Friday, September 30, 2005

There are pros and cons to identifying one's self with a particular organization. CodePink, for example. (Imagine that!) Since we fly under the pink banner, some people have preconceived notions and ideas about us, and they therefore expect us to comply with their idea of what we should be. It really doesn't work like that. Everyone has their own row to hoe. What works for pinksters in Podunk may not be the right actions for pinksters in Portland. In addition to that, what works for me may be all wrong for the person standing right next to me. So there's some degree of conflict inherent in the system.

On the PRO side, if someone wants to get active, they can find their way into activism via CodePink. We're hard to miss. We're the LookAtMe people. As we sang at the DC March....we are CodePink, we are proud, we are sisters, we are LOUD. ... We stand out in a crowd, so people come to US. We don't have to constantly look for things to do. Ideas sometimes present themselves to us. (Some may say we would be better off ignoring some of those ideas, but you can't unring a bell, so get over it.)

ahem. Anyway...

We were asked to speak to a grad level class about women and peace activism, and we've been asked to have a voter registration booth at the SD Indie Music Festival. And since the march in DC, we've had several new people ask to join our email list. All good things.

Plus the people who don't hate us like us a lot, so it's fun. :-)

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Where do I begin? The trip to DC was great, and I'm so glad I was able to go. It was enormous. I don't know how many people were there, but I'm hearing numbers between 300,000 and half a million.

This is what democracy looks like.

...and that is NOT the whole crowd.

See the blur of pink in the lower center???? That's us!

Monday, September 19, 2005

From the Washington Post:

"I might have missed something, but I don't think the president ever talked about putting a cap on the salaries of the CEOs of Halliburton and the other companies . . . who are getting all these contracts," he said in a speech at the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank. "This president, who never met an earmark he wouldn't approve or a millionaire's tax cut he wouldn't promote, decided to slash wages for the least of us and the most vulnerable."
---John Edwards on the suspension of the Davis-Bacon Act post-Katrina.

I agree. That just frosts my cookies. How DARE he cut the wages of the people who are going to do the hard work rebuilding those cities and their lives. He's either heartless or clueless...though assuming he's one or the other gives him a lot of credit, because I'm sure both paradigms are present.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Today was the Regularly Scheduled CodePink in the Park, and we had a nice turnout. There were 20 of us, and many had never been there with us before. It was great. About 8 regulars and the rest new people. Afterwards, we sat on the grass and discussed the trip to DC.

This group of women who joined us today are mostly around my age. (That is, 46, in case you've missed that tidbit before) They have an email discussion group that's not associated with any particular organization. They're all politically interested women who talk about issues amongst themselves in an email list. Cool, eh? So they have about 25 people on their list that are going to DC this week. One woman has compiled everyone's info (cell number, hotel, dates we'll be there), and will be sending everyone a spreadsheet with all the details so we can hook up once we're there. Another is making calls to the local Air America station to ask them to announce one of our email addresses so anyone else in SD who's going can join us if they like. She's also arranging to call a couple of the local phone-in shows from DC.

We made plans to meet for dinner one evening and breakfast another, and talked about who our representatives are that we'll be seeing. We had to figure out who's seeing who so we can make group appointments. I've also signed up on the UPJ site for lobbying day and they hooked me up with another Davis constituent. She's already in the area because her husband works back there, and she told me the local news is saying they're expecting 100,000. I'm really curious to see what the demographics will be for this event. I think nearly everyone in our group is female and between the ages of 40 and 70. That may or may not be typical.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

from the NBC blog by Brian Williams...

The motorcade route through the district was partially lit no more than 30 minutes before POTUS drove through. And yet last night, no more than an hour after the President departed, the lights went out. The entire area was plunged into total darkness again, to audible groans. It's enough to make some of the folks here who witnessed it... jump to certain conclusions.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Hey kiddies. What's new?

Not much new here. Just working, and working, and working some more. That's ok...I cherish my comp time.

