PINK Smear Ads BACKFIRE on Ric Keller!

Congressman Ric Keller (R), Orlando has recently taken to smearing CODEPINK via an attack ad on Alan Grayson who is running against him. The above mailer has been sent out by Ric Keller across Central Florida using photos from the CODEPINK Orlando blog (without our permission) including a photo of a child. How low can you go Ric? Pretty Low!...

Congressman Ric Keller is also running a TV and Radio Ad just in time for Halloween featuring those scary Codepink Peace People! But the WESH 2 Truth Test Put that Political Ad To the Test and flunked Keller on the truth meter. Though Greg Fox received our response about our members calling Marines, "war criminals" and how our government has forced our children into situations that have done exactly that including Fallujah and Guantanamo, he neglected to report on that fact.

Regretfully for Keller, it has backfired and memberships and requests for more information about CODEPINK Orlando's peace work have soared and have infuriated other local organizations so much that they are calling and asking how they can support our cause. So thank you Ric, for spending all that money on this glossy two sided pink brochure. We couldn't have paid to get this much great advertising for CODEPINK Orlando!

From Deidra:

These are my feelings and do not necessarily reflect those of CODEPINK or CODEPINK Orlando. "I was laughing at all this earlier in the week, thinking, we must be doing something right to garner this much attention from a Congressman. We've stood in front of his office and inside on numerous occasions to voice our concerns for his votes on sending and keeping us at war in Iraq, habeus corpus, torture and more. I even had to just chuckle when I heard the ridiculous ad on the radio just as I was trying to go to sleep one night.

Then I saw the two sided, glossy pink campaign mailer that Congressman Keller sent out this week trying to make Alan Grayson look bad because Alan attended our SWEEP the HOUSE rally in front of Keller's office. Alan also attended a book tour presentation by Col Ann Wright sponsored by CODEPINK Orlando and the First Unitarian Church of Orlando this past year.

Congressman Keller not only stole a photo from the CODEPINK Orlando blog of Alan and I, cropping it for the TV but he also stole a group photo of Col Ann Wright, Alan, and here's the lowest of lows, a little girl! He is sending these out to thousands upon thousands of households in Central Florida and he has the nerve to put a minor child's picture on there! Way LOW Ric! Way LOW!

Ric Keller does NOT care about children!
Some TRICK! Wait till he sees my TREAT...


Four CODEPINKS from Florida attended the Democratic National Convention in Denver, Aug 25-28, 2008 including Hillary [Not Clinton] from West Palm, Lydia from Tallahassee, and Leslie from Orlando with Deidra going on to the RNC as well.

There was so much going on that some of us barely crossed paths with others.

CODEPINK Peace Platform to the DNC!

Now that the razzle dazzle of the DNC and RNC conventions are over and the Democratic and Republican National Committees have released their platforms, we realized they were missing some core points that address the true crises of our nation. Deeply concerned that both parties have led us down the path of militarism and neglected our basic needs, impoverishing our communities and endangering our security. we are sure that you also want our next administration to reverse our current military quagmires in the name of the war on terrorism; liberate us from the oil companies' polluting agenda and begin a serious offensive for conservation, efficiency and renewable energy; promote good jobs at living wages instead of pursuing cheap labor abroad; and transfer war funds to health care, clean energy and anti-poverty efforts at home and abroad.

Platform for Peace and Security

Toward this end, CODEPINK has written it's own Platform for Peace and Security (, which captures, in clear, thorough language, our own desires for the future of our country. If you agree with this platform, please send it to DNC Chairperson Howard Dean (http://salsa/. democracyinactio jsp?campaign_ KEY=25342) and RNC Chairperson Mike Duncan (http://salsa/. democracyinactio jsp?campaign_ KEY=25343), to show them that they need to listen to the voice of the people. Thank you so much!

A last look at our Beautiful Convergence Space, The Mercury Cafe!


We're Back from the DNC/RNC!
Six CODEPINK Florida members traveled to the national conventions this summer. Leslie attended the Democratic National Convention in Denver along with Lydia from Tallahassee and Hillary [Not Clinton] from Boca Raton. Kathryn from UCF and Sam from Orlando attended the Republican National Convention. Deidra went to both conventions and served as CODEPINK DNC/RNC activist coordinator through out the summer helping to get over 250 women and men in the streets and bringing the peace message to the convention floors.

What does Peace look like? That's what we were there for!

The parade was one of the only things pretty in St Paul.

