BULLY BOY PRESS & CEDRIC'S BIG MIX -- EL DORALDO, KA.
NEWBIE SENATOR BARACK OBAMA, WHO MADE A JOURNEY TO AFRICA TO FIND HIS ROOTS, JUST MADE IT TO HIS WHITE GRANDPARENTS' HOME FOR THE FIRST TIME IN HIS LIFE. APPARENTLY, CHICAGO O'HARE FLIES ROUND TO THE CLOCK TO AFRICA BUT HAS NO DIRECT TO KANSAS.
BLAND AND BORING KANSAS GOVERNOR KATHLEEN SEBELIUS DIDN'T HELP MATTERS BY DECLARING THAT BAMBI HAS "VALUES THAT WE KNOW ABOUT, HE GOT THEM FROM HIS GRANDPARENTS" SHE MEANS THE WHITE ONES "AND HIS MOM" ALSO WHITE. "HE UNDERSTANDS HOW TO BRING PEOPLE TOGETHER ACROSS PARTY LINES." WHEN ASKED IF SHE MEANT BECAUSE OF THE WHITE HALF, SEBELIUS ASKED, "IS THERE ANY OTHER KIND?"
WHILE BAMBI BATTED HIS EYES AND PRETENDED NOT TO BE EVEN HALF-INSULTED, REPORTERS ASKED HIM WHAT WAS THE BIGGEST SUPRISE BETWEEN FINDING OUT HIS KENYAN ROOTS AND HIS ANGLO ONES?
"WELL," BAMBI DECLARED, "THE BIGGEST SURPRISE WAS FINDING OUT THAT MY WHITE GRANDFATHER -- WHO I USED TO CALL CASPER -- REALLY DID ONLY HAVE ONE WIFE."
KATHLEEN NODDED AND SAID, "BAMBI'S KENYAN GRANDFATHER HAD MANY WIVES, MANY, MANY WIVES. IT WAS OKAY TO MARRY MORE THAN 1 WOMAN. IT WAS NOT MY MIDWEST VALUES."
"AND MY FATHER TOO," BAMBI PIPED IN. "HE MARRIED A TEENAGE GIRL IN KENYA, LEFT HER WITH HIS FAMILY, WENT TO HAWAII AND MARRIED MY MOM AND THEN LEFT MY MOM AND ME IN HAWAII, WENT OFF TO HARVARD AND MARRIED ANOTHER WOMAN THERE. HE TOOK THE HARVARAD WOMEN BACK TO KENYA AND SHE AND MY FATHER'S OTHER WIFE HAD SO MUCH FUN BEING MARRIED TO THE SAME GUY."
"WHAT THE HELL?" ASKED KATHLEEN. "WHO IS THIS GUY?"
AS REPORTERS BEGAN HOLLERING QUESTIONS ABOUT HIS FATHER'S MULTIPLE WIVES AND POINTING OUT THAT IN THE UNITED STATES A MAN CAN'T MARRY A WOMAN IF HE'S ALREADY MARRIED TO ANOTHER ONE, BAMBI CLICKED HIS HEELS THREE TIME AND INSISTED, "THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME. THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME. THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME."
FROM THE TCI WIRE:
Starting with war resistance. Camilo Mejia is the first Iraq veteran to resist the illegal war. Yesterday, an interview with him was rebroadcast on KPFK. The station did have broadcasting problems yesterday and over the weekend. However, you can go to the KPFK archives or to Uprising Radio to hear the archived broadcast of Sonali Kolhatkar's interview with Mejia.
