Monday, June 25, 2012

Upcoming events in the Asheville area this week

Shanandoah River - Spring 2012


UPCOMING EVENTS

06/25/12 ASHEVILLE EARTH SABBATH CELEBRATIONS
Earth Sabbath Celebrations are interfaith, contemplative and experiential services which utilize community building exercises, readings from many faith traditions, music, video, ritual, movement, chant, guided meditation and other modalities to reach deep into the grief and love we feel for our Earth and help both salve and energize our spirits so we can continue the work of restoration and repair on behalf of all creation.  Time is 7 to 8 PM.  http://www.ncipl.org/content/what_we_do/.  Location is St. Mary's Episcopal, 4th Mondays. Contact: larson_jean@hotmail.com   

06/28/12 MINDFUL OCCUPATION
The next Mindful Occupation meeting will be held on at 6:30 on Thursday June 28th, in the back room of the Wall St. Coffeehouse. It is reputed to be game night in the next room over and the seating is of variable quality. I would like to hold that space as one that can be used for us to begin to share ideas about all of the different elements that play into our activism - our histories, our hopes, our walking-talking scheduled lives, and our emotional realities. The Activism Experience, so to speak.  More info:  http://mindfuloccupation.org/.

06/28/12 BOOK PROGRAM AT MALAPROPS
Mallory McDuff of the environmental education program at Warren Wilson College, Rev. Shelly Webb of Oakley United Methodist Church and Rev. Joe Hoffman of the First Congregational Church of Christ will present a program on religion and the environment.  McDuff will sign her latest book.  Time is 7 PM.

06/28/12 - 06/30/12 KNOW NUKES Y’ALL SUMMIT
This event will be held in Chattanooga, TN on the campus of UTC.  Summit talks will include the ongoing Fukushima Disaster in Japan, the US Nuclear Complex, and a Positive Energy Future!  This event will be a combination of SUMMIT for those who come for the whole event, and also an opportunity for those who want to attend the educational workshops on a one day basis.  Pre-Registration runs thru JUNE 7 at $40 for the SUMMIT – with a one-day rate of $20.  Summit Registration includes program + breakfast + lunch + reception Thursday evening; does not include lodging or dinners. Go to:  http://knownukesyallsummit.org/

07/01/12 NATIONAL RAINBOW GATHERING
As per Rainbow Hawk: Just got word from concluded spring council, this year's annual U.S. National Rainbow Gathering, July 1st-7th is to be held in Cherokee National Forest. The site is East of South Holston Lake between the lake and Holston Mountain in the NE corner of TN. N 36.50175 W 82.04347.  More information:  http://www.welcomehome.org/rainbow/index.html

07/03/12 INTERNATIONAL DAY OF PEACE MEETING
This will be at 6 PM at UCC church.  Event organizer is Jonah Bolt. For more information email him at jonahbolt@gmail.com.

07/07/12 MOVE TO AMEND EVENT
National MTA spokesman David Cobb is planning to visit Asheville on July 7th.  More information to follow.

07/07/12 GREEN PARTY MEETING
The Buncombe County GREEN Party's business meeting is free & open to the public. It will be held from 10 AM to noon, upstairs in the Fortune Building, 729 Haywood Rd., West Asheville. Contact Ronald @ 828-LUCK-180 or Larry @ 828-225-4347 for more information.

07/12/12 VETERANS FOR PEACE MEETING
Time is 6:30 PM and location is VFP HQ at the Phil Mechanic Studios: 109 Roberts Street in Asheville. VFP Chapter 099: http://vfpchapter099wnc.blogspot.com/

*******************************************
ONGOING EVENTS
*******************************************
SUNDAY
Episcopal Peace Fellowship holds a weekly vigil from 5:30 to 6 PM at All Soul's Cathedral on the first and third Sundays.
Spirituality working group of Occupy Asheville will be at Pritchrd Park from 1-3 PM on Sundays for meditation training, and individual spiritual counseling for anyone who feels in the need. And on the 4th Sunday of every month at Pritchard Park, there will be an event to promote the health of the planet.

TUESDAY
Veterans for Peace have a weekly vigil at 5 PM at Pack Square, Vance Monument
Occupy Asheville Meet Talk Act Nonviolent Affinity Group meets at 4:30 PM at the Chocolate Lounge (second floor) at 10 South Lexington in Asheville. Contact earthsun2@gmail.com for more info.

WEDNESDAY
Haywood Peace Vigilers have a weekly vigil at 4 PM at Haywood Country Courthouse in Waynesville.
Asheville Cop Watch meeting at 5 PM at Firestorm Cafe.

THURSDAY
Asheville Homeless Network meeting at 2 PM at Firestorm Cafe.

FRIDAY
Women in Black have a vigil at 5 PM at Pack Square (Asheville) on the first Friday of the month.
Women in Black have a weekly vigil at noon at the City Hall in Hendersonville

SATURDAY
Transylvanians for Peace and WNC Physicians for Social Responsibility have a weekly vigil at noon in front of the courthouse in Brevard.

OCCUPY WALL STREET ASHEVILLE
Go to www.occupyasheville.org for more information, or call 888-378-0788. Information on Occupy Asheville late breaking events: http://www.occupyasheville.org/events/

*******************************************
ACTIONS AND READINGS
*******************************************
FROM UNITED FOR PEACE AND JUSTICE:

Demand Disarmament for Sustainable Development! Sign the International Appeal to the 2012 Rio+20 Conference

Twenty years after the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio, the “Rio+20” Conference will take place June 20 – 22 in Rio de Geneiro, Brazil. World leaders, along with thousands of participants from governments, the private sector, NGOs and other groups, will come together to shape how we can reduce poverty, advance social equity and ensure environmental protection on an ever more crowded planet to get to the future we want.
During the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro twenty years ago, the international community connected environmental and development challenges. This connection, now known as sustainable development, was accepted as the challenge of the decade. But peace and disarmament issues were excluded. With the upcoming Rio+20 Summit, it’s time to include both issues in the discussion!

Last year the world spent $1.7 trillion on the military while according to the World Bank only 5% of this amount is needed to reach the Millennium Development Goals to end poverty and hunger, provide universal education, gender equality and child and maternal health, combat HIV/AIDs, and ensure environmental sustainability. As declared by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon: “The world is overarmed and peace underfunded.”

Sign the international appeal to demand that the governments of the world seriously address the neglected issue of peace and disarmament, and agree on a global plan for disarmament for sustainable development at the Rio Summit. The freed-up funds should be used for social, economic and ecological programs in all countries.

Without disarmament, there will be no adequate development.
Without development, there will be no justice, equality and peace.
We must give sustainability a chance.

June 20, 2012
                    
At the close of its 80th annual meeting in Orlando Florida, on June 16, 2012, the U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) unanimously adopted a strong, comprehensive, new Mayors for Peace resolution   Calling for U.S. Leadership in Global Elimination of Nuclear Weapons and Redirection of Nuclear Weapons Spending to Meet the Urgent Needs of Cities.

Noting that “more than two decades after the end of the Cold War, nearly 20,000 nuclear weapons, over 95% of them in the arsenals of the United States and Russia, continue to pose an intolerable threat to cities and people everywhere,” the USCM “reaffirms its call on the President of the United States to work with the leaders of the other nuclear armed states to implement the UN Secretary-General’s Five Point Proposal for Nuclear Disarmament forthwith, so that a Nuclear Weapons Convention or a comparable framework of mutually reinforcing legal instruments can be agreed upon and implemented by 2020, as urged by Mayors for Peace.”

