Thursday, December 29, 2005

Happy Holidays and a peaceful New Year throughout the world from the Duchess' home to yours

May your spirit be filled with joy, love and contentment


John Nichols, The Nation
The year is ending on a much better note than it began, thanks to the courage and conviction of elected officials, activists and organizations.

Sean Gonsalves, AlterNet
In keeping with traditional year-end contemplation, I offer 'special collection program' as a phrase to watch next year.

Molly Ivins, AlterNet
I don't mean to scare you silly -- but there's a reason we have never given our government this kind of power.

Robert Scheer, AlterNet
The U.S. media vilified two Iraqi female scientists. So why isn't the press protesting their quiet release from prison?

Jay Walljasper, Ode
As millions of Asian citizens jubilantly embrace driving, some experts predict an enviro nightmare.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005


Devanie Angel, Sacramento News & Review
Big business thinks Radio Frequency Identification tags are great. Privacy-rights advocates fear the tiny chips will invite corporations and the government into our personal lives.

William Greider, The Nation
Challenges from within by a few insurgent Democrats may be the only way to save the party from the ineffective big-money beast it's become.

Geov Parrish, AlterNet
The 10th annual list of the year's most overhyped and underreported stories.

Alex Alper, AlterNet
A recent AlterNet article about the politics of eating free-range meat sparked a hearty debate among readers -- both vegetarians and carnivores alike.

America's "War on Terrorism" by Michel Chossudovsky
Conspicuous Conspiracies Review/Article by Stuart Trew

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Written on Christmas Eve 1513
By Fra Giovanni

I salute you. I am your friend, and my love for you goes deep.
There is nothing I can give you which you have not.
But there is much, very much, that, while I cannot give it, you can take.
No heaven can come to us unless our hearts find rest in it today.
Take heaven!
No peace lies in the future which is not hidden in this present little instant.
Take peace!
The gloom of the world is but a shadow.
Behind it, yet within our reach, is joy. There is radiance and glory in darkness, could we but see. And to see, we have only to look. I beseech you to look!

Life is so generous a giver. But we, judging its gifts by their covering,
Cast them away as ugly or heavy or hard. Remove the covering, and you
will find beneath it a living splendor, woven of love by wisdom, with power.
Welcome it, grasp it, and you touch the angel's hand that brings it to you.
Everything we call a trial, a sorrow or a duty, believe me, that angel's hand is there.
The gift is there and the wonder of an overshadowing presence. Your joys, too,
be not content with them as joys. They, too, conceal diviner gifts.

Life is so full of meaning and purpose, so full of beauty beneath its covering,
that you will find earth but cloaks your heaven.
Courage then to claim it; that is all!
But courage you have, and the knowledge that we are pilgrims together,
wending through unknown country home.

And so, at this time, I greet you, not quite as the world sends greetings,
but with profound esteem and with the prayer that for you, now and
forever, the day breaks and shadows flee away.


Kenneth Cooper, AlterNet
When it comes to explaining why the levees broke, many otherwise reasonable New Orleanians are quick to believe in conspiracy theories.

Bianca Jagger, AlterNet
The execution of a reformed criminal was a grave miscarriage of justice, but there is still hope that Tookie's passing can lead to the end of the death penalty in California and nationwide.

Jordan Elgrably, AlterNet
Spielberg's startling new film, 'Munich,' is an incisive argument against the use of violence to resolve the Mideast conflict.

Will Durst, AlterNet
If corporate America doesn't have a merry, profitable Xma$, then the terrorists have won.

Doug Ireland, Direland
President Bush may find himself in deep trouble after ordering and defending illegal wiretaps of U.S. citizens -- a crime for which Richard Nixon was nearly impeached.

[Duchess Note – Impeaching just Puppet King Georgie will not solve the whole mess we’re in right now. It is important to dig deep and clean out ALL the bad roots of this evil festering regime. And believe me; these evil corrupt roots go deep.]

Judith Mahoney Pasternak, AlterNet
Those who care about workers' rights know that going on strike is not only a last resort, but sometimes the only way change can happen.

Sean Gonsalves, AlterNet
Martin Luther King -- the most celebrated dove in American history -- was spied on because he was considered a threat. That means none of us is safe.

Robert Scheer, AlterNet
Tehran's rogue regime now looms larger than ever over the region and especially over its oil.

Bishop V. Gene Robinson, AlterNet
It's not enough to pull drowning victims out of the river; we need to walk back upstream and find out who's throwing them in.

Dana King / 30 Minutes Bay Area
December 18, 2005

By the band Greenday
[Duchess Note – Check out their new live CD/DVD called “Bullet in the Bible”. This CD is from a gig in England and it really rocks the house.]

Don’t wanna be an American idiot
Don’t want a nation under the new media
And can you hear the sound of hysteria
The subliminal mind f--k America
Welcome to a new kind of tension
All across the alien nation
Where everything isn’t meant to be okay
Television dreams of tomorrow
We’re not the ones meant to follow
For that’s enough to argue

Maybe I am the faggot America
I’m not a part of a redneck agenda
Now everybody do the propaganda
And sing along to the age of paranoia
Welcome to a new kind of tension
All across the alien nation
Everything isn’t meant to be okay
Television dreams of tomorrow
We’re not the ones meant to follow
For that’s enough to argue

Don’t want to be an American idiot
One nation controlled by the media
Information age of hysteria
Calling out to idiot America
Welcome to a new kind of tension
All across the alien nation
Everything isn’t meant to be okay
Television dreams of tomorrow
We’re not the ones meant to follow
For that’s enough to argue

Mick Youther

Terrorists have not attacked America again, because they don't need to-- There is nothing they can do that could compare to the damage the Bush Administration is inflicting on America—to our reputation, our environment, our domestic programs, our quality of life.

1. It has been pointed out by a number of people that terror (or terrorism) is a tactic, and you cannot declare war on a tactic. Bush’s declaration of a “War on Terror” after 9/11 is comparable to FDR declaring a “War on Surprise Attacks” after Pearl Harbor.

2. “We’re fighting them over there, so we don’t have to fight them over here,” is catchy, but what does it mean? Does the Bush Administration actually believe that terrorists march forward in a line like the Redcoats in the Revolutionary War; and if we can just hold that line “over there”, the terrorists won’t be able to get “over here”?

President Bush insists that, by sacrificing thousands of lives in Iraq, he is somehow protecting our liberty and freedom and making us safer here at home—he just never explains how. He cites the train bombings in Madrid as an example of what happens to countries that refused to “fight them over there”. Bush’s logic is impeccable, except Spain did join us in Iraq and did not leave until long after Bush had declared “Mission Accomplished”; and London’s subways were bombed even though Britain is still fighting the terrorists “over there”.

3. The Department of Homeland Security is a waste, a fraud, a sham—governments boondoggle of the worst kind; because it not only wastes taxpayer money, it offers Americans a false sense of security.

“Since 2001, the federal government has distributed more than $8 billion to help police, firefighters and other ‘first responders’ pay for equipment and training to prepare for terrorist attacks... Unfortunately, these grants have been allocated using a flawed formula that distributes funds widely but does not account for threat levels, vulnerability or the consequences of an attack.” --Co-Chairs of the 9/11 Commission, Kean and Hamilton, 9/11/05

Republicans in Congress know if Homeland Security money went where it is most needed, too much of it would go to the big cities where all those darned Democrats live. So, rather than distribute money based actual security needs, Congress treats Homeland Security money as just another big piece of pork. This leads to money going to the wrong places and being spent on the wrong things. The District of Columbia used federal domestic security money to buy leather jackets and send sanitation workers to self-improvement seminars. Newark, NJ, purchased air-conditioned garbage trucks, and Columbus, OH, bought armor for its fire department dogs. “These are not the priorities of a nation under threat,” said Kean and Hamilton.

