Thursday, October 06, 2011

10/8: ABQ Rally and March to End the Wars, Occupy Albuquerque

From ANSWER Coalition NM:
On the 10th anniversary of the Afghanistan war on Saturday, October 8, gather at the UNM bookstore at 11:00 AM for a PROTEST and DIE-IN, then March to University and Central in solidarity with the Occupy Albuquerque Encampment and Occupy Wall Street. We are the 99% -- Occupy Albuquerque!

Act Now to Stop War, End Racism, Stop Corporate Greed: $3 billion per day for war, 30 million unemployed. It's time to act! Sponsored by Albuquerque Coalition to Stop the Wars, ANSWER Coalition, Stop the War Machine, Vets for Peace

Help With Preparations: Come help build the October 8 protest. Banner and sign-making, phone banking -- Friday, October 7, starting at 6 PM at the ABQ Center for Peace and Justice, 202 Harvard (at Silver).

To get involved, to endorse, or for more information call 268-2488.

October 6, 2011 at 10:34 PM in Afghanistan, Corporatism, Economy, Populism, Events, Occupy Wall Street (Everywhere), Peace | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, August 26, 2011

Compare and Contrast: Liberal Lion Ted Kennedy and the Liberal Bashing Obama Admin


Caroline's intro, video tribute, Teddy's speech (at 14 minutes)

It was three years ago yesterday when the Liberal Lion of the Senate, Ted Kennedy, overcame the health difficulties he was experiencing to address (text) the Democratic National Convention in Denver. I was very fortunate to be in the hall that night as a state blogger (thanks Howard Dean), and clearly recall the electricity and emotional intensity that swept the hall when Teddy strode onto the stage for the last time at a Dem Convention, and gave a moving and rousing speech on behalf of Barack Obama. In an odd coincidence, Ted passed away from a brain tumor exactly a year later, on August 25, 2009. And so it is inevitable that Dems like me have thoughts of Ted Kennedy swirling in our heads at this time of year.

I have many memories of Teddy fighting the good fight for the people -- for workers, for minorities, for children, for seniors, for health care for all, for the impoverished, for women -- over his many years of public service, as well as his no-holds-barred liberalism in the face of whatever nasty rhetoric was issuing from right-wingers in any particular year. There are few politicos today who call themselves Democrats who are as proudly and unabashedly liberal as Teddy was.

No, it is now the fashion, from Obama on down, to embrace the phony, expedient labels of "centrist" or "moderate" or "nonpartisan" and pretend that there is a middle we can meet in and still effectively make the deep-seated changes needed to return our American economy, culture and communities to anything resembling fairness, compassion and opportunity for all. Ironically, most of the traditional values of the Dem Party now match the positions supported by a majority of Americans -- it is only politicos of both parties who stand in the way of the progress we need to regain our footing and thrive.

Ted vs. Barack
Teddy was known to be an excellent negotiator and, believe me, he did not start the compromise negotiations by giving away most of the store before the dealmaking had even begun. In other words, he was no Barack Obama. Thankfully. No, Teddy was known as a successful persuader of his fellow lawmakers, as well as a true leader who could inspire and marshall the great energies of the people to push for real change we can believe in.

Senator Kennedy did not stand there and make excuses saying things like, "hey, this is the best we can do because Republicans will never support anything more so we're not even going to try for what we really believe in, what the people really want. I'm the wise, all-knowing one and I will start out already across the line into right-wing corporatist territory in my negotiations and go from there. And the Democratic base should take it and shut up. If they don't support me, they just aren't smart enough to get the beauty of my strategies and tacitics. I call the shots, not them. I listen to my corporate/banking/Wall Street "advisers" and donors, not to the motley crew who comprise the Dem base."

Well, Obama never says exactly that, but that's the message that seems to frequently emanate from the White House, whether from the President himself or his public mouthpieces and leakers.

Can anyone imagine Ted Kennedy mocking the Democratic base or liberal values or progressive activists?

What Would Teddy Do?
Before his death, Teddy worked very hard to get Obama the nomination and the presidency. I wonder what he would think and do now after witnessing the steady and incredibly depressing transition of Mr. Hope and Change into Mr. No Way, No We Can't. I can't help but believe he'd be just as disgusted as so many of us are with the failure of Obama and so many of the DC Dems to BE DEMOCRATS instead of mewling technocrats in the service of some of the worst financial and economic forces on the planet.

