Wednesday December 6, 2017


Mark your calendars for Saturday December 16th for the Sierra City Community Christmas Potluck and Children’s Nativity Scene. Santa Claus has promised to once again attend.  Turkey and ham will be provided, bring a dish to share.

If you are looking for road information and/or what roads are not being plowed in Sierra County click on the link.

So, I’m taking a deep breath this week and trying to pretend everything is okay. We all know it isn’t, but then sometimes it is good to take a break and just think for a minute of what can we do to make things better. There is no easy solution. It is apparent the current political makeup of our representatives is not good for the middle income, poverty stricken, elderly and the young starting out. Women have taken a giant step in taking charge of their lives in the workplace and it seems it would be good for everyone to learn how stepping up, speaking out and listening to what our politicians say would be a good thing and understanding what they mean and how it will affect us is critical. Because we are told something will be good for us doesn’t insure it will be,  I guess paying attention to who someone is buddies with is important, if all your friends are rich and greedy what does that say about you…. more importantly him…. darn it … where is that deep breath. get involved, make sure you are registered to vote, pass a petition around, gather people and plan some action, whatever we do we cannot continue to be passive as we (we being American citizens) walk compliantly down this road to ruin of the American way of life.

The photo this week caught my eye and I was given permission by professional photographer Jillian Mildred Singleton to publish it.  This link will take you to articles published this week

Sierraville Christmas Potluck 12/6/17


Annual Christmas Holiday Potluck Dinner

Sierraville Fire House Saturday December 9, 2017                                           Social Hour 5:00 PM Dinner 6:00 PM

Come meet your local fire department volunteers. Looking for new members & volunteers! Everyone is welcome!

Turkey will be provided by the fire department, but we ask that you please bring a
side dish to share! BYOB For more info call Dan @ 414-8100

Mountain Messenger (time is critical) 12/6/17


We have a special note from Milly this week about when you need to get your requests in to put a greeting to your loved family, neighbors, friends and enemies right here: ” “Christmas card ads orders are being taken for the Mountain Messenger, like right now. Well, not right now, but as soon as you mail, call, email, fax or hand deliver your Christmas greeting to us. We have a variety of ad sizes that we can tailor to meet any budget. Even a budget like my own. Because Don Russell barely pays me to do all the work I do. But I’ll work hard for you, if you’d like me help you design a holiday greeting ‘card’ which is actually an advertisement, but in the form of a Christmas, or whatever you celebrate, greeting. It’s not really an ad, because you aren’t selling anything. Unless you are selling something. Then its both.
But I have to go now cuz Don wants me to work and I’m going to get yelled at soon. Thank you for supporting me (I’m homeless, by the way…and single) and the MM” .That is really weird, I don’t think that is Milly, it sounds more like Jill (who now wants to be known by Jilly… she thinks sounding more like Milly by being JIlly will result in a higher pay rate… you never know… so please call jIll Jilly and Milly Millicent.

Milly at the Mess, pictured by Chrismas 2017 Barbie Doll -she says she’s single….

Send anything you need published to Milly, the CEO and most important person in the office, at or you may call directly to 530 289-3262 and talk to Don, (and suggest he give a raise to Jill, Milly’s secretary). For a subscription: send money to Mountain Messenger at P.O. Drawer A, Downieville 95936 or call 530 289-3262 with credit card in hand.. Write to Don Russell at and tell him you subscribed because you read about it on Sierra County Prospect….. Subscriptions cost –In Sierra County $30 1yr- $50 2yrs / Out of county $35 1 yr -$60 2yrs

Chistmas Potluck in Sierra City 12/6/17


Sierra City Community  Christmas Party
Saturday, December 16, 2017 at 6 p.m. Sierra City Community Hall

Potluck, carol singing, Christmas Pageant and a special visitor, yes, you guessed…
Santa Claus!!!

