Sunday, August 31, 2008

Code Pink: Policing the Police!

After a successful experience at the DNC, Code Pink's unconventional women have arrived in Minneapolis, where we are hoping for another week of peaceful, positive dissent and friendly interaction with the public -- and with the police... we hope.

Only that might be easier said than done...

Police. Cops. Coppers. Officers. Pigs. Stormtroopers. Jack-booted thugs. The Boys in Blue. First responders.

How do you refer to our friends in law enforcement? Probably, like most anyone else, it depends on your opinion of their conduct -- especially with respect to YOU.

In Denver we met all types.

Code Pinkers at a myriad of venues described a massive police presence, frequent professionalism, some courtesy, some friendliness, some glaring silence, some excessive forcefulness, and, in one instance that I'm aware of, a taste of brutality:

Our little Alicia -- diminutive, bold, energetic, and idealistic -- said the wrong thing to the wrong cop and took a club to the chest, knocking her to the ground. I'm sorry, but I've seen the video (link above), and I can't imagine any context that would have justified such a violent response on the part of this officer... especially against one so physically non-threatening as Alicia (I have seen the smallest and most skittish of creatures on this earth stroll right up to Alicia, yawn, stretch, and curl up against her... chipmunks, birds, butterflies, Dick Cheney's conscience, you name it).

...and when the coppers dragged her away, it seemed obvious that the only purpose behind that action was to prevent her from telling the media her story -- otherwise, why wouldn't they have arrested her at the time they knocked her to the ground, if she had committed some terrible offense? (No, it was only after she started giving an interview in front of a camera that she became Public Enemy No. 1...)

Probably the most disturbing report from Denver, however, was the fact that so many of the police were unadorned with name tags, badge numbers, or any visible form of identification. If this is the case, as has been reported, then I don't know just what kind of police presence our government desires at America's political conventions: Nameless, faceless riot cops who are able to club folks and let fly with the pepper spray with impunity, knowing they can't be identified?

That doesn't sound too much like America to me. I prefer an America where no one is above the law, where the police at least attempt to be exemplars of the laws they enforce, and where dissent doesn't get you clobbered by some overzealous testosterone case who has seen too many Steven Segall flicks.*

But that regrettable incident was by no means representative of Code Pink's entire experience with the police in Denver.

Several Pinkies reported pleasant, peaceful, friendly interactions with Denver's finest, characteristic of the types of interactions we are accustomed to having with the police here in DC, who regularly talk with us and even enjoy a laugh with us.

Having had a chance to get to know us, the Capital Police know that Code Pink is made up of friendly, non-violent, everyday Americans with reasonable concerns about our government. They also know that we're willing to work with them and that we respect their authority, especially when they are acting in accordance with the law and not just acting like bullies (mostly it's the new, young, inexperienced cops who fit the latter description).

[Code Pink with some of our cycling enthusiast friends on the force in Denver]

With peace in our hearts, a song in our chest, and bright pink stickers in our bags, Code Pink always hopes for the best -- and usually that's what we bring out in people -- but Minneapolis sounds like it is going to be difficult to negotiate... even for peace-loving peaceniks like ourselves.

Already, Code Pinkers are reporting massive police presence and aggressive, even hostile, actions on the part of the police. Unlike Denver, the police in Minneapolis are apparently arresting progressives PREEMPTIVELY, and holding them for days -- before they even get the chance to protest.

Already, stories are emerging of police pulling over vehicles and dragging out their hapless occupants with guns drawn and pointed at their heads!

And totally peaceful activists, we've been told, have had their homes raided by police who have also pointed their guns at the heads of those they are arresting!

The police in Minneapolis have descended on the convergence center set up for protesters and arrested several people without any apparent cause, seizing laptops and other electronics. They have closed off the entire perimeter of the convention center to bicycles and even strollers. And they are holding people for days without charge.

These are the kinds of actions that get police labeled “stormtroopers” and “thugs.” (I mean I know that the Republicans are coming to town, but hey, I thought President Bush was leaving office come January and that John McCain, like Senator Obama, was running on a “Change” platform -- this sounds like more of the worst of the same!)

*(How many Segall flicks is “too many?” you ask. The answer, my cinema-phile friends, is one-tenth of ONE.)

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Alicia's OK!

From e-mail:
Alicia Forrest, who was arrested Tuesday, was released from the Denver City Jail Tuesday night and is fine! A bit bruised, but fine. She has been out and about. She is talking with her attorney about filing charges. She's surprised about the incident, since the police had been relatively friendly to her up until that point.
Excellent news!


Wednesday, August 27, 2008

And Now a Few Words About the 2008 Election and the “Liberal” Media

by James O'Donnell

In yesterday's blog I mentioned that Ted Kennedy and Michelle Obama had their big moments on Day One of the Democratic National Convention (my tone, I must admit, was sort of condescendingly “whoop-de-frikkin'-doo”).

By the time I was done with that blog, I had also ripped into Nancy Pelosi a bit for not knowing her power (ironically) and for neglecting both her mandate and oath of office.

Before a lot of Dems get upset with me, I should clarify some things about my response to yesterday's event: Yes, it was poignant to see Teddy Kennedy appear on the stage and speak with passion about his and Senator Obama's values. It was emotionally powerful to see “the Lion of the Senate” refusing to go gentle into that good night...

And yes, Michelle Obama did indeed deliver a strong, personal, and pleasingly populist speech...

And yes, her story, like her husband's, is a genuinely inspirational American story.

We can concede all of those points. (Yes, we can!)

HOWEVER, I couldn't help thinking how SAD it was to see so much of the evening spent rebutting the Republican attack machine and the corporate media's personal attacks on the Obamas!

Talk about letting the other side frame the debate!

(Oh yes, we watch “The Brady Bunch” at our house, too! Like you, we also have parents and siblings who love us, and children whom we love! Please, White, middle-of-the-road America, consider the possibility that we, too, are human beings, worthy of the designation “Americans,” despite our propensity to give one another the occasional “terrorist fist bump” -- thank you, Fox News, for that ludicrously racist gem!)

But it is, after all, a presidential election year, and





(You know the drill): Aided by the Mainstream Media (MSM) echo chamber, the far right gets to frame the debate; the nominee representing the center-right party (the alleged “Democrat”) bends over backwards to gain the approval of the far right and the MSM; and the actual political center of the country and the progressive left are neglected entirely (sorry, centrists, Lefties, and peaceniks, say goodbye to Universal Health Care, hasta la vista to quality public education, transparent government, responsible regulation, free and fair elections, gay marriage, worker protections, sustainable energy, conservation...).

Think back: From CNN to Fox to Saturday Night Live, the corporate media spent the 2000 election season basically telling us that Al Gore was an “arrogant, elitist LIAR, consumed with ambition.” They conveniently overlooked the fact that Gore never actually came close to saying that he “invented the Internet.” They apparently didn't care that the other alleged “lies” involved some minor technical errors, but that the Vice President basically had his story straight in each case -- about his role in cleaning up a seriously polluted canal in New York, about touring disaster sites in Texas with FEMA, about Florida's overcrowded classrooms (right on all counts).

It was just so darn fun, repeating those silly Republican attacks... who cared about accuracy? What were the stakes, anyway? The country was prosperous and basically at peace (it would only be more prosperous with a Republican in charge, right?).

That same media simultaneously told us that third-generation obscenely wealthy and politically connected LEGACY presidential candidate George W. Bush was an “ordinary Joe,” a simple man of “faith and values” -- perhaps not so articulate (we could relate), perhaps not so up to speed on the issues... (again, we could relate).

