We're Invited


Teacher Fired

Published on Friday, February 29, 2008 by The San Francisco Chronicle

Quaker Teacher Fired For Changing Loyalty Oath
by Nanette Asimov

California State University East Bay has fired a math teacher after six weeks on the job because she inserted the word “nonviolently” in her state-required Oath of Allegiance form.

Marianne Kearney-Brown, a Quaker and graduate student who began teaching remedial math to undergrads Jan. 7, lost her $700-a-month part-time job after refusing to sign an 87-word Oath of Allegiance to the Constitution that the state requires of elected officials and public employees.

“I don’t think it was fair at all,” said Kearney-Brown. “All they care about is my name on an unaltered loyalty oath. They don’t care if I meant it, and it didn’t seem connected to the spirit of the oath. Nothing else mattered. My teaching didn’t matter. Nothing.”

A veteran public school math teacher who specializes in helping struggling students, Kearney-Brown, 50, had signed the oath before - but had modified it each time.

She signed the oath 15 years ago, when she taught eighth-grade math in Sonoma. And she signed it again when she began a 12-year stint in Vallejo high schools.

Each time, when asked to “swear (or affirm)” that she would “support and defend” the U.S. and state Constitutions “against all enemies, foreign and domestic,” Kearney-Brown inserted revisions: She wrote “nonviolently” in front of the word “support,” crossed out “swear,” and circled “affirm.” All were to conform with her Quaker beliefs, she said.

The school districts always accepted her modifications, Kearney-Brown said.

But Cal State East Bay wouldn’t, and she was fired on Thursday.

Modifying the oath “is very clearly not permissible,” the university’s attorney, Eunice Chan, said, citing various laws. “It’s an unfortunate situation. If she’d just signed the oath, the campus would have been more than willing to continue her employment.”

Modifying oaths is open to different legal interpretations. Without commenting on the specific situation, a spokesman for state Attorney General Jerry Brown said that “as a general matter, oaths may be modified to conform with individual values.” For example, court oaths may be modified so that atheists don’t have to refer to a deity, said spokesman Gareth Lacy.

Kearney-Brown said she could not sign an oath that, to her, suggested she was agreeing to take up arms in defense of the country.

“I honor the Constitution, and I support the Constitution,” she said. “But I want it on record that I defend it nonviolently.”

The trouble began Jan. 17, a little more than a week after she started teaching at the Hayward campus. Filling out her paperwork, she drew an asterisk on the oath next to the word “defend.” She wrote: “As long as it doesn’t require violence.”

The secretary showed the amended oath to a supervisor, who said it was unacceptable, Kearney-Brown recalled.

Shortly after receiving her first paycheck, Kearney-Brown was told to come back and sign the oath.

This time, Kearney-Brown inserted “nonviolently,” crossed out “swear,” and circled “affirm.”

That’s when the university sought legal advice.

“Based on the advice of counsel, we cannot permit attachments or addenda that are incompatible and inconsistent with the oath,” the campus’ human resources manager, JoAnne Hill, wrote to Kearney-Brown.

She cited a 1968 case called Smith vs. County Engineer of San Diego. In that suit, a state appellate court ruled that a man being considered for public employment could not amend the oath to declare: his “supreme allegiance to the Lord Jesus Christ Whom Almighty God has appointed ruler of Nations, and expressing my dissent from the failure of the Constitution to recognize Christ and to acknowledge the Divine institution of civil government.”

The court called it “a gratuitous injection of the applicant’s religious beliefs into the governmental process.”

But Hill said Kearney-Brown could sign the oath and add a separate note to her personal file that expressed her views.

Kearney-Brown declined. “To me it just wasn’t the same. I take the oath seriously, and if I’m going to sign it, I’m going to do it nonviolently.”

Then came the warning.

“Please understand that this issue needs to be resolved no later than Friday, Feb. 22, 2008, or you will not be allowed to continue to work for the university,” Hill wrote.

The deadline was then extended to Wednesday and she was fired on Thursday.

“I was kind of stunned,” said Kearney-Brown, who is pursuing her master’s degree in math to earn the credentials to do exactly the job she is being fired from.

“I was born to do this,” she said. “I teach developmental math, the lowest level. The kids who are conditionally accepted to the university. Give me the kids who hate math - that’s what I want.”

© 2008 The San Francisco Chronicle

One In Each Hundred

[from Democracynow.org]
Record 1-in-100 Americans Behind Bars

A new report has found that a record 1-in-100 American adults are behind bars. According to the Pew Center, the prison population has grown by 25,000, even though the rate of violent crimes has decreased. 1-in-100 black women are jailed, compared to 1-in-350 white women. 1-in-36 Hispanic men and 1-in-15 black men are in jail or prison. The US has the highest rate of prisoners in the world, with more than 2.3 million people behind bars.

Good Quotes

If there’s a world here in a hundred years, it’s going to be saved by tens of millions of little things. The powers-that-be can break up any big thing they want. They can corrupt it or co-opt it from the inside, or they can attack it from the outside. But what are they going to do about 10 million little things? They break up two of them, and three more like them spring up! ~ Pete Seeger

[W]here industrial civilization degrades exactly those factors in its environment that support its existence, composting increases the factors in its environment that support its existence. ~ John Michael Greer

Farming in Cities?


Six decades ago, farms began leaving the city for greener pastures. Today they are returning. This leads us to ask: “Can farms and cities prosper together?”

This Saturday at 9am Pacific, the Food Chain with Michael Olson hosts Milwaukee’s Grow Urban and New York City’s Make Brooklyn Bloom farm conferences for a conversation about the efficacy of metropolitan agriculture.

Log on the Food Chain page at www.metrofarm.com to listen on your radio, computer or IPOD.

Topics include reasons why farms locate in or near a city; why cities tolerate the growth of crops in their midst; and whether farms and cities can indeed prosper together.
Question of the Week: Can farms and cities prosper together? (#579)


Falling Dollar

Dollar falls to record euro low

The dollar falls to a fresh record low against the euro due to renewed fears that the US may be facing recession.


Big Pharma



Wheat Prices

Fresh records for price of wheat
Wheat prices set fresh records as concern grows about dwindling supplies of spring wheat.


No Security for Obama

Dallas Police Ordered to Stop Weapons Screening Obama Crowds


Jack Douglas Jr., writing for Dallas Star-Telegram, reports, "Security details at Barack Obama's rally Wednesday stopped screening people for weapons at the front gates more than an hour before the Democratic presidential candidate took the stage at Reunion Arena."


What's Our Consumption Factor?

What's Your Consumption Factor?


New York Times

January 2, 2008

To mathematicians, 32 is an interesting number: it's 2 raised to the
fifth power, 2 times 2 times 2 times 2 times 2. To economists, 32 is
even more special, because it measures the difference in lifestyles
between the first world and the developing world. The average rates at
which people consume resources like oil and metals, and produce wastes
like plastics and greenhouse gases, are about 32 times higher in North
America, Western Europe, Japan and Australia than they are in the
developing world. That factor of 32 has big consequences.

To understand them, consider our concern with world population. Today,
there are more than 6.5 billion people, and that number may grow to
around 9 billion within this half-century. Several decades ago, many
people considered rising population to be the main challenge facing
humanity. Now we realize that it matters only insofar as people consume
and produce.

If most of the world's 6.5 billion people were in cold storage and not
metabolizing or consuming, they would create no resource problem. What
really matters is total world consumption, the sum of all local
consumptions, which is the product of local population times the local
per capita consumption rate.

The estimated one billion people who live in developed countries have a
relative per capita consumption rate of 32. Most of the world's other
5.5 billion people constitute the developing world, with relative per
capita consumption rates below 32, mostly down toward 1.

The population especially of the developing world is growing, and some
people remain fixated on this. They note that populations of countries
like Kenya are growing rapidly, and they say that's a big problem. Yes,
it is a problem for Kenya's more than 30 million people, but it's not a
burden on the whole world, because Kenyans consume so little. (Their
relative per capita rate is 1.) A real problem for the world is that
each of us 300 million Americans consumes as much as 32 Kenyans. With 10
times the population, the United States consumes 320 times more
resources than Kenya does.

People in the third world are aware of this difference in per capita
consumption, although most of them couldn't specify that it's by a
factor of 32. When they believe their chances of catching up to be
hopeless, they sometimes get frustrated and angry, and some become
terrorists, or tolerate or support terrorists. Since Sept. 11, 2001, it
has become clear that the oceans that once protected the United States
no longer do so. There will be more terrorist attacks against us and
Europe, and perhaps against Japan and Australia, as long as that
factorial difference of 32 in consumption rates persists.

People who consume little want to enjoy the high-consumption lifestyle.
Governments of developing countries make an increase in living standards
a primary goal of national policy. And tens of millions of people in the
developing world seek the first-world lifestyle on their own, by
emigrating, especially to the United States and Western Europe, Japan
and Australia. Each such transfer of a person to a high-consumption
country raises world consumption rates, even though most immigrants
don't succeed immediately in multiplying their consumption by 32.

Among the developing countries that are seeking to increase per capita
consumption rates at home, China stands out. It has the world's fastest
growing economy, and there are 1.3 billion Chinese, four times the
United States population. The world is already running out of resources,
and it will do so even sooner if China achieves American-level
consumption rates. Already, China is competing with us for oil and
metals on world markets.

