Monday, December 31, 2007

Protest in Israel

Photo: Israeli and Palestinian women from the Woman in Black organization demonstrate against the Israeli occupation in Jerusalem, 2000. Hundreds of Jewish and Arab women staged a protest in Jerusalem against Israeli occupation of Palestinian land. (AFP/File/Sven Nackstrand)

Every Friday, Women in Black around the world stand in silence to remember all the loss and grief that comes from violence, particularly the violence of war and occupation. This group was started in Israel, and has been around for twenty years. This past week, they protested near the home of Israeli Prime Minister Olmert. They were composed of both Jewish and Arab women, and on this occasion they sang songs and carried signs that read: “Down with occupation”.

There are Women in Black groups around the world now. They are women standing together in silence to protest and mourn all the losses that come from all this unnecessary violence. They dress in all black, and here in my town, they stand in silence.


Today, I got two emails from Jewish Voices for Peace. I believe what the Israeli government has been doing for the last, oh, sixty years or so is horrible. But I always remember that the Jewish faith has a strong peace testimony, and there are many, many Jews working for peace today..... here in the USA and in Israel and around the world.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Friday, December 28, 2007

Brownies Will Get You Five to Ten at Ft. Bragg

Earlier this month, I baked brownies for the Iraq Vets Against the War. They intended to hand out gift bags to active military in Fort Bragg and veterans in Fort Bragg and Asheville. I got a call one day from a friend who told me my brownies made the local paper. Here’s the story from Jason’s email (he gave permission to reprint it):

Brownies Will Get You Five to Ten: A Boondocks Chapter Christmas at Fort Bragg

By Jason Hurd

On the morning of December 17, 2007, Steve Casey and I awoke bright and early at the Quaker House in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Steve and I had driven nearly three hundred miles from our home-base in Asheville, North Carolina to distribute holiday gift bags to the wonderful servicewomen and men stationed at our nation's busiest military post--Fort Bragg. Our friends and supporters in Asheville stuffed nearly three hundred small lunch bags full of holiday cards, chocolates, cookies and home-made brownies.

The gift bags had a humble feel to them: brown paper lunch sacks with the tops folded
down, green and red ribbons, a copy of our newsletter Sit-Rep stapled to the outside and a small sticker that said, "To: A Warrior, From: IVAW." Our mission was to ensure that these bags--each made with love and kindness--got into the hands of our deserving soldiers.

With gift bags in hand, Steve and I drove to Fort Bragg's Mini Mall and set up a small collapsible table to distribute the bags from. We taped two large poster boards to the front of the table; one said, "Happy Holidays From Your Fellow Veterans," and the other
proclaimed, "We Love Our Service Women and Men." Immediately, Steve and I began handing the packages to soldiers as they exited the Mini Mall. I greeted each soldier by saying, "Hello. My friend and I are veterans and we are giving holiday gift bags to our soldiers to show our appreciation for your service. Thank you and happy holidays."

Nearly every soldier I spoke with replied with a large smile, "Thank you very much. I'm glad there are people like you doing this. Happy holidays to you too!" Within an hour, Steve and I had given out nearly one hundred and fifty bags. In that time, only one soldier reacted negatively toward us; every one else seemed extremely pleased.

Around one o'clock in the afternoon, a female manager who worked for the Army and Air Force Exchange Services (AFFES) came out of the Mini Mall and said, "Hey guys I'm glad your giving out packages to soldiers, but you can't do this on Fort Bragg without a permit." I replied, "Great! Where do we get a permit?" The manager explained where we needed to go, and we began packing up shop to go get our permit. That's when the Military Police showed up. Three MP's—SSG Netwig, PFC Murray and PVT Garren--approached us and began questioning us about our gift bags. SSG Netwig glared at a copy of Sit-Rep and said, "I'm going to keep my personal opinion out of this, but you are
disrupting the order and discipline of my post." I explained that we were on our way to get a permit for our bags and we had no intentions of disrupting the order and discipline of Fort Bragg. SSG Netwig replied that we had offended a lot of people with our bags (which was news to Steve and I) and that he would not allow us to continue distributing them.

At that moment, a Special Forces Captain (apparently one of the people we had offended) approached SSG Netwig and spoke with him privately. Immediately, SSG Netwig said that we were going to the Provost Marshall's office to answer questions.

"Are we being arrested?" I said.
"No. But you are being detained," SSG Netwig replied.

At that moment, the MP's shoved Steve and I against their patrol car, searched us, handcuffed us and placed us in the patrol car like criminals. They drove us away leaving a box of gift bags on the trunk of Steve's car. In the back of the patrol car, I looked at Steve and said, "Don't worry, this is a good thing--trust me." "OK," Steve said. SSG netwig drove us to the Provost Marshall's office where, after being searched a second time, we spent the next four hours as detainees. One investigator told Steve that Fort Bragg is a conservative post and that anti-war views were in the minority. The officers separated Steve and I and began questioning us. I asked four times to make a phone call so that I could consult with an attorney; the officers denied my right each time. A criminal investigator entered my room.

"Are you affiliated with any other groups besides IVAW?" he
asked. "No, I am not, " I replied. "How did you and this Steve guy meet?"

"Look," I said, "I'm not going to continue answering questions without consulting an attorney."

"But you aren't under arrest. You're merely detained and we are trying to have a friendly conversation with you," the investigator said. "I feel like it is in my best interests to consult with an attorney before continuing," I replied.

Then the investigator and officers walked out leaving me alone in the room. Against my captor's wishes, I began text messaging the Quaker House and IVAW members to let them know what was happening (the officers had mistakenly left my phone). Immediately, the investigators began receiving calls from every peace activist from
North Carolina to Philadelphia urging them to release Steve and I. The MP's knew they had a situation on their hands.

