Statements from the Band of Rebels Picnic

Bakken Crude and Water in Finger Lakes Region

1. Bakken crude oil is more volatile than heavy crude oil, and rail tankers currently in use are prone to rupture when derailed. Since 2013, twelve accidents have occurred involving tankers carrying oil, much of it Bakken crude, in the U.S. and Canada, always almost always resulting in large spills and sometimes in explosive fires. Trains of tankers roll through Rochester. “Mothersoutfront” is an organization working to address the dangers of current transport practice.

2. Tourism in the Finger Lakes, the wine industry, and agriculture broadly have deep importance, deep investment, in New York State, and each critically depend on good fresh water. New York is blessed with water, yet a threat from hydrofracking remains. It is critical now to move the temporary ban on fracking to permanent status.

Tim Sullivan


Social Security and Medicare

This year marks the 80th anniversary of Social Security and the 50th for Medicare and Medicaid.

*There is a retirement security crisis in the US since older workers will have to work longer and are anxious about retirement.
*A comprehensive national solution must address the severe gender and racial disparities in wealth and retirement income.
*Social Security and SSI must be preserved and strengthened and a majority of Americans favor expanding it, yet many in Washington are determined to cut it.
*Two out of three seniors rely on SS for most of their income.
*SS should be expanded and funded by wealthy individuals paying SS contributions on all of their earnings beyond $118,500 limit.

*Medicare is fully funded through 2030.
*In addition to enhancing Medicare’s benefits, the ACA (Obamacare) will save Medicare more than $700 billion in wasteful spending over the next 10 years.
*The way to rein in costs — getting providers to become more efficient and deliver care in more cost effective ways.
*Ways to improve Medicare: budget proposals that allow the federal government to negotiate prices for medicines, restoring Medicare’s ability to benefit from the same drug discounts that Medicaid receives, and closure of the donut hole.

The White House Conference on the Aging on July 13 (conference every 10 years) — 19 groups are urging the WH to include SS expansion as a key piece of it’s policy agenda. (YOU CAN SIGN PETITION at Alliance for Retired Americans or Social Security Works).

Republican candidates for president want to cut SS and Medicare and there are senate democrats that want this also.
Senator Claire McCaskill recently pointed out that Bernie Sanders is a socialist and has extreme views because “he wants Medicare for all in this country and would like to see expansion of entitlement.”

(Sources: Alliance for Retired Americans  and Huffington Post)

Jo Cummings


Peace Action and Education

RAW is once again Peace Action & Education, the antiwar task force of Metro Justice. It recently organized an unusually well reported Memorial Day Peace Parade. Its members are focused on the latest US war efforts: ongoing drone killings, Iraq/ Syria escalations vs ISIS, and growing hostilities against Russia and China.

Three excellent books trace the history of weaponized drones. The first is an insider’s detailed account of the development and first deployment of weaponized drones targeting Bin Laden (before 9/11). The other two books are brilliant critical analyses of the politics of US drone killings and their contradictions (like: why does a drone designed to “precisely” target an individual use an anti-tank missile?)

Richard Whittle, PREDATOR: The Secret Origins of the Drone Revolution
Andrew Cockburn, KILL CHAIN: The Rise of the High-Tech Assassins
Grégoire Chamayou, A Theory of the Drone

The latest news from Upstate anti-drone activists at Hancock Air Base near Syracuse:
On Saturday, four activists were found guilty of trespassing for attempting to read aloud outside the Base a list of children killed by U.S. drones. The judge, once again, did not allow expert defense testimony on international law, the rationale for the activism.
These links elucidate the rise and threat of ISIS and the US military options:

The Rise of ISIS and the Origins of the New Middle East War by TARIQ ALI and PATRICK COCKBURN  (Patrick Cockburn is by far the best source on ISIS)

Bombing ISIS Into Existence by Jony Wight  (compares ISIS emergence in Iraq to Khmer Rouge rise in Cambodia after US bombing)

These links explain Obama’s urgent push for the Transpacific Partnership, Hillary’s seminal role, and the refocused military policy from the Middle East to Asia (Russia and China):

Why is Obama Goading China? by MIKE WHITNEY

China Syndrome by MIKE WHITNEY

Wall Street Journal Interview Transcript: President Obama on TPP, China, Japan, Pope Francis, Cuba

America’s Pacific Century by Hillary Clinton in Foreign Policy

Some administration officials defend trade pact as national security policy in Washington Post

Doug Noble

 Take Back the Land

Housing-rights group seeks changes to eviction policies by Housing-rights group seeks changes to eviction policies by Meghan M. McDermott in D&C

The video below shows the police taking Joe Woods’ daughter as collateral to coerce Joe to turn over his house to MidFirst Bank.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines ‘ransom’ as a consideration paid or demanded for the release of someone in captivity. The Rochester Police held Audrey for ransom in a civil matter between Joe Woods and a commercial entity headquartered in Oklahoma.

Audrey awoke that morning to find her home being surrounded with crime tape. She went outside to see what was happening, and was told that they had a half hour to vacate. However, when Audrey attempted to go back in, she was told she would be arrested if she did. Upon insisting and entering the house, she was taken into custody.

This video shows Audrey being arrested, and then shows her sisters being allowed to reenter the house.

Shortly after, the police informed Joe that Audrey would be released to him with no charges filed if he abandoned the home and went with them to get her. Joe complied because he was concerned about his daughter. He followed them to a nearby quick shop where she was released, but a charge of obstructing government administration was still filed, despite the promise made to Joe.



Mayor Warren: 428-7045 Email
Chief Ciminelli: 428-7033 Email

Mike Connelly

 Witness Palestine Film Series

Announcing 2015 screening dates

Elaine Johnson


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