Friday, August 26, 2011

Hundreds of American Arrested, Endless War and The Coddled Rich

Up to 1,000 Americans may be arrested to protest the Tar Sands Pipeline
As we anxiously await Hurricane Irene all along the east coast, we are reminded that storms have grown much more violent in recent years. Hurricanes draw their strength from the warming waters of the ocean and this has resulted in wind speeds of storms increasing 50% since the 1970's when sea surface temperatures began to rise. They are also growing in size. Irene spans 600 miles!

To fight against global warming, many are focusing on the proposed 1,700 mile Tar Sands Pipeline that would bring oil from Canada to Texas. This project could mean "game over" in our struggle to curb global warming emissions according to James Hansen of NASA. Tar sands oil is the dirtiest of the dirty fossil fuels and would create 400 gigatons (400 billion tons) of new carbon pollution into our atmosphere.

So far, 322 Americans (including leader Bill McGibbon) have been arrested demonstrating in front of the White House demanding that President Obama say no to this dangerous pipeline. The police tried to make an example of the first 50 arrested, by detaining them for two days under harsh conditions, but the next wave proceeded as planned. Another 700 have signed up to also risk arrest, making this the largest environmental civil disobedience this country has seen! Unfortunately, not many are actually seeing the drama play out, as the media is ignoring it.

This begs the question: If 1,000 Tea Partiers were being arrested to make a statement would the media fail to cover that?

It is so obvious that our future resides with green, clean energy! Consider this- The Maryland governor proposed a bill to construct about 100 wind turbines,10 miles off the coast. They could run a half million electric cars at the low price of $1.50 a gallon and create 2,500 new jobs! It is estimated that it would also save $4 billion in health costs by replacing polluting energy.

This could be Obama's shining moment to stand up to the dirty fossil fuel industry and to re-motivate a demoralized base, as he has the sole power to deny this pipeline. Call 202 456-1414 and tell our President to be strong and do the right thing.

Other News 
The Scourge of DU
Our Depleted Uranium munitions have left an epidemic of childhood leukemia and major birth defects in Iraq. In Fallujah, the site of two intense battles in 2004, they have 11 times the world average of major birth defects. In Basra, which was hit hard in the Gulf War, childhood leukemia more than doubled from 1993 to 2007.Read about it and sign a petition to ban DU weapons now!

Endless War? 
In a little noticed report, it was said that US forces, including special forces and air power, could stay in Afghanistan until 2024! There is also talk of extending the deadline for the withdrawal of troops from Iraq past Obama's promise of December of 2012. The very few continue to get very rich on death and destruction, while our country sinks into a deepening economic crisis. Bring the troops home now and invest that money in creating jobs and rebuilding America!
The Coddled Rich
Some hedge fund managers in the US make $1 billion a year and they are taxed at a lower rate than you and I are! The median income in our country is $29,000 (half make more, half make less)  It would take 34,482 years to make $1 billion! The 400 richest make more than 150 million Americans combined and most of them don't want to pay an extra nickle to help us in our time of greatest need.

Thank goodness for some voices of reason like Warren Buffet who wrote an op-ed in the NY Times called  "Stop Coddling the Super Rich", but most of the mega rich in this country, like the Koch brothers, want even more at the expense of everyone else. They should learn something from Buffet and from the millionaires and billionaires in France, who have asked for a tax increase to help save their country! 

All the Presidents Say It- Will Obama Do It and Say No to Tar Sands Oil?

Monday, August 22, 2011

Women in Black in the Hudson Valley and Beyond- new video!

About 100 people attended the screening of "We Are Still Standing: The Stories of Women in Black" at Upstate Films in Woodstock, NY, yesterday. Kudos to producer and director Ellie Bernstein for this informative, moving and  inspirational account of Women in Black; the largest mobilization for peace in the world! 

Jane Toby, who brought Women in Black to the Hudson Valley from Verona, Italy spoke briefly and gave a loving tribute to Jane VanDeBogart, a leader in the Women in Black movement in Woodstock.

