Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Sky Blaylock and Dick Bennett visit briefly after Professor Bennett completed a short take Tuesday afternoon, December 29, 2009, to be run next week on CAT 18 on Cox Cable in Fayetteville, Arkansas

Please click on image to ENLARGE view of Dr. James Richard Bennett, a University of Arkansas professor emeritus in English, visiting with Sky Blaylock, manager of the Fayetteville, Arkansas, public-access channel, on December 29, 2009. Bennett was a founder of the OMNI Center for Peace, Justice and Ecology. Bennett is one of many members of OMNI who regularly appear on the CAT channel, which runs live on the Internet 24-7 showing everything that appears on Cox Cable 18. OMNI members' messages are as diverse as the nonprofit organization's name would imply. Peace may be the big focus during war time, but justice in health-care coverage for all and fighting global climate change through local efforts and helping to purchase land for World Peace Wetland Prairie to demonstrate the importance of protecting soil, water and air worldwide are never out of mind.

Please click on images to ENLARGE view of Dick Bennett in the CAT 18 studio reviewing a book on climate change on December 29, 1009.

Friday, December 18, 2009

World water supply subject of video underground for December 27, 2009

Video Underground
is happy to share an evening with you to watch
a film that makes and in depth analysis of the
the responsibilities and injustices surrounding the ownership of world water supplies, as well as the conflicts caused:
Blue Gold
Sunday-- December 27at 7 p.m., 2009
at the
OMNI Center for Peace Justice & Ecology
Bennet House
3274 NORTH LEE AVENUE in Fayetteville
next to Nibbles Academy of Cooking

Video Underground meets the second and fourth Sundays of the month. Offered by members of the OMNI Center for Peace, Justice & Ecology.
Donations provide refreshments and carbon offsets.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Save Copenhagen: Real Deal Now!
With only 3 days left, the crucial Copenhagen climate summit is failing.

Tomorrow, world leaders will arrive for an unprecedented 60 hours of direct negotiations. Each one will have to decide whether to step forward as heroes, or fail us all. But they will only act if we do.

Around the world a global movement has been building towards this moment. Now it's time for one last, massive push -- with a global public outcry for a real deal that will stop catastrophic climate change. In the next 72 hours we can build the largest petition in history. Sign below, tell friends, and Avaaz will help deliver the petition directly to leaders inside the Copenhagen summit:

Petition to the 110 Presidents and Prime Ministers negotiating in Copenhagen:

We call on each one of you to make the concessions necessary to meet your historic responsibility in this crisis. Rich countries must offer fair funding, and all countries must set ambitious targets on emissions. Do not leave Copenhagen without a fair, ambitious and binding deal that keeps the world safe from catastrophic global warming of 2 degrees.
Sign the Real Deal Petition Below

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Avaaz is a member of the TckTckTck campaign, a global alliance working for a strong treaty in Copenhagen.
11,155,510 have joined the call to action.
Let's get to 15,000,000

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We're over 11 million people - let's keep going and make this the world's largest ever climate mandate.

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I just joined over 11 million people in the world's largest-ever campaign to keep us all safe.

There has never been a more important time to add your name - our message is being delivered to leaders at the Copenhagen climate summit later this week.

Please add your voice now at


With three days to go, the crucial Copenhagen summit is failing.

Tomorrow, the world's leaders arrive for an unprecedented 60 hours of direct negotiations. Experts agree that without a tidal wave of public pressure for a deal, the summit will not stop catastrophic global warming of 2 degrees.

Click below to sign the petition for a real deal in Copenhagen -- the campaign already has a staggering 10 million supporters - let's make it the largest petition in history in the next 72 hours! Every single name is actually being read out at the summit -- sign on at the link below and forward this email to everyone!

An Avaaz team is meeting daily with negotiators inside the summit who will organize a spectacular petition delivery to world leaders as they arrive, building a giant wall of boxes of names and reading out the names of every person who signs. With the largest petition in history, leaders will have no doubt that the whole world is watching.

Millions watched the Avaaz vigil inside the summit on TV yesterday, where Archbishop Desmond Tutu told hundreds of delegates and assembled children:

“We marched in Berlin, and the wall fell.
"We marched for South Africa, and apartheid fell.
"We marched at Copenhagen -- and we WILL get a Real Deal.”

Copenhagen is seeking the biggest mandate in history to stop the greatest threat humanity has ever faced. History will be made in the next few days. How will our children remember this moment? Let's tell them we did all we could.

With hope,

Ricken, Alice, Ben, Paul, Luis, Iain, Veronique, Graziela, Pascal, Paula, Benjamin, Raj, Raluca, Taren, David, Josh and the whole Avaaz team.


Urgent - Crisis in Copenhagen‏
Ricken Patel - (
Wed 12/16/09 9:39 AM
To: (
Dear Friends,

Copenhagen's last-ditch summitto stop catastrophic global warming is failing; only massive public pressure can save it.Sign the giant petition below - it may be the largest in history:

With three days to go, the crucial Copenhagen summit is failing.

Tomorrow, the world's leaders arrive for an unprecedented 60 hours of direct negotiations. Experts agree that without a tidal wave of public pressure for a deal, the summit will not stop catastrophic global warming of 2 degrees.

Click below to sign the petition for a real deal in Copenhagen -- the campaign already has a staggering 10 million supporters - let's make it the largest petition in history in the next 72 hours! Every single name is actually being read out at the summit -- sign on at the link below and forward this email to everyone!

An Avaaz team is meeting daily with negotiators inside the summit who will organize a spectacular petition delivery to world leaders as they arrive, building a giant wall of boxes of names and reading out the names of every person who signs. With the largest petition in history, leaders will have no doubt that the whole world is watching.

Millions watched the Avaaz vigil inside the summit on TV yesterday, where Archbishop Desmond Tutu told hundreds of delegates and assembled children:
“We marched in Berlin, and the wall fell.
"We marched for South Africa, and apartheid fell.
"We marched at Copenhagen -- and we WILL get a Real Deal.”
Copenhagen is seeking the biggest mandate in history to stop the greatest threat humanity has ever faced. History will be made in the next few days. How will our children remember this moment? Let's tell them we did all we could.

With hope,

Ricken, Alice, Ben, Paul, Luis, Iain, Veronique, Graziela, Pascal, Paula, Benjamin, Raj, Raluca, Taren, David, Josh and the whole Avaaz team.


Want to support Avaaz? We're entirely funded by donations and receive no money from governments or corporations. Our dedicated online team ensures even the smallest contributions go a long way -- donate here.

