Sunday, October 30, 2005

From the LA Times

VOTE on Nov 8, kiddies. I mean it!
CodePink supports the World Can't Wait. Events will be held nationwide on November 2, including one at 11:30 at Horton Plaza in downtown San Diego.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Originally uploaded by tface1000.
Here's a crowd photo from the September march in DC.

Actually, I'm just playing with Flickr and wanted to test posting a photo. It's a very nice photo, isn't it? I'm right behind the big pink peace sign.

Friday, October 28, 2005

It's not about getting the oil. It's about controlling the oil. Donchaknow?

Greg Palast

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Honey, I'm home.

Actually, I've been home for a few days. I went to see family in Oregon and Idaho, and it was reeeeelllllaaaaxxxxxxing. I needed that.

Today C and I were guest speakers in a grad level, women's studies class. We talked about CodePink and activism in general. I think we did a good job, and it was fun. They asked a lot of questions, so I'm taking that as a good sign.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Hi there.

For a variety of reasons, Code Pink SD will be meeting at Balboa Park on the first Sunday of the month rather than on the first and third. Between a variety of other upcoming events, the fast approaching holidays, some vacation time, upcoming surgery and a little teeny bit of exhaustion we're scaling back on the vigil/rally thang. We might go back to it after the first of the year, depending on circumstances.

Plus, the point of the vigil was to bring attention to a war that people seemed to be ignoring, but I don't think people are ignoring it so much anymore. Maybe we can now spend more of our time and energy doing something different. It's under discussion.

Week after next C and I will be speaking to a class at SDSU, we're tentatively scheduled to do a voter registration/information table at the SD Indy Music Festival in November, we're planning a book event with Jody Evans, and we have a few other things we're mulling over.

We're not gone....just re-directing a bit.

I'll be out of town for the next week so don't hold your breath for any posts here for the next several days. I'd hate to see you turn blue.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

From the WA Post
A Senate Republican source burst out laughing when told of Robertson's threat on the Miers nomination. "I don't know anybody on the Hill who's going to quake in their boots when Pat Robertson issues some sort of a threat or a decree," said the source, who requested anonymity to protect his boss.
Har. Sounds like he DOES know someone on the Hill who quakes in their boots at Robertson's threats.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

I just read this article in the Washington Post about Chaplain James Yee, and I'm speechless.
Thich Nhat Hanh leads 3,000 in silent LA march

I was really glad I decided to be there. I'd considered going when I first heard about it weeks ago, but then didn't make any plans. A few days ago I asked C if she was interested and she gave a resounding YES! and then sent an email to our group about it. So four of us loaded into her Kia early yesterday morning and headed up to LA.

McArthur Park is located just north of the downtown high rise buildings in a largely Latin American neighborhood. The famed Olvera Street, Koreatown and Filipinotown are all in the vicinity. We found street parking a few blocks from the park, and were joined by another LA friend in the park. A lot of LA CodePink women showed up too, but they were way over on the other side of the crowd (we're easy to pick out in a large group) so we just stayed put for the first part of the program. We sat for about 15 minutes for a guided meditation, a Buddhist nun taught us a song, the monks from Plum Village and Deer Park sang and chanted, and then Thich Nhat Hanh spoke about finding peace in one's own self in order to spread peace throughout the world. Then we all stood and followed him in a silent walking meditation through the park and surrounding streets. It was both gentle and very powerful, and at the moment, I'm not sure of how to describe the energy there that day. Normally music blares from the shops, but even that was quieted while we walked, and we could hear our feet hitting the ground and the bird songs you seldom hear in the heart of a city. I could smell the sage burning from somewhere near the front of the crowd.

The article says there were counter protestors, but I didn't see them. Frankly, I really don't get how anyone can protest what Nhat Hanh offers to the world. That's sad. Anyway, after the walk the crowd sat silently in the park and ate their picnic lunch. Silence at mealtime is typical, so one can eat mindfully (hmmm....I should do a little more of that).

We didn't bring a lunch since we didn't know about the lunch part ahead of time, but we gathered with the other pinksters outside the edge of the group who were sitting to enjoy their food, and we chatted and took some pictures. Jody Evans was there. So was Cindy Sheehan. We ran into Lynn Gonzales from SD too.

I'm very glad we went. It was truly a special day, where we were able to reflect with our friends and ourselves, on the nature of peace.

edit- photos from the walk
I was wondering who the senators were that voted last week that there should be no guidelines given to the military about interrogation and torture, in order not to "tie the president's hands" in the war on terror. Finally ran across the names while reading the news today.

