Christmas on Long Island: A walk in warm weather

Merry Christmas and Happy Winter Holidays to our friends, family, and readers.

We were surprised by the beautiful weather, and the scenes we found by the water, here in Riverhead, on Christmas. Can’t remember a Long Island Christmas quite like this one.

christmas boat1.jpg

More Christmas along the river photos at our Flickr account here:

Stop-and-Frisk Down, Safety Up: NYCLU

Stop-and-frisk incidents have fallen dramatically while crime in New Stop & FriskYork City remains at record lows, according to data analysis released by the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU). As stops fell 93 percent between 2011 and 2014, murders and shootings have plummeted and other serious crimes have dropped significantly as well.

NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman:

The NYPD [New York Police Department] does not have to choose between respecting our individual rights and keeping us safe,  As Mayor de Blasio said, ‘we’re not going back’ to the massive stop-and-frisk program of the Bloomberg and Kelly era, which alienated communities of color and sowed mistrust between New Yorkers and police. This data supports what the NYCLU has long advocated: We all want safe communities, but hyper aggressive stop-and-frisk or broken windows policing are not the answer.

The NYCLU analyzed data from the NYPD, including quarterly stop-and-frisk reports and weekly CompStat reports, since stop-and-frisk began declining from its peak of nearly 700,000 in 2011. In 2014, murders fell 35 percent from 2011 to a record low of 333. Serious crimes remained flat and shootings fell 36 percent — particularly notable because defenders of stop-and-frisk claimed the program was necessary to reduce gun violence. Current figures indicate that in 2015, murders will tick up slightly, still 33 percent below 2011, shootings will stay flat, 23 percent below 2011, and serious crimes will fall 5 percent below 2011. Despite the reported week-to-week fluctuations in crime rates, the trend toward greater public safety remains steady. This all comes as the number of stops this year will fall an expected 96 percent from their 2011 peak.

Read more »

What a Green should do about Bernie Sanders

A New Electoral Politics is Possible

Ian Wilder and Prez Candidate Cynthia McKinney.

Ian Wilder and Prez Candidate Cynthia McKinney.

This article is meant to explore an alternative to what is given as a quadrennial binary choice of either attacking a progressive Democratic Presidential candidate or an imminent existential dilemma of Green Party closing shop and submitting to him.  This article could have just as easily been written in past presidential election cycles about Kucinich as it is now written about Sanders.  I want to caution my Democratic Party friends that I see no need to widen scope of this inquiry to include corporate Democratic Leadership Conference candidates such as Clinton, Obama, Kerry, and Gore.

Before I dive into a discussion of what to do, I want to make clear that this is not merely armchair musings.  I have been in the streets as an electoral activist for over 3 decades. I have carried countless petitions; run phone banks; run campaigns: run for office myself; been a committeeperson in two different parties; and worked Presidential  conventions for two different parties.  I started in electoral politics at age 17 with my mother’s town board race, was a County Democratic Committeeman at 18 and left the Democratic Party to become a Blank voter in 1993. I came back to electoral politics in 2000 with Nader’s Green Party run (as many did); joined the Green Party; and was elected New York State Green Party co-chair within 2 years.  Though I now focus on local politics, I keep informed about the national discussions.

In a manner that is tiring to those who have been through numerous Presidential election cycles, I am watching the same argument go through Democratic party and Green Party circles regarding the latest progressive Democratic Presidential hopeful.  It’s like being stuck in the back of the car on a long trip listening to a long-married couple up front have the same argument that they have on every trip. It’s hurtful. No one wins, everyone loses, and the trip is made miserable. In that way, this discussion is not about any particular argument on any particular car trip, it is about making the whole process better for everyone regardless of the candidates or the year of the election cycle.

In working toward a better alternative, we first have to understand where we are now.  The current state of US presidential politics is based on a closed competition, much like the corporate interests that fund it. The Democratic and Republican politicians that uphold this system spend much public time tearing into each other when there is little to separate them while closing ranks to prevent any person from bringing in an ideas that offend their corporate funders. These Democratic/Republican gatekeepers make sure to censor the discussions both of those in their parties and outside their parties.  The most obvious example of this censorship is the subverting of the US Presidential debates from an exchange of ideas run by the nonpartisan League of Women Voters to an event entirely controlled by the Democratic and Republican Parties and funded by foreign corporations like Anheuser Busch. Read more »

Brookhaven fights Citizens United 12/17/15

End Corporate personhoodThis is the moment we have been waiting for!
 After months (actually years) of lobbying, we will have a Sense Resolution re-introduced to the Brookhaven Town Board, on Thursday, Dec. 17, 2015. The actual vote on the Resolution will follow the General Public Comment, if time allows, the Board must begin Public Hearings promptly at 6:30.   If this happens, the Resolution vote will follow immediately after the Public Hearings. Brookhaven Town Hall is located at One Independence Hill, Farmingville, NY 11738.
Even better, you can speak directly to the Board during the “General Public Comment” and urge them to support democracy.   Arrive at Town Hall early, between 4:30 and 5:00 (no later than 5:30, the earlier you come, the better your chances of having an opportunity to speak).   Go to the desk on the left side of the room, ask the clerk at the desk for a comment card and fill it out.  When your name is called, go to the desk with the microphones.  You have 3 minutes to speak.   You need not be a professional public speaker, just speak from your heart.
It will send a statement from the Town of Brookhaven to the State legislature that NY must be the 17th State to support a Constitutional amendment to overturn the disastrous effects of Citizens United, among other Supreme Court decisions.
Councilwoman Kepert will be introducing the Resolution.  Councilwoman Cartright will second it.

