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Today is an International Day of Peace

September 21 is Peace Day 2006. Originated in 1981 and first celebrated in 1982.

    "All United Nations member countries agreed to a Global Ceasefire
    and day of nonviolence and peace
    in our homes, our communities
    and between nations..."

Take part...share this information and be a citizen of the world.

Please take a moment and learn more. Visit these two sites to find out what you can do locally.

International Day of Peace

Culture of Peace Initiative

Images © Reuters.

Photos from TIFF

Found By: ViggoChic
Categories: Movie Promotions
Alatriste Premiere at TIFF 9.12.06 Alatriste Premiere at TIFF 9.12.06 Alatriste Premiere at TIFF 9.12.06 Alatriste Premiere at TIFF 9.12.06 Alatriste Premiere at TIFF 9.12.06 Alatriste Premiere at TIFF 9.12.06 Alatriste Premiere at TIFF 9.12.06 Alatriste Premiere at TIFF 9.12.06 Alatriste Premiere at TIFF 9.12.06 Alatriste Premiere at TIFF 9.12.06 Alatriste Premiere at TIFF 9.12.06 Alatriste Premiere at TIFF 9.12.06 Alatriste Premiere at TIFF 9.12.06 Alatriste Premiere at TIFF 9.12.06 Alatriste Premiere at TIFF 9.12.06 Alatriste Premiere at TIFF 9.12.06 Alatriste Premiere at TIFF 9.12.06 Alatriste Premiere at TIFF 9.12.06
This time our thanks go to ViggoChic for this great montage from the Alatriste premiere at TIFF

Click on image to enlarge.

© ViggoChic. Used by permission.

Actor details his opposition to Iraq war, Bush administration

Source: The Syracuse Post Standard.
Found By: Kathie
Categories: Politics
Our thanks to Kathie for surfacing this artical from The Syracuse Post Standard.
Sunday, September 17, 2006


The cell phone rang at 11 p.m. a week or so ago. It was Viggo Mortensen, the actor made famous by the role of Aragorn, one of the heroes in "The Lord of the Rings" movie trilogy. He had traveled to northern New York to campaign for Dr. Bob Johnson, a Democrat who is a heavy underdog against Republican incumbent John McHugh in the race for New York's 23rd Congressional District seat.

Mortensen said he had "time to talk" as he drove toward the Watertown area to spend the night at his mom's. I figured that meant five minutes. Instead, he pulled his car to the side of the road and talked past midnight about why he admires and supports Johnson.

Then he called back twice to make some final points.

In short, Mortensen can't stand the Bush administration. He said the bloodshed from the war in Iraq is a result of the deception of the American people, and that Bush and his top advisers "should all be in jail, as far as I'm concerned."

And he said the most onerous tactic of the White House is contending that anyone, liberal or conservative, who disagrees with its policies fails to remember what happened on Sept. 11, 2001.

"To imply that if you have any criticism of the way this country is being governed or the way it is being represented overseas, (to imply that) if you do anything except for saying, 'Yes, sir, I want some more,' that you are being disloyal . . . that is insulting to the memory of 9/11 and those who died on that day," Mortensen said.

Johnson, a surgeon from Sackets Harbor who served as a lieutenant colonel in the Army Medical Corps, does not join in the call for impeaching Bush. But he remains opposed to the war in Iraq, calling "for an orderly withdrawal . . . in the near future."

On the war, Johnson is equally impatient with his own party. He said Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, a potential Democratic presidential candidate, reminds him of Hubert Humphrey in 1968 - when Humphrey's political tightrope walk on Vietnam hurt him in the presidential race against Richard Nixon.

McHugh, who has visited Iraq six times, recently told The Post-Standard the U.S. "is still making progress" in that nation. "We can't come home and hide under the bed," he said.

As for Mortensen and his support for Johnson, McHugh spokesman Christopher Mathey responded with this statement: "For the past 22 years in elective office, Congressman McHugh has worked hard to earn the faith, trust and support of the hard-working men and women who call New York's 23rd District home," Mathey said.

Mathey mentioned McHugh's many local endorsements, before concluding: "At the end of the day, the voters of this region will decide whose opinion matters: Those who live and work here in Upstate New York, or those who don't."

