Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Complicit Pelosi

We are just getting our wind back after being socked in the gut and stabbed in the back by Nancy and the Democrats. CAN SOMEONE TELL ME WHAT THE HELL IS CONGRESS FOR?

foto in Washington Times 12/20, after Bush got his early Christmas present from Congress

A Picture Worth One Word:


Merriam-Webster definition:


Entry Word: complicity
Definition: a secret agreement or cooperation between two parties for an illegal or dishonest purpose complicity to drive up the prices> — see collusion

Article published Dec 20, 2007
House OKs spending bill

December 20, 2007

By S.A. Miller - The Democrat-led House yesterday gave final approval to a $555 billion bill to fund the federal government, ending a long budget battle by buckling to President Bush's demand for war funds and to his spending limit.

The bill, which funds every Cabinet agency except the Pentagon and provides $70 billion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, passed 272-142 and finished Congress' work for the year.
  • S.A. Miller: Party base slams top Democrats for yielding

    Republican support carried the legislation, accounting for 194 "yes" votes along with 78 cast by Democrats. Rep. John J. "Jimmy" Duncan Jr. of Tennessee cast the lone Republican vote against the measure, joining 141 Democrats.

    Despite House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's vow of "no blank check" for the Iraq war, she allowed the vote amid intense pressure to finish the overdue spending package and wrap up the session before Christmas.

    "It's disappointing, but it is the will of the Congress," Mrs. Pelosi told reporters on Capitol Hill.

    Democrats couldn't budge Mr. Bush from his promise to veto any spending bill that broke his budget limit or didn't come with $70 billion in emergency war funds, a down payment on the $196.4 billion war request for 2008.

    Rep. Barbara Lee took to the House floor to accuse Mr. Bush of holding domestic programs hostage for war money, and fellow California Democrat Rep. Maxine Waters urged her colleagues to defeat the bill.

    "We are never going to end this war until we stop feeding this war with taxpayer money," said Mrs. Waters, who with Mrs. Lee co-founded the Out of Iraq Caucus.

    House Minority Whip Roy Blunt, Missouri Republican, applauded the approval of the war funds but lamented the months it took to secure spending for troops in combat.

    "Perhaps more troubling than the delay, though, is the fact that so few Democrats in the House thought it worthy of their support," he said. "For this new majority, the story of this session has been a tale of false-starts, missteps and unimaginable overreaches. But at least on this issue — the most critical one outstanding — Democrats decided to do what was right and allow our members to cast the right vote, finally, on behalf of our men and women in the field."

    The roughly $555 billion bill included the war funds and $11.2 billion in other emergency funds that don't count toward the budget limit. Coupled with the $459 billion Defense Department bill signed into law last month, the new bill met Mr. Bush's $933 billion cap for total discretionary spending.

    The other emergency funds cover veterans' health care, border security, drought relief and other domestic programs.

    Democrats first proposed spending about $23 billion more than the president requested. They later offered to split the difference and spend $11 billion over the limit, then cut the offer to about $4 billion before surrendering to Mr. Bush.

    Appropriators met Mr. Bush's budget limit, in part, by slashing his defense and foreign-aid priorities to pay for restoring and even boosting domestic-spending programs that the White House wanted to trim.

    The Democrats' emphasis on domestic priorities included adding $1 billion to expand health care access, $607 million for medical research, $767 million for education programs such as Head Start, $486 million for renewable energy and $1.8 billion in Homeland Security grants.

    They cut administration priorities, including increased funding for abstinence education, expansion of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve and some weapons-program requests.

    Republican support for the bill came despite early criticism that the majority rushed to pass a 3,500-page bill that conceals more than 9,000 pork projects and some abrupt policy shifts, including a provision that undermines current plans for a U.S.-Mexico border fence.

    The 2006 Secure Fence Act specifically called for "two layers of reinforced fencing" and listed five specific sections of border where it should be installed. The spending bill nixed the two-tier requirement and the list of locations.

    The White House pledged anyway to pursue the original plan to build about 670 miles of border fence in 2008, despite Democrats' attempt to obstruct the project.


    For all the public tuttutting about congressional earmarks, the targeted spending items seem almost as popular as ever, with about 9,000 included in the massive appropriations bill Congress is sending to President Bush.

    They will steer $7.4 billion in taxpayer funds to birds and bees, locks and dams, parks and ponds, and scores of other projects throughout the nation, including:

    • $825,000 to expand the neonatal intensive-care unit at St. Louis Children's Hospital (Sen. Christopher S. Bond, Missouri Republican)

    • $464,000 for hops research (Sens. Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray, Washington Democrats, and Oregon's Gordon H. Smith, a Republican, and Ron Wyden, a Democrat)

    • $100,000 for the historic Mount Hope Cemetery in Rochester, N.Y. (Rep. Louise M. Slaughter, a Democrat)

    • $705,000 for brown tree-snake management in Guam (Sens. Daniel K. Akaka and Daniel K. Inouye, Hawaii Democrats)

    • $2.2 million for Mormon cricket control, evenly divided between Nevada (Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat) and Utah (Sen. Robert F. Bennett, a Republican)

