Sunday, May 31, 2009

Then and now

The other night after finishing a large and frustrating job I decided to watch some television because I could not sleep, and there is station, HITN, which shows very interesting documentaries... and one of them was about the protests at the UPR in the late '60s. So many of us were participating in marches against the Vietnam war... although Puerto Ricans on the island are unable to vote for the president, they were drafted like everyone else, and many of them refused to go to Vietnam. September 26, 1969, the student Edwin Feliciano Grafales was sentenced to prison by the Fed. Gov't. for refusing to go to 'Nam. There was so much anger... and right on campus we had the ROTC; they marched and displayed their colors, in a campus with so much antiwar feeling. And so after Edwin was sentenced, there was a protest, a symbolic burning...
On March 4, 1970, there was a second protest. The ROTC was across from the School of Architecture, and as I recall, close to Charlie Rosario's Programa de Honor, where I took classes. My recollection is that although there were loud words and hymns and posters and thousands of students marching, there was no violence until the President, Jaime Benítez, called in the shock troops... Everyone was hit; even innocent passersby, professors, anyone who was there got a macana wherever they got you. And when they stepped out of the recinto universitario, a cop killed a young girl from the Education Department (Pedagogía) who was up on a balcony watching the events. He pointed up his gun and she was killed... a 19 year-old girl called Antonia Martínez who was said to be the first in her family to go to college.

We graduated in June of that year... and at least Humanidades was mostly outraged, so we talked about what to do when we went up for our diplomas, and decided we would not accept them, nor shake the President's hand... But one student, activist Carmen Noelia Benítez, grabbed his hand and slapped him on the face. It was rather a riot. What a way to graduate from college... and all of us on that line had torn up the little fake diplomas as a symbol of our outrage...

When we started protesting, before the satrap George W. Bush invaded Iraq, I kept thinking, we stopped that war eventually, and surely we can stop this one! But we just recently celebrated the 6th anniversary of bloodshed and mayhem...

Roy Brown was 'our' musical voice in those days... and here is a song by León Gieco, from the time of their US-sponsored dictatorship, which lasted 30 bloody years... sung by Roy and others. Sólo le pido a Dios que la guerra no me sea indiferente, es un monstruo grande y pisa fuerte, a la pobre inocencia de la gente. (I only ask of God, that I am not indifferent to war; it is a large monster that steps harshly on the poor innocence of the people).

The next one became the hymn for the protests against the ROTC... Un mister con macana...

And this one is in several of my poems! I still sing this in my sleep...

Here is one of them:

The meaning of life (for Warren)

if you think i am going to tell you anything
about the meaning of life
think again, amigo
what i really wanted to tell you
what i wanted to explain
in one or two versos claros
is why sometimes, maybe most times
there is a lack of punctuation,
puntos y comas
or capitalization,
mayúsculas y minúsculas
when i write my stuff
i gave up most of this
when i was seventeen or eighteen
i'd started college early
la universidad de puerto rico
and had a ball with juan ramón
jiménez, garcía márquez had just
published cien años de soledad
cortázar was writing about cronopios
y famas, joan manuel serrat
kept singing songs in catalán
and ray hernández, whose father
was a US militar with large pistolas
sang against the yanquis, his own
father being yanqui, with his guitar
in cheap bares where we gathered
nights and listened to the story
of profit and destrucción
in colombia, méxico, chile
"fuego fuego fuego, el mundo está en llamas
fuego fuego, los yanquis quieren fuego
fuego fuego..."
it was a simple thing
a given somehow
when the presidente called
in the policía and they killed
antonia martínez, who was just
looking from her balcón in río piedras
that puntos y comas would become
as unimportant as all the major issues
such as why we were killing children
in vietnam or why we were giving money
to the government of papadoc in haití
and pretending he wasn't a killer
or why we were friends with dictadores
and people engaged in la tortura
and were training folks with dinero
through la cia to be asesinos
and so a little punto or a coma
became so not the thing to look at
that i stopped looking, rhyming
and it wasn't eecummings 'cause i was
reading antonio machado and goytisolo
but why rhyme when reason was passé
you may have noticed that i use
the puntos suspensivos - ... -
and sometimes i don't use the I
which is the yo en español
and some of that is who i am
a sad cubana who has never learned
to love this exile who still misses
beaches with arenas blancas
and such a sea you'd cry
and sometimes there's a point
that must be made with proper
puntuación or a mayúscula
that must be used
but most times whether anyone reads this mierda
i've lost the little bastards
with my virginidad
they're gone
mi buen amigo
se fue para no volver
manicero se va...

