Liberty Activist Blog

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Anti-war mom glad she didn't meet with Bush

" A woman who led an anti-war protest for nearly a month near President Bush's ranch said Tuesday that she's glad Bush never showed up to discuss her son's death in Iraq, saying the president's absence "galvanized the peace movement." Cindy Sheehan's comments came as war protesters packed up their campsite near the ranch and prepared to leave Tuesday for a three-week bus tour. "I look back on it, and I am very, very, very grateful he did not meet with me, because we have sparked and galvanized the peace movement," Sheehan told The Associated Press. "If he'd met with me, then I would have gone home, and it would have ended there.'" (08/31/05)


The National Guard belongs in New Orleans and Biloxi. Not Baghdad.
Common Dreams
Norman Solomon

"The men and women of the National Guard shouldn’t be killing in Iraq. They should be helping in New Orleans and Biloxi. The catastrophic hurricane was an act of God. But the U.S. war effort in Iraq is a continuing act of the president. And now, that effort is hampering the capacity of the National Guard to save lives at home. Before the flooding of New Orleans drastically escalated on Tuesday, the White House tried to disarm questions that could be politically explosive. “To those of you who are concerned about whether or not we’re prepared to help, don’t be, we are,” President Bush said. “We’re in place, we’ve got equipment in place, supplies in place, and once the -- once we’re able to assess the damage, we’ll be able to move in and help those good folks in the affected areas.”
Echoing the official assurances, CBS News reported: “Even though more than a third of Mississippi’s and Louisiana’s National Guard troops are either in Iraq or supporting the war effort, the National Guard says there are more than enough at home to do the job.”
But after New Orleans levees collapsed and the scope of the catastrophe became more clear, such reassuring claims lost credibility. .... Let’s use the Internet today to forward and post this demand so widely that the politicians in Washington can no longer ignore it:
Bring the National Guard home. Immediately." (08/31/05)

Camp Casey goes to Washington
Source: Salon

"On Wednesday, Sheehan decamps from Crawford and heads to Austin. She will hold a rally at City Hall to kick off her bus tour that will end in Washington at a major antiwar demonstration planned for Sept. 24. Since she first camped out alone on the side of the road on Aug. 6 at what became known as Camp Casey I, thousands of Americans have also made the pilgrimage to the town and countryside near the president's vacation getaway to show their support. And millions have witnessed her crusade via the media." [subscription or ad view required] (08/31/05)


Why one libertarian doesn't support Cindy Sheehan

Source: The Price of Liberty
Author: Nathan A. Barton
Posted on 08.30.05 by Steve Trinward

"'The Enemy of My Enemy is My Ally.' This has been an axiom of war and politics for millennia, but it does not always hold true. In fact, it often is proven false -- we can see numerous examples in the world today, and in recent history: Democrats are (considered, at least) enemies of the GOP which is now in power almost across the board in the FedGov, but that hardly makes them allies of libertarians. Both cops and homeowners are enemies of home-invaders and rapists, but that hardly makes them allies, much less friends, in many communities across the Union. Another axiom is 'don't do the right thing for the wrong reason.' Else, your actions will backfire on you. If you oppose something for the wrong reasons, it may be good that you oppose it, but the thing can still go ahead if the relatively minor objection you had is corrected. We see that today in states fighting the Real ID Act on the grounds that it is an unfunded mandate, instead of the idea that it is anathema to liberty to do so. These are two of the reasons that every time I hear Mrs. Cindy Sheehan, or hear about her, my stomach roils." (08/30/05)

Response to “Why one libertarian doesn't support Cindy Sheehan”
Mary Lou Seymour Says:
August 30th, 2005 at 8:45 pm

In your article, you castigate Sheehan for not opposing the war on "moral grounds" but instead opposing it because "Bush lied" and her son died. It takes most folks raised in a militaristic society such as ours a long time to reach a firm moral conviction that war (and statism) are inherently evil; most start, as Sheehan has, with a realization that our "leaders" are either stupid or evil. Some never progress beyond that point ... but at least its a start. You state you are appalled at Sheehan's "dishonoring" her son and seem to believe he supported the war in Iraq ... all that I have read indicates that he joined the conflict like many young men do ... because he wanted to "be with his buddy who had enlisted". You state that Sheehan's protest hasn't been "effective" ... but perhaps you dislike Sheehan because she has been very effective, in mobilizing the anti-war movement, castigating the politicians of ALL stripes who have led us into this sorry mess ... from the perspective of someone who lives in a very pro-war state (SC), I've observed exactly the opposite reaction (from regular folks, not politicians and pundits) from the one you state ... formerly pro-war (or at least Bush and gov't supporters)are rethinking their position, as the human face of war is revealed to them by this mourning mother ... I think you're wrong here, Nathan, but maybe folks in South Dakota are even more pro-war and pro-Bush than folks in South Carolina (though that seems hard to imagine) and thus you're seeing a different reaction ... or perhaps you don't mingle with regular folks much? As a "wake up call" Sheehan has been a blessing for all of us who labor to "educate, agitate, organize". Yes, there are some negatives (the Sharptons of the world trying to horn in) but at least, at last, the dialogue has begun. I'm sorry you don't seem to "get it", Nathan, but this is an important turning point, and we freedom lovers need to be in the midst of the action, not carping from the sidelines.
Peace, and love
Mary Lou

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

ACLU: FBI labeled peace action group "terrorist"
Source: The Raw Story

"The American Civil Liberties Union today released an FBI document that designates a Michigan-based peace group and an affirmative action advocacy group as potentially 'involved in terrorist activities.' ... The file was obtained through an ongoing nationwide ACLU effort seeking information on the FBI's use of Joint Terrorism Task Forces to engage in political surveillance. 'This document confirms our fears that federal and state counterterrorism officers have turned their attention to groups and individuals engaged in peaceful protest activities,' said Ben Wizner, an ACLU attorney. 'When the FBI and local law enforcement identify affirmative action advocates as potential terrorists, every American has cause for concern.'" (08/30/05)


Bumper stickers
Strike the Root
Szechuan Death

"Bumper stickers here are used as a sort of abbreviation, a contraction of the idea that "If you can't summarize your philosophy to the point where it can fit on a bumper sticker, you're going to have a hard time explaining it to Joe Sixpack." Obviously, the entire corpus of anti-Statist belief and philosophy is far too complicated to fit into ten words or less, just as its Statist counterpart is likewise too complicated to summarize thus. However, useful attacks on key institutions and practices of the State can be expressed in ten words or less. Ambiguity is a potent ally: "Schoolteachers touch their students." So is directness: "Pigs kill." Audacity and sheer bombast are never wasted. Humor, a skewed viewpoint, and wordplay are also valuable skills to bring to bear on this problem." (08/30/05)

California: You got a doctor's note for that stuff?
Source: San Francisco Chronicle

"To the delight of medical marijuana supporters, the California Highway Patrol has agreed to stop taking cannabis from motorists in routine traffic stops who have a doctor's recommendation. The latest move in the legal battle over medical marijuana in the state came in response to a lawsuit by an advocacy group and statements by Attorney General Bill Lockyer affirming that medical marijuana use is sanctioned by California law despite a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling. 'This is a huge victory for the medical marijuana movement,' Kris Hermes, the legal campaign director of Americans for Safe Access, said at a news conference Monday." (08/30/05)


Poll: Info shrinks Patriot Act support
Source: Las Vegas Review-Journal

"Fewer than half of Americans know the purpose of the Patriot Act, and the more they know about it the less they like it, according to a poll released Monday. Fewer than half of those polled, 42 percent, are able to correctly identify the law's main purpose of enhancing surveillance procedures for federal law enforcement agencies, according to the poll conducted by the Center for Survey Research and Analysis at the University of Connecticut." (08/29/05)

Monday, August 29, 2005

More pro-war hyprocrisy
Strike the Root
by Lee Shelton

"Over the last four years, the message sent by neoconservatives to the rest of the nation has been clear: Get behind the Bush administration's "war on terror" or be prepared to face the consequences. But when the grieving mother of a fallen U.S. soldier tops the neoconservative most wanted list of treasonous, terrorist-sympathizing, America-haters,you know something's up. .... And yet the single defining issue that continues to separate the patriotic from the unpatriotic is the so-called "war on terror." I just have one question:
If winning the 'war on terror' means losing our freedom, then what exactly are we fighting for?" (08/29/05)


War liberals and Cindy Sheehan
Common Dreams
Norman Solomon

"Over the weekend, a spectrum of liberal responses to Cindy Sheehan came into sharper focus. The message is often anti-Bush... but not necessarily anti-war. Frank Rich spun out his particular style of triangulation in the New York Times. While deriding President Bush's stay-the-course stance, Rich also felt a need to disparage the most visible advocate for quick withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq. Putting down Sheehan -- and, by implication, the one-third of the U.S. public that wants all American troops to exit Iraq without delay -- Rich's column on Sunday mocked "her bumper-sticker politics" and "the slick left-wing political operatives who have turned her into a circus." .... While many anti-GOP pundits insist that a fast withdrawal is no way to go, numerous leaders of the Democratic Party are even more eager to triangulate. "Senior Democrats sought to distance themselves Sunday from Sheehan's protest," the Washington Post reports. .... Meanwhile, a more overt pro-war position is explicit from the Washington Post, which seems bent on replicating its blood-soaked history of editorial support for the Vietnam War." (08/29/05)


