Wednesday, May 14, 2008

War resisters in Canada

Richard Droste is relying on the average Sarnian to protect him from being deported to the United States.
Droste, along with fellow U.S. war resister Josh Randall, spoke to a small crowd at the River City Vineyard on Tuesday night to raise awareness on an upcoming Parliamentary motion that will decide whether conscientious objectors can find refuge in Canada.
"It's not looking good. I'm worried that the government in Canada right now is too bought into the American way of life," said Droste, 22, who is currently living in London under a refugee status claim.
"(If the motion fails), you’re going to see hundreds of objectors shipped back stateside, where a lot of them would probably get imprisoned," he said.
The event, which was organized by the Bluewater Peace Initiative and the War Resisters Support Campaign, encouraged local citizens to write letters to Liberal Leader Stephane Dion to gain support for the motion.

The above is from Jesse McLean's "War resisters seek support" (The Sarnia Observer). A number of issues have needed addressing by the Canadian Parliament which is why Olivia Chow's motion (it is not a bill) hasn't been addressed by Parliament yet. NDP wants to address it, plans to address it. The motion is about granting safe harbor status to US war resisters in Canada. And people can say, "Oh, that would be great. I hope they do!" or they can get active and help NDP by making their voices heard. If you'd like to show your support, you can utilize the following: 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. Why write NDP? They are keeping a tally. That will be one of the points, how many have written in, when the motion is finally discussed.

Turning to the nonsense of the Bully Boy and the press. Reuters notes: "U.S. President George W. Bush said on Tuesday he quit playing golf in 2003 out of respect for the families of Americans killed in the war in Iraq." Nonsense of the Bully Boy? His father got a bad image for playing golf. That's why -- if he indeed quit playing in 2003 (big if) -- he stopped. So that's Bully Boy's nonsense. The press' nonsense? Whatever happened to perspective, whatever happened to context, whatever happened to memory?

Years and years again, when the illegal war was in its infacy, Bully Boy wanted to look 'concerned' to the American people. The illegal war had just begun and some voices were pointing out that there was no sacrifice other than those serving and the families of those serving. So what did Bully Boy do? He announced he had given up sweets for the duration of the Iraq War. It was a lie. (And by the summer of 2004, it was obviously a lie. Some of those shots of him on the campaign trail showed him on days when he could rival Karl Rove for "Fat Boy".) So now he declares he gave up golf.

And no one can point out that he claimed he'd given up something else before. Can't note that he didn't give it up -- that the illegal war still drags on and Bully Boy's still porking out on sweets. And don't say, 'It's minor.' No one forced the press to run with the non-story of golf. They made that choice. Having made that choice, it is their responsibility to do more than repeat Bully Boy's latest statement. The function of the press is context, not merely repeating talking points.

If you missed it, Hillary won West Virginia by a landslide. A huge victory. "Hillary's Remarks at Charleston, WV Celebration Event" ( is her victory speech:

