Thursday, November 27, 2014

Alternatives to Endless War: A Sustainable, Effective Response to ISIS


From World Beyond War: A coalition of PDA, Roots Action, Win Without War, CMSM, UFPJ, Peace Action, Code Pink, War Is A Crime, WAND, and USLAW.

It's not too late to stop an endless war in Iraq and Syria. We’ve spent over $1.1 billion bombing Iraq and Syria since August 2014, yet Congress has not debated or authorized our latest war. It will take grassroots pressure to move Congress. We can start by popularizing the possible steps towards a political solution. Instead of another endless war, Members of Congress should stand up in support of effective alternatives. Below are possible ways for the U.S. government to take action NOW! These are examples of the many alternatives available to move towards a political solution.

The United States Congress can:
Insist that President Obama seek congressional authorization for continued military intervention, and then vote to oppose our latest war in Iraq and Syria.
Cosponsor measures like H. Con. Res. 114, offered by the Congressional Progressive Caucus, to require Congress to debate, vote, and constrain U.S. military intervention.
Support measures to prohibit U.S. ground troops, sunset the 2001 and 2002 Authorizations for the Use of Military Force (the bills that authorized U.S. military intervention in Iraq and Afghanistan), and bolster the alternatives listed below.


The United States can take immediate unilateral action to:
Tighten loopholes in existing sanctions to help cut off ISIS’s funding streams: ISIS profits from selling petroleum, archaeological artifacts, and wheat.
Condition U.S. support for the Iraqi government on success in stopping sectarian violence and promoting inclusive governance. This can undermine the roots of ISIS’s hold in Iraq.
Cut off U.S. government contracts with anyone doing business with ISIS.
Increase humanitarian funds for acute needs. The UN’s Syria Regional Refugee Response Plan for 2014 is only halfway funded. As winter approaches, the key World Food Program has run out of funds: rations will be cut and some refugees will go without any WFP aid.
Stop channeling weapons into the war. ISIS has captured and used U.S.­made weapons.
Support civil society efforts to build peace and reconciliation at the community level.


The United States can support multilateral efforts to:
Ensure that all parties to the armed conflict in Syria allow unfettered access to humanitarian organizations and agencies to provide assistance to civilians.
Build regional stability and security through aid for refugee host nation communities to reinforce stressed health, education, and housing infrastructure and to encourage job creation.
Keep the conflict from spreading to Jordan, Turkey or Lebanon etc. by encouraging a global effort to share responsibility for resettling refugees from Iraq and Syria.
Restrict ISIS’s access to the international financial system.
Support a political solution to Syria’s civil war: With the UN and regional powers, press the regime and rebels to support truces to reduce noncombatant deaths and increase the focus on defending against ISIS. Reenergize diplomacy for negotiation on a political transition that would include all parties to the conflict as well as outside parties, such as Saudi Arabia, Iran, Russia and the U.S. A regional Contact Group could lay the groundwork for peace talks. If necessary, the UN General Assembly could assume responsibility under the Uniting for Peace procedure (to circumvent possible Security Council inaction). Begin discussions and planning for a possible international peacekeeping or stabilization mission in Syria (and possibly parts of Iraq).


The United States can work with regional states and organizations to:
Engage in strategic outreach to Sunni communities in both Iraq and Syria to address political and economic grievances and thus undermine crucial political support for ISIS.
Work to impose an arms embargo against all armed actors in Iraq and Syria. Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait have provided weapons to the opposition, including ISIS, in Syria.
Work with the states near ISIS territory to close the borders leading into and out of ISIS areas, thus depriving the jihadists of supplies. Conduct a social media campaign that exposes the grotesque nature of ISIS ideology.



Tuesday, November 25, 2014

More than 30,000 people living in UNRWA schools in Gaza

And what does that look like? All the photos are on this webpage, but here is one photo from that group.


Just unbelievable that the world is letting Israel get away with this again and again and again.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Upcoming events in the Asheville area this week


I am in this photo - near the bottom of the first "9".  That was a great time!

UPCOMING EVENTS

11/24/14 WORLD AIDS DAY COMMEMORATION
As part of the World AIDS Day commemoration, the Western North Carolina AIDS Project will exhibit 160 panels of the AIDS Memorial Quilt at the Renaissance Hotel in downtown Asheville from November 24 until December 1, 2014. The exhibit will be open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. A special opening-night reception takes place Monday, November 24 from 6-8 PM and includes a message from Mike Smith, co-founder of the Names Project Foundation, music by classical guitarist James Barr, and presentation of new quilt panels created this year by WNCAP’s Quilting Group. On Monday, December 1, World AIDS Day, the group will present programming throughout the day, including a special appearance by local Asheville diva Kat Williams.

