Thursday, September 29, 2005

Latest from NOLA

Leenie Halbert & Andrea Garland of the New Orleans Green Party need help with post-Katrina relief work in New Orleans.

They've established a relief center to feed 250 people a day (with help from Food Not Bombs), and they're planning to set up a medical clinic. They're also involved with a 'pirate' radio station that features health and self-help information, news, and music. It's the only radio station currently broadcasting in New Orleans.

Here's what they need: Donations of non-perishible vegetarian food (beans, dried fruit, grains, etc). Vitamins, toiletries, water Rechargeable batteris, cell phones, computers, mobile cards for cell phones. They also encourage people to send caravans of
supplies (as some Greens have done already). Donations can be made on-line at


Or contact them directly:

Leenie: 225-615-4905,
Andrea: 254-640-8441,

==> Malik Rahim, a Green Party member who lives in the Algiers neighborhood of New Orleans, continues to need help. Malik, who ran as a Green candidate for New Orlean City Council, has been organizing in New Orleans to develop medical clinics and self-help operations, deliver food and water to those who need it, clearing blockages, and helping people deal with FEMA and the police, which have been trying to force and
intimidate people into leaving.

Read more at and Malik invites people to call him in New Orleans at 504-368-6897 for information about how to send help.

Assistance can also be sent to:

Common Ground,

PO Box 3216,

Gretna, LA 70054.

==> On the scene coverage by Pat LaMarche (2004 Green candidate for Vice President) in New Orleans, in the Times Record (Maine)\05DE120?Opendocument

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Message from Cindy Sheehan

Monday, September 26th, 2005

My First Time

A message from Cindy Sheehan

The rumors are true this time. I was arrested in front of the White House
today. It was my first time ever being arrested.

We proceeded from Lafayette Park to the Guard House at the White
House.I, my sister, and other Gold Star Families for Peace members
and some Military Families requested to meet with the President again.
We again wanted to know: What is the Noble Cause? Our request was,
to our immense shock and surprise, denied. They wouldn't even deliver
any letters or pictures of our killed loved ones to the White House.

We all know by now why George won't meet with parents of the
soldiers he has killed who disagree with him. First of all, he hates it
when people disagree with him. I am not so sure he hates it as much
as he is in denial that it even happens.

Secondly, he is a coward who arrogantly refuses to meet with the people
who pay his salary. Maybe the next time one of us is asked by our bosses
to have a performance review, or we are told we are going to be written up
for a workplace infraction, we should refuse to go and talk to our bosses
citing the fact that the President doesn't have to. The third reason why he
won't talk to us is that he knows there is no Noble Cause for the invasion
and continued occupation of Iraq. It is a question that has no true answer.

After we were refused a meeting with the Disconnected One, we went
over to right in front of our house, the White House, (in front of the gate
of course) and we sat down and refused to move until George came out
and talked to us. We actually had a good time singing old church songs
and old protest songs while we waited. I tied a picture of Casey on the
White House fence and apparently, that is against the law, too.

After three warnings to get up and move off of the sidewalk in front of our
house, we were arrested.

It is so ironic to me that the person who resides in our White House swears
to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States of America. The
person who is the (p)resident of the White House now has no concept of the
Constitution. He was appointed by the Supreme Court for his first term,
invaded and continues to occupy a sovereign country without a declaration
of war from the Congress, and violated several treaties to actually invade Iraq,
too. Not to mention the condoned torture that pervades the military prisons
these days.

These are all violations of the Constitution. The Patriot Act and denying us our
rights to peaceably assemble are serious breaches of the Bill of Rights. George
is so hypocritically concerned about Iraq developing a Constitution while he
ignores and shreds our own Constitution.

Being arrested is not a big deal. Even though we were arrested for
"demonstrating without a permit" we were protesting something that is much
more serious than sitting on a sidewalk: the tragic and needless deaths of tens
of thousands of innocent Iraqis and Americans (both in Iraq and here in America)
who would be alive if it weren't for the criminals who reside in and work in the
White House.

