Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year's Stuff (or 3 Threes)

In less than 11 hours it will be 2011. I am convinced 2011 will be better than 2010 for progressives and Americans in general. The economy will not fully recover, but more and more people will begin to realize they are being lied to by many powerful folks in government and in multi-national corporations. This increased awareness is healthy and greatly needed.

I am hopeful because more people realize the current mainstream lifestyle of outrageous oil consumption is unsustainable and that this will require a major shift of resources and a complete redesigning of the way we live our lives.

Many newspapers, magazines, broadcast outlets at this time of year review the top three stories or trends that marked 2010 and a preview of the coming year... So, I've got three lists of my own.

Top 3 Local Stories for progressive activists
1. 135, mostly veterans (including Daniel Ellsberg), arrested at White House fence demanding end to wars and occupations in Afghanistan and Iraq
AFP article on arrests during a wintry day
2. James Lee who I had an acrimonous interaction with during my time as a WPC board member takes hostages at Discovery Building, has homemade bomb, killed by police
More details on Lee
3. Bradley Manning, alleged source of WikiLeaks' biggest exposure of government malfeasance ever, brought to Quantico, Va. and held in solitary confinement
Inhumane conditions Manning must endure

My 3 New Year's Resolutions:
1. More than 60% of my food purchased will be local or at least regional (Maryland, DC, Virginia, Delaware, SE Pennsylvania)
2. Buy organic seeds and reacquaint myself with gardening
3. Save $ for a comfortable bed...
(runner ups are practicing mindfulness, focusing on community building and avoiding being arrested)

3 Places I plan on going in 2011:
1. GenCon in Indianapolis! (and I get to visit my buddy Rangan while there)
2. New Mexico (Taos, Santa Fe)
3. Vermont (Long Trail, Shelburne Farms)

I hope to also write more in my blog next year. A lot happened this year, much of it difficult and not very pleasant. But, again, I believe next year will be a much better one -- thanks to having a job, good friends, and the best dog in the world!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Last radio show was about nonviolent resistance

Happy holidays to everyone! Bruno and I are packing to go over to G'town very soon...

Here's the show -- special thanks to Max from Baltimore.

Listen to internet radio with GreenTeaParty on Blog Talk Radio

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Gaming and the truth...

Sometimes you just need to escape reality, and sometimes you have a hankering for a good game. It's great when these two wants collide. For me that's been fantasy role-playing. My Pathfinder (sometimes called D&D 3.75) campaign has had more than two dozen sessions, and that's what I would consider a long-running campaign. The makeup of the game has changed a couple times, and I think we are settling down to the five players we have now. I am pleased with the gaming troupe we have.

I mentioned in a previous blog posting about Mike and how he came late into the campaign and was playing a disruptive character. Honestly I think it was more Mike as a player. I have played several fantasy role-playing games with him in the past -- and as a player he is usually very impulsive and makes poor decisions. Overall, he's a better DM, but even that is not saying much... But anyhow, yes, he was asked not to return to the group. And this last session just had a better feel to it. He did not take the news well, and I am sort of done dealing with his own drama (which has a lot more to do with other things in his life than gaming).

The other part (the flip side?) of this posting -- reality and telling the truth. WikiLeaks, which I have also written about previously, has now released the more than a quarter million State Dept. cables (that Pfc. Bradley Manning allegedly burned onto a CD and turned over to WikiLeaks). Many of them are embarrassing, some showing routine corruption and deception. I think the American people have the right to know what is being done in their name and with their tax dollars. I also feel that diplomats should be engaged in diplomacy, not espionage. So, I again thank WikiLeaks for helping to enlighten the American citizenry. For if we truly live in a democracy we need this knowledge to help make informed decisions. It also sparks needed dialogue on the overall direction and long-term goals of the U.S. in the world. Do we want to be actively talking about attacking Iran with Saudi Arabia and Israel (both have been pushing for this)? Do we want to be directing career diplomats to collect DNA samples from United Nations officials? Or do we want to work in more collaborative ways to bring more peace and justice to the world, not only unilateral empire-building ones?

Unfortunately, the Obama administration is beginning to act like the Nixon administration (Daniel Ellsberg went through a lot of the same drama after he released the Pentagon Papers). Attorney General Eric Holder is looking for a way to prosecute Julian Assange of WikiLeaks for simply doing what most journalists do, which is protected under the First Amendment. Also, there is no specific law saying that you can't release these confidential papers (if you are a non-federal employee). I am not sure how this will turn out in the end, but it's clear the government is going out of its way to prevent the public from learning the truth about how American diplomacy functions.

One of the journalists I most admire, Glenn Greenwald (also a constitutional attorney), has again written eloquently about Wikileaks. Please read the the recent article, as it reflects some of my same thoughts. So why is the government so intent on prosecuting a truth-teller when there are plenty of folks running around in government committing real crimes?

Next release coming from WikiLeaks: Damaging internal documents from one of the nation's largest banks (rumor is that it is Bank of America). This should be very interesting, indeed!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Green Party leader on my Internet Radio Show

Many thanks to Julia Willebrand for joining me for an enlightening conversation...

Listen to internet radio with GreenTeaParty on Blog Talk Radio

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Soup and Dungeons and Dragons

My new job is going well, and it appears our contract is being expanded. That means that my co-worker and I will be overlooking other contractors from our firm arriving within the next month or two as the project moves into the next phase. Today I am home on a paid holiday! I don't think I've ever had Veterans Day off from work before.

