Sunday, December 29, 2013

Upcoming events in the Asheville area this week



UPCOMING EVENTS

12/30/13 KWANZAA CELEBRATION
Location is Dr. Wesley Grant Center and time is 6 to 7 PM. Nia Yaa will present on NIA (purpose). This is seven nights of celebration of African culture led by community members. Come and be inspired for the new year! There will be activities for the youth as well. For more information, please call/text Bella at 912-433-5411 or Calvin at 828-407-6733.

12/31/13 KWANZAA CELEBRATION
Location is Eagle Street Coffee Emporium and time is 6 to 7 PM. Lucia White will present on Kuumba (creativity). This is seven nights of celebration of African culture led by community members. Come and be inspired for the new year! There will be activities for the youth as well. For more information, please call/text Bella at 912-433-5411 or Calvin at 828-407-6733.

01/01/14 KWANZAA CELEBRATION
Location is BeLoved House and time is 2 to 4 PM. Tyrone Greenlee will present on Imani (faith), followed by a celebratory potluck. This is seven nights of celebration of African culture led by community members. Come and be inspired for the new year! There will be activities for the youth as well. For more information, please call/text Bella at 912-433-5411 or Calvin at 828-407-6733.

01/06/14 FAST FOR JUSTICE ACROSS THE USA
This is a fast to promote justice for the inmates of Guantanamo.

01/08/14 WESTERN CAROLINIANS FOR PEACE AND JUSTICE IN THE MIDDLE EAST MEETING
This meeting of Western Carolinians for Peace and Justice in the Middle East will be held at Black Mountain Presbyterian Church at 9:30 AM. Contact Beth at elizakeiser@aol.com for more information.

01/08/14 ASHEVILLE GREEN DRINKS MEETING
The Green Sage Coffeehouse and Cafe is transitioning into their winter hours. They will close to the public at 5 PM but will still offer Green Drinks attendees food service until 5:30 PM. Please plan accordingly if you would like to purchase dinner. Presentation is at 6 PM. This week’s topic is “Landslides in Western North Carolina”.

01/09/14 EMPATHY PRACTICE GROUP
HeartSpeak and Empathy Practice Group starting Thursday, Jan. 9, 7-9 PM. Location is 386 Kenilworth Rd. at Digges. Drop in, love offering encouraged. Want to learn skills of communicating and listening from the heart? Need a safe space to practice the language of feelings and needs? For more information contact Cathy Holt, 828-545-9681 or cathyfholt@gmail.com.

01/10/14 UNITARIAN UNIVERSALIST SOCIAL JUSTICE MOVIE
On Friday, January 10th, Howard Nemon, with the Center for Local Economies will be screening "The Next American Revolution, Beyond corporate Capitalism and State Socialism".  The event is sponsored by Co-creating the New Economy and Transition Asheville, along with the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Asheville. The film is at 7 PM. Location is the UU Church, at the corner of Charlotte and Edwin in Asheville. Childcare available, but call in advance: 828-331-1269.

01/11/14 VIGIL AND PROCESSION MARKING 12 YEARS OF GUANTANAMO IN DC

01/13/14 MOVE TO AMEND BUNCOMBE COUNTY MEETING
Meeting is at 7 PM at the North Asheville Library.

01/14/14 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/.

01/14/14 ASHEVILLE TRANSIT COMMITTEE MONTHLY MEETING
The Asheville Transit Committee monthly meeting, regularly scheduled on Tuesday, 1/7/14 has been rescheduled to Tuesday, 1/14/14 from 3:30 PM - 5:30 PM. Location is the 4th Floor Police/Fire Training Room in the Metropolitan Building, 100 Court Plaza.

01/15/14 SIERRA CLUB MEETING
Chuck Pickering is the President of Agriculture and Land Planning at Biltmore Estate. He will discuss sustainability initiatives at Biltmore and their corporate goals of environmental preservation. Time is 7 PM (program starts at 7:15) at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Asheville (corner of Charlotte & Edwin). Contact: judymattox@sbcglobal.net, or 828-683-2176 for more information.

01/15/14 ASHEVILLE GREEN DRINKS MEETING
This week’s topic is “Biltmore Estate’s Sustainability and Environmental Preservation. Location is the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Asheville at Edwin and Charlotte Street. Start time is 7 PM. This event is also the Sierra Club Meeting.

01/23/13 TRANSITION ASHEVILLE DISCUSSION COURSE
Transition Asheville will hold a “Choices for Sustainable Living” discussion course. This course goes until March 6, 2014. Join WNCA for a seven-session discussion course based on the book “Choices for Sustainable Living” from the Northwest Earth Institute. In the discussion course participants will explore ways to live more sustainably and have the opportunity to explore sustainability in a deeper sense while reflecting on sustainably in different aspects of their lives. Time is 6 PM to 7:30 PM and this will be held at Battery Park Book Exchange & Champagne Bar in Asheville. Cost is $45 for WNCA members, $60 for non-members (includes 1 year WNCA membership). For more details and instructions on how to register, please call course leader, Isabelle Rios, at 828-258-8737 ext. 201 or email Isabelle@WNCA.org by Jan. 17.

01/24/14 WESTERN CAROLINIANS FOR PEACE AND JUSTICE IN THE MIDDLE EAST MEETING
This meeting of the Western Carolinians for Peace and Justice in the Middle East will be held at 3:15 PM at Brooks Howell House. Contact Beth at elizakeiser@aol.com for more information.

01/26/14 CLEAN WATER FOR NC FILM SHOWING
Clean Water for NC will host a showing of the film Bidder 70 on Sunday January 26th. More info here for the film: http://www.bidder70film.com/. Time TBA, and location is probably Asheville Friends Meeting House at 227 Edgewood Avenue in Asheville. Discussion afterwards, donations accepted. Contact Autumn for final details and more information at autumnwoodward@hotmail.com.

