Monday, May 21, 2007

Every Arizonan, Every American, should read this Arizona Herald article.

What will they say about us in 50 years?

"The locals had to know what was going on in there!"

I can't put a number on the many times I have heard this said in regard to the Polish people who lived near the worst of the worst of the concentration camps established by Nazi Germany. My suspicions and those of very well informed individuals who have meticulously researched the topic leads me to believe the very same sort of thing will be said about Americans, southern Arizonans to be specific, who now live parallel, consciously blindered, lives around Fort Huachuca.

Is it fair. Probably not. Most don't know. The dumbing down of America has distanced most of our citizens from critical thinking skills once taught in one room schools houses. Our working conditions/hours - among the worst in the "Developed World" keep most folks too tired and too busy to have time to contemplate issues in any depth. But those of us who have slipped through the cracks somehow have no excuse for allowing these attrocities -- albeit at a different networked level -- to be orchestrated from our backyards.

Uber-conservative fundamentalist Christians may not like to have monies go toward reproductive technologies that ultimately liberate women from the tyranny of biological accident -- well Uber-progressive inclusionist Gaiasts (Gaia-ists?) are just as adamant about refusing to allow genocide and radioactive poisoning of our earth and people. But Gaia isn't theological. It is cutting edge understanding of our worlds delicate balance. We have to stop allowing ignorance to be marketed and exported from the U.S. Words are far more powerful than bullets. That is why the words that come out of Fort Huachuca must be stopped.

"Fort Sneezy," some call it as the name spills out, "Waa-chew-kah" in same often mispronouned fashion that the noble saguaros that define the northern Sonoran Desert landscape that surrounds the Fort and its surrounding city of Sierra Vista. Sierra Vista is an Army town. The people there know what goes on inside the fences of the U.S. Army intelligence training post. They just don't like to think about it.

Read this article:
Priests Claim Torture; Arizona Army Post Says No and start thinking Tucson.
We have no excuse to feign ignorance.

The people in Tucson do know. I don't have permission to use her name, so I won't, but I can tell you about the swell of compassion that filled me when I heard a retired woman say in a local church gathering that she does all she can, but that she just cannot risk any political protest that could end up in arrest -- again. Her 6 months in a Federal Prison for protesting at the School of the Americas (renamed WHINSAC in an attempt to say that SOA has been closed) torture training was nothing she can stand to endure again.

I'm not going to compare my experience to hers, that would be ludicrous. My experience is milk sop compared to what she has known and survived. But the techniques that were used to attempt to silence her for her actions at Fort Benning, Georgia in and the techniques that are used to intimidate locals activists in Tucson are of the same ilk and probably carried out by folks responding to the same orders. See: Build Peace: It's Starting To Get Personal the blog post where I discuss the attacts on peaceful demonstrators by thugs who lauch their assaults from the private property that shields the local Armry recruiters from protests. Only Freepers and Republicans can protest or demonstrate on this private property. (Why is the Army allowed to hide behind private property restrictions, anyway? But that is best left for discussion in another post.)

SOA protesters are routinely arrested and jailed or imprisoned in an attempt to silence them. And some voices are more quiet after release, but the voice of their stories continue to loudly and clearly announce to an ever growing group of listeners.

Arrests of peaceful protestors in Tucson are getting to be fairly common place, but the voices will not stop. Reporting will continue through independent media and citizen journalism.

Peaceful marchers shot with "pepper" bullets.

Journalist arested on U of A campus.

Tucson Grannies among scores of "Grannies" across the nation arrested for attempt to enlist.

Christian Peacemakers Arrested

8 arrested in Tucson at Raytheon

To help you understand some of the overall climate in Arizona, we've been taught to turn our heads away from unpleasant governmental abuses for quite some time. This recent incident is a good summary.

"Here is another example of censorship. Louise Benally, Navajo, is resisting forced relocation on Navajo lands at Big Mountain, Ariz., where Peabody Coal attorneys orchestrated the so-called Navajo-Hopi Land Dispute. Louise compared the Long Walk and imprisonment at Bosque Redondo, N.M., in the 1860s to the war in Iraq and the U.S. treatment of women and children in Iraq. The article was censored. Louise's ancestors were among those who witnessed the rapes, murders and starvation of Navajos on the Long Walk and during imprisonment at Fort Sumner."

Okay, that is all I can write for now. Can't even proof this. I wish I had more time to make a smoother presentation and be a bit less in your face, but I am caring for my invalid 92 year old mother 24/7 -- and this even though I'm one of those folks accused of having no "family values." Yeah. Right.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Roll Call article on The Pink House: CODEPINK: On the Hill to Stay

CODEPINK: On the Hill to Stay
By Bree Hocking
Roll Call Staff

May 16, 2007

CODEPINK has staged anti-war demonstrations at the offices of Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), disrupted committee hearings, chanted songs in Capitol Hill hallways and unfurled banners in the Hart Building.

