Monday, August 11, 2008

Barack's green eyes

Starting with war resistance.  The August 1st snapshot critiqued the dumb ass Rondi Adamson (the same morning's "Rondi Adamson Lies" did so in greater detail).  Yesterday the National Lawyers Guild's James Branum takes on Rondi (and today Ithica Journal re-prints Rondi's crap). Branum, who is defending Robin Long and has defended many others resisters (and co-chairs, with Kathleen Gilberd, NLG's Military Law Task Force), makes many strong points but leaves out the most important one: During Vietnam, Canada welcome "deserters."  It wasn't just "draft dodgers," Canada also welcomes "deserters."  Canada did not have a draft, Canada's position was not based on a draft.  Deserters were not asked, "Did you enlist or were you drafted?"  It wasn't an issue.  The issue was the illegal war.  When Rondi shows her ignorance, it's important to call her out on that basic fact.  War resisters in Canada today have been undermined repeatedly by 'voices' that refuse to acknowledge the vast number of deserters that Canada accepted during Vietnam.  But not noting that very real reality, today's war resisters (and their supporters) have to make the case: "Well, during Vietnam, you welcomed draft dodgers, so you should expand that today to welcome us."  The real argument is: "During Vietnam, Canada welcomed deserters and they should today since this is another illegal war the Canadian government has refused to officially sanction."  With the first argument, war resisters are placed in a position of weakness where they beg for something more.  In the second argument, war resisters are not asking for 'special treatment' or anything different; they're merely asking Canada to do what it did before.  That is reality.  Rondi is a foreigner to reality.  But that's a point everyone else needs to make.  That Rondi either didn't know reality or thought she could lie about it goes to the failure to stick to the facts: Canada accepted draft dodgers and deserters during Vietnam.
Branum notes The Christian Science Monitor (which ran the oh-so-bad column August 1st) has refused to publish any of the many letters of complaint they've received. We'll emphasize the section on Robin Long (extradited from Canada) since Branum is his attorney:
First, Robin was promised by his recruiter that he would never see combat in Iraq. Robin was a fool for believing his recruiter, but I would say that it is understandable that he would believe his recruiter and understand that his recruiter is an agent of the US military and is tellilng the truth. And in basic contract law (outside of the military context), such statements could very well be interpreted as part of the contract itself, even if those statements aren't in writing.
Second, a basic tenant of contract law is that a contract isn't binding if it forces a party to engage in an immoral, unethical or illegal action. I would argue (as would Robin and millions of other people) that the Iraq war is all three of those things, and as such an enlistment contract should be invalid if it purports to force a party to participate in such a war. (of course, the enlistment "contract" isn't really a "contract," but that's another discussion. It would be fairer to say that it is an agreement to voluntarily become a slave of the state.)
Third, Robin Long left his unit and went to Canada in large part due to his conscience. Throughout history, we as a people (and I'm speaking of all North Americans and really all people of the world), have respected the idea that sometimes one must break the law if it conflicts with conscience. Dr. King, Gandhi, Thoreau, Jesus Christ, they all lived out this ideal. Contemporaries of the civilly disobedient often attack the character of those who refuse to submit to unjust laws, but the history books paint a different story.
And let's also remember that the US and other nations have long argued in favor of the Nuremberg principles, namely that obedience to the law of the state is no excuse for actions that defy international law. Surely you would agree that a deserter from the Nazi Army during WWII would be taking a righteous act? How is it different for Robin Long?
Branum's response also notes Darrell Anderson, Joshua Key and others. There are multiple sentences in it that could qualify for a "Truest" at Third this Sundy. It's a strong piece.
By mail: Make checks out to "Courage to Resist / IHC" and note "Robin Long" in the memo field. Mail to:   
Courage to Resist      
484 Lake Park Ave #41    
Oakland CA 94610 
Courage to Resist is committed to covering Robin's legal and related defense expenses. Thank you for helping make that possible.     
Also: You are also welcome to contribute directly to Robin's legal expenses via his civilian lawyer James Branum. Visit, select "Pay Online via PayPal" (lower left), and in the comments field note "Robin Long". Note that this type of donation is not tax-deductible.    

