Monday 12 November 2007

On Soldier Saints and Patriot Pacifists - Reflection for Veterans' Day

Today I read an excellent reflection piece that appeared Thursday on the "God's Politics" blog. It was authored by Logan Laituri, a six-year Army veteran with combatant service in Iraq during OIF II and experience with Christian Peacemaker Teams in Israel and the West Bank. He is an active member of Iraq Veterans Against the War and currently resides in Camden, New Jersey, in an intentional Christian community called Camden House, where he continues to seek ways to wage peace wherever he goes. Logan blogs at Courageous Coward and his latest entry is another facinating read in itself.

Here now, are a couple of paragraphs excerpted from Logan's essay in God's Politics:

This Sunday (Nov. 11) the Catholic Church celebrates the feast day of St. Martin of Tours, one of the first saints not to be martyred. In fact, St. Martin was one of many to be beatified who, by today's standards, would be identified as a conscientious objector - an individual verifiably opposed to "war in any form." At one time a Roman centurion, Martin came to a "crystallization" of conscience, laying down his sword and declaring, "I am a soldier of Christ, it is not permissible for me to fight."

It has been speculated that in 1918, Nov. 11 was chosen as Armistice Day in part due to St. Martin, who is especially the patron of soldiers and chaplains. It is curious to consider that this Christian soldier in fact thought it more Christlike to return to the front lines unarmed than with the sword the empire placed in his hands.

David Thoreau, an inspiration to another saintly Martin who believed that a creative, nonviolent minority could serve the state by resisting it with the intention of improving it. Could this in fact be the embodiment of service to the state Paul speaks of in Romans 13? After all, he and St. Martin both were imprisoned for their beliefs…

Read Logan's entire piece here.


Sunday 11 November 2007

SiCKO being shown/discussed in Goshen, Wednesday, Nov.14 at 7 pm

Michael Moore's lastest documentary, SiCKO, is being shown this next Wednesday evening at 7 pm in Goshen, at an event co-sponsored by the local DFA (Democracy For America) -- and by both the Film and Pax clubs of Goshen College. This "house party" will be held in the Administration Building second floor, Room 28, because higher levels of interest in attending are outgrowing what any one house can handle.

This group was one of the first 200 "house parties" in the nation to have at least 10 registrants confirmed to come, so yesterday I received a free copy of SiCKO on DVD, which was released to the public only recently. There will be no cost to attend, but donations to the DFA will be welcome.

Go here for more information or to sign up to attend (although the later is not mandatory.)

A Conference Call with Michael Moore (and Jim Dean of the DFA) will commence at 9:30 pm after the movie, to discuss action plans for moving the agenda forward to get some serious reform going -- to ensure adequate health care coverage for all citizens in our country. There will be plenty of motivation after seeing this movie, because some of the real stories shared by people Moore interviews and several other situations he highlights, including what he learns from people in other countries, are quite moving indeed!

Watch Bill Maher's interview of Moore last June regarding the impact this movie was having then on viewers from all across the political spectrum watching initial screenings at film festivals and the like.

Last Tuesday Michael Moore attended a press conference with Reps. Conyers and Kucinich in Washington D.C. accompanied by a group of nurses and doctors who delivered a copy of this movie on DVD to every member of Congress that day, in support of HR 676 (co-sponsored by Conyers.)

If you plan to attend, consider bringing a friend to enrich your discussion after the movie and on your way home!

Clair Hochstetler

Updates and Resources: Considering Impeachment

A Communications "Tool Kit": (Videos & Articles)

Kucinich is Wrecking the Dem 2008 Strategy (From the Daily Kos)

Kucinich: I have a 3-inch binder documenting Cheney’s crimes

Naomi Wolf: Impeach, Prosecute and Save America! (video)

Impeachment: National Resource Center (

They took it off the table, so we put it on the stage! (CultureProject)

Good Books:

"Cowboy Republic: Six Ways the Bush Gang Has Defied the Law," by Marjorie Cohn, documents the laws and the violations, and reminds us why Jefferson warned against elected despotism.

"United States v. George W. Bush et al.," by Elizabeth de la Vega, an indictment, a presentation to a grand jury charging Bush and gang with fraud -- very well argued and documented, even entertaining.

"The Genius of Impeachment: The Founders' Cure for Royalism," by John Nichols, a masterpiece that should be required reading in every high school and college in the United States, a history and portrait of the practice of impeachment.

"Articles of Impeachment Against George W. Bush," by the Center for Constitutional Rights, a short book that lists and explains four (multi-part) articles of impeachment.

"The Impeachment of George W. Bush: A Practical Guide for Concerned Citizens," by Elizabeth Holtzman (former Con- gresswoman and member of the Nixon impeachment panel) and Cynthia L. Cooper, an excellent and readable book laying out five major grounds for impeachment of Bush, plus an extra section on Dick Cheney.