Stressing that “the continuing economic crisis is forcing mayors and cities to make ever deeper cuts in critical public services,” the USCM resolution takes note that “in 2011, the United States spent $711 billion on its military, 41% of the world total and twice as much as the next 14 countries combined, including China, Russia, six NATO allies and three major non-NATO allies.”

Stating that “President Obama submitted a plan to Congress in 2010 projecting  investments of well over $185 billion by 2020 to maintain and modernize U.S. nuclear weapons systems, including construction of new nuclear warhead production facilities and an array of new delivery systems, and subsequent annual budgets have provided for funding at this level,” and noting that, “cuts to federal programs such as Community Block Development Grants (CDBGs) and the Home Investment Partnership program (HOME) have forced cities, local agencies and non-profits to lay off staff, reduce or eliminate services, delay infrastructure projects and reduce program benefits to low and moderate income families,” the USCM also “calls on Congress to terminate funding for modernization of nuclear warheads, delivery systems, and production facilities, to slash spending on nuclear weapons well below Cold War levels, and to redirect those funds to meet the urgent needs of cities.”

The new resolution recalls that “the U.S. Conference of Mayors adopted resolutions in 2004, 2006 and each year since, expressing strong support for Mayors for Peace, its 2020 Vision Campaign and its Cities Are Not Targets project, and the 2010 and 2011 resolutions called for deep cuts in nuclear weapons spending and redirection of those funds to meet the needs of cities,” and also takes note that “the U.S. Conference of Mayors adopted a second resolution at its 2011 annual meeting, ‘Calling on Congress to Redirect Military Spending to Domestic Needs’.”

In its resolution, the USCM “calls on its members to raise public awareness about the ongoing dangers and costs of nuclear weapons by organizing public displays of the ‘5000 Member Milestone’ Hiroshima – Nagasaki poster exhibitions in their City Halls, and encourages its members to join Mayors for Peace Executive City Montreal’s ‘Minute of Silence – Moment of Peace’ global initiative by observing a minute of silence at 12 noon on September 21, 2012, the UN International Day of Peace, and posting photos and videos of events in their cities to a dedicated internet platform.” The USCM also “expresses its continuing support for Mayors for Peace.”

The U.S. Conference of Mayors is the national association of cities with populations over 30,000. Resolutions adopted at its annual meetings become official USCM policy.

Many thanks to the 18 sponsoring Mayors: Donald Plusquellic, Akron, Ohio; Matthew Ryan, Binghamton New York; Satyendra Huja, Charlottesville, Virginia; Frank Cownie, Des Moines, Iowa; Kitty Piercy, Eugene, Oregon; William Gluba, Davenport, Iowa; Joy Cooper, Hallandale Beach, Florida; Mark Stodola, Little Rock, Arkansas; Paul Soglin, Madison, Wisconsin; Andre Pierre, North Miami, Florida; Jean Quan, Oakland, California; Jennifer Hosterman, Pleasanton, California; Michael Brennan, Portland, Maine; Gayle McLaughlin, Richmond, California; Ardell Brede, Rochester, Minnesota; Stephen Cassidy, San Leandro, California; Jeffrey Prang, West Hollywood, California; and James Baker, Wilmington, Delaware.

The full text of the resolution is available at:  http://www.wslfweb.org/docs/2012USCMres.pdf
The official texts of all resolutions adopted at the 2012 USCM annual meeting can be found at:   “http://www.usmayors.org/80thAnnualMeeting/media/ADOPTEDRESOLUTIONS2012.pdf http://www.usmayors.org/80thAnnualMeeting/media/ADOPTEDRESOLUTIONS2012.pdf
(the Mayors for Peace resolution is on p. 159).

For more information contact: Jackie Cabasso, North American Coordinator, Mayors for Peace: wslf@earthlink.net.
See also:  http://www.mayorsforpeace.org
http://www.2020visioncampaign.org

Jackie is the convener of UFPJ’s Nuclear Disarmament & Redefining Security working group.

******************                               

NEW PUBLICATION OF WAR CRIMES TIMES:http://www.WarCrimesTimes.org/
A publication of Veterans For Peace -- exposing the true costs of war.
******************                                

Thursday, June 21, 2012

BURNT NORTON

Photo is sunset in Asheville in fall of 2009.

BURNT NORTON

[A poem by T.S. Eliot.]

Time present and time past
Are both perhaps present in time future,
And time future contained in time past.
If all time is eternally present
All time is unredeemable.
What might have been is an abstraction
Remaining a perpetual possibility
Only in a world of speculation.
What might have been and what has been
Point to one end, which is always present.
Footfalls echo in the memory
Down the passage which we did not take
Towards the door we never opened
Into the rose-garden.  My words echo
Thus, in your mind.

But to what purpose
Disturbing the dust on a bowl of rose-leaves
I do not know.

[This is a part of the whole poem.]

Protests in Quebec

Be sure to watch the guy at the end.  He is awesome.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Upcoming events in the Asheville area this week

Veterans for Peace, Chapter 099, cleaning up their street.  Taken on June 16, 2012.


UPCOMING EVENTS

06/18/12 FAIR HOUSING WORKSHOP
Free Workshop on Fair Housing:  Know Your Rights.  Time is 2 to 4 PM at Aston Park Tower at 165 S. French Broad Avenue in Asheville.  Topics:  What property is cover by Fair Housing laws?  What are my rights?  How can I make a complaint?  Who can I contact for help?  This workshop has information useful to renters, homebuyers and homeowners, housing advocates and anyone who cares about equal access to decent affordable housing.  Advanced registration is preferred:  connie@pisgahlegal.org

06/20/12 MOVE TO AMEND MEETING
Move to Amend of Asheville will hold a meeting at 7 PM at the Jefferson House, just west of the Unitarian Universalist Church at Charlotte and Edwin Streets in Asheville.

06/22/12 CULTURE OF RESISTANCE ROADSHOW
Deep Green Resistance, an environmental and social justice group, will be coming through Asheville on their Culture of Resistance Roadshow. This workshop/presentation is on Friday, June 22nd at The Firestorm Books and Café at 5 pm. The Roadshow workshop will cover the shortsightedness of many mainstream efforts to truly address the fundamental contradictions of our modern struggles, and present concrete steps to an equitable, thriving future. For more information:   http://deepgreenresistance.org/action/resistanceroadshow/

06/22/12 RADICAL MOVIE NIGHT
The Asheville International Socialist Organization will be putting on a radical movie night with the showing of the 1976 Oscar winning documentary 'Harlan Country, USA'.  It is about the Brookside coal workers strike.  Time is 8 PM.  Location is 320 Montford Ave, Asheville.

