Thursday, June 29, 2017

Collateral Repair Project

Photo from Collateral Repair Project.

From an email from Collateral Repair Project:

This June 20th marks the 16th annual World Refugee Day, which raises awareness for refugees and the issues they face as they try to find safety, happiness, and success in new lands. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), as of 2015, there are 65.3 million displaced peoples around the world with 21.3 million of them classified as refugees. That’s about the same size as the state of Florida! This is the highest number of refugees on record according to the UNCHR.  

At CRP, we work to not only assist refugees with basic needs, but to enrich their lives in Amman as well. As we wrote in a recent blog post about our Women’s Empowerment Workshop, “Knowing one’s rights is an essential element of being or becoming empowered.” Read more about it here!

Now it is up to us to spread our awareness to others who might not realize the gravity of the situation. This coming World Refugee Day we encourage everyone to take the time to talk about issues refugees face.

Make sure to follow us on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter using #worldrefugeeday. We will be continuing this conservation on World Refugee Day across social media channels. And look out for our fundraiser in partnership with the Advocacy Project for the Women's Hope Workshop!

Thank you for your support,

The CRP Team 

UNCHR Stats on the Refugee Crisis (as of 2015):
• 33,972 people become refugees everyday
• Syria, Afghanistan, and Somalia produce the most refugees. Syria has 4.9 million refugees, Afghanistan has 2.7 million refugees, and Somalia has 1.1 million refugees
• The top five host countries as of 2015 were Turkey (2.5 million), Pakistan (1.6 million), Lebanon (1.1 million), Islamic Republic of Iran (979,400), Ethiopia (736,100), and Jordan (664,100)

• These statistics continue to grow annually

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

From Veterans for Peace



From Veterans for Peace: No More Troops in Afghanistan

The Trump Administration announced it has given Defense Secretary Jim Mattis the authority to determine troops levels in Afghanistan. It is widely believed that Mattis favors sending several thousand more U.S. troops to Afghanistan. Why? Perhaps to break the “stalemate” as described by the Commander of U.S. Forces in Afghanistan, Army General John Nicholson when describing the war to the Senate Armed Services Committee. In his June 13th testimony, Secretary Mattis told the same committee, “We are not winning in Afghanistan right now.”

Veterans For Peace calls for a different direction than more war. We call on Congress to stop funding war and demand a plan for a peaceful solution. We call on the President to immediately begin withdrawal of U.S. troops and take a new direction towards diplomacy and peace. And we call on the people of the U.S. to resist war and demand policies that foster peace and prosperity at home and in Afghanistan.

It should be clear after 16 years and the death of tens of thousands of people that no one is a winner in Afghanistan. There is no clear concept of what it means to win there. In fact, it is no longer clear why the U.S. continues to keep troops in Afghanistan and now is on the brink of increasing the number of men and women in harm's way.

The U.S. has claimed to be at war in Afghanistan to deny “terrorists” training and staging areas to attack the United States and to protect the people of Afghanistan. After this long period of war, what does the U.S. have to show for its military efforts? 

Since the horror of September 11, 2001, the U.S. has been on a path of war, wreaking havoc on millions of people around the globe. Because of displacement, death and maiming of loved ones by U.S. wars, animosity towards the U.S. has increased and the world has become less safe.  The animosity caused by the wars has created a larger pool of people willing to fight the U.S. In 2001 al Qaeda had limited influence and ISIL did not exist. Now Al Qaeda and ISIL have affiliated groups and sympathetic supporters around the globe.

The protection of the Afghan people has been a total failure. It has been widely reported that the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan found that there were 11,418 civilian casualties (3,498 deaths and 7,920 injured) between January and December 2016, an overall increase of 3 percent. An appalling number of those casualties were children – 923 deaths, and 2,589 injured – a 24 percent increase over record-high numbers from 2015. In addition, 3,535 coalition forces have died; three of which were recently killed as a result of an insider attack fire from an Afghan soldier. We must add to these losses all the people who are physically and psychologically broken and families torn apart.The human cost is immeasurable. But there is also a dollar cost to war. The U.S. has spent over $1 trillion in this failed and depraved effort in Afghanistan. These dollars represent lost opportunities to repair U.S. infrastructure, pay for healthcare, create jobs and address a host of human needs.

