Dianne Ponders Birthdays 9/2/15

Dianne Severance

Dianne Severance

There’s nothing quite like having a birthday, no matter how old we get.

When I was younger, there was always the traditional birthday cake — homemade — by my mom and some gifts. Most of the gifts I received were back to school items, since I was born on Aug. 31. That was OK though. I was one of those kids who loved going to school — a real nerd.

Birthdays in the ensuing years have been fun, hilarious and sometimes tinged with sadness. I remember one time when my husband, Ed, served me what I thought was champagne. Turned out he had poured ginger ale into my champagne glass and vowed that I wouldn’t know the difference. I sure did notice the difference and Ed served me the real stuff.

A couple of birthdays, I got roaring drunk, and whenever I pass a certain house on a certain street in my city, I laugh. That is where my friend had to pull over to let me throw up all over the homeowner’s lawn.

On my 40th birthday, Ed and I flew to California to see his mother and sister, who lived in Lake Isabella, a bit northeast of Bakersfield. It was a wonderful time and I fell in love with the Joshua trees growing and the desert scenery.

As I write this, I am celebrating my 76th birthday. I was taken out to lunch on Sunday, and on Monday, I am being treated to lunch and to dinner. What more can a person ask? At this age, I don’t need or want anything that would break my heart if I didn’t get it. I am just happy to be alive, in relatively good health and able to get around.

So I am thankful for good friends and loved ones who make every day special, not just birthdays.

Editors Note: Happy Birthday friend, and many more, big love, Liz

Lost Sierra Hoedown is Near 9/2/15

THE LOST SIERRA HOEDOWN IS JUST AROUND THE CORNER
The kids will be back in school tomorrow and fall is definitely starting to creep its way into our lives. That means that the time is nearing for the third annual Lost Sierra Hoedown. This year, the event takes place from September 24th through 27th at the Johnsville Historic Ski Bowl, an hour north of Truckee. Last year, event organizers released a list of great reasons to attend the Hoedown. They could have just listed the performers, which is a very impressive list, for a festival is in its third year and operates with very little financial backing. Here’s their list:

1. An absolutely beautiful location and venue.
2. Onsite camping in a shaded forest environment
3. Nearly 30 awesome bands over 4 days for an affordable price.
4. One ticket covers admission, camping and parking for all four days…at the same price of a one day ticket at many events
5. Supporting the re-opening of a community non-profit ski area.
6. Swimming in Eureka Lake
7. Hiking to Eureka Peak
8. Sierra Nevada Brewery
9. The Brewing Lair
10. Electric Blue Elephant food truck
11. Cuccias Pizza and Sandwiches
12. A free Earth-In pint cup with your ticket.
13. Awesome tees and shirts from Yeah Yeah Pony Prince
14. Lower temperatures than the mid summer scorcher festivals.
15. Dancing your booty off under the bright stars
16. Spending 4 days with new friends, old friends, and family
17. Only one hour from Truckee, but a world away
18. No plastic cups or trash scattered around the venue
19. That unique Lost Sierra skyline at night
20. Seeing other people discover the magic of Johnsville for the first time
21. The old lodge feels like a time machine
22. The friendly vibe of the staff, performers and families in attendance
23. A lot of familiar faces from Alpine Meadows

Many of the favorite performers from the last two years will be returning again for this year, including The Good Luck Thrift Store Outfit and Miner. There’s also a couple of new headliners to keep things fresh. Personally we’re super excited to see sets from the Haunted Windchimes and Rabbit Wilde.

Hoedown2015Set-times-long

In order to protect the venue, ticket sales are limited to only 500 tickets, and it will not be long before they are sold out. You should definitely check out the complete details at http://lostsierrahoedown.com and make your plans before it’s too late. Even though you may only attend one or two days of the festival, the ticket is still a fantastic deal, and profits go back into getting the Historic Johnsville Ski Bowl open again. We’ll see you there!

http://lostsierrahoedown.com/tickets/

DVL Yard Sale 9/2/15

DOWNIEVILLE YARD SALE!! Labor Day Weekend-Friday, Saturday and Sunday. 9am-4pm. Located in the Plaza between Downieville Day Spa and Grubstake Saloon. Call Kathy Fischer for more info @ 289-3504. Lots of Great Stuff!!! Donations Welcome!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

In Sierra City this is the weekend for the KATHY BREED’S BIG CITY ROD RUN AND CAR PARTY Highwaymen Norcal Car Club presents it’s Big City Rod Run & Car Party. Come join us on August 28th & 29th 2015 for the 8th annual “Big City” Rod Run & Car Show. This event is more of a car party than car show even though we give out killer awards! It is a celebration of hot rods and lost youth with fun and music. Over 100 hot rods, muscle cars and vintage cars fill Main St. in Sierra City. Live bands, raffle, poker walk, craft fair and over forty unique awards from surrounding businesses.

