Saturday, November 26, 2005


Originally uploaded by tface1000.

Bring Their Buddies Home Vigil

Bring Their Buddies Home Vigil
Originally uploaded by tface1000.
None of these photos give a good sense of the size of the group. Maybe someday I'll figure out how to get hundreds of people in one shot.

BTBH Vigil

BTBH Vigil
Originally uploaded by tface1000.
Another BTBH photo. I would estimate that there were somewhere between 1500 and 2000 people there. I haven't heard any numbers yet, but they should have a good idea since people were signing in and getting a memorial sheet to pin to their shirts. If I find out, I'll post it.

BTBH Vigil

BTBH Vigil
Originally uploaded by tface1000.
Yesterday was the Bring Their Buddies Home vigil in Carlsbad, so here are a couple photos I took.

Friday, November 18, 2005

I just put a link to Jeeni Cricenzo's blog CPR4Democracy in my blog roll.

She's running for Congress in the north county, and since she's an anti-war candidate running against Darrell Issa, I'm interested in her campaign, and look forward to learning more about her. We've met, but I don't know her well nor do I know all her positions on the issues. Right now there's not a lot about her views on her campaign web site, other than her anti-war stance. She's an activist and is involved with the North County Coalition for Peace and Justice.

And she takes public transportation so that makes her extra-special, like me.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Text of Murtha speech:
The Honorable John P. Murtha -- War in Iraq

(Washington D.C.)- The war in Iraq is not going as advertised. It is a flawed policy wrapped in illusion. The American public is way ahead of us. The United States and coalition troops have done all they can in Iraq, but it is time for a change in direction. Our military is suffering. The future of our country is at risk. We can not continue on the present course. It is evident that continued military action in Iraq is not in the best interest of the United States of America, the Iraqi people or the Persian Gulf Region.

General Casey said in a September 2005 Hearing, "the perception of occupation in Iraq is a major driving force behind the insurgency." General Abizaid said on the same date, "Reducing the size and visibility of the coalition forces in Iraq is a part of our counterinsurgency strategy."

For 2 ½ years I have been concerned about the U.S. policy and the plan in Iraq. I have addressed my concerns with the Administration and the Pentagon and have spoken out in public about my concerns. The main reason for going to war has been discredited. A few days before the start of the war I was in Kuwait – the military drew a red line around Baghdad and said when U.S. forces cross that line they will be attacked by the Iraqis with Weapons of Mass Destruction – but the US forces said they were prepared. They had well trained forces with the appropriate protective gear.

We spend more money on Intelligence than all the countries in the world together, and more on Intelligence than most countries GDP. But the intelligence concerning Iraq was wrong. It is not a world intelligence failure. It is a U.S. intelligence failure and the way that intelligence was misused.

I have been visiting our wounded troops at Bethesda and Walter Reed hospitals almost every week since the beginning of the War. And what demoralizes them is going to war with not enough troops and equipment to make the transition to peace; the devastation caused by IEDs; being deployed to Iraq when their homes have been ravaged by hurricanes; being on their second or third deployment and leaving their families behind without a network of support.

The threat posed by terrorism is real, but we have other threats that cannot be ignored. We must be prepared to face all threats. The future of our military is at risk. Our military and their families are stretched thin. Many say that the Army is broken. Some of our troops are on their third deployment. Recruitment is down, even as our military has lowered its standards. Defense budgets are being cut. Personnel costs are skyrocketing, particularly in health care. Choices will have to be made. We can not allow promises we have made to our military families in terms of service benefits, in terms of their health care, to be negotiated away. Procurement programs that ensure our military dominance cannot be negotiated away. We must be prepared. The war in Iraq has caused huge shortfalls at our bases in the U.S.
Much of our ground equipment is worn out and in need of either serious overhaul or replacement. George Washington said, "To be prepared for war is one of the most effective means of preserving peace." We must rebuild our Army. Our deficit is growing out of control. The Director of the Congressional Budget Office recently admitted to being "terrified" about the budget deficit in the coming decades. This is the first prolonged war we have fought with three years of tax cuts, without full mobilization of American industry and without a draft. The burden of this war has not been shared equally; the military and their families are shouldering this burden.

Our military has been fighting a war in Iraq for over two and a half years. Our military has accomplished its mission and done its duty. Our military captured Saddam Hussein, and captured or killed his closest associates. But the war continues to intensify. Deaths and injuries are growing, with over 2,079 confirmed American deaths. Over 15,500 have been seriously injured and it is estimated that over 50,000 will suffer from battle fatigue. There have been reports of at least 30,000 Iraqi civilian deaths.

