Monday, April 30, 2007

Jeremy Scahill in San Diego May 1 - 2

TomDispatch reports on Jeremy Scahill's article Who Will Stop the U.S. Shadow Army in Iraq? and the giant loophole in the in the withdrawl "timetable" in the Iraq Appropriations bill that Bush is going to veto this week. This is precisely why I can't get behind this effort on the Iraq bill. It may be a step in the right direction, but it's an incredibly timid and spineless step. Not to mention potentially dangerous. Are we going to withdraw troops and leave Blackwater there? What a spectacularly bad idea that would be.

And on the subject of Scahill, he'll be speaking in San Diego on May 1 and 2, 2007 at 7pm.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007, 7 p. m. Unitarian Church, 4190 Front Street, San Diego (in Hillcrest opposite the UCSD Medical Center) $5-10 donation requested (no one will be turned away); proceeds will be used to fight Blackwater USA's plans for "Blackwater West" training facility in Potrero, San Diego County Info: 619-263-9301 or Sponsored by the Peace Resource Center of San Diego and the Peace & Democracy aciton Group of the First Unitarian Universalist Church

Wednesday, May 2, 2007, 7 p. m. La Mesa Community Center 4975 Memorial Drive, La Mesa (7-9pm; 6:30 refreshments) Info: 619-464-0369 Co-Sponsored by La Mesa-Foothills Democratic Club and East County Democratic Club

Jeremy will speak about Blackwater, a firm that has proposed an 824-acre military-style training camp near Potrero, San Diego county. Proposed location borders on the Cleveland National Forest, and is a sensitive habitat for eagles and other wildlife, and is an important watershed. Now, even our military is being outsourced to corporations who will sell military might to the highest bidder. . For more information about the proposed "Blackwater West" and what you can do to help stop it, please go to

Jeremy Scahill will also sign his book at these events, and books will be available for sale.

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Sunday, April 29, 2007


And in other Dagnabbit News, I missed my chance to get into the convention again today because I didn't check my cell phone until late this morning. I could have heard Edwards and Richardson.


That's what I get for trying to balance my personal life, work life and political life.


Some people get it, and some people don't

Gets it:

"It has put races in play that would not have been in play and taken huge parts of America that were no-go zones, and it's turning them from red to blue," Jaye said of the Internet activity among activists. "Thanks to the blogosphere, we're becoming a national party again -- not just a party of two coasts."

Doesn't get it:
Netroots commentary can frequently be intensely personal, even "totally mean and irrational," the strategist said, with some bloggers finding power in their ability "to assassinate political characters online."

"It's amplified by the anonymity, and it can be scary that it's so irresponsible," the insider said. "And it's pulling the mainstream media in that direction."

Both quotes are from a SF Chron article by Carla Marinucci

Obama's Turn the Page Speech in San Diego

That man does know how to talk, and he's got the "vision thing" down. The delegates just ate him up. It's one thing to know that Barak Obama is charismatic. It's a different thing to see it in person. He's got It. His supporters were very active and involved in his visit to the convention yesterday, and he got the rock star reception.

I haven't decided who to really support yet in the 2008 but I could end up supporting him in the end. He ranks above Hillary for me, but Edwards is pretty high on my list too. The way they play out w/r/t Iraq is probably what will tip me toward one or the other at this point. If either of the two get the nomination I could work for their campaigns in good conscious.

Here's a link to the text of his speech at California Progress Report.

And here's the video:

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Saturday, April 28, 2007

Impeach at the Beach!

Democratic women are the life of the party

I say that because it's my new bumpersticker, and it's true. Woot!

The last couple days have been filled with CA State Democratic Convention type activities here in Sunny San Diego.

Last night I went to the fantabulous Blue House at the Brew House fundraiser for Jerry McNerney and Charlie Brown. Big fun. I met some great folks that were only names on a screen to me before, but now they have faces and voices! I lurves the Internets.

As a side note, in traditional convention-goer fashion, I had three beers for dinner. (::hic::)

This morning (early...oh my god so early) we had a press conference to discuss the status of the resolution that Raymond Lutz of the East County Democratic Club introduced at the convention regarding Blackwater West, which has apparantly been shot down. Big picture, that's ok...there are other roads to take.

After the press conference was over, I made my way to the volunteer room. I had the thrilling task of guarding a door for about a half hour, then I filled in at a delegate registration table for about a half hour (no one came to see me at all!) After that, I made my way to the Leadership Luncheon where once again I guarded a door. Exciting stuff, eh?

As a bonus, there were a couple tables vacant around the edges of the room, and once things got started and there was no longer any need to guard the damn door, we were told to have a seat, eat and listen to the speeches. Cool! At the orientation they'd told us we'd probably have to leave the room once the luncheon got going because it was sold out, but we got to stay. Hurrah for free food. Art Torres, Fabian Nunez and Zoe Lofgren were the speakers. Unfortunately, I'm a bad blogger so I didn't take notes or live blog. I just ate the free food, listened to the blahblahblah and drank their coffee.

Zoe was pretty cool though. I liked her.

After lunch, I scored a floor pass to the general session. The only presidential candidate I missed was Clinton, but I got to see Obama (wow), Dodd (poor fella had to follow Obama) and Kucinich (who knew his wife was such a hottie?). Edwards and Richardson speak tomorrow, but I won't be there. I'll be at a Padres game instead. I won a pair of tickets at the Blue House at the Brew House fundraiser for Jerry McNerney and Charlie Brown last night.

This afternoon when the general session was over, I walked across the street to a humongous and enthusiastic impeachment rally. I was planning to walk back over to the convention center when they moved to the other side of the street, but I was right next to the trolley station and that leg that likes to remind me of my age hurt like mad, so when the train arrived, I jumped on and came home. And still, my feet are killing me.