The new antiwar movement in America
Source: Institute for Liberal Values
Author: Jim Peron

"There is a new antiwar movement bubbling in the United States. George Bush used the 9/11 terrorist attacks as a bait and switch tactic. He used the rightous anger of Americans over the Twin Towers attack and misdirected against Iraq. Contrary to what the White House now claims they repeatedly lead the American public to believe that Iraq would be a cake walk-over in weeks, perhaps days. But the war drags on and on and the deaths pile up. And from this a new antiwar movement is being born. But this movement is far different from the the last major antiwar effort in the United States during the disastrous Vietnam War. Then the movement was one driven by young males. It was inspired by a justifiable desire to save one's life from a needless and senseless death. But this nmew movement is not led by the young and males. It is lead by their mothers and their wives." (08/29/05)


Across the tracks at Crawford, Texas, a divided nation bares its pain and fury
Independent [UK]
Andrew Gumbel

There could have been no starker symbol of the political divisions vexing George Bush's America this weekend than the railroad track running right through the heart of Crawford, home to the president's summer holiday ranch in the scorched plains of central Texas.
On one side of the tracks was the Crawford Peace House, base camp for the activists who have poured in to support Cindy Sheehan, the bereaved mother of one of America's Iraqi war dead .... On the other side, along Crawford's main drag, were clusters of an entirely different breed of protester - ardent Bush supporters .... In the end, both sides had to feel disappointed by the turnout for the final weekend of summer madness - no more than a few thousand people all told. The counter-demonstration failed spectacularly in its aim of outnumbering the anti-war activists by three or four to one, as chartered buses turned up half-empty, and cars adorned with "You don't speak for me, Cindy" bumper stickers created a traffic jam stretching only one block rather than the miles the organisers had hoped for." (08/29/05)

Sunday, August 28, 2005

The Presidency and other dinosaurs
The Libertarian Enterprise
Jonathan David Morris

"Let me tell you something. I've heard a lot of dumb questions in my time. Hell, I've asked a lot of dumb questions in my time. But, by far, the dumbest question I've heard all summer—and maybe all year—is this: Should George Bush meet with Cindy Sheehan, the grieving mother of a slain Iraq war vet who's set up camp outside his Texas ranch? The answer to this question is, of course, yes. But whether he should or shouldn't isn't what makes this the dumbest question I've heard all summer. No, what makes it the dumbest question I've heard all summer is the idea that Americans think he has a choice." (08/28/05)


Another mother for war
Dave Lindorff

"There was something truly repulsive about the way Bush and his handlers latched onto poor Tammy Pruett, the Idaho mother whose husband and four sons have already served or are still serving in Iraq. It was a travesty for Bush, as a way of striking back at the powerful anti-war protest by Cindy Sheehan and the other Gold Star Mothers who have lost loved ones, to parade this particular mother before the media and to quote her as having said that "if something happens to one of the boys, they would leave this world doing what they believe, what they think is right for our country." Maybe Pruett really said it, though Bush's record with quotes is pretty god-awful. That quote, to me though, sounded awfully scripted. It reeked of Rove-speak, for really, what parent would knowingly contemplate the possible loss of a child and speak of it in even remotely positive terms.
Besides, there is a fundamental difference between Pruett, who has not lost a child or a husband in Iraq, and Sheehan or Gold Star co-founder Celeste Zappala, who each lost a son in that war. For Pruett, the idea of losing a child is still basically just an idea. For Sheehan, Zappala and several thousand other grieving parents and siblings, it is a terrible reality." (08/28/05)


Our arrogance will be the end of us
Common Dreams
Christine Rose

"“At first, I thought ‘How dare you say that about my America,’ she said looking at me through squinted eyes, “but then I saw it, our arrogance will be the end of us.”
She explained to me how she and her husband voted for Bush. She said they were conservative and watched Fox News regularly; however, something touched her in seeing and hearing everyday people from around the world talk about her beloved country as a bully; a hypocrite. Something touched her when faced with the sobering charge of War Crimes and the images of torture at the hands of Americans under orders from the US Government. Something touched her that day that made her think about what she thought she knew. .... I’ve been doing this, political activism, a short time, relatively; but it never ceases to amaze me how much people care. How one instant, one piece of information can open a person’s mind to something they didn’t see before." [Editor's note: This last sentence is, in a nutshell, the essence of activism ... getting the information out to the public so that individuals can experience that moment of revelation -MLS] (08/28/05)

Saturday, August 27, 2005

The week in review (August 20-27)

For yet another week, the Cindy Sheehan 'peaceful siege' dominates activism news ... and now,she's planning an 'anti-war bus tour'! The venomous sputterings and fuming from the war party supporters (on the left AND right) have died down, as it became apparent they actually gave more impetus to the story and made the Busheviks appear even more mean-spirited and clueless. And the establishment left is getting lambasted too ... as Alexander Cockburn puts it "Cindy Sheehan frightens the right and stirs them to venom, and she frightens the Democrats too, because she's so clear. Contrast the timeline of Sheehan as against that of even a relatively decent Democrat like Russ Feingold. Feingold calls for a start to withdrawal from Iraq maybe sixteen months from now. How many dead troops and new Gold Star moms can you fit into that calendar. A thousand or more? Sheehan's Out Now call should be the bright-line test for any antiwar spokesperson." [Can Cindy Sheehan end the war?] Sadly, even the Libertarian Party fails the test ... with its mealy nouthed "withdrawal strategy" ...

In other news, Urgent Action is needed on the Patriot Act, the Lost Liberty Hotel project gathers steam and the Battle escalates over fliers' personal data.

In other good news, the RRND news feed IS up and running again this week (check out the new version of RRND , you'll like it!) ....Unfortunately, the LAND page template is not ready yet (it will be soon, I'm told) ...Meanwhile, keep checking the Liberty Action blog for daily updates. When we can move back over to the Liberty Action News site, I'll post an announcement here.

Til next week

For freedom!

Mary Lou

Friday, August 26, 2005

Urgent Action Needed on Patriot Act

"Though we cannot say more because of an FBI gag order, the ACLU recently disclosed the existence of a sealed suit on behalf of a member of the American Library Association challenging the constitutionality of “national security letter” authority, which was expanded by the Patriot Act. Our client, which maintains records about books borrowed by library patrons and about their Internet usage, was ordered to produce records without any judicial review. If you think secret searches and the powers of the Patriot Act are too overreaching, take action today! Our client wants to tell the American public about the dangers of allowing the FBI to demand library records without court approval.
But the Patriot Act is gagging them from participating in the crucial public debate about the Patriot Act. If our client could speak, he could explain why Congress needs to reform the Patriot Act to protect our privacy and civil liberties. We've gone to Court to get the gag lifted before Congress votes. Right now we need you to tell Congress what our client can't tell them." (08/26/05)

Sheehan plans anti-war bus tour
Source: Detroit Free Press

“A fallen soldier’s mother said Thursday that the anti-war vigil she started nearly three weeks ago near President Bush’s ranch won’t end when she and other protesters pack up their camp next week. Cindy Sheehan said the day after she leaves Aug. 31, she will embark on a bus tour ending up in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 24. Then the group will start a 24-hour vigil in the nation’s capital.” (08/25/05)


Cindy Sheehan and the power of the ordinary
by Ramzy Baroud

"What makes Sheehan's story utterly powerful is that it comes from a member of society that has been merely qualified as 'ordinary', meaning a person of no bearing on the outcome of things, be it political or otherwise. But she is a woman, a mother and that too is a powerful message of revolutionary proportions. Women have erroneously been regarded as minor players in shaping what social scientists coined the 'public sphere.'" (08/26/05)

Peaceful siege makes chicken hawks squeak
News Journal
David Rossie

"Nowhere is that more apparent today than in the case of Cindy Sheehan, whose peaceful siege of Prairie Chapel -- a reverse siege of the Alamo, with the good guys on the outside this time, and the bad guys on the inside -- has polarized the nation, or at least a part of it. Who would have thought when Sheehan set up a roadside camp a few weeks ago, hoping to arrange a face-to-face meeting with the squire of Prairie Chapel, that her presence would have such a powerful polarizing effect?" (08/26/05)


A question that deserves to be answered
Miami Herald
Leonard Pitts Jr.

