Harrison discusses rebuilding as new manager Greg Collett looks on
(Photo: Thomas Good / NLN)

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — At a fundraiser this past Saturday, progressive Democrat Steve Harrison relaunched his campaign to take the seat vacated by disgraced congressman Vito Fossella (NY-13) who has opted not to seek re-election. Harrison announced the replacement of his campaign manager and his field coordinator after controversy at the Democratic County Committee Convention split the Democratic Party on Staten Island. At the fundraiser Harrison introduced Greg Collett and David Hernandez, his new campaign manager and field coordinator, to a group of loyal supporters. Harrison also discussed the “turbulence” in his campaign that led to the replacement of some key personnel.

Harrison’s “turbulence” was directly related to the controversy surrounding the Democratic Committee of Richmond County’s nominating convention held May 28, 2008 on Staten Island. The convention endorsed conservative, pro-war Mike McMahon as the party’s standard bearer in the 2008 congressional race. The convention, however, was most notable, not for its outcome but for its controversial process, or lack thereof. Harrison left the convention vowing to fight on. He will face McMahon in a Democratic primary on September 9, 2008.

At the center of all the controversy is Richmond County Democratic Committee chairman John Gulino.


This isn’t the first time Gulino has been at the center of a controversy. In 1986 the New York Times reported that: “A member of the City Planning Commission, John P. Gulino, represented two developers in acquiring property for multimillion-dollar projects on Staten Island that are subject to approval by the commission or other city agencies, court and city records show.” {1}

Gulino resigned while being investigated by Bruce Fogarty of the NYC Department of Investigation and the United States attorney for the Eastern District. The Koch administration announced the resignation on July 3, 1986.

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Gordon Clark speaking at a UFPJ assembly, February 2005
(Photo: Thomas Good / NLN)

SILVER SPRING, Md. — 8th District congressional candidate Gordon Clark released the following statement today in response to Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Maryland-08) adding his name on June 24th as a co-sponsor of House Concurrent Resolution 362:

“It is remarkable that Rep. Van Hollen has added his name to the outrageous and provocative House Concurrent Resolution 362, a resolution that is tantamount to a declaration of war on Iran,” Clark said.

“The measure ‘demands that the President initiate an international effort to immediately and dramatically increase the economic, political, and diplomatic pressure on Iran to verifiably suspend its nuclear enrichment activities by, inter alia, prohibiting the export to Iran of all refined petroleum products; imposing stringent inspection requirements on all persons, vehicles, ships, planes, trains, and cargo entering or departing Iran; and prohibiting the international movement of all Iranian officials not involved in negotiating the suspension of Iran’s nuclear program.’

“Putting aside the fact that our own intelligence agencies concluded just last year that Iran had suspended any active nuclear weapons program, the measure to which Rep. Van Hollen has now added his signature effectively calls for a land, air, and sea blockade of Iran, which is an act of war. How else could we possibly ‘prohibit the export to Iran of all refined petroleum products,’ or ‘impose stringent inspection requirements’ on all people and cargo entering Iran?’

“We must be clear: this resolution to which Rep. Van Hollen has now added his name is unprecedented. It is not mere saber-rattling. It is practically goading the Bush Administration – or the next Administration – into starting a war with Iran.

“At a time when Israel is conducting dialogue with its adversaries Syria and Lebanon, and negotiating truces with Hamas, it is beyond comprehension that our government refuses to even speak with Iran – and that our Democratic-controlled Congress is now passing measures to escalate tensions to the boiling point.

“Rep. Van Hollen claims that the Iraq war is ‘Bush’s war,” conveniently ignoring that it is a Democratic House – which Rep. Van Hollen himself helps leads as chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee – which continues to fund the war, including the $162 billion they approved just last week. Now Rep. Van Hollen has attached his name to a measure that is a major step toward war with Iran, a conflict that would dwarf even the Iraq war in its deadly, chaotic and destabilizing effect on the Middle East and world.

“I call on Rep. Van Hollen to remove his name from H. Con. Res. 362 immediately, and to do everything in his power to keep this terribly destructive measure from passing.”

Gordon Clark is the Green Party candidate for U. S. Congress from Maryland’s 8th District.

