JUDAS AND BIG BOY BILL RICHARDSON DECLARED HE WAS "A LITTLE 'UNEASY' ABOUT THE IDEA OF A CLINTON ROLL CALL" AT THE DNC CONVENTION IN DENVER.
FAT BOY, TAKE AN ANTACID AND DROP YOUR MEMBERSHIP IN THE "CLEAN YOUR PLATE AND EVERYONE ELSE'S CLUB".DEMOCRACY DOESN'T PACK ON THE POUNDS, THAT'S YOUR GLUTTONY TALKING.
Starting with war resistance. Wednesday US war resister Jeremy Hinzman learned that the Canadian government has ordered him out of that country by September 23rd. Today he appeared on Democracy Now! where Juan Gonzalez and Amy Goodman interviewed him.
JEREMY HINZMAN: Well, essentially, it turns our lives upside down. We, as you said, just had a baby [daughter Megahn]. Our son [Liam] knows nothing else aside from Canada. And if we do go back, which it's looking like, I will undoubtedly be court-martialed and serve some time in jail.
JUAN GONZALEZ: Is there any appeal process left to you yet that might delay the September 23rd deadline?
JEREMY HINZMAN: There is. It's not guaranteed that we'll be granted leave to appeal, but if my lawyer can find errors in the compassionate and humanitarian decision that the Canadian Border Services rendered, then we can--we can appeal. But there's no guarantee that the court will grant us leave.
JUAN GONZALEZ: And what were the arguments the court used in rejecting your appeal?
JEREMY HINZMAN: Well, in a compassionate and humanitarian case, you need to show that there would be undue hardship if you returned to your country of origin, and we--and you also need to show that you've been established in Canada and can live independently. And we did that. In the decision, the officer said we've established ourselves well in Canada. We haven't been a hindrance to the social assistance programs. But he said that wasn't enough for us to stay. He said the US has a fair justice system. My First Amendment right to free speech is protected. And they also mentioned that--for whatever reason, I don't know--they mentioned George Bush's No School Left Behind program to say that our son would be able to get a good education. I found that kind of humorous.
[. . .]
JUAN GONZALEZ: Have you maintained ties with other US war resisters who are in Canada, who have gone there in recent years?
JEREMY HINZMAN: There are a number of us in Toronto, and I am acquainted with them. There's a movement called the War Resisters Support Campaign that's been active pretty much since we got here, and we have meetings, and there's been a lot of lobbying in support of us. And on June 3rd, the Canadian parliament passed a nonbinding motion by a vote of 137-to-110 saying that US war resisters should be able to remain in Canada. However, the conservative government is refusing to enact the legislation.
JUAN GONZALEZ: Now, Canada, of course, has a long history of giving refugee status to resisters from American wars. Obviously, during the Vietnam War, there were many who went there. How would you characterize the difference between this government's treatment of war resisters and what you know of past times?
JEREMY HINZMAN: Well, during the Vietnam era, of course, Pierre Trudeau, who was a liberal, was in power, and he famously stated--at least up here--that Canada should be a haven from militarism, and that kind of opened the floodgates for American soldiers to come to Canada. I think 50,000 eventually settled here. Right now, there's a conservative minority government. Canada has a parliamentary system, and they hold the balance of power. And I wouldn't say they're lapdogs to the US, but they share many of the same values of the Bush administration and aren't really sympathetic to what we're doing.
AP files another story where they quote Jeremy stating, "I went through all the training. I served honorably in my unit. I used army provisions to try become a noncombatant and remain in the army as a medic or something, but I still would be subject to going on combat missions as a medic. I can't bring myself to shoot another person. If people want to criticize me for that, then I'm honored to be criticized because I'm not a killer."
Jeremy Hinzman and other war resisters in Canada 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 firstname.lastname@example.org -- that's "finley.d" at "parl.gc.ca") and Stephen Harper (Prime Minister, 613.992.4211, phone; 613.941.6900, fax; e-mail email@example.com -- that's "pm" at "pm.gc.ca"). 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." The War Resisters Support Campaign has called an "Emergency Meeting to Stop the Deportation of Jeremy Hinzman and his family, Wednesday August 20 at 7 p.m. at the Steelworkers Hall, 25, Cecil Street" (Toronto) and encourages everyone to "Read the War Resisters Support Campaign press release and circulate it widely
James Burmeister is a US war resister. He is the whistle blower who went to Canada and told the world (or those who would listen) about the kill teams. Last month, Dee Knight's "Army court-martials resister for blowing whistle on 'bait-and-kill'" (Workers World) offered an overview of Burmeister's court-martial providing the context and why the US military brass wanted to silence him. Today Evan Kornfeld (US Socialist Worker) also offers a look at James court-martial (James was not deported or extradited, he returned to the US from Canada of his own accord earlier this year and was court-martialed July 16th):
The Eugene Weekly has pointed out that of the 4,698 soldiers who have been charged with desertion in 2007, only 108 have been convicted. [Erich] Burmeister, James' father, believes that his son was prosecuted as punishment for speaking out about the bait and kill teams.
After the trial, at which he testified on his son's behalf, he said, "I obviously now believe that James has been made an example to the rest of the soldiers and to the rest of those who dare think about what James did, that the punishment can be quite severe."
Courage to Resist has noted that "The PFC James Burmeister Support Campaign can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org" and that he can receive mail at this address:
Fort Knox, KY 40121
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).
