Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Article by David Swanson

Tim Kaine’s War Scam Hits a Speed Bump
By David Swanson

Virginia ought to be in the running for worst U.S. senators in the country, a couple of walking catastrophes empowered in part by their status as Democrats and, in one case, the status of rightful Vice President if not for various outrages, real (the Electoral College, vote suppression) and imagined (Vladimir Putin’s evil manipulation of the time-space continuum). While Senator Mark Warner loves him some torturers he can confirm to high office, Tim Kaine has bigger plans.

Senator Tim Kaine has short- and long-term scams for permawar. But his short-term racket just ran into an obstacle. When Kaine proposes a new AUMF (Authorization for the Use of Military Force, a.k.a. formal renunciation of Congressional war powers), he pretends it’s a means of taking war powers back for Congress from presidents. That pretense has just become a lot harder to maintain, because Senator Jeff Merkley has announced that he will introduce a new AUMF that actually does what Kaine falsely claims his does. In fact, 50 members of Congress have just signed a letter backing actual, rather than pretend, retaking of war powers for Congress. 

According to Congresswoman Barbara Lee, “After 16+ years of war, the last thing we need is another blank check like #CorkerKaine.” (The reference is to the AUMF proposed by Kaine and Senator Bob Corker, Republican of Tennessee.) Even the ACLU, which only just this year began opposing wars, has joined other groups in opposing Senators Kaine’s and Corker’s duplicitous efforts to bestow royal war powers on the White House.

Now, any AUMF unconstitutionally circumvents a real declaration of war, and utterly fails to in any way legalize the international crime of waging war, which is banned with narrow exceptions by the UN Charter and without exceptions by the Kellogg-Briand Pact. But an AUMF as broad as Kaine’s is significantly more dangerous than one with greater limitations.

Then there’s the long-term strategy. The War Powers Act of 1973 unconstitutionally circumvents the Constitution’s provision of war powers to Congress, and utterly fails to in any way legalize the crime of war. But the existing War Powers Act is highly preferable to Senators Tim Kaine’s and John McCain’s (Republican, Arizona) War Powers Consultation Act. The Constitution gives the power to declare war to Congress. The existing War Powers Act requires a president who launches a war on his/her own to notify Congress within 48 hours and to end it within 60 days unless Congress authorizes it. The McCain/Kaine bill would repeal the War Powers Act, turn Congress into an impotent consulting firm, and arrange for a vote without consequences on “approval” of each war within 30 days of its start. Only if Congress voted down “approval” would its invertebrate members vote on “disapproval.” And if they passed “disapproval,” nothing would follow from that. This amounts to nothing less than unconstitutionally bestowing the power to make war on the president.

That, of course, is something that everyone would expect of John McCain and nobody will believe of Tim Kaine even if he succeeds in doing it. But you can read the bill. Like most direct sources of information it is shorter than the commentary on it, and leaves little doubt what it would accomplish.

What can be done? I’d propose a 4-step program.

1 Admit that we have a problem.
2 Read the bills, ignore the rhetoric.
3 Persuade some member of either house of Congress to introduce a better war powers bill, as Senator Merkley has proposed to introduce a better AUMF.

4 Introduce into U.S. schools the existence of the U.N. Charter, what it says, what it means, and the understanding that laws do not cease to be laws based on whether a legislature or an executive violates them.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Upcoming events for the week of May 20, 2018


UPCOMING EVENTS CALENDAR BY DANCEWATER

05/21/18 ASHEVILLE SURJ WEEKLY MEETING
Asheville SURJ weekly evening meeting: Monday, 6:30-8:30pm at Asheville Unitarian Universalist Congregation (downstairs main building). Accountability group for folks seeking to focus on anti-racism work. Meetings include opportunities such as discussion, educational opportunities, or role-playing difficult conversations, and building connections. For more info email avlsurj@gmail.com. 

05/21/18 CITIZENS CLIMATE LOBBY MEETING
Time is 6:30-8:30pm and location is Habitat Brewing Company, Tavern & Commons at 174 Broadway Street in Asheville. Our new location has many great opportunities for us that hopefully will attract more members to enjoy beer and food while enjoying the discussion. However donations are needed to keep using this space so please bring $5-10. No contact information.

05/21/18 TRANSITION ASHEVILLE SOCIAL
Transition Asheville Social - Date: 05/21/2018 - Time: 6:30 pm – 8:00pm. Place is Parrish Hall at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church at 337 Charlotte Street in Asheville (parking available on street or off Evelyn Alley north of the church). Presentation Topic: Why and How to Resist Nuclear Weapons. Our presenter, Dot Sulock, taught Mathematics, Humanities and International Studies at the University of North Carolina at Asheville (UNCA) for 40 years and retired two years ago.  She has been teaching at Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) since its founding, mainly teaching about renewable energy, nuclear weapons nonproliferation, nuclear power, missile defense, and the United Nations. For more information contact Rebecca Mahan (812-334-0176) or palmtree747@gmail.com. Snacks and socializing will begin at 6:30 PM. 

05/21/18 DEMOCRACY ASHEVILLE COALITION MEETING
Please join us for the next Democracy Asheville Coalition Meeting on Monday, May 21. We'll meet to celebrate our collective successes in recent phone banks, Election Protection on Election Day, and plan out what's next this summer. We will also discuss what's next in the fight for Fair Courts. WHEN: Monday, May 21, 6:00 - 7:30 PM. WHERE: Dr. Wesley Grant Southside Center (285 Livingston St., Asheville 28801). Please RSVP to let us know you're coming. Contact Darlene Azarmi at 828-216-3430 or darlene@democracy-nc.org with questions and instructions on how to register. What is the Democracy Asheville Coalition?  Our Local Coalition brings together organizational representatives and individuals who agree to work together to change and use the political system so it equips people to take action, promotes grassroots leadership, and serves “the good of the whole.” We want an elections process that is accessible, fair, and secure. And we want a government “of, by, and for the people,” that fosters equity, solidarity, and justice.