Another problem is a lack of prioritization of security threats. Congress sets security-related deadlines without differentiating between banning toenail clippers on airplanes and monitoring the cargo entering our ports (The CIA believes this is most likely means of moving weapons of mass destruction into the United States).

Each year, foreign cargo ships visit U.S. ports some 50,000 times carrying millions of shipping containers. Only 4 to 6 percent of these containers are currently inspected. In spite of this, the Bush Administration’s 2003 and 2004 budgets provided no money for port security grants.

“For the cost of two F-22 fighter jets and three days of combat in Iraq, the nation's ports could be secured against terror.” --Retired Coast Guard Commander Stephen Flynn, The Progress Report,, 12/1/04

Most of America’s security problems are a direct result of White House actions or inactions. The Republicans may control Congress, but the White House has effectively controlled the Republicans since Bush was appointed President in 2000. Now, four years after 9/11; the hodgepodge of “security” measures they have put into place is laughable. They inspect our shoes for bombs before we can board a plane that is carrying tons of un-inspected cargo. They maintain a terrorist watch-list that keeps Yusuf Islam (a.k.a. Cat Stevens) from entering the U.S., while hundreds of thousands of people illegally cross our southern border every year. They declared war to keep Saddam from giving (non-existent) nuclear weapons to terrorists, but they have done next to nothing to assure that terrorists don’t get their hands on one of the 30,000 nuclear warheads left in the Soviet arsenal.

Recent reports indicate that the Bush Administration believes the best way to protect Americans is to spy on non-violent peace activists, environmentalists, and anyone else who happens to disagree with them—never mind the ports, railways, nuclear power plants, chemical plants, refineries, dams, bridges, etc. They will take care of themselves.

“The government should only address those activities that the market does not adequately provide -- for example, national defense or border security. (Did he say border security?) ... For other aspects of homeland security, sufficient incentives exist in the private market to supply protection.” --President Bush's 2002 National Homeland Security Strategy

In BushWorld, the government never has to worry about domestic security. The private sector will solve all our problems—even terrorism. Benevolent corporations will voluntarily spend whatever is necessary to guard their facilities, secure their hazardous materials, and protect our nation’s infrastructure from the evil-doers. They will also meet strict voluntary environmental and safety standards—while guaranteeing their employee pension and healthcare plans. Back in the real world, we have an administration that failed to prevent the “surprise” attacks on 9/11—despite specific warnings from numerous countries and agents in our FBI. Four years later, Hurricane Katrina blew away all illusions that this administration had done anything to increase our nation’s ability to respond to a crisis. Last year, I watched an interview with three security experts. When they were asked, “Why hasn’t the U.S. been attacked again?”—they had no idea.

My theory: Until they acquire a nuclear weapon, there is no reason for terrorists to attack America again. There is nothing they can do that could compare to the damage the Bush Administration is inflicting on America—to our reputation, our environment, our domestic programs, our quality of life. The Bush Administration continues to stretch our military, stretch the budget, and stretch the truth—every time they claim to be doing everything they can to keep Americans safe.

Mick Youther is a retired physiology instructor, now working on regime change in America.

Fog Fact of the Year
By Larry Beinhart

President Bush gave a radio address on December 17 in which he explained why he had to use illegal wiretaps. As usual, he returned to the events of 9/11. He said:

“Two of the terrorist hijackers who flew a jet into the Pentagon, Nawaf al Hamzi and Khalid al Mihdhar, communicated while they were in the United States to other members of al Qaeda who were overseas. But we didn’t know they were here, until it was too late. … The activities I have authorized make it more likely that killers like these 9/11 hijackers will be identified and located in time.”

To the contrary. It was secrecy – and incompetence – that let al Hazmi board that plane on 9/11.

“The tragedy of 9/11 was a result of the failure to see the facts that were in front of us. On April 1st, 2001 Oklahoma State Trooper C. L. Parkins stopped one of the future hijackers, Nawaf al Hazmi, for speeding. Al Hazmi had been photographed at an Al Qaeda meeting in Malaysia. He was known to the CIA as a terrorist. They suspected that he might be in the US illegally. The CIA was, theoretically, looking for al Hazmi. Parkins ran al Hazmi’s California license through the computer and checked for warrants. Nothing came back. The CIA had not distributed the information. Trooper Parkins wrote al Hazmi two tickets totaling $138 and let him continue his journey.”

Fog Facts: Searching for Truth in the Land of Spin, Larry Beinhart
Nation Books, 2005, page one

That was neither the first nor the last time that al Hazmi and al Mihdhar could have been stopped:

Nawaf al Hazmi set off the alarms for both the first and second metal detectors and was then hand-wanded before being passed [to board the plane they were about to hijack] … Khalid al Mihdhar, and Majed Moqed were flagged by CAPPS.The Hazmi brothers were also selected for extra scrutiny by the airline’s customer service representative at the check-in counter. He did so because one of the brothers did not have photo identification nor could he understand English, and because the agent found both of the passengers to be suspicious. … Mihdhar and Moqed placed their carry-on bags on the belt of the X-ray machine and proceeded through the first metal detector. Both set off the alarm, and they were directed to a second metal detector. Mihdhar did not trigger the alarm and was permitted through the checkpoint. We asked a screening expert to review the videotape of the hand-wanding, and he found the quality of the screener’s work to have been “marginal at best.” The screener should have “resolved” what set off the alarm; and in the case of both Moqed and Hazmi, it was clear that he did not.

The 9/11 Commission Final Report (

The 9/11 Commission even produced a boxed set of missed opportunities to have grabbed the terrorists based on information that was known but not shared.

Operational Opportunities

1. January 2000: the CIA does not watch list Khalid al Mihdhar or notify the FBI when it learned Mihdhar possessed a valid U.S. visa.

2. January 2000: the CIA does not develop a transnational plan for tracking Mihdhar and his associates so that they could be followed to Bangkok and onward, including the United States.

3. March 2000: the CIA does not watch list Nawaf al Hazmi or notify the FBI when it learned that he possessed a U.S. visa and had flown to Los Angeles on January 15, 2000.

4. January 2001: the CIA does not inform the FBI that a source had identified Khallad, or Tawfiq bin Attash, a major figure in the October 2000 bombing of the USS Cole, as having attended the meeting in Kuala Lumpur with Khalid al Mihdhar.

5. May 2001: a CIA official does not notify the FBI about Mihdhar’s U.S. visa, Hazmi’s U.S. travel, or Khallad’s having attended the Kuala Lumpur meeting (identified when he reviewed all of the relevant traffic because of the high level of threats).

6. June 2001: FBI and CIA officials do not ensure that all relevant information regarding the Kuala Lumpur meeting was shared with the Cole investigators at the June 11 meeting.

7. August 2001: the FBI does not recognize the significance of the information regarding Mihdhar and Hazmi’s possible arrival in the United States and thus does not take adequate action to share information, assign resources, and give sufficient priority to the search.

8. August 2001: FBI headquarters does not recognize the significance of the information regarding Moussaoui’s training and beliefs and thus does not take adequate action to share information, involve higher-level officials across agencies, obtain information regarding Moussaoui’s ties to al Qaeda, and give sufficient priority to determining what Moussaoui might be planning.

9. August 2001: the CIA does not focus on information that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is a key al Qaeda lieutenant or connect information identifying KSM as the “Mukhtar” mentioned in other reports to the analysis that could have linked “Mukhtar” with Ramzi Binalshibh and Moussaoui.

10. August 2001: the CIA and FBI do not connect the presence of Mihdhar, Hazmi, and Moussaoui to the general threat reporting about imminent attacks.

