Monday, January 19, 2009

OMNI newsletter on the late Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday 2009

OMNI NEWSLETTER ON MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.'S BIRTHDAY 2009, by Dick Bennett for We, the People and a Culture of Peace and Justice, January 19, 2009

From The Morning News editorial to Abigail Van Buren's column, we are reminded again why OMNI is needed on King's birthday. In "King's Dream Still Inspires Americans" (TMN 1-19), the editorial writer, in celebrating King for his greatness in advancing civil rights, focuses upon King's "most memorable and significant speech on Aug. 28, 1963," "I Have a Dream." King "gave his life in pursuit of social and cultural equality for all." Likewise, Ms. Van Buren praises King as "the great American civil rights leader."

All of this is true. But King's greatness far exceeded his success in defeating "Jim Crow," the legal system of discrimination in the South.

King was also equally great (though not successful) as an opponent of wars and poverty. In King's April 4, 1967 "A Time to Break Silence"" speech delivered at Riverside Church in NYC one year before his death, he spoke out against wars, against militarism, and against US mass killings in Vietnam, and looked toward the Beloved Community. Together, he said, wars and militarism are one of the greatest of evils, along with racism and poverty.

In King's Riverside Church speech, King gave ten moral reasons for his opposition to the Vietnam War. Several of these reasons joined that opposition to his opposition to the unequal US economic system. "Like some demoniacal destructive suction tube," he argued, the war stole the skills and funds needed for the poor. His Poverty Program had offered hope to the poor, but after the war began poverty programs were generally ignored. It was outrageous for the Government to spend $322,000 for each enemy soldier killed, while spending only $53 a year in the war on poverty for each person classified as poor.

The reduction of King's greatness to exclusively his civil rights achievements has had enormous political advantages to all proponents of the US Imperial Security State, for they recognized King's opposition to wars and poverty. The agents of the Corporate-Pentagon-White House-Congress-Mainstream Media Complex knew that advances in social justice were only one part of King's greatness. They knew King opposed not only US militarism and the Vietnam War but also the repeated US aggressions abroad. They knew King opposed US capitalism's impoverishment of millions of people and enrichment of a few (400 billionaires).

Furthermore, President Bush reduced even King's civil rights work to individual activities. Bush "called on the nation's people to honor the slain civil rights leader by helping those in need." Not to change the structures of our nation to ensure support for the needy, but to be a good neighbor and volunteer. "'…just by living a life of kindness and compassion you can make America a better place and fulfill the dream of Martin Luther King,' Bush said." Well, yes and no. Yes kindness and volunteering are good, but changing the Jim Crow South required a social revolution--the drastic overhaul of the educational and legal systems--, just as changing the US imperial system and poverty will require a drastic renovation of the economic system.

Cindy Sheehan startlingly connects the three great motives of King's life uniquely to her own, that makes past, present, and future concretely real to us, for her son Casey was killed in Iraq, another atrocious US war, on the same day King was assassinated. "Dr. King and Casey were killed by the same evils: militarism, racism and poverty." Casey was killed by the militarism and racism against the Iraqi people, and by "the poverty of being from a working class family that couldn't afford to send him to university. All of these factors…also killed Dr. King."

At Riverside Church, King said, "I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin the shift from a 'thing-oriented' society to a 'person-oriented' society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered."

In his 1964 Nobel Peace Prize speech, King expressed hope in our evolving beyond "revenge, aggression, and retaliation" to an enhanced capacity for love.

Many speeches of Barack Hussein Obama evoke the last lines of King's Riverside speech: "Now let us begin. Now let us rededicate ourselves to the long and bitter -- but beautiful -- struggle for a new world. …The choice is ours, and though we might prefer it otherwise we must choose in this crucial moment of human history."

Tomorrow we will have a chance for a renewed effort to achieve that revolution of values King yearned for. President Obama becomes part of King's dream.


Dick Bennett

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Come to the membership meeting to talk about such things as the story below or any other issue related to peace, justice, ecology and even equality

Please click on image to ENLARGE to read poster.

