Saturday, November 17, 2007


The big cooking tip today is: "You don't have to participate."

Terri e-mailed throughout the week. Her job had their Thanksgiving dinner -- pot luck -- yesterday. All during the week, she was afraid it would go badly. It did.

Terri brought the turkey and ham (both of which turned out fine). They were supposed to take turns on Friday waiting on customers so that everyone could go to the party. Terri was first up. She waited and waited. An hour later, she was supposed to have had someone take her place after thirty minutes, two women come to the counter while she's waiting on a customer. With her standing there, the two women begin to talk about her.

They insult her without naming her. One of the two women, just FYI, didn't bring anything to the pot luck. She's got a customer and has to stand there while she's insulted (without being named) and she looks over to see one of the two women writing something on a piece of paper about her.

She made it through until five p.m. and later e-mailed me to tell me the whole thing was a disaster and she wished she hadn't taken part.

She should feel that way and she's right to.

Office parties are the worst things in the work place. I'm not trying to curtail anyone's party here, I'm just saying they need to be done better.

I have a friend who has waited 21 years for one person in her office to retire. Why? Each year that person plans every party.

You get things like that all the time. One person tries to control everything or you get over 40-year-old women acting like they are in junior high (I'm talking about Terri's co-workers). Or you get an office that does nothing for some and everything for others.

One of my daughters just got a promotion. It meant she had to move to a new office (which she now supervises). She had to deal with the party issue almost immediately. The office she inherited had an office snitch. Most offices do. The office snitch was the boss' pet. She got to do whatever she wanted (spy and make personal phone calls) all day. She never did any work and pushed it off on her co-workers (with her boss' consent) whenever a deadline meant something had to be done.

The boss had made an arrangment with the snitch where the snitch skipped lunch and used that hour to pick up her child from daycare. But the snitch not only still took an hour lunch, she then worked out in the building's gym for an hour. So she got an hour lunch, an hour workout and a hour off to go pick up her daughter each day but got paid for 8 hours of work each day even though she didn't do any.

When my daughter informed the snitch -- when the snitch first snitched to her -- that she needed to focus on getting her own work done, the snitch wouldn't take the hint. Finally, my daughter had to bring her boss into the whole thing and they had to sit the snitch down and explain that the job description required certain things be done each day and snitching wasn't one of them. There was a big scene with the snitch yelling and screaming.

The job involves computer work -- as most offices these days do -- but the snitch can't even work a computer. When they switched over to computers, her snitching abilities allowed her to go years without doing any work. The snitch (who quit last week) ended the meeting wanting to know where she was being taken for her birthday? The boss took the snitch out every year on her birthday. My daughter explained she wasn't planning on taking anyone out for a birthday but if others in the office wanted to, that was fine, provided there was coverage. Snitch didn't have any friends to take her out.

Snitch made such a huge to-do over the birthday that my daughter had to call everyone in -- one at a time -- and find out what was going on. Here's what was going on. The former boss had a birthday the first week of February. Every year, they went out of their way to do something for the boss. They gave gifts, had cake, had a lunch. The Snitch's birthday was the last of the year -- immediately before Thanksgiving -- and the boss took her out. In between, everyone got at least a cake. Some got more than that, some got less.

But one person, I'll call him "Dale," got nothing. His birthday was January 26th. Each year he was overlooked completely, not even a card. Why? The boss lost it each year at the Christmas party. The boss would get angry that the party lingered. January 1st, each year (this went on for 12 years), the boss would send out a memo saying that there had been too much partying, that it had cut it into work productivity and that, as a result, they weren't doing any more birthday celebrations.

Now when February rolled around, the boss got a party, a huge party. Everyone would ignore the memo and the boss would eat it up. But Dale, whose birthday fell after the yearly memo and before the boss' birthday, never got a thing.

Dale had a grievance and could have presented it at any time (it's been dealt with now). But that stuff happens all the time.

