Category Archives: Legislative

YEMEN CAN’T WAIT

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Members of the Granny Peace Brigade participated in the weekly vigil for peace in Yemen, in Union Square on Saturday, November 24th. The weekly vigil was initiated by the Catholic Worker one and a half years ago. Several members of other peace organizations take part in this endeavor.

In spite of the fact that the U.S. Senate voted on Wednesday, the 21st of November, to advance a resolution demanding an end to U.S. support for Saudi Arabia’s coalition war on Yemen, pressure is needed to bring a bill to fruition. The killing and starvation of the Yemeni people is the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

Please contact your elected officials to demand that U.S. withdraw its support for this war. Join the weekly vigil and assist in getting the word out about this horrendous war and U.S. participation in it.

Weekly Vigil for Peace in Yemen
14th Street and Broadway, NYC
Saturdays, 11:00 AM – 12:30 PM

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– Phyllis Cunningham
for the Granny Peace Brigade
Photos: Bud Korotzer

An update on GPB JROTC campaign activities

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Dear Friends,

A meeting last week with NYC Council-member Barron went very well. We met for about 1 1/2 hours.
Also in attendance: CM Barron’s Legislative Aide, Jan Atwell, CM Dromm’s Legislative Aide, Betty Davis, from CM Barron’s district.

CM Barron was a HS Principal for 20 years. She was not aware of the details of the program and most disturbed by:

1/ military recruiters lack of teaching certification, a non-certified person teaching during school class hours should have a certified NYC teacher in the room during the lesson. ( I didn’t know this)
2/ no oversight of the curriculum
3/rifles in the classroom, during drills, etc.
She, personally, was going to bring these issues to the attention of Chancellor Farina and demand response and explanations. She’ll get back to me by the end of November.

Jan & Betty added so much to the meeting from their political and educational experiences and knowledge. Betty Davis was amazing – on top of the issue and outspoken. She was an assistant principal in a high school for many years.
Jan is a strong supporter of our campaign and presented CM Dromm’ concerns very clearly and decisively.

Many questions were posed and I had lots of info and ‘most’ of the answers for them. It was very congenial and positive.

It was suggested that I speak at a CPAC meeting (Chancellor’s Parent Advisory Council – www.cpacnyc.com). They meet for one day usually during the first week of the month. It was suggested that I have a Vet join me to speak about the issue as well. We’ll only get 1 chance to present our concerns and reasons for reallocating the funding.

If you have any ideas about a Vet you know who might be interested in speaking to this parent group? We know there are Vets that go into classrooms to speak with students, but this is a different issue to take on.
I would appreciate any advice and recommendation so I can set up a meeting with CPAC for possibly Nov. or Dec.
Should I send this info to others as well?

Photo: Erik McGregor

As usual – I’m cautiously optimistic. But, at least, we’re being heard and taken seriously. Everyone in the room knows the Granny Peace Brigade. Our presence in the street and at City Hall does make a difference.

Students not Soldiers,
Barbara Harris
for the Granny Peace Brigade

Ask Charlie Rangel to Vote Against the TPP

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The Trans-Pacific Partnership is the trade deal negotiated in secret during the past 7 years among 12 Pacific Rim countries including US, Canada, Japan, Brunei, Malaysia, Vietnam, Mexico, Ecuador, Peru, Chile, Australia, New Zealand.

The TPP was signed by ALL countries in 2015. BUT its not a done deal until it is agreed by national parliaments and in our case the Senate and House of Representatives. Rumors abound: will it be brought to a vote during the lame duck session of Congress (time between 8 November and the new Congress on 3 Jan, 2017)? Some say it will, since President Obama is pressuring Congress; some say the votes are not there to pass it.

Charlie Rangel has not clearly stated his position on the TPP. He is quoted as saying “Incentives could get traction for the TPP. .” e.g. if it were linked to a national infrastructure package, which might generate local jobs. As a founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus, he has significant influence within the Caucus. In addition, in a call to his DC office, an aide once stated: “if the President calls him and asks for his support, he will be there…”

We want him to support a NO Vote on TPP or if it does come up for a vote, To Vote NO!

