Waco Friends of Peace/Climate meet monthly, the third Tuesday of the month, 6 pm, at Poppo Rollo's Pizza
Westbank Meeting Room, 703 N. Valley Mills Dr., Waco, 76710. Free presentation and pizza/salad buffet.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

4/2 business meeting to be held at Crawford Peace House

The regular first Sunday meeting of Friends of Peace will not be held at the UU church, but will instead be at the Crawford Peace House, so that we can work on the banners for the upcoming April 10 protest of Vice President Cheney's visit to Waco.

Regular time, though: 6 PM.

The Crawford Peace House is at 9142 E. Fifth St., near the intersection of Rts. 317 and 185, just east of the RR tracks on 185.

AGENDA:
1)Financial Report (Boyce Vardiman).

2)April 10th protest of Cheney fundraiser at Hilton Hotel in Waco.

3)April 19th film at Waco Central Library. "Control Room " (I obtained copy) or other.

4)role in April 1-14th "March to Redeem the Soul of America" and Crawford actions.

5)further Peace House report (rena).

6)May leadership.

7)any other member items.

8)Making banner(s) for the April 10th action.

Hope everyone can attend and provide their crucial input and artistic ability.

April 10 protest at VP Cheney visit to Waco

PROTEST APRIL 10, 2006, at
CHENEY REPUBLICAN FUNDRAISER
HILTON HOTEL, WACO

VP Cheney is back again for a fundraiser for Republican senatorial candidate Van Taylor and we will be back also to express our outrage.

Cheney was a major architect of the illegal invasion of Iraq, a conduit for Halliburton war profits, and a proponent of US torture.

TIME: Monday, April 10, 2006, assemble 10a.m., until approx. noon.

LOCATION: Near attendee entrance to the Hilton Hotel, probable sidewalk or Indian Spring Park across the street. (Hilton is 113 S.University Parks Dr.).

EQUIPMENT: We will make very large banners to ensure good visibility. Please make your own signs also.

Suggestions:

* CHENEY: VP FOR TORTURE
* IMPEACH BUSH AND CHENEY
* WACO SAYS NO TO TORTURE
* CHENEY + WAR = $$$$HALLIBURTON/$$$$CHENEY
* CHENEY--NO $$$$ FOR TORTURE

(the recent immigration protests should erase any doubts about the effectiveness of protest)

Thursday, March 23, 2006

FoP to greet VP Cheney when he comes to Waco

The Friends of Peace is planning to serve as a welcoming committee for Vice President Dick Cheney when he comes to Waco on April 10.

We will gather at the Hilton Hotel, where Cheney will be attending a fundraiser for Senate Candidate Van Taylor, at 10 AM and stay till about Noon. We will have signs and banners, but you are welcome to make and bring a sign for yourself. It's best if they do not have sticks or other attachments that could be construed as dangerous or threatening.

The Hilton is located at 113 South University Parks Dr., along the south side of the Brazos between Waco Drive and the interstate in Waco. Map/directions.

We will be carpooling over from the parking lot of the Brazos
Place Center shopping mall (where we have our demos). Meet there at 9:45.

Rena wants to meet for breakfast a little before 9:00. Anyone in for that?

Monday, March 20, 2006

Opinion: Our Fear Leader

This week's editorial from Boyce Vardiman:

A prime way to control people is with fear. Joseph Stalin was a master of this dark art. Stalin's communism was never the socialist contract of Marx, or even of Lenin. His was a dominion of fear. If voices or movements of opposition arose, just the threat of retaliation, banishment or disappearance would evoke fear sufficient to bring silence. Simply knowing the reach of the KGB could evoke compliance.

Fortunately, we Americans have not had to suffer under that kind of oppression. The decades of the cold war were sometimes fearful; especially the early years. After that we drifted into a sort of comfort zone framed by the threat of mutual annihilation. After the collapse of the Soviet Union we almost felt at a loss for someone to fear, an enemy with which to struggle.

With 9-11-01 came the awareness that our "bubble" of comfortable consumerism was vulnerable. We awakened to the realization that even with oceans to our east and west, our enormous investment in militarism and our status as the "wealthiest and most powerful nation on earth" we could still be threatened and hurt.

At the same time the ill-equipped individual who had been named our president less than nine months before discovered a meaning for his presidency. George W. Bush realized that he could be our "war president." He would do war with terrorism. Or perhaps it was Dick Cheney and Karl Rove who brought him to this awareness.
From late September 2001 George W. Bush's every utterance, and the words spoken for him, have been salted with the terms "terrorism," "terrorist" and "war on terrorists." Without having to say the word "fear," Mr. Bush, with the support of others of his administration, became "our fear leader".

