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Happy Birthday Peace Sign

The Peace Sign turned 50 years old today, April 4th, 2008.  It was introduced at a British rally to ban nuclear bombs on April 4, 1958. Gerald Holtom, a graphic artist, had a simple idea:  “I drew myself . . . a man in despair . . . put a circle around it to represent the world.”  The Wikipedia adds that the symbol  is “representative of an individual in despair, with hands palm outstretched outwards and downwards in the manner of Goya’s peasant before the firing squad.”

No End In Sight (photo essay)

Cross posted at SilencedMajorityPortal

Today, one day after newspapers announced a grim milestone of 4000 U.S. deaths in Iraq, a protest occured in front of Senator Norm Coleman’s office in St Paul, Minnesota.  But this photo essay isn’t just about today’s protest. It’s about 5 years of the U.S. government funding killing and calling it freedom.

Shortly after the war began, 5 years ago, we couldn’t imagine that the public would let this war continue for so long.

Back then, we could write all of the U.S. deaths on one sign (note the modified “bus stop” sign).

Minneapolis Rally Against the Iraq War (photos)

We can’t believe it has been five years that the US has been in iraq. The war and occupation has lasted longer than WW II and there is no end in sight. The people of the Twin Cities showed their displeasure by taking to the streets. Nearly 2000 persons protested and their unique signs and mostly solemn faces tell the whole story. Not surprisingly, I didn’t see any signs declaring that war is romantic, which is what George W. Bush said the other day. Instead, I saw signs that were critical of torture, killing of innocent civilians, and crony capitalism. Those are the kinds of things that Barack Obama’s preacher was complaining about; that doesn’t sound like the rhetoric of a crazy uncle to me. He sounds like a man of the cloth.

Organizers of the rally included Women Against Military Madness, Military Families Speak Out, YAWR, The Anti-War Committee, and Veterans for Peace, to name a few. A lot of members of the First Universalist Church of Minneapolis participated and they were easily recognized by their blue hats. The protest began at Lake and Lyndale Ave with members of Youth Against War and Racism (YAWR) meeting at a US Army recruiting center. Afterwards, YAWR joined the main group at Lake and Hennepin and the everyone walked from there to Loring Park. The entire protest was held in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

ps. Is Feingold single? Someone in Minneapolis wants to know (see image on my blog along with other rally photos not shown here).

Images below the fold- ek hornbeck

What Happened to Fallujah?

When Bush gives his state of the union address in a few days, he will probably talk about Iraq and the “surge”, but he probably won’t mention Fallujah.

In 2004 Fallujah, Iraq, a city of 600,000 persons was attacked by the US after a handful of mercenaries from the firm Blackwater were killed while transporting refrigerator supplies to a military base.  There was a news blackout about the siege, but there were reports of many civilian deaths and the use of illegal weapons by the US.

Now,three years later, the situation in Fallujah is still bleak. A correspondent for the Independent entered the city and reported for the paper.  He must be a long term resident, because the city is still under siege. There are 27 checkpoints along the road to Fallujah making it the most difficult city to enter in the world.

It’s not healthy for children and other living things: Then and now

Cross-posted at http://silencedmajority.blogs….

In 1967, a non-partisan Hollywood (Beverly Hills) group named Another Mother for Peace (AMP) began their campaign to end the Vietnam war.  The group was formed spontaneously by 15 women attending the party for Barbara Avedon’s son’s first birthday.  In addition to ending the war, the group advocated for a cabinet-level secretary of peace. AMPs biggest impact arguebly came about as a result of a graphic for a card/poster the group promoted designed by Lorraine Schneider (1925-1972) .  In a national campaign led by Hollywood elite, the graphic was sent along with a million letters to elected leaders in DC in an appeal to end the war.  The AMP  is active today. The son of the late Barbara Avedon and the daughters of Lorraine Schneider are carrying on the family tradition by participating in this group.  

Lorraine Schneider’s poster was simple, but poignant.

Kayakbiker’s Top Ten Singles for 2007

Here are mine. Please add yours below or tell me what you think.  It’s time to start working on 2008.

1. The Hives: Tick Tick Boom. The Hives are a Swedish garage band that brings back the energy of  early punk. They tried to do more serious music, perhaps to avoid the label of “shallow”, and abandoned that idea. Good move.

2. Serj Tankian The unthinking majority. I found his music online because he has a poltical bent.  He has his own style that is Zappa-ish.

