Thursday, March 05, 2015

Double standards


Those women in Iraq who dress in all black from head to toe remind me of the nuns who taught me in grade school and high school. I was forced to go to Catholic schools as a child and teenager, my preference was for the public schools. But the nuns were generally okay, and there certainly was some benefit from my Catholic education. But this photo, which was passed around on twitter, does clearly show our double standards for how some women dress. I suggest we let people dress any way they want to dress.

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

STOP DRONE BOMBINGS

They are counter-productive, if the goal is to keep Americans safe or if the goal is to stop terrorism.


Tuesday, March 03, 2015

The war in Afghanistan is going badly

And it is certainly not over. Afghan civilian deaths hit record high in the past year. I don’t much care if combatants kill other combatants, or injure them, or destroy their lives. They choose to be combatants, so they decided to ‘live by the sword’ and if they are dead by the sword, tough for them. But civilians are not combatants. They are just people trying to live their lives and they likely do not have the choice to up and move somewhere else where there is no combat. 

It is them that I feel sorry for, it is them that I grieve.

And now, we learn that Afghan civilians are dying at a record pace. The war of aggression that the US started in 2001 continues unabated, no matter what nonsense comes out of Mr. Obama’s mouth. 

Last year was the deadliest on record for civilians in Afghanistan, the UN said in a report on Wednesday, with more civilians killed in 2014 than since the agency began compiling figures in 2009. While Nato has ended its combat mission, and Barack Obama has declared that America’s longest war is ending responsibly, fighting in the country is intensifying. 
“In communities across Afghanistan, increased ground fighting among parties to the conflict and more IED attacks exacted a heavy toll on Afghan civilians,” said the top UN envoy, Nicholas Haysom. 
The report (pdf) documented 3,699 civilian deaths in 2014, the highest death toll since the UN began keeping systematic record in 2009. Another 6,849 people were injured, bringing the number of civilian casualties to 10,548, a 22% jump from last year. The total civilian death toll after more than a decade of war is now almost 18,000.



So, in Afghanistan alone, more then six times as many innocents were killed than were killed on 9/11. Actually, it is probably way more than six times larger, since many deaths are not even counted. And every last one of them had nothing to do with the attacks on 9/11. 


We are a nation of killers. We have no morals at all.

Monday, March 02, 2015

End the Patriot Act

This came from Facebook, where it is being passed around.

“Even open-minded people will often find themselves unable to take seriously the likes of [Noam] Chomsky, [Edward] Herman, [Howard] Zinn and [Susan] George on first encountering their work; it just does not seem possible that we could be so mistaken in what we believe. The individual may assume that these writers must be somehow joking, wildly over-stating the case, paranoid, or have some sort of axe to grind. We may actually become angry with them for telling us these terrible things about our society and insist that this simply 'can't be true'. It takes real effort to keep reading, to resist the reassuring messages of the mass media and be prepared to consider the evidence again.” - David Edwards

Sunday, March 01, 2015

Upcoming events in the Asheville area this week


This came from a Win Without War email.


UPCOMING EVENTS


03/02/15 MOUNTAIN TRUE EVENT
A Home Composting Workshop will be held at NC Cooperative Extension, Henderson County Center,  100 Jackson Park Rd, in Hendersonville. Time is 6 to 8 PM. Learn the ins and outs of home composting with MountainTrue. There will be a raffle drawing for five YukChuk kitchen compost bins, and all will receive discount coupons to purchase YukChucks on their own. Cost: $15 per person. Registration is required by Noon, Friday, Feb. 27. For questions and instructions on how to register, please e-mail MountainTrue at assistant@eco-wnc.org or call the office at 692-0385.

03/02/15 DINNER WITH PROGRESSIVES
Join us for dinner with other progressives from 5:30 to 6 PM.  At 6 PM, our speaker Cindy Heil will give a presentation from 6 to 7 PM.  Please RSVP to Cheryl at ctorengo@gmail.com , so we can give our friends at Green Sage an approximate head count for dinner.  If you don't want to purchase dinner, enjoy a beverage and/or dessert. Cindy will give a presentation about her amazing, recent trip as a member of a Code Pink delegation to Cuba.  They went to experience the Cuban people, culture, government---life in Cuba, so they could return to the US to promote President Obama's initiative to finally lift the embargo and also remove Cuba from the US State Department's terrorist list. Cindy participated in numerous excursions to experience many aspects of Cuban life. She visited a neighborhood health clinic, the Latin American Medical School, Che's monument at Santa Clara---which is where he turned the tide for the Revolution, a talk by Mariela Castro (daughter of Raul; niece of Fidel) about women's and LGBT rights, an international book fair, a discussion and demo of the history of Cuban music, etc.

