Wednesday, June 14, 2006

On Wednesday, May 24th, I participated in the monthly PDA meeting at 7pm in Manhattan. It was a great meeting and we got to hear the Granny Peace Brigade speak out against the occupation in Iraq. The main speaker was Joan Wile who is a perky 74 year old granny. The oldest at the meeting that evening was Molly at 87. These ladies are feisty and will do whatever it takes to get the word out on the continuous lies of the evil Bush Regime. They also mentioned the group "Grandmothers Against the War" and "Raging Grannies". They started out with a small rally in November 2003 and it’s grown over last three years. The grannies hold weekly vigils at Rockefeller Plaza and will be hosting a "walking tour" between NYC and DC. It'll start on June 24th and end on July 4th. These are marvelous women and greatly admired by those of us in the liberal, progressive and democrat movements. Other topics of discussion at the PDA [Progressive Democrats of America] meeting were on the voting system. Must get our city council members to vote for RES 131 (PBOS) and RES 228. And a young lady from UFPJ spoke out regarding legislation in the House and Senate on Iraq/Iran. UFPJ along with PDA members met with one of Hillary Clintons assistants in DC and outcome was disappointing. [A website to check out is ... which actor Sean Penn belongs too.] DPAC group may endorse Tasini and I need to look into joining that group too. The evening was rounded out by getting into our PDA Chapters for discussions. The chapters are set according to district and I'm in 12. So far there are about 5 in our chapter and we'll organize monthly meetings to discuss or strategize important issues. Overall it was a productive evening.

E&Y offices were closed on May 26th and 29th for the Memorial Day holiday weekend. That Friday morning I had some subway troubles and arrived at Port Authority at 8:15am. There was already a long line for the Albany bus. The buses don't leave until 8:30am and they were running late that morning. As the line moves forward some Trailways official says there are NO buses until 10:15am. Four had already taken passengers and left. Those of us still on line with tickets for an 8:30am bus were extremely pissed off. Two fellas standing behind me go in search of Trailways customer service demanding answers and a bus. I'm like upset and pissed off, because Dad was to meet me at 11am. Damn! One of the ladies on the line had a cell phone and she kindly let me borrow, so as to make a quick call to my parents. Explained situation to Dad and said to pick me up at 1pm. We did finally get a bus, but didn't leave until 10:05am and then hit a damn parking lot on highway in NJ. Well, we did finally get to Albany at 1pm, due to the speedy driving skills of our driver. Amen! Rest of the weekend I worked on creating bead style earrings to sell, reading, watch a Sherlock Holmes marathon on SPIKE TV, hair appointment, shopping, working in garden, dine out and took Mom to see "The DaVinci Code" at the cinema. She loved it! Felt good to get away, not have to deal with toxic relatives and relax.

On Tuesday, May 30th, had an appointment with Dr Raoff, my lung specialist in Brooklyn. They examined me abit more and said my lungs sound clear. The other tests I took all came back negative and the MAI in my right lung is decreasing and not increasing. This is all wonderful news! I'll always have the Asthma and utilize inhalers, which is okay by me. Dr Raoff said I don't need to see him anymore unless my condition gets worse. Hopefully that won't happen for a very long time or not at all.

Article by Robert C. Koehler, Tribune Media Services
"The bomb makers are also liars. Think about this for a moment, especially those of you with Strangelovian sympathies, who regard WMD capability — and a reckless willingness to use that capability — as crucial to U.S. security. Building and testing a nuclear arsenal is guaranteed to destroy the health — to kill — many of our own citizens. The government has decided this domestic price is worth it, but lies to those it has written off as expendable. This combination of ruthlessness and cowardice is what characterizes the "security state," and to my mind its ascendancy can only diminish real national security."

On Thursday evening, June 1st, the New Yorkers for a Dept of Peace team worked on the "100 Years of Non-Violence" Gandhi & Sept 11th event via a one-hour conference call. [Check out our website on this event at ...] The project is progressing very nicely and we have connected with Arun Gandhi; amongst others in film, peace groups, media, etc. One of the tasks I've been assigned is working on detailed spreadsheets for contacts related to the project. Actually, I handle several of the spreadsheets on other DoP topics, plus input info onto our NY-DoP website. It’s a pleasure, honor and inspiration to be working with this talented group of individuals on a worthy campaign.

Peace is Patriotic! Dissent protects Democracy!

Went to the movies on Saturday, June 3rd, with Linda and Phyllis in the NoHo section of Manhattan. I met them at Sunshine Cinema to see "The War Tapes". It was interesting seeing what some of our soldiers lives are like before, during and after Iraq. There was some film footage of dead Iraqi that was very upsetting. Not only to me, but to others in the sold-out audience. Overall my friends and I weren't "overly moved" by the film. Our overall opinion was this National Guard division from New Hampshire behaved more like college frat boys in the desert with humvees and guns. I'm not saying it’s a cakewalk in being a soldier, not at all. The psychological upheaval any soldier goes through is overwhelming. Basically three different soldiers within the NG division were given digital cameras to film their daily lives for one year [ie: Feb 2004 to March 2005]. Plus the lives of loved ones at home. I first heard about this documentary via Air America radio and was intrigued. I've heard it received mixed reviews.

