"Blog party!" cried Mike. We are at C.I.'s for the week and those of us already here are attempting to knock out our posts before Rebecca, Kat, Betty, Ava, C.I. and Wally arrive. And Elaine's having the worst time with her site. I walked over to look at her laptop screen, knowing I would not be any real help but willing to try. I was no help. She's got some weird screen that does not allow her to insert links or anything.
I hope this isn't some new feature of Blogger/Blogspot because it is very weird.
So Barack Obama is winding down his attempts to grab headlines. As far as I know, only one group got thrown under the bus: wounded US veterans in Germany. Mr. Obama was supposed to visit them. He canceled the visit. The John McCain campaign is calling him out on that. The Obama campaign says that they were contacted by the Pentagon and the Pentagon had concerns.
Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman told reporters later Friday the Pentagon did not explicitly say Obama should not visit the base, but was concerned with whether his capacity there would be one of a presidential candidate, not a senator.
"We do have certain policy guidelines for political campaigns and elections. And what is appropriate and what is not appropriate in those situations. But the Pentagon certainly did not tell the senator that he could not visit Landstuhl," Whitman said.
"Generally speaking, the military tries very hard not to get involved in political campaigns," he said. "Conducting a campaign speech for example on a military installation is not something that would be appropriate to do."
What does that sound like to you? Elaine and I are in agreement, we think it sounds like Mr. Obama realized he couldn't stage a photo op for his campaign and decided to blow off US service members, wounded US service members.
He really is that disgusting. On the plane ride here (I'm at C.I.'s), there was a nice woman who showed me her People magazine. Barack, Michelle and the daughters Obama are on the cover in another attempt to portray him as your normal American.
For anyone who does not know, I am Jewish. My husband and I raised our children Jewish; however, we celebrated December 25th as a day of Santa Clause. We did Hanukah as our religious celebration each December but we did December 25th as Santa Clause and when all our boys were old enough to know the truth about Santa, we continued to do a gift exchange each December 25th.
Well it is a little different in the Obama family. They do not give their daughters gifts on Christmas and do not do so on the children's birthdays.
I could not believe it. This was supposed to be the "Look at the normal family just like you!" article and all it did was cause a big stir in a bad way. A woman across the aisle thought we were making it up as we were looking at the article. We passed the magazine over and she read it for herself and still could not believe it. Direct quote: "What kind of a freak is he?"
Is he cheap? That was the question that first popped up and by now we had several people involved in the conversation.
It was pointed out that he was raised non-religious and I added that I did not believe he had been baptized in his faith which I believe required it for what is termed "salvation." So we talked some more and the consensus was that Barack Obama is all for show to the American people and does not care enough about his religion or his daughters to celebrate a Christian holiday.
"I'm telling you, he's a freak," said one woman and everyone agreed.
I think that cover story is going to do a lot of damage to the image of him as "normal" and "just like you." I said I believed Jehovah Witnesses did not exchange gifts and, explaining I was Jewish, asked if that was true of Church of Christ? I was assured by all that this was not the case.
So who knows why Barack Obama does what he does? All this time later and who knows?
And this is the candidate the Democrats intend to hand the nomination to shortly?This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" for today:
Friday, July 25, 2008. Chaos and violence continue, Congressional hearings, BonusGate and more.
Starting with war resistance. "When we arrived Al Assad, this was April or the beginning of May 2003," declared Camilo Mejia, "and this is the very beginning of the occupation and this is when we were being told that we had to keep people on sleep deprivation, to psychological torture; the orders came from way up top. Actually the people who were in charge of running these camps were ghost agents, you know, working for the US government. And when the Abu Ghraib scandal came out they tried to tell the American public that, you know, this was an isolated event that had only began in November or December of 2003. And that it was the result of a few people, you know, who one day woke up and, you know, they were evil, when -- in reality, you know from -- from my experience, I can tell you that this was actually something that was coming from the very top and that happened from the very beginning and that it was not isolated to Abu Ghraib but that was happening elsewhere in Iraq from the very beginning of the occupation." Mejia was speaking on PBS two weekends ago and he continued, "Well in the military, we have what is called spooks. And these are people who are highly trained in counterinsurgency. They're highly trained in linguistics and interrogation and weapons systems and things like that. And they don't wear name tags. They don't wear Unit ID badges or anything like that. They . . . [use] pseudonyms and you know they don't respond to anybody in uniform. They -- they basically take their orders from -- from the very top. And they're -- they're untraceable and -- and obviously, you know, they can conduct themselves with absolute impunity. These were people who were giving the commands when we were there -- not our commanders, not the people who belonged to any unit, you know, but basically people with top secret clearance and, you know, who would never be held accountable for any of the things that happened."