They told us that we disliked Al Gore and that we wanted to “have a beer with” the “compassionate” Governor of Texas (the blithe executioner aspect they did NOT cover). They also FAILED to tell us about the Governor's inattention to the details of his policies or his tendency of letting ideologues and cronies run the show (for instance allowing his buddy, Ken Lay, to appoint the state official who would regulate his industry)... those trifling little details bore Americans to tears, they figured.

Four years later, the MSM told us that John Kerry was an “elitist flip-flopper who LIED about his military career” (that claim was itself a rather flimsy LIE concocted by some well-financed Republicans only superficially unconnected to the Bush campaign). Meanwhile the media conveniently overlooked the fact that President Bush actually had misrepresented his military service... not to mention the fact that he had committed several crimes while in office and knowingly taken America to war on a pack of lies (the proof was already available to the public, even back then).

And now this same corporate media is spending the 2008 campaign telling us that the Obamas are “elitist, possibly Muslim, un-patriots who aren't like YOU.”

(And they're STILL painting John McCain as a “maverick!” I'm sorry, but that “maverick” label has been obviated ever since 2004, when Mac began sucking up to George W. Bush, the same jerk whose sleazy campaign machine trashed him -- and his family -- in the 2000 primaries!)

Wake up, folks: media analysis of the past two presidential election cycles showed that George W. Bush got a pass for his lies, crimes, flip-flops, and crony-capitalist style of governance, while his Democratic opponents received disproportionately negative coverage -- not about their lousy policies (fair game, I'd say), but a bunch of claptrap generated by their political opponents about the supposedly nefarious “quality of their character” (like you couldn't do the same thing with the Bush family, with all of their nefarious connections and scandals, from Iran-Contra to Silverado to Harken to Enron to.... Only the media didn't want to damage their candidate of choice...).

What should really embarrass us as voters in a semi-democratic nation, is that it's always the same basic claptrap: The Democratic candidate is “Elitist,” “Arrogant,” and “not trustworthy” somehow...

The truth, my friends (brace yourselves), is there is no “liberal media,” despite the fact that the corporate media -- especially right-wing radio -- has so successfully created the impression that there is. (The only “liberal” media that exists in America resides in the margins, and most people in this country never even heard of some of the best journalists America has ever produced: Amy Goodman, Seymour Hersh, Ron Suskind, Naomi Klein, Antonia Juhasz, and more...).

The fake “liberals” who dominate the media are the Blitzers, Rathers, Brokaws, and such. Who among them, in the buildup to the Iraq war, give any real airtime to the many credible doubters of the case for war?

And what about the print media? Did the allegedly "liberal" New York Times do anything BUT sell the war? NO! Like the Washington Post, they buried the facts deep inside their newspaper, while giving front-page, bold headline play to the outrageously thin, clearly bogus claims known even THEN to be false (by virtually anyone who was paying attention), propaganda churned out by the Cheney-Curveball-Judy Miller cabal.

And yet, many Americans still cling to the notion that this media is “Liberal!”

(Hmmm, ever wonder why a “Liberal media” would complain so steadily about an alleged “Liberal bias” in the media? Did you ever ask yourself WHY our patently amoral -- sexist/racist/pornographic/homophobic/violence & war-loving/wealth-worshiping -- corporate media might tell us that? Hint: Maybe they want to vilify liberal/secular-humanist values and convince us that people who promote peace and justice are “kooky,” while inducing us to buy more and more worthless junk to the point that we're so in debt that we fail to notice that our democracy is going down the drain... Meanwhile they've promulgated so much fear and ignorance that most of us don't seem to mind that HALF of our nation's wealth is devoted every year to the “Defense” industry... to unproven weapons systems that threaten to spur new arms races and to arming our allies in the world... and our friends, the enemies of our allies...)

But we should ask ourselves: Are we really going to let one SNL skit, written by the same partisan hatchet man who landed body blow after body blow to Al Gore's viability in 2000 (with Gore's help, let's be fair) -- are we going to let one comedy writer, buttressed by the post-skit allegations of the Clinton camp he was assisting, tell us what to think about who is getting favorable coverage from the media this election season... rather than numerous studies conducted by independent media critics (CMPA, FAIR, Tyndall)?

But that's the new narrative which no one is allowed to contradict (Obama the “media darling”), regardless of the data -- the data which shows that nearly THREE-QUARTERS of Obama's news coverage has been negative, while roughly HALF of McCain's coverage has been negative... despite Mac's many gaffes.

(He doesn't call the media his “base” for nothing... my friends!).

The MSM played Reverend Jeremiah Wright (right out of context) on an endless loop for a month solid and decided, ultimately, to peddle the notion that Senator Clinton lost because she was the victim of a “sexist media campaign” (assisted by an allegedly sexist Obama campaign -- didn't they pull that one out of thin air?! But who cares, it damages the Democratic nominee!).

This is the same media that had all but crowned Sen. Clinton, the corporation-friendly, foreign policy hawk queen, the Democratic nominee well before the contest even began! This is the same media that overlooked Senator Clinton's Bosnia airfield LIE for weeks and weeks and barely mentioned her campaign's constant infighting, money mismanagement (stiffing their vendors), and their unsubtly racist smear campaign against Senator Obama -- conducted by surrogates Howard Wolfson, Mark Penn, Bill Shaheen, Bob (BET) Johnson, and BILL CLINTON.

Does no one else recall the angry defections from the Clinton camp, ex-supporters disappointed in their candidate's tactics, or the widespread reports emanating from the Clinton camp that this was actually a part of their strategy -- to damage Obama however they could, in order to make him appear “unelectable” -- even if it meant joining in the bigoted right-wing attacks against the party's likely nominee?

This was sheer desperation, from the candidate who knew she had blown it: Senator Obama is not a Muslim “as far as I know...” said Senator Clinton with a wink.

As conservatives have pointed out for years, in the game of politics there is no low to which the Clintons will not stoop -- and this is coming from the people that let Katherine Harris, Diebold, Ken Blackwell, and a few well-placed “loyal Bushies” rig elections for them -- the same folks who made Karl Rove “the architect” of their national campaigns over the past several years (so they know LOW... but don't take my word for it: Ask “unhinged” John McCain's “illegitimate black baby” or his “drug-addicted wife.” Dirty pool is the only game these folks know how to play.).

And STILL this media continues to spread the smears about the “secret Muslim, madrassah attending” candidate (and other unfounded nonsense -- this season's “Swift-boating”), while almost entirely neglecting the more serious issues one might legitimately take up with the candidate: Obama's ties to the nuclear industry or to scummy Mr. Rezko, Obama's support for that fake-panacea ethanol, his support for the death penalty, his moronic approach to Afghanistan (doubling down on a strategy that has backfired miserably), or countless other policy issues that Americans need to consider in weighing his candidacy.

Meanwhile, the MSM goes on ignoring the fact that Senator John McCain has his own ethics problems (past and present), and has consistently backed George Bush's agenda (his NUMBER ONE supporter in the Senate in 2007, voting with the president 95% of the time) and is himself a veritable gaffe MACHINE, leaving Joe Biden in the dust! Don't believe me? Check out the following links:


Yes, it's time for some correctives: Shall we talk character?

Senator McCain has LIED with abandon about the security situation in Baghdad, saying that he didn't even need a vest while touring the streets of Baghdad (photos and the U.S. military revealed that he needed a vest, a hundred troops, and some armored vehicles and helicopters).

Unfazed, McCain later claimed that General Petraeus traveled in an unarmored Humvee down the streets of Baghdad. (Gen. Petraeus immediately corrected the senator.) But hey, anything to sell the Surge on which he has pinned his candidacy... because apparently he would rather misrepresent a war than lose an election.