    • $223,000 for beaver management in North Carolina (Sen. Elizabeth Dole, a Republican, and Rep. David E. Price, a Democrat), and $475,000 for beaver management in Mississippi (Sen. Thad Cochran and Rep. Roger Wicker, both Republicans)

    • $353,000 to combat Asian long-horned beetles (Sen. Richard J. Durbin, Illinois Democrat)

    • $779,000 for wolf-predation management in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan (Reps. James L. Oberstar, Minnesota Democrat, and David R. Obey, Wisconsin Democrat)

    • $332,000 for oyster post-harvest treatment (Rep. Allen Boyd, Florida Democrat)

    • $244,000 for bee research in Texas (Rep. Chet Edwards, a Democrat)

    • $513,000 for blackbird management in four states, sponsored by numerous lawmakers.

    Associated Press

  • Friday, December 21, 2007

    So Long, And Thanks For All The Pink

    We're watching a Special Comment by Keith Olbermann from January 2, 2007 on the obligatory retrospective show:
    First, we sent Americans to their deaths for your lie, Mr. Bush.

    Now we are sending them to their deaths for your ego.

    If what is reported is true — if your decision is made and the "sacrifice" is ordered — take a page instead from the man at whose funeral you so eloquently spoke this morning — Gerald Ford: Put pragmatism and the healing of a nation, ahead of some kind of misguided vision.


    Sacrifice, Mr. Bush?

    No, sir, this is not "sacrifice." This has now become "human sacrifice."

    And it must stop.

    And you can stop it.

    Next week, make us all look wrong.
    Sing out, KO. Sadly, we were not proven wrong. Bush went ahead with his "surge" and Congress continued to enable his folly. So here I am in DC, running the halls of government wearing pink hats, orange jumpsuits and oversized George Bush heads.

    As much as I was a C-SPAN and MSNBC junkie before I killed my television a couple years ago, and as much as I've read the news, blogs, etc, this week was still an incredibly eye-opening experience. The Anti Mister Smith vibe is probably the biggest thing for me: that distant Subway Stare we citizen activists got from our Congressional employees and the blatant contempt shown for actual constituents really exposed more than any intellectual exercise just how insulated and out of touch these people are inside the Beltway. Yet there were a number of moments where I did see some real engagement that gave me renewed hope, like talking with John Murtha, hearing a cop say they liked George Bush's prison garb, and having restaurant staff thank me for working with CodePink.

    It's still frustrating, and the realization that it's going to be a longer, harder slog than I ever realized just exhausts me, but I know there's nothing else to do but keep fighting. In that vein a while back I blogged a favorite scene from my favorite movie, Casablanca:

    RICK: Don't you sometimes wonder if it's worth all this? I mean what you're fighting for?

    LASZLO: We might as well question why we breathe. If we stop breathing, we'll die. If we stop fighting our enemies, the world will die.

    RICK: What of it? Then it'll be out of its misery.

    LASZLO: You know how you sound, Monsieur Blaine? Like a man who's trying to convince himself of something he doesn't believe in his heart. Each of us has a destiny, for good or for evil.

    Clearly CodePink is actively living out its destiny for good. Although I guess it's not so much a destiny as it is a choice. Each member has recognized her (ahem...and his!) responsibility as a moral agent, as well as an inherent power we all possess, then decided to act for change.

    As I've said many times before we are all complicit, to various degree, with the crimes our nation has unleashed whether we voted for Bush or not. Not everybody is going to decide to use CodePink's tactics, but everybody who thinks murdering 1,200,000 Iraqi human beings, stranding our troops in a quagmire and mortgaging our future for seven generations has an obligation to step things up.

    We criticize Congress for not doing more, for not being brave, for not standing up for what's right--well, put some skin in the game beyond voting, donating to candidates, writing letters or even marching. Gene Sharp cataloged 198 methods of nonviolent action. Choose some that you haven't tried before, go beyond your comfort level and escalate your involvement in stopping the horror. Then get a friend or two to join you. Pretty soon, we've got a movement.

    CodePink has been acting as my proxy for a long time. I'm extremely grateful to them for that and for allowing me to stay down here in the DC and learn from them. I cannot fully communicate with words, pictures or even video just how amazingly energetic and dedicated everybody here is. I mean, geesh: speedwalk up to the Hill in the chilly morning after some coffee, watching Democracy Now and planning out a tentative schedule; demonstrate outside the RNC; split up to attend an FCC hearing and a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing; engage several Senators in the halls of the Hart office building; get harassed by the Capitol Police; grab a quick bite in the Dirksen cafeteria; meet and greet Senators in the tunnels; visit Harry Reid's office; back to the tunnels...all on my first day. The following days were even more eventful!

    I hope that conveys some sense of what CodePink has done on a daily basis here. You might see a picture or a short video clip here and there, but that's representative of mere moments in full days that are consumed with giving voice to the voiceless and trying to counter the lobbyists, consultants and self-interest that drive our government.

