The Friends of Peace meet monthly, the third Tuesday of the month, 6 pm, at Poppo Rollo's Pizza
Westbank Meeting Room, 703 N. Valley Mills Dr., Waco, 76710. Free presentation and pizza/salad buffet.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

PROGRESSIVE FILM SERIES: JANUARY 10


DOCUMENTARY: Extraordinary Rendition: U.S. Outsourcing of Torture.
RELEASE DATE: December 6, 2007.
RATING: Unknown.
EVENT DATE: Thursday, Jan. 10, 2008.
TIMES: 6p.m. free pizza buffet and community announcements. your input welcome.
6:30p.m. film and discussion.
VENUE: Poppa Rollo's Pizza mtg. room. enter from outside on right or from inside restaurant.
703. N. Valley Mills Drive, Waco.
AUDIENCE: All welcome.
CHARGE: All free.
Extraordinary Rendition explores the CIA practice of kidnapping suspects and secretly transporting them to black sites in countries known to utilize torture during interrogation.
Although Bush claims "we don't torture", it's well documented we DO torture, and a CIA snatch team was recently put on trial in Italy for kidnapping a person there for rendition. Frontline World journalist Stephen Grey documents this dark side of the so-called "war on terror." A very informative film on a topic scarcely addressed by the corporate infotainment news media.
We cordially invite you to attend this film. We are sure you will be informed, and have a chance to voice your opinion, outrage, or disagreement in this unique forum for Central Texas.
Thanks for your interest and support.
There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest. --Elie Wiesel

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Crawford Action November 10, 2007






















Peace and Justice groups joined forces November 10 in Crawford in protest of Bush Administration policies, during a visit of Bush to his "ranch". The unbelievable disgrace of the Senate confirmation of Mukasey as Attorney General happened the day before. Members of the Waco Friends of Peace and others protested at the ranch checkpoint against waterboarding and all forms of human torture practiced by the Bush administration. Having undergone a mild degree of waterboarding personally, I can confirm what all the world knows: waterboarding IS torture. Our simple statement for the action was:
Crawford, TX
November 10, 2007.

The Waco Friends of Peace condemn all forms of torture and extraordinary rendition and call on Mr. Bush to immediately end these practices. Waterboarding is a classic torture technique and undeniably violates U.S. and international law. Waterboard torture was used during the Spanish Inquisition and the Japanese were prosecuted for its use after World War II. We protest at the Bush Ranch today these abusive practices and say as Americans: “not in our name.” We call on Mr. Bush to help restore the moral authority of the U.S. by immediately ending all torture and extraordinary rendition.
The Friends of Peace were joined by Pakistani and Iranian activists at the checkpoint. Later they spoke at a press conference at the Crawford Texas Peace House. The press conference was led by legendary Dallas activist Hadi Jawad. The Iranian activist explained the reality of society in Iran and pleaded for the U.S. not to attack her country. The Pakistani activists demanded their constitution be restored, curbs against the media be removed, and elections be held by Jan. 15, 2008.
Thanks to all activists from around the state who participated and helped speak truth to power.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

November 8, Progressive Film Series





DOCUMENTARY: No End in Sight (2007).



DATE: Thursday, November 8



TIME: Pizza buffet and announcements 6p.m.



Film and discussion 6:30p.m.



LOCATION: Poppa Rollo's Pizza Meeting Room,



enter from outside or inner door. 703 N.



Valley Mills Drive, Waco.



FEE: All free.



AUDIENCE: Everyone welcome.
SYNOPSIS:
The first film of its kind to chronicle the reasons behind Iraq’s descent into guerilla war, warlord rule, criminality and anarchy, NO END IN SIGHT is a jaw-dropping, insider’s tale of wholesale incompetence, recklessness and venality. Based on over 200 hours of footage, the film provides a candid retelling of the events following the fall of Baghdad in 2003 by high ranking officials such as former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, Ambassador Barbara Bodine (in charge of Baghdad during the Spring of 2003), Lawrence Wilkerson, former Chief of Staff to Colin Powell, and General Jay Garner (in charge of the occupation of Iraq through May 2003) as well as Iraqi civilians, American soldiers, and prominent analysts. NO END IN SIGHT examines the manner in which the principal errors of U.S. policy – the use of insufficient troop levels, allowing the looting of Baghdad, the purging of professionals from the Iraqi government, and the disbanding of the Iraqi military – largely created the insurgency and chaos that engulf Iraq today. How did a group of men with little or no military experience, knowledge of the Arab world or personal experience in Iraq come to make such flagrantly debilitating decisions? NO END IN SIGHT dissects the people, issues and facts behind the Bush Administration’s decisions and their consequences on the ground to provide a powerful look into how arrogance and ignorance turned a military victory into a seemingly endless and deepening nightmare of a war.
Actors: Campbell Scott, Richard Armitage, James Fallows, Samantha Power, Barbara Bodine
Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, DVD-Video, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
Language: English
Region: All Regions
Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
Number of discs: 1
Rating: unrated
Studio: Magnolia
Run Time: 102 minutes


REVIEWS:

"A coolheaded devastating expose."--Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly.

"An absolutely vital film. Exacting. Enraging and Revelatory."--A.O. Scott,The New York Times

Winner Special Jury Prize, Documentary, Sundance Film Festival 2007.