Not only that, but in order to further promote himself as the genius behind the Surge, he has revised the entire timeline of the Surge, in order to take credit for the Sunni “Awakening” that began MONTHS before the Surge began... or was even announced. (Self-serving AND inaccurate... niiice.)

And he gets to coast on the media's lazy willingness to revert to selling war in Iraq, hawking a Surge “success” that has been defined by nothing less than the ethno-sectarian cleansing of Baghdad -- the most deadly year of the entire war, for Iraqis and Americans (2007) -- coupled with the administration's cozying up to the Iranian Shi'ite faction in Iraq... while paying off virtually the entire Sunni insurgency (Fallujans and Baathists, too), giving some 90,000 of America's former enemies $300/month to stop fighting us, arming and training them (for the coming second round of Iraq's civil war), all in order to make it appear as if we have “won” least until the 2008 election is over. That $300/month ought to work for a while longer... at least until it becomes clear that the central government is NEVER going to integrate the Sunnis into the national security apparatus (which is now almost entirely Shi'ite and Kurdish). Meanwhile, there has been NO political accommodation between the rival factions, no OIL law (signing away their oil rights -- Bush's criterion, not our military's), and less than 5% of Baghdad's ONE MILLION-plus recent refugees (of the country's FIVE MILLION total refugees) have returned to their Baghdad homes... because, unlike the American people (with our 1-3 minutes of Iraq coverage per week), IRAQIS know that Baghdad is still dangerous as hell.

Okay, we've talked about Mac's honesty... Shall we talk competency?

Nearly seven years into the Global War on Terror: McCain STILL can't get it straight that al Qaeda is a SUNNI, not a SHI'ITE organization, with NO presence in IRAN. He apparently thinks that Iraq and Afghanistan SHARE A BORDER (they don't)! He still backs the torture policy that our military, including General Petraeus, have rejected as immoral, unnecessary, and counterproductive.

Senator McCain still likes to make fun of Senator Obama's proposed Pakistan policy, apparently unaware that it MIRRORS EXACTLY the current policy of the Bush administration, to whit: With the proper intelligence, the U.S. will not hesitate to target al Qaeda leaders, including bin Laden, in Pakistan's tribal areas, with or without Islamabad's permission.

(Apparently he'll go “to the gates of Hell” to get bin Laden, but not without a permission slip from the state sponsor of the TALIBAN!)

Furthermore, John McCain recently made an enormous foreign policy blunder (not that the media has covered his role in the debacle):

McCain, his International Republican Institute (an unregulated, interventionist, soft-money slush fund for lobbyists, defeated Republicans, and military contractors) and Mac's chief foreign policy advisor, Mr. Scheunneman, ALL have extraordinarily close ties to Georgia's top political leadership and have been encouraging President Saakashvili for months to continue on his reckless path toward retaking by force the breakaway provinces of Abkhazia and South Ossetia (ending a 16-year lull in major violence between Georgia and two regions which have long declared their desire for autonomy).

Now that the world has seen the catastrophic results of this bloody miscalculation, isn't it safe to say that that was a gross error of judgment on Mr. McCain's part?

With his close ties to the Bush administration couldn't McCain have consulted with President Cheney (ahem) before encouraging his pal Misha to go forward with his invasion of South Ossetia?

Widespread reports from Georgia indicate that most Georgians blame NOT the Russians but their own leadership and the American government for provoking a confrontation which they could not hope to win and then hanging them out to dry.

But the media continues to give John McCain a pass on Georgia, while hammering Obama for not condemning Russia in strong enough terms in his initial statement: a call for restraint by all parties (what a “gaffe!”).

Regarding other surprises we can expect from McCain's foreign policy: How about threatening to renew the Cold War even before this latest chapter, suggesting that he would expel Russia from the G-8? Not too smart, especially considering that a lot of America's strongest allies in Europe, including Germany and France, have strong, interdependent relationships with Russia, relationships that they're not about to compromise (especially not now, after George Bush has weakened America and damaged our reputation in the world beyond recognition); besides, Europe is dependent on Russia for one-quarter of their natural gas, something of which they are keenly aware.

Just how unstable is John McCain willing to make this world of ours? We've already turned the Middle East into a powder keg (and NO, it wasn't like that when we found it). Is it time to throw Eastern Europe into chaos?

Just how glib, reckless, and UNPRESIDENTIAL is this man? You'll never know by watching this media.

This media sure didn't play on an endless loop the footage of Mr. McCain (not his reverend, but McCain himself) singing “Bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran,” as if that were some kind of great, funny joke rather than a gravely serious possibility, the thought that America might end up bombing a nation of 70 million people, most of whom admire and love the U.S. (our culture, our people, our music and movies), 70% of whom are under the age of 30! Yeah, let's “BOMB, BOMB, BOMB” them and put our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan at even greater risk -- not to mention Israel! (Now if that doesn't sound like someone who ISN'T READY TO BE PRESIDENT, I don't know what would!)

Mac also said that selling cigarettes to the Iranians is a great idea (however immoral) because that will weaken them for the coming war... (How about those “values,” Pastor Rick!)

(EVIL, my friends, is where you find it. We all have it in us to perform evil acts. It is the humility to understand that simple truth that provides us with our moral conscience -- NOT our ability to point the finger at others, including whole nations, and declare them “evil” ...which is itself an EVIL act -- consider what George W. Bush's oversimplified view of the world has wrought: GAME ON for the CRUSADES, with hundreds of thousands of murdered Iraqis... and that's just the tip of the bloody iceberg. Look to Somalia, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Gaza, and Pakistan to get an idea how much further this bloodstain runs...)

OF COURSE this faux-liberal media buried the clip where McCain badly stumbles trying to answer a simple question about why he opposed insurance coverage for birth-control while supporting coverage for Viagra!!! Just IMAGINE if that had been Obama's mistake... Whatever would the media's Hillary “feminists” make of that? (...not the actual feminists who supported Senator Clinton but the transparent “Rush Limbaugh in drag” variety.)

How would this media have reacted if the “al Qaeda in Iran” flub were Barack's... or if the “bomb bomb bomb, Iran” song were Senator Obama's joke?

This media would have had a field day ANNIHILATING Barack for such gaffes and improper displays of temperament for an aspiring President!

But this media ADORES the torture-endorsing torture survivor McCain SO much that they ignore the fact that he has become the all-time champion flip-flopper on everything from off-shore drilling to the G.I. Bill to George Bush's tax cuts to his craven embrace of those “agents of intolerance,” the evangelical Christo-fascists, Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell -- those great “Christian” paragons, so like Christ (as a scorpion is to a butterfly) those pretend-saints in our time who said that God punished America on 9/11 for being a secular nation (these are the same folks who urge their followers to pray for certain Supreme Court Justices to DIE)!

According to Robertson and Falwell, America had 9/11 coming, because we're so liberal and tolerant (America's very strengths)!

Like al Qaeda's No.2, Dr. Ayman Zawahiri, Rev. Pat Robertson believes himself capable of JUDGING others, determining who should live and who should die... with no judicial process whatsoever. Robertson even suggested recently that America should simply assassinate ELECTED foreign leaders we don't care for! (He's even suggested some targets along those lines...)

Like Zawahiri, Robertson issues his own fatwas... against Supreme Court Justices and world leaders alike...

Now that's what I call a dangerously intolerant agent.

