Saturday, July 31, 2010

Dinner for a donation at OMNI Center

"A Change in Season"
6:00 pm at OMNI

Summer of Solutions is hosting this show to raise community awareness of locally grown produce and to raise funding for their project. Local artists and musicians are presenting fun and beauty that celebrate the bounty of the season our beautiful home in Fayetteville.

This is an opportunity for local artists to gain recognition and to support a cause that will benefit the Fayetteville community. Dinner for a donation is being served. Please join us.

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

OMNI'S Ecology E-Newsletter

Arkansas is fortunate to have OMNI’s action ecology group, Climate Change Task Force, including its on-line newsletter dedicated to the dissemination of information about the consequences of climate warming. It is called 350 PPM and is edited by Dr. Robert McAfee


McAfee quotes Dr. James Hansen of NASA’s Goddard Space Institute: “If humanity wishes to preserve a planet similar to that on which civilization developed…CO2 must be reduced from its current 385 ppm to at most 350 ppm.” It is only at this level or below that the climate and environmental systems of the earth as we know them can be maintained. As points of reference: CO2 and warming are rapidly rising. In 1988 the earth's atmosphere reached 350 PPM of CO2. Global average temperatures for January through June 2010 are the hottest on record. CO2 levels in our atmosphere are higher than any time in the last 2 million years.


Thursday, July 29, 2010

Shameful: Congress Isn't Listening on Afghanistan

Did you hear that Congress voted yesterday to fund more escalation in Afghanistan, even after WikiLeaks gave us more proof that the war isn't working and isn't worth the cost?
It's outrageous.
I just signed a petition demanding that Congress ACT to END this war.
We have to remind them that November 3 is only months away and that they ignore us at their peril.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Write and Call Congress to Leave Afghanistan

The Truth Has Been Leaked. Now We Must Act

Watch the Video | Sign the Petition | Send To A Friend

Dear Dick,
Wikileaks' incredible new release of classified documents confirms what Rethink Afghanistan supporters already know: the Afghanistan War is a brutal disaster that's not worth the cost. The only question is: what will you do about it?

Sign our petition to the Democratic and Republican National Committees to tell them you vote, and you demand an end to this war.

In this crushing economic climate, Americans are fed up with a trillion-dollar war that's not making us safer. But, that hasn't stopped either major political party from supporting pro-war candidates or from voting for billions in new war spending. In the wake of the Wikileaks release of the "War Logs," we've got to let our political parties know that we will hold them responsible for bringing this war to a close.

Learn more about the Wikileaks release of the "War Logs" and sign our petition to end the war.

Our new petition is simple: we're letting both the DNC and the RNC know that we vote, and that if politicians want our support, they have to end this war.

We've got a real chance here to send a strong message to our politicians and to drive the media narrative on the war. Please sign our petition today.

Derrick Crowe, Robert Greenwald and
the Brave New Foundation team

Oppose the Afghanistan Occupation and Pakistan Invasion

July 26, 2010
Dear Dick,
Not since the Pentagon Papers have the inner workings of war been exposed to the public in such an explosive fashion as with the WikiLeaks' revelations on the Afghan war. Last night we talked to Daniel Ellsberg, who made public the Pentagon Papers that helped end the war in Vietnam. He said:
"Wikileaks has given us a picture of the this war that shows a total replay, as in Vietnam, of a corrupt, incompetent set of allies whose main merit is a willingness to be paid by Congress and be supported by the drug trade. We are clearly mired in an escalating stalemate. The troop increase Obama has requested will make no difference.
I admire the courage of Bradley Manning for sacrificing himself to make the public aware of the futility of this war. Let us make sure his sacrifice is not in vain by using these revelations to force Congress to stop funding this war."

The "leak" comes precisely during the week that Congress will be voting on another $33 billion for war. Thanks to your calls, Congressional visits and determination this past month, the Administration has not been able to get the quick vote on the war funding they requested. Your efforts have had an impact; now we have to open the floodgates of opposition and drown the funding that would send more of our soldiers to die in vain.
To fuel your passion for these calls, here's the link to the section on civilian casualties, including incidents like the gunner at a roadblock who killed a 14-year-old girl and wounded a toddler or the Marine air strike that left seven children dead. You can also read our WikiLeak talking points here!
Call 888-493-5443 now. Tell your Congressperson that the WikiLeaks' documents confirm that this war is immoral and unwinnable.
Whether we succeed in blocking the war funding or not, we'll be able to clearly identify Congressional war enablers and war opponents, so we can punish and reward them when they're home for August and at the polls in November.
Thank you for turning this leak into a tsunami of anti-war pressure,
Bonnie, Dana, Farida, Gael, Gayle, Joan, Jodie, Medea, Nancy, Rae, and Victoria


Tell your Congressperson that the WikiLeaks' documents confirm that this war is immoral and unwinnable.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Corporations versus Climate Science

Subject: Corporations versus Climate Science

“Scientists had some sobering news last week about the potential impact of climate change, and it didn’t come from the foot of a shrinking glacier in Alaska or the shores of a tropical resort where the rising ocean is threatening the beachfront bar” No, it came from a forest in North Carolina, where Duke University scientists were discovering some consequences of the increasing C02 in our atmosphere and resultant warming. Poison ivy grows faster and becomes more poisonous with more C02. Ragweed and certain pine trees produce more pollen, and asthma. Japanese beetles live longer. Fire ants and ticks are increasing with warming.

