Peninsula Peace & Justice Notes


Minutes for Organizational Meeting
Wednesday, January 8, 2020, at 12:00 p.m.
Blue Hill Public Library
Bonnie, Steve, Dud, Connie, Ron, Judy, Peter


Judy reports, as treasurer, that we are doing fine financially. As of the start of today’s meeting, our treasury held $343. We had received $143 in donations since June 2019.


We agreed to donate $100 to Blue Hill Public Library, with gratitude for use of its premises for meetings and presentations. Peter will bring a check to the library. The donation is made in memory of Donald Gellers, tribal attorney who waged a long battle representing the treaty rights of the Passamaquoddy.


Deb Marshall and Olenka are interested in the possibilities of forming an Extinction Rebellion group in Blue Hill. We’ve learned that College of the Atlantic has been developing an XR group. Steve will let Deb and Olenka know of next time there is an open meeting of the group in Belfast, the first Sunday of each month from 3 to 5 pm, so they can learn more about that group’s functioning, if they choose to.


We decide to take the Peace on Earth signs down later rather than sooner, date to be arranged after January, given the state of USAmerican foreign policy and tensions at this time. Dud has offered to help with his truck and ladder.


Bonnie previewed The Corporate Coup D’etat, finding it less than satisfying as a film and as information. Peter will preview the film to see if he has a different take.


Bonnie reports that in the Alliance for Democracy council call on 1/7/20, there was discussion of water issues, including PFOAs in use by USA military and others, such that carcinogens are contaminating numerous local water systems.


We agree on showing Dark Money on Friday January 31 at 7:00 pm. Steve will make a press release and set up the projection that night. Peter will prepare posters. The film explores the machinations of deceptive, covert out-of-state influence in campaigns to defeat familiar, trusted candidates for legislative offices in the state of Montana, in favor of corruptible neoliberal candidates.


Steve agrees with Connie on the idea of PPJ potentially screening the recent documentary film The nuns, the priests, and the bombs, which she has acquired. The action of the Plowshares group to address the risks of nuclear armaments’ use and misuse is the focus of film.


Our next organizational meeting is scheduled for the Bass Room, in the Blue Hill Library, at 12:00 noon on February 5, 2020.


— Notes by Steve Benson 

Peninsula Peace & Justice
P.O. Box 1257
Blue Hill ME 04614

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film: DARK MONEY, Blue Hill, Friday, January 31



Film on Dark Money in Elections


BLUE HILL — Friday, January 31 at 7 p.m. at Blue Hill Library, Peninsula Peace & Justice will screen a 2018 film tracking the effects of out-of-state corporate money and influence in the American political system in the era of super PACS and Citizens United. “Dark Money” refers to election campaign financing from sources that remain undisclosed.


Director Kimberly Reed focuses on a Montana reporter following corporate money and aggressive advertising through a campaign season for state legislators. The film makes evident a quiet but dramatic revolution in state and national politics.


This prize-winning movie was heralded by Variety for “telling a complex, multi-issue story with a large number of players, in admirably cogent terms.” The drama it shares resonates throughout our nation’s political processes.


The event is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served. For more information, call 610-0396.



Peninsula Peace & Justice
P.O. Box 1257
Blue Hill, ME 04614



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Fwd: Work of Necessity, Work of Choice – Carolyn Coe

Carolyn’s report also published in Common Dreams: 

Begin forwarded message:

From: Voices for Creative Nonviolence <>
Subject: Work of Necessity, Work of Choice – Carolyn Coe

Carolyn Coe writes of her recent stay with the Afghan Peace Volunteers in Kabul.

Work of Necessity, Work of Choice 
Carolyn Coe
January 2, 2020

At age 11, Saabir Gulmadin began chopping wood to support his family. Now 18, he earns about $1.50 US (120 Afghanis) for every 56 kg of wood he splits. It takes him 2 to 3 hours.

“Is the work hard on your body?” I ask.

“Ohhh, yes,” he says, without hesitation.

“Where does it hurt?”

Saabir raises his right hand to give his thin upper arm a couple of squeezes.

