Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Conversation No. 8: Waverli Rainey: A Young Lady Of Courage, Candor and Integrity: A Lucid Message That All Should Read, At Least Once…

Conversation No. 8: Waverli Rainey: A Young Lady Of Courage, Candor and Integrity: A Lucid Message That All Should Read, At Least Once…

And Don’t Miss This At The End Of This Post:

AWOL Cleveland soldier seeks asylum in Germany… An AWOL Cleveland soldier may become the first to test German and international laws that could grant asylum to deserters.

Valley teen has some big questions | By Waverli Rainey
Spectrum | Published on Thursday, November 13, 2008 8:37 PM AKST

Being a Caucasian high school girl sometimes makes me forget a few things.

Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in social life, school projects, homework, and studies.

Sometimes I can forget what America looks like. Sometimes it takes a hateful word, a racial slur, or an act of disrespect to bring me to realization and clear my eyes and see. Sometimes it takes acts and images of hate to penetrate my daily thoughts and clear my mind of its clutter.

In 1955, a Baptist preacher by the name of Martin Luther King Jr. boycotted buses because a brave black woman refused to get up and move for a white man. In 1963, people came together to march to Washington in protest of segregation; and in the shadow of the Lincoln Memorial that man uttered the words “I have a dream.” Then, on April 4, 1968, the same man was shot to death. Now on Nov. 4, 2008, Sen. Barack Obama was elected the first African-American president of the United States of America.

Nov. 4 was a momentous moment for me. I went to the Wasilla Sports Complex for what was called a community event. We were told it was non-partisan because it’s a city building. However, once inside, it seemed as if it was a Republican-only event. Despite this, we stayed. Although I am too young to vote, I sat at the Sports Complex to see who would be the new president. I felt joy as I saw Sen. Barack Obama’s electoral points grow and grow. I clapped for and was impressed by Senator McCain’s graceful speech and his call for unity and support for the new president-elect.

I anxiously awaited what Present-elect Obama would say. Between speeches, a live band played music. However, when President-elect Obama began to speak, those running the event had to be asked to have the band stop so we could hear him speak. Eventually, they stopped playing, but we missed the beginning of the speech. Then half way through this historic speech, former Mayor Keller turned down the audio of President-elect Obama and put on a call from Governor Palin. I certainly understand the desire of Valley residents to hear from the governor, but if this was a non-partisan event, I feel that interrupting the next president was disrespectful. I also feel it did not represent the coming together of America that Senator McCain had only moments before asked his supporters to do.

The event was supposed to be for all parties, for all people, but it didn’t feel like it. I was shocked and offended. The event was supposed to be for supporters of Senators Obama and McCain and no one paid respect to President-elect Obama’s historic moment. Finally, another step toward complete equality and it seemed no one cared.

So the next day I borrowed my mother’s Obama shirt and walked into school wearing my pride on my chest. Finally the campaign was over and I was actively supporting our new president, even though I knew I would be vastly outnumbered at school. I expected complaints and qualms about the new president, but I was not prepared for the flat-out racist remarks said openly in the halls and classrooms. I was appalled. While I sat at my desk trying to do my work I could hear my fellow classmates:

“I think we should kill Obama,” one said.

“I hope someone comes up and shoots him in the head,” another would say.

“I hate Obama … he’s black.”

On went the racist words for the full 80 minutes of that class. Angered, I began to think of the injustice of it all and the ignorance of the students I was surrounded by. I wondered where they learned to be so hateful, and I wondered why the teacher never stepped in - why no adult, no student, including myself, had the guts to cut in and say it was not OK. Because it’s never OK for intolerance. It is never OK to cut someone down and dehumanize them because they do not look like you, or think like you, or talk like you, or worship the way you do.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

All men are created equal. All men. That does not mean only if you’re the same color as me, think like me, talk like me, or worship who or how I do. It means regardless of age, gender, race, political affiliation, sexual orientation, or religion - we all have the right to life, liberty and happiness. Guilt does not follow race. All Arab-Americans are not Muslim extremists; being Arab-American simply means their family came from a certain part of the world. All Asian-Americans are not all like Kim Il-sung; Asian-Americans come from countries like China, Thailand, Japan, Taiwan and Singapore and they are not all the same. All African-Americans are not guilty of the genocide seen in places like Rwanda and Kenya.

If we were all guilty of the sins of our race, then what am I — a Caucasian high school sophomore from Palmer, Alaska — guilty of? Am I guilty of stealing land from their Native owners? Am I guilty of enslaving Africans? Am I guilty of the slaughter of entire races of people? Am I guilty of imprisoning Chinese and Japanese in American internment camps?