05/22/18 ASHEVILLE SURJ DO!SCUSSION
ASURJ Do!scussion: Tuesdays, 10:30 AM to12 PM in the backroom of Firestorm, Road in Asheville. A safe space to come together and talk about issues relating to dismantling white supremacy and confronting racism with a focus on what we can do to make a change, in ourselves, our communities, and beyond. All are welcome. Led by Matilda Bliss. ASURJ Do-Session: Tuesdays, noon-2pm, at a member’s residence. Meet us at 12:30 PM at Kairos West (right below Firestorm) and walk with us down there. This is a weekly space to do something to support accountability partners in their work. Letter-writing, list-making, social media work are just a few examples of what we will do to show up for racial justice Tuesday at the Do-Session. Bring your laptop and phone and help us out. For more details on any and all ASURJ meetings, email avlsurj@gmail.com.

05/22/18 VETERANS FOR PEACE VIGIL - BECAUSE THE WARS STILL GO ON
Every Tuesday, Veterans for Peace Chapter 099 holds a vigil at Vance Monument in downtown Asheville. Time is 4:30 PM. This has been happening since 2002. No matter the weather, no matter if it falls on a holiday, they are out there standing for peace. 

05/22/18 CREATION CARE ALLIANCE EVENT
Join us and Mountaintrue for these opportunities to connect and make a difference for the Planet and People. CCA-Meet and Greet with Wake Forest University Intern Holly Cunningham is on Tuesday, May 22, from 6-7pm. Location is New Belgium Brewing at 21 Craven Street in Asheville. Come meet Holly Cunningham, 3rd Year student at Wake Forest School of Divinity and hear about her desire to support people at the intersection of justice, faith, and sustainability.  Holly will be sharing about the upcoming work of CCA and the Summer book study on Active Hope by Joanna Macy. Holly Cunningham, a CBF Leadership Scholar, is from Louisville, Ky., and has worked as an elementary school teacher for three years.  All are welcome to join us.  

05/22/18 HOOD TALK EVENT
Hood Talk Presents: Isaac Coleman Live. Join us on Tuesday, May 22 at 6 pm at the Burton Street Center on Burton Street for Hood Talk. You will hear about projects happening in our neighborhoods, particularly ones led by Buncombe County Government Isaac Coleman grant recipients, and how you can support them. Come find out what is going on in our neighborhoods. Sponsored by Burton Street Community Association and Buncombe County. Contact Hood Huggers at info@hoodhuggers.com for more information. 

05/23/18 VOTER REGISTRATION TRAINING IN ASHEVILLE
Voter registration training will be on Wednesday, May 23, from 6 to 7 PM. Location is Buncombe County Democratic Party Headquarters at 951 Old Fairview Road in Asheville. Learn how to register voters in a friendly, informed, and nonpartisan way! Pizza will be provided. Contact Nan Cole at bcdpvolunteers@gmail.com for more information.

05/24/18 MODERN ISSUES SERIES
Modern Issues Series: Rural Broadband will be on Thursday May 24th, from 6:30pm - 8:30pm. Location is Kairos West Community Center, 610 Haywood Road in Asheville. Join Buncombe County Young Democrats and NC House Representative Brian Turner to discuss the importance of high-speed broadband internet, and how we can work to better connect our local rural communities. The Modern Issues Series is a monthly forum dedicated to presenting an opportunity for young, progressive voices to meet, discuss, and take action on the defining issues we face today. If you would like to see us highlight a specific topic, please send us a message at buncombe.youngdemocrats@gmail.com. Contact Ben Sullivan at ben.sullivannc@gmail.com or 704-677-5844 for more information.

05/24/18 ACLU EVENT IN ASHEVILLE
This is on Thursday, May 24 from 6:30 - 8 p.m. Location is Ferguson Auditorium, Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College at 340 Victoria Road in Asheville. Right to discriminate? It’s about more than cake. Join the ACLU of North Carolina, the Cato Institute, and the law firm of Deutsch and Gottschalk for an important conversation about LGBTQ equality, the First Amendment, and nondiscrimination laws. ACLU of North Carolina Legal Director Chris Brook and Cato Institute Chairman Bob Levy will debate the pending U.S. Supreme Court case Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, which asks whether a business open to the public has a constitutional right to discriminate. No contact information.

05/24/18 GREEN OPPORTUNITIES BENEFIT
Proceeds from Pints for Power, a solar power learning event with Sugar Hollow Solar, benefit Asheville Green Opportunities. Bring your power bill. Free to attend. Held at The Wedge Studios at 129 Roberts Street in Asheville. Call 828-398-4158 for more informaiton. 

05/28/18 ASHEVILLE SURJ WEEKLY MEETING
Asheville SURJ weekly evening meeting: Monday, 6:30-8:30pm at Asheville Unitarian Universalist Congregation (downstairs main building). Accountability group for folks seeking to focus on anti-racism work. Meetings include opportunities such as discussion, educational opportunities, or role-playing difficult conversations, and building connections. For more info email avlsurj@gmail.com. 

05/29/18 ASHEVILLE SURJ DO!SCUSSION
ASURJ Do!scussion: Tuesdays, 10:30 AM to12 PM in the backroom of Firestorm, Road in Asheville. A safe space to come together and talk about issues relating to dismantling white supremacy and confronting racism with a focus on what we can do to make a change, in ourselves, our communities, and beyond. All are welcome. Led by Matilda Bliss. ASURJ Do-Session: Tuesdays, noon-2pm, at a member’s residence. Meet us at 12:30 PM at Kairos West (right below Firestorm) and walk with us down there. This is a weekly space to do something to support accountability partners in their work. Letter-writing, list-making, social media work are just a few examples of what we will do to show up for racial justice Tuesday at the Do-Session. Bring your laptop and phone and help us out. For more details on any and all ASURJ meetings, email avlsurj@gmail.com.

