Thursday, August 25, 2016

Child of the Wind by Bruce Cockburn

Child of the Wind

I love the pounding of hooves
I love engines that roar
I love the wild music of waves on the shore
And the spiral perfection of a hawk when it soars
Love my sweet woman down to the core

There's roads and there's roads
And they call, can't you hear it?
Roads of the earth
And roads of the spirit
The best roads of all
Are the ones that aren't certain
One of those is where you'll find me
Till they drop the big curtain

Hear the wind moan
In the bright diamond sky
These mountains are waiting
Brown-green and dry
I'm too old for the term
But I'll use it anyway
I'll be a child of the wind
Till the end of my days

Little round planet
In a big universe
Sometimes it looks blessed
Sometimes it looks cursed
Depends on what you look at obviously
But even more it depends on the way that you see 

Hear the wind moan
In the bright diamond sky
These mountains are waiting
Brown-green and dry
I'm too old for the term
But I'll use it anyway
I'll be a child of the wind
Till the end of my days

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Upcoming events for the week of August 21, 2016


Join NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina, the ACLU of North Carolina, and Asheville reproductive rights activists for a screening of “Trapped” at The Block Off Biltmore. U.S. reproductive health clinics are fighting to remain open. Since 2010, 288 TRAP (Targeted Regulations of Abortion Providers) laws have been passed by conservative state legislatures. Unable to comply with these far-reaching and medically unnecessary measures, clinics have taken their fight to the courts. As the U.S. Supreme Court decides in 2016 whether individual states may essentially outlaw abortion (Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt), Trapped follows the struggles of the clinic workers and lawyers who are on the front lines of a battle to keep abortion safe and legal for millions of American women. Following the film, staff from NARAL Pro-Choice NC and the ACLU of NC will give a short talk about current anti-abortion laws in North Carolina and lead attendees in a discussion about what they can do to promote pro-choice policies in their own communities. If you have any questions, please feel free to email Location is The Block Off Biltmore at Eagle and Market Streets in downtown Asheville and time is 7 to 9:30 PM.

Showing up for Racial Justice (SURJ) is a national network of groups educating and organizing white people to act as part of a multi-racial majority for racial justice. Asheville SURJ hosts a weekly discussion group on risk-taking, accountability, mutual interest and how to call more white people into racial justice work. Anyone with a passion for working with white people on racial justice is welcome! Time is 10 AM and location is Firestorm Cafe & Books at 610 Haywood Road in west Asheville. Contact Firestorm at for more information.

Want an easy way to make a positive difference in Asheville and Buncombe County? Here is one way businesses/organizations can help. The City of Asheville and the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce have teamed up to launch the Asheville Workplace Challenge, a self-assessment tool that gives local businesses ways to save money and reduce their environmental impact. Through the Asheville Workplace Challenge, businesses can increase awareness of environmental issues and reduce energy use, water consumption and waste. Businesses that join the Challenge can improve their operations and reduce costs and have an opportunity to become part of a larger network with similar sustainability goals that will provide support and recognition along the way. The Workplace Challenge will track a company’s progress and provide resources to guide them through their sustainability journey. Optional programs such as lunch-and-learns geared toward specific challenging areas will be offered throughout the process. Participating businesses will have the opportunity to win prizes and awards and be recognized for efforts as a leader in sustainability. Time is 5:30 PM and location is The Block Off Biltmore at Eagle and Market Streets in downtown Asheville. Contact Haley at for more information.

“Finding Shelter?” is a panel discussion by local Asheville leaders. Breakfast included. Cost is $20. Held at Renaissance Asheville Hotel at 31 Woodfin Street. Time is 8 AM. For more information, call 255-7100.

WUWW!?! What's Up with Whiteness Wednesdays is an ongoing ASURJ series endeavoring to dismantle white supremacy. This 2nd WUWW will be held at Unitarian Universalist congregation, at house at 23 Edwin Place in Asheville. “Calling People In: Role Playing Conversations about Race”. We all encounter racism all the time, whether it's in the form of jokes or comments or attempts to belittle the importance of Black Lives (i.e. Don't All Lives Matter?). For most of us, it's very challenging to respond to racist speech or action in ways that feel constructive. Many of us either stay silent, or get into arguments, neither of which will begin the essential process of educating and ‘calling in’ white people to become part of multi-racial coalitions for racial justice. So, in this workshop, we'll role play having these conversations, so we can all feel better prepared to engage in them when opportunities arise. Time is 6:30 PM to 9:30 PM. This is a Facebook event, no contact information.