Turkeys, Ham, Punch and Bread Provided. You bring your favorite main dish, side dish,
salad or dessert.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!!
Sponsored by Sierra City Fire Department Auxiliary
and Sierra City Methodist Church

Community Forums 12/6/17


“The Future of Emergency Medical &
Paramedic Services in Western Sierra County”

Downieville Community Hall
Wednesday, December 13 at 6 PM

Sierra City Community Hall
Monday, December 18 at 6 PM

Join your neighbors at these vital meetings
to maintain Advanced Medical Services and a
Paramedic on the Ambulance Response Team.

Meet your Paramedic, Rachel Defibaugh.
Appetizers will be served. Sponsored by Sierra Frontier Medical Resources, Inc.

VA Hotline Staffed 12/6/17


White House VA Hotline Now Fully Staffed
and Operational Around the Clock to Serve Nation’s Veterans

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced that the White House VA Hotline, first launched in June as part of President Donald J. Trump’s commitment to reforming VA, is now fully staffed with live agents working to serve Veterans 24-hours a day, 365 days a year.

The hotline, which became 24-hour operational in mid-October, is now staffed by a team consisting of 90 percent Veterans or employees who have a Veteran family member, and is in response to Veterans’ requests to talk to agents who could relate to their experiences.

“The White House VA Hotline provides our nation’s Veterans with a direct, dedicated contact line that allows them to interact with highly trained, live agents to answer their needs and concerns,” said VA Secretary David J. Shulkin.

“Since the initial launch of the hotline in June, we listened to our Veterans, who indicated that they prefer speaking with other Veterans and Veteran family members, and we adjusted our hiring based on that feedback,” added Shulkin.

“We’re proud that the hotline is now staffed 24/7 by a team of mostly Veterans or Veteran family members who have direct knowledge of their particular concerns and can use their experience to address them in the best way possible with the resources of the VA. This represents a true win-win for Veterans and their loved ones.”

Since 24/7 coverage began in October, the hotline has served more than 10,000 callers.

Hotline agents answer inquiries, provide directory assistance, document concerns about VA care, benefits and services, and expedite the referral and resolution of those concerns. Agents undergo regular updates and training on VA services based on hotline trends and are assisted by newly implemented tracking software to help VA capture and improve its response, referral and resolution processes to best support Veterans.

The hotline can be accessed at 855-948-2311 and is VA’s first non-clinical, non-emergency around-the-clock call center. It provides Veterans a supplemental option to report issues if they are not being addressed through VA’s normal customer service channels.

The hotline’s agents are located at a VA facility in Shepherdstown, West Virginia. Agents have access to a multitude of resources and contact information to help Veterans. The hotline also generates real-time reports to VA experts who can help address the specific issues of Veterans as well as make better-informed decisions on where program improvements are needed.

Carrie’s Decorative Corner 12/6/17


by: Carrie A. Blakley

Did you ever look at someone’s holiday decorations, and wonder how they got all of that glittery perfection finished just a few days after Thanksgiving…and then wonder how much time is actually involved in creating that wonderful festive scene…in every square inch of their home? Yeah, me neither. Quite frankly, I never wondered about it because I was far to amazed to ask. Some people are just really good at getting everything decorated to pieces for the winter holiday season. I am not one of those people. Years ago, I was one of those people. So much so that by the time the Sun set on the say after Thanksgiving, my entire home looked like it just got dipped in holiday frosting, and sent through the sparkle machine. We spend a tremendous amount of everything to try and ensure that everyone we know has the perfect holiday season. However, here are some interesting statistics about Christmas that we’re probably blissfully unaware of.

Approximately 71% of people plan to shop on line this year, with a whopping 45% planning on doing all of their shopping on line. 51% of people still enjoy getting handwritten holiday cards (via US Postal service, or otherwise). 32% of people plan on spending more this year, than they did last year, on holiday gift purchases. Only 13% of people prefer e-cards to real cards in the post. Good news for the environmentalists, is in the fact that 98% of all Christmas trees are grown on farms, and 93% of real Christmas trees are recycled. Also good news, is that over 46 million Christmas tree seedlings were planted last year by US tree farmers/growers, with slightly over 350,000 acres of land being used strictly for the growth of Christmas trees, thereby employing an estimated 100,000 people throughout the year. Back in 2012, 24.5 million real trees were purchased for a total of 1.01b USD. You’ll probably be interested in knowing that Oregon is the leading producer of both Noble and Douglas fir trees, while North Carolina is the leading producer of Frasier fir trees.