05/29/18 VETERANS FOR PEACE VIGIL - BECAUSE THE WARS STILL GO ON
Every Tuesday, Veterans for Peace Chapter 099 holds a vigil at Vance Monument in downtown Asheville. Time is 4:30 PM. This has been happening since 2002. No matter the weather, no matter if it falls on a holiday, they are out there standing for peace. 

05/29/18 CREATION CARE ALLIANCE BOOK STUDY
CCA Summer Book Study of “Active Hope” is on Tuesdays, May 29 to July 3 from 6-7:15 pm. Location: TBA. Active Hope: How to Face the Mess We're in Without Going Crazy was written by Chris Johnstone and Joanna Macy. Sign up by emailing Holly at cunnhe16@wfu.edu. Active Hope shows us how to strengthen our capacity to face the current ecological and social crises so that we can respond with unexpected resilience and creative power. Drawing on decades of teaching an empowerment approach known as the Work That Reconnects, the authors guide us through a transformational process informed by mythic journeys, modern psychology, spirituality, and holistic science.

05/29/18 VETERANS FOR PEACE MEMORIAL DAY CEREMONY
Monday, May 28: Memorial Day Ceremony with Veterans for Peace, Asheville Chapter 099, 11 am, at the War Memorial, Pack Square Park, by the Buncombe County Courthouse. Mourning the Dead, Supporting the Troops and Ending All Wars. Because it is important for each of us who promotes peace to publicly demonstrate that the honoring and mourning of those who have given their last full measure of devotion is not the exclusive province of those who support war. Let us show that we recognize the awful sacrifice borne by so many young over too many wars; let us use this occasion to recommit ourselves to establishing a world where graveyards are only full of those who have lived long in a world of peace rather than full of young men and women who had their hopes, dreams, and unlimited potential ended by a world at war.Contact Ken at jonesk@maine.edu for more information.

06/02/18 VOTER REGISTRATION TRAINING IN ASHEVILLE
Voter registration training will be on Saturday, June 2, from 11 to 12 noon. Location is Buncombe County Democratic Party Headquarters at 951 Old Fairview Road in Asheville. Learn how to register voters in a friendly, informed, and nonpartisan way! Pizza will be provided. Contact Nan Cole at bcdpvolunteers@gmail.com for more information.

06/02/18 COMMUNITY BILL OF RIGHTS KICKOFF
Saturday June 2nd 2018 7pm-10pm. Community Bill of Rights Kick-Off Party. Join us to celebrate the launch of Asheville’s first Community Bill of Rights. Stand with us in taking back our power, asserting our rights for local self-governance and building a world where People and Planet come before Profits. The Community Bill of Rights is a City ordinance that will: enable citizens to prohibit the activities of corporations that pollute our water, air and soil, allow us to make ongoing decisions about where we live, without interference from the State and accelerate the equitable transition to 100% renewable energy. Join us for great music, food, drinks, silent auction and information about how you can get involved in this grassroots movement. $20 suggested donation at the door. Everyone welcome. The Wedge at Foundation. 5 Foundry Street, Asheville. No contact information, but there is a Facebook event.

06/05/18 VETERANS FOR PEACE VIGIL - BECAUSE THE WARS STILL GO ON
Every Tuesday, Veterans for Peace Chapter 099 holds a vigil at Vance Monument in downtown Asheville. Time is 4:30 PM. This has been happening since 2002. No matter the weather, no matter if it falls on a holiday, they are out there standing for peace. 

06/05/18 CURRENT EVENTS BOOK CLUB
Join host Bruce Roth for a lively discussion on topics of current interest including war and peace, the economy, the environment, and other hot political topics. Time is 7 PM and location is Malaprops in downtown Asheville. We meet the first Tuesday of every month at 7pm at Malaprops in downtown Asheville. Contact Bruce at brucerothchess@gmail.com for more information. 

06/07/18 SIERRA CLUB MEETING
Sierra Club June 7: Energy Innovation Task Force -- Pathway to Clean Energy for Western North Carolina. Come hear City Councilwoman Julie Mayfield, County Commission Chair Brownie Newman, and Duke Energy District Manager Jason Walls talk about how the new Blue Horizons Project will lead us to a cleaner energy future. Learn how you can help. Date: June 7 from 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. Location is Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Asheville, 1 Edwin Place, in north Asheville. In 2016, the City of Asheville, Buncombe County, and Duke Energy came together in a unique partnership to lead Western North Carolina to a cleaner, affordable, and smarter energy future. A specific goal of the partnership is to delay or avoid construction of a third natural gas plant on Lake Julian – a “peaker unit” -- that would only run on the coldest and hottest days of the year. For more information, contact Judy Mattox, judymattox@sbcglobal.net, (828) 683-2176.

06/09/18 HARD TO RECYCLE EVENT
North Buncombe Hard-2-Recycle Event is on Saturday, June 9 from 10am - 2pm. Location is Arvato Digital Services at 108 Monticello Road in Weaverville. No contact information available. 

06/09/18 TIMEBANK EVENT
June 9, picnic in Haw Creek Park on Avon Rd off rt 70 at the East Asheville Library.  Starts at noon at the covered shelter. We’ll have a grill and charcoal; you bring something to grill and a side dish to share. There will be new games, a walking trail and swings for the kids. Learn more about the Asheville Timebank and how you can exchange with others what you enjoy doing.

06/11/18 to 06/15/18 FOOD JUSTICE PROGRAM
Food Justice, Faith, and the Ecological Imagination-with Wake Forest University School of Divinity is from June 11-15, 2018 at Warren Wilson College in Swannanoa. How does a renewed atunement to food justice movements reframe ministry leadership? In this time of social upheaval and ecological crisis, what does it mean to be the church? And how can religious leaders help others join in God’s restorative work in the world? The Food, Health, and Ecological Well-being Program of the Wake Forest University School of Divinity would like to invite you to join us in June to explore these important questions at our annual summer institute. This year's theme is Food Justice, Faith, and the Ecological Imagination, and we have some fantastic speakers and workshop leaders coming for the week. For more information, contact Scott Hardin-Nieri at scott@creationcarealliance.org.