Bruno is doing well, and it seems that he is gaining much better bladder control and his listening skills are improving, as well. Later this morning we are going down to the lake!

Anyhow, let me dive into a couple things. I love cooking! And a few weeks ago I made this delicious and nutritious soup for myself and my housemates. Here's the recipe I created.

First make the chicken stock -- I stole this from the cool cookbook my sister Ellen bought me. It's "Japanese Hot Pots" by Tadashi Ono and Harris Salat.

1 pound chicken bones and wings
12 cups water, plus more for boiling the bones

Place the bones in a large stockpot, fill it with enough water to cover, and bring to a boil over high heat. Remove from the heat. Strain the bones and discard the water (this will remove all blood and coagulated proteins, which improves the stocks pure flavor). Rinse the bones under running water to wash off any scum. Return the bones to the same pot. Add the 12 cups of water and bring to a boil over high heat. Decrease the heat to medium and simmer until the stock reduces to about 8 cups (approximately 30 minutes). As it cooks remove any scum on surface. Strain the liquid and discard the bones. This creates pure and simple broth I use for the soup's base.

And then onto my Chicken and Vegetable Noodle Soup...

1/3 of 16 oz. box of Fettuccinni
1 cup diced Yellow Onions
1 cup sliced white button Mushrooms
1/2 cup sliced baby Carrots
1/2 cup cubed Zucchini
1 Tbsp. Ground Black Pepper
1 Tbsp. minced Parsley
1/2 Tbsp. Sea Salt
1/2 Tbsp. Garlic powder
2 tsp. Basil leaves
The Chicken stock described above

Boil the Fettuccinni until al dente (somewhat firm). Meanwhile saute the onions, carrots and zucchini in a medium saucepan with a thin layer of vegetable oil, adding the black pepper, sea salt and basil leaves -- stirring kind of like a stir fry dish.

Drain the Fettuccinni and quickly rinse it under cold water. Heat the chicken stock and add mushrooms, and garlic powder -- using a large pot -- and cover. Wait until this comes to a near boil and add the Fetuccinni, the onion/carrot/zucchini mix and reduce to a simmer. Add the parsley on the top and cover. Stir slowly occasionally, but mostly just keep covered for the next 20-25 minutes on a simmer.

It should serve 5 or 6 people. And it's delicious!

Now onto D&D! I love Pathfinder and my home campaign set in the official setting of the world of Golarion is going well. My friend Mike recently joined the group and for some reason he has decided to play a problematic character. I can't help but believe this reflects some of his own personal problems right now. I won't go into the details, but I am not only concerned about his bard/rogue's erratic behavior and the impact it is having on the party, but also my reaction to the way Mike is role-playing and generally behaving outside of the game, as well. I too easily let him provoke me.

So the the real quick of it is -- I want to enhance the fun for everyone. And I am not sure this will also entail asking Mike to leave the campaign, but it might. I think it's always a little problematic to add a new player character after a party has been adventuring together for several levels, but it also does not help when the player is purposefully trying to upset the harmonious team play, and then it becomes worse when the DM feels he constantly needs to react. So, we need to figure out a resolution to this real quick.

The party has been tracking a murder cult of a neutral evil God of deception. However, they are now coming into contact with a rival evil force, one of chaotic evil powers from the Abyss. They have traveled north from Andor to the shores of Lake Encarthan. Along the way they have encountered rival Orc tribes (one with a couple Hill Giant servants), a village under siege, a city with a culture controlled by merchants with a superiority mindset. Next it appears they are about to set sail for the wilds of The River Kingdoms.

The image is a really intense battle with Succubus spy the party was last seen battling...

Thursday, November 04, 2010

BDS: Movement for a Free Palestine

Five more days until my next Internet Radio show!

I promise to write more very soon. I will share some info about cooking, fantasy role-playing (the non-kinky kind), and updates about Bruno...

But here is the link to the show Tuesday evening:

BDS: Movement for a Free Palestine

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Big Sister: If you see something suspicious, report it.../Why I love dogs more than humans

It has been a while since I wrote anything on this blog of mine. Well, I have started my new job at the Library of Congress! Very happy with that development, as poverty got real old. Can't really claim to be an activist currently, but I can say I am a proud former activist. I am considering pulling together a big fundraiser for heroic whistleblower Bradley Manning, but other than that -- no real activism/organizing. I am focused on doing my job and spending time with my best friend: Bruno. How was that for an introduction?

OK, every morning, I am exposed to Homeland Security Director Janet Napolitano urging commuters to report any suspicious activity they may witness within the Metro system. It just has a very eerie and paranoid feel to it -- Big Sister is looking out for us, and watching us. It's also a blatant reminder that this country has changed a lot since my childhood (the national anthem still mentions "home of the brave," right?) This as news reports of peace activists in Chicago and Minneapolis have had their homes swarmed by FBI agents confiscating computer hard drives and other materials. Yes, we have something to be afraid of -- peace activists. I am sort of expecting an FBI agent to come visit us here in College Park. Another incentive to get out of the activism gig -- in addition to jail time, big fines, inter-movement bickering, and the reward of seeing little to nothing come of our efforts.

