Friday, March 30, 2007

Washington Post produces a 6 minute video about CODEPINK!

Click here to see a great video about CODEPINK's actions in DC created by and featured on the homepage of the Washington Post website!

CODEPINK women have been tirelessly working on the front lines in DC. We have been holding those elected in November responsible to enact the people's will: Bring the Troops Home and end the occupation of Iraq.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

A love letter to the women of the CODEPINK DC House

by Nell Greenberg

Last week as I sat in the Oakland airport waiting for my flight to CODEPINK, DC I read an email from Howard Zinn that began: “We are not politicians, we are citizens. Let the politicians advocate half-way measures if they choose, but only after they have felt the full force of citizens who speak for what is right, not what is winnable.”

Zinn’s words gave me a blaring focus on what the role of a citizenry should always be, especially during a time of war. But it wasn’t until I got off the plane and met the inspiring women that reside in the new DC house, that I saw the embodiment of Howard Zinn’s stirring words. I have never encountered women who are more fearless in their resolve to “speak for what is right” even when it’s not immediately winnable.

How inspiring to be amongst you women who—despite how many times you were told by politicians to be pragmatic and respect the process or how many times you were pushed back by police who somehow think their weapons have more authority than your signs of peace—were unwavering in your commitment to a single, simple truth; our military escapade in Iraq is morally outrageous and must end now.

It is impossible not to feel disheartened by the cynicism and compromise imbedded in our political process. Despite the undeniable peace majority that made itself known in the last election, despite the number of young military men and women who have come forward against the war and those that are dying for it everyday, despite the resounding support to end a war that feeds an unsustainable oil addiction; we have been told that we must wait for justice and instead wade through the paperwork that comes with a politics of compromise.

But none of you women that I had the privilege to live with this last week were willing to compromise even one inch. And you held your position with all the impassioned, life-affirming force that is desperately missing inside the unfeeling walls of Congress. It is with that moving spirit and righteous spunk that you have taught me the real meaning of a citizen, a woman’s role in wartime.

And so I thank you for rejuvenating my hope that we really can inspire the change we want to see, and who better to do it than a band of wild women in pink!

All my love and utmost respect,
-Nell Greenberg
Oakland, CA

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Peace Potluck

By Rae Abileah

Tonight we had our second weekly peace potluck at the CODEPINK activist house. The house was full of people from around town, visiting activists, and house residents. Desiree and Lydia made some amazing dishes to share, and we decided that we want to make an activist cookbook with all our recipes for delicious dishes and savory, potent actions for cange.

Here are some photos from the evening:

After the potluck, I would have thought that everyone would be exhausted from a full day of actions, cooking, and the potluck, but a group decided to head over to the radio and television awards to see Bush's comic speech and give the senators, media, and other guests a message to get out of Iraq! The actions just don't stop here in DC!!

NOW endorses Hillary for Prez

By Rae Abileah

Today was a sad day for us as we watched one of our closest allies in the women's movement, NOW, endorse Hillary Clinton for president. We are disappointed that our sisters have chosen to support a candidate by virtue of her being a woman, and not a candidate for peace. Here are some photos from our demonstration outside the women's museum where the endorsement was announced. We asked Hillary to "help us get out of Iraq NOW!" More info about this action coming soon.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Sen. Casey Meets with CODEPINK PA

By Debi Richter

We had quite a day, we were able to speak with Specter's aide before the vote as well and then on to Casey's office---He is not quite where we want him right now, still buying some of the "support the troops" while withdrawing, etc. but we got some points acrosss to him, and Sam you'd be proud, I didn't let the Coalition for Peace Action folks take over, I moderated and led the discussion! I also interrupted Casey when he was being too vague for me to understand what the hell he was getting at...unfortunately the meeting was cut short because he had to run out and vote on the strike the language bill and of course we didn't want him to miss that, but he ended by saying he wants to meet with us again...and then we all stayed for quite a while w/ 3 of his aides and really got into some more great discussions..but the time we were done, we headed off to eat as it was really late...

Funny--I interrupted McCain during a taping of one of his commercials, I opened my shirt up, to show the code pink clearly and yelled out for him to stop funding the war...they were pissed...LOL, had to retake... I kinda sneaked around the handlers before they realized what I was doing, egged on my everyone in our group...

I don't know how you ladies do it day after day, I'm whipped! Lots of preparation went into this meeting, but it was worth it..his aides actually told us to continue making noise and keep coming back with more...I think they are more on board then he is...