Saabir supports the 8 Pashtun family members in their home in Kabul, Afghanistan. His father died from an illness when Saabir was 6, and by age 8, Saabir was working in the streets, transporting items in a wheelbarrow.

A few days ago, the House of the Afghan Parliament approved a law on the protection of children, but it only addresses, in principle, children age 5 and younger. At least a quarter of Afghan children ages 5 to 14 work. With no social safety net, few avenues exist for families to meet basic needs. Given the decades of war, extreme poverty, and the highest number of drug addicts in the world, families in Afghanistan who have lost their breadwinner are often left with two choices: send a child out to work or join the 219 million forcibly displaced migrants, seeking food and physical safety.

A group of Afghan high school and university students, the Afghan Peace Volunteers (APVs), is taking a step to increase families’ financial security with a program that teaches Afghan teenagers a trade. Instead of calling for a blanket ban on child labor, they believe that if a youth is taught a trade to earn money for food and other necessities, this training may in fact enable that youth to stay in school.

Having studied at the APVs’ Street Kids School for almost two years, Saabir recently joined a course to learn how to repair cell phones. In past years, students at the Street Kids School would receive a monthly food ration of rice, lentils, oil, and other basic food items if they regularly attended the school’s nonviolence and literacy classes, but the APV youth coordinators have decided to shift from running the food distribution program to offering training in livelihood skills.

Twenty-one self-selected students from the Street Kids School age 13 and older, and 3 family members of younger students, are taking the repair course at the private Gharejestan University in Kabul.

During a recent class, some students brought their own cell phones to class, and as in the US, could not resist checking messages as the instructor talked about “factory reset” and “safe mode.” Mohammad Haidary, age 16, sat in the front of the classroom, listening attentively and asking questions. During the first two weeks, Mohammad has learned the parts of a cell phone, the problems that arise when a SIM card is faulty, and how improper language settings can turn recognizable speech in SMS messages to a series of squares and question marks.

Like Saabir, Mohammad started working young, at about age 9 or 10, joining Hazara family members in weaving carpets at home. He is taking the cell phone repair course because he wants to be able to repair his own phone if something goes wrong, or the phones of his friends. The repair shops charge high prices for a simple problem, he says. He also believes he’ll be able to find a better job and be able to keep attending school. “It takes me a month, together with my family members, to weave a carpet,” Mohammad says, often working all day and therefore unable to attend school. “But with the repair of mobile phones, I don’t have to use the whole day, and the income is higher.”

Mohammad values having his own phone to review school lessons shared digitally by his teachers and to listen to downloaded English audio lessons. He agrees with the transition from providing food gifts to teaching a trade: “I may be able to find a job in the future, and that will, in fact, enable me to have an income. . . . With that income, I can also, then, meet my food needs.”

Among the youngest in the repair course is Gul Mohammad Jamshadi, 14, from the Uzbek ethnic group. The cut off is age 13, in part because Afghans would be unlikely to trust in him for a repair if he were much younger.

Gul Mohammad started selling bread in a bakery when he was 8. Now he works in a provisions shop, earning 200 Afghanis per week, about $2.50 US. This weekly pay is just double the cost of what a Kabul repair shop charges to replace a phone charger.

Gul Mohammad works to support his mother, his unmarried sister, and himself. His elder brother was killed, and his father has passed away. He says he doesn’t have the tools or phone parts to practice at home what he learns in class, but he studies his course book.

If children like himself had a choice, Gul Mohammad thinks it better that they be able to study instead of having to work, better if the government would ensure that the needs of children were met. He values an education and doesn’t want to join the estimated 1.6 million addicts in the country. When the course ends, Gul Mohammad plans to work part time repairing phones while continuing in school. “If I don’t study, I could become like some people who stop studying and become addicts and who can’t find any job to support their families.” 

Carolyn Coe traveled to Afghanistan on behalf of Voices for Creative Nonviolence ( to visit the Afghan Peace Volunteers ( in Kabul. She lives in Maine. For more information, contact

Photos: Top: Saabir Gulmadin, left, works with a fellow Street Kids School student during a cell phone repair course at Gharejestan University. Bottom: Gul Mohammad Jamshadi, left, solders parts to a motherboard. Mohammad Haidary, wearing a hat, works to his left.

