Wednesday, August 31, 2005

''Sheehan Represents ''Shrillness'' Democrats Sorely Need''

"George Will has some unsolicited advice for the Democratic Party. Tone it down and don't be "shrill" like Cindy Sheehan, if you want to win 2006 and 2008. It is a typical tactic Republicans use --attempt to cow the Democrats into disavowing their own. Thanks, but no thanks, for the advice Mr. Will.

Frankly, your advice is absurd and a recipe for another disaster, in a long string of disasters, for the Democratic Party. The"shrillness" that Republicans tag to Cindy Sheehan, is their mistaken perception of bravery and steadfastness. They mistake belief in ones cause and the rightness of ones actions, as being extreme and someone Democrats should "distance themselves from". Sheehan displays an attitude, a sureness, and an intestinal fortitude that the Democratic leaders sorely need, and that is why Republicans are so desperate to stifle it at its onset. Take for another example, Howard Dean. When he goes into Republican territory raising money for Democrats at an unprecedented pace, and chastising Republicans at the same time, the Republicans cry foul."-from the post on

''‘Out of Iraq’ Caucus Membership up to 66 Now''

No Adam, no Norm. No Jay, either.-from

''It Was the Oil, Stupid''

The Peaceful Occupation of Crawford - Day 25

"If Zarqawi and bin Laden gain control of Iraq, they would create a new training ground for future terrorist attacks," Bush said. "They'd seize oil fields to fund their ambitions. They could recruit more terrorists by claiming a historic victory over the United States and our coalition." (George Bush, August 30, 2005 in San Diego.)

So it is official, Casey had his blood shed in Iraq for OIL. He died so we could pay over 3.00/gallon for gas. Like I suspected all along, my dear, sweet son: almost 1900 others; and tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis died so the oil fields wouldn't "fall into the hands of terrorists" and so George and his immoral band of greedy robber barons could become wealthier. Like I have said all along: how can these people sleep at night and how can they choke down their food knowing it is purchased off of the flesh and blood of others? We have found our "Noble Cause." And it is OIL. This man and his handlers need to be stopped.

Well, George and I are leaving Crawford today. George is finished playing golf and telling his fables in San Diego, so he will be heading to Louisiana to see the devastation that his environmental policies and his killing policies have caused. Recovery would be easier and much quicker if almost ½ of the three states involved National Guard were not in Iraq. All of the National Guard's equipment is in Iraq also. Plus, with the 2 billion dollars a week that the private contractors are siphoning from our treasury, how are we going to pay for helping our own citizens in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama? And, should I dare say "global warming?" and be branded as a "conspiracy theorist" on top of everything else the reich-wingers say about me.

We are now packing up Camp Casey and leaving Crawford and heading to George's place of employment. He wouldn't talk to us, his employers, while we were here to give him his "job evaluation," so we must go to him to have our little chat.

I just want to thank a few people and groups for their support, help, and love while we have been here in Crawford. So many people made the Camp Casey experience possible and so successful. If I miss someone, I am so sorry: that is the difficult thing about thanking people. I love you all, even if I don't remember to thank you!!

My sister: Dede Miller: My kids' second mom who is always by my side and supports me 100% in whatever I do. My cause is her cause, and I couldn't do what I do without her.

Carly, Andy, and Janey: Who would love to see more of their mom, but who understand that we are trying to save their future by what we do. I love you guys, and I will see you very, very soon (yea!!) I couldn't do what I do without their love and support.

The Crawford Peace House: I got an email from Hadi Jawad the day that I decided to come and camp in Crawford and he pledged the help and support of the Peace House. At that time, they only had a few bucks in their checking account and the phone was turned off. Now, thanks to America, they have been able to keep Camp Casey going and they will be able to continue their good works indefinitely. Thanks to John Wolf who had the vision for peace in Crawford and I think that Camp Casey was a fulfillment of his vision. They are going to make a garden and call it "The Casey Sheehan Memorial Peace Garden." What a tribute to my son.

Code Pink: Jodie Evans and Tiffany and Alicia were the first ones here on Monday 08/08 to jump in and save me from going crazy and hopping on one of the trains that runs past the Peace House and pulling an "Agatha Christie." Code Pink also worked tirelessly (and I mean tirelessly) outside of Camp Casey.

MoveOn: For organizing the highly successful candlelight vigils.

Lisa Fithian: For all the organizing work she did behind the scenes.

GSFP, IVAW, MFSO, AND VFP: Our organizations with "skin in the game" for all of their support, presence, love, and help.

Bill Mitchell: Bill's son Mike, was KIA in the same battle as Casey and he was the first GSFP member to come to Camp Casey and take some of the heat off of me. He found a new love at Camp Casey (one of our miracles) and I am sooo happy about that. Plus, Bill is one of my most ardent supporters and he just gets in the middle of things, digs in, and helps wherever. I love him and he and his family will be parts of our family forever.

Fred Mattlage: For donating the amazing piece of land for our use that allowed Camp Casey to expand to include thousands.

Air America: The Morning Sedition, Randi Rhodes, Mike Malloy, and Laura Flanders. Thank you for your support . Ed Schultz belongs there, too, although he is not affiliated with Air America Radio. Amy Goodman was here, too!

The bloggers on The Daily Kos (and most bloggers in general): I would read their comments everyday after I posted my diary and I was always heartened and encouraged by their remarks. After all of the negativity, their positivity gave me strength to go on. In addition, the first night we were in Crawford, and being harassed by the SS, they were posting things and getting the word out that we were there alone and defenseless, which may have saved our lives, or saved us from being injured, or harassed out of there.

So many other people: The Camp Casey volunteers…literally hundreds. The more than 10,000 people who came through CC. Ann Wright who kept CC going. Arianna Huffington for her advice and support. Joan Baez who kept CC's spirits alive while I was in California attending to my sick mother. George Bush for not meeting with me on August 6th. Martin Sheen for his support and presence. A.I.M for Dennis Banks and Russell Means. Gary Hart, John Conyers, Maxine Waters, Barbara Lee, Sheila Jackson Lee, Jan Schakowsky, Dennis Kucinich, Frank Pallone, Lynn Woolsey, Chuck Hagel, Ralph Nader, Jim McDermott, Walter Jones, Charlie Rangel and the other politicos who either came to CC, or called me to offer their support and love. I know I am forgetting some, but thanks to you all. Joe Wilson and his family for paving the way for me to be able to ignore and dismiss the reich-wing smear machine who always tried to marginalize and discredit me by exaggerating or twisting my words and lying about me. The clergy who were there with their love and support: Rabbi Arthur Waskow, Rabbi Dennis Shulman; Rev. Al Sharpton, Rev. Bob Edgars, Rev. Jesse Jackson (who prayed bed time prayers with me), Rita Brock, etc.

There were so many good people who donated money, goods, or services who want to be kept anonymous.

But especially to Americans who resonated with Camp Casey and gave us prayers, support, money, love and most of all hope for the future.

We will take our country back. And it will be a country that we want back.

God Bless America!!!!"-Cindy Sheehan today on BUZZFLASH.

Activism Photos from Texas, Utah, California


''Did New Orleans Catastrophe Have to Happen?''

"'Times-Picayune' Had Repeatedly Raised Federal Spending Issues:
New Orleans had long known it was highly vulnerable to flooding and a direct hit from a hurricane. In fact, the federal government has been working with state and local officials in the region since the late 1960s on major hurricane and flood relief efforts. When flooding from a massive rainstorm in May 1995 killed six people, Congress authorized the Southeast Louisiana Urban Flood Control Project, or SELA.

Over the next 10 years, the Army Corps of Engineers, tasked with carrying out SELA, spent $430 million on shoring up levees and building pumping stations, with $50 million in local aid. But at least $250 million in crucial projects remained, even as hurricane activity in the Atlantic Basin increased dramatically and the levees surrounding New Orleans continued to subside.

Yet after 2003, the flow of federal dollars toward SELA dropped to a trickle. The Corps never tried to hide the fact that the spending pressures of the war in Iraq, as well as homeland security -- coming at the same time as federal tax cuts -- was the reason for the strain. At least nine articles in the Times-Picayune from 2004 and 2005 specifically cite the cost of Iraq as a reason for the lack of hurricane- and flood-control dollars.

Newhouse News Service, in an article posted late Tuesday night at The Times-Picayune web site, reported: "No one can say they didn't see it coming....Now in the wake of one of the worst storms ever, serious questions are being asked about the lack of preparation."-from the post on Editor&Publisher by Will Bunch, Philadelphia Daily News.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Dean: Roosevelt and Truman Had a Plan to Win WWII; Bush Needs Plan for Iraq

"Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean issued the following statement on the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II, praising the sacrifices made by the Greatest Generation to win that war and calling on President Bush to follow the model of his predecessors to lay out and stick to a clear plan for victory: Democratic Presidents Roosevelt and Truman led America to victory in World War II because they laid out a clear plan for success to the American people, America's allies and America's troops. President Bush has failed to put together a plan, so despite the bravery and sacrifice of our troops, we are not making the progress that we should be in Iraq. The troops, our allies and the American people deserve better leadership from our Commander in Chief. In fact, President Truman made this very clear: the buck stops at the Oval Office. Who knows where the buck stops in the Bush White House?
Today, on the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II, we recognize the sacrifices our Greatest Generation made to rid the world of fascism and tyranny, and extend freedom. Sixteen million Americans served their country, leaving behind their families and their jobs to serve our country. Four hundred thousand of these brave Americans lost their lives. Millions more Americans worked here at home to support the war effort, working in factories, caring for veterans and doing all they could to aid the allies to victory. We owe the Greatest Generation our gratitude as we owe all of our service members, veterans and their families for the sacrifices they make on our behalf every day.
Today, Democrats also renew our commitment to standing up for America's veterans and our troops in Iraq. We stand dedicated to making sure our troops in combat, wherever they find themselves in harm's way, have the equipment and resources they need to get the job done. We will also work to make sure they and their families receive the medical care and benefits they've earned; it's the least we can do to honor their sacrifices."-from the DNC.


