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Hold The Tea, Please: Brownbag Lunch Vigils As Forums For Health Care Reform Nationwide

Hold the tea, please: Brownbag lunch vigils as forums for health care reform nationwide
by Samantha Michaels | Medill on the Hill

WASHINGTON — Members of Congress across the country were greeted by rather unusual lunch dates Wednesday at noon when they left their offices for a midday meal.

Waiting outside with brown paper lunch bags, progressive Democrats, anti-war groups and nurses associations gathered at about 65 congressional offices nationwide, urging their representatives to stop federal spending on warfare and increase funds for health care.

“Activists are doing everything from having lunch with representatives to standing outside where they’re a little less friendly about us barging in, to having very intimate discussions them,” said Donna Smith, a member of Progressive Democrats of America (PDA), and a community organizer who is spearheading the movement in Washington.

Called “brown bag lunch vigils,” these gatherings are in some ways a response to the conservative tea party movement.

“We’re countering all these ‘teabagger’ efforts, showing that there are an awful lot more ‘brownbaggers’ out here who are extremely concerned about this nation spending more and more on war,” said Smith, who is also a national co-chair for PDA’s “Healthcare NOT Warfare” campaign. Read more.

Blogging GREAT Chile Earthquake/Tsunamis; Pres. Bachelet A Steady Leader; Japan Prepares For Tsunamis

by Linda Milazzo

UPDATED: Feb, 28, 2010/5:40AM (local Chile time)

CNN International is now reporting 101 aftershocks have been recorded in Chile since yesterday's 8.8 earthquake with 7 at 6.0 or higher. Over 300 fatalities have been reported with 60 reported missing.

Japan is seeing tsunami flooding on its northern island of Hokkaido. The tsunami projection from NOAA reports a wave of 4 feet has just arrived. 320,000 coastal residents have been evacuated. The tsunami warning for Russia has been lifted.

UPDATED: Feb, 28, 2010/3:40AM (local Chile time)
The death toll in Chile is now confirmed at 300. Chile has not yet asked for help from other countries. More than one million buildings have been damaged. More than a half million houses have been completely destroyed and two million people affected. President Bachelet has been coordinating services steadily for nearly 24 hours since 5AM yesterday.

NYC Peace Grannies to Hold Memorial Tomorrow Feb. 23rd For 1,000 GI Deaths In Afghanistan


PEACE GRANNIES TO HOLD MEMORIAL FEB. 23 FOR 1,000 G.I. DEATHS IN AFGHANISTAN

DATE: Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2010
TIME: 5:30 P.M.
PLACE: in front of Rockefeller Plaza, on the west side of 5th Ave. between 49 & 50 Sts. (across from Saks). Then at 6:30 PM, the group will walk down 5th Ave,, turn right on W. 44th St., walk to recruiting center at Broadway & 44th St

According to www.icasualties.com, the number of U.S. soldiers killed in Afghanistan has reached 1,000 as of today, Feb. 22.

Therefore, Grandmothers Against the War will go ahead with its commemorative vigil tomorrow, Tuesday, Feb. 23, at 5:30 p.m. at its regular weekly Rockefeller Center vigil site -- specifically, the west side of 5th Ave. between 49th and 50th Sts.

Other peace groups participating will be the Granny Peace Brigade, Veterans for Peace, the Raging Grannies, Peace Action NYS (PANIX), The World Can't Wait, Code Pink, Gray Panthers, West Side Peace Action, and others. A large turnout is anticipated.

In a candlelight ceremony, names of U.S. military and Afghan citizens who have died in war-related incidents will be read, to the somber beat of a drum. Invited political and celebrity speakers, including actor/author Malachy McCourt, actress Kathleen Chalfant, State Sen. Bill Perkins, civil liberties attorney, Norman Siegel, and others will make brief remarks. At 6:30 p.m., the vigil group will walk to the Times Square recruiting center for more comments, name readings and songs by the Raging Grannies.

Daytona Beach, Tomorrow Night! Milestone: 1,000 Americans KIA In Afghanisan Action: "Stop The Wars Now!"