As we left the LoTo bar in downtown St. Paul at about midnight Thursday
(Sept. 4), a crowd of us CODEPINK women and a few men gathered in the street,
exuberant and full of victorious emotions. It was the end of a two-week journey,
our last night of spreading the peace message, brimming with lawsuits, planning
sessions, enormous peace puppets, concrete roadblocks, bloggers, banners, early
morning raids, T-shirts, tear gas, stickers and riot
cops. more:

The 'Police state' mentality reigned at RNC was published in the Capitol Report on September 11, 2008 as a post commentary to "Partying with CodePINK" by Bill Clements:
So, Thursday evening about 9:15, as John McCain was starting his acceptance
speech, my brother-in-law, Randy, and I headed into the LoTo bar in St. Paul’s
Lowertown neighborhood just off downtown, about eight blocks from the Xcel. And a bunch of crazy-seeming women were screaming and cheering and jumping up and down on their seats on one side of the oblong bar. more: http//

This letter from Leslie Cagan of UFPJ [United for Peace and Justice] sent on Wednesday, Sept 3, 2008 describes the week most accurately:

The massive police presence and the uncalled-for actions by the police on the streets has not been the only problem. The police raided a convergence center and several locations where people are staying over the weekend and they have stopped and searched vehicles for no clear reason. For background on the activities of the police in St. Paul, check out Marjorie Cohn's article here.

On Tuesday afternoon, they literally pulled the plug and turned off the electricity at a permitted outdoor concert. The timing of this led to a situation where hundreds of understandably angry people ended up joining a march being led by the Poor Peoples Campaign for Economic Human Rights, a march that organizers were insisting be nonviolent. In other words, the police set up a dynamic that could have turned ugly, but the skill of the organizers kept things calm and focused.

All of this - and much more - needs to be understood in the context of the overwhelming presence of police. Police from all around the Twin Cities have been put to work, and they have also brought in police units from around Minnesota and from as far away as Philadelphia, PA. The National Guard and state troopers are in the mix, to say nothing of the Secret Service, Homeland Security and who knows who else from the federal government! We are very concerned about what this all means about the right to protest, the right to assemble, and the right to have one's dissenting voice heard. We are worried about what it means about the growing militarization of our nation and the ongoing assault on the Constitution.

We shudder to think about how the influx of new weapons and armed vehicles and everything else will be used in the neighborhoods of St. Paul and Denver: both communities each received $50 million from Homeland Security to purchase the equipment and pay for the policing during the conventions.

There are still two more days of the Republican Convention in St. Paul -- two more days of protest and possibilities of police mis-conduct, over-reaction, and excessive use of force. We urge you to call the Mayor of St. Paul right now! Let him know that people around the country know what's happening! Urge him to stand up for the Constitution and to take action to end the militarization of the downtown areas of his city! Urge him to reign in the police and help bring civility to the streets of St. Paul! Mayor Chris Coleman: 651-266-8510

And call your local media outlets to demand that they tell the real story of what's happening in St. Paul this week. Peace, Leslie Cagan, UFPJ National Coordinator