06/12/18 VETERANS FOR PEACE VIGIL - BECAUSE THE WARS STILL GO ON
Every Tuesday, Veterans for Peace Chapter 099 holds a vigil at Vance Monument in downtown Asheville. Time is 4:30 PM. This has been happening since 2002. No matter the weather, no matter if it falls on a holiday, they are out there standing for peace. 

06/13/18 JUST PEACE FOR ISRAEL/PALESTINE MEETING
This meeting will be at 10 AM at Black Mountain Presbyterian Church at 117 Montreat Road in Black Mountain. Contact Beth at elizakeiser@aol.com or 828-707-4271 for more information. 

06/14/18 CREATION CARE ALLIANCE MEETING
Thursday, June 14, from 6-7:30 PM. Location is St. Eugene Catholic Church at 72 Culvern Street in Asheville. Coming together to share compassion and ideas. We will learn about the creation care work of our host congregation through a conversation and tour, hear about CCA and community events and work, as well as hear ideas. If you are connected to a faith community, a green team or creation care team member, clergy, or are interested in learning more about St. Eugene, Audubon Society, the Friendship Garden or the Creation Care Alliance this meeting is for you. For more information, contact Scott Hardin-Nieri at Scott@creationcarealliance.org.

06/14/18 CENTER FOR DIVERSITY EDUCATION CELEBRATION AT UNCA
UNC Asheville invites you to a celebration of the Center for Diversity Education and 24 years of community engagement. Center for Diversity Education Celebration & Retrospective is on Thursday, June 14, 2018 at 6:00 p.m. for the reception and 7:00 p.m. for the program. Location is the Wilma M. Sherrill Center, Ingles Mountain View Room (Room 417) at UNCA. Celebrate the work of community members including K-12 teachers, students, participants, volunteers, donors, board members, CDE interns & employees, faculty, staff, and Deborah Miles, Director of the Center for Diversity Education (1995 - 2018). RSVP by June 7 to rsvp@unca.edu.

06/18/18 to 06/20/18 FACING HISTORY AND OURSELVES WORKSHOP AT UNCA
Facing History and Ourselves Workshops will be on June 18, 19, and 20 at UNC Asheville. For a second year in a row, through the generous support of Fred and Donna Meyer, CDE will be sponsoring workshops with Facing History and Ourselves. Mark your calendars now and stay tuned for registration information coming soon. Students come to me in the beginning of the year and say “I don't care about history. It happened in the past. It doesn't matter to me.” I say to them “Give me 2 weeks. We are going to learn a different kind of history and approach it in a different way.” For more information, contact UNC Asheville Center for Diversity Education at 828-232-5024 or dmiles@unca.edu.

06/19/18 VETERANS FOR PEACE VIGIL - BECAUSE THE WARS STILL GO ON
Every Tuesday, Veterans for Peace Chapter 099 holds a vigil at Vance Monument in downtown Asheville. Time is 4:30 PM. This has been happening since 2002. No matter the weather, no matter if it falls on a holiday, they are out there standing for peace. 

06/25/18 VETERANS FOR PEACE VIGIL - BECAUSE THE WARS STILL GO ON
Every Tuesday, Veterans for Peace Chapter 099 holds a vigil at Vance Monument in downtown Asheville. Time is 4:30 PM. This has been happening since 2002. No matter the weather, no matter if it falls on a holiday, they are out there standing for peace. 

06/27/18 WE THE PEOPLE 2.0 FILM SCREENING
We The People 2.0 Screening will be on Wednesday, June 27th, from 6 to 8:00 pm at THE BLOCK off Biltmore, 39 S Market Street, Asheville. Interested in Community Rights and why Corporations have more rights than we do? This film showcases the work of CELDF and the Community Rights movement across the US. “We the People 2.0” is about the loss of democracy in the United States. The story unfolds through the eyes of rural people and sacrifice zones in urban communities who have faced decades of toxic dumps, drilling and mines in their communities. These people come to understand that the reason they can’t stop the destruction is that the US has become an oligarchy, run by the corporate few who ignore the rights and will of the people. These people are frontally challenging our corporate state; thereby saving nature and themselves. Thomas Linzey, a nonprofit attorney’s inspiring words shows how, we, the people, can turn this around and lay claim to our democracy. This movement is building as you read this, not just in this country but around the world; this film shows how and where it all began.

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ONGOING EVENTS
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MONDAY
Asheville SURJ weekly meeting at 6:30 pm at UU Congregation in Asheville, downstairs
Citizens’ Climate Lobby meeting on the third Monday at 6:30 at Habitat Tavern & Commons. 

TUESDAY
Veterans for Peace have a weekly vigil at 4:30 PM at Pack Square, Vance Monument 
SURJ Discussion at Firestorm Coffee & Books at 610 Haywood Road in west Asheville. 10:30 AM-12 AM. Followed by Do!sessions from 12:30-2:30 PM Meet at Kairos West for later session. 
Rally at historic Courthouse in Hendersonville at 5 PM on the first Tuesday of the month. Organized by the Progressive Organized Women. 
Socialism! The Reading Group is at 6 PM at Firestorm on the second Tuesday of the month. 

WEDNESDAY
Haywood Peace Vigilers have a weekly vigil at 4 PM at Haywood County Courthouse in Waynesville
French Broad Riverkeeper has a paddle-n-plant to prevent sediment erosion most Wednesdays and Saturdays. Registration required at anna@mountaintrue.org. 
Green Drinks meets at 6 PM at The Block Off Biltmore on the third Wednesday of the month.
Sierra Club meets at 7 PM at Unitarian Universalist in Asheville on the first Wednesday of the month.
Indivisible Asheville does political letter writing at 5:30 every Wednesday at The Block Off Biltmore. 

