This is from Chris Hampton's "Got Milk? Why, Yes, As A Matter Of Fact, We Do" (ACLU blog):
Yesterday morning, a sixth grader in California gave a report in one of her classes. That might not sound like terribly exciting news, except that the report was about Harvey Milk, and the student only got to give her report after the ACLU threatened her school with a lawsuit for censoring it.
Natalie Jones, a sixth grader at Mt. Woodson Elementary School in Ramona, California, had been given a class assignment to write a report on any subject she wanted. Natalie got a score of 49 out of a possible 50 points on her report about the gay civil rights icon. Students were then told to make PowerPoint presentations about their reports, which they would show to other students in the class. Natalie put together a 12-page presentation on Milk that you can view here.
But the day before Natalie was to give her presentation she was called into the principal’s office and told she couldn’t do so. Then the school sent letters to parents of students in the class, explaining that Natalie’s presentation was being rescheduled for a lunch recess and that students could only attend if they had parental permission due to the allegedly “sensitive” nature of the topic. School officials tried to justify all of this by claiming Natalie’s presentation triggered the school’s sex education policy.
That's awful but I may be able to top it. At one of our region's colleges, we had an ugly woman (on the outside and in) who thought she could be a professor. She was a drama student with a few degrees and no success because she lacked both talent and looks. She was hired for one semester to teach college students -- all adults. And she taught them about 'drama' as she had her own (she and her boyfriend Wayne really needed to keep their exploits to themselves). So as the semester wound down, she had the college students do dramatic readings for their final project. One of the students chose Patti Smith's "Horses." The 'professor' didn't know the piece and when the student began reading it, the twit jumped up and started insisting, "You can't do that! You can't perform that! It's perverted! It's obscene."
Patti Smith is a rocker and poet. "Horses" is on her classic 1975 album.
Click here to read the 'obscenity' and the student only got to "crashing his head against the locker" before the 'professor' stopped him. I know about it because the student lived on our block and his father came running to my house when he heard the news. Talk about "Banned in Boston." So a group of us from the neighborhood met with the 'professor' (who wore more make up than a drag queen) and she stated that she didn't know the poem and would never have approved it. But she did approve it and it's not a filthy poem or anything that college students should be censored for. She tried to weasel her way out of it and that's when I played my ace-in-the-hole by bringing up her boyfriend and the way they'd made their entire 'romance' into a part of the curriculum. At which point, the 'professor' grasped she better not fail the student. Even so, she refused to return the student's work. They'd been forced to keep a journal for the entire semester. She'd told them to drop by her office and she'd return them. But she wasn't at her office. She wasn't on campus. Turned out someone had squealed to the dean about what the 'professor' and Wayne had been doing in the classroom while the students were supposed to be doing breathing exercises.
I supported Dennis Kucinich in the Democratic Party presidential primaries and he broke my heart by sending his Iowa supporters to Barack. That really hurt. But I'll note this from him today:
Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), a leader in opposition to the original TARP I and TARP II bailouts, and Congressman Bob Filner (D-CA) today sent a letter to Members of Congress urging them to vote against a supplemental appropriations that may bring total funding for the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to $108 billion.
"The most plausible explanation for the request ... is that the funding would be used to bail out private European banks with U.S. taxpayer money,” said Kucinich and Filner in the letter.
The full text of the letter is available HERE.
This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" for Friday:
Friday, June 12, 2009. Chaos and violence continue, Newsweek explores Iraq, Congress puts out like a gumball machine for the White House, a Sunni MP is assassinated, Nouri stages a praise-a-thon, and more.
Starting with Newsweek. Comedian Stephen Colbert took his Comedy Central show to Iraq and, as a tie-in, was the guest editor of Newsweek for the issue on sale now (with his photo on the cover). For four pages you get more lies from Fareed Zakaria, these are titled "Victory In Iraq." Liar Fareed wants you to know "the democratic ideal is still within reach." Oh really? How do you define "democratic ideal," you damn liar? Two centuries ago, if you lied in the public square the way Fareed has repeatedly, you would have found yourself whipped in the public square and maybe for pundits who put the lives of others at risk we should bring that policy back. Here's reality that liars like Fareed can never tell you about:
We are writing to urge you to call upon the government of Iraq to prevent the persecution of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people, and to protect the right of all Iraqi citizens to be free from all forms of cruel,inhumane or degrading punishment.