"Cindy Sheehan will get her wish to meet with President Bush the day winged donkeys perform an air show in the skies above the South Lawn. In other words, never.In part this is because the president is famously intolerant of criticism and notoriously fumble-tongued when working without a script, so his handlers would rather chew glass than send him out to confront an angry protester who knows exactly what she believes and why. It is also because no president can afford to be seen as having been bullied into doing something. So Sheehan's vigil near the president's Crawford, Texas, ranch is likely to continue until the end of Bush's extended vacation without reaching resolution.Unless you count embarrassing a president who badly needed embarrassing. In which case, Sheehan's demand for a meeting has already been a smashing success." (08/26/05)
Battle escalates over fliers' personal data

"The Homeland SecurityDepartment is making another push to get personal data on airline passengers in an effort to keep terrorists off flights. The lobbying effort comes months after the House and Senate, concerned about invading privacy, gave preliminary approval to a measure that would ban the department from tapping into credit reports, court files, shopping histories and other personal information for one year.Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoffwants Congress to scrap the pending ban so the government can make passenger information "more complete and accurate" when it compares names with those of suspected terrorists, according to department spokesman Russ Knocke." (08/24/05)


Thursday, August 25, 2005

The big lie: they're fighting for our freedom
Strike the Root
Robert L. Johnson

"Listening to Bush supporters who have come out to oppose Camp Casey and its creator, Cindy Sheehan, it becomes painfully obvious how well a big lie really works on the minds of millions. Some of them have lost family members in the unnecessary war in Iraq that the neocons and Bush started. They can’t bring themselves to see reality--that their loved ones did not die for American freedom but were instead used as pawns by the politicians and the powerful Israeli lobby group American Israel Public Affairs Committee. For many people, it’s hard to admit when you’re wrong, especially when the cost of being wrong is so high. It’s much easier to believe the government and the big lies they tell and that the media protects." (08/25/05)


Will the real leaders please stand up?
Joshua Frank

"Go ahead and get excited about Cindy Sheehan's overnight popularity. It really is a incredibly important development for the antiwar movement. But before we drop what we are doing and follow her lead, we better take a sobering step backward and recognize Sheehan, alone as a one-woman show, has very real limitations. First, we should start listening to what she is actually saying, which is that this is not about her or her loss. It's about the war. It's about the slaughter taking place in Iraq right now. She's also calling for troops to come home right now. Which is exactly what the antiwar movement should be calling for. But isn't. Not yet anyway." (08/25/05)


Will the media help Bush exploit 9-11 again?
Common Dreams
Norman Solomon

"For a long time, the last refuge of scoundrels was "patriotism." Now it's "the war on terror." President Bush and many of his vocal supporters aren't content to wrap themselves in the flag. It's not sufficient to posture as more patriotic than opponents of the Iraq war. The ultimate demagogic weapon is to exploit the memory of Sept. 11, 2001." (08/25/05)


'Peace mom' returns to Texas war protest
Yahoo News

A fallen soldier's mother said Thursday that the anti-war vigil she started nearly three weeks ago near President Bush's ranch won't end when she and other protesters pack up their camp next week. Cindy Sheehan said the day after she leaves Aug. 31, she will embark on a bus tour ending up in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 24. Then the group will start a 24-hour vigil in the nation's capital. .... Sheehan returned on Wednesday to "Camp Casey," named after her 24-year-old son, Army Spc. Casey Sheehan, who was killed last year in Iraq. .... Sheehan said she realizes that Bush has no intentions of meeting with the protesters, but that her vigil has accomplished other things."I absolutely think it's worthwhile because we've galvanized the peace movement," she said. "We've started people talking about the war again."Sheehan's protest in Crawford has encouraged anti-war activists to join her and prompted peace vigils nationwide." (08/25/05)


The fire sermon
Moscow Times
Chris Floyd

"In his inaugural speech last January, President George W. Bush repeatedly invoked images of unbridled, ravaging destruction as the emblem of his crusade for "freedom." Fire was his symbol, his word of power, his incantation of holy war. Mirroring the rhetoric of his fundamentalist enemies, Bush moved the conflict from the political to the spiritual, from the outer world to the inner soul, claiming that he had lit "a fire in the minds of men."
But words are recalcitrant things; they have their own magic, and they will often find their own meanings, outside the intentions of those who use them .... This "fire in the mind" has now found its own symbol in the unlikely figure of Cindy Sheehan, the mother of a slain American soldier. .... Sheehan is no professional activist, no savvy insider or political junkie. She's an ordinary citizen whose unadorned speech has none of the sweep and grandeur of Bush's expensively tailored rhetoric. But she has one thing that his professional scripters can never put in the presidential mouth: truth." (08/26/05)


Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Manpower meltdown
The American Prospect
by Matthew Yglesias

"Cindy Sheehan's protest outside the Bush ranch in Crawford, Texas, raises many questions, but perhaps none so fundamental as the issue of whether anyone can, in good faith, argue to today's young people that volunteering for a form of military service is a good idea. Judging by the members of the stay-the-course school of thought I know -- overwhelmingly liberals and critics of the Bush administration to one degree or another -- the answer is no. The war party's elite .. is composed of 'chicken hawks,' those who think that continuing the war is an excellent idea but that fighting it personally (or having their own children fight it, or those of their friends and colleagues) isn't so bright." (08/23/05)
Bush dogged on vacation by critics
USA Today
By Richard Benedetto

"When is a presidential vacation not a vacation? When the country is at war and some members of the public are expressing vividly their disenchantment with it. Try as he might to get away during the almost five weeks he's scheduled to be out of the White House, mostly at his ranch near Crawford, Texas, President Bush has had his August vacation shadowed by anti-war demonstrators.They have set up camp in Crawford. They have followed him to Idaho where he spent some time Tuesday riding his bike over Rocky Mountain trails north of the Idaho capital.Not only are they attacking Bush's Iraq policy, they are protesting that his holiday is inappropriate at a time of war." (08/24/05)


Containing the anti-war movement
by Stan Goff

"I feel compelled once again to be a skunk at the party, but it's a role I'm growing into. Cindy Sheehan's squatter's camp has re-energized the antiwar movement, but just as it has done so, it has also re-energized the herd dogs of the Democratic Party who fear nothing more than an independent mass movement. Cindy plopped down outside the Bush gopher ranch on a 98-degree day. The cops told her to leave. As tactfully as she could, Cindy advised them in less scatological terms to piss up a rope, putting the cops, the Bush administration, and the Democratic Party in a dilemma. Neither the cops nor the admnistration wanted to be held responsible on camera for dragging away the grieving mother of an Iraq war fatality (her son, Casey). For a moment, they were hopeful that there would be an untimely end to this little action when Cindy collapsed from severe dehydration on the first day; but alas she re-hydrated and re-appeared the following day and began attracting mad media." (08/24/05)

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

The Lost Liberty Hotel: Liberty controls the high ground
The Libertarian Enterprise
by Alan R. Weiss

"Logan Darrow Clements, a participant in the Free State Project and CEO of Freestar Media, is shining a laser-light on eminant domain, the nature of the so-called guardians of our rights (the Supreme Court). In doing so, he has courted the wrath of libertarians.
Some would say, "see here, Mr. Clements—eminant domain is patently un-libertarian, an outrage against the very concept of private property. How, as an objectivist, could you possibly support taking Judge David Souter's property in Weare, New Hampshire (the Free State)?" Others say, "yes, by all means, if this is the way the Supremes want to play, lets play ball. Lets have the good citizens of Weare condemn his property and have a private indivual construct The Lost Liberty Hotel. Perhaps then we shall show these fools how they have been wrong." Both are right: by controlling the dialectic, we who value liberty control the plane of discussion and highlight the utter outrageousness of this violation of our English common law heritage (nevermind that England apparently has no use for its own common law heritage). We control the high ground." (08/21/05)


Violent Echoes of Kent State
by Karen Kilroy

"Whether or not you are old enough to remember the tragedy at Kent State , please pay attention to this history. As we head into the age of aggressive protests, the police response is becoming more violent, such as in Saturday's actions in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Salt Lake City, Utah. In Pittsburgh, protestors marched the wrong way up a one way street to close down an army recruiting office. Police used both tear gas and tasers to subdue the protestors, and one 68-year-old woman was even bitten by a police dog she was also arrested. In Salt Lake City, a crowd of 1,500 was tear gassed from helicopters.This is a war against war. This is a war to end all wars as the saying goes. We are on the side that is not armed." (08/23/05)


Counter-recruitment demonstrators shot with tasers, bitten by dogs

"Today in Oakland in front of the Army Recruiting Center on Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh Police and University of Pittsburgh Police fought with protestors on the sidewalk. At least six people were arrested; police fired tasers and other weapons at the crowd, including restrained arrestees and bystanders. Several people have confirmed that they were hit with tasers and chemical weapons. Video cameras captured tasers being fired at people who had already been subdued and restrained by police officers.Later, police dogs were used to chase away protestors on the sidewalk, and one woman was bitten from behind by a police dog." (08/21/05)

Utah: Protesters make appeal to patriotism in opposing war
Salt Lake Tribune

"A confrontation in front of the Salt Palace Convention Center Monday between pro-Bush veterans and war protesters started out with jeers and competing chants, only to end with both groups singing "God Bless America." The incident, in the conservative bastion of Utah, supported activists' claim that a new and stronger anti-Iraq war movement has begun. This peace movement has made patriotism, flag-waving and support for the troops part of its rhetoric. .... Activists were overjoyed at the turnout in Pioneer Park, around the convention center and along the president's motorcade route. It was the largest Utah demonstration against the war since an estimated 2,500 gathered at the Capitol before the Iraq invasion." (08/23/05)


