Schedule for Saturday, April 18th

7th Annual BUILDING A CULTURE OF PEACE AND NONVIOLENCE: Overcoming Money in Politics

Saturday, April 18
Plymouth State University Boyd Hall

9:30 Check-in
10:00 Welcome
10:15 Keynote by Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, former Chief of Staff to Secretary of  State Colin Powell.
11:05 Bird-dog Training and Advanced Bird-dog Training
12:05 Brown Bag Lunch
1:00 Workshops Block 1
2:00 Workshop Block 2
3:00 March and Rally

10:00 WELCOME – Room 144

10:15 KEYNOTE ADDRESS – Room 144

Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, former Chief of Staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell, Wilkerson has criticized many aspects of the Iraq War, including his own preparation of Powell’s presentation to the Unite Nations. He appears as a frequent Republican commentator on The Ed Show with Ed Schultz on MSNBC commenting about the problems with Republican Party. An expert in foreign policy, Wilkerson offers honest criticism of America’s policies on war and militarism.

11:05 – 12:05 BIRD-DOG TRAINING – Rooms 001 & 005

Bird dog activists attend candidate events to speak their concerns publicly, for all to see and hear. They lift up the issues that matter and educate the candidates, the media who follow them and the public. We, New Hampshire residents, can shift the political tides of the nation through our incomparable access to the Presidential candidates. When we tell the candidates what’s on our minds, they listen. We affect their policy positions and their stump speeches. With good preparation, we can drive the political discourse towards justice, peace, and democracy.   Led by American Friends Service Committee’s Governing Under the Influence Team – Olivia Zink, Addy Simwerayi, Judy Elliott and Eric Zulaski.

ADVANCED BIRD-DOG TRAINING- Room 236

If you’ve already been to an AFSC bird dog training, and you’ve been out bird-dogging more than once, here’s a chance to boost your skills.  This workshop will cover bird-dogging strategy, adapting to the environment, and reporting on what happened.  You’ll get  chance to share your stories of successes and disappointments with other experienced bird dogs.    Led by Arnie Alpert, Co-Director, AFSC/NH.

Block 1 Workshops 1pm to 2 pm

IS OUR WORLD REALLY ‘UNRAVELING’? – Room 144

Col. Lawrence Wilkerson will discuss “The Unraveling”, an essay by Richard N. Haass, President of the Council on Foreign Relations, wherein he describes a global scene–and specifically the region of the Middle East–as more like the Thirty Years War than the post-WWII cold but relatively stable conflict between the US and the USSR.  What does such an unraveling of a half-century’s hard work by America mean and who or what is most responsible for this state of affairs?  If Haass’ portrayal of the power situation in the world is accurate, what is the best course of action for the United States?

BIG MONEY, DARK MONEY, AND POLITICAL CORRUPTION AFTER CITIZENS UNITED – Room 005

Rick Bourdon will present a brief history of campaign finance efforts leading up to the Citizens United ruling. He will also cover trends in political spending, the rise in outside (independent) spending, corruption and the ongoing and proposed reform efforts. Rick Bourdon is a member of the board of Open Democracy, the Concord based reform group founded by Doris “Granny D” Haddock.

CLIMATE CHANGE ACTION AND MONEY IN POLITICS- Room 236

The last few decades, money has gained overwhelming influence over our political system, keeping us from addressing the most basic problems facing our country. The undue influence of large donors and special interest money has a significant impact on what public policy issues are addressed and which policy alternatives are considered. The policy and politics of addressing the challenge of climate change will be examined in the context of a post Citizens United v. the FEC campaign finance system. Rob Werner, NH State Director, League of Conservation Voters.

APRIL 18TH GLOBAL DAY OF ACTION AGAINST UNFAIR TRADE – Room 001

Bonnie Wright will be speaking about the TransPacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), massive trade deals that will affect not only food safety and environmental issues, but all aspects of our lives. She will also discuss how Big Business has already stalled, and is trying to prevent our right to know what we are eating with the DARK Act, a federal bill recently introduced in Congress to block GMO labeling. Bonnie Wright is the founder of NH Right to Know GMO, a statewide grassroots network of safe food advocates. Volunteers work together to educate NH citizens, our state legislators, and members of the US Congress, about genetically engineered foods, commonly called Genetically Modified Organisms or GMOs.

