Sunday, August 31, 2008
Cathy Scott held a house party for Rusul on Saturday evening. Cathy has a lovely home up in the mountains, but not far from Asheville itself. It seemed like there was tons of people there, but in actually, I guess it was about 40 or 50 people. Rusul really liked the trampoline, and she was really into jumping as high as she could on this! She was also fascinated by the young girls who were playing and singing music (pictures in the next blog post). I thought that was very nice, but the song "Blowing in the wind" nearly did me in..... anyway, hope you enjoy this photos, and the ones below.
Saturday, August 30, 2008
Yes, how did we come to slaughter so many children for no reason? Where is our shame? All the evidence points to 60 children killed, along with 30 adults, by a
Where is our shame? Meanwhile, the women are still wearing burqas, the poverty is immense, and the entire country is protesting the presence of foreign troops.
Friday, August 29, 2008
And three years later - they have done very little to rebuild the city or improve the leeves. I sure hope that the US does not have a major earthquake or major hurricanes again - we are in no shape to take care of our citizens if this were to happen. I am writing this blog post on June 9, 2008 - I wanted to save this picture. It will be interesting to see if there are major changes between now and then. I am writing this while Rep. Kucinich is reading all the major crimes bush has committed in the impeachment article. I predict that bush will not be impeached, because most of our politicians are complicit.
Also - I want to predict that Sanford and Sebelius will be the vice presidential candidates. The Bilderberg Group picked them. Let's see if I got that right or not..... UPDATE: Well, the Democratic one was wrong.... but I would guess the Bilderberg group is happy with Biden. I was wrong about the Republican pick too - someone I never heard of before.... Palin. Hey, if you take the 'l' out of her name, you get: PAIN. How appropriate.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
>"It's a bigger than the Super Bowl," said
lobbyist Ben Barnes, a convention veteran who'll be in one of the boxes on Thursday's final, historic night. Texas
He'll be in good company. Xcel Energy, Pfizer and Molson Coors, which each have given more than $1 million, will be among scores of deep-pocket donors with their own private luxury suites. Home of the Denver Broncos, the football stadium's 131 skyboxes, seating 14 to 20 people, are mostly going to the party's biggest backers and political VIPs.
A few thousand of Mr. Obama's closest fiscal friends also are being offered club-level seats – with 8,300 primo spots available – some going to deep-pocket donors and others sold for $1,000.<
Well, I guess you have to pay to play here in the land of the free. I am so sick of it, and sick of the dog and pony shows that these two major parties produce on a regular basis. It is a total waste of money, and sinful in light of the fact that so many people are homeless and hungry right here in
>Four years ago, Ameriquest Mortgage Co., the nation's largest subprime housing lender which resisted tighter government regulations, was a $5 million donor and a major presence at the 2004 GOP convention. The company isn't around anymore, a casualty of excesses in the home mortgage industry.<
It is all just so sickening.
And this past weekend, we heard that Obama picked Biden as his running mate. Personally, I have a huge chip on my shoulder towards Biden. He proposed chopping
So, I voted for Obama in the primary because I thought he was the best Democratic candidate for peace. Since then, he has made more and more belligerent statements about
Photo: The Pinwheel galaxy, otherwise known as Messier 101, sports bright reddish edges in this new infrared image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope released by NASA July 21, 2008. Research from Spitzer has revealed that this outer red zone lacks organic molecules present in the rest of the galaxy. The red and blue spots outside of the spiral galaxy are either foreground stars or more distant galaxies. REUTERS/NASA/JPL-Caltech/STScI/Handout (UNITED STATES).
In spite of what the
Monday, August 25, 2008
Sunday, August 24, 2008
Friday, August 22, 2008
Rusul, which I have written about in the past, here, and here, was in
The day started out well, but about half way down to
On the drive up, Abu Ali communicated “nice” at all the beautiful vistas we saw. We did manage to communicate that Kurdish areas of
Anyway, I dropped them at the Islamic Education Center, drove Adrianne to her home and came back. Abu Ali took to this Center like a fish to water, but Rusul seemed bored in the children’s education class. There were 15 children in the class. They told a long story in English, which she did not understand. They also covered a few words in Arabic and did the Arabic alphabet, which I think Rusul found too easy to be interesting. Willa, however, really likes this class – so this child of a Quaker may take up Islamic studies. Rusul, however, does not complain. Abu Ali was in worship, which was part in English and part in Arabic. Someone there made a point of thanking me for bringing him.