In response to the repeated episodes of violence in our nation and community, you are invited to a time of prayer and comfort as we open our hearts to God and to each other. All are invited to remain for a fellowship gathering after the service. On site childcare will be provided. Location is WNC Baptist Fellowship Church at 240 Haywood Street in Asheville. Time is 6 PM. Contact Tyrone Greenly at 828.254-4994 or for more information.

“The Trials of Muhammad Ali” will be shown at this event. The Social Action Committee is sponsoring a social justice movie on Thursday, August 25, at 7 PM at UUCSV, 500 Montreat Rd., Black Mountain.  From joining the controversial Nation of Islam and changing his name from Cassius Clay to Muhammad Ali, to his refusal to serve in the Vietnam War in the name of protesting racial inequality, to his global humanitarian work, Muhammad Ali remains an inspiring and controversial figure. Outspoken and passionate in his beliefs, Ali found himself in the center of America's controversies over race, religion, and war. The discussion after the movie will be led by Maria Santelli, Executive Director, Center on Conscience and War.  For more information call Suzanne at 581-0564.

Creation Care Alliance General Meeting - All are welcome. Time is 5:30-7 PM and location is the First Baptist Church of Asheville, Room MB306 (upstairs), at 5 Oak Street in downtown Asheville. Join us as we inspire one another to good work, hear about summer opportunities and our work empowering care for creation.  We will connect with one another, explore ways to care for creation. For more information, contact Rev. Scott Hardin-Nieri at 828-258-8737 or

This meeting will be at 3:15 PM at Brooks-Howell Home on Merrimon Avenue in Asheville. Meet in the media room. Contact Suchi at for more information.

The Buncombe County Commission on Women and the YWCA of Asheville invite women from throughout Buncombe County to the Women's Agenda Assembly on Saturday, August 27th. By sharing their views and learning about public policy issues of importance to women, participants will have an opportunity to guide the Buncombe County Commission on Women as it identifies ways the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners can improve the social and economic conditions of women in Buncombe County and to set priorities for proposed action by the North Carolina General Assembly. Women's Agenda Assemblies will take place through the State under the coordination of North Carolina Women United. Out of these assemblies will come a Women's Agenda to be presented to the state legislature in 2017. Participants will learn and discuss with these four themes in mind: economic self-sufficiency: (minimum wage, equal pay, paid family and medical leave, child care subsides, affordable housing); access to health care (expand Medicaid; protect/expand access to reproductive health care); end violence against women (gun safety regulations; expand protection for sexual assault and domestic violence victims); increase civic participation and equality (establish independent redistricting commission to protect voter rights, provide fair treatment for immigrants, update non-discrimination policies to include sexual orientation and gender identity). Free childcare will be provided for children between the age of 1 and 12, but space is limited. Time is 9 AM to 1 PM, and location is First Congregational United Church of Christ at 20 Oak Street in downtown Asheville. Call the YWCA on information on how to register and get childcare. This is a Facebook event, and tickets are through Eventbrite. 

This is a major musical event by North Carolina Musicians United for Equality NC. Time is 3 PM and location is The Orange Peel in downtown Asheville. $15 advance tickets from The Orange Peel.

The Vigil Returns - Beginning Sunday, August 21, at 5 PM, the Vigil for Peace on the All Souls Cathedral grounds in Biltmore Village, will resume and continue weekly until the Nov 8 election. Sponsored by the Episcopal Peace Fellowship of WNC, it is a way of asking people to make special intercessions in their prayer and life for peace and justice in our American culture.  The tone of the current political campaign makes it obvious that we are neglecting our Baptismal vows to respect the dignity of every human being. This is a call to pray with actions as well as words.  We invite you to join us each Sunday for our thirty minute Vigil.

Gather with your signs (we may have a couple extra, but please plan on bringing yours too) at Vance Monument to spread awareness of the TPP and it's danger to not only our country, but the world, and our freedom. If you have any press contacts, please make them aware. President Obama plans to pass the TPP during the lame-duck session of congress (after the general election, before the new congress is seated). We will also have a march shortly after the general that is to be announced. Time is 1 to 4 PM and location is Vance Monument in downtown Asheville. This is a Facebook event. 

N.C. Senator Terry Van Duyn will host a town hall along with N.C. Representative Susan Fisher. This is part of Sen. Van Duyn’s town hall series. At this town hall Sen. Van Duyn and Rep. Fisher are planning on talking about the North Carolina General Assembly’s short session and how their constituents will be impacted as well as listening to any concerns constituents might have. The event is free and open to the public. Time is 6 to 7:30 PM and location is the Center for Craft, Creativity & Design at 67 Broadway in Asheville. Call Anna at 828-768-3321 for more information. 