Bush defending his Iraq war policy
Yahoo News

"President Bush, defending his Iraq war policy in the face of anti-war opposition and slumping approval ratings, says pulling out before the mission is complete would dishonor the memory of all the Americans who fought and died in pursuit of freedom. .... Bush noted the U.S. military death toll — more than 2,000 killed in the Afghanistanand Iraq wars.
"Each of these men and women left grieving families and loved ones back home. Each of these heroes left a legacy that will allow generations of their fellow Americans to enjoy the blessings of liberty. And each of these Americans have brought the hope of freedom to millions who have not known it," Bush said, as if speaking to Cindy Sheehan, the California anti-war activist whose son Casey was killed in Iraq. .... After Monday's speech, Bush and his wife, Laura, flew to Donnelly, Idaho, where he was to spend Tuesday out of public view at the Tamarack Resort in the mountains 100 miles north of Boise. Several demonstrations against U.S. involvement in Iraq were planned to coincide with Bush's visit. They included a lunchtime rally Tuesday at a park across from the Idaho Statehouse, where members of the Idaho Peace Coalition were to dedicate 1,866 white-cross memorials — one for every U.S. soldier who has died in Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003." (08/23/05)


To what is Cindy a threat?
by Butler Shaffer

"At the same time the war-lovers were excoriating Cindy [Sheehan] for
the offense of having been born, the children and spouses of persons
murdered by Dennis Rader -- Kansas' BTK killer -- were testifying at
his sentencing hearing. I heard no words of rabid vilification -- from
people who had the most personal reasons for being angry at this
mass-murderer -- that came close to those being directed at Cindy
Sheehan. What explains these ferocious and slanderous attacks? Cindy
is but one lone woman. Unlike President Bush, she does not claim to
speak or act on behalf of 275,000,000 people, but only for herself.
Relatives of other dead soldiers have criticized this woman, saying
'she doesn't speak for us.' But I am unaware of any statement made by
Cindy purporting to speak for anyone but herself. She only seeks an
answer to her personal question: 'why did my son die?' Cindy Sheehan
does constitute a threat, not to America, but to the totalitarian
forces that insist on crushing the spirit of peace and liberty in
order that they might dominate the American people." (08/23/05)


End it already
In These Times
by Joel Bleifuss

"Here is the question to the parents of American service men and women
that the Bush administration never thought to pose, much less answer:
Is the war in Iraq worth the life of your son or daughter? 'No,' was
the answer Cindy Sheehan gave on August 6 as she walked down the road
in Crawford, Texas, to Bush's country estate. ... By taking a public
stand, Sheehan is playing the historic role of women in time of war.
She has become an emblem of the sacrifice made by the mothers, wives
and daughters who lose family members in battle. But unlike the
Spartan mother, she did not tell her son: 'Return from Iraq victorious
or dead.' Instead, she used her loss to make Americans pause to
consider whether the deaths of Casey and his fellow soldiers ... has
been worth it. In essence, she broke through the media's monotonous
recitation of daily deaths to put a human face on the tragedy."

Monday, August 22, 2005

The wages of Cindy
The American Prospect
by Terence Samuel

"It's hot in Texas these days, but judging by the guy who ran over Cindy Sheehan's crosses outside the Crawford White House or the guy who fired off his shotgun nearby, the thing to worry about is not the heat -- it's the stupidity. The president needs Sheehan like he needs another pretzel in his throat. If she comes back soon, the trouble she could cause him may be incalculable. There is simply no satisfactory response, either human or political, to a woman demanding to know exactly why her son had to die to advance the idea of freedom -- particularly when the original mission called for the scary and tangible task of saving the world by ridding it of a tyrant and his weapons of mass destruction. We have the tyrant, the weapons remain elusive, and Iraq is a mess. And no amount of political capital can compete with the moral gravitas of a grieving mother." (08/19/05)

America should dodge reinstating the draft
Cato Institute
by Doug Bandow

"Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., is again pushing legislation to reintroduce a draft. He first did so in 2003 to slow the Bush administration's rush to war. Now he says conscription is necessary to provide the bodies necessary for Iraq's occupation. Returning to a draft would ruin the world's dominant armed forces, filling its ranks with people who don't want to serve and turning military service into a divisive political issue. Yet Rangel's proposal reflects an ugly reality: The Bush administration's disastrous intervention in Iraq is weakening the U.S. military." (08/22/05)


The fallout from one mom's voice
Boston Globe
by Ellen Goodman

"The headline this morning labels her 'peace mom.' It's a moniker that simultaneously personalizes and trivializes the lanky woman with the high-pitched voice who has been camping out in Crawford, Texas. It's a shorthand that both grants and diminishes her authority to speak out against the war, a moral authority won the hardest way possible, through the loss of her child. We are now ending Week Two at Camp Casey. ... If Week One was the Making of a Celebrity with dawn-to-dusk coverage, Week Two brought the backlash and the bloggers. Conservative cable kings like Bill O'Reilly proved that not even the death of a child grants you immunity from attack. Iconoclast Christopher Hitchens took her on with a glee he once reserved for Mother Teresa." (08/21/05)

Antiwar landscape may shift come September
Philadelphia Inquirer
by Larry Eichel

"In August, it's hard to know.Hard to know the significance of what happened Wednesday night, when tens of thousands of Americans conducted quiet and peaceful protest vigils against the war in Iraq.Did Aug. 17 mark the beginnings of a mass Vietnam-style antiwar movement with the potential to undermine the already declining support for staying the course?Or were the events of the evening just an expression of solidarity with a bereaved mother, Cindy Sheehan, who had made herself into a national celebrity? .... What's notable about the demonstrators of 2005 is how different they are from the protesters of the 1960s.The Vietnam era's antiwar movement got much of its energy and many of its foot soldiers from college campuses. And that, for a time, affected the movement's credibility.For students to march against the war, critics suggested, was not so much about politics as about cultural identity and self-interest, since young male college students, upon graduation, faced the prospect of military conscription.Many of Wednesday's protesters, by contrast, were taxpaying, gray-haired adults, urban and suburban. Among them were parents of soldiers, and the parents' neighbors, and people with no stake in the fight other than their beliefs. Such people are potentially harder for politicians to dismiss than college students." (08/21/05)


Utah: TV staion reuses to air anti-war "Peace mom" ad

"A Utah television station is refusing to air an anti-war ad featuring Cindy Sheehan, whose son's death in Iraq prompted a vigil outside President Bush's Texas ranch.The ad began airing on other area stations Saturday, two days before Bush was scheduled to speak in Salt Lake City to the national convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. However, a national sales representative for KTVX, a local ABC affiliate, rejected the ad in an e-mail to media buyers, writing that it was an "inappropriate commercial advertisement for Salt Lake City."In the ad, Sheehan pleads with Bush for a meeting and accuses him of lying to the American people about Iraq's development of weapons of mass destruction and its connection to al-Qaida."> (08/21/05),0,1630774.story?coll=sns-ap-tv-headlines


Sunday, August 21, 2005

Mother tips the balance against Bush
Guardian [UK]
by Paul Harris

"Candles were lit all across America last week in one of the largest single anti-war protests in recent US history. At more than 1,600 vigils tens of thousands of protesters gathered in solidarity with the woman who has been the catalyst for the rebirth of the anti-war movement: Cindy Sheehan. Her remarkable one-woman stand outside George Bush's Texas ranch has turned into a national phenomenon - and one of the most vicious political slanging matches in recent US history. On the pro-war side, Sheehan has been derided as a traitor to America, betraying her dead soldier son's memory. On the anti-war side she has become a secular saint, laden with the powerful imagery of the avenging mother roused to action. For them, she is the lone soccer mom who is taking on Bush - and winning. Either way, Sheehan is the most talked-about woman in American politics. She might also be Bush's worst public relations nightmare. For months Washington has been awash in speculation of a 'tipping point', when the majority of American public opinion turns finally and permanently against the war. Many now believe that Sheehan has provided that final push." (08/21/05),6903,1553345,00.html


Can Cindy Sheehan end the war?
by Alexander Cockburn

"Sheehan is castigated in the press, by mainstream liberals as well as mad-dog rightists, for not leaving any wriggle-room on this central point. She says, Bring the troops home right now. How many people echo that straightforward demand? Millions of ordinary Americans--around 34 per cent--certainly do, if we are to believe the numbers in polls that also give Bush an approval rating of only 34 per cent for his conduct of the war. But to be effective the opinion of ordinary people has to be harnessed into a powerful political movement that offers energetic leadership. Here the picture is dismayingly cloudy. .... Cindy Sheehan frightens the right and stirs them to venom, and she frightens the Democrats too, because she's so clear. Contrast the timeline of Sheehan as against that of even a relatively decent Democrat like Russ Feingold. Feingold calls for a start to withdrawal from Iraq maybe sixteen months from now. How many dead troops and new Gold Star moms can you fit into that calendar. A thousand or more? Sheehan's Out Now call should be the bright-line test for any antiwar spokesperson." [Editor's note: And even the Libertarian Party fails the test ... with its mealy nouthed "withdrawal strategy" ... -MLS](08/20/05)

Saturday, August 20, 2005

The week in review (August 14-19)

Cindy Sheehan's vigil continued this week, gaining more national media coverage,commentaries, and sparking candlelight vigils in solidarity with her protest around the country. Truly an inspring week for activists! At week's end, Cindy had to leave the peace camp, due to her mother's illness, but "Whatever happens, Cindy Sheehan will not be moved", as the protestors vow to continue the vigil. Already, signs that the 'winds of change are blowin', as 'US lowers sights on Iraq' as reported in the pro-war Washington Post. and, as pointed out by Ira Chermus " There have been quite a number of Cindy Sheehan's before -- grief-stricken parents who lost children in Iraq and spoke out against the war. They were all ignored by the mainstream press, because the elite were all still determined to stick it out in Iraq till the bitter end. Cindy Sheehan just happened to be in the right place at the right time -- the time that a debate has broken out within the elite about whether or not to cut bait in Iraq." Ah, the power of an "Army of one" .....