The Morning News

"Member Criticizes Global Warming Commission"
By John Lyon
LITTLE ROCK -- A member of the state Governor's Commission on Global Warming told lawmakers Wednesday they should be skeptical of the panel's recommendations for combating climate change.
Richard Ford, a professor of economics at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, spoke at an informal meeting requested by Sen. Percy Malone, D-Arkadelphia, former Senate chairman of the Joint Committee on Energy.
"I don't think we followed the law as given," Ford said.
Ford said the 2007 law that created the commission directed the body to "study the scientific data, literature and research on global warming to determine whether global warming is an immediate threat to the citizens in the state of Arkansas." He said that never happened.
"It was implicitly assumed that global warming is a pending catastrophe, that it had to be addressed, basically by limiting (carbon) emissions," he said.
The commission presented to the governor late last year a report containing 54 recommendations for reducing the state's contributions to climate change, including a moratorium on new coal-fired power plants until pollution-control technology improves.
"I would ask you to be skeptical of many of the recommendations -- most of them," Ford said. "Be skeptical of the cost numbers. I several times pointed out that they were estimates on the low side because they just flat did not include everything."
The commission's report includes analysis of the costs to implement 29 of its recommendations. It estimates the net cost at $3.7 billion between 2009 and 2025.
Lawmakers also heard presentations by others with skeptical views of global warming.
Art Hobson, professor emeritus of physics at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville and also a commission member, said in an interview Wednesday he believed the commission did follow the law.
Hobson noted the title of the legislation creating the commission states in part that its purpose is "to establish a global warming pollution reduction goal and comprehensive strategic plan."
"It didn't seem to me that we were really directed to study the underlying science," Hobson said, though he said as a scientist he would have been happy to discuss the scientific evidence of global warming.
Hobson also said he disagreed with Ford's assertion that the commission's cost estimates were inadequate.
"A lot of these policy options that we recommended would save money for Arkansas, and some would cost money. Those were very carefully worked out by CCS (the Center for Climate Strategies)," he said.
CCS, a nonprofit group based in Harrisburg, Pa., provided consulting services to the commission while it was preparing its report. Hobson said he has heard complaints that the group "roped Arkansas into doing this and into hiring CCS," but he said in fact it was the other way around.
"The commission was appointed, and then we looked around at each other and said, 'Well, what do we do now? How are we going to develop these ideas?' Then some of the people who were supporting the idea of the commission looked around and found CCS," he said.
Malone said he had hoped Ford and the other speakers could address an official meeting of the Joint Committee on Energy, but the scheduling of Wednesday's meeting conflicted with committee rules, so an informal meeting was held instead.
Malone encouraged people with other points of view to contact the committee's new Senate chairman, Sen. Kim Hendren, R-Gravette, and ask to make a presentation.

OMNI newsletter on military recruiting

OMNI'S COUNTER-RECRUITING NEWSLETTER, #2, January 13, 2009, Compiled by Dick Bennett (#1 June 13, 2008), FOR A CULTURE OF PEACE, OF, BY, AND FOR THE PEOPLE

War is cruelty, and you cannot refine it. William Tecumseh Sherman
War is a bankruptcy of policy. Hans von Seecki

SENATOR LINCOLN (202) 224-4843 Fax: (202) 228-1371.

Fayetteville office: 251-1380

Senator Mark Pryor: Phone: (202) 224-2353 Fax: (202) 228-0908

CONGRESSMAN Boozman: Lowell office: 479-725-0400.

DC address: 1708 Longworth House Office Bldng., Washington, DC 20515; 202-225-4301.

Everything in war is barbaric. But the worst barbarity of war is that it forces men to commit acts collectively which individually they would revolt with their whole being. Ellen Key

My first wish is to see this plague to mankind banished from off the Earth. George Washington.


Contact NWA High Schools

Recruits Need to Know:

Combat Injuries, Suicide, Housing obstacles, and more


Minority Women in the Military

Assault Victims


OMNI's Counter-Recruiting Pamphlet

Army of None

Resisting Military Testing

Local Letter-Writers


Bentonville High School, 1901 SE J St., 72712, 479-254-5100

Elkins HS Principal 643-3381

Farmington HS 266-1860

Fayetteville HS 1001 W. Stone St. 72701 , 444-3050

Gentry HS, 736-2666

Gravette HS , 607 SE Dallas St, 72736, 787-4180

Greenland HS 30 N. Sandy 72737, 521-2366 Ext. 274

Huntsville HS Principal, 738-2500

Pea Ridge HS 451-8182

Prairie Grove HS, 846-4212

Rogers HS, 2300 S. Dixieland, 631-3544

Siloam Springs HS, 1500 W. Jefferson, 72761, 524-5134

Springdale Har-ber HS, 300 Jones Rd, 72762, 750-8777

Springdale HS, 1103 W. Emma Ave., 72764, 750-8832

After each war there is a little less of democracy to save. Brooks Atkinson

"Collateral Damage: Military Prescribes Drugs at Record Rate to Combat Mental and Physical Injuries" by David Olinger
"'SHH!'…Suicide, Secrets, and Veterans: CBS Uncovers Suicide Rates That the Government Tried to Hide" by Armen Keteyian and Pia Malbran.
"Military Maneuvers: Private Housing Contracts Rife with Cost Overruns and Delays" by Eric Nalder.
"Resources": additional reports by Tori Moss.
All four reports in The IRE Journal (Nov. Dec. 2008) (This is magazine of the Investigative Reporters and Editors at the Missouri School of Journalism)
One is left with the horrible feeling now that war settles nothing; that to win a war is as disastrous as to lose one. Agatha Christie

"Long Work Days Hurt Re-Enlistment" by Lolita Baldor. TMN (12-21-05). Soldiers on combat duty are stressed not only about being away from families and in danger but especially over the long work hours.

