Friday, March 27, 2009

We need to ask Attorney General Eric Holder to appoint an independent prosecutor

From the ACLU

It’s Time to Learn the Truth

It’s been six years since the first reports of detainee abuse and nearly five years since Abu Ghraib. A recent confidential report from the International Committee of the Red Cross provided undeniable documentation of torture at Guantánamo. Yet the Justice Department has failed to prosecute any civilians for crimes related to interrogation, except a single contractor in June 2004.

These stunning revelations only underscore the need for an independent prosecutor. With mounting evidence of deliberate and widespread use of torture and abuse, we deserve to have the assurance that torture will stop and never happen again.

Stand with the ACLU. Ask Attorney General Eric Holder to appoint an independent prosecutor to investigate the interrogation of detainees in the war on terror.

Click here to sign a petition to Attorney General Eric Holder demanding justice.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Connie Hogarth Center for Social Action: Upcoming Event

Celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Connie Hogarth Center
For Social Action!



Spring seminar series-WHAT ARE THE GREATEST CHALLENGES
FOR US, THE PEOPLE AND FOR PRESIDENT OBAMA?


Seminar # 6:
On the 6th Anniversary of the Iraq War,

ENDING THE WARS! IRAQ, AFGHANISTAN,
PALESTINE/ ISRAEL AND THE ROLE OF THE U.N.


THURSDAY, MARCH 26TH, 2009 7:15pm
Reid Castle, Manhattanville College, Purchase,NY


Hear:


PHYLLIS BENNIS, Fellow at Institute for Policy Studies,
In DC; Journalist, author, UN based broadcaster. Steering
Committee of US Campaign to End Israeli Occupation and
UFPJ (United for Peace and Justice)

And

ELLIOTT ADAMS, Past national President of Veterans for
Peace. Served in Vietnam, Japan, Korea and Alaska From
a paratrooper, he has become a nonviolent activist, working\\
with peace and justice groups all across the nation,


For info: Call (914) 323-7156 or (845) 838 2415
And hogarthcenter@mville.edu
www.conniehogarth.org

Monday, March 16, 2009

Open Thread

Use the comment box below to post any relevant messages

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Jonathan Tasini: Democratic Senators: Mess With EFCA, Face A Primary

Remember Jonathan Tasini? He took on Hillary Clinton in the Democratic Senatorial Primary in 2006. Some of us supported him over her. And even though he lost, he had a very strong point to make about how routinely progressive supporters and positions are sold out by the increasingly corporatist mainstream Democrats, e.g., Harry Reid and NY's two current Senators.

Anyway, Tasini has a great essay which strongly supports the pro-labor Employee Free Choice Act, which is about to be voted on in Congress, and which demands that elected Democratic official get behind this act. Here is an excerpt from his piece.

First, a bit about my view of the state of play. The math has always been pretty simple: EFCA will easily pass the House. The fight will be to get to 60 votes in the Senate. I’ve always suspected the conventional thinking on this was off–conventional, meaning, once Al Franken is seated, bringing the Democratic Senate caucus to 59, it would be easy to recruit one more Republican, more than likely, Arlen Specter, to support EFCA.

The problem is that there are a handful of Democratic Senators who are, at best, weak on labor, and, at best, just outright shills for corporate interests in the Congress. Here is my list: Max Baucus, Ben Nelson, Mary Landrieu, and Blanche Lincoln; it’s not clear to me what the replacement Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet will do on the bill, nor do I entirely trust Bill Nelson or Mark Pryor (on Pryor, maybe it’s a family thing: his father was one of two Democratic Senators who would not vote in the 1990s to break a filibuster on the legislation that would have banned striker replacements, dooming the bill and giving corporations even more power to intimidate workers). That’s seven Senators who, in my opinion, you cannot count as passionate champions of EFCA.

Here is what should concern us. I doubt any Democratic Senator will say “I oppose EFCA”. What you will hear is something along the lines, “I think unions are good but there needs to be a balance between the interests of workers and business and the following amendment makes sure there is a balance…” and, not publicly, “thank you, Chamber of Commerce, you can now write out the PAC check for my next campaign…”


And also, this, a possible reply to any would-be anti labor Democratic Senator.

