Wednesday, October 10, 2007

"Child Brides: Stolen Lives" NOW with David Brancaccio

On PBS this weekend, Friday October 12th in most markets, NOW with David Brancaccio will air a one hour program, "Child Brides: Stolen Lives" documenting "the heartbreaking global phenomenon of forced child marriage, and the hope behind breaking the cycle of poverty and despair it causes." They've created an e-Card you can send to friends and family or to yourself to provide a heads up to the broadcast (and there is no cost to send the e-Card). Maria Hinojosa will report from Niger, Guatemala, India, etc.:

On Friday, October 12 at 8:30 pm (check local listings), NOW's Senior Correspondent Maria Hinojosa travels around the world for a revealing exploration of early child marriage in developing countries, and how people can act locally and globally to solve the problem. The hour-long special, "Child Brides: Stolen Lives," marks the first time the subject has been documented in a primetime television newsmagazine. Countries visited include Niger, India and Guatemala.The stakes are high: child brides typically experience high rates of childbirth complications, HIV infection, partner violence, and a cycle of poverty. An estimated 100 million girls will be married over the next 10 years.In her report, Hinojosa takes viewers on a journey of sorrow, healing and hope, including scenes of an illegal midnight wedding in India where children as young as three are married. In each country, Hinojosa shares the work of brave community members who are campaigning to end the centuries-old practice of child marriage - sometimes putting their own lives at risk.

And Thursday, October 11th on Democracy Now! (NPR, Pacifica, and countless other radio and TV outlets including DishTV):

Clive Stafford Smith, an attorney for more than 50 prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, joins us to talk about his new book, "Eight O'Clock Ferry to the Windward Side: Seeking Justice in Guantanamo Bay."

Charlie Savage, a Pultizer Prize-winning journalist for the Boston Globe for his reporting on presidential signing statements, joins us to talk about his new book, "Takeover: The Return of the Imperial Presidency and the Subversion of American Democracy."

If you miss either program, you can visit the websites -- and you can visit the websites period.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Truest statement of the week

"In the meantime, it just makes it harder to smile but so does the world."

-- Amy Goodman, Tuesday, October 2, 2007, Democracy Now!

A Note to Our Readers

Hey --

What did Elvis say? It's a kinder murder? (Costello, not Presley.) It may not have been kinder, but this week felt like murder. And we thought it would be an easy breezy beautiful Covergril la la la edition.

Here's who worked on this edition:

The Third Estate Sunday Review's Dona, Jess, Ty, Ava and Jim,
Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude,
Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man,
C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review,
Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills),
Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix,
Mike of Mikey Likes It!,
Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz,
and Wally of The Daily Jot

And of course Dallas. We thank all of them for their hard work -- and this week was a killer.

Here's what we have:

Truest statement of the week -- Amy Goodman won hands down. After Tuesday, no one else was in the running -- not Michael Ratner or Susan Faludi who would have been a contender for their strong remarks any other week.

Editorial: No Court-Martial of Watada -- How will the judge rule? Who knows? But if the military had any idea what they were doing by continuing to persecute Watada, they would have dropped the court-martial long ago. If for no other reason that their own self-interests, we hope they soon make that move.

TV: Diveristy Network Style -- We took an extended break. Before we did, Jess suggested posting Ava and C.I.'s TV commentary because it was the only thing completed (that we were comfortable with). Ty pointed out that if it goes up, some won't bother coming back later. It's a hard hitting look at the network. And the sort of thing that you can only get from Ava and C.I. A note to Sherry, we read your e-mail and planned to work something up on it but ran out of time due to the BIG PROBLEM with the edition. We hope to pick it up at next week. You made wonderful points and pull quoted things that we had forgotten. ("We" does not refer to Ava and C.I. who didn't read the e-mail yet. They weren't avoiding it since Sherry's a community members -- they do, however, avoid fan mail -- but they had thought there would be plenty of leisurely hours in what was planned as an easy edition.)

Another war resister arrested in Canada -- Robin Long. Had we the time in this or in highlight, we would have noted every community member with a site posted on Tuesday to get the word out on Robin Long (except this site, Ty points out!).

Question for the week -- Credit Dona for rescuing this from the heap. It was supposed to be an extended piece. There was no time. In search of short features, she went through our kill pile and came up with this.

Faux or real? -- Much longer was the plan. We started this when Dona suggested everyone take a nap. Which we did for several hours.

Goodman's announcement -- Credit to Goodman.

Susan Blake -- Kimberly Wilder is working her butt off to get the word out on Susan Blake's passing. That's wonderful of Wilder but it's a sign of the times and the society how hard she's having to work to do this.

Highlights -- Mike, Rebecca, Cedric, Wally, Elaine, Betty and Kat wrote this and chose highlights except where noted. We thank them.

