Wednesday, December 30, 2009

From David Hazen via the iPeace website

[NOTE: Comment by D.Hazen - Perhaps this list could be the starting point of a document that we all can work on. I feel it's incomplete.]

1. Share personal stories. Use them to build bonds and strengthen ties between tribe members, stories of what their life was like before and after joining the Dept of Peace campaign, any shifts in attitude they have experienced, what gratitude’s they have, what their core values are.

2. Introduce Members to “Each Other Teach” listening skills (we've forgotten how to listen!), use a talking stick, set time limits, encourage people to interview each other, using appreciative inquiry -- Listen, Learn & Introduce people to each other. Make connecting people a priority. One of the biggest fears in life is rejection. If you can help eliminate that fear you are helping somebody.

3. Educate your members to help them see things in ways they never imagined. Use simple concepts to help them understand complicated ones. Break things down and explain what is under the hood. Explain how social change and evolution actually takes place. Explain how not knowing and surrender to the process is essential lubricants to moving forward. They'll be forever grateful someone took the time to do this for them.

4. Process grief as Joanna Macy recommends; we cannot be truly motivated until we feel the full depth of our despair and stuckness as a species, the full terror of extinction, and then begin to question it, "Is this really true? Am I really complicit in the atrocities? How did I decide to not be part of the solution?" The inability of Western culture to unstuff their feelings and allow the grief to flow, erupt, explode and dissipate is a huge stumbling block. The energy we expend denying our grief only prolongs and magnifies the agony of its final expression. Our power to create derives from the release of our grief and guilt.

5. Create a sponsorship system, a buddy, mentoring, or co-counseling system that is entirely voluntary and self-selected. This is all about learning to trust somebody outside yourself, someone who can reflect you’re "trauma-drama" as well as your core values like a mirror, which can draw you out, who can keep you mindful of the big picture and the baby steps, which can track your progress and cheer you on. As excruciating as it may sound, it works best if a sponsor never call a sponsee, that the initiative rest with the sponsee. A sponsor never gives advice, either, but simply shares what has worked for them in their experience.

6. Be authentic, keep no secrets about yourself, your doubts and struggles, except when to do so would involve and damage others. There needs to be a standard of no gossip or criticism of each other.

7. Keep it simple and do-able Selling peace could become an extremely simple process of allowing individuals to respond to their own need for peace as they define it, and show by example how that can be done. ( "...better public policy might be forged from less--not more--government action." -- TIME, Barbara Kiviat, Monday, Jun. 29, 2009 ) What this means to me is to act "as if," to begin generating a local culture of peace at whatever level you can imagine doing it. We have begun to do so at the city level here in Eugene, and the first responses have been enthusiastic. Why not create a shadow (positive shadow) Department of Peace at the national level? "On the first day of operations for the new Dept. of Peace, the Secretary of Peace issued a statement, held a news conference, initiated a national poll of the public's definition of peace, met with the Secretaries of Defense and State, and directed the assistant Secretaries to address the following priorities... "

8. Create instant recognition Use imaginative and creative ways to display the beauty of the truth contained in the Department of Peace through symbols, sound bites, art, music, theater. Make it attractive, sidestep all the verbiage, and get to the image, the bottom line. People smile when they see a couple on a tandem bike because it is an icon of partnership, cooperation, and joy. In a parade, a giant white dove puppet with a green branch in its mouth gets smiles, too. No explanation needed.

9. Invoke the warrior-monk prototype in which participation in the campaign becomes a tool of self-development, of self-awareness and service for the highest common good. "Slowing down your internal voices, re-discovering who you really are, and relating to the world from a place of Being and Knowing." ( The warrior-monk does not fight unnecessary battles, but deliberately chooses the time and place to intervene with the minimum necessary force to redirect a conflict, creatively using whatever tools are lying about to draw forth negative energies into the light where they evaporate from exposure. The warrior-monk never gives up, never quits, never slows down, never speeds up, just finds the supportive pace that will last to tunnel through mountains and bring them down.