I am a financial supporter of activist organizations I believe are truly making a positive difference (Coal River Mountain Watch and Courage to Resist), but I am now a working man. I enjoy the archival work I am doing, and I'm working with some interesting documents at the LoC. And the salary is not bad and the health insurance is included. Time to work five days a week and enjoy the weekends with Bruno -- going to the dog park, sleeping in, gaming with friends. Simple hedonistic pleasures sound pretty good now.

Speaking of which, Bruno absolutely loves the dog park. We have joined and he is proudly sporting his College Park Dogpark tag shaped like a fire hydrant. I think it was definitely worth the annual fee, as Bruno is truly a social dog. He loves running in a pack, and it makes me happy to see him in a state of bliss (it also helps tire him out). It's a good place, good people, great dogs!

Bruno is just wonderful and we share a love, not that different from a parent-child relationship. He still sometimes pees in unwanted places when very excited, but he's improving (I am sure my housemates are glad with this development). Dogs give and receive love so much more easily than humans do -- and they are basically very uncomplicated (it's refreshing).

So, maybe I will start a new Internet Radio Show, and maybe you will see me at a protest once every couple months. But I am ready to live a quieter and simpler life here in College Park.

It was nice to have Desiree, David, Malachy and Gael over for dinner the other night. We cooked a three-course meal for our friends. Here's the recipe I basically used:

* 1/4 cup butter
* 2 tablespoons olive oil
* 1/2 large onion, finely chopped
* 2 large tomatoes, sliced and peeled
* 1 tablespoons coriander
* 1 tablespoon cumin
* 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
* salt and ground black pepper to taste
* 2 small red chili peppers sliced
* 1 head cauliflower, broken into small florets
* 2 large potatoes, peeled and cubed

1. Heat the butter and olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat, first add the coriander. Add the onion and tomatoes (after quickly boiling to remove skins); cook and stir until tender. Season with cumin, turmeric, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes.
2. Add the cauliflower and potatoes to the pan, and stir to coat with spices. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender. Stir occasionally.

Until next time. Maybe my next entry will be more passionate about a cause, or perhaps I will discuss my ongoing D&D campaign (run by yours truly), or the brand new Darwin's World campaign (run by my buddy Mike)...

Thursday, September 02, 2010

I knew James Lee and worried about him

I knew James Lee, the one the media is calling an environmental extremist, and who walked into Discovery Channel's HQ yesterday with a gun and some explosive devices. He came to many Washington Peace Center and Code Pink protests and events, and he liked to go by his last name only.

In November 2008, he posted a video of the now late William Thomas (at his 24-hour anti-nuke vigil across from the White House) in a drunken state on the Washington Peace Center's blog (at that time it was open to the public). This video certainly did not help Thomas or his wife Ellen. He also posted extremely random and outrageous posts, clearly stating that he had the answers for world peace (drastic population reduction was a central one) and all of us at the Washington Peace Center should follow his instructions.

It was a bit of an ordeal. He protested the small Washington Peace Center office for three or four days with a bullhorn, and then we entered into an informal mediation with him. Not much came of that mediation, except that he claimed he did not need help or medication. I had claimed he needed professional help, other board members were not as sure. But he then stopped harassing us and our two staffers, and returned his attention to Discovery (which I honestly did not know about) as he was working on at the beginning of that same year.

Here is an e-mail exchange I had with Lee. As you can clearly see, as is now being reporting in some media outlets, he wanted to be heard -- to get his message out far and wide. I guess in the end, he attained this goal.


Date: Sun, 23 Nov 2008 09:47:12 -0500
Subject: I removed the post

Hi Lee,

I am a member of the WPC board and a friend of Ellen Thomas. I removed your post, as it was totally unrelated to peace and social justice issues. Thomas is struggling with severe alcoholism, and his friends and family are afraid he will drink himself to death. I do not think his troubles need to be spotlighted on our Web site.

A couple other board members saw the post and were highly concerned. The Peace Center Web site is not a place to embarrass people and distract from the good work that we are trying to accomplish. I hope you can understand.



___ Lee
to me

No, I do not understand. This is the TRUTH, man! This is your OPINION that the arrests were unrelated to peace and justice issues. William and Ron didn't seem embarrassed at all in court and wanted some attention to their cause. Now you want to give them a media blackout in their own HOME? Then shut the hell up about the media blacking YOUR cause out. I'm going to give you some time to think about what you are doing and reconsider that post.

So stop being so damned bias let the post be where it may. Otherwise, you're just another politician controlling the media in a different suit.

TRUTH and Justice.



Again from
___ Lee
to me

Don't think that you're the ONLY media outlet either. I can post this video link all over the place. I can send links to the Washington Post, Washington Times, Craig's List, Facebook, Myspace, Indymedia, and the list goes on and on. You can only control that little, tiny, website is all.

Now I'm making this a mission BECAUSE OF YOU.


Again from
___ Lee
to me

I'm going to prepare of list of TV Stations on where I can send this video link to. I think they will be interested in this little film. Who knows? Maybe they won't black it out like you did. I might just get very lucky and the whole world can see this.

Wish me luck, asshole.



Date: Sun, 23 Nov 2008 13:04:13 -0500
Subject: Re: I'm going to prepare a list

Hi Lee,

I was hoping you wouldn't resort to insults. You are free to send the link of the video to any and all news organization you like. But I am curious, why? What's your motivation? To embarrass Prop. 1?

