Tuesday, September 18, 2012

NP Women in Black Video, Romney Courts Anti-Muslim Group and Occupy at One Year

Slice of New Paltz : New Paltz Women In Black from don kerr on Vimeo.

Many thanks to Don Kerr of "Slice of New Paltz" for doing a segment on our New Paltz Women in Black which will be aired weekends at 8PM on Public Access Channel 23 for the next 4 or so weeks. We have standing on that street corner every week for nearly 11 years. So proud of all my sisters with their deep commitment to creating a culture of peace! Please join us any Saturday in front of the Elting Library from 12:30-1:30PM.

Romney (Rightfully) Also Apologizes and then Courts  Anti-Muslim Group

My mouth literally dropped open when I heard what Romney said while Americans were in danger in Egypt and had suffered a murderous attack in Libya. To accuse the Obama administration of sympathizing with the terrorists was beyond the pale.

Then in an interview with George Stefanopoulos four days ago, Romney said this about the anti-Muslim hate video sparking the outrage, "I think the whole film is a terrible idea. I think him making it, promoting it, showing it, is disrespectful to people of other faiths. I don’t think that should happen. I think people should have the common courtesy and judgment– the good judgment– not to be– not to offend other peoples’ faiths. It’s a very bad thing, I think, this guy’s doing."

This is very similar to the statement the Cairo embassy issued as a growing angry mob was gathering at their door step. On 9/11, Romney chose to attack these loyal Americans on the front line in a volatile country and said their statement was "disgraceful". A new poll shows that only 26% of Americans agree with Romney's reaction.

What is really disgraceful is that Romney (by tape) and Ryan (live) both addressed a designated hate group, the Family Research Council, on Friday.

The executive VP of the Family Research Council (FRC) is retired Lt General William "Jerry" Boykin who was notorious during the Bush administration for giving speeches in his Army uniform stating that the war on terror is a religious war and that "Islam is evil". Boykin has also said that Muslims are under "obligation to destroy our Constitution", that they did not deserve the protection of our First Amendment which guarantees religious liberty and that no mosques should be built in America.

The FRC's president, Tony Perkins is an extremist too. He thought he could further his campaign for Congress in the 1990s by paying over $80,000 for the mail list from KKK's David Duke. Perkins praised a proposed Ugandan law that would execute LGBT people, defended Todd Aiken's indefensible remarks on "legitimate" rape and routinely equates being gay with pedophilia. That the Republican candidates for president and vice president court such a hateful, bigoted group is an outrage and mainstream news should not be giving them a pass on it.

And let me end by saying making an apology is not a sign of weakness! It is a sign of integrity, humility and courage. Many of us have seen the pictures of Libyans holding up signs apologizing for the killing of our diplomat, Chris Stevens and three other of our countrymen. It was very touching to see the look in their eyes. They showed real remorse and it was healing.

I think we, as Americans, should do the same thing- take to the streets with signs of apology to the Arab world. We could say we are sorry for all the innocents lost in two wars and in ongoing drone attacks, for the arbitrary imprisonment and torture used in Iraq and Afghanistan, for the sickness arising from depleted uranium munitions, for supporting tyrants who brutally oppressed them for decades, for the anti-Muslim hate shown by some Americans, for having a political party that caters to their bigotry and so much more.

Occupy Wall Street One Year Anniversary and Beginning of Year Two!

                                                                      Marcus Santos NY Daily News
Retired Episcopal Bishop George Packard, a decorated Vietnam veteran and military chaplain during the Iraq War was one of almost 200 arrested yesterday on the first anniversary of Occupy Wall Street in NYC. About a thousand people commemorated the special day by heading for the Wall Street area and once again drawing attention to our broken financial system that lavishes wealth on the 1% and hurts everyone else. There were solidarity rallies in dozens of other cities.