Well, it’s good to be warned, you might say. But these warnings were published in 2006. That is, by 2006 scientists knew that anthropogenic C02 and warming were increasing and were already studying their effects. Prior to 2006 three reports had been published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) offering massive evidence of C02 increasing and the atmosphere warming with manifold negative consequences. Then in 2007 the summative, magisterial 4th IPCC Report was published. And since then hundreds of additional scientific studies and book after book have been published reaffirming the IPCC Reports. For example, to cite some of the books published in 2010 alone: Bill McKibben,. Eaarth: Making Life on a Tough New Planet; Collectif Argos, Climate Refugees; Michael Klare, Rising Powers, Shrinking Planet: The New Geopolitics of Energy; Peter D. Ward, The Flooded Earth: Our Future In a World Without Ice Caps.

The big question then is: why do so many people behave as though no change has occurred and they do not have to change their habits? Yes, psychologists cite our blinding ability to look the other way; our tenacious tendency to cling to familiar ways; our deluding compartmentalizing, and all of the familiar games we play with ourselves to avoid bad news. And yes, we resist change even though we know our grandchildren will not admire us a decade from now.

But there is one explanation for our clutching the life-preserver of denial and inaction as we sink, and that is the deliberate, systematic, extraordinarily well-financed disinformation disseminated by corporations to ensure business profit as usual.

In Merchants of Doubt, Naomi Oreskes & Erik Conway present the definitive history of corporate use of a few bought scientists to obfuscate and delay urgently needed change. Oil company officials particularly have sowed confusion because they wished to undermine public confidence in scientific studies that would impede their profits and expose their own misbehavior. Take as one example our knowledge of the steady retreat of Arctic sea ice, the melting of Greenland’s massive ice sheets, and the spectacular breakup in 2002 of the Larsen B Ice Shelf in Antarctica, all found in IPCC reports. Well, in 2007, just as the new IPCC report was being released, one of the front groups financed by ExxonMobil offered $10,000 for each pseudo-study disputing the findings of the scientific community about ice and all other evidence of warming. This strategy typifies long practice by the largest polluters to derail the truth.
The result is melting ice, rising, acidic seas, weather extremes, droughts, and forest fires.

Dick Bennett
2582 Jimmie Avenue
Fayetteville, AR 72703

Fountain, Henry. “Climate Change: The View from the Patio.” NYT (Sunday June 4, 2006).
Gore, Al. The Assault on Reason. Penguin, 2007. Chapter 7, “The Carbon Crisis.”
Oreskes, Naomi and Erik Conway. Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming. 2010.
Specter, Michael. Denialism: How Irrational Thinking Hinders Scientific Progress, Harms the Planet, and Threatens Our Lives. Penguin, 2009.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Iranian Threat

NOAM CHOMSKY, “The Iranian Threat,” Z Magazine (July/August 2010). This is the best brief essay refuting the alleged threat from Iran. Don’t’ miss it, for our present policy is highly inflammatory, dangerous, and violates international laws (i.e. treaties) and resolutions: the UN Charter, Security Council resolution 1887 of Sept. 2009, reaffirming the call to all states to resolve disputes related to nuclear issues peacefully, in accordance with the Charter, which bans the use or threat of force). For the full essay go to:
ZCommunications | The Iranian Threat by Noam Chomsky | ZSpace
Jun 28, 2010 ... Noam Chomsky's ZSpace Page • Join ZSpace. The dire threat of Iran is widely recognized to be the most serious foreign policy crisis facing ...

Iranian Threat

The US should push for Nuclear Weapons Free Zones in the Middle East, in Africa, in the Pacific and elsewhere. Instead, Washington exempts itself! and would exempt Israel from the ME Zone, it blocks a Pacific NWFZ by excluding its Pacific dependencies, and its immense base in Diego Garcia undermines the NWFZ established by the African Union, All as the result of the false doctrine of US “exceptionallism,” claiming our “virtuous” goals justify double standards. See Noam Chomsky, “The Iranian Threat,” Z Magazine (July/August 2010).

OMNI Organization

What follows is only illustrative, for OMNI has many more activities/programs than I list, and many more are possible. This schema places Peace, Justice, and Ecology up front.





Activist Education
Alternative careers for graduating seniors
Autumn Fest
Book Forums
Earth Day
Gandhi’s Birthday (and death)
Juneteenth Day
Low Power Radio
Nat’l and Internat’l Days, Weeks, Months Awareness
Omni U of A
Open Mic
Peace Heroes Awards
Rapid Response
Religious P, J, and E Traditions: Round Table
Time Bank
UA Endowments
UA Journalism Dept. Bill Moyers Investigative Reporting Student Travel Fund
Vegetarian Potluck
Video Underground
World Population Day


Afghan Invasion
Hiroshima Nagasaki Commemoration
Hundred Year Plan
International Conscientious Objectors Day
International Day of Peace
Iraq Invasion
Peace Poles
Peace Gardens Network and Tour
Memorial Day
Mother’s Day
Space for Peace Week
UA Nonviolence Endowment
Unity Day (Veterans Day)


Bill of Rights Day
Human Rights Day
International Day for Women/Internat. Women’s Day
Indigenous People’s Day
International Day for Elimination of Racial Discrimination
Iinternational Day of Innocent Children
International Justice Day
Labor Day
May Day
MLKJr Birthday (and death)
Sunshine Week
UA African-American Program Bayard Rustin Intern Scholarship
Voter Registration
World Press Freedom Day
World Refugee Day


Arbor Day
Climate Change Task Force
Climate Forums
Earth Day
UA Climate Endowment
World Environment Day


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

UN International Justice Day 2010


Dear J.,

July 17 is International Justice Day. It celebrates the International Criminal Court (ICC) and all efforts to end impunity for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. It is also time to celebrate our achievements.