You have been extremely disruptive during coalition meetings. I don't know if you are emotionally disturbed or cointelpro. But myself and WPC staff feel uncomfortable around you. I felt you should know this.




___ Lee
to me

What's embarrassing about the video? It looks fine to me. Why would ANYONE in the peace movement be embarrassed by this? You should be PROUD of what happened and tell it to the world. It's the TRUTH, what's wrong with that?

I don't think I was that disruptive during the coalition meetings. I was speaking my mind. Should I have just shut up instead of 'Shout Out?' Does an asian speaking his mind make you uncomfortable? Do you want me to be a quiet little asian and do your laundry and not say anything while the white people are talking? Am I the only one who you feel 'uncomfortable' around?

You have not seen the tip of the iceburg.



from Pete Perry
to ___ Lee
date Sun, Nov 23, 2008 at 2:32 PM
subject Re: I'm going to prepare a list


Again, Thomas is struggling with severe substance abuse. His life is in danger because of this. There was no point to his arrest, other than him constantly goading police with "Arrest me, I need it." And "You goddamn dumb monkeys." That was his message. What's the point?

Lee, you make me uncomfortable because you have talked about using violence. You also have said just plain old mean things. Sorry, brother man, I don't care if you are white or purple you make me uncomfortable because of your BEHAVIOR. A couple other people have said the same thing to me. Maybe your behavior will change when you are around others, or maybe it won't. I believe that's up to you.

We do want the Peace Center Web site to be used by activists actually organizing, and sharing their thoughtful comments about the peace and justice movement. We don't want to embarrass our friends and allies for no apparent reason.



What happened at Discovery is all very sad, and I think there are folks you just can't reach... Be at peace now, Lee. A peace you couldn't find in this world -- a world you had already, in some ways, became disconnected from.

Note -- This reporter actually spoke with Lee's brother who said he probably wanted to die: ABC News, Sept. 1

Thursday, July 29, 2010

NoVa Greens Talk: Ending Mountaintop Removal

Really glad to have done this show. I think eventually Mountaintop Removal will be abolished! Special thanks to Bo Webb and everyone at Coal River Mountain Watch.

NoVa Greens Talk: Ending Mountaintop Removal

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Transitions in Pete's World

I told myself I was going to write a huge blog entry on all things going on with me personally, professionally, and activism-wise. I am at the end of significant relationship and will be moving into a fun home in College Park in August. I get to keep the dog, my number one canine -- Bruno -- and my new housemates are enthusiastically welcoming him! The resident feline, however, does not seem to enthused. I think the two can still warm up to each other, and frankly I doubt Bruno even really understands all things cat.

In regards to my profession, I have been studying a bit for the certified archivist exam on August 11th. Although I have been told by some that since I have a master's degree in library and information science with some archives classes (and work experience), I don't really need this certification. Personally, I think it will strengthen my candidacy as I continue to job search (which has been a long and often disappointing process). However, I am very close to landing a fairly decent job at the Library of Congress, which will strengthen some archival skills. I will have to let you know when that final decision happens.

Activism, well still involved in the NoVa Greens -- at least until I move to Maryland. A week from tomorrow I will be doing the first full-length episode of NoVa Greens talk! My guest will be anti-mountaintop removal activist Bo Webb. He is a native West Virginian living in the heart of the coal fields and is with Coal River Mountain Watch, which I have heard of and been impressed with their work. Currently I am reading Coal River by Michael Shnayerson. This is all part of a build up to a late September mobilization called Appalachia Rising.

Anti-war/anti-torture stuff -- there have been a bunch of acquittals in DC. First 24 activists with Witness Against Torture were acquitted of Unlawful Assembly both inside the Capitol Rotunda and the east steps of the Capitol Building. This was a major victory for First Amendment Rights! Another First Amendment victory was the acquittal of the indomitable Cindy Sheehan and two others stemming from a March 20 protest at the White House. Superstar activist attorney Mark Goldstone was involved in both cases. Congratulations are in order for Mark, as he is now turning around his win-loss average.

Money continues to be very tight, so activism will need to take a back seat to just working, earning money, pinching pennies. But I don't have much to complain about. I have my baby dog Bruno to fulfill my devoted love and companionship quotient. And regards to my hobby of role-playing games, sadly my Pathfinder campaign maybe going on a hiatus, as right now I need to hold down a second part-time gig in addition tot he historical society. Major bummer, but I am sure I'll be able to pick up this past-time again in a month or two!

Friday, June 25, 2010

We had our very first Internet Talk Radio Show!

It was sort of a test run, but it actually is a pretty good introduction to our local political group, Northern Virginia Greens. We plan on making this a monthly 30-minute effort!

An introduction the Northern Virginia Greens

Sunday, June 20, 2010

The case of WikiLeaks and Bradley Manning: Obama criminalizing whistleblowers

First there was Shamai Leibowitz receiving the longest jail sentence in U.S. history for a whistleblower earlier this year, and now there is the case of Australian-born investigative journalist Julian Assange actively being sought by the U.S. Government -- and the arrested, but not yet charged, 22 year-old Pfc. Bradley Manning.

Manning should be a hero for exposing war crimes. However, he is being treated as a dangerous criminal and held indefinitely in Iraq. According to an Internet chat with a convicted felon who subsequently betrayed him, Manning explained why he allegedly gave whistleblower site WikiLeaks two massacre videos (the first released, the second coming very soon) and reportedly 260,000 diplomatic cables:

"I want people to see the truth… regardless of who they are, because without information, you cannot make informed decisions as a public."

