Saturday, March 28, 2009

PINK Talk: Bella Ciao

PINK Talk tomorrow:

This week features a pre-recorded interview with members of Presidio permanente No Dal Molin from Vicenza, Italy, who have been staying at the DC House as they lobby in Congress against US military bases. We'll also have Medea to discuss our response to Obama's newly-unveiled Afghanistan strategy, plus This Week in Pink, news and announcements.

Listen, chat, call in and/or email your questions/comments!


Sunday, March 22, 2009

When The Pinks Go Marching In

Hey, while you're waiting breathlessly for today's PINK Talk, you might want to read about yesterday's marches marking the 6th anniversary of the Iraq War.


Launching PINK Talk

Tune in today at 5pm Eastern for the inaugural PINK Talk!

CODEPINK:Women for Peace kicks off their Internet radio talk show with the compelling stories of women in Gaza. We will hear from CODEPINK cofounders Medea Benjamin and Gael Murphy who along with Colonel Ann Wright recently returned from Gaza where they led a delegation of 60 peace and social justice activists to this war-torn region. Listeners are welcomed and encouraged to call in, join the online chat and/or email with questions or comments for our guests.


Thursday, March 19, 2009

"Greed, For Lack Of A Better Word, Is Bad."

Why are Medea and crew taunting these poor, poor rich folks? It's so...unseemly and dare I say, rude!

NY Daily News:

CodePink may be an anti-war group, but they’ve also got a nose for news, and five members managed to get seats in the AIG hearing today. And they managed to provide a little lighthearted news.

Founder Medea Benjamin and her partners came dressed, of course, in pink, and came bearing signs like “AIG (arrrow) JAIL” and “Fire Geithner.”

But holding them up while AIG CEO Edward Liddy testified prompted a sharp rebuke to the “lady in pink” from subcommittee chairman Paul Kanjorski (D-Pa.), who ordered them to handover their signs or leave, before the committee chairman Rep. Barney Frank asked questions.

Unable to resist a preamble aimed at the glowering, scowling Kanjorski, Frank noted, “considering your method of dealing with this, it’s a good thing no one was wearing a T-shirt.”

As far as their presence there, Benjamin said they saw the AIG mess as intimately related to the wars. “Our economic mess now is related to the war we’re still paying for,” she said.

“They’re criminals. This is criminal what they did,” said Benjamin, referring to AIG. “I can’t believe we’re talking about bonuses considering the rest of the bailout, but this was theft.”

The Capitol police know CodePink well, and Benjamin and a few officers were seen chatting and laughing with each other after the hearing took a break.

Imagine that! Code Pink somehow managed to get seats at the AIG hearing. How on earth did they pull that off?

Anyway, it's a funny little story, but the larger issue it illustrates is how much myth there still is surrounding CP and really citizen engagement in democracy. I've had people ask me, "how do you get in to hearings?" Uh...we show up, wait in line with everybody else, then take a seat. It's just that simple.

Yet people don't know they have that right--the responsibility, even--to attend hearings and other government activities. This is our machinery of democracy, and we assume it's some self-oiling mechanism that will run just fine without a driver. I hope with Obama's successful use of grassroots organizing this can change.

I'll also note that somehow people think CP is "anti-war." We ran into that during Inauguration, being asked about how anti-Bush and anti-war and anti-whatever we are, and whether we have no mission with Obama in the White House. I replied that we've always been "pro-peace" and that means not just protesting Iraq and Afghanistan and Gaza, but doing positive, constructive things to foment justice here and all around the world.

Maybe if more people understood that, they'd be more willing to join us...


Monday, March 9, 2009

Democracy Now!

Democracy Now has video and a rush transcript of Medea and Alice Walked in Gaza.


Speaking Of Women's Day

Let's not forget Iraq:

Iraqi women are suffering a ‘silent emergency’, trapped in a downward spiral of poverty, desperation and personal insecurity despite an overall decrease in violence in the country, according to a survey of 1,700 women in Iraq released today by international aid agency Oxfam.