More action stories at PINKTANK


Peace activists told you the Iraq War would be a disaster. Hear what they're saying now.
By Curt Guyette
The peace activists who protested the Bush administration’s march to war five years ago take no satisfaction in knowing that they were right in opposing this ill-fated Iraq war from the outset. All they want is for people to listen to them now.
And what they have to say is this: If we are ever going to get all of our troops out, it will be because of pressure that starts at the grass-roots level and works its way up to the top of the political chain – not the other way around.
When the Bush administration spewed its lies about weapons of mass destruction and fantasies about invading troops being greeted with tossed bouquets, members of the peace movement tried to warn us not to make what became a mistake of epic proportions. But America didn’t listen. The drumbeat for war was too loud, drowning out the voices of opposition. When not being ignored by mainstream media, activists were on the receiving end of ridicule from squawking chicken hawks.
Before the war, nearly 60 percent of the country supported an invasion of Iraq – an invasion supposedly made necessary by Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction and the dictator’s close working relationship with Osama bin Laden and his al Qaeda terrorist network. It would be an invasion that would cost only about $50 million, we were told, with a majority of the troops expected to be back home within a matter of months.
History, of course, proved all of that false. Now, with 4,000 American soldiers dead and another 30,000 U.S. troops wounded in this conflict, with tens of thousands – and perhaps hundreds of thousands – of Iraqis killed and 4.5 million more displaced, there is no room for gloating by those who urged us not to invade. Instead there is only frustration that their voices were not heard.
After five long and bloody years, the doves aren’t despairing. Instead, they are determined.
“The peace movement hasn’t been marginalized,” says Leslie Cagan, co-chair of the national anti-war coalition United for Peace and Justice. “We’ve been mainstreamed.”
Public opinion has flipped since the start of the war. Recent polls show that about 60 percent of Americans think the war was a mistake. But that shift hasn’t resulted in an outpouring of protesters taking to the streets. Rather, the war seems to be slipping from the public’s consciousness.
Wendy Hamilton, director of the Detroit-based peace group Swords Into Plowshares, is perplexed by the lack of outrage: “Where’s the anger? Where’s the indignation? Why aren’t people saying we were lied to and doing something about it?”
Part of the answer is cynicism. People believe that nothing is going to change as long as Bush is in office, so what’s the point? “A lot of people, I believe, think that speaking out won’t make any difference,” Hamilton says.
Deidra Lynch, a CodePink Orlando organizer, agrees: “People feel hopeless,” she says. “They don’t understand why [the government] is not responding. They don’t feel it will accomplish anything because they’re not listening or responding.”
It doesn’t help that even after the Democrats took over Congress in 2006, the Bush administration has continued to wage war unimpeded by an opposition party too frightened of being labeled “anti-troop” to do anything about it.
The anti-war movement’s current apathy is also influenced by a feeling of disconnection between everyday life on the home front and the wars underway. During World War II, gasoline, tires and even food were rationed. In this conflict, however, instead of being asked to plant Victory gardens and buy war bonds, we’re urged to hit the stores and visit Disneyland as a show of patriotism. In Vietnam, the anti-war movement was spurred by a draft that forced young men to war, and too often to their deaths. Trying to bring about an end to the war, for those activists, was a matter of self-preservation.
Today’s wars are fought by an all-volunteer military and an army of private contractors. These battles don’t hit so close to home. People are more concerned about making sure there is food on their table, and Iraq can seem far, far away. Says Hamilton: “People have so many other kinds of concerns: Will I keep my job? Will I keep my house? Will I be able to afford college for my kids? These are the things that they are most worried about.”
A recent poll found that only about one-fourth of all Americans were aware that nearly 4,000 of their countrymen have died in Iraq. The survey results were announced with a headline that declared: “Awareness of Iraq War Fatalities Plummets.”
The key to change, activists say, is not to expect change to happen at the top. Work at the grass-roots level involving masses of people is what’s needed to alter the direction this country is taking.
It is not enough to just show up at the polls on Election Day. You have to become active and make your voice heard on an ongoing basis. Contact your representatives in Congress. Come out for protests. Circulate petitions. Donate to peace groups.
But that action doesn’t come in a vacuum. As CodePink’s Lynch says, “What really makes people get mad enough? Maybe when they have a kid or their neighbor comes back with no arms. We don’t face reality. We have to take responsibility for our government. We let it get this way.”
An earlier version of this story appeared in Detroit’s Metro Times. Additional reporting by Deanna Morey.

4,000 Vigil in Orlando

Last year on this day, we all had hoped that we would not be gathering again. After 5 years of the War in Iraq, we have now arrived at the sad milestone of 4000 American soldiers killed in Iraq. Regretfully, the time has now come to mourn and share our heartfelt sorrow at this agonizing loss to our nation and our people once again.

CODEPINK Orlando will host a vigil and rally to end the war TODAY, Monday, March 24 and invites you to join us at Lake Ivanhoe Park from 6:30-8pm. We will be placing the candles (as below) for the 4000 and may* also have a flag draped casket to lay flowers upon after we read the names of the 170 soldiers from Florida that have been killed since March 2003. Please bring flowers, candles and signs.

*f you can help transport a large cardboard casket from the Longwood area to the event, please call/email Leslie and/or Deidra. To get to the vigil: Exit I-4 at Princeton and go east to Orange Avenue. Turn right on Orange Avenue. The park is just south of Princeton on the right side. There is parking along Orange Avenue and also along the North side of the park along N. Lake Ivanhoe Blvd. The address is 57 South Ivanhoe Boulevard, Orlando if you want to mapquest it.

You are also welcome to bring any other items or props to this vigil. Some cities are doing chalkings of the bodies with the numbers of the US and Iraqi casualties on the sidewalks outside their congressional offices. Some women are dressing in black and wailing in the streets. Some are wearing black armbands with the number 4000, some will be wearing pink tape with the number 4000, some are marching and closing down intersections to draw attention to this travesty and some will be reliving the day they were informed that their loved one was dead.

