Single Women. The First Time. ©

The idea first entered my consciousness at the age of five.  I overheard my parents having a passionate conversation.  I had never seen them so animated.  I wanted to feel as they did in that moment.  By the time I was a teen I had read much.  I knew; I was ready.  How long would it be before I too felt the excitement and the energy I witnessed?  I wondered.

When the time came, I was anxious, expectant, and so eager.  I did not know that I could do it in my own home.  I was young and naïve.  I walked outside the house into a driving rain.  I hitchhiked to meet my destiny.  Once I completed the act, I was elated.  I could hardly wait for the next time, then the next, and the next.  All these years later, I still love doing it.

“You want me to tell you about my first time . . . I like doing it in the morning . . . When was it?  What year was it?  Well, it’s kind of personal . . . I felt grown up.  I wasn’t a kid anymore . . . Once I did it in an old woman’s garage.  You have all of that energy flowing inside.  You go in.  You commit.  It is a beautiful thing!”

These women, Felicity Huffman, Marg Helgenberger, Angie Harmon, Rosario Dawson, Tyne Daly, and Daphne Zuniga are speaking of voting, as was I.  They are reflecting on their first vote; their virginal experience as an electorate.  A recent television advertisement campaign, sponsored by the Women’s Voices, Women Vote, a nonprofit organization based in Washington, District of Columbia, is attempting to appeal to single women voters.  Apparently, according to a recent study, there are approximately twenty million of these.

In this election year 2006, single women are considered the group to get.  They are the voters that candidates wish to attract.  These lovelies are the silent, sweet minority.

In recent years, each election has been marked with a group of swing voters — 1992 was the year of the woman, 1994 — the year of “angry white males,” 1996 — the soccer mom, and 2000 — waitress moms.

According to [Daron Shaw, PhD., an associate professor at the University of Texas,] Shaw, the swing voter becomes more legitimate when you can picture them as a group.  The waitress moms, branded as blue-collared women who were typically single mothers, were an easy group for people to visualize — Helen Hunt in “As Good as it Gets,” a movie that came out only a year before the election.

Heading into this election year [2004], a media buzz has surrounded one group in particular — NASCAR dads — a term used by Democratic consultant Celinda Lake in 2002 to describe white, conservative NASCAR fans.

Though the legitimacy of NASCAR dads as a swing vote is debated, in February President Bush, decked out in a racing jacket, flew on Air Force One to the Daytona 500, NASCAR’s biggest annual event.
“Our message to them (NASCAR dads) is Democrats are not going to take away your guns, but Republicans are taking away your jobs,” said Lake, the Democratic pollster, who worked as a consultant for the Clinton/Gore campaign.

Some pundits, however, have argued that NASCAR dads as a swing group is nothing more than hype.

Today the group to capture are single women.

I am among them.  Yet, I have done it for decades.  I am a dedicated voter.  Unlike the twenty-two percent of eligible single female citizens that forfeited their right to vote in the 2004 Presidential election year, I cast my ballot.  Contrary to the expected 24 percent of single, adult women that are not expected to vote this year, I will again select my representatives.

Single women are now being defined as slackers.

By contrast, [Joe Goode, Executive Director of Women’s Voices, Women Vote] Goode said, “married women comprise 28 percent of the voting population, but their participation was 31 percent in the last presidential.”

Who are these fair ladies?  Are you among them?  if so, please share your sentiments; what are you thinking, feeling, and why.  I want to understand.

Seriously, for me, at the age of five I felt passionate about politics.  My natural father was a right-winged, radical Republican.  My Mom is a Democratic Socialist.  One day the two were engaged in a heated exchange as they discussed the candidates.  I witnessed this and thought, “Wow, I can hardly wait to care so much and have the power to bring about change.”

I grew up in a quiet home.  This discussion for me was unusual, electrifying, exhilarating, and lively.  I listened intently.  The dialogue, and the moment, was unforgettable.  Since that conversation, which was my introduction to issues, the parties, and political campaigns, my interest has never wavered.

My Mom later divorced my biological father.  She married a Liberal Progressive.  Political demonstrations became a part of my life early on.  I participated in the process long before I could vote.  In Wisconsin, at the age of seventeen I was able to cast a ballot in the primary.  In the Badger state, if you were going to be eighteen at the time of the general election, you were eligible to vote in the preliminaries.

At the time, I was a college student.  I moved after registering.  In order to  vote, I needed to drive, in my case hitchhike to my former precinct.  It was far.  The weather was awful.  Not only did I drudge out during a thunderstorm, I repeated the process in November in the midst of a blizzard.  Nothing deterred me.

