Mother’s Day 2008: Peaceful Idealism v. Political Pragmatism by Cindy Sheehan

The Real Cindy Sheehan

by Cindy Sheehan
Dandelion Salad
featured writer
Cindy Sheehan for Congress

May 11, 2008

As men have often forsaken the plough and the anvil

At the summons of war,

Let women now leave all that may be left of home

For a great and earnest day of counsel.

Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead.

Let them solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means

Whereby the great human family can live in peace…

(From Julia Ward Howe’s 1870 Mother’s Day Proclamation)

Sadly, this is the fifth Mother’s Day since Casey was killed in Iraq on April 04, 2004. The people who told me that “time will heal” were wrong, or maybe it just takes more time? I have spoken to many mothers who buried their child years ago, however, that tell me it does not get any easier. I suspect the mothers who have buried children are probably right.

On this Mother’s Day, though, I am reflecting on all kinds of moms. Some women never have children and it seems that their lives are complete. Some women desperately want to have children, but for some reason, cannot. Some women have lost their only child to the ravenous war machine and they somehow go on. One specific mother has her family intact and can callously sign blank checks to pay for war (that are really nothing but death warrants for other people’s children) with only the life and health of her political party in her heart. Another mother can talk about “obliterating” an entire innocent country filled with mothers and children without even blinking her eyes that only shed crocodile tears at the appropriate moments.

Some of us are lucky enough to have had loving moms and some of us have had mothers who were cold and distant. Other moms are abusive, while some have been abused. Our world is made up of all kinds of women some of which are suited to be mothers some of which are suited to political life; some both: many neither.

I am a mother of four children. I planned on every one of them outliving me. When I thought of growing old, I imagined being surrounded on holidays by four children, children-in-law, grandchildren and great grandchildren. In the natural order of things, children should always bury their parents, but in our unnaturally violent, war torn world where shopping malls, schools, the streets and entire innocent nations are turned into bloodbaths, the situation is reversed and too many parents must tragically bury their children.

Today, one mother joyously watched her daughter marry at a pig farm in Crawford, TX. The mother’s husband, the daughter’s father, proudly looked on the scene that his actions have denied to so many of us. The daughter wore an Oscar de la Renta gown and it has been reported that there will be dancing throughout the night. Because of her father’s lies and greed, too many people the daughter’s age have been buried in their military dress uniforms (if there was enough of the body left to be buried) while their mothers and fathers watched in heartbroken grief as their child’s body was lowered into a cold, cold grave for eternity.

Too many mothers today in Iraq will have their babies blown to bits by American bombs or an insurgent’s last desperate act. If an Iraqi mother is fortunate enough to have all her children around her, she will be scraping for food, clean water and praying for a few minutes of electricity, or at least one day of peace and quiet.

Recently, I was confronted by a man at a farmer’s market in San Francisco. He is not “pro war” but he is pro-Pelosi because he is a “political pragmatist.” Apparently, Ms. Pelosi funding the war for another year is “politically pragmatic” because it is worth murdering tens of thousands of more innocent people so that Democrats can gain the White House and more seats in Congress. I wish I had the luxury of being a political pragmatist, but I must do everything in my power to save other mothers from the life of never ending grief that I have been condemned to by men and women some of whom are mothers and fathers who have forgotten that other people’s children are precious to their parents, too.

On Mother’s Day this year, while mothers all over America are being taken out to brunch or being served breakfast in bed, I would like us to take time out of our day to reflect on the mothers who have been harmed by the last six years of bloody wars that are waged by neocon-Republicans and paid for by complicit-Democrats. I want us in the US to remember that we are a nation, if not in a legal, moral or declared war: at least a violent occupation that seems like a war to those that have been adversely affected by it.

I am luckier than many mothers whose only child has been stolen from them for lies, because I will be surrounded by my three surviving children and their partners on Mother’s Day and we will spend the time staring at my daughter’s belly which is fat (and one week past due) with my first grandchild. My grandson will never meet his Uncle Casey but he will know him because of the love that is left in his family.

I challenge us all to reject “political pragmatism” and embrace “peaceful idealism” for the love of all the world’s children.

Julia Ward Howe’s Mother’s Day Proclamation should be enshrined in our war-soaked national consciousness as our economy, ecology and our communities are being ravaged by the rapacious war machine:

Say firmly:

“We will not have questions answered by irrelevant agencies,

Our husbands will not come to us, reeking with carnage,

For caresses and applause.

Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn

All that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience.

We, the women of one country,

Will be too tender of those of another country

To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.”

If you would like a world where Peaceful Idealism is chosen over political pragmatism, please support our campaign, Cindy Sheehan for Congress.

