Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Our Venezuelan Embassy protest aims to push peace and diplomacy over war

Our Venezuelan Embassy protest aims to push peace and diplomacy over war
A Secret Service officer watches as supporters of Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó block Code Pink activists from entering the Venezuelan Embassy in Washington on May 2. (Shawn Thew/EPA-EFE)

By Medea Benjamin

May 7 at 5:42 PM

Medea Benjamin is co-director of Code Pink and a member of the Embassy Protection Collective.

Memories from Iraq keep running over and over in my mind as I and a group of peace activists continue to struggle to remain in the Embassy of Venezuela here in Washington, determined to prevent another reckless war.

My colleague Jodie Evans and I were in Baghdad in February 2003, when the feared Saddam Hussein was still in power. Some of our Iraqi friends hated him so much that they prayed for an U.S. invasion. A year later, when chaos reigned and so many of their loved ones had died, they cursed the American invaders and rued the day they had welcomed them.
Fast-forward 16 years. Many Venezuelans are anxious to get rid of Nicolás Maduro. Disheartened by the failure of opposition leader Juan Guaidó to spark an uprising, some are looking at U.S. intervention as the answer. Trump’s war hawks, including national security adviser John Bolton, U.S. Special Representative for Venezuela Elliott Abrams and Vice President Pence, seem only too eager to oblige. I cringe at the thought of my government, once again, invading another country and turning a bad situation into a catastrophic one. U.S. intervention in Venezuela could lead to a civil war that would plague Venezuela for decades and affect the entire region.

Many scenarios could ignite a war with Venezuela, including a fight over embassies. The United States and Venezuela broke diplomatic ties on Jan. 23, when Guaidó declared himself interim president and the Trump administration immediately recognized him. Diplomats in both capitals vacated their embassies, leaving skeletal staff but keeping the buildings intact. Then on March 18, Guaidó’s representatives in the United States escalated the tensions by appropriating Venezuela’s military attaché building in Washington and the consulate in New York City, while announcing plans to take over the D.C. embassy.

  A takeover would be symbolic, since Guaidó’s appointees cannot fulfill diplomatic or consular activities without holding power in Venezuela, but it would still be illegal. According to Article 22 of the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, diplomatic premises are inviolable and the receiving state must protect the premises against any "intrusion or damage and … prevent any disturbance of the peace of the mission or impairment of its dignity."
  It would also be provocative because the Maduro government would likely reciprocate by taking over the U.S. Embassy in Caracas. This could be just the pretext that this administration is looking for to begin military aggression.
Determined to stop this nightmare, a group of peace activists formed the Embassy Protection Collective. We have various opinions about the Maduro government —some pro, some neutral, some skeptical — but we are all determined to stop U.S. intervention. With the permission of the Venezuelan Ministry of Foreign Affairs, on April 10 we moved into the four-story embassy in the Georgetown neighborhood. For weeks we went in and out of the building freely, staying overnight on sofas and floors to maintain our presence. Except for banners we posted outside saying things such as “No Coup, Peace With Venezuela” and “No War for Oil,” our vigil was low-key and barely noticed by the public.
All this changed on April 30, when a group of Guaidó supporters — almost coinciding with his call for an uprising inside Venezuela — descended on the embassy, determined to oust us and seize the building. They came banging pots and pans, blaring piercing sirens, horns and megaphones. They have used lasers to flash into our eyes at night while banging menacingly on the doors with sledgehammers. They plastered their own signs all over the building.
Most concerning, they have surrounded the embassy with tents and canopies to block every entrance, refusing to allow food or medicine to the activists inside, with the objective of starving us out. When we tried to devise ways to get food (such as a pulley to the second-floor window), they attacked us, screaming, “No food, no water, get out of our embassy.”
Shockingly, this atmosphere of hate and intimidation and the threat against diplomatic property belonging to the Maduro government are all taking place under the watchful eyes of dozens of agents from the Secret Service, the agency tasked with guarding embassies. If you call the Secret Service to complain, officers will read you a statement saying that no individuals, medicine or food have been prevented from entering the building, but this is not true. Even packages sent through the U.S. Postal Service are not allowed in. It is appalling that the Secret Service is allowing mob rule to take over in the heart of Washington.
Our people inside, who are subsisting without sufficient supplies and sleeping at night with a terrible sense of insecurity, are determined to hold on until a diplomatic agreement is reached. Indeed, if the two countries can come to an agreement about their embassies, that could be the beginning of talks that might roll back the Trump administration’s reckless policy of gross interference in Venezuela’s internal affairs.
Once an agreement about the embassies is reached, our group will happily leave the premises, satisfied because we can go back to our lives but also because Trump’s war hawks will have one less excuse to drag our nation into another war.

© Copyright 1996-2016 The Washington Post Company 

Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218.  Ph: 410-323-1607; Email: mobuszewski2001 [at] comcast.net. Go to http://baltimorenonviolencecenter.blogspot.com/

"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs

Monday, May 20, 2019

Baltimore Activist Alert -- May 20 -- 22, 2019

36] World Bee Day – May 20
37] Animal Adoption Event – May 21
38] Stop a war with Iran and dump John Bolton.  – May 21
39] How To Make The Community Safer – May 21
40] Peace Talks – May 21
41] Film TO MY FATHER – May 21
42] PMD Montgomery Member Meeting – May 21
43] Food Rescue – May 22
44] School of Food and Food Rescue Baltimore – May 22
45] Rule of Law – May 22
36] – As the biggest supermarket chain in the US, Kroger has a responsibility to protect bees by removing pesticides from its products.  On World Bee Day, May 20, make sure Kroger executives hear loud and clear that consumers don’t want food sprayed with toxic pesticides linked to cancer, brain disorders, and bee Armageddon.

