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What I Do
By Linda Milazzo
As angry uprisings take place in Iran over the questionable "re-election" of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. As innocents are murdered at every corner of this planet - indeed at EVERY CORNER - when considering those at its furthest coordinates suffering the effects of global warming brought on by human greed -- there appears on this day a message of hope that can make us ALL smile.
Regardless of ideology, the common denominator I would hope true adults will agree on is that ALL children are OURS to protect. The clear right of passage to be an adult is the knowledge that our principal obligation is to protect and serve the world's children; that ALL children are precious and should be accorded their mutual rights to safety and joy.
By Linda Milazzo
The following is an excerpt of an article I published after attending a Sarah Palin rally in Southern California where I witnessed reinvigorated anti-abortion fanatics spurred on by Palin's inflammatory rhetoric. At that time, as evidenced by the text of my earlier article (below), it was clear to me that a similar threat of domestic terrorism to that inflicted on this nation by convicted anti-abortion murderer Eric Rudolph, was probable and undeterred by Sarah Palin -- the latest charismatic leader in the anti-abortion movement.
By Linda Milazzo
On Wednesday evening, in an act of daring befitting a West Point graduate and veteran of Iraq, recently discharged New York National Guard Lieutenant Daniel Choi defied the orders of dozens of crowd control police and stepped into the 'no protest zone' street to ceremoniously salute his Commander in Chief, Barack Obama, out of site at a star-studded fundraiser at the posh Beverly Hilton Hotel.
(Photo by Linda Milazzo)
One of the speakers at a Capitol Hill rally, on Wednesday, May 13, 2009, advocating for a Single Payer Healthcare System was Dr. Margaret Flowers of Baltimore. Click "Read more."
Two Fridays ago on the first day of its release, I went to an early afternoon screening of the film The Soloist. I'd been eager to see it since it focuses on the real life relationship between Los Angeles Times journalist Steve Lopez and Nathaniel Anthony Ayers, a homeless member of Los Angeles' Skid Row community suffering from debilitating mental illness. In the story, as told in Lopez' columns in the LA Times, in his book, and in the screenplay by Susannah Grant, Lopez first meets middle-aged Nathaniel Ayers in downtown Los Angeles in front of a statue of Beethoven where Ayers is playing a two string violin. In that serendipitous meeting Lopez discovers that as a youth Ayers had been a gifted student at Juilliard, New York's prestigious school for the performing arts. This revelation leads Lopez on a personal mission to rehabilitate the troubled man - a mission Lopez is still on today, four years after their first encounter.
My intense desire to see this film had been predicated, foolishly as I have since come to learn, on the romantic notion that viewers would see The Soloist and be moved to help the homeless. But the film I saw, with its cartoon-like unsympathetic portrayal of the people of Skid Row, that displayed none of their individuality, humanity or humor, would never provoke such action. Instead of showing the hearts of the inhabitants and telling a few of their tales, the film portrayed them as a Fellini-esque monolith - a tainted Gomorrah teeming with decadence and dereliction.
By Linda Milazzo
Any viewers of cable news, who for even one silly second doubted corporate media's desire to fry the brain of its audience and render it hopelessly confused, need only to have seen tonight's bizarro 'WORD CLOUD" on CNN. In fact, if you weren't privy to this visual catastrophe of upside down sideways multicolored multi-sized words in incomprehensible disorder, permit me to introduce you to "WORD CLOUD" or YOUR BRAIN ON CNN:
by Linda Milazzo
CODEPINK Women For Peace will be traveling to Gaza on March 6th. The purpose of their mission is to provide "humanitarian and emotional support to women and women's organizations and exert pressure on US, Egyptian and Israeli governments to lift the blockade and promote peace and human rights in the region."
In advance of their trip, CODEPINK has created a petition that asks signers to write President Obama's special envoy to the Middle East, George Mitchell, to request that he meet with the women of Gaza. As an American Jew who opposes Israel's inhumane treatment of Palestinians, I answered CODEPINK's call, signed the petition, and wrote a letter to Mr. Mitchell. The letter that follows is my personal statement to Mr. Mitchell and not the statement of CODEPINK.
by Linda Milazzo
President Barack Obama of the Capitol of Washington, it is my most sincere honor to introduce you to Citizen Bob Alexander of the State of Washington, who by the standards you have set to 'give our all' has valiantly answered your call. In fact, Citizen Bob answered that call long before you were President. He seized his responsibilities gladly, not grudgingly, just as you asked at your inauguration. And now President Obama, Citizen Bob and millions more, would like you to hear THEIR call.
