Friday, August 15, 2008

Jeremy Hinzman and James Burmeister

An American who deserted the U.S. Army to protest the Iraq War and who has been ordered deported back home will file a new appeal in Federal Court. Jeremy Hinzman is the first U.S. deserter in recent years to apply for refugee status in Canada. Immigration authorities determined that he did not face persecution or hardship if he were returned to the United States and told him on Wednesday he had until Sept. 23 to leave the country. He faces a possible court martial and up to five years in prison.

The above is from "Canada in Brief" (24 Hours Vancouver) and AP files another story where they quote Jeremy:

"I went through all the training. I served honorably in my unit. I used army provisions to try become a noncombatant and remain in the army as a medic or something, but I still would be subject to going on combat missions as a medic," Hinzman said.
"I can't bring myself to shoot another person. If people want to criticize me for that, then I'm honored to be criticized because I'm not a killer."

We'll again note this from Courage to Resist:

Jeremy Hinzman ordered deported from Canada PDF Print E-mail


By Courage to Resist and War Resisters Support Campaign (Canada). August 13, 2008

The first U.S. war resister to apply for refuge in Canada has been ordered deported by September 23rd. Jeremy is in Canada with his wife Nga Nuyen, and their two young children. This decision flies in the face of the motion adopted by Parliament on June 3, 2008 which calls on the government to allow US war resisters to apply for Permanent Resident status in Canada. Supporters are calling on Hon. Diane Finley, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, to intervene. Phone 613.996.4974 or email

And this is the War Resisters Support Campaign:

Jeremy Hinzman ordered deported

The first U.S. war resister to apply for refuge in Canada has been ordered deported by September 23rd. Jeremy is in Canada with his wife Nga Nuyen, and their two young children.

This decision flies in the face of the motion adopted by Parliament on June 3, 2008 which calls on the government to allow US war resisters to apply for Permanent Resident status in Canada. It also rejects the will of Canadians who have demonstrated in various polls that they want war resisters to stay.

The War Resisters Support Campaign is calling on the federal government and the Hon. Diane Finley, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, to intervene to prevent the Hinzman family from being sent to the U.S. to be punished.

And this from Iraq Veterans Against the War:
  • US Iraq War resister ordered deported from Canada


    US Iraq War resister Jeremy Hinzman was informed on August 13th that his application to stay in Canada has been rejected. Jeremy served a tour in Afghanistan in a non-combat role after applying for conscientious objector status. When his unit, the 82nd Airborne Division, was to be deployed to Iraq Jeremy and his family decided to come to Canada. Jeremy is the first U.S. war resister to apply for refuge in Canada. He has been ordered to be deported by September 23rd. Jeremy is in Canada with his wife Nga Nuyen, and their two young children.

    The decision to deport Hinzman comes just two months after the Canadian Parliament passed a motion calling on the government to allow US war resisters to apply for Permanent Resident status in Canada.

    To support Jeremy, call or email Hon. Diane Finley, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, and ask her to intervene in this case. Phone: 613.996.4974 email:

    Read more of this item

Hinzman appears today on Democracy Now! and, in reply to a question about where he goes next, states that "if my lawyer can find errors in the . . . decision that the Canadian Border Services rendered than we can appeal"; however, he is preparing for what may be the return to the US. Amy Goodman wrongly states Robin Long was deported last month (he was extradited) and then asserts that he "is now serving a jail term in Colorado". Really? I must have missed Robin's court-martial -- which everyone says will take part in September.

In other DUMB ASS news, don't miss Janine Jackson's fact-free 'commentary' in CounterSpin this week. Remember, you just have to laugh. FAIR went off the rails some time ago (probably when they decided a few years back that a gala was just the thing to throw in the midst of a war? Bette Davis would have slapped their slack-jawed faces), so just laugh as Jackson sports Extreme Stupidity (and cites Village Idiot Air of The Nation). (We covered the reality of Mrytle Beach Tuesday.)

Jeremy Hinzman and Robin Long are two US war resisters who went to Canada. They are not the only ones. Darrell Anderson went to Canada and was the first to publicly return to the US. James Burmeister made the decision to return this year.

