Monday, February 28, 2011

US Uncut's Anti-Austerity Protests Hit Bank of America

http://www.truth-out.org/us-uncuts-anti-austerity-protests-start-small-strong-against-bank-america68108

 

US Uncut's Anti-Austerity Protests Hit Bank of America

Monday 28 February 2011

by: Alissa Bohling, t r u t h o u t | Report

 

US Uncut's Anti-Austerity Protests Hit Bank of America
Protesters participate in a US Uncut action on Bank of America in Washington, DC. US Uncut is a new movement that has sprung from a UK-based anti-austerity group and they have chosen Bank of America as their first corporation to target. (Photo: USUncut.org)

 

 

Anna Becker looks tired. Becker is leaning against the brick wall beside the entrance to Bank of America's Pearl District branch in Portland, Oregon, where one of over 50 nationwide protests by US Uncut has been underway for nearly two hours.

But Becker, a retired teacher, is just as energized as the protesters at the front of the crowd of about 60, who spill into the street and draw long, loud honks from the stream of cars driving toward the Willamette River.

"I have been waiting for 20 years for something like this to happen in America," says Becker. The words she has spoken in private for years are now plastered onto the canary yellow poster board she holds up like a shield: "B of A is al-Qaeda: financial terrorists."

Bank of America (B of A) is the first corporation to be targeted by US Uncut, the transatlantic offspring of the United Kingdom-based anti-austerity group UK Uncut, which held its first demonstration to protest corporate tax evasion in late 2010.

As a voice at the megaphone of the Portland protest said, "The United States does not have a deficit problem. The United States has a revenue problem." According to a 2008 report by the Government Accountability Office, 25 percent of the biggest corporations pay no federal income tax. B of A, the recipient of $45 billion in bailout funds, shuttles its would-be tax dollars into 115 offshore tax havens. Meanwhile, budget deficits are cited as justification for pay freezes for public workers and cuts to heating assistance programs, Social Security, and other social safety nets.

"The $3 in my wallet is more than ExxonMobil, GE and Bank of America paid in taxes last year, combined," said Carl Gibson, founder of the first American Uncut group, US Uncut Mississippi, in a release prior to the February 26 protests.

"There's a direct connection between corporate tax dodging and what's happening to real people's lives," said Gibson. "Because of overseas tax havens and other tax loopholes, US corporations are making profits in America but barely paying taxes here. If we close those loopholes, we wouldn't have to be cutting back on firefighters, library hours and student loans."

In its first weeks, the movement remains small but is already getting noticed. In Washington, DC, about 100 Uncut demonstrators closed down the B of A branch where their protest was staged. Boston organizer Chris Priest estimated turnout there at around 50.

Demonstrations in some other cities owed part of their numbers to spillover from MoveOn's 30,000-strong rallies in solidarity with Wisconsin's workers. In Philadelphia, a handful of people gathered in front of Comcast's headquarters to protest its unfair tax advantage grew to more than 30 as they drew the attention of MoveOn supporters demonstrating nearby. Alec Johnson, the founder of US Uncut Columbus, spoke to a crowd of about 1,000 gathered at the Ohio statehouse in a rally cosponsored by Planned Parenthood and MoveOn. And about 200 people turned out to the capitol building in Charleston, West Virginia, in a protest to support both US Uncut's message opposing attacks on the public sector and the wider worker solidarity movement that continues to ripple out from Madison.

Despite its size, the brand-new movement has already caught the attention of Fox News conservative talk show host Glenn Beck. In a February 24 segment, Beck painted the US and UK Uncut movements as a "radical" conspiracy.

"The fact that Glenn Beck is already coming after us, that's interesting to me," said Johnson. "When some big media gun gets on the airwaves and starts telling people that the organization I'm interested in is awful, that speaks to our power ... and I'm a lot less scared of him."

Kevin Shields, the high school senior who coordinated US Uncut Philadelphia's protest against Comcast, agreed. "I think that's actually some of the best press we can get," said Shields.