Block 2 Workshops 2 pm – 3 pm

PANEL DISCUSSION ON TACTICSRoom 144

Interactive panel discussion on how the goals and tactics of a campaign drive our movement. Olivia Zink, Grassroots Engagement Coordinator, AFSC/NH on bird-dogging, Lindsay Jakows, NH Campaign Coordinator for People for the American Way on local resolutions and Paul Brochu, NH State Coordinator for Stamp Stampede on culture jamming. Moderated by Susi Nord.

GMO: THE SCIENCE AND THE EVIDENCERoom 001

Daniela Connelly and Laura Wolfer will present the hard results of years of personal experience from two separate fields of science regarding the use of GMO products. An explanation of the practice of creating GMO and the potential harms that result. Daniela Connelly, MD is a Family Medicine and Integrative Medicine physician.  She and her husband run a meat CSA in Chester NH. Laura J. Wolfer holds an M.A. in Molecular Biology and an M.A. in Archaeology.  She is an avid farmer, biodynamic gardener, and naturalist.

WHAT DOES YOUR SIGN SAY?Room 236

            Demonstrations and protests need good signs! A well-made sign provokes thought and starts conversations. Matt Lawrence, NH League of Conservation Voters and Eric Zulaski, AFSC, will discuss what goes into making good signs, and we will make signs for the 3pm rally.

PRISONS, PROFITS, AND POLITICS – Room 005

The USA leads the world in incarceration.  One reason why:  there is plenty of money to be made building prisons, feeding prisoners, providing them with health care, and even running the facilities.    And where there’s money to be made, there’s potential for political influence to be purchased.  This workshop will explore where the profit motive drives high rates of incarceration and look at a couple of examples, including the immigrant detention bed quota, the successful campaign to block privatization of NH prisons, and a new proposal to privatize the state’s juvenile detention facility in Manchester. Arnie Alpert is the Co-director of American Friends Service Committee’s (AFSC) New Hampshire program. Addy Simwerayi is interning with AFSC’s Governing Under the Influence project.

Conference Sponsors: NH Peace Action, Plymouth State University Peace & Social Justice Studies Council, PSU Office of Environment Sustainability, American Friends Service Committee-NH Program, Climate Action New Hampshire, Open Democracy, People for the American Way, Stamp Stampede.

 

Members Deliver Letters in Support of NIAC’s Day of Action for Diplomacy and Peace

Yesterday (3/2) three of us (Carolyn, Dave, and Will) visited the offices in Manchester, NH of NH’s senators – Kelly Ayotte and Jeanne Shaheen and Rep. Frank Guinta to deliver letters from the National Iranian American Council in support of their Day of Action for Diplomacy and Peace.
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At Rep. Frank Guinta’s office                

At Sen. Jeanne Shaheen's office

At Sen. Jeanne Shaheen’s office

At Sen. Kelly Ayotte's office

At Sen. Kelly Ayotte’s office

Take Action Against New Iran Sanctions

During the fall of 2013, the peace movement mobilized, we called, wrote, and reached across the isle and we stopped a war, that didn’t stop our government from funding and arming the rebel group we now call ISIL- but we did stop a war.  Today, we must do it again.

For the first time in decades, diplomacy in Iran is finally panning out.  The State Department is putting the finishing touches on an agreement, that while it is currently not public, likely includes a relaxation of the crippling sanctions that have decimated the Iranian economy and full inspections of the Iranian nuclear program by the International Atomic Energy Association.  While Obama has had his share of murderous foreign policies, it looks like his state department is very close to avoiding both Iran going down the path toward nuclear weapons, and the path of war.

But there is a problem, Senators Kirk and Menedez have introduced a sanctions bill, that in the words of one of its biggest supporters, Republican Senator Tom Cotton is designed “to put an end to these negotiations.”  A sanctions bill at this juncture is the only sure way to ensure a path to war.

Senator Ayotte has pledged to support the new sanctions bill, and I hope that has a significant political cost to her when she comes up for re-election next year.  Senator Shaheen, has not come down on either side.

I have made two trips down to DC to lobby and strategize about this, and as we expect the bill to be introduced any moment, we need to make sure both Senators know where the American people stand on unnecessary war.

