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we move to canadalaura khttp://www.blogger.com/profile/05524593142290489958noreply@blogger.comBlogger6574125
Updated: 36 min 51 sec ago

u.s. iraq war resisters: the struggle continues

4 hours 1 min ago
Still war resisters. Still in Canada. Still fighting to stay.

So far, the change in government hasn't helped the Iraq War resisters who remain here, nor the ones who were forced out of Canada who would like to return. The Trudeau government could do this so easily. And yet.

The CBC Radio show "DNTO" recently did an excellent segment about the US Iraq War resisters and the fight - still going on - to let them stay in Canada.
When American soldier Joshua Key fled to Canada in 2005, he never imagined that ten years later he would still be fighting a war — against the U.S. army, against post-traumatic stress disorder, and against the Canadian government.

Key is one of an estimated 15 Iraq war veterans who are fighting to remain in Canada.

The resisters left home to avoid being sent back to a war they didn't believe in. Today, they fear they'll be sent to prison if they're deported.

On this week's DNTO, you'll meet modern war resisters. Each of their stories is unique, but they all have one thing in common: they wish to stay in Canada. Should they be allowed to? Some segments:

Meet the war resisters desperate to stay in Canada.

Who's helping the war resisters?

The Brockway family: fighting PTSD and searching for home.

A photo essay about Josh Key.

The show is really worth hearing, and you know how I feel about radio. You can listen to the full episode here.

april 28: national day of mourning

Wed, 04/27/2016 - 14:00

Across Canada, April 28 is the National Day of Mourning for workers killed or injured on their jobs.

The image of the canary reminds us that, not so very long ago, a tiny yellow bird was the only safety device mine workers had against some of the terrible dangers of their workplace.

Members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees are often the canaries in the coal mine for the public, putting themselves on the front line of public safety every day. Just yesterday, members of CUPE Local 1989 in the quiet Port Credit library faced a trauma and a public emergency. None of them was physically hurt, but the incident reminds us that public-service workers often stand between the public and danger.

Each year, approximately 1,000 Canadian workers are killed on the job. One thousand! Hundreds of thousands are injured; untold numbers suffer from work-related illnesses, which may eventually claim their lives. We can do better. We must demand better.

April 28 is a day to reflect on these numbers and the real people they represent. For unionists and labour activists, it's a day to re-dedicate ourselves to our continued efforts to make workplaces safer, and to help workers whose jobs put their health at risk.

We remember these CUPE sisters and brothers who were killed on the job in 2015.
Dellis Partridge, CUPE 4946, Alberta
John Macleod, CUPE 1867, Nova Scotia
Alain Bissonnette, CUPE 503, Ontario
Harl Hawley, CUPE 30, Alberta
Nilo Sanchez, CUPE 59, Saskatchewan
Venancio Perez, CUPE 1483, Ontario
Stephen Penny, CUPE 30, Alberta
William Miller, CUPE 4705, Ontario
Mark Urbanowicz, CUPE 1000, Ontario (2014)



39% is not a majority: fair voting now

Fri, 04/22/2016 - 04:00
Will you sign a declaration to make Canada more democratic?

Declaration of Voters' Rights

And some myth-busting about proportional representation:

A ranked ballot is not a voting system.

How will anything get done?

Is proportional representation constitutional?

Read and share!

(un)happy equal pay day

Tue, 04/19/2016 - 15:00
Today is Equal Pay Day in Ontario. Why? It's the day that, if you're a woman, your earnings have finally caught up with what men were paid the previous year. Women doing the same or equivalent work still earn, on average, 30% less than their male counterparts.

The higher up the food chain a woman works, the greater the gap in pay.
Ontario’s highest paid women earn an average of 37% less than the highest paid men, translating into a whopping $64,000 less in annual average earnings.  “Over the course of a working lifetime, these pay gaps can grow into a mountain of lost earnings,” says Cornish. “For instance, a middle-income woman could find herself earning, on average, $315,000 less than men over a 35-year period. The highest paid 10 per cent of women could earn an average of $2.24 million less than highest paid 10 per cent of men over a 35-year period.The Canadian Centre of Policy Alternatives has collected the data and done the rigorous study. No further study is needed. What we need is action.

a petition to exonerate ethel rosenberg

Sun, 04/17/2016 - 11:00
Of all the outrageously unjust moments in United States history - and dog knows there are many to choose from - the execution of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg holds a special place in my political underpinnings. It was an event I learned about early on, one that came up in many different contexts throughout my childhood. That was partly because the Rosenbergs were Jewish, and their case was rife with anti-Semitism. It was partly because of my parents' thorough and utter disgust for McCarthyism. And it was partly because my parents had very clear memories of the case, the execution occurring in the early years of their marriage. They remembered the media frenzy, the protests attempting to save their lives, and finally, the Rosenbergs' deaths.