I'm going to Washington DC next Thursday. Woo and hoo. I'm looking forward to it. We'll have a little work and a little play. The rally, march and concert are on Saturday. Steve Earle, Joan Baez and Sweet Honey in the Rock will be there, and other bands I've not heard of before. There's a "green festival" both days. They're having several speakers I'd like to hear. Amy Goodman, Greg Palast, Medea Benjamin, Eleanor Smeal, Dennis Kucinich, for example. Not sure what all we'll do on Sunday other than a lobbying day training in preperation for Monday. I might check out the "non-denominational worship service" on Sunday. Some free time would be nice too. We have a few "must do" things, but we've left it flexible too.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Hey ya.

The challenge is over, thank god. I'm tired of thinking about it. Anyway, of course the PWs kicked our butts as we knew they would. We spread the word through email and personal contacts, and did a couple fundraisers. (at Dog Beach for the Humane Society, collection at the After Crawford event, and of course some of the infamous swap meet fundraiser money). We raised a grand total of about $1,800.00. I just looked at the PW site and they're saying they raised about $11,000, which is a good thing. I knew they'd get all competitive, and wouldn't be able to resist crushing us. Fine with me. When this all started I didn't think about them spreading the word across the land, but they did. I was just thinking local since it was the local them against the local us. I didn't have any intention of doing this on behalf of CP on a wide scale. Apparently some of them think that's what we were doing. Funny. We never suggested we'd do that. One of the reasons we didn't get lots of donations was because a lot of people don't like their aggressive harrassment techniques and the moronic name calling, and wouldn't have anything to do with them. Not that I like that stuff, but we figured doing this would be a way to raise a bunch of money, take the high road with people who were giving us crap, and to get a couple of them to treat us like human beings. Trying to do the peace thang, baby.

We'll see about the reaction to the difference in money though. I figure they'll make assumptions about our employment status again.

(edit- the total Total was more in the ballpark of $15,000. I don't have exact numbers)

Saturday, September 10, 2005

I should mention that I've been assured that the phone sex thing was an "honest mistake". Right number, wrong area code. Make of that what you will.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Hi there. Me again.

I've gotten a good deal of negative email about The Challenge, from both sides. I don't really understand the mentality that it would take to send a complete stranger an email that says "you're evil" or "you're selfish" or "you're ignorant" or "fuck you". I do understand the Code Pink folks who are worried because of their own past personal experiences with the Protest Warriors. We just had to make a decision that was right for us, and we did.

I know who I'm dealing with here in this "competition". Frankly, I have little confidence we can "beat" them, but that's not the point afaic. The reaction we've received has been overwhelmingly negative, and I will be pleasantly surprised if it's competitive in the end. But what are they going to do, mock us? They do that already. Send us nasty emails? They do that already too. Claim they're more "generous" than us? Petty and ridiculous. No matter what happens, money has been raised and that's part of our goal. They've already raised about $8,000. Would they have done that without the challenge? Nope. We started later, and our folks don't tend to have that "crush them" mentality that they do, so we don't have near that much

All I can be is responsible for MY behavior, and I feel that I'd be a hypocrite by saying I work for peace, but I can't even attempt a de-escalation of tensions between them and us. As it is, at least the leadership of these two little groups are speaking civily to one another at the moment. There's always that slight chance they'll realize they're talking to actual human beings here who are sincere about what they're doing, and get out of our faces a little bit. If ONE person did that, I'd be happy. If it turns into some ugly scene, it won't be my doing. That's all I can care about or control. So maybe it's silly or naive, but that's ok with me.

I'm just venting because we've caught hell from all sides, and it's on my mind.

It's not been an easy week. sigh....

Thursday, September 08, 2005

And since we've been dealing with them this week, both C and I have received a lot of nasty email. We weren't getting much before this week, but now...ach! I've yet to determine if associating with these folks is worth it. They'd better raise a whole bunch of money.
Funny how things happen sometimes.....

We received an email from the SD Protest Warriors earlier this week. As their name implies, they don't much care for people who protest. They suggested that instead of going to Washington DC on Sept 24, we give all that money we would be spending to Katrina victims, and they'd match it. We'll we had no intention of canceling our trip just because they don't want us to go, but we did like the idea of using the circumstances to raise some money for organizations that are helping with disaster relief in the Gulf States. So, we told them we've already given $100 to the Red Cross, and we had $125 to send to Veterans for Peace who are helping out in Covington, LA. We also have another $290.00 that isn't earmarked for anything in particular, so we told them we'd contribute that if they'd match it. They agreed. Long story got more complicated and turned into some kind of a big competition in their minds

There are definitely two schools of thought about this. What a nice olive branch to extend in the name of peace and helping our fellow humans, vs. WHAT!? ARE YOU NUTS!!!??? We've decided to do this using approach number one. We have a couple fundraising ideas for this weekend. More on that later.

