Wednesday, August 10, 2005

A Message From Cindy Sheehan

Cindy Sheehan hears the Sheriff Posted by Picasa

The true man of ancient times knew nothing of loving life, knew nothing of hating death. He emerged without delight; he went back in without a fuss. He came briskly, he went briskly, and that was all. He didn't forget where he began; he didn't try to find out where he would end. He received something and took pleasure in it; he forgot about it and handed it back again. This is what I call not using the mind to repel the Way, not using man to help out Heaven. This is what I call the True Man.


May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view.
May your mountains rise into and above the clouds.

---Edward Abbey

Even if our efforts of attention seem for years to be producing no result,
one day a light that is in exact proportion to them will flood the room.

---Simone Weil

While jailed reporter Judith Miller decides with her cellmate every night who gets to sleep on the floor , activist mother Cindy Sheehan tells reporters she may be arrested tomorrow as a security threat. As news sources around the world are reporting (if their corporate owners allow them) Ms. Sheehan has walked as far as they'd let her down the road to the President's ranch in Crawford, Texas, where he is taking a 5-week vacation (the longest presidential retreat in 36 years). Well, he does say he goes there "to meet with folks in the heartland and hear what's on their minds" . Of course we know he never can let himself be disagreed with in public, so Cindy Sheehan bakes in the sun. She is telling reporters she's been notified that she and supporters will be cleared out when the Secretaries of State and Defense come to the ranch tomorrow. At the moment, people are boarding planes, trains, buses and anything else that will get them to Crawford in case that happens.

Yesterday Bob Fertik posted a message from Cindy at his blog. He didn't include a link so maybe she sent it personally. Here it is~~~

Tuesday, August 9th, 2005
"Security Threat"
a Message From Cindy Sheehan, Crawford, TX

Where do I begin?

Today was a highly eventful day. This entry won't be artful, but utilitarian.

I conservatively got 3 to 5 phone calls a minute. I did about 25 phone interviews and several TV interviews. I did several right-wing radio interviews. I was supposed to do The Today Show, MSNBC live interview, Connected Coast to Coast (MSNBC) and Hardball (MSNBC). The Today Show just never showed up and the other 3 MSNBC shows cancelled for no reason.

Another big story that was going on today was about my first meeting with Bush in June of 2004. For you all I would like to clarify a few things. First of all, I did meet with George, and that is not a secret. I have written about it and been interviewed about it. I will stand by my recounting of the meeting. His behavior was rude and inappropriate. My behavior in June of 2004 is irrelevant to what is going on in 2005. I was in deep shock and deep grief. The grief is still there, but the shock has worn off and the deep anger has set in. And to remind everybody, a few things have happened since June of 2004: The 9/11 commission report; the Senate Intelligence report; the Duelfer WMD report; and most damaging and criminal: the Downing Street Memos. The VERY LAST THING I HAVE TO SAY ABOUT THIS IS: Why do the right wing media so assiduously scrutinize the words of a grief filled mother and ignore the words of a lying president?

In the early afternoon, we got word that if we were still there by Thursday, we were going to be deemed a "security threat" to the president. Condi and Rummy are coming in on Thursday for a "policy" meeting. I just don't understand why we will be a security threat on Thursday when we aren't now? If we don't leave on Thursday, we could be arrested. Well, I am not leaving. There are only three things that would make me leave: if George comes out and talks to me, if August comes to an end, or if I am arrested.

People are heading here from all over the country. I have some more Gold Star Families for Peace members coming tomorrow. We are amazed by the outpouring of love and support we are getting. 62% of the American public are against this war and want our troops home. We need to show the media that we are in the majority. We need to show George Bush and his cabal of neocons that when we say "bring the troops home, now" we mean "bring the troops home, now!!!"

In the late afternoon, many of us left to go back to the peace house in Crawford because there was going to be a major lightning storm. While most of us were gone, the Sheriff came and told us that what we were told was county property really was private property and we would have to remove our stuff to a tiny place, or get it confiscated. I find it interesting that the county sheriff did not know that roads in his county that lead up to the presidential vacation home are private roads. I find it very hard to believe. They think that they are pushing us off, but we will not leave there voluntarily or without handcuffs on. My only hope is, there will be tons of media there when they carry me to the squad car.

Today was so bizarre for me. I got phone calls from famous people pledging their support, and phone calls from mothers with sons in Iraq who are overcome with emotion when they talk to me. And it is so brave for them to call me, because I am their worst fear. We had a young man who is in the US Army at Ft. Hood come this morning and spend hours with us. He has been there [Iraq] and his unit is scheduled to go back in October. How much courage did that take for him to come within earshot of his commander in chief's home and spend time with some old hippy protestors???

We have a lawyer working on getting us closer to the ranch and working on magically turning the private property back into county property again. I have some awesome young ladies from CodePink answering my phone and taking phone calls. We have Veterans for Peace out there putting up banners (our tiny campsite looks real nice). We have concerned citizens from all over America starting to come in. IT IS FREAKIN AMAZING, FOLKS!!!

Come and join us and let your voices be joined with ours. VISIT:

Maureen Dowd continues on leave from The New York Times, as she writes a book, but she couldn't resist showing up this morning to comment on the Bush/Sheehan showdown . I'll post the whole thing as a separate comment. I'll also put up Representative John Conyer's blog and formal challenge to Vice President Cheney's Chief of Staff Scooter Libby to give Judith Miller a waiver to testify about conversations he had with her that are of interest to the grand jury . And they say there's no news in August!