Before I tell you more about Citizen Bob, allow me to remind you of a few of the inspirational words you delivered at your inauguration. Here they are in a 31 second clip:
by Linda Milazzo
For years since the United States invaded Iraq, I've witnessed countless photo and video images of innocent civilians - men, women, teens and children - being rudely and aggressively threatened by hired uniformed militants (mostly men), wielding guns. I've seen these images from Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Haiti, Palestine, and more. Whether they be armed American military threatening Iraqis, armed Israeli soldiers threatening Palestinians, or armed Ethiopian troops threatening Somalis, the images have always disturbed me. There's an inherent injustice to such blatant imbalance of power. An injustice I suffered recently myself.
The oddity here is that unlike those less fortunate innocents in war zones who faced the guns of hired aggressors, I was not in a war zone when I faced mine. I wasn't even in a high crime zone. I was in a gentle middle class suburb, where my aggressor, an armed Brinks, Inc. security guard, was in full combat-mode performing his non war-zone duty. My aggressor more typified the machismo of a Blackwater guard than the demeanor of community-minded Brinks, when he flailed his loaded gun at me, as though he'd done it often before. My armed Brinks aggressor was not merely disrespectful. He was downright hostile and dangerous. He treated me as his enemy and freely showed me his force.
Here's how it happened:
by Linda Milazzo
In an effort to establish peaceful diplomacy with the government and people of Iran, and to model for the new Obama administration the power of cooperative good will, three highly regarded American peace makers have ventured to Iran. CODEPINK cofounders, Jodie Evans and Medea Benjamin, along with former Army Colonel and decorated Foreign Service Diplomat Ann Wright, are visiting Iran on visas coordinated by the Fellowship Of Reconciliation, which similarly organized the September 24th meeting in New York City between civilian leaders of the American peace movement and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
In that historic citizen diplomacy gathering, Iranian President Ahmadinejad met with approximately 120 representatives from American peace and social justice organizations, where over the course of two hours, he took unfiltered questions from the groups. The question from the women of Codepink, who travel extensively on missions of peace, addressed why the organization's founders were repeatedly denied visas to Iran. Ahmadinejad promised to remedy the situation and provide the women their visas. Thanks to the efforts of the Fellowship of Reconciliation, working in consort with the government of Iran, visas to Iran were issued on Monday to Benjamin, Evans and Wright. Seventy-two hours later, these intrepid citizen diplomats were packed and on their way.
I caught up with Evans yesterday on her stop-over in Frankfurt and asked her to explain the intent of her mission. She replied:
"We're traveling to Iran to strengthen our connections with as many groups as possible in the areas of government, culture, education, women and, of course, peace. We've come to deepen our work as citizen diplomats to model the type of diplomacy we HOPE to see from our new government."
by Linda Milazzo
According to the local Los Angeles newspaper, The Daily Breeze, California Congresswoman, Jane Harman, a blue dog conservative democrat, is up for a high level intelligence position in the Obama administration. The positions being considered are CIA Director, Director of National Intelligence, and Secretary of Homeland Security. If this speculation becomes fact, and Harman is appointed overseer of the freedoms of the American people, the people's freedoms are toast. Conservative Democrat Harman consistently legislates AGAINST participatory democracy and against personal freedom.
The most egregious example of Harman's disregard for participatory democracy is HR 1955 - the "Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007" - a frightening bill she slipped in the House for passage just over a year ago. HR 1955 is so anti-dissent, so anti-freedom and so McCarthy-like in its establishment of citizen review Commissions that I've written on it twice - both times appealing to the public to stop passage of its Senate clone, S 1959, which luckily has not yet come up for vote. Unfortunately, Mrs. Harman was so covert when sneaking in "1955" that no citizens could lobby to stop it.
by Linda Milazzo
As corporate media reports obsessively on Joe The Plumber, who misrepresented himself to Barack Obama saying he'd be victimized by Obama's tax plan, Americans more in need than Joe are being victimized for REAL everyday - not in hypothetical ways like Joe's imagined fears of paying rich people's taxes even though he isn't rich. But in ways that jeopardize every aspect of their existence due to the collusion between the American government and the financiers it loves.
