The Least, First

Monte Asbury's blog

Archive for the ‘News’ Category

I.C.E. raids Postville meat-packer; United Methodist Bishop responds

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From the Des Moines Register:

Agriprocessors plantPostville, Ia. – The phone calls started at 5 a.m. They carried the same message: Immigration was coming.[…] Twelve hours later, Hispanic businesses in downtown Postville were shuttered.[…]

The Immigration and Customs Enforcement raid at the Agriprocessors Inc. plant scattered the Hispanics of Postville. About 400 found their way to St. Bridget’s Catholic Church, waiting for information. Some filled out G-28 forms that allow a lawyer to represent their detained children or minors in their care.

A woman who would identify herself only as Judy said she and her husband work at Agriprocessors. The last time she saw him was before his shift Monday, about 5:30 a.m. “No, I don’t know where he is,” she said in Spanish.

Judy said she and her husband came from Mexico illegally. Like many others at St. Bridget’s, they regard the church as a haven from law enforcement. Asked whether the church would indeed be a safe place, Sister Mary McCauley of St. Bridget’s said, “That is our belief and hope.” […]

And from Bishop Palmer of the Iowa United Methodist Church, this rather brave— Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Monte

May 15, 2008 at 3:46 pm

Jeremiah Wright on Bill Moyers Friday, April 25

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Now here’s television serving the public: Bill Moyers will interview Rev. Jeremiah Wright, long-time pastor of Barack Obama, on April 25. What a marvelous chance to hear Wright tell his own story, rather than hearing it sliced and diced by sound-biters.

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Jeremiah Wright to be interviewed by Bill Moyers

In what will be his first interview since snippets of his preaching became a central issue in the U.S. presidential campaign, the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. will speak publicly to veteran journalist and fellow UCC member Bill Moyers.

The interview will be broadcast on Friday evening, April 25, on Bill Moyers Journal, a PBS news series that airs nationally. Check local listings at

Wright retired in March after 36 years as senior pastor of the 8,000-member Trinity UCC in Chicago, where U.S. Sen. Barack Obama has been a member for more than 20 years. Trinity UCC is the largest congregation among the UCC’s 5,700 churches. […]

Following his appearance on Bill Moyers Journal, Wright is scheduled to be the keynote speaker at the NAACP Detroit Branch on Sunday, April 27. He is also slated to speak on Monday, April 28, to a breakfast gathering at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

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Join me, screen-side!

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Written by Monte

April 19, 2008 at 12:46 am

Senator Clinton, does lying have no limits?

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Presidents lie, I guess: LBJ on the Gulf of Tonkin. Nixon on Watergate. Reagan denied involvement in Iran-Contra. Clinton “did not have sex with that woman” (lots of people pay good money to not have sex like that). GWB about … oh, forget it (some of my conservative friends still believe Bush’s statements were well-intentioned mistakes, to which I say, “Dear ones, you are not looking.”)

It comes hard to me to admit all this. I clung to hope that Bush was honest much longer than I should have. It still disappoints me (yes, I’m naive and stupid.)

But friends, Hillary did not mis-speak. In her prepared comments, starting in January, and even after being called on it, she repeated a fairy tale that cast herself as a hero, bravely landing under fire, running for cover. As the girl from the Tuzsla airport recently said, “It is an ugly thing for a politician to tell lies.” Hillary brushed it off as unimportant, just a blip, a result of lack of sleep. Since January. In prepared remarks.

Let me ask you, do you accidentally tell stories about yourself running from gunfire? Wouldn’t people doubt your competence if you did?

Check me out. Here are two reporters’ takes on it. See what you think.

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Written by Monte

April 1, 2008 at 12:19 am

Why the US and Russia care about Kosovo

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“Can they do that?” So I thought when I heard of Kosovo’s secession from Serbia. After all, in America, secession triggered a massive civil war. But when there were congratulations and quick recognition from the President, it all seemed good enough. So I figured this was how it works and I just didn’t understand.

Then the Russians got all exercised, even threatening invasion. Huh?

There had to be more to the story. Why were the US and Russia so aggressively pro and con? I found an answer in a post of Thomas Scahill in Counterpunch.

Turned out both nations have much at stake that isn’t in the headlines.

And hello, déjà-vu. Here’s the story:

In Kosovo, there is . . .

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a massive US military base, Camp Bondsteel, which conveniently is located in an area of tremendous geopolitical interest to Washington.
In November 2005, Alvaro Gil-Robles, the human rights envoy of the Council of Europe, described Bondsteel as a “smaller version of Guantanamo.” Oh, and Bondsteel was constructed by former Halliburton subsidiary KBR.
The Serbian government is largely oriented toward Europe, not the US. The country’s prime minister, Vojislav Kostunica, is not enthusiastic about a US military base on Serbian soil. He charged that, in recognizing Kosovo, Washington was”ready to unscrupulously and violently jeopardize international order for the sake of its own military interests.” To the would-be independent Kosovo government, however, Bondsteel is no problem.
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According to Robert Hayden, Director of the Center for Russian and East European Studies at the University of Pittsburgh: “We have in Serbia a situation in which the U.S. has forced an action –the proclamation of independence by the Kosovo Albanians — that is in clear violation of the most fundamental principles of international law after World War II. Borders cannot be changed by force and without consent — that principle was actually the main stated reason for the 1991 U.S. attack on Iraq.”

So here’s the dope: Washington has fallen all over itself to recognize Kosovo’s illegal secession, and Russia has threatened military intervention, partly because the secession keeps a US military base on Russia’s doorstep (and, guess what, it’s just over the hill from an Asia-to-Europe oil pipeline). To Russia, it must be what Americans would feel if Russians established a military command center a hundred miles on the other side of, say, El Paso.

And once again, Washington’s worldwide military aspirations are the back-story of global conflict.

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Written by Monte

February 25, 2008 at 11:59 am

The New History of the Iraq Invasion

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SaddamBushRobert Parry, in an article for (CBS Falsifies Iraq War History), shows how victors’ versions of things become commonly accepted “truth.” This particular illustration comes from watching Scott Pelley ponder the apparent lunacy of Saddam Hussein on the Jan. 27 episode of CBS’s “60 Minutes.” Pelley interviews an FBI agent who “debriefed” Saddam.

But first, consider the Iraq story we’ve grown to believe:

The officially sanctioned U.S. account, as embraced by Bush in speech after speech, is that Saddam Hussein “chose war” by defying the U.N. over the WMD issue and by misleading the world into believing that he still possessed these weapons. […]

On Jan. 27, 2004, for example, Bush said, “We went to the United Nations, of course, and got an overwhelming resolution – 1441 – unanimous resolution, that said to Saddam, you must disclose and destroy your weapons programs, which obviously meant the world felt he had such programs. He chose defiance. It was his choice to make, and he did not let us in.” […]

Or, on May 24, 2007:

“As you might remember back then, we tried the diplomatic route: [U.N. Resolution] 1441 was a unanimous vote in the Security Council that said disclose, disarm or face serious consequences. So the choice was his [Hussein’s] to make. And he made a choice that has subsequently caused him to lose his life.”

On July 14, 2003, as the U.S.-led WMD search also was coming up empty, Bush began asserting that it was all Hussein’s fault because he had never let the U.N. inspectors in. Bush told reporters:

“We gave him [Saddam Hussein] a chance to allow the inspectors in, and he wouldn’t let them in. And, therefore, after a reasonable request, we decided to remove him from power.”

Fair enough, right? Think again. Here’s the record: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Monte

January 28, 2008 at 9:24 pm