Archive for August, 2006

Keith Olbermann Delivers One Hell Of a Commentary on Rumsfeld

August 31, 2006

OlbermannBlastsRumsfeldOnFacism_0001.jpg

Keith had some very choice words about Rumsfeld’s “fascism” comments tonight. Watch it, save it and share it.

Video – WMV Video – QT

Olbermann delivered this commentary with fire and passion while highlighting how Rumsfeld’s comments echoes other times in our world’s history when anyone who questioned the administration was coined as a traitor, unpatriotic, communist or any other colorful term. Luckily we pulled out of those times and we will pull out of these times.

Remember – Rumsfeld did not just call the Democrats out yesterday, he called out a majority of this country. This wasn’t only a partisan attack, but more so an attack against the majority of Americans.

The transcript of Keith’s comments tonight is available below the fold.

Colorado soldier to surrender to Army

August 31, 2006

By ANGELA K. BROWN, Associated Press Writer Thu Aug 31, 12:41 PM ET The image “https://i1.wp.com/us.i1.yimg.com/us.yimg.com/i/us/nws/p/ap_small.gif” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.
CRAWFORD, Texas – The soldier clutched the steering wheel of his pickup truck crammed with his belongings, his pockets stuffed with cash, his eyes darting nervously between the rearview mirror and the road stretching before him.

A million thoughts raced through his mind: What will my parents say? What if the police stop me? Did the soldiers who said they supported me and wished they could do this really mean it?

On Thursday, a year and a half after going absent without leave before his second deployment to Iraq, Army Spc. Mark Wilkerson plans to return to Fort Hood to face his fellow soldiers and superiors.

“I just could not in good conscience go back to a war I felt was wrong,” Wilkerson, 22, of Colorado Springs, Colo., said Thursday at Cindy Sheehan’s protest camp site.

About 50 protesters joined Wilkerson at Sheehan’s site near
President Bush’s ranch. Roughly a dozen in the group planned to travel with him about 40 miles south to the central Texas Army post near Killeen.

Wilkerson, who said he never left the country but won’t reveal where he was, has consulted with an attorney but does not know exactly what penalties he faces. Others have served time in military prisons.

Simple desertion has been decreasing in the military in recent years — about 2,500 troops last year simply didn’t show up for work, down from almost 5,000 in 2001, according to the
Pentagon public affairs office.

Wilkerson was just 17 when he enlisted in the Army. He wanted to follow in the footsteps of his father and grandparents, who also served in the military. Then after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, he felt even more sure of his decision, he said.

Wilkerson went to Iraq at the start of the March 2003 invasion and returned to the U.S. a year later, having lost one friend in his unit. He began seeing more news of Iraqi civilians killed and reports on whether American companies were profiting from the war, he said.

Wilkerson said his views of the war changed and he realized he could no longer stay in the military, so he applied for conscientious objector status. But his request was denied a month before his unit was to return to Iraq.

He said he was told his appeal would not be considered until after he came back. So Wilkerson decided not to return from the two weeks of approved leave before the January 2005 deployment.

Wilkerson is vague about what he and his wife did after leaving their two-bedroom Killeen apartment near the central Texas Army post. He said he got jobs, using his real
Social Security number, and drove but never flew.

He started wanting more from his life, though: school, which would mean applying for student loans and having people delve into his background, or even “something as stupid as being on a reality show.”

When Wilkerson decided to stop his life on the run, he heard that Sheehan’s new site near Bush’s Crawford ranch was a “war resister refuge.”

Sheehan protested for a month last summer near Bush’s ranch, but she recently bought a 5-acre lot in town as a permanent site for vigils and as a clearinghouse for information about soldiers’ rights to resist deployment to Iraq.

After talking to protesters, Wilkerson finalized his plans recently and came to Crawford. He has met with group members camping there, including Iraq Veterans Against the War, which Wilkerson has since joined.

