Kate Anne FOR Peace, Justice and Nonviolence ~ Weblog
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Welcome to my peace blog!

This blog is my online peace journal with information and reflection on a variety of peace topics -- personal, local, global -- as well as peace and justice related links that I find helpful and/or inspiring. For more formal information on peace, justice and nonviolence, I urge you to explore the webpages of The Fellowship of Reconciliation USA (see FOR), of which I am a member and join our New York Fellowship of Reconciliation (see NYFOR) listserv. Also, check out my alternate Peace Hugs blog as well as my links page.


"The God of Peace is never glorified by human violence."
-- Thomas Merton

"While you are proclaiming peace with your lips, be careful to have it even more fully in your heart."
-- St. Francis of Assisi

"There is no longer a choice between violence and nonviolence - there is only a choice between nonviolence and nonexistence."
-- Martin Luther King, Jr.

War is Costly, Peace is Priceless !!!
Spend money to help, not hurt, humankind

Cost of the War in Iraq
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Saturday, April 30, 2005

Politics and Peace -- with No Nukes!

May 1st beckons but today was a memorable day, starting with a meet and greet with NYC mayoral candidate and Manhattan Borough President C. Virginia Fields at Dorothy Morehead's Bliss restaurant. West Queens Independent Democratic Club came out in force to hear Virginia speak eloquently and intelligently about her vision for New York City -- where people work together, and don't have the mayor shoving things down everyone's throat. Assemblymember Cathy Nolan cheered her on along with former Councilmember Walter McCaffrey and our Queens CB2 Chair, Joe Conley, and our WQIDC president (and District Committeeman) Jimmy Van Bramer and Democrats.com's Bob Fertik: lots of good energy. I'd like to post everyone's name, but go check out wqidc.org a little later and you might find them. Certainly some pictures will make it up here AND there soon.

This evening I was at the Quaker House in Manhattan and talked to all sorts of wonderful folks, mostly from England, France, and the GOOD old USA (not the bad one that believes in nukes and wars but the one that loves peace and justice). Pamela Meidell greeted me at the door and I quickly met Caroline Gilbert and a spate of people, including Heather Speight (from Durham, England). We drank wine and munchies and talked about our peace and justice work: so many fine people here in NYC for the 2005 Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty! Some of the great French folk included Yves Jean Gallas, Claude Ruelland, Simon Vergniol, Michel Dolot, Sophie Lefeez and Suzanne Simonin. From Britain were Michael and Patricia Bulhane, Barbara Sunderland, Barbara Horn and Davita Higgin. The young and vital crowd included the very pretty Ruth Tanner, handsome Rick Wayman (from Vermont) and New Yorker Angela Jeffers along with Sam Akaki.

There were several speakers: Janet Bloomfield from the Atomic Mirror (see www.atomicmirror.org), Kate Hudson (the original one :-), chair of Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (UK) -- see www.cnduk.org, and Judith LeBlanc, co-chair of United for Peace and Justice (see www.UnitedforPeace.org). Mostly, however, we mingled. Pat Clark was there from National FOR and our own NYFOR's Sam Oast made it. Then there was the charmingly acerbic-witted George Farebrother and his wife Jean -- and my peace friend Jill Straus. I consider myself fortunate to have been invited by UFPJ's Judith LeBlanc. Such fun and wondrous energy! I can't name everybody, but I wanted to document here at least some of those at this terrific and special peace gathering -- people speaking out against war and FOR humanity: awesome! Afterwards, Caroline Gilbert and Vanessa Wilde and I went out for a bite -- ended up at PK's Cafe around 45 or 46th Street: more great conversation and food too: true communion. This gets lengthy -- and I almost forgot to mention the charming math teacher, Pierre Villard. So today was politics and peace -- and it is all connected.

Thank you, God, for synchronicity -- things work out, thanks to phone calls and invitations and reminders. One is where one is supposed to be -- the prayer of St. Teresa I read earlier today while cleaning out email, sent to me some months ago by janeAnne Narrin. Yes, things indeed work out, thank you, God.... Now, if only the weather behaves and people come out tomorrow for the May 1st march and rally. If I could bottle up and share tonight's energy, it would be a BIG success. Let's just get there and do our part -- and trust God to do the rest. Thank you, Mother-Father-God, Amen.

