I do not support the War Resisters Support Campaign.
That's been obvious for some time and for obvious reasons. You've got leaders who tell fantastical tales (I already called out one using a highly inflated figure on an American broadcast) and, to be honest, I didn't like Lee back in the day. Few of us did.
C.I. didn't like Lee back in the day either but C.I.'s always able to put things aside and focus on the big picture. With the stunt their public spokesmodel pulled this week, I decided to skip tonight's Iraq Study Group and call up friends. I spoke to seven, five of which are "on background." Two I'll be quoting.
In pieces at Third, C.I. and I have repeatedly tried to move the issues further along (all wrote the pieces, but C.I. and I were active in the war resistance movement during Vietnam).
So I spoke briefly with people on background and two were willing to be taped. The group is considered nutty in Canada. I'm not speaking of the war resisters, I'm speaking of the problems that "campaign" has created. "Deserter" is a Vietnam deserter and he wants to be identified as such. "Law professor" is a top mind in Canada, born in Canada. "***" indicates I've edited. If I use ". . ." I am indicating a pause. (That should have a comma after it but then people will think I'm indicating pauses with ". . .," -- see.)
I'm going to make this transcript piece. I'm putting "C.I." in whenever they use her real name.
I, of course, and "Elaine." That once confused Eric Alterman so just to make it clear.
I am doing sections of the two taping and I am skipping around. The sections will not be in order. This isn't a transcript piece in terms of transcript from start to finish. I was also briefly engaged to Law Professor many, many years ago and I will edit when we started talking about that naturally. Deserter is a friend and C.I. and I met him three months before he went to Canada. He had checked out of the military and a mutal friend in Berkeley called and asked us if we'd be able to help him get to Canada. Which we did. He now works in the entertainment industry in Canada. I spoke to both men individually. I am editing back and forth between them to because they make similar points. Also, I am exhausted, for reasons that are very clear. There will be typos, more so than usual.
Law Professor: I'm not going to work with them and no one with any standing is. For obvious reasons. We're talking about a group that is completely dysfunctional.
Elaine: You don't work with the War Resisters Support Campaign. Briefly, why is that?
Deserter: They don't want us.
Elaine: Define "us."
Deserter: They don't want deserters. They don't like that term. It's why it took non-stop screaming on C.I.'s part online and to reporters to correct the record. That wasn't an accident. The War Resisters Support Campaign repeatedly put out that during the Vietnam War Canada took in draft dodgers. They made a decision to leave out that Canada took in deserters. If someone asks me, I don't say "war resister" or anything like "C.O." I deserted. It was the right thing to do and it was the noble thing to do. I am not going to hide that I deserted. I was over there. I wasn't going back. I saw what we were doing and it wasn't moral. I couldn't go back. I desertered. I am proud of that decision to this day.
Law Professor: They [War Resisters Support Campaign] are too focused on re-fighting their own battles. I am not even going to say "the sixties" because the focal point would be themselves if they had deserted and evaded during the 50s or 80s. There's a lot of unspoken shame in that campaign, in my judgment, and it seriously hurts today's war resisters who are not carrying that around with them. Look at Lee. We know [myself and Law Professor] what Lee did. Why doesn't the press? Why is he telling people he was a draft dodger sometimes and at other times telling them he was a deserter? Is Lee planning to run for the House of Commons? No. But he's refighting his old battle and it's not helping anyone.
Deserter: A few of us have, at different times, attempted to get involved. This was early in the game. What are you? I'm a deserter. They're not interested. And they're not telling the kids the truth. And I could be crazy here but I have always suspected, and so have others, that it's because of the different realities for dodgers and deserters. Deserters can't go back home technically unless they took part in the Ford clemency program.
Law Professor: I see so much bad, bad information out there. I saw "She Who Will Not Be Named," I think that's what C.I.'s calling her. I went to her site to see what SWWNBN had done. I'm reading over her comments and there's a war resister leaving a comment and I just cringe.
Law Professor: His attorney has failed him. The basic role of an attorney is not to "win." That is the goal, the desired outcome. The basic role of an attorney, why any attorney needs a client to be as honest as possible, is so that the client has all the information on possible outcomes. From there, you move forward to your strategy. I cringed because you've got Jeffry who I will nicely say is overworked and you've got a lot of basically "store front attorneys." These are not attorneys with any vast knowledge and they don't appear to seek out any. I long ago decided I wasn't going to be associated with them. Others have made that decision too. But if an attorney representing a war resister visited me, I would share the information. I wouldn't co-counsel, I wouldn't make public statements. If you pay attention, you see that a lot in op-eds. People do not want to be associated with that group. They will write about a war resister, I'm thinking of one columnist in particular, and they will disregard the information from the "campaign" in air quotes and just use information about a war resister. In the instance I'm thinking of recently, he then called me and asked me to provide him with actual information. He had a much stronger column. C.I. had already highlighted it at The Common Ills but I called and said, "Could you work that in again?" And I explained I'd spoken with the man and gone over the basics.
Elaine: Deserter and I were on the phone earlier and when he pinpoints the problem, he's points to Lee, et al. In terms of the younger people, he had praise for a woman --
Law Professor: Michelle Robediux.
Elaine: Yes, that's the name.
Law Professor: When she speaks to the press, her opinion evolves. She's thinking on her feet. She's the only one who is. Everyone else is giving the rote talking points. She's young, compared to us. Most of them are too young to remember that period so Lee gets pointed to and, I'm trying to be kind about Jeffry, but you do have to point to Jeffry as well in terms of information. These are babies. The ones helping out. That's not me mocking them, that's me pointing out that they are dependent upon information. With Michelle, she's standing on her own two legs and using her brain and processing. But we're getting rote from others and Jeffry is one of the reasons because all Jeffry offers in interviews is rote. He has the talking points pinned down. They're bad talking points and they are more or less the same ones he has made all along. What? It's four years now and you go to any article, check it out if you don't believe me, from 2004 that quoted him and go to an article in 2008 and he's saying the exact same thing. There is nothing fresh in his thinking and there is nothing fresh in his comments. After four years, you should have learned something. But there's a refusal to learn. The landscape changed. We do not have landed immigrant status.
Deserter: My thing was, and this is what killed me, I don't want to share war stories and I'm talking about olden days stories, not Vietnam battlefield stories, but I want to let them know what it's really like. I do go into the United States. But I know if there's something more than a cursory check, more than, "A good to see Mr. ***," I am at risk of being arrested. And we saw people get arrested earlier this decade. I think it was 2004, 2005, a deserter got busted in Texas. All these years later, he got busted. My point was, what I wanted to share, you're probably not going back. Ever. And there was a real reluctance to the level of honesty I wanted to offer on that. I think I was told, I think the word was, "We don't think that would be helpful." That's why they had to be forced, this year, into finally acknowledging that Canada took in deserters. Draft dodgers are in no trouble of being arrested. President [Jimmy] Carter did the blanket amnesty.
Law Professor: *** and the deserter is there and I'm thinking, C.I. just highlighted him a while go and his story is not typical, he is now a Canadian citizen if I identified him correctly. But the deserter makes some weak statement of support for C.I., which I found cowardly, by the way, and then starts agreeing with SWHWNBN that Robin Long wasn't extradited. Of course Robin Long was extradited. But the deserter from this war is saying that his attorney told him that he did not have to worry about being extradited because it's illegal. That really drove home how they are being misinformed. Yes, an extradition is not supposed to take place, that is C.I.'s whole point about why it needs to be called out. But it took place. Do you know how many extraditions Canada has done since Vietnam to America for other cases? It's a number and it goes to the issue that a real campaign would be highlighting because we don't flaunt it, but we're proud of our country. We're not going to get in your face on it, we've got a more understated pride. So when an extradition took place that violated our laws and treaties, that is outrageous and you build support around that outrage. It's no longer just about the war, it's about the outrage that Canadian officials put Canada's own laws and treaties to the side to bend over backwards for the USA. And you build that outrage and you've got support from Canadians who don't care one way or the other. You build that support correctly and you've got people flooding into the streets to register their objections. You build that and then the NDP and the Liberal Party can run with it to reclaim our government. Suddenly a war resister is about respecting our country's historical independence and you've got an issue that is so dynamic that it can have an impact on elections which would make it so much easier to get a safe harbor status passed, a binding one. My honest opinion? The Liberal Party is not going to do a great deal to lead on that. They were forced into joining with the NDP which was the leader and specifically [Olivia] Chow. But you make this such an issue that it becomes a campaign issue, a "When Stephen Harper's in charge, America dictates what Canada will do! How much longer can Canada survive under Conservative Party rule?" When you do that and you've got the Liberal Party running with that argument because someone else has built it -- which is all they ever do, grab issues that are out there, they don't initiate -- you've got them bound to the issue of war resistance. It's not one they really wanted to tackle but it's part of what they campaigned on so they know it's expected that they will do something and you've got the NDP leading on it and there's no chance that the Liberal Party is backing down. But what a war resister today should have been told on extradition for desertion is that legally the only way you can be extradited is if you were stationed in Canada and deserted from your Canadian post. That war resister should have been told, however, that Canada's been doing some strange extraditions for a few decades now. It's usually been a crime like murder and no one gets too upset about that. There's not a great deal of mass outrage because you've got a lot of people who read "murder suspect" and they don't care. It's more gratitude that the person was expelled from Canada. But as an attorney, you do not say, "No, you can't be extradited." That was true before Robin Long and post-Robin Long, it's very true. The answer is that, legally, you cannot be but that this situation is so new and so dynamic and not like what we saw during Vietnam that you just do not know what will happen. So if that war resister was told, as he said he was, and I'm not calling him a liar but these "store front lawyers" don't spend a great deal of time with their clients and it's not like you can object, especially coming from the US where any kind of public assistance, let alone pro bono, is supposed to make you stigmatized, so possibly his attorney was misunderstood. It's also true, if I identified him correctly, his situation is not like any other known war resister so what applies for him, a Canadian citizen, does not apply for others. If they tried to do to him what was done to Robin Long, there wouldn't be a need to explain extradition, a Canadian citizen turned over to the US for desertion would be a national outrage. Robin Long was extradited. Lee's always playing it cautious, I don't know if you heard any of the embarrassing statements he made regarding Winnie Ng, but outrage was building and he was going around clamping down on it.