This is evolving into a fascinating case of freedom of the press, and the right of the people to information in a democracy. Sadly, the Obama administration wants to criminalize this activity and WikiLeaks' editor-in-chief is now in hiding.

Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzales of Democracy Now reported on this matter:

Journalist and attorney, Glenn Greenwald also wrote an expose on this whole matter, digging into it a bit deeper. He also questions the motivations and tactics of the criminal hacker Adrian Lamo (who also reportedly has some mental issues) who turned Bradley over to Federal authorities and Wired magazine, which did not publish the entire Internet chat logs, only portions of them. Here's Greenwald's article: The strange and consequential case of Bradley Manning, Adrian Lamo and WikiLeaks

My now unused degree in journalism is coming in handy as I follow this case, and observe the various ethical issues involved. I believe the WikiLeaks/Assange/Manning case has a lot of legal and societal implications, and will be remembered in a similar vein to the way Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers are today.

Personally, I believe the people of the U.S. and the entire world need to know of these war crimes. The second video, to be released very soon, is of a massacre in Afghanistan is believed to show the brutal slaughtering of approximately 140 humans, many of whom are children. So, keep watching WikiLeaks...

Friday, April 16, 2010

Steve Mihalis, a great friend and man of peace

May we all take up the cause as Steve did, and perhaps more importantly in the *manner* that he did.

I spoke with Steve by phone a week before he passed. He was in a whole lot of pain and the drugs were not helping. I forced back tears, as I was talking with him. The conversation was too brief, as was the time I knew this great guy. As I ended the conversation, I said "Steve, you know what? There's a whole lot of us in D.C. who love you." He just responded that he loved all of us, as well.

I had been arrested with Steve a handful of times, as we resisted the empire's wars and its unjust detaining and mistreatment fellow human beings. He always arrived in DC with a smile and open arms for a hug and a kind word, or two, or three.

Steve never had an unkind word for anyone. He became very involved with the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance over the last four years, and that's how I got to know him better.He always provided this wonderful source of positive energy during our nonviolent direct actions. He truly believed that together we can make the world a better one.

My life has been enriched by knowing Steve, many many lives have been. For this I am deeply grateful. And I am pledging to interact with the world a bit more like Steve.

Steve, we love you and miss you dearly! Now rest and be with the angels, friend.

I understand the funeral will be tomorrow in his hometown of Elyria, Ohio. Here's the following related info:

Friends will be received Saturday from 2 P.M. until the time of a 5 P.M. service at Dicken Funeral Home, 323 Middle Avenue, Elyria. Reverend Mary Meadows will officiate.

Memorial contributions may be made to the family through the funeral home or to Hospice of the Western Reserve, 2173 North Ridge Road East, Suite H, Lorain, Ohio 44055-3400.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Anti-War Camp to Nonviolently Resist Shut Down

Anti-War Group Peace of the Action led by Cindy Sheehan Refuses to Leave and Will Expand Anti-War Encampment, Camp OUT NOW, While Permit Runs Out

Press Contacts
Robby Diesu 631-241-5966 DC Coordinator
Polly Miller 202-595-5892 DC Coordinator

Monday, March 22nd at 11:30 am
Camp OUT NOW (between 15th and 17th on Constitution NW) parking is available on Constitution.

Cindy Sheehan has spent the weekend in jail and will be arraigned on Monday. Directly following her arraignment she will join with fellow members of Peace of the Action, and follow through on the plans to continue the camp after the permit runs out. The group is planning on staying in there current location, between 15th and 17th on Constitution NW, and from there moving to directly in front of the White House (Lafayette Park side) after the police force the shut down at their current location. The group will continue their encampment until their demands are met: A meeting with President Obama where he creates a Peace Council and an end to the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan.

Peace and Justice for all
Robby Diesu
DC Coordinator for Peace of the Action

Monday, March 15, 2010

Camp Out Now set up today!

Peace of the Action swung into action today, setting up Camp Out Now. Cindy Sheehan, who I am quite happy to have gotten to know, has no plans of leaving until the War OF Terror begins to end.

Please stop by and visit Peace of the Action on the north side of the Washington Monument. Hard to miss, as the tents are directly across Constitution Avenue from the back of the White House.

This morning as we were setting up camp, we did a sun dance with some drumming, the rain stopped, Ann Wright joined us, and Obama flew over in his helicopter -- Cindy was the first one to react waving the peace sign! Weather should improve during the week, and there will probably be more chances to interact with the president.

Reports coming from camp this evening is that more tents have been set up next to the larger communal tent and the police are not happy with this. We shall see how this plays out.

From CNN's Shannan Adler

Washington (CNN) - Anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan, who became a household name for protesting outside of former President Bush's Texas ranch, is now camping out on the soggy grounds of the Washington Monument in an effort to draw attention to her cause.

Sheehan, whose son was killed in Iraq, said she and her fellow anti-war protestors are demanding that a representative from the peace movement have a seat at the table when war is being considered.

"We are committed to doing this until we see activity from the government," said Sheehan, referring to the anti-war protestors resolve to remain on the National Mall.

Sheehan said that each day this week there will be "teach-ins and training for non-violent civil resistance until Monday when the action starts."

