AN ESTIMATED 200,000 PEOPLE TURNED OUT FOR SENATOR BARACK OBAMA'S SPEECH IN GERMANY THURSDAY AND, REPORTEDLY, ONLY 195,000 OF THEM WERE JOURNALISTS COVERING THE TRAVELOGUE.
FOR ALL THE CANNED APPLAUSE, IT WAS NOT LIZA MINELLI'S TRIUMPH IN CABARET -- EVEN WITH BARACK APPLYING A HEALTHY COAT OF LIP GLOSS.
HE LIED ABOUT HIS FATHER -- OR WHO WE HOPE IS HIS FATHER -- CLAIMING YET AGAIN THAT HE WAS A GOAT HERDER. ROLLING STONE WAS A MAN WHO HAD MULITPLE WIVES, DIDN'T BELIEVE IN DIVORCE, AND WAS A HIGH RANKING GOVERNMENT OFFICIAL.
HE LIED A LOT. AND THE PRESS ATE IT UP AS THEY ALWAYS DO.
"THIS IS OUR TIME!" HE POMPOUSLY DECLARED IN A FOREIGN COUNTRY WHERE MANY WONDERED, "WHO ARE YOU TO COME TO OUR COUNTRY AND SPEAK OF 'OUR'?"
HE SHOWED HIS WAR HAWK FEATHERS BY ATTEMPTING TO SELL A LARGER WAR IN AFGHANISTAN AND LIED THAT IT WAS ABOUT HELPING THE AFGHANISTAN PEOPLE.
THE NEVER ENDING SPEECH INCLUDED A RIP OFF OF "UP WHERE WE BELONG" ("THE ROAD IS LONG . . . " HE LEFT OUT "THE MOUNTAINS IN OUR WAY") AND SEEMED TO THINK THE WHOLE WORLD SHOULD BE GIDDY ON HIM BECAUSE . . . WELL BECAUSE HE IS BARACK. IN THE END THAT IS ALL HE HAS TO OFFER. ALL THIS TIME LATER. AS THE TIMES OF LONDON OBSERVED, "HE MADE BERLIN INTO A METAPHOR FOR THE OBAMA MISSION."
AND HE SKIPPED A CANCER FORUM IN LOS ANGELES TO DO SO. ANN MARIE JONES HAS A SON WITH LEUKEMIA AND SHE DECLARED, "I THINK HE NEEDED TO BE HERE TONIGHT FOR THIS. I THINK WE HAVE A LOT OF THINGS GOING ON WITH OUR CHILDREN -- MANY DIFFERENT THINGS GOING ON HERE IN THE UNITED STATES THAT NEED OUR ATTENTION" AND BARACK'S TRAVELOGUING ACROSS THE GLOBE." HE IS NOT THE PRESIDENT -- SO HE DOESN'T NEED TO BE TELLING THE WORLD WHAT THE UNITED STATES WILL DO REGARDING AFGHANISTAN OR ANYTHING ELESE -- AND HE IS NOT EVEN THE DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE AT THIS POINT. HE REVEALED TO AMERICANS THAT HE WOULD JET OFF AT THE DROP OF THE HAT AND PUT THEM LAST IF IT MEANT HE COULD GET A LITTLE MORE PRESS.
NEXT WEEK, IT'S REPORTED HE WILL BE DO SUPER MARKET OPENINGS AND TRADE SHOWS.
Starting with war resistance. Last week, US war resister Robin Long was extradited from Canada. Nanthaniel Hoffman (Boise Weekly) reports, "Long was escorted back to his Army unit at Fort Carson, Colo., on July 18 and promptly went before a magistrate judge. He faces charges of desertion, and is being held at the jail in Colorado Springs because there is no detention facility at Fort Carson, according to Army spokesperson Brandy Gill." Hoffman also steers readers to Rachael Daigle's interview with Robin in 2006. In that interview he spoke of many things including CO status, "I tried to get conscientious objector status but my first sergeant told me he couldn't find the forms to apply and he didn't feel like looking for them. I didn't know about conscientious objector status until a month before I got orders and that was when I first tried to do it. Shortly after that, I got orders so I never really got a chance to apply for it." Again, Robin was extradited and became the first US war resister ejected from Canada during the Iraq War. Others are attempting to be awarded safe harbor in Canada. "A plea from Vietnam war resisters to let Iraq resisters stay in Canada" (Owen Sound Sun Times) is a letter where past war resisters show solidarity with today's war resisters:
Almost 40 years ago, being young and idealistic, we came to this beautiful country to escape the demands that the U. S. military and government were placing on its citizens and society.