10. Crank it up, E-mail has become dull, noisy, and easily ignored. The verbiage on TPA website is too much, and the site has become overloaded, difficult to navigate. Audio/video communicates with more impact, should be the first thing people see, followed by a link to the DoPeace site. Webinars, audio conference calls, video conference calls, YouTube videos, all have more impact, especially when creative young people are making them. There is a clever Department of Peace Commercial by Jill Francke, posted on YouTube in February of 2007 that is now very difficult to find. And whatever happened to the good old phone tree? Word of mouth is powerful; we need to re-learn how to use it.

11. Use Appreciative Inquiry to focus on the solution, the solution, the solution, and not the problem. Ask the right and powerful questions to evoke strength, teamwork, hope, imagination, and genuine excitement. (read: peak performance) Get David Cooperrider into the middle of the room, no matter what it takes.

Twelve Festive Tolkien Facts - Did You Know
1. Born in South Africa, J.R.R. Tolkien's earliest recollection of Christmas was of a "blazing sun, drawn curtains and a drooping eucalyptus".

2. In 1895, a three-year-old Tolkien moved to England with his mother and brother and enjoyed his first wintry Christmas with a real Christmas tree.

3. As a young man Tolkien used to spend part of his Christmas holidays with his Incledon relatives, whose custom was to perform theatrical entertainments, some of which were written by him.

4. In December 1913 Tolkien announced to his friends his engagement to Edith.

5. On 9th December 1936 Tolkien delivered his lecture Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics.

6. Christmas 1920: Tolkien wrote his first illustrated letter as 'Father Christmas' to his children.

7. This first letter was written to Tolkien's eldest son, John, then aged 3, after him asking what Father Christmas was like.

8. Four days after being asked by his publisher, on 19th December 1937 Tolkien wrote the first chapter of the sequel to The Hobbit - it would eventually become the beginning of The Lord of the Rings.

9. Christmas 1943: Tolkien wrote his final letter as 'Father Christmas', to his daughter Priscilla.

10. On 3rd December 1953 Tolkien delivered the typescript of The Return of the King to his publisher.

11. A selection of Tolkien's Christmas letters was first published in 1976; a new paperback edition containing nearly all the pictures and letters is published in 2009.

12. The Hobbits' name for Christmas is Yule.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


Wednesday, December 2nd, I attended a Peace themed event at the All Souls Church on upper eastside of Manhattan. There was singing, reading of poetry, slideshow and refreshment. I was invited by Susan Cushman and Mary Geissman who are part of the Peace Task Force.

Thursday, December 3rd, I joined other members of TGTSNBN meetup at IBM Atrium near East 56th Street. The theme of this meetup was the history and applications of Heraldry. I also brought some of my C of B Design earrings for sale, and sold many pairs, plus took two orders for custom designed pieces. Deborah brought the Inkheart series, which she is lending me to read.

Friday, December 4th, I attended the “Friday Nite Knits” meetup in Kensington at the Oak & Isis. This evening there was a live quartet playing Brazilian jazz.

Saturday afternoon, December 5th, I joined other members of TGTSNBN for Quidditch at Riverside Park. Since only 10 members showed up and the weather had turned horrible, we decided to head over to TOAST for a tasty brunch, and then some fun holiday shopping at MICHAELS on Columbus Avenue.

Sunday, December 6th, I headed out to Staten Island to attend the Tolkien Reading Day event hosted by SI OutLOUD. I haven’t been on the Staten Island ferry in several years and the terminals are all new, plus they don’t charge anymore on the return trip. Had some issues with the buses to the Greenbelt Nature Center, and then hitched a ride with Dennis the last part of the journey. On the way back to the ferry, I hopped a ride with an acquaintance of mine. Stephanie and I discussed politics during the ride. The Staten Island OutLOUD group performed in song, music and word the first four chapters of Tolkien’s Silmarillion. It was quite enjoyable, and the place was full with attendees. Anthony and Jessica were there as guests, plus as chairpersons of the Northeast Tolkien Society. During the raffle/quiz segment I actually got one of the questions right, and received a Tolkien book called “Words, Phrases & Passages in LotRs”.