Wayne Allard, Colorado

Kit Bond, Missouri

Tom Coburn, Oklahoma

Thad Cochran, Mississippi

John Cornyn, Texas

James Inhofe, Oklahoma

Pat Roberts, Kansas

Jeff Sessions, Alabama

Ted Stevens, Alaska

Now it'll move on to the House....

Friday, October 07, 2005

plans for tomorrow....
Here's another article about the march by Miriam Raftery.
It was published in the East County Californian, but they don't have
an online edition, so Miriam gave her permission to post the whole thing here.

Miriam traveled along with the SD contingent.

October 6th, 2005
East County Californian


By Miriam Raftery

At least 135 San Diego County residents, including
many from East County, joined a crowd of more than
300,000 peace activists in Washington D.C. on
September 24th to participate in the largest peace march
and rally since the Viet Nam War. The march was part
of a three-day session of peace-related activities,
including rallies, training sessions for activists,
and legislative lobbying on Capitol Hill.

"The direction our country is going in is scary,"
said Lakeside resident Dawn Laeske, a single
mother of two children. "That is why I am here."
Fernando de Solar of Escondido, carried a sign with his son's
name and photo. "He was my only son," said Solar.

Lance Corporal Jesus A. Suarez de Solar was the
fifth American soldier killed in the Iraq War. Since
then, more than 1,950 other U.S. soldiers have died
and over 16,000 have been seriously wounded. Solar
marched with a contingent of 600 to 700 members of
Military Families Speak Out, including 100 military
family members from San Diego County.

Since his son's death, Solar has founded the
Guerrero Azteca project, an organization dedicated to
preventing more young people from dying in the war.
"We are going to see our Congressional lobby," he said when
asked of his plans for the remainder of his stay
in Washington. "We are going to make a petition
to stop recruitment in high schools, end the
occupation and bring our troops home now." Solar, who
has traveled to Iraq, plans a return trip to
bring medicine for Iraqi children.

Marchers came from all across America and
reflected all ages, ethnic, racial and economic
backgrounds. A group of Hurricane Katrina survivors
and supporters participated in the march and in a
rally at the ellipse in front of the White House.
Many faulted the Bush administration
for spending vast sums to fund the Iraq War while
refusing to fund levee repairs or provide help for the poor.

"From Iraq to New Orleans, we see devastation going
on," George Martin, co-chair of United for Peace and Justice
Coalition, a cosponsor of the march, told the crowd.
"We want our money from Iraq to support the people
of New Orleans."

Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney (D-Georgia) told the
crowd, "A cruel wind blows across America." She
accused the Bush administration of "criminal incompetence
in protecting our security," noting that the Iraq War
was started "on deliberately falsified evidence.As bodies
lay in the New Orleans Superdome, military recruiters were
in the Houston Astrodome to reap the harvest."

But she added, "It doesn't have to be this way. The
people united can stop this war of injustice
and indifference." The crowd chanted, "Impeach Bush!" Nearby,
San Diego County resident Judy Hess volunteered at
the Impeach Bush booth, collecting signatures on an
impeachment petition. "Most of the people I
encountered wanted to sign up," she said in an
e-mail sent to members of the Eastlake Bonita Democratic
Club. "The most impressive sight I saw was the little
old lady pushing her wheelchair. Her volunteer materials lay
on the seat of her chair as she moved about to
collect signatures. It was humbling. People began
arriving, first in a dribble, then in streams,
finally in torrents."

Rev. Jesse Jackson introduced Cindy Sheehan,
likening her to civil rights activist Rosa Parks.
"It's a long road," he told the crowd, "but
keep on marching!" Sheehan, mother of slain
soldier Casey Sheehan, energized the crowd when
she took the stage. Her month-long vigil
outside President Bush's ranch in Crawford,
Texas, has focused national attention on the
growing anti-war movement.

"You're part of history," Sheehan told supporters,
then urged that the Bush administration be held
accountable for its actions. "We're going to Congress,"
she revealed, "and we're going to ask `How
many of other people's children are you going to sacrifice?"

Aproximately 100 pro-war counter-protesters
participated in the march. "The majority of these
people are anarchists and Maoists," said
Kevin, a member of Protest Warriors who declined
to give his last name. "They are taking the side of
terrorism, not democracy."