"The war’s political managers have made absolutely no effort to create even a simulacrum of equal sacrifice, and 9/11 did nothing to change what has been from the beginning, and remains, the Bush Administration’s top priority, not excluding fighting terrorism: the use of the tax code to transfer wealth to the rich and, especially, the superrich. Next week, even as the national debt grows by another $11 billion and military recruiters scramble with ever-mounting desperation to fill their quotas, the Senate will reassemble to take up the proposal, already passed by the House, to permanently eliminate the estate tax, thereby shifting some $1.5 billion a week—about the same as the Iraq war—from the public treasury to the bank accounts of the heirs to the nation’s twenty thousand biggest fortunes.

Yes, it’s a different type of war. This ambiguity also makes for a different type of antiwar politics. The opposition to the Vietnam War relied on the active mobilization of masses of people—first tens of thousands, then hundreds of thousands, finally millions—and its demand was clear: Get out. Its Iraq counterpart, so far, is more rudimentary and, unlike its predecessor, almost completely without hostility to the military or illusions about the enemy. Not quite a movement, it is more a pyramid of complaint ranged along a line from dissent to discontent. At its peak, for the moment, is Camp Casey, the makeshift tent vigil, a mile or so from President Bush’s Texas vacation estate, that has grown up around a woman named Cindy Sheehan, whose son, an Army enlisted man, was killed in Iraq seventeen months ago. In the middle is a congeries of left-populist Web groups, such as At the base is a large slice of the public, as measured by the crude instrument of public-opinion surveys—a silent majority, you might say. In a Newsweek poll, 61 per cent disapprove of Bush’s “handling” of Iraq. In a CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll, 54 per cent say that the war there was a mistake, 57 per cent that it has made us less safe, and 56 per cent that we should withdraw all (33 per cent) or some (23 per cent) of our troops.

The numbers are eerily similar to those the Vietnam debacle generated at its worst. The sentiment they reflect, however, is not the same. The movement against that war had the support of thousands of elected officials, including, toward the end, a majority of both Houses of Congress; the opposition to this one has no such thing. But the reticence of so many Democrats is rooted as much in perplexity as in timidity.

In Iraq, the strategic rationales for war—terrorism and “weapons of mass destruction”—have turned out to be as phony as the Gulf of Tonkin incident. With scores of thousands of Iraqis dead, an Islamist theocracy in prospect for part, if not the whole, of the country, and the possibility of civil war growing, even the humanitarian rationale has begun to wither. And the hubristic dream of Iraq (in the words of Fouad Ajami, in an essay included in a new anthology entitled “The Right War? The Conservative Debate on Iraq”) as “a beacon from which to spread democracy and reason throughout the Arab world . . . has clearly been set aside.” Last week, even as Bush was taking a break from his vacation to denounce “immediate withdrawal of our troops in Iraq or the broader Middle East” as a step that “would only embolden the terrorists,” the Financial Times was reporting details of the Pentagon’s plans “to pull significant numbers of troops out of Iraq in the next twelve months.” The chilling truth is that no one really knows what to do. No one knows whether the consequences of withdrawal, quick or slow, would be worse or better—for Iraq and for the “war on terror” of which, willy-nilly, it has become a part—than the consequences of “staying the course.” It is a matter of judgment, and the judgment that will count, more chilling still, is that of George W. Bush."-from Hendrik Hertzberg's column in The New Yorker.


Ongoing coverage continues, including photos, from The Lone Star Iconoclast. There is a picture of volunteer shuttle driver Lela McNutt of Onalaska, WA.

''Journalists didn't bother vetting Iraq war rationale''

"News media owe public an explanation and a pledge---The news media are failing to acknowledge their own responsibility for the invasion of Iraq, even as they report with glee Cindy Sheehan's antiwar protest outside George W. Bush's ranch in Crawford.

Americans are told all about Sheehan's son, Casey, a soldier killed in Iraq, and her call for the president to explain his reasons for invading Iraq and to outline his plan to leave.

But the news media ought to explain why they broke their moral covenant with the American people to provide complete, balanced, fair and accurate information about the charge to war.

Coverage of the administration's high-profile pitches to promote war was so blatantly unbalanced, the media sometimes looked like an arm of the Bush propaganda machine."-from the op-ed by Michael Ryan in The Houston Chronicle (TX).

''All I did was say they can't run a fair election''

"I've got bad news for anyone already made queasy by the marathon length of American presidential elections. Not only is the 2008 race already concentrating political minds, it is becoming ever clearer the country has not recovered from the infamous mano a mano between Al Gore and George W Bush in Florida in 2000. In fact, in many important - and depressing - ways, the battle over Florida is still raging. I've learned this the hard way, by becoming part of the battle myself. This past week, a posse of internet screamers who clearly don't like the idea of an uppity Brit questioning the legitimacy of George W Bush's first election took it upon themselves to denounce me as a "conspiracy journalist", a "left-wing hack" and a bare-faced liar.

The occasion for their fury was a book I've written chronicling, and attempting to explain, the inability of the world's most powerful democracy to conduct fair and transparent elections by any recognisable international standard."-from the story in The Independent (UK) by Andrew Gumbel. As with the issue of how we got into the quagmires of Vietnam and Iraq, this reminds us that unresolved issues remain.... unresolved.

''Army Axes Halliburton Whisteblower''

"Today's news regarding Bunnatine Greenhouse is another disturbing example of the Bush Administration's determination to abuse their power to hide the truth and silence, smear or demote their critics."-Howard Dean, quoted in the article on RAW STORY.

''Democrats still backing senseless war''

"WASHINGTON -- It's time for the Democratic Party to take a courageous stand and call for the withdrawal of troops from the senseless war in Iraq.

Its human cost and the billion-dollars-a-week tab in Iraq should give all Americans pause.

Democrats have gone about their lives after giving the president a blank check to do anything he thought was necessary. They think they have absolved themselves of responsibility. It's somebody else's war.

But they might find that if they don't get some backbone and take a stand soon, the voters might not be that forgiving."-from the syndicated column by Helen Thomas in the Seattle P-I today. Maria, you got some 'splainin' to do.

''The Acoustics of a Ditch Empowers Americans to Question the War''

"On August 6, just after the Veterans for Peace conference in Dallas, Cindy Sheehan and a handful of veterans camped out in a ditch alongside of a road outside of President Bush's ranch in Crawford, TX. They came unprepared in an unplanned protest – their only light was a flashlight – their only place to go to the bathroom was a bucket. They slept in ant-filled ditches in one hundred degree heat and when it rained their tents and sleeping bags got soaked. Their simple request to the president – meet with us to explain the reason for the Iraq war. When we visited her 21 days later there were approximately 3,500 people joining her vigil and 1,000 pro-war demonstrators trying to counter her. Her camp had been moved next to the entrance of the president's ranch – thanks to a neighbor who believes in free speech under a tent large enough for 2,000 people. Finally, a much-needed conversation was taking place in America: Should the U.S. have invaded in Iraq? Should we stay in Iraq? How does the United States end the Iraq occupation responsibly and get our troops home quickly?"-from the post by Kevin Zeese on

''Political group tours state with progressive agenda''

"VAIL - Call them Democrats, liberals or progressives - one thing the forces on the left side of the political spectrum appear to agree upon is that the right is winning. But members of a Colorado political action group called ProgressNow were in Vail Wednesday with a message of hope for those of the blue persuasion.

The idea, explained ProgressNow Executive Director Michael Huttner, is to create a Web site local groups can use to help mobilize like-minded allies on a variety of topics.

"It's exciting because it's a model to do hard-hitting, rapid media response to the right wing," Huttner said. "And it's a way to help push a mainstream, progressive agenda."
ProgressNow has been in existence for about two years, Huttner said. The new initiative, called ProgressNow Action, has at its heart a powerful Web site that's free and open to groups that need to get the word out. It could be something as simple as posting information about local school board candidates or a call to action against the latest comments by James Dobson or Tom Tancredo.
Huttner compares ProgressNow Action to more well-known liberal groups like and the Center for American Progress, but with a much more local focus.

Using the site to build online communities with shared progressive beliefs, Huttner said, is the best way to counter the forces on the other side, which mobilize quickly under a united ideology.

"The idea is to respond with speed," he said. "It's critical for progressives to be quicker, more targeted and with a clearer message."

Also critical, he said, is using local people to get the message out. Carole Onderdonk of Eagle showed up at Fiesta's Cafe in Edwards Wednesday to hear the ProgressNow message and said afterward it seemed like a good idea.

"I really like the idea of being able to be in touch with other Coloradans with a progressive leaning," she said. Onderdonk, who creates the newsletter for the Eagle County Democrats, compared the ProgressNow initiative to the strategy used by the Howard Dean campaign during the Democratic presidential primary.

"Dean had a lot of success with that bottom-up campaign," she said. "The more we get involved, the better off we are, and this is another tool."-from the story in the Vail Daily News (CO).

Monday, August 29, 2005

''The Emerging Progressive Blogosphere'' points us to the the "excellent summary" that Lynn Allen of Evergreen Politics has written of this memo by Chris Bowers and Matt Stoller.

''One Mother's Stand''

Coverage and video from Crawford via

Coffee Smell Reaches Russert's Nose

"MR. RUSSERT: We're at a critical stage in this war by everyone's estimation. And, General Downing, you raised the role of the media. There was widespread discussion about the role of the media in Vietnam, the media lost the war and so forth, but we're in a situation now where Cindy Sheehan, who lost a son, has encamped herself down in Crawford, Texas, is coming to Washington. There are anti-war demonstrations throughout the country. The reconstruction of the country has not occurred on pace. Money that was supposed to be used for reconstruction is being used to help secure the country. General Meigs, General McCaffrey, everybody, we in the media are covering the reality. Are we not obligated to do that even though it may not, in fact, "encourage," quote, unquote, the American people to support the war effort?"-from the post by J.J. Balzer of the American Politics Journal via The Smirking Chimp.