If the Global War on Terror were an honest endeavor, these people, religious extremists by any definition, would be locked up (except for Falwell, of course, who recently died and went to... well, you tell me where he went -- I can't say... that big Fat Camp in the Sky? Hypocrite Hell? Plain old six-feet under?).

These immensely powerful demagogues and their ilk are at least as dangerous to America as the bin Ladens of the world -- because they wield influence (demented, bigoted influence), over our nation's leaders... and for what it's worth, in my opinion, they're NOT remotely Christians... any more than Torquemada was a Christian.

Whereas Reverend Jeremiah Wright, formerly Barack Obama's pastor, was not positing, like some Robertsonian/Falwellian megalomaniac, the existence of a God that shares his hatred of other Americans and their ideology, but was actually quoting scripture saying that God will abandon and “DAMN” the state that abandons God...

In the best tradition of Liberation Theology, Rev. Wright was referring to America's support for dictators and terrorists in the world and our genocidal past... and to some degree, our present. All Jeremiah Wright did was say the same thing that the 9/11 Commission said (the same thing that many of America's top counter-terrorism officials have said), to whit: When America supports international criminals, dictators, and thugs, and backs their regimes, their terrorism and crimes in the world, such policies are apt to “BLOWBACK” to our shores. In the end, such policies make us LESS SAFE.

But don't hold your breath waiting for this media to tell you that. This media killed the messenger because they are complicit in the Policy; explaining why the right's assault on Rev. Wright didn't hold water would have threatened to expose such policies. It would have threatened their business interests. (The news organizations are conglomerates, these days, linked to the very military contractors whose products they constantly SELL. With these folks, JOURNALISM is NOT Job One... or Job Two, Three, or Four or Five or Six... it may not even be in their job description!)

And if Barack Obama weren't such a ninny, he would have stood up for his reverend, instead of throwing him -- and his church of twenty years -- under the proverbial bus.

But Barack is a “Democrat,” my friends, and it's an election year: the season for all good Dems to kowtow to the far right... like good Germans.

(Too strong a metaphor? Then answer me this: Why must all of the Muslims disappear from the camera shot behind Barack? Why is it that the mere suggestion that Barack Obama spent the first few years of his CHILDHOOD as a Muslim instills so many Americans with a sense of fear and distrust? Why is it that the right-wing smear machine can't get enough of that false rumor? How is it that America accepted the massive sweeps that resulted in the detentions of thousands of American Muslims -- on NO GROUNDS -- after September 11, 2001? Why was there no outrage when it turned out that NONE of the detained belonged to any organization hostile to America, let alone were members of terrorist cells? Why are so many Muslim organizations in America, including charities unconnected to terrorism, shut down for NO REASON? And why are virtually ALL Muslim Americans considered suspect, these days? Why is Dr. Sami Al-Arian STILL behind bars, despite the fact that he was tried and ACQUITTED, found by a jury of his peers to have NO connection to terrorism of any kind? Do not mistake the challenge America faces at this time; OUR NATION IS AT THE CROSSROADS... We must ask ourselves: Do we continue our casual drift toward fascism, state torture, indefinite detentions sans charges/attorneys/courts/HABEAS CORPUS... or do we self correct and recover the Founders' vision and the future of the United States of America?)

(We should recall the wisdom of Benjamin Franklin who warned that those who would trade Liberty for Security get NEITHER... That's yet another false choice this “liberal” media has been offering Americans since 9/11: Civil Liberties or Security? What incredibly dangerous nonsense that is! Without the former the latter is both unlikely and worthless.)

Let's review: The corporate media has spent the past several months using the politics of personal destruction to rip into the Obamas (ever since Senator Obama won far more states and delegates than Senator Clinton on “Super Tuesday,” way back in February -- this was something which the “Pro-Obama” media refused to acknowledge, calling “Super Tuesday” a “wash” or a “tie,” rather than what it was: a STUNNING UPSET by any measure).

Imagine if Senator Clinton had won several more states and delegates than Obama on February 5th and proceeded to blow away Obama on fundraising while dominating contest after contest over the next month (all of which Obama did). Had the situation been reversed, the pressure for Obama to quit would have been enormous, even insurmountable. I have no doubt whatsoever that he would have been forced to quit the race by party leaders, by public pressure, and especially by exhortations and searing criticism from the MSM... had the situation been reversed.

Not so with Senator Clinton.

Not so with the right wing and its media cheering on Senator Clinton as April wound into May, as she managed to barely keep her head above water, loaning her campaign MILLIONS of dollars to barely keep pace, LOSING the Texas battle for delegates, not that the media covered that little fact. (No, according to the “Obama loving” media, the Clinton camp “won” Texas... even though they hadn't! It was a repeat of the media's performance in the January contest in Nevada where Obama WON... except the media reported that Senator Clinton “won” -- even though she had won fewer delegates... and therefore LOST).

To this very day, the “pro-Obama” (Reverend Wright-looping, “madrassah” repeating) media refuses to acknowledge that Senator Obama got more votes than any other candidate in American history during the recent nominating season -- because, like the Clinton camp and the right-wing interests that they serve -- they're willing to write off every single American who voted in the nation's caucus states, from Iowa to Nevada to Wyoming to Idaho to Texas... because that serves their bogus narrative: “Obama can't win; he really isn't popular” (especially if you ignore the voters who gave him the nomination and the crowds of people that show up to see him speak); he just got lucky, that slick “Rock Star!”

Am I the only one who remembers that, previous to the “Rock Star/no substance” critique of Obama, the criticism was the exact opposite: Obama's “too wonky” (too focused on the details of his policies) and “too cerebral” -- Of course, that was back when the media had pronounced that Establishment-favorite Hillary was the “inevitable” nominee...

Haven't we seen this all before? Am I the only one who feels like he's experiencing a recurring nightmare?

Here's how it plays out: The right and the media relentlessly clobber the candidate slightly-to-the-left-of-the-far-right, the “Democrat,” who then experiences a slow motion meltdown while caving ever rightward, until he all but implodes in a paroxysm of morally, intellectually, and ideologically exhausted incoherence. Meanwhile, no one in the electorate is informed about anything (and all of the issues that I care about get neglected), and the enormous leadership vacuum in our country grows. The far right (radical, fiscally reckless, corporate -- NOT at all conservative) agenda wins, and America continues to resemble less and less the country I grew up in, with no respect for the Constitution, few civil liberties, shrinking sovereignty, deteriorating wealth, compassion, decency, values, education, infrastructure...

And I have to say that right now, especially after Day One of the DNC, it seems that I'm watching the same scenario play out yet again: Obama's already begun flip-flopping on key issues: FISA, Iraq, off-shore drilling... next thing we know, he'll be opening the door to privatizing Social Security.

Already he's begun to opt for cheap, meaningless demonstrations of “patriotism” -- the kind of “patriotism” that stops at ones lapel and dooms America to one foreign policy catastrophe after another (we might as well call it “Pravda Patriotism,” and we can see plenty of it on the 24-7 cable news programs).

On the plus side, Obama is smarter and seems to have more spirit and toughness than candidates Gore or Kerry... but it's been a bad few months, and I'm getting this profound and troubling sense of DEJA VU.

In a country that's more center-left than it has been in decades, our candidates keep on tacking right... right off the cliff, that is.

Wake up, Barack! You're losin' it!

Conversely: Come back to the center, Mac! You weren't always John Insane! (But if you pick that dipshMitt Romney for a running mate, you really have lost it, buddy...)

And you folks in the MSM? Gosh, how do I make my feelings clear?

(Got it!)

You SUCK smelly old gym socks (I'm being polite), and you are absolutely, positively killing my country -- even with your phony little lapel pins on -- they just look like swastikas to me... because that's what you're reducing them to.