Evan Kornfeldt "Sentenced for resisting war" (US Socialist Worker):

On July 17, a military court sentenced James Burmeister to six months in prison for going AWOL. Burmeister, who fled to Canada last year rather than return to Iraq, suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Burmeister, originally from Eugene, Ore., went to Iraq in September of 2006 as a gunner in Unit 118 First Infantry Division. Burmeister took part in "small kill teams" that used "bait and kill" tactics.
[. . .]
The Eugene Weekly has pointed out that of the 4,698 soldiers who have been charged with desertion in 2007, only 108 have been convicted. Eric Burmeister, James' father, believes that his son was prosecuted as punishment for speaking out about the bait and kill teams.
After the trial, at which he testified on his son's behalf, he said, "I obviously now believe that James has been made an example to the rest of the soldiers and to the rest of those who dare think about what James did, that the punishment can be quite severe."
Eric Burmeister and his wife Helen have been speaking out about James' case and about the Iraq war. Eric told the Eugene Weekly, "I can never be quiet until they all come home. It seems like they are all my children now."

PBS notes. Tonight (in most markets, check local listings), Bill Moyers Journal addresses the imperial presidency with guest Andrew J. Bacevich. The Journal's Michael Winship notes:

Bacevich speaks truth to power, no matter who's in power, which may be why those of both the left and right are eager to hear his views. Perhaps it's also because when he challenges American myths and illusions, he does so from a genuine patriotism forged in the fire of his experiences as a soldier in Vietnam and the death a year ago of his son, an Army lieutenant in Iraq. The Limits of Power is dedicated to the young man but the senior Bacevich, a man of quiet, solid gravitas, holds his grief privately between himself and his family.
"Our foreign policy is something that is concocted in Washington, D.C., but it reflects the perceptions of our political elite about what we the people want," he told Moyers. "And what we want, by and large is... this continuing flow of very cheap consumer goods. We want to be able to pump gas into our cars regardless of how big they may happen to be... And we want to be able to do these things without having to think about whether or not the books are balanced at the end of the month, or the end of the fiscal year."
To that end, he says, "One of the ways we avoid confronting our refusal to balance the books is to rely increasingly on the projection of American military power around the world to try to maintain this dysfunctional system or set of arrangements that have evolved over the last 30 or 40 years."
"... I think historians a hundred years from now will puzzle over how it could be that the United States of America, the most powerful nation in the world, as far back as the early 1970’s came to recognize that dependence on foreign oil was a problem, posed a threat, compromised our freedom of action. How every president from Richard Nixon down... declared, 'We’re going to fix the problem.' [But] none of them did."
He continued, "The clearest statement of what I value is found in the Preamble to the Constitution. There is nothing in the Preamble to the Constitution which defines the purpose of the United States of America as remaking the world in our image, which I view as a fool's errand... I believe that the framers of the Constitution were primarily concerned with focusing on the way we live here, the way we order our affairs. To try to ensure that as individuals, we can have an opportunity to pursue our, perhaps, differing definitions of freedom, but also so that, as a community, we could live together in some kind of harmony. And that future generations would also be able to share in those same opportunities... With the current crisis in American foreign policy, unless we do change our ways, the likelihood that our children, our grandchildren, the next generation is going to enjoy the opportunities that we've had is very slight because we're squandering our power. We are squandering our wealth."
Bacevich believes, "The Congress, especially with regard to matters related to national security policy, has thrust power and authority to the executive branch. We have created an imperial presidency. The Congress no longer is able to articulate a vision of what is the common good. The Congress exists primarily to ensure the reelection of members of Congress."

PBS tonight (and throughout the weekend depending on when your local station airs it) will also feature Washington Week. Janine Zacharia (Bloomberg News) will be among the guests. She's been doing a ton of research on refugees so she should be able to pull that into her topic (the positions of Barack and McCain), Todd S. Purdum (Vanity Fair) will discuss the upcoming Democratic National Convention (will Gwen or anyone mention the Nadar Super Rally that will take place in Denver August 27th?), and Jeffrey Birnbaum (Washington Post) will be among the guests (Birnbuam will be addressing campaign monies and laws). And NOW on PBS explores the US and Mexican border.

