Olbermann: How Rudolph Saved… + Camp Pain ’08 + Writhe & Shine (videos)

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Ryokibin

How Rudolph Saved… Rudolph? 

Keith talks with Lawrence O’Donnell about Rudy Giuliani about how all his scandal and how he can still make his candidacy viable. Yeah..

Camp Pain ’08

Keith talks with Howard Fineman about the Hillary Clinton campaign.

Writhe & Shine

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Olbermann: Capitulation + Falafel-Guy Fatwa + Bushed! (videos)

Olbermann: Worst Person (video)

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Kucinich: Give me the vote, I’ll give you back your country! (video)

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EvanMoody

December 15, 2007 Kucinich House Parties. Save the Bill of Rights. Contribute $100 to the Kucinich Campaign. Added: December 14, 2007

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Kucinich on HR 1955 Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act

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Impeachment: If not now, when? By Linda Boyd

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By Linda Boyd
After Downing Street
Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Dec. 15, 2007

Lawmakers need to stand up for the Constitution and support impeachment

The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors. — Article II, Section 4

On Nov. 6, Rep. Dennis Kucinich introduced articles of impeachment against Vice President Dick Cheney on the floor of the House of Representatives. For one shining moment the will of the majority of Americans and the promise of this nation’s founders were truly represented. The detailed charges were solemnly read from the House podium and televised on C-Span. House Democratic Leader Steny Hoyer made a motion to table the bill. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi lobbied hard for votes to table.

In a stunning turnaround, House Republicans changed strategy and voted decisively to prevent tabling the impeachment resolution. Pelosi was defied by 85 Democratic members who voted against tabling the impeachment resolution. This includes John Conyers, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, and six committee members. The resolution was quickly voted back to the Judiciary Committee, where it is not resting quietly.

Judiciary Committee member Bob Wexler wrote, “The American people are served well with a legitimate and thorough impeachment inquiry. I will urge the Judiciary Committee to schedule impeachment hearings immediately and not let this issue languish as it has over the last six months. Only through hearings can we begin to correct the abuses of Dick Cheney and the Bush administration.”

Impeachment is squarely on the table, and momentum is building. A year ago, almost no elected official breathed the word impeachment. Now impeachment has hit the House floor, and our electeds have gone on record. Millions of Americans are demanding an end to executive abuse of power.

After six years of state of emergency, the Patriot Act, the Military Commissions Act, continual war and occupations, our Constitution is deeply in crisis. Americans are in danger of losing our system of government and civil rights if they do not roll back the Bush administration’s assault on the rule of law.

Allowing Cheney and George W. Bush to finish their terms without being impeached means future presidents are free to copy their lawless behavior. Of course many important issues deserve the attention of Congress. But the Constitution is the foundation of our democracy, not just an issue. Without the Constitution, we have nothing.

Polls show that 74 percent of Democrats and the majority of American adults support impeaching Cheney. “Never in our history have the high crimes and misdemeanors been so flagrant, and the people of our country know it,” writes local author Richard Behan.

Kucinich has targeted Cheney first, but investigations will implicate the president as well. For the first time in the history of the Gallup Poll, 50 percent of respondents say they “strongly disapprove” of the president. Richard Nixon had reached the previous high, 48 percent, just before an impeachment inquiry was launched in 1974. With these numbers, why aren’t Bush and Cheney gone already?

The vice president is accused of:

# purposely manipulating intelligence to fabricate a threat of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction in order to justify an attack on Iraq;

# deceiving Congress about an alleged relationship between Iraq and al-Qaida;

# threatening aggression against the Republic of Iran, absent any real threat to the United States.

These violations of the Constitution and international treaty are just the tip of the iceberg. More articles of impeachment can be added at any time, and ample evidence to convict is on the public record. Representatives need to introduce articles regarding:

# illegal war, in violation of both international treaty and the Constitution;

# widespread domestic wiretapping in violation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, a felony. Bush already has admitted to this;

# condoning torture in violation of federal laws and international treaties;

# rescinding habeas corpus, the cornerstone of Western law since the Magna Carta;

# obstruction of justice regarding U.S. attorney firings;

# subversion of the Constitution, abuse of signing statements and rescinding habeas corpus.

It’s astounding that our representatives to Congress carry on with business as usual knowing that Americans lack habeas corpus and a working code of law. I want my representative, Dave Reichert, to block the doors of the House until habeas is restored as a basic human right in this nation!

In light of Bush’s steady drumbeat for war with Iran, Kucinich said he will consider an impeachment resolution against him.

“Impeachment may well be the only remedy which remains to stop a war of aggression against Iran,” he says.

“The most conservative principle of the Founding Fathers was distrust of unchecked power. Centuries of experience substantiated that absolute power corrupts absolutely. The Constitution embraced a separation of powers to keep the legislative, executive and judicial branches in equilibrium,” Bruce Fein, a constitutional lawyer and associate deputy attorney general in the Reagan administration, said in the October 2006 edition of Washington Monthly.

If Congress were serious about oversight, there already would be dozens of bills and resolutions calling for impeachment of Bush and Cheney. The “Unitary Executive Theory” violates the principle of balance of power in the Constitution. The president cites this “unitary” power in hundreds of signing statements that say he can ignore laws passed by Congress.

The First, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments are all now subject to the caprice of government officials. The Military Commissions Act allows U.S. citizens to be detained without due process if they are declared enemy combatants. Without our permission, this country has become an exporter of torture.