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. The September pick is “Code Red: Computerized Election Theft and the New American Century” by Jonathan D. Simon. Time is 7 PM and location is Malaprops in downtown Asheville. Call Malaprops for more information.

Discussion at this meeting will be around how we can prevent a third gas powered plant by Duke here in Asheville. Brownie Newman, Buncombe County Commissioner, Julie Mayfield, Asheville City Council, Amber Weaver of Asheville’s Office of Sustainability and Jason Walls of Duke Energy will provide an update on the work the Energy Innovation Task Force. This event is free and open to the public. Time is 7 PM and location is Unitarian Universalist Congregation at 1 Edwin Place (corner of Charlotte and Edwin) in Asheville. For more information, contact Judy at or call 828-683-2176.

What makes it so hard to let go of anger? Can forgiveness lead us to authentic, empowered and effective action? This question is so timely now, as streets from Asheville to St. Paul  to Dallas, Baton Rouge to Istanbul, Baghdad and Nice, flow with blood and tears. Turning the fire of anger into forgiveness and meaningful action is a four week series in Nonviolent Communication on Thursday evenings in Asheville. Dates are September 8, 15, 22,  and 29, and time is 6:30-8:30 PM. Facilitator is Roberta Wall. In Nonviolent Communication, we say that anger has a surprising purpose, and that its energy can be harnessed and transformed into self-understanding, authentic action, and forgiveness. Location is  the Asheville Jewish Community Center at 236 Charlotte Street in north Asheville. Cost is $100. Please consider adding an extra amount for scholarships for those with more limited resources. To register or for more information, call or email Polly at (828) 775-6333 or (Please speak to Polly about scholarships.)

Citizens Climate Lobby meets the second Saturday of each month at Kairos West Community Center, 742 Haywood Road in west Asheville. We are advocating for a Carbon Fee & Dividend, which would impose a fee on fossil fuels at point entry; this fee will be refunded to individuals and families. There is bipartisan support in Congress as this will create jobs and help grow the economy, boosting renewables. Time is 12:30 to 3 PM. For more information, contact

Join us for a community meeting to discuss creating opportunity for children! The future of North Carolina is as strong as its people. That’s why we’re at our best when all children to grow up in financially secure families and communities where they have the opportunity to achieve their full potential. Unfortunately, many children and families face systemic barriers to prosperity that have a wide-ranging impact on children’s current well-being and future success. As part of our overall effort to build a stronger, more organized voice for children, NC Child is convening a series of community discussions aimed at building opportunity for children across North Carolina. Time is 5 to 8 PM and location is MAHEC at 119 Hendersonville Road in Asheville. Co-sponsors are Children First / Communities in Schools Buncombe County, The Success Equation, Asheville Children's Economic Opportunity Forum, NC Child, Children First / CIS Buncombe County, and The Success Equation. Both the event and dinner are free. Dinner will be provided by NC Child beginning at 5 PM. Please contact Adam Sotak at for more information, including how to register.

Registration for the 2016 fall session of Building Bridges is now open! This seminar is an introduction to the dynamics of racism and is an opportunity to explore how race has impacted our relationships, communities and institutions. Past participants are welcome. The program will be held at Rainbow Community School in West Asheville on Tuesday evenings from 7 to 9 PM starting on September 13th and running through November 8th. Please go to buildingbridges-ashevillenc dot org to get to the registration page and for more information. Help us spread the word by telling your friends and colleagues. We anticipate filling fast, so be sure to register early to reserve your spot. Hope to see you there! Cost is $35. Go to their webpage to see payment instructions. A celebratory pot luck supper will be held for all participants at the ninth meeting. Families are welcome to attend the potluck. You may call (828) 777-4585 for more information. 

This meeting will be at 9:30 AM at Black Mountain Presbyterian Church at 117 Montreat Road in Black Mountain. Contact Suchi at for more information.

Nancy Love’s book “Trendy Fascism: White Power Music and the Future of Democracy” explores the unsettling implications of white power music’s effect on violence and culture. It presents chilling case studies of white power music and, according to Professor Neil Roberts, argues that “we must confront the realities of . . . the often-disavowed transnational white supremacist communities and networks in our political present” to shift the future. Nancy is a Professor of Political Science and a Humanities Council Coordinator at Appalachian State University who is the author of Musical Democracy and the co-author of Doing Democracy: Activist Art and Cultural Politics, both published by SUNY Press. Time is 7 PM and location is Malaprops in downtown Asheville. Call Malaprops for more information.