And while John McCain and Sarah Palin make this self-serving plumber the cause celebre for their campaign, increasing numbers of Americans less fortunate than Joe are losing their homes, their jobs, their health insurance, and more. Yes, while physically imposing Joe 'Wutchagonnadoforme' Wurtzelbacher, alias "Joe The Plumber," bemoans his fabricated tax burden, Americans in greater need than seemingly healthy Joe, are suffering more burdensome tragedies than his phobia of spreading his wealth. Interestingly, what Joe fears the most - the spreading of wealth (be it real or imagined), may one day be his salvation - just as it was on Friday for Jocelyne Voltaire, whose home was saved by the kindness of strangers who spread THEIR wealth to her. These strangers' generosity toward Jocelyne defines the American spirit far better than the vitriol toward SHARING that defines the McCain campaign.
So who is Jocelyne Voltaire, and why is her story more relevant to America's current crisis than that of plumber Joe?
On Saturday I went to Carson, California, to attend a rally for Republican Vice Presidential candidate, Sarah Palin. For those who aren't familiar with the city of Carson, it's approximately 19 miles south of downtown Los Angeles. In the 2004 Presidential election, Carson, which had a population of just under 90,000, donated three times as much money to George W. Bush than to John Kerry. This year, for the 2008 elections, residents of Carson have given slightly more to Republican candidates than to Democrats by a slim margin of $3,000. Thus the gap between Republicans and Democrats in Carson has narrowed.
The Palin rally, which you may have seen on youtube and TV, was held at the Home Depot ADT Tennis Stadium. Because of the surprising popularity of Mrs. Palin and easy access to free tickets, all 20,000 stadium seats, plus an overflow area were filled. I got a handful of tickets, recruited my friend Rebecca Tobias, Program Director of the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Ethics, and trekked on out to Carson. We scored ground level seats in the stadium from which I watched, listened and steadily bristled. When I could no longer stomach Palin's lies and distortions, I jumped up, and at the top of my lungs, repeatedly called Palin a L-I-A-R! I was shouted down in Palinese by her 20,000 admirers, then escorted out by security. I took extra time as I climbed the steps from the ground up to the top just to keep her admirers shouting. The few minute reprieve from Palin's lies was to me a righteous diversion.
When I neared the top of the steps I turned back to Mrs. Palin and continued to call her a L-I-A-R, until I was ushered out the door. Thankfully my escorts showed me the utmost respect for they privately shared my feelings. They're working folk. They see through Mrs. Palin. But that's just the start of this story...
The Republican Cult
By Mikal Hutto
I think there is absolutely no denying that the GOP has become a cult instead of a political party. Nothing, absolutely nothing, will change these people's minds. If Nukes were raining upon their heads, they would still be screaming their allegiance to the Cult leaders with their dying breaths. It matters not who their candidate is, or what this candidate stands for, or even if their candidate stands for nothing.
It has become more than obvious that none of the GOP policies are ever going to benefit the people. Our country is reeling from the mistakes of Bush and Cheney, Bush Sr., and even as far back as Reagan. Yet millions of Republicans continue on the same path of destruction. even though they are suffering themselves.
by Linda Milazzo
During Sarah Palin's acceptance speech when nominated by John McCain for Vice President, McCain wouldn't leave Palin alone on stage. Rather than give her the momentary limelight, McCain peered over her shoulder and read her speech alongside her. He was visibly nervous and has remained so ever since. Other than Wednesday at the RNC when Palin finally appeared solo, the image of McCain hovering authoritatively over her is the constant at every appearance. McCain's public subjugation of Palin, and her public acceptance of it, set male-female advancement back decades. Were Palin truly a trusted and powerful woman she'd request and be granted autonomy on stage, and reject McCain's Taliban-like presence. All that's missing is her burka. Honestly, what strong woman tolerates a man hovering over her in the presence of thousands? If she's really VP worthy, McCain should leave her alone.
Here are 3 short videos evidencing McCain's "tight-leash" on Palin. The first is Palin's acceptance of the nomination for VP:
by Linda Milazzo
The above video, courtesy of the Minneapolis Star Tribune and videographer, Jeffrey Thompson, is one of the first behind-the-scenes views of the extreme dedication and depth of organization of CODEPINK, which like most PEACE and social justice groups, is comprised mainly of volunteers who work ceaselessly and selflessly to restore this nation to the rule of law and principles of freedom upon which it was built.
by Linda Milazzo
IS THIS REALLY WHAT DEMOCRACY LOOKS LIKE?!
by Janet Weil
More than seventy CODEPINKers converged on Denver from at least 26 states around the country yesterday, Sunday, August 24, to bring our joyous, intense woman spirit and our peace and "war is not green" messages to the DNC. Nine of us took the Peace Train from the Bay Area; see here for photos.