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Other participants are less enthusiastic about right-wing interest in the growing movement. Some of DC's impromptu media representatives, who were culled from the event's participants, guarded their identities when speaking with reporters. One of them, a nonprofit-sector worker using the pseudonym Matthew, told Truthout, "Here in DC, we have a lot of sort of back channels to the UK group," who, in light of "some vicious right-wing hatchet jobs" against some of its members in the UK's conservative press, encouraged its counterparts in the United States to remain anonymous.

In addition to concerns about media smear campaigns, said Matthew, "We're dealing with a massive corporation with unlimited resources, and, as we've seen with the hacked emails, they're going to go after people." (When Anonymous, a group of hackers supportive of WikiLeaks, discovered the head of private security firm HBGary Federal claimed to have infiltrated Anonymous' ranks, it hacked the firm's emails and discovered that a law firm hired by B of A had approached HBGary about spying on Anonymous.)

The range of attitudes about identity and security among US Uncut supporters suggests a growing public uncertainty about how much a government increasingly indebted to corporations can be trusted to uphold its citizens' right to dissent. As of two days before the protest, at least one other city's Uncut organizers, in Los Angeles, were maintaining their anonymity. Before Brian Woodward came out to Portland's protest, he spoke with his mother, who was an observer at the Nuremberg trials. "She has some experience with the last bout of fascism this country saw, and her words to me were, 'Keep your head down,'" said Woodward.

Meanwhile, Johnson, a longtime activist who said he was arrested three times in the 1980's at protests against New Hampshire's Seabrook Nuclear Power Plant, insists, "My retirement plan has pretty much always been to get shot off the barricades."

"People who want to be cautious, that's fine if that's what it takes for them to discover their agency," said Johnson. For his part, he said, "I've got two children, and I think they are counting on me to be their father, and if that means I have to take it on the chin from the Bank of America, then so be it."

Priest says he chose to use his full identity in his participation in the US Uncut movement for a different reason. "This isn't an underground movement. The point is to be mainstream," he said.

So far, US Uncut's self-described decentralized model appears to make room for multiple approaches.

"Americans are really searching for a new protest model. They don't want the same old thing of standing outside the mall every six months," said Matthew.

Shields, a labor activist, also welcomes US Uncut's unconventional strategy, which blends social media outreach with old-fashioned street protests. "As an activist myself, it's so frustrating - on the picket lines and everything, most people are fighting for things that affect their own lives - it's really tough to get people out for things that don't directly affect them." Shields said he was encouraged by the turnout in Philadelphia. "It was sort of weird," he said. "I did it accidentally. I sort of figured it was just going to be me and a few friends."

The pro-democracy movements spreading through the Middle East have been credited with influencing the recent resurgence of direct democracy in the US. "I don't think that overnight we're going to become Cairo," said Johnson, who nonetheless thinks the events in Madison and elsewhere have been an inspiration to many. "I'm going to be keen to see what we can pull off," he said.

A widespread sense of outrage could provide more fuel for US Uncut. In Portland, retired educator Marilou Baughman wondered what to make of the increasing disparity between the freedoms and privileges of ordinary people versus those of the super rich. "What's the next logical step?" asked Baughman. "Slavery?"

Between megaphone sessions denouncing corporate tax dodgers and "selective austerity," Jen Nichols explained why she took a lead in organizing the Portland protest. "I'm probably technically white collar," said Nichols, who works in IT and took a 10 percent pay cut after the recession hit, "but I'm still living paycheck to paycheck."

"I'm tired of paying taxes and being told there's not enough money for me or my daughter," she said.

Nichols is not the only one who is tired. In the lead-up to the protests, on February 21, a tweet sent out on the US Uncut handle seemed intended for those Americans who are struggling to meet their basic needs, plan for the future or get ahead in a recession. "THIS is your fight, the fight for a job, for benefits, FOR SURVIVAL, do not expend what little energies you have fighting for anything else."

Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218.  Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at] verizon.net

 

"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

 

Update on Wisconsin

Friends,

 

Joy First is a member of the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance.  She will be part of the contingent which plans to be at the pentagon on April 8 as part of a climate chaos protest.  She was part of the team which did nonviolence training for those staying in the Capitol Building in Madison, Wisconsin.