09/18/16 WNC 4 PEACE EVENT 
“Authors Speak Peace” at The Block off Biltmore at the corner of Eagle and Market Streets in downtown Asheville. Featuring authors DeWayne Barton, Cecil Bothwell, Clare Hanrahan and Jeff Messer. Time is 2 PM. Contact or call 828-378-0125 if you have questions.

09/19/16 to 09/23/16 PEACE DISPLAY AT UNCA
“A Peace of My Mind” displays in Highsmith Union, Student Recreation Center, and Brown Hall  on these dates. Contact Rachel at for more information.

The “Inside Peace” documentary follows a group of inmates doing hard time in a Texas prison as they embark on a journey of personal discovery while struggling with society’s roadblocks and dangers as they prepare to re-enter a world that has labeled them as permanent problems despite having served their sentences. Time is 8 PM and location is the Grotto in Highsmith Student Union at UNCA.

Spirit Collage will be in the fellowship hall, with Jane and Noel facilitating. You can create peace flags – peace collages – peace rocks - materials provided; donations welcome to help cover the costs. Veterans for Peace Chapter 99 office open House on the Mimosa Street level. Peace Village display, possibly a labyrinth walk will be in the sanctuary. At 2 PM, there will be a WNC4Peace awards ceremony for Peace Makers of the Year award presentation. This will be for a poem, video, essay, and artwork on peace for area students. At 3 M, there will be Dances of Universal Peace demo and teaching by Tarana & Shem. This starts at 10 AM. For more information, contact 

The ACLU has historically championed free speech and academic freedom. The issue of book-banning crops up regularly all over the country, and this year the Western North Carolina chapter of the ACLU of NC will bring attention to it by hosting an afternoon at Malaprop’s, where area writers, artists,  musicians and booksellers  will read passages from banned books both notable and lesser-known. Please join us as we discuss the issue of freedom of speech and the freedom to read. Time is 3 PM. Call Malaprops for more information.

Atlanta artist Makeda Lewis joins us for this unique event, when our Authors for Action series meets the adult coloring book. Makeda’s powerful new release “Avie’s Dreams: An Afro-Feminist Coloring Book” is part coloring book and part surrealist poem about protagonist Avie’s self-discovery and embrace of her identity as a young black girl. Filled with striking illustrations, it touches on themes of “feminism, death and rebirth, Afrocentricity, gender issues and power dynamics” ( Time is 7 PM and location is Malaprops in downtown Asheville. Call Malaprops for more information.

This meeting will be at 3:15 PM at Brooks-Howell Home on Merrimon Avenue in Asheville. Meet in the media room. Contact Suchi at for more information.

Local LGBTQ activists will host the annual LGBTQ Blue Ridge Pride Festival from 11 AM to 7 PM at Pack Square in downtown Asheville. “Color Our World With Pride And Love” is this year’s theme.  

This meeting will present an Environmental Legislative Update, the good the bad and the ugly by Cassie Gavin. It will cover coal ash, water quality, waste management, clean energy and recycling.  This event is free and open to the public. Time is 7 PM and location is Unitarian Universalist Congregation at 1 Edwin Place (corner of Charlotte and Edwin) in Asheville. For more information, contact Judy at or call 828-683-2176.

“Ending Child Poverty Now” with Marian Wright Edelman, the President and Founder of the Children's Defense Fund, will be the topic of this Poverty Forum. Each year, Pisgah Legal Services hosts a forum to draw attention to the plight of people living in poverty in Western North Carolina. This year, our focus is on child poverty. The United States has the second highest rate of child poverty among 35 industrialized counties, despite having the largest economy in the world. A child in the United States has a 1 in 5 chance of being poor. In Pisgah Legal’s six-county WNC service region, approximately 25 percent of children live in poverty. On October 5th, we host the Forum’s keynote speaker Marian Wright Edelman, a legendary fighter for social justice in America. She is the founder and president of the Children’s Defense Fund, a passionate advocate for the rights of children, a lawyer, an author and a civil rights leader. This will be at the Diana Wortham Theatre in downtown Asheville. Time is 5:30 PM for cocktail reception, with forum starting at 7 PM. Tickets are $15 to $50 and can be obtained from Pisgah Legal. For questions, contact Betsy Ellis at 828-210-3444 or

The DISGRACE conference will be a faithful response to the embedded and structural racism in church and culture. Grounded in worship, truth-telling, confession, and collaboration, we move from disgrace toward solidarity. Together we tackle the hidden histories, unaddressed discomforts, divisions between people and communities, with a diverse community committed to journeying through these difficult but necessary and potentially life-giving conversations. When this conference ends, our true response to systemic racism begins. This will be at Montreat Conference Center in Montreat, NC. Commuter rate is $178 per person, with a daily rate of $70 per person/per day. Registration is on the Montreat Conference CenterIf you have any questions about the registration process, please email the registrar at or call 828.419.9829.