Deidra Lynch of Orlando, FL, Dana Balicki of New York City, Rae Abileah of San Francisco, and Gael Murphy greeted women (and a few men) with an activist orientation and pink fabric activist goodie bags with our "War Is Not Green" message at the Mercury Café, a phenomenal cafe that is providing us with hospitality, healthy organic food, and endless self-serve coffee.
In 2005, more than 12,000 people trekked to Crawford TX to support Cindy Sheehan and to gain energy and strength from one another. Many of them went back to their own communities and have worked for peace ever since. Here is an essay from one of those original people.
We wouldn't be in this mess if our Congress had once stood up for the people in the past eight years. The only thing Congress is interested in these days is covering their rear-ends, and passing legislation to protect the Government from The People. One has to ask why they are so afraid of their own constituencies. Perhaps it is because they know more than we do about what they are actually up to, and how they have betrayed us?
Here are the words of Barack Obama's advisor, Cass Sunstein, at the netroots convention and an outstanding reply from Mikal Hutto
an adviser to Barack Obama from the University of Chicago Law School, cautioned against prosecuting criminal conduct from the current Administration. Prosecuting government officials risks a "cycle" of criminalizing public service, he argued, and Democrats should avoid replicating retributive efforts like the impeachment of President Clinton--or even the "slight appearance" of it.
Maybe someone can explain how the public and Government would be criminalizing public service by prosecuting criminals who have blatantly used their offices to prosecute, persecute, and murder millions of people in the world against the will of the people who pay their salaries and put them in office?
By Dave Lindorff
I’m certainly no hero, but since some readers of my last post have reacted by attacking my courage and integrity on the grounds that I “never served,” I want to at least set the record straight on my youthful response to war.
By Jim Ramelis
Are we there yet? As the never ending rising price of gas and food surges onward are we starting to get it? As the oil companies suck us dry of our blood like big fat wood ticks that won’t let go until they are gorged with our blood, are we starting to feel the pain? Are we finally starting to understand that something is terribly wrong with the way we are doing things? Is the failed notion that if we let the corporations do whatever they like, somehow everybody benefits from the “trickle down” effect, starting to sink in as a lie?
[cross-posted from the Democracy Cell Project]
When did we know we had to leave?
Certainly the first indication was right before the 2004 election, after a year-plus of working hard, 24X7, to elect a smart, good, thoughtful, honest man to the White House. Richard (Blogmaster for johnkerry.com, initiator of the first national party website and first online political community sponsored by a political party) and I were sitting in the car on the Sunday prior to election day. He hesitated before turning on the car. "I have a bad feeling," he said. "I have a sense that in churches all over America, people are being told to vote for Bush."
For my entire life - years before Hurricane Katrina - I've fantasized about New Orleans. I dreamed of being decadent in the French Quarter in clubs where my music heroes played. I dreamed of tasting the food, studying the architecture, hearing the accents, and being cradled in the arms of the city – in the cream, black, brown and white blended arms of the city. I wanted to earn my beads at Mardi Gras, search the bayous for magic, and be transformed beyond the boundaries of my physical world. But the rigors of my life quashed my momentum and I didn’t visit the one American city I'd always longed to see -- until just last weekend -- nearly three years AFTER Katrina.
Hundreds of anti-war protesters are on a hunger strike, trying to urge House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers (D-Mich.) to begin impeachment hearings against Vice President Dick Cheney.
"I'm really concerned that the Bush and Cheney administration have committed so many impeachable offenses," Leslie Angeline, a member of Code Pink told Cybercast News Service.
Angeline and her followers are urging the Judiciary Committee to take up articles of impeachment introduced by former presidential candidate Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) in April. In November, Kucinich introduced a similar bill, but the Democratic leadership tabled the motion.
"The only way to move forward is to start impeachment hearings against Vice President Dick Cheney to hold him accountable, for the sake of the United States and for the sake of the world," Angeline said.