37] –   On Tues., May 21 from 11:30 AM to 1:30 PM, get with the Animal Adoption Event by visiting the Cuddle Shuttle, hosted by the Baltimore County Public Library and Baltimore County Animal Services.  It will be at the Arbutus Branch Library, 855 Sulphur Spring Rd, Arbutus 21227.  Meet adoptable animals, learn about its spay and neuter services and pick up other useful information.  Look at https://www.facebook.com/events/374625283127811/.

38] – There are multiple protests on Tues., May 21 to stop a war with Iran and get rid of Warhawk John Bolton.  Trump and his warhawk advisers are beating the drums for war with Iran and have called for the “official end of Iran.” Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, and Acting Secretary of War Patrick Shanahan will brief the entire House at 1:30 PM and the entire Senate at 2:45 PM on the administration’s plans for Iran. Join CODEPINK to talk to Representatives and Senators on their way to the briefing to heed any calls for war with Iran. Make sure that they are cosponsors of H.2354 and S.1039 to prevent an unconstitutional war with Iran.  At 12:30 PM, meet at New Jersey Ave. and Independence St. SE, an intersection across from the Capitol building. At 2:15 PM, tell the Senate no war with Iran.  Meet inside the Hart Senate building basement floor where the train goes to the Capitol.   RSVP athttps://www.facebook.com/events/329625484380989/.

On Tues., May 21, join a Fire Bolton Protest.  A ride will be available at 7 PM.  At 7:30 PM, be outside John Bolton’s house to give him a pink slip. #FireBolton for attempting to take the U.S. to wars in Venezuela and Iran.  Send your RSVP to Clara at clara.trippe@gmail.com for address. If you need a ride to Bolton’s house or can give a ride to people please let her know. Make sure to bring your peace with Iran and no war with Iran shirts and signs!

39] -- On Tues., May 21 from 6 to 8:30 PM, check out Real Talk Tho: How To Make The Community Safer, hosted by The Real News Network at Ida B's Table, 235 Holliday St., Baltimore 21202.,,This is the 5th installment of the newsroom in the community show, Real Talk Tho.  What are the root causes of violence? How can we change the police department so the community has control?

Join a conversation that explores real solutions for the ongoing crisis of violence that continues to plague the city. Take a deep dive into confronting the often overlooked role of poverty and lack of living wage jobs in precipitating crime. How do you truly reform our troubled police department? The panelists are Brandon Scott - City Council President and Neill Franklin - 34 year law enforcement veteran, former head trainer for Baltimore Police Department.  Doors open at 6 PM, while the program starts at 7 PM. See https://www.facebook.com/events/329267827752207/permalink/329273831084940/.

40] -- On Tues., May 21 from 6 to 8 PM, #PEACETALKS with Peace Direct, hosted by Eaton Workshop (Eaton DC), 1201 K St. NW, WDC 20005.  Peace Direct, in partnership with Eaton DC, is hosting a series of TALKS with local peacebuilders from conflict zones around the world, along with peacebuilders local to Washington, DC. Speakers will discuss innovative and practical ways to promote a more peaceful society. They will also discuss ways in which individuals can practice building peace in their own communities.  Two heroic Somali activists will share their experiences building peace in the midst of war. A representative from the Somali diaspora will also speak.  Go tohttps://www.facebook.com/events/1928983123872390/.

41]  –  As part of the Baltimore Palestine Solidarity---Free Film Series, see TO MY FATHER on Tues., May 21 at 6 PM at Homewood Friends Meeting House, 3107 N. Charles St., Baltimore 21218.  Enter from a side entrance through basement.  Set partly in a refugee camp in Rafah, Gaza, this is a remarkable look back at fifty years of Palestinian and Arab history, through photographs, reportage and the voices of these photographers today.  Abdel Salam Shehada is a film director, journalist and cameraman who has been producing films and programming for over 30 years. Hailing from Gaza, Palestine he has produced & directed over 20 documentary films.  This film won the Golden Eagle award for top film in the documentary category at the Rotterdam Arab Film Festival. See a trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b6Tyw_fAfwY.  Come early for the homemade Arabic food.  Stay after the movie for SKYPE Q&A with the director. See https://www.facebook.com/events/2221881308126399/.

42] –  On Tues., May 21 from 6:30 to 8 PM, there is a PMD Montgomery Member Meeting at the Aspen Hill Library, 4407 Aspen Hill Rd., Rockville 20853.  Tickets at www.mobilize.us. This is the first Progressive Montgomery meeting of 2019! Discuss opportunities for progressive change, including the early stages of a campaign with the Montgomery County Education Association for racial equity and social justice in Montgomery County public schools. Light refreshments may be served, but feel free to bring your to-go dinner too! Twinbrook is the closest Metro Station to Aspen Hill Library. From there, the library website recommends taking the Ride-On Bus 26 toward Glenmont.  If you have any accessibility needs or concerns, feel free to email Montgomery County Lead Organizer at jacquelyn@progressivemaryland.org.  See https://www.facebook.com/events/2208360099271926/.

43] -- Wednesdays at the Free Farm, 3510 Ash St., Baltimore 21211 by Food Rescue Baltimore continue on Wed., May 22 from noon to 1 PM. Bring a bag, bring a friend, and take delicious, nutritious, free rescued food. See  https://www.facebook.com/events/2335352913149645/?event_time_id=2335353063149630.

44] – On Wed., May 22 at 2 PM, and every Wednesday until July 24, 2019, School of Food and Food Rescue Baltimore will give out food at 1412 N. Wolfe St., Baltimore 21213. Bring a bag, bring a friend, and take delicious, nutritious, free rescued food. See https://www.facebook.com/events/2105994779640314/.

