Thursday, November 30, 2006
Readings from 'Veterans of War, Veterans of Peace' Set for 12/1 at Pojoaque Pueblo
From Koa Books:
Tomorrow night , Friday December 1, at 7 PM, at the Roxane Swentzell Tower Gallery in Pojoaque Pueblo, eight miles north of Santa Fe, Lee Swenson and Doug Zachary will be reading from a new collection of writings gathered by National Book Award winner Maxine Hong Kingston, entitled Veterans of War, Veterans of Peace.
For 15 years, Maxine has been leading writing and meditation worships for veterans and their families. The harvest of their creative, redemptive storytelling -- nonfiction, fiction, and poetry -- was published this month by Koa Books. Hearing the words of these veterans of war and peace, we witness worlds being torn apart and rebuilt.
Lee Swenson was director of the Institute for the Study of Nonviolence in Palo Alto. Doug Zachary, a Marine from 1968-1970, is national fundraiser for Veterans for Peace. Please join Lee and Doug for this free event, open to the public. Copies of Veterans of War, Veterans of Peace will be available for purchase.
Directions from Santa Fe: Drive North on Highway 285 for 15.2 miles. Upon arriving at Pojoaque, turn right at the second stop light. Make another immediate right turn on Cities of Gold Road. The Roxanne Swentzell Tower Gallery will be to the left in the large (45-foot high) adobe tower.
For more information about the reading, call the Gallery at 505-455-3037. For more information about the book, visit www.vetsofwarvetsofpeace.org.
Note: The ads in Pasa Tiempo say the reading starts at 6 PM. The correct time is 7:00 PM.
Arnie Kotler, Koa Books
PO Box 822
Kihei, Hawai'i 96753
Tonight's 'We The People' to Focus on Pain Management Policy
WE THE PEOPLE: November 30, 2006
Thursdays, 7-8 PM MST
Albuquerque Community Cable Channel 27
Call-in: (505) 346-1633
Hosted by Mickey Bock & Judith Binder
Special Guest: Dr. Walter B. Forman
Time to stop pain! Dr. Forman is a member of the faculty at the UNM School of Medicine. His research and writings have focused on hospice and palliative care.
You can also watch the show online via streaming media at http://quote-unquote.org/. WE THE PEOPLE is an innovative call-in television show looking for TRUTH and TRANSPARENCY in local, state and federal governments.
Creating a Culture of Peace Event Set for 12/15
From Martha Dominguez:
Creating a Culture Of Peace (CCP)
Albuquerque Center For Peace & Justice
Friday 12/15/06 * 6:30-9:00
Music, Food, Fun !
Bands: Inanna & Uprising Voices
Improvisational Music * Reggae/Rock
$20 Donation Requested
Fundraiser to provide for Youth Scholarships and CCP Workshops for Personal and Social Change. Sponsored by “NM Creating a Culture of Peace” working to create a world without violence. Contact: 75-0597.
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
Money Party Dems: Oh No You Don't!
If this is what the Democratic takeover of Congress is going to mean, the battle for the heart and soul of the Party has just begun. We'd better put the pressure on ASAP to confront any and all Dems who dare to talk like Rep. Rangel on middle class issues and more. Check out what David Sirota is reporting on the Money Party leanings of our new Chair of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee:
Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY) represents one of the poorest congressional districts in New York City. He also chairs the House Ways and Means Committee - the panel that oversees taxes and entitlements. This combination would lead the casual observer to think that Rangel, trying to represent his district, would be aggressively using his chairmanship to redirect President Bush’s tax cuts to lower-income people, strengthen and even expand Social Security and renegotiate trade deals to protect American jobs. But, no. That’s not what appears to be happening. In the weeks after the congressional election, Rangel has expressed interest in doing the exact opposite: preserving President Bush’s tax cuts for the wealthy; considering Social Security benefit cuts and retirement age hikes; and supporting lobbyist-written trade pacts that have no wage, environmental or human rights protections in them. He has, in other words, moved to side firmly with the Money Party against the People Party.