Karl Rove (besides just being a very creepy man) outed a CIA agent and was
responsible for endangering many of our covert agents worldwide. Dick
Cheney's old company is reaping profits beyond anyone's wildest imaginations
in their no-bid contracts in Iraq, Afghanistan, and New Orleans. John
Negroponte's activities in South America are very shady and murderous. Rumsfeld
and Gonzales are responsible for illegal and immoral authorization, encouragement
and approval of torture. Not to mention, violating Geneva Conventions, torture
endangers the lives of our service men and women in Iraq. Along with the above
mentioned traitors, Condi lied through her teeth in the insane run-up to the invasion.
The list of crimes this administration has committed is extensive, abhorrent, and

What is so unbelievable is that WE were arrested for exercising our first amendment
rights and these people are running free to enjoy their lives of crime and to wreak havoc
on the world.

The fine for "demonstrating without a permit" is $75.00. I am certain that I won't pay it.
My court date is November 16th. Any lawyers out there want to help me challenge an
unconstitutional law?

How I spent my time in DC

Hopefully everyone knows this weekend there were over 300,000 people in DC to call to END THE WAR NOW! It was an amazing event and is truly a sign of the rising tide against this war. The dawn is upon us, and America has woken to the call of a Mother for her sun. Cindy Sheehan ROCKS! If you have not seen this woman speak live you must. Her whole being eminates love and compassion.

Ralph Nader also gave an inspiring speech and took the time to pitch for Kevin Zeese Green Senatorial Candidate in Maryland. Cindy also attended a Campaign Rally for Kevin Zeese on Tuesday night.

As many of you may know, Monday, I was arrested for the first time for committing civil disobedience at the pentagon with around 40 other amazing people. Luckily they let me out in time to make it to the whitehouse where I again was arrested for committing civil disobedience with around 378 other people. Some of those who were arrested with me yesterday were Cindy Sheehan, Cornell West, and Medea Benjamin. I also was arrested with a group of Green FSU students who just set up a campus Greens chapter. They very much want to get involved with us and are especially interested in IRV and running candidates. I look forward to helping the Campus Greens and Leon Greens continue to grow together.

I was one of the last folks to get arrested and on the last bus from the white house. Although I was there as a Green, with a green sign, the greens in my affinity group were all taken in before me. I was asked to join the code pinkers in their circle and was arrested with a circle of around 40 women. We shared a bus and songs, and organized from the lock up cell, and spent roughly 8 hours ( I released at 1:30 a.m.). Although others with me didnt get out until after four a.m. So it was a very long night.

The previous record for arrest for civil disobedience at the whitehouse was around 90. Yesterday we more than quadrupled that. Next time we will do it again. I hope you will be with me.

If you do not feel the tide is turning to stop the war, come with me to DC sometime and you can see for yourself.

Latest Message from Andrea

Hi Everyone -

First off, a HUGE thanks to everyone who has donated to our efforts, financially and otherwise. Please keep helping and encouraging others
to help - our road to recovery has only just begun. I apologize for not being able to thank each and every one of you individually, but as I'm
about to explain, there have been a few difficulties in the area of communication....

I know, every time I promise I'll be back online soon, it doesn't work out like that. Unfortunately, these days, solving problems with
technology is a little more involved than a simple run to the store. I expected to have my internet issues resolved by today, but apparently
it's going to be close to another week before I've got a consistent internet connection. Here's the saga in short: I bought a laptop about
a week after Katrina to make getting online easier as I'd been hauling my desktop computer in and out of the van - not exactly practical. CompUSA
in Baton Rouge had all of 2 mac laptops left, so I got the last iBook in stock - which would have been fine if there were more wireless
connections around. However, it turns out that the only practical solution for internet service in New Orleans is with a cell phone
broadband card. So Jeffrey got one of those for me while on a supply run to Baton Rouge. Turns out my laptop doesn't have the slot for the card,
so I figured I'd get an external adapter while up in D.C. this weekend. Well, such a thing doesn't exist, so I had to buy a whole new laptop
(yes, I now have a barely used 14" iBook for sale - please contact me if interested as I can not afford to have two laptops!) with the proper
slot for the broadband card. Figured this was the end of the saga.... not so. Jeffrey was sold the wrong broadband card by the Verizon folks
in Baton Rouge - it's not compatible with a mac. This is despite my having talked to the salesman on the phone while Jeffrey was in the
store; we were very clear that this was for a mac. So today I went to a Verizon store on our way out of D.C. and exchanged the card, but of
course they don't have the card I need in stock so it will be 2-3 days before it is shipped to Baton Rouge, at which point I will need to make
arrangements to get the card from Baton Rouge to New Orleans.