11/24/14 PRESENTATION FROM WNC PHYSICIANS FOR SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
Western N. C. Physicians for Social Responsibility invites everyone to come to Mary Fox Olson’s presentation, “The Medical Consequences of Nuclear Weapons and the Disproportionate Impact of Ionizing Radiation on Females” on Monday, Nov 24 at 2 PM in the meeting room of the West Asheville Library on Haywood Road in Asheville.  Mary's offering will give us an opportunity to preview Mary's major presentation to the International Vienna Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons in December. We are pleased, as this will be a rare occasion when the US has agreed to take part in such an international event. Free and open to the public.

11/24/14 RURAL HERITAGE MUSEUM IN MARS HILL
The exhibit is “Our Story - This Place: The History of African-American Education in Madison County and the Anderson Rosenwald School”. This exhibit runs until 02/28/14 and is free and open to the public. Location of the Rural Heritage Museum is 100 Athletic Street in Mars Hill and their phone number is 689-1304.

11/24/14 COALITION AGAINST FRACKING MEETING IN BRYSON CITY
Swain County Coalition Against Fracking Meeting, Bryson City Library, 33 Fryemont Street in Bryson City. Time is 6:30 PM.

11/24/14 PUBLIC LECTURE AT UNCA
“Where have we been? Where are we? Where are we going? The Ebb and Flow of Empires”. Location is Lipinsky Auditorium and time is 11:25 AM.

11/26/14 NO GREEN DRINKS MEETING TODAY

11/27/14 HAPPY TURKEY DAY

11/29/14 WESTERN CAROLINIANS FOR PEACE AND JUSTICE IN THE MIDDLE EAST
There will be a protest against HP on Friday, Nov 29, noon to 1 PM, on South Tunnel Rd at entrance to parking lot in front of Best Buy. Western Carolinians for Peace and Justice in the Middle East welcome all concerned to help put an end to Hewlett-Packard's profits from their I-T systems that manage Israelis' and Palestinians' movement. For more info about the international boycott and this protest action, call Susan at 669 2073.

12/02/14 WORLD AFFAIRS COUNCIL
Dorina Bekoe, a senior research associate in the Center for Conflict Analysis and Prevention in Washington DC will overview Peacekeeping in Africa. Meetings are scheduled for 7:30 PM in the Reuter Center's Manheimer Room. For more details about programs, consult the WAC website.

12/02/14 ASHEVILLE TRANSIT COMMITTEE MEETING
Time is 3:30 to 5 PM and location is the First Floor Conference room at City Hall. 

12/03/14 SIERRA CLUB MEETING
All are warmly invited to WENOCA Sierra Club Group’s 5th Annual Holiday Party and Recognition Awards at 7 PM on December 3 at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation, 1 Edwin Pl, (corner of Charlotte & Edwin) in Asheville. Last year about 60 folks ate, drank, and were merry. Recognition awards were presented to community leaders. Please bring a potluck dish to share and a book to swap, as well as laughter and good cheer! Time is 7 PM. Contact Judy at judymattox@sbcglobal.net or 828-683-2176 for more information.

12/04/14 ASHEVILLE BEYOND COAL EVENT
On Dec 4th, join us for the first-ever "New Mountain Climate Bash" - a local music loves our planet shindig at New Mountain Asheville at 38 N. French Broad Avenue in Asheville. This bash celebrates both local music and Asheville Beyond Coal's efforts to move beyond coal, fight climate disruption, and stop the poisoning of our rivers from toxic coal ash. Cheers to local music, epic shindigs, kind venues, and great causes joining together to create a better world and protect our beloved mountains!  Tix are $8 beforehand, $10 at the door ($5 student tickets with ID at the door). All proceeds go to benefit Asheville Beyond Coal's efforts to protect our mountains and planet. Doors open at 7 pm. Beer specials and food trucks available.

12/04/14 JUST ECONOMICS ANNUAL CELEBRATION
Every year JE takes time to celebrate the work we have done toward a more just and sustainable local economy as an organization and a community over the past year. Help us celebrate 2014 and look forward to what's to come in 2015. For the past several years, the event features a unique (amateur) performance illustrating themes in our work. This year's performance will be 'Putting the Pieces Together' and will take place sometime between 7-8 PM. The event is FREE and all our welcome. We greatly appreciate donations and will also have a raffle, so we hope that you will support our work if you can. The event will also include food, beer, music, and celebration! Join us. Time is 6 to 9 PM and location is Jubilee Community Church. This is a Facebook event.

12/06/14 FACEBOOK FOR ACTIVISTS
Join other Transitioners for a three-hour training under the leadership of Rebekah Whilden, local social media guru, to learn and update skills in this most popular means of spreading the word about events and activities. Cost:  $15. Registration requested. Time is 1 to 4 PM and location is First Congregational UCC Church in Asheville. Reply to ron.martinadkins@gmail.com.

12/08/14 MOVE TO AMEND BUNCOMBE COUNTY MEETING
The next MABCO meeting is Monday, December 8, at 7 PM at the North Asheville Library on Merrimon Avenue. The focus of this planning meeting will be setting MABCO goals for 2015. Call Ruth at 232-2883 or email ruthachristie@gmail.com for more information.