Deeply disturbing reports are enamating from Iraq with regard to the torture, beating and killing of LGBT people in that country. The increasing violence is being led by religious zealots who are targeting these individuals simply because of their sexual orientation. This year alone, 63 people have been tortured or killed as a result of religious decrees against gay citizens. A prominent Iraqi human rights activists has reported that Iraqi militia have deployed painful and degrading forms of torture and punishment against homesexuals that must be stopped.
The United States is spending trillions of dollars to fight a war that is based on bringing freedom and democracy to the Iraqi people. These unspeakable actions of violence on Iraqi citizens are in direct violation of our purpose for being in that country and of the stated policy of non-discrimination of the new administration.
Local police in Iraq have issued a statement that "the extra-judicial killing of any citizen is a crime punishable by law. No one has the right to become a substitute for judicial authorities or executive authorities, and if there are complaints against individuals, there is law and there are police and there are government agencies. No group or class has the authority to punish people instead of the state." The violence occuring against LGBT Iraqis is in direct contradiction to this statement.
As one of the signatories to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), the Iraqi government has an obligation to protect the right to life (Article 6) and the right of all its citizens "to be free from torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment" (Article 7). Current actions belie this obligation.
To protect the lives of LGBT Iraqis, we urge you to please take immediate action to stop the violence. We believe that a strong public condemnation of these actions must come from you and our other national leaders, along with the necessary pressure on the Iraqi government to protect the life and liberty of all its citizens.
The [PDF format warning] letter is signed by California state legislatures Mark Leno, Tom Ammiano, Christine Keho, John A. Perez, Jim Beall Jr., Julia Brownley, Sandre R. Swanson, Tom Torlakson, Marty Block, Mariko Yamada, Pedro Nava, ANthony Portantino, Jerry Hill, Hector de la Torre, Mike Feuer, Felipe Fuentes, Cathleen Galgiani, Curren D. Price Jr., Norma J. Torres, Jospeh S. Simitian, Elaine Alquist, Alan Lowenthal, Leland Yee, Gilbert Cedillo, Jenny Oropeza, Gloria Romero, Gloria Negrete McLeod, Lou Correa, Loni Hancock, Lois Wolk, Patricia Wiggins, Ellen Corbett, Carol Liu, Fran Pavley, Bonnie Lowenthal, William W. Monning, Isadore Hall III, Mary Salas, Mike Davis, Paul Fong, Warren T. Furutani, Jared Huffman, Bob Blumenfield, Alex Padilla and Paul Krekorian. The letter was sent this month to US President Barack Obama, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and US Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein.
The issue has been reported on by the Denver Post, the New York Times, the BBC, ABC and many other outlets. Newsweek has NEVER reported on it. Newsweek has never acknowledged the attacks and assaults on Iraq's LGBT community. And that falls on Fareed who decides what makes it into non-guest editorial issues and what doesn't. Fareed doesn't want to touch the subject due to his own apparent homosexual panic. As SourceWatch notes, in October of 2006, War Hawk and Cheerleader Fareed was finally walking away from the illegal war declaring that the puppet government in Iraq "has failed" and calling the US venture/war crime a failure as well. He's back to selling the illegal war all over again. The Henry Kissinger wannabe infamously said as the illegal war on Iraq began, "The place is so dysfunctional any stirring of the pot is good. America's involvement in the region is for the good." Again, a few centuries back, he would have been flogged in the town square. These days he just feeds his own vanity which is how he ends up with an attention getting, four page spread which leads off the news section of the magazine. Vanity, thy name is Fareed.
On a better (and actual news) note, Gretel C. Kovach contributes "Canada's New Leaf" which zooms in on Kimberly Rivera, the Dallas - Fort Worth native and Iraq War veteran who self-checked out and took her family to Canada becoming, in February 2007, the first female Iraq War veteran to publicly seek asylum in Canada. Kovach notes Kimberly next appears before a Canadian court in July:
Now 26, Rivera has more problems than ever. Her mother hasn't spoken to her since she fled to Canada, although Rivera misses her terribly. And the Canadian government keeps trying to send her home to face desertion charges. She might end up in a military prison -- but says she has no regrets about her broken commitment to the service of her country. "At least I can say I never killed anyone, ever," she says. "I think that's a little more honorable."