Congress has failed to provide oversight and exercise its authority to rein in a criminal administration. Only swift action on impeachment can redeem it now. The people have done the heavy work of bringing impeachment forward. Representatives need only ask if the allegations are serious enough to warrant investigations.

George Bush and Dick Cheney promote an imperial presidency. They assert that the executive is the most powerful branch of government, undermining the judiciary and Congress in violation of the Constitution’s bedrock principle of shared power among three co-equal branches. This subverts the very nature of our system of government.

“This is an attempt by the president to have the final word on his own constitutional powers, which eliminates the checks and balances that keep the country a democracy. … That’s a big problem because that’s essentially a dictatorship,” Fein said.

Washington For Impeachment and Citizens to Impeach Bush and Cheney are working to inform the public, collect signatures to petitions, provide forums, and lobby representatives. Washington was the second state to sponsor a bill for impeachment in the state Legislature.

Washington State Democratic organizations have passed resolutions in 11 Democratic legislative districts, five counties and the Washington State Democratic Central Committee. Jay Inslee, D-Bainbridge Island, has received impeachment resolutions from almost every legislative district within his congressional district. When will he represent the will of his constituents and honor his oath to protect the Constitution?

The national movement to impeach is a non-partisan effort to restore the Constitution and the rule of law. People across the political spectrum can unite to preserve the Constitution and civil liberties given to us by the founders. Impeachment is the peaceful, orderly, constitutionally prescribed way to rid ourselves of a lawless administration.

The issue is not about removing Bush and Cheney as much as it is about preserving the Constitution and redeeming the office of the executive. The Constitution is the contract of governance between the people and the government. What happens when major portions of the contract are violated?

Congress has failed to call the president and vice president to account, so citizens must turn up the heat. Members of Congress who fail to demand investigations are covering for criminals. Every elected official has sworn an oath to “support and protect the Constitution from all enemies foreign and domestic.” Anything less than impeachment and a full repudiation of the Bush administration’s crimes and violations of the law is a dereliction of duty and a betrayal of the public trust.

If we want our democracy back, we need to roll up our sleeves and get to work to clean out the House.
Linda Boyd is director of Washington For Impeachment, www.washingtonforimpeachment.org. Citizens to Impeach Bush and Cheney, in Olympia: www.citizensimpeach.org

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

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Control sought on military lawyers – Bush wants power over promotions By Charlie Savage

3 House Judiciary Members Want Cheney Impeachment NOW! by Dave Lindorff + A Case for Impeachment Hearings

Super sleuth Davis Fleetwood looks for answers in Iowa (video)

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Kucinich2008

Davis Fleetwood reports from Iowa.

A special report by popular video blogger Davis Fleetwood, who took to the streets of Des Moines with his camera and his questions, trying to get to the bottom of a major political mystery.  Added: December 15, 2007

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Today is the Day to Donate to Dennis Kucinich (video) + Declare your support for the Bill of Rights. TODAY!

Faux & Friends: Dennis Kucinich Interview (video)

The Death Of Democracy – Silence The Opposition! by Michael O’McCarthy

Dennis Kucinich and Thursday’s Iowa Debate By Jean Hay Bright

Sign The Petition To Keep The Debates Open!! (Kucinich; Gravel; Paul)

Wife advocates Kucinich win – Polls, media, fundraising are corrupt, she says By John Aguilar (Elizabeth)

Kucinich, top-rated Democrat, excluded from Des Moines Register debate + Action Alert (updated)

Olbermann: Capitulation + Falafel-Guy Fatwa + Bushed! (videos)

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heathr234

December 15, 2007

Capitulation

Keith talks to Markos Moulitsas from the Daily KOS about the Democrats caving on FISA and Iraq war funding. Also a note on the waterboarding story and whether torture works or not.

Falafel-Guy Fatwa

Countdown’s goes through Bill O’Reilly’s latest phony tyraid on the supposed “War on Christmas”. Dana Milbank weighs in.

Bushed!

Countdown’s list of the top three Bush scandals you may have forgotten about because of all of the new Bush scandals. Tonight’s: War Profiteer-Gate, Politics and Terror-Gate and Needless Secrecy-Gate.

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Olbermann: How Rudolph Saved… + Camp Pain ‘08 + Writhe & Shine (videos)

Olbermann: Worst Person (video)

Bill Moyers Journal: Keith Olbermann + Massing of the Media + Dr. Ronald Walters (video; links)

Today is the Day to Donate to Dennis Kucinich (video) + Declare your support for the Bill of Rights. TODAY!

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Today is the Day to Donate to Dennis Kucinich Campaign For President of the United States

Added: December 15, 2007

***

From an email:

Declare your support for the Bill of Rights. TODAY!

December 15th, 1791: The Bill of Rights becomes the law of the land…

December 15th, 2007: The Bill of Rights and American democracy are under attack.

Today is the day you can re-dedicate yourself to our founding principles by pledging your support to the one Presidential candidate who is fighting to defend our Constitution: Dennis Kucinich.

American democracy was still in its infancy 216 years ago when this nation’s brave and visionary leaders adopted the first Ten Amendments to the Constitution to establish and defend our rights and our freedoms. Today, the President and the Vice President stand accused of violating the Bill of Rights, as well as the Constitution itself. And Dennis is leading the charge to hold them accountable.

Today, on this very special day, you can join with hundreds of thousands of other Americans who are working with Dennis to defend and uphold the Constitution. Grassroots supporters from across the country are making pledges of $100 to bring a huge influx of funding into the campaign – by the end of the day! – to support Dennis and his efforts.

Click here to make a contribution and to be part of this monumental drive.