Yet, according to experts single women in America have many reasons for not voting.  Time and money seem to be major concerns for this population.  Somehow, this effects their partaking in the process. 

According to Joe Goode, “Fifty percent of these single women live in households that make less than $30,000 a year.  They are very economically depressed.” 

I relate.  I would think that this state of affairs would stimulate a desire to vote, to take action.  These women, more than most need a good government to assist them.  With representatives such as our current compassionate Commander, they are certain to falter.  Statistically speaking, I am in this group.  I know how hard life can be when the money in your pocket cannot fill a molehill, let alone a mountain.

Thus, I trust that life for these women must be a challenge, it is for me!  I acknowledge that day-to-day doings are made more challenging by a non-responsive administration.  I know that; this is my experience!

Many single women “may be struggling just to get ahead.  They may be single moms.  So their support network just isn’t the same as married women who tend to be upper-income and a little more established in terms of where they live.”

Oh, this is so true.  For me, there is one income and it is shaky.  My support system is quite limited.  My network is likely smaller than those that meander in and out of meaningful exchanges with their spouse and “his” associates.

One reason for this disparity, Goode suggests, is that “single women tend to be more mobile.  A third of them move every two years or less.  They might not even know where to go to vote.  A lot of them are under 30 and a lot of them are over 60.”

Whatever their age, these are women with concerns about affordable health care, the cost of education and pay equity.

So true Mr. Goode.  Health care concerns have haunted me as long as I can remember.  Though I loathe moving, I seem to be more mobile than my married counterparts.  On the topic of pay equity, I can only say, please.  If I begin to share stories on this subject, I will go on endlessly.  I often wonder do married women and single women receive equal pay.  I will leave that research for another time.

Once again, with all that effects single women directly, why do so many of  these magnificent beings choose not to vote.

Sara Grove, a professor and Chair of the Elsie Hillman Politics at Chatham College in Pittsburgh, is sympathetic; she understands the large burdens many students shoulder today, single women among these.

Ms. Grove states, “If you are attending college … this is one of the last things you are paying attention to.”  The Professor cogitates, ‘many students carry 12 college credits so they can obtain health-care benefits while also working a full-time job.  They wind up struggling to stay afloat academically and financially.’

Grove continues, “That is increasingly becoming the dilemma more and more students face.”  Yet, I wonder; does this justify not voting, not turning to those that might better the system.  I too attended college, often working full-time while carrying a full load.  I did struggle and every aspect of my life suffered.  Thus, I saw a need for being active.  For me, voting was meaningful.  It gave me a voice.  When I cast my ballot, then and now, I felt and feel empowered.  I was making a choice and attempting to improve life in America.

Barbara DiTullio, program manager for Women Vote PA, said Pennsylvania is the only state in the nation where women are less likely than men to be registered to vote.  One way to draw more women to the polls, she said, is to hold elections on weekends.

“Why does it have to be on a Tuesday between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. when people are working and children are in school?  If we really want to engage people, we have to make it easier for them to vote.” 

Wow!  Originally, I am from Pennsylvania.  However, as you might surmise, as a single woman, I have moved many times in my life.  I no longer reside in what once was my home state.

Nevertheless, the scheduled Tuesday vote is to me almost a non-issue.  Years ago I learned of the power of an absentee vote.  I was working as the Democratic Party Representative on election eve.  Members of the Grand Jury and people from each political party were at the Registrars to monitor the vote count.  I befriended the Sergeant of Arms, the Republican representative.  He informed me, to ensure that the ballots would be cast, the Republican Party encouraged people to vote from home, well in advance of the election.

I thought what a great idea.  After assessing this dynamic, I began to do as he advised.  On many occasion, this has helped me immensely.  Voting can be a leisurely well-researched project when you mark your ballot from home.  The days and times for an “election” are ones a voter can choose.

What for me is more fascinating and more real is the lack of awareness among people entitled to vote, and those that volunteer during campaigns.  Only days ago, my telephone rang.  The caller represented the Democratic Party.  She sounded young; she seemed to have a script.  she read from it and asked if I had received a white card, an application, allowing me to vote from home.  I mentioned the “absentee ballot option.”  She said “No, not that.” 

At the time, I was rushed and did not have time to retrieve the document.  The staff person and I parted ways.  Later, I did go and look at the brochure the woman spoke of.  There it was, printed right at the top, “Absentee Ballot Application.”  I am new to this state and thought perhaps there were processes and pamphlets that differed from those that I am familiar with.  Perchance there are.