This is Clampers Weekend in Downieville. ECV 1849 and friends spend a couple of days initiating new members, wearing red shirts, drinking spirits and sometimes using questionable language. The upside to the Clampers is their charitable enterprises including many historical plaque designations and Downieville High School scholarships and helping out families and individuals who have fallen on hard times. So welcome to the Red Shirts, Clampers and their Widders. Don’t miss out on the Native Daughters Ice Cream Social on the 29th at the Native Daughters Hall, I hear the competition for 1st Place Award is heating up and two top contenders are Mike Galan in Downieville and Mary Jungi in Sierra City. Don’t miss out on getting some ice cream and casting your votes.

On a serious note, I just want to mention the Western Sierra Medical Clinic and the front page article on the Mountain Messenger paper last week. I recall the Editor of the Mess and other “impotent” people in town saying that us Downievillians were “like spoiled children”, because we wanted to keep the process of health care including Urgent and Emergency Care at the Downieville WSMC site that had been developed for 30 plus years by FNP Frank Lang and the DFPD Downieville Ambulance. After the merger with Miners Clinic of Grass Valley, the CEO and Board of Directors decided to cut back services in Downieville and expand them in Grass Valley. Which makes no sense. The Grass Valley/Nevada County area has many doctors, Urgent Care Centers and a hospital with an Emergency Room. Western Sierra County now has the one clinic staffed with a Family Nurse Practitioner. The hours have been cut and Urgent and Emergency Care gone. Although there has been some urgent care response during the summer (we thank you FNP Lora Lee Grutkowski and Dr. Scott Kellerman) it will be interesting what happens this Fall and Winter. One hopeful thing for us is the four Community Clinics available in our region WSMC, Sierra Family Medical Clinic, Peach Tree Health, and Harmony Health, with the additional distribution of HRSA funding there could be a better logistical distribution of services for underserved areas like here in western Sierra County. We can only hope and the Sierra Frontier Medical Resources, Inc. is working on finding solutions to our dilemma. Always during an emergency call 9-1-1, don’t wait it might be a long ride to help, especially when the clinic is closed and winter weather shuts down the helicopters.

So this week we have Carrie’s Corner, Gabby, Be Encouraged, On The Shelf, DeVita’s Fringe, Dianne’s Ponderings, lots of local news, the Cats, the Others and some think pieces from our guest columnists Robert Koehler, Kathy Kelley and Mel Gurtov.

The front page photo is byCherry Simi and shows the great job Nicole Kaiser and her  son Sully have done on the Bell Tower Garden.  Thank you Nicole and Sully!

Mountain Messenger (fire pulp with ink) 8/26/15

The Mountain Messenger is a local paper in Sierra County and it focuses on many issues that mean something to somebody somewhere. Don Russell is the Editor of the Mess and he relies on Milly, who does all the work, while being scolded and brow beaten by her underlings. Although Don is supposed to be in charge, we are not sure exactly what he does. The front page is filled with words from his pen, and often on Thursday afternoons you hear people talking on the street saying things like, “what the heck is Don talking about?” or “I was at that meeting, I don’t understand what he is saying.” or “wow, Don has such a great sense of humor, he may not get the facts right, but he sure is funny.” Anyway, you will just have to read it yourself to find out what I am talking about, and if you can figure out what Don is talking about please let us know.

It's difficult to tell whether Don is thinking,, praying or sleeping. We are fairly certain he is sleeping here.

8/26/15 It’s difficult to tell whether Don is thinking,, praying or sleeping. We are fairly certain he is sleeping here.