Stephanie wrote about her office party this week too. She works at a bank and the tellers had their own party but the loan officers came in and raided. A plate would have been fine, Stephanie explained, but they filled up several plates each and then left. They were left with a little bit of ham and all the tellers had been to lunch yet.

I'm not arguing for work place parties to stop. I am saying that people need to be smart and supervisors need to do their job and supervise.

X works at a county job (county government) and he e-mailed about his party. The big problem there was not everyone was invited (to an "office party") and those who were were told that they would be doing ___ but then others decided they didn't want to and changed it at the last minute.

If you're not seeing the problems, maybe you supervise such an office.

In addition to the tensions this creates in the work place, there's also the issue of liability. If you're always overlooked, you could make a case for a hostile work environment.

So if people are going to hold office parties, here are a few tips.

1) Everyone's invited.

Someone may have declined before -- may always decline. That doesn't matter. An office party means everyone in the office is invited. Some may not want to participate. That's their right. But some may be short on cash, may be having issues outside of work, may have any number of reasons for refusing previously.

2) You do a memo.

To make sure everyone's invited, you do a memo. This can be a print up or an e-mail. But everyone is invited.

3) Planning is not always done by one person or one group of people.

That's not fair to one person or one group to always make them do the planning. It's also true that it's not fair to the rest of the office because no one else ever gets a say.

4) It starts at the given time.

One of the big complaints I've heard of over the years is how some people 'forget' so that they can leave work, spend a half-hour to an hour getting things (while on the clock) and by the time they return the party's almost half-over. There are times when something gets forgotten. If it's utensils, send someone else for it. If it's anything else, it's gone. I don't care if it's the turkey. If they didn't bring it up get it on some arranged with the boss time, it's not going to be at the party. I once worked with a woman who always made fruit salad for every party. Every party she forgot it. She'd leave a half-hour before the party, she'd get back after the party had been going on for at least 50 minutes. (She lived ten minutes from work.) She did this every party. When she'd walk in, she'd announce the dessert was here. But other people had brought desserts. As everyone finished up their lunch hour, she would whine that she hadn't had a lunch hour. So after using at least 80 minutes to go pick up her fruit salad, she would then get another hour for lunch. Every party. Over and over throughout the year. If it's not there, it's not there. There's no, "I forgot it and am going home." If you forget, you've got 15 minute break in the morning. If you can't get it on your break, then get something else or don't get anything. But this nonsense of people getting additional hours off as a 'reward' for forgetting isn't fair.

5) The microwave is for warming items.

You need to prepare your items at home. I have heard about this problem and I have seen it. People show up with stuff that they haven't prepared or cooked and use the bulk of the morning to put it together. I once saw, no lie, a woman bring a can of corn to an office party. She used at least a half-hour to 'cook' it. She was just trying to get out of working.

Either everyone fixes their items at home or no one does. I raised eight kids. I made time to fix my items at home. It can be done. If you have an emergency (they do pop up), you need to explain that. If you have a pattern of "emergencies," you should bring something that doesn't require cooking, preparing, etc.

6) You have a right to say "no."

Terri had a bad feeling about her office party. She kept going back and forth on whether to participate. In the end, she decided to and now says that was a mistake.

If you have a bad feeling, don't participate.

No one needs to explain their "no." An invitation can be accepted or declined. That's the nature of an invitation.

No supervisor should allow the office to bad mouth someone for saying "no." That's what Terri was worried about. A co-worker had a son in the hospital (adult son) with kidney problems at Halloween and did not participate. The co-worker was going to the hospital each day at lunch. That co-worker got trashed. "She doesn't think she's part of the group," etc. The supervisor not only allowed it, the supervisor joined in.

7) Supervisors need to remember their roles.

That does not include bad mouthing an employee not present to other employees. I know a woman (a neighbor) who is a supervisor and she's always complaining to me about how she has to tell her staff that she can't plan parties. At her company, employees can plan parties but their supervisor is not allowed to. The thinking is that if the supervisor plans it, everyone will feel forced to participate. But guess what? She loves Easter and every Friday before Easter, she plans a luncheon. She cooks it, she serves it. At work. Despite the rules. Then she wants to complain when employees expect her to plan a party?

