Archive for November, 2006

Peace Would Be Sweet

November 30, 2006

I ran into an artist friend today selling her work in front of the Metropolitan Museum.  She told me about her Peace Would Be Sweet project and gave me permission to let you all know about it.  We have also added it to the list of websites on the Blogroll on the right.  Click there or on the link below:

http://www.peacewouldbesweet.com

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Warrior for Peace

November 29, 2006

Ann Wright, the Commander of Camp Casey, fights for peace full time.

Image13_small.jpg  Image1_small.jpg

Here is a link to an article she wrote about torture and what we can do to stop it.

Ann Wright:
Torture, the Geneva Conventions and
the School of the Americas

And here is a link to an article where Ann talks about her journey from the diplomat who, among other assignments, helped open the embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, after the Taliban were removed, to her current service to the country as a full time peace activist.

PRAIRIE DOGS

November 29, 2006

Patrice sent word about the first Prairie Dogs trial this week in Waco.  (See http://danceforpeace.org/nancy/?p=43 from August 24, 2006).  As you may recall, this is the group from Camp Casey who chose to camp in the ditches in defiance of an ordinance that may itself be illegal before Cindy bought the land on which Camp is now located.  I met some of these valiant people while in residence at Camp and would love to be there for the trail.

Thinking seriously about prosecution

November 29, 2006

Thanks to Barbara for this. Click on the Go to Original button to see Part I as well.

Elizabeth de la Vega
Part II: The Indictment

More Election Fraud

November 18, 2006

Clear Evidence 2006
Congressional Elections Hacked

The link above takes you to an article about election fraud in the November 7, 2006 elections.  Fortunately, those rigging the elections for the Republicans did not anticipate the actual turnout, so they were not able to prevent the results.  It seems true, though, that the defeat to the Bush agenda and to the Republican congress was significantly greater than is now evident. 

Also click on the link in the blog roll to Steve Freeman’s book on the subject of previous stolen elections as well.

Alert Alert Alert

November 16, 2006

House Passes “Terrorism”
Act Against Animal Activists

Above is a link to an article about the passage of a bill on Monday that makes animal rights activists “terrorists” in certain instances, even when they are engaged in peaceful actions.

This is alarming because the US now has the Military Commissions Act that gives whoever is president the right to hold in prison without recourse any “enemy” (and certainly in this administration’s mind a “terrorist,” even an animal rights “terrorist” is an enemy).  Since there will be no records, no report, no accountability at all, these animal rightist, or anyone considered an enemy, can be tortured and killed without their friends or family ever knowing what happened to them.

Once more I think of these words:

They came for the Communists (or the animal rights activists), but I was not a Communist (animal rights activist), so I said nothing.

Then they came for the Social Democrats, but I was not a Social Democrat, so I said nothing.

They came for the Jews, but I was not a Jew, so I said nothing.

They came for the Catholics, but I was not a Catholic, so I said nothing.

Then they came for me, but no one was left to speak for me. 

Preserving the Constitution

November 14, 2006

Elizabeth Holtzman:
Impeaching Bush to
Preserve the Constitution
 

Above is a link to the text of one of the speeches we heard on Saturday.

Impeach for Change

November 13, 2006

We were sitting in a modern building in the park where Independence Hall is located in the old section of Philadelphia, across the street from that venerable building where the founders of the United States representing its citizens drafted and ratified the Constitution, the document which sets forth the nature of our unique and mostly successful democracy. 

The first words of that document are, “We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty for ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution of the United States of America.”

Those who wrote and ratified those words had declared and then fought for their independence from the tyranny of King George. 

We assembled to protect and defend that Constitution from a president George whom the founders did not know by name but knew would possibly be in office one day.  In their wisdom and knowledge of human nature and political institutions, they foresaw a president who would want to be above the laws, one who would not think that the Constitution applied to him.  They wrote into that document what to do in such a case.  They devised a process called impeachment.

Over and over again during the course of our meeting, speakers reminded us that it is “we the people” who have the rights and the responsibility for the government of our country.   We elect officials, but we the people hold the power.

The current president, supported by a Congress that we the people have now repudiated by voting many of them out of office, has savaged our Constitution and the fundamental rights it guarantees.  George Bush has made no apologies for breaking some of the laws that have been enacted according to the principles of the government our Constitution set up.  He claims that he is special and that those laws do not apply to him. 

The founders of this country knew that such a person might one day be elected and hold office and they told us what to do.  Impeach him in the House of Representatives and try him in the Senate.

It was for me a very solemn and special moment.  David and I had left New York in the morning on a brillaintly beautiful autumn day to go by train to Philadelphia.  We talked all the way down about the situation in this country.  On arrival, we walked along Market Street, beautiful and peaceful on that day, through the arch of the City Hall, and to the old section where tourists were lined up to see the Liberty Bell and where Independence Hall, an example of the beautifully simple architecture of the period, has been preserved for all to see.

In the plaza on the North side of the Street was what looked like a graveyard, an installation in honor of the more than 2800 American service women and men who have been killed in the first war of aggression waged by our nation. 

Beyond that, in the Constitution Museum, a modern building where our history is honored and preserved for us all, we met to discuss how to preserve the country. 

This meeting was only announced on Wednesday, when it was clear that the American people had repudiated the majority party that had held sway over the Congress in the last six years.  Present to address us were Cindy Sheehan, founder of Gold Star Families for Peace and Camp Casey; Bill Perry of Veterans for Peace; Elizabeth Holtzman, former member of Congress who served on the panel that voted to impeach Richard Nixon; David Swanson, co-founder of AfterDowningStreet.org; Jodie Evans, co-founder of CODE PINK Women for Peace; Bob Fertik, President of Democrats.com and ImpeachPac.org; and Tim Carpenter, Director of Progressive Democrats of America.