12/08/14 TRANSITION ASHEVILLE SOCIAL
TA Social: “Tim Ormond and a New Paradigm for Human-Stormwater Ecosystems!” Transition Asheville is presenting a talk by Tim Ormond,of HydroCycle Engineering, who has transformed the landscape and parking lot of Mars Hill's Town Hall from an ordinary "storm-water--run-off-into-the-sewer-system"  situation, into a veritable Garden of Eden! Come hear how he did it, and why he is advocating for a new paradigm for human-stormwater ecosystems. Monday, Dec. 8th, at the Parish Hall of St. Mary's Church, 337 Charlotte St., Asheville, 6:30 to 8 PM. Free, and delicious refreshments served! For more information visit Transition Asheville website.

12/09/14 VETERANS FOR PEACE MEETING
Time is 6:30 PM and location is VFP HQ at the Phil Mechanic Studios: 109 Roberts Street in Asheville. 
12/10/14 AFFORDABLE CARE ACT LAB SESSION AT AB TECH
Unsure about how to sign up for insurance under the Affordable Care Act? Come to the Balsam computer lab and sign-up in person. Certified Navigators will be available to answer any questions that come up and can even walk you through each step of enrollment. Location is Balsam 214. Time is 11 AM.

12/11/14 OVERVIEW OF STATE BUDGET AND TOOLS TO MAKE AN IMPACT
Give Me 5! Join Us at "Building a Stronger North Carolina – A Call to Action” Thursday, December 11th, 8:30 to 11:00 AM at the AB Tech Enka campus. Hear an overview of the North Carolina State Budget, Economic Forecast, Issues Affecting Your Community and Add Your Voice. UNITED WAY and the NC Budget & Tax Center, a project of the NC Justice Center, are teaming up to share the story of the economy and the NC state budget. Throughout this session, you will have the opportunity to respond and voice your concerns. Here’s a snapshot of what you can expect: information on North Carolina’s economic recovery and how families are faring; overview of the state budget decisions and how the state is addressing the areas of education, income and health; regional and local data on the economy and impacts of policy decisions; tools to make an impact on the issues you care most about. This event is brought to you by United Way of Asheville and Buncombe County, the Community Foundation of Western North Carolina, WNC Nonprofit Pathways, the League of Women Voters, Women for Women, and Children First/Communities in Schools in conjunction with United Way of North Carolina and the North Carolina Budget and Tax Center. For more information and instructions on how to register, call 828-255-0696 or email ron.katz@unitedwayabc.org.   

12/12/14 UNITARIAN UNIVERSALIST SOCIAL JUSTICE MOVIE
If you attended our Poverty Forum, then you saw the trailer for a terrific HBO documentary “Paycheck to Paycheck: The Life and Times of Katrina Gilbert” which illustrates the struggles of the working poor in America. This film will be the featured presentation for the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Asheville's Social Justice Movie Night. This event is free, but donations will be accepted to cover screening costs. We hope to see you there! Time is 7 PM and location is the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Asheville at 1 Edwin Place, Asheville.

12/13/14 CHANGE THE COURSE: PEOPLE POWERED STATEGIES FOR A STABLE CLIMATE
Did you miss the Change the Course training put on by the Rainforest Action Network in October?  AND can’t make the workshop on 11/23?  Transition Asheville is keeping the momentum from our Back-Casting Event and the RAN workshop moving forward for local change.  What kind of a future would you like to see? Would you like to help make that desirable future come to pass by thinking about what we could do–here and now–to make it happen? The workshop is based on the RAN Climate Summits being conducted across the country to involve citizens in their own communities to see what changes can be made close to home, on the community and neighborhood levels, particularly for a Day of Action, hopefully in late January.  We hope to lend support to the RAN Day of Action, identify people who want to host additional presentations, and move forward on actions for local change.  Join us for an afternoon to create and share a vision and strategies to help stabilize the climate! The more people who take part in these workshops, the more ideas, energy and creativity can be brought to bear on the challenges! Time is 1 to 6 PM and location is Lenoir-Rhyne University, Asheville campus. Go to Transition Asheville website for more information.

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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 Vance Monument at 5 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.

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ACTIONS AND READINGS
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FROM STEVE NORRIS:

The week of actions we did protesting at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in Washington was intense and productive. There's no way to summarize it all. In some ways this photograph of Sean Glenn, who had walked with the Great March for Climate Action and who in this picture is blowing a whistle while locked down at the entrance TO FERC says all that needs to be said. 

http://inhabitat.com/beyond-extreme-energy-protesting-at-the-federal-energy-regulatory-commission-in-dc/pb060629/

And if you are interested in more detail, here's a future hope column written by Ted Glick one of the organizers.

http://tedglick.com/future-hope-columns/victory-for-beyond-extreme-energy-at-ferc/

And thanks to all of you for your support. More actions are planned soon. Steve


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Saturday, November 22, 2014

Watch Democracy Now!

They are the best source of news on US soil, by a huge margin. I recommend watching or listening to them every Monday to Friday. I download on my iPod Shuffle and listen to them all.