 

Kagiso,

 

Max Obuszewski

 

Dear Friends,

 

The story continues to unfold in Wisconsin. I was at the Capitol last night expecting there would be arrests to get people out, but there were none. The energy level of the people was really high, but remained positive and peaceful.

 

As you know, large crowds have been sleeping at the Capitol for two weeks now. It is all very organized into a working community. There is an information booth, a family center where parents can go with their children for activities, a first aid center, and even a knitting center. There is tons of food being donated and delivered to the activists there many times a day.

 

The government has been talking about shutting the building and removing the overnight people for several days now, and it has not happened. But it does seem like the government is trying to gradually shut the people out. For the last few nights, people are no longer allowed to bring sleeping bags and other bedding into the building. There were warnings and rumors about evictions for several nights, but in the end the people have continued to occupy the Capitol 24 hours/day.

 

Last night though (Sunday Feb. 27) we thought that it was really going to happen and people would be arrested if they didn't leave, and there were hundreds of people willing to stay. It had been widely publicized in the local media that a Walker appointee in the Dept. of Administration had said the building would be closed at 4:00 pm on Sunday, presumably for cleaning, but it was really to get the people out. I believe this decision was made in close consultation with Walker himself.

 

My husband, Steve, and I got to the Capitol at 1:45 pm on Sunday and had to stand in line for 20 minutes to get in. They were letting one person in for every two coming out. By 4:00 pm there were about 1000 people outside waiting to get in and they locked the doors. There were maybe about 1-2 thousand people inside the Capitol at that time.

 

We were expecting that the police would try to evict us and arrest those who refused to leave, as the Walker administration said they would, but it didn't happen. There were a lot of rumors swirling around. The plan was that those who were going to risk arrest would move up from the ground floor to the first floor and so people moved upstairs.

 

The police told the people remaining on the ground floor that they had to leave or they would be arrested.

 

In the center of the Wisconsin Capitol is a huge rotunda with several levels of balconies circling the building, all looking down to the ground floor. As most people gathered on the first floor, we could look over the railing and see that a few people remained on the ground floor and sat down in the center of the rotunda, expecting that they would be arrested.

 

As we waited to see what would happen the drumming and chanting that have been going on for the last two weeks continued. At around 6:00 we began to hear rumors that we would not be arrested. At that point, the three people in my affinity group discussed it and decided it was important that we stay overnight and continue to exercise our First Amendment rights and hold onto the space. My concerns about leaving were twofold. First, if we left the space, they might not let us back in. I have heard that Ohio is not allowing citizens to have access to their Capitol. I was also concerned that if we left Walker would declare a victory and move forward with his plan.

 

We were thinking about how to settle in for the night, when we were told there would be an announcement. The Teaching Assistant Association (TAA) from UW-Madison has been doing a lot of the organizing work and I think they were the ones making the announcement at about 8:00 pm. They said that they had made a deal with the police and we would be allowed to stay in the building if we moved to the ground floor - which had just been cleaned - so that the Capitol staff could clean the first floor.

 

I, along with others in my affinity group, was concerned about this deal. It seemed we were slowly being squeezed out of the building. At one time people were sleeping on and occupying four floors of the building. At this point, we were only allowed on the ground floor and first floor. Now they wanted to confine us to the ground floor. I believe we were there exercising our First Amendment rights and so there was no need to make a deal with the police in order to stay. After some discussion among our affinity group, we decided that we felt our work there was completed for now and that we were not going to spend the night based on what had happened. We had no say in the making of this deal. I'm very happy that the students are there and leading the way. I also believe that it should have been more of a group decision before making a deal with the police.

 

One of the very positive things the TAA has been doing is to organize nonviolence training in the event that there is an arrest scenario. I have been participating in this. Because of the large crowds and the difficulty of bringing people together to sit through a more formal training, we are wandering through the crowds with a handout and talking informally to individuals and small groups.

 

I think it is absolutely incredible that for several nights, but especially last night when it was so widely publicized, the police were supposed to evict the people from the Capitol but did not. So, though the administration wants the people out, the police are not willing to arrest us. It seems like this situation makes the governor look powerless.

 

On my way out, I thanked a couple of officers for not arresting us. One officer said that he didn't want to arrest us and he is glad we are there. He doesn't want to go back to 1959. That is the year that WI passed laws for collective bargaining for public employees. Over the last two weeks the police are very friendly with the protesters and most of them seem to be on our side.