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Teach participation and empathy for others by teaching true history

We have been engaged in 'nation destroying' with regard to other nations, and are quick to point a finger at others' so-called terrorist practices when they refuse to bend down and knuckle under. From our definition of 'all men are created equal' to include only White, propertied males, with a certain religious persuasion, to our persecution of dissenters (although the Republic was founded on dissent), and our invading the domain of other cultures, countries and races, we remain as a nation ignorant of our 'true history.'

Start a collaborative project, through the use of original records, story-telling gathered from elders, and other 'true history' markers, to teach the history as it happened, and in the process, learn what it is that made us succeed and what made us into a target for terrorism and for worldwide hatred and despair. Endow this project with federal funds, as a way of affirming diversity and true origin. And let us see where this may lead us. We might begin by using some of Zinn's historical writing.

True education builds understanding. Understanding is the first step toward a new nation dedicated to peace and to the empowerment not only of its own people, but of all people in a planet conceived as a global village. That which hurts the smallest member hurts the entire body politic. Let us remember Donne's beautiful statement that every man's death diminishes me.

All empires come to an end, some with more bloodshed than others. America is not a country, it is beautiful continents made up of many races, languages and beliefs.

We are divided by our beliefs, racial and ethnic origin, languages, and economic class. We must begin to walk in our sister's moccasins in order to understand her path, and her needs. At a time of great economic and moral need, when we have been led astray by imperialistic greed, empathy through true education would allow us to begin to heal our national woes.

Monday, May 25, 2009

The hypocrisy of Memorial Day

I watched part of a concert in DC for Memorial Day, with wonderful performers and speeches... but despite the beautiful speeches and the talent, and the sharing of stories, the facts about the reality of veterans, then and now, are horrible. A survey prior to 2000 showed that 23% of the homeless population were veterans, and 33% of the male homeless population were veterans. The government of course had a 'challenge' survey, but this was a government that called torture, or the release of prisoners to third parties (foreign parties) 'rendition,' even to eventual assassination, and used the term collateral damage when speaking of civilian 'unintended' death. Similar to the 'unintended' effects of the Israeli AF dropping a one ton bomb on the house of a Hamas leader and claiming that the deaths of surrounding neighbors and all the residents of the leader's house, including small children, were 'unintended.'

Perhaps the difference between this concert and previous ones is the focusing on seriously and hideously deformed soldiers with their families... The National Coalition for Homeless Veterans mentions the causes for veteran homelessness:

"Homelessness is caused by a number of factors, but generally it can be attributed to health issues, economic issues and lack of affordable housing – or any combination of these.

* In addition to the complex problems associated with all homelessness – extreme shortage of affordable housing, livable income, and access to health care – a large number of displaced and at-risk veterans live with lingering effects of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and substance abuse, compounded by a lack of family and social support networks. Military occupations and training are not always transferable to the civilian workforce, placing some veterans at a disadvantage when competing for employment.
* Adding to the difficulties of veterans in crisis is the misconception that the VA takes care of all veterans in need. According to the VA CHALENG Report, in the years since it "began responding to the special needs of homeless veterans, its homeless treatment and assistance network has developed into the nation’s largest provider of homeless services, serving more than 100,000 veterans annually." With up to 400,000 veterans experiencing homelessness at some time during the year, VA programs reach about 25% of those in need ... leaving 300,000 veterans in need of assistance from community service providers.
* While "most homeless people are single, unaffiliated men … most housing money in existing federal homelessness programs is devoted to helping homeless families or homeless women with dependant children," according to "Is Homelessness a Housing Problem?" in Understanding Homelessness: New Policy and Research Perspectives published by the Fannie Mae Foundation, 1997."