45] - On Wed., May 22 from 2 to 3:30 PM, hear about What's the Point of the Rule of Law?  This event is hosted by National Endowment for Democracy, 1025 F St NW, Suite 800, WDC 20004. Beginning in the 1990s, ‘rule of law’ emerged on the agendas of most Western aid donors. It was thought to be a key element in solving a host of political, economic, and social ills—from corruption and economic underdevelopment to weak political institutions and state abuse of power. Yet successful efforts to strengthen or instill the rule of law in places where it is weak or lacking have not been conspicuous. Why? Of course, the task is hard. But the typical understanding of the rule of law does not make it any easier. Moreover, the challenge today lies not merely in the difficulty of the task and the way we approach it, but also in a shifting global order. Western liberal-democratic models of development no longer have the monopoly they seemed to enjoy in the 1990s. The emergence of an alternative Chinese model, increasing skepticism about Western models, and the epidemic rise of populist and authoritarian rivals mean that the virtues of the rule of law can no longer be assumed to be self-evident. Those who support the rule of law need to be able to defend it before increasingly skeptical audiences who think they have other viable options. In his presentation, Professor Martin Krygier will critique existing ways of thinking about the rule of law and offer alternative frameworks. He will also explore how adapting our intellectual approach might improve the global community’s ability both to promote the rule of law and to defend it against the global efflorescence of populist and authoritarian enemies. Journal of Democracy Editor Marc F. Plattner will moderate the discussion.  Attendees must register through Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/whats-the-point-of-the-rule-of-law-tickets-61114669622.  Look at https://www.facebook.com/events/398321261015054/.

To be continued.

Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218.  Ph: 410-323-1607; Email: mobuszewski2001 [at] comcast.net. Go to http://baltimorenonviolencecenter.blogspot.com/.

"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs

Baltimore Activist Alert -- May 20 -21, 2019

23] Food Rescue Pop-Up – May 20
24] Biden Family Award presentation – May 20
25] Community Land Trust Information Meeting May 20
26] Takoma Trivia – May 20
27] “Journey for Justice: The Life of Larry Itliong” May 20
28] “Blood on the Mountain” – May 20
29] Get the Money Out conference call – May 20
30] Beyond the Headlines: Central African Republic – May 21
31] Peace Vigil – May 21
32] No Drone Research DEMO – May 21
33] See the play REPUBLIC UNDONE– May 21
34] American Promise DE meeting – May 21
35] Open Energy Committee Meeting – May 21
23] –On Mon., May 20 from 3 to 4 PM, there is a Food Rescue Pop-Up at Flourish, 3418 Belair Road, Baltimore 21213-1233.  Bring a bag, and take home healthy, free food! View https://www.facebook.com/events/301851223848295/?event_time_id=301851250514959
This will continue into the future.

24] – On Mon., May 20 at 6 PM, get over to the Delaware Coalition Against Gun Violence's Biden Family Award presentation honoring Rep. Valerie Longhurst and David Bentz - as well as student activist Avery Jones -- for their tireless work to prevent gun violence in Delaware.  The event will be a "casual cocktail party" at Bella Vita, Cavaliers Country Club, 100 Addison Dr., Newark, DE 19702. Check out https://delawarecoalitionagainstgunviolence.salsalabs.org/bidenfamilyaward/index.html.

25] – On Mon., May 20 from 6 to 7 PM, attend the Community Land Trust Information Meeting, hosted by the Harwood Community Association, the 29th Street Community Center, 300 E. 29th St., Baltimore 21218. Join a citywide movement for fair development! Learn what you and your neighbors can do to make sure there's a place for everyone in Harwood. This is a special meeting of the Harwood Community Association. If you can't come but want to learn more contact Ryan Flanigan at ranigan@gmail.com. Look at https://www.facebook.com/events/438573913385369/.

26] – On Mon., May 20 from 7:30 to 10 PM, get with TAKOMA TRIVIA: THE LABOR EDITION, hosted by Metro Washington Council AFL-CIO at Busboys and Poets Takoma, 235 Carroll St. NW, WDC 20012.  Feel free to bring team members!

Join us for this special labor edition of the popular weekly competition, hosted by Max Johansen. Test your knowledge of the labor movement, have fun with friends and enjoy Busboys’ terrific food and drink. No team minimum: play by yourself or grab some friends. Prizes for the top teams! This will benefits DC Jobs with Justice, a dynamic coalition of labor organizations, community groups, faith-based organizations, and student groups dedicated to protecting the rights of working people and supporting community struggles to build a more just society.  See https://www.facebook.com/events/460885684716931/.

27] – On Mon., May 20 from 6 to 8:30 PM, catch up with the Book Tour of “Journey for Justice: The Life of Larry Itliong,” hosted by Apala D. C. Chapter at Busboys and Poets Brookland, 625 Monroe St. NE, WDC 20017.  Welcome the book’s co-author and Bridge and Delta publisher, Gayle Romasanta, from Stockton, California.  As the first book about Larry Itliong, co-founder of the United Farm Workers Union (UFW) with Cesar Chavez, the book also gives a glimpse of Filipino American history and the solidarity between Filipino and Mexican farm workers that created the largest farm labor movement in the history of the United States. RSVP athttps://www.eventbrite.com/e/national-book-tour-of-journey-for-justice-the-life-of-larry-itliong-tickets-61551259474.  See https://www.facebook.com/events/413747882690743/.

