Sunday, March 19, 2006

The Third Anniversary

When I consider the word "anniversary" - I immediately conjure up fond memories of beautiful relationships and happy times. Well, there is anything but happy times when recognizing this anniversary. On March 19th, 2003 the nightmare, known as Operation Iraqi Freedom officially began. Of course, the bait and switch game with Iraq started long before this date. The first Gulf War was a feeble attempt for regional domination back in 1991, and it was followed by the inhumane and unjust embargo that went on for 10 long years against the Iraqi people. Documentation suggests that over 500,000 Iraqi children alone, died during those years as the country was not only cut them off from food, industrial goods and technology but to the most simple items like sheets and pencils. Medical personnel had to do without the most standard tools including utensils, bandages, medicines, gowns, etc. Conditions were so horrendous as women gave birth without anesthetics, and many other operations were performed in the most primitive manner. How much more must we inflicted on this population just because they were born on top of the 2nd largest oil reserve in the world?

When our country lead the attack on their country, we have further subjected the Iraqi people to food and water shortages, utlility outages, daily violence, humiliation and brutality. All provided with the help of our tax dollars - yes yours and mine... as our money fuels the war engine driven by Neo-Mads. That is my new name for them - "The Neo-Mads" Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, Gonzales, Perle, Wolfowitz and the other diabolic psycho-pathetic criminals that are controlling - lock, stock and barrel our country.

Even as thousands of outraged citizens hit the streets this past weekend, the Neo-Mads insist that we the people are wrong. Even as the Republicans leadership has successfully passed the raising of the debt ceiling this week to $9Trillion- that's $9,000,000,000,000 - right - we are told that all is ok. (Yes, the party proudly known as "fiscally responsible" has brought us closer to collapse than any other administration. ) And just in case you think we are partial...the Democratic leadership is not innocent in any of this. They could hold up the budget bills in the Senate. They should be walking out and creating havoc and chaos at every corner. The best description about our people's Congress was last Friday night on PBS' NOW show..."the most dysfunctional congress ever in the history of the U.S".

Let me ask you about this one from last week's activity in the House & Senate...remember that great threat of terrorism that lurks in every possible corner - you know the one that makes you take out your toe nail clipper before you load the plane? Well, I guess it is not significant enough for the Republican lead Congress to consider funding a method to check and secure incoming cargo at U.S. ports of entry. We have several metric tons of cargo entering this country daily...see for yourself on a visit to Oakland, Oxnard, Los Angeles or San Pedro and watch the cargo carriers come in loaded up to the top with containers full of goods. Then go to any international airport cargo sections and see all the cartons of incoming goods. Those goods are then transported by tractor trailers across the U.S. on interstate highways, criss-crossing our communities.

And yet - the party that was overwhelmingly elected because our fellow citizens felt safer with them has denied the Customs people the resources to insure this cargo is secure. That is bizzaro if you ask me. Really. Somehow it is ok to spend $300 Billion Dollars on a war that is going from bad to worse in every aspect, while destroying thousands of innocents lives on both sides, but we could not spend $1.2 B to expand overseas cargo checks. Hmmm. I don't know what it says to you, but it reinforces what I already thought: 1) if one of the defense manufacturers couldn't make any money on it, the bill was not going to pass 2) the war is about oil, oil & more oil and 3) the terrorist threat is very over stated. But you watch, my prediction is that somehow, someway, another bill will come forth from the Republicans hiring a non-governmental "group" i.e. no-bid contract - to somehow give the illusion that this port security will be done - for $3B instead. Ha! Not funny if it does happen but these days, they are so blatant in their corruption that I wouldn't doubt it.

Back to CodePink...we were pretty quiet this weekend. We had a flash mob on Saturday. It was a trial action that went well, but the impact was hard to gauge. Right now, we have to get our website up and running asap so we can keep all informed of actions and opportunities to get involved - like our counter recruitment efforts, student empowerment efforts, campaigns for new and improved respresentatives for various seats and many other ways to make a small difference.

