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.