02/08/14 HKonJ MARCH IN RALEIGH
All Roads Lead to Raleigh for HKonJ8 on February 8, 2014. In 2014, Raleigh will host the largest people's assembly yet.  Thousands of people from across North Carolina, and across the United States, will assemble on Jones Street, to protest the immoral, unconstitutional, mean spirit that has taken over the Peoples House. Organized by the NC NAACP.

02/10/14 ASHEVILLE-BUNCOMBE FOOD POLICY COUNCIL MEETING
Asheville-Buncombe Food Policy Council Meeting of the Whole will be held at Sherrill Center & Kimmel Arena at UNCA. Join us in celebrating the hard work and progress made over the past year in supporting a “healthy food friendly” Asheville and Buncombe County. Learn more about our work and help us set our priorities for the next year. We want YOUR input. Time is 4:30 to 6:30 PM.  New member orientation at 4 PM. Email us with questions and to find out how to register at info@abfoodpolicy.com.

07/24/14 TO 07/27/14 VETERANS FOR PEACE ANNUAL CONVENTION
This will be held at UNCA.

*******************************************
ONGOING EVENTS
*******************************************

TUESDAY
Veterans for Peace have a weekly vigil at 4:30 PM at Pack Square, Vance Monument

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

THURSDAY
Asheville Homeless Network meeting at 2 PM at Firestorm Cafe

FRIDAY
Women in Black have a weekly vigil at noon at the City Hall in Hendersonville
Women in Black have a monthly vigil at 5 PM at Vance Monument in Asheville (first Friday only)

SATURDAY
Transylvanians for Peace and WNC Physicians for Social Responsibility have a weekly vigil at noon in front of the courthouse in Brevard
Third Saturdays – Asheville’s Green Grannies invites the public to “sing for the climate” at Vance Monument.

*******************************************
ACTIONS AND READINGS
*******************************************
FROM CHILDREN FIRST/CIS

We've got a new accountability tool for tracking WNC legislators' votes - www.wncvotetracker.org. Visit this infomative website to learn how legislators voted in the most recent session on issues related to: Economic Security, Education, Environment, Health & Safety, Government & Democracy, and Women's Issues. The site also provides an overview of the budget and tax bills.

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

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Friday, December 27, 2013

Pictures from Florida Keys vacation this month

 Old Bahia Honda bridge

 Mile Marker Zero, Highway 1, Key West

 Dancing couple, Key West

 Les and the shopping lady, Key West

 Sign in Key West

 Manatee under the dock, Key West

 Key West Christmas tree

 Key West car - lots of bumper stickers

 Key West sailboat

 Key West sunset

 More sunset

 Sunset again, Key West, Mallory Square

 Les and Charlotte at the Butterfly House

 Flamingos at the Butterfly House
Key West

 Sunset in Key West

 My favorite sunset picture, thanks to the bird. 
Key West, Mallory Square

 Les at the Mexican resturant
Key West
 View from our campsite in Bahia Honda State Park.

 Sunset from the old Bahia Honda bridge.

 Sunset from old Bahia Honda bridge. Different filter setting from above photo.

 Christmas tree topper in Bahia Honda State Park. Looks like the southern-most marker in Key West.

 Sunset behind the old Bahia Honda Bridge.

 Sunrise from Bahia Honda State Park, Atlantic ocean

 Painted on edge of picnic shelter: "Every day is a good day to be alive, whether the sun shines or not."
Bahia Honda State Park, Florida

 Charlotte and Les in the Atlantic ocean.
Bahia Honda State Park
Lemon shark on the right, Key West waterfront

Monday, December 23, 2013

Earth Anthem

The photo above came from an Iraq Veterans Against the War email.




EARTH ANTHEM
(To the tune of Star Spangled Banner)

O say can we see
By the one light in all
Our earth to embrace
At the call of all nations
Where our children can play
In a world without war
Where we stand hand in hand
In the grace of creation
Where the rivers run clean
Through the forests of green
Where the cities stand tall
In the clear skies of freedom
O say do our hearts sing
For harmony and love forever
On the planet of our birth
Blessed with Peace on Earth

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Upcoming events for the week of December 22, 2013



UPCOMING EVENTS

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!  No more events for 2013, but here are some for 2014.

01/06/14 FAST FOR JUSTICE IN DC AND EVERYWHERE
This is a fast to promote justice for the inmates of Guantanamo.

01/08/14 WESTERN CAROLINIANS FOR PEACE AND JUSTICE IN THE MIDDLE EAST MEETING
This meeting of Western Carolinians for Peace and Justice in the Middle East will be held at Black Mountain Presbyterian Church at 9:30 AM. Contact Beth at elizakeiser@aol.com for more information.

01/08/14 ASHEVILLE GREEN DRINKS MEETING
The Green Sage Coffeehouse and Cafe is transitioning into their winter hours. They will close to the public at 5 PM but will still offer Green Drinks attendees food service until 5:30 PM. Please plan accordingly if you would like to purchase dinner. Presentation is at 6 PM. This week’s topic is “Landslides in Western North Carolina”.

01/09/14 EMPATHY PRACTICE GROUP
HeartSpeak and Empathy Practice Group starting Thursday, Jan. 9, 7-9 PM. Location is 386 Kenilworth Rd. at Digges. Drop in, love offering encouraged. Want to learn skills of communicating and listening from the heart? Need a safe space to practice the language of feelings and needs? For more information contact Cathy Holt, 828-545-9681 or cathyfholt@gmail.com.

01/10/14 UNITARIAN UNIVERSALIST SOCIAL JUSTICE MOVIE
On Friday, January 10th, Howard Nemon, with the Center for Local Economies will be screening "The Next American Revolution, Beyond corporate Capitalism and State Socialism".  The event is sponsored by Co-creating the New Economy and Transition Asheville, along with the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Asheville. The film is at 7 PM.  Childcare available, but call in advance: 828-331-1269.

01/11/14 VIGIL AND PROCESSION MARKING 12 YEARS OF GUANTANAMO IN DC

01/13/14 MOVE TO AMEND BUNCOMBE COUNTY MEETING
Meeting is at 7 PM at the North Asheville Library.

01/14/14 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/.

01/14/14 ASHEVILLE TRANSIT COMMITTEE MONTHLY MEETING
The Asheville Transit Committee monthly meeting, regularly scheduled on Tuesday, 1/7/14 has been rescheduled to Tuesday, 1/14/14 from 3:30 PM - 5:30 PM. Location is the 4th Floor Police/Fire Training Room in the Metropolitan Building, 100 Court Plaza.

01/15/14 SIERRA CLUB MEETING
Chuck Pickering is the President of Agriculture and Land Planning at Biltmore Estate. He will discuss sustainability initiatives at Biltmore and their corporate goals of environmental preservation. Time is 7 PM (program starts at 7:15) at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Asheville (corner of Charlotte & Edwin). Contact: judymattox@sbcglobal.net, or 828-683-2176 for more information.

01/15/14 ASHEVILLE GREEN DRINKS MEETING
This week’s topic is “Biltmore Estate’s Sustainability and Environmental Preservation. Location is the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Asheville at Edwin and Charlotte Street. Time is 7 PM. This event is also the Sierra Club Meeting.

01/23/13 TRANSITION ASHEVILLE DISCUSSION COURSE
Transition Asheville will hold a “Choices for Sustainable Living” discussion course. This course goes until March 6, 2014. Join WNCA for a seven-session discussion course based on the book “Choices for Sustainable Living” from the Northwest Earth Institute. In the discussion course participants will explore ways to live more sustainably and have the opportunity to explore sustainability in a deeper sense while reflecting on sustainably in different aspects of their lives. Time is 6 PM to 7:30 PM and this will be held at Battery Park Book Exchange & Champagne Bar in Asheville. Cost is $45 for WNCA members, $60 for non-members (includes 1 year WNCA membership). For more details and instructions on how to register, please call course leader, Isabelle Rios, at 828-258-8737 ext. 201 or email Isabelle@WNCA.org by Jan. 17.

01/24/14 WESTERN CAROLINIANS FOR PEACE AND JUSTICE IN THE MIDDLE EAST MEETING
This meeting of the Western Carolinians for Peace and Justice in the Middle East will be held at 3:15 PM at Brooks Howell House. Contact Beth at elizakeiser@aol.com for more information.

01/26/14 CLEAN WATER FOR NC FILM SHOWING
Clean Water for NC will host a showing of the film Bidder 70 on Sunday January 26th. More info here for the film: http://www.bidder70film.com/. Time TBA, and location is probably Asheville Friends Meeting House at 227 Edgewood Avenue in Asheville. Discussion afterwards, donations accepted. Contact Autumn for final details and more information at autumnwoodward@hotmail.com.

02/08/14 HKonJ MARCH IN RALEIGH
All Roads Lead to Raleigh for HKonJ8 on February 8, 2014. In 2014, Raleigh will host the largest people's assembly yet.  Thousands of people from across North Carolina, and across the United States, will assemble on Jones Street, to protest the immoral, unconstitutional, mean spirit that has taken over the Peoples House. Organized by the NC NAACP.

02/10/14 ASHEVILLE-BUNCOMBE FOOD POLICY COUNCIL MEETING
Asheville-Buncombe Food Policy Council Meeting of the Whole will be held at Sherrill Center & Kimmel Arena at UNCA. Join us in celebrating the hard work and progress made over the past year in supporting a “healthy food friendly” Asheville and Buncombe County. Learn more about our work and help us set our priorities for the next year. We want YOUR input. Time is 4:30 to 6:30 PM.  New member orientation at 4 PM. Email us with questions and to find out how to register at info@abfoodpolicy.com.

*******************************************
ONGOING EVENTS
*******************************************

TUESDAY
Veterans for Peace have a weekly vigil at 4:30 PM at Pack Square, Vance Monument

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

THURSDAY
Asheville Homeless Network meeting at 2 PM at Firestorm Cafe

FRIDAY
Women in Black have a weekly vigil at noon at the City Hall in Hendersonville
Women in Black have a monthly vigil at 5 PM at Vance Monument in Asheville (first Friday only)

SATURDAY
Transylvanians for Peace and WNC Physicians for Social Responsibility have a weekly vigil at noon in front of the courthouse in Brevard
Third Saturdays – Asheville’s Green Grannies invites the public to “sing for the climate” at Vance Monument.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Long May You Run by CSNY

I have been listening to them for over four decades now..... still fabulous.


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Mandela's letter to Friedman



A Letter from Nelson Mandela to Thomas Friedman

Posted by Arjan El Fassed (Media Monitors Network)
Written on March 30, 2001

To: Thomas L. Friedman (columnist New York Times)
From: Nelson Mandela (former President South Africa)

Dear Thomas,

I know that you and I long for peace in the Middle East, but before you continue to talk about necessary conditions from an Israeli perspective, you need to know what's on my mind. Where to begin? How about 1964. Let me quote my own words during my trial. They are true today as they were then:

"I have fought against white domination and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die."

Today the world, black and white, recognise that apartheid has no future. In South Africa it has been ended by our own decisive mass action in order to build peace and security. That mass campaign of defiance and other actions could only culminate in the establishment of democracy.

Perhaps it is strange for you to observe the situation in Palestine or more specifically, the structure of political and cultural relationships between Palestinians and Israelis, as an apartheid system. This is because you incorrectly think that the problem of Palestine began in 1967. This was demonstrated in your recent column "Bush's First Memo" in the New York Times on March 27, 2001.

You seem to be surprised to hear that there are still problems of 1948 to be solved, the most important component of which is the right to return of Palestinian refugees.

The Palestinian-Israeli conflict is not just an issue of military occupation and Israel is not a country that was established "normally" and happened to occupy another country in 1967. Palestinians are not struggling for a "state" but for freedom, liberation and equality, just like we were struggling for freedom in South Africa.

In the last few years, and especially during the reign of the Labour Party, Israel showed that it was not even willing to return what it occupied in 1967; that settlements remain, Jerusalem would be under exclusive Israeli sovereignty, and Palestinians would not have an independent state, but would be under Israeli economic domination with Israeli control of borders, land, air, water and sea.

Israel was not thinking of a "state" but of "separation". The value of separation is measured in terms of the ability of Israel to keep the Jewish state Jewish, and not to have a Palestinian minority that could have the opportunity to become a majority at some time in the future. If this takes place, it would force Israel to either become a secular democratic or bi-national state, or to turn into a state of apartheid not only de facto, but also de jure.

Thomas, if you follow the polls in Israel for the last 30 or 40 years, you clearly find a vulgar racism that includes a third of the population who openly declare themselves to be racist. This racism is of the nature of "I hate Arabs" and "I wish Arabs would be dead". If you also follow the judicial system in Israel you will see there is discrimination against
Palestinians, and if you further consider the 1967 occupied territories you will find there are already two judicial systems in operation that represent two different approaches to human life: one for Palestinian life and the other for Jewish life. Additionally there are two different approaches to property and to land. Palestinian property is not recognised as private property because it can be confiscated.

As to the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, there is an additional factor. The so-called "Palestinian autonomous areas" are bantustans. These are restricted entities within the power structure of the Israeli apartheid system.

The Palestinian state cannot be the by-product of the Jewish state, just in order to keep the Jewish purity of Israel. Israel's racial discrimination is daily life of most Palestinians. Since Israel is a Jewish state, Israeli Jews are able to accrue special rights which non-Jews cannot do. Palestinian Arabs have no place in a "Jewish" state.

Apartheid is a crime against humanity. Israel has deprived millions of Palestinians of their liberty and property. It has perpetuated a system of gross racial discrimination and inequality. It has systematically incarcerated and tortured thousands of Palestinians, contrary to the rules of international law. It has, in particular, waged a war against a civilian population, in particular children.

The responses made by South Africa to human rights abuses emanating from the removal policies and apartheid policies respectively, shed light on what Israeli society must necessarily go through before one can speak of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East and an end to its apartheid policies.

Thomas, I'm not abandoning Mideast diplomacy. But I'm not going to indulge you the way your supporters do. If you want peace and democracy, I will support you. If you want formal apartheid, we will not support you. If you want to support racial discrimination and ethnic cleansing, we will oppose you. When you figure out what you're about, give me a call. 

Monday, December 16, 2013

The Soul of Our Nation - WAR



This is how it works.

The US has been providing Egypt with nearly $2 billion a year in "aid" since 1979.  Most of this is military aid.  That "aid" is then used to buy weapons from American corporations.  So in reality most of US foreign aid becomes more welfare programs for the military industrial complex.

Because of current civil war conditions in Egypt the Obama team is having to hold off on providing more aid to that embattled nation.  A recent Pew Research Center poll found that 51% of respondents said it's better to cut off military assistance to Egypt, while 26% backed continued aid.

The "aid" now on temporary hold would include: F-16 fighter jets from Lockheed Martin; M1A1 tanks from General Dynamics; and Apache attack helicopters made by Boeing Co.

CBS News reported on August 20:  "The billion dollars in aid Congress approved for Egypt does not go directly to Cairo, it goes to places such as Archbald, Pennsylvania.  The General Dynamics factory there makes parts for the M1A1 tank.  General Dynamics is filling an order for 125 tank kits for the Egyptian Army.  One-hundred-thirty people work at the Archbald facility."

You can imagine the workers at the Archbald facility want this "aid" to continue.  Archbald Mayor Ed Fairbrother says the jobs are "extremely important" to the community.  "They are some of the best jobs we have in the community," he says.  "Those are the kinds of jobs that sustain communities and families."

There are 44 companies in Pennsylvania involved in production of the M1A1.  The interesting thing is that Egypt does not need the tanks and many of the "kits" are still in crates after being delivered to their military.

American communities have become addicted to war spending and military production.  As most traditional manufacturing industry has moved overseas seeking cheaper labor the best jobs in most parts of the nation are building weapons.  It's thus no coincidence that the #1 industrial export product of our nation is weapons.   And what is our global marketing strategy for that product line?  Hello Syria!

An attack on Syria will at the least expend lots of Tomahawk cruise missiles.  When daddy Bush launched a cruise missile attack on Iraq in the early 1990's these missiles cost $1 million each.  The Pentagon used 100 of them in the initial attack.  McDonnell Douglas (now owned by Boeing Co.) had their factory in Titusville, Florida working round-the-clock to replace them.  At the start of George W. Bush's Iraq attack in 2003 it was the Tomahawk cruise missile that fired the first shots from the USS Cowpens. The ship is a Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser. The ship is named after the Battle of Cowpens, a major American victory near Cowpens, South Carolina, in the American Revolution. It was built at the Bath Iron Works in Maine.

Years ago I spoke to a peace group here in Maine and I noticed a young woman in the audience with a look in her eyes that I immediately recognized.  After my talk she hung around near my literature table but waited until everyone was gone before she approached Mary Beth and I.  She told us she was an Iraq War veteran.  We had not had dinner yet so invited her to come along with us.  Over the years we became like family with this wonderful former Navy Lieutenant who was the Officer on the Deck responsible for positioning the USS Cowpens when it launched the very first Tomahawk cruise during "shock and awe" in 2003.

Today this young woman suffers from severe war trauma.  She told us the story of seeing the series of missiles launch right before her eyes.  After her shift was over she went below to see the crew watching a TV with images of a burning Baghdad.  The crew was cheering.  She was in a daze and stumbled to her bunk.  At her first opportunity she got out of the Navy and today has a tough time functioning in the "real world".

Today these same missiles cost up to $3 million each.  So a similar attack on Syria will keep the factories humming back home.  We've become a killer nation.  We have to have endless war, like a drunk needs a drink at the bar, in order for American workers to put food on the tables for their families.

What does this say about the soul of our nation?


~ Above by Bruce K. Gagnon, Coordinator
Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Upcoming events in the Asheville area this week


UPCOMING EVENTS

12/17/13 WNC ALLIANCE FOR RETIRED AMERICANS MEETING
The Western North Carolina Alliance for Retired Americans meets on the 3rd Tuesday of every month at the Kenilworth Presbyterian Fellowship Hall at 123 Kenilworth Rd in Asheville. Time is 10 AM. The ARA is a statewide organization of retired union members and their friends and families. We are non-partisan and open to everyone who is concerned about the need for jobs which pay a living wage, as well as those issues which affect all of us. FMI contact dick@dickandnorma.com.

12/18/13 ASHEVILLE GREEN DRINKS
Join us at 6 PM at the Green Sage Coffeehouse and Cafe for a presentation on Green Building Council’s “Living Building Challenge” by Emily Coleman-Wolf, Project Architect for Padgett & Freeman Architects and Stephens Smith Farrell of Stephens Smith Farrell Architecture. For networking, socializing and Green Drink specials please arrive early (5:30 PM). The presentation will begin at 6 PM. See you all there!

12/20/13 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. Call Lew at 299-1242 to make sure this meeting was not cancelled for the holidays.

01/06/14 FAST FOR JUSTICE
This is a fast to promote justice for the inmates of Guantanamo.

01/08/14 WESTERN CAROLINIANS FOR PEACE AND JUSTICE IN THE MIDDLE EAST MEETING
This meeting of Western Carolinians for Peace and Justice in the Middle East will be held at Black Mountain Presbyterian Church at 9:30 AM. Contact Beth at elizakeiser@aol.com for more information.

01/09/14 EMPATHY PRACTICE GROUP
HeartSpeak and Empathy Practice Group starting Thursday, Jan. 9, 7-9 PM. Location is 386 Kenilworth Rd. at Digges. Drop in, love offering encouraged. Want to learn skills of communicating and listening from the heart? Need a safe space to practice the language of feelings and needs? For more information contact Cathy Holt, 828-545-9681 or cathyfholt@gmail.com.

01/11/14 VIGIL AND PROCESSION MARKING 12 YEARS OF GUANTANAMO IN DC

01/14/14 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/

01/15/14 SIERRA CLUB MEETING
Chuck Pickering is the President of Agriculture and Land Planning at Biltmore Estate. He will discuss sustainability initiatives at Biltmore and their corporate goals of environmental preservation. Time is 7 PM (program starts at 7:15) at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Asheville (corner of Charlotte & Edwin). Contact: judymattox@sbcglobal.net, or 828-683-2176 for more information.

*******************************************
ONGOING EVENTS
*******************************************

TUESDAY
Veterans for Peace have a weekly vigil at 4:30 PM at Pack Square, Vance Monument

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

THURSDAY
Asheville Homeless Network meeting at 2 PM at Firestorm Cafe

FRIDAY
Women in Black have a weekly vigil at noon at the City Hall in Hendersonville
Women in Black have a monthly vigil at 5 PM at Vance Monument in Asheville (first Friday only)

SATURDAY
Transylvanians for Peace and WNC Physicians for Social Responsibility have a weekly vigil at noon in front of the courthouse in Brevard
Third Saturdays – Asheville’s Green Grannies invites the public to “sing for the climate” at Vance Monument.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

From the NC National Association for the Advancement of Colored People





FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 5, 2013

For More Information:  Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II, President, 919-394-8137
                     Atty. Jamie Phillips Cole, Public Policy Coordinator, 919-682-4700

For Media Assistance:  Laurel Ashton, Field Secretary, 828-713-3864

Convicted For Our Convictions
Statement by Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II regarding December 4, 2013 Verdict

DURHAM - On December 4th, 58 years and 3 days after the beginning of the Montgomery bus boycott and the arrest of Rosa Parks, twelve of us in the original seventeen Moral Monday arrestees were convicted for our convictions. Although the judge dismissed one charge and openly stated that several rules of the NC legislature were vague and unconstitutional, we were found guilty of second degree trespassing and breaking legislative rules. The rationale for our civil disobedience still stands and our lawyers have filed an appeal to Superior Court for a jury trial. We believe our lawyers made tremendous constitutional arguments that must be heard in a higher court, not a district court. 

We do not believe that our actions were unjust but that the extremism of Governor Pat McCrory, Speaker Thom Tillis, Senate Leader Phil Berger, and Budget Director Art Pope and their fellow extremists who have denied Medicaid to 500,000 people, cut unemployment benefits for 170,000 struggling North Carolinians, took away the Earned Income Tax Credit from over 900,000 poor families, passed the worst voter suppression bill in the nation since Jim Crow, attacked women's rights, and cut public education are unjust. These actions are constitutionally inconsistent, morally indefensible, and economically insane. We, Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, Rev. Curtis Gatewood, Rev. Dr. T. Anthony Spearman, Rev. Nelson Johnson, Maria Teresa Palmer, Rev. Larry Reid, Sr., John (Bob) Zellner, Perri Morgan, O'Linda Gillis, Margaretta Belin, Dr. Timothy Tyson, and Barbara Zelter, like other Moral Monday arrestees before us, were convicted for our convictions. 

We are glad to be in a state where people will stand up for the poor, the sick, children, labor rights, women, and fundamental economic, social, and gender equality. We will continue to mobilize and carry our moral message across the state.

On December 23rd, we will return to Raleigh for a Mass Moral Monday to either celebrate that the governor has rescinded his opposition to Medicaid expansion and restored unemployment benefits by convening a special "Redemption Session" of the legislature or we will come to protest how these laws will negatively impact hundreds of thousands of North Carolinians.

We will also mobilize for the February 8th Moral March on Raleigh Historic Thousands On Jones St. Peoples' Assembly. Our fight has only just begun. Our commitment to standing against extremism is unwavering. Our love for those that tried to persecute us is still intact. Our commitment to the cause of justice is even stronger.

Forward Together, Not One Step Back!
 ###

Sunday, December 08, 2013

Upcoming events in the Asheville area for the week of December 8, 2013

Photo from an email from United for Peace & Justice

UPCOMING EVENTS

12/08/13 IRANIAN POSTER ART
“Lost Causes: The Iranian Poster Art” (23 posters) will be at the Courtyard Gallery until December 13th.  “These posters from the Iranian Revolution were an act of resistance and creation,” says Carlos Steward of the Courtyard Gallery. “It sought out ways in which the arts could engage social and political concern. This period of Iranian visual culture is an archival record of the social and political problems that were emerging. It serves as the artistic pre-history to the Iranian Revolution of 1979. In Search of Lost Causes teaches us more about modern Persian art and helps us understand how a country that was heralded as a paragon of universal modernization underwent an Islamic Revolution with a message steeped in local imagery, demanding an idealized return to the past and to democracy.”

12/10/13 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/

12/10/13 NUCLEAR INFORMATION RESEARCH PARTY
NIRS Southeast invites you to a party and film. This will begin at 7:30 PM at Firestorm Café & Books in downtown Asheville. The film is “The Ultimate Wish: Ending the Nuclear Age” by Kathleen Sullivan. Film features Dr. Arjun Makhijani, Mycle Schneider and Mary Olson. Free and open to the public, donations accepted for Nuclear Information Resource Service. For more information, call Mary at 828-252-8409.

12/10/14 UNITED NATIONS HUMAN RIGHTS DAY

12/10/13 RIVERLINK MEETING
RiverLink will host a meeting to meet the developer and review plans for a proposed housing project on Amboy Road. Held at RiverLink’s warehouse studios at 170 Lyman Street at 6 PM. Free to attend.

12/11/13 ASHEVILLE GREEN DRINKS
Join us Wednesday December 11th at 6 PM at the Green Sage Coffeehouse and Cafe to celebrate International Mountain Day featuring Western North Carolina Alliance’s Ecologist & Public Lands Director, Bob Gale, and Field Biologist, Josh KellyFor networking, socializing and Green Drink specials please arrive early (5:30 PM). The presentation will begin at 6 PM.

12/12/13 SOCIAL JUSTICE FILM AT FIRST CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH
The film will be “The Next American Revolution” and will be shown at 6:30 PM. Location is the First Congregational UCC Church at 20 Oak Street in Asheville. In the manner of TED talks, Gar Alperovitz describes the economic system, already taking form, that will follow corporate capitalism and state socialism. Informative and optimistic in outlook, he shares some American economic structures, mostly local, that are part of our national history and currently in place but overlooked by corporate media. This will be a first showing, with others to follow early next year.

12/13/13 SOCIAL JUSTICE FILM AT UNITARIAN UNIVERSALIST CHURCH
The December film will be the award-winning film "Gasland, Part II".  The time is 7 PM and the location is Unitarian Universalist church at Edwin and Charlotte Street in Asheville. In this explosive follow-up to his Oscar®-nominated film GASLAND, filmmaker Josh Fox uses his trademark dark humor to take a deeper, broader look at the dangers of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, the controversial method of extracting natural gas and oil, now occurring on a global level (in 32 countries worldwide). GASLAND PART II, which premiered at the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival, shows how the stakes have been raised on all sides in one of the most important environmental issues facing our nation today. The film argues that the gas industry’s portrayal of natural gas as a clean and safe alternative to oil is a myth and that fracked wells inevitably leak over time, contaminating water and air, hurting families, and endangering the earth’s climate with the potent greenhouse gas, methane. In addition the film looks at how the powerful oil and gas industries are in Fox's words "contaminating our democracy". Donations accepted.

12/14/13 KXL PLEDGE OF RESISTANCE TRAINING
Local organizers are planning trainings for the Pledge on November 23 and December 14. These will take place at the Asheville Friends Meeting House (Quakers) at 227 Edgewood Rd in Asheville (between Merrimon and UNCA). Time will be 9 AM to 1 PM. This is organized by 350 Asheville, the Rainforest Action Network, and CREDO Action. This is the Pledge: If President Obama succumbs to industry pressure and reneges on his promise to green light the Keystone XL only if it does not contribute to global warming (spoiler alert: it does), then citizens will take action to hold him to his word by occupying Federal Buildings and other key locations in acts of nonviolent civil disobedience. More information at http://act.credoaction.com/sign/kxl_pledge. For more information on the trainings or to register for them, please contact Debbie at dgenz@skyrunner.net or call 828-216-2018.

12/14/13 END TIMES MIXER FROM TRANSITION HENDERSONVILLE
Free! Sponsored by Transition Hendersonville Saturday, this party will start at 7 PM and location is Bischoff Lodge at Lutheridge in Arden, NC. Live Music with Pam and Don McMahon from Straight from the Heart and Friends. Celebrate the end of cheap oil, the 3,000-mile Caesar salad, the half empty glass. CELEBRATE SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITY that invests wisely in people, plants, natural resources, justice and FUN! BYOB/snacks. Two live bands to dance the night away. For information, call Diane at 696-9969.   

12/15/13 CONTRA FOR CONSCIOUSNESS DANCE
This is a benefit for the Pine Ridge Reservation Nasula: Intercultural Service Learning. Contraversial and calling by Beth Molaro. Location is Bryson Gym at Warren Wilson College. 6:30 PM for lesson, dance is 7 to 10 PM. Suggested donation is $5 - $25.

12/17/13 WNC ALLIANCE FOR RETIRED AMERICANS MEETING
The Western North Carolina Alliance for Retired Americans meets on the 3rd Tuesday of every month at the Kenilworth Presbyterian Fellowship Hall at 123 Kenilworth Rd in Asheville. Time is 10 AM. The ARA is a statewide organization of retired union members and their friends and families. We are non-partisan and open to everyone who is concerned about the need for jobs which pay a living wage, as well as those issues which affect all of us. FMI contact dick@dickandnorma.com.

12/18/13 ASHEVILLE GREEN DRINKS
Join us at 6 PM at the Green Sage Coffeehouse and Cafe for a presentation on Green Building Council’s “Living Building Challenge” by Emily Coleman-Wolf, Project Architect for Padgett & Freeman Architects and Stephens Smith Farrell of Stephens Smith Farrell Architecture. For networking, socializing and Green Drink specials please arrive early (5:30 PM). The presentation will begin at 6 PM. See you all there!

12/20/13 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. Call Lew at 299-1242 to make sure this meeting was not cancelled for the holidays.

01/06/14 FAST FOR JUSTICE
This is a fast to promote justice for the inmates of Guantanamo.

01/08/14 WESTERN CAROLINIANS FOR PEACE AND JUSTICE IN THE MIDDLE EAST MEETING
This meeting of Western Carolinians for Peace and Justice in the Middle East will be held at Black Mountain Presbyterian Church at 9:30 AM. Contact Beth at elizakeiser@aol.com for more information.

01/11/14 VIGIL AND PROCESSION MARKING 12 YEARS OF GUANTANAMO IN DC

*******************************************
ONGOING EVENTS
*******************************************

TUESDAY
Veterans for Peace have a weekly vigil at 4:30 PM at Pack Square, Vance Monument

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

THURSDAY
Asheville Homeless Network meeting at 2 PM at Firestorm Cafe

FRIDAY
Women in Black have a weekly vigil at noon at the City Hall in Hendersonville
Women in Black have a monthly vigil at 5 PM at Vance Monument in Asheville (first Friday only)

SATURDAY
Transylvanians for Peace and WNC Physicians for Social Responsibility have a weekly vigil at noon in front of the courthouse in Brevard
Third Saturdays – Asheville’s Green Grannies invites the public to “sing for the climate” at Vance Monument.

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

Forever Free: The Slave Deeds of Buncombe County

October - December 31, YMI Cultural Center, 43 Market St.
This exhibit has traveled from the Register of Deeds to Pack Memorial Library and is now at the YMI.  Included in the exhibit are original books from both the register of deeds and the clerk of court who detail the sale and inheritance of enslaved people prior to 1865. These resources are also available on line for student primary source document research.

Cohabitation Records of Buncombe County  
Now ONLINE

Following the Civil War, African American people who had lived as married people during slavery, though were not allowed to marry, were encouraged to go to the Register of Deeds and record the years that they had been as a married couple. These were called Cohabitation Records. Two months ago Drew Resinger began the work to have these records, now in the archive in Raleigh, digitized so that they could be brought back and made assessable to Buncombe County residents.

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

Saturday, December 07, 2013

Comment by Chomsky


Chomsky: “And honesty would impel us to recall the judgment of Nuremberg, one of the foundations of modern international law. Aggression was determined to be “the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole” – in this case, including the sectarian conflicts among many other crimes. Honesty would also impel us to recall the injunction that Justice Robert Jackson delivered to the Tribunal: we are handing these defendants a “poisoned chalice,” and if we carry out similar crimes we must suffer the same consequences, or else this Tribunal is a farce, merely victor’s justice.”

+++++++++++++++
The Nuremberg Trials were a farce, with the US government the leading actor.

Thursday, December 05, 2013

In Memory of Nelson Mandela



Quotes from Nelson Mandela:

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”

“I detest racialism, because I regard it as a barbaric thing, whether it comes from a black man or a white man.”

“The United States has made serious mistakes in the conduct of its foreign affairs, which have had unfortunate repercussions long after the decisions were taken.”

“To deny people their human rights is to challenge their very humanity.”

Photo was taken in 1937, and is from the Wikimedia Commons.

Statement from Chris Hedges

We now live in a nation where
doctors destroy health
lawyers destroy justice
universities destroy knowledge
governments destroy freedom
the press destroys information
religion destroys morals
and our banks destroy the economy.

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Final words



Final words of Daniel Somers, Iraq War Veteran:

I am sorry that it has come to this.

The fact is, for as long as I can remember my motivation for getting up every day has been so that you would not have to bury me. As things have continued to get worse, it has become clear that this alone is not a sufficient reason to carry on. The fact is, I am not getting better, I am not going to get better, and I will most certainly deteriorate further as time goes on. From a logical standpoint, it is better to simply end things quickly and let any repercussions from that play out in the short term than to drag things out into the long term.

You will perhaps be sad for a time, but over time you will forget and begin to carry on. Far better that than to inflict my growing misery upon you for years and decades to come, dragging you down with me. It is because I love you that I can not do this to you. You will come to see that it is a far better thing as one day after another passes during which you do not have to worry about me or even give me a second thought. You will find that your world is better without me in it.

I really have been trying to hang on, for more than a decade now. Each day has been a testament to the extent to which I cared, suffering unspeakable horror as quietly as possible so that you could feel as though I was still here for you. In truth, I was nothing more than a prop, filling space so that my absence would not be noted. In truth, I have already been absent for a long, long time.

My body has become nothing but a cage, a source of pain and constant problems. The illness I have has caused me pain that not even the strongest medicines could dull, and there is no cure. All day, every day a screaming agony in every nerve ending in my body. It is nothing short of torture. My mind is a wasteland, filled with visions of incredible horror, unceasing depression, and crippling anxiety, even with all of the medications the doctors dare give. Simple things that everyone else takes for granted are nearly impossible for me. I can not laugh or cry. I can barely leave the house. I derive no pleasure from any activity. Everything simply comes down to passing time until I can sleep again. Now, to sleep forever seems to be the most merciful thing.

You must not blame yourself. The simple truth is this: During my first deployment, I was made to participate in things, the enormity of which is hard to describe. War crimes, crimes against humanity. Though I did not participate willingly, and made what I thought was my best effort to stop these events, there are some things that a person simply can not come back from. I take some pride in that, actually, as to move on in life after being part of such a thing would be the mark of a sociopath in my mind. These things go far beyond what most are even aware of.

To force me to do these things and then participate in the ensuing coverup is more than any government has the right to demand. Then, the same government has turned around and abandoned me. They offer no help, and actively block the pursuit of gaining outside help via their corrupt agents at the DEA. Any blame rests with them.

Beyond that, there are the host of physical illnesses that have struck me down again and again, for which they also offer no help. There might be some progress by now if they had not spent nearly twenty years denying the illness that I and so many others were exposed to. Further complicating matters is the repeated and severe brain injuries to which I was subjected, which they also seem to be expending no effort into understanding. What is known is that each of these should have been cause enough for immediate medical attention, which was not rendered.

Lastly, the DEA enters the picture again as they have now managed to create such a culture of fear in the medical community that doctors are too scared to even take the necessary steps to control the symptoms. All under the guise of a completely manufactured “overprescribing epidemic,” which stands in stark relief to all of the legitimate research, which shows the opposite to be true. Perhaps, with the right medication at the right doses, I could have bought a couple of decent years, but even that is too much to ask from a regime built upon the idea that suffering is noble and relief is just for the weak.
However, when the challenges facing a person are already so great that all but the weakest would give up, these extra factors are enough to push a person over the edge.

Is it any wonder then that the latest figures show 22 veterans killing themselves each day? That is more veterans than children killed at Sandy Hook, every single day. Where are the huge policy initiatives? Why isn’t the president standing with those families at the state of the union? Perhaps because we were not killed by a single lunatic, but rather by his own system of dehumanization, neglect, and indifference.
It leaves us to where all we have to look forward to is constant pain, misery, poverty, and dishonor. I assure you that, when the numbers do finally drop, it will merely be because those who were pushed the farthest are all already dead.

And for what? Bush’s religious lunacy? Cheney’s ever growing fortune and that of his corporate friends? Is this what we destroy lives for……

Since then, I have tried everything to fill the void. I tried to move into a position of greater power and influence to try and right some of the wrongs. I deployed again, where I put a huge emphasis on saving lives. The fact of the matter, though, is that any new lives saved do not replace those who were murdered. It is an exercise in futility.

Then, I pursued replacing destruction with creation. For a time this provided a distraction, but it could not last. The fact is that any kind of ordinary life is an insult to those who died at my hand. How can I possibly go around like everyone else while the widows and orphans I created continue to struggle? If they could see me sitting here in suburbia, in my comfortable home working on some music project they would be outraged, and rightfully so.

I thought perhaps I could make some headway with this film project, maybe even directly appealing to those I had wronged and exposing a greater truth, but that is also now being taken away from me. I fear that, just as with everything else that requires the involvement of people who can not understand by virtue of never having been there, it is going to fall apart as careers get in the way.

The last thought that has occurred to me is one of some kind of final mission. It is true that I have found that I am capable of finding some kind of reprieve by doing things that are worthwhile on the scale of life and death. While it is a nice thought to consider doing some good with my skills, experience, and killer instinct, the truth is that it isn’t realistic. First, there are the logistics of financing and equipping my own operation, then there is the near certainty of a grisly death, international incidents, and being branded a terrorist in the media that would follow. What is really stopping me, though, is that I simply am too sick to be effective in the field anymore. That, too, has been taken from me.

Thus, I am left with basically nothing. Too trapped in a war to be at peace, too damaged to be at war. Abandoned by those who would take the easy route, and a liability to those who stick it out—and thus deserve better. So you see, not only am I better off dead, but the world is better without me in it.
This is what brought me to my actual final mission. Not suicide, but a mercy killing. I know how to kill, and I know how to do it so that there is no pain whatsoever. It was quick, and I did not suffer. And above all, now I am free. I feel no more pain. I have no more nightmares or flashbacks or hallucinations. I am no longer constantly depressed or afraid or worried.

I am free.

I ask that you be happy for me for that. It is perhaps the best break I could have hoped for. Please accept this and be glad for me.

Daniel Somers (he died in June 2013).
Permission given from the family to publish his note.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++

The earth is so small, and our time here is so short. So sad that his life was thrown away by the US government, and so sad that he took life in furthering their evil plans.