In the interest of full disclosure, the score of the general session floor pass was obtained by pimping myself our for the Kucinich campaign. I know his SoCal coordinator and told her that I wanted to hear the speeches, but hadn't volunteered enough hours to get a pass, and she handed me one. All I had to do was join her, and the bazillion other legitimate Kucinich supporters in a sign waving frenzy when he spoke.

Ok. I can do that. I certainly haven't jumped on the Kucinich 2008 bandwagon, but I like him. He's got cojones, and it's fine with me if the other candidates see genuine progressive issues getting an enthusiastic reception.

I figure it was my Good Karma Gift of the Day, because I was a good girl and turned in a found press credential instead of using it myself.

I'm a fool, but I'm an honest fool.

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Friday, April 27, 2007

CA-50 election update? I bet you thought that was over.

In case you were wondering, the legal issues are not resolved regarding the 2006 Busby-Bilbray election contest in CA-50. The wheels turn slowly, don't they?

There were several developments today.

First, In response to citizen outrage over the Court's stunning decision regarding the 2006 CA-50 election contest between Francine Busby and Brian Bilbray, attorneys Paul Lehto and Ken Simpkins, with Linda Poniktera, former press secretary for the Francine Busby for Congress campaign, have formed Psephos, a nonprofit organization committed to helping resolve voter issues such as the restriction of citizen oversight and lack of public control of their own elections, the lack of transparency, and the use of electronic voting machines that enable secret vote counts via "trade secret" software. Psephos (pronounced see-foss) is the Greek word for stone, which the ancient Greeks used to cast their ballots.

In a morning press conference near the San Diego Convention Center, Psephos announced that plaintiffs Gail Jacobson and Lillian Ritt have petitioned the California Supreme Court regarding the Jacobson v. Bilbray election contest requesting discovery and a recount of the vote in the June 2006 special election in California’s Fiftieth Congressional District.

In March 2007 a Court of Appeals decided they need not decide the case because the point was moot by the time it came before them. In other words, the 109th Congress was over. Lehto and Simpkins argue that it is indeed NOT a moot point, when the real issue is citizen oversight of elections, a stunning lack of transparency and proprietary electronic voting machines.

And finally, Psephos also announced that is has received a request from CA Secretary of State Debra Bowen for additional information regarding a complaint filed February 14, 2006 by Psephos attorney and co-founder Ken Simpkins. The complaint alleged irregularities in the conduct of the November 2006 midterm elections in San Diego County.

This complaint cites violations of state and federal election law, and I posted about the filing of that complaint back in February, and the subsequent petition to the CA Secretary of State.

So yes, the wheels turn slowly, but they do turn.



Well...wrong info again on where to send public comments regarding the Environmental Impact Report associated with Blackwater West in Potrero. The email address the Trib published yesterday is wrong, and it should be


Thursday, April 26, 2007

I'm volunteering at the convention in San Diego this weekend (Saturday at the Leadership Luncheon to be precise) but I'm not working a long enough shift to get a freebee observer pass, so I probably won't get to hear ANYONE speak.

Boo hoo. :-(

I might get to show Jerry Brown to his seat for lunch, but somehow that's just not the same.

Well, they'll have closed circuit tvs around the convention center they said tonight at the orientation, . . . but that's just not the same either.

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Say No to Blackwater and war profiteers in California!

The Courage Campaign is an organization of California progressives who's mission is to "activate and enable the grassroots and organized leadership to take on the problems that have held back our state for the past 30 years." The founder of Courage Campaign is Rick Jacobs, who is also the co-founder of Brave New Films with documentary director and producer, Robert Greenwald.

As they say on their blog today:

Courage Campaign has joined forces with the folks in East County to spread the word about Blackwater West and organize people on a statewide level against the project. To that end, we've launched a petition campaign targeting Governor Schwarzenegger, Senator Boxer and Senator Feinstein to pressure them to do whatever is in their power to stop this dangerous project.

Please sign the petition today. Say No to Blackwater and war profiteers in California!


Todd has posted information further information at Calitics this evening about a resolution that Raymond Lutz will be proposing at this weekend's California Democratic Convention in San Diego.

In addition, we are going to do whatever we can to support Lutz in his latest endeavor: passing a resolution on the floor of the CA Democratic Convention in San Diego this weekend. Please spread the word to all the delegates you know to support this resolution. Lutz is going to present it to the resolutions committee on Friday and hopefully it will make it to the floor without having to get 300 delegates to sign it, but if we need to do that, we'll do that. Proposed text of the resolution is as follows:

WHEREAS, Blackwater USA, a North Carolina-based private security firm under contract to the Pentagon to supply armed personnel for duties in the Iraq War, proposes to build a large mercenary and paramilitary training compound called Blackwater West near Potrero, in San Diego County, on an 824-acre parcel that includes Cleveland National Forest acreage, borders a proposed wilderness area adjacent to the Hauser Wilderness, and is both an important watershed and an environmentally sensitive habitat for wildlife; said mercenary and paramilitary activities are inherently dangerous and pose serious risks--including severe fire danger--to surrounding communities and wilderness areas, will deplete groundwater, substantially increase traffic, increase noise from shooting ranges, driving track, and helicopter activities, among many other environmental concerns.

WHEREAS, Blackwater USA and other private contractors are not subject to an effective system of oversight and accountability with respect to their operations and government contracting activities, and are the subject of ongoing hearings before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee regarding allegations of waste, fraud, and abuse; Blackwater USA has resisted attempts to subject its private soldiers to the Pentagon's Uniform Code of Military Justice, claiming they are civilians, and has simultaneously claimed immunity from litigation under civil law in the United States, asserting its forces are part of the Pentagon's "Total Force."