Can anyone imagine Ted Kennedy allowing Sen. Max Baucus and his gang to stall away a whole summer working on watering down and corporatizing the health care reform bill as much as humanly possible while the right wingers went nuts spreading false information at crazy town halls and Obama sat on his hands, mostly mute? I don't think so.

Disturbing Contrasts
Here's an excerpt of what Caroline Kennedy had to say in her introduction of Teddy at the Dem Convention in Denver. Think about it, as well as what Teddy said that night, and then think about the kind of lip service and dismissiveness we're getting from President Obama at a time of incredibly upsetting economic and environmental peril:

For 46 years, he has been so much more than just a senator for the people of Massachusetts. He's been a senator for all who believe in a dream that's never died. If you're no longer being denied a job because of your race, gender or disability, or if you've seen a rise in the minimum wage you're being paid, Teddy is your senator too.

If your children are receiving health care thanks to the Children's Health Insurance Program, if you see a nurse at a community health center or if you're benefiting from the Medicare program that he fought to create, and that just last month he returned to the Senate to save, Teddy is your senator too. If your child is getting an early boost in life through Head Start, or attending a better school or can go to college because a Pell grant has made it more affordable, Teddy is your senator too. And if you're an 18-year-old who's going to vote for the first time-and I bet it'll be for Barack Obama- Teddy is your senator too.

Not only has Teddy helped put the American dream within reach for so many families, he's been a powerful force around the world for human rights and human dignity, for refugees and the dispossessed. He helped end apartheid in South Africa and bring peace to Northern Ireland. He's been a leader on nuclear arms control. And he took a strong, early and courageous stand against the war in Iraq.

It's a contrast that is breaking the hearts of increasing numbers of loyal Democrats, grassroots activists, progressives and ordinary Americans. Now we have an allegedly Democratic President who actually puts Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security cuts on the table at the outset of the debate and thinks cruel measures of "austerity" are the way to jump start the economy and create jobs. We have a President who is conducting covert military operations and attacks on whistleblowers that go beyond what even Bush dared to implement -- one who believes he doesn't have to get congressional approval to participate in a war in Libya. We have a President who clearly seems to be siding with the criminal bankers who caused this mess, instead of putting the people's needs first. We now have a President who has had ICE round up, incarcerate in private prisons and deport more immigrants than Bush did in any year of his administration. I could go on. 

What would Teddy say? I can't imagine him defending this behavior, that's for sure.

Between a Rock and a Hard Place
Yes, I know, Dems are between a rock and a hard place as far as the 2012 presidential election goes. We are constantly warned that we must support Obama 100% or else face the insanity of a right-wing president like Bachman or Perry. Maybe the big-money, behind-the-scenes big shots set it up this way on purpose, just to ensure another four years of Obama the appeaser. In the current political environment it's hard to know who or what is actually driving events -- here and on a global scale. 

I'd love to see Obama face a primary opponent, at the very least. One who could strongly and clearly express many of the ideas and positions currently being put forth by Sen. Bernie Sanders, for instance. Regardless, I think it's imperative to keep the pressure on Obama and to call him out when he sinks to the kind of actions I've cited above. As far as I'm concerned, it's no longer an option to once again don our cheerleader gear and blindly support Obama's presidency or his reelection.

After last week's kerfluffle (that got national attention) over the embarrasing emails mocking liberals and progressives sent out by NM OFA head honcho Ray Sandoval, I admit that it's hard for me to think about lifting a finger to help reelect Obama. And I know I'm only the tip of the iceberg. Many say it will be our fault if Obama loses, but I say that it will be his own fault -- for refusing to be a strong Democratic leader fighting hard and long for true Democratic values, and for insulting and demeaning the very people in the Dem base who worked their asses off and gave tons of small donations to get him elected last time. Obama is the one who needs to wake up -- not us.

As Senator Kennedy said, "The work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives and the dreams shall never die." And that's regardless of whether or not a Democratic president holds the White House. We must continue to fight for this, no matter what: "For me this is a season of hope -- new hope for a just and fair prosperity for the many, and not just for the few — new hope." If Obama continues to refuse to lead on that basis, we need to find someone who is willing to at least confront him.

Sentimental Journey
Before I wrote this post today, I indulged in a sentimental journey to the last president cycle -- and the incredible excitement and yes, hope, we had for an Obama presidency. The contrast with my feelings today couldn't be starker. And that's a real shame.

If you're so moved, indulge yourself in a trip to the past. Perhaps it will inspire and energize you to fight on for our Dem principles, and keep the pressure on Dem officeholders and candidates to do the same. We need to be loud and proud and unrelenting, don't you think? There's just too much at stake to take whatever our Dem leaders hand out, no matter how weak or misguided, and keep our mouth shut. We need to ACT UP!