Thank you, West Virginia.
You know, like the song says: "it's almost heaven," and I am so grateful for this overwhelming vote of confidence.
There are some who have wanted to cut this race short. They say "give up, it's too hard, the mountain is too high," but here in West Virginia, you know a thing or two about rough roads to the top of the mountain. We know from the Bible that faith can move mountains and, my friends, the faith of the Mountain State has moved me. I am more determined than ever to carry on this campaign until everyone has had a chance to make their voices heard.
I want to commend Senator Obama and his supporters. This continues to be a hard-fought race, from one end of our country to the other. And yes, we've had a few dust-ups along the way, but our commitment to bring America new leadership that will renew America’s promise means that we have always stood together on what is most important.
Now, tonight I need your help to continue this journey. We are in the homestretch. There are only three weeks left in the final contests, and your support can make the difference between winning and losing. So I hope you'll go to and support our campaign.
You've heard this before -- there are many who wanted to declare a nominee before the ballots were counted or even cast. Some said our campaign was over after Iowa, but then we won New Hampshire. Then we had big victories on Super Tuesday and in Ohio and Texas and Pennsylvania, and of course, we came from behind to win in Indiana.
So, this race isn't over yet. Neither of us has the total delegates it takes to win and both Senator Obama and I believe that the delegates from Florida and Michigan should be seated. I believe we should honor the votes cast by 2.3 million people in those states and seat all of their delegates. Under the rules of our party, when you include all 50 states, the number of delegates needed to win is 2,209, and neither of us has reached that threshold yet. This win in West Virginia will help me move even closer.
Now, in a campaign, it can be easy to get lost in the political spin and the polls or the punditry, but we must never lose sight of what really counts, of why all of us care so much about who wins and who loses in our political system. An enormous decision falls on the shoulders of Democratic voters in these final contests and those Democrats empowered to vote at our convention. And tonight, in light of our overwhelming victory here in West Virginia, I want to send a message to everyone still making up their mind.
I am in this race because I believe I am the strongest candidate -- the strongest candidate to lead our party in November of 2008 and the strongest president to lead our nation starting in January of 2009. I can win this nomination if you decide I should, and I can lead this party to victory in the general election if you lead me to victory now.
The choice falls to all of you, and I don't envy you. I deeply admire Senator Obama, but I believe our case, a case West Virginia has helped to make, our case is stronger. Together, we have won millions and millions of votes -- by the time tonight is over, probably 17 million, close to it. We've won them in states that we must be prepared and ready to win in November -- Pennsylvania and Ohio, Arkansas and New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Nevada, Michigan, Florida, and now West Virginia. It is a fact that no Democrat has won the White House since 1916 without winning West Virginia.
The bottom line is this -- the White House is one in the swing states and I am winning the swing states. And we have done it by standing up for the deepest principles of our party with a vision for an America that rewards hard work again, that values the middle class and helps to make it stronger.
With your help, I am ready to go head-to-head with John McCain to put our vision for America up against the one he shares with President Bush. Now, I believe our party is strong enough for this challenge. I am strong enough for it. You know I never give up. I'll keep coming back, and I'll stand with you as long as you stand with me.
Together, we will draw the stark distinctions that will determine the future direction of our nation, the difference between ending the war in Iraq responsibly or continuing it indefinitely, between health care for everyone and more uninsured Americans, between standing up for the middle-class families that you represent or standing up for the corporate special interests.
So, I ask you, Democrats, to choose who you believe will make the strongest candidate in the fall and who is ready to execute the office of the presidency of the United States.
People ask me all the time, why am I in this race. Well, I'm in it because of the people that I have worked for my entire life and the people I meet along the campaign trail, people who need someone who fights for them because they're fighting so hard every single day, the people who drive for miles to show their support, who come with the home-made sign, who raise money by skipping those dinners out, who have stood fast and stood strong. I'm in this race for the millions of Americans who know that we can do better in our country, for the nurse on her second shift, for the worker on the line, for the waitress on her feet, for the small business owner, the farmer, the teacher, the coal miner, the trucker, the soldier, the veteran, the college student.
All of the hardworking men and women who defy the odds to build a better life for themselves and their children. You will never be counted out, and I won't either. You will never quit, and I won't, either.
The question is, why do so many people keep voting? Why did 64% of Democrats say in a recent poll they wanted this race to continue? Because in the face of the pundits and the naysayers, they know what is at stake. They know that we have two wars, an economy in crisis on the brink of a recession, $9 trillion of debt, oil prices shooting through the roof, gas prices and grocery prices hurting people who desperately are looking for a way to just keep going day to day. They know they need a champion. They need someone who's going to never stop fighting for health care that covers everyone, no exceptions, for an economy that lifts everyone up, for good jobs that won't be shipped overseas, for college affordability, for all that you can do to own a home and then to keep it.
This election is fundamentally about whether or not the American dream remains alive and well, for our children and our grandchildren. This is the core of my life and my political beliefs: that we owe so much to future generations, that we do not want to see that dream recede, that we know people have to work hard, and we expect you to do just that and to take responsibility, but at the very least, you should have a President who is on your side again.
And I believe that this campaign has been good for the Democratic Party and good for our country. People are discussing and debating issues. They are turning out in record numbers to register and to vote. There is an excitement about politics that is the lifeblood of our democracy.
For me, this election isn't about who's in or who's out or who's up or who's down. It’s about the common threads that tie us together -- rich and poor, young and old, black and white, Latino and Asian, Democrats, Republicans, and Independents. We are united by common values. We all want a better world for our children, and we want the best for our country. And we are committed to putting a Democrat back in the White House.
And our nominee -- our nominee will be stronger for having campaigned long and hard, building enthusiasm and excitement, hearing your stories and answering your questions. And I will work my heart out for the nominee of the Democratic Party to make sure we have a Democratic President.
As we look at the stakes in this election, I think we can all agree it’s been unprecedented. We haven't had an election like it for as long as anyone can remember. It is still so close and it really does depend upon those who will vote in these next contests and those who have the awesome responsibility as delegates of our great Democratic Party.
I’m asking that people think hard about where we are in this election, about how we will win in November, because this is not an abstract exercise. This is for a solemn, crucial purpose: to elect a president to turn our country around, to meet the challenges we face and seize the opportunities. It has been a long campaign, but it is just an instant in time when compared with the lasting consequences of the choice we will make in November. That is why I am carrying on, and if you give me a chance, Democrats, I’ll come back to West Virginia in the general election and we'll win this state and we'll win the White House.
I am honored and grateful for the support and hospitality of the people of West Virginia. I spent a few minutes with your wonderful national treasure, Senator Byrd, this morning and we talked about his beloved West Virginia. I told him where I'd gone and what I’d seen. I talked about the people I had met. And he just broke into the biggest smile. I don’t know that any man has ever loved a state more than Robert C. Byrd loves West Virginia.
I am grateful for the graciousness of Governor and Mrs. Manchin. Governor Manchin is winning a great victory himself tonight, and I want to thank Joe and Gayle for welcoming me to Governor Manchin's hometown as we went to Fairmont for a great election last night. I want to thank Senate Majority Leader Truman Chafin, former Governor Hulett Smith, Brigadier General Jack Yeager, all of the West Virginia veterans who honored me by their support and I honor their service.
Thanks to my friends in the labor unions who stood with us every step of the way, we wouldn't be here without you. And a special thanks to my outstanding staff, volunteers and supporters here in West Virginia and across America.
At least once, usually a half a dozen times a day, Bill and Chelsea and I check in with each other and I wish every West Virginian could have heard our calls as we compared our experiences here in this state. We’ve had the best time.
And I will be back. As we move on now to the next contests, in Kentucky and Oregon, in Puerto Rico, in Montana and South Dakota, tonight I'm thinking about Florence Steen from South Dakota, eighty-eight years old and in failing health when she asked that her daughter bring an absentee ballot to her hospice bedside. Florence was born before women had the right to vote, and she was determined to exercise that right, to cast a ballot for her candidate who just happened to be a woman running for president. Florence passed on a few days ago, but I am eternally grateful to her and her family for making this such an important and incredible milestone in her life that means so much to me. I’m also thinking of Dalton Hatfield, an 11-year-old boy from Kentucky, who sold his bike and sold his video games to raise money to support my campaign.
This is a great and good nation because of people like Florence Steen, Dalton Hatfield, and their families. Her memory and his future are worth fighting for. As long as we remember that there is no challenge we cannot meet, no barrier we cannot break, no dream we cannot realize. So, let's finish the job we started. America is worth fighting for.
Thank you and God bless you and God bless America. Thank you all so very much.