Steve Harrison at a fundraiser for City Council candidate and Obama delegate Debi Rose (left).
(Photo: Thomas Good / NLN)

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — In another bizarre twist, Frank Powers, the millionaire Wall Street retiree the local Republican machine selected to run for disgraced Representative Vito Fossella’s congressional seat (NY-13), died yesterday. The death of the former MTA boss, at age 67, stunned local Republicans.

The Steve Harrison For Congress campaign has released a statement on the death of Powers and on the recent passage of the FISA bill. Harrison is a progressive Democrat who is seeking the congressional seat. He faces a primary with pro-war Democrat Mike McMahon on September 9th.

Steve Harrison statement on the Passing of Frank Powers:

Today, I am deeply saddened upon learning of the unfortunate passing of Frank Powers. I did not know Frank but I admired the fact that he stepped up to the plate for his party and demonstrated courage when called upon to act. I offer my heartfelt condolences to his family and friends during this difficult time.

Steve Harrison statement on FISA:

This Friday, legislation was passed that will take away constitutionally guaranteed rights. The FISA bill strips Americans of these rights and protects telecommunications companies from being held accountable by the people.

I am standing up against my own party because I believe we can have sound legislation that defends our country and, at the same time, protects our Constitution. If we are to hold our government accountable, retroactive immunity is the wrong path to go down.

It’s time to support Democrats with democratic values and principles, Democrats who will work on behalf of the American people and protect their rights. When I’m elected to Congress, I will be that Democrat.

Posted by Thorne Dreyer - June 22, 2008 | News

(Photo: Heidi Turpin / The Rag Blog)

AUSTIN, Texas — Members of the Austin peace movement demonstrated outside the Texas state capitol Friday afternoon, June 20, 2008. The vigil, organized by CodePink and MDS/Austin, was part of the monthly Iraq Moratorium demonstrations held around the country.

Staten Island organizer Sally Jones
(Photo: Thomas Good / NLN)

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — On Friday, June 20th, members of the Staten Island chapter of Movement for a Democratic Society observed the tenth Iraq Moratorium by protesting a war profiteer. Freundlich Supply Company is tucked behind a treeline on Arthur Kill Road — on the west shore of Staten Island. The company is the primary distributor of precision metal products and hardware used in the manufacture of weapons systems, guns, and aircraft used by the U.S. military.

MDS organizers said they felt it was important to demonstrate that every community is affected by the war – not only in terms of casualties sustained but also in terms of war profiteering. Freundlich, which in German means friendly, is a company very few Staten Islanders know anything about. Since 2000, the company has won over 400 Department of Defense contracts, with profits totaling in excess of $20 million dollars.

In business as a commercial manufacturer of hardware since 1940, and on Staten Island since 1992, Freundlich is now a subsidiary of Precision Aerospace Components, making them the leading distributor of metal products for use in military applications.

Members of the Staten Island chapters of MDS and Peace Action took time off from work to protest outside the company on Friday afternoon. On arrival they were met by police officers from the 123 Precinct. Although the PD deployed a patrol van, a patrol supervisor’s SUV and an unmarked car driven by a white shirted senior officer the protest proceeded without incident. Protester Richard Marini said that the community affairs officer who spoke with them was “polite and friendly”. The police said that no one could go on the company’s private property, including the parking lot. Police parked their vehicles in the company lot and remained there during the protest.

Protesters positioned themselves on the sidewalk holding signs that said “Iraq War = Freundlich Profits”, “War Profiteer Here”, “Freundlich Supply Company – Over 1 Million Dead – Still Making A Killing” and “Honk For Peace”. A number of cars honked in support of the action.

During the protest the owner of Freundlich came out to ask protesters where they got their information, insisting that the company does not manufacture parts for the military. Mike Morice told the man, “you distribute parts – you supply them to other profiteers”. The man did not dispute this and went back inside.

Members of MDS outside Freundlich Supply Co.
(Photo: Thomas Good / NLN)

At 4:30 P.M. police started their vehicles and left the Freundlich parking lot. The owner followed – locking the parking lot gate and driving off in his black Lexus. Protesters wrapped it up – briefly celebrating what they regarded as a successful action in support of Iraq Moratorium X.

