Thursday, March 24, 2011

Eight Years Later

On Saturday, the U.S. began bombing Libya. In a sad coincidence, seemingly unnoticed by the mainstream media, the day also marked the 8th anniversary of the war in Iraq, where we continue to have nearly 50,000 troops deployed.

While the Obama Administration was committing our troops and tax dollars to yet another open-ended military engagement, Peace Action activists were taking action in Congress and in the streets.

Read on for some of the highlights, and check out our blog [ ] for even more up-to-date news and commentary.

Humbly for Peace,

Kevin M. Martin
Executive Director
Peace Action

[Duchess Note: Unnoticed? More like the corporate mainstream right wing media choose to deliberately IGNORE the fact, and continue to keep the majority of Americans in the dark or ignorant. The US government and military is still at war and occupying Iraq, Afghanistan, questionably in Pakistan, and now possibly Libya. And for what? Oil is one of the main reasons, but not the only reason. If we don't DEMAND change from Congress, Senate and the President in LARGE numbers, they won't do a darn thing. The majority of them are OWNED by corporations. And the US empire war machine will continue its domination for years to come. Do you want real change? Do you?!? Then take it to the streets in a peaceful, non-violent action. Thank you ... be well and be peace.]

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Portrait in Sepia

Activists Shut Down Bank of America Branch in D.C. in Tax Protest

In Washington, D.C., 600 activists with National People’s Action shut down a branch of Bank of America Monday to protest the bank’s record of dodging taxes. National People’s Action recently issued a report about how Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley have avoided paying billions of dollars in taxes. The study found that over the past two years, the six banks paid income tax at an approximate rate of 11 percent of their pre-tax earnings in the United States, far less than the 35 percent that they are legally mandated to pay. By avoiding the taxes, the banks saved $13 billion. National People’s Action reports this potential tax revenue could have been used to cover more than two years of salaries for some 132,000 teachers who lost their jobs since the economic crisis began in 2008.

[Duchess Note: Many thanks to Judith in sharing this article.]

Sunday, March 06, 2011


Tuesday, Feb 1st, I had an appt with my lung specialist, and TJ kindly came over from NJ to lend a hand. Not only with escorting me to the doctor appt, but he helped with lunch and a wee bit of grocery shopping. Good seeing him again and catching up on news. Visit with my lung specialist went very well, and I also had an X-ray done. That evening I jumped on the NYdoPeace board conference call and topic was mostly on Reso14, as it had recently garnered 7 new co-sponsors.

Thursday and Friday, Feb 3rd/4th, per my doctor’s orders, I worked half days at the office.

On Saturday afternoon, Feb 5th, I got a much needed manicure in my hood.

On Sunday, Feb 6th, I attended a HP cookbook signing at Borders on Park Avenue with several other TGTSNBN members. Afterwards, I hung out with Deanna at her apartment on West 13th Street before we headed down to Greenwich Village for a birthday/dinner party at Trattoria Spaghetto. [I got to meet Deanna’s adorable cat Dobby.] About 15 members of TGTSNBN attended the party and it was alot of fun. Good to see friends and acquaintances, plus eat tasty food and catch up on gossip.

Tuesday, Feb 8th, I participated with NydoPeace in the Valentine’s Day “create a card” campaign with messages about R14 to NY City Council members. NYdoPeace met at Kevin’s office on East 34th Street.

Thursday, Feb 10th, I joined other ‘Brooklyn for Peace’ Peace Fair committee members for a meeting in planning the fair on May 7th. Very productive meeting, great seeing everyone, as I’d missed the last meeting due to being in the hospital.

Friday, Feb 11th, was feeling abit under the weather, and took half a personal day from work.

On Sunday, Feb 13th, I got a much needed pedicure in my hood.

Monday evening, Feb 14th, I joined Carole in checking out space, and other features, at Simple Studios for the upcoming TRD on March 27th.

Tuesday evening, Feb 15th, I joined other NYdoPeace members for a conference call. We discussed “follow up” to the Valentine’s Day card campaign. Also, on February 15, 2003 I joined others in a huge, peaceful protest against the Bush/Cheney Regime setting the stage for war and occupation in Iraq. Eight years since I became an activist, and one of the best choices of my life. I've attached an article below by Kevin Martin on this same topic.