    There are many ways to fight. When you need some inspiration, visualize Des, Ellen, Gael, Joanne, Liz, Medea, Midge and all the other women and men working so hard, then go Pink in whatever way you can.


    A Little Theatrical Fun

    We spent today at the E. Barrett Prettyman Federal Courthouse, where there was a hearing about the CIA tapes, then the Department of Justice, and finally the National Gallery of Art's sculpture garden and ice rink.

    In front of the Prettyman Courthouse after the Gitmo prisoners' lawyers spoke to the press about the CIA tapes.

    Just before we ran over to the DoJ. Des had played Cheney previously, but switched to a cop role and promoted Gael to Veep--I was Bush while we were at the courthouse, then Ellen took over after lunch.

    Lots of people wanted to have their pictures taken with the criminals. We even had a bit of an entourage at one point.

    A number of other pictures over at Pax Americana. That's all I got right now...


    Thursday, December 20, 2007

    Hall Of Shame

    I mentioned yesterday that Rep Jose Serrano was rather upset he's in CodePink's Hall of Shame, and today some of the action I'm missing involves hand-delivering some new certificates to Congresscritters:

    Medea's hands are the perfect size for some bloody handprints.

    Scores of certificates set out to dry this AM before the gang headed up to the Hill.

    While I'd rather be out and about, it was actually kinda fun pretending to grade exams here at the house, watching the hearing on Pakistani elections and seeing my new friends behind Tom Daschle and the other panelists, and texting them about whether I could see their signs and such. Before that I'd gotten a text from Des saying she (and later I learned Gael, too) had been detained yet again in Rayburn. Gael was subsequently barred from Conyers' public hearing because of "dress code violations" that the cop could not specify.

    I guess compared to the insult of telling Medea that she'd be arrested if she held up her copy of the Constitution in the freaking JUDICIARY committee hearing it's a minor thing, but it was yet another example of harassment by the apparatus. The incident came after we know all the cops have gotten word that Des does not, in fact, have a stay away order and that Gael always carries a letter from her Congressperson (escapes me at the moment) that gives her permission to be on Capitol grounds.

    Do the Pinkers fail to observe the usual rules of decorum sometimes? Absolutely. So the hell what (note: on my personal blog I generally use much "stronger language" that I learned from Dick Cheney)?

    Being polite has gotten us nowhere, except to the disastrous point where we now have a criminal Executive fully aided and abetted by a compliant, complicit Legislature. That's juuuuust a tad more impolite than holding up a pink sign or--GASP!--demanding answers and accountability from our government employees.

    A funny moment in a Foreign Relations committee hearing over on the House side yesterday morning: Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA46) was talking about how the surge was a huge success and if the American people really wanted out of Iraq, well by golly Congress would've already gotten us out--since Congress hadn't done so, clearly The People want to stay! He then got rather petulant and asked the Chair, Bill Delahunt (D-MA10), to request that the audience refrain from "gesturing" while he spoke, which he said was rude. I admit it could have been my fault because after I heard his load of codswollop I began to scratch my nose in a rather vigorous, exaggerated fashion with one particular finger (note to self: cover Method 30 in this week's 198 Sundays post).

    But what is war if not the ultimate rude gesture?

    As Ellen noted to me while we waited for resolution of Des' false arrest yesterday, the old AIDS awareness slogan "Silence = Death" really holds true today regarding Iraq. Politeness is just another form of silence, and it equals death for millions of Iraqis and thousands of Americans. It also equals 2 trillion dollars wasted that could be spent on universal healthcare and energy independence. It equals undemocratic government.

    So, how will you be impolite today?


    I am so outraged. Congress once again approved another blank check for more unending war, more occupation, and more brutality in Iraq. But heaven forbid you remind the members of congress of the cost of the war to the Iraqi people. If you do you'll get responses like "you have the nerve", "I know that", "spare me", "who told you the democrats caved" or even an outstretched hand.

    Worse were those representatives, if you can call them that, that justified the Iraq war by saying to me "I didn't vote for the appropriation" knowing full well that it is a brutal occupation costing countless lives. This is the morality of those in office, a simple negative vote absolves them instantly.

    The only rep that connected with our message was Mr. Murtha, a combat veteran in Vietnam. Seeing us as he returned from voting on the appropriation for more plunder, he came right up to us and embraced us. He then counted out on his fingers what $550 billion could do besides war.

    So why only Mr. Murtha? Where are all the other representatives? Shouldn't they be embracing us too? Can this brutal occupation be justified on any grounds? Why do they persist in supporting it? Though I tried at every opportunity to explain that this war is completely unfair, not just illegal and immoral, none of them ever agreed with me.

    The only question now that matters is who will end this war? Us or the Iraqi people.


    Wednesday, December 19, 2007

    Club Pinkmo

    NTodd again. Despite Anonymous' best efforts to convince me that I'm a ComSymp, I've decided to continue working with CodePink. Some of us began our day at the Senate Judiciary hearing on confirming Bush's nominee for Deputy AG, chaired by my Senator, Pat Leahy.

    I'm in the middle. They tell me orange is a nice color on me.