Elaine: Ng is the woman who housed Kyle --
Law Professor: Joshua Key and his family.
Elaine: Thank you. Three police officers, Canadian police officers, show up at her door step asking where Key is long after he, Brandi and their kids have moved into a place of their own. Winnie Ng senses some strange about the entire visit and maintains that the three were not Canadian police. And what's Lee doing?
Law Professor: Shooting his mouth off in disagreement. C.I. makes the point that it was little covered by the media and that is true. But if Lee hadn't been going around, summing his 'position of power' as the voice for war resistance in Canada, and dismissing what she was saying, there might have been more probing.
Elaine: And Winnie was right.
Law Professor: Yes, she was. Two of those Canadian police officers were US soldiers. By the time that comes out, Lee's put a wet blanket on the entire issue, raised so much doubt about it, that it really was a dead issue at that point. I'm not excusing the lack of coverage. Gerry [Condon] got attention for Kyle. You mentioned Kyle Snyder before. Gerry's like an "independent contractor." I don't mean a mercenary, I mean he's an independent actor. Gerry's made little attempt to hide his disgust over what happened to Kyle.
Elaine: Let me summarize what happened because I hear you hesitating and I have no problem calling it out. Kyle was about to be married when the event happened. As I understand it, from C.I., you and ****, Kyle was told he had a deal with the US military in October that his lawyer had worked out. Kyle was dropped off by his lawyer with the US military. This is --
Law Professor: October 31, 2006.
Elaine: Right, Halloween. So Kyle gets dropped off and there is outrage over that because he shouldn't have been dropped off. As soon as his attorney's gone, they announce there's no deal and he has to return to his unit and then some decision will be made. Now the lawyer goes around basically stating, "Not my fault! I made the deal! Turns out we were supposed to take him somewhere else!"
Law Professor: And that's a problem in two ways. First, if Kyle was supposed to go somewhere else, you were supposed to know so that was your fault. Second of all, that's not what happened. What happened was the deal you thought you had was never a deal and you need to take ownership of that and quit going around telling the press, "The problem was I dropped him off at the wrong place."
Elaine: And also why did you -- not you, the attorney -- why did he leave Kyle. Kyle's insisting he needs to speak to his attorney and he can't. What was so damn important that you couldn't stay. Did you think you were just doing a drop off?
Law Professor: Yeah, that's the problem that the attorney never owns. He left Kyle there. Why did he leave Kyle there. Now Kyle's either one of the smartest people alive or one of the luckiest and maybe it's both. But he plays along when he realizes no one's going to save him and he's going to have to save himself again. So he goes along and they give him a bus pass or ticket and leave him at the station and that's where he checks back out. But Gerry, not an attorney, Gerry is the one who went into action helping Kyle then. Now we're up to when Kyle's about to get married and the Canadian police show up at his door step and arrest him, haul him off in a bathrobe and underwear, don't even let him put on clothes. Where was the War Resisters Support Campaign? Gerry, again, is the one alerting the press. Gerry, again, is the one going into action. With Gerry, there's none of this 'let me be high minded and lofty' the way Lee was going out of his way to give the government the benefit of the doubt, more than the benefit of the doubt, about what happened to Winnie Ng. Gerry's just . . . man of action. Gerry's going to hit and he's going to hit hard. And if you hit back, he's going to hit you back even harder. He's not worried about how he comes off, he's worried about the war resister. Kyle was told he was arrested on the orders of Americans, Gerry gets that out. Gerry doesn't hedge or discount Kyle. Or the official who told Kyle that. But that's exactly what Lee did with Winnie, he made it seem like she wasn't trust worthy with his statements of how 'we need to be careful' and Gerry doesn't play it out like that. But Lee does and he's very ineffective.
Deserter: There was this sort of stress the positive, always stress the positive, Pollyanna thing going on. And I was like, "These are grown man, we're talking about their lives, I think one-on-one, they can handle hearing some realities." But, and maybe it's because we didn't get the statue of honor, I got the feeling that they were going to use the war resisters to make the case for themselves, for their own actions during Vietnam. So you've got war resisters today who think it's going to be like Vietnam. They say, "It's not like it was in Vietnam," over and over, but then another statement betrays them. I was speaking to one and "drinking the Kool-Aid" is a popular phrase in the US that's more than drifted over here, but he had slammed the Kool-Aid, he'd downed it and then some. This was two months ago, I was getting breakfast, he was getting breakfast and we get introduced because we're both war resisters. And we're just talking and he's got the whole fantasy he's been told and encouraged to have. I'm trying to explain what Carter offered and what [President Gerald] Ford offered and he doesn't know the difference. Now it's not important for him to know it because it's not going to happen today. You've got all these people glomming on [Barack] Obama and I mean where's the pressure? Has he ever been asked what he would do for war resisters? No. But this guy thinks something's going to happen if Obama's elected. And he's thinking that because he's been some fantasy about what happened in the past. That's when it's not an old war story but factual information. That's when it does matter what Ford did and what Carter did. And it's important that he knows that started in Congress, the move for that. And that he know the move started with draft dodgers. That draft dodgers were always an easier issue to sell than deserters. They are too dependent on the campaign and they need to start forming their own group. That's one of the lessons we learned when I was a deserter. We set up shop. I mean we issued press releases, we got quoted in the New York Times. When Carter was selling us out, we got quoted in the New York Times repeatedly. And we were being told, "Don't rock the boat" and don't do this and don't do that. But we were grown men and we took control. Now you can argue it didn't get us anywhere. Carter never did a thing for deserters. But if we failed, we failed on our own. We stood up and we failed. And I can live with that. Because I was standing. I think there's too much gate keeping in Lee's campaign. I think there's a refusal to share real knowledge with them because they might break off on their own and then Lee couldn't use them to justify what he did. Which was dodge the draft or desert depending on what day of the week it is and what he wants to tell people.
Law Professor: Absolutely they're being led around. Lee plays them like the Ten Most Needy Cases. We all know one war resister not considered photogenic more or less has been buried. That's something I've spoken at length with to Ava and C.I. when they're up here or when C.I. calls to toss around a legal point. And that's why C.I. made a point to cover that guy last year. But the war resisters seem to exist to feed Lee's need to say, "What I did was right." They are not individuals. I know C.I.'s privately told some war resisters with that campaign, I know C.I.'s told three of them, they need to reconsider some of that 'strategy.' The reason for that is because four years later, it's still Lee's 'strategy' which is you will get safe harbor or you will go back. I mean, think about how many war resisters C.I.'s brought into Canada in the last years. Think about how many now have immigration papers. Last week, C.I. tossed adult adoption? I really didn't know a great deal. A call comes in a few days later, "How quickly can I learn?" So that's what I'm quickly learning. People have papers. People I help or ***, *** or **** helps get in. And that's because we all -- including C.I. -- focus on getting them in. We're not trying to rewrite the law or refight whether or not desertion is honorable. We're trying to help people get into Canada. And anyone C.I. pairs me up with, I tell them the same thing C.I. does, "You get in trouble I can't help you. You get busted for pot or for a bar fight or something worse, I can't help you. You have to keep your nose clean. You have to be the most straight-laced person. And if you screw up, you've screwed up."
Deserter: You've got to be a boy scout. We get them jobs, it's not that hard to do, you get them a cash paying job and they lay low and they're little boy scouts -- or girl scouts -- and they know they can't screw up because if you do it's over. If the cops bust you and they show up at your work, everyone's playing dumb. So you keep your nose clean.
Law Professor: Was Robin smoking pot when he was first arrested? I don't know. That's what the press reported. That's exactly when he would have been out of our program. Actually, he would have been out of it before because he was a White man in dreds. Let's say Robin had been one of the ones I was helping and that his trouble was a fender bender. If I hadn't seen him in a few days or weeks and I walk in and he's got dreds, my response is, "I can't help you." You're a White man with dreds, to a judge, even with just a fender bender, you're a pot smoker. That's the assumption that's going to be made. You work with us, you're a *** is the term straight arrow? You're a straight arrow. I'm not judging Robin Long if he did smoke pot. I have smoked pot. I am asking what kind of information was he given by the "campaign"? How did he end up with dred locks? Before the pot bust, he was sporting dred locks. Did no one in the "campaign" know that? If they didn't, they weren't doing their jobs. More likely they knew. Dreds don't grow overnight. But did anyone ever explain the basics to him? Did they ever define "model citizen"? Did they ever explain to him that a pot bust for him didn't just make him look bad, it made anyone against war resisters say, "See, hippies! Unproductive hippies!" And did they give him reality? Reality was always, for every war resister, there's a good chance you will be asked to leave. Was he informed of that? It really matters in Robin's case because they played video at the court-martial, of him speaking to the camera right after he gets out of jail, and look at the way he's dressed, look at his hair. Is Lee providing any reality check? Is he saying, "There's a good chance you'll be sent back and there's a good chance that if you are any statements or video will be shown at your court-martial?" I would have hated to have been on Robin's team in the court-martial because you're presenting Robin who does not have dreds in that court-room and you're trying to present him in the best light, but you've got that video where he looks completely different and the judge has to be thinking about that and has to be concluding that one is honest and one is who Robin's pretending to be in order to get an easier sentence. I mean, look at Corey Glass, has no one told him to get a hair cut? I hope he gets to stay in Canada. This isn't about a hatred of dreds or long hair on my part, this is about arming these young men and women with the information they need to present the best case they can in Canada and, God forbid, if they have to go back to the United States. Back in 2007, my nephew had his first case and I'll tell this C.I. story because it goes to the point. It was a young man, under 20, over 18, African-American. He had been caught in a break-in. Now he's just a kid who was struggling and made a bad decision, it wasn't just his first bust, it was his first mistake. He shows up alone. He shows up dressed as if he's going clubbing. So C.I. and Ava get there -- Kat, too because this was the first time my nephew met Kat and he was really impressed -- and C.I. pulls my nephew aside and asks, "What are you doing?" My nephew's going, "That's what he wanted to wear." C.I. is going, "No, no, no." C.I.'s calling a friend to come down to the court house immediately with a medium, white, dress shirt and the plainest pair of size 12 shoes and the plainest belt. The guy's complaining and my nephew's trying to get him to go along with C.I. And C.I. says, "We don't have time to be nice here. Reality, that judge is going to judge you quickly and they are going to judge on what you look like. You're wearing medium and not extra-large because it fits and you want to send the message that you are dressed appropriately for court. You're outfit is expensive. You obviously have good taste. You're charged with breaking and entering. You don't want to look flashy. You don't want the judge to wonder, 'How many break ins has he really done to afford that?" And my nephew is telling me it was rat-tat-tat, one thing after another and the man was really more stunned than in agreement. So C.I.'s asking, "Where's your family?" And the young man says he told his mother to stay home, that it was his mistake and he'll face the consequences on his own to which C.I. replies, "How very damn noble of you." C.I. disappears, comes back with the African-American woman in her late forties. C.I. says, "This is your mother. When the judge is ready for you, you are going to look at her and she's going to look at you. She's going to look sad and you're going to act like everything's going to be okay. She's going to be looking upwards at some points, so don't be surprised that she is asking for help for you." The guy says, "She's older than my mother." The woman says she's leaving and C.I. says, "I'll double your pay." C.I. then explains that the woman being older than his own mother leaves no question of teenage pregnancy and there is nothing wrong with teenage pregnancy but you want the judge to have the best visuals possible when your under his gaze. So the man goes off and changes and the whole little act goes just as directed by C.I. and the man gets a very small slap on the wrist. C.I. knows a lot of judges and knows how they think. Is the 'campaign' warning anyone against body piecings? If you don't have one, you don't need one in Canada. If you're picked up and you have a body piercing that says to a conservative judge "drugs." They read the arrest report, they read about your body markings that you were born with or added, and they are judging you by that. They are also judging you by how you look. That's what my nephew learned from C.I., by the way. Your client does not show up in nice clothes. Your client shows up in simple, inexpensive clothes of the most traditional manner. A woman has her hair pulled back in a bun or ponytail. Or slicked back if she has short hair. She's not posing for a magazine, she's conveying that she is innocent. No jewlry for men or women other than a small cross if they can pull it off. Always white dress shirts for men. Always a solid tie that is red, blue or black. You are on trial and you are under scrutiny. You want to look innocent. So I wonder if any of this is conveyed to war resisters with the "campaign" because I'm not seeing any indication that it is by a lot that I see. I've read interviews where I wondered did anyone tell them not to curse in interviews? That interview is going to represent resisters all over Canada. You're not there to let-it-all-hang-out.