28] – On Mon., May 20 at 7 PM, see a free screening as part of the “Reel & Meal at the New Deal” features “Blood on the Mountain,” an historical account of the coal industry’s grip on workers and entire mining communities of West Virginia that also probes the rippling effect of environmental and economic injustice felt by many other workers and regions. There is an optional vegan meal priced at $14 and served from 6:30 PM, all at the New Deal Café, 113 Centerway, Roosevelt Center, Greenbelt. The program is jointly sponsored with the DC LaborFest. Representatives of Earth Justice and Maryland Sierra Club will co-lead a discussion of the film. Go to https://www.newdealcafe.com/events/reel-and-meal/blood-on-the-mountain/.

29] – Join the Get Money Out of Maryland Teleconference on Mon., May 20 from 8:30 to 9:30 PM.  Call 605-475-6711, code 1136243#.  Work only on brainstorming ideas for participation in the upcoming General Election.

30] – On Tues., May 21 from noon to 1:30 PM, check out Beyond the Headlines: Central African Republic, hosted by Women's Foreign Policy Group at the Evening Star Building United Technologies Corporation,10th Floor, 1101 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, WDC 20004.  Tickets are at www.wfpg.org.  The Central African Republic's (CAR) humanitarian crisis is the third worst in the world in the number of citizens per capita in need. Violence erupted again in CAR in 2013, leading to a collapse of the state and displacing over 1 million citizens. Five years later, state authority has been re-established in the capital, but armed groups still control much of the country. Despite the continued humanitarian crisis, is there reason to be hopeful? The UN peacekeeping mission continues to successfully negotiate local peace accords and the African Union-led peace talks have led to an agreement with fourteen of the armed groups. What is the situation on the ground today? Are there prospects for sustainable peace? What challenges lie ahead?

Alexandra Lamarche is an advocate at Refugees International where her work focuses on sub-Saharan Africa and peacekeeping. She has led research missions on displacement crises in the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Cameroon and Nigeria, among others. Prior to joining the RI team in 2017, Alexandra worked on issues of conflict, reconciliation, and migration in the Central African Republic, Chad, Lebanon, Mauritania, Côte d'Ivoire, and Uganda. She holds a Masters in Conflict, Security, and Development from the University of Sussex in the UK and Bachelor of Social Sciences in Conflict Studies and Human Rights from the University of Ottawa, Canada. Twitter: @AlyLamb | @RefugeesIntl.  Visit https://www.facebook.com/events/2293725134233924/.

31] –  Each Tuesday from 4:30 - 5:30 PM, the Catholic Peace Fellowship-Philadelphia for peace in Afghanistan and Iraq gathers at the Suburban Station, 16th St. & JFK Blvd., at the entrance to Tracks 3 and 4 on the mezzanine.  The next vigil is May 21.  Call 215-426-0364.

32] – Vigil to say "No Drone Research at JHU" each Tuesday at 33rd & North Charles Sts. The next vigil will be on May 21 from 5 to 6 PM. Contact Max at mobuszewski2001 at Comcast dot net or 410-323-1607. 

33] – On Tues., May 21 from 6:30 to 8:30 PM, see the play Republic Undone, which features the galaxy of personalities that sashayed across the stage as Woodrow Wilson ascended to power and orchestrated America’s entry into the Great War, at the Woman's National Democratic Club, 1526 New Hampshire Ave. NW (at Q St.), WDC 20036.  Republic Undone is directed by Rick Davis, Dean of George Mason’s College of Visual and Performing Arts. The bar open at 6:30 PM, light snacks included. The performance begins at 7 PM. Tickets are $30 for members, and $40 for others.

Against the backdrop of World War I, John Henry’s Republic Undone dramatizes the conflict over the meaning of the American Revolution -- what it means to be an American. Besides Wilson, meet first wife Ellen, Andrew Carnegie, William Jennings Bryan, Alice Paul and Henry Cabot Lodge who argue for a Madisonian America that exalts separation of powers and prohibits presidential wars. Colonel House, Mary Peck and his second wife Edith defend a Wilsonian America that salutes limitless executive power to go abroad in search of monsters to destroy.  The play explores Wilson’s narcissistic personality as he crushes any opposition to his will. The ghost of James Madison attacks Wilson for destroying the Republic that secured peace to enable women and men to march to their own drummer. Wilson dismisses Madison as a museum piece that would hobble Americans from spreading goodness in every corner of the world.

See https://democraticwoman.org/republic-undone/. Contact Patricia Fitzgerald, Woman's National Democratic Club, at (202) 232-7363 or pfitzgerald@democraticwoman.org.

34] – On Tues., May 21 from 7 to 8:30 PM, there is an American Promise DE meeting in Room 25, First Unitarian Church of Wilmington, 730 Halstead Rd. All are welcome! Go to https://www.facebook.com/APADelaware/.

35] – On Tues., May 21 from 7:30 to 9 PM, get over to Open Energy Committee Meeting, hosted by the Sierra Club Maryland Chapter at the Silver Spring Civic Center, Fenton Room, 1 Veterans Place, Silver Spring 20910. Tickets can be had at act.sierraclub.org.  You can also participate via webinar here: https://zoom.us/j/561590614 or dial in by phone: +1 646 876 9923 - Meeting ID: 561 590 614. The climate crisis is real, so there is a lot to do.  See https://www.facebook.com/events/676428379475800/.

To be continued.

Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218.  Ph: 410-323-1607; Email: mobuszewski2001 [at] comcast.net. Go to http://baltimorenonviolencecenter.blogspot.com/.

"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Baltimore Activist Alert – May 19 – July 25, 2019

Baltimore Activist Alert – May 19 – July 25, 2019

"I speak as an American to the leaders of my own nation. The great initiative in this war is ours. The initiative to stop it must be ours." -Martin Luther King Jr.

Friends, this list and other email documents which I send out are done under the auspices of the Baltimore Nonviolence Center.  Go to www.baltimorenonviolencecenter.blogspot.com.  If you appreciate this information and would like to make a donation, send contributions to BNC, 325 East 25th Street, Baltimore, MD 21218.  Max Obuszewski can be reached at 410-323-1607 or mobuszewski2001 [at] comcast.net.