My mother always mentioned thousands of people packing into New York City's Union Square on the night of the execution, pleading with the government to stay the execution. My mother and I both read The Book of Daniel, E. L. Doctorow's fictional imaginings of the Rosenberg orphans, and my mother bought (and gave to others as gifts) We Are Your Sons, written by the Rosenbergs' children, Robert and Michael Meeropol.

In recent years, declassified information showed that Julius Rosenberg had spied for the Soviet Union. He did not, however, pass secrets about the atom bomb, the crime of which he was accused and convicted. And no similar evidence came to light about Ethel Rosenberg. Despite these details, the US media was only too happy to declare the case closed.

When I saw the subject line in my inbox Sign the petition: Exonerate Ethel Rosenberg, I was very interested. But I was also wary. If we want Ethel Rosenberg to be exonerated, does that mean we are condoning Julius' conviction? If we say, "Ethel was not a spy and her execution was wrongful," do we imply that the execution of Julius Rosenberg was justified? Or that some executions may be justified?

I care about the Rosenbergs. I care about government-led persecution and witchhunts. But I also care about the death penalty: I am against it, for any reason, ever. (Don't Godwin me. Any reason ever.) I've known about the Rosenbergs my entire life. I wanted to sign this petition, but I wasn't sure I should.

I wasn't alone. This was forwarded to me by an activist friend who received the petition before I did.
Many people who’ve signed the petition to exonerate my grandmother, Ethel Rosenberg, have asked why the campaign doesn’t include my grandfather, Julius. My father Robert Meeropol answers that question in a blog, here.

My dad’s outlook on life and his drive to create something positive from the terrible tragedy of his early years continues to be inspiring, both for those who are new to his story and for those of us who know his journey well.

As you can imagine, my father’s life was profoundly affected by his parents’ execution. He was three years old when they were arrested, and six years old when they were killed. He visited his parents in prison and still remembers what that felt like. He also remembers the executions, and the trauma of being bounced from home to home, and in and out of an orphanage. Relatives were too scared to take in him and my uncle. They were even thrown out of school in New Jersey where sympathetic friends of the family had tried to give them shelter.

Luckily my father and uncle were eventually adopted by Anne and Abel Meeropol. This loving couple, who were teachers and artists, provided a nurturing home and shielded them from the public. And thousands of people who had tried to save my grandparents donated funds to pay for my father and uncle’s education, therapy, art and drama programs, and other services to help them grow up healthy and happy.

Decades later, my father started the Rosenberg Fund for Children to assist kids in this country who are experiencing similar nightmares to what he endured. This organization I now lead aids the children of today’s targeted activists. Their parents are being attacked because they’re struggling to combat racism, wage peace, preserve civil liberties, safeguard the environment, organize on behalf of workers, prisoners, and LGBTQI people, and more. . . . Incidentally, the children of US war resister Kimberly Rivera received some assistance from The Rosenberg Fund for Children. I'm proud that some part of my life intersects with some part of the Rosenbergs'.

I signed the petition with a clear conscience and I hope you will, too.

If you are interested in both a progressive and factual reading of the executions, I recommend this long piece by Robert Wilbur, writing in Truthout: The True Crime of the Rosenberg Execution.
Federal District Judge Irving R. Kaufman was a pious man. He visited his synagogue to commune with whatever god he believed in before making up his mind to condemn Julius and Ethel Rosenberg to die in the electric chair, making orphans of their two young boys. That, however, was not the full reach of his piety. Under pressure from the Justice Department to end the Rosenberg case quickly, after two years of delays in the courts, Kaufman set their death for a Friday. This created an unanticipated complication, as Sam Roberts recounts in his grisly description of the execution in "The Brother": New York State traditionally carried out its executions at 11:00 PM. But this would mean the Rosenbergs would burn several hours into the Sabbath - the Jewish holy day. What to do? Kaufman sought the advice of a rabbi to ascertain the exact time when the Sabbath began, then ordered the executions moved up to a more comfortable hour.

The judge must have gotten satisfactory advice, for there were no complaints from organized Jewry in America. Julius died from the traditional three jolts of electricity; Ethel required an additional two jolts, perhaps the only shred of evidence that she was really the tougher member of the spying duo.