AND WHEREAS, the "John Warner National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2007" (H.R. 5122), which was signed into law by President Bush in October 2006, seriously weakens two bulwarks of liberty--the Posse Comitatus Act and the Insurrection Act of 1807--by expanding the power of the president to declare martial law and use troops as a domestic police force in response to a "public emergency" or any "other condition"; and Blackwater troops (which were deployed domestically in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina) or other private mercenary and paramilitary forces pose a severe threat to the civil liberties of the American people and now could be deployed to quell public dissent, put down popular uprisings, or even to stop opposing points of view through intimidation or outright force.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the California Democratic Party opposes mercenary training by private concerns anywhere in the State of California, including the Blackwater West project.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that all military, paramilitary, or related security/law enforcement training operations in California, whether private, governmental, or some combination of the two, will be conducted on, and only on, secured U.S. military bases or other established government-regulated facilities designed for that purpose.

It's a draft and still subject to change, but spread the word to support this resolution when it comes up for a vote.

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Blackwater public comment period extended

The timeframe for public comment into the Environmental Impact Report associated with the Blackwater West development in Potrero has been extended until May 28, in part because the previous county planner handling the project gave out an incorrect fax number to the public who attended the planning meeting.

The current planner told one of the involved parties that they want to show good faith, so they're extending the deadline. I'm glad. Under the circumstances, they should.

If you want to send comments relating to the proposed EIR, they can be sent by e-mail to, by fax to (858) 694-3373 or by mail to 5201 Ruffin Road, Suite B, San Diego, CA 92123.

(edit 4/27/07 ----- the correct address for comments is The Trib got it wrong. sigh)

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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Clean Money appropriations hearing Wednesday May 2

The California State Assembly Appropriations Committee will hold a hearing on AB 583 (The Clean Money and Fair Elections Act of 2007) on Wednesday, May 2.

I'll post more specific information as I get it, or you can contact Daniel I. Medress, Field Organizer for the California Clean Money Campaign.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Those who count the votes, they decide everything

Did the most powerful Republicans in America have the computer capacity, software skills and electronic infrastructure in place on Election Night 2004 to tamper with the Ohio results to ensure George W. Bush's re-election?

The answer appears to be yes. There is more than ample documentation to show that on Election Night 2004, Ohio's "official" Secretary of State website which gave the world the presidential election results was redirected from an Ohio government server to a group of servers that contain scores of Republican web sites, including the secret White House e-mail accounts that have emerged in the scandal surrounding Attorney General Alberto Gonzales�s firing of eight federal prosecutors.

Ok, I've read the article by Steven Rosenfeld and Bob Fitrakis at The Free Press.

A couple times, actually....give me a break. My brain slows considerably by 9pm. I'm a morning person.

But now let me get this straight. SmartTech hosts the RNC web sites, as well as GovTech Solutions. GovTech Solutions is the company that tabulated and published the votes in the last two elections in Ohio. GovTech is owned by Heather Connell, and Heather Connell is married to Michael L. Connell, the owner of New Media Communications, "internet consultant to scores of prominent senators, governors and Members of Congress, as well as the Republican National Committee and four Republican National Conventions."

So for the past two elections, the wife of a long time Republican political strategist was responsible for counting the votes in the state of Ohio.

Words fail me.

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Blue House at the Brewhouse on Friday

In other weekend fundraiser event news: Come on over to the Blue House at the Brew House on Friday night at the Karl Strauss Brewery. This event is sponsored by the by "the CA Blogsphere" and is a fundraiser for Charlie Brown and Jerry McNerney.

Who: Charlie Brown, Jerry McNerney and friends
What: Give $40 min. (20 bucks each) on this page
When: 8:30 PM Friday April 27th
Where: Karl Strauss Brewing Company, 1157 Columbia Street San Diego, CA 92101
(parking available, location is less than a mile from the Convention Center)

It's also very close to the One America Plaza trolley station, if you don't want to walk or drive from the Convention Center.

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It's Kucinich Tuesday at terryfaceplace

Rep Dennis Kucinich announced impeachment charges against Cheney today, and the resolution and documents are available on his website now.

I'd model my impeach shirt, but it's in the laundry.

Congressman Kucinich will be at the California State Democratic Convention in San Diego this weekend, and I know that his supporters here have a busy weekend planned.

From Jeeni Criscenzo:

The California Democratic Party Convention is coming to San Diego next weekend, April 27 - 29. I'm wearing four hats for this event - as a delegate, as VP of our North County PDA chapter, as the Southern California Coordinator for the Kucinich for President Campaign and as an activist for peace & justice! Here are a few of the highlights of things happening here in San Diego around this Convention. Please join me in as many as you can.

Thursday, April 26, 2007
5:00 PM - 7:30 PM -- Kucinich Volunteer Organizing Party
Kucinich Rooms at Handlery Hotel and Resort, 950 Hotel Circle North, San Diego, CA 92108
Meet fellow Kucinich supporters and help prepare for the Convention by making signs & Issues Arm Bands, getting your volunteer assignments and planning the weekend. Later, we can carpool to the PDA event (see below) 2.5 miles away. MAP

7:30 PM - 9:30 PM - PDA (Progressive Democrats of America) Event
Scottish Rite Center, 1895 Camino del Rio South - San Diego CA 92108
Meeting the Historic Challenge: War, Peace and the 2007 California Democratic Party Convention. Hear from Medea Benjamin, Norman Solomon, Jeff Cohen, Steve Cobble, Mimi Kennedy & Tim Carpenter. Find out more about what PDA is doing at the convention at

Friday, April 27, 2007
San Diego Convention Center, 111 West Harbor Drive, San Diego, CA92108
PDA will be pushing for several resolutions to be passed at this convention, including:

* End the Iraq occupation
* No Attack on Iran
* Nonprofit Single-Payer Health Insurance for All
* Clean, Transparent Elections
* Fair Trade, Not Corporatist "Free Trade"
* Investigations of the White House (with impeachment on the table)

Please stop at the PDA table to find out how you can help make this happen and pick up your colored armbands to wear on your sleeve the issues you support.