I want to write something about CodePink and what good, if any we do. Yes, we need to act on our philosophies every day. Not drive gas guzzling cars. Not purchase goods made by children in sweat shops or adults reduced to slave status. It would be great to reduce our demands for foods not grown locally or organically. And in the big picture for me - not pay taxes to a federal government that literally throws billions and billions toward the Pentagon and the Department of Defense while nickeling the other agencies. By the way, check out www.nwtrcc.org - for an official statement to put into your tax returns about just that issue.

But really, fundamental lifestyle changes do make for challenges beyond what many of us can put into action now. However...steps are being made. Changing the way we think is a start and we continue to do this at CodePink. How we live and how we relate to each other in our democracy. How we participate in it. This is something that is remarkable to me - hundreds of women who may have never taken a stand before - getting out and doing just that. Learning about foreign policy and history and more. This will encourage changes in the right direction, including sustainable and justice issues. I believe it and I believe in each of you. We will prevail.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

The Trudge For Peace

CODEPINK: For Peace
Well, last night we had over 370 people for the Trudge For Peace. The Tribune listed us at 250 people but our counters had us at 370. The television coverage was completely absent last night. We missed Dawn, as she is really good at getting the Press out to see us and I just am not good at talking them into coming out to cover our events. I have the idea that we are newsworthy in our own right and I shouldn't have to talk them into it. Disappointing, and I am sorry for the group that the other folks in our community didn't get to see that there are people willing to take time out of their busy lives to say NO! More War!.

Yes, we are sick and tired of war. Tired of watching our country fall apart at the seams, while we simultaneously tear apart another country; maim and kill their citizens. Yes, we care. Others care too, but we cannot seem to spur them to action. Got any ideas of what it takes to get people up and out? Sometimes I feel discouraged- don't they see what is happening? Iraq gets bloodier and bloodier every day,. Our country is eroding, freedoms are being taken away, money is diverted from people to pay for war and "security". Anyone feel more secure? I certainly don't. I fear for the country my children will grow up and live in-I cannot bear to do nothing.

I applaud those of you who came out! Many for the first time. CodePink got plenty of inquiries into what we do and where we meet. Today Dian added yet more names to our 300+ email list. We will make a difference. We must!

Where do we go from here?
  • Next Meeting: Wednesday March 15th at ECOSLO, corner of Marsh and Nipomo in SLO. Meeting from 7-9:30 pm. We usually meet the 2nd Monday of every month at the same time but a few of us will be gone this Monday so we changed it. We are growing out of ECOSLO! We have 25+ people and the room is really too small. Any ideas on meeting places would be appreciated. We need space for at least 30. I have checked into the SLO City facilities but have not been successful getting the 2 nd Monday at any place they have available.
  • March 16th- There will be a Peace Rally with Nadia McCaffrey of Gold Start Families Speak Out at noon, 1415 State St, in Santa Barbara (bankruptcy and federal courthouse). At 1:30 pm the trial of peace protester MacGregor Eddy, arrested at VAFB will be concluded. This is part of the Voices For Creative Nonviolence Action Winter Protest and part Protest Against the attack on Iraq- 3rd Anniversary of the start of this war. See www.vpeaceldf.org for more details.
  • Take Action! Did you know that both Feinstein and Boxer voted for the Patriot Act Renewal? Lois Capps did vote against and Bill Thomas for (big surprise!). I am appalled at Ms. Boxer, of all people and the Democrats as a whole. Only 8 or 9 had Democrats had the guts to vote against the Patriot Act! Let them know we are unhappy with those that voted Yes, rubber-stamping the fascism that this administration is bent on enforcing. Let Capps know we appreciate her standing up for our constitutional rights!
  • 3rd Anniversary of the War in Iraq- CodePink will be planning an action on March 18th. The plan is to do a Flash Mob. This takes very little energy on the participants part and is more pwerful with large groups of people. Please consider joining in this action. For more info, email Liz: lcordoba@sbcglobal.
Finally, many of you asked how you can get CodePink wear, buttons, and bumper stickers last night. I will bring some of these items to the next meeting but you can also email me at :cpinkviv@sbcglobal.net and we can arrange to get you what you need. We do hope you will join us at our mext meeting as we plan for future actions!