''Sheen, Sharpton visit Crawford anti-war camp''

"CRAWFORD, Texas - Cindy Sheehan hasn’t achieved a meeting with the president during her three-week war protest, but she met a man who plays one on TV.

Martin Sheen, who portrays the president on NBC’s “The West Wing,” visited Sheehan’s makeshift campsite Sunday.

“At least you’ve got the acting president of the United States,” Sheen said as the crowd of more than 300 people cheered. “I think you know what I do for a living, but this is what I do to stay alive.”-from the AP/Reuters story on MSNBC. They also have a slide show there: "One mother's vigil--Crawford clash--
Anti-war protesters and Bush supporters rally outside President Bush's Crawford, Texas, ranch." The Lone Star Iconoclast covers Sheen's visit: "West Wing’ Actor Sheen
Pays Visit To Camp Casey II,"
as does Crawford Update. Sheen told the Camp Casey supporters, "It is an Irish tradition. When a person had a disagreement with a landlord, for example, that person would vigil outside that landlord’s home until he came out to talk with them.” BradBlog has "Audio of Martin Sheen at Camp Casey," via Alaska Gyrl in Crawford has more photos from Sunday.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Crawford Update

Representatives of a dozen faith-based communities and beliefs gathered this morning for an interfaith prayer service. Each took a moment to express in their own words why this war must end. "We should not declare God to be on our side, but we should be on God's side," said one clergy member. Rev. Al Sharpton closed the service with a moving call to take history into our own hands. Maybe folks didn't have the courage to do what Cindy did, but the least we can do now is stand with her now, he urged.

After the service, over 4,000 roses were placed on the crosses in front of Camp Casey II. Each rose was paid for by an individual who gave $3 via Working Assets.

Today is also the 42nd anniversary of the Civil Rights March on Washington. I was talking to Maggie from New York City earlier. She has been here awhile now, so I asked her what's happening? Without hesitation, she reply, "Grassroots democracy in action. This is thrilling and unstoppable. It feels like the Civil Rights Movement of the 50's when I was a kid. I have that same feeling now." After a pause, she added, "I hope that I'm right."-Jeff Paterson has coverage and photos.

''The Vietnamization of Bush's Vacation''

"It's Casey Sheehan's mother, not those haggling in Baghdad's Green Zone, who really changed the landscape in the war this month. Not because of her bumper-sticker politics or the slick left-wing political operatives who have turned her into a circus, but because the original, stubborn fact of her grief brought back the dead the administration had tried for so long to lock out of sight. With a shove from Pat Robertson, her 15 minutes are now up, but even Mr. Robertson's antics revealed buyer's remorse about Iraq; his stated motivation for taking out Hugo Chávez by assassination was to avoid "another $200 billion war" to remove a dictator.

It isn't just Mr. Bush who is in a tight corner now. Ms. Sheehan's protest was the catalyst for a new national argument about the war that managed to expose both the intellectual bankruptcy of its remaining supporters on the right and the utter bankruptcy of the Democrats who had rubber-stamped this misadventure in the first place. When the war's die-hard cheerleaders attacked the Middle East policy of a mother from Vacaville, Calif., instead of defending the president's policy in Iraq, it was definitive proof that there is little cogent defense left to be made. When the Democrats offered no alternative to either Mr. Bush's policy or Ms. Sheehan's plea for an immediate withdrawal, it was proof that they have no standing in the debate.

Instead, two conservative Republicans - actually talking about Iraq instead of Ms. Sheehan, unlike the rest of their breed - stepped up to fill this enormous vacuum: Chuck Hagel and Henry Kissinger. Both pointedly invoked Vietnam, the war that forged their political careers. Their timing, like Ms. Sheehan's, was impeccable. Last week Mr. Bush started saying that the best way to honor the dead would be to "finish the task they gave their lives for" - a dangerous rationale that, as David Halberstam points out, was heard as early as 1963 in Vietnam, when American casualties in that fiasco were still inching toward 100. And what exactly is our task? Mr. Bush's current definition - "as the Iraqis stand up, we will stand down" - could not be a better formula for quagmire. Twenty-eight months after the fall of Saddam, only "a small number" of Iraqi troops are capable of fighting without American assistance, according to the Pentagon - a figure that Joseph Biden puts at "fewer than 3,000." At this rate, our 138,000 troops will be replaced by self-sufficient locals in roughly 100 years."-from Frank Rich's op-ed in Sunday's New York Times. Frank kicks ass today.

Washington Post: ''Near the President's Ranch, Protests Expand in the Heat''

"CRAWFORD, Tex., Aug. 27 -- They arrived in thousands from all corners of the country, asserting their right to protest in the name of war and peace near President Bush's ranch.

It was almost 100 in the shade, but the temperature in this dusty prairie town felt far higher, with protesters of wildly differing views and temperaments packing into narrow roads and small open spaces. Some came to party, some came to weep, a small number came spoiling for a fight -- police said there were two reports of assaults.

This weekend is the culmination of the standoff between Bush and war protester Cindy Sheehan, who arrived 21 days ago. She came asking Bush to meet with her, even though he had done so before, to discuss the war. Her protest snowballed, with the arrival of Sheehan sympathizers and then pro-war demonstrators. Both sides planned major rallies over the weekend because it is the last one before Bush ends his vacation and Sheehan leaves.

Chief Donnie Tidmore, head of the seven-member Crawford police force estimated that 8,500 protesters had descended on his town.

In three weeks, Sheehan, who lost her 24-year-old son, Army Spec. Casey Sheehan, in Iraq last year, has become the face of an invigorated antiwar movement. She has drawn praise from scores of supporters as well as condemnation from conservatives who believe she is motivated by a political agenda that dishonors fallen soldiers.

"This is America standing up and saying this is enough. Mr. Bush, you always said that if you are not for us, you are against us. Well, Mr. Bush, we are against you," she said to a standing ovation at a rally of her supporters.

"Why are we allowing him to continue to kill our kids, because he's killed so many already?" she asked. She then invited the crowd to turn toward Bush's ranch and chant "Not one more" -- not one more death -- 10 times so that the president might hear.

Her protest, timed to coincide with Bush's vacation and the usual news vacuum in August, mirrors the country's increasing fractiousness over the presence of U.S. troops in Iraq. Sheehan has said that if she fails to get a second audience with Bush before her self-imposed deadline of Wednesday, she will lead a bus tour to Washington, where she says she will set up a permanent vigil."-from the article on page 3 today, via

Live blogging...Indy & madame defarge together in peace at Camp Casey, August 28

"OK, now I'm really pissed off... Just caught the CNN news and they said something insinuating that there were "thousands" of Bush supporters and "hundreds" of Sheehan supporters.

Let me set the record straight here and now! That is an absolute lie. They only showed Camp Casey 1, where there were a handful of supporters for both sides. As we have said all day, Camp Casey 2 had at least 2000 people there. That's a fact.

This is why we must be the media."-from the post on

Saturday, August 27, 2005

''Sheehan's question deserves answer''

"It's good that Cindy Sheehan is asking questions. But what's it tell you that until now, so many of us did not?"-from Leonard Pitts' syndicated column. He has no answer and neither do I.

''Press Wants to Know if Pro-War Officials Will Send Their Own Kids to War''

"It's a question from the press sure to be posed more and more as the months go on, directed at public officials who continue to support the Iraq war: If you believe in the cause so deeply, why aren't your own kids signing up? Most prominently, President Bush (through his press spokesmen) is now hearing it, but it's now trickling down to the congressional and state level."-from Editor & Publisher.

Dean: Bush Needs to Take High Road on Gas Price Crisis

"President Bush has sat on his hands as ordinary Americans and their communities have been blindsided by skyrocketing gas prices," said Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean. "While oil companies have enjoyed record profits, President Bush's lack of leadership has allowed the gas price crisis to spiral out of control, leaving painful decisions to state and local governments. It is time for President Bush and the Republicans in Washington to put the pedal to the metal and steer us toward a sound strategy for reducing gas prices."-from the DNC.


Susan Hu, one of this site's best friends and a tireless blogger is in the hospital: "I just got off the phone with Susan's daughter Darcy. Susan was feeling nauseous and had chest pains last night so Darcy took her to the hospital. They ran some tests and said her heart looked fine and she had not had a heart attack. But they kept her overnight for observation. She is probably going to be staying overnight again tonight as they run some more tests. Darcy says she is bored and wants to get back to blogging.
Darcy is bringing her a laptop later today, but we don't know if there is any wifi connection. At worst, she can play solitaire or something. Beats watching television.

Hopefully, I'll have a chance to talk to her once Darcy arrives with her cell phone. I'll be sure to give her all your well wishes."-from BooMan on Booman Tribune. All our cyberlove and strength goes out to you.


"I finally figured out George Bush's NEW reason for staying in Iraq. This reason has also been co-opted by the Move America Forward (forward to what: Fascism?) and the poor mothers who would be honored if their sons were killed in George Bush's war for greed and power.

Since the Freedom and Democracy thing is not going so well and the Iraqi parliament is having such a hard time writing their constitution. Since violence is mounting against Iraqis and Americans and since his poll numbers are going down everyday, he had to come up with something.

I have continually asked George Bush to quit using Casey's name the name of the other Gold Star Families for Peace loved ones to justify his continued killing. He continues to say this: "We have to honor the sacrifices of the fallen by completing the mission." So the mission is now this: WE MUST CONTINUE KILLING AMERICANS BECAUSE AMERICANS HAVE ALREADY BEEN KILLED!!!