No book discussion this week -- Dona told me (Jim), "I have a bad feeling about this" as she was reading the book in bed Tuesday night. Knowing that some were supportive of Monica Benderman, I focused solely on Kevin Benderman (I can do that, I just ask questions in the book discussion for the most part). From that standpoint, the book wasn't a problem. If I had listened to Dona Tuesday or if C.I. had read the book before the plane trip on Saturday (C.I. read the intro and preface on Friday), we would have known this was a problem. Due to delays and daily life, we didn't all get together (all: Ty, Dona, Jess, Ava, C.I. and myself) on Saturday until we had everyone on the phone (Mike, Elaine, Wally, Betty, Cedric and Rebecca; Kat was physically present). If we had, we would have discussed Susan Faludi or Norman Solomon's book instead. Going in, there was a brief pre-discussion and I assigned C.I. the "pep talk" ending. Again, I didn't read the entire book. I assumed there was gold to be panned. It started off simple enough, if not enthusiastic. Then Rebecca reads an excerpt and Kat's words and tone made it clear to me that it wasn't going to go as planned. It didn't. Even C.I. couldn't pull together a pep talk. C.I. also weighed in the importance of knowing Constitutional Law before you start gas bagging on it. C.I. did this before knowing -- this came out as well -- that the female author had 'weighed in' on another war resister and her belief that the war resister, the war resister's attorneys and C.I. were all wrong (but of course she was right! always!). As bits and pieces like this came out, the gloves didn't come off. They were already off. Ava quotes an e-mail that came into C.I. (the only one that C.I. received from one of the two authors) last week and notes it's insulting. That wasn't known before the free for all started either. We are very serious that we never want to hear Monica Benderman -- community wide. No site, not Elaine, not C.I., wants to hear from you. If we do, we'll post the discussion. With Ava tearing into the Whiteness of the book, Kat noting the glorification of the military and C.I. pointing out both the guru nonsense and the lack of comprehension about the Constitution, it won't be pretty. Ty notes that e-mails have assumed -- since Elaine's covered the Bendermans repeatedly for two years now -- that Elaine was the reason we postponed. Not so. It was fear of Elaine's feelings and fear of Elaine being put into a difficult situation that factored in. However, Elaine said, "I'm only responsible for what I said and there's no need to fact check the rest of you because the points you're making are in the book." Dona says Elaine's only comments revolve around UPS.
Dona also notes Rebecca and C.I.'s talk about children and how that, more than anything else, pisses her off -- the fact that their exchange on that is not published pisses her off. When we had entered the third hour of the book discussion, she passed me a note saying we needed to wind down and also saying Rebecca and C.I.'s talk on children stayed in. Dona: "It's exactly the sort of thing that longterm readers would enjoy and it was a nice relief in the book discussion. It was also on topic." We can't believe we wasted so much time. We should also note that we floated the idea of ten minute (serious limit on ten minutes) second attempt. But as Mike pointed out, "We didn't like the book. I'm not honor bound to say I liked something when I didn't. He's a war resister, oh well. He's not facing any consequences so I have no reason to bite my tongue. The book does nothing to help war resisters although it offers plenty of slams at them." We agreed and washed our hands of it instead focusing on things that do matter. Dona says that one person e-mailing (any site) will cause it to be posted but also notes if community members really want to read it, we'll offer it up in a community newsletter. Our problem is not our opinions. We stand by them. Our problems are (a) people may need money and the discussion would kill chances of it (trust us, most people against the war would not want to read the book after reading the discussion) and (b) as Ava pointed out, you can't write a word about the Bendermans without Monica 'correcting' you. That was explained long ago by mainstream press who had covered the case and why C.I. avoided commentary on Kevin Benderman. Since Monica Benderman has now decided that not only can she weigh in on reports about her husband but she can also weigh in on how a war resister, his attorneys, C.I. and others are "wrong" we really didn't want to hear about it. And, we'd add, that attitude of it's just not worth it goes a long way towards explaining the lack of support Monica Benderman identifies in the book.

Editorial: No Court-Martial of Watada

You don't get made president of the National Lawyers Guild because you have a nice smile. That's not to imply that there's anything wrong with Marjorie Cohn's smile, that is to note she's a legal expert. The week of Ehren Watada's February court-martial, when Judge Toilet (aka John Head) gave the prosecution a do-over by calling a mistrial over the objection of the defense, Cohn was noting that double-jeopardy had long ago attached. The mainstream media appeared to have never heard of the Guild and didn't seem to have Cohn on their speed dial.

They did have Eugene Fidel on speed dial and never tired of utilizing him -- whether he possessed knowledge or not. Terry Gross' Not So Fresh Air felt the way to balance out an interview with Watada was to offer up Fidel which seems to suggest that she saw Fidel as the opposition to war resisters. His remarks only served to underscore that if the media needs a go-to on the UCMJ, Ann Wright (who taught it -- the Law of Land Warfare, at the JFK Special Warfare Center at Fort Bragg) is the resource to utilize. From her testimony at Watada's Article 32 hearing:

During my military service I have instructed military personnel in connection with their duties under FM 27-10. I did this as an instructor at the JFK Special Warfare Center at Fort Bragg. I taught about the Law of Land Warfare for approximately one year. During that time period I was able to explain to soldiers what the obligations and responsibilities of soldiers in an occupation scenario are.
As a part of our overall military training there is a history of service personnel being told that you do not have to follow an illegal order. It comes from the commissions that we take that we are to uphold the lawful orders of our superiors. Implicit in that is that if there is an illegal order you are under no obligation to follow it.
It is not to[o] often that a soldier will say; "I won't follow out that order, it was illegal." But it is part of our tradition that we call upon people in the military to use their brains to distinguish situations.
You don't want personnel who will carry out illegal orders and say that they were told to do it. You want military personnel who will think about what they are doing.
Yes, active duty personnel can be prosecuted for war crimes that they either commit or direct. There are two levels for that prosecution. The first are based on international laws against war crimes and the second is that the United States has codified the international laws on war crimes. This was done in 1996. This law says that you can be prosecuted for committing war crimes.
Right now there is a discussion going on within the Bush administration asking for modification to the domestic law. Because it appears that based on some of the actions in the administration may now fall under violations of that domestic law.
The obligation of someone such as the accused [Lieutenant Watada] who by participating in the current conflict in Iraq would be participating in war crimes would be to stand up and say that he cannot participate in it and that it would be an illegal order.
Under the Nuremberg Principles, both Germans and Japanese were executed for committing war crimes. The initiation of wars of aggression is the supreme crime under the Nuremberg Principles. They are codified in other international bodies of law such as the Geneva Convention.

