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Posted 1/12/2005 10:08 PM
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On Jan. 20, war protest will turn on a 'Dime'
There's a movement afoot, and the interesting thing is this: No one knows where it began.

It's called "Not One Damn Dime Day," and it means just that. Proponents urge Americans not to spend any money on Jan. 20, Inauguration Day, to protest President Bush's policies in Iraq and the estimated $30 million to $40 million cost of the inauguration.

You might already have received the plea in your morning e-mails. If so, it probably was sent to you by friends or family, because the e-mail encourages everyone to share the contents with as many people as possible. And people have.

The message is simple: "Those who oppose what is happening in our name in Iraq can speak up with a 24-hour national boycott of all forms of consumer spending."

But no one seems to know who fired off that initial e-mail. Not even retired PBS host Bill Moyers, whose name was attached to some of the missives.

Despite his well-known liberal leanings, "I wouldn't sign a petition if it was one asking Jesus to come back," Moyers says. "It's just not something journalists should do."

The creators of, Laura Carmen Arena and Jesse Gordon of Cambridge, Mass., don't have a clue who wrote the message either. They received it in their inbox like everyone else.

"After we went back a couple of people, the trail went cold," says Gordon. "No one has stepped forward to claim ownership."

Thousands of blogs and online forums have posted the e-mail, which began making the rounds in mid-December. Some speculate the message is a hoax. And others champion variations on the theme, from "Gasoline Boycott Day" (don't buy gas) to "Black Thursday (call in sick to work).

Gordon's site has been picking up steam since New Year's, especially with media attention from such outlets as the Houston Chronicle and Pacifica Radio. It's nearing 18,000 hits a day.

Some, both Democrat and Republican, aren't buying it.

"If you want to hit 'em where it hurts, get hold of a list of the president's top campaign contributors and vow Not One Damn Dime to those people's businesses for as long as we remain in Iraq," suggests D.J. Fone, 41, of San Diego.

In announcing the inaugural theme of "Celebrating Freedom, Honoring Service," Jeanne Phillips of the Presidential Inaugural Committee stressed that events honor the military. "We recognize this time that we are a nation at war," she says.

Others applaud the "Not One Damn Dime" concept but think "they got the date wrong. It should be April 15," says J.A. McErlean, 50, of Farmington Hills, Mich.

But participation is easy, urges the movement's originator, whomever he or she may be: "On 'Not One Damn Dime Day,' you take action by doing nothing."

Contributing: Marco R. della Cava, Maria Puente