Here, in Florida, Early Voting polling places are available.  People, citizens have been casting their ballots for weeks on days other than Tuesday.  Thus, again I ask, if you are a single woman and are not voting, if you have not voted in the past, please help me to understand.

As a single woman whose income is low, who struggles to make ends meet, as a female that finds it difficult to survive, that fears the need for medical assistance, as one that knows a minor or major health concern could change my life drastically, I ask why would unmarried women not vote.  Why would those that need to live in a society that cares for its weaker wonders not wish to ensure that all is well?  I am so confused.

Single women of America, please scream out.  Participate in the process.  I plead; I beseech you.  I am willing to say, “I need your help!”  Please support the candidates of your choosing.

Your Sample Ballot . . .
Single Woman Vote. YouTube
My First Time. Issues. Dreams. Women’s Voices. Women Vote.
Women’s Voices. Women Vote.
New Survey Finds. Women’s Voices. Women Vote. February 21, 2006
WVWV Leadership Team. Women’s Voices. Women Vote.
Women Talk About the ‘First Time’ ABC News
12 Days and Counting: Will Women Show up at the Polls on November 7? By Romi Lassally, Yahoo News October 26, 2006
Organization trying to get more single women to vote,By Marylynne Pitz. Knoxville News Sentinel. October 22, 2006
Politics 101: Swing Voters. The Online NewsHour’s Vote 2004. Public Broadcasting Services
Women Really on Their Own, By Ruth Rosen.  The Nation October 28, 2004
Cable News Network Election Results
Healthy, Wealthy, & Wed,By Amy M. Braverman. University of Chicago Magazine.
Women’s Earnings, Work Patterns Partially Explain Difference between Men’s and Women’s Earnings. United States General Accounting Office
Sacramento Women: Women Vs. Women, By Dayna Dunteman. Sacramento  Magazine October 2006
Democrats Push to Counter G.O.P. in Turnout Race, By Adam Nagourney. New York Times. October 29, 2006

Co-Czar Cheney Claims American People Pose Threat To War Effort ©

The war in Iraq is not the problem; the American people are.  Administrative policies are not to blame for the crisis in this war-torn nation.  Our only dilemma is public opinion.  These are the claims of Vice President Dick Cheney.  Co-Czar Cheney stated his judgment strongly during his Sunday, September 10, 2006 interview on “Meet the Press” with Tim Russert.

This morning Cheney in a single hour continually reiterated his position.  He posed, as he initially had on June 22, 2006, “The American people do not have the stomach for this fight.”

Co-Collaborator Cheney went on to explain his case.  He professed; the American public and the media are erroneously connecting the dots.  The Bush Administration does not believe the September 11, 2001 attacks gave the United States reason to strike out against Iraq.  This protracted war is not a means of retaliation.  We, the Bush Bunch know that Saddam Hussein did not cause the Towers to fall.  The American people are making this mistaken claim.

The public is linking three distinct rationales.  They perceive these as one.  Americans need to understand this is a war on terror, not a war on Iraq.

Yes, Mr. Cheney, the citizens of this glorious country are possibly at fault.  After all, a majority re-elected this dire and dreadful Administration in 2004.

An apathetic or fatigued populace allowed the Supreme Court to select George W. Bush President in 2000.  Perhaps, Vice President Cheney you are correct.  The American people are to blame for the Iraqi war, not all of us, just a silent and submissive majority.

?¢ This treatise may be expanded once the transcripts are available.  Nevertheless, the reference and resource are provided.  Perhaps, at the time of your review, dear reader, the transcripts will appear.

The Transcript is Up . . .

VICE PRES. CHENEY: So you look at situation today in Afghanistan or even in Iraq, and you’ve got people who have doubts. They want to know whether or not if they stick their heads up, the United States, in fact, is going to be there to complete the mission. And those doubts are encouraged, obviously, when they see the kind of debate that we’ve had in the United States, suggestions, for example, that we should withdraw U.S. forces from Iraq, simply feed into that whole notion, validates the strategy of the terrorists.

  . . . .

MR. RUSSERT: Then why, in the lead-up to the war, was there the constant linkage between Iraq and al-Qaeda?

VICE PRES. CHENEY: That’s a different issue. Now, there’s a question of whether or not al-Qaeda, or whether or not Iraq was involved in 9/11. There’s a separate?”apart from that’s the issue of whether or not there was a historic relationship between Iraq and al-Qaeda. The basis for that is probably best captured in George Tenet’s testimony before the Senate Intel Commission, an open session, where he said specifically that there was a pattern of relationship that went back at least a decade between Iraq and al-Qaeda.

