Last week I spoke in Marietta, Ohio to 35 people, and announced the Occupation Project. I asked who among them would consider occupying their local congressional offices. Without a moment's hesitation, six hands went up. You could hear the choir start to harmonize!
We talked about practical concerns: having to work, how much will it cost, what will the charge be? We talked about taking a vacation day and the modest fines involved for a misdemeanor -- all compared to the enormous suffering Iraqis and soldiers now endure in this war.
We could have talked about how much less frightening this is compared to the suffragists who were arrested, manhandled, and force-fed while they served long jail terms; how unionists struck in the face of company goon squads; how civil rights activists tolerated untold abuses from screaming racists -- and still they carried on. They persevered. They stepped into the gap when they were needed most. They won justice and made history.
The Democratic Party now controls Congress because the grassroots peace movement turned public opinion against the Bush administration's war. These new elected officials must see that the time to end this war is now.
Many incumbents, including my own Congressperson, talk for peace -- even join the "Out of Iraq" Congressional Caucus -- but vote for war. They must now be told in no uncertain terms the jig is up. We will no longer tolerate platitudes for peace and votes for blood. This is where we draw the line. They either vote to end the occupation of Iraq or they will be occupied.
that's from mike ferner's 'Roll Call for the Choir' (counterpunch) and i really like the idea.
normally, i don't advocate anything i can't do. but i really do like this idea. i know people have been doing it already. i hope more will. if i wasn't house-bound due to the pregnancy, i'd be up for it. if it's not for you, don't do it. but if it's an idea that appeals to you, please consider it. and please read the piece because it's a really good 1.
house-bound day 2 million! no, but it did seem that way for a bit today. mike and elaine are here and they set up dinner outside so that was nice. this isn't necessarily the way the entire pregnancy will be. it may, however. for now, it's how the next three weeks have to be because of the critical point and based on past histories of miscarriages.
ruth has been so wonderful and flyboy and i have both told her, 'we appreciate it but you don't have to.' each day she's arrived in the morning and cooked lunch for us. wonderful, healthy dishes. she said she'll cut back the visits after the 3 weeks but she wants to help out and that elijah loves it when they get on the ferry. today, tracey (her granddaughter, elijah's her grandson - tracey's a teenager, elijah's a toddler) came with them and that was fun.
i told flyboy i wanted him to go out tomorrow. i have to do this. i appreciate that he's willing to share it but i'm feeling like every 1's suffering because of me. so since mike & elaine are out here, he can go out and not have cabin fever.
t's visited as well. and she apologized for that. no 1 has to apologize for visiting. i don't think, as they're leaving, 'you get to leave! i hate you! i hate you!' or i don't think that for very long. (again, i'm joking.)
i asked c.i. to write down a predicition for me. (c.i.'s not a psychic.) it arrived thursday. i was so good until this afternoon. (i wasn't supposed to read it until after the baby was born - but i'm sure c.i. knew i wouldn't make it that long.) this is c.i.'s guess - in my 7th or 8th month, i'll have a c-section. and the baby will be a girl.
that was good for a wonderful nap this evening. i fell asleep thinking of baby names. i was on the couch, not laying, and was rather embarrassed to wake up in bed tonight. (flyboy had carried me into the bedroom.) i have no idea what i'd name a girl. i'm not asking for suggestions. the problem isn't possibilities, it's picking out just 1.
i told flyboy we'd make that our talk monday. i feel so boring these days. i have to ration my conversation topics. (and that's not a joke.)
i think part of the constant sleeping i feel like i'm doing these days is adjusting to knowing i'm pregnant. but i may just be grabbing on to any excuse to be lazy.
i move very slowly in the morning and my excuse is i'm less sick to my stomach in the morning if i take it very slow. but that may be psychological or just a cop-out to avoid doing much.
i've cut out cigarettes, obviously, and coffee as well. that's 1/2 my normal morning!
i thought about substituting a cup of hot tea for coffee but i know how quickly i go through a pot of coffee and would probably do the same with tea. so i'm trying to find a fruit juice i can stand.
apple, which i like, just doesn't taste right this week and orange juice, which i could never take straight most days, tastes bitter even when flyboy tastes it and it tastes fine to him. ruth brought prune juice and papaya (not mixed) and i sampled both today. i'm embarrassed to say it, but the prune juice agreed with my stomach.
embarrassed because i always think of prune juice as something people use to stay regular. but i really liked the taste (i don't think i've had it before). i can't even stand to smell grape juice right now so that's out.
i'm sure i'm being a total drama queen and it's all in my head but prune juice was the 1st thing i could find that i could stomach.
