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I am Bradley Manning.

I am a casualty of America’s endless wars at the pleasure of corporate profiteers and in speaking truth to power.  I am an example of American Human Rights violations under the leadership of the Obama White House (a nice bit of carry over from the last Administration, btw).

A little over a year ago, “i want(ed) people to see the truth… regardless of who they are … because without information, you cannot make informed decisions as a public.” (Wired)

Picture of Julian Assange during a talk at 26C3

Image via Wikipedia

So I began an online conversation via email and social networking with Adrian Lamo, a former “grey hat” hacker convicted in 2004 of having accessed The New York Times computer network without permission.  As a soldier in south Iraq, I had become isolated and forgotten, helplessly watching open corruption proliferate as war atrocity was threatening to become the standard.  It’s not so hard to imagine that Julian Assange  drew my admiration and hope, late in 2009.  How I might have contacted WikiLeaks in November 2009, days after it posted 570,000 pager messages from the September 11, 2001, attacks.  I then gave Mr. Assange a video I stumbled over at my workstation in Iraq.  I had access to SIPRNet and the Joint Worldwide Intelligence Communications System, and in late 2009 I found the Apache helicopter video. I told Lamo: “At first glance it was just a bunch of guys getting shot up by a helicopter. No big deal … about two dozen more where that came from, right?

But something struck me as odd with the van thing, and also the fact it was being stored in a JAG officer’s directory. So I looked into it.”  On April 5, Wiki published the Apache helicopter video of the July 2007 Baghdad airstrike, (which I am alleged, lets remember!, to have passed on in February).  WikiLeaks called it the “Collateral Murder” video, and it attracted widespread coverage. On July 25, Wiki released the Afghan war documents, and in October the Iraq War documents, internal military war logs and diaries. There are allegations that I have given them 251,287 U.S. state department cables—written in 260 embassies and consulates in 180 countries—which I was supposed to have passed over to Assange and he, in turn, to several news organizations.  Several thousands of emails / docs were published in stages, the first by WikiLeaks in

February 2010 (the Reykjavik13 document), then from November 29 by The New York Times, Der Spiegel, The Guardian, El País, and others. WikiLeaks said it was the largest set of confidential documents ever released into the public domain.  The Wikileaks video leak brought some measure of justice and small Congressional oversight to this military strategy / war of wrongness.   Am I truly the only one responsible for all of this information leakage?  Mr. Lamo alleged later that I also said I had communicated directly with Assange using an encrypted Internet conferencing service, and that Assange had “coached” me.  Can he prove that, though?  Even so, I took the risk to act with conscious and integrity to expose the wrongness of these ‘wars’, if I did.  Mr. Lamo is, after all, a hack, a snitch and self adoring pariah.

Let’s make no mistake, I do represent the overwhelming emotional and moral fatigue of a bona fide military serving on foreign land beside largely unsupervised, despicably unethical and vicious mercenaries, these ‘private security contractors’ who seemingly have no oversight nor authority to answer to.. they kill, rape and steal from each other after they have whetted their thirst for it on the resident population.  [According to new statistics released by the Pentagon, with Barack Obama as commander-in-chief, there has been a 23% increase in the number of “Private Security Contractors” working for the Department of Defense in Iraq in the second quarter of 2009 and a 29% increase in Afghanistan, which “correlates to the build up of forces” in the country. These numbers relate explicitly to DoD security contractors. Companies like Blackwater and its successor Triple Canopy work on State Department contracts and it is unclear if these contractors are included in the over-all statistics. This means, the number of individual “security” contractors could be quite higher, as could the scope of their expansion.- Jeremy Scahill People are loosing their homes and little businesses are failing as American leadership dumps billions into raping, murdering, savage criminals under the guise of Private Security!  It’s outrageous!  While I await charges that include transferring classified data onto my personal computer; transmitting national defense information to an unauthorized source; aiding the enemy … confused and lonely in Marine Corps Brig, Quantico, Virginia, then held from July 2010 to April 2011 in maximum-custody solitary confinement.   Amnesty International expressed concern, calling my detention conditions harsh and punitive, and 295 American legal scholars signed a letter in April 2011 saying the conditions amounted to a violation of the U.S. constitution.  Later that month, the Pentagon finally transferred me to a medium-security facility in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, where now I can interact with other pre-trial detainees and recover some sense of hope.

As I wait in jail to face my accusers at trail, my Commander-in-Chief has already proclaimed me guilty… and as the Commander-in-Chief, he is directing the military jurists to find me guilty.  Where is justice  in this?   The jury that demands my guilt or innocence will be made up of military officers under his command. These jurors will already know that I’ve been mistreated, even tortured, during pre-trial detention. Under these circumstances it is hard to imagine military officers finding me not guilty. Will military officers contradict their commander-in-chief? He is currently personally urging prosecution of four other ‘whistle blowers’ as I continue to wait, in jail.  Daniel Ellsberg, a strong supporter of mine, will explain how releasing classified / Secret documents and or information is NOT breaking the law because our country has no Secrets Act as precedent to break as law.  To release classified information is not against the law simply because it would nullify our 1st Amendment rights to do so.  The Espionage Act is NOT a Secrets Act. “In addition to pronouncing Manning guilty, the president misstated a critical fact in comparing Manning to Daniel Ellsberg,” said Jeff Paterson, a member of the Bradley Manning Support Network steering committee. “Unlike Ellsberg, Private Manning released low-level classified documents that hundreds of thousands of people had access to. Daniel Ellsberg, on the other hand released documents classified as Top Secret. Ellsberg violated the secrecy of the United States at a much higher level than Manning.” Isolation in jail has hurt me.