So, deck the halls, the stalls, the walls….and spare no expense about it. Wait, actually, do spare some expense. Look, as much fun as this time of year is, people have this odd habit of bringing themselves to the brink of total collapse by the end of the month. Stop. Breathe. Relax. Rest. This time of year is, unfortunately, also one of the most stressful times of the year. Please stop and take time for yourself. Give yourself a time out with a good book, a soft blanket and a nice drink. Take naps. Take hot baths. Do not let yourself get stressed out any more than you can currently handle. Not only is it not healthy for your body, but it is also not healthy for your mind, or your soul. So, this week…enjoy the holiday times, but also remember to enjoy some good rest and relaxation!

Pet Parade and Santa 12/6/17


The winners were: 1st Place – Trixie (Barbara O’Donnell)
2nd Place – Lucky Bacon (Brandon Pangman Family)
3rd Place – Lola and Chloe (Cindy McCreary)                                                             Most Annoying – Milo and Bernard (Danielle Williamson)
Cutest – Rama (Tessa Jordan)

Xmas Faire Results 12/6/17


Last weekend’s Country Christmas Faire at the Nevada County Fairgrounds saw more than 10,000 visitors, welcomed more than 120 vendors, featured 60 gingerbread houses, and hosted a canned food drive.
The 15th Annual Gingerbread House Competition featured 60 entries. Of those entries, the Best of Show was awarded to Kathy Kinney of Grass Valley and the People’s Choice Award went to Mary Sweet and Austin Ault of Rocklin. The Best of Show is chosen by the judges, and the People’s Choice is selected through ballots cast by individuals who attend the Christmas Faire.
First place winners include Keilani Strachan, Breck Lumbard, and Deacon McCollum (age 5 & under); Caylee Sinnock and Katelyn Ines (age 6-8); Savannah McNeely, Finn Becker, and Kenzie McCormick (age 9 – 12); Nicholas Husak, Sebastian Lancaster, Sunny Deily, and Jacklynn Anderson (Kits: Age 8 and under); Owen Strolle (age 13-17); Kathy Kinney (age 18 -64); Richard Decker (age 65 & over); Violet Weston (Special Needs); 1st Grade Scotten After School Program (group – children); Ramey Cousins (group – teens); and the Dorer-Bratton Family (family category).
At Sunday’s canned food drive, Grass Valley Elks Lodge #538, with help from Boy Scout Troop 21, collected canned food donations for families in need during the holiday season.
The names of all the Gingerbread House Competition winners can be found on the Fairgrounds’ website at The 2018 Country Christmas Faire is planned for Thanksgiving weekend, November 23, 24, and 25.

Sheriff’s Public Log 12/6/17


Sierra County Sheriff’s Public Information Log

ACT-Active ARR-Arrest Completed CIT-Citation Issued CNC-Cancelled or No Report Required  INA-Inactive   RPT-Report Taken   TRA-Transferred to Other Agency   UNF-Unfounded UTL-Unable to Locate or Gone on Arrival – and here is Ca Code Source


  • 0744 – Control burn by USFS Lombardi Canyon – TRA USFS
  • 0926 – Suspicious text received in Loyalton – CNC SCSO
  • 1009 – Juvenile problem in Downieville – RPT SCSO


  • 0833 – Suspicious circumstances in Sierra City –  CNC SCSO
  • 1003 – 9-1-1 request for ambulance in Loyalton – TRA LOAM
  • 1014 – Control burn by USFS near Calpine – TRA USFS
  • 1108 – Dog bite causes injury in Loyalton – RPT SCSO
  • 1407 – Illegal camping in Loyalton – CNC SCSO
  • 1853 – Subject arrested for 245,273,246.3 PC and 23152 in Loyalton ARR SCSO


  • 0938 – Control burn by USFS near Sattley – TRA USFS
  • 1255 – Threats made to family in Downieville – RPT SCSO
  • 1606 – Arrest in Auburn for 3056PC – ARR OTHR
  • 1728 – Aggressive canine in Loyalton – CNC SCSO


