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Alaska Native Women React to Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s Racist Vote on VAWA – Updated

11:02 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

Portait of Lisa Murkowski

Alaska's Senator Lisa Murkowski continues to defend a Violence Against Women Act special rule that many call racist.

A battle is brewing in Alaska over how to interpret Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s involvement in, and final vote upon, Senate Bill 47, the Violence Against Women Act.  Murkowski was a co-sponsor of the bill, and has been proclaiming for weeks her progressive role in this important legislation. On February 27th, her main media supporter in Alaska, the Alaska Dispatch posted:

WASHINGTON, DC – Senator Lisa Murkowski reached out to Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) along with two of her Senate colleagues and urged the Speaker to take up the Senate-passed S.47 Violence Against Women Act reauthorization act.

The Violence Against Women Act reauthorization – which Senator Murkowski co-sponsored –passed the Senate two weeks ago with the support of 78 Senators and over 1300 organizationsrepresenting domestic and sexual violence groups like the AWAIC shelter in Anchorage. A champion of this legislation, Murkowski joined Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Mike Crapo (R-ID) in writing a letter to Boehner advocating for action on the Senate version of the bill.

Yet, as the bill approached final voting and passage, Murkowski insinuated herself into its structure regarding the vast majority of Alaska Native women:

Our senior senator, Republican Lisa Murkowski, added a “Special Rule for the State of Alaska” to the VAWA. That rule effectively bars 40 percent of American tribes from being able to protect their women. Our senator excluded 229 Alaska communities from that part of the act.

The Association of Village Council Presidents and the Aleut community of St. Paul Island spoke out against the Alaska exclusion. The Alaska Inter-Tribal Council said it “objects to anti-Alaska Tribal Provisions in the Violence Against Women Act.”

The Tanana Chiefs Conference opposed it. The Native American Rights Fund led the charge against it.

The AFN wrote to the senator: “Although Alaska Natives comprise only 15.2 percent of the population of the State of Alaska, they comprise 47 percent of the victims of domestic violence and 61 percent of the victims of sexual assault.”

Murkowski ignored their requests.

The above, written by Anchorage Daily News opinion columnist Shannyn Moore, got under Murkowski’s skin.  On Facebook, she wrote:

I am discouraged by Ms. Moore’s research and I am disheartened by the attempt to score partisan points on an issue that should be above politics.

Apparently, Murkoski had second thoughts, because the comment is no longer there.  See Update.

The Native American Rights Fund issued this statement on Murkowski’s racist stance:

Almost 100 tribes in Alaska had opposed this exclusion. The Association of Village Council Presidents (A VCP), representing 56 tribes, and the Aleut Community of St. Paul Island (ACSPI) had both issued very clear and direct press releases opposing the Alaska exclusion. The Tanana Chiefs Conference (TCC), representing 37 tribes, also opposed the Alaska exclusion. Taken together, this represents one sixth of the tribes in the United States that demanded the Alaska exclusion be removed. Senator Lisa Murkowski, who authored the Alaska exclusion apparently at the urging of the Alaska Attorney General’s office, rebuffed all requests to remove the exclusion.

“We are tired of the separate but equal treatment that Alaska tribes receive from courts and Congress,” said NARF Staff Attorney Natalie Landreth. “They are tribes just like tribes in the Lower 48 and they are entitled to be treated like all other tribes. These exclusions, which have found their way into numerous bills over the years, say to Alaska’s tribes that they are different and lesser than other tribes. In the case of VAWA, it means that Alaska Native women are less deserving of protection, less important. I find that unconscionable.”

Commenters at Moore’s ADN op-ed are livid:

As an Alaska Native woman, I feel personally “targeted” by Murkowski’s move to leave so many communities (229!), mine included probably, out of the Violence Against Women’s Act. As one of her constituents, I feel that she did me a great, and very personal, disservice! I hope that those who practically moved little bits of heaven and earth to get her re-elected remember it at the next election.

It also doesn’t seem “kosher” for a governor, and Attorney General of a state, to NOT push for more safety measures to fight violence against women, anywhere. So much for Parnell’s “choose respect” campaign. Not only is his stance disrespectful to women of a certain race, it is going against the very “choose respect” stance that he says is so important in rural Alaska. All of their actions smack of blatant disrespect, in more ways than one. Elected politicians are to seek and ensure protections for their constituents, not obstruct them.