The only way for our country to recover from a collapse in wages over the past three decades is to have a strong labor movement. By every measure, union workers do better than non-union workers. Sen X, you just voted to cripple legislation that would have restored a decent standard of living for working Americans. Why do you deserve another term?

Sen. X, we have seen the greatest divide between rich and poor in generations. You voted to cripple legislation that would have brought America back to be a more fair society for all your constituents. Why do you deserve another term?

Sen. X, you call yourself a “loyal Democrat”. Yet, you undermined the very legislation that would have built one of the party’s key constituencies–working people who belong to unions who vote overwhelmingly for the Democratic Party’s candidates. Why should the party put you back in office when you undercut its power?

I’d also say that if Harry Reid does not make EFCA a priority–meaning, demanding that the caucus be unified and fight as one–it might not hurt to field a primary challenge to him.

So, let the waverers beware: support EFCA, fight for it and defend it… or face the prospect of cashing in that chit for a job as a corporate lobbyist.


I strongly agree, and hope that the MHPA offers support for this demand from our elected officials to support workers by supporting the Emplyee Free Choice Act!

It's a Tidy System

Cartoon by Barry Deutsch

Wal*Mart Explains Morality

Cartoon by Barry Deutsch


The GOP Strategy for Success

Saturday, March 14, 2009

April 4th Mobilization on Wall Street - Beyond War a New Economy is Possible



From United for Peace and Justice

National Mobilization
New York City
April 4th 2009

It is Time to End the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan
It is Time to Address the Economic Crisis by Cutting Military Spending


On the April 4th anniversary of Dr. King's prophetic "Beyond Vietnam" speech, delivered at Riverside Church, we will gather in New York City determined to lead our nation in the new direction so many long for. For the first time in too long, we will march filled with hope. Now is the time that our movements for racial justice and economic equality, our movements against the wars and occupations in Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine and elsewhere, our movements for a new economy based on people's needs, green union jobs and sustainability will ALL come together to say YES WE CAN! Yes We Can move beyond war. Yes We Can build a new world of justice, equality and peace.

On April 4th, we will bring our urgent message to the financial center of Wall Street. Our call will be heard in Washington, D.C. where Congress and the administration must take action to end these seemingly endless wars. Our call will be heard by millions of people around the world who share a common vision of a new world and hope for real change in the United States.

We look forward to April 4th when massive numbers of people will be in the street in a unified and nonviolent call to cut military spending and to fund human needs and ecological sustainability. Our nation must drastically reduce and redirect its military spending to reflect an entirely new foreign policy based on diplomacy and international law instead of military force, on global cooperation instead of domination, on a plan to live as a part of the world community instead of using brute power to stand astride the globe like the colossus of old.

We have hope knowing that our powerful grassroots movements for peace and an end to militarism, for racial, gender and economic justice, for sustainable energy, for human rights and human needs, are coming together to provide the support, the pressure, and the demand in the streets that is necessary to make sure our new administration and the Congress can deliver on their promises of a new direction.
Together we can bring Dr. King's legacy to life. Together we can build that new world. Join us in New York City on April 4!

Friday, March 13, 2009

One song that inspired a generation



. . . how many deaths will it take till he knows
That too many people have died? . . .


One of Dylan's greatest songs ever!

Message from John Pietaro of the Flames of Discontent


Many thanks to John for posting here. Here is his news.

