Friday, May 23, 2008


Starting with war resistance.  As noted yesterday, US war resister Corey Glass has been informed he needs to leave Canada by June 12th or be deported. The Canadian Press explains, "Glass, of Fairmount, Ind., was a sergeant in military intelligence who spent five months in Iraq."  Emanuella Grinberg (CNN reports that Glass "fled to Toronoto in 2006 after serving in Iraq because he did not want to fight in a war he did not support" and quotes him explaining yesterday, "What I saw in Iraq convinced me that the war is illegal and immoral.  I could not in good conscience continue to take part in it.  I don't think it's fair that I should be punished for doing what I felt morally obligated to do."  Reuters quotes him stating of his military intelligence work in Iraq, "Through this job I had access to lots of information about what was happening on the ground in Iraq.  Through what I saw, I realized innocent people were being killed unjustly." Canwest News Service quotes him stating, "I don't think it's fair that I should be returned to the U.S. to face unjust punishment for doing what I thought I was morally obligated to do."  The Victoria Times Colonist runs a longer version of the wire story:   "Michelle Robidoux, a spokeswoman for the War Resisters Support Campaign, said Glass could be deported by June 12." AFP notes: "'This goes against Canada's tradition of welcoming Americans who disagree with policies like slavery and the Vietnam War,' said Lee Zaslofsky, a War Resisters Support Campaign coordinator."
Nick Kyonka (Toronto Star) reports, "A dejected Corey Glass, 25, stared blankly at the floor of a tiny room in Trinity-St. Paul's United Church as members of the War Resisters Support Campaign informed media and other U.S. war resisters of his failed bid to remain in the country and the consequences he now faces."  Liam Lahey (Inside Toronto) observes, "If deported, the Parkdale resident would be the first American war resister to be sent back to the U.S. since the late 1960s when Canadian border officials physically carried a man attempting to dodge the Vietnam draft back over the Peace Bridge and deposited him at the feet of U.S. officials.  That event caused an uproar in Canada, and led to then prime minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau declaring immigration officials would no longer ask any American about their military status."  AP explains that Corey Glass was "on leave in the U.S." when he checked out, that he went underground for seven months and then went to Canada in "August 2006, one of an estimated 200 American soldiers who have come to Canada" and notes "Joshua Key, another deserter whose refugee claim is still winding its way through Canadian appeals courts, said the Glass decision was worrisome for those hoping to stay in Canada."  Grinberg also quotes Key -- who lives in Canada with wife Brandi Key and their children -- explaining, "This has been our home for three years now.  It's a lot like the U.S., and it's as close to the U.S. as you can be."  Lahye quotes Key recalling, "I joined (the U.S. Army) in 2002 primarily for health care and steady pay.  I was raising my family (Key has three young sons) in Oklahoma City at the time and I couldn't cut the bills. . . . I was told I wouldn't be sent overseas . . . I should have gotten a magnifying glass and read the fine print (of his enlistment contract) and told them to 'Hold on'."  Lahye also quotes war resisters Kimberly Rivera and Steve Yoczick.  Rivera explains, "I wasn't truly sorry for joining (the army) until witnessing some of the things I did in Iraq.  The way families were destroyed . . . and what it did to children there impacted me. . . .  I felt helpless. . . . I'm a mom and that's your basic instinct: to protect children."  Yoczick offers, "My dad thinks I'm a coward and a traitor and my mother simply doesn't understand."
War resisters in Canada need support as they wait to see if the motion for safe harbor is going to come to the Parliament floor.  You can utilize the following e-mails to show your support: Prime Minister Stephen Harper ( -- that's pm at who is with the Conservative party and these two Liberals, Stephane Dion ( -- that's Dion.S at who is the leader of the Liberal Party and Maurizio Bevilacqua ( -- that's Bevilacqua.M at who is the Liberal Party's Critic for Citizenship and Immigration.  In addition Jack Layton, NDP leader, has a contact form and they would like to hear from people as well. A few more addresses can be found here at War Resisters Support Campaign. For those in the US, Courage to Resist has an online form that's very easy to use.  Lahey quotes NDP's Oliva Chow, who steered the motion, explaining, "If (Liberal leader) Stephane Dion were to say tomorrow that he supports this motion . . . we will then debate it.  So we need people to call Mr. Dion . . . 'whose side you on Mr. Dion'?"  The number to call is (613) 996-5789.       
There is a growing movement of resistance within the US military which includes Matthis Chiroux, Richard Droste, Michael Barnes, Matt Mishler, Josh Randall, Robby Keller, Justiniano Rodrigues, Chuck Wiley, James Stepp, Rodney Watson, Michael Espinal, Matthew Lowell, Derek Hess, Diedra Cobb, Brad McCall, Justin Cliburn, Timothy Richard, Robert Weiss, Phil McDowell, Steve Yoczik, Ross Spears, Peter Brown, Bethany "Skylar" James, Zamesha Dominique, Chrisopther Scott Magaoay, Jared Hood, James Burmeister, Jose Vasquez, Eli Israel, Joshua Key, Ehren Watada, Terri Johnson, Clara Gomez, Luke Kamunen, Leif Kamunen, Leo Kamunen, Camilo Mejia, Kimberly Rivera, Dean Walcott, Linjamin Mull, Agustin Aguayo, Justin Colby, Marc Train, Abdullah Webster, Robert Zabala, Darrell Anderson, Kyle Snyder, Corey Glass, Jeremy Hinzman, Kevin Lee, Mark Wilkerson, Patrick Hart, Ricky Clousing, Ivan Brobeck, Aidan Delgado, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, Blake LeMoine, Clifton Hicks, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Logan Laituri, Jason Marek, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Joshua Casteel, Katherine Jashinski, Dale Bartell, Chris Teske, Matt Lowell, Jimmy Massey, Chris Capps, Tim Richard, Hart Viges, Michael Blake, Christopher Mogwai, Christian Kjar, Kyle Huwer, Wilfredo Torres, Michael Sudbury, Ghanim Khalil, Vincent La Volpa, DeShawn Reed and Kevin Benderman. In total, at least fifty US war resisters in Canada have applied for asylum.