We've reached a sad milestone in Afghanistan. Today, Monday, February 22, 2010, it was reported that 1,000 U.S. Troops have now been killed in action (KIA) in Afghanistan. The name of the soldier and other details, other than being killed by an improvised explosive devise (IED), have yet to be released. For more information about troops killed in both Afghanistan and Iraq, go to www.icasualties.org on line.

To recognize the 1,000th KIA in Afghanistan and to say "enough" to continued killing there due to the 9-year U.S. occupation of Afghanistan, there will be an Emergency Antiwar Protest in Daytona Beach tomorrow evening, Tuesday February 23rd, beginning at 6:00 PM and ending at 8:00 PM on the Northwest corner of Nova Road and International Speedway Boulevard in front of the Steak N Shake. The street address is 1000 W. International Speedway Blvd, Daytona Beach, FL 32114 and directions can be found on line here.

This event is being billed as "Afghanistan - 1,000 KIA - Enough Already, Bring Them Home Now!".

There will be TV and Print News Media on site reporting on the event.

This event will not be a vigil, but rather a spirited demand that our government Stop The Wars Now!

Attendees are asked to bring signs such as those suggested in the notice.

For more information click "Read more." Click "File attachment" for flyer.

For more details, please see the Media Alert in the attached flyer or contact Phil Restino of Central Florida Veterans For Peace (VFP Chapter 136), cell: (386) 235-3268, hm: (386) 788-2918, email: CentralFlaVFP@aol.com. Thank you.

This Week in St. Louis, Chicago, Boston

David Swanson speaking about his new book "Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union."
http://davidswanson.org/book

St. Louis, MO
February 22, 2010
7 p.m. at
Left Bank Books
399 North Euclid at McPherson in the Central West End
St. Louis, MO 63108
Sponsored by:
Veterans for Peace
CONTACT THE ORGANIZER:
Charles Smith
vfpch61@riseup.net

Chicago, IL
February 23, 2010
7 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.
Northwestern University, the Evanston Campus
The Tech Institute on 2145 Sheridan Road, First Floor, Lecture Room No. 2.
SPONSORED BY: Neighbors for Peace
CONTACT THE ORGANIZER:
Karen Pallist
pallist3 at gmail dot com

Boston, Massachusetts
February 27, 2010
7 p.m. at Harvard COOP.
The Harvard Coop Bookstore
1400 Massachusetts Avenue
18 Palmer Street
Cambridge, MA 02238
Store telephone: (617)499-2000
CONTACT THE ORGANIZERS:
Melida Arredondo
melida_arredondo at yahoo dot com
Elizabeth Ellis
ellisliza at hotmail dot com

DC! Single Payer Advocates Hold Sidewalk Summit on Thursday, Feb. 25 - Call White House, Congress, Rally In Your Community!

Single-Payer Healthcare | Photo by Chris Hondros/Getty Images North America

Let the President Know About a Better Approach to Reform

President Obama recently said, "If anyone from either party has a better approach that will bring down premiums, bring down the deficit, cover the uninsured, strengthen Medicare for seniors, and stop insurance company abuses, let me know."

We should let him know that single-payer, Improved Medicare for all, accomplishes all those goals.

Call the White House at 202-456-1111. Tell them, "I'm letting you know that improved Medicare for all (HR 676) is better than the health bill proposed by Congress."

If you have another second, email the President here to ask him to start from scratch on health reform.

And don't forget to call Congress for single-payer.

"Margaret Flowers invites everybody to the Sidewalk Summit on Thursday, Feb 25th. Gather at 9 am on Pennsylvania Ave in front of the White House (north side) to hear why Medicare for All is the solution. If you can't be in DC, then hold your own Sidewalk Summit. Info at healthcare-now.org." -- from Dr. Margaret Flowers

Much more at Health Care NOW!

International Human Rights Conference Scheduled for 10/7/2010; Proposal Deadline Soon: 4/1/2010


The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and Viterbo University (La Crosse, Wisconsin, USA) will be the sites for the 2010 Wisconsin Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies conference on Human Rights (October 7-9, 2010).