Many other commenters expressed similar concerns.

Shopping today in Anchorage, I bumped into a longtime friend, an Alaska Native woman, employed by a large Native corporation, dependent upon Murkowski’s Senatorial largesse. Asking her about the Senator’s vote, she all but spat out, “That bitch!  She Fucked us!  Don’t quote me on this….”

Why did Murkoski fuck over Alaska Natives in this racist way?  Moore explains that it is over resources and the senator’s ties to the Parnell administration:

Read the rest of this entry →

Was Palin’s Latest Quit Enough Reason to Write Another Chapter of “Saradise Lost”? – After Watching Broomfield’s “You Betcha!” – Nah

10:43 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

Palin+toast-1

[author's note:  My real name is Phil Munger, as most longtime fdl pups already know.  I've lived in or near Wasilla since 1983, and have known Sarah Palin since 1990]

The announcements at the end of last week, broken first at Malia Litman’s blog, that Sarah Palin would not be renewing her contract with FOX News, didn’t surprise many.  It certainly didn’t surprise me.

It did drive Palin back into the news for a few brief hours, though.  She even made it to the top of Twitter for about six hours.  It may be the last time she’s able to do that.

Her supporters don’t view it that way.  I commented at TBogg’s obligatory post on her latest quit, in response to monoceros4:

monoceros4:

She’s gonna run for office again, I predict, with no real intention of winning. It’ll just be about making a lot of noise and (more importantly) collecting all that sweet sweet campaign money.

Edward Teller:

Her followers are chipping in already:

We should all go to Sarahpac and donate today, in a show of thanks and solidarity!! I’m going right now.

I soooo wish I had some extra money right now!!!

Me too!

I know, the economy is not the greatest, Obama is blasting us every day, it is after the holidays, etc. Hopefully a lot of people will at least be able to scrounge up a few dollars to make a statement in quality if not in quantity!!

I all but stopped writing about Sarah Palin after October 5, 2011, when Palin announced she would not be a GOP primary candidate for the 2012 presidential race.  I’ve got enough to do already, with 2.5 jobs, and with my wife handling more work than that, and sometimes needing my support.

And there’s another thing.  Even thinking about what Palin brought me, a lot of my friends, Wasilla – where I live, Alaska, and people outside Alaska through, gives me the creeps.

Even though I no longer feel compelled (until now) to write about Palin, a lot of others do.  Basically, they fall into four camps:

1).  Her avid devotees The Zombies.

2).  The Palin haters, most of whom still standing represent die-hard Trig Truthers.

3).  Unfortunate reporters, assigned the Palin beat at their media outlet.

4).  Gossip columnists who still get an uptick in hits when her name is in a headline.

Back to Palin giving me the creeps.

When she first made national news in late August 2008, I was torn between getting the truth out and an inner fear that someone might harm me, my family or one of our pets.  Some of the news reports, blog articles and books about Wasilla and Palin that have come out in the succeeding 4.5 years have thoroughly documented that my concern was warranted.

But I got sucked into the phenomenon of close Palin coverage.  And I did my job, which was to just plain get the fucking truth out about an incredibly poor VP choice, from a local perspective.  After Palin and McCain went down, the important part of the job was truly over, but Palin was such a changed governor, that the ride went on.

When she quit as governor, I was ready to quit the Palin beat too.  Unfortunately, she was already riding the rise of the Tea Party and her resonance with the rural, less educated part of the GOP base.

Then, when she made her “blood libel” remarks after the Tucson shootings, most knew she was finished as a national figure.  However, she was making a lot of money through SarahPAC, and – let’s face it – she was no more of a clown than any of the other GOP primary candidates in early 2011.

Palin did strike out at some of the local Alaska bloggers who wrote critical articles, and who were interviewed for national media stories:

The first was Linda Kellen Biegel, who had filed an ethics complaint about Palin wearing snowmobile company-provided clothing with their logos, while officiating at an opening ceremony in which her husband participated.