Per capita consumption rates in China are still about 11 times below
ours, but let's suppose they rise to our level. Let's also make things
easy by imagining that nothing else happens to increase world
consumption - that is, no other country increases its consumption, all
national populations (including China's) remain unchanged and
immigration ceases. China's catching up alone would roughly double world
consumption rates. Oil consumption would increase by 106 percent, for
instance, and world metal consumption by 94 percent.

If India as well as China were to catch up, world consumption rates
would triple. If the whole developing world were suddenly to catch up,
world rates would increase elevenfold. It would be as if the world
population ballooned to 72 billion people (retaining present consumption

Some optimists claim that we could support a world with nine billion
people. But I haven't met anyone crazy enough to claim that we could
support 72 billion. Yet we often promise developing countries that if
they will only adopt good policies - for example, institute honest
government and a free-market economy - they, too, will be able to enjoy
a first-world lifestyle. This promise is impossible, a cruel hoax: we
are having difficulty supporting a first-world lifestyle even now for
only one billion people.

We Americans may think of China's growing consumption as a problem. But
the Chinese are only reaching for the consumption rate we already have.
To tell them not to try would be futile.

The only approach that China and other developing countries will accept
is to aim to make consumption rates and living standards more equal
around the world. But the world doesn't have enough resources to allow
for raising China's consumption rates, let alone those of the rest of
the world, to our levels. Does this mean we're headed for disaster?

No, we could have a stable outcome in which all countries converge on
consumption rates considerably below the current highest levels.
Americans might object: there is no way we would sacrifice our living
standards for the benefit of people in the rest of the world.
Nevertheless, whether we get there willingly or not, we shall soon have
lower consumption rates, because our present rates are unsustainable.

Real sacrifice wouldn't be required, however, because living standards
are not tightly coupled to consumption rates. Much American consumption
is wasteful and contributes little or nothing to quality of life. For
example, per capita oil consumption in Western Europe is about half of
ours, yet Western Europe's standard of living is higher by any
reasonable criterion, including life expectancy, health, infant
mortality, access to medical care, financial security after retirement,
vacation time, quality of public schools and support for the arts. Ask
yourself whether Americans' wasteful use of gasoline contributes
positively to any of those measures.

Other aspects of our consumption are wasteful, too. Most of the world's
fisheries are still operated non-sustainably, and many have already
collapsed or fallen to low yields - even though we know how to manage
them in such a way as to preserve the environment and the fish supply.
If we were to operate all fisheries sustainably, we could extract fish
from the oceans at maximum historical rates and carry on indefinitely.

The same is true of forests: we already know how to log them
sustainably, and if we did so worldwide, we could extract enough timber
to meet the world's wood and paper needs. Yet most forests are managed
non-sustainably, with decreasing yields.

Just as it is certain that within most of our lifetimes we'll be
consuming less than we do now, it is also certain that per capita
consumption rates in many developing countries will one day be more
nearly equal to ours. These are desirable trends, not horrible
prospects. In fact, we already know how to encourage the trends; the
main thing lacking has been political will.

Fortunately, in the last year there have been encouraging signs.
Australia held a recent election in which a large majority of voters
reversed the head-in-the-sand political course their government had
followed for a decade; the new government immediately supported the
Kyoto Protocol on cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

Also in the last year, concern about climate change has increased
greatly in the United States. Even in China, vigorous arguments about
environmental policy are taking place, and public protests recently
halted construction of a huge chemical plant near the center of Xiamen.
Hence I am cautiously optimistic. The world has serious consumption
problems, but we can solve them if we choose to do so.

Jared Diamond, a professor of geography at the University of California,
Los Angeles, is the author of "Collapse" and "Guns, Germs and Steel."

The Myth of the Surge


Duke Power, Cliffside



McCain Scores Flat Zero

McCain's score is lower even than Elizabeth Dole's (7%).

Two Useful Sites



Xeriscape Plant Program, Pinehurst, Feb. 23

Saturday, Feb. 23
Drought-tolerant Plants
Pinehurst Town Hall



Consumer-based Carbon Tax

British Columbia Introduces Carbon Tax


Jonathan Fowlie and Fiona Anderson, The Vancouver Sun, report, "Driving and other fuel-dependent activities are about to get more expensive as British Columbia becomes the first jurisdiction in North America to introduce a consumer-based carbon tax."


Concert, Aberdeen, Feb. 23

We celebrated President’s Day this week, another fine example of multitasking. They were both so venerable as to deserve a day of commemoration; why not combine it and smack it on a weekend ? No need to examine the reason for the holiday, just hit the sales and stimulate the economy. Delving into our history just a little would bring to your attention a book that brings new material about Abraham Lincoln and the life of a President during war time. It is timely because the extensive renovation of the Soldier’s Home is now complete. The project began during the Clinton administration when the property was declared a national monument. The cottage, if you can imagine a 38 room cottage, offered the Lincolns a respite from the heat, political, as well as climatic , of summer time Washington. “Lincoln’s Other White House” is available from your favorite local book store.

Continuing our agenda of stories and songs, there is one great song writer visiting Aberdeen this Saturday. We hope you’ll join us downtown to hear Pierce Pettis. Doors open at 7:15, the show starts at 8. $12 admission, $10. for members, $5. for well behaved children under 12.


The 'Dirt' on Obama



Honey Bees, Ice Cream



Sustainable Living and Common Sense

Check the price increase in food!

Statement from Councilwoman Dowd, Tuesday, Feb. 12

I would like to make a statement for the record, because so much of what I say in these meeting reaches the public through the Pilot newspaper that often plays politics with the issues and lifts quotes out of context.

In August of 2006 I wrote a letter to the former council, which was reprinted in the Pilot, stating my opinion that before Southern Pines adopts a PUD ordinance or approves a development under such ordinance, that the town must first adopt a master plan for the future development of our town. That was my opinion then, and it has not changed.

This is not the right project at the right time for Southern Pines.

Our town is distinguished from surrounding towns by a resort atmosphere centered around our historic downtown. In order to maintain this character, and in turn our livelihood, we must look at Southern Pines as a whole and create a master plan to guide future development.

Good design depends on the overall, and no one piece no matter how well planned can take precedence over the whole.

Every good developer starts out with a pro forma to run the numbers, they know the projected revenues and expenses. But we have not done the same for our town. And while everyone is talking about the benefits of this project and the viability of this project for the developer, we do not know the costs of this project to Southern Pines. Study after study shows that residential development does not pay for itself and that many costs end up being absorbed by the taxpayers.

Not once during the entire review process of this application has the developer shown that the cost of this development will not be born by current residents. In fact, no one has provided a cost/benefit analysis of the impact of this project on the Town of Southern Pines. So, at this time we have no idea what the actual cost of Pine Needles Village will be to the citizens.

What we do know is that in 2007, our citizens absorbed significant tax increases:

~ the property tax revaluation hurt a lot of people and the County recently voted to make this 4-year accelerated revaluation schedule permanent.

~ the Moore County School Board adopted an ambitious $144 million capital improvements plan; but to make it palatable to voters, they only brought $54 million of that $144 million to the public in the form of a bond issue, which leaves $90 million left to be dealt with.

~ a $15.5 million bond was also approved for Sandhills Community College.

~ The Moore County Commissioners just voted to put the sales tax increase on this year's ballot, which will still not cover the $69.5 million bonds.

~ We have water problems and no drought prevention plan;

~ We have not yet received approval for a new reservoir and have not discussed how we are going to pay for it.

Now having said all that, in the past week, I've been swamped with e-mails from residents who are scared. And what they're scared of is that if we don't approve this project, the developer will retaliate by building something very inappropriate, like the corporate park, on that piece of land.

And I don't blame them for being scared. That land is zoned to allow exactly that.

And who zoned it?

A former Town Council.

And why?

To pave the way for the corporate park that people don't want there - and never did.

So, if the developer can build something totally inappropriate on that piece of land, it's because a previous council rezoned the property and then approved the corporate park without considering the future of Southern Pines as a whole, or the consequences that we are now faced with.

For years the Council, including the previous council, has continued to renew the corporate park conditional use permit on its consent agenda and would have done so in June of 2007 had the developer not pulled it, claiming vested rights.

It is time for the current Council to address this issue - not by voting for something in order to correct a mistake in the past, but by beginning a process for a master plan that will allow the citizens of Southern Pines, for the first time, to have a voice in the future of this town that we all take pride in.

I have always felt that we can do a better job of preserving and developing Southern Pines; therefore, I cannot, in good conscious, approve this project.

That is why I will vote to deny this application.

Can We Avoid Cloned Food?


Recall of Beef, California

US orders massive recall of beef

The US government orders its largest recall of beef, saying a meat plant broke rules on cattle inspection. [it will be used in part for federal nutrition programs such as school lunches]



Local Celebration, Women's History Month, Mar. 5

Making Democracy Work

A program celebrating Women’s History Month

Presented by: The League of Women Voters and The American Association of University Women

Program honoring Glenda Clendenin, Director, Moore County Board of Elections

March 5 at Sandhills Community College

Voter Registration and Refreshments: 12:00 - 2:00

Free Movie: Iron Jawed Angels - 2:00 Owens Auditorium

Regressive Antidote



Hold the Lemon, Please



Movement Toward Victory Gardens


CD Pre-Release Party, Sou. Pines

The Rooster’s Wife


Victoria Vox

CD pre-Release Party


The Wine Cellar

Wednesday, February 13th

Everyone’s welcome!