ABOUT AVAAZ is an independent, not-for-profit global campaigning organization that works to ensure that the views and values of the world's people inform global decision-making. (Avaaz means "voice" in many languages.) Avaaz receives no money from governments or corporations, and is staffed by a global team based in Ottawa, London, Rio de Janeiro, New York, Buenos Aires, and Geneva. Click here to learn more about our largest campaigns. Don't forget to check out our Facebook and Myspace and Bebo pages! You can also follow Avaaz on Twitter!

You are getting this message because you signed "Stop the Climate-Wrecking at Bali" on 2007-12-13 using the email address To ensure that Avaaz messages reach your inbox, please add to your address book. To change your email address, language settings, or other personal information, click here: or simply click here to unsubscribe.

To contact Avaaz, please do not reply to this email. Instead, write to us via the webform at You can also call us at +1-888-922-8229 (US) or +55 21 2509 0368 (Brazil).

OMNI says skip a meal to support battle against climate change

Copenhagen Crisis: two unusual requests.‏
From: Omnicenter Communications ( on behalf of Gladys tiffany (
Sent: Wed 12/16/09 11:25 AM
You remember Bill McKibben? He's a great guy and a dedicated environmentalist. As Copenhagen heats up he's been reporting. Now he has two pretty profound requests. Hope you'll help him with 'em.

Gladys Tiffany
OMNI Center for Peace, Justice & Ecology
3274 No. Lee Ave, Fayetteville, Arkansas USA
479-935-4422 --

--- On Wed, 12/16/09, Bill McKibben - wrote:

From: Bill McKibben -
Subject: Copenhagen Crisis: two unusual requests.
Date: Wednesday, December 16, 2009, 10:08 AM

In this unusual moment in human history, will you consider doing two unusual things?

1) Make a phone call, demanding that world leaders stick to the science as the pressure builds for them to cave and compromise?

2) Join A Global Fast for Climate Justice on Thursday and take a moral stand on the challenge of our times.

Dear Friends,

Apologies again for bombarding you with email, but we're in the final stretch here at Copenhagen and I hope you can join us in doing two unusual things.

They're unusual things for us to ask, but this is an unusual moment. In a certain sense the Copenhagen conference is going better than we dared hope. The small nations of the world have really been quite remarkable this week--their calls for strong climate action have completely changed the tone of these negotiations. They have stood up to immense pressure from the big powers, and they continue to rally behind the banner that all of you have raised for them. These nations are still trying to insert "350 language" into the treaty text, at least as a symbolic aspiration for the future. This would be a remarkable acknowledgment of physical reality, and give us a good base to keep moving on.

But not all is well in Copenhagen. We're not going to get the agreement that we need (current negotiations put us on track to hit a devastating 770ppm by century's end) and this movement will need to fight on in the years ahead.

But right now, while the Copenhagen climate talks are still unfolding, we need one final push.

So, the two unusual requests:

1) Make a phone call.

We don't usually ask you to make calls, but today we're going to. At this link you'll find a list of every head of state and his or her phone number. You'll note that the countries are listed in either green or red type. If your nation is in green, it means they're fighting the good fight for 350. We need you to leave them a message that either expresses your pride and gratitude for their commitment to keeping 350 in the treaty text, or your earnest wish that they'll listen to the science and consider standing with the bloc of more than 100 nations standing for bold scientific targets.

Please click here to make the call--you'll find everything you need: the appropriate phone numbers, a short script of what to say, and a sense of how your country's leadership is standing on this issue.
2) Think about fasting for 24 hours on Thursday--part of a genuinely worldwide effort.

A hunger strike is not one of our usual tools either, but somehow it feels appropriate at what's a very solemn moment. Some of our allies around the world have been going without food for more than a month, and they've asked others to join this fast for 24 hours--starting any time on Thursday. We know it's late notice, especially for those of you in the eastern parts of the world--but everything just came together to pull it off. Many here in Copenhagen are doing so--including thousands of youth, members of the team, Vandana Shiva, and many more--and we wanted you to have the opportunity too.

As global warming kicks in, more and more people will starve--earlier this week, at the conference's main religious service, there were shriveled ears of corn from drought-stricken parts of Africa on the altar. Most of us can't know the true terror of hunger, because we know we'll eat again soon, but we can join in what organizers are calling a Hunger Strike for Survival.

If you're interested in joining in, please sign-up here. It's true that we can't promise fasting will have any practical effect, but it feels right to us right now.

Please consider joining us:

It's true: we won't get the treaty we need in Copenhagen, but thanks to you we've made the real consequences of climate change a priority for the very first time inside this process.


Bill McKibben for

PS - Can you help spread the demand for a Science-Based Treaty on Facebook? Just visit this post on Facebook, scroll down, and click "Share" to let your friends know your thoughts on the current negotiations and how you're taking action. Many thanks.
You should join us on Facebook by becoming a fan of our page at and follow us on twitter by visiting

To join our list (maybe a friend forwarded you this e-mail) visit needs your help! To support our work, donate securely online at

You are subscribed to this list as Click here to unsubscribe is an international grassroots campaign that aims to mobilize a global climate movement united by a common call to action. By spreading an understanding of the science and a shared vision for a fair policy, we will ensure that the world creates bold and equitable solutions to the climate crisis. is an independent and not-for-profit project.

What is 350? 350 is the number that leading scientists say is the safe upper limit for carbon dioxide in our atmosphere. Scientists measure carbon dioxide in "parts per million" (ppm), so 350ppm is the number humanity needs to get below as soon as possible to avoid runaway climate change. To get there, we need a different kind of PPM-a "people powered movement" that is made of of people like you in every corner of the planet.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Fasting activists inspiring others in Copenhagen to hang tough and demand Climate Justice NOW!

"I support Climate Justice Fast!" sent you a message on Facebook...‏
From: Facebook (
Sent: Sun 12/13/09 4:23 PM
To: Aubrey James Shepherd (
Anna C Keenan sent a message to the members of I support Climate Justice Fast!

Subject: Hunger for Survival - Thursday 17 December 2009

Hello, Climate Justice Fast supporters,

During the COP15 conference, the Climate Justice Fast here in Copenhagen has inspired people around the world to higher levels of activism, and has generated a huge number of media hits from Turkey to Japan to Greece to Korea and all around the world!

Due to the inspiration that the fasters have provided to - in particular - the 1000-strong youth activist contingent at the conference, the youth groups and a number of large environmental organisations have decided that they would like to invite their members to fast for one day - THIS THURSDAY 17 DECEMBER - in support of the CJF, and solidarity with the millions who have and will lose their lives due to the preventable and involuntary hunger, disease and conflict resulting from climate change.

We have created a facebook event here - sign up if you are willing to join the day of fasting and reflection:

Many notable climate and sustainability leaders, including Vandana Shiva, will also be joining in this fast and moral call.

“If not us then who, and if not now then when?”