The PBS program was Foreign Exchange with Daljit Dhaliwal and Ava and I wrote about that appearance two weeks ago. (And have heard the complaints re: streaming, transcripts, DVDs, et al and we will be noting that in Sunday's TV commentary. But anyone using that link will quickly realize that they can't watch online.) When we noted it previously, we focused on Camilo's rejection of the illegal war. Camilo tell his story in Road to Ar Ramadi: The Private Rebellion of Staff Sergeant Camilo Mejia and he is also the chair of Iraq Veterans Against the War. In terms of his place in the resistance of the Iraq War, he was the first Iraq War veteran to publicy oppose the illegal war. As noted earlier this week, "The Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC), an international human rights organization based in Cambridge, Mass., will be hosting a series of training sessions and workshops at the General Assembly of the Unitarian Universalist Association to be held from Wednesday, June 24 to Sunday, June 29, at the Fort Lauderdale Convention Center, Fort Lauderdale, Florida." Mejia will be a speaker on June 25th as well as on June 28th. More information can be found here."
Though Meija never went Canada during his resisting while in the military, he has been a very vocal supporter and has joined many in calling on the Canadian government to grant safe harbor to US war resisters in Canada. To pressure the Stephen Harper government to honor the House of Commons vote, Gerry Condon, War Resisters Support Campaign and Courage to Resist all encourage contacting the Diane Finley (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration -- 613.996.4974, phone; 613.996.9749, fax; e-mail http://firstname.lastname@example.org -- that's "finley.d" at "parl.gc.ca") and Stephen Harper (Prime Minister, 613.992.4211, phone; 613.941.6900, fax; e-mail http://email@example.com -- that's "pm" at "pm.gc.ca"). Courage to Resist collected more than 10,000 letters to send before the vote. Now they've started a new letter you can use online here. The War Resisters Support Campaign's petition can be found here. Long expulsion does not change the need for action and the War Resisters Support Campaign explains: "The War Resisters Support Campaign is calling on supporters across Canada to urgently continue to put pressure on the minority conservative government to immediately cease deportation proceedings against other US war resisters and to respect the will of Canadians and their elected representatives by implementing the motion adopted by Parliament on June 3rd. Please see the take action page for what you can do."
There is a growing movement of resistance within the US military which includes Andrei Hurancyk, Megan Bean, Chris Bean, Matthis Chiroux, Richard Droste, Michael Barnes, 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, Jose Vasquez, 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, Jason Marek, 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. In addition, VETWOW is an organization that assists those suffering from MST (Military Sexual Trauma).
On Wednesday, the Senate Armed Services Committee held a hearing entitled "VA's Response to the Needs of Returning Guard and Reserve Members" and the most interesting exchange took place at the end of the second panel in the last thirty minutes. The second panel was made up of Dr. Joseph Scotti (West Virginia University), Col Bradley Livinsgton (Director of the Joint Staff, Joint Force Headquarters, Montana National Guard), Lt Col John Boyd (Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel Vermont Army National Guard), Sgt Roy Meredith (Team Leader Maryland Army National Guard) and Maj Cynthia Ramussen (RN, MSN, CANP Combat Stress Officer Sexual Assualt Response Coordinator 88th Regional Readiness Command).
Senator Jay Rockefeller: My first question would appear to be hostile but it's not. Why is it that everybody, but Dr. Scotti, had to say "I'm speaking personally not on behalf of the Reserve, the Guard or the Department of Defense? I really want to know that. Does that mean that they're afraid that you might tell the truth? Does that mean that they are embarrassed by what you might say because their culture is "everything always works and it always works right"? I'd like to know why you have to say that?