Bush sends trailers to Myanmar by R J Shulman (satire)

Robert

by R J Shulman
Dandelion Salad
featured writer
Robert’s blog post

May 12, 2008

WASHINGTON – Saying he would not repeat the mistakes made when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, President Bush is sending unused trailers from Louisiana to Cyclone stricken Myanmar. “No one could have known the levies would break in Mar Vista,” Bush said, “but we are right on it as we will send them trailers over there and not charge extra for the Formaldyhyde.” A tragedy of major proportions, Cyclone Nargis devastated this south east Asian country formally known as Burma where more than 100,000 are feared dead.

Complicating matters, the Myanmar military Junta has been slow to allow relief workers into the country. “They would rather let their people suffer than get foreign aid from a country that is diametrically opposed to their ruling philosophy,” said Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, “the US would never do that, you know, refuse help from Venezuela to bring cheap heating oil to old people freezing to death in Boston.”

Myanmar state run television showed Military Junta leader Than Shwe handing out aid to refugees in a well lit square in lower Rangoon. He said “Phak Thwa Chuk Brawn Ye,” which translates to “You’re doing a heck of a job Brownie,” apparently referring to Disaster Minister Soe Brown.

see

Myanmar Junta seizes aid shipments + Voting in Myanmar’s referendum goes ahead

Myanmar

Katrina

Are the Clashes in Beirut a Signal of the inception of a new War for the “New Middle East”?

Dandelion Salad

by Rev. Richard Skaff
Global Research, May 11, 2008

Is it possible that the US sponsored bloody “civil war” situation in Iraq could spread to other countries in the Middle East and Central Asia for the purpose of creating a new map for the whole region, that would behoove the economic needs of the super powers and the multinational corporations?

Are these countries going to be divided by religious denomination, ethnicity, the amount of wealth they possess, and their geographic location?

That is a big, bloody and profitable job for the Military Industrial Complex!

When is this highly anticipated war going to happen? Could it begin this summer and before the departure of this current US administration? Is it going to result in more economic woes for the American people and for the nations involved in the struggle? Are more liberties going to be lost in this process of staged on-going conflict? What should the herds do to stop the insanity?

Let’s explore some of the latest news which might give us some clues to these difficult and ominous questions.

Naharnet.com reported today that fierce clashes with assault rifles and rocket-propelled grenade launchers raged in several Beirut districts shortly after Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah vowed to use weapons to defend his party’s communications system. The Naharnet report added that Nasrallah, in a closed circuit press conference Thursday accused the government of launching war against Hezbollah, stressing that “this is a new era in which all red lines have collapsed.” Shortly after his press conference was over, clashes broke out between Hezbollah members (Shiites) and Mustaqbal movement (Sunnis) supporters in Beirut Districts of Msaitbe, Ras Nabaa, Mazraa, and Basta. [1].

Ironically, Andrew Cockburn from counterpunch.org reported on May 2, 2008 that six weeks prior to May 2nd, president Bush signed a secret finding authorizing a covert offensive against the Iranian regime that, according to those familiar with its contents, unprecedented in its scope. [2].

Cockburn’s report also revealed that Bush’s secret directive covers actions across a huge geographic area from Lebanon to Afghanistan -but is also more sweeping in the type of actions permitted under its guidelines-up to and including the assassination of targeted officials. The report also elaborates that this widened scope clears the way for example, for full support for the military arm of Mujahedin-e Khalq, the cultish Iranian opposition group, despite its enduring position on the State Department’s list of terrorist groups. Similarly, covert funds can now flow without restriction to Jundullah, or “army of god,” the militant Sunni group in Iranian Baluchistan-just across the Afghan border—whose leader was featured not long ago on Dan Rather reports cutting his brother in law’s throat. Cockburn adds that other elements that will benefit from U.S. largesse and advice include Iranian Kurdish nationalists, as well as the Ahwazi Arabs of South West Iran. Further afield, operation against Iran’s Hezbollah’s allies in Lebanon will be stepped up, along with efforts to destabilize the Syrian regime. In addition, the report edifies that all this costs money in turn must be authorized by Congress, or at least a by few witting members of the intelligence committees. That has not proved a problem. An initial outlay of $300 million to finance implementation of the finding has been swiftly approved with bipartisan support, apparently regardless of the unpopularity of the current war and the perilous condition of the U.S. economy. [2].

So, here we are again, another directive, another war, another loss of liberty, and another step closer to become an impoverished society under siege ruled by the few. We must awaken from our deep slumber before it is too late. Ask the Lebanese people that seems to remain asleep, while they continue to be robbed from their dreams, their land, their dignity and liberty by political factions loyal to outside powers who purchase these loyalties with the dying greenbacks.