As a Causation high school girl, it’s easy to forget things like in America you wear a color — often called black, or white, or yellow, or red, or brown. We do not pick our name or race — we’re not chameleons who can change color at will, it’s how we’re born and raised. Being African-American, or Latino, or Asian-American, or Native American, or Alaska Native, or Arab-American is not a crime. Being Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, atheist, or agnostic is not a crime. Wearing a burqa on your head, or glasses on your face, or studying all views of the world and seeing the flaws of all governments is not a crime.

Sometimes I think of a place where all of our languages are mashed together, singing of our own multi-heritage pride; the pride of a truly unified America. A place where we can be proud of our accents because this is how American English sounds, too. A place where there is no more White Power! or Black Power! Where it’s American Power! Or better yet, where it’s Human Power! A place that proudly conjures images of colonists throwing tea into a harbor, Martin Luther King Jr. standing on the steps of Lincoln Memorial, and immigrants working hard to achieve their American dream all at the same time. We are the story of our culture and colors and I’d like us all to take pride in it.

I long for the day when the word American doesn’t bring the world to think only of a white high school football star, but also brings images of each of us as we are. This America would look like both a short blond girl with glasses, and like the son of a Kenyan father and a Kansas mother who was raised by his grandparents — a day when an American looks like ourselves — looks like us as individuals and at the same time as a community of all races and all people.

Waverli Rainey is a 16-year-old born and raised in the Mat-Su Valley.

884 comment(s)

Freda Birrell wrote on Dec 2, 2008 7:28 AM:

" Dear Waverli - I am old enough to be your grandmother, live in Scotland and have followed the election of President elect Obama with as much pride as yourself. Let me say your new President will be proud of you as I am - you are a young lady of great integrity and wisdom. Stand tall and keep the faith and do not let anyone belittle you. You are so much better than they are and we can only hope that one day they will follow your example including the politicians. "

Subversive Xmas Tree Ornament Won't Hang from White House Tree
ABC News - USA
First Lady Laura
Bush's press secretary Sally McDonough told the Post of Lawrence's ornament, "it really is too bad. I haven't seen the ornament, ...See all stories on this topic

Congress Opposes Bush Pardons Nadler Introduces Resolution ...
By aurion(aurion)
impeachment of Bush and Cheney, even if they are out of office.2. Overturning of the pardons, as Bush's lawyers told him he could do to Clinton's pardon of Marc Rich, which was a far more minor abuse of the pardon power.3. ...
Aurion Mission - http://aurionmission.blogspot.com/

PDA Impeachment and Accountability Update
By mike hersh
by Mike Hersh, PDA
Impeachment team In an editorial entitled, Mr. Bush and the Pardon Power, the New York Times raised serious concerns about Bush’s expected use of pardons to block investigations: “With the Bush administration drawing ...
Progressive Democrats of America Blog - http://blog.pdamerica.org/

Bill Kristol Wants the Medal of Freedom for Torturers and Spies
OpEdNews - Newtown,PA,USA
If Obama does not prosecute those responsible for torture and felonious spying on all of us, beginning with Bush and Cheney and on down, then he is guilty ...

Great Impeachment TV Ad
By Bob Fertik
Learn more here.
Democrats.com - The Aggressive... - http://www.democrats.com/

Olbermann: Bush, Cheney should resign
By maru
We of this time—and our leaders in Congress, of both parties—must now live up to those standards which echo through our history: Pressure, negotiate, impeach—get you, Mr. Bush, and Mr. Cheney, two men who are now perilous to our ...
Politics without a political... - http://www.marublog.net/

As Congress Lay Dying
American Chronicle - Beverly Hills,CA,USA
It is in these concluding moments of the
Bush-Cheney era that Congress's coffin is being constructed just outside our window, and I'm afraid that the peace ...

Congress should impeach and convict Bush and Cheney

Matthew Diamante | Updated: Monday, December 1, 2008



Now that the election's done, no further excuses will hold. The House of Representatives should impeach President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney for high crimes and misdemeanors, and the Senate should convict them, thereby removing them from power. Thus, until Barack Obama's January inauguration, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) should discharge the duties of United States president.