Please stop doing what you're doing (propaganda), and consider a career in JOURNALISM.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Today's PaxLive is archived. We had a squirrel make an appearance, and even a hummingbird. And some humans. And we sang kumbaya.


Road to the DNC, Part 3: Unconventional Women at the DNC

Well, the Democrats have kicked off their convention, and Code Pink has kicked off ours!

Inside the PepsiCo-CaptainMorgan's-McCorporateCenter, Ted Kennedy and Michelle Obama had their moments (while Jimmy Carter was deprived of his), and outside of the convention center, it was time for Code Pink to advocate for peace and justice and shine the light on the whole “two-party, representative government" farce...

And shine we have!

Day One of the convention was a great day for Code Pink, with lots of actions, “too many to keep track,” per Liz.

Like Code Pink co-founder, Gael Murphy, Liz made particular note of the large demonstration at Cuernavaca Park, where peace advocates positioned themselves to spell out: “MAKE OUT, NOT WAR!” on the lawn, providing a great aerial visual, an image which was captured by our Jim Preston!

With so much going on, Code Pink is spread out in several teams, attending various events at different locations:

Some of us visited the government-designated "Free Speech Zones," the caged protester areas (I prefer the "free range" variety, myself -- much more ethical). Code Pink wore our “I Miss America” sashes and crowns and had pink tape on our mouths marked with the words “FREE SPEECH.”

(What can we say, we're nostalgic for the days when the First Amendment meant something and Americans could peaceably assemble in public areas to signify our dissent; now we get caged pens miles from the events we're protesting, and legions of nameless riot police armed with pepper spray... and apparently all too willing to use it, as was reported on DemocracyNow! this morning).

Code Pink took several pictures of the events and activities, including us on our Pink Bicycles and the police on their bikes... which were not pink. When Code Pinkies asked the police why they were filming us, we got NO answer.

According to Gael, the police presence is massive, which has scared a lot of people away. Nonetheless, the police with whom she has interacted so far have conducted themselves in a professional, “even friendly” manner... though they can't give directions worth a damn (apparently most of them are NOT from Denver).

Finally, Code Pink, including co-founder Medea Benjamin, made our presence felt at an event featuring Speaker of the House, Nancy “Know Your Power” Pelosi (who apparently knows neither her power nor her obligations under the Constitution... Hey, what's an oath and a mandate when you're busy taking things off tables, ignoring state torture, and funding illegal occupations?).

Check out today's DemocracyNow! with Amy Goodman ( for an excellent account of some of the inappropriate conduct of the police at the convention, including the following exchange with Medea Benjamin at the Pelosi event (the following transcript is courtesy of DemocracyNow! of Tuesday, August 26, 2008):

REP. NANCY PELOSI: People said to me, “How did you go from the kitchen to the Congress? How did you go from being a homemaker to being the House Speaker?”

UNIDENTIFIED: Row three, section four!

CODE PINK PROTESTER: Nancy, you lied right to my face! You [inaudible].

CODE PINK PROTESTER: [inaudible] do not torture! Women do not torture! Leaders do not torture!

CODE PINK PROTESTERS: [singing] When we make peace, when we make peace, instead of war, instead of war, when we make peace instead of war, oh, how I want to be in that number, when we make peace instead of war. When we make peace, when we make peace, instead of war, instead of war, when we make peace instead of war…

MEDEA BENJAMIN: And is it a public space?

POLICE OFFICER: Well, it is, but—

MEDEA BENJAMIN: No buts. It’s a public space.

POLICE OFFICER: I will have to double-check on that.


POLICE OFFICER: And once I do, if it is a public space—

MEDEA BENJAMIN: We appreciate that.

POLICE OFFICER: We—I’ll be back to talk with you. But if it ain’t, you guys are going to have to leave, OK?

MEDEA BENJAMIN: Thank you very much.

Yeah! Alright! Well, they told us to leave, and we said, “Why?” And they said, “Because we want you to.” And then we said, “Is it a public space?” And he kind of said, “I’m not sure.” So he’s going to check whether it’s a public space, because what we’ve found, just in the last two days, is they keep saying spaces are private when they’re not private. So, part of our work is to take back public spaces for the public.

POLICE OFFICER: This is a public thoroughfare.


POLICE OFFICER: But this is private property, so you’re going to have to leave.

MEDEA BENJAMIN: Well, wait, I don’t get it. If it’s private property in a public space, then what I understand—and I’ve studied this a lot—is that you can’t block passage. You have to make sure people can get through. So if you want to tell us where we have to be so that we’re not blocking people, then I totally understand and respect that.

POLICE OFFICER: At the very end of the corner, very end of the pavilion, or the other side here.

MEDEA BENJAMIN: You know what? We’re almost done anyway. Just give us a chance. We’ll sing one or two more songs, and then we’ll leave.

POLICE OFFICER: They want you to leave. So I’m going to have to ask you to leave.

CODE PINK PROTESTER: There’s no law like that.

MEDEA BENJAMIN: They want a lot of things. I want the war to end, you know, and I can’t get what I want, so we can’t all get what we want. But we can try sometimes. [inaudible] negotiated, two more songs.

CODE PINK PROTESTERS: [singing] I sing for the mothers who have no voice, for their power, for their blood—mothers of soldiers at war, for their sorrow, for their love.

MEDEA BENJAMIN: Stood up for our right to not only protest Nancy Pelosi, but to make public space public. We got our one song. Now, we get our last song. And which one are we going to do?

CODE PINK PROTESTERS: [singing] Pelosi doesn’t speak for me. We shall not be moved, just like a tree, that’s standing by the water. We shall not be moved. Bring the soldiers home.

AMY GOODMAN: And those were members of the antiwar group Code Pink, featuring its founder, Medea Benjamin. They had interrupted House Speaker Nancy Pelosi being interviewed inside before more than a thousand women for a day that was called by the DNC “Unconventional Women.” Special thanks to Elizabeth Press for producing that report.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Liz On Internet Radio Again

The inaugural PaxLive broadcast will be tomorrow at 5pm Eastern/3pm DNC time, featuring our own Liz from the DC House and Sinfonian of the Florida Progressive Coalition. They'll tell us all about what's going on in Denver, so tune in online, call in and/or join the live text chat!


Friday, August 22, 2008

CODEPINK shines in Denver

Here are a few photos of our PEACE RVMOBILE
Everyday we paint different messages--keep looking for the CHANGE we are all waiting that change live it!!!!!!!!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Road to the DNC, Part 2: Rocky Times on the Way to the Rockies!

The Code Pink “Peacemobile” was cruising through Illinois yesterday, when suddenly the RV “just started shimmying,” according to those inside the beast. Fortunately, a close friend of Mike from Mansfield, IL, saw us in trouble, and knew just whom to call: Mike, from Mansfield, IL!

Mike's friend snatched up his cellphone: “Bro, there's a giant white RV on the road with 'Impeach Bush' painted on the back of it, and it looks like they're in trouble!”

Mike, a big fan of impeaching this president (for some reason)*, answered the call: “I'll be right there!”

Over the next few hours, Mike (from Mansfield, IL) came to the rescue of Jim, Liz, and friends, lending his time, vehicle, political awareness, and his dolly to helping Code Pink obtain and affix replacements for TWO flat tires (flat enough, anyway), in order to get us back on the road to Denver.

With an avalanche of gratitude and a spiffy Code Pink shirt, we left Mike behind... to return to Mansfield, IL, presumably (we hope they know how lucky they are to have him!).

The next stop for Code Pink was the Nebraska farmhouse of Jay's relatives.