03/02/15 EXHIBIT AT UNCA 
“In Her Father's Eyes: A Slovak Childhood in the Shadow of the Holocaust” will be on display from March 2 to March 27 at UNCA. The year 2015 marks the 70th anniversaries of the end of WWII when the slave labor and death camps were liberated. In Her Father's Eyes is the life of Kitty Weichherz told by her observant and devoted father Bella Weichherz. Family photographs and entries in a diary kept by Bella offer a window into the everyday life of birthday parties, the first day of school, and a first boyfriend. The Weichherz family were murdered sometime in 1942 or 43 most likely at Sobibor Death Camp. Dr. Mark Gibney will give the opening lecture on March 5 (see listing below on 03/05/15).  Time is 7 PM and location is Karpen Hall, room 038. Contact Deborah at dmiles@unca.edu for more information.

03/03/15 RESCHEDULED: HARRIET PERFORMANCE AT ASHEVILLE MUSEUM
Come Celebrate Black History Month at aSHEville Museum! “Harriet Tubman”, a reenactment by Becky Stone will be on March 3, 2015 at 7 PM. Cost is $8 non-members/$5 members/$4 youth. Location is 35 Wall St., Asheville. Call 828 785-5722 for more information.

03/03/15 LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS EVENT IN HENDERSONVILLE
The League of Women Voters will show the documentary “Thirty Days: Immigration”. Free. Time is 5:30 PM and location is Henderson County Public Library at 301 N. Washington Street in Hendersonville.

03/03/15 RESCHEDULED: LECTURE AT UNCA FOR BLACK HISTORY MONTH
“Unearthing the Weeping Time, and the 1859 Savannah Slave Auction: A Genealogy of People and Place.” Dr. Degraft-Hanson’s lecture will focus on a public history project that explores the antebellum landscape and people at three hidden landscapes of slavery in coastal Georgia. Time is 12:30 PM and location is Karpen Hall, Laurel Forum. For more information, contact Dr. Marcus Harvey at 828-251-6177 or mharvey1@unca.edu.

03/04/15 SIERRA CLUB MEETING/GREEN DRINKS
Sierra Club, Mountain True, and Green Drinks will present an update on the effort to retire the Asheville coal plant, the largest single source of carbon emissions in Western North Carolina and the largest source of toxic air pollution from the industrial sector. The discussion will cover recent events and successes, as well as ways to get involved in the movement against climate disruption. Time is 7 PM (program starts at 7:15) at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Asheville (corner of Charlotte & Edwin). Contact: judymattox@sbcglobal.net, or 828-683-2176 for more information.

03/04/15 SERIES ON THE DEATH PENALTY AT MARS HILL UNIVERSITY
A documentary “The Trials of Darryl Hunt” will be shown at 7 PM at Belk Auditorium at Mars Hill University. Free and open to the public.

03/05/15 SERIES ON THE DEATH PENALTY AT MARS HILL UNIVERSITY
Death Penalty panel with Darryl Hunt (see listing on 3/4/15). This will be held at Broyhill Chapel at Mars Hill University at 7 PM. Free and open to the public.

03/05/15 LOBBY TRAINING BY CREATION CARE ALLIANCE WNC
Join Creation Care Alliance WNC for a training, dinner and discussion on how to advocate with compassion in preparation for the CCAWNC trip to Raleigh on March 25 for Advocacy Day. Free. Registration required by March 4, 2015. Time for event is 5:30 to 7 PM and location is Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church at 789 Merrimon Avenue in Asheville. For more information including how to register, please contact Jane Laping at janelaping@sbcglobal.net or call 828-277-7342.