This idea is, I admit, not likely to gain much support. The current administration is only weeks away from completing its term, and one must take the upcoming holidays into account; no congressional quorums will be achievable for a good chunk of that remaining time. Happily, however, while the fiasco of the Clinton impeachment effort spanned several government agencies over a course of years, the House is not required to wait for the executive branch to appoint a special prosecutor, to wait for the officials' formal findings or even to hold any investigative sessions at all. The Constitution, after all, does not set any threshold for impeachable offenses.

Let us recall that the House of Representatives impeached Andrew Johnson by a vote of 126 to 47 for relatively nominal legal reasons; the chief impetus behind that effort was a congressional majority's simple conviction that the president was unworthy of his office, and the Senate came within a single vote of removing him. Well, I say that Bush and Cheney are not fit to stay in power for another minute. The House should draw up a list of charges, or use one of those already circulating, and after a minimum of debate over a course of days, put the motion to the floor. Up or down, representatives: What'll it be?

We should not entertain any protests that there's a dearth of items from which to draw up articles of impeachment. For those who insist upon a clear instance of criminality, there's the administration's open history of authorizing warrantless wiretapping in defiance of federal law, to say nothing of the Plame identity leak. Those open to a more philosophical definition of "high crimes" could fault Bush's commutation of Scooter Libby's prison sentence and his perennial stonewalling of the most rudimentary of congressional oversight. Finally, those who (rightly) believe that the legislative branch should be the nation's most powerful could make a compelling case for impeachment due to incompetence -- and this is merely the beginning of what could easily be a very long list. This time, in short, the Clinton-era anti-impeachment cry that the proposed punishment is too heavy for the crime will simply not do.

From the start of the Democrats' continuing House majority status in January 2007, Pelosi has been the primary obstacle to impeachment hearings. Famously declaring the prospect "off the table," she justified this policy in unabashedly pragmatic and partisan terms, arguing that because Senate Republicans would never supply the votes needed to convict Bush and Cheney, the Democratic Party's foremost concern should be to pass whatever sound legislation it could until the White House and Capitol Hill were secured in this November's elections. Some citizens have loudly protested that Pelosi is derelict in her duties by refraining from holding impeachment hearings for merely practical reasons, but while I was always sympathetic to the principles of this appeal, I never fully agreed. As an elected leader of her party's representatives, Pelosi is answerable to them in such matters as much as she is to her constituents in California's eighth district. If, as was certainly the case, House Democrats had no stomach for an impeachment attempt, Pelosi would have been little able to press such a case even if she wanted to.

But now the speaker (who happens to be my own congressional representative) has what she wanted: an incoming Democratic White House and wide margins of congressional control. If she believes that Bush and Cheney ought to be impeached, she should ram through a vote as soon as possible. (Let those who want to protest that as the first in line to the presidency after Cheney, Pelosi would be pursuing an unworthy conflict of interest, protest away.) There could be, of course, no hope of the Senate actually removing the disastrous duo, but a House vote to impeach Bush and Cheney could have a fighting chance, and since the matter's ultimate conclusion would be preordained, what harm could there be in it?

Some might ask why our representatives should bother casting such an effectively symbolic vote. For one, it could deal the president's ego a crushing blow that might forever wipe that smirk off his face, never to publicly recur -- a worthy pursuit in and of itself, I say. But when our grandchildren edge their hoverpods towards ours and ask what the country did to repudiate the worst president in its history, we could not only say that a mere seven years after the Sept. 11 attacks, we elected a half-black man named Hussein to succeed him -- we could also say that, for perfectly moral and principled reasons, we impeached the national disgrace, and his repellent vice president, too.

Matthew Diamante is a senior majoring in history.

Inauguration Count Down


California State Society's Presidential Inaugural Luncheon and Fashion Show
11:30 AM
The Ritz-Carlton Washington , DC
1150 22nd St. NW

Aloha Inaugural Ball

Marriott Wardman Park Hotel
2660 Woodley Rd. NW
Tickets: $250
alohainauguralball@gmail.com This e-mail address is being protected from spambots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it
Organized by former Obama campaign workers, the ball will carry out a Hawaii theme with island entertainers and hula dancers, reminiscent of the president-elect's years in Hawai'i .