Watada is not a CO. Watada went public in June of 2006, becoming the first officer to do so, in his opposition to the Iraq War. He had worked for months with the military prior to that in an attempt to devise an alternative route. Though all his suggestions were shot down (including serving in Afghanistan), he continued to act on good faith and only went public after it became clear that what the military was attempting to do was keep him quiet and get him to Iraq -- despite all their talk of working through this 'together,' there were never any intentions of working anything through.

Watada refuses to participate in an illegal war. That's not just his right and duty (and the right and duty of all who serve in the US military), it's also what his training taught him and before Fidel again offers his off-the-cuff 'analysis,' he might need to bone up on what officers are taught. The right-wing went into overdrive providing an echo chamber of what "soldiers" do and do not do. Some of them may have had the military experience they boasted of, none were officers, and none apparent were taught or retained some of the basics. As Ruth noted in August of last year, "The fact of the matter is that the military trains recruits to only follow lawful orders."

The US military attempts to say that, despite the teaching, those serving in the military can't "pick and choose" their wars -- as if Watada wasn't sure whether he was in the mood for lobster or burgers that day. This isn't "picking and choosing," this is Watada using the training and education the military provided him with to make the decisions the military told him were his duty to make.

Despite the training, the military argues that it's not the right of those serving in the military to make the determination. When the Abu Ghraib scandal broke, the talk was of a "few bad apples" and the punishment focused on those in the lowest rank. Those sentenced to prison time may have wished they questioned illegal orders. The military court system failed and provided cover to those higher up. Civilian courts largely take a pass and claim that they can't rule while a war is going on. So exactly who does get to stand up?

Watada's standing. Even though his faced personal attacks and punishments, he's still standing. His service contract expired long ago but the US military extended it because they want to punish him. It's not really about "justice," not even in the screwed up notion that the military courts have of justice.

When Judge Head wrongly ruled a mistrial, not only was Watada's defense ahead, he also provided everyone with the perfect cover to continue avoiding the issues at stake. The mistrial took the case away from war resistance (which the military doesn't want a ruling on) and took it into Constitutional areas. The smartest thing the military could have done to ensure their own stance was to drop the case and say, "Well he got off because of double-jeopardy. Our mistake." Like the press interest in other war resisters, attention on Watada would have faded and the military could tell itself that larger issues came into play and they had to learn how to ensure that didn't happen again. Instead they continued to pursue Watada, keeping the issue and the attention alive.

On Friday, an out presented itself in the civilian court of Judge Benjamin Settle. He issued a stay through October 26th (minimum) and ruled that "the record indicates that petitioner's double-jeopardy claim is meritorious." Had the stay not been issued, Watada's second court-martial would commence this Tuesday.

Prior to the Friday verdict, The Seattle Post-Intelligencer's edition had already been published. In it, they offered the editorial "Watada Court-Martial: Let him go:"

However the defense appeals turn out, we think there is a case for letting Watada leave the Army without further ado. That could be taken as a statement of higher-level confidence, a choice to focus on the larger military mission that President Bush and Gen. David Petraeus insist is making new progress. At a minimum, many of those who oppose the Iraq war would welcome the leniency for someone they view as a person of conscience.

We support Watada's stand. The military brass does not. They should consider dropping the attempts at court-martialing Watada and doing so quickly if only for their own selfish reasons. First, they really don't want to lose in a civilian court and though they may think they'll win, the reality is that they also thought Judge Toilet knew how to preside over a court-martial. Second, as we noted last week, Kat, Ava and C.I. regularly speak to groups of active duty service members. The war resister most widely known and known by name is Ehren Watada and continued attempts to prosecute him will only make him better known. The military cannot clamp down on war resistance within the military (it's spreading like wildfire) but continuing down the path they are on will only fuel the resistance.

As for the mainstream press that largely scoffed at the double-jeopardy issues raised by Cohn and other legal experts, they'd do well to expand their rolodexes.

TV: Diveristy Network Style

Diversity. TV loves it. So long as it can fit into a thirty second PSA and then be done with. In 1972, CBS aired Bridget Loves Bernie which, believe it or not, was considered scandalous by some for revolving around the inter-faith marriage of a Catholic and a Jew. In 1975, CBS tried again with The Jeffersons featuring inter-racial couple Helen and Tom Willis as supporting characters. That was over a quarter of a century ago and now ABC's decided to do 'their part'. In May, the network announced: "Cavemen is a unique buddy comedy that offers a clever twist on stereotypes and turns race relations on their head."

Of course, if they really wanted to explore race relations, they could attempt to cover race. Or as we noted last May of the coming fall lineup, "Though African-Americans still can't catch a lead on the big three, look for the 'diversity' of cavemen to beam into your homes on Tuesday nights." It was beamed in last week. It came, it whimpered and it will quickly be gone.

How bad is it? So bad we could only get scripts in advance. The pilot was re-shot but the whole thing had a "clampdown around it," explained one exec.

So we watched Tuesday expecting the worst but, even so, we were shocked. "Not funny" is a common critique of sitcoms these days so we weren't surprised that there wasn't a single laugh in the entire half-hour. We weren't surprised the show, 'based' on the TV commercials, didn't work. We were surprised by how ugly it was.

That's the way it's shot, the sets themselves and, yes, the performers. Those pulling caveman duty may (or may not) have the excuse of bad makeup but we had to wonder what was the excuse for the ones playing homosapiens?

In the first episode Ugh's relative Bluh comes to live with him. We gave them names. There's a third we named Vomit. While eating out, one of them flashes traveler checks and it's obvious a spending spree is about to take place.

It does. Off screen. The whole point of the commercials was the reaction others had to the Caveman and the way he reacted to the world around him. So in what world did it make sense not to film a shopping spree that might have attracted multiple reactions? We're not saying it would have played funny, we're just saying not showing the spree is the sort of thing you expect in a stage bound play, not in anything filmed.