Last year on July 17 and since then we asked you to write to President Obama urging his administration to participate in ICC meetings, including the recent Review Conference in Kampala, Uganda. You sent over 4,800 advocacy messages on the ICC to the administration and Congress. They heard you. After eight years of absence, the U.S. is now an active participant in the Court.

Successful U.S. engagement with the ICC is a major achievement, but it is not enough. The Obama administration has made a good start in renewing the U.S. commitment to the ICC. It has pledged its cooperation with the Court. But the U.S. needs a comprehensive ICC policy which administration officials now say is "too hard" to reach. This will leave the U.S. without a foundation for its work with the Court and unprepared to deal with unforeseen situations and emergencies. The Obama administration early on committed to completing an interagency policy toward the ICC.

Tell President Obama that this International Justice Day is the time to finish what he started: complete an integrated U.S. policy toward the ICC.

Click here to take action!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

NCAT announces that Arkansas among 3 states chosen to launch National Energy Corps program

Arkansas Chosen as One of 3 States to Launch National Energy Corps Program

The National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) is pleased to announce that it has been awarded funding from the Corporation for National and Community Service to launch the National Energy Corps AmeriCorps program.

By forming collaborations with local non-profit organizations, community action agencies, local governments and energy service organizations, the National Energy Corps initiative will foster community sustainability by addressing the core challenges of clean energy:

*  Hands-on Energy Assistance
*  Energy Education and Outreach
*  Community Energy Planning and Organizing
*  Green Jobs Training and Skills Development

The National Energy Corps program is an AmeriCorps initiative of the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) in cooperation with The Corporation for National and Community Service that was created to address unmet community energy needs by promoting sustainable energy consumption and
education, fostering community sustainability and helping to mitigate the effects of global climate change.

The National Energy Corps initiative builds on the success of the Montana Energy Corps pilot, a program funded by the Montana Governor’s Office of Community Service. Since October of 2009, Energy Corps members in Montana have been busy assisting with weatherization services for low-incomes areas,
developing clean energy awareness campaigns for communities and performing community building energy audits on reservations.

“We see a need for sustainable energy services across the country,” says Energy Corps Program Director Holly Hill. “The Energy Corps program has been a great success in Montana and we hope we can replicate that success on a larger scale.”

As a product of the successful Montana Energy Corps program, the National Energy Corps initiative will launch this fall in three additional states, Pennsylvania, Iowa and Arkansas. The Arkansas Energy Corps program will be managed by the NCAT Southeast Regional Office, located in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
NCAT Southeast Regional Office Director Margo Hale says, “The Southeast Regional office is thrilled to be one of three states to launch the National Energy Corps initiative. This is a great opportunity for our region and our state.”

Arkansas will have approximately 15 National Energy Corps positions available, beginning in September 2010. Energy Corps members will serve an 11 month term of service and receive the same benefits as an AmeriCorps member, which include a monthly living stipend, an education award, health insurance
and a experience of a lifetime providing direct services to their community. National Energy Corps members will be placed with host organizations in communities throughout the state of Arkansas to implement solutions for sustainable energy.

NCAT is currently accepting applications from non-profit organizations interested in hosting an Energy Corps member. Host organizations will be required to provide a detailed description of how an Energy Corps member working for their program will facilitate clean energy-related services.

Applications for host organizations must be submitted by the close of business by July 20, 2010. More detailed information regarding this partnership opportunity is available by reviewing the full application instructions attached or by contacting Holly Hill at 406-494-8652/ or Melissa Terry at 479.575.1382/


The National Center for Appropriate Technology is a nonprofit organization founded in 1976. NCAT’s innovative and diverse projects in the fields of
sustainable energy, sustainable agriculture and rural community development are supported by foundations, government/private sector grants and contracts, as well as through individual contributions and memberships.

AR Energy Corps Coordinator
National Center for Appropriate Technology
SE Field Office
207 W. Center
Fayetteville, AR  72701

