Archive for January, 2007

Help Cloy and Tina

Wednesday, January 31st, 2007

In a previous entry in this blog from September 5th of 2006, see the link here

there is a photograph of Iraq veteran Cloy Richards and a filmed interview with him.


He is alive today in great measure because his valient mother is fighting to get him the care he needs and because he is willing to do the things that are saving his life.  Here is word from that family and an urgent need.


Thanks for all you’ve done already. Please read through to Tina’s change in plan, and financial assistance needed for her to stay in DC to continue her struggle.

*** First, a story from today: Rather than driving back to Missouri today as planned, Tina Richards has been barnstorming the Capitol. She interrupted Sen Orin Hatch at the Senate Judiciary Committee. From this evening’s NYT:

“Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee began laying the constitutional groundwork today for an effort to block President Bush’s plan to send more troops to Iraq and place new limits on the conduct of the war there, perhaps forcing a withdrawal of American forces from Iraq.

“They were joined by Senator Arlen Specter, the Pennsylvania Republican who led the panel for the last two years, in asserting that Mr. Bush cannot simply ignore Congressional opposition to his plan to send 21,500 additional troops to Iraq.

“….Mr. Hatch was repeatedly interrupted by a woman in the audience, who said that her son was a marine due to return soon to Iraq for his third tour of duty there. Mr. Bush’s plan calls for 4,000 additional marines to be deployed to Anbar province. “He can’t go back,” she said.

Tina also said that acting committee Chair Russ Feingold let her speak from the audience.

*** Next, a change in course:

We are at a critical moment for public mobilization to sway a vaccinating [sic] Congress.

After consulting with the national organizers of Military Families Speak Out, Tina’s plan has changed, and she asks us to change with her:

Her new plan is to insist on meeting with every member of the House and Senate Defense Appropriations Sub-Committees, to push them to cut off funding for the war (i.e. not the Senate Armed Services Committee as previously planned.)

So she’s asking you to contact each of these Senators and Representatives (see below), and ask them to meet with Tina Richards, whose Marine son Cloy has just been called up for a third tour in Iraq, and to end funding for the Iraq war.

*** Crucially, supporting Tina financially in her work:

Tina is broke, staying in DC longer than she can afford. If you can make any credit card donation ($20 or $2000 or whatever you can) to help her in her struggle to defend her son and end the war, please click on the Donation link at:
which will use Paypal to send the money directly to her.
If you cannot do this, you can send a check marked for Tina to:
IOW, 438 N. Skinker, St. Louis 63130
and let us know that it’s coming.

*** Finally, keeping up-to-date:

This is a fast-changing mobilization, so we ask you to check the IOW website frequently.

This information is not yet posted there, but it will be shortly.



Senate Defense Appropriations Sub-Committee:
Majority Members (Democrats)
Daniel K. Inouye (D-HI) [Chairman]  202-224-3934  202-224-6747
Robert C. Byrd (D-WV)  202-224-3954  202-228-0002
Patrick J. Leahy (D-VT)  202-224-4242  202-224-3479
Tom Harkin (D-IA)  202-224-3254  202-224-9369
Byron L. Dorgan (D-ND)  202-224-2551  202-224-1193
Richard J. Durbin (D-IL)  202-224-2152  202-228-0400
Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)  202-224-3841  202-228-3954
Barbara A. Mikulski (D-MD)  202-224-4654  202-224-8858
Herb Kohl (D-WI)  202-224-5653  202-224-9787
Patty Murray (D-WA)  202-224-2621  202-224-0238

Minority Members (Republicans)
Ted Stevens (R-AK) [Ranking Member]  202-224-3004  202-224-2354
Thad Cochran (R-MS)  202-224-5054  202-224-9450
Arlen Specter (R-PA)  202-224-4254  202-228-1229
Pete V. Domenici (R-NM)  202-224-6621  202-228-0900
Kit Bond (R-MO)  202-224-5721  202-224-8149
Mitch McConnell (R-KY)  202-224-2541  202-224-2499
Richard C. Shelby (R-AL)  202-224-5744  202-224-3416
Judd Gregg (R-NH)  202-224-3324  202-224-4952
Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX)  202-224-5922  202-224-0776

