty in Baghdad's fortified Green Zone by a drunk Blackwater employee named Andrew Moonen. After the fatal shooting Moonen was flown out of Iraq. He was never charged with a crime. Two months later, Moonen reportedly returned to the Middle East to work for another private military company, Combat Support Associates." Tina Susman and Raheem Salman are the LAT reporters who covered that story and wrote of thirty-year-old Umm Sajjad and the two sons she now raises without their father (ages six and ten-years-old) and quote Umm Sajjad stating, "The money of the whole world is not able to compensate for my husband, but what I want is enough to guarantee my children's future . . . and to buy a house. I don't want them to feel that they lost their father. My responsibilities now are to act as both a mother and a father." Umm Sajjad was also misinformed by someone because she was under the impression Andrew Moonen had been tried in Iraq for the death of her husband -- that has never happened.
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