On Link TV tonight there was a documentary called An Act of Conscience, filmed in 1997 by Robbie Leppzer about the war tax resistance of Randy Kehler and Betsy Corner in Massachusetts. It is a moving film, about a couple, and community, willing to make that last sacrifice for their convictions against war... I am a war resister myself, but this couple paid a heavy price... the IRS have Kehler arrested and the couple have their home confiscated for refusing to pay a 'war tax.'

It is interesting that so much of the history of the US has to do with taxes... 'taxation without representation' was the clarion call of the Revolutionary War, and the Boston Tea Party was also over 'taxed' tea and the Tea Tax Act. Thoreau in 1846 refused to pay the poll tax, and was jailed... and his most famous essay, read and inspiring so many, was his personal response to his imprisonment for breaking this law. He refused to pay the taxes because the taxes were used to support slavery, in the same way that our taxes today and for the past century support all our wars and 'police actions' of aggression against people everywhere.

In the meantime, An Act of Conscience moved me... not only the initial struggle, but the long community protest, which took years, and in which people decided to be refuse to leave their vigil, after the local court signed an injunction. They said, by their actions, what Thoreau had earlier said:

"Must the citizen ever for a moment, or in the least degree, resign his conscience to the legislator? Why has every man a conscience then? I think that we should be men first, and subjects afterward. It is not desirable to cultivate a respect for the law, so much as for the right. The only obligation which I have a right to assume is to do at any time what I think right."

Gandhi was inspired by Thoreau, and wrote about his rebellion of conscience when he was himself jailed; Martin Luther King read both Thoreau and Gandhi, and helped to bring about the current times...

Yet today we have ongoing hypocrisy... We have the Hope President reversing and contradicting himself... no more pictures, no more revelations, and who knows what will happen with Guantánamo.

I remember a poster from the sixties, when we were protesting Vietnam... What if they gave a war, and no one came?

Friday, May 22, 2009

A mild post about strawberries and the ballet...

Taking a break from bitching about empire to laud the San Francisco Ballet and Bay area strawberries... The ballet is among the best companies I've ever seen, and that includes the Cuban National Ballet with Alicia Alonso and the American Ballet Theatre... interestingly enough, the SFB has a number of Cuban soloists, character dancer and corps-de-ballet dancers. I am sure most of them by now are US citizens but the point is that they were all born where I was born, in la Habana...

And the strawberries were so juicy and fresh and sweet... I bought them from a young Mexican who was selling in the street, and bit into one, and started talking to myself... 'SO this is how strawberries are supposed to taste!~' I lived for so many years in the NE where most of our produce was trucked from faraway places, one never did taste (for the most part) really fresh produce! So strawberries were rather tasteless and frequently bitter.

Tomorrow we will go back to figuring out how to stop the war and kill (I want them out) the pharma/health merchants of death... but for today, I am going to eat sweet juicy strawberries and dream of la Habana...

About empire, though, one of my bisabuela's frequent sayings...

No hay mal que dure cien años
ni cuerpo que lo resista

(There is no evil that can last 100 years
nor a body that can put up with it)

In love but pissed off?

Well, I heard the man speak at the Notre Dame commencement... he is charming, he talks a good game, he makes you want to cheer and applaud and stand up and say BRAVO! And I made myself wait four days before I commented because the truth is that I sat and watched and smiled and frowned (smiled more than I frowned). He speaks truth, but now he is not speaking truth to power, because at least in some significant way, he IS the power...