For more info about this local group check out:

Monday, March 26, 2007

Join us in DC at the CODEPINK Activist House!

In this photo are the women who stayed at the house during the first week--they're pointing to the space in the middle and asking... will you join us?

The CODEPINK DC presence is making national (and international!) news, spreading the message that Congress should listen to the people and not buy Bush's War, and that women (and our allies) can lead the way for peace! The house has a peace room, five bedrooms, and many inspiring pink photos and banners. Join us for a long weekend, a week, or longer!

Click here to find out more about the house and apply to live here.

AFL-CIO Conference: Lieberman blows kisses to CODEPINK

CODEPINKers Desiree and Tighe were outside the AFL-CIO construction and trade conference at the DC Hilton and where they unfurled a Don't Buy Bush's War banner and chanted "No More War!". When Lieberman got out of his car he blew kisses at the CODEPINKers. Tighe talked with him about the number of deaths in this war and the reasons it must end, and how his continued support of war is not going to support our troops.

Murtha showed up and shook CODEPINK activists' hands and said, "Great job, thanks for what you're doing."

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Medea Benjamin Speaks at PDA Conference

This weekend CODEPINK activists attended many conferences in DC and continued to put together the activist house. We were at the Progressive Democrats of America (PDA) conference, the Feminist Majority campus conference, and the Friends Committee on National Legislation young adult lobby training. Here is a two part video series of Medea speaking at the PDA conference:

Medea Benjamin Speaks at PDA Conference Part I

Medea Benjamin Speaks at PDA Conference Part II

Friday, March 23, 2007

House Votes for War Funding

By Rae Abileah

Today the House passed the supplemental spending bill. Below is CODEPINK’s immediate response. We were in the basement of the Rayburn building (where many reps go to get to the underground tram to the Capitol en route to voting) with bloody hands and shirts saying “If you buy it, you own it” this morning. We had many interesting interactions with reps regarding the funding. Here is our statement about the vote:

Peace Movement Disappointed With Democrat Funding for War

Determined to Stop Future Funding and Bring Our Troops Home

Today, the House of Representatives passed the "Iraq Accountability Act" giving the President an additional $100 billion to continue the US occupation and associated military operations in Iraq. While this binding measure establishes a deadline for the removal of most combat troops by August 31, 2008, the conditions set forth in the bill fall far short of where Congress should be on its path to bringing the troops home. CODEPINK believes that not one more dollar should be appropriated for continued war and occupation, and will continue to push the position that Congress should only fund the safe, orderly and rapid withdrawal of all troops by the end of this year.

CODEPINK will continue to demand that Congress be accountable to the American people’s clarion call last November 7 to end the war. Despite many expert opinions that say that the US priority in Iraq must be to support political and diplomatic solutions rather than military operations, we are still burdened with an exclusively military strategy and additional funding for war and occupation.

Members of Congress who voted for the supplemental bill see it as the first small step toward the major policy shift we seek. The work of the peace movement, and particularly that of CODEPINK, has been instrumental in moving us closer to our goal to end the war. Speaker Pelosi, talking to the Democratic Caucus on the eve of the vote, mentioned the pressure she was getting from CODEPINK camping out on her doorstep! Congress has moved this far only because of public pressure, and to reach further public pressure must and will continue. CODEPINK will now press for the best supplemental bill possible out of the Senate, the best bill possible out of Conference, and the best bill possible from the Defense Authorization that will be coming up in April. CODEPINK continues to fight for better funding legislation that will finally and completely end the US military presence in Iraq.

Meet with your Congresspeople during the Congressional Recess April 2-16!

Disruption of Congress

By Lori Perdue

Reporting on her action in the Capitol on the day of the House vote on the Appropriations Bill on Friday, March 23

I am, in general, a law-abiding citizen. I pay my taxes. I use my turn signals. I show respect for law enforcement officers, too much sometimes, according to Medea. I am a realistic person and an idealistic soul. The combination makes for an interesting perspective while working on the Hill.

I have been in many, many congressional hearings in the past several months. And yes, I have acted up, spoken up, been moved to stand up in protest, been removed and threatened with arrest. I have confronted legislators in hallways, following press conferences, in their offices, at events and on the streets of D.C. I have lobbied, monitored, and marched into the teeth of opposition. It is true, I have pushed the envelope and been pushed across the line and onto the floors of the House office buildings. That must be expected when one is working with likes of revolutionaries Medea Benjamin and Gael Murphy. I have not, however, been arrested… before Friday, March 23.

