THESE REPORTERS TRAVELED WITH BAMBI THROUGHOUT THE STATE TODAY. SENATOR BAMBI OBAMA WAS GREETED WITH THE USUAL GROUPIES WHO THREW PANTIES, G-STRINGS AND BOXERS AT THE STAGE AND DEMANDED THAT HE SING "WHAT'S NEW PUSSYCAT?"
BUT THE MOST INTERESTING THING WAS THE REACTION OUTSIDE THE GROUPIES, THE EVERY DAY PEOPLE WHO HOLLERED GREETINGS TO HIM. SUCH AS, "HEY, AMERICA HATER! DROP OUT OF THE RACE!" OR "CAN'T HATE AMERICA AND BE PRESIDENT OF IT YOU STUPID LOSER!"
BAMBI WOULD WAVE AND SMILE AND SAY, "I'M COUNTING ON YOUR VOTE!"
WHEN WE QUESTIONED HIM ABOUT THE CONTINUED FALLOUT OVER HIS PASTOR, MENTOR, ROLL DOG, B.F.F. AND MANICURE PAL JEREMIAH WRIGHT, BAMBI RESPONDED, "SO WHAT?"
"CAN'T A MAN EMBRACE HATRED OF THE COUNTRY HE WANTS TO BE PRESIDENT OF? CAN'T A MAN EMBRACE HOMOPHOBIA? CAN'T ME AN JIMMY MEEKS GET TOGETHER OVER A FEW BEERS AND TELL A FEW GAY 'JOKES'? CAN'T A MAN RACK UP A RECORD NUMBER OF POLICE CALLS TO HIS OLD CONDO AND COUNT ON THE PRESS NEVER TO BRING THAT UP?"
WE STARED AT THE CANDIDATE CAUSING HIM TO ANSWER HIS OWN QUESTION: "YES, I CAN!"
Starting with war resistance. Camilo Mejia, chair of Iraq Veterans Against the War, tells his story in Road from Ar Ramadi: The Private Rebellion of Staff Sergeant Mejia and he also shares it in person. Saturday Dawson Raspuzzi (Vermont's Rutland Herald) reported that Mejia spoke to "a packed auditorium at Green Mountain College" last week:
When a student asked what needs to be done to end the war, Mejia answered that he doesn't believe any elected presidential candidate can end the war -- soldiers just need to stop fighting it.
"The first step in helping the rebuild their country is getting the hell out," he said.
[. . .]
"It's not patriotic to support the war, it's patriotic to stand against it," he told the audience, to a round of applause.
Sunday AP reported on Kristen Westerberg who enlisted "in October 2005" and "recruiters told her she would probably never see war duty." March 11, 2008 she was arrested (the article doesn't tell you how) and she is now at Fort Knox facing charges of desertion. Her family backs up her claims that she wouldn't have enlisted if she hadn't been told she wouldn't be shipped off to war and the military responds by declaring they don't "know why a recruiter would tell someone they wouldn't be sent to war." Jerome Burdi (South Florida Sun-Sentinel) reports Westerberg self-checked out in 2006 and quotes her father (Tom Westerberg) stating, "She doesn't agree with the war." Burdi also notes: "Palm Beach County sheriff's deputies found her in a vehicle behind a closed business after midnight March 11. They arrested her when they learned the Army had a warrant for her on a desertion charge." Why would they lie to a recruit? To make their quota. Joshua Key, another war resister in Canada, was told the same thing. Joshua Key tells his story in The Deserter's Tale (written by Key and Lawrence Hill).
Joshua Key self-checked out and is among many US war resisters currently in Canada who are attempting to seek asylum. They need support as a measure is expected to be debated next month. For those in Canada, the nation's Parliament remains the best hope for safe harbor war resisters have, you can make your voice heard by the Canadian parliament which has the ability to pass legislation to grant war resisters the right to remain in Canada. 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 Matt Mishler, Josh Randall, Robby Keller, Justiniano Rodrigues, 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, Logan Laituri, 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).
Turning to the continued assault on Basra in Iraq. On Saturday, Tina Susman (Los Angeles Times) reported that Moqtada al-Sadr was rejecting any call for a draw down "urging militiamen fighting Iraqi and U.S. forces to reject calls to disarm as American airstrikes continued." Leila Fadel (McClatchy Newspapers) was reviewing puppet of the occupation Nouri al-Maliki's decision Friday to stop demanding fighters disarm by Saturday. Counting corpses discovered on Saturday, Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reported at least 31 deaths throughout Iraq and at least twenty-two wounded with fifteen of the deaths resulting from US air strikes. Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reported Sunday's death toll as at least 22 across Iraq with at least twenty-five wounded. Leila Fadel (McClatchy Newspapers) reported on the Saturday efforts of the puppet government to get al-Sadr to call for a truce and how he had "rebuffed" those requests. But what happened on Sunday was a source of confusion.