The worst thing I ever saw myself was a boss bad mouthing an employee to several working under him on the employee's birthday. He said, "I don't know why we're doing anything for her. All she ever does is complain." That's the boss. So others quickly joined in. (I didn't. I was just starting to work and was a temp.) I could not believe the fake smiles and fake congratulations at the party and I couldn't believe that a boss would trash an employee to others in his office while he was in his office.

You're there, as a boss, to provide gudiance. You're not there to provide friendship. My last boss (I don't work outside the home these days) always wanted to get personal. He always wanted to be your best friend. I'd hear all about the problems he had with his wife. I'd hear all about the problems he had with his kids. I'd hear all about his health problems. My problem? This was during my evaluation. After he'd wasted 90 minutes of my time, he then got down to my evaluation in two minutes.

Sort of.

He could only give three of us in the office a raise. (I'd already heard him go on about his own raise and how he feared he wouldn't get it because someone at the same level had been trashing him to his boss.) Then he asked me to sign the evaluation (I did) and to backdate it. By thirty days because this was already supposed to have been done.

I left his office and went back to my cubicle. I was honestly confused about what had happened. In the two minutes of my evaluation, he'd told me how he could count on and he appreciated that and that's why he assigned me projects and gave me the projects of other.

I went on my morning break and bumped into a woman in my office. She asked me about my evaluation and did I get a raise? I told her that it sounded like I did but I didn't know. I explained it seemed to be going well (the two minutes) but then he got a phone call from his wife and just told me to sign it and backdate it while he spoke on the phone with his wife. They were arguing so I left and intended to go back later and ask him how much of a raise I got?

I didn't get a raise. She had a similar experience without the phone call from his wife. As she pointed out, if I was getting a raise, a supervisor would have said so. By the same token, we both agreed, a supervisor should say, "You're not getting a raise" if you don't and the whole point of the evaluation is about a raise. We had been on a "freeze" for two years. I did my job and did it well.

I went back to his office and, when he got off the phone, explained I wanted to know about a raise. He repeated that he could only give three people a rasie. He went into how hard that was for him. He's not my friend, he's my supervisor. I'm not really concerned whether his job is hard for him or not. If he didn't want it, he shouldn't have taken the job.

I again asked if I was getting a raise.

I had to repat that until he finally answered.

The answer was no.

I told him I was going home for the rest of the day.

I didn't want to go back but was prepared to do so when I cooked dinner. I was going to go back and put on a fake smile and act like it was okay that I got screwed over when I was putting in longer hours than anyone else, when I was doing my work and the work of others (he repeatedly sent me to meetings in his place) and despite the fact that this would have been my first raise in three years.

I was down and I'm sure it was noticable. My husband asked me about it after dinner. I explained it and said I was going back the next day but was sick of the job. He pointed out that Mike was in high school now and we just had him and his sister in terms of college to worry about. (We didn't need to end up worrying about either. Mike took care of his own until C.I. kindly took care of it and my daughter is on a scholarship.) Everyone else was out of college.

Throughout my life, I had worked part-time jobs and temp jobs. This had been my first full time job. (Eight kids doesn't allow for a lot of work time.) My husband said the house was paid for and we could manage. I thought those were just comforting words but he was serious. He said I could get another job, another part-time job or not work at all. I had taken this job because I got off at four-thirty so I was home in time for dinner (whether I fixed it or not). I often had to take projects home with me so usually had to work after dinner but that was fine. Provided I was appreciated.

If you're leaving me in charge of the office, if you're sending me to your meetings, if you're asking me to do your spread sheets and present them, I would assume I'm doing a good job since I don't have your position. So when you turn around and tell me that you wish you could give me a raise, you're whining to the wrong person.

I didn't go in the next morning. After everyone was off to work or school, I made a pot of coffee and just relaxed in the kitchen. I didn't call off. I didn't call in late. 25 minutes after I was supposed to go in, the phone was ringing. It was my boss. Was I coming in? I knew I had that presenation to do for him, right?