How can anyone, anyone in their right minds support this line of reasoning? I have been silent on the Gold Star Moms who still support this man and his war by saying that they deserve the right to their opinions because they are in as much pain as I am. I would challenge them, though, at this point to start thinking for themselves. Iraq DID NOT have WMD's; Iraq WAS NOT linked to Al Qaeda and 9/11; Iraq WAS NOT a threat or danger to America. How can these moms who still support George Bush and his insane war in Iraq want more innocent blood shed just because their sons or daughters have been killed? I don't understand it. I don't understand how any mother could want another mother to feel the pain we feel. I am starting to lose a little compassion for them. I know they have been as brainwashed as the rest of America, but they know the pain and heartache and they should not wish it on another. However, I still feel their pain so acutely and pray for these "continue the murder and mayhem" moms to see the light.

I didn't do my blog last night because I was so exhausted. I am now lying awake at night thinking and worrying about a couple of things. First of all, how can we keep the momentum of Camp Casey going? Our first step is a bus tour consisting of three buses going through 3 different parts of the country, stopping at various places to do rallies and "visit" Congress people's offices. I had a brainstorm during my press conference yesterday...our first stop will be at Mr.Tom Delay's office. I just opened my mouth and the words came out and the Bus Tour organizers re-worked the bus schedule so we could make that happen. But before we even issued the invitation to Tom Delay, his office had released a statement saying that he was "too busy to meet with me." In taking Camp Casey to Congress we are creating problems for the very people who voted to give George the authority to invade an innocent country and cause the deaths of so many people. We will eventually target every Congress person, pro-peace or anti-peace alike, Republican or Democrat, and ask them the same questions we are asking the president. Except with Congress, we are going to add one more thing: "Since there is no Noble Cause, you need to develop a speedy exit strategy and bring our troops home as soon as humanly possible." Check out www. for more info on our bus tour and how you can be involved.

The second thing that worries the crap out of me is the almost icon status that I have achieved. I never set out to become the "Rosa Parks of the Peace Movement." I ventured out on August 6, 2005 to hold George Bush accountable and to raise awareness about his lies and misuse and abuse of power. I didn't set out to become anyone's hero. I am a regular mom who just wants peace and no one else to be murdered for the deceptions of our government. I love the love and support of America: it is what sustains me through these very difficult times and the reich-wing smear campaign. I am blown away and humbled that people are coming from all over the world to meet me and have their pictures taken with me. I am honored when people ask me for my autograph and I love meeting the little ones. I think we really need to focus our energies on the cause of peace, though...and the message, not the messenger. I am not a perfect person. I am strong and I do have the cajones to tell the world that our "emperor" has no clothes, but it is done out of love of Casey and the others who have died and who are in harm's way and out of the simple fact that at the end of the day I have to look at myself in the mirror. If I didn't do everything in my power to end this monstrosity of an occupation in Iraq, how could I do that? I promised my boy that I would make the world a better place for his unborn nieces and nephews, and I mean to keep that promise.

We are going to have an eventful day at Camp Casey. We are holding a big rally and so are the "pro-continue the killing because Americans have died already" people. I am a little apprehensive about this. We know that the Sheriff's know that the other people are coming to stir up trouble and provoke us into violence. Well, that is not going to happen on the Camp Casey side. We will not resort to the same tactics as their leaders.

Camp Casey is a place of peace and love and we won't let ignorant citizens bring us down. At this point the smears are amusing me, rather than hurting me.

I will keep you all posted about today's events. Please pray for us that everyone keeps a cool head. Peace!!!!"-Cindy Sheehan on Kos today.


"Joan Baez sang about four times this afternoon, a couple of the songs being Joe Hill, The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down.

Cindy Sheehan spoke at the rally and at a press conference just after that.

Sheehan said that before she came down here, someone told her, "You should go down in a pasture near Bush's ranch and thousands of people would come and you ought to call it Turdstock, so let's call it Turdstock."

She said that one question in her mind when she first arrived in Crawford was, "When will America care?" Now, she says, she knows that America cares.

Sheehan talked about her plans to take her message to the communities, that it is a grassroots movement that's growing and growing. She said, "I couldn't stop it now if I wanted to. It's got a life of its own. We'll take it to the cities, then the House and the Senate." She reiterated that the insurgency is fueled by our presence.She says she thinks it will stop if we leave."-from continuing coverage today on The Lone Star Iconoclast. Jeff Paterson has stepped in for Emily Sharpe on Crawford Update, with continuing coverage and photos.

"The Calm Before"

"It's very, very early morning on Saturday, August 27, in Crawford, Texas. The roads are as dark as Dick Cheney's heart, and the stars as numerous as W's lies. All hell has not yet broken loose and may or may not do so later today. But the police are telling the media that they're preparing for trouble. And Camp Casey 2 ran a workshop yesterday on how to nonviolently respond to hostility. (Watch video on

Huge numbers of supporters of Cindy Sheehan are expected here today, along with a rumored crowd of pro-war activists (whether it will be of any size remains to be seen). And then there's the rumor that local military recruiters will work the crowd if it materializes at the high school stadium. This is one of those rumors that makes a little too much sense to seem true. What, after all, does it mean to be a pro-war activist if not to sign up and engage in the war?"-from David Swanson's post on

From Camp Casey, Crawford to Washington DC

"We are currently at a significant turning point in how the American public views the war in Iraq. As the death toll in Iraq rises, Cindy Sheehan’s vigil near President Bush’s ranch in Crawford, Texas, has captured the hearts and minds of thousands of Americans.

On August 31st, the last day of the encampment, the Bring Them Home Now Tour will launch three buses from Crawford, Texas, each carrying military and Gold Star families, veterans of the Iraq War and veterans of previous wars. These buses will travel different routes across the country, converging in Washington, DC on September 21, for the United for Peace and Justice Mobilization September 24th-26th."-from

Brad Show/Air America To Simulcast From Crawford Saturday Night

Both RAW STORY and The Lone Star Iconoclast have coverage of this event tonight. This weekend, Brad Friedman plans to broadcast eight hours each day, beginning at 1 PM EST/ 10 AM PST. The Air America simulcast will begin at 7 PM EST / 4 PST. In Seattle, Air America is at AM1090 or online here. The Brad Show is online here.
Update: AM1090 in Seattle airs the Laura Flanders show at 7pm on Saturday so that is when you can hear the broadcast from Crawford on the radio. You can listen online to Air America at 4pm here.

Friday, August 26, 2005

''Cindy's Ad Just Aired on CNN''

"I cannot describe how I felt, just now, as I stood transfixed in front of my television set -- wondering what channel I'd turned on? could it be CNN? -- and seeing Cindy's ad. Oh, I've seen her ad aired on talk shows. But it's nothing like seeing that ad -- speaking directly to me, on my livingroom television set -- outside a political talking head context.
It is utterly simple and overwhelmingly powerful. I'm thrilled this ad is being aired nationally. Would that this ad could be aired on every TV station. There's not a person alive who would not be touched by Cindy's sincere message and honest, pure face.

She is Casey's mother. And she mourns him. She only wants to know why he died. It is the ceaseless, gnawing question of every mother who's ever lost a child, particularly in a dangerous environment in which a powerful leader has placed her child.

We can donate to the group listed at the ad's conclusion, where you can view Cindy's ad."-from Susan Hu's post on Booman Tribune.

''Warriors in Crawford''

"CRAWFORD, TEXAS — “I just wanted to see what all the fuss was about,” I told the hulking Secret Service man standing over me in front of the entrance to George W. Bush’s vacation home. It was my first day in Crawford, Texas, at Camp Casey and I had traveled there with Patrick, an Arlington West peace group staple and a conscientious objector from the ’60s.

On Tuesday, Day 3 of Cindy Sheehan’s stand in Crawford, Kathleen from Arlington West, Woody from the Topanga Peace Alliance, and June from Global Exchange packed 1,000 crosses in Los Angeles into the back of a donated Suburban and sped to Texas. By Thursday the crosses, a visual representation of the human cost of war, stood next to Camp Casey as a show of solidarity and in support of Cindy’s question — What is the noble cause that my son died for?

By the time we arrived on Saturday, the camp was in full swing and counter-protesters were showing up by the truckload. Armed with American flags and “Cut and run traitors” signs and many “Casey died for me” banners. Gathered in Camp Casey were veterans and activists from across the country. Peace prevailed through early afternoon under the hot Texas sun and sweltering humidity until about 3 p.m. The counter-demonstrators moved closer, shouting “Freedom isn’t free.” The Texas cops stood 30 strong and the folks at Camp Casey stood relatively silent.

I watched through Woody’s binoculars as a police helicopter circled the camp. As the chopper drew closer and closer to the ground, storm clouds gathered. The shouting increased now on both sides and a Vietnam vet kept insisting, “You don’t know. You haven’t been there. You just don’t know.” He stood chest to chest with the “Freedom isn’t free” guy, each man clinging to his beliefs. At the height of the confrontation, the Vietnam vet looked to the sky and his face contorted into horror. He saw the chopper and suddenly it wasn’t Crawford, Texas. It was Vietnam. He collapsed in a heap and wept uncontrollably. Five Vietnam vets rushed to his side and carried him under a tent. They shielded him from view, putting their bodies between the sobbing man and the media. I watched the press as they politely waited for him to have his “moment” and for the human wall to move so their lenses could peek into the anguish of this grown man."-from the article in the LA Weekly by April Fitzsimmons.

''Republican Congressman Breaks Ranks, Joins Demand for Documents''

"Congressman Jim Leach (R, Iowa) has informed Congresswoman Barbara Lee
(D, California) that he will co-sponsor her Resolution of Inquiry into
Bush Administration communications with the U.K. about Iraq at the time
of the Downing Street Memos. Leach is the first Republican member of
Congress to publicly support a demand for an inquiry into the Bush
Administration's pre-war claims.
"-from David Swanson's article in Political Affairs.