I was charged on July 5 under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) with violations of UCMJ Articles 92 and 134 for “transferring classified data onto his personal computer and adding unauthorized software to a classified computer system in connection with the leaking of a video of a helicopter attack in Iraq in 2007,” and “communicating, transmitting and delivering national defense information to an unauthorized source and disclosing classified information concerning the national defense with reason to believe that the information could cause injury to the United States,” between November 19, 2009, and May 27, 2010.  And yet all the documents I am accused of releasing are openly available to (people even less than my own clearance) of hundreds of thousands of eyes.  The information via documents, video and other informational venue that I am accused of releasing to Mr. Assange and his Wikileaks organization reveal levels of usery, incompetence, military code criminal behavior at home in command departments… and so much more.   We learned that WMD were just a form of usery by the last administration to promote the war machine profits of companies they own or are profiting by.  Oil wars are meant to ensure crude oil flow into the United States but these wars have only generated cultural obliteration and national insolvency for Iraq, Afghanistan and America… as it pushes the same towards the nuclear power of Pakistan.

A soldier’s first job is to ensure to the best of my ability, that the need to use force of violence is the last resort.  The caveat to that if we understand our orders to be morally wrong, we must act according to our conscious.  My name is Bradley Manning.  I am a PFC in the United States Army.  My country held me prisoner in cruel isolation from any defense of myself.  Please remember me this Memorial Day weekend.

To protest the wrongness in our ongoing wars during this holiday, as the nation turns to stare it all in the face, I’m stand in sympathy with and have embraced the name of PFC Bradley Manning. 


The Huffington Post provides an update and a take down of the Obama Administration’s recent efforts to ramp up prosecution of Assange and Wikileaks.  Former attorney general under George W. Bush, Jack Goldsmith, has suggested that charging Julian Assange in any of the ways mentioned by the Obama Administration would hurt freedom of the press.  He’s said that the Justice Department reportedly cannot find evidence that Assange induced Manning to leak and “even if it could, such evidence would not distinguish the many American journalists who actively aid leakers of classified information.”
Mainstream U.S. papers including U.S. News and World Report have increased coverage of the environmental crimes disclosed in the documents Bradley allegedly leaked. Specifically, how the U.S. and many other countries place far more importance in their foreign policies on oil, and far less on mitigating climate change, than they’re willing to admit publicly.
The National Theatre of Wales has decided to stage a production entitled The Radicalisation of Bradley Manning. The play will cover Bradley’s teenage school years. Artistic Direct John McGrath explains “It will be using the case as a prism to explore how do people feel about their political voice today?”
Finally, a reminder that we’re asking all Bradley Manning supporters to take pictures of their friends and family this Memorial Weekend for our photo petition! It’s a good way to honor Americans in uniform who’ve done the right thing, even when it wasn’t the easy thing. The GI Rights Network has already joined the petition.
Posted in Commentary, Humanitarianism, military | Tagged , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Sympathy for the Dybbuk

Please allow me to introduce myself

I’m the colonists end game

excused land theft and genocide

made the victims bear the blame


I was ’round for Deir Yassin

and so many others unnamed

star of david held to the sky,

it sealed their fate, Palestine the prize


Pleased to meet you,

yes I have no shame

used the Holocaust as a

political brand name.


Drove the natives into refugee camps

where they remain today

barred the doors and changed the locks

Palestinians Stay Away!


Put up checkpoints to keep help out

Walls to keep them in

divert their water so our lawns are green

divert our sewage to the crops they eat


Pleased to meet you

yes I have no shame

I use the Holocaust as a

political brand name


Helicopter rocket attacks

bombs from F-15’s

justified as self defense

mass punishment-does this make sense?


Media is in my grasp,

politicians too

I cry anti-Semitism

when truth be told, I’m European


Pleased to meet you

yes I have no shame

use the holocaust as a

political brand name


Just as all Palestinians are terrorists,

all Israelis saints

as heads is tails call me Zionist

I’m in need of some restraint


Pleased to meet you

Yes I have no shame

use the Holocaust as a

political brand name

Posted in History, Politics | 8 Comments

Memorial Day, The Military and Social Security

This seems like a good time to remind our..cough..beloved politicians that a whole shitload of military vets and disabled/deceased soldiers’s families( wives and kids) live on and depend on Social Security, Disability and that pesky government health care (that all politicians get btw). Just a few facts for those dispshits in charge to ponder when taking an axe to entitlments and the like, thanks to VoteVets:

Some highlights of the report, which can be found here: http://strengthensocialsecurity.org/veterans-report

Social Security currently pays benefits to over 9 million veterans-about 4 in 10 veterans.

Over one-third of America’s 54 million Social Security beneficiaries are either veterans or family members living with them, such as their spouses.

Of the 13 to 14 million veterans-or 6 in 10-who are not Social Security beneficiaries, the vast majority will become beneficiaries in the future.

The vast majority of the Active Duty community’s 1.4 million members, 700,000 spouses and 1.2 million children, and the Total Selected Reserve community’s 1.1 million members, 400,000 spouses and 650,000 children, are eligible for Social Security’s disability and life insurance benefits if a service member becomes severely disabled or dies.

Indeed, approximately 771,000 veterans receive Social Security disabled worker benefits, averaging $1,100-$1,200 per month.

Social Security’s young survivors’ benefits are particularly important to the 4 in 10 active duty members who are married with children and the 1 in 20 who are single parents.

As of January 16, 2011, the number of American servicemen and women killed on active duty in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan was 5,860, leaving behind an estimated more than 4,000 children

After we help those brain-dead fucks in DC digest those facts, we can all enjoy the three day weekend we call Memorial Day Weekend.

