Archive for May, 2007

Thank you, Cindy, for Hope

May 31, 2007

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“Cindy Sheehan is My President” reads the bumper sticker beside my computer. I read it everyday and I smile. Cindy never ran for president, but she presides over the peace movement that was birthed at Camp Casey, no matter if she holds an office, stands at a podium, or leads a march. She rose to leadership and it will always be hers. A leader like Cindy cannot resign; she can only be at rest. She can be silent; but her voice will always be heard. Thank you Cindy.

Cindy rose to leadership before she knew she was going to be such a leader. Here in Austin in August of ’05, I saw her on the TV news and read about her in emails, and then I went the hundred miles to Crawford, the first of many trips, to Camp Casey to “Stand with Cindy,” not fully realizing for a long time how it changed my life. There I was transformed from a citizen saddened at what had happened to our nation and about the war being fought in our name — into a person with hope. Hope! And under Cindy’s leadership, by the hundreds of thousands, here and abroad, we felt Hope be reborn. The hope that went out from Camp Casey was unstoppable; like sunshine it just went, as a gift, offered by Cindy’s inspiring leadership.

In spite of the political setback of last week, I have hope, because nobody can ever take away what the movement sparked. That light is what takes us through the dark days, and that we have each other in the Camp Casey Movement is a blessing. Casey’s name will always be honored.

Thank you Dede for being a true and totally amazing sister. You wept and gave and worked and shared and still had more where that came from. Thank you Carly, Andy and Janey, who your Mom always talked about, for your inspiration to her.

And Cindy and Dede, mother and auntie to Casey, wherever Camp Casey gathers, and gather we will, your places will always be set at the table.

Patrice Schexnayder
Austin, Texas

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I write these names on Memorial Day…

May 28, 2007

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Those who died in Iraq from May 13 to 19:
 
Sgt Anthony Schober  23 Reno NV
Spc Rhys Klasno  20  Riverside CA
Ltn Andrew Bacevich  27  Walpole MA
Sgt Christopher Gonzalez  25  Winslow AZ
Sgt Allen Dunckley  25  Yardley PA
Cpl Henrik Nobbe  20  Denmark
Sgt John Self  29  Pontotoe MS
Pvt Nicholas Hartge  20  Rome City IN
Sgt Thomas Wright  38  Holly MI
Cpl Jeffrey Walker  21  Macon GA
Spc Coty Phelps  22  Kingman AZ
Pvt Victor Fontanilla  23  Stockton CA
Sgt Jesse Albrecht  31  Hager City WI
Sgt Steven Packer  23  Clovis CA
Pvt Aaron Gautier  19  Hampton VA
Pvt Jonathan Hamm  20  Baltimore MD
Sgt Anselmo Martinez III  26  Robstown TX
Spc Joshua Romero  19  Crowley TX
Spc Casey Nash  22  Baltimore MD
Sgt Scott Brown  33  Windsor CO
Spc Marquis McCants  23  Texas
Sgt Ryan Baum  27  Aurora CO
Cpl Ryan Collins  20  Vernon TX
Sgt Jason Schumann  23  Hawley MN
Pvt Travis Haslip  20  Ooltewah TN
Pvt Alexander Varela  19  Fernley NV
Spc Joseph Gilmore  26  Webster FL
Spc David Behrle  20  Tipton IA
Sgt Jean Medlin  27  Pelham AL
Sgt Christopher Moore  28  Alpaugh CA
Sgt Justin Wisniewski  22  Standish MI
 
In 13 days
150 were seriously wounded and maimed.
138 wounded were returned to occupation.
 
447+ Iraqi sisters and brothers were killed.

Iraq War Veterans Speak Out

May 24, 2007

These are the words of a veteran of the occupation in Iraq.  I learned to listen to these eyewitnesses of the horrors there when I was at Camp Casey and met a number of them personally.  They know.  They are very wise:

“So let’s cut through the bullshit, we were never there to help the people.  Our first objective was to secure the oil fields in the south of Iraq. We as veterans have a responsibility to tell the truth of what we’ve seen in Iraq and let it be known. Speak about the reality of actually what’s happening on the ground.

The reality that we will never quell the insurgency, they are fighting a foreign military occupation.

We are treating them like shit.

We go and clear an area and they just go somewhere else and when we leave they come back, and this will go on and on until we finally admit that we’re not supposed to be there.

We never should have been there in the first place.  This war was based on lies.

