Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Voter's Peace Pledge


PEACE ACTION: Take the voters’ peace pledge. "I will not vote for or support any candidate for Congress or President who does not make a speedy end to the war in Iraq, and preventing any future war of aggression, a public position in his or her campaign."

This is from 2005, I believe.  But I decided after the 2004 election, that I would *NEVER AGAIN* vote for someone with innocent blood on his/her hands.  And I intend to keep that promise until I die. 

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

I support Stein for president!

But she is not eligible for write in votes in North Carolina.  The only person who is eligible for write in votes is Virgil Goode, who is awful.  So that leaves Obama, Romney and Gary Johnson.  I voted.  I hope you vote too.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Upcoming events in the Asheville area

Sunset from the Blue Ridge Parkway, October 2012.



UPCOMING EVENTS

TIME TO VOTE!
It is possible to register and vote in one stop if you are not already registered.  If you have moved or not voted in awhile, then vote during early voting to make sure your vote is counted.  Do not sit out an election - no one gains a voice or more power by not participating.  Some recommendations for non-partisan races are at the end of this email.

10/29/12 DEFENDING APPALACHIA FROM THE NUCLEAR INDUSTRY
Film & Discussion. Southern Appalachia is targeted by the nuclear industry for new power plants, waste storage and reprocessing. This event will include a discussion on local nuclear issues, efforts against them and segments of the film "Knocking on Devil's Door, Our Deadly Nuclear Legacy." Sponsored by SAFE Carolinas and Katuah Earth First!. Location is Firestorm Café and Books and time is 7 PM.

10/30/12 BUILDING AN ABUSE FREE COMMUNITY
This is a four-part series focusing on the reality of abuse in our society.  The goal is to empower the community by enabling and energizing a broader base of advocates to take action in preventing abuse and supporting victims in their recovery. Time is 7 PM and location is the Fellowship Hall at Grace Presbyterian Church on Merrimon.  For more information, contact jimrwallis@aol.com. Part Two:  How do you recognize signs of abuse?  Why is this happening?

10/30/12 STORIES OF GENEALOGICAL RESEARCH
Sasha Mitchell will share her own family experience on genealogical research prior to 1865.  Time is 12:20 to 1:30 PM and location is Highsmith Student Union Mountain Suites.

10/30/12 FOCUS ON CHILDREN TOWN HALL MEETING
Action for Children North Carolina will launch its statewide Focus on Children town hall series in Asheville on Tuesday, October 30, 2012 from 8 AM to 9:30 AM. Children First/Children In Schools is a cosponsor. The Focus on Children town hall meetings will bring local data about the status of children and youth to communities across the state in an effort to highlight improvements and declines in child well-being and facilitate discussion about strategies to improve the status of children. Location is Mountain Area Health Education Center, Balsam Room, 121 Hendersonville Road, Asheville. To register, go to this link:  https://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/eventReg?llr=nrj5mtcab&oeidk=a07e6cozjdmf0a82cea&oseq=

10/30/12 DOMESTIC VIOLENCE VIGIL
UNC-Asheville Amnesty International will host a Domestic Violence Vigil Tuesday, October 30 at 8:00pm. The candlelight service will take place on the campus Quad. The vigil will include speakers from Helpmate, Our Voice and Pisgah Legal Services. They will be reading the names of the NC homicide victims who have lost their lives so far this year. Please come and help honor victims and survivors of intimate partner violence!

10/30/12 ASHEVILLE WATER REFERENDUM WORLD SERIES
Rally and press conference in support of voting “no” on the referendum , sponsored by Clean Water for NC, Food and Water Watch, WNCA, WENOCA Sierra Club, Mountain Voices Alliance, PARC, and other local partners. Location is Vance Monument, and time is 5:15 to 6 PM.  Contact Katie at 828-251-1291 or katie@cwfnc.org for more information.

11/01/12 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/

11/01/12 PUBLIC MEETING ON BUS SERVICE IN ASHEVILLE
This meeting will be held at Pack Memorial Library’s Lord Auditorium, 67 Haywood St. from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. and will have a drop-in format.  In addition to the meeting, the public can weigh in on changes to the ART system via an online poll found at http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/ARTJan2013.  The public may also submit comments, no later than November 1, by email to iride@ashevillenc.gov or mail to Mariate Echeverry, Transportation Planning Manager, City of Asheville, P.O. Box 7148, Asheville NC 28802

11/02/12 TRANSIT TALK
Transportation is a huge barrier for low-income families trying to access food, jobs, and services. Join us to learn more about recent changes to the Asheville bus system and how we can be advocates for better transit. Julie Mayfield, Director of WNC Alliance and the Chair of the City Transit Board, will be giving a Transit Talk from noon to 1:30 PM. Bring a lunch, but snacks will be provided, and join us at the United Way Building Room #1&2 at 50 South French Broad Ave, Asheville.
https://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/eventReg?oeidk=a07e6jo2zjz9c2337ac&oseq=

11/02/12 FUNDRAISING FOR HEALTHY LIVING PROGRAM
Party for the People!  Time is 7-9:30 p.m. at Jubilee! Community on Wall St. Party for the People is WWD-F's annual fundraising event to support the Healthy Living Program in the Hillcrest public housing community. We offer classes and workshops around healthy habits and personal empowerment to Hillcrest residents. This event will feature live entertainment, a light dinner, childcare, and door prizes. $25 suggested donation! Women's Wellbeing and Development Foundation (WWD-F)

11/03/12 GREEN PARTY MEETING
The Buncombe County GREEN Party's business meeting is 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.

11/03/12 PERMACULTURE IN ACTION
This hands-on weekend workshop will explore the social, ecological, and economic potential of whole-systems thinking and design.  Asheville-based teachers Zev Friedman and Dylan Ryals-Hamilton will explain and demonstrate the theory and practice of permaculture.  They will be teaching from a completed permaculture master plan which includes ponds, integrated chickens and ducks, mushroom culture, and diverse rainwater collection systems.  Students can get their hands dirty implementing a lowbush blueberry polyculture guild, a small forest garden patch, a native medicinal plant guild, and several strategies for erosion prevention and topsoil improvement.  The workshop will take place on the weekend of November 3rd and 4th.  For more information please email permacultureinaction@gmail.com.

11/03/12 SCREENING OF THE MOVIE ‘THE LINE’
The Line documents the stories of people across the country living at or below the poverty line. They have goals. They have children. They work hard. They are people like you and me. From Chicago’s suburbs and west side to the Gulf Coast to North
Carolina, millions of Americans are struggling every day to make it above The Line. To learn more about The Line, please visit www.thelinemovie.com. This will be held at New Creation Church in Fletcher. Time is 1 PM. Contact Debbie at 776-3007 for more information.

11/03/12 OCCUPY ASHEVILLE MOVE YOUR MONEY EVENT
This will be held at 2 PM at Vance Monument.  There will be information on how to Move Your Money and why this is important.  There will also be a short picket.  All are welcome.

11/03/12 OCCUPY ASHEVILLE GENERAL ASSEMBLY
This will be at 4 PM in Pritchard Park. All are welcome.

11/4/12 TREE HUGGER'S BALL: CONTRA FOR COAL RIVER
Join us for a contra dance in support of Coal River Mountain Watch, a leader in the fight against mountaintop removal in Appalachia. Come dance to the foot-tappin' tunes of Contraversial and fantastic calling of Maggie Jo Saylor! Sponsored by WWC's Eco Justice Crew & Katuah Earth First! Location: Bryson Gym at Warren Wilson College. Time: 6:30 for Contra dance lesson, 7:00-10:00 for Dance!

