Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Occupy Beale Air Force Base

The Peace Panel Project joined members of Code Pink, the Peace Center of Nevada County, Sacramento Area Peace Action, the GI Coffee House Tour, Veterans For Peace, Earth Justice Ministries, (Ret.) Col. Ann Wright and others to occupy the intersection just west of the Wheatland gate of Beale AFB this last Tuesday.  People on all four corners holding signs, singing songs, smiling and talking.  There was one veteran with a blow horn who kept walking up and down the road imploring the GIs as they left the base, "STAND DOWN", "Don't come back!"  "Refuse your orders!" over and over.  There was a singer with amplified sound and friends belting out one peace activist song after another.  Someone had made many crosses about 36" x 18" of white lath that had a laminated photo of a drawing of a child drone victim with their name and age.  There was a Drone Information Booth.  We offered the soldiers leaving the Base some food for thought from about 3 pm to 5:30 pm when the traffic thinned out.

We then adjourned that meeting to reassemble at the North Gate campgrounds for a great pot luck dinner and a few words from the VFP National VP, Ann Wright, Mika of the GI Coffee House Tour from Texas, and an activist from Germany.  We were encouraged to keep up our monthly presence at the Base, meet members of the military, listen to their stories, offer the GI Rights Hot Line service, be pro GI, and anti war.  We ended the evening singing in a circle, with a rousing rendition of "This Land is Your Land" and "We Shall Not be Moved".  It was an inspirational experience, not soon forgotten.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Chico Conservation Voters event

The Peace Panel Project was well recieved at the Chico Conservation Voters event last Sunday at the ARC building in Chico.  We got to address the crowd, and call their attention to Career Builders and Chico Tree Advocates. We sold some copies of Censored 2014 and 2014 and Better World Shopping and Nonviolent Communication.  As always 17% off or more.  We still have a couple of copies of Censored 2013 and 2012 available at half price.

I delivered 12 - 2' x 4' Peace Panels to the event by bicycle and bike trailer.  And unveiled the new USA FREEDOM ACT Peace Panel for the first time.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

2014 Northwest Tour

Peace Panel Project / 2014 Northwest Tour               2/3/14 – 2/9/14

Six days, Seven Peace groups, eleven relatives, and five nationally recognized people.

After two weeks of off and on planning, I had reached my limit trying to figure out how to get the most out of a drive to Tacoma; six days, seven peace groups, eleven relatives.  I packed as many easels (5) and 2’ x 4’ Peace Panels (15) as I could fit in my biodiesel Jetta and at six am Monday I was off to the Ashland Peace House, (APH). 

The APH is a nice office and library space in the local South Mountain Friends Meeting House, near Southern Oregon University.  There I had the pleasure of meeting with Herb and Estelle of APH and Allen Hallmark of Medford Citizens for Peace and Justice.  I was able to do a little presentation and discussion with the mini Peace Panels; got some good feed back, learned about their Hiroshima/Nagasaki Vigil and discussed future collaboration for an exhibit in Ashland in August. 

Met cousin.

Pulled into Portland a little low on fuel, so I filled up with B99 biodiesel for $3.99 per gallon, (cheaper than in Chico) at Star Oil Company.  According to their info, “Using  
Biodiesel…decreases carbon dioxide emissions by nearly 80%.

Then I met with Mireaya Medina of American Friends Service Committee of Portland.  Mireaya and I had a great discussion of counter recruitment and other projects her group is working on.  She shared some brochures and the “Life After High School” workbook and the “Before You Enlist” DVD that I had not seen and would be useful for our counter recruitment efforts.  I had hoped to meet with folks at the Portland Peace & Justice Works but that didn’t work out.

Met more cousins.

Thursday, 7 pm I was at the meeting of Tacoma Veterans for Peace, (VFP), United for Peace in Pierce County, and People for Peace, Justice and Healing, at the First United Methodist Church.  I got to present a mini Peace Panel Project version of my proposal for the large exhibit at the VFP Conference that Saturday.  It was well received and I was encouraged to meet them at the Church at 7:30 am that Saturday to start the set up.

Met more cousins.

Saturday 7:30 am I was parking at the Church just feet from the VFP Conference room.  VFPs Hollis and Steve helped me set up.  The 5 easels and 15 Panels fit the space perfectly, to lots of gratitude from many of the 45 participants.  I was missing my table cloth and lettered table cover; even so, book sales were the best yet.  I almost felt sorry for my neighbors I was sharing the table with, Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action, a really great group, whose sales were not quite as brisk.  Check out their web site   Also see the great Palestinian/Israel billboard the Spokane VFP did up North at   Apparently there are grants available to do billboards.  Let’s do one here too!    
I participated in the Counter Recruitment workshop presented by Mike Dedrick.  It was very encouraging.  One of the participants was an ex army recruiter!  Hopefully, I can get the DVD.  Their presentation included ideas like attending School Administrator’s Conferences and the school science fair, where military may have a presence.  He handed out a thick pocket folder, with some good brochures, a “Test Your Military IQ” test and lots more good info.   

Also the Militarism and Money Workshop by Robert Poteat was a great study in the relationship between national debt and war.  Very interesting. 

The Palestine /Israel workshop was fascinating with a presentation from Mike Hastie, a photojournalist, poet, graphic designer, VFP, and veteran of Vietnam.  He had some remarkable photos and graphics.  He talked about how after visiting the West Bank for a number of weeks the experience of Palestinians began to sink in.  “It was beyond words, it became emotional, it was in the tissues… under your skin.”  Words were inadequate, emotions were required.  It reminded him of what he experienced in Vietnam.  The next presenter was Craig Corrie.  He began his talk and it occurred to me this was the father of Rachel Corrie.  I was honored and calmed.  The Rachel Corrie story is perhaps the most moving story I have learned of in my activist career.  So I am listening to Craig Corrie and the next thing you know I realize I’m sitting next to Cindy Corrie!  Rachel’s Mom.  Craig said what we are doing to the Palestinians now, is what we did to the American Indians before the Civil War, slow genocide.  After the presentation, I got to talk to the Corries; mentioned our BDS work and the Rachel Corrie Peace Panel.   Hope to get a DVD of that workshop.

Got to meet decorated Army veteran Zahid Chaudhry, who despite honorable military service and being married to a US citizen is fighting deportation.  see   

Got to meet the national President of Veterans for Peace  Patrick McCann who, when in the military, refused his orders to go to Vietnam.  What a man.   He now teaches high school in Maryland.
See their web site :  www.    A great organization.
I met VFP Michael Jacobson who is a graphic designer who does a traveling exhibit “War is a Racket”.  He was wearing a t-shirt with an Eisenhower quote on the back, “I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can, only as one who has seen its brutality, its stupidity.”   Neat shirt.

Met with Matt Patera of, our host, the 1st United Methodist Church.  He was so impressed with the Peace Panel Project, he arraigned to borrow 18 of the mini Panels for a Church exhibit later in the month.

Five pm rolled around and I packed up and headed to the next event.  “Does Privacy Matter?”  Surveillance, Secrecy and the National Security Agency”, with Thomas Drake, former senior executive of the NSA turned whistleblower and Jesselyn Radack former ethics advisor to the US Justice Department.  Where we were reminded, in the words of Benjamin Franklin, “They who would give liberty, to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither.”  Be sure to see the movie, War On Whistleblowers, on U Tube.  Can democracy coexist with massive NSA surveillance?  You decide.   We were encouraged to call our Congressmen to support the USA FREEDOM Act.  The ACLU strongly supports the USA FREEDOM Act.  
 After their presentation I got to meet Thomas and Jesselyn.  I called Tom a hero.