Tuesday, January 24, 2012

When both your children die because of war

I haven't written on the blog for a long time. War is hell! And to the military families it's worse then hell.
Brian, Alex brother killed himself on December 19, 2011. The loss of Alex was too much. The troops were coming but not Alex because he was KIA in 2004. It doesn't matter how much time has passes the loss was too much for Brian.

Sweet boys in heaven playing together again. May both Alex and Brian RIP. I pray for the people they left behind who love them so much. I don't know how they're hearts will ever recover from this. Please Dear God wrap their hearts with love until they can be with Alex and Brian again....

Brian Arredondo, 24; troubled by brother’s death, father’s trauma
Alex (above left) and Brian Arredondo in 2003. At top right, Victoria Foley with sons Brian (right) and Nathan in 2003. Bottom right: Brian greeted a Marine following funeral services for his older brother Alex, who died in Iraq, in September 2004.
Alex (above left) and Brian Arredondo in 2003. At top right, Victoria Foley with sons Brian (right) and Nathan in 2003. Bottom right: Brian greeted a Marine following funeral services for his older brother Alex, who died in Iraq, in September 2004.

Bryan Marquard, Globe Staff / Jan 23, 2012 05:17 AM

Brian Arredondo was 17 and living with his mother in Maine in August 2004 when he looked outside and saw two Marines approach the front door. They wouldn’t say why they wanted to speak with his mother, who wasn’t there, but he knew.

“When I came home, Brian came out to the driveway,’’ said his mother, Victoria Foley. “He said, ‘I’m sorry Mom.’ He just kept saying, ‘I’m sorry.’ ’’

Parked around the corner, the Marines returned to say her oldest son, Alex, a Marine lance corporal, had been killed in Iraq. The phone rang with an emotional, agitated call from the boys’ father, Carlos Arredondo, who lived in Florida. Then another call: Turn on the TV.

They watched coverage of Carlos, who took gasoline, a propane tank, and a lighting device into a Marine Corps van outside his house. The van began to burn, and though Carlos said later it was an accident, not a suicide attempt, the flames seared about a quarter of his body.

“Brian said, ‘Oh my God, what happens if my father dies?’ It was a double whammy for him,’’ Foley said. “We were standing outside that afternoon and he said, ‘I just want to die. How can I live?’ ’’

He was 24 when he took his life Dec. 19, in a small building on the property of his mother’s Norwood home, his family said.

Life offered an abundance of sadness and turmoil since the day he learned that his brother was dead and, within minutes, that his father was inside a burning van.

Brian Arredondo had dropped out of high school when his brother first went to Iraq. After a sniper killed Alex, Brian worked occasionally as a custodian and for a florist. Everyone knew he struggled.

“I used to say, ‘Brian, I see through that smile. People don’t understand what’s going on with you with that smile,’ ’’ said his stepmother, Melida Arredondo of Roslindale. “That smile could hide a lot.’’

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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Father Loses Second Son

Carlos Arredondo lost one of his two sons in Iraq. Twenty-year-old Marine Lance Cpl. Alexander Arredondo was killed in Najaf in 2004.

Now his other son, Brian Arredondo, is also gone. Brian apparently committed suicide on Monday. He was 24.

When the Marines came to Arredondo’s home in 2004 to deliver the news about Alexander, he became so distraught that he poured gasoline in the Marine vehicle and set it and himself on fire. The Marines who had come to his home saved him. Carlos called them his “angels in camouflage.”

In the years since, Carlos and his wife Melida became very visible advocates for military families in the Boston area. Carlos, so familiar for his pickup truck with a flag-draped coffin in the bed, representing his son’s.

In memory of Alexander Arredondo, who was killed in Iraq in 2004. (Anna Miller/Here & Now)

In memory of Alexander Arredondo, who was killed in Iraq in 2004. (Anna Miller/Here & Now)

The last time I saw them was Memorial Day weekend. They had come to the Massachusetts National Cemetery in Bourne to help another Massachusetts family mourn its own loss. Paul Monti of Raynham, Massachusetts had gathered thousands of volunteers to put flags on all the veterans’ graves there, including his son’s. Jared Monti was killed in Afghanistan and was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. Carlos and Melida came to help and brought Alexander’s boots and a photo of him, and propped them up against a tree in the cemetery.

Carlos Arredondo was on Here and Now in 2007. He was a native of Costa Rica and he had finally become an American citizen, with the help of the late Sen. Edward Kennedy.

When he did that, he had his named legally changed. “I changed my name after my first born Alexander and my second born Brian,” he told Here & Now‘s Robin Young. “So my name now is Alexander Brian Arredondo. And for me to honor my boys with their own names is wonderful.”

A candlelight vigil will be held for Brian at First Church in Jamaica Plain, Mass. Tuesday night.

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Brian Luis Arredondo

ARREDONDO, Brian Luis December, 19, 2011, age 24. Loving son of Victoria Foley of Norwood, MA, Alexander Brian (aka Carlos) Arredondo of Roslindale, and stepson of Melida Arredondo, also of Roslindale. Brother of the late Lcpl. Alexander Scott Arredondo of Randolph. Brother of Nathaniel Foley of Norwood, MA. Grandson of the late John C. Foley (former U.S. Marine), the late Nancy R. Foley of Jamaica Plain, Luz Marina Redondo of Costa Rica, and the late Carlos Luis Quiros of Costa Rica. He is also lovingly remembered by numerous aunts, uncles, and cousins. A wake will be held at the Mann and Rodgers Funeral Home, 44 Perkins St., (corner of So. Huntington Ave.), JAMAICA PLAIN, on Tuesday, Dec. 27th, 4-9 PM. A Funeral Mass will held at St. Thomas Aquinas Church, 90 South St., Jamaica Plain, at 10 AM on Wednesday, Dec. 28th, followed immediately by a procession and interment at Rural Cemetery at Pemberton and North Street in Walpole, MA. Brian will be laid to rest next to his brother, Alexander. In lieu of flowers, the family asks consideration for a donation to aid with funeral expenses.



Donations may be sent to the Brian Arredondo Memorial Fund, c/o The Cooperative Bank, 40 Belgrade Ave., Roslindale, MA 02131.