And, while the evidence remains much disputed, the preponderance suggests that spies they were. Eventually, even the Rosenberg's journalistic cheerleaders, Walter and Miriam Schneir, acknowledged that Julius Rosenberg was ringmaster of a busy espionage collective that was passing electronic and aeronautical intelligence to the Soviets during the Second World War. Julius himself - unlike the nerd depicted in photographs - was a brazen cowboy who scored a daring espionage coup by stealing the proximity fuse from its plant of manufacture piece by piece: this device uses an electromagnetic wave guide to identify a nearby aircraft, vastly increasing the efficacy of anti-aircraft batteries.

Schneir acknowledged that Julius was a spy - but not an atomic spy. And, so, the case has dragged on to this very day, and two important questions remain unanswered:

- Were the Rosenbergs framed to break up their spy ring in a distinctly conclusive manner (and, relatedly, what was Ethel's role in the ring)?

- If the death penalty is ever appropriate, was it called for in this case?

. . . .

But when everything seems to be tied up in a neat package, Schneir has a quote from Alan Dershowitz, the Harvard law professor and one-time death penalty battler turned post-9/11 advocate of torture, citing a conversation with Rosenberg prosecutor and mob lawyer Roy Cohn:
"Roy Cohn ... proudly told me shortly before his death [in 1986] that the government had 'manufactured 'evidence against the Rosenbergs, because they knew Julius was the head of a spy ring. They had learned this from bugging a foreign embassy, but they could not disclose any information learned from the bug, so they made up some evidence in order to prove what they already knew. In the process, they also made up the case against Ethel Rosenberg." ["America on Trial" (NY: Warner Books,2004.p/323)]In right-wing quarters, especially those where "kike" and "yid" are words of currency, the Rosenberg case is still considered the crime of the century, all evidence to the contrary notwithstanding. . . .

So, while the Rosenbergs probably did break a law that was passed amid the hysteria of an earlier world war by passing non-atomic intelligence on to the Russians, the statesmen committed a monumental blunder in underestimating the Soviet Union's imperialistic intentions. The Rosenberg's crime was probably to break the 1917 Espionage Act; by far the greater crime was to kill husband and wife on June 19, 58 years ago. The execution of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg is the true crime of the century - an abomination that casts an ineradicable black mark on the American criminal justice system and on the presidency of Dwight D. Eisenhower, whose own crime was a failure to grant mercy.This story on the World Socialist website sees the Rosenbergs' persecution clearly, through a present-day lens.
June 19 [2013] marks the 50th anniversary of the execution of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg on charges of conspiracy to commit espionage on behalf of the Soviet Union.

Many of the Rosenbergs’ contemporaries, for whom their persecution and state murder was the most searing episode in one of the darkest chapters in US history, have passed from the scene. Yet still today, for millions of people around the world, the name of the young couple evokes the Cold War, the McCarthyite witch-hunt in the United States and all of the crimes associated with Washington’s global crusade against communism. The execution of the father and mother of two young children, residents of New York City’s Lower East Side — he 35 years old and she 37 at the time of their deaths — is testimony to the savagery of which the American ruling establishment is capable when it perceives its vital interests to be at stake.

Despite the passing of five decades, the issues surrounding the Rosenberg case are in many ways posed more sharply today than at any time since the execution itself. Once again, a US administration is seeking to terrorize the entire population as a means of suppressing dissent and exercising control on behalf of a wealthy elite. Under the guise of a global “war on terrorism,” it has rammed through the USA Patriot Act — modeled in part on the anti-communist McCarran Internal Security Act of 50 years ago — assuming vast unconstitutional powers to arrest without charges, detain without trial and conduct unrestricted police surveillance.

Today, as then, the government’s fear-mongering and attacks on democratic rights are aimed at suppressing widespread opposition to American military aggression abroad.You can sign a petition to exonerate Ethel Rosenberg here.

when real life meets the onion: espn wants us to know that rape is traumatic... for the rapist

Sat, 04/16/2016 - 10:30
Ah, the things we miss when we don't follow mainstream media. I didn't even know the sports world was celebrating a rapist.

This week, drinking wine in a hotel room in New Jersey, Allan and I were pleased to discover that the Red Sox were on the ESPN Wednesday night game. A nice treat, or it would have been, if the announcing team (which included one of my most disliked announcers ever) had been able to stop talking about basketball long enough to call the game.