News is still breaking on the day- but what I found startling is that about 20% of the protestors were arrested. The Guardian said "A repeated theme of the detentions was police rushing forward to seize people identified as agitators." I wonder what one had to do to be targeted as an agitator? Hearing that Zuccotti Park was encircled by metal barricades and that there were walls of police in riot gear everywhere is disturbing and to me indicates that new forms of protest are needed to grow this movement.

                                                                                        John Minchillo AP
Please sign the pledge!
From RootsAction.org

One year was never going to be enough.  A unified movement for peace and justice must never end.  As Occupy enters year 2, without the corporate media's help, but with months of experience under our belts, we rededicate ourselves to building a society that is fair to everyone, including future generations, a society that doesn't just feed the insatiable greed of the 1%.
I commit to working locally and nationally, in the real world as well as online, to build and strengthen a multifaceted nonviolent Occupy movement regardless of the outcome of elections, a movement dedicated to empowering people and dis-empowering plutocracy, a movement advancing an agenda that includes:
--Taxing the rich and corporations
--Ending the wars and cutting spending on war preparation
--Strengthening Social Security and expanding Medicare to cover us all
--Ending corporate welfare for oil companies and other big business interests
--Transitioning to a clean energy economy, reversing environmental degradation
--Protecting worker rights including collective bargaining, creating jobs and raising wages
--Taking the money out of politics
--Making education a right, not a privilege
--Making housing a right, not a privilege
--Breaking up corporate media monopolies
--Restoring and expanding civil liberties 
Sign the Pledge here! http://act.rootsaction.org/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=6587

PS Romney insanity continues...

You knew it was only a matter of time before a video like this would surface. Here is Romney at a closed door, $50,000 a plate fundraiser saying what he really thinks! He basically said that almost half of all Americans are freeloaders, who consider themselves "victims" and think they are entitled to food and healthcare (the nerve).

He is referring to the 46.4% of Americans who don't pay federal income tax- almost half of whom are the elderly and about a third are children and the working poor. Romney concluded "my job, is not to worry about those people," which is reminiscent of his earlier statement "I'm  not concerned about the very poor". Hear that, one in five American children living in poverty? Mitt Romney is not worried about you- in fact you hardly register on his radar.

So in our new Gilded Age, we have the Republican candidate for President attacking the poorest and most vulnerable among us. In 2008, the average income for the bottom half of workers was $15,300 a year. Those folks still have to pay federal payroll taxes, local and state taxes, sales, gas, utility and other taxes. In fact, the tax burden on the poor for local and state taxes is about double the percent that the rich pay.

Romney of course did not chide the well off who pay nothing in income taxes, nor the dozens of mega-corporations reaping their highest profits ever, yet paying no corporate taxes at all.

"There are 78,000 tax filers with incomes of $211,000 to $533,000 who will pay no federal income taxes this year. Even more amazingly, there are 24,000 households with incomes of $533,000 to $2.2 million with zero income tax liability, and 3,000 tax filers with incomes above $2.2 million with the same federal income tax liability as most of those with incomes barely above the poverty level." 

Romney said those not paying federal income tax were all voting for Obama. Really? What a surprise that Obama will win the South.

BREAKING- here is the response from the White House

Friday, September 7, 2012

Great Women's Rights Rally and March in New Paltz

We had a fabulous Rally and March on Women's Equality Day on August 26 in New Paltz!
Nearly 300 came out to demand equal rights for over half the population- everything from full reproductive rights to equal pay for equal work to ending violence against women and ending budget cuts that will affect women and children the most. Thanks to Donna Goodman and the Hudson Valley Actvist Newsletter for sponsoring and to all who participated!

A few people asked me to print out my talk, so here it is.

Women, Militarism and War
by Barbara Upton

Welcome! How wonderful it is to see so many women and girls of all ages coming together to defend women's rights and it is great to see so many of our brothers here too standing with us in solidarity.