Ugh has a girlfriend who is blond and his cro-magnum cronies hip him to how she's too ashamed of Ugh to introduce him to her friends. Only, after a big ranting scene that is neither funny nor awkward, it turns out that she usually dates cavemen and why she wouldn't introduce him to her friends is because she doesn't have long term relationships and they always knock her for that.

In The Diversity Book by Stephen McPherson (he prefers "Stephen" now and thinks it makes him sound more dignified) this is good. Or maybe he can just grunt out "Goo"? In most TV life, the realization that the woman some guy is in love with only has short term affairs wouldn't result in relief, it would create new worries.

Had Ugh done a double take, audiences might be interested in coming back this week. The tiny portion that bothered to watch. But instead, in that scene and every other, they were told, "You've heard us hit the one-note we're going to hit week after week."

How did this crap get on the air?

We bothered friends at ABC with that question repeatedly. They'd usually say, "I can't talk right now. Let me call you later from home." When the calls started coming in, all fingers pointed to Stephen McPherson who wants sole credit for running the network -- sole credit he doesn't deserve but he can claim 100% credit for the ruin that is Tuesday's first primetime hour.

McPherson, suffering from Glen Gordon Caron Disease?, wanted 'male' shows. He's a tad sensitive about ABC's lineup. This has nothing to do with ratings demographics, it has to do with someone fearing he might come up short in the locker room.

The only one who spoke nicely of McPherson told us, mid-week, that, of course, Caveman would be announced cancelled. That announcement still hasn't come.

For those who've forgotten, McPherson took the axe to Emily's Reasons Why Not after one airing. He was "Steve" then and said to be highly bothered by the premise of a woman entering relationships with a breakup plan. Steve (or Steve-o) didn't find that sympathetic. Cavemen he can get into, but a woman with a little bit of self-determination sends him running.

Despite all the praise from people whose livelihood depends upon him, the reality is he is not responsible for ABC's success. He's a glory hog who grabs credit others earned and brands a product his on the tiniest notions of contributions.

Remarks were made to the effect of putting men back in the driving seat (we intend to explore that further when we review the nitcom Cavemen is paired with, Carpuddles -- or is it Oil Stain?) and that's why we doubt the judgement of friends with the network who see this as a momentary phase. When someone gets bitten with the Glen Gordon Caron, they carry it around for years and years. That's because nothing pricks like the male ego and Steve, er, Stephen's is gushing.

When you get known for creating 'female' shows, it apparently causes tremendous panic in some males. Possibly more so when the one deserving credit is a woman and your boss (Anne Sweeney).

But this isn't momentary. This isn't a passing panic attack or phase. This is a real distaste for woman and a fear that you will be tagged "feminine." Those thinking it passes need only look to Warren Farrell. Or look to reality. Of the slate of alleged 'female' shows ABC has offered, only Desperate Housewives, Ugly Betty and Men In Trees can really be said to be female led. (And that's the only thing the latter two shows share with the first. Housewives is a throw back.) Steve-o's bothered by shows like Brothers & Sisters which not only has an ensemble cast of men and women, the men are top-billed in the show's title.

The ratings for Cavemen were awful. People are trying to talk it up but the reality is they were awful. Emily's Reasons Why Not -- in its first and only airing -- got higher ratings than Cavemen. Cavemen is built upon an overly exposed series of commercials. It is a known quantity. (The fact that it generated so little interest demonstrates why commercials do not TV shows make.) They were not attempting to introduce audiences to something new as Carpuddles did. But despite that fact, Cavemen ended up being ABC's lowest rated show for the night. At the half-hour mark, more people were interested in trying out Jerry O'Connell's new sitcom than in giving Cavemen a view.

We also dispute friends at ABC's claim that this all recently came up, this shift in direction, change in tone. We could understand the Water Cooler Set making that mistake but people working at the network? We'll put it down to fear of Steve-O and His Amazing Technicolor Anger.

Notes From The Underbelly and October Road had Steve-O's mark all over them (bleach will remove it) and you can see the distaste for any woman to the left of June Cleaver in both. In the nitcom, women are regressing with each episode, in the drama "women" is reduced to woman. Tuesday's two sitcoms are not lapses in judgement, they are his judgement and men like these only get stodgier in the face of failure, not more open. Gay or straight, they all get overly touchy and want to prove their manhood. The fact that they feel a need to prove it goes a long way towards explaining why they have a problem in the first place.

But the problem is now ABC's and it's not just a problem for viewers (who do have other choices during Tuesday's first hour of primetime -- including the choice to turn the TV off), nor is it just a problem for McPherson who lined up advance press for what he thought would be his victory lap right about now (including lining up people for the reporters to talk to -- remember that when the stories start popping up and ask yourself how, out of all the performers or producers, the reporter thought to call ___ for a quote?), it's ABC's problem and it's a big one. A few years ago they thought they were washed up. They became a ratings leader while NBC fumbled and fumbled. Now, because of someone's wounded, gender pride, they're about to see some very serious problems. A lot of McPherson's 'strange' behavior has been excused under the umbrella excuse of 'manhood.' But one thing the networks rarely excuse is low ratings. We're sorry for the people working under him, but we wont deny that we're going to enjoy watching the meltdown. It will certainly be vastly more entertaining than any show added to ABC's lineup this season.

Another war resister arrested in Canada

Robin Long is a war resister who went to Canada instead of serving in an illegal war. Last week, he explained his reasons to Canada's CBC TV, "Because I feel the war in Iraq is an illegal war of aggression and its an indiscriminate killing of the Arab people and I believe it's all for lies and the wrong reasons so I couldn't with good conscience take part in that conflict. . . . When I joined the army, I thought the war in Iraq was a good thing. I was lied to by my president. I -- The reasons that were given, I thought were valid but just because I joined the army didn't mean I abdicated my ability to evolve intellectually and morally and what I saw in the independent media and even in mainstream media changed my view of what was going on over there. And based on what I learned, I made a decision to desert."