Conference themes of the Universal Declaration include:

  • Torture. Life, liberty and security of persons, Slavery
  • Equality under the law
  • Arbitrary arrest, detention or Exile
  • Right to freedom of movement and residence
  • Right to Freedom of Thought, Conscience and Religion
  • Freedom of Opinion and Expression
  • Peaceful assembly and association
  • Right to participate in Government
  • Economic, social and cultural rights
  • Right to be treated with dignity
  • Right to Education
  • Right to Health and wellbeing

Visit the conference website for more details.

We are excited about the keynote speakers and in particular that this conference includes both an “academic” component for people to present scholarly papers on human rights issues as well as pedagogical sessions for people to either present or to get ideas about how to introduce human rights into the K-University curriculum. Please consider submitting a proposal (the deadline is coming up soon—April 1) and encourage your colleagues to submit proposals. In addition, please let K-12 teachers in your area know about this and encourage them to attend and/or submit proposals.

Media Advisory for Protest of John Yoo in Charlottesville

Protest Planned for John Yoo in Charlottesville
For Immediate Release:
CONTACT:

On March 19, 2010, in Charlottesville, Va., on the day that the war in Iraq goes into its eighth year, and as the war in Afghanistan is escalated, residents will protest John Yoo, a former Justice Department lawyer who wrote memos between 2001 and 2003 authorizing aggressive war, torture, and other crimes.

A colorful musical march will begin at the university Corner at 2 p.m.

Protesters will arrive in front of Minor Hall on the UVA campus by 3 p.m. Yoo is scheduled to speak inside Minor Hall at 3:30. [UPDATE: RALLY SITE ACROSS MCCORMICK ROAD FROM MINOR HALL NEAR MONROE HALL]

Map and Directions for Protesting Yoo in Charlottesville, VA

A map of the University of Virginia:

[UPDATE: RALLY SITE ACROSS MCCORMICK ROAD FROM MINOR HALL NEAR MONROE HALL]

(For the 2 p.m. location just ask anyone where "The Corner" is.)

Directions from Washington, D.C. (2 hours)
Take Constitution Avenue West
Merge onto I-66 W
Take the US-15 exit, EXIT 40, toward HAYMARKET/LEESBURG
Turn LEFT onto US-15 S/JAMES MADISON HWY
Turn RIGHT onto LEE HWY/US-29 S/US-15 S. Continue to follow US-29 S.
US-29 S becomes US-29 BR S/EMMET ST N.
Large parking garage on left just after intersection with Ivy Road as you reach UVA campus.
Minor Hall is on McCormick Road, so just type that road name and Charlottesville VA into Mapquest.

Email Alert for John Yoo Protest in Charlottesville

Protest John Yoo in Charlottesville, Va., on March 19

On the day Year 8 begins in the Iraq War, and as Afghanistan escalates, come protest the lawyer who "legalized" these wars.

2 p.m. March With Funk the War:
meet on grass across from The Corner at the University of Virginia.

3 p.m. Rally to Protest John Yoo: meet in front of Minor Hall at the University of Virginia to protest John Yoo, who speaks in Minor Hall at 3:30. [UPDATE: RALLY SITE ACROSS MCCORMICK ROAD FROM MINOR HALL NEAR MONROE HALL]

998 KIA As Of Today! NYC Prepares To Mark 1,000 American GIs Killed In Afghanistan


Joan Wile of the Granny Peace Brigade writes:

THE G.I. FATALITY COUNT IN AFGHANISTAN IS 998 TODAY, FRIDAY, FEB. 19, ACCORDING TO ICASUALTIES.ORG.

THEREFORE, WE MUST BE ON ALERT AND EXPECT THAT WITHIN THE NEXT DAY OR SO IT WILL REACH 1,000.

So, please keep checking icasualties.org, and remember that the day after it hits 1,000 we will meet at 5:30 p.m. on the west side of 5th Ave. between 49th and 50th Sts (the Grandmothers Against the War, Granny Peace Brigade, and Veterans for Peace 6-year plus regular weekly vigil site). I will send a notice the minute I see the count has reached the dreaded number.

Many groups will be joining us -- Peace Action NYS; Veterans for Peace; the Granny Peace Brigade; the Raging Grannies; Code Pink; and others.