SHAKESPEAREAN QUOTE OF THE DAY ... Through tatter'd clothes small vices do appear; Robes and furr'd gowns hide all. King Lear, Act IV, Sc VI

Peace Activists at Hillary Clinton's Speech Try to Take Back "Take Back America"
By Medea Benjamin

[DUCHESS NOTE – Read Iddybud’s comments regarding this article and it’ll make you think. After her commentary is a link to “Voters for Peace” sponsored by Cindy Sheehan.
The GOP and DNC are both utilizing suppression tactics against dissenters and other voters around the US. BTW … Iddybud is a terrific blog and link can be found in left-hand column. Ms Benjamin’s article is below. We The People want peace, truth and justice.]

The Take Back America conference, an annual event held in Washington DC this year from June 12-14, is supposed to be a venue for prominent progressives to gather and debate the major issues of our day. Their aim is to "provide the nation with new vision, new ideas and new energy." But choosing New York Senator and probable presidential candidate Hillary Clinton as a keynote speaker and then stifling dissent against her pro-war position hardly seems the stuff of a new vision for America. The peace group CODEPINK is widely known for bringing its anti-war message to the halls of power, including inside the Republican National Convention and at President Bush's Inauguration. But it has also targeted Democrats such as Hillary Clinton who support the war. "We have a campaign called Birddog Hillary," says CODEPINK's New York coordinator Nancy Kricorian. "We follow her around the entire state asking her to listen to the voices of her constituents and stop her support of Bush's 'stay the course' policy in Iraq. So far, she hasn't been listening."

Fearing that CODEPINK would openly confront Clinton on her pro-war policy, the organizers of Take Back America entered into negotiations with CODEPINK a few days before the conference. "We had lengthy discussions where they pleaded with us not to protest during her keynote breakfast address," explained Gael Murphy, one of the cofounders of CODEPINK. "Instead, we were told that we could distribute flyers explaining Hillary's pro-war position to the crowd inside and outside the hotel, and we would be called on to ask her the first question after the speech. We agreed." However, when CODEPINK showed up on Tuesday morning in advance of Clinton's speech, the security guards refused to allow them to pass out flyers, even outside the hotel. "Take Back America violated the agreement from the moment we arrived," said Ms. Murphy. "Even though we had a table inside the conference, burly security guards blocked us and informed us that it was a private event that we were not welcome, and they escorted us out of the building. We telephoned the conference staff who then told us that we couldn't enter the hotel, couldn't leaflet the event, the hallways-anywhere. They went back on their word and tried to quash even peaceful, respectful dissent."

A few CODEPINK women did manage to get inside the breakfast, however, as they were legitimate ticket holders. Once inside, the CODEPINK women soon realized that they had been deceived about the second part of the agreement: They would not be allowed to ask the first question, or any question, because Hillary Clinton would not be fielding questions from the audience. "We were really upset that we had been lied to by Take Back America, and that there would be no space at this 'progressive conference' to have a dialogue with Hillary Clinton about the most critical issue of our time-the war in Iraq," said Katie Heald, DC coordinator for CODEPINK. "We got up on our chairs holding up our hands with the peace sign, and were pulled down from the chairs. We tried to take out our banner that said "Listen Hillary: Stop Supporting the War" and it was grabbed from us. And when Hillary started talking about her Iraq strategy, criticizing Bush but not posing a solution, we shouted 'What are YOU going to do to get us out of Iraq,' but she ignored us."

Ann Wright, the army colonel and diplomat who resigned over the war, was appalled by the actions of the conference organizers. "They took away leaflets supporting Jonathan Tasini, the anti-war Democrat who is running against Clinton in New York. They searched people's bags for banners; they even took away an 'Impeach Bush' banner from Veterans for Peace. Free speech needs to be upheld by progressives and trying to curtail dissent undercuts the whole purpose of this conference," said Wright. Many of the attendees agreed with the position of the protesters, and as Hillary Clinton left the podium, they joined in chanting "Bring the troops home; Stop the war now." The next speakers, Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi and Senator John Kerry, got thunderous applause when they called for the troops to come home. "We were amazed to discover that the organizers of Take Back America treat dissent the same way that the organizers at a Bush rally do," said Ms. Murphy. "Most progressives do not support Hillary Clinton, and stifling our legitimate, heartfelt opposition to her pro-war position is an outrage. I guess we have to take back 'Take Back America.'"

Medea Benjamin is the cofounder of CODEPINK: Women for Peace and Global Exchange. For Hillary Clinton's position on the war, go to:


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