Just a quick note, the Flames of Discontent's schedule has simmered down quite a bit due to other music commitments but mostly due to my very busy schedule with 1199! Anyhow, we have NOT dropped our primary event which occurs each Fall: join us at the Howland in Beacon for this year's Dissident Folk & Arts Festival (Oct 17, 7PM). Some have asked why we are continuing to organize anything "dissident". Sure, we finally got rid of Bush, that embarressment who held the White House and the nation hostage for 8 years, but we must continue to be activists. While supporting President Obama's reforms and mildly progressive leadership, we must also hold him to his important campaign promises: ending the war in Iraq, eliminating tax breaks for the rich, instituting the start of universal healthcare, passing the EMPLOYEE FREE CHOICE ACT, moving into an environmentally-conscious philosophy and rebuilding the world's confidence in the US. And as the economy goes into triage and the war in Afghanastan escalates, we need to speak out. However, as Obama is coming under intense right-wing, neo-fascist assault which is clearly as based in racism as it is in a cowboy capitalist agenda, we must be careful to not fall prey to the reactionaries' plan. Remember, the Glen Becks and Rush Limbaughs of the right-wing noise vacuum are just waiting to pounce. I for one see them as the absolute enemy of democracy.

Peace,
John Pietaro

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Open Thread

Feel free to use the comment link to post on any topic of your choosing.

Our Congressman, John Hall, displaying his musical talent

Pete Seeger, our neighbor, ally, and fellow activist

Tao Rodriguez-Seeger - "Waist Deep in the Big Muddy"

Here is a clip of Pete's grandson, Tao, singing a classic antiwar song. This was at the start of our program, Whistleblowers for Justice and Peace, held at Beacon's Howland Cultural Center, with Ann Wright, Coleen Rowley, and Michael Andregg. This event took place on February 24, 2008.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Our participation in 2007's antiwar march in DC

Chronogram magazine, which does a great job of covering Hudson Valley art and cultural events, but which also offers some progressive political coverage, ran a detailed article on our sponsored bus trip to Washington DC in January 2007, an event, which the Chronogram noted, represented "the 40th anniversary of the 1967 Pentagon march featured in Norman Mailer’s Armies of the Night."



As the Chronogram reported,

The 2007 Hudson Valley bus riders were casually dressed people of all ethnic groups, backgrounds, and ages, ranging from Saeger Rubenstein, 14, to Florence Yukon, 86. Dutchess County legislator Bill McCabe even rode down with the group.

DC speakers included Jane Fonda, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, Tim Robbins, Susan Sarandon, Dennis Kucinich, and Maxine Waters. Rally organizers came from peace groups, labor, the gay community, veterans organizations, military families, and religious circles.

The bus riders were treated to tranquil folk strumming by guitarists Chris Ruhe and Tom Baldino and others. Organizers Richard Carlson, Connie Hogarth, and Steve Gold passed around lyric sheets so the riders could all sing along to songs by Pete Seeger, Bob Dylan, and Cat Stevens.

Our past program - “Celebrating a New Day for the Earth”



The MHPA co-sponsored a program in December 2007 called “Celebrating a New Day for the Earth,” in conjunction with The Climate Crisis Coalition. This focused on the vital topic of global warming. The Mid Hudson News Network covered it, reporting that.

The program featured Andrew Revkin, New York Times environmental writer and author of The North Pole Was Here: Puzzles and Perils at the Top of the World, and Dan Rosenblum, environmental attorney and founder of the Carbon Tax Center. Topics of discussion included the use of technology in finding alternative energy sources and the creation of a revenue-neutral carbon tax.

Vane Lashua of the Mid-Hudson Progressive Alliance, one of the organizers of the event, said, “We wanted to continue a series of events we’ve had for the last two or three years, and the election held up a lot of the activists in the area, so we decided that we’d try to get something together really fast for December.”

Connie Hogarth, co-founder of the Climate Crisis Coalition, said, “our program today was a kind of a start because we are going to be concentrating on the carbon tax, for one thing, and the many organizations that are supporting what we did today ...will be working both on the carbon tax and on the very many aspects of what we can do locally, nationally, and internationally for controlling…the problem of our time.”


We intend follow-up actions and remain linked to the Climate Crisis Coalition.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Waiting to see something like this


As progressives, the MHPA wants to see justice served. Therefore, can we look forward to the publications of a story such as this? let's demand it!

Test posting - 1st message


This represents what will hopefully be the first of many messages shared by the members of NY's Mid Hudson Progressive Alliance. We are in the process of putting together a website/blog so as to keep everyone informed of our activities.