Mortensen rejected the notion that he has no business in this race. He went to high school and college in the North Country, he said, and he often returns to see his family. "It's not only a beautiful part of the world, but I spent a significant number of years here and I like the environment and the seasons and the landscape, and I also like the people," Mortensen said. "I think I'll always come back here."

He met Johnson after Mortensen delivered a commencement address in May at St. Lawrence University, his alma mater, in which he questioned why millions of Americans struggle to afford a health care plan. Johnson was intrigued because he said similar questions are what first compelled him to run for Congress.

The two men sat down and found they agreed on many things, including a shared belief that the American focus after Sept. 11 should have been on tracking down Osama bin Laden, not invading Iraq. Mortensen promised to do what he could to help, even though he knew the uphill nature of the race.

As of last week, Johnson - with no traditional political background except for running and losing two years ago against McHugh - had raised about one-fortieth of the hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign fundraising done by his opponent. If McHugh can receive big donations "from wealthy interest groups," Mortensen asked, why is it improper for one artist to say his piece?

And say his piece he did. Mortensen's final phone call dealt with why he first went public with his politics. He had grown weary, he said, of media commentators who made forced comparisons between U.S. policy in the Middle East and the "free peoples" of Middle Earth created by J.R.R. Tolkien.

Mortensen has read collections of Tolkien's letters. He knows the author was uneasy about the tactics that led to Allied victory in World War II, especially the use of atomic weapons. To emphasize that point, Mortensen underlined this passage from a letter Tolkien sent during World War II to his son Christopher, one of the rare times that Tolkien equated the real world to the heroes and villains of Middle Earth:

"For we are attempting to conquer Sauron with the ring. And we shall it (seems) succeed. But the penalty is, as you will know, to breed new Saurons, and to slowly turn Men and Elves into Orcs."

In these harsh times, Mortensen sees his country in that quote.

© 2006 Syracuse Online, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Viggo's Speech in Watertown NY

Source: Perceval Press
Categories: Speeches
Here is the transcript of Viggo's speech in support of Dr. Bob Johnson while campaigning with him in Watertown New York as posted at Perceval Press.

Transcript of 9 Sept. speech in Watertown, New York at fundraiser for Dr. Bob Johnson, Democratic party candidate for congress:

"Thank you for coming here this evening to support Dr. Bob Johnson's campaign, or at least to give him a fair hearing. It is an honour to be back in Watertown to lend a hand with his positive and forward-looking run for congress in the 23rd District. I know that I am in the right place for the right reason tonight. I recognize some familiar faces from from the schools I attended in the North Country, Watertown High School and St. Lawrence University. I also am aware of the fact that a few brave Yankee fans and Republicans have come out to see what the fuss over Bob Johnson is about. We Mets fans bid you a sincere welcome.

A couple of days ago, a man wrote a letter to the Watertown Daily Times saying, in effect, that he would not vote for Bob Johnson just because Viggo Mortensen thought he ought to. He was absolutely right. I hope he and everyone else, including all of you in this room, will educate yourselves about the issues and make up your own minds as to how you wish to vote in November. In his letter, the gentleman also used a Robert Heinlein quote to imply that my field of knowledge, owing to my profession, was relatively narrow. I am an actor, in case you did not know. I did not say: "I am just an actor". I said: "I am an actor." I do not need to apologise for my line of work, which in fact involves regular efforts to try and see the world we live in from points-of-view different than my own. Neither do I need to apologise for volunteering to help Bob Johnson receive the necessary media exposure to have his views heard more widely in this congressional district. I do not live in a Beverly Hills mansion. I do my own laundry, my own dishes, and take out the trash. I clean my house as often as seems necessary -- not that I am overly meticulous about it, as friends and family can attest to. I am an active and engaged parent, and do my best as a citizen to stay informed about current events. It does not matter if I am an actor, a plumber, a teacher, or anything else. It does not matter if I am employed and relatively well-off, or under-employed and economically disadvantaged as so many people in this part of the country are. I am a citizen of the United States of America, whose government is meant to be "of the people, by the people, and for the people". I vote, and I pay close attention to what politicians say and even closer attention to what they do. I try to keep in mind the admonition of the great teacher Plato: "One of the penalties of refusing to be involved in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors." We have certainly seen the proof of that statement in this country over the last five years or so.