On Thursday, Feb 17th, I had an appt with the Fuchsberg Law Firm regarding “WTC Victims Compensation Fund”, and that I may be eligible for compensation. My “lung issues” are all 9/11 related.

Friday evening, Feb 18th, I volunteered at the WCW national office to assist with database work and pulling together items for a conference/forum at Judson Memorial church.

Saturday afternoon, Feb 19th, I attended the conference/panel discussion on “Building Resistance to FBI and Grand Jury Repression” at the Judson Memorial church near Washington Square Park. I also assisted WCW [ie: Bob and Sharon] with their tabling, plus handing out flyers.

On Tuesday evening, Feb 22nd, I treated my friend Larry to dinner and he assisted me with doing my taxes for 2010.

Wednesday evening, Feb 23rd, I joined other members of the NYC Tolkien & Fantasy group for its first meetup at Starlight Diner. Had a turnout of about 12 people and many interesting topics were discussed over the course of two hours, not just on Tolkien, but even on Tarot card readings.

Thursday evening, Feb 24th, I joined other ‘BforP’ Peace Fair committee members for a meeting in planning for the May 7th event. It was another productive meeting and we are moving along in steps towards the Peace Fair.

On Saturday morning, Feb 26th, Dana stopped by to clean my apt and was done by 12pm. I did errands around the neighborhood before heading into the city, down to Greenwich Village, for the “Grassroots Fundraising Conference” at the Brecht Forum.

On Sunday, Feb 27th, I headed up to CT for a day visit with my good friend Katherine. It was great seeing her, as it had been since October and our last get-together. We met up at Stamford train station and drove to Norwalk for a leisurely tasty brunch at a diner, plus catching up on news/gossip. Then back down to Stamford to do the “mall crawl”, continue our chatter on gossip while I picked up several necessary items. Afterwards we drove to her In-Laws home were Maurice was hanging out. Since his parents demise Maurice has been slowly sorting and packing up things in the house. While at the house we exchanged gifts, toodled around on the computer, saw two deer meander through the backyard and just hung out. I got back to NYC around 9pm.

Eight Years Since Largest Demonstration in History
Kevin Martin, Peace Action Blog

Yesterday marked the eighth anniversary of the massive February 15, 2003 demonstrations against the (at the time) impending US war on Iraq. An estimated 12 million people marched around the world, raising our voices for peace and against pre-emptive war. It was the largest demonstration in human history. Judith Le Blanc, currently Peace Action's terrific National Field Organizer, was one of the main organizers for United for Peace and Justice, which coordinated the events in the US, and served as a liaison with peace movements abroad.

I'll never forget it. I was in New York, and it was very, very cold, but the joy of the beautiful peace-mongers clogging the streets of Manhattan was infectious. I had the distinct and unique privilege of being with colleagues from our sister peace group Gensuikin, who had come all the way from Japan to be with us in New York. They were not well-dressed for the cold, but they were so happy to be there.

Were you there? Or in the streets in Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle, London, Paris or elsewhere? I'd love to here your memories of the day, please share them if you feel so moved.
Though we had been working for months to build opposition to the war, we didn't really expect such a massive expression of the will of the people of the world to oppose George Bush's outrageous drive to war. In the weeks and days before February 15, I didn't think we could stop the war, but that day, I thought just maybe our voices were so strong and clear they could not be ignored. The New York Times gushingly editorialized the next day that we represented the world's second superpower, world public opinion against the war. (David Cortright titled his history of the anti-war movement of 2002-2003 A Peaceful Superpower.)

Of course we did not stop the war. George Bush ignorantly and arrogantly dismissed us as a "focus group" (Really? 12 million people, a focus group?)

The US war and occupation was, as we predicted, a calamity. Eight years later, Iraq is still a wreck, and it's not clear the US will completely remove all troops, bases and contractors by the end of the year, as we are obliged to under the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) Bush signed with the Iraqi government.

While most peace activists are focused more on Afghanistan and other issues, we must remain vigilant and hold President Obama accountable to this withdrawal deadline, and we must repay the huge debt owed the Iraqi people for the immense destruction of their country. I haven't seen any definitive estimate of what a just amount for reconstruction and reparations would be, but it must surely in the tens if not hundreds of billions of dollars.