Keynote speaker is Rev. Dr. William Barber, President NC-NAACP. If you would like to volunteer for this inspiring event, contact Melissa Murphy at Location is Pack Square Park, Roger McGuire Green. Time is 4 to 6 PM. This is organized by Democracy NC and Asheville-Buncombe NAACP.

Affirming the community of Abrahamic faiths, the Peace Conference seeks to work in partnership with Christians, Jews, Muslims, and members of other religious traditions to advance the work of reconciliation and peace. The theme for this year's conference is “The Climate Crisis and Peace” and Dr. Norman Wirzba, Professor of Theology, Ecology, and Agrarian Studies at Duke Divinity School will be among the speakers. This runs from November 10 to November 13, 2016. For program questions contact Tammy McDowell at 828.454.6681 or For registration contact 800.222.4930 or Early registration (before September 1) is $120.

Veterans for Peace have a weekly vigil at 4:30 PM at Pack Square, Vance Monument
Showing Up for Racial Justice is from noon to 2 PM at Firestorm Cafe and Books at 610 Haywood Road in west Asheville. Educating and organizing white people for racial justice. Free.
Orientation session for Asheville Timebank. 4 PM at Firestorm Cafe & Books at 610 Haywood Road in west Asheville. Email for information and to register. 

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 

Political Prisoners Letter Writing at Firestorm Cafe & Books at 6 PM on first Thursday of the month. Materials provided.

Women in Black have a weekly vigil at noon at the City Hall in Hendersonville

Transylvanians for Peace and WNC Physicians for Social Responsibility have a weekly vigil at noon in front of the courthouse in Brevard. Call 884-3435 to confirm. 
French Broad Riverkeeper has a paddle-n-plant to prevent sediment erosion most Wednesdays and Saturdays. Registration required at 


I have been deeply concerned about the refugee crisis going on, most of it due to US government policies, so I am taking some action!

I have been working with Peace & Earth Committee of Asheville Friends Meeting to raise funds to help refugees via the Mennonite Central Committee, specifically Iraqi and Syrian refugees. We are also putting together hygiene and school supplies kits, but we are mostly focusing on raising funds since the Mennonite Central Committee can buy things in bulk and thereby getting a cheaper price. Here is a link to the information about the kits:

I will be taking the items up to Hinton,Virginia in September.

In an effort to raise more funds, I have made multiple jars of pickles (bread & butter, dill and spicy) and some sweet pickle relish and giving them to people for donations. I also have some hand woven coasters (called "mug rugs") that I am giving for donations. You can pick the amount. Let me know if you want to help out by responding to this email.

Thanks, Susan Oehler


Contact: Rachael Bliss
WNC 4 Peace: A Partnership of Peace Makers

Students in WNC invited to be creative about peace

4 Peace, a Partnership of Peace Makers in Western
North Carolina, announces a contest in which students across Buncombe County,
NC, can enter via their school’s creative works that promote the importance of
peacemaking. There will be four "Winners" for Best Poem, Best Video, Best
Artwork, and Best Essay on Peace.

Students’s creations will be featured on our website,
Additionally the winning video and a video of the winning poem and essay
being read plus winning artwork will be shown on International Peace Day at key
websites throughout the world.

The School from which winning students submit their poem, video, artwork or
essay will be given $100 checks from WNC 4 Peace. The $100 prizes will be
presented to schools (or homeschooling associations) to encourage students there
to enter, as well as helping schools provide resources for them to teach peace
related skills.

WNC 4 Peace and our peacemaker partner groups will raise funds to support
this important youth project.

We will invite Mountain Xpress and other local media to announce the
competition and to also print the names of winning entries and their schools.

We are naming awards in honor of recently deceased local peace heroes:
● Isaac Coleman, who died recently, and was founder of Read to Succeed and
former Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee in the 1960s;
● Judith Hallock, cofounder
of the Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance
and leader of previous local International Days of Peace;
● Tony Bing, former leader of the Palestinian/Jewish Egalitarian Team (formerly
called Western Carolinians for Peace and Justice in the Middle East), and
● Ron Harayda, former chairman of Veterans of Peace Chapter 099 and host of
their weekly WPVM radio program for years.