Thursday, December 10, 2009

Melida in Time Magazine

The Afghan War Through a Marine Mother's EyesMélida Arredondo, of Roslindale, Mass., center, holds boots worn by her son, Marine Lance Corporal Alexander Arredondo, who was killed in Iraq in 2004, as she joins demonstrators in Boston Dec. 2 in opposition to President Obama's plan to commit an additional 30,000 troops to the war in Afghanistan

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Arriving at the Mountain Top



I can't let this day go by without saying....
I feel like I'm awaiting the birth of a new child. Not knowing what the birth will bring. Only knowing our lives will be changing with this birth and knowing in my heart, like a new parent, there will be hard work to be done but the joy of the birth is indescribable.

And the change will only come when all of us "we the people" do our jobs by staying involved with our government - like good parents do with their children.






ENJOY YOUR MOMENTS TODAY!

We have arrived at the Mountain Top

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Carlos on this anniversary authorizing the Iraq invasion

Antiwar activists gather on Common
Mark anniversary of vote authorizing the Iraq invasion

Carlos Arredondo has traveled across 20 states with his portable memorial to his son, a Marine who died in Iraq during his second tour of duty in 2004. But yesterday, Arredondo was home in Boston, where he shared his memorial of hundreds of scrap-wood crosses, combat boots, synthetic flowers, and photographs of Alexander Arredondo at an antiwar rally.

Hundreds of protesters, some carrying "war is terrorism" posters, others wearing fluorescent yellow "stop the war" stickers, gathered on Boston Common for a National Day of Action Against the War rally, on the sixth anniversary of the congressional vote that authorized the invasion of Iraq. Veterans, student activists, and politicians were among those who spoke against the war.

"As a father it is my responsibility to honor my son, to let people know how I feel about it," Arredondo, 48, of Roslindale, said as he gazed at his son's 20-year-old face staring out from poster-size photographs hanging at his booth. "That's how wonderful the democracy in this country [is] - why we are all here today."

READ MORE

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

A video of what tomorrow will bring if McCain becomes President

This is what will happen if you don't vote.
We the people hold the power



You should be very afraid. If you think things are bad now...they could get a lot worse. McCain wants more war. As Scott said in the video "pick a city that you want gone because another war will be the end of us here in the US.

Monday, August 25, 2008

RIP Alex KIA in Iraq - His death brings action

August 25, 2004

Lance Corporal Arredondo served as Fire Team Leader during the Battalion's attack into the old cith of Najaf. As the Platoon attacked to clear a four-story hotel, it was heavily engaged by enemy machine gun and sniper fire from three different directions. Lance Corporal Arredondo returned fire exposing himself to great risk to ensure the members of his team were safe. After fearlessly exchanging fire with the enemy snipers for more than three hours, Lance Corporal Arredondo fell mortally wounded as he moved through the rooms to inspect the Marines' defensive position.

4 years ago my friends Carlos and Melida Arredondo received the news that their son, Alex who was 20 yrs old, had died while serving his second tour in Iraq. It was Carlos birthday, it is his birthday today.
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Happy Birthday my friend. Life is a precious gift with moments that should be enjoyed. I’m sorry the joy of your birth will always remind me of the death of your child. A young man I never met but who has changed my life in so very many ways.



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A death of a child can make parents do things they wouldn’t otherwise do. Alex’s death caused me deep pain for all who were being killed in my name. If this action has destroyed me this way - its hard to imagine how much we are going to have to do to overcome to begin the healing, to live together in peace - if we can't imagine peace and hold it inside or ourselves, we will never have peace.
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His death, to me, was the straw that broke the camels back. It’s when my thoughts turned to action. I found, the way you use your time is important. We all have the same 24 hours in the day. Our greatest asset is time. We all have our job’s to do to become better humans for our survival of our children. There are so many things that need to be accomplished for the good of the people. The to do list is endless of things that need to be accomplished from making sure every vote is counted, getting people to the polls to taking care of our Vet’s when they come home and their families when of their family members died for this country. My roll in making it better for you and me is to talk about Alex and what a brave, funny, intelligent kid he was. He died a man but he was a kid to me. I talk about Alex to make people think - to educate them into paying attention what goes on other than their own lives. As I talk about Alex and hand them a copy of the first letter he sent home I ask them to please vote. I talk about Alex to most who cross my path. This country belongs to we the people and if we don’t vote we are letting others make decisions for us. Decisions that kill our children like Alex.

With Alex’s death came action for a better tomorrow.....Alex lives on through me, through his family and people who love him ....daily. He is with me often, smiling that he is being remembered. He wanted to make it better for you and me. He was a wonderful person that should have had more moments to share his beautiful smile with us.
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Alex joined when he was 17 because he wanted to go to school and he knew his parents couldn’t afford to send him. Alex parents have set up scholarship fund to help other kids who have the same story as Alex. Doing this helps keeps other kids alive by giving them choices for their future.

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The Alexander Arredondo Memorial Scholarship Fund
Blue Hills Regional Technical School
Joseph A. Ciccolo, Superintendent-Director

Please send donations to:
Blue Hills Regional Technical School
800 Randolph Street
Canton, MA 02021
Attn: Arredondo Scholarship Fund
Telephone (781) 828-5800
Email: bluehills@bluehills.org

I love you Alex, may your death bring us peace....