I told him I was quitting.

He started begging and pleading. If I would come in and do the presentation (he didn't even know the topic of it, I'd researched it, done the hand outs and charts, put together the audio-visual presentation), "it would be such a big help."

I told him I had a son and daughter who still weren't 18 and I had a husband. "See, my problem is," I said echoing his words, "is that I can only help three people."

He was dense and didn't grasp immediately that I was referring to his remarks about how he could only give three raises. When he finally did, he said that he'd make it up to me. There was another raise period in six months and I would get a raise then.

I told him I had no reason to believe him. Obviously, my work was important and was solid or he wouldn't be freaking out that I wasn't able to do the presentation today. He had to choose three people to give raises to and I didn't make his cut. I told him he didn't make my cut on my list of priorities and hung up on him.

Work is work. I think too many bosses abuse their roles, abuse their captive audiences, by making a point to unload all their home problems on them. I also don't think most grasp that their role is to provide supervision. I've had some bosses who were not the sweetest in the world. That didn't matter to me if they could be clear about what they needed. I wasn't there to be their best friend, I was there to earn a pay check and help pay the bills.

I don't buy into the talk of "teamwork" or "we're all a family." If we were, then we'd all get a raise. But I heard that over and over at various jobs. The bosses I respected were the ones who didn't repeat that garbage to me.

Some people may need touchy-feely bosses who go on and on about how their wives won't have sex with them (as my boss did even after I repeatedly told him I didn't want to hear about it -- after that he would still do it and then apologize for 'forgetting').

These days, I do volunteer work with my church. All of my children are adults. I don't want to hold down a job. I did that over and over while my kids were growing up because, like many families, we didn't have the choice. For those who do have the choice, if you've got a job you enjoy, you should work. I'm a feminist, I don't believe a woman's place is in the home. I also don't believe a woman's work outside the home is something to be ripped off but I saw that happen repeatedly. When I was part-time, that was the excuse I'd be given, that my getting credit wouldn't really 'help' me because I was part-time so it was given to someone else.

If you're not grasping it, I had some really lousy work experiences. But, like most of us do, I went on with the job because I needed the check. I think bosses who don't grasp that (and their superiors) are idiots. I understand that they are cheap. Giving employees earned raises or cost of living raises might mean they themselves take home less.

One thing that really gives me hope is the number of office workers that are unionizing. Over the years, when I would complain about something at work (usually sugar coating the complaint), my husband would point out that if I had a union rep (he belongs to a union), they wouldn't be able to pull that. By the same token, because he belonged to a union, I don't think he grasped how bad it could be for others for the longest. He really thought I must have misheard a boss who cancelled my lunch one day because he needed to go to shopping for soemthing personal. I've heard horror stories from friends about how they had to pick up their boss' personal items (including birth control) and often it was off the clock, either on lunch or "after work, it's on your way so . . ." (I never did personal errands. If I was asked, I would reply back, "Sure, and you're going to pick up my children from school today, right?" That would end the request.)

As everyone knows, we've switched from a manufacturing econmy to a service-based one. The switch has resulted in most of us working in non-union jobs and that has to change. We keep hearing how CEOs pay has sky rocketed while workers have seen a decline in real wages. The two are connected, the emphasis on non-union jobs has allowed many to screw over workers. When you've had a three year pay freeze, to use my last job as an example, and you're suddenly allowed to give raises, that needs to be everyone. Three people in an office of 21 is not fair. You're going to have 18 people furious. And they have a right to be. They've done their job. If they weren't effective in their job, fire them. If they weren't fired and they've done their jobs, they deserve a raise. Costs don't stop rising just because there's a pay freeze.

A union could bargain for better work conditions. Unions aren't perfect. But they do and have guaranteed better wages and, therefore, better lives for many Americans in the past.

I thought I'd write a little and then include a recipe before sharing my thoughts on the awful move by the Canadian Supreme Court not to hear the appeals of war resisters Jeremy Hinzman and Brandon Hughey; however, it's late and I went on too long.