Deadline for submissions will be September 7, 2016. All entries should be sent to
WNC 4 Peace . In the case of videos, send an email to the
address above and give the name of the video, which has been uploaded to
YouTube by the entrant. Artwork should be uploaded as a. PDF attachment and
sent in an email to WNC 4 Peace. All students from elementary through high school
are eligible to participate. Be sure all entries include entrant's name, school, grade
level, and contact information.
Winners will be announced in September for International Day of Peace. Details
about the date and place to honor all entrants and winners will be announced at a
later date.
For more information, contact WNC 4 Peace, or call

To sign Peace Day Proclamation > Peace organizations contact Tom Downing  via email or phone (259-5600) to tell Tom  that they want to be included and if it’s a new group it’s really helpful to have their full official name so we can get it right on the document.
For details on this, please call at 828-378-0125.


Saturday, August 20, 2016

Guess Who Wants Authority to Murder by Drone

by David Swanson

If you haven't been hiding under a partisan rock for the past several years, you're aware that President Barack Obama has given himself the sort-of legalish right to murder anyone anywhere with missiles from drones.

He's not the only one who wants that power.

Yes, President Obama has claimed to have put restrictions on whom he'll murder, but in no known case has he followed any of his self-imposed non-legal restrictions. Nowhere has someone been arrested instead of killed, while in many known cases people have been killed who could have easily been arrested. In no known case has someone been killed who was an "imminent and continuing threat to the United States," or for that matter just plain imminent or just plain continuing. It's not even clear how someone could be both an imminent and a continuing threat until you study up on how the Obama administration has redefined imminent to mean theoretically imaginable someday. And, of course, in numerous cases civilians have been killed in large numbers and people have been targeted without identifying who they are. Lying dead from U.S. drone strikes are men, women, children, non-Americans, and Americans, not a single one of them charged with a crime or their extradition sought.

Who else would like to be able to do this?

One answer is most nations on earth. We now read news stories from Syria of people dying from a drone strike, with the reporter unable to determine if the missile came from a U.S., U.K., Russian, or Iranian drone. Just wait. The skies will be filled if the trend is not reversed.
Another answer is Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and Bernie Sanders, but not Jill Stein. Yes, those first three candidates have said they want this power.
Another answer, however, should be just as disturbing as those already mentioned. Military commanders around the world want the authority to murder people with drones without bothering to get approval from civilian officials back home. Here's a fun quiz:
How many zones has the United States divided the globe into for purposes of complete military domination, and what are their names?

Answer: Six. They are Northcom, Southcom, Eucom, Pacom, Centcom, and Africom. (Jack, Mack, Nack, Ouack, Pack and Quack were already taken.) In normal English they are: North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Western Asia, and Africa.

Now here comes the hard question. Which of those zones has a new would-be commander who was just encouraged by a prominent Senator in an open Congressional hearing to acquire the authority to murder people in his zone without getting approval from the U.S. president?

Clue #1. It's a zone with the empire's headquarters not even located in the zone, so that this new commander speaks of killing people there as playing "an away game.”

Clue #2. It's a poor zone that does not manufacture weapons but it saturated with weapons made in the United States plus France, Germany, the U.K., Russia, and China.

Clue #3. Many of the people in this zone have skin resembling people who are disproportionately targets of U.S. police department killings.

Did you get it right? That's correct: Africom is being encouraged by Senator Lindsay Graham, who a short time back wanted to be president, to blow people up with missiles from flying robots without presidential approval.

Now here's where the morality of war can wreak havoc with humanitarian imperialism. If a drone killing is not part of a war, then it looks like murder. And handing out licenses to murder to additional people looks like a worsening of the state of affairs in which just one person claims to hold such a license. But if drone killing is part of a war, and Captain Africom claims to be at war with Somalia, or with a group in Somalia, for example, well then, he wouldn't need special permission to blow up a bunch of people with manned aircraft; so why should he need it when using robotic unmanned bombers?

The trouble is that saying the word "war" doesn't have the moral or legal powers often imagined. No current U.S. war is legal under either the U.N. Charter or the Kellogg-Briand Pact. And the intuition that murdering people with a drone is wrong can't be a useful one if murdering people with a piloted plane is right, and vice versa. We actually have to choose. We actually have to set aside the scale of the killing, the type of technology, the role of robots, and all other extraneous factors, and choose whether it's acceptable, moral, legal, smart, or strategic to murder people or not.

If that seems too much of a mental strain, here's an easier guide. Just imagine what your response would be if the ruler of Europe Command asked for the authority to murder at will people of his choosing along with anybody too close to them at the time.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Obama's response to the request to get rid of nuclear weapons

Thank you for writing.  I have heard from many Americans about my visit to Hiroshima, and I believe that by understanding the past, we can secure a more peaceful future for our children and grandchildren.