Camilo Mejia: Military justice is an oxymoron to me. I don't think the two words combine very well. The conviction rate in the military court room is 98 to 99%. So it's just basically a means for the military to enforce discipline and to punish dissent and disobedeince -- regardless of whether that disobedience is justified or not. And disobedience in the military is actually a duty when it's in response to an unlawful order which is the case of the entire war in Iraq which is illegitamate by international law standards. In the particular case of my trial we were basically denied basic guarantees, you know, that the law is supposed to afford a defendent. The vast majority of our witnesses were not allowed to testify. My reasons for not wanting to go back to Iraq were not allowed to reach the jury. My claims of war crimes were not allowed to reach the jury. My conscientious objector form was not allowed to reach the jury during the deliberations or the actual trial. And there was a lot of prejudice against me. I remember that the first day of the trial they had barricaded the entire block that the courthouse was in and they had working dogs sniffing around the courthouse and they had both military and civilian police officers patrolling the area. So the atmosphere was of them trying this incredibly dangerous, evil person.
Sonali Kolhatkar: Even though you turned yourself in.
Camilo Mejia: Even though I turned myself in and the basis of my defense was conscitious objection and non-violence. But the response on their part was to treat me as if I was some kind of like maximum security evil monster. So there was a lot of prejudice and a lot of violations of the law. Eventually, I think the military tried me politically, not legally, and they just sort of made a statement with my case that they would not tolerate dissent in the ranks and that they would not allow conscientious objection as a way out of this illegal war.
Sonali Kolhatkar: What is your current immigration status as well as your current military status? And, also, how much time did you serve in prison?
Camilo Mejia: Well my immigration status hasn't changed. I'm still a resident and that has been effected at all by
Sonali Kolhatkar: You never applied for citizenship?
Camilo Mejia: No, I never applied for citizenship. And my status with the military is that I'm on appellate leave because we are appealing the conviction. So I'm not really, for all practical purposes, I'm really not in the military anymore. I'm not wearing a uniform or training or reporting to any officers. And I was given a sentence of twelve months but I only served about nine -- a little bit less than nine -- because of good conduct, because I didn't get into any major problems in jail so I got out three months earlier.
Sonali Kolhatkar: And were you basically discharged with -- dishonorably discharged?
Camilo Mejia: No. My sentence was twelve months of incarciration in army jail, demotion to private from staff sergeant and a bad conduct discharge plus forfieture of my pay. . . . But the bad conduct discharge is not final until appeals are over. So we're appealing that and that means that I'm still in the military, I still have an i.d. I mean I don't get paid or anything but I'm still in the system.
Sonali Kolhatkar: Now is it important for you to be honorably discharged?
Camilo Mejia: It's important to set a precedent for people to have the right to apply as conscientious objectors and to bring to military courts the reasons why they don't want to participate in a war that they perceive as illegal and immoral. And I think that if war crimes are being committed we need to prosecute those who are committing those crimes beginning at the very top. Because of that I do think that it's important to get that honorable discharge -- not because I think there is honor in the actual discharge but I think it's a fight worth fighting.
Mejia reads from his book Road from Ar Ramadi: The Private Rebellion of Staff Sergeant Mejia during the interview.
Some war resisters attempt to seek asylum in Canada. Kathy Rumleski (London Free Press) reported on 20-year-old Josh Randall on Sunday who served in Iraq and elected to self-checkout and go to Canada. Like Brandon Hughey and Kimberly Rivera (two other war resisters in Canada), Josh Randall hails from Texas and was a medic. In Iraq, Randall's experiences included raiding a house where a young girl was left wounded "from explosive splinters" (from the US bombing the front door) and he was told he couldn't treat her, that she'd be fine at the local hospital. Similar incidents repeated and then came a US soldier who asked Randall "Why?" as he was dying. That was the final in a series of incidents that led Randall to decide to leave the military and go to Canada. He spoke with war resister Linjamin Mull on Saturday as part of the actions to lobby the Canadian Parliament to grant safe haven to war resisters.
You can still make your voice heard and three e-mails addresses to focus on are: Prime Minister Stephen Harper (firstname.lastname@example.org -- 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. A few more can be found here at War Resisters Support Campaign. For those in the US, Courage to Resist has an online form that's very easy to use.