I have to agree with Sirota's earlier take on a definition of the sides that really are in play in Washington. Not conservative vs. liberal, not Democratic Party vs. Republican Party, not left vs. right, not centrist vs. extremist, but Money Party vs. People Party:
Anyone who spends 5 minutes around the halls of power in the nation’s capital knows that Washington is dominated by one party: The Money Party, and that the People Party is far outnumbered - even after this election. Look no further than votes on the bankruptcy bill, the energy bill, the class action bill, China PNTR and NAFTA to figure out which politicans who call themselves Republicans and Democrats actually belong to the Money Party and which politicians actually belong to the People Party. The Establishment pretends this paradigm doesn’t exist - they need the drama of Democrats vs. Republicans to sell newspapers, and more importantly, hiding the existence of the real power equation is in the interest of all the major for-profit corporations that own the media.
Thankfully, some of the Dem fresh faces in Congress, like Senators-Elect John Tester (D-MT) and Jim Webb (D-VA), and new House members Sherrod Brown and Heath Shuler, ran on strongly populist economic platforms. It's the old hands -- like Charlie Rangel, our own Jeff Bingaman, Steny Hoyer and others -- we'll have to watch closely.
Big corporate campaign donors always seek to put the kabosh on anything that benefits ordinary people or creates a level playing field, and the longer politicos luxuriate in the lobbyist-run bubble of DC, the more they seem to forget the people and their issues. Money talks. Hence we have the mainstream media -- and many Dem analysts -- emphasizing the need to focus on "bipartisanship." What they want is a bipartisan effort by Money Party members on both sides to kill the populist impulse that was expressed so clearly by voters in the midterm elections.
Yes, we now have Dem majorities in both Houses of Congress, but People Party stalwarts are still in very short supply. The real battle will be between the corporatists and those who are truly dedicated to representing the needs of ordinary people. Are you ready? Something tells me we've only begun to fight.
Latest on Bernalillo County Minimum Wage Hike Bill
From Terry Riley:
We almost made a terrible mistake! We missed an important political action, one that affects us all. We missed the Bernalillo County Commission meeting where they were going to vote on raising the minimum wage.
We all put a lot of time and energy into the election and a whole lot of people put a lot of energy into the counting of the absentee ballots by hand. It is unfortunate but just because we put a lot of time and energy into one direction we really need to be ready to work on others. I am referring to a very important County Commission meeting that was held this Tuesday evening.
The minimum wage issue was to be voted on last night. I rushed down but I had planned poorly and was not in time to sign up to speak. There were about 20 people from ACORN. Some of the people who got up and spoke were prime examples of how terrible our low minimum wage is. The County Commission put off the vote until the December 12th meeting. This is very fortunate because there were nowhere near enough present to convince any councilors to support the issue if they were not already convinced that it is the right thing to do.
Political action requires that people stand up when the item of interest is being voted on. It looks to the councilors that only a very few people in Bernalillo County support raising the minimum wage. I really hope that there is a lot of support for it.
We know that there are going to be minimum wage bills in the state legislature and in Congress this year. That is not a reason to just wait. There are a lot of times that legislators introduce a bill that they intend to not pass. They want to look good to the voters but they are only playing with us.
If we push for and get an increase in the county we will have a better chance of getting it approved in the state. If a few more states pass minimum wage increases the Congress will consider passing a national minimum wage increase. We have to do what we can locally so that we can effect the national agenda.
Please make plans now to come to the Bernalillo County Commissioners meeting on December 12th. If you can make it by 4:30 PM you can sign up to speak. A well crafted short comment can turn the tide. Please help make Bernalillo County a better place to live, a place where you have a better chance of making a living even if you are paid minimum wage. --Submitted by Terry Riley
Editor's Note: Today's Albuquerque Journal reported that three of the five Bernalillo County Commissioners have expressed support for the minimum wage bill:
In interviews Tuesday, commissioners Deanna Archuleta and Teresa Córdova said they expect to join Commission Chairman Alan Armijo in supporting the wage increase. Armijo is sponsoring the proposal.
