Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Who did you tell today about Cindy Sheehan?

So Mike was on the phone today and he asked me how things were going on my end in terms of getting the word out on Cindy Sheehan. Well I'm telling everyone I know. Are you?

I'm also drafting my friends to do the same. Sumner reports he told six people about Cindy Sheehan's protest, about how she's outside the Bully Boy's ranchette in Crawford, Texas saying she'll stay the entire month of August if she has to. The only way she's leaving is if a) Bully Boy meets with her or b) they arrest her and cart her off. Dak-Ho got the word out to ten people. Toni got the word out to eight but sent e-mails to her friends so that will help to. The big surprise was Maggie who got the word out to over forty people.

In a way, that's not surprising. Maggie has ten conversations on her way from a table to the ladies' room. Maggie told me, "Go real slow" when I was filling in her. Then she made me go over it again. She's not a political person. She is someone who loves to talk. And she's been talking today.

Maggie's the type of person C.I. talked about last night. She's the type of person that's not reading a paper, she's not watching a newscast or listening to one. There are a lot of people like Maggie. They can care. And we need to make sure that we're passing the word on to them.

We can do this. We can get the word out and get the whole country talking. But that means not waiting for the media to lead on this. We need to lead on it. You know how much Cindy Sheehan's stand means to you so think of how much it could mean to someone else and make a point to start talking about this. Be a broken record.

I think you'll find that the most you'll have to do is start the conversation, give a few basics, and the conversation will take care of it yourself. That's what I'm finding.

Rachel wanted to know what I'm listening to. I've still got Stevie Wonder's Talking Book in the CD player. The other four CDs currently are Carly Simon's Midnight Serenade, the White Stripes' Get Behind Me, Satan, Prince's Sign of the Times. (The last one is a double disc so it takes up two of the five slots in my CD player.)

I'll close by noting what Ava and Jess wrote last week:

Cass Elliot The Solo Sessions 1968-1971 (heads up to new double CD collection)
Ava and Jess here and we're doing this entry together. Last week, we received an e-mail about an upcoming Cass Elliot collection and would have been happy to link to it but it's only come out this week.
It's entitled The Solo Sessions 1968-1971 and it's a double disc set ($39.98) offered by Hip-O Select. There are 5,000 copies so if you're interested, you should consider checking it out.
"Different" is one of the songs on the collection and that's the song that C.I. noted in a "Five CDs, Five Minutes." That's not been on a CD before. In addition the collection contains "three tracks that had never been released in any form: Cass' cover of Joni Mitchell's 'Sisotowbell Lane,' a version of John Sebastian's 'Darling Be Home Soon,' and the Cashman, Pistilli & West tune 'For As Long As You Need Me.' They are revolutionary, and stand proudly with anything Cass released."
The first disc contains twenty-three tracks and the second disc contains fifteen. If you've bought a Cass collection (and Jess has many), you don't have a collection like this. You get "Dream A Little Dream," "California Earthquake," "Make Your Own Kind of Music," "I Can Dream, Can't I," "The Good Times Are Coming," and all the rest you know from other collections. But you also get tracks that aren't available in the CD format elsewhere.
There are no live tracks. The set focuses on Cass' singles from 1968 to 1971.
The Mamas and the Papas and Cass, herself, are very popular with community members so we wanted to do a heads up. And if there's a visitor who stumbles upon this entry and wonders, "What does music have to do with anything?" you're at the wrong site. Music is very important to the community. (And here's but one example of Cass and the Mamas & Papas popping up in an earlier entry.)
We'd asked C.I. if it was okay to note the set here when it came out because The Third Estate Sunday Review only publishes on Sunday and were given permission (actually, what we got was, "Why are you even asking? Of course."). So that's your heads up.If you're interested and can afford it, great. If you're interested but might need to save up (understandable), hopefully this gives you some time to do that. If you're a Cass fan or a Mamas and Papas fan you'll probably get a kick out of checking out the album online even if you're not planning to purchase it.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Third Estate Sunday Review's "Editorial: Cindy Sheehan puts most of us to shame"

Third Estate Sunday Review is having problems posting to their site still. So I'm going to note their editorial which C.I. posted over at The Common Ills.

