Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Deep Concerns about our US Constitution

How easy to see why so many worldwide interpret US policies and actions as a kind of Crusade against certain peoples...

Amnesty International USA's Security with Human Rights campaign aims to gather, and then deliver to President Obama, 100,000 signatures either in on line response or upon paper airplane petitions by May 1, 2012, with the goal of prompting him to apologize to Maher Arar during whatever remarks he delivers to commemorate the United Nations' International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, observed annually on June 26.When the struggle to promote, protect and defend human rights seems overwhelming, try to remember the courage of Mr. Arar and the other victims and survivors of torture and their families.

There are links to the action via the North Carolina Stop Torture Now - NCSTN Web site: GO here

or, more directly: GO here

CUT PASTE for your friends:
or, more directly:

ALSO VISIT Bill of Rights Defense Committee

Find all these below at or GO here

Saturday, August 13, 2011

US MAYORS Call for END to War!

Since much of the world see the US overkill and provocations around the world as Greed or Power driven if not "Empire Seeking"...I'm including some articles here on my "No More Crusades" site - related to the large ongoing efforts among thousands of US groups to END THE WARS and related corruptions. Today also find a posting focused on Somalia's Children: One Way to Help on my blogsite "One Heart For Peace" GO here

The following is from David Swanson:

Congress Finally Finds Its Purse

For years there was debate on Capitol Hill over whether or not Congress could end a war by cutting off the funding. Despite the Constitution's clarity, and the clarity of numerous precedents, Senator Russ Feingold was obliged to hold hearings to explain to his colleagues what the power of the purse is. That debate is over.

Those who pretended for years they didn't have the power to cut off the dollar spigot have dropped the pretense. Now it's purely about whether they have the will. The reason for this shift, of course, is that they are actually close to having the will.

Credit Mayor Dave Norris

Unless Rahm Emanuel talks them out of it over the weekend, come Monday the US Conference of Mayors will vote to pass its first resolution since Vietnam calling for the end of war and the re-allocation of all that money to something useful.

...The first mayor to sign onto this resolution other than the original sponsor Antonio Villaraigosa of Los Angeles was Charlottesville, Va.'s Dave Norris. Norris signed on immediately upon being asked, and his name helped encourage others to join the list of sponsors.

Eventually 21 mayors signed onto the resolution prior to the commencement of the conference now underway in Baltimore.

Here is the resolution that will make news on Monday, just as President Obama appears likely to violate his commitment to a major withdrawal from Afghanistan, and just as Congress is moving to cut off funding for the unauthorized war in Libya:



WHEREAS, the severity of the ongoing economic crisis has created budget shortfalls at all levels of government and requires us to re-examine our national spending priorities; and

WHEREAS, the people of the United States are collectively paying approximately $126 billion dollars per year to wage war in Iraq and Afghanistan; and

WHEREAS, 6,024 members of the US armed forces have died in these wars; and at least 120,000 civilians have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan since the coalition attacks began.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the U.S. Conference of Mayors supports efforts to speed up the ending of these wars; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the U.S. Conference of Mayors calls on the U.S. Congress to bring these war dollars home to meet vital human needs, promote job creation, rebuild our infrastructure, aid municipal and state governments, and develop a new economy based upon renewable, sustainable energy


Credit where it's due.

Thank your Mayor, Charlottesville! (And others if deserved)

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Ramadhan Event (Link)

GO here MANCHESTER: Ramadhan Event (one week to go)

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Five Scriptures You Won’t Hear at Rick Perry’s Prayer Event

Published on Wednesday, August 3, 2011 by

by Jim Rigby

As a native Texan, I’m used to crazy religion and crazy politics. So, the announcement of Gov. Rick Perry’s plans for “The Response,” a prayer event scheduled for Aug. 6 at Houston’s Reliant Stadium, was not a surprise.