Then she attacked radio commentator and blogger Shannyn Moore, for merely reporting there was speculation Palin was resigning as governor because of a criminal investigation.  I had reported the same thing, but Moore was more of a threat, so she was threatened with litigation.

Far worse, Palin’s supporters sought to utterly destroy Anchorage blogger, Jesse Griffin, for his persistent articles questioning the Trig Palin birth narrative.

When I posted a poll at my blog, asking whether the term “saint” or “slut” (the former term got 15%, the latter got 85%) was more applicable to Palin, a Palin Zombie blog recommended following me, posting my address, calling my employer to complain (all of which had happened to Griffin).

Three weeks later, my Outback’s engine seized up, having been drained of the oil I had checked and topped off 280 miles earlier.  It took me a while to figure out how it had been done.  Had to get a new engine.

I now lock my cars.  And we constantly check our oil.

As irrelevant as Palin should always have been outside Alaska, there must be some lessons to be learned here.  The summations in Geoffrey Dunn’s The Lies of Sarah Palin, Joe McGinniss’ The Rogue and other critical works on Palin’s rise and stumbling only go so far, as she was still a “player.”

Dunn’s book was dignified.

McGinniss’ was hilarious.

Nick Broomfield’s film on Palin, for British media, You Betcha!  made me throw up.

His film may be the last major attempt to portray Palin’s Wasilla background that gets major play.  It has been available for months, and segments on youtube for weeks.  I’d been avoiding it, as I knew it would be creepy, and suspected I’d be in it.  I am (beginning at 31:36).  I truly did not want to immerse myself back into this for 90 minutes, but given the coverage of Palin’s fallout with FOX, and its significance, I had to watch it.

It is creepier than I imagined it would be.  It should be.  The cheap, Twin Peaks music is actually appropriate.  Watching it, and hearing people I’ve known for years express their fear of Palin’s hold over her advocates didn’t just give me the willies.

About 15 minutes into the film, I went out into the two feet of snow behind my boat.

I puked.

And puked.

Again and again.

Until all the bile having had to think about her for the past three days had brought was purged.

Thank God it is far from my garden, far from my well.

I covered it up, so my dog won’t find it before the ravens do.

You Betcha! – by Nick Broomfield:

Occupy Anchorage – October 8, 2011

1:49 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

Occupy Anchorage Sign-making tables

Last night, I posted an essay expressing my sense of frustration about the current state of protest in Alaska, after having attended the “Occupy Anchorage” event yesterday afternoon.   Interesting comments, especially this predictably anonymous one:

Oh, Phil. You’re not “jaded,” you’re just lazy. What efforts did YOU contribute, other than sitting on your ass yappin’ with Kelly Walters throughout the entire thing, so you could bash people afterward? You couldn’t even be bothered to take your own photos while there and have to poach those of a fellow blogger (whom you also habitually trash, of course). If you want causes and events to be better, how ’bout putting forth a modicum of effort yourself, instead of lazily throwing derision from the sidelines?

Sweeeeet.

Here are the poll results.  I was only able to poll about 25 people, as I wanted to hear the speeches, and people began drifting away rapidly after the last speakers had their turns.  Not everyone answered every question, so numbers vary, as at some of my earlier tea party movement polls.

Did you show up more in solidarity with the issues of Occupy Wall Street, or over concern about Alaska issues:

National solidarity – 4
Alaska solidarity – 21

What Alaska issue concerns you the most: Read the rest of this entry →

FDL Book Salon Preview: The Rogue – By Joe McGinniss (The Hate Continues)

1:41 am in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

The Rogue - Searching for the Real Sarah Palin

The Rogue - Searching for the Real Sarah Palin

[This is the extended version of the preface to Sunday's Firedoglake Book Salon, which was limited to about 1,000 words.]