In other news of interest to activists, a noisy protest against the smoking ban in Madison restaurants, brave school children face disciplinary action for refusing to recite the socialist inspired "Pledge of Alegiance", a movement to keep family contact information off the list that public schools must make available to military recruiters, a push in Massachusetts to build a new low-power community radio station for the area (Radio Free America), how to 'shun the REAL ID enablers', the ACLU starts counting the security cameras in Manhattan ( Security cameras multiply in Manhattan), in Singapore: Police send in riot squad to deal with 4 protesters, and a new installment in Joe Blow's The Invisible Pirate - Big Brother on Steroids. And, for those of us on the far side of the big 5 0, don't miss Claire Wolfe's 'Fat unfit and fifty: A different bug-out scenario'.

In other good news, the RRND news feed SHOULD be up and running again this week ...meanwhile, keep checking here for daily updates.
When the RRND feed is fixed and we can move back over to the Liberty Action News site, I'll post an announcement on the blog.

Til next week

For freedom!

Mary Lou

Hypocrites and liars
Common Dreams
by Cindy Sheehan

"The media are wrong. The people who have come out to Camp Casey to help coordinate
the press and events with me are not putting words in my mouth, they are taking words
out of my mouth. I have been known for sometime as a person who speaks the truth and
speaks it strongly. I have always called a liar a liar and a hypocrite a hypocrite. Now I am urged to use softer language to appeal to a wider audience. Why do my friends at Camp
Casey think they are there? Why did such a big movement occur from such a small action
on August 6, 2005?" (08/20/05)

Friday, August 19, 2005

Cindy Sheehan's symbolism
Seattle Times
by staff

"The daily image of a grieving mother protesting the death of her soldier son by standing in the withering sun outside President Bush's Texas ranch is a poignant symbol. Bush would do well to pay attention to the image and the woman behind it. .... Until this one mother's protest, the public lobby against the war was displayed largely through yard signs and bumper stickers. People dared not outwardly disdain the war for fear of being accused of not supporting the troops. But Sheehan has served as a catalyst for various groups with their disparate views of the war and of the military. At least for now, these groups are largely under one umbrella. Wednesday night, thousands across the country and abroad held candlelight vigils — including 3,000 people in the Puget Sound region — to support Sheehan." (08/19/05)
Whatever happens, Cindy Sheehan will not be moved
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
by Tony Norman

"When 1,600 vigils sparked by her protest were held around the country Wednesday night, Cindy Sheehan would not be moved. Citing her example, an organic and principled anti-war movement has begun gathering steam.Yesterday, Cindy Sheehan's 74-year-old mother had a stroke, so the protester left Texas to be by her side in Los Angeles. Sheehan knew she could leave because thousands of citizens have taken her place. Perhaps one of those protesters has motives pure enough to warrant a few minutes of the vacationing president's time. Either way, Cindy Sheehan's nationwide vigil shall not be moved." (08/19/05)


Thursday, August 18, 2005

'Peace Mom', her mother ill, leaves camp
Yahoo News

"The grieving woman who started an anti-war demonstration near President Bush's ranch nearly two weeks ago left the camp Thursday after learning her mother had had a stroke, but she told supporters the protest would go on. Cindy Sheehan told reporters she had just received the phone call and was leaving immediately to be with her 74-year-old mother at a Los Angeles hospital. "I'll be back as soon as possible if it's possible," she said. After hugging some of her supporters, Sheehan and her sister, Deedee Miller, got in a van and left for the Waco airport about 20 miles away. .... The camp has grown to more than 100 people, including many relatives of soldiers killed in Iraq. After Sheehan left, dozens of the demonstrators gathered under a canopy to pray for her mother. Sheehan, of Vacaville, Calif., had vowed to remain at the camp until Bush met with her or until his monthlong vacation ended. .... Michelle Mulkey, a spokeswoman for Sheehan, said Sheehan hoped to be back in Texas within 24 to 48 hours. Mulkey said Sheehan's mother, Shirley Miller, was in a hospital emergency room and Sheehan didn't yet know how serious her condition was." (08/18/05)

Cindy, the Peace Train and the little ditch that could
by Greg Moses

"Two months ago while exhausted from a Summer Soulstice peace festival, and while looking with dismay into a long hot summer of war, Louisiana attorney Buddy Spell, his spouse Annie, and their guest of honor Cindy Sheehan decided they needed to do something, but not something too high energy. So they browsed through the train schedule and designated an Amtrak Crescent as their Peace Train. Come September they'd board the train in New Orleans and put out word to folks along the way to hop on for a ride to the big peace march in Washington D.C. That would be enough to keep their peace hopes on track. Of course, that was then. "We had about 60 people signed up before Cindy went to Crawford," says Buddy, "but that has tripled.'" (08/18/05)

Sheehan story shows elite split on war
Common Dreams
by Ira Chernus

"It was an astonishing turnout. Last night, in my small middle-American city, more than 150 people stood on street corners supporting Cindy Sheehan, the grieving mom who is waiting outside the president's ranch to ask him, "Why did you kill my son?" Of course, demonstrations like this don’t have much effect unless they are reported in the mainstream media. Cindy Sheehan is making the media pay attention. .... The bad news is that, no matter how much the public wants our troops out of Iraq, they will probably stay there until the foreign policy elite decides its time for this folly to end. The good news is that the foreign policy elite is beginning to recognize that the U.S. effort to control Iraq really is folly. The clearest evidence is that they let Cindy Sheehan become front-page news. And that columnists like Dan Froomkin are pointing out the disconnect between the media and public opinion. There have been quite a number of Cindy Sheehan's before -- grief-stricken parents who lost children in Iraq and spoke out against the war. They were all ignored by the mainstream press, because the elite were all still determined to stick it out in Iraq till the bitter end. Cindy Sheehan just happened to be in the right place at the right time -- the time that a debate has broken out within the elite about whether or not to cut bait in Iraq." (08/18/05)

Texas protest changes columnist's perspective
Muskogere Phoenix
by Mary deJulius

"We Americans should make sure we elect officials who will send our boys to war only when absolutely necessary. I do not intend to be partisan as I am very disappointed in the leadership in both parties. I am disappointed in "we Americans," too, as many of us have sat quietly by and let this happen and that includes me. I pray that our troops will be home by Thanksgiving. I don't care which side of the aisle in Congress can get it done. But I don't think it will happen unless we Americans start letting our voices be heard. Peace." (08/18/05)

A simple question and the power of shame
Common Dreams
by Stephen Laffoley

"Because Ms. Sheehan's simple question has such moral clarity, moral authority, and moral certainty, these attacks only draw more attention to Ms. Sheehan's moral character and moral righteousness. And not surprisingly, not one of her attackers wants to provide an answer to Ms. Sheehan's question. Not one wants to address the truth. Because the truth is this: Ms. Sheehan's son died for no morally defensible reason. Ms. Sheehan's question - and the yawning, silent absence of an answer from the president - reminds us, so clearly, that those who support this war have failed morally. And with that moral failure comes guilt. And humiliation. And dishonor." (08/18/05)

Why Bush can't answer Cindy
by Marjorie Cohn

"Cindy Sheehan is still in Crawford, Texas, waiting for Bush to answer her question: What noble cause did my son die for? Her protest started as a small gathering 13 days ago. It has mushroomed into a demonstration of hundreds in Crawford and tens of thousands more at 1,627 solidarity vigils throughout the country. Why didn't Bush simply invite Cindy in for tea when she arrived in Crawford? In a brief, personal meeting with Cindy, Bush could have defused a situation that has become a profound embarrassment for him, and could derail his political agenda. Bush didn't talk with Cindy because he can't answer her question. There is no answer to Cindy's question. There is no noble cause that Cindy's son died fighting for. And Bush knows it." (08/18/05)


Fumes waft from both sides of smoking ban
Capital Times

"With honking beer trucks circling around them, hundreds of people gathered in front of the Madison Municipal Building Tuesday evening in an effort to return smoking to bars. "Stop trying to save us from ourselves," Nitty Gritty owner Marsh Shapiro said over a PA system as the crowd roared and signs waved that said "Approaching Red Square" and "Mayor Dave is anti-blue collar."Shapiro had stood beside Mayor Dave Cieslewicz just before the ban took effect on July 1, saying that he hoped the smoke-free ordinance would be good for business. Now, along with several other bar owners who addressed the audience, he is calling for its repeal." (08/17/05)

Vigils calling for end to Iraq war begin
Cincinnati Enquirer

"Hundreds of candlelight vigils calling for an end to the war in Iraq lit up the night Wednesday, part of a national effort spurred by one mother's anti-war demonstration near President Bush's ranch. The vigils were urged by Cindy Sheehan, who has become the icon of the anti-war movement since she started a protest Aug. 6 in memory of her son Casey, who died in Iraq last year." (08/17/05)