Before we knew it, an investigator apologized to Steve and I for the inconvenience and released us. The investigator informed us that we just needed to get a permit for future activities of this nature. Two young MP's escorted Steve and I back to our car and we talked about Iraq on the way. One of the young MP's said, "Yeah, fuck Iraq. I hate that place. I had friends die there. I don't ever want to go back." We pulled up to Steve's car and rubbing the cuts on our wrists from the handcuffs, we saw the perfect ending to our day. The box of gift bags was still sitting atop Steve's trunk and some passerby had
written on it the following: "Hi, I heard what happened. Listen up cops, politicians, and OVER EGOTISTIC DRAMA QUEEN SENIOR NCO'S AND OFFICERS! Many friends in my platoon DIED BRUTALLY for the First Amendment. We have the right to
peaceful protest, damn you! Why did you arrest these guys? To all ya'll who don't believe in: freedom of speech, press, council, religion, assembly, and petition...GO TO HELL!! Sincerely, A concerned passerby and witness to the arrest of protesters." So much for being the minority.

That’s the end of Jason’s story (which I had permission to reprint), and here’s a bit on how it was covered in the local newspaper:

2 Asheville anti-war vets detained

FORT BRAGG – Two members of an anti-war veteran's group were escorted off Fort Bragg after handing out baked goods and anti-war literature, the men and base officials said. Army veterans Jason Hurd, 28, and Steve Casey, 23, were told they needed a permit Monday about an hour after they set up a folding table outside a post shopping center and began handing out gift bags of cookies and brownies.

I am glad I made some brownies to contribute to this effort. The reason I did so is simple – I think supporting our military and our veterans in their efforts to resist this war is probably the most productive thing we can pursue at this time, along with counter-recruitment efforts.

We are getting nowhere with our politicians and while the Iraqis also want the US troops out of their country, they have not been able to dislodge them either. I saw the movie “Sir! No Sir!” and learned how the military resisted against the Vietnam war, and I think they really had an impact. I am hopeful that our Iraq Veterans Against the War, and all the counter-recruitment efforts, and the resistance within the military, will help bring this horrid occupation of Iraq to an end. Then we need to go to work on getting NATO out of Afghanistan and US troops out of Pakistan, before our reverse-Midas-touch president destroys that part of the world completely.

Meanwhile, mark your calendars, and make plans to attend ---

IVAW Updates

From March 13-16, 2008, we will assemble the largest gathering of US veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan in history, as well as Iraqi and Afghan survivors, to offer first-hand, eyewitness accounts to tell the truth about these occupations — their impact on the troops, their families, our nation, and the people of Iraq and Afghanistan. Winter Soldier will require IVAW's full attention and organizing capacity leading up to and during the event. We would like to have as many people as possible attend the event and we are making arrangements to provide live broadcasting of the hearings for those who cannot hear the testimony first hand, as space will be limited. We ask all of you to help us to spread the message of the testimony, raise funds, and get more veterans and GIs involved.


We Support the Troops Who Oppose the War.

Please go to this website to sign the petition to show your support.

And, also important, sign Wexler’s petition to support impeachment hearings for cheney.


And while they have been distracting us with their war-mongering votes and speeches about Iran, I predict that Pakistan is going to become a MAJOR PROBLEM and that idiot bush will respond by sending in troops and executing his normal behavior - the reverse Midas touch - and turn that part of the world into a total disaster also.

I never felt, and still do not believe, that the bush administration will attack or bomb Iran in the next five years. Pakistan and Afghanistan, however, are on the verge of being Iraq’ed. We have to stop them, and our best approach (I think) is to support resistance in the military and to support counter-recruitment. No need to go to DC to work on these things - you can do it from your hometown.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

"Christmas in Fallujah"


Of course, the only "freedom" we are bringing the Iraqi people is the freedom of the grave. And the "hell" that he speaks of is an American-made HELL ON EARTH for the Iraqi people.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

O little town of Bethlehem



Bethlehem, West Bank: Illusive British graffiti artist Banksy's new works

Photograph: JIM HOLLANDER/EPA

I don't know much about Banksy, but I think it is great that someone is using those apartheid walls to protest the occupation. How ironic that Jesus, founder and basis for Christianity, was born in Bethlehem - which is now an occupied piece of land with no peace. Even more ironic, the "Christians" of the world either do nothing about this situation or actively contribute to making it worse.

Here is some more information on him, and some more pictures of his artwork on the apartheid walls in Bethlehem. And a video report from the BBC.

This evening is the eve of the date that Jesus was supposedly born in Bethlehem. I don't think we know for sure when he was born, but we do know it was Bethlehem. Not that either of those 'facts' matter. I think we need to start putting "Christ" back into "Christianity" soon.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Blog birthday


This is the third birthday of the start of this blog. I simply did this blog because I have a lot of words in me, and I wanted to put them down. It may look like there are earlier dated blogs, but what I did was add in those posts at a later day.

This is a photo from a tree near my work place. It was taken in early November, 2007. I love this land of mountains and rivers, and the people of folk music and dance. I am feeling that I must leave this country, however, since I cannot stand paying for all this war and violence and gore.

Maybe next year I will leave.

Christmas Time in Iraq

This video was done by Ava Lowery. Her website is Peace Takes Courage. She is a remarkable young women. Here is what she put on the You Tube site:

Christmas time in Iraq isn't Christmas at all. Violence continues and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis are mourning this Christmas, and thousands of American families will be missing a loved one this holiday season.

