Wally Wonders Why

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Sanctuary City?

jail1On Monday the City of Bellingham is hosting a public forum on the idea of designating Bellingham as a GI Sanctuary City. That is, they are asking that the COB pass an ordinance instructing Bellingham Police not to act on federal warrants for AWOL/Deserter members of our military. The first question that comes to mind is, should we as members of a participatory nation pick and choose which national rules we follow which we don’t? When and when not to participate? I don’t think we get to call ourselves part of this nation without a commitment to follow the rules set forth by the people of this nation. But I’ve asked these question of myself and the Bellingham City Council in the past and the COB still passed the Troops Home and No War with Iran resolutions. So asking the Bellingham City Council whether something is fundamentally wrong with the sanctuary city idea is kind of irrelevant; they don’t roll that way.

A quick parallel tangent; a few years ago Rep. Tancredo from Colorado convinced the House to amend Department of Homeland Security funding bill to withhold federal emergency services funding from cities that designate themselves as “sanctuary cities” for illegal aliens. Should we be asked to give up some of the rights and privileges of living in this nation when we refuse to acknowledge our responsibilities?

So right or wrong should definitely be part of the discussion, but in reality it seems to be irrelevant to the Bellingham City Council which leaves just with the question of whether or not they will eventually designate Bellingham as a sanctuary city for AWOL/deserters.

In early May, Sam Taylor ran a blog post about this upcoming news item. In his post he called the movement on their claim that the City Council was not going to address the sanctuary city issue because of budget issues.

That’s really not the only reason, not at all. In fact, I think only one City Council member, Jack Weiss, has said that about the issue. Other council members – a majority – have said they simply don’t support the idea of a Sanctuary City and they think it’d be going too far to not actively help out state and federal officials.

Terry Bornemann said he was supportive of the concept, but he – the main council supporter between the Troops Home! and Anti-Iran-War resolutions brought to him by the Whatcom Peace & Justice Center – won’t sponsor this one.

Herald blog 5/11/09

So it sounds like they don’t really have the support and the whole thing will just die… right?

Well no, it won’t. It won’t because the passionate supporters at Whatcom Peace and Justice Center won’t let it and in Mr. Bornemann, they have a tool on the council.  I feel his “supportive of the concept” and “won’t sponsor this one” are disingenuous to say the least. Only a week later he was a bit more frank with the Western Front.

He said he agrees with the ordinance and that it should not be the responsibility of the local police.

“I don’t know if it’s something we need to spend our resources on,” Bornemann said

Western Front, 5/19/09

Is there a difference between supporting a concept and agreeing with a specific ordinance put forth? You betcha there is. The difference is a plan, a plan on how to fold a concept into the reality that you agree with.  But I’m sure there isn’t a plan in play as  Councilman Bornemann seems to have been pretty clear that he won’t sponsor this one and we don’t need to spend our resources on this.  He even repeated it again only a few days ago.

City Councilman Terry Bornemann, who was the main sponsor for previous anti-war resolutions, said he has no intention of offering up a resolution for a council vote.

Bornemann said that the council has a role in facilitating discussions on issues, and that the sanctuary city idea, along with debate about the Iraq War, has been “volatile” in the community. Herald article, 6/4/09

See it again?

“no intention of offering up a resolution for a council vote.”

Gosh, no matter how many times he states this, I just can’t seem to believe it to be the truth. Perhaps I’m just a distrusting person, or perhaps it just doesn’t make sense to hold a public forum on an issue that has no support on the council, not even from Mr. Bornemann who agrees with the whole idea. So what’s with the whole public forum thing? To answer that you have only to look at these two bits of information

First bit:

Council member Terry Bornemann, sponsor of the troops home resolution and co-sponsor of the no war on Iran resolution, said he is willing to support the sanctuary ordinance, but the campaign needs to secure three other votes before it is brought before the council.

“I feel that if there is significant support then I will bring it forward to the council,” Bornemann said. “But the council needs to be convinced from the sanctuary movement, not just from me.” Western Front, 2/10/09

Second bit:

Terry Bornemann reported that he met with members of the GI Sanctuary City Movement and asked the Council how they felt about sponsoring a public meeting to discuss the issues. Barbara Ryan agreed with the idea of holding a public meeting but did felt that Council members should not lead the meeting or consider passing an ordinance at this meeting. COB minutes 5/18/09

The people of Bellingham are being worked. We are having this public forum because Terry Bornemann is executing a plan to change a concept he agrees with into a reality that the people of Bellingham have to live with. We aren’t having the discussion to enlighten the community, we are having it so that Mr. Bornmann and Nick Spring of GI Sanctuary City can flip a vote on the council.