And I am still having trouble with the inane comments about the 'mistakes' of those who ordered torture, and not having a very good time of it with what is shaping up to be a health care fiasco... they are not going to give an inch, because they (meaning the bloated health/pharmaceutical 'industry') are sitting pretty, no matter how angry we all are. They resemble countries that continue to bomb and torture and demean other countries, but have 'bought' our approval. 'nuff said... No one is talking about the various 'scams' such as the Medicare (more expensive medicine for a rapidly aging population) perpetrated by this 'industry' back when GWB was smiling his approval...

My biggest problem, of course, is with the whole war issue. This was an election that was ultimately won because we wanted change, INCLUDING bring the troops home. Instead, we are now bombing, via unmanned drones, other places... creating yet more families that will mourn our existence... and vow revenge.

But when he talks as he did last Sunday, for just a short while, you want to believe...

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Why socialism?

Albert Einstein's essay entitled Why Socialism?, published in the first issue of the Monthly Review (, is as timely today as it was then. It addresses all of the issues that bedevil us, including the lack of a free press, and the impotence of our efforts:

"Private capital tends to become concentrated in few hands, partly because of competition among the capitalists, and partly because technological development and the increasing division of labor encourage the formation of larger units of production at the expense of smaller ones. The result of these developments is an oligarchy of private capital the enormous power of which cannot be effectively checked even by a democratically organized political society. This is true since the members of legislative bodies are selected by political parties, largely financed or otherwise influenced by private capitalists who, for all practical purposes, separate the electorate from the legislature. The consequence is that the representatives of the people do not in fact sufficiently protect the interests of the underprivileged sections of the population. Moreover, under existing conditions, private capitalists inevitably control, directly or indirectly, the main sources of information (press, radio, education). It is thus extremely difficult, and indeed in most cases quite impossible, for the individual citizen to come to objective conclusions and to make intelligent use of his political rights."

Later on he says that the profit motive "is responsible for an instability in the accumulation and utilization of capital which leads to increasingly severe depressions. Unlimited competition leads to a huge waste of labor, and to that crippling of the social consciousness of individuals which I mentioned before."

Thorstein Veblen, whom Einstein mentions in his essay, actually coined the phrase "Conspicuous Consumption" leading to conspicuous waste in his "Theory of the Leisure Class"(, a writing which analyzes and satirizes the sordid influence of laissez-faire economics and big business on society and culture.

There have been some socialist experiments on our planet that have not fared well; it is, after all, a relatively young theory, and I think its efforts have been mired by the existence of that conspicuous consumption and waste so prevalent in the capitalist world. It is hard not to be swayed by the more and bigger is better siren lure of Madison Avenue. Harder yet to live the simple life, when all around you luxury beckons... And the profit motive has always been an infection that spreads and grows and becomes rabid, as in Walmart and its practices being touted as a 'good' business model throughout the world. "Save money, live better." For the owner-predators, the model consists of carefully controlled employment at the lowest wages and at all stages of production and sale, cut-throat competition, including the wiping out of cottage industries, and an absolute disregard for the laws protecting workers. But they are profitable, and are therefore on the list of 'stock to buy.'

My nightmare for some time now has been that Cuba would be 'opened' to US investment, and that Walmart would desecrate the Habana landscape...

But as for socialism, it's been so painted by that same Madison Avenue, or tarred and feathered would be a better word for what's been done to it, as the ultimate evil, that the sole mention of the word sends people running.

I, proudly, am a socialist.

The "Free" Press

Abuelo Gerardo was a serious journalist and photographer who covered wars, investigated corruption, and was in fact sentenced to death in México on a couple of occasions because he had published something that was troublesome to those in power. One of them, I remember from his stories, had to do with General Carranza... He joined the French Foreign Legion because he could not get close to the war... I have a postcard he sent from abroad...