We were due to meet a local man who would be an interpreter for our trip to the
One thing I had not counted on – I was told that the Islamic Center would serve pizza for lunch. It turns out they didn’t, and that meant all of us were getting hungry. In retrospect, we should have eaten before going to the
Anyway, we went ahead into the
This was when Rusul started getting worn out. It is hard work to hop everywhere you go, using a walker. So we went into the log cabin and waited for the interpreter and his daughter to show up. As we were sitting there, it is easy to see the shrapnel wounds that Rusul has in her arms and legs. At this point, we pretty much decided that we all were starving, and we needed to eat! Abu Ali wanted ‘hamburger’ and Rusul likes potatoes. Neither one seems to like sweets.
As we were leaving the area, Abu Ali kept saying “nice” which was his way of saying the scenery was beautiful. Both the Islamic Center and the
And it ain’t over.........................
As I drove them back to
“Wisdom born of experience should tell us that war is obsolete. There may have been a time when war served as a negative good by preventing the spread and growth of an evil force, but the destructive power of modern weapons eliminates even the possibility that war may serve as a negative good. If we assume that life is worth living and that man has a right to survivial, then we must find an alternative to war. …..Our world is threatened by the grim prospect of atomic annihilation because there are still too many who know not what they do.” (Martin Luther King, Jr in “Strength to Love”)
Yes, there are many who “know not what they do”. And little children playing hopscotch outside their homes end up paying the price – with their lives, their body parts, their health, and their future. It is the vastly ignorant ones, sitting in the middle of this land of plenty and astounding beauty, who do not see what they have done and make no effort to even become aware of the cost that innocent children have paid.
And in the middle of this land of plenty and astounding beauty, we spend our time making weapons to visit horror on other people (and in the anthrax attacks, we visited it upon ourselves) and making plans to obtain what is not ours to feed an addition to oil. We seem to know no bounds on our not knowing what we are doing, and no ability to see what we are headed towards.
And this ain’t over..........................
If you would like to help a war-injured child and their families, please go to No More Victims website.And if you are coming through western
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Sunday, August 17, 2008
Saturday, August 16, 2008
Friday, August 15, 2008
I think we should get rid of nuclear power, but I think getting rid of nuclear bombs is vastly more important. And, in light of that, I decided to write letters to candidates about nuclear weapons via Friends Committee on National Legislation website. Link to the website at the end of this blog post. But I wanted to share with you the answers I got from this email, so here is my letter and the response:
Message sent to the following recipients:
Letter to all candidates for Congress:
In 1945, the
I think we are on a dangerous and unproductive path here - we need to work to abolish all nuclear weapons, not maintain (at a cost of over $17 billion per year!) the ones we have. We need to work for total nuclear disarmament.
I would like to know if you support this position and, if elected, you would advocate cutting the size of the - END -
- END -
One person responded: Come back to the world of reality. The world is never going to be free of nuclear weapons. - from KSLUVBEACH@aol.com
My response to the above: Then that means the world will never be free of nuclear war. I would not call that reality - I would call it a nightmare.
Further response: Nuclear war??? You really are living in a world of non-reality... You want to cut our arsenal in half and then eliminate it..
Well, let me put an end to your supposed safer world... We once only had two nuclear bombs..Yea the whole world only had two..We used one on
So the number of bombs has absolutely nothing to do with if they are used or not.
And by the way, by using those bombs Truman saved millions of lives.. Yes, saved millions. If you knew how Iwo Jima or some of the other Jap island strongholds fought you would understand what a blood bath and meat grinder the mainland of
But naive Peaceniks that have never thought about how the reality of a nuclear retaliation threat allowed
Snap out of your delusion if we got rid of nuclear bombs the world would be safer. It wouldn't. Poison gas, biological weapons, and all of the rest would still make it not only just as dangerous but really even more dangerous. Without the threat of being taken care of in a single strike nut case countries wouldn't fear launching an attack on us or any other peace loving country.
Don't go around worrying about some might be, could be fear of the future. Peace through strength really does work... You don't see big strong guys being picked on, just little wimpy ones.