The Iraq Moratorium is a coalition that asks activists to make a commitment to break the daily routine and take some action to end the War in Iraq. The moratorium is observed on the Third Friday of every month. For more information visit: www.iraqmoratorium.org

View Photos/Videos From The Action…

Posted by Billy Wharton - June 20, 2008 | News

Marvin Holland of TWU Local 100 speaking outside GHI
(Photo: David McReynolds)

NEW YORK — We had a great rally and march in NYC yesterday. About 300 people turned out in front of the office of GHI (a non-profit insurer in NY State) and we then marched to the office of United Health. Speakers included Ralph Nader, actress Vinie Burrows, Dr. Oliver Fein of the Physicians for a National Health Program, Chuck Bell from the Consumers Union and longtime socialist-pacifist activist David McReynolds. Jean Fox from the Private Health Insurance Must Go! Coalition and Billy Wharton from the Coalition Against Privatization shared duties as the MC.

We began the event by reading aloud three healthcare horror stories and holding a moment of silence dedicated to all the victims of private health insurance. The GHI section of the protest was high-energy. There is currently a proposal to “convert” GHI & HIP into a merged for-profit company. Many speakers spoke against this proposal and in favor of H.R. 676. Included here were rank-and-file trade unionists including John Powers from the United Federation of Teachers, Marvin Holland and Marty Goodman from the Transport Workers Union Local 100 and Ronald Crenshaw from District Council 37 who, despite their union leaders support of the conversion, found the courage to speak up. Ralph Nader, Dr. Fein and David McReynolds gave strong speeches demanding single-payer as both a human right and as part of the routine services that citizens demand from the government (fire, police and postal).

We then marched to United Health, a company which is housed in a massive glass monstrosity on 34th street. Vinie Burrows began this section of the march with a fine speech which highlighted the significance of Juneteenth and the overall struggle for social justice. Later, the Raging Grannies belted out some tunes including lines like “Oh Medicare, my Medicare, Why don’t you pay for Long Term Care?” We closed with a fiery speech by Ajamu Sankofa of the Private Health Insurance Must Go! Coalition and call by the MC (me!) to treat the demonstration as a beginning point for further organizing.

Media coverage was unusual. I suppose that more people in Tokyo and Rome will know about our demonstration than in New York City. Film crews from Asahi news and an Italian TV station filmed and reported on the march. Longer-term reporters from A&E and Bill Moyers Journal also turned up. In addition, several independent media sources and our main trade union newspaper picked up on the story.

To follow up, we distributed leaflets for a meeting on June 26th at 6:30 pm at 339 Lafayette Street (Buzzer #11) to discuss both the GHI/HIP privatization and the struggle for HR 676. Overall, the demonstration was quite invigorating as I felt like we were at the beginning and not the end of something.

Posted by Elaine Brower and Cheryl Abraham - June 13, 2008 | News

Dennis Kucinich
(Photo: Biographical Directory, U.S. Congress)

WASHINGTON — Monday, June 9, 2008 was an astoundingly historic night for the United States of America. In the evening a mild mannered Congressman named Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) took to the floor of the House of Representatives and began to read a startling document, a document laying out 35 articles of impeachment against George W. Bush.

For five hours Congressman Kucinich read clearly and concisely each of the 35 counts against President Bush. Occasionally taking sips from a cup, Kucinich didn’t falter, didn’t take a break, and didn’t seem to tire with the long reading, in fact right up to the last article Kucinich, with unwavering passion, said for the 35th time that evening:

“In all of these actions and decisions, President George W. Bush has acted in a manner contrary to his trust as President and Commander in Chief, and subversive of constitutional government, to the prejudice of the cause of law and justice and to the manifest injury of the people of the United States. Wherefore, President George W. Bush, by such conduct, is guilty of an impeachable offense warranting removal from office.”