This is just one example of some of the, um, interesting challenges that arise these days. And hopefully now you all understand why I haven't
been online nearly as much as I'd like to. At the moment I'm borrowing Leenie's broadband card while we are riding back in the van so I can at
least give everyone a brief update. Of course, once I get the proper card, we still have to deal with issues like keeping computer equipment
charged up and all that good stuff.

Anyway, enough about technological difficulties.

With Hurricane Rita headed into New Orleans, we decided we wouldn't be able to do much in the city for a couple of days, and as Leenie and I
had been asked to speak at the Green Party rally in D.C. during the big anti-war protests, we hopped in her van at the last moment and drove
some 24 hours straight there. In a world that is nothing but surreal nowadays, leaving our occupied, broken home for a fully functioning
city extra full of people was yet another measure of the bizarre. We stepped out of the van right into a full 24 hours of meetings and speeches and
marches with a bunch of wonderful Green Party folk from D.C. and elsewhere around the country. A big thank you to all our fellow Greens
and especially to David and Olivia for letting us stay in their beautiful home and take more than our fair share of non-toxic hot
showers. It took 3 showers before dirt stopped rubbing off my skin when I toweled off.

We spoke to people about the real situation in New Orleans and about our needs in regards to rebuilding our communities and our city. We are
very excited by everyone's energy and eagerness to help and look forward to various fundraising efforts and Greens coming down to help, bringing
very necessary items like solar panels and other items to help create a sustainable environment.

It was a beautiful thing to see just how people have tied New Orleans in with the global struggle against war, poverty, injustice and the like
at the big march this weekend - and very disconcerting. I planned to come to D.C. for the anti-war protests months ago, but never in my life
could I have imagined how very personal it would end up being. It's always been fun being from New Orleans - when you tell someone you are from
New Orleans, they usually get an excited look on their face and start talking about all the great things they've seen and done there or heard
about the city. Now when you say you are from New Orleans, people get a tragic look on their face and barely know what to say. I don't blame
them - I wouldn't know what to say either - it's pretty much the same as trying to figure out what to say to someone who has just lost a loved

Everywhere in D.C. we saw places collecting money for the Red Cross and so took it upon ourselves to break it to all these well intentioned
individuals that sending the Red Cross money is as good as putting a match to it. Just in case you haven't caught this bit of info yet, here
is what the Red Cross is doing in New Orleans: feeding the National Guard and the police and site seeing. We have not seen one Red Cross
person doing one thing for any citizen of New Orleans. They do not bring us food or water (the Salvation Army has done this, tho, and we give
them many kudos for being the ONLY official disaster relief doing ANYTHING in the city of New Orleans) or medical care or anything. I
have only seen two Red Cross vehicles in New Orleans - one perusing our Toxic Art exhibit outside our house (Jeffrey asked them where they'd been all
this time and then told them in no uncertain terms to get lost) and one by the levy break in the lower 9th ward taking pictures. That's it. So
please, people, spread the word - DO NOT give the Red Cross your money if you really want to help. They already have millions, and I'm sure
that is plenty enough to feed the National Guard.

On top of the lack of services provided by the Red Cross, I'll tell you about Jeffrey's latest experience with the Red Cross shelter we were
staying outside of in Covington (the one we were buying toiletries and over the counter medications for the residents as the Red Cross does
not provide such things) as registered 'guests.' We left the shelter to do relief work with the Vets for Peace while waiting to get back into the
city. Before we left, we'd signed up for our Red Cross debit cards, the little amount of money they give you to get by on. These cards took
over a week to arrive. Jeffrey went back to the shelter to get our card and check on Daniel who was still there and look for our two missing cats
that escaped out of the tent and into the woods. Upon driving up to the shelter, he was stopped by a sheriff who informed him that he was not
welcome on the property. Apparently someone forgot to inform us when we left that once you leave the shelter you can not return, and that if
you set foot on the property you will be arrested. That's the kind of thanks you get for leaving to help take care of others. And a very nice way to
keep people victims - we'd been trying to help some of the shelter residents get back home - they have FEMA checks to go pick up, but no
gas money to go get the checks so they can cash them and buy gas to get home. But they aren't allowed to leave the shelter. It's a disgusting
and abhorent Catch-22 situation designed to keep people victims and prevent them from helping themselves or others.