Deserter: Most of the jobs that I steer people to that C.I. sends me are blue collar. And I explain it's blue collar for a reason. I could get you a roadie job on a tour real easy. But if you get busted and you're a roadie, you're going to have long hair. Being a roadie, a judge is going to assume you've been partying. I get you a blue collar entry level job where part of your job is your appearance. I'm not setting you up with any odd hour jobs. You work the day shift so if you do get in trouble for something minor, you're a nine-to-five guy or gal when your before a judge. C.I. will tell them, "You're going to think you look like a dork, well that's how it is. That's how you want to look." The only exception on the hours is if you're working at something medical. Then you can work the graveyard shift, if you want, and that's not going to look bad. But the whole point is that you are amassing this image so that you blend in and so that, if anything does go wrong, you get the benefit of the doubt. I see some of these war resisters on TV and think, "Lee, you didn't tell them to get a haircut?" But that's Lee, he wants to refight what he went through as if doing that is going to make him feel respectable. All of these men and women are used to regulations. They know all about it from being in the military. Talk straight to them, they'll get it. Anyone C.I. sends me has already gotten the drill but I go over it again and the reaction is usually, "I was in the military for ___, I can do it." And they can, but they need to know about this. Lee and I could do whatever we wanted. We could have our hair long, we could take a toke or two, whatever. It was a different time and different rules applied. Landed immigrant status is no more. It's a never ending audition if you go public as a war resister. And these kids aren't being told that.
Law Professor: *** and it's the same thing over and over. It's, "You will get status and recognition as a war resister" when, in fact, most of these resisters do have other avenues of appeal but the "campaign" wants to score the win for the Vietnam era. Which is why they fight the same fight over and over, in court room after court room. Didn't work for Jeremy [Hinzman] and you are war resister 32 since he arrived but we're still going to file the same papers and make the same motions and does anyone remember the definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.
Elaine: C.I. has been very critical of the interpretation of the Barnes decision in Joshua Key's case.
Law Professor: Exactly right. There was a day when C.I. took that to the snapshot. It might have been two weeks ago. But C.I. calls me and asks, "Can I read this to you?" And I listen and it's exactly right. The decision by Justice Robert Barnes is being read to narrowly and that's Lee and his safety nonsense. An attorney takes a decision and builds upon it. You bring in other cases as well. What Justice Barnes did was take it to a new level. You do not play, "I'm scared of heights!" with that decision. You follow down the path that has just been cleared and you grab everything you can that has to do with immigration, every case possible, to argue, "In the Key decision it was found ___ and when you pair that with ___ and with ___, you see" blah, blah. That's what you do. If I were a war resister with "the campaign," my first question to my attorney would be, "How is what you're doing in my case different than what you did with any other war resister?" Justice Barnes' decision is firmly based and grounded and well cited. But that's not what was argued before him. I am not questioning his decision, it is a landmark decision. I am saying this wasn't a case a lawyer won. This was a victory solely due to the judge grasping issues that were not even raised fully by the attorney.
Elaine: Does it apply just to Joshua Key? That's one of the narrowest explanations.
Law Professor: No.
Elaine: Does it apply just to war resisters who served in Iraq?
Law Professor: If that were indeed Justice Barnes' intent why is he citing Jeremy [Hinzman]? If that was his intent, Jeremy's name would not be in that decision. Why is he referencing "deserters" and "evaders"? Those are two different categories. This is a landmark decision. Justice Barnes did all he could do within the existing law and within his role. It is up to attorneys to build the case futher. Joshua is very lucky that the court went beyond what his attorney was arguing. I will call Jeffry out on this aspect. C.I. and I had discussed the decision briefly on the Saturday after which would be July 5th. C.I. calls me late the next night and says, "As I understood the Key decision . . ." and starts listing off points and I'm saying yes, yes and yes, over and over because C.I. had a strong understanding of the decision and had, in fact, read it and marked it up before calling me. And I was a little puzzled by the call because C.I. had to know she had it correctly. So near the end, she reads me what Jeffry's released to the press and asks, "How are he and I seeing two completely different things?" I said, "Jeffry obviously hasn't read the decision." That was and is my conclusion. C.I. softened it at The Common Ills and allowed that possibly a word or two was left out of Jeffry's remarks -- released by the "campaign" -- but C.I. outlined it correctly at The Common Ills that night. C.I. e-mailed me late that night and copied and pasted those paragraphs and wrote, "Just to be sure, could you read over what I wrote." I read over it and C.I. was correct. It's a couple of weeks later and I'm reading a quote from Jeffry in the paper and he still doesn't understand the decision. I called C.I. about that and said, "You need to call this out. This is doing too much damage and I do not believe that, all this time later, Jeffry has made the time to sit down, pour over the 15 page decision and digest it." And, as you know, I'm not the only attorney that C.I.'s speaking to in Canada about this. So there's no vanity on my part, no, "I can't be wrong!" There are points that I've disagreed with when C.I.'s floated them. Those do not go up at The Common Ills unless I'm in the minority of those C.I.'s surveying. And to get back to the issue of extradition, what had the "campaign" so upset, it was extradition. Should Robin have been extradited? No. Was it legal? No. That is the entire point. Justice Anne Mactavish wanted to extradite him and did. She knew different rules apply, including her decision being reviewed by a higher body which would hopefully reject because we cannot extradite deserters who deserted on foreign soil. She knew she couldn't get away with doing it as an extradition in the open; however, she hoped she could get away with an extradition if she called it "deportation." It was illegal. I loved the 'legal minds' at SWWNBN who hold no legal degree and do not appear to know of any cases they can cite. C.I. can and has cited those cases. Many times. Maybe those people watched a couple of courtroom dramas and thought that made them experts. But they are so clearly misunderstanding on every level. The war resister, to drop back to him, is saying, paraphrasing, "C.I. is wrong because you can't extradite." You are not supposed to be able to extradite and that is why C.I. is so outraged by what happened. I know that the bulk of the comments at that website are by the woman and her boyfriend. Neither of whom is an attorney and you'll notice she lets that repellant nature that so upset Rebecca last year come out in her comments. In her posts she tries to play it like she's some high minded person. Then she gets to her comments. There was a laughable comment someone left about her suing C.I. That would be really hard to do since C.I. has never named her at The Common Ills. That would be really hard to do when the woman has made non-stop comments about C.I. and C.I.'s motivations when C.I. did one e-mail to her after she posted about C.I. That would be really hard to do when, in effect, what she has posted at her site is "work product" meaning that they are e-mails, obtained under dubious circumstances, under the guise of representing the "campaign" which then ended up at her own personal blog. Read Jess, Dona and Jim's e-mails. Either there are get a copy from them. They are very clearly speaking to her as the representative for the "campaign." They are very clearly outlining what is and is not acceptable for her to send The Common Ills. She might not like their tone, laughable not just because of what she wrote Rebecca but also because of her own tone in the comments she leaves at her own post. But tone isn't a legal argument. She initiated a conversation. She initiated a private conversation and appeared to be doing so on behalf of the "campaign." Those e-mails would not be found to be her e-mails. The "campaign" would have to answer some serious questions including why, pay attention here, their represenative not only posted Jess' e-mail but continued to write them without ever telling them she was posting the e-mails? I don't think she has any legal standing in posting Jess' e-mail. I think she might try to argue it was a mistake she made in the heat of the moment. But she then continues to write The Common Ills and she doesn't ever state that she has posted them. One could argue, and remember the electronic media is very new, that after she posted Jess' e-mail, the entire game shifted and what she was doing would fall under the same guidelines as wire tapping your own phone to record someone without their permission. By not informing Jess she had posted his e-mail when she continued to e-mail and complain to The Common Ills, she was in effect recording a private conversation without permission. Now there's a whole other issue here as well that futher blows any defense she might try to offer if Dona, Jess or Jim decided to sue her.