Arkansas State Society Inaugural Party for Razorbacks
The Washington Court Hotel
525 New Jersey Avenue NW
Information: 202-329-6711

Sunshine and Stars ( Florida State Society)
Corcoran Gallery of Art
500 17th Street NW
Information: 202-298-7710

Land of Lincoln Inaugural Gala ( Illinois State Society)
Reception and dinner at 5:30 PM, gala follows from 8:30 PM-1:30 AM
Renaissance Washington DC Hotel
999 9th St. NW
Tickets: $400, $200 for gala only
Information: 703-451-1747
Themed "Illinois Heroes," the State Society's inaugural gala highlights the many magnificent cities, towns, riverfronts, and historical sites of Illinois

Indiana Inaugural Ball
6 PM
Omni Shoreham Hotel
2500 Calvert Street NW
Tickets: $295 before Dec. 19, $350 after Dec. 19; reserved tables $7500 before Dec. 19, $9000 after Dec. 19
www.indianasociety.org/events/Save_Date.pdf 202-463-4262
Featured talent includes the Singing Hoosiers from Indiana University and the Donati Orchestra.

Bluegrass Ball ( Kentucky State Society)
6:30 PM
Marriott Wardman Park Hotel
2660 Woodley Rd. NW
Members: $175
Information: 202-399-2032
Chef Michael Paley from Louisville 's acclaimed Proof of Main restaurant will serve as executive chef for the inaugural gala.

Land of Enchantment Inaugural Ball ( New Mexico State Society)
Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian
4th St. & Independence Ave. SW
Information: 505-463-3908

North Carolina Society Inaugural Ball
Marriott Wardman Park Hotel
2660 Woodley Rd. NW

Black Tie & Boots Inaugural Ball ( Texas State Society)
Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center
201 Waterfront St .
National Harbor , MD 20745
Information: 301-809-8989

History in the Making: "A Dream & A Change" Inaugural Ball
The Babyboomer Professionals
Hyatt Regency Washington
400 New Jersey Ave. NW
Tickets: $175 before Dec. 5, $199 after Dec. 5
boomerprofessionals@yahoo.com This e-mail address is being protected from spambots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

HBCU Inaugural Gala Ball
Historically Black Colleges and Universities
8 PM-1 AM
Sequoia at Washington Harbor
3000 K St. NW

Heroes Red, White, and Blue Inaugural Ball

International Conservation Caucus Foundation Inauguration Gala ICC Foundation
6:30 for VIP and general receptions, 7:30 dinner
Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium
Tickets: $2,500
Information: 202-471-4222

Pearl Gala
Asian Americans for Obama
7 PM-midnight
Mandarin Oriental, Washington DC Hotel
1330 Maryland Ave. SW
Tickets: $250
Guests are also invited to attend a morning conference about voting results, the political appointment process and the legislative issues for the next Congress.


Inaugural Parade Brunch ( New York State Society)
11 AM-4 PM
Willard Intercontinental Hotel
1401 Pennsylvania Ave.
Tickets: Member $155, Non-members: $180
Information: 301-330-6197

State Society of Arizona Inaugural Ball
8 pm-midnight
The Historical Society of Washington , DC
801 K St. NW
Tickets: Single:$175, Couple: $300, Family of 4: $650
Information: 202-777-2612

Garden State Inaugural Gala
7:30-11:30 PM
Washington Court Hotel
525 New Jersey Ave. NW
Tickets: $100 single, $175 per couple; Non-members: $125 single, $200 per couple
Information: 202-333-5750
The gala features a performance by Bruce Springsteen tribute band, B Street Band.

A Night of Stars ( Pennsylvania State Society)
Ritz-Carlton Washington , DC
22nd and M Sts. NW
Tickets: $150 before Jan. 1, $200 on or after Jan. 1
Information: 703-415-0344
Fox News' Tony Perkins will emcee the event, which features performing artists from Mark Rivera Entertainment.

The George Washington University Inaugural Ball
8 PM-midnight
Omni Shoreham Hotel
2500 Calvert St. NW
Information: 202-994-1600
The gala celebration features live bands, talent from the GW performance community, and televised Inauguration Day coverage.

Human Rights Campaign Equality Ball
Renaissance Mayflower Hotel
1143 New Hampshire Ave.
Guests to include Melissa Etheridge, Rufus Wainwright and Cyndi Lauper

Bytes & Books Inaugural Ball
National Coalition for Technology in Education and Training
Folger Shakespeare Library
201 East Capitol St. SE

11th American Indian Inaugural Ball
American Indian Society (AIS) of Washington , D.C.
Hyatt Regency Crystal City
2799 Jefferson Davis Highway
Arlington , VA

Unity in Service Inaugural Ball Unity in Service
Trinity University
125 Michigan Ave. NE
Tickets: $90 standard, $120 preferred before Dec. 20, $110 and $150 after Dec. 20

Inaugural Purple Ball
Eracism Foundation
8 PM
The Fairmont Washington , DC Hotel
2401 M St. NW

tickets@inauguralpurpleball.com This e-mail address is being protected from spambots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it
Guests will enjoy fine champagne and cuisine served in a purple velvet-draped ballroom; the host committee includes notable names like Amy Brenneman, Ashley Judd , Brad Silberling, Josh Lucas, Kate Walsh and Patricia Arquette.