    Mazie Hirono (D-HI2) said to us after voting no on the appropriation this evening: "It did not go the way I would have wanted."

    Rep Jack Murtha spoke with us for quite a while this evening after the House approved the appropriations bill.

    I've got some more pics at Pax, and maybe there will be some thoughts from other Pinkers up here later...

    Tuesday, December 18, 2007

    What A Day

    NTodd here. I'm a Pink Rookie from Vermont and very honored to be staying at the DC Activist house this week.

    I'd gotten an e-mail update from the gang back in November, noticed a link to apply to join in the action and felt compelled to click on it. I have to admit that I was rather nervous filling out the application, wondering if I'd have the credibility to come down and join the CodePinkers, what with my being a guy and not having a lot of experience in direct action.

    I've always been vocally against the war and done the marches and whatnot, but Medea, Des, Liz and the others have done so much for so long. Only this year did I become a war tax resister by refusing my 2006 taxes, and quit my corporate job to allow me to live below the taxable threshold and afford me more time for activism.

    But I got an e-mail inviting me down, and I'm very glad I did. Today was a whirlwind introduction into the Pink Life, demonstrating down at the RNC, attending a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, and engaging members of Congress in hallways and offices. Our government employees didn't always give us the time of day, but many were at least cordial and some really did give us their attention for a bit.

    One vignette that really made the whole day for me: we were sitting in Harry Reid's office and overheard a staffer on the phone say, "sir, i can't hear you when you're yelling."

    Oh, we also were detained for a while by the Capitol Police for allegedly violating Senate Office Building rules: they claimed we'd been spotted putting up signs on the walls. 45 minutes later with no witness appearing, we were finally released. Is it wrong of me to think that was kinda fun? Maybe I don't want you to answer that.

    Anywayz, I'm wicked tired and not sure what else I can say right now, except that anybody who has been feeling powerless and wondering what else they can do to change the direction of this country should consider coming to DC and working with CodePink. As Thoreau said:
    Cast your whole vote, not a strip of paper merely, but your whole influence.
    It's real participatory democracy in action here. The more the merrier. And freer.

    PS--You can see more pictures from today over at my group blog, Pax Americana.

    Sunday, December 16, 2007


    This morning George(NYC) and Liz walked over to the news station to stake out a moment of inquiry with some of the Senators that were in studio.We ran into Pat Buchanan as a surprise guest on the list.We referred to Pat as a peacemaker rational type thinker etc .....He smiled while saying no one wants to listen to him.I asked him if he had an apportunity to read the NIE report. He commented the report came at a good time and may fend off the Bush Agenda.

    Senator Christopher"Kit" Bond from Missouri rushed right by in a hurry to avoid the truth
    George had walked the distance from the car to the entrance with Kit as the Senator skillfully kept the umbrella up as a shield!

    Senator Evan Bayh had difficulty getting out of the SUV with a defective umbrella so cheerfully I told him he could borrow my poncho with my hand out- The first question we were curious about is DID YOU READ THE NIE REPORT SENATOR????
    if there were another sound byte it would have been Mister Indiana was why did a national guard soldier die of neglect in Fort Knox?????
    It was long cold wait to have a few seconds of messaging
    Worth IT!
    HAD his PINK HAT !!

    Proper American Flag Etiquette

    Dear All,
    We face many challenges in our push for peace. One of them should not be harassment for how we fly our flag (or if we chose NOT to fly our flag). Recently a CODEPINK coordinator has been hassled for NOT flying the flag in a peace march - so I thought I check it out.

    The link below will take you the best information on flag etiquette:

    Some interesting notes:

    1. Even the President himself has been associated with several flag code violations. After September 11th, a carpet with the image of the flag was placed at the Ground Zero memorial. Not only did the President and the First Lady have their picture taken while standing on the flag carpet, the small carpet was also in direct violation of Section 8b of the Flag Code that states: “The flag should never touch anything beneath it, including the ground.”

    2.If your flag needs to be retired, it should be disposed of in a dignified manner with all due respect. Section 8k of the Flag Code states: “The flag, when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning.” - didn't congress pass a law "against" flag burning - shows what they know.

    3. - An upside down flag is a distress signal -

    The third rule of etiquette tells us that we should fly our flag upside down until this president is removed from office, until we stop attacking countries who never attacked us, until our constitution is restored and our American rights are restored and until we bring our soldiers home to protect us, on American soil, should we need them.

    For me, I always have an inverted American flag with me. This is my country and I love her. I will never abandon her.

    I hope you will all go to the site above and learn about the flag. Then, the next time anyone gives you trouble about "flag issues" you will know what to say. And, you will probably find out that, like President Bush himself, most Americans don't have a clue what to do with the flag they are supporting.