He was on TV (Canadian, not American) because last Monday he was arrested. Why was he arrested? In a flashback to Kyle Snyder's February arrest, the police story shifts and changes on why he was approached by the police in the first place. For those who've forgotten Snyder being hauled off in his boxers [or maybe never heard because Gregory Levey (Salon) magazine remains the only American reporter to explore it -- others didn't even give a nod to it) becomes the first at a US news outlet] was accompanied with the Nelson police repeatedly changing their story. As Rod Mickleburgh (Canada's Globe and Mail) reminded last week, Long's "detention on Monday follows the bizarre apprehension earlier this year of Kyle Snyder, another war resister staying in Nelson, who was taken off to jail in the middle of a winter's night, wearing just a toque, a robe and his boxers. Nelson police have refused to say on whose request they detained Mr. Snyder, or why they knocked on his door at 4 a.m. They released him three hours later, after learning that he was legally in Canada as a visitor." Bizarre and the reality is Snyder was picked up on the orders of the US military which, last time anyone checked, wasn't over the Canadian police. What could have been an international outrage was allowed to become a regional one thanks to the lack of coverage. But it was an outrage and one that resulted in investigation. Or an alleged investigation.

The chief of the Nelson police, Dan Maluta, saw his 'leadership' investigated by a close friend. Futher demonstrating what a joke the investigation really was, on Saturday Canadian radio was abuzz with reports of the city's mayor, John Dooley, bragging on the record that he'd had the results of the investigation all week (in his briefcase) but hadn't bothered to read it yet.

So when the same police department began trotting out their original story, it didn't get a lot of traction in the Canadian media and the police department continues to alter their official story. Two war resisters have been arrested in Canada, both in Nelson. When the US military crossed over into Canada to search for Joshua Key, they accosted Winnie Ng in Toronto (Winnie and Eguene Ng had opened their home to the Keys) while posing as police officers. Had they been successful (or even good readers -- Joshua Key's The Deserter's Tale made clear that not only had he, Brandi and their children relocated but where they had relocated) there might have been three arrests -- or maybe just two arrests and one "extraordinary rendition."

Following the arrest, the police planned immediate action. As The Christian Radical noted Long was "arrested by the Nelson B.C. Police who intend to take him to Vancouver and hand him over to the US authorities at the border nearby. He was seized as he walked along a street. He is now detained in the local jail. Robin was not allowed to receive visits from friends; however he was able to call his spouse. She says that he is calm and hopeful that he will soon be released." The plan for immediate deportation wilted in the face of public outrage. Organizations, including the War Resisters Support Campaign and the Canadian Peace Alliance, the New Democratic Party of Canada political party (click here for release in English, here for release in French), and individuals worked together to get the word out and register their protests.

Long declared to Canada's CBC, "It feels good to be out. The fresh air feels really good. . . . When I got arrested and was sitting in the detention cell in Nelson, I was pretty sure I was going home right away. I was pretty sure I would be deported. The way that the immigration officer made it sound, I would be deported Friday. That's not quite what happened and I'm very thankful for that."

Where it stands now, as Courage to Resist explains, is that Long "still faces a pre-removal risk assessment which could lead to deportation at a later time so the fight is not over yet." Long must now report each month to the Canada Border Service Agency and he is hopeful that the Supreme Court's decision (expected in November now) will be to hear the appeals of U.S. war resisters Jeremy Hinzman and Brandon Hughey. If the court agrees to hear the cases, Hinzman and Hughey could provide the legal framework for today's war resisters to find the safe harbor in Canada that they did during Vietnam.

As last week was winding down, news came of a September arrest of another war resister on the border of Canada. Twenty-year-old Brad McCall was handcuffed at the border and explained to Charlie Smith (Vancouver's Straight) that he was "driven to a jail in Surrey" but apparently that's not something anyone's supposed to notice happening either.

The War Resisters Support Campaign has compiled a take action with links:

There are two urgent demands which we need to press for immediately:

• no resister should be removed until the Supreme Court has made a decision in the issue of Jeremy Hinzman and Brandon Hughey

Please take a moment to email or phone Minister of Immigration Diane Finley ASAP to demand that no resisters be removed before the Supreme Court has a chance to decide on this issue.

Phone 613-954-1064


• this situation needs a political solution -- we need our politicians to make a political provision to allow all US war resisters to stay
Please phone or email the opposition party leaders to ask them to support a political provision to allow US war resisters to stay in Canada. If the opposition parties unite, such a provision could easily be adopted.

- Stephane Dion, leader of the Liberal Party: 613.996.5789

- Gilles Duceppe, leader of the Bloc Quebecois: 613.992.6779

- Jack Layton: 613. 995.7224 -

* * *It is more urgent than ever that we send a message to the Canadian government that Canada needs to welcome US men and women who refuse to participate in the illegal and immoral war in Iraq. There are three actions you can take today to help support the war resisters.
Sign the
petition in support of the war resisters;
Contact the federal government and make your views known; and
Send a
letter to the editor of your local newspaper.

Add your name to the petition calling for the federal government to make a provision to allow war resisters to stay in Canada. Initial signatories include June Callwood, David Suzuki, Maude Barlow, Shirley Douglas, Naomi Klein, Ann-Marie MacDonald, and many others.You can add your name at

You can also download a hard copy of the petition.
Contact the federal government

It is urgent that everyone who supports the right of US war resisters to stay in Canada immediately contact both Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Minister of Citizenship & Immigration Diane Finley and demand that they make a provision to allow U.S. war resisters to stay in this country.

- Prime Minister Stephen Harper

Fax 613-941-6900


- Minister of Citizenship & Immigration Diane Finley

Phone 613-954-1064 (between 8:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m.)