After a good night's rest, Liz, Jim, Alicia, Jay, Aaron, and DJ found themselves enjoying an “amazing” farmhouse breakfast: farm-fresh eggs, Nebraska home fries, English muffins, clementines, and fresh tomatoes and cucumbers from the garden (finally, Alicia had something green to chop into small, diced bits, suitable for her classic salad).

The neighbors came and checked us out in the morning. Sensing that history was in the making, they took some photographs (wouldn't you?).

Well fed and rested, it was off to DENVER!

And Denver is where Code Pink has just now arrived!

Liz reports that the “Peacemobile” has reached its temporary destination, our Denver campsite: “We've bought some more paints, and we're in town scoping things out, looking around.”

That's right: In addition to the “Peacemobile,” Code Pink DC/Denver has bikes, including the recumbent, and we've got roller blades (We're many times mobile, baby!). Plus, we've got Jay and Jim and DJ and Liz and Aaron and Alicia (who could ask for anything more?).

Aaron is painting, and we are getting ready for the DEMOCRATS and the CONVENTION!

With any luck, WE'LL SEE YOU THERE!!!

*I can't imagine why Mike wants this president impeached: An illegal war based on lies? “Legalized” torture? Warrantless wiretapping? Using the Constitution for toilet paper? Perhaps Mike has Nancy Pelosi's EYES, BRAINS, OATH of OFFICE, and CONSCIENCE??? Somebody must!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Road to the DNC, Part 1

Code Pink is on the road to Denver, with bicycles, roller blades, bullhorns, banners, T-shirts, pink umbrellas... and, of course, those scalawags, Chain Gang “George” and “Dick!” (Thank you, Bill Moyer!)

Jim, Liz, Alicia, Jay, and friends are heading out of Indianapolis this morning, rolling out in Jim's “Peace-Mobile” RV, complete with an updated paint job on the truck, courtesy of Alicia, Jay, and Aaron.

...not that the RV didn't look AWESOME yesterday when Code Pink left DC behind, all decked out in bright and beautiful colors, with great illustrations, too! On Sunday, Jim, Jay, and friends decorated the RV with Peace and Social Justice messaging, including some great calls for clean energy in addition to our normal Pro-Peace, Anti-War message (...because “Peace IS Green,” baby).

When I checked out the freshly painted RV yesterday, I also saw “Hug an Arab!” on the driver's side -- I'm definitely going to give that a try, so heads up, local Arabs, you'd better keep your eye out for me: I'm buggin' for some huggin'...

But here's the great thing about that RV: Jim has given our ride a “Wash & Erase” plain white surface, ready for DAILY Peace and Social Justice messaging. Thus, it can be constantly updated! This will be a fun activity for fellow progressives and the public, especially once we get to Denver and Minneapolis!

In the meantime, according to Liz, fellow travelers on the interstate seem to be enjoying our Pink presence on America's highways, honking for peace and signaling their approval (two fingers are better than one, I always say).

“Not a lot of people get to see this kind of thing,” said Liz, but thanks to Code Pink a lot of drivers this August are in for a treat!

We'll keep everyone posted, but in the meantime: THANK YOU, JIM, for being so generous, donating your RV and time to Code Pink's efforts at this year's conventions! I don't know who died and made you da' man, but clearly, You da' man!

(It may have been Isaac Hayes -- we miss you Isaac!)

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Gandhi Peace Brigade/ Light A Candle for Peace on September 12

Dear Friends,

The world shared America's grief after the tragedy of September 11, 2001. Old barriers dividing nations collapsed with a worldwide outpouring of sorrow and compassion. Americans discovered friends in unlikely places, none more unlikely than Tehran, Iran. Thousands of Iranians spontaneously lit candles in solidarity with the families of 9/11 and the American people.

Instead of accepting opportunities for global peace and friendship, the Bush Administration used 9/11 as a pretext for sowing the seeds of a "war against terror" in Iraq and Afghanistan. The world's offer of good will was squandered.

On September 12, we will reignite the remaining embers of good will by creating an Axis of Friendship. Iranians, Americans, and people around the world are invited to light a candle for peace and place this candle in their window for the entire day. Join us in celebrating and honoring the humanity that connects us all.

A Festival of Friendship, including military families and veterans, Iranian-Americans, Christians, Jews, Muslims, and others in opposition to the bombing of Iran will be gathering on September 12 at San Francisco's Civic Center Plaza from 3:30-6:30 pm. We will deliver children's art, poems and letters to Nancy Pelosi and other congressional leaders with offices in the Federal Building. The rally will conclude at the Plaza with a festival of Iranian and American music, food, dancing and poetry.

Similar events are encouraged in Washington DC, Boston, Portland, Seattle, Austin, and other cities around the country and the world ... especially in Tehran. If you are interested in coordinating an event in your city, please reply to this email. Our heartfelt gratitude goes out to our friends in the Bay Area for organizing this celebration .

Peace and Freedom,

Jes & Leslie

A War of Self-Destruction

War in the Caucasus: Towards a Broader Russia-US Military Confrontation?

The Possibility Of An i-9/11 and An i-Patriot Act

Mullen Warns Against USS Liberty Redux§ionid=3510203

The Forged Iraqi Letter: What Just Happened?

Impeachment Petition ... please forward to your friends.

Jes & Leslie ... A Journey for Peace and Freedom:

If you would like to be added to The Gandhi Peace Brigade Group List,
please let me know: Thank you. Jes

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Defend the Constitution: Free Sami Al-Arian!

By James O'Donnell

(Laura and George W. Bush with Dr. Sami Al-Arian and friends in 2000)

Two nights ago, Code Pink's “Hurricane” Liz and I attended a panel discussion regarding the plight of Dr. Sami Al-Arian, one of the victims, along with the U.S. Constitution, of America's Global War on Terrorism.

If you haven't heard of Dr. Al-Arian, it might edify you to learn that most of the world considers him a bona fide POLITICAL PRISONER in a system run amok. Like Oregon lawyer Brandon Mayfield (later compensated to the tune of millions of dollars), Dr. Al-Arian has been swept up by a national security apparatus that evokes Arthur Miller's “The Crucible” more than, say, “Dragnet.”

But many people, in and outside of America, have been following Dr. Al-Arian's case intently... and increasingly with alarm (concerned not just for Sami Al-Arian, but also for America's future).

As one of the panelists noted, “This is a struggle that goes to the heart of our national existence.”

(Contrary to the fearmongering caricature of those of us who are concerned about the civil liberties of ALL the residents of our country, this was a very patriotic gathering, full of glowing references to American heroes like Patrick Henry, George Washington, and Frederick Douglas.)

The following is a brief rundown of the nightmare Dr. Al-Arian has been living:

A computer science professor in Florida, prominent donor to George W. Bush's 2000 campaign, and activist for the Palestinian cause, after his arrest in 2003 Sami had to wait six months between phone calls and over two years for his trial (though former Attorney General John Ashcroft was already trying to convict him in the media with high profile statements made in Europe about the major “terrorist” we had apprehended).

In a highly politicized environment, Dr. Al-Arian was moved several times, several states from his home, and prevented from contacting his attorney for months at a time -- including several months leading up to his latest scheduled trial. (...his “latest” trial? you ask... Read on).

Sami has been kept in isolation, interrogated, and abused by prison guards told that he's some kind of high level terrorist... which is flat out FALSE.

Dr. Al-Arian has endured bizarre courtroom procedures, including defense witnesses barred from raising the issue of the Palestinians and the prosecution allowed to present as “evidence” shocking websites of militant extremists ENTIRELY UNAFFILIATED with Dr. Al-Arian.