The Trials Minority Women Face Serving in the Military
By Michelle Chen, ColorLines
Posted on August 6, 2008, Printed on August 6, 2008
When Kristina McCauley looks back on her time in boot camp, one scene sticks out: she's standing in the sun as blood flows down her wrist, hoping no one will notice her among the rows of trainees chanting and brandishing bayonets.

Thinking back, she's not sure why she grabbed her weapon the wrong way during that drill. But when she saw that the bayonet on her rifle had sliced cleanly across her hand, she knew calling for help would only invite her drill sergeants to make her life more miserable.

"I was just standing out there in the heat of the day and bleeding and trying to be quiet about it," she recalled later in an interview. Soon, a female drill sergeant came over to berate her for her stupidity -- as a lesson to the other trainees -- and tossed a few bandages at her.

Today, McCauley, a half-Japanese lesbian, has a degree in international peace studies. She's not your "typical" veteran. As a mixed-race girl with a boyish streak in a straight-laced suburb, McCauley signed up for the military hoping "to belong somewhere." The service promised respect, power and a chance to test her physical and mental limits.

But putting on the greens didn't bring the transformation she had sought. Instead, she discovered the Army's veneer of uniformity masks deep fault lines of culture, class and sexuality. She eventually emerged from the military's rigid hierarchy to embrace what she had tried to escape -- by reconnecting with her Japanese heritage, coming out to her family and reorienting her political perspective.

"I made a conscious effort to educate myself more deeply," she said. "I began to study race, sexuality and gender, with a hope to understand my own place in the world more clearly."

McCauley's quest resonates throughout the growing ranks of military women of color. Though their decision to enlist is often inspired by hopes of self-empowerment, they may quickly stumble on a landscape of familiar impediments where the rules of race and gender still dictate who fights, who wins and who suffers.

There are about 200,000 active-duty military women today, some 14 percent of the total force, according to federal data. About half of them are women of color. Women of color also now make up around a third of former service members. Of a little more than 1.7 million women veterans nationwide, about 19 percent are Black and 7 percent are Latina. Asian American, Pacific Islander, American Indian and mixed-race women each comprise up to 2 percent or less. Proportionally, people of color comprise a greater share of female veterans than of male veterans.

Women of color, like others, are drawn into the armed forces by both needs and ideals. Some are spurred by patriotism or a desire for adventure; others just want a stable job or money for college. Whatever their economic or social motives, the recruitment rhetoric pushed to youth across the country markets the military as a way out of their current circumstances and on toward where they need to go. But the soldier's path leads many women of color back to where they started -- to the turbulence and entrenched discrimination besetting their home communities. And for some, the journey veers unexpectedly toward a new political consciousness.

Maricela Guzman, a Latina Navy veteran who now works as a counter-recruitment activist in California, urges youth of color to look past the sales pitch of economic opportunity.

"You're going to this environment thinking you're going to make all this money," she warned, "but you're going back to a system that is going to keep you down."

For many young people, spending a 21st birthday in boot camp would be a sobering experience. But Eli PaintedCrow had grown up early; passing a birthday in the Army was one way to ensure her children would spend theirs under better circumstances.

She joined the Army to get off welfare and support her young sons. She also sought a kind of camaraderie she never had growing up in the barrios of San Jose, estranged from her ancestral community, the indigenous Yaqui Nation.

"It really did make me feel like I belonged somewhere and that I could be good at something," she said.

As a fresh Navy recruit a few weeks into basic training, Maricela Guzman shouldn't have been surprised to find herself facedown on the floor, frantically doing push-ups. She had not followed proper procedure for addressing a commander in his office -- knocking before entering and asking permission to speak. Accordingly, he told her to "drop" as punishment.

But while the penalty was routine, the circumstances were not: she had come to tell him she had been raped.

Before she could say anything, though, she had to repeat the drill to her commander's satisfaction. "I think it was 20 minutes later after I was able to do it right," she said. "And I was so numb afterwards that I couldn't even say anything."

In the late 1990s, Guzman, a child of Mexican immigrants, was getting back to her education at a Los Angeles community college after leaving high school to work, when a young Black man approached her and told her enthusiastically about the Navy. Guzman researched the military's education benefits and grilled the recruiter on what the service would be like. In the end, she signed up, confident she wasn't making her decision blindly.