It is not too late  for a different direction. War was always the wrong option. Perhaps it was not clear 16 years ago. It should be clear now more than ever!


https://www.veteransforpeace.org/our-work/position-statements/veterans-peace-no-more-troops-afghanistan/

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Upcoming events for the week of June 25, 2017



UPCOMING EVENTS CALENDAR BY DANCEWATER

06/26/17 HEATH CARE COMMUNITY CONVERSATION IN MARION 
You are invited to a Health Care Community Conversation on the Benefits of Health Coverage. What: Health Care and Your Community Supper. Where: McDowell Senior Center, 100 Spaulding Road, Marion 28752. When: Monday, June 26, 5:30-6:30 p.m. The discussion will address: The Affordable Care Act, North Carolina’s Medicaid Program, including Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), Ways to Become a Health Care Advocate. Please join staff from the NC Justice Center for this important discussion. Reserve your seat today. Email Nicole Dozier, NC Justice Center at Nicole@ncjustice.org or leave a message: 919-856-2146. Please include the names in your party so we may be prepared with the proper amount of meeting materials.

06/26/17 RALLY FOR HEALTHCARE IN ASHEVILLE
Monday 26 June 2017. 5:00PM-6:00PM. Join a nonpartisan rally speaking out against the recent congressional health care bill. This event will host the following speakers who will discuss the effects of the legislation: Jaclyn Kiger, Pisgah Legal, Alia Tood, ASRW, John Wingerter, Council on Aging, Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, Campaign for Southern Equality and music from David LaMotte. No contact information. 

06/27/17 HEALTHCARE FOR ALL
Healthcare For All: A Workable Solution. June 27 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm. Join us for Asheville’s first educational symposium on Single Payer Healthcare. Leaders of Physicians for a National Health Program will present details on a just, cost-effective solution to our healthcare crisis. Dr. Carol Paris, the current chair of Physicians for a National Health Program, and Dr. Jessica Schorr Saxe, the chair of Healthcare Justice NC are the featured speakers. Regional Western North Carolina healthcare providers/patients Dr. Eric Halvorson, Dr. Ellen Kaczmarek, Beth Gage, Dr. Errington Thompson and Dr. Christina McQuiston will share compelling perspectives on their experiences with our current healthcare system. The symposium will be moderated by Joe Sam Queen, former state legislator from Waynesville. Limited seating. Doors open at 6:30. Organized by IndivisibleAVL Healthcare Team. Email: healthcare@indivisibleavl.org.  

06/27/17 PISGAH LEGAL SERVICES LUNCH SESSION
Learn about how the political climate affects people in poverty in WNC. Join us on Tuesday, June 27 at 11:30am for a lunch session focused on how policy-making in the current political climate affects our neighbors living in poverty here in Western North Carolina. During this lunch, PLS attorneys will explore challenges faced by low-income individuals and their families and will talk briefly about what PLS is doing to help. Lunch is provided. Please RSVP to Brent McKnight at brent@pisgahlegal.org or 828-210-3405.

06/27/17 ASURJ DO!SCUSSION
Every Tuesday since December 2016. The Do!scussion is a safe space in which to talk about what we see that encourages us to continue to create multi-racial coalitions in Asheville. It is also a space in which we talk about what we are struggling with. Hard for you to get out of bed and get to work on dismantling the white supremacy? Come on over, and we'll talk about it. Then, we'll get to Do!ing! The six organizing principles of SURJ are: 1) Accountability through Action, 2) Mutual Interest, 3) Take Risks and Keep Going, 4) Calling in More, 5) Enough for Everyone, and 6) Growth is Good. Time is 10 AM and location is Firestorm Coffee & Books at 610 Haywood Road in west Asheville. Contact Firestorm at info@firestorm.coop for more information.

06/28/17 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 5 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. Last year, our former president dropped 26,000 bombs on seven different countries. The current president seems to be trying to match or beat that horrible record. Meanwhile we are banning refugees from those countries we have destroyed. Show you are publicly against our country's endless wars and occupations by standing with Veterans for Peace.

06/28/17 BRIDGE THE GAP
Join host Madelyn Anderson for a book club for those interested in exploring perspectives of people with different life experiences or world views, particularly those marginalized in the USA. We’ll read about the intersection of race, gender, political affiliation, and sexual identification/orientation, as well as discuss ways to take collective action. Meets the last Wednesday of every month. This month’s pick is “Tell Me How It Ends: An Essay in 40 Questions” by Valeria Luiselli. Time is 7 PM. Contact Malaprops for more information. 