The "action" will be blocking intersections in the nation's Capital as well as protesting at offices, she said. But Sheehan noted "we don't want to divulge what we are doing because we don't want law enforcement to be able to organize against us beforehand for our actions."

After a trip to Target to load up on necessary camping supplies as well as tables and chairs it would appear that Sheehan has no plans on leaving.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Why I arrived

The first meeting of the now revitalized Greens Party of Fairfax County was held yesterday at the Oakton Public Library. I am glad to be working with Green veterans Jim Lowenstern and Paul Hughes. Jim has run for House of Delegates in the past. Paul started the meeting with a presentation on corporate personhood, which has again become a hot topic in light of the Supreme Court's disastrous decision stating that money equaled free speech and that corporations are entitled to the same First Amendment rights that we as human citizens of the U.S. enjoy.

We had a larger turnout than expected at this meeting. A couple Greens moving to the area from other states, and three folks who are new to the Green Party but expressed an interest in becoming involved. I truly believe we can make a difference on the local level, and I hope more progressives will become actively involved in their own communities.

Our next meeting in March will continue where we left off in deciding which local issues we wished to focus on, and which are some of the county and municipal seats we many consider running for. There's a lot to work on locally, and I am looking forward to doing my part in turning Fairfax County in a more progressive direction. Here is the group's Web site: NoVa Greens.

Looking back at my previous posting, and realizing that I do want to help Cindy Sheehan and Robby and Polly with Peace of the Action (particularly Camp Out Now) in March, I now admit that at times my words were too harsh. I admire those still incredibly dedicated to the peace and justice movement. I am sorry that my words may have pushed some friends away. However, I feel I was entitled to express my own thoughts and feelings. Like I said, perhaps the words chosen were not the best. Although I no longer really see this struggle as "my struggle," I respect and admire so many involved in it.

I am just glad to be working with the local greens and living my life with Matthew. Money is tight, but we are pulling through.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Why I left

I promised myself I would write this for a while now. Dissatisfied with the pace of change and lack of cohesion and supportive community within the peace and justice movement, I decided to return to my own life and focus on building my career and having a good life with my partner. I knew I would be taking a long break from activism and organizing before I even went to jail (Dec. 18-21), but my time in there simply confirmed this in my own mind. I realized that leaving this "movement" was the right thing, but at the same time I was annoyed that people I cared for were sacrificing a great deal more than 98% of the rest of the peace and justice movement, and were getting precious little support. I wanted to make a point about this. This fact exposes a major injustice. I also was not getting hardly any support for my own ordeal.

Furthermore, a few I had considered good friends had already turned against me. They were angry that I would challenge them, and be so completely honest in my opinions about the movement's lack of diversity and willingness to adapt.

The peace and justice movement has shrunk during President Obama's tenure. Some within the progressive community, although fewer now than a year ago, persist in seeing him as some great hope. Something nearing the proportions of a modern day Moses. Efforts to persuade them otherwise have not been very successful. So not only is the peace and justice movement stuck in doing the same limited, predictable and easily dismissed protests but it is floundering in the face of this unrealistic belief that elections can change our course. Meanwhile social movements have not changed anything in a positive direction in decades.

I wish those who persist in the struggle good luck, although I am disappointed by their unwillingness to accept diversity and adapt their tactics. Groups like National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance, although well-intentioned, have stubbornly clung to the same type of actions which are not working. And now for those risking jail time, this group (as well as many others) offers very little legal or financial aid.

Jail is a terrifying place, and although this would probably be a major part of a nonviolent revolution, far too few are willing to go there. Personally, I went there once, and I do not care to repeat it. This burden, like so many others within the movement is not fairly shared. And there's not a lot of real concrete support; there remains a lack of community and cohesion which is deeply disappointing and troubling.

On a personal level, my relationship with my wonderful partner is getting better. Now is a good time for me to get off this crazy merry-go-round. I have very little hope we can impact the course of the empire at this time. We can, however, impact our own lives one day at a time in very personal but powerful ways.

Monday, January 18, 2010

A letter to Federalist Society friends from the John Yoo event

Lindsay is a great young Catholic Worker. She has already impressed me with her always cheerful demeanor, and quiet and strong spirituality. I thank her for this powerful letter, which reminds me what it's all about.

Lindsay Hagerman
, New York, NY
Friday, January 15, 2010: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday

Dear Roman, Simone, Greg, Phil, David, and the rest of the people who shared a table with me at John Yoo's talk this afternoon:

I wish I had enough foresight to hand you a note when I left our table. Since I did not, I am left to pray that this letter reaches each of you.

This afternoon at twelve o'clock, I joined your table in the center of the banquet room for John Yoo's book signing and luncheon/talk. We chatted for about a half an hour until the speaking began. Soon after John began to speak, my friend Bob stood up by his table behind us. Some of you looked back and saw him standing silently with a black hood over his head, holding a sign that read "Indefinite Detention = Torture = Illegal." After about two minutes, a security guard asked Bob to leave the room and Bob complied. I waited a few more minutes then I excused myself from our table and stepped into the center aisle. I made sure that I stood directly in John Yoo's line of vision. I pulled a black hood from my purse and put it over my head. I silently stood holding a large piece of paper that read: "Legal arguments cannot mask torture." I silently prayed for you, for me, for John, for the victims of torture around the world, and for all of our families.

