BULLY BOY PRESS & CEDRIC'S BIX MIX -- DC.
TODAY PROFESSIONAL JOKE JOE LIEBERMAN ENDORSED SENATOR JOHN MCCAIN FOR THE G.O.P. PRESIDENTIAL NOMINATION.
THERE WAS MUCH WEEPING IN GAS BAG LAND.
CBS' BOB SCHIEFFER WEEPED, "IS THAT THE KIND OF THING ONE PERSON SHOULD DO TO ANOTHER?"
THE WASHINGTON POST'S RICHARD COHEN DECLARED THE ENDORSEMENT "SHOWED HOW SQUALID POLITICS CAN BE."
IN RESPONSE, JOE LIEBERMAN -- A CONN. SENATOR -- POPPED OVER TO NEW HAMPSHIRE TO DECLARE, "I KNOW THAT IT IS UNUSUAL FOR SOMEONE WHO IS NOT A REPUBLICAN TO ENDORSE A REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE FOR PRESIDENT. AND IF THIS WERE AN ORDINARY TIME AND AN ORDINARY ELECTION, I PROBABLY WOULD NOT BE HERE TODAY. BUT THIS IS NO ORDINARY TIME -- AND THIS IS NO ORDINARY ELECTION -- AND JOHN MCCAIN IS NO ORDINARY CANDIDATE."
LIEBERMAN THEN BEGAN TO SERENADE SENATOR CRAZY WITH A TOUCHING VERSION OF SADE'S "NO ORDINARY LOVE" THAT ENDED WITH A DEEP, OPEN-MOUTHED KISS FOR THE TWO MEN.
SAID ONE SPECTATOR ROLLING HER EYES, "IT'S LIKE SEEING TWO BOBSEY TWINS MATE." SHE WAS REFERRING TO THE FACT THAT LIEBERMAN AND MCCAIN WORE THE SAME OUTFIT IN DIFFERENT COLORS, RIGHT DOWN TO THEIR SWEATERS OVER THEIR DRESS SHIRTS AND TIES BUT UNDER THEIR SUIT JACKETS.
(SCHIEFFER AND COHEN'S REMARKS ARE FROM 2003 AND WERE AIMED AT AL GORE WHO CHOSE TO ENDORSE HOWARD DEAN CAUSING THE TWO MEN -- AND MANY OTHERS -- TO WEEP OVER HOW UNFAIR IT WAS TO JOE LIEBERMAN -- SCHEIFFER: DECEMBER 21, 2003 ON FACE THE NATION; COHEN: DECEMBER 11, 2003 IN THE WASHINGTON POST.)
FROM THE TCI WIRE:
Starting with war resistance. Today, from eight p.m. to ten p.m. at NYC's The Bowery Poetry Club (308 Bowery at Bleecker St.) Jazz for Peace -- Radam Schwartz & Conspiracy For Positivity will perform for the amazingly low price of $8 admission with a one drink minimum and the proceeds going to Peace Action NY and the War Resisters League. The War Resisters League started in 1923 and advocates action (such as tax resistance), "war resistance and individual conscience." Among their many efforts are the War Resisters League Youth and Countermilitarism Program. Also on a musical and resistance note, Different Drummer Cafe (12 Paddock Arcade, Watertown, NY) will host the opener of Greene Reveal and Forever Falls Through's national tour on December 27th (that's a Thursday) starting at 7:00 p.m. Different Drumer is the first and, thus far only, GI coffeehouse in the country. You can click here to see a YouTube music video of Greene Reveal and here for an interview with the band on YouTube.
Meanwhile, Aimee Allison and David Solnit address resistance in terms of the young people in their amazing book Army Of None which Emily Drabinski (Left Turn) reviews the book and notes that "Allison, a veteran, and Solnit suggest that counter military recruitment campaigns offer a concrete way to challenge the military at its base-the individual soldier" and concludes, "Allison and Solnit insist on the importance of offering an alternative vision of the world. They don't color in that vision here, but give readers the necessary tools to begin the process themselves. Army of None is, above all, a hopeful book. Poetry and visual art are included throughout the text, along with success stories from activists who have helped young people stay out of the war machine. In a time of increasingly oppresive public and political life, Allison and Solnit's conviction that counter recruitment work will lead to a better world is refreshing." Also working with today's young people is Agustin Aguayo. Madeline Chambers (Reuters) reports that he is now working to get "the grim realities of war" to young people "before they join the military" and quotes Aguayo as stating, "I want to bring young people awareness. We ask them to sacrifice so much yet we don't educate them about the realities of war." Aguayo is currently engaged in a battle to be awarded CO status that he deserves. Aguayo was wrongfully denied CO status by the military which refuses to operate under its own stated purpose. Aguayo clearly fits the religious critieria. The US military stated he did not because they refuse to recognize the fact (though the military's policy does) that someone's religious beliefs can grow -- not just start -- when they engage in a war. Serving in Iraq strengthened Aguayo's religious beliefs. (And to be clear, religion is not a requirement for CO status. The criteria for religion is what Aguayo fits, however.) Chambers notes that Aguayo is appealing the CO refusal to the Supreme Court -- as he should. The US military's actions with denying COs during this illegal war are appalling period. However, in terms of Aguayo, the militay is not only refusing to follow their own written policies, they are creating barriers that they are not allowed to and since this involves religion (and potential discrimination), the Supreme Court is the venue to address the issues and hopefully they will grant cert and hear the case.