06/28/17 ASURJ RAPID RESPONSE TRAINING
ASURJ (Asheville Showing Up for Racial Justice) will be leading a discussion on the basic dos and don'ts of showing up to protests and actions when we show up as an act of allyship. Among the discussion points are: How to center the voices of those most impacted, how to intervene if another "ally" is crossing the line, etc. Time is 6 PM and location is Firestorm Coffee & Books at 610 Haywood Road in west Asheville. Contact Firestorm at info@firestorm.coop for more information.

06/30/17 SILENT VIGIL FOR IMMIGRATION REFORM
Time is 5 to 7 PM and location is Henderson County Courthouse on Main Street (between 1st and 2nd Street) in downtown Hendersonville. This is put on by a coalition of non-profits and churches.

07/02/17 POLITICAL PRISONER LETTER WRITING NIGHT
Every first Sunday since February 2017. Each month on 1st Sundays, join members of Blue Ridge Anarchist Black Cross for an evening of solidarity with long term political prisoners: people who have been incarcerated due to their activism and resistance to systems of domination and oppression. We come together each month to celebrate their birthdays by sending words of encouragement and support. We let them know that they--and their sacrifices for our movements--are never far from our minds and hearts. Time is 5 PM and location is Firestorm Coffee & Books at 610 Haywood Road in west Asheville. Contact Firestorm at info@firestorm.coop for more information.

07/04/17 MASS CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE AT LAKE JULIAN
Mass Civil Disobedience: Independence From Fossil Fuels & Corporate Rule! July 4, 406 Overlook Rd Ext, Arden. Come stand, paddle, swim and sit with us is a peaceful non-violent action to let Duke and the world know what we’ve had enough. This came from Frack-Free NC website. This July 4th our community will declare Independence from Fossil Fuels by demanding 100% renewable energy for Asheville and BuncombeCounty and by engaging in a non-violent canoe and kayak action on Lake Julian. A group of citizens and nonprofits have come together to take a stand and fight for our right to a livable planet for our children and grandchildren. A key to this is 100% renewable energy and the right to choose how our electricity is generated. Duke on the other hand is planning to "modernize" with about $25 billion in antiquated nineteenth century fracked gas fuels. On July 4th we claim independence from fossil fuels and corporate rule. We can no longer sit idle as corporations destroy our liberty, our community, and our right to existence in the name of greed and profit. Bring a boat or use one of ours. come even if you do not want to go in a boat on the Lake, by supporting those who can take action, or by simply enjoying the food, the music and the great company. Noon to 3 pm - Food and Live Music, 3pm Speakers, 4pm Launch boats onto the lake; action

07/04/17 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 5 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. Last year, our former president dropped 26,000 bombs on seven different countries. The current president seems to be trying to match or beat that horrible record. Meanwhile we are banning refugees from those countries we have destroyed. Show you are publicly against our country's endless wars and occupations by standing with Veterans for Peace.

07/04/17 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. This month’s book is “Citizen Scientist: Searching for Heroes and Hope in an Age of Extinction” by Mary Ellen Hannibal. Time is 7 PM and location is Malaprops. Contact Malaprops for more information.

07/04/17 ASURJ DO!SCUSSION
Every Tuesday since December 2016. The Do!scussion is a safe space in which to talk about what we see that encourages us to continue to create multi-racial coalitions in Asheville. It is also a space in which we talk about what we are struggling with. Hard for you to get out of bed and get to work on dismantling the white supremacy? Come on over, and we'll talk about it. Then, we'll get to Do!ing! The six organizing principles of SURJ are: 1) Accountability through Action, 2) Mutual Interest, 3) Take Risks and Keep Going, 4) Calling in More, 5) Enough for Everyone, and 6) Growth is Good. Time is 10 AM and location is Firestorm Coffee & Books at 610 Haywood Road in west Asheville. Contact Firestorm at info@firestorm.coop for more information.

07/05/17 CITIZENS-POLICE ADVISORY COMMITTEE MEETING
This meeting is organized by the City of Asheville. This meeting is free and open to the public. They meet in the first floor Conference Room at the Public Works Building at 161 South Charlotte Street in downtown Asheville. Time is 5 PM. Call 251-1122 for more information.

