Thursday, May 31, 2007

Lakota Nuke Fighter Survives Shoot-Out


In the name of fighting for survival from the nuclear death grip of genocide on the Indigenous Nations of Turtle Island, known as the United States, a Hunkpapa Lakota Sioux Warrior names Harold J. One Feather, was shot at during a one-man crusade against radioactive runoff in his native lands, which has and is devastating his community and neighboring communities.

SHOTS FIRED AT THE SLIM BUTTES OCCUPATION CAMP!!!

Harold J. One Feather is fighting for the survival of his people. Uranium mining has devastated many communities from Standing Rock, to other Cheyenne River Lakota communities. Runoff from the uranium mining has seeped and is seeping into the soil, encroaching on these people, causing many premature deaths, and reproductive problems with the women.

Mission of the Grand River Environmental Equality Network Occupation Camp:
Gonna Stay until the Dogs Catch Their Own Tail

1. To demand the comprehensive and total clean up of abandoned uranium mines with the Slim Buttes and Cave Hills, and not just one at a time as the US Forest Service is stating it is doing.

2. To consider the negative health effects of low-dose ionizing radiation exposure through surface water, ground water and air transport; especially as this has been occurring to my community Rock Creek (Bullhead, SD). We feel that the US Forest Service's negligence of considering the Rock Creek communities concern that the uranium mines are causing extreme health crises within the community is tantamount to genocide and racism.

3. To revise the US Forest Service Sioux Oil and Gas Leasing Final Environmental Impact Statement to either start an Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement or start the EIS process anew to include tribal communities' extreme health concerns. This is our main point that the US Forest Service although hearing testimony from Rock Creek community members about their increasing rates of cancer, birth problems, and diabetes, they didn't include this in the FEIS and replied that the commenting period is over. They were told numerous times about what the sickness and deaths happening downstream, yet they purposefully ignore our concerns. This too is genocide and racism!

4. We demand that all current leases involving uranium, oil, gas as well as other mineral resources be outlawed in the Slim Buttes and Cave Hills and those existing outstanding leases be allowed to expire without renewal of these leases.

5. We demand that the name of the Custer National Forest be changed to Crazy Horse National Forest; this is upon the advice of the story told to LaDonna Brave Bull-Allard by Johnson Holy Rock and Elaine Quiver: that the Slim Buttes and Cave Hills was one of Crazy Horse's favorite places and is part of the Powder River basin that as a condition of his surrender would be his permanent reservation. For this he was murdered at Fort Robinson.

6. We demand that the Sioux Ranger District be renamed Paha Zizipila as this is its true Lakota name.

Lakota Anti-Nuke Fighter Served with Eviction Notice

Here is a transcribed version of the notice of eviction that he received:

“Hello I was here at approximately 12:40 on 5/22. Please know there is a 10-day camping limit. This campsite was observed to be in use 5/16. “It” must be gone by 5/26. If you have questions please call me at (605) 797-4432.”

Signed: Laurie Walters-Clark

Govt Inflating Money Supply

Signs that the government has inflated the money supply, to accommodate
borrowing for the fresh $95 billion for more war, are seen in a stock
market awash with money and the salaries of government officials floating
up with automatic Cost of Living Adjustments (COLAs). Inflation swells,
with even a 5% rise in the cost of a postage stamp. Most bitter is the
blood yet to be spilled by U.S. soldiers and the families of Iraq and
Afghanistan.

Impeachment would stop this destruction. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has
opened a web site designated only for messages to the Speaker of the
House: AmericanVoices@mail.house.gov . It is an historic opportunity to
organize visiting every corner of our national Internet with this address
for sending an instant "Impeach Bush and Cheney" message.

- Jean G. Braun

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Strangers No Longer


by Amanda Fraser

Last month I attended a community meeting on immigration topics at Vine St Christian (Disciples of Christ) Church that was sponsored by the Doing Justly Project (DJP), a spiritual activism group. I have always favored liberal immigration policies and didn’t know if there would be much to learn at the meeting.

One thing I didn’t really understand is why so many Mexicans are increasingly coming to the US. For one thing, I was unaware of how much the NAFTA trade agreement has created severe unemployment and increased poverty in Mexico. This is largely due to policies that benefit large multi-national corporations that employ a relatively small number of workers in Mexico. These assembly plants have displaced small and medium-sized Mexican businesses and farms that employed 90 % of Mexicans prior to NAFTA. NAFTA also abolished the right of Mexican peasants to farm to community lands.

As a result these and other NAFTA policies, the percentage of Mexicans living in poverty has increased from 58% to 79% since the passage of NAFTA. The reason Mexicans come to the US is to flee the harsh poverty that has overcome their country. This is also why Mexicans risk their lives in crossing the brutal Arizona desert on foot to reach America. Over 30,000 people have lost their lives making this trek. This was movingly illustrated in a documentary, Dying to Get In, shown at the DJP meeting. This situation points to the need to urge out government to reform these clearly exploitive, large corporation-favoring NAFTA policies.

The situation also gives us strong motivation to re-examine our attitudes toward immigrants and refugees. If people could earn a living in their own countries, they would not be risking their lives to come to the US.

Last month I had also an opportunity to talk with Pat Halper of the Coalition for an Informed Community on Immigration and a member of my meditation group. During the last few months, the Coalition has put together three forums that invited the community to become more informed about immigration issues. A breakfast and forum was held for area clergy to share what their respective faith traditions say about welcoming new arrivals to our community. These conversations also work toward educating involved congregations and inviting faith leaders to take a stand against intolerance in our community.

Two students at Vanderbilt Divinity School have also organized Strangers No Longer and are working closely with the Coalition. Emily Snyder and Steve Miles, co-founders of the group, have created a terrifically helpful immigration Resources Packet that is available to faith leaders in our community. The packet includes: (1) scriptural verses (Christian, Jewish, and Muslim) that teach about immigration, (2) speaker suggestions, (3) sample sermons and prayers, (4) information on immigration-focused organizations and educational resources; and (5) tools for actions that congregations can take.

If your congregation or faith group is interested learning more about immigration issues, the Packet can be requested from its authors at faithandimmigration@yahoo.com.

This handy resource also tells us more about actions that your congregation can take, such as: how to request a Speaker; ideas for Partnering with a Hispanic or other immigrant congregation/religious community for pulpit exchanges or dialogue gatherings; opportunities to host an English class (much needed); and ideas for holding a Prayer Vigil or attending community gatherings to learn more about immigration.

For more information on education about immigration, you can also contact Avi Poster of the Coalition for an Informed Community on Immigration at 615-831-0681. Si si puede! (We too believe!)

In Support of Cindy

The recent letters from Cindy Sheehan expresses my same feelings about the democrats. I was there in Dallas when Cindy caused quite a stir at the VFP convention when she asked who was going with her the next day to Crawford, Texas to demonstrate outside the Bush compound until he explained this war to her and the nation. That was the start of "Camp Casey". She, for a brief time, had quite a division of talkers versus doers going. My quandry that day was: do I want to risk getting arrested and how will my wife, Margaret handle that? Do I get on the bus to Crawford. I did not go with Cindy and with the platoon of VFP conventioneers who had the guts to go on that operation.

I feel no passion in supporting democrats in their political watered down feints toward ending the war and the militarized state of the country. Most of those who surround me are totally caught up in their own lives and give little voice to what is happening in America let alone doing much about it and certainly are unable to unite in any significantly strong antiwar movement.

Our VFP chapter attempt at an ecumenical gathering on 12 May brought a very few loyal Ls and VFP chapter members and some of my curious local acquaintances. No one from the Courtians for peace in Pleasant Hill, 7 miles down the road, or P & J members from Nashville and no one from Knoxville, or Memphis. I don't think people in general make the connection with forgiveness and peace. Perhaps that spiritual ground is a little too shaky. The religious right wallows in that ground and the mud of bigotry and separation of the saved and unsaved. Forgiveness is reserved for themselves and their own.

The liberals are widely diverse and unable to get along let along unite against the fanatical religious churches in our society and the mainstream faiths stubbornly hold on to archaic myths, prayer and choosing the right hymns to sing; practice "vanilla politics" while the right wing musters fear, bigotry, hate and separation as it marches united to the tune of Onward Christian Soldiers. I think John Seigenthaller was dead on when he thought the world his headed toward a major conflict motivated by religion. I predict that our future imperial adventures, labeled as spreading democracy will require the reinstitution of the draft of young men and perhaps then more of the nation will back a move toward world peace.

The question for me is which bus do I want to risk getting on.

Jack Queen Veterans for Peace Nashville

'Without Housing' Candidates Forum

Mayoral Candidate Forum

With a room to be filled with over 200 hundred homeless people and dozens of other concerned citizens, a forum run by the homeless will take place at the Downtown Presbyterian Church at 11:15am, Wednesday, May 30th, 2007. John Zirker, president of the Homeless Power Project shares: “we want our members, the homeless of Nashville, to have a chance to meet and get to know the candidates for mayor so we, as homeless voters, can make the vital informed vote.”

Continuing on the work to move the city to prioritize truly affordable housing for homeless and low-income people, the Power Project expects many of the questions to focus on the candidates ability address this critical need. Matt Leber shares: “We can not attract the businesses and the workforce that is required for a growing Nashville, if we cannot offer incoming workers an opportunity for affordable housing. It is a critical need for the homeless but it will benefit everyone.”

Members of the Power Project have been registering homeless and formerly homeless people for the last month and already have several hundred registered. With a collaboration with the Nashville Coalition for the Homeless they expect to be able to register 1,500.

Clemmie Greenlee shares: “With our members becoming registered, educated and ready to vote, candidates for office, need to listen to us. We will be voting.”