Regretfully, 4,000 is just the tip of the iceberg. According to CBS, we currently have 120 veterans committing suicide every week or an average of 17 every day. One third of our soldiers have reported to being raped or had an attempted rape during their service. Over 40,000 Iraq veterans have returned home with Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, loss of limbs and/or severe head trauma. Their families now bear a heavy burden and are suffering from physical and mental abuse, loss of their homes, jobs and loved ones.

Nobel Laureate Stephen Stiglitz of Columbia and Harvard University public finance Professor Laura Bilmes estimate War costs to be 3 trillion now and the service (interest) on the debt alone will amount to $900 billion. Gas, Bread, Milk and eggs have risen to all time highs in our country and the dollar is pitiful in the world markets. It is not going to get any better, any time soon. In fact, most experts are predicting even worse economic times to come.

Yet the national media has all but ignored the peace movement and entirely ignored testimonies last week of the Iraq veterans who spoke at Winter Soldier. The Washington Post only covered this event in the local section of their paper and none of the major television stations even bothered to show up to hear OUR veterans speak! Testimony by Vets at WINTER SOLDIER: We do not know accurately how many lives have been devastated in Iraq but the chaos and constant trauma has left no one untouched or unaffected. It's possible that over a million have now died and we know that millions more have been displaced and/or had their daily lives destroyed.

I hope that YOU will hear this call to action and let your voices be heard.

American Friends Service Committee :
For the latest count:

Testimony by Vets at WINTER SOLDIER

More news you should know...
Rise in homicides by US Iraq war vets -NY Times.
A survey of public records by The New York Times found at least 121 U.S. veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan committed a killing or were charged with one after returning home from duty, the newspaper reported on Saturday. The Times said the numbers indicated a nearly 90 percent increase in homicides involving active-duty military personnel and new veterans for the six-year period since the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan. The Women's War -NY Times. One-third of a nationwide sample of female veterans seeking health care through the V.A. said they experienced rape or attempted rape during their service. Of that group, 37 percent said they were raped multiple times, and 14 percent reported they were gang-raped.

Other organizations:
Veterans for Peace:
Iraq Veterans Against the War:

The following are resources for veterans and current service members suffering from depression, suicidal thoughts, or PTSD:

The Wounded Warrior Call-Center 1-877-487-6299 - This is a hotline for injured, wounded, or ill former and current Marines, Sailors and their family members. They offer information, resources, and advocacy for men and women suffering from either physical or psychological wounds.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255) - By calling and pressing "1" you will be connected with round-the-clock access to mental health professionals who focus solely on helping veterans.

SAVE (Suicide Awareness Voices of Education) - This non-profit's mission is to prevent suicide through public awareness and education, reduce stigma, and serve as a resource for those touched by suicide.

Vets 4 Vets, (520) 319-5500, - Vets 4 Vets is a peer support group for recent veterans. In weekend workshops and local groups, veterans talk and listen to each other to help heal from negative wartime and military experiences. Contact them to find out about upcoming workshops.

National Veterans Foundation,, 1-888-777-4443 - This non-profit, non-governmental organization gives assistance, information and resources to veterans from all military branches.

RESIST in March! ~ Washington DC

I arrived in DC last night and went immediately to Walter Reed hospital where the weekly vigil and counter-protester action was in progress. It was so great to see so many faces from my trip here last year but especially wonderful to see the young women from CODEPINK UCF chapter. They were charged up and so full of energy that it made my heart proud. Here's some photos of them yesterday afternoon at the recruiting station. They also went to the Press Corp event yesterday and were eventually kicked out for being CODEPINK dissidents. I will post more photos as I have them.

CODEPINK Peace Team including members from University of Central Florida's chapter delivered Winter Soldier Fliers and Posters to the recruiters friday afternoon- though no one came to the door to receive our gifts!

We Demand Peace & Want Our Troops out of harm's way Now!
Support Winter Soldier whatever way possible!

CODEPINK UCF & Orlando Sweep the House

Members of CODEPINK UCF, Central Florida Movement for a Democratic Society [SDS], Orlando Progressive Alliance, UCF Campus Peace Action and CODEPINK Orlando brought brooms and wore aprons to SWEEP the House in support of the Iraq War Moratorium at Congressman Ric Keller's office on February 15 at noon and later again during 5pm rush hour.

Annie of CODEPINK UCF was interviewed by WDBO Radio.
Channel 9 also came out but ran no footage on air.

Alan Grayson [for Congress] & Deidra at Rush Hour.

Sandy got most creative on the apron!

Jay and Cindy Jury with pooch Abbey