Eve Ensler, Kevin Benderman, Mike ...

Elaine with you, winding down as Labor Day approaches and Rebecca returns. Are you excited? I know I am. I know she's been missed and I've missed her too.

I was talking to Mike before I logged on and he's as sweet as he is handsome. Everyone's been so supportive in e-mails and I thank you all for that. I also think C.I. who listened and listened as I periodically blurted, "I don't know what I'm doing!" or "How do I make this point?" So I'll thank C.I. who's an old frined. I'll also thank Mike who I know Rebecca had to have asked him to check up on me. He's been a wonderful resource and a great guy.

Tonight, he was asking me about blogging and would I think about doing my own site. I really don't have time for it. If Rebecca needs another break, I'm happy to help out. I'm also happy to help out C.I. provided it's understood that I'm not going through every e-mail that comes in at common_ills@yahoo.com. But Mike was so sweet on the phone. I told him he reminded me of Goldie Hawn and Cactus Flower which he doesn't think he's seen. But in it, Goldie's asking Ingrid Bergman where will she go, what will become her? That's what I thought of while I was on the phone with Mike because he really is the sweetest guy. I keep stopping myself from typing "kid." But he really is the sweetest kid. I mean that as a compliment.

So let's move on because there are several things I want to note tonight.

New Anti-Recruiting Coalition Forms in Los Angeles (Democracy Now!)
In Los Angeles, a new coalition announced plans for a national campaign to fight military recruitment of students of color in the nation's schools. Members of the coalition include Latinos for Peace and the Coalition Against Militarism in our Schools. The groups made the announcement at Salazar Park on the 35th anniversary of the Chicano Moratorium, when 20,000 protesters took to the streets of Los Angeles to protest the disproportionate number of Latinos being killed in the Vietnam War. Salazar Park is named after journalist Ruben Salazar who was shot dead by police after covering the Moratorium. The coalition is calling on students to sign forms that would block the military from receiving personal information about them as well as not to take the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery test.

Mike's cover counter-recruiting at his site and will continue to.

20,000 people is a huge number. Also, what a great way to honor the late Ruben Salazr's activism.

The issue of recruiting is one that's been slowly planting roots for some time. It's not going away and the Bully Boy better get used to that fact.

As the number of young men and women continues to fall off what will Bully Boy do when a voluntary force no longer can make the targets? The first thing, which they've done already, is to lower the targets. But that doesn't hide the reality that people don't want to sign up. The next move may be to change it from voluntary to compulsiry.

ACLU: FBI Has Designated Activist Groups as Terrorists (Democracy Now!)
The American Civil Liberties Union has obtained internal government documents that show the FBI designated two Michigan activist groups as potentially being "involved in terrorist activities." One of the groups is the anti-war organization Direct Action. The second group is called By Any Means Necessary - it is a national organization dedicated to defending affirmative action, integration, and other gains of the civil rights movement. ACLU staff attorney Ben Wizner said "When the FBI and local law enforcement identify affirmative action advocates as potential terrorists, every American has cause for concern." The ACLU has been conducting an investigation into whether the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Forces has been engaged in political surveillance. As part of this investigation the ACLU has learned that the FBI has collected thousands of pages of documents related to other activist groups including Greenpeace, United for Peace and Justice, Code Pink, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee and the Muslim Public Affairs Council.

"Letters from Fort Lewis by Kevin Benderman" (Kevin Benderman Defense Committee)
There comes a time in a person's life when they have to re-examine the course they have set for themselves to see if it best for them to continue. I was a US soldier for ten years of my life and after I had experienced war first hand, I came to a personal crossroad.
The decision for me was rather complex as there were many factors that had bearing on my course of action. One was the fact that there had been a member of the military in my family since the American Revolution. Also, the area where I was raised has a strong sense of the military as being one of the most honorable things you can do. Being a soldier in the service of your country is a proud tradition for many American families; it cannot be denied and it is most definitely not to be discouraged.
But isn't it time we reconsidered war as a way to settle differences among nations? When are we going to realize that creating and using weapons that are capable of killing scores of people in a single blow is a rather barbaric and outmoded way in which to solve our differences?
If as much effort were put into solving our differences with positive resolutions as the world has put into developing weapons that are able to wipe out entire countries at a time, war could have been eradicated decades ago, as were various other diseases that we have worked to eliminate. Make no mistake, war is a disease that threatens all of humanity. Isn't it time to dedicate energy, efforts and resources to eliminate this scourge of mankind? I believe it is.

"A Letter to America" (Eve Ensler, Not In Our Name)

I am longing to reach you -- crossing this river of indifference and consumption and denial. I am trying to find you, reaching out through the desperate limitations of words and descriptions, swimming through the rhetoric of terror and God.
I need you to wake up. The house is on fire and you are still sleeping, lulled by the intoxication of smoke and mirrors. I need you to wake up and I know that shaking you, scaring you will only make you cling to your sleep and sleep more.
How then do I tell you what's going on? How do I tell you about the one hundred thousand dead Iraqi people that you and I are responsible for murdering.(1) Each one of them valued their life, longed for their morning, cherished their first cup of milk or coffee or tea. In what way shall I deliver what I learned? The substance identical to illegal napalm that melted tender five year old skin; the cluster bombs that have left their murderous and disguised offspring, throngs of bomblets set to explode, scattered on the Iraqi earth; the depleted uraninum from the Bunker Busters we dropped that now lives in lungs and livers and soil. (2)
How do I tell you about the strategic planning of such atrocities in the boardrooms, the backrooms, the back seats of limos, the organized take over and looting of Iraq right out from under the terrorized, hungry, thirsty Iraqi people. (3) How do I get you to listen to the stories of our solidiers who are trying to kill themselves now, longing to escape the madness of murdering and maiming for no reason. (4)
Please don't go back to sleep.

[. . .]

"Peace Quotes" (Peace Center)
The earth is but one country and mankind its citizens.