Spring said the proposal has support from council members Jack Weiss, Terry Bornemann, and Barbara Ryan; Gene Knutson, Barry Buchanan and Louise Bjornson are considering it; and Stan Snapp is the only council member who has spoken against it. Western Front, 2/10/09

This discussion is not intended to enlighten the community, it is intended to get either Gene Knutson, Barry Buchanan or Louise Bjornson off the considering fence and onto the side of support. Again, the people of Bellingham are being worked and I for one am glad that people such as the Whatcom GOP led by Luanne Van Werven are presenting a reality check for the City of Bellingham.

A local peace activist organization is being allowed the venue of city property on Monday, June 8, to persuade Bellingham City Council members to pass an ordinance that would turn Bellingham into a haven for military deserters. If such an ordinance were passed, it would require law enforcement personnel to ignore federal warrants for extraditing deserters back to the military branch from which they are hiding.

Luanne Van Werven, Chair of Whatcom Republicans spoke against a sanctuary city ordinance, “It is disgraceful for Bellingham City Council members to consider providing special protection to those who have violated the military code of conduct. Supporting “sanctuary city” status would be an affront our current troops and past veterans.” Luanne Van Werven, WhatcomGOP

**  Also look for Luanne to be debating the issue on Fox and Friends at 5:45 AM on Monday morning and as a guest on 97.3 KIRO’s Dori Monson radio talk show on Monday at 1:00 PM.  **

I was at that GOP meeting when their resolution was passed and this issue is not one that local Republicans are on the fence about. And from reading the numerous comments on the Herald article, I’d have to say that the GOP is not going it alone on this one.  The repulsiveness of the sanctuary city concept crosses all party lines.  I’m sure Monday’s public forum will be a sight for sure. According the Bellingham Herald story the meeting is 7 p.m. Monday, June 8, at the Municipal Court building, 2014 C St.

Will public opposition and outcry at that meeting and in the news be enough to stop Terry Borneman, GI Sanctuary City and the Whatcom Peace and Justice Center from turning a part of Whatcom County into a safe haven for deserters? For sure there is going to be a more vocal push back for this issue than there was for the ill conceived Troops Home Resolution. Perhaps that will be enough.

Perhaps a yet unspoken wild card will have to call suit and change the face of the game.

Has anyone besides myself noticed a curious jumbling of the words ordinance and resolution? Like when TB said both that he had “no intention of offering up a resolution for a council vote” yet another time said he is “willing to support the sanctuary ordinance.” And did anyone notice that Barbara Ryan, noted as a supporter by Nick Spring and who seconded the idea for the meeting, said that “Council members should not lead the meeting or consider passing an ordinance at this meeting.” I liked the subtle differences in how they are presented to the reader, and I especially liked the way Barbara Ryan included “at this meeting” in her comment. Makes you wonder if they already have the other meeting scheduled, you know the meeting where they do pass the ordinance.

… Oh, yes the wild card… Dan Pike, mayor of Bellingham. He is the wild card because a city ordinance is quite different from a city council resolution. The Bellingham City Council can pass resolutions day in and day out, about countless meaningless things. There is no actionable item in a resolution. We resolve to not like the president! We resolve to appreciate ugly art! We resolve to not like potholes! However to get a city employee to either repair or not repair a pothole, you need an ordinance. The GI Santuary City Petition clearly reads that they are seeking an ordinance. And because an ordinance directs city resources the mayor gets to take a swing.

Every ordinance which passes the Council in order to become valid must be presented to the Mayor; if the Mayor approves it, the Mayor shall sign it and the ordinance shall become valid; but if not, the Mayor shall return it with written objections to the Council, and the Council shall cause the objections to be entered at large upon the journal and proceed to a reconsideration thereof.

If upon reconsideration, a majority plus one of the whole membership, voting upon a call of ayes and nays, favor its passage, the ordinance shall become valid notwithstanding the Mayor’s veto. If the Mayor fails for 10 days to either sign or veto an ordinance, it shall become valid notwithstanding the Mayor’s veto. The Mayor’s veto with respect to budget measures shall extend to specific items only, and not to the whole budget.

3.04 Ordinances–Regular

It will be quite interesting to hear where Mayor Pike stands on designating his city a safe haven for deserters.  If he is against an ordinance then Mr. Bornemann will have his work cut out for him corralling a majority plus one on his embarrassing side of the fence. On the other hand, if Mayor Pike is for an ordinance then an ordinance is what they will have.  However, he will also most probably loose so much public support that I don’t think he will risk coming out in support of an ordinance, even if that is the way he feels.  I don’t even believe that him settling on a wishy washy no teeth resolution will save him on the public support issue.