"It's good for the community, and it's good to have consistency," Archuleta said. Commissioners Michael Brasher and Tim Cummins are expected to vote "no."
For contact information for the Bernalillo County Commissioners, click here. You're urged to contact your Commissioner and express support for the bill and then attend the Commission Meeting on December 12th to testify on its behalf.
Santa Fe Screening of "Inside Bill Richardson" Set for 12/3
From award-winning journalist Neil Simon: A documentary I produced on Governor Richardson is going to play on the big screen this coming weekend as part of the New Mexico Film Expo. Anybody interested in Richardson's career, current ambitions, and New Mexico politics in general, will surely enjoy this 30-minute film produced at the height of the governor's first term.
"Inside Bill Richardson" movie
Sunday, December 3, 2:30 PM
Jean Cocteau Cinema, 418 Montezuma in Santa Fe
Tickets are $9 (includes access to other films being screened that day).
A description of the film from Neil Simon's website:
Governor Bill Richardson (D-NM) is one of the country’s best known politicians from one of the country’s least known states. In this one-of-a-kind film, award-winning journalist Neil Simon shows you just how Richardson leads the state he made his own.
From his childhood in Mexico City through his early political carpet-bagging, Richardson is honest, revealing and candid in this 30-minute feature. With interviews from Richardson’s harshest critics and most loyal insiders, this film is a glimpse into the life and leadership of an ambitious governor at the height of his popularity.
For a front-row seat at international diplomacy, Richardson’s lowest lows (as Secretary of Energy) and highest highs (2002 gubernatorial win) and everything in between, enjoy “Inside Bill Richardson.”
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
Attend a Bomplex 2030 Hearing to Stop New Nuclear Arms Race
From Citizen Action NM:
Meet Your Nuclear Neighbor: Sandia National Laboratories. $$$ Why Sandia Loves Bomplex 2030 $$$
What is Bomplex 2030?
The Dept. of Energy/National Nuclear Security Administration has a new plan to re-design and rebuild every nuclear weapon in the U.S. arsenal. This is the so-called “Reliable Replacement Warhead” program -- and the DOE/NNSA proposal to revamp the nuclear weapons complex to produce these new nuclear warheads is called “Bomplex 2030.” The name misleads one to think this plan is for the future. The effect on driving other countries to join the nuclear arms race will be immediate. The social, environmental, and economic costs will be enormous.
WHAT CAN YOU DO??
A Bombplex 2030 Public Hearing will be held by the DOE/NNSA on December 5th at the Albuquerque Convention Center, 11 AM to 3 PM or 6 PM to 10 PM. Attend with Friends in Opposition. Hearings will also be held in Socorro, Los Alamos and Santa Fe. See below for more information.
- Albuquerque: Dec. 5, Albuquerque Convention Center, 11 AM – 3 PM, 6 – 10 PM
- Socorro: Dec. 4, Macey Center, 801 Leroy Place, 6 – 10 PM
- Los Alamos: Dec. 6, Hilltop House Best Western, 10:30 AM – 2:30 PM
- Santa Fe: Dec. 6, Genoveva Chavez Community Center, 6 - 10 PM
Sandia will perform the certification testing for the nuclear triggers called “pits” that will be used in this new line of nuclear weapons. The pit is a nuclear weapon. Sandia will be involved in the design, construction and testing of components for this new line of nuclear weapons. The DOE/NNSA want to quadruple pit production at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) to 80 pits a year. LANL may well become location for a new plutonium center to produce 125 pits a year.
No justification can be found for further production of pits within the weapons complex for the RRW program. 4000 pits exist in “strategic reserve” in addition to a 12,000-plus “surplus” at Pantex in Texas. DOE/NNSA admits that age-induced impacts on pits have not been observed for pits up to 42 years old. The average age of pits in the current stockpile is 21 years old and lifetimes of pits can be 90+ years.
