Monday, May 30, 2011

US Activist's Statement Against US sanctions on Venezuela

Read by Cindy Sheehan and Eva Golinger


Please Click on Video to Watch

Sunday, May 29, 2011

"Yankees, Go Home!" by Cindy Sheehan

"Yankees, Go Home"

"Nobody messes with Venezuela. Venezuela must be respected."
Rafael Ramirez, Venezuelan Energy Minister


Anti-imperialista
I am in Caracas, Vz today (May 29th--Casey's birthday)—a country I love and a people that I support with all my heart in their struggle against US imperialism and corporate interests so they can make their own lives better.
Nine of us came from the US to support the people of Venezuela in rejecting the US economic sanctions that were imposed by the State Departments because, apparently, Venezuela sent two shipments of oil product to Iran. 
During the Clinton regime, the US enacted The Iran Sanctions Act (ISA)--ironically first called the Iran-Libya Sanctions Act  (ILSA)--but then Libya became our friend during the Bush stain before it recently became our enemy again (dizzy, yet?). The ISA was enacted to prevent foreign countries from selling oil to Iran to stop its peaceful nuclear program. The point the leadership in Venezuela is trying to make is that it is now being "sanctioned" for allegedly breaking a law created by the US that it doesn't feel obligated to. Again, why should Venezuela make US corporate interests primary to its own? The immature arrogance of the US is stunning and my own country has absolutely no right to run roughshod over sovereign countries like a two-year old throwing a temper tantrum.
In my opinion, the USA just needs to grow the hell up. "Might" does not make "right," especially when the "might" destroys the economic health and credibility of the country exhibiting "might over what is right."
The hilarious thing about the new economic sanctions imposed on Venezuela’s state oil company: PDVSA (Petroleos de Venezuela, SA) is that Venezuela does not borrow money from the US, has repaid all of its debt and the economic sanctions do not stop Venezuela from selling petroleum to the US. More importantly, PDVSA and its US subsidiary, CITGO has helped over 250,000 US citizens by giving, or greatly reducing prices, on heating oil to our own desperately poor. No other oil company, including US oil companies, has done the same.
The newest sanctions are clearly symbolic to undermine Venezuelan credibility and to further demonize President Hugo Chavez because Venezuela ranks 4th behind Canada, Mexico and Saudi Arabia in providing the black gold to the gluttonous US.
Why now? Well, for one thing, there is a hysterical Congressman from a very conservative district in Florida named, Connie Mack (R), who has been jonesing for the overthrow or assassination of President Hugo Chavez because Chavez had and continues to have the nerve to take from the excess wealth of the rich to give to the poor. Clearly, Chavez’s support of the poor runs counter to everything the oligarchy of the planet believes in. The Constitution of the Bolivarian Republica of Venezuela, written by representatives of the people in 1999, enshrines basic human rights as law in a country that has reduced the gap between the rich and the poor by 50% since Chavez achieved power. Chavez and his revolution are a thorn in the side of Capitalism and the “threat of a good example” must be neutralized.
This weekend also saw another big event in Latin America, Manual Zelaya of Honduras returned to his country after he had been in exile for nearly two years in a US-backed military coup (because he proposed the re-writing of the Honduran Constitution by the people). The intense diplomatic efforts of President Chavez and Venezuela helped facilitate this return with Zelaya flying back to Tegucigalpa from Managua, Nicaragua in a Venezuelan plane. The US taketh away and Venezuela giveth back.  
Another reason for the sanctions right now is that President Chavez is leading the hemisphere in advocating for strategic alliances to bring peace and continued prosperity to Latin American and Carribbean countries. When I was here last year, Chavez had just returned from a meeting of Latin American leaders in Cancun where it was decided that the Organization of American States was an anachronistic institution that exists to be a tool for the US’s continued exploitation of the region—so the leaders of the Latin American countries planned to form a new alliance to exclude the US and Canada. The new alliance will be launched on July 5th in Venezuela on the 200th anniversary of its independence from Spain. Will the alliance be a threat to the OAS? Probably not right now, but just the fact that Hugo Chavez is one of the leaders of this alliance and that the people of Latin America don’t believe the lies and demonization of the US against him, and, in fact, respect him immensely, must be grating to an Empire that has done everything possible to undermine and even overthrow the man.
The unification of South America was long a dream of freedom fighter, Simon Bolivar, and indeed he led Venezuela, Ecuador, Colombia, Peru and  Panama to independence from the Spanish monarchy in the early 1800s. Bolivar died a brokenhearted man after his dreams of unification were not realized. Hugo Chavez has the same dream and the new alliance is one more step closer to being able to resist US imperialist neoliberalism. Today, the thousands of Venezolanos who came to the rally to oppose the new US sanctions are rightfully proud of their accomplishments in a short 12 years and still support the leader who is making it all possible.
Additionally, the unification of Latin America and the Caribbean is necessary to have greater economic strength if each country wants to retain its sovereignty. The US only respects the sovereignty of either strong nations or puppet states—while many countries in South America have huge amounts of territory, individually, they are about as strong as each of the states in the US (except California). This alliance, or union, is also seeking to use its own currency, called the Sucre, like the European Unions’ Euro. Today, the USA has very little to offer the world beyond death and destruction and the strength of the US dollar is diminishing.
Another reason the sanctions appear now is because as the US wanes in the region, China ascends—according to an editorial in the right-wing Miami Herald:
The share of U.S. exports to the region has dropped from 55 percent of Latin America’s total imports in 2000 to 32 percent of the region’s imports in 2009, says a new report from the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC).