It has been encouraging to see the positive reception that Bob Johnson has had over the last two days in the eastern and western ends of the district during our stops in the Plattsburgh and Oswego areas. I am only too aware of the fact that the people of Watertown and of Jefferson County share a serious problem with people of all the other counties in the 23rd District: you desperately need a new congressman. You deserve a representative who is truly in touch with your needs and concerns. A leader, like Dr. Johnson, who will not only listen to your suggestions and seriously consider the problems you face, but who will also address them constructively in Washington, D.C.

On some level it was flattering to learn of Republican candidate John McHugh's recent attacks on Bob Johnson for gaining my support. In a rather desperate effort to to mislead voters, McHugh accused Bob Johnson of having to go to Hollywood for help because of a supposed lack of locally-connected support for his campaign. As a most people in this area know, I, like Mr. McHugh, am a product of Watertown , N.Y. and its public school system. Also reasonably well-known is the fact that I attended St. Lawrence University in Canton, N.Y., and that I have family in the area that I regularly visit. Either John McHugh was out of touch with what people in his own district are well-aware of, or he was deliberately misleading voters. Neither possibility speaks well for him as a candidate that might seek to claim a measure of integrity and local relevance.

Obviously, in spite of McHugh's overwhelming advantage in terms of funding and, consequently, media access in this race, he and his handlers are apparently worried that I or anyone else might help bring Dr. Johnson's common-sense, persuasive views to the voting public. They no doubt understand that, were funds and media access equal for both candidates, the lack of substance and regional relevance of Mr. McHugh's positions on most all significant issues would likely pale in comparison to the well-reasoned and sensible positions put forward by Dr. Johnson. At least one debate, if not two or three, between the two candidates would be of great service to voters. Perhaps it is not too late to arrange this.

While we are on the subject of being responsive to the people in the 23rd Congressional District, I would hasten to point out that approximately 95% of John McHugh's campaign funds come not only from outside of this district, but outside of New York State altogether. Significantly, these funds come from defense contractors and large pharmaceutical companies -- powerful interest groups that have little if any concern for the real issues facing voters in this district. On the other hand, 95% of Bob Johnson's campaign funds come from within this district, and always from individual contributors. He will not accept financial contributions from political action committees or corporations of any kind. The resulting disparity of a nearly 10 to 1 ratio in favour of Mr. McHugh has, however, been slightly reduced in recent weeks thanks to the generosity of individual supporters like those present here this evening.

There is a kind of "Catch-22" situation that arises in our country's system of campaign financing: with a certain, considerable amount of money a candidate can buy television and radio access in order to advertise themselves and their positions. This media exposure tends, if the candidate can look and sound reasonably intelligent and pleasant, to attract more financial contributions, which buy more media access, which attracts more contributions, and so on. Without that certain, considerable amount of money in the first place, a congressional candidate is largely out of luck as far as reaching the greater voting public in his or her district goes. Although Bob Johnson has probably worked twice as hard as his opponent to repeatedly cris-cross this district in order to directly reach as many voters as possible, it will be very difficult for him to compete effectively with John McHugh if he does not gain regular access to television and radio advertising. We are here this evening in an effort to get Bob Johnson a little closer to being able to fund a significant media campaign.

Being beholden to out-of-state corporate pharmaceutical and defense industry interests, as Mr. McHugh's voting record has clearly shown him to be, does not motivate him to take a real and consistent interest in the concerns that people in the 23rd Congressional district have over the serious deficiencies of our health care system, or in the concerns of the average man or woman serving in the military. It is not enough to pose for photos at a hospital or at Fort Drum. Speaking of fort Drum: Mr. McHugh has more than once taken credit for its continued existence, and the resulting economic benefits to the district. For the sake of accuracy, it must be pointed out that Fort Drum continues to exist, and the 10th Mountain Division continues to make its home there because the military authorities in our country think it a good idea -- not because of anything Mr. McHugh might do or say, and not because of anything that Bob Johnson might do or say either. The difference between the two candidates is that Dr. Johnson would never stoop so low as to take such credit.