Now for the next entry. That's going to be a joint-entry by Ava and I. First off, to whining visitors. What's been going in the "Iraq snapshots" about Iraq -- the length -- will be the size of the snapshots barring a Congressional hearing I find worth noting. If you missed it, Iraq fell off the radar sometime ago to the press. To Panhandle Media, it fell off long, long ago. We haven't let it fall off the radar and we won't. But this idea that there's going to be a lengthy snapshot every day when the news just isn't there -- by strong reporters or even just good ones -- is nonsense. The press isn't covering Iraq. That's the Real Press. Panhandle media aka 'independent' media aka the 'activist' press lost interest a long time ago. For The Nation, it was when Katrina vanden Heuvel got the title "publisher" added to editor. That's when "war resister" becomes a forbidden term in print. You can find it prior to that in The Nation. It's why Ehren Watada was nothing but an insult and a sidebar (accompanying the insult) in print for the magazine. All those stories idiot visitors keep e-mailing about, claiming they were in the magazine, were not in the magazine. They were never published in print because the losers at the top didn't think they were worthy. Watada's received more press than any other war resister and, even so, he never qualified for an article in The Nation. No one else did either.

Staying with The Nation, Christian Parenti and Naomi Klein used to write regularly about Iraq. After 2004? No. That may reflect their own interests or just the fact that the magazine's not interested (which would explain why a piece co-written by Klein never even made it to The Nation as an "online exclusive" and why a Nation writer had to shop his article on war resisters elsewhere last year). These whining visitors keep citing 'coverage' in their e-mails and not grasping that's years ago. Amy Goodman hasn't interviewed war resisters in forever. A huge number have come forward since the fall of 2006 and they've all been ignored. Kyle Snyder was the last one interviewed and had already been introduced in a Darrell Anderson segment. Starting with Ivan Brobeck (and with her winning the $500,000 grant from The Nation Institute shortly afterwards), Amy Goodman turned her back on war resisters. That's reality. Not your confused memories of her interviewing Mark Wilcox when he went public (she didn't, she played a clip -- fall 2006 -- of him speaking at Camp Casey), not your memories of her interviewing James Burmeister (you have him confused with someone else, she never interviewed him). They all have 'better' and 'more important' things to do. Day after day, year after year.

Those whining about Ralph Nader getting covered, get over it. You are not a part of the community and Ralph has voters in this community and will have the community voting for him if Hillary doesn't get the nomination. That's reality.