Before I had time for much else, a security guard grabbed my waist. With the guard behind me, I very slowly processed with hood and sign until I left the room. During that slow walk, I prayed for forgiveness. I prayed for forgiveness from God and from torture victims throughout history. I prayed for all of us in that room, including myself, who are or have been complicit with the sin of torture, whether in our presence or in our names.

In the stairwell as I was leaving to join the outside demonstration, I sent up a prayer of gratitude for Dr. King's life, for his work, and for the opportunity I had today to express my love for all of God and Her creation.

Even though we clearly disagree in our opinion of John Yoo's work, I genuinely enjoyed our conversations and would love to have more opportunities to share back and forth. Unfortunately, there were times in a couple conversations where I was not able to be forthright with you, especially when some of you asked me questions to which honest answers may have "outed" me as a protester. I regret having "deceived" you and want you to know that the vast majority of information I shared about myself was truthful.

My name is Lindsay Hagerman. I am 26 years old and was raised in Dallas, Texas. I graduated from Highland Park High School (an elite public school in a very white, very Republican community). I graduated from Washington and Lee University in Lexington, VA and then did my graduate work in American history at the University of Delaware. It is true that I have relatives that have urged me to go to law school. I do live and work at a House of Hospitality for homeless women and children in the Lower East Side of Manhattan.

Roman, I was moved by something you shared with me from your years at Stanford Law School during the Vietnam War. You spoke with resentment about protesters who repeatedly called you a "fascist." I mourn how name-calling from all sides undermines our ability to understand one another. I have continued to reflect on your story, as well as conversations I had with others of you, and here are a couple more things I want you to understand about me and what I did today:

I am like you. No matter how much you may want to lock me away in the neat and tidy "protestor" stereotype, I feel "at home" with you. Sitting at that table, even I was taken aback by the ease with which I slipped back into the "polite" social norms of "my past." You reminded me of members of my family, people in my neighborhood growing up, classmates and friends of mine. Despite Yoo's joke about his students (caricatured as Jon Stewart-watching liberal activists) not doing their homework, I did mine. I did it well in "good schools" with a large percentage of conservative teachers and professors. But the more I tried to understand the experiences of poor people and people of color, the more I questioned basic fundamental "truths" I'd been raised to believe. Before long James Baldwin's words rang true with me:

"People who imagine that history flatters them (as it does, indeed, since they wrote it) are impaled on their history like a butterfly on a pin and become incapable of seeing or changing themselves, or the world. This is the place in which it seems to me, most white Americans find themselves. Impaled. They are dimly, or vividly, aware that the history they have fed themselves is mainly a lie, but they do not know how to release themselves from it, and they suffer enormously from the resulting personal incoherence."

When we embrace "torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment" as acceptable methods for dealing with any human being, we embrace incoherence. I don't see any of you or John Yoo as evil—to the contrary, you are my brothers and sisters. I love you too much to stand by while you continue to impale yourselves and destroy the lives of our other brothers and sisters. I had a moral obligation to act as I did today precisely because I can "pass" in settings like a Federalist Society gathering.

Please, please feel free to contact me next time you're in New York City. I would love to take any of you out for coffee or tea. Either way, my prayers are with you.


Sunday, January 10, 2010

Do you agree with these?

Ecological Wisdom
Whatever we do to the web of life, we do to ourselves. We advocate stewardship of our resources for the continued health of our communities and our planet.

Social Justice
Everyone should share in the fruits of our society regardless of gender, race, sexual orientation, class, age, or disability. We work for a world in which all can live free of fear and discrimination

Grassroots Democracy
Citizens have the right and responsibility to participate in the environmental, political, and economic decisions that affect their lives.

We reject violence at all levels of society, from the family to the nation. We promote peace by working for justice and by advocating non-violent resolution to conflict.

Concentration of wealth and power in the hands of the few contributes to social and economic injustice as well as environmental destruction. We call for the return of local decision-making so individuals and communities may act in their own best interests.

Community-Based Economics
We support the strengthening of local communities by encouraging economic self-reliance in all ways practical.

We call for cooperative ways of interacting to replace the cultural ethics of domination and control. We actively promote equal rights for all citizens.

Respect for Diversity
We support the cultural, ethnic, racial, sexual, religious and spiritual diversity among all people. We also cherish and encourage the preservation of the earth's biodiversity.

Personal & Global Responsibility
As individuals, we strive to be mindful of our interconnectedness, to consider the effect of our actions and lifestyle choices on the earth and all its inhabitants.

Future Focus & Sustainability
For love of our children, we consider the long range consequences of current actions. For the sake of future generations, we seek to create a society which meets the needs of everyone within the natural limits of the earth.

If you do -- Then join the Green Party! Be true to yourself, and do something good for your community, your state, your nation.

These were taken from the Green Party of Virginia's Website: (

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Recent Reports from Cairo -- Gaza Freedom March

By Jean Athey

Gaza Freedom March
Fourth Letter: December 31, 2009

Over 1300 people came to Cairo this week from all over the world, hoping to join Palestinians today in a nonviolent Gaza Freedom March to end the blockade. Since we were prohibited from going to Gaza, we decided to march in Cairo today instead. We hoped to step off at 10 a.m., the same time as the march in Gaza was to begin.

Many people managed to make it to the location selected for the march—near the Egyptian Museum-- but they were quickly and forcibly removed from the street; a few were injured and some had their cameras destroyed. Once off the street and onto the sidewalk, protesters were surrounded by riot police, and there they remained all day.