And come to the Kucinich table to pick up your T-shirt, bumper stickers, signs etc.

10:00 PM -- Midnight - Kucinich Campaign Folk Festival Room 10 (Upper Level)
An old-time hootenanny -- join folk singers Peter & Betty Anderson, Kathleen Beck & Jim Lydick and others singing those songs that galvanized the Vietnam era peace movement and some new songs for today. (If you're a folk singer and would like to perform, please contact Enjoy organic tortilla chips and locally grown, organic salsa fresca and guacamole. Hear from the Kucinich campaign about what Dennis Kucinich is doing now and what he'll do when he's in the White House. Meet the next First Lady, Elizabeth Kucinich. All are welcome - no convention registration is necessary for the hospitality suites. We hope to have a late visit from Dennis Kucinich.

10:00 PM -- Midnight - PDA Action Center
Meet fellow activists and find out what you can do to make the convention a success for progressives!

8:00 AM - 7:00 PM - Tables open to the public
Volunteers are needed to help PDA get their resolutions passed - stop at their table to offer your help. It is not necessary to be registered as an observer or delegate to visit the tables in the exhibit area.

9:00 AM - 11:30 AM - General Session - Only open to delegates and those with observer passes

2:00 AM - 3:00 PM -- A-28 Beach Impeach
North Beach by Tower 6 - Torrey Pines State Public Beach. Put your body on the line! For more information go to

2:00 PM - 5:00 PM - General Session - Only open to delegates and those with observer passes

3:30 PM (approx) -- Dennis Kucinich Addresses the Convention
San Diego Convention Center, 111 West Harbor Drive, San Diego, CA 92108 - Exhibit Hall. Dennis Kucinich will address the General Session. Only delegates and observers will be permitted in the hall. Be sure to bring your Kucinich signs and wear your Kucinich T-shirts.

4:00 - 6:30 PM -- Impeachment Rally
MLK Park - across the street from the convention center. Also many other groups will be demonstrating throughout the Convention at this location.

7:30 - 9:30 PM -- Tribute Dinner to Nancy Pelosi
If you have a ticket to this dinner and would like to join me in presenting a petition to Nancy Pelosi, please send me an email at

10:00 PM -- Midnight - Kucinich Campaign Red, White and Blues Jam
San Diego Convention Center, 111 West Harbor Drive, San Diego, CA 92108 - Room 10 (Upper Level) Calling all blues musicians to make some music. Bring your instrument & rig and let's see what happens when people get together to make something good happen! Not a musician? - come to hear the magic happen. Enjoy locally-grown, organic strawberries with organic yogurt dipping sauce (That's the Red & White part of the party). All are welcome - no convention registration is necessary for the hospitality suites.

Sunday, April 29, 2007
8:00 AM - 2:00 PM -- Tables Open to the Public
San Diego Convention Center, 111 West Harbor Drive, San Diego, CA 92108 - Exhibit Hall
Volunteers needed to staff the table and tear-down at the end of the convention. It is not necessary to be registered as an observer or delegate to work at the tables in the exhibit area.

9:00 AM - 2:00 PM - or later -- General Session and voting on resolutions

4:00 - 5:00 PM -- PDA Post Convention Wrap-up
5:30 - 8:30 PM -- Kucinich Fundraiser in OB. Jeeni Criscenzo, Southern California Kucinich Campaign Coordinator, invites you to Meet Elizabeth Kucinich at a fundraiser for Kucinich for President 2008 at the home of Ted & Nelisse Muga 1865 Froude Street, Ocean Beach, San Diego, CA 92107 (map) (SW on Sunset Cliffs, left on Newport, right on Froude - 3rd house on left) A perfect way to top off the California Democratic Convention! Come meet fellow Kucinich supporters and hear from Elizabeth why Dennis is our only chance to turn this country around. $20 minimum contribution

Also Meet Special Guests: Medea Benjamin & Col. Ann Wright. RSVP or 619-222-2120.

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Monday, April 23, 2007


San Diego's Beach Blogger just made my day with this picture. That's some excellent freeway blogging!

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Saturday, April 21, 2007

Claude AnShin Thomas to lead veterans retreat in Southern California

(Note: The following is a press release from the San Diego Veterans for Peace. The speaker and leader of the retreat is Claude AnShin Thomas who is currently walking the US-Mexico border from Brownsville, Tx to San Diego, CA.)

Contact: Jon Monday, 760-451-1959,, interviews are welcome.

For Immediate Release:

San Diego Veterans For Peace, the Hugh Thompson Memorial Chapter, is honored to bring the Venerable Claude AnShin Thomas to San Diego to speak on his experiences as a soldier in Vietnam and eventual conversion to Buddhism. Claude AnShin will also be leading a retreat for Veterans after his public talk, for healing, reflection, and sharing by and for veterans and their spouses and significant others.

The Venerable Claude AnShin Thomas speaks and leads retreats internationally on mindfulness practice, transformation, and reconciliation. He is the author of the book At Hell’s Gate A Soldier’s Journey from War to Peace and is the founder of the Zaltho Foundation, a non-profit organization whose purpose is to promote peace and nonviolence in and among individuals, families, societies, and countries.

Claude AnShin Thomas volunteered for active duty at the age of 18, when he served as a crew chief on assault helicopters in Vietnam . By the end of his tour of duty, he had been awarded numerous medals, including 27 Air Medals, the Distinguished Flying Cross, and the Purple Heart. He witnessed horrifying cruelty, narrowly escaped death on multiple occasions, and was responsible for the deaths of many Vietnamese.

