Monday, April 27, 2009

Early Morning Activism Peace Pressure

CODEPINK women were on bikes staking out the travels of President Obama as we still want a Peace Prez in the White House!We rolled over to the National Academy of Sciences conveniently located next to the State Dept to Remind Obama we do not approve of continuing Bush's failed policies of occupation. We the people need to do everything ppossible to get the message out the local cost of continuing these endless occupations hurts us as one nation.Occupation makes us weaker by consuming our resources and the human cost is painfully high & increasing.
Listen to the people We desire a new way forward not based on constant Empire building & destroying!!!! The State Dept led Gen Tariq and a delegation of Pakistani Military as part the CODEPINK Reality Singers welcomed the Paki Military men with words of wisdom
PEACE Diplomacy Love Truth Cooperation is the way forward they smiled ...........and one even flashed the peace sign!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Liz reporting live from DC
Thx to everyone who helped in our Pink presence this a.m.It makes a huge difference with a presence!!!!!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

PINK Talk Today: Conversations

This week features CODEPINK co-founder Jodie Evans discussing meetings with members of Congress and interviews with women from Afghanistan. She will also share stories from the knitters for Mother's Day and her experiences being a part of "What It Is: Conversations about Iraq". And of course Des and Liz fill us in on all the Hill action, including Liz's latest adventure with General Petraeus and the Capitol Police, plus upcoming actions and opportunities to create peace.

Listen, chat, e-mail and/or call in to (347) 326-9471.


Friday, April 24, 2009

Liz got arrested for saying National Guard should come home!

by Lisa Savage

General Petraeus testified to the House Appropriations subcomittee this morning on the supplemental war funding request of $83 billion that will come up for a vote soon. CODEPINK turned out in force: Gael, Medea, Liz, Toby, Martha, Sarah, Maggie and I lined up out in the hall early but there was really no need -- hardly anyone else showed up to listen. Still, we were barred from sitting in the empty rows of seats at the front of the audience (i.e. close behind Petraeus where we'd be visible on camera). When Petraeus said something about the need to better prepare National Guard and reserve troops to do their jobs (sic) in Afghanistan, and Liz said, "Our National Guard should be at home in their home states, not in combat," the police pounced on her and put her under arrest. She left the room willingly, but they hauled her off to processing anyway.
(Search for today's hearing on C-SPAN to see Liz hustled out and listen to the piles and heaps of b.s. the General had cooked up to conceal the fact that the supplemental allocates more than 10 to 1 military over aid or diplomacy spending. At one point he says we don't want to eat our young, and then moments later that said young might be bumping into a glass ceiling. Block that metaphor!)

As soon as the hearing ended Medea went to Rep. Chet Edwards' office to plead with his staff to have him intervene with the police. (Edwards chaired the subcommitte and also said some nice things about freedom of expression along the way). I stayed to follow up and eventually the congressman himself emerged from the back office and told me his staff had called the capitol police to say he was very much opposed to Liz's arrest for speaking out. He apologized several times, and said that in fact in the hearing the committee had been "trying to get at some of the things on your signs." (NO MILITARY SOLUTION / GOT DIPLOMACY?? / $76 b. WAR, ONLY $7b. AID?). We had a good talk. He seemed amazed that a social studies teacher would spend a beautiful Friday on spring break attending the Petraeus hearing. "Now that's dedication!" he said with a big grin. Me: "I'm going to go back and tell the students how the 1st amendment really works in Washington."

Just a few minutes ago I got to talk to Liz on Gael's phone. She was without an i.d. but had a check someone had just given her so they were running her name through the system before releasing her. I thought this meant she was not arrested, but Gael said she would probably be cited and have to appear in court. Liz sounded ok and said not to worry. She is the hardest working unpaid citizen lobbyist I have ever known (yes, I have known a few). The American people owe her. Where is everybody when Petraeus is asking for this kind of $$$ to keep killing people?? (Sure, he said all the right stuff about aid and rebuilding and diplomacy, but check the numbers in his budget to expose that particular lie.) My family jumped in and helped when I emailed an urgent plea to call Edwards' office, and soon she was released. Thank you!