06/23/12 to 06/24/12 CLIMATE ORGANIZING WORKSHOP
The Climate Organizing Workshop is organized by 350.org and they are offering these workshops around the world to grow a stronger climate movement and build the organizing skills of local leaders.  This will be on Saturday and Sunday, June 23rd and 24th (optional welcome event the evening of Friday, June 22nd) from 9 AM to 5 PM.  Location is First Congregational United Church of Christ in Asheville (Room 101-E).  Please RSVP by Tuesday, June 19th. Space is limited. If you wish to attend, go to this link to register:  https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dGZFYXQzWWxIaFl5Z1RwYTQtbUVHTlE6MQ

06/23/12 PLAYBACK THEATER TRAINING FOR OCCUPY CARAVAN
Saturday June 23rd Playback theater training: 10:00am to 1:00pm at Harvest House, at 205 Kenilworth Road. Contact Deb Scott at 828-274-8315.

06/24/12 OCCUPY CARAVAN COMING TO ASHEVILLE:
As the Occupy movement gears up for a National Gathering in Philadelphia, an Occupy Caravan of activists will be coming through Asheville.  We will meet with members of the movement from across the country, share our visions for true democracy, and celebrate community together.  Meet on Sunday at 5 PM for a rally at Pritchard Park. This will be followed by a walk to the Bahá'í Center, 5 Ravenscroft Drive, Asheville at 6 PM.  Folks can then enjoy a free and fabulous meal from Rosetta, and participate in a facilitated Public Assembly, after which we will have a Playback Theatre, which starts at 7:30 PM.  We hope folks who have helped our local Occupy will attend and let us all acknowledge them.

06/28/12 MINDFUL OCCUPATION
The next Mindful Occupation meeting will be held on at 6:30 on Thursday June 28th, in the back room of the Wall St. Coffeehouse. It is reputed to be game night in the next room over and the seating is of variable quality. I would like to hold that space as one that can be used for us to begin to share ideas about all of the different elements that play into our activism - our histories, our hopes, our walking-talking scheduled lives, and our emotional realities. The Activism Experience, so to speak.  More info:  http://mindfuloccupation.org/.

06/28/12 - 06/30/12 KNOW NUKES Y’ALL SUMMIT
This event will be held in Chattanooga, TN on the campus of UTC.  Summit talks will include the ongoing Fukushima Disaster in Japan, the US Nuclear Complex, and a Positive Energy Future!  This event will be a combination of SUMMIT for those who come for the whole event, and also an opportunity for those who want to attend the educational workshops on a one day basis.  Pre-Registration runs thru JUNE 7 at $40 for the SUMMIT – with a one-day rate of $20.  Summit Registration includes program + breakfast + lunch + reception Thursday evening; does not include lodging or dinners. Go to:  http://knownukesyallsummit.org/

07/01/12 NATIONAL RAINBOW GATHERING
As per Rainbow Hawk: Just got word from concluded spring council, this year's annual U.S. National Rainbow Gathering, July 1st-7th is to be held in Cherokee National Forest. The site is East of South Holston Lake between the lake and Holston Mountain in the NE corner of TN. N 36.50175 W 82.04347.  More information:  http://www.welcomehome.org/rainbow/index.html

07/03/12 INTERNATIONAL DAY OF PEACE EVENT MEETING
This will be at 6 PM at UCC church.  Event organizer is Jonah Bolt. For more information email him at jonahbolt@gmail.com.

07/07/12 MOVE TO AMEND EVENT
National MTA spokesman David Cobb is planning to visit Asheville on July 7th.  More information to follow.

08/08/12 - 08/12/12 VFP NATIONAL CONVENTION IN MIAMI FL

09/02/12 MARCH ON WALL STREET SOUTH – CHARLOTTE

09/03/12 DNC NATIONAL CONVENTION IN CHARLOTTE
This event goes until 09/08/12.  For more information on the Coalition to Protest at the DNC and to find out how your organization can join, please visit http://protestdnc.org

09/21/12 INTERNATIONAL DAY OF PEACE EVENT IN ASHEVILLE
Time is 3 to 7 PM and location is in front of City Hall.  More information to follow.  Contact Rachael at rachael_bliss@yahoo.com if your organization would like to be a sponsor.  Sponsorship is $50.

09/14/12 - 09/16/12 SOUTHERN GREEN LIVING EXPO
http://southerngreenlivingexpo.com/

09/21/12 INTERNATIONAL DAY OF PEACE
Join us in Asheville on Friday, September 21st, 2012, from 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM, for the 3rd Annual International Day of Peace! Peacetown Asheville and Local 099 of Veterans for Peace, Mountain Area Interfaith Forum and other groups are sponsoring this event.


*******************************************
ONGOING EVENTS
*******************************************
SUNDAY
Episcopal Peace Fellowship holds a weekly vigil from 5:30 to 6 PM at All Soul's Cathedral on the first and third Sundays.
Spirituality working group of Occupy Asheville will be at Pritchrd Park from 1-3 PM on Sundays for meditation training, and individual spiritual counseling for anyone who feels in the need. And on the 4th Sunday of every month at Pritchard Park, there will be an event to promote the health of the planet.

TUESDAY
Veterans for Peace have a weekly vigil at 5 PM at Pack Square, Vance Monument
Occupy Asheville Meet Talk Act Nonviolent Affinity Group meets at 4:30 PM at the Chocolate Lounge (second floor) at 10 South Lexington in Asheville. Contact earthsun2@gmail.com for more info.

WEDNESDAY
Haywood Peace Vigilers have a weekly vigil at 4 PM at Haywood Country Courthouse in Waynesville.
Asheville Cop Watch meeting at 5 PM at Firestorm Cafe.

THURSDAY
Asheville Homeless Network meeting at 2 PM at Firestorm Cafe.

FRIDAY
Women in Black have a vigil at 5 PM at Pack Square (Asheville) on the first Friday of the month.
Women in Black have a weekly vigil at noon at the City Hall in Hendersonville

SATURDAY
Transylvanians for Peace and WNC Physicians for Social Responsibility have a weekly vigil at noon in front of the courthouse in Brevard.

OCCUPY WALL STREET ASHEVILLE
Go to www.occupyasheville.org for more information, or call 888-378-0788. Information on Occupy Asheville late breaking events: http://www.occupyasheville.org/events/

*******************************************
ACTIONS AND READINGS
*******************************************

Climate Organizing Workshop in Asheville, June 23-24

As a climate and clean energy activist, you're invited to a free two-day Climate Organizing Workshop for select environmental leaders. 350.org is offering these workshops around the world to grow a stronger climate movement and build the organizing skills of local leaders.

DATES: Saturday and Sunday, June 23rd and 24th (optional welcome event the evening of Friday, June 22nd)
TIMES: 9:00 AM-5:00 PM on Saturday, 9:00 AM-4:00 PM on Sunday
LOCATION: Asheville, NC, at the First Congregational United Church of Christ, Room 101-E (map)
Please RSVP by Tuesday, June 19th. Space is limited. If you wish to attend, please fill out this form and we will get back to you as soon as possible to confirm.

The workshop will focus on campaign planning and storytelling, including practical information on traditional and social media, engaging allies, and other critical organizing tools. We'll share lessons learned from our experience organizing local events and international campaigns, and you will come away with skills that can both bolster your local work and empower you to more effectively contribute to the broader climate movement.  The training is free, and all food and materials will be provided. Please consult with us about travel expenses and lodging if you will be travelling from out of town.

******************

STAND UP TO CITIZENS UNITED!

The Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling paved the way for unrestrained corporate spending on political elections. In fact, Karl Rove and GOP front organizations plan to spend more than $1 billion during this year’s election to advance their extreme agenda.  That’s why eleven of my fellow North Carolina state legislators and I have proposed a resolution calling on Congress to ban unlimited corporate cash in elections. However, the Republican leadership in Raleigh is ignoring our resolution and refusing to even debate it.
We need you to sign up as a citizen co-sponsor of this vital bill. Let’s tell Republicans in Raleigh and in Washington that our democracy is not for sale!


******************

TAKE ACTION:  STOP CORPORATE WELFARE FOR OIL, COAL AND GAS

I just asked my congress member and senators to sign onto new legislation that would stop our government from giving $11 billion per year to oil, coal, and gas companies.  This new bill could gain support fast with your help.  Please click here: http://bit.ly/J0N8Ox

******************

INTERSECTION - where Occupy Asheville meets the “Bound For Justice” Occupy Caravan 2012

Tentative Schedule of Events:

Saturday, 23 June;
arrival of Occupy Caravan at Westgate parking lot late afternoon or evening,

Sunday, 24 June;
family friendly rally in Pritchard Park @ 5PM, followed by a 'walk' to the Baha'i Center on Ravenscroft Dr. for a 6 PM meal by Rosetta, then Public Assembly, Playback Theater & Ben & Jerry Ice Cream Social.

Come & enjoy the festivities in Asheville.

Join the Occupy Caravan as it heads to Philadelphia to the First Occupy National Gathering on the Fourth of July!

Check out:

P. S.
Occupy Caravan members seek overnight accommodations Sat. &/or Sun night.  If you can help one or more of these folks, please call VFP 099 Headquarters at 828.258.1800 & leave your contact info.  Or you can contact John at 828-230-6902 to help out with the caravan or housing or other needs.  If you are interested in going to Philadelphia for the Occupy Convention, contact John at 828-230-6902.  More information on the National Gathering here:  http://www.occupy.com/article/join-us-philly-occupy-national-gathering.

Peace

******************

TAKE ACTION:  CLEAN WATER ACT IN KENTUCKY

The Clean Water Act is under attack in Kentucky, where Big Coal is employing destructive mountaintop removal mining and filling our streams with mining waste. Unless the EPA holds the line for strong national standards to protect our waterways, Kentucky could set a precedent for weak implementation of the Clean Water Act in rest of the country!

Tell the EPA to hold the line against Big Coal.  

To take action on this issue, click on the link below:

http://action.sierraclub.org/site/Advocacy?s_oo=jiwmEJkxuPLoTb0ynn_CNw&id=8938  

If the text above does not appear as a link or it wraps across multiple lines, then copy and paste it into the address area of your browser.


******************

TAKE ACTION:  STOP MERCURY POLLUTION IN NORTH CAROLINA

Take action to keep North Carolina safe from toxic mercury polluting our water, which puts pregnant mothers and small children especially at risk.   Tell the North Carolina Environmental Management Commission we need strong protections against mercury.

To take action on this issue, click on the link below:

If the text above does not appear as a link or it wraps across multiple lines, then copy and paste it into the address area of your browser.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

The black oily smoke


Black smoke billows from the site of a suicide car bomb near the heavily fortified Green Zone in central Baghdad.  2005 Sabah Arar / AFP / Getty Images

**************

The Black Oily Smoke

The black oily smoke
Came up here and there, in wisps of warning.
We mostly ignored it.
It seemed so small, and we were so strong.

Or so we believed.

And the black oily smoke came more and more,
Yet with long stretches of absence.
Some of us noticed, and our feelings of dread started.

We knew where it came from –
From our choices, our lifestyles, our greed.
But mainly it was caused by our determined stupidity.

The black oily smoke came more and more.
Some of us threw out sparks,
Hoping that a clean blaze would catch and burn away the stupidity.

That fire never seemed to catch.

And as the black oily smoke came more and more.
Our structures, our conveniences, our habits and our patterns,
Began to crumble.

Sometimes not obviously, at least not at first.
But more and more, they gave way into dissolution.

And the black oily smoke came more and more, covered more and more.
And the question is:  is it too late? 
Will this black oily smoke consume us and suck our lives away?

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Terrorist Keywords Poetry

There is a website that is encouraging people to write poems using the terrorist keywords.  I accepted the challenge, and posted my poem below.  Go to the website here.


Dirty Bomb Initiative

Oh, they have lots of initiative….
That dirty gang at the White House.
They drop their plumes of radiation
And then leak their chemical annihilation
On the innocent.

The children.

They don’t destroy much infrastructure, since mud huts
And wedding parties don’t really have any. 
No conventional weapons for them – just high tech terrorism.

Their enriched nuclear dirty bombs,
Their own version of the improvised explosive devices.
No suicide bombers there, and no suicide bombers,
Just plain old terror and attack, and murderous eco terrorism.

No change for the innocents to “shelter-in-place”
Just brute force from cyber command to deliver their fate. 

Nuclear bombs in the form of depleted uranium,
Chemical weapons, biological weapons, car bombs, and conventional weapons – the real terrorists use them all.
And they do this from the safety of their underground bunkers,

And then there is their home grown cyber terror –
Extremism made right here in the USA.

This malware has no redemption. 
Cyber Command from the White House
The jihad to dominate and control the world
Is the nationalist plot
And it must be stopped.

AQAP, AQIM, TTP, Hezbollah, Hamas, IRA, ETA, and Tamil Tigers
And nothing compared to the US terrorists.

Look in my eyes, and you will see
A wildfire of indignation,
Look in my heart, and you will see
A typhoon of anger,
Look in my soul, and you will see
An avalanche of concern for the dead victims.

Look at the future, and you will see
An earthquake of change,
A flood of honesty,
A tsunami of justice is coming your way,
You home-grown terrorists
who are part of the US government.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Amnesty International gone nuts



Hey, AI: there has been NO progress for women in Afghanistan! The only people who have seen "progress" in Afghanistan are the very corrupt! This poster was on the streets of Chicago during the NATO summit.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Upcoming events in the Asheville area this week

Rainbow in Asheville

UPCOMING EVENTS

06/12/12 MOVE TO AMEND MEETING
There is great news today in North Carolina.  Members of your state Senate and House have just introduced resolutions calling for:  "an amendment to the United States Constitution to restore republican democracy to the people of the United States, to clarify that corporations are not natural persons and should not be afforded the same rights as natural persons, and to state that money is not speech."  It’s important that we show our support for these resolutions right away.  Can you please call your state Senator and Representative now, and urge them to co-sponsor these bills (S.J.R. 937 and H.J.R. 1201)?  Representative Fisher and Representative Keever are sponsors of the House resolution.  Move to Amend will hold a meeting at 7 PM at the Jefferson House next to the Asheville Unitarian Universalist Church. 

06/13/12 THE FOOD NETWORK MEETING
The Food Network provides support, publicity, and cross-pollination of ideas between the Asheville Food Policy Council and regional organizations/efforts for the creation of a healthy and resilient food supply in Asheville and Western North Carolina.  Upcoming plans include a film series, as well as free gardening and food-related classes.  Next Meeting: Tuesday, 6/13 at 7:00pm in West Asheville (contact Mary Lou for directions: marylou.kemph@yahoo.com).  For more information about the food group email Dylan: livingvision@yahoo.com

06/13/12 MOVE TO AMEND LOBBY DAY IN RALEIGH
A van will be leaving Asheville on the evening of June 12. This lobby day is in support of a constitutional amendment saying that corporations are not people and money is not speech.  Contact Tom Coulson at tomcoulson@aol.com for more information.