When Thomas returned home he found, like many Vietnam veterans, that he continued to live in a state of war. For years, Thomas struggled with severe post-traumatic stress, drug and alcohol addiction, isolation, and even homelessness. Today, Thomas is a Zen Monk, an International Peace Activist, an Author and a Teacher in the United States , Europe and Asia . He shares his inspiring spiritual odyssey from the horrors of combat to discovering the Buddhist path to healing. Thomas’ powerful story can serve as a road map for others who might feel trapped in cyclical patterns of response that are a fact of the trauma experience, regardless of the nature and extent of the trauma.

Public Talk: The Soldier’s Journey from War to Peace

The talk is open to the general public and will be held on Thursday, June 14 -7:00 p.m. at the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice Theatre, University of San Diego . The talk will be followed by a book-signing and reception. This event is co-sponsored by the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice, San Diego Veterans for Peace, and the School of Theology and Religious Studies.

There is no cost to attend, however donations are welcome. Space is limited so please R.S.V.P. by June 7th.

Retreat: A Three-day Retreat to Explore the Soldier’s Journey from War to Peace

The retreat is for veterans, and their spouses or significant others, and will be held on Friday, June 15th – Sunday, June 17th at Manzanita Village, which is located near Warner Springs, in Northern San Diego County. It is the country retreat center of Ordinary Dharma, a Los Angeles-based group, which weaves together the teachings and practices of the Buddhist Traditions with the timeless themes of Peace-Making and Non-Violence, Social-Justice, Personal Integration and Creativity.

In this three-day retreat, Claude AnShin will address veterans’ issues. He says: “We who have fought in war know intimately about life and death. We who have been wounded by war – physically, psychologically and spiritually – need to come together in order to support each other.

Many of us live with the after effects of war, known as post-traumatic stress: explosive anger, depression, and flashbacks. The attempts of traditional counseling and therapy, although valuable in our healing, often leave our spiritual wounds unaddressed. Without doing the work of healing spiritually, we only address the symptoms, and this often does not support a change in our hearts and our minds.”

You are invited to attend this retreat regardless of your religious or spiritual tradition. Many different forms of meditation will be practiced. Meditation can simply be understood as the art of discovering what prevents us from living directly.”

The cost to attend the retreat is $110 per person, which covers all meals and housing at the retreat. If you require transportation, please add $25. Please note that some veterans do not have the means, but need the retreat! We are looking for donations to cover the cost of the needy.

For more information see
Jon Monday
@Sales & Marketing
4441 La Canada Road
Fallbrook , CA 92028
Phone 760-451-1959
Fax 760-451-9504

Friday, April 20, 2007

I've got the homeland insecurity blues

Todd Beeton at Courage Campaign asks, "What Is An Ex-Blackwater Lobbyist Doing In CA’s Department of Homeland Security?"

Yeah? I'd like to know the answer to that too.

The way I see it, what's playing out here is what Jeremy Scahill wrote about in September 2005. Blackwater wants to establish a presence in every state, and they contract through Homeland Security, so in California they lobby for the privatization of the training of Border Patrol agents. But now the lobbyist/former employee of Blackwater, Chris Bertelli is the Deputy Director of the California Department of Homeland Security, that makes things so much simpler! How convenient.

Blackwater has also proposed a defend in place strategy in case of brush fire. The question isn't IF there will be a fire in Potrero, but when. That the nature of things out there. So they're trying to wiggle into their "security in cases of natural disaster" niche. They seem to want to reframe their image from mercenaries to public defenders. You KNOW they'll be on the streets of San Diego, a la New Orleans, should we have a significant earthquake or other disaster. The Potrero location also positions them between San Diego and Calexico and El Centro, where they have some serious shakes every so often.

(::adjusts tinfoil hat::)

Do we really want a private paramilitary corporation that was founded by Erik Prince, who has an interesting background of political, social, and religious connections, to be called up in case of disaster. Isn't that what the National Guard is supposed to do?


I guess they're busy.

Sigh. I'm going to go make myself a drink, and ponder the evolution of the Daddy State.

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Thursday, April 19, 2007

Things to do in San Diego while you're here for the convention.

If you'll be in San Diego for the California Democratic Convention April 27-29, here are a couple items that may be of interest to you.

Progressive Democrats of America will have a significant presence at the convention, and they're kicking off the weekend with a PDApalooza on Thursday, April 26 at 7:30 pm.

PDA San Diego is hosting, “Meeting the Historic Challenge: War, Peace and the 2007 California Democratic Party Convention”
With Medea Benjamin, CODE PINK and PDA Advisory Board member; Norman Solomon, author; Jeff Cohen, author, PDA Communications Consultant and Advisory Board Member; Tim Carpenter, PDA Executive Director; Steve Cobble, Associate Fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies and PDA Board member; and Advisory Board Chair, actress, and author Mimi Kennedy at the Scottish Rite Center, 1895 Camino del Rio South in San Diego.

Personally, I'm bummed because overlaps with the MANDATORY volunteer orientation, and I'm volunteering at the convention. No matter how I try I just can't overcome that time/space continuum thing.

Next up! Off the table but on the beach!

As it happens, April 28 (A26)is a day of protest to demand impeachment, and some folks here are putting on their very own Beach Impeach at Torrey Pines State Beach. Gather near lifeguard tower #6 at 2:00 pm, to join in spelling out impeach on the beach.


Rohrabacher: "I hope it’s your family members that die when terrorists strike"

"I HOPE IT'S YOUR FAMILY MEMBERS THAT DIE" said US Representative Dana Rohrabacher to American citizens who questioned the Bush Administration’s unlawful extraordinary rendition policies.

Read Anne Wright's report. That says it all.