morning's are the worst because flyboy's having to put up with goldilocks. that's what i feel like, 'this is too, that is too,' always looking for the 'just right.' i know he must love it when ruth gets here because the 1st thing elijah wants is for flyboy to take him out to the shoreline. he's probably going through the entire morning thinking 'smile, just smile. when ruth gets here, you get to go outside.'
ruth's family is so lucky. she really is just the dream friend (or, for them, mother and grandmother) when you're not able to do for yourself. (or maybe just too lazy - me - to do for yourself.) i really want to put a big thank you to ruth up here.
my grandmother keeps asking about visiting. she's wonderful but i told her i do not want her traveling by herself. my mother's going to visit next week and my grandmother's going to ride along. she and ruth have never met (ruth has met my mother) and i really want them too but i also keep saying, 'come on ruth, you know you need a break. this would be the perfect time, you wouldn't have to worry at all.'
i see betty's 'Did you hear the one about a Fat Ass who'd do anything for a Blizzard?' is up. we were on the phone yesterday and she cheered me with horror stories about her sickness in the morning with each pregnancy. i've got nothing to complain about. she had me laughing so hard and then said, 'enjoy this laughter while you can, you laugh like this when you're in your final months and you'll end up peeing!' she really made me laugh. (thank you, betty.)
that's it for me tonight. i promise it won't be the pregnancy report every day. i'm actually not tired as i end for a change but we've got company and i really want to talk to mike & elaine before i start yawning.
here's c.i.'s "Iraq snapshot:"
Friday, December 15, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq, the Iraqi Red Crescent states it's been attacked repeatedly by the US military, the US military announces that three troops have died, the US media attempts to ignore the big Iraq story of the day, Kyle Snyder continues speaking out and Donald the Rumsfled leaves an appointed office but he does not complete a 'tour of duty.'
Starting in England, with the big story. Colin Brown and Andy McSmith (Independent of London) report that Carne Ross ("Britain's key negotiator at the UN") statement in the Butler inquiry (2004) that's only now been revealed and it exposes the lies behind the 'case' for war in England. AFP reports that Ross declared "at no time did HMG [Her Majesty's Government] assess that Iraq's WMD (or any other capability) posed a threat to the UK or its interests." Ross also declared that: "It was the commonly-held view among the officials dealing with Iraq that any threat had been effectively contained" (Al Jazeera).
Though Carne Ross' statements have been kept secret (swept under the 'national security' rug), Last month, he did speak to the House of Commons' Foreign Affairs Committee and note that the intel offered to the public was "manipulated." As Brown and McSmith note, the Commons Select Committee is the body that's brought the information public while an unidentified member of the Foreign Affairs committee states: "There was blood on the carpet over this. I think it's pretty clear the Foreign Office used the Official Secrets Act to suppress this evidence, by hanging it like a Sword of Damacles ovre Mr Ross, but we have called their bluff." The Irish Times declares: "British Prime Minister Tony Blair's case for attacking Iraq has been dealt a new blow with the release of once-secret evidence from a former British diplomat who dismissed the threat of weapons of mass destruction."
As the mainstream media in the US bends over backwards to note Ross' statements, many may be reminded of the Downsing Street Memos and how they were greeted with silence and then derision. AP was the excuse many hid behind with DSM -- claiming they would have run a story if AP had covered it -- if only a wire story . . . Well AP has covered it.
Turning to peace news, Alex Zdan (Trenton Times) notes Tuesday speech Carolyn Ho, mother of Ehren Watada, gave to the Nassau Presbyterian Church where she described how her son became the first commissioned officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq ("In studying all the literature, he was stunned by what he saw") which included refusing to accept a "desk job" in Iraq. On last Saturday's RadioNation with Laura Flanders, Carolyn Ho explained that the refusal was for himself as well as those serving under him, "He felt the best thing he could do for his men was to remain behind and speak truth." She is asking for everyone to contact their members of Congress and put pressure on Congress to carry out their oversight role. Monday, Carolyn Ho appeared on Democracy Now! and discussed her own progress when meeting with members of Congress. Outside of Maxine Waters, not much. So those who haven't contacted their Congress members should considering doing so.
Ehren Watada, as Aaron Glantz (IPS) reported, is also the subject of subpoenaes -- the US military is attempting to compell three journalists to testify in court: Sarah Olson, Dahr Jamail, and Gregg Kakesako (Honolulu Star-Bulletin). Jason Leopold (Truthout) notes that Olson is "one of few reporters covering the anti-war movement and the voices of dissent" and that she has not decided yet how to respond to the subpoena -- Sarah Olson: "Once you involve a reporter in prosecution, you turn that reporter into the investigative arm of the government."