2. Send letters of support to Robin     

Robin Long, CJC       
2739 East Las Vegas           
Colorado Springs, CO 80906     
Robin's pre-trial confinement has been outsourced by Fort Carson  military authorities to the local county jail.        
Robin is allowed to receive hand-written or typed letters only. Do NOT include postage stamps, drawings, stickers, copied photos or print articles. Robin cannot receive packages of any type (with the book exception as described below).       

3. Send Robin a money order for commissary items         

Anything Robin gets (postage stamps, toothbrush, shirts, paper, snacks, supplements, etc.) must be ordered through the commissary. Each inmate has an account to which friends may make deposits. To do so, a money order in U.S. funds must be sent to the address above made out to "Robin Long, EPSO". The sender's name must be written on the money order.      

4. Send Robin a book          

Robin is allowed to receive books which are ordered online and sent directly to him at the county jail from or Barnes and Noble. These two companies know the procedure to follow for delivering books for inmates.
War resisters in Canada also need support and to pressure the Stephen Harper government to honor the House of Commons vote, Gerry Condon, War Resisters Support Campaign and Courage to Resist all encourage contacting the Diane Finley (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration -- 613.996.4974, phone; 613.996.9749, fax; e-mail -- that's "finley.d" at "") and Stephen Harper (Prime Minister, 613.992.4211, phone; 613.941.6900, fax; e-mail -- that's "pm" at ""). Courage to Resist collected more than 10,000 letters to send before the vote. Now they've started a new letter you can use online here. The War Resisters Support Campaign's petition can be found here. Long expulsion does not change the need for action and the War Resisters Support Campaign explains: "The War Resisters Support Campaign is calling on supporters across Canada to urgently continue to put pressure on the minority conservative government to immediately cease deportation proceedings against other US war resisters and to respect the will of Canadians and their elected representatives by implementing the motion adopted by Parliament on June 3rd. Please see the take action page for what you can do."
There is a growing movement of resistance within the US military which includes Yovany Rivero, William Shearer, Michael Thurman, Andrei Hurancyk, Megan Bean, Chris Bean, Matthis Chiroux, Richard Droste, Michael Barnes, Matt Mishler, Josh Randall, Robby Keller, Justiniano Rodrigues, Chuck Wiley, James Stepp, Rodney Watson, Michael Espinal, Matthew Lowell, Derek Hess, Diedra Cobb, Brad McCall, Justin Cliburn, Timothy Richard, Robert Weiss, Phil McDowell, Steve Yoczik, Ross Spears, Peter Brown, Bethany "Skylar" James, Zamesha Dominique, Chrisopther Scott Magaoay, Jared Hood, James Burmeister, Jose Vasquez, Eli Israel, Joshua Key, Ehren Watada, Terri Johnson, Clara Gomez, Luke Kamunen, Leif Kamunen, Leo Kamunen, Camilo Mejia, Kimberly Rivera, Dean Walcott, Linjamin Mull, Agustin Aguayo, Justin Colby, Marc Train, Abdullah Webster, Robert Zabala, Darrell Anderson, Kyle Snyder, Corey Glass, Jeremy Hinzman, Kevin Lee, Mark Wilkerson, Patrick Hart, Ricky Clousing, Ivan Brobeck, Aidan Delgado, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, Blake LeMoine, Clifton Hicks, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Logan Laituri, Jason Marek, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Joshua Casteel, Katherine Jashinski, Dale Bartell, Chris Teske, Matt Lowell, Jimmy Massey, Chris Capps, Tim Richard, Hart Viges, Michael Blake, Christopher Mogwai, Christian Kjar, Kyle Huwer, Wilfredo Torres, Michael Sudbury, Ghanim Khalil, Vincent La Volpa, DeShawn Reed and Kevin Benderman. In total, at least fifty US war resisters in Canada have applied for asylum.