07/09/17
Please join our Western North Carolina chapter on Sunday, July 9, for the chapter’s annual meeting and “Celebration of Liberty” in Asheville. Our dedicated volunteer chapter will be honoring Asheville’s Women’s March with its 2017 Evan Mahaney Champion of Liberty Award and will vote to elect new board members. Karen Anderson, Executive Director of ACLU of North Carolina will be there to talk about opportunities and challenges ahead as we work to protect and advance civil liberties for all in North Carolina. The event is free and open to the public. Dessert will be provided. Cash bar for all beverages. When: 3 p.m., Sunday, July 9, 2017. Where: The Altamont Theatre, 18 Church St, Asheville 28801. Contact: Mike Meno, ACLU of North Carolina, 919-348-9623 or mmeno@acluofnc.org. 

07/11/17 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 5 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. Last year, our former president dropped 26,000 bombs on seven different countries. The current president seems to be trying to match or beat that horrible record. Meanwhile we are banning refugees from those countries we have destroyed. Show you are publicly against our country's endless wars and occupations by standing with Veterans for Peace.

07/11/17 ASURJ DO!SCUSSION
Every Tuesday since December 2016. The Do!scussion is a safe space in which to talk about what we see that encourages us to continue to create multi-racial coalitions in Asheville. It is also a space in which we talk about what we are struggling with. Hard for you to get out of bed and get to work on dismantling the white supremacy? Come on over, and we'll talk about it. Then, we'll get to Do!ing! The six organizing principles of SURJ are: 1) Accountability through Action, 2) Mutual Interest, 3) Take Risks and Keep Going, 4) Calling in More, 5) Enough for Everyone, and 6) Growth is Good. Time is 10 AM and location is Firestorm Coffee & Books at 610 Haywood Road in west Asheville. Contact Firestorm at info@firestorm.coop for more information.

07/13/17 DOCUMENTARY FILM  IN ASHEVILLE
July 13th movie “FIX IT” — Health Care At The Tipping Point. Location is the Pack Memorial Library, Lord Auditorium in downtown Asheville. 6:00 PM doors open, 6:15 – 7:15 movie, followed by Q & A. Free. Email: healthcare@indivisibleavl.org. 

07/18/17 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 5 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. Last year, our former president dropped 26,000 bombs on seven different countries. The current president seems to be trying to match or beat that horrible record. Meanwhile we are banning refugees from those countries we have destroyed. Show you are publicly against our country's endless wars and occupations by standing with Veterans for Peace.

07/18/17 ASURJ DO!SCUSSION
Every Tuesday since December 2016. The Do!scussion is a safe space in which to talk about what we see that encourages us to continue to create multi-racial coalitions in Asheville. It is also a space in which we talk about what we are struggling with. Hard for you to get out of bed and get to work on dismantling the white supremacy? Come on over, and we'll talk about it. Then, we'll get to Do!ing! The six organizing principles of SURJ are: 1) Accountability through Action, 2) Mutual Interest, 3) Take Risks and Keep Going, 4) Calling in More, 5) Enough for Everyone, and 6) Growth is Good. Time is 10 AM and location is Firestorm Coffee & Books at 610 Haywood Road in west Asheville. Contact Firestorm at info@firestorm.coop for more information.

07/19/17 GREEN DRINKS
This is a Sustainability and Social Justice Meet-up. Come early for community connections and green drink specials. This happens on the third Wednesday of each month.  Socializing from 5:30 – 6PM and presentation from  6 – 7PM. Location is The Block Off Biltmore at 39 South Market Street at Asheville. Call 828-254-9277 for more information.

07/21/17 WNC PHYSICIANS FOR SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY MEETING
Physicians, health personnel and everyone; all are welcomed at our monthly meetings held on the third Friday of each month. Bring a brown bag lunch around noon. This will be held at The First Congregational United Church of Christ, Room E205, at 20 Oak Street (just off College St. in downtown Asheville). Time is noon to 2 PM. Meeting starts at 12:30. Parking is available behind the church. Enter the church or ring doorbell at the glass doors on Oak Street. For more information contact Dr. Terry Clark, Chair, 633-0892 or Dr. Lew Patrie, 299-1242.

07/25/17 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 5 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. Last year, our former president dropped 26,000 bombs on seven different countries. The current president seems to be trying to match or beat that horrible record. Meanwhile we are banning refugees from those countries we have destroyed. Show you are publicly against our country's endless wars and occupations by standing with Veterans for Peace.