Read more »

Arlo Guthrie concert on PBS on Thanksgiving Day

Archival Photo: Arlo Guthrie, Tao Rodriguez Seeger, and the late Pete Seeger

If Arlo Guthrie’s song, Alice’s Restaurant, is one of your Thanksgiving traditions, you are in extra luck this year. Of course, you can almost always find a local station which will play the anti-war classic, “Alice’s Restaurant” at noon on Thanksgiving.* Though, this year, you can also see a whole Arlo concert in the evening!

PBS will premiere “Alice’s Restaurant 50th Anniversary Concert with Arlo Guthrie” on Thanksgiving Day 2015 (Nov. 26, 2015) on TV stations across the country (8 pm9:30 pm EST, please check local listings). A singular multi-media event, “Alice’s Restaurant 50th Anniversary Concert with Arlo Guthrie” features a recent live performance by legendary folk music icon and his deft band at The Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield, MA (May 21, 2015). -Grateful Web

Full article about the program here: Grateful Web – Guthrie on PBS

To hear Alice’s Restaurant on Thanksgiving in the NY metro area: 90.7 FM WFUV

See our PeaceCouple article on the Genius of Alice’s Restaurant

See Onthewilderside article on Guthrie and social justice, below:

What is it about the music of the Seegers and Guthries that nurtures
social justice 
workers? And, is it enough?
by Kimberly Wilder Read more »

Boog City 2015-16 NYC Events

Boog City**New York City Small Presses Night
Tues. Nov. 17, 2015, 6:30 p.m.
Sidewalk Cafe

**Boog Citys Classic Albums Live presents
For its 50th anniversary and his 75th birthday,
Phil Ochs’ I Ain’t Marching Anymore
Sun. Dec. 20, 2015, 6:00 p.m.
Sidewalk Cafe

**Readings from The Portable Boog Reader 9: New York City and Cincinnati
Sun. Jan. 17, 2016, 1:00 p.m.
Unnameable Books

**Welcome to Boog City 9.5, Poetry, Music, and Theater Festival
Fri. Feb. 12-Sun. Feb. 14, 2016
Sidewalk Cafe and Unnameable Books   Read more »

Third party anger: Libertarian & Green candidates sue debate commission

Green Party and Libertarian Party candidates join with Our America Initiative to file lawsuit against the duopoly debate commission. Ongoing coverage at Independent Political Report: here. Good mainstream news coverage below. Read more »

Denying benefits to miners with Black Lung: A conspiracy revealed

“Johns Hopkins Medicine said Wednesday that it has discontinued its black lung program, the subject of…an investigation that showed how coal companies routinely beat back sick coal miners’ disability claims with help from doctors at the nationally recognized hospital.”

Breathless and Burdened
Johns Hopkins terminates black lung program
Unit subject of Center for Public Integrity-ABC investigation
article by Jamie Smith Hopkins / September 30, 2015

Miners diagnosed with black lung — an incurable and potentially fatal disease triggered by breathing coal dust — can apply for benefits and medical care through a federal program. But the coal companies liable for those payments, aided by doctors and lawyers, have pushed back to get claims denied, the Center [The Center for Public Integrity, a nonprofit organization] and ABC News found…

Dr. Paul Wheeler, who headed the Johns Hopkins unit, has retired…Wheeler did not find a single case of severe black lung in the more than 1,500 cases decided since 2000 in which he offered an opinion…

Read the full story: here.

PeaceSmiths Coffeehouse: Friday, October 2nd

A Long Island Coffeehouse promoting peace, justice, and environmental issues. Live, local music. A great place to network with like-minded souls who are peaceniks, leftists, tree huggers, and/or activists. -ows


PeaceSmiths October Coffeehouse
Friday, Oct. 2nd
at 8pm

PeaceSmiths First-of-the-Season Coffeehouse
A fun gathering, with a long tradition

Music by Billionaire Brian
90’s covers and more by J.P. Noonan
Poet, TBA
Open Mic (Maybe you! Bring your song,
poem, joke, dance, or plan to save the earth)

Directions and Info…

Read more »

Occupy Lives! September 2015: 4th Anniversary Events in NYC

99% An Occupy Wall Street themeOccupy Wall Street has joined energy with other movements such as Black Lives Matter and New Yorkers Against Bratton to create a full day of sharing, visioning, and protesting on the fourth anniversary of Occupy Wall Street.

Thursday, September 17, 2015
Morning til night

Some FaceBook links and more info below concerning schedules and speakers.