    Peace for America, Peace for the World Lydia

    Saturday, December 15, 2007

    Adel Hamad is free from Guantanamo

    Dear All,
    After a wonderful 12 days at the CodePINK House in DC, I received one of the most awesome gifts I've ever gotten. Adel Hamad's attorney, William Teesdale, wrote to me to let me know that he is free and home with his family.
    It all started when I decided some time ago that I simply had to do something about the horror happening in my name at Guantanamo prison.
    I found a detainee named Adel Hamad, #940, and started to stand for him in orange jumpsuit, black chains and black hood. Not long after that my dear friend Liz (Arizona coordinator and full time DC House CODEPINKer) and I joined our efforts. We learned all we could about Adel.
    He was a hospital worker in Afghanistan with family and friends galore. A hard working family man dedicated to helping others at work and in his community. He had 2 grandchildren when he was arrested - 4 more were born during the 5 years he was at GITMO. He was taken from his bed in the middle of the night and someone in his village was paid $25,000 by our government to turn him in. This was an easy U.S. campaign in a country where the average pay is less than $300 a year. America did not know that the hooded and chained men being transferred roped together like animals were not all terrorists who hated us - many were and are still innocent men.
    College students started an Internet campaign called Project Hamad - they printed tee shirts and petitions and pressed forward for his release.
    Last year he was so discouraged that he stopped seeing his attorney, William Teesdale, and started to suspect that he was being betrayed by William. Adel started to go blind from looking thru chain link fence for so long. He had been tortured for years, lived in a small windowless room and was at the end of his rope. Thanks to the persistence and dedication of Mr. Teesdale, Adel came back into the program and found the courage to carry on. You can imagine the joy in Mr. Teesdale's e-mail that Adel was, finally, free.
    It's impossible to express the joy Dave and I are feeling tonight knowing that Adel is home with his family, friends and love ones. Dave's support is the reason I can run around like I do. CODEPINK's support, ideas and continuous courage helps me to do outrageous things to get the message to the press. And, special loving relationships with women like Liz make it possible to carry on. Her courage in Congress, day after day is such an inspiration - I remember like yesterday the day she said she would help with the effort to free Adel. We were at the 1st DC CODEPINK house.
    My message tonight is - know that what we do is making a difference and changing the world. Even the small effort of focusing on one person at a time can bring huge, positive change. Our country is in trouble and our charge is gigantic. Knowing that an innocent man if free tonight brings the kind of peace in my heart that we all hope for everyday.
    The only greater joy will be when our troops are coming home to stay, for good. Peace Lydia

    Thursday, December 13, 2007

    To New Orleans with love

    As the people of New Orleans were stopping bulldozers today, D.C. activists from the Advancement Project, the Hip-Hop Caucus, New Orleans Public Housing Residents, Empowered D.C., One D.C., No War No Warming, Code Pink, Students for a Democratic Society, and possibly more (sorry if we missed you), met in front of the Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development to demand justice, humanity and the halting of the planned demolition of Public Housing Projects in New Orleans. There were picket lines, a live band, and many respected, intelligent, and passionate speakers (Rep. Maxine Waters, Dick Greggory, Fay Williams, Rev. Lennox Yearwood, Julie Andrews an effected resident of New Orleans and many more). Later 8 people sat in the street, blocking traffic and exciting the press. They stayed there for about two hours in the cold rain while the police blocked off the 4 blocks of traffic in the area. There were no arrests. Go to , under the New Orleans section to hear the speakers and music, and to view the photos from today's protest in D.C.

    Sunday, December 9, 2007


    Slide show for the 2007 Women's Peace Conference

    Ann Wright was there as a speaker with many other fantastic women from around the world. Enjoy! Lydia

    "What Would Jesus Buy"

    If you stuck CODEPINK and a 5 minute long movie-trailer-like advertisement for the Army National Guard in the same room, what would happen? Well, such little scientists we are, and here is how it went down.
    First of all, everyone should see the new documentary of Reverend Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping called "What Would Jesus Buy." It was such a good film and the Rev. and his wife showed up here in D.C. for the showing. But long before they showed the National Guard trailer came on, and was met with boos for the first few minutes until someone stood on the back chair and blocked out the screen with his body. That is steps 1 and 2 of the 4 step program of activism of the coalition of the willing to oppose the propaganda that fools the youth (oops,I mean advertising; propaganda is what the Nazis used). Peace is Patriotic, stopping atrocities is patriotic; Is that what they do in the National Guard, or will they end up committing them? They even forgot to say in the add that even more troops from the guard are going to be sent over to Iraq (Kind of a big point, huh)
    Step 3 is asking for a refund and step 4 (which was carried out by an unknown group of individuals, and not code pink, but I thought it was so great, that I added it here) is to steal any posters or any 7 foot tall signs advertising for the Army National Guard. Oh Billy

    Saturday, December 8, 2007

    Video from the Pakistan Hearing

    By Sally

    This was the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs

    After a trip to the National Museum of Women in the Arts I'll be heading home. It's been lovely!

    Friday, December 7, 2007

    Free at last

    Dear All,
    Col. Ann Wright is out of jail - they gave her credit for her 1st court
    date and for yesterday and today was 3 days - we all cried (seriously).
    Medea is on the way to the house and we are all going to the Pakistan
    hearing - NO MONEY FOR PAKISTAN (just in case you want something to
    call about :-D)
    Lastly, check out Democracy NOW today - Sally, our new CP law student
    was interviewed and she was eloquant. I'm in the black hood (too
    funny, we're alllll in black hoods) but I have a sign that says Adel
    Hamad. His lawyer sent me a thank you note today.
    Off to do some house work and then - TO THE HILLLLLLL - NO MONEY FOR

    Notes from DC

    Dear All,
    What an amazing day. Got settled in last night and up and at 'em at
    6:15 am.