Reasons to oppose the TPP :
-more US jobs will move overseas where costs of production are cheaper
-drug prices are likely to increase as patents will be extended
-no enforceable provisions for environmental, health safety, or labor protections
-no reference to the impact of TPP on climate change
-Worst provision: ISDS Investor State Dispute Settlement provision, which supercedes federal, state, and even local laws should a company from one of the participating countries considers that its right to conduct business is denied and thereby they can claim compensation, including for projected lost profits. Those administrating this are a 3-person corporate-led panel. This is already happening: Trans-Canada (Keystone XL Pipeline) is suing the US Government for $$$Billions under the ISDS for President Obama’s decision to stop the construction of the pipeline in the USA.

– Marty Rajandran

for the Granny Peace Brigade

For more information: http://www.Flushthetpp.org

U.S. Must Act to Resolve Israel/Palestine Conflict

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The June 6, 2016, Granny Peace Brigade ‘Letter to Senator Schumer re U.S. Involvement In Israel/Palestine,’ mailed to the Senator,  was posted as a blog, June l7th, 2016.  We sent a copy of the letter to U.S. government offices and to presidential candidates shown in the transmittal note, July 25, 2016 (below).

July 25, 2016 –To:  The Honorable Barack Obama, President of the United States; The Honorable John Kerry, Secretary of State; The Honorable Samantha Power, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations; The Honorable Senator Charles E. Schumer; Secretary Hillary Clinton; The Honorable Senator Bernie Sanders, The Honorable Senator James Rich, Chairman of the United States Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Near Eastern, South Asia, Central Asia and Counterterrorism; The Honorable Congresswoman Ileana Ros-lehtinen, Chairwoman of the Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs; The Honorable Congressman Danny K. Davis; The Honorable Congressman Keith Ellison; The Honorable Congresswoman Barbara Lee; Dr. Jill Stein, Green Party Presidential Candidate.

The Granny Peace Brigade submits to you, a copy of our letter dated June 6, 2016, addressed to Senator Charles E. Schumer, which expressed to him our concern about lack of United States effective action for resolution of the ongoing conflict between the Government of Israel and the Palestinians.  In brief, given the United States support for the 1947 United Nations partition plan for British Mandatory Palestine, which called for decrease in the area of the Palestinian ancestral land available for Palestinian settlement and which was followed by armed conflict and subsequent occupation of Palestinian land and massive violation of Palestinian human rights, including the taking over of Palestinian land, it has a responsibility to the Palestinians.  Our government  has shown responsibility for support of the Government of Israel.  However,  as is known and is mentioned in our letter, Martin Indyk, former U.S.  Special Envoy for Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations, has recently stated that the U.S. has not been neutral in these negotiations. The human rights violations which apply are certainly dealt with in international law.  Why are protracted negotiations necessary?  The Granny Peace Brigade views it as vital that our government assume forthrightly its responsibility to the Palestinians for the recognition and the effecting of their human rights – including the integrity of all Palestinian territory. This is respectfully submitted for your review and  consideration for appropriate action.

– Marty Rajandran, Barbara Walker
for the Granny Peace Brigade–Israel-Palestine Conflict Committee

Letter to Schumer re U.S. Involvement In Israel/Palestine

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June 6, 2016

The Honorable Charles E. Schumer
United States Senator
322 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510-3203

Dear Senator Schumer:

On May 26, 2016, we, Marty Rajandran and Barbara Walker, Granny Peace Brigade–Israel-Palestine Conflict Committee, were pleased to meet with Alex Katz, Special Assistant, and (by telephone) Lane Bodian, Legislative Correspondent, of your office, for discussion on involvement and role of the U.S. Government in the conflict between Israel and the Palestinian people and we again requested arrangements for a brief meeting with you.  It was agreed meanwhile that we would direct to you in writing some of our concerns.