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LWV-Downeast Monthly Meetings

Martha Dickinson
40 Washington Street
Ellsworth, ME 04605

Meeting monthly on the 2nd Saturday of the month
Moore Community Center, 125 State St., Ellsworth
Lunch is offered, $10 suggested contribution


Please join us and bring a friend.
See below for more information about upcoming programs.

Saturday, January 11, 12:00 noon 
Moore Community Center, 125 State St., Ellsworth
Who Counts? The Promise and Peril of the 2020 Census
With Penelope Hamblin

The 2020 Census is a high-stakes endeavor with very significant political and economic consequences for Maine. We’ll talk about next year’s Census and why it’s so important, how the data is used, and how it will roll out in 2020. We’ll also talk about some special threats to an accurate count this year and what we can do – what the League is doing – to help ensure a complete count.
Penelope Hamblin is a semi-retired public librarian and Census nerd. She heads the Census Complete Count Committee of the League of Women Voters of Maine. Penelope also serves on the League’s state Board of Directors. She lives in South Portland with her husband, Willis. For fun, she researches Maine history, visits old cemeteries, and plays old-time music on fiddle, banjo and ukulele. 

Saturday, February 8, 12:00 noon 
Moore Community Center, 125 State St., Ellsworth

Presidential Primaries and Caucuses: How are They Going to Work in Hancock County?

Maine’s first presidential primary in 20 years will be held on March 3 this year. How is it going to work? How will the parties use the election results to allocate convention delegates to their national party conventions? Do we still have municipal party caucuses? Join us to learn more.

Our guests will be Hancock County Democratic Party Chair, Al Judd, and former Republican State Senator Richard Rosen.


If you are not already a member of the League, we need your help now to carry out our mission and to strengthen our democracy.
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Portland, ME  04112-8187

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Fwd: Iran’s other side

Thinking about Iran.

From: Rick Traub <>

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Iran’s Other Side

Iran was formerly called Persia, politics aside, in these uncertain times its useful to remember the rich cultural heritage of one of the worlds oldest civilizations.

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Fwd: No to War on Iran Action, Jan. 7, Bangor

From: Christina Diebold <>

Say No to War on Iran January 7


War with Iran would be catastrophic in so many ways. It is unacceptable that one person could lead us there. Congress needs to exercise its authority, take a stand and be accountable. We as citizens need to demand this of our elected representatives.


On Tuesday, January 7, we’ll do that. We’ll meet at 11:30 a.m. at the Peace and Justice Center, 96 Harlow Street in Bangor, to plan strategy and pick up signs, or bring your own. Then some of us will visit the offices of Senators Susan Collins and Angus King in the Federal Building while others demonstrate outside from noon to 12:30. We will then visit the office of Representative Jared Golden at 6 State Street.


Attached is a petition. Please print it out, get as many names as you can, and bring it with you. Also attached, information from the Friends Committee on National Legislation. 


Now is the time to act!

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No war on Iran

Folks are gathering at the Union River bridge in Ellsworth at noon to say No to war on Iran. See Martha Sent from my iPad _______________________________________________ HCCN mailing list

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Hands Off Iran

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Recycling Reform Program January 9 in Ellsworth

Everyone is welcome to attend!

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Impeachment Rally in elllsworth

 I know this is last minute but join us in Ellsworth if you can’t make it to Bangor or Bar Harbor

Tonight at 5:30 pm, we will take to the streets to demand that Congress Impeach & Remove to show that Donald Trump is not above the law!

Please mark your calendar, plan to be there, and invite your friends.

Here’s the information:
VENUE: Union River Bridge
ADDRESS:Corner of W. Main and State Street, Ellsworth, ME 04605
TIME:5:30 pm

Bring flashlight or LED candle.

Note: this event is not listed on but please help us get the word out by sharing widely.
Martha Dickinson
40 Washington Street
Ellsworth, ME 04605

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