Civil Disobedience has been something I have supported, and advocated. It is a valuable tool for change in our society, a vital part of Democracy. But I have made a point in many conversations to stress that it would take a very clear issue to motivate me to join the ranks of the Activists who so willingly lay their bodies, records and pocketbooks on the line to emphasize a point to their government. Last week, I proudly, but with an overwhelming sadness, added my name to the list of those whose life stories include defying rules and laws to shed light on injustice and express dissent.

I spent early Friday morning on the sidewalk between the House office buildings and the Capitol lobbying Members going to and from the Democratic Caucus meeting, stressing that if they buy this war, by funding it, they will own it and will be held responsible for the outcome. I won’t say the effort was wasted, because the experience hardened my resolve. When Members who greeted me on their way to the Caucus meeting wouldn’t look me in the eye upon their return, I understood that our battle for de-funding was facing defeat at the hands of the Democratic leadership. The reality of the betrayal was stark, but not startling. Move On had ensured that the staunch attitude of “No more money for War” from the Peace Movement contingent was muddled with an invalid poll and millions of dollars applied to pushing Dems to vote for the Supplemental and it’s millions for programs unrelated to ending the war. The tears started to flow freely when a Democrat finally looked at me, standing on the sidewalk with a poster of an American Solider carrying a dead Iraqi child, and said, “There’s nothing we can do about it. They are going to get their votes. Thank you for trying. Don’t stop.”

After working so hard, for so many weeks, with so many people, to pressure Congressional Democrats to vote “NO” on the Iraq War Supplemental, or for Democrats of principal to support the Lee Amendment that would fund only the safe and orderly withdrawal of troops, I felt I had no choice but to ensure that a voice of dissent was heard in the House.

I entered the Capitol building with Marine Mom Tina Richards, Military Families Speak Out co-founder Nancy Lessin, and two other members of MFSO. I was wearing black, clearly marked with Code Pink – Women for Peace, with stage blood on my hands and face. We waited in line, passed through security, waited inside the Capitol and were finally admitted to the House Gallery. Tina and I were seated in the front row, along the rail, directly behind the Democrats. As Speaker Pelosi addressed Congress Tina produced a photo of her Son, Cloy, bravely held it in front of her face and refused to put it away. She wanted to remind Congress, many of whom had met with her in the previous weeks, that her son could be recalled to active duty and deployed to Iraq, for the third time, if they funded the Supplemental. She was escorted out of the gallery by four plain clothes Capitol Police officers and removed from the building. They did not want to arrest her, told her so, and showed regret at her plight and were kind to her as they ejected her.

As the Speaker wrapped up her address by twisting the Peace Movement’s talking points to her purpose, making it seem as if the interests of American and International Peace Groups were truly being served by the passing of this bill, I felt physically ill. Pelosi was co-opting our truth and besmirching it with her partisan spin. The feeling of betrayal was overwhelming and my heart started to pound with an outrage that rivaled that of the dismay and anger I felt over “Shock and Awe”.

Congress quickly moved for a voice vote on the bill. When the applause faded and legislators moved to cast their electronic votes for the record I recognized that my time had arrived. I quickly stood, held my bloody hands in the air and shouted, “Don’t buy this war.” I was grabbed by the Capitol Officer who had stationed himself next to me, expecting just this type of disturbance, and pulled into the aisle. I continued, “You’re buying it and you own it!” Four more officers surrounded me and lifted me by my elbows up the stairs as I shouted, “Troops Home Now! Troops Home Now! Troops Home Now!” as they carried me from the Gallery. Another Activist, Tighe Barry, picked up the cry from another area in the Gallery as they dragged me out, sustaining the dissent for a few more moments. We were both arrested, searched, cuffed and taken away by Police quite efficiently and without violence.

Looking back, I realize that our actions did not change the way the votes fell, but the spirit of true change was recognized in the Capitol. Pelosi and the Blue Dogs got what they wanted legislatively. They got their money, but they also got the message that the cost was much greater than 100 billion dollars. The true cost will be paid in blood and tears. They did not, however, get it quietly, floating their political maneuvering under the radar. Tighe and I made sure they and everyone in the Gallery and maybe those watching at home on CSpan realized that there are those in the public that disagree, that there are Americans that don’t believe that more money for war is supporting the troops. I truly hope that all members of Congress understand that we will continue to mourn and dissent even in the House Chambers, and now in the Senate, until they act responsibly to Bring our Troops Home Now.