A principal concern is the continuing dichotomy in U.S. policy and practice with respect to the ongoing conflict.  It is evident that our government, which voted for the 1947 UN partition plan that provided for an Arab state and a Jewish state, is strongly supportive of Israeli requirements and requests but is lacking in responsible reaction and in support to Palestinians with regard to the major problem of human rights violation in their occupied homeland — rights which are covered by international law.

1.  Senator Schumer, we understand that you are in agreement that cases of accusation of violation of Palestinian human rights by the military legitimately should be reviewed with respect to the Leahy Law/Amendment.  In this regard we note that Senator Leahy and ten Congressional Representatives have submitted to the Secretary of State a letter (February 17, 2016) concerning application of the Leahy Law in Israel and indicating that “there have been a disturbing number of reports of possible gross violations of human rights by security forces in Israel and incidents that may have involved recipients, or potential recipients, of U.S. military assistance.”  They have asked to be informed of the findings.  We would very much appreciate having this information.  We know it is extremely necessary legislation.  Palestinians have suffered greatly under the military occupation.  Recently the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem indicated it finds that because of lack of results, ‘there is no longer any point’ in filing complaints against soldiers.

2.  Increase in aid to Israel is currently under U.S. Government consideration and, of course, one is very much aware of its use in the Palestinian homeland occupied areas — military control and protection of illegal settlements, including the much publicized action in Hebron, excessive use in Gaza (where there is major Palestinian dissatisfaction exacerbated by blockade and other stringent controls on their lives).  Certainly also of great concern to us and to many Americans is the continued multi-year/billion dollars in military aid to Israel, a country which is wealthy, ranked 19th in the Human Development Index Report and improving while U.S. ranking is declining!  Further, Israel is already a major global exporter of arms, ranked 6th in the world; ranked 11th strongest military power; has over 1,000 arms manufacturers; exports 75% of arms produced; with an estimated 190 countries as recipients of Israeli arms sales, including countries that the U.S. does not sell to, e.g. China.  Some of the recipients of U.S. aid, e.g. Raphael, a privately held for profit Israeli company, received $1.8 billion in U.S. tax-payer funds. (Source:  War Against the People, Jeff Halper, Pluto Press, 2015. Pages referred:  52, 90.)  It appears that U.S. taxpayers are subsidizing a global trade in arms via Israel, in addition to the use of these arms against Palestinians as part of Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestinian lands.  As it seems that Israel can actually take care of its own military needs, since the vast majority is exported, Senator Schumer, we request your proposal for reduction in U.S. military assistance to Israel as well as for continued pressure on Israel to halt new construction of more illegal settlements and infrastructure in the West Bank and that measures be taken to link any further assistance to a dismantling of this illegal occupation.

3.  In connection with the above, we ask, would not the ending of home demolition and the appropriate fixing of borders between rightful Palestinian territories and Israel (reference Fourth Geneva Convention, UN Resolutions 282 and 338) respond to legitimate Palestinian demands, and along with Israeli and Palestinian cooperation to normalize relations lead to decrease in military operations and costs?  Regarding land settlement, the 1999 Clinton/Barak recommendation, the proposal to let Palestinians have only non-contiguous areas of the West Bank was clearly unacceptable to the Palestinian leadership.  Aware of your support of a 2 state solution, we ask your proposals.

4.  U.S. Government lack of adequate level of concern for Palestinian rights is reflected in the information notes (a) and (b) and the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative is summarized in note below:

(a)  Letter from President Gerald Ford to Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, September 1, 1975 — “Should the U.S. desire in the future to put forward proposals of its own, it will make every effort to coordinate with Israel its proposals with a view to refraining from putting forth proposals that Israel would consider unsatisfactory.”  [Brokers of Deceit, Rashid Khalidi, Beacon Press, 2013. Page 8.]

Question:  Does this still apply?

(b)  In a statement Martin Indyk, former U.S. Special Envoy for Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations said, inter alia, the U.S. is not neutral and doesn’t claim to be neutral in negotiations with Palestinians, that it sometimes acted at times as Israel’s lawyer, that Israel ‘screwed up’ the latest round of talks by building settlements but there were no consequences, that he advocates U.S. abstention in upcoming UN Security Council resolution on Israeli settlements. [Mondoweiss, March 14, 2016.]