I. Longtime journalist and award-winning author Joe McGinniss’ newest book, The Rogue, is the latest – but by no means last – book about Sarah Palin.  Palin is not only the most famous Alaskan in history, she has uniquely combined political activity, celebrity, motherhood, grandmotherhood, a spousal relationship, borderline religious beliefs, professional victimhood, the American gossip universe, pop culture, legal obfuscation, new media and social networking.  Increasingly known for being thin-skinned and somewhat lacking in spatial awareness,  Palin, more than any American politician in a generation or so, almost begged McGinniss – or any investigative author – to move next door.  As I wrote here last year, a couple of days after McGinniss was able to do just that:

[A]uthor Joe McGinnis, who is writing a critical book about Sarah Palin, was looking for a place in Wasilla to rent this summer, as he continues his research. He was offered the house next door to the Palins’ Lake Lucille cult compound-in-progress. He wasn’t looking for the place. It came looking for him. What would you do?

Having spent time with McGinniss at the crucial point between when he moved in, and the Palins’ reaction to their new neighbor set in concrete the scene for how the book played out, I can say that Joe really was hoping to be able to just be their next-door neighbor.  He did not want to make waves, and was hoping to sit down with Sarah and Todd socially, perhaps professionally, and go through notes with them as work proceeded.  I’m not kidding.

What ended up happening was another over-reaction by Sarah, similar to many those of us who had been watching her for a long time had witnessed before.  Her facebook people went all professional victim for her and, to quote Palin in another context – “Game on!” Read the rest of this entry →

Saturday Art: Peter & The Wolf In Anchorage – Narrated By 2009 Gilliard Award Winner Shannyn Moore

9:53 am in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

Last Saturday the Anchorage Civic Orchestra performed its 2011 Spring concert.  This year, the theme was Russian Pops, featuring Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s Dance of the Tumblers, from his early opera, The Snow Maiden; the Notturno from Alexander Borodin’s 2nd String Quartet (arranged for strings); Dmitri Shostakovich’s Waltz from the Soviet agitprop film, The First Echelon (in my own arrangement); Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s Festival Overture – 1812; and Serge Prokofiev’s perennial children’s favorite, Peter and the Wolf.  I conducted the concert.

The narrator for Peter and the Wolf was 2009 Steve Gilliard Award winner, Shannyn Moore.  Moore is best known nationally as having been the voice of Alaska’s liberals for the rest of the country during the period between the selection of Sarah Palin as John McCain’s running mate in the 2008 presidential race, and Palin’s resignation as governor in July, 2009.  Since then, Moore has gone on to guest host for Thom Hartmann on his nationally syndicated radio program. Her weekly hour-long television program, Moore Up North, and her daily radio talk show (carried on iTunes via KXLJ Juneau) is the lone regularly scheduled voice for Alaska’s thriving, if outnumbered progressive community.  Shannyn regularly contributes articles to The Mudflats and to The Huffington Post. She currently is featured weekly as an op-ed writer for the Anchorage Daily News.

The Anchorage Civic Orchestra is one of three decent orchestras in that city, the others being the Anchorage Symphony and the Anchorage Youth Symphony (one of the better youth symphonies in the country for a town of 300,000).  For our concert, which added extra woodwinds, brass and percussion, I recruited students from the University of Alaska Anchorage, where I teach.

The story told in Peter and the Wolf is well known.  Prokofiev wrote it soon after his return from abroad to the USSR, in 1936.  It was commissioned by the Moscow Children’s Theater.  Written in four days (!!!), the use of woodwind instruments, the French horns, timpani and the string section to portray the story’s characters with their own identifying themes, resonates tremendously.  The composer wrote specific lines for the narrator, but since after World War II, many versions of Peter and the Wolf have  departed from the composer’s lines:

Walt Disney, in his portrayals of the story, has provided a happier ending for the duck – who Prokofiev had allowed the wolf to swallow whole.

Peter Schickele, in his guise as P.D.Q. Bach, reset the story in the old West, as Sneaky Pete and the Wolf.
Read the rest of this entry →

In Alaska, Sen. Mark Begich’s Brother Explains How Scott McAdams Can Beat Joe Miller and Lisa Murkowski

9:14 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

Alaska artist and political wonk, Tom Begich, was on Moore Up North today. Tom is U.S. Sen. Mark Begich’s brother. Along with brother Dr. Nick Begich, Jr, Tom is far more progressive than Mark. Tom borrowed my classroom blackboard from the University of Alaska Anchorage to illustrate two important things – why Sen. Lisa Murkowski cannot win on November 2nd as a write-in, and how close Scott McAdams may really be.