Wow. What a very twisted, bizarre thing to say.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Earth Day in San Diego

Spend Sunday April 22 in San Diego's be-you-tea-full Balboa Park visiting the 18th annual EarthFair. That's always a fun and interesting event. My son and I went last year, and had a great time.

Maybe this year I'll take an adult with me and we can take a break in the bar at The Prado. Yeah. That's it.

Take the bus! Take the trolley! Walk! Shuttle! Carpool! (Especially after taking that sidetrip to The Prado.) Something. Just don't show up with your big ol' Hummer, and claim to be an environmentalist. Yes, I'm looking at you!

Jeremy Scahill on Democracy Now! and The Daily Show

There's lots of media stuff for tomorrow, boys and girls.

"Democracy Now!" will be covering Blackwater USA and its plans to build the "Blackwater West" in Potrero. Jeremy Scahill, Congressman Bob Filner and Raymond Lutz from Citizens Oversight and the East County Democratic Club will be interviewed.


Jeremy Scahill will be on tomorrow's Daily Show.

Scahill will be speaking in San Diego on May 1 and May 2.

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Saturday, April 14, 2007

Where the heck is this thing anyway!?

I'm no cartographer, but I compared maps from the 51st and 52nd congressional districts, the project map, and a Google map of the site address, and it looks to me like the Blackwater West project is in Filner's district rather than Duncan Hunter's.

No one has seemed to know who's congressional district this property is in, including the Union Tribune, but it looks like Filner's to me.

Obviously, Hunter is somehow involved since he asked Supervisor Dianne Jacob to meet with their representative.

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Peace Be With You, Kurt Vonnegut

I mentioned Kurt Vonnegut's passing the other day, and didn't say much. What the hell do you say?

Harvey Wasserman said it better than I could have anyway.

Sometimes I just have to leave it to the experts.

“You meet saints everywhere. They can be anywhere. They are people behaving decently in an indecent society.”

Friday, April 13, 2007

Clean Money hearing in Sacramento on Tuesday 4/17/07

If you can be in Sacramento on Tuesday, be in Sacramento on Tuesday! Loni Hancock's AB 583, The California Clean Money and Fair Elections Act, is having it's first hearing in the Assembly Elections Committee at 1:30(ish) in Room 444 of the old rotunda of the state capitol building.

If you can't be in Sacramento, it's a good time to remind your state representative that it's time for real campaign finance reform in California.

California Clean Money is leading the charge again. This bill is very similar to the legislation that was pulled last year when Prop 89 made it on to the ballot. I like this much better. It's straight forward, and will work like the already working systems that have been in effect in Arizona and Maine since 2000. Candidates can voluntarily chose public financing, and qualify by showing a broad base of support in the form of $5 "seed money" donations. The level of funding depends on the office, and if a candidate is running against a opponent that is going the traditional campaign donation route, they can receive additional funds (to a set limit) to offset some of that imbalance.

I hope to see clean money, public campaign financing in California sooner rather than later. The results in Arizona and Maine have shown this is a viable system that allows ideas to trump fundraising, and promotes equity and democracy. Voters have more choice, more women and minority candidates are able to run for office, and politicians create better public policy. In Arizona, they're now able to pass budgets that provide real services to their citizens rather than funding special interests for campaign the tune of nearly a billion dollars. Maine was finally able to pass a form of universal healthcare. Until now, lobbyists were always able to stop it. Not anymore.

Clean money pays for itself. Poke around the California Clean Money website for a bit if you want to learn more about it. I think it's peachy.

Clean Money is back....It's a good thing I understand the concept of delayed gratification.

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Filner's pledge to Potrero

I picked up a copy of The Californian this afternoon so I could read the article I mentioned earlier today, and it provides some new information on the private training facility being proposed in Potrero.

Citizens of Potrero, CA met with Representative Bob Filner on Monday, and asked for for his help in blocking the Blackwater West facility that would introduce firing ranges, a vehicular training track, a helicopter pad, and urban warfare training center into this quiet, rural community.

Filner expressed his support for the residents. "I am with you on this", he told those who attended the meeting. He agreed to speak on the record in Congress, and to ask Senator Barbara Boxer to consider including this site in a bill she's introduced to expand the Hauser Wilderness Area which adjoins the prospective site. Filner noted security concerns and the lack of accountability by private military and security contractors such as Blackwater. The citizens also asked Filner to consider legislation blocking Blackwater from receiving federal funds until the outcome of Congressional investigations is determined.

In other news, according to the Hampton Pilot, Blackwater has scrapped plans for a facility in the Philippines:
The company's plans for a jungle survival skills training center on the site of the former U.S. naval base at Subic Bay sparked calls for an investigation from a prominent member of the Philippines Senate last summer.
More recently, the head of a United Nations work group on mercenary activity expressed concern about recruitment methods used by Blackwater and similar companies in the Philippines.

It can be done! At the County Planning Meeting last week, someone asked me if I thought we had a chance to stop this. Heck yeah. I wouldn't be there if I thought it was impossible.

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Sometimes you find news at the most unexpected times....

I was taking my usual morning walk today, and there was a crumpled bit of newspaper, half on the sidewalk and half under a bush. As I walked past, the headline caught my eye.....Filner vows to oppose Blackwater in Potrero. Woo and Hoo. It was The East County Californian, which is an itty bitty local weekly circulation paper that has had the best coverage on the San Diego County Blackwater issue, by far. I really need to subscribe to that paper. I first found out about the Blackwater project when I saw a copy of The Californian sitting at the door of a Mexican restaurant in my neighborhood while I was waiting to be seated.

I didn't really want to pick up the crumpled, dirty newspaper to read the story, so you'll have to wait for further details. Your intrepid reporter will find a copy that won't squick me out to touch it, and I'll report back. I'm fussy that way.