"What is Christmas? It is tenderness for the past, courage for the present, hope for the future. It is a fervent wish that every cup may overflow with blessings rich and eternal, and that every path may lead to peace." -- Agnes M. Pharo

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Christmas in Iraq

Action items and more

My brownies made the news! Some day they will be world famous. (I am glad I could help out those anti-war veterans, and will do it again in the future. I will have another blog post on this soon.)

Two Action Items:

Rep. Wexler is calling for people to sign on to his impeachment petition.

AND:

I am in a contest with Code Pink, and you can help we win a book or something. Right now, I am in third place, which means I will win a poster from Jane Fonda. Now, the problem is – I don’t like Jane Fonda. She has always struck me as being more “pro-violence from the other side” than “anti-war”. So, please click on the LINK HERE and sign up for a peaceful holiday action…. It is easy!

And, for your viewing pleasure, a song by some young people who sing and look much better than I do - BUT, can they make news-worthy brownies? Watch the video below as this bunch of young Americans sing “You’re so lame”. It’s all about the – worst – president – ever. Let’s hope he really is a lame duck if the impeachment thing does not work out.


Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Email from the Muslim American Society

Don't Think it Can't Happen to You!

By Aishah Schwartz


WASHINGTON, D.C. (MASNET) Dec. 19, 2007 – MAS Freedom (MASF), as the civic and human rights advocacy entity of the Muslim American Society (MAS), through the MAS Freedom Legal Fund, sent Executive Director, Mahdi Bray to Pittsburg on Wednesday in order to be present for the bail hearing of Islamic Center of Pittsburg Imam, Kadir Gunduz. This is in continued follow-up of unsettling reports indicating a trend in the detainment of Muslim activists and religious leaders.

Imam Gunduz, 48, was arrested by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (USICE), Dec. 4 in Pittsburg on an alleged immigration violation, nearly two decades after arriving in the United States. He was released on a $5,000 bond at Wednesday afternoon's immigration court hearing.

"This is another example of how 'basically innocuous' immigration violations have become criminalized or 'portrayed in a nefarious way, especially if the individuals are seen to be religious leaders or activists," stated Bray.

MAS Freedom Legal Fund attorneys took on the case of Imam Foad Farahi, 33, detained by USICE officials in Miami, Florida on November 26, 2007. A preliminary victory in the case came as U.S. District Court Judge Marcia G. Cooke granted a Temporary Restraining Order filed by Ira J. Kurzban, Esq.

The Judge's ruling stipulates that Farahi, who has applied for asylum from Iran, not be moved to a detention center outside of the State of Florida; that he be granted relief from detention pending final ruling on his removal proceedings and for his case to be re-examined due to depravation of his constitutional right of due process.

Farahi was subsequently released from Krome Detention Center in North Miami on a $15,000 bond December 4, 2007.

As in the Farahi case, the MAS Freedom Legal Fund, through its highly esteemed and experienced immigration attorneys, intends to offer their support to Imam Gunduz in seeking full protection of his rights.

MAS Freedom will continue to keep you updated on the Imam Gunduz and Imam Farahi cases as additional details arise.



I really don't have anything to add to the above other than the fact that our country is becoming more racist and xenophobic every day. Of course, that is what the elites want - to divide and conquer the masses and keep them under control. Oh, and scare the crap out of a good number of the masses. That too.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Guantanamo: Tear it down

You can help tear down Guantanamo Bay, one pixel at a time. Go to this website and sign the pledge, get a pixel, and build the power to tear down Guantanamo Bay. Some interesting sound and graphics at this website also.


On January 11th, it will be six years since the US first brought prisoners to Guantanamo Bay and defiled any sense of human decency.

Monday, December 17, 2007

My reflections on the NCPD Annual Meeting

North Carolina Progressive Democrats Meeting - December 7 &8, 2007


Well, I just spent an amazing day and evening with fellow progressives around the state. I had intended to take great notes of the annual meeting – well, I didn’t do that. I arrived just as things were starting and was busy setting up Progressive Democrats of America (PDA) information table. I also needed to find people and put faces to the emails that I have sent and received over the years – but I missed one – Christian. He sends out some amazing stuff, and I had hoped to meet him in person, but I never found him.

On Friday, I rode from Asheville to the meeting in Chapel Hill with an old friend, Isaac and an unknown person to me – George. We went straight to Pete MacDowell’s house (Pete is the president of North Carolina Progressive Democrats) hung out for a while, and then went and ate some Mexican food. Then on to the evening’s FUNdraiser – with two musical acts – Fruit of Labor and David Rovics. I recommend both of these musical acts – they are great! I asked David Rovics to do “Santiago” but he said he never really learned that song! Anyway, I worked a table for PDA that evening too, then went home with John. Did some computer work, and then to bed. Slept in a little too late….. and went to the NCPD annual meeting.

Pete MacDowell opened the meeting by speaking of the need to building a diverse and unifying progressive movement, and how this meeting will hopefully further that aim. He then gave information on NCPD officers. He introduced people who are currently holding office in North Carolina and introduced candidates for office. They then started the panel discussion on advancing the people’s common agenda in the face of an unresponsive state legislature (hey, the federal legislature is even MORE unresponsive!) Some of the people on this panel are: Stephen Dear (People of Faith Against the Death Penalty), Chase Foster (NC Voters for Clean Elections), John Parker, Steve Owen, Hope Taylor (Clean Water for NC), Mark Kleinschmidt (GLBT and Justice System Issues), Representative Verla Insko (who spoke on health care in NC), Marisol Jimenez-McGee (more on her later!), Walt Caison (NC Stop Torture Now), and Ryan Eller (spoke on youth issues). I was impressed by a lot of them. They then broke into groups and gave reports on that group discussion.