07/25/17 ASURJ DO!SCUSSION
Every Tuesday since December 2016. The Do!scussion is a safe space in which to talk about what we see that encourages us to continue to create multi-racial coalitions in Asheville. It is also a space in which we talk about what we are struggling with. Hard for you to get out of bed and get to work on dismantling the white supremacy? Come on over, and we'll talk about it. Then, we'll get to Do!ing! The six organizing principles of SURJ are: 1) Accountability through Action, 2) Mutual Interest, 3) Take Risks and Keep Going, 4) Calling in More, 5) Enough for Everyone, and 6) Growth is Good. Time is 10 AM and location is Firestorm Coffee & Books at 610 Haywood Road in west Asheville. Contact Firestorm at info@firestorm.coop for more information.

07/28/17 SILENT VIGIL FOR IMMIGRATION REFORM
Time is 5 to 7 PM and location is Henderson County Courthouse on Main Street (between 1st and 2nd Street) in downtown Hendersonville. This is put on by a coalition of non-profits and churches. 

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ONGOING EVENTS
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TUESDAY
Veterans for Peace have a weekly vigil at 5 PM at Pack Square, Vance Monument during most of the year, but after standard time kicks in, they meet at 4:30 PM. 
Showing Up for Racial Justice Do!scussion at Firestorm Coffee & Books at 610 Haywood Road in west Asheville. 10 AM. Educating and organizing white people for racial justice. 
Rally at historic Courthouse in Hendersonville at 5 PM on the first Tuesday of the month. Organized by the Progressive Organized Women. 

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 7 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.

THURSDAY
Political Prisoners Letter Writing at Firestorm Coffee & Books at 6 PM on fourth Thursday of the month. Materials provided.
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.
Standing Up For Racial Justice event is held at 10 AM at 23 Edwin Street, next to the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Asheville. Educating and organizing white people for racial justice.

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.
Citizen’s Climate Lobby meeting at 12:30 PM at Kairos West Community Center on second Saturday of the month.
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.

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ACTIONS AND READINGS
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U.S. Forest Service to Hold Open Houses on Forest Plan Revision

ASHEVILLE, N.C., June 6, 2017 - The U.S. Forest Service will hold open houses across the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests from late June to early August to provide the public with opportunities to talk with Forest Service staff about local issues, district projects, and the Nantahala and Pisgah Forest Plan revision.

"Public attendance at meetings like these helps us to understand your needs, concerns, and values and helps you understand Forest Service programs and activities," explains Allen Nicholas, Forest Supervisor for National Forests in North Carolina.

The open houses allow the public to talk directly with Forest Service staff one-on-one. Each District Open House will highlight the areas within that district. District rangers and members of the Forest Plan revision team will be available to discuss the materials on each of the following days and locations: 
June 29, 6-8 p.m.: Grandfather Ranger District at Foothills Conference Center, 2128 S. Sterling St., Morganton
July 11, 6-8 p.m.: Nantahala Ranger District at Tartan Hall, 26 Church St., Franklin
July 13, 6-8 p.m.: Pisgah Ranger District Office, 1600 Pisgah Hwy, Brevard
July 25, 3-6 p.m.: Appalachian Ranger District at Appalachian District Office, 632 Manor Road, Mars Hill
July 25, 3-6 p.m.: Cheoah Ranger District at Cheoah District Office, 1070 Massey Branch Road, Robbinsville
August 8, 3-6 p.m., Tusquitee Ranger District, Brasstown Community Center, 255 Settawig Rd, Brasstown

The Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests have been revising their Forest Plan, a required document that provides a general framework to guide management of the Forests. As part of the process, 30 public meetings have been held in communities throughout western North Carolina.

Over the past year, the Forest Service has been releasing pre-draft plan materials on the National Forests in North Carolina website - www.fs.usda.gov/goto/nfsnc/ncprevision. Additional materials are posted to the site's Plan Revision Under Construction page as they become available.

"This material is not a preferred alternative or even a draft plan. It represents our latest thinking which has been shaped by public input," said Michelle Aldridge, planning team lead. "In particular, we heard a lot from the public about how places matter to them, so we created a new chapter on Geographic Areas to reflect that."