It begins with all of us doing our jobs to bring peace inside first before we can have it amongst us...
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With tears once more...remembering Dondo
His first letter home

Mom & Dad,

Today is Sunday, January 19, 2003. I've been out at sea for three days now and I'm starting to feel better. The first two days I was completely sick from seasickness and some virus. So far everyday I come outside the skin of the ship and write letters, whale watch, (which isn't that great cause I haven't seen any but there are plenty of dolphins that swim along side the ship), watch the horizon and sunset, etc. This seams so unreal to me. I've never seen water this BLUE before, I've never looked 360 degrees around me and seen nothing but water, clouds, the sun and a Fleet of Battleships surrounding me. Tomorrow is one of my many , many training days on ship to prepare me for my mission. I will also be training a short time in Kuwait. This is hard for me to comprehend. It seems like my whole life changed in an instant. Yesterday I was in a classroom learning about trigonometry and history. I graduated, went to boot camp, went to school, graduated as a GRUNT. I was sent across the country to train. Now I'm being sent across the world to fight. Today I am in a classroom learning about Tactical Urban Combat and Nuclear, Biological and chemical warfare. In the middle of the Pacific Ocean, on my way to experience 1st hand what I am learning about. I am not afraid of dying. I am more afraid of what will happen to all the ones that I love if something happens to me. Soon enough I will be in the desert, outside in the city of Bagdad, in full combat gear, ready to carry out my mission. Wondering how this all happened so fast, Wishing I was back home going to school, dating Shelia, taking care of my family. Although I think this way now I am almost certain that if I didn't walk this path I would be wondering to myself "why didn't I make the other decision. Why didn't I walk the path of a proud warrior, a marine." Just because I wonder "what if" doesn't mean I'm not proud, it doesn't mean I feel like I made the wrong decision. It doesn't mean I have any regrets. I'm still proud to be fighting for mycountry. I feel like, If I'm not helping one way I should still do all that I can to help (OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM). I'm on a time back now. I need to send this letter in the next hour for it to get to you by Tuesday or Wednesday. I love you both very much and I wish I could keep writing but I got to go. LOVE YOU. PFC ARREDONDO/ UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS

A note to Brian his brother:

WHATS UP BRIAN, I feel so lucky to be blessed with the chance to defend my country 6 months after I joined the military. Some Marines have been in for over 20 years and still haven't seen combat. I'm also lucky to have such a wonderful family. I know how much you love me and support me and that keeps me going along with a few other things. Is Jeanette babysitting for Mom? LOVE YOU BROTHER Your Big Brother - Private First Class Arredondo USMC

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The last photo of Alex. His parents found his camera with this picture in it....
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Imagine Peace inside for Alex....

Alex did his job with the time give him.

Are you doing your job in the 24 hours given to you? Report the news, voting, watch the polls, counting the votes, run for office, taking care of the next person, teaching the children that we are all the same - humans, helping a kid go to school in Alex's name on this day of his death ... are you doing your job? There is much to do, we all have a job to achieve what is needed for our survival as a society in this 24 hours given to us...to achieve peace and the ultimate gift of love for all. No one person can do it alone but together... Oh my God... do you know what we have? The power is in doing your job ... today, each one of us. And when we do our jobs we have change...

Without action we cannot keep Alex and his friends, our children alive...
and with this I am Keeping Alex alive....

With much love to my friend Carlos
Happy Birthday!
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Sunday, August 10, 2008

And the wars go on … by Mélida Arredondo

I used to think we were all the same. I really did, naively. What this war and the past 8 years have taught me is how different we really are...on so many different levels. Still can't believe people agree with what's going on and will vote for the same. How people really do see race and color (mostly the older ones) I really use to think we all wanted best for all of us. This isn't true...when I learn this my heart really was broke, still is.

Another thing I've learned about the past 8 years and the differences between us and how to accept for my own sanity the choices of others. Life is a very precious gift that is to be lived in the moment. within those moments we all make our own choices. choices are all different and I accept the ones others have made. Since I have no control over other people's choices and only my own, my hopes are that my actions and words will make another person think about their choices. which is why i talk about Alex so much to others and try to get people to vote....and make them think what a precious gift life is and to enjoy their moments. there are bad things happening to all of us all around. how we choose to look at it in each moment will decide what kind of life each of us have.... use these bad things to make us stronger so the bad moments don't repeat themselves and we learn the lessons being taught to us....that life is a precious gift from God with moments that should be enjoyed....and loved.

And the wars go on … by Mélida Arredondo

First of all, I’m tired of labels, labels, labels: Gold star, blue star, military family. We’re a Hispanic, Latino, white, immigrant family who had one child killed in Iraq, have another son considering the military and a nephew currently fighting in Afghanistan. Who cares what the terms or definitions are? Any way a person looks at it, the military will forever be a part of my life. Life will never been the same. Peace is not just a quiet moment to me. Peace has so much meaning and has become so elusive. War and deployments are something that I hate. Those words mean less sleep to me, a deep hole in my heart caused by losing Alex and the reality that others in my family now share the same fears I’ve experienced.
My nephew Randel is 23 years old and will be 24 in September. He’s a month younger than Alex who was killed in 2004. He never met his cousin but still knows all about him. He had just entered the service around the same time that his cousin was killed. He would tell me that he would be ok. Alex had said the same thing: “don’t worry, nothing will happen.”
Randel was first deployed to Korea in 2005. This is where he met his beautiful wife Mae. They married in Korea and soon after had a son born premature at five months and less than two pounds. He’s a beautiful boy named Robert.
I had the opportunity to visit South Florida this past weekend where my family resides. I spent lots of quality time with Robert and his baby sister Katia. She was born ten days after her daddy was deployed to Afghanistan and was two months premature. However, she weighed in at over five pounds.
Dad has only seen pictures and a web broadcast of his baby girl. Mae told me she had to stop watching her husband because he was crying and that made her very sad. Mae knows about how my husband Carlos and I have grieved greatly since Alex was killed in 2004. She worries that something should happen to Randel. Mae is just recuperating from childbirth so I encourage her to relax and remember all the blessings she has. She is still bleeding despite giving birth almost two weeks ago and visiting the doctor regularly. She’s now on iron pills (that are the hugest I’ve ever seen) due to the blood loss.
Now while Randel is deployed in Afghanistan, Mae and her two children have moved in with my brother, his wife and my nephew. They live in a small three bedroom with two baths. There are dishes in the sink, laundry in the hamper and baby stuff everywhere (i.e. cribs, high chairs, formula bottles, breast pads).
My brother is considered disabled due to Parkinson’s disease. His wife works full time and very long hours at a pre-school. She’s tired and wishes she could be home to help Mae out during these early days after Katia’s birth. My nephew is in the police academy and is gone pretty much Monday – Friday. On weekends and during off time, he is working out or asleep. He loves to play with the babies and is a great uncle but doesn’t have much time to help with baby-duty.
So many changes have happened to this small part of my family in the past month. I ask Mae about the medical insurance for the baby. The baby is not on
military tri-care yet. She has to figure out how to get little Katia on the plan as a dependent. This is a challenge for Mae whose first language is not English but Togoli due to being born in the Philippines. She’s learning Spanish, which my family speaks, and English simultaneously. She’s doing a great job. However, she still has many challenges to face while her US-born husband is away on deployment in Afghanistan. It was somewhat easier for her to learn at Fort Hood, Texas where Robert, Randel and she lived until recently. Also, there was a support group for military wives and lots of places close by to ask questions. She stays in touch with the support group via email and calls Fort Hood regularly with questions.
There are two cars to share among the four adults. My nephew takes his car to get to and from the police academy. The other three adults depend on each other to share cars and get chauffeured back and forth to work, doctor’s appointments or the market for groceries. Florida these days are in the 90s and humid. The central air conditioning has already broken down once this summer. There’s a lot of dependence on the ceiling fans. Mae walks the babies on occasion in the double stroller around the neighborhood. The summer heat and sun require for her to be cautious that she and the kids don’t overdo it.
I feel so much over having experienced this time with my niece, grandniece and grandnephew this weekend. I feel apprehensive at all they are facing. I worry over Randel in a war zone where four of his company were killed a few days past. I feel concern over his beautiful family and all they are surviving. I pray and pray for God to take care of them all.