House Appropriations Sub-Committee:

John P. Murtha (D-PA) [Chairman]  202-225-2065  202-225-5709
Norman D. Dicks (D-WA)  202-225-5916  202-226-1176
Peter J. Visclosky (D-IN)  202-225-2461  202-225-2493
James P. Moran (D-VA)  202-225-4376  202-225-0017
Marcy Kaptur (D-OH)  202-225-4146  202-225-7711
Bud Cramer, Jr. (D-AL)  202-225-4801  202-225-4392
Allen Boyd (D-FL)  202-225-5235  202-225-5615
Steven R. Rothman (D-NJ)  202-225-5061  202-225-5851
Sanford D. Bishop, Jr. (D-GA)  202-225-3631  202-225-2203

Minority Members (Republicans)
C. W. (Bill) Young (R-FL) [Ranking Member]  202-225-5961  202-225-9764
David L. Hobson (R-OH) 202-225-4324  202-225-1984
Rodney P. Frelinghuysen (R-NJ)  202-225-5034  202-225-3186
Todd Tiahrt (R-KS)  202-225-6216  202-225-3489
Roger F. Wicker (R-MS) 202-225-4306  202-225-3549
Jack Kingston (R-GA)   202-225-5831  202-226-2269

No More Torture

Tuesday, January 30th, 2007

Here is a link to an article by a Viet Nam veteran who was tortured and who asks us to stop the torture done in our name now.

Phillip Butler:
Don’t Let Torture Become the Norm

Molly Ivins Updates

Monday, January 29th, 2007


Barbara sent updates on Molly Ivins, whose courage both in declaring the truth in a world hostile to it and to her, and in battling breast cancer has made her special to many.

Click here or copy into your browser if necessary for information:

Patrice has some local information and passed the following along:

Hi Nancy-
Molly went home from the hospital this morning. She lives here in Austin, and I’ll try to send you a local update with more detail.
She’s a tough lady! Last time I saw her was when we were leaving Ann Richard’s funeral. Molly looked tired and was bald, but she had a cool hat on – and she was grinning from ear to ear.
Peace, Patrice

Deaths in Iraq Go On Every Day

Wednesday, January 24th, 2007


Those who died in Iraq from January 14 to January 20, 2007:

Sgt. Gregory Wright  28  Boston, MA
Spc. James Riekena  22 Redmond, WA
Sgt. Paul Sanchez  32 Irving, TX
Spc. Matthew Grimm  21 Wisconsin Rapids, WI
Sgt. John Cooper  29 Ewing, KY
Sgt. Jan Anderson 22 Irvine, CA
Spc. Jason Corbett  23 Casper WY
Spc. Collin Shockmel  19 Richwood, TX
PO. Jennifer Valdivia  27 Cambridge, IL
Spc. William Rechenmacher  24 Jacksonville, FL
Sgt. Russel Borea  38 El Paso, TX
Cpl. Jacob Neal  23 San Marcos, TX
Cpl. Luis Castillo 20 Lawton, MI
Pvt. Allen Haynes  21 Henderson, TX
Sgt. Roger Haller  49 Annapolis, MD
Sgt. Darryl Booker  38 Richmond, VA
Pvt. Shawn Falter  25 Homer, NV
Spc. Bryan Chism  22 Prairieville, LA
Cap. Brian Scot  31 Temecula, CA
Pvt. Jonathan Millican  20 Birmingham, AL
Ltn. Jacob Fritz  25 Falls City, NE
Pvt. Michael Tench  18 Sunderland, UK
Sgt. Darrel Morris  21 Spokane, WA
Sgt. Phiilp McNeill  22 Cincinnati, OH
and 14 other names not yet released

27 were seriously wounded and maimed
90 were returned to war

473 Iraqi sisters and brothers were also killed

We don’t know how many were tortured, but we know that 14,000 persons are held in American concentration camps around the world and that they are tortured.