"On Saturday, the population of Crawford is expected to swell by thousands. At Camp Casey, entertainment on the stage is planned all day. People are being encouraged to come to that location instead of Camp Casey I.

The intense heat and the possibility of clashes between pro-war and anti-war supporters may make Saturday a dangerous day. Caution is being urged and people are instructed to keep their tempers at bay."-from the post on The Lone Star Iconoclast, with photos, Friday evening. KWTX Channel 10 in Waco/Temple/Killeen
has "Authorities Brace For A Perfect Storm In Crawford (with video): The population of Crawford could increase tenfold this weekend as anti-war and pro-Bush protesters stream into town for vigils and rallies.

As many as 7,000 demonstrators could gather in and around the town of about 700 people near the President’s Central Texas ranch, and local authorities spent the day Friday making plans to deal with the crowds and the potential for problems.

The combination of high summer temperatures and high emotions could lead to confrontations that authorities hope to defuse quickly.

Momentum for the weekend of demonstrations both for and against the war and the President’s policy on Iraq has been building ever since Cindy Sheehan of Vacaville, Calif. began what at first was a quiet vigil along a rural roadside, demanding a meeting with the President about the death of her son Casey, 24, a 1st Cavalry Division soldier who was killed in 2004 in Iraq.

Sheehan’s protest quickly attracted the attention of the White House press corps and within days was receiving national and international attention and generating local and national controversy.

Other anti-war demonstrators joined Sheehan’s vigil at “Camp Casey” while Bush supporters countered by erecting their own camp in downtown Crawford.

Dubbed “Fort Qualls,” it is named in honor of Temple Marine Lance Cpl. Louis Qualls, who died in action in Iraq.

Sheehan drew even more fire from Bush supporters when she appeared in a TV spot that aired on commercial and cable stations in the Central Texas market.

The group Gold Star Families for Peace paid for the ad time and also placed spots earlier this week on stations in Salt Lake City, Utah and Boise, Idaho, where the President made speeches defending the war and the need to keep U.S. troops in Iraq until conditions stabilize.

The group spent $67,000 this week to run the ad nationally on CNN and the Fox News Channel

Bush supporters, in response, produced their own ad this week featuring Louis Qualls’ father Gary, who accuses Sheehan of cruelty and challenges her to a debate.

Sheehan’s protest has attracted some high visibility supporters including folksinger Joan Baez and rebel musician Steve Earle.

The Rev. Al Sharpton will reportedly visit Camp Casey this weekend."

''Is Feingold the Next Dean or Wellstone?''

"Sen. Russ Feingold unveiled his proposal for withdrawal from Iraq at several Los Angeles events this week, sounding like Howard Dean in 2003 by telling Democratic activists and potential funders that the Democratic Party is "too timid".

Feingold is the first U.S. Senator to offer a specific proposal for withdrawal by the end of next year. In doing so, he may change the dynamic of the Senate Democrats who are dominated by the pro-war views of Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden. If Feingold's proposal, which be floated in a series of speeches around the country, receives a warm response from Democratic and independent audiences, it may force other senators to re-position themselves on the war.

Feingold acknowledges that he is "considering" a presidential run in 2008, but is far from decided. Most of the party's elites, and a considerable portion of its base, are loyal to Hillary Clinton who takes a hardline hawkish position on Iraq despite polls showing 85 percent of Democrats see the war as mistaken.

The Feingold factor may begin to realign Democratic thinking at a time when the Cindy Sheehan crusade has fired up the grass roots. Incumbent politicians will return to Washington in September when exit strategy hearings are scheduled for Sept. 15, followed by massive protests and lobbying Sept. 24-26. Feingold believes that many Democratic officials will be "asking themselves how to do something against the war" in September. Already, for example, former Sen. John Edwards has begun the re-positioning process by his wife's moving letter to Cindy Sheehan.

Feingold's Iraq resolution, while bold by Senate standards, is cautiously-phrased in comparison with peace movement demands. Recently co-authored by Sen. Barbara Boxer, the Feingold resolution calls on the administration to provide a timeframe for achieving its military goals and withdrawing all troops. In his Los Angeles presentations, Feingold said he was flexible about the one-year deadline. "It's to start the discussion. Let others offer their ideas", he said.

Both supporters and critics may forget the political context of Feingold's proposal to pick instead on its sparse details. Already many in the peace movement think a one-year timetable is too long while pundits at the LA Times echo President Bush in claiming that timetables will be exploited by the enemy. Feingold is on solid ground with most Americans, however; even a Fox News call-in poll revealed a majority favoring a one-year pullout. As for the Times's criticism of deadlines, Feingold replies that, according to that logic, the insurgents could stop fighting today, wait for the US to pull out, then take over Iraq.

The best that can be said of Feingold's proposal is that it is a brave departure from the ice house of the Senate, with potential for being developed further as he travels the country. Its main deficiency is the lack of an exit strategy, which might consist of appointing a peace envoy, commencing talks with insurgent groups, along with confidence-building declarations that the US has no interest in permanent military bases or privatizing the Iraqi economy for foreign investors. Most, though not all, Americans are hesitant about military withdrawal without accompanying efforts at a negotiated political settlement. That is why the Bush Administration works so feverishly at creating the appearance of progress towards an Iraqi constitutional process.

Feingold's caution was displayed at a Town Hall meeting Wednesday morning when he spent thirty minutes describing his Iraq proposal as a "course correction" in the larger war on terrorism. It is characteristic of Beltway Democratic thinking to frame even anti-war criticism as part of pro-war rhetoric on terrorism. It is true, of course, that all Americans live on borrowed time because of the probability of another 9/11 attack, and it is true that the war in Iraq is a rallying point for would-be martyr-bombers. But the debate over the war cannot be reduced to which party is "tougher" on national security. The reasons that voters are anti-war are due to the Bush Administration's deceit, the needless deaths in an unnecessary conflict, the one billion dollars spent per week, the war profiteering, the deepening of our global isolation, and the shame brought to America by prison torture.

The strongest moment in Feingold's Town Hall speech came at the end when, struggling with genuine emotion, he spoke of his 25-year old daughter in London. He wanted her to go as far as possible in life, he said, and "always be welcomed as an American, which any parent should want for their child."

Feingold's effort is a work in process. But already he has ended the silence of the Senate and aligned himself with the grass roots majority. Beyond his Iraq initiative, Feingold represents an attractive, progressive profile in courage on other issues. He consistently opposes his colleagues on trade agreements that lack enforceable worker and environmental protections. He was the only Senator to vote against the Patriot Act. He has opposed the death penalty for many years. He fights to reclaim the label "patriot" from the right-wing. He comes from a state with a long history of populism, labor struggles, and isolationism capable of producing both reactionary and progressive populists. He has the qualities of a new Paul Wellstone."-Tom Hayden on Common Dreams.

''Who Will Say 'No More'?''

"Waist deep in the Big Muddy and the big fool said to push on," warned an anti-Vietnam war song those many years ago. The McGovern presidential campaign, in those days, which I know something about, is widely viewed as a cause for the decline of the Democratic Party, a gateway through which a new conservative era entered.

Like the cat that jumped on a hot stove and thereafter wouldn't jump on any stove, hot or cold, today's Democratic leaders didn't want to make that mistake again. Many supported the Iraq war resolution and -- as the Big Muddy is rising yet again -- now find themselves tongue-tied or trying to trump a war president by calling for deployment of more troops. Thus does good money follow bad and bad politics get even worse. My generation of Democrats jumped on the hot stove of Vietnam and now, with its members in positions of responsibility, it is afraid of jumping on any political stove. In their leaders, the American people look for strength, determination and self-confidence, but they also look for courage, wisdom, judgment and, in times of moral crisis, the willingness to say: "I was wrong."

To stay silent during such a crisis, and particularly to harbor the thought that the administration's misfortune is the Democrats' fortune, is cowardly. In 2008 I want a leader who is willing now to say: "I made a mistake, and for my mistake I am going to Iraq and accompanying the next planeload of flag-draped coffins back to Dover Air Force Base. And I am going to ask forgiveness for my mistake from every parent who will talk to me. The real defeatists today are not those protesting the war. The real defeatists are those in power and their silent supporters in the opposition party who are reduced to repeating "Stay the course" even when the course, whatever it now is, is light years away from the one originally undertaken. The truth is we're way off course. We've stumbled into a hornet's nest. We've weakened ourselves at home and in the world. We are less secure today than before this war began.

Who now has the courage to say this?"-Gary Hart in The Washington Post.

''The Peaceful Occupation of Crawford - Day 19''

"Today when I was driving back and forth between Camp Casey II and the Crawford Peace House, I saw a lot of signs that say "I'm4W" "Support our Troops" and the one I hate the most: "Freedom isn't Free." I have excerpted an article I wrote a few months ago called: A Lie of Historic Proportions. I am not feeling well tonight, so I am heading to bed before six a.m. tonight.

Iraq has been the tragic Lie of Historic Proportions of Washington, DC since before the first Gulf war. For years, Saddam was one of our government's propped up and militarily supported puppets. Many people have seen the famous footage of Donald Rumsfeld shaking hands with Saddam. I suppose the two are smiling so big for the cameras because they are kindred spirits. After all of the hand-shaking and weapon brokering, when did Saddam become such a bad guy to Bush, Cheney, Halliburton and Co.? (Insert your favorite reason here).

During the Clinton regime the US-UN led sanctions against Iraq and the weekly bombing raids killed tens of thousands of people in Iraq. Many of them were children, but since one of her children didn't have to be sacrificed to the homicidal war machine, Madeline Albright, thinks the slaughter during the "halcyon" Clinton years was "worth it." More lies.