Here’s Tom’s segment from the show:

The rest of the show – a long, detailed and sometimes quite humorous interview with Democratic Party U.S. Senate candidate Scott McAdams – may be viewed here.

Joe Miller keeps on getting slammed in the Alaska press and blogs, perhaps more than any GOP candidate in a statewide race since John Lindauer, back in 1998.  . . . Read the rest of this entry →

Exxon Valdez Oil on Alaska Beaches – July 4th 2010

12:45 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

Last weekend, while millions of Americans gorged on hot dogs, burgers, beers, cokes and fries, 2009 Alaska Muckraker of the Year, Jeanne Devon, 2009 Steve Gilliard Award winner, Shannyn Moore, and environmental writer-blogger Zach Roberts gagged on the fumes of oil that still reeks and seeps out of the intertidal zones on the shores of Knight Island, in Alaska’s once pristine Prince William Sound. Here’s Jeanne’s video:

Jeanne, Shannyn and Zach have all posted articles and photos at their blogs, and Shannyn will be talking about their experience on her radio program-webcast today, beginning right about now (12:10 p.m. PDT).

By the way, here’s a photo of the blighted denizen of Bligh Reef, the Exxon Valdez, uh – the Exxon Mediterranean, uh – the Sag River Mediterranean, uh – the Mediterranean uh – the Dong Fang Ocean. No matter how far the vessel can be distanced from its benighted name, Knight Island is still spoiled and polluted from the Exxon Valdez’s spewed cargo.

21 years and four months later.

Dahr Jamail and Others on the Ft. Hood Shootings & How Will Lieberman Conduct His Promised Hearings?

6:33 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

I. The term "homeland security" has bothered a lot of people from all through the American political spectrum since it was coined back in late 2001, in the wake of the September 11th airplane hijackings and crashes, and the September 18th-November 16th anthrax attacks.

On March 1, 2003, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security was created, as a cabinet level department of the U.S. Government.

Independent Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman has been the chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs since early 2007, when the Senate was reorganized in recognition of the 2006 election results. The committee, which has six subcommittees, has been criticized since the beginning of Lieberman’s term as chair for not investigating a number of events that seem to fall under its purview. Most notably, in 2006 Lieberman – while running desperately as the head of Connecticut For Lieberman Party, in a successful bid to keep his Senate seat – promised to investigate why Bush’s administrators "could…. have left us with so many of those agencies so unprepared that when Katrina struck too many of them ran around like “Keystone Cops,” uncertain about what they were supposed to do, or unable to do it?"

But when Lieberman took up the committee’s gavel, he dropped investigative plans:

"The senator believes a more productive use of his time and that of his staff is to make sure legislative fixes are implemented and ensure that a response to a future catastrophe is better," Philips said. "The senator feels the American public has already concluded that the White House response was sorely lacking. Rather than take on the White House and open an old fight, he believes he can be more productive by moving forward."

Since Lieberman has taken over this committee, a lot of egregious problems having an adverse impact upon American long-term homeland security have come to light. Lieberman hasn’t sought to investigate any of them:

• The Bush administration’s Katrina response
• The continuing award of contracts to defense contractors who routinely steal millions from U.S. taxpayers
• Why the anthrax investigation led nowhere
• Huge cost overruns on the so-called border security system on the U.S.-Mexican border
• The hounding of Jewish and non-fundamentalist Christian soldiers by fundamentalists-in-uniform, leading to a number of suicides and AWOL cases
• How the dismal state of U.S. health care infrastructure leaves us insecure

Here’s how a commenter at Crooks & Liars posed a question to Lieberman’s committee:

Why wasn’t Bush impeached for lying about the Niger "yellowcake?"

Why wasn’t Cheney indicted for outing Valorie Plame? Why wasn’t Bush impeached for lying about WMD’s?

Why wasn’t Cheney indicted for shooting his hunting partner in the face… while DRUNK?

Why wasn’t Turdblossem indicted for politicizing the Justice department?

Why wasn’t the Republican Party investigated for SCAMMING the Ohio vote in 2004?

