BULLY BOY PRESS & CEDRIC'S BIG MIX -- NYC.
"C*CKS*CKERS!" SCREAMED THE ALWAYS UNNATTRACTIVE RANDI RHODES AT THESE REPORTERS.
RHODES WAS FURIOUS ABOUT BEING SUSPENDED BY AIR AMERICA RADIO FOR CALLING HILLARY CLINTON A "W**RE." OURSELVES, WE THOUGHT SHE WAS DAMN LUCKY BECAUSE THEY SHOULD HAVE FIRED HER ASS.
IF YOU'RE NOT RUSH LIMBAUGH OR ONE OF HIS CLONES, THERE'S REALLY NO COMEBACK FROM THAT. IT WENT BEYOND OFFENSIVE.
RHODES FELT OTHERWISE, "IT'S THE GAYS! THEY'VE ALWAYS BEEN AGAINST ME! THE GAYS! AND THE WORKING CLASS PEOPLE! AND THE WHOLE WORLD! THE WHOLE WORLD IS AGAINST ME! IT'S BECAUSE I'M SO F**KING TALENTED AND SO F**KING BEAUTIFUL!"
WHEN ASKED IF SHE HAD A MISTAKE, RHODES SCREAMED, "THE ONLY MISTAKE I MADE IS NOT NAMING MORE OF THEM! I'LL DESTROY THE WHOLE DEMOCRATIC PARTY IF I HAVE TO IN ORDER TO GET MY SWEET BAMBI THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY NOMINATION! I LOVE BAMBI! NO ONE LOVES BAMBI LIKE ME! LOVE! AND UNITY! THAT'S WHAT I'M PREACHING!"
THESE REPORTERS NODDED TO THE ATTENDENT WHO WHEELED THE STRAIGHT JACKETED RHODES OUT OF THE ROOM.
FROM THE TCI WIRE:
Starting with war resistance. Joshua Key is an Iraq War veteran who could not continue to take part in the illegal war. He and his family (wife Brandi Key and their children) moved to Canada to seek asylum which was denied November 2006 by Canada's Immigration and Refugee Board. Currently he is appealing that decision before Canada's Federal Court. Colin Perkel (Canadian Press) reports that "lawyer Jeffry House told Justice Robert Barnes the board was wrong to conclude that the U.S. allows soldiers to object legally to what their military is doing in Iraq. In fact, House said, the United States Supreme Court has held that going to war is a high-level policy decision that cannot be litigated" and quotes him explaining, "There is no possibility whatsoever in the U.S. that anyone can raise the issue of an illegal war." In 2005, Orlando's WESH reported (text and video) on Joshua Key and quoted Jeffry House explaining of war resisters, "They shouldn't be punished because they are making a moral choice that has a lot to be said for it. . . . These are people that to me seem so innocent of any wrongdoing that I feel like I have to go the last mile for them." Joshua Key explains, "I went to fight for my country. To me, the Army, they lied to me from the beginning."
At 8:30 yesterday morning, Key attempted to receive the justice that has so far been denied to US war resisters in Canada. Peter Wilmoth (Australia's The Age) reviewed The Deserter's Tale (written by Key and Lawrence Hill) and quoted from the text:
I wish I could pass on my [PTSD] nightmares to him [George W. Bush]. America's sons and daughters are losing their lives because he fabricated reasons to go to war, the weapons-of-mass-destruction lie. I deserted an injustice and leaving was the only right thing to do. I owe one apology and one apology only, and that is to the people of Iraq.
Brian Lynch (Vancouver's Straight.com) quotes Key explaining, "I went to fight for my country, and I did what I was told. I left it only when I saw for myself that it was unjust and immoral. . . . It would've been easier just to say, 'Okay, I'll go back and do what I was doing.' The hardest thing was to do what I did. And I live with a clear conscience because of that." Last year, Jenny Dean (Denver Post) told the stories of several war resisters including Key:
Joshua Key was a welder and part-time pizza deliveryman in Oklahoma with a wife, two kids and a baby on the way. "I couldn't make ends meet," he says.
