Activist Unite. Veterans For Peace 2006 National Convention


Photograph and Composition By Betsy L. Angert ©

Recently, the political blogosphere has been buzzing with talk of action, activism, and conventions.  Some are seeking a connection to “real” American heroes.  Bloggers wish to show their support for the people that truly serve this nation.  Still, they want to promote peace.  This announcement might offer the opportunity some crave.  Veterans For Peace is hosting a National Convention.  The conference will begin August 10 and close on the 13th.  Speakers such as author John Perkins, peace loving Mom, Cindy Sheehan, and anti-war activist, Dahr Jamail will welcome attendees.  I will share the schedule and specifics below.

Years ago, I discovered Veterans For Peace accidentally.  I was an active member of the Orange County Peace Coalition.  A person I not yet met, placed a request into the Coalition’s cyberspace.  James Ameen, veteran and co-organizer of Arlington West, Huntington Beach project, was looking for assistance.  Mr. Ameen was planning a performance piece, an installation, and a work of art.  He was documenting the deaths from this country’s most recent aggression, and memorializing these.

Mr. Ameen and co-coordinator, Tom Lash, another Veteran for Peace, were focused.  They were seeking persons willing and able to contribute time and energy to their effort.  The hope was that they, along with others, would enlighten a seemingly apathetic public.  They would tell their personal tales of war and discuss the occurrences in Iraq.

Upon meeting Mr. Ameen and discussing the undertaking, I became absorbed in this anti-war effort.  I regularly participated in this commemorative to fallen soldiers and civilians.  For months, Arlington West, Orange County became my home away from home. The Veterans For Peace organization became a close friend.

I helped to construct, sand, and paint wooden crosses.  I placed these in the sand on the beach each weekend morning.  Twelve hours later, I lent a hand in loading these crosses into cars and then taking them to a safe storage.

Each week I collected and updated the information necessary for the display.  I typed comments, created a database of passer-bys and interested parties.  I placed flowers on these headstones and I met many Veterans and active duty service persons during this endeavor.  Hours were dedicated to Peace and peace activism.  There were plenty devoted to destruction that passed by the installation.  They spoke of their beliefs; I listened and discussed my own.

For me, the time I spent engaging with Veterans For Peace was fruitful.  Now, that experience might be yours.  I received this announcement and I wish to pass it on to you dear reader.  This is another opportunity for activist to unite.

Veterans For Peace – 2006 National Convention

Seattle, Washington, University of Washington Campus

August 10 – 13, 2006

“Sow Justice, Reap Peace: Strategies For Moving Beyond War.”

Convention SpeakersJohn Perkins, Cindy Sheehan, and Dahr Jamail head an All-Star cast of speakers to the 2006 Veterans For Peace National Convention.

And that’s not all.  This is shaping up to be an incredible list of speakers, and it doesn’t even include The Musicians!

John Perkins, Cindy Sheehan, Dahr Jamail, Ann Wright, Ray McGovern, Brian Willson, Jennifer Harbury, Elliott Adams, Stacy Bannerman, Antonia Juhasz, Pablo Paredes, Malik Rahim, Bruce Gagnon, Diane Benson, Monica Benderman, Camilo Mejia, Majorie Cohn, Diane Rejman, Simona Sharoni, Diane Wilson, Anthony Arnove, Bridgett Cantrell, David Cline, Michael McPhearson, Gerry Condon, Eli Painted Crow, Mike Ferner, Vivian Felts, Ellen Finklestein, Lynn Fitzhugh, Tina Garnanez, Jennifer Harbury, Ed Heim, Andy Heims, Evan Kanter, Dan Kenner, John Kim, Kathleen McFerran, Alene Morris, Steve Morse, Paul William Roberts, David Swanson, Bob Wing, Todd Boyle and more . . .

You will not get a recital of old, familiar material.  You will get the state of the art, the leading edge of thinking.  You will be in a conference room with Ray McGovern or Brian Willson or Dahr Jamail, in a discussion with other leading activists.

This will be the biggest convention of the year for any serious student of nonviolent political change.

Everyone in this struggle is welcome. Please join us!