Monday, July 5, 2010

Working for a world without nuclear weapons


WAND has been hard at work all spring and summer to ratify New START and work toward a more secure future without nuclear weapons. This summer, Countdown To Zero will premier at theatres throughout the country. Join WAND in viewing this movie and supporting the nuclear disarmament movement. If the initial release for Countdown To Zero is successful, there is hope of a wide release, which will only help to spread WAND's message.
COUNTDOWN TO ZERO traces the history of the atomic bomb from its origins to the present state of global affairs: nine nations possess nuclear weapons capabilities with others racing to join them, with the world held in a delicate balance that could be shattered by an act of terrorism, failed diplomacy, or a simple accident. Written and directed by acclaimed documentarian Lucy Walker (The Devil's Playground, Blindsight), the film features an array of important international statesmen, including Jimmy Carter, Mikhail Gorbachev, Pervez Musharraf and Tony Blair. Countdown to Zero makes a compelling case for worldwide nuclear disarmament, an issue more topical than ever with the Obama administration working to revive this goal today.
Check out the list of below cities where the movie will premier. As the premiers approaches, WAND will keep you informed of any exciting events planned around it.
July 23, 2010: Washington, DC and NYC
July 30, 2010: Hollywood, CA., Austin, TX., Cambridge, MA., Philadelphia, PA., Chicago, IL., Royal Oaks, MI., Minneapolis, MN., University City, MO., Denver, CO., San Diego, CA., Seattle, WA., Berkeley, CA., San Francisco, CA., and Portland, OR.
August 6, 2010: Atlanta, GA., Santa Fe, NM., and Salt Lake City, UT.
For more information check out:
Participant Media
WAND's Information on New START
We look forward to seeing you at one of the many viewings of Countdown To Zero! More information to follow later in July!
Our postal address is
691 Massachusetts Ave.
Arlington, Massachusetts 02476
United States

Saturday, July 3, 2010


« Previous Story | Next Story »
July 02, 2010

Maude Barlow: "The World Has Divided into Rich and Poor as at No Time in History"
As world leaders gathered in Toronto for the G20 summit last week, leading activists from around the world joined thousands in Toronto’s Massey Hall to oppose the G20 agenda. Maude Barlow was one of the key speakers at the event. She heads the Council of Canadians, Canada’s largest public advocacy organization, and is a founder of the Blue Planet Project.[includes rush transcript]
Email to a friend


Printer-friendly version

Purchase DVD/CD
WATCH Real Video Stream

Real Audio Stream

MP3 Download


Maude Barlow, head of the Council of Canadians, Canada’s largest public advocacy organization, and a founder of the Blue Planet Project.

Related stories

•Canadian Civil Liberties Group Mulls Lawsuit as Details of Mass Arrests, Unprecedented Powers at G2O Come to Light
•Journalist Describes Being Beaten, Arrested by Canadian Police While Covering G20 Protest
•Naomi Klein: The Real Crime Scene Was Inside the G20 Summit
•Toronto Police Arrest Over 600 in Crackdown Outside G20 Summit
•Canadian Activist Stefan Christoff Targeted by Government Surveillance, Harassment Ahead of G20 Summit
Rush Transcript
This transcript is available free of charge. However, donations help us provide closed captioning for the deaf and hard of hearing on our TV broadcast. Thank you for your generous contribution.
Donate - $25, $50, $100, More...
As world leaders gathered in Toronto for the G20 summit last week, leading activists from around the world joined thousands in Toronto’s Massey Hall to oppose the G20 agenda. Among those who spoke was Maude Barlow. She heads the Council of Canadians—Canada’s largest public advocacy organization. She’s founder of the Blue Planet Project. This is a part of what she had to say.

MAUDE BARLOW: On the eve of this G-20 gathering, let’s look at a few facts. Fact, the world has divided into rich and poor as at no time in our history. The richest 2% own more than half the household wealth in the world. The richest 10% hold 85% of total global assets and the bottom half of humanity owns less than 1% of the wealth in the world. The three richest men in the world have more money than the poorest 48 countries. Fact, while those responsible for the 2008 global financial crisis were bailed out and even rewarded by the G-20 government’s gathering here, the International Labor Organization tells us that in 2009, 34 million people were added to the global unemployed, swelling those ranks to 239 million, the highest ever recorded. Another 200 million are at risk in precarious jobs and the World Bank tells us that at the end of 2010, another 64 million will have lost their jobs. By 2030, more than half the population of the megacities of the Global South will be slumdwellers with no access to education, health care, water, or sanitation. Fact, global climate change is rapidly advancing, claiming at least 300,000 lives and $125 billion in damages every year. Called the silent crisis, climate change is melting glaciers, eroding soil, causing freak and increasingly wild storms, displacing untold millions from rural communities to live in desperate poverty in peri-urban centers. Almost every victim lives in the Global South in communities not responsible for greenhouse gas emissions and not represented here at the summit.

The atmosphere has already warmed up a full degree in the last several decades and is on course to warm up another two degrees by 2100. Fact, half the tropical forests in the world, the lungs of our ecosystem, are gone. By 2030, at the present rate of extraction or so-called harvest, only 10% will be left standing. 90% of the big fish in the sea are gone, victim to wanton predatory fishing practice. Says a prominent scientist studying their demise, there is no blue frontier left. Half the world’s wetlands, the kidneys of our ecosystem, have been destroyed in the 20th century. Species extinction is taking place at a rate 1,000 times greater than before humans existed. According to a Smithsonian scientist, we are headed toward of biodiversity deficit in which species and ecosystems will be destroyed at a rate faster than nature can replace them with new ones. Fact, we are polluting our lakes, rivers and streams to death. Every day, two million tons of sewage and industrial agricultural waste are discharged into the world’s water. That’s the equivalent of the entire human population of 6.8 billion people. The amount of waste water produced annually is about six times more water than exists in all the rivers of the world. We are minding our ground water faster than we can replenish it, sucking it to grow water guzzling chemical-fed crops in deserts or to water thirsty cities who dump an astounding 700 trillion liters of land-based water into oceans every year as waste.