Peace hugs,
Kate Anne

P.S. I should add that I spoke to my girlhood friend Judy Young Brannan from Kent, Ohio -- she's recovering from shoulder surgery and it was lovely just to chat. So great that Lucy DeFrancesco showed up at the meet and greet -- and Naomi Lehman -- and Witold Rak -- and Lillian Brooking and Steve Gilbert as well as a late Joan Pagan: so many loyal folk. It was cute of Gene Oyler to say to Jimmy, "Oh, so you're a member of WQIDC, too?" and Jimmy answered, "Yes, the new president." :-) Gene doesn't come to very many meetings but it is the public events as well as the volunteerism that really matter more -- and Gene's there. Yes, it was a good day, thanks to God's grace and blessing and the gifts and witness of so many wonderful people, a groundswell of humanity committed to making a positive difference: we have and we will -- please, God, AMEN -- and good night.
11:58 pm edt

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Iraq, Social Security, DU, teacher layoffs -- its all connected

Watching television, I fell asleep only to awake to a very stylized news presentation on what is happening in Iraq. Yes, it was the middle of the night, but at least they were discussing Iraq and the fact there is still a war there. They were discussing "insurgent" attacks -- the ones against the invaders, us, so I question the use of the term insurgent. But CBS news admitted that there were around 400 attacks a week!! Some are small but others kill not just US service and our corporate shills working there but also Iraqi people who are aligning themselves with the invaders (us). The families get paid around $2,500 for the loss of one of the trained Iraqis -- not much when you have a family to feed. Is that even enough to get them buried? Outrageous! So when are we getting out? And are we cleaning up the depleted uranium we have spewed on their country??

Congressmember Joe Crowley was charming and informative at the presentation he gave on Social Security privatization at All Saints' last Friday for the Sunnyside Woodside community (hosted by West Queens Independent Democratic Club). It is comforting to know he is fully supportive of keeping Social Security both Social and Secure, however it ends up being tweaked to shore it up. That said, Bush doesn't care if we don't like it, he's still trying to ram his plan down our throats and we must remain vigilant. There was good energy at the meeting and he was good enough to answer some of our other questions. Robyn Sklar graciously thanked him for his thoughtful explanation of the Social Security problem but then brought up the issue a lot of us wanted to hear about, the bankruptcy bill, and Joe's support of it. She framed it in terms of fearing to invest money for fear of endangering herself, financially. The good news, Joe explained, is that if you make under the mean income of $64,000 in New York, you can still file for Chapter 7 under the new law. Thanks to NY's higher economy and bigger salaries, we poor folk facing bankruptcy get a slightly better deal than a lot of the other states. Whoopee. (Yet, in truth, this IS somewhat placating -- even as I pity less fortunate red staters.)

I gave Joe a copy of Poison Dust, the movie on depleted uranium that was shown by Sunnyside Woodside Peace the other week and asked him to follow the issue and see what could be done. He mentioned the folks in the Bronx whose child was born without fingers -- their in there, I told him. Maybe this will spur him to have a staffer watch it and ACT upon it, but more followup is needed, especially as we build up to May 1st and the United for Peace and Justice March by the United Nations and rally in Central Park. I'm marching with my New York Fellowship of Reconciliation friends -- but let's get more folks there -- tell our friends to get into the streets. That's what they should be doing in Cleveland, Ohio, because they have just laid off 500 teachers, thanks to spending more money on war than on education. Money for helping -- not hurting -- people. Oh, God, when will we learn??

Peace hugs,
Kate Anne
6:56 am edt

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Rat Zinger??

My Catholic girlhood is an important part of my life -- it helped shape me. That said, I remember the hope of Vatican II and how it was squashed by the conservative policies of John Paul II. Fr. Matthew Fox has an insightful piece on JP2 -- but so does Fr. John Dear (a little more positive). Despite the media acclaim, while he did do some good, he was no saint and he has given us a College of Cardinals which has given us a pope who actually scares me: Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI

Air America's Mike Malloy was ranting very ably last night about Benedict XVI -- I'm sure some would take it wrong, but he shares my concerns and then some. We need to make a more conciliatory world and this guy is an arch conservative whose past is scary. Maybe, please, God, he will be blessed with wisdom -- but listening to Mike I was inspired to write back:

Dear Mike,

As a feminist with a gay brother, I poped out of the Catholic religion some years ago so maybe I shouldn't give a Ratz ass about this new pope -- but the Catholic church has hit a new low. J2P2 packed the School of Cardinals with hardline conservatives so it is a foreshadowing of what will happen to us if the nuclear option is Fristed upon us. I love to be positive, but I know some of this guy's history: arch conservative who demonized Fr. Matthew Fox as well as John Kerry. The Hitler youth thing, I didn't know, but I am not surprised. Resistance is futile, he said back then? Thank God others didn't feel similarly. But in truth he WAS a child and people can evolve. Sadly, I think he's morphed into something even worse than a junior Nazi. God works in mysterious ways, however, and maybe between this and the far Right nasties we will finally begin to get past organized religions and into true spirituality which deals with compassion and justice that I don't see in God's Rottweiler any more then I do in Jerry Falwell or Pat Robertson. Thank you, Mike, and bless you for the courage to speak out against this latest slap in the face of women and gay folks and/or thinking people. Something good has got to come out of this. We must take consolation in that it is always darkest before the dawn.