Elaine: A lengthy pause.
Law Professor: She rests her argument, and remember her words are online for any to see. She would have a very difficult time changing her argument in court. Her defense would appear to be, she felt treated badly and, in her mind, that allowed her to do what she did. She makes that point over and over while she plays the wronged party but then we get to your boyfriend and none of her cult that's left comments have picked up on that nor has she.
Elaine: That's Mike. And she's posted his e-mail.
Law Professor: I'm finding it really hard to believe that Mike told her she could post his private e-mail. I've read that e-mail. Where is anything even someone as loose with facts as she is can claim is offensive? Her argument is she was treated badly by Jess, Dona and Jim. So why is Mike posted up there. More importantly, why was Mike's name ever posted up at her site? A judge would ask that question. He or she would ask why, if Mike had written you a nice e-mail, you even put his name at your site. He or she would then ask, "Did you get Mike's permission to post his e-mail?" You did not? Then how do you argue that you had a right to make any private e-mails public. Her entire defense, and she's set it up that way herself with her own words, is that these people wronged her so she was forced to post their e-mails without permission. That's a questionable notion as anyone who knows even a little about wire tapping laws would quickly grasp. But her own defense, which she has presented repeatedly, never allowed her the right to post Mike's e-mail.
Elaine: You asked me to bring up letters.
Law Professor: Thank you. C.I. knows the laws on this better than anyone. C.I. has never posted an e-mail *** I'm stopping because the warning that C.I. has up is being used as some excuse for SWSNBN posting Jess, Dona and Jim's e-mails. That warning is referencing physical threats made to C.I. and others by a clown who is indeed a failed comic. He is a failed stand-up comic and he became a stalker. So SWSNBN doesn't grasp that warning. Even with that warning, which is a disclaimer that would allow a threatening e-mail, threatening physical violence, to be posted, C.I. has never posted an e-mail without permission. The minute the warning went up, the stalking stopped. C.I.'s kept the warning up to make sure that remains the case. That has nothing to do with SWSNBN but the fact that she misunderstands it and that she tries to base her argument on it would require her to demonstrate why she expects others to be all knowing but she didn't grasp what that warning states and that warning is very clear. But that disclaimer would allow C.I. to post any e-mail that was physically threatening. C.I. does not post e-mails without permission. That's because there is confusion as to what e-mails fall under? What SWSNBN did resembles wire-tapping. But if it is judged to be a letter, and here C.I. knows the law better than I do an has followed it to a t and used it to take on a newspaper who published an e-mail without permission from a private citizen, then a new set of guidelines apply. If I send you a letter, you own the letter. If you decide to collect it for publication, then you have to get my consent. You do not own what I wrote except in the sense, we're saying electronic text falls under letters here, that you own the paper. You can refer to it. You can paraphrase it, under fair use, you can selectively quote from it. But you do not own my letters. When C.I. was taking on the paper, C.I. did what you do which is build a case. C.I. built it around the private e-mail being published. C.I. built it around the man being a private person. By doing that, C.I. immediately brought in the most recent decision where the paper was found to have violated a private person's right to confidentiality even while in the public sphere. C.I. then argued that an e-mail should be seen as comparable to a letter and that the same laws apply. C.I. cited various published letters, especially in Anais Nin's output -- both letter collections and letters quoted in her journal -- and how Nin was required to get written permission from each living person. C.I. cited case law on that and, again, C.I. can go on for hours on that but I believe we established that if e-mails are judged as comparable to letters, SWSNBN is in violation because she owned the copy sent to her but she did not own the right to publish it. The author of a letter retains the rights to their words.
Elaine: Let me try to make that real simple and correct me if I screw it up. You write me a letter. I own that. I can sell it to a museum or donate it to one. I own the physical copy. But for me to publish it, I have to have your permission. I own my copy. I do not own the right to publish it because you own the words yourself and you have to relinquish that right to me.
Law Professor: Correct. I would have to sign a waiver or you would be open to litigation because you own the copy, you do not own my words. If my words appear anywhere, you need my persmission.
Elaine: To get back to Mike, because he is going to be writing about this tonight. You're saying that she blows her own defense by publishing his e-mail.
Law Professor: Mike never gave her permission. Why has Mike's e-mail been published at her site? She argues she is interested in nice or whatever. She's not a legal mind and it is very hard to read her in the comments as she repeatedly introduces and then drops one argument after another. But the thrust is that she feels wronged by Jess which allows her to publish his e-mail. It does not allow any such thing. But she reveals other motives when she then publishes Mike's e-mail. It is not about her being wronged at that point. No judge would see it that way. They would see the internal conflict within her argument and when you lie to a judge once, you're seen as someone who lies repeatedly. She could take it down tomorrow -- she should -- it wouldn't change the fact that by posting it without his permission her stated motive imploded the moment she posted that e-mail.
Elaine: Her motive?
Law Professor: With what she did and what she wrote, her motive was one of spite and malice. There is no need to prove malicious intention with anything other than her own words. Malilce is there.
Elaine: You wanted to bring up Dona you said earlier.
Law Professor: If she feels she was wronged, if that is her argument, and that is the one she makes, a judge would ask why the e-mails are up in full? A judge would ask her why she has reposted Dona's sentence about C.I.'s medical condition? A judge would want to know what her contact with C.I. prior to posting that had been? She had no contact with C.I. A judge would ask why she felt the need to include that or many other comments if her point was to prove that she was wronged since those statements have nothing to do with you. They wouldn't have anything to do with SWWNBN regardless. But Dona's disclaimer of "I don't know what you do" demonstrates that Dona is now sharing and that these have nothing to do with what SWWNBN claims is the reason for posting the e-mails. She claims she was wronged. Dona, clearly stating she does not know what SWWNBN does, is merely listing what is going on from Dona's end. It has nothing to do with SWWNBN. A judge would most likely conclude, "You say you didn't know about the cancer but if this woman had never written you, where did you think you had the right to include anything about medical aspects of her life on your site? Do you not know how many privacy laws there are around medical issues? Do you not know that a newspaper doing what you did would be in serious trouble?" I mean, look at Jalal Talabani. He is a public figure and, as such, his health is an issue. But look at what C.I. wrote before the heart surgery. You'll see C.I. offering that Talabani is eating fatty foods. C.I. knew about Talabani's heart problems beyond what was reported prior to the surgery. But C.I. also knows the law. A judge would also be puzzled by her decision to post Jess' e-mail and then continue corresponding with them without informing them that she had posted the e-mail. The question would be, "You say you only posted it because you were offended?" Her argument is that she was wronged. What she's done is not a heat of passion action. She made the decision to post Jess' e-mail. That's where her "I just wasn't thinking" defense ends. She did not inform them that an e-mail had been posted. And read what she wrote that she's posted at her site, forget anything else she wrote to them. It appears obvious that she was hoping to get more from them and to publish that. This was done methodically on her part. She has no defense and she doesn't even qualify as reliable because her actions have contradicted themselves with the publication of Mike's e-mail. She finds Mike's e-mail to be pleasing. So why did she post it without permission? Every thing she's done is in the wrong. Whether you consider e-mails to fall under the same laws as letters or under the same laws as established electronic communication. In fact, if it falls under the latter, she's worse off. Not only does wire tapping come into it but she now has to be aware of US laws and not just Canada's own publication laws. The e-mail coming from the US falls under both US and Canada laws if it is judged to be similar to a phone call. In which case, she's broken not only Canada's federal laws but the US laws as well. In the end, the judge would most likely find that she wanted to provoke them and that is why she continued e-mailing them. She had already posted Jess' e-mail and she lost her heat of the moment argument the minute that went up. That was her heat of the moment defense. When she continues contacting them, when she does not inform them she has posted an e-mail, she's now attempting to provoke further reaction with the apparent hope that she can post more things.
Elaine: Where does the War Resister Support Campaign fall into all of this?
Law Professor: I believe Ava and C.I. outlined that in different ways. Ava's arguement, which is correct, is that it makes them suspect to e-mail. If they are attempting to help people who are attempting to evade US law, how do they build trust by publishing e-mails? And that's where C.I.'s point comes in. They were responding to the represenative of the "campaign." That's how she presented herself. It doesn't matter if she uses the phone at one of the headquarters or the phone at her home, if she is presenting herself as the "campaign"'s representative, then any communication with her is in that role. So the "campaign" has allowed her to take those e-mails, which are communications with the "campaign," and to publish them at her own personal site. That would probably be the most distrubing issue to a judge. How did an organization allow their communications to end up at a private website. And that would also be a huge public relations nightmare for the campaign. Forget that the woman comes off as lacking any judgment, to put it mildly, the issue now becomes the campaign and goes to supervision that they clearly have not done. They are dragged into it by her because she was presenting herself as their spokesperson. C.I. notified the "campaign." Lee is aware of it. I told C.I. to reply Friday afternoon that the e-mails need to come down. In the original e-mail, which C.I. read to me before it was sent, C.I. is asking if this woman is indeed their representative? Lee acknowledges it, acknowledges it in glowing terms. And that raises another point that I'll come back to. I informed C.I. that a reply had to be sent so that an official request was made to the "campaign" informing them that their representative needed to take down those e-mails. Lee is liable. Now here's the other point. Let me be clear that I never visited the woman's site until C.I. called me on Thursday. C.I. read the e-mail just written and sent to the woman. Which shows you how upset C.I. was because nothing goes out on something like this without being checked and re-checked. But it requested that be taken down. So C.I. has made that request to the "campaign" and to SWSNBN and the response has been nothing. Both are now libel. I was reading C.I.'s thing Friday where it makes the point that those were e-mails to a representative of a campaign. I didn't get around to it until the afternoon. But when I did, I immediately called, left a message and when C.I. phoned me, we drafted that e-mail together. Both the representative and the "campaign" have been informed to take those e-mails down. The "campaign" is now as much in the wrong as the woman because they have done nothing. By acknowledging her as their represenative, paid or otherwise, Lee is now personally responsible for those e-mails being taken down. It's not just her saying she's their representative, it's Lee acknowledging it and a judge would find it very curious that Lee didn't step in right away, after he sent that e-mail to C.I. A judge would find it very curious. So regardless of whether it was judged to be the equivalent of a letter or a phone call, regardless of which laws were applied, the responsibilty would rest with that woman and the "campaign." Here's the other point I wanted to raise. SWSNBN writes about C.I.'s e-mail to Lee. C.I. e-mailed the War Resisters Support "Campaign." When Lee was asked why he didn't do anything about the woman posting those e-mails he could not say he thought it was a private matter because the judge would want to know why Lee then thought it was okay that she was writing, at her own personal site, about an e-mail that C.I. sent to the "campaign." Clearly, even if Lee wanted to argue he didn't grasp the implications of her writing The Common Ills as a representative of the "campaign," he should have grasped that e-mails sent directly to the "campaign" fell under the protected category. You know Lee, we always thought he was a jerk. The "campaign" has always been a joke because Lee's determined to refight his past and claim his glory. But now it's just imploding because he's creating his own public relations nightmare. And a judge would point that out.