References:

1- Naharnet.com, May 8, 2008

2- Counterpunch.org, May 2, 2008. Secret Bsuh finding widens war on Iran.

Rev. Richard Skaff, is the author of “The Human Manifesto”

mapmiddleeast3

Unofficial map of the New Middle East used in US military academies

larger view

The CRG grants permission to cross-post original Global Research articles on community internet sites as long as the text & title are not modified. The source and the author’s copyright must be displayed. For publication of Global Research articles in print or other forms including commercial internet sites, contact: crgeditor@yahoo.com

www.globalresearch.ca contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available to our readers under the provisions of “fair use” in an effort to advance a better understanding of political, economic and social issues. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving it for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material for purposes other than “fair use” you must request permission from the copyright owner.

For media inquiries: crgeditor@yahoo.com
© Copyright Richard Skaff, Global Research, 2008
The url address of this article is: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=8950

see

Secret Bush “Finding” Widens War on Iran-Democrats OK Funds for Covert Ops

There Will Be Blood By Muhammad Idrees Ahmad

Hizbollah rules west Beirut in Iran’s proxy war with US by Robert Fisk

Civil war in Lebanon? + Lebanon Descends Into Chaos By Robert Fisk + Nasrallah address Lebanon

The March 20, 2008 US Declaration of War on Iran by John McGlynn

Bolivia: Fraud, violence & mass resistance marks right-wing push

Dandelion Salad

by Federico Fuentes
Global Research, May 11, 2008
greenleft.org

A day of violence, fraud and a “grand rebellion” against the Santa Cruz oligarchy.

This is how Bolivian president, Evo Morales Ayma, described the result of the unconstitutional May 4 “autonomy” referendum organised by the authorities in Santa Cruz — which many feared was aimed at dividing Bolivia.

The referendum was the first in a series of proposed referendums to be held in the departments of the so-called Half Moon — Santa Cruz plus Pando, Beni and Tarija, resource-rich departments in Bolivia’s east. The Half Moon remains dominated by the white oligarchy despite the coming to power nationally of Morales, Bolivia’s first indigenous president, on the back of a mass movement against neoliberalism led by the indigenous majority.

Illegal vote

While the National Electoral Court had ruled that the autonomy referendum — which the government had proposed be held simultaneously with a referendum to approve the new constitution — could not go ahead on May 4 due to lack of time and suitable political conditions, the prefecture and civic committee of Santa Cruz, backed by the Santa Cruz Electoral Court, decided to go ahead with what was an illegal referendum.

The referendum revolved around proposed autonomy statutes, drafted by the oligarchy without any discussion, and which less than 15% of crucenos (Santa Cruz residents) had read before May 4. The statutes hand enormous power over to the opposition-controlled prefectures, including control over natural resources, distribution of land titles, the right to sign international treaties and its own police force and judicial system.

On the day, the Yes vote received 483,925 votes, representing around 85% of the votes cast, against 85,399 No votes. However, calls by the social movements and the Movement Towards Socialism (MAS — Morales’s party) national government to abstain led non-participation to rise to 39%, or 366,839 registered voters — more than double the usual abstention rate.

This result was obtained in the face of threats and intimidation by bosses who told workers they would loss their jobs if they did not vote and the menacing patrols of the fascist Union Juvenil Crucenista (UJC) — renowned for carrying out violent, racist attacks on indigenous people.

Oppressed mobilise

However, in the “other Santa Cruz” — such as the popular urban area of Plan Tres Mil and the rural areas of San Julian and Yacapani — organised resistance by the popular civic committee and indigenous campesino (peasant) organisations ensured the non-installation of voting tables.

Despite physical attacks by the UJC, which left more than 20 injured and one dead, in these areas abstention was almost total.

Across the country, massive mobilisations were organised by the powerful indigenous campesino organisations, together with trade unions and urban popular organisations. A week before, Morales had called for demonstrations in all capital cities, except Santa Cruz in order to avoid violence, behind the banner of national unity.

Underlying these events is an intense class struggle, infused with strong ethnic and regional components. The ruling elites are fighting to restore the political power they have begun to lose.

The election of Morales came on the back of five years of intense social struggle by the combative indigenous and campesino movements, which gave birth to an alternative national project based on the demands of nationalisation of gas and a constituent assembly to refound Bolivia.

In December of 2005, unified behind its “political instrument” — MAS — this movement propelled former coca growers’ union leader Morales into the presidential palace.