Col Bradley Livingston: Sir I might be able to address that because my testimony --
Sen Jay Rockefeller: You can't correct it because you said it --
Col Bradley Livingston: (Overlapping) Correct --
Sen Jay Rockefeller: you can explain it.
Col Bradley Livingston: Okay, I can explain it then. My testimony had not been vetted through DoD and so I --
Sen Jay Rockefeller: Well Isn't that a very good thing?
Col Bradley Livingston: Sir, . . . I was instructed that my testimony had to have that statement put on it, sir.
At "I was instucted," everyone burst into laughter including Livingston.
Sen Jay Rockefeller: You see, I can understand that I'm -- I've got so many questions, I don't even know where to begin. I can understand that if you're from the Department of Transportation. If you come back from the kind of experiences that you've all come back from your testimony, Major Rasmussen, probably was the best I've ever heard here and I've been on this committee for 24 years. I -- it just -- it just breeds a sense of suspicion. Not at you but in them. They got to be "right." You didn't vet it with them. Therefore, you're dangerous. You're telling the truth, you're telling the truth like few people ever do before this committee. One of the -- one of the problems in fact is that when -- when the VA and other people come before this committee we know that everything they've said has been vetted. So there's no real reason for us to listen particularly careful to them because we know that it's not necessarily what they think. You're telling us what you think. And therefore, you're real. You really help us. This is superb help to us just at the time that the whole care of veterans has become -- along with global warming -- one of the two top issues for the entire Congress because it's like we've suddenly rediscovered you. Our own guilt, our own mistake, regardless of political party or anything else going back over many years. And there are reasons for that but I won't go into them. It annoys me that you have to say that because it implies that if you didn't, you'd get in trouble. And that makes me angry.
We'll come back to the second panel but Les Blumenthal (McClatchy Newspapers) reported on the first panel when the committee learned that the VA "failed to send benefit packages to nearly 37,000 National Guard and Reserve members" who served in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars which had Senator Patty Murray pointing out, "While the VA has targeted outreach programs in place to help service members, we still miss far too many veterans who need help and aren't aware of the services and benefits they have earned." You may remember Iraq Veterans Against the War Winter Soldier Investigation in March. From the March 17th snapshot:
The panel on The Crisis in Veterans' Healthcare followed. Adrienne Kinee spoke on that panel and a correction to Friday's snapshot: Kinne did not state that, "The best preventative healthcare . . . for our soldiers in uniform is to not use them to fight illegal wars"; she stated, "The best prevantative healthcare . . . for our soldiers in uniform is to not use them to fight illegal occupations in the first place." Kinne testified about serving in the military, discharging in 1998 and then enlisting again and discharging during the Iraq War. The differences she saw were immense. The first time she left the US military, she found a great deal of help and resources, people helped her with her paperwork, they advised her of her benefits and assisted her in a smoother transition to civilian life. By contrast, when she discharged during the Iraq War, she was provided no help, no assistance and something as simple as having a physical would require that she live on a base for four to six more weeks before the military would discharge her. There was no attempt made to explain the benefits available to veterans.
For any who missed Iraq Veterans Against the War Winter Soldier Investigation -- which was broadcast live at IVAW's site, at War Comes Home, at KPFK, at the Pacifica Radio homepage and at KPFA -- you can find archives at IVAW, War Comes Home and -- via KPFA -- here for Friday, here for Saturday, here for Sunday. Aimee Allison (co-host of the station's The Morning Show and co-author with David Solnit of Army Of None) and Aaron Glantz anchored Pacifica's live coverage.
But the point is, Congress keeps getting the same song and dance and the first panel was indicative of that. It's a problem Senator Murray has noted. On Tuesday (link has text and video), she took to the Senate floor to address the issue of the suicide rates of troops and veterans:
Earlier this month, we lost a young man in my home state of Washington just hours after he sought care at the Spokane VA hospital. He was the sixth veteran in that community to take his own life this year. Now, the Spokane VA is investigating all six of those cases. I have also spoken to Secretary Peake. He has assured me that his team is also on the ground, taking a hard look to see what went wrong and what they can learn from the situation.
[. . .]