Posted in Health Care, History, military, RoundTree7 Info, Social Issues, War | Tagged , , , , | 8 Comments

Know Thy TRUE Enemies! (Vol. 2)

By Jack Jodell, May 25, 2011

This is my second installment of an intermittent series putting the spotlight on narrow-minded, plutocratic conservative Republican hypocrites who are actively trying to limit our freedoms as progressives either socially or economically. This series, like my previous, unfinished “GREAT PROGRESSIVE VOICES” one, will be intermittent, depending upon the other bits of news or events which may on occasion preempt it. Below are this volume’s bad guys.

TONY PERKINS, President of the Family Research Council
Mr. Perkins grew up in bedrock Christian conservative   nirthern Oklahoma. He received a B.S. degree from ultra-conservative Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA, and later a Master of Public Administration degree from Louisiana State. Adter college, he did a tour with the Marines before settling into a law enforcement job with the Baton Rouge police. He left law enforcement to work first as a reporter and then as a news director for a small, independent Baton Rouge TV station. In 1996, running on a typically conservative platform of smaller government and family values, he won election to the Louisiana State Legislature.

Like many conservatives, once installed in office, Perkins went hog-wild with a social agenda, authoring bills to require public schools to install internet filtering, providing silent prayer in the state’s public schools, creating the first covenant marriage law (in which couples are required by law to seek counseling before filing for divorce), and to authorize the American Historical Preservation Act, whose stated aim is to “prevent censorship of America’s Christian heritage” in public schools. Now that was quite an ambitious authoritarian-tinged agenda for one who professed he wanted to limit the scope of government!

Along the way, Tony Perkins also did what is expected of all good ol’ boy far-right Christian politicians: he developed associations with the National Rifle Association (because Jesus so loves rifles and guns and expects ALL young men to protect their “freedoms” with them); the  American Legion;  and the Christian Coalition (the arch-conservative group founded by Pat Robertson in 1989 to spread conservative beliefs). In 1998, Perkins went even firther: he founded the Louisiana Family Forum, a nonprofit group dedicated to promoting the Christian conservative social agenda. In September, 2003, Perkins became President of the Conservative Christian Family Research Council, which was an offshot of James Dobson’s Focus on the Family. Its radio arm, Family Research Council Radio, has enabled Perkins a national platform from which he reaches many millions with daily brief talks on issues of the day, all of which are from a conservative Christian perspective, of course.

Why do I characterize Tony Perkins as one of our enemies? Let me illustrate with some of his more notable quotes. He has said “We saw in the 1980s the Reagan Revolution break the grip of liberalism on the country. We saw in the 1990s a consevative resurgabce in Congress that broke the liberalism there. Now we stand with the opportunity to see the Supreme Court righted.” GOD FORBID! He may as well have said that conservatism is the only political philosophy this country must follow! No mention is ever made of taking care of the poor, or reversing the outflow of American jobs, or lessening the ever-widening gap between the rich and everyone else in the country. I guess he has no time for those aspects of liberalism. He has also said “Americans will not give their blood and treasure to set up new Islamic fundamentalist regimes. Religious freedom is not just ‘an important element’ of democracy: it is the cornerstone. Religious persecution leads inevitably to political tyranny. 500 years of history confirm this. Americans have not given their lives so that Christians can be put to death.” Mr. Perkins was obviously speaking in defense of the Iraq war, and agaonst the opportunity for peaceful, non-radical Muslims (the majority, by far) to establish mosques and freely practice their religion here . He is therefore endorsing discrimination against followers of Islam under the supposition that the Christian religion is the only one that really matters. Sounds pretty much like the type of religious persecution and political tyranny he claims he is against! The man is full of paradoxes…

Perkins opposes abortion under any circumstances, even in cases of incest, rape, or if the mother’s life may be endangered by going full term. He denies that humans have played a major role in creating climate change, and has opposed climate change legislation. He is also against all forms of gambling. He opposes gay marriage and gay civil unions. The Southern Poverty Law Center denounced Perkins’ Family Research Council in 2010 as a hate group  for having “pushed false accusations linking gay men to pedophilia.” Yet Perkins carries on, cock-sure that he is right and unable to recognize how extreme his theocratic and authoritarian positions on education, religious freedom (for Christians only), abortion, climate change, gambling, and homosexuals really are. Worse yet, he is so self-righteous he actually believes most Americans share his viewpoints, so he urges all voters to vote only for regressive conservative Republicans.

THAT is why Tony Perkins is our social enemy.

RUPERT MURDOCH and ROGER AILES, CEO and Resident, respectively, of FOX “NEWS”

Murdoch, 81, and Ailes, 71, are the absolute worst of the worst when it comes to enemies of fairness, honesty, and journalistic integrity (of which they have absolutely none). They have created a major cable news TV channel which should be more accurately described as the shameful propaganda arm of the now ultra-conservative Republican Party. They claim to be “fair and balanced” in their reporting, but what they always present is a heavily-skewed slant toward the far right on virtually all that they present as “news”. To say that both men lie is to vastly understate what they routinely do, and is far too polite a term to use.

Murdoch was born in Australia but is actually a citizen of the world, in that he owes allegiance to NO country – only corporate profit. He was the only son of a wealthy Australian newspaper magnate, and was raised in a life of luxury and privilege. He owned several Australian and British newspapers, destroying the journalistic integrity of each,  before purchasing a number of  newspapers here. In 1985, he took on American citizenship (relenquishing his Australian one in the process) just so he could meet the requirement that only U.S. citizens can own U.S. television stations. He then purchased the 20th Century Fox movie studio, and, the following year, 6 U.S. television stations. On October 9, 1986, he founded the Fox Broadcasting Company, and the rest is history. He immediately began a push to rival and exen surpass the other 3 major networks of CBS, ABC, and NBC. He successfully outbid them to carry regular MLB and NFL games and began offering programming that met his rivals head-on in the ratings. He opened his news branch to compete with and eventually surpass Ted Turner’s CNN. The Fox “News” Channel it spawned has been the scourge of accurate and responsible cable news reporting ever since.