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Iraqi War Deaths: May 20th-26th


Those who died in Iraq from May 20 to 26:

Ltn Oh 27 South Korea
Cpl Jeremy Brookes 28 Birmingham UK
Spc Michael Davis 22 San Marcos TX
Sgt Brian Ardron 32 Acworth GA
Sgt Shannon Weaver 28 Urich MO
Cpl Julian Woodall 21 Talahassee FL
Cpl Benjamin Desilets 21 Elmwood IL
Sgt Steve Butcher 27 Penfield NY
Pvt Oscar Sauceda Jr 21 Del Rio TX
Sgt Robert Montgomery Jr 29 Scottsburg IN
Sgt David Kuehl 27 Wahpeton ND
Pvt Robert Worthington 19 Jackson GA
Sgt Kristopher Higdon 25 Odessa TX
Pvt Daniel Cagle 22 Carson CA
Pvt Joseph Anzack Jr 20 Torrance CA
Cpl Jonathan Winterbottom 21 Falls Church VA
Cpl Victor Pulido 22 Hanford CA
Sgt Robert Dunham 36 Baltimore MD
Sgt Russell Shoemaker 31 Sweet Springs MO
Sgt Iosiwo Uruo 27 Agana Heights Guam

Pvt Robert Dembowski 20 Ivyland PA
Spc Benjamin Ashley 22 Independence MO
Pvt Casey Zylman 22 Coleman MI
Spc Mark Caguioa 21 Stockton CA
Cpl David Lindsey 20 Spartanburg SC
Spc Alexander Rosa Jr 22 Orlando FL
Spc Matthew LaForest 21 Austin TX
Sgt Nicholas Walsh 27 Millstadt IL
Spc Gregory Millard 22 San Diego CA
Spc Michael Jaurigue 20 Texas City TX
Sgt Clayton Dunn II 22 Moreno Valley CA
Spc William Bailey III 29 Bellevue NE
Spc Clinton Blodgett 19 Pekin IN
Spc Francis Trussel Jr 21 Lincoln IL
Sgt Nicholas Walsh 26 Fort Collins CO
Spc Erich Smallwood 23 Trumann AR

In 7 days
111 were seriously wounded and maimed.
60 were returned to kill fields.

429 Iraqi sisters and brothers were killed.

Cf: www.icasualties.org

West Nashville Hosts Mayoral Forum

Mark your calendars and join your neighbors for an opportunity to hear from Nashville's mayoral candidates as they share their views and opinions regarding the future of our great city. The West Nashville Presidents Council will host a mayoral forum on Thursday, June 7, 2007, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at Montgomery Bell Academy's Paschall Theater. This event is free and open to the public, so please plan on being a part of it. More details are provided below. See you there!

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The West Nashville Presidents Council will host a Mayoral Forum at Montgomery Bell Academy’s Paschall Theater on Thursday, June 7, 2007, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. This event is free and open to the public. [Map to MBA campus]

Candidates David Briley, Bob Clement, Karl Dean, Buck Dozier and Howard Gentry are all scheduled to attend. Pat Nolan will emcee the event. Candidates will respond to questions prepared in advance and to impromptu questions from the audience.

WTVF-TV will record the event for tape-delay broadcast on its NewsChannel5+ cable channel. The program is expected to air at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, June 8th, and at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 9th.

The West Nashville Presidents Council is a consortium of the presidents of neighborhood associations of West Nashville which have the common thread of being located along the West End Avenue corridor. The council meets monthly to share common issues and ideas among the group. WNPC has no officers and no dues. The group has had a 95 percent meeting attendance rate since its founding five years ago.

The WNPC includes the following neighborhood associations: Cherokee Park Neighborhood Association, Hillsboro-West End Neighborhood Association, Kenner Manor Neighborhood Association, Lion’s Head Homeowners Association, Richland- West End Neighborhood Association, Sylvan Heights Neighborhood Association, Sylvan Park Neighborhood Association, White Bridge Neighborhood Association, Whitland Area Neighborhood Association and Woodlawn West Neighborhood Association.

TTPC at Pride Festival

TTPC at Pride Festivals in Nashville and Memphis

The Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition will be participating in two important Pride festivals in the month of June. On Saturday, June 2, TTPC will be participating in Nashville Pride which will begin at 11:30 am in Centennial Park. For more information about Nashville Pride, visit http://www.nashvillepride.org.

The following week, on Saturday, June 9, TTPC will once again participate in the Mid-South Pride in Peabody Park in Memphis. Mid-South Pride begins at 4:00 pm. For more information about Mid-South Pride, visit http://www.midsouthpride.org.

The members of TTPC participated in the Tennessee Valley Pride Spring Fling in Chattanooga on May 6. We encourage all to visit the Pride Festival most convenient to you and to stop by the TTPC table for more information.

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 legislation.

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

Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition (TTPC)
P.O. Box 92335
Nashville, TN 37209
http://ttgpac.com
TTGPAC@aol.com
(615)293-6199
(615)353-1834 fax

Good Riddance Attention Whore

by Cindy Sheehan

I have endured a lot of smear and hatred since Casey was killed and
especially since I became the so-called “Face” of the American anti-war
movement. Especially since I renounced any tie I have remaining with the
Democratic Party, I have been further trashed on such “liberal blogs” as
the Democratic Underground. Being called an “attention whore” and being
told “good riddance” are some of the more milder rebukes.

I have come to some heartbreaking conclusions this Memorial Day Morning.
These are not spur of the moment reflections, but things I have been
meditating on for about a year now. The conclusions that I have slowly and
very reluctantly come to are very heartbreaking to me.

The first conclusion is that I was the darling of the so-called left as
long as I limited my protests to George Bush and the Republican Party. Of
course, I was slandered and libeled by the right as a “tool” of the
Democratic Party. This label was to marginalize me and my message. How
could a woman have an original thought, or be working outside of our
“two-party” system?

However, when I started to hold the Democratic Party to the same standards
that I held the Republican Party, support for my cause started to erode
and the “left” started labeling me with the same slurs that the right
used. I guess no one paid attention to me when I said that the issue of
peace and people dying for no reason is not a matter of “right or left”,
but “right and wrong.”

I am deemed a radical because I believe that partisan politics should be
left to the wayside when hundreds of thousands of people are dying for a
war based on lies that is supported by Democrats and Republican alike. It
amazes me that people who are sharp on the issues and can zero in like a
laser beam on lies, misrepresentations, and political expediency when it
comes to one party refuse to recognize it in their own party. Blind party
loyalty is dangerous whatever side it occurs on. People of the world look
on us Americans as jokes because we allow our political leaders so much
murderous latitude and if we don’t find alternatives to this corrupt “two”
party system our Representative Republic will die and be replaced with
what we are rapidly descending into with nary a check or balance: a
fascist corporate wasteland. I am demonized because I don’t see party
affiliation or nationality when I look at a person, I see that person’s
heart. If someone looks, dresses, acts, talks and votes like a Republican,
then why do they deserve support just because he/she calls him/herself a
Democrat?

I have also reached the conclusion that if I am doing what I am doing
because I am an “attention whore” then I really need to be committed. I
have invested everything I have into trying to bring peace with justice to
a country that wants neither. If an individual wants both, then normally
he/she is not willing to do more than walk in a protest march or sit
behind his/her computer criticizing others. I have spent every available
cent I got from the money a “grateful” country gave me when they killed my
son and every penny that I have received in speaking or book fees since
then. I have sacrificed a 29 year marriage and have traveled for extended
periods of time away from Casey’s brother and sisters and my health has
suffered and my hospital bills from last summer (when I almost died) are
in collection because I have used all my energy trying to stop this
country from slaughtering innocent human beings. I have been called every
despicable name that small minds can think of and have had my life
threatened many times.

The most devastating conclusion that I reached this morning, however, was
that Casey did indeed die for nothing. His precious lifeblood drained out
in a country far away from his family who loves him, killed by his own
country which is beholden to and run by a war machine that even controls
what we think. I have tried every since he died to make his sacrifice
meaningful. Casey died for a country which cares more about who will be
the next American Idol than how many people will be killed in the next few
months while Democrats and Republicans play politics with human lives. It
is so painful to me to know that I bought into this system for so many
years and Casey paid the price for that allegiance. I failed my boy and
that hurts the most.

I have also tried to work within a peace movement that often puts personal
egos above peace and human life. This group won’t work with that group; he
won’t attend an event if she is going to be there; and why does Cindy
Sheehan get all the attention anyway? It is hard to work for peace when
the very movement that is named after it has so many divisions.

Our brave young men and women in Iraq have been abandoned there
indefinitely by their cowardly leaders who move them around like pawns on
a chessboard of destruction and the people of Iraq have been doomed to
death and fates worse than death by people worried more about elections
than people. However, in five, ten, or fifteen years, our troops will come
limping home in another abject defeat and ten or twenty years from then,
our children’s children will be seeing their loved ones die for no reason,
because their grandparents also bought into this corrupt system. George
Bush will never be impeached because if the Democrats dig too deeply, they
may unearth a few skeletons in their own graves and the system will
perpetuate itself in perpetuity.

I am going to take whatever I have left and go home. I am going to go home
and be a mother to my surviving children and try to regain some of what I
have lost. I will try to maintain and nurture some very positive
relationships that I have found in the journey that I was forced into when
Casey died and try to repair some of the ones that have fallen apart since
I began this single-minded crusade to try and change a paradigm that is
now, I am afraid, carved in immovable, unbendable and rigidly mendacious
marble.

Camp Casey has served its purpose. It’s for sale. Anyone want to buy five
beautiful acres in Crawford, Texas? I will consider any reasonable offer.
I hear George Bush will be moving out soon, too…which makes the property
even more valuable.

This is my resignation letter as the “face” of the American anti-war
movement. This is not my “Checkers” moment, because I will never give up
trying to help people in the world who are harmed by the empire of the
good old US of A, but I am finished working in, or outside of this system.
This system forcefully resists being helped and eats up the people who try
to help it. I am getting out before it totally consumes me or anymore
people that I love and the rest of my resources.

Good-bye America…you are not the country that I love and I finally
realized no matter how much I sacrifice, I can’t make you be that country
unless you want it.

It’s up to you now.