The local PW's posted the details on their website, and it was picked up by Michelle Malkin and posted in her blog, so according to PW, they're getting offers of donations from all over the country. Curiouser and curiouser.

edit! I just talked to Candace and she said Mr PW sent her a phone number to call at 5:30 to be interviewed on the Roger Hedgecock Show, and when she called it turned out to be a phone sex line. These guys are just jerking more ways than one. Obviously we're dealing with a severe case of testosterone poisoning.

So the plan now is this...we'll promote our part of the joint fundraiser for the Red Cross, we'll hold our already planned fundraiser for the Humane Society this weekend and we don't care that it doesn't go to the challenge total, and we'll move on even more secure in the knowledge that we tried to take the high road and do the right thing. If they want to just puff themselves up at our expense to promote their own cause, that's nothing but a sign of desperation and it doesn't touch me. What a bunch of fools. I knew that already, but use this situation to jerk us around is moronic, at best. My initial suspicion about them seems to have been correct.

Soooooo....If anyone cares to make a contribution to the American Red Cross, and is willing to send me a copy of their receipt in an email to, we can count it toward the Code Pink San Diego total. Thank you, dahlinks.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

In case you've wondered why I don't have comments turned on, it's because I prefer to think of this as kind of a journal rather than a conversation. You can always send me email if you've got something to say. Something nice, preferably.
The Protest Warriors showed up at our regularly scheduled rally today. They're tiring. I think "what would buddha do" and I don't let them get to me, and I don't respond and I remind others not to respond because their purpose for being there is to provoke us and then use our responses against us. They carry tape recorders and cameras, and they wave big flags and signs that say support our troops. They are protesting us though, not promoting anything. They hurl insults and call us names. We still get more positive response than they do, but their presence also encourages a lot more people to be insulting as they drive by. However the flip side of THAT, is that we get more people being supportive. A couple pulled over to me and said, "what are those people over there trying to say" and I told her, "they say that we don't support the troops, but half the anti-war activists I meet are somehow affiliated with the military or are military families, so I don't know what they're trying to say. I think they just want us to shut up." She said, thanks for not shutting up.
The problem is that the Protest Warriors sometimes acheive their goal because some people won't join us anymore, simply because of them. They ARE just trying to get us to shut up, and they frighten people into shutting up. They absolutely do not want people feeling comfortable expressing opinions that are not aligned with what they decide is right. And they say we're un-American fascists? Anyway, we did good today and as soon as we packed up, so did they. We went to the bloodmobile afterwards, and two of them were THERE giving blood too. Candace ended up laying next to one of them giving blood, and she told the woman to make sure her bf takes her out for a nice steak dinner tonight. I hope Candace's presence there shocked them into realizing they were spending their Sunday harrassing nice people. A girl can dream, can't she?

Anyway, they must be on our email list because they were telling us we should give the $600 we raised at the swap meet to Katrina victims. Sure....just as soon as they completely drain their bank accounts, we will too. We did raise $225 so far, so that particular charge didn't sting one bit. They said George Soros is supporting us...ha! Double ha! I was called a commie, a fascist and un-American all in one day, and was probably flipped off a dozen times. At least. That's what tells me I'm doing my job. It's the activist's paycheck. :-)

Gah....I got so focused on the anti-free speech weirdos I almost forgot to mention that the local news was there when I arrived and they interviewed some of us, and I think he probably talked to the Protest Fascists too. I just didn't see that, one way or the other. I was a little late today.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

My goal here at blogger has a mixed purpose because it has evolved over time. I've been thinking about how I use this space, and have decided that I'm going to use it to announce events I'm involved or affiliated with, report on my own activism, post links to relevant or interesting articles, and occasionally rant a teensy little bit. I didn't know what it would become when I first started this endeavor.