Question:  Is the U.S. an ‘honest broker’ in efforts for conflict resolution; does it intend to reassess its responsibilities to Palestinians whose homeland partition it supported; does it intend to require just resolution and if so, what is envisioned as just resolution?

(c)  The 2002 Arab Peace Initiative (is brought up periodically — Google-Alert-Kerry and Arab Peace Initiative, May 21, 2016) calls for significant concessions on Israel’s part, among them a full withdrawal from the West Bank, the establishment of a Palestinian state with its capital in East Jerusalem, and an agreed-upon solution for the Palestinian refugee problem.  In return, numerous Arab states would officially recognize the Jewish state as well as establish normalized ties with it.  [Times of Israel, May 22, 2016.]

Question:  Is this a reasonable solution?

5.  It is our understanding that you do not equate criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism.  On B.D.S., we are, however, disappointed that you are on record linking a global movement to pressure Israel to respect the UN resolutions as “anti-Semitic.”  Individual as well as collective action is among freedoms guaranteed in our Constitution/Bill of Rights.  As constituents we seek your support in opposing any legislation which would restrict these rights.  If we wish individually or collectively to boycott products, services, etc. of any country, in this case Israel, this is our right.  We note that the media coordinator for Jewish Voice for Peace (Brooklyn), has reported that she works daily ‘with a growing number of Jewish students who see the boycott, divestment and sanctions (B.D.S.) movement as the most effective way to shift the conversation from a debate over whether or not Israel’s nearly 50-year military occupation is a moral problem to one that centers on Palestinian rights to freedom and equality.’  [New York Times, April 1, 2016.]

Because we are aware of your knowledge about, deep concern with, and considered views on this conflict, which seriously affects so many lives, we are respectfully submitting our concerns on this to you.

Sincerely yours,

– Marty Rajandran and Barbara Walker
for the Granny Peace Brigade

$1.5 million for JROTC – A Misuse Of Our Tax Dollars

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The Granny Peace Brigade, with support from the Peace Action, was at City Hall for the third time this year (2016) demanding that  funding for the Junior Reserve Officers training Corps (JROTC) program, in 18 NYC high schools, not be approved. The Mayor’s Education Expense Budget, 2016-2017, includes an estimated $1.5 million for JROTC – a misuse of our tax dollars for a military program. JROTC classes take the place of regular classes for those students who participate.

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We say: “The military should have no role in our schools!” These funds could be used for a wide range of other programs such as: computer skills, vocational training, music, art, sports, tutoring, and after-school clubs. We urge the City Council to vote to re-allocate this education budget funding item to better serve our kids.

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This campaign to de-fund J-ROTC began last year, with members of the GPB meeting with members of the Education Committee of the City Council, testimony at the Budget hearings, letters to all members of the Education Committee outlining in detail the reasons why this military program should be de-funded, and flyering at City Hall in order to inform the public of this program.

We have found many in the Council who agree. We have talked to many parents who are surprised that such a class is part of the regular school program in the selected schools. And many voters and taxpayers who agree with us that such a class should NOT be part of any school program.

Marty Rajandran with Barbara Harris and Eva-Lee Baird
for the Granny Peace Brigade

Breaking News: Grannies meet with Chuck Schumer’s NYC staff on Palestine

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Why is this breaking news: As we told Alex Katz, an aide to the Senator on Monday, June 10, 2015, the Granny Peace Brigade has tried, unsuccessfully for over 5 years to get an appointment with the Senator, OUR Senator!