This was followed by a speech by Reverend Barber. He is the chair of the NC NAACP, and this guy has some great things to say (I have heard him before). I did take down one comment he said: We don’t know what is feasible because we have really not hung together and PUSHED it ---- ‘they’ don’t think we are serious, ‘they’ think we are having a moment. Another great comment he made was that the budget is a moral document. Reverend Barber said that he does not know how to be a person of faith without challenging society’s injustices. He said we have to be a coalition that is anti-poverty, anti-racist and anti-war. He said that no one can govern by war – and when you try, you are not a democracy, you are an empire. And all empires end – because when you release the dogs of war you cannot control where they run.

Someone commented “How are we going to hold the line?” All of our groups present at the meeting really boiled down to HUMAN RIGHTS, but we have to find a way to work together. One action we can take is the historic H (Historic) K (thousands) on J (Jones Street) in February. This march is organized by the NC NAACP, but there are many, many other groups that support this march. We agreed to endorse this march and go to the H K on J March in February 2008. The people at this meeting committed to getting other folks from NC, and other groups, to support (and ATTEND) this march.

After lunch, we heard from Marisol Jimenez-McGee of El Pueblo. She was just awesome, and everyone in our country needs to hear more from her. She spoke about immigration and globalization, and the push-pull factors bringing immigrants to our country. She covered how difficult it is to get legal papers to immigrate to our country, and you can bet your last dollar that the elites keep it this way on purpose. This remarkable young woman spoke of how she felt the federal legislature would “solve” our immigration crisis this year, and how she cried when that did not happen. She spoke of meetings with NC officials, one of whom spoke of how we need to send the immigrants back to their home country, even going so far as to say “we can’t use boxcars” but wishing that he could. It was sickening. Our state and our country’s economies would crash if all the undocumented people were removed or left. She used the word “globalization” but I would have used the word “corporatization”. She did a good job of explaining how our multi-national corporations use and abuse resources and people in an area, and then close up and move on to another location to exploit, leaving devastation behind. The only thing she left out was the connection between these corporate practices and the problems with the environment, energy, foreign policy and a host of other problems. This goes way beyond our undocumented people in this country and the problems they face getting legal papers.

The website that she is associated with is located here.

She was so good, that those of from the western part of the state are going to try to get her speech on local community radio and URTV. I am also going to try to get her to write up some reports and get them into local weekly papers.

This fabulous speaker was followed by a panel by three candidates running for Lt. Governor here in NC. One of those panel members was Pat Smathers, who has served as Mayor of the city of Canton, NC. One thing really impressed me about him – he listened closely to the prior speaker, Marisol Jimenez-McGee. Another candidate did not, and that was Hampton Dellinger. He (and his supporters) kept going in and out the doors while she was speaking. There were people standing just outside the doors talking, including the people with Dellinger. I found this so disruptive, that I started acting like the door police and tried to stop them from running in and out. I thought they were pretty rude. The group decided to vote by secret ballot on who to endorse for Lt. Governor, and Dan Basse won the vote.


From there, they proceeded to holding a PDNC Business meeting, which included the treasurer’s report, discussion and consideration of bylaw changes. There was a discussion and adoption of priorities for 2008. They also voted to start up a Progressive Democrats of NC blog. I was busy doing some other computer work during this part of the meeting and did not follow closely what was decided, but hopefully the full minutes will be published one day. More information on the Progressive Democrats of NC is available at their website. THANKS to all the people who made this event possible. It was a great time.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Free Palestine

Palestine slideshow video.
Song: "Look into my Eyes" by Outlandish
Song lyrics by Gihad Ali

"Do you know the truth of where your money goes?" And as I am posting this You Tube video, I am also watching a movie about what happened to the Jews in Holland in WW II at the hands of the Nazis. The movie is about Anne Frank and how some of the Dutch helped out her family. Some humans never seem to learn, though. They will still oppress their fellow humans for greed and power and control. And there is no racial group, religious group, national group or any group that has not done horrible things - and no group that has not done courageous and honorable things.

Friday, December 14, 2007

The art of mental warfare

ArtofMentalWarfare.com presents The Warning, a politically powerful new music video featuring Grammy Award-winning artist Trent Reznor. The Warning takes on the covert interests behind the war and our media saturated society. From war crimes to the destruction of the environment and a celebrity-obsessed culture, The Warning is a clarion call to action for an apathetic nation.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Progressive Dems of Buncombe/Kucinich Meetup on 12/02/07

Photo was of Dennis Kucinich when he came to Asheville in November 2007- I took the picture.

Progressive Democrats of Buncombe County meeting/Kucinich Meetup on 12/02/07

Attending: 40 people

Minutes taken by Susan

Next meeting of the Progressive Democrats of Buncombe County/Kucinich Meetup is January 8, 2008. This will be held at 7 PM at North Asheville Library.

Susan gave a short intro on Progressive Democrats of Buncombe County and how this group came from the prior Kucinich campaign. She gave her reasons for continuing the group – to support the Progressive Caucus in the US House of Representatives via the Progressive Democrats of America. Susan also told of the necessary steps to become a delegate to the National Democratic Party Convention in 2008. First step is to register as a Democrat. Next, make sure you attend you local Democratic precinct meeting in February 2008. At that precinct meeting, sign up as a delegate to go to the Buncombe County Democratic Party Convention. This is applies to other counties also, and this meeting is generally held at the county courthouse. At the county convention, you must sign up to be a delegate at the District Convention (Congressional District #11) and the NC Democratic Party State Convention. At the District Convention, when you arrive, you sign in as a delegate for one of the Presidential candidates. The Kucinich delegates will vote for the person who will go to the National Democratic Party Convention in the summer of 2008 from congressional district #11 as a Kucinich delegate. At the NC Democratic Party State Convention, we also vote on some delegates “at large”. Susan mentioned how it is important to “hang together” especially during the District Convention so that a non-Kucinich person does not get voted in to be the Kucinich Delegate to the National Convention.