But if some Members of Congress were hoping this female-led group would eventually go away, they'll be sorely disappointed.

Earlier this spring, after spotting a listing on , CODEPINK signed a one-year lease on a row house near Union Station — giving the colorful group a semipermanent base of operation within walking distance of its intended audience.

"I hope [Members] are shaking in their boots," says 60-year-old Ann Wright, a retired U.S. Army colonel and diplomat, who resigned her post at the U.S. Embassy in Mongolia in protest against the war. Wright, who is now a full-time activist, frequently stays at the house when she's in Washington, D.C.

Aside from a CODEPINK bumper sticker on the front entrance and a feminine doormat out front, there isn't much to distinguish the rather nondescript brick walk-up at 712 Fifth St. NE from its neighbors. A lone green sign in the yard reads: "Impeach Him."

Inside, however, lies a veritable pink wonderland. Living room walls are papered in anti-war and anti-President Bush signs that have been used at protests. There's a communal computer for blogging and a TV nearly continuously turned to CNN or C-SPAN. A pink straw hat is perched on a lampshade. Pink feather boas hang from a row of hallway hooks. There's a board listing contact information for the current occupants of the House and a map with pushpins showing where they hail from. Another board lists potential targeted news conferences, briefings and hearings for each day. A bookshelf is stocked with copies of the Constitution.

About 60 women — ranging from elementary-school-age to grandmothers — have slept in the five-bedroom, four-level house for stays that average about a week. There's an online application for admission to the house, which is typically reserved for "core organizers," says Barnard College graduate Rae Abileah, 24, CODEPINK's local groups coordinator.

"It's like a sorority house but better," says Dana Balicki, a bright-eyed, 26-year-old who grew up in the San Fernando Valley and has been working for CODEPINK since getting involved "right before" the 2004 Republican National Convention.

And like a sorority, there's a house mother. Desiree Fairooz, a 50-year-old former librarian and schoolteacher who left behind her family in Arlington, Texas, to join the cause, is "our mama," Balicki says.

CODEPINK doesn't like the word "rules," Fairooz says, although there are a few house guidelines that include respecting yourself and embracing the "feminist/womanist principles" of "anti-racism" and "cooperation."

That's all good in theory, but how do roughly 20 women share two and a half bathrooms — yes, there are pink shower curtains — peaceably? Just fine, asserts Fairooz, noting that a 15-minute limit in the bathroom is suggested.

Food comes in part from donations — a local activist who collects bread for the needy also helps supply CODEPINKers. "We've been needy lately," Fairooz explains. There also are periodic runs to Costco, and everybody who stays at the house pays $5 per day into a general grocery fund. Given the short stays, the kitchen cupboards' contents are labeled for easy usage. Chores are a shared responsibility. A pink sign tacked to the dishwasher warns that the current load is "dirty."

CODEPINK co-founder Jodie Evans says the group — which emerged in the months leading up to the U.S. invasion of Iraq and whose name is a spoof on the Department of Homeland Security's color-coded threat level system — was inspired to lease the house after a group of CODEPINK activists had briefly rented a house on the Hill and found the "community" they shared there "nurturing." Having an official house, Evans adds, allows the group "to work closer together" and to respond "more quickly" to events around Washington. The $2,200-a-month rent is paid through member donations.

And the coolest room in the house? That's the basement "peace room," says 8-year-old Autumnrain Symphony, who arrived last week with her mom, Deidra Lynch, to take part in Mother's Day peace activities. "It's my favorite place," the bespectacled fourth-grader confides, before breaking out into a rendition of a protest song to the tune of "God Bless America." In the "peace room," Autumnrain says she can escape the other "crowded" rooms and play dress-up with the various costumes and props the group keeps for its demonstrations.

The costume choices are plentiful, notes Fairooz. For instance, she says, if CODEPINKers were headed to an event with embattled Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, they might "go as pink police" to show they wanted "to arrest him." There also are pink scrubs hanging from ceiling pipes — which are useful when offering prescriptions to lawmakers "to make America well," she says — and even a pink sequined "I Miss America" gown. In other parts of the room, pink tulle is wrapped around the ceiling pipes. A pink curtain attached to the ceiling doubles as a screen for movie nights. There also are stockpiles of paint and brushes for making signs.

It's in the "peace room" that nightly strategy sessions are held to discuss which Members and hearings to target the following day.

Being a female-dominated group, it's not surprising that tips on dressing also come up. "If you went to Gonzales and were wearing torture clothing, you would be appropriately dressed for the Judiciary" hearing later that day, Medea Benjamin, a CODEPINK co-founder, tells the assembled group Monday night. Abileah even models their new pink tunics, the fabric for which was donated by Danny DeVito's wife, Rhea Perlman.