May peace be inside all of us..

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Carlos protesting Bush in Maine

Anti-war protesters target Bush in Maine

By David Sharp / Associated Press

KENNEBUNKPORT, Maine — The scene played out Saturday for what could be the last time: a sitting president visited Walker's Point, tourists held out hope of getting a glimpse of the president, and a group of noisy protesters paraded through the heart of town.

President Bush kept a low profile as 50 to 60 anti-war demonstrators marched to a police checkpoint less than a half-mile from his parents' seaside home. The group chanted "Hands off Iran!" and "Jail to the Chief!" as tourists in this seaside community paused to gawk.

Within sight of Walker's Point, peace activist Laurie Dobson called for a moment of silence "for all the people this man has killed in his two terms in office." Then Carlos Arredondo spoke of the loss of his son, Marine Lance Cpl. Alexander Arredondo, who was killed in Iraq on Aug. 25, 2004.

Then the group turned away.

For his part, Bush was making preparations for a wedding. A white tent was set up on the Walker's Point property for the reception for two White House staffers, one of them a distant Bush cousin. Offshore, a Coast Guard cutter and several smaller patrol boats stood watch.

The number of demonstrators who set out on the 2-mile march under overcast skies was far fewer than the 1,700 who gathered last summer when Bush met with Russia's Vladimir Putin.

The noisy march was organized by the Kennebunks Peace Department and coincided with a series of "Hands Off Iran" demonstrations over the weekend.

Heading up the parade was a "Hands Off Iran" banner and a giant dove made from white bed sheets that was held aloft by demonstrators. Arredondo drove a pickup truck with a coffin in the back. Behind the truck, in a trailer, were empty boots, crutches and a walker in a nod to wounded veterans.

Some motorists honked their horns in support, but others honked their horns in frustration as the group made its way down Ocean Avenue past stores and inns.

Mike McKinley, a Texan who was in town for the wedding, said the family should be able to enjoy the day without the interference of protesters. "They should be able to enjoy their privacy and enjoy the celebration," he said as the protesters marched nearby.

Others, like Harold Beelte and Britta Hildebrand, visiting from Germany, enjoyed the opportunity to see U.S.-style democracy in action.

"You can call it a bonus," said Beelte as the two stopped their bikes to snap a photo of the demonstrators making their way down Ocean Avenue.

While in Kennebunkport, Bush usually goes fishing with his father but the weather wasn't cooperating over the weekend. He did get in at least one mountain bike ride, though.

There's talk that this could be Bush's last visit before he leaves office in January. But a White House spokeswoman said she wasn't certain.

Some Kennebunkport residents will he happy to see the circus-style atmosphere surrounding presidential visits come to an end. But most people don't mind. The former president, George H.W. Bush, and his wife Barbara, are well liked and freely go about their business.

Their three-story, stone-and-shingle home overlooking the ocean at Walker's Point has been in the family since the turn of the century.

Dawn Patten, who runs Patten's Berry Farm, behind the Cape Arundel Golf Club, said she's happy to see the younger Bush visiting his parents.

She didn't have kind words for the protesters, though.

"It's outrageous. He comes to town for two or three days and people harass him while he's here. I don't think it's right," Patten said.

Robert Fischer, owner of Mabel's Lobster Claw Restaurant, which was along the parade route, said he supports both the president and people's right to gather.

"I'm glad that they can protest. I don't expect everyone to agree on every issue. Luckily, in this country, everyone has the right to protest," said Fischer, who serves up an occasional coffee-flavored ice cream cone to the former President Bush.

PHOTOS

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Will They Steal Another Election?

My goal is to get as many people registered to vote so they can't steal another election from us. I talk to a lot of people about voting. The more people who show up to vote the less chances they have to switch the votes.

There are many different ways elections are stolen.
Watch this movie - Hacking Democracy which happened right here in Florida
And OPOL has a great diary and discussion on the subject.
It is up to all of us to make sure our vote is counted. This is a country of "We the People". We must be involved with our country. We must VOTE!


HACKING DEMOCRACY
Hacking Democracy Home | Synopsis | Filmmaker Interview
| Producer Interview | Schedule
Electronic voting machines count about 87% of the votes cast in America today. But are they reliable? Are they safe from tampering? From a current congressional hearing to persistent media reports that suggest misuse of data and even outright fraud, concerns over the integrity of electronic voting are growing by the day. And if the voting process is not secure, neither is America's democracy. The timely, cautionary documentary HACKING DEMOCRACY exposes gaping holes in the security of America's electronic voting system.

In the 2000 presidential election, an electronic voting machine recorded minus 16,022 votes for Al Gore in Volusia County, Fla. While fraud was never proven, the faulty tally alerted computer scientists, politicians and everyday citizens to the very real possibility of computer hacking during elections.