MR. RUSSERT: But the president said they were working in concert, giving the strong suggestion to the American people that they were involved in September 11th.

VICE PRES. CHENEY: No. There are, there are two totally different propositions here, and people have consistently tried to confuse them. And it’s important, I think?”there’s a third proposition, as well, too, and that is Iraq’s traditional position as a strong sponsor of terror.

So you’ve got Iraq and 9/11, no evidence that there’s a connection. You’ve got Iraq and al-Qaeda, testimony from the director of CIA that there was indeed a relationship, Zarqawi in Baghdad, etc. Then the third…

MR. RUSSERT: The committee said that there was no relationship. In fact…

VICE PRES. CHENEY: Well, I haven’t seen the report; I haven’t had a chance to read it yet, but the fact is…

MR. RUSSERT: But Mr. Vice President, the bottom line is…

VICE PRES. CHENEY: We know, we know that Zarqawi, running a terrorist camp in Afghanistan prior to 9/11, after we went in to 9/11, then fled and went to Baghdad and set up operations in Baghdad in the spring of ??02 and was there from then, basically, until basically the time we launched into Iraq.

MR. RUSSERT: The bottom line is, the rationale given the American people was that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction and he could give those weapons of mass destruction to al-Qaeda and we could have another September 11. And now we read that there is no evidence, according to the Senate Intelligence Committee, of that relationship. You’ve said there’s no involvement. The president says there’s no involvement.

VICE PRES. CHENEY: No, Tim, no involvement in what respect?

MR. RUSSERT: In September 11, OK. The CIA said, leading up to the war, that the possibility of Saddam using weapons of mass destruction was “low.” It appears that there was a deliberate attempt made by the administration to link al-Qaeda in Iraq in the minds of the American people and use it as a rationale to go into Iraq.

VICE PRES. CHENEY: Tim, I guess?”I don’t?”I’m not sure what part you don’t understand here.

The Cheney Case.  Calculate and Connect The Dots . . .

Sunday, September 10, 2006 – Dick Cheney, “Meet the Press” with Tim Russert. MSNBC News.
Cheney Defends Hardline White House Role, By Tom Raum. Forbes. September 10, 2006
Cheney, “The Stomach for this Fight.” Oh Really? Reality is Perception. © By Betsy L. Angert. Be-Think. June 22, 2006
Interview with Vice-President Dick Cheney, NBC, “Meet the Press,” Transcript for March 16, 2003. MSNBC News.
It’s ??War on Terror’ vs. ??War in Iraq’. Tim Russert on Politics.  MSNBC News.
2006 Meet the Press transcripts & resources. MSNBC News.
Bush Team Casts Foes as Defeatist, Blunt Rhetoric Signals a New Thrust. By Peter Baker and Jim VandeHei. Washington Post. Thursday, August 31, 2006

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:


Convention Flyer:


Registration Page:


Register By Mail Form:


Register By Phone: 206-543-7634

Thank you,

Veterans For Peace National Office

216 S. Meramec Avenue

St. Louis, Missouri 63105


? Orange County Peace Coalition.

Bush Boasts Of Battles in Memorial ©

On this day of Memorial, our Commander and Chief advocated war.  He professed his strident belief in conflict.  President Bush was speaking to the graduating class at West Point.  Mr. Bush proclaimed their futures would be filled with battle.  He should know; he started so many of these, Afghanistan and Iraq to name a few.  The Emperor is plotting and planning for more.  Many suspect that Iran and Korea are his next [possible] targets.

Rather than touch on the topic of war while promoting peace, in honor of our fallen men and women, Mr. Bush pushed his standard agenda.  Our leader spoke of terrorism, ignoring the acts he has committed.

King George II proclaimed his pride in the country’s newest leaders. With the terrorist rhetoric, post September 11, 2001, Bush was able to breed this force for the future.  This class was the first to complete their studies after the “terrorists attacks.”  Baby Bush was pleased; he beamed with delight.

Today, Saturday, May 27, 2006, the first day of this Memorial Day weekend, our leader praised wars of the past and those of his making.  The Commander and Chief spoke little of love or life.  He only honored his killing machines, men, and mechanisms.

Congratulations graduates, you have entered a world not of your making.  I salute your lives; long may you live these.

With deep regrets for the losses, I offer many missives I wrote in honor of our soldiers, fallen and injured, fighting, and surviving.  May they all rest and go in peace.  May the future be tranquil and serene.  May war never be considered an option.

