Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Corporate America Hearts Obama
Chris Hedges, Truthdig
The corporate state is our shadow government. Candidates who aspire to higher office get corporate money if they promote corporate interests. They are shut out of the national debate -- look at Dennis Kucinich and Ralph Nader -- if they do not. Defy the corporate state and you get handed a ticket to oblivion. You become invisible. Work for it and you are showered with tens of millions of dollars and the possibility of political power.

Barack Obama's campaign message, filled with lofty promises of change and hope, is also filled with repeated reassurances to the corporate elite. Pick up a copy of Obama's book "The Audacity of Hope." The subtext is clear. It is a steady reminder to corporate America, a reminder bolstered by Obama's voting record that corporations would have nothing to fear from an Obama presidency.

The corporations have gotten the message. The same Beltway lobbyists, corporate donors and public relations firms, the same weapons manufacturers, defense contractors, nuclear power companies and Wall Street interests that give Clinton and John McCain money, give Obama money. They happen, in fact, to give Obama more. And the corporate state, which is carrying out a coup d'état in slow motion, believes it will prosper in Obama's hands. If not, he would not be a viable candidate. We have come full circle, back to the age of the robber barons and railroad magnates of the late 19th century who selected members of corrupt state assemblies to be their pliable senators and congressmen and sent them off to Washington to do their bidding.

[Duchess Note: Corporations love Obama and if change happens it’ll be in their favor, not in favor of millions of poor/middle class Americans. Many corporations, like GE, want to keep the occupation of Iraq on the agenda and Obama will obey them, not us. Corporations have been the “shadow government” for decades. For them its about supreme imperialism and not democracy. Their lobbyists control many in congress and the senate. If we want real change, its time to take down these corporations and their lobbyists, as well as vote out those in DC who willing take their bribes. Plus vote out those at state levels who also take the bribes of corporate lobbyists. We need true, sincere progressives in DC like Dennis Kucinich and Cynthia McKinney. They are there for us, the American people.]

Monday, April 28, 2008

You Can Help Make Violence Reduction and Prevention a National Priority - Stand for Peace in Congress
Sign the Petition at Congress is a reactive body. We must come together to make our voices heard and tell our representatives in Washington that violence reduction and prevention must be a top priority. Sign the petition and let Congress know that you stand for peace. Ask your friends to sign the petition as well.

“Democracy In Action” will deliver the petition to Congress on September 11, 2008 to: Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, House Minority Leader John Boehner, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

• A 2004 World Health Organization report estimated the cost of interpersonal violence in the U.S. at more than $300 billion per year--excluding war-related costs. The cost to victims was estimated at more than $500 billion per year.[ The Economic Dimensions of Interpersonal Violence, World Health Organization, 2004 ]

National Peace Academy Initiative Launched!
Over 30 people from around the world attended a two-day National Peace Academy Vision Meeting earlier this week at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. In a process of Appreciative Inquiry, led by Case’s David Cooperrider, the group enthusiastically bonded in launching a design process for a National Peace Academy in the United States. The group:

1. Decided to convene a Global Stakeholder Summit in March 2009, which will bring together 300-500 people to carry forward the design process (exact dates and locale yet to be determined)

2. Decided that Peace Partnership International, the Biosophical Institute, and the Business as an Agent of World Benefit at Case Western University’s Weatherhead School of Management will constitute a consortium to carry the process forward, with Peace Partnership International and Biosophical Institute serving as secretariat for the effort

3. Established teams that will carry out research, planning and organizing activities preparatory to the Global Stakeholder Summit

4. Reserved URLs to establish a National Peace Academy website

[Duchess Note: Stay tuned for more details to come! I'm a board member and active volunteer with "New Yorkers for a Dept of Peace" chapter and campaign. Read more about DoP HR808 legislation at our website ... ]

Friday, April 25, 2008


Press Release – Kucinich Passes Amendment to Protect Ohio’s Beaches

Longshoremen will Close West Coast Ports on May 1 to Protest War
Dan Bacher
The Port Workers May Day Organizing Committee yesterday announced that Cynthia McKinney, former Congresswoman from Georgia; Danny Glover, renowned actor and political activist; and Cindy Sheehan, Gold Star mother whose son Casey was killed in Iraq four years ago, will be among the featured speakers at the "No Peace, No Work" Holiday mobilization in San Francisco on May 1st.