Ailes was a media consultant for former Republican Presidents Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, and George H.W. Bush (in fact, he left his first wife to work on the Nixon campaign. It was also his first foray into framing national campaign issues and painting a not-all-that-honest picture of the stiff Dick Nixon as being likeable and popular with voters. This was noted in the book The Selling of the President 1968 by Joe McGinnis). Ailes had prior experience in television as an executive producer for the nationally syndicated Mike Douglas Show. He founded Ailes Communications, Inc. and dabbled in consulting for a number of businesses and politicians. He is widely given credit for coaching Ronald Reagan’s perceived comeback victory in the second debate over challenger Walter Mondale in 1984 (Reagan had severely bungled the first). He began working for NBC and became the first president of its cable-business channel, CNBC. He began developing a new channel for them called America’s Talking,which launched its brief run in 1994. In 1996, Microsoft and NBC partnered-up to form MSNBC, and Ailes, enraged, left the network along with numerous other employees. It was then that Rupert Murdoch scooped him up to run his newly-created news network, which premiered in that same year. Things have never been the same since.

Both ultra-conservative politically, this duo of Murdoch and Ailes set about to push America’s TV news far to the right. They committed themselves to a conservative bias to counter what they both viewed had been a liberal one in all the other news networks. They began lying about the so-called liberal coverage on then-top-cable-news-network CNN. They staffed their commentators with conservatives whose specialty was spin and hyperbole, save for the occasional, isolated, weak-knned “liberal” who was continually ridiculed and made look weak or foolish. Murdoch and Ailes began issuing daily talking points for all their commentators to follow, as has been chronicled so well in the Brave New Films superb documentary Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch’s War on Journalism. (Incidentally, if you google Brave New Films and go to their site, you will see a listing of more than 20 different film briefs you can view to see hundreds of outright lies Fox has broadcast over the years). When they are not telling bald-faced lies, Fox withholds entire news stories or severely misreports others, often substituting incorrect film clips or wildly overestimating crowd sizes at various right-wing events. It is disgusting and far more blatantly partisan than ANYTHING they ever accused the other networks of!

Accuracy and fact have never been important to either Murdoch or Ailes. Sensationalism, however, has. So have high ratings. As Roger Ailes once put it, “If you have two guys on a stage, and one guy says ‘I have a solution to the Middle East problem,’ and the other guy falls in the orchestra pit, who do you think is going to be on the evening news?” Fox was also instrumental in actively supporting Tea Party rallies which almost derailed health care reform efforts in 2009. They covered this astroturf creation as though it were a real grassroots movement and actively urged support for it to the point where it actually became one! That’s right, Rupert and Roger. Sensationalism before substance. Spectacle before relevancy. Lies and distortion before truth. Well done, Murdoch and Ailes. Joseph Goebbels would be very proud.

Through their unabashed support for far-right, conservative Republican/Tea Party candidates, Rupert Murdoch, Roger Ailes, and Tony Perkins are all pushing for a theocratic oligarchy with no room for a vibrant, free middle class. They are trying to push this country back politically and culturally to the 19th century.


Posted in Brave New Films, Commentary, conservative Republicans, Politics, progressives, RoundTree7 Info, Scott Walker, Social Issues | Tagged , , | 12 Comments

Know Thy TRUE Enemies! (Vol. 1)

By Jack Jodell, May 22, 2011

President Obama and congressional middle-of-the-road Democrats have been taking a lot of abuse lately over the poor state of the American economy, even though they had little to do with its cause. Some of this criticism is very well deserved. After all, joblessness remains high; wages have barely been rising at all for working people over the past 30 years (while corporate CEO salaries and perks have skyrocketed); benefits have seen drastic cutbacks; private industry unions have all but disappeared; and millions upon millions of good-paying American jobs have been (and still are being) outsourced to cheap foreign labor markets. Of course , conservative Republicans and teabaggers on Capitol Hill haven’t cooperated one iota with ANY of the President’s economic stimulus agenda, have instead obstructed it, and are now actively attempting to shut down funding for a good share of it. So, what little progress we’ve been making hasn’t been entirely the President’s fault, nor the fault of his party. We can and should hold them accountable for their weak attempts at reaching out to, and actual compliance with the conservatives. But we must always remember: they are NOT the TRUE enemies of the middle class, workers, or those on fixed incomes!

No, they aren’t the real villains in this repressive, regressive economic mess we are currently in. With this new series of posts, entitled “Know Thy TRUE Enemies!”, I will attempt to identify our REAL, TRUE enemies – the people whose deliberate greed, stupidity, arrogance, and intransigence are making life miserable and unneccessarily stressful for millions worldwide as well as here in our own country. 