03/05/15 PANEL DISCUSSION AT UNCA
Panel discussion on “Jewish Identity, Social Justice and Leadership”. Jewish leaders from the Asheville community discuss Jewish identity as related to social justice and leadership.The five panelists are Lael Gray of the Asheville JCC, Deborah Miles of UNCA’s Center for Diversity Education, Richard Chess of UNCA's Center for Jewish Studies, and Judy Leavitt and Frank Goldsmith of Carolina Jews for Justice West. Free and open to the public. Time is 11 AM to 12:30 PM and location is Highsmith University Union, Beaucatcher Mountain Room. Contact Ayelet Reiter at areiter@unca.edu for more information.

03/05/15 RESCHEDULED: MEETING FOR INTERNATIONAL DAY OF PEACE
It looks like the Activation Team planning meeting for International Day of Peace scheduled to take place Thursday, Feb. 26 is being postponed until next Thursday, March 5, at 6 PM, at World Coffee, Flat Iron Building, in Asheville. Be there! Contact Rachael at (828) 505-9425 or rachael_bliss@yahoo.com.

03/05/15 LECTURE AT UNCA
Mark Gibney, UNC Asheville Belk Distinguished Professor of Political Science, will speak on the lessons of the Holocaust and the contemporary context of genocide. Gibney is an international authority on the legal implications of human rights and genocide. His lecture will be held in UNC Asheville’s Karpen Hall, room 038. Free and open to the public. Time is 7 to 9 PM. For more information, contact Deborah at dmiles@unca.edu.

03/05/15 PLAY PRESENTED AT BEBE THEATER
Presented by Different Strokes PAC. Author and playwright Zoe Flowers provides the words and sets the backdrop for a funny, touching, heartbreaking and inspiring evening, in the form of a dynamic, socially, and culturally responsible “Choreodrama” titled From Ashes to Angel's Dust: A Journey Through Womanhood. Flowers uses poetry, interlaced through vignettes, monologues and movement, to drive the stories of our mothers, daughters, sisters, grandmothers, and friends. From Ashes to Angel's Dust: A Journey Through Womanhood is for those silenced by violence, oppression, homophobia, shame or the impulse to please. From Ashes to Angel's Dust: A Journey Through Womanhood is for all who understand that loving another and one's self is a revolutionary act. Mature Subject Matter. Dates are March 5 to March 21 on Thur-Sat evenings at 7:30 PM. The Be Be Theatre is at 20 Commerce St in Asheville. There will be a post show panel discussion immediately following performance on Fridays and Saturdays except 3/21/15. Tickets are $15.

03/07/15 MOUNTAIN TRUE ADOPT-A-STREAM TRAINING
Learn about a community-based monitoring program where you will receive both classroom and field experience for identifying stream health and water quality issues. After the training, you’ll be able to join an existing Adopt-A-Stream team or start your own to become an environmental steward. Time is 10 AM to 2 PM. Location is the MountainTrue Southern Regional office. For questions and instructions on how to register, please e-mail MountainTrue at assistant@eco-wnc.org or call the office at 692-0385.

03/07/15 WESTERN CAROLINIANS FOR PEACE AND JUSTICE IN THE MIDDLE EAST
There will be a protest on this date from noon to 2 PM at Vance Monument in downtown Asheville. 

03/07/2015 SOCIAL DIMENSIONS OF CLIMATE CHANGE - FIRST SESSION
This two-session class will examine the causes and consequences of climate change, as well as provide direction for meaningful individual and community action. The first session will focus on the economics of climate change, how climate change will affect human welfare, and questions of climate justice and injustice. The second session, two weeks later, will look at why more science and more information are not solving the climate problem, examine different forms of climate denialism and inaction, and explore how to develop community initiatives. This class is for students who are concerned about climate change but do not know how to get started on addressing issues. Call 828 665-2492 to register by phone. Time is 12:30 to 3:30 PM and location is NC Arboretum, Education Center Auditorium. $57 Member/$67 Non-member Limit: 32 students. Second session is on March 21. 

03/09/15 MOVE TO AMEND BUNCOMBE COUNTY MEETING
Next meeting is a general meeting on March 9 at the North Asheville Library on Merrimon. If you have any questions, please contact Diana Kruk 828-275-0680 or dianakrukmta@gmail.com.