In 2002, Seattle grandmother and writer Bev Harris asked officials in her county why they had acquired electronic touch screen systems for their elections. Unsatisfied with their explanation, she set out to learn about electronic voting machines on her own. In the course of her research, which unearthed hundreds of reported incidents of mishandled voting information, Harris stumbled across an "online library" of the Diebold Corporation, discovering a treasure trove of information about the inner-workings of the company's voting system.

Harris brought this proprietary "secret" information to computer security expert Dr. Avi Rubin of Johns Hopkins University, who determined that the software lacked the necessary security features to prevent tampering. Her subsequent investigation took her from the trash cans of Texas to the secretary of state of California and finally to Florida, where a "mini-election" to test the vulnerability of the memory cards used in electronic voting produced alarming results.

As the scope of her mission grew, Harris drew on the expertise of other computer- science experts, politicians and activists, among them: Andy Stephenson, candidate for secretary of state in Washington state; Susan Bernecker, Republican candidate in New Orleans; Kathleen Wynne, an activist from Cleveland; Dr. Herbert Thompson, chief security strategist, Security Innovation, Inc.; Ion Sancho, supervisor of elections for Leon County, Fla.; and Harri Hursti, a computer-security analyst. Academics, public officials and others seen in interview footage include: Deanie Lowe, supervisor of elections, Volusia County, Fla.; Mark Radke, marketing director of Diebold; David Cobb, presidential candidate, Green Party; and Rep. Stephanie Tubbs-Jones of Ohio.

Diebold software, or other software like it, is installed in thousands of counties across 32 states. David Dill, professor of computer science at Stanford, says the problem is that there are "lots of people involved in writing the software, and lots of people who could have touched the software before it went into that machine. If one of those people put something malicious in the software and it's distributed to all the machines, then that one person could be responsible for changing tens of thousands of votes, maybe even hundreds of thousands, across the country."

In Florida, Leon County supervisor of elections Ion Sancho presided over a trial "mini-election" to see if the vote could be hacked without being detected. Before votes were actually cast, computer analyst Harri Hursti "stuffed the ballot box" by entering votes on the computer's memory card. Then, after votes were cast, the results displayed when the same memory card was entered in the central tabulating program indicated that fraud was indeed possible. In other words, by accessing a memory card before an election, someone could change the results - a claim Diebold had denied was possible.

Ultimately, Bev Harris' research proved that the top-secret computerized systems counting the votes in America's public elections are not only fallible, but also vulnerable to undetectable hacking, from local school board contests to the presidential race. With the electronic voting machines of three companies - Diebold, ES&S and Sequoia - collectively responsible for around 80 percent of America's votes today, the stakes for democracy are high.

One of the executive producers of HACKING DEMOCRACY is Sarah Teale, whose previous HBO credits include "Dealing Dogs" and "Bellevue: Inside Out."

HACKING DEMOCRACY was directed by Simon Ardizzone and Russell Michaels; produced by Simon Ardizzone, Robert Carrillo Cohen and Russell Michaels; executive producers, Earl Katz, Sarah Teale and Sian Edwards; edited by Sasha Zik. For HBO: supervising producer, John Hoffman; executive producer, Sheila Nevins.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Can you feel the respect returning?




I drove around in 2004 with the saying
Restore World Respect - Vote Bush Out!
on the back of my car....

Today I feel the respect returning with our next president Germany.
Look at what this man is doing.
Look at the faces of the other people
You can see the hope of change for better things to come
For the world....

Peace Inside, Love Out...



Sunday, July 06, 2008

George was a very smart man

George on war....



gonna miss ya George....
Wish more of us thought like you.

Peace inside ~ love out...

Friday, May 30, 2008

How a Gold Star Family Spends Memorial day

We remember - Family Honors the Dead for Third year in Boston
by Melida Arredondo
It's a family effort. Brian, Carlos, and I this year dedicated ourselves on both Sunday May 25th and Monday 26th of 2008 to remember those who have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.
We highlighted eight men from Boston who have died by placing their names on white crosses with their birthdates, the neighborhood they lived in and the country where they died. Hundreds of people stopped to pay their respect, thank us for the display and ask questions. Very few people realized that eight local men had died from the City of Boston. Their names are Kyran Kennedy, David Connolly, Alberto Montraud, Joan Duran, Daniel Londano, Edgardo Zayas, Gregroy Wright and our beloved Alex Arredondo. Many people did not realize that these men represented not just the US in their service but that their backgrounds were Dominican, Colombian, Costa Rican, Jamaican, Irish, Polish and Cape Verdean.
We then painstakingly placed the names and pictures of all of the Massachusetts servicemen and women who had been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan around the one block monument - with flags, flowers, pictures and artwork. We also included the often forgotten. A red cross was placed for Jeff Lucey from Belchertown, Massachusetts who committed suicide after returning from Iraq. (We had the good fortune of having his parents visit the memorial to him.) A blue cross with the POW/MIA flag was placed for Alex Jimenez from Lawrence, Massachusetts with has been missing in Iraq since May of 2007.
Carlos could not forget the Iraqis and placed plain wooden crosses with a variety of shoes at the monument to honor the innocents caught in the cross fire of warfare. He also placed symbols with Gold Stars hanging from trees to remember the grief of the families of those who had died.
My husband began this tradition Memorial Day of 2006. As a family we had collected so much of Alex's personal effects and honors that he decided it was wrong not to share with the public on Memorial Day - the day we all are to remember.
As a child, the revolutionary war monument located at the corner of South and Centre was a place he would visit or pass daily. Across the street, Alex would run and swim with his Dad and brother Brian at Curtis Hall, a couple blocks away he would take Capoeira lessons at the fire house and in the fall, the world's fair would begin at the monument. For this part of Boston, the JP monument was and continues to be a focus point to this neighborhood.
Brian, Alex's younger brother, greeted many people this weekend as they approached, offered a handshake and answered questions about the display. Now at 21, I watched him be himself - a gentleman who honors his brother by sharing stories about Alex with strangers who he knows as neighbors. My husband did the same and also shared information he knew about the many other troops that were commemorated.
Many other military families, veterans and Boston neighbors would stop to decorate, leave flowers, provide memoribilia or help when it came time to take everything down. My husband's actions have turned into a true community experience that is now a dynamic and interactive tradition.
Photo by Angela Rowlings from the Boston Herald
Remembering: Melida Arredondo and her husband, Carlos (not pictured), of Roslindale make a large memorial to Carlos’ son, Alexander, and other casualties of the Iraq war, at The Monument in Jamaica Plain yesterday.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

What they teach us Memorial Day

Everyone is on another path than the one we should be on. So many I feel have forgotten the path we should be on this weekend. We should be remembering the ones who were so brave they were willing to die for us. We should be remembering they did die for us. It's the least we can do for such a gift given to us....remembering them. Please take time to remember them.... They have much to teach us. We need to learn the lessons of their death.