Convention Workshops

Veterans for Peace Convention – August 10 – 13, 2006

Workshop Schedule

Thursday, August 10, 2006

2:30 – 3:45

? Chapter Organization/Innovations: Spreading the Peace/Anti-war Movement: Why is it so White and Middle-class? (Michael McPhearson and Bob Wing)
? Communication: Hearts and Minds: Spiritual Activism in a Time of War (Stacy Bannerman)
? Environment and Culture: A World of Hurt or Hope: The National Security Implications of Global
? Warming and Abrupt Climate Change, (John Seebeth)
? Human Effects of War: Finding the Way Back Home: Readjustment and Traumatic Stress (Drs. Bridgett Cantrell, Scott Michael, and Evan Kanter)
? Veteran Support: Vets4Vets, Peer Support, and Empowerment Groups for Iraq-era Veterans (Jim Driscoll.  Kelly Dougherty, Garett Reppenhagen)
? Issues of War: War profiteering and U.S. Strategic Goals in the Middle East (Dahr Jamail)
4:00 – 5:15
? Chapter Organization/Innovations: Walking to New Orleans (Malik Rahim, Vivian Felts, Ward Reilly, Michael McPhearson et al)
? Communication: Creating Safety Through Connection: Nonviolent Communication (Kathleen Macferran)

? Environment and Culture: Agents of Destruction: DU and Agent Orange (David Cline et al)

? Human Effects of War: Writing About War by Live video feed from Toronto (Paul William Roberts)

? Veteran Support: International Panel (Frank Houde et al)

? Issues of War: Nuclear weapons (Carol Reilley Urner)

Friday, August 11, 2006
9:45 – 11:00

? Chapter Organization/Innovations: Counter recruitment

? Communication: How to Speak the Truth in Difficult Times (Alene Moris)
Environment and Culture: The Peace Movement, Knowing What to do Next (Elliot Adams)
? Human Effects of War: Health Consequences of War: Challenges Beyond the Battlefield (Drs. Gene Bolles and Evan Kanter)
? Veteran Support: An American Peace Veteran in Vietnam (Diane Rejman)
? Issues of War: The Politics of Obedience: Breaking the Habit of Voluntary Servitude (Brian Willson)

11:15 – 12:30

? Chapter Organization/Innovations: Waging Peace Workshops, an Overview (Elliot Adams)
? Communication: Voices of Women Veterans – (Ann Wright, Tina Garnanez and Eli Painted Crow)
? Environment: How Can We Avert the Converging Catastrophes of Global Climate Change, Global Oil Depletion, and the U.S. War Response to Oil?  (Roland James)
? Culture: Creating a Culture of Peace (Ellen Finkelstein)
? Veteran Support: Alternative Medicine Breakthroughs and PTSD and PTSD and EMDR – the End of the Nightmares (Lynn Fitz-Hugh and Dan Kenner)
? Issues of War: Structural Causes of War, Todd Boyle, and Antonia Juhasz
2:00 – 3:15
? Chapter Organization/Innovations: Chapter Building (Patrick McCann)
? Communication: Practicing Nonviolent Communication (Bob Hendricks)
? International Issues: Israel/Palestine (Souliman al Khatib and Assaf Oron)
? Issues of War: Lies, Secrecy and Lawlessness – How to Stop the Coming Police State and Protect Yourself Along the Way (Ray McGovern and Ed Hein)
? Veteran Support: Resisting in the US and Canada (Gerry Condon and Pablo Paredes)
? Issues of War: Impeachment (David Swanson and Mike Ferner)

3:45 – 5:00

? Innovations: Passing the Torch: Training Youth to be Peace Activists (Youth panel from FOR)
? Communication: Media (Virginia Rodino)
? Culture: Unity Beyond War Time (Andy Himes)
? Human Effects of War: Torture (Jennifer Harbury)
? Veteran Support: GI Rights and GI Advocacy (Steve Morse)
? Issues of War: Axis of Evil v. Great Satan (John Amidon, John Kim and Keith Leitich)

We really hope you can join us.  It promises to be an exciting event.  Last year’s convention in Dallas kicked off Camp Casey, the Bring Them Home Now Tour, and the Katrina Relief Effort in the Gulf.  There is no telling what kind of momentum we’ll generate this year.  Come to Seattle and be a part of history!

For more information and to register please see the following links:

Convention Website:

http://www.vfpnation…

Convention Flyer:

http://www.veteransf…

Registration Page:

https://www.seattlet…

Register By Mail Form:

http://hfs.washingto…

Register By Phone: 206-543-7634

Thank you,

Veterans For Peace National Office

216 S. Meramec Avenue

St. Louis, Missouri 63105

314-725-6005

? Orange County Peace Coalition.

McCain Claims, Bush Not Missing in Action ©

Though I did not see or hear the dialogue, when I heard of it, I was struck.  Senator John McCain, a former Prisoner of War, admittedly, does not always agree with the President.  However, today, this compassionate conservative offered his support.