Cindy Sheehan is the mother of Spc. Casey Austin Sheehan who was KIA in
Iraq on 04/04/04. She is a co-founder and President of Gold Star Families
for Peace and the author of two books: Not One More Mother’s Child and
Dear President Bush.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Iraqi War is a Bipartisan Imperative

Iraq war funding bill fiasco masks collusion between Bush and Democrats
Expansion of Middle East oil war is a bipartisan imperative

By Larry Chin
Global Research

On May 22, 2007, Washington’s Democrats obediently capitulated to the Bush administration, handing Bush a war spending bill completely stripped of conditions that would, in any way, slow the administration’s relentless Middle East conflagration. In fact, the new bill is an even more egregious blank check for a massive “surge” of Bush administration violence throughout the region, opening the door for a war with Iran. New Iraq “benchmarks” pushed by the Democrats themselves will result in new atrocities and more bloodshed, funded by the Democrats themselves.
In refusing to definitively corner a scandalized Bush administration, the Democratic Party leadership has earned itself a tidal wave of rage, vitriol and disgust from Americans who harbor any illusions that the Democrats have any intention of ending the war, or “bringing the troops home”.(see Entire US government failed us on Iraq by Keith Olbermann, and Funding Iraq occupation without deadlines or time lines is a travesty.

The Democrats’ open betrayal of their own constituents, their resounding slap in the face to the vast majority of the American people (70% of whom oppose the war) lays bare the true nature of the Democratic Party, and the US government itself. Dick Cheney stated with smug confidence weeks ago that the Democrats would surrender. Now, the Democrats have not only tossed away their own credibility, and their dreams of future political gain. They have fully revitalized Bush-Cheney and the Republicans.
Bipartisan criminal consensus confirmed.

The US political and economic system, ruled by consensus, is deeply criminalized. It thrives on war and oppression. It is an elite racket, sustained by resource conquest, collusion, fraud, lies, cover-up, and the indoctrination and manipulation of minds. “The people”, whose votes never count, are viewed with contempt.
The Republicans and Democrats are factions of the same criminal New World Order, funded by the same criminal interests, beholden to the same think tanks, foundations, corporations and military-intelligence-industrial interests, following the same geopolitical script, written by bipartisan consensus.

Given this reality, it is no surprise that the Democratic leadership has kept its promise to keep the impeachment of Bush and Cheney “off the table” and reach “across the aisle”. Consensus interests are at stake.

The vast majority of the Democrats, particularly the corrupt Democratic Leadership Council (DLC), want the war and bloodshed to continue.

The vast majority of Democrats are, and have always been, enthusiastic and willing partners in the “war on terrorism” and are co-architects of an ever-expanding "homeland security" apparatus.

The vast majority of Democrats do not oppose the war in the Middle East. They support its expansion and the deepening of the occupation, as long as it is “managed” properly, and under the control of a US-led international consensus.

As Michel Chossudovsky wrote in America's "War on Terrorism":

“The Democrats are not opposed to the illegal occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan. Nor are they opposed to the militarization of civilian institutions, as evidenced by their 1996 initiative to repeal the Posse Comitatus Act [which has now been completely obliterated by the Bush administration, the Patriot Act, and other post-9/11 acts]. Moreover, their perspective and understanding of 9/11 and the “war on terrorism” is broadly similar to that of the Republicans.

“This ongoing militarization of America is not a Republican project. The ‘war on terrorism’ is part of a bipartisan agenda. Furthermore, successive US administrations since Jimmy Carter have supported the Islamic brigades and have used them in covert intelligence operations.”

The vast majority of Democrats do not want the troops to come home. They support the permanent presence of the US in the Middle East, as much as the Bush administration does. The largest embassy/military base in the world is being built in Iraq as you read this.

The Democrats want Iraq’s oil, as much as their neocon partners do.

The Democrats and Iraq oil

Perhaps most telling of all, the vast majority of Democrats want to steal Iraq’s oil as much as the Bush administration does. They, too, understand Peak Oil and Gas and energy depletion, and the imperial need to seize and control what little is left.
In a glaring development unreported by the mainstream media, the Democrats’ spending bill specifically forces the privatization of Iraqi oil to multinational corporations, and other strongarm measures that further strip Iraq of its sovereignty.

Congressman Dennis Kucinich, one of the very few Democrats (along with Mike Gravel, another presidential candidate) who have been willing to denounce their own party’s venality, courageously exposed this aspect of the bill, on the floor of the House. (See Kucinich claims war masks real objective: Iraqi oil; Has Anyone in Congress or Mainstream Media Actually Read Bill?; Kucinich reveals Dem funding bill includes privatization of Iraq oil;

The Democrats worked very hard with the Bush administration and the Republicans to make sure these key provisions were written into the bill. So much for the liberal/progressive rhetoric.

The next phase of the “war on terrorism”

The new blank war check, this massive rejuvenation for Bush’s neocons, at the same time that Bush has quietly written a presidential directive giving himself dictatorial powers , in the event of a “catastrophic 9/11-style event”. Both the Bush administration and the Democrats are actively planning this event, and preparing for ways to consolidate their powers in its aftermath.

Bush-Cheney has also written a new directive for the destabilization of Iran, which will be fully supported by the Democrats.

An attack on Iran, delayed from the original spring date, is simply being pushed to the summer or fall of this year, when the destabilization program “bears fruit”.
The small minority of Democrats who actually oppose the war, and have truly opposed the Bush administration have been politically neutered, and rendered insignificant. Others have been blackmailed and intimidated, forced to cooperate.

The congressional Democrats have, in the course of numerous “probes”, exposed a variety of the Bush administration’s crimes since being given the majority of the Congress. But these investigations are limited hangouts that pose no real threat to the Bush “crime family”, that have come nowhere near exposing Bush, Cheney, Rove, etc. The mass murder of 9/11, and the “war on terrorism” remain the focus of purposeful and tight-as-a-drum consensus cover-up. Individuals who should have long ago been jailed and subjected to capital punishment for treason and murder are, instead, continue to rule the planet, and commit crimes at will.

The eternal blank war check

Any illusions that the Democrats will ever “end the war” or “bring the troops home” were erased months ago, when the (then-confident) Democrats floated a deceptive policy “limiting US forces in Iraq to fighting ‘Al-Qaeda’”. This itself was the recipe for endless, eternal war.

The “Al-Qaeda” and 9/11 fictions are bipartisan products. Neoliberals, progressives, and neocons alike have uniformly embraced and promoted the propaganda that all opposition to the US war and occupations, all insurgencies and resistance, is “sectarian violence’ linked to “Al-Qaeda”. Any “enemy” of US interests are connected to “Al-Qaeda”, or eventually transformed into “Al-Qaeda”.

Beyond the rhetoric and posturing, the true bipartisan agenda, captured in the language of all of the war legislation, is crystal clear. No limits to the war. No limit to troop strength. No limit in scope. No change in US policy. No opposition, but absolute knowing cooperation, with the Bush administration.

So brazen is the Bush administration, that George W. Bush continues to retell debunked criminal lies over and over, on camera, into microphones, years later. Just yesterday, Bush devoted an entire speech at the US Coast Guard Academy to the lie that 9/11 and Iraq were connected.

Following Bush’s goose-stepping lead, Republicans immediately fell in lockstep behind their dictator, issuing flatulent repeats of the original 9/11 falsehoods and reiterations of Bush’s own 9/11-Iraq connection. Republican Congressman John Boehner stupidly weeped, “3,000 of our fellow citizens died at the hands of these extremists, when are we going to get them?”

In another reach into the old playbook, Bush “declassified” intelligence fabrications about Osama bin Laden, "Al-Qaeda", and Zarqawi. In the new fiction, Bush-Cheney places this Al-Qaeda “super terror cell” is placed in the middle of Iraq.
With this propaganda, Iraq conveniently is magically transformed into the “hotbed” of Al-Qaeda, and the staging ground for operations within the United States.

Bush boasted:

“In the minds of Al-Qaeda leaders, 9/11 was just a down payment on violence yet to come. It is tempting to believe that the calm here at home after 9/11 means that the danger to our country has passed.”

Given the fact that Al-Qaeda (including Osama bin Laden, and Zarqawi) is a creation and a military-intelligence asset of Anglo-American interests, and given the fact that the US government planned and executed 9/11 (using these assets as its front), Bush is simply promising that his administration intends to ratchet up its attacks against the American populace, and the world. He is confident that the masses, particularly the dumbed-down and acquiescent American populace, will never figure it out.

The danger posed by the Washington consensus has never been greater

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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Memorial Day Note on the Media

Something to ponder on this memorial holiday that should cause every American to think twice about trusting our media or either party in power, especially in regards to this new immigration policy. I don't know what has happened to Kennedy regarding this sham immigration bill; why he would support such incredibly evil anti-human rights legislation that will if enacted, clearly result in the creation of a largely Latino, permanent legally disposable immigrant slave underclass, to do the drudge work of our society. We're becoming more like ancient Rome, Babylon and Egypt every day.

Example of how badly our media distorts reality and why we shouldn't trust a single damn thing they print...

When Baghdad fell after the U.S. invasion, for about a year and probably still largely going on, the major problem creating violence in Iraq was not insurgents vs. coalition troops, as one would assume from reading the front pages of every American newspaper. According to The Guardian and other international sources, the major problem was roving gangs of thugs that were not politically motivated and had nothing to do with insurgents; criminal gangs and many former law-abiding citizens turned criminals due to little threat of police retaliation, freely roamed throughout Baghdad and other major cities, looting, kidnapping for ransom, raping and pillaging at will. This reality of utter lawlessness was never even reported in our media as far as I ever saw.

Baghdad has about 7 million population, whereas Los Angeles has a little over 4 million and the greater Southern California area has about 18 million, which kind of illustrates how large of a city Baghdad is. Most Americans from my own experience, even among activists, have no idea that Baghdad is such a big city.

To give an idea of how bad things were and continue to remain in Baghdad, when the initial invasion was over, the current military was disbanded and there was no coherent police force in place. Imagine what would happen in Los Angeles if the police and national guard suddenly disappeared and there was no federal military--that is what happened in Baghdad. On top of that, there were and remain, days with little to no electricity and very poor water and sewage systems--this in weather of sometimes over 120 degrees and dropping near freezing at night. On top of that, many hospitals and emergency systems were partially or completely destroyed. And on top of that, people often have to wait in line for 1-2 days just to fill up their cars with gasoline.