No more torture

Sunday, January 14th, 2007

Barbara sent these links, the first to an article in the British press which does not hesitate to call Guantanmo a torture camp, the second about world wide protests last Thursday.  Thanks to Barbara.,,1988633,00.html


More on Thursday’s Events

Sunday, January 14th, 2007

Several of you are reporting in with events on Thursday.  Out in the Bay area in California, Paula reports seeing a group of people with signs at a stop light visible to people driving home from work.  They were focused on the resisting the troop increase.  Paula remarks that the people were mostly aged forty to seventy, not the youth of the Viet Nam war days.  She also said that she had not known about that action beforehand.

Reva participated in a demonstration at the entrance to a major subway stop in Brooklyn.  She said there were 50 or 60 people, when she had hoped for many more.  They were present and chanting for about an hour from 6:30 to 7:30, getting the going home crowd.  The police were there, she reports, but appeared bored more than anything; no problems.  Reva says that the haste with which the event was announced probably led to small turnout.

Actually, I think getting even that number out in less than 24 hours is good.  Especially when one realizes that there were several more groups like that in other locations around the city: several hundred people were on Times Square at that time, another group about the size of the one Reva was in was on the upper west side.  So there were New Yorkers on the streets on Thursday evening.  That in addition to the larger rally downtown at noon.

I met a man last night who was with a group on Thursday noon on the upper west side.  I don’t know how many groups there were at that time.

We get a picture then, of more people than we think out on the streets in protest of the war, the torture, the attacks on our democracy.  We are making ourselves noticeable.

On January 27th, a large rally is planned for Washington.  Here is a link to information about it.  Go if you can.

End Torture, Stop the War

Saturday, January 13th, 2007


On Thursday, January 11, 2007, the fifth anniversary of the detention of persons at Guantanamo Bay, I participated in a demonstration in New York to demand the closing of that camp and other secret prisions, the end of torture by the United States, the restoration of habeas corpus and other fundamental US rights. The announcement the night before of troop increases in Iraq added urgency to all these issues.

Unlike the action in December in front of Macy’s, this one was not so tense, nor perhaps so forceful to passersby. There was a stage set in Foley Square in lower Manhattan, the ACLU had brought its cage with “prisoners” inside that sat on the scene. People in the orange jumpsuits were also on the stage with signs and banners. My own job this time was distributing orange stickers to put on coats or bags to be visible as we left to get on the subway, return to the office, whatever we were doing.

The event had been planned for some time and featured remarks from a leader of the ACLU about the assault on our civil liberties and speakers from many religions: a rabbi, a priest, a Buddhist monk, a minister, an Islamic woman leader. All of these spoke from their traditions about respect for human life, peace, love for all persons. The rabbi told us that justice is not abstract, but now, here. What we do now is either just or injust, what we are choosing matters. The Buddhist monk spoke little, but he had his bell with the clear, pure tone that called us to a brief meditation in silence in the midst of that busy place and ended with a prayer for compassion. The priest led a litany for those oppressed and the prisoners.

I was greatly moved by the Islamic woman who read from the Quran, which also calls for justice and peace and respect for all.

In a private moment with her afterward, I was struck by her quiet strength. She looked at me steadfastly and said, “We can do this. We can end this. It is up to us, the women, and we can do this.” She seemed to radiate great depth and strength.

Though we have not had real winter here, the temperature was seasonal that day. I had been to the gym just before and was warmed up and warmly dressed, so though it was cold, I was okay except for my right hand. Many people wanted help getting their sticker on their coat, so I often took off my glove to be able to help. My right hand was getting really cold at the end of the hour and a half we were there.

There were a lot of press photographers again, but no live news coverage. The area is close to police plaza, so there were police around as there always are there, but not like the Macy’s event. I got the feeling the officers would have been there whether we were or not. The whole event was less tense.

It was powerful for me in a different way. Cindy and Ann and others were at that moment in Guantanamo Bay at the gates of the camp. People I know in other cities were demonstrating in their way. I was again with people with whom I have stood in the rain holding a huge banner, stood in the cold distributing flyers, knelt on the sidewalk. It is moving to be with these people who will not be silent in the face of war, torture, assaults on our democracy.

We can do this. We are doing this, we women and men who will not be silent.