For a short time, I was torn between featuring this crook and Rex E. Tillerson, the CEO of ExxonMobil, the most profitable corporation this world has ever known. BOTH of their compensation levels are unjustifiably piggish in relation to that of most of their countrymen  ($1.1 MILLION for Svanberg vs. $9.73 MILLION for Tillerson), especially when you consider gasoline is hovering right under $4 per gallon and people are HURTING. The reason I decided to feature Svanberg is simply because BP is the one who has directly attacked our country by polluting our coastal Gulf waters, killing millions of aquatic animals, destroying the ecology as well as the livelihoods of millions of American fishermen, and HE HAS PAID OUT ONLY A FRACTION OF THE $20 BILLION BP PROMISED TO PAY OUT IN COMPENSATION TO THOSE DEVASTATED PEOPLE. Worse yet, he has continued to pollute the Gulf with that dangerous and ridiculously ineffective chemical Corexit which is NOT getting rid of spilled oil at all but only making it sink to the bottom of the sea, infecting and killing all kinds of fish and shrimp, as well as birds, snakes, and even HUMANS! Even WORSE THAN THAT, BP has successfully covered up any further news on the destruction their irresponsible oil spill has caused through a series of outright lying TV commercials used as propaganda! Yes, they’ve spent millions on propaganda while leaving millions of innocent Gulf citizens destitute.


of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce

This 73 year old man has has turned what was once a more or less benign, loose-knit association of American businesses into the most potent, anti-labor business lobby in our history. They have become a major political donor, overwhelmingly to the now very conservative Republican Party. The Washington Post has said of him, “Nobody has mastered the new Washington game better than Tom Donohue.” That spells nothing but bad news for American working people.

While never having actually worked in the corporate world he so aggressively lobbies for, Donohue speaks for over 3 million companies. He has increased Chamber membership more than 15 times what it was at the start of his tenure in 1997, making it now the largest business advocacy group in the nation. The PAC he helped create played a major role in the defeat of then-Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD) in 2004. This snake then went on to lainch major Chamber drives against President Obama’s health care reform and climate-change control initiatives.  A blunt-talking and ruthless business advocate, he has fought labor unions tirelessly. “…we don’t want to just talk about these issues and feel good about where we stand on them. We want to win!”, he has said. And he has done done almost anything to make sure the business community does just that. He has established the Chamber’s Institute for Legal Reform, an activist group which has had many successes in courts at the state and local levels, in electing state attorneys general, and even in the Supreme Court. He actively lobbied for Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts’ nomination, arguing that the very pro-business and close-minded Roberts practiced “fairness, keen intellect, open-mindedness, and judicious practice of the law.” Well, maybe for corporations he has, Mr. Donohue – but not for anyone else.

Under Donohue, the Chamber has accepted many millions of dollars in donations from foreign firms that engage in outsourcing. He has repeatedly had his Chamber put out issue alerts against Democratic efforts to encourage businesses to hire locally rather than following the crazy :free trade” outsourcing measures advocated by the Chamber and its huge profit-obsessed corporate allies and donors. As such, Donohue has actively campaigned tirelessly for the benefit of our new American oligarchy rather than for the hopes and dreams of American workers and American communities. He has told American workers to “stop whining” about outsourcing. He was once quoted as saying “while at one time organized labor played a valuable role in establishing workers’ rights when there were few protected by government, today it is clinging to a world that no longer exists, and, in doing so, risks becoming completely irrelevant and ineffective.” IRRELEVANT and INEFFECTIVE, Mr. Donohue? What could be possibly MORE relevant in the face of outsourcing American jobs and entire plants as American wages are frozen and falling than a strong organized labor presence? . Donohue’s efforts have borne only sour fruit for the vast majority of our countrymen. He is definitely NOT an advocate for the TRUE American way!



So you see, folks: the President and his party are NOT the ones we should be focusing our political attacks upon. They have disappointed us, but they are not our REAL enemy!  We must keep our focus on the TRUE enemies of social and economic fairness in this country, for it is they who currently have the upper hand in politics and law. If  left unchecked, they will continue their insane far-right drive to strip regular citizens of all economic, legal, and social rights, and the leverage we have worked so hard for so many decades to achieve. Carl Henric-Svanberg and Thomas Donohue are but two of the many right-wing villains whose efforts we must fight to overcome. There are many. many more. Misguided partisan zealots like Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, David and Charles Koch, Dick Armey, Grover Norquist, Paul Ryan, Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes, John Boehner,  and Mitch McConnell — they are ALL your enemy, and each will be spotlighted and exposed in future volumes of this series. WATCH FOR THEM!

Posted in conservative Republicans, corporate greed, Gulf Oil Spill, Health Care, labor unions, Politics, progressives, Tea Party | 12 Comments

Little Mother

Some said it was a miracle Yatimah lived at all, others whispered it would have been a mercy if she hadn’t. Umayma saw only the will of God, and the love of family. And the sightless eyes which recognized her in dreams, the voiceless mouth which spoke to her in those same dreams.

Umayma woke suddenly, her heart pounding, sweat beading her forehead. She listened intently but heard nothing out of the ordinary. Her father snoring in the next room, the kitchen clock ticking. The tinny sound of the old refrigerator. Yet something…..there it was again. A helicopter. A helicopter, and a whooshing noise, very loud…

….she had no memory of being pulled from the rubble along with her mother, only knowing what she’d been told of the events which followed immediately afterward. The hours of waiting at the checkpoint, her pregnant mother’s trickle of blood increasing in flow till she began hemorrhaging, agitated Arabic voices contrasted with bored Hebrew speech. As the pregnant woman’s heart stopped and her life slipped away, a medical student performed his first surgery – a caesarian which brought into the world a damaged child, a child whose only living relative would christen her Yatimah.

Aid workers thought the child might live a year at best, but Yatimah surprised them. Umayma bathed her sister and fed her, sang to her and slept beside her. In nearly six years of life she had never made a sound, yet the unseeing eyes tracked her sister. Yatimah seemed to hear quite well.

Umayma had been a good student who’d hoped to be a doctor one day, a choice of career in character with her propensity to bring home sick or injured animals to nurse back to health. A baby bird fallen from a nest, an abandoned kitten, a grasshopper missing a leg – all were loved and cared for. Her nature made her this way, and it was why she willingly and gladly raised Yatimah.Perhaps it was this nature which guided her dreams.