In terms of Thanksgiving, if you're a regular reader, you already know what to do or not do in terms of cooking for it or taking a dish. The only thing I'd add is if it makes you miserable to go somewhere on Thanksgiving, don't. In your personal life you also have the right to say "no." That's one problem I've never had but there are many people who do not get along with their familes and some for very good reason. Better to be with friends or people you like. Barring that, better to sleep in, make a grilled cheese sandwich and enjoy your day alone than go through with a day where you're just going to get upset.

Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Friday, November 16, 2007. Chaos and violence contine, the war resistance movement continues, Congress accomplishes nothing (but does get a vacation), Brian De Palma's film Redacted opens in select cities, and more.

Starting with war resistance. Canada's
War Resisters Support Campaign. staged rallies across Canada yesterday in support of Jeremy Hinzman and Brandon Hughey whose appeal the Supreme Court refused to hear. Tracy Huffman and Debra Black (Toronto Star) report that Hinzman was at a rally in Toronto but not making public statements, instead letting Jeffry House (Hinzman, Hughey and many other war resisters in Canada's attorney) speak, "He's disappointed. He's tired of talking." John Ward (Canadian Press via London Free Press) dexplains that the focus will now be on the country's federal government and quotes House stating "the focus now turns to a political solution" and Canadian Friends Service Committee's Jane Orion Smith stating the legislature can "create a provision for them to stay." Kari Huus (MSNBC) cites Lee Zaslofsky of the War Resisters Support Campaign explaining, "What we need is for the (Liberal) party as a whole to take a stance on this. Together (the three parties) have a majority, and if they act together they can put something through the House of Commons." The Liberal Party currently has 96 seats in the House of Commons, the New Democratic Party has 30 seats. Those two bring the total to 126 which is the number of seats the Conservative Party holds. Bloc Quebecois holds 49 seats and 3 seats are held by the Independents (four seats are vacant). CKNW (AM 980) quotes Vancouver organizer Bog Ages explaining that the Bloc Quebecois and New Democratic Party members are on board and "we have a number of Liberal MP's who said they would support us. So, all we have to do, we'd like the Liberal Party as a whole to take a stand. But even if they're split, enough of them, that combined with the other parties, they have a majority, potentially, in Parliament, to change the law." The New Democratic Party cites the poll where 64.4 percent of Ontarians believe the war resisters should be allowed to remain in Canada, notes that NDP Citizenship and Immigration Critic Olivia Chow is introducing a motion to call for hearings on the issue and quotes her declaring, "To deport courageous war resisters who oppose the illegal invasion of Iraq is saying Yes to George W. Bush's war and No to supporting and protecting people seeking peace."

In the US,
Tom Hayden declared, "I hope that the Canadian people stop the Bush Administration from using the Harper government to hound a handful of war resisters and erase Canada's proud heritage as a haven for resisters and refugees." Rebecca (Sex and Politics and Attitude and Screed) also lamented the events in Canada (and compared Prime Minister Stephen Harper to adult acne): "if i was even slightly right about what canada once was, i know the people can still stand up and force their government to stand with them. but they better do so quick. if they want to see how it looks when they don't, just take a gander southward. we're becoming the text book example of a failed state."

In July of 2004, Democracy Now! spoke with Jeremy Hinzman:AMY GOODMAN: It's good to have you with us. Can you talk about how you made your decision?
JEREMY HINZMAN: Pretty much what it came down to was-- I mean, I won't go into the false pretences and everything that we know about, but being in an illegal war, it would be being complicit and a criminal enterprise, and you may say that, oh, well, you're not a policymaker or a general or whatever, that the Nuremberg principles wouldn't apply to you. But in light of what's happened since Abu Ghraib, when they scapegoated like the lower enlisted soldiers for simply carrying out what the policy was from the upper echelons, I think it's pretty fair to say that we made the right decision. Because I was in the infantry and there is a good chance that I would have-- I would have been pretty active in a negative way. And so I'm-- that's why we came here pretty much is that I wasn't-- I don't want to shoot people. I would have been happy to go to Iraq as a port-a-potty janitor or operation human shield. I just don't want to shoot people.