 

However the very bad news is that today there is a large crowd clamoring to get into the Capitol, but that the police are not letting them in. THE CAPITOL IS CURRENTLY CLOSED TO THE PEOPLE. I guess at some point the police have to follow direct orders no matter what they believe. I don't know what kind of response their will be from the people, but they will not take this without a struggle.

 

This is about way more than public workers losing their collective bargaining. The "budget repair" bill that we are trying to stop would have a dire effect on Medicaid and public transportation. It would allow the governor to sell public utilities in a no-bid process. (Hmmm. I wonder if the Koch brothers are in the mood to buy any public utilities for a dirt cheap price?) There are many provisions in this bill that would be harmful to the people of the state. At the same time, in January, the WI legislature passed and the governor signed a bill giving tax breaks to the richest people in the state. This is just the beginning. We all know the road where this is ultimately going. I believe we are fighting for our lives and the lives of our children and grandchildren.

 

And I believe that the people of Wisconsin are not ready to give up and will continue the struggle. We will see what the next weeks bring. Power to the People!

 

In peace and resistance,

Joy

Wisconsin officials decide not to evict protesters from Capitol

latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-wisconsin-unions-20110228,0,5205116.story

latimes.com

Wisconsin officials decide not to evict protesters from Capitol

Opponents of an anti-union bill can stay for now, police say; the Republican governor stands firm behind his proposal.

By Abby Sewell, Los Angeles Times

February 28, 2011

Reporting from Madison, Wis.

Wisconsin authorities backed away Sunday from a threat to evict hundreds of labor rights demonstrators who have occupied the state Capitol for nearly two weeks.

Hordes of union members, students and activists staged the sleep-in to dramatize opposition to Republican Gov. Scott Walker's attempt to eliminate collective bargaining for most government workers.

The state Department of Administration had announced Friday that the Capitol would close at 4 p.m. Sunday for cleaning and reopen at 8 a.m. Monday. As the deadline approached, some demonstrators left. But hundreds remained, preparing for arrest.

About 7 p.m., Capitol Police Chief Charles Tubbs said the remaining protesters could stay the night as long as they otherwise continued to abide by laws.

The Capitol sleep-in has been almost uniformly peaceful, with only a few arrests on minor charges, Tubbs said. Many police are sympathetic to the protesters' cause, although most public safety employees are exempt from the bill.

The measure passed the state Assembly on Friday, but the Senate has been stymied by the lack of a quorum: 14 Democrats fled to Illinois and say they won't return until Republicans agree to bargain.

So far, Walker is standing firm, contending that the legislation is needed to help state and local governments cut costs. He appeared on NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday to reiterate his position. The unions have agreed to pay more of their healthcare and pension costs, but that has not satisfied the governor.

Brian Austin, 40, an off-duty Madison Police Department detective and executive board member of the officers' union, was among those who stayed in the Capitol on Sunday night. Austin said it was "surreal" to be facing arrest after 15 years as a police officer.

"But it's because I'm a police officer that I'm here, and it's because I'm a parent" wanting to set a good example, he said.


abby.sewell@latimes.com

Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218.  Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at] verizon.net

 

"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

 

Bill to Make Workplace Bullying Illegal - SB 600 - to be heard in Finance Committee 3/3 at 1pm

Dear fellow activists and friends:

 

I want to let you know that I have been working for over a year on getting a bill introduced in the general assembly to protect workers from workplace bullying.  Senator Jamie Raskin has introduced this bill, SB 600, which makes systematic patterns of abusive conduct against workers who are not in one of the federally protected classes (which is most of us) illegal and provides legal remedies against employers who tolerate bullying and bullies.  What makes bullying different and this bill enforceable as law is the fact that the abuse is a verifiable systematic pattern.  Conversely, this bill gives protections against liability for employers who create and implement specific policies against bullying.  The bill will also provide monetary remedies in civil court for those of us who are bullied, complain about it and are fired or quit because of the physical and mental duress resulting from bullying.  People have committed suicide after being bullied at work and many targets of bullying suffer extreme mental and physical impairment for years after enduring bullying at work.  The US is the only Western industrialized country without anti-bullying laws – the same as with a single-payer health system.  This legislation has been introduced in 20 state legislatures and has a good chance of passage in two of them this year.  If you want more information on workplace bullying, please go to www.healthyworkplacebill.org.