The 9/11 Commission drew the logical conclusion – less secrecy, not more secrecy. What all these stories have in common is a system that requires a demonstrated “need to know” before sharing. This approach assumes it is possible to know, in advance, who will need to use the information. Such a system implicitly assumes that the risk of inadvertent disclosure outweighs the benefits of wider sharing. Those Cold War assumptions are no longer appropriate. What the 9/11 Commission would not do, for political reasons, was make the point that the leaders of the country in the months prior to 9/11 adamantly refused to focus on Al Qaeda, Osama bin Laden and potential terrorist attacks on the United States. When information was put in front of them, they ignored it, brushed it off, or rebuffed it. They were adamantly focused on finding an opportunity to invade Iraq. They let their subordinates know both positions. Which presumably had a trickle down effect that said, in effect, “don’t tell me about Al Qaeda, no one wants to know! Bring me the head of Saddam Hussein!”

The facts – that knew about Nawaf al Hamzi and Khalid al Mihdhar, that we knew that they were international villains, that we knew enough to have stopped them – have not only been published, they have been published in the official record of the events. Yet nobody appears to have checked the record and then challenged the president on his claim. The facts are there, but lost in the fog.

Larry Beinhart is the author of
"Wag the Dog". Fog Facts: Searching for Truth in the Land of Spin. All available at

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Joined my friend Paul [NYC Kucitizen] on Thursday, November 10th, to attend an event in Riverdale. It was held at the Yonkers Society for Ethical Culture. The evening event was called "Depleted Uranium - Agent Orange of the Iraq War". Paul was part of the "Steering Committee" of this event, as was another NYC Kucitizen [Jessica Flagg]. We drove up to Riverdale in Paul's nice, warm car. Mon dieu ... was it cool and windy that evening. Oh yeah! This was my first time seeing parts of a beautiful area in western Bronx. The houses and landscaping were gorgeous. Another friend and fellow Kucitizen, Cielito, was also at the event. We caught up on news et al. The evening started off with an introduction by Curt Collier and Florence Gold. This was followed by viewing the film documentary called "Poison DUst". [Disturbing Facts - 10,324 U.S. soldiers involved in Desert Storm (Gulf War I) have died. More than 1/3 or 221,502 Iraq War veterans are on disability benefits. Now, soldiers returning from the 2003 invasion of Iraq are confronting serious health issues. The U.S Government denies any connection between their sickness and the toxic DU. Is this a hidden war against our soldiers AND Iraqi civilians?] Watch this film sometime, listen to all the truth and facts, and then decide. [One can purchase this item online at]

After the documentary the following gentlemen spoke and answer questions ... Army National Guard Spc Gerard Matthew, Army National Guard Sgt Herbert Reed and Professor Glen D. Lawrence, PhD. Unfortunately, I didn't take notes of the event, as I was so utterly fascinated with the topic. Forgot to put pen to paper, but next day I did do some Goggling on the topic. Anyhow ... after the event was over I picked up free info, had some refreshment, talked with Jessica/Cielito and then it was time to head out with Paul. [There is a book out in stores called "Depleted Uranium – Metal of Dishonor" and order number is ISVN-0-9656916-0-8] On the ride back we had some company; one of which was Professor Lawrence and an acquaintance of his. I was able to question the professor in regards to my cousin Christopher … who was stationed in Saudi Arabia and Iraq during Desert Storm. He has health issues, due to Desert Storm, one of which is Crohns. The professor mentioned, in relation to DU, that the vitamin Citrite can help. Overall it was a most informative evening and more support for soldiers suffering from DU is so important. I cannot stress it enough ... please ... lend support today. Amen!

Saturday, November 12th, I visited my good friend Katherine in CT. We had an enjoyable, fun day of shopping, lunch, gossip and hanging out at her home. [Also picked up three videos for $2 each ... Cosi, Trainspotting & Ned Kelly.] I then caught the 7:13pm train from Stratford. Then the train got stuck in the Bridgeport station. Conductor said there were electrical wires down across all the tracks in Darien, plus our train was out of service. Many folk ran to grab taxis because the situation didn't sound good. Plus utilize their cell phones. I sat at my seat for sometime debating what to do, as I only had $20 in my wallet and no reserves. Finally left the train with a few others, as they were saying "let’s share a cab to Stamford". Stamford always has local trains running to NYC and its south of where the wires were down, so that area was okay. Well, the taxi thing didn't pan out for me, as it was too costly. While standing on the sidewalk with a few others we heard a diesel train pull into the station. I made a dash up some stairs [not good for asthma] and heard that this diesel train would make local stops to South Norwalk. This is north of Darien and the downed electrical wires. That would get the passengers closer to Stamford, so this was looking promising. Plus the train was heated, because it was getting cold and windy outside. As in these types of situations you end up chatting with those standing next or near to you. I call them "comfort conversations".

Once into South Norwalk the three people [ie: 1 man & 2 women] I was talking to at that time decided to share a taxi to Stamford. So we made a beeline for the sidewalk and street. A taxi driver I had recognized from Bridgeport had just dropped off folk at the station. He said he'd take us to Stamford for $25, but once on the road changed his tune to $10 per person. Damn greedy bastard! We had no choice and were desperate in getting to Stamford, so we pooled our funds together. Arrived at Stamford station at 9pm and ran to find which train was heading to NYC. This took some time, plus up and down a few stairs. [Man, was that station crowded with folk.] This gal told us there was an express train on platform 5 going to NYC. Yahoo! We jumped onboard and felt another glimmer of hope. Plus, Metro North told everyone that these rides would be free. They knew there would be major angry hostile crowds if they said otherwise. The train finally pulled out of Stamford at 9:20pm and we arrived into Grand Central Station just after 10pm. Believe it or not, I had no troubles with the subways and got home at 10:30pm. What a night!

Wednesday, November 16th, participated in the monthly NYC DoP conference call at 9pm. Kevin, David H and I were the only ones attending the call. Sadly, I forgot to take notes on this too. [Geez!] I remember we touched on numerous topics over the course of 50 minutes. After these calls I feel so energized and ready to take on the world for the Dept of Peace cause. Check out our website at

On Thursday, November 17th, NYC Chapter Dept of Peace held its monthly core team meeting. [We've switched from utilizing "board" to the friendlier "core team".] This time it was held at Dawn & Bill's apartment on upper Westside of Manhattan. Quite a charming place with funky looking cabinets in the kitchen. Those who were able to attend the meeting were Joe, Dawn, Kevin, Coco [she acted as Moderator], Liz, Carol, Maria, Charlene, Norma, Carly, David W and Priscilla. We are still in the process of "incorporating", so I cannot divulge much from the meeting. Only to say it was terrific, energized and very productive. [Many contributed edible goodies. I brought homemade cookies and brownies.]

I also showed a sampling of my homemade "peace" bead earrings that I'll be selling at December meeting. [50% of proceeds will go towards NYC DoP bank account and future events.] As well as at future meetings and events.

[Samplings of those earrings are in the photo at left.] Afterwards, on way to subway, Kevin and I discussed items abit further. These "items" I typed up in email/memo format and sent out to "core team" shortly after that. Overall it was a terrific evening at the meeting, but outside it was so cold and windy. Burrrrrrrrrrr

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

We love the holidays, because we get to spend time with our families and do nice things for people we love. Sometimes, though, with all the rushing around to buy gifts and visit relatives, it can be easy to lose sight of the point of it all. Well, here's a way to remember the spirit of the season and help out less fortunate neighbors, even in the midst of all your holiday traveling: buy Citgo gasoline. You already may have seen the headlines about how Citgo, unlike every other oil company in the U.S., is making cut-rate heating oil available to struggling families in the Northeast. The Energy Department predicts a nearly 26 percent jump in heating costs this winter compared with last year, and despite a year of record oil company profits, the country's heating oil assistance fund is falling behind.