I visited Hiroshima not to apologize, but to honor the memory of all who lost their lives during World War II and reaffirm our commitment to working toward a world where nuclear weapons will no longer be necessary.  Our generation has a shared responsibility to look directly into the eye of history and ask what we must do differently to prevent such destruction and suffering from ever happening again.  There are many sites around the world that chronicle the depravity of war, and the images of the mushroom clouds that rose over Hiroshima and Nagasaki are stark reminders of what can happen when the technological power to destroy advances faster than the power of our institutions to prevent conflict.  The memory of those days in August 1945 must never fade because it allows us to fight complacency—it fuels our moral imagination and allows us to change.
Since those fateful days, we have made choices that give us hope.  The United States and Japan forged not only an alliance, but a friendship that has won far more for our people than we could ever claim through war.  Battlefields have been replaced with bonds of commerce and democracy.  The international community has worked to avoid war and aspires to restrict and roll back—and ultimately eliminate—the existence of nuclear weapons.

We may not be able to eliminate man’s capacity to do evil—which is why we must possess the means to defend ourselves and our allies—but we must also have the courage to escape the logic of fear.  If we can recognize our common humanity, then together we can ensure that nuclear weapons never have to be used again.

Again, thank you for writing.  I will keep your message in mind.
Barack Obama

Mr. Obama is going to spend over $1,000,000,000,000 to "upgrade" our nuclear weapons and make them more usable and therefore, more likely to be used. What a hypocrite he is.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

In honor of the horrible flooding....

2016 World Conference Against A & H Bombs

2016 World Conference against A & H Bombs

Declaration of the International Meeting

Seventy one years ago, the USA used nuclear bombs for the first time against humanity by releasing atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. With tremendous destructive power and radiation, the two bombs burned out the cities and claimed the lives of about 210,000 people by the end of the year. It was a hell on earth. The Hibakusha who survived then had to suffer from latent effects and social discrimination for many subsequent years. Such inhumane weapons should not be used again in any circumstances whatsoever.

The nuclear powers still maintain more than 15,000 nuclear warheads. Not a small number of them are on alert for launch. The concern for the outbreak of nuclear war due to deteriorating regional tensions is real. A recent study shows that even if only a small percentage of existing nuclear weapons are used, it would cause serious climate change and would bring the human race to the brink of extinction. The elimination of nuclear weapons is an urgent task for the very survival of the humanity.

By international law and justice, weapons of mass destruction are widely perceived to be illegal. As biological and chemical weapons have been banned by international treaties, nuclear weapons should be banned immediately and made illegal.

At present, a new move to open the door to a “world without nuclear weapons” is developing. Substantial discussions for a treaty to ban and eliminate nuclear weapons have begun at the United Nations.

The 70th Session of the UN General Assembly adopted by majority a number of resolutions calling for the start of negotiations on a treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons. With the support of more than 70% of the member states, it also decided to convene an open-ended working group (OEWG) to discuss “concrete effective legal measures” to achieve “a world without nuclear weapons”. The meetings of the OEWG turned out to be an epoch-making opportunity where substantive matters for a treaty to ban nuclear weapons were discussed, and the convening of a conference in 2017 to negotiate a treaty was proposed. We cordially request that the OEWG include the commencement of negotiations for a treaty to ban and eliminate nuclear weapons in the recommendations submitted to the coming session of the UN General Assembly.

The motive power of these developments is found in the anti-nuclear peace movement all around the world, including the Hibakusha who have kept warning about the inhumanity and atrocity of nuclear weapons. The appeals of Hibakusha in the international political arenas have elicited huge responses. Through the 2015 NPT Review Conference, where international anti-nuclear peace movements rallied, the voices demanding legally binding measures have expanded ever more widely.

The forthcoming session of the UN General Assembly in autumn will have discussions, focusing on the report of the OEWG. To ban nuclear weapons by treaty and eliminate them is the long standing core demand of the World Conference against A and H Bombs. Now is the time to make every possible effort to build overwhelming public support to achieve this goal.

The five nuclear powers of the USA, Russia, the UK, France and China are working in unison to counter this development. Their posture and that of their allies who follow them is clearly a major obstacle put in a way to achieve a “world without nuclear weapons”.

They boycotted the OEWG, and their allies who spoke for them, including Japan, oppose any immediate step to take to achieve the elimination of nuclear weapons and insist that the “step-by-step” is the only practical approach. History proves, however, that this approach does not really lead us one step closer towards nuclear disarmament. It is an approach that puts off the abolition of nuclear weapons into indefinite future.