6/14/12 STOP NEW NUKE: SAFE CAROLINAS MEETING
Safe Carolinas meeting at 6:30pm at new location, Community Action Opportunities Bldg at 25 Gaston Street in Asheville.  Join us in our effort to stop the construction of the WS LEE Nuclear Plant proposed by Duke Energy just 60 miles from Asheville.  Contact Laura at Lsredoak@gmail.com or call 665-3668 for more information.  All are welcome.

06/14/12 to 06/17/12 OCCUPY HENDERSONVILLE CAMP
Camp will run from 6-14-12 to 6-17-12.  Current Schedule for June camp-in/teach-in:  Thursday night after dark, screening the film "Why We Fight".  Friday 3PM Bill Fisk, discussion about nuclear energy and green alternatives.  Friday 5PM Harold Helickson, discussion about income inequality.  Friday night after dark, screening the film "Inside Job".  Saturday 11AM Chris Berg, discussion about corporate personhood.  Saturday Noon-2PM Picket.  Saturday 3PM Thomas Beckett, discussion about a sharing economy.  Saturday night after dark, screening the film "Pray the Devil Back to Hell".  Sunday, breakfast and break camp!

06/30/12 WNC PHYSICIANS FOR SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY MEETING
The next WNC PSR monthly meeting will be at a private home (18 Birchwood Lane).  Brown Bag lunch at noon with meeting from 12:30 to 2 PM.  Everyone is welcome.  Please go to www.wncpsr.org  for more information, which includes how to get there and other details.

06/22/12 CULTURE OF RESISTANCE ROADSHOW
Deep Green Resistance, an environmental and social justice group, will be coming through Asheville on their Culture of Resistance Roadshow. This workshop/presentation is on Friday, June 22nd at The Firestorm Books and Café at 5 pm. The Roadshow workshop will cover the shortsightedness of many mainstream efforts to truly address the fundamental contradictions of our modern struggles, and present concrete steps to an equitable, thriving future. For more information:   http://deepgreenresistance.org/action/resistanceroadshow/

06/23/12 to 06/24/12 CLIMATE ORGANIZING WORKSHOP
The Climate Organizing Workshop is organized by 350.org and they are offering these workshops around the world to grow a stronger climate movement and build the organizing skills of local leaders.  This will be on Saturday and Sunday, June 23rd and 24th (optional welcome event the evening of Friday, June 22nd) from 9 AM to 5 PM.  Location is First Congregational United Church of Christ in Asheville (Room 101-E).  Please RSVP by Tuesday, June 19th. Space is limited. If you wish to attend, go to this link to register:  https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dGZFYXQzWWxIaFl5Z1RwYTQtbUVHTlE6MQ

06/24/12 OCCUPY CARAVAN COMING TO ASHEVILLE: 
As the Occupy movement gears up for a National Gathering in Philadelphia, an Occupy Caravan of activists will be coming through Asheville.  We will meet with members of the movement from across the country, share our visions for true democracy, and celebrate community together.  Meet on Sunday at 5 PM for a rally at Pritchard Park. Those who wish will have a short walk to the Bahá'í Center, 5 Ravenscroft Drive at 6 PM.  Folks can then enjoy a free and fabulous meal from Rosetta, and participate in a facilitated Public Assembly, after which we will experience Playback Theatre, which starts at 7:30 PM.  We hope folks who have helped our local Occupy will attend and let us all acknowledge them.

06/28/12 MINDFUL OCCUPATION
The next Mindful Occupation meeting will be held on at 6:30 on Thursday June 28th, in the back room of the Wall St. Coffeehouse. It is reputed to be game night in the next room over and the seating is of variable quality. I would like to hold that space as one that can be used for us to begin to share ideas about all of the different elements that play into our activism - our histories, our hopes, our walking-talking scheduled lives, and our emotional realities. The Activism Experience, so to speak.  More info:  http://mindfuloccupation.org/.

06/28/12 - 06/30/12 KNOW NUKES Y’ALL SUMMIT
This event will be held in Chattanooga, TN on the campus of UTC.  Summit talks will include the ongoing Fukushima Disaster in Japan, the US Nuclear Complex, and a Positive Energy Future!  This event will be a combination of SUMMIT for those who come for the whole event, and also an opportunity for those who want to attend the educational workshops on a one day basis.  Pre-Registration runs thru JUNE 7 at $40 for the SUMMIT – with a one-day rate of $20.  Summit Registration includes program + breakfast + lunch + reception Thursday evening; does not include lodging or dinners. Go to:  http://knownukesyallsummit.org/

*******************************************
ONGOING EVENTS
*******************************************
SUNDAY
Episcopal Peace Fellowship holds a weekly vigil from 5:30 to 6 PM at All Soul's Cathedral on the first and third Sundays.
Spirituality working group of Occupy Asheville will be at Pritchrd Park from 1-3 PM on Sundays for meditation training, and individual spiritual counseling for anyone who feels in the need. And on the 4th Sunday of every month at Pritchard Park, there will be an event to promote the health of the planet.

TUESDAY
Veterans for Peace have a weekly vigil at 5 PM at Pack Square, Vance Monument
Occupy Asheville Meet Talk Act Nonviolent Affinity Group meets at 4:30 PM at the Chocolate Lounge (second floor) at 10 South Lexington in Asheville. Contact earthsun2@gmail.com for more info.

WEDNESDAY
Haywood Peace Vigilers have a weekly vigil at 4 PM at Haywood Country Courthouse in Waynesville.
Asheville Cop Watch meeting at 5 PM at Firestorm Cafe.

THURSDAY
Asheville Homeless Network meeting at 2 PM at Firestorm Cafe.

FRIDAY
Women in Black have a vigil at 5 PM at Pack Square (Asheville) on the first Friday of the month.
Women in Black have a weekly vigil at noon at the City Hall in Hendersonville

SATURDAY
Transylvanians for Peace and WNC Physicians for Social Responsibility have a weekly vigil at noon in front of the courthouse in Brevard.

OCCUPY WALL STREET ASHEVILLE
Go to www.occupyasheville.org for more information, or call 888-378-0788. Information on Occupy Asheville late breaking events: http://www.occupyasheville.org/events/

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Upcoming events in the Asheville area this week


UPCOMING EVENTS

06/04/12 ASHEVILLE BUNCOMBE FOOD POLICY COUNCIL MEETING
The Asheville Buncombe Food Policy Council will convene a Meeting of the Whole on Monday, June 4, 2012 at UNC-Asheville’s Wilma Sherrill Center from 4-6pm. It’s been an amazingly productive few months, and we’ve seen incredible participation and results. We will convene to report on progress, prioritize goals, and assess our processes. As usual, this will be a highly interactive meeting with room at the table for everyone who cares about creating a food secure community.  See the latest newsletter for more information about what’s happening!

06/05/12 LOBBY DAY IN RALEIGH FOR CLEAN WATER IN NC
Clean Water for North Carolina and other groups are organizing a Lobby Day in Raleigh on Tuesday, June 5. Some WNC residents will carpool to participate. Plans are to meet at the Ingles near Biltmore Square Mall on Brevard Rd. at 5:30 AM; travel to Raleigh; receive a briefing on the 'Fracking' bill (S. 820) which would authorize fracking within two years, whether or not appropriate restrictions are in place; and then constituents will meet with their representatives, 11 AM - 2 PM. More info is at www.cwfnc.org or call Katie Hicks at 828-251-1291.

06/06/12 SIERRA CLUB MEEING
Sierra Club will present a program Wednesday, June 6, 7 pm. on Tree Protection.  Our trees have been under attack from both state & local levels.  A panel from the Tree Commission: vice-chair Mike Kenton, ecologist Bob Gale, arborist Mark Foster, Asheville Greenworks Director Susan Roderick, and Shannon Tuch of Asheville’s Planning and Development Dept. will discuss protection in terms of the Treasured Tree program, open tree mapping, alternatives to tree topping, and possible tree ordinances, along with the state law allowing clearcutting around billboards.  Time is 7 PM and location is Unitarian Universalist Church at Edwin & Charlotte, Asheville.  For more information, contact judymattox@sbcglobal.net or call 828-683-2176.

06/07/12 VETERANS FOR PEACE MEETING
Time is 6:30 PM and location is VFP HQ at the Phil Mechanic Studios: 109 Roberts Street in Asheville. VFP Chapter 099: http://vfpchapter099wnc.blogspot.com/

06/07/12 MINDFUL OCCUPATION
Rising up, without burning out.  This will be held at 6:30 Pm at Firestorm Café and Books at 48 Commerce Street, downtown Asheville.  Come meet-up, check in, say hi, share ideas.  Mindful Occupation Gathering/Discussion on the topic of Sustainable Activism, i.e. how we can use self-care, principles of conscientious perspective and mutual aid to support one another in our collective endeavors.  For more information: www.mindfuloccupation.org. Email faithrhyne@gmail.com or text 545-8321.

06/08/12 AWARD LUNCHEAN HONORING JOE EBLEN
Live o’Mike presents its first Michael T. Danforth Community Service Award to Joe Edlen.  Time is 1 to 2:30 PM at Friendship Hall at First Congregational Church at 14 Oak Street, Asheville.  Cost is $25 per person.

06/08/12 UNITARIAN UNIVERSALIST CONGREGATION ASHEVILLE
On June 8, our UUCA Social Justice film will be “How to Start a Revolution,” which is the “story of Nobel Peace prize nominee Gene Sharp, the world’s leading expert on nonviolent revolution.” One year beyond “the Arab Spring” but in a world still enmeshed in challenges international and domestic, director Ruaridh Arrow “reveals how Sharp’s work has given a new generation of pro-democracy leaders the nonviolent ‘weapons’ they need to overthrow dictators.” The film runs 52 minutes and a discussion will follow. For background, you may wish to read Sharp’s From Dictatorship to Democracy: A Conceptual Framework for Liberation, 4th ed. (93 pages), which is available free from the Albert Einstein Institution at: http://www.aeinstein.org/organizations/org/FDTD.pdf.  Time is 7 PM and location is UU Church on Charlotte Street, Asheville.  For more information, contact Bruce Larson at 683-5548.

06/08/12 BOOK READING AT MALAPROP’S
Osama Wazan, a Syrian cleric, the author of The Last Moderate Muslim and a grassroots catalyst for peace will talk about “The Arab Spring: New democracies, or cycles of provocations and retributions?”  at 7 PM on June 8th.  Syrians, once models for interfaith harmony, are migrating into denominational clusters.  Learn how Osama Wazan transformed his fifteen harrowing years in a combat zone into a body of knowledge, a novel: The Last Moderate Muslim. Understand approaches that can end religious violence. You will be equipped to see through the rhetoric, and begin to see civility through.

06/09/12 HARD TO RECYCLE DAY
Time is 10 AM to 2 PM and the location is Aaron’s (Park Terrace Center) at 1298 Patton Avenue in Asheville.  Go to http://www.ashevillegreenworks.org/hard-2-recycle-events/ to see list of items they will accept.  No early or late drop offs.

06/13/12 THE FOOD NETWORK MEETING
The Food Network provides support, publicity, and cross-pollination of ideas between the Asheville Food Policy Council and regional organizations/efforts for the creation of a healthy and resilient food supply in Asheville and Western North Carolina.  Upcoming plans include a film series, as well as free gardening and food-related classes.  Next Meeting: Tuesday, 6/13 at 7:00pm in West Asheville (contact Mary Lou for directions: marylou.kemph@yahoo.com).  For more information about the food group email Dylan: livingvision@yahoo.com

06/14/12 to 06/17/12 OCCUPY HENDERSONVILLE CAMP
This camp will run from 6-14-12 to 6-17-12.  Current Schedule for June camp-in/teach-in….. Thursday night after dark, screening the film "Why We Fight".  Friday 3PM Bill Fisk, discussion about nuclear energy and green alternatives.  Friday 5PM Harold Helickson, discussion about income inequality.  Friday night after dark, screening the film "Inside Job".  Saturday 11AM Chris Berg, discussion about corporate personhood.  Saturday Noon-2PM Picket.  Saturday 3PM Thomas Beckett, discussion about a sharing economy.  Saturday night after dark, screening the film "Pray the Devil Back to Hell".  Sunday, breakfast and break camp!

06/22/12 CULTURE OF RESISTANCE ROADSHOW
Deep Green Resistance, an environmental and social justice group, will be coming through Asheville on their Culture of Resistance Roadshow. This workshop/presentation is on Friday, June 22nd at The Firestorm Books and Café at 5 pm. The Roadshow workshop will cover the shortsightedness of many mainstream efforts to truly address the fundamental contradictions of our modern struggles, and present concrete steps to an equitable, thriving future. For more information, go to http://deepgreenresistance.org/action/resistanceroadshow/

06/23/12 to 06/24/12 CLIMATE ORGANIZING WORKSHOP
The Climate Organizing Workshop is organized by 350.org and they are offering these workshops around the world to grow a stronger climate movement and build the organizing skills of local leaders.  This will be on Saturday and Sunday, June 23rd and 24th (optional welcome event the evening of Friday, June 22nd) from 9 AM to 5 PM.  Location is First Congregational United Church of Christ in Asheville (Room 101-E).  Please RSVP by Tuesday, June 19th. Space is limited. If you wish to attend, go to this link to register:  https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dGZFYXQzWWxIaFl5Z1RwYTQtbUVHTlE6MQ

06/28/12 - 06/30/12 KNOW NUKES Y’ALL SUMMIT
This event will be held in Chattanooga, TN on the campus of UTC.  Summit talks will include the ongoing Fukushima Disaster in Japan, the US Nuclear Complex, and a Positive Energy Future!  This event will be a combination of SUMMIT for those who come for the whole event, and also an opportunity for those who want to attend the educational workshops on a one day basis.  Pre-Registration runs thru JUNE 7 at $40 for the SUMMIT – with a one-day rate of $20.  Summit Registration includes program + breakfast + lunch + reception Thursday evening; does not include lodging or dinners.  Registration is open now:  http://knownukesyallsummit.org/

08/08/12 - 08/12/12 VFP NATIONAL CONVENTION IN MIAMI FL

09/02/12 MARCH ON WALL STREET SOUTH – CHARLOTTE

09/03/12 DNC NATIONAL CONVENTION IN CHARLOTTE
This event goes until 09/08/12.   Already, organizations and Occupy movements across the country are making plans to mobilize to be in the streets of Charlotte during the DNC. For more information on the Coalition to Protest at the DNC and to find out how your organization can join, please visit http://protestdnc.org.