These 35 astounding, criminal, impeachable, and in many cases monstrous offenses were spoken out loud for all to hear and watch on CSPAN. So where was the rest of the media, the supposed fourth estate? Where’s the in-depth public reporting on this occasion? Where’s Nancy Pelosi who has said all along that impeachment was “off the table” because she had seen no evidence for any criminal wrongdoing by the president and if anyone had such evidence could they “please let her know”. The evidence was read for the world to hear last night, it is now a matter of public record, and it couldn’t be more obvious that George W. Bush has committed an incredible amount of high crimes and misdemeanors.

Two Articles That Could be the Undoing of a President

Let’s focus on 2 key articles presented yesterday.

Article XIV states: “Misprision of a Felony, Misuse and Exposure of Classified Information And Obstruction of Justice in the Matter of Valerie Plame Wilson, Clandestine Agent of the Central Intelligence Agency.”

Article XVIII states: “Torture: Secretly Authorizing, and Encouraging the Use of Torture Against Captives in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Other Places, as a Matter of Official Policy.”

Above all the other crimes committed by George Bush, these Articles could hold the key to waking up the members of the House Judiciary Committee who have been staunchly following the line of the House Speaker by not pursuing impeachment investigations.

Interestingly enough, yesterday just a short time prior to Kucinich making his historic presentation, the House Judiciary Committee, specifically John Conyers (D-Illinois), and Jerrold Nadler (D-New York), officially “invited” Scott McClellan to testify under oath, and be subject to perjury charges should he lie, to be asked about the following matters:

(1) What role did Bush, Cheney and key administration officials take in the effort to reveal the identity of covert CIA agent Valerie Plame Wilson – thus destroying her network and putting lives in jeopardy?

(2) What role did Bush, Cheney and key administration officials take regarding the firing of U.S. Attorneys for political reasons?

(3) What role did Bush, Cheney and key administration officials take in conspiring to blatantly break U.S. and International laws prohibiting the use of torture?

Congressman Robert Wexler (D-Florida), a co-sponsor of these articles of impeachment, has been demanding that the Judiciary Committee subpoena McClellan, as well as Rove, Rice and Powell. McClellan’s testimony in conjunction with what this resolution is presenting in Articles XIV and XVII (see background information at http://www.wexlerforcongress.com/news.asp?ItemID=255), could rip open a gaping hole in this administration’s armor that will ultimately result in its destruction.

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Posted by TAG - June 9, 2008 | News

Spirits soared despite the searing heat
(Photo: Thomas Good / NLN)

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — The fourth annual Staten Island Gay Pride march created up some controversy. Initially, the NYPD had refused to issue a permit for yesterday’s march. Event organizer Jim Smith told NLN that things changed when City Council Speaker Christine Quinn got involved.

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn
(Photo: Thomas Good / NLN)

“Christine Quinn intervened with the police department and we were able to secure a permit for the streets. It’s the first year we’ve hit the streets on Staten Island,” said Smith.

Previously marches were held on the South Beach boardwalk. But this year organizers sought to increase LGBT visibility by marching in the streets. The colorful procession formed up in the St. George municipal parking lot, near the Staten Island Ferry, before beginning its one mile march. The marchers briefly halted traffic on busy Victory Boulevard as the column wound its way to the Cromwell Recreation Center on the Staten Island waterfront.

Despite unseasonably warm temperatures — the mercury rose above 90 degrees — the march was well attended and as festive as ever.

Steve Harrison, Democrat for Congress — and Gay Rights supporter
(Photo: Thomas Good / NLN)

Among those in attendance was Steve Harrison, a Democratic Party candidate for New York’s 13th Congressional District. Harrison, a Gay rights advocate, will square off in a September primary with City Council member Mike McMahon. McMahon opposes Gay marriage.

View Photos/Videos From The March…

Posted by Sally Jones - June 1, 2008 | News

Peace Action Marches In The Staten Island Memorial Day Parade
(Photo: Thomas Good / NLN)

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — May 26, 2008 — Since 1919, not long after the World War I armistice on November 11, 1918, the Staten Island community and its veterans have marched down Forest Avenue in a Memorial Day parade to remember those who have died in war. So, it was fitting that members and friends of Peace Action of Staten Island, who believe in finding alternatives to war and the death and destruction it causes, joined with the veterans, school groups, and elected officials, in commemorating the war dead.

