Friday, August 26, 2005

Cindy Sheehan, Joan Baez, recruiting, C.I.

Good evening. Hope you're surving the heat. Tony told me in class that he heard it was a 101 in Crawford Texas and I can't imagine how Cindy Sheehan and the others handle the heat constantly at Camp Casey. You have to believe, really believe, in what you're doing and Cindy Sheehan does. Let's get started with Democracy Now!

Camp Casey Vigil Heads to Washington Next Month
In the United States, Cindy Sheehan has spent her second night back at Camp Casey in Crawford, Texas and announced she will take her vigil on the road next month, following President Bush in Washington. She said she would launch a bus tour from Crawford starting on September 1 that will converge on Washington, on September 24 in time for the major antiwar rally planned for that day. On Thursday, the American Friends Service Committee presented Sheehan with the boots of her son Casey who was killed in Iraq. His boots have been part of a traveling memorial to soldiers killed in Iraq called "Eyes Wide Open." Mark Andersen of the American Friends Service Committee presented the boots to Sheehan.
Mark Anderson: "Too many people have died, both military and civilian. This travesty must end, and our brave and dedicated troops must be brought home and brought home now. Cindy, I want to know that it has been a profound privilege to care for these precious boots of your beloved son, Casey, and I now return them to you, so they may serve as a guiding light to carry your message forward, so that together we can continue the struggle to end this war."
Meanwhile, Cindy Sheehan is striking back at the smear campaign being waged against her by several powerful media personalities and the Bush administration. She directly confronted those who claim that her son would be against what she is doing.
Cindy Sheehan: "I know my son. I know him better than anybody else. And, he wasn't married, we were very close. He called me everyday when he was at Fort Hood. We talked about all of his life, all of my life. And, I lost my best friend when I lost my son. But I know my son. And, I know he would say 'I don't want anymore of my buddies killed just because I am dead; I want my buddies to come home alive.' And I know when I get up to greet him, when it is my time, he is going to say 'good job, Mom.' He is not going to accuse me of dishonoring his memory. And, anybody who knows my son better than me, would like to come forward and tell me something different, I would be glad to hear their voices."
As Sheehan settles in at Camp Casey 2, which is closer to President Bush's property than her original location, prowar activists are making their way to Crawford for a rally on Saturday. Sheehan and other antiwar military families have invited prowar families of soldiers killed in Iraq to share a meal with them this weekend. One of those parents has challenged Sheehan to a debate, while others have set up a new site called "Camp Reality." Meanwhile, the Rev. Al Sharpton has announced he will travel to Crawford this weekend for a prayer service on Sunday.

I just think Cindy Sheehan and all the people at Camp Casey are amazing. That's the ones who are there because they lost a loved one, the ones who are there because they have a loved one in Iraq, the ones who are there to show support . . . Every single one of them is amazing.

Some people have been saying some really rude things lately and it's not just the usual Ditto Head idiots but some people who are supposed to be left or at least Democrat. I called C.I. today to talk about that and C.I. said that the thing is "these people are America. Others can gripe and try to 'steer' the message, but they're rejecting America. What we've seen is people from all walks of life take part in democracy and activism and now some people are offended that this group is there or that is group is there. Too bad. This is America and everyone who went down there, to Camp Casey, to show support is okay in my book."

I couldn't agree with that more. (And I got C.I.'s permission to quote.)

But some enemies of democracy, even if they call themselves Democrats, talk about how "the message is off" or "lost." I asked C.I. for a quote on that.

"Their message is off or lost, not Cindy Sheehan's, not Camp Casey's. A number of people wanted to use the memory of Casey Sheehan and the activism of others to push their 'fine tune the war' message. They lied about Cindy Sheehan, they made her about to be this shy little thing. When they found that not only couldn't the right intimidate her but they, the centrists, couldn't force her to play the role they wanted, they decided it was hissy fit time. Now they whine about the peace activists at Camp Casey or run down Joan Baez. The reason is they don't want peace. They want the war to go on but to be 'fine tuned.' They are an embarrassment and should be ashamed of themselves for trying to distort Cindy Sheehan's message. I'm not a big fan of Todd Gitlin, disclosure on the I-know part, but I was impressed with his comments during this. What I've seen or heard is that it's not the people of Gitlin's generation that are lying about Cindy Sheehan but people who were teens in the 70s or laters and want to prove what bad asses they are. 'Dig me, I'm so damn tough.' America's not saying, 'Fine tune the war!' They're saying they want out. That politicians have been few to step forward is embarrassing. That chattering heads on the left and 'left' have tried to deny reality is shameful."

When I asked C.I. if it was okay to quote, C.I. said sure and that this might be an entry at The Common Ills tonight but it was doubtful due to "time constraints."

I hope C.I. writes about it because I think it needs to be said.

Here I'll do my part by noting that the people my age are disgusted with the war. Even the middle of the roaders are. They won't call it illegal or immoral but they will say it's time to get out. And there are a lot of people that have a platform and could be advocating that but they won't and instead they trash the peace activists.

They're acting like it's fall 2003 or 2004 and America hasn't turned against the war. They think they look reasonable but they just look cowardly and mean spirited.