Send anything you need published to Milly, the CEO and most important person in the office, at yesdearyousuck@yahoo.com or you may call directly to 530 289-3262 and talk to Don, (and suggest he give a raise to Milly). For a subscription: send in as below or call 530 289-3262 with credit card in hand.. Write to Don Russell at mtnmess@cwo.com and tell him you subscribed because you read about it on Sierra County Prospect…..

mess subcrip

Be Encouraged 8/26/15

By Angela M. Collier

Gay-Marriage-CeremonyThe gay thing. You know what I am for?…The heart of Christ. I understand if someone doesn’t want to bake a cake for a gay wedding or conduct the ceremony…I would never want someone to engage in business practices they feel conflicted about. I respect someone’s right to refuse service, I would want that ability as a business owner. If I were gay, I hope that I would respect anyone’s right to decline my business and go elsewhere. I would not threaten them and cry discrimination and have them shut down. Now as the daughter of a preacher that left the church and ended his days with his partner, I have seen many sides to this debate. I have Christian friends who have gay children and according to them, no amount of “prayer” is going to change anything in this area. There are gay Christians who promote carrying their cross by choosing abstinence because their sexual orientation is not going to change in this lifetime. Whether you believe the earth was made millions of years ago or thousands, whenever the “beginning” was, an active same sex lifestyle was not God’s plan per the Bible, BUT neither was my second marriage and a child born out of wedlock. In spite of my disagreement with the Supreme Court’s decision redefining marriage for many reasons, one thing has not changed for me: love-love-love. Seriously, how else are you going to introduce someone, ANYONE for that matter, to Jesus- without love?

My lands! I have “lived in sin” per the church by “shacking up” with the opposite sex. If I had been treated like many gay couples are today, I am not sure I would have ever entered another church again. Sure, I may not go to a gay wedding simply because I don’t see Jesus attending one, but there needs to be some actions and affirmations of love without compromising beliefs. For me, my home and heart is always open to family and friends that are gay because I know Jesus always has an open door. Balance…each person should ask Jesus for the right balance because I don’t understand how disowning a gay child shows the heart of Jesus. Honestly, I can’t envision Christ shutting the door on someone’s partner at Thanksgiving dinner, but that is me. One area that I feel shows an extreme lack of compassion is denying same sex members property and assets after they’ve lost their partner. It makes my stomach turn. Thank goodness my dad died in his partner’s home, or else I am not sure what would have happened with the property and assets. Heaven forbid Robert could have ended up on the street. We seem to have a lot more “theological” compassion with insurance, for example, on folks who are shacking up with the opposite sex and have children together, than we do a gay couple (and their children). I find that interesting. Again, I don’t have all the answers outside of what God has already said, so I focus on introducing folks to Christ and leaving them in the Lord’s hands to work out their faith in “fear and trembling”. Love folks like Jesus does. I promise you can love anyone without compromising your faith. I loved my father and that did not change with his lifestyle choices. How could I turn my back on the man who adopted me, and saved my life? I would not be where I am today, if my father had not opened his heart to my plight. It amazes me how people fail to realize that holding fast to what Jesus says does not negate the need to love everyone as He does. Everything from the beginning has been screwed up since Eve dropped the ball. Much of our lives is not how the Lord intended. We have to realize just because someone is gay, we cannot assume they feel a certain way with regards to business, politics, church etc. My dad would never have sued a baker or a photographer. He would not have pushed for marriage to be redefined nor would he have expected the church to change and keep him on staff with his choices. We can take a stand for Bible principles at the voting box, we can keep our churches and the structure of our ministry teams aligned with the Word and leave churches (peacefully) that do not. Just remember, there is ALWAYS an opportunity to show love without compromising our beliefs. What does this look like in your life? Only Jesus can answer that for you. Ask Him and He will lead you. God is good! Always!

Plumas Sierra Cattlewomen Fiesta 8/26/15

PLUMAS SIERRA CATTLEWOMEN WILL BE HOLDING THEIR
ANNUAL FALL FIESTA DINNER ON SATURDAY, OCTOBER 10, 2015

The Plumas Sierra Cattlewomen are having their 4th Annual Fall Fiesta Dinner on Saturday, October 10, 2015. The dinner dance is being held at the Calpine Community Center in Calpine, California. Social Hour begins at 5:00 P.M. and the buffet dinner will start at 6:00 P.M. Between dinner and dessert the PSCW are honored to have Mike Filippini serve as our auctioneer. Following dinner there will be dancing to live music. There will be a no host bar and a 50/50 drawing in addition to the auction items. Tickets are available for presale $15.00 Adults and $8.00 Child 8 and under by calling Paula at 530.994.3610 or Karen at 530.993.1655. Tickets may be available at the door!