I have read and seen on film where kids of people who can afford it are driven back and forth to school in private taxis because it is the safest way for them to go and that groups of people go shopping together in order to enhance safety and otherwise, many people remain unemployed and virtual prisoners trapped inside their homes because of it being so unsafe to even go outside in a typical neighborhood. Shopping for necessities, unlike McCain pretended, remains an extremely risky endeavor. Also, almost everyone owns and often carries one or more guns. I've seen several films made by activists who have gone over there that validate what is in these last two paragraphs.

If our media had any courage at all, every American would long ago have clearly understood just how tragic of a mistake Karl Rove and Company made, instead of half of our population still believing that it was the right move, howbeit some of that half have begun to question whether Bush has handled this supposed "right move" correctly. It is not just that Bush didn't handle it correctly. What Rove and Company did was utterly insane from any kind of viewpoint, which is what every American by now should easily understand and what very few, because of our media of mediocrity, actually do.

There is something very, very wrong in America today, compared to when I was a kid; in other words, within two generations, our country has dramatically changed for the worse. We long ago lost anything remotely resembling the former LA, NY Times and Washington Post and meanwhile, while Rome is continuing to burn, Bernstein is busy promoting a book about the private lives of an ex-first lady and her philandering husband, while Woodward remains marginalized by lying right-wing media hacks. And lest we forget, on this Memorial Day celebration of our troops who have fought and died to protect our "free and democratic society", we will again be reminded by our ever-on-the-ball corporate media, that Paris Hilton is facing eminent incarceration and other important factoids of earth-shattering significance.

Richard Aberdeen
richard@freedomtracks.com
www.FreedomTracks.com

Plan B

As another contingent of American warships pass through the Strait of
Hormuz into the Persian Gulf, and administration's renewed preoccupation
with Iran's power plants threaten new war, those Congresspersons who gave
the President more money for more war have some explaining to do.

We have to decide on Plan B, in which case impeachment should be on the
table, not only to force peace negotiations with the insurgency and an
accord with Iran, but to address power seizing moves like the
presidential directives which George Bush quietly signed on May 9.* The
chaos of government finances - the eight trillion, 800 billion dollar
debt cited by the House Budget Committee, and the inflation which
accompanies that debt - should be a handle for enlisting the aid of the
business community.

* NSPD-51, National Security Presidential Directive and HSPD-20, Homeland
Security Presidential Directive

- Jean G. Braun

Friday, May 25, 2007

Clarksville to Host Peace Vigil

Memorial Day Peace Vigil at Ft Campbell

The FreeThinkers for Peace and Civil Liberties will sponsor a Peace Vigil on Sunday, May 27, from noon to 4 p.m. at Patriot's Park on Fort Campbell Bvld. in Clarksville.
This peaceful event will include a prayer service, spiritual readings, music, guest speakers, and a reading of the names of Kentucky and Tennessee soldiers killed in the Iraq conflict. The public is welcome to attend.

While many of us oppose the War in Iraq, we join with Americans on both sides of the debate in sharing the same concerns for the men and women on the front lines, our soldiers serving overseas and those about to be deployed. We support our troops (that message seems universal) but not the flawed policies and politicians that have immersed them in this escalating conflict.

As this Memorial Day approaches, fatalities in Iraq are escalating rapidly and another landmark number, 3500, is quickly approaching. That number does not include fatalities in Afghanistan, or the civilian death toll in either country. At home, many returning troops and their families face both physical and psychological difficulties from extended (and multiple) deployments.

MSNBC ran a "Live Poll" Tuesday (5/22/07) which, as of 11 p.m. that evening, had 400,000 respondents. Of that number, 88% support a policy change to end the Iraq conflict along with a belief that the President had committed impeachable offenses on the road to war. Those offenses can be measured in lives lost and families torn apart by stress and grief.

Join us in our peaceful efforts to honor those who serve and those who have made the ultimate sacrifice. Join us as we ask the leaders of our country to end the insanity and bring our soldiers home. Alive.

Is Venezuela Losing Press Freedom?

The story is framed in U.S. news media as a simple matter of censorship: Prominent Venezuelan TV station RCTV is being silenced by the authoritarian government of President Hugo Chávez, who is punishing the station for its political criticism of his government.

According to CNN reporter T.J. Holmes (5/21/07), the issues are easy to understand: RCTV "is going to be shut down, is going to get off the air, because of President Hugo Chávez, not a big fan of it." Dubbing RCTV "a voice of free speech," Holmes explained, "Chavez, in a move that's angered a lot of free-speech groups, is refusing now to renew the license of this television station that has been critical of his government."

Though straighter, a news story by the Associated Press (5/20/07) still maintained the theme that the license denial was based simply on political differences, with reporter Elizabeth Munoz describing RCTV as "a network that has been critical of Chávez."

In a May 14 column, Washington Post deputy editorial page editor Jackson Diehl called the action an attempt to silence opponents and more "proof" that Chávez is a "dictator." Wrote Diehl, "Chávez has made clear that his problem with [RCTV owner Marcel] Granier and RCTV is political."

In keeping with the media script that has bad guy Chávez brutishly silencing good guys in the democratic opposition, all these articles skimmed lightly over RCTV's history, the Venezuelan government's explanation for the license denial and the process that led to it.

RCTV and other commercial TV stations were key players in the April 2002 coup that briefly ousted Chávez's democratically elected government. During the short-lived insurrection, coup leaders took to commercial TV airwaves to thank the networks. "I must thank Venevisión and RCTV," one grateful leader remarked in an appearance captured in the Irish film The Revolution Will Not Be Televised. The film documents the networks’ participation in the short-lived coup, in which stations put themselves to service as bulletin boards for the coup—hosting coup leaders, silencing government voices and rallying the opposition to a march on the Presidential Palace that was part of the coup plotters strategy.

On April 11, 2002, the day of the coup, when military and civilian opposition leaders held press conferences calling for Chávez's ouster, RCTV hosted top coup plotter Carlos Ortega, who rallied demonstrators to the march on the presidential palace. On the same day, after the anti-democratic overthrow appeared to have succeeded, another coup leader, Vice-Admiral Victor Ramírez Pérez, told a Venevisión reporter (4/11/02): "We had a deadly weapon: the media. And now that I have the opportunity, let me congratulate you."

That commercial TV outlets including RCTV participated in the coup is not at question; even mainstream outlets have acknowledged as much. As reporter Juan Forero, Jackson Diehl's colleague at the Washington Post, explained (1/18/07), "RCTV, like three other major private television stations, encouraged the protests," resulting in the coup, "and, once Chávez was ousted, cheered his removal." The conservative British newspaper the Financial Times reported (5/21/07), "[Venezuelan] officials argue with some justification that RCTV actively supported the 2002 coup attempt against Mr. Chávez."

As FAIR's magazine Extra! argued last November, "Were a similar event to happen in the U.S., and TV journalists and executives were caught conspiring with coup plotters, it’s doubtful they would stay out of jail, let alone be allowed to continue to run television stations, as they have in Venezuela."

When Chávez returned to power the commercial stations refused to cover the news, airing instead entertainment programs—in RCTV's case, the American film Pretty Woman. By refusing to cover such a newsworthy story, the stations abandoned the public interest and violated the public trust that is seen in Venezuela (and in the U.S.) as a requirement for operating on the public airwaves. Regarding RCTV's refusal to cover the return of Chavez to power, Columbia University professor and former NPR editor John Dinges told Marketplace (5/8/07):

What RCTV did simply can't be justified under any stretch of journalistic principles…. When a television channel simply fails to report, simply goes off the air during a period of national crisis, not because they're forced to, but simply because they don't agree with what's happening, you've lost your ability to defend what you do on journalistic principles.

The Venezuelan government is basing its denial of license on RCTV's involvement in the 2002 coup, not on the station's criticisms of or political opposition to the government. Many American pundits and some human rights spokespersons have confused the issue by claiming the action is based merely on political differences, failing to note that Venezuela's media, including its commercial broadcasters, are still among the most vigorously dissident on the planet.

When Patrick McElwee of the U.S.-based group Just Foreign Policy interviewed representatives of Human Rights Watch, Reporters Without Borders and the Committee to Protect Journalists—all groups that have condemned Venezuela's action in denying RCTV's license renewal—he found that none of the spokespersons thought broadcasters were automatically entitled to license renewals, though none of them thought RCTV's actions in support of the coup should have resulted in the station having its license renewal denied. This led McElwee to wonder, based on the rights groups' arguments, "Could it be that governments like Venezuela have the theoretical right to not to renew a broadcast license, but that no responsible government would ever do it?"

McElwee acknowledged the critics' point that some form of due process should have been involved in the decisions, but explained that laws preexisting Chávez's presidency placed licensing decision with the executive branch, with no real provisions for a hearings process: "Unfortunately, this is what the law, first enacted in 1987, long before Chávez entered the political scene, allows. It charges the executive branch with decisions about license renewal, but does not seem to require any administrative hearing. The law should be changed, but at the current moment when broadcast licenses are up for renewal, it is the prevailing law and thus lays out the framework in which decisions are made."

Government actions weighing on journalism and broadcast licensing deserve strong scrutiny. However, on the central question of whether a government is bound to renew the license of a broadcaster when that broadcaster had been involved in a coup against the democratically elected government, the answer should be clear, as McElwee concludes:

The RCTV case is not about censorship of political opinion. It is about the government, through a flawed process, declining to renew a broadcast license to a company that would not get a license in other democracies, including the United States. In fact, it is frankly amazing that this company has been allowed to broadcast for 5 years after the coup, and that the Chávez government waited until its license expired to end its use of the public airwaves.

Memorial Weekend Memphis

CodePink Memphis is hosting the Peace Ribbon panels for the weekend.
On Saturday, they will be exhibited at the National Civil Rights
museum. We will be introducing 8 new panels to the exhibit, one for
the state of TN, listing all the soldiers that have died through
April 30, 2007 (already there have been 3 more in May so far). We
will be adding 7 others for each soldier from
the Memphis area to have died. We have invited their family
members,who will be attending the exhibit and are grateful to have the
it here.