State Senator Bill Perkins has promised to be there if the day does not fall on a day he is in Albany. Other leaders and celebrities are being invited to speak, as well. In addition, we will read the names of G.I. and Afghan civilian fatalities. At the end of the hour's vigil at 6:30, we will silently walk to the recruiting station at Times Square for some songs and talk.

INASMUCH AS THE MEDIA HAS BEEN INVITED, IT IS VERY IMPORTANT THAT WE HAVE A BIG SHOWING SO THAT WE CAN SEND A STRONG MESSAGE TO THE WARMAKERS. PLEASE MAKE EVERY EFFORT TO BE THERE.

Please remember to bring candles and/or flashlights. I will be making a number of black armbands created by John Bolstrom of NYS Peace Action. There are two files attached. One can be printed out on paper and worn. The other is a template that can be used to cut for painting onto ribbon or material.

NYC Rallies Today To Stop The War, Herald Square, 34th St. & Broadway, 4:30 - 6 PM

Dr. King was right. The bombs killing poor people in Afghanistan also explode at home.

At least $100 billion will be spent this year in occupying Afghanistan. Over three million jobs at $15 per hour could be created with this money. Instead it’s being used to kill children thousands of miles away.

Meanwhile the big banks that were bailed out with over a trillion dollars from us continue to launder drug profits. Afghanistan, occupied by the U.S., supplies over 90% of the world’s heroin.

Right now the 75,000 people in Afghanistan’s Helmand Province are being pounded by 15,000 troops in the war’s biggest airborne assault. Rockets murdered 12 children in the early hours of this offensive. U.S. General Stanley McChrystal called this war crime merely “regrettable.”

Forty years ago Dr. King said, "the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today — my own government.” The Pentagon continues to kill people around the world with its $700 billion war budget. At the same time billionaire Bloomberg wants to close schools and St. Vincent’s Hospital may shut down.

Join us to demand an end to occupying the fourth poorest nation on earth. Stop the Brutal US/NATO war on Afghanistan!

Media Alert: Antiwar Protest in Daytona Beach To Mark 1,000 KIA

MEDIA ALERT: Antiwar Protest in Daytona Beach to mark 1,000 KIA

Afghanistan - 1,000 KIA - Enough Already, Bring Them Home Now!

As of today, Friday February 19, 2010, there have been 998 U.S. troops Killed in Action (KIA) in Afghanistan. On the day following the 1,000th U.S. soldier KIA in Afghanistan ... which should be any day now ... there will be an emergency Antiwar Protest in Daytona Beach billed as "Afghanistan - 1,000 KIA - Enough Already, Bring Them Home Now!".

Note: This event will not be a vigil, but rather a spirited demand that our government Stop The Wars Now!

The only thing worse than sending our soldiers to die in vain in Afghanistan and Iraq is for the American people to allow, by their consent of silence and indifference, more of our soldiers to die in vain.

What have you done today to end the senseless U.S. wars in Afghanistan and Iraq? Join us and get involved!

Call your Representative today at (800) 828-0498 or (202) 224-3121 and tell them to vote NO on War Funding!

When:

From 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm on the day after the 1,000th U.S. soldier is KIA in Afghanistan.

(Note: If 1,000th KIA is on a Saturday, then the protest will be held 2 days after on a Monday.)

As of Friday Feb. 19th, 2010 there have been 998 Killed in Action (KIA) in Afghanistan.

(Go to http://www.icasualties.org for the up-to-date total of U.S. soldiers KIA in Afghanistan and Iraq)

Where:

Daytona Beach at the Northwest corner of Nova Road and International Speedway Boulevard in front of the Steak N Shake.

For more information click "Read more." Click "File attachment" for flyer.

MK-ULTRA: The CIA's Mind Control Program

MK-ULTRA: The CIA's Mind Control Program
By Stephen Lendman

Note: MK-ULTRA and Ruhullah's story will be featured on the Progressive Radio News Hour this Thursday, February 18 at 10AM US Central time on The Progressive Radio Network. Listen live or later through archives.