It is, in fact, tiresome to see Mr. McHugh continually wrap himself in the flag and use military personnel as backdrops for his photo opportunities, as so many George Bush Republicans across the country have a habit of doing. Dr. Johnson, who actually volunteered and served in the U.S. Army as a Lieutenant Colonel at the time of the first Gulf War, has a practical understanding of the needs of U.S. servicemen and -women. He has also had the courage to support our troops by demanding, as other brave individuals like former Marine John Murtaugh of Pennsylvania has, that they be used wisely and properly equipped for combat. Bob Johnson has been clear about backing a real and consistent pursuit of those responsible for the attacks on the United States on the 11th of September, 2001, fully supporting the hunt for Osama Bin Laden and his cohorts in Afghanistan and elsewhere. He has also, unlike George Bush's yes-men, which unfortunately include John McHugh, had the courage to speak out strongly against the tragically misguided invasion of Iraq and the totally unnecessary, wasteful ongoing occupation of that country. Like any sensible candidate, or any responsible American citizen, Bob Johnson believes we should never carelessly spend the people's money or the people's blood.

Bob Johnson would never attempt, as Mr. Bush and Mr. McHugh have in the lead-up to recent elections, to effectively stake a claim to "9/11" by using the tragedies visited on our country on that day five years ago as a test of absolute, unswerving allegiance to their narrow, partisan political agendas. Neither George Bush nor anyone else in the Republican party or any other party owns those tragic events or their symbols. It is in the poorest taste for Bush Republicans to have repeatedly attempted to do this. It is a grave insult to the memories of those who perished as a result of the terrorist attacks on that day, as well as being an ongoing affront to the friends and families that survive them. This effrontery alone ought to disqualify those culpable of using "9/11" as an all-purpose campaign slogan and moral battering ram from holding any office.

It is interesting to note that Mr. McHugh has of late attempted, like so many other Bush Republicans across the country, to gently distance himself from Mr. Bush and his administration's failing records in foreign policy matters, management of the economy, the environment, and most any significant national or regional issue. He has attempted to do this by calling himself a "moderate", which he most certainly is not, and by making much of his relatively minor differences of opinion with Mr. Bush on a couple of non-pivotal matters. Voters, however, are no longer buying Mr. McHugh's tired, nationally interchangeable and locally meaningless soundbites that can be heard from all Bush loyalists across the country. Please do not think that I have a personal dislike for John McHugh. I do not really know him, but I certainly have a soft spot for him since we both can call Watertown "home". I've heard that he is a nice man, who speaks nicely and is apparently unfailingly polite. "Nice", however, does not suffice. Although, contrary to received wisdom, "nice" guys like John McHugh have in fact often finished first in recent elections, this has meant that the people have finished last.

I know that Dr. Johnson will speak more specifically and eloquently to the important issues of the campaign than I have. Before presenting him, I would leave you with this: A good, responsible candidate must represent the people, and be answerable to them for guidance and support - not beholden to large out-of-state corporate interests as John McHugh is. We are very fortunate to have Bob Johnson running in this district. He is not a professional, well-subsidized, career politician. He is a full-time doctor and an army veteran who cares, a concerned citizen who is offering his time and passion to you, not to Big Business. He deserves and will continue to earn your support, as he has mine. Please join me in welcoming the next congressman from New York's 23rd District -- Dr. Bob Johnson. "
To find out ways to support Dr. Bob Johnson's campaign, visit

© Viggo Mortensen/Perceval Press.

Photos from TIFF

Found By: Roadkillrabbit
Alatriste Premiere at TIFF 9.12.06 Alatriste Premiere at TIFF 9.12.06 Alatriste Premiere at TIFF 9.12.06 Alatriste Premiere at TIFF 9.12.06
Our thanks to Roadkillrabbit for sharing her photos taken at the Alatriste premiere at TIFF.

Click on image to enlarge.

Images © Roadkillrabbit. Used by permission.

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Last edited: 12 February 2019 09:50:13