As we celebrate the anniversary of the Bill of Rights, we must also take strong, immediate, and concerted action to defend the laws and principles of our nation against the relentless and unrepentant attacks by the Bush Administration. Today is the day to do that.

Join Dennis and countless others by sending a loud and clear message: This document is the foundation of our democracy and the heartbeat of our nation. And will not allow it to be ignored or violated.

Please pass this message along to your family, friends, and co-workers. Together, We The People we can protect and defend our Constitution! Together we will take our country back!

Please contribute $100 TODAY to protect the Bill of Rights and help Dennis continue being our voice in representing and defending our values.

Thank you,
The Kucinich Campaign

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Dec. 15th Kucinich Money Bomb: Pay It Forward (video)

Faux & Friends: Dennis Kucinich Interview (video)

The many problems of today – and a solution (video; Kucinich)

The Revolution Starts on Dec 15th by Manila Ryce (video; Kucinich)

WAR IS OVER … Vote for Kucinich IN THE PRIMARY! (video)

The Death Of Democracy – Silence The Opposition! by Michael O’McCarthy

Kucinich: Balls of steel (video)

Your $100 Will Save YOU (video)

Dennis Kucinich for President – Contribute

http://december152007.com/

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Control sought on military lawyers – Bush wants power over promotions By Charlie Savage

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By Charlie Savage
Globe Staff
December 15, 2007

WASHINGTON – The Bush administration is pushing to take control of the promotions of military lawyers, escalating a conflict over the independence of uniformed attorneys who have repeatedly raised objections to the White House’s policies toward prisoners in the war on terrorism.

The administration has proposed a regulation requiring “coordination” with politically appointed Pentagon lawyers before any member of the Judge Advocate General corps – the military’s 4,000-member uniformed legal force – can be promoted.

A Pentagon spokeswoman did not respond to questions about the reasoning behind the proposed regulations. But the requirement of coordination – which many former JAGs say would give the administration veto power over any JAG promotion or appointment – is consistent with past administration efforts to impose greater control over the military lawyers.

The former JAG officers say the regulation would end the uniformed lawyers’ role as a check-and-balance on presidential power, because politically appointed lawyers could block the promotion of JAGs who they believe would speak up if they think a White House policy is illegal.

continued…

h/t: CLG

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Israel’s Palestinians Speak Out By Nadim Rouhana

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By Nadim Rouhana
12/14/07 “ICH

The Annapolis peace talks regard me as an interloper in my own land. Israel’s deputy prime minister, Avigdor Lieberman, argues that I should “take [my] bundles and get lost.” Henry Kissinger thinks I ought to be summarily swapped from inside Israel to the would-be Palestinian state.

I am a Palestinian with Israeli citizenship–one of 1.4 million. I am also a social psychologist trained and working in the United States. In late November, on behalf of Mada al-Carmel, the Arab Center for Applied Social Research, I polled Palestinian citizens of Israel regarding their reactions to the Annapolis conference and their views about our future, and how they would be affected by Middle East peace negotiations.

During Israel’s establishment, three-quarters of a million Palestinians were driven from their homes or fled in fear. They remain refugees to this day, scattered throughout the West Bank and Gaza, the Arab world and beyond. We Palestinian citizens of Israel are among the minority who managed to remain on our land. Like many Mexican-Americans, we didn’t cross the border, the border crossed us. We have been struggling ever since against a system that subjects us to separate and unequal treatment because we are Palestinian Arabs–Christian, Muslim and Druze–not Jewish. More than twenty Israeli laws explicitly privilege Jews over non-Jews.

The Palestinian Authority is under intense pressure to recognize Israel as a Jewish state. This is not a matter of semantics. If Israel’s demand is granted, the inequality that we face as Palestinians–roughly 20 percent of Israel’s population–will become permanent.

The United States, despite being settled by Christian Europeans fleeing religious persecution, has struggled for decades to make clear that it is not a “Christian nation.” It is in a similar vein that Israel’s indigenous Palestinian population rejects the efforts of Israel and the United States to seal our fate as a permanent underclass in our own homeland.

We are referred to by leading Israeli politicians as a “demographic problem.” In response, many in Israel, including the deputy prime minister, are proposing land swaps: Palestinian land in the occupied territories with Israeli settlers on it would fall under Israel’s sovereignty, while land in Israel with Palestinian citizens would fall under Palestinian authority.

This may seem like an even trade. But there is one problem: no one asked us what we think of this solution. Imagine the hue and cry were a prominent American politician to propose redrawing the map of the United States so as to exclude as many Mexican-Americans as possible, for the explicit purpose of preserving white political power. Such a demagogue would rightly be denounced as a bigot. Yet this sort of hyper-segregation and ethnic supremacy is precisely what Israeli and American officials are considering for many Palestinian citizens of Israel — and hoping to coerce Palestinian leaders into accepting.

Looking across the Green Line, we realize that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has no mandate to negotiate a deal that will affect our future. We did not elect him. Why would we give up the rights we have battled to secure in our homeland to live inside an embryonic Palestine that we fear will be more like a bantustan than a sovereign state? Even if we put aside our attachment to our homeland, Israel has crushed the West Bank economy–to say nothing of Gaza’s–and imprisoned its people behind a barrier. There is little allure to life in such grim circumstances, especially since there is the real prospect of further Israeli sanctions, which could make a bad situation worse.