Elaine: Ignorance of the law is no excuse?
Law Professor: True and that certainly applies to the woman and to Lee but there's also the fact that Lee can't play injured party. As the head of the "campaign," it is his job to protect it. Posting private e-mails online is helping war resistance how. And I would guess C.I. has mentioned Lee's organization at least 2,000 times. Maybe more. Actually, in at least 2,000 entries because C.I. often mentioned them in more than one entry. The judge would ask Lee how it was helpful to his "campaign" to antagonize someone who was getting the word out on your organization? Here you had The Common Ills regularly noting you. Recommending you. Lee's judgment would come into question on that alone. That's before you factor in the fallout C.I. suffered. That's before you factor in that the fallout is now known. That was also my advice to C.I. I asked, "How comfortable are you writing about that?" Going back to medical issues and privacy issues, there is no defense for the fallout from your actions. That's exactly why damages are awarded, from the fallout of your actions. That's why pain and suffering comes into play in legal cases and, remember, I'm saying this would be judged as a phone call, in which case, US and Canada laws apply.
Deserter: What Lee should have done was call that woman and say, "Take it down. It's not going to help us. If it stays up, that's one website that will not note us." That he didn't do that goes again to the fact that it's not about today's war resisters. If it was about today's war resisters, C.I. noted them every day. C.I. transcribed interviews. Transcribed TV reports. The snapshot's reposted widely. How many people got to know about Kyle Snyder or Joshua Key that wouldn't otherwise? He should have told the woman, "C.I.'s never had any contact with us before this. Let's go back to that. Pull the posts." But Lee's not interested in getting their stories out. I mean, C.I.'s got stuff up there that they don't have online. And their online presence is a joke. You have to have new content. Find a newspaper today not trying to up their web content. If there's not an action alert, they aren't adding anything. It wasn't very smart in terms of **** either because she and C.I. go how far back? She's the one who called me and asked, quote, "What the f*** is going on? Why are they attacking her?" It's crazy time. And I had told her and told her, distance yourself from them. Move away from them. I firmly believe that in time people always expose themselves. And Lee's actions have finally exposed him to her. The man has behaved like he has a self-destructive wish and that none of this has anything to do with war resisters of today. That's very obvious now. I spent Friday morning returning one call after another and all I was doing was saying, "Yeah, I told you so." Over and over.
Elaine: Well, I'm wording carefully, but forget the fact that you were a liability as a deserter for a moment. The fact of the matter is that you can get a ton of jobs. You were written off, rejected.
Deserter: Exactly. Hey, you don't blow off someone who could get every war resister in your campaign a job. Robin Long's doing day labor? How crazy is that? But Lee can't get jobs because Lee can't work with others and the whole "campaign" has just become something that a lot of us back away from. But there's another argument. With a steady income, they might not need Lee. Which brings us back to the issue of how they are put in a certain status and kept there. It's like a pusher. It's like they're being strung along.
Law Professor: Yes, I see his point. We're talking about young men and young women, primarily young men. They're nervous when they get here but how long does that last?
Deserter: We waited and waited around and we started going on TV and doing stuff, even though the groups back then didn't want that. They wanted the draft dodgers on. The draft dodgers were sympathetic, we were told. They may have been. But we had a case to make. We broke some rules, we made mistakes but I'm not trying to relive it. I'm proud of what I did. I don't need to start some campaign up to glorify myself. I've got the pride already. I made some smart decisions and I made some bad decisions. I call that "life." But I took control of my own life. I left the military and I stopped taking orders, I thought. But it was not that way. And I stood up and what happened and didn't happen is what it is and it's what my life is. No regrets for anything after I walked out on the military. Lot of regrets for what I saw in Vietnam. Lot of regrets for what I did. The military didn't make me man. Making the decision to leave started me on that road. Starting with that decision, I'm proud of what I did. There were some screaming and shoving matches we got in with a few deserters and a few dodgers. I look back on that and laugh and know a lot of that was my own dumbness. I'm not going to create a hero status for me. I was a young man and I did a lot of dumb things when I got to Canada. And I was angry a lot of the time. And I grew my hair out and didn't listen to the advice to cut it. That was a mistake. I don't look back and lie to myself about that. If I look at old pictures and I see all of us looking like fools, I laugh. Because I knew the risks, or I was informed of them, and I made my decisions. Some were wrong, some were really wrong, but they were all my decisions and every one of them got me to this point today. And that's what I share with the ones coming to Canada today. I don't make it like I was perfect or everything was easy. I don't hide my mistakes. I don't take the attitude of, "Measure up to me." I take the attitude of, "Everyone of you is smarter than I was then. I had protections you don't. Don't think I'm an example of what to do. But know that whatever happens here, you are responsible." But I was interested in seeing young men find their own power. I say young men for two reasons before I get creamed in your e-mails. One, I think the experiences of a female war resister are completely different and that I have little to offer other than keep your nose clean, dress appropriately, remember you're always being jugded. There's Kimberly Rivera, okay, I think she's the best case if they're just going to try the same case over and over. I don't see her getting into a bar brawl. I've never seen her in the press acting out the way some of the guys do. I think she's on her trip. Some of the guys, I could say, "Let me tell you where that road took me one night in Toronto . . ." And they could disregard it or use it. I don't think Kimberly Rivera would learn a thing from me except maybe what a fool I could be. She always come off really grounded. There's only one other woman that's public that i know of, Skylar James. If she's as wild as me, she's kept it out of the press. When I was interested in trying to help you really just had guys. With them, I know a few things. I know about the whole, "I deserted. Am I a man?" Or, "What does this say about my manhood?" I know about doing really stupid things to prove to any drunk that I wasn't "yellow." That seemed the big thing back then, for anyone who hated us to call us "yellow." And you only had to do that once with me for me to be in your face. And I don't know much about Skylar, maybe it does go through her head. I don't see that impulse in Kimberly. But if you're a young man, you already feel like you've got a ton to prove. Add to that the fact that you've just come to Canada which is a difficult thing to do. So you can have a chip on your shoulder. You can, and I certainly did, think you've got something to prove every day and if you didn't prove it that day, your manhood wilted a little.
Elaine: Curious as to why you think Kimberly's the best case?
Deserter: She was in Iraq. She is a mother. I do think there is an attitude, in the board, in the reactions of some Canadians, to Jeremy or Robin, "Oh, they're not the full time care giver. They are the dad. They go to prison, their children will be raised and everything will be fine." But, and this is where Lee's made a huge mistake because Kimberly should be front and center and that doesn't mean she has to do the dog & pony show, that just means people have to talk about her and tell her story. But . . . I shared this with C.I., so don't think I'm nuts here, C.I. agreed it was an interesting point, how does Canada say, "Kimberly Rivera, you have to leave. Yes, we know you'll be in a military prison for a year or whatever. But that's what's best." How do you take the mother of young children and do that? C.I. and I discussed this when I saw Jeremy's statement to Harper asking for him to stay. I thought Jeremy looked confident and mature. I thought the family looked perfect. But what was missing? Picking up his son. Look at his wife, she's holding their newborn. That says: "There's a bond." But that says: "There's a bond between mother and daughter." Jeremy obviously has a bond with his children, I'm not saying or suggesting he doesn't. But what I am saying is that the PSA needs Jeremy physically picking up his son because otherwise the message telegraphed is my wife is handling the children now, don't worry. That's not the message intended. But the attitude is, "Well weren't you going to go to war? If you could be gone for that, why not this?" Holding his son or even just patting his shoulder at the end, would be a visual message. So getting back to Kimberly, how do they send a mother to prison? For something that wasn't a crime. How do they do that knowing she's going to be robbed of her children and they of their mother? And we were discussing that, C.I. and me, and we were dreaming up the perfect PSA for Kimberly because her story adds another dynamic. And if we see her as a mother, it makes it easier to see Jeremy as a father. Or Patrick Hart. It was really smart to do the PSA with his family. It conveyed that something is at stake. But I think they could have taken it just a little further and I think they should have. But, hey, what do I know? Right?
Law Professor: No, I would not get involved with the "campaign" today. Let's assume I could set aside what was done to C.I., which I can't and won't. There's also the fact that by doing that I would be risking the work I'm doing now. Lee wants to refight his youth and have Canada say, "You are wonderful. You made the right decision." I am just interested in getting the young men and women a way to stay in the country. The Key decision opens new avenues but I haven't seen many try for it. There were some efforts on Jeremy's behalf to move beyond doing the same court motions. It's really hard for me to look at the "campaign" and not see it as Lee trying to relive his past with stronger recognition.