    One bummmmmmmmmer! Col. Ann Wright was sentenced to 6 months
    probation (the strictest kind you've ever heard of - she can't even
    raise her voice near the Hill) - it was a jury trial and just blew
    everyone's' mind in the room. Check out the video interview with
    Bill O'Reilly that Deidra posted for the group not too long ago.

    When Gen Petraeus spoke in the Senate in September (not the House
    where I stood on a chair), Ann said "I am a diplomat for peace". She
    knows Crocker, didn't interrupt was profiling for sure.

    The jury was selected in the morning. They found her guilty! (the
    judge was the same one who recently let Midge off with a $500 fine -
    Midge was back on the Hill the next day and the judge (a woman)
    mentioned that when sentencing Ann. "I gave your friend some
    leniency and she was back here the next day" (Midge didn't do
    anything but go up there, don't even know how the judge knew that????)

    WORST OF ALL, she also got 3 days in jail and they took her away,
    right there. She looked freaked out, had tears in her eyes. Her
    sciatic nerve has been so painful it's hard to walk at times. I
    wasn't there but the group that was came home bummed, bummed,

    Send Ann your good vibes and love. They will give her credit for
    tonight and she should be home on Friday.

    As for today, real quick. I dressed in orange jumpsuit, black
    chains and hood and joined CodePINK and a Catholic coalition from NY
    in front of the Supreme Court for the opening arguments on
    Guantanamo. It was snowing, cold and really awesome. I represented,
    as usual, Adel Hamad.

    Came home to change and spruce up and headed for the Hill at 1:00PM
    I gave Pink Badges of Courage and a thank you from FFP to
    Congresswoman Brown and Congressman Hastings. I didn't see them but
    have uploaded pics with their reps. Both offices were very

    Then I headed over to Allen Boyd's office (my rep in Tally) and lo
    and behold he walks out to meet another group. He smiled, gave me a
    hug and asked what's up - I told him nothing today unless he could
    get the Senate to filibuster the $45 billion request - he smirked.

    Off to Senator Nelson's to let the staff know I was in town - I told
    them I would be back. Told them FFP is counting on him to fund the
    troops home.

    Then, I attended the Iraq Reconstruction Hearing in Rayburn. I'll
    report on that more later - basically there is going to be another
    troop surge, soon and then a civilian surge right after that. Also,
    they admitted that 1/3 of the funds for reconstruction are lost in
    the process - "that's about normal for these third world countries"
    is exactly what they said - we just have to expect that! Probably
    $100 billion down the drain on that deal.

    Walked home in the snow (did I say it was snowing :-D) and rushed
    right back out the door to the Tree lighting ceremony at the
    Capitol. I had my cape and a huge pink cowboy hat, we had a good elf
    and a bad elf, and two other combinations of pink garb, plus a driver
    and the most awesome Will. We sang our own version of some Christmas
    carols, handed our peace peppermints and had a great time.

    Got home to a wonderful Wednesday night pot luck supper and
    some "laughter yoga" with Kik (CP from Rhode Island).

    I'll be up on the Hill again tomorrow and feel like I should just
    start going to EVERY Florida reps office, Nelson and Martinez also,
    and just insisting they stop the war now. I'll come up with
    something good to present - all suggestions are welcomed.

    Medea will be in tomorrow so I'll get the inside scoop on her
    kidnapping in Pakistan. I do know that they we scared to pieces....

    Bye for now L.

    Wednesday, December 5, 2007

    A Revolutionary Command

    Early this morning, before dawn, anonymous activist (Pink Sign? who could that be?) put up this banner just a few blocks from congress. The statue is from the Revolutionary war and he is ordering a revolutionary command, "Troops Home Now."
    The anonymous activists reported that both the police and park service officials (brought in to take down the sign, hanging roughly 20 ft. off the ground) laughed when they saw the banner. And later, when the police were not around, the park service officials said that they would take their time with this one; after all, it was snowing. They finally got the banner down at roughly 11 am., but not before the morning crowds had their fill. People were smiling, children were pointing, phones were snapping pictures and one woman said that she would call the Washington Post to get them to cover this (there was also a freelance reporter on scene interviewing people walking by). A final thanks to the weather for snowing an hour after the sign was put up, and not before.

