BCP&J E-Newsletter –- April 28, 2008


Berkshire Citizens for Peace & Justice

175 Wendell Avenue, Pittsfield, MA 01201



Contents (Click on the link)


                                            Upcoming BCP&J Events
Location of the Unitarian Universalist (UU) Church in Pittsfield


                                            Descriptions of Upcoming Thursday Night Videos

                                                 May Videos

                                                     - May 1, "Uncounted"

                                                     - May 15, "Bam 6.6"

                                                     - May 29, "Blood and Tears"


                                            Notes from the April 24 meeting

                                            Report on our April 18 Brattleboro trip


                                            Report on the Peace and Sustainability Conference in Albany, April 11-12

                                            Berkshire Community College Events
                                                    - Global Issues Resource Organization (GIRO) meetings (All are welcome.)

                                                    - Berkshire Community College - Spring Semester Diversity Events

                                            Quote (from Please Save my World: Children Speak Out Against Nuclear War)

                                            A little political humor (Bush and the three Brazilians)
                                            About Peaceplans


                                            Cost of Iraq War as of Jan. 24, 2008

                                            About Berkshire Citizens for Peace and Justice (BCP&J)

                                            Contact Information

                                            Fair Use Notice




Upcoming BCP&J Events

Text Box: Weekly Peace Vigil each Thursday at Park Square in Pittsfield, 5 to 6 P.M.  The Vigils are held in cooperation with Berkshire Community College’s Global Issues Resource Organization (GIRO).





Thursday, May 1 -- Video followed by discussion.  Tonight's video will be "Uncounted."


Thursday, May 8 -- We will have a regular business meeting at the UU Church in Pittsfield.  The meeting will start at 7:30 pm.


Thursday, May 15 -- Video followed by discussion.  Tonight's video will be "Bam 6.6."


Thursday, May 22 -- We will have a regular business meeting at the UU Church in Pittsfield.  The meeting will start at 7:30 pm.


Thursday, May 29 -- Video followed by discussion.  Tonight's video will be "Blood and Tears."



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Descriptions of Upcoming Thursday Videos


Videos are shown on first and third Thursdays of each month (and on most
5th Thursdays in months having them).  Discussion follows the showing of
each video.  Videos are shown at 7:30 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Church
at 175 Wendell Ave. in Pittsfield.  All are welcome.  There is no charge.


Thursday, May 1 -- "Uncounted" is an explosive documentary that shows how the election fraud that changed the outcome of the 2004 election led to even greater fraud in 2006 - and now looms as an unbridled threat to the outcome of the 2008 election.  This controversial film by Emmy award-winning director David Earnhardt examines in factual, logical, and yet startling terms how easy it is to change election outcomes and undermine election integrity across the U.S.  As we approach the decisive election of 2008, "Uncounted" is likely to change how you feel about the way votes are counted in America.


Thursday, March 15 -- "Bam 6.6" is the story of the human condition.  The film weaves together stories of survival, loss, and healing, as we explore the humanity of the Iranian people through the prism of the devastating 2003 earthquake that struck at the heart of Bam, an ancient Iranian village.  Our subjects come from different walks of life - A Jewish-American woman, an American businessman, and the Iranian residents of Bam.  Through their experiences, viewers will witness how a natural disaster can overcome religious and political barriers, dispel stereotypes, and unite disparate members of the human family.


Thursday, May 29 -- "Blood and Tears," by acclaimed documentary producer and director, Isidore Rosmarin, and co-producer, Jeff Helmreich, has been called the definitive film on the seemingly irresolvable Arab-Israeli conflict.  Having acquired over 20 years of news and documentary production experience working at major television network programs such as CBS's "60 Minutes", NBC's "Dateline", Court TV, A&E and many other prime-time shows, Rosmarin now uncovers the truth beneath the hype and the headlines.  Rosmarin and his team of Middle East experts have gone right to the source: the ministers and mullahs, the fanatics and peaceniks, the soldiers and terrorists, and the ordinary families battling extraordinary forces as they try to live a normal life.  They have interviewed top officials from both sides, from former Israeli Prime Ministers to senior Palestinian officials to the leaders of the militant extremist group Hamas, Sheikh Bitawi and the late Dr. Abdel aziz Rantisi.  They have also interviewed renowned Mideast scholars Bernard Lewis and Fouad Ajami and the foremost Palestinian scholar, Rashid Khalidi.  "Blood and Tears" explores the origin of the confrontation itself, and challenges many of the deep-rooted myths we all hold about this epicenter of human conflict.


Back to Upcoming BCP&J Events

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Notes from the April 24 meeting


Major items of discussion were:

(1) Reports on the workshops presented at the Peace and Sustainability Conference held in Albany on April 11-12, and
(2) Possible future actions.