But as a Presbyterian minister and community organizer, it’s part of my job to stand up for my neighbors. The use of the governor’s office to promote one religion in a country with such rich religious diversity is obviously unhealthy politics, but -- if one takes the Christian and Jewish scriptures seriously -- it is also unhealthy religion. Here are five rather important verses of scripture you aren’t likely to hear at “The Response”:

Don’t make a show of prayer

“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray in public places to be seen by others… But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your heavenly parent, who is unseen.” (Matt. 6:5-6)

While Jesus never addressed the issues most important to some of this event’s co-sponsors, such as homosexuality and abortion, he did speak out against public displays of religion. Whatever Jesus meant by the word “prayer,” it seems to have been about the quiet and personal. The disciples had to ask Jesus how to pray, which is a pretty good indication that he wasn’t praying a lot publicly. What he did say about prayer carried a warning label: “Don’t rub it in other people’s faces.”

God doesn’t withhold rain because we’ve done something wrong

“God causes the sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” (Matt. 5:45)

Perry recently called Texans to pray for rain, which implies that God steers clouds toward the worthy. According to Right Wing Watch, one of the events co-sponsors has said the earthquake in Japan happened because the emperor had sex with the Sun Goddess. It may be a part of our lower nature to blame disasters on people we don’t like or understand, but Jesus taught that God sends rain on the just and unjust. Furthermore, he said our love should be equally nonselective.

I have chosen Christianity as my life’s religion, but when nonjudgmental love is taken out of its center, it becomes poisonous and predatory. The word “God” can be a helpful symbol for all the transcendentals of life, but the symbol becomes instantly pathological when used as a scientific explanation or political justification.

God doesn’t have favorites

Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism.” (Acts 10:34)

When the Bible says that God is not a “respecter of persons” it means that God doesn’t have a favorite country or religion. The idea that God wants Christians to be in charge of other people violates Jesus’ teaching that we are to take the lowest place. We are to change the world by humble persuasion and good example, not by messianic coercion. The assumption that Christianity and America are God’s two favorite things will be particularly ironic, as the prayer event falls on the anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima.

Worship by those who neglect the poor is offensive to God

“I hate, I despise your religious festivals; your assemblies are a stench to me… Away with the noise of your songs! I will not listen to the music of your harps. But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!” (Amos 5:21-24)

The prophet Amos chastised the religion of his day for praying to God while mistreating people. Texas leads the nation in citizens who are uninsured, who work for minimum wage, and who die from unsafe working conditions on construction sites. Our state has the widest gap between rich and poor of any in the union. If the governor wants to call us to repentance it should begin with our real sins against the poor not the imaginary sins dreamed up by his friends.

The heart of Christian ethics is being a good neighbor

When Jesus told the story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:30-37) it was to teach humility to a rich young zealot who thought he was approaching moral perfection. The Samaritans were the scapegoats of the day. The rich young ruler would consider Samarians heretics and immoral people. Jesus used a merciful Samaritan as the example of ethical perfection. It is a lesson many Christians have yet to learn.

One sponsor of the event, the American Family Association, is listed by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group. The group’s director of analysis for government and policy is quoted by the SPLC as saying that Hitler was “an active homosexual” who sought out gays “because he could not get straight soldiers to be savage and brutal and vicious enough.” He also said Muslims should not be allowed in the military or be allowed to build mosques in the United States.

None of this analysis springs from malice. In fact, I must confess that I have a soft spot for Rick Perry. When the James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act in Texas was passed, I had the honor of pushing the wheelchair of Byrd’s mother into the governor’s office for the signing. I privately thanked Perry for his courage in standing up to all the groups who had fought against the bill; I knew he might pay a political price for signing the bill. Tears came to his eyes, and he said, “It’s the right thing to do.”

I can’t know what is in Perry’s heart, of course, but I do know the problem isn’t one politician but rather a nation that has embraced an unhealthy political arrogance undergirded by even unhealthier religious hubris. The “prayer” that is most needed at this time is for each of us, believer or not, to go into our own heart and find the humility and empathy that is at the core of righteousness, political and spiritual.

Jim Rigby is pastor of St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Austin, TX. He can be reached at, and videos of his sermons are available online here

Thursday, August 4, 2011

KABUL Report & More from Voices for Creative NonViolence

Mid-Trip Report From Voices' Delegation in Kabul

By Ed Kinane

August 2, 2011 Kabul

Drop someone off at the airport here and you’ll be searched three times before getting into the parking lot.

Kabul is a city of sandbags and armed men, both on foot and in big, shiny, assertive, urgently-honking vehicles. In Kabul much life is lived opaquely — behind barbed wire and thick metal doors and high walls.