On Sunday, we will exhibit the panels in Overton Park (in Memphis) at
the Veteran's Memorial. We are hoping to exhibit the Memphis panels
at the main library through the rest of the week. If you are in the
area, come see this moving exhibit.
Terri Rice
CodePink Memphis

We are the people who run this country. We are the deciders. And
every single day, every single one of us needs to step outside and
take some action to help stop this war. We need people in the
streets, banging pots and pans and demanding, 'Stop it, now!' Molly
Ivins

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Service in Memory of Workman

Service of Remembrance for Philip Workman and All Victims of Violence

Two weeks have passed since the execution of Philip Workman, and our wounds are still fresh. Philip's family and friends now grieve as many other familes who have suffered the murder of a loved one. As a way to remember all those whose lives have been taken violently, TCASK is holding a Service of Remembrance on Wednesday, May 30th from 6:30- 7:30 pm at Holy Name Catholic Church (located at 521 Woodland St). Join with us for a time of worship and reflection as the community gathers to remember, to grieve, and to resist the power of violence at work in our society.

Senate Approves Death Penalty Study

State Senate Unanimously Approves Death Penalty Study Bill

Today the State Senate unanimously approved Senator Doug Jackson's bill to create a study commission to examine the fairness and accuracy of Tennessee's death penalty (SB 1911). This bill represents a huge step forward in our fight to bring the deadly flaws in Tennessee's death penalty to light. TCASK has worked hard, in conjunction to the Catholic Public Policy Commission, the ACLU of Tennessee, and NAMI Tennessee, to build broad support for this legislation, and all your phone calls, letters, emails, and visits paid off today.


In the House, the bill (HB 2162), sponsored by Representative Rob Briley (D-Nashville) is currently making its way through the subcommittees of the Finance, Ways and Means committee, after which it should head to the floor for a vote. HB 2162 has co-sponsors from both parties and from East, Middle, and West Tennessee. This weekend, email your representative and ask them to vote in favor of House Bill 2162 when it comes to the floor!

MoveOn.org Organizes an Iraq Summer

"Our partners at the Americans Against Escalation in Iraq coalition
(AAEI) are organizing an exciting campaign—it's called Iraq Summer.
It's modeled after campaigns like "Mississippi Summer" which helped
pass historic Civil Rights laws and "Vietnam Summer," which helped end
the Vietnam war. A group of folks will fan out around the country to
key target states and work as full time organizers to help whip up a
storm of opposition to the war.


Right now we're looking for organizers and we're hoping you're
interested or you might know someone who would be. We're looking for
folks who're tough and ready to work long hours to end this war. If
you're selected, you'll receive a $400 per week stipend, expenses,
housing with a host family and the best organizer training in the
country.

Are you game to be a part of this historic effort? If so, just send a
resume to iraqsummer@gmail.com. If not, could you pass this on to
anyone you think might be interested? This could be a great
opportunity for students looking to make a difference this summer.

AAEI plans to deploy 110 organizers to the districts of critical House
and Senate Republicans who still support the president's disastrous
policy in Iraq. The organizers will execute a national program to help
fracture the Republican base of support for the war by early fall.

When the president announced his escalation plan in January, many
Republicans said that we should give the policy six months to work. By
late August the president's escalation policy will be seven months
old—-plenty of time for Republicans to "give the president's policy a
chance."

Just as important, as they approach Labor Day, Republicans will begin
to look right into the crosshairs of the political disaster they face
in 2008 if they continue to support this disastrous war.

AAEI plans to force every last one of these Republicans to "Take a
Stand"—to break their ties with President Bush's war by August.

Organizers will report for training on June 16th and after the
training, set up shop in one of our target states until Labor Day.
We're looking for folks who also have access to a car.

If you're ready to make history this summer, please send a resume to
iraqsummer@gmail.com.

–Nita, Tom, Justin, Anna and the MoveOn.org Political Action

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Iraqi War Deaths: May 13th-19th

Those who died in Iraq from May 13 to 19:

Sgt Anthony Schober 23 Reno NV
Spc Rhys Klasno 20 Riverside CA
Ltn Andrew Bacevich 27 Walpole MA
Sgt Christopher Gonzalez 25 Winslow AZ
Sgt Allen Dunckley 25 Yardley PA
Cpl Henrik Nobbe 20 Denmark
Sgt John Self 29 Pontotoe MS
Pvt Nicholas Hartge 20 Rome City IN
Sgt Thomas Wright 38 Holly MI
Cpl Jeffrey Walker 21 Macon GA
Spc Coty Phelps 22 Kingman AZ
Pvt Victor Fontanilla 23 Stockton CA
Sgt Jesse Albrecht 31 Hager City WI

Sgt Steven Packer 23 Clovis CA
Pvt Aaron Gautier 19 Hampton VA
Pvt Jonathan Hamm 20 Baltimore MD
Sgt Anselmo Martinez III 26 Robstown TX
Spc Joshua Romero 19 Crowley TX
Spc Casey Nash 22 Baltimore MD
Sgt Scott Brown 33 Windsor CO
Spc Marquis McCants 23 Texas
Sgt Ryan Baum 27 Aurora CO
Cpl Ryan Collins 20 Vernon TX
Sgt Jason Schumann 23 Hawley MN
Pvt Travis Haslip 20 Ooltewah TN
Pvt Alexander Varela 19 Fernley NV
Spc Joseph Gilmore 26 Webster FL
Spc David Behrle 20 Tipton IA
Sgt Jean Medlin 27 Pelham AL
Sgt Christopher Moore 28 Alpaugh CA
Sgt Justin Wisniewski 22 Standish MI

In 13 days
150 were seriously wounded and maimed.
138 wounded were returned to occupation.

447+ Iraqi sisters and brothers were killed.

Cf: www.icasualties.org

Homeless Respond to Mayor's Address

The Nashville Homeless Power Project met with Mayor Bill Purcell in our office yesterday, March 22nd, 2007. He confirmed that he will only be recommending $450,000 to go toward homeless housing in the Capitol Budget in addition to the $150,000 that has already been submitted in the General Operating Budget. This is only ¼ of the funds requested to help fund 200 units of housing in this coming budget year.


We appreciate that the Mayor has increased funds for homeless more than any other Mayor in Nashville history. Unfortunately, these funds have been targeted at services and not toward housing, the root cause of homelessness.

STATE OF THE METRO

Mayor Bill Purcell will deliver his eighth and final State of Metro address on the Public Square at 8 am on Thursday, May 24. The event is free and open to the public. The State of the Metro Address should address the most critical needs of the city and what the Mayor and City has done to address it. At the Nashville Homeless Power Project we know that with over 50,000 families that are in poverty in Nashville and paying over 50% of their income toward housing and with over 3,500 people in Nashville without homes, that homelessness must be addressed as part of the State of the Metro.

John Zirker, President of the Nashville Homeless Power Project shares: “We will be present for the Mayor’s State of the Metro because the issues of our members are a direct result of the “state of our city” and need to be addressed.”

Nashville Homeless Power Project
Homeless Organizing the Homeless & Working for Solutions
42 The Arcade, Nashville, Tennessee 37219
Office: (615) 733-0633 Cell: (615) 569-4740
info@homelesspower.org www.homelesspower.org

More Money for War

The President has said he expects to have his money by the end of the
week - $100 billion for more war, before Memorial Day. Congress should
hear from every American. Please help spread the word. If Congress
proceeds, however, we should keep a sharp eye on the transaction. The
government has no money. According to the House Budget Committee website,
it is more than eight trillion dollars in debt. All bills for raising
revenues must originate in the House (U.S. Constitution, Art. I, Section
7) and this must include borrowing. The Senate cannot spend funds the
government does not have, and the House, whose members' salaries rise
automatically with the cost of inflation, must tell us how it intends to
raise the money.

- Jean G. Braun

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

ACLU Support the 1st Amendment?

According to the 1st Amendment to the Constitution of the United States: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof...” This amendment clearly meant something entirely different to both Thomas Jefferson and James Madison than the modern ACLU pretends it means.


Jefferson edited the New Testament while a sitting president and, attempted to have his version become the recognized U.S. version, thus ensuring that it would be read in every
public schoolhouse of his time. Madison stated he believed the 1st Amendment would aid the spreading of Christianity.

Many so-called “experts” interpret “religion” to mean belief in God, while it is far more likely it meant institutional religion to the framers. Regardless, protection of free expression has nothing to do with what is actually true about God, science or anything else. Whether modern evolutionary theory is entirely true or just a poorly constructed fairytale, is not relevant to 1st Amendment protections.

According to various polls, over 85% of adults and over 50% of American educators believe in a Designer. Nevertheless, the ACLU and so-called “progressives” maintain that instructors in public so-called “science” classrooms, should not be allowed to discuss any viewpoint that includes a Designer in the equation. In other words, they demand that over half of all American educators deliberately lie to our children, pretending they don't believe what in fact, they actually do believe.

Some claim that “God is not a question for science”, as if the Creator, true science and the truth are not one and the same. To teach children only one viewpoint is to teach children questioning what is true is not relevant to education. These are the same “progressives” who are angry over the one-sidedness of talk radio.

Modern evolutionary theory does in fact, address the “God question”. Any theory assuming that the everything in the universe is a result of natural “unguided processes” is stating there is no God, not to mention, scientifically, completely wacko. Nobody from our prospective could possibly know the overall process is unguided. Atheism has no more protection under the 1st Amendment than Catholicism. Is freedom of speech or science really being served when only one unscientific superstitious assumption is allowed?

According to biographer Walter Isaacson, Albert Einstein said: "I have a deep feeling of faith, a deep religiosity that comes from my appreciation of the way the Lord made the universe." Thomas Jefferson said people are "endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights”. Among the millions of public teachers who represent belief in a Designer are names such as Isaiah, Jesus, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, DaVinci, Newton and Francis Collins.

Should we allow Isaiah, Jesus, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, DaVinci, Newton, Einstein, Jefferson and Collins to teach in our public classrooms? Should we petition our Creator to toss the ACLU into a bottomless black hole and throw away the key, allowing our children a proper education without any further undue hindrance from the narrow-minded? You decide.