The best documented and detailed documentary on Iraq I have seen. I'm sure you will be informed and feel your time is well spent. Please attend and support this unique forum for information and opinion in Central Texas.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Solidarity Live Freeway Blog Oct. 27

October 27, 2007 was a day of regional anti-war protests throughout the U.S. with major events in 11 cities, from Los Angeles to Boston. The action was called by United for Peace and Justice and titled "Fall Out Against the War." Early reports indicate very successful rallies in participating cities. The Friends of Peace endorsed the event and held a live freeway blog in solidarity with peace activists across the country. Our simple message remained the same: Bring the Troops Home Now. Bush and the Democratically controlled Congress have both failed to heed the will of a majority of Americans who have demanded an end to the illegal and immoral Iraq occupation. Thus the peace community continues to speak out clearly, and it now speaks for the 70% of the populace who have called for a timetable for withdrawal of all U.S. troops from Iraq. We reject an indefinite occupation of Iraq for empire. As Former Centcom Commander General John Abizaid admitted at Stanford University in October: "Of course its (Iraq War) about oil. We can't really deny that." more details: www.oct27.org
Thanks to all dedicated FOP members who helped in this action.

Peace Scooter Finish in Crawford Oct. 13, 2007







Alix rode her scooter 11,000 miles across the U.S., her route in the shape of a gigantic peace sign. Along the way she spoke to all she could about peace, hoping to help end our country's addiction to war. She finished her ride Oct. 13 at the Bush ranch checkpoint. And in a display of outstanding karma, Bush was at the ranch that day!! The first image is of Alix in the Peace House being interviewed by a major mainstream media outlet. She was interviewed by 2, including CNN and one of the big 3 networks. Alix spoke in a very articulate, well informed, moving, and soothing manner. In the second image activists from Friends of Peace and Crawford Texas Peace House held banners at the Prairie Chapel Road checkpoint near the Bush ranch awaiting Alix's arrival. One of the networks was present to capture her arrival at the checkpoint and obtain a brief statement from Alix (third image). As the local activists greeted her, she shared a glass of champagne (nonalcoholic), celebrating the end of her long voyage for peace (last image).
But of course, the journey and struggle have just begun.
(For more details, go to www.crawfordpeacehouse.org . Thanks to Kay Lucas and all the local activists who helped in this action).



Friday, October 05, 2007

OCTOBER 11 PROGRESSIVE FILM NIGHT





DOCUMENTARY: Impeachment of a President: The Constitutional Cure for Tyranny (2007).

DATE: Thursday, Oct. 11, 2007.

TIME: 6p.m. pizza buffet and announcements. 6:30 film and discussion.

PLACE: Poppa Rollo's Pizza meeting room, 703 N. Valley Mills Drive, Waco. enter from outer door or from inside restaurant.

AUDIENCE: All welcome.

PRICE: Free.

FILM: 58 Minutes, Rating PG.

In the wake of Bush's commutation of Libby's prison sentence, talk of impeachment is gaining steam: an opinion poll says that nearly half of all Americans favor impeachment of Bush and more than half believe Cheney should be impeached as well. Bill Moyers gets perspective from constitutional scholar Bruce Fein, who wrote the first article of impeachment against Bill Clinton, and The Nation's John Nichols, author of The Genius of Impeachment: The Founder's Cure for Royalism.
In a previous film we reviewed the grounds for impeachment. This film goes a step further to discuss the philosophy, practicality and necessity of impeachment. I'm sure you will find the documentary informative and thought provoking.
Your attendance and support of this forum for progressive thought in Central Texas is greatly appreciated.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

September 16, 2007 Peace Solidarity Blog







After a week of Bush administration propaganda about how splendidly the occupation of Iraq was going, protests occurred throughout the country, including a march of 100,000 in D.C. on Sept. 15. To show solidarity with all those activists and to express our outrage in Waco, we had a live freeway blog on Sept. 16. It was our most successful ever with 14 activists, heavy traffic,
one police intimidation attempt (failed), 3-4 banners with N and S bound messages, no attacks on our banners, great media coverage, and near 90,000 motorists reached!! Our bloggers ranged from Baylor students to senior citizens. The traffic response to Honk for Impeachment was very positive. Most moving, a pedestrian crossing the bridge picked up one of our peace flags and joined us. This young lady stated she has a son in Iraq and she opposes the war--she wants her son brought home now.
When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty.

Monday, September 03, 2007

American People's Poll on Iraq, Ft. Worth 9.1.07

Texans for Peace sponsored this protest across the street from a big Republican meeting. Waco Friends of Peace members joined many many friends in Fort Worth for this great action. There were excellent speakers, including Hadi, Cindy, Ann Wright,
and Rev. Yearwood, musicians, and street theatre. Pictured are crosses and the stage (solar powered), the war criminals as arrested by Code Pink officers, musician with convention center in the background, and a scene from the very thoughtfully provided children's area. During the cleanup we debated what to do with the chain of peace decorations the kids made (below). I was touched when a 4 year old offered a suggestion: "leave them there and the bad guys will see them and throw away their guns." And we can hope the Republicans and the rest of the warmakers will see US and discard their addiction to guns.