Join your Wine on Wednesday buddies and meet Victoria, our favorite ukulele lady. Be first to hear songs from the new album!

Release date ELSEWHERE won’t be until spring.

Taste Robyn’s great selection of fabulous wine.

Have fun in February !




WWR (Well Worth Reading)

by Robin Morgan

"Goodbye To All That" was my 1970 essay breaking free from a politics of accommodation especially affecting women.

"During my decades in civil-rights, anti-war, and contemporary women¹s movements, I've avoided writing another specific "Goodbye . . ." But not since the suffrage struggle have two communities--the joint conscience-keepers of this country--been so set in competition, as the contest between Hillary Rodham Clinton (HRC) and Barack Obama (BO) unfurls.

"Goodbye to the double standard . . .
--Hillary is too ballsy but too womanly, a Snow Maiden who¹s emotional, and so much a politician as to be unfit for politics.
--She's "ambitious" but he shows "fire in the belly." (Ever had labor pains?)
--When a sexist idiot screamed "Iron my shirt!" at HRC, it was considered amusing; if a racist idiot shouted "Shine my shoes!" at BO, it would¹ve inspired hours of airtime and pages of newsprint analyzing our national dishonor.
--Young political Kennedys--Kathleen, Kerry, and Bobby Jr.--all endorsed Hillary. Sen. Ted, age 76, endorsed Obama. If the situation were reversed, pundits would snort "See? Ted and establishment types back her, but the forward-looking generation backs him." (Personally, I¹m unimpressed with Caroline¹s longing for the Return of the Fathers. Unlike the rest of the world, Americans have short memories. Me, I still recall Marilyn Monroe's suicide, and a dead girl named Mary Jo Kopechne in Chappaquiddick.)

"Goodbye to the toxic viciousness . . .
Carl Bernstein's disgust at Hillary¹s "thick ankles." Nixon-trickster Roger Stone's new Hillary-hating 527 group, "Citizens United Not Timid" (check the acronym). John McCain answering "How do we beat the bitch?" with "Excellent question!" Would he have dared reply similarly to "How do we beat the black bastard?" For shame.

"Goodbye to the HRC nutcracker with metal spikes between splayed thighs. If it were a tap-dancing blackface doll, we would be righteously outraged and they would not be selling it in airports. Shame.

"Goodbye to the most intimately violent T-shirts in election history, including one with the murderous slogan "If Only Hillary had married O.J.Instead!" Shame.

"Goodbye to Comedy Central's "Southpark" featuring a storyline in which terrorists secrete a bomb in HRC's vagina. I refuse to wrench my brain down into the gutter far enough to find a race-based comparison. For shame.

"Goodbye to the sick, malicious idea that this is funny. This is not Clinton hating," not "Hillary hating." This is sociopathic woman-hating. If it were about Jews, we would recognize it instantly as anti-Semitic propaganda; if about race, as KKK poison. Hell, PETA would go ballistic if such vomitous spew were directed at animals. Where is our sense of outrage as citizens, voters, Americans?

"Goodbye to the news-coverage target-practice . . .
"The women's movement and Media Matters wrung an apology from MSNBC's Chris Matthews for relentless misogynistic comments ( www.womensmediacenter.com).

"But what about NBC's Tim Russert¹s continual sexist asides and his
all-white-male panels pontificating on race and gender? Or CNN's Tony Harris chuckling at "the chromosome thing" while interviewing a woman from The White House Project? And that's not even mentioning Fox News.

"Goodbye to pretending the black community is entirely male and all women are white . . .

"Surprise! Women exist in all opinions, pigmentations, ethnicities,
abilities, sexual preferences, and ages--not only African American and European American but Latina and Native American, Asian American and Pacific Islanders, Arab American and, hey, every group, because a group wouldn¹t be alive if we hadn¹t given birth to it. A few non-racist countries may exist--but sexism is everywhere. No matter how many ways a woman breaks free from other oppressions, she remains a female human being in a world still so patriarchal that it's the "norm."

"So why should all women not be as justly proud of our womanhood and the centuries, even millennia, of struggle that got us this far, as black Americans, women and men, are justly proud of their struggles?

"Goodbye to a campaign where he has to pass as white (which whites, especially wealthy ones--adore), while she has to pass as male (which both men and women demanded of her, and then found unforgivable). If she were black or he were female we wouldn¹t be having such problems, and I for one would be in heaven. But at present such a candidate wouldn¹t stand a chance even if she shared Condi Rice¹s Bush-defending politics.

"I was celebrating the pivotal power at last focused on African American women deciding on which of two candidates to bestow their vote--until a number of Hillary-supporting black feminists told me they're being called "race traitors."

"So goodbye to conversations about this nation's deepest scar--slavery--which fail to acknowledge that labor- and sexual-slavery exist today in the US and elsewhere on this planet, and the majority of those enslaved are women.

"Women have endured sex/race/ethnic/religious hatred, rape and battery, invasion of spirit and flesh, forced pregnancy; being the majority of the poor, the illiterate, the disabled, of refugees, caregivers, the HIV/AIDS afflicted, the powerless. We have survived invisibility, ridicule, religious fundamentalisms, polygamy, teargas, forced feedings, jails, asylums, sati, purdah, female genital mutilation, witch burnings, stonings, and attempted gynocides. We have tried reason, persuasion, reassurances, and being extra-qualified, only to learn it never was about qualifications after all.

"We know that at this historical moment women experience the world differently from men--though not all the same as one another--and can govern differently, from Elizabeth Tudor to Michele Bachelet and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. We remember when Shirley Chisholm and Patricia Schroeder ran for this high office and barely got past the gate (they showed too much passion, raised too little cash, were joke fodder). Goodbye to all that. (And goodbye to some feminists so famished for a female president they were even willing to abandon women's rights in backing Elizabeth Dole.)

"Goodbye, goodbye to . . .
--blaming anything Bill Clinton does on Hillary (even including his womanizing like the Kennedy guys--though unlike them, he got reported on).

"Let¹s get real. If he hadn't campaigned strongly for her everyone would cluck over what that meant. Enough of Bill and Teddy Kennedy locking their alpha male horns while Hillary pays for it.
"--an era when parts of the populace feel so disaffected by politics that a comparative lack of knowledge, experience, and skill is actually seen as attractive, when celebrity-culture mania now infects our elections so that it's "cooler" to glow with marquee charisma than to understand the vast global complexities of power on a nuclear, wounded planet.
"--the notion that it's fun to elect a handsome, cocky president who feels he can learn on the job, goodbye to George W. Bush and the destruction brought by his inexperience, ignorance, and arrogance.

"Goodbye to the accusation that HRC acts "entitled" when she's worked intensely at everything she¹s done including being a nose-to-the-grindstone, first-rate senator from my state.

"Goodbye to her being exploited as a Rorschach test by women who reduce her to a blank screen on which they project their own fears, failures,fantasies.

"Goodbye to the phrase "polarizing figure" to describe someone who embodies the transitions women have made in the last century and are poised to make in this one. It was the women's movement that quipped, "We are becoming the men we wanted to marry." She heard us, and she has.

"Goodbye to some women letting history pass by while wringing their hands, because Hillary isn't as "likeable" as they've been warned they must be, or because she didn't leave him, couldn't "control" him, kept her family together and raised a smart, sane daughter. (Think of the blame if Chelsea had ever acted in the alcoholic, neurotic manner of the Bush twins!)

"Goodbye to some women pouting because she didn't bake cookies or she did, sniping because she learned the rules and then bent or broke them. Grow the hell up. She is not running for Ms.-perfect-pure-queen-icon of the feminist movement. She is running to be President of the United States.

"Goodbye to the shocking American ignorance of our own and other countries' histories. Margaret Thatcher and Golda Meir rose through party ranks and war, positioning themselves as proto-male leaders. Almost all other female heads of government so far have been related to men of power; granddaughters, daughters, sisters, wives, widows: Gandhi, Bandaranike, Bhutto, Aquino, Chamorro, Wazed, Macapagal-Arroyo, Johnson Sirleaf, Bachelet, Kirchner, and more. Even in our "land of opportunity,' it's mostly the first pathway "in" permitted to women: Reps. Doris Matsui and Mary Bono and Sala Burton; Sen. Jean Carnahan . . . far too many to list here.

"Goodbye to a misrepresented generational divide . . .
"Goodbye to the so-called spontaneous "Obama Girl" flaunting her bikini-clad ass online, then confessing Oh yeah it wasn¹t her idea after all, some guys got her to do it and dictated the clothes, which she said "made me feel like a dork."

"Goodbye to some young women eager to win male approval by showing they're not feminists (at least not the kind who actually threaten the status quo),who can't identify with a woman candidate because she is unafraid of eeueweeeu yucky power, who fear their boyfriends might look at them funny if they say something good about her.