We are consumed with this election. I do know we need to pay attention on what goes on so we can do better for ourselves in our future. Today I want to talk about our roller coaster ride were on and how we have the choice to do better for all of us so we don't have to live through this again. So we can stop killing people, killing ourselves.

It's all up to us - we the people - we have the power

*****************************

I could get really deep about things. I just want you to think so I'm going to try to keep it simple. We have the power to change. To stop making so many we remember on Memorial Day.

I tell my children all the time they have choices with their actions. When I have to punish them for doing wrong I tell them "you do good, you get good. You do bad, you get bad" so they know it's the choices they make in life that decide what they will receive, good or bad. We have choices on a personal level and also as a human race. Lately we have been given the choices we have made. We've been given a whole lot of bad. It's our choice to change things, to make them better.

Life is a roller coaster ride. There are always ups and downs. The ups are what life is really about. This gift we have been given (life) is meant to learn from our past, our downs -our lows, so that we can stay on the top of the roller coaster as much as possible.

We haven't learn our lessons of the past. I am living the same in my adult life as I did in the days of my youth. We are in a so called war killing people. We all let this happen. We together have the power to stop this from happening but we haven't learn our lessons of the past thus they are repeating themselves. I hope this time we can learn our lessons so we keep these young kids who we hear about every day with us.

We have the power when we do the right thing. When we pay attention and get involved with those who make the decisions. We have the power in using the precious time given to us to action. I believe we are awaking the nation because there are more of us putting their time to action.

We've hit the low part of the roller coaster. We are on the ride back up. Depending on us will decide how long we stay on top. When we make the right choices good things will happen - for all of us.

This part isn't about the election but what we are doing together - as a people. What we can do when we come together and do the right thing. It's not about OB being our next President. It's about us getting involved. Knowing in our hearts we are doing the right thing for all of us. It's about the power of the people. Thousands are showing up to OB's events. They aren't showing up for OB - he's just a person. They are showing up because they know the power we have together. We are starved to make things better.

This is the lesson we will learn this time. Linking OB to JFK - Iraq war to Nam. We can learn our lessons of the past.

We can learn from their death. We are walking down this path again. We the people together can do great things. We can stay on top of the roller coaster as long as we want. We don't have to hit the bottom so hard in our future.

When we remember them they live on
They joined the military to make things better for us
Honor them by keeping them alive, by being their voices

It's our choice to learn the lessons of their death....their gift to us

I pray for peace in all humans that the love is so strong between us so we don't have the desire to kill one another....

Enjoy your moments - for them. Life is precious.


Be thankful you have your family with you and don't have to spend your Memorial Day like this.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Dear friends,

In the next couple of weeks, Congress will vote on whether to provide the Bush administration with more than a hundred billion dollars MORE for the war. Five years is five years too many and the projected three TRILLION dollar price tag for the war in Iraq is three trillion dollars too much! If you agree, please join me, countless other Americans, United for Peace and Justice, the Win Without War coalition and allies in telling Congress to stop funding the military occupation of Iraq.

Click here to sign the letter: http://www.unitedforpeace.org/openletter

The signatures on this petition will be forwarded to Congress on Monday, April 21, so please sign today! And spread the word!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

5 years is long enough - A letter from Congressman Wexler

5 years of this invasion is enough. We must honor those who would give their life for our country by bringing them home to their families.

May we start thinking of ourselves as people who live on earth with others just like ourselves and not rulers of the planet.

May peace be inside all of us!

Dear **,

This evening will mark 5 years since President Bush officially launched his ill-conceived preemptive invasion of Iraq. (To watch my new video on the 5 Year Anniversary click here.)

At the beginning of this war, whether we agreed with it or not, Congress and the American people saluted the brave service of the men and women of our military.

Today, five years later, it is well past time that we truly honor this service by bringing all American troops home from Iraq. This war has affected the lives of so many American families. The stories we hear from our friends, family members, and co-workers are truly heartbreaking – from the tragic losses of life and devastating injuries, to those who have returned but still suffer mental trauma and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Many of us personally know one of the 4,000 soldiers who have died or one of nearly 40,000 Americans who have been wounded.

Many of us have a friend or family member who has had to suffer repeated 15-month tours – separated from family and often with little break in between assignments.

Beyond the personal losses that so many have endured, now all Americans are feeling the financial effects of the war, as the fruits of our economy (nearly $500 billion to date) are drained into this never-ending engagement. Just imagine the investments that could have been made if this money was spent here at home, rather than fueling this massive war machine half a world away.

This tragedy extends to innocent Iraqis as well. From children to their teachers, shopkeepers to waiters – even the low estimates of Iraqi civilian deaths are near 90,000. Some estimate the death toll to be in the hundreds of thousands.

Americans will sacrifice a great deal to protect our national security and to bring peace to troubled regions of the world. But what have we gained for all of our sacrifices in Iraq? Today, we are more vulnerable then ever with a rebuilding Al Qaeda, a resurgent Iran, and a totally destabilized Iraq.

Even worse, President Bush and Vice-President Cheney brought us into this calamity in Iraq based on deliberate lies and misdirection. The Bush Administration misled Congress and the American people with false claims of Iraqi nuclear weapons, Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, and Iraqi relations with Al Qaeda. These lies were fed with great enthusiasm by those who stood to benefit financially and politically from this war.

We must renew our call for a dramatic change of course.
Last week in Congress, I introduced a resolution that condemns the Bush Administration for this unnecessary war and calls for an immediate redeployment of troops. (Click here to read the resolution.) Please contact your Member of Congress and urge them to co-sponsor this important resolution.