No-fly zones for military recruiters
Christian Science Monitor

"There's one piece of paper that's getting more attention this year as parents sift through back-to-school packets: The opt-out form -- a way to keep family contact information off the list that public schools must make available to military recruiters. A wide variety of activists -- including teens, parents, teachers, lawyers, and clergy -- have been mobilizing this summer to draw a clearer line in the sand against the military's access to students." (08/18/05)


To pledge or not to pledge
Christian Science Monitor
by Robert J. Spitzer

"This spring, our eighth-grader came home from school with two startling announcements: She and a friend had abstained from the Pledge of Allegiance; and the two faced disciplinary action if they refused to stand or leave the room during this morning ritual. The ensuing minidrama has played out in hundreds, perhaps thousands, of schools nationwide. 'Students today are still punished for refusing to participate' in the pledge, notes David Hudson, a lawyer at the First Amendment Center. Seven states still have unconstitutional laws on the books requiring students to participate in Pledge of Allegiance exercises. As the school year begins, it's time for a lesson on the disparity between law and practice." (08/18/05)

Cindy Sheehan and the shame of inaction
by Thomas Luongo

"After years of my talking about making the world a better place, Cindy Sheehan is actually doing it, in the process making all of us connected with the Libertarian Party, and many others in 'the movement,' look like the navel-gazing blow-hards we are constantly accused of being. Personally, my taste for any kind of political activism has been soured by personal events of the past few months, to the point of neglecting the only positive thing I was doing to affect the kind of change I wished to see. Too painful, I rationalized. Too much work, too little return, I whined. My wrists hurt from all the typing. Whatever the excuse was it seemed like a good idea at the time .... sorta." (08/18/05)

Radio Free America
The American Prospect
by Alyson Zureick

"It's an unusually hot August afternoon in small-town Florence, Massachusetts, and a ragtag group has gathered under a tent behind the Florence Community Center. They're participants in the 10th annual Grassroots Radio Conference, and they've come from all over the country to build a new low-power community radio station for the area. People wander in and out of the tent as the afternoon plenary session opens, but then a man approaches the microphone, and suddenly everyone is paying attention. He isn't exactly an imposing figure ... but as he begins to speak, he's greeted by thunderous applause. 'He's like a rock star around here,' one conference participant said to me earlier in the day, pointing the man out in a crowd at lunchtime. Indeed, for those in community radio, 'rock star' is a bit of an understatement for Romeo Ramirez and his organization, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers." (08/17/05)


Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Blaming the antiwar messengers
Common Dreams
by Norman Solomon

"The Bush administration’s top officials must be counting the days until the end of the presidential vacation brings to a close the Crawford standoff between Camp Casey and Camp Carnage. But media assaults on Cindy Sheehan are just in early stages.
While the president mouths respectful platitudes about the grieving mother, his henchmen are sharpening their media knives and starting to slash. Pro-Bush media hit squads are busily spreading the notions that Sheehan is a dupe of radicals, naive and/or nutty. But the most promising avenue of attack is likely to be the one sketched out by Fox News Channel eminence Bill O’Reilly on Aug. 9, when he declared that Cindy Sheehan bears some responsibility for “other American families who have lost sons and daughters in Iraq who feel that this kind of behavior borders on treasonous.” That sort of demagoguery is on tap for the duration of the war. Military families will be recruited for media appearances to dispute the patriotism of antiwar activists -- especially those who speak as relatives of American soldiers and shatter media stereotypes by publicly urging withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq. " (08/17/05)


An army of one
NY Daily News
by Michael Goodwin

"George Bush has met his match. He has twice vanquished Democratic opponents, brought down Saddam Hussein and is the straw that stirs the world's drink. All that was before Cindy Sheehan showed up on his doorstep. .... There is a chance that Sheehan is just the media flavor of the month. But I wouldn't bet on it. This feels like a turning point. It's happened before. Abraham Lincoln, when he met Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of the anti-slavery tract "Uncle Tom's Cabin," said: "So you're the little woman who wrote the book that started this great war!" Perhaps someday a President will greet Cindy Sheehan this way: "So you're the little woman who stopped the Iraq war.'" (08/16/05)


Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Amazing Grace and Cindy
by David Krieger

"Cindy Sheehan's courage should help restore our faith in the power of individuals to speak truth to power and make a difference. Her protest is in the best traditions of this country, those of Henry David Thoreau, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Cesar Chavez. She has showered us all with her Amazing Grace." (08/16/05)

Desecration of the dead
by William Rivers Pitt

"The harassment of the activists in Crawford has been growing by the day. .... One could say this is to be expected. Cindy Sheehan and the military families who have joined her have touched a raw nerve among the slowly dwindling ranks of Bush supporters. They are angry, and more than a little scared of the fact that one grieving mother has managed to throw a couple of torpedoes into the side of their battleship. But the Arlington West cemetery is something else entirely. Truthout reporter Scott Galindez was on the scene after the attack. "Respect for this country's dead is not a partisan issue," he wrote afterwards. "Putting up memorials of our country's fallen is not a 'liberal' act. It is an American act. Even a group of counter-protestors from Dallas last week draped flags and flowers over many of the gravemarkers, and many were moved to tears at the sight of the long line of dead soldiers. It's too bad that someone else who disagrees with Cindy felt they needed to wipe out the memory of our fallen in such an obscene manner.'" (08/16/05)

The mother of all battles
by Joan Walsh

"The smearing will continue, but it's already too late: Cindy Sheehan has launched an American antiwar movement. Maybe, as Matt Drudge blared over the weekend, she's said controversial things about Israel. Maybe the IRS will chase her for tax evasion, since she's reportedly announced that she won't pay taxes for 2004, the year her son Casey died in Iraq. Maybe her family has been shaken by her activism. Maybe the smears will even work, and cost Sheehan some of her mainstream political credibility. It doesn't matter: Someone else will take her place." [subscription or ad view required] (08/16/05)

Cindy Sheehan's fellowship of grief
Tom Paine
by Celeste and Dante Zappala

"We are in Crawford, Texas. We are sunk down into the soil of our country, digging in for a few days near the president's ranch. Our friend Cindy Sheehan has been entrenched here for a week, demanding a meeting with the president. We've come to speak up for a man who is now forever silent. Sgt. Sherwood Baker, our Sher, was a member of the Pennsylvania National Guard. He was killed in Baghdad last year. He was on duty for the Iraq Survey Group. He was looking for weapons of mass destruction. We came to bear witness to this event and to share our story. As we hover beneath the surface of the drama between Cindy and the president, we've rediscovered the real cause of the antiwar movement." (08/15/05)

The Iraq war and the politics of grief
Christian Science Monitor
by Brendan O'Neill

"In America and Britain, the grief of parents who lost sons or daughters in Iraq has become a potent political weapon -- much more so than in other recent wars. In my view, these moms and dads have been badly let down by both sides of the war debate. The war's authors have offered little justification for the sacrifices made by loved sons and daughters in Iraq, which has allowed the families' raw grief to fester into public anger -- and the war's opponents have sought cynically to exploit the families' sorrow for political ends. Currently, Cindy Sheehan is camped outside President Bush's ranch in Crawford, Texas. And she's determined to stay put until the president tells her exactly what 'noble cause' her 24-year-old son Casey died for in Iraq." (08/16/05)

Monday, August 15, 2005

Cindy's victory
by William Rivers Pitt

"Cindy Sheehan and her ever-growing band of supporters intend to stay in those ditches outside Bush's Crawford "ranch" until he comes out to talk or until August 31st, whichever comes first. If he does not come out by the end of the month, she intends to follow him to Washington and camp out in front of the White House. She and the others have been there for more than a week now, garnering more and more attention from the national and international press. Yes, they are tired. Yes, they are uncomfortable. Yes, they have already won. .... All the protests, all the articles, all the books, all the whistleblowers, all the criticism combined have not packed the kind of punch that one mother in a ditch has delivered to this administration's carefully crafted fantasy vision of what is happening in Iraq. Suddenly, Bush has been forced to go before cameras and try to explain why staying in Iraq is the only option available. Suddenly, the accepted wisdom isn't so accepted anymore. A majority of Americans, according to every available poll, agree with the lady in the ditch and not with the president." (08/15/05)


Pilgrims of protest in Crawford
by Greg Moses

"As for why she's standing here in Texas, 1163 miles from home, she says of herself and spouse Mike, who should be shuttled here any minute from the stadium parking lot: "We have no idea what we're doing. We've never done anything like this before. But it's time we became teenagers!" "There's a lot we have on our side," says Penny thinking about the movement that she has come to join. "There are a lot of angels here. Every one of those soldiers killed is an angel on our side. I'm working for the Apocalypse. Either take them or take me, but don't leave us together anymore!" she grins." (08/15/05)


Shunning the REAL ID enablers
Free Cannon
by Garry Reed

"Will refusing to purchase HP or use Explorer make any difference? Gunners groups snubbed Smith & Wesson when they caved to Clintonista demands that BigGov Bureaubullies boss their business. They survived, according to an LA Times tale, only because "After a change of ownership, Smith & Wesson cooled on the agreement, and President Bush allowed the company to back out of it." So maybe if all libertarians refused to hang with HP or go site-seeing with Explorer, we'll read a story someday about how "HP and MS cooled on the Real ID agreement, and President Hillary (or is that Condoleezza?) allowed the companies to back out of it.'" (08/15/05)