So far, neighbors haven't minded the activity at the house, these women say One family brought a card with a $200 donation that represented part of its tax refund for the year. Another local woman painted scenes of Capitol Hill houses, which now adorn the walls of the house.

While the occasional man who stays at the house is generally relegated to the basement, several men have helped outfit the digs. One drove from Indianapolis to build the women bunk beds. Another bought them a rickshaw-style, pedaled cart, kept out back behind the house, to carry those who have trouble walking.

When the activists return in the evening after a day of "actions," the house serves as a place to regroup and network. Given the flow of people who drift in and out, a relatively low-key vibe dominates. In the tiny backyard — which features pink impatiens and geraniums — a male Army nurse who recently returned from service in Iraq hangs out with a cowboy hat-wearing Vietnam War-era veteran from Texas who sports a ponytail. Both men took part in an anti-war march earlier that day. Inside the house, Midge Potts, a self- described "transgender activist" who lives as a woman though she was born a man and who ran against then-House Majority Whip Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) in his GOP primary last summer, is on her cell phone organizing people to pick up those who were arrested while protesting that day. In an upstairs bedroom, women count the money they've collected to help bail out those who were arrested.

At the end of the day, lights-out times vary, says Evans, who works out of one of CODEPINK's California offices but stays at the house when in D.C. "We don't have to have rules. You have respect. You figure it out."

And anyhow, at least for the moment, the occupants appear to be mainly an early-rising crew. A few minutes before 8 a.m. Tuesday, several women pile into a car to head over to the National Press Club, where Gonzales is scheduled to headline a breakfast.

Just then, Lori Perdue, 38, stumbles into the kitchen yawning. "We were doing jail support till 5:30 a.m.," says the poet, mother of two and former Air Force radio broadcaster, who was inspired to join CODEPINK by Cindy Sheehan's anti-war activism.

Elizabeth Barger, a 71-year-old woman with long gray braids who lives on a cooperative farm in Tennessee, offers to make Perdue some eggs so she can get ready to take Barger to the Hill to look for Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.). Barger has been through this before. She remembers marching against the Vietnam War and in earlier anti-violence protests in the 1970s, but this is worse, she believes. "We know better" now, she says.

So will CODEPINK renew its lease when it comes up next March?

Evans hopes the group doesn't have to.

"When that's up we hope the soldiers are home from Iraq," she says

Apply to join us at the CODEPINK House in DC today! Come for the actions or join a weeklong training. Full details:


Thursday, May 10, 2007

The Battle Her of the Republic

As you may know, Julia Ward Howe wrote the Battle Hymn of the Republic as well as making the proclamation for a Mother's Day where women might get together to take counsel from each other so that we might have our sons (& daughters) no longer kill each other that we all now know simply as Mother's Day.

Here is a reworked version of the Battle Hymn of the Republic that is followed Julia Ward Howe's original Mother's Day Proclamation.

The Battle Her of the Republic

Originally written as The Battle Hymn of the Republic by Julia Ward Howe
Rewritten by Beth Osnes

Mine eyes have seen the need
for love and giving to grow strong
I have seen our hungry children
turned away for far too long
Mother‚s when will we assert what
we find right and we find wrong
Our truth has lost its way

Mine eyes have seen our virtues
blinded to us by our greed
We have bought and sold and scavenged
way beyond our real need
Now the poorest just grow poorer
while the richest just succeed
Our truth must find its way
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
Sing loud our truth today!

Not a gal standing before you
wants a war to solve our strife
We have seen the waste and bloodshed
from the workings of the knife
When vengeance is our path
then only hatred will be rife
Our truth can find its way

From our hands to corporations
Governments been bought and sold
We see the power transferred and
Can’t say we’ve not been told
But now its time for people over profit
People! Young and old!
Our truth will find its way

I see a new tomorrow where the
seeds of hope grow strong
Where our voices sing out loud and
guide the struggle hard and long
But our joy will be the bounty of
well kids who all belong
Our truth is here to stay

Imagine food, health, safety for
our children one and all
Education, dignity in winter,
summer, spring and fall
Rise up you sleeping giant, Motherhood!
You’ve heard your call
Sing loud our truth today!
(Refrain ˆ 2 times!)

Julia Ward Howe's Mother's Day Proclamation - 1870

Arise then...women of this day!
Arise, all women who have hearts!
Whether your baptism be of water or of tears!

Say firmly:
"We will not have questions answered by irrelevant agencies,
Our husbands will not come to us, reeking with carnage,
For caresses and applause.
Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn
All that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience.
We, the women of one country,
Will be too tender of those of another country
To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs."

