Sunday, August 22, 2010

TIME FOR SOME “NEWS”

Fire and Imagination
Bob Herbert, NY Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/14/opinion/14herbert.html?_r=1&ref=bobherbert

Halliburton Gets Letter of Intent for Iraq Oil
Associated Press
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/38760952/ns/business-oil_and_energy

[Duchess Note - "No blood for oil!" That is what many of us activists and protesters were saying back in 2002 to 2004. Darth Cheney must be ecstatic over his beloved Halliburton getting this “letter of intent”, plus hegemony in the region.]

Hey Fox Fans, Your Favorite Network Is Part-Owned by a Saudi Prince Whose Family Rules by Sharia Law
Digby, AlterNet
http://blogs.alternet.org/speakeasy/2010/08/17/hey-fox-fans-your-favorite-network-is-part-owned-by-a-saudi-prince-whose-family-rules-by-sharia-law/

The US Has Lost in Afghanistan – We Have to Come to Grips with What That Means
Conn Hallinan, AlterNet
http://www.alternet.org/story/147860/the_us_has_lost_in_afghanistan_--_we_have_to_come_to_grips_with_what_that_means

CODEPINK: Peace Movement Responds to "Iraq Troop Withdrawal": the Iraq Debacle Is Not Over
http://act.commondreams.org/go/1956?akid=144.19616.3rIrK5&t=38

No ‘Graceful Exit’
Bob Herbert, NY Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/17/opinion/17herbert.html?ref=bobherbert

Profits Are Way Up at General Motors, So Why Aren’t They Hiring?
Michael Moore, AlterNet
http://www.alternet.org/story/147886/michael_moore%3A_profits_are_way_up_at_general_motors_..._so_why_aren%27t_they_hiring

BP Oil Spill: Scientists Find Giant Plume of Droplets 'Missed' by Official Account
http://act.commondreams.org/go/1939?akid=144.19616.3rIrK5&t=4

Obama's Pledge to Close Down Guantanamo is 'Not Even Close'
http://act.commondreams.org/go/1940?akid=144.19616.3rIrK5&t=6

Some US Troops Out of Iraq, More Mercenaries to Go In
http://act.commondreams.org/go/1941?akid=144.19616.3rIrK5&t=8

Kucinich Urges Colleagues to End 'Longest War in US History'
Challenges Petraeus’ Media Strategy to Delay Troop Withdrawal

WASHINGTON - Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) is challenging American and NATO forces commander General David H. Petraeus' media strategy to shore up support for the war in Afghanistan. General Petraeus appeared on Sunday news shows and gave lengthy interviews to rally support for the war and to maintain troop levels. Kucinich, the leader of the movement in the Democratic Party to end the war in Afghanistan, who recently forced a debate and vote on ending the war, wrote to fellow Members of Congress urging them to consider America's longest war as they meet with their constituents during the August District Work Period.

The full text of the letter follows:

August 17, 2010

Dear Colleague:

As you return home to your congressional district for recess, it is appropriate to reflect on the commitment of billions of dollars and an additional 30,000 U.S. troops to continue the war in Afghanistan. A recent article published in The New York Times announced that General David H. Petraeus plans to press for a slower withdrawal from Afghanistan in response to growing Congressional opposition to the war.

According to the article, General Petraeus and U.S. military officials are "building the case to minimize the planned withdrawal of some troops from Afghanistan starting next summer." General Petraeus and senior administration officials are arguing that while we've been in Afghanistan for nine years now, we have only just started "doing this right." A quick look at statistics this year reveals that not much has been going right since we increased our military presence in Afghanistan.

Since January of this year, approximately $104 billion has been appropriated for the war in Afghanistan and over 270 U.S. soldiers have died. The so-called cornerstone of our counterinsurgency strategy is the protection of Afghan civilians. Yet a new mid-year report on civilian casualties in Afghanistan by the United Nations reveals that civilian casualties have risen 31% since this same time last year. The report further reveals that civilian casualties at the hands of the Taliban have sharply risen. According to an article published in The Guardian, U.S. and NATO combat operations in Marjah - our military offensive orchestrated to make the case for an increase in troops - "heralded a wave of Taliban abductions, assassinations, and executions."

Afghan President Hamid Karzai announced last week that he was establishing a handpicked committee to review two U.S.-backed anticorruption task forces. This, after it was exposed that almost $4 billion in cash - much of it believed to be U.S. taxpayer provided aid - was being flown out of the country in suitcases by his government officials.