So now we are on our way back to New Orleans - Jeffrey stayed on through Rita and was apparently spotted on '48 Hours' as 'the last man standing
in the Bywater.' While parts of the city reflooded, it was in areas still completely abandoned. Other than some wind and rain, the Bywater
fared well, as we expected. Our hearts go out to those in other areas who lost their homes and businesses to Rita and we wish you a speedy

I heard today that NOPD has established its own checkpoints after the National Guard checkpoints into the city - that should add another
level of 'fun' to getting into the city. I also heard from Jeffrey today that all the French Quarter now has power, along with the Central Business
District. We're glad to hear that the city has its priorities straight - making sure that corporate interests are being well taken care of.
Meanwhile, there is still nothing being done in our neighborhood and many others. Leenie cornered a worker for Entergy last week who
explained to her that there are currently no plans to restore power to our neighborhood. Get that... NO plans. Nor have we heard anything
about if and when residents will be allowed to return to our area, still cordoned off with bales of razor wire. Most of the houses in our
neighborhood are pretty much fine... and those that were flooded are in more and more danger of becoming inhabitable as the mold continues to
grow, unchecked. If people were allowed back in they could be cleaning their houses up, saving them from the toxic mold - but no, I'm sure the
developers and corporate interests have better plans in store for us.

Meanwhile, we are ready to roll back into town and continue our relief efforts. Food Not Bombs will continue feeding people and delivering
food and other supplies during its mobile runs around town. We are working on setting up computers and free internet access to help people apply for
their FEMA aid and reconnect with friends and loved ones. We hope to be working on setting up solar panels and other sustainable technologies
to keep us from being so dependent on hard to come by fuel to run generators to keep a few lights on and keep people in touch with the
world. BTW, if you work for FEMA you get free fuel. If you are merely a resident of the city, you get... well, if you can you get to drive
somewhere outside the city and pay for fuel and then hope you can get back into the city.

Joe and his friend are on their way back down from Massachusetts with another truckload of supplies - food and water and things to clean
with. Joe is one amazing fellow, and a big thanks again to Nicky in MA for helping gather these supplies. Joe and his friend will be staying with
us for a week and helping out - we think this week more people will start to return to the neighborhood, permission be damned - and so we
will be ready to help them start cleaning up the mess and introduce them to the finer points of existing without power or drinkable/bathable
water and with military and police constantly patrolling the streets.

With any luck, I'll be able to start bringing you all daily updates once that new broadband card arrives and is retrieved from Baton Rouge.

By the way, Algiers, where our city council women - Jackie Clarkson - lives in a gated community, has had power, drinkable water and cable TV
for the last week or so. Hey Jackie - what about us? Can we all come live with you?

Oh, one more bit about upcoming plans - in a couple of days Jeffrey will be driving to Dallas to get Sylvester Francis, proprietor of the
Backstreet Cultural Museum in the Treme, home of most of New Orleans' cultural history. Sylvester has been pretty much stranded in a hotel in
Dallas and is eager to get back into his home and the museum and establish his presence. We look forward to working with him to try to
figure out what to do about all the African American neighborhoods disbanded and dispersed and otherwise wiped completely out of
existence, how to bring back the soul of our city.

In case this email is too upbeat, I'll leave you with some details of my last experience in New Orleans before taking off for D.C. A couple of
hours before leaving, our documentary film maker friends were headed into the Lower 9th Ward and so Jeffrey and I decided to go with them.
The place we hadn't dared set foot yet for fear it would finish the job of breaking our hearts - and it did. The outer bands of Rita were
starting to roll in, and the big black clouds and falling rain only heightened our already overly busy imaginations unwillingly reliving
the unspeakable horrors that happened there.