 

Here is the link to the bill.  It’s short and to the point.  http://mlis.state.md.us/2011rs/bills/sb/sb0600f.pdf.   This is a labor issue and it’s a healthcare issue.

 

This bill is being heard in the Finance Committee on March 3 at 1pm.  I and supporters of the bill who have been bullied at work will testify.  Others who are still in their abusive workplaces will not testify for fear of retaliation, but they will be there to support us and advocate for a favorable report out of committee. 

 

This is a public health issue and it is becoming an epidemic.  While many of you may not be aware that bullying in the workplace is such a terrible and increasing problem, I want to assure you that once you have been bullied at work, the experience changes your life.  While we all have had, at some point in our lives, lousy jobs, people we have issues with, bullying is very different from those “normal” job-related issues.  I had never been bullied in all my years of working and the experience spurred me to work to make it illegal.  Most people who are bullied and seek help are shocked, as I was, to find it is not illegal and that there is nothing – at least now – that we can do about it.

 

When I filed my EEOC complaint (due to a specific component of what happened to me), I was told that even though workplace bullying complaints were increasing at an alarming and surprising rate, it was not yet illegal.  I was also told that the EEOC was studying workplace bullying.  It doesn’t take much thought to understand that schoolyard bullies often grow up to be workplace bullies.  Workplace bullies have peoples’ lives, health and livelihoods in their hands and it is past time for us to be protected from them.

 

Maria Allwine

Maryland State Coordinator – Healthy Workplace Legislative Campaign

 

 

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Baltimore Activist Alert

Baltimore Activist Alert Feb. 27 – Mar. 5, 2011

 

"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 410-366-1637 or mobuszewski [at] verizon.net.

 

The Baltimore IndyMedia Center publicizes peace-related events. Go to http://www.radicalendar.org/group/_baltimore.

  

1] Books, buttons and stickers

2] Web site for info on federal legislation

3] Join Nonviolent Resistance lists  

4] Buy coffee through HoCoFoLA  

5] Used stamps for humanitarian causes

6] Bring the World Home continues        

7] Power Shift 2011 – Register by Feb. 27

8] Protest at the Pentagon – Feb. 28

9] Mass Movements tour – Feb. 28

10] Marc Steiner on WEAA – Feb. 28 – Mar. 4

11] Protest the death penalty – Feb. 28        

12] UnblockAID Gaza! – Feb. 28

13] Pledge of Resistance meeting – Feb. 28

14] Healthy Kids testimony – Mar. 1

15] New START Treaty – Mar. 1

16] Hydrofracking testimony – Mar. 1

17] War Is Not the Answer demo – Mar. 1

18] Peace Corps stories – Mar. 1

19] Design Conversation 28 – Mar. 1

20] Film screening class – Mar. 1

21] Whistleblowing book lecture – Mar. 1

22] Yoga lecture – Mar. 1

23] Student Action Day -- Mar. 2

24] Book discussion THE OBAMA EFFECT – Mar. 2

25] Philadelphia peace vigil – Mar. 2

26] Chestnut Hill, PA vigil – Mar. 2

27] White Anti-Racist Organizing – Mar. 2

28] Film on the occupation – Mar. 2

29] Palestine/Israel Roundtable – Mar. 3

-----    

1] – Buttons, bumperstickers and books are available.  "God Bless the Whole World, No Exceptions" stickers are in stock. Donate your books to Max. Call him at 410-366-1637.

 

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 the war in Iraq.

 

To join the ORGANIZING List, please send your name, group affiliation, city and email address to donmuller@msn.com.  Different local chapters of a national organization are encouraged to subscribe.  

 

THE NOTICES LIST will include only notices of NCNR actions and related information and is open to any interested person to subscribe.  It will be moderated to maintain focus & will include periodic notices about getting involved in NCNR national organizing.  To join the NOTICES List, send an email message to ncnrnotices-subscribe@lists.riseup.net. You will get a confirmation message once subscribed.  If you have problems, please write to the list manager at ncnrnotices-admin@lists.riseup.net.