They addressed us, a group of people who know that actions by this administration have radically altered our nation and that some of the “blessings of liberty” have already been taken from us and cannot be passed on to our posterity.  Only if we the people act to restore them can we both enjoy them and pass them on to succeeding generations.

All of the speakers and many others in the room have been working bravely and ceaselessly for years now to stop the Bush administraion’s attacks on the Constitution and on countries that have done us no harm.  Among the audience were some who have been arrested during acts of peaceful civil disobedience.  Also were many US veterans who have risked their lives to fulfill the oath of United States’ service people to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.  Included among those last were a number of Iraq War veterans.

I had an awareness of history being made, of a momentous event beginning in that place and at that time.  We were taking responsibility for the orderly and legal change that the American people had indicated at the polls on Tuesday that they want.  We were inheritors of the government that our forefathers crafted.  Just as they did, we committed to work for the ideals they stated so movingly. 

I left that meeting with my American flag pin on one lapel and a button saying “IMPEACH Bush and Cheney” on the other.

The commitment we made was to an orderly process within our laws.  The notion being put forth by some that an impeachment process would be disruptive was challenged by those who had gone through the one for Nixon in the 1970’s, when a committee investigated while the work of the government went on as usual.  The notion that harm can somehow come of this was challenged.  Great harm has already been done; we need to put things back to rights.

David and I both committed to calling Congressman John Conyers, another veteran of the Nixon impeachment and possible Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee now that the Democrats will be the majority after January, to encourage him to continue a process he has already started.  (See the website and the link to Conyers published work, along with other books and documents that lay out the case for impeachment of Bush and Cheney; http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/impeach )

I spoke after the meeting with Debra Sweet, National Coordinator of the World Can’t Wait who lives in New York.  She asked if I would be willing to work on helping to organize some events here for December 10th and then the 16th and 17th (see the website above). 

At the end of the meeting, we had time to speak briefly with Ann Wright, the genius of Camp Casey and a great American who is working full time to restore our democracy.  A retired colonel in the US Army, she resigned her post in the US State Department in protest over the invasion of Iraq.  She has worked both tirelessly and fearlessly ever since to see justice and liberty restored in this country she loves.  Among other things, she was arrested on September 19 of this year when we were protesting Bush at his visit to the UN.  She and fifteen others are now known as the UN Sixteen.  Read about them in earlier entries on this blog. 

We had spoken with Cindy for a few minutes as we arrived and it was good to see her healthy and well in spite of having been arrested last week in Washington.  I am grateful for those who are willing to do actions of peaceful civil disobedience in the great tradition of Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr.  We also met Tim Carpenter who is the Director of Progressive Democrats of America and a significant strategist for this movement for an orderly process of change.

The Philadelphia Chapter of Veterans for Peace organized a rally in the plaza where they had set up the memorial to our fallen troops.  We could not stay for the entire event as we had to get back to New York so I could dance, but we did enjoy the Philadelphia Grannies for Peace who sang their version of “You’re in the Army” which they perform in front of recruiting centers as they protest the use the Bush administration is making of our armed forces and our young people. 

They announced that they had been arrested for demanding to be enlisted so that their grandchildren could be spared, an action that these courageous women repeat in cities all over the country.  They asked that anyone who could do so be at the court to support them on Monday morning when their hearing is scheduled.

While they sang and spoke, behind the portable stage on which they stood was a rank of Iraq Veterans Against the War, a group of our young women and men who survived their experience and have come home to tell us the truth about it.  Once again I was struck by the presence in this movement to stop the war and preserve our country of an alliance between old women and young service people.  Photographs that accompany entries on this blog often show that configuration.  I never fail to be moved by the mothers and grandmothers who are leading the fight at home to prevent the death and mutilation of our young people and the innocent victims of an illegal and unjust war.  They are determined to pass on to our posterity the blessings of liberty that our founders estabished.

And so am I.  I agree with the speakers that there will be no end to the war and no peace as long as this administration continues its ravages of the Constitution and our democracy.  Impeachment is a part of the peace process and part of the way we can restore our democracy.  The most patriotic thing I can do is work for it.

Like You’ve Never Heard It Before: Newly-Elected John Hall And Stephen Colbert Sing The National Anthem…

November 11, 2006

Congressman-elect John Hall (D-NY) appeared on The Colbert Report last night to discuss his victory. Hall, a former musician and co-founder of the band Orleans, sang a two-part version of the national anthem with Colbert.

Patrice’s Note to Cindy

November 9, 2006

Anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan yells to fellow demonstrators as she is arrested outside of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2006.  (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert) 

Anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan yells to fellow demonstrators as she is arrested outside of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2006.

    

Photographs of Cindy at Camp Casey.

Cindy –

Oh my goodness, look what has happened. Barely over a year ago you stood up to dubya, one mother, and asked “for what noble cause did
Casey die?” I will always remember you standing up and never backing
down, as our society became more and more oppressive, and more and more voices were silenced.

And we heard you and also asked your question, and then more
questions too, and we started feeling hope again. And now look what
has happened . . . The House and Senate will change hands, and that is a victory toward getting our country back.

Our work is only beginning and there is so much to do concerning
this war, veterans care, health care, the environment, social security,
voter rights, civil rights, education, and so on and on and on. And
while I know that change will come slowly, and this is not the
perfect Congress, I am thankful that some great obstacles to progress are gone.

The quotation from Margaret Mead that the Crawford Peace House
displays is so true: “Never doubt that a small group of committed
citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever
has.”

You lit the spark! You lit the way! You built it! And there is hope
in the land!

Love and Peace,
Patrice