Goodman spoke with Hinzman again on October 15, 2004 and also participating in the interview were Jeffry House and Brandon Hughey:
AMY GOODMAN: Brandon Hughey, why did you go into the military?
BRANDON HUGHEY: My story basically starts off almost the same way. I enlisted when I was 17 years old with basically the promise of a way to better my life financially. Again, it is a way to get a college education without amassing thousands of dollars of debt.
AMY GOODMAN: Where did you grow up?
BRANDON HUGHEY: I grew up in San Angelo, Texas. So, also when I signed the contract, I wasn't naive to the fact that I could be deployed to fight in a war, but I did have this image growing up that I would be sort of -- a good guy, if you will, and fighting for just causes and fighting to defend my country, and after I got out of basic training, and when I realized that basically the U.S. had attacked a country that was no threat to them, in an act of aggression, it shattered that myth, I guess you could say.
AMY GOODMAN: How old were you when you signed up?

At the rallies for Hinzman and Hughey, among those attending were war resisters from the Vietnam era and war resisters from today's illegal war.
Huffman and Black note Kimberly Rivera -- Iraq veteran, mother of two -- spoke at one rally: "I strongly believe we are doing the wrong thing in Iraq." Rivera went on to explain that, while serving in Iraq, when she looked "at the shaken crying Iraqi children" she was reminded "of her own daughter in Texas.": John Ward notes war resister Tim Richard attending one rally and wondering, "Why is it legal for me (to stay), because my father was born in New Brunswick, and not legal for somebody else who did the exact same thing?"

Meanwhile war resister Rodney Watson has gone public.
Suzanne Fournier (The Province) notes the 29-year-old, African-American, Iraq veteran self-checked out a year ago and now lives in Canada and quotes him stating, "I I realized the war had nothing to do with 9/11 or helping Iraqis or stopping terrorists. It's all about guarding oil for the U.S. , , , I'd rather do my time in jail than be a party to the racism I saw in Iraq. As an African-American, I grew up with racism. But in Iraq, I saw the same kind of abuse and mistreatment, only this was U.S. enlisted soldiers and American contractors, like security forces, abusing Iraqis."

Tom Regan (NPR News Blog) points out the difference between this week's court action (or inaction) and last week's. While Hugey and Hinzman were not allowed to seek out a legal remendy by the Canadian Supreme Court, last week US District Judge Benjmain Settle ruled in Ehren Watada's favor, "The judge says the military court is ignoring Watada's constitutional right not to face double jeopardy after his first court-martial ended in a mistrial.
The injunction means Watada has a better chance of winning his case, but it also means he might not get a chance to test his central argument -- that the Iraq war is illegal -- in court."
Noting the Watada ruling yesterday,
NPR's Martin Kaste (All Things Considered) covered the story and Kenneth Kagan, Watada's civilian attorney along with James Lobsenz, explained the double-jeopardy issue (the February court-martial ended in a mistrial over defense objection) was something many courts grasp: "Civilians courts understand that, state courts understand that but for some reason military courts weren't acknowledging that reality."

Another reality that some (the press) has a hard time acknowledging is the number of service members electing to check out of the military on their own.
AP reports that this year the desertion rate has jumped to "the highest rate since 1980, with the number of Army deserters this year showing an 80 percent increase" since the start of the illegal war. AP continues to deny reality by offering the claim that the US military does little to track down those who go AWOL or desert -- despite the mountain of public evidence to the contrary.
As to the figure cited, September 21st,
Nick Watt (ABC's Nighline) examined war resisters and noted the number of people being processed for desertion at Fort Knox "jumped 60% last year" (to 1,414 for Fort Knox -- US military figures) while concluding his report with, "If the total for the first six months of 2007 doubles by year end, it will become the highest annual total in twenty-six years." At 80% the total has more than doubled and not only is there another full month left in the year, it's also true that you have to be gone at least 30 days to be declared a deserter (unless you're Agustin Aguayo and the military wants to screw you over) and, in addition, the military figures have been 'lower' than they should be before (NPR caught that earlier this year) and the rolls aren't up to date for AWOL let alone desertion.