By separating the Forests into 12 distinct landscapes, Geographic Areas highlight opportunities for restoration and sustainable recreation; connections to nearby communities; and partnerships with the public, other organizations, and governments in different parts of the Forests. Each geographic area also has goals identified that will serve as emphases for management during plan implementation.

Management Area plan components outline how the general forest areas of Interface, Matrix, and Backcountry will be managed. A set of pre-draft maps shows these places on the forest landscape, and adjacent lands not managed by the U.S. Forest Service are included for context. Results from the required Wild and Scenic River Evaluation and information on possible Special Interest Areas are also currently posted on the website. 

By fall 2017, the public will have had an opportunity for early review and input on nearly all aspects of the developing plan. When the Forest Plan draft is finalized, the public will again have an opportunity to review the plan during the formal comment period after the complete draft plan and alternative analyses are released in spring 2018.

While there is no formal NEPA or legal comment period at this time, the Forest Service is accepting input at NCplanrevision@fs.fed.us with the subject line "Spring 2017 material Plan Building Blocks" or by mail at this address: Attn: Plan Revision, National Forests in North Carolina, 160A Zillicoa St, Asheville, NC 28801. Comments will be most useful when received by August 31.

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Nobody Wants Trump in Office More Than Democrats
By David Swanson

http://davidswanson.org/nobody-wants-trump-in-office-more-than-democrats/​

Ordinary people who identify themselves as Democrats have a variety of mostly noble intentions and desires. Elected Democrats in Washington, D.C., are another matter entirely. When voters gave them majorities in Congress in 2006, telling exit pollsters that the top reason was to end the war on Iraq, Rahm Emanuel openly told the Washington Post they planned to keep the war going in order to run “against it” again in 2008. And they did. And it worked. And it was all open and transparent, but nobody really cared. Refusing to end the war or impeach Bush was ranked as “less evil” than being Bush.

If Democratic politicians had some desire to accomplish something (ending wars, saving the earth’s climate, closing prisons, whatever) they would work to create a culture in Washington in which those who abuse power are held accountable, subpoenaed, held in contempt, impeached, removed, unelected. Because their only goals seem to be staying in office, pleasing funders, getting on TV, etc., they are the top supporters of keeping Donald Trump in office through 2018, after which they will tell us that it would really be best to keep him around and run “against” him again in 2020. Republicans, in contrast, are generally turned off by such prospects.

The Democrats’ cynical calculation is the source of a great deal of the “Pence would be worse” malarkey we hear. In reality it doesn’t matter who comes next in comparison to whether who comes next can be held to the rule of law. But you won’t convince an elected Democrat of that. Instead you have to convince them that we will make their lives a living hell unless they impeach Trump, and that impeaching Trump will win them support.

If Democrats cared about either doing their job or removing Trump from office, they would be going after Trump right now for illegally shooting down a Syrian plane, illegally drone bombing numerous nations, conducting numerous illegal wars, illegal prejudicial bans on immigrants, illegal willful destruction of the earth’s climate, unconstitutional domestic and foreign profiteering from his public office, and a whole laundry list of crimes from sexual assault to voter intimidation.

The Russia obsession has, I think, three clear motivations:
1) It shifts blame from a broken U.S. election system, a lousy Democratic candidate, and the DNC’s rigging of its own primary to a foreign entity.
2) It sells a lot of weapons.
3) It keeps Trump in office.

Is that third one the hardest to understand? Think about it this way: If you wanted to “investigate” one of the other charges I list above, the investigation would be instantly over. The evidence is public and beyond dispute. But if you hold “investigations” of vague Russian something-or-other, you can go for months or years with the top news story being whose lawyer hired their own lawyer and other tangential cow pies, keeping “Trump did some evil treasonous thing” in the news for every crazed gun-owner and potential voter to hear over and over again, without actually removing Trump from office.

Of course, I’d love to be proved wrong. That would require action by members of Congress.

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The Body Count Rises In The U.S. War Against Black People
By Ajamu Baraka, www.counterpunch.org

Before we can even process the acquittal of the murders of Philado Castile, we hear about another murder of a black person by the police occupation forces.  This time the victim, Charleena Lyles, is a black woman who was also five months pregnant.

Again, there is anger, confusion and calls for justice from the black community of Seattle, where the latest killing took place. Many might remember that it was in Seattle where two members of the local black community attempted to call out the racist and hypocritical liberal white community during a visit by Bernie Sanders. The black activists were subsequently shouted down by a majority of Bernie’s supporters.  One of the issues that the activists wanted to raise was the repressive, heavy-handed tactics of the Seattle Police Department.