    Iraq Reconstruction Hearing 12-05-2007

    By Lydia Vickers
    The Hearing started out with LOTS of comparisons to VietNam. Ironically they kept mentioning that they two conflicts really did not have that much in common.
    It was mentioned that one of the retired generals who was on the panel lost his own grand daughter in a fire fight in Afghanistan in 2005. He has 6 other family members in the service at this time.
    The discussion focus on using PRT's (provisional reconstruction teams) which are civilian. In Afghanistan the PRTs are run by the military. In Iraq it's different, they work outside of the military. There are also embedded PRTs who work directly with the government (in both countries).
    The goal is success without military force. Excellence is winning war without fighting (a bit confusing since "war" is fighting?)
    Hard power is military and soft power is political.
    The panel was working on what they call a National Counter-Insurgency plan. The idea is to win the ground fight then forward deploy U.S. Ambassadors to work with the local people. Secure, Build and Hold.
    Discussion again return to VietNam and Congressional members continued to say "but we didn't win in VietNam" - The question being, why do we want to follow that protocol when it did not work? The answer was, the plan worked to beat the Viet Cong but did not stop the North Vietnamese army from winning.
    Discussion continued to explain micro loans and grants that are helping the economy in each country. The Sunni insurgents who are now working with PRTs in Iraq, again, outside of the military.
    Some of the challenges are: geography, transportation and assets. Security restrictions hinder the PRTs efforts. No one owns PRTs and no one explained who controls them. Again, they are many private companies working together as PRTs.
    The panel reported that success today and in other wars (Kosovo and Bosnia for instance) will need civilian workers with larger numbers in the State Department.
    One congressman (sorry, I didn't get names) asked how can we help our troops assimilate to civilian jobs. Rather than build up a working military they prefer (now) to build up civilians to support the military. Civilians will share information with the troops
    The question was asked, again, if the reconstruction teams did so much good, why did we still lose the war in VietNam? It was explained that the idea was to win over the hearts and minds of the people to beat the VietCong BUT, we couldn't stop the North Vietnamese from attacking.
    One suggestion was that we need cross training in languages. The panel did not feel that the military could accomplish this and civilians would be used instead. No one explained why we can't train our military men and women to speak new languages.
    PRTs are directly linked to the counter insurgency effort with a short term, high impact plan directly supporting the military command, but not under military command.
    The goal is to rebuild the local government, return the rule of law and reconstruction of the infrastructure. Embedded PRTs continue to work directly with the counter insurgency.
    Question - in the international effort, why aren't we sharing and learning. Discussion at the higher levels is not filtering down. The State Department does not answer to Congress. The military does not answer directly to Congress.
    Question - why aren't we learning from these past lessons? It appears that the Department of Defense feels most passionately and the civilian agencies need to step it up to catch up.
    There was some discussion about "military force" VS "military forces" and that military force cannot be the face of our foreign policy. It was mentioned what a fantastic job our military did during the Tsunami a few years ago. That is the example we should try to duplicate.
    Discussion - Iraq is the 3rd most corrupt county in the world. It is accepted that 1/3 of all reconstruction money in Iraq disappears or is stolen.
    Question - do we have to accept this? Answer - yes. Prime Minister Malaki calls it the 2nd war in Iraq (against corruption and graft).
    Many 3rd world countries have this problem because the government employees are not paid very well so they cheat. In Iraq they are paid very well though. Still government officials in high positions are still on the take. Some of the money is also ending up with other countries and even with people from our own country. It appears that no one has an answer to this problem.
    The panel would like to focus on post conflict stabilization - which is impossible until there is some stabilization. Deployment rather that employment of force.
    The panel mentioned that Churchill said we can't have military success without civilian support.
    Congress asked "when will we learn from history?" We are using a program in Iraq and Afghanistan which was written for peace missions like Kosovo. Again, how can that work while conflict continues in these countries.
    Question - why doesn't the State Department have an interest in building and stability as much as the military does.
    Answer- the State Department is small and underfunded. When they have to take people out of one job into another there are usually no replacements. The military is larger. Diplomats are trained to prevent problems and "cave in when the problems start".
    Note: Behind me in the room was a huge picture of a battle in Viet Nam, bloody, a bomb blowing up and a shirtless soldier shooting at the enemy. The picture behind the representatives was of a military parade in WWII. Opposite walls had a huge fighter plane and a group of tanks.

    Tuesday, December 4, 2007

    Will and Sally Go To Washington And Stop the War

    By Will Chapple and Sally Newman

    Hi dear everyone - today was our second day on the Hill hanging out with the senators. Will got here a couple nights ago and has been a great, and hardworking, and smart presence. As his new banner says, "Real Men Make Peace"!

    We have a special place where you can catch Senators hustling by, and flag them down to talk to them. Senators are SO interesting. Did you know that that with a little training, you can identify them by posture and dress? And and...well, sex age and race, obviously. And did you know they have a hand-shaking reflex? Like a newborn baby will automatically grip a finger offered to them, in a life-preserving instinct, a senator will automatically shake your hand if you touch theirs. Neat.

    Anyway, we don't want to give away all our special lobbying tips, but with some helpful guidance from Desiree, Will and Sally were able to catch and talk to a dozen plus senators. (at least Sununu, Burr, Hagel, Thune, Stabenon, Inhofe, Bond, Dorgin, DeMint, Nelson, Isakson and Lieberman). They were all varying degrees of rude, but we still got in some good eye contact and (very) brief conversations. Lieberman especially - on our first talk with him, he said he'd just gotten back from Iraq so we asked whether he ever left the Green Zone. We were met with sulky silence from the Senator and his five aides, and when we repeated the question one of them (not sure if it was an aide or Lieberman himself) laughed and snapped sarcastically, "Oh yeah! Waaaaay out of the Green Zone." Ouch. When the war supporters find leaving the Green Zone laughable, things ain't good.