In the poll I just conducted, nearly three-quarters of Israel’s Palestinian citizens rejected the idea of the Palestinian Authority making territorial concessions that involve them, and 65.6 percent maintained that the PA also lacked the mandate to recognize Israel as a Jewish state. Nearly 80 percent declared that it lacks the mandate to relinquish the right of Palestinian refugees–affirmed in UN General Assembly Resolution 194 of 1948 and reaffirmed many times–to return to their homes and properties inside Israel.

Palestinians inside Israel have developed a history and identity after nearly sixty years of hard work and struggle. We are not simply pawns to be shuffled to the other side of the board. We expect no more and no less than the right to equality in the land of our ancestors. Israeli Jews have now built a nation, and have the right to live here in peace. But Israel cannot be both Jewish and democratic, nor can it find the security it seeks by continuing to deny our rights, nor those of Palestinians under occupation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, nor those of Palestinian refugees. It is time for us to share this land in a true democracy, one that honors and respects the rights of both peoples as equals.

Nadim Rouhana is Henry Hart Rice Professor of Conflict Analysis at George Mason University and heads the Haifa-based Mada al-Carmel, the Arab Center for Applied Social Research.

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

‘Not us. We’re not going.’ Soldiers stage a ‘mutiny’ By Kelly Kennedy

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By Kelly Kennedy
After Downing Street
Army Times
Dec. 14, 2007

Soldiers in 2nd Platoon, Charlie 1-26 stage a ‘mutiny’ that pulls the unit apart

Spc. Gerry DeNardi stood at the on-base Burger King, just a few miles from downtown Baghdad, hoping for a quick taste of home.

Camp Taji encompasses miles of scrapped Iraqi tanks, a busy U.S. airstrip and thousands of soldiers living in row upon row of identical trailers. Several fast-food stands, a PX and a dining facility the size of a football field compose Taji’s social hub. The base had been struck by an occasional mortar round, and a rocket had hit the airfield two weeks before and killed an American helicopter pilot. But the quiet base brought on a sense of being far from roadside bombs, far from rocket-propelled grenades and far from the daily gunfire that rained down on the soldiers of Charlie 1-26 as they patrolled Adhamiya, a violent Sunni neighborhood in northeastern Baghdad.

Just two weeks earlier, the 20-year-old DeNardi had lost five good friends, killed together as they rode in a Bradley Fighting Vehicle that rolled over a powerful roadside bomb.

As DeNardi walked up the three wood steps to the outdoor stand to pick up his burger, the siren wailed.

Wah! Wah! Wah! “Incoming! Incoming! Incoming!”

The alarms went off all the time — often after the mortar round or rocket had struck nothing but sand, miles from anything important. Many soldiers and others at Taji had taken to ignoring the warnings. DeNardi glanced around at the picnic tables to make sure everyone was still eating. They were. The foreign nationals who worked the fast-food stands hadn’t left; so he went back to get the burger he had paid for.

The mortar round hit before he could pick up his order.

“I turned around and all of Burger King and me went flying,” DeNardi said.

He’d lived through daily explosions in 11 months with Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment, at nearby Combat Outpost Apache, a no-frills fortress smack in the middle of Adhamiya’s hostile streets. He had rushed through flames to try to save friends and carried others to the aide station only to watch them die.

“I’m not getting killed at Burger King,” he thought, and he dived for a concrete bunker. People were screaming. DeNardi saw a worker from Cinnabon hobbling around, so he climbed out of the bunker, pulled shrapnel out of the man’s leg and bandaged him. The Pizza Hut manager was crying and said two more foreign workers were injured behind her stand — near the Burger King.

“Lightning doesn’t strike twice,” DeNardi said, “so I went back. But there were body parts everywhere.” The first man’s leg had been blown off, his other leg was barely attached and he had a chest wound. “He was going to die,” DeNardi said.

The other wounded man had shrapnel to his neck. DeNardi peeled off his own shirt and fashioned a bandage out of it as other soldiers started streaming in to help.

Then, “all clear” sounded over the loudspeakers as medics arrived and took over.

“I’m covered in blood, but I still have my hamburger receipt,” DeNardi said. “I went back to Burger King the next day, but they wouldn’t give me my burger.”

For all his dark humor, the “Hero of Burger King,” as fellow soldiers teasingly called him, was deeply rattled by the carnage of the explosion at the fast-food court. At Apache, he expected trouble. But not at Burger King.

“That affected me,” he said. For the next few days, he said, he slept in the open-ended concrete bunkers positioned between the housing units.

It was just another bad day to add to many — and DeNardi’s platoon had already faced misery that seemed unbearable. When five soldiers with 2nd Platoon were trapped June 21 after a deep-buried roadside bomb flipped their Bradley upside-down, several men rushed to save the gunner, Spc. Daniel Agami, pinned beneath the 30-ton vehicle. But they could only watch — and listen to him scream — as he burned alive. The Bradley was far too heavy to lift, and the flames were too high to even get close. The four others died inside the vehicle. Second Platoon already had lost four of its 45 men since deploying to Adhamiya 11 months before. June 21 shattered them.

Though their commanders moved them from the combat outpost to safer quarters, members of 2nd Platoon would stage a revolt they viewed as a life-or-death act of defiance. With all they had done and all they had seen, they now were consumed with an anger that ate at the memory of the good men they were when they arrived in Iraq.
Primed for revenge

After June 21, most of Charlie Company moved out of COP Apache, their makeshift home on the grounds of one of Saddam Hussein’s son’s palaces. At Taji, the company would try to recover for a new mission.