Some have argued that this rash of killings of black people caught on video or reported by dozens of witnesses is nothing new, that the images of police chocking, shooting and beating poor black and working-class people is now more visible because of technological innovations that make it easier to capture these images. They are partially right.

As an internal colony in what some refer to as a prison house of nations that characterizes the U.S. nation state, black communities are separated into enclaves of economic exploitation and social degradation by visible and often invisible social and economic processes. The police have played the role not of protectors of the unrealized human rights of black people but as occupation forces. In those occupied zones of repression, everyone knows that the police operate from a different script than the ones presented in the cop shows that permeate popular entertainment culture in the U.S. In those shows, the police are presented as heroic forces battling the
forces of evil, which sometimes causes them to see the law and the rights of individuals as impediments. For many viewers, brutality and other practices is forgiven and even supported because the police are supposedly dealing with the evil irrational forces that lurk in the bowels of the barrios and ghettos in the imagination of the public.

It was perfectly plausible for far too many white people in the U.S. that a wounded Mike Brown, already shot and running away from Darren Wilson, the cop who eventually murdered Michael, would then turn around and run back at Wilson, who claimed he had no other choice but to engulf Michael in a hail of bullets killing this “demon” as Wilson described him. And unfortunately, many whites will find a way to understand how Charleena, who called the police herself to report a burglary, would then find herself dead at the hands of the police she called.
But the psychopathology of white supremacy is not the focus here. We have commented on that issue on numerous occasions. The concern is with some black people who have not grasped the new conditions that we find ourselves in—that black people don’t understand that there will never be justice as defined by the cessation of these kinds of killings.  Why? Because incarceration, police killings, beatings, charging our children as adults and locking them away for decades, all of these are inherent in the logic of repression that has always characterized the relationship between the U.S. racist settler-state and black people.

In other words, if Black people really want this to stop we have to come to the difficult conclusion, for some, that the settler-colonial, capitalist, white supremacist state and society is the enemy of black people and most oppressed people in the world. Difficult for many because it means that Black people can no longer deny the fact that we are not equal members of this society, that we are seen as the enemy and that our lives, concerns, perspectives, history and desires for the future are of no concern to the rulers of this state and for vast numbers of ordinary whites.

That is why Charleena Lyles joins Mike Brown, Sandra Bland, Tamir Rice, John Crawford and Philando Castile, just a few of the names of our people victimized in the prime of their lives by the protectors of white power wearing police uniforms.

She will not be the last.

The logic of neoliberal capitalism has transformed our communities and peoples into a sector of the U.S. population that is no longer needed. This new reality buttressed by white supremacist ideology that is unable to see the equal value of non-European (white) life has created a precarious situation for black people, more precarious, than any other period in U.S. history.
African (Black) people are a peaceful people and believe in justice.  But there can be no peace without justice. For as long as our people are under attack, as long as our fundamental collective human rights are not recognized, as long as we don’t have the ability to determine our own collective fate, we will resist, we will fight, and we will create the conditions to make sure that the war being waged against us will not continue to be a one- sided conflict.

The essence of the People(s)-Centered Human Rights framework is that the oppressed have a right to right to resist, the right to self-determination, and the right to use whatever means necessary to protect and realize their fundamental rights.

Charleena, we will say your name and the names of all who have fallen as we deliver the final death-blow against this organized barbarism known as the U.S.


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Saturday, June 24, 2017

From David Swanson

Untrump the World — It Won’t Self-Impeach

Remarks at United National Antiwar Coalition in Richmond, Virginia, June 17, 2017

Did you hear about Trump calling up the mayor of Tangier Island in the Chesapeake Bay and telling him that, contrary to all appearances, his island is not sinking? I want to focus on one element of this story, namely that the guy believed what he was told, rather than what he saw.

Did you hear about Secretary of War Mattis telling Congress that for the 16th year in a row he would produce a plan for “winning” a war on Afghanistan? Congress either believed it or has been paid to act as if it believes it. Congress members Jones and Garamendi have a bill to defund this endless act of mass-murder. We need a movement that can nonviolently shut down Congressional offices until they do so.