In May 2002, a recruiter in a strip mall offered a deal too good to refuse: steady pay, health insurance and, because he was a father, no combat duty.
But by fall when Key arrived at Fort Carson, the rumors of war had begun. He and others in the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment figured if war came it would be over quickly.
And, in fact, when Key first arrived in Iraq, there was virtually no resistance. He says he was taught how to blow doors off houses and search for terrorists and caches of weapons. In 200 raids, the private first class says, he never found more than the occasional rifle.
All males over 5 feet tall were to be handcuffed and sent away for interrogation, he says. The women and children were to be held at gunpoint, Key says. He adds that any money or valuables were fair game and admits to pocketing his share. After all, he figured, they were the enemy.
His uneasieness grew as the violence around him escalated. The tipping point came one day when his unit was traveling along the Eurphrates River and happened upon the bodies of four decapitated Iraqis. He says he was ordered to find evidence of a firefight. He found none.
But he says he did see a panicked American soldier screming "We (expletive) lost it here" as other soldiers kicked the heads like soccer balls.
"I'm not going to have no part of this," he says he told his commander. During a leave six months later, Key told his wife he wasn't going back: "I couldn't help but think we had become the terrorists. What if it was us and someone came breaking into our homes and held guns at our children?"
The Associated Press quotes him from outside the court yesterday explaining, "You're terrorizing the civilian population -- for what sense or for what reason, I don't know. The innocent killings of civilians happened on a systematic basis there. It wasn't every now and then, it was an everyday occasion." Colin Perkel (Canadian Press) reports that "Judge Barnes said he hopes to rule before August." Should the Federal Court not overturn the board's decision, Key's next step would be to appeal to the country's Supreme Court. Jeremy Hinzman and Brandon Hughey were the first US war resisters to appeal and, November 15, 2007, Canada's Supreme Court refused to hear their cases.
Should the Supreme Court also refuse to hear Key's the case, the best chance for Key and other US war resisters is a measure scheduled to be debated and voted by Canada's Parliament this month. You can make your voice heard. Three e-mails addresses to focus on are: 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. 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 United States. Shortly the White House sends Gen David Petraeus and US Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker off to make the rounds of Congress and attempt to launch another wave of Operation Happy Talk to convince the people of America that the illegal war must continue. Various efforts are taking place on the part of the US Congress to avoid being caught off guard the way they were in September. Some work, some don't. Case in point, the press conference this morning held by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.
Pelosi, what was the point of the press conference? Reading the wires may result in confusion. Reuters reports on the conference in terms of . . . a bankruptcy bill. At some point, her nonsense on super delegates will be picked up. The topic was Iraq. Pelosi stated that when they took questions but refused to stick to that topic and felt the need to embellish on other topics repeatedly. After the other House members left, Pelosi continued to entertain questions (she even continued taking non-Iraq questions as she walked out of the room). You either focus or you don't. Pelosi didn't. Pelosi gave reporters every reason to focus on something other than Iraq (not that most need a reason to do so). She did a HORRIBLE job and, if that's the House's best effort, the American people are in a lot of trouble.
Others participating in the conference were Ike Skelton, Howard Berman and Rahm Emanuel. Skelton, who chairs the House Armed Services Committee, declared that, "It's the Iraqis that are letting themselves down. They have had, as a result of the so-called surge, space" to move foward but they "are not stepping up to the plate as they should. The American People should understand that it's theirs [the Iraqis] to win or lose." Berman referred to the need for the upcoming hearings to cover "broad issues about costs, readiness, the [US] role in Afghanistan" and he noted the escalation's "underlying premise" was "national reconciliation" in Iraq which hasn't taken place. He noted the benchmarks and how nothing has really happpened there either. Yes, a few laws have been pased, Berman noted, but they "are ambiguous and it's very unclear whether they will ever be implemented." He cited one in particular. The de-de-Baathifcation law. (Paul Bremer issued the de-Baathification order so anything that remedies it is referred to here as the "de-de-Baatification law. Berman didn't use that term.) Berman noted it was "passed two months ago and still is not implemented." He cited that as the sort of issues that Petraeus and Crocker needed to provide answers on as well as the "strengthening of Iran and even Iran's role" in the Basra conflict. Repeatedly stressed (including by Pelosi) was the issue of "cost" which includes "America's security, our armed forces and, as the Speaker said, our economy."