The Popular Vote Fallacy
Excellent presentation of facts. It will be very hard for Clinton or Obama to win the National Election. Clinton can't win enough votes in the Border South, Deep South, Midwest Plains (Obama has won 7 Midwest states already), or Mountain States. Obama has a much better chance of winning in those states then Clinton. So, without each other, it's unlikely that a Democrat will win the Whitehouse."

[Duchess Note: Cheers to Linda in TX for her continued work in activism and sharing interesting articles with the Duchess blog.]

Thursday, April 24, 2008


Outspoken War Critic Poised for Green Party Run
Matthew Cardinale, Inter Press Service

[Duchess Note – Cynthia McKinney definitely has my support and vote this November in the General Elections. If I voted for the Democrat nominee in November, well, my conscious will not be at ease and I refuse to support corporate imperialism. Greens all the way!]

Clinton Threatens to ‘Obliterate’ Iran
Robert Scheer,
On primary election day in Pennsylvania, even with polls showing her well ahead in that state, Hillary went lower in her grab for votes. Seizing upon a question as to how she would respond to a nuclear attack by Iran, which doesn’t have nuclear weapons, on Israel, which does, Hillary mocked reasoned discourse by promising to “totally obliterate them,” in an apparent reference to the population of Iran. That is not a word gaffe; it is an assertion of the right of our nation to commit genocide on an unprecedented scale. Shouldn’t the potential leader of a nation that used nuclear bombs to obliterate hundreds of thousands of innocent Japanese employ extreme caution before making such a threat? Neither the Japanese then nor the Iranian people now were in a position to hold their leaders accountable, and to approve such collective punishment of innocents is to endorse terrorism. This from a candidate who attacked her opponent for suggesting targeted strikes against militants in Pakistan and derided his openness to negotiations with other national leaders as an irresponsible commitment on the part of a contender for the presidency.

[Duchess Note – Insane talk from a person/candidate I’ve never liked nor trusted since the early 1990s. How dare she say such things! Iran and Iraq never had nuclear weapons, whereas the US and Israel have MANY. Iran and Iraq are NOT a threat it’s the other way around.]

Global Marshall Plan Endorsement
The Network of Spiritual Progressives

Corporate Reporters Tell Lies for a Living
Glen Ford, Black Agenda Report

[Duchess Note – Many thanks to Linda in TX and Judith in NY for their contributions.]

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

March 21st through March 23rd, I visited my parents in upstate NY for the Easter holiday weekend.

On Tuesday evening, March 25th, after my foot doctor appointment, I joined several activist acquaintances in Union Square for the candlelight vigil. The 4000th US soldier was killed in Iraq the day before and we were out there to mourn ALL the soldiers. Despite the cool, windy temps there was a good turnout for the event; which was organized by CodePink, Brooklyn Parents for Peace and UFPJ. Afterwards Linda G and I went to Starbucks for a warm drink and discuss latest events.

Wednesday evening, March 26th, I participated in the monthly National DoP District Team Leader conference call at 9pm.

On Thursday, March 27th, after work, I attended an Isagenix event in Manhattan with my friend Cielito. She invited me as her guest, as she’s been part of this network/organization for about a year, and wanted me to check it out. Got to try some of the products, listen to inspiring speeches, watch a video on Isagenix and overall learn more about it. Not sure if I’m ready to be part of this business on a part-time basis, but I AM very much interested in the products AND utilizing them.

On Saturday afternoon, March 29th, I hosted an Isagenix [ ] presentation at my home and Cielito was the spokesperson/consultant. Stephanie and Lee attended the gathering and we all had a nice time, plus tried some of the delicious products.