Yatimah glanced shyly at her sister, waiting for her to ask what the surprise was. Umayma pretended not to notice, wiggling her toes in the cool water of the brook. She munched on dates until she could no longer hold back her giggles. Yatimah joined her big sister in laughter then opened her hands to display a butterfly with wings of purple and gold. Raising her arms as if in offering, the sunlight glinted off the butterfly’s wings as it took flight, night quickly descending as the butterfly began to glow and rose to take its place among the night stars. Both girls hugged each other and spoke of secrets only the two of them understood.

Yatima’s skin was yellowish now, cool to the touch. The girl had eaten nothing for days, only taking small sips of water. Umayma brushed her sisters hair then changed into bedclothes, lying next to the younger girl. Gradually her breathing slowed.

The sisters held hands, tall trees murmuring greetings as the pair walked into a meadow. One dipped its branches to the girls, each of them selecting a piece of ripe fruit before sitting on the lowered branch of another tree. An owl seated on the same branch regarded them amiably before taking flight. Taking her beloved sisters hands in each of her own, Yatimah gently explains that she will not be returning this time. She will remain here.

Stricken, Umayma bows her head and begins to cry. The little sister whispers words of gratitude and courage, strength and hope, drawing wisdom from those gathered nearby, visitors and residents now visible to her but unseen by Umayma.

Following the burial and funeral service are days of solitude,  filled with prayer and thoughts of her sister. Soon the mourning period has passed.

The teenage girl walking up the road was a real beauty. The soldier returned her smile as she approached, belatedly realizing she hadn’t turned away from his tower. He frantically gestured for her to halt, the combination of a backpack and an odd smile causing him to panic. He fired two shots, one at the ground and one into her chest.

She reaches up to grasp Yatimah’s extended hand, gazing into eyes filled with adoration. Her soul rises up to greet her sister. A young man kneels next to her, finding no sign of a pulse. As the young man closes her eyes, he hears a voice whisper ‘Umayma‘.

Little Mother.

Posted in StoryTeller | 9 Comments

WI Rethugs ram through another winner. Voter ID bill.

Thanks to the wonderful folks at Crooks and Liars, specifically David, we have video of this fuckery below..but first..my bitchfest on the subject.

This crap passed on a 19-5 vote. The five were of course Democrats, many of the other Dem’s refused to vote for this bs bill that jackass extraordinaire Gov. Scott Walker says will prevent voter fraud…like they really have any cases of individuals using other individuals names to vote, because in the entire history of WI They. Do. Not. From the WI State Journal:

Amid chants of “Shame!” and “Recall!” from the gallery, the state Senate on Thursday gave final approval to a controversial bill requiring voters to show photo identification at the polls. The measure now heads to Gov. Scott Walker, who said he plans to sign it next Wednesday.

“Requiring photo identification to vote will go a long way to eliminate the threat of voter fraud,” Walker said. “If you need an ID to buy cold medicine, it’s reasonable to require it to vote.”

Republicans in the state Assembly passed the bill in a late-night session last week. Debate in the GOP-controlled Senate began Tuesday, running until after 1 a.m. Wednesday, when Democrats used a procedural move to delay final passage.

On Thursday, Senate GOP leaders limited floor debate to one hour. Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, defended the time limit saying the topic “has received a lot of debate,” and Democrats had had plenty of chances to speak on the floor.

These Wisconsin rightwing nutters really are disgusting. And you know they are trying to prevent certain types of people from voting..its a no brainer, fer christs sake.

When do those recall votes start up? Come on WI. residents..get a move on and toss these fuckwads out!

You can watch the video here at C&L. (will open up in a new window/tab)

Posted in conservative Republicans, News, Politics, Scott Walker, Social Issues | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

Obama wants us to cut him some slack…we have..until now.

Filched from PulitzerPrize.org

Perhaps not as much as he would like, but I know that I have let a lot of things he hasn’t done or has done just slide right out of my mind. I could sit here and name them all for you folks..but you would probably change the channel and I really don’t want that.

I only have a few of you reading these bitchfests and frankly I want to keep you. It’s a pain in the ass to think I am only talking/writing to myself…and all those damn cats laying on my bed at this moment.

So, lets let Cornel West and Harry Belafonte say it for me. They are far wiser and more eloquent than moi, take my word for it. Plus, they don’t drop a dozen f-bombs in every paragraph like I do. That is always a plus.

Chris Hedges over at TruthDig tells us why Cornel West went ballistic. I like and trust Mr. West. I might not always agree w/him but I do more times than naught. From the writeup, which I start mid-paragraph:

West would warn Obama that the quality of a life is defined by its moral commitment, that his legacy will be determined by his willingness to defy the cruel assault by the corporate state and the financial elite against the poor and working men and women, and that justice must never be sacrificed on the altar of power.

Perhaps there was never much of a struggle in Obama’s heart. Perhaps West only provided a moral veneer. Perhaps the dark heart of Emanuel was always the dark heart of Obama. Only Obama knows. But we know how the play ends. West is banished like honest Kent in “King Lear.” Emanuel and immoral mediocrities from Lawrence Summers to Timothy Geithner to Robert Gates—think of Goneril and Regan in the Shakespearean tragedy—take power. We lose. And Obama becomes an obedient servant of the corporate elite in exchange for the hollow trappings of authority.