Turning to Canada, Great Britain's Socialist Worker reports on war resister Phil McDowell's testimony to the Canadian Parliament's Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration noting, "McDowell joined the army in 2001 following the 9/11 attacks on the US. He served a year in Iraq, ending his tour of duty in March 2005. But a month and a half after being discharged, he was ordered back into the army under the notorious 'stop-loss' policy which allows the US army to re-enlist former soldiers. Disillusioned with the war, McDowell fled to Canada in October 2006 where he joined a growing number of soldiers who have refused to join the illegal occupation. He told a recent anti-war rally that 'thousands of soldiers in the military have told me that they feel the same way'." War Resisters Support Campaign's Michelle Rodibdoux says of the resolution now sent on to the House of Commons, "I want to make sure that nobody leaves thinking that this is won. It's very important that we understand that now the work begins." In terms of e-mailing, where the pressure needs to be currently is on the these three: Prime Minister Stephen Harper (email@example.com -- that's pm at gc.ca) who is with the Conservative party and these two Liberals, Stephane Dion (Dion.S@parl.gc.ca -- that's Dion.S at parl.gc.ca) who is the leader of the Liberal Party and Maurizio Bevilacqua (Bevilacqua.M@parl.gc.ca -- that's Bevilacqua.M at parl.gc.ca) who is the Liberal Party's Critic for Citizenship and Immigration. That's because the Parliament is now on break until February and because many are expecting elections to be called. Action from the Parliament is necessary due to the fact that on November 15th, the Supreme Court of Canada refused to hear the appeals of war resisters Jeremy Hinzman and Brandon Hughey. Aaron Glantz covered that in real time (one of the very few) and if you missed his report then, you can read "No refuge for U.S. war resisters in Canada" at The Final Call.com News. The Boggs Center's Shea Howell (The Michigan Citizen) notes "Every day more soldiers are voting with their feet. According to an Associated Press report released in mid-November, the number of AWOL Army soldiers has increased 80 percent since March of 2003. The Army says 4,698 soldiers deserted their posts in fiscal year 2007, an increase of over 2,000 from 2006. GI rights advocates the number is far higher. Of course, soldiers go AWOL for many reasons, and the majority of them don't denounce the war. However an increasing number publicly oppose the war, even though this could mean harsh punishments or jail time."
There is a growing movement of resistance within the US military which includes 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, 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, 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).
Meanwhile IVAW is organizing a March 2008 DC event:
In 1971, over one hundred members of Vietnam Veterans Against the War gathered in Detroit to share their stories with America. Atrocities like the My Lai massacre had ignited popular opposition to the war, but political and military leaders insisted that such crimes were isolated exceptions. The members of VVAW knew differently.
Over three days in January, these soldiers testified on the systematic brutality they had seen visited upon the people of Vietnam. They called it the Winter Soldier investigation, after Thomas Paine's famous admonishing of the "summer soldier" who shirks his duty during difficult times. In a time of war and lies, the veterans who gathered in Detroit knew it was their duty to tell the truth.
Over thirty years later, we find ourselves faced with a new war. But the lies are the same. Once again, American troops are sinking into increasingly bloody occupations. Once again, war crimes in places like Haditha, Fallujah, and Abu Ghraib have turned the public against the war. Once again, politicians and generals are blaming "a few bad apples" instead of examining the military policies that have destroyed Iraq and Afghanistan.
Once again, our country needs Winter Soldiers.
In March of 2008, Iraq Veterans Against the War will gather in our nation's capital to break the silence and hold our leaders accountable for these wars. We hope you'll join us, because yours is a story that every American needs to hear.
Click here to sign a statement of support for Winter Soldier: Iraq & Afghanistan
March 13th through 15th are the dates for the Winter Soldier Iraq & Afghanistan Investigation. Shea Howell (The Michigan Citizen) observes, "These soldiers, along with survivors of the war from both countries, will provide public testimony of what they saw and experienced."
Over the weekend, Kelly Kennedy (Army Times) reported on a platoon's revolt in Iraq following tremendous losses, lack of support and a host of other issues including the suicide of Master Sgt. Jeffrey McKinney. Captain Cecil Strickland explains, "If my guys had stayed at Adhamiya, they would have taken the gloves off. We were afraid somebody was going to get in trouble." Kennedy reports, "They decided as a platoon that they were done, DeNardi and Cardenas said, as did several other members of 2nd Platoon. At mental health, guys had told the therapist, 'I'm going to murder someone.' And the therapist said, 'There comes a time when you have to stand up,' 2nd Platoon members remembered. For the sake of not going to jail, the platoon decided they had to be 'unplugged'." After intimidation, warnings and threats didn't work, the brass broke up the platoon. That was the third report. For the first report click here, for the second here and for part four here.
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