We knew little of the country we came to but soon learned how important it was that people in Canada cared to help U. S. conscientious objectors.
In 1968, with the help of the Mennonite, Quaker and United Church communities, the Canadian government agreed to allow U. S. deserters and draft evaders to stay in Canada and not be forced to return. This is not true for the current illegal Iraq war, where the Americans continue to send troops.
There are hundreds of American Iraq war resisters in Canada. In spite of the fact that a majority of Parliament voted to allow the resisters to stay, the Conservative Harper government has stated that resisters will be deported and returned to the United States to face prosecution. Only Harper's Conservatives are supporting this deportation, but they get to decide.
While this small deportation may look unimportant to most Canadians, Vietnam era immigrants remember the feeling of arriving in a country that
If we help them stay, they will contribute their efforts to Canada as we did then and they will remember your kindness as we do now
cared about its citizens; a country that believed in aspiring to fairness and justice.
We know that most Canadians do not agree with Prime Minister Harper's order for deportation -- recent national polls indicate that 64 per cent of Canadians support granting permanent residency to U. S. war resisters -- and we also know that Harper is not about to change without significant pressure.
We ask that you remember and recognize the value that Vietnam war resisters brought to this country over the last 40 years and that you recognize the same potential in these new young U. S. resisters asking for the same opportunity.
If we help them stay, they will contribute their efforts to Canada as we did then and they will remember your kindness as we do now.
Kimberly Rivera is a US war resister and Iraq War veteran in Canada -- with her husband Mario and their two children (soon to be joined by a third). Will DiNovi wrote about her in one of those 'online exclusives' at The Nation. (Not an insult to DiNovi.) Link goes to CBS News. 26-year-old Kimberly Rivera is from the Dallas-Fort Worth area of Texas. After serving in Iraq, she returned home for a brief leave and tells DiNovi, "I was really messed up when I got back, with feelings I'd never had before. Sometimes I just got angry, just completely explosive." She and her husband originally headed east with no real plan on her part (Mario had already brought up Canada) before they ended up in Canada.
Kimberly and her family were unprepared for some of the hardships they experienced in Canada, but also for the support they received. The War Resisters campaign arranged housing for the Riveras with a family in a suburb of Toronto when they first arrived, and three months later helped them move into their own apartment.
At her own site, Kimberly often blogs about her experiences and shares her poetry. In April, she began one post, "I guess the hardest thing for people to understand is the reason you joing the military is not the reason you leave it. Not knowing the truth. Your basic role as a sodlier being invalidated, finding out your job has no meaning. No reason." In a poem that fellow US war resister in Canada Patrick Hart should put to music, Kimberly explains:
I was fighting your kind for killing my kind.
I was fighting to find weapons that could wipe out large populations of peace.
I was fighting to free you from the bad men, that harmed you and your family.
I was fighting for your liberty.
I was fighting for peace.
I was fighting to keep my family safe from you and your family.
But in reality I was fighting to destroy everything you know and love.
The end of that poem is, "Canada I am here will you take the time and the heart to understand what I am now fight for, with words and not a gun."
To pressure the Stephen Harper government to honor the House of Commons vote, Gerry Condon, War Resisters Support Campaign and Courage to Resist all encourage contacting the Diane Finley (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration -- 613.996.4974, phone; 613.996.9749, fax; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org -- that's "finley.d" at "parl.gc.ca") and Stephen Harper (Prime Minister, 613.992.4211, phone; 613.941.6900, fax; e-mail email@example.com -- that's "pm" at "pm.gc.ca"). Courage to Resist collected more than 10,000 letters to send before the vote. Now they've started a new letter you can use online here. The War Resisters Support Campaign's petition can be found here. Long expulsion does not change the need for action and the War Resisters Support Campaign explains: "The War Resisters Support Campaign is calling on supporters across Canada to urgently continue to put pressure on the minority conservative government to immediately cease deportation proceedings against other US war resisters and to respect the will of Canadians and their elected representatives by implementing the motion adopted by Parliament on June 3rd. Please see the take action page for what you can do."