But she never saw him coming.

One night at boot camp, on watch duty, she recalled, "I passed a dark corner, somebody grabbed me, and I was raped." Though she only caught a glimpse of her attacker in the darkness, she said, "It had to be one of the drill sergeants. Just the type of uniform that he had."

After being thwarted in her attempt to come forward within a few days of the incident, Guzman fell silent. Her commanders eventually noticed she was acting withdrawn, but to them, it just showed that she needed more discipline. So they intensified her work routines and upbraided her even more harshly before her peers.

"They thought that that was the best thing for them to do -- to break me down," she said.

Guzman tried to cope on her own by immersing herself in her job as an information systems technician. Working nonstop, she garnered various service awards and became, on paper, a model soldier.

"The only way I could think of surviving," she said, "was to make myself tired enough where I couldn't think about things."

One of the military's open secrets is the prevalence of sexual coercion. Screenings of female veterans at Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical facilities indicate that about one in five has experienced sexual assault. Meanwhile, advocates believe just a tiny fraction of survivors come forward as they wrestle under a culture of enforced conformity.

Racial rifts add another social dimension to military sexual abuse……..

© 2008 ColorLines All rights reserved.
View the full story online at:

"Assault Victims in Military Face Tough Recovery" by Kimberly Hefling, TMN (7-27-08. "Of the women veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan who have walked into a VA facility, 15 percent have screened positive for military sexual trauma."



"Probe Finds Military Recruiters Prey on Enlistees" by Martha Mendoza, The Morning News (TMN) (8-20-06).

"Women Should Be Wary of Military Recruiters" by Martha Burk, Northwest Arkansas Times (NAT)(5-3-08.


OMNI's pamphlet for looking closely before joining the services. Explains small print in the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, students' "opt-out" option, provides an opt-out form, and other information. Phone 479-973-9049.

See the resources in our pamphlet; e.g., Also:


Army of None: Strategies to Counter Military Recruitment, End War, and Build a Better World by Aimee Allison and David Solnit


Thank you for signing CODEPINK's pledge to resist military recruitment!
You can help get the word out by sharing your thoughts with your local newspaper: Submit a letter to the editor using our easy 3 step online tool at:
You don't even need to know the email address of your local paper. Just select your newspaper from a list, pick your talking points and add your own words, and click send to deliver your letter!
If you signed up to join our counter-recruitment task force, we'll be in touch soon with more actions you can take.
Resisting not Enlisting, CODEPINK Women for Peace

Resisting Military Recruiting Testing in the Schools
By Dick Bennett, 11-19-08
The eight recruiter release options for providing access to student test information to recruiting services are:
1 Provide student test information to recruiting services no sooner than 7 days after mailed to school
2 Provide student test information to recruiting services no sooner than 60 days after mailed to school
3 Provide student test information to recruiting services no sooner than 90 days after mailed to school
4 Provide student test information to recruiting services no sooner than 120 days after mailed to school
5 Provide student test information to recruiting services no sooner than the end of the SY for that specific school or 30 June
6 Provide student test information to recruiting services no sooner than 7 days after mailed to school with instruction that no telephone solicitation by recruiters will be conducted as a result of test information provided
7 Invalid test results. Student test information is not provided to recruiting services
8 Access to student test information is not provided to recruiting services
The original regulations can be found here: – the options table is found on the 13th page of the document.
Every year, hundreds of thousands of high school students take the basic entrance test for the U.S. military—the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB). Administered free by the Pentagon in partnership with local high schools, the ASVAB is billed as part of a "career exploration program." The military grades the test and reports are sent to students, school counselors, and to military recruiters—and recorded in the Pentagon's Joint Advertising Market Research and Studies Program, a computerized database tracking potential recruits.

The ASVAB was not designed to help students explore careers in general. The US Army's School Recruiting Program Handbook states that a main purpose of the ASVAB is to provide military recruiters "with a source of leads of high school seniors and juniors qualified through the ASVAB for enlistment." Its information about each test taker's skills, graduation plans, and contact information enable recruiters to tailor their sales pitch to each student.

Here's the problem with the test: Schools can block the release of this information to recruiters by choosing Option 8 of the ASVAB, which allows the ASVAB to be administered but prevents data from being forwarded to recruiters, but only if the school chooses release option 8 universally. Also, schools can universally choose Option 8 but arrange to have the scores released for students who request that their scores are forwarded to the military. Even if students or parents decide to opt out from their school's release of student contact information to recruiters under No Child Left Behind, that opt-out decision is overridden if students then take the ASVAB. . Students cannot individually elect option 8. The school can regulate its own release of information from pupil records, but it cannot regulate the military's access to ASVAB test data, except by declaring that all students must be tested under ASVAB release option 8.