The global mining industry sucks up another 800 trillion liters which it also leaves behind as poison and fully one-third of global water withdrawals are now used to produce biofuels, enough water to feed the world. Nearly three billion people on our planet do not have running water within a kilometer of their home and every eight seconds, somewhere in our world, a child is dying of waterborne disease. The global water crisis is getting steadily worse with reports of countries from India to Pakistan to Yemen facing depletion. The World Bank says that by 2030, demand for water will outstrip supply by 40%. This may sound just like a statistic, but the suffering behind that is absolutely unspeakable. Fact, knowing there will not be enough food and water for all in the near future, wealthy countries and global investment pension and hedge funds are buying up land and water, fields and forests in the Global South, creating a new wave of invasive colonialism that will have huge geopolitical ramifications. Rich countries faced by food shortages have already bought up an area in Africa alone more than twice the size of the United Kingdom. Now I don’t think I exaggerate if I say that our world has never faced a greater set of threats and issues than it does today. So what are the twenty leaders who have gathered here, some already here and the others coming in tonight, what are they going to talk about over the next two days? By the way, their summit costs $1 million a minute. By the way, we figure it’s going to be closer to $2 billion when it’s finished, and the annual budget to run the United Nations is $1.9 billion. I assure you, they are not going to tackle the above issues in any serious way.

The declarations have already been drafted, the failures already spun. Instead, this global royalty who have more in common with one another than they do with their own citizens and they are here really to advance the issues and interest of their class are also here just to advance the status quo that serves the interest of the elite in their own countries and the business community or the B-20, the new term, a community that will get private and privileged access to advance their free market solutions to these eager leaders. The agenda is more of the bad medicine that made the world sick in the first place. Environmental deregulation, unbridled financial speculation, unlimited growth, unregulated free trade, relentless resource exploitation, tax cuts for the wealthy, cuts to Social Security and a war on working people. In other words, savage capitalism. Now let’s look at our own country here and the assault that has been launched on the work of generations of Canadians toward a just society. Stephen Harper’s government has cut the heart out of any group that dissents, from First Nations people, to women, to international agencies and church groups like KAIROS, Alternative, and the Canadian Council for International Cooperation.

AMY GOODMAN: Maude Barlow, one of the major speakers at the event at Massey Hall on Friday night. Three thousand people packed-in to the Toronto event. This was at the same time the G8 and then the G20 met. Between 900 and 1,000 people are believed to have been arrested, the largest mass arrest in Canadian history. Among them, many journalists. More than a billion dollars, it’s believed, were spent on so-called security, the most expensive security event in Canadian history


Thursday, July 1, 2010



Compiled by Dick Bennett, June 29, 2010



What happened in the past, especially if controversial, is often ideologically influenced and often contested.  People in power often seek to control the official  historical definitions and narratives of the nation.  Those in power often seek to reduce or even delete the history of marginal groups and to reinforce fear of those who are different.    Others seek to counter that story with alternatives they consider more truthful and just or more favorable to their social and economic well-being..  This contestation is particularly intense around the 4th of July.



What Should We Celebrate, What Should We Do?

Declaration of Independence from Empire

Declaration of Interdependence

Resistance and Liberation

The Flag

Patriotism and Nationalism

Democracy and Patriotism





Surely not the US military strength, or coercive policies, or our consumption of a huge percentage of the earth's resources.  Instead, let us question our national priorities and ask who should be our guides.   What acts of justice are we leaving undone?  How can we give our planet more nonviolence and human dignity without regard to national identity or wealth?   Let us think outside our nationalism.

 What do people around the world celebrate on the 4th?   The US officially celebrates its independence from the British Empire and army occupation.  Now the US army occupies territories all over the world, and many of those people proclaim their right to be independent of from the US Empire and its bases. 

The Obama Administration plans to spend $46 million to establish another military facility in Colombia, not only to increase its power in that country, but to increase US capacity for military interventions throughout Latin America.  Around the world the US is building (the taxpayers are financing) for permanent war and occupation.  A $17 million troop barracks at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan is part of the taxpayer-funded $220 million upgrade of the base.

Militarism—believing that violence, force, and coercion will solve world problems and spending enough money to project armed force around the world-- dominates our nation's imagination and values.  


What should we do?

Be informed.  The best recent book about imperial USA is Tom Engelhardt's The American Way of War (2010).  His introduction alone, "Is America Hooked on War?" is worth the price of the book.  

Organize.  Join with others organizing.  Multiply your voice.   Here's a book with examples from around the world:  Courageous Resistance: the Power of Ordinary People is written by Kristina E. Thalhammer, and others, published, 2007.  A similar book focusing on nonviolence:  Ackerman and Duvall, A Force More Powerful: A Century of Nonviolent Conflict (2000).

Protest where you are.   Col. (Ret. Ann Wright and Susan Dixon, Dissent: Voices of Conscience, Government Insiders Speak Out Against the War in Iraq (2008)



All-out against war funding

Voters for Peace to jbennet

Dear Dick,

The Afghan War is becoming less and less popular with only 37% of Americans supporting the war. More are seeing the war as a quagmire that is ineffective in stabilizing Afghanistan, fails to protect U.S. security and drains massive resources that the U.S. does not have. The House leadership hopes to rush $33 billion in new war funding through by this weekend.