Lori Perdue is a native of Indiana, mother of two teenagers, a United States Air Force Veteran and is officially affiliated with Code Pink – Women for Peace, Veterans for Peace and Military Families Speak Out. She has been a full-time Peace Activist for two years.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Four Activists Arrested at Pelosi's

By Rae Abileah

Activists say “if Pelosi buys the war, she owns the war”

As the house began to debate the $100 billion Supplemental Bill on the floor of the Capitol this afternoon, four CODEPINKers were arrested taking over Speaker Pelosi’s office. As they held up images of the American soldiers killed this month in Iraq and chanted “stop funding the war,” police moved in and arrested four CODEPINK representatives: Eve Tetaz from DC, Desiree Fairooz from Arlington, Texas, Janine Bonaparte from Marin, CA, and David Barrows also from DC.

In her statement Medea Benjamin said: “If Pelosi—who was given a mandate for peace in the November election—buys this war, she owns this war. And what she owns is 3228 American soldiers killed, and those soldiers, those sons who will be killed as the war rages on.”

During the action at Pelosi's office, we held up banners that read "Pelosi, be a leader for peace" and "Pelosi, Don't Buy Bush's War". We also had a large banner with a donkey that said "Pin the War on the Donkey" and tails reading "War" "Torture" "War Profiteering" and more.

At one point, while we were speaking with the abundant crowd of reporters, we held up photos of soldiers who have been killed in the war, attached with a string. A police officer immediately snatched the photos and said they were a banner and not allowed in. We said that these were not a banner, these were the faces of the dead. Even the press looked horrified and snapped some photos of the ordeal. After putting away the pictures, we took out a newspaper with the faces of the dead printed in color and held it up. And we started crying. Not fake wailing. Not shouting. Just crying. Tears and tears and we couldn't help it, and I couldn't help it. And instead of reporters asking "Why are you here protesting?" or "What are you doing here today?" they asked me "Why are you crying?" And this is what I said:

I am crying because the Democrats' support of another $100 billion for the war means that thousands more kids my age will be killed--kid soldiers and Iraqi kids. Pelosi's support of Bush's request for money for war is a death sentence for thousands of kids. After weeks of cute, colorful, passionate actions in the halls of Congress, from caroling with the choir to valentine delivery to dog bones for Blue Dogs to pink aprons and brooms cleaning House, today was an action of a different tenor. I felt like the floodgates had come down and the halls of Congress were gushing with a bloody river. Maybe it sounds dramatic. But it felt like we were drowning in tears, in pain, in the realization of something very, very wrong. And the tragic part was that the two secretaries in Pelosi's office sat there chuckling and picking up phones, and the press liaison came out and answered reporter's questions with a blank face. My heart was pounding so loudly that I wondered why it didn't just crack the walls of the marble building. Those walls felt more sturdy and guarded than usual. How have our Democratic leaders become so enchanted by the Republican language? Pelosi has helped them back into a corner where Bush will emerge victorious. And the tragic thing is that they will tout this as a victory if it passes tomorrow.

I visited Anna Eshoo's office after the action, and her press secretary tried to explain to me why Anna is going to vote for this supplemental. He gave me the analogy of a football game, where one must work strategically one play at a time to get the ball up the field to the goal. Here's why I think that's a bogus comparison: The compromise that Pelosi and the Dems are voting for is not one step towards peace; it is one step towards prolonging violence and destruction, and killing innocent lives for nothing. The press liaison listened patiently to my opinion, and then told me that we have the same goal, just different tactics. But I am quite certain now that we don't have the same goal. The Democrats want to win. I want to see the killing stop. I want to welcome our soldiers home with open arms and fully equipped medical services. I want to see justice done to the administration. The Democrats, well, they want to win--this vote, the election in '08, the power. If Pelosi would have just come out and said, "Look, I know that this bill (or ammendment like Lee's) may fail, but I am going to take this stand because I believe in the courage of my convictions, because I am more committed to the will of my constituents and the integrity of justice." But we'll never get to find out what Dems would have done if the supplemental had been straight with Bush's desires. And now it's a mess.

Today there is a deep sorrow. Tomorrow there is a vote. Then, we will keep on working for peace...

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Church of Stop Shopping goes to Congress!

By Rae Abileah

Reverend Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping joined CODEPINK in the halls and offices of the House and Senate buildings today! We had a lively revival preaching and singing to Congress to stop shopping for war. Highlights included caroling in front of Gore's press conference after his hearing on climate change in the House, at Hillary's office, and at Reid's office. We also visited Feingold's office, where Billy talked about being an alumn from UW, and sang a thank you song to the legislative aides, for the great work the office is doing to bring our troops home. We also sang outside Obama's.