The Cost of War Causalities! ©
In Memory of Our Soldiers, Bush “Mindful” Of War ©
Support Our Troops Tentatively! ©
Tillman Tale Tells Truth of Pentagon ©
Still Tentative Support; Photographs of the Fallen ©
The Silent Press © [Part Three In An Unintended Series]

References For Further Investigation . . .
Excerpts From Bush’s Address at West Point. Forbes. The Associated Press. May 27, 2006
Bush addresses West Point grads Canoe Network May 27, 2006
Bush Tells West Point Graduates Terror War Is in Early Stages Bloomberg May 27, 2006
Bush Honors West Point Class Of 2006 CBS News. May 27, 2006
Bush lauds military ahead of Memorial Day CNN News
Rules For An Unruly New War By Liz Halloran. US News. March 27, 2006
Killing Fields, By Nir Rosen. Washington Post. Sunday, May 28, 2006

Bush: Afghanistan is a victory over terrorism CNN News. Tuesday, June 15, 2004
The Coming Wars, By Seymour M. Hersh. The New Yorker. January 17, 2005
Journalist: U.S. planning for possible attack on Iran CNN News
U.S. Said to Weigh a New Approach on North Korea, By David E. Sanger. New York Times.  May 18, 2006
9/11 Commission Report
Statement by the President in His Address to the Nation George W. Bush. September 11, 2001
Killing machines prepare to do warfare’s dirty work By Tim Weiner. FairfaxDigital. February 19, 2005
Turn 9/11 rubble into a killing machine? Hello? By Martin Samuel. Times Online. May 27, 2006
DARPA, PNAC and the Perfect Killing Machine, By Maureen Farrell. BuzzFlash. June 24, 2003
• UPDATE: The Soul Of War Speaking of Faith. National Public Broadcasting. Sunday May 28, 2006

Civil Disobedience, Thoreau, Anti-Iraq War Tax Resisters, Mary McCarthy ©

On income tax day, I was wandering about and discovered a post that brought me joy.  Steven Josselson, of Troubled Times: An Online Journal of Policy and Politics, offered a commentary that I found invigorating.  It stimulated my mind.

The topic was, “Refusing to Pay Taxes: Civil Disobedience and the Iraq war.”  I read. Then I began pondering the actions of these “defiant” peace protesters.  Many of the persons discussed in this essay were not willing to contribute their tax obligation to a country engaged in war; yet, they were willing to give their funds to charities.  These individuals consciously choose to donate their tax duties to organizations that embody a civic-minded philosophy.  However, society labels them civilly disobedient.  I wonder.

Since that day, my mind has been absorbed in the idea of Civil Disobedience.  Today, I think of the dismissed Central Intelligence agent, Mary McCarthy.  I read the papers, listen to the news, and I ponder.  Is the phrase a misnomer?  When we peacefully act in accordance with the founding principles of our forefathers, are we civilly disobedient or caring and concerned citizens?  I believe we are the latter.

Currently Mary McCarthy, a senior intelligence officer once assigned to the White House, is in the battle of a lifetime.

This Central Intelligence agent, and analyst, was recently released from her post and accused of leaking classified information on the rumored CIA prisons.  Mrs. McCarthy was given a lie detector test, failed, and then confessed.  On Thursday, April 21, 2006, McCarthy was escorted by agents from her CIA offices, This woman was publicly humiliated, while only a week earlier, Washington Post reporter, Dana Priest was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for her reports on the prisons.

The dichotomy is fascinating. Mrs. Mary McCarthy is also accused of civil disobedience. Dana Priest is praised for disclosing the same information.  Some think McCarthy and her disclosures are treasonous.  Yet, they think the public has a right to know and they applaud Ms. Priest.  I question these cross-judgments.  Why would one woman be scorned as “civilly disobedient,” and the other praised as socially dutiful?  How do we define the term “civil disobedience?”

I feel certain some would consider both women wrong; others might think them each saintly.  Even the phrase civil disobedience can be defined as a good or bad. I think this needs to be discussed.  I am asking for discourse.  I pose my belief. When acted upon peacefully, with intentions to better the system, not abolish it, I consider the phrase my definition of “principled lessons in civics.” I think the apathetic disobedient

I believe if we truly care about our country, we participate, peacefully.  We communicate and ask for a dialogue, or present circumstances that create one.  I think citizens have a right and duty to improve our nation. We must commit to excellence.  We must work towards a peaceful union.  I think if we follow our “leaders” blindly, then we are not acting as responsible, concerned citizens.  We are merely compliant and not publicly minded.