11/07/12 SIERRA CLUB MEETING
Chris Mathis will discuss “Why Building Matter:  Sustainability Chalenges”.   Program starts at 7:15 PM and location is Unitarian Church at Edwin Place and Charlotte Street.

11/07/12 CONCERT TO HONOR BREAD AND ROSES STRIKE
Charlie King and Karen Brandow will present extraordinary songs of ordinary people and a second-set performance marking the 100th anniversary of the history-making Bread and Roses textile strike, on November 7 at 7:30 at UNC Asheville’s Highsmith Student Union.  Tickets are free for UNC Asheville students, faculty and staff and $10 for the general public. This is co-sponsored by the UNC Asheville Foreign Languages and Political Science departments and HOLA. FMI, contact hras@humanrightsaction.net or call 314-374-7446.

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:  www.lakejunaluska.com/peace.

11/08/12 THE GENERAL’S SON: JOURNEY OF AN ISRAELI IN PALESTINE
In 1997, a tragedy struck the family of Israeli-American Miko Peled: His beloved niece Smadar was killed by a suicide bomber in Jerusalem. That tragedy propelled Peled onto a journey of discovery. Peled's title for his talk is "Moving Beyond Zionism: a New Paradigm for Israel and Palestine."  Location is Simpson Hall at A-B Tech.  Time is 7 PM.  This is sponsored by Western Carolinians for Peace and Justice in the Middle East.  Open to the public.  For more information, email Tony at bingtony@yahoo.com.

11/08/12 COMMUNITY EVENT AROUND DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
“PRIVATE VIOLENCE” is a collaborative community event to raise awareness about domestic and sexual violence in our region. A portion of the proceeds will go to support domestic and sexual violence programs in our community.  This will be at the Fine Arts Theater.  No further information at this time.

11/09/12 SOCIAL JUSTICE MOVIE NIGHT AT UU CHURCH
Social Justice Film night will feature “Peaceable Kingdom” a film about the awakening conscience of several farmer who came to question the killing of animals. Time is 7 PM and will be shown at the Unitarian Universalist Church at Charlotte and Edwin Place.  Donations accepted.  Info from devwilliams@juno.com.

11/10/12 BUNCOMBE FRUIT AND NUTS CLUB
The Buncombe Fruit and Nuts club announces the Carnival of Nuts!  You’ve known it all along: Asheville is nuttier than a fruitcake! So come enjoy some true nuttiness at the West End Bakery on November 10 from 5:30-9pm, and bring the kids for family fun. All funds raised go to the Buncombe Fruit Nuts, a group of nut and fruit enthusiasts who are happy to plant and nurture shrubs and trees in the parks all over town.  There’ll be awesome door prizes (win your own nut tree), games like the Acorn-Squirrel toss for kids, nut-cracking demonstrations featuring the Nutcracker himself, acorn magic, special viewings of the nut-blimp, the nuttiest poem, and more.

11/11/12 RING BELLS FOR ARMISTICE DAY
Armistice Day:  Ring Bells For Peace @ 11am

11/11/12 EAT AT MIKE’S
Location is First Congregational UCC in Asheville on Oak Street downtown. Time is 5 PM to 8 PM. This is the WNC health Advocates' annual dinner and auction. Tickets are a minimum donation of $20 and will be on sale at The Downtown Market, or call 828-243-6712 or e-mail leslie@wnchealthadvocates.org.

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ONGOING EVENTS
*******************************************
TUESDAY
Veterans for Peace have a weekly vigil at 5 PM at Pack Square, Vance Monument

WEDNESDAY
Haywood Peace Vigilers have a weekly vigil at 4 PM at Haywood Country Courthouse in Waynesville.

THURSDAY
Asheville Homeless Network meeting at 2 PM at Firestorm.
Anti-racism Group Discussion at 5:30 PM on the third Thursday of the month 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.

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

From Roots Action:

Even the New York Times wants out of Afghanistan.  Who's left supporting 2 (or 12?) more years in Afghanistan? Oh yeah, those 4 guys. Obama, Biden, Romney, Ryan.

Sign a letter to let them know what you think:  http://bit.ly/SZqg6k


******************
Evening the Score, Different Strokes PAC

For more information visit: http://www.themagneticfield.com/evening-the-score

Join us on the evening of November 1, at 7:30 p.m. when Building Bridges of Asheville will facilitate a post-performance talkback.

Building Bridges Co-facilitators are:      
Stuart Zitin,BB Board Chair         
Georgia M. Shannon   
Linda Newman         
Audrey Yatras

The Magnetic Theatre & Different Strokes! Performing Arts Collective present...
“Evening the Score, A Double-Cross in Black and White” by Steven Samuels
Directed by Stephanie Hickling Beckman
Wednesdays-Saturdays, October 24th-November 3rd @ 7:30 p.m.

This provocative drama about college friends separated by an act of betrayal and reunited decades later by circumstances that push both to the brink, delves into issues of race, religion, class, the law, and political ambition with breathtaking, often brutal honesty, focusing matters of local, national, and political import through the prism of a single, complex human relationship.

This limited engagement will have eight performances only. Tickets are $12 for Wednesday and Thursday performances, $15 Friday and Saturday performances.

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RECOMMENDATIONS FOR NON-PARTISAN RACES

NC Supreme Court:  Sam Ervin IV

NC Court of Appeals Judge: Linda McGee

NC Court of Appeals Judge: Wanda Bryant

NC Court of Appeals Judge: Cressie Thigpen

Soil & Water Conservation Dt. Supervisor:  Jim Coman

County Board of Education At-Large:  Paul (Dusty) Pless, Jr.

County Board of Education (North Buncombe):  Ann B. Franklin

County Board of Education (Owen District):  Ben Craig

County Board of Education (Roberson District):  Steven Weir Sizemore

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

Saturday, October 27, 2012

The two major candidates

Not a dime's worth of difference between them on issues that I care about.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Quote from Helen Keller




“The few own the many because they possess the means of livelihood of all … The country is governed for the richest, for the corporations, the bankers, the land speculators, and for the exploiters of labor. The majority of mankind are working people. So long as their fair demands – the ownership and control of their livelihoods – are set at naught, we can have neither men’s rights nor women’s rights. The majority of mankind is ground down by industrial oppression in order that the small remnant may live in ease.” — Helen Keller, 1911

Monday, October 22, 2012

Press Release from Gaza-bound boat



Israel Still Holding Gaza-Bound Passengers, Including Parliamentarians;
Some Tasered

For immediate release:
contact: US Boat to Gaza,
Robert Naiman, 217-979-2857;
naiman@justforeignpolicy.org;
Richard Levy, 917-797-4466

New York, October 21, 3pm EDT - More than 24 hours after their illegal detention in international waters at 10 AM local time Saturday, Israeli authorities are still holding 21 passengers who were on board the Estelle which was sailing to Gaza when intercepted by Israeli forces, of whom three are Israeli and eighteen are internationals. There were originally 30 on board the boat from eight countries: Israel, Canada, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Greece, and Spain. Six have been deported and at this writing three are in the process of being deported.

Passengers on the Estelle, including Israeli combat veteran Yonatan Shapira, have reported that the passengers were tasered when Israeli forces commandeered the ship.

Israeli officials have claimed that there were no humanitarian goods onboard. In fact, the items in the cargo room of Estelle were: 2 olive trees; 41 tons of cement; wheelchairs; walkers; crutches; midwifery stethoscope; children's books; toys; 300 footballs; musical instruments; theatrical equipment;  VHF radio (for a ship); 1 anchor (the last two items were for the Gaza's Ark project). The ship was inspected at many ports. A video of the cement being loaded onto the ship is here: http://t.co/Kb5ZH5v0.

“We call on the U.S. to use its influence with the Israeli government to ensure the Estelle passengers and crew are treated with dignity, that their rights as non-violent protesters are respected and that they all be released immediately,” said Jane Hirschmann, organizer of the U.S. Boat to Gaza.

Rashid Khalidi, Edward Said Professor of Arab Studies at Columbia University, said today: “It's striking that while the Swedish Foreign Affairs Ministry has the moral clarity to say that it agrees with the Ship to Gaza that the border crossings must be opened and that the ship should have been allowed through, the U.S. State Department is silent about this gross violation of human rights and international humanitarian law.”

“I should say that every time Israel stops a boat, that's another blow to its diminishing legitimacy and another element of support, both to the those who are resisting internally and to those who are opposing the policies outside, and sooner or later the wave will sweep over the barriers,” [per] Noam Chomsky, who was visiting Gaza, told a news conference at Gaza port.

---

No War on Iran




Quote: U.S. General – Talk of Iran War Not Helpful

"We should find ways through which we can bring countries to work together for the benefit of all .... It is not a good idea to be in a state of war. We ought to try and to do our utmost to create different conditions…. This constant drum beat of conflict is what strikes me which is not helpful and not useful." ~Adm. William Fallon, head of U.S. Central Command

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Upcoming events in the Asheville area this week



UPCOMING EVENTS

TIME TO VOTE IN EARLY VOTING SITES!
It is possible to register and vote in one stop if you are not already registered.  If you have moved or not voted in awhile, then vote during early voting to make sure your vote is counted.  Do not sit out an election - no one gains a voice or more power by not participating.

10/22/12 FAIR HOUSING SEMINAR
Fair Housing seminar from 6 - 8 pm at the Wesley Grant Southside Center in Asheville.  "Fair Housing: it's not an option, it's the law!"  Please join us as representatives of the NC Human Relations Commission and Pisgah Legal Services provide a plenary session on Fair Housing law, unlawful discriminatory housing practices and rights afforded under the NC and Federal Fair Housing Acts."

10/22/12 DEFENDING OUR WATER:  WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE YOU VOTE
This event will be at Jubilee Community Church at 6:30 PM. It is a non-partisan community information program to update you on the water issue, presented by Save Asheville’s Water.

10/22/12 VIDEO LECTURE BY RAY MCGOVERN
Western Carolinians for Peace and Justice in the Middle East presents Ray McGovern
in a video lecture (filmed Sept. 6th) “Israel and Iran: Facts vs. Fear” from 5 - 7 PM at Black Mountain Presbyterian Church, NC Hwy 9 north (Montreat Rd).  Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, the publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. Primarily a substantive analyst and briefer, he nonetheless served in all four of CIA's main directorates and, during one of his postings abroad, helped manage a large covert action project. He resigned from the government and, in January 2003, he co-founded Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).  Contact Barbara at 686-8301 for more information.

10/23/12 THE DEAF COMMUNITY AT A CROSSROADS TALK
I. King Jordan made history in 1988 when he became the first deaf president of Gallaudet University, the world's only university for students who are deaf and hard of hearing. Dr. Jordan continues to challenge the American public to examine their attitudes toward people with disabilities and to open their minds, hearts and workplaces to them.  Time is 7 PM and location is Highsmith Union, Alumni Hall, UNCA.  Free and open to the public.

10/23/12 BUILDING AN ABUSE FREE COMMUNITY
This is a four-part series focusing on the reality of abuse in our society.  The goal is to empower the community by enabling and energizing a broader base of advocates to take action in preventing abuse and supporting victims in their recovery. Time is 7 PM and location is the Fellowship Hall at Grace Presbyterian Church on Merrimon.  For more information, contact jimrwallis@aol.com. Part One:  Who is abused?  How Prevalent is Abuse in our Country?

10/23/12 SISTER CITIES REPORT TO CITY COUNCIL
Inviting you to attend the Oct. 23rd City Council meeting. There will be presentations by Asheville Sister Cities of all our projects of the past year like Palenque Rojo, and the completion of the 29 wells in Osogbo.  Time is 5 PM and location is City Hall.

10/24/12 SO ‘RICH, SO POOR’ FORUM
Pisgah Legal Services’ 2nd Annual Poverty Forum featuring anti-poverty advocate Peter Edelman. Peter Edelman's most recent book, So Rich, So Poor: Why It's So Hard to End Poverty in America, examines the disturbing trends of deepening poverty and inequality in the United States. Please join us as we learn from Mr. Edelman's vast experience and knowledge about the causes of poverty and explore the public and civil actions needed to help the poor in Western North Carolina.  Location is Diana Wortham Theatre, Asheville. Reception is 5:30 PM and Forum is 7 PM. Tickets are $50 for reception and forum, $15 for forum only. Purchase tickets at www.pisgahlegal.org. Contact Betsy at betsy@pisgahlegal.org for more information.

10/24/12 FILM SCREENING:  SHIFT CHANGE
At a time when many are disillusioned with big banks, big business, and growing inequity in the United States, employee ownership offers real solutions for workers and communities. SHIFT CHANGE visits thriving cooperative businesses in the U.S. and Spain; sharing on-the-ground experiences, lessons, and observations from the worker-owners on the front lines of the new economy. Time is 5:30 PM and location is Posada Café. This is Facebook event, no contact information given.

10/25/12 GENEALOGICAL RESEARCH FOR AFRICAN AMERICANS
Sasha Mitchell will instruct on how to do genealogical research for African Americans prior to 1865.  Registration limited to the first 35 respondents to dmiles@unca.edu. An additional workshop will be planned if needed.  Time is 6 to 9 PM.  Location is Ramsey Library Whitman Room.

10/26/12 SPEAKER FOR NEW SOUTH NETWORK
“Nothing more evil:  Confronting the Military Industrial Complex”. New South Network is sponsoring a visit by David Swanson to speak on October 26, Friday evening at 7 PM, at the Battery Park Apartments Roof Top room. “David Swanson is an antidote to the toxins of complacency and evasion. He insists on rousing the sleepwalkers, confronting the deadly prevaricators and shining a bright light on possibilities for a truly better world.” - Norman Solomon, author of War Made Easy. For more info: email newsouthnetwork@gmail.com or call 828-3301-6683 or 828-242-5610.  

10/27/12 NORTH CAROLINA GREEN PARY SEMI-ANNUAL MEETING
The NC Green Party Coordinating Committee is pleased to announce the semi-annual gathering of statewide Greens in Asheville, NC on Saturday, October 27th. This fall we are hosted by the Buncombe Greens and will be meeting at the Fortune Building (727 Haywood Ave., Asheville) at 9:30 a.m. for our business meeting. You can arrive at 9:00 a.m. for socializing and refreshments. A light breakfast and lunch will be served.

10/29/12 DEFENING APPALACHIA FILM
“Defending Appalachia from the Nuclear Industry” will be shown. Southern Appalachia is targeted by the nuclear industry for new power plants, waste storage and reprocessing. This event will include a discussion on local nuclear issues, efforts against them and segments of the film "Knocking on Devil's Door."  Location is Firestorm Café and Books and time is 7 PM.

10/30/12 BUILDING AN ABUSE FREE COMMUNITY
This is a four-part series focusing on the reality of abuse in our society.  The goal is to empower the community by enabling and energizing a broader base of advocates to take action in preventing abuse and supporting victims in their recovery. Time is 7 PM and location is the Fellowship Hall at Grace Presbyterian Church on Merrimon.  For more information, contact jimrwallis@aol.com. Part Two:  How do you recognize signs of abuse?  Why is this happening?