 

4] – You can help safeguard human rights and fragile ecosystems through your purchase of HOCOFOLA CafĂ© Quetzal. Bags of ground coffee or whole beans can be ordered by mailing in an order form. Also note organic cocoa and sugar are for sale.  For more details and to download the order form, go to http://friendsoflatinamerica.typepad.com/hocofola/2010/02/hocofola-cafe-quetzal-order-form-2010.html.

 

Be sure you indicate ground (G) or bean (B) for each type of coffee ordered. Make the check out to HoCoFoLA and send it with your order form to Nancy Meier, 10 Pepperdine Circle, Catonsville, MD 21228.  Contact Pat McLaine at 410-964-0960 or pamcl@aol.com.  The coffee will arrive some time the following week and you will be notified where to pick it up.

 

5] – Brad Hathaway spearheads an effort to sell donated used stamps to raise money for different humanitarian causes around the world. Go to www.mattapoisettquakers.org, and click the link for the stamp ministry.  Carefully clip canceled postage stamps and send to Quaker Missions, PO Box 795, Mattapoisett, MA 02739. Send no small flag stamps or Liberty Bell Forever stamps.

 

6] – Catch the "Bringing the World Home" exhibit in celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Peace Corps!  The exhibit is in the UMBC Library Rotunda through the end of the semester and consists of 5 display cases featuring photos and artifacts from UMBC's faculty, staff and students who have served in the Peace Corps, including many current and alumni Shriver Peaceworker Fellows.  The center case features pieces from the Peace Corps founding era (a tribute to Sarge Shriver!) and the surrounding case highlight experiences from Africa, Asia-Pacific, Eastern Europe, and the Americas.  If you are coming from off campus, give Joby Taylor a call at (410) 455-6398, and he will give you a tour.

 

7] – Power Shift 2011 is coming in April, and if you register by Sun., Feb. 27 you can get the $50 early bird special? There will be trainings and exciting speakers.  Go to www.powershift2011.org. 

 

8] – 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 Mon., Feb. 28, and it is sponsored by the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker.  Call 202-882-9649.

 

9] -- Join a tour which highlights Leaders of Mass Movements for Freedom on Mon., Feb. 28 from 2 to 3 PM at the Lincoln Memorial. Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass and Martin Luther King, Jr. were three leaders who made great strides in struggles for civil rights at times of great social crisis in the U.S.  Contact Joe Mohr at 202-359-1532.

 

10] – The Marc Steiner Show airs Monday through Thursday from 5 to 7 PM on WEAA 88.9 FM, The Voice of the Community, or online at www.weaa.org.   The call-in number is 410-319-8888, and comments can also be sent by email to steinershow@gmail.com. All shows are also available as podcasts at www.steinershow.org 

 

11] – There is usually a vigil to abolish the death penalty every Monday from 5 to 6 PM, outside the prison complex and across the street from Maryland's Super Max Prison, at the corner of Madison Ave. and Fallsway in Baltimore.  Recently death row was moved out of Baltimore, but it was decided to continue the vigil. The next one is scheduled for Mon., Feb. 28. Call 410-366-1637.

 

12] – On Mon., Feb. 28 at 6 PM, join a discussion UnblockAID Gaza! with activists who sailed aboard the Jewish boat to Gaza and were violently attacked by Israeli forces on 28 Sept. 2010. They will talk about their experience in the context of a growing international movement to end the siege on Gaza: Reuven Mokowitz, Holocaust survivor and peace activist, Elik Elhanan, co-founder of the Bereaved Parents for Peace and Glyn Secker, ship captain and member of Jews for Justice for Palestinians.  Join them at American Univ., Ward Circle Bldg., Room 2.  The suggested donation is $10, but no one will be turned away.  Email fracktured.prune@gmail.com.  Go to http://ustogaza.org. 