  • 0225 – Static called 9-1-1 from Clark Station – CNC SCSO
  • 0823 – Control burn by USFS near Sattley – TRA USFS
  • 0918 – Trailer towed in Loyalton – CNC SCSO
  • 1032 – Fraud reported in Loyalton – RPT SCSO
  • 1256 – 9-1-1 request for ambulance in Loyalton – TRA LOAM
  • 1523 – Animal neglect reported in Verdi – RPT SCSO
  • 1819 – Assistance with elderly couple in Loyalton – CNC SCSO
  • 2118 – Suspicious circumstances with elderly man near Boca -TRA NCSO


  • 0912 – Commercial burglar alarm in Downieville – CNC SCSO
  • 0914 – Control burn by USFS – near Sattley – TRA USFS
  • 1157 – Bear breaks into vehicle in Downieville – RPT SCSO
  • 1425 – Welfare check requested in Sierraville – CNC SCSO
  • 2145 –  Arrest for 23152 (a)(b) in Loyalton – ARR SCSO


  • 1030 – Alarm activation in  Downieville – CNC SCSO
  • 1440 – Possible burglary reported near Goodyears Bar – RPT SCSO
  • 1551 – Arrest for H&S 11364 & 11377 in Sierraville – ARR SCSO


  • 1903 – Verbal and physical abuse reported in Loyalton – CNC SCSO


Food Access Nevada County 12/6/17

United Way volunteer Tom Myers with Interfaith Food Ministry volunteers

This Saturday, December 9th will be the next Food Access Saturday. Food Access Saturday: Uniting to Support Working Families, was specifically designed for working individuals and families who need supplemental groceries. Currently in Nevada County, food is only distributed Monday through Friday during traditional working hours.

United Way of Nevada County, in partnership with Interfaith Food Ministry (IFM) began a six month trial of distributing food on the second Saturday of each month to help resolve the glaring gap in providing food to the “working poor.” The program was so successful, that it was extended for another six months. United Way provides a majority of the funding and manpower while IFM provides the facilities, volunteers and some additional funding.
So far, through the program, over 850 bags of groceries have been distributed to community members who are struggling to get by. If you are in need of supplemental groceries, please come by and pick up some nutritious supplemental groceries. Any working individuals & families who need food can participate. Current IFM or Food Bank of Nevada County clients, who are working and find it difficult or sometimes impossible to come during the weekly distribution, are also welcome to participate on Saturday.
The distributions take place at 440 Henderson Street, in Grass Valley, from 10am-noon (new time) on the 2nd Saturday of each month. For more information contact United Way at 274-8111 or

FireHouse News 12/6/17


ALLEGHANY: November 27th Firefighters trained & installed the studded snow
tires on the ambulance. (” Winter is here”….)
CALPINE: November 30th Firefighter training.
DOWNIEVILLE: All’s quiet….no emergencies, no meetings, no training….
LOYALTON: All’s quiet….
PIKE CITY: November 30th Firefighter training.
SATTLEY: November 30th Firefighter training.
SIERRA CITY: All’s quiet…… no meetings, no training, no emergencies….
SIERRAVILLE: November 30th Firefighter training. December 2nd Bingo night,

Carols & Candlelight 12/6/17

On the second longest Night of the Year Come and Enjoy
Carols and Candlelight in the Mountains

Friday Evening, December 22, 2017  7:00 p.m. to 8 p.m.  – Sierra City Community Church 

Carols, candlelight, poems, scripture, cookies and community – all are welcome!
Also, the heaters are good! It will be warm!
Please join in! It will be wonderful!

Legal Nuclear Attack? 12/6/17

What Kind of Nuclear Attack Would be Legal?  by John LaForge

John LaForge

US general says order to launch nuclear weapons can be refused if illegal  —Chicago Tribune, Nov. 18

US nuclear commander would balk at any “illegal” order —MSNBC, Nov. 18

General heading Strategic Command says illegal nuclear launch order can be refused—NBC News, Nov. 18

Top general says he would resist “illegal” nuke order from Trump—CBS News, Nov. 18

Top US general says he would resist illegal nuclear strike order from Donald Trump—The Independent, Nov. 18

All these headlines give the direct impression that a nuclear attack could be legal in some circumstances. But is this possible?