There is a growing movement of resistance within the US military which includes Andrei Hurancyk, Megan Bean, Chris Bean, Matthis Chiroux, Richard Droste, Michael Barnes, Matt Mishler, Josh Randall, Robby Keller, Justiniano Rodrigues, Chuck Wiley, James Stepp, Rodney Watson, Michael Espinal, Matthew Lowell, Derek Hess, Diedra Cobb, Brad McCall, Justin Cliburn, Timothy Richard, Robert Weiss, Phil McDowell, Steve Yoczik, Ross Spears, Peter Brown, Bethany "Skylar" James, Zamesha Dominique, Chrisopther Scott Magaoay, Jared Hood, James Burmeister, Jose Vasquez, Eli Israel, Joshua Key, Ehren Watada, Terri Johnson, Clara Gomez, Luke Kamunen, Leif Kamunen, Leo Kamunen, Camilo Mejia, Kimberly Rivera, Dean Walcott, Linjamin Mull, Agustin Aguayo, Justin Colby, Marc Train, Abdullah Webster, Robert Zabala, Darrell Anderson, Kyle Snyder, Corey Glass, Jeremy Hinzman, Kevin Lee, Mark Wilkerson, Patrick Hart, Ricky Clousing, Ivan Brobeck, Aidan Delgado, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, Blake LeMoine, Clifton Hicks, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Logan Laituri, Jason Marek, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Joshua Casteel, Katherine Jashinski, Dale Bartell, Chris Teske, Matt Lowell, Jimmy Massey, Chris Capps, Tim Richard, Hart Viges, Michael Blake, Christopher Mogwai, Christian Kjar, Kyle Huwer, Wilfredo Torres, Michael Sudbury, Ghanim Khalil, Vincent La Volpa, DeShawn Reed and Kevin Benderman. In total, at least fifty US war resisters in Canada have applied for asylum.
Information on war resistance within the military can be found at The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline [(877) 447-4487], Iraq Veterans Against the War and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters. In addition, VETWOW is an organization that assists those suffering from MST (Military Sexual Trauma).
[. . .]
Turning to the US race for president. Allison Stevens (WeNews) is wrong that Barack Obama has won the Democratic Party's nomination. No one has. The convention has not yet been held. He is the 'presumptive' nominee. Stevens quotes Hillary supporter Marj Singer (president of the Virigina chapter of NOW) explaining that this talk of Barack going with one of his 'female' 'friends' doesn't mean s**t to her, "It's not enough to say, 'Oh, whoop-de-do, we'll get somebody else with a vagina. We were not doing this because she was a woman. We were doing this because she was fantastic on our issues" -- and then Marj Singer points out Senator Clinton and Senator Patty Murray taking action to stop the White House's attempts to place birth control under "the definition of abortion" with Singer stating, "There's just a feeling of, 'We really put a lot of energy into this and we got a bad deal. People are just saying, 'Maybe we just shouldn't vote this time'." Then it's time to trot out Nancy Pelosi who (wrongly) thinks she can speak to the 'girls' and get 'em in line. Having refused to call out sexism (by the media, by the Obama campaign and by his Cult) throughout the 2008 primary, no one gives a damn what Nancy Pelosi has to say. As noted, Barack isn't the nominee of anything at this point. The Denver Group is attempting to bring democracy to the DNC convention in Denver. PUMA and Just Say No Deal are two other groups that are not going to fall in line no matter how many times Nancy Pelosi thinks her tired ass has any weight at this late date. Staying with women, Cynthia McKinney and Rosa Clemente (McKinney is the Green party presidential nominee, Clemente is her running mate) are not the first women of color ticket in a US presidential race. Amy Goodman repeated that nonsense on Monday (and we called it out Monday -- and Jim did with the note he added to my morning entry) and has refused to correct it. As noted in the July 11th snapshot and many times since: " What About Our Daughters? explains that, if McKinney is the nominee, this is the third time two women of color would be on the ticket with the first being Lenora Fulani and Maria Elizabeth Munoz in 1992 (New Alliance Party) and Monica Moorehead and Gloria La Riva (Workers World Party) in 1996." Workers World Party confirmed to Martha this week that, yes, Moorehead and La Riva were women of color and also noted that the party's publication (Workers World) has endorsed a presidential candidate for this election: "This time we are taking the unusual step of endorsing the candidacy of Cynthia McKinney because these are unique times and this is a unique candidate. McKinney, a courageous Black woman and former U.S. Congresswoman from Georgia, has become one of the most militant leaders and voices for the U.S. left, progressive and Black movements. Because of her militancy in the struggle against the war, the struggle to impeach Bush, as well as her struggle to expose the government's role in the displacement of survivors of Hurricane Katrina, she was branded too Black and too radical to walk the halls of Congress. She was pushed out, not once but twice, by the leadership of the Democratic Party. Last year, McKinney severed her ties to that party."