As I like to say, you can’t win a crime, you can only stop it.”

Will you work to stop it?

What George Orwell would have said if he were in Iraq now

May 24, 2007

Below is a quotation from George Orwell during the blitz bombing of England during World War II:

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“As I write, highly civilized human beings are flying overhead trying to kill me. They do not feel any enmity against me as an individual, nor I against them. They are only doing their duty, as the saying goes. Most of them, I have no doubt, are kind-hearted law-abiding men who would never dream of committing murder in private life. On the other hand, if one of them succeeds in blowing me to pieces with a well-placed bomb, he will never sleep any worse for it. He is serving his country, which has the power to absolve him from evil.”

George Orwell London. UK. 1941

Criminal symbols

May 21, 2007

In the post below are a photograph of a memorial to US service men and women who have been killed in Iraq and the most recent list of names of casualties.

I was struck by the memory of what the Reverend Lennox Yearwood, whose photograph at another event is below, said when I was at Camp Casey.

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We were gathered at that time at the memorial there, a sea of crosses with an occasional Star of David and one Islamic crescent. It was beastly hot, well over a hundred degrees, Camp Casey is a primitive place where we slept in tents with no running water. The night before one of our number had been arrested and Cindy and her sister Dede had been knocked about and bruised by police though they were engaged in a peaceful demonstration at a hotel where Karl Rove was speaking to Republican funders. The mood was somber.

Reverend Yearwood looked at the sea of crosses and reminded us that the cross was the sign of ignominious criminal execution to begin with. He suggested that the modern equivalent would be an electric chair, or better a gurney and an IV infuser of deadly chemicals. Jesus, of course, transformed that symbol of infamy into something very different, but to the Power of his time, he was a criminal.

Reverend Yearwood also told us that if Jesus were to be here today, he would have been with us there, in the heat and primitive conditions. He would be challenging the injustice and barbarism of the Bush regime and the forces and institutions that support it.

Reverend Yearwood is not a person of words without actions. He has been arrested many times for speaking out and standing up to Power that has run amock and does evil. Like Jesus in his time, Reverend Yearwood is considered a criminal by those in power today.

Below is a link to photographs of brave people who, on Mothers’ Day, 2007, protested in Washington at the White House, the Justice Department, and the Capitol. A group of them, including the Reverend Yearwood, chose to engage in an act of peaceful civil disobedience in order to protest the injustices of the Bush Regime and the failure of the Congress to do what it should to stop the occupation of Iraq and reestablish democracy here. Reverend Yearwood can be seen in the 10th, 13th and 17th photographs. I see other people I met at Camp Casey as well. These are the true patriots. Please click on the link below (or copy and paste it into your browser) to see the work of the Reverend Yearwood and the other heros.

http://ptmccleese.smugmug.com/gallery/2859587/2/153391348

When will we end this?

May 20, 2007

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Those who died in Iraq from May 6 to 12:
 
Sgt Sameer Rateb  22  Absecon NJ
Sgt Virgil Martinez  33  West Valley UT
Spc Robert Dixon  27  Minneapolis MN
Pvt Kevin Thompson  21  Lancaster UK
Cpl Anthony Bradshaw  21  El Paso TX
Sgt Joel Lewis  28  Sandia Park NM
Sgt Jason Harkins  25  Clarkesville GA
Cpl Michael Pursel  19  Clinton UT
Cpl Matthew Alexander  21  Gretna NE
Sgt Vincenzo Romeo  23  Lodi NJ
Sgt Christopher Kiernan  37  Virginia Beach VA
Spc Kyle Little  20  W Boylston MA
Sgt Blake Stephens  25  Pocatello ID
Spc Dan Nguyen  24  Sugarland TX
Cpl Walter O’Haire  20  Lynn MA
Sgt Bradly Conner  41  Coeur d’Alene ID
Pvt Roy Jones III  21  Houston TX
Pvt Anthony Sausto  22  Lake Havasu AZ
Sgt Jason Vaughn  29  Luca MS
Spc Michael Frank  36  Great Falls MT
Maj Douglas Zembiec  34  Albuquerque NM
Pvt William Farrar Jr  20  Redlands CA
Pvt Daniel Courneya  19  Nashville MI
Sgt James Connell Jr  40  Lake City TN
Pvt Christopher Murphy  21  Lynchburg VA
 
426 Iraqi sisters and brothers were killed.

When will we ever learn?