Montgomery County, Maryland, is a large district that adopted such a policy in 2006, on the grounds of privacy. Also, all students in Montgomery County under eighteen years old must have parental consent prior to taking the ASVAB. In 2007 the largest school district in the country, Los Angeles Unified School District selected Option 8 for its students, and in early 2008 Prince George's County, MD followed suit. Also this year, the District of Columbia public school system banned the ASVAB, deciding to pursue alternative career assessment testing, an option open to all schools.

What can be done?
Access under NCLB: Parents who do not wish recruiters to have access to their children's private information should write the Principal of the school.
Build community support for reversing the NCLB requirement that schools must provide contact information about students to recruiters unless parents object. Ask your congressional representatives to advocate changing the requirement to read that schools must not provide private information to recruiters unless the parents request them to.
Access via the ASVAB test: The best way of avoiding dissemination of the test and contact information is to not take the test. The test is not mandatory, a fact many high schools fail to disclose. Ensure all students are aware that taking the test is voluntary. Call for the school to make this announcement to students prior to the administration of the test.
Urge school administrators to offer students who choose not to take the ASVAB an alternative place to go. Suggest that administrators offer the test on a weekend so as not to take up valuable school time.
Build community support for banning the ASVAB. Speak and leaflet at school board meetings.
Encourage support for alternative career assessment options.
Request that counter-recruitment literature be present in school guidance counseling offices, libraries, and career centers.
Access via Option 8: Ask the school to choose Option 8.

These efforts are part of a broad movement to reduce the military's presence in our schools. Much more is necessary. We must question all the ways that the military insinuates itself into schools to condition our youth for war—visits to schools by recruiters, programs like JROTC, Young Marines, Army's Adventure Van, Air Force's Raptor Trailer. Military propaganda begins so early in U. S. schools that we can identify them as the military's predominant recruitment venue. Let's pursue all options for reducing military recruitment in our schools, expose the military's agenda for our schools, and challenge the embrace most schools have long given to all branches of the armed forces.

Tanya Theriault & Matt Vogel, "You Do the Military Math," The Catholic Worker (August-September, 2008). Statement endorsed by AFSC, CPF, COMD, Project YANO, PGAPLP/GAPP, WRL.
The NNOMY (National Network Opposing the Militarization of Youth) website at has an excellent ASVAB section.
Counter-recruiting expert rec. by Janine: Pat Elder,

For several years Geoff Oelsner visited FHS with information about alternative education and work.
OMNI's counter-recruiting committee's ad has appeared several times in the FHS newspaper.
Two newsletters.
These actions should be continued and expanded. And distribute OMNI's pamphlet.
Contact Gladys Tiffany.
Tamara Boettcher, Fayetteville, Letter to the Editor, "Schools' Actions Necessitate Vigilance." ADG (10-14-05).
Gwen Bennett, Eureka Springs, Letter to Editor, "Small Print Is Revealing," ADG (10-24-05).
Write to your newspaper, to the school superintendent and principal, forward these newsletters, buy and share Army of None. Ask yourself if any US intervention or invasion has been necessary, legal, or moral, and take action.

OMNI's HOPES INCLUDE: A WORLD FREE OF RECRUITERS FOR VIOLENCE, MILITARISM, IMPERIALISM, AND WARS, AN INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY WITH COMPASSION AND JUSTICE FOR ALL, A COMMUNITY WHERE EVERY PERSON'S POTENTIAL MAY BE FULFILLED AND NOT THROUGH MILITARY BUT THROUGH PUBLIC SERVICE, AN EARTH RESTORED. NONVIOLENCE, WORLD PEACE, HUMAN RIGHTS, SOCIAL and ECONOMIC JUSTICE, ENVIRONMENTAL STEWARDSHIP PROTECTING SPECIES AND THE EARTH. These are some of OMNI's ideals. Read our brochure and our newsletters, attend our Steering Committee, become an active member of one or more of our committees, participate in our activities to see how these broad goals for building a Community of Peace are realized in action. There is nothing vague about Building a Community of Peace through dialog leading to action.

Dick Bennett

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Vigil at noon Saturday to mourn victims of violence in Gaza

Omni members Bea Dewing and David Druding are organizing a vigil in honor of the dead and the suffering in the Gaza conflict. You're invited to join them on Saturday January 10, 12:00 noon, at the federal building at College and Mountain Streets.

Part of the vigil will be a Palestinian ceremony, called an "Azaa." That's the Arabic word for the mourning ceremony that occurs after the death of a loved one in the Islamic world. The ceremony usually occurs at a home with the women inside seated talking and sharing dark unsweetened coffee and prepared dates. The men congregate outside and share the same coffee and dates.