No one grasps this tragic descent better than West, who did 65 campaign events for Obama, believed in the potential for change and was encouraged by the populist rhetoric of the Obama campaign. He now nurses, like many others who placed their faith in Obama, the anguish of the deceived, manipulated and betrayed. He bitterly describes Obama as “a black mascot of Wall Street oligarchs and a black puppet of corporate plutocrats. And now he has become head of the American killing machine and is proud of it.” (emphasis mine)

Head of the American killing machine. Jesus H. Christ…I wonder how he feels about that title. And he might like it or plain not give a shit, who the hell knows anymore? It’s not a positive statement unless you are The Shrub, aka George Bush or his BFF The Big Dick Cheney..or my personal favorite Donald Rumsfeld. I thought Obama wanted more than to kill people and continue Bush’s bullshit ‘War on Terror’…I thought he wanted to talk it out, to solve it w/words and good deeds not bullets, drones and bombs..to be better than the previous man who occupied the Oval Office, his staff of warmongers and his hired henchman aka federal contractors, who btw, Obama continues to employ many of the same War Profiteers.

Because I am friggin sick and tired of dead and/or maimed soldiers, or those that will eternally suffer the mental effects, like PTSD, for the rest of their lives. I am sick and tired of American, Pakistani and Afghanistan families coping with the carnage of our forever wars. Wars that will never ‘be won’ in the traditional sense, just in some happy horse shit that gets spewed during a presser in DC, or a high-ranking military mind grinning, like he just won the fucking lottery, for the embedded journalists. One war has lasted us just short of TEN-FUCKING-YEARS m’dear reader.The second one not far behind in time and soon…in soldiers deaths and permanent maiming and emotional scars that will also last them forever.

I hope that you will read Hedges writeup..its great and its also sad as hell at the same time. It’s about an intelligent, good, kind  man, Cornel West, that believed in the change Obama talked about in all his campaigning last time around and so far, Professor West has been let down like a kid whose dad forgets his birthday and comes home drunk to boot. Many of us have been let down by Obama and those he hired to surround himself with whilst he made the hard decisions.

Now, on to Harry Belafonte. A man who has been through the civil rights and equality wars here in the good ole US of A for decades, long before many of us were born, or became politically active. A man who knows his shit, who knows what is what is not and he also knows who is full of shit. From Bruce A. Dixon @ TheBlackAgendaReport, a small blurb of Belafonte’s DemocracyNow Interview, with the wonderful and talented Amy Goodman…. both pieces are well worth listening and/or reading:

Belafonte was asked by host Amy Goodman whether he’d used his occasional access to directly share his many critical and valuable public policy insights with the White House. Belafonte replied that his only access to the president has been for a few seconds at a time, not long enough for any substantive discussion. But, he said, at one such event President Obama approached him to inquire when Belafonte and Cornel West were going “to cut me some slack.”

“What makes you think we haven’t?” Belafonte replied to the president? At this point the brief encounter was over.

Let’s pause to think about that. When President Obama cusses out Cornel West and personally demands that historic stalwarts of the movement for peace and justice “cut him some slack” on black unemployment, on foreclosures and the prison state, on torture and the military budget, on unjust wars and corporate welfare, on fulfilling the just demands of those who elected him, our first black president is revealing his real self. Far from saying “make me do it,” President Obama is saying how dare you pressure me to do what you elected me to do.

What say you m’dear reader? Do you think we expect too much from our President? Do you think that all politicians say most anything to get elected and therefore we should take it has standard procedure that ‘not everything they promise to do, will be done’? Do you think we haven’t cut Obama enough slack? Tell me..tell me if I am the only one that thinks the time to cut him slack is way the hell over.

President Obama still has a lot of time left. But my pov is that most of that time will be spent squeezing money out of supporters at fancy, expensive dinners and speaking engagements for his next campaign to be our President after the 2012 elections. He will have little precious time left to do the things he promised us during his last campaign for the 2008 Presidency.

To understand the phrase “make me do it”, you have to read Dixon’s entire but short article. But the following paragraph really grabbed the hell out of me:

Harry Belafonte has done a great public service in helping us distinguish the imaginary Barack Obama of “make me do it” from the real Barack Obama, who demands our support, but expects us to “cut him some slack.” Rather than agitating and organizing in our communities to “make him do it” all the real President Obama wants of movement activists is for us to sit down and shut up, until it’s time to help chase everybody out to vote for him in 2012.

I don’t know about you all, but I have been getting daily emails about ‘organizing for Obama’ and how important it will be to get out the vote for him, from our President himself or his campaign people. It’s almost at spam level if you want my personal opinion.  I actually unsubscribed last week, but I am still getting them.

Because I won’t be doing any organizing or getting out the vote for President Obama this time around. I don’t feel the man has earned my vote much less my shoe leather and hours and hours of phone calls like I did for him last time, the week before the election. Calling voters sucks…but I did it, and I did it for a man who I did not really believe in but figured the team the Republicans were running were worse. You know that drill right?

When he took office and AG Holder continued to support and defend in court, many of the legal cases that were started against President Bush for spying, lying and all sorts of shit..I really went batshit crazy. Then, not only did Gitmo not close, but they seem to be keeping everyone there that was there before Obama took office, not to mention starting up those kangaroo courts known as Military Tribunals again.

Also, if you will notice, on my personal blog on my right sidebar, I keep track,via a graphic from Just Foreign Policy of how many of our soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan under Bush and under Obama. The numbers are staggering but what really chaps my ass is that the number of dead soldiers under Obama have almost doubled, to 924..and he has only been in office a couple of years. Bush had eight years to kill 575 soldiers. Now, I know that Bush pretty much put Afghanistan on the back burner…but still..a dead soldier is a dead soldier to me. It’s someone’s brother, father, son, nephew or husband (or the female equivalents). My niece was there, so I can talk to this subject, I don’t give a shit who it pisses off. I am just happy as hell that she got out before it got real bad over there, although I worried daily about her safety..both on the battlefield and when she was alone in her tent..but that latter one is for another day and time. She was never raped or physically attacked thank goodness, and far too many of our female soldiers were..but..I digress.