Meanwhile, China’s trade with the region has soared, the study shows.

In my opinion, the announcement of the new sanctions against Venezuela, while no doubt a very hostile act, is nothing but the US flexing its increasingly weak and flabby muscles. The over-extension of the US military combined with its plunging credibility over such continuing programs as torture and illegal regime change, has turned us into a big international laughingstock—still feared, because the US is nothing but a big imperial bully—but a joke, nonetheless.

This is the 3rd time I have been to Venezuela, but as evidence of this new US paradigm in the region, for the first time I saw signs that read: Yankees, Go Home. Yes, I agree: “Yankees,” go home! Hands off of Venezuela and get your bloody imperial storm-troopers out of Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, and even Palestine where US tax dollars fund an immoral Israeli occupation.

For sure, it will be a great day when the "mighty" US military empire falls and something new is born in its place. To we nine who traveled here to a real and vibrant democracy that is lead by Chavez but fueled by the revolutionary struggle of the people, the Phoenix that arises from the ashes of imperial collapse will hopefully look a lot like the structure of Venezuelan society: healthcare for all, free education for all, investment in an aging infrastructure and care for our elderly, community control and activism, respect for our indigenous cultures and protection of the environment. 
However, the thing that I love the most about Venezuela: the absence of a hostile and violent foreign policy.

PICTURES FROM THE DAY
CROWD AT CARACAS ANTI-SANCTIONS RALLY. RED FOR REVOLUTION.
We nine USAians
Crystal Geyer and Shamus Cooke from Portland
Jameelah Muhammad (Brooklyn), Crystal, Laura Wells (Oakland)


Friday, May 27, 2011

Hands off Venezuela!

Children from Venezuela


We Reject United States Sanctions Against Venezuela
 
On Tuesday, May 24, 2011, the United States Department of State unilaterally imposed sanctions against Venezuela's state-owned oil company, Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PDVSA), for its alleged relations with the government of Iran. The sanctions are a desperate and weak attempt to link Venezuela to Iran's nuclear energy program as part of an ongoing campaign to justify further aggressive action against the South American oil producing nation.

As citizens of the United States, we unequivocally reject this latest attempt of our administration to demonize the Venezuelan government and undermine the vibrant democracy of the Venezuelan people. The Venezuelan government of Hugo Chavez has already been victim of a coup d'etat in 2002, backed by Washington, which briefly ousted the President from power. Fortunately for the health of Venezuela's democracy, the people fought back, rescued their President, and reinstated constitutional order. Then, as now, the United States stood alone in its support for hostilities against Venezuela's democratically-elected government.

The government of Hugo Chavez has used its oil wealth to invest heavily in improving the wellbeing of its people. Currently, more than 60% of oil industry profits are directed towards social programs in Venezuela, including free healthcare, education, job training, community media, grassroots organizations and subsidized food and housing. The results are notable. Poverty in Venezuela has been reduced by over 50% during the Chavez administration, illiteracy has been eradicated and free, universal healthcare and education are available and accesible to all. These policies of social justice have extended well beyond the borders of Venezuela to the United States though programs that supply free, discounted or subsidized heating oil and fuel to low income neighborhoods, indigenous peoples' communities and homeless shelters throughout the nation.

More than 250,000 US citizens in 25 states and the District of Columbia have benefited to date from the Venezuelan government's subsidized heating oil program, which is run through PDVSA's subsidiary in the United States, CITGO. No other oil company in the world - including US companies - has offered to help low income families suffering from the inflated cost of heating oil during the past six years, except for CITGO. Venezuela's solidarity with the people of the United States has enabled thousands of families to survive through these difficult economic times.

We find it outrageous that the United States government would attempt to demonize the one company, and country, that has been there for our neighbors, putting people before profits. And we call on our representatives in Washington to suspend these sanctions against Venezuela immediately. 