The Invisible Pirate - Big Brother on Steroids
Strike the Root
by Joe Blow

"The State, in its never-ending zeal to save us from ourselves, just opened a Pandora's box of personal information abuse, unauthorized disclosure, and malfeasance by those entrusted to keep your personal information private. Rest assured that when these inevitable events occur, the State will attempt to 'fix' this law with yet another one, just like always." (08/15/05)


Reclaiming Garrison
Boston Globe
by Philip Mangano

"The time is right to restore the legacy of an authentic American hero. Bostonian by choice, a moral agitator by calling, William Lloyd Garrison was indeed, as his most recent biographer Henry Mayer described him, 'all on fire.' Born 200 years ago in 1805, Garrison's relentless expose of slavery helped win the freedom of three million Americans. On the Commonwealth Mall in Back Bay, a statue commemorates Garrison. Seated, his face bears the look of a man ready for action. His defiant famous quote is there with him: 'I am in earnest. I will not equivocate. I will not excuse. I will not retreat a single inch and I will be heard.' That statement was part of an apology by Garrison to his 'three million brothers and sisters' who were then in slavery in the United States." (08/14/05)


The war against Cindy
by Butler Shaffer

"Because the state depends, for its existence, upon the enforcement of collectivized thinking, Cindy Sheehan -- along with her message -- must be marginalized. Lies must be metabolized by the body politic; the immune system must remain on the alert for viruses of truth and understanding that might infect individual minds and enervate the collective organism. Such responses remind me of the apocryphal description of lobsters in a pot of water who, upon seeing a fellow crustacean trying to escape, pull him back with the others." (08/15/05)


Fat unfit and fifty: A different bug-out scenario
Backwoods Home
by Claire Wolfe

"Yep, I've been wondering what happens to old farts, too -- especially when a pack of 30-somethings had to abort their bug-out test and retreat to warm safety after less than one night. Or what happens to sick farts of any age who need special meds or care? What kind of short-term emergency preparations should they make? So, over a plate of ketchup-laden homefries, scrambled eggs, waffles, syrup, bacon, and grease, I asked around." (08/15/05)

Sunday, August 14, 2005

US lowers sights on Iraq
Washington Post

"The Bush administration is significantly lowering expectations of what can be achieved in Iraq, recognizing that the United States will have to settle for far less progress than originally envisioned during the transition due to end in four months, according to U.S. officials in Washington and Baghdad. The United States no longer expects to see a model new democracy, a self-supporting oil industry or a society in which the majority of people are free from serious security or economic challenges, U.S. officials say. .... U.S. officials say no turning point forced a reassessment. "It happened rather gradually," said the senior official, triggered by everything from the insurgency to shifting budgets to U.S. personnel changes in Baghdad." [Editor's note: What's this, an Emily Litella 'Never mind' moment? And this is supposed to make up for the thousands of dead Americans and Iraqis? -MLS] (08/14/05)

Security cameras multiply in Manhattan
My Way News

" Six surveillance cameras could be seen peering out from a chain drug store on Broadway. One protruded awkwardly from the awning of a fast-food restaurant. A supersized, domed version hovered like a flying saucer outside Columbia University. To the dismay of civil libertarians and with the approval of law enforcement, they've been multiplying at a dizzying rate all over Manhattan. "As many as we find, we miss so many more," Alex Stone-Tharp, 21, said on a recent afternoon while combing the streets, clipboard in hand, counting cameras in the scorching heat. A student at Sarah Lawrence, Stone-Tharp is among a dozen college interns enlisted by the New York Civil Liberties Union to bolster their side of a simmering debate over whether surveillance cameras wrongly encroach on privacy, or effectively combat crime and even terrorism - as in the London bombings investigation, when the cameras were used to identify the bombers.
The interns have spent the summer stalking Big Brother - collecting data for an upcoming NYCLU report on the proliferation of cameras trained on streets, sidewalks and other public spaces." (08/13/05)


One mother's stand
By Scott Galindez

Live blog updates from Camp Casey. "1,000 spirited supporters rallied with Cindy at Camp Casey. Today, Cindy emerged as a leading voice of the anti-war movement. During the week there were many comparisons to Rosa Parks, but today Cindy showed she is not only a spark plug but a leading voice. Cindy's speech was a call to action, a speech that will be seen as historic. I say a leading voice because many other family members and veterans also came out of the shadows this week and onto the national stage. We will keep bringing you their stories." (08/13/05)
Fable of the Emperor and the Grieving Mother
Common Dreams
By David Krieger

"All fables have a moral, and the moral of this one is: If your son or daughter has died in war and you are a grieving mother, know that while your words may not move the Emperor to come out from behind the safety of his castle walls, your pain and courage may still stir a revolt across the empire and save other mothers’ sons and daughters as well as the innocent citizens of far-off lands." (08/14/05)


A shot in the arm for protesters
San Francisco Chronicle
by Joe Garofoli

"Coverage of Sheehan's spontaneous vigil is a godsend for the anti-war movement, which has been struggling to gain traction outside of liberal areas of the country. In Sheehan, organizers say they finally have a face that red-state America can relate to. They see in her a human reflection of sentiment expressed in this month's Associated Press/Ipsos poll, among others. Only 38 percent of respondents to that poll approve of Bush's handling of the war, a new low. The practical political question is whether the momentum gathering behind Sheehan will translate into political power in Washington. Members of Congress are circulating a letter asking Bush to meet with Sheehan, a request Sen. George Allen, R-Va., echoed in a CNN interview. But that effort won't go far unless more Americans -- particularly conservatives and those on the fence -- take up Sheehan's rallying call, "Meet with Cindy." Glenn Smith, a veteran Texas political consultant who is organizing a counter-event to the evangelical-sponsored Justice Sunday II gathering in Nashville, said it's rare that a voice like Sheehan's emerges. "Probably the best thing the movement can do is get out of her way," said Smith, whose Nashville gathering of liberal faith leaders is called Freedom and Faith. "She doesn't need managing.'" (08/14/05)


Singapore: Police send in riot squad to deal with 4 protesters
Singapore Democrat

"The threat? Four (yes, 4) activists who had assembled outside the Central Provident Fund Building in downtown Singapore to protest against the non-transparent and non-accountable nature of the way the Singapore Government deals with public funds. Two of the protesters were women. The number of police officers numbered at approximately 40." (08/11/05)

Saturday, August 13, 2005

The week in review (August 7-12)

The activism story of the week: the building drama of Cindy Sheehan's vigil outside the Bush ranch in Texas, which has galvanized the anti-war movement and brought the issue into the mainstream, breaking into network news and major mainstream papers. This is one of the most perfect examples in my memory of what "one person can do" ... right up there with Rosa Parks ... and may well be the "turning point" . For those who have not followed this story every day, this week's LAND digest offers an overview of how this important action has unfolded over the past week. As of today, the President has yet to speak to Cindy ... and he is, indeed, in a "tough spot", as one news analyst says ... "For Bush, Sheehan's presence seems to create a no-win situation. If he invites her to talk, he further elevates her protest, potentially angers the other families of the more than 1,850 Americans who have died in Iraq and provides Sheehan a greater forum to spread her anti-war views. If he ignores her, he risks appearing so callous that he doesn't have the time, or the inclination, to spend a few minutes of his vacation with a mother who lost her son as a direct consequence of the president's foreign policy decisions." (Of course, the neo cons and hawks on 'other side' are foaming at the mouth and "Savaging Cindy" ... this is one hallmark of successful activism! Kudos to Cindy, an inspiration to us all.)

Also in the news ... other examples of the "power of one" ... David Parker of Lexington, Mass (Parental Rights vs public schools) and Jim Lesczynski of New York (Challenging political welfare).

Our news feed for daily updates is still not working. I've been
posting the daily updates here where they'll continue until the news feed at RRND gets fixed. And, in response to a question from a reader, yes, I'm still accepting donations (happily! gratefully!) ... use this PayPal link to donate

Til next week

For freedom!