Change Has Come Inaugural Gala
The Babyboomer Professionals
Hamilton Crowne Plaza Hotel
1001 14th St. NW
Tickets: $125 before Dec. 5, $150 after Dec. 5
boomerprofessionals@yahoo.com This e-mail address is being protected from spambots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

Demand in DC: Applauding the Empowerment of People Thru Art, Film, and Music
Black Cat
1811 14th St. NW
Tickets: $10
Information: 202-667-7960

The Creative Coalition Gala Inaugural Ball
9 PM
Harman Center for the Arts
610 F St. NW
Tickets: Bronze package (2 tickets): $10,000

Young and Powerful Black Tie Gala and Awards Ceremony
L'Enfant Plaza Hotel
400 L'Enfant Plaza, SW
Tickets: $125, includes open bar from 8pm - 9pm, heavy Hors D'oeuvres and live music
Dine, dance and toast President-elect Obama's victory with young professionals from across the nation.


Nebraska Society Inaugural Brunch

The Unruly Mob Button


OUTSIDE AGITATOR | Naomi Klein and the new new left.

by Larissa MacFarquhar

AWOL Cleveland soldier seeks asylum in Germany

by James Ewinger/Plain Dealer Reporter

Monday December 01, 2008, 11:57 PM

An AWOL Cleveland soldier may become the first to test German and international laws that could grant asylum to deserters.

Spc. Andre Shepherd, 31, had served in Iraq as an Apache helicopter mechanic, and was based in Germany when he went absent without leave a year and a half ago.

On the Military Counseling Network's Web site, he called the war in Iraq "illegal," "internationally condemned" and "shown to be founded on a series of lies."

Shepherd said in a telephone interview Monday that he originally wanted to settle in Germany, where he had been living underground since deserting, but found that he would not be allowed without proof of his discharge from the Army.

Andre Shepherd

Tim Huber, of the Military Counseling Network near Heidelberg, Germany, said Shepherd first came to the group to resolve his AWOL status, and they advised him to turn himself in.

Shepherd asked about other options, and Huber said there was asylum, but that it had never been successfully pursued by a deserter.

One component of the German law comes out of the Nuremberg war-crimes trials at the end of World War II, said Michael Scharf, professor of international law at Case Western Reserve University. Essentially, the issue is that someone is not allowed to obey an unlawful order.

Huber said that a German court found the war in Iraq to be unlawful in 2005 when it reversed the demotion of a German army officer who had refused to work on a computer program that he feared could be used in Iraq.

Huber said that according to Shepherd's German lawyer, he could seek asylum under international Geneva Conventions, which the lawyer said would supercede any NATO treaties or agreements with Germany.

Shepherd said he grew up on East 94th Street in Cleveland, attended Lakewood High School and studied computer science at Kent State University until he ran out of money.

He enlisted in 2004 with the hope of flying the Apaches, but was urged to become a mechanic first.

Scharf said he doubts that Shepherd's expected order to return to Iraq would, by itself, constitute an unlawful order.

"His best argument would be that Apaches are used to kill civilians," Scharf said, but he still viewed it as a weak case.

The professor said a similar case occurred in Canada last month, and Canadian authorities did not accept the argument that Shepherd is using. Canada handed that other soldier over to the United States.

Scharf also wondered about Germany's willingness to become a haven for any U.S. soldier who did not want to go to Iraq.

Scharf was on the team of international legal experts that trained the judges of the Iraqi High Tribunal, which ultimately tried Saddam Hussein and ordered his execution.

Huber estimated that about 60,000 U.S. troops are stationed in Germany.

Brian Shepherd, the soldier's oldest brother, who still lives here, said Monday that his family was surprised to hear of last week's asylum request because his brother joined up after 9/11, and seemed to enjoy the Army. They last spoke to him last Christmas, and he gave no indication that he was AWOL.

"We really don't know the whole gist of things," said Brian Shepherd. "My brother doesn't do anything rashly. He's very, very thoughtful.

"I support him because, you know, that's what brothers are supposed to do."

No comments:

Post a Comment

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. This material is distributed without profit.