"Goodbye to women of any age again feeling unworthy, sulking "what if she's not electable?" or maybe it's post-feminism and whoooosh we're already free.

"Let a statement by the magnificent Harriet Tubman stand as reply. When asked how she managed to save hundreds of enslaved African Americans via the Underground Railroad during the Civil War, she replied bitterly, "I could have saved thousands if only I'd been able to convince them they were slaves."

I'd rather say a joyful Hello to all the glorious young women who do identify with Hillary, and all the brave, smart men--of all ethnicities and any age--who get that it's in their self-interest, too. She's better qualified. (D'uh.) She¹s a high-profile candidate with an enormous grasp of foreign- and domestic-policy nuance, dedication to detail, ability to absorb staggering insult and personal pain while retaining dignity, resolve, even humor, and keep on keeping on. (Also, yes, dammit, let's hear it for her connections and funding and party-building background, too. Obama was awfully glad about those when she raised dough and campaigned for him to get to the Senate in the first place.)

"I'd rather look forward to what a good president he might make in eight years, when his vision and spirit are seasoned by practical know-how--and he'll be all of 54. Meanwhile, goodbye to turning him into a shining knight when actually he¹s an astute, smooth pol with speechwriters who've worked with the Kennedys' own speechwriter-courtier Ted Sorenson. If it¹s only about ringing rhetoric, let speechwriters run. But isn't it about gettingthe policies we want enacted?

"And goodbye to the ageism . . .
How dare anyone unilaterally decide when to turn the page on history, papering over real inequities and suffering constituencies in the promise of a feel-good campaign? How dare anyone claim to unify while dividing, or think that to rouse US youth from torpor it's useful to triage the single largest demographic in this country's history: the boomer generation--the majority of which is female?

"Older woman are the one group that doesn't grow more conservative with age--and we are the generation of radicals who said "Well-behaved women seldom make history." Goodbye to going gently into any good night any man prescribes for us. We are the women who changed the reality of the United States. And though we never went away, brace yourselves: we're back!

"We are the women who brought this country equal credit, better pay, affirmative action, the concept of a family-focused workplace; the women who established rape-crisis centers and battery shelters, marital-rape and date-rape laws; the women who defended lesbian custody rights, who fought for prison reform, founded the peace and environmental movements; who insisted that medical research include female anatomy, who inspired men to become more nurturing parents, who created women¹s studies and Title IX so we all could cheer the WNBA stars and Mia Hamm.

"We are the women who reclaimed sexuality from violent pornography, who put child care on the national agenda, who transformed demographics, artistic expression, language itself. We are the women who forged a worldwide movement. We are the proud
successors of women who, though it took more than 50 years, won us the vote.

"We are the women who now comprise the majority of US voters. Hillary said she found her own voice in New Hampshire. There's not a woman alive who, if she¹s honest, doesn¹t recognize what she means. Then HRC got drowned out by campaign experts, Bill, and media's obsession with All Things Bill.

"So listen to her voice:
"For too long, the history of women has been a history of silence. Even today, there are those who are trying to silence our words. It is a violation of human rights when babies are denied food, or drowned, or suffocated, or their spines broken, simply because they are born girls. It is a violation of human rights when woman and girls are sold into the slavery of prostitution. It is a violation of human rights when women are doused with gasoline, set on fire and burned to death because their marriage dowries are deemed too small. It is a violation of human rights when individual women are raped in their own communities and when thousands of women are subjected to rape as a tactic or prize of war. It is a violation of human rights when a leading cause of death worldwide along women ages 14 to 44 is the violence they are subjected to in their own homes. It is a violation of human rights when women are denied the right to plan their own families, and that includes being forced to have abortions or being sterilized against their will. Women's rights are human rights. Among those rights are the right to speak freely--and the right to be heard."

"That was Hillary Rodham Clinton defying the US State Department and the Chinese Government at the 1995 UN World Conference on Women in Beijing (the full, stunning speech: http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/hillaryclintonbeijingspeech.htm ).

"And this voice, age 22, in Commencement Remarks of Hillary D. Rodham, President of Wellesley College Government Association, Class of 1969 (full speech:
http://www.wellesley.edu/PublicAffairs/Commencement/1969/053169hillary.html )
"We are, all of us, exploring a world none of us understands. . . .
searching for a more immediate, ecstatic, and penetrating mode of living. .. . [for the] integrity, the courage to be whole, living in relation to oneanother in the full poetry of existence. The struggle for an integrated life existing in an atmosphere of communal trust and respect is one with desperately important political and social consequences. . . . Fear is always with us, but we just don't have time for it."
"She ended with the commitment "to practice, with all the skill of our being: the art of making possible." And for decades, she's been learning how.

"So goodbye to Hillary's second-guessing herself. The real question is deeper than her re-finding her voice. Can we women find ours? Can we do this for ourselves? "Our President, Ourselves!"

"Time is short and the contest tightening. We need to rise in furious energy--as we did when courageous Anita Hill was so vilely treated in the US Senate, as we did when desperate Rosie Jiminez was butchered by an illegal abortion, as we did and do for women globally who are condemned for trying to break through. We need to win, this time. Goodbye to supporting HRC tepidly, with ambivalent caveats and apologetic smiles. Time to volunteer, make phone calls, send emails, donate money, argue, rally, march, shout, vote.

"Me? I support Hillary Rodham because she's the best qualified of all candidates running in both parties. I support her because her progressive politics are as strong as her proven ability to withstand what will be a massive right-wing assault in the general election. I support her because she's refreshingly thoughtful, and I'm bloodied from eight years of a jolly "uniter" with ejaculatory politics. I needn't agree with her on every point.

"I agree with the 97 percent of her positions that are identical with Obama's and the few where hers are both more practical and to the left of his (like health care). I support her because she's already smashed the first-lady stereotype and made history as a fine senator, and because I believe she will continue to make history not only as the first US woman president, but as a great US president.
As for the "woman thing?" Me, I¹m voting for Hillary not because she's a woman--but because I am."


Next Up


Over 3 Million Viewers


Moore County Beekeepers, Tues.12th

The Moore County Beekeepers meet February 12 at 7 p.m. in the Agricultural Building, Room 3, Carthage. State Apiarist Don Hopkins will present the program "Preparing For The Honey Flow."

The NCSBA Spring Meeting is March 7 and 8 in Burlington. Register to attend.

And plan on attending our March meeting in Carthage when Commercial Beekeeper Jack Tapp from Chapel Hill will speak about "Queen Rearing."

Bush Endorses McCain--duh

[the kiss of death. . .]

NC Primary May 6



Organic Really Is Better


Me of Little Faith


Lewis Black

[from comedian Lewis Black]

What's new? www.lewisblack.com
This web site… that’s what. I've also found a brand of pencil that does less damage when I shove it into my temple. And with these disgusting political primaries going on, I need the relief. And when I'm not fighting the urge to tune in to CNN and piss on my TV, I'm writing a book about religion. Yes, religion. The tour's going well, and we've made bail in several major cities.

US Militarism

It's not enough simply to rail against the military or militarism, however enlightened it makes one feel. There are powerful reasons why Americans trust our military and continue to join its ranks. Unless these are grasped, efforts to redirect our nation along less militaristic lines will founder on the shores of incomprehension.


William J. Astore | The Tenacity of American Militarism

William J. Astore, writing for TomDispatch.com, says: "Recent polls suggest that Americans trust the military roughly three times as much as the president and five times as much as their elected representatives in Congress.
"The tenacity of this trust is both striking and disturbing. It's striking because it comes despite widespread media coverage of prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib, the friendly-fire cover-up in the case of Pat Tillman's death, and alleged retribution killings by Marines at Haditha. It's disturbing because our country is founded on civilian control of the military."


Why Do They Come?

Immigrants Come Here Because Globalization Took Their Jobs Back There
By Jim Hightower
The Hightower Lowdown

Thursday 07 February 2008

Seal-the-border hysteria is everywhere. Instead of blaming immigrants for America's problems, let's look at executives on both sides of the border.

The wailing in our country about the "invasion of immigrants" has been long and loud. As one complainant put it, "Few of their children in the country learn English ...The signs in our streets have inscriptions in both languages ... Unless the stream of the importation could be turned they will soon so outnumber us that all the advantages we have will not be able to preserve our language, and even our government will become precarious."

That's not some diatribe from one of today's Republican presidential candidates. It's the anxious cry of none other than Ben Franklin, deploring the wave of Germans pouring into the colony of Pennsylvania in the 1750s. Thus, anti-immigrant eruptions are older than the United States itself, and they've flared up periodically throughout our history, targeting the Irish, French, Italians, Chinese, and others. Even George W's current project to wall off our border is not a new bit of nuttiness - around the time of the nation's founding, John Jay, who later became the first chief justice of the Supreme Court, proposed "a wall of brass around the country for the exclusion of Catholics."

Luckily for the development and enrichment of our country, these past public frenzies ultimately failed to exclude the teeming masses, and those uproars now appear through the telescope of time to have been some combination of ridiculous panic, political demagoguery and xenophobic ugliness. Still, this does not mean that the public's anxiety and simmering anger about today's massive influx of Mexicans coming illegally across our 2,000-mile shared border is illegitimate. However, most of what the politicians and pundits are saying about it is illegitimate.