I've sub-titled this place Confessions of a Reluctant Activist, because frankly I'd rather be laying under a palm tree on a sandy beach with the cabana boy serving me pina colada and rubbing lotion on my back, but here I am instead....attending meetings, organizing, protesting, attending vigils, blogging in my little blog, and thinking all the freaking time about this damnable war. I am completely unable to sit silently by while these things are happening. The human and financial cost of this war is unacceptable to me.

Don't get me wrong....I'm not unhappy about what I'm doing. I'm just unhappy that I have to do it. I wish that it where not so.....

Today's mind-numbing statistic: The financial cost of war to the state of California as of 9/3/05 has thus far been $24,216,807,900.00 which is enough to build 1,727,449 low cost housing units. Instead, we're building over a dozen military bases in Iraq.

The priorities of the administration disgust me, so I see it as my responsibility as a citizen to express that opinion. My hope is that my standing up in opposition will enable others to do the same. We've been fearfully silent for much too long.
Copied from Activist San Diego....

9/3/05 6:00PM Report from Crawford
LOCATION: Joyce Beer Community Center, 3900 Vermont Ave,
Hillcrest, San Diego
North County Coalition for Peace & Justice:

After Crawford: Where Do We Go from Here?

San Diego, Saturday, Sept. 3, 2005: As Cindy Sheehan takes her vigil on the road with the Bring Them Home Now Tour, peace activists in San Diego will be considering how to build on the momentum started in Crawford. A group of local activists who traveled to Crawford will lead a discussion of ideas they took from the experience at a gathering in Hillcrest Saturday evening.

Following the Arlington West Memorial at Balboa Park
earlier in the day, the forum will be held at the Joyce Beers Community
Center ( 1 ½ blocks north of University on Vermont St. on your right.)
from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM. Crawford alumni who will be contributing to the
discussion include Jim Brown, Julie Decker, Lynn Gonzalez, Bill
Cadwallader, Susan Christenson, Jeannie Soverns and Julie Thompson.
The event, sponsored by North County Coalition for Peace and Justice,
Vets for Peace - San Diego, Activist San Diego and Code Pink, is open to
the public. A $5 donation is suggested.
Well, I most certainly am not a very good Be The News-type blogger. If I were, I probably wouldn't wait 5 days to post about events, but there you go. I bin bizzy.

Last Monday Bush was in town to give a speech "justifying" the war in Iraq (I don't quite understand how he does that when there is no justification, but there you go.) He stayed in Coronado, so people gathered along Ocean Blvd starting around 6pm for a candlelight vigil. Some reports said there were "dozens", some said 600. I wouldn't be surprised if it were closer to 1,000. We stretched WAAAAAAY down the sidewalk.

Overall, it was great. It was a vigil and not a rally or protest, so the goal was quiet, but that was impossible with so many people. Not bad for a group that size though. There wasn't much shouting, but there was some singing. There were a group of counter protestors across the street, but at the most there were 40-50 and they were all recruited from a radio station to heckle us and shout vile things so there wasn't a lot of credibility there. They had signs that said things like "I'm only here for the girls" but they gave the media the ability to insist there were actual counter protesters there so I guess they did their job. They tried to drown us out by singing God Bless America, but many of the vigil crowd joined in and drown THEM out instead...after that the vigilers went on and sang America the Beautiful. It was dueling patriotism! Funny. However, they eventually got uglier and more worrisome, so the police had to surround them to keep them on their side of the street. Finally at about 10 to 9, the police told us we should break it up because they were concerned about our safety. They said they'd keep the counterprotesters surrounded there while we made our way to our cars. So we did.

BUT....their presence didn't stop nearly 1,000 people from holding this vigil. Fernando Suarez de Solar was there and he spoke to the press and the crowd. He's a very moving speaker, who's son was one of the first American casualties in Iraq and he has since founded Guerrero Azteca here in San Diego. The Coalition for Peace and Justice built a beautiful alter, covered in flowers and candles and Mr. Suarez placed a photo of his son in his military dress uniform among the flowers. There were many military families and Vets there, and one gentleman stood on the riprap and played "taps" as the sun sunk into the ocean. Very moving and beautiful. Then everyone lit their candles, and we stood there until nearly 9pm. I doubt Bush even looked out his window to set his eyes upon us, but we were there and the peace movement is growing strong so we will be there again and again and again.