Pro-war protesters were dwarfed in number by the
massive crowd voicing anti-war sentiments. The
march continued for nearly five hours, with people
joining in late due to a shut-down of trains in the Northeast
and problems with a metro line.

People like Francine (who asked that her last name
not be published), the wife of a National Guardsman
called back to active duty under the stop-loss
provision. Or Douglas Drake of New York City, who carried
a sign reading "Bring my niece home now."

"She was just out of high school," Drake said,
adding that his niece was told she would receive
special training. "The recruiters promised her
a $35,000 scholarship..They said she would never
be deployed to the combat zone. A week later,
she was shipped off to Iraq."

Nathan Ivy, a student forced to evacuate from
Tulane University in New Orleans, joined in the march
along with his father, Ron. "Now the University is gone,"
he said.

Ron Ivy noted that the Viet Nam anti-war
movement began with a small gathering outside
President Lyndon B. Johnson's ranch in Texas. "That's
what Cindy is doing," is said of Sheehan. Glancing
around at the massing crowd of anti-war activists,
he expressed hope that public pressure may
compel the administration to end the Iraq War as well.
"I think this is the beginning of the end."

Hundreds of thousands assembled after the
march to hear a concert at the Washington monument.
Shortly before taking the stage, Joan Baez spoke with the
East County Californian. "Cynthia Sheehan has freed people
to follow their instincts," the singer observed.
"Everybody knows this war was wrong."

On Sunday the 25th, some area residents
attended training sessions on political lobbying
and attended sessions led by members of
Congress and nationally-known activists, including
Sheehan. On Monday the 26th, activists had two
options: meet with their Congressional representatives
on Capitol Hill, or participate in a second march
culminating in acts of civil disobedience at the
White House.

Solar and Hess joined a group of 35 San Diego
County residents in lobbying meetings with staff members
of several legislators, including Senators Barbara Boxer
and Diane Feinstein. The group also included physicians,
a labor union activist, and actress Mimi Kennedy of Dharma
and Gregg TV show fame.

"We all had an opportunity to speak," Hess noted in
her e-mail, adding that Feinstein's staffers "got an earful
from us" for her support of the war.

At Senator Boxer's office, Hess recalled, "We strongly
encouraged her in her support of the No Permanent Bases in
Iraq, Get a Timetable to get out of Iraq quickly, and Get
the Recruiters out of our Schools legislation."

Others opted to join a solemn procession of 1,000 to 1,500
peace activists led by Cindy Sheehan and approximately
two dozen clergy members. Each carried
a placard bearing the name of a dead U.S. soldier
or Iraqi. Drumbeats, a tolling bell, and the wail
of sirens created a somber mood as the procession
approached the White House gates. Many in the group
had decided to engage in civil disobedience,
a tactic that has been used to draw attention to the
civil rights movement and anti-war movements in the past.

"We intend to pray. Pray to stop the war," said
Father Joseph Nangle, a Catholic priest from Washington D.C.
"I intend to be arrested, if they arrest us. We're
pressing the issue because this is so urgent. This is the
wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time."

Sheehan hung flowers bearing her son's name on
the White House gate. Her requests to speak to President
Bush and to deliver the names of fallen soldiers
were refused. Sheehan, joined by supporters from
Camp Casey and other peace activists, sat down and
refused to move. Police arrested 370 people, who were
charged with misdemeanor trespassing.
Most opted to pay a small fine and were released a
few hours later.

Among them was Barbara Cummings, a Spring
Valley grandmother who spent a month at Camp Casey in
Crawford, Texas and later helped Sheehan disperse supplies to
Hurricane Katrina survivors. As busses were
brought to hold the arrested protesters, Cummings
called into an Air America radio show and also spoke
with the East County Californian. Those arrested
continued to press for accountability from the
administration, she revealed. "Now they are chanting,
Where were the busses in New Orleans?'"

Martha Sullivan of Poway was also arrested,
but has no regrets. "I'm very proud,
she said after her release the next morning.
"There were some tearful moments, not because
we were afraid, but because we felt empowered to be
exercising our constitutional rights under the
First Amendment."

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Here's part one (of three) of an article by Miriam Raftery at about the anti-war movement. She connected with the SD group that went to DC, so I know some of these peeples. Barney was on my flights to and from, and Fernando Suarez was in all the same senator and representative meetings as me. We live in the same area. Very cool. A good article too. Thanks, Miriam.

