Going to Florida

I know I've deserted this blog somewhat recently. I've been busy on another blog, reading and adding commentary, as well as adding to guestbooks in the local newpaper online. This feels more satsifactory to me lately, as I've felt the need to be with those who can relate to where I am now.

My excitement level about this election has revved up considerably this past month. For the most part, I feel confident of it's outcome. There are always those nagging fears, though, that no matter how many people want this to happen, no matter how diligent we are in getting people out to vote, no matter how many people are making sure the voting goes smoothly and legally, there will still be massive disenfrancisement and fraud.

I'll be going to down to Palm Beach County tomorrow with a huge group of folks to GOTV. We'll be knocking on doors from Saturday through Tuesday, then flying back to DC overnight. I imagine we'll be a tired bunch Tuesday night, and I hope, a joyful bunch.

I am concerned aobut our reception in Florida. I do hope the people of Florida don't feel angry about so many people coming to their state to get people to the polls. I hope they don't feel we are intrusive or pushy or that we think they are less than capable of getting out themselves. I hope there are those who welcome us because they need help getting to the polls or are reluctant to go there in light of the harassment they may feel will happen if they go to vote.

I can't imagine waking Wednesday to four more years of this nightmare. Therefore, I need to focus on the positive. To visualize my joy Tuesday night. To see crowds in the streets laughing and crying and hugging each other with joy. To the great sigh of relief so many of us will sound upon the news of Kerry's win.

It stuns me that there are still some people who think, despite every fact and news article and revelation, that Bush is a good president for our country. I think really these must be people afraid of change. That is the only explanation, as far as I can see. To some people, the disaster they have must be more con=mforting than the unknown factor of a new president. Someone told me or wrote to me recently that if they allowed a guy to drive their car, and he put it in a ditch, they sure wouldn't hand the keys back to him again. Damn skippy. I'd say the "Fool me once" line Bush mangled so badly on camera, but I can't. See, I didn't vote for him in 2000. He didn't fool me then, he doesn't fool me now.

I'm taking a deep breath and blowing out those fears of four more years of shock, betrayal, abuse, scandal and shame. I now take a deep cleansing breath and breath in the comfort these four years will soon be history.



Apparently, the pressure worked. HUD has backed down and allowed new provisions for abuse victims safehouses.

thanks to all who helped the process.



Homeland Security Fails Again

Once again, the Homeland Security Department attacks the wrong people. Now, domestic violence victims running for their lives are being outed by bad policy. The department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is requiring that aid organizations publish information on all homeless people. This means that women and children staying in safe houses will have their information published on a list which can be accessed by hundreds of organizations.

Stop this senseless act by going to Stop Family Violence and sending a message to President Bush and Secretary of Housing, Alphonso Jackson.



The World According to Bush

Le Monde selon Bush is a French made documentary about Bush's White House. Extremely powerful and revealing. Which is, of course, why it is not being televised in the US. The Canadians can watch it on CBC, in fact it's showing tonight and Nov 1st there. The Europeans can see it. However, when it got to Cannes, it was pushed out of the way by Fahrenheit 9/11.

There are, however, a few places to go online to either watch an English dubbed version streaming from the site: Bush Flip-Flop page

Or, the orginial French version (most of the footage is in English since it contains interviews and White House speeches) here:
Mark Perkel where you can also find Fahrenheit 9/11. Look towards the bottom of the page for the BitTorrents.

This, in my opinion, should be showing opposite "Stolen Honor". After all, what's more breaking news- the Vietnam War or the Iraq Invasion?



Stop Sinclair!!

Tell Sinclair Broadcast Group not to air right-wing propaganda.



A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

Here's some of the Photoshop magic I've done recently to respond to current events. Use any you like:

Furious George
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W is a Bad Egg
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No Blood For Oil Ribbon
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No Child
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Real Courage

This is a letter I read which was written to Mike Moore. It was posted on Common Dreams

From: Joseph Cherwinski
Sent: Saturday July 3 2004 8.33pm
Subject: "Fahrenheit 9/11"

I am a soldier in the United States army. I was in Iraq with the Fourth Infantry Division.