No Room for Sale 8/26/15

The Downieville Methodist Church attendees will not be holding their annual rummage sale over Labor Day Weekend. Current Pastor, Ellie Lubiano, along with church members, wish to thank not only all who have volunteered to help with this fund raising event, but also those who have generously donated items to and have shopped at the event for the many years of its existence.
Your support is and has been greatly appreciated.

DeVita’s Fringe Fringe 8/26/15

fringe logoFringe Goes Fringe
by The Fringe
I was born just after the middle of the last century to a state that had just over 300,000 people. I lived in the wildest parts of that state. A deer tag was five bucks; we got one for every member of the family over 14 and ate every bit of the venison. There was a limit on trout but I never knew what it was. You went to the river and caught what you needed for dinner. It was a time when a person went outside and did something and didn’t worry that it might be on google and some busybody might decide to sue you. You didn’t worry about driving on back roads without a license. You didn’t worry about grading or planting and you sure never registered anything with anybody until the stock got to the auction yard. Every pickup had a rifle or shotgun, even the ones in the high school parking lot.

Until very recently, I avoided, except for a few careless moments, involvement with government in any form. One learns how to live within the narrow margin allowed by law where one doesn’t need a permit, a license, or to register. The narrow line is now nearly gone; property rights have become property liabilities. Only the poor, who own nothing, and the wealthy, who are immune to serious loss, don’t suffer from owning property, at least in California.

Recently, for reasons I refuse to apologize for, I have decided to go legit. I want to have a large garden, a few chickens and some bees. I want to level a previously disturbed area, make some changes to prevent worsening of historic erosion and thin some areas which are overgrown. I’d like to bring in some animal manure and some green waste to improve the soil. I’d like to widen a pre-existing wide spot to form a lot for transitory and infrequent parking.

There is a different registration or permit for everything I listed, even though these are things an intelligent person can manage without government help. OK, so changing drainage and bringing in “hazardous” horse poop might damage down stream property owners. But, I’m not an idiot, so probably not. And the idea that we all have to have government involvement because some of us are idiots doesn’t fly well with me. Some of us are 5 year old children; should we all stop driving and only ride a school bus?

The real point is that the gray area, those areas which one could operate in without a permit, license, registration or what have you in getting smaller. The government wants to control virtually everything in our worlds.

There are two very easy to understand reasons for this: first, there are two to three times more people alive than there is room for. One of us farts, bubbles appear in someone else’s soup. There are just too many people for us to all do what we like, the planet can’t absorb it any more.

But the second reason government wants to control virtually everything is that government, but its nature, wants to control virtually everything. Blaming population for government overreach is like blaming women when men get horny. Sure, there’s a natural relationship, but we can’t blame people for what busy bureaucrats will do.

We had a great example of that last week at the Sierra County Board of Supervisor’s meeting. Our county bureaucrats are cringing before the potential abuse from state bureaucrats. Let’s ignore for the moment the sweet irony of bureaucrats forced to hear from other bureaucrats “it’s not up to me, it’s the law.” The real point is that the bureaucrats at the state have left the realm of reasonable, have lost all accountability, and have far too much power to make arbitrary decisions. That’s true of all government.

We needed government to get the worst of everything taken care of. Too many people were dying from drunk drivers; too many people dumping oil in the gutter; too many people drilling wells. So, we set up government to deal with the too manies.

But, once you pay someone to watch something, that thing becomes the only thing to them. Worse, you make them an expert on that thing, so now they can refer to themselves when insisting they need more money to do what they do. Promotion comes from having staff under you, so the bureaucrat now gives expert justification as to why more staff are needed. When more staff are assembled and they do research, it is no shock that they find that the problem is rampant. ADD, OCD, on and on, if you can find an expert to define something, you can now take that definition and streeeeeeetch it to fit other things. It’s the old adage: when the only tool you have is a screwdriver, everything looks like a screw. That is the way the bureaucratic rationale grows, and so purview grows.