Close Quantanamo

Tuesday, January 9th, 2007


Ann Wright:
Witnesses at Guantanamo

Gas Smell in New York, Birds Die in Austin

Monday, January 8th, 2007

Interesting this happens today when Bush is to announce troop increases Wednesday.

Austin, Texas had a great death of birds.  Here is the text of an editorial in their major newspaper published yesterday:

This ‘Bring Them Home’ editorial ran today in the Austin American-Statesman.


Bring them home


Sunday, January 07, 2007

Rather than increase the number of troops in Iraq, President Bush should bring our forces home and allow any Iraqis whose lives would be endangered by the withdrawal to immigrate to the United States.

The president is contemplating a “surge” of 20,000 or more troops into Iraq, but should focus instead on the thousands of troops who have died since 2003 and the hundreds of thousands of civilians who have died in a poorly executed war. An announcement of a change in strategy is expected soon, perhaps as early as this week.

Unfortunately, there is little reason to think that a temporary surge of troops would have more than temporary effect. And what’s temporary? Six months? Six years? All the militants of any faction need to do is fall back and wait for U.S. troops to go away. They live there, we don’t.

From the start, the president has grossly underestimated the cost in lives, the cost in money and the amount of time it would take to prosecute the war.

As the toll in lives, time and money mounted, the president refused to face up to it, much less present it to the public. No doubt Bush knows support for the war would erode even further if Americans were called upon to pay for the war with a tax increase. More than 3,000 American families and more than a dozen Central Texas families have paid and are paying for the war with the blood of their fathers, mothers, sons and daughters killed since the war began in 2003. That doesn’t include the hundreds of Fort Hood troops who have died in Iraq since the war began.

We are grateful for the sacrifice and valor the troops have demonstrated but feel the best way to honor them is to stop the bleeding.

We might be willing to endure this war longer if there were any sense that a majority of Iraqis was committed to defending against a violent minority a new democratic government.

What we see instead is a newly empowered and angry Shiite majority facing off against a Sunni minority that cruelly ruled Iraq for decades even as another group, the Kurds, hunkers down against all comers. There are Islamic terrorists involved, too, but take them all out and there is still a civil war.

There would be a risk in pulling out most troops over the next year or so, just as there is a risk of sending in more. The risk of pullout is still more violence, but that very threat might also prompt the various factions to reconsider how they might fare without U.S. troops serving as a firewall.

This newspaper supported the invasion, primarily because we were persuaded by multiple warnings of Iraq’s efforts to get weapons of mass destruction and Saddam Hussein’s history of using them. The failure to find such weapons has done extreme damage to the Bush administration’ s credibility on Iraq, as has its failure to back up its allegations of a link between Saddam and al Qaeda.

Some have said that Bush’s real motive all along was a “neoconservative” ambition to install a democratic government in Iraq that would serve its own people and as an example and a prod to other Middle Eastern nations still ruled by strongmen or tribal interests.

But the Bush administration’ s misjudgments and even outright incompetence might have destroyed whatever chance there was to create a democratic Iraq. To name two often cited examples: the decision to send a much smaller military force into Iraq than some generals thought wise; and the disbandment of the defeated Iraqi Army that left hundreds of thousands of men unemployed, undisciplined and angry.

Some good has come out of the invasion. Saddam has been overthrown and executed, and the Iraqis held their first election. Keeping U.S. troops in Iraq, however, appears to be aggravating the sectarian violence that has the country in a death grip.

Are Americans to believe now that the administration has figured out how to build a democratic nation in the Middle East? We think Americans gave their answer in the Nov. 7 elections. If the president insists that this nation must remain fully engaged in Iraq, then he ought to lay out the full price of doing so — and call on the American people to start paying it now rather than continue to dump its cost on our children by borrowing the money. Yet he’s already ruled out any tax increase.

The best way forward in Iraq is to start pulling out U.S. troops and to invest in diplomatic efforts to protect and advance our interests in the Middle East.

The old strategy has failed, and putting more troops in Iraq will make little difference in curbing the violence but will forever alter the lives of the troops and their families.

It is time to end the misery.

Special Comment About “Sacrifice”

Thursday, January 4th, 2007

Keith Olbermann:
Special Comment About “Sacrifice”