So who are these people that work for MSNBC and CBS and whoever else, and DO NOT report the news? There is NO coverage about the ongoing US killing of civilians in Afghanistan. There have been numerous 'air strikes' that have gone awry and killed tens of Afghan women and children... Does the term 'free press' mean they are 'free' as in 'worthless?' How do they justify their wages? Or are these the wages of corporate sin?


I had to come back and correct my post above, in two ways. First of all, there was a NYT editorial today on drone bombings, and second of all, the independent media always reports on these things, but then again, I was not referring to them when I said we have no coverage. Anyone who does not read Alternet or the Nation goes wanting for the real news.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Drone attacks, civilian deaths, and business as usual

Remember when Obama said that not only did we have to end the war in Iraq but the mindset that leads to war? Well, last Thursday, after targeting the Taliban in those 'carefully targeted' air strikes (shades of Bush's intelligent weapons), 120 civilians died... dozens of women and children, in what is reported as a 'misdirected' attack. We are also using unmanned 'drones' to kill. It saves paying for psychotherapy for the flyers, when they return home.

Please notice the apologies and the 'pledges' to investigate in the story below...
From here, it looks very much like business as usual. And so it continues...

'120 die' as US bombs village
Afghan outrage after strike targeting Taliban fighters hits women and children
By Patrick Cockburn in Kabul
Thursday, 7 May 2009

Afghan villagers sift through the rubble of destroyed houses after the coalition air strikes in the Bala Baluk district of Farah province, Afghanistan

A misdirected US air strike has killed as many as 120 Afghans, including dozens of women and children. The attack is the deadliest such bombing involving civilian casualties so far in the eight years since the US-led invasion of Afghanistan.

Families in two villages in Farah province in western Afghanistan were digging for bodies in the ruins of their mudbrick houses yesterday. "There were women and children who were killed," said Jessica Barry, a Red Cross spokeswoman. "It seemed they were trying to shelter in houses when they were hit." Survivors said the number of dead would almost certainly to rise as the search for bodies continued.

The killing of so many Afghan civilians by US aircraft is likely to infuriate Afghans and lead to an increase in support for the Taliban in the bombed area. President Hamid Karzai, who was meeting President Barack Obama in Washington yesterday, sent a joint US-Afghan delegation to investigate the incident. The US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, standing next to Mr Karzai, voiced her "deep regret".

US Marine Special Forces supporting the Afghan army apparently called in the air strike on Tuesday on two villages in Bala Baluk district after heavy fighting with the Taliban. Accounts by Afghans of high civilian casualties are often denied or dismissed by US officials. But a team from the Red Cross visited the scene of this attack. "There were bodies, graves, there were people burying bodies when we were there," said Ms Barry. She said a first aid worker for Afghanistan's Red Crescent died with 13 members of his family. "Dozens of dead bodies were seen in the two locations we went to." Rohul Amin, the provincial governor of Farah, told The Independent that "the dead numbered over 100". Villagers brought 30 bodies, including women and children, in a truck to Mr Amin in Farah City to prove it had happened.

The Afghan government has made increasingly angry denunciations of the US Air Force for using its massive firepower without regard for ordinary Afghans. Wedding parties have been a frequent target of US bombers in both Iraq and Afghanistan, presumably because they are mistaken for gatherings of militants.

The US air strike on Bala Baluk appears to have been deadlier for civilians than any similar event since the first US intervention in Afghanistan in 2001. The government has asked villagers not to bury the dead until investigators arrive today.

Previously the worst such incident was a US strike on Azizabad in August 2008 when the US originally claimed that no civilians were killed. Afghan and UN investigators concluded that 90 Afghans had been killed. A high-level American inquiry later admitted that 33 civilians had been killed. Opinion polls in Afghanistan show that backing for the Taliban soars in provinces affected after bombing or shelling kills innocent people.