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Thursday, April 12, 2007

San Diego County hires Vu as assistant registrar

As promised, here's an article about Michael Vu, from Cuyahoga County, Ohio being hired by the County of San Diego as Assistant Registrar of Voters. I guess I heard right.

Michael Vu recently resigned from his position as Cuyahoga County, Ohio Election Director after a tumultuous four year term.

And last month, two elections board workers were convicted of illegally rigging the 2004 presidential election recount so they could avoid a more thorough review of the votes.

He defends the convicted Cuyahoga County board members with the "but it's always been done that way" defense. We've always subverted the audits before so why can't we do it now? I don't get that.

He's also a strong advocate for electronic voting, and I figure that's why the County of SD wanted him. They're really married to those damn machines here.

Bloggers for Barbara!

Yes, I'm serial posting today. Just one more. I promise. For now.

I want to point out that Barbara Cummings has received some online kudos over the past few days, and she deserves everyone of them and more. She's a force to be reckoned with in the peace movement.

The first is by David Swanson, and the second is by My Favorite Freeway Blogger.

Barbara Cummings is one of the unsung heroes of the current movement for peace, and if every American did a small fraction of what she does every day, we would actually have peace by the end of this month.

Barbara is fiercely dedicated to getting the US out of Iraq ,and to impeaching Bush and Cheney. More power to her.

There's lots of "Barbaras" in the world who are speaking out. They just don't get much mainstream publicity. Imagine that.


Where do your taxes go?

Once again, the National Priorities Project comes through with pretty charts and graphs in their Interactive Income Tax Chart that make it all so clear.

If you've never poked around their website before, check it out. They provide excellent information about the Cost of War.

In a similar vein, CodePink has created a "receipt" for the war. Print one out and stick it in the envelope with your tax return!

Toy Soldiers

Wednesday, April 11, 2007


So it goes.

Kurt Vonnegut dies at 84

I'm not one of those people that is particularly emotionally affected by the lives and deaths of the rich and/or famous, but this makes me a little sad. I discovered his books at a young age. I think I read everything the La Mesa library had on their shelves. I had to re-read some of it again as an adult to really "get it", but his writing always fascinated me.

Video and Podcasts of MoveOn's TownHall Meeting on Iraq

I meant to listen to the MoveOn TownHall Meeting last night, but forgot about it. Luckily, they've posted the information on their website, so if you forgot about it too and want to know what the leading Democratic presidential candidates said about their plans to end the occupation of Iraq, check it out.

Cuyahoga County Ohio election official comes to San Diego

Great. I just heard that Michael Vu, the embattled Registrar of Voters who recently "resigned" from Cuyahoga County (Ohio) Board of Elections in the midst of an on-going and growing scandal, is the new assistant Registrar of Voters in San Diego County. Just freaking great.

More details as they become available....

As mentioned on 3/24, the San Diego Registrar of Voters, Mikel Haas, was promoted to Deputy Chief Administrative Officer for the County of San Diego.

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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Jeremy Scahill, author of Blackwater expose to speak in San Diego

It's been a very very long day, so mostly I'm cutting and pasting from the Activist San Diego message board.....Pardon my plagerism.

Jeremy Scahill, Author of "Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army"

Tuesday, May 1, 2007, 7 p. m. Unitarian Church, 4190 Front Street, San Diego (in Hillcrest opposite the UCSD Medical Center) $5-10 donation requested, but no one will be turned away. Proceeds will be used to fight Blackwater USA's plans for "Blackwater West" training facility in Potrero.

Info: 619-263-9301 or Sponsored by the Peace Resource Center of San Diego and the Peace & Democracy aciton Group of the First Unitarian Universalist Church.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007, 7 pm La Mesa Community Center 4975 Memorial Drive, La Mesa (7-9pm; 6:30 refreshments) Info: 619-464-0369 Co-Sponsored by La Mesa-Foothills Democratic Club and East County Democratic Club.

Jeremy will speak about Blackwater, a firm that has proposed an 824-acre military-style training camp near Potrero, in southeast San Diego county. The proposed location borders on the Cleveland National Forest, and is a sensitive habitat for eagles and other wildlife, and is an important watershed. For more information about the proposed "Blackwater West" and what you can do to help stop it, please go to

Jeremy Scahill will also sign his book at these events; books will be available for sale.

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Monday, April 09, 2007

The PDA California April '07 Tour

Progressive Democrats of America is starting a tour of California....kind of a roundabout trek to the state Democratic Convention that will be held in San Diego April 27-29, 2007. Tomorrow (4/9) they'll be in Los Angeles to join Rev. Lennox Yearwood's Make Hip Hop Not War National Tour.

It looks to me like PDA is planning on having a major presence at the convention. Good! I'll be there and I'm looking forward to it!

The night before the convention begins (4/26) there will be a PDA Metro San Diego Meeting -
Pot luck with Medea Benjamin, CODE PINK and PDA Advisory Board member; Norman Solomon, author; Jeff Cohen, author, PDA Communications Consultant and Advisory Board Member; Tim Carpenter, PDA Executive Director; and Steve Cobble, Associate Fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies and PDA Board member.

Stay tuned for further details....

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Sunday, April 08, 2007

It's almost tax day! Don't forget your "War Tax" deduction!

If you've not done your taxes yet, Refunds for Good will explain how to claim the deduction for the "war tax"...a federal excise tax on your phone bills.

As explained in Amy Goodman's piece at Alternet, the tax was originally established in 1898 to help the United States pay for the Spanish-American War. It was originally 1% of the bill but was eventually increased to 3%. This year you can take a standard deduction for the rebate, or you can take the time to calculate exactly how much you've paid in the eligible period between March 1, 2003, and July 31, 2006. Personally, I don't keep phone bills for years on end, and I'll just take the standard deduction, but it's probably a larger amount if you can figure out the actuals.