While being defensive before the argument on humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons, the nuclear powers still cling to the “nuclear deterrence” doctrine, saying that the security aspects should also be considered. The essence of this argument is to try to justify the use or threat to use nuclear weapons against other countries to protect so-called national interest, which is the most dangerous concept. Besides, deterrence has actually induced nuclear proliferation in the name of “self-defense”, and thus helped spread threat to peace.

Opening a door to a “world without nuclear weapons” will only be possible by defeating such absurdity in the posture of the nuclear powers.

The focal point today is a treaty to ban and eliminate nuclear weapons. We must make every effort to strengthen the movement and public opinion demanding the commencement of negotiations and conclusion of such a treaty. No first use of nuclear weapons and ban on their use, ratification of the CTBT, ending the development, replacement and modernization of nuclear arsenals, and reduction of nuclear armament are also all important. These measures will become more effective, if the movement and public opinion demanding an agreement on the prohibition of nuclear weapons are mobilized.

The nuclear weapon-free zones are playing an important role for regional peace and security, and their further development is called for. As agreed upon by the past NPT Review Conferences, an international conference for the creation of a nuclear weapon and WMD-free zone in the Middle East should be convened with no further delay. The problem of nuclear development of North Korea should be resolved through diplomacy, including the resumption of the six party talks.

To achieve a “world without nuclear weapons”, it is essential to resolve regional conflicts and contentious problems by peaceful means based on the peace principles of the U.N. Charter and international law, excluding the use or threat to use force. International community in unity must isolate and root out terrorism, which resorts to indiscriminate killing, by non-military means. For the purpose of preventing proliferation, it is all the more urgent to reach an agreement to prohibit and eliminate nuclear weapons.

Releasing greater resources by drastic cuts in military expenditures, including the cost for maintenance and development of nuclear forces, overcoming poverty and disparity, improvement of living standard and welfare, and protection of human rights and democracy are all integral parts of “a peaceful and just world”.

Although the Japanese Government is expected to play an appropriate role as the only A-bombed country, it is actually acting as a spokesperson for nuclear powers. At home, it forced through the security-related laws, or War Laws, disregarding the constitutional principles of peace, to consolidate its readiness to take part in war overseas. Relying on the US “nuclear deterrence”, it is even taking the

position of agreeing to the use of nuclear weapons. Underlying this is the absolute priority given to the Japan-US military alliance.

In the meantime, a wide range of people have risen in action demanding the abolition of War Laws and restoration of constitutionalism. Against this background, all opposition parties came together to field their united candidates in the House of Councilors elections in July. In Okinawa, a united candidate who opposes the construction of a new US base defeated a former Cabinet member. The Japanese anti-nuclear peace movement took active part in this struggle. The International Meeting of the 2016 World Conference against A and H Bombs expresses solidarity with the Japanese movement which stands in defense of the Constitution and works to establish a non-nuclear and peaceful Japan.

The movements and public opinion of the peoples of the world are the driving force to open a nuclear weapon-free, peaceful and just future. We propose the following actions:

-- To build the “International Signature Campaign in Support of the Appeal of the Hibakusha, the Atomic Bomb Survivors of Hiroshima & Nagasaki, for the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons” and other actions to build public opinion demanding the start of negotiations for a treaty to ban and eliminate nuclear weapons, with the goal of hundreds of millions signatures collected worldwide. To help to promote these actions, we will continue to make widely known the damage of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and help Hibakusha to speak about their experiences internationally. We will carry out these activities particularly on such occasions as the nuclear disarmament deliberations of the UN General Assembly, UN International day for Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons (Sept. 26) and UN Disarmament Week (Oct. 24-30).

-- Let us extend relief and solidarity with the Hibakusha and support them to achieve their demand for state compensation. Let us call for the relief of the victims of the nuclear tests and nuclear plant accidents. Let us strengthen our support of the sufferers of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident. We strengthen our solidarity with the zero NPP movement. Let us extend our support to the victims of Agent Orange and depleted uranium, and other war victims.

-- Let us strengthen our solidarity with all such movements against war and for peace, reduction and dismantling of foreign military bases from Okinawa, Guam and other places, effective control of arms exports and military industry, cuts in military expenditures, improvement of living conditions, employment and social welfare, overcoming poverty and disparity, prevention of climate change, protection of global environment, elimination of sexism and other discriminations, overcoming social justice and for sustainable development.

The Hibakusha appeal: “It is our strong desire to achieve a nuclear weapon-free world in our lifetime, so that succeeding generations of people will not see hell on earth ever again.” Responding to their pressing desire, with fresh determination, let us make many steps forward to a “nuclear weapon-free, peaceful and just world”.

August 4, 2016

International Meeting, 2016 World Conference against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs


The above came from Joseph Gerson of AFSC.