Sandia's primary mission is to implement the nation's nuclear weapon policies through research, development, and testing related to nuclear weapons. Sandia also manages the U.S. nuclear arsenal stockpile. Sandia designs and integrates over 6,300 parts of a modern nuclear weapon's 6,500 components. About 72 percent of Sandia’s $2,200,000,000 ($2.2 billion) annual budget goes for defense and national security related programs. Only a scant 4% of the Sandia budget goes for energy efficiency and renewable energy research.
The words “Reliable Replacement Warhead” are used to mislead the public to believe that the RRW program will maintain the nuclear status quo.
- The current inventory of nearly 10,000 nuclear weapons have been certified as “safe, secure and reliable” annually for the last ten years by the DOE/NNSA
- The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), the weapons arm of the Department of Energy, advertises the RRW as an "enabler" for changing to a "responsive infrastructure" which will one day "provide capabilities, if required, to produce weapons with different or modified military capabilities."
- The official Department of Defense website on "Stockpile Transformation" (the generic name for RRW and related plans) boasts of a goal of "developing warheads for next-generation delivery systems."
Neither the Department of Defense nor the Department of Energy has cleaned up the hazardous waste and radioactive contamination at many locations throughout the United States from the nuclear weapons production during the Cold War. The actions at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) and Sandia National Laboratories (SNL) are part of a larger action of bomb making activities in New Mexico and nationally that devastate water and air resources through release of hazardous and radioactive wastes. In New Mexico, for example:
- Sandia National Laboratories’ (SNL) Mixed Waste Landfill (MWL) is a radioactive cesspool that threatens the drinking water supplies for Albuquerque, New Mexico with 100,000 cu. feet of hazardous and radioactive wastes in unlined trenches. DOE/NNSA has failed to excavate the MWL for long-term protection of Albuquerque’s drinking water. There is no adequate well-monitoring system that complies with federal law. Monitoring wells were constructed using Bentonite clay and organic drilling additives that hide contaminants instead of detecting them.
- Storm water run-off at LANL contains significant amounts of americium-241, strontium-90 and plutonium-238 & 239 measured at levels up to ten times the drinking water standard. Hundreds of other toxic contaminants are in the soil at the bottom of the canyons and contaminated wetlands. Contaminated stormwater either seeps into the ground, posing a threat to groundwater, or, in intense storm events, drains to the Rio Grande.
The Bomplex 2030 program flies in the face of legal requirements for the United States to participate in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Bomplex 2030 will create the capacity for the US to build nuclear weapons more rapidly, reducing the size of nuclear warheads to allow a greater range. The 1970 Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) obliged all nuclear weapons states as signatories to Article VI of the Treaty to undertake “to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament...” International security is further destroyed by the fear that the US will use these weapons of mass destruction “preemptively. A new nuclear arms race must be prevented.
Other countries are no longer deterred by the nuclear threats of the United States but will seek to also obtain nuclear weapons. Nuclear bombs can be built by any country with the will to do so. The secrets for the technology are out. The US must turn from threatening annihilation of other countries to serious participation in solving the global problems of poverty and environmental damage that lead to political unrest, hopelessness and terrorism. The tens of billions planned to be spent by the US weapons complex for new warheads must be spent instead to create more peaceful societies in our world.
THE US NEEDS FRIENDS, NOT MORE BOMBS IN THIS WORLD: These scoping hearings will be your opportunity to tell the Department of Energy (DOE) that your “vision of the future” opposes plans to spend more TENS of BILLIONS OF DOLLARS to build new nuclear weapons in New Mexico. The scoping hearings are required as part of an Environmental Impact Statement. Demand environmental and social costs be considered now!