I was one of those who didn’t manage to get to the march. Egyptian police surrounded the Lotus Hotel early this morning, where many people are staying, including me, and they prevented us from leaving. The government also cut off Internet access to the hotel. We were able to go outside directly in front of the hotel, which is on a busy street, but we could not cross the police line. So, we set up a demonstration on the sidewalk, chanting, waving signs, singing, and talking to passers-by and to the police.

We finally stopped the demonstration at about 3 p.m.

A lovely French woman named Delphine is my roommate, and tonight we went together to eat dinner. We saw a young couple going into the same restaurant as us and speaking American English. Assuming they were with the March, we invited them to join us, which they did. But it turned out that they were simply in Egypt on vacation. We began to tell them about the March, which they found interesting. Both were well-educated, but neither knew anything at all about Palestine, Gaza, or the issues we are trying to address. Nothing. Nada. Rien.

It was disheartening to see the level of education that is needed in the US if American policy is ever to change. They were a very nice couple and highly supportive of our actions, once they understood what they are about.

There is so much work to do in the US.

Tonight we will ring in the New Year in Tahrir Square, altogether. We hope, we pray, that 2010 will bring some relief and some hope for all Palestinians and, especially, that the siege of Gaza will end.

*** ***
Gaza Freedom March
Fifth Letter—January 1, 2010

Hedy Epstein, 85-year-old Holocaust survivor, has stolen our hearts. At four feet-ten, she is a giant. Her gentle smile lights up every room that she enters, and yet if you saw her on the street, you might not immediately sense her power. Unless you paid close attention, you would just see a sweet little old lady.

When she came to Cairo, Hedy decided to undertake a fast in support of the people of Gaza, a particularly apt form of protest given the inadequacy of both the supply and type of food the people there have access to. Malnutrition is endemic in Gaza, and children’s growth is stunted; people frequently go hungry.

Inspired by Hedy, thirty others joined her fast, beginning on December 28. Today, the fasters held a press conference on the steps of the building housing the Egyptian journalists’ union. Some of the thirty will continue to fast, others will stop now. They released this statement:

We are thirty activists from around the world, inspired by Hedy Epstein, the 85-year-old Holocaust survivor, who initiated a hunger strike in Cairo for the opening of the borders of Gaza to the outside world.

We recognize that the Palestinians of Gaza continue to hunger for food, shelter, and most of all for freedom.

We continue to hunger for justice for Gaza and all of Palestine. At this time, we announce that we will feast when Gaza feasts.

Until that time, each of us will choose the time to end her/his fast and again take food.

Our pleasure in that food will always be mixed with the pain of Palestinians.

We call on all people of conscience from around the world to renew their resolve for peace and justice in Palestine.

My friend Keren, Jewish like Hedy, has talked about how personally difficult it is to work for justice in Palestine when your dearest community will not support you, even actively opposes you. Hedy, too, has struggled with this problem, Keren told me, when members of her own family rejected her. And yet, she takes this strong, brave action, risking her health and accepting shunning from loved ones in order to stand up for those who are oppressed.

On this final day of the Gaza Freedom March, I have reflected on the experience—did we accomplish anything? We have all been inspired--by individuals of conscience like Hedy, by the sense of international friendship and solidarity that has pervaded these days here, even by the observable impact of our practice of nonviolence on the young policemen. There has been media coverage of our multiple protests here, and so we have raised up the issue of Gaza around the world, although coverage in the mainstream media has been limited, especially in the U.S. We have made lasting connections with one another, and so a nascent international movement, initiated by the South African delegation, is forming to combat the apartheid system in Palestine, a system with many similarities to what once existed in South Africa.

Most people will leave Cairo either tomorrow or the next day, returning home to their various countries. A few of us are staying on, however, hoping that we can, in a few days, get into Gaza after all--not to participate in a march but rather to offer our service as volunteers. If we are successful and cross into Gaza, we know that we will be greeted with love by the people there. We received this e-mail yesterday, written a few days ago, from the youth of Gaza:

We are still waiting for everyone to cross and share his/her feelings with us, but even if Egypt keeps you out, your work in Egypt is critical. Egypt is one of the perpetrators of the blockade, and we so appreciate all the solidarity protests you have conducted at great personal risk throughout the great city of Cairo, at every important "nerve center." You showed your support of Gaza and Palestine loud and clear, waking humanity up to the 1.5 million persons in Gaza who have been suffering for the past four years.

So please don't stop fighting, no matter what happens. With your help, we will achieve peace and justice. We are marching for freedom together.

We are still waiting for the Gaza Freedom March to cross from Cairo and we are against the Egyptian government’s decision! Welcome to Gaza and to a Happy New Year without blockade, settlements and occupation!

As for me, I have never spent a more memorable New Year’s Eve than last night, when I went to the French Embassy where the 200-strong French delegation was still camped out. Marching on the sidewalk between rows of small tents, with a couple of hundred riot police standing guard at the curb, the French, wearing paper New Year’s Eve hats, chanted, “Ga-za, Ga-za, on n’oublie pas! Ga-za, Ga-za, on n’oublie pas!” Gaza, Gaza, you are not forgotten! And, “Gaza, bonne annee, oui! Gaza, bonne annee, oui!” Happy New Year, Gaza.

May 2010 be the year that the blockade ends and freedom comes to Gaza and all Palestine.