BUSH RANCH PROTEST AUGUST 25, 2007

WE WILL NOT BE SILENT.
Protests continued this August when Bush was at the Crawford ranch for vacation. Carl led the way with a continuous presence at the Peace Institute and several nights sleeping in the ditch near the checkpoint. Kudos to Carl's perseverance and leadership. Kay at the Peace House as always provided wisdom, logistical support, sustenance, and shuttle service. Small groups joined Carl in the evening and other times at the checkpoint. An action led by Carl at the Billionaires for Bush fundraiser entrance garnered national news coverage and the arrest of Carl. The images here are of a protest across the street from the checkpoint on August 25. Friends of Peace members
including Boyce, Robert, and Harrison were joined by Carl, Kay,
and friends from Valley Mills and Dallas for 4 hours in the sun.
We number 6-8 at various times, but now we speak for 210
million Americans calling for an end to the occupation of Iraq.
Clearly the administration knew we were there as we were buzzed by helicopters twice. And 4 media outlets covered and reported on this action! Thanks to everyone for their hard work and effort during August. The American people have already spoken. But as long as the Congress and Bush refuse to end this illegal war, we will continue to speak out directly as voices of conscience.
"All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent."--Thomas Jefferson.








PROGRESSIVE FILM SERIES FOR SEPT. 20,2007




DATE: Thursday, Sept. 20 (**NOTE: date change for Sept. only**)


TIME: 6P.M. Pizza buffet and peace community announcements. 6:30 documentary and discussion.


VENUE: Poppa Rollo's Pizza Mtg. Room (enter from outer or inner door), 703 N. Valley Mills Drive, Waco.


COST: Pizza and film free.


AUDIENCE: All welcome.





This is a very controversial Alex Jones film and a departure from our typically more balanced documentaries. But I think it is a very worthwhile viewing because 1)Alex Jones is very influential (in top 10 Amazon doc. films) 2) although we made not agree with him entirely I believe we should be informed about his perspective, 3)we will all find many valid and powerful points made in this work, 4) the film has great graphics, and 5) although his style is "in your face" no one can deny Alex has guts to speak out. Although I am not a conspiracy theory true believer, I found the film fascinating.


Directors: Alex Jones
Format: Color, Full Screen, NTSC
Language: English
Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Number of discs: 1
Rating : unrated (some casualty images may be inappropriate for small children).
Studio: Disinformation
DVD Release Date: October 31, 2006
Run Time: 113 minutes
Average Customer Review: *****

Friends of Peace respectfully invites your attendance and comments . Announcements from the peace and justice community are requested. Thanks for supporting this forum in Central Texas.

" There is no flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people."
--Howard Zinn, historian.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

PROGRESSIVE FILM SERIES for AUGUST 9, 07



DATE: August 9, 2007, Thursday
TIME: Pizza buffet and announcements 6p.m.
Film and discussion 6:30p.m.
VENUE: Poppa Rollos Pizza mtg. room, 703 N. Valley Mills
Drive, Waco. inside and outside entrances.
TITLE: "War Made Easy."
GENRE: Documentary.
PRICE: Pizza and film free. donations appreciated.
RELEASE DATE: 2007.
RUN LENGTH: 71 Minutes.
RATING: unrated. some scenes of war injuries are graphic, would
be disturbing to children.
AUDIENCE: All welcome.
SYNOPSIS:
WAR MADE EASY:How Presidents & Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death.Narrated by Sean Penn
War Made Easy reaches into the Orwellian memory hole to expose a 50-year pattern of government deception and media spin that has dragged the United States into one war after another from Vietnam to Iraq. Narrated by actor and activist Sean Penn, the film exhumes remarkable archival footage of official distortion and exaggeration from LBJ to George W. Bush, revealing in stunning detail how the American news media have uncritically disseminated the pro-war messages of successive presidential administrations.
War Made Easy gives special attention to parallels between the Vietnam war and the war in Iraq. Guided by media critic Norman Solomon’s meticulous research and tough-minded analysis, the film presents disturbing examples of propaganda and media complicity from the present alongside rare footage of political leaders and leading journalists from the past, including Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Defense Secretary Robert McNamara, dissident Senator Wayne Morse, and news correspondents Walter Cronkite and Morley Safer.
Norman Solomon’s work has been praised by the Los Angeles Times as “brutally persuasive” and essential “for those who would like greater context with their bitter morning coffee.” This film now offers a chance to see that context on the screen

REVIEWS:
"Superb." -Howard Zinn.
"A tour de force." -Jay Cassidy, editor of "An Inconvenient Truth."

We respectfully request your presence. The film is very informative and you can help support a forum for progressive thought and discussion in Central Texas.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Representative Chet Edwards Meeting July 19,2007



Waco Friends of Peace held a videoteleconference with U.S. District 17 Representative July 19. Congressman Edwards was very cordial and interested in our viewpoints, and he seemed sincere. I read a signed statement to him as we faxed a copy to his Washington office. He then responded and those present also stated their personal opinions and concerns. This is our second meeting with Mr. Edwards and I feel his position has moved in a positive direction since the first encounter. He DID vote a couple weeks ago FOR the House resolution for withdrawal of most U.S. troops from Iraq by April, 2008. I felt he is with us on ending the occupation. Although he may agree somewhat on the legitimate grounds for impeachment, he stated he does not feel it is a good step at this time. He was called away for a House vote and thus our meeting was cut short. I believe the teleconference was productive and worthwhile. He knows that many in District 17 support his recent vote to end the Iraq war. Our thanks to Representative Edwards for his time and concern, and to Mrs. Johnson in his Waco office for helping arrange the meeting. And many thanks to Kay, Robert, Harrison and Boyce (pictured above) for their expertise and for participating in this effort. Additional votes on this issue will come up in September and hopefully before that time. Remember the number to call Congressman's Edwards DC office is 202 224 3121. It is crucial that voices supporting an end to the occupation be heard by our Representative, especially given the nature of District 17. See text of the statement we gave to Mr. Edwards below.