Our government is meant to be a body that represents us, not decides for us.  Sadly, in recent decades the “government” is seen as a separate entity.  People in today’s world often consider themselves pawns, not powerful or vital.  They no longer see themselves as the solution; they think of themselves as helpless.  I struggle with this reality.

I believe that as individuals, and as part of a greater group we need to reflect, to act with intent, so that we might grow greater.  To this vision, I am inviting you dear reader to join me in a discussion of Civil disobedience.  To facilitate this dialogue, I am offering some thoughts of my own.  Please feel free to comment.

In reference to Central Intelligence agent Mary McCarthy, what were her motivations and might they possibly have been more honorable than those of the President?  Does this woman not have a history of caring?  Does she contemplate the causes and effects of American actions, specifically aggressive assaults?  It seems from her co-workers, she does.

In a New York Times article, “Colleagues Say C.I.A. Analyst Played by the Rules,” By David S. Cloud, Mrs. McCarthy is said to be quite a cordial worker.  She is comprehensive in her investigations and states her concerns openly.  She is known to be thorough and appreciates the same.  Her posture favors humanitarian efforts and not those that are hasty, unthinking, or knee-jerk.

“We’re talking about a person with great integrity, who played by the book and, as far as I know, never deviated from the rules,” said Steven Simon.  Mr. Simon was a Security Council aide in the Clinton administration.  He worked closely with Mary McCarthy while serving the former President and he trusts that Mrs. McCarthy is honorable.

According to former government officials, in 1998, Mrs. McCarhty warned former President Bill Clinton that the plan to militarily strike a suspected chemical weapons factory in Sudan relied on inconclusive intelligence. Mary O. McCarthy, a senior intelligence officer has long stood for informed decisions.  She frowned upon aggressive attacks that she believed did not promote a civil stance.  One former co-worker attributes this to her disdain for clandestine agenda.

“She was always of the view that she would rather not get her hands dirty with covert action” says Michael Scheuer, a former C.I.A. official. Scheuer also served during the Clinton years.  He claims to have been in meetings with Ms. McCarthy when she voiced her misgivings.  Mr. Scheuer recalls that McCarthy had strong suspicions about the intelligence on Al Qaeda.  She expressed her doubts to Mr. Clinton; she wondered whether chemical weapons were being produced in these Sudanese factories and thought it better to be certain before attacking.

However, the strike took place just as they were planned.  Ms. McCarthy’s qualms did not stop the retaliatory aggression against Al Qaeda.  After all, Americans want revenge and two American embassies were bombed in East Africa. Nevertheless, this earlier incident, and the current discussion of McCarthy leaks as they pertain to what some consider American abuse, do demonstrate that this woman is willing to dispute intelligence data and the methods sanctioned by her “superiors.”  She can and does question authority.  Is this wrong?

Is it not the manner in which we, as a people, as part of a republic choose to defy, challenge, or confront the circumstances that matters.  Can we register our complaints with compassion?  Can we communicate carefully in our attempt to reconcile our conscious and still be civilly obedient?  I think so.  I offer this component to the dialogue.

In the Christian Science Monitor article, “When the Tax Man cometh, they don’t answer the bell,” many tax resisters were interviewed.  Some, I think were merely manipulating a system that they disdained.  Others, such as Mrs. Ruth Benn of Brooklyn, New York are my heroes.  Mrs. Benn did not hide her actions or beliefs; she stated these proudly.  In a letter to the Internal Revenue Services, submitted with her 1040 form, she explained why she was not enclosing a check and where her funds were sent.

This lovely and thoughtful woman filed her 1040 on time.  She communicated her concerns stating, “I do not want my tax dollars to be used for killing and war.”  That sentiment for me is truly civil.  Apparently, an approximate 10,000 other Americans did the same; they too withheld their tax payments.  They also object to this less than sanctioned war.

There were those persons that did not pay their taxes for religious reasons, others because they conscientiously object to war.  Numerous individual were motivated by “personal politics.”  However, these individuals chose, in good conscious to donate the duty-bound capital to charities.  They wished to commit to causes that were indeed working towards a greater good.

Philosophically, this practice works well for me.  I do not understand those that think killing, maiming, and aggressively attacking those that disagree with them promotes a sense of community.  Nor do I comprehend how reactive behaviors such as these can be considered egalitarian or democratic.  For me, when the government dictates deeds that are counter to the common good, then it is not being civil, polite, or acting for the common good.