One day before the Heads of State arrive to finalise the deal in Copenhagen, we are calling for all people, everywhere across the world, to join a single global day of fasting – voluntarily going without food – and personal reflection on the climate crisis, and what we as humanity need to do to solve it.

Commit to join the day of fasting by joining this facebook event - and inviting all of your friends!

Now, we must be done with trying to persuade politicians with debates and intellectual argument. They have heard it all already. Now they face a decision about what is simply morally right.

On Thursday 17th December, we will therefore not yell, but instead quiet our voices and raise up our hearts in silence, not telling our leaders what they should do, but instead use the historically symbolic and powerful act of the fast to ask our leaders to reflect on the gravity of the choices they are about to make.

*** UPDATE on the fasters ***

Sara Svensson, Anna Keenan and Paul Connor are all now on the 39th day of their fast, having started on the 6th of November. Matthieu Balle, a solar panel installer from Paris who joined us immediately after hearing about us on French radio, is now reaching his 22nd day. Daniel Lau and Michael Morphett have both bravely decided to end their fasts, following medical advice, after both passing 30 days without food - a heroic feat.

The fasters are all in high spirits and good health, and are under appropriate medical supervision.


Thursday, December 10, 2009

Audubon Arkansas open house from 4 to 7 p.m. today; Environmental Action Committee at 5:30 p.m. in Room 326 of city hall

Audubon Arkansas open house from 4 to 7 p.m. today; Environmental Action Committee at 5:30 p.m. in Room 326 of city hall
The Holiday Season is a busy time so here's a little reminder about our Holiday Open House! If you have not yet RSVP'd don't forget to drop us a line and let us know your are coming! We are looking forward to seeing everyone there!

Please Join Us

Thursday, December 10, 2009
From 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at
34 East Center Street
Fayetteville, Arkansas

For the
Audubon Arkansas
Holiday Open House

The staff and board of Audubon Arkansas invite you to join us for food, refreshments, conversation and conservation. Spouses, children, and friends welcome.
Please RSVP to
Wishing You Happy Holidays!!!

Audubon Arkansas open house from 4 to 7 p.m. today; Environmental Action Committee at 5:30 p.m. in Room 326 of city hall

Audubon Arkansas open house from 4 to 7 p.m. today; Environmental Action Committee at 5:30 p.m. in Room 326 of city hall
The Holiday Season is a busy time so here's a little reminder about our Holiday Open House! If you have not yet RSVP'd don't forget to drop us a line and let us know your are coming! We are looking forward to seeing everyone there!

Please Join Us

Thursday, December 10, 2009
From 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at
34 East Center Street
Fayetteville, Arkansas

For the
Audubon Arkansas
Holiday Open House

The staff and board of Audubon Arkansas invite you to join us for food, refreshments, conversation and conservation. Spouses, children, and friends welcome.
Please RSVP to
Wishing You Happy Holidays!!!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Vegetarian potluck tonight!

Veggie potluck tonight! Bring your favorite food and try out the rest of our favs. It's always fun. 6:00 pm at OMNI Center, 3274 No. Lee Ave.

Tonight you can also find out what a Timebank is. You may be surprised at the potential of it to change our twisted social structure. Thanks to Christi and Mary Lily for offering to give the presentation about it.

Gladys Tiffany
OMNI Center for Peace, Justice & Ecology
Fayetteville, Arkansas USA
479-973-9049 --

Wednesday, December 9th at 6PM
at the new Bennett OMNI Center Building
3274 N. Lee St.
in Fayetteville, Arkansas

Christi Daniels will give a presentation about Time Banking.

Reassessing our dietary choices can bringing Peace, Justice, and Ecology to the forefront of our consciousness. You needn't be vegetarian to attend, just open-minded and willing to try new things. For more information, contact Dan Dean at

Directions to OMNI: Take College to Howard St (at Flying Burrito), turn east (right if your heading north). Go one block to Lee and turn left. Go one block to Bertha and you’re there. Gray brick on the right with the OMNI banner on the front.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Climate Summit in Copenhagen opens today and runs through December 18

DECEMBER 7-18 U. N. CLIMATE SUMMIT IN COPENHAGEN December 7, 2009, Compiled by Dick Bennett. Another in a series of Climate Change Newsletters by OMNI’s Climate Change Task Force.

Friday December 11 Vigil
FSTV/Amy Goodman
Bill McKibben
Art Hobson
Naomi Klein
Rabbi Arthur Waskow
Vulnerable Nations


At the behest of our great ally Bill McKibben of, the OMNI Center's Climate Change Task Force & 1Sky Arkansas are collaborating to bring a meaningful candle light vigil to our community on Friday, Dec 11th- 7pm at the Fayetteville Town Square near the Town Center's Peace Fountain. The vigil will feature speakers & a moment of silence for the current & future victims of climate change throughout the world.

Please join us for this commemoration to those of us already suffering the outcomes of climate change, such as, West Africa, the Philippines, Thailand and the Gulf of Mexico. There will be vigils around the world on December the 11th. These vigils call attention to the global citizens' cry to our global leaders in Copenhagen. This cry is for decisive, compassionate, bold objectives that will protect humanity's future. We can't afford to compromise for the benefit of the fossil fuel industry's bottom line.

Climate change is a social justice and a peace issue. We will share the light of our candles symbolizing our shared global future and...shared hope.

Sincerely, Joanna Pollock

Climate Change Task Force, Omni/Climate Precinct Captain, 1sky



Join Thousands of Activists in Copenhagen at the 15th U.N. Climate Change Conference (COP15) December 7-18, 2009

Free Speech TV and Greenpeace have joined forces to bring you a commercial-free, front-row seat to this historic event!

On December 7, delegates from 192 countries, including 100 world leaders, gathered in Copenhagen, Denmark for the most important climate negotiations the world has ever seen. An unprecedented number of countries are pledging long-term reduction of their carbon emissions, while environmental activists are demonstrating all over the world to persuade the rest of the COP15 participants to join them in developing the most ambitious climate deal in history.

Free Speech TV has proudly joined forces with Greenpeace to bring breaking coverage of the events - Your own front-row seat at COP15! This exclusive programming is also a call to action for our supporters to join Greenpeace and Free Speech TV in our effort to distribute this special programming to millions more people. Our hope is that all viewers become inspired to actively participate in this crucial debate.

Environmental coverage has always been one of Free Speech TV's programming hallmarks. Over the last few weeks, Democracy Now!, GRITtv and the Thom Hartmann Show have been covering events leading up to COP15 and will continue to follow the events closely, until the new deal is reached. Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman will be reporting live from Copenhagen!(EVERY WEEKDAY MORNING 7 TO 8 AM CAT CH 18). Make sure you tune in for the coverage or go to our website, where you can catch up on the conference and share your favorite clips with your friends.