Air Force General John Hyten, commander of Strategic Command, told the Halifax International Security Forum Nov. 18, that an order from the president to launch nuclear weapons can be refused if that order is determined to be illegal. In the face of an unlawful order, Gen. Hyten said, he would tell Trump he couldn’t carry it out. “If it’s illegal, guess what’s going to happen?” Hyten asked the gathering. “I’m going to say, ‘Mr. President, that’s illegal.’”

Four days earlier, retired Gen. Robert Kehler, who previously held Gen. Hyten’s top job at Strategic Command, testified likewise to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, saying that nuclear war commanders could “ignore any unlawful order by the president to launch a nuclear strike.”

Generals Hyten and Kehler both said in their unprecedented public comments that the legal principles of “military necessity,” “discriminate destruction,” and “proportionality” all apply to decisions about nuclear attacks. Senator Ben Cardin, D-Maryland, asked Gen. Kehler if he meant that Strategic Command could disobey a president’s ordering a nuclear attack. “Yes,” Kehler said.

That military officers “could” disobey, or “can” refuse unlawful orders are actually understatements in this context. US military service manuals explicitly require military personal to refuse illegal orders. As everyone sworn-in to the service is taught, disobeying illegal orders is mandatory; following them is a crime worthy of court martial. As CNN reported: “Under US military law, troops are obligated to not obey an unlawful order. If they received such an order, they could resign or force Trump to fire them.” The point was made during last year’s presidential campaign, when Trump promised to unlawfully torture prisoners, kill the families of suspected militants, and bomb civilians. CNN reported then that “Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook noted on [Nov. 17, 2016] that all US troops have an obligation not to follow illegal orders.”

Certain Weapons Effects Always Unlawful

But more importantly, there is a deep and startling absurdity and a shocking ignorance in these public nuclear war conversations. Any use of nuclear weapons would be indiscriminate and illegal by definition. Only the uninitiated, uninformed or willfully blind can still imagine that today’s nuclear weapons could be used “proportionately” to produce more military good than evil. The uncontrollable, unlimited, and unfathomable magnitude of nuclear weapons effects have been established as unlawful in countless text books, law journals, government studies and independent analyses.

The use of nuclear weapons under any circumstances would be illegal because international covenants, treaties, and protocols forbid indiscriminate destruction, attacks that are disproportionate to a military objective, and weapons’ effects that “treacherously wound,” harm neutral states, or do long-term damage to the environment.

In her book Thermonuclear Monarchy Professor Elaine Scarry of Harvard reminds us that as long ago as 1995, Sweden, Iran and Egypt argued before the International Court of Justice that since nuclear weapons cause disproportionate suffering, they are prohibited by the 1868 Declaration of St. Petersburg and the Geneva Protocols of 1925, 1949, and 1977. The Republic of the Marshall Islands argued that using nuclear weapons would violate the 1907 Hague Conventions prohibiting weapons with effects that cross into neutral states. Both North Korea and India, neither of which possessed nuclear weapons in 1995, wrote to the World Court insisting that it judge them unlawful. India argued that any use of nuclear weapons, including the mere possession of them, is illegal under the Charter of the United Nations and international “rules of proportionality.”

Charles Moxley, in his 813-page study Nuclear Weapons & International Law, puts this list of treaty violations in perspective: “Nuclear weapons are not illegal just because they violate these laws of war, as exhaustively proven in this volume. They are illegal because they cause widespread and indiscriminate destruction without promoting the purpose of war: resolving conflict … They are not weapons but only wanton machines of symmetric destruction.”

Physical Effects: “Complete ruin”

What the generals and the congressional bureaucrats fail to grasp in their fantasies of legal nuclear attacks, is the vastness of the difference between conventional and nuclear weapons, and that the latter cannot be used in war without slaughtering hundreds of thousands of civilians—that is, without committing war crimes. Some uncomfortable background information might be necessary.