Early on we are told that, according to the Red Cross, the area is enduring the worst security situation in 30 years. Those with a stake in how things are dread the talked-about (and fanciful?) departure of international forces – of the invaders and occupiers — for fear of civil war.

Some seem to prefer the devil they’ve come to know this past excruciating decade to other devils harder to predict, harder to identify.

Our little delegation is severely restricted in our movements – we keep a low profile: we don’t linger outside those high walls. We stay inside until our driver arrives and then quickly hop in the van. We may not even be able to get beyond Kabul – a tan, dusty, decaying, sprawling town with what must be some of the densest, scariest, least regulated traffic on the planet.

(Not once in our two weeks here have we stopped for a red light.)

Do we avoid venturing forth from the clipped lawns and rose gardens of our guest house compound? Hardly. We are blessed with our unflappable driver, who with preternatural reflexes plunges us into the swirling traffic. And, especially, we are blessed with our interpreter and mentor, “Hakim” – the Singaporean physician who for years has worked among Afghan refugees and the rural youth of Bamiyan province.

Together with our driver and Hakim and often with some of those youth, we visit a primary school, a hospital, an orphanage, and a displaced persons camp. We sit down with filmmakers, journalists, editors, social entrepreneurs, and with the staff of various NGOs — internationals, Afghan-Americans, Afghans young and old, Afghans high and low.

Between Hakim and delegation coordinator Mary Dean, both working their cell phones, we somehow manage to have two, three, sometimes an exhausting four, hastily arranged but often extended encounters a day, day after day.

Whether guarded or candid, perplexing or illuminating, depressing or inspiring, each provides a piece (a figment?) of the puzzle. We glimpse complexities and contradictions – and tragedies — perhaps beyond our sheltered imaginations.

Lowering America’s War Ceiling? Imperial Psychosis on Display
by Tom Engelhardt
August 2, 2011

By now, it seems as if everybody and his brother has joined the debt-ceiling imbroglio in Washington, perhaps the strangest homespun drama of our time. It’s as if Washington’s leading political players, aided and abetted by the media’s love of the horserace, had eaten LSD-laced brownies, then gone on stage before an audience of millions to enact a psychotic spectacle of American decline.

And yet, among the dramatis personae we’ve been watching, there are clearly missing actors. They happen to be out of town, part of a traveling roadshow. When it comes to their production, however, there has, of late, been little publicity, few reviewers, and only the most modest media attention. Moreover, unlike the scenery-chewing divas in Washington, these actors have simply been going about their business as if nothing out of the ordinary were happening.

The next Global Days of Listening will be:August 21, 2011 beginning at approximately 11 am Eastern / 7:30 pm Afg. for ~4 hours

FULL GLOBAL DAYS OF LISTENING for the International Day of Peace September 21, 2011 24-hours long!For all days of listening:Listen to, and talk about, what it is like to live in war-torn countries & about the wish to live without wars.Listen online: LiveStream

If you would like to talk . . .Register by email: to get a call-in time.

North America Call: (661) 673-8600 & access code: 295191#.OUTSIDE North America: Request a time to talk & your SKYPE ID to: globaldaysoflistening@gmail.comInspired by the Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers, Afghans For Peace, and the Iraqi & American Reconciliation Project.

Talk with ordinary people from Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine, Israel, Egypt, Yemen, and other countries.


Joint Solidarity Statement by the October 2011 Movement, the National Catholic Worker Gathering and SOA Watch South Florida/ SouthComWatchGrassroots resistance actions are being coordinated around the country in early October.

Three efforts in particular share common cause:* The October2011 Movement in Washington, DC to decry the start of the eleventh year of war on the people of Afghanistan;* The National Catholic Worker Movement and Nevada Desert Experience to demonstrate at Creech Air Force Base near Las Vegas, Nevada where armed drone aircraft are headquartered and controlled;*

School of the Americas Watch South Florida / SouthCom Watch to march to the new headquarters of the U.S. Southern Command (SouthCom) outside of Miami, Florida, which is responsible for all U.S. military operations throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.

Hear/Read Pepe Escobar and Derric Crowe from "ReThink Afghanistan" interviewed on "The Stream."Why the US won't leave AfghanistanSurge, bribe and run? Or surge, bribe and stay? How US military bases and the energy war play out in Afghanistan.