Tuesday evening, December 8th, I joined other NYDoP CCR team members for a productive conference call.

Thursday evening, December 10th, I joined in the “World Can’t Wait” conference call at 10pm.

Friday, December 11th, I assisted a few other City Harvest volunteers at Union Square farmers market. Afterwards I jumped on the subway and head into Brooklyn for the “Friday Nite Knits” meetup at The Oak & Isis”.

Wednesday, December 16th, I had a foot doctor appt for much needed therapy on my left foot.

Thursday evening, December 17th, I attended the annual EY FSO holiday party at “Tavern on the Green”. Since I’ve switched to being Vegan, I had a feeling my buffet options would be limited at this event. Upon arrival to the event my surmises proved correct. I had two Cosmopolitan drinks along with hummus, grilled veggies and pita bread. As always the event was so crowded and loud. I ran into co-workers of mine and had several diverse, interesting conversations before leaving around 8:45pm.

Tavern on the Green
[Tavern on the Green in December]

Friday evening, December 18th, I joined other NYDoP core team members for our annual holiday gathering, and this year it was held at “Spring Street Natural” restaurant in SoHo. This place is wonderful and I highly recommend it to all. There is a variety of food options for everyone’s palate, even us Vegans, plus lots of diverse drinks. I again had two Cosmopolitan’s along with a delicious Vegan appetizer and meal. This stuff called Seitan and the way it’s prepared, well, it reminded me of chicken. Everyone had a good time, lots of laughs, plus interesting discussions and we even did a gift exchange.

NYDoP Holiday Party
[NYDoP members enjoying our annual holiday gathering]

Saturday evening, December 19th, my friend Jackie came over for dinner, holiday gift exchange and to watch movies while it snowed outside. I rented two films for our entertainment ... the latest “Star Trek” and the second “Night at the Museum”. We very much enjoyed both films. I kept the living room curtains open, so we could gage the snowstorm progress throughout the evening. For dinner I whipped up tasty roasted root veggies, pasta with sauce, and garlic bread, plus we drank wine. For dessert we nibbled on some Vegan goodies from The Garden. Just after midnight I walked Jackie to the subway through the storm and 10 inches of snow on the ground. Wanted to make sure she arrived at the subway okay. The chap down the street selling Xmas trees was still there, even though no one was out, and almost a foot of snow covered everything.

Dec 19 Snowstorm

Next day, December 20th, I went into Manhattan to check out the wonderful holiday bazaar shops at Bryant Park and picked up some nice last minute gifts.

Bryant Park Skating Rink
[Bryant Park skating rink day after snowstorm]

Wednesday, December 23rd, I was treated to lunch by a co-worker [Angela] and we went to Simply Pasta on West 41st Street.

December 24th through 27th – I spent the Christmas holiday weekend with my family in upstate NY. Mom and Dad picked me up at bus depot on the afternoon of Xmas Eve. From there we spent the rest of Xmas Eve at Duane and Michelle’s home in Schenectady. After a delicious dinner, we drove around the neighborhood to check out all the homes decked out in assorted holiday splendor. I did some computer/internet work and also watched “Ace of Cakes” on cable TV. Love that show!

Char Xmas Eve
[The Duchess is getting into the holiday spirit]

D & M Xmas Decor
[Holiday decor at my brother and sister-in-laws home]

After breakfast and opening gifties on Xmas morning; Mom, Dad and I headed back up to the homestead in Cambridge. We spent a leisurely afternoon at the homestead before heading to a relative’s home for dinner and play bowling on their Wii. I didn’t do too badly at the Wii and my highest bowling score was 142. Rest of the weekend did some shopping, hair salon, relax, and the computer. Mom and I watched “Shrek2” and the first “Night at the Museum” on cable TV, along with PBS and the wonderful Food Network. I headed back to NYC on Sunday via the bus.