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

In the Name of Love by Cindy Sheehan


2 year-old, Casey
Thirty-two years ago today, I was very pregnant with my first child. In those days, of course, we didn’t know if we were having a boy or a girl and the pre-natal care usually consisted of a few blood tests and getting to hear the baby’s heart at every appointment. 
With the June 5th deadline looming, on Sunday May 28th, my husband and I, went to an air show in Long Beach, Ca where we decided on the names: it would be Julie Anne for a baby girl or Casey Austin for a baby boy.
Well, lo and behold, the very next morning, I went into labor, one week early and on May 29th, our healthy, 8lb 2oz baby boy, Casey Austin, was born. We were thrilled and Casey, the perfect baby, was the apple of our eyes. Very quickly, boom, boom, boom, three more came: Carly Anne, Andrew Patrick and the baby, Jane Elizabeth.
As for mothers all over the world, my family was my life. As parents, we made our share of mistakes, but everything we did from May 29th, 1979 and forward was for and about our family.
One of the hardest things to do as a mother is to let your children grow up and make their own mistakes. Human beings usually don’t learn from the errors of others, but have to make their own. On Casey’s 21st birthday, he made a huge mistake: he joined Uncle Sam’s Army and 55 days before his 25th birthday, he was killed in Iraq in one of The Empire's Wars for Profit, Iraq.
Casey would be 32 on May 29th and it’s so hard to believe that his original birthday was 32 years ago! I can remember it like it was yesterday, but I can also remember his death day so vividly my heart hurts and my throat clenches up just to think about it. Tears are pouring down my cheeks and snot is flowing out of my nose as I write this. Burying a child is far more painful than giving birth to one (even with no pain medication).
For Casey’s birthday this year, I will be fasting in solidarity with Cindy Hickey and Laura Fattal, who are the mothers of Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal who were arrested by the Iranian government on July 31st in 2009 while they were hiking on the border of Iraq and Iran.
Cindy and Laura began the fast because they were not being allowed to communicate with their sons—and this past Sunday, the men were allowed to call home—so they believe the fast is having the desired effect. Cindy and Laura have vowed to continue the fast until their sons are released. As one can imagine, Cindy and Laura are knots of worry and longing for their sons every day! It's time to bring them home, they have been imprisoned for almost two years, now. Enough is enough!
Fasting for one day isn’t such a big commitment, and, for me, it is symbolic of not only the release of Shane and Josh, but also for political prisoners all over the world: Pvt. Bradley Manning, attorney Lynne Stewart, Mumia, Leonard Pelletier and all those whom the US detains and tortures every day in our own prisons: foreign and domestic.
In honor of Casey, whom I represent, will you also fast with me on May 29th for Shane, Josh and all political prisoners?
If you decide to fast with me on May 29th, please send me an email and a message of support for Shane and Josh (and their mums: Cindy and Laura) so I can post your message on my blog.
or join the fast on Facebook

Happy Birthday, Casey—what you did was “in the name of love,” and I carry on my work loving and missing you everyday and “in the name of love” for victims of violence and oppression everywhere.
Go to www.freethehikers.org

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Mom Power, Part II by Cindy Sheehan

My Keynote Remarks at the MIRCI Conference in Toronto

My life was shattered, changed, and yet transformed on April 04, 2004 when my son Casey was killed in Iraq. I am sure many of you tragically know the shock of burying a child that should still be alive, except for lies and institutional violence.

I worked really hard Casey’s entire life to make sure he was protected and safe—as with his three younger siblings. But that was part of the problem, while I was being a typical US Mini-Van Mom, ferrying my children from point A to points XY and Z every day, taking them to catechism, sports, and scouts, etc—I was neglecting my part in the sisterhood of all mothers.

I outlined my twin-history with my country and I pointed out how the wealthiest country in the world abysmally treats our poorest and most vulnerable, but even the worst off of most of us here in the US and Canada are better off than billions of people on this planet.

My tragedy forced me to be an advocate for mothers and children everywhere, recognizing that a healthy US free from war and other economic and environmental exploitation can also be healthy for everyone on this planet.

This speech is about how one person can make a difference, and I am standing here because after my son was killed, I rejected the myth that I could not—I made a conscious decision that I would not grieve or suffer in silence—that my voice would be heard. So I got up off my tear-soaked couch and took on the most powerful man in the entire world and I won, damnit! I WON!

George Bush and his band of neoconservative criminals lost all credibility and self-proclaimed mandate for disaster—But here’s the 64 thousand dollar question: if I won in 2005, then why are we still in these wars and why is the worldwide economy sinking like a ten-ton weight in our contaminated oceans?

Because, although one person can make a big splash and change minds and perspectives, it will take all of us together to actually change policy—and that’s what I call a revolution.

So, this speech is not only my story, but also a call to action.

Even though Bush is thankfully gone, and nobody misses him, Obama is continuing his 3rd term and the geopolitical paradigm is being reinforced everyday with propagandized and mythologized Americans falling for every obvious lie that spews forth from Obama and his co-conspirators in our Lamestream Media.

Men (and their lady’s auxiliary of War-Women) have been mucking up this planet for far too long.
I don’t think I have to inform anyone here that the global elite, male dominated culture of corruption and violence are afraid of women—I have been subjected to horrible demonization campaigns and misogynistic attitudes since I decided to wage a campaign against the US Empire—even from well-meaning male peace advocates.

First of all, since the summer of 2005 when I camped out in front of George Bush’s ranch demanding a meeting, never granted, with him—people on the so-called right, from pundits to what I call, Bubbas, speak about me or write to me saying that I am a tool of George Soros or Michael Moore—that one funds me (not true, I have never received a dime from Soros—been waiting for a check that never comes) and one puts words into my mouth. Of course! How can a mere woman come up with her own ideas and theories? Or even, with all the memorizing of recipes and grocery lists can we keep a fact in our pretty little perfectly permed heads? Men must be supporting me, right? Wow, do I remember the long nights on the phone with Michael Moore when he would drill me on the evils of Empire until it got through to my thick female-skull! (Just kidding).