Deserter: Absolutely not. What's the line, if nominated, I will not accept, if drafted, I will not serve? No, I don't trust them. That happened from my own experiences. That happened before the nonsense pulled on C.I. The nonsense pulled on C.I. just demonstrates that only Lee's vanity is in charge. You pick up the phone and say, "Take it down. It's not helping. If it's not helping, it's hurting." Lee didn't do that. He has no judgment. He's off trying to play Patton of the war resisters movement. A lot of us are doing work and, no, it's not going to end the war. The illegal war. C.I. will call me and no matter what else I said, no matter if it was some private story I shouldn't have shared, that will be the only criticism, "You called it the war, it is the illegal war." Put in that I'm laughing. But I don't think that Canada had much to do with ending Vietnam. I think when the decision was made to welcome deserters and dodgers, that had an effect. But I think there's an idea of global power or global disapproval that's being overrated today. Vietnam started when I was in school. America didn't care. On the whole, America didn't care. But it wasn't a 'popular' war worldwide long before it became an issue in the States. I would love to tell you that my deserting ended the war. I'm sure it started a few conversations when I didn't return to duty. Maybe that had some effect I never knew of. I'm sure it raised some questions. But as someone outside of the States, up here, as the powerful movement really took hold in the US, it was the people in America that ended the war. And let me really stress that. I'm talking about how can Canada deport Kimberly Rivera but there's another flip to that and that's how it plays out in America. I don't think Canada has it in her to send Kimberly to prison and rob a family of their mother. I also think that message getting amplified in the US would make a powerful statement. Anything we did here, at best, powerful statement. But it was what our actions did back home, as they were learned of that provided any motivation to America. Is that clear or confusing?
Elaine: I believe you're saying, the US is the one who can end the illegal war.
Deserter: Right, because they started it. Canada can't end the illegal war. See, I'm saying illegal war. Avoiding that complaint from C.I. What we did, those of us who deserted and dodged, was have a ripple effect with the people we were serving with or knew we were going to be inducted and dodged. But if our stories had any many, our actions were examples, it was because of what it did to Americans. And I think that gets lost and I hear a lot of statements to the contrary of that from the "campaign." Anyone can disagree with me. Cool. But I'm being honest. I think I made the right decision. I never regret it. I think it might have influenced, at best ten people to do the same. At worst, only one. But what it did do was get people to think. If only to ask, "Why did he desert?" And the fact that we deserted -- or dodged -- questioned the war itself. But it was the people in the US -- and not just college kids, there were factory workers and dock workers and men and women you'll never hear about -- hearing those questions, taking that space and insisting that illegal war end. And there again, I disagree with Lee's statements because I hear a lot of glorification that I don't think we deserve. It's like a smoker who stops smoking and becomes annoying as they do their, "I haven't smoked in X" and just really get on your nerves. You quit smoking. Good. It'll improve your health. But it's not a miracle. And no one's quitting because you did. Someone's going to quit because they want to. You can put the question in their head by quitting but you're not responsible for them quitting. Lainie, you're as bad me with the memory so I hesitate to bring this up. But awhile back, maybe a year or two, C.I. highlighted something in Stars & Stripes where they just said no. They said we're not doing it. They said that in Iraq. That had more effect than anything that's going on in Canada today. Eli Israel rejecting the illegal war in Iraq, while serving, had more effect. I am comfortable with any impact I had. But the campaign really seems like, "Throw me a parade!" You know. Some old veteran grumbling he didn't get a parade. And that's why I wouldn't work with it. It's not about these kids. Or Kimberly's kids. It's about someone who wants some self-glory. And I can understand it to a degree. Like I said, some of us were quoted for days and days in the New York Times. And for about two years after, after Carter's amnesty for the dodgers, you could find reporters from the US coming up here and still asking our opinions. And then it just stopped because life goes on, new stories happen all over the world. So I can understand someone feeling like the parade passed them by. But I don't think you stage your own personal parade on the backs of kids who need help right now. And that's how the campaign strikes me. And, yeah, I don't like Lee. I never did. So maybe that colors my perception. But look at what's been done, and then redone, and then tried again, over and over. Look at the lack of results. It's really hard for me to look at all of that and not go with my opinion in 2004 of the campaign. You know Nina Simone sings that "it's a new day"? Well it is a new day. And just like I don't think I would have been much help to Skylar or Kimberly, I don't think Lee is. And I look at Kimberly and just think, "Why is this not the story told over and over?" Save a mother and it's that much easier to save a father next. Save enough of both and the attitude quickly becomes, "Okay, well what about ___." So then it's all the war resisters. But Lee seems to be about reliving the past. There was no one like Kimeberly in that past. We had people then like Brandi Key. But I didn't know any woman public resisting by deserting. And certainly none were at risk of being drafted. And I'm not saying there wasn't a woman deserting in Canada back then. If she was, she was probably smart to avoid me. I would have tried to turn her into a barroom buddy -- asking, "Did you hear what he called you?" -- or else argued with her the whole time. But the thing is, I made the right decision and I think all of us who went to Canada did. But I don't say, "We ended the war!" I think we embarrassed the US government to help end the draft more than we helped end the war and the reason I say that is because it was the Americans at home, in the streets, that ended the war. We were part of the groups creating a space for questioning with our actions. And we ended the draft because it's harder to resist when you signed up. They took the draft off the table and that's why I'm sick of hearing people going on about the draft when the US doesn't have one today. They knew it would shift the debate and it did. And that's why they took it off. But I wasn't drafted, I was a young kid with something to prove. And the whole thing is about hooking you in. All the training is really preparing for you is to kill your objection. Follow orders on everything. Normalize everything. That's what the chants are for. You're repeating it and it's in your head and infecting you before you even notice it. And that's what happened with the first slaughter I saw. I was hearing that chant in my head. But someone didn't do their job or I was wired wrong because I wasn't hearing it gung-ho. And that's when I started to question and it wasn't overnight that I changed. I'm not sure how much to talk about this because who knows who might read this and start thinking, "Okay! Now we know how to nip desertion in the bud!" But that one moment when I was hearing the chant in my head and it just amplified over the months there. It didn't help that things got worse every day. But the thing was, even when I knew where I stood, even when I knew it was immoral, I still had the tug of the "we are a unit, we are brothers" crap. And they really haven't figured out how to instill with that with the women as well. That's partly due to the crap and crimes women serving have to put up with. But it's also because they aren't supposed to be taking part in combat. They do today. You can't be in Iraq and not be in a combat zone. But because they're technically not in combat, there's a resistance to them the same way there was a desk jockey. There was this attitude of, "We're the ones!" And even when I got to the point where I wasn't able to escape the, "Yeah, we're the ones killing innocent people" response back in my head, there was still that brother aspect. And it's really hard to break through that. And for me and everyone else who deserted that I knew in Canada, it was a struggle in Canada to prove something at various points. Now some people were natural born speakers. And that allowed them to shift the drive over to there, rechannel it. Others of us didn't have that gift or didn't yet have that gift. And I can hear that struggle when I catch something on TV or the radio. I'm not going to name names but I can hear it in some of today's war resisters. And I think I could have helped the campaign in that regard. But it's all good because it's something I address with the people I do help. But when I hear that, I'm reminded that we really weren't helped with that. You guys visited three months after we came up here and I remember complaining to you about how someone was suggesting yoga and another seemed to think we just needed to wear love beeds and mediate. That helped some guys, I'm sure. But it didn't help the bulk of us and it just made me angrier. And when I hear that in the voices of some of today's war resisters, I really can't see the campaign as anything but a vanity trip because if there's one thing we knew it was what we were feeling inside. That really doesn't seem to have been addressed by the campaign.
Elaine: Do you want an observation?
Deserter: My voice is getting really angry, isn't it? Yeah, I caught that at the end too. But that's what I'm talking about. I haven't forgotten that. It's stilll a part of me. And if that's not being addressed with today's group, you have to wonder why it's not? And I go to the fact that it's all a parade to get some honors or something, to get some huge validation saying, "Lee, you did right!" But, yeah, I noticed it too, in my voice. That's why I can hear it in some of the war resisters today. Like a wolf picking up the scent of another. Hey, who am I: "Okay, now I'm way off topic!"
Deserter: Yeah. And I needed that laugh. But there are hurts and pains and wounds that I don't see any recognition of. I'm not talking PTSD which is its own wound. And I'm not talking physical injuries. I'm talking about the mentality they plant in you and, for some of us, what it mixes with already inside of you. When you two came up three months after, you didn't say, "What you're feeling is . . ." There was no effort to tie a pretty little bow around it. And I think that's why so many of us ended up breaking away and doing our own group. Because it was "tie a pretty bow around it. It's pretty. You should smile." I'm not talking about dealing with the public. And I'm not really trying to slam anyone either. A lot of the people helping out were really religious people who probably had some inner serenity or core belief. But our core was changed. I mean I really snapped at both of you that trip, remember. You weren't doing that 'be at peace' thing that I was already getting up here and was ticking me off. And I said something like, "Oh, aren't you going to tell me what I'm feeling is harming me."
Elaine: Shouted as I recall.
Deserter: Yeah. And C.I. goes, flat tone, "What you're feeling is what you're feeling."
Elaine: Long silence and then we all laughed.
Deserter: Yeah. And that's something, going through that, that you do away from the press and not when you're going to some church group to explain why you really, really need them to do whatever. But what I'm saying is I'm picking up a scent, wolf man, I'm picking up a scent a lot lately and I don't think this is being dealt with privately. And if the campaign fails on that, it's not just a vanity trip for one old guy, it's a failure because we should know, we should remember, what it was like. And if we can't help on that, I don't know what the campaign helps on. It's not helping on getting anybody asylum. So what's it doing? That all really is all off topic but if you could include that, it really would mean something to me. I can't fix anybody. I can't change anybody. But maybe one person going through it right now reads it and thinks, "It's not just me." That really was the big thing, thinking it was just me and worrying. Then finding a few others and thinking it was just us. Then finding even more and thinking it was the way that war damaged us. It wasn't that war, it was that war with the training we had before we went over. And I'd joke that my brain snapped or say it if I wasn't joking. But the snap was the realization that it was wrong and I couldn't take part anymore. And when you get that the snap was from the lies you were fed and injected with versus the reality it's really scary because you think it is the end point. It's really a dark place to be. And the thing is, it's like a sling-shot. Yeah, it snapped. But it just moved you in a different direction. And this snap is taking you somewhere so it's not just this dark place. You gotta hurtle through that. You'll revisit it in the future, like I did earlier, but you come back out and you come back out quicker. I mean, I hated everything and, I guess I really want this to go up because, there were a lot of days where it was hating me too, I was hating me and thinking, this is how it is and how it's going to be. And we're talking about when I could stay here. I wasn't going to be deported. Now take my feeling on that and add on that my staying is uncertain and add on that I just see Robin turned over at the border. There's some dark stuff that can pile on when you're already in a dark place. And I just worry that someone's going to really start to wonder, "What's the point?" But the point is, and you don't have to believe it, you can read this and say, "You're wrong. You're full of s**t." Cool. You know, prove me wrong. Hang on a bit more and prove me wrong. Prove me full of s**t. But what I think you're going to find out is that I'm right and that it got a little easier for you while you were trying to prove me wrong. But here's what screws with you, it gets a little easier and then it gets hard again. And it can be hard like bottom floor. But you're going to go back up. And what happens is you start learning to navigate it after you learn to expect it. And slowly, it stops being like that. And I'm not talking about PTSD. I'm talking about some really intense self-hating. But you identify that it's because of what you witnessed after what you were told and trained and it makes a lot more sense to you what you're feeling. That's a whole journey. And the sling-shot snapped and you can't change the trajectory anymore than you can change what you saw or what you did over there. But you ride it out and it does get better. And, for me, what I realized little by little is there wasn't any reason to hate myself because I wasn't the problem. For me, it was a lot of aggression acting out and that was the whole number of that training, of going to war, and of being trained to think I proved something one way and only one way. You already did the hardest part, you had that snap. You said, "I can't do this anymore." That's the snap. And that snap's going to take you somewhere really good where you can look back and see what they tried to do you. And you can have some real pride over saying no, over walking away from something that you should never have been sent in to. But that training they gave you was about making you stay so there are all these guilt triggers they created. And all that you're doing now is breaking free of all of their triggers. They had millions of dollars and years and years to refine what they forced into you. You already got through the hardest part just by saying no more.