THURSDAY
Political Prisoners Letter Writing at Firestorm Coffee & Books at 6 PM on first Thursday of the month. Materials provided. Also Tranzmission Prison Project meeting to send packages of books and zines for mailing to prisons across the US. 
Welcome Home Tour by Homeward Bound on the third Thursday of the month at 11 AM. Call 258-1695 for more information.
Asheville Prison Books Program is held at Downtown Books & News from 4 to 7 PM. 

FRIDAY
Women in Black have a weekly vigil at noon at the City Hall in Hendersonville.
Progressive Women of Hendersonville hold a letter/postcard writing to government representatives from 4 to 7 PM at Sanctuary Brewing Company at 147 First Avenue in Hendersonville.

SATURDAY
French Broad Riverkeeper has a paddle-n-plant to prevent sediment erosion most Wednesdays and Saturdays. Registration required at anna@mountaintrue.org. 
Mountain True holds urban forest workdays on the second Saturday of the month at Richmond Hill Park from 9 AM to 1 PM. Call 258-8737 for more information.
Food Not Bombs serves free vegan/vegetarian food every Saturday at noon at Pritchard Park.
Dances of Universal Peace on the third Saturdays at 7:30 at 1 School Road in Asheville. 

SUNDAY
Asheville National Organization for Women meeting at 2:30 PM at YWCA of Asheville on second Sunday of the month.
Political Prisoner Letter Writing Night at 5 PM at Firestorm on the first Sunday of the month.

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ACTIONS AND READINGS
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POOR PEOPLE’S CAMPAIGN

In the Triangle, the Poor People's Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival will include six consecutive Monday actions, as follows:

May 28: Veterans, our war economy, and militarism 
June 4: The right to health, ecology, justice and health, water, extreme extraction, climate change and health care
June 11: Living wages, guaranteed income, housing and social services
June 18: Challenging our nation’s distorted moral narrative; a fusion movement rising up

The Campaign will end with a Mass Mobilization in DC on June 23.

ALSO FROM THE POOR PEOPLE’S CAMPAIGN:

Join the NC Poor People's Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival for 40 days of moral action this spring to challenge systemic racism, poverty, the war economy and militarism, ecological devastation, and our nation's distorted moral narrative. 

In the spirit and tradition of ordinary people of conscience engaging in nonviolent direct action to expose and engage as moral witnesses against injustice, we will conduct a mandatory training statewide. The next training is, 1- 5 pm  April 21 in Asheville for people interested in participating in nonviolent moral fusion direct action this spring.

Attending this training does not mean you must participate in the 40 days of action Nor does it mean you are committing to engage in civil disobedience. This training can be a great step in connecting with others in the campaign and learning about the opportunity to join the action. We would love for you to join us!

Also note that we will offer more trainings before the 40 Days of moral action kicks off and during the 40 days.

Please register to reserve a spot in the training. Your training location as well as more detailed information will be sent out to you.

REGISTRATION WILL CLOSE ON FRIDAY APRIL 20TH, SO SIGN-UP NOW! For information on how to sign up, you can contact  northcarolina@poorpeoplescampaign.org or leslie.boyd@gmail.com.

If you do not receive an e-mail with the location by Friday, please e-mail Leslie Boyd at leslie.boyd@gmail.com for that information.
*Please note when the Google Form asks, "In What City will you attend the Training Part A?" the answer is Asheville

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Hood Tour Tickets

An interactive tour focusing on Asheville’s African American resilient history and future in the arts, environmentalism and entrepreneurship. The tour visits neighborhoods with existing and active green spaces, art, and grassroots initiatives. Tours run most Thursdays at 1 PM and Saturdays at 3 PM, and by appointment for groups by emailing info@hoodhuggers.com. Tours last approximately 1.5 hours. Cost is $25 per person. Tours begin at the Stephens-Lee Recreation Center, 30 George Washington Carver Avenue.

Hood Huggers International, LLC offers sustainable strategies for building support pillars for resilient historically African American neighborhoods, providing a framework for community capacity building while increasing the effectiveness of existing service programs. These strategies incorporate the arts, environmental education and social enterprise.

DeWayne Barton is the founder/CEO of Hood Huggers. A sculptor and poet, Barton has been involved in community improvement and youth development for over 20 years. He serves on the African American Heritage Commission, CoThinkk, and the City of Asheville Neighborhood Advisory Board. 

Please call (828) 275-5305 or email blove@hoodhuggers.com for more information including how to register for these tours. 