Mary Lou

Friday, August 12, 2005

The savaging of Cindy Sheehan
Matthew Rothschild

"The shameless savaging of Cindy Sheehan continues. .... Rightwing talk show host Phil Hendrie goes even lower, writing an article amazingly entitled “Anti-War Mom: Another Ignorant Cow,” Hendrie called Sheehan a “self-righteous ignoramus,” and then went into full mockery mode: “A mother grieving her loss. The inhumanity of war. Oh, the wickedness of it all.” I’ve seen callousness before, but this piece may top them all. And catch Hendrie’s defense of the Iraq War: “This war was unavoidable, brought on by an historic clash of culture and ideal, powered by the American people themselves, rising to meet the future, pissing off the rag heads.” Rag heads? By the way, Hendrie’s screed was posted on the website,, which calls itself “the premier online gathering place for independent, grassroots conservatism on the web.”Sheehan responds to her critics: “Nothing you can say can hurt me or make me stop what we are doing. We are working for peace with justice. We are using peaceful means and the truth to do it.'" (08/11/05)


Seeing Cindy
Common Dreams
by David Potorti

"As a member of September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, I¹ve been witnessing Cindy Sheehan¹s Crawford odyssey with a bittersweet mixture of pride, support and sadness. I felt the same way when Megan Bartlett, one of the first EMT workers to arrive at the World Trade Center site, founded Ground Zero For Peace/First Responders Against War; as military parents Nancy Lessin and Charley Richardson founded Military Families Speak Out; as the 9/11 widows known as the "Jersey Girls" dragged their government, kicking and screaming, into conducting an independent commission into the 9/11 attacks; and as Michael Hoffman, Kelly Dougherty, Jimmy Massey and others came together to create Iraq Veterans Against the War. Ordinary Americans with first-hand knowledge of the results of terrorism, violence and war were bearing witness and asking to be heard." (08/12/05)


Mother of peace
Houston Chronicle
by staff

"Nothing is more emblematic of American democracy than the idea of one person standing up for his beliefs and in the process becoming the catalyst for a national debate. In the arena of civil rights, Rosa Parks' refusal to sit in the back of a Montgomery, Ala., bus was such an act. During the Vietnam War, Daniel Ellsberg's decision to give the media the Pentagon Papers detailing the secret history of U.S. involvement in Southeast Asia was another. Now Californian Cindy Sheehan's August vigil on a sweltering roadway near President Bush's Crawford ranch has given a human voice and face to the revulsion of the carnage in Iraq. Sheehan, the mother of a 24-year-old Army specialist killed in Iraq last year, wants a face to face meeting with Bush to ask him what mission was worth her son Casey's life." (08/12/05)


Vigil threatens to put president in tough spot
San Francisco Chronicle
By Marc Sandalow

"A grieving Northern California mother's vigil near President Bush's Texas ranch is putting a human face on the toll of the Iraq war as she brings worldwide attention to her anguish. .... That a grieving woman seeks to speak to the president or that she opposes the war is hardly news as the war rages in its third year. But the image of an anguished 48-year-old mother standing outside the vacation home of the most powerful leader in the world, asking him to explain her son's death, is compelling and has caught the attention of millions of people from Canada to New Zealand. .... For Bush, Sheehan's presence seems to create a no-win situation. If he invites her to talk, he further elevates her protest, potentially angers the other families of the more than 1,850 Americans who have died in Iraq and provides Sheehan a greater forum to spread her anti-war views. If he ignores her, he risks appearing so callous that he doesn't have the time, or the inclination, to spend a few minutes of his vacation with a mother who lost her son as a direct consequence of the president's foreign policy decisions. (08/11/05)

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Dear Cindy Sheehan
Ralph Nader

From your grief over the loss of your son, Casey, in Iraq has come the courage to spotlight nationally the cowardly character trait of a President who refuses to meet with anyone or any group critical of his illegal, fabricated, deceptive war and occupation of that ravaged country. As a messianic militarist, Mr. Bush turned aside his own father's major advisers who warned him of the terroristic, political, and diplomatic perils to the United States from an invasion of Iraq. He refused to listen. .... May you and your associates succeed in galvanizing the public debate in this country over why a growing majority of Americans now think it was a costly mistake to invade Iraq and want our soldiers back, with the U.S. out of that country. He knows that his support for how he is handling this war-occupation is falling close to one third of respondents in recent polls-the lowest yet. Even with the mass-media at his disposal everyday, he now represents a minority of public opinion, which should give him pause before closing his oil marinated doors on majority views in this nation.May you prevail where others have failed to secure an audience with Mr. Bush." (08/11/05)


More death in Iraq: A reluctant soldier's story
Editor & Publisher
by Will Bunch

" 'I just want to get it done, come home, and continue my life." Those were just about the last words that Gennaro Pellegrini, Jr. -- a 31-year-old Philly cop and up-and-coming boxer -- said to me last November. In less than 48 hours, Pellegrini was to step onto an airplane bound for Iraq, along with the rest of his Pennsylvania National Guard unit from Northeast Philadelphia. For anyone who's worried about the return of a military draft, Pellegrini was living proof that we already have one. He desperately did not want to serve in the Persian Gulf. He was just two weeks away from finishing up his six-year stint in the Guard when he was told that his tour of duty was being extended and that he would serve in Iraq for at least a year, maybe longer .... n the end, Pellegrini's stay in Iraq lasted little more than eight months. His parents have just been notified that he was killed on Tuesday by a roadside bomb." (08/10/05)


Veterans for Peace: Celebrating 20 years of resistance and reconciliation
Common Dreams
by Susan Van Haitsma

"Returning home from the national Veterans for Peace (VFP) convention held August 4 -7 in Dallas, Texas, I opened my daily paper to an opinion editorial entitled, "'Thank God for the Atom Bomb;' it saved thousands of lives." I thought of a contrasting statement made during the convention by GI resister and conscientious objector, Camilo Mejia. "Conscience is a place where one meets God. Conscience is what makes us human, more than intelligence."
The meeting place of conscience is what really saves us. In fact, during the convention, I heard more than one veteran say it: Thank God for Veterans for Peace. You saved my life." (08/11/05)


Parental rights vs public schools
by Wendy McElroy

"David Parker of Lexington, Mass., is scheduled to go on trial on Sept. 21 for asking his son's public school to provide parental notification before discussing homosexuality with the 6-year old. The actual charge is criminal trespassing. But the real issue is whether parents or schools will control the teaching of values to children. .... David Parker cares so deeply that he is willing to go to jail and endure a lengthy court process for the right to be a parent. In a world where a myriad of social problems can be traced back to parental abuse or indifference, it is incredible that Parker is being treated as a criminal and not as the hero he is." (08/10/05)


Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Challenging political welfare
NY Daily Sun
by staff

"James Lesczynski entered the state Supreme Court recently ands told Judge Paul Feinman, "I don't want to pay for speech I object to." The chair of Manhattan's Libertarian Party was objecting to the city's campaign finance rules that subsidize political campaigns with taxpayers' dollars. This constitutes "coercive speech" he told the New York Sun, and violates the free-speech clauses of the state and federal constitutions." (08/10/05)


Bush is no Nixon
William Rivers Pitt

"There will be a large anti-war protest in Washington DC on September 24th. Is it even conceivable that George W. Bush might remove himself from the White House that day to speak with the people who disagree with his leadership? The idea is laughable on its face. Cindy Sheehan is not in a large crowd in Washington DC. She is not camped on the Lincoln Memorial. She waits for Mr. Bush in a ditch by the side of the road in Crawford, arguably the safest and most comfortable spot in America for this self-styled cowboy. Yet he does not emerge to speak to this woman who lost her son to his war. Somehow, it seems a safe bet that not even Richard Nixon would keep this woman waiting." (08/10/05)


Homegrown resistance
by Stan Goff

"Soldiers and soldier's families are constantly instructed on something called courage. People can only hear that word so many times before they begin to actually reflect on what it means; and the briefest reflection reveals something much deeper than the pumped-up physical bravado required to engage in gunfights with strangers. This administration knows now that the very training and indoctrination that prepares troops for battle can slip the leash and provide the will to face first the truth, and then themselves, and then even prison. That really sucks for them, for Bush and Rumsfeld, who can never understand anything but the bravado of the rich bully. Because history will be far kinder to Kevin and Monica Benderman than it will be to George W. Bush and Donald Rumsfeld." (08/10/05)


Americans join mom in waiting for Iraq answers
Chicago Sun Times
by Carol Marin

" I keep thinking about that mother who is camped out somewhere near the end of President Bush's driveway in Crawford, Texas. Her name is Cindy Sheehan, and her 24-year-old son, Casey, is dead. He was a soldier, killed last year in the Iraq war. Sheehan wants a face-to-face meeting with the president to tell him to stop saying that our continued commitment to this awful war "honors" the sacrifice of those who gave their lives for their country. Sheehan doesn't believe we honor anyone by putting new lives on the line. Not more of our own soldiers. Not those of the so-called "coalition forces." And not innocent Iraqi men, women and children for that matter either. So Sheehan is parked in a ditch, living in a tent, some distance from the president's ranch and refusing to pack up and go back home to California. I wondered when Bush left Crawford this morning to come here to Illinois if he left his ranch by car and therefore traveled down his driveway in the vicinity of Sheehan? Or was he lifted out by helicopter, flying up and out over her head? Either way, she is down there in Texas today and Bush is here." (08/10/05)

Turning points?
Baltimore Sun
by Jules Witcover

"Belatedly but inexorably, the rash of American deaths this month - more than 30 so far, bringing the total to 1,823 - has hit the home front as seldom before in this war of President Bush's choice. The concentration of most of the victims in one Marine Reserve unit in Ohio has generated stories and interviews on television and in newspapers that further remind Americans of the price being paid. Likewise featured on the network news shows and front pages is the protest outside the president's ranch in Crawford, Texas, of Cindy Sheehan, whose 24-year-old soldier son, Casey, died in the Sadr City section of Baghdad 16 months ago. Unable to speak with Mr. Bush directly, she told reporters: "He said my son died in a noble cause, and I want to ask him what that noble cause is." A 45-minute meeting with Mr. Bush's national security adviser, Stephen J. Hadley, did not assuage her." (08/10/05),1,7961242.column?coll=bal-oped-headlines