I just recently visited Anbar Province Iraq in order to assess the conditions on the ground. Last May 2005, as part of the Emergency Supplemental Spending Bill, the House included the Moran Amendment, which was accepted in Conference, and which required the Secretary of Defense to submit quarterly reports to Congress in order to more accurately measure stability and security in Iraq. We have now received two reports. I am disturbed by the findings in key indicator areas. Oil production and energy production are below pre-war levels. Our reconstruction efforts have been crippled by the security situation. Only $9 billion of the $18 billion appropriated for reconstruction has been spent. Unemployment remains at about 60 percent. Clean water is scarce. Only $500 million of the $2.2 billion appropriated for water projects has been spent. And most importantly, insurgent incidents have increased from about 150 per week to over 700 in the last year. Instead of attacks going down over time and with the addition of more troops, attacks have grown dramatically. Since the revelations at Abu Ghraib, American casualties have doubled. An annual State Department report in 2004 indicated a sharp increase in global terrorism.

I said over a year ago, and now the military and the Administration agrees, Iraq can not be won "militarily." I said two years ago, the key to progress in Iraq is to Iraqitize, Internationalize and Energize. I believe the same today. But I have concluded that the presence of U.S. troops in Iraq is impeding this progress.

Our troops have become the primary target of the insurgency. They are united against U.S. forces and we have become a catalyst for violence. U.S. troops are the common enemy of the Sunnis, Saddamists and foreign jihadists. I believe with a U.S. troop redeployment, the Iraqi security forces will be incentivized to take control. A poll recently conducted shows that over 80% of Iraqis are strongly opposed to the presence of coalition troops, and about 45% of the Iraqi population believe attacks against American troops are justified. I believe we need to turn Iraq over to the Iraqis.
I believe before the Iraqi elections, scheduled for mid December, the Iraqi people and the emerging government must be put on notice that the United States will immediately redeploy. All of Iraq must know that Iraq is free. Free from United States occupation. I believe this will send a signal to the Sunnis to join the political process for the good of a "free" Iraq.

My plan calls:

To immediately redeploy U.S. troops consistent with the safety of U.S. forces.
To create a quick reaction force in the region.
To create an over- the- horizon presence of Marines.
To diplomatically pursue security and stability in Iraq

This war needs to be personalized. As I said before I have visited with the severely wounded of this war. They are suffering.

Because we in Congress are charged with sending our sons and daughters into battle, it is our responsibility, our OBLIGATION to speak out for them. That's why I am speaking out.

Our military has done everything that has been asked of them, the U.S. can not accomplish anything further in Iraq militarily. IT IS TIME TO BRING THEM HOME.
Part two of Miriam Raftery's series at Raw Story on the peace movement.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

from the CodePink website:

DID YOU KNOW? The United States Congress officially recognized the end of World War I when it passed a concurrent resolution on June 4, 1926, with these words:

Whereas the 11th of November 1918, marked the cessation of the most destructive, sanguinary, and far reaching war in human annals and the resumption by the people of the United States of peaceful relations with other nations, which we hope may never again be severed, and

Whereas it is fitting that the recurring anniversary of this date should be commemorated with thanksgiving and prayer and exercises designed to perpetuate peace through good will and mutual understanding between nations;

Observe the true meaning of Veterans Day and take action to speak out against the war!
Arlington West - will be presented in Encinitas at Moonlight Beach on Nov. 11 (Friday).

We do this to honor the 2,040 plus veterans who have been killed in the Bush War in Iraq. The President has yet to honor one single war casualty by attending his funeral. This is our feeble, but sincere desire to honor the great sacrifice of these veterans.

Volunteers to set up the crosses and candles and equipment are invited to pitch in and help starting at 12:00 noon. Take Encinitas Blvd west to the ocean.

Arlington West is sponsored by the San Diego Veterans for Peace, co-sponsored by North County Coalition for Peace and Justice.
For more information contact Dave at Vets for Peace.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

My friend Mari sent this to me. I stuck it in the side bar. It's a little depressing, but I like that it counts down so it's a little better every day.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

from a Salon article about the Senate Hearings on Industrial Strength Republican lobbyists Scanlon and Abrahoff:

You'll have to view an ad to get a daypass at Salon unless your a member. A small price to pay.

"The wackos get their information through the Christian right, Christian radio, mail, the internet and telephone trees," Scanlon wrote in the memo, which was read into the public record at a hearing of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee. "Simply put, we want to bring out the wackos to vote against something and make sure the rest of the public lets the whole thing slip past them." The brilliance of this strategy was twofold: Not only would most voters not know about an initiative to protect Coushatta gambling revenues, but religious "wackos" could be tricked into supporting gambling at the Coushatta casino even as they thought they were opposing it.