I do struggle however, with the reactive stance of those that hide and purposely avoid paying their taxes. Those that do not communicate their reasoning and rationalize that they need not, I consider less than ethical and aware.  I believe, as John Donne did, that “No man [woman, child, or being] is an island.” if we are to exist well together, we must work collectively and support each other.

When our countrymen in Congress do not represent us, we must stand and be counted. After all, this government was founded on the principles of civil consciousness.  We are a government “of, by, and for” the people.  If we are to truly be the United States of America, we must work as “us.”

Is a signature on a social security card similar to that on a professional contract? When we sign either, do we lose our right to question indignities imposed by a warring government?

When we know of activities that go against the grain of what is commonly considered for the common good and civilized, then, I believe we must speak. We need to take a stand respectfully.  Participating in practices that promote man’s inhumanity to man for me is not glorious; speaking against them is.  If questioning behaviors that glorify killing and maiming is considered legally disobedient, then I am willing to advocate defiance.

I strongly suspect Mary McCarthy and Ruth Benn felt they were obeying a higher authority than that of the Bush Band, one that is benevolent and not hiding behind the phrase “compassionate conservative.”  They did not think themselves disobedient.  I believe they thought they had an obligation to goodness, grace, and to their community.  If this is true, then I support them.  I even think them courageous.  And you, what do you think?

The following references may help you to decide . . .
Troubled Times: An online journal of policy and politics
When the Tax Man cometh, they don’t answer the bell By Chris Gaylord. The Christian Science Monitor. April 14, 2006
Henry David Thoreau: Civil Disobedience
C.I.A. Employee Fired for Alleged Leak, By David Johnston and Scott Shane, New York Times. April 21, 2006
CIA Fires Employee for Alleged Leak By Katherine Shrader, Associated Press
Colleagues Say C.I.A. Analyst Played by the Rules By David S. Cloud. New York Times. April 23, 2006
CIA Officer Is Fired for Media Leaks By Dafna Linzer. Washington Post Saturday, April 22, 2006
CIA Leaker Shown Door
NBC: CIA officer fired after admitting leak By Robert Windrem and Andrea Mitchell, NBC News. April 21, 2006
Dana Priest: 2006 Pulitzer Prize Winner in Category of Beat Reporting An eye for an eye will only leave the world blind. – Mahatma Gandhi
Please listen to this eloquent link . . . Altruism may be alive and well, even within the CIA.
All Things Considered, April 24, 2006 · NPR Senior News Analyst Daniel Schorr says that most government officials who leak confidential information think of themselves as true whistle-blowers. They are motivated by a desire to serve the public interest.

Please Participate in Peace, Send Petals ©

Those of you that traveled through this site on many occasions know of my commitment to peace. For me, war is never an option.  I believe in love.

I recognize that many say the same; however, often actions tell their truth.  People propose peace or profess the philosophy, then they state there are exceptions.  For me, there are none. I do not think any war is the one that will end all others.

I believe that we, as a society, are caught in a cycle of civil disobedience; it is known as war.  What is it good for?  In my mind, absolutely nothing! Yet, throughout our planet, there seems to be a conflict occurring somewhere, on any and every given day.

We can study stories from the Bible, the Torah, or our own modern historical texts; everywhere, we see evidence of what I find less than civilized or respectful.  We disobey and defy our own philosophical principles when we quote the Golden Rule, Scriptures, the Koran, Talmud, the Old or New Testaments, or other Holy books while promoting conflict.  We justify battles, bombs, combat, or what amounts to mass murder.  Then, we claim to be caring and innocent.  This is what we, as a culture, do and have done for centuries.  Some call it human nature.  I disagree.

People worldwide belie what they pretend to believe in.  They speak of world peace while going to war.  They state, “War is the last option,” while “thinking,” war the best alternative.  This baffles me.  I believe and observe that if individuals or groups think fighting is necessary at times, then, ultimately, they will do battle.  This dichotomy makes no sense to me; it never has.

Therefore, when I read of an effort to send love and peace to those that support the conflict in Iraq, I was interested and grateful.  This organized action advocates respect and reciprocal reverence. After reading of this, I rejoiced.

I want to share the story of this endeavor with you and ask you to join in.  If you cherished Internet-activist, wish to participate in a peaceful protest against the war, this might appeal to you.

I am linking you to a blog that asks for your nonviolent involvement.  Petals for Peace: You Can Stop the War (Day Three)

The author of this post, BostonJoe, requests a reciprocal reverence.  He desires, as do I, that you express yourself beyond the initial send.  You might consider offering a graceful and growing flower, a petal or two, to your own Congressperson. I think this wise.