What an exhilarating week. I was proud to be pink before, but my delight at being associated with this fiercely dedicated, intelligent, paying attention group is complete. I have to go home very early tomorrow morning to resume my teacherly duties, but this I vow -- I will be back!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

"the Americans have the wristwatches, but we have the time"


by Lisa Savage

Started off the day with pinksters Gael, Liz, Medea, Maggie, Lori & Sarah at the Senate Foreign Relations committee hearing "Soldiers' stories from the Afghan War," chaired by John Kerry. One great witness called was a retired Army colonel from B.U., Andrew Bacevich, who studies "war and conflict" (thank you for not pretending they mean the same thing, professor). He said without doubt there is NO MILITARY SOLUTION IN AFGHANISTAN, in fact our military presence makes the situation worse, that we are viewed as occupiers. He kept saying "the long war" meaning both Iraq and Afghanistan and Pakistan and... is parallel in key ways to Vietnam: no clear goal, no exit strategy, and unaffordable both in $$ and public opinion. Yes!!! Exactly!!! So good to hear someone credible say it loud in public.

Also heard from retired Marine Rick Reyes about being getting tips and beating up random civilians who were only guilty of bringing milk home, but had been informed upon for $$. This is not what young men think they are going to be heroically doing in foreign misadventures, apparently. He strongly felt that more of the same would be extremely counterproductive to U.S. goals in Afghanistan. Another soldier who told about his buddy dying said the buddy's last words were: "I'm sorry I let you down." Pardon the obvious but I felt so much like we;re the ones letting these young kids down by letting them get sucked into fighting for corporate profits. Sen. Corker questioned one of the soldiers about his estimation that U.S. goals were or weren't being well served, saying he himself was unable to a see a goal that the U.S. was reasonably pursuing in Afghanistan. Quelling al-Quaeda? "Al-Quadea is in many countries." A really top notch international police force was the solution that set the most heads nodding in the room.

While listening to all this we held our signs high and got away with it. Kerry is famous for having said as a young vet of Vietnam that it's hard to ask a soldier to be the last one to die for a mistake, so one sign we held was: LAST ONE TO DIE FOR THIS MISTAKE? Medea talked to the press after and I hope we got some coverage of the pink presence. After the hearing officially ended we held up signs including a neon pink sign with a drone and 687 PAKISTANIS DEAD, ?? MILITANTS MADE on it, because the cameras were still rolling as the participants were interviewed.

Tried to get into the panel where our Italian friends were testifying about U.S. military base expansion in their country, but it was over. The other girls who had tried to attend had been kept from entering the building. Obama was in the house (actually, Senate) this morning, and we stood on the sidewalk and waved at his motorcade leaving. Walked home to Pink house for an extra quick lunch, back in Gail's car to the House committee hearing where Atty. General Holder was testifying. He is the person who could prosecute war criminals, and we all know who they are -- not hard to find I had to leave early on for my appointment with legislative aides to Olympia Snowe. Lobbied them against surging in Afghanistan, a "no" vote on supplemental war funding, or at least an amendment shifting $$ into aid and diplomacy and away from military. Gave the jobs report from UMass Amherst proving peaceful production also creates more jobs and better quality jobs than building weapons. Needs to happen!!

Walked home in the gorgeous sunny spring weather with fluffy clouds in the sky and raging tulips in the gardens. Tonight should be quieter than last night, which was a big pot luck dinner for the activist community. A great and very interesting meeting after the meal about world opinion on the Israel-Palestine conflict since Gaza, and some actions related to that. I am learning so much -- this is like taking a really great seminar in organizing and political effectiveness. Thank you to everyone who has contributed to my learning here, both this week and prior to my visit!! Too many to mention, and that is exciting in itself. Thanks, too, for all the love and support from my family and friends. And xoxoxo to you know who. Having a wonderful time, wish you were here. Tomorrow is my last day. Gen. Petraeus is appearing before Congress --I think I'll go to that.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

On the Hill, Day 2

by Lisa Savage

In the morning we hoofed it from Pink House to the House Foreign Relations committee hearing with Secretary of State Clinton. The pink early birds got into the room but I wasn't early enough, so I hung out in line scrawling signs ("$76 b. for war, $7 b. for aid + diplomacy. New direction?") and being hassled by the capitol police. What a difference from exercising my free speech rights yesterday before the panel overseeing Geithner and chaired by Harvard Law Prof Elizabeth Bennett!