Anyone with even a rudimentary understanding of current events understands that this invasion/occupation of Iraq was not about Saddam being a "bad guy." If that logic is used, then how many innocent Iraqi people have to die before the citizens of America wake up and know that our government is a "bad guy?" We also know that Iraq was not about WMD's. They weren't there and they weren't going to be there for at least a decade, by all reports. Another reason, so wispy and more difficult to disprove, is that America invaded Iraq to bring freedom and democracy to the Iraqi people. When one tries to dispute this particular deception, one is accused of being unpatriotic or hating freedom. Even though correct, the statement "Freedom isn't Free" is very insulting to me. False freedom is very expensive. Fake freedom costs about two billion of our tax dollars a week; phony freedom has cost the Iraqi people tens of thousands of innocent lives; fanciful freedom has meant the destruction of a country and its infrastructure. Tragically, this fabricated notion of freedom and democracy cost me far more than I was willing to pay: the life of my son, Casey. The Lie of Historic Proportions also cost me my peace of mind; I do not feel free and I do not feel like I live in a democracy.

Casey took an oath to protect the US from all enemies "foreign and domestic." He was sent to occupy and die in a foreign country that was no threat to the USA. However, the biggest threat to our safety, humanity, and our way of life in America are George and his cronies. Congress made a Mistake of Historic Proportions and waived its Constitutional responsibility to declare war. It is time for the House to make up for that mistake and introduce a Resolution of Inquiry into the Downing Street Memos.

It is time to put partisan politics behind us to do what is correct for once and reclaim America's humanity. It is time for Congress and the American people to work together in peace and justice to rid our country of the stench of greed, hypocrisy, and unnecessary suffering that permeates our White House and our halls of Congress. It is time to hold someone accountable for the carnage and devastation that has been caused. As a matter of fact, it is past time, but it is not too late."-Cindy Sheehan on BuzzFlash.

CNN also aired this short clip of Cindy "talking about the families that don't approve of her anti-war sentiments."-video via Crooks and Liars.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

"Blogging in the Crawford Heat"

"I came to Crawford today, and it's a little different from DC in several ways, but mostly it's hotter. I've been to both Camp Caseys, and am blogging this from the cool of the Crawford Peace House. At Camp Casey 1, I went across the road and talked to the half-dozen pro-war protesters. (There are police in the middle who have declared that there must be no interaction, but I didn't ask their permission.) I asked the pro-warers what they would tell Cindy Sheehan her son died for. Some of them couldn't come up with any reason for the war. A couple of them came up with this: Saddam Hussein would not have allowed Cindy Sheehan to protest on his road, and the war is being fought to protect that right in the US."-David Swanson on


"During Cindy Sheehan's press conference this morning, she told the media that she will leave Crawford on Aug. 31. She will begin a bus tour of several cities on the following day, and be in Washington, D.C. on Sept. 24 to begin a permanent vigil."-from the post on The Lone Star Iconclast. More coverage and photos from Emily Sharpe on Crawford Update here.
The AP has "Cindy Sheehan Planning Anti-War Bus Tour." RAW STORY has "Exclusive: Cindy Sheehan speaks to crowd at Camp Casey." There is also a link to the audio of her comments on THE BRAD BLOG.

''Rove 101''

"Any political reporter who doesn’t recognize the going-after-the-wife gambit as Rove 101 should be hanged for dereliction of duty."-Molly Ivins writing in The Progressive. Thanks to The Smirking Chimp for the tip.

''Support Feingold's Call for a Timeline to End the Occupation of Iraq''

"The new Iraqi government is in the final stages of drafting a constitution. Regrettably, the constitution currently under debate is almost sure to include Islamic "Sharia" law as a basis for all legislation. Ironically, this will mean that as a result of the U.S. invasion, women in Iraq will have significantly fewer legal rights than they were afforded even under the despotic regime of Saddam Hussein.

All the same, the Iraqi people will soon have a government and a constitution in place, and the purpose of an ongoing presence of American troops is increasingly unclear -- even to some who supported the invasion. However, it is abundantly clear that without a specific commitment to a withdrawal date, we will only continue to create more terrorists, inspired to jihad by what they see as permanent American occupation of their country.

While the President considered it productive to set and enforce a timetable for the drafting of an Iraqi constitution, he does not feel the same way about specifying a timeframe to bring our troops home from Iraq. Senator Russ Feingold of Wisconsin has now "broken the taboo" and is calling on the President to complete our primary military goal -- and bring American troops home -- by December 31, 2006. Senator Feingold needs and deserves our support if America is ever to get our troops out of the quagmire that Iraq has become.

Urge your Senator to publicly support Sen. Feingold's call for completion of our mission in Iraq by December 31st, 2006.-from ActforChange.

''Camp Casey, Day 18''

"I got up really early today to head back to Camp Casey. On the way, I had some amazing conversations with people. In one of those conversations, I was talking to Tyler who was sitting next to me on one of the planes.

We were not talking about me and what I have been doing. Randomly, he told me he had just been in Texas about an hour north of Crawford. I said: "Wow that's where I am going and that's where I have been all month." He said: "I know I own a television." I thought that was pretty cute.

I got to Camp Casey and I arrived with a mom whose son, John, was killed on January 26, 2005, and his wife and baby, who never met his dad. We arrived in Waco at about 4:30 to the local press. The White House Press Corps was still with the president.

When I arrived at Camp Casey II this afternoon I was amazed at what has changed since I was gone. Now, we have a huge tent to get out of the sun; caterers; an orientation tent; a medic tent (with medics); a chapel, etc.

The most emotional thing for me though was walking through the main tent and seeing the huge painting on canvas of Casey. Many things hit me all at once: That this huge movement began because of Casey's sacrifice; thousands, if not millions of people know about Casey and how he lived his life and the wrongful way in which he was killed; but the thing that hit me the hardest was how much I miss him. I miss him more everyday. It seems the void in my life grows as time goes on and I realize I am never going to see him again or hear his voice. In addition to all this, the portrait is so beautiful and moving and it captures Casey's spirit so well. I sobbed and sobbed. I was surrounded by photographers, I looked around until I finally found a friendly face, then the news people crushed in on me and I couldn't breathe. I didn't mean to have such a dramatic re-entrance to Camp Casey, but the huge portrait of Casey really surprised me.

I can take all of the right wing attacks on me. I have been lied about and to before. Their attacks just show how much I am getting to them and how little truth they have to tell. What really hurts me the most is when people say that I am dishonoring Casey by my protest in Crawford. By wanting our troops to come home alive and well, that I am somehow not supporting them.

So, after Joan Baez gave us a great concert tonight, I got up and I talked about Casey. About the sweet boy who grew up to be a remarkable young man. Casey was not always a brave, big soldier man. He was my sweet, sweet baby once. I told the people at the Camp named after him, that when he was about 2 years old, he would come up behind me and throw his arms around my legs, kiss me on the butt and say: "I wuv you mama." I also talked about the loving big brother and wonderful, nearly perfect son. Casey was a regular guy who wanted to get married, have a family, be an elementary school teacher, and a Deacon in the Catholic Church. He wanted to be a Chaplain?s assistant in the Army, but was lied to about that also by his recruiter. The last time I talked to him when he called from Kuwait, ! he was on his way to mass.

For Casey to even join the Army, let alone being killed in battle was the thing that was most uncharacteristic of him. He was a gentle and kind soul who only wanted to help others. What did his untimely and unnecessary death accomplish? It accomplished reinvigorating a peace movement that was sincere, but not very active -- or if active, not well covered by the main stream media.

Joan sang the song Joe Hill In it Joe Hill says: "I never died." Well, looking out at the faces here at Camp Casey, and knowing that for everyone who is present here, there are thousands of others who support our work, I am convinced that Casey never died, and he never will. When I look into the eyes of the kind and gentle souls who have come here, I see Casey and the faces of all the others killed in George Bush?s war for greed and profit. We will never forget them and we will honor them by working for peace.

Joan also sang "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot." A thousand angels waiting there for me? I know Casey will be waiting for me when it is my turn, and I know when I finally get there he?'s going to hug me and say: "Good job, Mom."-Cindy Sheehan posting on

Cindy Sheehan Returns to Camp Casey

Emily Sharpe continues her coverage including photos on Crawford Update. The Lone Star Iconoclast has ongoing coverage here and here. Emily writes: "Cindy was so thrilled to make it to Crawford before Joan Baez left. Joan asked Cindy if she had any requests, and indeed she did: Cindy asked her to sing "Joe Hill."--- The music to "Joe Hill" was written by Seattle native Earl Robinson, who became my stepfather when my mother remarried after my father died.

''We've Got Jim's Back''

"It's time for us to stand up with our Congressman, Rep. Jim McDermott. We elected him to do an important job for us, and we will not allow the radical right's attempt to silence our Congressman or to infringe on our right to know about the workings of our government.

The Friends for Jim McDermott Committee is organizing house parties throughout Washington's 7th Congressional District and beyond. We need committed and fun progressive activists who will stand up with Jim as house party hosts. Show the radical right that You've Got Jim's Back by signing up TODAY to host a house party!

The We've Got Jim's Back house parties will be held on Sunday, September 25th, 1-3PM. The minimum donation is an affordable $35. There will be a conference call with Congressman McDermott during the party."-from McDermott for Congress.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005


"Camp Casey supporters have provided the following information: Cindy Sheehan will arrive at the Waco Airport at 4:30 p.m. today. It is anticipated that she will make stops at both camps after her return to Crawford. All public activities will cease at 6:30. She will be grant no interviews today."-from The Lone Star Iconoclast.

