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Polydactyl Press

Engaged Citizenship


Please go to www.indictbushnow.org and sign the petition. According to that website: “A Spanish court has agreed to consider opening a criminal case against six former Bush administration officials," the Associated Press confirmed. GO SPAIN!

When I was a student at the Oregon College of Art and Craft, ocac, I was fortunate enough to be able to learn from a great visiting teacher in the book arts department, Mare Blocker. In the context of our work as visual artists with access to letterpress technology, she encouraged us to speak up and give voice to what was important to us, and to do it with style.

I was very inspired by Mare. Visit her site by clicking this link: Mare Blocker

I printed a broadside urging people to Protest! and Write Your Representatives! about the imprisonment of suspects in the new war on terror, without their habeus corpus rights: they were held indefinitely, without being charged or given access to legal representation. Some were (are) U.S. citizens. I made the link to the United States' internment of Japanese Americans during World War II, for no other crime than their Japanese ancestry. Since 2002, under the administration of Bush and Cheney, the abuses of our constitutional rights have only grown in their intensity, audacity and pervasiveness.

I've posted the following letters on my website for a few reasons. First, they serve as a record of the issues that stirred me to write to my representatives, or to the editors of the local papers. Second, they can be used as models for others who want to start writing these kinds of letters, but have yet to begin. Third, they increase the exposure that my ideas will get, even if it's only by a little bit. May they inspire you to exercise your citizenship by voicing your opinion, in whatever forum you can!


Letter to Senator Obama and his campaign

Dear Senator Obama and the Obama campaign,

Thus far, I am a supporter of Obama for President, and greatly encouraged by his message of hope and by his success in the primaries. However, I was reading the international online version of the German news magazine, der Spiegel, and came across a characterization of Sen. Obama's plans for waging war in Pakistan after pulling out of Iraq. (see below) Is this true? I found it hard to believe, but want to check on this. I want to believe in the changes being promised by Sen. Obama, but whether I can continue to support his candidacy depends on whether the changes include an elimination of our nation's reliance on war as a foreign policy. It should be held as an option of last resort, after every other option has been honestly exhausted, and used most reluctantly after that. I want to believe in Sen. Obama's description of his five points for making America fit to lead the world toward peace and sustainability. I want to believe that his plans for a 21st Century military will emphasize using our military power only for defense, and for rebuilding what we have had a hand in destroying, and for winning the hearts and minds of the disenfranchised members of the world community. (www.barackobama.com/2007/04/23/the_american_moment_remarks_to.php)

Here is the quote that most disturbed me from the Spiegel article, with the source information:
February 19, 2008
WEST WING
Change You Can't Believe In
By Gabor Steingart in Washington

www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,536232,00.html

"On top of all that, Obama, in an effort to show strength, has come up with a new, and in some ways exclusive, theater for the US armed forces. He talks about military operations in the nuclear power Pakistan, operations that he, as commander-in-chief, would order even without the approval of the United Nations. That is "the war we need to win," he says again and again."

Please tell me this isn't true, and mean it! Is he misrepresenting you?

Thank you for raising the level of discourse in our electoral process, and for energizing people so well with the hope we need to survive. I want you to win if you will maintain the high ideals you speak of, and if you will truly act with peace, justice, and sustainability in mind. I really appreciate your mention of the need for humility in our President, and in our nation's actions.

Peace be with you,
Diane Caudillo
Eureka, CA

PS: I don't watch TV, so you may already be saying this, but perhaps it would be effective to counter negative representations of Sen. Obama's relative "youth and inexperience" to discuss plans for assembling a team of very experienced and respect-worthy advisors and cabinet members. I fantasize about the Democratic party strengthening its base by building a coalition of contenders within the Democratic Presidential campaign after the candidate has been chosen. I would love to see you choose Dennis Kucinich as VP, and ask Ralph Nader, Sen. Clinton, and other experienced but maverick men and women to serve on the cabinet. (Rep. Barbara Lee! Rep. John Conyers!) That would help to unify everyone who couldn't consider voting for the Republican option. Then the GOP wouldn't be able to say you had no experience on your side (even though you have already accomplished much yourself) and the most progressive liberals would applaud you for building their constituency into your campaign, for truly being courageous enough to back up your calls for fundamental change with representation that has earned the hard work and support of many who most fervently desire change.

(Thanks for inviting comments from the public.)

February 24, 2008




Celebrating Veteran's Day

Dear Friends,

I want to share with you the letters I wrote in support of House Resolution 333, for the Impeachment of Cheney! The first one was how I modified the letter provided by the ImpeachBush.org website. The second one was further modified for sending to the Editor of the local paper, the Times-Standard. I figured that if at least a couple of other local people sent similar letters of support, they'd be more likely to print one. And if people all over sent letters in support of this, it might get more attention and support in Congress.

Escape the feelings of learned helplessness engendered by this evil administration and take action that might affect change! This is my way of celebrating Veteran's Day. Honor veterans by ending war and advocating for their generous treatment once they return home.

Love, Diane

Nov 12,2007

Letter sent on ImpeachBush.org:

I ardently support House Resolution 333 calling for the impeachment of Vice President Richard Cheney. I also support the impeachment of George W. Bush, but only if Cheney is impeached first.

As your constituent, I am writing to insist that you and the rest of the House of Representatives carry out your constitutional duties to defend the Constitution of the United States. It is unconscionable that the House has obstructed an open discussion of the activities of the President and Vice-President.

What could be lost by a clear and public exposition of the crimes committed by these two men? Better yet, think of what could be gained: You would begin to win back some of the faith that has been lost by citizens who despair that our government will ever return to the rule of law. Many of us fear that we are in a long slide into despotism with little hope for recovery.