One irate visitor writes, "He stole the election in 2000 and you're going to help him steal it in 2008!" He didn't steal anything in 2000. He got the votes he earned and that's been the position of this site all along. (I voted for Al Gore. The position was not so I wouldn't feel guilty over my vote. The position is based on the logic that no one owns votes and candidates get the votes they win.)

Some visitors are whining comments such as "You're supporting Hillary just because she's a woman." That's idiotic. There are some voters who will vote for Hillary for that reason and that's their business. People support candidates for a variety of reasons. Hillary's run is historic and there's no denying that. But anyone writing that nonsense lie obviously is either an idiot or a liar because Ava and I are on the record as far back as 2005 that we wouldn't vote for Hillary just because she was a woman. That's not taking anything away from anyone who supports Hillary for that reason. That's their business, it's their vote. But that's not the case for myself (or for Ava). Hillary is the strongest candidate in the Democratic race. She has gotten stronger and stronger throughout the campaign. She's shown amazing strength and fortitude. Unlike Barack who is always whining whenever he's got a scandal, "This is preventing us from discussing policy," Hillary's always addressed policy. She's made proposals. She's got the stronger health care plan, she's the only one calling for mercenaries out of Iraq, she's the only one with a record of support for abortion rights, women's rights, and a great deal more.

I'm not interested in Panhandle Media supporting Barack so stop sending your columns you just wrote on Barack. They won't be highlighted. I'm not interested. You're garbage and you'll have to find real jobs shortly. You lie for your candidate (Barack). You promise that you'll hold his feet to the fire . . . at some point. That day never comes. It didn't come this week when he insulted the peace movement during Vietnam. It never comes. It didn't come when he used homophobia to scare up votes. You stay silent like parents of a spoiled child.

Hillary's been called out here many times. We're not doing that now (community-wide) because of the lop-sided nature of Panhandle Media. Along with being worried about your candidate, you should be worried about your careers because your lack of standards and ethics are not going unnoticed across America and you've destroyed any power you built up when you briefly covered Iraq.

A lot of the losers published best-selling books in Bully Boy's first term. Those same writers can't sell new books to save their lives these days. It's because no one believes you even more, no one trusts you anymore. Your lies are known, your lack of standards are known. Keep begging for money but don't expect it to continue to flow in.

In terms of what we will highlight here . . . Very few in Panhandle Media should be able to hold their heads high today. One who can is David Bacon and, when time permits, his work gets highlighted. Chris Hayes got a link to a piece I completely disagreed with. That was due to the fact that he and he alone covered IVAW's Winter Soldier Investigation at The Nation.

On that mention, three visitors are appalled. How dare you bring up whether or not Barack was baptized. Consider a gift. If he wasn't baptized -- and the press consenus is that he wasn't -- in the Real Press, where they investigate and not just gas bag -- that issue needs to come out now, not in a debate when McCain turns to him and declares, "Barack, you say you're a Christian. When were you baptized?" One nasty little Panhandle Media 'reporter' wrote, "His position is like Mark Twain's!" Well Mark Twain never was president.

You've all lied so much for Barack that you can't get honest. No one will say no to mercenaries, you whine. Then Hillary says no and Barack still says yes. Instead of applauding her, you make excuses for him. You call Hillary out for who donates to her and then, if pressed, agree Barack takes big money as well but only, you insist, because he fears Wall St. would attack him if he didn't. You're pathetic. If a miracle took place and he landed in the White House, you still wouldn't call him out. You have proven that over and over. Every other month if not week, Tom Hayden's gas bagging about how important it is to hold Barack's feet to the fire but Tom Hayden never does that, does he? (And he didn't hold John Kerry's feet to the fire either.)

So whine somewhere else, I'm not interested. You've refused to explore Barack's advisors while tearing Hillary apart on her own. The double-standard you condemn in Real Media is one you've been happy to utilize at your own outlets and it's why you're losing your audience.

You should have thought about that and beyond an election cycle. There was no reason for non-Democrats (as so many of the public voices in Panhandle Media are) to interject themselves into a Democratic race.

Here we will continue to cover Iraq and do the Iraq snapshot. But the little liars turning up at the public account begging for Barack to be included or at least for Hillary not to be, you're not a part of this community. You haven't done anything to build it, you've contributed nothing to it (until you wanted Barack highlighted and we don't need those contributions) and we're not interested.

Ava and I have done links for the next piece (not at all about Iraq) which is a joint-entry but we'll be dictating around the links so don't expect it to go up right away. We're also aware that Jim wants some things saved for Third. Some of those things were supposed to have been covered last Sunday but Mother's Day threw everyone's schedule off.

Actually, one thing will have to do with Iraq. Blake just e-mailed something and that will be included at the top because there's no way to put it in here.

The e-mail address for this site is