MK-ULTRA was the code name for a secret CIA mind control program, begun in 1953, under Director Allen Dulles. Its purpose was multifold, including to perfect a truth drug for interrogating suspected Soviet spies during the Cold War. It followed earlier WW II hypnosis, primitive drugs research, and the US Navy's Project Chatter, explained by its Bureau of Medicine and Surgery in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request as follows:

It began "in the fall of 1947 focusing on the identification and testing of drugs (LSD and others) in interrogations and the recruitment of agents. The research included laboratory experiments on both animal and human subjects. The program ended shortly after the Korean War in 1953."

It was run under the direction of Dr. Charles Savage of the Naval Medical Research Institute, Bethesda, MD from 1947 - 1953, after which CIA's Office of Scientific Intelligence continued it under the name Project Bluebird, its first mind control program to:

  • learn how to condition subjects to withstand information from being extracted from them by known means;
  • develop interrogation methods to exert control;
  • develop memory enhancement techniques; and
  • establish ways to prevent hostile control of Agency personnel.

The Future of News

Tonight: February 16, 2010, 7 p.m.

The National Press Club, Washington, D.C.

Robert W. McChesney, professor, University of Illinois. Co-founder of Free Press

John Nichols, journalist, The Nation, and associate editor of the Capital Times in Madison, Wis. Co-founder of Free Press

Jane Hamsher, founder and publisher of Firedoglake.com

Chris Hayes, Washington editor of The Nation

Ivan Roman, executive director of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists

For more information: go to http://www.savethenews.org/FutureOfNewsDC

Vigils Against War Funding in 57 Districts on Feb. 17

 

Join the Brown Baggers

http://brownbaggers.org

Brown Bag Lunch Vigils Spread from 22 Districts in January, Take Up Cry of "Brownbaggers Not Teabaggers!"

Activists to Visit 57 Congress Members' DC Offices During Vigils at Their Offices Back Home 

On February 17th, Progressive Democrats of America (PDA) will be joined by CODEPINK, AfterDowningStreet, Democrats.com, the California Nurses Association / National Nurses Organizing Committee, United for Peace and Justice, and A New Way Forward in holding brown bag vigils outside (or inside) at least 57 congress members' district offices around the country. 

Participants in Washington, D.C., will visit the Capitol Hill offices of the same congress members.  Gather at 10 a.m. at the Independence Avenue entrance to the Rayburn House Office Building. 

Brownbaggers are asking members of the House to publicly commit to voting No on any bills that fund wars.  Results are tracked at http://defundwar.org

Vigils have been planned in 57 districts.  Is yours on the list?  Will you be there with your brownbag lunch?

Basic info. -- Find existing vigils. -- Add a new one.

Join Peace of the Action's "Camp OUT NOW"

 

http://peaceoftheaction.org

Peace of the Action will be establishing Camp OUT NOW on the lawn of the Washington Monument (with or without governmental permission) on Saturday, March 13th, to be a base of operations from which we will organize and direct daily acts of civil resistance throughout the DC area until our demands are met:

  • Troops out of the Middle East, which includes drones, permanent bases, contractors and torture/detention facilities.
  • Reparations for the peoples of these war torn regions and a fully funded VA system to reintegrate our soldiers healthfully into our society.

The first week of Camp OUT NOW, we will be holding non-violent civil resistance training, hosting peace notables and being invigorated by musicians as we start building the community that we are going to need in order to help each other through the planned sustained actions.

All persons who have had enough of "business as usual" in DC and are willing to put our anti-war, pro-humanity principles into practice, are invited to come out to Camp OUT NOW and stay with us for as little or as long as you have available.

Direct acts of non-violent resistance will begin Monday, March 22nd, following these events:

March 17 will be the third monthly national day of brown bag lunch vigils.

March 20 will be a national march on Washington

.

We Want Yoo Prosecuted

After Downing Street, the Bill of Rights Defense Committee, Peace of the Action, Progressive Democrats of America, and War Criminals Watch invite you to a protest of John Yoo, author of memos "legalizing" aggressive war and torture.

Yoo is scheduled to speak  on March 19, from 3:30-4:30 p.m. at the University of Virginia, Room 125, Minor Hall, McCormick Road, Charlottesville, VA 22903.  Meet at Minor Hall at 3 p.m.