Citgo has stepped in to help out. They're selling heating oil at discounted rates to poorer communities in Massachusetts and the Bronx, NY, and working on deals to keep low-income homes in Rhode Island and Vermont warm, too. So while you're out on the road this month, you can help some fellow Americans by filling your tank with Venezuelan gas. Here's a link to find the nearest one of the 14,000 Citgo gas stations in the U.S. To find the Citgo station closest to your home address:

"Citgo is not just another oil company," says Citgo CEO Felix Rodriguez. "With Venezuela's state oil company, of which we are a subsidiary, we share a broad social mission." That's our kind of company. If you need any other reasons to feel good, just remember that money you pay to Citgo goes primarily to Venezuela - not Saudi Arabia or the Middle East. Of the top oil producing countries in the world, only one is a democracy with a president who was elected on a platform of using his nation's oil revenue to benefit the poor. And this winter Citgo is helping out less fortunate Americans, too. Some have said that Citgo's generosity is a publicity stunt, part of the ongoing war of words between Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and President Bush. We think a recent USA Today editorial has the best response:

"Chavez might be trying to embarrass the Bush administration, but what's really embarrassing is how little help Americans will receive this winter from their own government." Naturally, if you can get where you're going without a car, do so. And we'll continue to work for a country with more renewable energy options. But in the meantime, help your Northeast neighbors by supporting CITGO on your holiday drive. Find the Citgo station closest to your home address.


Congressman John Conyers has introduced three new pieces of legislation aimed at censuring President Bush and Vice President Cheney, and at creating a fact-finding committee that could be a first step toward impeachment. Ask your Congress Member to support these efforts!

For more information on these bills, visit

That link will take you to a newly revised AFTER DOWNING STREET site, where you'll find at the top an extensive new report produced by the House Judiciary Committee and titled "The Constitution in Crisis: The Downing Street Minutes and Deception, Manipulation, Torture, Retribution, and Cover-ups in the Iraq War." The Censure Bush campaign will provide a new focus for town hall meetings about Iraq, approximately 60 of which are scheduled all over the country on January 7th. See:

Tuesday, December 20, 2005


Maria Luisa Tucker, AlterNet
As the holidays draw near, Women for Aryan Unity keeps busy sending Christmas cards to incarcerated white supremacists and raising money for needy Aryans.

Robert Parry, Consortium News
The New York Times doesn't have a good explanation for why it waited until after the 2004 election to print a devastating report against the White House.

Floor Speech by US Senator Robert Byrd

David Morris, AlterNet
From sperm to zygote to fetus to baby, isn't it time we brought some precision to the language of the reproductive rights debate?

Sarah Anderson, AlterNet
Executives at some companies with military contracts have increased their salaries by 200 percent since 9/11. It's time to close the loopholes that permit war profiteering.

Sean Gonsalves, Cape Cod Times

Doug Ireland, Direland
President Bush may find himself in deep trouble after ordering and defending illegal wiretaps of U.S. citizens -- a crime for which Richard Nixon was impeached.

Stephen Pizzo, News for Real
If Bush wants to know where domestic spying leads, he should read some of the millions of files the East German Stasi compiled on its own citizens.

By Rep. Dennis Kucinich, Truthdig
December 20, 2005

Robert Collier, Truthdig
A GOP-led proposal to allow oil drilling in the Arctic Refuge threatens not only one of North America's most beautiful wilderness areas but a way of life thousands of years old.

Rep. Dennis Kucinich Condemns Drilling In the Refuge

Laura Sheahen, Beliefnet
Activist and actor Susan Sarandon talks about 'hands-on spirituality,' why New York is her extended family and how to exercise your heart muscle by doing the right thing.

Kari Lydersen, The NewStandard
The fast-food giant tries to appease migrant farm workers while doing everything possible to keep its labor costs dirt-cheap.

CBC News

[Duchess Note – Those of you who still have your heads in the sand and continue to support one of the foulest regimes in history. WAKE UP! You are not being governed by a decent, honest president. You are being viciously ruled by Georgie the puppet king and the evil twin dictators Rove and Cheney. We must ALL stand together as Americans and tear down this regime. The terrorists are not abroad, they are here and living in DC. The country is not being run in our favor, but against us 100%. Who does it favor? Numerous corporations and the filthy rich. Neither of whom give a damn about the poor or middle class. So join with us peace-loving Americans and take back our country. If we don’t do it, no one else will.]

Did you hear Bush on Saturday? Did you see his speech on Sunday? When you stop and think about it, it's truly amazing. The president of the United States admitted that he had ordered our citizens to be spied upon, and said the illegal spying would continue. Meanwhile, the Pentagon admitted last week that it has been regularly spying on the anti-war movement, including many member groups of UFPJ.

The surveillance is an outright violation of our laws, but Bush defends his action in the name of fighting alleged -- but always unspecified -- terrorist threats.

Then, the next day, Bush said that things are going well in Iraq. Oh yes, the intelligence on which he led us into war was wrong, but that's not a problem. After all, Saddam Hussein was a tyrant and therefore -- again in the name of fighting terrorism -- it was right for our nation to wage war in Iraq. The twisted logic, the arrogance and abuse of power, and the shameless insistence that his administration has done nothing wrong is simply staggering. Spying, lying, torture, death and destruction. All with our tax dollars and in the name of "protecting" us!

The good news in all of this is that George W. Bush is being forced to take a defensive posture. He has to address his critics, implicitly acknowledging that while he may be staying the course in Iraq his support here at home is at all time lows. We, the movement for peace and justice that finds expression in every corner of the country, must take some credit for the recent, dramatic turn of events. The president and his cronies are very worried about the country's political mood.

You are part of this movement. You know how important the work of United for Peace and Justice is, and how vital it is that we strengthen our work. As we prepare for the year ahead we must ask for your financial support. In the coming months we will be offering local activists organizing materials to action around the Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday and the State of the Union address. We will be calling for a week of de-centralized actions - a full menu of educational and protest activities - on the 3rd anniversary of the war in March.

We will expand our legislative action network from the several hundred people already active in it to force that is large enough to make sure every single member of Congress hears from us. Please make a generous contribution to UFPJ today and help us to move forward with our plans for the 3rd anniversary actions and increase the pressure on the Bush administration and Congress. There are three easy ways to make a donation to support the peace and justice movement:

1. Become a sustainer or make a one-time donation using our secure online donation page.

2. If you prefer to donate by credit card over the phone, you can call our office at 212-868-5545.
3. You can also mail a check or money order to:

United for Peace and Justice
P.O. Box 607
Times Square Station
New York, NY 10108

We know you are as outraged and appalled by the Bush administration as we are. United for Peace and Justice is prepared to work just as hard in the coming months as we have for these past three years. None of our efforts would have been possible without your support, and so once again we turn to you for help. Please give now, and please give as generously as you possibly can. Thank you, so much.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Message From William Samuel At AFL-CIO - Stop Huge New Tax Breaks for the Rich
As our nation deals with the fallout of natural disasters, war and spiraling deficits, our leaders in Congress have made their top two priorities clear: huge new tax cuts targeted to the wealthy and devastating cuts to programs that help hard-working families get by. Voting mostly along party lines, the U.S. House of Representatives passed $56 billion in tax breaks last week that would go overwhelmingly to the wealthiest sliver of Americans. The Tax Policy Center estimates 84.2 percent of the cuts passed by the House would go to the top 20 percent of households by income.

But that's not all. The tax cuts come after the House passed $50 billion in cuts to services that struggling working families depend on, like Medicaid, student loans, child support enforcement and food stamps. These aren't the priorities of America's working families--and it's time our leaders of Congress knew that. Send a message to your representative and senators telling them you oppose cuts for working families and new tax breaks for the wealthy:

The voices of working families will make a difference in this important fight. Make sure your voice is heard today! Thank you for all that you do.