Another US war resister continues speaking out: Kyle Snyder Washington's Bellingham Herald notes an appearence at the Whatcom Peace and Justice Center. Last weekend, at a speaking appearance, police showed up. Snyder continues speaking out.
Watada and Snyder are part of a movement of resistance within the military that includes
Joshua Key, Ivan Brobeck, Darrell Anderson, Ricky Clousing, Mark Wilkerson, Camilo Meija, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Jeremy Hinzman, Corey Glass, Patrick Hart, Clifford Cornell, Agustin Aguayo, Joshua Despain, Katherine Jashinski, and Kevin Benderman.
Information on this movement of war resistance within the military can be found at Center on Conscience & War, The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline, and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters. Appeal for Redress is collecting signatures of active duty service members calling on Congress to bring the troops home -- the petition will be delivered to Congress next month.
As Aileen Alfandary noted on KPFA. this morning ( The Morning Show), two car bombs went off outside US bases in Ramadi.
Qais al-Bashir (AP) reports that Muhsin al-Kanan, a cleric who was tight with British forces, was shot dead in Basra and that a civilian was shot dead in Kut. Reuters reports that "a member of the Iraqi intelligence agency" was shot dead in Diwaniya as was an oil company guard.
Reuters cites hospital sources in Mosul having received 13 bodies today.
Meanwhile, the Iraqi Red Crescent states it's the target of US forces. Stephanie Nebehay (Reuters) reports that that the IRC states there has been "a spate of attacks on its offices over the last three years" and in the most recently, according the the IRC's vice president (Jamal Al Karbouli), about a week ago, "US forces had occupied and nearly destroyed its Falluja office, held staff for hours, and burned two cars clearly marked with its neutral symbol." CBS and AP report: "'We have flags, we have everything, we have (the) logo, so they (U.S. forces) know everything, but unfortunately they come again and attack us many times,' Al-Karbouli said. He complained that U.S. forces broke doors and windows at the Red Crescent headquarters "and they didn't find anything, and they left.'"
Today, the US military announced: "One Marine assigned to Regimental Combat Team 5and one Marine assigned to Regimental Combat Team 7 died Thursday from woundssustained due to enemy action while operating in Al Anbar Province." The US military also announced: "A Task Force Lightning Soldier assigned to 4th Brigade Combat Team,1st Cavalry Division, died Tuesday as a result of enemy fire while conducting operationsin Ninewa Province. Two other Soldiers were wounded and transported to a Coalition Forces medical treatment facility."
Tomorrow is the first of two 'big meets' for puppet of the occupation Nouri al-Maliki. KUNA reports that he "will convene another National Reconciliation Conference for political leaders from across Iraq." While he gears up for his conference, Jawad al-Bolani is in Syria apparently not overly concerned with the opinions of US Secretary of State Condi Rice. KUNA reports the Interior Minister of Iraq is there "to discuss security issues as the first Iraqi official to visit Damascus since diplomatic relations were resumed between the two neighboring countries." This comes at a time when Tareg al-Hashemi, one of Iraq's vice-presidents, is in the US and criticizing Bully Boy's 'plan' Al Jazeera quotes him saying: "Imagine one day waking up and finding out that your nation's leaders had completely dismantled all police and military. As a result, there is no one policeman, or state, or federal law enforcement agent, or even one national guard or any soldier to protect you from criminal elements, or terrorists. It will be total chaos. Then imagine that instead of calling back the army and security forces, the authorities in this imaginary scenario decided to form a new army and police from racist militias, some mercenaries and organized crime gangs. . . . This is exactly what has happened in Iraq."
In a lengthy talk/performance with the Washington Post editorial board, Condi Rice attempted to buff her image a bit but mainly demonstrated (yet again) that even her fabled 'expertise' in Russia/the Soviet Union is inflated. The take away should be Rice's declaration, "I find Prime Minister Maliki a strong man." A statement so laughable it begs for a remix and one that will come back to haunt her.
In other things that should haunt, Donald the Rumsfled began a three-day farewell while most Americans wonder, "I thought he'd left already." Today it was time to 'salute' him and watch for the media that makes (at best) an idiot of itself or (at worst) spits on democracy by referring to the soon to be former US Secretary of Defense's 'tour of duty.' The Rumsfled was a civilian. Civilians are in charge of the military in the US. He did not complete a 'tour of duty' but fools and those with no respect for democracy will repeat the nonsense. Roger Runningen and Brendan Murray (Bloomberg News) note this remark by the Bully Boy: "He spoke straight. It was easy to understand him." File it away from the future War Crimes Tribunal should Bully Boy attempt to say he was confused about what was being discussed.