10/30/12 STORIES OF GENEALOGICAL RESEARCH
Sasha Mitchell will share her own family experience on genealogical research prior to 1865.  Time is 12:20 to 1:30 PM and location is Highsmith Student Union Mountain Suites.

11/01/12 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/

11/03/12 GREEN PARTY MEETING
The Buncombe County GREEN Party's business meeting is 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.

11/03/12 PERMACULTURE IN ACTION
This hands-on weekend workshop will explore the social, ecological, and economic potential of whole-systems thinking and design.  Asheville-based teachers Zev Friedman and Dylan Ryals-Hamilton will explain and demonstrate the theory and practice of permaculture.  They will be teaching from a completed permaculture master plan which includes ponds, integrated chickens and ducks, mushroom culture, and diverse rainwater collection systems.  Students can get their hands dirty implementing a lowbush blueberry polyculture guild, a small forest garden patch, a native medicinal plant guild, and several strategies for erosion prevention and topsoil improvement.  The workshop will take place on the weekend of November 3rd and 4th.  For more information please email permacultureinaction@gmail.com

11/03/12 SCREENING OF THE MOVIE ‘THE LINE’
The Line documents the stories of people across the country living at or below the poverty line. They have goals. They have children. They work hard. They are people like you and me. From Chicago’s suburbs and west side to the Gulf Coast to North
Carolina, millions of Americans are struggling every day to make it above The Line. To learn more about The Line, please visit www.thelinemovie.com. This will be held at New Creation Church in Fletcher. Time is 1 PM. Contact Debbie at 776-3007 for more information.

11/07/12 SIERRA CLUB MEETING
Chris Mathis will discuss “Why Building Matter:  Sustainability Challenges”. Program starts at 7:15 PM and location is Unitarian Church at Edwin Place and Charlotte Street.

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:  www.lakejunaluska.com/peace.

11/08/12 THE GENERAL’S SON: JOURNEY OF AN ISRAELI IN PALESTINE
In 1997, a tragedy struck the family of Israeli-American Miko Peled: His beloved niece Smadar was killed by a suicide bomber in Jerusalem. That tragedy propelled Peled onto a journey of discovery. Peled's title for his talk is "Moving Beyond Zionism: a New Paradigm for Israel and Palestine."  Location is Simpson Hall at A-B Tech.  Time is 7 PM.  This is sponsored by Western Carolinians for Peace and Justice in the Middle East.  Open to the public.

11/09/12 SOCIAL JUSTICE MOVIE NIGHT AT UU CHURCH
Social Justice Film night will feature “Peaceable Kingdom” a film about the awakening conscience of several farmer who came to question the killing of animals. Time is 7 PM and will be shown at the Unitarian Universalist Church at Charlotte and Edwin Place.  Donations accepted.  Info from devwilliams@juno.com.

11/10/12 BUNCOMBE FRUIT AND NUTS CLUB
The Buncombe Fruit and Nuts club announces the Carnival of Nuts!  You’ve known it all along: Asheville is nuttier than a fruitcake! So come enjoy some true nuttiness at the West End Bakery on November 10 from 5:30-9pm, and bring the kids for family fun. All funds raised go to the Buncombe Fruit Nuts, a group of nut and fruit enthusiasts who are happy to plant and nurture shrubs and trees in the parks all over town.  There’ll be awesome door prizes (win your own nut tree), games like the Acorn-Squirrel toss for kids, nut-cracking demonstrations featuring the Nutcracker himself, acorn magic, special viewings of the nut-blimp, the nuttiest poem, and more.

11/11/12 RING BELLS FOR ARMISTICE DAY
Armistice Day:  Ring Bells For Peace @ 11am

11/11/12 EAT AT MIKE’S
Location is First Congregational UCC in Asheville on Oak Street downtown.  Time is 5 PM to 8 PM.  This is the WNC health Advocates' annual dinner and auction. Tickets are a minimum donation of $20 and will be on sale at The Downtown Market, or call 828-243-6712 or e-mail leslie@wnchealthadvocates.org.

11/11/12 REMEMBER FALLUJAH WEEK

11/13/12 BUILDING AN ABUSE FREE COMMUNITY
This is a four-part series focusing on the reality of abuse in our society.  The goal is to empower the community by enabling and energizing a broader base of advocates to take action in preventing abuse and supporting victims in their recovery. Time is 7 PM and location is the Fellowship Hall at Grace Presbyterian Church on Merrimon.  For more information, contact jimrwallis@aol.com. Part Three:  How can one be abused on the internet?  Why should one be more aware while on Facebook?

11/16/12 PROTEST THE SCHOOL OF THE AMERICAS AT FORT BENNING

11/27/12 BUILDING AN ABUSE FREE COMMUNITY
This is a four-part series focusing on the reality of abuse in our society.  The goal is to empower the community by enabling and energizing a broader base of advocates to take action in preventing abuse and supporting victims in their recovery. Time is 7 PM and location is the Fellowship Hall at Grace Presbyterian Church on Merrimon.  For more information, contact jimrwallis@aol.com. Part Four:  How does one stop the cycle?  Where can a person turn?

12/05/12 SIERRA CLUB MEETING
This meeting is their holiday potluck with recognition awards. Please bring a dish and a book to swap. Program starts at 7 PM and location is Unitarian Church at Edwin Place and Charlotte Street.

12/14/12 SOCIAL JUSTICE MOVIE NIGHT AT UU CHURCH
Social Justice Film night will feature “I AM” a film about a man’s personal journey after a bicycle accident, ‘the nature of humanity’ and the ‘world’s ever-growing addiction to materialism’. Time is 7 PM and will be shown at the Unitarian Universalist Church at Charlotte and Edwin Place. Donations accepted. Info from devwilliams@juno.com.

12/14/12 to 12/16/12 MOVE TO AMEND CONVERGENCE IN FLORIDA
https://movetoamend.org/events/gainesville-fl-move-amend-south-regional-convergence

01/02/13 SIERRA CLUB MEETING
Wayne Coldwell and Steve Woody will discuss Cataloochee and the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. Program starts at 7:15 PM and location is Unitarian Church at Edwin Place and Charlotte Street.

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ONGOING EVENTS
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TUESDAY
Veterans for Peace have a weekly vigil at 5 PM at Pack Square, Vance Monument

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 Jubilee.
Anti-racism Group Discussion at 5:30 PM on the third Thursday of the month 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 Asheville General Assembly on the first Saturday of the month.  4 PM at Pritchard Park.

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ACTIONS AND READINGS
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Education is critical for people to become compassionate. If you don't know the problem and you don't know the reality, how can you help? ~Marla Ruzicka

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Report on the poisoning we did to theIraqi people:

Its residents changed the name of their "City of Mosques" to "the polluted city" after the United States launched two massive military campaigns eight years ago. Now, one month before the World Health Organisation reveals its view on the legacy of the two battles for the town, a new study reports a "staggering rise" in birth defects among Iraqi children conceived in the aftermath of the war.

High rates of miscarriage, toxic levels of lead and mercury contamination and spiralling numbers of birth defects ranging from congenital heart defects to brain dysfunctions and malformed limbs have been recorded. Even more disturbingly, they appear to be occurring at an increasing rate in children born in Fallujah, about 40 miles west of Baghdad.

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Asheville Float beyond coal protest at Lake Julian:

Around 70 people took to the windy waters of Lake Julian Sunday afternoon Oct. 14 to bring attention to the issue of coal-fired power plants like the one on the south shore of the lake.
Sponsoring groups included Western North Carolina Alliance, Sierra Club, French Broad Riverkeeper, Watauga Riverkeeper, and SouthWings. The groups are trying to encourage Duke Energy to move beyond coal and utilize cleaner forms of energy.

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RECOMMENDATIONS FOR NON-PARTISAN RACES

NC Supreme Court: Sam Ervin IV

NC Court of Appeals Judge: Linda McGee 
NC Court of Appeals Judge: Wanda Bryant
NC Court of Appeals Judge: Cressie Thigpen
Soil & Water Conservation Dt. Supervisor: Jim Coman
County Board of Education At-Large: Paul (Dusty) Pless, Jr.
County Board of Education (North Buncombe): Ann B. Franklin
County Board of Education (Owen District): Ben Craig
County Board of Education (Roberson District): Steven Weir Sizemore

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Saturday, October 20, 2012

Few Americans are noticing



This is a letter to the editor sent to the Charlotte Observer in September 2012.  It was never published.  
+++++++++

An innocent man died in Guantanamo recently.  He spent a third of his life there, was cleared for release, and was not allowed out.  Like so many hundreds of thousands, he found the ‘freedom of the grave’ thanks to US policies, after years of horrific abuse and torture. 

People in Iraq, especially children, are still suffering horribly from our war of aggression and occupation of their country.  Cancers and birth defects are exploding. 

An Iraq War Veteran, Joshua Casteel, recently said this:  "I have a certain sense of relief that I get to share in the sufferings of the Iraqis. We were conducting those burn pits in agricultural fields.... Americans are gaining awareness of the impacts of burn pits on soldiers, but not the impact they will have on Iraqi civilians."  This veteran died of cancer last month, which he thinks came from his time in Iraq in 2004. Yes, we bring the ‘freedom of the grave’ even to our own.  I think he was wrong that Americans are gaining awareness of what is happening to our veterans, however.  Very few Americans are noticing or caring about Iraqi children or US veterans, as far as I can tell.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Protest in NYC on 10-7-12

This was the 11th anniversary of the start of the war on Afghanistan.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Press Release from SOA Watch



For immediate release
October 18, 2012

    NOVEMBER 16-18: Large Scale Mobilization to Take Place at the Gates
    of U.S. Military Base in Georgia to Shut Down the School of the
    Americas (SOA/ WHINSEC)


*Thousands of social justice activists from across the Americas will gather at the gates of Fort Benning, GA, to call for an end to U.S. militarization and for the closure of the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, formerly the School of the Americas.*

Columbus, Georgia - 10 days after the November elections, the November Vigil will put grassroots pressure behind the demands for an end to U.S. militarization and for the closing of the SOA/ WHINSEC, no matter who wins the elections. The recent announcements by Ecuador and Nicaragua to join Argentina, Bolivia, Uruguay, and Venezuela in pulling their troops out of the SOA/ WHINSEC have put the Pentagon on the defensive about the viability of their flagship training school.

The three-day convergence is the largest annual anti-militarization convergence in North America. It will include a massive rally on Saturday, November 17, where thousands will gather at Fort Benning’s gates to demand an end to Washington-backed violence in Latin America. A funeral procession will follow on Sunday to commemorate the victims of U.S. militarism. The mobilization will also include workshops, concerts, a strategy session, and more.

The SOA/WHINSEC is a U.S. taxpayer-funded military training school for Latin American soldiers, located at Fort Benning, Georgia. The school made headlines in 1996 when the Pentagon released training manuals used at the school that advocated torture, extortion and execution. But this admission, to say nothing of fact that hundreds of SOA alumni have been implicated in human rights abuses, has never prompted an independent investigation into the training facility. On September 20, 2012, Al Jazeera ran the story, “The School of the Americas: Class Over?”


“The Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation is part of the failed mindset that says that social problems can be ‘solved’ through military solutions.  This mindset has brought us the failed ‘War on Drugs’ and has killed thousands of people.” said SOA Watch founder Father Roy Bourgeois. SOA Watch will be demonstrating in mid-November to set an agenda against U.S. militarization.

###

Greed has poisoned man's soul


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Protest at Veteran's Memorial

Photo Ellen Davidson

By Margaret Flowers - Oct. 10, 2012
Sunday, October 7, 2012, marked the 11thanniversary of the US invasion of Afghanistan. The 12th year in Afghanistan is beginning with growing human and financial costs for all of us without an end in sight. Though NATO troops are supposed to be withdrawn from Afghanistan in 2014, the US plans to leave troops there until 2024.
Last October, we marked the anniversary of the invasion by starting an occupation in Freedom Plaza in Washington, DC. We focused on the ties between the corporate control of our political process and militarism. We marched on the US Chamber of Commerce and K Street during the day and listened to veterans and the Afghan Peace Volunteers during a vigil that night.
To mark this year’s anniversary, I participated in a ceremony with Veterans for Peace at the Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial in New York City. This is the site where the Veterans were arrested on May 1st for refusing to leave the memorial. After May 1, plaques were posted saying that the memorial closes at 10 pm.
The Veterans oppose the arbitrary closing of the memorial saying that war memories don’t end at 10 pm and with the growing number of military suicidesnow responsible for more deaths than combat, people should have greater access to these public spaces, not less. We must face up to the reality of war instead of trying to hide it.
Like all wars, the invasion of Afghanistan has come at a great human cost. Recentlythe 2000th US soldier was killed there. The number of US soldiers who have been physically wounded is approaching 20,000 and because of medical advances, thewounds that are being survived have lifelong consequences such as lost limbs,mutilated genitals and permanent brain injury. But the veterans know that nobody experiences war without being wounded, if not physically, then mentally or what they call the invisible scars.
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War has costs that go far beyond the battlefield. How can we begin to measure the effects on families who are torn apart physically and suffer the stress of worrying about their loved ones who are overseas? How can we measure the cost of caring for a family member who has come home from war suffering from PTSD? What is the cost of a human life that has been squandered for the profits of the Military Industrial Complex?
And beyond that, what is the cost to all of us of living in an Empire economy? This is something we don’t often discuss as a people. But General Smedley Butler said it best when he said that war is a racket. Wars are fought to create profits for a few and all wars are justified by lies.
We can see the racket at work by looking at what is happening now as the US escalates conflicts by attacking nations with which we are not at war through drone strikes, arming groups in countries like Libya, Yemen, Bahrain and Syria either directly or indirectly, surrounding China and Russia to drive the arms race. In fact, US weapon sales leaped dramatically this year from a previous high of $26 billion to $66 billion.
The American Empire Economy is killing people and the planet. The United States spends more on the military than any other nation, in fact five times more than the next highest nation which is China. And that only includes the ‘official’ spending. Much of our military spending is hidden.  And the American military is one of the greatest polluters from the high use of petroleum-based fuels to contamination of air and water, to the destruction of forests and the killing of wildlife.
And rather than making us safer, we are accelerating hostility towards the United States, which only further fuels the Military Industrial Complex.  This won’t end until, just like we need to do in health care, we take the profit out of it.
U.S. foreign policy and militarism together comprise a great threat to our public health. And like most public health problems, a preventative approach will work the best to stop it.
We can begin to resolve this public health threat by adopting a diplomatic foreign policy instead of one of aggression, as outlined in the Project on Defense Alternatives. We can end military casualties and injuries by bringing the troops home and investing in comprehensive care, including education and housing, for all veterans. Thousands of non-elderly veterans die each year due to lack of access to health care. Instead of war, we can invest our dollars in building a green economy and stronger physical and social infrastructures. In fact, we can create more and higher quality jobs by investing domestically rather than investing in the military.
These are commonsense solutions that are supported by the majority of Americans, but they are unlikely to be implemented for the same reason that so many of the solutions to our current crises are ignored: they put people before profits and those entities that profit off of our current crises control our current political process.
This is what I experienced first-hand during the health reform process of 2009-2010. The resulting health law, the ‘Affordable Care Act’ [sic], was written by and for the industries that profit off of our current system. It did not reflect the desires or the interests of the people.
And that is why I stand in solidarity with and am proud to be an associate member of Veterans for Peace. Together we can transform our nation and the world to one that is peaceful, just and sustainable. In fact, it will only happen if we work together nonviolently and strategically. We can shift the balance of power by exposing the truth and by building alternative systems to replace current ones.
Telling the truth is what Veterans for Peace has the courage to do over and over again. Members of Veterans for Peace frequently participate in protests in the US. They and their allies travel to countries that are devastated by US foreign policy from Gaza to Iraq and Afghanistan to Pakistan and Jeju Island in South Korea. In the past they put their bodies on the line for war profits and now they do so with the greater dedication and integrity for peace and justice.
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The ceremony at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on Sunday night was powerful and moving. Ariel Zevon of Doo-Occupysang with veterans from Vermont. David Rovics and Jun Bustamante sang “Meanwhile in Afghanistan.” Young veteran Jenny Pacanowski read her poem “Parade” and Vietnam veteran Mike Hastie read two of his poems. Chris Hedges spoke about “The Maimed.”
After the speakers and music, Veteran Watermelon Slimplayed a soulful “Taps” on harmonica. Then we began reading the names of New Yorkers who were killed in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan. Each time that ten names were read, WWII veteran Jay Wenk struck a gong and flowers were placed in one of 11 vases. Our intention was to read all of the thousands of names.
We began reading names at 8:30 and still had many pages to go when 10 pm rolled around.  There had been a few police gathered by one of the tall office buildings surrounding the memorial park during the ceremony, but at 10 pm many more police appeared including a lieutenant in his distinguishing white shirt.
156
We continued to read the names and strike the gong and place the flowers as the lieutenant warned us through his bullhorn that we would be arrested for trespassing. We continued reading and striking the gong and placing the flowers as the arrests began one by one. When Jay Wenk was arrested, we no longer had a gong but we continued reading names and placing flowers in the vases. When the women who were placing the flowers were arrested, we continued reading the names and we clutched the bouquets of flowers in our arms.
I was the last one of the 25 people arrested that night. The police took the flowers from me and when my arms were handcuffed behind my back, I could no longer see the papers I was holding and could no longer read the names. We were lined up and marched two by two to the waiting police vans which took us to the Seventh Precinct for processing.
I recall the words of Howard Zinn when Amy Goodman interviewed him in May, 2009. When she asked him what people should do, he said, “go where you are not supposed to go, say what you are not supposed to say and stay when they tell you to leave.”
It is up to us. We are on a path of environmental destruction and the extinction of many species, including humans. We can passively stay on that course, or we can stand united against it and create a different future. Every one of us can take a stand and contribute in our own way. Tell the truth. Talk to people in your community. Find ways to work together. Our issues are all connected. And let’s put people and the planet over profit.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

From this past Saturday


Over 1,000 people spell out “DUMP CITIZENS UNITED" with their bodies on a San Francisco beach!

"On Saturday over 1000 Americans laid their bodies down on a San Francisco beach to spell out “DUMP CITIZENS UNITED!” With election day looming, this protest was just the latest, and possibly most spectacular yet, in a wave of popular anger at the 2010 Supreme Court ruling that opened the floodgates to secretive and unlimited corporate political contributions."

Palestine


Monday, October 15, 2012

I donated

because getting out the truth is the most important thing we can do.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Upcoming events in the Asheville area this week

Photo by Zen Sutherland via Flicker.



UPCOMING EVENTS

10/15/12 CANDIDATE FORUM
Monday, Oct. 15 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the Skyland Volunteer Fire Dept., 9 Miller Road, Arden.  Buncombe County Commission Dist. 3, NC House District 116.  This is coordinated by the League of Women Voters, and is open to all.  For more information about the League of Women Voters and its fall forums, visit the League website at ablwv.org or call 828-258-8223.

10/15/12 FREE CLASS ON TRANSFORMING BELIEFS
Time is 7 to 9 PM.  Free class, "Challenging & transforming self-limiting language & beliefs," with Cathy Holt. Center for Holistic Medicine, 779 Haywood Rd., West Asheville. Pre-register: cathyfholt@gmail.com or 545-9681. More info: www.centerholistic.com. First in the series, "Tools for Self-Healing."

10/15/12 LINCOLN EXHIBIT OPENS AT UNCA
“Lincoln: The Constitution and the Civil War” will be on display at UNC Asheville in the Ramsey Library from October 15 - November 16 in commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation.  The exhibit is free and open to the public during regular library hours throughout the week. In Buncombe County, prior to 1865, any time a person was sold, a "bill of sale" was required to be registered at the County Court House at the current site of the Vance Monument.  These are viewable, along with a book with Last Wills and Testaments. Opening reception is from 5:30 to 7 PM. At 7 PM, there will be a lecture: "Emancipation: A Crime Against Humanity" by Dr. Darin Waters. This will be at the Ramsey Library Glass House.

10/15/12 MALAPROP’S EVENT
Joe Ingle will present his memoir “The Inferno: A Southern Morality Tale” alongside exonerated former death row prisoner Darryl Hunt. Time is 7 PM.

10/16/12 ASHEVILLE TRANSIT MEETING RETREAT
The Asheville Transit Commission's annual retreat will be held on October 16, 2012 from 9:00am to 3:30pm in the Human Resources Training Room, 6th Floor, 70 Court Plaza, City Hall.  The public is welcome to attend. See www.ridetheart.com for more information. Do you have compliments, questions, or concerns about walking, biking or using the bus in Asheville? You can email iwalk@ashevillenc.gov for pedestrian issues, ibike@ashevillenc.gov for cycling issues, and iride@ashevillenc.gov for transit issues.

10/16/12 CHILDREN FIRST/CIS MIND THE GAP TOUR
The Children First/CIS Mind the Gap Tour will call attention to the issues in our community that hinder the success of children and families in poverty.  Donations will not be requested. Time is 3:30 PM.  Info and registration: AdrienneA@Childrenfirstbe.org or 259-9717.

10/17/12 WNC TASK FORCE ON PRISON REFORM MEETING
Wednesday, October 17, at 3:00 p.m. at YWCA Board Room: WNC Task Force on Prison Reform will meet to plan a strategy for abolishing the Death Penalty in N.C.  Information:  254-5489,

10/17/12 WATER ACTION GROUP OF TRANSITION ASHEVILLE
The Transition Asheville Water Action Group is moving forward to engage the City of Asheville in our Water-Sustainable Asheville initiative. The presentation that has been given at libraries and community groups will be given at the October 17th meeting of the City's Sustainability Advisory Council for Energy and the Environment (SACEE)  at 3pm in the Public Works Building.  Anyone who can make it, please come by to lend support.

10/17/12 DOMESTIC VIOLENCE VIGIL
Helpmate and the Asheville YWCA will host a vigil to honor victims and survivors of domestic abuse in honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month. This will be held at 185 S. French Broad Avenue at 6 PM.  Free and open to the public. Info at http://avl.mx/l8.

10/18/12 LECTURE ON “THE TALL WOMAN, LINCOLN AND THE CIVIL WAR”
This will be held at the Special Collections Room at Ramsey Library.  Lecture will be by Gordon McKinney.  Time is 12:30 to 1:30 PM.

10/18/12 ASHEVILLE SISTER CITIES
“Maya Sites of Northern Yucatan” a lecture by Maya expert George Stuart, will be held in A-B Tech’s Ferguson Auditorium at 8 PM. Cost is $10/$5 students.  Preceding dinner by A-B Tech’s Culinary Department at 8 PM.  Cost is $20 and reservations are required: gwengh@charter.net.

10/18/12 BENEFIT FOR HONDURAS FOUNTAIN OF LIFE
This will be held at the Feed and Seed in Fletcher, NC.  Honduras Fountain of Life supports several mission projects in and near the Village of Taulabe in Honduras, Central America; including: Fuente de Vida Hogar de Ninas (Fountain of Life Home for Girls), Fuente de Vida Association of Churches and Fuente de Vida School.
www.hondurasfountainoflife.org.  Come to hear more about this Mission at Fletcher Feed & Seed.  http://www.feedandseednc.com/. Music begins at 7:30 pm.

10/19/12 WNC PHYSICIANS FOR SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY MEETING
The next WNC PSR monthly meeting will be at a private home near the VA Hospital.  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.

10/19/12 WNC HUMANIST TALK
Join WNC Humanists as they welcome Katherine Stewart to talk about her experience and journey writing her book. In January, 2009, Katherine Stewart learned that the Santa Barbara public elementary school her children attended had added a Bible study class called the “Good News Club” to its after school program.
Stewart’s curiosity turned to concern as she discovered that the unstated purpose of the club, which is sponsored by the Child Evangelism Fellowship, is to convey the impression to its young members and their schoolmates that their school favors a particular form of the Christian religion. In the book “The Good News Club”, Stewart sets out on an investigative journey to uncover the effect the Good News Clubs and similar initiatives have on our schools, children, and communities.  Read more about her book on her web site www.thegoodnewsclub.com. This talk is at 7 PM and will be held at A-B Tech, Enka campus in Candler.

10/21/12 ETHICAL CULTURAL SOCIETY
Joe Haun’s book, “Unbelievable! Faith, Reason, & the Search for Truth” is the topic for our October platform meeting, October 21st. Haun, Clemson University professor emeritus, has a doctorate in plant physiology. The topic is the title of Haun's 2011 philosophical memoir. Reed is a fellow member of the Ethical Society and editor-in-chief of Pisgah Press LLC. Together they will trace Dr. Haun’s journey from a childhood grounded by faith as a preacher’s son, to learning the value of “good works” during the Great Depression, to evolving his own humanist, rational worldview. Time is 2 PM and the location is Asheville Friends Meeting.

10/22/12 FAIR HOUSING SEMINAR
Fair Housing seminar from 6 - 8 pm at the Wesley Grant Southside Center in Asheville.  "Fair Housing: it's not an option, it's the law!"  Please join us as representatives of the NC Human Relations Commission and Pisgah Legal Services provide a plenary session on Fair Housing law, unlawful discriminatory housing practices and rights afforded under the NC and Federal Fair Housing Acts."

10/22/12 DEFENDING OUR WATER:  WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE YOU VOTE
This will be at Jubilee Community Church at 6:30 PM.  A non-partisan community information program to update you on the water issue, presented by Save Asheville’s Water.

10/23/12 THE DEAF COMMUNITY AT A CROSSROADS TALK
I. King Jordan made history in 1988 when he became the first deaf president of Gallaudet University, the world's only university for students who are deaf and hard of hearing. Dr. Jordan continues to challenge the American public to examine their attitudes toward people with disabilities and to open their minds, hearts and workplaces to them.  Time is 7 PM and location is Highsmith Union, Alumni Hall, UNCA.  Free and open to the public.

10/23/12 BUILDING AN ABUSE FREE COMMUNITY
This is a four-part series focusing on the reality of abuse in our society.  The goal is to empower the community by enabling and energizing a broader base of advocates to take action in preventing abuse and supporting victims in their recovery. Time is 7 PM and location is the Fellowship Hall at Grace Presbyterian Church on Merrimon.  For more information, contact jimrwallis@aol.com. Part One:  Who is abused?  How Prevalent is Abuse in our Country?

10/23/12 SISTER CITIES REPORT TO CITY COUNCIL
Inviting you to attend the Oct. 23rd City Council meeting. There will be presentations by Asheville Sister Cities of all our projects of the past year like Palenque Rojo, and the completion of the 29 wells in Osogbo.  Time is 5 PM and location is City Hall.

10/24/12 SO ‘RICH, SO POOR’ FORUM
Pisgah Legal Services’ 2nd Annual Poverty Forum featuring anti-poverty advocate Peter Edelman. Peter Edelman's most recent book, So Rich, So Poor: Why It's So Hard to End Poverty in America, examines the disturbing trends of deepening poverty and inequality in the United States. Please join us as we learn from Mr. Edelman's vast experience and knowledge about the causes of poverty and explore the public and civil actions needed to help the poor in Western North Carolina.  Location is Diana Wortham Theatre, Asheville. Reception is 5:30 PM and Forum is 7 PM. Tickets are $50 for reception and forum, $15 for forum only. Purchase tickets at www.pisgahlegal.org. Contact Betsy at betsy@pisgahlegal.org for more information.

10/24/12 VIDEO LECTURE BY RAY MCGOVERN
Western Carolinians for Peace and Justice in the Middle East presents Ray McGovern
in a video lecture (filmed Sept. 6th) “Israel and Iran: Facts vs. Fear” from 5 - 7 PM at Black Mountain Presbyterian Church, NC Hwy 9 north (Montreat Rd).  Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, the publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. Primarily a substantive analyst and briefer, he nonetheless served in all four of CIA's main directorates and, during one of his postings abroad, helped manage a large covert action project. He resigned from the government and, in January 2003, he co-founded Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).

10/25/12 GENEALOGICAL RESEARCH FOR AFRICAN AMERICANS
Sasha Mitchell will instruct on how to do genealogical research for African Americans prior to 1865.  Registration limited to the first 35 respondents to dmiles@unca.edu. An additional workshop will be planned if needed.  Time is 6 to 9 PM.  Location is Ramsey Library Whitman Room.

10/26/12 SPEAKER FOR NEW SOUTH NETWORK
“Nothing more evil:  Confronting the Military Industrial Complex”. New South Network is sponsoring a visit by David Swanson to speak on October 26, Friday evening at 7 PM, at the Battery Park Apartments Roof Top room. “David Swanson is an antidote to the toxins of complacency and evasion. He insists on rousing the sleepwalkers, confronting the deadly prevaricators and shining a bright light on possibilities for a truly better world.” —Norman Solomon, author of War Made Easy.  For more info: email newsouthnetwork@gmail. com or call: 828-3301-6683; 828-242-5610.

10/30/12 BUILDING AN ABUSE FREE COMMUNITY
This is a four-part series focusing on the reality of abuse in our society.  The goal is to empower the community by enabling and energizing a broader base of advocates to take action in preventing abuse and supporting victims in their recovery. Time is 7 PM and location is the Fellowship Hall at Grace Presbyterian Church on Merrimon.  For more information, contact jimrwallis@aol.com. Part Two:  How do you recognize signs of abuse?  Why is this happening?