Best,Giselle Campagna Development Director

. Free Speech TV is on Facebook and yes, we tweet... coverage @#COP15!


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Working with activists and artists, Free Speech TV (FSTV) uses television and the Internet to cultivate an informed and active citizenry in order to advance progressive social change.

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All you need do any time of the day is use the following url to watch Democracy Now on your computer...if you have high speed connection. then click on "real video"

“Copenhagen Strategy - Action Not Rhetoric” by Bill McKibben

Dear Friends,

Here's our sense of what will be happening at the UN climate talks in Copenhagen, and why we're hoping some of you will start or join a candlelight vigil at a strategic or iconic location in your community 7 TO 8 P.M. Town Center on Dec. 11th

The weekend for these vigils falls smack in the middle of the two-week Copenhagen talks…. We need to send a signal to say that speeches and prizes are good, but action is what's really required--enough action to head us back towards 350 parts per million.

Obama will bring an emissions target to the table in Copenhagen, a bittersweet development in this political drama. Sweet because having any sort of commitment from the U.S. increases the chances of global collaboration on a climate deal, bitter because US emissions target represents a paltry 3% reductions below 1990 levels--far from the ambitious cuts scientists say are necessary to get back to 350….

The timing here is crucial: the vigils are part of a huge mobilization on the weekend of December 12th, mid-way through the negotiations. The climate talks will build to a head a few days later, as our allies and champions--people like President Nasheed of the Maldives--struggle to get a document that represents "a survival pact, not a suicide pact." …..

Here's the deal: the huge day of action on October 24 was a tremendous start, and it's hard to believe that it was only a month ago that you created what's being called "the most widespread day of political action in history." It took the most important number on earth and made it one of the most well-known.

Copenhagen continues that process--with the whole world paying attention, we need to remind our leaders that we don't need rhetoric, we need change. Fast.

Onwards, Bill McKibben,

“Copenhagen climate talks” by Art Hobson Dec. 1, 2009

This month's Copenhagen summit meeting was called to draw up a successor to the 1997 Kyoto Protocol on global warming (GW), which 187 nations (but not the USA) signed and ratified. But, even before iT begins, leaders have agreed to punt most of the difficult issues to a later meeting in Mexico City.

Don't blame this breakdown on the world, or political leaders, at large. The GW logjam is caused primarily by one nation, namely us. But it's not due to President Obama, who has done everything he could to move the U.S. off its horrible long-term policy. For example, he's appointed two of the world's most knowledgeable and progressive scientists as Presidential Science Advisor (John Holdren) and Secretary of Energy (Steven Chu). I know both of them. Both put GW at the top of their priorities, and so does Obama.

The problem lies very specifically with the U.S. fossil fuel industry: coal, oil, gas, the automotive industry, and their suppliers. The worst example was the Global Climate Coalition (GCC), which reached a new low in American morality. Led by Exxon, the GCC spent wads of cash on advertising, lobbying, and on a few scientists who were willing to propagandize Congress and others in order to manufacture doubt about the reality of global warming. It was pseudoscience for a profit, at its worst. These scientists' "research" consists of searching for support for their preconceived conclusion that global warming is some sort of liberal plot. It was on a par with the tobacco industry's disinformation campaign about cigarettes and cancer. Even though the GCC collapsed several years ago as its members withdrew until Exxon was isolated, the same bunch continues its full-page newspaper ads and lavish lobbying.

Don't blame the Europeans. They've done surprisingly well at starting a cap & trade system, but they're looking to the world's largest economy for leadership, leadership that Obama has a hard time providing without more support from Congress. And don't blame nations like China and India, who are looking to the rich nations for leadership, since it's the rich nations who caused the problem by exploiting fossil fuel and by our continuing thoughtless growth.

The problem is a specific segment of U.S. business: the fossil fuel industry. They are killing the planet.

Some good will come of Copenhagen: Publicity about global warming, the attendance of Obama and other world leaders, Obama's announcement that he will work for meaningful U.S. emissions reductions, and plans that can be carried out later when the reality of global warming finally seeps through Americans' skulls.

That threat will soon become clear: Temperatures are likely to go up rapidly in the next 5 years, because a variety of factors (a "quiet" sun, changing ocean currents) have caused temperatures to level off for the past decade while greenhouse gases have increased faster than ever. Temperature rise will soon resume, with a vengeance. Sea level rise, ocean acidification, melting glaciers, Arctic Ocean melting, droughts, and other impacts are proceeding faster than the most extreme scenarios had predicated just a few years ago. Environmentalists will win this debate, i.e. the fossil fuel industry will soon be seen to have criminally misled us, because all the propaganda in the world can't fool nature. But the question is, will we win it in time to ward off catastrophic climate changes? Art Hobson


Klein, Naomi. “Copenhagen: Seattle Grows Up.” The Nation (Nov. 30, 2009). This one-page report anticipates what climate-justice advocates will do in Copenhagen. Klein says that progressive activists in Copenhagen will argue that our climate is changing not only because of unregulated capitalism but because of the underlying logic of capitalism, which values short-term profit and perpetual growth above all else. This same logic (commodifying carbon) cannot be harnessed to solve the climate crisis. Rather, market-based carbon-trading will privatize the atmosphere, and offsets and sinks will provide a colossal resource grab, which will deepen poverty and inequality around the world. But the difference between Seattle and Copenhagen in the global justice movement will be that activists in Copenhagen will not simply say no, but will advance solutions that reduce emissions and inequality: local, sustainable agri, decentralized power, respect for indigenous land, leaving fossil fuels in the ground, subsiding green tech, paying for the sustainable future by taxing financial transactions, and canceling 3rd-world debts. One of the slogans you will hear and we might cheer: “If the climate were a bank, it would have been saved,” not abandoned to the market. (Summary by Dick)

Rabbi Arthur Waskow to jbennet

The Shalom Center: A Prophetic Voice in Jewish, Multireligious, and American Life “Lighting the Candles of Hanukkah Hope To Light the Path at Copenhagen “--

Broad-based Jewish call for climate action

Dear folks, At the initiative of The Shalom Center, a broad spectrum of American Jewish leadership has issued the following statement about Hanukkah and Copenhagen:

"Hanukkah for Humanity"

The traditions of rabbinic Judaism have long celebrated the Hanukkah miracle in which one day's oil met eight days' need. In that spirit, we join in urging the world community to include in our Hanukkah celebration this year a call to all the peoples of the earth. We encourage Jewish communities, wherever possible, to gather in public one Hanukkah evening to light their menorahs with this message:

That the human race deeply reduce our burning of fossil fuels as a step toward healing the climate crisis that threatens our future. The world's governments are convened in the Copenhagen conference as we light the lights of Hanukkah at a time of the darkness of the moon and sun. We especially call out to them, that together all humanity light the lights of a sustainable future in the midst of a dark and difficult passage through history…..