Sgt. 1st Class Tim Ybay, 38, served as 2nd Platoon’s platoon sergeant, but also its father figure. The former drill sergeant teased constantly and tried to treat his men like family. At memorial services for lost soldiers, he cried the loudest. He’d been on patrol June 21 when the five 2nd Platoon soldiers died in the Bradley. When he came back, his grieving platoon circled him as the weight of the loss forced him to his knees in the sand. He’d promised to bring all his boys home.

Now he would concentrate on the ones that remained.

“I knew after losing those five guys, my platoon had to get out of there,” he said. “These were the guys they slept with, joked with, worked out with. I don’t think they’d be able to accomplish the mission.”

The tears came again as he spoke, and he looked away.

“And I was having a hard time losing my guys.”

At Taji, the company had a week off. DeNardi looked more surfer than soldier after a couple of days at the pool. Ybay and his sergeants sat at the picnic tables drinking frozen coffee concoctions. The guys bought Persian carpets and brass lamps to send home as souvenirs — as if Taji were a vacation spot. But the anger over Adhamiya emerged even poolside, and erupted at the mental health clinic, which they visited in groups.

“You never really get over the anger,” said Staff Sgt. Robin Johnson, a member of Charlie’s scout platoon who had been especially close to Agami. “It just kind of becomes everything you are. You become pissed off at everything. We wanted to destroy everything in our paths, but they wanted us to keep building sewer systems and handing out teddy bears.”

Some of the younger members of the platoon were particularly disillusioned.

Spc. Armando Cardenas, 21, had taken honors classes in high school but feared college would bore him. He wanted something challenging and found it in the Army, in Iraq. As a soldier, he was the guy who leaped out of a truck to chase an insurgent, or instantly returned fire with an uncanny ability to tell where the rounds came from. When a friend, Pfc. Ryan Hill, was killed in battle, Cardenas helped carry him back.

But Cardenas’ anger was just as quick as his heroics.

He said the platoon had been waiting for June 21 — that they had known they would eventually hit a big IED and have a catastrophic loss.

Cardenas wanted revenge. “But they don’t let us take care of the people responsible,” he said. “It was a slap in the face.”

Adhamiya remained under the control of 1-26, but the brass moved Charlie 1-26 to another combat outpost, Old Mod — so called because it used to house Iraq’s Ministry of Defense — in a calmer area on the outskirts of Adhamiya. From there, they patrolled Kadhamiya.

“If my guys had stayed at Adhamiya, they would have taken the gloves off,” said Capt. Cecil Strickland, Charlie’s company commander. “We were afraid somebody was going to get in trouble.”

There had been close calls before. DeNardi had to fight back a strong desire to kill an Iraqi — accused of triggering an IED that killed two Charlie Company soldiers — as he held a 9mm Glock handgun to the man’s eye socket.

And Cardenas and Staff Sgt. John Gregory had been ordered to the Green Zone to talk to an investigator after they roughed up two insurgents. A week after Pfc. Ross McGinnis fatally threw himself on a grenade to save four friends, Cardenas and Gregory had chased a couple of guys on a scooter and managed to stop them. Cardenas kicked over a wooden box the two Iraqis stood next to.

“There was a grenade full of nails,” Cardenas said. “We had to go see a major about detainee abuse. We told him [the Iraqis] didn’t want to get in the Bradley.”

Nothing came of the investigation.

Such incidents belied the squared-away record Charlie 1-26 posted during its deployment to Iraq. In 15 months, they had one incident when two soldiers were caught with alcohol, Strickland said, but that was all.

“I think the performance comes from the level of discipline,” Strickland said. “And the discipline comes from the hardship. They’re a little bit more mature than a lot of other units.”

In Shiite Kadhamiya, Charlie Company found paved, clean streets. In Sunni Adhamiya, so many garbage collectors had been killed that the Shiite government workers refused to go there. “It was one road and one river away from Adhamiya,” DeNardi said. “But there was civilization on one side and chaos on the other.”

Suicide and a twist of fate

Lt. Col. John Reynolds replaced Lt. Col. Eric Schacht as battalion commander July 8. Schacht left after his son died of a heart condition in Germany, the same day Charlie Company lost five men in the Bradley. Even with the high operations tempo and the loss of so many men, Reynolds called the changeover “easy.”

“It was the best transition you could get,” he said.

But within days, he would lose five men, including a respected senior non-commissioned officer. Master Sgt. Jeffrey McKinney, Alpha Company’s first sergeant, was known as a family man and as a good leader because he was intelligent and could explain things well. But Staff Sgt. Jeremy Rausch of Charlie Company’s 1st Platoon, a good friend of McKinney’s, said McKinney told him he felt he was letting his men down in Adhamiya.

“First Sergeant McKinney was kind of a perfectionist and this was bothering him very much,” Rausch said. On July 11, McKinney was ordered to lead his men on a foot patrol to clear the roads of IEDs. Everyone at Apache heard the call come in from Adhamiya, where Alpha Company had picked up the same streets Charlie had left. Charlie’s 1st Platoon had also remained behind, and Rausch said he would never forget the fear he heard in McKinney’s driver’s voice:

“This is Apache seven delta,” McKinney’s driver said in a panicked voice over the radio. “Apache seven just shot himself. He just shot himself. Apache seven shot himself.”

Rausch said there was no misunderstanding what had happened.

According to Charlie Company soldiers, McKinney said, “I can’t take it anymore,” and fired a round. Then he pointed his M4 under his chin and killed himself in front of three of his men.

At Old Mod, Charlie Company was called back in for weapons training, DeNardi said. They were told it was an accident. Then they were told it was under investigation. And then they were told it was a suicide. Reynolds confirmed that McKinney took his own life.