Friday, August 05, 2005

Taking The Heat: Torture & Death

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People travel to wonder at the height of the mountains, at the huge waves of the sea, at the long course of rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motion of the stars; and they pass by themselves without wondering.

---St. Augustine

To begin with oneself, not to end with oneself;
To start with oneself, but not to aim at oneself;
To comprehend oneself, but not to be preoccupied with oneself.

---Martin Buber

The only difference between me and a madman is that I'm not mad.

---Salvador Dali

Regular readers of my online ramblings expect something close to fun on Saturday mornings. True, sometimes there's a Friday evening release from the White House, meant to be overlooked, that I try to underline, but usually I try to spread the happiness of reaching another weekend...and maybe even some cash in the pocket from payday. It's difficult today though. The past 2 hours of reading the papers and the blogs have left me grim...and I'm preparing to share.

If that's not your cup of tea or coffee today, allow me to refer you to the delightful op-ed piece in this morning's Times about a novelist's revery of a very cold lake in the summertime. And the Internet is buzzing with lots of coverage of Novak's stomping off the set of a live CNN broadcast yesterday as Carville began tightening the screws. Wonder what could be bothering him.

But aside from those moments of cheer, the matters requiring attention surround our relentless pursuit of the Terror War. At Truthout William Rivers Pitt let loose with a poignant essay on the soldiers who have died as one result~~~

"On Tuesday, some took solemn note of the fact that the total number of 'Coalition' fatalities from the invasion and occupation of Iraq had reached 2,000. On Wednesday afternoon, that number blurred upwards again to 2,015 dead soldiers. 1,821 of those served under the American flag. Fourteen US Marines died on Wednesday when their vehicle was shattered by a large bomb. Six other Marines were killed together on Monday, and a seventh is reportedly being held hostage. Two more Marines also died Monday, both from car bombings in separate locations.
"We are only three days into the month of August, and 22 US soldiers are dead. 54 died in July, 78 died in June, and 80 died in May. The occupation has lasted 868 days. More than two thousand soldiers, almost all of them young American boys and girls, have had the life blasted out of them because they were sent by their commander in chief to find weapons of mass destruction that did not exist. Those soldiers who remain, those soldiers who have been redeployed into the war zone two or three times already, wait with grim resolve to be brought home to their families whole and sane and safe."

Pitt goes on to quote an essay that author E.L. Doctorow quietly published last September in his hometown newspaper, the East Hampton Star. The piece is making the email rounds on the Internet, and maybe a friend has sent it to you already---as coincidentally our church friend, Joanne Larson, did for us yesterday. Doctorow's withering description of Bush deserves reading...and then rereading~~~

"Yet this president knew it would be difficult for Americans not to cheer the overthrow of a foreign dictator. He knew that much. This president and his supporters would seem to have a mind for only one thing -- to take power, to remain in power, and to use that power for the sake of themselves and their friends.

"A war will do that as well as anything. You become a wartime leader. The country gets behind you. Dissent becomes inappropriate. And so he does not drop to his knees, he is not contrite, he does not sit in the church with the grieving parents and wives and children. He is the president who does not feel. He does not feel for the families of the dead, he does not feel for the 35 million of us who live in poverty, he does not feel for the 40 percent who cannot afford health insurance, he does not feel for the miners whose lungs are turning black or for the working people he has deprived of the chance to work overtime at time-and-a-half to pay their bills - it is amazing for how many people in this country this president does not feel.

"But he will dissemble feeling. He will say in all sincerity he is relieving the wealthiest 1 percent of the population of their tax burden for the sake of the rest of us, and that he is polluting the air we breathe for the sake of our economy, and that he is decreasing the quality of air in coal mines to save the coal miners' jobs, and that he is depriving workers of their time-and-a-half benefits for overtime because this is actually a way to honor them by raising them into the professional class.

"And this litany of lies he will versify with reverences for God and the flag and democracy, when just what he and his party are doing to our democracy is choking the life out of it."

Furthermore distinguished columnist and human rights activist for as long as I can remember, Nat Hentoff has written an empassioned column in this week's Village Voice against the policy of torture so recently embraced and exposed in these United States. He concludes by laying into Democrats who have yet to get up on their hind legs about the morality of the policy, to say nothing of its ultimate efficiency in gaining information and prosecutions, or the aftermath upon the lives of its victims~~~

"Only an aroused American people—or enough of them—can force this Republican-dominated Congress to stop this shame of these United States. And for that to happen, the opposition party must use its organizing and communication resources to raise the consciousness, beyond party lines, of the citizenry.

"However, although there are some deeply concerned members of Congress, the public leadership of the Democratic Party is somnolent on this issue, as it is on the administration's rewriting the rules of the Constitution.

"What have you heard about torture from Nancy Pelosi, Howard Dean, and Harry Reid? The latter has even declared Alberto Gonzales qualified for a seat on the Supreme Court—the very same Gonzales who, as counsel to the president, orchestrated the 'torture memos' that led to the acceleration and expansion of the American ways of torture.

"How many Americans care enough to shame Congress and the one person who could stop torture right away? The man in the Oval Office.",hentoff,66394,6.html

Thanks for getting past that cool dip in the lake and reading this far. Let us rededicate ourselves to demand nothing less than the truth from our elected leaders!