[. . .]
Neil Conan: We're talking with independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader here at the Newseum. I'm Neil Conan along with NPR Political Junkie Ken Rudin. If you'd like to join us, 800-989-8255 e-mail email@example.com. This is Talk of the Nation from NPR News. And let's get a question from here in the Newseum.
Patty: Hi, good afternoon. I'm Patty from San Francisco, California and as a retired public school principal I'd like to know your views on No Child Left Behind. And I'd also like to know what your education platform is.
Ralph Nader: Well the way No Child Left Behind has been implemented is not good. First of all, there are too many tests. It ruptures the relationship between teachers and students -- they've got to have a test Tuesday and a test Thursday. They're the wrong kind of tests in my opinion: A, B, C, D, "None of the above." That's not the assessment test that I think are better evaluators They make teachers teach to the test. It's this frantic test mania. It creates unnecessary anxiety among children. So I'm against it. Teachers are against it too. A lot of people think it was underfunded and I think the key thing in environmental agenda for a presidential candidate is more decent facilities -- I mean a lot of these inner-city schools are crumbling, we have gleaming stadiums funded by you the tax payer in the same cities the schools, and clinics and libraries are crumbling. The second thing is decent pay for competent teachers. They should be assessed too. And the third is citizen skills, civic skills. We should teach students connecting the classroom with their town with their community so they can learn about the history, the geography, economics, government of their town and in the process learn citizen skills. How to use the Freedom of Information Act in your state, how to build coalitions, how to get information from City Hall. How to do comparative price analysis of staples in supermarket. That's what makes student learn indirectly reading, writing and arithmetic. I hope a lot of teachers will . . . push to replace No Child Left Behind with this kind or practical and down to earth and very exciting educational process.
Neil Conan: Thanks for the question. Let's go the phones, line six, and Mike is with us from Boca Raton in Florida.
Mike: Good morning or good afternoon. Mister candidate, considering what's happened since the year 2000, don't you think that your candidacy creates too much of a risk of unintended consequences based on your past performance?
Ralph Nader: Well the social scientists who studied that say that [Al] Gore won the election, he won the popular vote. The electoral college stood in his way and the press investigations and others in Florida indicate, and Gore believes this, that he won Florida but it was taken from him before, during and after election day in all kinds of tricky ways that have been subject to documentaries and investigations, to the five Republicans in the Supreme Court who selected George Bush. I keep saying to Democrats "Look in the mirror Go after the thieves because they might do it again and there was a lot of shenanigans in Ohio -- the swing state that left Kerry behind --
Mike: You obviously can't win. Which of the two candidates would you prefer to be president. The other two candidates.
Ralph Nader: The ones that are closer to the agenda of Nader - Gonzalez and we don't have time to go through a checklist but if you want to look at VoteNader.org we have a sheet which says these are the issues on the table for Nader - Gonzalez -- like full health insurance -- and they're off the table for McCain and Obama. It's quite remarkable how similar they are on about 15 major re-directions for country and the reason is they've been dialing too much for corporate dollars and they're too close to these corporate interests.
Mike: Well you know, I'm all for anyone being able to run but candidly we can't stand another eight years of George Bush, McCain and that crowd.
Ralph Nader: Nor can we. In fact if Al Gore picked up my withering criticism in detail of Bush's record in Texas when he was governor, he'd have won even over the obstacles that these Republican illegally put in his way.
Team Nader has set up Ralph's Daily Audio to leave audio commentaries and the one that went up today is entitled "Impeachment:"
This is Ralph Nader. George W. Bush and Dick Cheney are the most impeachable president and vice president in the history of the United States. The Constitution of the United States structures our democracy within the rule of law. Democratic Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Senator Barack Obama and their Republican associates are seriously subverting the rule of law by blocking the impeachment of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney.
Bill Clinton must be shaking his head in wonderment. High Crimes and Misdemeanors are what get a president impeached. That's in Article II, Section IV of our Constitution. Let's consider the case of Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney.
High crimes and misdemeanor number one: The criminal war, invasion and occupation of Iraq in violation of our Constitution, federal statutes and international treaties that our country belongs to. The second is systemic torture condoned at the top of our government. That even violates the US Army Field Manual as well as FBI procedures. High crimes and misdemeanor number three: the arrests and imprisonment of thousands of Americans without charges, denying ha beaus corpus the fundamental requirement for a restraining power to show why the liberty of a person is being restrained. High crimes and misdemeanor number four: spying on millions of Americans without a judicial warrant. This one violates the FISA Act which provides for a five-year jail term. High crimes and misdemeanor number five are all those signing statements that George W. Bush declared when he signed one bill after another from Congress saying that it would be up to him to decide whether or not to obey the law. I guess one could call him King George IV.
The American Bar Association, the largest barre association in the world, quite conservative, has sent three major reports to President George W. Bush outlining his serious violations of provisions in our Constitution. I stood in front of the White House for 45 minutes a few weeks ago and declared the reasons for the impeachment or resignation or subsequent prosecution of Bush and Cheney for the five categories of High Crimes and Misdemeanors.
If we allow rampant, recidivist criminal activity in the White House -- as Speaker Pelosi, Senators Barack Obama and John McCain have done week after week, month after month -- that'll simply set the stage for future presidents to think that they too can break the law with impunity and run our civil liberties, our civil rights, our safety, our freedoms, our status before the world into the ground. I'm Ralph Nader.
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