''Tell Congress we need an exit plan from Iraq''

"Cindy Sheehan's vigil in Texas has put the problems of the Iraq war on TV and in the newspapers—forcing President Bush and congressional leaders to deal with them. Now, the Bush administration has launched a public relations tour of the country to convince the public that things aren't going so badly in Iraq. As part of that tour, President Bush implied yesterday that Iraq attacked us on September 11—a deception meant to justify his failures in Iraq.1

We need leaders who will step up and say, "enough is enough."

Now, we might have the beginnings of a sea change in Congress. Republican Congressman Walter Jones, the formerly pro-war Republican representative who coined the term "Freedom Fries," joined a bi-partisan group of legislators this summer to call for a concrete plan to bring our troops home from Iraq.2 Will you call your representative and urge them to sign on as a co-sponsor?

Call: Congressman Jim McDermott,
Phone: 202-225-3106.
Tell the staffer who answers something like the following,

"My name is _________ and I am a constituent of Rep. McDermott. I am calling to ask him to sign on as co-sponsor of the Homeward Bound Act—House Joint Resolution 55—to insist that we have a real plan to bring our troops home from Iraq. It is bipartisan and an important step in the right direction."

After you make a call, please report your call by clicking here.
The resolution, known as the Homeward Bound Act (House Joint Resolution 55), was introduced by Jones, fellow Republican Rep. Ron Paul and Democratic Congressmen Neil Abercrombie and Dennis Kucinich. It would require the president to put together a plan by the end of the year for bringing home all U.S. forces from Iraq—with troop withdrawal beginning no later than October 1, 2006. It is an important step in the right direction, and with Republican co-sponsors it creates real pressure to change course.

There are 50 members of Congress who have signed up as co-sponsors of the Homeward Bound Act. That's a good start but we need more—our goal is to have more than 100 co-sponsors by the time Congress returns September 6. If we can do that it will show that Cindy Sheehan's vigil has added to the pressure on our leaders to come up with a real plan for Iraq."-from Jeez, aren't you as surprised as me that Jim hasn't already put his pen to paper on this?

Crawford Update

More photos and news by Emily Sharpe, and continuing coverage from The Lone Star Iconoclast.

"Camp Casey, PTA"

"Cindy Sheehan's rapidly-growing contingent of moms in floppy hats and comfortable shoes throws the cowardice of the opposition into sharp relief."-another diary from a visitor to Crawford, Amanda Marcotte.

''In a permanent slump''

"Democratic leaders haven't been able to come up with a message that doesn't echo Bush's war policy.-- WASHINGTON -- If Democratic Party leaders were listening to me, I'd give them some good old-fashioned advice: Run to the head of the parade so that you can lead it.

As remarkable as President Bush's slump in the polls has been for his handling of the war during these dog days of discontent, so is the failure of Democrats to benefit from the president's tumble in the polls.

In an early August Newsweek poll, for example, 61 percent of those surveyed disapproved of Bush's handling of the Iraq war and only 26 percent agreed with his wish to keep American troops there for "as long as it takes."

As Bush's approval ratings have diminished, the Democrats have not benefited. Just 42 percent of Americans approved of congressional Democrats, according to a June Washington Post-ABC News poll, a figure that was about 2 percentage points lower than Bush's.

And, going into the August congressional recess, polls were showing disapproval of Congress' performance to be higher than it has been since 1994, the year voters swept Democrats out of power on Capitol Hill. Unfortunately for Democratic incumbents, their approvals have not been significantly higher than those of their Republican counterparts.

The public sees the problem that Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) described Sunday on ABC's "This Week": America is getting "locked into a bogged-down problem" like Vietnam. "The longer we stay, the more problems we are going to have," said the decorated Vietnam veteran and a possible 2008 presidential candidate.

Yet, while the debate over the Iraq war has erupted between Republicans and Republicans, Democrats wrestle with an ambivalence that reminds me of Gore Vidal's description of the Vietnam War-era Congress: Unsure of whether to be hawks or doves, they sound like capons."-from Clarence Page's column in The Chicago Tribune today.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

''My Response to George as he Speaks From his Vacation Away From his Vacation''

"Bringing our troops home from the quagmire that he has gotten us into will be weakening the United States? George: even if you pretend you didn't know that Saddam did not have weapons of mass destruction and Iraq was not threat to the USA before you invaded, Americans know differently. We have read the reports and the Downing Street Memos. We know you had to "fit the intelligence around the policy" of invading Iraq. I want to know what your real reasons were.
"In brief remarks outside the resort where he is vacationing, Bush gave no indication that he would change his mind and meet with Sheehan after he returns to his Texas ranch Wednesday evening. Sheehan lost a son in Iraq and has emerged as a harsh critic of the war."
I will be back in Crawford, George: Even closer to you now in Camp Casey II. Why don't you channel some courage from my son and come down and face me. Face the truth. Your house of cards built on smoke and mirrors is crumbling and you know it.
"Sheehan has been maintaining a vigil outside Bush's ranch, a demonstration that has been joined by more and more other anti-war protesters."
Because I am not the only one in America who wants the answers, America wants the answers.
"Bush said that two high-ranking members of his staff already met with her earlier this month and that he met with her last year."
I didn't go to Crawford to meet with Steven "Yellow cake uranium liar" Hadley or the other "high-ranking" official they sent out. I went to meet with George. Does he get that yet? I did meet with him 10 weeks after his insane and arrogant Iraq war policies killed Casey and 9 weeks after I buried my oldest child. George: things are different between you and I now."-from Cindy Sheehan's piece on The Huffington Post. Read the whole thing. It rocks.

''Only One Thing Left to Conclude: The Media Want the War''

"Back in May when ABC News openly justified the media's refusal to cover the Iraq War, I thought it couldn't get worse. Then, a few months later, I saw that it could, as the Washington Post began trying to intimidate Democratic politicians and prevent them from standing up to voice opposition to the war. I figured that was rock bottom, but in recent days, we've seen that yes, the braindead insulated elitists in the Beltway media have found an even lower road to take than even this. In the last 48 hours, we've seen the "objective" mainstream media now openly attacking people who oppose the Iraq War. Mind you, these aren't the editorialists or the opinion pundits, these are the people who are supposed to be telling the objective truth - and instead they are literally attacking war critics."-David Sirota writing on The Huffington Post.


For Tuesday August 23, click here, from The Lone Star Iconoclast. Crawford Update has "Come one, come all!" for its update headline today. They add: "If you can't come to Crawford this weekend, we urge you to set up Camp Caseys in your hometowns! Pick a safe, conspicuous area, and bring lots of water, umbrellas and suncreen. Make pro-peace posters with your favorite (appropriate) slogans. Engage in stimulating political discourse. Get each other excited about taking an active role in the peace process. Listen to some fun music. Etc." Susan Goes to Crawford says goodbye with these photos. Carly Miller posts "The Crawford Experience" on as a diary of her time there.

''A split over war, the wimp thing, and how to win''

"At a time when the Iraq war is draining President Bush's popularity, you might think that the Democrats would have a consensus plan of their own for ending the bloodshed and winning the peace.

But no such plan exists - because the party's liberal grassroots base and the cautious Washington establishment are too busy warring with each other.

The liberals, emboldened by growing antiwar sentiment in the polls, essentially want a timetable for pulling out the U.S. troops, but the centrists think that such a stance would enable Bush's spin team to once again paint the Democrats as national-security wimps.

Bush is politically vulnerable at the moment, but the fractious Democrats are ill-poised to take advantage. The liberal base is out of sync with the most visible contenders for the 2008 presidential nomination (Sens. Hillary Clinton, Evan Bayh, Joe Biden, and John Kerry), all of whom voted for Bush's war, none of whom have embraced the calls for troop withdrawal.

This tension is being exacerbated by some of the newest players in the party: the Internet bloggers who enable grassroots liberals to network more easily and raise money without an OK from Washington. It's even possible that if the war drags on and top Democrats refuse to move leftward, the "net-roots" liberals might try to finance and champion their own presidential candidate - someone like Democratic Sen. Russ Feingold, who on Wednesday called for the removal of all U.S. troops by the end of 2006.

Indeed, "the Bidens, Clintons and Bayhs" were assailed Thursday on Daily Kos, a popular liberal blog: "We need to let them know that if they don't get on the right side of the Iraq debate, then we won't support their presidential ambitions."-from Dick Polman's column in the Philadelphia Inquirer. Kudos to Sirotablog for the tip.

Crawford Update

"Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee gave an incredible talk last night at Camp Casey. We were so happy to welcome this long-time supporter of civil rights and women's rights to speak to us about opposing the war. Click here to be awed." -from their web site.

''Cindy Needs You!''

"A Call to Support the Camp Casey Project--Ann Wright, the coordinator of Camp Casey sends an urgent request to all supporters of Cindy Sheehan.

Next weekend, on both Saturday, August 27 and Sunday, August 28 Camp Casey is planning to hold large afternoon rallies. Readers who can make it to Crawford, Texas are urged to come themselves and organize others to join them. Any trained medics, nurses or physicians would be especially appreciated to staff the medical emergency tent.

If you can't make it to Texas, Ann urges you to organize your own local "Camp Casey" in solidarity with the Crawford project. Put up some tents on an obvious corner in your local community, make some signs, plan a vigil or find some other creative way to express your opposition to the war and your support for Cindy Sheehan, the men and women serving in Iraq and all Gold Star family members. And please make sure to invite the media!

A big show of support will help energize the Camp Casey for its move to Washington, DC at the end of August. At the moment, three bus convoys are planned, picking up supporters on the way to Washington. Join us!"-from the post on

Monday, August 22, 2005

''1000 words''

"As my photographs are not likely to win the Pulizter Prize anytime soon, I suggest you visit the blog of a wonderful photographer from Alaska who's been at Camp Casey since Thursday. Kim Terpening's photos need no words-- they most definitely speak for themselves. Her blog address."-from Emily Sharpe's posts with reports and photos on Crawford Update.