    Joe Lieberman: Disarmingly Cute. Alarmingly Militaristic.

    When Lieberman came by a second time, Sally walked and talked with him for a few minutes. They spoke about the meaning of "success" in Iraq, which the Senator believes has to do with Iraqis governing themselves, and she spoke to him about how Iraqi legislators are so frustrated with overly aggressive and humiliating "security" enforcement by Americans that dozens of them walked out of Parliament last week. Then they talked about the effect of war on American veterans. (Sally: Six thousand Iraq veterans committed suicide in 2005. Lieberman: That's not true. Sally: CBS says it is). Anyway, when the aides started elbowing her and the Senator got tired - "OK, that's enough dialoguing!" she left him alone. Don't want to wear anyone out with facts. (sidenote: this was better than when Lieberman spoke at Sally's college a few years ago and she got bored and wandered off before he finished. Politicians are so much better one on one)

    The rest of the day was senate hearings (sidenote: discussions in the Commerce committee on climate change are officially five or ten years outdated) and then evening discussions on tomorrow's Supreme Court habeas hearings and the administration's aggression against Iran (at Georgetown Law and George Washington University). Learning and lobbying, it's like the best Civics lesson EVAH.

    Tomorrow - constituents breakfast with Baucus and Tester (Sally's from MT), more senate hearings, a Supreme Court vigil and fast, the Capitol Christmas Tree lighting, and then a potluck (and end-of-fast, for some of us at least).

    Sunday, December 2, 2007

    Karl Rove and John McCain, On the Lam from CODEPINK: women for peace!

    By Sally Newman
    Photos Jes Richardson

    I arrived In DC last night, and was up early this morning to track down Karl Rove and bring him to justice - the great thing about DC is that all these crazy war criminals are just walking around, for anyone to talk to. Rove got to Fox an hour early, so we just caught him entering the building and presented him with a large poster-sized warrant for his arrest on charges of perjury, contempt of Congress and general war crimes.Ellen Taylor, Desiree Fairooz, Leslie Angeline, Liz Arizona, and me, Sally Newman outside Fox Studios Sunday December 2, 2007

    As a cameraman followed the whole crew (Rove+ five pink policewomen attempting arrest), Karl twirled his finger around his ear in a "they're crazy" motion. This from the man who now claims the Democrats rushed Bush into war (yes, really), and famously "forgot" that he revealed a CIA operative's identity.

    Ex CIA Agent Valerie Plame

    Unfortunately, after his interview he didn't come back out. He skipped the planned press conference and had his town car pick him up in the indoor garage, and probably went home to make sure the rest of his week's schedule doesn't include exposure to dangerous public forums like sidewalks.

    So we went on over to CBS, where Liz was excited to talk to her Senator John McCain again about his delusional insistence how well everything is going in Iraq. She had warmed up her voice already and her megaphone at Fox, so when we arrived as McCain was about to come out and get interviewed by assembled cameramen outside, the whole street plus the guests at the hotel across the street listened.

    Unfortunately McCain got skittish, and turned right around just before walking out the door. We spent the next hour and a half playing tag with the camera dudes. They'd set up in one place, then an aide would come out and huddle with them and they'd go around to the back and set up next to the dumpsters, and we'd follow them, and they'd move things around to the front again. His town car was driving around and around the block, and Pink Police chasing it. Reality show worthy. In fact, the cameramen were getting sick of being dragged around - one of them finally asked if they could just run behind us on the next lap.

    Apparently McCain hates Code Pink more than he loves publicity because at some point his town car peeled out, tires squealing, and that was the end of that. (Incidentally, CP is very respectful of reporters, and we always let them conduct their interviews. They might get a spine and start asking worthwhile questions, so it'd be a shame to interrupt that. There was no reason for the elaborate hide-the-senator game)

    One of the funny things about direct action is that passersby are SO awkward with you, sort of like they might act toward a mentally challenged or a homeless person: "Get a JOB!" yelled one nicely dressed young woman at the Fox news studio. Well, jeez, I'm an Ivy League graduate, halfway through law school, and I look nice in a suit too. It's not like I'm out here yelling at Karl Rove with my toes freezing off for my health. It's just that having been failed by the media, the justice department, Congress, and the courts, I figure if I want him held accountable I have to do it myself. It's like signing a petition, but more emphatic. Don't be scared!

    Liz last week outside of ABC. See, he survived to tell the story!

    Outside CBS, a grumpy man scuttled by blowing cigar smoke and muttering. "Oh, so we're supposed to just turn tail and run, huh..." "Excuse me sir," I said, "I'm not running anywhere, I'm right here participating in my democracy. Where are you going?" He gave me a frightened look and ducked into the building.

    Well, well. That's all for now! Youtube video coming soon!