Turning to Barack, Jarrett (In These Times) points out that former US Secretary of State Colin Powell is advising Barack and wonders, "Where were the rest of the media on the fact that Obama, the candidate 'who was against the war from the start,' is 'wooing' one of the worst offenders responsible for the start of the Iraq War? Why wasn't this striking hypocrisy reported far and wide, turned over, and analyzed ad nauseum? Oh, that's right, because The New Yorker published a cartoon." Barack loves Collie! Blot and all! But that's the War Hawk Barack for you. As Bob Feldman reminds, Barack also voted to confirm the present Sec of State, Condi Rice.
Ralph Nader is running for president as an independent candidate. Team Nader notes:
Drop fifteen dollars now on Nader/Gonzalez.
We now enter the most difficult and challenging ballot access stretch of the campaign.
We need to get on fifteen more states in fifteen days.
Last month, we laid out an ambitious ballot access plan.
Thanks to you, we have met stages one and two on time and on schedule.
Now, on to stage three -- 15 more states, a total of 30 states, by August 10 -- on our way to 45 states by September 15.
And we need to raise $100,000 by August 10 to fuel that drive and push us over the $2 million mark for the campaign.
Why is it important to put Ralph Nader on the ballot -- and get him into the Presidential debates this fall?
For one, because Nader is the only candidate who would take the bombing of Iran "off the table."
As Obama made clear yesterday in Israel, he's keeping the military option against Iran "on the table."
As would McCain.
And if you doubt the seriousness of the situation, check out Israeli historian Benny Morris' recent Op-Ed in the New York Times in which he predicts that Israel will bomb Iran within four to seven months.
Cooler heads must prevail.
While McCain and Obama are fueling the Israeli drive to bomb Iran, even some of their own advisors are warning about the disastrous consequences of such a policy.
Yesterday, Brent Scowcroft told the Israelis to "calm down" and Obama advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski said the "all options on the table" talk was "counterproductive." Brzezinski said he would tell Israel "don't do it."
That's of course why we need the strong Nader/Gonzalez off the table voice in the debates.
And the chances improve as we continue to poll at or above five percent -- see yesterday's NBC/WSJ poll here.
This was the third major poll putting us at five percent and above. (Remember, John Anderson and Ross Perot both got into Presidential debates because they met the then threshold of five percent.)
So, please, we need 1,000 of you, our loyal supporters, to hit the button now and contribute $15 each to kick off our drive to get to 30 states.
How will your generous donations help us on the ground?
Think about the more than 50 young at heart, dedicated road trippers working 10 and 12 hours, day after day -- working through blazing hot summer afternoons, ducking under covered awnings during heavy thunderstorms, and bringing the Nader/Gonzalez message to thousands of voters state by state.
We need your $15 donation to help buy gas for their rental cars, feed them, and help pay for thousands of photo copies.
We need your $15 donation to help buy Greyhound bus tickets, Amtrak tickets and airplane tickets.
Of course, we're always looking for one or two angels willing to max out and cover the "filing fees" -- like the one in West Virginia that will cost us $2,500.
How badly and urgently do we need your help?
In short, our backs are up against the wall.
And the best way you can help get us on the ballot is to donate $15 now.
Help us lift off toward the debates in November.
Thank you for your generous support.
Together, we are shaking it up.
RECOMMENDED: "Iraq snapshot"