Feingold: ''It's safe to go in the water''

"Steve: In your announcement this week you spoke about the "taboo" of suggesting withdrawal. Has the administration been effective in framing the Iraq issue as a matter of patriotism, and in turn, make overt opposition muted and tentative?

Senator Feingold: Unfortunately, until very recently, they have been extremely effective. I mean, we could have won that election in 2002. We were way ahead on domestic issues, but the Democratic Party and Democratic leaders decided to take a pass on the Iraq war. They decided to defer to the President, and I have to tell you many Democratic leaders knew better. This was a bad idea, but they allowed the Bush administration to brilliantly intimidate them into not standing up and saying this doesn't fit in with the fight against Al Qaeda and the terrorists that attacked this country on 9/11. Of course, I didn't buy into this and I voted no, but I was even in the minority among Democrats in the Senate. And now were making the same mistake, now that it's clear that the administration took us into Iraq under false premises. We have a situation where they are doing a terrible job managing this war. They are doing a terrible job of having a plan to win the war and win the peace. Yet, Democrats are allowing the President to set the terms of the debate. If somebody says "what about a plan to bring the troops home", the President labels it cut and run. Democrats have become silent, so I do think perhaps that we have allowed this to become a taboo. My purpose this week is to break that taboo, let other Democrats know it's safe to go in the water. It's safe to talk about how we can succeed and bring our troops home. Why shouldn't we Democrats be talking about that?

Steve: Now, have you had much feedback from your colleagues?

Senator Feingold: I had a little feedback from Senator Reid just before he became ill, indirectly from his staff. But, no I haven't had any direct conversations because we are in recess. But, I predict that there will be a whole new mood in Washington about the Iraq war. You know, I started earlier in the summer where I came to my caucus and I said to everybody, and Harry Reid acknowledged that Iraq was a big deal at the time, I said this thing is really changing, the public view of it. I started trying to get other Senators interested in some kind of approach that has a real plan and vision of how we can leave. It was like pulling teeth. But, I predict after the August recess, that they are going to have a very different attitude. Even Trent Lott, in the interview he did after mine on Meet the Press this morning, was very gentle in terms of disagreeing with what I had said. He clearly indicated that he needed to tell the people of his state something better about where this thing is heading. So, I believe this thing is reaching a critical mass and if Democrats don't get ahead of this issue it will just be another sign to the public that were not ready to govern. We need to be strong on national security, but we also need to be bright on national security. So, Democrats should be talking about fighting the terrorist networks around the world and not becoming only focused on Iraq. Iraq is not the only place, obviously, where this terrorist threat exists and we need a broader perspective."-from Stevo's post today on Booman Tribune based on his interview with Feingold.

''Crosses at Night and Cops on the Road''

"We went in to Camp Casey last night. Something about hot and humid darkness, where the air is no longer oppressive, but more like heavy silk that brushes your skin as you move through it. Sound is soft. Hearts are open. Something like love breathes in the air itself. A singer on a stage with a guitar and a single drum. Food and conversation and people.

I still couldn't tell you exactly why I came. What drove me to come. Who drove me is easy - Jenny. I wouldn't have done it alone. But why we came, I can't begin to wrap in linear explication. And so many of the people I meet, when I say that, reply that they too, can't quite say why they came. They only knew, as I did, that they felt drawn to come.

As we drove back to our Motel 6 after the concert last night, we got stopped by a policeman. He was very nice, only gave us a warning because the tail light was out. On the one hand, he was pleasant and laughed with us about the dog. On the other hand, the tail light was just the excuse to check us out. But we were clearly sober, middle class and white, so we got away with only a warning. But this was his territory, and we recognize our privilege at being part of an acceptable group. On the way here we passed three cop cars with lights flashing at the side of the road, all looking like big doings. As we passed, we saw a lone middle-aged black man in the car ringed by troupers. Yes the cops are nice to us, but I am not surprised that few people of color have picked up and driven to the middle of Texas as we have."-from the post with photos today on Susan Goes to Crawford.


“At this time, the information they have is that Cindy Sheehan won’t be back before Wednesday, at the earliest. We have no updates on the condition of her mother.”-from The Lone Star Iconoclast. There are also more reports, photos and news on this site.

''Arianna Huffington defends Cindy on CNN''

"HUFFINGTON: No, absolutely not. Listen, words like treasonous being used by O'Reilly, words like crackpot being used by Fred Barnes, Michelle Malkin trying to tell us what she believes Casey Sheehan would have thought about his mother -- you know, all that is completely inappropriate.

But more important than that, let me raise a point which has to do with the scrutinizing of her comments. I mean, if 10 percent of that kind of scrutiny was given to comments made by people who are actually making life and death decisions in this country, like Dick Cheney's "last throes" statement about the insurgency, like Condoleezza Rice's statement about the mushroom clouds, like "mission accomplished," all the ludicrous statements made by... read on... "-from Crooks and Liars, with video. Is she the only one willing and able to take on those assholes?


"She's (Cindy Sheehan) become a logo … for the leftist anti-war movement which does seem to be growing," Crawford said. "She's sort of become what Howard Dean was back in the presidential campaign, just a face and a voice for a lot of Americans who disagree with this war."-CBS News political analyst Craig Crawford on "The Early Show," from CBS News.
Yeah it's growing: most of the citizens of the country.

''Baez Is Back!''

"Folk Singer Icon Joan Baez Takes Camp Casey II By Storm--CRAWFORD — Shortly after Joan Baez arrived Sunday afternoon at Camp Casey II, she gave a press conference with the Gold Star Families, all of whom have lost loved ones in the war. She talked with them, and she cried with them.

Ms. Baez returned to the trailer to prepare for her performance, speaking only in whispers when it was necessary to speak at all, saving her voice.
She gave a moving performance, peppered with energy, emotion, humor, and humanity. She even showed compassion for President Bush, although she disagrees with him. She said she doesn’t make Bush jokes any more because they often offend more conservative folks, and that isn’t helping anything.

At one point, she laughingly forgot the line “keeping things vague” in the song “Diamonds and Rust,” and the audience helped her out. When she consulted a paper during the performance, holding it at arm’s length, she joked, “I get these brilliant ideas and then they fade from my mind, plus I can’t read any more.” Despite her good humor about aging, time has been very kind to Joan Baez. She is a lovely, compelling woman.

Ms. Baez told the crowd that she had only picked up the guitar again a week and a half ago and will go on tour in September. She claimed her fingers were like spaghetti, and that she didn’t remember words. “My mother says, ‘Did I take my ginko balboa today?’ and I say, ‘I don’t remember!’”

She sang “Joe Hill” in response to a request. Saying that the phrase “in harm’s way” was a euphemism for “sitting ducks,” she put down her guitar and sang “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” without accompaniment. Her voice rang sweet and true.

Ms. Baez suggested that if the mothers really wanted catharsis, they could sing along with her “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?” Emotions ran high as many in the crowd of perhaps five or six hundred wept openly. At the end of the song, she said, “You know, I have to manage to get through it, too.”

Ms. Baez sang “Gracias a la Vida” and several favorites from her long career. She thanked the group for having her here, then admitted she purchased her ticket to Texas before the invitation arrived.

After her performance, she graciously talked with several individuals in a dark area near her trailer. Three of these were veterans. Two were mothers who had lost their sons in Iraq. She hugged them and cried with them.

Camp bugler and Iraq war veteran Jeff Key, in an unplanned and completely spontaneous moment, took Ms. Baez’s hand. He led her to a spot before the many crosses that have been placed at the front of the camp. She was beside him, a diminutive woman beside a tall, strong young man, as he blew taps in the moonlight to a large, respectful crowd. He saluted. They hugged. And there was complete and total silence.

When Ms. Baez returned to her private area behind the trailer, she sat down at a table, dropped her head into her folded arms, and wept."-from the post, with photos, in The Lone Star Inquisitor. You can also "Listen to Joan sing "Where Have All the Flowers Gone?" from tonight's performance" via Crawford Update.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Peace House

"We are both feeling nervous about arriving. We don't know if we are walking into some sort of media circus or a political covey of true believers, or nothing much of anything to justify our 1600 mile trekWhat we find is something between a family gathering, an impromptu fire-brigade, and a giant game where everyone who wants to play can walk in and announce themselves as players and have everyone else welcome them in. In a small way, this feels like the descriptions of how the dismantling of the wreckage of the Trade Center rubble happened. People showed up to help, moved by an impulse of emotion and then backed up with their brains and pocketbooks.

Food is plentiful and free because folks keep showing up with cars full of supplies that they drop off without a thought. Tents and pavilions have appeared for those willing to stay. A guy from Atlanta, who shuttled me to Camp Casey 1 yesterday had bought a net-enclosed pavilion at Wal-Mart and drove down with it in the back of his truck. He was planning on dropping it off at Peace House before heading out again, not even spending the night.
Jenny and I arrived in the afternoon. It took a while to get our bearings. Blanche was a bit overwhelmed with the crowd at first. But we all settled in. Jenny immediately volunteered and was given a vest and hat and sent to direct parking. Blanche made friends with a very handsome Chow in a Code Pink scarf. I went off and talked to people.
We camped in a park near Peace House that had a yummy swimming hole that cooled us off. After one night in the heavy humid heat of night followed by a morning of brutal humid fire from the sky, we came to understand just how the folks camped for the duration alongside of Cindy Sheehan are suffering for what they believe. There may be a party feel around the edges, but simply being here in August is an act of will similar to sticking your finger in a candle flame and holding it there.

Joan Baez in giving a concert tonight, and we may go despite both Jenny's and my aversion to big crowds. The concert has a festival air around it, but for the core campers, it is a way of giving them some pleasure to counter the misery of their stand. The stories are moving, the mood upbeat, but I would have to be in such a state of rage or grief to be able to tolerate the elements here for even a few days."-from the post today on her blog, "Susan Goes to Crawford."