Susan also briefly mentioned being a precinct chair, vice-chair, and secretary/treasurer. This can be a lot of work, or very minimal work. However, if a Kucinich supporter is in an “un-organized” precinct, then he or she will have to get four other registered Democrat voters to come to the precinct meeting and elect officers in other to go the County Democratic Party Convention. This is the way to effect change in the Democratic Party, but we did not discuss if this a useful path to pursue.

We then moved to the Kucinich Meetup part of the meeting, and Gloria ran this part of the meeting. She passed around a sign up sheet, which she will enter on the Kucinich meetup site. She talked about how to answer assertions about Kucinich and about how to get the message out to the public and the Democratic Party. She said Kucinich is rising in the polls and become more and more popular. December 10th is ‘write to your newspaper’ day for Kucinich supporters (please do not send the same letter to more than one newspaper – if they discover you have done that, they will not publish your letters again). Gloria talked about the “National Money Bomb” day – more information at www.december152007.com. They are trying to get 10,000 people to donate $100 for Kucinich. She talked about the upcoming Health Care now events this week in Asheville, and how that would be a great time to promote Kucinich and his health care bill. Our meetup is www.denniskucinich.meetup.com/324.

At this point we broke into smaller groups. After meeting in small groups, we all got back together to report on our groups and discuss issues raised.

Fundraising –There was some discussion on the need to develop fundraising forms to collect information on people who make donations. Someone will need to investigate how to document donations and what exactly is required. A suggestion of a making tee shirts or having weekly parties was from this group, but nothing specific was planned. Michelle M, Pauline R, Alan B are on this committee.

Flyer – design and print up flyers. Someone in this group is a printer, and that will help with getting flyers made. They discussed the making of the flyers and suggested they be put up everywhere. John K, Paul C, Eve R, Oscar are members of this committee.

Media – make comprehensive list, develop media contacts, make sure all press releases go through the Kucinich campaign – send to Gloria, she will forward to Kucinich national staff and get it back to the media person. This would be done in a day or two. This group will start by doing LTE on 12/10/07 to one or more local papers. There was some information shared in this group on various media outlets in other counties besides Buncombe. Leslie (ACT, Daily Planet), Fred (ACT, Weaverville paper), Anne (ACT), Susan (H’ville, Smokey Mountain), Rachel (Indy Media), and Gary (Yancey & Mitchell country papers) are on this committee. The papers they will write to is listed after their name.

GOTV – find out about early voting, registration. May 6th is primary day in NC. This group wanted to have calling parties where people bring their cell phones and call voters in NH and Iowa. Gloria will contact state chair for call lists and this group will organize a time to do the calling. They did some brainstorming on early voting – Tom will research requirements. They will research events for promoting GOTV. Kristin H, Naomi M, Cicada B, Tom C are on this committee.

Internet – go to websites and post information on Kucinich

Events & tabling – organize events calendar and establish regular tabling and/or handing out flyers at events. Rotate who will cover the events, and be sure not to block pedestrian or vehicle traffic when you hand out flyers. This group has people from Brevard, Hendersonville and Asheville. They hope to get to the SiCKO event to flyer, and to Hendersonville Christmas events to hand out flyers. They need help with printing costs. They do have a table available to use, just need help with transportation. Ruth C, Lola L, Mollie S, Brian W, Lynne W, Connie N are on this committee.

Networking – compile list of local groups that would be sympathetic to Kucinich campaign. This group will contact SDS at UNCA and peace crew at WWC, and set up times to go talk to them. Someone will contact Episcopal Peace Fellowship and Creative Non-violence group. David said that he will talk to WNC Peace Coalition, Dept of Peace and Vets for Peace. Ron will email organizations to get connected. Barbara G, David I, Ronald H, Lena F, Michelle M, Paul C, John K, Oscar are on this committee.

Someone commented that making a donation to the Kucinich campaign in stead of a holiday present. The slogan was “don’t give them a present, give them a president.”

From Gloria, NC coordinator for Kucinich campaign:

Thanks to all of you for a great Asheville meetup on December 2nd. Please sign up to keep updated on upcoming Kucinich Meetups at: http://denniskucinich.meetup.com/324. Kucinich materials are available for download at this site also.

The minutes and pictures of our last meetup can be viewed on the Message board and Photo Album menus. This message board is the place to communicate with your local community, so please keep this area organized. To minimize the number of posts for people to scan through, communicate with local members by replying to the most current Asheville Meetup Minutes posting. If you have articles or other announcements not directly related to our action groups, please join our yahoo group, http://groups.yahoo.com/group/NCforKucinich/ for North Carolina or http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Kucinich4President/ for the national list and share your information there.

All fliers and T-shirt logos can also be found on our Files menu of the meetup site- for a general pamphlet, I recommend "Basic Overview Flyer." For tabling, pick an assortment of flyers that you think will best suit your audience. Please also download our list of Kucinich websites on our Files menu for internet campaigning. If you are collecting any cash for the campaign, even small amounts, please use the "Contribution Forms" on the Files menu. Let's work to strengthen this movement in the Asheville area and increase our volunteer base so we can expand our reach to surrounding areas. Go Kucinich!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

December 12th - Harry Taylor!