Sunday afternoon, March 30th, I took a bus from Port Authority to Valley Cottage, NY for the annual “Tolkien Reading Day” event. This year it was held at the Valley Cottage library and about 12+ were in attendance. Unfortunately Jessica and Anthony couldn’t be there due to prior commitments. Those in attendance that I knew were Timdalf, Dennis, Kathy, Mary and Andie. Helped Timdalf hang up the lovely LOTR banners as guests joined in event. During the two hour agenda there was songs by Dennis/ Andie, a raffle of several LOTR goodies and several folk, including me, gave readings from either the Hobbit or LOTR books by Tolkien. I read a small segment from “The Council of Elrond” in FOTR. Wasn’t that good at it, abit nervous, messed up a few words, but I persevered until the end. The best reading, by far, was by Timdalf. After cleaning up we headed off to a local pizza place for some nourishment and lively conversation on several topics. Andie drove me to a bus stop in Nyack and I got home around 9:30pm.


Cynthia McKinney, Green Party Presidential Candidate, interviewed by WBAI Pacifica about – War in Iraq & the Dept of Peace
Also, challenges trying to support Impeachment, bringing the troops home, repealing the Patriot Act, supporting Civil Rights in the Democratic Party. Voting Your Values and why she's become a Green. Her friend Dennis Kucinich and the challenge they faced being independent thinkers as Democrats. Depressing voter turnout as election spoiler. Economic problems and solutions. Supporting organized labor. Greening society. Had she been Speaker of the House. Health Care Issues. Thoughts about VP and Cabinet and your input. Taking the next step and becoming a Green.

Why Not a Department of Peace?
Gary Borders,

Petreaus & Crocker, Obama & Clinton: No Matter Who Wins, the War Goes On
Bruce Dixon, Black Agenda Report

Kucinich Re-election Bid Raises $830K in Six Weeks
Sabrina Eaton, Cleveland Plain Dealer

Memo to Petraeus & Crocker: More Laughs, Please
Dick Cavett, Talk Show

Hell Entrance Freezes Over in Omaha
David Swanson,

Look Who Capitulated to the Communists! Nixon and the Neocons of Bush & Cheney!
Bill Hare, Political Cortex

Time for Changes Journal – How Societies Regress to Become Pathocracies

At the time of Bruce Springsteen’s hit song: BORN IN THE USA, a letter to the Editor by Linda Zoblotsky
I wonder how many people love Bruce Springsteen’s song, BORN IN THE USA just because the name of the song is BORN IN THE USA and he sings BORN IN THE USA? I wonder how many people who love that song actually take a look at the lyrics. Bruce Springsteen is singing about a man who fought in Viet Nam for the United States military and when he came back, he couldn’t find a job, medical and mental health help or a place to live. Some people believe we should have a long-term presence and occupation of the country of Iraq, a country which is not the 51st state of the USA. BORN IN THE USA is an angry song and people returning from Iraq and Afghanistan will have their own stories to tell. The discussion about Obama’s minister spreading hate because he said the words, “God Damn America” has no weight unless we can really stop the wheels of the Pledge of Allegiance going around in our brain and realize that Jeremiah Wright was speaking about the real life experience of what some African Americans and other Americans live from day to day. When Bruce Springsteen sang BORN IN THE USA did the mainstream media question Bruce Springsteen’s patriotism and did the public of the USA protest against Bruce Springsteen and stop buying his records? If these kinds of honest songs and sentiments are very real and if we are a free country, then why are we afraid to listen to and let people express their real life experience?

[Duchess Note: Many thanks to Linda in TX for the above articles. FYI, many updates to the “links” in left hand column.]

Monday, April 14, 2008

Fair Food Nation
Please join me and others across the U.S. in signing this petition for a worthy cause. Click on the link to learn more ...