03/09/15 TRANSITION ASHEVILLE MEETING ON TIMEBANKING
Learn about Timebanking: how and why you might want to be involved. Ever wanted to find someone to help you with something? Do you have any skills or talents that someone might be interested in? This could be something as simple as cooking a meal or something technical like computer skills or something physical like building something. A time bank allows people to get help and give help to others without involving money, using hours as currency. It is not the same as bartering because the person who helps you doesn't have to need your skills to help them. It is a way to learn new things and build community. Come to our event on March 9th to learn more and see if you want to be involved. I was involved in a time bank before moving to the Asheville area and am excited about presenting this topic and seeing if we have the interest to start one as part of Transition Asheville. Time is 6:30 PM to 8 PM. Location is St. Mary’s Episcopal Church on Charlotte Street in Asheville. 

03/10/15 COMMUNITY DIALOGUES ON RACE IN BLACK MOUNTAIN
Two local churches have joined forces to offer a four-week series of Community Dialogues on Race, beginning Tuesday, February 10. The two-hour programs will feature films, group exercises, and dialogue, facilitated by the Rev. Michael J.S. Carter of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the Swannanoa Valley. The partner church is Thomas Chapel AME Zion Church. Time is 6:30 PM and location is Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Swannanoa Valley at 500 Montreat Road in Black Mountain. The program is free and open to everyone. Interested persons are encouraged to register by emailing Roberta Madden at robertamadden@yahoo.com. For questions call Roberta at 828-419-0730.

03/10/15 WORLD AFFAIRS COUNCIL ON SECTARIANISM IN THE MIDDLE EAST
“Sectarianism in the Middle East,” with David Hudleson a retired career employee of the National Security Agency. Hudleson twice received the NSA’s Meritorious Civilian Service Award, as well as an Exceptional Service Award from the CIA and the National Intelligence Distinguished Service Award. During his career he spent time in Lebanon, Israel, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, and was an Arabic language specialist. He will address the role of sectarianism — the politicization of ethnic and religious identity — in the Middle East, specifically through the struggle between Sunni and Shi’i groups for dominance. Free admission for WAC members and students; $10 general public. Meetings are scheduled for 7:30 PM in the Reuter Center's Manheimer Room at UNCA. For more details about programs, consult the WAC website. 

03/10/15 VETERANS FOR PEACE MEETING
Time is 6:30 PM and location is VFP HQ at the Phil Mechanic Studios: 109 Roberts Street in Asheville. 

03/11/14 WESTERN CAROLINIANS FOR PEACE AND JUSTICE IN THE MIDDLE EAST
This meeting will be at 9:30 AM at Black Mountain Presbyterian Church at 117 Montreat Road in Black Mountain.

03/11/15 GREEN DRINKS
Join Asheville Green Drinks as we dive into all the different options we can take for purchasing local foods. We will discuss Community Supported Agriculture programs (CSAs), tailgate markets, and home delivery grocery services. Our local panel will speak on how these programs are valuable for the farmer, consumer, and the environment, and how we can get involved! There will be raffle prizes from both French Broad Food Co-op’s Wednesday tailgate market, and Mother Earth Produce home delivery grocery services. Socializing is at 5:30 PM and programming is from 6 to 7 PM. Location is Green Sage Cafe in downtown Asheville. 

03/11/15 TALK AND BOOK SIGNING AT AB TECH
Marie Bartlett, local author and former A-B Tech instructor will discuss the rigid roles of women in the latter part of the 19th century, including common and uncommon professions, social expectations, racial and gender bias, daily life and sensitive female topics ranging from sexuality to domestic issues. Medical maladies and the cures that influenced "Pearl, MD” will also be discussed. A book signing will follow, for the book “Victorian Girl Power: The Roles of Women in Asheville in the Late 19th Century”. Time is 3 PM and location is Rhododendron 344 at AB Tech in Asheville.

03/12/15 PEACE CORPS INFORMATION SESSION AT UNCA
Whether you're fresh out of college, mid-career, or ready to retire, Peace Corps service is the opportunity of a lifetime. Join us at this information session to learn about Volunteer experiences, have your questions answered, and gain tips to guide you through the application process. Time is 6 to 8 PM and location is Reuter Center 102A. 