Have a nice day, hug a tree, go save some whales, yada yada
[It is, of course, speculation as to how many lives were ‘saved’ by using nuclear bombs on
I responded: I thought
I responded: It was not a form letter, and I know who I sent it to - Dole, Hagen, Mumpower, Shuler, Smith, and Cole. I just don't know which one of those people you happen to be, since you didn't state your name.
NO ANSWER TO THAT! I think it is safe to assume that this did not come from Dole, Hagen, Shuler, or Mumpower. And I think it is safe to assume that we will go on spending $17+ billion per year to maintain our nuclear weapons. And it is also safe to assume that, if we ever have a nuclear war, it may end life as we know it.
If you would like to join in the fun and email your candidates, go to this website and compose a letter! It’s free, and who knows who is reading!
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
I wanted to share some suggested planks for the Democratic Party Platform. These were sent on to the meeting of the Democratic Party Platform committee, which met recently.
Suggested Democratic Party Platform Planks - Network of Spiritual Progressives,
Black Mountain, N.C. Chapter
1. Health Care
We deplore the fact that tens of millions of Americans lack health insurance, especially the working poor and children. We strongly support a single payer universal health care plan as a FUNDAMENTAL RIGHT of the citizens of the United States as public education is a right.
A health system which emphasizes prevention and wellness would streamline care and cut costs. The current health insurance ?non-system? rakes in an annual profit of $100 billion dollars with an overhead of 20%. In stark contrast, overhead for Medicare is only 3%.
2. Foreign Policy, Poverty and Economic Development.
We support House Resolution 1078 which calls for establishment of a New Global Marshall Plan. This plan, which would commit the United States and other industrialized nations to an annual contribution of one to two per cent GDP for a period of twenty years, would help stimulate the economies of developing nations. It would also provide universal education and health care. This bold initiative would change significantly the world?s perception of US foreign policy from one of military domination to one of constructive cooperation.
3. The Environment
We are profoundly concerned that, though we represent only 4% of the world?s population, we are consuming 25% of the earth?s resources. We believe that we need to promote actively a shift in values from self-interest, free market materialism, and consumerism to an emphasis on interdependence, sustainability and global well being.
Because of the overwhelming scientific evidence of global climate change, it is imperative that the US support the creation of alternative sources of energy and aggressively promote wide spread conservation measures.
SUGGESTED DEMOCRATIC PARTY PLATFORM PLANKS
Social Security is our most important safety net for seniors and the disabled. In order to protect the solvency of Social Security in the future we recommend the following actions:
1). Gradually increase the tax base from 85% to 90% of total wages,
2). Allow the Social Security Administration to invest no more than 20% of the total assets of the Trust Fund in equities,
3). Allocate a portion of the Estate Tax to Social Security, and
4). Protect the Social Security Trust Fund from being used to cover other government expenses.
We are profoundly disturbed by the militarization of the U. S. foreign policy. We support the establishment of a U. S. Department of Peace that would help to peacefully resolve all international conflicts between the U. S. and other countries. We are also deeply troubled by our current unilateral nationalism (opposition to the Kyoto Treaty and the World Court). We must continue to promote the values of world citizenship among our people, especially among our young people.
The Environment and the Economy
Let the challenges of the energy crisis, climate change and the current economic downturn become opportunities to come together as a country. We must make a national commitment to achieve energy independence within 10 years through a shift away from the use of petroleum products to completely clean, alternative energy sources. To accomplish this shift we recommend the following:
1). Provide tax incentives to individuals and businesses to create conservation and energy efficiency projects,
2). Invest in the infrastructure that supports the development of new, clean energy technologies, and
3). Inspire and educate the American people on how to reduce their use of petroleum products and shift to alternative, clean energy.
We believe that these actions will fuel the creation of many new jobs in a growing green economy.
Planks from the Values Dialogue Group, Buncombe County (N.C.) Democrats
1. Sustainability for Our Children?s Future
We Democrats want our children and all our descendents to have a sustainable future. We are conservative in supporting a shift from narrow self-interest, "me-first-ism", hyper-materialism, uncontrolled growth, and obsessive consumerism toward community, interdependence, sustainability, neighborly care, and global well-being. That shift is long-term, but starts from the fact that, though we Americans are only 4% of the world's population, we consume 25% of Earth's resources.