Kovach demonstrates that Fareed doesn't know how to edit worth s**t. Jimmy Carter, as president, did not pardon deserters. He pardoned draft dodgers and only draft dodgers. He did that in the first month of his administration and there was hope among some (such as US House Rep Elizabeth Holtzman) that he would revist the subject but he never did. Before Jimmy Carter, President Gerald Ford offered a conditional amnesty for deserters and draft dodgers which required that they jump through hoops for a considerable amount of time and may or may not end up with amenesty. Very few attempted Ford's program. Near the end of Ford's presidency -- in November and December -- he considered proposing a pardon for draft dodgers and/or deserters, however, he was convinced (as were columnists at the New York Times) that Jimmy Carter would do this once sworn in. They were mistaken and only had to hear Carter's speech to veterans while campaigning for the presidency where he made clear that, if elected, he would pardon draft dodgers but not deserters. (Carter was booed during this speech.) We've covered this before and it's all public record. The inability of Newsweek and their fact checkers to get the story straight goes a long way towards explaining why all the whining about the death of Big Media is so much blah blah blah b.s. If you can't get damn facts right, you have no business charging anyone even a penny. I'm blaming the editors because I know where Gretel C. Kovach was fed the lies, the same place the lies are always fed up north. And, yeah, there little attacks on this site stemmed from the fact that we wouldn't let them lie in public without correcting the record. A July 10, 2008 entry quoted Robert Trumbull, "Pardon Brings Cautious Response From Some War Exiles in Canada," New York Times, January 23, 1977:
Jeff Enger, a deserter from the Army and therefore excluded from the Presidential pardon, will be sworn in as a Canadian citizen next Friday, one of the many self-exiled American war resisters who "want to make our lives here." However, like other deserters, Mr. Egner would like to be able to travel freely in the country of his birth. The Presidential pardon covered nearly all draft evaders of the Vietnam War period. Mr. Carter postponed a decision on the men who entered but then deserted the armed forces. Jack Colhoun, a leader in the Toronto exile community, is one of those deseters who insist that they would fight in a "just war," or "if the United States were attacked," as Mr. Colhoun put it. The men interviewed, who rerpesent a cross section of the estimated 20,000 to 25,000 American war resisters living in Canada, have in common a yearning for recognition by Americans at home that their actions were an acceptable exercise of principle "in the American tradition," as one said. "We don't expect to be congratulated or anything," said Mr. Egner, a law student at the University of Toronto, "but we believe we acted correctly." They also share a deep conviction that the deserters, as well as the draft evaders, should be pardoned.
Because the lies from up north continue, we're apparently going to have to do a slow walk through. David Postman (Seattle Times) outlined what Gerald Ford offered to war resisters: "a limited clemency for Vietnam draft resisters and military deserters." Here's Gerald Ford speaking in September of 1974 (and link has text and audio):
In my first week as President, I asked the Attorney General and the Secretary of Defense to report to me, after consultation with other Governmental officials and private citizens concerned, on the status of those young Americans who have been convicted, charged, investigated, or are still being sought as draft evaders or military deserters.
On August 19, at the national convention of Veterans of Foreign Wars in the city of Chicago, I announced my intention to give these young people a chance to earn their return to the mainstream of American society so that they can, if they choose, contribute, even though belatedly, to the building and the betterment of our country and the world.
That's Ford and his jump through hoops program which a study by the New York Times found, before Ford even left office, was being utitlized by very few of the over 50,000 who had self-checked out. Now let's move to Jimmy Carter once he becomes president. Here's how PBS's The NewsHour (then The MacNeil/Lehrer Report) reported Carter's program on January 21, 1977 (link has text, audio and video):
Just a day after Jimmy Carter's inaguration, he followed through on a contentious campaign promise, granting a presidential pardon to those who had avoided the draft during the Vietnam war by either not registering or traveling abroad. The pardon meant the government was giving up forever the right to prosecute what the administration said were hundreds of thousands of draft-dodgers. . . . Meanwhile, many in amnest groups say that Carter's pardon did too little. They pointed out that the president did not include deserters -- those who served in the war and left before their tour was completed -- or soliders who received a less-than-honorable discharge. Civilian protesters, selective service employees and those who initiated any act of violence also were not covered in the pardon.