The Bubbas are very good at trying to attack me at my strength—my very motherhood. I am forced to read everyday how my son is rolling in his grave because I am spitting on it by denouncing the very thing he died for—after I correct his spelling and grammar—what is Bubba’s preoccupation with using “your” and “you’re” improperly, anyway—if I do answer him, I tell him that he is DAMN RIGHT I denounce what my son died for: Corporate greed and evil empire expansion.

Also, there is a myth that is still running around the interwebs that I “abandoned” Casey when he was 2, 3, or 7—that another, more patriotic woman raised him to be a “good American.” Even if that myth were true, I always counter with—what does that have to do with the fact that Casey was killed in a war based on lies for profit?

Out on the protest trail, I am always exhorted to “go home and take care of your other kids.” If I have time and inclination, I ask them how many of them still kiss boo-boos and wipe the noses and butts of their aged twenty-something children?

Our version of motherhood in the US is skewed to being a good imperial mother who gladly, if not joyfully, sacrifices her dear flesh and blood for the Emperor, and if we don’t agree, we should either shut-up or kill ourselves—which I am often encouraged to do, also—it’s a tie between: “why don’t you do the world a favor and kill yourself” and “if you hate America so much, why don’t you just move.” I had one of the young patriots message me on Facebook the other day saying she would contribute financially to my eventual move from the States, and I sent her a link to my donation page, but so far she has not obliged with a donation.

Oftentimes women are the worst nationalistic chauvinists. Once, during my run for Congress against Nancy Pelosi in San Francisco, a woman emailed me to inform me that I was "not qualified to run for Congress." I rechecked my pocket copy of the Constitution to verify that I indeed met the age and residency requirements and read further to find out that I definitely failed her qualification test:

1) YOU DON'T HAVE A JOB!

2) YOU DON'T HAVE A CAR!

3) YOU DON'T EVEN HAVE A HUSBAND!

Elite-militarist, Nancy Pelosi, has all of the above, but she is a friggin' disaster for women and children around the world!

My ex-husband, Casey’s father, has also been outspoken against the war, not as publicized as myself of course, yet he has not had to face the same condemnation as I have—in fact, he was awarded all our friends and community status in our divorce proceedings—and that’s another thing, somehow because my marriage succumbed to the statistical averages of bereavement AND the fact that over 50% of US marriages end up in divorce anyway—that I am this wicked woman that threw everything away because I had some kind of "political agenda."

I said that even well-meaning peace-men get all patriarchal in my presence too, from wanting to “protect me” from physical harm to calling me, “Dear, Sweetie, Babe, Honey, “ etc. If one more man who is older than me calls me, “Mom,” I think I will forget I am a pacifist and punch him in the face! (just kidding about that, too--maybe).

I am pleased to be here at this Women’s Congress, if you will, but this gathering must spread to actually include a peaceful takeover of the places where policy is made: corporations and governments.

We must support the organizations and women that are already organizing these efforts, but we need a broad coalition of women’s groups from RAWA who are fighting two enemies in Afghanistan: the radical chauvinism of religious fundamentalism and a US occupation of their country--to the women of Chiapas who are bravely fighting other chauvinistic policies and actually putting their bodies on the line for us. They actually bang machetes together to show support, or disapproval, and I gather that even though most of them are barely 5-feet tall, it would behoove most to stay on their good side.

Women are bucking the corporate control of government and are refusing to use genetically modified seed in India, reclaiming their matriarchal right to use their own seeds that have worked for them for generations.

Women in South America are literally putting their bodies in front of bulldozers that are threatening OUR rain forests and are fighting for the right to collect rainwater and not pay the global piper for IMF-World Bank neoliberalism. Water, like the woman, is a life-giver, yet masculine-capitalism even wants to control the free-flow of Mother Nature’s free-juice.

Women are engaged in struggles for peace all over the world and we need to join our efforts in a global-Matriotism that puts love of all people over love of artificial boundary lines, mostly drawn on maps by dead-white dudes.

I hope this conference is the genesis for this Global Congress of Women/Mothers.
One woman/mother can make a difference, but billions together can change the world.

In "Rock Me on the Water," Jackson Browne also sings: "Oh people, look among you, it's there your hope must lie" My hope lies within myself and with you all, not with the sick-institutions that are existentially harmful to life on this planet.

We have the power! Shine on sisters!

Thank you so much!

Mom Power, Part I by Cindy Sheehan

My Keynote Remarks at the MIRCI Conference in Toronto

First of all, it’s so extraordinary to be here with so many amazing feminist activists and I am grateful for the invitation and opportunity to speak to you. I am convinced that mother-activism is the key to true and positive change.

I also think the concept of Outlaw Motherhood is delicious, since I have become an Outlaw Mother in nearly every sense of the word!

We are all involved in so many righteous struggles and I want you to know that I know, we are all linked in our struggles. One fabulous thing we do as women and mothers is that we struggle with, dare I say it: Hope. Not the Madison Avenue induced Hope-nosis of false hope, but real, hands-on, in the trenches, Hope.