"The Case for Impeachment," by Dave Lindorff and Barbara Olshansky, an amazingly popular and extremely readable book that explains the context while also setting forth six articles of impeachment against Bush, plus an extra section on Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Condoleezza Rice, and Alberto Gonzales.

"Impeach the President: The Case Against Bush and Cheney," edited by Dennis Loo and Peter Phillips, with an introduction by Howard Zinn, a wonderfully well written collection of essays organized around a list of 12 grounds for impeachment of Bush and Cheney.

"George W. Bush versus the U.S. Constitution: The Downing Street Memos and Deception, Manipulation, Torture, Retribution, and Cover-ups in the Iraq War and Illegal Domestic Spying," by the U.S. House Judiciary Committee Democratic Staff, a book that not only collects the evidence but also tells us what Congressman John Conyers, the ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, is thinking (the full text, minus a new introduction by Joseph Wilson, is available here.)

"Verdict and Findings of Fact," by the International Commission of Inquiry on Crimes Against Humanity Committed by the Bush Administration of the United States, a report that looks at five major international crimes and overlaps significantly with most lists of impeachable offenses (the full text is available at the link and can also be purchased for $10)

"Pretensions to Empire: Notes on the Criminal Folly of the Bush Administration," by Lewis Lapham, a collection of essays from Harper's magazine, concluding with one called "The Case for Impeachment," which focuses on Rep. Conyers' report.

"The Twilight of Democracy: The Bush Plan for America," by Jennifer Van Bergen. Find out what the Bush Plan is and how it diverges from what the law and Constitution say.

Saturday 10 November 2007

Read, once again, Thomas Jefferson's text of the Declaration of Independence (from King George!)

…when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security…

…The history of the present King ….. is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world…

…He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good…

…He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries…

…He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures…

…He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power…

…He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws…

…For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury…

…For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments…

…He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation…


Does all this sound eerily familiar?

Recount George Bush’s & Dick Cheney’s usurpation of power from Congress:

Excessive use of 750 executive signing statements, executive privilege, and executive orders, violating Congress’s laws over 1200 times,

Refusal to abide by congressional inquiries by fraudulently claiming to be outside “executive branch,”

Denial of our basic civil rights (warrantless wiretapping before 9/11 -> 4th Amendment), indefinite imprisonment of citizens without trial, a lawyer, or charge -> 6th Amendment, and suspension of habeas corpus -> Article One, Section 9, kidnapping and use of torture (extremely cruel and unusual punishments! -> 8th Amendment),

Use of Blackwater standing armies (brutal and accountable to no one),

Misleading the Congress to transfer authority to wage an illegal pre-emptive war under false pretenses (long in the making & the folly of which was well known to them -> Article One Section 8),

Outing an undercover agent, whose mission was to protect us from weapons of mass destruction, placing her colleagues in grave danger and undermining our national security -> Article 3, Section 3,

Halliburton no-bid contracts (out of control war profiteering)

and more…indeed, a history of repeated injuries and usurpations fit for a King!

Here are some questions I'm quite sure Thomas Jefferson would be posing to fellow members of Congress were he alive today:

It is a matter of public record as published in the Congressional Record that the rationale for the resolution purporting to authorize the military occupation of Iraq was based on false and misleading statements by executive branch officials, acting with the full knowledge and acquiescence of the president. Isn’t lying to Congress a felony under federal law?

It is a matter of public record supported by unrebutted sworn testimony that executive branch officials are holding prisoners without access to legal process, with the full knowledge and acquiescence of the president. Isn’t this kidnapping?

It is a matter of public record supported by unrebutted sworn testimony that executive branch officials conducted warrantless wiretapping of Americans, with the full knowledge and acquiescence of the president. Isn’t this a felony under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act?

It is a matter of public record supported by unrebutted sworn testimony that federal prosecutors were removed for political reasons and that the former attorney general committed perjury when he claimed not to remember critical facts relevant to their removal. Is there any doubt that the attorney general’s perjury, a felony, was committed at the direction of and with the full knowledge and acquiescence of the president?

It is a matter of public record supported by unrebutted sworn testimony that the federal prosecutorial function was corrupted in at least nine jurisdictions by political interference, with the full knowledge and acquiescence of the president. Doesn’t this constitute felonious conduct under the laws prohibiting obstruction of justice?

It is a matter of public record and an incontrovertible fact that the president has defied subpoenas duly issued by Congress. Isn’t it the duty of Congress to enforce its subpoenas with a contempt citation and to enforce that citation by appropriate legal means?

It is a matter of public record as published in the Federal Register that the president has issued “signing statements” instructing federal employees to violate selected provisions of duly enacted laws. Isn’t this contrary to his constitutional oath to see that the laws are faithfully executed?