We do have marches in various cities this weekend to ban nuclear bombs, and negotiations underway at the UN to create a treaty that does that. Once most countries on earth have banned nuclear bombs, the US will explain that, as with successful bans on guns, banning weapons is just not physically possible. Your eyes must be fooling you. A large percentage of that small percentage of people in this country who hear about the matter at all will believe what they are told.

Even more will believe what they are not told. Many who care about resisting climate change, completely ignore the growing danger of nuclear apocalypse, because they don’t hear about it — some people even going so far as to wantonly demand greater hostility between the US and Russian governments. What could go wrong?
We need radical reforms in our education system that go beyond ending standardized tests, shrinking classrooms, and training and paying teachers. We need courses taught in every school in the subjects of social change, nonviolent action, and refining practical techniques for the successful recognition of bullshit.

Trump says dealing more weapons to Saudi Arabia raises no human rights concerns, but visiting Cuba to drink a mojito on the beach, or allowing Cuban medicines to save US lives, borders on a crime against humanity. Others say that weapons of military mass murder should properly be spread only to nations that murder their domestic prisoners in humane ways, like Arkansas. Meanwhile we can’t talk about millions of people on the edge of starving to death in Yemen, we can’t build a movement against starvation, of all things, because the starvation is caused by war and war is not to be questioned.

Did you know that over in Charlottesville our city voted to take down a statue of Robert E. Lee that was put up by racists in the 1920s? But we can’t take it down because a Virginia state law forbids taking down any war monument. That is a law, if ever there was one, that needs repealing in this capital of the confederacy — or at least amending to require an equal sized peace monument for every monument to war. Imagine what that would do for Richmond’s landscape.

Imagine what it would do for our souls. We are in need of a secular and collective resurrection. “A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift,” said Dr. King, “is approaching spiritual death.” And “a nation or civilization that continues to produce soft-minded men purchases its own spiritual death on the installment plan.” We’ve paid up, all the installments. We’ve reached spiritual death. We’ve gone into spiritual decomposition. We’re rapidly making our way toward actual extinction.
When the United States wants to start a new war, the number one justification is that some former client “used chemical weapons on his own people,” as if using them on someone else’s people would be OK, and as if people can belong to someone. When the United States uses white phosphorus as a weapon on human beings, we should understand them as our brothers and sisters, our own people. Our government is an outlaw whose own actions by its own standards justify its overthrow.

Here’s what I propose, as a beginning. World flags in place of national flags. Thank yous for their service to everyone engaged in programs of social uplift. Backs turned on national anthems, pledges of allegiance, and war promoters. Peace demonstrations on every war holiday. Peace books promoted at every school board meeting. Picketing and flyering at every weapons dealer. Welcome parties for all immigrants. Divestment from all weapons. Conversion to peaceful industries. Global cooperation in requiring the closing of all foreign bases. Urging every U.S. mayor to endorse the two resolutions coming up before the U.S. Conference of Mayors that tell Congress not to move money from human and environmental needs to the military but to do just the reverse. And nonviolent resistance to business as usual at every local office of every elected official not on board with the radical change needed to protect peace, planet, and people.

Needless to say this requires political independence and principled promotion of policy, not personality. The same people who rigged a primary to nominate one of the only candidates who could have lost to Donald Trump are now targeting Trump with one of the only accusations that can blow up in their faces for lack of proof or in all of our faces in the form of nuclear war. Meanwhile, Trump is openly guilty of illegal wars, illegal prejudicial bans on immigrants, illegal willful destruction of the earth’s climate, unconstitutional domestic and foreign profiteering from his public office, and a whole laundry list of crimes from sexual assault to voter intimidation.

Trump opponents, too wise by half, say don’t impeach him, his successor would be worse. I respectfully maintain that this position fails to recognize what is needed or our power to achieve it. What is needed is to create the power to impeach, eject, unelect, and otherwise hold accountable anyone who holds public office — something we do not now have, something we must have for whoever comes after Trump whenever they come after Trump, but something that we can only have if we create it.

Nancy Pelosi says to sit back, relax, because Trump will “self-impeach.” I respectfully suggest that people no more self-impeach than wars self-end, guns self-ban, police self-reform, energy systems self-convert, schools self-improve, houses self-build, or planets self-protect. The only strategy this mindset leads to is self-destruction. Congress clearly will not self-govern. We have to impose our will. We have to understand what is needed and create it, against the concerted efforts of those in power. Power concedes nothing without a demand, said Frederick Douglass. Let’s do some demanding.