Fear is a natural and useful reality. And the reality is that the United States is vulnerable. We are vulnerable to terrorists, criminals, unscrupulous business and industry, the deranged and extremists of all sorts who may decide, or be driven, to take out their anger, frustration, depression, hatred and desires for power and vengeance on our nation, on any and all of its people and on our many and far flung interests.

Just as fear was used in Soviet Russia to control the disparate "nations of peoples" within the USSR, fear has been used to control us of the United States since 2001. At mid March 2006, most of us will admit that the constant application of "fear" (of terrorists, of Al Queda, of "weapons of mass destruction in Saddam's hands", of references to "mushroom clouds") helped us to concede, even amidst protests, the attack and occupation of Iraq. The same fear, as well as a desire to trust our leaders, caused congress to similarly acquiesce.

Made docile by continuing application of the "terrorist" concept we have been unwilling to shout "not in my lifetime" as our civil liberties have been trimmed by the Patriot Act and our communications illegally spied upon. UNTIL THE LAST THREE WEEKS when it finally got through to us that operation of six of our major seaports were being bought by Dubai! Suddenly the continued "fear treatment" got our attention and we turned it around on the Bush administration! All the uproar might even have been a bit unfair to Dubai World Ports.

But maybe we have learned something about how to be better and more active citizens, even when we are afraid. The most treasured blessings we enjoy as Americans are our freedoms and civil rights. Unfortunately we have come to take them for granted, or to let them slide when our "fear bone" or "comfort nerve" is touched. Can we each "take the pledge" to live and protect our citizenship, even through fear?

Boyce Vardiman

Our protest marking the 3rd year of Iraq war/occupation



The Waco Trib shocked us all and did a decent photo story on our protest on Saturday. Unfortunately they did not deign to post it on their web page, so I could link to it. Publication date 3/19/06, page 1C.

Here's Alan's report on the day:

The weather cooperated for the March 18th protest and we had 10-15 activists there. Our local traffic response was about 80% positive. Again we had new faces, including a couple from Whitney. Another couple appeared, voiced their support, and brought sandwiches from Jason's Deli for all of us. We rec'd great photo coverage from the WTH, which made a strong statement even without any text. Channel 25 started their 6 and 10 p.m. segments with our story. A young reporter interviewed us, and blended our comments with info about the Global Day of Protest!! So no doubt we raised the awareness level in the central texas area. Without our presence, the 3rd anniversary of this disaster would have probably passed unreported and without observance.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Waco joins Global Day of Protest

Commemorating 3rd Anniversary of US occupation of Iraq

Saturday, March 18, 10 AM - ?
Corner of Waco Drive and Valley Mills (see update below for alternative rain site)

* BRING THE TROOPS HOME NOW
* FROM IRAQ TO NEW ORLEANS, FUND PEOPLE'S NEEDS, NOT THE WAR MACHINE
* HONK FOR IMPEACHMENT
* END TORTURE NOW

Please join our peaceful protest at the busiest intersection in Waco.

UPDATE:
1)Alternative site: in case of heavy rains saturday morning, the site is the Hwy.84/Hwy 6 overpass, just past the light in front of the big Richland Mall green sign. There is a big covered grassy area under the overpass. Closest parking is in the Mall area near the big green sign. Use caution crossing the streets to reach this site. (I cleared this site with Waco police).

2)SAFETY FIRST: please take great care in crossing streets and at the protest site, esp. if the streets are wet. Also, we must be extremely careful to CONTROL all signs and banners in the wind etc to be sure NOTHING blows into any roadways

3)Attitude: we can make a strong statement here in Bush country by our presence. But please no taunting, confrontation, or bad language.

4) Signs: consider water proofing any signs by covering them with the clear plastic adhesive laminate material.


THANKS for your help. For this statement to be made, only we can do it--we can't depend on anyone else.

Although US support for the war and for Bush has plummeted, Waco remains isolated and our voices are vital. We must speak out against illegal war, illegal spying, and torture. How can we remain silent when the actions of our government are done in our names? Who else will speak for the 100,000 dead Iraqi civilians?

If you can take even an hour or two from your busy schedule, your effort will be worthwhile. Some large banners will be provided. But please bring your own signs to express your personal outrage.

Sponsored by Waco Area Friends of Peace.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Secrecy is Destroying Democracy

[This is a column written for the West News by Friends of Peace member Boyce Vardiman.]

The six year long and troubling shroud of secrecy surrounding the Bush II administration could be nearing penetration -- by we the people. It can't happen too soon.

The obsession with secrecy began even before Vice President Cheney convened his commission to form a national energy policy. Yet the full extent of those sessions, even the names of the participants, has been denied to congress, and to the public for almost five years.