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Saturday, May 19, 2018

Reasons Not to Bomb Iran

Top 100 Reasons Not to Bomb Iran
By David Swanson

1 There are over 80 million men, women, and children in Iran. Bombing them would be mass-murder.
2 If the U.S. government and its allies bomb Libya and Iran when their governments choose not to have nuclear weapons, you can forget about North Korea and the rest of the world choosing not to have nuclear weapons.
3 The longer the world has nuclear weapons, and the more countries that have them, the greater the likelihood of nuclear war.
4 We now know that even a small nuclear war can block out the sun, kill crops, and starve everyone on earth who survives.
5 Bombing people makes those who survive and many who care about them very angry, which is why the “war on terrorism” has predictably increased terrorism.
6 Bombing people kills many, injures more, traumatizes even more, enrages even more, creates huge numbers of refugees, and destabilizes the region bombed.
7 Bombing Iran will produce anti-U.S. and anti-Western and anti-Israeli terrorism.
8 Bombing Iran risks direct war between the United States and nuclear governments including Russia.
9 If you think people want to be bombed because of shortcomings and evil deeds of their governments, you’re not actually thinking at all; you don’t want to be bombed because of the shortcomings and evil deeds of your government.
10 If bombing nations made people better off and created human rights, earth would be a paradise by now.
11 Bombing countries is illegal under the Kellogg-Briand Pact without exceptions, and regardless of whether Congress “authorizes” it. Another country bombing you would be a crime regardless of which parts of its government “authorized” it.
12 Bombing countries is illegal under the United Nations Charter with two narrow exceptions, and regardless of whether or not the U.S. Congress does or does not do anything.
13 One of those exceptions is when the U.N. Security Council “authorizes” a war. It has not done so in this case and certainly will not. And doing so wouldn’t get you around the Kellogg-Briand Pact.
14 The other exception is “defense,” but if anything is not defense it is the bombing of a far smaller country half-way around the world that has not attacked or even threatened to attack your country.
15 Attempts to provoke Iran into attacking U.S. military forces near Iran (or to disguise some U.S. forces as Iranian and have U.S. forces shoot at each other, as Vice President Dick Cheney once proposed) does not result in an Iranian attack on the actual United States or any legal ability to claim “defense.”
16 Israel is not a U.S. state.
17 The Israeli government has been threatening, provoking, and lying about Iran for decades, which are not defensive behaviors.
18 Saudi Arabia is not a U.S. state.
19 The Saudi government has been threatening, provoking, and lying about Iran for decades, which are not defensive behaviors.
20 Iraq is not a U.S. state. It is the smoldering ruin of a previous war launched on almost identical and wholly dishonest pretexts.
21 Not only waging war is a crime, but threatening war is a crime under the United Nations Charter. The United States has been threatening war on Iran for decades, and any attack would follow that string of criminal actions.
22 The idea that the government of Iraq or Israel or some other nation could invite the U.S. government to wage war against Iran in and from its territory does not exist in written law and would not legitimize yet another war in the eyes of the world.
23 Gallup polling finds that in most countries out of 65 surveyed, people’s top choice as the greatest threat to peace in the world is the United States government. This needs to be countered, not exacerbated.
24 It is hard to find anyone in the United States, and even in the U.S. government, who can even name every current U.S. war, much less every minor military action the U.S. military is engaged in. This is a sign that something has spiraled out of control.
25 Including recent U.S. wars on Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Pakistan, Somalia, and Iraq, the United States military has, just since World War II, killed or helped kill some 20 million people, overthrown at least 36 governments, interfered in at least 84 foreign elections, attempted to assassinate over 50 foreign leaders, and dropped bombs on people in over 30 countries. In many cases, these actions have undone democracy. In none have they created or “spread” it.
26 A nation possessing prohibited weapons is no legal, moral, or practical justification for war. If every lie about Iraq in 2002-2003 had been true, it would have been no justification for bombing Iraq. The United States did and still does possess nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons, and that doesn’t justify anyone bombing the United States.
27 The very same people who told lies about Iraq are telling almost identical lies about Iran. They’re counting on you to have no memory, no sense of judgment, no ability to resist fear mongering and fluttering flags. They’re counting on you to fall in line and obey like a drooling idiot.
28 In 2003, Iran proposed negotiations with the United States with everything on the table, including its nuclear technology, and the United States refused. Shortly thereafter, the U.S. government started angling for a war.
29 War supporters said the United States urgently needed to attack Iran in 2004, 2007, 2015. It did not attack. The claims turned out to be lies. Even a U.S. National Intelligence Estimate in 2007 pushed back and admitted that Iran had no nuclear weapons program.
30 The United States gave Iran nuclear energy technology and encouraged its use.
31 Iran was attacked with chemical weapons by Iraq, in part provided by the United States, and refused to use similar weapons in response.
32 Iran’s Muslim leader has forbidden the use or possession of weapons of mass destruction.
33 The CIA gave Iran slightly and obviously flawed plans to build a nuclear bomb, as part of an effort to frame Iran, and the man who blew the whistle on that to Congress, Jeffrey Sterling, was sent to prison as a reward.
34 The United States has imposed sanctions on Iran that have denied it green energy technologies and caused significant human suffering.
35 It is one of the worst possible ways to blame victims when a government imposes sanctions that create deprivation, blames the suffering country for suffering, and justifies war as a result.
36 Sanctions were used as a step toward war in the case of Iraq, and many in the U.S. government have been pushing for war on Iran since 1979.
37 These include lots of nasty old war mongers who do things like sing the Beach Boys’ “Barbara Ann” changing the lyrics to “Bomb bomb bomb bomb bomb Iran.” If we let them bomb Iran they will never shut up.
38 The United States has been lying about Iran having a nuclear weapons program for decades, as well documented by Gareth Porter and other journalists.
39 The 2015 Iran nuclear agreement was not necessitated by anything Iran did. Iran agreed to tougher inspections than any other country on earth has ever agreed to, and those inspections have established that the agreement was not necessitated by anything Iran did.
40 The agreement was an alternative to war, which many in the U.S. Congress and media were clamoring for and demanding urgently. The failure to launch the war then or on any of the previous occasions when it was supposedly urgently needed has resulted in nothing but further evidence that there is no need for a war.
41 The White House has made clear that it wants to manufacture any possible excuse to abandon the agreement.
42 Eventually, after numerous broken agreements, the nations native to North America stopped making or believing in agreements with the U.S. government. The nations of the world will do the same, if the United States refuses to abide by its commitments.