Amnesty International Attorney to Lead Discussion on Military Commissions Act and Abuse of Power
From the Albuquerque Peace and Justice Calendar:
The Military Commissions Act, Torture, and the 'War on Terror' is the subject of this presentation / discussion taking place at the First Unitarian Church (3701 Carlisle NE - Albuquerque) on Thursday, November 30th, at 7:00 PM. The event is sponsored by the First Unitarian Church of Albuquerque Social Justice Council.
The guest speaker is Amnesty International lawyer and Amnesty International Director for Human Rights and International Justice, Jumana Musa. Discussion will include the ramifications of the Military Commissions Act and abuse of power by the current U.S. administration. For more information call Renee at 505-344-5735.
Join us for a discussion about current U.S. law, policy and practice in the 'War on Terror'. Jumana Musa has been Amnesty's legal observer at military commission hearings for detainees facing trial at Guantanamo Bay for the last two years. Bring your questions about pardoning torture, eliminating the writ of habeas corpus for declared enemy combatants and detaining prisoners indefinitely. Find out what can we do about this abuse of power.
JUMANA MUSA BIOGRAPHY
Jumana Musa is a human rights attorney and activist. She is currently the Advocacy Director for Domestic Human Rights and International Justice at Amnesty International, where she addresses the domestic and international impact of the Bush administration's "war on terror" on human rights. She was one of the first human rights attorneys allowed to travel to the naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and serves as Amnesty International's legal observer at military commission proceedings on the base.
She is also an adjunct lecturer at Georgetown University's Arab Studies program, teaching a class entitled, Human Rights in the Middle East and North Africa. Formerly, she worked as a policy attorney for the National Network to End Domestic Violence and handled international relations and immigrations issues as a fellow in the office of Congressman Jesse L. Jackson, Jr. Ms. Musa holds a BA in International Relations from Brown University and a JD from Georgetown University Law Center.
Advocacy Director for
Domestic Human Rights and International Justice
Amnesty International USA
600 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE Washington DC, 20003
(202) 544-0200 ext. 241, (202) 546-7142 fax,
Richardson Transition Committee Holds Community Conversations
From Bill Richardson for Governor:
I have put together a Transition Committee to take a fresh look at my administration and recommend improvements that will allow us to continue our progress, and I want to invite you to add your thoughts by using the form on our transition website. You can also share your ideas for our second term by participating in one of the community conversations taking place in Albuquerque:
Promoting and Growing New Mexico's Economy
Tuesday, November 28th from 1:00-5:00 PM
National Hispanic Cultural Center, Wells Fargo Theater (4th & Cesar Chavez)
Making Schools Work
Wednesday, November 29th from 5:00-8:00 PM
Workforce Training Center, 5600 Eagle Rock Ave, Room #103
A Safer New Mexico
Thursday, November 30th from 1:00-5:00 PM
CNM, Smith Brasher Hall, 717 University Blvd, Room #100
Editor's Note: There were other meetings Monday on additional topics, but I didn't get this notice up in time to include them. My recovery from my illness continues and I'm still not up to snuff.--BW
Monday, November 27, 2006
Dancing With the Stars: Cheney Edition
Seeking input from the neocons on how to solve the Iraq disaster would be like consulting the serial arsonist who started a deadly, raging fire on how to extinguish it. That actually might make sense if the arsonist were repentant and wanted to help reverse what he unleashed. But if the arsonist were proud of the fire he started and actually wanted to see it rage forever, even more strongly -- and, worse, if he were intent on starting whole new fires just like the one destroying everything and everyone in its path-- it would be the height of irrationality for those wanting to extinguish the fire to listen to what he has to say.
... Back in 2002, when the U.S. was debating whether to invade Iraq, those who opposed the invasion were, for that reason alone, dismissed as unserious morons and demonized as anti-American subversive hippies. Despite the fact that subsequent events have largely proven them to have been right, and that those who did the demonizing were the frivolous, unserious, know-nothing extremists, this narrative persists, so that -- even now, when most Americans have turned against this war -- the only way to avoid being an "extremist," and to be rewarded with the "centrist" mantle, is to support the continuation of this war in one form or another.