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

25th Anniversary! Quarter of a Century!
[Duchess Note - When I was in Grand Central Station over the weekend [traveling to Yonkers on Saturday and CT on Sunday], I noticed banners proclaiming MetroNorth 25th anniversary. No, I am not celebrating MetroNorth's anniversary, but my own. A month late, but still, I am celebrating 25 years of living in NYC. Half of my life spent living here in the Big Apple and its been fascinating. I moved here from southern Connecticut on March 14, 1983 when the Conrail train strike was going on. What a pain in the butt that was ... train strike ... not the move to NYC! Lived on the eastside of Manhattan for two years and then moved to northern Brooklyn. So pop the champagne bottle and celebrate ... WooHoo!]

The BIG Lie: Nader Cost Gore the Presidency
John Marciano / Commentary

Ralph Nader's announcement that he will attempt another presidential run has brought predictable outrage from Democrats who blame Nader for Al Gore's loss in the 2000 election. They point to the critical Florida result where the latter lost by only 537 votes out of a total of 5,963,110.

Space limitations do not allow me to discuss many important issues surrounding the 2000 election and the ongoing 2008 campaign — such as electoral fraud and intimidation by the Republicans and the gift by the Supreme Court (5-4) of the contested election to Bush; criticism from Greens and independents about Nader's campaign and questions about why he and Cynthia McKinney (former Congresswoman from Georgia) are not running together on the Green ticket; the contention that there is not “a dime's worth of difference” between the Democrats and Republicans on fundamental issues; and whether genuine progressive change should focus on electoral politics, especially at the presidential level, rather than building a movement from below that will bring about substantive change in the nation. For a discussion of these relevant matters and presidential politics every four years, see historian Howard Zinn's article on “Election Madness” in February's Progressive magazine.

Instead, I want to focus on the “big lie” that Ralph Nader spoiled Al Gore's 2000 victory because Nader's total caused Gore to be denied Florida's electoral votes and thus the presidency. This assertion is totally untrue. It was not Nader's 97,000-plus votes in Florida that cost Gore the election, but the 900,000-plus registered Democrats there who did not support him. One can say the same of the millions of registered Democrats in other states who voted for Bush or who did not bother to vote. In November 2000, the San Francisco Chronicle estimated that 200,000 registered Florida Democrats voted for Bush. Nader himself put the figure at 250,000. Regardless of these estimates, the overall facts in Florida are indisputable: In 2000, there were approximately 3,853,000 registered Democrats, 43.4 percent of the electorate, compared to approximately 3,474,000 Republicans, or 39.1 percent. The rest were independents or registered with smaller parties. Gore received 2,912,253 votes there in 2000, 940,747 less than the total number of registered Democrats.

The facts are clear: Some 941,000 Florida Democrats did not vote for Gore, nearly 10 times the number who voted for Nader. So who is to blame for losing the election — the Democrats or the Greens and others who voted for Nader and, by implication, Nader himself? Democratic laments about the lost 2000 election in Florida and nationally obscure the truth: Democrats handed Bush the election; STOP BLAMING NADER!

John Marciano, a long-time Ithaca resident, lives in Santa Monica, CA ... to read the article, go to:

Monday, April 07, 2008

Sean Bean in India March 08


Housing Gets Ugly
Paul Krugman, Economists View

Kucinich Helps to Secure Major Changes in EPA Rule on Lead – More Changes Still Needed

Is It Time for the Peace Movement to Start Protesting Senator Obama?
Kevin Zeese, The Peoples Voice

Iraq War Five Years Later – No End In Sight
Askia Muhammad & Saeed Shabazz,

The Real Foreign Policy of Barack Obama
Shane Jones

[DUCHESS NOTE - Many thanks to Linda in TX for sharing the above articles.]

Friday, April 04, 2008

On Saturday, March 1st, in the late afternoon, I strolled over to Amy’s place for her “give-away get-together”. Amy was also on the NYC Kucinich for President Team and helped organize the successful tabling in Union Square back in January. She organized this get-together to give away some of her things, as she was planning on moving to Texas end of the month. Devery also showed up and we caught up on Kucinich news, plus activism. While drinking wine the group [10 adults] looked over the displayed items and picked up goodies. It was an enjoyable evening and I headed home with some treasures.