Originally, gentle contributions were requested for Michigan Republican Representative Mike Rogers.  However, others might need a to know how you feel.  Please tell your representative that you wish to speak of peace.  You want to live in a world that is tranquil and calm.  Speak your mind and heart; send your representatives a petal of peace.

Let us hope that each seed spreads a message of love.  May we cover the Earth with foliage and not folly.

Please extend your heart, hand, and a bouquet.  Let us celebrate world peace by creating it.

Thoughts to consider . . .
Petals for Peace: You Can Stop the War (Day Three) By: BostonJoe
War is not the Smart Option, By Andrew Greeley. Chicago Sun-Times Friday, March 14, 2003
Anti-War Statements United for Peace and Justice
Iraq War The Nation
Protest Loud, peaceful protest interrupts Bush speech, By Zachary Coile, San Francisco Chronicle. Friday, January 21, 2005

A Religious California Voter Loses Her Right ©

For three decades, she has voted religiously in every California election. No ballot was too large or too small.  All were scrutinized carefully.  When she felt as though she did not have enough information to make a well-informed judgment, she turned to those who did.  She had been an activist from the start and knew many that were deeply connected.  She traveled in circles where people read books and wrote articles on affairs of state; they made political moves their lives.  She always had.

This voter was willing to work as a volunteer.  She offered to assist in telephone banks; she went from neighborhood to neighborhood collecting signatures for petitions.  The woman stuffed envelopes, posted signs, walked precincts, and ultimately was asked to work as a Campaign Coordinator.  She was not looking for the position, though others were.  Her diligence and dedication to the cause promoted a candidate to ask if she would work for him.

Whenever this constituent moved, she immediately changed her voter registration, often before she ordered her utilities.  Voting in every election was and is her highest priority.

This elector first voted at the age of seventeen.  In the state of Wisconsin, if a person was going to be eighteen at the time of the general election and was seventeen during the primaries, they were granted the right to vote.

She hitchhiked in a pouring rain to get to that first poll and in a blizzard to cast her ballot in the Presidential election of 1972.  It just so happened that she was among the first eighteen year olds to vote; she could not miss that.  In Wisconsin, she skipped one school board election.  There was only one candidate and she did not know the person well.  However, guilt ate her up.  She never failed to participate again.

This citizen moved to California in 1977 and voted as a Californian ever since.  Now the time has come and her heart is heavy.

She willingly and wanted to move to Florida in November 2005.  She began planning in June of that year.  While this resident actively questioned the wisdom of her decision, she knew that unless she did it, she would never know if the choice was correct.  As a long time inhabitant of California she was torn.  Life was good, stable, and comfortable.  She was at home.  Still she needed to go.

The Irvine city dweller sold the home she loved and had created.  She physically separated herself from friends and family and flew to Florida. Days after landing in Palm Beach County she went to get her drivers license and change her voter registration.  That done she knew she could no longer support Barbara Boxer with the vigor of a voting constituent. Arnold would not be burdened by her votes in opposition.  It was real; she would not vote in California anytime soon, if ever again.

Yet, she also understood that, until she cast a ballot in Boca, it would feel as if nothing had changed.  Today, that reality was altered.  A card arrived in the mail.  The return address looked so familiar, because it was.  It was from the Registrar of Voters office in Santa Ana, California.  It was addressed to me at my correct [Florida] address.  The Registrar wanted me to make it official, to give up my right to religiously vote in California elections.  They want me to confirm that this move is not temporary and that I am now a Florida resident.

My heart is sinking, must I sign away my post.  I want to turn Florida Blue, even Blue-Green; yet, voting in California is my religion or was.  Now I must convert.

Atrios Offers An American Patriot and Bushit Protector

I believe in goodness.  I believe in listening acutely, observing, and attending to issues with love.  I prefer to communicate completely with the hope of creating reciprocal reverence.

I do not believe in evil.  However, our President professes there is evil everywhere.  I think those that see evil are reflecting upon their own mirror image.  This is my posture of peace.

I proclaim “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”  I digress; I wax philosophical.

As much as I prefer to listen, to know what others profess, so that I may consider their beliefs, and assess them accurately; there are those that do not want to hear from a man that is deaf to the words and wisdom of others.  I understand.


Photograph Caption . . .

Bill Moyer, 73, wears a “Bullshit Protector” flap over his ear while President George W. Bush addresses the Veterans of Foreign Wars. Associated Press Photo/Douglas C. Pizac

The original source and article Bush says anti-war protests threaten to weaken the United States,

I offer a link to Atrios.  He offers the original sharing, a discussion of An American Patriot