Let me begin by saying, men are not the problem, a patriarchal system that oppresses women is the problem! Patriarchy is the social power structure and ideology that provides justification for the institutionalized discrimination against women. It is supported by and thrives on war and violence. Patriarchy cannot exist without militarism which promoters a culture of fear, is based on power over others and that believes that the organized use of physical violence is the only way to resolve conflict. Patriarchy and militarism are inextricably linked. But let me tell you something else that is mutually interdependent- women's equality and our ability to create a culture of peace.

The first step is to recognize and educate ourselves and others about the true cost of war.

New Paltz Women in Black "Eyes Wide Open Exhibit" and Altar to Fallen Troops                                               B Upton

Do you know that war is currently being depicted as a game show on NBC? This is the way of militarism. Only 1% actually does the fighting and for the rest of us war is glorified and even made into entertainment. The military sanitizes the horrors of war through language. Civilian deaths are called "collateral damage" and missiles are "peacemakers". Rarely do we see the real ravages of war.

The fact is, war destroys people, the earth and the very fabric of life and no one suffers more in war than women and children.

Although our conception of war, of soldiers fighting on a battlefield has not changed, the reality of modern warfare has
. A UN Peacekeeping General recently said, "It is now more dangerous to be a woman than a soldier in conflict."

In WW I, 5% of the casualties were civilians, in WWII the number of civilian casualties was 55% and today that number is 90%. Women and children are killed, maimed, raped, sickened, displaced,widowed and orphaned by war. Eighty percent of the millions displaced by war and conflict are women and children. Rape is used as a weapon of war. In Rwanda a half million women were raped . In Bosnia Herzegovina 50,000 women from all the ethnic groups were raped and a half million were victims of sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

It is also important to remember that war does not end when the bombs stop falling. Agent Orange in Vietnam, resulted in hundreds of thousands of babies being born with severe birth defects. In addition, tens of thousands of US soldiers were sickened and disabled and the effects are still being seen in second and third generations. Depleted uranium munitions in Iraq and Afghanistan have left a radioactive legacy that has resulted in a spike in cancer rates and childhood leukemia. Landmines in over 80 countries kill and maim women and children daily as they are the ones tasked with gathering food, water and wood.

As if all this horrific violence were not enough, there is also the structural violence created by a permanent war economy. Sixty percent of our discretionary budget goes to death and destruction. This strips money from health care, education, job creation and vital social programs and because women and children are overrepresented among poor people, again women and children are hurt the most. 

Kingston  Rally for Peace and Justice                                                                                                                  B Upton
Lastly, when violence is seen as the acceptable way to resolve conflict in the international sphere, it affects all aspects of society. It even extends to women in the military. One VA study done after Desert Storm showed that one in three women serving were raped. It is said that women in the military fight on two fronts; on the battlefield and in the barracks. The effects of a militarized society is also seen in community violence with our 30,000 gun deaths every year and in domestic violence which increases during war. VA research shows that veterans with PTSD are two to three times more likely to batter partners and children than veterans without PTSD. Battery is now the number one cause of injury to women in the US.

Our path is clear. We have to end war before war ends us, as John F Kennedy said. We have to make war as unacceptable in the 21st century as slavery was in the 20th century. We have to build a culture of peace from the ground up and inside out. That means we do have to be the peace that we wish to see in the world. We can begin by replacing blame and dwelling on all that is wrong with a focus on creative solutions, stop fueling polarization by listening more deeply, and transform despair with inspired visions and empowered action. Together we can build a culture of peace founded on respect for the dignity and inherent worth of every woman, man and child. Peace is our only true security and I believe it is our collective destiny.

So yes, you will continue to see Women in Black standing for peace in front fo the Elting library every Saturday at 12:30. We have been there every week for almost eleven years and you know what- we are just beginning! We hope you will join us. Thank you.

Join us any Saturday- 12:30-1:30PM In front of Elting Library New Paltz
Contact Barbara, or New Paltz Women in Black at ClearStreamMedia@gmail.com.