So as Ms Goodman says, take your rebate and let the Pentagon hold a bake sale.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

As I mentioned last week, someone at the County Planning Dept seemed a little paranoid when the public said they were actually going to attend a public meeting.

You can get a taste of the excessive police presence at last weeks San Diego COUNTY PLANNING MEETING FORGODSSAKE by watching this KUSI video.

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Thursday, April 05, 2007

Blackwater West Scoping Meeting in San Diego

I just got back from what's probably the first of several public meetings associated with the Blackwater West project. About 125 people showed up to protest the private military training camp and many of them attended the meeting. There were a few there that are for the project, but they didn't say anything positive about it...they just made snide, insulting comments towards the people who are opposed.

I guess we scared the county employees because they had the sheriff out in force, and one of the gentlemen running the meeting thanked us profusely for being "civil". I have NEVER seen such a police presence at a public meeting. It was crazy. We had to go through a metal detector and they completely examined the contents of bags and purses. He even opened my sunglass case, eyeballed my ipod, and tried to turn on my dead call phone. What a silly waste of money that was. There was a lot of media coverage though.

So...about the meeting. There were lots of Potrero residents there in bright green Save Potrero shirts. I also saw people from the Peace Resource Center, Activist San Diego, CodePink, The Sierra Club, The Audubon Society, and a variety of other groups and individuals. They didn't allow any official "public comment" because that really was not the nature of this meeting, however they did let people talk, and they answered many questions.

The purpose of the meeting was to announce the Notice of Preparation of an Environmental Impact Report, and inform about the process associated with the development of the environmental impact report (EIR). They passed out copies of the Notice of Preparation, and did a little explaining about the process.

Since this is a large project that has the potential to have a significant environmental impact, it's been designated as a "project of state-wide importance" and has to go through a complete environmental review process, and they are estimating that it will be 22-24 months before this even gets before the Board of Supervisors.

There will be several times during this process where the County will accept public comment. One of those important comment times is right now. Between now and April 27 they are accepting public comment on the Notice of Preparation Document. This is a preliminary report on the potential impacts of the project on the environment, and if you think there's anything missing that needs to be considered, now is the time to address it. You can send comments to:

County of San Diego Department of Planning and Land Use, 5201 Ruffin Rd Suite B, San Diego, CA 92123-1666. They also accept comments by email at

When you send comments, include your name and address and you will be added to the list of interested parties, and you will recieve notices of public meetings, etc that are associated with the project. There is also quite a bit of new information on the DPLU's website about the Blackwater West project.

The way I see it, this is going to hinge on the land use and environmental issues. No one who has the authority to makes these decisions cares one way or the other about what kind of business Blackwater runs, or what they do. What really matters from a bureaucratic perspective is the process and the rules and regulations, and that's where we are right now.

This is gonna be a loooooooong process, but I think it's excellent that so many people showed up to this early meeting.

More later, I'm sure. I'm beat.

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Where there is despair...hope

Jeenie Cricenzo has written about the two day Fast for Peace she did with Fernando Suarez del Solar here in San Diego last week. It's condensed from a journal she kept while they spent two days fasting and sleeping on the downtown streets.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

More on Blackwater West in San Diego

The San Diego Coalition for Peace and Justice has compiled some information about Blackwater's plans in Potrero, which is located in the rural backcountry of San Diego County. This should be helpful info for anyone who wants to speak out against the plans for Blackwater West. If you read nothing else, take a look at the open letter from Jan Hedlun, the ONLY Potrero planning board member to take a stand against the development of Blackwater West, despite overwhelming opposition by the residents. She is the one working for the people of Potrero. As she states in her letter:
The majority of Potrero’s population is against this venture, illustrated by a petition presented to the
County of San Diego with 320 signatures from an 800 plus population that has only 400 some registered

She's done a thorough job of documenting the concerns of the community. Give it a read.

The Public Scoping Meeting will be held TOMORROW, Thursday, April 5, 5:30 p.m., at the Planning Commission Hearing Room, Department of Planning and Land Use, 5201 Ruffin Road, Suite B, San Diego, CA 92123. This is your opportunity to express your opinion on this project. They are also accepting written comments until April 27, so if you can't make it to the protest or the meeting, take the time to write a letter to the Department of Planning and Land Use.

Blackwater West - Impact on Potrero
Blackwater West Project Description
Blackwater West - What is it?
Blackwater West - Open Letter from Jan Hedlun

(edit - from The Raw Story: Massive security contractor faces growing protest in rural California town over 842-acre base)

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Monday, April 02, 2007

John McCain is a disgrace

John McCain went to Iraq for a photo op. The US forces did a security sweep of a market right outside the Green Zone, and he takes 100 soldiers, six helicopters, his flack jacket, and god knows what all else so he can go into a market and talk about how it's SAFER NOW. That just completely pisses me off. How many people were put at risk so he could have this lying photo op? He used military resources to stage propaganda. And this proves the media isn't showing an accurate picture of Iraq? Is he nuts, or does he think we're that stupid?

Or maybe it's safer in the markets now that someone seems to be getting more accurate with the rockets they're firing toward the US Embassy.

Gawd. I'm disgusted.

In all fairness, McCain isn't there alone. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Reps. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) and Rick Renzi (R-Ariz.) were with him...but I suppose it bugs me more from McCain since he wants to be president, and he claims to be such a straight talker.

Larry Johnson at TPM Cafe sums it up:
If the "true" picutre of Iraq was simply a matter of getting the news cameras pointed in the right direction then why did he need a security detail? If the peace and prosperity the Iraqi people are celebrating in safe neighborhoods is genuine then why wear body armor?

In the interest of full disclosure, I do know people where are there...right there....and the thought of them being at risk so politicians can posture makes me feel ill.