The survey report, “In Her Own Words: Iraqi women talk about their greatest concerns and challenges,” is being released on International Women’s Day to highlight the daily hardships women are facing as a result of years of conflict.


“Women are the forgotten victims of Iraq. Despite the billions of dollars poured into rebuilding Iraq and recent security gains, a quarter of the women interviewed still do not have daily access to water, a third cannot send their children to school and since the war started, over half have been the victim of violence. And to add further insult more than three quarters of widows, many of whom lost their husbands to the conflict, get no government pension which they are entitled to,” said Oxfam International Executive Director Jeremy Hobbs.


  • Income was worse for 45% of women in 2008 compared with 2007 and 2006, while roughly 30% said it had not changed in that same time period
  • 33% of women had received no humanitarian assistance since 2003
  • 76% of widows were not receiving a pension from the government
  • Nearly 25% of women had no daily access to drinking water & half of those who did have daily access to water said it was not potable; 69% said access to water was worse or the same as it was in 2006 & 2007
  • One-third of respondents had electricity 3 hours or less per day; two-thirds had 6 hours or less; 80% said access to electricity was more difficult or the same compared to 2007; 82% as compared to 2006 and 84% as compared to 2003
  • Nearly half of women said access to quality healthcare was more difficult in 2008 compared with 2006 and 2007
  • 40% of women with children reported that their sons and daughters were not attending school
(via FDL)


International Women's Day

Leslie on her 2nd day of vigil and fast for Gaza in front of the White House.

What a great time yesterday. Not so many people out and about as there were on Saturday--at least in the few hours I was there--but still wonderful interactions. Just some impressions:
  • Who we met: Socialists from Chicago, IL, highschoolers from Fon du Lac, WI, bikers from IL, joggers from DC, visitors from Germany, Colombia, Japan, Sweden, Ireland, S Africa, China, Nepal, India, Netherlands
  • Cop asked for our names at the outset: I provided mine and said we were with Code Pink; Leslie rightly did not, observing nobody had required this yesterday. He also asked what we were protesting and I noted to him that we weren't doing anything of the kind, but rather were promoting peace.
  • We had just one person almost at the beginning of our who demanded to know what we proposed to do about "bin Laden and all these crazies" and didn't seem all that empathetic toward civilians in Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan. 3000 killed on 9/11 were innocents, 1.2M killed in Iraq are all terrorists.
  • The rest of our interactions were very positive, with lots of people asking to take pictures of us, wanting to pose with us, and accepting peace ribbons and Make Out, Not War stickers.
  • One lady from the Netherlands lives in S Africa and works with the ANC; another was a psychologist who debriefed members of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
  • Leslie spoke with a "conservative humanitarian" who voted Dem for the first time casting her ballot for Obama. Very reasonable and open-minded, had been to Gaza (she felt they were anti-American on her visit, contrary to our team's experience) and Iran (very pro-American, jibing with Leslie's visits).
  • I spoke with a member of the Navy who appreciated what we do and said he was working toward a peaceful world for his kids, whom he will not allow to join the military; I thanked him for his service.
  • So many variations of "thank you for your convictions/ideals/doing this" from passers-by.
  • Also many said "we have a peace president" in response to our banner; yes, he's more a peace president than Bush was or McCain would be, but there's still much work to be done vis Gaza, Afghanistan, Iraq and peace and justice at home.

Dorks for peace!

I hear tell some dude stole my sign after I'd wandered over to the Road to Freedom exhibition (which ends today so hurry if you haven't seen it!). He wore it well, though I think I'd look better in the boa. Hope he remembers that what he wisely said in his inaugural address holds true for us and our allies.

With that, I head home and give my heartfelt thanks to Leslie, Des and Blaine for once again creating a wonderful space at the Pink House. I'm breaking my fast tonight, but will be thinking of my dear friend as she continues her peace work in front of the White House until our Gaza delegation comes home from theirs.