Photo album here

Our convention blog coverage from 2008 can be found in our archive. And here are our videos.

August 26, 2011 at 01:10 PM in 2012 Presidential Race, Democratic Party, Economy, Populism, Environment, Jobs, Obama Administration, Organizing for America, Peace, Progressivism | Permalink | Comments (27)

Saturday, August 06, 2011

On Hiroshima Day 2011

Today was the day that an atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima in Japan in 1945. We were the ones who dropped it. New Mexico housed the top secret facilities where people worked on the bomb project, including where the main research was done, in Los Alamos, and where the first test bomb was detonated, at the Trinity Site in White Sands. Now there is another nuclear event going on in Japan, at Fukishima.

Whatever you may think about Yoko Ono, I urge you to read her message for today. So much is going on right now on planet earth, on so many levels, and much more will be revealed -- soon, I think. I see it as a perfect message to absorb and ponder at such a time on our planet.

August 6, 2011 at 11:54 PM in Peace | Permalink | Comments (2)

Friday, July 29, 2011

Photo of the Day: Sen. Tom Udall Meets With Dalai Lama

UdallDalaiLama
Click image for larger version

U.S. Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) a member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, met with the Dalai Lama on his recent visit to Washington. While in DC, the Dalai Lama also met with President Obama at the White House and marked his 76th birthday with an 11-day Buddhist ritual, the 2011 Kalachakra for World Peace.

July 29, 2011 at 02:28 PM in Peace, Religion, Sen. Tom Udall | Permalink | Comments (3)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Albuquerque Marchers Demand End to US Wars: Photos and Video


Click for larger version or photo album

Note: The sad news is that Rep. Martin Heinrich (D, NM-01) and Rep. Ben Ray Lujan (D, NM-03) both voted AGAINST a recent resolution (non-binding) urging President Obama to keep his word and get the troops out of Afghanistan. Congressman Lujan, however, did at least sign onto a letter urging the President to do so.

About three hundred demonstrators against the U.S. wars/occupations in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere turned out on Saturday to march from Central and University in Nob Hill to Albuquerque's Civic Plaza downtown. The protest, one of hundreds held around the country on the 8th anniversary of the start of the Iraq War, was organized by the Answer Coalition, Stop the War Machine and the March 19 Coalition.

The main theme: bring the troops home now. Start using the $2 BILLION a week and more we spend on the wars to create jobs and support community and human needs. The American economy is still suffering from high unemployment rates, sagging worker paychecks and rising food and energy prices. Start dealing with our needs instead of shoveling money to defense contractors, mercenaries and corrupt Afghani and Iraqi officials. 


Chanting: occupation has got to go!

Many signs at the march and rally also criticized the U.S. military's severe treatment of 23-year-old Pvt. Bradley Manning, who has been held in solitary confinement at Quantico military prison in Virginia for nearly eight months. Manning is accused of leaking classified military and State Department documents to the whistle-blower site WikiLeaks. Others pressed for unity with union workers in Wisconsin and other states who are being attacked by right-wing governors and legislators.

In Washington DC, more than 100 people were arrested in front of the White House amidst a crowd of about a thousand demanding that President Obama "stop the war, expose the lies and free Bradley Manning." Among those arrested was Daniel Ellsberg, a former Pentagon official whose unprecedented leak of thousands of classified documents -- dubbed the Pentagon Papers -- revealed that top American officials were actively concealing the unwinnable reality of the Vietnam War from the public.

Ironically, the protests took place on the same day U.S. forces working with NATO nations and authorized by the United Nations started bombing Libya's air defenses and other targets. The stated objective is to create a no-fly zone to protect assaults on Libyan rebels who are seeking to oust long-time strongman Moammar Kadafi. According to the LA Times, an official, "who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter, said Washington and its allies also were committed to using nonmilitary means to force Kadafi out, including steps intended to cripple the Libyan economy and isolate him diplomatically."

Photos and video by M.E. Broderick.

March 20, 2011 at 05:17 PM in Afghanistan, Economy, Populism, Events, Iraq War, Military Affairs, Peace | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, March 18, 2011

3/19 at 11AM in Albuquerque: March and Rally to Stop the Wars

174862_193063817385351_3889731_nFrom ANSWER Coalition: Join veterans, students, activists, union members and thousands of others here and across the country to protest against the U.S. war machine. March and Rally in Albuquerque to Stop the Wars on Saturday, March 19, from 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM.