1] Books, buttons and stickers
2] Web site for info on federal legislation
3] Get involved with NCNR   
4] Buy an Anti-War Veteran hat  
5] Lawyers Against War
6] “Explore & Live Palestine” from July 11 through July 25, 2019
8] Shadows and Ashes: The Peril of Nuclear Weapons – through May 31
9] Ring in Spring at Real Food Farm – May 19
10] Benefit the Humane Society of Carroll County -- May 19
11] Throw Out Incineration -- May 19
12] National Adoption Weekend – May 19
13] Adoption Event – May 19
14] People's Power Assembly Neighborhood Clean Up – May 19
15] Baltimore Democratic Socialists of America meeting – May 19
16] Anti-war protest at the Venezuelan Embassy – May 19
17] On the Call for the NRA – May 19
18] Sierra Club celebrates – May 19
19] "Reclaiming Judaism from Zionism" – May 19
20] Pentagon Protest – May 20
21] Food Rescue – May 20
22] The Middle East and the Horn of Africa – May 20
1] – Buttons, bumperstickers and books are available.  “God Bless the Whole World, No Exceptions” stickers are in stock. Call Max at 410-323-1607.

2] – To obtain information how your federal legislators voted on particular bills, go to http://thomas.loc.gov/.  Congressional toll-free numbers are 888-818-6641, 888-355-3588 or 800-426-8073. The White House Comment Email is accessible at http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/.

3] – THE ORGANIZING LIST will be the primary decision-making mechanism of the National Campaign of Nonviolent Resistance [NCNR].  It will be augmented by conference calls and possibly in-person meetings as needed.  It will consist of 1 or 2 representatives from each local, regional, or national organization (not coalitions) that wishes to actively work to carry out the NCNR campaign of facilitating and organizing nonviolent resistance to U.S. wars.

To join the ORGANIZING List, please send your name, group affiliation, city and email address to mobuszewski2001 at Comcast dot net.  Different local chapters of a national organization are encouraged to subscribe.  

4] – Get a good-looking black hat which says Anti-War Veteran in the front and Viva House 50th in the back.  The cost is $10. Contact Max at 410-323-1607 or mobuszewski2001 at Comcast dot net.

5] – Jeff Ross, an attorney in Maryland, is interested in gathering with other lawyers to discuss ways in which the legal profession and the law generally can be conceptualized as a peace-building and war-resisting institution and redirected to these ends. Areas to explore might include: 1) ways in which this group could support with legal analysis/writing those lawyers who are representing peace-builders/war-resisters in criminal prosecutions; 2) ways in which, from a more theoretical perspective, the law might be grounded in an ethic of non-violence; and 3) ways in which law students and young lawyers might be exposed to a non-violent vision of the law. All religious, philosophical, and critical perspectives on the law are welcome. The group might want to call itself Lawyers Against War. Jeff can be reached at 443-690-6872 and jross50@hotmail.com.

6] – If you are 18 to 35, don't miss this unique opportunity to visit Palestine! Registration is Now Open at https://kthps.org/join. For more information, please visit: https://kthps.org/.  Know Thy Heritage, Inc. is offering a Leadership Initiative “Explore & Live Palestine” from July 11 through July 25, 2019.  This is a program of The Arab American Institute.  Visit http://www.aaiusa.org/.

7] -- SUPPORT AMAZON WORKERS OF CONSCIENCE.  We are in a deep struggle to support conscience within the high tech community, which may be the only way to prevent a major leap into artificial intelligence warfare that we see the beginnings of in the expanding global U.S. drone war system.  This may be of particular interest to Johns Hopkins' Navy-funded researchers, some of whom have been working on swarming drone technology.

These are not major asks and can be a powerful reinforcement of conscience at an extremely critical moment.  Please consider circulating this link to your lists encouraging people to sign the linked RootsAction petition - https://www.knowdrones.com/blog/2019/3/6/support-amazon-workers-who-dont-want-to-work-for-war and leafletting Whole Foods in your areas. This is a link to the leaflet -- https://gallery.mailchimp.com/dd110b000ca250d868d4f419b/files/107fc695-8af9-4f7e-a523-ecd1d1dfd28f/Wholefoods_Leaflet.pdf. Should you have interest in circulating the links and possibly leafletting, contact Nick Mottern at  nickmottern at gmail.com.

8] – An important art exhibition continues at the Takoma Park campus of Montgomery College through May 31.  The exhibit is named Shadows and Ashes: The Peril of Nuclear Weapons, and features works by photographer Gary Schoichet; drawings by the child survivors of Hiroshima; ceramic masks by multimedia artist Marion Held; the poetry of John Canaday; and the Program on Science and Global Security at Princeton University  This is a traveling exhibition from Princeton University, sponsored by Montgomery College’s Institute for Race, Justice, and Civic Engagement, Peace Action Montgomery, and Prevent Nuclear War/Maryland, and it will be on view at Montgomery College’s Cultural Arts Center, 7995 Georgia Ave., Silver Spring. It will be accompanied by various events, including films, lectures, and discussion.