The game was often broadcast in a little box, while we were treated to the important news that hundreds of fans had gathered outside the Staples Centre in Los Angeles. (So many things wrong with that sentence!) Gee, if only ESPN had some other stations so it could broadcast a baseball game in its entirety while still reporting on the earth-shattering news from L.A.

The news that interrupted our baseball game? Kobe Bryant's final game. So I'm thinking, Kobe Bryant, Kobe Bryant, don't I know something else about him... When my memory finally kicked in, I asked Allan, "Kobe, isn't he a rapist?"

Indeed he is. Recapping Bryant's storied career, ESPN made no mention of this, not even to note that Bryant has been "the subject of controversy" or some-such euphemism. Yesterday they remedied that omission. From Deadspin: ESPN Asks How Kobe Bryant Being Credibly Accused Of Rape Affected Kobe Bryant.

That's only slightly sarcastic. From Think Progress:
During the program, ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne — who has been spending time with Kobe during his final days as a player — said she had a “strange” and “provocative” take on the rape charges against him. She did not disappoint.

Shelburne said that being charge with rape “freed” Kobe to “tap into the darker side of himself.” He was then able to “channel all of that rage and fear on to the basketball court,” according to Shelburne.

The comments fit a troubling pattern of ignoring the alleged victim and focusing on the impact the charges had on Bryant, his endorsements and his on-court performance.

"It was traumatic for him. I think that is the right word," Shelburne concluded.

"Traumatic for all concerned we should say, not just Kobe Bryant. There was a woman on the other side," Storm reminded Shelburne before quickly changing the topic.And from the Onion, from some years back: College Basketball Star Heroically Overcomes Tragic Rape He Committed.

* * * *

In case you are of the opinion that a rapist is no longer a rapist unless he's convicted in a court of law, please be aware that only the tiniest fraction of sexual assaults are ever prosecuted, and of those, few result in conviction. (For example, see the infographic here.)

In the Kobe Bryant rape case, there was a substantial amount of evidence against the basketball star. The victim/survivor declined to testify, and if you've learned anything from the Jian Ghomeshi case, you can imagine why. The victim did bring a separate, civil suit against Bryant, which (of course) was settled out of court. Bryant's public statement included this:
Although I truly believe this encounter between us was consensual, I recognize now that she did not and does not view this incident the same way I did. After months of reviewing discovery, listening to her attorney, and even her testimony in person, I now understand how she feels that she did not consent to this encounter.And in case you think that media should only focus on Bryant's basketball career, and not mention his rape career, I'd ask you to read or listen to any of the recent media pieces fawning over Bryant and see if they mention anything that isn't purely basketball. I can guarantee they do.

To make the point more eloquently, I give you Deadspin. I thank them for this article, especially the closing paragraph.
When a sports event becomes so big that it produces a flood of coverage, as Kobe Bryant’s season-long goodbye tour has, it’s easy for pundits and reporters to end up in awkward positions simply by virtue of having had to say so much for so long about one thing.

The conversation is even more likely to go sideways when the story in question involves something serious, like a rape investigation. That’s how we ended up with ESPN anchor Hannah Storm and NBA reporter Ramona Shelburne having a very odd conversation on SportsCenter today.

It’s exceedingly strange to suggest that being accused of rape ultimately “freed” Kobe Bryant to become the Black Mamba—a character in Nike commercials and a vicious, selfish shooter—not just because it implicitly paints Bryant, rather than his accuser, as the main principal or victim here, but also because the Black Mamba is nothing more than a branding initiative, a piece of fiction that really doesn’t have any connection to something as grave as a rape allegation.

The Black Mamba comes up, strangely, in the context of Storm and Shelburne talking about how Bryant being accused of rape affected his career and fictional persona. This makes the question of whether or not Bryant raped a woman serve the same function as his rivalry with Shaq, or the development of his post game, and draws a connection between Bryant having been accused of rape and Bryant having, subsequently, come into his athletic prime. As if to heighten the absurdity of the conversation, Shelburne and Storm seamlessly transition from discussing the rape case to a lighthearted bit about whether Bryant will cry tonight.

The fact that Kobe Bryant was accused of rape should absolutely be brought up when talking about him, but it should not be spoken about in vague terms or swept up in the mythologizing of Bryant as a player. Kobe Bryant was once accused of raping a 19-year-old woman in a Colorado hotel room. The criminal case was dropped after the accuser refused to testify. Bryant eventually settled a civil suit with her. None of this has anything to do with basketball.