It is a matter of public record supported by unrebutted sworn testimony that officials of the executive branch maintain contracts with armed civilians that purport to authorize the killing of other civilians, with the full knowledge and acquiescence of the president. Isn’t this a violation of the laws prohibiting homicide?

Aren’t the members of the House of Representatives the only people in America who can hold the president accountable for these crimes and isn’t it your responsibility to do that, regardless of the political consequences?

If you fail to hold the president accountable, aren’t you setting a precedent for future presidents and future congresses not to hold the executive accountable for high crimes?

Aren’t you concerned that your failure to act will be seen as a deliberate step in the creation of a presidency that is no longer subject to the rule of law?

Sunday 4 November 2007

Kucinich about to shake things up with move to impeach Cheney on Nov. 6: HR 333

Here are three things people should know right now about Dennis Kucinich and what's really going on:

1) Regardless of which political party and Presidential candidate one personally favors, this will be worth watching and participating in, because it represents Congress "putting a finger to the wind." Though his resolution, HR 333, will most likely fail, its purpose is to test the strength of public sentiment for impeachment -- to assist in the planning of any further impeachment actions. This page explains the purpose, the strategy and the rationale for this move, so check that out.

How Dennis' motion to bring H.R. 333 to the floor will work: Dennis will rise and ask that the bill on the impeachment of Cheney be brought to the floor on a point of "privilege," which is every congressman's right on important matters. Someone will rise and motion for a vote that the bill be "tabled" (killed.) THIS IS THE VOTE. If enough congressmen vote against the motion to "table" it, Dennis will speak and it must go forward for debate. NOW is the time to tell your congressman you want him to vote against "tabling" the bill, so it can go forward. Here's a great page for finding the correct email and contact numbers for any Senator or Representative.

Regardless of whether or not you think it has a "snowball's chance..." of succeeding politically, if in your heart of hearts you would really like to see Dick Cheney get impeached, then contact your Representative now. Toll-free numbers are available at both links above, along with specific suggestions on what to say if you've never done something like this before.

2) As part of this effort Kucinich is calling for Town Hall meetings in each community across the country on Monday, November 5 at 7 pm ET, 6 pm CT, 5 pm MT, 4 pm PT.

You are being encouraged to invite others in your community to gather in your town hall, your library, your place of worship, your community center, or the comfort of your own home - to insist that your own Congressman upholds his/her oath of office and ask that they support the Kucinich Resolution -- as a strategy to show Congress the courage and backbone of American people who feel they have been betrayed by the actions of our current administration.

Dennis will be available by an audio link -- so this will be an opportunity to listen to his message regarding actions which can be taken to salvage the direction our country is taking -- headlong into more war: Learn more.

3) This clip on You Tube also provides a feel for the momentum finally building for Kucinich, and will give you a sense of the skills and persona of his wife Elizabeth, as well. To my way of thinking, Dennis Kuchinich is the only Democratic Party candidate who is not "for sale", who is consistent against the war and exerts the courage of his convictions, and who really represents a clear choice among all of the Democratic candidates. (Though certain other political values are very different, Ron Paul represents similar convictions on the Republican side.) So please set aside 15 minutes to absorb this.

Thursday 1 November 2007


Here are a gazillion cookie recipes. Even if you have no particular personal interest, you'll make the bakers in your life really happy if you pass the link of this website on to them. Or, just click on the name of the cookie below and 'bam" -- the recipe is there! This will be good to keep handy...

1-2-3 Cookies 7 Layer Cookies Allie Nelson's Famous Snickerdoodle Cookies Almond Crescent Shortbread Amish Sugar Cookies Andies Candies Cookies Angel Crisps Angenets Applesauce Cookies Apricot Fold-Overs Aunt Edy's Molasses Crinkles Auntie Linda's Ginger Gems Bakeless Dream Cookies Banana Drop Cookies Best Chocolate Chip Cookies in the World Biscotti Biscotti Blueberry Cookies Boiled Chocolate Oatmeal Drop Cookies Bronwnies Brown Sugar Shortbread Brownie Cookies Brownie Delight Brownies Buccaneer Snowballs Buried Cherry Cookies Butter Cookies Butter Nut Balls Butterballs Butterscotch Haystacks C.O.P. 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Sugar Cookies Sugar Cookies Swedish Pepparkakor (Pepper Cake) Cookies Swedish Sugar Cookies Sweet Marie's Swiss Treats Taralle (Italian Cookies) Tea Time Tassies Texas Brownies The Best Shortbread in The World Thumbprint Cookies Thumbprint Cookies Toffee Squares Traditional Christmas Sugar Cookies Traditional Gingerbread Men Cookies Triple-Chocolate Chip Cookies Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies Vanilla Waffer Balls Walnut Butter Cookies Walnut Crumb Bars White Chip Chocolate Cookies Wild Oatmeal Cookies Will's Famous Apple Jack Cookies Yummy Yummy Peanut Butter Blossoms