Here are some great photos from the day:

The Church of Stop Shopping performs in front of the Supreme Court en route to the Senate.

Preachin' in Reid's office.

The Choir exits Rayburn House building with a song.

Singing in the Cannon building rotunda.
Photos by Rae. Top photo of Rev. Billy by Liz.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Disrupting Hill and Bill Fundraiser

By Rae Abileah

Tonight we were inside and outside Hillary's $1,000 a plate fundraising dinner at the Marriott hotel in Woodley Park, the very same hotel where George W had his Black Tie and Boots inaugural ball in January, 2005, where we were inside disrupting as well! The speech and the applause by the audience was altogether disgusting. Hillary, why can't you put your money where your mouth is and take action NOW to end the Iraq war, not if elected president!

Here's Midge Potts and Patricia Foulkrod interviewed by Liz Kimmerly about the Hillary protest, and some footage from the inside action:

Want to know more about the Listen Hillary birddogging campaign and how YOU can get involved? Check out!

Monday, March 19, 2007

4 Years of War: Staged Occupation and Blue Dogs

By Rae Abileah

Today we mourn 4 years since the US invaded Iraq. We met up with Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) at Union Station where they staged a street theater occupation of the city, grabbing (planted) civilians and taking them hostage. It was a jolting action to witness. But the reality is that these soldiers have done it in Iraq, and violent hold ups are the norm in many cities in this country.

We attended the 4th anniversary press conference that Military Families Speak Out and IVAW held outside the Cannon House of Reps building, and held our Don't Buy Bush's War banners up for all to see. We paraded our shopping carts full of war objects, and sung "Can't Buy Me War." We tried to take those carts inside, but security just wouldn't have it.

We went into Congress and visited the offices of the Blue Dog Democrats who are campaigning to reduce the national debt. Each blue dog has a big poster mounted on an easel outside his/her office with the national debt and the taxpayer's individual share of the debt (about $30,000 currently). We carried in the poster, asked to speak with the chief of staff, and sang a little song for them (to the tune of "This Old Man"):

These Blue Dogs, they're upset,
They don't want a bigger debt.
So CODEPINK is here to give this dog a bone;
Stop funding war; bring our troops home!

At the end of the song we held out milkbones with stop funding messages written on in perm. marker, and tied with a pink ribbon. Each blue dog rep we visited received a bone and the jingle with applause and appreciation, thus proving that speaking the language of the targeted audience is a surefire way to get the point across! Who knew that these blue dogs loved pink?

We went to a MoveOn 4th Anniversary candle light vigil in the evening and brought our stop funding war message there. To read more about MoveOn and the critical eye the anti-war movement is casting their way, click here. Check out this great photo of Barbara and her MoveOn t-shirt:

In the evening there was an anti-war art event at Bus Boys and Poets. May art prevail over war!

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Blue Dog Video

Check out our singing action in Blue Dogs' offices:

Saturday, March 17, 2007

ANSWER March to the Pentagon

By Rae Abileah

Today we marched about two miles to the Pentagon with a coalition of anti-war groups led by ANSWER. It was a chilly day that turned to snow by the end. Our CODEPINK contingent marched from our women's convergence spot through a gauntlet of counter-protesters who chanted "USA" and told us we were unAmerican, traitors, lesbians, etc. I didn't find them very intimidating--they looked fearful and angry, and we were calm and peaceful, singing over and over "All we are saying is give peace a chance!" We were so joyously pink and feminine, it felt very safe to walk down the streets. Still, the counter-protesters were agresive and though I can respect their right to demonstrate, just as we can, in permitted locations, they attempted to block us on the sidewalk. The police had to intervene to ensure that we were able to walk down the street. The one shout I still can't figure out is "our soldiers are over there protecting your rights to freedom." First of all, if they're protecting our rights to free speech, then why not let us use those rights? Secondly, the war in Iraq is making us less safe at home. And last, why not ask the soldiers what they think they're over there for--many of them honestly say it's for the oil, and aren't duped by Bush's rhetoric.

CODEPINK marches through an angry crowd of counter-protesters.
Thanks to Isis and Liz for the photos in this post.

After the march when we returned to our cars, we found that one CODEPINKer's car had 2 tires slashed. Now you tell me, what's so peaceful and non-disruptive about that? I can't believe that these counter-protesters would stoop to such low and violent reactions... but I must believe it, as I spent several hours waiting for the tow truck. This nasty, cruel behavior seems to be all to symptomatic of those who believe in the war, believe in violence and military solutions as the only way to solve problems.