Speaking of the representative meetings, I wanted to touch on that too. When I first told my mom I was going to Capitol Hill to do my own lobbying, her first response was, "don't wear your flip flops. I raised you better than that." Ok mom. I didn't. I wore my pink tennies, but no flip flops.

Our first meeting with in Barbara Boxer's office. We were a few minutes late for the meeting because we got to her office just in the nick of time only to find there was some remodeling going on and not only was she not in that office, she was not in that building. We had to traipse down the hall and down the elevator and through a basement and up some stairs....through three different buildings. Finally we arrived, and quietly slipped into the conference room where the meeting was already in progress. Boxer wasn't there, but there were three staff members in the room who listened to the comments and requests of the group. They were fairly non-commital about anything new, but Boxer is pretty well on board with the issues anyway so it was nice to just be able to be able to reinterate our points and thank her.

The meeting in Feinstein's office was soon after, and there were quite a lot of people there. Probably close to 40-50 people and we weren't the only contingent that day. Most of the group were from Progressive Democrats of America and Physician's for Social Responsibility. Mimi Kennedy was there, and so was Fernando Suarez. The PDA and PSR folks were well prepared, and presented the information very well. I was pleased to be a part of that group, even though I didn't get to speak. I certainly had no problem with standing with these folks. Feinstein didn't come to the meeting, though someone said they saw here in the office. Her staff members were somewhat defensive. Polite, but chilly. It probably would have served him better to just listen, and stick with his "I can't speak for her" story but he said things like, "you elected her to use her good judgement and that is not always the same as the will of the people", which is true, but the wrong sentiment for the moment. That said, he took lots of notes and said he'd share it all with her. Though I suppose that doesn't mean much if it's in conflict with her "good judgement". They committed to nothing. It was a downer, dudes.

So I went to the National Gallery and the Hirshorn for a few hours, and came back (refreshed? no, not really) for a 5:30 meeting with my congresswoman. We were a smaller group of seven and we met with Susan Davis in her office. Hey, after the meetings with the senators, I was pretty damn impressed that she showed up and we got to sit in her office, so she got brownie points from the start. She was a better listener than the Feinstein aide too, and while she didn't commit to supporting any of the legislation we proposed, she asked good questions and seemed genuinely interested and cared about our personal stories. She also was supportive about our concerns with regard to military recruiting, and the health and well being of the soldiers, etc as they return home. Speaking with Rep Davis was a much better experience than what we had in the senator's office.

Speaking of Fernando Suarez, he's great. He's awesome, in fact. One of the people that went into Davis's office with us was a filmmaker who's making a documentary on the anti-war movement in general and the events in Washington in particular. He followed Mr Suarez around all day and filmed the meetings. I might be in a movie with my pink tennies and my ponytail; for pete's sake...why didn't someone tell me beforehand! ?

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

from William Rivers Pitt at TruthOut:

One Plame-oriented bombshell exploded on Sunday across the desk of the ABC news talk show "This Week," when host George Stephanopoulos said, "I wonder, George Will, do you think it's a manageable one for the White House especially if we don't know whether Fitzgerald is going to write a report or have indictments, but if he is able to show, as a source close to this told me this week, that President Bush and Vice President Cheney were actually involved in some of these discussions."

I wonder, George Will, what your Pucker Factor was when Stephanopoulos mentioned having a source that says the President and Vice President were involved in the conspiracy. Put it at an eight, and have that seat cushion repaired.

Yes, that's a crude way to put it, but I laughed anyway.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

We had plans to go to the Operation Ceasefire concert and the Peace and Justice Festival on the National Mall after the march, but we were EXHAUSTED. I got a bottle of water from the Camp Casey tent because I thought I was gonna expire from dehydration. Thanks for that! I don't think I could live on the east coast. The humidity would get to me.

C and I found a hot dog stand and grabbed at bite and a soda and sat on the grass to decide what to do. We quickly decided we were beat and need to grab some real dinner and go back to the hotel.