Richard Aberdeen 615-889-1669
292 Trails Circle - Nashville, TN 37214
richard@freedomtracks.com
www.FreedomTracks.com

Christian Peacemakers in Jonesborough

Christian Peacemaker Teams Stop Depleted Uranium Weapons

Christian Peacemaker Teams and Green Appalachian Progressives will release helium-filled balloons to investigate how airborne contaminants would travel from the site of the Aerojet Ordnance plant on Old State Road 34, Jonesborough. The balloons will contain a message requesting their finders to contact Green Appalachian Progressives with information regarding where and when they were found.



The message reads as follows:

PEACE BE WITH YOU,

THIS BALLOON WAS RELEASED ON MAY 22, 2007 ACROSS THE ROAD FROM AEROJET ORDNANCE TENNESSEE, AN AMERICAN COMPANY THAT MAKES WEAPONS FROM RADIOACTIVE WASTE LEFT OVER FROM THE URANIUM ENRICHMENT PROCESS. THESE URANIUM MUNITIONS ARE USED IN IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN, AND OUR TROOPS ARE EXPOSED TO THEIR RADIOACTIVE GASES AFTER THESE BOMBS EXPLODE.

AMERICA'S OWN SOLDIERS AND THEIR FAMILIES, ALONG WITH IRAQI AND AFGHANI FAMILIES, ARE SUFFERING FROM ABOVE-NORMAL INCIDENCES OF BIRTH DEFECTS, AS WELL AS THE SYMPTOMS OF HEAVY METAL AND RADIATION POISONING. IF YOU RECEIVED THIS BALLOON, YOU MAY HAVE BREATHED POLLUTANTS EMITTED BY AEROJET ORDNANCE, 1367 OLD STATE ROUTE 34, JONESBOROUGH, TN 37659 U.S.A.

PLEASE HELP US LEARN THE REACH OF AEROJET'S AIR EMISSIONS BY MAILING THIS BALLOON BACK TO US AT THE FOLLOWING ADDRESS. AND FEEL FREE TO WRITE TO AEROJET AND YOUR PUBLIC OFFICIALS TOO.

THANK YOU, IN ADVANCE, FOR MAILING BACK THIS BALLOON AND INCLUDING YOUR RETURN ADDRESS.

Christian Peacemaker Teams is a faith-based organization that supports violence reduction efforts around the world. It has its roots in the Mennonite Church, Church of the Brethren and the Religious Society of Friends. CPT trains and sends violence-reduction teams to support local peacemakers working in situations of violent conflict and areas of militarization.

Mayan Elders Call for Union


A Call for Union from the Maya National Council of Elders
Don Alejandro Oxlaj, Guatemala de la Asuncion

Don Alejandro is charged as the primary keeper of the teachings, visions and prophecies of the Mayan people. He is head of the National Mayan Council of Elders of Guatemala, Day Keeper of the Mayan Calendar, a 13th generation Quiche Mayan High Priest and a Grand Elder of the Continental Council of Elders and Spiritual Guides of the Americas. He is also an international lecturer on Mayan Culture.


Don Alejandro gives us this timely message: a call to action, a call to come together and be as one. Don Alejandro Hill be performing a Sacred Maya FIRE Ceremony in Guatemala, and be joining the thousands of others around the planet during the Break through Celebration.

“Brothers and Sisters of all colors, holding hands around the planet on May 22nd 2007, let us reflect on this, let us meditate in our own way, in our own language, according to our own culture or religion, because we have only one Sun to shine upon us equally, one air that we breath and gives us life, one water that we drink and becomes blood in our veins and all live on Mother Earth. She feeds us, she holds us. Brothers and Sisters of all colors, together united in meditation to make conscience to the men in power, governors, politicians, business people: no more war, no more contaminating bombs, no more death. Together we can make a difference.”



Dear Brothers Joseph and Carl (Giove and Calleman):

In the name of the Heart of the Heavens and the Heart of the Earth, greetings to you. In the name of the Maya National Council of Elders, Spiritual Guides of Guatemala, we address the following to you for your great magnetic connections at the global level:

The Spirit of the Maya Nation and the Spirit of Mother Earth make us look for ties of friendship with all peoples of the world. The Maya Prophecy tells us “ …We will meet for we are one like the fingers of the hand”. We all are children of the Earth, we are flowers of the garden of our Creator coming in different colors, in different shapes, in different sizes, with different aromas; speaking different languages, and each one worshiping and meditating in their own way to the same Creator who has different names according to their own culture.

We hope this communiqué reaches all institutions, in private sectors as well as governmental ones; landowners, scientists, and all people in general. Brothers and sisters, there has been over 500 years of extermination in the face of the earth, extermination of humans, extermination of our brother animals and ancient trees, every day at a faster speed. The elders from the National Council of Elders and Spiritual Guides of Guatemala are keepers of mystical and millenary knowledge. Like the birds, tirelessly in their flight, they live to see the prophecies fulfilled. We want to make all people and governments in the world conscientious, and have them analyze and reflect at the situation of the planet in the present time. Let us start by remembering that the Americas were a paradise 500 years ago. Virgin forests, cities of beautiful animals, cities to an innumerable variety of colorful birds, flying in freedom; they provided food for everyone. The waters were abundant and pure; and the people, they lived in their own traditions, guarding their cultures and conserving the beauty of Mother Earth. Our ancestors lived to be over 100 years old, free from contagion and illnesses. They were respectful and obedient to the laws of our Creator.

Let us talk now about our present times. We enjoy new advances in technology, inventions that make everyday life easier for us, we all use them, but the negative side is that we are finishing up our forests, and contributing to the contamination of the planet, the rivers are drying out, the waters are being contaminated. Our crops are affected by plagues as well as plagues killing our animals. We are threatened by contagious illnesses, incurable illnesses unknown in the past. Very harmful are the use of chemicals, the insecticides, transgenic seeds, etc. And most of all, these days, the nuclear testing: nuclear bombs and a great deal of war weapons, and the war in itself sterilizing or killing the planet Earth and affecting all living beings. Many people are homeless, children begging in the streets, others are involved in prostitution. Predators are on the rise. Dead people appearing daily in the streets, kidnappings, extortion, shootings in the schools, parents killing children, children killing children, parents raping their own kids. All this is a direct result of the contamination. There is no respect; no respect for life. The authorities sell themselves. The justice can be bought or sold.

Now lets speak about the future. We, the traditional Mayan elders, and all indigenous peoples in the world, meditate on the future. We don’t think only for today, the present, we think for tomorrow, for our children, grand children and future generations. We see a dark shadow approaching, a shadow that will cause a lot of harm. It is the great contamination. All this is due to man’s creation. We are digging our own graves. Wars are being transported to other countries; they reason in their speeches it is on behalf of freedom, but the result is more slavery. They speak that it will bring new development, but the result is more hunger for the underdeveloped countries. If we continue like this, the time will come when there are no more soldiers to form battalions. The Maya National Council of Elders of Guatemala ask all nations of the world – their governors and the governed ones – to put a stop to the contamination; and to the big and small enterprises, to find alternatives. We don’t want any more wars, no more death, no more nuclear testing, no more chemicals, because the warming up of the planet is unbearable to Mother Earth. If we don’t change, sooner or later, she will strike back with millions of lives lost.

Our Creator created us here over the face of the earth to worship him, to love and respect each other. We all are equal, we are flowers of the earth, in different sizes, of different colors, with different songs, with different smell, but all looking at our Creator, honoring him with different dances, different music, different ceremonies. We all plead to him, we are his children, he is the creator of all that exist, all that we see and all which is beyond our senses. He has given us our life with an intelligence to do well. Brothers and Sisters of all colors, holding hands around the planet on May 22nd 2007, let us reflect on this, let us meditate in our own way, in our own language, according to our own culture or religion, because we have only one Sun to shine upon us equally, one air that we breath and gives us life, one water that we drink and becomes blood in our veins and all live on Mother Earth. She feeds us, she holds us. Brothers and Sisters of all colors, together united in meditation to make conscience to the men in power, governors, politicians, business people: no more war, no more contaminating bombs, no more death. Together we can make a difference.

May 22nd 2007 is 5 Ajpu, the Day of Grand Father Sun, he shines upon all of us equally, he doesn’t know discrimination, he doesn’t get lost on his path, he doesn’t get ahead or behind of himself. He gives us warmth, he gives us life. One Sun, one Air, one Water, One Mother Earth. May 22nd 2007 day of Grand Father Sun, Grand Mother Moon.

The Maya Prophecy says: “Arise, all arise, not one nor two groups be left behind, together we will see once again the place from where we have come from”

Alejandro Cirilo Perez Oxlaj
Wandering Wolf
Grand Elder of the National Council of Elders Mayas,
Xincas and Garifunas of Guatemala

Help Iraqis Keep Their Oil

Amidst rising bloodshed, President Bush has told the Iraqi Parliament they have till the 31st of May to pass a flawed oil law that could give multinational companies unprecedented control of Iraq's oil fields. But some Iraqi leaders are daring to resist - and they need our help.


Two weeks from now, members of the Iraqi Parliament -- including Sunni, Kurdish and Shia leaders -- are planning to read Avaaz's petition of solidarity from the floor of Parliament. They say this statement of global support for Iraqi sovereignty will strengthen the resolve of their colleagues to face down Bush and big oil companies by opposing this law. So sign the petition today--let's make 100,000 voices heard in Iraq's Parliament before they vote:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/iraq_oil_law

Our simple message: we support Iraq's sovereign right to its own oil. Revenue from oil should be distributed fairly to the Iraqi people. And the Iraqi national parliament should decide this without foreign influence.

Oil accounts for 70% of Iraq's national income. The proposed oil law would give multinational companies broad control of those revenues for three decades -- a deal more generous than any in the Middle East. In most countries, oil corporations perform services under contracts with governments. In Iraq, foreign companies would sit on the national council that gives out the contracts.