Information on war resistance within the military can be found at The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline [(877) 447-4487], Iraq Veterans Against the War and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters. In addition, VETWOW is an organization that assists those suffering from MST (Military Sexual Trauma).
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Turning to US political news.  CBS and AP report that Senator John McCain (the presumed GOP nominee for their presidential ticket) has disowned/rejected John Hagee's endorsement after tapes surfaced of Hagee stating "God sent Adolf Hitler to help Jews reach the promised land."  Suprisingly, McCain did not go into hiding, emerge days later in Philadelphia and attempt to explain that Hagee was a crazy uncle and he could no more disown Hagee than he could his own White grandmother.  Nor did he wait until Hagee attacked him to get offended as Barack Obama did with Jeremiah Wright.  Taylor Marsh notes: "This was a colossal error in judgment on Senator McCain's part. He should never have saddled up with Rev. Hagee. Now he's dumped him. Oh, and vice versa, by the way."  Meanwhile, Susan (Random Thoughts) observes, "Bill Clinton simply tells it like it is about this campaign: "
Clinton said the allegation that he and Sen. Clinton played the race card was a 'cold-blooded, calculated, manipulated, and a revolting strategy,' and that his only campaign season regret was speaking 'late at night when I was tired, 'cause if you are tired or angry, you shouldn't be talking'."  Bill is of course a former president and husband of the winner in the popular vote of this Democratic primary season Hillary Clinton.  Allison Stevens (Women's eNews) reports:
Some groups working to send New York Sen. Hillary Clinton to the White House are preparing to sit out the rest of the presidential election if she drops out of the race; others are giving only grudging support to Illinois Sen. Barack Obama as he comes closer to clinching the Democratic Party's presidential nomination.   
If Obama is the nominee, there won't be the "same level of enthusiasm since we endorsed Hillary Clinton," said Mai Shiozaki, spokesperson for the National Organization for Women in Washington, D.C. 
Other ardent Clinton supporters in the women's rights movement may hesitate before jumping on Obama's bandwagon, predicted Vicki Lovell, director of employment and work-life programs at the Institute for Women's Policy Research, a Washington think tank. "That level of passion may not transfer wholesale," she said.
The race isn't over and Clinton remains the winner of the popular vote thus far.  The Clinton campaign and others are launching an effort to have the delegates from Florida and Michigan seated at the convention: "Get involved -- click here to send a message to the DNC telling them to count the votes in Florida and Michigan."  In Florida yesterday, Hillary declared:
I believe the Democratic Party must count these votes. They should count them exactly as they were cast. Democracy demands no less. 
I am here today because I believe that the decision our party faces is not just about the fate of these votes and the outcome of these primaries. It is about whether we will uphold our most fundamental values as Democrats and Americans. It is about whether we will move forward, united, to win this state and take back the White House this November. That has to be the prize that we keep in mind.
The race isn't over but Hillary's winning the popular vote.  The primary race will end in a tie in terms of delegates awarded and, by DNC guidelines and rules, the issue then goes to the convention unless either Hillary or Barack drop out of the race.  (Drop out, not 'suspend.')
Hillary's still in the race (which is a tie and which leads in the popular vote), don't believe the hype saying otherwise.  Ed King doesn't and that's why he's campaigning for Hillary in South Dakota:
My name is Ed King.  I am a family dairy farmer from upstate New York and I have had so much fun traveling across South Dakota, talking about the many ways in which Senator Clinton has helped us with our rural and agriculture needs. While in South Dakota I visited the Corn Palace, the world's largest pheasant in Huron, the South Dakota Farmers Union, the Sharpe farm in Bath, the Terry Redlin Art Center, South Dakota State University, and a number of delicious eateries. I couldn't have been more impressed.  You have a beautiful state and I truly enjoyed talking to voters from many different regions.      
My great sons are working the farm, giving me time to talk about what Sen. Clinton has meant to agriculture in New York and what a good rural president she would make overall.  Specifically, my passion is ensuring that we have family farms for future generations and that American agriculture is strong.  I know Hillary understands and supports that!   One of her most important actions as Senator has been her "Farm to Fork" initiative, which aids producers in rural New York through direct-to-consumer marketing. In addition to "Farm to Fork," Hillary is a 'rippin-good' Senator, pushing things like country-of-origin labeling, assistance in response to weather related disasters, expanded renewable energy     production, and increasing competition to address vertical integration in agriculture. She has also addressed rural quality of life issues like health care, better education for our children, expanding rural broadband and addressing the housing crisis. 
From this work – Sen. Clinton has increased her support in New York, having won now 58 of 62 counties in her 2006 Senate race. Many of these counties in upstate are heavily  republican, and she got 85% of the counties that didn't support her in 2000, to support her for re-election. How's that for change? Hillary can work with Republicans and Independents. She has shown us that over 8 years.        
Like South Dakota, New York is home to family farms (about 34,000), and I KNOW she will make the best president for producers and rural South Dakotans alike.