Wednesday, February 24, 2010


It seems as if most of our U.S. populace has forgotten that U.S. soldiers are dying in Afghanistan. Focused on Tiger Woods' sex life and, more understandably, the seemingly endless, unresolvable health reform and jobs battles in Washington, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan appear to be ignored.

However, a group of New York city peace grannies and their supporters DO remember, and they publicly so acknowledged on Tuesday, Feb. 23, the just-announced grim tally of 1,000 U.S. soldiers' loss of life in Afghanistan. The event was coordinated by Grandmothers Against the War and the Granny Peace Brigade. Members of Peace Action New York, Veterans for Peace, The World Can't Wait, the Gray Panthers, Brooklyn for Peace, and the Raging Grannies attended as well.

On the cold, wet and windy evening, approximately 30 mostly elderly people assembled in front of Rockefeller Center on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan to pay tribute to the 1,000 American G.I.s sacrificed in the wrong-headed war in Afghanistan. They also mourned the many Afghani deaths caused by our missiles and bombs.

The great actor-author, Malachy McCourt , opened the proceedings with a powerful speech lambasting the tragic expenditure of life and resources in the hopeless pursuit of peace through war. A statement of support by NY State Senator Bill Perkins, who had to be in Albany with the legislature, was read. Following that, the vigil members read the names of deceased soldiers AND deceased Afghani civilians to the accompaniment of a single muffled drum beat.

It was startling and extremely saddening to hear that so many of the Afghanis whose names were read were small children. One wondered: How can we feel morally justified in waging a war that causes so many innocent people to die whom we are supposedly protecting?

Strangely enough, the police erected a barricade around the anti-war stalwarts. This had never been done before in the six plus years that Grandmothers Against the War, the Vets for Peace and the Granny Peace Brigade have been holding a weekly Wednesday vigil on that Rockefeller Center site.

The soggy Peaceniks then walked down Fifth Avenue and over to the Times Square recruiting station where the Raging Grannies sang familiar songs with their revised anti-war lyrics. They kept singing despite the fact that several policemen insisted that the group leave. Finally, thoroughly soaked and shivering, the hardy old folks (and a few young ones) dispersed.

It is worth quoting part of Sen. Perkins' statement: "It is obvious that the lessons of the unjust war launched by the previous Bush administration have yet to sink in on the current administration. Each day the goal of honorable victory will be ever more elusive. The goal of an honorable peace for a dishonorable war will continue to have its price."

As I write, one day later, the tragic number of our young military dead in Afghanistan has climbed to 1,0

Saturday, February 20, 2010


On Saturday, Feb. 20, U.S. military fatalities in Afghanistan reached a total of 999. With the likelihood of the toll reaching 1,000 in the next day or two, peace grannies in New York City have planned a special commemorative vigil to be held the day AFTER the dreaded number has been announced.

It is requested that people be on the alert for a probable event on either Monday or Tuesday, Feb. 22 and 23. The day after the announcement, all New York City peace groups will meet at 5:30 p.m. at the Grandmothers Against the War regular weekly Rockefeller Center vigil site on the west side of 5th Ave. between 49th and 50th Sts. Other peace groups participating will be the Granny Peace Brigade, Veterans for Peace, the Raging Grannies, Peace Action NYS (PANIX), The World Can't Wait, Code Pink, Gray Panthers, West Side Peace Action, and others. A large turnout is anticipated.

In a candlelight ceremony, names of U.S. military and Afghan citizens who have died in war-related incidents will be read, to the somber beat of a drum. Invited political and celebrity speakers, including actor/author Malachy McCourt, State Sen. Bill Perkins, civil liberties attorney, Norman Siegel, and others will make brief remarks. At 6:30 p.m., the vigil group will walk to the Times Square recruiting center for songs and more comments.

It is the hope of the grannies that this public occasion will send a strong message to the war-makers that it is time to bring the hostilities to an end and replace missiles with missions.... destruction with diplomacy.

"It's the same sad story," said Barbara Walker, associate director of Grandmothers Against the War. "Our bombs increase anti-Americanism, cause death and untold damage to all, and achieve nothing positive. As in Iraq, our "surge" in Afghanistan has caused a dramatic increase of casualties to our American kids valiantly fighting there, for no apparent recognizable goal achieved. We must bring our troops home and rethink our foreign policy."

The Grandmothers Against the War vigil has been held for over six years with only two missed occasions -- the latest Christmas tree lighting ceremony which blocked access, and the recent impenetrable snow storm. Otherwise, the grannies, with their regular cohorts, the Granny Peace Brigade, and Vets for Peace, are there in rain, sleet, snow, cold and heat -- even the several vigil grannies in their 90s.


Monday, February 8, 2010


I don't think our system of government is really working any more. Maybe it's time to ditch it and try something else.