More than five years later, we should have the resources to treat the psychological wounds of war as well as we do the physical ones. But we don't. It is the duty of the VA and of a grateful nation to be prepared to care for their unique wounds. And in order to do that, we need strong leadership and attention to detail in Washington, D.C., Spokane, Washington, and everywhere in between. At the end of the day, this isn't about bureaucracy or protecting turf, it's about saving lives. We must make it a national priority to address this tragedy.
1-800-873-TALK is the VA's suicide prevention hotline, 24 hours. That was Tuesday. Back to Wednesday. "The military is a culture of its own," Maj Cynthia Rasmussen explained in her opening testimony. (Click here for prepared remarks but that's nothing like what she delivered in her stated opening remarks.) Sen Rockefeller would single her out for praise and we'll note a portion of her opening testimony (again, it will not match up with the prepared remarks submitted prior to the hearing).
Maj Cynthia Rasmussen: Multiple competing tasks when a service member gets home cause confusion. We don't know how to think that way. We know how to be mission oriented. We receive an op order it tells us who, what, when, where, why and how -- basically. We don't get op orders when we get home five days after when we take the uniform off. Owen Rice -- who is a Hennepin County sherrif deputy in Hennepin County Jail has been to Iraq, Traumatic Brain Injury in Iraq -- says, "Ma'am it's like this: One person talks in the military and everyone else listens; when you get home: everyone talks, everyone listens and nobody hears." What I hear from soldiers across the country -- service members across the country: "Ma'am, it's too chaotic here. Please send me back where I know how to survive, I know how to function, I know how to do that." [. . .] Emotions and anger. In war, we control our emotions. Obviously, you would not want your warrior having their emotions out in the open anywhere. Plus we cannot accomplish a mission if we have different emotions going on. We numb out. Anger is useful. Anger is not only useful, anger is an awesome emotion. We want anger, we like anger we encourage it. Because it's the fight/flight response. It makes your body, your mind and everything about you be the best that you can be and accomplish the mission you need to accomplish. We encourage it, we live that way, we like to live that way. But guess what? When you take the uniform off, that anger that you've learned in practice and felt good about does not go away. It looks like this: Not talking about your emotions and being angry in war is a strength. It only leads to you can't talk about your emtions at home which is considered a weakness. We look insensitive to others when we get home. It's not that we're insensitive, it's that we have not practiced those emotions for a long time. Emotions take practice. We have a decreased ability to read other's emotions -- not because we don't care, not because we're cold hearted warriors, but because we haven't practiced that for a long time. This can lead to increased irritability and defensiveness because if you're spouse, you're mom, dad or someone accuses you of not caring anymore and not showing emotions. We're not going to say, 'Oh, yes, you're right thank you. Thank you. I'm sorry I was unable to articulate that.' We're going to say, 'What are you talking about? That's not true.' We're going to get defensive -- as all of us would if someone siad that to us. It leads to increased alcohol and drug use to cover up our emotions. You know why? Not because we're warriors and we learned to do that. It is more socially acceptable in our society to go to the bar and have a few drinks or to sit home and slam down a case of beer with your friends or buddies then it is to raise your hand and say "I need help. I need medication. I need to talk to someone" -- not just in the military but across the board. In our program we work with all branches of the service and many VA and civilian organizations across the country. Despite this amazing comprehensive program, service members and families are still falling through the cracks. I had the honor and opportunity to speak to 150 Purple Heart National Service Officers at their training in Phoenix a few months ago. I received this note, handwritten, put it in my pocket and went back to my hotel room. And it read: "Ma'am, for the last three years I've been treated for PTSD by doctors, nurses and others that have no clue over what is being a soldier and have this feeling inside," this is a quote by the way, "I can't thank you enough for coming today. In the last two hours, you have done what nobody could have done: You make me feel normal again. That is a feeling that I thought I would never feel again since I was discharged from the army. Thank you and God bless." This was an Operation Iraqi vet from Puerto Rico, approximately 24-years-old. One final point I want to make. Not all issues with service members are about PTSD. We need to deal with the combat stress, the operational stress, those things I just talked to that are normal habits for all service members. When I spoke to the Purple Heart receipiants, a WWII vet raised his hand and started sobbing and said, "Where were you when I came home?" I had a Korean wife say to me last weekend, Battle Creek VA, if you had been around 40 years ago I would not be divorced from my husband who is a Korean vet because now I understand why we had all the problems we had. This isn't PTSD. This is a warrior taking his uniform off and trying to come home. We have operational stress, we have grief issues, we have lost a year or more in whatever life it was we thought we were going to have. We have depression, we have anger issues, we have PTSD, we have all king of issues. Please, please, please stop just calling it PTSD, I want to be called a combat vet coming home with some issues. Thank you.