Moxley’s Nuclear Weapons & International Law reports that, “A nuclear detonation generates temperatures of 100 million degrees while a dynamite explosive about 3000 degrees.” What this unimaginable heat does to cities is explained by Lynn Eden in her book Whole World on Fire. “Mass fire and extensive fire damage would occur in almost every circumstance in which nuclear weapons were detonated in a suburban or urban area. …damage from mass fire would extend two to five times farther than blast damage.”

In 1977, the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s 653-page book The Effects of Nuclear Weapons notes with understatement, “persons in buildings or tunnels close to ground zero may be burned by hot gases and dust entering the structure…” In its lengthy consideration of radiation effects, taken from the US Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission, the FEMA study says in part, “Among them, apart from genetic effects, are the formation of cataracts, nonspecific life shortening, leukemia, other forms of malignant disease, and retarded development of children in utero at the time of the exposure.” As Ann Fagan Ginger reported in her book Nuclear Weapons are Illegal, “They continue to maim and kill long after they explode in a test or in a war.”

A mass fire or “firestorm” Eden writes, is “the simultaneous combustion of many fires over a large area, which causes a great volume of air to heat, rise, and suck in large amounts of fresh air at hurricane speeds from the periphery,” Eden notes. “Within ten minutes after the cataclysmic events associated with the detonation, a mass of buoyantly rising fire-heated air would signal the start of a second and distinctly different event—the development of a mass fire of gigantic scale and ferocity. This fire would quickly increase in intensity. In a fraction of an hour it would generate ground winds of hurricane force with average air temperatures well above the boiling point of water (212°F, 100°C). This would produce a lethal environment over a vast contiguous area.”

Eden’s research is worth quoting at length. “The first mass fire in history was created by allied incendiary raids at Hamburg on the night of July 27-28, 1943. Within 20 minutes, two of three buildings within an area of 4.5 square miles were on fire. In three to six hours, this fire so completely burned out an area of more than 5 square miles that the area was referred to by damage analysts as the ‘Dead City.’ Well-documented accounts describe wind speeds of hurricane force within the city. Air temperatures were calculated to be between four and five hundred degrees Fahrenheit, hundreds of degrees above the temperature of boiling water. [Up to] 100,000 people were killed in the attack. A mass fire resulting from a modern nuclear weapon could be expected to burn out an urban or suburban area of considerably larger size in a similarly brief time.”

Legal scholar George Delf’s Humanizing Hell! The Law V. Nuclear Weapons is concise, bold, and direct. “[A]rmed forces are committed by military, domestic and international law not to attack non-combatants. Any government which adopts a defense policy implying such an attack is therefore inciting its own forces to commit war crimes on a gigantic and suicidal scale.”

John LaForge, syndicated by PeaceVoice, is Co-director of Nukewatch, a peace and environmental justice group in Wisconsin, and is co-editor with Arianne Peterson of Nuclear Heartland, Revised: A Guide to the 450 Land-Based Missiles of the United States.

Be Encouraged 12/6/17

by Angela Collier

Out of respect for Jesus, whom I love more than anyone (as it should be), there is plenty out there for a believer to get mixed up in that would go against conscience and explicitly against His will. Out of love for not just a Savior but my King, may I not cross certain lines, lest I spit in the face of the One treasured most. When I’m tempted to do something REALLY bad, (something beyond my continual struggle of cussing), I ponder everything God has done. How can I purposely set out to do a wrong thing knowing how much He loves us and every good thing in our lives is from His hand? ‘Tis the season of Christmas trees (some tackier than others), nativity scenes (with or without the Wise Men) and the mailing of greeting cards (which hopefully is keeping our beloved Petra busy at the Post Office and FYI she likes Pepsi and Dunkin Donuts coffee; Hazelnut or French Vanilla…hint hint).