One example of carrying "Hanukkah for Humanity" into action: The Shalom Center, with support from a wide variety of Philadelphia synagogues, other Jewish organizations, and several interfaith groups and activists, is sponsoring a vigil for action to heal our endangered climate from "global scorching"…..

That vigil will be connecting with hundreds of candle light vigils around the globe on the weekend of December 11-13, calling on the negotiators in Copenhagen to take the actions needed to save our eco-system. The call to that action came from Bill McKibben.

Shalom, salaam, shantih -- Peace! Arthur


UN presses for disaster aid at climate talks, AFP, 12/03/09. A senior UN official said on Thursday the Copenhagen climate summit next week needed to take action against growing weather-related disasters linked to climate change. "The disasters are there, there are more of them, more people are being affected, it's costing more money, it's having a longer term effects on poverty... so that's the immediate issue," Margareta Wahlstroem, UN assistant secretary-general for disaster risk reduction said. Wahlstroem said the UN summit on climate change in Danish capital should pledge at least 100 billion dollars (66 billion euros) a year to start to help the most vulnerable nations adapt to disaster risks. Finance for adaptation is a core issue for Copenhagen, to help poorer nations, such as low lying islands, coastal regions or those afflicted by water shortages, adapt to their changing environment with floods, storms or other weather shifts. provided by:

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Week of 11.27.09

Climate Crisis
Desperate efforts to keep climate change from drowning entire nations.

The Maldives, a nation of roughly 1200 low-lying islands in the Indian Ocean, could be underwater by the end of this century if feared climate change causes ocean levels to rise. On the eve of the big climate summit in Copenhagen, the country's president, Mohamed Nasheed, is warning of a massive exodus from the Maldives if drastic global action is not taken. This week, NOW talks with President Nasheed about the climate crisis and why he compares it to genocide.

Could the same calamity be coming to a coast near you?

NOW Reports on Coastal Countries at Risk

Water World
Is a coastal catastrophe approaching, and what should we be doing about it?

Paradise Lost
Climate change crisis: An entire nation risks being washed away.

Washed Up?
See how the remote island nation of Niue is relying on new techniques—and some old ones—to save itself.

Ocean Tipping Point?
The world's oceans face a global-warming catastrophe. What can we do about it?

Related Links Climate change petition, an environmental group, will deliver this "survival pact" with the names and messages of those who signed the petition to President Nasheed at the Copenhagen Climate Talks.

Hopenhagen: U.N. climate petition and "Spread Hope" campaign
Hopenhagen aims to "build a better future for our planet" and provide a platform from which to act.

U.N. Climate Change Conference
Official website of the conference, to be held from December 7 - 18, 2009 in Copenhagen, Denmark.

News and Background

CIA: World Factbook: Maldives

BBC: Maldives cabinet makes a splash

New York Times Magazine: Wanted: A New Home for My Country

Dick Bennett

Friday, December 4, 2009

Alternative Gifts: Feeding Indonesian children and solar-powered computers for rural kids in Honduras

Alternative Gift Market
Causes - Fundraiser
Sunday, December 6, 2009
8:00am - 2:00pm
St. Paul's Episcopal Church
Shop the Alternative Gift Market. Find the perfect gift for family, friends, teachers, co-workers and the person “who has everything.”

At the market, purchase therapeutic feeding for Indonesian children or a solar-powered computer for a rural school in Honduras in honor of someone you love. Your loved one will receive an attractive gift card telling them about this unique present given in their honor.

Choose from more than 50 local and international charitable organizations. All humanitarian projects focused on saving lives and preserving our planet including but not limited to these international charities: The Heifer Project, Haiti Healthcare Partners, Beyond Borders, Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International (DFGFI). Local charities: Community Clinic, Community Meals, Seven Hills Homeless Shelter, Humane Society of the Ozarks, Fayetteville Schools Homeless Program, Ozark Literacy Council, Habitat for Humanity.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Are there any good reasons to send more soldiers to Afghanistan?

From: Omnicenter Communications ( on behalf of Dick Bennett (
Sent: Tue 12/01/09 4:40 PM
OMNI NEWSLETTER ON AFGHANISTAN #4 (see Iraq Newsletters for more), December 1, 2009, WE, THE PEOPLE BUILDING A CULTURE OF PEACE, Of, BY, and For the People. Dedicated to TRUE VALOR of REFUSING TO KILL. Compiled by Dick Bennett (#1 Feb. 18, 2008; #2 Jan. 2009,: “25 Reasons for Leaving Afghanistan.”; #3 Oct. 4, 2009).

“I wondered why somebody didn’t do something for peace. Then I realized that I am somebody.” Anon.

(CONTENTs of Newsletter #3:

Afghanistan Blog

Rethink Afghanistan film

Petition for Exit Strategy

OMNI Book Forum

Wounded US Soldiers

Afghanistan for Dummies

Women of Afghanistan

Nir Rosen, Failure

Go to for the complete Newsletter,

August ’09 Presidential Election

October Protests

United For Peace and Justice Protest

Cindy Sheehan on President Obama

Chris Hedges, “War Without Purpose”

Jim Hightower to President Obama

Bill Fletcher, Jr., “Wrong on Afghanistan”

Sarah Chayes, Plan for Afghanistan

William Blum, Anti-Empire )


Afghanistan Facts

Best Reasons

HR 3966

Sign On to End the War

Bill Moyers: Vietnam and Afghanistan Wars

Glasser: Wounded

Civilian Casualties

Stephen Walt: Reasons to Leave, None for Staying

US Funds Taliban

Robert Scheer, “A War of Absurdity”

US Media Suppresses Afghan Civil War

US Media Marginalizes Anti-War Op-Eds

True Majority: Tell Obama, Don’t Send More Troops

Edrene McKay to Obama for “Dignity Doctrine”

Michael Moore to Obama

Dan Rather’s Report

Tom Engelhardt’s Presidential Speech We Should Have Heard


Est. number of Al Qaeda members now operating in Afghanistan: 100

No. of U.S. troops who will be stationed there: 108,000

Est. number of Soviet troops there in 1986, at the height of their invasion: 120,000

Chances that an American over 55 thinks more U.S. troops should be sent to Afghanistan: 4 in 9

Chance that an American under 35 thinks so: 1 in 4

("Harper's Index," Dec. 2009, with some editing to reflect Obama's surge))

87% of Afghans have no access to clean water

70% undernourished

Infant mortality 3rd highest in world

More than a quarter of children die before age 5

Life expectancy for women 43 years, for men under 43

Literacy for men 35%, women 10 to 20%

|Rabbi Arthur Waskow to jbennet

Shalom Center: A Prophetic Voice in Jewish, Multireligious, and American Life

“Ten best reasons to send more US troops to Afghanistan”

10. If you want to breed and train more would-be terrorists who hate the USA, the best way to do so is attacking Afghan villages where key Al Qaeda cells have left to regroup elsewhere.