Wednesday's snapshot covered Tuesday's House Armed Services Committee's Military Personnel Subcommittee hearing. Dana Milbank (Washington Post) covered it in depth (and was noted in that day's snapshot) Talk Radio News Service provided a summary of the main points and that was it from the press. Today the New York Times makes that hearing their lead editorial (A18), entitled "Wounded Warriors, Empty Promises" and describes it as "the latest low moment for Army brass". From the editorial:
Under skepitcal questioning during a hearing in February, Lt. Gen. Eric Schoomaker, the Army surgeon general, told the subcomittee that "for all intents and pruposes, we are entirely staffed at the point we need to be staffed." He also said: "The Army's unwavering commitment and a key element of our warrior ethos is that we never leave a soldier behind on the battlefield -- or lost in a bureaucracy."
That was thousands of wounded, neglected soldiers ago. There are now about 12,500 soldiers assigned to the warrior transition units -- more than twice as many as a year ago. The number is expected to reach 20,000 by this time next year.
The nation's responsibility to care for the wounded from Iraq and Afghanistan will extend for decades. After Tuesday's hearing, we are left pondering the simple questions asked at the outset by Representative Susan Davis, the California Democrat who is chairwoman of the military personnel subcommittee: Why did the Army fail to adequately staff its warrior transition units? Why did it fail to predict the surge in demand? And why did take visits from a Congressional subcommittee to prod the Army into recognizing and promising -- yet again -- to fix the problem?
Still on Congress and veterans, Edward Colimore (Philadelphia Inquirer) reported on a Congressional bill 'addressing' stop-loss. Stop-loss is the (illegal) policy by which Bully Boy has extended service members' length of service. The service contract has been completed but instead of moving towards discharge, Bully Boy is claiming a national emergency and extending service. If the Iraq War has caused a "national emergency" for the United States, you certainly can't tell it by the tiny trickle of reporting on the Iraq War. So Congress has decided to 'address' it. By writing a law making clear how unlawful the policy is? No, by tossing out a few dollars at the problem -- "an additional $1,500 a month of extnded duty . . . retroactive to October 2001". If this is step-one, it's needed. It's past due. But if this is the 'fix,' it's not repairing anything. IVAW's Kristopher Goldsmith favors ending the illegal stop-loss and tells Colimore, "Instead of being a civilian again and starting my life, I was doing the polar opposite: putting on a unifoorm and returning to Iraq. I had come back with pretty severe PTSD and depression and was having panic attacks."
It's Friday. And Gidget's finishing up the World Salvation Tour so the press can't be bothered too much with Iraq. In the limited reports from Iraq . . .
Reuters notes a Mosul roadside bombing that left three police officers injured.
Reuters notes that 1 Iraqi soldier was shot dead in Mosul.
Reuters notes that 1 corpse was discovered in Baghdad.
Turning to US presidential politics and starting with Gidget the presumptive nominee of the Democratic Party. But don't tell his staff that. Apparently, selecting his shade of lip gloss tires them out. Which is why the Telegraph of London's Toby Harnden (at RealClearPolitics) explains that Jim Steinberg got huffy with the press and started talking about how when he worked for another president (Bill Clinton), he never had to go on record with the press -- only to have the press remind Steinberg that Barack was not president. He's not even the nominee. But don't confuse them. Susan Rice -- lunatic and War Hawk -- was defending Barack Does Berlin and insisting he wasn't be political, "When the President of the United States goes and gives a speech, it is not a political speech or a political rally." Causing a reporter to shoot back, "But he is not President of the United States." It's all so confusing for the Cult. He's not even the nominee yet. Cedric and Wally weighed in on Ms. Minelli's Cabaret last night.