Please Call or write both of our Senators and ask them to oppose the Kirk/Menendez sanctions bill and give diplomacy a chance to work!

Contact Senator Shaheen:

520 Hart SOB
Washington, DC 20510

Ph: (202) 224-2841

Contact Senator Ayotte:

144 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510

Ph: (202)224-3324

 

NH Peace Action Annual Event and Fall Fundraiser!

Be sure to get your registration in (if you didn’t get one, email doreen@nhpeaceaction.org) for this year’s Annual Event featuring Camilo Mejia, one of the first soldiers to refuse to serve in the Iraq war.  He served nine months for desertion, a charge which carries the possibility of the death sentence.

This year’s event will be held on October 24 at the Bektash Temple in Concord and will also feature Rachel Vogelzang, a local singer/songwriter who writes wordy, emotional songs that are mostly happy, occasionally angry, and sometimes funny.

We will also be auctioning off this beautiful, handmade quilt made from Irene Irving’s t-shirts by her daughters.  There will be silent auction and raffle items too!  Doors open at 5 pm for light appetizers, beverages and socializing, sit-down dinner at 5:30. Tickets are $30 in advance, $35 at the door.

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Tuesday Peace Vigils in Concord!

The long running Peace Vigils that were carried on in front of the NH Statehouse in Concord are being revived by Tricia Hutchins and Faith Sillars.

Come and join at noon on Tuesday.  Wear a black armband or something black.

Call the office, 228-0559 if you have questions.

Market Days 2014

Thanks to all the volunteers Tricia Hutchins, Faith Sillars, Sandra Stonebanks, Curt and Ann Smith, Susan Bruce, Krisan Evenson, Gray Fitzgerald, Pat Wallace and Jim Chappellow for all your hard work manning the booth at a very successful Market Days in Concord this year!

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NH Peace Action member Faith Sillars helping out some folks at Market Days.

Annual Membership Meeting, June 7, 2014

About 50 members turned out at the Annual Membership meeting to elect officers, approve financials, hear a great talk by Fr. Roy Bourgeois and have some awesome eats and company!  Thanks to  Lynn Chong and Rob Pearlman for hosting in their “barn”. Photos courtesy Will Thomas.

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Our youngest “agitator for peace”  Aurora Ellis-Hopkins. IMG_5389[1]

Wendy Thomas was the recipient of the first NH Peace Action Membership Card!  We hope to have them out to all members soon.

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NH-PEN Annual Tax Day Event

For Immediate Release: NH-PEN SPONSORS ANNUAL TAX DAY EDUCATION EVENT

Date: April 15, 2014, 11:30 am to 1 pm

Where: Corner of Bridge and Elm Streets, Manchester, NH

Media Contact: Carolyn Cicciu, 966-0597 or 518- 8165, c.cicciu@gmail.com

Manchester, NH –The Palestine Education Network plans to conduct an awareness action at the corner of Bridge and Elm Streets on Tuesday, April 15, to alert citizens to their right to ask our government to spend our money responsibly. The action will take place from 11:30 to 1:00 on federal income tax day. 

 In particular, this action is planned to call attention to the public of the cost of the militarized federal budget. Information about how their tax dollars are being spent will be available, and participants may bring signs to state their priorities.

 According to National Priorities Project (www.nationalpriorities.org), 55.2% of our tax dollars are spent on defense. Only, 6.2% goes to education, 5.6% to veterans benefits, 4.9% to health, and 3.3% to energy and environment. N.H. Peace Action and other groups are participating in “Move the Money,” a national campaign (www.peace-action.org) to reduce military spending by at least 25% and to move the money into local programs that meet human needs. Currently the U.S. spends more money on its military than all the countries on the planet combined.

 Additionally, the Palestine Education Network, a special project of NH Peace Action, was formed to provide balance to the information that is disseminated about Palestine and to expose the human rights violations that challenge Palestinians’ daily life under the illegal Israeli occupation.  Israel currently receives $3.4 billion per year in military aid, even though it ranks in the top 25 richest nations in the world and ranks 5th in the sale of military armaments on the international market. Maintaining this outlay affects the money available for US taxpayers’ needs and prolongs the conflict in the Middle East.