December 12th

Harry Taylor stood up to bush at an event in Charlotte, NC in April 2006. This event was hosted by the World Affairs Council of Charlotte. The picture comes from the Think Progress website, and that is where I got the transcript of the exchange between Harry Taylor and Bush:

Q You never stop talking about freedom, and I appreciate that. But while I listen to you talk about freedom, I see you assert your right to tap my telephone, to arrest me and hold me without charges, to try to preclude me from breathing clean air and drinking clean water and eating safe food. If I were a woman, you’d like to restrict my opportunity to make a choice and decision about whether I can abort a pregnancy on my own behalf. You are –

THE PRESIDENT: I’m not your favorite guy. Go ahead. (Laughter and applause.) Go on, what’s your question?

Q Okay, I don’t have a question. What I wanted to say to you is that I — in my lifetime, I have never felt more ashamed of, nor more frightened by my leadership in Washington, including the presidency, by the Senate, and –

AUDIENCE MEMBERS: Booo!

THE PRESIDENT: No, wait a sec — let him speak.

Q And I would hope — I feel like despite your rhetoric, that compassion and common sense have been left far behind during your administration, and I would hope from time to time that you have the humility and the grace to be ashamed of yourself inside yourself. And I also want to say I really appreciate the courtesy of allowing me to speak what I’m saying to you right now. That is part of what this country is about.

THE PRESIDENT: It is, yes. (Applause.)

Q And I know that this doesn’t come welcome to most of the people in this room, but I do appreciate that.

THE PRESIDENT: Appreciate –

Q I don’t have a question, but I just wanted to make that comment to you.


There is a link to the video of this transaction at that website also. I have a great deal of respect for Harry Taylor for making this stand and for speaking truth to bush.

Now, Harry Taylor is going to run for the US House of Representatives in Congressional District #9 in North Carolina. It is clear to see that he would be a great addition to the House – he speaks the truth, believes in the US Constitution, and is not afraid of the war-mongerers. On top of all that, Harry is grounded in reality. He has expressed his support of progressive values – women’s privacy, civil rights, taking care of your environment.

Here is Harry, speaking in his own words, on a post at Daily Kos.

I don’t pretend to come before you with all the answers to every challenge facing America. But what I can tell you is what I believe.

I believe that, that regardless of what party we belong to, where we live or go to church, regardless of our age or gender, color or economic circumstance, we are far more alike than different. I don't believe we need to live in a country that is divisive and polarized. I am positive that we can find ways to agree, to get along, to move forward. When you consider issues that our country is addressing today...war, access to medical care, climate change, consumer and drug safety...these are literally life and death issues. They warrant and demand fair, unbiased solutions that work for the largest possible number of people. We do have the ability to get along, to create win/win solutions...and the Congress needs to lead that effort.

I believe in mutual responsibility as well as the personal responsibility I spoke of earlier. It's true that we all have to be accountable for our actions individually, but that we as a society need to be accountable to each other, and to look out for each other.

So, why have they picked this date, December 12th, to promote Harry Taylor for Congress? Because today is the anniversary of a very sad day in America. It is the day the US Supreme Court decided that bush should be handed the 2000 election, even though Al Gore had won the popular vote. Seven long years ago, our democracy was undermined, and look at the mess we have today.

Please support Harry Taylor in his campaign for US House of Representatives! And please contribute to the 12/12 fund raiser - they are asking 4,000 NEW supporters to give $25 each, thereby raising $100,000 in one day! Please go here to make a contribution.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Well then, we are not a "free nation"

bush had this to say in the clip below:

"Free nations are peaceful nations. Free nations don't attack each other. Free nations don't develop weapons of mass destruction."

The only logical conclusion is that the USA is not a free nation. We have bombed or invaded (or both) over 40 countries since World War II, we attack whoever we please (well, our leaders do - and bush is the worst of the bunch, but everyone of the them have lots of blood on their hands) and we most certainly have lots of nuclear weapons and lots of other nasty stuff. By the way, more and more information is coming out that the depleted uranium we spread all over Iraq and Afghanistan will sicken people for centuries.

TODAY IS HUMAN RIGHTS DAY. I clearly remember a time when the USA respected human rights. That is no longer true. Some guy on ABC news tonight claimed that our torture uncovered dozens of plots that would have hurt us. Except that we never hear any details about what those plots were, or if there was any validity to these claims. No verification needed anymore - just go ahead and torture, kidnap, rape, murder and bomb the snot out of whoever. It is all so sickening!


Monday, December 10, 2007

Put impeachment back on the table!


This banner was hung by Code Pink women, and this is inside the Hart Senate office building. This was a massive banner.

I am still writing letters about impeachment – including honoring the request below from Veterans for Peace. I am still getting signatures on the Grassroots Impeachment Movement in North Carolina.

If we do not hold these criminals accountable for their violent crimes, and for their abuses of the US Constitution, then the next time some sociopaths get into office we may totally lose our country and maybe start up WW III. That may not happen for a decade or two, but allowing criminals to get away with a crime only leads to more crime.

Here is the request from Veterans for Peace:

Nancy Pelosi has (apparently) said that she will allow impeachment back "on the table" if she receives 10,000 handwritten pro-impeachment letters. I've not yet seen anyone cite a time or place where Pelosi actually said this, but no matter -- this report has been so persistent on the internet for the last few days that (apparently) Pelosi's going to see a surge of incoming letters whether she wants one or not.