Wilkerson, now separated from his wife, said he knows some people disapprove of his decision.

“Having gone to Iraq once, I saw what happened there,” he said. “I saw what was the right thing to do, and I had to do what was right for me.”

The Courage to Say No to War

August 31, 2006


The Courage to Say No to War
A Report by Geoffrey Millard and Scott Galindez

08.31.06

Vast Majority of Us Now Officially ‘Bitter and Angry’

August 31, 2006

Published on Monday, August 28, 2006 by the Times-Herald Record (Middletown, NY)

by Beth Quinn

Who are these 35 percent of Americans who still approve of Bush’s job performance?

And why do they accuse us Bush critics of being “bitter and angry,” as though our lack of complacency is some sort of character flaw?

Their implication is that being bitter and angry is just so “¦ so “¦ unladylike. Do they imagine we’re all at some 19th-century lawn party? That perhaps we’re throwing an unseemly fit because a croquet ball went off in the wrong direction?

Of course we’re bitter and angry. The majority of Americans are. And if you’re not, I can only ask, what planet are you living on?

In fact, if you aren’t bitter and angry at this dumb, smug president who’s wrecking the country “¦ well, then you’re just not paying attention.

Republicans should be bitter and angry because Bush has subverted all that’s good in the Republican Party ­ fiscal responsibility and smaller government.

Those who want to crush the terrorists should be bitter and angry because Bush’s disastrous war in Iraq has diverted attention, manpower and money from the real fight. Where, exactly, is Osama?

Drivers should be bitter and angry every time they fill up at the gas pump. And if they’re not bitter and angry now, just wait another couple of months when it’s time to turn the furnace on.

New Yorkers should be bitter and angry because ­ lo and behold! ­ it turns out we have no landmarks in town. No Homeland Security funds for us! That money’s going to Indiana and all the other godforsaken states populated by Bush’s Family Values Droids.

Those with soldiers in Iraq should be bitter and angry because Support Our Troops is just a meaningless slogan created by Bush propagandists. As linguist Noam Chomsky points out, no one knows what it means because it doesn’t mean anything.

Meanwhile, Bush keeps sending soldiers into a war already lost so that those who already died haven’t died in vain. What kind of stupid logic is that?

Here’s a bitter and angry slogan for you: A Slogan Can’t Hide a Coffin.

Parents and educators should be bitter and angry because Bush’s No Child Left Behind is just another slogan that doesn’t mean anything ­ as vapid and empty as saying Freedom is on the March.

So here’s another bitter and angry slogan for you: No Slogan Left Behind.

Anyone with a loved one who has diabetes, Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s should be bitter and angry at Bush for thwarting stem-cell research.

Senior citizens should be bitter and angry because they’ve been sold a bill of goods with his useless Medicare prescription plan.

Low-income college students should be bitter and angry because they can no longer qualify for government grants if they major in evolutionary biology. Goodbye, Age of Enlightenment!

Those who love this beautiful planet should be bitter and angry because the White House is the only place on Earth where global warming doesn’t exist. Goodbye, Venice. And oops! Goodbye, Florida, too. Venice, at least, will be missed.

Those who value democracy should be bitter and angry as the government takes our freedoms from us, politically correct piece by politically correct piece in the name of another slogan ­ The Patriot Act. No terrorist can take what some Americans so willingly give away as they accept this president’s spying and lying and religious ideology as “the price we pay for democracy.” Giving up democracy for the sake of democracy? That’s lunacy.

So, you bet I’m bitter and angry. And I can only ask, what would it take to make the bitterness and anger unanimous? I can’t imagine, really, because what on earth is left for Bush to screw up?