Wedge Issue

There is way too much xenophobia, racism and demagoguery at play around illegal immigration, but such crude sentiments are not what is bringing this problem to a national political boil. Polls show - as do conversations at any Chat & Chew Cafe in the country - that there is a deep and genuine alarm about the issue among the nonxenophobic, nonracist American majority. In particular, workaday families are fearful about what an endless flow of low-wage workers portends for their economic future, and they're not getting good answers from Republicans, Democrats, corporate leaders or the media.

For the GOP candidates in this year's presidential run, the contest is coming down to who can be the most nativist knucklehead. They accuse each other of not wanting to punish immigrant children enough, of not being absolutists on "English-only" proposals, of having coddled illegal entrants in the past with amnesty proposals and sanctuaries, and of not being hawkish enough on sealing off and militarizing the border.

The leader of the anti-immigrant Republican pack is Tom Tancredo, a Colorado congress-critter who based his ill-fated presidential campaign on immigrant bashing. This goober is so nasty he'd scare small children. His website screeched that immigrants are "pushing drugs, raping kids, destroying lives," and his campaign slogan is a sledgehammer demand: "Deport those who don't belong. Make sure they never come back." As for illegal immigrants, Tom thinks that the term "illegal" is too soft, preferring to demonize immigrants as "aliens." Tancredo doesn't merely rant, he foams at the mouth, maniacally warning about waves of Mexican terrorists who are "coming to kill me and you and your children." Accused of trying to turn America into a gated community, he exulted, "You bet!"

At least he's taken a position, even if it's un-American and loopy. Democratic leaders, on the other hand, have mostly tried to do a squishy shuffle, wanting to beef up law enforcement against illegal immigrants while also mouthing soothing words about the good work ethic of our friends south of the border and offering a bureaucratic rigmarole to allow some of the younger ones to gain permanent residency in our country. Worse, such corporate Democrats as Rep. Rahm Emanuel urge the party's candidates either to adopt the Republican's punitive message or simply to try ducking the issue.

Which brings us to the wall, both figuratively and literally. The fact that we are resorting to the construction of an enormous fence between two friendly nations admits to an abject failure by policy makers, who are so bereft of ideas, honesty, courage and morality that all they can do is to try walling off the problem.

We've had experience here in Texas with the futility of tall border fences. Molly Ivins reported a beer-induced incident that took place in 1983. Walling off Mexico had been proposed back then by the Reaganauts, and a test fence had been built way down in the Big Bend outpost of Terlingua. This little town also happened to be the site of a renowned chili cookoff that Molly helped judge, and it attracted a big crowd of impish, beer-drinking chiliheads.

There stood the barrier, 17 feet tall and topped with barbwire. It didn't take many beers before the first-ever "Terlingua Memorial Over, Under, or Through the Mexican Fence Climbing Contest" was cooked up. Winning time: 30 seconds.

Yet here come the border sealers again. Bush & Co. (including Democrats who have allowed the funding) is putting up an initial $1.2 billion to start building this version of the wall, which is projected to cost up to $60 billion over the next 25 years to build and maintain. It's a monster wall - two or three 40-foot-high rows of reinforced fencing that take a swath of land 150 feet wide and stretch for 700 miles.

The Mexican government and people are insulted and appalled by the wall; ranchers, mayors and families living on either side of the border hate it; environmentalists are aghast at its destructive impact on the ecology of the area. Still, it's being built. Indeed, a 2005 federal act contained a little-noticed section authorizing Bush's Homeland Security czar to suspend any laws that stand in the way of building the wall. Current czar Michael Chertoff has already used this unprecedented authority to waive 19 statutes, including the Endangered Species, Clean Water and National Historic Preservation Acts.

All this for something that will not work. As Gov. Janet Napolitano of Arizona put it, "Show me a 50-foot wall and I'll show you a 51-foot ladder." People have literally been dying to cross into the United States, and it's not possible to build a wall tall enough to stop them. They will keep coming.


The question that policy makers have not faced honestly is this one: Why do these immigrants come? The answer is not that they are pulled by our jobs and government benefits, but that they are pushed by the abject poverty that their families face in Mexico. That might seem like a mere semantic difference, but it's huge if you're trying to develop a policy to stop the human flood across our border.

Although you never hear it mentioned in debates on the issue, you might start with this reality: Most Mexican people really would prefer to live in their own country. Can we all say, duh? Pedro Martin, who has seen most of the young men and women in his small village depart for El Norte, put it this way: "Up north, even though they pay more, you're not necessarily living as well. You feel out of place. Here you can walk around the whole town, and it's comfortable. Life is easier."

Their family, language, culture, identity and happiness is Mexican - yet sheer economic survival requires so many of them to abandon the place they love.

Again, why? Because in the last 15 years, Mexico's longstanding system of sustaining its huge population of poor citizens (including small self-sufficient farms, jobs in state-owned industries and subsidies for such essentials as tortillas) has been scuttled at the insistence of U.S. banks, corporations, government officials and "free market" ideologues. In the name of "modernizing" the Mexican economy, such giants as Citigroup, Wal-Mart, Tyson Foods and GE - in cahoots with the plutocrats and oligarchs of Mexico - have laid waste to that country's grass-roots economy, destroying the already-meager livelihoods of millions.

The 1994 imposition of NAFTA was particularly devastating. Just as Bill Clinton and the corporate elites did here, Mexico's ruling elites touted NAFTA as a magic elixir that would generate growth, create jobs, raise wages and eliminate the surge of Mexican migrants into the United States. They were horribly wrong:

Economic growth in Mexico has been anemic since '94, and the benefits of any growth have gone overwhelmingly to the wealthiest families.

Since NAFTA, Mexico has created less than a third of the millions of decent jobs it needs.

Average factory wages in Mexico have dropped by more than 5 percent under NAFTA.

Unemployment has jumped, and unskilled workers are paid only $5 a day.

U.S. agribusiness corporations have more than doubled their shipment of subsidized crops into Mexico, busting the price that indigenous farmers got for their production and displacing some 2 million peasant farmers from their land.

Huge agribusiness operations, many owned by U.S. investors, now control Mexican agricultural production and pay farmworkers under $2 an hour.

Since NAFTA passed, there has been a flood of business bankruptcies and takeovers in Mexico as predatory U.S. chains have moved in. U.S. corporations now control 40 percent of the country's formal jobs, with Wal-Mart reigning as the No. 1 employer.

Nineteen million more Mexicans live in poverty today than when NAFTA was passed.
So, here's the deal: Thanks to Mexico's newly corporatized economy, wage earners there get poverty pay of $5 a day (about $1,600 a year), while a few hundred miles north, they might draw that much in an hour. What would you do?

The Wrong Debate

In our national imbroglio over Mexican immigration (yes, some illegal migrants come from elsewhere, but more than three-fourths are from Mexico), our "leaders" have set us up to look down at impoverished working people forced to leave their homeland and risk death in order to help their families escape poverty.

Instead of coming down on them, why not start looking up - up at the executive suites on both sides of the border. Up is where the power is. The moneyed elites in those suites are the profiteering few who have rigged all of our trade and labor policies to knock down workers, farmers and small businesses, not merely in Mexico but in our country as well.

In the United States, the middle class feels imperiled because ... well, because it is imperiled. Politicians, economists and the richly paid pundits keep telling us that the American economy is robust and that people's financial pessimism and anxieties are irrational. At the kitchen table level, however, folks know the difference between chicken salad and chicken manure. Yes, these are boom times for the luxury class, but the middle class is imploding. In a recent letter to the editor, a working stiff in California put it this way:

"We've replaced steaks with corn flakes; we can't afford to get sick; our kids can't afford health insurance; we hope that our 10-year-old van keeps running because we can't afford a new one; our kids can't buy a home because housing prices are exorbitant; our purchasing power continually regresses; and worst of all, the poverty and near-poverty classes are growing."

It's this economic fragility that anti-immigrant forces play on. But even if there were no illegal workers in our country - none - the fragility would remain, for poor Mexican laborers are not the ones who:

Downsized and offshored our middle-class jobs.

Perverted our bankruptcy laws to let corporations abrogate their union contracts.

Stopped enforcement of America's wage and hour laws.

Perverted the National Labor Relations Board into an anti-worker tool for corporations.

Illegally reclassified millions of employees as "independent contractors," leaving them with no benefits or labor rights.

Subverted the right of workers to organize.

Turned a blind eye to the re-emergence in America of sweatshops and child labor in everything from the clothing industry to Wal-Mart.

Made good healthcare a luxury item.

Let rich campaign donors take over both political parties.