Meet at Central and University and march to Lockheed Martin and a Rally at the Albuquerque Civic Plaza. Sponsored by the March 19 Coalition. Contact Stop the War Machine at 505-268-9557 or the ANSWER Coalition at 505-268-2488 for more information.

March 19 is the 8th anniversary of the invasion and occupation of Iraq. It will be a national day of action against the war machine.

  • End Occupation: Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine & Everywhere! 
  • Fund Jobs, Healthcare & Education, Not Militarism! 
  • Stop Budget Cuts, Tuition Hikes & Attacks on Working Families!

Iraq today remains occupied by 50,000 U.S. soldiers and tens of thousands of foreign mercenaries. The war in Afghanistan is raging. The U.S. is invading and bombing Pakistan. The wars abroad are directly connected to the war on working people at home. While the United States will spend $1 trillion for war, occupation and weapons in 2011, 30 million people in the U.S. remain unemployed or severely underemployed, and cuts in education, housing and healthcare are imposing a huge toll on the people. Now, new rounds of cutbacks in vital public services and jobs are underway at every level. The most affected are working and poor people -- especially people of color -- students and veterans.

Racism and immigrant bashing are on the rise, and civil rights and civil liberties are under attack. Now is the time to step up the struggle against U.S. wars and to demand money for people’s needs at home.

Join us. Protest and resistance actions will take place in cities and towns across the United States. Demonstrations are scheduled for Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Washington, D.C., and more.

March 18, 2011 at 02:57 PM in Afghanistan, Economy, Populism, Events, Iraq War, Military Affairs, Peace | Permalink | Comments (1)

Monday, March 07, 2011

3/13: Poets Against War Open Mic and Reading with Margaret Randall

Margaret-4839d From Albuquerque Poets Against War:
Albuquerque Poets Against War presents an open mic at the Albuquerque Center for Peace & Justice located at 202 Harvard SE in Albuquerque. Featured Reader Margaret Randall will be reading from her new book, Something’s Wrong with the Cornfields (see one of the new poems below).

"Better than a memoir, Margaret Randall's collection of unpublished poems celebrates the lives she has observed, of workers and oppressed peoples, as well as poets and intellectuals. The passion expressed in Meg Randall's long career as a poet, editor, and activist comes tumbling out of this huge collection, brimming over the edges of every poem." -–Diane Wakoski

This fundraiser for the Albuquerque Center for Peace & Justice will take place on Sunday, March 13, 2011 from 3:00 to 5:00 PM. Sign-up for open mic begins at 2:45 PM. $5.00 suggested donation. No one will be turned away for lack of funds.

For more information, contact Demetria Martinez at [email protected] or Elaine Schwartz at [email protected] For more on Poets Against War, check out http://www.poetsagainstthewar.org/

Places Between
Places between the desert you breathe
and centuries of broken promises,
undulating wall of hollow steel poles
solid with poured concrete
in the narrow space
between one pole and the next
where we glimpse rusting bedsprings
like fallen dominoes among the sage
and beyond the bedsprings
coils of barbed wire:
all those failures
replaced by the strength
of a nation built by immigrants
keeping immigrants out,
desire gutted in the thirst and heartbreak
of the places between.

March 7, 2011 at 02:14 PM in Events, Peace, Poetry/Spoken Word | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

3/6: 100th Anniversary International Women's Day Celebration in Albuquerque

From the March 8th Women’s Committee and AFT NM:

PLEASE COME, BRING A FRIEND
INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY
100th Anniversary Celebration
Rankin
Jeannette Rankin
Chautauqua Performance
by Mary Jane Bradbury (from Colorado)
March 6, 2011, 1:00 PM
AFT New Mexico, 530 Jefferson NE, Albuquerque

Suggested Donation $5. Come early for the Silent Auction. Refreshments will be served. Click for flyer.

Jeannette Rankin, at age 36, was the first woman elected to the U.S. Congress. Jeannette was a pacifist and voted against World War I and World War II in Congress. After leaving office she also opposed the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. "You can no more win a war than you can win an earthquake," Rankin said.

Sponsored by the March 8th Women’s Committee and AFT NM. For more information contact: Debi Saylor Pierce at 505.293.3636 or [email protected]

March 1, 2011 at 10:32 AM in Events, Peace, Women's Issues | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, July 26, 2010

7/27: Col. Ann Wright to Discuss Experience with Gaza Flotilla in Albuquerque

From Veterans for Peace:
Col. Ann Wright will be discussing her experiences as part of the Gaza flotilla on Tuesday, July 27, from 7:00 to 9:00 PM at the First Congregational Church located at 2801 Lomas. Blvd. NE (NW corner, at Girard) in Albuquerque. Please click for flyer (pdf).