After being out in the cold all day, we returned home to hot soup and good company. Another day, another march for peace. Are they listening?

Reflections on March 17th, 4 Years of War

By Sarah Rose-Jensen

Despite how long it took my feet to thaw out when I got home, I'm very happy that I was able to attend yesterday's ANSWER March. We kicked the morning off with some songs and chants, which got us fired up to make our way through the counter-protesters. The Gathering of Eagles, as they called themselves, brought angry people, most of them men, from all over the country together to heap abuse on peaceful demonstrators like CODEPINK. It was rather upsetting, because we got physically very close to the counter-protestors, and the police did not seem to be doing much in the way of keeping us separated. The CODEPINK women handled themselves with the upmost grace though, singing "All we are saying is give peace a chance," while making our way to the main march.

The counter-demonstrators continued to be a presence throughout the march, periodically grouping along the route to scream more. As always though, we out numbered them. Following along in the footsteps of the Vietnam War protesters was both empowering and saddening. It made me feel good to know what we were not alone in history, and that another group of peace-loving folks had come before us and stopped the war machine. At the same time, I was sad that our country is involved in another pointless, racist war that is killing our young people while sucking up huge portions of the budget that should be spent here, improving schools, providing healthcare, and making certain that all Americans can live safe and happy lives. It's a shame it had to happen again.

The Vietnam protesters fought the actual draft, while today we fight the system of broken schools and limited opportunities that creates a draft by making the military seem like the only feasible option. Each time I got too bogged down in the past and the present wars, I looked around me, and I felt better again. Here were tens of thousands of people who knew this war was wrong, and who were willing to help tell the world. I marched with grandmothers, students, Catholic priests, veterans, and all the rest of an amazing cross section of America. I hope that all of them were able to go home feeling as good as I did, but also knowing how much more we have to do. Marching on the weekend is one thing, but there is work to be done during the week too. This week all Americans who oppose the war should take time to call their Representatives and tell them that voting NO on the supplemental funding bill is the fastest and most direct way to end the war right now. Hopefully some will even be able to join CODEPINK in the hall of Congress this week as they remind Congress that the people of America don't want this war, don't want to pay for this war, and don't want them to vote to continue funding this war.

Friday, March 16, 2007

MUST SEE: CODEPINK Disruptions and Midge Stands Up at Valerie Plame Trial

Check out this CNN clip with fearless pink Midge standing up with her "Impeach Bush" shirt on, and an exclusive report on CODEPINK's presence in hearings and events throughout the past year:

Go Midge! The word about CODEPINK's presence in Congressional hearings spread throughout the media rapidly after this act. Why do we feel the need to add our presence to the demos? If Congress won't speak up, then we the people will!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Appropriations Committee Buys War

By Rae Abileah

Today we showed up at 7 am to wait in line to get into the House Appropriations Committee meeting to mark u the Supplemental bill. We waited for hours and when staffers, press, and Congresspeople went in, the police continued to keep us out. Though the hearing was supposed to be open to the public, no one (except a class of schoolchildren) was permitted inside. Activists were outraged at being locked out and when they questioned the cops and started shouting "Let the People In!", the cops began clearing the hallway. Gael was swept up, thrown to the ground, and arrested unexpectedly and without good reason. Check out the video of the scene here:

I waited on line patiently with another activist and a man from the American Legion for a couple more hours. I used my time in line to talk with Congresspeople when they left to attend a vote in the Capitol, and when they returned. I escorted reps to and from the elevator, reminding them of the importance of stopping the funding for Bush's war.

Finally, we were let into the room. The meeting was fascinating! At one point, Chairman Obey couldn't discern whether Murtha was proposing an amendment to the bill or an amendment to an amendment.