9. If you want to keep Afghan women powerless, ignore the advice of their own leaders that grass-roots economic development is crucial -- and send the Marines instead, to boost the power of macho warlords who gather loyalty by fighting foreign invaders.

8. If you want to make sure that no one is learning that government could do good things like building schools and community health clinics in America, hiring teachers and writers and railroad construction workers, feeding hungry children, or renewing our rotting sewer system -- then sink hundred of billions of dollars into this war so as to bankrupt domestic-needs programs.

7. If you want to make even higher profits from burning oil and coal instead of letting America invest in creating a wind/solar renewable energy network that will heal the climate crisis, free us from coal and oil, and make America competitive again -- a multi-billion-dollar war is terrific.

6. If you want to stymie all investigations into past use of torture and "extraordinary rendition" by past US governments and utterly negate the closing of Guantanamo, multiplying prisoners in Bagram (Afghanistan) will help a great deal.

5. If you like to knit blankets for legless veterans while making sure the Veterans Administration is so swamped with the wounded that they have to wait months in rat-infested wards for treatment, more maimed soldiers are by far the best result of a war.

4. If you are trying to do research on the suicide rate, homeless rate, and other symptoms of post-traumatic stress syndrome in returning soldiers, there will never be a better milieu for producing experimental subjects.

3. If you want to create a surge of right-wing populist rage that will shatter the Democratic Party and elect Sarah Palin President in 2012, then combine thousands of dead and maimed American soldiers with millions of unemployed American workers.

If you can think of two more, please add them by clicking to this article on our website at

and commenting at the bottom of the page. AND -- if you think all these are terrible reasons and would like to tell your Senators to oppose sending more troops, please click to -

and fax them. We have provided a usable letter; we welcome your adding your own thoughts.


“It takes a lot more courage to stand up to violence than to resort to it.” Ramsey Clark

Congress passed the 2010 Defense budget with a total of approximately $636 billion in expenditures. This includes $128.2 billion for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Only one Senator (Russ Feingold) and a handful of representative in the House voted against the money. The clearest expressions of Congressional dissent was new bill HR 3966, introduced by Barbara Lee which would prohibit the use of funds to increase the number of American soldiers in Afghanistan. It had 22 co-sponsors: To see this list of Congressional VALOR::


A number of well-known, valorous antiwar activists have signed onto a statement being circulated by the Campaign for Peace and Democracy, calling for an end to US military intervention in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The statement and a partial list of signers are at


On Nov. 20, Bill Moyers’ Journal (PBS) presented a brilliant comparison of the US Vietnam War and the US Afghan War. Bill Moyers traces LBJ’s steps in escalating the Vietnam War, and reflects on LBJ's Vietnam. Google Bill Moyers’ Journal.


“Independent Voices” on PBS, Dr. Ronald Glasser on the numerous wounded from Iraq and Afghan wars on long-term care. Glasser has written books on the Vietnam War and the Iraq War.


“Afghan civilian casualty rate at highest since Taliban rule”

Deaths due to US, Nato and Afghan troops 30% up despite new battlefield rules, says UN report

Buzz up!
Digg it
Helen Pidd and agencies, Tuesday 17 February 2009 10.39 GMT
Article history

Afghans at the graves of family members allegedly killed after a US raid on Azizabad in Afghanistan in August. Photograph: Fraidoon Pooyaa/AP

The number of civilians killed in the war in Afghanistan increased by 40% last year to a record 2,118 people, the UN said in a report today.

The research also showed 829 people were killed by US, Nato and Afghan forces, an increase of more than 30% year-on-year. Militants were responsible for 1,160 deaths, or 55% of the total, it said.

Campaign groups claim that 2008 marked the deadliest year in Afghanistan since the Taliban were deposed, and that ordinary Afghans have paid far too high a price.

Civilian deaths have been a huge source of friction between the US and the Afghan president, Hamid Karzai, who has demanded western troops avoid killing civilians during operations.

The US and Afghan militaries announced plans this month to increase the number of Afghans taking part in US operations, a step aimed at reducing civilian deaths.

The UN's annual report on the protection of civilians noted that despite new battlefield rules designed to reduce civilian casualties, western and Afghan troops killed 31% more civilians in 2008 than in 2007 – the UN claims 629 civilians were killed by Nato and Afghan forces.

"As the conflict has intensified, it is taking an increasingly heavy toll on civilians," the UN said.

Militants increasingly rely on roadside bombs, car bombs and suicide bombers – attacks that are "frequently undertaken regardless of the impact on civilians", the report said.

But US, Nato and Afghan operations also have led to rise in civilian casualties, "notwithstanding efforts to implement policies and procedures to minimise the impact of their operations on civilians", the report said.

About 130 deaths could not be accounted for because of issues such as crossfire.

A US-based group that pushes for the rights of civilians in conflict zones said in a new report today that "the lack of a clear, coordinated strategy to address civilian losses has been a leading source of anger and resentment towards military forces" in Afghanistan.

"The international coalition in Afghanistan is losing public support, one fallen civilian at a time," Civic (The Campaign for Innocent Victims in Conflict), said.

The US military and other members of the Nato-led force in Afghanistan make some condolence payments to the families of civilians accidentally killed. But Civic said that a "significant number" of families receive no help from international forces and that anger is especially strong when no help is provided.

"Every family with losses not recognised and addressed is another obstacle to Afghanistan's stabilisation and development," the report said.

The Civic report urged the Pentagon to create a position to address civilian casualties, and it said the Nato-led force in Afghanistan should have a coordinated response to provide compensation payments to the families of victims.

“Afghanistan: No Reason to Stay” by Stephen Walt (The Washinton Report on Middle East Affairs Dec. 2009 and The Nation. Walt is Prof. at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Gov’t.) (excellent one-page summary)

What to do requires truthful assessments:

1. High costs of war: The US “has spent more than $223 billion on the Afghan war since 2001, and it now costs roughly $65 billion annually. The actual bill will be significantly higher……” “The bottom line: Staying in Afghanistan will cost many more dead American soldiers—and, inevitably, Afghan civilians—and hundreds of billions of additional dollars.”