I also spoke and shared the actions of Women in Black in New Paltz over the years. In over 500 vigils we have protested war, militarism and violence in all its forms. Additionally, we have organized rallies to support workers' rights, protect the environment, for health care for all, for election reform, to make Wall Street accountable, to protest torture, the loss of our civil liberties, illegal wiretapping and the rise of corporatocracy. New Paltz Women in Black has also organized photography shows to expose the scourge of depleted uranium, and art shows to show visions of peace from adults and one that focused on the children of the world. We raised money for Iraq Veterans against War and for Iraqi refugees. We were also the main organizer of "We, the People" a forum at SUNY New Paltz to educate and mobilize on how to overturn the terrible ruling of the Supreme Court in Citizens United. We believe that action is the antidote to despair and we have hardly stopped these last ten years!

After the film and video showing we invited all the Women in Black to the stage. We sang the Women in Black anthem, by composer Shirley Warren, who is also a member of New Paltz Women in Black and gave each woman a rose for her dedication to creating a more just, peaceful and loving world.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

New Women in Black Film- Sunday, Woodstock!

Don’t miss this fascinating documentary on the 20 year struggle of the largest women’s peace movement in the world.

Award-winning filmmaker, Ellie Bernstein, traveled the world to interview women who have taken to the streets to protest war and violence in all its forms. Archival footage and photos bring the Women in Black story to life.

Local women have been standing in vigils for peace every week for 10 years and they will be honored. There will be a short "slide show" featuring them. Jane Toby, of Woodstock Women in Black, who brought the movement to the Hudson Valley from Verona, Italy and I, from New Paltz Women in Black, will give brief talks. Ellie Bernstein will be available to answer questions.

We are planning some fun surprises too. We will be singing the Women in Black anthem, by composer Shirley Warren of New Paltz Women in Black and everyone will leave with an affirmation citing a gift they have that will contribute to world peace!

Please join us for this celebration of women’s dedication to creating a more just and peaceful world. Go to, or write to me at You can also sign up here.

"We Are Still Standing: The Stories of Women in Black", Sunday August 21 at 1PM, Upstate Films, 132 Tinker Street, Woodstock, NY. See you there!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

"Where Are the Jobs?" Rally in KIngston

We had a spirited rally Wednesday in front of Congressman Hinchey's office as part of the national launch of the American Dream Movement. Although some of the personal stories were sad, there was an abundance of impassioned energy as folks chanted "Jobs, Not Cuts", "Tax the Rich" and "Jobs Not War". Thanks so much to all who came!

Linda Abbott, Core Coordinator of the Ulster County MoveOn Council began by talking about the Contract for the American Dream that serves as the blueprint for this new, peoples' movement. It calls for investing in America's crumbling infrastructure, a new clean energy economy, education and Medicare for all. It also is about protecting workers' rights and Social Security, returning to fairer tax rates so the wealthy pay their share and ending the wars (that cost $3 billion a week). Lastly, it is about strengthening democracy by publicly financing elections to end the corrosive influence of money in politics.

We want to thank our wonderful speakers; Nancy Mathisen, Cameron Williams, Susan Ganzer and Darlene Hargrove. We heard about the "new poor"- folks over 50 with decades of experience who cannot find jobs, kids on food stamps, worry about retirement, and just how much people are suffering in our own community. Our hearts go out to them and their families and we wish them all the best in the days ahead. Thanks too to Lori DuBord, Congressional Representative who did an excellent job in outlining the Contract for the American Dream and all the ways Congressman Hinchey has been a leader in promoting those policies.

We even were treated to a brief, surprise visit as Congressman Hinchey drove by. We were able to present him with a bouquet of flowers to thank him for consistently being on the side of the people and to wish him well on his recovery from surgery. You may be wondering why he is not in the above video. Well, I goofed. I thought I was recording it all, but had actually turned the camera off for that great moment (sorry)!

I co-coordinated the event and spoke about my own son who is struggling to find a job in Phoenix. He told me he went for a manager's position for Taco Bell and there were 300 applying, some even traveling from Las Vegas and Los Angeles! I also talked about the "rich man's coup" that has been in the works for 30 years. Our salaries, adjusted for inflation, are less today than they were in 1971! Yet there has been a huge increase in income in America; it is just going to fewer and fewer people. Since 1980, 4/5 of all the increase went to the richest 1%.

We need a public jobs program like the WPA to turn this country around. If we depend on the private sector alone this recession could last a decade and get much worse. Slashing programs at a time of economic crisis is precisely the wrong thing to do. Of course, we have to deal with our deficit long-term, but right now we need an infusion of dollars to ensure our recovery.