11/08/12 - 11/11/12 LAKE JUNALUSKA PEACE CONFERENCE
The fifth annual Lake Junaluska Peace Conference, "Love in Action: the Transformative Power of Nonviolence," will draw upon the lessons of nonviolent campaigns and their leaders who discovered a force that can change the world. Participants will explore the principles and learn the applications of nonviolence as taught by Gandhi, King, and many spiritual leaders who offered this alternative paradigm for resolving conflict, achieving justice, and building peace.  For more information visit us at www.lakejunaluska.com/peace.

*******************************************
ONGOING EVENTS
*******************************************
SUNDAY
Episcopal Peace Fellowship holds a weekly vigil from 5:30 to 6 PM at All Soul's Cathedral on the first and third Sundays.
Spirituality working group of Occupy Asheville will be at Pritchrd Park from 1-3 PM on Sundays for meditation training, and individual spiritual counseling for anyone who feels in the need. And on the 4th Sunday of every month at Pritchard Park, an event to promote the health of the planet.

TUESDAY
Veterans for Peace have a weekly vigil at 5 PM at Pack Square, Vance Monument
Occupy Asheville Meet Talk Act Nonviolent Affinity Group meets at 4:30 PM at the Chocolate Lounge (second floor) at 10 South Lexington in Asheville. Contact earthsun2@gmail.com for more info.

WEDNESDAY
Haywood Peace Vigilers have a weekly vigil at 4 PM at Haywood Country Courthouse in Waynesville.
Asheville Cop Watch meeting at 5 PM at Firestorm Cafe.

THURSDAY
Asheville Homeless Network meeting at 2 PM at Firestorm Cafe.

FRIDAY
Women in Black have a vigil at 5 PM at Pack Square (Asheville) on the first Friday of the month.
Women in Black have a weekly vigil at noon at the City Hall in Hendersonville

SATURDAY
Transylvanians for Peace and WNC Physicians for Social Responsibility have a weekly vigil at noon in front of the courthouse in Brevard.

OCCUPY WALL STREET ASHEVILLE
Go to www.occupyasheville.org for more information, or call 888-378-0788. Information on Occupy Asheville late breaking events: http://www.occupyasheville.org/events/

*******************************************
ACTIONS AND READINGS
*******************************************

Consider signing petition for Obama to consider. It is to start a "Do Not Kill" list.

"The New York Times reports that President Obama has created an official “kill list” that he uses to personally order the assassination of American citizens. Considering that the government already has a “Do Not Call” list and a “No Fly” list, we hereby request that the White House create a “Do Not Kill” list in which American citizens can sign up to avoid being put on the president’s “kill list” and therefore avoid being executed without indictment, judge, jury, trial or due process of law."

Climate Organizing Workshop in Asheville, June 23-24

As a climate and clean energy activist, you're invited to a free two-day Climate Organizing Workshop for select environmental leaders. 350.org is offering these workshops around the world to grow a stronger climate movement and build the organizing skills of local leaders.

DATES: Saturday and Sunday, June 23rd and 24th (optional welcome event the evening of Friday, June 22nd)
TIMES: 9:00 AM-5:00 PM on Saturday, 9:00 AM-4:00 PM on Sunday
LOCATION: Asheville, NC, at the First Congregational United Church of Christ, Room 101-E (map)

Please RSVP by Tuesday, June 19th. Space is limited. If you wish to attend, please fill out this form and we will get back to you as soon as possible to confirm.
The workshop will focus on campaign planning and storytelling, including practical information on traditional and social media, engaging allies, and other critical organizing tools. We'll share lessons learned from our experience organizing local events and international campaigns, and you will come away with skills that can both bolster your local work and empower you to more effectively contribute to the broader climate movement.

The training is free, and all food and materials will be provided. Please consult with us about travel expenses and lodging if you will be travelling from out of town.

******************

ON “MOVE TO AMEND”

Reps. Keever, Fisher and Rapp support 'Move To Amend' in Raleigh

Legislators Susan Fisher, Patsy Keever, and Ray Rapp have lent their support to the nationwide move to amend, a call to overturn the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in the case of CItizen's United. A main result of that decision has declared that corporations are people under U.S. law. Activists claim this has tilted the political landscape much more towards corporate control of elections. As Rep. Ray Rapp of Madison County pointed out, "This should be a bi-partisan issue, as this takes the rights of candidates to decide how to run their campaigns."

The resolution is a call from the states to the U.S. Congress to set aside a U.S. Supreme Court decision in the only manner possible — a constitutional amendment which has happened successfully four times, the most recent of which was the Twenty-sixth Amendment (allowing 18-year olds to vote). Others were the 11th, 14th, and 16th amendments.

According to the Canary Coalition, which provided the video, Hawaii, New Mexico, and Vermont have already passed similar calls for the constitutional amendment. Wisconsin, Washington, Minnesota and Alaska, along with North Carolina, are actively considering it in their legislatures. (See below for the Coalition press release.)

The call on the U.S. Congress faces an uncertain future in the North Carolina General Assembly. In order to be voted on, it has to get out of the rules committee, that process should start in the next few weeks.

******************

Saturday, June 02, 2012

U.S. Military Intervention in Syria is Not the Answer

Below is from FCNL, and they published this in April.  It is still true:

"We believe the means that are used to seek change in society either create or obstruct the desirable ends." -FCNL Statement 03/18/2011
The Friends Committee on National Legislation is gravely concerned by the Syrian regime's violence against civilians and crimes against humanity, in addition to the potential for a protracted civil war. We strongly oppose proposals that would further militarize the conflict, including direct armed intervention and Senator John McCain's (AZ) resolution, which calls for the U.S. to provide arms to opposition forces.

We are convinced that U.S. military intervention in Syria will only exacerbate the conflict and lead to even larger-scale bloodshed. Given Syria's strategic location in the Middle East, foreign military intervention could spark broader regional violence and proxy wars, as warned by the International Crisis Group and other Middle East experts. Beneath the horrific violence in Syria lie long-standing roots of conflict, including authoritarian government, sectarian divisions, inequitable power and wealth distribution, increasing pressures on natural resources, and a brutal legacy of colonial rule and foreign intervention.

War is the ultimate human rights violation, and U.S. military intervention would only increase the violence. It would undermine the possibility of finding a diplomatic solution to the crisis, halting the violence, providing accountability for the crimes against humanity, and encouraging Syrian self-determination.