March 19th marks the beginning of Year Eight in the illegal occupation of Iraq that Yoo and Jay Bybee provided "legal" justification for.  Yoo counseled the White House on how to get away with war crimes, wrote this memo promoting presidential power to launch aggressive war, and claimed the power to decree that the federal statutes against torture, assault, maiming, and stalking do not apply to the military in the conduct of the war, and to announce a new definition of torture limiting it to acts causing intense pain or suffering equivalent to pain associated with serious physical injury so severe that death, organ failure or permanent damage resulting in loss of significant body functions will likely result.

Yoo claimed in 2005 that a president has the right to enhance an interrogation by crushing the testicles of someone's child.

Yoo has been confronted in his classroom: video, and defended by the Washington Post, and again confronted in the classroom.

Yoo recently told the New York Times that he had worked, not for the law, but for his "client" the president, and that he had no regrets for the felony of conspiring to commit torture.

Meet and Chat with Marcy Winograd Feb. 27 in Santa Monica

Dear Sisters and Brothers,

What: Dump Wiretapping Torturer Rep. Jane Harman, June 8, 2010
JOBS and PEACE with Marcy Winograd, Primary Vote June 8, 2010

Our Event for Marcy will be both exciting and informative! We have live music, food, wine, and Marcy herself.

When: Fun Celebration Saturday Feb. 27, 3 and 5 p.m. (rain or shine) for Marcy Winograd for Congress.

Where: It will be happening at Jim and Pat Allen's home at 3717 Mountain View Avenue, Santa Monica, CA. Map

We'll need everyone's help to make this fundraiser, a smashing success! First and foremost, we're asking everyone of us to each invite TEN PEOPLE to join us on the 27th.

Email, call, write, talk to people you meet on the street. We want to pack the house! We can also use food and VOLUNTEERS for the event.
June 8 Primary is just 3 months away. Fire Harman, Elect Marcy.

Clean up Politics in Corrupt Washington. Elect another Kucinich to Congress.

SANTA MONICA PEACE CLUB, Bill Floyd

Maine Activists Use "Draw-A-Thon" To Link War Costs & Human Services Reductions

Artists, Poets, Food, Joy, and Inspiration
By Bruce Gagnon | Organizing Notes

It was an inspiring day and evening and a wonderful testimony as to what happens when activists all across the state come together for a short-term campaign to focus energy and attention on a particular subject....This is how we build real movements. We link the war spending issue to the real life concerns people have and we help find ways for a broader segment of the population to express their outrage over war and social dissolution.

Upcoming Events: Vigils at the offices of our two Maine Congressional representatives will be held February 17 in conjunction with similar actions across the country. On February 18 the artists will head to the state capitol in Augusta for a draw-in where they plan to give their images to state legislators and encourage them to call for an end to war funding as one important way to deal with Maine's current fiscal crisis.

It was about a 13-hour day of hard work, inspiration, and joy for me and the many others who gathered in Bath yesterday for the draw-a-thon to create images and words about bringing our war $$ home.

Things began just after 9:00 am as about 40 artists and poets from all over Maine (and even an artist from Canada) came for the event. Natasha Mayers and Kenny Cole (two artists who do alot of political art) organized via their Union of Maine Visual Artists to get the creative folks there. Included in the group were five students from Unity College.

My job was to organize the kitchen, make sure the artists had coffee, tea, snacks and then lunch. I also was responsible for getting folks from throughout the community and state to come to the evening potluck supper to honor and celebrate the work done throughout the day by the artists and poets.

The art was hung on the wall for all to see as they arrived for the supper and following the bountiful meal we heard music, poetry, and words about the three-month long Maine Campaign to Bring Our War $$ Home. Read more, see event photos.

Reserve Your Spot Now! National Single-Payer Conference Call, This Monday Evening, 2/15

Join leading single-payer advocates on a national conference call this Monday, February 15th at 8pm EST for a discussion of the rise and fall of the public option and why improved Medicare for All, is still the leading policy solution to our health care crisis. Go here to register.

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