A week later, without their beloved first sergeant, Alpha Company would experience its first catastrophic loss on a mission that, but for a change in weather, was supposed to go to Charlie Company.

On July 17, Charlie’s 2nd Platoon was refitting at Taji when they got a call to go back to Adhamiya. They were to patrol Route Southern Comfort, which had been black — off-limits — for months. Charlie Company knew a 500-pound bomb lay on that route, and they’d been ordered not to travel it. “Will there be route clearance?” 2nd Platoon asked. “Yes,” they were told. “Then we’ll go.”

But the mission was canceled. The medevac crews couldn’t fly because of a dust storm, and the Iraqi Army wasn’t ready for the mission. Second Platoon went to bed.

They woke to the news that Alpha Company had gone on the mission instead and one of their Bradleys rolled over the 500-pound IED. The Bradley flipped. The explosion and flames killed everybody inside. Alpha Company lost four soldiers: Spc. Zachary Clouser, Spc. Richard Gilmore, Spc. Daniel Gomez and Sgt. 1st Class Luis Gutierrez-Rosales.

“There was no chance,” said Johnson, whose scouts remained at Apache and served as the quick-reaction force that day. “It was eerily the same as June 21. You roll up on that, and it looked the same.”

The guys from Charlie Company couldn’t help but think about the similarities — and that it could have been them.

“Just the fact that there was another Bradley incident mentally screwed up 2nd Platoon,” Strickland said. “It was almost like it had happened to them.”

The battalion gave 2nd Platoon the day to recover, then they were scheduled to go back out on patrol in Adhamiya on July 18.

But when Strickland returned from a mission, he learned 2nd Platoon had failed to roll.

“A scheduled patrol is a direct order from me,” Strickland said.

“‘They’re not coming,’” Strickland said he was told. “So I called the platoon sergeant and talked to him. ‘Remind your guys: These are some of the things that could happen if they refuse to go out.’ I was irritated they were thumbing their noses. I was determined to get them down there.”

But, he said, he didn’t know the whole platoon, except for Ybay, had taken sleeping medications prescribed by mental health that day, according to Ybay.

Strickland didn’t know mental health leaders had talked to 2nd Platoon about “doing the right thing.”

He didn’t know 2nd Platoon had gathered for a meeting and determined they could no longer function professionally in Adhamiya — that several platoon members were afraid their anger could set loose a massacre.

“We said, ‘No.’ If you make us go there, we’re going to light up everything,” DeNardi said. “There’s a thousand platoons. Not us. We’re not going.”

They decided as a platoon that they were done, DeNardi and Cardenas said, as did several other members of 2nd Platoon. At mental health, guys had told the therapist, “I’m going to murder someone.” And the therapist said, “There comes a time when you have to stand up,” 2nd Platoon members remembered. For the sake of not going to jail, the platoon decided they had to be “unplugged.”

Ybay had gone to battalion to speak up for his guys and ask for more time. But when he came back, it was with orders to report to Old Mod.

Ybay said he tried to persuade his men to go out, but he could see they were not ready.

“It was like a scab that wouldn’t heal up,” Ybay said. “I couldn’t force them to go out. Listening to them in the mental health session, I could hear they’re not ready.”

At 2 a.m, Ybay said, he’d found his men sitting outside smoking cigarettes. They could not sleep. Some of them were taking as many as 10 sleeping pills and still could not rest. The images of their dead friends haunted them. The need for revenge ravaged them.

But Ybay was still disappointed in his men. “I had a mission,” he said. “The company had a mission. We still had to execute. But I understood their side, too.”

Somehow, the full course of events didn’t make it to Strickland. All he knew, the commander said, was his men had refused an order, and he was determined to get them to Apache.

“When you’re given an order, you’ve got to execute,” Strickland said. “Being told, ‘They’re not coming,’ versus, ‘They’re taking meds and went to mental health,’ are different things. It was just this weird situation where almost nothing connected.”

A revolt in the ranks

“They called it an act of mutiny,” Cardenas said, still enraged that the men he considered heroes were, in his mind, slandered. “The sergeant major and the battalion commander said we were unprofessional. They said they were disappointed in us and would never forget our actions for the rest of their lives.”

But no judicial action ever came of it.

“Captain Strickland read us our rights,” DeNardi said. “We had 15 yes-or-no questions, and no matter how you answered them, it looked like you disobeyed an order. No one asked what happened. And there’s no record — no article 15. Nothing to show it happened.”

After the members of 2nd Platoon had spent a year fighting for each other and watching their buddies die, battalion leaders began breaking up the platoon. Seven noncommissioned officers were told they were being relieved for cause and moved out of the unit. Three noncommissioned officers stayed at Old Mod. Two, including Sgt. Derrick Jorcke, would remain in Iraq for one month after 2nd Platoon went home in October because they had been moved to different battalions in different areas of Iraq.

“In a way, they were put someplace where they wouldn’t have to go out again,” Johnson said. “But as an NCO, they took these guys’ leaders away and put them with people they didn’t know and trust. You knew 2nd Platoon would die for you without a second’s hesitation. That’s what made them so great. These guys need each other.”

Then, they were all flagged: No promotions. No awards. No favorable actions.

“We had PFCs miss [promotion to] specialist for two months,” DeNardi said. “Bronze Stars and [Army Commendation Medals] were put on hold. You’re talking about heroes like Cardenas. These are guys who save lives and they can’t get awards.”

“I didn’t want to punish them,” Strickland said. “I understood what was going on. But they had to understand you couldn’t do something like that and have nothing happen.”