Peace Action members in bright blue sapphire t-shirts with a dove in front and “No Nukes! No War!” in back grouped behind their big blue “Peace Action of Staten Island” banner as they headed from Hart Boulevard towards Forest Avenue Shoppers Town in Port Richmond. In front of the banner, Jay Bocchicchio and Eileen Bardel held up posters “Support the Troops with a New GI Bill” to bring attention to the call for expanded education benefits for returning Iraq War veterans. Tom Lawrence held another sign in back of the banner that read “Support the Troops, Bring Them Home!”

Peace Action Staten Island
(Photo: Thomas Good / NLN)

Parade goers along the route ranged from elderly vets in lawn chairs to tiny children sitting along the curb waving American flags. The Peace Action contingent recognized some of their neighbors, friends and co-workers along the way. Near the start, Del Eberhardt sat in his wheelchair alongside his wife Mary, cheering the group along. Some viewers did not know what to make of the message of peace in a Memorial Day parade but looked on quietly. Many on the sidelines flashed peace signs and some cheered. One woman, Carol, came up to the marchers to thank them for all their work for peace. A vet yelled from the sidelines in support of the new G.I. Bill.

Two and a half miles later, at the end of the route, the Master of Ceremonies on the reviewing stand announced “Peace Action of Staten Island!” and even Rep. Vito Fossella gave a little clap as the group passed by, feeling good that they were successful in sending out their message, “Peace is Patriotic.”

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World War Two Veterans – Members of Veterans For Peace
(Photo: Thomas Good / NLN)

NEW YORK — According to the Museum of Modern Art, Salvador Dali painted with what he called “the most imperialist fury of precision.” The goal, he said, was “to systematize confusion and thus to help discredit completely the world of reality.” One has to wonder if the architects of the Iraq War use a similar approach. On the fifth Memorial Day since the start of the war the number of U.S. military personnel killed in action in Iraq reached 4081 — with no end in sight. The exact number of Iraqi civilian deaths is unknown and unthinkable. Veterans For Peace observed Memorial Day, 2008 with a ceremony, a solemn march and calls to end the war.

On Sunday, May 25, a “Memorial Day Commemoration For Peace” was sponsored by Veterans For Peace, Vietnam Veterans Against the War, Military Families Speak Out, Gold Start Families and Women in Black. It was held in lower Manhattan, at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on Water Street. Adding a touch of the surreal to the event, speakers struggled to be heard over helicopter engine noise — the Memorial is a short distance from the Downtown Manhattan Heliport. A number of “Chinooks”, troop transport helicopters similar to those used by the First Air Cavalry in Vietnam, departed from the heliport during the proceedings — a noisy reminder that it was Fleet Week in New York City.

The commemoration opened with a Native American ceremony led by former Marine and Vietnam veteran Joe Cross. Cross, of the Caddo nation, described himself and his wife Donna Couteau Brooks as Native Americans from Oklahoma who live here now, making them “Native New Yorkers too”. Cross blessed the proceedings with a prayer and a gourd rattle as a smudge smouldered in the background and his fellow veterans looked on.

Hugh Bruce, a member of Chapter 034 of Veterans For Peace, introduced the speakers, starting with the current president of VFP, Carl Foster. Past president and well known NYC activist Pete Bronson, a Korean War era vet, followed Foster.

Bronson spoke about the role of veterans in conflicts. “We are neither war’s initiators nor its beneficiaries, we are its victims,” he said.

Abraham Lincoln Brigade Veteran Matti Mattson
(Photo: Thomas Good / NLN)

Matti Mattson, a member of the Veterans of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade told the crowd that he had waited almost 80 years for recognition for his ALB comrades but was pleased that the Mayor of San Francisco had recently honored the International Brigades with a monument. The Lincoln Brigade fought in Spain from 1936 to 1939 in an attempt to protect the elected government from a fascist coup led by General Francisco Franco. One third of those Americans who went to Spain died there. Many historians consider the Spanish Civil War the precursor of World War Two but during the war, the U.S. government called ALB soldiers “premature anti-fascists”. Consequently their heroism has received little attention from the corporate press.

“The media has ignored us…we waited almost 80 years for a monument to be erected for those volunteers who went to fight for democracy,” said Mattson.

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