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.

The voice of war resister Camilo Mejia is featured in Rebel Voices -- playing now through December 16th at
Culture Project and based on Howard Zinn and Anthony Arnove's best-selling book Voices of a People's History of the United States. It features dramatic readings of historical voices such as war resister Mejia, Sojourner Truth, Frederick Douglass, Malcom X and others will be featured. Zinn will take part in the November 18th presentation (the official opening night -- but performances are already taking place) and musician Allison Mooerer will head the permanent cast while those confirmed to be performing on selected nights are Ally Sheedy (actress and poet, best known for films such as High Art, The Breakfast Club, Maid to Order, the two Short Circuit films, St. Elmo's Fire, War Games, and, along with Nicky Katt, has good buzz on the forthcoming Harold), Eve Ensler who wrote the theater classic The Vagina Monologues (no, it's not too soon to call that a classic), actor David Strathaim (L.A. Confidential, The Firm, Bob Roberts, Dolores Claiborne and The Bourne Ultimatum), actor and playwright Wallace Shawn (The Princess Bride, Clueless -- film and TV series, Gregory and Chicken Little), actress Lili Taylor (Dogfight, Shortcuts, Say Anything, Household Saints, I Shot Andy Warhol, Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle, State of Mind) and actor, director and activist Danny Glover (The Color Purple, Beloved, The Royal Tenenbaums, The Rainmaker, Places In The Heart, Dreamgirls, Shooter and who appeared on Democracy Now! Friday addressing the US militarization of Africa) The directors are Will Pomerantz and Rob Urbinati with Urbinati collaborating with Zinn and Arnove on the play. Tickets are $21 for previews and $41 for regular performances (beginning with the Nov. 18th opening night). The theater is located at 55 Mercer Street and tickets can be purchased there, over the phone (212-352-3101) or online here and here. More information can be found at Culture Project.

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

Starting next week, IVAW's announcement above will be summarized in each snapshot until the March testimony begins. Winter Soldier is the documentary that was made of the 1971 investigation and it is
available via Vietnam Veterans Against the War for $28.95 (four dollars of that is for shipping). Staying with films for a minute more, Brian De Palma's Redacted opens today in select cities and, although fiction, is inspired by real life events -- specifically the gang-rape and murder of 14-year-old Abeer Qassim Hamza and the murder of her five-year-old sister and both parents.Opening Today:
11/16/2007 Berkeley, CA: Shattuck Cinemas Los Angeles, CA: The Landmark Palo Alto, CA: Aquarius 2 Pasadena, CA: Laemmle's One Colorado Cinemas San Francisco, CA: Embarcadero Center Cinema Santa Ana, CA: South Coast Village 3 West Hollywood, CA: Sunset 5 Washington, DC: E Street Cinema Chicago, IL: Landmark's Century Centre Cinema Cambridge, MA: Kendall Square Cinema New York, NY: Sunshine Cinema New York, NY: Lincoln Plaza Philadelphia, PA: Ritz at the Bourse

Turning to some of today's reported violence . . .


Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad bombing claimed 1 life and left four more wounded, a Baquba mortar attack left six people wounded, while 2 Baquba bombings left three civilians and four police officers wounded.

Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports that an Iraqi 1st Lieuntenant and his brother were shot dead in Misan while en route to their home today and yesterday "5 civilians were injured in a random fire by the Iraqi army in Al Siniyah town north west of Tikrit city."


Reuters reports Muntazer al-Zaidi, a 26-year-old journalist for Iraqi television, was kidnapped in Baghdad today.

Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 4 corpses were discovered in Baghdad.