By and by, you get enough experts wringing their hands, and enough staff dredging up every last possible case* and certainly some young legislator is going to make hay with it, or some go getter administrator is going to create new interpretations of law, and so on and so on.

Until, eventually, even though it is not the government’s business whether I keep bees or not, I have to register them.

How does your Fringe Editor feel about creeping government control? He doesn’t like it one bit and he’s F’n pissed about it.

Which is why it is all the more ironic that I recently caught hell from that crusty old Communist Don Russell, hoary editor of the Mountain Messenger. I want to see cannabis commerce in the county. It exists all around us, full legalization, according to the Lt. Governor, is just around the corner. I want to see licensing and taxing, in short, the government nose deep in our stuff over ganja. Russell thinks I’m part of the problem. He’s right.

But the problem existed before me, and because the gray space is shrinking, the white and the black grow. We have to register because registering is what we do for everything.

Is there a way out? No, hell no. Rome taught us that: bureaucracies are very, very resilient. The peole invested in them are fierce fighters and even those against them, like myself, have no alternative but to comply. So, I’d rather have ganja stinking with sweat from the Man’s hands than no ganja at all.

Maybe when this system collapses of its own weight we can do better next time. But, I doubt it.

Good freaking luck with that!

*If you add up all the statistics on causes of death, you’ll find the total of all of them equal more than a hundred. This is because if you, for example, drank alcohol or smoked tobacco, no matter what else you die of, those are considered to be contributory. Are you a gay alcoholic with diabetes you died of two things and are at risk of AIDS. Bureaucrats are magic!

Nuclear Nations Sued 8/26/15

A Wedge for Nuclear Disarmament

By Robert C. Koehler

Robert Koehler

Robert Koehler

“Each of the Parties to the Treaty undertakes to pursue negotiations in good faith …”

What if words like this actually meant something?

This is Article VI of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, which the United States signed in 1970. It continues: “… on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament, and on a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control.”

Please read it again, slowly, understanding that 190 nations have signed onto these words: “a treaty on general and complete (nuclear) disarmament.” Here’s a wild thought. What if they were recited aloud every Sunday in churches and other public spaces across the nation, the way congregants at my parents’ church recited the Apostle’s Creed when I was a boy? Each word, slowly uttered, welled up from the soul. The words were sacred. Isn’t a world free of nuclear weapons — and beyond that, free of war itself — worth believing in?

The treaty’s preamble also calls for “the cessation of the manufacture of nuclear weapons, the liquidation of all their existing stockpiles, and the elimination from national arsenals of nuclear weapons and the means of their delivery …”

What if these words could stand up to the geopolitics of cynicism and military-industrial profit? What if the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons — the NPT — weren’t simply a verbal coffin in which hope for humanity’s future lay interred? What if it could come to life and help reorganize global culture?

I ask such questions only because I suddenly believe it’s possible, thanks to an unlikely player in the geopolitical realm: a nation with a population of about 70,000 people. The Republic of the Marshall Islands filed suit in both the International Court of Justice in the Hague and U.S. federal court against the five NPT signatories — the United States, the U.K., China, Russia and France — that possess nuclear weapons, demanding that they comply with the treaty they signed. For good measure, the lawsuit demands compliance from the other four nuclear nations as well — Israel, India, Pakistan and North Korea — on the grounds of international law and, well, sanity.

Here’s the thing. This audacious lawsuit is a disarmament wedge. I’ve been in touch with Laurie Ashton, the lead attorney for the case in U.S. federal court, and have read the brief appealing the suit’s dismissal, which was filed last month. To get this close to the case — to its language, to its soul — is to feel possibility begin pulsing in a unique way.

As Ashton put it, “The NGOs and protesters are just talk, talk, talk. But when you sue the nuclear nations, then they listen.”

Attesting to the seriousness of this suit, she noted: “The Marshall Islands are on record. They have a mission to make sure this never happens to another people again.”

This tiny nation of coral reefs in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, once a U.S. trust territory, was the site of 67 above-ground nuclear tests between 1946 and 1958. These tests, so cynically perpetrated on an “expendable” people, turned much of the area into radioactive wasteland, wrecked a way of life and created terrible health problems for the residents, with which they still struggle with two generations later.

“No nation should ever suffer as we have,” said Tony de Brum, foreign minister of the Republic of the Marshall Islands.