Passed by hook and crook a continuing series of global-trade scams to enrich the few and knock down the many.
Powerless immigrants didn't do these things to us. The richest, most-powerful, best-connected corporate interests did them. Judy Ancel, director of the Institute for Labor Studies at the University of Missouri, offers this example of Iowa Beef Processors (IBP), the largest meatpacker in the United States, now owned by the multibillion-dollar conglomerate Tyson Foods:

Until the late 1970s, meatpacking was a high-wage industry, with highly skilled workers in charge. Factories were in union cities, union contracts provided good wages and benefits, and unions set professional standards for everything from worker training to safety conditions. Then IBP's executives transformed this beneficial model into today's profiteering system. The factories moved to nonunion cities and rural areas, and lower-skilled workers were hired to do repetitive cuts on speeded-up assembly lines. With Reagan as president, meat-industry lobbyists were able to emasculate labor laws, and unions lost their influence over the workplace, which became much less rewarding and more dangerous. IBP began intensive recruiting of Mexican workers (legal or not) to do what had become very nasty work. In only 20 years, meatpacking wages dropped by roughly half, the union was ousted, and the rate of workplace injury became one of the highest of any industry (more than a fourth of meatpacking workers now suffer "accidents").

The Fix

Immigration reform cannot be separated from labor and trade reform. We can't fix the former without dealing with the other two. We must stop the exploitative NAFTAfication of such aspiring economies as Mexico and instead develop genuine grass-roots investment policies that give people there an ability to remain in their homeland. Then we must enforce our own labor laws - from wage and hour rules to the NLRB - so as to empower American workers to enforce their own rights.

Eliminating the need to migrate from Mexico and rebuilding the middle-class ladder, here is an "immigration policy" that will work. But it requires us to go right at the corporate kleptocracy that now owns Washington and controls the debate.

We must challenge Democrats, especially, to broaden the debate and to recognize that they must choose sides - to be for workers or for more trade imperialism. Right now, the Democratic leadership is siding with imperialism and exacerbating the economic causes of Latino migration. For example, just last month, Speaker Nancy Pelosi engineered a vote to extend NAFTA to Peru, a corporate favor that could be called the Tom-Rahm Bipartisan Axis of Immigration Stupidity, for it drew enthusiastic support from both Tom Tancredo and Rahm Emanuel.

America's immigration problem is not down on the border, it's in Washington and on Wall Street.


From "The Hightower Lowdown," edited by Jim Hightower and Phillip Frazer, January 2008. Jim Hightower is a national radio commentator, writer, public speaker and author of the new book Swim Against the Current: Even a Dead Fish Can Go With the Flow. (Wiley, March 2008)

Origins of Our Food?


Price of Peak Oil Is Famine

Why the Price of "Peak Oil" Is Famine


Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, The Telegraph UK:
"Vulnerable regions of the world face the risk of famine over the next three years as rising energy costs spill over into a food crunch, according to US investment bank Goldman Sachs."

Peruvian Protest

Draft law sparks protests in Peru
Thousands protest in Cuzco, Peru, against a law promoting development near ancient Inca monuments.


Ethanol -- Duh


Snowball Fight

[from a friend of a blog reader]

"I woke up the morning of January 31, 2008 to see six inches of snow on the ground, the first snow to accumulate in ten years in the village of At-Tuwani in the South Hebron Hills. A little before 7:30, I saw some neighbor boys and the snowball fight began. I had been threatening them for the past several days, since snow had been predicted.

"That snowball fight continued for four hours, involving most of the one hundred fifty villagers. I threw a snowball at a seventy five year old man who returned the fire. One husband and wife had an intense battle. I made sure to hit every one of the small children a number of times and let them hit me.

"I went to about every home in the village to start a fight. I didn’t want to leave anyone out. I didn’t see anyone as I approached one house. I waited a bit and when I saw one person, I threw a snowball at him. Almost immediately, like hitting hornets’ nest, at least fifteen people came out of the house, all of them attacking me. It was great. Later the head of the household thanked me and said the little battle meant a lot to his children. Later in the morning much of the battle centered in one area. There were snowballs coming from every direction, and you never knew who was an ally or a threat.

"It was an amazing day. It is a commonly held value in the village that people do not throw things at other people and hit them. That standard was pushed aside and everyone was throwing snowballs at everyone. Age, cultural, and gender barriers broke down. Adults acted like little children. A lot of aggression was expressed, all in a good way. There seems to be a cultural need to at times throw away our rules, and let loose. We sure did that today, and at the same time did nothing immoral.

"I asked a number of people if it had also snowed in the Israeli settlements around At-Tuwani. They all said it had snowed there also. So maybe there is one God who makes it snow on everyone, not just on his favorite people, be they Muslim, Jewish, or Christian. The question is whether we respond to God’s gifts with joy and whether we allow those gifts to bring us together. To make exclusive claims on God is to deny the oneness of God. There was nothing exclusive about that snowstorm."

Punishing Berkeley


How to Kill a Party


Edgy Christianity




Sustainable School, Greensboro



Obama, Oct. 2002

Remarks of Illinois State Sen. Barack Obama
Against Going to War with Iraq
October 2, 2002

Good afternoon. Let me begin by saying that although this has been billed as an anti-war rally, I stand before you as someone who is not opposed to war in all circumstances. The Civil War was one of the bloodiest in history, and yet it was only through the crucible of the sword, the sacrifice of multitudes, that we could begin to perfect this union, and drive the scourge of slavery from our soil. I don't oppose all wars.

My grandfather signed up for a war the day after Pearl Harbor was bombed, fought in Patton's army. He saw the dead and dying across the fields of Europe; he heard the stories of fellow troops who first entered Auschwitz and Treblinka. He fought in the name of a larger freedom, part of that arsenal of democracy that triumphed over evil, and he did not fight in vain. I don't oppose all wars.

After September 11th, after witnessing the carnage and destruction, the dust and the tears, I supported this administration's pledge to hunt down and root out those who would slaughter innocents in the name of intolerance, and I would willingly take up arms myself to prevent such tragedy from happening again. I don't oppose all wars. And I know that in this crowd today, there is no shortage of patriots, or of patriotism.

What I am opposed to is a dumb war. What I am opposed to is a rash war. What I am opposed to is the cynical attempt by Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz and other armchair, weekend warriors in this administration to shove their own ideological agendas down our throats, irrespective of the costs in lives lost and in hardships borne.

What I am opposed to is the attempt by political hacks like Karl Rove to distract us from a rise in the uninsured, a rise in the poverty rate, a drop in the median income - to distract us from corporate scandals and a stock market that has just gone through the worst month since the Great Depression. That's what I'm opposed to. A dumb war. A rash war. A war based not on reason but on passion, not on principle but on politics. Now let me be clear - I suffer no illusions about Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal man. A ruthless man. A man who butchers his own people to secure his own power. He has repeatedly defied UN resolutions, thwarted UN inspection teams, developed chemical and biological weapons, and coveted nuclear capacity. He's a bad guy. The world, and the Iraqi people, would be better off without him.

But I also know that Saddam poses no imminent and direct threat to the United States, or to his neighbors, that the Iraqi economy is in shambles, that the Iraqi military a fraction of its former strength, and that in concert with the international community he can be contained until, in the way of all petty dictators, he falls away into the dustbin of history. I know that even a successful war against Iraq will require a US occupation of undetermined length, at undetermined cost, with undetermined consequences. I know that an invasion of Iraq without a clear rationale and without strong international support will only fan the flames of the Middle East, and encourage the worst, rather than best, impulses of the Arab world, and strengthen the recruitment arm of Al Qaeda. I am not opposed to all wars. I'm opposed to dumb wars.

So for those of us who seek a more just and secure world for our children, let us send a clear message to the President today. You want a fight, President Bush? Let's finish the fight with Bin Laden and Al Qaeda, through effective, coordinated intelligence, and a shutting down of the financial networks that support terrorism, and a homeland security program that involves more than color-coded warnings. You want a fight, President Bush?

Let's fight to make sure that the UN inspectors can do their work, and that we vigorously enforce a non-proliferation treaty, and that former enemies and current allies like Russia safeguard and ultimately eliminate their stores of nuclear material, and that nations like Pakistan and India never use the terrible weapons already in their possession, and that the arms merchants in our own country stop feeding the countless wars that rage across the globe. You want a fight, President Bush?

Let's fight to make sure our so-called allies in the Middle East, the Saudis and the Egyptians, stop oppressing their own people, and suppressing dissent, and tolerating corruption and inequality, and mismanaging their economies so that their youth grow up without education, without prospects, without hope, the ready recruits of terrorist cells. You want a fight, President Bush? Let's fight to wean ourselves off Middle East oil, through an energy policy that doesn't simply serve the interests of Exxon and Mobil. Those are the battles that we need to fight. Those are the battles that we willingly join. The battles against ignorance and intolerance. Corruption and greed. Poverty and despair.

The consequences of war are dire, the sacrifices immeasurable. We may have occasion in our lifetime to once again rise up in defense of our freedom, and pay the wages of war. But we ought not -- we will not -- travel down that hellish path blindly. Nor should we allow those who would march off and pay the ultimate sacrifice, who would prove the full measure of devotion with their blood, to make such an awful sacrifice in vain.

CCNC Endorses Besse

For immediate release

Jan 6, 2008

Contact: Brownie Newman, Political Director 828-243-0107

Conservation PAC endorses Dan Besse for Lt. Governor

The Conservation PAC today issued its first endorsement in the 2008 election cycle, endorsing Winston-Salem City Councilman Dan Besse for Lt. Governor of North Carolina. The endorsement was made based on Dan Besse’s life-long commitment and leadership to conserve North Carolina’s natural resources and environmental health.