From the bosom of a devastated Earth a voice goes up with
Our own. It says: "Disarm! Disarm!
The sword of murder is not the balance of justice."
Blood does not wipe out dishonor,
Nor violence indicate possession.
As men have often forsaken the plough and the anvil
At the summons of war,
Let women now leave all that may be left of home
For a great and earnest day of counsel.
Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead.
Let them solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means
Whereby the great human family can live in peace...
Each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar,
But of God -
In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask
That a general congress of women without limit of nationality,
May be appointed and held at someplace deemed most convenient
And the earliest period consistent with its objects,
To promote the alliance of the different nationalities,
The amicable settlement of international questions,
The great and general interests of peace.

CODEPINK in Senate Hearings -- CODEPINK in the Heartland

See what it is like with CODEPINK at a hearing. This is very much like my experience when I was in hearings in Jan -Feb of this year -- except the police appear to not be arresting or tossing out quite as readily as they were when we were first there.

Lest we forget, these are just normal women. Liz from Phoenix. Lori from Indianapolis. Sue and Nina from NW Indiana. The current peace movement has spread into and grown deep roots in the heartland. The peace movement has always been in Indiana due to the presence of significant religious peace-oriented communities, and now is no different. Fort Wayne has peaceful activists from North Manchster, Indiana being arrested in Lugar's office. Hammond has activists outside Bayh's office being arrested for reading the names of the Indiana War dead.

These photos are from the Hammond action outside Bayh's office.

We are not going away. We're just Jane Six Pack and we we're taking our country back.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

These Senators KNEW!!

These senators knew the true story per Iraq before we went to war -- I hope every single one of their offices are flooded with calls expressing outrage and asking for impeachment of Bush and Cheney -- and asking for an apology from all committee members.

Or better yet -- get your fannies to their offices and demand accountablility as pink friends in Indiana will be doing tomorrow at Bayh's office. Bayh, Feinstein, Rockefeller, Edwards are very special cases as they are Democrats who voted in committee with the Republicans to go to war despite knowing that the case for war is a lie.

This reprinted from The News Hole for educational/informational purposes only.

Where Were You People

When We Needed You?

Posted: Friday, April 27, 2007 12:15 PM by Countdown

Some of what we're working on for tonight...

Former CIA Director George J. Tenet has a new book out, so apparently he's in the clear now to begin telling us some of the truth about how the administration got us into the Iraq war. In the book, titled “At the Center of the Storm,” Tenet says “There was never a serious debate that I know of within the administration about the imminence of the Iraqi threat,” nor, “was there ever a significant discussion” about the possibility of containing Iraq without an invasion.

Tenet complains in the book, and in an upcoming 60 Minutes interview, that the administration misused and twisted his "slam dunk" comment about the evidence of WMD in Iraq to justify the invasion, then later to deflect blame to Tenet and the CIA when the weapons were not found.

It didn't stop him from later accepting the Presidential Medal of Freedom (above), though he says in the book, he was "not at all sure he wanted to accept" it.

But he did.

On the TODAY show, White House lawyer Dan Bartlett was the designated hatchet man sent out to discredit yet another adminstration official with a dangerous book. Bartlett said, "I am a bit confused by that because we have never indicated the president made the sole decision based on that 'slam dunk' comment."

But in fact, they did "indicate that." Vice President Dick Cheney on Meet The Press September 10, 2006, told Tim Russert"
"when George Tenet sat in the Oval Office and the president of the United States asked him directly, he said, 'George, how good is the case against Saddam on weapons of mass destruction?' the director of the CIA said, 'It’s a slam dunk, Mr. President, it’s a slam dunk.' That was the intelligence that was provided to us at the time, and based upon which we made a choice."
Much more on this tonight, along with the amazing statement of Democratic Senator Richard Durbin, who said this week that he knew the American people were being lied to in the run-up to the Iraq war, but kept quiet about it, because due to his position on the Senate Intelligence Committee, he was sworn to secrecy.

The White House has always said that the Congress voted to go to war based on the same intelligence the president had, but Durbin says that is simply not true.

"The information we had in the Intelligence Committee was not the same information being given to the American people. I couldn't believe it," Durbin said Wednesday.

"I was angry about it. (But) frankly, I couldn't do much about it because, in the Intelligence Committee, we are sworn to secrecy. We can't walk outside the door and say the statement made yesterday by the White House is in direct contradiction to classified information that is being given to this Congress."

Something could have been done. Something should have been done. And while the failures of these two men pale in comarison to those of the administration that used them, we find it difficult to celebrate the forthrightness of Tenet and Durbin, who both suddenly found candor four and a half years too late.

Adding... this is the rest of the membersip of the Senate Intelligence Committee at the time, each of whom - according to Durbin - would have known that the American people were being lied to (includes how they voted on the Iraq war resolution)

Democrats Republicans