What did we learn that was new/news:

What did we hear:
Alex Katz, an aide to Senator Schumer for many years, often accompanying him on his travels in the USA, was very courteous to our group comprising Carol Husten, Barbara Walker, Jenny Heinz, Marty Rajandran. He listened to each of our comments on Palestine/Israel and made a few comments which are summarized as:
-On the illegal occupation of Israel of Palestinian land and the construction of settlements: He noted that the Senator is not in favor of any new settlements. However, he seemed to waffle a bit on the status of the existing ones and the Senator’s taking a stand on any restrictions on our relationship with Israel because of these illegal settlements.
-On Chuck Schumer’s views on the current Israeli Government: He felt that the current Israeli government does not represent the will of Israelis and that it is delaying efforts towards a two-state solution. He however continues to be considered “a hawk” for Israel.
-On Chuck Schumers role vis a vis US policy: Alex indicated that Chuck Schumer does have a positive working relationship with Benjamin Netanyahu and is able to facilitate communication between him and President Obama.
-On a deal with Iran, he noted that the Senator supports a deal that will keep “our allies” safe.

We asked him to:
–arrange a meeting between us and the Senator this summer. He agreed.
–request the Senator to make a public statement that said “Speaking out on Israel does not make one an anti-semite.” He agreed.
–propose to the Senator to reduce our funding for Israel, esp as Israel is one of the most developed countries in the world, 19th as per the Human Development Report and to increase funding for Palestinians. No specific comment on this. (Actually, we also mentioned that we would like to stop all US military assistance to Israel, as well as Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia, etc.)
–urge the Senator to consider proposing that the International Court of Justice be involved in the peace process, as a non-violent, legal approach towards a just solution to the rights of the Palestinian people. (no comment on this)
–encourage the Senator to use his good auspices to pressure Israel to abide by International Law, UN 242, among others. (no comment)
–discourage the Senator from making statements that he speaks for New Yorkers. He does not speak for Palestinians, many Jews, and others throughout the state on his position of virtual unconditional support for the illegal actions of Israel.
–encourage the Senator to take a lead in recognizing Hamas as the elected government of the Palestinians in Gaza. There are other governments we consider close allies that do NOT recognize Israel, e.g. Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, 19 others.
–refrain from making further statements such as one made on Gaza: “…to squeeze them (Gaza) until they do what Israel wants”. The Israel blockade is harmful to the people of Gaza. And we would expect the Senator not to like the growing success of the BDS movement against Israel. This movement is gaining more support as people and countries are fed up with Israel’s denial of the rights of the Palestinian people.
–understand that in view of the human rights abuses done by the Israeli military as viewed globally through social media, at some point, there may be pressure to apply the Leahy Amendment which prohibits US funding through the State Dept or Defense to countries charged with human rights abuses. (He commented that he was unaware of this law)

Short summary of specific points made by Grannies in the discussion:
Carol was stunned by the sights and her experiences during a visit to the West Bank several years ago. She stated, among other views, the advisability of the U.S. decreasing its financial contributions to Israel — Israel being economically advantaged — and increasing its aid to Palestine. Mentioned was the annual military assistance financial aid grant of $3 billion. Noted also was that a RAND Corporation report which put American aid to Israel at $118 billion since World War II — not including classified programs, and that a RAND Corporation economist put American aid to Palestinians at less that $10 billion

Barbara said she visited East Jerusalem and the West Bank in January 1967, prior to the Six Day War, and that she was posted in Jerusalem with the UN for one year, 1990-1991. She noted that in 1948 Israeli authorities-to-be acceded to the UN resolution authorizing partition of Palestine but that the Government of Israel has not acceded to UN resolutions calling for withdrawal from Occupied Territories. She asked how could the Government of Israel claim continuing control of the west side of the Jordan River Valley — West Bank land/West Bank shore? How can the U.S. accept this? We do have a responsibility to the Palestinians. In this connection, how is Eretz Israel/Land of Israel being defined — is it being defined as the whole of British Mandate Palestine? If so, are the Palestinians invisible as a people? This is their ancestral home — what was authorized by the UN was partition. She expressed the hope that Senator Schumer would encourage our Government to view positively the French initiative (resolution) which is currently under refinement. The resolution, according to a draft published in ‘Le Figaro,’ will set out an 18 month time-table for ending the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza [see: ‘Le Figaro Premium,’ “Paris fait une nouvelle offre aux Israeliens et Palestiniens,” by Cyrille Louis, May 19, 2015].