Congress has approved another $33 billion to fund the surge in Afghanistan. Afghanistan war funding has been used to support a hopelessly corrupt central government and it comes at a grave cost. Over 1,000 U.S. lives have been lost and thousands of innocent Afghan civilians have lost their lives or have been gravely injured. In the process, we have weakened our own security and well-being here at home. There is no war to be won in Afghanistan. General Petraeus may try to convince us that more of the same is a good idea. But it is ultimately the responsibility of Congress to decide. Please join me in urging for a timely withdrawal of all U.S. troops from Afghanistan and an end to what is now the longest war in U.S. history.

Sincerely,
Dennis J. Kucinich
Member of Congress

[Duchess Note - Many thanks to Alice and Judith in sharing many articles.]

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

HELP SUPPORT NEW YORK CITY COUNCIL RESOLUTION 14

[Contact your NY City Councilmember today by phone, email or fax. Please, take a moment to ask them to support R14 and become a co-sponsor. Thank you and be peace.]

For New Yorkers, September has been a sad and tragic reminder of the power of hate these past nine years. We know all too well the final culmination of hatred’s unyielding grasp; destruction and misery.

However, as Americans we also know the good that can come from rising about hate. This year New York City can show the world that we believe in the power of peace over violence. The choice is ours!

New Yorkers for a Department of Peace believes there is no better way to exemplify this than by the City Council passing Rosie Mendez’s Resolution 14 in support of a United States Department of Peace.

September also brings with it the United Nations 2002 declaration that the 21st of this month be known as the International Day of Peace. We urge you to use this occasion to take another look at H.R. 808 in the U.S. Congress, which calls for the establishment of the Peace Department.

Our city, our country and the global community are in desperate need of direct, focused and proven approaches to reducing all forms of violence at every level of society.

This September you can change the course of history by supporting R14. Who better than citizens of New York City to lead the way in transforming hate into love!

NYDOP Contact
Website: www.nyc-dop.com
Email: nydopeace@gmail.com

NY CITY COUNCIL Contact
Website: http://council.nyc.gov/html/members/members.shtml
R14: http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=648845&GUID=8C33F214-E6DB-4581-85E6-FB599C3CC225&Options=IDText&Search=Resolution+14

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Rep Grayson Unleashes on Gibbs: “Bozo the Spokesman”
Ben Craw, The Huffington Post
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/08/11/rep-grayson-unleashes-on_n_679060.html

Kucinich Hits Back at Gibbs: You’ve Read Liberals Wrong
The Huffington Post
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/08/12/kucinich-hits-back-at-gib_n_679723.html

[Duchess Note: Bravo Grayson and Kucinich!! "We The People" thank you for taking a stand. I agree with Grayson, in that, Gibbs needs to be fired. He’s doing a piss poor job, but then again, he’s getting his “talking points” from the Obomba Regime. And for the record, I firmly believe Kucinich never ever said do away with the Pentagon, we just need checks/balance by establishing a US Dept of Peace. To learn more about HR808, check out these links … The Peace Alliance http://www.thepeacealliance.org/READ THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF PEACE BILL HERE: http://www.thepeacealliance.org/content/view/658/23/ ]

Monday, August 09, 2010

PERSONAL NEWS #185

Thursday, July 1st, I chaired the NYdoPeace CCR team conference call, and the main topic was on NY City Council Resolution 14.

July 2nd to 5th, I had an enjoyable visit with my parents for the holiday weekend. Through the course of the weekend I worked on crocheting a baby blanket, hair salon appt, Crazy Glue container stuck to my thumb, Dad’s car died while Mom and I were utilizing it, did some painting/sketching, reading, rode my bike, and caught up on rest from a hectic work schedule.

Wednesday, July 7th, I attended the NYC Philosophy meetup at the Irish Rogue.

Thursday evening, July 8th, I participated in the “World Can’t Wait” conference call.

Saturday evening, July 10th, I joined my friend Dennis in attending the Doobie Brothers and Chicago gig out at Jones Beach Theater in western Long Island. Was so glad the weather cooperated for all. The storms passed by a few hours before the gig and the humidity dropped. Amen! Both Dennis and I whipped up a tasty, healthy picnic to enjoy out in the parking lot [tailgating] before the gig started. Many others were doing the same out in the parking lot. Our seats were up in the top tier of this outdoor theater with terrific views of the surrounding water and wetlands. Doobie Brothers came on first at 8pm and played a terrific one-hour set. At times Dennis and I were dancing in the aisle, it was that good. Then a 20 minute or so intermission followed and I made my bathroom break. Chicago came on at 9:30pm and performed an equally good one-hour set. Great to finally see two bands I loved from the 1970s and 1980s live in concert. Then the Doobie Brothers came out to join Chicago for an awesome 20 minute plus encore and finale. Dennis and I were dancing like crazy to the music in the handicap section, as it was empty. So exhilarating and joyful! I sang along with most of the songs all evening. [Afterwards, Dennis and I purchased band t-shirts out in the parking lot from some dude for $10 each.] Happy, happy ... joy, joy J

Monday evening, July 12th, I did some volunteer work for Doug Biviano’s NYC Assembly campaign in Brooklyn Heights.