Unfortunately, there are hundreds of these ceremonies going on in Gaza and thruout the Occupied Territories at this very moment.

Hope you can help us spread the word about this demonstration/vigil that will occur at the federal bldg. this Sat., Jan. 10th, at noon.

For more information, you can call David at 479.521.5677, or Bea at 917-885-6090

Mourning Vigil

Saturday, Jan. 10th at noon

Federal Bldg., 35 E. Mtn. St,. Fayetteville, AR 72701

Mourning vigil for the innocent victims of the Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people. We call upon the US and world community to demand an immediate halt to the siege and attacks on Gaza.

Sponsored by: Palestine Café ( 917.885.6096

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

OMNI message of hope for The New Year 2009

From: Omnicenter Communications ( on behalf of Dick Bennett (
Sent: Wed 1/07/09 1:18 PM

OMNI NEWSLETTER OF H O P E FOR 2009, BUILDING A CULTURE OF PEACE, Compiled by Dick Bennett (#1 March 25, 2008).

SENATOR LINCOLN (202) 224-4843 Fax: (202) 228-1371.

Fayetteville office: 251-1380

Senator Mark Pryor: Phone: (202) 224-2353 Fax: (202) 228-0908

CONGRESSMAN Boozman: Lowell office: 479-725-0400.

DC address: 1708 Longworth House Office Bldng., Washington, DC 20515; 202-225-4301.

"Peace is a daily, a weekly, a monthly process, gradually changing opinions, slowly eroding old barriers, quietly building new structures." John F. Kennedy. So if you really think the world should be better, take action to better it. You. We, the People. Jefferson and Lincoln did not say our country was founded of, by, for rulers or saviors, but by us the people. For all who served peace and not armed force, we can never thank them enough. In a Constitutional Representative Democracy, WE, THE PEOPLE ARE OUR HOPE. Here are some of THE PEOPLE (and species friends) making breakthroughs.



21 Chanukah begins

22, 1943: strike by COs ended segregation at Danbury Fed. Prison

23, 1947: Pres. Truman pardoned 1,523 of 15,890 WWII draft resisters

23, 2000: Jubilee Debt Relief granted to 22 poorest nations

25 Christmas Day

25, 1875: Jesse Hughan, founder of WRL, born

26 Kwanzaa

27, 1914: International Fellowship of Reconciliation founded

28 Islamic New Year begins

29, 1970: Congress passed Occupational Safety and Health Act

29, 1996: Guatemalan peace treaty signed, ending 36 years of war

29, 2002: "Baring Witness" naked women spell out PEACE in CA

31 New Year's Eve

31, 1915: FOR founded

31, 1999: US gave ownership of Canal Zone to Panama


1 New Year's Day

2, 1992: UN established first Conventional Arms Registry

3, 1793: Lucretia Mott born, advocate of women's rights and abolition of slavery

3, 1993: START II Treaty signed

5, 1548: Francesco Suarez born, pioneer of international law

5, 1925: Nellie Ross of Wyoming, first woman governor, sworn in

6, 1937: Abraham Lincoln Brigade to fight Spanish fascism

6, 1941: "Four Freedoms" speech by Pres. Roosevelt

8, 1867: WILPF co-founder Emily Balch born

8, 1885: A. J. Muste born, advocate of nonviolence

9, 1859: Carrie Chapman Catt, US suffrage leader, born

10, 1776: Paine's Common Sense published

10, 1920: League of Nations founded

10, 1946: First session UN General Assembly (51 nations)

11, 1912: Textile workers begin "Bread and Roses" strike in MA

11, 1952: 1st British protest against nuclear weapons

12, 1932: Hattie Caraway (D-AR) first woman elected to US Senate

15, 1929: Martin Luther King Jr. born

12, 1957 Southern Christian Leadership Conference founded



ADG (7-5-06),"Mice Found to Share One Another's Pain" by Benedict Carey (NYT). We already knew that apes, elephants, dolphins "show clear understanding of the suffering of others in their clans and act to help them."

Now scientists have "found strong evidence of empathy in [mice] who saw a fellow creature suffering," but they have much to learn: the empathy was significantly more for a familiar mouse than for a stranger. [One of the chief moral aims of peacemaking religions and secular education is to widen human capacity for empathy for people outside their family, clan, town, county, state, nation.]