03/13/15 ENVIRONMENTAL FILM SHOWING AT UNITARIAN UNIVERSALIST
Two movies on Coal Ash and Fracking will be shown on Friday, March 13. First film will be a 30 minute short, called "Coal Ash Stories”, part of a 4-part film with North Carolina content. The second film is "Groundswell Rising"  and it is about fracking. It is 52 minutes long. The producer of this film Mark Lichty (who is traveling around the country screening the film at festivals and UU venues) will be attending. Location is Unitarian Universal Congregation, 1 Edwin Place, Asheville (corner of Charlotte & Edwin). Contact Charlie at 612-860-6628 or mnpopi@icloud.com for more information.

03/13/15 “GO, GRANNY D” PLAY IN BLACK MOUNTAIN
“Go, Granny D!” to be performed at the White Horse in Black Mountain. This wonderful performance was one of Move to Amend Buncombe County's most popular events.  Here's a chance to see it if you missed it before! Asheville actress Barbara Bates Smith will bring Go, Granny D, her one-woman show about Doris “Granny D” Haddock, to the White Horse Black Mountain on Friday, March 13 at 8 PM.  Smith’s performance, accompanied by musician Jeff Sebens, tells the inspiring story of 90-year-old Doris “Granny D” Haddock, who blazed a 3,200-mile trail across America in 2000 for campaign finance reform. The White Horse is located at 105 Montreat Rd, Black Mountain (828-669-0816). Tickets are $10 in advance, $12 at the door.  

03/17/15 JAZZ FOR JUSTICE FUNDRAISER
This is a benefit for Pisgah Legal Services. Time is 5:30 PM and location is 21 North Market Street in downtown Asheville. Awards presentation is at 7 PM. Tickets are $50. Please contact Pisgah Legal Services for more information at betsy@pisgahlegal.org.  

03/17/15 FILM SHOWING AT UNCA
Filmmaker Jennifer Lee will discuss “The Women's Liberation Movement and American Cultural Memory.” This will be followed by her film 'Feminist: Stories from Women's Liberation' and a Q & A session. Contact Lori Horvitz at lhorvitz@unca.edu or 828.251.6590 for more information. Time is 7 PM to 9 PM and location is Karpen Hall 139, Laurel Forum.

03/18/15 MOUNTAIN TRUE INFORMATION SESSION
MountainTrue’s Southern Regional Office Recycling Committee will host its next meeting at 4:30 PM on March 18 in our conference room at 611 N. Church St., Hendersonville.  The main presenter will be Ken Allison from the proposed Regional Recycling Solutions Center planned for Asheville. This should be very informative for anyone who is interested in recycling. His presentation will focus on new facility, his state of the art sorting machine imported from Germany, and how the facility will affect recycling in WNC. The presentation will be about 30 minutes. For more information, call (828) 692-0385.

03/19/15 CONCERT AT UNCA
Based in Jerusalem, “Heartbeat” is an international non-profit organization uniting musicians, educators, and students to build mutual understanding and transform conflict through the power of music. Founded in 2007 under a Fulbright-MTVu award, Heartbeat creates opportunities and spaces for young Israeli and Palestinian musicians to work together, hear each other, and amplify their youthful voices to influence the world around them. Time is 7 PM and location is Lipinsky Auditorium. UNC Asheville Students are free, for area students tickets are $8, campus community tickets are $13, and general admission is $22.

03/19/15 PANEL DISCUSSION AT UNCA
Panel Discussion with Heartbeat (see above) from 11 AM to 12:10 PM. Location is Humanities Lecture Hall. This is free and open to the public.

03/19/15 SOCIAL JUSTICE COFFEE HOUR AT UNCA
Key Center Social Justice Coffee Hour with Heartbeat (see above) at 12:30 PM at Laurel Forum. This is free and open to the public.

03/21/15 BIOLOGICAL MONITORING TRAINING
Learn to sample a site for aquatic life which serve as biological indicators of water quality over time. This training is designed for both new and current volunteers. Training covers aquatic insect morphology & identification, as well as sampling protocol, and includes both a lab and field portion. For more information and to register visit bit.ly/wqtrainings. Location is Blue Ridge Community College in Flat Rock, and time is 9 AM to 4 PM. 

