Jul 4, 2008

Jun 15, 2008

She is aglow with love

This picture was taken years ago in a cottage up at Kings Bay at an Alternative New Year’s Eve celebration. Gil Marshall’s daughter Anya was speaking of how to bring about Peace, her hands emphasizing her fervent feelings. Sister Denise on the left and Jo on the right are listening carefully. But Peg is more than attentive; she has stopped her knitting and her rapt expression shows so much about her feelings for young people and kindred spirits. She is aglow with love, support, and admiration, as she so often was with so many of us.

Jun 13, 2008

Jun 4, 2008

Mcintire's active life recalled

Article published in the St. Augustine Record on June 2, 2008
See link

Jun 2, 2008


Margery D. (Peg) McIntire quietly passed away on the night of May 29. Her son, Jo, and daughter-in-law, Sali, were by her side.

Born on October 2nd, 1910, raised in Woodmere, Long Island, Peg was a lively youngster, a good student and athlete at Woodmere Academy. She was also a talented pianist. She especially enjoyed accompanying her violinist mother, Hilda Stern Dallet, at temple, weddings and parties.

In the fall of 1927, Peg was granted a scholarship at Vassar College, which she abandoned in the middle of her junior year to marry writer Larry Goldstone. At that time, Vassar did not have male students, nor enroll married women. She transferred to Columbia University, but once again abandoned her studies, this time for a prolonged honeymoon in Torremolinos, Spain. While Larry wrote, Peg played chess on the beach, took odd jobs such as baby sitting and teaching English, and helped the local Rotary Club build a golf course to lure cruise ships to Malaga.

Peg's hero was her older brother, Joe. He abandoned his studies at Dartmouth College in the middle of his junior year. At the suggestion of Roger Baldwin, founder of ACLU, the American Civil Liberties Union, he transferred to the Highlander Folk School in Tennessee, to study the labor movement. Later he became an organizer for the fledgling CIO Steel Workers Union in Youngstown, Ohio. Angered by Generalissimo Franco's fascist regime in Spain, Joe joined the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, boarded ship, flew to Paris, but was arrested and jailed in Perpignon for nearly a month. He was finally released with orders to be out of France within 48 hours. Together with fellow inmates, he climbed the Pyrenees by night, met up with his unit, and, despite being a "political commissar," he moved to the front lines of battle and was killed in the famous Battle of the Ebro.

Joe's death was a catalyst in Peg's life. She and Larry left Spain and started anew in New Orleans. Peg was determined to do something that Joe would have done – or would have admired. After considerable searching, Peg was directed to a shabby YMCA meeting hall to hear Gordon McIntire talk about his efforts to organize a union of small farmers, tenant farmers and sharecroppers in Louisiana. Peg, 5'2", a city girl, fell in love with Gordon, 6'2", a country boy. Their courtship was not easy. Gordon developed TB. Peg carried on the Union work alone until her mother died in an auto accident and she was needed in NYC to care for her father. Six years later Peg and Gordon married. Gordon got a Masters Degree in Denver, while Peg worked for the National Youth Administration. They moved to Washington, DC, where Gordon worked for the Bureau of the Budget and Peg for the Office of Price Administration and as a freelance speech-writer for the NEA (National Education Association).

In 1948 Jil was born, in 1949 Jo. In 1952, Gordon was offered a transfer to the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization in Rome, Italy. The excited little family moved from their Georgetown home to a terraced sun-filled apartment in Rome. Jil and Jo went to a Montessori preschool, and were speaking Italian within a week. Peg learned kitchen Italian but later attended the Dante Alleghieri Language School for proper grammar and was given the opportunity of a lifetime - to become gofer, translator, private secretary, 24/7 assistant to Henry Hennigson, producer for MGM's giant film "Ben Hur". She got to work with the poet Christopher Fry, Gore Vidal, both Wilders, Charlton Heston, Michael Boyd, Martha Scott, and many others. Gordon was not so lucky.

Sen. Joe McCarthy provoked a five-year legal battle with the U.S. Government for Gordon. He was summarily and wrongly dismissed from his employment with the FAO. The passports of the entire family were taken away. Gordon fought back. There were hearings, depositions, findings and appeals at every level. Finally he was totally vindicated, and compensated for legal costs. His back pay was put into an escrow account in the U.S. where it eventually expired because, although the U.S. Embassy restored the passports, the family opted to stay in Italy and go into business. Their "empire" collaped with Gordon's sudden death from emphysema in 1969.

Jo and Sali brought Peg back to the U.S. in 1980. Another country, another life! The three immigrants settled in Saint Augustine. Always motivated, Peg quickly found fellow activists in NOW, Pax Christi and the statewide Florida Coalition for Peace & Justice. For 15 years she served as Treasurer for the Coalition and was the guru for its summer Peace Camps and music festivals. In 1985 in California, at a NOW conference, Peg met and was inspired by Barbara Weidner, founder of Grandmothers for Peace, Int'l. Upon returning to Florida, Peg founded an affiliate, called Grandparents for Peace, St. Augustine, which has some 100 members. Although primarily anti-nuke, anti-war, anti-violence, the organization recognizes the connection of violence with poverty, racism, homelessness, social and economic injustice, and supported individuals and organizations striving to improve social conditions, provide leadership, and generally creating a saner, safer, happier and healthier world. Peg has attended the last eight demonstrations at Fort Benning, GA, to close the notorious School of the Americas.

In 1999 Peg and other grannies protested the launch of NASA’s Cassini, carrying 72.5 lbs of radioactive plutonium, at Cape Canaveral. After serving 30 days in jail, she was hounded with questions like "what did they give you to eat? How often could you bathe? " Wanting to give people something more important to think about, she and Paul Archetko created an Earth Day event in Saint Augustine which has since become an annual affair.

Until the end of 2007 Peg worked at Susan Bradley’s candle shop. Peg and Susan also worked together creating the St. Augustine Youth Hostel and organizing the Toys for Tots program.

Peg was hospitalized for the first time in her life in 2007 with an intestinal problem. On the first day after leaving the rehab center, she made her way to the anti-war rally held that Saturday morning at the Bridge of Lions, co-sponsored by Grandparents for Peace, People for Peace & Justice, and Veterans for Peace. She ended 2007 participating as an invitee in the Council of Elders established by UNF's "Peace Awareness Week" together with her close friends Stetson Kennedy and John Linnehan.

In 2008 at the age of 97, Peg had to start cutting back on her activities after suffering a major heart attack. But she never gave up.

She was a voracious reader, an avid scrabble player, and a twice a week played at the Duplicate Bridge Club. She always attended the Gamble Rogers Festivals, rarely missed a concert at the pier, followed every tennis tournament on TV, campaigned for Senator Barak Obama, and always gave full support to her children, Jo and Sali.

Peg was born and raised Jewish, taught Christian Sunday School while living in Italy, joined the Center for Positive Living for a few years, and has been a long standing member of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship.

During the past months, Peg received extraordinary care from Community Hospice, their doctor, nurses, aides, social workers and volunteers.

Peg had many friends and an incredible intergenerational support base. She will be missed for her blue eyes, her smile, her jokes, her vitality, her dedication to causes, her love for Chinese food, music, and red wine.

No flowers, please.
A donation may be sent to Community Hospice of NE Florida, 4266 Sunbeam Road, Jacksonville, FL 32257 or to the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space, PO Box 652, Brunswick, Maine 04011.

Plans for a Memorial Service to be announced.

May 29, 2008

Peg is moving on . . .

Dear friends,

Peg returned from her Memorial Day demonstration with some chest pain. That evening she started collecting liquid in her lungs.

Over the next 24 hours we were able to dry up her lungs and eliminate that horrible breathing rumble . . .

But Peg is definitely closing down.

She has mentioned joining her husband and daughter. We regularly exchange last hugs several times each day. She is ready to go and looking forward to it. In the meantime, with the help of hospice, we are keeping her comfortable.

If you would like to spend a little time with her please feel welcome to come over to Ocean Gallery. If you can, please give us a call first.

Sali and I (jomcintire@bellsouth.net) are setting up a core group of folks to plan her memorial celebration. So far I have selected John Linnehan (metanoia1@earthlink.net 504-1004) from the Florida Peace and Justice Coalition, Dora Lovell (doralovell@aol.com 814-6417) from the local UU, Rabbi Mark Goldman (goldmanmark@bellsouth.net 794 4133) from Temple Bet Yam. Food is being coordinated by Annie Bobrowski (avbster@gmail.com 461 3188).

If you would like to work with this core group, please let them know.
The group is meeting at the UU at 17:00 on Tuesday June 3.

Jo and Sali McIntire
Tel 904-461-3175
Cell 904-806-5077 and 806-1400

Death Certificate

May 28, 2008

Peg and Katherine Archer - coordinator of the musical component of the "Celebration of Peg's Life"
As you know I walk in the mornings and take a photos of the sunrise. We always do 3 Sun Salutations with a brief prayer/meditation. Friday Morning we dedicated the Salutation to Peg. Attached is the photo I took right after the Salutation.


Barbie and Annie

Laurie and John

May 24, 2008

Memorial Day '08

Dear GFP members and friends,

We will all be celebrating Memorial Day as a national holiday, but with a uniquely personal twinge as we remember loved ones who have died, and pray for the young men and women who are in danger today on active duty in foreign lands.

The following is the poem that I will read on Sunday at UU. and again on Monday when our local anti-war groups rally in St. Augustine's Plaza de la Costituzione.
Poem by Captain Michal Davis O'Donnell
Killed in Action on March 24, 1970
Republic of Vietnam
If you are able,
Save them a place
Inside of you.
And save one backward glance
When you are leaving
For the place they can no longer go.
Be not ashamed to say
You love them,
Thought you may
Not have always.
Take what they have left
And what they have taught you
With their dying.
And keep it with your own.
And in that time
When men decide and feel safe
To call the war insane,
Take one moment to embrace
Those gentle heroes you left behind.

May 18, 2008

Jil's Memorial Bush

Hi Peg -
This is a picture of the blossom on your daughter's memorial bush.

Joe ... we had such a wonderful visit with peg last week (Sun May 18) and she was as sharp as a tack! We did hear from Ron and May Lea about the turn in recent days. She is ready to move on, and we we wish her Godspeed. Please give her another hug from Patricia and John and let her know too that our four grown children all send their love as well.
Our thoughts and prayers are with you too as you help her set sail for distant horizons. When the time comes, let us know if there is anything we can do to help.

John and Patricia Frank

May 17, 2008

Canada's dirty war in Afghanistan

In answer to your question about "Canada's dirty war", this in fact is yet another proxy war being fought to support USA's colonial aspirations . I have no idea who the author is but she seems to have a load of half-truths in her article but really does not understand what really is happening.
The problem is that the current Conservative government in Canada wants to cosy up to US and will do anything necessary - including sacrificing lives of many young men - to support a puppet leader, put in place by the US, who from all reports, is in it for the money he can gather from the large sums of $$$ which US is willing to spend to force its will on the region.
The background is that Canada, under a Liberal government, initally agreed to assign to NATO a limited # of peacekeepers for Afghanistan. Later, when Bush and his buddies needed to gain control of oil and invaded Iraq, Bush and his buddies conceded that Canada need send no fighting soldiers for Iraq if their numbers in Afghanistan were increased.

Canada then doubled the # of peacekeepers with an end date of 2005.The Liberal party then lost an election and one of the first actions of the new Conservative government to curry favour with the US was to reassign the troops into a fighting role and to extend the end date to 2007 . These were to be assigned in the worst area of the country (Kandahar) where the French , German , Dutch etc. refuse to go! The end date has subsequently been extended to 2009 and the Tories (Stephen Harper) are now talking about 2011. In all of this, Harper has been supported by a reactionary General - Rick Hillier, whose aim in life seems to have been to increase Canadian military spending and fight a brutal occupation of Afghanistan.

The per capita death and injury rates for Canadian troops in Kandahar far exceed those of British and US!

Yes, it is a very sickening story, and a very high proportion of the Canadian nation would like to see them out of an untenable position. Our opposition parties say that when they defeat the current government, they will pull all troops out immediately. We hope so! It looks as though the election will happen this summer so maybe we can get out of the mess then.

So much for that , glad to hear that you are keeping well .

All the best , please excuse the diatribe, but we feel very strongly about the useless slaughter of both Canadians and Afghanis.

Malcolm and Jutta

May 8, 2008

Grannies to the Democratic Convention

Dear Anti-War Grannies Everywhere:

Last night, the Granny Peace Brigade in New York held a meeting and decided that we would like to go to the Democratic convention in Denver being held August 25-28 this summer.

Our thinking is that, first of all, it's important to let the Democrats know that we want them to make it a priority to end the occupation of Iraq and bring the troops home as well as stop all threats to Iran. Secondly, there will be huge media presence there so that we will have the optimal chance of being picked up by them and thereby spread our message of peace. We decided that it would be a lost cause to go to the Republican convention, but we might have some influence on the Democrats to achieve our ends.

We are hopeful that we can make this a coordinated national granny action and would like to know if some of you would be interested in joining with us in Denver. A group of grandmothers from all over the country would be a terrific media event, we believe, and would be helpful in applying some much-needed pressure to stiffen the Democrats' backbones, sorely in need of such treatment.

Please get back to me when you've had a chance to think about this and talk among yourselves. Then, we can put our virtual heads together and design our strategy.

Yours in Peace, Joan Wile, Granny Peace Brigade

Marriage Seminar

At Saint Mary's Catholic Church they have a weekly husband's marriage seminar. At the session last week, the Priest asked Luigi, who was approaching his 50th wedding anniversary, to take a few minutes and share some insight into how he had managed to stay married to the same woman all these years.

Luigi replied to the assembled husbands, "Well, I've a-tried to treat-a her nice, spend the money on her, but best of all was that I took her to Italy for our 20th anniversary!"

The Priest responded, "Luigi, you are an amazing inspiration to all the husbands here! Please tell us what you are planning for your wife for your 50th anniversary?"

Luigi proudly replied, "I'm a-gonna go and get her."

May 6, 2008

Celebrating Mother's Day


Peg McIntire (pegmcintire@bellsouth.net)

21 Village Las Palmas Circle

St. Augustine, FL 32080-3590

Blog : http://PegMcIntire.Blogspot.com

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can

change the world. Indeed it’s the only thing that ever has. " - Margaret Mead

Dear Mothers, Grandmothers, Daughters, Granddaughters,

SUNDAY, May 11th, 2-3 pm, GAZEBO

Vigil, bring photos and stories to share

Our political activism does not preclude our celebrating Mother's Day. We celebrated last year for the first time. We will celebrate again this year.

If you are in or near St. Augustine next Sunday, May 11th, from 2-3 pm, please join us at the Gazebo in the Plaza de la Constitucion to share photos and stories of our mothers, grandmothers, daughters, grand daughters, and our greats....



MaryLee and Ron Zamora


  • Saturday, May 10th, at 4 pm at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, showing of documentary film Abu Ghrab.
  • Tuesday, May 13th, at 7pm at Arla's hom, regular monthly PPJ meeting,
  • Saturday, May 17th, 10 to 12 noon, regular 3rd Saturday anti-war rally at the Bridge of Lions.
  • Monday, May 26th, Memorial Day protest . Time and place TBA.

May 5, 2008

The cost of the Iraq war

So, how much is it that we are spending on the war in Iraq?

In 2004 it was estimated at $177 million per day, $7.4 million per hour, $122,820 per minute.

In March 2008 the New York Times estimate was $13 billion a month, nearly half a billion per day, $18 million per hour, and $5,000 per second.

Couldn’t you do a lot of birth-reducing, water-finding, and micro-lending with that kind of money?

Or think of the things we could be doing in the U.S.. . . .

Mother's Day

Mothers' Day Proclamation: Julia Ward Howe, Boston, 1870

Mother's Day was originally started after the Civil War, as a protest to the carnage of that war, by women who had lost their sons. Here is the original Mother's Day Proclamation from 1870, followed by a bit of history (or should I say "her story"):

Arise, then, women of this day! Arise all women who have hearts, whether our baptism be that of water or of fears!

Say firmly: "We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies. Our husbands shall not come to us, reeking with carnage, for caresses and applause. Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience.

We women of one country will be too tender of those of another country to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs. From the bosom of the devastated earth a voice goes up with our own. It says "Disarm, Disarm! The sword of murder is not the balance of justice."

Blood does not wipe our dishonor nor violence indicate possession. As men have often forsaken the plow and the anvil at the summons of war, let women now leave all that may be left of home for a great and earnest day of counsel. Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead.

Let them then solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means whereby the great human family can live in peace, each bearing after their own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar, but of God.

In the name of womanhood and of humanity, I earnestly ask that a general congress of women without limit of nationality may be appointed and held at some place deemed most convenient and at the earliest period consistent with its objects, to promote the alliance of the different nationalities, the amicable settlement of international questions, the great and general interests of peace.

Julia Ward Howe
Boston , 1870


Mother's Day for Peace - by Ruth Rosen.

Honor Mother with Rallies in the Streets. The holiday began in activism; it needs rescuing from commercialism and platitudes.

Every year, people snipe at the shallow commercialism of Mother's Day. But to ignore your mother on this holy holiday is unthinkable. And if you are a mother, you'll be devastated if your ingrates fail to honor you at least one day of the year.

Mother's Day wasn't always like this. The women who conceived Mother's Day would be bewildered by the ubiquitous ads that hound us to find that "perfect gift for Mom." They would expect women to be marching in the streets, not eating with their families in restaurants. This is because Mother's Day began as a holiday that commemorated women's public activism, not as a celebration of a mother's devotion to her family.

The story begins in 1858 when a community activist named Anna Reeves Jarvis organized Mothers' Works Days in West Virginia. Her immediate goal was to improve sanitation in Appalachian communities. During the Civil War, Jarvis pried women from their families to care for the wounded on both sides. Afterward she convened meetings to persuade men to lay aside their hostilities.

In 1872, Julia Ward Howe, author of the "Battle Hymn of the Republic", proposed an annual Mother's Day for Peace. Committed to abolishing war, Howe wrote: "Our husbands shall not come to us reeking with carnage... Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience. We women of one country will be too tender of those of another country to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs".

For the next 30 years, Americans celebrated Mothers' Day for Peace on June 2.

Many middle-class women in the 19th century believed that they bore a special responsibility as actual or potential mothers to care for the casualties of society and to turn America into a more civilized nation. They played a leading role in the abolitionist movement to end slavery. In the following decades, they launched successful campaigns against lynching and consumer fraud and battled for improved working conditions for women and protection for children, public health services and social welfare assistance to the poor. To the activists, the connection between motherhood and the fight for social and economic justice seemed self-evident.

In 1913, Congress declared the second Sunday in May to be Mother's Day. By then, the growing consumer culture had successfully redefined women as consumers for their families. Politicians and businessmen eagerly embraced the idea of celebrating the private sacrifices made by individual mothers. As the Florists' Review, the industry's trade journal, bluntly put it, "This was a holiday that could be exploited."

The new advertising industry quickly taught Americans how to honor their mothers - by buying flowers. Outraged by florists who were selling carnations for the exorbitant price of $1 apiece, Anna Jarvis' daughter undertook a campaign against those who "would undermine Mother's Day with their greed." But she fought a losing battle. Within a few years, the Florists' Review triumphantly announced that it was "Miss Jarvis who was completely squelched."

Since then, Mother's Day has ballooned into a billion-dollar industry.

Americans may revere the idea of motherhood and love their own mothers, but not all mothers. Poor, unemployed mothers may enjoy flowers, but they also need child care, job training, health care, a higher minimum wage and paid parental leave. Working mothers may enjoy breakfast in bed, but they also need the kind of governmental assistance provided by every other industrialized society.

With a little imagination, we could restore Mother's Day as a holiday that celebrates women's political engagement in society. During the 1980's, some peace groups gathered at nuclear test sites on Mother's Day to protest the arms race. Today, our greatest threat is not from missiles but from our indifference toward human welfare and the health of our planet. Imagine, if you can, an annual Million Mother March in the nation's capital. Imagine a Mother's Day filled with voices demanding social and economic justice and a sustainable future, rather than speeches studded with syrupy platitudes.

Some will think it insulting to alter our current way of celebrating Mother's Day. But public activism does not preclude private expressions of love and gratitude. (Nor does it prevent people from expressing their appreciation all year round.)

Nineteenth century women dared to dream of a day that honored women's civil activism. We can do no less. We should honor their vision with civic activism.

Ruth Rosen is a professor of history at UC Davis.
Reprinted with permission

How I feel about getting old

By Renee Mintz:

The other day a young person asked me how I felt about being old. I was taken aback, for I do not think of myself as old. Upon seeing my reaction, she was immediately embarrassed, but I explained that it was an interesting question, and I would ponder it, and let her know.

Old Age, I decided, is a gift.

I am now, probably for the first time in my life, the person I have always wanted to be. Oh, not my body! I sometime despair over my body, the wrinkles, the baggy eyes, and the sagging butt. And often I am taken aback by that old person that lives in my mirror (who looks like my mother!), but I don't agonize over those things for long.

I would never trade my amazing friends, my wonderful life, my loving family for less gray hair or a flatter belly. As I've aged, I've become more kind to myself, and less critical of myself. I've become my own friend. I don't chide myself for eating that extra cookie, or for not making my bed, or for buying that silly cement gecko that I didn't need, but looks so avante garde on my patio. I am entitled to a treat, to be messy, to be extravagant.

I have seen too many dear friends leave this world too soon; before they understood the great freedom that comes with aging. Whose business is it if I choose to read or play on the computer until 4 AM and sleep until noon?

I will dance with myself to those wonderful tunes of the 60&70's, and if I, at the same time, wish to weep over a lost love ... I will.

I will walk the beach in a swim suit that is stretched over a bulging body, and will dive into the waves with abandon if I choose to, despite the pitying glances from the jet set.

They, too, will get old.

I know I am sometimes forgetful. But there again, some of life is just as well forgotten. And I eventually remember the important things.

Sure, over the years my heart has been broken. How can your heart not break when you lose a loved one, or when a child suffers, or even when somebody's beloved pet gets hit by a car? But broken hearts are what give us strength and understanding and compassion. A heart never broken is pristine and sterile and will never know the joy of being imperfect.

I am so blessed to have lived long enough to have my hair turning gray, and to have my youthful laughs be forever etched into deep grooves on my face. So many have never laughed, and so many have died before their hair could turn silver.

As you get older, it is easier to be positive. You care less about what other people think. I don't question myself anymore. I've even earned the right to be wrong.

So, to answer your question, I like being old. It has set me free. I like the person I have become. I am not going to live forever, but while I am still here, I will not waste time lamenting what could have been, or worrying about what will be. And I shall eat dessert every single day. (If I feel like it.)

Apr 30, 2008

Dear Little One

Dear little one,

I do not know you. I do not even know your name. But I love you because you are the daughter of a fine man who was a good friend of my daughter. She passed away, childless. He went on to marry your Mom. So, altho you are not legally mine, you hold a very special place in my heart.

I am American, you Italian. I am Jewish, you Catholic. Way back in 1937, my 27 year old brother died in Spain, in a desperate battle against fascism. Mussolini was a friend of Gen. Franco’s. You will have learned this from your history books.

In 1952, when my husband, Gordon McIntire, was offered a job in Rome with the Food & Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, my first reaction was negative. I was afraid we would be met with both religious and political prejudice, but it turned out very differently. (We had trouble with our own government but not with yours). We found friendship, beauty, good food, good wine, good skiing -- I have wonderful memories of more than 20 years in your beautiful country. So my advice to you is: Give life a chance!

Take risks. Do your best at all times, seek and give cooperation, think for yourself, study hard, play hard, work hard, and love what you are doing.
There will be peaks, and depths – that’s life – but in the long haul, if you make the right choices and obey your own instincts, I pray you will become an active young woman, doing your bit to make a safer, happier, and healthier world.

Granny Peg (will be 96 years old on October 2nd, 2006)

Apr 29, 2008

Accomplishing extraordinary things - CNN Hero

You are so right - the amazing thing is how much ordinary people can accomplish.

Most recent example - the Cuban peasant woman, Irania, who cleaned up a dump heap and turned it into The Garden of Eden - captured on camera by CNN. Was awarded the Save the Planet $l0,000 prize. BUT our government prohibited CNN from giving the money to her - gave it to Unicef instead.

Kristi Weeks, a friend who has been to Cuba on several occasions, with delegations which included her husband and children as well) visited Guantanamo, saw the Garden, returned to St. Augustine and as owner of a highscale beauty salon pledged to raise $10,000 for Irania. Their fashion show, with her staff as producers and modelers of crazy, gorgeous, outrageous creations using only recycled material (bottle tops, plastic bags, newspaper, used computer posters, etc.) raised not $l0, not $15 but $20,000 last Sunday evening. Admission was only $25 or $35 for a reserved seat. All the rest came from donations, program ads,and auctioning off several of the dresses -- the one, fitting like a body shield, made entirely of shiny bottle tops, went for $260. Another, entirely of sheer recycled Publix plastic bags, went for $200 -- amid cheers, applause, , incredibly happy vibes.

This effort, originally, to make Baracoa a sister city, was foiled mostly by ex Cubans from Miami who came in bus loads to our City commission meetings to defeat the initiative. So my son and daughter in law, Jo and Sali, with just a few others, opted to withdraw the resolution and go for it on a people to people basis. Six years ago. Since then, there have been some three delegations to Cuba each year, 20 40-ft. containers sent down, packed with humanitarian aid, art shows, books published, concerts, and more.

Ordinary people, accomplishing extraordinary things, for ordinary people. Amazing.

Apr 28, 2008

Mother Superior

Have you heard about the young girl from Bavaria
Who had a virginal interior
Until one night a monk
Jumped into her bunk
And now she's a Mother Superior.

Apr 26, 2008

What is a BILLION?

A Billion - the true story about a Billion Dollars. This is too true to be very funny. The next time you hear a politician use the word 'billion' in a casual manner, think about whether you want the politicians spending YOUR tax money.

A billion is a difficult number to comprehend, but one advertising agency did a good job of putting that figure into some perspective in one of its releases.

A. A billion seconds ago it was 1959.
B. A billion minutes ago Jesus was alive.
C. A billion hours ago our ancestors were living in caves.
D. A billion days ago no-one walked on the earth on two feet.
E. A billion dollars ago was only 8 hours and 20 minutes, at the rate our government is spending it.

While this thought is still fresh in our brain, let's take a look at New Orleans. It's amazing what you can learn with some simple division . .

Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu (D), is presently asking Congress for $250 BILLION to rebuild New Orleans. Interesting number.

What does it mean?

A. If you are one of 484,674 residents of New Orleans (every man, woman, child), you each get $516,528.
B. If you have one of the 188,251 homes in New Orleans, your home gets $1,329,787 for repairs.
C. If you are a family of four, your family gets $2,066,012.

Apr 25, 2008

Grandmothers Against the War


This is to announce the publication of my book, "GRANDMOTHERS AGAINST THE WAR: GETTING OFF OUR FANNIES AND STANDING UP FOR PEACE," with a foreword by best-selling author, Malachy McCourt, on April 29 by Citadel Press. On that date, the book will be available in all major book stores and most independent ones. It can be pre-ordered now or at any time at amazon.com or bn.com.

The first review was published yesterday on democrats.com, afterdowningstreet.com and several other blogs, and isn't so much a testimonial for the book as it is a tribute to the peace grandmothers portrayed. Here's part of the review:

Can Grandmothers End Wars?
By David Swanson

Here is the perfect Mother's Day gift for your mother, your mother in law, your grandmothers, and in fact for the men in their lives as well - who ought to be shamed into action. Joan Wile has published a book called "Grandmothers Against the War: Getting Off Our Fannies and Standing Up for Peace." As far as I know, this is her first book. It is very much an account of ordinary people doing extraordinary things. If more people did the same, we would put an end to war.

Of course, the people in this book are extraordinary, but everyone is, and the actions that Wile recounts this group of grandmothers having taken are actions she describes as fun and exciting. If more people understood that and acted on it, we would put an end to war.

These grandmothers in New York City hold a weekly vigil against the occupation of Iraq. And they mean it. They are protesting the current proposal by the Democrats to "oppose" the occupation by throwing another $178 billion at it. Quick! Quick! Can somebody "oppose" me like that?

The grannies don't just vigil. They generate significant discussion of peace in the media through actions that have included attempting to get themselves recruited at the Times Square military recruiting office. They sat down in front, were arrested, went to trial, put the war itself on trial, and were acquitted, generating more attention all the while.

They've traveled abroad, networking with peace activists, and spreading awareness of the depth of American opposition to our government's crimes.

They've bird-dogged John McCain and Hillary Clinton. And Clinton recently gave peace activists the credit for her defeat.

They've gone to Washington and lobbied for peace. They've performed hilarious and biting song and dance routines. They've inspired and collaborated with grannies around the country and others working for peace. They've knitted stump-socks in rocking chairs in front of the Veterans Administration. If more people took similar actions, we would put an end to war and have more fun at the same time.

In case you did ever doubt that a handful of people can make a difference, that one person can make a difference: READ THIS BOOK. Then go forth and do likewise. And order a copy now for every Mother's Day present you'll need.

Incidentally, the book is very inexpensive -- $14.95 -- so it won't disrupt your budget if you want to purchase it. I can't claim to have authored the literary masterpiece of the year, in all honesty, but if you're interested in a straightforward account of the events leading up to, during and following our notorious arrest and jailing when we tried to enlist at the Times Square Recruiting Center, you'll find it in my book. It's been quite a ride.


Stratcom Conference

By Tim Rinne & Bruce Gagnon

Admittedly, “StratCom: The Most Dangerous Place on the Face of the Earth” sounded a bit over the top for the title of a conference. But by the time the participants caught their flight home from Omaha, Nebraska last month, there wasn’t anybody disputing whether U.S. Strategic Command deserved the label.

Two hundred people from 12 countries and 28 states gathered April 11-13 at the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space 16th Annual Space Organizing Conference to learn about this remote command in America’s heartland. And the local sponsor, Nebraskans for Peace, who for years had been fretting about what was going on in its own backyard, couldn’t have been more excited. There’d never before been an international conference specifically addressing the transformation that’s taken place at StratCom. But then, until just recently, StratCom had never before represented the threat to the world that it does now.

From the moment George W. Bush was rushed to StratCom’s underground headquarters at Offutt A.F.B. on 9/11, the U.S.’s nuclear command began to undergo what StratCom Commander General Kevin Chilton described as “not a sea-state change, but a tsunami of change” in its role and mission. In the years since 9/11, the command has seen its traditional and sole responsibility of maintaining America’s nuclear deterrent proliferate to include missions for space, cyberspace, intelligence/reconnaissance/surveillance, missile defense, full spectrum global strike, information operations and combating weapons of mass destruction.

In the blink of a strategic eye, the command has gone from being something that was ‘never supposed to be used’ (i.e. the doomsday machine) to ‘being used for everything.’ It’s gone from being putatively ‘defensive’ to overtly ‘offensive’ to become, in the words of Nebraska activists, “Dr. Strangelove on steroids.”

With now eight missions under its belt, StratCom’s fingerprints are seemingly everywhere. Though it’s almost never mentioned by name, you can hardly open a newspaper anymore without reading about one of its various machinations. Here’s a rundown:

  • Now charged with actively waging the White House’s “War on Terror,” StratCom is authorized to attack any place on the planet in one hour—using either conventional or nuclear weapons—on the mere perception of a threat to America’s ‘national interests.’
  • Through its National Security Agency “component command,” StratCom is regularly conducting the now-infamous ‘warrantless wiretaps’ on unsuspecting American citizens.
  • The proposed “missile defense” bases in Poland and the Czech Republic that are reviving Cold War tensions with Russia are StratCom installations under StratCom’s command.
  • Having conducted what it touts as “the first space war” with its “Shock and Awe” bombing campaign on Iraq, the command is now actively executing the Bush/Cheney Administration’s expressed goal of the weaponization and “domination” of space.
  • StratCom’s recent shoot-down of a falling satellite using its Missile Defense system, just after the U.S. had repudiated a Russian proposal banning space weapons, demonstrated the anti-satellite capability of this allegedly ‘defensive’ program and is certain to jump-start an arms race in space.
  • In actively promoting the development of new generations of nuclear weapons (the so-called ‘bunker-buster’ tactical nukes and the Reliable Replacement Warhead), StratCom is seeking to ensure America will wield offensive nuclear capability for the remainder of the 21st century.
  • Under the White House’s “Unified Command Plan,” StratCom commands access to the hundreds of military bases around the globe and all four military service branches, while working hand-in-glove with the CIA, FBI, Homeland Security and the Department of Justice.
  • Operating like some executive branch vigilante and scofflaw, StratCom is now poised to routinely violate international law with preemptive attacks and to usurp Congress’ constitutional authority to declare war under the “War Powers Act.”

StratCom, in the words of Commander Chilton, is today “the most responsive combatant command in the U.S. arsenal”—and the next war the White House gets us into (be it against Iran or geo-political rival like China) will be planned, launched and coordinated from StratCom. In fact, Chilton recently told Congress, he believes the name actually ought to be changed to “Global Command,” to better reflect the “global” nature of its new role and mission.

This is the “New StratCom” that Nebraskans for Peace has watched materialize before its eyes. This is the enhanced threat, which the world community has no notion of whatsoever, because the changes at StratCom have occurred with the speed and power of a “tsunami.” This is the global menace the Global Network sought to expose to the international public at its conference in Omaha this past month.

And while the media coverage of the conference was minimal, the word is neverthess starting to get out nationally and internationally. Most of the people in attendance were activists, organizers and academics from all across the country and around the world. Picking up on the comment that StratCom is now a global problem, Jackie Cabasso of the Western States Legal Foundation stressed that addressing it will in turn require a global response. Americans, she said, can no more be expected to halt this threat than we can expect Nebraskans to do it: “It’s going to take the efforts of the world community.”

That sort of international commitment was already strongly in evidence. While the speaker from Poland was prohibited from entering the U.S. by Homeland Security, Jan Tamas of the “No To Bases Initiative” in the Czech Republic tied the proposed Star Wars radar in his country directly to StratCom. From the title of his talk alone, “StratCom is the Main Threat to Peace in the Korean Peninsula,” Ko Young-Dae, the representative from Solidarity for Peace and Reunification in Korea (SPARK), made it clear that he understood the connection to the Omaha command center. British activist Lindis Percy of the Campaign for the Accountability of American Bases, who regularly contends with StratCom’s presence in her homeland, sized it up perfectly with the expression, “horrid StratCom.” Similar sentiments were expressed by the German, Swedish, Indian, Japanese, Filipino, Mauritian, Italian, Romanian and Canadian participants. In country after country, an understanding the StratCom menace is starting to take hold.

The final keynote of the conference was delivered by Bishop Emeritus Thomas Gumbleton, who back in the mid-‘80s had committed civil disobedience at Offutt A.F.B. when it was still the “Strategic Air Command.” Back then, all we had to fear—and it was plenty—was nuclear holocaust. Today, the Bishop said, because of our greed for wealth and power, we now have to fear StratCom’s nuclear prowess and much more.

That greed for ever-more wealth and power had been the message of the conference’s first speaker, national Indian activist and Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska member, Frank LaMere. The city of Omaha, LaMere noted, was named after the Indian Tribe of the same name that had inhabited this area for centuries and still has a reservation about an hour north of the city. The Omaha, he said, had a covenant with Mother Earth, that in return for the corn and buffalo she so generously provided them to live, they would in turn honor her by living in a good way. Never, LaMere said, when the Omaha deeded their lands to the U.S. government—without once going to war—had they ever imagined that an instrument of destruction like StratCom, capable of destroying the Earth multiple times over, would rest on their ancestral homeland, on that sacred ground.

The Omaha, he said, cannot stop what is happening today by themselves. Nor for that matter can the people of Nebraska, nor even the people of the United States. To stop what is happening at StratCom—indeed to save ourselves from our own greed and self-destruction—Americans will need, LaMere said, the help of all their relations around the world. So he was cheered, he said, to see all these relations from around the world here in Omaha, willing to help. That was good, he said. But we need to act fast. Time is getting short.

A five-minute introductory video about StratCom created by Global Network chairperson Dave Webb, who is also the Vice-Chair of Britain's Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), can be viewed by clicking on: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TkOeUHHV1eU

- Written by Tim Rinne (Coordinator of Nebraskans for Peace) and Bruce Gagnon (Coordinator of Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space)

Apr 21, 2008

GfP Newsletter - May 2008

To all Grandparents for Peace members and friends:

Want War Waste

What do those three words mean to you? How do you relate them to each other?

They came to my mind on Saturday, April 22nd, when I reflected on some very interesting booths I had seen at the Earth Day event in St. Augustine.


As to be expected, there were several booths with information on social issues: the homeless, the hungry, the poor, the ill -- all disturbing examples of want, of need, of suffering. Each booth had personnel and literature describing the social agency’s program and accomplishments.


There was a dramatic anti-war presentation on stage, beginning with a tribute to Stetson Kennedy, acclaimed author and peace activist. This was followed by an award of $500 to a graduating senior of St. Augustine High School, Leda Balch. She was the winner of an Essay Contest sponsored by three local anti-war groups, People for Peace & Justice, Grandparents for Peace and Veterans for Peace. The suggested theme for the 500 word essay was taken from a song by the popular musician and anti-war activist, Michael Franti:

“We can bomb the world into pieces,
We can’t bomb it into peace.”

The 17 year old winner read her essay (attached) which began by comparing today’s fractured world with a l000 piece jigsaw puzzle, with no picture on the cover of the box to show what the finished picture would look like. She finished on a positive note. “We, the determined youth of this day and age, will find those pieces and put them together. We will find peace.”


And the third dreadful word, waste. There were half a dozen booths and tables showing not just the negative but the potential for avoiding waste with energy saving, water saving, and other home appliances within our grasp. We do not need costly high tech installations. Simply turning off unnecessary lights saves electricity. Turning off unnecessary running faucets saves water. Recycling and reusing prevents waste. It behooves each one of us to stop and think and make a list of what we can do. And lastly, we should write our elected officials and ask them to sponsor legislation to provide incentives via tax reductions and subsidies for new construction and for upgrading existing homes, schools, and public buildings. These suggestions, and many others, will provide employment, boost the economy, and reduce waste, assuring a cleaner and better world for generations to come.


The photograph of the May 2008 calendar , distributed by Syracuse Cultural Workers, is a poster of a farmer with the wording “Los Campesinos del Mundo Aplastaran La Globalizacion:” Kyang Hae Lee was one of 120 Korean famers who protested in 2003 at a World Trade Organization meeting in Mexico. He climbed to the top of a barricade and stabbed himself in the heart in profound testament to the crushing burden so-called “free trade” policies placed on the world’s small farmers. In India, Korea, China, Mexico and elsewhere they face ruin as domestic markets are forced open to imports of cheap (read subsidized) staples like cotton, rice, soybeans and corn from the European Union and the U SA. He said: “My warning goes out to all citizens that human beings are in an endangered situation…that uncontrollable multinational corporations and a small number of big World Trade Organization members are leading an undesirable globalization that is inhumane, environmentally degrading, farmer-killing and undemocratic. It should be stopped immediately.” Does this sound familiar ?

Thursday, May lst, according to the Peace Calendar distributed by the Syracuse Cultural Workers, is not only International Workers Day, but also May Day ,and ushers in Asian/American Awareness month, as well as Beltane (a Festival of Fertility, Wiccan and Pagan.)

In May,1830 Mary Harris (Mother Jones) was born. She was an anti-war activist, agitator, and inspirational union organizer.

In l958, President Eisenhower declared May lst Law Day in a pathetic attempt to subvert a radical labor holiday.

May 10th is World Fair Trade Day. Free trade is FAIR only to multinationals. We can’t stop corporate globalization, but we can reduce it by looking for the label and buying FAIR TRADE CERTIFIED products which combine a fair price with rigid environmental standards for farming families, thus raising the standard of living for millions of people around the world.

In 1932 on May 25th, thousands of World War 1 veterans marched in Washington, DC, demanding promised war benefits.

This year, Monday, May 26th, is Memorial Day. And in St. Augustine, PPJ (People for Peace and Justice), Grandparents for Peace, and Veterans for Peace, will celebrate with a silent vigil across the street from the Record. We will have a flag-draped coffin and our white wall with the names of the Floridians who have died in this infamous war in Iraq. Time to be announced. Please join us for this special vigil, and for our rallies on the first Friday May 2nd, and the third Saturday, May 17th, at our usual site in the Plaza della Costituzione .

Honor the warrior, not the war.

“Those wearing the uniform must know beyond any shadow of a doubt that when refusing immoral and illegal orders, they will be supported by the people, not with mere words, but by action.”

Lt. Ehren Watada, U.S.Army, Iraq War Resister

Peace to All.

Puzzle Peace by: Leda Balch

Let me start out by thanking my preceding generation. Thanks for the puzzle you will be leaving my generation to put back together.

It is too bad that we don’t know what it should look like. There is no picture on the front of the box to guide us. There is no memory of how it used to look before you decided to break the picture up and start the puzzle over again. This is because we have never seen the puzzle all together. Maybe because the “adults” that run this world never knew how to keep it together. And a few years down the road we will be inheriting this unsolvable puzzle. Or so it seems to be unsolvable considering no one has been able to find a solution to it yet.

But I am here to change all of that. My generation is constantly growing more aware of the changes that need to be made in today’s world. Awareness leads to proactivity. Proacvitity leads to change. And the motto, be the change you wish to see in the world, is becoming ever more prevalent.

The pieces of this global puzzle seem to have been misplaced underneath the sofa cushions of life. And when we should be looking for those lost puzzle pieces, we are out there starting a new puzzle. This is not right.

What are you trying to teach the young people of the world? I thought that setting a good example for the youngsters was most important. After all we will be in your shoes one day, and then what? How many new unfinished puzzles will there be for us to complete? Or will we be too preoccupied with starting our own puzzles?

You are teaching us that if something is lost it cannot be found. You are teaching us that if something is too hard, simply give up and try something else. What kind of solution is that? No solution, I’d say.

You can do, and surely are doing what you want. You can try to bomb the world to peace, but you will only created more pieces for us to pick up. You can scatter those pieces of the puzzle across the globe. You can hide those unfinished puzzles under all of your supposedly charitable organizations. But we, the determined youth of this day and age, will find those pieces. We will find all of those unfinished puzzles and put them together again. And when we put them back together the finished picture will show a healthy state of being worldwide.

So I say, children of the world UNITE! Turn over those sofa cushions! Sweep under those bookshelves! Move furniture around! Because if nothing gets turned over and swept up and moved around, nothing will ever be found.

I know it looks bleak. I know that it seems like trying to put together a one-thousand piece puzzle of a blue sky, but do not despair. We will find the pieces. We will find peace.

Founder of SERVAS passes


Long before the internet, decades before Hospitality Club, Couchsurfers, and all of the other hospitality organizations, there was SERVAS, the first worldwide peace-through-hospitality network.

Founded in 1949 by WWII conscientious objector Bob Luitweiler as a way of healing some of the wounds of the war, SERVAS has quietly continued its peacemaking mission right up to the present day. Members work to break down the stereotypes and misconceptions that lead nations to fight one another, by simply visiting and getting to know members from other countries and cultures, one conversation at a time.

Apr 19, 2008

Earth Day 2008

Indroducing Stetson Kennedy:

Stetson Kennedy was born Oct.5, 1916 in Jacksonville. He is an award=winning author and human rights activist, and is also known as a pioneering folklorist, a labor activist, and environmentalist. A prolific author, his books , distributed worldwide and translated into many languages, include Palmetto County, Southern Exposure, the Jim Crow Guide, the Klan Unmasked and After Appomatox.

As a teenager, he began collecting white and African American folklore material while he was collecting “a dollar down and a dollar a week” accounts for his father, a furniture merchant.

He left the University of Florida in 1937 to join the WPA Florida Writers Project, and soon, at the age of 21, was put in charge of folklore, oral history and ethnic studies. He was Zora Neale Hurston’s friend and boss in the WPA.

After World War II Kennedy infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan. Living dangerously, working undercover, he provided information, including secret code words and details of Klan rituals, to the writers of the Superman radio program and to the FBI

A Stetson Kennedy Foundation has been established, dedicated to human rights, social justice and environmental stewardship. His home at Beluthahatchee has become a museum, housing his books and papers, manuscripts and memorabilia, including guitars, letters and songs by Woodie Guthrie, a dear friend and neighbor.

Stetson Kennedy was to have presented the prize to the winning Peace Essay contest. He had an ear infection, and consequently couldn't make it.

Peg's follow-up letter to The St. Augustine Record:

I do not want to be a whiner, but I can't understand why no mention was made of the Peace Essay contest winner. Several months of effort and preparation by high school students and guidance counselors were involved. The winning essay was sent to you.

It was enthusiastically applauded when read from the stage on Earth Day at l pm by Leda Balch, l7 years old, a graduate of St. Augustine High School. She was awarded $500 by the sponsoring groups, People for Peace & Justice, Grandparents for Peace, and Veterans for Peace. She and the two young ladies who tied for 2nd place were given Certificates of Appreciation.

The suggested theme for the essay contest was taken from a song by a popular lyricist and musician, Michael Franti:

"We can bomb the world into pieces,We can't bomb it into peace."

Is that why the Record ignored this event?

Peg McIntire,
Chair Peace Essay Competition

PS You may print this as a letter to the editor, or reply to me personally.

Apr 18, 2008

Grandmothers hungry for peace

Hello All,
Here is what happening in Chico, CA.

April 17, 2008

1000 Grandmothers are getting rockers greased, and stomachs prepared for the Close the SOA Fast which will occur on April 23-25 in the Downtown City Plaza. Fasters and supporters will be in the plaza during the hours of 10am – 3pm, on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

The grannies and others will be in their rocking chairs offering information about the former School of the Americas, collecting quilt squares, and urging citizens to call Congressional District 2 Representative Wally Herger urging him to vote for House Resolution 1707. The bill before the House budget session this summer will suspend the funding of the school until a full investigation into documented abuses is reported and acted upon.

A walk/caravan to Mr. Herger’s office at Philadelphia Square on Thursday at 11am will include the giant puppet grandmother and companions featured in the city plaza on March 15th. Trinity Methodist Church pastor David Moss will conduct a teach-in on fasting for social justice at the Congressman’s office. Rev. Moss fasted at Mr. Herger’s office for over two weeks last fall to call attention to the injustice of the Iraq War.

The Grandmothers organized in 2006 to join the annual protest and vigil at the gates of Ft. Benning, Georgia to demand the closure of a controversial school housed on the U.S. Army base. At that protest grandmother CathyWebster was arrested for trespassing and served two months in Sacramento County Jail. In a previous year, another Chico grandmother, Dorothy Parker, trespassed in protest at Ft. Benning and served two months in federal prison at Dublin, CA.

Cosmetic changes and slick public relations tactics have not addressed the fundamental issues in its deeply disturbing history, including its use of "torture training manuals" and the records of human rights abuses by many of its graduates. It remains a combat training school that provides dangerous skills to countries with serious on-going human rights problems despite attempts by the congressionally-mandated Board of Visitors to address some of the concerns that have been made over the years,” said Webster.

The School of the Americas, renamed the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation in 2001, is a US-taxpayer funded military training school for Latin American soldiers located in Georgia.

1000 Grandmothers is a national coalition of grandmothers and others taking direct action to close the School of the Americas/WHINSEC.

For more information on the SOA/WHINSEC, visit http://www.soaw.org/

Apr 17, 2008

If you cannot decipher anything,
then try pulling the corner of your eyes
as if you were Chinese.