Information on war resistance within the military can be found at The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline [(877) 447-4487], Iraq Veterans Against the War and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters. In addition, VETWOW is an organization that assists those suffering from MST (Military Sexual Trauma).
[. . .]
Turning to the US presidential race, Harper's John R. MacArthur (at The Providence Journal) explains, "Obama spends so much time courting the rich that I'm not surprised that James Webb has removed himself from consideration for vice president. Webb is the most articulate Senate critic of America's class divide. 'The most important -- and unfortunately the least debated -- issue in politics today is our drift toward a class-based system, the likes of which we have not seen since the 19th Century," he wrote two years ago. Webb understands that class stratification is aggravated not only by tax and trade policy but also by public schools that serve increasingly as holding pens for students who can't afford better private or parochial education. Attendance at an elite private school or university, as Obama well knows (and his Ph.D. mother appreciated), is one of the greatest aids to upward mobility in America today, as well as the best guarantee, along with a low inheritance tax, that people of means will maintain their children in the economic status they've become accustomed to."  And are you surprised?  Independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader is in Canada.  Ralph will be speaking at seven p.m at the Design Exchange on 234 Bay Street in Toronto -- admission is free but donations are welcome and An Unreasonable Man will be shown.
Well, you did it.
Two weeks ago, we asked you for $100,000 to get us on the ballots in 30 states.
You came through with flying colors - over $120,000 - with half of that - $60,000 - coming in the last four days.
Thank you to everyone who helped make that happen.
In return, we did it.
Nader/Gonzalez is now done with our ballot access effort in 30 states, on our way to 45 states by September 15.
This is all good news.
And now add this:
I just got in the office - took the red eye from Denver - where I spent the weekend laying the groundwork for a Nader/Gonzalez Super Rally.
On Wednesday, August 27, right during the heart of the Democratic National Convention, we will be holding a Super Rally for 5,000-7,000 people at the University of Denver Magness Arena. (Check out our new Nader/Gonzalez video promoting our rallies here.)
And we'll be hosting a second super rally in Minneapolis on September 4th at the Orchestra Hall during the week of the Republican National Convention.
To protest the corporate control over our political system and to call for opening the presidential debates.
During his 2000 campaign, Ralph Nader drew sellout crowds to super rallies in arenas from Portland's Memorial Coliseum to Madison Square Garden.
After the election, the NewsHour's Mark Shields called the Nader Super Rallies "the most exciting political development of the campaign year."
"My apology to Ralph Nader for not demanding that he be included in the debates," Shields said.
In 2004, the Democratic Party - along with its Republican allies - smothered the Nader campaign with phony lawsuits in a coordinated campaign of petition sabotage.
We had a tough time keeping our heads above water.
Just last month, legislative leaders responsible for illegal use of tax money to keep us off of the ballot in Pennsylvania in 2004 were indicted by a grand jury in Harrisburg.
Now, in 2008, Nader is back, and - thanks to you - on track to be on the ballot in 45 states - we were on only 34 in 2004 - and the Nader/Gonzalez ticket is at six percent in the latest CNN poll.
Now, we need your help for another breakthrough.
We are launching a campaign to Open the Debates.
In its first phase, the super rallies will rise again in Denver and Minneapolis during the Democratic and Republican conventions.
We call all of our supporters to action from every corner of the United States: come to our first rally in Denver on Wednesday, August 27, 2008.
Plan to make the trip to Denver - or Minneapolis - or both.
These rallies will be part of an massive outpouring of protest in Denver and Minneapolis against the two corporate controlled parties and their policies of perpetual militarism and war.
We'll be filling in the details on the two rallies in the days to come.
But for now, we need you to spread the word.
Nader/Gonzalez is aiming to bust open the presidential debates.
As Ralph says, if tens of millions of Americans can hear the Nader/Gonzalez message through the
Presidential debates, it will be a three way race.
Send this e-mail message to your address book.
Tell friends and family.
The super rallies are back.
Time to get on board.
Onward to November
RECOMMENDED: "Iraq snapshot"

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