The Doo Dah Parade
Three weeks ago, on January 1, 2008, the White Rose Coalition (WRC), a diverse consortium of pro-peace/pro-impeachment patriots, challenged the simplistic Happy New Year message of the 119th Pasadena Rose Parade by penetrating the festivities and infusing it with critical issues of war, war criminals, and Constitutional accountability. Three to four hundred patriots brazenly appeared on the scene to infiltrate one of Southern California's most conservative communities for one of America's most conservative events. The WRC wore Revolutionary era clothing, displayed signs reading "Impeach Bush & Cheney," and held as prisoners bobbleheaded semblances of war criminals George Bush, Dick Cheney, Condoleeza Rice and Donald Rumsfeld, dressed in prison stripes with requisite balls and chains.
The instant it was reported that John Edwards placed second in the Iowa caucus, I ran to my purse, grabbed my wallet, pulled out my credit card, and donated to the Edwards campaign. Not for the first time. And likely for not the last. I don't have much money to give, but with this nation in peril, it's necessary. There's too much to lose if I don't ante up. America NEEDS John Edwards!!
After my little donation, this is the message I got:
In my article on New Years Eve (http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/?q=node/29684), the night before the Pasadena Rose Parade and our White Rose Coalition's (WRC) unauthorized PEOPLE'S PARADE FOR DEMOCRACY, I questioned whether media would step up patriotically to broadcast our message to IMPEACH Bush & Cheney and END THE WAR. We were well aware that media would already be present in huge numbers, since it capitalizes handsomely on Rose Parade revenues every year. But we also knew, through previous disappointments, the difficulty in getting corporate press to broadcast negative public sentiment toward Bush, Cheney, and War.
With our Democracy in decline, an immoral war raging on, criminals and cowards controlling our government, and H.R. 1955 and S. 1959 threatening our First Amendment freedoms, our White Rose Coalition believed it had a duty to begin 2008 with the clarion call to Americans that this is the year to RISE UP. After weeks of strategizing under the inspired and frenetic leadership of Los Angeles National Impeachment Center (LANIC) Director, Peter Thottam, we ventured forward with our action. With visuals in tow, our group of 350 to 400 patriots from a dozen pro-peace/pro-impeachment organizations, embarked on our mission to usher in 2008 with THE WHOLE WORLD WATCHING.
Much to the delight of our 2008 White Rose Coalition, a substantial number of media actually did turn out. While the coverage was no where near what we would have liked, it exceeded our expectations.
Here's the follow-up report to my article: "Will Media Broadcast THE PEOPLE'S PARADE At The Rose Parade New Year's Day?":
By Barbara Cummings
We left San Diego at 1:30 AM and got to Pasadena at around 4 AM. The metro runs all night long so that was easy enough to find our way to the parade venue. We were told to look for ORANGE. At first we were so excited because there was ORANGE everywhere! After being rebuffed by the first group I approached, we understood that one of the teams playing in the Bowl was orange so it would not be so easy to find others. Wrong again. People were very helpful and mostly positive in these predawn, cold hours.
When they saw ARREST BUSH and IMPEACH they were only too happy to direct us to the area where others had camped out all night long. The IMPEACH group was much smaller than we had hoped but that did not dampen their spirits. Ours either! We each got a sign and began walking the streets. It was too cold to be still. As the sun came up, the crowds kept getting bigger, constant traffic past where we stood. We were directly across form the press area. For an hour or so we were photographed continuously. I decided then to break out the www.afterdowningstreet banner and display it while we had the chance. Some of the remarks we have all heard but on this day they seemed downright comical.
COMMIES, no that would be our biggest trading partners.
GET A JOB, hello! it's a holiday.
LOSER, not really, I'm retired and doing okay.
YOU LOVE HILARY? um, no, in fact I don't know anyone who does.
So it went until they closed the street. By then the crowd was so big that we had nowhere to go but scuttle off to a side street. We were heartened to see that IMPEACH signs were everywhere and what a cheer for the CHAIN GANG! We passed the next 2 hours walking and talking and getting our photos taken. When the parade ended, we fell in behind the Jesus crowd which had some how gotten to the head of the line first. The CHAIN GANG was great and the giant CONSTITUTION incredible. The speeches by Cindy Sheehan, and others were short and to the point of why we had all come so far today. IMPEACHMENT, RESTORE THE CONSTITUTION, JUSTICE FOR AMERICA.