We need to continue to rally around the policies set forth in the Contract for the American Dream. Over 130,000 Americans helped to write it. Kudos to for going through such a painstaking process to ensure all our voices were heard.

Our strength is in our numbers and in the fact that we are standing for the American ideal, that all who are willing to work can find a good job and give their families a better life. We are also standing for fairness- that those who do well IN America, do well BY America! To stay in the loop, please join our Council by writing to and please Sign the Contract and ask all your friends and family to too!


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Immoral Deal, How We Fight Back and More

        Photo from Bernie Sander's site

"The liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself. That in its essence is fascism- ownership of government by an individual or by a group. " Franklin Delano Roosevelt

Code Pink calls it "the rich man's coup". It has been in the works for 30 years and now we see it reaching its culmination in the dreadful, deficit ceiling deal. The poor and middle class are being asked to bear all the burden for reducing our deficit as trillions are slashed from critically needed programs, but the super rich and corporations making record breaking profits are not asked to contribute one cent. Is it clear now who "owns" the Tea Party, the Republicans and yes, many of the Democrats too?

Last night we had a great MoveOn meeting to begin fighting back to Rebuild the American Dream. First we all said one word to summarize how we were feeling about the deficit deal. About 30 people had a very similar response- disgusted, angered and frustrated, but one person, Mike Compain, said "motivated". That's the spirit we need now. We know we are up against huge power with limitless money, but we have millions of impassioned Americans and right on our side.  We are not going to sit back and let corporate America and the moneyed elite continue to steal from us and not pay their share. We are rising up all over this nation!

Please join us Wednesday, August 10 at noon in front of Congressman Hinchey's office at 291 Wall Street in Kingston. Because we have an unemployment crisis, not a debt crisis, this will be a day of nationwide action to ask Congress "Where Are the Jobs?" We will be demanding  job creation, that the rich pay their share and that the safety net not be shredded. Lucky for us, Congressman Hinchey is with us, so we are also there to thank him. We hope to have a huge turn out so the media and politicians in DC see how serious we are. Check for more information.  If you have lost your job and would like to say a few words write to me at or you can wear a sign, ie "unemployed teacher". Bring a pair of binoculars if you can- so we can all be looking for where the jobs are- a great visual the media will like. It will be a great rally and we hope to see you there!

1. We Could Have Eliminated the Deficit with This 
A recent first time audit shows that the Fed secretly gave banks and corporations $16 trillion, not $800 billion. TARP was just the start. "As a result of this audit, we now know that the Federal Reserve provided more than $16 trillion in total financial assistance to some of the largest financial institutions and corporations in the United States and throughout the world," said Sanders. "This is a clear case of socialism for the rich and rugged, you're-on-your-own individualism for everyone else."

2. Right-wing Policies Spreading Like Wildfire 
Forty seven states have introduced legislation that will disenfranchise millions of Americans in 2012. Using the nonexistent threat of "voter fraud" (which only occurs in a tiny, tiny fraction of 1%) legislatures are making it harder for the elderly, people of color and students (read Democrats for the most part) to vote. In Texas for instance, you can use your gun registration as ID, but not your student ID card. Thirty states have introduced anti-immigration legislation (to help fill up profit-making prisons), 42 states are considering legislation to declare the national health program unconstitutional and 24 states have introduced anti-worker provisions. Read about the front group for the Kochs and right wing lobbying groups- called ALEC- that is the driving force for this extreme agenda.

3. Air Force Cites Jesus and a Nazi to Justify Nuclear War
Information released under the FOIA, shows that nuclear missile officers (those who would push the button if the command came) in the Air Force were given a training that used the Bible and a Nazi scientist to justify launching nukes. One officer said the training could have been called  "Jesus Loves Nukes". Since Truthout exposed it, the Air Force has shut that training down.

"The U.S.-based women’s rights group MADRE (6/10/11) reported that members of the Organization of Women’s Freedom in Iraq—its partner organization in Baghdad—and other protesters were brutally beaten and sexually assaulted in Baghdad’s Tahrir Square on June 10 by government-sponsored mobs. What were they demonstrating for that so threatened Iraq’s government...Democracy."

5. Mother Earth Protests Fracking in Arkansas
"A moratorium on well activity had been in place for months as geologists investigated a possible link between fracking activity and the outbreak of more than 1,200 earthquakes that measured lower than 4.7 in magnitude."