Speaking of the appeal of the decision dismissing the U.S suit, he declared: “We are in this for the long haul. We remain steadfast in our belief that nuclear weapons benefit no one and that what is right for humankind will prevail.”

Only as I began to grasp the courage and determination behind the lawsuits did the words of the NPT start to come to life for me. In nearly half a century, no other nation or organization has sued for the enforcement of this treaty, which has been contemptuously ignored by the nations that possess and continue to upgrade their nuclear arsenals. The U.S. routinely invests tens (or hundreds) of billions of dollars annually into its nukes. The NPT, for all practical purposes, doesn’t exist — not for the haves.

But it does exist.

“At the time” — in the 1960s, as the NPT was being negotiated — “there was intent to negotiate nuclear disarmament,” Ashton said. “At the time, (the nuclear danger) was much more in the consciousness. It was a different era. The level of complacency we have now was not the case then.”

That intent was encased in legal language, then filed under the heading “irrelevant.” It disappeared for 45 years. But now it’s back.

In the case in U.S. federal court, which challenges only the U.S. arsenal, the Marshall Islands are claiming injury in two ways: 1. As a signatory of the treaty themselves, they are owed U.S. participation in disarmament negotiations, as per its agreement. 2. Without that participation, as the U.S. continues to upgrade and enhance its nuclear arsenal and maintain hundreds of weapons on hair-trigger alert, the Marshall Islands — and all the rest of the Planet Earth — are in “a measurable increased risk of grave danger” from nuclear weapons use, either intentional or accidental.

Oral arguments in the U.S. case are likely to begin sometime next year. There’s no telling what will happen, of course. But this is not mere powerless, symbolic protest of a great wrong. The Marshall Islands suits challenge the nuclear states at a level that could yield real, not symbolic, victory and change.

Robert Koehler, syndicated by PeaceVoice, is a Chicago award-winning journalist and editor.

Global Security Issue 8/26/15

The number one global security issue? Climate change

by Mel Gurtov

Mel Gurtov

Mel Gurtov

In recent years, US leaders finally categorized climate change as a global threat on the order of weapons of mass destruction. Since then, the bad news surrounding climate change has gotten considerably worse.

We are, as Eric Holthaus just wrote for Rolling Stone, at the point of no return. He offers many telltale signs, ecological and environmental, some familiar and others not.

But perhaps the most decisive finding is the rate of climatic change, “unprecedented for at least the past 1,000 years” according to five scientists with the Joint Global Change Research Institute, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, in College Park, Maryland. Their study, like many others, urges immediate mitigating actions with the caution that even positive efforts will not have much impact before mid-century.

As he enters his last year of office, President Obama’s characterization of the threat posed by climate change has become quite dramatic and shrill. He told Coast Guard Academy graduates in May: “I am here today to say that climate change constitutes a serious threat to national security, an immediate risk to our national security, and, make no mistake, it will impact how our military defends our country.”

Then, on August 2, introducing his plan to curb climate change and promote his clean power plan, he said that “no challenge poses a greater threat to our future, and to future generations, than a changing climate.”

There is good reason for linking climate change to international security. Climate change impacts every major international security issue, as Keith Johnson shows in a recent article for Foreign Policy.

In the South China Sea dispute, for example, the contested islands have the potential not only to yield significant amounts of oil and gas, but also to become inundated before very long. Hence China’s land reclamation project, which in the end may be a huge waste of time and money. Environmental refugees within countries and across borders have become commonplace. The looming fight over the Arctic’s resources as the ice melts; the worldwide water crisis, affecting every country whether wealthy or poor; the shift of weather patterns that will impact food supplies; the warming of oceans and the consequences for fishing—these and many more changes are in motion now, and all have serious potential for conflict between nations.

The sooner we understand the interconnection between climate change and security, the faster we can get our priorities straight. It’s not a matter of putting the other security issues on the back burner; it’s just that climate change is the most urgent matter for all species. As the President said, “we’re the last generation that can do something about it.” Other dangers will linger for a long time, but “there is such a thing as being too late when it comes to climate change.”

Will it take a climate catastrophe to mobilize legislators to action? Will John Kerry, having denounced the “tiny minority of shoddy scientists … and extreme ideologues” who question global warming, now do the right thing and reject the Keystone XL fracking plan? Will the Obama administration finally display leadership at the next international conference on global warming? Stay tuned.