Because those Washington blow-hards are not concerned at all with me and my problems nor anyone else's, for that matter, except, of course, for the corporations that woo them.

Do they, with their life-long pensions, care that my measly social security benefits have been capped for the next few years? Do they, with their excellent comprehensive free health coverage, care that despite Medicare, a major illness could wipe me out? Do they, with their two residences, care that housing costs are so prohibitive that I am desperately trying to avoid giving up my one small apartment? Do they, with their comfortable salaries, lecture fees and book contracts (to say nothing of their bribes and sometimes mis-used "campaign contributions") care that out-of-sight rising costs for basic necessities of life mean I can't afford a new pair of shoes or a dinner out once in a while?

And, above all, do they, with their ability to manipulate the system and keep their kids out of harm's way, care that my grandson or granddaughter might have to dodge explosives in unjustified and immoral wars for oil championed by men too old to fight?

I think not.

Maybe when our forefathers conjured up our system of government, elected officials had a greater sense of responsibility toward their fellow citizens. Perhaps they really DID try to make decisions that they conceived would benefit people the most. At that time, maybe, our representatives truly represented us, at least as honorably and conscientiously as they could.

But, now, that integrity, except for a few noble souls, seems to have vanished. They are for the most part a bunch of inept, egomaniacal, greedy retards whose only activity, apparently, is to endlessly fight each other, engage in sex scandals, and follow a no-risk path to ensure re-election. THEY ACCOMPLISH NOTHING FOR THE PUBLIC GOOD!

Why should I trust my lot to them? It makes no sense.

It is reported that Sarah Palin is calling for a revolution. Well, so am I, but not her whacky one.

. I call for an end to media advertising, thus obviating the need for huge campaign funds, and necessitating the candidates to speak directly to the people. Remember the Lincoln-Douglas debates. That was how the people got their impressions of the contenders, not through some advertising copywriter's empty slogan or glitzed-up visual.

. I ask that no official be allowed to receive more than $100 in contributions from any source.

. I ask that a national register be put into effect indicating which bills are introduced, sponsored and voted upon by every Senator. It would be published daily in every newspaper in the nation.

. I want a system to be developed whereby every Senator must be held accountable by his constituents on a regular basis, and if he or she doesn't measure up, they have the right to oust him or her immediately.

. I ask that every Senator with eligible children make certain that those kids enlist in the military and request battle assignments.

Those are a few of my ideas. I would love to hear others' thoughts on this matter. In the meantime, I'll continue my Granny Peace Brigade street actions, my petitions, my letters to the editor, my YouTube political songs, and everything else I've been doing to try and stop the wars, reverse the failure to reform health care, stem the economic melt-down and all the other catastrophes our Senators and Congress people have totally failed to resolve. My efforts haven't proved very effective, unfortunately, but it's all I've got -- until we basically change the structure of our government.

Therefore, I say -- throw the rascals out and reform the system!!

Monday, February 1, 2010


As the American military death toll nears the 1,000 mark in Afghanistan, anti-war grandmothers and their supporters are preparing in advance to mark the grim occasion. The grannies held special commemorations for the 3,000th and 4,000th American death in Iraq, and now are planning to perform the same heartbreaking task for those unfortunate soldiers sacrificed to the war in Afghanistan.

"Perhaps most of the public is not much concerned with these wars and their casualties, but the peace grannies always have been, are now and will continue to be until they are stopped," said 94-year-old Lillian Pollak, an active member of the Granny Peace Brigade, one of the organizers of the event. "We will publicly acknowledge the carnage in the hope that we will awaken citizens to the fact that the wars are still being waged with their resultant unjustified death and destruction -- not only of our own young people but of countless innocent civilians. We must not let up in our efforts to end these immoral occupations."

Please be advised that a special memorial will be held the day AFTER the 1,000th fatality is announced. People are asked to meet at 5:30 p.m. at the site of the regular Wednesday Rockefeller Center Grandmothers Against the War vigil -- the west side of Fifth Ave. between 49th and 50th Sts. They will vigil there for approximately one hour and then slowly walk to the recruitment center in Times Square for a short appearance. The grannies will be joined by Veterans for Peace, who regularly stand with them on Wednesdays, and other loyal followers.

It is requested that people bring candles and flashlights. Names of the dead will be read. Celebrated persons in in the arts and government have been invited to eulogize the lost lives.

The count is as of this date (Feb. 1) 977, so it is likely that the 1,000th death will occur within the next month or two. Those who plan to attend are asked to be vigilant in observing the count so that they can participate at the right moment.

Regretfully, the casualties continue to mount in Iraq, as well, though not to the extent they have in the past. American deaths there now total 4,375. Hopefully, the U.S. will have pulled out before the total reaches the dreaded 5,000. Rest assured, the indomitable grannies will continue their non-stop efforts to make this a reality.