Here’s an important message to CounterPunch readers from
Here at CounterPunch we love Barbara Ehrenreich for many reasons: her courage, her intelligence and her untarnished optimism. Ehrenreich knows what’s important in life; she knows how hard most Americans have to work just to get by, and she knows what it’s going to take to forge radical change in this country. We’re proud to fight along side her in this long struggle. We hope you agree with Barbara that CounterPunch plays a unique role on the Left. Our future is in your hands. Please donate.
Yes, these are dire political times. Many who optimistically hoped for real change have spent nearly five years under the cold downpour of political reality. Here at CounterPunch we’ve always aimed to tell it like it is, without illusions or despair. That’s why so many of you have found a refuge at CounterPunch and made us your homepage. You tell us that you love CounterPunch because the quality of the writing you find here in the original articles we offer every day and because we never flinch under fire. We appreciate the support and are prepared for the fierce battles to come.
Unlike other outfits, we don’t hit you up for money every month … or even every quarter. We ask only once a year. But when we ask, we mean it.
CounterPunch’s website is supported almost entirely by subscribers to the print edition of our magazine. We aren’t on the receiving end of six-figure grants from big foundations. George Soros doesn’t have us on retainer. We don’t sell tickets on cruise liners. We don’t clog our site with deceptive corporate ads.
The continued existence of CounterPunch depends solely on the support and dedication of our readers. We know there are a lot of you. We get thousands of emails from you every day. Our website receives millions of hits and nearly 100,000 readers each day. And we don’t charge you a dime.
Please, use our brand new secure shopping cart to make a tax-deductible donation to CounterPunch today or purchase a subscription our monthly magazine and a gift sub for someone or one of our explosive books, including the ground-breaking Killing Trayvons. Show a little affection for subversion: consider an automated monthly donation. (We accept checks, credit cards, PayPal and cold-hard cash….)
To contribute by phone you can call Becky or Deva toll free at: 1-800-840-3683
Thank you for your support,
Jeffrey, Joshua, Becky, Deva, and Nathaniel
CounterPunch PO Box 228, Petrolia, CA 95558
Obama to Cindy Sheehan: Get Lost
I spent but a short time with Cindy Sheehan as she carried her antiwar protest from an earlier time at Crawford, TX, to Martha’s Vineyard, vacation spot for Obama and many other Democrat Party elite. As Cindy remarked, the real story was not that she was protesting Obama’s wars but that the “leadership” of the peace movement did not support her protest. When the target was Bush in Crawford, she was all the rage with antiwar celebrities, but not so now that the target is Barack Obama. While there is considerable enthusiasm for her anti-Obama protest on the part of the rank and file in the anti-war movement, a refusal of its “leaders” to notify their members far and wide, high and low, crippled the action.
As a result of this betrayal, the numbers at Martha’s Vineyard were not large. But Cindy and her fellow anti-warriors were undeterred. While I was there, she mounted a spirited march down the road to Obama’s place, no more than a quarter mile away from where she stayed. The purpose was to present the President with a poster of Cindy bearing a signed plea to end the wars. The considerable armed force at the gate and the Secret Service officers would not even bring out the lowliest of staffers to receive the poster. Clearly the message from Obama was “Get lost, Cindy.” And we were quickly told to move a considerable distance down the road. At least in Crawford it had been possible to demonstrate at the checkpoint to the site – not so at Obama’s place. Thus, did Obama greet a mother whose son was lost in the wars, which he continues and enlarges by the day.
The site chosen by Obama for his vacation appeared restful, even idyllic, that afternoon though the house itself was a considerable distance away from the road, hidden from view. But the image of the “antiwar” candidate lounging comfortably by the ocean, his family nearby, while ordering the deaths, by drones and assorted other killing instruments, of people half a world away, complete innocents, unknown to this man or his advisers, was disturbing indeed. What sort of man could do this? Does Obama bring his much ballyhooed “coolness” down a degree or two for cold blooded murder? Are these wars a matter of conscience or patriotism for Obama? If that were so, does one suppose in a future imperial war that Obama will urge his daughters to volunteer to die in some Muslim land any more than did Bush offer his daughters? Is there no shame to this poltician, Obama, who rose to high office on the yearning of so many for peace? How long will we allow the soothing words of this latter day Elmer Gantry to cover up his deeds?
Despite the silence of the antiwar misleaders, news of Cindy Sheehan’s presence did make the rounds of Cape Cod and the Islands. And who knows but that it might have gone further. Was Obama going to be caught unprepared? A cynic or a realist, or merely someone familiar with the Obama PR machine, might be pardoned for thinking that a plan was in place – and executed in the form of an anti-Cindy mom. And so it came to pass that, while there was no time for Cindy, the Obamas did make it a point to pay a highly publicized visit to another mom, Lisa X, who had lost her son in Obama’s AfPak war. This young man Obama had happened to encounter earlier this year at Camp Lejeune. The Cape Cod Times reported the meeting thus:
So, yesterday afternoon, the family drove from Yarmouthport to Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod. They waited about two hours at the base. …The Obamas entered. …. President Obama called them all by their first names, Lisa said. "It was like seeing a friend you hadn’t seen in a couple months," Lisa said of the nearly 10-minute meeting. …
President Obama offered his condolences. "He told us whatever decisions he makes, he has Nick (and others serving) in mind," Lisa said. Earlier this year, Nicholas X met President Obama and shook his hand. The president gave a speech at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. Shortly after, Nicholas decided he wanted to be part of the new offensive in Afghanistan, his father told the Times in July.
Lisa said her son called her right after the meeting. "He shook his (President Obama’s) hand and called me moments later and said, ‘Mom, the President was amazing, his hand was the softest thing I’ve ever touched, like a baby’s bottom,’" Lisa recalled.
She made sure to tell President Obama that yesterday, drawing a laugh from him. Lisa X said her family is "still pretty numb and raw" over losing Nicholas. But she thought of his likely reaction to the family meeting the Obamas. "He is probably laughing hysterically … and proud."
Such an account should break your heart and stir your anger at this hypocritical politician. The more so if, as one might suspect, this encounter made cynical use of this grieving woman’s trust. That soft hand of Obama’s is soaked in considerable blood now, some of it Nicholas X’s, no less than the rough hands of Bush and Cheney. Obama’s message is clear. Sacrifice your child and endure without complaint the “numb and raw” emotions that come of your grief. And then Barack Obama will glad hand you for “nearly ten minutes” and get some good press – after you cool your heels for two hours awaiting the cool, great man. But protest the senseless death of your son, and you get the bum’s rush at Obama’s gate. Thus, does the erstwhile “antiwar candidate” (How silly that phrase sounds now!) treat Cindy Sheehan whose like he once called on to join him in making peace. And the “leaders” of the antiwar movement are nowhere to be seen or heard.
JOHN V. WALSH can be reached at John.Endwar@gmail.com