Monday, December 28, 2009


Obama Officials Drop “Withdrawal” Ruse – US in Afghanistan to Stay
Tom Eley & Barry Grey, WSWS

Drone Man Lectures on Peace
Bruce Gagnon Blog

Accepting Peace Prize, Obama Makes Case for Unending War
David Walsh, WSWS

Peace Doesn’t Work, Obama Informs Nobel Committee
Jason Ditz,

“The War in Afghanistan is a RACKET” – Kucinich on the Floor

Anti-War Protesters Gather Outside White House

Bill Moyers: We have a Nobel Peace President Who Won’t Ban Land Mines
Bill Moyers & Michael Winship
The Nobel Committee said Obama won the prize for his respect of international law and his efforts at disarmament, yet he won't even sign on to end a barbaric weapon. To read more, go to….

US House Passes Pro-Wall Street Banking Bill
Barry Grey, WSWS

The Democrats – Why They’re Worse
The Distant Ocean Website

Are Blacks Abandoning Obama?
Lloyd Grove, The Daily Beast

Howard Dean: "Kill the Senate Bill"

Grayson, Kucinich Lead Charge to Halt War Funding

'We Don't Want Violence, We Want to Get Our Voices Heard' Say Protesters

Pat LaMarche Holiday Hit: The Five Lies of Congress

George Monbiot Mr Obama, Here's Your Copenhagen Speech

[Duchess Note – More December “real news” coming down the turnpike, as well as “personal news”. Stay tuned…………………]

Thursday, December 10, 2009

QUOTE OF THE DAY ... When the people fear their government there is tyranny,when the government fears the people there is liberty ... Thomas Jefferson

Wednesday, December 09, 2009


On Sunday, November 1st, I watched the NYC Marathon as it passed through my neighborhood in northern Brooklyn.

Friday evening, November 6th, I joined my friend Cielito at the cafe in MmoA for a drink, appetizers and to view a few exhibits [ie: Robert Franks and Art of the Samurai]. Seems like this particular museum is always busy on a Friday evening, and it doesn’t close until 9pm. Cielito and I agree it’s a nice way to close out a work week. Afterwards we hopped on a bus down 5th Avenue, stopped at a Starbucks for something refreshing to drink, then stopped by her office at L’Oreal. On our way to the subway, we stopped by The Mansfield hotel on West 44th Street to utilize the restroom facilities in the lounge. Cielito told me that she’s gone there with L’Oreal co-workers for drinks and appetizers, plus lounge in its sophisticated “club like” atmosphere.

Saturday afternoon, November 7th, I attended an event hosted by “World Can’t Wait” at The Art Club in Tribeca and featured a lecture by Andy Worthington. Saw clips from his new documentary called “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantanamo” and the lecture was based on that topic, as well as Iraq and Afghanistan. Nice turnout, good food, wine and fascinating, as well as an informative lecture and film.

Sunday afternoon, November 8th, I joined several other NETS members [ie: Anthony, Jessica, Dennis, Carole and Susanne] at the Tolkien manuscript exhibit at 133 West 60th Street. This was my second time viewing the exhibit. More interesting tidbits were explained about Tolkien and the manuscripts by Anthony and Jessica. Afterwards we purchased lunch items at WholeFoods and had abit of a picnic in Central Park, as the weather was so nice. Afterwards we all went our separate ways and I did abit of shopping at Borders before heading home.

Thursday evening, November 12th, I attended a most productive NYDoP “working” meeting with five other “core team” members.

On Sunday afternoon, November 15th, I joined other TGTSNBN members at Riverside Park for the first Quidditch match of the season. After abit of rain the day before, the Quidditch pitch was abit “soft and muddy” in certain areas, but as the weather was so nice, we just made the most of it. I was again score keeper, and assisting Jonathan [one of two refs] for three very energetic games. Newly created team, Downtown Dementors, won two of the three matches. Afterwards about 20 of us went to TOAST for a delicious late lunch and discussions on numerous topics. Once again I stopped at Borders, with my 30% off coupon, and picked up a book on Vegan cooking.