My pretend boyfriend, Jackson Browne, wrote a wonderfully uplifting song, among all his other wonderful songs, called, “Rock me on the Water.” He starts the song with the lyrics:
“Oh, people look among you, the signs are everywhere, you’ve left it for somebody other than you to be the one who cares.”

Well, I am surrounded by women who have rejected the thinking that someone else will come along and solve our problems for us—or that there even exists such a person out there, somewhere, that cares more about our children, our families, and our communities than we do.

Before I get too far into the theme of my talk, let me tell you a little about my own story.
I am a baby-boomer born in the USA during the rise of the working-class. However, Our lives during these so-called golden times were tainted with the terror of the Cold War, where I grew up diving under my desk every Friday afternoon at the appointed time to apparently give us the illusion that our magical desks would be able to save us from a nuclear holocaust. Did you all have to do that here in Canada?

The 1960’s were a decade that was clouded with one international emergency and scare after the other.
As one who was barely four-years old during the Cuban Missile Crisis, I remember the feeling of tenseness and worry among the adults in my sphere of influence. In fact, the other day, I was talking about a book I downloaded from iTunes to make my daily workout a little less tedious, called: World War Z. World War Z is about a Zombie plague on the planet (yes, I also do escapism and would like to do more research on the rise of Zombie-culture popularity, and the term “Zombie” is an appropriate metaphor for many of my fellow Americans today—but that’s for a later seminar). Anyway, my three-year old grandson, Jonah, was in the room coloring in a Sesame Street coloring book and he popped UP his little blond, handsome, curly head and said: “Hmm.., Zombie wars, that thounds thscary.” So I know that these events intrude on our psyches even from a very young age.

So, during the 60’s, as an impressionable, sensitive child, I was assaulted by what we now consider, US History 101: The Cuban Missile Crisis, The Kennedy Assassinations—first one than another. (When I met Senator Ted Kennedy a few years ago we talked about how I could identify and empathize with his mother, Rose who buried not one, but four of her children). Then the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr entered my world—little did I know that exactly 38 years later, on April 04, 2004—the same forces that killed Dr. King would kill my future first born child.

The Vietnam War, the Watts uprisings that occurred just a few miles from my mostly-white hometown in California, the Vietnam war protests—on and on. I clearly grew up in a very unstable world—but was my history unique to that of womankind in general?

Was I literally being groomed to sacrifice my own son on the altar of sexist-racist-violent nationalism as so many of my sisters before me on this male-dominated road to OUR ruin have?

Along with all of the conditioning to accept violence as the norm, I was also conditioned in a very infantile and inherently chauvinistic patriotism, where we are taught to salute and recite a prayer to a piece of colored cloth that hung over the postings of our perfect spelling tests in our classrooms. An era where one teacher sent me to the corner in 2nd grade for admitting that if a “Red Commie” stuck a gun to my head and told me not to recite the pledge of allegiance, that I wouldn’t dare. I may have been a very shy child, but I wasn’t a stupid one. That was child-abuse, right?

What happened in history during the years between the end of the Vietnam War and the War that stole my oldest son from me?

The troops limped home from Vietnam defeated and demoralized and an urban legend grew that they were spat upon by people JUST LIKE me and called “baby-killers.” Side note: a lot of babies were included in the millions of Vietnamese that were slaughtered during that insane US misadventure.
We saw a president resign and the rise of one US president after another that continued a series of clandestine wars in Latin America and overt “humanitarian interventions” all over the planet that began to be kept farther and farther from the psyche of an American public that was definitely tired of carnage, but this new militarism in an age of the so-called, Peace Dividend was out of sight and out of mind.

Not only were these presidents consolidating military power abroad they also began a concentrated and choreographed war on working-class prosperity at home. Since the beginning with Reagan’s attacks on unions and Clinton’s attacks on “Welfare Queens,” the US has currently become in the unenviable position of number one in income disparity of all the world’s so-called civilized countries.

As philosopher, Jacques Ellul (please excuse my French pronunciation, the first time I came to Canada, I was going to meet with some wonderful women of the Bloc Quebecois, and for the life of me, I thought my Canadian comrade was saying BLAH-QUA-QUA-QUA) anyway Jacques Ellul wrote: “The goal of modern propaganda is no longer to transform opinion but to arouse an active and mythical belief.” So, I was raised in this Mythocracy of an America that proclaimed itself, contrary to its reality, a shining example of freedom and democracy and opportunity. In the US, we often blame ourselves for our woes, when it’s the system that works us over like sitting ducks begging for more. I know I felt that any problems were isolated incidences and I must be the only mom struggling with the fact that I am not perfect and I couldn’t juggle a job, motherhood and citizenship without constantly dropping many balls before my son was killed and I was put in the awkward position of being profoundly hurt by a system that I had tried, although unsuccessfully, to be a part of (not apart from,like now) for over four decades.