This exhibition of art and science examines the role of nuclear weapons in our society and reflects on their results. By combining artwork and scientific information, it opens conversations on the practical and the philosophical implications of humans’ continued efforts to create and to dismantle nuclear weapons. This multi-faceted exploration of the implications of nuclear weapons includes photographs, drawings, masks, and technical information. Photographer Gary Schoichet provides portraits and reflective comments of Hiroshima survivors, as well as documentary photographs of the historic 1982 Anti-Nuclear Rally in New York City. All Souls Church in Washington, D.C., contributes Hiroshima Children’s Drawings in crayon from 1947 by young survivors. In commemoration of the human catastrophe in Japan, multimedia artist Marion Held has made ceramic masks as a response to her exploration of the site of the bombing at Hiroshima. Related events will be posted throughout the time of the exhibition on the website, www.peaceactionmc.org/. For information on exhibit hours and parking, visit mcblogs/montgomerycollege.edu/cac

9] – On Sun., May 19 from 9:30 AM to noon, hosted by Repair The World Baltimore, Ring in Spring at Real Food Farm, 1950 Perlman Pl., Baltimore 21213-1509.  Get tickets at www.tfaforms.com. Get dirt under your fingernails, muddy knees, and lungs filled with fresh air. Farming might be hard work, but it's worth it! Celebrate spring being in full swing to help out on the farm. You may even get to taste some of the fruits of your labor!

   Assist Real Food Farm in achieving its goals of improving neighborhood access to healthy food, protecting the environment, building out the urban agriculture sector, and much more. Learn more on Real Food Farm's website: http://realfoodfarm.civicworks.com/.  See 2https://www.facebook.com/events/829081734117996/.

10] – On Sun., May 19 from 10 AM to 5 PM, get to the Trail Ride to Benefit the Humane Society of Carroll County, hosted by Happy on Hooves and Humane Society of Carroll County, Inc., 5014 Mount Carmel Rd., Hampstead 21074.  Tickets are www.happyonhooves.com.  Treat yourself to a horseback trail ride to benefit the Humane Society of Carroll County.  The Humane Society of Carroll County has been advocating for the health and proper care of animals for nearly 75 years. With a goal of finding suitable, loving homes for abandoned and stray animals, the Humane Society continues its legacy of advocating for the humane treatment of animals.   Visit https://www.facebook.com/events/276418759947966/.

11] -- Usually, the Baltimore Ethical Society, 2521 St. Paul St., Baltimore 21218, meets on Sundays, and generally there is a speaker and discussion at 10:30 AM.  On Sun., May 12, the platform address is “Baltimore Must Throw Out Incineration.”  Baltimore’s trash incinerator(s) have for many years been the paramount polluter of our air. Ownership has changed but the incineration industry has not; it profits at the expense of residents it claims to serve. At what point does bending truth become flat out lying? Impartial scientists know that among all trash disposal industries (and among all power generation industries) incineration pollutes the most, generates the least, and employs the least. Trash is worth more when recycled so by incinerating, larger society actually pays to increase the toxicity of its environment and cost of its medicine. That is neither environmentally, economically, nor socially sustainable. No more – Baltimore’s future in waste reduction, repair, reuse, and recycling or RRRR (that includes composting) begins now!

   Kevin Kriescher (MS Physics) has held sundry academic roles (adjunct professor, college tutor, textbook editor, online K-12 math teacher, high school track/field coach, etc.) but his real calling – the one with no paycheck – is environmental conservation. He has lived in Baltimore 14 years and currently serves the MD Chapter of the Sierra Club as executive committee member for the Greater Baltimore Group. His focus within the group is pollution – one of humanity’s biggest yet somehow most persistently ignored crises.  Call 410-581-2322 or email ask@bmorethical.org

12] -- On Sun., May 19 from 11 AM to 2 PM, come to the National Adoption Weekend, hosted by Luv a Pet Towson Petsmart, 1238 Putty Hill Ave., Towson 21286. Applications are taken in the order received, and new family members may go home to approved adopters when appropriate for that specific animal. See https://www.animalrescueinc.org/index.php/adopt/cat-application.  If your perfect love match isn’t in Towson that day, Animal Rescue, Inc. has many other animals waiting for homes! Visit https://www.facebook.com/events/589644384879905/.

13] –  On Sun., May 19 noon to 3 PM, come to an Adoption Event, hosted by Saving Grace Animal Rescue of Maryland at Petvalu, 5007 Honeygo Center Dr., Perry Hall 21128.  Look up https://www.facebook.com/events/413331862815685/.

14]   On Sun., May 19 noon to 2 PM, join the People's Power Assembly Neighborhood Clean Up: Remington at 2701 Sisson St., Baltimore 21211-3019.  This is a Serve the People initiative. Beside the cleanup, outreach will be conducted and information will be distributed to educate people against the ongoing US backed coup in Venezuela. Bring work gloves, brooms, and dust pans. See https://www.facebook.com/events/2376074646003916/.

15] – On Sun., May 19 from 2 to 4:30 PM, attend the May General Body Meeting, hosted by the Baltimore Democratic Socialists of America, Oak Hill Center for Education and Culture, 2239 Kirk Ave, Baltimore 21218.  Find out about organizing and where your place is in the movement! There will be new member orientation from 2 to 2:30 PM. Child care is available. Go to https://www.facebook.com/events/416807349100152/.

16] –  On Sun., May 19 at 2 PM, Rev. Jesse Jackson will be back at the Venezuelan Embassy, 1099 30th St. NW, WDC 20007, for an anti-war rally to help kick start an anti-war movement across the nation. Connect the struggles against U.S. imperialism in countries around the world including Venezuela, Iran, Yemen, Afghanistan, Libya, and Korea.  RSVP at https://www.codepink.org/dc_may_19_2019?link_id=3&can_id=4b9d4061aec5469758759317ac0f5285&source=email-rev-jesse-jackson-sunday-in-dc&email_referrer=email_549860&email_subject=rev-jesse-jackson-sunday-in-dc.

17] – On Sun., May 19 from 4 to 5 PM, get on The CALL - ERA Education Program at Katrina's Dream, PO Box 32003, WDC 20007.  Tickets are at www.katrinasdream.org.  Please come each Sunday and help build the groundswell. The collaboration of grassroots organizers, lobbyists, and professionals is dedicated to promoting and educating folks across the United States of America to empowering women around the world.