Use the link and you can read, listen or watch the roundtable which includes then US House Rep Elizabeth Holtzman who states, "I'm pleased that the pardon was issued, I'm pleased that it was done on the first day and I'm pleased that President Carter kept a commitment that he made very clear to the American people. I would have liked to have seen it broader, I would like to have seen it extended to some of the people who are clearly not covered and whose families will continue to be separatedf rom them . . . but I don't think President Carter has closed the door on this category of people." I like Liz and I've known her for years but it was this b.s. attitude of praising Jimmy instead of pressuring him that allowed him to never revist the issue again. He never did another thing and its appalling that a magazine called "Newsweek" which wants $5.95 an issue for their 'factual' reporting can't get their damn facts straight. (Hint to other reporters, stop believing the lies you hear up north. It is your job to fact check statements if you present them in your articles.) Jimmy Carter did not offer an "unconditional pardon" to deserters. He offered nothing to deserters and just because an old man in Canada (a deserter) told you that Carter offered something doesn't make it true. It's also appalling because Newsweek covered some of this in real time so the magazine (wrongly) fabled for its fact checking should have caught these lies before they made it into print. Kovach is of the opinion (it's a popular one these days -- that doesn't mean it's accurate) that the resisters will all be deported (the decision by Canada's House to pass ANOTHER non-binding resolution on the issue demonstrates that they really won't stand with war resisters) and notes:
All of which means that the United States must now figure out what to do with the deserters who have already begun trickling back. No one expects Obama to issue them a pardon. They'll have to plead their cases before the military command. Prosecution rates of deserters have increased during the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts from 2 percent at the start to about 10 percent now (the remainder receive administrative punishments, like the loss of a stripe).
It's a real shame that 'helpers' up north wanted to refight Vietnam because of their own issues instead of helping today's resisters. (They lost their planned statue right before the resisters began pouring in and that apparently hurt a lot of feelings.) For the record, there are groups in Canada (and I give money to them) that have been successful in getting citizenship for resisters. They don't make a spectacle of themselves because the issue isn't them or what they did or didn't do during Vietnam. The issue is and has always been how to ensure that a resister doesn't have to return to the US. (Elaine wrote about that group, which she also contributes to, in August of last year.) And resisters in Canada can forget about Barack, he will not help any returning deserters. He has taken the Carter position that if some had avoided the draft that was one thing but those who have left service will not be let off. No, we didn't have a draft but that is his position. It was the same position as Carter's which is boiled down as "It's not honorable to desert." [Carter referred to his actions as a pardon and not amnesty, he stated calling it amnesty would push the notion that their avoiding the draft was a 'correct' action and he did not believe it was.] Neither the assaults on Vietnam or Iraq were "honorable" and self-checking out was one of the bravest things anyone could do. Today's resisters deserve praise but they won't get from the White House and many believe they won't get it from the Canadian government.
Jessica Ramirez examines the effects of deployments on families in "Children Of Conflict" and finds that "roughly 890,000" parents have been deployed since September 11, 2001 and that "[t]he personal sacrifices of military kids can go unnoticed amid the grown-ups' struggles, in part because the scars they may sustain aren't necessarily the visible kind. But they are real and long-lasting, and they are not diminished by the fact that levels of violence in Iraq have dropped or that U.S. troops are no longer taking the lead on combat operations there." Christopher Anderson contributes a photo essay on Iraq and US forces in Iraq. Dan Ephron explores the War Porn Six Days in Fallujah. And an article by Daniel Stone, Eve Conant and John Barry on the effects at home for the returning:
Part of the trouble with long tours is the stress of holding together a normal life back home. "When you're gone o long, you put your whole life on hold," says Ohle. "You can't plan anything." That can be OK if you're single, but Ohle has been dating another Army intelligence officer who is in a different brigade. They met during a training exercise many years ago, and then in 2006 spent a few months together "downrange," as Ohle calls the combat zone. After that, the dating was long distance. They've been "together-together" only since February, and Ohle expects her boyfriend to deploy again sometimes this summer.
Whenever she comes back to the United States, Ohle faces culture shock similar to anyone who returns from a foreign land. She's overwhelmed by the food selection in the markets, and the number of people in the aisles. But unlike ordinary travelers, she also needs to keep her anger in check. "When someone with a shopping cart gets in your way, you can't just yell at them to get out of the way," she says. "Interacting with people requires a reset."