If you are going to join me in sending a letter – and PLEASE DO! – SEND ONE DIRECTLY TO PELOSI and MAIL ONE in care of Cindy Sheehan's campaign headquarters (address below). Cindy's volunteer staff will count and hand-deliver all of them, so that Sheehan's campaign will be sure how many were sent, and you can bet they'll have a Press Conference. In case anyone doesn't know Peace Mom Cindy Sheehan is declared and running against Pelosi for Congress in her District. Cindy
has moved to SF, and will certainly present a strong challenge!!

Please MAIL YOUR LETTERS TO:
Rep Nancy Pelosi
Speaker of the House
235 Cannon HOB
Washington, DC 20515

AND

Cindy for Congress
RE: Impeach
1260 Mission St.
San Francisco
, Ca 94103

Saturday, December 08, 2007

From Dennis Kucinich

Ending the war and preventing the next one

I am the only Democratic presidential candidate who campaigned against and voted against the war authorization resolution in 2002 and every supplemental appropriation since. Five years ago, I presented evidence to my colleagues in the House and Senate based on my own intelligence analysis which showed that Iraq did not have weapons of mass destruction and was not a direct threat to the U.S. or our allies. I shared that analysis with my Congressional colleagues and rallied more than 120 members to vote against the authorization.

The defense offered by other candidates - "If I knew then what I know now" - is a feeble excuse for making the wrong decision when it mattered most to make the right decision. Many of us did know then because we weren't tricked or bullied by the White House. We knew it was wrong, and we knew the consequences. So did you.

But what makes the newfound anti-war claims of some other candidates even more indefensible is that they voted to continue funding the war, year after year, at least until their Presidential campaigns began. It's simply not enough to say you oppose the war now when you continued to fund it time and time again.

Right now, the war is fully funded until early next year. There is more than enough money available to bring all of our troops and equipment home within a few months, but the Congressional leadership is unwilling to challenge the President. My plan, embodied in HR 1234, would end the war, end the occupation, establish an international security and peacekeeping force, begin the process of reconciliation, and provide the kind of support needed for reconstruction.

My target is not 2013. My target is three months after taking office. But in the meantime, we in the Congress, with your support, must use every means at our disposal to force the White House to act now to bring our troops home. And, we must use every means at our disposal to stop the White House from launching a new war on Iran with the same flimsy, deceptive and outright fraudulent claims it used five years ago.

Empowering Constitutional abuses, and ending them

I am the only Democrat running for President who voted against the unconstitutional and illegal U.S.A Patriot Act. The other candidates were wrong then, and various federal court rulings have made that abundantly clear. We can't condone the shredding of our Constitution in the name of "national security." And we can't support leaders, candidates or policies that do. Please cast your vote:

True "universal health care"

I am the only Presidential candidate who supports a truly universal, single-payer, not-for-profit health care system to cover all Americans. Every other plan preserves, and in some cases, enhances the role of private, for-profit insurance companies that make their billions by not providing coverage. Forcing Americans to buy private insurance denies the moral obligation of this nation to provide coverage for its citizens. Any scheme that provides subsidies or other financial incentives to for-profit providers to make coverage less expensive or more accessible is just that: a scheme. It further enriches the insurers, at taxpayers' expense, and would still not guarantee full coverage or universal availability.

Michael Moore has endorsed my health care plan (HR 676), as have thousands of physicians, nurses, and labor union members. It's time to catch up to the rest of the industrialized nations and declare that health care is a right, not a commodity that some people can afford and others can't. No other candidate is willing to take on those insurance companies. I am. And I believe that you are, too.

Impeachment

I am only the presidential candidate willing to demand the impeachment of Vice President Dick Cheney. Every pair of DFA eyes reading this e-mail knows that this President and this Vice President have committed serious crimes worthy of impeachment. This it not a personal attack against the Vice President. It is about the sanctity of the Constitution. This democracy must be protected against leaders who have no regard for the Constitution or the rule of law. The mechanism for taking action against such leaders is impeachment. We, the people, have not only the right but the obligation to stop this. HR 333, which I introduced, is the appropriate recourse under the law to hold those leaders accountable and answerable.

My candidacy for President of the United States is about who we are as Americans. It is about who we are as Democrats. It is about who we are as progressives. There are clear distinctions between my friends in this race and me -- major differences on every issue of importance to me and to you.

I stand proudly for my core beliefs. Only if you and others with the courage to hold the Party and its candidates accountable will we be able to make progress on a real agenda for real change in this nation. And by doing what's right, all of us together, we can send a proud and powerful message that we know what - and who - is wrong. And, very simply, we've had enough.

For more information on my record, please visit my website -- I want DFA members to have direct and constant contact with my campaign. I urge you at any time to reach out to our campaign's national field director, Vin Gopal, by e-mailing him at vin.gopal@kucinich.us

Sincerely,

Dennis Kucinich

Friday, December 07, 2007

Sadness

The picture below is one that most of the world would recognize – a little Iraqi girl who has the blood of her parents on her hands. And most of the world could tell you how her parents died, and when it happened.

But most Americans could not.

A blogger that I follow, Dennis Perrin, had a death in the family recently. His sister was murdered while pumping gas last weekend. It happened north of Indianapolis. The gunman then committed suicide. Dennis has some thoughts on that, as well as the recent mall shooting in Nebraska. Deepest sympathies to Dennis and his entire family.

A commenter on the last post pointed to a story about a man in Guantanamo prison who tried to kill himself by slashing his wrist with his own fingernail.

Here in my home town, little ole Asheville North Carolina, we had four homicides in less than 10 days. That is a lot for our area. The population is about 170,000 in this county.