Eventually I did get in and was told repeatedly I could not hold a sign, would be kicked out if I didn't hide it, and so forth. I sat about two feet behind Hillary and heard her field questions on topics from why Obama shook hands with Hugo Chavez to what she is doing about opening the border crossings into Gaza. She was a smooth operator and played a lot better in person than she does on t.v. Liz exercised her free speech rights in spite of squelching, calling out "Talk to Hamas, Hillary!" -- a good message since Hillary had just said that the U.S. had similarly tried to isolate Venezuela for the last eight years "and look where that got us."

Mid-day I stopped by to try and get an appointment with Chellie Pingree, then met with Congressman Mike Michaud as a follow up to a meeting last month where CODEPINK Maine and Waterville Area Bridges for Peace & Justice had posed the question, Why Afghanistan? Today I reminded Mike of the stunning lack of evidence that U.S. military action in Afghanistan reduces terrorism, and urged him to vote "no" on the supplemental war funding bill. He did not promise, saying he had not read the bill yet -- but I noted he has voted no on supplemental bills in the past. I expressed my dismay with the plan to allocate $76 billion for war and only $7 billion for aid and diplomacy. Mike had been to Afghanistan since our last meeting and said that he had been told Afghanis change sides depending on who pays the most. Also that it appears some U.S. funds actually end up supporting the Taliban due to corruption and lack of accountability. All the more reason to get out now!

I asked also about an earmark he had put through for research at UMO that appeared to be for military purposes. He appeared to know of my email on the topic a couple of weeks ago, and was ready with an answer: it is not for Aegis destroyer development, but for an innovative kind of fortification for tents that makes them resist mortar attacks. Hard to argue with that, so I moved on to talking about converting jobs in Maine to peaceful purposes, and the workers' initiative at Bath Iron Works to stop building Aegis destroyers and start building wind turbines. As a teacher, I begged him to create peaceful jobs in the state as an alternative to military enlistment for my students.

After that I scurried through the halls with Christiana, CODEPINK intern and a member of the recent Gaza delegation, in search of Rep. Shelley Berkley. We missed her but talked to her office staff about our concern with some of her remarks about preconditions (very biased toward Israel) for the peace process in Gaza. Then we walked home to Pink House through a spring shower, surrounded by trees flowering pinkly.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

First day on Capitol Hill by Maggie Whitman

Today was my first day going to Capitol Hill as an activist. I visited D.C. and the Capitol Building a few years ago as a tourist, but it’s been a really different experience being here with CODEPINK! This morning we sat in on a discussion with Tim Geithner and the Congressional Oversight Panel. He talked about the Treasury’s bank rescue plan and had to answer (or rather, evade) some tough questions from the panel. A large part of the discussion was over my head, but it was good to be there and learn more about the banking situation. There were several of us from CODEPINK sitting directly behind Geithner so we can be seen on all the press coverage from the discussion.

My favorite part about being here with CODEPINK has been the recognition and positive praise we get from a wide range of people. Today I followed Liz around the senate buildings as she greeted everyone from senators to police officers. We were often smiled at or flashed a peace sign, and someone even jokingly called us “troublemakers.” It’s amazing what wearing a little pink can do. I think we made people uneasy as we walked into the hearings. The other CODEPINK ladies said we’re well known as an unpredictable group, so the capitol police are a little leery of us. We certainly did stand out amidst the suits and pantyhose and professional looking people. But we were quiet and I didn’t get arrested, so my parents will be happy!

I’ll be writing again this week…
Maggie Whitman (Wisconsin)

Pink House report

by Lisa Savage

Springtime in the capital! It's so great to be here.