It is time to confront the stark reality of our situation.

First, the so-called "success of the surge" is as big a lie as the falsehoods that began the war itself. This is confirmed by General Petraeus' own conclusion earlier this week that political reconciliation has not occurred in Iraq.

Second, our economy can no longer sustain the cost of this war. Remember, no previous war has been waged while simultaneously offering tax cuts to the wealthy.

And finally, to date, we have still not held the Administration accountable for the countless lies that led to the war itself. As you know, I have aggressively advocated for impeachment hearings for Vice President Cheney to hold him accountable for his numerous misdeeds in relation to this war.

Please know that I hear your voices loud and clear. I strongly urge you to continue your vital activism on these issues and together we can bring about change.

Sincerely,


Congressman Robert Wexler




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Saturday, November 10, 2007

Alex Arredondo's First Letter Home

There have been many families who have members in the military. Few have members taking away from them.

I wish we would only use our military when they are needed. Not for the use for power and money. I wish these kids would be used in this way - they give their life to us.

Thank you to all how have given their life to protect our country.

Thank you Alex.....

Mom & Dad,

Today is Sunday, January 19, 2003. I've been out at sea for three days now and I'm starting to feel better. The first two days I was completely sick from seasickness and some virus. So far everyday I come outside the skin of the ship and write letters, whale watch, (which isn't that great cause I haven't seen any but there are plenty of dolphins that swim along side the ship), watch the horizon and sunset, etc. This seams so unreal to me. I've never seen water this BLUE before, I've never looked 360 degrees around me and seen nothing but water, clouds, the sun and a Fleet of Battleships surrounding me. Tomorrow is one of my many , many training days on ship to prepare me for my mission. I will also be training a short time in Kuwait. This is hard for me to comprehend. It seems like my whole life changed in an instant. Yesterday I was in a classroom learning about trigonometry and history. I graduated, went to boot camp, went to school, graduated as a GRUNT. I was sent across the country to train. Now I'm being sent across the world to fight. Today I am in a classroom learning about Tactical Urban Combat and Nuclear, Biological and chemical warfare. In the middle of the Pacific Ocean, on my way to experience 1st hand what I am learning about. I am not afraid of dying. I am more afraid of what will happen to all the ones that I love if something happens to me. Soon enough I will be in the desert, outside in the city of Bagdad, in full combat gear, ready to carry out my mission. Wondering how this all happened so fast, Wishing I was back home going to school, dating Shelia, taking care of my family. Although I think this way now I am almost certain that if I didn't walk this path I would be wondering to myself "why didn't I make the other decision. Why didn't I walk the path of a proud warrior, a marine." Just because I wonder "what if" doesn't mean I'm not proud, it doesn't mean I feel like I made the wrong decision. It doesn't mean I have any regrets. I'm still proud to be fighting for mycountry. I feel like, If I'm not helping one way I should still do all that I can to help (OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM). I'm on a time back now. I need to send this letter in the next hour for it to get to you by Tuesday or Wednesday. I love you both very much and I wish I could keep writing but I got to go. LOVE YOU. PFC ARREDONDO/ UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS

A note to Brian his brother:

WHATS UP BRIAN, I feel so lucky to be blessed with the chance to defend my country 6 months after I joined the military. Some Marines have been in for over 20 years and still haven't seen combat. I'm also lucky to have such a wonderful family. I know how much you love me and support me and that keeps me going along with a few other things. Is Jeanette babysitting for Mom? LOVE YOU BROTHER Your Big Brother - Private First Class Arredondo USMC

August 25, 2004

Lance Corporal Arredondo served as Fire Team Leader during the Battalion's attack into the old cith of Najaf. As the Platoon attacked to clear a four-story hotel, it was heavily engaged by enemy machine gun and sniper fire from three different directions. Lance Corporal Arredondo returned fire exposing himself to great risk to ensure the members of his team were safe. After fearlessly exchanging fire with the enemy snipers for more than three hours, Lance Corporal Arredondo fell mortally wounded as he moved through the rooms to inspect the Marines' defensive position.


Remember Us - Documentary tells of war families' pain

By John R. Ellement Globe Staff / November 10, 2007

Carlos Arrendondo's pain and the life and death of his Marine son, Lance Corporal Alexander Arredondo, are not part of a new documentary about families from New England that lost loved ones in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

But Arrendondo was at Northeastern University in Boston last night, watching a preview of the 90-minute New England Cable News documentary. He came at the invitation of Senator Edward M. Kennedy, who had invited dozens of others like Arredondo.

"It's important for the community to see and remember all of our sons and daughters who paid the ultimate sacrifice," said Arredondo, of Roslindale.

"No matter what their position is on the war, we have the same pain," he said.

The documentary, produced by NECN executive editor Iris Adler and titled, "Remember Us," will be broadcast tomorrow night at 7 in honor of Veteran's Day, said Philip S. Balboni, founder of NECN.

In opening remarks, Balboni said he is a Vietnam-era veteran and wished that "I could say all of our fellow citizens remember our sacrifice, but I think we know the honest answer is many do not," he said. "And that is what motivated us at NECN to produce 'Remember Us,' so we can honor and remember those who have died in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan."

The state's senior senator, accompanied by his wife, Victoria Reggie Kennedy, met privately with the dozens of family members who came from across New England.

The survivors and deployed military families are invited to Gillette Stadium on Dec. 10 for an event supported by the New England Patriots and the Jeffrey Coombs Memorial Foundation, named after an Abington man killed in the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. More information is available at jeffcoombsfund.org.