And things could not continue as they had. Strickland could not operate for three more months with a platoon that refused to go out.

“Within the company, we made some adjustments,” Strickland said. “They needed a fresh start. After looking into it, I didn’t feel the need to punish anybody.” However, he left the flags in place.

“If anything was going to be punishment, that was it,” he said. For at least one soldier, that meant going through a promotion board again. Jorcke lost his promotion table status, but Strickland signed a memo re-establishing it. “I’ve tried to fix those issues. Almost everybody else has been promoted except one guy.” Jorcke made his E-6 on Nov. 1.

Even after the “mutiny,” Strickland said, he had a great deal of admiration for his soldiers.

“I understood why they did what they did,” he said. “Some of the NCOs, I was disappointed in them because they failed to lead their soldiers through difficult times. They let their soldiers influence their decisions. But on a personal level, I applauded their decision because they stood behind their soldiers. I was disappointed, but I thought they had great courage. It was truly a Jekyll/Hyde moment for me.”

And though they were horrified at being torn away from each other, the soldiers themselves were conflicted about the outcome.

“For us being disbanded, now we definitely had unfinished business,” Jorcke said. “If we’d cleared Adhamiya, we could have said, ‘I left Iraq and my buddies didn’t die in vain.

“But in a way, the disbanding was good,” he said. “We — what was left of the platoon — got to come back home alive.”
FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

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U.S. Soldiers Stage Mutiny, Refuse Orders in Iraq Fearing They Would Commit Massacre in Revenge for IED Attack

Sympathy for the Occupiers-Democracy Now!: Ambivalent on Occupation?

Ohio Secretary of State confirms 2004 election could have been stolen by Bob Fitrakis & Harvey Wasserman

Dandelion Salad

by Bob Fitrakis & Harvey Wasserman
The Free Press
December 14, 2007

Ohio’s Secretary of State announced this morning that a $1.9 million official study shows that “critical security failures” are embedded throughout the voting systems in the state that decided the 2004 election. Those failures, she says, “could impact the integrity of elections in the Buckeye State.” They have rendered Ohio’s vote counts “vulnerable” to manipulation and theft by “fairly simple techniques.”

Indeed, she says, “the tools needed to compromise an accurate vote count could be as simple as tampering with the paper audit trail connector or using a magnet and a personal digital assistant.”

In other words, Ohio’s top election official has finally confirmed that the 2004 election could have been easily stolen.

Brunner’s stunning findings apply to electronic voting machines used in 58 of Ohio’s 88 counties, in addition to scanning devices and central tabulators used on paper ballots in much of the rest of the state.

Brunner is calling for widespread changes to the way Ohio casts and counts its ballots. Her announcement follows moves by California Secretary of State Deborah Bowen to disqualify electronic voting machines in the nation’s biggest state.

In tandem, these two reports add a critical state-based dimension to the growing mountain of evidence that the US electoral system is rife with insecurities. Reports from the Brennan Center, the Carter-Baker Commission, the Government Accountability Office, the Conyers Committee Task Force Report, Princeton University and others have offered differing perspectives that add up to the same conclusion.

Coming in the state that decided the 2004 election for George W. Bush, Brunner’s confirmation of the electoral system’s vulnerabilities adds huge new weight to the charge that the Buckeye State’s vote count was stolen.

In a series of investigative reports dating to well before the 2004 election, the Columbus Free Press and Freepress.org have documented several dozen different means used by the Bush-Cheney re-election campaign to steal the official 2004 vote count.

The final official tally for Bush—less than 119,000 votes out of 5.4 million cast—varied by 6.7% from exit poll results, which showed a Kerry victory. Exit polls in 2004 were designed to have a margin of error of about 1%.

In various polling stations in Democrat-rich inner city precincts in Youngstown and Columbus, voters who pushed touch screens for Kerry saw Bush’s name light up. A wide range of discrepancies on both electronic and paper balloting systems leaned almost uniformly toward the Bush camp. Voting procedures regularly broke down in inner city and campus areas known to be heavily Democratic.

In direct violation of standing federal election law, 56 of Ohio’s 88 counties have since destroyed all or part of their 2004 election data. The materials were additionally protected by a federal court injunction in the King-Lincoln-Bronzeville federal civil rights lawsuit (in which we are attorney and plaintiff). To date, no state or federal prosecutions have resulted from this wholesale destruction of presidential election records, including 1.6 million ballots, cast and uncast, needed for definitive auditing procedures. However, two Cuyahoga County (Cleveland) election officials have been convicted of felony manipulation of an official recount. The Cleveland Plain-Dealer, the state’s largest newspaper, recently editorialized that there is “no evidence” the 2004 election was stolen, but omitted mention of the destruction of the electoral records by more than half the counties in the state. The Plain-Dealer and other mainstream media have consistently ignored findings by the Free Press and others indicating widespread manipulation and theft of the kind Brunner has now confirmed was eminently do-able within the Ohio system.

Brunner says “the results underscore the need for a fundamental change in the structure of Ohio’s election system to ensure ballot and voting system security while still making voting convenient and accessible to all Ohio voters.” Among other things, she advocates replacing touch-screen machines with optical-scan units that include a paper balloting system.

The study was managed by the Battelle Corporation, and conducted by Columbus-based MicroSolved Inc., SysTest Labs of Denver along with a consortium of academic subcontractors. It was reviewed by a dozen county officials, and included scrutiny of voting systems produced by Election Systems & Software (ES&S), Hart Intercivic and Premier Election Solutions (formerly Diebold).