The Honorable Chet Edwards
U.S. House of Representatives
District 17
July 19, 2007.

Dear Congressman Edwards,
Waco Friends of Peace members are honored to speak with you by video teleconference today. We applaud and thank you for your vote last week for the House resolution calling for withdrawal of most U.S. combat troops from Iraq by April 2008.
But this vote is just one step in the process to end the occupation of Iraq and restore the good name of our country in the world community.
When Mr. Bush vetoes legislation with a timeline for removal of U.S. troops, we call on you to stand strong against Bush this time and continue to pass legislation with a troop withdrawal deadline of April 2008.
We call on you to support complete withdrawal of American occupiers from Iraq, including contractors, mercenaries and war profiteers. No permanent U.S. military bases should remain.
We call on you to oppose the Iraqi Oil Law passage as a U.S. “benchmark” for Iraq. The bill is opposed by the Iraqi Federation of Oil Unions (IFOU), and would surrender sovereignty of Iraqi oil to multinational corporations.
We call on you to help restore America’s reputation in the world as a leader in human rights by supporting legislation to end all torture, halt funding for the School of the Americas, close Guantanamo Bay prison, end all extraordinary rendition (outsourcing of torture), and restore habeas corpus and the guarantees of the Geneva Conventions to all detainees/prisoners.
We call on you to support house investigation of articles of impeachment against Bush and Cheney for the illegal occupation of Iraq, authorization of torture, warrantless surveillance, and violation of the Constitutional separation of powers. Although only 17 months remain for the Bush administration, the principles of our democracy require removal of this lawless administration. A recent American Research Group (ARG) poll found 45% of Americans favor impeachment of Bush, and 54% favor impeachment of Cheney.
The Iraq war has cost the lives of up to 1million Iraqis and 3634 U.S. soldiers, displaced 4 millions Iraqis, damaged our reputation worldwide, and cost 500 billion dollars. And the latest NIE report has again found that the war in Iraq is making us more likely to suffer a terrorist attack in the U.S.
A timetable for withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq is favored by 70% of Americans and Iraqis, and a majority of Iraq Parliament members.
Therefore, we request that you stand with 210 million Americans to end the Iraq occupation rather than with 1 President who is detached from reality and has no interest in ending this tragic war before his term is over.

Sincerely,

Kay Lucas, Director, Crawford Texas Peace House

Boyce Vardiman, Waco Friends of Peace

Rev. Robert Flowers, Waco Friends of Peace

Harrison Ward, Waco Friends of Peace, Results

Alan Northcutt, MD, Waco Friends of Peace.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

PROGRESSIVE FILM SERIES-JULY 12, 2007


Date: Thursday, July 12, 2007.
Time: 6p.m.
Venue: Poppa Rollo's Pizza, mtg. room, 703 N. Valley Mills Drive, Waco,TX.
entry door from outside or inside the restaurant.
Charge: free pizza buffet, speaker, and documentary. (donations appreciated but not required).
Audience: Everyone welcome.

SPEAKER: The Reverend Thomas E. Smith, Pastor of the Monumental Baptist Church of Pittsburgh. Rev. Smith is President of Pastors for Peace (PFP). PFP will be passing through Waco on their caravan to Cuba, and we are honored to hear Rev. Smith speak about the cruelty of the U.S. embargo on that nation, and on the work PFP does to help alleviate the needs for medical supplies and other necessities.

DOCUMENTARY FILM: THE POWER OF COMMUNITY: HOW CUBA SURVIVED PEAK OIL (2006).
The story of how Cuba transitioned from large, fossil-fuel intensive farming to small, less energy-intensive organic farms and urban gardens, and from a highly industrial society to a more sustainable one.
"Everyone who is concerned about Peak Oil needs to see this film. Cuba survived an energy famine during the 1990s, and how it did so constitutes one of the most important and hopeful stories of the past few decades. It is a story not just of individual achievement, but of the collective mobilization of an entire society to meet an enormous challenge."
--Richard Heinberg, author of "The Party's Over," "Powerdown."

Please join us in this special evening; your thoughts always welcome in the discussion.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