Dan Besse has dedicated much of his life to assuring a healthy environment for the people of North Carolina. Besse was the Chairman of the North Carolina Coastal Resources Commission from 1985- 1990, where he led the effort to improve protections for North Carolina’s shorelines and estuaries. Besse served on the North Carolina Environmental Management Commission from 1993- 2005 where he led the effort to create North Carolina’s wetland conservation rules and other standards for clean air and clean water.

Dan Besse has helped defend unique natural wonders from the New River in our mountains to Buxton Woods on our Outer Banks.

As a member of the Winston-Salem City Council, Besse has been a voice for bike and pedestrian friendly neighborhoods, clean air, effective public transit, and conversion of the city fleet to low-emission vehicles. Besse is a North Carolina representative to the National League of Cities policy and advocacy committee for Energy, Environment and Natural Resources. Besse serves on the North Carolina Climate Action Plan to address the threat of global warming impacts on North Carolina communities.

“Dan Besse brings an unmatched depth of understanding and demonstrated commitment to protection of North Carolina’s communities and environment,” said Brownie Newman, Political Director for the Conservation PAC. “With the tremendous development pressures in our state, we need leaders who understand how unplanned growth can cripple the unique environmental qualities that make North Carolina a great place to live. For those reasons, we are proud to endorse Dan Besse for Lt. Governor,” said Newman.

The Conservation PAC noted that several of the other candidates have adopted positive positions on certain environmental issues during the course of the campaign, but none of the other candidates bring the real world experience and proven commitment to conservation values that Besse has achieved over the past twenty-five years.

"Dan Besse has provided great leadership on issues that mean so much to North Carolinians. He has been a champion for environmental protection and public health for many years,” said Nina Szlosberg, Chair of the Conservation PAC. “We need his kind of leadership in the state to remain competitive in the 21st Century."

The Conservation PAC is the political arm of North Carolina’s conservation community. Its members are active environmental leaders from across the state. The Conservation PAC is a non-partisan organization.

More from Big Pharma

[from blog reader Bonnie]

I'm writing to you about this because it affects me greatly and it will affect many, many others.

Bowing to pressure from Wyeth, a big Pharmaceutical company, the FDA is asserting a new policy to deny women's access to biodentical hormones.

If this policy is enforced, federal regulators will deny hundreds of thousands of women access to many commonly compounded hormone replacement therapies.

Federal regulators will decide what medicines you can take instead of you and your doctor.

They will make it mandatory that you take the synthetic drugs that companies like Wyeth produce. Wyeth makes the hormone Premarin, a drug made from the urine of pregnant horses. This is the drug that was the most widely prescribed hormone in the country until so many women began to beg for another solution due to side effects. Wyeth wants to stop you from being able to choose another, more effective and less harmful medication.

Please, even if this does not affect you directly, take action. Many women like me will be hurt by this. If I am denied my compounded thyroid hormone, I will become very, very ill.

Here is the link: http://www.iacprx.org/site/PageServer?pagename=P2C2

I have called my representatives. It's easy, the web site will give you the numbers to call. And they listened.

This may be just the beginning of this kind of action. We have to stop it.

Declawed Siamese

Rescued cat needs to find a home. An elderly man died and his children were going to put the cat to sleep. It is a declawed Siamese cat with a ton of toys, food/water dish, electric pooper sweeper, etc. Melissa can't keep the cat for more than a few days because she has nice but rowdy children. The cat is used to a quiet home.

If you know of anyone who would be interested, please have them contact Melissa Packett at 947-7443 between 7:30am and 4pm.



Very Real Virus, Beware


Climate Shift, Whales

Climate set for 'sudden shifts'
Many climate systems will undergo a series of sudden shifts this century as a result of human-induced climate change.

Calls for climate change minister
A ministerial 'champion' is needed to co-ordinate governmental efforts on climate change, MPs say.

US judge reinstates sonar curbs
A US judge reimposes curbs on sonar which aim to protect whales, overturning a waiver by President Bush.

Besse on NC Water


February 4, 2008


"Water resources have become our most urgent state planning need in North Carolina," declared Dan Besse, Democratic candidate for Lieutenant Governor.

"The problem goes well beyond the looming crisis of the next ten months, when we will see mandatory restrictions on water use in cities and towns around our state," he said. "Our population is booming, and our economy must keep up. At the same time, ongoing climate change is projected to result in more frequent and severe droughts. The days of assuming unlimited cheap water in our state are over."

"We must face the need to manage this critical resource in our state for the long haul. Our people's health, our natural environment, and our economic future all depend on improved water management," he concluded.

Besse released today an eight-point outline of his "Water Resources Plan for North Carolina in the 21st Century". The eight points address the following:

1) Comprehensive inventory of resources and demands.

2) Creation of a planning baseline using existing demand trends.

3) Strengthening water interbasin transfer rules.

4) Establishing local, regional, and statewide water use efficiency planning.

5) Development of systems for reuse of graywater.

6) Plans to turn stormwater from a problem into a resource.

7) Creation of comprehensive water emergency planning.

8) Requirement that all state permit decisions account for water resources impacts.

Besse has the depth of background to address this issue on a statewide policy basis. He is a former chair of the N.C. Coastal Resources Commission, former water discharge permit (NPDES) committee chair of the N.C. Environmental Management Commission, and is now in his second four-year term as a member of the Winston-Salem City Council. Winston-Salem operates one of the best-prepared water/sewer utilities in North Carolina.

Dan Besse 2008

Email paid for by Dan Besse 2008.
PO. 15346
Winston-Salem, NC 27113

US Rebuked

Prince Andrew rebukes US on Iraq
The Duke of York criticises the US administration for failing to heed British advice on post-war strategy in Iraq.


Myth of a Maverick


Highest Military Spending

from democracynow.org

Bush Proposes Highest Military Budget Since World War II

President Bush is expected to unveil a budget today that includes military spending of more than $515 billion. The New York Times reports that if approved, military spending will reach its highest level since World War II.

The figure does not include supplemental funding for nuclear weapons or the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which has already topped $600 billion.

The Pentagon budget proposal marks a seven-percent increase over last year and the 11th consecutive year its gone up.

It comes just days after the Bush administration announced plans to seek deep cuts to Medicare and a freeze on new Medicaid spending. Overall the White House is trying to slash $208 billion from federal health programs over the next five years.

The Bush administration has increased military spending by 30% since taking office.

Green Party Candidate


Moore Co. Recycle Dates

Mar. 8
May 3
July 12
Gas station at Fresh Mkt
office paper, cardboard, newspaper, magazines, batteries
sponsors: Keep Moore Co Beautiful, League of Women Voters of MC

A Prayer For the Enemy, Rockingham, Feb. 23

Please join us
in viewing an evocative, poetic film made with wisdom and insight
A Prayer For The Enemy

With special guest Geshe Gelek Chodha

Tortured and imprisoned for their courageous demonstrations of religious freedom. We are invited to see the truth through the eyes of a group of Tibetan Buddhist nuns. This film seeks to understand their struggle against oppressive Chinese policies and inspires us with their non-violent resistance. It is a true testament to the power of love and

Leath Memorial Library
Rockingham, NC
412 E. Franklin Street
Saturday, February 23, 2008
7:00 PM
Donations greatly appreciated

Geshe Gelek is a fully ordained Tibetan Buddhist monk who received his Geshe Hla-ram-pa degree from Sera Je Mahayana University in southern India. He currently is the Resident Teacher at the Kadampa Center (FPMT) in Raleigh, N.C.

Questions: call Karen Adams 910-206-2611


The Illusion of Choice

The illusion of choice in US elections: Does it herald the dissolution of these United States of America?
Mazin Qumsiyeh


The 2008 presidential elections were likened to the World Wrestling Federation matches: take time and energy but obviously fixed/staged. A more apt analogy would go beyond these elections: the whole political system in the US is a theater play with predictable script but different actors. Yet, the damage caused by elected officials is getting so severe that another four years may finish off the experiment that is otherwise known as the USA (whether those are of a Clinton, McCain, Obama, or Romney administration).

Candidates of both parties are allowed to advance to final rounds whether in congressional or presidential elections only if they are cleared by the real powers to be. This is evident from issues they can and cannot tackle. The cleared Democratic and the Republican nominees cannot for example tackle the broken system with no proportional representation and no system to allow instant runoff elections. Both cleared nominees must believe in maintaining the US Empire by force and are only allowed to differ in tactics of advancing the "white man's burden" of "civilizing" and "improving" the world. They will not be asked about why US troops are stationed in 140 countries. Cleared Candidates of both parties will continue to support pouring billions directly into Israel and many more billions to support conflicts perceived to help Israel (e.g. Iraq and Iran) or help bring money to coffers of wealthy corporations. ExxonMobile just set a world record with PROFITS in 2007 exceeding $40 BILLION. Both will ignore (or at best pay lip service to) the racial and economic divides that are growing. Both will ignore the inability to face-up to the US criminal history (Slavery, Genocide of Native Americans, support of brutal dictators abroad, militarism etc).