I’m not optimistic; the time to act decisively is exceedingly short, and Obama’s maneuvering room on environmental issues is limited by the Republican Deniers and I’m No Scientists. But I believe each of us must do what we can and not let the daily bad news immobilize us. Let’s support organizations that have a proven track record on the environment, such as the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Environmental Defense Fund, the Rainforest Alliance, and groups in your immediate area that are keeping the predators at bay.

Mel Gurtov, syndicated by PeaceVoice, is Professor Emeritus of Political Science at Portland State University, Editor-in-Chief of Asian Perspective, and blogs at In the Human Interest.

Let It Shine 8/26/15

By Kathy Kelly

Kathy Kelly

Kathy Kelly

“This little light of mine, I’m gonna’ let it shine! Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.”

Imagine children joyfully singing the above line that eventually became a civil rights anthem. Their innocence and happy resolve enlighten us. Yes! In the face of wars, refugee crises, weapon proliferation and unaddressed climate change impacts, let us echo the common sense of children. Let goodness shine. Or, as our young friends in Afghanistan have put it, “#Enough!” They write the word, in Dari, on the palms of their hands and show it to cameras, wanting to shout out their desire to abolish all wars.

This past summer, collaborating with Wisconsin activists, we decided to feature this refrain on signs and announcements for a 90-mile walk campaigning to end targeted drone assassinations abroad, and the similarly racist impunity granted to an increasingly militarized police force when they kill brown and black people within the U.S.

Walking through small cities and towns in Wisconsin, participants distributed leaflets and held teach-ins encouraging people to demand accountability from local police, and an end to the “Shadow Drone” program operated by the U.S. Air National Guard out of Wisconsin’s own Volk Field. Our friend Maya Evans traveled the furthest to join the walk – she coordinates Voices for Creative Nonviolence (VCNV) in the UK. Alice Gerard, from Grand Isle, New York, is our most consistent long-distance traveler, on her sixth antiwar walk with VCNV.

Brian Terrell noted what mothers speaking to Code Pink, as part of the Mothers Against Police Brutality campaign, had also noted: that surprisingly many of the officers charged with killing their children were veterans of the U.S. wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. He recalled past national events, such as the 2012 NATO summit in Chicago where organizers tried to recruit temporary security officers from amongst U.S. veterans. Former soldiers, already traumatized by war, need support, healthcare and vocational training, but instead are offered temp jobs to aim weapons at other people in predictably tense settings.

The walk was instructive. Salek Khalid, a friend of VCNV, shared “Creating a Hell on Earth: U.S. Drone Strikes Abroad,” his own in-depth presentation about the development of drone warfare. Tyler Sheafer, joining us from the Progressive Alliance near Independence, Missouri, stressed the independence of living simply, off the grid and consuming crops grown only within a 150 mile radius of one’s home, while hosts in Mauston, Wisconsin, welcomed Joe Kruse to talk about fracking and our collective need to change patterns of energy consumption. The ability to withhold our money and our labor is an important way to compel governments to restrain their violent domestic and international power.

We weren’t alone. We walked in solidarity with villagers in Gangjeong, South Korea, who had welcomed many of us to join in their campaign to stop militarization of their beautiful Jeju Island. Seeking inter-island solidarity and recognizing how closely they share the plight of Afghans burdened by the U.S. “Asia Pivot,” our friends in Okinawa, Japan, will host a walk from the north to the south of the island, protesting construction of a new U.S. military base in Henoko. Rather than provoke a new cold war, we want to shine light on our common cares and concerns, finding security in extended hands of friendship.

On August 26, some of the walkers will commit nonviolent civil resistance at Volk Field, carrying the messages about drone warfare and racial profiling into courts of law and public opinion.

Too often we imagine that a life swaddled in everyday comforts and routines is the only life possible, while half a world away, to provide those comforts to us, helpless others are made to shiver with inescapable cold or fear. It’s been instructive on these walks to uncoddle ourselves a little, and see how our light shines, unhidden, on the road through neighboring towns, singing words we’ve heard from children learning to be as adult as they can be; attempting to learn that same lesson.