Ralph Nader is a presidential candidate, not a 'presumptive' one, an actual candidate for president. Stealing from Marcia yesterday, "Ruth (Ruth's Report) has been covering it, Kat [Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills) ] has been covering it, Elaine (Like Maria Said Paz) has been covering it, Rebecca (Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude ) has been covering it. C.I. (The Common Ills) has covered it over and over and Third Estate Sunday Review has covered it." She had noted Mike in the previous paragraphs but he's covered BonusGate as well. BonusGate, where at least 50 Democrats conspired to keep Ralph Nader off the state's ballot in the 2004 eleciton. John L. Micek (The Morning Call) explains that Pennsylvania's AG Tom Corbett was "armed with a 74-page grand jury presentation two weeks ago, alleged that Democratic House employees worked to challenge the 51,273 signatures Nader and running mate Peter Camejo had gathered for access to the 2004 presidential ballot. A dozen former and current House Democratic lawmakers and employees face theft, conspiracy and conflict of interest charges, partly for their alleged role in derailing Nader's campaign." Nader held a news conference on the issue yesterday. Charles Thompson (The Patriot-News) reports "Nader wants relief from an $81,102 penalty for legal costs following court battles over his presidential nomination petition in 2004. He said he will file a challenge with the state Supreme Court. Nader said those damages should be dropped in light of criminal charges brought this month" and quotes Nader stating, "This was one of the most fraudulent and deceitful exercises ever perpetrated on Pennsylvania voters." Amy Worden (Philadelphia Inquirer) quotes him stating, "According to the grand jury, millions of dollars in taxpayer funds, resources and state employees were illegally used for political campaign purposes -- including to remove the Nader-Camejo ticket from the ballot." Alex Roarty (Politicker) reported yesterday, ""House Majority Leader Bill DeWeese (D-Greene County), law firms and the country's 'corrupt' two-party system -- each were warned Wednesday by Ralph Nader that the ongoing 'Bonusgate' investigations will reveal their rampant political corruption." Surprisingly, "Democracy" "Now" can't be bothered with this story. While addressing all of that, Nader's still running a presidential campaign and Nader and Matt Gonzalez are on the move all weekend. From Team Nader:
We need gas money.
Starting today, Ralph Nader is on the road again.
This time campaigning through the South and then out West.
Over the next two weeks, Ralph will be in South Carolina, Georgia, Mississippi, Texas, Utah and up and down California.
His VP, Matt Gonazalez, will be joining Ralph on the campaign trail starting in Texas.
Check out the schedule below.
If you are in the neighborhood, come on out to hear and meet Ralph and Matt.
With both Obama and McCain saber rattling over Iran, the Nader/Gonzalez message of peace through justice is now more important than ever.
If your friends or relatives in the neighborhood, give them a shout and let them know.
But right now, we need gas money to fuel Ralph's South and West Coast Tour.
We've rented a car.
Gas prices are high.
And Ralph is on the move.
So, please donate whatever you can now to fill up our tank.
You can give up to $4,600.
But $500, $100, $50 - whatever you can donate is what we need.
Help us fill 'er up.
So we can get 'er done.