Dr. Al-Arian has had to endure the antics of prosecutor Gordon Kromberg, who has refused to release Dr. Al-Arian to his grown daughter's custody, because (paraphrased) Muslims don't have to listen to their women. And Kromberg has repeatedly expressed his concern about the "Islamization" of America” (I'm sorry, but I don't see “In Allah We Trust” appearing on our currency anytime soon.)

And here's the kicker:

Dr. Sami Al-Arian, awaiting his “latest” trial, has already been TRIED AND ACQUITTED of the crimes for which he is being held... and kept behind bars nonetheless!

“Wrong answer,” said the Bush “justice” system when the verdict came... and refused to release Sami Al-Arian (as they do to this day, unmoved by an innocent man's hunger strike).

After Sami's trial, when one Terror War-addlepated reporter asked a juror, “Why didn't you convict him?” the juror responded simply, “There wasn't any evidence.”

The baffled (if “patriotic”) reporter then asked the juror, “What would it take for you to convict?”

“Evidence.” (Duh!)

Apparently the jury hadn't gotten the memo about how America's present leadership and their media toadies convict people, these days, with or without evidence, and keep them behind bars even when they are exonerated by a jury of their peers.

And here's where the government really screwed Dr. Al-Arian: Before they made clear that they intended to try him a SECOND time for the same crime (the Constitution calls it “DOUBLE JEOPARDY” and prohibits the practice), the government told Sami they would release him if he plead guilty to some lesser “charges” (two offenses -- NEITHER of which exists in the criminal code!).

Following the advice of his attorneys, in order to secure his freedom, Sami acceded to the government's request. He would not plead guilty to ANY crime -- least of all a crime he had not committed -- but he would admit to the “charges” the government demanded in exchange for his freedom: fibbing to a reporter (who denies that Sami did) and helping his brother-in-law with immigration.

That's when the government pulled the rug out from under Dr. Sami Al-Arian; they refused to honor the deal they offered Sami. They kept him incarcerated and scheduled his next court date.


Folks, this is NOT the Founding Fathers' America. It is George FRIKKIN' Orwell's “Amerika.”

If we let these warmongering, fearmongering, criminal cretins run away with our Constitution -- just to cover their own incompetence -- we lose the best of what this country is about.

Cointelpro has gone global. Torture is “legal.” Tapping everyone's phone and e-mail is now just fine (thanks to the brainless, spineless 110th Congress).

It is time for us to SPEAK OUT!

Get informed: Visit or

Call or write Senator Patrick Leahy (202-224-4242) or Representative John Conyers (202-225-5126), the Judiciary Committee chairmen of the Senate and House, respectively.

Fax a letter to the Department of Justice's Office of Professional Responsibility (202) 514-5050. Let them know what you think about our Justice Department employing such un-American tactics.

Get involved. These people are trying to run away with our democracy.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Four Questions For: Code Pink, Women For Peace

Fernanda Diaz at Glamour's blog, Glamocracy:

I'm fascinated by activists, and my current obsession is Code Pink.

Code Pink is a women-led activist group that began as a way to protest the invasion of Iraq, and has since expanded its mission to "working to end the war in Iraq, stop new wars, and redirect our resources into healthcare, education and other life-affirming activities." You may have seen images and video of their rallies and (occasionally disruptive) activities on the news. Earlier this week, I had the chance to sit down with Code Pink's National Campaign Director, Dana Balicki, to learn more about Code Pink and what they are planning to do at the Democratic National Convention.

She asks Dana these questions:
  • How has the 2008 election season affected CODEPINK's mission and protest tactics, if at all?
  • How does the idea of "women's issues" fit into CODEPINK's goals? What do you consider women's issues?
  • What are your plans for the conventions, and how will you be making yourselves heard?
  • Since your main mission is about ending the war and bring the troops home, I have to ask: how does CODEPINK stand on McCain and Obama's Iraq plans?
Check out the answers and please leave a supporting comment if you can!


PS--You can now follow Code Pink on Twitter!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Banners R US

It was incredibly exciting to have 3 new faces come help out within 3 hours 5 banners were completed for the Conventions.
We were productive while enjoying detailed conversations with our new friends.I know Ace from Capitol Hill.He is a tour guide at the Capitol.He is a disgusted constituent of Steny Hoyer in the 5th district of Maryland.My advice is write your name in on the ballot! We need change starting with fake dems like Steny!The other 2 we outreached at the Hiroshima/Nagasaki event with the Hibakusha last week.We gave a quick CODEPINK blurb to entice some activist interest and they SHOWED UP !!! yippeeeeee........What a relief people showed up in August to help make banners.
They were so interesting having just come back from Iran with story after story to share.The energy was great and we zipped 5 banners.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Yes, We'll Get Right On That

Michael Ledeen at The Corner:

[A]sk yourself what's the difference between [Russia's incursion into Georgia] and the annexation of the Sudetenland? Including the paralysis of the so-called Western World in the face of deliberate, systematic military conquest.

And of course the silence of the Left is notable, since they so often pose as defenders of peace. Once again it turns out that American military action is judged evil, while our enemies can do the same without a word of protest. Where's Code Pink? Where's Ron Paul, for that matter...

What's the difference between our invasion of a sovereign nation and continuing to occupy it for 6 years and the annexation of the Sudetenland? Including the paralysis of the so-called Western World in the face of deliberate, systematic military conquest.

Anywayz, what does Ledeen want from Code Pink exactly? A stern blog post demanding Russia withdraw? Pinking the EU as it tries to negotiate an end to the crisis? Medea to immediately flight to Tblisi to act as a human shield?

Once again, ignorance of what the "peace movement" is all about and the intense desire of the Right to cry 'hypocrisy' in ad hominem attacks rear their ugly heads. Pinkers certainly are defenders of peace as their actions have shown time and again.

Newsflash to Ledeen and all the other critics of Code Pink: we are not the sole arbiters of peace, nor must we act or even have an opinion when ever a sparrow falls in every part of the globe. Just as when Saddam's crimes ("AGAINST HIS OWN PEOPLE!!!") were raised as the casus belli in our own illegal invasion, our demesne is not necessarily foreign regimes (note I didn't say "necessarily not").

Our charge is to change the one government over which we have inherent responsibilty. Ours. So we will continue to work for peace by trying to extricate ourselves from the moral and military quagmire in Iraq, trying to prevent our leaders from attacking yet another sovereign nation, and trying to dismantle the military industrial complex in our own damned country.

Regardless, it required Bush a few days to mobilize a response to the crisis so don't you think it might take a non-centralized, grassroots organization some time to figure things out? That said, I suspect that despite the usual lack of media coverage of Code Pink, local individuals and the group itself might be joining Georgians in San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, Seattle, or even London.

If Michael Ledeen and his ilk are really interested in world peace and working to prevent future wars like that between Russia and Georgia, they are more than welcome to join us in putting our own house in order and becoming a true moral leader in the global community.