The lyric goes “I’m not going to make it shine: I’m just going to let it shine.” We hope that by releasing the truth that’s already in us we can encourage others to live theirs, shining a more humane light on the violent abuses, both at home and abroad, of dark systems that perpetuate violence. On walks like this we’ve been fortunate to imagine a better life, sharing moments of purpose and sanity with the many we’ve met along the road.

Kathy Kelly (Kathy@vcnv.org) is distributed by PeaceVoice and co-coordinates Voices for Creative Nonviolence (http://vcnv.org).

Dianne Ponders Trump 8/26/15

Dianne Severance

Dianne Severance

Donald Trump apparently knows little about U.S. history and our Constitution.

He wants to send back to Mexico (and other countries, I presume) 11 million people considered illegal immigrants. They are the ones with no visas or green cards to protect them.

What is more frightening, Trump wants to take away birthright citizenship from the immigrants. People who have babies in the U.S., called “anchor babies,” can speed their way toward citizenship themselves because the children born here are citizens.

That right is guaranteed by the 14th Amendment, ratified by all the states back in 1868.

Trump obviously doesn’t realize that this country was founded and made stronger by immigrants — from the Pilgrims (and peoples before), the Irish, Italians and now Latinos, as well as Asian people.

And to expect that the “problem” will go away because Trump said it should is downright simplistic. The process would require repeal of the 14th Amendment and a new amendment limiting birthright to children of so-called pure Americans. If Trump somehow achieves all that, he would be creating a group of second-class citizens, clearly not the intent of the 14th Amendment. All the class-action lawsuits that would ensue would keep the process blocked for decades.

Trump’s thinking is dangerous, though. Yes, he has charisma, but if — God forbid — he actually becomes president, he would be Adolph Hitler resurrected. There would be pure Americans and those who would have to fight to claim their right to be citizens of this country. There would be all kinds of discrimination — of which we have too much already, witness the ongoing friction between police officers and young blacks. It is possible that Trump’s “vision” could take away birthright citizenship from all of us.

Trump’s policies could throw this country into a chaos from which we might not recover. This is a warning that should not be taken lightly. Many people more learned than I and even we average citizens need to study our history and Constitution and stand up to Trump.

Greek Festival in Yuba City 8/26/15

baklavaThe Sights, Sounds and Tastes of Greece come to Yuba City, October 3rd One Day of Authentic Food, Music and Family Fun Promised at the 7th Annual Yuba-Sutter Greek Food & Wine Festival Yuba City, CA/ October 3, 2015 — Calling all food and music lovers. The Yuba- Sutter Greek Food & Wine Festival is set to take place near Plumas Street, on Teegarden Avenue in Downtown Yuba City, California on Saturday October 3rd, from 3-9pm.

The festival will feature street vendors, craft stations, authentic Greek cuisine and live performances by world-class musicians and dancers. Experience the sights, sounds and tastes of a proud people whose cultural history dates back over 4,500 years.

Be Greek For a Day! The festival will offer a massive variety of the best food of the region prepared fresh by skilled Greek chefs and caterers. The foods will range from tasty lamb, chicken and pork skewers fresh from the roasting spit, traditional Spanakopita, Dolmades, and a variety of authentic sweet treats including homemade Baklava.

dancersInteract with costumed characters such a Hera, Zeus and Poseidon. Join the fun and dance alongside professional Greek performers as they showcasing regional choreography. A family friendly craft area will offer Greek painting, olive wreath crown making, face painting and cooking demonstrations.

Festivalgoers will also be able to enjoy many local refreshments, including Greek wines (name), Greek Beer (name) or Greek liquors such and Ouzo and Metaxas!

Dance the night away to live music performed by Mediterranean Soul. Well known in the Greek community this group performs a variety of fun Greek music styles including Kalamatiano, Tsamiko, Hasaposerviko, Zembekiko, Tsiftitelli, Hasapiko, Pentozali, Karsilama and Syrto.

All proceeds from the festival benefit the Yuba City Hands of Hope, and the Sutter Performing Arts Association Theater renovation project.

For a full schedule of performers and vendors or to buy tickets please visit http://www.yubasuttergreekfoodwinefestival.com or follow the festival on Facebook at YubaSutterGreekFoodWineFestival. Contact Fotine HalikasKopriva, festival spokesperson at (530) 415-1351 or email: fotines725@gmail.com

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