A near seamless stream of secrecy has followed:

* Even as it shamelessly played politics with the 9/11 tragedy, the Bush administration labored strenuously to hide why America was so unprepared.

* The secret plan to invade Iraq, no matter the questions, objections or warnings is still denied.

* Even the cost of Iraq, two hundred plus billion dollars and twenty five thousand military personnel killed, maimed and wounded is hidden as much as possible.

* There continues a torrent of denial, stonewalling, obfuscation and deceit about information the public has a right to know.

* Information has been denied the media, researchers, even congress.

An attack on working people and the middle class continues, secreted behind claims of "national security", warnings of terrorism and the "joys" of free trade. Jobs are exported by the million, family income slowly shrivels, and millions of citizens sink closer to poverty, even homelessness. Meanwhile the administration tries to keep quiet about the transfer of billions in wealth to the top 3% of our "elite" citizens.

There is that marvelously hidden secret efficiency and effectiveness of FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency in response to hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

Now we learn that the results of thousands of federal trials are being kept secret; despite sixth amendment guarantees of public trials. Add to that the imprisonment of hundreds at Guantanamo, the "disappearing" of "suspects" by rendition and the thousands in Iraqi prisons, often in total secrecy, most without charges or legal representation, and we have something closer to the former USSR than to American democracy and civil rights.

We woke a few weeks ago to discover that the Bush administration had illegally authorized domestic spying, (that*s spying on us, neighbors) years ago. The battle is now on between the administration*s once secret, now open, defiance, and those demanding that the FISA court be involved as provided by law.

There are "secrets" that the administration chooses not to talk about:

* That most Americans now have little to no economic or health security.

* That the 196 billion budget surplus left by the Clinton administration in 2000 is a 438 billion deficit in 2005.

* That American assets are being sold off, or bought up, by those nations holding our IOU's.

That famous bubble of secrecy burst in the last two weeks; as we learned that Dubai was set to buy operation of six of our major seaports! And that 80% of our ports are already operated by companies from other nations! The money we have borrowed, spent on energy, gasoline, diesel and goods, blown on a war of choice and refused to save, is now buying us out!

To top it all, we learned just over the weekend that the Bush administration is prepared (again in secret) to supply nuclear technology to India!

Finally, there is now the "open secret" of the dismay of our soldiers and marines in Iraq. Only 23% back the administration*s plan to "stay as long as needed". 72% favor withdrawal within a year, and 29% say they should come home immediately. All of this in a government that is supposed to be a democracy!

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Operation: Dreamland, Waco Mar. 15

We are proud to present a screening of this award-winning new documentary for its Waco premiere as part of our observation of the third anniversary of the Iraq War (we will also have a public protest demonstration on the 18th, details to come).

Occupation: Dreamland is an unflinchingly candid portrait of a squad of American soldiers deployed in the doomed Iraq city of Falluja during the winter of 2004.

A collective study of the soldiers unfolds as they patrol an environment of low-intensity conflict creeping steadily towards catastrophe. Through the squads activities Occupation: Dreamland provides a vital glimpse into the last days of Falluja.

The film documents the city’s waning stability before a final series of military assaults began in the spring of 2004 that effectively destroyed it. Filmmakers Garrett Scott and Ian Olds were given access to all operations of the Army’s 82nd Airborne. They lived with the unit 24/7, giving voice to soldiers held under a strict code of authority as they cope with an ambiguous, often lethal environment.

The result is a revealing, sometimes surprising look at Army life, operations and the complexity of American war in the 21st century.

Presented by Waco Friends of Peace for our monthly program series. Free and open to the public.

FMI www.friendsofpeace.org or 254.744.1682

5:30 p.m. – Refreshments and chat
6:00 p.m. – Film, followed by group discussion

location:
Waco Central Library, Austin Ave and 18th St. (follow link for map), Downstairs conference room

Help promote this film by printing, copying and distributing this flier.

Business meeting, March 5

Just a reminder about the regular first Sunday meeting on Sunday at the UU Church. Some agenda items:

* publicity for our March 15 film. Everyone who responded was in favor of Occupation Dreamland. This is a big and important film and I hope we can have a good attendance. Flyers will be available at meeting.

* planning for our March 18th action in Waco (3rd anniversary of Iraq war). Ideas for our specific message??

* considering our role in the "March to Redeem the Soul of America" march from Dallas to Crawford April 1-14, followed by 5-days of actions in Crawford. Consider becoming a sponsor for the march, and other participation.

* other items anyone wants to discuss.

Hope you can attend and provide your ideas and input.

UU church is in a residential neighborhood, but has a sign out front. (Map/Directions).