Marty noted her activism against the Occupation began 50 years ago as a university student. She mentioned several visits to Israel and neighboring countries on work duty and personal visits. She asked the question of Israel’s needing so much of our tax dollars when it ranks 19th among developed countries – hardly a struggling nation. And in response to Katz’s comments about Hamas not recognizing Israel, she asked about Saudi Arabia and Bahrain that don’t recognize Israel either and yet are U.S. allies. She mentioned the violation of the Leahy amendment re banning aid to countries with human/child rights violations but regrettably, Ban Ki-Moon, U.N. Secretary General, just took Israel off the list.

Jenny spoke very forcefully, expressing personal outrage as a Jew that Schumer claims to speak on behalf of Jews and New Yorkers. She touched on the glaring issues facing Palestinans: seizure of land and destruction of homes, murder of children and civilians, torture and harsh imprisonment of dissent, however she felt that a back and forth on these points was not useful in today’s meeting. She emphasised that Mr Schumer’s hawkish position on Israel encourages their continued violation of international law. She requested Alex to request the Senator to make a public statement: “Speaking out against Israel does not make one an anti-Semite.”

– Barbara Walker, Carol Husten, Jenny Heinz, Marty Rajandran
for the Granny Peace Brigade

Dear NY City Council: Don’t spend $1.5 million on Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps

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Friends,
On Wednesday, March 25th,  I gave testimony urging NY City Council members to vote to eliminate the approximately $1.5 million tax levy allocation for the the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC)  program in 18 New York City public high schools.

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Representing the Granny Peace Brigade and 22 supporting organizations, my testimony asked the council to re-direct the funds to better serve current underfunded educational programs, as well as the reduced or eliminated after school programs.  The Committee on Education can find far better uses for $1.5 million taxpayerdollars than supporting a military program that s developed by the Pentagon.  With little  transparency or lack of oversight of curriculum or goals achieved, the military delivers the wrong message to our high school students.

For many reasons, JROTC should not be subsidized by NYC taxpayers. My testimony provided details on the disturbing aspects of the program.  Briefly here are the major issues.  Download the full testimony.

1/Cost of the program ($1.5 M), military instructors educational requirements, lack of NYC teacher credentials and requisite qualification, yet receiving salaries equal to licensed teachers. Each school hires 2 instructors for each class.

2/The Program  focuses on military values and hierarchy, the ideas of soldiering, following commands, fitness and drills. Curriculum is developed by the military and presents a partisan pro-military view of historical, political,and moral issues.

3/Teaching approach promulgates a highly authoritarian approach, discourages criticism, and glorifies the unbroken chin of command.  This curriculum does not belong in public schools.

4/Weapons – JROTC sends the wrong message about weapons.  Students cannot bring weapons of any sort into school, but they can read and learn about handling them in JROTC textbooks. JROTC students carry rifles into HS  assembles, during parades and drill team events.

5/Anti-Violence.  In the 2015 City Council Allocation Funding document, $550,000 has been allocated to programs to teach anti-violence, anti-weaponry, and conflict resolution strategies.  How confused can a student be?  JROTC kids carry rifles, guns are fun and war is a game.  So, what’s going on in the public high schools?

In conclusion, I noted the $1.5 million allocation should be transferred to an area of educational service being cut  or reduced and better better serve the needs of our students and teachers.  From art, music, sports, environmental initiatives — to hiring more, and much needed high school career guidance counselors. This subsidy for a military training program should have no place in the  Mayor’s FY 2015 Education Budget, and we ask the council to eliminate and re-direct these funds for far more important educational priorities.

We look forward to the Council’s leadership on this significant educational issue.

Respectfully,
– Barbara Harris
for the Granny Peace Brigade and all listed supporters
…………………………
After I concluded, Council Member Dromm (Chair of the Committee on Education) thanked me for continuing to work on this issue and noted a follow up meeting to discuss new strategies.

Before I left, several people in the council chamber, who had previously given testimony on different budget issues,  came over to thank me for the testimony.  They didn’t know about JROTC or the details of the program and were strongly on our side.  As we have found, as people learn more about the JROTC, they agree to eliminate taxpayer funding for the program.