I was guarding some Iraqi workers one day. Their task was to fill sandbags for our base. The temperature was at least 120. I had to sit there with full gear on and monitor them. I was sitting and drinking water, and I could barely tolerate the heat, so I directed the workers to go to the shade and sit and drink water. I let them rest for about 20 minutes. Then a staff sergeant told me that they didn't need a break, and that they were to fill sandbags until the cows come home. He told the Iraqis to go back to work.

After 30 minutes, I let them have a break again, thus disobeying orders. If these were soldiers working, in this heat, those soldiers would be bound to a 10-minute work, 50-minute rest cycle, to prevent heat casualties. Again the staff sergeant came and sent the Iraqis back to work and told me I could sit in the shade. I told him no, I had to be out there with them so that when I started to need water, then they would definitely need water. He told me that wasn't necessary, and that they live here, and that they are used to it.

After he left, I put the Iraqis back into the shade. I could tell that some were very dehydrated; most of them were thin enough to be on an international food aid commercial. I would not treat my fellow soldiers in this manner, so I did not treat the Iraqi workers this way either.

This went on for eight months while I was in Iraq, and going through it told me that we were not there for their freedom, we were not there for WMD. We had no idea what we were fighting for anymore.

This is the letter I wrote to Michael Moore:

Hi Mike,

I was just at Commondreams reading some of the letters you've received from soldiers in Iraq. Thanks for posting them.

If you have contact information for Joseph Cherwinski, the 4th ID soldier who sent you an email on July 3, 2004, I would love to say thank you to him. His letter choked me up most of all. To be in the middle of that mess, listening to the "towelhead" and "raghead" propaganda poison, and still treating Iraqi workers with kindness and dignity is truly amazing. I was in the Army once up on a time, during a time of relative peace (we were on the runway going to Panama when our unit got recalled, so I was pretty lucky). However, I remember the constant barrage of anti-Soviet propaganda that got massaged into our heads. I guess the military knows it would be hard for soldiers to kill people unless they instill a reason to hate them.

Therefore, for Joseph to be kind and considerate (and to risk retribution from his chain of command for it) to those he most likely has been taught to hate is the finest act of courage I've heard during this war. Thank you, Joseph.

If there's any way you could get this to him, I'd appreciate it. Thanks again Mike, for giving us the gift of their voices.


I feel it's important to commend this kind of courage that goes unnoticed at award ceremonies and by the media. I encourage everyone to write to this soldier or any other soldier you've heard of who continues to be humane during the inhumanity of war. They are the real heroes.


Sinclair and the Potential Train Wreck

The horribly ill-timed "documentary" Stolen Honor is supposedly going to air before the election. I'm hoping that the FCC and the advertisers who are pulling their spots from Sinclair-run television make it go away. I want to believe that there will be no more dirty tricks this election by Bush and his supporters. I've written my letters to the FCC, I've signed petitions, I've contacted advertisers of my local Sinclair owned station. Now all there is to do is sit and wait for the verdict.

Here's the dilemma: if Sinclair does run it, how hard is it going to be not to turn it on? If it airs, I would want to see it if only to reply to the barrage of slime it's bound to generate. Moreover, not turning it on would be akin to averting my eyes from a train wreck happening just in front of my car. Damn! What a dilemma. I certainly don't want to support garbage and greed and dirty politics, but how can I not find out just how bad this mock-democratic process is going to get?



Million Worker March This Sunday!!

Lincoln Memorial

Washington D.C.

October 17, 12 Noon

The Lincoln Memorial is located between Constitution and Independence Aves. and between 22nd and 23rd St. The closest metro stop is Foggy Bottom on the blue/orange line. (The Foggy Bottom exit is at 23rd and I Sts. NW. From the exit walk south on 23rd St.)