"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Friday, August 29, 2008. Chaos and violence continue, the US military announces another death, John McCain declares a running mate, Cynthia McKinney campaigns this weekend in Michigan, and more.
Starting with the US presidential race. Independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader held a Super Rally in Denver Wednesday and took the stage to the tune of "This Land Is Your Land." Below are some of his opening remarks and you can see the video here:
Ralph Nader: . . . one of the best songs of social justice ever written. And for those of you concerned, all this [points to confetti] can be recycled. Well, where do we start? Let's start with something dealing with Colorado. The Democratic Party Convention selling sky-boxes. And guess who paid big money for those sky-boxes? Coors. One million dollars. How about this one: Excell, one million dollars. Qwest, six million dollars.
Well, you know, if they are really a part of working people, the way they used to say they were, fifty, sixty years ago, under Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman. They'd have hospitality suites, not for these fat cat corporate lobbyists who are tearing the heart and soul out of America, they'd have hospitality suites for workers, for farm workers, for nurses, for patients trying to get health care, for consumers being ripped off, for students who are being gouged by student loans. They'd have all kinds of hospitality suites and maybe they ought to go and see how some people in Denver live on the other side of the tracks, to see the poverty and the desperation and the lack of affordable housing and the lack of insurance when they get sick.
This party is sick. It's decaying. It's lost its soul. And its leaders can't ever get up on the stage like at the Pepsi Center -- the Pepsi Center, imagine after you say "The Pepsi Center" -- I'll bet you the tax payer built that center.
You never talk about the poor. That's a no-no in Democratic Party dictionary. You talk about the middle class, which they've helped shrink through NAFTA and WTO and all the way they've crushed opposition to corporate power. Corporate power has crushed so much of its opposition they've brought trade unions to their knees. They've made it almost impossible for industrial or commercial workers to even form a trade union because of the Taft-Hartley Law and other obstructive laws that no other western country puts before it workers.
The Democrats are dialing for the same dollars, the same corporate dollars the Republicans are dialing for. And they don't even bother covering it up. They're being winded and dined by the corrupters, the corporate predators, the corporations who have ripped off American consumers and workers that depleted their pensions who are outsourcing your jobs when you get out of college. Who are saying to you when you get out of college, "You got a skill but try getting a good paying job, try getting affordable housing, try getting affordable health insurance, try getting anything that your forebearers were able to get." You know what you're doing? I'm talking to young people in the audience, you're the first generation that's ever polled and said they aren't going to be as well off as their parents.
And the indicators are all coming down. More and more, millions of Americans, not making a living wage, not even close. Wal-Mart wages. K-Mart wages. Millions and millions of people who have to get sick or become sicker or even die because they can't afford health insurance. Just think of that.
This is the richest country in the world and the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Science, just to give you a fact, says 18,000 people a year in this country die because they can't afford health insurance. That's six 9-11s. Washington turned the country upside down after . . . 9-11. In a lot of bad ways, as we know. They don't turn the country upside down for 58,000 people who die every year from work-related diseases in the mines and foundries. They don't turn the company upside down for 65,000 Americans who die from asphyxiation or cancer due to air pollution. They don't turn the country upside down for the 100,000 people who die from medical negligence and malpractice in hospitals.
They don't turn the country upside down for any form of violence -- however preventable it is -- if it's source is corporate crime, corporate negligence, corporate greed and corporate power.
You know some people ask me this around the country, "Nader, what are you doing this for? What do you expect to achieve?" Well look at what we've achieved tonight. You have seen the young leaders of the future on this stage. You have seen not only veteran advocates like Cindy Sheehan, you've seen Ashley Sanders. You've seen Rosa Clemente. You have seen Nellie McKay. You've seen someone you're going to hear a lot more of in the next few months, you've seen Rev. J Wait and see. He's only 21-years old and he's breaking away from this notion that although many of us have always hoped there would be an African-American ascended to the presidency of the United States. He's saying something more than that. He's saying that's not enough, that may be an unprecedented career move into the White House but it's got to mean more than that, it's got to mean standing up to the corporate subjugation of the American people. It's got to mean pushing forward a war against poverty. It's got to mean coming from your background, something more than if it were just a White man or White woman in the White House, it's got to mean a peculiarly insistent sensitivity to the bottom 100 million Americans in this country who are at the bottom of the income scale: African-Americans, poor Whites, Latinos who do the most dangerous work, who do the most dangerous work for us, who do the most thankless work for us, who raise our children, take care of our children, be with our ailing parents, harvest our food, service us in all kinds of ways while they're underpaid and overcharged, while they're excluded. While they're disrespected. While their marginalized. And the only time they're held up before the country is when they ask them to go overseas and fight our criminal wars for us.
And we're stopping there to note Hispanic Business trumpets today that the US army has launched its "Leaders Among Us" tour in Illinois after having been through San Antonio, Dallas, Houston, NYC, Miami and Puerto Rico. Just reruns the press release as though it were a good thing. "Leaders Among Us" is a recruitment effort -- long on rah-rah, short on facts. Natalia Montemaor (The Ranger) told the sad, sad tale of the efforts in San Antonio and how everyone was just so mean to the ROTC. ROTC instructor Micheal Trujillo didn't conform to the rules and wants to whine about the unfairness of it all. Why can't he just he make his own dates for events? And what happened to the $300 he was promised by someone -- he doesn't say who -- that his field trip to the Bataan Death March cost. "Those funds were not promised through the office of student life," said its director Jorge Posadas. But it's a conspiracy by the well funded counter-recruitment forces who are bankrolled in the millions by the US government while the US army must depend on the donations of individuals and is not on the tax payer payroll -- oh, wait, it's the other way around. Someone explain it to the ROTC.
From the recruiting tricks to its outcome: violence in Iraq.
Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad bombing that claimed 1 life and left another person wounded.
Rueters notes police shot dead 1 person in Tal Afar that they suspected was a bomber.
Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 2 corpses discovered in Baghdad.
Today the US military announced: "A Coalition force Soldier died in a non-combat related incident Aug. 28 while conducting operations in Ninewa." The number of US service members killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war stands at 4150 and, for the month, at 22.
It's Friday, very little violence gets reported. So who's going to end the illegal war? Not Barack Obama. But he's going to rip off the film The American President, as Delilah Boyd (A Scrivener's Lament) makes clear. Next up, Barack pretends he's Harrison Ford in Air Force One. Jeremy Lott (Guardian of London) observes of the speech in front of the mock Pagan Temple, "It was made-for-cable catnip. Obama looked at the last four years and yelled 'Enough!' He promised to end the war in Iraq but to do so 'reasonably.' . . . Obama prissily informed us that he's 'ready to have' that debate about all this. With all due respect, no he's not." Lott notes the usual MSNBC male orgy for Barack. Greg Mitchell (Editor & Publisher) reports that Olberman's yet again on attack, "So the liberal Olbermann was outraged that the AP's Babington had written, in his analysis of the speech, just off the wire, that Obama had tried nothing new and that his speech was lacking in specifics. He read the first few paragraphs on the air, lamented that it would be printed in hundred of newspapers on Friday, and concluded, 'It is analysis that strikes me as having borne no resemblance to the speech you and I just watched. None whatsoever. And for it to be distributed by the lone national news organization in terms of wire copy to newspapers around the country and web sites is a remarkable failure of that news organization. Charles Babington, find a new line of work." Babington (whom I know) is not light with the facts. His work can strike some as 'boring' because he does not play the drama game in his copy but sticks to the basics: Who, what, where when. Babington has a long resume filled with many accomplishments. Olbermann? He's got a mike to yell into as he stars in a low rated, basic cable yuck-fest. The telling part of Olbermann's comments can probably be found when he whines that Babington's reporting will be in "newspapers around the country and web sites".
John McCain's showed no more indication of ending the Iraq War than has Barack Obama. And no doubt Keith will be spewing his usual sexism tonight at the McCain campaign because today McCain announced his running mate: Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin. The Chicago Tribune's Mark Silva and the Los Angeles Times Michael Finnegan pretty much write the same exact story except Silva's obsessed with one beauty pageant and, in fairness, neither writer wrote a story -- the Obama campaign did. It's the Obama camp's narrative in both: She's inexperienced!