When the conversation turned to a discussion of the amendments that would finance "emergency" domestic issues (like spinach farmers and hurricane relief), I could not resist standing up to offer an amendment. I said that I would like to offer an amendment from the majority of the American people who want the troops home, that Congress not buy Bush's war, and fund domestic services instead. Fund education and healthcare, not occupation and warfare! It's simple: just don't buy Bush's war. Some people moaned and sighed, and I wish I had ore directly spoke to their resistance to hear from the public. If our reps aren't going to represent us, then we must speak up; we cannot remain silent. It's not like I want to be sitting in a windowless room all day listening to predominately old, white men make amendments to amendments. The point is that I feel a moral obligation to say something in light of the future death and destruction that the $100 billion will cause. Chairman Obey told me very respectfully to sit down. My fellow activista held up a pink sign. At the closing of the meeting, we stood on our chairs and sang "Can't Buy Me War" to Congress as they were filing out. Our singing made it onto CSPAN and CNN. I'm hoping it made it into a Congressperson or staffer's head too, and the chorus got wedged in there somewhere between power wielding and conscience.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Don't Buy It ~ Day 3

By Rae Abileah

Today we did a sister occupation of Pelosi's office in the Cannon Building. We were on speaker phone with the activists who were in her office in San Francisco. Medea, Nancy, and I met with Pelosi's chief of staff and presented her with our questions and concerns about Pelosi's supplemental bill, namely:
* What's the logic behind the seemingly backward idea that we'd start pulling our troops out sooner if the Iraqis are failing (not meeting benchmarks) than if they are succeeding?
* Why would we ever want to trust Bush with assessing and reporting on the status of the benchmarks when he's lied so many times before?
* How many troops would be impacted in the loophole of maintaining a troop presence to capture and kill Al Qaeda terrorists, protect US embassies and American citizens, and other stipulations?
By Rae Abileah

Pelosi's chief of staff promised to report these questions to Mike Sheehey, the main foreign affairs staffer, and give Medea a call with the answers, since she apparently couldn't provide ANY answers or clarification. At the end of the meeting she reassured us that "We share the same goals, but have different tactics." I have already heard this several times from Dan and Melanie in Pelosi's SF office. Here's what I want to tell Nancy Pelosi: If you're not taking action to bring our troops home, then you don't share the same goal, you only mirror our goal in your rhetoric. If you won't redefine the debate to say that defunding the war IS supporting our troops, then you don't share the same goal: to stop bowing to the Republican agenda and speak truth to power. If you can't lead us out of war by cutting the funding, then your goal is the same as Bush's goal: remain in Iraq. I am still hopeful that Nancy Pelosi will recognize that indeed the only surefire tactic that Congress has towards the goal of ending the Iraq occupation and bringing our troops home IS to cut the funding.

This evening we made banners for our actions in the days ahead, and continued building our DC house!

CodePink activists Outside the Senate Appropriations Defense Sub-committee Hearing

By Midge Potts

Wednesday morning CODEPINK activists were in line outside the Senate Appropriations Defense sub-committee hearing on fiscal 2008 Defense Department spending. First in line when the committee room doors opened just before 10:30 AM in the Dirksen Senate office, several women clad in pink flocked into the hearing. Before the hearing began one of the women walked up to the table where the Generals were gathering and seemed to be casually chatting with them.

She joined the other CODEPINK women at the back of the room where several from all over the country stood wearing pink shirts with bold black lettering proclaiming slogans such as "Fund Education Not War" and "NO $$$ 4 War". The Chairman of the hearing, Senator Inouye from the state of Hawaii made no motion to stop them from standing and making gestures such as peace signs. As the hearing proceeded, Major General Schoomaker and the newly appointed Secretary of the Army testified before the committee about US Army funding requirements for fiscal 2008. General Schoomaker began his prepared statement by introducing three U.S. soldiers who have served in Iraq, and he told their stories of valiantly serving with the U.S. Army in Iraq. He then narrated an exhibition of high-tech gadgetry; A mini robotic vehicle was maneuvered around the room as it shot video which was displayed on a screen for all to see.

The Secretary of the Army testified that supplemental funds would be needed by April or the Army would have to reprogram its force in order to make up for the shortfalls in funding. About 45 minutes into the hearing, the dialogue turned toward the Walter Reed scandal. Senator Stevens of Alaska and Senator Domenici of New Mexico, both Republicans, asked General Schoomaker questions regarding the cost of building a new Army hospital to replace Walter Reed. At that moment, the woman who had chatted with the generals earlier yelled, "BUILD THE HOSPITAL, BRING THE TROOPS HOME. JUST BRING THE TROOPS HOME AND BUILD THE HOSPITAL TO TAKE CARE OF THEM WHEN THEY GET HERE!" Chairman Inouye banged his gavel once and gave a nod to the Capitol Police officer in the corner. She tapped the protester on the shoulder and escorted her out of the room. The CODEPINKer was simply asked not to go back in the hearing, but was allowed to immediately leave the scene and depart the building. The others CODEPINK women continued to stand and wave peace signs throughout the hearing.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Don't Buy Bush's War ~ Day 2

By Rae Abileah

Today we visited Nancy Pelosi's Congressional office dressed as personal shoppers, and told the Speaker that war is not fashionable and doesn't suit her. We sung "Can't Buy Me War" and spoke with the chief of staff. We sang through the halls of Congress, and greeted Congressmembers as they went through security en route to the Capitol in the subway of Congress. Check out an excerpt of our great press release from our action this morning:

“Speaker Pelosi, Bush’s War Will Look Terrible on You! Don’t Buy It!”