Most of the features are not available online. Fareed is but we don't link to trash. A West Point story is available online and we'll link to that. What does Colbert do in the issue besides 'guest editing'? He speaks to the readers on page five and contributes letters (the earliest from 1933) in his TV character complaining about Newsweek coverage over the ages (starting with 1933). He also does the Conventional Wisdom on page 15 and an essay on page 68.
Colbert's trip to Iraq resulted in Newsweek focusing on Iraq. It's not a great issue but it is attention to an ongoing illegal war and that is an accomplishment. I don't care for Colbert but I applaud him for that. It also got attention from the daily papers -- many of whom have also forgotten that the Iraq War continues to drag on. (James Rainey (Los Angeles Times) covers Colbert's trip to Iraq.) AP reports members of Mississippi's National Guard's 155th Brigade Combat Team is preparing for its second deployment to Iraq and notes the previous deployment resulted in 14 deaths. WKYC reports 161 Ohians are deploying to Iraq ("part of the Ohio Army National Guard's 1192nd Engineer Company"). But because it's so very difficult for people to pay attention to Iraq, let's all pretend the war is over. That's how it works, right?
In Iraq today, a Sunni leader was assassinated. Ned Parker and Raheem Salman (Los Angeles Times) report Harith Obeidid "was gunned down by a teenager" in Baghdad. Obeid had been the leader of the Accordance Front. after shooting Obeidid twice in the head, the teenager than threw a grenade. BBC reports their correspondent "Jim Muir in Baghdad says the assumption will be that this attack was carried out by insurgents from Mr Obeidi's own Sunni community, who have often targeted Sunnis involved with the government." Michael Christie (Reuters) asks, "Could the killers be Shi'ites? Possibly, although suicidal attacks, as Friday's assassination appears to have been, are more often associated with Sunni extremists." Al Arabiya reports that Obeidid was one of 5 people killed in the attack and that twelve were left injured while the assassin was killed as he attempted to escape. KUNA notes that al-Maliki's government has declared 25-year-old Ahmed Jassim Ibrahim the assassin "in contrast to claims by Iraqi police who earlier mentioned he was only 15." In terms of possible motives, Al Arabiya explains, "Obaidi, born in 1966, was deputy chairman of parliament's human rights committee and on Thursday had called for an independent inquiry into torture and abuse of detainees in Iraq's prisons." Sahar Issa and Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) observe that Iraq's President Jalal Talabani went on TV to urge calm following the assassination and speak with MP Shatha al Obusi who serves on the Human Rights Committee and states Obaidi leaves behind a wife and eight children, that "he was a fun-loving man with an easy smile" and "I believe that he was targeted for these qualities by people who would not have him succeed. He was, and will continue to be, a role model to us regarding the issue of human rights and defending those who have fallen under injustice."
In other reported violence . . .
Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad roadside bombing destroyed a US military vehicle, another Baghdad roadside bombing claimed 2 lives and left ten people injured and, dropping back to Thursday, a Karbala roadside bombing which claimed 2 lives and left four people injured. Reuters notes a Baghdad roadside bombing which wounded six people.
Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baquba home invasion in which 2 people (mother and daughter) were killed. Reuters notes 2 Sahwa members were shot dead in Mussayab by a police officer who claims "they were planting a bomb".
Meanwhile Rod Nordland and Marc Santora (New York Times) report on the puppet of the occupation Nouri al-Maliki hosting a praise-a-thon for himself. Nouri fancies himself the new strong man of Iraq, the new Saddam. And Nordland and Santora capture that as they note he's now positioned himself as commander in chief despite the fact that the Iraqi Constitution does not give him that power and that he received toadies yesterday who called him their "master" and "commander in chief" (the Ministry of the Defense being among the toadies). An unnamed US military officer attempted to attend but was sent packing by the one of 'master' Nouri's thugs.Drunk on the smell of Nouri's cheap cologne (truly, he wears the cheapest cologne and over wears it, a detail that's yet to make it into domestic reports) the puppet's puppets engaged in a circle jerk where they self-praised and pretended they were running the country. And, insert laughter, runnig it well.If you automatically thought "air force," the reporters go there. There is no Iraqi air force to speak of and the reporters have Gen Anwar Hama Ameen later admitting that it will take more than the optimistic US prediction of "tow and a half years" for the air force to be built. The reporters note that this and other realities were left out of the circle jerk. The paragraph that should haunt reads: "The tenor of the meeting reminded many of similar ones between Saddam Hussein and his commanders, which featured fawning speeches praising him, the use of the word 'master' when addressing him, and a recitation by a nationalist poet. In Thursday's case, the poem was a recent one denoucning terrorism."