Message From Care2 & The PetitionSite Team - Tired of taxpayer-funded perks for big business? Fight back!

Why is it that the Republican-led Congress treats everyday like its Christmas for corporate lobbyists, while the average American only ever gets lumps of coal? Take action!

This time around, it's the credit card industry receiving all of the perks, while consumers are saddled with exorbitant late fees, escalating finance charges, and ever larger account balances as a result of making only the minimum monthly payment on their credit cards. Millions of Americans fall victim to deceptive credit card practices each year because such abuses are perfectly legal! What's worse, young people with low incomes and countless credit card offers are especially vulnerable to these predatory industry tactics. Send a letter:

Now there's something we can do about it. Congress is considering legislation that would put a stop to these abusive practices and empower consumers to get their finances under better control. If passed, this bill would improve disclosures related to artificially low "teaser" rates; explain to card-holders the financial impact of making just the minimum payment, prohibit late fees if the bill is postmarked on time, and much more. This holiday season; tell Congress it's time to enact badly needed reforms that protect consumers. Urge your legislators to pass the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility, and Disclosure Act:

THANKSGIVING IN CRAWFORD, TEXAS [Message from "Not In Our Name" Group]

While most folks gathered with family this Thanksgiving, others returned to Crawford, Texas to join Cindy Sheehan in her quest for real answers from George W. Bush for this unjust war and occupation. While Bush sped by in his limo, Crawford residents and visitors rallied at his porch. Gathered under a new Camp Casey large white tent, pitched next to the Secret Service check point, Cindy again asked, "for what noble cause?" Not in Our Name organizer and photographer Jeff Paterson once again shared his daily reports and photos from outside of the Bush vacation ranch.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005


NY Times Editorial

Colin Greer,
It is time for Democrats to realize that the future of progressive American politics lies at its vibrant grassroots.

Commentary by Monica Benderman

Dahr Jamail,
Why is the media not reporting crucial information about U.S. bombing runs in heavily-inhabited parts of Iraq?

Kat Aaron, Wakeup Call
In his last recorded interview, Stanley Tookie Williams said he hoped to be remembered as someone who underwent a redemptive transformation.

Helen Thomas, Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Janine Jackson, Peter Hart, Extra!
How does it look when the world's largest corporation pays the media for ads, then gets lots of good press from them?

Silja J.A. Talvi, In These Times
A new TV series ignores the reality that cold-hearted women who are out for themselves are only a tiny fraction of those doing time for murder.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

San Francisco Chronicle / December 2005
Mike Abkin, Palo Alto

Dear Editor -- Thank you so much for publishing Robert Koehler's Dec. 8 column about the Department of Peace. The House bill, HR3760, introduced by Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio, now has 62 co-sponsors, including Bay Area Reps. Lynn Woolsey, Barbara Lee, George Miller, Pete Stark, Mike Honda and Sam Farr.

Also, in order to demonstrate to representatives and senators that this legislation has broad community support as being of direct benefit at the local level, city councils and boards of supervisors are being asked to pass resolutions of endorsement. Ten so far have done so, including San Jose and Detroit. The resolution is on the Dec. 12 agenda of the Palo Alto City Council.

The U.S. campaign for a Department of Peace is a national grassroots effort, coordinated by the Peace Alliance (, and is active, as of now, in almost 300 congressional districts in every state of the union.

QUOTE OF THE DAY ... What is history but the story of how politicians have squandered the blood and treasure of the human race. Thomas Sowell

Timothy G. Bickford, Maine Army National Guard
December 12, 2005
Blethen Maine Newpapers/Morning Sentinel

Sunday, December 11, 2005


Maria Luisa Tucker, AlterNet
What happens if you refuse to surrender identification when authorities demand it? You may go to jail. Or, you may not.

Democracy Now!
Twenty-five years after John Lennon's assassination, a biographer discusses the musician's anti-war activism and the impact his death had on the world.

Mike Tidwell,
The Bush administration has given New Orleans a quiet kiss of death with its final Katrina budget package. Without the right federal help, rebuilding is a waste of time and resources.

Robert B. Reich,
When the tax cut battle is between the wealthy and super wealthy, it looks like both groups win. So, guess who's going to foot the bill.
[Duchess Note - The poor and middle classes are footing the bill, so those arrogant greedy rich buggers get to play in easy street. No more, fight back! The rich don't deserve a "free ticket". Power to the people - "we the people" deserve those breaks, not some asshole Mr. Millionaire.]

Norman Solomon, AlterNet
The media has barely mentioned Rumsfeld’s key role in aiding the Iraqi tyrant.

Stephen Pizzo, News for Real
Big Tobacco, Big Pharma and Big Energy are trying hard to convince us they really do care. And they do -- they care about keeping things exactly the way they are.

David Corn,
Ignoring Bush's recent claims of a healthy economy, his ill-advised foray into Iraq may well prove the beginning of the end of America's global influence.

G. Pascal Zachary, In These Times
For American corporations in China, staying in business often means collaborating in -- and sometimes assisting -- governmental repression of citizens.

Arianna Huffington, AlterNet
According to a secret memo leaked by a senior, fictional Clinton official, the worst is yet to come from Hillary.

Michael Schwartz,
Among those who oppose the war, there are lurking questions that haunt our discussions. Here are a few pointed answers.

Terrence McNally, AlterNet
In her new book about Abraham Lincoln, historian Doris Kearns Goodwin reveals the quality that makes a president great -- his capacity for empathy.


Please take a little time to go to this site and sign the petitions.

This is the time to remind our government that we expect them to be better. Working for Change is a great site. They are supporting Kyoto and the Climate Change issue as the top issue on this page, but very conveniently you can sign petitions to investigate Karl Rove, to bring the troops home, to defeat the Budget Bill, to tell Ford to stop its association with anti-gay groups and to close your wallet to Wal-Mart. Excellent seasonal greetings don't you think? If you click on all Actions you will see an impressive list. Scrolling down a bit will get you to "Support Health Care for All" which was their lead a few months back. Please be sure to sign that one too. We can't just stand by watching American businesses loosing ground in the global race because they have to cover healthcare (a burden which is causing them to take drastic steps like cutting pensions).

This White House stands between the American people and the truth. Despite growing public outcry for answers about Iraq, this administration continues to deny the Senate the documents necessary for a thorough investigation of pre-war intelligence. Every day more Americans ask questions about the war, and you and I have played an important role in this growing – and healthy -- awareness. Over the past few weeks, we've activated thousands of our fellow citizens through a simple document that calls for the White House to cooperate and release these documents. Now it's time to take our demands to the source. This coming week, a group from our community will hand-deliver a power petition to the White House gates. Fifty thousand names on hard copy is an impressive sight, and I promise to send you some pictures. This is the last chance to sign on, so tell anyone who may want to before it heads over to Pennsylvania Avenue:

We will not be silent while the White House asserts that Congress had access to the same pre-war intelligence it did. Key materials – including the Presidential Daily Briefs -- are still being withheld from the Senate's current investigation. Simple actions like this petition are how Americans reclaim the truth through democracy. Each of us has the responsibility of making sure our fellow Americans realize the truth about this war – and demand change. Thank you for your continued work.

Amazing Peace: A Christmas Poem
By Dr. Maya Angelou

Thunder rumbles in the mountain passes
And lightning rattles the eaves of our houses.
Flood waters await us in our avenues.

Snow falls upon snow, falls upon snow to avalanche
Over unprotected villages.
The sky slips low and grey and threatening.

We question ourselves.
What have we done to so affront nature?
We worry God. Are you there?
Are you there really? Does the covenant you made with us still hold?