Some decry the current reality that the peace movement can no longer rally millions of people in the streets to demand an end to the war in Afghanistan. However, we have turned the tide of public opinion against that war, and we are building powerful alliances to demand serious cuts in military spending in order to reinvest in human needs.

I am privileged to work for peace with brilliant, indefatigable activists all over the country and around the world. I am sustained in this work every day by what I know people can do when we come together, as the recent remarkable revolutions in Tunisia, Egypt and elsewhere in the Middle East have shown the world. And I'll cherish the memory of February 15, 2003 as long as I live.

[Duchess Note: Amen to that Kevin! I to cherish the memory of 2/15/03, and how it sparked peace and activism in my heart. America, hear my plea, join me and folks like Kevin in the "peace movement". Together we can make a difference, we really can.]

How Koch Industries Makes Billions Corrupting Government
Lee Fang, Think Progress
The Koch’s Tea Party libertarianism is actually a thin veneer for the company’s long-running history of manipulating the market to pad Koch profits.

Facebook Will Share Users’ Phone Number, Email and Address with Third Parties
Sarah Seltzer, AlterNet

QUOTE OF THE DAY“Imagine throwing a football with no intention of where you want it to go. Even the best pro quarterbacks would fail with such a handicap. Be clear on your life goals. And visualize hitting your target today.”Yehuda Berg

Why Don’t Teachers Get the Respect They Deserve?
Ed Schultz, AlterNet & MSNBC

Wisconsin Democrats Launch Recall Effort Against GOP Senators
Sam Stein, Huffpost Reporting

Clarence Thomas Faces Call for His Disbarment in Missouri Supreme Court
Roger Shuler, AlterNet

Progressive Dems Issue Open Letter to Cuomo -- OPEN LETTER TO NEW YORK STATE DEMOCRATS

February 28, 2011

Dear Fellow Democrats:

We are writing to express concerns about the direction of our party and our state.

As we all know, New York faces serious fiscal problems. We all understand that difficult decisions must be made. As loyal Democrats, we believe that protecting children, seniors, working families and our communities must always be a priority. But the truth in Albany right now is that some of Governor Cuomo's budget policies are neither balanced nor well conceived:

The Governor would make deep cuts in education funding, by abandoning the Campaign for Fiscal Equity case - the hard-won victory that is supposed to ensure fairness in the distribution of school aid and give all children a sound basic education. And furthermore, the Governor would slash health care spending, eliminating prescription drug coverage for two thirds of our seniors through the EPIC program, a program which so many seniors rely on.

At the same time the Governor is taking these and other drastic actions, he wants to give the richest three percent of New Yorkers a massive tax break by allowing the expiration of the "Millionaire's Tax", a tax that would generate $5 billion annually. According to the Governor, this is what it means to be a "new Democrat." According to the Governor, this is the path to becoming "the most progressive state in the nation."

If this is what it means to be a New Democrat, and if this is what it means to be progressive then something is very wrong. We cannot be silent on this matter - not when the Tea Party, the Conservative Party, Republicans and a group of wealthy Wall Street executives are cheering the Governor's policies.

Of course, as we want the new Governor to succeed, we also recognize our duty and obligation to remember what our party has always stood for: fiscal responsibility, fairness, compassion and vision. We have a duty and responsibility to speak out now. To us, the answer is simple. Were it not for the proposed tax break for millionaires - worth $5 billion annually – our fiscal problems would be much less severe. We would still need to reduce spending, but we could lessen the severity of the cuts this year and even more so next year.

We ask that you join us in urging Governor Cuomo and our state lawmakers to extend the existing millionaire's tax as a way of avoiding drastic cuts to schools and health facilities. It is imperative that we protect children and seniors, not millionaires.