Reuters reported that al-Sadr was calling for his followers to turn in their weapons. (No link, they've changed their online version with no note of a correction.) By Sunday evening, AP was explicitly stating that al-Sadr said no such thing. AP noted that Moqtada al-Sadr called for his followers to get off the street and and on the puppet government in Baghdad to cease "illegal and haphazard raids" as part of a nine-point plan. Many outlets are terming what followed a "lull." AP notes that a TV station in Basra was seized as Iraqi military troops ran from the building. In addition, Aqeel Hussein and Colin Freeman (Telegraph of London) reported that members of the Iraqi military forces were leaving the military and going over to al-Sadr's side in Basra. Alexandra Zavis (Los Angeles Times) reports today, "Even after Sadr's declartion, residents hunkered down in their homes continued to hear fierce gunfire and explosions in central Basra and southwest of the city." Sudarsan Raghavan (Washington Post) observed of Baghdad, "The mortar shells sailed across the sky Sunday evening and ripped through the corrugated tin roof of the barbershop. They shattered brick walls, mangled beams and knocked over leather chairs. Smoke, debris and glass covered the street outside." Fadel reports that members of the Iraqi parliament "traveled to the Iranian holy city of Qom over the weekend to win the support of the commander of Iran's Qods brigades in persuading Shiite cleric Muqtada al Sadr to order his followers to stop military operations, members of the Iraqi parliament said. . . . There the Iraqi lawmakers held talks with Brig. Gen. Qassem Suleimani, commander of the Qods (Jerusalem) brigades of Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps and signed an agreement with Sadr, which formed the basis of his statement Sunday, members of parliament said." Meanwhile Mohammed Tawfeeq and Jonathan Wald (CNN) quote the mouthpiece (Sami al-Askari) of the puppet of the occupation (Nouri al-Maliki) declaring "outlaws" will continue to be attacked in Basra but that the assault will wrap up by week's end.
Today Jenny Booth (Times of London) states, "Life appeared to be returning to normal in Basra and Baghdad today". AFP maintains, "Gun-toting fighters of hardline Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr melted away from Iraqi streets on Monday after week-long clashes with security forces that killed at least 461 people." Alexandra Zavis (Los Angeles Times) notes that while there is talk of the edict issued by al-Sadr having effect in Basra "[a]t least three rockets or mortar rounds were fired at Baghdad's fortified Green Zone today, U.S. officials said, despite" al-Sadr's edict. Erica Goode and James Glanz (New York Times) note, "No serious clashes were reported in Basra on Monday." And that's all that's worth noting from an article that doesn't even grasp what happened in Iran and doesn't tell the readers what happened. (Even AP is noting "well-informed Iraqi political officials said the Iranians played a key role in hammering out the peace deal" -- it's just the Times playing their readers for fools.) Afif Sarhan (Al Jazeera) notes the impact on citizens in the populated area and quotes Abu Kareem explaining, "We need food and water. Electricity has been cut off [for] three days and all food we had in our refigerators has been lost. Many houses are being used [by] fighters to hide and yesterday they entered my home twice, raising the dangers of an air strike over us. My sons and wife are scared and when I tried to refuse their [fighters'] entrance, I was beaten." CBS and AP note, "In Basra some supermarkets and stores were open on Monday, but residents said few people were venturing out." The International Red Cross/Red Crescent notes that in addition to food and water needs, "Life-saving medical services have been affected by the fighting in Basra, Baghdad and elsewhere in the country" and that they are planning "to deliver eight tonnes of medical supplies to four hospitals in Baghdad and to hand over a futher six tonnes to the Department of Health in Kut for the Kut, Hilla and Najaf hospitals." Meanwhile AP reports that Tahseen al-Sheikhly, kidnapped Thursday, was released today (he is over security in Baghdad).
Sam Dagher (Christian Science Monitors) notes graffiti is popping up through Baghdad -- "The Charge of the Sadrs" -- which "mocks Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's security operation -- 'The Charge of the Knights'." Dagher concludes, "Mr. Sadr has demonstrated his power, dspite the blows dealt to his movement over the past few years . . . the widespread instances of surrender among the Iraqi forces and the seizure of their equipment and vehicles by the Mahdi Army shows that despite all the funding and training from the US, Iraq's soldiers remain greatly swayed by their sectarian and party loyalties and are incapable of standng up in a fight without US backing." AP evaluates the results as well noting that the puppet government was surprised by al-Sadr's response which "sent officials scrambling for a way out of the crisis. It enabled al-Sadr to show he remains a powerful force capable of challenging the Iraqi government, the Americans and mainstream Shi'ite parties that have sought for years to marginalise him." Maybe US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates was jet lagged but he seems to miss the reality everyone else is getting. In Denmark today, he declared, "All of us in the government were pleased to see Prime Minister Maliki be willing to take this on and take the initiative and go down there himself with Iraqi forces to try and resolve the issue." Gates also insisted that Basra was "under the control of a bunch of thugs and gangs and militias".
Thugs? The "Awakening" Council. The thugs put on the US payroll ($300 each per month) because if you're going to attack people in your own country, you might as well get paid by the US to do so. They are the 'miracle' . . . or so the world was told. Keep rubbing that lamp and hoping for a genie because it's nearly two years since the PR efforts gained intense traction and nothing is working. Walter Pincus (Washington Post) reports, "While public attention has been focused on Shiite-vs.-Shiite fighting in Basra and Baghdad, U.S. military leaders are taking a cold second look at the future intentions of the roughly 90,000 'Sons of Iraq' -- the locally recruited and primarily Sunni security forces that are armed and supported by the United States at $300 per person each month." Tax dollars at work. The same way the US government decided to arm the Sh'itie thugs who felt the best thing to do was to attack Iraqi women, destroy their rights and take Iraq back to the stone ages. The ongoing femicide in Iraq didn't just happen, it was US funded.
Recommended: "Iraq snapshot"
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