Pelosi’s Self-appointed Personal Shoppers (PSPS) arrive in Speaker Pelosi’s Cannon Office to advise her that she looks SO MUCH better sporting healthcare, education and fully-funded domestic programs, not war and occupation!

WHEN: 11:00am, Tuesday, March 13th
WHERE: 235 Cannon House Office Building, Washington DC
WHAT: A Style Consultation on a Path to Peace.

“We're hopeful,” says Gael Murphy, “that Speaker Pelosi’s intuitive sense of style and justice will prevail over Bush’s poorly designed and completely outmoded ready-to-war Supplemental that will allow this conflict to drag on for years, wreaking havoc that will spread throughout the Middle East. The mark-up is criminal and there are no returns! Pelosi’s elegant style of leadership is much better suited for this “season-of-ending-war-in-2007,” and she would look simply fabulous in a fully-funded, safe and orderly withdrawal of our troops from Iraq.

We offer her heartfelt gift-certificates, redeemable for all the marvelous domestic programs that are a much better bargain for the American people, such as healthcare, affordable housing, schools, scholarships, public safety and renewable energy. All this and more will be available for the smart shopper at 11:00 am March 13th in Speaker Pelosi’s office.
For more information visit

CODEPINK sings through the halls of Congress.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Stop Funding War ~ Day 1

By Rae Abileah

I flew into DC a little after sunrise this morning and took a cab (with a driver who was so supportive of our work), and arrived at the new CODEPINK house, near Union Station and the Senate buildings. The house is a narrow brick building with lovely crown moulding, hard wood floors, and three stories of bedrooms and meeting space. When I arrived there was soft yellow sunlight streaming in through the windows, illuminating the air mattresses and suitcases sparsely spread out in the rooms. The house is new to us and so we must find furnishings to build a "peace room" and outfit ourselves to host visiting activists for the coming months. We're searching for frying pans, beds, chairs, book shelves, spatulas, and peace. We're looking for passionate activists, heroic Congresswomen, and bold actions. We're gathering forks, rugs, banners, and organizational allies. And we're hungry for homecooked meals, homemade posters, homegrown movements, and homewon justice.

I spent the day driving around gathering free furniture with Joan, an incredible DC pink activista, strategizing about actions for the coming days, and connecting with activists coming to join us in DC! By late evening, we have colored the house pink with banners and photos of our past actions, planned out our actions for the week, and written a hilarious press release. And tomorrow, the actions begin (or continue, after almost 4 years of illegal occupation of Iraq, and over 4 years of CODEPINK actions to stop war and bring about peace). Check back for more DC updates!

Check out our new website about defunding war:

Friday, March 9, 2007

Walking the Halls of Congress: A Chance Encounter

By Nancy Kricorian

Walking the halls of Congress on Wednesday, we happened to walk by Charles Rangel's office (D-NY) while he was standing in the foyer signing some papers. Because Gael Murphy has no timidity, she walked in and started chatting with him. Since he's almost my Congressmember (his district starts 2 blocks North of my house, but i didn't tell him that) I started talking as well. He was not very encouraging. Although he says he deeply supports ending the war and occupation and it sickens his heart to have us stay in Iraq any longer, he took a very pragmatic and political view of how to go about ending it. He said that the Democrats don't have a plan because a "plan" is something we have the votes to pass. He said it'd be better to compromise and support a bill that had a definite date for a pull-out, but a date a long way off, then supporting a bill that brings the troops out ASAP but wont' pass. He said at least we'd get what we want at some point if we're patient.

We tried to tell him that we would support him making a stand and doing the right thing rather than the political thing. He did say that it mattered that I and my family were constituents and supported that view, demonstrating how important it is to get face to face with your own Congressmember! This all fits in with what Rangel said to CODEPINK NYC when they met with him a few weeks ago - not encouraging but illuminating in terms of what these "liberal" Democrats are doing behind the scenes. His heart is in the right place, we just need to push him on his methods!