Here's how the head of the Iraqi Federation of Oil Unions, Hassan Jum'a Awwad, put it:

"Iraq is passing through the most difficult of times, because all and sundry are hounding it and covet a share of its riches. Everyone knows that the oil law does not serve the Iraqi people, and that it serves Bush, his supporters and the foreign companies at their expense."

It's a rare sign of hope to see Iraqis coming together on anything, but this law is bad enough to unite almost everyone. Iraqis are asking for our help. Let's tell them the world supports their right to set their own future. Sign on and help us reach 100,000 voices before they present the petition to the Parliament:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/iraq_oil_law

In peace,

Ricken, Graziela, Paul and the Avaaz Team

A Very Great Vision is Needed


When I was a boy my family lived in South Dakota, just near the Black Hills. We arrived at Ellsworth AFB in a blinding blizzard one winter. I became completely mesmerized by Indian history, culture, and religion. I read everything I could get my hands on about the "people" as the Indians called themselves. Our Sunday drives into the Badlands and the Black Hills, and my hunting trips with my dad into the Black Hills, provided me with up close contact with the land the Lakota called the "paha sapa" - the heart of the Earth.

All of my adult life I have continued to read about Native Americans and I try to return to South Dakota whenever I can. The oldest poster on my wall in my study is one I got in 1980, when my son Julian was in his mothers womb, at the Black Hills International Survival Gathering. The poster says "Don't weep for the earth - fight to save her!" At that time we drove from Florida to the Black Hills to participate in this event that was held just outside the gate of the B-52 bomber base at Ellsworth - the same base I had lived on as a kid. The circle was complete.


A wonderful book I'd highly recommend is Crazy Horse: The Strange Man of the Oglalas by Mari Sandoz. I want to share one story from the book: After gold was discovered in the Black Hills the U.S. Army was sent in to clear the Indians out of their paha sapa even though they had been promised in a previous treaty that they would "own" this territory as long as the grass grew green. The inevitable battle led to Custer's last stand and the resulting major military campaign to bring the "hostiles" onto reservations in the dusty lands of southwest South Dakota.

Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull held out as long as they could. But the cold winters and diminishing buffalo and other wild game forced them ultimately to surrender. This process literally broke the hearts of the people. The conditions of surrender were that they had to give up their guns and their horses - essentially their very way of life.

The government was to provide them with all they needed from now on. Food, clothes, and even tepees. But they soon found out the promises were not honored. The blankets they were given were so thin they could not keep the people warm at night. The flour had bugs in it and the bacon was rancid. The people could not even go and hunt anymore as their guns and horses were gone. The continued to starve and die. But they honored their word to the white man's government and stayed peaceful.

The weapons contractors, that had grown rich from the Indian wars in the 1860's, were getting restless. This peace with Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull was cutting into their previous enormous profits. So they came up with a plan.

They created a national public relations campaign and had artists create renderings of Crazy Horse on the war path again killing farmers and raping white women and children. These stories were placed in the big newspapers across the country and the public became outraged. Soon the Congress appropriated more funds to return the "hostiles" to the reservation.

In fact, during this campaign of deception, Crazy Horse was sitting in his tepee on the reservation without a gun or horse to his name.

When you think about it the story is virtually the same today in Iraq. The government creates a pubic relations campaign about weapons of mass destruction and then sells the story using the mainstream media to justify a war and make enormous profits for the weapons corporations.

When I was in the Air Force, during the Vietnam War, I learned how they did the same thing to sell that war as I read The Pentagon Papers - the government's own secret history of how they lied to create that war.

The process is again under way today in Asia as we see the U.S. beginning to provoke and demonize China in a new arms race that would bring huge profits to the war industry.

They say that every criminal has an MO - modus operandi - method of operation. When I was young I wanted to be an FBI agent when I grew up so I could fight against organized crime. Then one day I woke up and realized that the military industrial complex was the essence of organized crime. So I took myself to the peace movement where I could fulfill my boyhood promise to work for "truth, justice, and the American way."

Sometimes I wonder if the fate of Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull and the other native people will be the fate of the American people of today as well. In order to pay for endless war the government, clearly under the control of the military industrial complex as former President Dwight Eisenhower warned us, is now moving to destroy social progress in our country as they cut education, health care, and the like. In a way I wonder, are we now being brought onto the reservation too?

Under the New World Order job # 1 of corporate globalization is to maximize profits internationally. Allegiance to country is a thing of the past. Corporations move overseas to seek the lowest wage workers possible. Unemployment grows and the local tax base drys up as jobs leave the U.S. The process of corporate disinvestment in America is underway. The Pentagon says that "security export" will be our role under corporate globalization. Endless war.

What can we learn from the time of Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull?

Crazy Horse is remembered for these words: "A very great vision is needed and the man who has it must follow it as the eagle seeks the deepest blue of the sky."

What is our vision for the future of North America and of our Mother Earth?


Bruce K. Gagnon
Coordinator
Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space
PO Box 652
Brunswick, ME 04011
(207) 443-9502
http://www.space4peace.org
globalnet@mindspring.com
http://space4peace.blogspot.com (our blog)

Monday, May 21, 2007

Faith, Fundamentalism and Politics

Former ABC News Bureau Chief Tom Osborne Launches International Lecture Tour:
"Faith, Fundamentalism and Politics in the War on Terrorism." This is a lecture he wrote as a visiting professor at the University of Durham in England this past year and delivered it publicly in the UK. Tom is seeking both domestic (beyond Tennessee) and other international engagements. This is a life-long cause for Tom and he believe now is the time, more than ever, to bring it fruition. To reach Tom Osborne email him at tomosborne48@yahoo.com


Biography

Assigned as reporter/producer and Bureau Chief at the United Nations in 1989 just prior to the Gulf War, Osborne covered the UN for ABC WORLD NEWS TONIGHT WITH PETER JENNINGS; GOOD MORNING AMERICA; NIGHTINE;20/20, overseeing all editorial coverage for the various primetime news specials and general coverage for ABC News at the UN through 2000.

Elected president of the UN Correspondents Association in 1992. As president of UNCA, inaugurated and chaired the 1992 series of international press conferences: "The UN in the Post Cold War Era." Convened at UN headquarters in New York, the conferences provided a forum for international journalists, members of the UN Security Council, the UN Secretariat to discuss UN Security Council reform and transparency; an issue under intense scrutiny in the wake of UN involvement in conflicts in the Iraq/Gulf war, and the impending crises in the former Yugoslavia.

Prior to his UN assignment Osborne covered NE U.S. for ABC News, New York Bureau.

Before joining ABC in 1987, Osborne served as U.S. Director of the Amsterdam-based ANNE FRANK FOUNDATION, 1984-’85, supervising the U.S. opening and national tour of the international archival photographic exhibition: ANNE FRANK IN THE WORLD: 1929-1945, created by the foundation. Osborne inaugurated the U.S. tour of the exhibition, opening it in 18 U.S. cities. He inaugurated the first annual ANNE FRANK Award for Human Rights in the U.S.

Osborne began his career in 1967 while completing a BA degree at Augustana College in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, reporting and anchoring for the CBS affiliate KELO TV in Sioux Falls.

Taking temporary leave from active journalism in 1971, Osborne served as staff assistant and speech writer for various members of the South Dakota congressional delegation in Washington, D.C. He served in the Washington office of Rep. Frank E. Denholm, D.S.D. as legislative assistant and speech writer.

After receiving his BA degree from Augustana College, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Osborne completed post graduate studies earning a Masters of Divinity studying at Methesco Seminary, Delaware, Ohio. During this course of study he also studied at St. John's College, Durham University in Durham, England where he was accepted as a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of theology in 1978. Attended Catholic University, Wash. D.C. while studying theology with the Paulist Fathers, 1978-'82.

He is currently adjunct professor at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tennessee teaching U.S. Policy in the United Nations and lectures on the topic "Faith, Politics, and Fundamentalism in the War on Terrorism" Awards: 2006 Fellowship Award, St. John’s College, University of Durham, Durham, UK; Executive Producer, film documentary, "In Shifting Sands: The Truth About the Disarming of Iraq"

Sunday, May 20, 2007

No Interference with Natural Healing

Senators say that the User Fee bill - 1082 - will not affect the Dietary Supplement Health Education Act, but food and food additive language has been added to the original bill, as cited in the Byron Richards article forwarded below. Presidential candidate Dr. Ron Paul has also written on this. By new FDA guidelines, the Reagan Udall Foundation could realize windfall profits on U.S. patents. Licensing could bring down the health food industry, expand the War on Drugs, jam the prisons, and provide more cheap prison labor for advantaged corporations. Controlling natural health may also have a military purpose. Antioxidant foods heal cancer cells. Cancer is an effect of radiation. As this nation teeters on the brink of nuclear war, controlling natural healing could block a natural defense against nuclear radiation.

- Jean G. Braun

Saturday, May 19, 2007

CFI Student Leadership Conference

In 1996, in the heat of a Buffalo summer, seven college students came to
New York on a mission. On their campuses, they had noticed a growing
disdain for science and reason, but increasing beliefs in mysticism and
pseudoscience. They had witnessed a resurgence of religious
fundamentalism and watched as religious factions attacked individual
liberties.

Recognizing these trends as threats to the educational environment of the
University, the students worked with the Council for Secular Humanism and
founded the Campus Freethought Alliance, a network of students dedicated
to the promotion and enhancement of freethought, skepticism, secularism,
nontheism, and humanism.

Now, eleven years later, tens of thousands of students like you have
participated in hundreds of activities on campuses around the globe.
With over 120 active groups and dozens of new chapters forming every
semester, CFI-On Campus is the largest student freethought organization
in the world.

As you know, every semester CFI sends speakers, educational materials,
logistical, and promotional support to groups across the country, but
it's summer now which means it's time for students to do the travelling.
It's time for you to come to CFI for our annual Student Leadership
Conference, June 15-17, in Amherst, New York.

The Student Leadership Conference is the perfect time for you to meet
other freethinking students, to share ideas and experiences from the
previous year, and to learn how to plant and grow your group in the
coming year.