The CALL IN NUMBER is 563.999.2090, the CONFERENCE NO: 898879#.  Visit https://www.facebook.com/events/1710130249022424/?event_time_id=1710130255689090.

18] – Join the Sierra Club on Sun., May 19 from 5:30 to 7:30 PM at Denizens Brewing Company, 1115 East West Highway, Silver Spring 20910, for a drink and celebration. Meet special guests, including Delegate Brooke Lierman, Senator Cheryl Kagan, Senator Brian Feldman, Delegate Lorig Charkoudian, Delegate Marc Korman, Delegate Kumar Barve, Delegate Vaughn Stewart, Executive Director of Trash Free Maryland, Ashley Van Stone, and more. Contact Gary Young at gary.young@mdsierra.org or 301-277-7111.

19] – On Sun., May 19 from 6 to 8 PM, check out "Reclaiming Judaism from Zionism" - The Book Launch, hosted by Jewish Voice for Peace - DC Metro at Busboys and Poets, 450 K St. NW, WDC 20001. This will be a night of storytelling that will take audience members through the journeys of nine Jewish activists who have changed their perspectives on Zionism.  In this powerful collection of personal narratives, forty Jews of diverse backgrounds tell a wide range of stories about the roads they have traveled from a Zionist world view to activism in solidarity with Palestinians and Israelis striving to build an inclusive society founded on justice, equality, and peaceful coexistence.  Editor Carolyn L. Karcher and eight of her contributors will speak about the book and sum up their stories, introducing readers to the large community of Jewish activists who have created organizations such as Jewish Voice for Peace, IfNotNow, and Open Hillel. Karcher and her contributors want to strengthen alliances with progressives of all faiths and seek to nurture models of Jewish identity that replace ethnic exclusiveness with solidarity, Zionism with a Judaism once again nourished by a transcendent ethical vision. See https://www.facebook.com/events/440158566732194/.

20] – There is a weekly Pentagon Peace Vigil from 7 to 8 AM on Mondays, since 1987, outside the Pentagon Metro stop.  The next vigil is May 20, and it is sponsored by the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker.  Email artlaffin@hotmail.com or call 202-882-9649.  The vigil will be outside the Pentagon's south Metro entrance and in the designated "protest zone" behind bicycle fences across from the entrance to the Metro.  By Metro, take Yellow Line and get out at the "Pentagon" stop. Do not go to the Pentagon City stop! Go up south escalators and turn left and walk across to protest area. By car from D.C. area, take 395 South and get off at Exit 8A-Pentagon South Parking. Take slight right onto S. Rotary Rd. at end of ramp and right on S. Fern St. Then take left onto Army Navy Dr. You can "pay to park" on Army Navy Dr.,  and there is meter parking one block on right on Eads St. Payment for both of these spots begin at 8 AM.  No cameras are allowed on Pentagon grounds. Restrooms are located inside Marriott Residence Inn on corner of S. Fern and Army Navy Dr. 

21] – On Mon., May 20 at noon, there will be a Food Rescue at Land of Kush, 840 N. Eutaw St., Baltimore 21201. Food Rescue Baltimore is honored to partner with The Land of Kush each and every Monday to bring access to free vegan/plant-based food in the community. Bring a bag. Take what you want from noon to 1PM or while supplies last. No purchase is necessary to take advantage of the Food Rescue Baltimore give away. Items from The Land of Kush's menu are not included in the give-away but will be available for sale. See https://www.facebook.com/events/415842178868197/.

22] – On Mon., May 20 from noon to 4 PM, attend a conference: The Middle East and the Horn of Africa, hosted by Middle East Institute at the National Press Club, 529 14th St. NW, 13th Floor, WDC 20004.  Tickets are at www.mei.edu.  Observe the evolving internal dynamics in the Horn of Africa region, and the ways in which these countries are affecting and being affected by events and conflicts in the broader Middle East. Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Somalia face a myriad of security and development challenges, including instability in and migration from neighboring Middle Eastern countries. Meanwhile, the Horn of Africa region is emerging as a new battleground for competition among rising global powers in the Middle East and East Asia.  This conference will bring together experts and practitioners focusing on this complex region to explore prospects for productive U.S. engagement in the Horn of Africa, ways in which to promote human rights and the rule of law in these countries, and avenues to establish a coherent regional dialogue while balancing the Horn of Africa’s engagement with the outside world. Look at https://www.facebook.com/events/431921370971924/.

To be continued.

Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218.  Ph: 410-323-1607; Email: mobuszewski2001 [at] comcast.net. Go to http://baltimorenonviolencecenter.blogspot.com/.

"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs

Friday, May 17, 2019

The NRA Should Have Never Messed With the Parkland Kids

Published on Portside (https://portside.org/)

The NRA Should Have Never Messed With the Parkland Kids

May 12, 2019


  I guess the NRA thought the Parkland school shooting would follow the script of every other massacre:
  1. Americans would call for our politicians to finally do something 
  2. The NRA would then fundraise off the tragedy, and donate to their politicians to keep them in line 
  3. The NRA politicians would then offer thoughts and prayers to the victims
  4. Rightwing pundits would then viciously attack the victims who dared to demand that more be done….and then attack them again… and again
  5. Americans would then decide, once again, that it's just best to throw up their hands and move on. Politicians would follow and give up any renewed effort to pass gun safety laws.
  6. Repeat steps 1-5 for the next big massacre the following week
After the Parkland killings, the NRA seemed to be humming along on schedule.  They broke a record in fundraising right after the shooting, and Trump and Florida's politicians offered their thoughts and prayers. When the high school students started speaking out for politicians to do more, the NRA attacked them on cue. 