Tuesday evening, November 17th, I attended a free event at the Town Hall on West 43rd Street to hear RFK Jr speak about our environmental future.

On Thursday, November 19th, I joined other NYDoP CCR team members for a meeting at Kevin’s office to plan and strategize. It was an excellent and productive meeting.

Saturday, November 21st, I attended the “World Can’t Wait” workshop and panel discussion down in lower Manhattan. The main topics of discussion were on terrorism, Afghanistan & women’s rights, plus there were debates, video viewings, and strategizing. Oh, and yes, there were free goodies to nibble on.

Thursday, November 26th, I volunteered with “Project Find” at St Paul’s church on West 60th Street. This year I was teamed up with Jeffrey [driver] and Wendy [escort], plus ran into Kevin Fletcher. The latter I had volunteered with 2 years prior and we caught up on news. He’s working on the cable TV series “Nurse Jackie”. I had a nice time working with Jeffrey and Wendy. Our assignment was in Greenwich Village and out of 16 meals, we successfully delivered 14. One person wasn’t at home and the other had passed away a few days prior to Thanksgiving. Weather turned out nice and sunny, which we were thankful for.

November 27th through 29th I visited my parents and brother in upstate NY for the remainder of the holiday weekend. Helped Mom with taking down autumn and Thanksgiving decorations, plus take those containers out to the barn. Brought in containers with specific Christmas items and assisted in decorating. Worked on crocheting, knitting, reading, laptop, as well as shop at my fav bead place and get my hair colored and trimmed.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009


World Can’t Wait has teamed up with military veterans and military family members on the “We Are Not Your Soldiers” tour to bring the truth about recruiters, the wars that they are recruiting for to high schools across the country and to unleash a movement of resistance against military recruiting.

The poem below was written by high school student Yoselin Torres at the Little Village Multicultural Art School in Chicago after hearing the “We Are Not Your Soldiers” tour.

“We Are NOT Your Soldiers”

You cannot control us,
So hard you try,
I have the power to make my own decisions,
Although you may lie,
Telling us what we wanna hear,
Only so they could take over control our power,
Brainwashing teenagers all around.

Recruiters are only going for the youngest generation,
Filling our head with false information,
Only to make us hurt innocent people,
Being accommodative won’t help us,
We must speak out!
We will not be silenced!
Peace must be restored,
War is no longer the answer.

The army has no purpose in terrorizing Iraqi and Afghan
Citizens any longer,
Eight years they have suffered,
Randomly being beaten and killed,
This war must stop,
And we each are speaking out to say,
“We are NOT your soldiers!”

[Duchess Note: Recently heard Sharon Adams speak on this topic [ie: Child Soldiers] via a radio program on WBAI. She also talked about how the recruiters go into schools, without parents consent, and glean info on students between age 15 to 17. Sharon strongly urged parents to contact their children’s schools to “opt out” and demand it in writing. Parents need to be pro-active and vigilant.]

Monday, December 07, 2009

MESSAGE FROM "United for Peace & Justice" - It's Obama's War, and We Will Stop It

The current escalation of the Afghanistan war comes at a new political moment. Unemployment is over 10%. Cities and towns are slashing basic services right and left. People are losing health care in droves, nothing is being done about the foreclosure crisis, and the U.S. is going to Copenhagen empty handed. We need to build a movement that can respond to these challenge,- because while this is not a new war, we need to fight it in a new way. We need to build new alliances into a movement that can bring this war and occupation to a rapid end, so that we can begin to make good on our real obligations to the peoples of Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as to the people of our own country who struggle to find jobs, health care, and climate justice.

We need to build a movement with roots in the labor movement, and among those struggling for economic rights, particularly among communities of color.

Congress hasn't given Obama a blank check for this war yet - not even a $30 billion check. And there's still time for us to make sure they don't.