PROGRESSIVE FILM SERIES-JUNE 14, 2007


GENRE: Documentary.
DATE: Thursday, June 14, 2007.
TIME: Pizza buffet 6p.m. and announcements,
film and discussion 6:30p.m.
VENUE: Poppa Rollo's Pizza mtg. room, enter
thru outside or inside doors. 703 N.
Valley Mills Dr., Waco.
COST: All free, everyone welcome.
LENGTH: 78 minutes.
RATING: Not rated. (disturbing images to
children).
RELEASE DATE: June 5, 2007.
AWARDS: Nominated Sundance film festival
Grand Jury Prize 2007.
DIRECTOR: Rory Kennedy, daughter of Ethel
and Robert Kennedy.
What was perhaps the most disgraceful episode in U.S. military history is examined in director Rory Kennedy's Ghosts of Abu Ghraib. By now there can't be many folks who aren't at least somewhat familiar with what went on at that notorious Baghdad prison in 2003, when U.S soldiers abused and mistreated--some would say tortured--Iraqi detainees (every one of whom was eventually released without charges). Yet while those acts were atrocious and unforgivable, perhaps even more troubling is the philosophy behind them. As Kennedy lays it out, the United States began committing violations of the Geneva Conventions, particularly the ones that prohibit torture, well before the invasion of Iraq and the incarceration of literally thousands of people at the dilapidated Abu Ghraib facility. Employing the kind of linguistic tap-dancing often used by the Bush administration to justify its actions, then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and others defined their captives not as prisoners of war but as "unlawful combatants," opening the door for the use of such "extreme techniques" as nudity and sexual humiliation, "stress positions" (such as standing on a rickety box wearing a sensory-deprivation hood), and intimidation by vicious dogs; while some photos of these activities have been widely circulated before, many of the shots we see here are much more explicit and, since they're in color, considerably more lurid. As for how and why these affronts to basic human dignity were allowed, it's tough to find anyone actually willing to take responsibility. The guards who did the deeds, several of whom were interviewed for the documentary, say they were under-trained and far too few in number; their superiors say their pleas for additional support were ignored; and while the military brass and government bureaucrats were content to blame "a few bad soldiers" (like Pvt. Lynndie England and Sgt. Charles Graner, both of whom are now serving jail sentences), the suggestion here is that what went on at Abu Ghraib was less an aberration than a manifestation of defined government policy (the fact that no one appears on camera to refute these charges casts some doubt on Kennedy's objectivity). The director's audio commentary and extended interviews are the principal bonus features. --Sam Graham
Waco premiere of this important and just released documentary. We can not let the Abu Ghraib scandal be swept under the rug--"not in our name, Mr. Bush and Rumsfeld."
Your attendance is respectfully requested. Please come and support progressive thought in Central Texas. Opportunity to voice your opinions.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

PROGRESSIVE FILM SERIES FOR MAY


DATE: Thursday, May 10, 2007
TIME: Free Pizza Buffet 6p.m. (seating limited)
Film and discussion 6:30p.m.
VENUE: Poppa Rollo's Pizza meeting room
(enter from outside door or inner door)
703 N. Valley Mills Drive, Waco
WHO: All welcome.
Actors: George Bush, George W. Bush, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, Jerry Falwell, See more
Directors: Calvin Skaggs, David Van Taylor
Format: Black & White, Closed-captioned, Color, DVD-Video, NTSC
Language: English
Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Number of discs: 1
Rating
Studio: First Run Features
DVD Release Date: October 25, 2005
Run Time: 101 minutes
The documentary film is very unbiased in its presentation, allowing the religious leaders to speak for themselves. A fascinating history of the relationship between evangelical Christians and conservative/Republican politicians, beginning with the Rev. Billy Graham, and ending with the current G.W. Bush. Viewers from all points on the political and religious spectrum will find this film informative.
The current Bush says he speaks with God. But in the end one may ask: "Would the Prince of Peace really vote for Mr. Bush?"
"Required viewing."--Chicago Tribune.
Your attendance is respectfully requested. Please help support a forum for progressive thought in Central Texas.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Member letter to Waco Tribune-Herald

MULTI-DRUG RESISTANT TUBERCULOSIS.

In the early 1990’s, a killer stalked New York City. This killer was no stranger to the city, but with the help of an especially savage first cousin, the killer this time eluded arrest for several years. The killer was an especially potent and multi-drug resistant tuberculosis.

March 24th is World TB Day. The leading killer of persons with HIV-AIDS, tuberculosis kills 2 million people annually, mostly in the poorest nations. Even more are orphaned in the grasp of this deadly but curable disease. As the outbreak in New York demonstrated, until this disease is eradicated worldwide, more drug resistant strains will continue to surface even in industrialized nations.

It is essential for Congress to fully fund the U.S. fair share of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria for 2008. I also urge Congressman Edwards and Senators Hutchison and Cornyn to sign on to the Stop TB Now Act of 2007. If fully funded, these initiatives can cut the number of TB deaths in half by 2015 and eliminate the disease by 2050.

As one of the wealthiest nations on earth, we have the resources to stop this global killer. Let’s hope that our leaders also have the will to do so.

Gail Boyd

Letter published recently in the Waco Tribune-Herald in conjunction with Gail's work on the Results project, an international humanitarian group. Gail is a longtime, loyal member of Waco Friends of Peace.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

April Progressive Film and Discussion Series


DATE: Thursday, April 12, 2007

TIME: Free pizza buffet 6p.m.

Film and Discussion 6:30p.m.

VENUE: Poppa Rollo's Pizza Meeting Room (enter from outside door or inside rest.)