"Editorial: Cindy Sheehan puts most of us to shame:"
The angry mother of a fallen U.S. soldier staged a protest near President Bush's ranch Saturday, demanding an accounting from Bush of how he has conducted the war in Iraq. Supported by more than 50 demonstrators who chanted, "W. killed her son!" Cindy Sheehan told reporters: "I want to ask the president, 'Why did you kill my son? What did my son die for?'" Sheehan, 48, didn't get to see Bush, but did talk about 45 minutes with national security adviser Steve Hadley and deputy White House chief of staff Joe Hagin, who went out to hear her concerns.
Appreciative of their attention, yet undaunted, Sheehan said she planned to continue her roadside vigil, except for a few breaks, until she gets to talk to Bush. Her son, Casey, 24, was killed in Sadr City, Iraq, on April 4, 2004. He was an Army specialist, a Humvee mechanic.
[. . .]
"I want to ask the president, `Why did you kill my son? What did my son die for?" she said, her voice cracking with emotion. "Last week, you said my son died for a noble cause' and I want to ask him what that noble cause is?"

The above is from Deb Riechmann's Associated Press article entitled "Mom Protesting Iraq War Meets Bush Aides."

Cindy Sheehan (Military Families Speak Out and Gold Star Families For Peace) has stood and been counted for many times before. At the John Conyers hearing on the Downing Street Memo, Sheehan spoke:

The deceptions and betrayals that led to the US invasion and occupation of Iraq cost my family a price too dear to pay and almost too much to bear: the precious and young life of Casey. Casey was a good soldier who loved his family, his community, his country, and his God. He was trustworthy and trusting and the leadership of his country seemingly betrayed him. He was an indispensable part of our family. An obedient, sweet, funny, and loving son to myself and his father, Pat, and an adored big brother to his sisters, Carly and Jane, and his brother Andy. And the beloved nephew to my sister, Auntie, who is here with me today. Our family has been devastated and torn asunder by his murder.
I believe that the reasons that we citizens of the United States of America were given for the invasion of Iraq have unequivocally been proven to be false. I also believe that Casey and his buddies have been killed to line the pockets of already wealthy people and to feed the insatiable war machine that has always devoured our young. Casey died saving his buddies and I know so many of our brave young soldiers died doing the same thing: but he and his fellow members of the military should never have been sent to Iraq. I know the family of Sgt. Sherwood Baker, who was killed guarding a team that was looking for the mythic WMD's in Baghdad. The same WMD's that were the justification for invading Iraq as outlined in the Downing Street Memo. Sherwood's brother, Dante Zappala, and his dad, Al Zappala are here with us today. I believe the Downing Street Memo proves that our leaders betrayed too many innocents into an early grave. The lives of the ones left behind are shattered almost beyond repair.

Her letter to Bully Boy, "From Cindy To George," is legendary and appears in CODEPINK's Stop The Next War Now:

Dear George,
You don't mind if I call you George, do you? When you sent me this letter offering your condolences on the death of my son, Spc. Casey Austin Sheehan, you called me Cindy, so I naturally assume we are on a first-name basis.
George, it has been seven months today since your reckless and wanton foreign policies killed my son in the illegal and unjust war on Iraq. Casey, my big boy, my hero, my best friend.Casey was always a good boy. He could play for hours by himself. He loved Nintendo, GI Joes, the World Wrestling Federation, baseball (especially the Dodgers), his church, and God.
He joined the Cub Scouts when he was in the first grade, and he eventually earned the rank of Eagle Scout. He became an altar boy when he was eight, and he continued serving his church for the rest of his life. He never talked back to his dad or me. He rarely fought with his brothers and sisters. He loved our animals and he loved little children.
Everyone assumed Casey was going to be a priest because he was so faithful to God and to the church.

Democracy Now! has noted her fight for truth and justice many times.

From "Pentagon Turns Away Mothers of Soldiers Killed in Iraq" (Januaray 21, 2005):

CINDY SHEEHAN: Hi. I have had a very busy day today. Well, yesterday I was with Celeste when we tried to get a meeting with our Secretary of Defense, and we have been trying for weeks. We have been emailing, writing, calling. They finally stopped taking our calls. And I just saw all of these people today cheering for them and their policies, and I think if I had like $25 grand, I would probably have access to everybody in this administration, but I have paid a price that is priceless. You cannot put a price on what I have given to this country. I gave them my only -- my oldest son -- not my only son, but my oldest son, and they don't even have the courtesy to reply to us to say, no, we're not going to meet with you, or, you know, maybe later, or would you like to meet with another aide. They don't even have the courtesy to meet with Gold Star Families. I was on "Good Morning, America" this morning, and they asked me why I opposed the inauguration, and I said, "While these people are partying tonight, there's going to be more bloodshed. And I just think it's very inappropriate to celebrate when there's millions of people in harm's way."