Mail: The Honourable Diane Finley, P.C., M.P.Citizenship and Immigration Canada

Ottawa, OntarioK1A 1L1
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Question for the week

The Blackwater mercenary who shot dead a bodyguard of Iraq's vice-president and was then whisked out of the country by Blackwater and the State Department was hired weeks later by a Defense Department contractor and reported for work in Kuwait.

As that news emerged on Saturday, C.I. asked the question how?

The New York Times 'reported' Saturday:

The company apparently did not know that Mr. Moonen had lost his job because of the December episode in Baghdad. Mr. Moonen's lawyer said that his dismissal was for handling a weapon while drunk, not for shooting the guard.

As C.I. pointed out, in Tuesday's House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform hearings, Blackwater CEO Erik Prince made a great to do over the fact that he had pulled the man's security clearance. Did Prince? If so, when? If so, how is the Defense Department unaware of a pulled security clearance.

Faux or real?

Of all the things going up at other sites, the most e-mailed on here was C.I.'s "And the war drags on . . ." Not a surprise, when Jim read it Friday morning, he was telling Ty, Jess and Dona it was a feature here.

Dealing with the question that kept popping up in the e-mails when is silence an answer? (C.I. wrote, "Silence is rarely the answer.") C.I. responds that, in 1972, Lily Tomlin was a guest on The Dick Cavett Show and hacktor Chad Everett was talking about his wife ("property," according to Chaddie). Tomlin walked out. She didn't say a word, she just got up and walked out. If she'd attempted to engage him on the topic there might have been "Crossfire" style fireworks and the next day could have been all about whatever zingers Chaddie got off (or that some sexists thought he had). Instead, Lily Tomlin walked out and drew more attention to the offense in doing so. That's an example of one time when silence was answer.

Other questions revolved around the notion that conflict could produce anything. C.I. and Elaine note that without conflict, women never would have won the right to vote. "The original first wave" gave up on it long before the suffragette movement. Many attempted to caution patience and urge their fellow woman not to make demands. A very visible split did occur and the movement didn't go under; however, women were successful in the battle.

In the "first wave" (late 60s to early 70s), there were clear divisions and factions. It didn't destroy feminism, it gave the movement various strands and a vibrancy that has been lacking in some periods since.

There is a tendency to smooth over differences and act as if we're all in agreement. That might work in a social setting but it's death to a movement.

When a movement runs along on the exact same goals that it started out on and conducts itself in the exact same way, change will rarely occur. A movement needs to be robust and diverse and that doesn't happen when everyone agree with everyone else.

Elaine and C.I. noted the differences between United For Peace & Justice and A.N.S.W.E.R. last week (see "Reuters covers the peace movement -- badly!" and "Reuters covers the peace movement -- badly!" -- joint-post). They offered that the two don't have to work together (we agree) but UPFJ needs to figure out whether they will work with A.N.S.W.E.R. or not soon because, on campuses, the indecision is becoming an issue. (And UPFJ needs to figure it out because students identify them as the 'parent' contemplating a split.)

NARAL is a group that plays 'nice' and we think they're ineffective. We think they are as responsible for the threat to reproductive rights as are right-wingers. We don't think the weakness that has become the organization's hallmark is particular to them. We think they've moved towards "access" and "respectability" (to the point that the organization even changed their name) and that the move was fairly typical of many organizations.

Organizations that do grow usually do so because they are responding to changes and membership. It may be a call for more inclusion or recognition in leadership, it may be noting that some tactics aren't working.

Howard Zinn entitles his autobiography You Can't Stand Neutral On A Moving Train and we'd add You Can't Stand Still In The Middle Of a Movement. The outside events aren't remaining still, neither should the actions be.

It is about the growth of a movement.

Four years after the illegal war began, you still see some groups who think, "We need to do what we were doing in 2003, only with more people!"

That's not an answer and those groups that think that way should be readying their "Going Out Of Business" signs.

The movement is growing but not just in terms of numbers.

It's growing in terms of brain storming, in terms of ideas.

In a new bad book, Monica Benderman appears to suggest that the peace movement was "spinning its wheels" because it hadn't road tested various actions. We're not really sure how you road test ideas in the midst of an ongoing, illegal war but maybe we haven't spent enough time at the reflecting pools?

But we don't think the movement has spun its wheels. If it stayed frozen in time, that would be the case. Maybe if it took the attitude of, "Okay, it's about to be 2008, somebody pull down our action plan for 2003 and let's cross out '2003' and scrawl '2008' at the top."

Some are apparently doing that, but not all. Some are also more concerned with being "players" than in ending the illegal war. But the idea that the illegal war will be put on hold for a presidential campaign is sooo 2004 and it won't be tolerated this go around. The likelihood that it won't be and that any organizations who put out that nonsense are signing their own death warrants is a testament to the strength of the movement and that didn't come from circling up and all agreeing to only say nice things.

Nor should it ever.

A vibrant movement is an effective movement. Everyone does not have to get along, everyone does not have to agree. Attempting to enforce either notion is ultimately crippling to a movement. The push-pull dynamic is as much a part of any movement as it in any government.

Pearls are created in response to initial irritation, diamonds are created under intense pressure. If today's peace movement is to become a jewel it will require require responding to similar externals. Otherwise it's just a faux jewel for the Make Nice Set.

Goodman's announcement

"I just want to say I have a temporary condition called Bell's Palsy which is an inrritation of the

facial nerve. It's not painful, the doctors tell me I'll be back to my usual self in the next few weeks. In the meantime it just makes it a little harder to smile but so does the world," Amy Goodman declared on Tuesday's Democracy Now! broadcast.

Rebecca was the first of us to notice something different because she watches Democracy Now! The rest of us watch or listen depending on the day (Kat and C.I. prefer to listen, Mike didn't notice because he was listening since he was on the road with Kat, Ava and C.I. last week).