To get on our email list, email Dian at :ososousaville@aol.com and asked to be added.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Taking Action

There are many ways we can work together to disrupt and eventually disintegrate the concentration of power that currently exists in our country. We at CodePink know it will take a lot of work, cooperation and collaboration among many people and groups. We believe it will take sacrifice and perhaps changing the way we live our lives. However, we also believe another world is possible for our children and our planet.

There are big actions and small actions. Right now, our list consists of the following:

Call the Congressional Switchboard 202-224-2131. Ask for Representative Capps or Thomas; & Senators Feinstein & Boxer. You will have to call back a few times to connect to their offices.
Let each office know:

1. You want them to vote NO on the Patriot Act.
2. You want them to vote NO on the $70B in Emergency Supplemental Funding for Iraq & Afghanistan.

3. Go to "womensaynotowar.org" and sign the call for peace

4. Join our members today, on Dave Congalton 920AM @ 5:30 PM for discussion on how we must change the course of our nation and our action on International Women's Day, March 8th.

5. Add your name to our email list by sending an email to: ososousaville@aol.com. You will learn more about our meetings, our work on school campuses to empower students to make choices other than military futures and creative ways we work together to "say no to war".

6. March 8th "International Women's Day" - join us as we Trudge for Peace. The idea of a "trudge" was due to the fact that we are tired! Wear your pink sleep wear and join us on our trudge through downtown SLO at 5:30 pm, starting at the SLO County Government Center on Monterey Street.

To be sure, we are tired of death and arrogant destruction conducted in our name. We are impatient from listening to the lies about a failed policy. We are exhausted from having to work extra hours to raise funds for our children's schools. We are fatigued by the countless shams perpetrated on our fellow citizens in the form of "prescription drug reform" or "clean skies initiative" benefiting the very industries that need regulating. We are weary from the incompetent political appointees that are ruining our government agencies and departments. As women working in health, education and other social services, we are witnesses to the consequences of having our resources usurped by an unaccountable president, vice-president and their administration.

Even as we earn less than our male counterparts, we contribute 49% of the federal taxes paid and we demand that our money is spent on life sustaining activities. We will not accept the policies that jeopardized our families futures for possibly decades to come.
For those questioning our patriotism, we ask "what is unpatriotic about wanting to take care of our people, our land and the integrity of our country?"

Being a part of CodePink Women for Peace is easy. It takes the desire to make the world a better place for your families. It takes the belief that we can do this together. It requires humor and joy to carry out crazy actions and bold moves. It
doesn't take any money, just a little time and hope.

We look forward to seeing you soon!



Sunday, January 29, 2006

Why Panthers Count

We at CodePink refer to the men folk as Pink Panthers...and let me tell you that without their support and help, we would be s.o.l. on many of our hair-brained ideas. Thanks to Brian we have a place to put up one of our pretty, lacy and oh-so-sexy pink slips that subtly and oh-so-provocatively states: PINK SLIP BUSH. OK, so its not so subtle a message- but it's still pink and lacy---that's got to count for something! And then, tonight, Pete comes to our rescue to help us secure a roof top for another slip (all happening on Tuesday's Disgrace of the Nation action). We have George, Ted and Frank always standing in the lurches, waiting with their trucks, arms and bodies (oooh we like that part!). We have Bob and Greg gifting us with their special tools, (yes, I wrote that) and helping us whenever they can and Dave, don't forget Dave! Dave is solid and as sweet as they come. We have Duane and Richard offering up their vast minds and hearts and we have our generous John, talented Mark and smiling Keith (he even looks good in pink) and Bill, always looking out for us.

CodePink SLO would not get half their actions done without the help of the big, furry and wonderful panthers who get it. They get that war is not sexy or smart. They understand the deep ramifications of being a nation at war. They have sons and daughters too. They care.