Here’s my bottom line.

I stand in opposition to either an ordinance or a resolution because I have respect and gratitude for the people who have served as well as those who still are serving our nation.  I stand in opposition to either an ordinance or a resolution because I feel it weakens the very heart of our nation when people (and cities) quit participating in our great nation, but rather opt out when a particular law doesn’t suit them.   That’s where I stand.

If you have a stand on this issue then let it be known to the Bellingham City Council and the Mayor.   And show up at the meeting, 7 p.m. Monday, June 8, at the Municipal Court building, 2014 C St.

And would someone ask the Mayor what his thoughts are on designating his city a safe haven for deserters?

All hail Paul Harvey

ode Hold on there; Paul Harvey didn’t get elected so why the hail?  Well why not?  He is the king; the king of looking for the rest of the story.  And darn it where would we be if we’d never heard that melodious phrase “and now here’s the rest of the story.”

When I pick up our paper, It would be helpful if there were  a little Paul Harvey running around the pages shouting out the rest of the story.  Thankfully there is no little gnome, as that would actually be scary, but neither is there, on many occasions,  the “rest of the story.”

Such was the case reading Local Iraq veterans discuss life after war in this mornings paper.  As the title indicates, the article covers a forum at WWU where Iraq veterans discuss life after war.

The veterans, English, Rick Lawson, Ash Woolson and Jared Gardner, discussed difficulties they face in receiving benefits from their service from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs or, for some, overcoming post traumatic stress disorder.

Doris Kent, whose son, Jonathan Santos, died in Iraq, and Tiffany Schoessler, whose husband, Adam, is a veteran, discussed what is was like to go through life with a loved one serving in a combat zone.

Listening to those who have served is an invaluable experience and I almost feel it a duty for those of us who haven’t served in the military.  I’ve listened to many a relative’s story of WWII or Vietnam and only on occasion heard the troubling rest of the story.  I’d encourage people to listen intently to anyone who has or is serving; there always seems to be more to a story.

The story of this article is no different; there is a rest of the story.  And as the rest of the story unfolds, I should remind you that nothing past this point was available to the thousands of subscribers who only read the regular paper.

Sam Taylor had more of the story in a blog post which he describes as information coming from a group connected with the Whatcom Peace and Justice Center (WPJC).

Join a discussion with local veterans and those directly affected by the Iraq war, as they share stories of what it means to return after war time. The community is invited to an unbiased, depoliticized discussion around issues of what it means to be a returning soldier in the U.S., current V.A. treatment, and readjusting to civilian lives. This event is co-sponsored by Bellingham GI Sanctuary city, Social Issues Resource Center, Veterans Outreach Center, and Civil Controversy Series.

More towards the rest of the story, Sam has included the list of sponsors when he passed on the WPJC information for the event.  However, the real rest of the story lies deeper than just naming the sponsors.  The first sponsor is a likely candidate to look at for the rest of the story because, also in Sam’s blog post was information about a fundraiser for the group.

Join the Bellingham GI Sanctuary city campaign as we celebrate an evening to benefit war resisters in Bellingham. “The Desserter” is a gathering, party, dessert music show to support the campaign to make Bellingham a Sanctuary city for war resisters. Join us for an evening of celebration and conversation.

So the “unbiased, depoliticized discussion” the paper subscribers read about was actually sponsored by a group who wishes “to make Bellingham a Sanctuary city for war resisters” or as the WPJC referred to it in their newsletter, “support the campaign to make Bellingham a war resister friendly community.”

Here’s what the group says about themselves at GI Sanctuary City, Bellingham, WA.

The people of Bellingham are calling for an ordinance that will provide legal sanctuary for member s of the military who exercise their duty to object to an illegal war. To that end, we hope to have grassroots community effort to urge City Council to pass resolutions to not waste public funds on the arrest or detention of service members who are absent without leave.

Really?  The people of Bellingham are calling for this ordinance?  You’d think that’d be in the paper if it were the case.  So really, the supposedly innocuous “unbiased, depoliticized discussion” veils the rests of the story, which is the campaign by a few in Bellingham to see the city become a haven for AWOL soldiers.  And not just a place to gather covertly as it is right now, but they are asking Bellingham to ignore laws and not arrest or detain service members who are absent without leave.

Now you know the rest of the story, but what about the paper reading portion of the public?  Why did the Herald keep the rest of the story from them?   When will we hear the rest of the story?