Gore on 60 Minutes This Sunday. CBS News, March 27, 2008. "Al Gore says those who still doubt that global warming is caused by man -- among them, Vice President Dick Cheney -- are acting like the fringe groups who think the 1969 moon landing never really happened, or who once believed the world is flat. The former vice president and former presidential candidate talks to 60 Minutes correspondent Lesley Stahl in an interview broadcast Sunday, March 30, at 7 p.m. ET/PT... Gore donated his $750,000 [Nobel Peace Prize] money to The Alliance for Climate Protection, the non-profit he started to help him on his quest. He and his wife, Tipper, tell Stahl they not only matched the Nobel money with their own, but they are also donating to the organization the significant profits from his book and Oscar-winning documentary film, An Inconvenient Truth. The funds will help the Alliance for Climate Protection execute a new $300 million ad campaign on global warming set to start next week. Some of the ads will feature unlikely alliances to drive home the message that people of all stripes are concerned about global warming. These include the Rev. Al Sharpton and the Rev. Pat Robertson, Toby Keith and the Dixie Chicks, and Nancy Pelosi and Newt Gingrich. Stahl also visits the Gore's Nashville home, recently refitted with touches that include roof solar panels that make it more environmentally friendly." (from Robt. M)



Jan Egelund, UN's Emergency Relief Coordinator and author of A Billion Lives: An Eyewitness Report from the Front Lines of Humanity. Interviewed by Amy Goodman on "Democracy Now" 3-28-08. Google Egelund Jan



This is only one of the several organizations that loan small amounts of money to women to begin a business. Located in Boston:


Some 1,500 Venezuelans in Caracas shed their clothes on a main city avenue in front of the statue of independence hero Simon Bolivar. One man said: "There were good vibrations, a good positive energy among all the people involved. I felt liberated." The group gathered for the photographer Spencer Tunick,:"The body represents beauty, love, and peace." "Venezuelans Pose Nude for American Artist," TMN 3-20-06.


In London in 2007 the "Gen II Peacemakers" meeting took place, made up of the children of famous world leaders who were dedicated to the principle of non-violence in the 20th century. King's son and namesake was there, also Gandhi's grandson Arun, King Abdullah of Jordan, Itzak Rabin's daughter Dalia, the daughters of Desmond Tutu, Naomi, and of Cesar Chavez, Christine, and many more. "…non-violence has a track record of solving some of the most intransigent problems on earth, as in the US civil rights struggle, India's independence. "Formula for Peace Is Reborn in London," by Nick Clooney, Cincinnati Post (7-23-07.)



To Grady Jim Robinson the main importance of Barack Obama is: he fills him "with joy and hope about our future." "He's willing to try new things. He has promise….a Bridge to Somewhere, namely the future." "Please, America, Make Me Happy" (NAT, 11-5-08).



Ogden, Dunbar. My Father Said Yes: A White Pastor in Little Rock School Integration. Vanderbilt UP, 2008. One of the pro-integration leaders in Little Rock's white community, Dunbard work with Daisy Bates, who owned LR's black newspaper.

Palmer, Phyllis. Living as Equals: How Three White Communities Struggled to Make Interracial Connections During the Civil Rights Era. Vanderbilt UP, 2008. Three hopeful responses by whites to racial repression.

Anderson, Jervis. Bayard Rustin: Troubles I've Seen: A Biography. Harper Collins, 1997. Committed to the Gandhian principle of nonviolence, Rustin was the civil rights movement's ablest strategist and indispensable intellectual resource for many black leaders. OMNI founded a scholarship in his honor at the UofA in 2008.


Denise Tyrrell, former Southern Calif. Metrolink Media Relations Advisor, refused to cover up the train wreck at Chatsworth, CA in Sept. 2008."Rail Spokesperson Fired for Telling Truth" by Patt Morrison of LAT. (TMN 9-21-08). She declared: "'I am unclear of…how the truth can somehow be premature. The truth is the truth." Morrison's account is a rousing cheer for truthtelling.


A deranged man killed five little Amish girls in Lancaster County, PA. As donations poured into their lives from the world, they asked for the aid to be shared with the killer's young family, also grieving and horrified. Some Amish even attended his funeral, and his wife thanked them for their "forgiveness, grace, and mercy." These events occurred in 2006, but the example will last until all memory is lost. (Thanks to Fran's 10-23-6 column.)

JULIO DIAZ: Model of Compassion

StoryCorps: Recording America. "A Victim Treats His Mugger Right."

Listen Now :

Julio Diaz recorded his story in New York City just days after he was mugged in the subway.

Morning Edition, March 28, 2008 · Julio Diaz has a daily routine. Every night, the 31-year-old social worker ends his hour-long subway commute to the Bronx one stop early, just so he can eat at his favorite diner.

But one night last month, as Diaz stepped off the No. 6 train and onto a nearly empty platform, his evening took an unexpected turn.

He was walking toward the stairs when a teenage boy approached and pulled out a knife.

"He wants my money, so I just gave him my wallet and told him, 'Here you go,'" Diaz says.