One of the most damaging and insidious myths that we are beaten with in America, besides the one where we’re the greatest nation in the entire universe, is the one that says that one person cannot make a difference. We are overtly and subversively told that our only part in what has become our national shame is “voting.” Voting is so compromised and crooked, yet we feel if we go to the polls on the required day, within the proscribed times and get our Red-white-and blue sticker, proudly emblazoned with “I VOTED” then we can go back into our Dancing With the American Idol—McDonald’s Mega-meal induced coma—feeling that we have fulfilled some kind of “right and obligation” as good USAians—It usually never once crosses our minds that the scoundrels inhabiting the halls of power want, no need, our brain dead compliance with their crimes.

Why, if we as mothers thought too hard about it, we would never allow our children to be sucked into the meat grinder of the US military—war or no war, these institutions brainwash our wonderful children into unthinking automatons that put the “sacred mission” before family and common-sense and their very own lives. One consolation that I have is that from eyewitness reports on the scene when my son was killed, Casey refused to go on the mission that subsequently killed him, but was dragged to the truck by his sergeant. Casey was a conscientious objector at the end of his life, and I am very proud of him for that.

Instead of being in competition with each other for rearing the next "super-star quarterback," or Miss America, we should band together in defense of our families and our basic human rights to healthcare; good, free, and easily accessible education from pre-school to university; housing—in the US, one and a half million children fall asleep without a roof over their heads every night, that is a monstrous statistic in the world’s wealthiest (for 2% of us) of nations; another human right is healthy and GMO free food—the same amount of children fall asleep with hunger pangs in the US every night; and two of the most important things we should be organizing and aggressively working together for are: complete and unconditional peace and a healthy and sustainable environment.

Peace and environmental health go hand and hand and cannot be separated. War and militaries are the number one cause of environmental pollution, resource depletion and the current wars the US are waging are for resources, where indigenous populations are decimated to gain dominance over fossil fuels, water and other minerals. If Libya’s major export were broccoli, the US wouldn’t give a flying-flip about Qaddafi and his so-called human-right’s violations. Many world leaders practice what Qaddafi is accused of, including and especially, my own.


Sunday, May 8, 2011

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Saturday, May 7, 2011

Mother's Day Appeal for Iran to free the Hostages (For their mothers) from Cindy Sheehan


Today is Mother's Day and my heart goes out to Cindy Hickey and Laura Fattal, whose sons Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal have now been unlawfully detained in Iran for more than 92 weeks.  Shane and Josh are being made to suffer a harsh punishment for absolutely no crime.  The Iranian authorities know that these young men are anything but spies; instead they embody the true spirit of justice and peace.

One of the most painful experiences any parent can have is being unable to help your child when he or she is suffering or in danger.   You are overcome by a feeling of powerlessness which soon gives way to outrage.  With strength, determination and support, we can transform our pain into positive action.  This is what mothers do, whether it is fighting to protect their children from bullying in school or working for their freedom where there is great injustice, as in the case of Shane and Josh.

Cindy Hickey and Laura Fattal have taken that mother’s instinct and, with their families, they have fashioned themselves into powerful advocates for their sons on the international stage.  It is an unexpected role for these two courageous women; one they must never have imagined would fall on their shoulders.  But for all their weariness and despair, they press on.

Shane, a freelance journalist and fluent Arabic speaker, and Josh, an environmental educator, were detained by Iranian forces on the unmarked border with Iraqi Kurdistan, where they were hiking in the mountains behind a popular tourist destination at the end of July 2009.  Shane’s fiancée, Sarah Shourd, who was arrested with them and released in September last year, was not wearing a headscarf when they were taken.  That simple fact makes a mockery of Iranian allegations that they were on a spying mission since it is obligatory in Iran for women to cover their hair.

I do not think ‘prisoner’ or ‘captive’ is quite the right word for these two innocent men.   It is common to hear the words ‘political pawns’ and ‘bargaining chips’ used to describe Shane and Josh but really the most accurate term is ‘hostages’.  And, Iran should stop holding them for no legitimate reason simply because they are Americans.

Time is precious, especially time with your children.   Cindy and Laura have had nearly two years of that time stolen from them by the actions of the Iranian authorities.  For more than 21 months, Shane and Josh have been cut off from their families and the world.  They have been allowed just two brief phone calls home and a short visit from their mothers.

Shane and Josh are accused of espionage but I cannot imagine two more unlikely US agents.  Both men are peace activists who protested in the streets against the senseless wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and have shown solidarity with the struggles of oppressed people across the globe, from South Africa to Palestine.   These are precisely the sort of issues that Iran so frequently says it champions.

Shane and Josh will be put on trial on Wednesday.  There is no reason for that trial to end in anything other than their acquittal and immediate release. I call on the Iranian judicial authorities to act in a spirit of justice and truth and return Shane and Josh to their mothers and families.

*Cindy Sheehan is an American peace activist who became a prominent figure in the anti-war movement after her son, U.S. Army Specialist Casey Sheehan, was killed in Iraq in April 2004.



Dr. Drew tries to make me seem crazy and fails

CINDY IN TWIN CITIES ON MAY 21


Cindy Sheehan Speaking Tour

DAWN of a NEW REVOLT

Challenging Corporate Control of Politics

Saturday, May 21, 4:00 PM
University of Minnesota, Willey Hall, West Bank Auditorium
225 19th Avenue South, Minneapolis


From Egypt to Wisconsin, ordinary people are rising up against injustice. Massive strikes and demonstrations against cuts rocked Europe’s ruling elites last year. Popular uprisings have toppled and challenged dictators and “free-market” policies across the Arab world. Now workers and youth in Wisconsin and across the U.S. have begun to fight back against budget cuts in education and healthcare enacted by both Republicans and Democrats. Come hear an inspiring speaker and join this important discussion about how we can challenge the corporate agenda and fight for a better world.

National Speaking Tour with Cindy Sheehan
Following her son’s death in Iraq, Sheehan gained national prominence in 2005 as thousands joined her protest camp outside President Bush’s vacation ranch in Texas. Now among the nation’s foremost antiwar voices, Sheehan has written books and spoken extensively to crowds of thousands. After the Democrats won control of Congress in 2006 only to continue Bush’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Sheehan broke from the Democratic Party. In 2008 Sheehan challenged then-Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi for Congress, receiving an impressive 17% of the vote as an independent candidate. Following speaking tours in Venezuela and Europe, Sheehan has increasingly spoken out against capitalism and in support of democratic socialism.

*** $5 – $10 sliding scale donation requested – No one turned away for lack of funds.

Organized by Socialist Alternative as part of the wider Socialist Minnesota Conference. See SocialistMinnesota.org for full details.
Co-Sponsored by Minnesota Peace Action Coalition, Twin Cities Peace Campaign, Military Families Speak Out, and Veterans for Peace Chapter 27, Women Against Military Madness

* If your group wants to co-sponsor contact us!

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Friday, May 6, 2011

CINDY SHEEHAN IN DES MOINES, IOWA ON MOTHER'S DAY

CINDY SHEEHAN
A sincere, ordinary citizen. 
A mother who will not accept anything less than truth from our government.

WHEN: Mother's Day, May 8th at 7pm
Where: Des Moines First Unitarian Church
1800 Bell Ave
Des Moines, Iowa

ALL ARE WELCOME!
SUGGESTED DONATION $20
(TAX DEDUCTIBLE CHECKS MADE OUT TO: PCCI)
SPONSORED BY THE PROGRESSIVE COALITION OF CENTRAL IOWA
www.iowaprogressives.org


Mother's Day Revival by Cindy Sheehan

 FIRST APPEARED IN BLACK COMMENTATOR,  MAY 5, 2011


"Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn
all that we have been able to teach them of
charity, mercy and patience.
We women of one country will be too tender
of those of another country to allow our sons
to be trained to injure theirs."
- Juliet Ward Howe, Mother's Day Proclamation - 1870
Recently, I had the opportunity to see a movie called WaterThe film was written and directed by Deepa Mehta who is an Indian born Canadian most known for her Elements Trilogy: Fire, Water and Earth.
Water is set during the British Raj in India in 1938. It tells the story of a widow’s ashram where widows were forced to go after their husbands died to make lifelong atonement for the “sins” of each widows previous life that led to the deaths of their husbands.

Also, it was common for young girls to be married to older men so when the man passed away, the girl/woman would be able to spend a longer time doing this renunciation for karmic circumstances.

Water follows the story of an eight-year old girl named Chuyia who was married to an older man who dies—within a matter of days Chuyia is taken to the widow’s ashram where her Baba (Father) unceremoniously dumps her while Chuyia screams for her mother.

We learn at the end of the movie that as of 2001, there were about 34 million widows in India who are still under this Hindu tradition—“Brahmin widows,” are not allowed to remarry with the karmic penalty of being reborn as perhaps a jackal in the next life.

In the movie, after a young widow kills herself out of despair over a lost opportunity for love, one of the older widows tells Chuyia, “I hope she is reborn as a man.”

During the movie, I couldn’t stop thinking about Chuyia’s mother and all the mothers of these widowed children that were torn from their homes and their mother’s arms and what kind of society imposed such harsh propaganda where a woman wouldn’t just hit her husband over the head with a frying pan rather than allow her daughter to be stolen from her.

Gasp! That’s exactly the society we live in today here in the United States of America! I could not judge the “factional” Chuyia’s mother too harshly because I allowed the violent empire I live in to steal my son from me - and that’s what this story has to do with Mother’s Day.

I raised my son, Casey, to be a person of integrity, honor and above all, peace. We taught all of our children that there was always a non-violent way to solve problems: kicking, pinching, pulling hair, punching and other forms of violence were never tolerated and neither was name calling. I tried to live that principle and rarely used physical punishment with the children—so how did my oldest wind up in the meat grinder of the US military?

Even when 21-year old, Casey, enlisted in the Army (for college and other “benefits”), I was not happy, but I loved my son and I forced myself to respect his decision.

When 24-year old, Casey, marched off to the illegal, immoral, and completely unnecessary war in Iraq, I made half-hearted attempts to convince him to go to Canada, but when I saw that he was reluctantly doing what he called “his duty,” I tried to swallow my fear and choke back my tears to put the best face on a tragic situation.

When 24-year old, Casey, came home in a body bag encased in a coffin draped with the bloody flag of the murderous colonizer, I was told my son was a “hero.” I would say, “I know, but why is he dead?” Why did his country kill him and why did I let it?

The killers of my son gave me a “Gold Star,” yet, I will have to live the rest of my life in an invisible “grieving mother’s ashram” to make amends for failing in my job as a mother, but part of my atonement is to expose the Empire I live in for what it is: a callous purveyor of violence for profit.

There is no one in this world that cares for you more than your mother did, or your mother does.

When societal norms go against our very consciences and everything we believe and everything that we hold so dear and precious to us, we should stand up to that prevailing idiocy and refuse to allow our children to be mistreated by patriarchal, racist, sexist, and sadistic frauds.

The whole package of Imperial mythology and propaganda about fighting for “freedom and democracy,” and to keep the home fires burning for “Mom and apple pie “is a hard one to deconstruct when so many mothers want to believe the obvious lies with their whole hearts so they don’t have to have the added pain of knowing that their child died for nothing good.

From time to time, I have run across a few sad Gold Star Mothers who have had a child killed in the Empire’s Wars for Profit, and they take exception with me when I opine that our children died for nothing but greed. I have been told, “I didn’t like it when my son/daughter was killed, but if he/she didn’t go and fight them ‘over there,’ we would be fighting them ‘over here!” One mother even was thankful that her son fought and died so she wouldn’t have to “wear a burqa.” I kid you not!

As bad as the above meme is, the one about fighting them “over there,” also highlights the arrogance and racism of Empire that says that American babies have a greater existential imperative than other babies just because of some random accident of birth is monstrous.

Just about the entire antiwar movement has abdicated its responsibility to agitate for the greatest good in ending the wars - even the so-called feminist oriented ones - but I can guarantee you, we mothers could stop war by doing what Juliet Ward Howe advocated in the final paragraph of her 1870 Mother’s Day Proclamation:
"In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask
That a general congress of women without limit of nationality
May be appointed and held at someplace deemed most convenient
And at the earliest period consistent with its objects,
To promote the alliance of the different nationalities,
The amicable settlement of international questions,
The great and general interests of peace."


Wednesday, May 4, 2011

MARIO SAVIO FROM 1964: THROW YOUR BODIES ON THE GEARS!

Will this only happen if Dancing with the American Idol gets canceled.

Click the picture of Mario Savio to hear this very inspirational sound bite!

Revolution: The Commercial by Cindy Sheehan and Gregory Vickrey

Revolution: The Commercial
by Cindy Sheehan & Gregory Vickrey

Cue the sappy music.

Enter Activist: I really enjoy hanging out with a close-knit group of friends at Saturday rallies that end before dinner, and posting a bunch of articles and commentary on Facebook and Twitter so friends can ‘like’ them. It makes me feel like I am doing my part, and appreciate solidarity.

Music turns ominous.

Activist: But I began to experience a sense of emptiness when I realized that feeling self-important didn’t really change much on this planet. In fact, things seem to be getting worse no matter who is in office, no matter which huge organization I join, and no matter how many petitions I sign and share and send.

Music brightens.

Voice: Reality dawns.

Activist: So at the last Saturday rally, I took a chance and separated from my friends. I approached one of the more aggressive presenters who spoke truth-to-power and seemed an expert on, well, actual action. I told her I do my part, and nothing changes. I asked: what’s wrong?

Expert: You are suffering the effects of Clicktivism.

Voice: Clicktivism is a disease, epidemic in nature, that drives us away from reality and into a land of fairy tales and lollipops where everything is “successful” when we get 50,000 signatures, or 2000 people socialize for 3 hours, or 500 pictures of “actions” are put up on a progressive website. Humane, meaningful responses to difficult life conditions (war, climate change, poverty) are usurped by symbolism and marketing emails and educational campaigns, often to the point where the potential for cure is lost. Ecocide, perpetual war, and massive loss of life often result.

Cue the Uprising.

Voice: But now there’s Revolution.

Expert: Revolution provides a mechanism for change on the scale local, national, and international crises require, and cleanses the mind of manufactured bliss by exposing and tackling reality. Revolution rids the sufferers of clicktivism of indulgent self-importance and throws aside the symptoms of complacency and cowardice wrought by major political parties, large environmental groups, corporate controlled foundations, and the pseudo-comforts of capitalism.

Activist: With Revolution, I now see reality for what it is; I see what is required to overcome and overwhelm the constructs and machinations that are destroying our lives and our planet; I see my feet pounding the pavement and disrupting the rapacious system today, tomorrow, and every day.

Voice: When symbolism and solidarity aren’t enough, use Revolution. Revolution is for everyone, but should not be co-opted by corporate front groups, political parties, and marketing campaigns. People who are cowardly and believe in fairy-tales should not use Revolution. Talk to an Expert to understand the opportunity in systemic overhaul and the dire need for dissident uprising. When using Revolution, avoiding wasting valuable time attempting to work with large environmental groups, card-carrying politicos, and others unwilling to break chains and challenge the system head-on. Use Revolution powerfully to avoid certain side-effects such as: working within the system, setting end times for protests, and imagining real hope and change will come without Revolution.



Wake up. Tear down. Rise up.