43 Iran’s government is deeply flawed, but not in comparison with governments the United States arms and funds and supports.
44 The U.S. government facilitates weapons sales from the United States to 73% of the world’s dictatorships, and gives military training to most of them.
45 There is no correlation between where wars happen and where human rights are abused or democracy lacking or threats to world peace emanating.
46 There is no correlation between where wars happen and population density or resource scarcity or religion or ideology.
47 There is a strong correlation between where wars happen and where fossil fuels are produced.
48 There is a strong correlation between which nations launch wars and which nations import fossil fuels.
49 There is a strong correlation between which nations launch wars and which nations’ people accept war as a legitimate tool of public policy.
50 There is a strong correlation between where the United States launches wars and where that small number of nations remains that have no U.S. military bases and accept no economic dictates from the United States.
51 It’s good for the world, including the people of the United States, for such places to continue to exist, for the U.S. government not to become a world government by force of arms. Such an effort is doomed to failure and misery.
52 Look at a map. Iran is surrounded by U.S. wars and bases. Its government has shown more restraint than recklessness in that context, perhaps, than the U.S. government might show were the Canadian and Mexican borders (in violation of laws of physics as well as of humans) lined with Iranian military bases.
53 S. figures, including Senator John McCain, have spoken often over the years of wanting to overthrow the government of Syria and subsequently the government of Iran. The first step has been disastrous in human and in its own terms. The larger criminal goal of overthrowing Iran will lead to more disasters if it is not abandoned.
54 Following the failure to overthrow Assad despite so much effort, a war on Iran would require extremely massive murder and destruction.
55 Think of all the crazy people who have ever held power in Washington, D.C. Attacking Iran was too crazy for them.
56 On February 27, 2017, Donald Trump said, “Almost 17 years of fighting in the Middle East . . . $6 trillion we’ve spent in the Middle East . . . and we’re nowhere, actually if you think about it we’re less than nowhere, the Middle East is far worse than it was 16, 17 years ago, there’s not even a contest . . . we have a hornet’s nest . . . .”
57 Trump campaigned for office, like most candidates before him, claiming to oppose overthrowing governments, and admitting what disasters are produced by doing so.
58 Military families in swing states made the difference (as did thousands of other factors in that close election) by turning against Hillary Clinton, believing she would be more likely to engage in more wars.
59 In fact, polling has long found the U.S. public to favor a significant reduction in military spending, greater use of diplomacy, and fewer wars.
60 Waging wars for democracy is not terribly democratic when the people don’t want them and are not allowed any say in the matter.
61 When Korea announced plans for peace in April 2018, major U.S. weapons companies’ stocks plummeted, and propaganda for a war on Iran surged.
62 Congress and President Trump in 2017 pushed military spending up to well over 60% of the federal discretionary budget, stripping funding away from human and environmental needs at home and abroad. That trend of many years cannot be reversed unless the wars are stopped.
63 Converting to peaceful industries would involve so much savings that anyone in need could be re-trained and assisted in the transition.
64 Bombing Iran would be an environmental catastrophe for the earth far outstripping any green energy efforts you’re engaged in.
65 Maintaining the U.S. military in preparation for the possibility of bombing Iran — a possibility that grows with every threat of peace breaking out in Korea or between the United States and Russia — is an environmental catastrophe for the earth far outstripping any green energy efforts you’re engaged in.
66 A war on Iran would easily cost more than, and a small fraction of annual U.S. military spending is more than, what it would cost to end starvation on earth, or end the lack of clean drinking water on earth, or make U.S. colleges free, or convert the United States to clean energy, or quintuple actual non-weapons U.S. foreign aid, or build fast trains connecting all major U.S. cities.
67 The way to alleviate refugee crises is to halt existing wars and put a fraction of their cost into aiding refugees, not launch new wars that leave many more people homeless.
68 A United States government responsible for providing clean drinking water, schools, medicine, and solar panels to others would be more secure and face far less hostility around the world, and it could become such a benefactor for far less than it spends making itself hated.
69 With every war for freedom we can count on losing more of our actual freedoms, and that would be all the more so with a war as crazy as an attack on Iran.
70 An attack on Iran would also require intense propaganda fueling the racist and Islamophobic bigotry already on the rise in the United States.
71 Results in the United States can be safely predicted to include: more racist violence, even more militarized policing, restrictions of speech and assembly, and a rise in fundamentalist religious hatred and gun sales.
72 Results in the United States can also be counted on to include: cuts to all human and environmental needs, and a major pushback against all progressive political initiatives in the name of war.
73 If the U.S. government bombs Iran, then that insane NRA video with Charlie Daniels demanding a war on Iran — which you may have thought was merely a ploy to sell guns to fantasy backyard warriors — will have gotten what it said it wanted. That lunacy will be U.S. policy.
74 If the U.S. government bombs Iran, Netanyahu will openly tell the world that the United States and its people are a bunch of easily manipulated chumps.
75 If the U.S. government bombs Iran, John Bolton will never be off your television channel, and any station without him will have his moustache on.
76 The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations claims that Iranian weapons have been used in a war that the U.S., Saudi Arabia, and allies are illegally and disastrously waging in Yemen, creating the single greatest human catastrophe on earth, the worst famine seen in ages, and the worst outbreak of cholera ever in the world. That’s not a justification to impose similar suffering, or any suffering, on the people of Iran.
77 While Iranian militarism should be ended, Iran spends less than 1 percent what the United States does on militarism, and the comparison in terms of foreign weapons sales is even more extreme.
78 It is hard to find a war anywhere on the planet without U.S. weapons in it. In fact, a report that made news the same day as the ambassador’s claims about Iranian weapons pointed to the long-known fact that many of the weapons used by ISIS had once belonged to the United States, many of them having been given by the U.S. to non-state fighters (aka terrorists) in Syria.
79 Alternatives to war include the rule of law. Iranians suspected of crimes, like Americans and Saudis and anyone else suspected of crimes, should be prosecuted or otherwise held accountable through processes of truth and reconciliation. Committing more crimes does not reduce crime.