703 N. Valley Mills Drive, Waco.

WHO: All welcome, seating limited, arrive early please.
Genres: Documentary
Tagline: In 1996, electric cars began to appear on roads all over California. They were quiet and fast, produced no exhaust and ran without gasoline...........Ten years later, these cars were destroyed.
Plot Outline A documentary that investigates the birth and death of the electric car, as well as the role of renewable energy and sustainable living in the future.
Plot Synopsis: With gasoline prices approaching $4/gallon, fossil fuel shortages, unrest in oil producing regions around the globe and mainstream consumer adoption and adoption of the hybrid electric car (more than 140,000 Prius' sold this year), this story couldn't be more relevant or important. The foremost goal in making this movie is to educate and enlighten audiences with the story of this car, its place in history and in the larger story of our car culture and how it enables our continuing addiction to foreign oil. This is an important film with an important message that not only calls to task the officials who squelched the Zero Emission Vehicle mandate, but all of the other accomplices, government, the car companies, Big Oil, even Eco-darling Hydrogen as well as consumers, who turned their backs on the car and embrace embracing instead the SUV. Our documentary investigates the death and resurrection of the electric car, as well as the role of renewable energy and sustainable living in our country's future; issues which affect everyone from progressive liberals to the neo-conservative right.
Time: 91 minutes.
Rating: PG
Released: 2006.
Awards: nominated by the Writers Guild of America Documentary Screenplay Award 2007.
"Fast and furious, Who Killed the Electric Car, is the sad tale of yet one more attempt by a heroic group of civic minded souls to save the browning, warming planet." -New York Times.

Iraq 4th Anniversary Protest: I35 Overpass.




The Friends of Peace with help from Dallas and Austin activists performed a live freeway blog at the I35 overpass near 7th street starting 5pm, March 20th. With rush hour traffic, we reached an estimated 21,600 motorists! The response was overwhelmingly positive. We attracted 2 visits from the police, with the usual attempts to intimidate our expression of 1st amendment rights. We also attracted a small group of counterprotestors who were good natured, but unfortunately their signs were not legible at freeway level.
So as this series of local protests on the 4th anniversary ends, we look at congressional action.
The House has just passed a supplemental appropriations bill for the occupation which includes a deadline of troop withdrawal as late as August 2008. Of course the bill is a huge disappointment and includes many loopholes Bush would no doubt utilize. Maybe it is better than nothing. But I believe the peace movement should keep the pressure on the government to end the war, and bring home all troops by the end of 2007. The movement has made a huge difference over the last several years in helping to change the direction of the country. But much remains to be done, and civil disobedience remains "on the table."

Iraq 4th Anniversary Protest: Waco Intersection.




Friends of Peace with help from peacemongers from Austin and Dallas staged a protest at the intersection of Valley Mills Drive and Waco Drive, Sunday, March 18th, starting at 1:30p.m.


The reception by motorists was overwhelmingly positive. A single counterprotestor appeared at the opposite corner; we engaged her in a respectful debate. The event helped bring the anniversary of the illegal occupation to the attention of Waco. Otherwise, it would have been scarcely noticed. Media coverage was excellent: 2 TV stations and a nice report in the Waco Tribune-Herald. Thanks to all 13 activists who gave of their valuable time to continue the struggle.

Iraq 4th Anniversary Protest: Austin.
















Saturday March 17, 2007, thousands of protesters marched from the Texas Capitol to City Hall.





Floats, banners, and signs filled the streets. At City Hall speakers included Rep. Lloyd Doggett from Austin. Bands performed in this "Million Musicians for Peace" protest. A solid and forceful statement was made against the continued illegal occupation of Iraq. Thanks to all from the Crawford Peace House and the Waco Friends of Peace who supported this vital action.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Iraq Occupation 4th Anniversary


SATURDAY, MARCH 17, 2007.

The Friends of Peace will support the large rally, march, and concert in Austin. We will carry our new banner: www. FRIENDS OF PEACE. org

WACO, TEXAS.

We have many activist friends in Austin and Dallas and wish to be a part of this effort. Kay is creating a Crawford Peace House float which is a miniature version of the real Peace House.

The rally and march start at noon at the State Capitol, and the march proceeds to City Hall. A concert is scheduled from 1:30-3:30p.m. For details: www.instrumentsforpeace.org The official name of the event is Million Musicians March for Peace.


SUNDAY, MARCH 18, 2007.

The Friends of Peace will stage a local protest beginning at 2:00p.m. at the corner of Valley Mills Drive and Waco Drive, the corner nearest Jason's Deli. A local presence here is crucial since a large segment of the Waco population still supports the illegal Iraq occupation, despite the national rejection of the war. Depending on numbers, we may also consider our live freeway blog at the overpass of I35 near 7th..

IRAQ 4YRS: OUT NOW.

BRING THE TROOPS HOME NOW.

HONK FOR IMPEACHMENT.

TORTURE IS NOT A FAMILY VALUE.

All peacemongers welcome; your help is greatly appreciated. If we don't speak out, we are complicit. We have large banners; bring your own signs also. (No attachment of signs in the overpass please!).


LEGISLATIVE EFFORTS.

Hopefully our efforts with Rep. Edwards have helped persuade him. He has been active in a House Appropriations committee to approve a bill with a deadline in Sept. 2008 for removal of all troops. The bill provides loopholes for Bush however. Of course, such a bill is far from what we want--that is, to cut off funding for continuation of the war and an orderly withdrawal to start immediately. And even if the Congress passes a bill with withdrawal deadlines, it is likely to be vetoed by Bush. At least these are small steps in the right direction. The history of Vietnam reveals the Congressional action was a slow, incremental process to end the war. I personally feel we should continue to work with Congress, but demand an immediate withdrawal. I have called Rep. Edward's office, thanking him for his steps so far, but emphasizing our demands as well.