So Nouri's the new Saddam and the air force is nowhere ready. Jack Dolan (McClatchy Newspapers) reports more problems. Despite all the praise going down in the meeting with Nouri, turns out things are not so great. Iraqi forces are apparently not ready to take over the security functions in Mosul and reveals that issues include lack of ammunition and weapons and the 'hope' that the people of Mosul will work with Iraqi security forces.
Last night at the Washington Post, Perry Bacon Jr. reported that the Democrats in Congress had found some mutual understanding that would allow Barack's war funding supplemental to move forward, "The agreement was reached only after a letter from President Obama to a congressional committee saying that his administration would appeal to the Supreme Court to keep the photos from becoming public, rather than try for a Congressional ban as part of the war funding bill. The Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York on Thursday stayed an earlier order that the photos be released immediately, so the government will now have time to appeal." Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) offers, "The measure does not include language allowing indefinite detention as President Obama has initially proposed. The White House also dropped a request for a provision imposing a congressional ban on the release of photos showing the abuse of prisoners at US jails in Iraq and Afghanistan. President Obama said he will continue to seek the photos' censorship through an appeal to the Supreme Court." With more on the reassurance on suppressing the torture photos, Carl Hulse and David M. Herszenhorn (New York Times) explain, "The deal was concluded after Rahm Emanuel, the White House chief of staff, went to the Capitol to assure Senate Democrats that President Obama would use all admnistrative and legal means to prevent the photos' release. At the same time, a federal court issued a ruling effectively ensuring that the photos would not be released for months, if ever." Naftali Bendavid (Wall St. Journal) quotes Rahm stating, "I talked to the Senate Democrats -- everything's fine." Amy Goodman breaks down 'fine': "The war funding bill includes more than $90 billion for the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan and is expected be voted on next week. In a letter to other House members who have previously opposed war funding, Congress members Lynn Woolsey of California and Dennis Kucinich of Ohio urged them to retain 'steadfast opposition' to the new bill. Speaking on the House floor, Kucinich said the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan is based on 'aggression and lies'." Goodman goes on to quote some of US House Rep Dennis Kucinich's statement so those who need or prefer audio use the previous link but here's Kucinich's statement in full:
Iraq did not have weapons of mass destruction, had no intention or capability of attacking United Statess, had nothing to do with Al-Qaida's role in 9/11, and each and every statement made by the previous administration in support of going to war turned out to be false.
Yest here we are. A new administration and the same old war, with an expansion of the war in Afghanistan. We cannot afford these wars. We cannot aford these wars spiritually. They are wars of aggression and they are based on lies. We cannot afford these wars financially. They add trillions to our national debt and destroy our domestic agenda. We cannot afford the human costs of these wars, the loss of lives of our beloved troops and the deaths of innocent civilians in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. So, why do we do this? Why do we keep funding wars when they are so obviously against truth and justice and when they undermine our military? These are matters of heart and conscience which must be explored. Our ability to bring an end to thse wars will be the real test of our power.
We'll note Kucinich and Lynn Woolsey's letters to their colleagues in part [PDF format warning, click here for letter in full]:
Continued funding of war operations in Iraq ensures a continued occupation thereby undermining the stated U.S. goal for withdrawal by the end of 2010. Funds for Iraq should be dedicated to bringing all our troops and contractors home immediately. We must meet our moral obligation to rebuild Iraq and support viable solutions to the crises faced by the refugee and internally displaced populations. As such, the U.S. must maintain a continued commitment to the country of Iraq that does not include war or occupation.
Funding expanded combat operations in Afghanistan will not meet the security objectives of the U.S. Sending additional brave American service members to Afghanistan does nto increase security and it is not an act of diplomacy. This approach only encourages the Taliban and other insurgent groups to do likewise, while fueling their recruiting efforts. The bill ensured that the months and perhaps years ahead will be bloody. And the bill fails to present an exist strategy.