We rolled into a scene of unimaginable devastation. Thick black caked but now re-liquefying sheets of mud over everything, still over a foot
deep in some places. We started over on our side of St. Claude and visited the home and recording studio of my good friend Mike West
( The back door was open and I stepped in to the horrible stench of toxic sludge and spreading mold. Possessions strewn
everywhere, nothing where it should be, everything wet, beyond salvation. Even with a bandana over my face, remaining in the house for
more than a few minutes was impossible. Ever present in my mind was Mike's friend Terry and Mike's three dogs stranded on that roof amidst
the rising waters.

From there we passed Fats Domino's compound on our way to the break in the levy. Another all to present memory, the picture of Fats being air
lifted off his roof. Closer and closer in to the levy break the damage got worse and worse. Houses tilted off the ground, houses rotated off
their foundations, cars flipped over, mud everywhere and not a living thing in site save one pitifully skinny forgotten dog. Then we rounded
the corner and there is sat: a barge. For some reason I hadn't heard about this barge that came over the wall of the levy, I missed that
piece of news. It took me several minutes to comprehend what was sitting there, this huge metal object sitting on what must have been several
houses, one end still embedded in a half standing house. And beyond that? The most incredible, horrible, absolute devastation I have ever
seen. For a radius of 10-20 blocks, everything was gone. Nothing stood but a few household items that explained that a neighborhood once stood
there. To the side, the flattened wall of the levy. I can not imagine this, how fast those flood waters must have come in and with what force
to lay waste to everything in its path, nothing and no one stood a chance. Unwillingly, my mind forces itself to imagine being in one of
those houses as the water rushed in - but it can only skirt around the very edges of that horror.

So yes, we walked up onto the levy and looked at it and wondered. No, there were no left over sticks of dynamite lying there, no obvious
signs. I know there are plenty of people out there questioning our allegations that the levies were dynamited - sorry, no, I can not give
you proof - these kind of things are not meant to see the light of day.

Still, I stand by what I have heard - reports from a source who I have every reason to believe, and more and more mention of people who lived
in the Lower 9th and claim to have heard explosions.

But be that what it may - and we will not stop seeking the truth - the facts do stand that Bush cut the budget to repair the levies and that
he said after the fact that no one had anticipated the breaching of the levies, despite warnings to the contrary from before the storm. Or the
fact that the levies did not break until after the storm but still the people were not evacuated, nor were they after the waters started to
pour in. Whatever the truth of the levies in, it stands as fact that these people were murdered.

Still, New Orleans is New Orleans and you can not kill our soul. While our hearts lie in ruin with our city, we can not help but keep hope
alive - this is our city and we will save her. And so, I urge all of my friends out there from our beautiful city to please come back, now.
Life there is hard and very surreal, but your city needs you. Please come home and we will help you. Or if you know someone from New Orleans,
please tell them to come home. Send them to us or tell us where they are and we will find a way to get them. Our city needs her people and the
worst thing you can do is stay away.

Peace and love -

Andrea Garland

P.S. I forgot to mention our Toxic Art exhibit! Jeffrey and I have a lowbrow art gallery, l'art noir new orleans, that was supposed to have
its grand reopening in the downstairs of our new home Halloween weekend.

We are pleased to announce that the grand reopening took place sooner than expected, though it happens to be out in the neutral ground
(median) outside our house and not inside. 'Toxic Art: This exhibit will kill you' held its official opening reception today, Monday September
26th, 2005 at 3pm, in celebration of the 4 week anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. 'Toxic Art' is comprised of personal artwork, works of art by
others in our personal collection, art supplies and all other items from the first floor of our home that stood in the flood waters for a week
and are therefore toxic and must be destroyed. If you are in the city, we invite you to come view the ongoing, ever changing exhibit outside
our house at 4108 St. Claude Street (but please, DO NOT touch the art, we aren't kidding that it can kill you) or you can view photos at

If you have received this message via a third party, please visit for additional information, ways to help or
donate money (we hope to be setting up Get Your Act On as a non-profit organization this week.. to the people out here who seek to discredit
us because we are not already a non-profit, um, YOU try taking care of legalities in the midst of a national disaster and see how far you
get), photos from New Orleans and mailing list sign up.