I have found a toll free number to reach the Congress: 1-888-851-1879. I suggest we keep up the pressure.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

March 8th Film and Discussion

DATE: March 8, 2007, Thursday
TIME: 6p.m. free pizza buffet and announcements (seating limited, come early).
6:30p.m. film and discussion.
VENUE: Poppa Rollo's Pizza mtg. room (enter from outside at front or from inside). 703 North
Valley Mills Dr., Waco.
WHO: all welcome.
PRICE: free (donations appreciated).
RATING: PG-13.
LENGTH: 96 minutes.
WHY: Waco premier of this outstanding documentary, just released.

The U.S. vs John Lennon is the compelling and provocative story of John Lennon's evolution from beloved Beatle to outspoken artist and activist to iconic inspiration for peace, and how, in the midst of one of the most tumultuous times in American history, Lennon stood his ground, refused to be silenced and courageously won his battle with the U.S. Government.

An inspiring story from the Vietnam era, with amazing parallels to today.

"Smart and deeply affecting."-Ann Hornaday, Washington Post.

"Gripping and moving."-John Payne, LA Weekly.

"Of all the documentaries that have been made about John, this is the one he would have loved."-Yoko Ono Lennon.

your attendance is respectfully requested and greatly appreciated to support a forum for progressive thought in central texas. you will not be disappointed with this film....you will be inspired to continue the struggle.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Congressman Chet Edwards Update 2/24/07


In January, 2007 we staged a protest at Mr. Edwards office outside, then entered the office and requested a video conference with the Congressman. We were told he was not available but that a meeting would be arranged (see details in blog below). By February nothing had happened. Thus on February 13 we repeated the action and stated we would just wait in the office until Mr. Edwards could give us a couple minutes of his time. After some discussion we were given a live appointment with the Congressman for February 20 in Waco.

Three of us met with Mr. Edwards and some of his staff members for 45 minutes. We thanked him for voting FOR the nonbinding resolution opposing the Bush escalation of the Iraq War and strongly urged him to vote AGAINST Mr. Bush's next supplemental funding bill to prolong the war. We found Mr. Edwards very informed, intelligent, and open to our ideas. It is not clear how he will vote however. And of this writing, the Democrats are working on various pieces of legislation to help bring the US troops home. I am concerned that the Democrats may not have the guts to take the needed steps to end this illegal war. We will keep in touch with the Congressman with our requests that he vote for steps to rapidly bring the US troops home.
Your calls to his office at this crucial juncture will be very helpful: 202-224-3121.

Our many thanks to Congressman Edwards for his time and consideration, and to his staff for their hospitality and help.

(On a positive note, a group of 20 staged a protest at Mr. Edwards' College Station office on Feb. 22. They presented many letters urging an end to the US occupation. Great! Two protests in one week, right in the heart of "BushCountry." For details: www.skiscoldwaterflat.blogspot.com )

Reflections on Washington, D.C. March

The March on Washington, January 27, 2007.


“Sometimes, to be silent is to lie.” –Miguel de Unamuno





The National Mall in Washington, D.C. was filled Jan. 27th with ordinary citizens, peace activists, Congresspeople, military personnel, labor leaders, children, actors, and actresses. The hundreds of thousands overflowed from the Mall and it seemed the unified voices for peace and nonviolence would permeate the surrounding edifices of governmental power. And yet I remembered how easily most members of Congress and citizens were duped into supporting military action against Iraq while attempts at nonviolent conflict resolution were still ongoing. I reflected on those factors that underlie our country’s addiction to war:
The military-industrial complex is still alive and well, demonstrating tremendous power in the halls of Congress. Yes, war is more profitable than peace for some—just ask Halliburton, Bechtel, Blackwater or George David, the CEO of United Technologies (Black Hawk helicopters), who was paid $88.3 million in 2004.
Excessive nationalism and our demand to power our Hummers and other conveniences often convince us that we have an innate right to all the world’s resources. Thus to many, invading countries such as Iraq in order to control their oil is justified, and their injured civilians are acceptable “collateral damage.”
Many Americans espouse a religious tradition which can condemns millions of people in the world to an eternity of suffering because they call their supreme being by a different name. Hence we refuse to negotiate with their “evil” governments, preferring bombs for the nonbelievers, and we tolerate torture. Americans barely noticed the Lancet report of the excess deaths of 650,000 Iraqis since March 2003.
The U.S. continues to allow state killing of humans through the death penalty. (Japan and S. Korea are the only other developed democracies permitting capital punishment.). This action reinforces the mindset that killing is an acceptable way of dealing with human problems.
American entertainment in which watching the death of numerous people (body count films) is considered enjoyable must reflect a distorted sense of pleasure and a lessened value of human life. Most popular video games provide a vicarious thrill of killing, and many portray war as sport. Under the influence of our culture, a 4 year old child tragically described to me a video game “head shot.”
Finally, the media is vitally important as our provider of reality beyond our immediate personal experience. But the corporate media is often owned by companies that profit from war, and usually functions as cheerleaders for those profiting from military conflict. Thus, Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) found that shortly before the Iraq invasion less than 1% of “experts” appearing on major network news shows were antiwar activists. And once the war started, the media adopted the government propaganda in its language (“Operation Iraqi Freedom”) and used attractive video game-like graphics and rousing music to support military adventures. So “Shock and Awe” consisted of beautiful images of bombs lighting up the Baghdad night, rather than the image of an Iraqi parent holding the mutilated body of his child. War became entertainment.
Yet with all these influences opposing peace, as the massive march encircled the Congress we felt hopeful that the members inside would hear our voices and the voices of a majority of Americans and take decisive action to end the occupation of Iraq. And we were hopeful that Iraq would be the last Vietnam.