As the violence continues the US State Department has had a public relations nightmare with diplomats not filling posts and threats from the chain of command that they would be ordered to Baghdad. This morning
Karen DeYoung (Washington Post) reported that an announcement would be coming today "that volunteers have filled all 48 open jobs at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad for next year and that it will not order any foreign service officers to work there against their will, officials said yesterday." NPR's Morning Edition reported earlier today that the positions had been filled; however, Reuters -- citing a State Department flack -- reports that it may -- may -- be unnecessay to order some diplomats to Baghdad and quotes Sean McCormack insisting, "It appears that we are getting very nearly to the point where we will have volunteers for all of the open, identified jobs."

As Reuters notes, some objecting to be assigned to Baghdad have compared it to a death sentence. This as
DPA reports that the Turkish military has been moving tanks to the northern border of Iraq. Gareth Jones (Reuters) reports that some members of Turkey's ruling political party have stated Turkish troops will not enter Iraq if the PKK disarmed. Since they really aren't able to make that promise and since the PKK would be highly unlikely to disarm under such a vague offer, the tensions continue between northern Iraq and Turkey.

Turning to the US Congress, the Democratic shell-game (Let's tell the voters this is a withdrawal!) passed in the House but didn't come to a vote today in the Senate.
Noam M. Levey (Los Angeles Times) reports the measure garnered only 53 votes of support and that Congress is now expected to leave DC for their two-week Thanksgiving vacation. For those attempting to keep track, Congress just took a 30-day vacation in September but apparently carving a turkey takes several days when you're in the US Congress. Possibly the lack of spines makes the standing difficult? Pelosi pushed through the measure in the House and many in the Out of Iraq caucus held their news and voted to support it -- even though it did not mean withdrawal and even though it would have given Bully Boy $50 billion more dollars for the illegal war. Earlier this week, Democratic Senator Russ Feingold went on record opposing the measure because it continued funding the Iraq War and was toothless and non-binding. Toothless and non-binding? In "Don't Ask Her to Play Hostess" news Corporate Crime Reporter's Russell Mokhiber (via CounterPunch) shares the latest social tidbit from US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, "I'm not happy when people come to my house." Oh. So that's why she entertained the Dalai Lama at the MCI Center in 2005. And those of us in her district just assumed the location was another reward to her corporate donors. Actually, it's Fancy Nancy having another public fit over the fact that CODEPINK potests. She loved CODEPINK . . . when they called out the powerful . . . back when Republicans controlled everything. Now that Democrats control both houses in the US Congress and CODEPINK stays true to their purpose of calling out the powerful, Fancy Nancy has a snit fit. Repeatedly. Fancy Nancy declares of CODEPINK, "And if they think the longer they stay there the better the chances they will have a meeting with me -- I think I've disabused them of that notion." No, all she's done is demonstrate that from Richard Nixon through PW Botha on up to the Bully Boy and a hop and skip over to Fancy Nancy the bunker mentality thrives. CODEPINK is nation wide with chapters all over but many in the Bay Area see it as the "home team" so, when you're already tanking in the polls, with your highest negatives and your lowest approval ratings ever, it's probably not a good idea to go after them or present yourself an advocate against free speech. Fancy Nancy's a Maryland transplant (that never really took) so possibly she's unaware where the Free Speech Movement began? The eighth district's own Joe Lieberman appears eager to continue digging her own grave.

Finally, Robert Parry was a guest on
CounterSpin today where he explained his article "Why We Write" (Consortium News) and spoke of the immediate positive effects during and following Watergate that quickly fell away and how the US press became what it is today. He and his sons Nat and Sam will be speaking at Busboys and Poets in Arlingtion, Virginia Saturday Nov. 17th from four p.m. to six p.m. discussing their new book Neck Deep: The Disastrous Presidency of George W. Bush. Sam and Nat Parry have established their own journalist skills at Consortium News and they and Robert Parry can discuss any of the topics pertaining to the current administration but remember that Robert Parry has been doing investigative journalism for years -- long enough to have had neocon Daniel Pipes insult his reporting long, long before the Iraq War -- a sure sign his investigations cause discomfort.

jeremy hinzmanbrandon hugheydemocracy nowamy goodman

karen deyoung