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Report on April 18 Field Trip to Brattleboro






On the left, Jamie and Sassy


Sign says, “THANK YOU, BRATTLEBORO, for indicting Bush & Cheney!”


On the right, Jeff


Sign says, "BCP&J to BUHS students, THANK YOU! for your Nov. 16 walkout & anti-war rally!”



On Friday, April 18, twelve human members of BCP&J (including Sarah, an honorary member who lives in Scotland), and one canine member, Sassy, traveled to Brattleboro, Vermont.  The purposes of our trip were:

  1. to congratulate high school students for their anti-war action of November 16, 2007,*

  2. to congratulate and thank the citizens of Brattleboro for their vote of Tuesday, March 4, 2008, calling for the indictment of President Bush and Vice President Cheney for violating the Constitution,** and

  3. to participate in Brattleboro's regular Friday march protesting the war against Iraq).

The weather for the trip was perfect.  We, including our own Uncle Sam, arrived at Brattleboro Union High School around 2 pm, in time to set up our signs.  (The students' last class period ends at 2:20, and the school buses depart from the school at about 2:25.)  Initially, we had nine people and Sassy cover the front of the school where most of the students exit, and three people cover the back where the school buses line up and are boarded.  After the school buses left, we stationed all twelve people in the front.  Many staff members, students, and parents signaled their pleasure that we had come to thank the students.  (I don't think there were any negative responses.)

After our visit to the school, we went to a restaurant (in "The Coop" on Route 5) to eat and hang out for a while until it was time to meet Brattleboro's regular Friday anti-war marchers in the Coop parking lot for their march through the Brattleboro downtown area.  We met the gathering Brattleboro folk just before 5 pm.


The march through the downtown area, and back, was really something special.  They cross the street at every intersection (always waiting for the proper light) and have great! music.  None of us had ever seen a march quite the way they do it.  Again, the response was overwhelmingly favorable, but with a handful of critics out of several hundred people with whom we come in contact.  The march was lots of fun, and some of our folk thought we should consider doing a similar type march in Pittsfield at least once.  That's likely to be a discussion item at one of our up-coming business meetings.


Some of us, and some reporters, took pictures.  I noticed that a few pictures were placed on a fellow's website, http://www.marchinmyname.org/


Here are a few pics from the event; I didn't take any during the march because I was carrying three signs.








*On last November 16, approximately 200 Brattleboro Union High School students walked out of their classes and held an anti-war rally on the school steps.  The students were punished with detention.  For a Brattleboro Reformer article on the November 16 student protest, click here.


**The article passed in the March 4 vote called for Brattleboro police to arrest Bush and Cheney if they ever visit Brattleboro, and "prosecute or extradite them to other authorities that may reasonably contend to prosecute them."  For a Associated Press article about the March 4 vote, click here.

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Report on the Peace and Sustainability Conference in Albany


At least seven members of BCP&J were among the several hundred who attended the Peace and Sustainability Conference held in Albany on April 11-12.  (I only attended on Saturday and don't know who attended the keynote program on Friday.)  Sponsors included NEPAJAC, Physicians for Social Responsibility, Bethlehem Neighbors for Peace, Upper Hudson Peace Action, Veterans for Peace, Women Against War, and Interhelp Network.  The conference was held at the First Unitarian Universalist Society of Albany, 405 Washington Ave.  Featured speakers included Cindy Sheehan (co-founder of Gold Star Moms for Peace), Victor Sidel (founder of Physicians for Social Responsibility), Elliott Adams (President of Veterans for Peace), Steve Breyman, & members of Iraq Veterans Against the War.



Afternoon panel


Friday's keynote program featured music by Cultural Relativity, remarks from Victor Sidel, and a keynote address by Cindy Sheehan.  Saturday's program included a musical warm-up by Barbara and Graham Dean; talks by Victor Sidel, Elliott Adams, and Steve Brayman; morning workshops, lunch break with music, afternoon workshops, an Antiwar Strategy Discussion Panel with Joe Lombardo, Cindy Sheehan, Elliott Adams, and Iraq Veterans Against the War; and a closing musical program.  Vendors were set up around the edge of the cafeteria throughout the day.

Saturday's workshops were led by: Steve Breyman, May Saffar, Mabel Leon, Susan Davies, Steve Wickham, Dr. Shamshad Ahmad, Joe Lombardo, Iraq members of Veterans Against the War, students from Bethlehem High School (Molly Gordon) and Averill Park High School (Sarah Stargl), & the Sanctuary for Independent Media in Troy.  Here is a list of the workshops presented:


Morning workshops


Afternoon workshops

Steve Wickham's presentation on Modern Day Pamphleteering included a multimedia presentation which he hopes to eventually have on the Internet.  Bethlehem Neighbors for Peace will probably have a link to it on their website. 

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Berkshire Community College Events



All are welcome to attend meetings of GIRO (Global Issues Resource Organization).  Meetings are now being held on Mondays at 12:00 noon in room 104 of Melville Hall.


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Some Other Events (Non-BCP&J and Non-BCC)




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About Peaceplans


Peaceplans is a web site for posting information about peace-related events and issues in Berkshire County, Massachusetts. Joining Peaceplans is a good way to stay in touch with events in the area. To join Peaceplans, visit http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Peaceplans/

Once you have joined, make it a habit to regularly check the latest messages at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Peaceplans/messages


You will also be able to post messages yourself.


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Cost of Iraq War as of January 12, 2008


(From www.costofiraqwar.org and http://www.nationalpriorities.org/costofwar_home


Cost to U.S. - More than 4,000 military deaths; more than 900 civilian contractor deaths; more than 200 NGO American deaths; more than 27,000 service people wounded; $489 billion.


                                 Financial Cost of the War in Iraq as of January 24, 2008


    Entire Nation   Massachusetts   Pittsfield
  Cost of war in Iraq $488,500,000,000   $13,800,000,000   $70,289,000
  Number of children for whom we could have paid the cost of Head Start 58,016,532   1,638,952   8,348
  Number of children who could have been provided health care for one year 177,774,125   5,022,074   25,579
  Number of elementary teachers who could have been paid for one year (includes benefits) 7,230,179   204,251   1,040
  Number of students who could have been provided full one-year scholarships at public universities 52,601,491   1,485,979   7,569
  Number of affordable family housing units that could have been built 3,256,667   92,000   469
  Number of homes which could have been provided renewable electricity 760,916,796   21,495,705   109,486
  Number of elementary schools which could have been built 36,581   1,033   5.3
Affordable housing figures are based on an average cost of
$150,000 per unit.  Other figures are based entirely on data
from http://www.nationalpriorities.org/costofwar/





 Trade-offs: How the $70.3 million Pittsfield has paid for the war might have been better spent:

   For the Methodology of the National Priorities Project, see below or go to http://www.nationalpriorities.org/cms/content/notes-and-sources-tradeoffs


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Some Important News Items for the Week


None currently listed.


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Some Useful Links

None currently listed





Text Box: The above links are provided as a convenience. However, as the updating of web pages can affect links, it may occasionally happen that a link provided in this newsletter will not work.



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"If everybody in the world says that they want peace, how can we still have nuclear bombs?
Somebody in the world must be lying."
-- Joan G, age 10, in Please Save My World: Children
Speak Out Against Nuclear War
, Arbor House Publishing Co., 1984



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Political Humor

The President was in the Oval Office when the Secretary of State walked in unannounced and said, "Mr. President, there's bad news from Baghdad. A bomb went off in the main souk and three Brazilian people were killed".

The President turned ashen. He visibly sagged under the impact of the news and placed his face in his hands. After a minute or so, his lips began to move in prayer. When he had finished, he beckoned Ms. Rice closer to his desk and asked, "How many is in a brazilian?"

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About Berkshire Citizens for Peace and Justice


BCP&J is open to all people interested in promoting peace and justice who live, work, vacation in, or visit Berkshire County.


REGULAR MEETINGS are held every Thursday, 7:30 to 9:30 pm, at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Pittsfield, 175 Wendell Avenue (one block up Broad St. from Rt. 7 & 20, and on the corner of Wendell Avenue and Broad St.).  Meetings on 1st and 3rd Thursdays (and some 5th Thursdays) are devoted to showing educational films/videos followed by discussion.


A representative sample of our other activities has included:

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Contact Information


For comments or questions regarding this newsletter, contact George Desnoyers at 443-4298 or gdesnoye@berkshire.rr.com


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FAIR USE NOTICE. This newsletter may contain copyrighted material, and some uses of copyrighted material may not have been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. All copyrighted material in this newsletter is provided without charge and for educational purposes -- to advance the understanding of topics and issues important to the advancement of peace and justice in our time. All copyrighted material is provided in the belief that its use in this newsletter constitutes a “fair use” as provided for in Section 107 of the U.S. Copyright Law. Determination of whether copyrighted material shall be used in this newsletter involves the consideration of the following factors: (1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes; (2) the nature of the copyrighted work; (3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and (4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work. The fact that a work is unpublished shall not itself bar a finding of fair use if such finding is made upon consideration of all the above factors. No copyrighted material in this newsletter should be reproduced or distributed if the reproduction or distribution would diminish the potential market or value of the copyrighted work. If you wish to use any copyrighted material provided in this newsletter for purposes of your own that go beyond “fair use” as provided for in Section 107 of the U.S. Copyright Law, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. 



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