Tuesday evening, March 4th, I listened in on the monthly National Dept of Peace conference call, which is always informative and inspiring.

Saturday evening, March 8th, I joined my friend Jackie in Greenwich Village for dinner at Village Natural, catch up on news and do some fun shopping at Nova Ice.

Tuesday afternoon, March 11th, I had an MRI done on my left foot, which has been bothering me once again. Is it the Plantar Fascia or something else? I’ll learn more on the 18th.

Early Friday evening, March 14th, I did some volunteering at the “Left Forum” at the Cooper Union in Manhattan. I was filling in for my friend Cielito who couldn’t make it.

Tuesday evening, March 18th, was the monthly conference call with NYDoP CCR Committee at 8:45pm. The committee [ie: Kevin, Joe & I] discussed what had transpired since last call and the monthly NYDoP core team meeting. Earlier that evening I had an appointment with my foot doctor. The verdict is I still have a partial tear on the plantar ligament. Having therapy done once a week, taking anti-inflammatory pills, plus lots of stretching.

Wednesday evening, March 19th, I joined my friend Linda G at Grand Army Plaza in Brooklyn to protest the continuing US occupation of Iraq. Brooklyn Parents for Peace group were the main organizers of this March and vigil. Despite the rain and wind about 30 to 40 protestors came out on the 5th Anniversary. Hadn’t seen Linda in awhile and we caught up on news while marching from Grand Army Plaza to Army/Navy/Marine recruit station. Along the way pedestrians gave us the peace sign and many motorists honked their horns in solidarity. We held the vigil across the street from the recruiting station, which was flanked by at least a dozen cops.
5th Anniversary of Iraq Invasion
None of us crossed the street and conducted our candlelight vigil peacefully. Afterwards Linda and I walked towards Fulton Mall to have dinner at an IHOP. Afterwards we headed back to Park Slope by subway, and while looking for Linda’s car, came across a neat looking building and decided to check it out. Turned out to be the Montauk Club on 8th Avenue in Brooklyn and we picked up info on club membership.

Thursday evening, March 20th, was the monthly NYDoP Board and Core Team meeting. This month it was held at a conference room at my office. We had a decent turnout of about 10 folk, of which two were guests [ie: Lawrence & Jason] of Core Team member Priscilla. Also, Dorine brought a member of the LIDoP, while Joe participated via conference call. Overall it was a good meeting, fun moments and much accomplished.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Going Dark Every Night - Staying Dark - GREEN HOUR! [Message below from Andrew Bayuk at]

On Saturday, March 29th, 2008 a whole lot of people around the world turned off their lights (and some their electricity) for one hour from 8 PM to 9PM local time. I participated in this because I thought it seemed like a cool idea. It was billed as, "Going Dark".

Sitting there with the lights off and in silence I began to think of the impact of this gesture. I realized that this would cut the oil consumption on a huge scale with such a small personal sacrifice. I realized that with a little organization people can make a bigger difference to our massive energy problems by doing relatively little things.

Then I started to think about Iraq. It has always been my opinion that attacking Iraq was a huge mistake, predicated on a lie for the real purpose of securing oil supplies, and also for some companies to disproportionately profit from the ravages of war (ie: no bid contracts).

And we’re constantly told by our administration, for which I have NO trust and LESS respect, that the Iraqis are better off today than before the war. In addition to the fact that the typical safety level of the average Iraqi citizen is very LOW, that their unemployment levels are astronomical, these people have only an AVERAGE OF ONE HOUR OF WORKING ELECTRICITY EACH AND EVERY DAY!!