Katrina Survivors Visit Camp Casey

August 28, 2006


Katrina Survivors Visit Camp Casey
A Film by Geoffrey Millard and Scott Galindez

08.28.06

Camp Casey Reaches Out to GIs at Fort Hood

August 27, 2006


VIDEO REPORTS

Camp Casey Reaches Out
to GIs at Fort Hood
A Report by Geoffrey Millard
and Scott Galindez

08.26.06

Barb sends a link

August 26, 2006

Here is a link Barb sends us to for news:

http://www.commondreams.org/

It is another source of articles from various media that are of interest to progressives.  Enjoy.

Please do post your own links or let us know and we will.  Also, please comment on what interests you.

Some sites to check out

August 25, 2006

Ray McGovern who is mentioned in this article was at Camp Casey.  Look at http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/082506E.shtml.

If you don’t yet know his book, look at Steve Freeman’s work on stolen elections http://tinyurl.com/lcpz2

And the Pink Police are at it again, sorry I am not there this time.  There are two photographs and a link to a video here http://truthout.org/

Also, this is an article where a Nuremberg judge says  Bush should be tried for war crimes.  http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/082506D.shtml

Let Us Now Praise Famous Women and Men

August 24, 2006

This is the first installment of an essay about some of the women and men I met and how they impacted me. 

Martha:

Team kitchen is the group of volunteers who prepare the delicious and sustaining meals for Camp Casey.  Martha is the leader of that team.

I have no idea how she lives because I know that she has spent at least a year cooking for Camp Casey when it is in session and at other times for Katrina victims.

A little weathered and limping slightly sometimes, she may be from Texas but I am not sure.  She is definitely a nononsense kind of volunteer, not so much a little sunbeam in the kitchen, but the one who gets the work done, so don’t hinder her thank you very much.  And, put the dirty dishes in the bin provided or better yet just go to the dish washing station and wash them yourself, and put the recycling in the right bins and the compost on the pile.

She went on the first Fort Hood action saying she has had an issue with that place for thirty-five years.  Obviously her activitism goes beyond cooking, though cooking comes first.  She has the good sense and the experience to know that the first priority is to meet the needs of the activists.

I am moved by her dedication, her focus, and her skills.  She is a merciful person “whose righteousness will not be forgotten.”

Lobo:

I think I spell his name right.  A former service medic, I am not sure which branch, and then a civilian police officer, Lobo is one of the former warriors who say no more war and work toward that end.

He always wears a brimmed camouflage hat with a feather in the band.  Tall and lean, he is easy to spot.  Nearly the first thing he says to people is, “How long has it been since you had a drink of water?”  If he doesn’t like your answer, he directs you to one of the huge thermoses of cold filtered water that Camp Casey makes available by dint of herculian effort. 

I don’t know when he sleeps because Lobo is up and about the camp all night.  Security is one of his duties.

Some of you may remember how much I loved the work of Maybury Lewis called Millennium.  In that book he relates how he took his wife and family to live with the traditional societies he studies.  Their first night in one of those villages, they were awakened from sleep in the fllimsy thatched hut they were living in (the kind of housing for all in that culture) by a kind of rustling outside and some slight noise.  At first, they were a little alarmed but the rustling went away.

In the morning, they learned that the men of the village take time about guarding the people all through the night.  They grew accustomed to hearing the quiet rustling in the night and felt safe when they did.

My first night at Camp Casey I was awakened as Lobo and the others moved quietly by my tent, but I remembered Maybury Lewis’s story and I felt safe.

The last night I spent on the site, a bad night for me, Lobo was getting me medication at 2am and helping me back to my tent.   I was safe and cared for.

Always quiet and cheerful, often funny, he is one of those whose children are also great and one who “will be buried in peace and whose glory will not be blotted out.”

I know because I met his son Eric who was also in residence.  On several occasions I had the pleasure of chopping vegetables with Eric.  A sophomore in high school, he plays the guitar in some kind of rock group and likes school (well, not all the study part, but school he likes).  Slightly heavier than his dad and as tall already, he is another giant of a man in the making.  Also cheerful and helpful, kind and gentle, he, too, “will lie down in peace.”