So now I will let Mr. Belafonte, say for me, why I believe we must now speak out about the shortcomings of the Obama Presidency. It’s not to undermine him or his second run for the Office of the President..its to speak truth to power in the hope that he hears us and changes his course which looks more and more like he represents the powerful, or as I call it, The Corporatocracy:

    AMY GOODMAN: And to those who say, “If you want President Obama re-elected, you will undermine him if you criticize him; and consider the alternative”?

HARRY BELAFONTE: I think we will not only undermine him, but undermine the hopes of this nation, if we don’t criticize him. Absence of protest in the times of this kind of national crisis—Theodore Roosevelt once says, “When tyranny takes over the national agenda, it is that time that the voices of protest must be awakened. And if you don’t raise your voice in protest, you are a patriotic traitor.” And I believe that patriotism is betrayed by those voices that are not heard. Those who would detract you from that fact are those who have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo. Nothing will happen but good for Barack Obama and the United States of America, and indeed the world, if everybody stepped to the table and said, “This is the course we must be on.”

Thank You Mr. Belafonte. Thank You Mr. West. Thanks to both of you for speaking the truth to the most powerful man in this hemisphere, if not the world.  Lets hope for change…this time…real change. Change on immigration, the forever wars, financial changes aka accountability of the greedy Wall Streeters as to how they do ‘business’, jobs and not bailouts for the corporations shipping their jobs outside our borders and finally… education opportunities for everyone regardless of race or station in life without the fear of being in debt for decades or even worse, not getting the loans or grants needed to better themselves and contribute to our nation and make us once again number one in all areas and issues.

Crossposted from LeftwingNutjob.

Posted in Amy Goodman, corporate greed, Democracy Now!, military, Politics, progressives, War | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

It’s Kinda Personal

Since the killing of Osama Bin Laden, people have been telling others what to feel, how to express it, and what it means.

I find this very odd.    We know what’s in the minds and makeup of each person to make that judgement.  I think not!

I thought back to a time when I was growing up, the 50s and 60s.   Yes, it’s true, those were very trying times.  It wasn’t all drive-in’s and Elvis.  We had the BOMB!  Problem is so did they. It was the Nuclear age.  Talk of it was everywhere – movies, TV, newspapers and conversation.

There was no sure fire fix like the duct tape and plastic that Tom Ridge suggested we all have on hand after 9/11.  We had it much easier,  all we had to do was duck and cover.  Yeah you’ve seen those silly cartoons.  Public service announcements of sorts were everywhere.  Bomb shelters were also very big.  I’m sure they were very expensive but almost every neighborhood had a few.  TV shows like the Twilight Zone scared the crap out of me as they would have some stories based on the “Last People on Earth”.  There also were a fair share of movies that dealt with the subject, many with a wink.

The constant theme of the times was be afraid!  Yes, be very afraid.   Those were the days of sonic busting jets which routinely crashed through the sound barrier.  It was so prevalent that us kids would look up into the sky as we heard a jet approach and just as a matter of course we’d cover our ears.  Awesome!

School was not a sanctuary from fear.  Indeed not, as when the air raid siren blew all would get under their desks.  What better way to survive nuclear disaster than to duck and cover.  Man we were so gullible.

Fear was the word of the day, not spoken much but it was a universal emotion.  It affected each one very differently.  Some would laugh out of nervousness.  Some would cry.  Some like me just got pissed.  How dare the Russians have the bomb and why were they threatening us?  The end of the world, what a concept.

As you know if you ever studied history is that we came very close to war with the Cuban missile crisis.  As I mentioned, scary times indeed.

One thing I do know, while it was shared with so many people, it was very personal to each one.  Believe it or not, it affected a whole generation.  Some even had to have therapy from it.  These kids went on to really have to fight in wars.  The Red menace was everywhere.  Fight them there so we don’t have to fight them here.  Sounds like we’ve heard this a lot.  Fear Fear Fear, the driving force of a scared people.

What the hell does this have to do with Bin Laden getting shot in the eye?

Well after 9/11,  our country was in a very heightened state of fear.  None of us ever experienced anything like this.  These were scary guys who wanted nothing but our demise.  But why?   We were told because we were free, they wanted us dead.  They didn’t like our way of life.  Of course this was all bullshit and the real reasons for 9/11 can be debated at length, only not here and not now.

So for ten long years we’ve been talking nothing but terrorists.  The boggie men are going to get us and chop off our heads.

Can you see what happened?  We replaced one type of fear with another.  Now it wasn’t nukes that was going to get us so much, perhaps a dirty bomb or two but for the most part, it was sharia law that we feared.  Our way of life to be destroyed.  Ten years and thousands of lives lost.  So many people maimed, so many families decimated.

Kids who were playing with video games, or baseball, perhaps dolls, had to grow up with the fear factor.  I think we forget,because a generation was skipped from fright.
Think about  growing up with the talk of Bin-laden, war, hate, suicide bombs as a daily dose of reality.  How it must affect the kids as they age. Many who were toddlers have grown up and went off to war.  We lost an age of innocence.

This brings us to the reaction of many youth, who celebrated the death of Bin-Laden.  Can you see what he represented to them?  He was the symbol of a deep seated fear instilled in our children.  Ten long years of the boggie man.  It became very personal for each of these survivors.  Yes some laughed, some hoisted a drink to freedom and some just said a prayer.  Guess what?  We have no right telling them how they should feel or what is appropriate.

The war of course is not over and it will never be.  This is a war of ideals where no one can win.  The children have to grow up with this baggage and never again will the danger go away.  Maybe we had it easy growing up.

Rolling Stone

Posted in Commentary | Tagged , , | 23 Comments