Tuesday evening, July 13th, I was invited [thank you Cielito] to the “We Are the Hartman’s” fundraiser event at Don Hill’s bar in Tribeca.

Wednesday evening, July 14th, I was invited by fellow NYdoPeace member, Chris Archer, to the local Manhattan Green Party meeting on upper Westside. Chris was giving a brief presentation on Dept of Peace [HR808] and NY City Council Resolution 14. I was there for support, hand out Peace Alliance brochures and to answer questions about the NYdoPeace chapter. This chapter of the Green Party was very supportive of the presentation and voted to endorse it. The only drawback to the evening was the host’s apartment had no air conditioning and just a fan or two.

Thursday evening, July 15th, after getting a much needed manicure, I chaired the NYdoPeace CCR team conference call. Topic was regarding follow-up calls to NY City Council members and Community Board district managers on recent letters faxed to them on Resolution 14.

Friday evening, July 16th, I joined my friend Margaret in visiting our friend Eileen at Mt Sinai hospital on the upper Eastside. We brought gifties and stayed over an hour. At one point, Eileen’s foul husband, and soon to be ex, showed up to attempt assistance with her laptop. Afterwards Margaret and I went to “One Fish Two Fish” for a late dinner and chat.

On a hot Saturday, July 17th, I headed out to Westbury, NY for the “Empowering Women” event hosted by the awesome ladies of LIDoP. It was an inspiring, informative and definitely an empowering event that took place over a 4 hour span. Some of the LIDoP ladies were part of NYdoPeace and it was great seeing them again. Many hugs were exchanged and catching up on news. [See photo below] Another “Empowering Women” event is being planned for the early autumn. Stay tuned for updates.................

On Wednesday, July 21st, my friend Nancie visited me at my office for lunch and catch up on news. She’s up from VA visiting family and our mutual friend Eileen who is at Mt Sinai hospital.

Thursday evening, July 22nd, I attended a book release & signing, plus Panel Discussion on “Erasing Iraq: The Human Costs of Carnage” at Revolution Books on 146 West 26th Street, NYC. Author Michael Otterman was there to talk about his new book and do a Q&A segment. “‘Erasing Iraq’ is an account of the actual carnage in human terms, including interviews with Iraqi refugees. The continuing U.S. occupation is described as an “attempted sociocide”… either through negligence or deliberate strategy to stun the country into submission. If I could only recommend one book that provides a comprehensive overview of both the situation in Iraq today, and the decades of US backed policy it took to create this nightmare scenario, ‘Erasing Iraq’ is it.” Quote by Dahr Jamail [“Beyond the Green Zone”].

Friday evening, July 23rd, I attended Friday Nite Knits in the Kensington section of Brooklyn.

July 27th, at 5pm, I had therapy at my foot doctor’s office, and then afterwards attended the “Rethink Afghanistan” meetup in Park Slope. This is a new meetup hosted and created by Emma, whom I know via the last Kucinich presidential campaign. About six of us attended the meetup. Much was discussed, idea’s bopped around, suggestions, links and strategizing on what our meetup can accomplish down the road. Stay tuned for further updates. . . . . .

July 28th, at 6pm, I met up with Dennis and we had Chinese cuisine before heading off to MSG to see Buddy Guy and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers in concert. Our seats were up in the top most tiers at MSG and the air conditioning didn’t always work so well. Plus the cigarette and pot smoke mingled around didn’t help my asthma or lungs. Dennis lent me his inhaler at one point, which helped quite abit for my breathing. As to the gigs … well … both were really good and entertaining. I recognized all the Tom Petty hits from the 1980s and the audience participation was intense.

On Saturday, July 31st, I attended Quidditch at Riverside Park on the upper Westside with TGTSNBN. Marauders won 2 games out of 3 over the Centaurs. I was assisting on the sidelines with keeping score. Weather was perfect and that friggin humidity was down. Amen! Afterwards, I strolled around the park to do some sketching, photographs, plus read my book [ie: Sabriel]. Back home briefly rested and freshen up, then back into the city to volunteer with City Harvest down at Union Square farmers market. Then bop up to Stone Creek Lounge on East 27th Street to hangout with TGTSNBN to celebrate Harry’s 30th birthday. Yep, that’s right; Harry was born in 1980 according to JK Rowling. TGTSNBN took over Stone Creek Lounge and partied with much eating of food, cake, drinking, playing Charades and having “Goblet of Fire” playing in the background. At one point I had a lengthy conversation with Tom about the final season of LOST. Overall it was a great evening that rounded out a terrific day.

[Me holding a Harry Potter doll, and posing with some of TGTSNBN members at Stone Creek Lounge.]

AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT … REAL NEWS

End of Iraq Combat Operations or Beginning of Downsized, Rebranded Occupation Relying Heavily on Private Military Contractors?
Democracy Now & Jeremy Scahill
http://www.democracynow.org/2010/8/3/end_of_iraq_combat_operations_or

How Facebook Betrayed Users and Undermined Online Privacy
Allan Badliner, AlterNet
Facebook has collected loads of private information about their users. Information that is being sold to marketers.
http://www.alternet.org/story/147760/how_facebook_betrayed_users_and_undermined_online_privacy

America Can’t Solve Crises Because It’s a Company-Owned Town
Glen Ford, Black Agenda Report
http://www.blackagendareport.com/?q=content/america-cant-solve-crises-because-its-company-owned-town

Obama Slams ‘Obsession’ With Ending War in Afghanistan – Insists His Focus is on Winning the War
Jason Ditz, AntiWar.com
http://news.antiwar.com/2010/06/27/obama-slams-obsession-with-ending-war-in-afghanistan/

“Dirty Truths” by Dr Michael Parenti
http://www.takeoverworld.info/parenti_talks.html

Noam Chomsky: The U.S. Continues to Be a Terrorist State
By Joel Whitney, Guernica
http://www.alternet.org/story/146815/

Dennis Kucinich Announces Two Important House Votes
Cleveland, Ohio (July 26, 2010)

Congressman Dennis Kucinich announces that he and Congressman Ron Paul are joining in a cause focused at compelling the removal of U.S. military forces from Pakistan. Later this week, Congressman Kucinich will also support ending the War in Afghanistan by cutting off funding for the war. Transcript follows below:

Hi everyone, Dennis here:

This week we have two very important votes for the future of this country and the future of the world. The first deals with Pakistan - House Concurrent Resolution 301, and the second deals with supplemental funding which will provide another 33-billion dollars to keep the War in Afghanistan going. I would like to speak to you briefly about both of those votes.

The first vote is likely to occur this Tuesday on House Concurrent Resolution 301, sponsored by myself and Congressman Ron Paul of Texas. This resolution aims to cause the United States to withdraw from Pakistan. Now, it's not generally known that we have at least 124 Special Forces troops on the ground inside Pakistan. It is absolutely urgent that we take a stand to stop spreading war in Pakistan. To nip in the bud the U.S. ground presence.

We already know the U.S. has had missile strikes inside Pakistan since March of 2005 with a lot of innocent villagers killed. All that we can do is to expand the war into Pakistan, destabilize that government and have the United States fighting on still another front. We have to get out of Pakistan and that's why Ron Paul and I have come together, for the first time, to force a vote on this question.

Later in the week we'll be faced once again with the question whether to continue to fund the War in Afghanistan. The New York Times and other news agencies have taken WikiLeaks reports and have released this news globally. And what we've learned in the last 24 hours is that there is another secret war going on in Afghanistan. A war of failure. A war of our troops getting undermined by people that we think are working with us.

This is occurring in Pakistan, it's also happening in Afghanistan. The Afghanistan government is a cesspool of corruption. There is no plausible way that anything even remotely resembling a democracy can be established there. Our presence there is an occupation fueling an insurgency.

We have to get out of Afghanistan. We owe it to our troops. We owe it to our national security. We owe it to our budget. We owe it to the American people who hope for a better life here at home.

So, again, this week, two important votes: one tomorrow to get out of Pakistan and, later this week, end the War in Afghanistan by cutting off funding. I'll be in touch with you as matters progress.

I appreciate your on-going support. I need your help to continue to serve in the United States Congress. Thank you, very much.

Pakistan – The Real Reason Why the US and India Demonize Pakistan’s ISI
Shahid R. Siddiqui, Axis of Logic
http://axisoflogic.com/artman/publish/Article_60777.shtml

Anthony Weiner’s [D-NY] Heated Speech on the House Floor Over 911 Responders
http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/video/weiner-heated-frenzy-911-responders-heated-speech-house-anthony-congress-11290919

Obama Administration in Danger of Establishing “New Normal” With Worst Bush-Era Policies, says ACLUGroup releases 18-month review of President’s national security polices and civil liberties.
http://www.aclu.org/national-security/obama-administration-danger-establishing-new-normal-worst-bush-era-policies-says-a

The New Aristocrats of Finance Pose a Serious Threat to Our Democratic Way of Life
Joe Costello, Archein
Across our political system, we have lost checks and balances. It’s time take back what’s ours.
http://www.alternet.org/story/147775/the_new_aristocrats_of_finance_pose_a_serious_threat_to_our_democratic_way_of_life

[Duchess Note: Many thanks to Judith and Alice in sharing many of the articles in this posting.]