And Mike wrote back, "I hope you're right, Kate . . ." God knows what God is about. I have to hope and trust and continue to do what I can for a better world. Ratzinger's reign will be interesting to watch. God help him -- and help us. Amen.


On a more positive note, kudos to Ohio Republican Senator George Voinovich for showing integrity regarding Bolton's confirmation to the United Nations. He surprised everybody by speaking up that he could not vote to confirm Bolton -- at this time. He wanted to hear more, and thus the world will hear more. I do believe in miracles -- thank you, Senator Voinovich -- and thank you, God. See, there IS hope.

My spirits were dampened by a showing of Poison Dust at All Saints' Church hall last night. The screening was sponsored by Sunnyside Woodside Peace and I am grateful for more information about depleted uranium. So much to do, though! But that is why God created us. All of us. To be here at this time in earth's history. Let us go forth in peace and do the work God has given us to do for peace and justice.

Preaching now and sending peace hugs,
Kate Anne
9:25 am edt

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Toward May 1st -- No Nukes! No Wars!
Great meeting last night to energize folks to mobilize for the march May 1 close to the United Nations Building up to Central Park -- see United for Peace and Justice's website for more info -- http://unitedforpeace.org -- but I have already started handing out cards:

Weapons of Mass Destruction found in Iraq: 0
U.S. Nuclear Weapons: 10,350
Cost of the War in Iraq in Lives: 20,000 - 40,000 [documented]
Cost of the War in Iraq in Dollars: $200 billion!!!!

Outrageous! And those mourning John Paul II should remember his vision for peace -- and get out there May 1st with his picture and a vision for a better/safer world where "No Nukes is Good Nukes!" Please, God. See Fr. John Dear's article at Common Dreams, The Church After JPII -- http://www.commondreams.org/views05/0406-22.htm -- great reading. (Dare I print a copy of it for my rightist, Bush-loving, but bird-feeding ultra conservative Catholic neighbors?? Wonder what they would think of Sojourner's Jim Wallis??) Let's get out May 1st -- but tell folks about it NOW -- volunteer a little time, please....

Peace hugs,
Kate Anne
9:43 am edt

Wednesday, April 6, 2005

Debt Slavery? - No, Joe, No!

What a day was yesterday! Just as I was about to leave for work I had a call from Aaron Rubin of  Progressive Democrats of America  who told me that one of our West Queens congressmembers, Joe Crowley, plans to vote for the Debt Slavery bill a/k/a the bankruptcy bill. I could hardly believe it so I was on the phone to Joe's DC office to check this out and spoke with Carlos who assured me that someone would return the call. They didn't. I called back and spoke to the not-so-diplomatic Kevin Casey, Joe's Legislative Director who confirmed that Joe is indeed going to vote for that anti-middle-class bill. I'm aghast and am hoping some of my friends will join me in trying to meet with Joe to reason with him. We'll see who responds. In the meantime please read what was posted on the issue at the NYFOR listserv and check out some of the other groups who like me (and Air America Radio) are against it. Start with DebtSlavery.org and it will direct you and please contact congressperson to see how they stand.

If you are really incensed and have some time to do more locally, please contact Democrats.com's Bob Fertik [email: Bob at Democrats.com] as soon as possible.

The bill was written by the credit card lobby and it is really sick. While they give all sorts of corporate handouts, exemptions, and debt relief, how
dare Congress take away the right to declare bankruptcy from someone suffering from massive health care costs or from those serving in Iraq for pennies while their families are missing their bread winner's normal salary? I'm outraged -- and I hope you are, too. If not, read David Swanson's piece at CommonDreams.org: http://www.commondreams.org/views05/0331-33.htm or Robert Scheers' http://www.commondreams.org/views05/0315-27.htm -- NO TIME TO WASTE as the bill will be voted on any day. ACT NOW.

In the meantime, I sing and shout so that my Congressmember Joe Crowley can hear me -- NO, JOE, NO!!!!

(And Greg Meeks and Carolyn McCarthy are also area congressmembers voting yes -- tell your friends in THEIR districts about this.)

Sad, upset, but determined --
Peace hugs,
Kate Anne

PS Was googling and found a song we sung at this past weekends' nonviolence training at Riverside Church (more on this later). For sustenance go hear Pat Humphies' Peace Salaam Shalom song: Listen online Link found under the 3-peace picture at http://www.pathumphries.com/pss.html
9:43 am edt

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ARCHIVES ABOVE -- Right now, if you click on the above numbers, you SEE my earlier posts. I still have a lot to learn but I intend to make changes to this site on a regular basis, sharing news, views, experiences, photos...whatever occurs to me. Check back often! Peace, love, and all good things in abundance!!

June 2003

"Our country currently lives under a single-party form of government. One ideology (pro-corporate, coddling the rich, neglecting the middle class, patronizing the poor) is governing like there's no tomorrow. Should they continue, they'll be right."

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"We must be the change we wish to see
in the world." -- Mahatma Gandhi