Seems Sarah Palin's crime is daring to go for the vice presidency with a little less than two years of being the governor of Alaska. But, Team Obama insists, you can declare the presidency with less than three years. Unlike Obama, Palin has an actual resume -- one that the press tries to trivialize -- which includes having been elected mayor and having been elected to city council twice. She and her husband Todd are also the parents of five children. Palin's not pro-abortion, she's not pro anything for the left. She also isn't someone who deserves to be derided as "beauty queen" or mocked for her gender which has already become all the rage online since the surprise announcement today. Klownhaus notes, "Sarah Palin is young and telegenic, and any attack on her lack of experience opens up the GOP counter-punch of attacking Uh-bama's lack of experience. When the He-Man Woman Haters Club launches misogynistic attacks on Palin (and they have already begun) it puts the GOP in the position of supporting and defending women." It's noted that her oldest son will deploy to Iraq shortly.
Geo Beach (Christian Science Monitor) observes:
McCain gets a running mate who is young (diminishing the perceived negative of his age), female (snookering Obama for Hillary's hold-outs), executive (to his legislative) and most important, both by her deserved reputation and by the impact of the choice itself, re-establishes McCain's eroded credentials as a genuine maverick candidate. That appeals to the middle voters who will decide the election.
Plus, McCain's choice of Palin achieves what McCain himself can never do -- it took the words right out of Obama's mouth.
The acceptance speech that was so essential to Obama has been filed in the dusty back drawers of political history, as if the text had never been given voice. Media are addicted to the new and the now, and now the Labor Day Weekend will be all I Dream Of Sarah and no echoes of I Had A Dream. Magic.
The McCain team's Matt Lira blogs of Palin:
Governor Palin is a tough executive who has demonstrated during her time in office that she is ready to be president. She has brought Republicans and Democrats together within her Administration and has a record of delivering on the change and reform that we need in Washington. Governor Palin has challenged the influence of the big oil companies while fighting for the development of new energy resources. She leads a state that matters to every one of us -- Alaska has significant energy resources and she has been a leader in the fight to make America energy independent. In Alaska, Governor Palin challenged a corrupt system and passed a landmark ethics reform bill. She has actually used her veto and cut budgetary spending. She put a stop to the "bridge to nowhere" that would have cost taxpayers $400 million dollars. As the head of Alaska's National Guard and as the mother of a soldier herself, Governor Palin understands what it takes to lead our nation and she understands the importance of supporting our troops. Governor Palin has the record of reform and bipartisanship that others can only speak of. Her experience in shaking up the status quo is exactly what is needed in Washington today.
A number of female 'leaders' have taken to trying to forcibly escort women onto the Barack bus (the one that they were previously thrown under) and they love to make statements, "Well, like Hillary asked, were you in it just for her?" It's time for those same 'leaders' to prove whether they are in it for women or just the Democratic Party? Sarah Palin becomes the second woman to run for the vice presidency on a ticket of one of the two-major parties. Are they going to demand that she be treated with the same respect/tone a male running would be? Or are they just going to stay silent? Put up or shut up. Feminist Wire posts two items today -- neither noting Palin's nomination. Do they needed to be reminded of their tax free status? Or do they need to lose it? That really needs to be explored since their tax status forbids them from endorsing but Feminist Wire likes to 'fact check' McCain's statements while just reposting Barack's without any 'checking.' Today a woman was named to be the running mate of the GOP presumed nominee and Feminist Wire couldn't find a thing worth noting?
Geraldine Ferraro, the first woman to run for the vice-presidency from one of the country's two largest political parties. could note Palin's significance. Kristine Johnson (CBS) quotes Ferraro declaring today, "I've spent a lot of time over the last 24 years saying, 'Gosh, I wish I weren't the only one.' So I welcome seeing a woman on the ticket. . . . The potential for a woman to be vice president will really make a difference for girls in this country." NOW on PBS notes that they interviewed Palin for a broadcast earlier this month "about her efforts to clean up corruption in her home state." But Feminist Wire? Nothing.
Which is indicative of the 'coverage' they've given Cynthia McKinney for her presidential run. McKinney is the Green Party nominee and Rosa Clemente is her running mate. Does Feminist Wire really think that one brief, on July 14th, cuts it as 'coverage' of McKinney's run? And then later they wonder why Ms. is falsely seen as "White, White, White" and when Ms. is seen that way, feminism gets seen that way. Feminist Wire exists on the Feminist Majority Foundation's tax-free status -- as does Ms. these days -- and they are forbidden from endorsing candidates. So it's about damn time they started offering coverage for all the candidates -- and there's never a need for a feminist publication to explain why they cover female candidates. (Though there is a need for Ms. and Femnist Wire to explain why they failed to call out the attacks on Hillary.)
The Green Party of Michigan notes Cynthia will be campaigning in Michagan August 30th through September 1st. She's working the holiday. Maybe Feminist Wire could do the same? Saturday night (7:00 pm) she'll be speaking at the International Institute in Detroit at a press conference with a rally immediately after (7:30). Sunday, Cynthia will appear at the National Welfare Rights Union Awards Dinner where she will deliver a speech on poverty. Monday, Cynthia will be standing shoulder to shoulder with union members as they march down Woodward Avenue in Detroit to mark the historic workers struggle in this country that produced the 40-hour work week, that produced a respect for the workers in this country and that produced the Labor Day holiday (among many other things).
Meanwhile, China scores big! Erica Goode and Riyadh Mohammed (New York Times) announce that China National Petroleum signed a contract with the puppet government in Baghdad. With the DNC speeches this week repeatedly hitting on the borrowing from China, that will probably not go over well in this country. Some examples:Mark Warner: "Two wars, a warming planet, an energy policy that says let's borrow money from China to buy oil from countries that don't like us. "Al Gore: "As I have said for many years throughout this land, we're borrowing money from China to buy oil from the Persian Gulf to burn it in ways that destroy the future of human civilization."Hillary Clinton: "The biggest deficit in our nation's history. Money borrowed from the Chinese to buy oil from the Saudis."
Ava and I cover the DNC convention Sunday at Third. Ralph Nader's Super Rally took place in Denver and, with little media attention, Team Nader turned out a large crowd of 4,000. As the huge crowd gathered and the event geared up Wednesday, Jesse A. Hamilton (Hartford Courant) reported that Sean Penn had spoken and notes "major cheers" for Nader's "amnesty talk for non-violent drug offenders" and quotes Nader stating: "Every politician I've ever known from the major parties . . . starts flattering the people. Oh, how they flatter the people! Because that's what gives the people weak knees. . . . Read the grim lesson of history, here and abroad. When people do not turn on to politics, politics will turn on them." Not noted is that Ralph noted the historical importance of the week (19th Amendment enacted). Something that Barack skipped out on but no one's supposed to notice that. Team Nader notes:
What a wild last 24 hours.
With the help of more than a hundred Colorado volunteers and our best roadtrippers we worked day and night to pack 4,000 people into the University of Denver's Magness Arena.
(As usual, this was done with zero help from the Denver media. For example, not a mention all week in the Denver Post, the city's largest newspaper, before or after the event.)
Now we're re-focusing and gearing up for the RNC.
I just flew into Minneapolis and we need your help to fill thousands of seats for our September 4th rally at Orchestra Hall.
Right now nearly a dozen Nader's Raiders are driving across the country in three large vehicles armed with sandwich boards, our two large inflatable props, and boxes of promotional material.
Before they can join us in Minneapolis, they have to make an emergency stop in Wisconsin where we need 3,000 more signatures over Labor Day weekend or we won't make the ballot.
It's just that simple.
Before we can crank up the energy this week in Minneapolis, we need you to donate right now to help us fuel our roadtrip team through the cornfields of Iowa to the dairy lands of Wisconsin.
A donation of $10 helps provide a roadtripper a hearty and (as Ralph would say) nutritious meal.
A donation of $50 helps put a roof over their heads.
A donation of $100 helps outfit our roadtrippers in the new Buffalo Nader '08 t-shirts like you see our team wearing in this photo.
To meet our most recent fundraising goal, we've got to raise more than $70,000 more on our way to $100,000 in less than one week.
Please give whatever you can, to help us knock out Wisconsin fast so we can hit the streets this week at the RNC and demand that McCain invite Nader/Gonzalez into the presidential debates.
And remember, if you give $100 or more now, we'll send you three DVDs -- the Denver rally, the Minneapolis rally, and a special debate DVD. (Three DVD offer ends September 4 at 11:59 p.m.)
Onward to November
Tonight and over the weekend on PBS (check local listings) NOW on PBS (debuts Friday night in most markets) explores affirmative action and state-ballot measures attempting to overturn it. Katty van van sits down for a chat and chew with Bill Moyers -- hope he brings the oats and remember to keep the kids out of the room. Cat Radio Cafe does not air on WBAI Monday (fundraising) but The Next Hour features Michael Heller, Harvey Shapiro and John Taggart on the topic of Pulitzer Prize winning poet Goerge Oppen broadcasting from eleven to noon Sunday on WBAI. And iIndependent journalist David Bacon's latest book officially is released next week, Illegal People -- How Globalization Creates Migration and Criminalizes Immigrants (Beacon Press). (Some bookstores already have it in stock currently -- and you can order at the link if you order online.)
Finally. The 'peace' organization passes on e-mails. A number of visitors and members have e-mailed to explain that they complained about what went down and their 'reward' was to have their e-mails passed on. They end up getting the Gutter Trash's stark raving partner screaming at them in e-mails. Well, we know they have no ethics. Until Third on Sunday, that's all I plan to say. We will address it there and some community sites will address it now. Visitors also e-mail to ask that it be passed on: Don't bother posting to Gutter Trash''s blog. She will not allow you statement to go up. Of course not, she can't play victim and get her small posse to lie with her by allowing outside voices. Best visitor e-mail runs in Polly's Brew (with sender's permission) this Sunday -- it's a Canadian who's had it with the "pushy American" who is "as phoney as Madonna's British accent." We're done promoting the organization. There were questions about that in e-mails. They've been pulled from the links and I'm weighing whether or not to pull their chapters from the links. We were not speaking of Courage to Resist, for visitors who e-mailed asking about that. Courage to Resist is a real organization and remains linked at this site. I've passed on the e-mail to Mike (I've never read Gutter Trash's site) that asks if he gave permission for his e-mail to be posted (Gutter Trash apparently claims to be concerned about "niceness" in reposting people's e-mails). No, he did not. He will address that at his site tonight as well as what Gutter Trash leaves out.
the new york timeserica gooderiyadh mohammed
now on pbs
bill moyers journal