We have such a violent society here in the USA, and that reality is denied by a great many of Americans. I don’t know what the answer is – I used to think better gun control would be the right way to go – but the truth is, there are other countries that have even more guns than Americans do and they don’t have the homicide and suicide rate that we have.

It is really unbelievable that we now have a country where our government (without any qualms) kidnaps, tortures, rapes, murders and commits genocide. Of course, we are a country founded on genocide and violent resistance. Every time someone points out that our country had to fight for our “independence” I have to point out the other British colonies that became independent without a war or any violence. So, the obvious conclusion is that violence was not necessary for our country to be independent.

And, as a recent article I read said: “A Change Ain’t Gonna Come” in regards to the next Democratic presidency. We can expect the next Democratic president to be more competent at running things and we can expect him or her to make some effort at cooperating with the rest of the world – but overall, the same policy objectives will remain in place here in America.

And that is damn sad.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Iran

From Juan Coles's blog:

The Friday prayers leader in Tehran, a member of the Council of Guardians, reaffirms that Islamic law forbids nuclear weapons.

The law of war in Islam forbids the killing of innocent noncombatants. Since nuclear weapons inevitably kill large numbers of innocent women and children, Supreme Jurisprudent Ali Khamenei has pronounced these weapons contrary to Islam and insisted that Iran does not want them and would not use them.

There is no evidence of a nuclear weapons program in Iran, per IAEA. Nuclear energy does share technology with nuclear weapons, and producing nuclear energy is necessary for nuclear weapons production. But, if Iran was going down that road to nuclear weapons, we and the IAEA would KNOW it. They are not.

And recently, the NIE in the US said that Iran abandoned their nuclear weapons program in 2003. That date, co-incidentally, would be when they realized that the country of Iraq did not have a nuclear weapons program either.

I wish the whole world would dismantle their nuclear bombs and their nuclear power plants. We will not be truly free or safe until we do.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

I agree


I know Desiree - I stayed at Code Pink house in DC last June, and Desiree is the house mom there. I am glad she did this - and I think it will be a picture that lives in American history as a symbol of the opposition to the destruction and occupation of Iraq.

I also think Desiree is going to do some jail time for this action. And I personally don't feel that is right. Desiree has FAKE blood on her hands, while rice and bush and cheney have REAL blood on their hands. They are the ones who should be going to prison.

I agree with these actions, but I am not sure I want to imitate them - I don't think I should be going to jail - because I am not the one who has killed a load of people. I have not killed anyone. Desiree has a court date coming up soon. Meanwhile, Code Pink has some excellent suggestions for a Peaceful Holiday, and a contest going on to see who can sign up the most people to take some action. The actions consist of simple things, like not giving war toys for Christmas or Holiday gifts, or signing peace songs at the mall. I am considering having a Holiday Peace Party, maybe with letter writing like we did at a group gathering on this past Sunday. Anyway, I hope you will go to this site and sign up for an action or two - and increase my changes of winning a prize. I am in second place at this time.
Thanks.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

My Name is Rachel Corrie

Last night, I was lucky enough to see the play “My Name is Rachel Corrie” at Mars Hill College. Rachel was a student at Evergreen College in Olympia Washington, where she was born and had lived. She decided to join the International Solidarity Movement in Gaza in January 2003 and was killed by a US-made, Israeli-run bulldozer in on March 16, 2003.

She was trying to stop a home demolition.

This play about Rachel comes entirely from her own writings prior to going to Gaza and while she was there. She was one of the “foreign nationals” in that country. As part of the International Solidarity Movement, they were non-violently protesting against actions of the Israeli military. Watching this play was quite emotional, and the actress playing Rachel was also at points quite emotional. In Rachel’s last communication with her mother, she asked what the Palestinian people could do to stop this assault on their homes and lives, and pointed out that most of the Palestinian resistance was non-violent. She commented that “this evil must stop now!” and admitted to her mother that she was very scared in Gaza – scared of the Israeli military, not of the Palestinians. The Palestinians treated her very warmly, and the man whose home Rachel was trying to protect considered her to be his daughter.

The play starts with some of her writings from her middle school years, and while I did not see this part as necessary to the play, it does humanize her quite a bit.

The play was followed by a dialogue with the actress and other panel members and the audience. This was part of the “Difficult Dialogue” series, which is funded by the Ford Foundation. This series is part of an effort to understand and combat anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and other forms of bigotry in the US. At one point in Rachel’s dialogue, she comments on how every person in that Gaza situation was just a “kid” – the Palestinians are just “kids”, the foreign nationals are “kids” and the Israeli military is just “kids” in a horrible drama that leads to so much pain, loss, and death. The play ended with a clip of Rachel as a child, talking about how she wanted to end world hunger and her hope the world would do that. Rachel comments in her writings that “nothing could have prepared me for this reality.”

I admire Rachel for her attempts to understand a difficult situation, and for her attempts to stop such massive human suffer that is now going on in Palestine. Our discussion afterwards was quite intense, and I don’t know if I can recapture the essence of it, so I decided not to try.

There is one thing I would like to point out – all groups, all religions, all nationalities, all races have done horrible things to their fellow humans. And all groups have done wonderful things also. And really it is quite astounding how much violence and killing we have done to one another, when in fact there are so little real differences between us.

And we must speak out against all this violence and killing before it is the end of us all.

I feel very lucky to have seen this play, and I realized in about the middle that there is no way I could follow a path like Rachel took – I would find it just too difficult. But I feel inspired by her decisions and her actions. And while I feel inspired by all those who take a stand against violence and killing by the government of Israel and the USA, the Jews who take such a stand really inspire me.

A lot of people die from violence, but Rachel was different – she died trying to stop violence.

Dennis Kucinich at the SOA Watch