Voting down the funds for war honors the mandate to end the war in Iraq that was given to this body by the American people in November 2006. Futhermore, defeat of the War Supplemental sends a clear message about U.S. priorities at home and abroad.
Congress must use the power of the purse to end combat operations. When the War Supplemental conference comes to the Floor for a vote I urge you to continue to vote no.
Today the bufoons at CounterSpin yet again tried to pimp Barry O's Cairo speech. Reality on that speech via independent journalist John Pilger via ZNet:
Naturally, unlike George W Bush, Obama did not say that "you're either with us or against us". He smiled the smile and uttered "many eloquent mood-music paragraphs and a smattering of quotations from the Holy Quran", noted the American international lawyer John Whitbeck. Beyond this, Obama offered no change, no plan, only a "tired, morally bankrupt American mantra [which] essentially argues that only the rich, the strong, the oppressors and the enforcers of injustice (notably the Americans and Israelis) have the right to use violence, while the poor, the weak, the oppressed and the victims of oppression must . . . submit to their fate and accept whatever crumbs their betters may magnanimously deign suitable to let fall from their table". And he offered not the slightest recognition that the world's most numerous victims of terrorism are people of Muslim faith - a terrorism of western origin that dares not speak its name. In his "reaching out" in Cairo, as in his "anti-nuclear" speech in Berlin, as in the "hope" he spun at his inauguration, this clever young politician is playing the part for which he was drafted and promoted. This is to present a benign, seductive, even celebrity face to American power, which can then proceed towards its strategic goal of dominance, regardless of the wishes of the rest of humanity and the rights and lives of our children.
Independent Peace Mom Cindy Sheehan wondered recently:
I have integrity. I oppose war, torture, economic oppression and environmental degradation no matter who is in the White House or what political party he belongs to. I have been one of President Obama's earliest and most ardent critics, but where's the media coverage when I protest the carnage now that Obama is president? Where's Air America calling me to comment on the war crimes that Obama has already committed? Why won't most "progressive" online sites print my articles anymore (except AfterDowningStreet.org, Oped News and MichaelMichael.com)?
Cindy's on the road and heads to Nashville June 13th through 16th. Click here for her full schedule for this month and we'll run the remaining dates next week. She was in Texas this week. Kimberly Kreitner (Daily Texan) reports on her stop in Austin where Cindy explained, "We have a Democratic party [in office], but nothing good is happening. It pays for war and coddles war cirminals. What's the difference between Democrats and Republicans? . . . People ask, 'How can peace be relevant during time of a peace president? Well, I don't like to go around and tell people there is no Santa Claus, but May was the deadliest month in Iraq [for U.S. Soldiers]." And apparently Lily Tomlin's Suzy Sorority attended Cindy's speech because an unnamed woman told Kreitner, "We already have enough negativity going on, and saying bad things about the Obama administration won't help anything." For those who don't remember Suzy Sorority of the Silent Majority, let's revisit one of Tomlin's Laugh-In skits:
Suzy Sorotiy: I'm a charter member of the YACF -- that's Young Americans for Connie Francis. Now there's a person with a lot of problems -- like what to wear to entertain the troops, things like that. But you don't see Connie shooting glue or smoking acid or getting low or smelling those LSMFT tablets. No sir! When something upsets Connie, she just sings her little heart out and the troubles of the world disappear.
In US military news, Gina Cavallaro (Army Times) reports that the National Guard and Reserve fell short of their goals last month (623 short) but remain "comfortably ahead in their fiscal 2009 goals." Staffan De Mistura has always fallen short in Iraq and been an embarrassment for the United Nations. Alsumaria reports: "UN special envoy to Iraq Staffan de Mistura announced that he will leave his post shortly after a two years mission in Iraq. After meeting with Iraq's supreme religious authority Ali Husseini Al Sistani, De Mistura affirmed that the United Nations will pursue its work in Iraq as long as Iraq needs it noting that a good successor will take over." The United Nations work, under de Mistura, has been a joke for two years in Iraq. That goes beyond the cover for the occupation the UN has granted to include the blaming of the Iraqi women for the cholera outbreaks each fall, it goes to the refusal to address the Kirkuk issue, an issue that was supposed to be addressed long ago but which the UN has repeatedly given cover for and allowed to be sidestepped and postponed.