In an interview aired on Fox News the Senator stated, “I have seen him, I have seen his care, and I have seen him grieve. And I’m sure he wouldn’t like to hear me say this, but I saw him afterwards. He was very, very grieved. And that’s the job of the President of the United States. He fully appreciates the tragedy of the loss of these brave young Americans.”

However, Cindy Sheehan does not believe that Mr. Bush cares.

• If you have not before, Please listen to Cindy and hear her plea.  Look into her eyes; see her face, her tears, and her pain.  Again, I offer the link to an advertisement paid for by the Gold Star Families for Peace.  I think this a worthwhile viewing.  The singular spokesperson is Cindy Sheehan.  She speaks to the President and asks him to care as he has not in the past.

Mrs. Sheehan said the June 2004 meeting lasted ten minutes.  Mrs. Sheehan was among a group of families meeting with Mr. Bush and Senator John McCain.  She said of the President, “He called me Mom.”  She states, that felt disrespectful.  It created a distance and for this deeply grieving mother, for this person, Cindy, it was a show of insincerity.

Mrs. Sheehan offered she did not feel as though she was a unique person to this supposedly compassionate man.  Cindy Sheehan wanted to have an opportunity to ask questions and to state her genuine concerns. This was not possible in the time or space allotted. Sheehan asserts reports of her sentiment and her appreciation for the “the gift of happiness,” were distorted.

Please refer to the original reference, as published in TheReporter.Com.

Bush, Sheehan’s share moments By David Henson/Staff Writer

Mrs. Sheehan believes the Reporter article misrepresented her and her feelings. It put forth an image that promoted the Bush war agenda.  She states that does not want her story to be used as propaganda.  The President needs no more proses.  He has plenty advancing his intention to kill.  She does not want her words to be among these.

However, the Sheehan situation is, in some cases, advancing the President’s cause.  People are pouring into Crawford; many are coming to express their disapproval of the Sheehan family.

Matt Drudge,  a man considered to be an “Internet gossip” is also gaining greater fame from the Sheehan story.  Drudge is claiming that this protesting mother has “Changed her story on Bush.”  Media Matters for America challenges his assertion.  They are “Tracking a lie through the conservative media” and reporting on Cindy Sheehan “changed her story on Bush”?

There are so many liesThere are so many “lies,” “tall tales,” and “truths” in the wind.  Mrs. Sheehan is only asking for an audience with the President, asking him to address some of these issues.  Yet, her request for transparency and compassion are denied.

Mr. McCain speaks of compassion, his own and the President’s.  Yet, he states in this Fox News interview he has no memory of Cindy Sheehan.  This fascinates me.  Was the meeting so meaningful that it was not memorable and if so, can we trust his recollections of the President?  I would be interested in hearing Cindy Sheehan speak of the meeting again and this time, I would hope she would mention her impressions and interactions with Arizona Senator John McCain.  These might be quite revealing.

Transcript: Senator McCain on ‘FOX News Sunday’

WALLACE: Let me switch, if I can, to another subject: Cindy Sheehan, I suspect you know who she is?

MCCAIN: Sure.

WALLACE: The woman whose son was killed in Iraq last year, who’s now camped outside the president’s ranch. It’s clear that she has joined with some left-wing anti-war groups and has even taped a commercial, which we’re going to show later, in which she accuses the president of lying.

Question though: If you were the president, would you meet with her?

MCCAIN: I don’t know if I would or not, Chris, because he did already meet with her once, as you know. And that, I think, probably was sufficient. But this thing has blossomed.

Look, I’ve been with the president of the United States when he has met with the families of those brave young men and women who have sacrificed. I have seen his compassion. I have seen his love. I have seen his concern. So any charge of insensitivity or uncaring on the part of this president, is absolutely false. He cares and he grieves.

WALLACE: Now, I know you were on that campaign trip in June of 2004. Were you in the meeting with him when he met with Cindy Sheehan?

MCCAIN: I don’t — you know, I don’t remember her, because there was a number of families. We sort of met separately, but I did see him encounter and try to do his best to comfort these families, and I saw…

WALLACE: So when she talks about callous, jovial, acting like he was at a party?

MCCAIN: I have seen him, I have seen his care, and I have seen him grieve. And I’m sure he wouldn’t like to hear me say this, but I saw him afterwards. He was very, very grieved. And that’s the job of the president of the United States. He fully appreciates the tragedy of the loss of these brave young Americans.”

Does he?  Does Senator McCain?

• Please read an excellent essay by Steve Soto, The Left Coaster.  He offers a comprehensive study of The Real Reason Why Cindy Sheehan Is A Threat To The GOP