On Sunday I went to the Green Festival at the DC Convention Center. I'm so glad I decided to do that (even though I should have gone to lobbyist training) because it was interesting and fun! I wandering amongst the booths where they were selling fair trade goods, yummy food, environmentally sustainable products, and a host of other green goods and services. They also had some great speakers. I saw Amy Goodman, Greg Palast, Eleanor Smeal, and attended the CodePink "happening". The happening really was just that. It was a mix of politics, poetry, music and fun. The speakers included Cindy Sheehan, Anne Wright, and Dolores Huerta. Rants provided by Rha Goddess and the women of We Got Issues.
Saturday the 24th was the march and rally. C and I met with CodePink, NOW and Feminist Majority in a plaza at 14th and Independence where we set up a stage, blew up balloons and got our pink gear on. Everyone milled around for a bit and took pictures, but before we knew it, it was time to get moving. The CP women (Medea, Gael, Jody, etc) talked about the events, and we went through some of the songs and chants for the march. There were several other speakers including Camilo Mejeda, Cindy Sheehan, Rep. Lynn Woolsey, and Margot Kidder. After they were done, Joan Baez came forward and sang several songs for us. That was great. Seeing and hearing her up close like that was fabu....she's beautiful of those people who just gets better with age.

Then we were OFF to the march....

so we thought....

Actually we were off to stand it the street for a bit. Between the fact that the main rally was still going on, and that there were so many people there feeding into the march, we stood there for three hours before we moved. We certainly moved amongst ourselves though. It was interesting to look around and see al the different groups in attendance and to read their signs. People were young and old, black and white, and everything inbetween. Some of the signs were a play on words from the Vietnam war (make levees, not war!). Some were funny. Others were hopeful. In that last photo you can see a segement of the string made by UPJ with photos of all the Americans that have died in this war. It was a very powerful visual because it was just so freaking took forever to pass through the crowd. We listened (and laughed) as the Raging Grannies serenaded us. (buddhist monks to the left of us and raging grannies to the right....I was in good company.) It was a great opportunity to talk to others who'd made this same trip to speak out for peace and and to oppose the administration's foreign policy. Many stopped to ask about CodePink. It was tiring standing around like that, but finally we marched through the streets of Washington. The route was 1.4 miles, but it took us hours to snake through the streets where we sang and shouted and chanted.

More later....

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Ha! See the the pink balloon in the middle of this photo? That little girl was staring at the balloon I had tied to my belt loop, and her dad asked me where he could get one for her. We'd blown them up before the rally, and there were no more so I asked if she wanted mine, and of course, she did. So we ripped it off my belt loop and tied it to her wrist. Now there she is again. :-)
I'm just going to do a series of entries here about my trip to DC. I don't seem to be able to manage the time to sit and write a chronicle of events.

I spent most of Thursday traveling and getting settled in. I stayed at a hotel in Arlington, VA which wasn't too far from the Rosslyn Metro station. It was less expensive out there than it would have been right in DC, but the metro made it close enough. The public transportation took a little getting used to, but after a couple wrong turns and a few missed stations, I'd pretty much figured out how to get everywhere I needed to go. Not a bad system, and there was only one suspicious-package-in-the-station alert. Unfortunately, I was on a train in the tunnel when we got that alert and we had to stop and sit there for a short stretch of time. It didn't scare me, but it was an awfully creepy feeling. Everyone got very quiet except for one woman who was babbling away in a very loud voice, only to realize after several long minutes that we'd stopped. Of course she'd missed the announcement that everyone else had heard, and had no idea why we were sitting there. I immediately decided she wasn't the one I'd want to be sitting next to if there were some kind of disaster.

I used the free time to wander around DC a bit. I met four other people from San Diego for dinner Thursday evening, and then was on my own until Candace arrived with her sister on Friday afternoon. Friday morning I ventured out to explore the city and I made my way to the National Mall. (overheard: why do they call it the National MALL. You can't BUY anything here.) My first stop was the Veterans for Peace "Camp Casey" tent that was set up near the Washington Monument. They had the memorial crosses placed in the ground outside the tent, and another area with the boots of some who've been killed in this bloody war. There were several reporters there and the group was just setting up their camp, so I wandered around the tent a bit and looked at the photos, and teared up a bit, but was soon on my way down the mall.

I spent the rest of the morning visiting the Lincoln Memorial, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, and Arlington Cemetery. I'd done a complete circle from Arlington to Arlington.

After C and her sis arrived we went to the FDR memorial which is great. Probably my's so well done. Large granite blocks, waterfalls and pools of water and greenery. His words are etched into the blocks. There are several statues on the premises...two of FDR, one of Eleanor, another of men waiting in a soup line. I think it's a beautiful memorial.
I saw this truck in DC. I understand the driver is following Grover Norquist's schedule and parking it outside where ever he happens to be. I like it.