Ralph's Daily Audio is the web page for the Nader-Gonzalez campaign featuring audio. Marci asked that we again note "Outsourcing:"

This is Ralph Nader. You know how often these big corporate executives, when they're shipping jobs of American workers to fascist or communist dictators abroad who know how to keep their workers in their place . Do you know how often they say "Well we have to do this to keep up with the global competition"? But one thing they don't do to keep up with the global competition is to outsource themselves, outsource their own CEO jobs or their own faluting commentators and editors jobs.
Let's start with the New York Times editorial page. It would be hard to replace Maureen Dowd, no doubt. But Thomas Friedman? He of the rah-rah, pro-corporate, globalization, cheesy metaphors? Well he could easily be replaced by a hard working Indian or Chinese bi-lingual columnist at a much lower rate. And how about Wall Street? All those investment bank executives, the executives of Citigroup or Merrill Lynch. Imagine how many first rate Indian or Chinese executives could have done a much better job than Bob Rubin who helped drive the giant Citibank into the ground. I'm sure good executives from India or China could replace Rick Wagoner as CEO of General Motors at a much, much lower salary. That's the way to meet the global competition: Outsouce CEOS.
"What's good for the worker," says the CEO, "is not good for the CEO." The shareholders know better thye've got to demand outsourcing CEOS for a new fresh. energetic start for the management of their country. I'm Ralph Nader.

Along with the audio and the Nader Super Rally, the independent presidental campaign has a great deal of activity and movement. Sam notes this from Team Nader:

Health Care Politics


Health Care Politics .

One of my favorite monthly publications is Registered Nurse – the journal of the fast growing, progressive California Nurses Association (CNA) – a union that stands up for patients rights and well-being.

The June 2008 issue contains stories that illustrate how this nurses group takes stands. On June 19, the CNA sponsored street rallies for its Medicare for all (single-payer with free choice of doctor and hospital) in San Francisco and a dozen other major cities around the nation. For over a decade these nurses have made full Medicare for all their major goal. They have run voter initiatives, lobbied legislatures and have opposed sweetheart labor-management deals like those embraced by the Service Employees International Union – SEIU. (SEIU also opposes single-payer health insurance which is supported by a majority of physicians and the American people.)

The June magazine describes the autocratic native of SEIU toward its members and how its leader, Andy Stern, cuts labor deals with large corporate employers that shockingly deprive workers of normal union rights.

Here is an example of what CNA says:

"In exchange for access to more dues units, SEIU gave California nursing home operators the 'exclusive right' to set all pay rates, working conditions, speed up and reassign work, eliminate jobs at will, and outsource union work."

"SEIU also agreed to support legislation limiting patient’s right to sue over care abuses, to oppose reforms to require better staffing for patients safety, and to never report health care code violations."

Stern rejected single-payer health insurance at his recent union convention. Senator Barack Obama has declined to propose single-payer as well. SEIU is pouring tens of millions of dollars to elect Senator Obama President. CNA works to eliminate "the insurance nightmare through establishing a high-quality, single payer healthcare system. (See:

The current health care industry is a wasteful, redundant, defrauding mess costing Americans over 2.2 trillion this year and hundreds of thousands of avoidable injuries, fatalities and serious infections a year. The honest, competent caregivers are on the edge of despair, unable to do their best work due to the domination and control of commercial-profit priorities which include denial of care by these corporations.

People die or get sicker sometimes when they are denied health care. People die when they cannot afford health insurance -- 18,000 Americans a year according to the Institute of Medicine

Corporate billing fraud and abuse costs over $200 billion a year. Ask Malcolm Sparrow of the Kennedy School at Harvard University or read his book License to Steal.

Do you ever hear John McCain or Barack Obama focus public attention on these tragedies and rip-offs of consumers and taxpayers?

The employers of health insurance companies, hospital chains and drug industry are pouring money into the coffers of these two men and their parties.

Strange as it many seem, on June 26, 2008 even the principled, independent California Nurses Association fell in line with the AFL-CIO. The CNA endorsed Senator Barack Obama.

Well, Senator Obama doesn't have to worry a minute about CNA's nurses putting up one of their famous critical demonstrations at his events. He can continue dialing for corporate dollars.


Added: Kimberly Wilder encourages people to check out this video of Asa Gordon "explaining his electoral college lawsuits" which is about "proportional apportionment of presidential electors."

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