Take Action
· Please call your member of Congress at 202-224-3121 with this simple, clear message:
Sign on to Barbara Lee's HR.3699 which prevents funding for troop increases. And vote NO on further funding for the war in Afghanistan.
It is long past time to bring home all our troops, and military contractors from Afghanistan.
· Next week, President Obama will go to Oslo to accept the Nobel Peace Prize. Gather to watch the award ceremony at 7 pm Eastern time on December 10th, invite the press, and write letters to the editor and op-eds to protest the absurdity of giving a peace prize to a president who has tripled the size of the U.S. forces in Afghanistan during his ten months in office
· There is still a huge amount of confusion about Afghanistan. We need to keep doing basic education and outreach work. Show the film "Rethink Afghanistan", sponsor lectures and talks, and do vigils and creative protests to link the war to the economic crisis at home.

UFPJ's Synopsis: What Did the President Say in His Speech?

President Obama tried unsuccessfully in his escalation speech Tuesday night to sugar-coat a disastrous and unpopular strategy. In a new USA Today/Gallup Poll, only 36% said the decision to send 30,000 troops was right, and 73% worried that the costs of the war will make it more difficult to deal with problems at home. A national poll of young adults by the Harvard Institute of Politics found that 66% oppose sending more troops to Afghanistan.

Obama's red-meat rhetoric about how 9/11 was planned by terrorists in Afghanistan was a throwback to the Bush era, and he presented the goal of the Afghanistan project as to "disrupt, dismantle and defeat Al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan." Yet he failed to acknowledge the generally shared view that there are fewer than 100 members of Al Qaeda in Afghanistan. Sending more than 100,000 U.S. troops and tens of thousands of NATO troops is not about hunting for these 100 people, but fighting for control of Afghanistan - against the Taliban and others opposed to U.S. occupation.

The President dropped any claim that the U.S. war was bringing democracy to Afghanistan, modernizing a backward country, or liberating Afghan women. It's understandable that Obama would drop those claims. Afghanistan ranks second to last in the UN's Human Development Index, and just two weeks ago UNICEF identified Afghanistan as one of the three worst places in the world for a child to be born. Obama did not use the words "exit" or "exit strategy" in the speech. He gave a July 2011 date for the "beginning" of transferring U.S. troops out of Afghanistan, but Secretaries Hillary Clinton and Robert Gates made clear in testifying to Congress the next day that the 18-month timeline is conditional. And most importantly, the speech lacked any indication how fast troops will be withdrawn at that time or any commitment to ever withdraw all U.S. troops or to close the enormous U.S. military bases now being constructed in Afghanistan.

The U.S. has more mercenaries in Afghanistan (104,101 in September) than troops; their number has been rising rapidly (40% just between June and September 2009), with no discussion of reducing these.

The President said that responsibility for security will be handed over to the Afghan army starting in 18 months. But riven by ethnic tensions, corruption, and warlordism, the viability of the Afghan government is seriously in doubt. Analysts on all sides are pointing out that the counter-insurgency strategy the U.S. is pursuing does not make sense without a viable Afghan government.

President Obama acknowledged a $30 billion cost in 2010 for the escalation but left unsaid that the total Afghanistan war cost for the year will really be $100 billion. $100 billion a year is enough to fund the entire health insurance reform program for tens of millions of Americans.
Together, we can and will stop these wars!

Wednesday, December 02, 2009


The Angst of a Liberal
William Rivers Pitt, TruthOut

[Duchess Note: The minor successes of this president were purchased at little political cost; such as stem cell research, family planning efforts in developing countries and certain changes in environmental policy. Issues that require real courage, change and effort; such as healthcare for all, holding investment banks accountable and demilitarization of the economy, there were barely addressed or done weakly. Regarding FDR, his boldness and sense of mission in helping the poor, well, Obama seems puny by comparison. To me, it seems like he has no concrete powerful vision. So he caves in to his opponents, shadow government, military complex to avoid conflict and promote amity. I am afraid it will be a very long time to wait before we elect a president that truly speaks for the poor, for the dispossessed, and for “We the People”. It’s way past time in taking it to the streets and protest big time.]

President Obama is Looking like Former President G.W.Bush with Afghanistan Plan
Mike Lupica, NY Daily News