A few months back, Rebecca toyed with writing about Goodman's hair. Nothing in depth, just a mention of how it was longer and looked nice. In the end, she decided not to write about it because she thought the last thing Amy Goodman needed was compliments on her hair. (Rebecca notes she would write that about a male or female whose hair looked good but with the Katie Couric nonsense -- where she's held to a standard that, fair or not, her male cohorts are not -- she felt it was the wrong time to focus on any woman in the news industry's appearance.)

C.I. noted Goodman's announcement on Tuesday and "From the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke: 'With or without treatment, most individuals begin to get better within 2 weeks after the initial onset of symptoms and recover completely within 3 to 6 months'." It's not life threatening so no one needs to worry about Goodman's longterm health.

If you listen to the program, it's the left side of her face.

As people who have worried about going out in public with a pimple or a cold sore (remember that most of us aren't that long from high school), we know the fears that everyone will stare you and we wanted to take a moment to note that Goodman is not doing the show wearing a veil. She's usually shot from the right side of her face most programs anyway and they've made no real adjustments.

Goodman kept the announcement brief and low key (it's not a "read," you can hear it or view it after the headlines and before the first interview) and we wondered about noting it here. But, as Kat pointed out, it takes a lot of guts to say, "Screw it, that's not what I'm about, let's go on with the show." So we wanted to note it because it does take guts.

That's not to suggest that there's anything troubling in watching Goodman speak currently. It's not 'unnatural' or 'disfiguring' and stroke victims can exhibit similar symptoms. But it does take guts when you're being watched.

By just going about business as usual, Goodman underscores that it isn't a big deal which may help get the word out on Bell's Palsy. All but three of us were unaware of the disorder. Elaine, Rebecca and C.I. knew a woman who got it her freshman year of college. It was very traumatic for her (and actually lasted six weeks). Whether it is or not for Goodman, we're sure she'll have a wonderful column on it when it's over.

From the Bell's Palsy InfoSite & Forums: "Bells palsy is not as uncommon as is generally believed. Worldwide statistics set the frequency at approximately .02% of the population (with geographical variations). In human terms this is 1 of every 5000 people, and 40,000 Americans every year."

Susan Blake

In "Susan June Blake," Kimberly Wilder notes:

Updates: Info about upcoming memorial events.

Our dear friend Susan Blake passed away at 8pm on Tuesday, October 2, 2007. She was staying upstate at a friend’s house. When I called Monday, I spoke to Susan’s sister, Nancy Blake, who was there having dinner with her.

We will keep everyone updated on information about a memorial service. We have made a page for updates about events for Susan: here.

Susan Blake was the force behind PeaceSmiths, Inc. Susan was careful with words, and uncomfortable with titles. So, she always corrected me when I called her the director or leader of PeaceSmiths. I hope that her commitment will open the door to the whole PeaceSmiths community feeling empowered to keeping that work alive. Members of the PeaceSmiths board actually met with Susan on Monday, and they are planning on moving forward full steam ahead with their work for peace and justice.

The work of PeaceSmiths includes a hotline for activist events, a monthly forum, and the "PeaceSmiths monthly Topical A-Typical Folk Music, Poetry, and Whatever Coffeehouse", held in Amityville, at what songwriter Sonny Meadows dubbed "the last church on the left" in a song. (Susan loved that!) And, of course, the work of PeaceSmiths included Susan attending an impossible amount of demonstrations, cultural events, networking events, and workshops to support every good cause in the world.

Many of the causes Susan supported are listed on the fairly recent, bright, multi-colored PeaceSmiths banner that she hung at each coffeehouse. But, a smattering of causes Susan worked for would include: peace, anti-militarism, human rights, labor rights, the environment, anti-death penalty, ballot access (she included local politicians at candidate events, but also write-in candidates and third party candidates), immigration rights, women’s rights, LGBT rights, holistic medicine, vegetarianism, independent media, intellectual freedom, and dignity and justice for all. The PeaceSmiths banner proclaims: "We're Pro Humanity"

Sounds like someone we would have considered it a pleasure to know. We applaud the efforts she made in her lifetime and we applaud Wilder's attempt to be sure that Susan Blake is remembered and her passing noted.

It's not an easy battle to fight. Whether it's the lack of coverage so many in independent media demonstrated when Grace Paley died or the fact that The New York Times didn't run one column on the passing of Coretta Scott King (a friend of then editor Gail Collins got a personal tribute written about them on the editorial page and also made the front page -- it's all about who you know) or anyone else, it's become obvious that even in death, women take a second seat to men in coverage.

In one of the rare obituaries on Blake in print (the only one?), Carl MacGowan's "Susan Blake, 54, Amityville singer, activist" (Newsday) provides an overview:

Susan Blake, a singer and activist considered by some the heart and soul of the Long Island peace and justice community, died Tuesday after a long battle with breast cancer. She was 54.

Blake, of Amityville, died at a friend's house in the Westchester County town of Goldens Bridge, said her sister, Nancy Jane Blake, of Peekskill.

On January 19, 2005, Susan Blake's mother, Betty Blake, died in her sleep and, we're told, Betty Blake's dedication was an inspiration to her daughters. We're sure Betty Blake inspired others as well and that Susan did so as well.

Her actions live on and those who knew her can attest to that. But that really shouldn't be the end of it. Susan Blake wasn't a drop-in and drop-out activist. In popular culture, we love the narrative of the awakening of an activist. And, by book or movie's end, the activist has generally solved (or at least addressed) the problem and returns to 'normal' life. Susan Blake's life was normal life. Activism was as much a part of her daily routine as brushing her teeth.

People like that do exist and in much larger numbers than many would guess. When her passing, or others like her, aren't told, aren't amplified, it's very easy to leave the impression that causes are something you pick up when times are really, really bad but nothing to build a life around. Oh sure, there are exceptions. For instance, if you're a lawyer. But leaving aside her musical talents and her own individual talents and traits, she didn't do anything that the rest of us couldn't have done without focus and drive.