Written by Alan Northcutt. Edited and published by the Waco Tribune Herald, February 10, 2007.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Impeachment Billboard.


The "I" word has now been spoken publicly and clearly in Waco. The Impeachment billboard went up February 1, 2007 on Waco Drive. As you drive South toward Waco proper (away from Bellmead) just before the river, you will see the billboard in a large field on your left. The background is actually bright yellow, although it looks green in the photograph. It is unclear at this time if impeachment will occur, and certainly ending the Iraq War is the first priority. But as a matter of principle and assertion of 1st amendment rights, this statement needs to be made in Waco, particularly when local infatuation with Bush persists, and the desire for tourist dollars (Bush library) has overpowered any honest evaluation of the horrendous Bush legacy. Grounds for impeachment include: 1)violation of US and international law by the invasion of Iraq, 2) violation of US law by warrantless electronic eavesdropping, 3) violation of US and international law by authorizing torture, 4) and violation of the principles of separation of powers with over 700 presidential "signing statements." Want to take action? Contact your congressman thru the D.C. switchboard 202 224 3121. Or sign our online petition by going to the August archive in this website. SILENCE IS NO LONGER AN OPTION.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

February 8, 2007 Film: March on Washington, D.C.




images from United for Peace and Justice Rally and March, Washington, D.C., Jan. 27, 2007.


TITLE: "January 27, 2007 March on Washington: 500,000 Voices Against the Iraq Occupation."
DATE: Thursday, February 8, 2007.
TIME: Free Pizza Buffet 6p.m., Film and discussion 6:30p.m.
PLACE: Poppa Rollo's Pizza Meeting Room, 703 N. Valley Mills Drive.
COST: Free to public; seating limited; donations appreciated.

The news/documentary was produced by Democracy Now and is 1 hour in length. This documentary takes you beyond the 15 second sound bites of the corporate media, and places you in the middle of the massive rally and march which just happened. Experience the crowds, signs, messages, and speeches. Speakers included Rep. Maxine Waters, Bob Watada, Rev. Jesse Jackson, labor leaders, Iraq war veterans, Rep. John Conyers, Rep. Lynn Woolsey, Rep. Dennis Kucinich, Jane Fonda, Sean Penn, CodePink leaders, and Tim Robbins. Those who attended the event or other peace rallies will find this energizing. Those who have never attended a rally or are undecided about the Iraq war will find the film informative.

Time will be available after the film for discussion, including comments by individuals who were fortunate to have had the opportunity to attend the march. The discussion will include information about what steps we can all take in the Waco area to help end the occupation.
This is a crucial time, with the Congress currently debating resolutions to help end the war.
Please make your opinion known. You can call the Congressional switchboard and ask for the office of your Senator or Representative: 202-224-3121.

We will be honored by your attendance at this unique film event. Note: as announced in January, the 2nd Thursday is our regular film/forum night for 2007. Thank you.

As one speaker stated at the rally: "SILENCE IS NO LONGER AN OPTION."

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Freedom of Speech Starts at Home


After the protest at Chet Edwards office on Jan 12th, we sustained the momentum on Jan 21st with another live freeway blog at the I 35 pedestrian overpass. Onward to D.C. on Jan 27! On the freeway our messages were: "Chet--no more troops or $$." and "Honk for impeachment."
Thanks to the half a dozen dedicated activists who spent 2-3 hours spreading the word. An estimated 27,000 travelers read our messages.

However, we had 3 challenges to our presence and voices that day. A group of college students asked what did we expect to accomplish--suggesting silence and apathy were the more patriotic approaches. They were very gung-ho about the Iraq war--until we asked them why they were not serving in Iraq. Suddenly, they denied being such fervent supporters of the occupation. Next, 2 aggressive young men asked how dare we protest at a time of war. When I quietly asked about the First Amendment rights we are reportedly defending by invading Iraq--the response was profanity and the ripping of one of our banners. Finally, a local citizen did not agree with our message and summoned the police. We were told that we could not be there with our banners. We held our ground and insisted to see the actual law or regulation that prevented our presence there. Eventually a supervisor arrived and admitted in fact that the law only prevented tying signs to the overpass. Thus we stayed and plan to return.

We observed it's not necessary to travel to Iraq to defend our American rights--we must struggle right here in Waco to preserve them.

Friday, January 19, 2007

March on Washington Jan 27-29, 2007.


Local members of Friends of Peace, Crawford Peace House and Veterans for Peace will attend the massive march on Washington Saturday Jan 27. Activist workshops will be held on the 28th and meetings with Congressmen on the 29th. Many peace activists from Dallas and Austin are expected to attend. We had a great start with the action at Chet Edwards office on Jan 12th and plan to build the momentum with a street protest on Jan 21th. Every possible attempt will be made to meet with Mr. Edwards in D.C. We will urge him to vote for the House "Bring the Troops Home Now Bill". For more information: www.unitedforpeace.org