May 14, 2007

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Those who died in Iraq from Apr 29 to May 5:
 
Pvt Jay Ornsby-Adkins  21  Ione CA
Sgt Glenn Hicks Jr  24  College Station TX
Pvt Paul Donnachie  18  Berkshire UK
Pvt Brian Botello  19  Alta IA
Sgt Alexander Funcheon  21  Bel Aire KS
Sgt Jay Martin  29  Baltimore MD
Ltn Travis Manion  26  Doylestown PA
Maj Nick Bateson  49  Kent UK
Pvt Zachary Gullett  20  Hillsboro OH
Cpl Johnathan Kirk  25  Bellhaven NC
Spc Astor Pineda  20  Long Beach CA
Ltn Ryan Jones  23  Massachusetts
Pvt Katie Soenksen  19  Davenport IA
Spc Andrew Weiss  28  Lafayette IN
Ltn Colby Umbrell  26  Doylestown PA
Spc Matthew Bolar  24  Montgomery AL
Spc Kelly Grothe  21  Spokane WA
Sgt Coby Schwab  25  Puyallup WA
Pvt John Flores  21  Barrigada GUAM
Sgt Felix Gonzalez  25  Sun Valley CA
Pvt Jerome Potter  24  Tacoma WA
Sgt Christopher Hamlin  24  London KY
Pvt Larry Guyton  22  Brenham TX
Cpl Charles Palmer II  Manteca CA
Sgt Kenneth Mack  42  Fort Worth TX

125 were seriously maimed.
53 were returned to killing fields.
 
414+ Iraqi sisters and brothers were killed.
 

US Occupation of Italy

May 10, 2007

David Swanson:
Anti-US Uproar Sweeps Italy

We know we are occupying Iraq, but Italy?  Click above for startling news to most of us.

Stephanie Westbrook, mentioned in this news report, was at Camp Casey when I was.  She is a true patriot. 

JACK FROM SEATTLE REACTS TO NY VETO DEMO

May 3, 2007

I’m in New Jersey on family business, an opportunity that retirement presents. I’ll be here until mid-August. That should give me opportunity to help finish in 2008 what you started in 2006. (The election of Darcy Burner, D – 8th Congressional District; WA State)
 
It is certainly more than coincidence that I received your (Darcy’s) email tonight.  I got it when I  returned from New York City after a protest rally against Bush’s War and Veto.  It was a small but enthusiastic group of nice people.  People always bad mouth New Yorkers but I normally find them quite normal and very charming.

Anyway, we marched from Times Square to Union Square, a long walk.  The  normal counter protesters were there, and I made it a point to talk to some of  them.  I find there is less difference than people expect.  I think the key word is Aretha’s RESPECT.
 
The NYPD was there too.  They did their public safety work, but unlike the SPD and KCPD, they maintained a good rapport with all of the demonstrators.  The difference is the SPD/KCPD seems to use an above everyone stature like and/or confrontational status to deal with rallies.  Too bad the ex-sheriff (Darcy’s opponent) didn’t have  an opportunity to share my experience. Maybe the WTO result may have been better.  (A substantial settlement against the city for Police conduct during the 1999 WTO actions.)

VETO DEMONSTRATIONS

May 2, 2007

Report from Palo Alto demonstrations:

I have not participated in a demonstration since a vigil the night after the war started, but felt moved to make my views known today.  A group of about 60 gathered in Palo Alto at the intersection of a highway, El Camino Real, and a street, Embarcadero, with a shopping center on one corner, Palo Alto High School on another, and the perimeter of Stanford on the other two. It started at 5:00 and was going strong when I had to leave a bit after 6:00.  Many of the people were my age (50s), some older, but there were some young parents with their children.   I only saw one person that looked like a Stanford student.  Mostly white, but some Asians and African Americans too.  What was exhilarating was that many, many people honked as they drove by and waved or flashed the peace sign.  (It is a fairly liberal community.) We smiled and waved.  A few people brought pans to clang.  I was concerned that I hadn’t had time to make a sign.  But the organizers (Peninsula Peace and Justice) were organized and had plenty of signs for anyone to use with various messages. They had a little bucket out asking people to contribute to the cost of the signs.  I picked one that simply said to end the war now.  Next to me were two special education teachers.  Didn’t talk to others but felt a kinship with them.  All in all, it felt good to be a citizen trying to change things for what I see as the good.