In addition to workshops and discussion groups, we also have top notch
lectures and entertainment. Guest speakers this year include Dr. Barbara
Forrest, philosophy professor and a key witness from the Dover/Kitzmiller
Intelligent Design trial; Taner Edis, physics professor and author of the
new book, "An Illusion of Harmony: Science and Religion in Islam"; and
Eddie Tabash, constitutional lawyer and chair of the Council for Secular
Humanism First Amendment Task Force.

Saturday night, renowned magician and sleight of hand master Jamy Ian
Swiss will perform a special program for conference attendees called "The
Illusion of Psychic Powers."

If you are part of a campus freethought organization or would like to
start one at your school, you need to attend this conference. To help,
we're keeping costs down – registration, room, and board for the entire
three-day event cost only $35.

We also have a limited number of travel grants available to help people
attend even if they lack the resources to do so. The registration form
and grant application can be found here.

Lauren Becker
Field Organizer
CFI-On Campus
716-636-4869, ext. 406
lbecker@centerforinquiry.net

Friday, May 18, 2007

ADAPT Protests Memphis Restaurant

Local Restaurant Blocks Access and Violates the Americans with Disabilities Act, ADA

ADAPT will be confronting a local chain restaurant because of the restaurants flagrant violation of the ADA. The restaurant has a patio area that blocks the sidewalk and access to other facilities to people with disabilities. ADAPT will give the manager and owner a brief opportunity to commit to righting this wrong. If the restaurateur refuses to the changes ADAPT will do to this business what they are doing to people with disabilities, by blocking access to business.

Another Aegis Christening

These Aegis naval ships are now being sold to, or deployed, in Japan, South Korea, Australia and eventually Taiwan as the U.S. attempts to "contain" China. These destroyers are being outfitted with "theatre missile defense" (TMD) systems and are being deployed just off the coast of China. The military mission of these ships is to hit Chinese nuclear missiles after they have been fired in response to a U.S. first strike attack on China. This aggressive, and provocative, military operation will create a new arms race in the region. Japanese and South Korean peace groups are very concerned about these plans and frequently protest the presence of these ships in their ports.

You'd think that Jesus Christ himself was going to be in Bath, Maine on Saturday morning. The Navy, and Bath Iron Works, will be holding another "christening" of an Aegis destroyer. Funny how I have a hard time reconciling the words Christ and destroyer but I know that I am just "old school".

In our local paper yesterday they ran a story announcing the event and I was taken aback with the opening line in the article, "One needn't look farther than the main stage at Saturday morning's christening ceremony at Bath Iron Works to see that Navy ships do more than wage war."

Now what could this spin be I found myself wondering? So I read on.

It seems that some 24 years ago "more than 100 Vietnamese refugees adrift in the South China Sea in a small open boat with a failed motor" were plucked from the ocean by a U.S. Navy destroyer. Thus the image created in the article is that while these ships might be called "destroyers" they are in fact out doing some level of "humanitarian" work around the world.

Sadly this is not true at all.

In fact these Navy Aegis destroyers are the ships that launched the first cruise missile volley in the U.S. "shock and awe" attack on Iraq in 2003. I know this because Mary Beth and I have made friends with a former Naval officer who was the officer on the deck of the very Aegis ship that fired the first cruise missile in that attack. This officer now suffers from PTSD.

We know that these same Aegis destroyers are now being deployed in the Persian Gulf in anticipation of a U.S. attack on Iran. We know that U.S. naval officers, in charge of cruise missile targeting, met with Israel military officials last summer to select targets for a U.S.-Israel attack on Iran.

These Naval destroyers are also now being outfitted with "theatre missile defense" (TMD) systems and are being deployed just off the coast of China. The military mission of these ships is to hit Chinese nuclear missiles after they have been fired in response to a U.S. first strike attack on China.

Oh, you say, the U.S. would never launch a pre-emptive first strike attack on another nation! That would be in violation of international law.

But in fact the U.S. Space Command has been war gaming such a first strike attack on China for the past several years. Set in the year 2016 the Pentagon initiates the attack on China using the military space plane, now under development. The role of the Aegis destroyer, outfitted with the TMD interceptors, is to knock out any remaining Chinese nukes that could still get off the ground after the initial U.S. attack. (Remember that today the Chinese military only has 20 nuclear missiles capable of hitting the continental U.S.) So the Aegis ships would not have to "destroy" very many of China's missiles to make it a successful operation.

These Aegis naval ships are now being sold to, or deployed, in Japan, South Korea, Australia and eventually Taiwan as the U.S. attempts to "contain" China. This aggressive, and provocative, military operation will create a new arms race in the region. Japanese and South Korean peace groups are very concerned about these plans and frequently protest the presence of these ships in their ports.

Maine Veterans for Peace and the Global Network will be organizing a protest vigil at the "Christening" in Bath on Saturday morning. We will be there to call for the conversion of Bath Iron Works. Why can't public transit rail cars be built by BIW workers instead of more war ships?

I wonder what Jesus would say?

--
Bruce K. Gagnon
Coordinator
Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space
PO Box 652
Brunswick, ME 04011
(207) 443-9502
http://www.space4peace.org
globalnet@mindspring.com
http://space4peace.blogspot.com (our blog)

Mass Displacements Predicted

Climate Change Could Displace One Billion People

LONDON, UK, May 15, 2007 (ENS) - At least one billion people will be forced from their homes between now and 2050 as the effects of climate change deepen an already burgeoning global migration crisis, predicts a new Christian Aid report. Christian Aid was founded at the end of World War II to help deal with the millions of people displaced by the war, and has been helping displaced people and refugees ever since, so the British charitable organization says it can speak with authority about the impending crisis.


The report elaborates on the organization's fear that climate change will displace a billion people in addition to the 155 million people already displaced by conflict, disaster and large-scale development projects.

The report, "Human Tide: The Real Migration Crisis," calls for "urgent action by the world community" if the worst effects of this crisis are to be averted.

Published Monday to mark Christian Aid Week 2007, the report warns that the world is now facing its largest ever movement of displaced people, the vast majority from the world¹s poorest countries.

Mako, 13, holds her sister Asho in a Somalian refugee camp where they fled to escape flooding. (Photo by B. Bannon courtesy UNHCR ; )

"The impact of climate change is the great, and frightening, unknown in this equation. Existing estimates of its potential to displace people are more than a decade old and are widely disputed. Only now is serious academic attention being devoted to calculating the scale of this new human tide," the report finds.

"The danger is that this new forced migration will fuel existing conflicts and generate new ones in the areas of the world ­ the poorest ­ where resources are most scarce. Movement on this scale has the potential to de-stabilize whole regions where increasingly desperate populations compete for dwindling food and water," the aid organization warns.

This displacement is happening already, Christian Aid says, citing the deadly situation in Sudan's western region of Darfur.

"While mired in political complexity, the genesis of the appalling conflict in Darfur has been in part attributed to this very downward spiral," the aid organization said. "Let Darfur stand as the starkest of warnings about what the future could bring."

The conflict in Darfur has its roots in generations of battles over water and grazing rights in this vast, arid region.

A new round of fighting erupted in early 2003, forcing people to flee their villages. By late 2004, some 200,000 Sudanese had fled across the border to neighboring Chad and an estimated 1.6 million were displaced within Darfur, where militias killed, raped and forced hundreds of thousands from their homes, according to the UN High Commission for Refugees.

Thousands of people fled attacks on their villages and gathered under trees on the outskirts of Goz Beida, the main town in south eastern Chad. (Photo by H. Caux courtesy UNHCR ; )

Wangari Maathai, a Kenyan politician and environmentalist who was awarded the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize, said the Darfur conflict is about who will draw sustenance from scarce resources. It is "a struggle over controlling an environment that can no longer support all the people who must live on it," she said in an interview with the "Washington Post."

Christian Aid is calling on the governments of the rich countries that emit the most greenhouse gases into the atmosphere to establish a US$100 billion a year fund to help poor, vulnerable countries adapt to sea level rises, increasing drought and more extreme weather.

The money should be taken from existing aid budgets, the organization recommends, and should be paid in proportion to countries' carbon dioxide emissions with the most polluting countries contributing the most.

"The alternative, as this report seeks to highlight," said Christian Aid, "is a desperate situation that could destabilize whole regions ­ plunging them further into poverty and conflict."

The growing problem of displacement resulting from large development programs must also be addressed. Currently, there is not even agreement about whether people forced from their homes to make way for dams or roads are covered by existing codes of conduct, the aid organization points out.

Rich countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development have had their own guidelines on the impact of their funding of development projects for the past 10 years. But it is not known whether they are effective or not.

In more than one third of the conflicts that caused displacement in 2006, people were forced to flee by their own national armies or armed groups linked to the government, the report found.

Even if they are not guilty of using violence to displace people, Christian Aid reports, most governments fail to fulfil their responsibilities towards citizens who have fled conflict.

Where governments allow the outside world to help internally displaced people, most of the practical work ­ providing food, water, shelter and so on ­ is done by international and local nongovernmental organizations such as Christian Aid with its partners.

Guatemalans displaced by Hurricane Stan in October 2005 line up for food aid delivered by the World Food Programme. (Photo by Alejandro Chicheri courtesy WFP ; )

"United Nations organizations tend to coordinate work done by others, rather than doing it themselves," the report states.

Christian Aid says it does not pretend to have all the answers, but says "the solution must start with an overhaul of the current UN system for dealing with internally displaced people."

The organization points to the latest scientific research that suggests the climate is changing more quickly than was previously predicted. "In addition, because of international prevarication over reducing CO2 emissions, the scale and speed of action needed now is greater than previously imagined," the organization says.

Christian Aid calls for a massive, international effort to reduce carbon emissions and keep global average temperature increases below 2°C, widely believed to be the tipping point beyond which the consequences of climate change become catastrophic.

But even then, the organization says climate change will cause serious disruption, especially in poor communities.

Global warming and the growing competition for scarce resources are together likely to increase the incidence of humanitarian crises. The spread of desert regions, a scarcity of water, coastal erosion, declining arable land, damage to infrastructure from extreme weather - Christian Aid warns that all this could undermine global peace and stability.

To read the report, "Human Tide: The Real Migration Crisis," click here ; .