From "Thousands Protest in Fayetteville in Largest Army Base Demonstration Since Vietnam" (March 21, 2005):

CINDY SHEEHAN: I often get introduced as a mother who lost her son in Iraq. I didn't lose Casey. I know right where he is. He is in a grave in Vacaville, and I know who put him there: George Bush and the rest of the arrogant and ignorant neo-cons in D.C. who murdered my son and tens of thousands of other innocent people. Before I temporarily leave that subject, why are they still in our Capitol? Why are they still running our country? From state-sponsored terror and sustained torture, we have to face it: We're governed by psychopathic killers who need to go. On a very personal note, I told [inaudible] today it has two anniversaries. One is a second anniversary of the so-called shock and awe. Today is also the first anniversary of when my son's deployment began in Iraq. In 16 days, my family will suffer the one-year death-iversary of Casey. Casey was a brave, honest, loving, kind and gentle soul who was needlessly and senselessly killed for lies. Since this war is based on lies and betrayals -- this is very awkward -- not one more drop of blood should be spilled, not one more penny for killing. If our Congress votes to give Mr. Bush $81 billion more, they should soak their hands in blood and not ink from sham elections in Iraq. On this day, we should remember the terrible loss of our country that we have suffered and the devastating losses, too, of the Iraqis, especially we families who have paid the terrible price for our leaders' recklessness. I have a challenge for George W. Bush. [inaudible] democracy, why doesn't he march his daughters over there. I'm done. But if he won't send his kids, he should bring our kids home now!

From "Mother of Soldier Killed in Iraq: 'The Best Way To Honor My Son's Death Would Be To Bring The Troops Home'" (June 29, 2005):

AMY GOODMAN: Your response to President Bush addressing U.S. service men and women and what his message was.
CINDY SHEEHAN: Well, first of all, I think the best way to honor my son's death would be to bring the troops home, and that's what we in Gold Star Families want our children to be remembered for: peace and not war and hatred. For him to use my son's blood to continue the killing, to me, is despicable. I don't want one more drop of blood spilled in my son's name or in my name. We never should have been there in the first place. It was a mistake. It was a mistake when we invaded. It's a mistake now, and I want my son’s sacrifice and the sacrifices of the other brave Americans to stand for peace and to bring peace to the world and not to spread more hate. You know, he said that my son died to spread freedom and democracy in that region. We're spreading imperialism and death and destruction everywhere we go. And, no, not one more drop of blood in my son's name or the names of any other of our brave young people who have made the ultimate sacrifice for basically nothing.
[. . .]
CINDY SHEEHAN: Actually, I met with the President in June of 2004, a couple of months after my son was killed. We were summoned up to Fort Irwin, Washington state, to have a sit down with the president. So my entire family went. And I was on CNN last night with Larry King talking about this, and there was another mother who had met with him, and she said that she supports the war and the President, and she said he was so warm and everything and gentle and kind, and when my family and I met with him, I met a man who had no compassion in him. He had no heart. Like Karen said, he cares nothing about us. We tried to show him pictures of Casey. He wouldn't look at them. He wouldn't even acknowledge Casey's name. He called me "Mom" through the entire visit. He acted like we were at a tea party, like it was something fun, that we should just be so pleased that we got to meet with the President who killed our son.

When others might back down, Sheehan continues to persist. She wants answers and she wants justice. She's not waiting for someone to speak for her or to plead her case. She's making it herself, this time in Crawford, Texas. The high today is expected to reach 95 degrees. There may be rain. But that's where Cindy Sheehan is because she refuses to go along or back down or make nice or simply be silent while others debate "fine tuning" the invasion/occupation.

Thaddeus DeJesus' "Mother of slain soldier demands audience with Bush" (Waco Tribune-Herald):

Cindy Sheehan shrugged off the Texas heat Saturday afternoon as she sat in the shade a mere four miles from the Western White House.
"It's hot in Iraq and our children are suffering there, and the Iraqi people are suffering," said Sheehan, whose son was killed in action in Iraq. "If they can do this day after day, month after month, then I can stay here for a few weeks. This is nothing compared to what they're going through."
Sheehan, 48, of Vacaville, Calif., vowed to stay in Crawford through August until she could get an audience with President George W. Bush, who is spending the month vacationing at his ranch nearby. Earlier in the day, she lead a group of about 50 anti-war demonstrators calling for an end to the war in Iraq.

When she spoke at the Conyer's hearing, she spoke plainly and to the point. Hopefully, she realizes how many people she's touched and how important her voice is at a time when leadership is largely silent.

Maybe the Bully Boy will meet with her, maybe he won't. But she's demanding answers (something the D.C. press corps should have done long ago -- in fact, they should have done it before the invasion began). Make sure you're aware of her bravery and make sure your friends are. Her refusal to back down deserves our attention and our applause and it will inspire other actions.