Summary: Stuff is happening in NYC all day today. Most events are at Zuccotti Park. Be at Zuccotti at 5pm for the big Assembly visioning meeting. Then, at 7pm at Zuccotti, gathering and special speakers.


Assembly at 5pm
at Zuccotti Park…


Full schedule of activities
posted on #OWSS172015 4 year anniversary FB… Read more »

Don’t allow Luft to hijack the Green Party line for Suffolk County Family Court either

from long-time Green Party member Roger Snyder:

The other night a Green Party member said that they received a call from the Green Party about who to vote for in the September 10th Primary. It would seem strange since there are no primaries with the Green Party members running the year, and I would be aware if the Green Party was calling people.
Of course this was yet more of the deceptive actions by judicial candidates attempting to pass themselves off as Greens and take the Green Party line in this fall’s election.
I checked my voice mail and had received a call from the same candidate’s campaign, Judge Martha Luft. This is a transcript (as close as I could get it) of the phone message:

Read more »

Harkin & Hughes petitioners falsely claim Green Party backing

The audio file above was recorded about 8:20pm on June 30, 2015, when two petitioners came to my door looking for me. They were collecting signatures on petitions for candidates for Suffolk County Family Court Judge to run on the Green Party line. The judicial candidates were George Harkin of Baiting Hollow and Matthew Hughes of Huntington. One petition signature collector was Meaghan Howard, an attorney. The other petitioner was her husband, who stated that the Judge candidates Harkin and Hughes were “nominated” by the Green Party. Ms. Howard reinforced his statements by saying that the candidates are “backed” by the Green Party.

In no way were Harkin or Hughes “nominated” or “backed” by the Green Party. I have checked with the Green Party Suffolk County Chair and New York State Co-Chair: There are no Green Party judge candidates in Suffolk County. Furthermore, the current NY State Green Party rules would prevent the party from cross-endorsing these candidates. Harkin is a Republican and Hughes is a Conservative. The NY State Green Party rules prevent cross-endorsement of any of the other ballot access party candidates (Democrat, Republican, Conservative, Independence, or Working Families).

The petitioners wrongly stated that Harkin and Hughes were “nominated” and “backed” in order to falsely induce a signature on their petition.

To find out what to do in the upcoming primary, please read this post: Who to write-in for in the 9/10/15 Suffolk Green Party Primary?

–Ian Wilder

Who to write-in for in the 9/10/15 Suffolk Green Party Primary?

Vice President Dick Cheney casts his ballot in...I would personally suggest for the Thursday, September 10th Primary to write-in William Ford and Anthony Senft for Family Court Judge to keep the Republicans and Democrats from “stealing” our line in Suffolk County. And in Islip, also writing in George Harkin and Matthew Hughes for 5th District Court.  You can print this PDF to bring to the primary with you: 2015 Suffolk Green Party Primary

Let me explain.  There will be a Green Party primary in Suffolk County for Family Court Judge.  The funny thing is that no one running is a Green or particularly interested in the Green Party.  The candidates are a Republican, Conservative, and Democratic who are only interested in getting another ballot line so they can get on the bench.  Green Party members need to show them they can’t just use election law to steal our line.  I would suggest writing in two other usurpers, William Ford and Anthony Senft, in the primary to mess them all up.

Remember we all need to write-in the same people so that our votes beat the votes of anyone that doesn’t realize it’s not a real primary and innocently votes for one of the usurpers. And remember, the primary is on a Thursday, not a Tuesday, this year.  

Our Green Party members in Islip will have an additional local primary on Thursday, September 10th for Islip’s 5th District Court.  My suggestion is that they write-in two other usurpers  George Harkin and Matthew Hughes for District Court.  

Make sure to write-in, and do not vote for the pre-printed candidates, to be sure that you don’t vote for the Democrats and Republicans trying to steal our line.   Read more »

Rock the Suffolk Green Party, Fall 2015

PAULINE SALOTTI for Brookhaven Town Council, 5th District

PAULINE SALOTTI, for Brookhaven Town Council, 5th District

Candidate Pauline Salotti of Patchogue is Running for Brookhaven Town’s Fifth District Council Seat.  To learn more about Pauline and her campaign, please visit:  Pauline Salotti For Brookhaven Town Council.

Pauline will be appearing at the following events:

Sept 5-6, 2015, BRADSTOCK , Center Moriches, Check out: Bradstock for the event details

Sept 13, 1-4pm, Vegan Lunch Fundraiser, Private home in Patchogue Village, $50 a plate (100% goes toward the campaign fund of our Green Party candidate) Please RSVP by Sept 6th on the website,  Address and directions are also listed.  Also on the website you may also pay for your seat either by Pay Pal or by mailing in cash, check, or money order. Instructions for how to make out the check are also there.  Donations are appreciated and accepted.

Pauline will be speaking about environmental and additional local concerns in our own backyards, and letting us know why she is running for office, and what she intends to accomplish for our district, and Long Island.  A Q&A will follow Ms. Salotti’s address.

Oct 2, 9pm -1am, Brickhouse Brewery, Main Street, Patchogue Village Read more »

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