As the teen began to walk away, Diaz told him, "Hey, wait a minute. You forgot something. If you're going to be robbing people for the rest of the night, you might as well take my coat to keep you warm."

The would-be robber looked at his would-be victim, "like what's going on here?" Diaz says. "He asked me, 'Why are you doing this?'"

Diaz replied: "If you're willing to risk your freedom for a few dollars, then I guess you must really need the money. I mean, all I wanted to do was get dinner and if you really want to join me ... hey, you're more than welcome.

"You know, I just felt maybe he really needs help," Diaz says.

Diaz says he and the teen went into the diner and sat in a booth…...

Produced for Morning Edition by Michael Garofalo.


Students at The New School in Fayetteville have begun a Kindness Awareness Campaign. The students find ways to perform simple acts of kindness with the hope that the person will spread kindness to others. Students ion Melissa Campbell's fourth-grade class sent letters to people they admire. Counselor Carrie Rye helped get the project started. And it seems to be increasing consideration, respect, and sportsmanship. "New School Students Campaign for Kindness" by Brett Bennett, NAT (2-18-07).


There never was a good war or a bad peace. Benjamin Franklin

Army 1st Lt. Ehren Watada, 28, of Honolulu was the first US officer court-martialed for refusing to go to Iraq because the invasion and occupation of Iraq was illegal ("a horrible breach of American law," which made it his duty to disobey) and based on lies. Earlier, in 2005, Army Sgt. Kevin Benderman refused to go to Iraq.. Both were court-martialed. They are our best in clarity, ethics, and courage.

Some of OMNI's values: OMNI SEEKS A WORLD FREE OF VIOLENCE AND WAR, A SOCIETY WITH LIBERTY AND JUSTICE FOR ALL, A COMMUNITY WHERE EVERY PERSON'S POTENTIAL MAY BE FULFILLED, AN EARTH RESTORED. GRASSROOTS NONVIOLENCE, WORLD PEACE, HUMAN RIGHTS, SOCIAL and ECONOMIC JUSTICE, ENVIRONMENTAL STEWARDSHIP PROTECTING SPECIES AND THE EARTH. Read our brochure and our newsletters, attend our Steering Committee, become an active member of one or more of our committees, participate in our dozens of activities to see how these broad goals for building a Community of Peace are realized in action.
Dick Bennett

60 years of deja vu in the middle east

Walla Walla Union Bulletin
Israel pushes into Gaza
Posted by Stephen Carr on Jan. 6th, 2009
Israel began a ground assault on Gaza Saturday night, pushing deep into the territory and targeting Hamas militants. Israel has effectively cut Gaza in half, but Defense Minister Ehud Barak says that they still have not achieved their objectives, and that the offensive will continue. The estimated casualties in Gaza have passed 500, including a number of Gaza civilian deaths which have sparked international outrage.
Gaza City and the Gaza territory has always been an important area to the Muslim and Jewish populations, and has been invaded more than once. After the League of Nations left Gaza (part of the defeated Ottoman Empire) under British control in June of 1919 (read the story here), a period of riots and violence occurred. World War II took attention off of Gaza, but unrest continued. Finally, following the War, Britain gave up control of the area for the creation of the State of Israel. The Arab-Israeli War began the next day.
During the Arab-Israeli War, Egypt invaded Gaza (read the story here). By September, Egypt had set up an all-Palestinian government in Gaza. Between December 1948 and January 1949, Israel launched an offensive forcing Egypt out of the Gaza area (read the story here). International pressure forced Israel to withdraw from Gaza, and the 1949 Armistice gave Gaza to Egypt. Stay tuned for more in the recent occupations of Gaza as the current conflict unfolds...
Links to the Past

100 Jewish Families Ready For Palestine
Chillicothe Constitution, December 29, 1919

Gaza Said to Have Fallen
Joplin Globe, May 16, 1948

Israel Drive Cuts Egypt's Gaza Route
Walla Walla Union Bulletin, December 28, 1948

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Thursday, January 1, 2009

Why is muddy water flowing in a normally clear Ozark Mountain stream on a sunny New Year's Day?

Please click on images to ENLARGE view of muddy water flowing on New Year's Day into the Town Branch of the West Fork of the White River.

For more images and a bit of explanation of this situation, please click the following link Silt-laden water pumped to the Town Branch by contractors flows to Beaver Lake
For a closer view of the pipe spewing water from Hill Place work site, please click on image to ENLARGE. Use cursor to move about and see the contrast between the flow from the pipe and the stream's normal clear water at right.

For more images and a bit of explanation of this situation, please click the following link Silt-laden water pumped to the Town Branch by contractors flows to Beaver Lake