    They ran attack ads, called the survivors “civil terrorists,” and even peddled an outrageous conspiracy theory to Alex Jones that the Parkland students might have been actors. That should have done it. But it was step #5 where things went off the rails. The students refused to go along with the script.The students targeted the NRA, and those who kowtowed to them.

Emma Gonzalez literally called BS on inactive politicians. Her followers on Twitter grew larger than the NRA’s in just under a month. She demanded and got several companies to sever ties with the NRA.  Dozens of companies, including United, Delta, Enterprise, Wyndham, First National Bank, and Alamo cut ties and left. Eventually, even FedEx had finally had enough of the backlash. 

Cameron Kasky humiliated Marco Rubio on national TV by asking him to commit to not taking any more NRA money. (He wouldn’t). Kasky attended the State of the Union and the House Judiciary Committee hearing on gun violence.

Sarah Chadwick directly went after Dana Loesch and her despicable victim shaming.

Tyah-Amoy Roberts called for publicizing her photo if she dies from gun violence, and used her platform to bring attention to black communities being disproportionately affected by gun violence.

David Hogg continues to speak out against gun violence to any venue that will have him, despite violent threats against both his and his mother’s life. Ingraham tried to carry the NRA’s water by taunting him, and it backfired spectacularly. 

Jaclyn Corin, who said “keep screaming at your Congressman,” made YouTube videos with millions of views attacking the NRA, and successfully fought off the gun lobby’s plan to put armed officers in Chatham schools.  

    These are just some of the amazing children from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
The kids organized March for Our Lives. The NRA actually tried to stop it by going after the teen organizers, ironically saying that it was being led by “violent radicals.” They failed, as it became one of the largest protests in US history with 2 million participants.  It didn’t stop there. The protest launched a movement, marchforourlives.com, which has local chapters that are dedicated to taking on the NRA. 

    The kids were relentless and often faced off with NRA spokespeople or politicians in national forums. They shamed Rick Scott into quietly canceling his appearance at the NRA’s annual conference. (Others withdrew soon afterward.) Rightwing Florida politicians actually discussed supporting a ban on assault rifles. Change was coming.

   Then something happened. Gun control.  

    After years of signing ridiculous laws that made it easier and easier for mentally unbalanced people to obtain firearms and go on shooting sprees; Rick Scott, who wanted to be Florida’s new senator, was forced into signing into law our first significant gun restrictions in decades. The minimum age to buy an assault rifle in Florida is now 21, and there is a mandatory three-day waiting period. The law also banned bump stocks, which are devices that enable semiautomatic rifles to operate like they are fully automatic. Finally, the law created a system so that high risk, unstable individuals could be barred from owning a firearm. 

   Even Donald Trump, fearing the growing support for a law banning bump stocks, instituted a federal regulation banning those devices.

The kids weren’t finished. 

    They worked tirelessly in registering students across the nation for the 2018 midterm elections. They launched a “Road to Change” voter registration tour last summer. Their work delivered young voters to the polls in record numbers, which helped elect 64 freshman Democrats and forced over 30-backed NRA politicians out of office.

    They can’t say they weren’t warned:

     Florida school shooting survivor: “To Congress… you have the power to change this and if you don’t, then we will change you. We may be too young to vote, but soon we will be able to vote and we will vote you out.” https://t.co/3HR3rc1S7x pic.twitter.com/NdKNuRfbUF

— CNN (@CNN) February 21, 2018

   For the first time, an Associated Press survey showed that eight percent of midterm voters named guns the nation’s top issue, with those voters overwhelmingly breaking for Democrats 4 to 1. In the past, politicians wouldn’t touch gun control, but eighty percent of the new freshman Democrats actually ran on a gun control platform. Not only that, the NRA was actually outspent by gun control groups for the first time in an election. Welcome to the new normal.

    The NRA is unaccustomed to not being feared, and it’s truly amazing what just a little pressure has done to them. 

     The NRA leadership has turned on each other in an ugly civil war and is bleeding money. In 2016, the NRA was able to spend around 70 million mobilizing voters and buying online ads, but now, that’s roughly what they are losing annually. The group’s free fall has exposed extreme financial mismanagement. Excessive salaries, backroom deals, sexual-harassment charges (of course), ridiculous clothing allowances, expensive travel, and a secretive PR firm that refuses to say where its 40 million dollars annual budget goes.

The NRA brand is toxic, revenues are dropping, recruitment is way down, and the cherry on top—they are finally being investigated.

NRA's shady financial dealings are a problem if you are declaring yourself a non-profit. NY AG thinks so as well: https://t.co/5JDt3OhohQ

— TheSeminoleDemocrat (@TheSemDem) May 12, 2019

     There is no way they will be able to support Donald Trump at anywhere close to the level they did back in 2016, which is why he’s screaming at them to “get their act together.” The NRA won’t be able to count on Russian money bailing them out this time. 

   As always, the kids are the ones leading the change. They showed the gun lobby was never anything to have feared and should have been taken on years ago. 

   I suppose since the kids have to risk facing a maniac with an assault rifle every day, the creepy old gun lobbyist doesn’t quite instill the same amount of terror.

    To these amazing kids and this new generation:

    I’m sorry our own politicians didn’t do their jobs and stand up for you. I’m sorry we had to rely on our own damn children to fight for legislation instead of allowing you to do things kids should be doing.

   And yet, you are making it happen. You stepped up when no one else would.  

  Somebody had to.

Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218.  Ph: 410-323-1607; Email: mobuszewski2001 [at] comcast.net. Go to http://baltimorenonviolencecenter.blogspot.com/

"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs