Monday, April 30, 2007

Chattanooga: Hate Crime Vigil

TTPC at Chattanooga Hate Crimes Vigil and Spring Fling

This weekend, the Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition will be
participating in two important events in Chattanooga.

On Saturday, May 5, TTPC will be participating in the Chattanooga Hate Crimes
Vigil which will take place from 5:00 to 8:30 pm in Riverview Park, 1000
Barton Avenue. Dr. Marisa Richmond, President of TTPC, is scheduled to be one of
the speakers. This vigil is being organized in response to the vicious attack
upon a local transgender man and the bigoted, hateful response by the
Chattanooga Police Department.

The following day, Sunday, May 6, TTPC will have a table at the Tennessee
Valley Pride Spring Fling, the first major Pride event in Tennessee in 2007. The
Spring Fling will take place in Booker T. Washington State Park, 5801
Champion Road, from Noon to 6:00 pm.

The members of TTPC encourage all to participate in the Hate Crimes Vigil on
Saturday and to visit the TTPC table at the Spring Fling on Sunday.

The Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition (TTPC) is an organization
designed to educate and advocate on behalf of transgender related legislation at
the Federal, State and local levels. TTPC is dedicated to raising public
awareness and building alliances with other organizations concerned with equal rights

For more information, or to make a donation, contact:

Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition (TTPC)
P.O. Box 92335
Nashville, TN 37209
(615)353-1834 fax

Greens Set New Record

Most Green Officeholders 'Ever' -
Thanks to Recent Victories in Wisconsin and Illinois!

The Green Party now has 230 officeholders, the most ever thanks to elections this month in Wisconsin and Illinois. In Wisconsin, seven out of fourteen Green Party candidates won election on April 3, bringing the total of Wisconsin Green elected officials to twenty-two. Pete Karas, endorsed by the Kenosha/Racine Green Party, won re-election in a tight race for alderperson in District 9 of the Racine Common Council.

Four out of five Green women candidates, all endorsed by Four Lakes Green Party, won seats on the Madison Common Council. Brenda Konkel, who ran unopposed for re-election, Satya Rhodes-Conway, Robbie Webber, and Marsha Rummel were all victorious on April 3rd. "The Madison's sixth district overwhelmingly showed support for progressive and green values, said Rummel. "I'm honored and look forward to serving the next 2 years. My priorities are affordable housing, water quality, jobs that support families, and government that supports the people."

Tony Palmeri, endorsed by the Lake Winnebago Green Party, came in second out of 6 candidates running for 3 seats, earning a place on the Oshkosh Common Council. "This is a victory for the Green agenda - open government, and social and economic justice, which were the themes of my campaign", said Palmeri. "Oshkosh voters made it clear they want a progressive, forward looking council."

Amy Heart, endorsed by the Portage County Green Party, won her race for Stevens Point Common Council.

In Illinois, three out of six Illinois Green Party members were elected on April 17th, Robert Braam was elected as Trustee of the Manhattan Public Library District, receiving 107 votes as a write-in. Kris Campbell won reelection to the Poplar Grove Village Trustee. With 340 votes (20%), Campbell was second in a six-way race for three seats. Carol Larson earned 3,370 votes (53.74%) and was the top vote-getter for three seats on the Oak Lawn-Hometown School Board. Larson and Braam join Campbell, Dale Bowen (Winnebago Public Library Trustee), Jim Long (Kirby Park School Board) and Jon Murray (Mt. Morris Village Trustee) on the list of Illinois Green Party elected officials.

So far this year, the Green Party has elected fourteen officeholders, bringing our total number of officeholders to 230, the most in Green Party history.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

ADAPT Activists Arrested in Washington

99 Arrested as ADAPT Demands U.S. House Hearings on Community Choice Act

Washington, D.C.--- 99 arrests occurred when ADAPT invaded the
Rayburn House Office Building to push for hearings on the Community Choice
Act (CCA, S 799 and H.R. 1621) by the House Energy and Commerce Committee
Subcommittee on Health. ADAPT took over the hearing room along with the
office of Rep. John Dingell (D-MI), and Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX), and filled
the horseshoe drive outside the Rayburn front door.

"We've been waiting for ten years for this legislation to pass,
and all the while Congress has refused to act on this national scandal of
America forcing people into nursing homes against their will," said Dawn
Russell, currently with ADAPT in Colorado. "I had to leave my home state
of Tennessee in order to get the assistance that would keep me out of a
nursing home. I want so much to be able to go home to Tennessee to be with
my family, but I can't because then I'd be forced into a nursing home just
because I need personal assistance to get through my day, and Tennessee
refuses to provide that assistance to people in their own homes. I won't
give up my freedom, my privacy, my dignity and the control over my life,
so I have to stay in exile in Colorado."

The CCA was introduced in March 2007, and is the newest version of
legislation that would remove the institutional bias in the nation's
outdated Medicaid program by allowing Medicaid to pay for the services and
supports people need to remain in their own homes. Currently under
Medicaid, states are federally mandated to provide only nursing home
services, and are not equally mandated to provide similar services in a
person's own home, thus diverting the person from being forced into a
nursing home or other institution. In order for the CCA to move through
Congress, the next step is to hold hearings. ADAPT met with the Democratic
National Committee (DNC) last week, and is meeting with the Republican
National Committee (RNC) this week to garner their support for hearings,
and to gain additional co-sponsors.

"It's easy for Congress to ignore us," said Guadalupe Vasquez of
Texas ADAPT. "After all, they all make a very good living and have great
benefits, and so they will never have to face the prospect of forced
institutionalization and loss of their freedom. On the other hand, many of
us live on $600/month, so we are the people who Congress, by its inaction,
is guaranteeing will lose our freedom. We'll lose our freedom, and we'll
be relegated to back wards where we will lie in our own waste until
someone eventually takes the time to change us, and where we acquire
deadly pressure sores because no one takes the time to reposition us. It's
way past time for Congress to correct this travesty."

The ability to stay in one's own home with needed services is even
more critical now that the baby boom generation has entered its
"disability years," the time of life when they are most likely to acquire
disabilities that will cause them to leave the workforce and apply for
disability benefits. Some members of ADAPT have been part of the
organization since its inception nearly 25 years ago, going from being
younger people with disabilities forced into nursing homes to elders of
retirement age, again being threatened with forced institutionalization.

Observed Barbara Toomer of Utah ADAPT, "More and more of us have
come to see the need for home and community-based services from two
perspectives- disability and aging. The perspectives may differ a bit, but
the desire to remain in our own homes with the services and supports we
need is exactly the same. We must assure passage of the Community Choice
Act now."

On Tuesday, May 1, ADAPT will host HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson
for a meeting at their hotel in the morning, and then will meet with Mike
Hudson, Chair of the Republican National Committee in the afternoon.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

TLA: Parental Involvement

On Wednesday, May 2, the Tennessee House Education Committee will resume
discussion of two bills related to parental involvement, HB0905 by Rep. Matthew
Hill (R-Jonesborough) and HB1943 by Rep. Leslie Winningham (D-Huntsville). The
Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition believes that HB1943 is the better
of the two bills. This bill, whose companion version, SB2162 by Charlotte
Burks, has already passed the Senate by a vote of 30 to 0, encourages parents to
get more involved in their children's education. HB0905 requires signed
permission slips to join student clubs.

We ask you to contact members of the House Education Committee and ask them
to support HB1943 to help promote positive activities in students' curricular
and extracurricular activities, and oppose HB0905 by Representative Hill, which
has too many unintended consequences. A clear example would be a child having
his or her only outlet for camaraderie stifled by disinterested parents
failing to sign a document--no matter what club the child may chose to join.

The House Education Committee will meet Wednesday, May 2, at 11:00am.
Members of the House Education Committee are:

Leslie Winningham (D-Huntsville), Chair Harry Brooks (R-Knoxville)
Dr. Tommie Brown (D-Chattanooga), Vice Chair Jim Coley (R-Bartlett)
Joe Towns, Jr. (D-Memphis), Secretary Dolores Gresham (R-Somerville)
Barbara Cooper (D-Memphis) Dr. Beth Harwell (R-Nashville)
John Hood (D-Murfreesboro) Philip Johnson (R-Pegram)
Ulysses Jones (D-Memphis) Ron Lollar (R-Bartlett)
Mark Maddox (D-Dresden) Gerald McCormick (R-Chattanooga)
Mike McDonald (D-Portland) Richard Montgomery (R-Sevierville)
Larry Turner (D-Memphis)
John Mark Windle (D-Livingston)

e-mail: rep.(first name).(last name)

Also on May 2, at 8:30, the Senate Education Committee is scheduled to
discuss SB1133 by DeWayne Bunch, the companion bill to HB0905. If you have not
already done so, please contact members of the Senate Education Committee and
remind them that they have already passed SB2162 by Senator Burks and that SB1133
is unnecessary.

The Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition (TTPC) is an organization
designed to educate and advocate on behalf of transgender related legislation at
the Federal, State and local levels. TTPC is dedicated to raising public
awareness and building alliances with other organizations concerned with equal rights

For more information, or to make a donation, contact:

Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition (TTPC)
P.O. Box 92335
Nashville, TN 37209
(615)353-1834 fax

Impeach Bush & Cheney Events

Green Party at the 'Impeach Bush & Cheney' events on April 28
Green Party of the United States

WASHINGTON, DC -- Green Party leaders called Rep. Dennis Kucinich's (D-Ohio)
filing of articles of impeachment against Vice President Dick Cheney an
important first step towards holding the Bush Administration accountable for
numerous impeachable high crimes and misdemeanors.

"The Green Party endorsed a resolution in 2003 calling for impeachment of
President Bush, and Green leaders have expanded the call to include Mr.
Cheney, who is clearly the brains behind many of the White House's worst and
most illegal actions," said Carl Romanelli, Pennsylvania Green candidate for
the US Senate in 2006. "The chief obstacle to impeachment has been the
Democratic Party leadership, which has indulged and enabled the Bush
Administration's abuses of power every step of the way."

Greens across the US plan to participate in various events in Washington,
DC, and across the US calling for impeachment of President Bush and Vice
President Cheney this coming weekend .

In Utah, the Desert Greens Green Party of Utah
and People for Peace and Justice of Utah have organized an 'Impeach' rally
at noon on April 28 at the Federal Building in Salt Lake City, 100 South
State Street.

The Green Parties of Santa Clara and San Mateo (California) will participate
in a Beach Impeach action, and will gather to create the 'I' in 'IMPEACH' on
the beach .

The Green Party of the United States passed a resolution in July, 2003,
urging impeachment of President Bush

The Green Party's impeachment page can be visited at
. A Green petition for impeachment is at

After the initial illegal invasion of Iraq, said Green Party leaders, the
crimes of the Bush Administration began to mount precipitously:

manipulation of intelligence to deceive the public into supporting the war
(fraudulent claims about Iraqi WMDs, collusion between Saddam Hussein and
al-Qaeda, attempts by Saddam to obtain nuclear weapons materials)

cover-ups of the administration's knowledge of information about the
impending 9/11 attacks

encouragement of torture and 'extraordinary rendition' of prisoners to exact

denial of habeas corpus and due process

warrantless surveillance of US citizens

hundreds of 'signing statements' purportedly exempting the Bush
Administration from over 1,000 federal laws

censoring and tampering with scientific research to conceal the seriousness
of global warming

threats to attack Iran despite Iran's lack of any real threat to the US."

The effects of these crimes and abuses of power include:

the deaths of more than 3,300 US service members and 650,000 Iraqi citizens,
as well as countless more injured because of the US invasion

anger and hostility towards the US and US citizens throughout the world,
especially in Muslim nations

broken treaties and alienation of US allies

damage to US democracy and entrenchment of the administrations' theory of
'unitary executive power'

danger to captured US service personnel and citizens in retaliation for
torture committed at Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo Bay, and other sites

a possible regional or global conflict if the US attacks Iran

the US treasury plundered for the benefit of arms makers, oil companies, and
other corporate profiteers like Halliburton and Blackwater

severe damage to public health and the environment in coming decades because
of the White House's failure to address climate change

Greens also noted that some of the Bush Administration's crimes were carried
out with the cooperation of Democrats and Republicans in Congress.

"Let's not forget that a bipartisan congressional vote in October, 2002,
transferred war power from Congress to the White House, violating the checks
and balances enshrined in the Constitution," said Rebecca Rotzler, co-chair
of the Green Party of the United States and Deputy Mayor of New Paltz, New
York, where Greens are planning to assemble a 'human pyramid' for
impeachment on Saturday. "After public deception and manipulation of
intelligence were revealed, Democratic Party leaders supported continuing
the war on Iraq, and recently voted for war funding and a delayed
'timetable' for withdrawal of US troops. And even now, Democratic
presidential hopefuls like Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and John Edwards
-- apparently reading from the same memo -- are saying that an attack on
Iran isn't 'off the table.'"

The Green Party has called for immediate withdrawal of all US troops and
military contractors from Iraq, condemned threats of an assault on Iran, and
urged dramatic steps, including a major conservation effort, to curb global

Greens supported a bill introduced by Rep. Cynthia McKinney in December,
2006, in which she filed articles of impeachment against Mr. Bush, Mr.
Cheney, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and Defense Secretary Donald
Rumsfeld .


Green Party of the United States
1700 Connecticut Avenue NW, Suite 404
Washington, DC 20009.
202-319-7191, 866-41GREEN
Fax 202-319-7193
Green Party News Center

"Kucinich: Impeachment is the Right Response"
By John Nichols, The Nation, April 25, 2007

"George W. Bush's Proxy War Crimes in Iraq: Violations of the Nuremberg and
U.N. Charters and the U.S. Constitution"
By Chuck Tripp (who will speak at the rally in Salt Lake City)

"Ten Reasons to Impeach Cheney and Bush Now"
By Allen L Roland,, April 21, 2007

Friday, April 27, 2007

Consitutional Amendment Proposal

A Constitutional Amendment for Changing America
From a Republic to a Democracy

By Harry Braun

There are times in the course of human events, when it becomes necessary to amend the American Constitution in order to protect the American people and the other inhabitants of Spaceship Earth, by establishing a democratic system of government in the United States of America. While most Americans assume the United States is a Democracy, which is rule by the majority, it is in fact a Republic, which is rule by the tiny few, who generally conduct business in secret and are primarily focused on raising campaign contributions from wealthy individuals and business interests and their lobbyists who write the bills that most member of Congress do not even read before they vote to approve the legislation. As such, the only way to end this corporate corruption is to transform America from being a Republic to a Democracy, where the political power will reside with the majority of American citizens.

We reaffirm and hold these truths to be self-evident:

That all people are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; and that to secure these rights, governments are instituted, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; and that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right and the responsibility of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute a new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as shall seem most likely to effect the safety and happiness of the American people.

Prudence, indeed, dictates that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations have resulted in the contamination of the air, land, water and food, that has resulted in permanent brain damage in millions of children, while afflicting millions of others with heart attacks, strokes, cancer and lung disease, it is our right, it is our duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for our future security.

The history of the Republican form of government in the United States is a history of corruption and abuse of power of, by, and for the wealthiest members of our society, and the corporations that they serve. To prove this statement, let the facts be submitted to a candid world:

Whereas the Republican system of government has repeatedly allowed a tiny number of elected representatives, typically committee chairman, to receive substantial financial favors and to make decisions in secret that will benefit their corporate or wealthy paymasters;

Whereas the Republican system of government has allowed corporate lobbyists to misinform the American people and write the bills that most Members of Congress do not even read before the vote to approve the legislation;

Whereas the Republican system of government has allowed and subsidized private corporations to manufacture computer voting systems with secret computer codes, which makes accurate voter tallies and recounts impossible;

Whereas the Republican system of government has allowed virtually every American, including unborn children, to be contaminated with over 270 highly-toxic chemicals, including radioactive isotopes, mercury, pesticides, gasoline, benzene and MTBE;

Whereas the Republican system of government has secretly committed mass-murder and overthrown democratically elected governments and/or supported brutal and undemocratic regimes all over the world in order to serve corporate interests, in countries such as Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Egypt, Vietnam, Chile, Indonesia, the Congo, the Philippines and Pakistan, – to name a few.

Whereas the Republican system of government has allowed privatized corporate contractors in Iraq and elsewhere to financially benefit from foreign wars, regardless of whether we win or lose, and in many cases, these corporate contractors have been able to steal billions of taxpayers dollars in cash;

Whereas the Republican system of government has fostered a mindless unregulated free market system that has allowed the major ocean and ecosystems to be contaminated and hunted into extinction;

Whereas the Republican system of government has allowed 100-year old mountain ecosystems to be strip-mined in order to extract a few days worth of coal, which when burned, puts global warming gases and toxic mercury in the air, water and food;

Whereas the Republican system of government has ignored and indeed suppressed the warnings of the senior scientists from NASA and the National Academy of Scientists about the catastrophic impact that will result from burning fossil fuels that generate carbon-based global warming gasses;

Whereas the Republican system of government has allowed millions of high-paying American jobs to be outsourced to countries that have slave labor working conditions and no environmental controls;

Whereas the Republican system of government has allowed the largest and wealthiest corporations and individuals to avoid paying any income tax;

Whereas the Republican system of government has allowed irresponsible elected officials to plunge America deep into debt that is stealing the money, with interest, from our children’s children’s children and their unborn decedents;

Whereas the Republican system of government has allowed the U.S. Congress to be run like a house of prostitution;

Whereas the citizens of the United States have repeatedly petitioned for redress in the most humble terms; but our repeated petitions have either been ignored and/or have been answered only by repeated injury;

A Republican system of government, whose character is thus marked by so many acts of tyranny and injustice, has demonstrated beyond any reasonable doubt that it is unfit to govern the American people.

We, therefore, the citizens of the United States of America, do solemnly declare that the Constitution of the United States be amended to allow the United States to be transformed from a Republic to a Democracy, where the majority of the citizens, and not their elected officials, shall have the power to enact the laws and approve of all the judicial decisions that shall govern their behavior.

Such a democratic form of government must have verifiable elections; it must never be allowed to conduct its business in secret; it must obey international law and treat others as we want to be treated; it must have a fair accounting system that factors in the military, environmental and related healthcare and social costs of products, and balance its budget each year; it must insure that every citizen has access to pure air and water; the best education available; and a non-profit, universal health care system for all Americans.

Such a democratic form of government shall never allow the earth’s biological life support systems to be contaminated and/or destroyed for short-term commercial gain. In support of this Declaration, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.

Harry Braun
Citizen of the United States of America
& Chairman of the Phoenix Project Foundation
& Political Action Committee
5093 Mountain Gate Circle
Suite 100
Lakeside, Arizona 85929
Telephone: 928-532-0008
Cell: 602-757-2703
Email: HB@PhoenixProjectPac.US

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

April 25th: Save Bernie's Farm Benefit

The "Save Bernie's Farm" benefit is sponsored by the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML). Bernie Ellis, a middle Tennessee public health epidemiologist and farmer, is one of the more visible medical marijuana activists on the national scene. His case has been discussed widely within the medical marijuana movement. At the time of the 2002 raid on his farm, Bernie was providing medical marijuana (at no charge) to four patients, all of whom died shortly thereafter. Because of the considerable outpouring of support for Bernie, the federal judge in his case sentenced Bernie only to four years probation (though he was facing up to forty years in prison). However, the federal government is still attempting to confiscate his 190 acre farm for an amount of cannabis equivalent to what the government still provides each year to each one of its remaining "approved" patients. (More information on Bernie's case is available at ).

The April 25 "Save Bernie's Farm" benefit will star Jonell Mosser, the Mike Henderson Band and other notable Nashville musicians in an effort to help defray Bernie's legal expenses and to raise money to offer the federal government so they will drop their effort to confiscate Bernie's farm. The show will be broadcast in its entirety on WRFN-FM (98.9 FM), both on the air and on the Internet. A number of nationally prominent medical marijuana speakers will also appear at the benefit, as well as some of Bernie's neighbors, friends and physicians and patients that he helped. You will want to attend this great evening of music and mobilization to help save Bernie's farm and to help re- establish Tennessee's medical marijuana program (two bills are now before our state legislature to do just that.)

Each year, hundreds of people are prosecuted in Tennessee for growing marijuana. (Nationally, this number is in the tens of thousands.) After all, Tennessee is ranked among the top five marijuana-producing states in this country, with the estimated value of this untaxed, illegal crop now exceeding all other agricultural production in the state. Some of the marijuana growers arrested were growing pot for the very lucrative illicit marketplace, while others were growing strictly for their personal use. A few, like Bernie Ellis, were growing marijuana to provide relief to sick and dying patients. Currently, in Tennessee and the U.S., the federal government makes no distinction between these growers -- they are equally at risk for both criminal and civil punishment for their actions.

With this in mind, here are a few reasons why a large number of us have banded together to keep the federal government from confiscating Bernie Ellis’ farm, a farm he has lived on for four decades:

1) At the time of the raid on his farm, Bernie was providing marijuana to four very sick people at no charge, while also using marijuana to alleviate his own fibromyalgia and degenerative joint disease. Within months of the raid, all four of these people were dead, undergoing more needless suffering than necessary By his own admission, Bernie had provided medical marijuana to sick and dying people for seventeen years: people with AIDS, cancer, multiple sclerosis and other serious problems
2) Bernie fully cooperated with the Tennessee Marijuana Eradication Task Force when they raided his farm in August, 2002. He has never denied that he was growing the marijuana found there. On the day of the raid, Bernie was preparing to submit a proposal solicited by the Governor’s Office of the state of New Mexico to set up and run a medical marijuana production facility for that state. (Bernie gave the Task Force leaders a copy of that proposal on the day of the raid.) He has also provided consultant support to several other states, including Hawaii, which have considered the establishment of similar production facilities to make sure that eligible patients could get access to marijuana as soon as they need it, rather than having to wait four to seven months to grow their own.

3) While the federal government is not required to provide information on why they raided Bernie’s farm, it appears that a local drug dealer who Bernie refused to sell marijuana to a few days before the raid turned him in. So far, the federal government has presented four different versions of how much marijuana they found, without once allowing Bernie or his attorney to count and weigh the evidence against him. However, if the government’s own statements on the “evidence” are to be believed, they found only enough useable marijuana on Bernie’s farm to equal what the federal government provides each year to each one of its five remaining “federally approved” medical marijuana patients. That amount (about seven pounds) is valued by the feds at $7,000. For that marijuana, the government wants to confiscate (or force Bernie to sell) a 190 acre farm worth approximately $1 million.

4) While many people in Bernie’s situation would have remained quiet, Bernie has not hesitated to present the facts of his case to the public and to decision-makers in hopes that the madness regarding medical marijuana can come to an end in this country. Bernie’s case is one of those highlighted in the book, “Patients in the Crossfire”, published by Americans for Safe Access, a medical marijuana patients’ advocacy group. Bernie’s case has also been reviewed on the Internet, discussed in published materials and presented at conferences of Religious Leaders for a More Just and Compassionate Drug Policy, the Marijuana Policy Project, Cannabis Consumers Campaign, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition and the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. In cooperation with the Marijuana Policy Project, Bernie helped revise the current “model” bill being considered in Tennessee to re-establish our state’s medical marijuana program. He has also provided written testimony in support of medical marijuana programs for the states of Arkansas, New York, Oregon, New Mexico, Hawaii, Illinois and other states. A web-site ( ) has been set up by some of Bernie’s friends to provide information on his case, which includes almost forty of the over 100 letters submitted to the federal court on Bernie’s behalf.

5) At the time of his sentencing, Bernie was facing between two and ten years in prison and a $2 million fine. Since the federal government does not acknowledge the legitimacy of medical marijuana (while still growing and providing medical marijuana itself to a few patients), the judge in Bernie’s case was not required to hear any of the medical evidence on this issue at Bernie’s sentencing hearing. Instead, the judge allowed the over 100 letters of support on Bernie’s behalf (submitted by patients, physicians, public health colleagues, neighbors, family and friends) to become part of his sentencing record and he allowed testimony on Bernie’s production and distribution of medical marijuana at the hearing. As a result, the judge sentenced Bernie to four years probation (with the first eighteen months to be spent at a federal Bureau of Prisons halfway house in Nashville) and imposed no fine. Even with this lenient sentence, Bernie still faces the prospect of losing his farm, his home for four decades and the only thing he still owns after five years of dealing with this case. In addition, Bernie is now over $70,000 in debt for legal expenses associated with this case. Because of the uncertainties of the case, Bernie has not been able to pursue his career as a public health epidemiologist, although he has continued to donate his consultant services to local, state, national and tribal programs.

The facts are clear. But they are also hard. Bernie Ellis faces the loss of his home as well as personal bankruptcy for providing sick and dying people with medical marijuana without any charge to them.

In 2007, in this country, this should not happen to anyone producing medical marijuana.

If you think that what has happened to Bernie Ellis is not right, you should help save Bernie’s farm.

If you would like to reverse this nation’s current insane federal policy regarding medical marijuana,
you should help save Bernie’s farm.

If you want to send a loud and clear message to the federal government to stop taking peoples’ homes and farms for growing a benign plant strictly for medical purposes (a punishment that murderers, rapists and election thieves do not face), then you will want to help save Bernie’s farm.

Please do your part, and speak as loudly (with your voice and your pocketbook) as you can. Visit , learn more about Bernie’s case and learn how you can help this man.

No one should lose his livelihood, freedom and home for helping sick and dying people for free.

Please help Bernie Ellis save his farm now, while we still can.

Sub-Committee Approves Death Penalty Study

Legislation Joins Growing Call to Examine Problems of Fairness and

Nashville: The House Civil Practice and Procedure Subcommittee today
unanimously approved legislation introduced by Representative Rob Briley
(D- Nashville) and Senator Doug Jackson (D-Dickson) to create a
commission to conduct a thorough study of the state's death penalty
system. The legislation follows a call yesterday by the American Bar
Association, after a three-year assessment process of Tennessee's
capital punishment system that found deep flaws throughout the capital
punishment process. The bill has co-sponsors from both parties and from
East, Middle, and West Tennessee.

"The members of the committee affirmed today that Tennessee's capital
punishment system is a mess," said Reverend Stacy Rector, Executive
Director of the Tennessee Coalition to Abolish State Killing. "The death
penalty in Tennessee is dangerously broken and our state representatives
need to take steps to address all its problems."

According to the ABA Assessment, the Tennessee capital punishment system
suffers from serious flaws. Tennessee continues to sentence people with
severe mental disabilities to death, racial and geographic disparities
continue to plague the system (40% of Tennessee's death row population
is African-American), and inadequate defense counsel and flaws in
preserving DNA evidence cause questions regarding the reliability of
death penalty convictions. Moreover, nearly all of Tennessee's 102
death row inmates were indigent and could not afford a lawyer at trial.
There are several cases where serious questions exist regarding the
factual guilt or innocence of the convicted man.

"At the very least, Tennesseans deserve to know that the capital
punishment system is functioning properly," said Rector. "The only way
to begin to address it flaws and ensure that an innocent person is not
executed is to conduct a full study examining every aspect of the system
to ensure its reliability."

The proposed legislation would create a balanced study commission with
representatives appointed by the Governor, the Senate, and the House, as
well as lawyers for both the defense and prosecution, mental health
advocates, and victims advocates. The commission would make
recommendations to the legislature as to how the identified problems
should be addressed. The bill passed with bi-partisan support and will
now head to the full Judiciary Committee.

"We cannot stop with a review of our so-called 'sloppy' execution
protocols," said Rector. "We must examine the entire system in order to
address the wide-ranging problems before Tennessee makes an irreversible

Tell the FDA: "No Food From Cloned Animals"

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has completed its review of food from animal clones and FDA regulators say that the agency will likely approve the sale of cloned foods this year. FDA's action flies in the face of widespread scientific concern about the risks of food from clones, and ignores the animal cruelty and troubling ethical concerns that the cloning process bring. What's worse, FDA indicates that it will not require labeling on cloned food, so consumers will have no way to avoid these experimental foods. FDA needs to hear that you don't want food from animal clones - a public comment period is open until May 2nd!

Send your comment to FDA TODAY!
Take action online at

Animal cloning is a new technology with potentially severe risks for food safety. Defects in clones are common, and cloning scientists warn that even small imbalances in clones could lead to hidden food safety problems in clones' milk or meat. There are few studies on the risks of food from clones, and no long-term food safety studies have been done.

Further, the pregnancy complications in cloning cause unnecessary suffering for host mothers, and clones commonly develop with severe deformities and health problems, such as grossly oversized calves, enlarged tongues, squashed faces, intestinal blockages, immune deficiencies, diabetes, high rates of heart and lung damage, kidney failure and brain abnormalities.

Opinion polls show that the majority of Americans do not want food from animal clones and are opposed to cloning on moral or ethical grounds.

The Center for Food Safety has called on FDA to ban the use of clones in food production until the food safety and animal cruelty problems in cloning have been resolved, and until public discussions have addressed the troubling ethical issues that cloning brings. We also call on FDA, in the event that these pre-conditions can be met, to require labeling of food from animal clones.

For more information, visit the Center for Food Safety website at ; .. There is also a video available at ttp://

Sample Letter to FDA:

Submit your letter electronically at

or through the FDA comment site at FDA link: ;

Division of Dockets Management (HFA-305)
Food and Drug Administration
5630 Fishers Lane, Rm 1061
Rockville, MD 20852

TO: FDA Commissioner Andrew von Eschenbach
Docket # 2003N-0573

I oppose FDA approval of food products from animal clones and their offspring. Cloning carries unknown food safety risks, increases animal cruelty, and threatens the image of U.S. dairy and meat products. Many Americans object to animal cloning on moral or ethical grounds, and there is no need for cloned foods.

FDA has a poor track record in evaluating the science of animal cloning. In 2003, the agency released a draft assessment that was widely heralded as demonstrating the safety of cloned food; yet this assessment relied on a single industry-sponsored study of cloned milk, and no data at all on meat from animal clones. The agency's latest assessment claims that no issues in food from animal clones were found, yet among the few new studies cited, several reported troubling results. Among the studies, published just this month, one found a failure rate in animal cloning of over 90%, with over 40% of "successful" clones suffering from disabling health problems leading to early death. Another found significant health differences in clones' offspring compared to normal animals. A third study found that healthy appearing clones are often physiologically different than normal animals, and concluded that food from clones should not be marketed without further research. The National Academy of Sciences has said that there is not enough data to know if the hidden defects in clones could pose food safety risks.

Furthermore, surrogate (host) cows used to produce clones are often given massive doses of hormones, and to survive their early health problems, clones are often treated with high doses of antibiotics and other veterinary drugs. Commercialization of cloning would almost certainly increase levels of veterinary hormones and antibiotics in the human food supply, but FDA has failed to address the food safety issues of this increase in medicating food animals.

Perhaps even more troubling, FDA has ignored the animal cruelty issues inherent in cloning. Surrogate cows must be used to produce clones, and these surrogates suffer from high rates of late-term spontaneous abortion, early prenatal deaths, and grossly oversized calves, and often have severe pregnancy complications and caesarian births. Cloned offspring suffer from common defects such as enlarged tongues, squashed faces, intestinal blockages, immune deficiencies and diabetes. These are not unusual side-affects, but a certain inhumane cost of animal cloning.

The FDA's current approach will allow industry to market these potentially unsafe foods, with the burden on the public to demonstrate that these foods are unsafe. But with this approach, the food safety risks of cloned animals are borne by our children and families, who will serve as the test subjects in industry's cloned food experiment.

Instead, I urge FDA to require that the food safety and animal welfare issues in animal cloning are resolved with long-term, independent and transparent testing before cloned foods are marketed. Such testing should put the burden of proof of safety on the clone developers, to protect the public from these untested, experimental foods.

Finally, FDA should take seriously the moral and ethical concerns of people who object to animal cloning. Those who object to the technology on moral grounds should have the choice not to use it. It is not clear that the food safety and animal welfare issues in cloning can be resolved, but even if they are, the agency must protect those who object to cloning by requiring mandatory labeling of cloned foods.

In sum, I urge FDA to impose a legal ban on the sale of food from cloned animals until:
· The agency establishes a mandatory pre-market review process, including independent and transparent long-term testing (with the burden of proof of safety on the clone developer) to demonstrate food safety;
· Animal cruelty issues from the frequent deformities and health problems of animal clones are technically resolved and meet the highest standards for animal welfare;
· Broad public discussions have resolved the unique ethical and moral issues raised by cloning; and
· FDA has required labeling for all food from clones and their offspring, to protect consumer choice.



Joseph Mendelson III|
Legal Director

Center for Food Safety &
Int'l Center for Technology Assessment

660 Pennsylvania Ave., SE Suite 302
Washington, DC 20003 ;
(202) 547-9359 | fax (202) 547-9429
This e-mail message is for the sole use of the intended recipient(s) and may contain confidential and privileged information. Any unauthorized review, use, disclosure, or distribution is prohibited by law. If you are not the intended recipient, please contact the sender by reply e-mail and destroy all copies of the original message.

Sheilah Davidson
Administrative Director
National Campaign For Sustainable Agriculture
P.O. Box 396
Pine Bush, New York 12566
Phone: 845-361-5201 Fax: 845-361-5204

Commentary - Contamination

A major bridge in Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, Ohio is being prepared for
a spectacular, 5-second demolition, with the public invited to watch.
(See Cleveland Plain Dealer, Sunday, April 22, front section.) There is
no guarantee that the explosive material does not contain components of
uranium or plutonium. If it does, as so strong an explosion suggests, a
radiation aerosol will be sprayed into the air and breathed into the
lungs, causing cancers that take five to ten years to kill, but causing
present malformation of the unborn in the womb.*

The elaborate preparation for the Fulton Road bridge demolition
underscores the power of the single explosion that tore a hole in the
Baghdad bridge over the Tigris and deepens suspicion that American
soldiers in Baghdad are living in a radiation contaminated zone.

- Jean G. Braun

The Case of Ethanol as Motor Fuel

The Case of Ethanol as Motor Fuel
John Chuckman

Ethanol has always been a poor choice as a fuel, but the scientific and
economic considerations behind that statement don't stop politicians from
claiming otherwise.

American use of ethanol blended into gasoline actually represents a hidden
subsidy to corn farmers, a subsidy on top of other subsidies, because
American corn production itself has long been subsidized. The American
program, to be expanded now by a leader widely recognized for wisdom and
insight, George Bush, subsidizes farmers hurt by the abundance of their own
subsidized production.

Subsidies plus the extent of Midwestern farmland suitable for its production
are why America produces such an abundance of corn. Its use in motor fuel on
any scale started as a way to stretch America's fuel supply in the face of
Arab anger over foreign policy.

But it does not really do this. Although numbers naturally change over time,
ethanol has roughly 70% the energy content of gasoline, yet it costs about
40% more to produce and distribute. In order to deliver this economic
bargain to motorists, the government forgoes taxes paid by the users of
gasoline, taxes which, of course, pay for important government services.

You don't need to study economics to appreciate that as a bad bargain.

In the years since the original strategic argument, arguments for the use of
ethanol in fuel have developed around its being a benefit to the
environment. It is no surprise that many embrace this at first hearing:
growing something for fuel just sounds cleaner and healthier than using a
mineral dug out of the ground.

But this is a false argument, false at several levels. If you have a certain
distance to drive, requiring a certain amount of energy, you will have to
fuel up more often, and you will be paying the same or more for this
privilege with ethanol as part of each fill-up.

The motorist, re-fueling his or her car, will not be aware that significant
amounts of petroleum products go into growing corn before any fuel is
manufactured. Tractors, harvesters, trucks, and conveyor belts don't run on
alcohol, and agricultural chemicals aren't derived from it.

It will be the furthest thing from the motorist's mind that ethanol for fuel
cannot be shipped by pipeline, the cheapest form of shipping liquids and
gases, because ethanol picks up water on it way underground, so ethanol must
use more expensive truck transport, and what do the trucks run on?

The motorist also likely will not be aware that while burning some ethanol
with gasoline reduces carbon dioxide emissions, if you account for the
carbon dioxide emissions of the corn's production, there is almost no net

A recent, published finding that ethanol increases ozone in the lower
atmosphere is also unlikely to drift through his or her thoughts while
squeezing the pump handle. Ozone is a constituent of smog which affects
those with respiratory problems. Ironically, ozone in the lower atmosphere
is itself a greenhouse gas.

Now, corn is a staple food for many poor people, especially throughout the
Americas, and it is a simple matter of supply and demand that if large
quantities of corn go to fuel, poor Mexicans and others will be eating less
because its bounty in the food supply will drop. In very small quantities,
this effect is almost invisible, but in large quantities - and what is the
use of such programs if they do not become large? - it will become painfully

Canada's Conservative government , a government whose previous environmental
minister became an international embarrassment to the country, is in a
desperate search for some environmental goodness to smear on its face as
political war-paint and has discovered the mumbo-jumbo of ethanol.

Recently, it has run a television ad, over and over, done in fake cinema
verité style showing vignettes of an odd little man with the sardonic smile
of a skull asking citizens on the street about growing "our own fuel." It
even features a scene of the would-be comic dancing spontaneously on the
sidewalk with someone in celebration of growing your own fuel. It ends with
another man announcing proudly to the astonished little man that his great
hulking SUV actually uses ethanol. Will wonders never cease?

Why do governments do this kind of thing? Well, ethanol as fuel allows you
to brag about doing all kinds of good things - of course, the bragging is
done by stating partial truths, but isn't that what all advertising is,
partial truth? - while you dish out a new subsidy to some of your
constituents. And you get to advertise what you are doing at the expense of
your listeners.

Ethanol-as-fuel's other great attraction is that politicians get to hide for
a while from the real solutions, such as simply raising vehicle efficiency
standards, which require some courage. What a sweet scam.

ADAPT Goes to Washington DC

Memphis, Tennessee. Members of ADAPT of Tennessee will be in Washington, D.C., April 28 to May 3 to push for passage of the Community Choice Act and promote affordable, accessible, integrated housing for people with disabilities. ADAPT’s successful efforts in 2006 on Money Follows the Person currently help people get out of nursing homes and return to their communities. The new Community Choice Act (S 799 and HR 1621) gives people with disabilities increased access to community-based services and supports in their own homes, thus preventing them from being forced into nursing homes in the first place.

In anticipation of ADAPT’s arrival in D.C., the Republican and Democratic National Committee Chairs; HUD Secretary, Alphonso Jackson, and Leslie Norwalk, Director of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) have all agreed to meet with ADAPT. Meetings with the Democratic and Republican National Committee Chairs will focus on holding hearings on the Community Choice Act. Jackson will meet with ADAPT on “Access Across America,” ADAPT’s blueprint to increase the stock of affordable, accessible, integrated housing for people returning to their communities from nursing homes and other institutions.

“We’d love to sit back and celebrate our success in increasing funding for community-based supports so people can get out of institutions, but we don’t have that luxury. It’s time to end the entitlement only to nursing homes. It is time to assure that people are not forced into institutions to begin with,” said Randy Alexander. “And, it’s also time to put focus on housing, so people coming out of nursing homes and institutions have someplace to live. And that someplace has to be affordable, it has to be accessible, it has to be integrated, and it has to be permanent housing, not transitional.”

While they are in Washington, D.C., members of ADAPT of Tennessee will engage in a fundraising event to support their efforts. On Sunday, April 29, nine members of ADAPT of Tennessee, will join nationally prominent figures in the disability community to run, walk, and roll around Washington’s Upper Senate Park, collecting pledges for each circuit they make. Money raised will help underwrite the cost for recipients of SSI and SSDI to come to Washington, D.C. to meet with and speak to their elected officials and national policymakers.

“We intend to let Congress know that it’s time for the passage of the Community Choice Act to be a priority on their agenda. Our fundraising event will provide the financial assistance many of us need in order to meet face to face with our Congressional delegations on the Community Choice Act and related issues that affect our lives,” said Lonnie Collins “Nothing about us without us!”

Monday, April 23, 2007

Greens Vow to Defend Women's Health

Greens blast Supreme Court ruling, vow to defend choice & women's health
Green Party of the United States

Friday, April 20, 2007

WASHINGTON, DC -- Green Party leaders strongly criticized the Supreme
Court's ruling on Gonzalez v. Carhart, which curtailed the right of women to
seek an abortion, and pledged to fight for full reproductive rights for

"Wednesday's Supreme Court's decision is an affront to women on several
grounds. It interferes with the decisions that are made privately by a woman
in consultation with her physician. It subordinates our lives to the lives
of fetuses, relegating us to the status of vessels for childbirth. It
outlaws a safe medical procedure, allowing no exception for the health of
women. It overturns decades of women's legal rights to well established
medical practices, including those rulings against the Partial Birth
Abortion Ban Act of 2003, which criminalized the dilation and extraction
method. By disregarding the safety of women, the decision violates the equal
protection guarantee of the 14th Amendment," said Nan Garrett, Co-Chair of
the National Women's Caucus of the Green Party and Co-Chair of the Georgia
Green Party.

Greens criticized Democrats for caving in to antichoice lobbies and adopting
'partial birth' language. In his responses to a questionnaire from the US
Catholic Conference, 2000 Democratic candidate Al Gore said he would allow
certain legal restrictions on abortion rights: "Al Gore opposes late-term
abortions and the procedure of partial-birth abortions." Greens expressed
alarm at Sen. Hillary Clinton's (D-NY) statement in 2005 that pro-choice
Democrats must seek "common ground" with political activists who seek to
outlaw reproductive choice.

The Green Party's national platform embraces full reproductive rights,
including unrestricted abortion rights and access, family planning
assistance, removal of restrictions on foreign aid to nations that provide
abortion, protection from domestic abuse and other kinds of violence and
coercion based on gender and sexuality, equal rights in the workplace and
equal pay, and a strengthened social safety net -- especially for single
mothers, who comprise the largest percentage of Americans living in poverty.
The Green Party includes feminism among its key values.

"The Green Party and Green candidates will continue to support full
reproductive rights for women, especially the legal right for women to make
decisions about abortion and related medical procedures with their doctors
without meddling by politicians. We will work to repeal the Partial Birth
Abortion Ban Act, we will fight to keep Roe v. Wade from being overturned,
and we will uphold women's privacy and safety in all medical matters as
central to equality and freedom throughout the US and the rest of the
world," said Sylvia Inwood, Co-Chair of the National Women's Caucus and
Chair of the Green Party of Michigan.


Green Party of the United States
1700 Connecticut Avenue NW, Suite 404
Washington, DC 20009.
202-319-7191, 866-41GREEN
Fax 202-319-7193
Green Party News Center

National Women's Caucus of the Green Party

Green Party platform: planks on women's rights, reproductive rights

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Commentary - Critical Research

Reports tell that U.S. troops have set up special stations inside Baghdad
and are constructing a cement "Baghdad wall" around the Sunni
neighborhood. We also hear of extremely violent bomb blasts, killing as
many as 150 persons in one explosion. Such violent explosion suggests use
of depleted uranium bombs, which, by public knowledge, only the U.S. has
capacity to make. This means, however, that U.S. soldiers are stationed
within zones which are radiation contaminated by depleted uranium

The Pentagon does not recognize radioactive effects of depleted uranium,
but abundant research shows otherwise. Stationing of U.S. troops in those
zones cannot be justified. We could tell Congress: "Direct the Defense
Department to fund exhaustive research into radioactive effects of
depleted uranium and what elements - including foods - will reverse those

- Jean G. Braun

Saturday, April 21, 2007

CPT Forming Stop-DU May Delegation in TN

Christian Peacemaker Teams' Campaign to Stop Depleted Uranium is in the
midst of completing arrangements for a delegation to Jonesborough, TN, site
of a major DU weapons producer -- AeroJet Ordnance -- from May 18-27.
The delegation is part of a campaign to the production of depleted uranium
munitions. Participants will meet with people impacted by these weapons,
including veterans, hospital administrators and plant employees. They will
also organize and carry out a nonviolent public witness challenging the
production of DU munitions.

Most in the delegation assembled thus far are over age 60, with a number in
their 70s, a host of youthful geriatric very-active activists. Below is the
tentative list of co-participants -- many from Colorado, Ontario and
Wisconsin, who will be traveling to Tennessee for the action. Participants
will be housed in a Church of the Brethren near Jonesborough during the

Media updates from the delegation will be available during its time in
Jonesborough at . According to Claire Evans, delegation
coordinator for Christian Peacemaker Teams, the tentative list of
participants thus far includes:

Leader: Murray Lumley, 1854-A Danforth Ave., Toronto, ON M4C 1J4;
416-423-5406; Age 66. He has been active locally
in protesting against militarization and nuclear weapons. A CPT reservist
since 2000, he has most recently spent time with CPT''s U.S.-Mexico
Borderlands project and participated in last November's DU delegation.

Co-Leader: Cliff Kindy, 4874 E. 1400 N, North Manchester, IN 46962;
260-982-2971 (h); Age 57. An organic farmer, he served as a
full-time member of the Christian Peacemaker Corps in Hebron, West Bank;
Chiapas, Mexico; Colombia; native communities in North America; and Iraq. He
is currently spearheading the Stop DU Campaign, a project of CPT's Northern
Indiana regional group.

Russell Attoe, 1620 N. Golf Glen, Madison, WI 53704; 608-241-5537 (h),
608-265-4331 (w); Age 60. An electronics technician at the
University of Wisconsin, he has long been active in peace and justice
issues. He participated in a delegation to the U.S./Mexico border, and has
vigilled against the School of the Americas several times. With his wife,
Judy Leurquin, he produces a weekly table TV program on Third World

Bill Durland, 516 W. Pikes Peak Ave., Colorado Springs, CO 80905;
719-635-8686; Age 76. He has experience as an attorney
and college professor with long-time involvement with nonviolent action. He
is active in a local peace and justice group, Friends of Sabeel, and
CPT-Colorado. A CPT reservist, he has been on CPT delegations to Iraq,
Israel/Palestine and the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands.

Genie Durland, 516 W. Pikes Peak Ave., Colorado Springs, CO 80905;
719-635-8686; Age 71. She taught at Pendle Hill and has
spent extended time in the Middle East. She is active in a local peace and
justice group, Friends of Sabeel, and CPT-Colorado. A CPT reservist, she
been on CPT delegations to Iraq, Israel/Palestine and the U.S.-Mexico

Ron Forthofer, 3912 Divet Ct., Longmont, CO 80503; 303-786-8921; Age 63. Formerly a professor of biometry, he is
involved in local peace groups and has served as a peacekeeper at actions in
the Denver/Boulder area. He participated in two CPT delegations to the
Middle East and spent time on the Pierre, South Dakota project as a CPT

Ron Friesen, 1267 Butte Rd., Loveland, CO 80537; 970-667-7852; Age 74. He is involved in CPT-Colorado and local
peace groups and has participated as a peacekeeper at several local actions.
He was part of a CPT delegation to Chiapas and served on teams in South
Dakota and the U.S.-Mexico Border.

Kirsten Romaine Jones, 401-10 Fontenay Ct., Toronto, ON M9A 4W3;
416-243-9405; Age 69. Inspired by Quaker ideals, she
has been involved in nonviolent actions since 1955 in Canada, the USA,
Belgium and the U.K. She has been a nonviolence trainer in prisons, schools
and other organizations and volunteers with a local mediation center.

Judy Leurquin, 1620 N. Golf Glen, Madison, WI 53704; 608-241-5537; Age 66. A retired psycho nurse, she has a long-standing
interest in DU. She has been active in peace and justice issues for many
years. She participated in several delegations to Central America and to
Cuba, and vigilled against the School of the Americas several times. With
her husband , Rus Attoe, she produces a weekly table TV program on Third
World concerns.

Jane MacKay Wright, 111 McNevin St., Providence Bay, ON P0P 1T0;
705-377-6074 (h), 519-379-8730 ( c); Age 63. She
taught media arts at the college level for 18 years, including three months
in China. She was involved with the Cruise Missile Conversion Project in
Toronto in the early 1980s, and is active in her Quaker meeting. A CPT
Reservist, she served with teams in Iraq, New Brunswick and Kenora, Ontario.

Wes Rehberg, 303 Shady Crest Dr., Chattanooga, TN 37415; 423-774-3311; Age 70. He spent more than 20 years as an
investigative journalist and produces documentary videos on social justice
themes. He is also a retired United Methodist pastor. He has been involved
in a range of peace and justice issues locally and internationally.

Dick Williams, 3003 Valmont Rd. #78, Boulder, CO 80301; 303-245-0015; Age 67. He is an ordained Methodist minister with
experience as a college professor and research consultant. He is involved in
the Colorado CPT group, has been on delegations to Haiti, Chiapas and
Vieques, Puerto Rico, and served with CPT in Chiapas as a reservist.

Gretchen Williams, 3003 Valmont Rd. #78, Boulder, CO 80301; 303-245-0015; Age 75. She has experience as a bio-feedback
therapist and has been involved in anti-nuclear and other peace actions. She
participates in CPT-Colorado; has been on delegations to South Carolina, the
Middle East, Vieques and Chiapas, and has served with CPT in Chiapas as a
reservist. She also regularly volunteers at CPT's Chicago office.


For more information about the delegation, contact:

Claire Evans

Delegation Coordinator Christian Peacemaker Teams

PO Box 6508

Chicago, IL 60680-6508

Phone: 773-277-0253, Fax: 773-277-0291


Christian Peacemaker Teams is an initiative of the historic peace churches
(Mennonites, Church of the Brethren, and Quakers) with support and
membership from a range of Catholic and Protestant denominations.

Wes Rehberg
from the clearing blog
social justice blog

Where Are the Cries of Outrage Over Military Rapes?

Beyond the Strange Furor Over Imus

Now that the Don Imus flameout has once again demonstrated that vile
words energize many activist groups and many media more than do
devastating deeds, it is useful to revisit this strange dimension of
public furor.

The latest three word outburst in Mr. Imus' practice of sexist and
racist remarks may be compared with the continuing sexist and racist
behaviors that civic opponents would argu e shou ld at the very least
receive equal time from those who become indignant over cruel, bigoted

On March 18, the New York Times ran a lengthy cover story in its
heralded Sunday Magazine about widespread sexual harassment and rape of
female U.S. soldiers by their male colleagues in Iraq. Written by a
reporter, Sarah Corbett, the article combined the available official
studies, and statements of specialists, with poignant narratives by
women soldiers whom she interviewed intensively.

The evidence she amassed included a report in 2003, funded by the
Department of Defense (DOD), which declared that nearly one-third of a
nationwide sample of female veterans seeking health care through the
V.A. said they experienced rape or attempted rape during their service.
Of that group, 37 percent said they were raped multiple times, and 14
percent reported they were gang-raped.

A change in DOD policy in 2005 allowing sexua l assa ults to be reported
confidentially in "restricted reports" led to the number of reported
assaults across the military rising 40 percent.

There are still many reasons why female soldiers are reluctant to report
sexual violence, especially in combat zones. Solidarity is survival.

Complaining about your superior or soldiers of comparable ranking
ruptures the working hierarchy and its military mission. In addition, it
is often the woman's word against the man's word. As one sailor told Ms.
Corbett, "You just don't expect anything to be done about it anyway, so
why even try?" She said she was raped at a naval base on Guam before
being deployed to Iraq.

Female soldiers coming back from Iraq relate their fears of even going
to the latrines in the middle of the night for the fear of being
sexually assaulted.

Sexual violence is often dismissed as fabricated, exaggerated or
consensual. It is important not to tarnish m any up standing and
respectful male soldiers and sailors with sweeping generalizations.

Abbie Pickett, who is a 24 year old combat-support specialist with the
Wisconsin Army Naitonal Guard, told Ms. Corbett: "You're one of three
things in the military-a bitch, a whore or a dyke. As a female, you get
classified pretty quickly."

Particularly since the Tailhook episode in 1991 which involved sexual
violence against women at a naval party, the Pentagon has become more
concerned about such assaults. There are far more women in areas of
combat now as well. Over 160,000 women have seen active duty in Iraq and
Afghanistan already.

Bottom line to all the reports-official and individual-was summarized by
the New York Times this way: "Many have reported being sexually
assaulted, harassed and raped by fellow soldiers and officers." (For
more information see http://www.democrac

Assault and rape are crimes, deeds of devastating impact on the lives of
these young women. They are not just vile words. Yet in the month since
the New York Times article was published, there has been almost no
public outrage and no demands for more investigation, more corrective
action, more law enforcement.

The members of Congress-women and men-have not mobilized for action. The
press did not follow up on the article-"The Women's War" by Ms. Corbett. The
National Organization of Women (NOW) condemned Don Imus in no uncertain
terms. They have not yet demanded multiple actions to be taken on this
continuing violence against women.

Aside from the indifference of the ma le leg islators, Congress is now
graced by the largest number of women lawmakers in its history. The
Speaker of the House is a woman-Nancy Pelosi. Sure, she has her hands
full with the Iraq war. But this is an internal war against many women
who need her leadership and her status to spark remedial or preventative

Words inflaming more than deeds is also too often the case when racial
epithets are uttered by public figures. All those groups and civil
rights leaders who conquered and ended the Don Imus media empire should
ask themselves what have they done in any sustained manner, given their
power and media access, about the brutality of racism by commercial
interests in the urban ghettos. Deaths, injuries, disease and loss of
livelihood are a daily occurrence, apart from raw street crime and
drugs. Little children seriously poisoned by lead, asbestos and other
toxics. Whole neighborhoods redlined without adequate corporat e poli ce
protection. Predatory lending, predatory interest rates, marketing
shoddy products and contaminated food proliferate.

Where have been the cries of outrage, the demands for removal of these
conditions and prosecution of these crooks and defrauders? The abysmal
conditions are daily, weekly, monthly. They have been occasionally
reported in gripping human interest terms and statistics and maps.

If only the offenders used words, instead of committing these awful
deeds. Maybe there would have been action, front page headlines and
prime time television and radio coverage. If only they used words!

Ralph Nader is the author of The Seventeen Traditions

Friday, April 20, 2007

Clinton & Obama Continue War Funding

NEW YORK CITY – Congressman and Democratic presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich is challenging his fellow candidates' votes to authorize and fund the war in Iraq, and their positions on Iran.

"Clinton, Edwards, and Obama share responsibility for wasting hundreds of billions of dollars in an unnecessary war. And the American tax payers on this day need to remember that," Kucinich charged. Hillary Clinton and John Edwards voted to authorize the war. Clinton and Barack Obama continue to vote to fund it.

At a New Hampshire town meeting yesterday, someone asked Clinton about her vote to authorize the war, and asked if she had read the intelligence reports prior to her vote. Senator Clinton is reported to have said that if she had known then what she knows now, she never would have voted to give the President the authority to go to war.

"If Senator Clinton and the others had done their job they would have known, and they would have voted correctly as I did," declared Kucinich, who campaigned yesterday in New Hampshire and Connecticut and appeared live on CNN's night show from New York City.

"I didn't just vote against the war, I shared an in depth analysis with Members of Congress that I wrote in October 2002, after reviewing intelligence reports," Kucinich said.

Kucinich's 2002 Analysis:

"The information that Senator Clinton said she was lacking was available to anyone who wanted to see it," said Kucinich who ran 7 points ahead of Clinton in the Moveon poll released last week. "Now that she and all the others who voted incorrectly know what they didn't know then, they are still voting the wrong way," Kucinich stated, referring to votes on war funding.

Kucinich also talked about Senator Obama's presidential campaign, where Senator Obama claims to have opposed the war from the start and implies that if he had been in the Senate at the time he would have voted against it. "Senator Obama has a 100 percent record of voting for funding the war in Iraq, as does Senator Clinton," Kucinich said.

Last month, in under a week, the Democrats appropriated $97 billion in supplemental funds for the war and approved the 2008 Bush budget, which not only budgeted $145 billion for the war in 2008, but allocated an additional $50 billion for 2009.

"So much for Democratic timelines," Kucinich observed. "This war needs to end now and Democrats should stop funding it now. The money's in the pipeline now to bring the troops home, and I've written legislation, HR 1234, to begin a process to stabilize Iraq as the U.S. troops leave."

HR 1234:

Kucinich challenged his fellow candidates on Iran as well, saying: "All of them, Clinton, Edwards, and Obama, who now say that President Bush was wrong to attack Iraq, are parroting the Bush-Cheney doctrine on preemptive and 'preventive' war on Iran, as they openly state that for Iran 'All options are on the table.'"

Kucinich, the only candidate who has consistently voted against the invasion of Iraq and the funding of the occupation, noted: "Their lack of good judgment raises questions not only about their ability to win in November of 2008, but also raises questions as to whether they have the good judgment, foresight and independence necessary to be President of the United States".

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Commentary - Five Issues

As $100 billion for more war sits on the Congressional desk, and the
Vice-president and Attorney General are feeling Congressional heat, the
Virginia Tech tragedy has completely distracted the mainstream media. It
is the Internet, however, which reports that the sister of the suicide
killer works for McNeil Technologies, which is a contractor in Iraq and
also, according to its website, services the Defense Intelligence Agency.

Issues are almost overwhelming, but here are five suggested quick votes
for calling or visiting the House and Senate web sites: 1) Impeach. 2)NO
on the war appropriations bill. 3) Cancel nuclear weapons production. 4)
Abolish electronic voting machines. 5) Provide alternative health care
insurance coverage.

The acronym is INCAP: IMPEACH. NO war funding. CANCEL nuclear weapons.
ABOLISH electronic voting machines. PROVIDE alternative health care.

- Jean G. Braun

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

A History of Violence

by Steven Pinker


Once again, Steven Pinker returns to debunking the doctrine of the noble savage in the following piece based on his lecture at the recent TED Conference in Monterey, California.

This doctrine, "the idea that humans are peaceable by nature and corrupted by modern institutions—pops up frequently in the writing of public intellectuals like José Ortega y Gasset ("War is not an instinct but an invention"), Stephen Jay Gould ("Homo sapiens is not an evil or destructive species"), and Ashley Montagu ("Biological studies lend support to the ethic of universal brotherhood")," he writes. "But, now that social scientists have started to count bodies in different historical periods, they have discovered that the romantic theory gets it backward: Far from causing us to become more violent, something in modernity and its cultural institutions has made us nobler."

Pinker's notable talk, along with his essay, is one more example of how ideas forthcoming from the empirical and biological study of human beings is gaining sway over those of the scientists and others in disciplines that rely on studying social actions and human cultures independent from their biological foundation.

STEVEN PINKER is the Johnstone Family Professor in the Department of Psychology at Harvard University. His most recent book is The Blank Slate.



In sixteenth-century Paris, a popular form of entertainment was cat-burning, in which a cat was hoisted in a sling on a stage and slowly lowered into a fire. According to historian Norman Davies, "[T]he spectators, including kings and queens, shrieked with laughter as the animals, howling with pain, were singed, roasted, and finally carbonized." Today, such sadism would be unthinkable in most of the world. This change in sensibilities is just one example of perhaps the most important and most underappreciated trend in the human saga: Violence has been in decline over long stretches of history, and today we are probably living in the most peaceful moment of our species' time on earth.

In the decade of Darfur and Iraq, and shortly after the century of Stalin, Hitler, and Mao, the claim that violence has been diminishing may seem somewhere between hallucinatory and obscene. Yet recent studies that seek to quantify the historical ebb and flow of violence point to exactly that conclusion.

Some of the evidence has been under our nose all along. Conventional history has long shown that, in many ways, we have been getting kinder and gentler. Cruelty as entertainment, human sacrifice to indulge superstition, slavery as a labor-saving device, conquest as the mission statement of government, genocide as a means of acquiring real estate, torture and mutilation as routine punishment, the death penalty for misdemeanors and differences of opinion, assassination as the mechanism of political succession, rape as the spoils of war, pogroms as outlets for frustration, homicide as the major form of conflict resolution—all were unexceptionable features of life for most of human history. But, today, they are rare to nonexistent in the West, far less common elsewhere than they used to be, concealed when they do occur, and widely condemned when they are brought to light.

At one time, these facts were widely appreciated. They were the source of notions like progress, civilization, and man's rise from savagery and barbarism. Recently, however, those ideas have come to sound corny, even dangerous. They seem to demonize people in other times and places, license colonial conquest and other foreign adventures, and conceal the crimes of our own societies. The doctrine of the noble savage—the idea that humans are peaceable by nature and corrupted by modern institutions—pops up frequently in the writing of public intellectuals like José Ortega y Gasset ("War is not an instinct but an invention"), Stephen Jay Gould ("Homo sapiens is not an evil or destructive species"), and Ashley Montagu ("Biological studies lend support to the ethic of universal brotherhood"). But, now that social scientists have started to count bodies in different historical periods, they have discovered that the romantic theory gets it backward: Far from causing us to become more violent, something in modernity and its cultural institutions has made us nobler.

To be sure, any attempt to document changes in violence must be soaked in uncertainty. In much of the world, the distant past was a tree falling in the forest with no one to hear it, and, even for events in the historical record, statistics are spotty until recent periods. Long-term trends can be discerned only by smoothing out zigzags and spikes of horrific bloodletting. And the choice to focus on relative rather than absolute numbers brings up the moral imponderable of whether it is worse for 50 percent of a population of 100 to be killed or 1 percent in a population of one billion.

Yet, despite these caveats, a picture is taking shape. The decline of violence is a fractal phenomenon, visible at the scale of millennia, centuries, decades, and years. It applies over several orders of magnitude of violence, from genocide to war to rioting to homicide to the treatment of children and animals. And it appears to be a worldwide trend, though not a homogeneous one. The leading edge has been in Western societies, especially England and Holland, and there seems to have been a tipping point at the onset of the Age of Reason in the early seventeenth century.

At the widest-angle view, one can see a whopping difference across the millennia that separate us from our pre-state ancestors. Contra leftist anthropologists who celebrate the noble savage, quantitative body-counts—such as the proportion of prehistoric skeletons with axemarks and embedded arrowheads or the proportion of men in a contemporary foraging tribe who die at the hands of other men—suggest that pre-state societies were far more violent than our own. It is true that raids and battles killed a tiny percentage of the numbers that die in modern warfare. But, in tribal violence, the clashes are more frequent, the percentage of men in the population who fight is greater, and the rates of death per battle are higher. According to anthropologists like Lawrence Keeley, Stephen LeBlanc, Phillip Walker, and Bruce Knauft, these factors combine to yield population-wide rates of death in tribal warfare that dwarf those of modern times. If the wars of the twentieth century had killed the same proportion of the population that die in the wars of a typical tribal society, there would have been two billion deaths, not 100 million.

Political correctness from the other end of the ideological spectrum has also distorted many people's conception of violence in early civilizations—namely, those featured in the Bible. This supposed source of moral values contains many celebrations of genocide, in which the Hebrews, egged on by God, slaughter every last resident of an invaded city. The Bible also prescribes death by stoning as the penalty for a long list of nonviolent infractions, including idolatry, blasphemy, homosexuality, adultery, disrespecting one's parents, and picking up sticks on the Sabbath. The Hebrews, of course, were no more murderous than other tribes; one also finds frequent boasts of torture and genocide in the early histories of the Hindus, Christians, Muslims, and Chinese.

At the century scale, it is hard to find quantitative studies of deaths in warfare spanning medieval and modern times. Several historians have suggested that there has been an increase in the number of recorded wars across the centuries to the present, but, as political scientist James Payne has noted, this may show only that "the Associated Press is a more comprehensive source of information about battles around the world than were sixteenth-century monks." Social histories of the West provide evidence of numerous barbaric practices that became obsolete in the last five centuries, such as slavery, amputation, blinding, branding, flaying, disembowelment, burning at the stake, breaking on the wheel, and so on. Meanwhile, for another kind of violence—homicide—the data are abundant and striking. The criminologist Manuel Eisner has assembled hundreds of homicide estimates from Western European localities that kept records at some point between 1200 and the mid-1990s. In every country he analyzed, murder rates declined steeply—for example, from 24 homicides per 100,000 Englishmen in the fourteenth century to 0.6 per 100,000 by the early 1960s.

On the scale of decades, comprehensive data again paint a shockingly happy picture: Global violence has fallen steadily since the middle of the twentieth century. According to the Human Security Brief 2006, the number of battle deaths in interstate wars has declined from more than 65,000 per year in the 1950s to less than 2,000 per year in this decade. In Western Europe and the Americas, the second half of the century saw a steep decline in the number of wars, military coups, and deadly ethnic riots.

Zooming in by a further power of ten exposes yet another reduction. After the cold war, every part of the world saw a steep drop-off in state-based conflicts, and those that do occur are more likely to end in negotiated settlements rather than being fought to the bitter end. Meanwhile, according to political scientist Barbara Harff, between 1989 and 2005 the number of campaigns of mass killing of civilians decreased by 90 percent.

The decline of killing and cruelty poses several challenges to our ability to make sense of the world. To begin with, how could so many people be so wrong about something so important? Partly, it's because of a cognitive illusion: We estimate the probability of an event from how easy it is to recall examples. Scenes of carnage are more likely to be relayed to our living rooms and burned into our memories than footage of people dying of old age. Partly, it's an intellectual culture that is loath to admit that there could be anything good about the institutions of civilization and Western society. Partly, it's the incentive structure of the activism and opinion markets: No one ever attracted followers and donations by announcing that things keep getting better. And part of the explanation lies in the phenomenon itself. The decline of violent behavior has been paralleled by a decline in attitudes that tolerate or glorify violence, and often the attitudes are in the lead. As deplorable as they are, the abuses at Abu Ghraib and the lethal injections of a few murderers in Texas are mild by the standards of atrocities in human history. But, from a contemporary vantage point, we see them as signs of how low our behavior can sink, not of how high our standards have risen.

The other major challenge posed by the decline of violence is how to explain it. A force that pushes in the same direction across many epochs, continents, and scales of social organization mocks our standard tools of causal explanation. The usual suspects—guns, drugs, the press, American culture—aren't nearly up to the job. Nor could it possibly be explained by evolution in the biologist's sense: Even if the meek could inherit the earth, natural selection could not favor the genes for meekness quickly enough. In any case, human nature has not changed so much as to have lost its taste for violence. Social psychologists find that at least 80 percent of people have fantasized about killing someone they don't like. And modern humans still take pleasure in viewing violence, if we are to judge by the popularity of murder mysteries, Shakespearean dramas, Mel Gibson movies, video games, and hockey.

What has changed, of course, is people's willingness to act on these fantasies. The sociologist Norbert Elias suggested that European modernity accelerated a "civilizing process" marked by increases in self-control, long-term planning, and sensitivity to the thoughts and feelings of others. These are precisely the functions that today's cognitive neuroscientists attribute to the prefrontal cortex. But this only raises the question of why humans have increasingly exercised that part of their brains. No one knows why our behavior has come under the control of the better angels of our nature, but there are four plausible suggestions.

The first is that Hobbes got it right. Life in a state of nature is nasty, brutish, and short, not because of a primal thirst for blood but because of the inescapable logic of anarchy. Any beings with a modicum of self-interest may be tempted to invade their neighbors to steal their resources. The resulting fear of attack will tempt the neighbors to strike first in preemptive self-defense, which will in turn tempt the first group to strike against them preemptively, and so on. This danger can be defused by a policy of deterrence—don't strike first, retaliate if struck—but, to guarantee its credibility, parties must avenge all insults and settle all scores, leading to cycles of bloody vendetta. These tragedies can be averted by a state with a monopoly on violence, because it can inflict disinterested penalties that eliminate the incentives for aggression, thereby defusing anxieties about preemptive attack and obviating the need to maintain a hair-trigger propensity for retaliation. Indeed, Eisner and Elias attribute the decline in European homicide to the transition from knightly warrior societies to the centralized governments of early modernity. And, today, violence continues to fester in zones of anarchy, such as frontier regions, failed states, collapsed empires, and territories contested by mafias, gangs, and other dealers of contraband.

Payne suggests another possibility: that the critical variable in the indulgence of violence is an overarching sense that life is cheap. When pain and early death are everyday features of one's own life, one feels fewer compunctions about inflicting them on others. As technology and economic efficiency lengthen and improve our lives, we place a higher value on life in general.

A third theory, championed by Robert Wright, invokes the logic of non-zero-sum games: scenarios in which two agents can each come out ahead if they cooperate, such as trading goods, dividing up labor, or sharing the peace dividend that comes from laying down their arms. As people acquire know-how that they can share cheaply with others and develop technologies that allow them to spread their goods and ideas over larger territories at lower cost, their incentive to cooperate steadily increases, because other people become more valuable alive than dead.

Then there is the scenario sketched by philosopher Peter Singer. Evolution, he suggests, bequeathed people a small kernel of empathy, which by default they apply only within a narrow circle of friends and relations. Over the millennia, people's moral circles have expanded to encompass larger and larger polities: the clan, the tribe, the nation, both sexes, other races, and even animals. The circle may have been pushed outward by expanding networks of reciprocity, à la Wright, but it might also be inflated by the inexorable logic of the golden rule: The more one knows and thinks about other living things, the harder it is to privilege one's own interests over theirs. The empathy escalator may also be powered by cosmopolitanism, in which journalism, memoir, and realistic fiction make the inner lives of other people, and the contingent nature of one's own station, more palpable—the feeling that "there but for fortune go I".

Whatever its causes, the decline of violence has profound implications. It is not a license for complacency: We enjoy the peace we find today because people in past generations were appalled by the violence in their time and worked to end it, and so we should work to end the appalling violence in our time. Nor is it necessarily grounds for optimism about the immediate future, since the world has never before had national leaders who combine pre-modern sensibilities with modern weapons.

But the phenomenon does force us to rethink our understanding of violence. Man's inhumanity to man has long been a subject for moralization. With the knowledge that something has driven it dramatically down, we can also treat it as a matter of cause and effect. Instead of asking, "Why is there war?" we might ask, "Why is there peace?" From the likelihood that states will commit genocide to the way that people treat cats, we must have been doing something right. And it would be nice to know what, exactly, it is.

"Why We Quit" - Civilian conscientious objectors.

Why We Quit. Civilian conscientious objectors. The work ethic is unethical.
by Todd Boyle

The human species, surely, has some inborn characteristics that endure
over time frames of thousands of years. Our human nature is not so
far from us -- it is accessible to anybody in touch with their own
body and mind. It screams out to us through the desires and
aversions we feel.

For example I'm a 55 year old guy. My nature tells me to drop
everything about once a day, and walk out the door and bicycle or run
across the landscape, for an hour or more. The exercise seems to
balance my blood chemistry. The movement seems to satisfy some
craving or curiosity to investigate the area.

During the dark winter months my nature tells me to curl up in a warm
bed and sleep a lot-- sometimes 12 hours a day including naps.

The social order around us obviously does not operate by the same
instincts. I see a lot of useless commotion, a continual roar of
noise, the environment dominated by constant traffic and

I see a political economy guided by a very small number of people
who write the paychecks for our bosses and bureaucrats,
a vast population of employees doing whatever we're told,
and most of the instructions we're receiving useless in satisfying
anybody's human needs.

What humans need is pretty simple. Maslow's hierarchy. Decent food,
warmth. 90% of the GDP is not necessary for our biological needs. Our
food is produced by less than 10% of the workforce. The other 36
hours of our 40 hours of work is art. We could be doing *anything*.
Or nothing. Why is our art so ugly and violent? Why do we have to kill
millions of people 10,000 miles away, and spread toxic pollution and
destroy our oceans and lands?

What's in the skyscrapers downtown, truly, is useless commotion -
people struggling for control over the material outputs of a globally
integrated economy. People persuading, selling, manipulating and
inducing and compelling other people to do things. Marketing, law,
software and financial services, the accounting, the brokers, holding
companies, and corporate suites. Ask the people. Many of them openly
admit their occupations are fundamentally obsolete, or corrupt, or at
best unnecessary.

As a CPA for 20 years I realized my profession was intrinsically
corrupt. Accounting is a fabric of lies for tax and reporting, for the
advantage of the powerful.

I gave my life to something that was unnecessary for any real
production. We were paid by the powerful, always grudgingly and with
contempt, to recharacterize their losses as profits, or profits as losses.

And that is the story of downtown Seattle. It contributes less than
nothing to the production of goods and services. Organization,
scheduling, and coordination of human activity is essential. And
downtowns were once necessary-- managers and clerks needed
to be close together. But then came the telephone. And radio.
and computers, networks, and cellphones.

All necessary mental work is done by computers -- all of the routine
inventory, accounting, scheduling, logistics. Anybody doing that kind
of work has been sacked, the same as laborers who were replaced by
machinery. When a barcode scan at the cash register automatically
adjusts every inventory, shipping and manufacturing schedule all the
way back to the raw material suppliers, why do we need a concentration
of skyscrapers downtown, let alone building more freeways and bridges there?

Humanity adapted to automation in an ugly way. We could have worked
less. Instead, our work changed into a destructive manipulation of
other people -- empire.

Today's downtown is about capture. It stalks and subdues producers of
everything, to collect rents or fees. It prevents alternative ways of
doing things that cannot be captured. It is a hydroelectric dam, extracting
energy from humanity in pursuit of desire, and forcing ever higher
volumes of activity.

resources of the planet - a motor racing without a governor. We have a
duty at some point to be satisfied. To quit producing and consuming.
Quitting is the only ethical thing to do.

In fact the work ethic must be abandoned. Humanity learned a work
ethic as adaptation to the industrial revolution. But now it is just
as inappropriate as tribal mores during the industrial age.

The question is, what will be the new ethic? The people in those
skyscrapers have long abandoned the work ethic. They have learned to
avoid work and maximize takings. That is the business ethic.

My ethic is much simpler: quit working, and float like a jellyfish.

The war in Iraq has been the last straw, for me.
I burned my CPA license. I am a conscientious objector. I've
been thru this too many times already. The Vietnam war, the Reagan
wars, the Gulf war. I'm tired of obeying the orders of unfit bosses
and dictators. I will work no more forever. I have my dignity.

There is sufficient food. There is sufficient warmth. There is nothing
to fear.