In the midst of the firing of General Stanley McChrystal, reports of a war going badly, and an economy in collapse, the House of Representatives is considering giving $33 billion more for war. The leadership of the Democrats hopes to approve the funding by the July 4th recess. There are growing concerns among many in Congress about deficit spending and about the direction of the war, so while approval of this funding is likely, it is not a sure thing. If the war funding is combined with an unemployment and jobs bill, as is one possibility, the democrats will need near unanimous support to push the war funding through.


Please take action today to write and call your representative. Click here to send an email to your Representative in the House. The Capitol Hill switchboard is (202) 224-3121. Please call and email today.


The Constitution gives Congress the responsibility to determine whether to go to war and whether war should be funded. This constitutional responsibility gives Congress the power to end the war. Urge your Representative to stop war funding. The quagmire of Afghanistan can be ended by the House of Representatives taking their responsibility seriously, looking at the facts, and recognizing that U.S. involvement in Afghanistan is doing more harm than good. Tell Congress to represent the people - a majority of whom oppose the Afghanistan War.


The Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, David Obey, has the power to single-handedly block funding to escalate the war in Afghanistan. Currently he is doing so by refusing to advance the funding unless schools and jobs are funded. Call him every day to thank him and ask him to reject war escalation funding even if jobs and teachers are funded. Rep. Obey's number is (202) 225-3365.


No doubt it is an uphill battle to stop war funding. The process of building opposition is critical to our success. Americans need to consistently let their representatives know that funding war, especially at a time when so many domestic necessities are unfunded, is opposed by the voters. Opposition to the Afghanistan War is growing and will continue to grow. Elected officials consistently hear from those in the military industrial complex who support war; they need to hear from us as well.


Consistent, ongoing, and informed citizen action is an essential ingredient to challenging the continuation of the Afghanistan War. Please use this opportunity to write and call your representative now.


Thanks for your continued support (click here to donate now).

Sincerely,   Kevin Zeese

P.S. To see video of a panel I participated in at the U.S. Social Forum on: Who Decides War and What We Can Do About It, click here.

Voters for Peace is a nonpartisan organization that does not support or oppose candidates for office. 

Voters For Peace

2842 N. Calvert St.  Baltimore, MD 21218  443-708-8360




A Prophetic Voice in Jewish, Multireligious, and American Life

 Dishonoring Jefferson or renewing America?--

Two responses to the Fourth of July

I am shocked to learn that the Thomas Jefferson Foundation has invited President Bush to speak on the Fourth of July at Monticello.

George W. Bush has replicated more of the ill deeds charged by the Declaration of Independence against King George III than any other President in our history.  He is the first President to claim that torture is legitimate and to proclaim that he is violating the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution (requiring warrants to examine citizen's communications). 
Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration precisely to resist that kind of usurpation of power. To invite Mr. Bush to speak on the Fourth of July at Monticello makes a travesty of that sacred day and the sacred work of Mr. Jefferson.
Of course, the far deeper dishonoring is the way the President has behaved toward the Declaration and the Constitution themselves --
And on the other hand, what would we write today if  we ourselves were "Jefferson"? This is a brief passage from "Declaring Interdependence" (on our Website at ):

When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for the peoples of the earth to declare -
 our interdependence with each other and with all the life-forms of the planet,
and our independence from efforts by the most powerful and most reckless among the national governments to create a new and global Empire;
Then a decent respect to the opinions of Humanity requires that we declare the causes that impel us to rise beyond the present Powers of the earth and to embody our planetary community in new social, political, and economic forms.
We hold these truths to be self-evident:
That all human beings are born with equal dignity and worth, endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights: -
to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness;
to the sharing of community;
to a rhythm of worthy work and shared rest that frees time for family, neighborhood, citizenly service, and spiritual reflection;
to a life-sustaining share of the earth's abundance;
to peace among all peoples;
and to a responsible relationship amidst the whole web of life upon this planet.
The present government of the United States has violated our rights, broken our laws, thwarted our hopes, and blocked many of the paths to change.
Within the United States, its actions are concentrating undemocratic power in the hands of the super-rich and a few favored corporations;
In the world at large, its actions are concentrating undemocratic power in a small group of gigantic global corporations and its own military.
To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world:  _______________ [
See our list in web site above or name your own.]

What do we do about this? We might take the opportunity of the Fourth of July to reflect on our lives in the body politic, to read this new Declaration and reread the old one and discuss their meaning.  To treat these texts the way some of us treat the Passover Seder -- learning it, teaching it, enriching it.  And then, like those who in 1776 with courage and determination  pledged to each other "our lives,  our fortunes, and our sacred honor" -- we might  redeem the promise of our forebears and bring to birth a new world from the ashes of the old, as they did.