Into this climate of fear and apprehension, Christmas enters,
Streaming lights of joy, ringing bells of hope
And singing carols of forgiveness high up in the bright air.
The world is encouraged to come away from rancor,
Come the way of friendship.

It is the Glad Season.
Thunder ebbs to silence and lightning sleeps quietly in the corner.
Flood waters recede into memory.
Snow becomes a yielding cushion to aid us
As we make our way to higher ground.

Hope is born again in the faces of children
It rides on the shoulders of our aged as they walk into their sunsets.
Hope spreads around the earth. Brightening all things,
Even hate which crouches breeding in dark corridors.

In our joy, we think we hear a whisper.
At first it is too soft. Then only half heard.
We listen carefully as it gathers strength.
We hear a sweetness.
The word is Peace.
It is loud now. It is louder.
Louder than the explosion of bombs.

We tremble at the sound. We are thrilled by its presence.
It is what we have hungered for.
Not just the absence of war. But, true Peace.
A harmony of spirit, a comfort of courtesies.
Security for our beloveds and their beloveds.

We clap hands and welcome the Peace of Christmas.
We beckon this good season to wait a while with us.
We, Baptist and Buddhist, Methodist and Muslim, say come.
Come and fill us and our world with your majesty.
We, the Jew and the Jainist, the Catholic and the Confucian,

Implore you, to stay a while with us.
So we may learn by your shimmering light
How to look beyond complexion and see community.

It is Christmas time, a halting of hate time.

On this platform of peace, we can create a language
To translate ourselves to ourselves and to each other.

At this Holy Instant, we celebrate the Birth of Jesus Christ
Into the great religions of the world.
We jubilate the precious advent of trust.
We shout with glorious tongues at the coming of hope.
All the earth's tribes loosen their voices
To celebrate the promise of Peace.

We, Angels and Mortal's, Believers and Non-Believers,
Look heavenward and speak the word aloud.
Peace. We look at our world and speak the word aloud.
Peace. We look at each other, then into ourselves
And we say without shyness or apology or hesitation.

Peace, My Brother.
Peace, My Sister.
Peace, My Soul.

Friday, December 09, 2005

On Tuesday, November 1st, I participated in the National Dept of Peace conference call. Featured guest speaker during the call was Minnesota Senator Mark Dayton [Democrat] and Lynn McMullen was the facilitator, plus Dot Maver. I’m always amazed and inspired by ALL the people, throughout the US, who participate in these calls month after month. This “peace movement” is a happening thing. Oh yeah! Topics of discussion, during the call, were we need to lobby City Councils to adopt legislation for the Dept of Peace campaign. Members [ie: Priscilla & Kevin] from our NYC contingent spoke up during the call. One of the inquiries was about the bills sub-committees and committees. The House would have to pass on ALL four committees. Mention of the following link … which David Rothenberg of WBAI is involved. Senator Dayton talked at length and said he’ll be sending a “special letter” to senators within a week about the Dept of Peace bill. This news was well received by everyone on the call. Lynn mentioned she’ll email this letter out to all on the emailing list, so that we can follow up with our own Senators over Thanksgiving and Xmas.

On Wednesday, November 2nd, the NYC Dept of Peace Steering Committee held its first meeting at a Starbucks on upper Eastside of Manhattan. It was attended by me, along with Carol, Karen and Hector. Lovely seeing everyone again and we had a most productive session. Discussions revolved around the fundraising letter timeline and appeal, plus bank account and mailing list creation.

On Friday, November 4th, I visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art after work to see two exhibits. [Museum is open until 8:30pm on Fridays.] I haven’t been to this wonderful museum in awhile and I just couldn’t miss an exhibit dealing with one of my favorite painters, Van Gogh. The Van Gogh exhibit is a brilliant display of drawing/sketching/paintings. The progress and development of his work, over the years, is quite evident. Plus he even utilized watercolors, which was of special interest to me. [The exhibit may still be viewed until end of December.] The other exhibit I viewed was a fine showing of 14th Century art/gems/sculpture/religious work from the European city of Prague. An exhibit of work that really takes your breath away in the use of gems, gold and fantastic detail, especially in their illustrated bibles. [This exhibit is also on view thru end of December.]

On Sunday, November 6th, I watched the NYC Marathon [2 blocks from my apartment] as the runners passed thru my neighborhood in northern Brooklyn. The day was cool, sunny and abit windy. Those that garnered the biggest cheers of support are the disabled with Achilles Track Club. Wish I had made up sign [Democrats Support DoP] to flash at that worm Bloomberg, but sadly did not. So, instead, I glared at the jerk in his fancy convertible and quickly turned my back on him. Yeah baby, the cold shoulder treatment. I don’t loath him as much I do Rudy Guliani. Damn tyrant! Two days later, on Election Day, I voted for Democrats, Greens, Progressives and even an Independent. Unfortunately, we’re stuck with Bloomberg for another four years. Barf!!

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Invest Your Money In Peace ... Why Become a Peace Alliance / Dept of Peace Partner?
No great social achievement — from women’s suffrage to civil rights — has succeeded without the support of citizens willing to fund the dream into action. The Peace Alliance is turning a minimum of dollars into a maximum effect. By making simple regular monthly (or quarterly) contributions through your credit or debit card, you help ensure that we have a stable, predictable income stream to fund our many needs. As you make the commitment to be a Peace Alliance Partner, you are joining our sustaining stewardship program.

Think about it, if just one thousand people sign up to regularly donate $15, $20, $30, $50 or any other amount each month (the price of a just a few lattes from Starbucks!), then we will be able to fully accomplish all the tasks at hand for the upcoming year.

Your funds will go directly toward manifesting our national strategy for 2006, including further professional training of our Congressional District and State Coordinator volunteers (already working in over 300 congressional districts in all 50 states around the nation!), lobbying members of congress to support this legislation, increasing outreach to university and college campuses, coordinating a national media campaign, and providing funds to establish our projected new offices in New York and Washington D.C., and this is just a short list of what we want to accomplish in the next year!

We are inviting everyone to participate in this campaign to create a broader foundation for the expansion of our work and the realization of a culture of nonviolence. Our goal is 1000 Peace Alliance Partners by Mothers Day 2006, with 500 by the end of January (in time for our State Coordinators retreat in San Diego). If you are already a monthly donor, please consider increasing your donation; if you are not already a donor, please become one now. We also gratefully accept one-time donations.

Help make this historic legislation into the law of the land -- what a gift to give for generations to come. Our thermometer will be posted on our homepage to keep you up to speed on the progress of this fundraising campaign. We hope you will join us. We simply cannot do it without you. Thank you for your support!

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Important Message From NARAL Pro-Choice America - Stop Alito!
New evidence shows that Alito devised legal strategies to dismantle and eventually overturn Roe v. Wade. He has even written that "the Constitution does not protect a right to an abortion." His legal philosophy can't be clearer. Now it's up to us to send an equally clear, strong response. You can do just that by signing our Stop Alito Petition before 5pm EST this Friday.

Click here:

To convince enough senators that Alito is wrong for our country, we are setting a goal of gathering 500,000 petition signatures to deliver to the Senate. You can help us meet our goal by signing the petition online today:

The far-right knows Alito is their ticket to overturning Roe v. Wade so they're pulling out all the stops. We MUST fight back with equal force. The response to our National Stop Alito Petition Drive has already been overwhelming - we know we can count on you in this, the home stretch, to help us reach our goal and Stop Alito.


Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Richard Reeves, Yahoo News

QUOTE OF THE DAY ... All history is little else than a long succession of useless cruelties. Voltaire

is slashing 171 people from its staff, despite large corporate profits. This means watered-down coverage of local news in the Long Island and New York City area. Politicians and corporations who should be held accountable by vigilant watchdog journalism will instead be covered by a staff that is stretched too thin.