10/30/12 STORIES OF GENEALOGICAL RESEARCH
Sasha Mitchell will share her own family experience on genealogical research prior to 1865.  Time is 12:20 to 1:30 PM and location is Highsmith Student Union Mountain Suites.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

From Voices for Creative Non-violence


Punishing Free Speech and Letting Murder Off the Hook, Justice Denied in Missouri

In US District Court in Jefferson City, Missouri, two anti-drone protestors were sentenced for trespassing at Whiteman Air Force Base, one of the stateside bases from where predator drones are operated in the skies over Afghanistan and Pakistan. Brian Terrell will begin a six month prison sentence on November 30, Ron Faust will be on federal probation for five years.

Brian Terrell’s statement at sentencing, US District Court,
Jefferson City, Missouri, October 11, 2012

Mark Twain called free speech the “privilege of the grave,” a privilege never afforded the living save as an empty formality, not to be regarded seriously as an actual possession. “As an active privilege, it ranks with the privilege of committing murder: we may exercise it if we are willing to take the consequences. Murder is forbidden both in form and in fact; free speech is granted in form but forbidden in fact….Murder is sometimes punished, free speech always.”

Punishing free speech and letting murder off the hook is the order of the day in this courtroom.

How to speak of an appropriate sentence where no crime has been committed? No crime committed, at least, by the defendants? Last month’s trial in this courtroom concerning a protest of killer drones flown from Whiteman Air Force Base left no doubt that this is the case.

Each of the government’s witnesses, all of them Air Force police personnel, testified that participants in this protest were nonviolent, respectful and peaceable in assembling at Whiteman Air Force Base, a government installation, to petition that government for redress of a grievance, demanding that the remote control killing carried out daily from Whiteman cease. They testified that at no time, before or during our protest, did they perceive us as a threat.

Our expert witnesses testified that our behavior was consistent with the activities that the drafters of the First Amendment intended to be protected, not persecuted, by the government. The order and security of the base would not have been compromised had the security police allowed us to proceed to the headquarters to deliver our petition. No testimony to the contrary was offered this court.

Instead of planning to accommodate a constitutionally protected peaceable assembly, however, the Air Force chose intimidation and conspired to deprive us of the rights they are sworn to protect. We learned from government witnesses that that the phalanx of goose stepping riot police is a “Confrontation Management Team,” deployed only in the case of preannounced events. Whiteman security did not call out the Team to defend the base but to intimidate citizens engaged in lawful activities.

The court was mistaken a month ago when it said that our group was “allowed” to assemble on the highway right of way by the Air Force and that this space provided for us met free speech requirements of reasonable time and place. This place in question is not only outside the base’s jurisdiction, it is outside the sight and hearing of anyone on the base. The court’s decision is part of a widening disintegration of civil liberties, where speech is tolerated only in designated and remote “free speech zones” where it cannot be heard by the government, and criminalized in any place where that speech might actually have a chance to be understood. Intended or not, the court’s message is a chilling one- that a citizens’ constitutional right to assemble to petition the government extends only to places outside government facilities and where the government does not have to hear it.

The court’s easy dismissal of international law as not “trumping” domestic law has precedents, but is all the more disturbing for this fact. Last fall, I was on trial for a drone protest in a New York State where, in contrast to this court, former United States Attorney General Ramsey Clark was permitted to testify on international law. Judge Gideon, after listening to Ramsey Clark speak of the Nuremburg Principles at length, leaned over the bench and asked him, “This is all interesting, but what is the enforcement mechanism? Who is responsible for enforcing international law?” “They are,” responded Mr. Clark, pointing to us defendants, “and so,” he said to Judge Gideon, “are you!” Every citizen is responsible under international law and every judge more so.

In our trial here last month, as at our protest in April, our intention has been to put the illegally operated predator drones on trial and so we have focused on the machines that are sowing death and terror in Afghanistan and Pakistan by remote control from Whiteman Air Force Base. It was never our intention to address or to protest the weapons system that is the larger mission of Whiteman, namely the B-2 Stealth Bomber.

However, Judge Whitworth, both in sentencing Mark Kenney and in our trial, you noted that your commitment to maintain the security of the B-2 weighs heavily in your decisions.

For a judge to admit to being swayed by a consideration other than the law, not to mention when that consideration is the security of weapons of mass destruction, raises obvious questions about that judge’s impartiality. For my part, Judge Whitworth, I am grateful to you for calling our attention to the larger picture. It is not, of course, the technology of robotics that we protest but the murderous and criminal uses the government puts it to. Drones are the weapon of choice in the current administration’s wars of aggression, but it was the B-2s from Whiteman that first violated Afghan airspace eleven years ago this week and began killing the people of Afghanistan. The crimes against humanity that began in October, 2001, with B-2 airstrikes on a defenseless civilian population continue today with drones operated from that very same base.

The B-2 Bomber, blasphemously nicknamed the “Spirit Bomber,” is also ready at a moment’s notice to commit the ultimate and unthinkable war crime of delivering the first nuclear payload to any place on earth. A cold war boondoggle, the B-2’s stealth capability shields it from radar the Soviets never got around to developing before their own tragic empire finally imploded. It is a prime illustration of President Eisenhower’s admonition, “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. This is not a way of life at all in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.

On the official website for Whiteman Air Force Base I found the base’s mission statement. It is as brief as it is vicious: “Skilled and proud Airmen providing full spectrum, expeditionary, B-2 global strike and combat support capabilities to geographic commanders and the Commander, USSTRATCOM, while supporting Team Whiteman. We kick down doors and kill targets… Weapons on Target, On Time!”

I have visited Afghanistan and know that eleven years of NATO troops kicking down doors has not brought peace there. Often soldiers don’t seem to know whose door they’ve kicked in or whether the “target” they kill is who they are hunting for. B-2 bombers from a great height or even drones with state of the art video feed do no better. We know that even children are sometimes named as targets to be killed by drones. Children regularly are among their “collateral damage.” The targets themselves are often victims of assassination rather than legitimate casualties of war. Eleven years of kicking down doors has only made the world a more frightening place and has earned our nation more enemies and less security. Whiteman’s mission is not counter-terrorism- it is terrorism.

Judge Whitworth, you told me at the close of our trial that you do not take sentencing someone to prison lightly. This case offers certain challenges. As my presentence report attests, “There are no identifiable victims of the offense.” Beyond your own surmises, there was no suggestion at trial that our conduct threatened any person, property or institution. The question for you is, how to pass a sentence commensurate with harm done when the substance of the “crime” itself is only a good deed without harmful consequences to any?

I expect nothing other than a prison sentence today. I accept this without regret and will, if allowed, surrender myself to a designated prison some weeks from now, but I cannot say that I see justice in this.  I admit that my conduct was as the government described it at trial. That conduct, however, does not constitute a crime but was a response to one. It is conduct this court should be protecting.

Our expert witness Professor Bill Quigley spoke from the stand here last month about the difference between law and justice and the ongoing struggle to bring these into one. Since first entering this courthouse back in June, I have been ruminating over the words circling the Great Seal of the United States in the floor of the rotunda of this courthouse, “Let Justice Flow Like a River.” How did these words from the Bible make it into this modern, tax-supported government building? I wonder if these words of scripture might have made their way here to the secular domain from the prophet Amos through Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who quoted them in his classic “Letter from the Birmingham Jail.” In any case, these lofty words ring hollow in this place. Justice has not flowed through these proceedings and even law itself has proved but a disappointing trickle. Another Biblical quote suggests itself for the trampling under the feet of the litigants, defendants, judges and attorneys who enter this building oblivious to the unpunished murder in places far away but perpetrated from a place not so far from here; this from the prophet Isaiah: “My Beloved looked for justice and found it denied, for righteousness but heard cries of distress.”