The Syrian uprising was initiated through powerful demonstrations of nonviolence. The grassroots opposition network the Syrian Local Coordination Committees (LCC) has warned against military intervention, noting that "the method by which the regime is overthrown is an indication of what Syria will be like post-regime […] If an armed confrontation or international military intervention becomes a reality, it will be virtually impossible to establish a legitimate foundation for a proud future Syria."
Specifically, the U.S. can promote the protection of civilians and a resolution of the crisis by vigorously and persistently supporting:
  • An immediate cessation of the violence and inclusive, comprehensive negotiations among Syrian political factions and Syria's neighboring countries;
  • U.N. and Arab League diplomatic, non-military efforts, including the current initiative led by former Secretary-General Kofi Annan and backed by the U.N. Security Council;
  • A range of diplomatic tools to press Russia, China, and Iran to use their influence with the Assad regime to halt the killing and commit to a political process to resolve the crisis;
  • A comprehensive arms embargo through the U.N. Security Council, including sanctions against companies involved in providing weapons to the Syrian regime;
  • Bilateral and multilateral talks with Iran, which would reduce the threat of further deadly conflict in the region;
  • Investigations of crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court;
  • Generous humanitarian and development assistance to local and international aid and development agencies and support of post-conflict peacebuilding and reconciliation.
  • Robust support and greater civilian capacities to help prevent mass atrocities before the killing begins, as envisioned by S. Con. Res. 71, PSD-10, and the creation of a new Atrocities Prevention Board in the National Security Council.
Intense international engagement will be critical in order for such a diplomatic and humanitarian approach to be successful. FCNL believes that these recommendations offer the best chance to stop the violence, limit the loss of life, and restore Syria's path toward peace, stability, and reconciliation.

Friday, June 01, 2012

The black bloc at the NO TO NATO march

 I took these photos on the march.  I found the black bloc to be scary - much more so than the police I ran into.  It was 90+ degrees and sunny, and they were wearing hoodies and face scarves.  I found that I could talk and joke with the police, but not with the black bloc.  Before the march, they had handed out black face scarves and vinegar and ear plugs, like they were totally anticipating clashes with the police.  So the police were walking in single file along side the march - on both sides - to stop the black bloc from breaking off and going down a side street, apparently.  I think that was a smart strategy, since the black bloc has a reputation for busting up windows and spray painting things and generally being destructive.

 Well, aren't they tough looking?  Anyway, I found myself getting caught between the black bloc and the police time and time again.  I tried to get rid of them, but I guess I walked too slow.  These so-called tough guys would turn away when I tried to take a picture. 
 Yeah, they have on scarves and hoodies when it is sweltering hot.  No very smart at all.  Since I was between the black bloc and the police, and THE BLACK BLOC WAS GIVING ME THE CREEPS, I decided to drop out.  No problem crossing the police lines to get out.  I sat down and watched the rest of the march go by.


I have ZERO respect for the black bloc after this march.  I came to a march that was billed as "family friendly" and "non-violent" and instead felt I was a "human shield" for whatever tactics this group of idiots decided to pursue.  And I heard later in the day, that the police told people to go west after the final rally was over, and the black bloc decided to go east against a huge group of riot police - with MANY UNKNOWING PEOPLE CAUGHT BETWEEN THE BLACK BLOC AND THE POLICE.  These black bloc folks reminds me of the Westboro Baptist Church protesters - they go to other people's events with their own tactics and goals and do not give a shit if they are welcome to do that or not.  They just do it.  In the case of the black bloc, they were using the people who came to the NO TO NATO march as human shields.  At least, that is what I felt like.  And frankly, the claim of the Occupy movement to respect a 'diversity of tactics' STOPS COMPLETELY when I am being put into a situation that I did not consent to ahead of time, particularly a situation that might result in violence.

I have no respect for the black bloc and their immature and selfish tactics.  They are oblivious to the protesters around them, and then have the nerve to complain when those protesters they used complain about them.  I really don't know what their overall strategy is, unless it is to rumble with the police and destroy property.

Here is what I posted on Firedoglake about the black bloc:


My experiences with the black bloc on May 20th were not positive at all. I found myself getting stuck, again and again, between the black bloc and the police. The CPD was walking single file on both sides of the march in the area of the black bloc. The CPD would talk and smile at me, and I teased them about forgetting their signs. I could not get anyone from the black bloc to do that, not even once. I guess they only have “solidarity” with other people dressed like they were…. black clothes, hoodies with the hood pulled up, and face scarves. And it was sunny and over 90 degrees on that march.

So, I dropped out of the march. I did not want to be a “human shield” for whatever they were planning. I felt totally disrespected to be put in this position. And in the future, if publicity and permits for the DNC does not state “no black bloc clothing or tactics will be allowed” for planned rallies and marches, I will stay home. (and I am only a couple of hours from Charlotte). I will not put myself in a position of being a “human shield” for some people who have not consulted with me ahead of time.

So, these black bloc tactics are not bring more people into the streets, at least not for me. And I don’t think people with young children, disabilities, or the elderly will want to be around when the black bloc is doing their thing. I have a friend here in Asheville who is in a scooter – she does not want to be around them. And families of police officers are not going to join a group with FUCK THE POLICE signs.
The march on the 20th was billed as “family friendly” and “non-violent” and it seemed to me that the black bloc at that march did not care one whit if that was the stated objective. They reminded me of the Westboro Baptist Church protesters – instead of holding their own event, they crashed someone else’s event and used it for their own purpose. On May 20th, the media went with the scuffle between the black bloc and the police instead of the veterans throwing back their medals. The black bloc did not care (as far as I could tell) that this was an anti-NATO and anti-war event and they turned it into something else.

And this, in my opinion, is total bullshit: “Any debates or criticisms will stay internal to the movement, avoiding any public or media denunciations of fellow activists and events.”

I believe in freedom of speech, not shutting it down. And I believe in whistle blowers. I believe in honesty and openness. If I see or hear something I do not agree with, I will debate or criticize who I want in the way I want. And I give others that right also. This telling people that they cannot criticize outside the movement strikes me as very dysfunctional. And it seems they are following exactly in the footsteps of how our current government functions. It is sick.

“The signs read red and black instead of “Reinstate Glass Steagall,” yes, but the critique of the broken capitalist system is there, whether or not it is explicitly stated. And why must it be?”

Answer: So that other people know what you are about, as opposed to just seeing a group of young people running around dressed in black with hoods and scarves on. So that other people know what you stand for, and what you want. I think of it as “communication”. I certainly could not tell that the black bloc on May 20th march was anti-war at all. Actually, they looked like they wanted a conflict to me, with their dress, lack of friendliness, lack of respect for other people, and having gas masks and vinegar. And in a video I saw of the end of the final rally, both the police and the black bloc were acting violently.
I do not see how we can get to a peaceful work by using violent tactics and showing disrespect. And having FUCK THE POLICE rallies or signs is certainly disrespectful.

“The powers that be consider a large group of people marching in the streets without their written permission to be a “riot” regardless of the behavior of those people.”

And if they are smashing up windows and burning up vehicles, they ARE A RIOT, PLAIN AND SIMPLE. And frankly, that is what the police are afraid of – and also those type of actions allow the black bloc to be infiltrated.

I have been to many protests and marches over the years, and I have seen several events where there were mass arrests. A protest for Bradley Manning in VA a couple of years back resulted in people sitting in the street in an act of civil disobedience. They were arrested. I was watching – and I did not feel in any danger from the police getting violent, and frankly, the people doing civil disobedience were safer because there were so many of us watching. And shortly after that rally, Manning was moved to a different facility and better conditions.

In short, I want to see respect and safety given high priority at all marches, rallies, events. I want us to challenge the system in a way that invites all people to join in, and where all can join safely. I do not want to see property damage or signs like FUCK THE POLICE at all. I want to see a new world created, not more of the same with different faces in power. And I believe the black bloc tactics will create more of the same.