2. No benefits of winning: Defeating the Taliban won’t defeat al-Qaeda: a) the corrupt Afghan gov’t. in Kabul will have limited authority over much of the country, b) eliminating Afghan. as a safe haven won’t end al-Qaeda: all al-Qaeda needs are safe houses around the world and supply of martyrs (by present US logic we should be bombing Hamburg, where the 9/11 plot was conducted). . If al-Q is the concern, the Afghan war is a distraction.

3. Odds of US winning are slim: Taliban are the tribes (esp. Pashtun) of Afghan and W. Pakistan ; US troops are increasingly killing civilians, etc.

Given the unpopularity of the war (see facts above) because of the costs, the few benefits, and the small odds of success, Obama could have advocated and won withdrawal. [This prospect omits the power of imperial dreams among the ruling elites—of the Pentagon and the militarized US economy and its campaign and lobbyist money to influence Congress. But it offers strong encouragement to the peace movement to continue its opposition to the war. We can believe that the majority public’s opposition to permanent war derives partly from the counter-empire education and ethics we have provided. D)

“Define Mission in Afghanistan,” (Kansas City Star) ADG (11-29-09).

An effort to survey in a short editorial the reasons the US gov’t. has given for invading Afghanistan, the options ahead for achieving the mission (wipe out bin Laden and al-Qaeda):maintain present troop level, increase troops, reduce troops, withdraw. All options are flawed, esp. withdrawal. The Karzai gov’t. is irredeemably corrupt; counterinsurgency dubious because against decentralized local tribes; etc. Concludes impossible to withdraw because “seems a route to disaster” (unexplained). Our only possible policy is long-term occupation with a greatly reduced force to capture or kill bin Laden, protect friendly “pockets,” build infrastructures in these areas, and train Afghan military and police to protect them. [The writer so undermines herhimself at every point, that it become a convincing case for withdrawal. D]

“Flames from Afghanistan Ignite Pakistan” by Eric Margolis, The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs (Dec. 2009). (Margolis is the author of American Raj: Liberation or Domination and War at the Top of the World: The Struggle for Afghanistan, Kashmir, and Tibet.)

War began 2001 as supposedly limited anti-terrorist op.

It spread to Pakistan because Eastern Afghanistan and Western Pakistan are inhabited by the Pashtun tribes, in semi-autonomous regions in W. Pak.. Call it Pashtunistan. In search of al-Qaeda and opposing “Taliban” (tribes organized into groups for insurgency) US insisted upon Pak. Military repression of rebellious Pashtuns, which have long resisted Pak. Central gov’t. But 90% of Pakistanis oppose the US war in Afghanistan.

Consequences for Pakistan: Bombings, shooting even an attack on army HQ in Rawalpindi and massive bombing of Peshawar’s Khyber Bazaar. Pakistanis are angry at US manipulation of their nation.

Worse, the US is bombing Pakistan with drones without asking gov’t permission.

Now in the Kerry-Lu8gar-Berman (Obama) bill, the US offers $7.5 billion with strings attached: mammoth new embassy, 2nd largest; escalation of contractors ; the money going to pro-Western ruling estab., or 1% of pop.

“Washington seems unaware of the fury its heavy handed, counter-productive policies have whipped up in Pakis.”

Dick,Here is one of the most persuasive arguments about leaving Afghanistan.Abel

“A War of Absurdity”

Posted on Oct 6, 2009 By Robert Scheer

Every once in a while, a statistic just jumps out at you in a way that makes everything else you hear on a subject seem beside the point, if not downright absurd. That was my reaction to the recent statement of the president’s national security adviser, former Marine Gen. James Jones, concerning the size of the terrorist threat from Afghanistan:

“The al-Qaida presence is very diminished. The maximum estimate is less than 100 operating in the country, no bases, no ability to launch attacks on either us or our allies.”

Less than 100! And he is basing his conservative estimate on the best intelligence data available to our government. That means that al-Qaida, for all practical purposes, does not exist in Afghanistan—so why are we having a big debate about sending even more troops to fight an enemy that has relocated elsewhere? Because of the blind belief, in the minds of those like John McCain, determined to “win” in Afghanistan, that if we don’t escalate, al-Qaida will inevitably come back.

Why? It’s not like al-Qaida is an evil weed indigenous to Afghanistan and dependent on its climate and soil for survival. Its members were foreign imports in the first place, recruited by our CIA to fight the Soviets because there were evidently not enough locals to do the job. After all, U.S. officials first forged the alliance between the foreign fighters and the Afghan mujahedeen, who morphed into the Taliban, and we should not be surprised that that tenuous alliance ended. The Taliban and other insurgents are preoccupied with the future of Afghanistan, while the Arab fighters couldn’t care less and have moved on to more hospitable climes.....

Aram Roston, “How the US Funds the Taliban.” The Nation (Nov. 30, 2009).

“In this grotesque carnival, the US military’s contractors are forced to pay suspected insurgents to protect American supply routes….and it is a deadly irony, because these funds add up to ….a minimum of 10 percent of the Pentagon’s logistics contracts—hundreds of millions of dollars….” It occurs in 2 ways: insider dealing in contracts for Afghan business, and the employment of private security businesses in a war.

Robert Naiman, “U.S. Media Bury Story of Afghan Civil War,” Extra! (Dec. 2009). The Pashtuns comprise the largest ethnic group in Afghanistan (42% mainly in south and east) and Tajiks next (27% ). Before the US invasion the largely Pashtun government (called Taliban) was battling the largely Tajik Northern Alliance insurgency, which the US allied itself with to overthrow the “Taliban” government. Now the Pashtuns are the insurgents against the Karzai government composed largely of Tajiks. So “the complete exclusion from the news pages of the Times and the Post, prior to Matthew Hoh’s resignation [Oct. 27], of the idea that there is a civil war in Afghanistan is striking.” But explainable: The US is perturbing the world with its war on terrorism and extremism in Afghanistan. Facts about civil war are inconvenient to. [With the mainstream media reflecting the government’s imperial doctrine of permanent war, peace movement newsletters provide the great service of opening up alternative views for a full debate. D]

Steve Rendall, “In Afghan Debate, Few Antiwar-Op Eds.” Extra! (Dec. 2009).

“…according to a new FAIR study of the op-ed pages of the two leading U.S. newspapers…prominent media have downplayed proponents of withdrawal in favor of…the narrow range of elite, inside-Washington opinion.” During the first 10 months of 2009, of the NYT ‘s 43 opinion columns on the Afghan War, 36 supported the war, and only seven opposed it, 5 to 1. Of the 67 Washington Pose columns, 61 supported a continued war, while just six expressed antiwar views, 10 to 1.


Dear Dick,

Obama's about to decide whether to send more troops.

Tell the President: DON'T.