Why weren’t Cheney and Rumsfeld indicted for authorizing TORTURE in Army prisons? Joe,

WHERE WERE YOU when all that was going on?

II. On October 18th, Salon’s Glenn Greenwald wrote a column – part of a series – about the observations of Davide Rohde, the New York Times reporter who had been a prisoner of the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan for seven months. Greenwald observes that Rohde wasn’t ill-treated by his captors (as some Americans certainly have been):

Rohde explains that the Taliban automatically believe that journalists — especially American journalists — are spies. Despite that belief, the Taliban never waterboarded him, never hung him naked in a cold room to induce hypothermia, never stuffed him in a coffin-like box as punishment, never deprived him of sleep to the point of severe disorientation, and instead adhered to their commitment regarding "the good treatment of prisoners." We might want to think about what that means about us. That many of the Taliban are inhumane, brutal and barbaric extremists only underscores that point further.

Rohde himself observed about the first weeks of his captivity:

For the next several nights, a stream of Haqqani commanders overflowing with hatred for the United States and Israel visited us, unleashing blistering critiques that would continue throughout our captivity.

Some of their comments were factual. They said large numbers of civilians had been killed in Afghanistan, Iraq and the Palestinian territories in aerial bombings. Muslim prisoners had been physically abused and sexually humiliated in Iraq. Scores of men had been detained in Cuba and Afghanistan for up to seven years without charges.

To Americans, these episodes were aberrations. To my captors, they were proof that the United States was a hypocritical and duplicitous power that flouted international law.

When I told them I was an innocent civilian who should be released, they responded that the United States had held and tortured Muslims in secret detention centers for years. Commanders said they themselves had been imprisoned, their families ignorant of their fate. Why, they asked, should they treat me differently?

Rohde himself is now free. At Guantanamo, Bagram, Diego Garcia and secret locations, Americans are detaining hundreds of people without charges.

III. Here’s Lieberman on FAUX News Sunday morning:

More soldiers committed suicide at Fort Hood over the past 50 days than were killed by Maj. Hasan. Lieberman’s characterization of this seems to connect a lot of dots that just aren’t there:

But what we do know on the record from third parties reporting over the last two or three years — that he made a series of statements justifying suicide bombing, comparing it to the bravery of an American soldier who would throw himself on a grenade to protect his colleagues, that he said that — well, he shouted out, according to bystanders at that — while killing the other day at Fort Hood, the words Allah Akbar, an expression of faith in Islam which the Islamist extremists have corrupted. And the fact that he did that at the moment of these murders — if that’s confirmed, of course — raises genuine concerns that this was a terrorist act. I will add to this, Chris, this is not the first attempt by Islamist extremists to strike at American military bases. We’ve broken up plots to go after Fort Dix, Quantico Marine base in Virginia. In fact, the one successful, if I can put it that way, terrorist act that was done in recent years was the individual in Little Rock, Arkansas who walked into an Army recruiting station and killed a recruiter. And there is testimony that Dr. Hasan actually said that he understood that and supported that act.

Glenn Greenwald wrote this past Friday about how inaccurate the initial reporting on the shooting was. This is understandable. Greenwald observes, however, that:

…. having the major media "report" completely false assertions as fact can be quite harmful. It’s often the case that perceptions and judgments about stories like this solidify in the first few hours after one hears about it. The impact of subsequent corrections and clarifications pale in comparison to the impressions that are first formed. Despite that, one false and contradictory claim after the next was disseminated last night by the establishment media with regard to the core facts of the attack.

To Lieberman’s credit, he has promised not to let his committee get in the way of military and police investigations into the Ft. Hood tragedy. He’s such a vile opportunist, though, I can’t imagine him letting this go. It plays toward so many of his themes, especially the perfidy of Islam.

IV. It is a bit eery that Alaska journalist and author Dahr Jamail addressed aspects of the unravelling of our armed forces and the deepening morale problems among members of combat units, on two Alaska radio programs this past week – one before the Ft. Hood attack, one yesterday.

On November 3rd, Jamail was on Alaska Public Radio Network’s Talk of Alaska. He carefully recounted the layers of stress our combat troops are fighting and living under. He observed that the percentage of American troops fighting while under prescription for psychotropic drugs is in the double digits, both in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the percentage of unfit soldiers being called back to duty is rising under the Obama administration, not falling.