Shalom, salaam, peace -- Arthur









June 25, 1945 U.N. Charter signed

June 27, 1876, Emma Goldman born

June 27, 1905, IWW founded

June 28, 1961 Stonewall Rebellion sparks LGBT

June 28, 1895, mass burning of firearms by Russian Doukhobors

July 2, 1986, US Supreme Court upholds affirmative actionas corrective to past discrimination

July 3, 1835, children strike for 11-hour workday and 6-day workweek, Paterson, NJ

July 4, 1776, "…whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive…abolish it"

July 4, 1982, 200 Israeli reservists protest Lebanon invasion

July 4, 1983, Women's Encampment for a Future of Peace and Justice begins, Romulus, NY

July 5, 1971, 26th Amendment to US Constitution lowered voting age from 21 to 18

July 8, 1867, Birth of Kathe Kollwitz, German social protest artis

July 9, 1936, Poet June Jordan born

July 11, 1968, American Indian Movement founded, Minneapolis

July 12, 1817, Henry David Thoreau's birthday

July 12, 1904, Poet Pablo Neruda born in Chile





Patricia Williams, "Semaphore."  The Nation (July 5, 2010).  "Lets hope that this variety is understood as pluralism rather than division…the tolerant engagement from which a living nation grows."



"Why I'm Not Patriotic" (or Nationalistic) By Matthew Rothschild, July 2, 2008, The Progressive Magazine


(In memory of George Carlin.)


It's  July 4th [2008] again, a day of near-compulsory flag-waving and nation-worshipping. Count me out.


Spare me the puerile parades.


Don't play that martial music, white boy.


And don't befoul nature's sky with your F-16s.


You see, I don't believe in patriotism.


It's not that I'm anti-American, but I am anti-patriotic.


Love of country isn't natural. It's not something you're born with. It's an inculcated kind of love, something that is foisted upon you in the home, in the school, on TV, at church, during the football game.


Yet most people accept it without inspection.




For when you stop to think about it, patriotism (especially in its malignant morph, nationalism) has done more to stack the corpses millions high in the last 300 years than any other factor, including the prodigious slayer, religion.


The victims of colonialism, from the Congo to the Philippines, fell at nationalism's bayonet point.


World War I filled the graves with the most foolish nationalism. And Hitler and Mussolini and Imperial Japan brought nationalism to new nadirs. The flags next to the tombstones are but signed confessionsnotes left by the killer after the fact.


The millions of victims of Stalin and Mao and Pol Pot have on their death certificates a dual diagnosis: yes communism, but also that other ism, nationalism.


The whole world almost got destroyed because of nationalism during the Cuban Missile Crisis.


The bloody battles in Serbia and Bosnia and Croatia in the 1990s fed off the injured pride of competing patriotisms and all their nourished grievances.


In the last five years in Iraq, tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians have died because the United States, the patriarch of patriotism, saw fit to impose itself, without just cause, on another country. But the excuse was patriotism, wrapped in Bush's brand of messianic militarism: that we, the great Americans, have a duty to deliver "God's gift of freedom" to every corner of the world.


And the Congress swallowed it, and much of the American public swallowed it, because they've been fed a steady diet of this swill.


What is patriotism but "the narcissism of petty differences"? That's Freud's term, describing the disorder that compels one group to feel superior to another.


Then there's a little multiplication problem: Can every country be the greatest country in the world?


This belief system magically transforms an accident of birth into some kind of blue ribbon.


"It's a great country," said the old Quaker essayist Milton Mayer. "They're all great countries."


At times, the appeal to patriotism may be necessary, as when harnessing the group to protect against a larger threat (Hitler) or to overthrow an oppressor (as in the anti-colonial struggles in the Third World).


But it is always a dangerous toxin to play with, and it ought to be shelved with cross and bones on the label except in these most extreme circumstances……


If we stopped that arm from reflexively saluting and concerned ourselves more with "universal ideals" than with parochial ones, we'd be a lot better off.


We wouldn't be in Iraq, we wouldn't have besmirched ourselves at Guantanamo, we wouldn't be acting like some Argentinean junta that wages illegal wars and tortures people and disappears them into secret dungeons.


Love of country is a form of idolatry.


Listen, if you would, to the wisdom of Milton Mayer, writing back in 1962 a rebuke to JFK for his much-celebrated line: "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country."


Mayer would have none of it. "When Mr. Kennedy spoke those words at his inaugural, I knew that I was at odds with a society which did not immediately rebel against them," he wrote. "They are the words of totalitarianism pure; no Jefferson could have spoken them, and no Khrushchev could have spoken them better. Could a man say what Mr. Kennedy said and also say that the difference between us and them is that they believe that man exists for the State and we believe that the State exists for man? He couldn't, but he did. And in doing so, he read me out of society."


When Americans retort that this is still the greatest country in the world, I have to ask why.


Are we the greatest country because we have 10,000 nuclear weapons?


No, that just makes us enormously powerful, with the capacity to destroy the Earth itself.


Are we the greatest country because we have soldiers stationed in more than 120 countries?


No, that just makes us an empire, like the empires of old, only more so.


Are we the greatest country because we are one-twentieth of the world's population but we consume one-quarter of its resources?


No, that just must makes us a greedy and wasteful nation.


Are we the greatest country because the top 1 percent of Americans hoards 34 percent of the nation's wealth, more than everyone in the bottom 90 percent combined?


No, that just makes us a vastly unequal nation.


Are we the greatest country because corporations are treated as real, live human beings with rights?


No, that just enshrines a plutocracy in this country.


Are we the greatest country because we take the best care of our people's basic needs?


No, actually we don't. We're far down the list on health care and infant mortality and parental leave and sick leave and quality of life.


So what exactly are we talking about here?


To the extent that we're a great (not the greatest, mind you: that's a fool's game) country, we're less of a great country today.