You've probably heard that President Obama is about to decide whether to send a lot more troops to Afghanistan.1

And since you're an activist, you also know that there are a ton of reasons this would be a mistake: Hundreds more troops will be killed along with countless civilians. And we could get stuck in an Iraq-style quagmire for decades, while terrorism experts say this isn't even a good way to fight Al Qaeda.

Well, here's one more reason: The war will bankrupt our economy and divert funds we urgently need for health care, education and jobs.

Afghanistan is just about the most remote, difficult-to-access part of the world there is. Sending a gallon of gas there costs $400; keeping a soldier armed, fed and cared for costs almost $1 million a year!2

Tell President Obama -- with the economy in shambles, we just can't afford any more war. It's time to stop sending troops, and create a clear timetable to bring everyone home from Afghanistan.

We have nearly 70,000 troops already in Afghanistan,3 yet over the last few months, things have consistently gone from bad to worse despite our engagement. So it's no surprise that most Americans are now opposed to the war.4

Despite Afghanistan's problems and lack of public support, some people inside the beltway want to send a huge number of additional troops into harms way -- with no timeline for their return and no clear mission to gauge progress by.5

It's the same mistake that got us trapped in Iraq, and which President Obama has promised to avoid with a new foreign policy.

Don't let us go down the same path again - tell Obama not to send more troops.

Darcy Scott Martin

TrueMajority / USAction

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President Obama, I have been a strong supporter of yours. I contributed to your campaign and worked hard to persuade others to vote for you, but my heart is heavy today. You have a decision to make about Afghanistan and I pray that you will make the right one. It’s not too late to amend the decision we have been hearing about (35,000 more military troops) if, in fact, that is what you have in mind. Please do not send more troops into harm’s way. Send diplomats, teachers, agricultural experts, and builders to construct roads, hospitals, and schools. Send anything needed to stabilize the country and to prepare Afghan citizens to defend themselves. But do not send more men and women to engage in violent acts. Your foreign policy is better than that. We recognized that as early as May 2008. This entry from my blog is dated May 13, 2008: “Imagine a foreign policy that promotes human dignity (and the essentials of life that go with it) instead of capitalism and democracy. That's the Obama Doctrine. Unlike the Bush Doctrine of unilateral, pre-emptive action against our perceived enemies, the Obama Doctrine promises to get to the root of terrorism before it erupts into violence. Once people have human dignity (and the food, water, electricity, housing, education, and employment upon which it is based), amazing things can happen. A free enterprise situation that serves the local population, not foreign investors, and a democratic form of government based on popular sovereignty, not power elites, might even grow out of this foreign policy. If this sounds like a costly endeavor, think about the alternatives. We can always continue to do it George Bush's way.” I read Michael Moore’s open letter to you earlier today and it brought tears to my eyes. I am not a person prone to such emotional displays but, Mr. President, we had such high hopes for your presidency. Please read Moore’s letter, dated today (November 30, 2009), thoughtfully and prayerfully and listen to the voice of your heart. Know that I join him in saying: “The ball is in your court. You DON'T have to do this. You can be a profile in courage. You can be your mother's son. We're counting on you.” God bless you, Mr. President.

Do I think that he'll read it? No. But the positive energy created by the very acts of thinking and writing, especially about something we care about so greatly, is palpable and will reach him – it will work like a prayer, or visualization, or positive thoughts. So if you'd like to write to him too, here's the link: Edrene McKay


Spencer Ackerman, “The Obama Doctrine,” The American Prospect, March 24, 2008.


Michael Moore, An Open Letter to President Obama, November 30, 2009.

Here’s an addendum:


Dan Rather just returned from Afghanistan and reported tonight (11/30/09) on MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Show that there have been many changes there during the past year. He said the strategy changed this summer, “it is a re-purposed war.” The focus is now on large population centers and the military feels this “realignment” is what requires additional troops. According to Rather, “this is not going to make a major difference in Afghanistan except perhaps in the very short term and to buy a little time.” His analysis is that “corruption, cronyism, mismanagement in terms of the government…, plus the tremendous production of opium (some of the finances of which go to support the Taliban and US forces), and the resistance of the majority of mullahs… to foreigners (the infidels) in the country are obstacles.” The reality of the situation is that Afghanistan is “tribal…, predominantly rural…, and it is basically illiterate.” The official literacy rate is about ten percent. Although they’re “quick on the uptake, they’re smart, and they’re hard-working,” rebuilding the Afghan army, the police, and the border patrol will be a tremendous undertaking considering the literacy rate . The difference between this effort and previous efforts is that they are coupling it now with so-called “soft power” (people from the state department, those who work with AID, various civilian workers). They are working with the population to build governance from the ground up while the embassy and Washington are trying to build governance from the top down. At the local level, they meet with the elders and discuss potential projects (e.g., they will ask “do you want to build a retaining wall or a catfish farm?)” This is a change from a year ago but, in Rather’s estimation, the surge on the civilian side is still not enough.


I think what Rather described is evidence of the Obama Doctrine. Although the President is now surrounded by military advisors and more hawkish foreign policy advisors, I don’t think he has abandoned the foreign policy of human dignity and we'll see strong traces of it in what he says tomorrow in his speech to the nation about Afghanistan. I'm hoping he will make it clear that the troops are there to accomplish those other objectives, not to engage in acts of violence. If this is true, the policy is worth supporting by peace advocates – especially because the Republicans are likely to want to cut the “soft power” in favor of military power. Pressure needs to be exerted against that.

Rather’s report on Afghanistan will premiere on the HDNet program "Dan Rather Reports" starting on December 8, 2009. For previews, see DVDs are of his reports are $9.95 at the HDNet Online Store: Transcripts are free:

The Afghan Speech Obama Should Give (But Won't)

By Tom Engelhardt November 25, 2009

This article originally appeared on TomDispatch.

……..What follows, then, is my version of the president's Afghan announcement. Here's my President Obama--in, I hope, something like his voice--doing what no American president has yet done and what, unfortunately, he's not going to do. So sit down, turn on your TV, and see what you think. [Go to: ]


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

World Aids Day Observance at 7 p.m. December 1 at Mount Sequoyah Conference Center

World AIDS Day Observance
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Mount Sequoyah Conference Center
Bailey Hall, 7:00 pm
A Service of Awareness and
Reception Following
Mount Sequoyah Conference Center
150 NW Skyline Drive - Fayetteville, Arkansas 72701
479-443-4531 or 800-760-8126

Coming from North take N College Ave/US-71 BUS Fayetteville
Turn left at E Lafayette St (turn right if coming from South)
Turn right at E Dogwood Ln
Turn right at N Assembly Dr
Take the 1st right onto N Skyline Dr
Destination will be on the left
Mount Sequoyah Conference Center - Bailey Hall
150 N Skyline Dr
Fayetteville, AR 72701

"Dismantle globaly; renew locally!"