Very truly yours,

Robert Jackson, New York City Council Member

Catherine Fahey, 7th Ward, Albany Common Council

Fernando Cabrera, New York City Council Member

Lea Webb, Binghamton City Councilwoman

Margaret Chin, New York City Council Member

Jennifer Fuentes, Alderwoman, 5th Ward, Kingston Common Council

Melissa Mark-Viverito, New York City Council Member

Brad Lander, New York City Council Member

Carrie Andrews, Monroe County Legislator, 21st District (City of Rochester)

Dominick Calsolaro, 1st Ward, Albany Common Council

Connie L. Coker, Deputy Majority Leader, Rockland County Legislature

Edward Collins, Binghamton City Council, District 7

Richard Conti, President Pro Tempore, Council Member, 6th Ward,
Albany Common Council

Henry Conyers, Deputy Mayor of the Village of Hempstead

Inez E. Dickens, New York City Council Member

David Donaldson, Ulster County Legislator

Mathieu Eugene, New York City Council Member

Julissa Ferreras, New York City Council Member

Helen D. Foster, New York City Council Member

Pamela Goddard, Danby Town Clerk

Leah Golby, 10th Ward, Albany Common Council

John Hutchings, Broome County Legislature, District 5

Letitia James, New York City Council Member

Anton Konev, 11th Ward, Albany Common Council

Charles Kramer, Binghamton City Council President, District 6

Willie Joe Lightfoot, Monroe County Legislator, 27th District (City of Rochester)

Carolyn McLaughlin, Council President, Albany Common Council

Darlene Mealy, New York City Council Member

Michael O'Brien, 12th Ward, Albany Common Council

Annabel Palma, New York City Council Member

Martha Robertson, Chair, Tompkins County Legislature

Tony Rosario, Trustee of the Village of Hempstead

Deborah L. Rose, New York City Council Member

James Sano, 9th Ward, Albany Common Council

Larry Seabrook, New York City Council Member

Barbara Smith, 5th Ward, Albany. Common Council

Demone Smith, Buffalo Common Council

Joel Tyner, Dutchess County Legislator

Robert Weslar, Binghamton City Council
Majority Leader, District 1

Shirley Whitlock, Alderwoman, 4th Ward, Kingston Common Council

Jumaane D. Williams, New York City Councilman

Susan Zimet, Ulster County Legislator

Saturday, March 05, 2011


How You Can Boycott the Kochs
Lauren Kelly, AlterNet
The backlash against the Kochs’ influence in Wisconsin is gaining steam, with labor supporters starting to boycott Koch Industries’ many products [partial list below]. . . .

Boycott the Kochs!
Angel Soft toilet paper
Brawny paper towels
Dixie plates, bowls, napkins and cups
Mardi Gras napkins and towels
Quilted Northern toilet paper
Soft 'n Gentle toilet paper
Sparkle napkins
Vanity fair napkins
Zee napkins
Georgia-Pacific paper products and envelopes
All Georgia-Pacific lumber and building products, including:
Dense Armor Drywall and Decking
ToughArmor Gypsum board
Georgia pacific Plytanium Plywood
Densglass sheathing
G/P Industrial plasters (some products used by a lot of crafters)
FibreStrong Rim board
G/P Lam board
Blue Ribbon OSB Rated Sheathing
Blue Ribbon Sub-floor
DryGuard Enhanced OSB
Nautilus Wall Sheathing
Thermostat OSB Radiant Barrier Sheathing
Broadspan Engineered Wood Products
XJ 85 I-Joists
FireDefender Banded Cores
FireDefender FS
FireDefender Mineral Core
Hardboard and Thin MDF including Auto Hardboard

QUOTE OF THE DAY -- “What you do doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Every action contributes – or detracts – from the collective. This means what’s happening on the news isn’t just “news.” You affect it, whether you realize it, or not. Today, help change the headlines, by helping someone in front of you.” Yehuda Berg

What’s at Stake in Wisconsin – Capital vs. the Community
Laura Flanders, Grit TV
It’s a funny thing about covering budgets. Cutting spending garners a whole lot more attention than cutting taxes. How many Americans know, for example, that Governor Walker gave $140 million in tax breaks to corporations -- right before he announced this fiscal year's deficit of $137 million?

What are the Neoconservatives up to in Libya?
Meteor Blades, Daily Kos

Why the Right Attacked Unions, ACORN and Planned Parenthood – Institutions that Help Bridge Politics and Daily Life
Ilyse Hogue, The Nation
Their attacks are all carefully aimed at the same critical juncture; institutions that work for people in their daily lives and in the political arena.