13] – The Pledge of Resistance-Baltimore usually meets on Mondays at 7:30 PM, and the meetings now take place at Max's residence.  The next meeting is scheduled for Feb. 28.  The agenda will include a discussion of the protests in Annapolis & Wisconsin, the Progressive Working Group gathering in Annapolis on Mar. 7, the March 19 action in D.C., Bradley Manning and the climate chaos protest at the Pentagon.  Contact Max at 410-366-1637 or email mobuszewski at verizon.net for directions.  

 

14] – Consider supporting the landmark children's health bill: the Healthy Kids, Healthy Maryland Act, a comprehensive chemical safety bill that will put in place a streamlined process to identify, evaluate, and phase-out harmful toxins in children's products.  In a nutshell, the bill will

 

·         Require the Maryland Department of the Environment to create and maintain a comprehensive list of chemicals of concern—

         those known to cause cancer, reproductive or developmental harm, neurotoxicity, hormone disruption, or those which are persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic. MDE can work with the Interstate Chemicals Clearinghouse (IC2) to build on lists from other states.

·         Identify and prioritize chemicals of high concern based on their use in children's products; their presence in children, household dust, human breast milk or umbilical cord blood; or other specific relevance to the health of Maryland's children.

·         Educate consumers about chemicals of concern by publishing them online and making the list available for parents, schools and businesses.

·         Empower MDE to replace the worst chemicals with safe, affordable alternatives.

 

The Healthy Kids, Healthy Maryland Act is sponsored by Del. Jeff Waldsteicher and Sen. Joanne Benson. It has been assigned to Finance and Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs (heard in Finance) and Health and Government Operations and Environmental Matters (Heard in HGO).  While the Senate testimony has taken place for SB 637, the House testimony on HB 759 is on Tues., Mar. 1 at 1 PM.  Let Jenny Levin know if you are able to submit testimony at jlevin@marylandpirg.org.  Go to https://www.marylandpirg.org/issues/toxic-free-future/healthy-kids-healthy-maryland.

 

15] – On Tues., Mar. 1 at 1 PM, there will be a lecture "Next Step After New START: A Treaty on Tactical Nuclear Weapons?" at Georgetown Univ. Law Center, Gewirz Hall, 120 F St., NW, 12th Floor, WDC.  RSVP at rsvp2@law.georgetown.edu.

16] – In Garrett County, corporations are laying plans to drill wells deep underground to exploit the region's Marcellus Shale natural gas deposits. These polluters use a technique called hydraulic fracturing (or "hydrofracking"), which involves pumping millions of gallons of water, sand, and dangerous chemicals deep underground at high pressure to crack apart the shale and release the gas. This controversial technique has been blamed in other states for polluting streams and tainting wells, even resulting in flammable tap water! Del. Heather Mizeur and Sen. Brian Frosh are introducing legislation that will prohibit the issuance of gas drilling permits until certain criteria are met and the proper regulations are in place. The Marcellus Shale Safe Drilling Act of 2011/SB 634 will have a hearing on Tues., Mar. 1 at 1 PM in the SENATE EDUCATION, HEALTH, AND ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS committee.  

 

17] – There is a vigil to say "War Is Not the Answer" each Tuesday since September 11, 2001 at 4806 York Road. Join this ongoing vigil.  The next vigil is Mar. 1 from 5:30 to 6:30 PM.  Call Max at 410-366-1637.
 

18] – Bringing the World Home Stories from 50 Years of the Peace Corps is taking place on Tues., Mar. 1 with the doors opening at 6 PM, and the performance happening at 7 PM at the Creative Alliance at The Patterson, 3134 Eastern Ave., Baltimore 21224. Call 410-276-1651 or email  info@creativealliance.org.  Tickets for the public are $13, and $8 for members and students.  Since 1961, when President Kennedy launched the Peace Corps, 200,000 volunteers have lived and served in 140 countries — and returned home transformed. Want to know how to catch a cow in Kyrgyzstan? What it's like to live in Gabon's primeval forest? There will be refreshments, music, photo and artifact displays, an open-mic storytelling booth and a 50th Birthday cake!

 

19] – There is a Design Conversation 28: Re-Envisioning Public Infrastructure at 6 PM on Tues., Mar. 1 at the Windup Space, 12 W. North Ave. Three University of Virginia architecture professors envision all of this in a smaller, smarter self-reliant Baltimore in control of its future.  Call 410-244-8855.  Go to www.thewindupspace.com.