I believe Jamail hit upon more of the reasons terribly unbalanced people like Maj. Hasan finally become totally unhinged than will Lieberman. That came out even more fully Saturday evening, when Jamail was the guest on KBYR’s Shannyn Moore Program. Here’s my transcription of a key part of what was an excellent interview:

Moore (referring to Jamail’s APRN interview on the 3rd): There were a couple of things that you said that seemed almost prophetic, in light of this week’s shooting. One of the things that you talked about that has ben so striking for me was that every single day, among our United States veterans, 18 of them take their own lives.

Jamail: It’s shocking That’s actually according to the Veterans Administration. It was obtained through the Freedom of Information Act…..

There have been other incidents like this at Ft. Hood. There’ve been incidents of soldiers killing other soldiers, even within the past few years, just one at a time….

[What happened at Ft. Hood] is really a microcosm of how the repeated deployments, the stress on the soldiers, people not getting the care they need while they’re in the military, certainly not when they get out – Ft. Hood, for example, is a base that averages , so far this year, over ten suicides every single month.

This situation last Friday, this incredible, horrific tragedy, is just another crack in the edifice of a crumbling structure that is the U.S. military that can’t bear the weight of two occupations, one of them escalating by the day.

Moore: …. If 18 Americans a day take their own lives, and if we’re looking at within the past year, by your account, 120 at Ft. Hood have taken their own lives, and when something as horrific as happened this past week, we’re all in this swoon position, like "My GOD! – how could this have happened?" – when it’s been a slow drip every single day.

Jamail: Right, I agree with everything you just said, except that it’s a fast drip every single day. The spigot is open.

In addition to the statistic you talked about, in line with that, according to the Veterans Administration, every single month 1,000 veterans that are technically under the auspices of care of the VA are attempting suicide. Every single month…..

This is really the final desperate act of a veteran that desperately needs help, desperately needs counseling, desperately needs treatment for PTSD. Instead, we see in Iraq, 12% of all the combat troops are on psychotropic medications, and 17% of all the troops in Afghanistan are on psychotropic medications.

We’re seeing people already being diagnosed with severe depression and PTSD and other physical and mental conditions that should make them non-deployable, in fact that DOES list them as non-deployable. But as of last year, more than 43,000 troops that fall into that category that list them as mentally unfit for deploying have been deployed anyway. And these numbers are increasing.

Moore: You know, there was this big rumor that we were going to have "change," that with the changing of the guard with Obama coming in, with George Bush and the "chicken hawks" going out, that we were actually going to be able to get a handle on this. And – I’m sorry – I don’t feel the love here, I don’t feel the change. Can you talk me off the ledge, or is like, you know, you’re not feeling it either?

Jamail: No, I’m on the ledge with you. Obama is the "good cop," following up after "bad cop" Bush. The only change I’ve seen so far is someone who can speak in complete sentences, is charismatic and articulate It’s nice to have a president that can do these things, but beyond that, the only real change we’ve seen, at least on my beat of covering the Middle East, is a massive escalation in Afghanistan. In Iraq, there’s no change. We’ve only seen a minor drawdown of about 10,000 troops. There are still about 124,000 troops in Iraq as we speak.

Jamail goes on to discuss in detail the kinds of neglect our troops continue to suffer under the Obama administration.

V. Between when I began writing this article four hours ago and now, Joe Lieberman’s proposal to investigate the Ft. Hood shootings has gone from way down the Yahoo news story list to the top.

Will Lieberman increase our homeland security by taking care of our troops and veterans? Of course not.

Will he use his hearings to look into the dangerously rising religiosity of troops other than Muslim ones? Of course he won’t.

Will he use his hearings to coordinate actions with FAUX News and others, leading toward further hatred of Americans in the Muslim world? Most likely.

Will he use these hearings to beg further for a crazy war against Iran? Maybe.