When reporters tried to enlarge the topic early on, Pelosi was prepared and declared, "Right now our focus is on the testimony next week." (That was in reference to an expected 'supplemental' war funding request from the White House.) But she couldn't even maintain that focus for the brief press conference. (It lasted approximately a half-hour). She noted the costs of the illegal war was "now in the trillions" and the White House declared, before starting the Iraq War, "that the war would probably cost about $50 billion and could probably be paid soon." She noted hos many millions oil revenues bring to Iraq each day and stated that the US is spending "about $300 million a day in Iraq and we get no offset."
"What I hope we don't hear from General Petraeus next week," she declared, is a glorfication of what just happened in Basra . . . because the fact is that there are many questions to arise from what happened in Basra." She listed some including that the US reported only received notice that the assault on Basra would be taking place "twenty-four hours ahead of time". She wondered what was worse -- that the US would only receive 24 hours notice or that US forces were then brought in? She mentioned Moqtada al-Sadr at length and noted "al-Sadr established the terms by which he would freeze the violence from his side -- terms probably dictated by Iran and they were accepted like that (snaps fingers) by al-Maliki."
Skelton noted, "The strain is heavy. It's not heavy just on those in uniform, but on their families as well." He continued by declaring that Afghanistan was not the only "interest" the US had and that "you can only stretch the military so far."
Rahm Emanuel actually rescued the Q&A because Pelosi was so defocused. He stepped up to the microphone at several points. His strongest section was when he noted that, regardless of what happens on the ground in Iraq, the White House cries "more troops, more timeand more money" and dubbed this a "policy cul-du-sac and we just keep going round and round".
Referencing WalkOn.org's General Betray-Us ads in Septemeber, Pelosi was asked if she was requesting any advocacy groups sit it out on the sidelines and she responded, "I don't deter anyone's right to speak out. I'm a big proponent of the First Amendment but I wope we [Congress] would shine a bright light of truth and mirror on what he [Petraeus] has to say." This was her strongest section in the press conference and she used the focus (provided by Rahm Emanuel rescuing the moment, let's all be honest) to discuss what needs to be focused on in next week's testimonies. 1) How is it helping the US fight "the real war on terror in Afghanistan"? 2) "How is it impacting our readiness?" 3) "How is it impacting our economy?" She went on to state that the Iraq War is "driving us into debt, which is driving us into recession and the American people are paying the costs." She should have closed with her next statement, reminding the reporters that "we have a general and an ambassador -- two employees of the United States -- coming" to offer testimony. That was the closing moment.
But Pelosi couldn't stay focused and, by this time, Rahm was gone and so were Skelton and Berman leading Pelosi, in this alleged "Let's focus on Iraq!" conference, to start rambling on about MLK, Ghandi, her recent trip to India ("which some of you may have read about") and blah, blah, blah, blah.
Could someone inform the Speaker of the House that the Democrats in Congress are attempting to prevent another snow job by Petraeus and Crocker? Pelosi needs to stay on topic. No one needs to hear about her travels to India. Or what's going on in the rotunda. Presumably, all press present were provided with a schedule of the day's events. The conference was about Iraq and specifically attempting to set down markers by which the American people could measure next week's testimony. Sadly, Pelosi still wasn't done and had to then offer her opinions on the issue of super delegates -- her opinion, it should be noted, to a question NO ONE ASKED. The topic, Pelosi apparently forgot, was Iraq and preparing for next week's testimony. She needs to stay focused or send out surrogates in the future.
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