Who cares anyway? Seems most Americans are content to fixate on joining the mob scenes at mall sales and fuggedaboutit as far as Iraq goes. 'Tis the season. I just can't wait to see what the Iraq Study Group's "solution" to this civil war is all about and what George himself will recommend in that department to save his sterling "legacy." I think Repub Senator Chuck Hagel is more on target than most in his recent column in the Washington Post, although even he seems to be more hopeful than realities on the ground indicate.
A profound sense of unending tragedy emanates from the Middle East these days, and from the hearts of all who are open to seeing the handwriting on the wall about the horrors spawned by Bush, Cheney, Rummy and the rest of the neocon death squad.
Behold the Satanic Symbol Wreath!
Sign o' the times: A homeowners association in Pagosa Springs, CO has decided to fine one of their own in order to protect townspeople from the nasty effects of what some are calling a Satanic symbol, shown above. According to an AP story, "residents were offended by the sign and the board will not allow signs, flags etc. that can be considered divisive":
A homeowners association in southwestern Colorado has threatened to fine a resident $25 a day until she removes a Christmas wreath with a peace sign that some say is an anti-Iraq war protest or a symbol of Satan. Some residents who have complained have children serving in Iraq, said Bob Kearns, president of the Loma Linda Homeowners Association in Pagosa Springs. He said some residents have also believed it was a symbol of Satan. Three or four residents complained, he said.
"Somebody could put up signs that say drop bombs on Iraq. If you let one go up you have to let them all go up," he said in a telephone interview Sunday. Lisa Jensen said she wasn't thinking of the war when she hung the wreath. She said, "Peace is way bigger than not being at war. This is a spiritual thing."
I do seem to recall a time when we were known as the land of the free and the home of the brave, but apparently that's now considered a pre-9/11 thing. Our freedoms and the courage to express them are now trumped by the controling interests of privatized homeowners associations and their rules. I wonder what would happen in Pagosa Springs if someone had the audacity to put up a sign honoring the Prince of Peace on his Christmas birthday celebration.... Mighty devisive and Satanic!
What next? Xtian fundies demanding people take down their Xmas trees because they're pagan symbols?
Here are the facts on the origins of the peace symbol and what it really means.
Which reminds me. The Xmas light peace sign we've had hanging on the front of our house for a few years now (above) needs some sprucing up for the holiday season. Many lights have burned out over the past few months. Maybe we'll add some evergreen branches in solidarity with the banned wreath in Pagosa. By the way, over the years we've only had one instance of someone tearing down our sign in the dead of night. Not bad considering the atmosphere of hatred for peace the Bushies have been nourishing for 6 years now.
LWV to Hold Forum on Citizen Lobbying
From the Albuquerque Journal:
The League of Women Voters of New Mexico plans "A Public Educational Forum on Citizen Lobbying" from 9:30 AM to 1 PM on Saturday, December 2, at the Montezuma Lodge No. 1, 431 Paseo de Peralta in Santa Fe. The event is designed to help the public communicate with legislators and participate in democracy.
The workshop is about the process of lobbying, the league said in a news release. Specific political issues will not be addressed during this meeting, but attendees can use the general information when they want to support or oppose issues in 2007.
Speakers include a Bureau of Elections lobbyist registrar; legislative representatives; a paid lobbyist; a citizen lobbyist from the American Association of University Women; a citizen lobbyist and Webmaster from the league; and other citizen organization representatives.
Handouts and discussion will blueprint ways for attendees to communicate with their legislators in their neighborhoods, on the telephone, on the Internet and at the Roundhouse. People are invited to bring questions about process, not about issues.
The forum is free, but the audience is limited to 50. Coffee, water and cookies will be provided. For more information contact Marilyn Morgan at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (505) 884-8441. A League of Women Voters' action committee meeting will follow at 1 PM.