Growing anti-US campaign that is a threat

Agustín Aguayo is the latest in what seems like an endless line of deserters, AWOL soldiers and anti-US veterans that the Whatcom Peace and Justice Center is pumping up as heroes.

WPJC hosts Iraq War Veteran & Resister Agustin Aguayo on Sunday, July 15, at 7pm at the Whatcom Peace & Justice Center. – WPJC

And it’s not that the WPJC is a big threat to our nation in themselves, but they are part of an ever growing anti-US campaign that is a threat.

Two years later, after his application for discharge as a conscientious objector was denied by the Pentagon, Army Spc. Agustín Aguayo went AWOL in order to resist redeploying to Iraq. He will explain why he chose jail instead of redeploying to Iraq. Agustín will be joined by his wife, Helga, who led a grassroots campaign for justice and freedom for him and all military war resisters. -courage to resist

Bellingham and the WPJC arejust another stop in a big talkshow circuit for aimed at tearing down our national defense and specifically this administration who lucky for us, is bent on our national defense. Here is a list of the others on the circuit. I’m sure a few names will be familiar.

Eli Israel
Eugene Cherry
Kyle Snyder
Suzanne Swift
Mark Wilkerson
Lt. Ehren Watada
Agustin Aguayo
Darrell Anderson
Ivan Brobeck
Ricky Clousing
Kevin Benderman

courage to resist

The actions and sentiment of these people and the groups which they allow to represent them are directly against the goals of our elected government. When I see the WPJC and their local associates standing on the street corner I see heroes for those who wish us harm; heroes for those who wish destruction of our nation. I don’t see American heroes. They certainly are not my heroes.

What else were the kids up to down at the college?

And this time I’m not talking about the students. It’s probably fresh in everyones mind that the State Democrats met recently and decided follow caucus results not primaries, but is it as fresh in your mind that in the same meeting they also passed a resolution promoting desertion in the military? If you’re like me it couldn’t be fresh because you never heard about it. Thanks to WhackyNation I now have the rest of the story and you do too.

BELLINGHAM – Leaders of the state Democratic Party voted overwhelmingly Saturday to support Lt. Ehren Watada, the Fort Lewis officer who refused orders to serve in Iraq.

“We support and commend Lt. Ehren Watada for his courage, moral leadership, and commitment to duty demonstrated by his act of resistance to the continued costly, destructive and immoral U.S. military occupation of Iraq,” the resolution said.

Watada is awaiting a court-martial in July. The central committee’s resolution calls on Washington Democrats in Congress to help him.

The News Tribune

Glorifying deserters, legalizing drugs, releasing felons, erasing borders; it continues to be beyond my comprehension why anyone thinks Democratic Party ideals are good for our county, state or our nation.

Oh there was at least one ray of hope in Mike Carnahan, a Democratic Central Committee member from Clark County who spoke against the Watada resolution.

It’s an all-volunteer military, he said. “I find it offensive as, a veteran, to have him doing what he’s doing”

tear it down!!!

Sent: Wednesday, March 14, 2007 4:03:43 PM
Subject: [studentsforademocraticsocietybellingham] Free EVENT Update on Tacoma Port Protest: Police State-attacking your human rightsNo Troop Surge!Last Friday 6 WWU/fairhaven students went down to the Tacoma Port to Protest the shipments of the war machines to Iraq. Police opened fire on peaceful protestors with tear gas, rubber bullets, pepper bullets, pepper spray, batons, tasers, etc.Tomorrow.Thursday March 15. 5pm in the Fairhaven Auditorium Students will be presenting their experiences at the Tacoma Port Protest. With Video Footage/ Pictures/ personal accounts
Come listen to their first hand experience of the violent police state.

tear it down!!!!!
and then rebuild it!

I guess I ran into this too late for any of us to attend, but I’m sure if we contact the Students for a Democratic Society they would put us on the mailing list for their next big event. We can still catch the video on Youtube.

“tear it down!!!” Forget voting, talking, equal say, supporting your reps. True democracy has to involve law breaking and tearing down our nation.

I jest of course. True democracy is where you peacefully voice your position and vote for reps who you feel will best represent your position. True democracy is about accepting when your position is in the minority and working peacefully to influence others in hopes that your position will someday be the majority. And if you can do that without tearing anything down then our society is strengthened. Democracy demands that we make the laws to be followed and follow the laws we make. Following the laws that suit you and breaking the laws that don’t is most commonly called anarchy.

23 people were arrested after peacefully crossing a barricade or wearing backpacks in an area where police had prohibited bags “This time we were successful in keeping Strykers from shipping out from the Olympia port, and were able to draw a lot of national and international attention

when police arrested five people for refusing orders to move off railroad tracks.

arrested two men and a woman early Monday, arrested another woman late Monday after she crossed a line on Milwaukee Way that police had designated as a boundary.

police arrested dozens and used pepper spray to stop people from climbing fences into port property.