Many have a “head” knowledge of the baby Jesus born by a virgin Mary, who suffered under Pontius Pilot, was crucified & buried for our sins and rose on the third day (Easter)…etc. Many have heard of John 3:16…”For God so loved the world that He sent His only Son, that whosoever believes in Him will not perish, but will have everlasting life…” Sure, lots of folks know of baby Jesus, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they KNOW Him. Our baby King grew up and He now sits at the right hand of our Heavenly Father. When He returns and the sorry lot of us all, stand before Him, many will say that they know Him. He is going to look at some, laugh (but it won’t be too funny) and tell them to take a hike and go to hell…which will really mean…go-to-hell. Sitting in church on Sunday, having a Jesus T-shirt or bumper sticker is not what it’s about. Church is important, and should not be down played, but lots of folks sitting in those pews will not spend eternity with Him. Plenty of believers aren’t in church and plenty of us are particular about our clothing and bumper stickers. What will be evident in a true believer of Jesus and what will separate the sheep from the goats on judgement day are the fruits of their belief. It will have nothing to do with legalism or living by a man made standard of holiness but will always, always, always, always come down to issues of the heart and His standard. When we truly blow it, are we sorrowful? Do we apologize? Truly repent and go another way? Or do we laugh and pat ourselves on the back?

We talk and joke about Santa’s “Naughty or Nice” list, but true believers will never delight or relish in breaking God’s heart and causing others pain. At home, did we love our spouse and kids? Did we care more about their well being and prosperity than personal ambition? Did we love our coworkers or busily try to run them in the ground? Did we work with integrity for those that pay our salary? Did we stick up for the bullied kid at school? Were we noble teachers that left a golden mark on hearts or did we take pleasure in breaking the spirit of our pupils? These are real issues that are heavy hitters, seriously important to Jesus. Did you care about the inmate? The orphan? Widow? Did you care for the sick? The dying? Did you love Jesus more than pop culture? Did you stand for truth or did you back the corrupt?

The motivation for why we do something or abstain should be so deeply routed in our love for God, that we naturally cause the world to be a better place. We will naturally shine bright in a dark world. Be blessed this week! Choose wisely! Choose from a heart of love! God is good! Always!

EPA Fire Update 12/6/17

EPA News Advisory: Northern California Fires Response Update

SANTA ROSA, Calif. — As part of the multi-agency response to the recent fires in Northern California, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has started work to remove asbestos-contaminated debris at fire-damaged properties in Lake and Mendocino counties. This work follows the completion of household hazardous waste (HHW) collection and disposal conducted by the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC).

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recently requested EPA conduct this work. EPA teams have started work in the area this week, developing a plan for removal operations and beginning bulk asbestos debris collection. Asbestos removal can take anywhere from several hours to a few days depending on the size of the property.

Following a natural disaster, homeowners may need to quickly conduct emergency renovations or demolition of their homes. Many homes, particularly older ones, may contain asbestos, a known carcinogen. Asbestos that has been disturbed may pose a health hazard to homeowners and to workers aiding with disaster recovery.

EPA is also continuing asbestos removal at fire-impacted parcels Napa and Sonoma counties, where household hazardous waste collection is nearly complete.

For additional information on EPA’s response activities, please visit:

Doves Needed Here 12/6/17

Lawrence Wittner

The Peace Movement and Electoral Politics  by Lawrence Wittner

Although the U.S. peace movement has been on the wane for about a decade, it remains a viable force in American life. Organizations like Peace Action, the American Friends Service Committee, Physicians for Social Responsibility, the Fellowship of Reconciliation, Jewish Voice for Peace, and numerous others have significant memberships, seasoned staff, and enough financial resources to sustain their agitation in communities around the country. If they currently lack the power to mobilize the mass demonstrations that characterized some of their past struggles, they continue to educate Americans about the dangers of militarism and influence a portion of Congress.

Even as the movement declined during the Obama presidential years, it managed to eke out some occasional victories, most notably a treaty (New START) reducing the number of U.S. and Russian strategic nuclear weapons, modest cutbacks in the U.S. military budget, the Iran nuclear deal, and the normalization of U.S. diplomatic relations with Cuba.