Yesterday I arrived at the CODEPINK House in Washington DC around noon. Welcomed warmly and immediately swept up into the swirling clouds of pink action!! I met Medea Benjamin, one of my biggest heroines, right away, and then sat in on a conference call she and the other founders of CP had to plan the days ahead. I am learning a lot, both about process and about what's really going on in the world. For instance, did you know that there are now 4 million displaced people inside Colombia? They have surpassed Sudan in numbers of internal refugees. U.S. military aid and the so-called war on drugs (spraying farmers off their fields) are responsible. Your tax dollars at work, but who knew? Practically the first thing I did (besides knitting a pink square for the Mother's Day fence cozy) was a solidarity action with Witness for Peace in Lafayette Park. They had created paper dolls representing each 1000 people driven off their land, and we helped them hold those up within sight of the White House while listening to speakers from Colombia explain our government's role in creating this tragedy. From there we hopped into the pink van (soooo cool) for a ride to Busboys and Poets Peace Cafe. This event was filled with local activists who had gathered to listen to Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish, a Palestinian doctor in Gaza and who lost three daughters in an air strike there just a few months ago. His message: the patient in the ICU, and the treatment is dialogue between all parties to the
conflict. Forget about one state vs. two state right now --- save the patient! Only love and listening will do that. An amazing message from a father with every reason to respond to unspeakable grief with anger. He shared some beautiful photos and quotes from his children, including: VIOLENCE NEVER SOLVES ANYTHING! Amen to that.

Today Medea and Liz and I staked out the oversight hearings where Treasury Secretary Geithner testified. The early pinks got front row seats and were joined by college students Maggie and Sarah to help surround Geithner with pink signage proclaiming: We Want Our $ Back! This was the first time the Treasury had agreed to appear before the committee and there was a lot of press coverage, so the sea of pink was seen on Reuters video, C-SPAN (lead story), AP and so on. Go team! Then Liz led us neophytes on a whirlwind tour of various senator's offices -- I dropped in on both Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe, leaving my calling card as neither were home. I shook hands with Senator Burris, who got Obama's seat, and talked to lots of other folks in and around the senate building and cafeteria. Pink makes friends everywhere! Oh, did I mention that the CNN reporters we hung out with before Geithner appeared lent us their duct tape? Later a cameraman named Eddie in another hearing showed us a clip of our coverage saying, "You folks have been busy today!" That was in a hearing of the senate committee on contractor fraud, run by Senator McHaskell of Missouri, who was in red not pink but seemed happy to see us there as she worked with inspector generals on the ridiculous rules that hamper their oversight of the billions paid out to KBR, Blackwater, Halliburton, et al. Senator Collins is the ranking member and made a brief appearance but I was not quick enough to jump up and run out into the hall to speak with her when she departed before the hearing ended. Liz schooled me on that one as we walked back from the senate to CP house. She is showing us how it's done, knowing who's who and what to talk with them about and never hesitating to speak up. So inspiring.

That's all for now. The only downside of the trip so far is I lost my cell phone in the taxi on the way here, but with pink friends all around me, I can survive.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

PINK Talk Today!

Well, we're going to experiment with some remote stuff at a VFP fundraiser as well as chatting with Midge Potts, Pinker who is running to replace Kit Bond as a Senator from MO. Help us make it all work, listen, chat, e-mail and/or call in to (347) 326-9471.



Saturday, April 18, 2009

Friday, April 17, 2009

CODEPINKers support 100days ongoing vigil

Lori Indiana

Blaine -photo for our Mosiac

Tgif Blog Readers-

CODEPINKers went to support the daily 100days vigil outside the WhiteHouse!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

PINK Talk: If Not Now, When?

PINK Talk tomorrow at 5EDT/2PDT:
This week: Aasif Shah gives us the point of view of a Pakistani-American on the war on "terror" in what is now commonly called Af-Pak, Elsa Rassbach provides perspective from the Germany No Bases Movement, Kelli Large of Military Families Speak Out relates her experiences as a military family member, and Lisa Savage CODEPINK Maine discusses local actions around the wars and their mobilizing efforts.
Listen, chat, e-mail us at and/or call in to 347.326.9471.


Saturday, April 4, 2009

Beyond Afghanistan

The 42nd anniversary of King's breaking the silence on Vietnam.

And tomorrow, don't forget PINK Talk at 5EDT/2PDT:
This week: the March on Wall Street, Sheriff Arpaio & immigrant rights, upcoming local and nationwide actions. Reports from NYC, AZ, DC and more. Plus your questions and comments!
Listen, chat, e-mail us at and/or call in to 347.326.9471.


PS--there have been some attacks on the Internet causing problems with domain names, so you might also bookmark as a backup in case isn't working.