Equally outrageous, New Yorkers are being kept in the dark about why these cuts are really happening. Despite reaping huge profits, Newsday's corporate owners in Chicago simply aren't satisfied—they want more, and they are willing to sacrifice good journalism to get it. Instead of stating this, Newsday's publisher makes veiled references to how "our 2006 goals" require finding "areas where work could be done differently or stopped altogether."

Newsday's corporate owners think they can get away with this because nobody is paying attention. But we're starting a petition to show the strong public opposition to these cuts. MoveOn Media Action is a campaign empowering regular people to fight back when news outlets abandon their journalistic duty to be a vigilant watchdog for the public.

Please sign the petition to Newsday and its corporate owners demanding they reverse the newspaper staff cuts by clicking here:

After you sign the petition, please forward this message to your friends, neighbors, and co-workers who read Newsday.

The Tribune Company is forcing many of its newspapers around the country to slash their staff. Over 550 staff cuts at eight papers have been announced this year—with nearly a third of them at Newsday alone. As a result of these cuts, two Newsday editors who helped guide Pulitzer Prize winning coverage were fired this year. One of Newsday's most celebrated reporters, Pulitzer Prize winner Laurie Garrett, resigned in March. Her exit memo to colleagues describes the priorities of the paper's corporate owners:

They serve their stockholders first, Wall Street second and somewhere far down the list comes service to newspaper readerships. In 1996 I personally confronted [top Newsday executive Mark] Willes on that point, and he publicly confirmed that the new regime was one in which even the number of newspapers sold was irrelevant, so long as stock returns continued to rise. All across America news organizations have been devoured by massive corporations, and allegiance to stockholders, the drive for higher share prices, and push for larger dividend returns trumps everything that the grunts in the newsrooms consider their missions.

This issue is increasingly in the news. On CNN, media reporter Howard Kurtz addressed such staff cuts and asked, "Does this mean the papers are losing money? Don't be naive. It means their double-digit profit margins aren't high enough to satisfy Wall Street."

A former official at the Los Angeles Times, also owned by the Tribune Company, summarized the corporate owners' disregard for the quality of the paper's reporting as follows: "You've no idea how fast these folks are strip-mining the place. They care nothing for journalism."

We must defend the reporters and editors who produce the paper each day but cannot speak out against their corporate owners and managers. We can fight these news cuts by forcing Newsday's corporate owners in Chicago to pay attention to the readers they are supposed to be serving in New York. Please sign the petition to stop the news cuts at Newsday, and pass it along to others you know:

The History of Legislation to Create a United States Department of Peace
• 1792 Benjamin Banneker, noted African-American scientist, surveyor, and editor, and Benjamin Rush, doctor, educator and signer of the Declaration of Independence, suggested the blue print for an Office of Peace.
• 1935, 1937, and 1939, Senator Matthew Neely of West Virginia introduced bills calling for a Department of Peace.
• 1943 Senator Alexander Wiley of Wisconsin spoke on the Senate floor calling for the United States of America to be the first government on the world to have a Secretary of Peace.
• 1945 Representative Louis Ludlow of Indiana introduced a bill that would establish a Department of Peace.
• 1947 Representative Everett Dirkson of Illinois introduced a bill for “A Peace Division in the State Department”.
• 1955-1968 Eighty-five bills calling for a Department of Peace were introduced in the House or the Senate.
• 1969 Senator Vance Hartke of Indiana and Representative Seymour Halpern of New York introduced legislation in the House of Representatives and the Senate to create a Department of Peace .
• 2001 and 2003 Representative Dennis Kucinich of Ohio introduced legislation to create a Department of Peace.
• September 2005 Representative Dennis Kucinich of Ohio and Senator Mark Dayton of Minnesota introduced legislation in the House of Representatives and the Senate to create a Department of Peace and Nonviolence.

Peace Movement Rallies As War Support Erodes
Doug Pibel, Yes!

Department of Peace & Nonviolence
Leslie Eilel & Dough Pibel, Yes!

Monday, December 05, 2005

An Urgent Appeal From "Democracy Rising" - Please Release Our Fellow Peace Activists in Iraq

Please join Ralph Nader and Kevin Zeese in signing the petition below at:

Four members of Christian Peacemaker Teams were taken on Saturday, November 26, in Baghdad, Iraq. They are not spies, nor do they work in the service of any government. They are people who have dedicated their lives to fighting against war and have clearly and publicly opposed the invasion and occupation of Iraq. They are people of faith, but they are not missionaries. They have deep respect for the Islamic faith and for the right of Iraqis to self-determination. Read more:

Please help support the work of Democracy Rising. Make a donation today:

QUOTE OF THE DAY - One who uses coercion is quilty of deliberate violence. Coercion is inhuman. Gandhi

The Case For Immediate Withdrawal of American Troops From Iraq Continues. .
Linda Zoblotsky, Peace Journal


WHAT: RESISTANCE CINEMA presents "The Yes Men" [2003]
Directed by Dan Ollman and Sarah Price
WHEN: Sunday Dec. 11th at 1:15pm
WHERE: Community Church of NYC 40 East 35th Street @ Park Avenue
ADMISSION: Free, donations appreciated

The Yes Men is a documentary about the stunts and antics of a group of anti-economic liberalization activists who have made a unique habit of impersonating the WTO and other right-wing organizations (including the George W. Bush presidential campaign) in talks and national media spots. They try to get noticed by the overblown repugnance of the right-wing plans they suggest for the world's poor. If Jonathan Swift's "A Modest Proposal" was a satirical short story about the rich literally devouring the impoverished, these guys are the long running Broadway adaptation.

RESISTANCE CINEMA is brought to you by the Education Committee of Not In Our Name

Friday, December 02, 2005

IMPORTANT MESSAGE From NARAL Pro-Choice - Alito Exposed
Explosive new evidence confirms it: Samuel Alito is a man with an agenda. Yesterday, the National Archives released a memo that exposed Samuel Alito for what he really is: not just a Supreme Court nominee with anti-choice views -- but someone who has been a key architect of anti-choice legal strategy to undermine and eventually overturn Roe v. Wade. We MUST not let this disturbing revelation go unanswered. Please, make an emergency gift today to help us fight the nomination of Samuel Alito:

This bomb dropped on the very day the Supreme Court heard the landmark case Ayotte v. Planned Parenthood of New England. The irony was not lost on us -- Ayotte is a case that could eliminate core principles of Roe v. Wade without actually overturning the decision and this is precisely the anti-choice strategy Alito proposes in the memo unveiled yesterday. Here are Alito's own words, taken directly from the newly released memo. In it Alito, who at the time worked in the Solicitor General's office, recommends that the Reagan administration file an amicus brief in abortion cases that were to be heard by the Supreme Court at the time, in particular Thornburgh v. ACOG:

" one seriously believes that the Court is about to overrule Roe v. Wade... But the Court's decision to review these cases nevertheless may be a positive sign." -- Samuel Alito

"What can be made of this opportunity to advance the goals of bringing about the eventual overruling of Roe v. Wade and, in the meantime, of mitigating its effects?" -- Samuel Alito

"I find this approach preferable to a frontal assault on Roe v. Wade. It has most of the advantages of a brief devoted to the overruling of Roe v. Wade... At the same time, it is free of many of the disadvantages that would accompany a major effort to overturn Roe." -- Samuel Alito

And this is the man George Bush wants to replace moderate Sandra Day O'Connor on the Supreme Court. This is not a fight we can afford to lose. With your urgent support, here's what we plan to do:

1] Work with senators to oppose Alito's nomination.
2] Conduct a massive online outreach campaign.
3] Activate over 30,000 "Rapid Responders" to lead the fight at the grassroots level.
4] Empower our 27 state affiliates.
5] Mobilize more than 2 million NARAL Pro-Choice America members and activists.