A Veterans For Peace member and 29-year veteran, Col. Ann Wright is a retired Army colonel. She was also a diplomat for 15 years, in Nicaragua, Grenada, Somalia, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Sierra Leone, Micronesia, Afghanistan and Mongolia. She resigned from the Department of State on March 19, 2003, in opposition to the Iraq war. She is the co-author of “Dissent: Voices of Conscience.” Col. Wright was on the International Gaza Aid Flotilla and was cuffed and taken into custody during the attack where nine were killed. She has also been on the forefront in bringing attention to the finding that 1 out of 3 women in the U.S. military is sexually assaulted.

July 26, 2010 at 10:09 AM in Events, Middle East, Peace, Veterans | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, May 07, 2010

Register Now for Mountain States Peace Conference in Albuquerque: Keynote Speaker Rep. Dennis Kucinich

From the New Mexico Department of Peace:
The New Mexico Department of Peace volunteers are proud to announce that we are hosting the Mountain States Peace Conference 2010 in Albuquerque on June 18th-20th at the Sheraton Uptown and The Spiritual Unity Center. The event is sponsored by The Peace Alliance, a nationwide organization created to promote the establishment of a U.S. cabinet-level Department of Peace and Nonviolence.

Speakers include Congressman Dennis Kucinich, Marianne Williamson, Azim Khamisa Virginia Miller and Chris Aquino, just to mention a few. Entertainment Includes Swami Beyondananda, Amy Steinberg, Melanie Zipin, The Gift of Peace Play, The Universal Dances of Peace performed by The Youth of Unity and more. There will be a banquet on Saturday evening, June 19. Click for the conference schedule.

Tickets are $150 before May 15th and $175 after May 15th. Tickets include access to the entire conference, plus food. If you don’t want to register for the entire conference weekend (but, who wouldn’t), Saturday Night banquet tickets are available for purchase at $60 per person. Friday night entertainment tickets are available for $25. The deadline for purchase is June 15th, 2010. Don’t miss this extraordinary conference. Click for flyer.

Click to register or get more information.

May 7, 2010 at 12:46 PM in Events, Peace | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, March 18, 2010

3/24: 5th Annual UNM Peace Fair at SUB in Albuquerque

From UNM Today:
Food, Spirit and Peace -- the 5th Annual UNM Peace Fair -- is set for Wednesday, March 24, from 10:00 AM to 9:00 PM, inside and out on the north side of the Student Union Building in Albuquerque. The Fair is a celebration of the tireless efforts of individuals and organizations promoting peace and justice in New Mexico communities and abroad. The fair seeks to highlight the synergy between cultures of food, spirituality and peace; recognizing that the way we nourish ourselves both bodily and spiritually affect the prospect of peace. The proceeds will go the New Mexico Collaboration to End Hunger.

For more information, contact Robert Staszewski, [email protected], (505) 277-2041. Members of the peace and justice community are welcome to attend as either visitors or to have a table representing their interests ($10 donation requested for non-profits, or a $25 donation if items are offered for sale). For more info on tabling, contact [email protected] or 505-256-0668.

March 18, 2010 at 03:26 PM in Events, Faith Community, Food and Drink, Peace | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

29 Years After Lennon's Death, the Eternal Wars Continue


Just spend 10 minutes and watch it: An eye for an eye will make us all blind. Feel what we are doing on this planet. Feel.

December 8, 1980. The date is etched into many of our memories. John Winston Ono Lennon gunned down in front of the Dakota Apartments where he and Yoko and Sean lived, at age 40. I've written about Lennon and what he means to me and so many others a bunch of times. On this 29th anniversary of his death, I hope you'll contemplate his message of peace and love, even in the face of the upcoming escalation of the Afghanistan occupation and the continuing violence in Iraq.

It doesn't have to be this way. I don't care what the generals and experts and politicians say. War equals failure, plain and simple. There are other much more powerful and just ways to counteract violence and heal the divisions within and without that create it. But it takes creativity, genuine courage and and a wisdom that comes from studying peace, not war.

As you think about Lennon and his legacy, you might want to check out some of my previous posts on this sad anniversary and this extraordinary human here, here and here.

December 8, 2009 at 02:29 PM in Current Affairs, Peace | Permalink | Comments (1)