Since then, Morales has initiated a process of returning Bolivia’s gas to state hands, begun implementing an agrarian reform and organised elections for a constituent assembly that has prepared a new draft constitution to be submitted to a national referendum.

For the oligarchy, particularly those with interests tied to the gas transnationals and agribusiness, these changes are intolerable.

Forced to retreat to its trenches in the east, the elite has run a propaganda line that combines rallying against “La Paz centralism”, tapping into the long held sentiments of a “crucenista identity” and outright racism to regroup and mobilise a section of the white population of the east against the government — whose stronghold is in the impoverished and largely indigenous west. This campaign is receiving heavy funding from the US government.

While it can not be ruled out that the oligarchy could use these social base to move to divide Bolivia through secession, its main plan at the moment is to put a halt on the process unfolding since Morales’ election — aiming to wear down popular support for the government by forcing concessions from the government at the negotiating table and paving the way towards ultimately getting rid of him, via a coup or elections.

Post-referendum struggle

In this context, the results of the May 4 referendum were clearly not a victory for the oligarchy. Forced to rely on fraud and intimidation, the right was unable to get the resounding vote they would have required to turn the results of their illegal referendum into a legitimate mandate.

Yet nor was it a complete defeat — the large Yes vote showed that an important section of Santa Cruz continues to back the oligarchy.

For the popular movements, the important resistance of the “other Santa Cruz” represents a new phase in their struggle. This was reflected in the high abstention and the emergence of an important middle-class layer grouped around Santa Cruz Somos Todos, who, although not part of the MAS project, called for a No vote and support autonomy within the framework of the new constitution.

The actions of the counterrevolution have pushed those forces in favour of change towards greater unity. This was demonstrated in the May Day rallies where, importantly, the Bolivian Workers’ Central (COB), which had until now been very critical of the government, was on the main stage promoting a united front.

The oligarchy, claiming victory from the May 4 vote, will undoubtedly be calling for a return to the negotiating table to force concessions out of the government to water down the new constitution and insert its autonomy statutes.

However, these two projects are incompatible. The government needs to shift the debate back to the draft constitution by calling the referendum for its approval as soon as possible — as the social movements are demanding.

Any autonomy must be within the framework of what has been democratically decided by the constituent assembly. In this way, the movements can counterpose their autonomy based on social justice and solidarity to that of the Santa Cruz elites and win support among the Santa Cruz population.

Moreover, the government needs to continue to implement its economic program of nationalisations — such as those announced on May 1, which included recuperating majority control of four gas transnationals and total control over ENTEL, Bolivia’s largest telecommunications company.

These moves can demonstrate the role of a strong national state and build the confidence and dignity of the popular movements and middle classes to continue pushing the democratic revolution forward.

These nationalisations, along with agrarian reform and wealth redistribution, are not only crucial to give further momentum to the popular movements — together with a strong campaign to win the hearts and minds of soldiers and officials in the armed forces, it is a vital to strengthen the nationalist wing of the military against those right-wing elements conspiring to overthrow Morales.

In a sign of the battles to come in the near future, on May 8, Cuban newspaper Granma reported that the Senate, controlled by the right, had passed a motion Morales has been pushing since last year to hold a recall referendum for the presidency as well as the nine regional governors.

To ensure that the result of May 4 can become a real victory for the popular forces, it is necessary to continue to develop the unity that has been built over the last few weeks to continue the mobilisation of the masses and deepen the revolutionary process through decisive economic and political measures.

Federico Fuentes is the editor of http://boliviarising.blogspot.com. Co-author of forecoming book (in spanish) MAS-IPSP de Bolivia: Instrumento Político que surge de los movimientos sociales with Marta Harnecker.

The CRG grants permission to cross-post original Global Research articles on community internet sites as long as the text & title are not modified. The source and the author’s copyright must be displayed. For publication of Global Research articles in print or other forms including commercial internet sites, contact: crgeditor@yahoo.com

www.globalresearch.ca contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available to our readers under the provisions of “fair use” in an effort to advance a better understanding of political, economic and social issues. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving it for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material for purposes other than “fair use” you must request permission from the copyright owner.

For media inquiries: crgeditor@yahoo.com
© Copyright Federico Fuentes, greenleft.org, 2008
The url address of this article is: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=8941

see

Inside USA: US interference in Bolivia

Bolivia: What does Santa Cruz want? + Autonomy vote

Stalled Morales puts faith in referendum

US backs eastern seccession in Bolivia (video)

We Must Democratize Our Economic Institutions by Manila Ryce

Fight for Bolivia’s future lies behind referendum

Talk to Jazeera: Evo Morales (videos)