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Monday, September 17, 2007

Carlos Arredondo Beat up at the DC protest by the pro war/pro killing people

This was just sent to me by Melida:

Carlos Arredondo, 47 year old father of two sons, arrived in the nation's capitol on Monday, 09/10/07 to share a memorial he has made to honor for his eldest son, Alex. Carlos has visited thirty of the United States with the traveling memorial to his son Alexander. Lcpl. Alexander S. Arredondo, USMC was killed on 08/25/04. He was 20 years and 20 days old. The memorial consists of a casket, poster- size photographs of Alex when he graduated from boot camp, before his second tour in Iraq, lying in state at his wake, and a photo of Alex with his younger brother Brian.
Saturday, September 15, 2007 consisted of first a rally, a march towards the capitol and then a die-in. Carlos pulled the memorial along the march route approaching the rotunda near the capitol building. Several of the marchers requested for him to speak about the memorial where a crowd gathered around him. After finishing, several people walked with Carlos as he pulled the memorial. Several pictures of Alex dressed in his blues were attached to the display.
As Carlos passed counter protesters, one man ripped a picture of Alex from the memorial. Carlos leaped on the man to retrieve the picture. It was at that point that approximately five others all began to attack Carlos by kicking him in the head, legs, stomach and back.
The Capitol police bicycle patrol then appeared to break up the fight. Several officers including a female officer were engaged in breaking up the fight and were able to stop any further injuries from occurring. Hannah Jones who was walking with Carlos was also assaulted.
A bystander named Ramesh witnessed the whole encounter and also retrieved the picture of Alex for Carlos. He was quite distressed at how he watched the men yelling epithets follow Carlos as he pulled the memorial, and eventually take Alex's photograph. Soon, an ambulance showed up as well as many concerned activists. The paramedics provided first aid to Carlos but he did not seek further medical attention. Carlos sustained bloody cuts on his shins. He also reported bruises all over his torso and head where he was kicked.
I will send updates on Carlos and his work in DC as I am able.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Viedo of Carlos Arredondo and why he shares Alex with you

Video I found of my neighbor Carlos. He talks about the day he set fire to the van. A day I will never forget. You can still see the burn marks in our road.
May peace be inside all of us,
Cindy




Carlos Arredondo at DC antiwar protest yesterday

CARLOS ARREDONDO walking with his son Alex in the end the war march on DC September 15, 2007. I can only imagine what the other side of the divide had to say to him when they saw his him carrying his flag upside down. I had my flag on my house upside down for a long time ~ a few people left me nasty messages in my mail box.
The other side of the divide wants to keep killing people for no good reason. I think these people would follow George Bush off a cliff just because he is their "President".

May peace be inside all of us - May we support our troops by saving their lives and bringing them home to their families. The other side of the divide has no problems killing our troops for their own security. If they don't kill our troops they will kill us....right other side of the divide?




Thousands march in D.C. war protest

By MATTHEW BARAKAT, Associated Press Writer

Several thousand anti-war demonstrators marched through downtown Washington on Saturday, clashing with police at the foot of the Capitol steps where more than 190 protesters were arrested.

The group marched from the White House to the Capitol to demand an end to the Iraq war. Their numbers stretched for blocks along Pennsylvania Avenue, and they held banners and signs and chanted, "What do we want? Troops out. When do we want it? Now."

Army veteran Justin Cliburn, 25, of Lawton, Okla., was among a contingent of Iraq veterans in attendance.

"We're occupying a people who do not want us there," Cliburn said of Iraq. "We're here to show that it isn't just a bunch of old hippies from the 60s who are against this war."

Counterprotesters lined the sidewalks behind metal barricades. There were some heated shouting matches between the two sides.

The arrests came after protesters lay down on the Capitol lawn in what they called a "die in" — with signs on top of their bodies to represent soldiers killed in Iraq. When police took no action, some of the protesters started climbing over a barricade at the foot of the Capitol steps.

Many were arrested without a struggle after they jumped over the waist-high barrier. But some grew angry as police with shields and riot gear attempted to push them back. At least two people were showered with chemical spray. Protesters responded by throwing signs and chanting: "Shame on you."

The number of arrests by Capitol Police on Saturday was much higher than previous anti-war rallies in Washington this year. Five people were arrested at a protest outside the Pentagon in March when they walked onto a bridge that had been closed off to accommodate the demonstration, then refused to leave. And at a rally in January, about 50 demonstrators blocked a street near the Capitol, but they were dispersed without arrests.

The protesters gathered earlier Saturday near the White House in Lafayette Park with signs saying "End the war now" and calling for President Bush's impeachment. The rally was organized by the ANSWER Coalition and other groups.

Organizers estimated that nearly 100,000 people attended the rally and march. That number could not be confirmed; police did not give their own estimate. A permit for the march obtained in advance by the ANSWER Coalition had projected 10,000.

Anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan told the crowd is was time to be assertive.

"It's time to lay our bodies on the line and say we've had enough," she said. "It's time to shut this city down."

About 13 blocks away, nearly 1,000 counterprotesters gathered near the Washington Monument, frequently erupting in chants of "U-S-A" and waving American flags.

Retired Air Force Lt. Col. Robert "Buzz" Patterson, speaking from a stage to crowds clad in camouflage, American flag bandanas and Harley Davidson jackets, said he wanted to send three messages.

"Congress, quit playing games with our troops. Terrorists, we will find you and kill you," he said. "And to our troops, we're here for you, and we support you."

MORE PHOTOS HERE




The other side of the divide

The people who have to kill for their own security

UPDATE:
They think they are better then any other. You have to read their words. If you aren't like them your not and American, your not supporting our troops. They way I see it is they could care less about our troops our they wouldn't let them be used the way they are - for the love of power and money, mostly money. Again, these people would follow Bush off the cliff to their death and take all of us with them because of their own lack of knowledge of compassion for other humans.

Blogs from the other side of the divide read their word. See for yourself.
They think they are the best humans on this earth
Man these people are twisted. They twist things. First of all from all the stories I've read there were only 150 pro war/pro killing people with 10-15,000 who stand of the side of peace. For years there has been the 30-32% who want to kill and torture people. These people will never change no matter how many freedoms and rights you take away from there. There are 72-78% of our country who know the truth and will never vote for more killing. More than half this country wants to Impeach the war criminals.
And, I knew someone would say something about the upside down flag. Our country is in distress which is why Carlos carries it upside down. I feel Alex is very proud of his father for his actions. Alex was asking questions at the time of his death. He knew what they were being asked to do was wrong. Carlos is expressing Alex from the grave. He doesn't want anyone to forget Alex. He has the freedom to express his and Alex's views any way he wants. After all, he is his parent. Who knows you better than your parents?

The 30% pro war meets the 70% against the war. Video of the mean and nasty people




May peace be inside all of us,
Cindy