The Nader Team
Ralph Nader's Tour of the South and West
Friday July 25, 2008 5:30 p.m. Athens, GeorgiaNader for President 2008 RallyUniversity of Georgia, Georgia Center- "Masters Hall" 1127 South Lumpkin St. Athens, GA 30602Contribution- $10/ $5 student(404) 446-7093 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Friday July 25, 2008 8 p.m.Atlanta, GeorgiaEvening with RalphSuggested Contribution $100 minRSVP (202) 471-5833
Saturday July 26, 2008, 6 p.m.Jackson, MississippiBook Signing/ SpeechLemuria Bookstore202 Banner Hall- I-55 North Jackson, MS 39206(601) 842-6769 or email@example.com
Saturday July 26, 2008 8:00 p.m.Jackson, MississippiEvening with Ralph NaderRSVP (202) 471-5833Suggested Contribution $50
Sunday July 27, 2008 2:00 p.m.Houston, TexasRalph Nader w/ Matt GonzalezHilton University of Houston4800 Calhoun Suite 207, Houston, TX77204Contribution- $10/$5 student(202) 471-5833 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Sunday July 27, 2008 7:30 p.m.Austin, TexasRalph Nader w/ Matt GonzalezTrinity United Methodist Church600 East 50th St. Austin, TX 78751Contribution $10/$5 student(202) 471-5833 or email@example.com
Thursday July 31, 2008 7:30pmSalt Lake City, UtahNader for President 2008 Rally w/ Rocky AndersonLibby Gardner Concert Hall1375 E President Circle, Salt Lake UT Contribution-$10/ $5 students(801) 916-6307 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Saturday, August 2, 2008, 8:00 p.m. Davis, CaliforniaNader for President 2008 Speech Ralph Nader w/ Matt GonzalezVarsity Theater616 Second StreetDavis, CA 95616Contribution: $10/ $5 students(202) 471-5833 or email@example.comSunday August 3, 1:30 p.m.Sebastopol, CaliforniaNader for President SpeechRalph Nader w/ Matt GonzalezSebastopol Community Center390 Morris St., Sebastopol, California 95472Contribution: $10/ $5 students(202) 471-5833 or firstname.lastname@example.org
August 3, 2008, 4:30pmHealdsburg, CaliforniaNader for President SpeechRalph Nader w/ Matt GonzalezCopperfield's books104 Matheson St., Healdsburg, California 95448Contribution: $10/ $5 students(202) 471-5833 or email@example.comAugust 3, 7:30 p.m.Kentfield, CaliforniaNader for President 2008 Speech in MarinRalph Nader w/ Matt GonzalezCollege of Marin- Olney Hall835 College Ave., Kentfield, CaliforniaContribution: $10/ $5 studentsMore Info: (415) 897-6989 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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NOW on PBS (begins airing tonight in most markets) sits down with John Edwards to discuss the troubles facing families across the country, some struggle to make it in single parent homes, for example. Bill Moyers Journal explores torture (among other topics) and Jane Mayer is a guest. BMJ's Michael Winship files an editorial on torture, "The Company We Keep:"
The administration remains in denial. Former Attorney General John Ashcroft told the House Judiciary Committee, "I don't know of any acts of torture that have been committed by individuals in developing information," he said. "So I would not certainly make an assumption. I would attribute the absence of an attack [since 9/11] at least in part, because there have been specific attacks that have been disrupted, to the excellent work and the dedication and commitment of people whose lives are dedicated to defending the country. Interrogators have used enhanced interrogation techniques but they haven't used torture." Grim hairsplitting. This week, as the result of a Freedom of Information Act suit, the ACLU received a heavily redacted copy of an infamous August 2, 2002 memo, signed by then-head of the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel Jay Bybee and written with his subordinate, the equally infamous John Yoo. "An individual must have the specific intent to inflict severe pain or suffering," it reads. "… The absence of specific intent negates the charge of torture… We have further found that if a defendant acts with the good faith belief that his actions will not cause such suffering, he has not acted with specific intent." Jameel Jaffer, head of the ACLU's national security project told Spencer Ackerman of The Washington Independent, "Imagine that in an ordinary criminal prosecution a bank robber tortures a bank manager to get the combination to a vault. He argues that the torture was not to inflict pain, but to get the combination. Every torturer has a reason other than to cause pain. If you're going to let people off the hook for an intention other than to cause pain, you're not going to be able to prosecute anyone for torture." Deborah Pearlstein, a constitutional scholar and human rights lawyer who has spent time at Guantanamo monitoring conditions there, testified to Congress that, "As of 2006, there had been more than 330 cases in which U.S. military and civilian personnel have, incredibly, alleged to have abused or killed detainees. This figure is based almost entirely on the U.S. government's own documentation. These cases involved more than 600 U.S. personnel and more than 460 detainees held at U.S. facilities throughout Afghanistan, Iraq, and Guantanamo Bay. They included some l00-plus detainees who died in U.S. custody, including 34 whose deaths the Defense Department reports as homicides. At least eight of these detainees were, by any definition of the term, tortured to death."
More is online at Bill Moyers Journal where you can watch, listen or read (transcripts) and BMJ never forgets to serve all communities and remembers public television's key word is "public." On Washington Week, Gwen and the Gas Bags jaw over the non-news. Helene Cooper (New York Times) is the only one qualified to address the international scene so expect a lot of snorts, bromides and tidbits from the rest.
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