(originally posted at Pax Americana)

Monday, August 11, 2008


Fired up Ready to go on Wheels!
Now we need people to sign up for the Rollerblades Affinity Group-

Friday, August 8, 2008

Annie Katz & CODEPINK magic

Annie Katz will always be an inspiration to DC CODEPINK! Thanks for great times!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Linda, Hillary (not clinton) and I (Devon) spent a couple of hours in Coral Gables, FL listening to Pelosi yammer away about her new book explaining her rise to power. Oh, she went on and on about breaking the (200 year old) marble ceiling, being the first women speaker of the house (an admirable feat, no doubt) and how every woman in the room should "know thy power". What she failed to mention was that having it and executing it are apparently mutually exclusive. I'm not sure she even realizes the irony in her speech about the importance of creating a disturbance. She more or less likened herself to some of the greatest creators of disturbance, ie: Martin Luther King, Alice Paul, Susan B. Anthony, etc as if just getting the job was the full accomplishment. She was also really good about condemning the Bush administration for everything under the sun as if the complicity of the spineless democratic congress (with Ms. Pelosi as the C1 vertabrae) in no way contributed to our current straits. Really remarkable. There were many Pelosi non-fans in the audience but all were respectful and held their tongues, which was difficult at times. At the grand finale, while some adoring fans stood clapping others of us stood and took our positions. Hillary was very thoughtful to bring along an extra spine as apparently dear Ms. Pelosi has misplaced hers. Mitchell of Books and Books, the facilitator of the event told us that Nancy and her daughter did, in fact, see the spine and commented to him about it. What those comments were, I don't know. Quite possibly, she has never seen one.
Peace, y'all

Give Ann Wilcox BDAY Hugs 08.06.08

Ann Wilcox stopped by the house with a fancy cake
& celebrated her birthday. James made some dinner.

HUGS to our steady green activist/legal defense expert Ann Wilcox!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Moveon GIVE PEACE A VOTE in 2009

efforts at a Capitol Reflecting Pool rally yesterday exposing the need to Separate
OIL & State while promoting environmental needs over greed!
We connect the dots: Campaigns financed with OIL $$$$$$-
Corporate Greed -Endless Wars for OIL -Weak Energy Policy!
Congress has failed the people with WEAK 19th Century Energy policies thus
keeps US addicted to OIL ...... instead of incentives for renewable sources,alternative energy,conservation,more efficient automobile manufacturing.
Oil Wars that destroy our environment provoke
terrorism and exacerbate Global Climate Change!
(My)Congressman John Shadegg is in the Capitol complaining that Pelosi turned the lights out
and refuses to deal with the Off Shore Drilling issue.These minority protesting Do Nothing Members of Congress have had 8 Years at most 2 years at least to establish a stronger energy bill. 8 YEARS OF 2 OILMEN IN THE WhiteHouse =+$4GALLON !!

Be Strategic Use Oil Reserves!
Support HR 6251

War & Climate Change are interconnected!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Hiroshima & Nagasaki Commeroration Week 2008

08.04.08 Slow Monday in DC --( DC=ghost town in August)
Today the Washington Peace Center hosted a Welcoming Reception for the Hibakusha at the Mott House our guests survivors Ms.Yasuko Ota Nagasaki & Mr.Akihora Hara Hiroshima.This was the opening ceremony with a week of events to coincide.The Hiroshima/Nagasaki Peace Community has been working for 25 years for Nuclear Disarmament & awareness of the grave problems of the nuclear weapons power complexes through the direct education by way of survivors of the atomic bombs.We were so fortunate to have the speakers & translators share the stories so we can never forget the harmful effects of nuclear weapons!!

Gandhi Peace Brigade / Leslie's Week in Washington, DC

Dear Friends,

Leslie has just returned from Washington, DC. We're currently staying in a friend's lovely San Francisco flat overlooking the Castro. As you may know, when we returned from Iran last year, we left our home behind and traveled to Washington, DC to become full time activists/lobbyists for diplomacy with Iran. There are times when we miss having a "normal" life, but we also understand how important it is for us to be out there talking about the positive experiences we had in Iran.

Nancy Pelosi is currently on a book signing tour and spoke in DC. She had appeared on The View earlier in the week and suggested impeachment is off the table because "there is no evidence President Bush has committed any criminal acts." CodePink came to the book signing and Gael Murphy handed her pages of impeachable criminal acts.

Leslie shook her hand and introduced herself as a constituent. Gael interjected,"She's been fasting because she's so concerned about H.Con.Res. 362." Pelosi looked a little puzzled, and as Gael began to explain, she realized it was about the proposed naval blockade of Iran. She responded by saying, "If there's a vote to go to war with Iran, I'll vote no." Leslie asked, "Then why did you vote for $400 million for covert activities [in Iran]?" Pelosi was taken aback by the direct question and waved her hand to suggest that Leslie should go away. Security moved in and ushered CodePink out the door.

The next day Leslie spoke with Congressman Ackerman in his office, after a two day sit-in and four days of fasting. He agreed to talk with her, saying,"This isn't a pre-condition, but if I meet with you, you have to eat something." When they got together, they "broke bread" and Leslie ended her fast.

Leslie talked about her wonderful experiences in Iran and Ackerman agreed,"Yes, the Iranians are beautiful people... I don't want war." "No, I don't think you do," said Leslie, "but I'm very concerned about your resolution, H. Con.Res. 362." She asked him to hold hearings on whether or not sanctions work and he asked "Why would I do that?" Leslie explained that the sanctions didn't work in Iraq, but were responsible for the deaths of half a million children.

They talked about Ahmadinejad and his re-election in March. "He's very unpopular, so he won't win unless we attack them. Iran is a very ancient, sophisticated culture; they can take care of themselves. We just need to leave them alone."

Ackerman expressed his concern that "Iran is enriching uranium to develop a nuclear weapon." He believes they aren't allowing the IAEA to conduct their inspections, but Leslie disagreed. "Iran is in compliance with the IAEA and both the NIE and the IAEA have said there is no evidence that Iran is developing a nuclear weapon." They argued back and forth until Ackerman offered to go on a hunger strike if Leslie could show him evidence that Iran is allowing the IAEA to do its inspections. "You don't need to do that, just withdraw your resolution," Leslie insisted.

"OK," he said, "If you can show me evidence that Iran is allowing the IAEA to do its inspection, I will withdraw my resolution."

If you have any "evidence", please reply to this newsletter ...

Peace and Freedom,

Jes & Leslie

Leslie in DC for Peace with Iran and Impeachment Slideshow

Join us for a FREEZE to STOP A WAR WITH IRAN this Wednesday, August 6 (Hiroshima Day) at 5:00 pm, Powell and Market in San Francisco.

No More Body of War an Eddie Vedder YouTube

To Provoke War, Cheney Considered Proposal to Dress Up Navy Seals As Iranians and Shoot at Them

Travelers' Laptops May Be Detained At Border,
No Suspicion Required Under DHS Policies

Jes & Leslie
... A Journey for Peace and Freedom:

If you would like to be added to The Gandhi Peace Brigade Group List,
let me know: Thank you. Jes

Sunday, August 3, 2008

08.02.08 IVAW Karaoke FUNdraiser

If you missed IVAW's fundraiser Karaoke night too bad! It was something to laugh about!
$20 donations gave the Vets an opportunity to sing Karaoke ---it was a blast listening to the guys try to sing!!!!!!!!!!!Ann Wilcox looked so happy on that stage glowing as she was singing!!
This Fundraiser will provide gas $$$$ for the Vets on the drive to the Conventions where they will set up a MASH UNIT to help homeless VETS.

08.01.08 HELP raise $$$ for Peace activists DNC/RNC

Alicia Sarah Allison Natalie Chris Chloe Michael Mara as well as so many others created an exciting event at Madam's Organ to raise funds for our trip later this month
to enable peace activists to get to the DNC/RNC Conventions.
THANKS TO ALL OUR VOLUNTEERS for making our August FUNdraiser happen.
This event took alot of energy to put together and we thank all the organizers, friends,donors, companies for delivering on the clothing needs, and of course Kelly Tsai (poet) Son Of None
as well Madams Organ!