Patrice:

A short little dumpling of a woman, Patrice is a native Texan who lives in Austin with her husband and family.  Her twenty-five year old son says he aspires to being as happy as she.  Very active, she is a member of a drumming circle, a busy parishioner of her church, and one of the original members of Camp Casey.

She is responsible for the nightly vigils and asked me to dance.

Patrice suffers seiously from the heat and had to be iced down at one point.  She went home to Austin for a few days to cool off, but returned raring to go.

Patrice drove me to the original camp site and related adventures.  She told me of the time she was harrassed by the Secret Service the day the group who call themselves the Prairie Dogs were arrested for camping in the ditches in defiance of what may be an illegal ordinance not to do so.  Patrice was driving the shuttle and trying to get to the camp, but the Secret Service agent kept blocking her route and cutting her off.  Her cell phone was out of power and she was alone and really frightened.  As a ruse and partly to keep up her courage, she held the dead cell phone to her ear and sang the lyrics of her favorite country music song that was playing on her CD player in order to appear to be in contact with someone.  She did finally get to the camp, only to find the few campers who had not defied the order, the others having been arrested.  She gathered them up and they got the water into the van and went back to the Peace House.  It was a scary memory.

Patrice is a Sam Rayburn/LBJ sort of Texas democrat.  Think a Bill Moyers sort of person.  She is from an educated Texas family and knows a lot about and loves her state.  She showed me a gorgeous limestone rock formation in a creek bed close to the Bush property; to her the country there is beautiful.

To me, Patrice is beautiful and I treasure her.  As we drove into the motel parking lot on the last night of my stay (she, too, had decided that sleeping out in the heat was too much for her), I told her that it felt as though I had known her for a long time.

“The people will tell of her wisdom and the congregation will show forth her praise.”

Zachery:

Blond and cute, she was an army brat and wears a fanny pack that says “BRAT.”  Trained in theater in New York and elsewhere, she now teaches theater to children in California.  She is the volunteer who coordinates the programs of Camp.

She says she came to Camp Casey last year with her HazMat suit ready to clean the toilets.  At the time, she didn’t know that PortoPotties are serviced by the company that provides them.  She was just ready to do whatever needed to be done, to work.

What lives in my memory is her response to one of the Iraq war veterans who is struggling to recover from PTSD and who has made several suicide attempts.  He finished his story by saying that he hoped God would forgive him for killing so many innocent women and children and that he was making what amends he can by speaking out against the war now.

In the dead silence that followed, Zach told him that he is not to blame, that it is she who is responsible.  She said she had not stopped the government from invading and occupying Iraq and sending him and the others into that situation.  He was in the service obeying orders; she has no excuse.

A powerful French film made about the Nazi death camps asked repeatedly “A qui est la responsabilite?” (Who is responsible?)  Like Zach, I believe that I am responsible.  I have worked but not well enough since 2000 to save my country when failure is not acceptable.  I went to Camp Casey to see if I could find some new ways to respond and, like that wonderful marine, to make amends.

Zachery has long since made amends.   She is “the glory of our times.”

NB The quotations are either direct or slightly paraphrased from Chapter 44 of the book of Ecclesiasticus.  Note also the work by James Agee, fellow Southerner and one of the literary pantheon of my youth, Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, Houghton Mifflin/Mariner.

Nancy, 24 August 2006

Fox News!

August 24, 2006

I heard the press conference Nancy refers to and remember that reporter but didn’t realize he was from Fox.  Bush said something about we had to be in Iraq because of what the terrorists did on 9/11 and the reporter literally interrupted him and said “What does Saddam Hussein have to do with the events of 9/11?”  Bush said something like “Well, no one in this administration has suggested that Saddam ordered the attack on the World Trade Center, but….blah blah blah we thought there were WMD (he conceded there weren’t), and he was giving money to blah blah.”  It was pretty lame.  Paula