The air strikes were preceded by two days of fighting between Afghan government forces supported by the US and dozens of Taliban fighters. Farah is a poor province whose people are mostly farmers and where the Taliban has been very active. The provincial police chief, Abdul Gaffar, said three police officers and 25 Taliban were killed in fighting near the village of Ganjabad in Bala Baluk district.

Local residents later told Afghan officials that they put their children, women and elderly men in walled compounds in the village of Gerani, which is three miles from the scene of the fighting and where they thought they would be safe. It was these compounds which were then attacked from the air and most of the people sheltering inside were killed.

Despite US denials or claims that a high death toll among civilians is Taliban propaganda, the US military should have very immediate access to eyewitnesses to air strikes. This is because the most severely injured are often taken to American medical facilities at US military bases. It is not known if this happened at Bala Baluk.

After the Azizabad killings last year, the US and Nato forces in Afghanistan were meant to have introduced more stringent rules to safeguard civilians from their strikes. The top US commander in Afghanistan, General David McKiernan, issued a directive ordering commanders to consider not pursuing Taliban fighters into populated areas. The US also pledged to investigate bombing incidents alongside Afghan investigators.

Afghan air strikes: The toll mounts

552 Civilians killed in air strikes in 2008.

17 per cent Proportion of US drone attacks to hit targets since January 2006.

701 Killed in drone attacks in three years.

14 Al-Qa'ida leaders in that number.

4.5 million dollars The estimated cost of a single Predator drone.

The Amero, and other musings

There is a part of me that has always loved political, and I would even hazard to say, international political discourse. Political in the sense of 'polis' and not in the sense of cheap dirty tricks. In other words, discourse on matters concerning the rights of the citizens of the large 'polis' which is the world village or city. Today we are facing dire problems, but they are probably no more dire than the problems faced since we came out of the primordial slime and started walking on two legs. I suppose every new generation believes its own problems are new and unparalleled, but that sells newspapers and gets people watching headlines on television; it does not in fact resolve any of the problems.

So one of the ongoing issues is that of a "New World Order" which is used by both sides in dark and menacing ways. For example, in our 'individualist' world, our "American" world, things must never change. It is what GW told everyone after September 11th; go out and shop! Let's not let anyone change the way we live and shop!

It is as if our right to be and to exist, and to make everything else secondary to our own needs and whims, is written in stone... or some modern-day material that is stronger than stone. So if it some small child is suffering in a silk factory overseas, that is secondary to our need to wear beautiful silk outfits at a 'reasonable' price. Reasonable always means how cheaply we can buy, and cheap never includes the 'real price' of our goods and services, so that if Wal-Mart is exploiting this one and that one to make its bottom line stronger, there is never a comparison of the cost of the 'cheap' or the very dear cost, indeed, of the increased bottom line.

Now I have to wonder about the so-called North American Union, said to be a supranational organization, modeled on the European Union, that would merge Canada, the United States, and Mexico into some sort of economic and political unit. South of the border, Chávez is working on some similar multinational entity, and if Venezuela is admitted to the Mercosur, it may finally happen that Simón Bolívar and José Martí's dream of a real 'panamerican' union will come to be. The first one was railroaded by the US, and became a 'commercial' union rather than a union which (from the OAS website: En el Espíritu del Panamericanismo, las naciones de América podrían “reafirmar los ideales de paz y solidaridad continental que todos profesan, fortalecer sus lazos naturales e históricos y recordar los intereses comunes y aspiraciones que hacen a los países del hemisferio un centro de influencia positiva en el movimiento universal a favor de la paz, la justicia y la ley entre las naciones”). In other words, it was to be a union through which, in the spirit of Pan Americanism, the nations of the Americas would: “reaffirm the ideals of peace and continental solidarity which one and all profess, strengthen their natural and historic bonds and recall the common interests and aspirations which make the countries of this hemisphere a center of positive influence in the universal movement in favor of peace, justice and law among nations”.