Million Worker March Website

On Oct. 17 in Washington, D.C., you will have a timely and historic opportunity to unite the anti-war movement with an unprecedented and vitally necessary mass march of working people speaking for themselves. This is a rare opportunity and the latest casualty numbers from Iraq show that it could not come at a more critical time. We cannot and must not rely on the elections in November to stop the war. We must raise our voices loud--not after the elections--right now.

Some of the strongest voices and most active groups in the labor movement, together with the active support and participation of organizations representing every progressive movement and cause, will be “getting on the bus” to D.C. on Sunday, Oct. 17, for the MILLION WORKER MARCH.

What makes the Million Worker March unique is that the event’s principal organizers want to make the anti-war movement’s demand to “End the occupation of Iraq, and bring the troops home now” central to the march's message and its goals.

Working people are coming to Washington, D.C. on Oct. 17 because whether their concern is about jobs, decent wages, layoffs, union busting, the battle to protect our pensions and Social Security, or to make health care a universal right instead of a privilege for the wealthy--with all we face, we had better raise our own voices and act in our own interests instead of relying on the next president, whoever that will be. And the MWM will also be calling for the troops to be brought home--not two, three or four years from today, but NOW!

Why? Because it is working families who bear the burden. It is their loved ones who are sent off to fight and die--and it is workers' money that is stolen to pay for war and occupation.

The call for a Million Worker March came from one of the most well known labor organizations in the country, famous for its long history of militancy, boldness and courage in defense of working people—Local 10 of the International Longshore Workers Union in San Francisco.

Over the past few months this call has rolled across the country, picking up the support of scores of labor unions, labor activists and leaders including:

The Coalition Of Black Trade Unionists; Bill Lucy, secretary-treasurer, AFSCME; National Education Association; American Postal Workers Union; Transportation Workers Union Local 100 (NY); AFSCME District Council 1707 (NY); AFSCME District Council 37 (NY); 1199/SEIU Delegates Assembly; South Carolina AFL-CIO; Farm Labor Organizing Committee; AFSCME District Council 92 (MD); D.C. Labor Against The War; International ANSWER; actor Danny Glover; American Indian Movement; ILWU Local 34; Troy and Albany Labor Council (NY); United For Peace & Justice; National Immigration Solidarity Network; New York City Labor Against the War; Global Women’s Strike; Teamsters Black Caucus; comedian Dick Gregory; Myra Shone and Ralph Schoenman, Taking Aim, Pacifica; National Association of Letter Carriers, Branch 3825; Howard Wallace, co-founder, Pride at Work; Jim Houghton, Director, Harlem Fight Back; Justice 4 Homeless, SF; United Steel Workers of America Local 8751; International Action Center; former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark; Nellie Bailey, Harlem Tenants Council; Howard Zinn, historian; Noam Chomsky, linguist; AFSCME Local 95, Local 205, Local 215,Local 389,Loca167,Local 1881, Local 1930; ILWU Entire West Coast division; CUE Local 3; and many more.



"Going Upriver"

I just came back from seeing "Going Upriver". It was a lot more enlightening and a better documentary than I thought it would be. It was also a view of the Vietnam war, and the subsequent protests, than I had not seen before.

The movie explained a lot about Kerry: he has always been a very calm, rational person who does not show a lot of emotion or zeal, but speaks eloquently and with heart. If we are expecting zingers and zippy one-liners out of Kerry, we may be disappointed. However, that does not mean he does not have passion or conviction for his beliefs.

I recommend the movie to everyone- even if you are planning not to vote for Kerry. I am not advocating it will change your mind, but echoing the sentiment of another commenter yesterday, after seeing the debates, it will allow you a better view into the heart of John Kerry and perhaps make you feel comforted that all will not be lost if he is elected president.

Also, away fromt he subject of Kerry, the movie is good if only for an excellent look at the history of what went wrong with Vietnam (and how closely it resembles current policy in Iraq) and what happened when the Vietnam vets came back home.


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