This administration has created a criminal war, is threatening to start a new war, and has violated the constitutional rights of the American people. Kidnapping, torture, holding people indefinitely without charge, illegal spying on citizens... the list goes on.

The House must fulfill its constitutional obligations in response to these impeachable offenses, and now is the time.

Diane Caudillo

Letter to Times-Standard
Dear Editor,

I encourage others to write to Congressman Thompson to support House Resolution 333, which calls for the impeachment of Vice President Richard Cheney. I also support the impeachment of George W. Bush, but only if Cheney is impeached first.

Our Representatives should carry out their constitutional duties to defend the Constitution of the United States. It is outrageous that the House has obstructed an open discussion of the criminal activities of the President and Vice-President.

What could be lost by a clear and public exposition of the crimes committed by these two men? Better yet, think of what could be gained: Congress would begin to win back some of the faith that has been lost by citizens who despair that our government may never return to the rule of law. Many of us fear that we are in a long slide into despotism with little hope for recovery.

This administration has created a criminal war, is threatening to start a new war, and has violated the constitutional rights of the American people. Kidnapping, torture, holding people indefinitely without charge, illegal spying on citizens... the list goes on. These are the things that occurred when the Nazis rose to power. Congressman Thompson is a decent man who would not support this type of regime, so therefore he should support Resolution 333.

The House must fulfill its constitutional obligations in response to these impeachable offenses, and now is the time.

Diane Caudillo

[note to editor: This is not a canned letter, but my own. I used the one provided on ImpeachBush.org for a model, but worked hard to re-work it into my own statement in under 250 words.]




Bush's domestic spying

February 7, 2006
Times-Standard

Dear Editor,

I urge readers to call their senators about Bush's domestic spying. Demand a full investigation, with an independent special prosecutor. Bush admitted that he broke the law which forbids spying on American citizens without a warrant. This 1978 law, FISA, was made in response to criminal wiretapping done by President Nixon.

Bush authorized wiretapping, and then lied about it: He said, "a wiretap requires a court order." We cannot tolerate this disregard for the law.

Bush argues he can spy on Americans because Congress authorized the use of force to pursue terrorists. Members of Congress, Republicans and Democrats, disagree. Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA) questioned Attorney General Gonzalez and found his answers defied "logic and plain English." Senator Jay Rockefeller wrote to the President after his briefing on the program, and has since made his concerns public. He says the President, the Vice President, the Secretary of State, and the Attorney General are repeatedly misrepresenting the facts: senators were under gag order and had no input. On Monday, the Attorney General was stonewalling and sidestepping the questions of Senators Feinstein (D-CA), Graham (R-SC), Feingold (D-WI) and others during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing.

Please call your senators – urge them to pursue their investigation of Bush's warrantless wiretapping. The President and his accomplices must be held accountable. Impeachment may be the minimum consequence he should face. His behavior sets new precedents for tyranny in the U.S. – unless Congress acts now to stop it.

Sincerely,
Diane Caudillo




Ending the war and supporting the troops

Sunday, March 18, 2007
The Arcata Eye

[Please note: The following is not a canned message being mass-posted. The letter below is my reasoned and heart-felt response to a call to MoveOn.org members to decide on whether to support the War Appropriations bill that was drafted by Speaker Pelosi, and Congressmen Obey and Murtha.]

Dear Editor,

Please support the Democratic proposal on Iraq, a war appropriations bill drafted by Speaker Pelosi and Congressmen Obey and Murtha. And please call Representative Thompson and Senators Feinstein and Boxer to let them know.

This bill is a smart first step toward ending the war and supporting the troops. The Democrats have proposed clear, measurable goals, a definite timetable for exiting Iraq, and real support for the troops in the form of funding for Veterans' healthcare. I hope that all conscientious people will support this bill, while pushing for even more resolute measures to end the war.

In an interview on KHSU, an expert on civil wars in occupied countries said that in every case he'd studied, the civil war died down for lack of fuel when the occupiers left. This might help people who want to be ethical and are afraid that it would be irresponsible to get out of Iraq. Once our troops are home, we can help fund international rebuilding efforts. (No Halliburton, no boondoggles, no missing millions.)

We can't undo the tragic results of Bush's war, but we can stop the war and begin to make amends. We should exit Iraq and support the troops with top-quality medical and mental-health care, free housing for a year – whatever it takes to help the veterans heal from the war. For that, I would be proud and happy to pay my taxes.

Sincerely,
Diane Caudillo




McCain anti-torture amendment

December 12, 2005

Dear Honorable Representative Thompson,

Thank you for your support of the McCain anti-torture amendment. The Bush administration's outrageous position on the topic of torture damages our country and is a shameful disgrace to every U.S. citizen. I am so glad you have taken a leadership position on this matter.

I wanted to write to the Honorable Representative John Murtha to thank him for his opposition to the continuation of the United States occupation of Iraq, and his insistence that we begin the process of bringing our troops home. However, since I am not his direct constituent, I am unable to use the internet to do this. Consequently, I write to you to ask that you support Representative Murtha in his outspoken truth-telling about the situation in Iraq.

It is hard to imagine how soldiers deal with the fact that no WMDs were found in Iraq, or how they respond to the growing body of evidence that the Bush administration repeatedly lied to convince Congress to authorize the war; it seems that many American soldiers believed they were risking their lives in order to protect the American people from an imminent "mushroom cloud", or a biological terror attack.

In a similar way, it must be very difficult to be a member of Congress who voted to authorize the invasion of Iraq, and then to learn that the strongest arguments for the war were largely fabricated. Therefore, I salute and honor those Congresspeople who now have the courage to oppose the war, based on the reality of the situation, and to insist on a plan to end the occupation soon.

Thank you for your work as my representative.

Sincerely,
Diane Caudillo