Besides, they get that we have to do something with our anger and our energy or who knows what ugly scene could transpire! It wouldn't be good - that's for sure!...and we need to laugh. We need to have men and their sense of humors keep us sane.

So a big wet pink kiss to all the panthers who give us what we need! Thankyou.

PS: Try and consider Tuesday - 4-7pm, SLO County Gov't Center, Monterey Street as another way to spend "State of the Union" energy. Come on down!

Sunday, January 22, 2006

2006 and Staying in the "Pink"

Hello Central Coast,

CodePink, SLO Chapter is pleased as punch to be part of the Central Coast Blogspot. We hope to make this a place for updates and ways people can contact us with ideas or feedback about our activities. To date, over 300 citizens have joined our efforts and our mailing list. That's all is it takes. There are no membership dues or requirements. Just keep in touch and come out when you feel the desire. The best part of CodePink is that we support each other during these dark, dwindling days of the American empire. Let's be clear: we do this because we love our country - and we care about ALL people. Collectively, we have very different philosophies about how to address the world's problems. While our primary focus is ending the war in Iraq, there are other areas where we are participating in the community and beyond. For example, we are putting the finishing touches on our essay contest for high school seniors. First prize $350 - titled: "What can you say YES to when you say No to War?". We assisted a family from New Orleans; we donated funds to the Prado Day Center, we send regular shipments to soldiers in Iraq and we serve dinner at the Maxine Lewis Homeless Shelter.

Our national leadership describes it this way:
"A women-initiated grassroots peace and social justice movement working to end the war in Iraq, stop new wars, and redirect our resources into healthcare, education and other life-affirming activities. CodePink rejects the Bush administration's fear-based politics that justify violence, and instead calls for policies based on compassion, kindness and a commitment to international law. Wth an emphasis on joy and humor, CodePink women and men seek to activate, amplify and inspire a community of peacemakers through creative campaigns and commitment to non-violence".

For a quick review, here are upcoming actions,(and opportunities for you to join our sub-committees):

January 31st - Disgrace of the Union Address - 4-7 pm at the SLO County Building, Monterey Street in SLO. A peaceful protest against the President and the Vice President of the United States - George Bush and Dick Cheney for their illegally outrageous behavior.

February 11th - Change the Status Quo - Cal Poly Chumash Auditorium is the location for this neat event hosted by the Cal Poly Women's Center. There are numerous workshops offered, including ours on grassroots activism.

March 8th - Call to Peace on International Women's Day - around the world on this day, hundreds of thousands of women and men will come together to say "NO MORE WAR!". Time and time again, we have seen that violence does not bring answers, security or peaceful ways of living for our planet and its children. On the contrary, we are perpetuating a system that does not serve us as humans or even begin to address the problems in our world. It just makes things worse. Stop by the Democratic table at Farmer's Market in the next few weeks to sign the international call to stop war.

March 18th - The third anniversary of the U.S. attack and invasion of Iraq. Plans still in the works. Something to mark the enormous loss of potential and possibility in the form of lives and money. Action to be determined yet.

April 1st - Hot Pink HiJinx is our inaugural dance party / fundraiser. More details to come about this social event where we have all sorts of tom foolery planned. It will be at the Oddfellows Hall in SLO - stay tuned for more info...

Monthly Meetings:
General Meeting - 2nd Monday every month at the EcoSLO office on Marsh & Nipomo Streets in SLO, 7:00 pm. We realize that everyone is busy and so if you can't make the general meetings, have your name added to list by emailing us at: ososousaville@aol.com

Alternatives to Military Futures - On-going work to counter the aggressive military recruitment occurring at the local high schools. The goal is to empower students with options and information to finance their college careers and help them make "informed choices" when they choose to join up. This takes a lot of effort and we believe working with youth for their future and the future of our country is extremely valuable. You can help by assisting during campus career days, among other activities.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

SLO CodePink Is Here!




This space reserved for the dynamic women of SLO CodePink!