80 Prime Minister Netanyahu should be questioned about sharpshooters murdering nonviolent demonstrators in Gaza, not listened to as he proclaims the same baseless lies about Iran that he did 16 years earlier about Iraq.
81 The United States overthrew Iran’s democracy in 1953 and installed a brutal dictator / weapons customer who lasted until 1979. Iran has never done anything like that to the United States.
82 The United States shot down an Iranian civilian airliner, killing 290 people. Iran has never done anything like that to the United States.
83 The United States has labeled Iran an evil nation, attacked and destroyed the other non-nuclear nation on the list of evil nations, designated part of Iran’s military a terrorist organization, falsely accused Iran of crimes including the attacks of 9-11, murdered Iranian scientists, funded opposition groups in Iran (including some the U.S. also designates as terrorist), flown drones over Iran, openly and illegally threatened to attack Iran, and built up military forces all around Iran’s borders, while imposing cruel sanctions on the country. Iran has never done anything like any of these things to the United States.
84 The United States now has a president who seeks the approval of people who want to bring about the end of the world in the Middle East for religious reasons, and who have praised President Trump’s announcement of moving the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem for just those reasons.
85 The roots of a Washington push for a new war on Iran can be found in the 1992 Defense Planning Guidance, the 1996 paper called A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm, the 2000 Rebuilding America’s Defenses, and in a 2001 Pentagon memo described by Wesley Clark as listing these nations for attack: Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Lebanon, Syria, and Iran.
86 In 2010, Tony Blair included Iran on a similar list of countries that he said Dick Cheney had aimed to overthrow. The line among the powerful in Washington in 2003 was that Iraq would be a cakewalk but that real men go to Tehran. The arguments in these old forgotten memos were not what the war makers tell the public, but much closer to what they tell each other. The concerns here are those of dominating regions rich in resources, intimidating others, and establishing bases from which to maintain control of puppet governments.
87 The reason why “real men go to Tehran” is that Iran is not the impoverished disarmed nation that one might find in Afghanistan, Iraq, or Libya. Iran is much bigger and much better armed. Whether the United States launches a major assault on Iran or Israel does, Iran will retaliate against U.S. troops and probably Israel and possibly the United States itself as well. And the United States will without any doubt re-retaliate for that. Iran cannot be unaware that the U.S. government’s pressure on the Israeli government not to attack Iran consists of reassuring the Israelis that the United States will attack when needed, and does not include even threatening to stop funding Israel’s military or to stop vetoing measures of accountability for Israeli crimes at the United Nations. President Obama’s ambassador refrained from one veto on illegal settlements, while President-Elect Trump lobbied foreign governments to block the resolution.
88 As in any country, no matter what its government, the people of Iran are fundamentally good, decent, peaceful, just, and fundamentally like you and me. I’ve met people from Iran. You may have met people from Iran. They’re not a different species. They’re not evil. A “surgical strike” against a “facility” in their country would cause a great many of them to die very painful and horrible deaths.
89 The proponents of attacking Iran themselves admit that if Iran had nukes it would not use them. This is from the American Enterprise Institute: “The biggest problem for the United States is not Iran getting a nuclear weapon and testing it, it’s Iran getting a nuclear weapon and not using it. Because the second that they have one and they don’t do anything bad, all of the naysayers are going to come back and say, ‘See, we told you Iran is a responsible power. We told you Iran wasn’t getting nuclear weapons in order to use them immediately.’ … And they will eventually define Iran with nuclear weapons as not a problem.” Is that clear? Iran using a nuclear weapon would be bad. But what would be really bad would be Iran acquiring a nuclear weapon and doing what every other nation with them has done since Nagasaki: nothing. That would be really bad because it would damage an argument for war and make war more difficult, thus allowing Iran to run its country as it, rather than the United States, sees fit. Of course it might run it very badly (although we’re hardly establishing a model for the world over here either), but it would run it without U.S. approval, and cease to be an argument for military spending increases, and that would be worse than nuclear destruction.
90 Ahmadinejad did not say “Israel should be wiped off the map.” A more accurate translation was “the regime occupying Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time.” The government of Israel, not the nation of Israel. Not even the government of Israel, but the current regime. Hell, Americans say that about their own regimes all the time, alternating every four to eight years depending on political party. Iran has made clear it would approve of a two-state solution if Palestinians approved of it.
91 Violent solutions are less likely to succeed than nonviolent ones, especially violent solutions in search of a problem to justify them. The tools of nonviolence are developing quickly and racking up successes. They are more likely to achieve good ends, and those successes are almost always far longer lasting. The United States government needs to catch up with the times.
92 The choices are not (a) bomb another country, or (b) do nothing. Other choices include aid, diplomacy, the rule of law, disarmament. Every time people try to urgently rush us into a bad choice, we can point out all the years in which we could have been transforming the world with a whole variety of good choices.
93 We could start making those choices now. But those who want peace have to be as organized and determined as those who want war. We have to actively demand diplomacy and sanctions relief and aid and cooperation and arms embargoes and conversion.
94 There is no such thing as arriving at a war as a last resort. War is a choice. A “hawk” is nothing other than someone who prefers to choose war.
95 There is everything to be gained by making peace with Iran, governmentally, culturally, economically.
96 Persian history is at the roots of Western history and could be studied as such.
97 Cultural and academic exchanges with a country that produces wonderful art, films, books, food, and a soccer team that actually qualifies for the world cup would be far preferable to yet more war.
98 A U.S. war on Iran, with or without a handful of partners or sidekicks, would unite the people of Iran and much of the world against the United States. It would justify in the eyes of much of the world an underground Iranian program to develop nuclear weapons, a program that does not now exist.
99 The environmental damage would be tremendous, the precedent set incredibly dangerous, all talk of cutting the U.S. military budget would be buried in a wave of war frenzy, civil liberties and representative government would be flushed down the Potomac, a nuclear arms race would spread to additional countries, and any momentary sadistic glee would be outweighed by accelerating home foreclosures, mounting student debt, and accumulating layers of cultural stupidity.
100 The “news” broadcasters who called Trump “presidential” when he started bombing people on a small scale would declare him something just short of king for life if he bombed Iran.