Things are going to get more active. And when that happens, I hope all you will speak out and take part in demonstrations. But I also hope that ten years from now you aren't like these idiots who go around putting other people down. Like that Bob Dylan song says "Get out of the road if you can't lend a hand."

I don't think they know where the country's coming from. They've spent decades playing it safe or justifying bad policies because a Democrat pushed it. They've compromised themselves so much that instead of hating peace activists, they should hate themselves.

I got 15 e-mails asking about Joan Baez's CD Joan so I'll make that the e-mail discussion.

I'm not smart like Kat who knows so much about music so don't expect much. The CD has a pretty cool sound. Dad told us last night it was called 'baroque rock.' And I think it's called that because of the instrumentation which is like chamber music instruments playing rock.

Joan does the Beatles' "Eleanor Rigby" and I always like that song by the Beatles and I think she does a pretty good job of it too. "Turquoise" is my favorite song on the CD. "Take care with my heart, oh darling, she's made of glass." That's from that song. Ma said Donovan wrote that song and he's the guy that did "Mellow Yellow" but that's all I know about him.

I do know Nina and I thought it was a really romantic song. "Take care how you fly my precious, you might fall down." It's one of those songs where you just reach over and grab your baby's hand. (Baby can be female or male so apply as needed.)

When Joan does one of the "Take care" lines her voice just swoops in and gets so strong. I also really love the song "La Colombe - The Dove" and Ma says Judy Collins does that song too. I'm not a big Simon & Garfunkel fan and that's probably cause I heard them all the time growing up. Dad loves "Cecilia" best and Ma loves everything they did. So I knew the song "Dangling Conversation" but I really like Joan's take on it best. The music is more complex and she sings it like she's telling you a story. "Be Not Too Hard" is another great song on the CD.

Dad pulled out the record they have and we were flipping through the CD booklet and looking at the record jacket and all. There are two extra songs on the CD and the front cover of the record is the back cover of the CD booklet. (It's the same photo on the front of the CD but it's got more color.) There's an essay in the booklet but I haven't read it yet. I usually wait to figure out what I think of a CD before I read about it. (Unless it's one of Kat's reviews.)

This is a really good CD and I'll say thank you to Dona because she's the one who told me to start with this one. If you're thinking about getting it and thinking, "I need to write the title down," just remember that it's Joan Baez's first name, Joan. That's the title. And Joan Baez has a new CD coming out September 6th, Bowery Songs. It's a live CD and we'll be listening to it around my house.

If you read The Common Ills this morning, you probably saw where C.I. linked to a story on recruting and I'll pick it up here. It's by Karen Houppert and it's called "Who's Next?"
and here's a taste of it:

The Army, which missed its recruiting quotas in four out of the six months ending in July for active-duty troops--and nine out of the past nine months for the Army National Guard--is getting desperate. Still more than 16,000 recruits shy of its 2005 goal, and with disaffected teens plentiful but skeptical, the Army brass has added 1,000 new recruiters to pound the pavement--or linoleum hallways--in the past year. New Junior ROTC (Reserve Officer Training Corps) programs are being introduced in high schools across the country, and lately kids as young as 11 are being invited to join pre-JROTC at their elementary and middle schools. The Army has increased its recruitment campaign budget by $500 million this year, and it is slated to introduce a new ad campaign in September emphasizing "patriotism." (In the past, it has focused on job opportunities and personal growth.) The Army hopes Congress will agree to a slew of new signing benefits designed to raise average enlistment bonuses from $14,000 to $17,000 (with some recruits getting as much as $30,000 for hard-to-fill specialties and some re-enlistment bonuses spiking as high as $75,000).
Sometimes the Army gets even more creative. On the sly, recruiters have helped high schoolers cheat on entrance exams, fudge their drug tests and hide police records, as the New York Times reported in May. The Times exposé revealed that the Army investigated 1,118 "recruiting improprieties" last year, ranging from coercing young people to lying to them. It substantiated 320 of these.
That such tactics are deemed necessary says a lot about the recruiters' desperation despite their extensive opportunities to engage students at both the college and high school levels. Recruiters' access to college campuses has been protected since 1996 under the Solomon Amendment, which ties federal funding to schools' willingness to permit recruiters on campus. And the military is taking full advantage, especially at community colleges, where students with fewer choices are more likely to consider a military career. Now the military has gained free access to high schools as well, under a little-known clause in the No Child Left Behind Act. Nestled among florid tributes to education reform and clunky legalese is a brief passage stating that all public schools are required to share students' names, addresses and telephone numbers with recruiters. "They have unrestricted access to kids in the schools, cafeterias and classrooms," says Hany Khalil, an organizing coordinator at United for Peace and Justice, a national antiwar coalition. "They've even brought Humvees onto campuses to make the prospect of going to war seem sexy and exciting."

I told Elaine that I was just doing the one thing from Democracy Now! today because I wanted to talk about the dopes knocking peace activists and also cause Nina and I are going to the movies tonight. Be sure to read Elaine to see what the Democracy Now! story made her think about.