2. Universal Health Care
We are ashamed that Americans die from poor access to health care. We deplore the fact that tens of millions of Americans lack health insurance. To include all citizens, streamline, simplify and control costs, a single-payer universal health care system that emphasizes prevention and wellness is needed. The current health insurance "non-system" takes in over $100 billion in profit each year and has an overhead of some 20%, while Medicare has an overhead of only about 3%. We cannot control costs while paying the oppressive overhead costs and profit margins of the private health insurance industry.
3. Foreign Policy and Homeland Security
We support a new Global Marshal Plan that will pull our foreign policy strategies away from dominance, and toward generosity and non-violence. Some 2% of the GDP of the U. S. and other advanced industrial countries annually for 20 years would finance the elimination of U.S. and global poverty, improve health care, establish universal education, and heal environmental damage. Our own security will be advanced as we seek the well-being of everyone else on the planet.
4. Repowering America
We endorse and commit to Al Gore's Challenge to produce 100 percent of our electricity from renewable energy and other clean sources within ten years. It is do-able. It will help lead toward a stable climate. Complementing this, we support renewed railroads and mass transit, user-friendly bike trails, and imaginative full-cycle systems utilizing animal waste, plant debris, and other biological refuse sources for energy.
5. A Healthy Democracy
Fundamental to true democracy are an engaged, informed citizenry and leaders not dependent on corporate interests to fund their campaigns. We commit to deep reform of the political process to break the grip of "big money" interests that twists problem-solving from the common good to selfish interest. We will promote democratic media and require that TV and radio licensees serve the public need for factual information as a priority. In lieu of paying for licenses, in exchange for using the public airwaves and rights-of-way, those media shall provide free airtime for candidates. This will remove a key cost that traps office-seekers in an endless, distracting money chase to fund campaigns, often leading to corruption.
6. Improved Education
We support enlightened public education, and will move to minimize differences in quality due to differences in wealth among communities. We support flexibility to attune educational approaches to the learning differences of individual students, including structured alternatives to conventional schools. Grants and loan programs paid off by public service will help realize this democratic dream of education for all, until our goal of free education through the college level is realized.
7. Full Employment
We will support full employment and economic justice for workers. Given the cyclical nature of the national economy, public works programs should be planned and "on the shelf" to promptly implement during times of economic downturn and high unemployment.
8. The Empire
Increasingly, war and domination strategies, with consequent "blow-back", human tragedy, economic and moral corrosion that accompany them, have become obsolete. We will seek alternatives to war and empire, and will once again restore America to being a law-abiding nation among nations, a friend to the oppressed, a beacon of hope and inspiration, a reliable world citizen.
9. Banking, Finance, and Speculation
We will restore proper regulation of financial markets, and will reform those schemes that have lead to excesses like the mortgage crisis, oversized institutions out of touch with the world of ordinary citizens, and speculation-driven increases in the cost of oil (that have made gasoline cost about a dollar per gallon more).
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Beth, Rusul and I went to
Rusul is also quite the little ham for the camera. The photos from our outing is posted on my blog, so go and have a look at them. We walked across the
When we were going through the pictures from last fall, we got to one (very fuzzy) photo that I took when Jason stood up to talk to Abu Ali in front of the whole group. When Abu Ali saw that, he said ‘good soldier, good soldier’. Jason had stood up and formally apologized for the damage that the
I also showed Abu Ali my most recent video of pictures from July 2008 that were taken in
Writing these words, though simple and short, is so very difficult….. because it is difficult to come face to face with the grievous injuries that innocent people have suffered due to this illegal war of aggression and occupation. On the drive back home, Beth and I speculated on the causes of violence in our country, and what inspires that. Beth thinks that people who are violent are mentally ill. If that is true, we have a lot of mentally ill people in this country, both now and in the past.
If you can, please donate to No More Victims to help cover the expenses for Rusul and Salee and their family.
Monday, August 11, 2008
Sunday, August 10, 2008
This is a quiet week in Asheville, as far as peace and social justice events go. But there are some upcoming events later after this week, and some information on actions that you could take if you like, at the WNC Peace Coalition blog. And here are some more pictures of Rusul (with me, in black - I am not wearing this tee shirt again for pictures!) taken last week in Greenville. These photos were taken by Beth. There are some photos that I took in the next blog post.
I hope to be able to visit Rusul again this week.