3. Foo Fighters. Pretender.  A nice electric sound; I’m not a big heavy metal fan, but I like their sound.

4. Lily Allen.  Everything’s just wonderful.  Her sweet, sexy voice in that cockney accent singing sassy working class songs is an incongruent mix, but I love it.

5. Amy Winehouse. Rehab. Early last year I tried to buy tickets to hear her play at a movie theater near my house; she was sold out.  I couldn’t wait for the album to be imported. I was singing rehab before Amy knew she was headed there.  

Peace: For What it’s Worth

Ok. OPOL inspired me to give it a try so I  gathered some of my personal photos from years of covering peace protests along with some music I recorded on a bus trip to a DC protest and made a video of it.  I had planned to make my debut on the Garden Blog on big orange with something about plants, but it’s happening here first.

I think some of the images rotate too quickly, and, for mine, there is no motion. If I had to do it over again,  I would add a zoom to the woman in the orange jump suit [DONE] because her sign is hard to read on Youtube — the resolution is poor.

Warning: There is some nudity and profanity in my video.

Congressman Steve King (R-IA) and the Superficial War on Christmas

Rep. King is furious.  Nine democrats in the House voted “No” on resolution he proposed stating that  “the Christian faith as one of the great religions of the world.” The resolution recognized “the international religious and historical importance of Christmas and the Christian faith.”

What could those nine have been thinking?   Could it have been something related to the separation of Church and State?  

More importantly, what was Rep. King’s motivation for such a resolution?

Speaking with FOX News Wednesday, King said he was motivated to push the resolution because of liberal activists and “secularists in the country who are trying to eradicate Christ from Christmas.”

“It’s time we stood up and said so and said to the rest of America, ‘Be who you are, and be confident, and let’s worship Christ and celebrate Christmas for the right reasons’,” he said

Below: Reverend Billy and the Stop Shopping Choir in the Mall of America.

Toxic Toys: Republican Policy

I did Google image searches for “Lead & Toys” and “Recalled & Toys”. More than 400,000 images were found. I didn’t search on “Date Rape Drug” and “toys”, but you know that would have some hits as well. The collage below contains a few of the images I found in my search that I selected for this short rant. Nothing I have to say in it is particularly new, but I feel better now that I have written it. I’m a parent of 3 children, and the thought that the toys I buy for my kids or my siblings’ children would somehow poison them scares the hell out of me. It makes me angry, too, to know that my government is complicit in endangering our children.

Democracy: Lincoln, Bush, and Musharraf Style

Back in 2004, Thomas J. DiLorenzo wrote a piece titled “Bush’s Lincolnian Assault on Civil Liberties (Or, Al Gore is Right!)” Here is some background information:

Under Abraham Lincoln, Habeas corpus was unilaterally (and illegally) suspended … and the military, with the help of a secret police bureaucracy operated by William Seward, imprisoned tens of thousands of Northern political opponents. They were thrown into gulags such as Fort Lafayette in New York harbor where they were never charged, had no idea how long they would be held, and their families often had no idea of their whereabouts. (See James Randall, Constitutional Problems Under Lincoln; and Dean Sprague, Freedom Under Lincoln). The Virginia patriot George Washington would have undoubtedly drawn his sword and fought another revolution over such an outrage.

Anti-war rally in Minneapolis: Don’t bomb Iran edition (photos)

Several hundred people turned out for an anti-war rally in Minneapolis at the intersection of Lake and Hiawatha streets. I found out about this rally after reading Bikemom’s diary here on Docudharma.

Nearly all of the participants at the rally expressed concern that Bush is planning a war with Iran. I compared the tally for the Kyl-Lieberman Bill that declares part of Iran’s army a terrorist group to the vote for the Iraq war authorization. The votes were 76-22 and 77-23 for Iran and Iraq bills, respectively.  We haven’t made any ground since the killing began. The last photo shows the US flag flying upside down which is a sign of distress.  Indeed it is…..

More pictures below- ek

We miss you Paul (photo essay)

Today is the fifth anniversary of the death of Senator Paul Wellstone (D, MN). His life and death changed the lives of many people.  He leaves a wonderful legacy. 

I felt like I was represented when he was my senator.  He stood up to the corporate interests, and he had guts. He didn’t test the wind before he took a stand on something. He had convictions and a backbone. Our politicians today can take a lesson out of his book.

Twenty days before his death, he voted against the authorization for Bush to attack Iraq. The following block quotes are from an article posted on  Common Dreams.

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