Sunday, March 8, 2009

198 Sundays: Freedom Keeps On Rolling

For International Women's Day, something about the New Freedom Ride in Gaza.


D.C. woman fasts, holds vigil to honor Gazan women

In solidarity with novelist Alice Walker and 58 others currently in Gaza

WHAT: D.C. activist to fast in solidarity with Alice Walker, 58 other delegates currently in Gaza
WHEN: 11 a.m. March 8 to March 14
WHERE: On the Lafayette Park side of the White House

WASHINGTON -- In solidarity with Pulitzer-Prize winning novelist Alice Walker and 58 others currently in war-torn Gaza, a D.C.-based CODEPINK activist will begin a week-long fast and vigil today outside the White House, calling for the Obama administration to urge the Israeli government to immediately end its border blockade on Gaza and halt settlement expansion in Palestinian land.

Leslie Angeline, who will sit with friends near Lafayette Park outside the White House, said her efforts will mark International Women's Day today, honor Gazan women and represent the wishes of the 60-member international delegation currently in Gaza, which returns March 14.

Egyptian authorities allowed the delegation, including Pulitzer-Prize winning novelist Alice Walker, the parents of American Rachel Corrie, who was killed in Gaza in 2003, and 57 others into Gaza March 7. it will meet with UN and rights' groups officials, Gazan civilians, and witness the damage from the 22-day Israeli attacks there earlier this year.

"I voted for President Obama because he promised change and peace," Angeline said. "It's time for him to prove he'll keep his word."

The UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) invited the delegation to Gaza to celebrate International Women's Day with the women of Gaza.

For more information, please call Jean Stevens at 508-769-2138 or Leslie Angeline at 360-786-0684.

White House Vigil

Leslie started her vigil for Gazan women and children in front of the White House yesterday morning. After a special PaxLive featuring Desiree, we took the X2 bus to join in for a lovely afternoon of visibility and outreach.

Since my handwriting has been compared to that of a serial killer, I printed out a sign with a quote from Obama's inaugural address: "Your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy."

Des tied a peace ribbon to the White House fence.

After our relatively brief vigil of mere hours, we stopped by to check on Connie, who still had a foam peace hand we'd brought in January when we had a vigil to remember Thomas.

Today we're heading to the White House, then at her suggestion I'm going to the Smithsonian's Ripley Center to check out the exhibition Road to Freedom: Photographs of the Civil Rights Movement, 1956-1968. That should be a good capstone for the action, and my regular 198 Sundays post will in part feature her father, an original Freedom Rider, as our Gaza delegation continues its modern freedom ride.


(originally posted at Green Mountain Code Pink)

Friday, March 6, 2009

PaxLive: Inside The Beltway

In which NTodd comes to you live from DC to discuss Iran, Obama's political strategy and systems thinking. Thanks to the callers, including Code Pinker Sarah, for their insights!

BTW, a Very Important Announcement: tune in tomorrow at 1230pm Eastern/930am Pacific to hear our very own Desiree talk about her *2 years* in DC and other cool things! Go to or to listen and chat online, and call in to ask questions or share your thoughts at (718) 766-4126.


Iran Hearings

Okay, one last time where I just link to the Green Mountain Code Pink blog: we attended Kerry's hearings on Iran policy, which have been excellent.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled pinking...


Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Monday, March 2, 2009

If Only We Held So Much Sway

NYTimes Sunday Magazine:
[House Minority Whip Eric] Cantor listed some of the more extreme liberal forces — he mentioned Code Pink, the women’s antiwar group, and the “radical environmental movement,” which were about the most provocative examples he could come up with off the top of his head — that seemed, in his view, to hold sway among Democrats in Congress but whom Obama, with his centrist outlook, might need to defy.
Extreme liberal forces? I like the sound of that...