Brunner is the Democratic successor to Republican J. Kenneth Blackwell, who administered the 2004 election as Secretary of State while also serving as state co-chair of the Bush-Cheney campaign. The report comes as part of her pledge to guarantee a fair and reliable vote count in the upcoming 2008 presidential election.

Under Blackwell, Ohio spent some $100 million installing electronic voting machines as part of the Help America Vote Act, passed by Congress in the wake of the scandals surrounding the 2000 election. Former Ohio Congressman Bob Ney, HAVA’s principle author, now resides in a federal prison, in part for illegalities surrounding his dealings with voting machine companies.

Blackwell, who was defeated in a 2006 race for the Ohio governorship, outsourced web hosting responsibilities for the 2004 vote count to a programming firm that also programmed the web site for the 2000 Bush-Cheney campaign. Blackwell’s chosen host site for the state’s vote count was in the basement of the Old Pioneer Bank Building in Chattanooga, Tennessee, where the servers for the Republican National Committee, and the Bush White House, were also located.

Brunner has now recommended that all Ohio’s voting be done on optical scan ballots, with reliance on central tabulation. Voters with disabilities could use AutoMark machines with bar coding devices that allow the marking of ballots with little or no additional assistance.

“It’s a testament to our state’s boards of elections officials that elections on the new (federally) mandated voting systems have gone as smoothly as they have in light of these findings,” Brunner said.

Conversely, it is also a testament to the ease with which the 2004 election was stolen by election officials who had clear conflicts of interest aimed at keeping George W. Bush in the White House.


Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman are co-authors of HOW THE GOP STOLE AMERICA’S 2004 ELECTION & IS RIGGING 2008 (www.freepress.org) and of WHAT HAPPENED IN OHIO? (The New Press) with Steve Rosenfeld. THE FITRAKIS FILES are available at http://www.freepress.org, where this article first appeared. Wasserman’s SOLARTOPIA! OUR GREEN-POWERED EARTH, A.D. 2030, is at http://www.solartopia.org.

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Bill Moyers Journal: Keith Olbermann + Massing of the Media + Dr. Ronald Walters (video; links)

Updated: Dec. 15, 2007 11:12 AM

Videos below.

Dandelion Salad

PBS

Keith Olbermann (excerpt)

To watch online visit: Video link

What’s on Keith Olbermann’s mind about the media? This week, as Rupert Murdoch takes over the Wall Street Journal and as the FCC is about to allow more newspapers to expand into the broadcast business, BILL MOYERS JOURNAL continues its reporting on media consolidation and gets insight from MSNBC’s popular and provocative Keith Olbermann.

Check your local listings at: http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/abo…

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Keith Olbermann

Bill Moyers Journal
PBS
December 14, 2007

“I don’t care if you’re a Democrat or a Republican,” said Keith Olbermann in a recent interview with NPR.”You’re not doing what you said you were going to do. You have not restored habeas corpus fully. We’re still in Gitmo. We’re still in Iraq. We’re not out fast enough. These are still going to be issues. They don’t go away with George Bush.”

The launch of COUNTDOWN on MSNBC in March 2003 coincided with the American invasion of Iraq, yet Olbermann did not begin delivering the types of extended commentaries for which he is most known until August 2006. According to ROLLING STONE, Olbermann:

“…was stuck in a plane on a runway and happened to read that Donald Rumsfeld had compared war critics to Nazi appeasers. That night he ended COUNTDOWN with a furious six-and-a-half-minute attack that began, ‘The man who sees absolutes where all other men see nuances and shades of meaning is either a prophet or a quack. Donald H. Rumsfeld is not a prophet.'”

Video link

Massing of the Media

Bill Moyers Journal
PBS
December 14, 2007

Video link

 

Bill Moyers talks with Dr. Ronald Walters

Bill Moyers Journal
PBS
December 14, 2007


Bill Moyers’ guest Dr. Ronald Walters is well-placed to evaluate how race will play out in the presidential race. Dr. Walters worked for both of Jesse Jackson’s presidential campaigns, and is the author of, among other books, BLACK PRESIDENTIAL POLITICS IN AMERICA: A STRATEGIC APPROACH. Walters notes there is no platform as powerful as a race for president: “We don’t get much of a shot in the media… And so this theater is the biggest in the country. And this is the time to get these issues out. And if we can’t do it through an African American then we have to do it, oddly through other kinds of dynamic instrumentalities.”

Video link

Updated: Dec. 15, 2007 11:12 AM

researchris2

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Is junk media making you sick??? (video; Action Alert)

More Media Disinformation? FCC Proposes Greater Media Consolidation by Stephen Lendman

FCC and media consolidation (video)

Bill Moyers Journal: Media Ownership Rules (video; Action Alert)

Olbermann-Keith

Faux & Friends: Dennis Kucinich Interview (video)

Dandelion Salad

Ryokibin

How bad do they want to get him to say this is all a conspiracy against him. Through the whole interview the only thing they try to get him to say is it was all a conspiracy to keep him out.

Now it might be true, but come on give the guy some time to talk about the issues he believes in, instead of bring up a debate he did not get to be apart of. Give him some of the debate questions to counter balance him not being in the debate. Oh guess that makes not sense. Added: December 14, 2007

see

The Death Of Democracy – Silence The Opposition! by Michael O’McCarthy

Dennis Kucinich and Thursday’s Iowa Debate By Jean Hay Bright

Dennis Kucinich for President – Contribute

http://december152007.com/

Kucinich-Dennis