 

20] – At the Baltimore Free School, 1323 N. Calvert St. from 6 to 9 PM on Tues., Mar. 1, Ben McCusker will continue with his film screening and discussion class.  Go to www.freeschool.redemmas.org. 

 

21] – On Tues., Mar, 1 from 6:30 to 8 PM,  renowned whistleblower attorney and author Stephen M. Kohn explains all major federal and state laws protecting whistleblowing.  He relies on his 27 years of experience representing many of America's most important whistleblowers and introduces THE WHISTLEBLOWER'S HANDBOOK: A Step-by-Step Guide to Doing What's Right and Protecting Yourself at Busboys and Poets, Langston Room, 2021 14th St., NW, WDC 20009. Email contact@whistleblowers.org.

 

22] – Shanti Yoga Center for Harmony is hosting Foundation of Yoga (FOY), which will teach you how to increase your health and happiness, improve flexibility, strength, and reduce stress.  The cost is $100 for four weeks, and participants will receive a CD for home practice and a text book. Pre-register by calling 301-654-4899 or emailing shantiyoga2@earthlink.net.  It begins with a FREE LECTURE on Tues., Mar. 1 from 7 to 8:30 PM. Thereafter, class meets each Tuesday for four weeks.

 

23] – There is a National Day for Students and Workers Take Action on Wed., Mar. 2 from 10 AM to 2 PM. The United States Student Association and Student Labor Action Project  are calling a national day of action to defend the public sector and public education. State budget cuts to higher education are being made in states across the country and workers face cuts to pay, healthcare and pensions. Many of the workers on college campuses are caught in the crisis of both attacks to the public sector and public education. Email ussa@usstudents.org to join in.

 

24] – There will be a panel discussion of the new book THE OBAMA EFFECT at 4 PM on Wed., Mar. 2 in the Albin O. Kuhn Library Gallery, UMBC, 1000 Hilltop Circle, Catonsville.  The panelists are co-editors Kimberly Moffitt, UMBC professor, Heather Harris of Stevenson U. and Catherine Squires of the Univ. of Minnesota.  Call 410-455-6380.  Go to www.aok.lib.umbc.edu/gallery.

 

25] – Each Wednesday from 4:30 - 5:30 PM, the House of Grace Catholic Worker holds a weekly vigil for peace in Iraq outside the Phila. Federal Building, 6th & Market Sts. The next vigil is Mar. 2. Call 215-426-0364.

 

26] – Each Wednesday, the Northwest Greens hold a peace vigil from 7 to 8 PM outside the Borders Book Store, Germantown Ave. at Bethlehem Pike in Chestnut Hill, PA. The next vigil is Mar. 2. Call 215-843-4256 or email nwgreens@yahoo.com.  

 

27] – On Wed., Mar. 2 at 7 PM at 2640 [27th & Paul Sts.], the Baltimore Racial Justice Action presents Lila Cabbil, one of the editors of Accountability and White Anti-Racist Organizing: Stories from Our Work.  Go to www.redemmas.org.

28] – There is a screening of "Occupation Has No Future: Militarism + Resistance in Israel/Palestine" on Wed., Mar. 2 at 7:15 PM at Georgetown Univ. Room White Gravenor 211. In the fall of 2009 a group of US veterans and war resisters traveled to Israel/Palestine to meet with their Israeli counterparts in an effort to strengthen connections and share experiences. The film uses this trip as a lens to study Israeli militarism, examine the occupation of the Palestinian West Bank, and explore the work of Israelis and Palestinians organizing against militarism and occupation. Director David Zlutnick and members of Dialogues against Militarism will be there.

29] – The WEEKLY ROUNDTABLE SEEKING A JUST PEACE IN PALESTINE/ISRAEL takes place from 12:30 - 1:30 PM on Thursdays at Potter's House, 1658 Columbia Road NW, WDC.  Join a civil discourse which explores the history, issues, myths, realities, and truth of the conflict between Israel and Palestine. Contact Alice Azzouzi at 202-232-5483.

 

To be continued.