Am I the only one who finds this outrageous and unacceptable?? I think not! So, I have derived that the idea of continuing to go dark, a "Green Hour", EVERY NIGHT, from 8 PM to 9 PM local time would serve several purposes:

* It will reduce oil consumption. The more people that do it, the more oil will be conserved.
* Because they keep telling us that the rising price of oil is in part due to supply and demand, it would ultimately bring down the price of gas and heating oil if enough people participate.
* It will help the environment and help to slow global warming.
* It will allow people to sit and think, or if they have families to have a solid hour together EVERY DAY without personal distractions or the distractions of modern "necessities" such as TV, video games, computers, phones, CELL PHONES, etc. This is prime time for family to read, sing, play games, talk, or get the little ones ready for bed with a calm and peaceful atmosphere. Hmmm, imagine that....
* It will make a statement that it is unacceptable that the Iraqi people only have one hour of electricity turned ON each day.
* Of course, this will reduce my electric bill which will return more money to my family to use for better reasons, in effect, it is good to stimulate the current economy on an ongoing basis, as opposed to a token and inadequate handout by our government which will make no real long term difference, and oh yes, by the way, WILL BE TAXED ON NEXT YEARS RETURN!

So, I am going to do it. I am going dark every night for the time being, and I invite people who care about these things to join me for GREEN HOUR! It will take commitment, but really not much, some courage and some personal inconvenience, but I think it will be worth it.


[Duchess Note … I know, I know, it’s been awhile since my last full update on personal news. Sincere apologies to my faithful readers and the following is a condensed version of updates. Enjoy!]

Thursday evening, February 7th, I joined a few other NYDoP Core Team members [ie: Chris, Adriana & Joe] to table at the Marianne Williamson lecture in midtown Manhattan. Originally I wasn’t going to go, but changed my mind at last minute and so glad I did. Marianne’s lecture, or talk, was mostly about the “new midlife” and issues we deal with when we reach a certain age. I thought it one of her best lectures and really struck a cord within me, as I’ve been dealing with some issues lately on several levels. Her lecture moved me so much that I purchased her latest book … “The Age of Miracles – Embracing the New Midlife”. As I type this “update” I’m almost done with the book and I highly recommend it. She talked about forgiveness, enlightenment, spirituality, rebirth and healing. One of her comments that stuck with me was … “Forgiveness involves faith in a love that’s greater than hatred and a willingness to see the light in someone’s soul even when their personality has harbored darkness”. That statement made me think of some former friends. Marianne’s main message that evening was “midlife is not the end, but the beginning of a wonderful journey and many new experiences”. I t was great hanging out with some NYDoP folk, speaking with Marianne and absorbing the whole experience.

Sunday afternoon, February 10th, I was invited over to a fellow NYC Kucitizens [Devery] home for knitting lessons. Devery lives not far from my abode in northern Brooklyn and it was a delightful afternoon. Devery’s friend Livia joined us and I taught them the basics of crocheting. Afterwards I hung out for a bit with Devery and her hubby Clay. They are such cool, groovy folk.

On Sunday, February 17th, I visited my friend Larry who does a wonderful job taking care of my taxes every year. Afterwards I stopped by my office to make copies to the tax items and then headed to the upper Eastside to hangout with Veronica [NYC Kucitizen]. Sat around catching up on news/gossip [we’re Harry Potter fans], eating apple turnovers and went out afterwards to stroll around her neighborhood. The area she lives in is near Gracie Mansion, thrift shops, cafes, bakeries, etc.

On Thursday evening, February 21st, the NYDoP had their monthly board/core team meeting. Small turnout this month [Joe, Dawn and I], plus we couldn’t unlock the door to the meeting space and decided to adjourn to Heartland Brewery down the street.

The following evening, February 22nd, I had a one-hour free health consultation with Eve Rosenberg [“One Body One Life], whom I’d met at the Feb 7th Marianne Williamson event. Interesting consultation and enlightening, but the subsequent six month sessions would have been abit pricey. Will pass for now and consider it at a later date.

Friday evening after work, February 29th, I met up with my friend Cielito at WholeFoods down at Union Square. My first time in this branch of WholeFoods and there is a café on the second floor. I noshed on a delicious almond crunch Gelato, while Cielito had sushi. We caught up on events/gossip and I related the news about that “health consultation” I’d had the week before. She’s into Isagenix and told me about the products and business. I was greatly intrigued and said I’d host one of her presentations at my abode. We set a date for end of March on a Saturday. Overall an enjoyable evening.