But the total takeover of the U.S. government by the Republican Party, occasioned by the GOP sweep in the 2016 elections, has produced a disaster for the peace movement―and for anyone concerned about building a peaceful world. In less than a year in office, the Trump administration has escalated U.S. military intervention across the globe, secured a massive increase in U.S. military spending, issued reckless threats of war (including nuclear war) against North Korea, and forged close partnerships with some of the world’s most repressive regimes. Nor is the peace movement growing significantly in response to this disaster―probably because progressive activists, the peace movement’s major constituency, are so overwhelmed by the government’s sweeping rightwing assault that they are preoccupied with desperately defending social and economic justice, civil liberties, and environmental sustainability.

As long as this situation continues, it seems unlikely that the peace movement is going to win many victories. With hawkish, rightwing Republicans controlling the federal government, the peace movement’s educational campaigns, small-scale demonstrations, and Congressional lobbying will probably have little effect on U.S. public policy.

But there is a promising way to change the federal government. A likely outcome of the November 2018 Congressional elections is that the Republicans will retain control of the U.S. Senate, thanks to the large number of Democratic incumbents running for the 33 contested seats. Even so, the Democrats have a good chance to retake control of the House of Representatives, where every seat is up for grabs. For more than six months, generic ballot polls about the House elections have shown Democrats with a lead ranging between 8-12 points over their Republican opponents. Many analysts believe that this significant a lead will produce a “wave election”―one that will sweep the Democrats into power. And with one branch of Congress in the hands of the Democrats, U.S. foreign and military policy could shift substantially.

Would it, though? After all, despite significant differences with the GOP on domestic policy, aren’t Congressional Democrats just as hawkish as the Republicans on foreign and military policy?

There are numerous indications that they are not. Although, in some cases during the Trump era, Congressional Democrats have joined their Republican counterparts in voting for hawkish legislation, representatives from the two parties have diverged dramatically on key foreign and military policy issues. In July 2017, the House took up a bill reducing U.S. government spending on nuclear nonproliferation programs but increasing spending on nuclear weapons programs by 10.7 percent. The bill passed by a vote of 235 to 192, with only five Democrats voting for it and only five Republicans voting against it. Similarly, in October 2017, when the House voted on the People’s Budget―a measure drawn up by the Congressional Progressive Caucus that boosted social spending and cut military spending―Democratic members of the House supported it by a vote of 108 to 79. By contrast, the Republican vote on it was zero in favor and 235 opposed.

Sharp party divisions on foreign and military policy have also occurred in the U.S. Senate, with the most dramatic of them focused on a proposal to repeal the Authorization for the Use of Military Force―a loose measure, passed in 2001, that has been used subsequently by U.S. Presidents to justify 37 U.S. military operations in 14 countries. Coming to a vote in September 2017, the proposal to repeal the Authorization was defeated, 61 to 36. Only three Republicans (out of 52) voted for repeal. But repeal was supported by 31 Democrats (out of 46) and two Independents.

With the 2018 Congressional elections occurring in less than a year, the peace movement has the opportunity to enhance its leverage over U.S. public policy by helping to flip the House to Democratic control. In addition, playing a role in the election campaign would strengthen the movement’s ties with progressive organizations, which, horrified by the rightwing onslaught, will be working zealously toward that same goal. At the least, peace and progressive activists should be able to unite behind the provisions of the People’s Budget―cutting military programs and increasing spending on public education, health, and welfare.

But how can the peace movement become an effective player in the 2018 Congressional election campaign, supporting peace-oriented Democrats against their hawkish Republican (and sometimes hawkish Democratic) opponents? Some groups, like the Council for a Livable World, Peace Action, and Progressive Democrats of America, already raise money for peace candidates in Democratic primaries and general elections. Others could do so as well. Also, to make their support more visible to politicians, peace groups could play a more prominent role in election campaigns―volunteering to distribute flyers on specific dates, staff phone banks for specific periods, and engage in door-to-door canvassing at specific times.

Of course, the peace movement need not drop all its other activities. But the 2018 elections do offer it a particularly useful opportunity to help steer the U.S. government away from militarism and war.

Dr. Lawrence Wittner, syndicated by PeaceVoice, is Professor of History emeritus at SUNY/Albany and the author of Confronting the Bomb (Stanford University Press).

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