Jeffrey Goldberg wrote an interesting post this morning at The Atlantic on aspects of this. It concludes:

I do think that elite makers of opinion in this country try very hard to ignore the larger meaning of violent acts when they happen to be perpetrated by Muslims. Here’s a simple test: If Nidal Malik Hasan had been a devout Christian with pronounced anti-abortion views, and had he attacked, say, a Planned Parenthood office, would his religion have been considered relevant as we tried to understand the motivation and meaning of the attack? Of course. Elite opinion makers do not, as a rule, try to protect Christians and Christian belief from investigation and criticism. Quite the opposite. It would be useful to apply the same standards of inquiry and criticism to all religions.

Goldberg has been fair in the way he has condemned the Christianity-based anti-Semitism of Mel Gibson, for instance, or in characterizing the kind of hatred exemplified by young Israeli Jews toward Obama, as uncovered by Max Blumenthal last spring.

Both Glenn Greenwald and Jeffrey Goldberg have been good at calling the American press to account when they get carried away on a tangent, like the one Sen. Joe Lieberman is about to take us upon. I’m sure that Greenwald’s articles on this will be among the best, as will those from the many writers at the blog firedoglake.

Let us hope that the American press deals responsibly with the circus Lieberman is surely dreaming of putting on for us this coming year, as he finally holds hearings at the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.

Alaska Blogger Shannyn Moore Wins 2009 Steve Gilliard Journalism Grant at Netroots Nation

3:20 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

Who is Shannyn Moore?

She is Alaska’s most courageous, outspoken and mercurial independent commentator. She can build a log cabin or remodel an upscale urban house. She can pilot a limit seiner through a storm in the Gulf of Alaska. She can field dress a moose or a bear.

She can also field dress a lipstick-encrusted pitbull.

Friday morning, at the Netroots Nation Conference in Pittsburgh, Shannyn Moore was awarded the 2009 Steve Gilliard Journalism Grant. Although the amount of the grant, $500.00, isn’t large, it is a great honor for Shannyn, and Alaska bloggers are very proud of her. I’m sure Steve Gilliard would be proud to have his name associated with this gutsy, truth-seeking fighter for liberal values.

As Markos Moulitsas observed about Gilliard:

When reporters ask me when I first started thinking Daily Kos would become something more important, I tell them about the Dean campaign, or about the traffic explosion during the run-up and start of the Iraq War.

But that’s pretty much bullshit. Because the reality is much more mundane, much less sexy — It was the arrival on the site’s comment boards of two people — Meteor Blades and Steve Gilliard.

They were a real revelation to me — I couldn’t believe that people like them, so brilliant, so insightful, so talented, would spend time at my little corner of the world. They inspired me to keep writing, keep building this place. Because if nothing else, I needed to make sure they had a platform upon which to speak.

So they ended up being two of the first contributing editors on Daily Kos. Steve, in fact, was the first person I ever approached with the "guest blogger" offer. And he didn’t waste time getting started, drawing on history of the region and the British occupation of Iraq in the late 1910s to set the stage for what the US would soon face in Iraq. He was frighteningly prescient on Iraq, and it wasn’t the only topic he would consistently nail. He was a credit to the progressive blogosphere.

Read the rest of this entry →

If YOU Could Depose Sarah Palin, What Would YOU Ask Her?

2:00 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

Should soon-to-be-ex-Gov. Sarah Palin’s attorney, Thomas van Flein actually go ahead and sue Alaska blogger Shannyn Moore, or any of the rest of the Alaska bloggers or citizen activists for "malicious" whatever, one of the very likely consequences would be a deposition or depositions of the ex-Gov.

An easy target might be all the lies she has told over the past two weeks. Were any of them or all of them "malicious?"

Is it malicious for her and Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell to inaccurately claim that citizens’ requests for clarification of interpretations of our executive ethics statutes have cost the state "millions," when that appears to be not just wildly inaccurate, but intentionally false?

Is it malicious for her to claim Alaska Natives on the lower Yukon have obtained 50% of their subsistence needs at a time when passing on that lie might hurt these peoples’ ability to have honest efforts directed their way before the short summer there is past?

Was it malicious for Palin to assert that she had made a pact with the Secret Service that didn’t exist?

Was it malicious for Palin to lie to the McCain campaign – repeatedly – about her husband’s level of involvement in the Alaska Independence Party? Read the rest of this entry →