Both have no interest, let alone ideas, in tackling the entrenched military-industrial complex that is bankrupting the US. They all support the pathetic "stimulus package" (with minor variations) that will give some $600 tax rebates to 117 million Americans so that "they can spend it" and stimulate the economy. Yet the real issues gate keepers will not allow to be addressed: trillions in private debts (corporate and individual), $9 trillion in government debt (which means our children will have to pay for it), a multi-trillion dollar mortgage debacle involving large scale fraud, the scandal of a raided/depleted social security safety net, the collapse of the fiat currency otherwise known as the US dollar, and much more. Yes, some candidates maybe allowed to pay lip service to reducing government deficits but the system is now beyond that. Corporations (e.g. General electric, United Technologies) and governments (e.g. Israel) who sucked up these trillions are getting to a point where they do not need the United States as a functioning or stable economic system but only a military power overseas to guard their interests there.

Cleared candidates for presidential elections will never have to answer any real difficult questions about these economic matters or about the equally important legal and social matters. When was a candidate really challenged about the violations of the US Constitution, violations that they implicitly or explicitly support? Gatekeepers make sure that cleared candidates are not challenged on impeachment or on taking legal action against an administration that:

1) Violated International treaties repeatedly. Treaties like the Geneva Conventions prohibit most actions done in Iraq and beyond from torture to collective punishment to targeting civilians etc and these treaties are mandatory under the constitution as they were ratified by congress.

2) Violated the constitution in supporting warrant-less spying on US Citizens and now seeking retroactive immunity for companies that helped and immunities for officials who did this

3) Violated the constitution by holding people in jails without due process, without habeas corpus etc.

Congress and Senators cleared for final rounds actually supported these policies with laws like the renewing FISA, funding Guantanamou, funding the CIA etc.

Cleared candidates are also not allowed to be challenged on the broken US (In)Justice system: the highest incarceration rate in the world, more than three million people are in custody or on parole (and they cannot vote), a system that employs more people than anywhere else in the world, privatized jails etc. No wonder our economy has been called a service economy.

Ron Paul articulated that the Republican party of today bears no resemblance to the party of Abraham Lincoln (Lincoln for example was against the war with Mexico). But the media gatekeepers did not give Paul much airtime or exposure. Paul is also correct that despite the rhetoric of the cleared candidates in both parties, they are all pro big government, massive debts, and destroying the future of our children for short-term political gains. The differences are minor and relate to ratio of discretionary spending on the military vs. on domestic service industries: one wants it 60:40 and the other 40:60.

Cleared Republican candidates say that governments can't run healthcare or other social programs but this sounds hollow when they say in the same breath that government is to be trusted with our money to run the biggest government beauracracy in the world: the US military. The US with 6% of the world population spends nearly the same amount as all other countries combined on the war machine. With military industries, bases, and other outlets spread in just about every congressional district in the US, it is politically impossible to tackle this issue with logic. Thus when the Soviet Union collapsed of its own weight (a lesson there not understood in the US), that military industrial complex found it convenient to latch onto the offered alternative (offered by Zionists): the threat of "Islamic extremism".

Cleared Democratic candidates can talk all they want about the rich not paying their fair share. But a logical person asks if this rhetoric can mean anything in the real globalized world. Democrats know very well that if they try to tax the rich, all the rich will have to do is relocate to other countries who would welcome them. Some already have dual citizenship (e.g. British, Israeli). In fact, many have already done so thanks to laws they have lobbied for ("free-trade" agreements, globalization which means capital and its owners can move freely between countries whereas workers cannot).

Many billionaires like the Zionist Haim Saban (the largest single contributor to the Democratic Party) have already concluded that the US has been squeezed to the max and are already positioning themselves in other countries. Rupert Murdoch is buying European media. Haliburton relocated its headquarters to Dubai (the same Haliburton which bilked taxpayers of billions supposedly to rebuild Iraq and ended up with no completed projects in Iraq). There are literally hundreds of examples. So even as the US dollar continues to decline and the US Middle class gets squeezed more, profits of these companies continue to rise. Worse comes to worse, those cleared elected officials can oblige with new wars/conflicts (look at Haliburton's profits before and after the war on Iraq as an example).

Six months ago, I stated that it is easy to predict who will be allowed to advance for final rounds of the US elections and who will be shunned and marginalized. I stated that the best indicator is to look who the Zionists in Israel and the US like. This is because Israel is not an ordinary country but is rather unique (see http://www.qumsiyeh.org/isisraelunique/ ).

Israeli preferences were published months ago and those were more predictive than anything else. Those who got the lowest scores (on "friendliness to Israel" scale) were quickly marginalized by a compliant media (e.g. Ron Paul, Garver, Kucinich). Those with the highest scores were elevated and exalted in a media that is populated heavily by those to whom Israeli interests are number 1 (e.g. Wolf Blitzer used to be a Zionist spokesperson before he was to become a CNN spokesperson).

Those in the intermediate levels like Barak Obama have to jump many times before he is taken seriously (he is called a Muslim, his middle name Hussain becomes a weapon to use against him, he is chastised for once accurately saying that no one in the Arab-Israeli conflict suffered more than the Palestinians etc). Of course Obama was attuned to this from the beginning and he started to pander to the Zionist lobby very early on when he ran for the Senate. In the past three years, he was thus supportive of Israeli war crimes in Lebanon in 2006, Israeli collective punishment of the Palestinians (crimes against humanity and war crimes), Israeli extrajudicial executions, Israeli settlement activities, maintenance of US occupation forces in Iraq (although like Sharon with Gaza, he called it redeployment to the periphery), and most recently a strong stance against Iran to serve Israeli interests. Obama even hired the services of Dennis Ross who was a lobbyist for Israel before Bill Clinton hired him and went back to work for the same lobby outfit after leaving government. Rabbi Lerner of Tikkun explained: "Jewish voters are only 2% of the U.S. population, but they are mostly concentrated in the states with the highest number of delegate and electoral votes (New York, California, Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Illinois), they contribute financially to politicians disproportionately to their percentage of the voters, and they are often in key roles as opinion shapers in the communities in which they work or live." Shlomo Shamir wrote in an analysis in Haaretz (in Hebrew not English version) that whether Obama wins or does not win the nomination or the election, that establishment Jews in the US supported him financially as a replacement to the aging black leadership which has always been looked at with suspicion (e.g. Jesse Jackson)

Of course Hillary Clinton is a bit to the right of Obama and so are McCain and Romney. McCain and Clinton from the beginning were the favorite with Zionists in the media who play the game of Democrat vs. Republican. They range from Charles Krauthammer to Thomas Friedman to Mort Zuckerman to Wolf Blitzer to Alan Combs. Giuliani was an interesting phenomenon. He was so wanting to please that Zionist establishment and distinguish himself from other pandering politicians that he chose for advisers, staff, and friends some of the most fascist/racist neoconservative and other Zionist extremists (from Daniel Pipes to Alan Dershowitz). This was a mistake on two fronts: 1) these are people who know nothing about winning elections in the US (they are mostly about a scorched earth policy abroad), 2) these are Natanyahu Likkud Zionists who alienated the other mainstream Zionist forces in the world (Labor Zionists, Kadima Zionists, even religious Zionists etc). Most Zionists were not disappointed when Giuliani dropped out of the race (actually most Republican Zionists in Florida voted for McCain).

Giuliani himself emerges a winner, as he will likely be a vice president with the McCain administration. The template for that role will be Dick Cheney's relationship to Bush. Instead of Afghanistan and Iraq, this time it will be Iran and Sudan (or Syria). The actors are altered but the script is the same.

We must face the reality that while some candidates give lip-service to challenging special interest lobbies, this is a government by and for special interests (the Israel-first lobby, the Military Lobby, the Industrial lobby etc). So what can be done beyond voting for the lesser of two evils while ignoring how these people get cleared into the final choices? We must always remember that it is our (the citizens) responsibility. We must take this opportunity to protest and speak out.

We all know that real social change occurs from grass root movements. We all know that that is what achieved ending the genocidal war on Vietnam, ending support for Apartheid South Africa, civil rights, women rights, labor rights etc. We all know that freedom is never freely given; that it must be demanded. Even the simplest things would help (like flyering and speaking out at all Candidates appearances in your state). We all know that we must look in the mirror and refuse the task given to us of being consumers rather than citizens.

So if you do get your $600 check "for shopping" why not spend it only for activism. Why not join an activist group or build your own. Why not block congressional offices. Why not build the revolution that could transform the US and the rest of the world. After all, the alternative is far too disastrous and is becoming clearer every year.

Olberman on FISA


Shakori Hills, April 17-20


Local Dems, Feb 9

Brian Deaton, chairman of the Moore County Democratic Party will speak at the February meeting of the Democratic Women of Moore County.
Mr. Deaton will discuss the Executive Committee's organizational plan for the 2008 election and what is needed to strengthen the county party.

Saturday, February 9 at 10 a.m.
Democratic Headquarters, 104-A McNeill Street, Carthage


The Sleaze Factor


Clinton Reflux


Climate, Seed Vault

Climate 'could devastate crops' *South Asia and southern Africa may be hardest hit by climate change-related food shortages by 2030.


'Doomsday' seeds arrive in Norway *The first consignment of seeds bound for the "doomsday vault" on Svalbard has arrived in Norway.