03/21/2015 SOCIAL DIMENSIONS OF CLIMATE CHANGE - SECOND SESSION
This two-session class will examine the causes and consequences of climate change, as well as provide direction for meaningful individual and community action. The first session will focus on the economics of climate change, how climate change will affect human welfare, and questions of climate justice and injustice. The second session will look at why more science and more information are not solving the climate problem, examine different forms of climate denialism and inaction, and explore how to develop community initiatives. This class is for students who are concerned about climate change but do not know how to get started on addressing issues. Call 828 665-2492 to register by phone. Time is 12:30 to 3:30 PM and location is NC Arboretum, Education Center Auditorium. $57 Member/$67 Non-member Limit: 32 students. First session is on March 7. 

03/25/15 LOBBY DAY IN RALEIGH BY CREATION CARE ALLIANCE WNC
Creation Care Alliance of WNC invites you to join NCIPL and Interfaith Power & Light founder and President Rev. Sally Bingham on March 25th at the NC General Assembly in Raleigh for the Faith Voices for Clean Energy Advocacy Day. Registration required by March 23, 2015. See 03/05/15 listing for information on training for this lobby day. For more information, please contact Jane Laping at janelaping@sbcglobal.net or call 828-277-7342.

03/25/15 MUSIC OF THE HOLOCAUST AT UNCA
Music of the Holocaust with Bandana Klezmer and Dr. Walter Ziffer. Prior to the Holocaust, Klezmer musicians were an integral part of life in the shtetls of Eastern Europe. Sometimes termed "Jewish celebration music" Klezmorum traveled from village to village to play at weddings. As a 14 year old boy in Ceske Tesin Czech Republic, Dr. Ziffer was captured and imprisoned in a series of slave labor munitions camps. Dr. Ziffer will share his story of liberation by the Soviet Army from Gross Rosen and how he came to be reunited with his family. Time is 7 PM and location is Highsmith Student Union Alumni Hall. 

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ONGOING EVENTS
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TUESDAY
Veterans for Peace have a weekly vigil at 4:30 PM at Pack Square, Vance Monument

WEDNESDAY
Haywood Peace Vigilers have a weekly vigil at 4 PM at Haywood County Courthouse in Waynesville

THURSDAY
Asheville Homeless Network meeting at 1 PM at A-Hope on North Ann Street in Asheville.  
Youth Outright Poetry Night at United Church of Christ in Asheville at 5 PM

FRIDAY
Women in Black have a weekly vigil at noon at the City Hall in Hendersonville
Women in Black have a monthly vigil at 5 PM at Vance Monument in Asheville (first Friday only)

SATURDAY
Transylvanians for Peace and WNC Physicians for Social Responsibility have a weekly vigil at noon in front of the courthouse in Brevard
Third Saturdays – Asheville’s Green Grannies invites the public to “sing for the climate” at Pritchard Park at 4 PM.

SUNDAY
Youth OUTright meeting from 4 to 6 PM at First Congregational United Church of Christ at 20 Oak Street in Asheville. Ages 14 - 23 only.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Once a top booster, ex-U.S. envoy no longer backs arming Syrian rebels


WASHINGTON — Robert Ford was always one of the Syrian rebels’ loudest cheerleaders in Washington, agitating from within a reluctant administration to arm vetted moderates to fight Bashar Assad’s brutal regime.

In recent weeks, however, Ford, the former U.S. ambassador to Syria who made news when he left government service a year ago with an angry critique of Obama administration policy, has dropped his call to provide weapons to the rebels. Instead, he’s become increasingly critical of them as disjointed and untrustworthy because they collaborate with jihadists. 
The about-face, which is drawing murmurs among foreign policy analysts and Syrian opposition figures in Washington, is another sign that the so-called moderate rebel option is gone and the choices in Syria have narrowed to regime vs. extremists in a war that’s killed more than 200,000 people and displaced millions.


On the heels of meetings with rebel leaders in Turkey, Ford explained in an interview this week why his position has evolved: Without a strong central command or even agreement among regional players that al Qaida’s Nusra Front is an enemy, he said, the moderates stand little chance of becoming a viable force, whether against Assad or the extremists. He estimated that the remnants of the moderate rebels now number fewer than 20,000. They’re unable to attack and at this point are “very much fighting defensive battles.”

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Glad to see he finally woke up. We could save a lot of time and money by everyone waking up to the fact that violence does not solve problems and we need to stop doing this immediately.