When they refused, a chemical spray was released, Graham said. All but five protestors disbursed. The five who remained again refused to leave and were taken into custody

various stories in Tacoma News Tribune

Quite a list of accomplishments. For the police I mean. They seem to have arrested quite a few protesters. It would be nice to kid ourselves and think that these otherwise peaceful protesters just got caught up in the moment and things got out of hand, but those who wish to “tear it down!!!” have been planning.

“Port Militarization Resistance is organized to end our community’s complicity in the illegal occupation of Iraq by stopping the U.S. Military’s use of the Port of Olympia.”

PMR statement of purpose — 1/21/2007

I agree that forming ourselves into blockades is our best civil disobedience (CD) option for stopping the convoys.
I believe that the Olympia peace movement is now ripe for mass actions of civil disobedience.

Just as soldiers have a responsibility to disobey unlawful orders, civilians also have a duty to refuse to cooperate. WIP

we are doing the best that we can but we need more help and more radical input. Infoshop news

At the end of yesterdays post I made a snide comment about sending AWOL soldiers to the Middle East without guns so they could peacefully get their message out without fear of harming anyone. I will extend that comment to include these students and other protesters. After all they’ve been trying to support our soldiers by blocking shipments of equipment. Essentially leaving our soldiers to arrive with only the clothes on their back to defend themselves.

Among the vehicles to be shipped are more than 300 Strykers, each outfitted with slat armor that protects them from rocket-propelled grenades. But the metal cages make the Strykers about four feet wider and add some 5,200 pounds.

Quite ironic that these safer vehicles were bigger and had to be shipped through the port is what gave the protesters their opportunities to support our soldiers in their own unique, I don’t care if you die, kind of way.

Oh, and we wonder about the Bellingham City Council?

An Olympia City council member is among about two dozen anti-war demonstrators who have been arrested in anti-war protests at the Port of Tacoma. Council member T.J. Johnson was arrested Sunday afternoon while protesting the shipment of Army vehicles and equipment to Iraq. Johnson was among 15 others who were arrested for crossing a barricade. infoshop

Now You See It… No You Don’t.

Good news can sometimes be both fleeting and difficult to find. Today the paper Herald had a front page AP story which spoke about improvements in Iraq during the last months due to a US led security crackdown. The successes were in line with the claims of Iraqi Dr. Abd Al-Khaleg Hussein that I quoted last week in my post Success is Imminent. We get the paper at work, so I thought I would read the article more carefully when I got home. But at home I read the online Herald and the article by Robert H. Reid was nowhere to be found at the Herald site. I wondered why? Perhaps because of an oversight? Perhaps intentional? I don’t know, maybe comment section fear? So now you see the good news if you buy the paper and no you don’t get the good news if you read online. Here are a few highlights:

Bomb deaths have gone down 30 percent in Baghdad since the U.S.-led security crackdown began a month ago. Execution-style slayings are down by nearly half.

The once frequent sound of weapons has been reduced to episodic, and downtown shoppers have returned to outdoor markets – favored targets of car bombers.

There are signs of progress in the campaign to restore order in Iraq, starting with its capital city. But while many Iraqis are encouraged, they remain skeptical how long the relative calm will last.

Only two of the five U.S. brigades earmarked for the mission are in the streets, and the full complement of American reinforcements is not due until late May.

The rattle of automatic weapons fire or the rumble of distant roadside bombs comes less frequently. Traffic is beginning to return to the city’s once vacant streets.

“People are very optimistic because they sense a development. The level of sectarian violence in streets and areas has decreased,” said a 50-year-old Shiite, who gave his name only as Abu Abbas, or “father of Abbas.” “The activities of the militias have also decreased. The car bombs and the suicide attacks are the only things left, while other kinds of violence have decreased.”


A lot of good news and even more in the article. Naturally their were the standard cautions about getting our hopes up, but this was generally a positive story. Too bad this AP story released yesterday was so fleeting. It was the good news that was fleeting, it was the story. I really had to dig to find it. It looks like AP has replaced it today with a shorter and not nearly as optimistic piece.

I still think we need to send at least 21,000 more troops.  But I had this other weird thought.  There are a lot of AWOL soldiers, deserters, resistors, whatever, who seem to strongly believe that guns and violence are not the way to fight a war.  I say we should embrace their philosophy by sending them to the Middle East sans guns,  but with US flags, signs and clipboards of course.

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