There is a growing movement of resistance within the US military which includes Josh Randall, Robby Keller, Chuck Wiley, 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, Clara 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 16th are the dates for the Winter Soldier Iraq & Afghanistan Investigation. Dee Knight (Workers World) notes, "IVAW wants as many people as possible to attend the event. It is planning to provide live broadcasting of the sessions for those who cannot hear the testimony firsthand. 'We have been inspired by the tremendous support the movement has shown us,' IVAW says. 'We believe the success of Winter Soldier will ultimately depend on the support of our allies and the hard work of our members'."
Starting with the United States. Last night Bully Boy gave his State of the Union speech. Prior to the speech, the Pentagon noted that they needed $70 billion more dollars. With Dick Cheney and Nancy Pelosi behind him, Bully Boy delivered a lot of nonsense. Sadly, many Congressional members (from both parties) applauded or chuckled. It's not funny, it's not cute. And Nancy and Dick's smiles and whispers to one another may have demonstrated more than anything else why there has been no impeachment of the Bully Boy. Maura Reynolds and James Gerstenzang (Los Angeles Times) observe this of the Iraq section, "He offered no new details about plans for troop withdrawals. The administration is awaiting a new assessment from Gen. David H. Petraeus, the top American commander in Iraq, scheduled for March. Bush also did not mention what has been widely cited as the major failure of the surge: the failure of the Iraqi government to take major steps toward national reconciliation." After he finished his blah-blah-blah the Democratic Party proved that nothing is as a weak as Democrat trying to be a Republican. See Kat's "Cowardly Kathleen Sebelius throws in the towel" and Rebecca's "kathleen sebelius is a dumb ass" a and note that, unlike Katrina vanden Heuvel, they didn't repeat any media myths to make their point. As KvH repeatedly makes the same mistake over and over, you have to wonder whether the magazine's editor (and publisher) bothers to read the magazine's own editorials? Ava and I will tackle that nonsense this weekend at The Third Estate Sunday Review. Today press secretary for the Pentagon, Geoff Morrell, noted Bully Boy's speech -- lied that Bully Boy was asking "Congress to fully fund our troops" (the bulk of the money goes to military contractors to waste on weapons research) and declared, "We are still $102 billion short of the money requested and necessary". Well quit begging, cut out some of the pork in your budget. He also gave lip service to the wounded. People would be better served ignoring that nonsense and listening to the second hour of today's The Diane Rehm Show where guests Dr. Barbara Romberg, journalist Kristin Henderson, Dr. Stephen Xenakis, columnist and author Tanya Biank and Karie Darga of Military Spouse Legacy Association.
Diane Rehm: I just have to say how outrageous that we send these young men and women into harms way and then, when they come back emotionally or physically injured, somehow we can't find the money to heal them. It's outrageous, just outrageous.
While the Democratic Party wasted their chance at a response last night (on that KvH was right), John Edwards, who is still in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, issued the following statement after Bully Boy's nonsense:
"The president tonight renewed his call for an economic recovery plan. But the plan he and Congress have offered leaves out tens of millions of Americans who need help the most. This plan would take months to have any impact, and the people I meet everyday on the campaign trail do not have months to wait. These people are hurting now and need this help now. Over the past seven years, typical workers' paychecks have failed to keep up with inflation, millions of families are facing the loss of their homes to foreclosures, health insurance premiums have doubled, and families are spending $1,000 more a year on gasoline. The State of the Union may be interesting political theater, but until we find bold solutions to the challenges facing the country, we will be stuck with the same old small, Washington answers."And in the chamber of the House of Representatives where the president speaks, even though this Congress stopped listening to him a while ago, they will still applaud and cheer him. The truth is that Washington is out of touch with what's happening across the country. Between now and January of 2009, Democrats must stand up to this president, stand up for what's right, so he does not continue to forget about the middle class in this country."
Recommended: "Iraq snapshot"
"5 US service members killed on Monday"
"kathleen sebelius is a dumb ass"
"Bill Moyers on election coverage"
"Cowardly Kathleen Sebelius throws in the towel"
"War resisters, John Edwards & more"
"THIS JUST IN! BAMBI STANDS BY HIS MAN!"
"THIS JUST IN! BAMBI STANDS BY HIS MAN!"