This breaking news confirms all of our worst suspicions about Samuel Alito. Over the next two months we have an opportunity, a responsibility to fight this nomination. Join us in this fight...if it's not now, when? - If it's not you, who? Your urgent support is needed today:

Message From UFPJ Action Alerts - Bush: Desperate and Defensive
Can you feel it? The winds are shifting. President Bush's highly publicized speech today was nothing but a feeble and desperate attempt to defend the war by an administration on the run. The growing public call for immediate withdrawal from Iraq has led Bush to outline a "strategy for victory" in Iraq -- where the insurgency grows ever stronger and attacks on U.S. troops are more frequent and more lethal. And last weekend in Cairo, an unprecedented alliance of 100 Sunni, Shiite and Kurdish leaders, representing virtually all of Iraq's political factions, issued a joint statement calling for an end to the U.S occupation. It's no wonder Bush delivered his speech at the U.S. Naval Academy - any audience more representative of the U.S. public would have laughed him, and his "plan for victory," off the stage.

Three years ago, when the Bush Administration led us into this disastrous war, we stood with millions around the world saying NO. We said that the war was unjustified, based on lies, and fundamentally unwinnable. We were right. Today, as we listen to the same president telling us that things are moving in the right direction and we need to stay the course, we can hardly believe the degree of arrogance and self-delusion. The good news is that more and more people are speaking out against this war. New voices are being heard in Congress, mainstream media outlets are asking questions, and even military people are saying it is time to end the war. And in an amazing poll done by Elon University, only 19% of active military personnel, reservists and veterans in North Carolina (home to major military bases) said the war in Iraq was "worth fighting" in the first place!

As we keep the pressure on the Bush administration we need to expand our efforts aimed at Congress. They are on recess right now and many members are in their home districts. Stop by their offices and let them know what you think. More than $200 billion of our tax dollars have already been squandered and it's time for our representatives to take action to stop the war in Iraq and bring the troops home. Next Tuesday, Dec. 6th, Congress re-convenes in Washington, DC. United for Peace and Justice, working with Win Without War, is organizing what we hope will be the largest Congressional Call-In Day in this country's history. We want to make sure that the Washington, DC offices of every senator and representative get an avalanche of phone calls and email and faxes that day. We will send you another notice with the details of this call-in day. You can visit our website now at URL TK to download and distribute leaflets promoting this important day of action.

Finally, at this critical juncture on our work, we must again ask for your financial support. If each of you took a moment right now to donate $10 to UFPJ ( we would raise enough money to cover our expenses for the coming year! Whatever you can do, please help to ensure that we are as strong as we can be at this moment. Your donations make it possible for us to do this work, and we need your help now. The Bush Administration is desperate and defensive - but every day, U.S. soldiers and Iraqis are still dying for this terrible mistake. Now is the time to redouble our efforts to bring all our troops home -- immediately.

In a speech Wednesday, President Bush tried to answer the majority of Americans who believe we need to change course in Iraq. But he offered no plans to bring troops home--just flashy public relations. Bush's public relations push comes at a tipping point in the Iraq debate. A majority of Americans want troops home in 2006 and former supporters of the war in Congress like Rep. John P. Murtha (D-PA) agree. Members of Congress are changing and examining their position on Iraq right now. It is critical that they hear from all of us. For the next two weeks we're circulating a petition calling on Congress to insist on an exit strategy to bring the troops home in 2006. Will you sign? Click at:

We're planning a nation-wide round of deliveries two weeks from now, when MoveOn members will deliver local petition signatures to Congress people across the country. The more people who sign, the more clear the message will be: we expect Congress to act.

Members of Congress are trying to figure out whether the national concern about the war is reflected in their home district. And things are changing fast: just in the last weeks, Senators Obama, Clinton, and Biden have indicated that they're more open to a quicker exit strategy. A strong showing of support for a plan to bring the troops home will send an important message that our representatives need to do their job. It hasn't always been clear over the last two years when Congressional leaders might come around on Iraq. But this might be that moment. Two thirds of Americans want a plan to bring the troops home and, as Congressman John Murtha and a growing group of military generals argue, that is the best course we have. That is why signing the petition is so important.

Two weeks ago Congressman Murtha, a long-time supporter of the war, kick-started a debate on Iraq by proposing a plan to bring our troops home from Iraq starting immediately and taking about six months. Rep. Murtha's case is simple.

1] U.S. troop presence is driving the insurgency, making things worse. Iraq can't stabilize with U.S. troops there.
2] Iraqis want us to leave--more than 80% of Iraqis in one survey.
3] The war in Iraq is making America less safe--hurting our preparedness and global alliances.
4] The challenges that remain in Iraq can only be resolved politically—not with the military.

We need to push our elected leaders to stand firm and insist on a real plan to bring the troops home--a responsible exit strategy with a timeline that starts now and brings the troops home in 2006. Please sign our petition so we can deliver it to representatives before they leave for the holiday break. Ask your friends, family and colleagues to sign:

Patrick Henry Center Supports Lt. Colonel Tony Shaffer
Wednesday November 30, 3:28 pm ET

WASHINGTON, Nov. 30 /PRNewswire/ -- As of November 30, 2005 Gary Aldrich, President of the Patrick Henry Center (PHC) has taken Lt. Colonel Tony Shaffer of the Defense Intelligence Agency Operation Able Danger into the PHC WhistleBlower program. "We have agreed to help protect Shaffer," Aldrich explained.

"The Patrick Henry Center is helping Shaffer because he spoke up" (about government incompetence), Aldrich said. As a result of Shaffer asking the Federal 9/11 Commission to consider the Able Danger intelligence information on Mohamed Atta "his job and security clearance have been revoked," Aldrich observed. Shaffer has been on forced administrative leave from the DIA, but on November 14, 2005 the DIA stopped paying income and benefits to him. Shaffer was formerly an undercover intelligence officer for the DIA. He chose to publicly disclose his identity in August of 2005 so, that he could address the misuse of the Able Danger intelligence gathered on the Brooklyn, New York cell of Al Qaeda before 9/11.

The Patrick Henry Center has hired Washington, DC attorney Michael A. Carvin to represent Shaffer as Congress continues to look into this situation. The WhistleBlower program is designed specifically to help people like Shaffer. "No Whistleblower should ever be worse off for telling the truth," Aldrich said. For more information on The Patrick Henry Center visit:

The Patrick Henry Center is a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit, non-partisan organization located in Fairfax, VA and is supported by private tax-deductible donations. For more information about The Patrick Henry Center please visit:

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Bush’s Iraq “Victory” Plan About As Realistic As Iraq’s WMD ... More “Stay The Course” Rhetoric Not A Plan—It’s Political Cover
Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich
Washington, November 30th

Congressman Dennis J. Kucinich (D-OH) issued the following statement today following the President’s speech latest “major” address on Iraq: “What we heard today from the President is not a plan. It is simply more of the same failed logic, failed policy and failed rhetoric that misled this nation into war, and keeps us there. “The President’s claim to a have a 'victory strategy' is about as accurate and truthful as his claims that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. “Today’s speech by the President was nothing more than political rhetoric meant to halt his free falling poll numbers. Our troops and their family and loved ones at home deserve more than politics as usual from the President. They deserve a real and concrete plan to bring our troops home. Today the President failed to provide such a plan. “The President must be honest with the American people. Things are going badly in Iraq, and our presence as an occupying force is counterproductive. “Instead of campaign style speeches, the President’s time would be better spent, doing what a majority of the American people want him to do, planning to bring our troops home and ending the war in Iraq.”