TV notes. NOW on PBS begins airing tonight on many PBS stations (check local listings):The murder of Dr. George Tiller has reignited the abortion debate, and raised the question: should violence against medical doctors who perform abortions be viewed and prosecuted as domestic terrorism? This week NOW Senior Correspondent Maria Hinojosa sits down with two of the remaining handful of doctors who publicly acknowledge performing late abortions, including Leroy Carhart, a fellow doctor in Tiller's Wichita, Kansas clinic.Carhart discusses his vow to carry on Tiller's mission and what it's like for him and his family to live as "targets". The show also investigates claims that law enforcement dropped the ball when it came to stopping Tiller's alleged murderer, Scott Roeder.Hinojosa travels to Colorado as well to talk with Dr. Warren Hern, another late abortion provider who says he's been living "under siege" for decades. Dr. Hern works behind four layers of bulletproof windows and is now under round-the-clock federal protection.NOW goes into the eye of the abortion rights storm to see how Tiller's killing and its ramifications are impacting doctors, free speech, and a civilized society.
Bill Moyers Journal begins airing tonight on mnay PBS stations and he and Michael Winship have an essay on gun control:
You know by now that in Washington, DC, on Wednesday, an elderly white supremacist and anti-Semite named James W. von Brunn allegedly walked into the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum with a .22-caliber rifle and killed a security guard before being brought down himself. He's 88 years old, with a long record of hatred and paranoid fantasies about the Illuminati and a Global Zionist state. How bitter the bile that has curdled for so many decades.You will know, too, of the recent killing, while ushering at his local church, of Dr. George Tiller, one of the few doctors in the country still performing late term abortions. Sadly, this case was proof that fatal violence works. His family has announced that his Wichita, Kansas, clinic will not be reopened.You may be less familiar with the June 1st shootings in an army recruiting office in Little Rock that killed one soldier and wounded another. The suspect in question is an African-American Muslim convert who says he acted in retaliation for US military activity in the Middle East. Soon, however, these terrible deeds will be forgotten, as are already the three policemen killed by an assault weapon in Pittsburgh; the four policemen killed in Oakland, California; the 13 people gunned down in Binghamton, New York; the 10 in an Alabama shooting spree; five in Santa Clara, California; the eight dead in a North Carolina, nursing home. All during this year alone.There is much talk about hate talk; hate crimes against blacks, whites, immigrants, Muslims, Jews; about violence committed in the name of bigotry or religion. But why don't we talk about guns?We're arming ourselves to death. Even as gunshots ricocheted around the country, an amendment allowing concealed weapons in national parks snuck into the popular credit card reform bill. Another victory for the gun lobby, to sounds of silence from the White House.
Washington Week finds Ceci Connolly (Washington Post), Bara Vaida (National Journal), Tom Gjelten (NPR) and John Harris (Hedda Hopper Lives!) joining Gwen around the table. Also tonight on most PBS stations, Bonnie Erbe sits down with Melinda Henneberger, Susan Au Allen, Avis Jones-DeWeever and Tara Setmayer to discuss the week's news on PBS' To The Contrary. Check local listings. And turning to broadcast commerical TV, Sunday CBS' 60 Minutes offers:The Man Who KnewHarry Markopolos repeatedly told the Securities and Exchange Commission that Bernie Madoff's investment fund was a fraud. He was ignored, however, and investors lost billions of dollars. Steve Kroft reports. Watch VideoFor Better Or WorseForeigners who marry Americans are entitled to become permanent residents of the U.S., but in a stricter post-9/11 world, hundreds of widows are being asked to leave the country because their husbands died – even some whose children were born in the U.S. Bob Simon reports. Watch VideoAlice WatersShe has been cooking and preaching the virtues of fresh food grown in an environmentally friendly way for decades. A world-class restaurant and eight cookbooks to her credit, Alice Waters has become famous for her "slow food" approach – an antidote to fast food. Lesley Stahl reports. Watch Video60 Minutes, Sunday, June 14, at 7 p.m. ET/PT.
iraqthe new york times
perry bacon jr.the washington post
marc santorarod norlandcarl hulsedavid m. herszenhornalsumaria
the los angeles timesned parkermcclatchy newspapers
democracy nowamy goodman
john pilger60 minutescbs newsbill moyers journalto the contrarybonnie erbenow on pbs