City Council members are leaving on an all expenses paid junket to Israel on February 15

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Hello Sisters and Friends,

We have one last chance to persuade 15 City Council members* to cancel their funded-by-the-zionists junket to Israel, or at least to make them feel damn guilty about going. These 15 City Council members* need to think again about the message they give to New Yorkers, particularly our Palestinian neighbors. This trip is despicable.

We will meet at the Broadway entrance to City Hall with our representations of dead Palestinian children, leaflets with our (abridged) letter to those 15 City Council members* who are being bought by zionists, and, of course, banners.

What: A meet and greet as City Council members trek back and forth across Broadway for their bi-weekly Stated Meeting.
When: Thursday, February 12 (that would be Lincoln’s birthday, wouldn’t it?)
Time: 12:15 PM
Where: Broadway at Murray St. entrance to City Hall Park

See you in the streets–on Broadway to be precise
– Joan Pleune
for the Granny Peace Brigade

* Council Speaker:
Melissa Mark-Viverito, mviverito@council.nyc.gov, 212-788-7210, Fax; 212-442-1564

* Council Members:
Mark Treyger, elustig@council.nyc.gov, 212-788-7045
Brad Lander, lander@council.nyc.gov, 212-788-6969
Antonio Reynoso, areynoso@council.nyc.gov, 212-788-7095
David Greenfield, dgreenfield@council.nyc.gov, 718-853-2704
Rafael Espiñal, respinal@council.nyc.gov, 212-788-7284
Darlene Mealy, dmealy@council.nyc.gov, 212-788-7387
Corey Johnson, District3@council.nyc.gov, 212-788-6979
Ritchie Torres, rsaksena@council.nyc.gov, 212-788-6966
Andrew Cohen, District11@council.nyc.gov, 212-788-7080
Donovan Richards, drichards@council.nyc.gov, 212-788-7216
Eric Ulrich, eulrich@council.nyc.gov, 212-788-7069
Jimmy Van Bramer, jvanbramer@council.nyc.gov, 212-788-7370
Mark Levine, District7@council.nyc.gov, 212-788-7007
Helen Rosenthal, Helen@helenrosenthal.com, 212-788-6975

The Granny Peace Brigade and Climate Change – duh, we mean, Climate Chaos

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On January 16, 2015 the media reported that 2014 was the warmest year on earth since 1880 when record keeping began.  Five weeks earlier, on December 8, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear a suit bought by seven youth plaintiffs.  Their claim is that the U.S. Constitution safeguards for them and future generations a healthy climate system.
The case is part of Atmospheric Trust Litigation (ATL) based on the centuries old doctrine of Public Trust.  Please see our blog of November 19th, 2013  (ATL and GPB)  for a description of ATL and the amicus curiae brief the Grannies filed together with countless groups.
The ostrich-like posture of the Supreme Court is not deterring these youth. Working with Our Children’s Trust based in Eugene, Oregon and other organizations such as iMatter Youth, they are building a case for federal action through state courts with cases now pending in Colorado, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Oregon and Washington.  Previous suits brought in six other states – Alaska, Arizona, Kansas, Montana, Pennsylvania and Texas – provide valuable legal stepping stones.
The GPB recognizes the dire urgency of climate chaos and will continue to monitor OCT and we encourage you to visit their site.  Our Children’s Trust is working “to secure science-based climate recovery policy nationally, and to return to the Supreme Court if necessary.  We will expand our efforts to enforce individual states’ responsibilities to preserve the atmosphere for the benefit of future generations, and will advance select global and local efforts to do the same.  Piecemeal legislative and executive actions not based on nature’s laws will simply never get us where we need to be.   We need judicial declarations that government must act systemically to stabilize our climate.”

If you have family or friends in any of the states with current cases pending, give them the OCT website and SPREAD THE WORD!
SAVE THE DATE: Sunday, April 26  PEACE AND PLANET  March and Mobilization in New York City.  For specifics:  www.peaceandplanet.org

– Nydia Leaf
for the Granny Peace Brigade