My socialist and 'Star Trekkie' tendencies are at war with my civil libertarian training or bent... but I have seen how much better the members of the European Communities seem to have been doing in these economic times. They have medical insurance, they are guaranteed vacations and a much higher minimum wage and even pensions... they have severance packages, not as a sometime thing but as a guarantee of any employment.

It always seemed to me, reading the fiction of Le Guin and the Hainish cycles in the Dispossessed and the Left Hand of Darkness, that if we were ever to conquer the global problems of poverty and exploitation, we must indeed do it within a global constituency... and someday we might indeed have a United Federation of Planets, if you will. So what would be so wrong with an amero? Or, if Chávez can organize the nations south of the border, including Bolivia and Ecuador, Brazil and Chile, Argentina and others, with a Pan American Union where the voices of the voiceless, those that Arzobispo Romero said we were to be spokespeople for, would finally be heard and taken into account.

I am not interested in the screams of 'the end of life as we know it' because that life has only been good to a very minimal percentage of the population, but neither am I interested in yet another vehicle to be taken over by the powerful and mighty to the exclusion of everyone else...

So, comments, anyone?

Are you ready to bleed?

On May 13th I watched (on Democracy Now physicians and nurses arrested at the hearings before Senator Baucus on 'affordable' health care, at a symposium or meeting or whatever, from which advocates for single-payer universal health care were excluded. I had probably signed this previously from my other email address but it was watching these physicians nurses being manhandled by DC police that touched me...

I have for some time now been on waiting mode, because I was so proud when we elected Barack Obama and so hopeful, but I am sorry that whatever patience I had is running out, and goddess knows my patience has been running out for at least fifty years.

In August of 1968 during the famous march when MLK delivered his famous "I have a dream" speech, the youngest speaker was John Lewis, whose hand Obama shook first on inauguration day. Lewis said that day:

“This nation is still a place of cheap political leaders who build their careers on immoral compromises and ally themselves with open forms of political, economic and social exploitation,” and later he said that patience was "a dirty and nasty word. We cannot be patient, we do not want to be free gradually."

The promise of Obama was to have a bold new rule in DC; the actual performance, let's not kid ourselves, is certainly not new, much less bold. While the jury will be out for a long time on whether the current administration is made up of 'cheap political leaders who build their careers on immoral compromises...' watching the hearings and those brave nurses and physicians willing to be dragged out just so they could get some 'media time' reminded me of the kind of work we have to do. For my money (or lack of it), it has to be 'creative' civil disobedience.

The PDA has its website on healthcare not warfare, but in the link below you can find information on the national day of action on May 30th.

I have not had medical insurance since my divorce in 1995. I need to have two wisdom teeth removed, and the prices I have been quoted are outrageous, so I take aspirin from time to time and am very careful with what I eat... I can't afford health care, and I know that health care is A FUNDAMENTAL HUMAN RIGHT which should not depend on a person's ability to pay.

Malcolm X said that revolutions require bloodshed, but that people (in this case he was talking about the Black liberation movement) were afraid to bleed... Well, I am already sixty and my children are grown, and I am not afraid to bleed. What are we waiting for? While obscene budgets are approved for an enlargement of war in Afghanistan, while our bombing raids keep killing women and children and old men there, creating MORE terrorism, not less, all the change we were promised is going nowhere fast. But I do wonder if Obama is not playing the game FDR played, before he signed into law some of the most revolutionary programs ever to be developed in the US, including Social Security. FDR said at the time: "Make me do it." Can't you hear Obama saying, "Make me do it?"

So I am urging everyone I know to come up with ways to 'make him do it.' My priorities are simple:

1. End the war(s), all of it, NOW.

2. Prosecute the torturers and the writers of the torture memos (more on this later) - the hearings on the Justice Oversight Com. on C-Span are quite interesting. Write to Whitestone and Feinstein and Feingold and the guy from Vt. and thank them.

3. Make a stink that will put the single-payer option on the table, and get it passed!