But we don't tend to hear about these passings. If you're amassed a ton of wealth (especially if your heirs will squabble over it), you're pretty much guaranteed wall-to-wall coverage when you pass. But what about the people who enriched others with their life's work? Too often those stories aren't told.

A young teenager just awakening to the illegal war could see an example from Susan Blake's life. (Granted, we all could.) But maybe that's really the point behind the silence on these passings? Better not to enlighten the people on how much difference they could make, on how much can be given in a lifetime to make the world a better place?

Howard Zinn has many accomplishments but chief among them is rescuing history and restoring it to the people. Maybe it's time for someone to start a project entitled A People's Obituary Page where not only are War Criminals not given the kids glove treatments because they were heads of state or served in government, but neither are the rich; instead the focus would be on people who lived every day aware of the world around them and attempting to address it?

If and when that day comes, maybe we'll all grasp just how much power we really do have.


This piece is written by Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude, Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix, Kat of Kat's Korner, Betty of Thomas Friedman is a Great Man, Mike of Mikey Likes It!, Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz and Wally of The Daily Jot. Unless otherwise noted, we picked all highlights.

"And the war drags on . . ." -- C.I.'s commentary was the most commented on last week and this edition includes a feature exploring it further.

"Betinna's new B.F.F." -- Betty's made an alteration to the outline. The Gail Collins role no longer works as Gail Collins no longer edits the editorial page of The New York Times. She's shoved over Collins' planned storyline to a character who appeared a short while ago and was intended as a one-time only character.

"Liver and Onions in the Kitchen" -- Trina's latest covers a number of things. And she (and probably others) gets short service because the edition is ready to go and waiting on this to start posting in full. (One feature is probably going up as we write this.)

"Jeff Cohen, Helen Thomas, Dennis Kucinich" -- we enjoyed Elaine's column in real time. Even before an echo appeared on Saturday. (See Betty's chapter for more on that.)

"THIS JUST IN! COWARD DEAN SPITS ON FLORIDA!" and "DNC Chair Coward Dean drives away Florida" -- Wally and Cedric continue to explore the shameful treatment of Florida by the DNC. We had planned to weigh in on this topic with a feature this week. The book discussion of the book from hell prevented that and has left us all scrambling.

"No, it can't wait" & "past time to impeach" -- Kat and Rebecca both agreed to highlight Robert Parry and offer different reasons for impeachment.

"Kat's Korner: Shine, Joni Mitchell's artistry intact" & "Kat's Korner: Stills & DiFranco" -- Kat completed her three day cycle of reviews (which began with "Kat's Korner: Grab the lifeline") last week. Again, we had a feature planned (music) and it went out the window due to the book from hell. For more on her reviews, she her "Answering."

Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Bloody War Hawks" -- Isaiah's extremely popular comic from last Sunday. Isaiah will go up on Monday morning this week. That's because C.I.'s helping with editing and plans to go bed quickly after the editing of the editorial is completed. It's already too late for the comic to go up "Sunday morning" even on the West Coast so it will be held until Monday.

"Reuters covers the peace movement -- badly!" & "Reuters covers the peace movement -- badly!" -- C.I. and Elaine's joint-post.

"Edwards and Obama go after Clinton" -- Mike explaining why two 'big men' trying to tag team on a woman won't go over well with the public. (We all agree.)

"Sick of all of it" -- How tired is everyone? Elaine who usually argues against even one of her posts being highlighted said, "I just don't care." That was to the suggestion that we highlight a third. As Betty and Rebecca point out, Elaine had a very strong week.

"Sad days for Bambi" & "THIS JUST IN! THEY JUST SHOT BAMBI'S DREAM!" -- Cedric and Wally address the 'sinkage' of Obama.

No book discussion this week

There is a huge hole in this edition. A three hour book discussion took place on Kevin and Monica Benderman's Letters from Fort Brig. We have nothing kind to say about the book (except for Betty noting the design on the flap covers of the book jacket).

We've made it a point to discuss every book by war resisters. Should this become an issue, we will post the discussion. We spent two hours editing the transcript of the discussion and have saved it our final draft.

It's a wonderful discussion and all it's going to take is one nasty e-mail from one person (not anyone, a specific person) to result in being posted. Kat, C.I. and Ava especially walk you through why the book is offensive and useless. At one point, Ava notes that we hoped to "pan for gold" but that was impossible.

We can't endorse it and feel we wasted our time in reading it and discussing it since we're not posting the discussion. After the final draft was complete, we read it out loud. Due to the concerns of one person participating, we said, "We won't publish it." Then the one person said, "No, there's nothing in that discussion that isn't correct and backed up." (C.I., as usual, was able to quote passages directly and cite page numbers. But everyone -- whether they were providing direct quotes or not -- could back up their opinions.) As this went back and forth and hour, Ava and C.I. said, "We're writing out TV piece."

They did that in twenty and discovered we were still going back and forth. Dona suggested we all "Sleep on it." Which we did.

But to the prickly person whose e-mail could result it in being posted, don't write us. Don't write any of us. Ava reveals an e-mail in the discussion that she deleted before C.I. saw it. It was an insulting e-mail and goes to problems with the book. This is a really bad book and we're trying to be kind and not provide example after example of how awful it is. Don't write C.I. and don't run to Elaine. Don't ever write any of us again or the discussion is posted.

We're not covering your issue ever again. We're fully aware that you think you are the judge and jury of everything and that's the biggest problem with the book. But one e-mail about the book, one e-mail telling us another war resister is "wrong" and this is how it really is will result in that book discussion being published.

In a book that goes on at length about marginalization, someone fails to include how they marginalize themselves. We would like that to be our last word on the subject.
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