Because those things that truly made us greatthe system of checks and balances, the enshrinement of our individual rights and libertieshave all been systematically assaulted by Bush and Cheney.


From the Patriot Act to the Military Commissions Act to the new FISA Act, and all the signing statements in between, we are less great today.


From Abu Ghraib and Bagram Air Force Base and Guantanamo, we are less great today.


From National Security Presidential Directive 51 (giving the Executive responsibility for ensuring constitutional government in an emergency) to National Security Presidential Directive 59 (expanding the collection of our biometric data), we are less great today.


From the Joint Terrorism Task Forces to InfraGard and the Terrorist Liaison Officers, we are less great today.


Admit it. We don't have a lot to brag about today.


It is time, it is long past time, to get over the American superiority complex.


It is time, it is long past time, to put patriotism back on the shelfout of the reach of children and madmen.





Todd Gitlin on Democracy and Patriotism 

The American founders had a constructive idea: that we secure life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness through a democratic republic. 

In a democracy, authority needs to be convincing.  But authority cannot be convincing, it cannot care for the public good, unless it is pressed to defend itself. 

Policy unquestioned is policy unbridled.  Don't let politicians off the hook. 

Patriotism should not be confused with obedience.  There are some good times for obedience – heeding the fire marshals in a crowded theater. 

Patriotism is love of one's people, love of their ideals – not just idle belief, but steady action.   

In America, our highest identity is formed from allegiance to ideas and not ancestral blood.  In America, patriotism is love of constitutional principle. 

Serious patriotism entails readiness to sacrifice, not just wearing flag lapel pins or wishing American troops well. 

So I want to put in a good word for patriotism, but insist that what patriotism needs most is not a pat on our collective back, not self-congratulation, but rather intelligent skepticism and a willingness to sacrifice. 

It's time for a liberal patriotism, robust, unapologetic and uncowed. 

It's time for pride in democracy, not slavishness. 

It's time for the patriotism of mutual aid, not symbolic displays. 

It's time to diminish the gap between the nation we love and the justice we also love. 

Perhaps – who knows? – we might surprise ourselves.  We might even stand at the edge of an auspicious turn in world history. 

It's time for the real America to stand up.

adapted from Todd Gitlin, Letters to a Young Activist (Basic Books, 2003), ch. 11, "On Patriotism Without Embarrassment, or Saving the World Again" 


"A Pacifist's 4th of July" by Emily Kaitz


On our day of independence

we celebrate our country's pride

but there's something about this holiday

I never could abide

When we sing the national anthem,

the bursting bombs I can't ignore

Then we set off fireworks as if

to simulate a war


What is the glory in explosions

that deafen ears and frighten pets?

That threaten fire in times of drought

and may cause flashbacks for our vets?

Don't get me wrong, I'm patriotic

but understand me when I say

I prefer to love my country

in a much more peaceful way.


I will fly the stars and stripes

I'll even march in a parade

after which I might go swimming

and then picnic in the shade

I'll show my gratitude for living

in the land of the brave and free

A place of tolerance and diversity

that still embraces the likes of me.


What is the glory in explosions

that deafen ears and frighten pets?

That threaten fire in times of drought

and may cause flashbacks for our vets?

Don't get me wrong, I'm patriotic

but understand me when I say

I prefer to love my country

in a much more peaceful way.



--Finan, Christopher.  From the Palmer Raids to the Patriot Act: A History of the Fight for Free Speech in America.

--Hightower, Jim.  There's Nothing in the Middle of the Road But Yellow Stripes and Dead Armadillos.  Harper, 1997.

--Hitchens, Christopher.  Thomas Paine's Rights of Man.   Atlantic Monthly, 2006. 
Woehrle, Lynne, et al.  Contesting Patriotism: Culture, Power, and Strategy in the Peace Movement.   Roman & Littlefield, 2009.  Rev. Fellowship (Spring 2010).  A deep grounding of the peace movement is its effort to reclaim the attribution of "patriotic" for criticism of the nation-state when it wages war.  The book traces the many ways "in which major groups in the peace movement have advanced this cause in their publications over the past 20 years."
--Wolf, Naomi.  Give Me Liberty: A Handbook for American Revolutionaries.



"A Pacifist's 4th of July" by Emily Kaitz

"A Pacifist's 4th of July" by Emily Kaitz
On our day of independence
we celebrate our country's pride
but there's something about this holiday
I never could abide
When we sing the national anthem,
the bursting bombs I can't ignore
Then we set off fireworks as if
to simulate a war

What is the glory in explosions
that deafen ears and frighten pets?
That threaten fire in times of drought
and may cause flashbacks for our vets?
Don't get me wrong, I'm patriotic
but understand me when I say
I prefer to love my country
in a much more peaceful way.

I will fly the stars and stripes
I'll even march in a parade
after which I might go swimming
and then picnic in the shade
I'll show my gratitude for living
in the land of the brave and free
A place of tolerance and diversity
that still embraces the likes of me.

What is the glory in explosions
that deafen ears and frighten pets?
That threaten fire in times of drought
and may cause flashbacks for our vets?
Don't get me wrong, I'm patriotic
but understand me when I say
I prefer to love my country
in a much more peaceful way.

Dick's Wars and Warming KPSQ Radio Editorials (#1-48)

Dick's Wars and Warming KPSQ Radio Editorials (#1-48)