On a related note
I really like this op-ed from Paul Loeb. I heard him speak a few weeks ago, and signed up on his email list and he sent this out today. It's from 2000, but in the wake of the death of Rosa Parks, it's a good reminder to have hope and to keep on doing your little something.

From the Los Angeles Times, Jan 14, 2000


We learn much from how we present our heroes. A few years ago, on Martin Luther King Day, I was interviewed on CNN. So was Rosa Parks, by phone from Los Angeles. ''We're very honored to have her,'' said the host. ''Rosa Parks was the woman who wouldn't go to the back of the bus. She wouldn't get up and give her seat in the white section to a white person. That set in motion the year-long bus boycott in Montgomery. It earned Rosa Parks the title of 'mother of the civil rights movement.' ''

I was excited to be part of the same show. Then it occurred to me that the host's familiar rendition of her story had stripped the Montgomery, Ala., boycott of its most important context. Before refusing to give up her bus seat, Parks had spent 12 years helping lead the local NAACP chapter. The summer before, Parks had attended a 10-day training session at Tennessee's labor and civil rights organizing school, the Highlander Center, where she'd met an older generation of civil rights activists and discussed the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision banning ''separate but equal'' schools.

In other words, Parks didn't come out of nowhere. She didn't single-handedly give birth to the civil rights efforts. Instead, she was part of an existing movement for change at a time when success was far from certain.

This in no way diminishes the power and historical importance of her refusal to give up her seat. But it does remind us that this tremendously consequential act might never have taken place without the humble and frustrating work that she and others did earlier on. It reminds us that her initial step of getting involved was just as courageous and critical as the fabled moment when she refused to move to the back of the bus.

People like Parks shape our models of social commitment. Yet the conventional retelling of her story creates a standard so impossible to meet that it may actually make it harder for the rest of us to get involved. This portrayal suggests that social activists come out of nowhere to suddenly materialize to take dramatic stands. It implies that we act with the greatest impact when we act alone. or when we act alone initially. It reinforces a notion that anyone who takes a committed public stand--or at least an effective one--has to be a larger-than-life figure, someone with more time, energy, courage, vision or knowledge than any normal person could ever possess.

This belief pervades our society, in part because the media rarely represents historical change as the work of ordinary human beings who learn to take extraordinary actions. And once we enshrine our heroes on pedestals, it becomes hard for mere mortals to measure up in our eyes. We go even further, dismissing most people's motives, knowledge and tactics as insufficiently grand or heroic, faulting them for not being in command of every fact and figure or not being able to answer every question put to them. We fault ourselves as well for not knowing every detail or for harboring uncertainties and doubts. We find it hard to imagine that ordinary human beings with ordinary hesitations and flaws might make a critical difference in worthy social causes.

Yet those who act have their own imperfections and ample reasons to hold back. ''I think it does us all a disservice,'' said a young African American activist from Atlanta, ''when people who work for social change are presented as saints--so much more noble than the rest of us. We get a false sense that from the moment they were born they were called to act, never had doubts, were bathed in a circle of light.''

She added that she was much more inspired to learn how people ''succeeded despite their failings and uncertainties.'' That would mean she, too, had a ''shot at changing things.''

Our culture's misreading of the Rosa Parks story speaks to a more general collective amnesia by which we forget the examples that might most inspire our courage and conscience. Most of us know next to nothing of the grass-roots movements in which ordinary men and women fought to preserve freedom, expand the sphere of democracy and create a more just society: the abolitionists, the populists, the women's suffragists and the union activists who spurred the end of 80-hour work weeks at near-starvation wages. These activists teach us how to shift public sentiment, challenge entrenched institutional power and find the strength to persevere despite all odds. But their stories, like the real story of Parks, are erased in an Orwellian memory hole.

Parks' actual story conveys an empowering moral that is lost in her public myth. She began modestly by attending one meeting and then another. Hesitant at first, she gained confidence as she spoke out. She kept on despite a profoundly uncertain context as she and others acted as best they could to challenge deeply entrenched injustices, with little certainty of results. Had she and others given up after their 10th or 11th year of commitment, we might never have heard of Montgomery.

Parks' journey suggests that social change is the product of deliberate, incremental action, whereby we join together to try to shape a better world. Sometimes our struggles will fail, as did many earlier efforts of Parks, her peers and her predecessors. Other times they may bear modest fruit. And at times they will trigger a miraculous outpouring of courage and heart, as happened in the wake of Parks' arrest. For only when we act despite all our uncertainties and doubts do we have the chance to shape history.

Paul Rogat Loeb is the author of ''Soul of a Citizen: Living With Conviction in a Cynical Time'' (St Martin's, 1999). Web site: