Susan Livingston's blog

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Like so many of life's more significant events, we have only begun the discussion of the third annual conference of The Peace Alliance. Anyone who was there will tell you that it will take a while to process - cognitively, emotionally, and spiritually - all that we experienced. And also like many other highly significant events, the story is best told by starting with the climax - the reintroduction of the legislation to create what we are now calling the Department of Peace and Non-Violence, or H.B.3760. First, note that it is now a Bill instead of a Resolution. Resolutions become Policies when they are passed; Bills become Acts. What a small but significant distinction that one little letter creates! As your resident linguist, I will describe here the meaning of a couple of new sound bites I would like to propagate, and I invite others to respond with sound bites of their own, either from the conference or from other deliberations about the issues that make up the propeace agenda. But first, I think "proactive peacebuilding" requires a bit of explication. read more »

At a presentation tonight by Rev/Dr Smock of the U.S. Institute of Peace, I was humbled by the complexity of the issues involved in achieving peace in the world as opposed to supporting peace in the world. During the question/answer period, a man in the audience expressed a frustration I share. How can we have come so far in our knowledge and our technology and still be experiencing the simplistic, authoritarian, dogmatic narrow-mindedness of the religious right? Dr. Smock's response reminded me of the ancient law that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. The more we modernize, the more resistance to modernization there will be. The more we realize that we are all the same, the more attention will be drawn to our differences. read more »

I was gratified that Walter Cronkite solved the seeming dilemma regarding the redundancy of the DoP and the State Department. He and I would like to see the priorities reversed, especially in light of the conclusion that the Iraq fiasco was (is) the result of a failure in diplomacy. Why not demote the Secretary of State to the position of Undersecretary of International Affairs within the DoP? By the way, I've searched repeatedly through my copy of the Constitution, and nowhere do I see that a Cabinet position must be created by an act of Congress. read more »

The South is poor. The South is dumb. The South is Red.

These inescapable conclusions emerge as a result of the spotlight of national consciousness that has been shining on the South and its demographics in post-Katrina media coverage, and from the Institute for Southern Studies. Here is a sampling of their findings: read more »

The word is out. I've organized a group under the name DoP Campaign to stay at a hostel in DC for the upcoming conference. Why did I do that, when my son has graciously invited me to stay in his room at L'Enfant at no charge? It was the least I could do. It was also the most I could do. I just hope I can come up with the traveling money!

I am proud that our tiny hostel group represents at least four generations. Emily Horswill's signature line says that she has been publishing for 71 years. That makes her old enough to be my mother - maybe even my grandmother! It is clear from Emily's article in OpEd News that Dennis Kucinich is her hero. Her fondest hope for the conference is to meet him in person. I hope that he has seen her article because if he has, I know he will seek her out. read more »

I just updated my statistics on representation in The Peace Alliance, and I thought I'd share the information for those of you who keep track of such things. We are now at 59% representation nationwide and 42% in my region, the nine "red" states of the southeast.

The most recent state to achieve full representation is MI, with 15 Congressional Districts. Thank you to one of my former home states. That brings the total of "complete" states to 14 and represents 61 Congressional Districts. WA, AZ, and MN are next in size with eight or nine, then OR with five. The rest have just one or two. read more »

It has been calculated that if everyone in the United States did not purchase a drop of gasoline for one day and all at the same time, the oil companies would choke on their stockpiles. At the same time, it would hit the entire industry with a net loss of over $4.6 billion, which is enough to affect their bottom line. Therefore, September 10th has been formally declared "Stick It To Them Day," and we have been asked not to buy a single drop of gasoline that day. read more »

Barbara Boxer seemed like a promising possibility to author a DoP Bill in the Senate until she rubber-stamped a military appropriation along with the other 99 senators. She has redeemed herself in my eyes with a petition campaign that calls for immediate credibility, accountability, and responsibility on the part of the president. I was opposed to the Homeward Bound Act; it had a dark shadow. But Boxer's petition makes it clear that as thinking Americans, "we won't get fooled again." Please join me in signing it.

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I have been studying the published list of delegates to the conference. I have just had word from the state and regional leaders' teleconference that there will be meetings immediately prior to the beginning of the conference so that the members of working groups can get to know one another. These groups will work on projects together during the conference.

"But what about people like me? I'm the only one going to the conference from my state, and the states that surround mine have big enough delegations at the conference to make up working groups on their own!" I am told that eight to twelve people is the optimum size for a working group. I am also told that we are about 300 strong now with almost 20 school-age participants - and growing every day! I also notice that we have people from all over the world who are planning to come, and some states have very few delegates, so some working groups will include people who will not necessarily be working together after the conference. read more »

... is in production; I lack one session with Greg to get a second rhythm guitar track and a second vocal take with either Greg and Sonny (preferred) or Greg and me. Then I will launch it at this website so that those of you who are going to The Peace Alliance conference will be able to learn it. I sure would love to hear it sung live by a crowd at that rally on the White House lawn the morning of September 12! read more »

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