SWEC Asks Help Fighting Border Fence

April 29, 2008

The Unitarian Universalists will host a meeting about the GI Rights Hotline on Sunday, ed April 6 at 10:30 a.m. in Las Cruces at the UU Church 2000 S. Solano. The event will be explanation of an ongoing effort at supplying information to GIs who want to deal with various issues such as AWOL/UA, medications
harassment, nurse
promotion with out commensurate pay, or conscientious objector discharge. All support to our troops is voluntary and based on knowledge of military regulations. The GI Rights Hotline has access to legal counsel but again is a voluntary operation.
The Unitarian Universalists will host a meeting about the GI Rights Hotline on Sunday, ed April 6 at 10:30 a.m. in Las Cruces at the UU Church 2000 S. Solano. The event will be explanation of an ongoing effort at supplying information to GIs who want to deal with various issues such as AWOL/UA, medications
harassment, nurse
promotion with out commensurate pay, or conscientious objector discharge. All support to our troops is voluntary and based on knowledge of military regulations. The GI Rights Hotline has access to legal counsel but again is a voluntary operation.
By Pamela Adams Hirst.

William Joseph of Silver City has emerged over recent years as a point man in southern New Mexico and beyond on the issues of sustainability and global climate change. He spearheaded a movement as organizer of the Silver City Climate Change Conference a couple of years ago. His keynote speeches, stomach
workshops and lectures  are cornerstones of many environmental conferences here in the Southwest.

At the second annual Local Solutions Conference, a sustainable lifestyle event held in Las Cruces on March 8, his closing workshop, “Living Differently in Challenging Times,” called for nothing short of a cultural renaissance in America.

“I’m in recovery from Western civilization,” he said. “We’re on a treadmill following culture like robots. We need to find another way to live.”

Quoting Henry David Thoreau, Joseph added, “My life is a friction against the machine.” The modern crusader lamented that technology is overtaking culture with computers, iPods and cell phones.

The workshop also drew heavily on the philosophyof Richard Dawkins and his notion of “memes.”

“Memes are to the culture what genes are to the body. They are passed from generation to generation and become embedded in our society,” Joseph explained.

“Memes” hold us to the notions of war, lead us into over-consumption and convince us that bigger is better.  “We are in a crisis of character versus culture,” Joseph said. “We are functioning on our ‘memes,’ not our own instincts, and as a result have become disconnected from the earth.”

Contemporary ideas such as that cars make life easier, the ‘food pyramid,’ the eight-hour work day, growth is good for the economy, skinny is sexy, fast food is convenient, are all common “memes.” They are mirrored in our society, and they constitute the environment which we live in today, Joseph stressed.

Narcissism, inauthenticity and power are based in the most dominant “memes”: narcissism as supported through the self-seeking gratification that drives everything in today’s culture; inauthenticity as represented in the superficiality promoted in media fashion magazines, movies, and television; and power as represented in the desire for control.

“I see these three ‘memes’ running everything, driving the techno-industrial train,” Joseph said. “We believe technology will bail us out: Go buy a hybrid and everything will be all right. Well, everything is not going to be all right. It’s a culture of absurdities; civilization is trapped in a circus tent,” Joseph charged.

“We are killing the earth because we are disconnected from it. How do we get back home to Mother Nature and the natural worlds?” he asked.

“First we must address the three dominant memes by facing our addictions: We must get out of denial, label our addictions, and admit our lifestyles are killing us.

“Our culture creates our narcissism; I don’t believe it is embedded in human nature. We must face what it is to be a human being. Is it an abundance of stuff or an abundance of something else?” Joseph asked. “Can we abandon this culture? Abandon this masquerade that holds us in constant slavery to our addictions?”

He argued that the three major “memes” need to be replaced with four earthly values:

1. Reverence — Show reference for all life, including our own and stop viewing the earth as an object to be exploited. We must stop using the Earth for our own consumption.

2. Humility — Be a humble servant for all that is living. This is the opposite of narcissism.  Put your energy, time, and devotion into the seasons and living creatures. Adapt a new value system.

3. Gratitude — Be more focused on gratitude for what you have than on winning the lottery. Demonstrate gratitude for the earth by serving life on earth more generously.

4. Simplicity — Seek a more simple life. Abandon civilization, not the location of civilization, but rather the values of civilization as we know them now.

Change must come from within ourselves, Joseph insists. That much ballyhooed change professed by candidates in this presidential election, he emphasized, will never flow out of Washington D.C.

“How can we live differently when all we know is cars and television? We must pull off the tentacles of that ‘meme’ and look for a new way of being , a  life outside of television and cars.”

In closing William Joseph offered his own 12-step Cultural Recovery Program:

Concentrate on these principles, he said, and you will begin to change your behavior:

1. Abundance is less, not more.
2. Replace competition with cooperation.
3. Replace the pursuit of profit in daily living with service to the earth and to others.
4. Replace growth with curtailment.
5. Live simply. Simple living is joyful living. Incorporate the four earthly values into your daily life.
6. Live slowly with the earth’s natural movements. Follow a bird, watch a tree grow, or sit in a park all day instead of in front of a television all day.
7. Fear and despair are the tools of those in power. Throw imagination and creativity against your next problem. Don’t be intimidated or afraid.
8. Replace convenience with necessity, and only buy what you need.
9. Replace the time filter of constant noise from television and radios with silence.
10. Replace irrational spirituality with earthly mysticism.
11. Replace machines with direct experience of the natural world.
12. Passion versus pattern: Replace the desire for keeping up with your neighbor by a passion for spontaneity.

In conlusion, Joseph urged, switch your value system and tap into your internal joy.
The Unitarian Universalists will host a meeting about the GI Rights Hotline on Sunday, ed April 6 at 10:30 a.m. in Las Cruces at the UU Church 2000 S. Solano. The event will be explanation of an ongoing effort at supplying information to GIs who want to deal with various issues such as AWOL/UA, medications
harassment, nurse
promotion with out commensurate pay, or conscientious objector discharge. All support to our troops is voluntary and based on knowledge of military regulations. The GI Rights Hotline has access to legal counsel but again is a voluntary operation.
By Pamela Adams Hirst.

William Joseph of Silver City has emerged over recent years as a point man in southern New Mexico and beyond on the issues of sustainability and global climate change. He spearheaded a movement as organizer of the Silver City Climate Change Conference a couple of years ago. His keynote speeches, stomach
workshops and lectures  are cornerstones of many environmental conferences here in the Southwest.

At the second annual Local Solutions Conference, a sustainable lifestyle event held in Las Cruces on March 8, his closing workshop, “Living Differently in Challenging Times,” called for nothing short of a cultural renaissance in America.

“I’m in recovery from Western civilization,” he said. “We’re on a treadmill following culture like robots. We need to find another way to live.”

Quoting Henry David Thoreau, Joseph added, “My life is a friction against the machine.” The modern crusader lamented that technology is overtaking culture with computers, iPods and cell phones.

The workshop also drew heavily on the philosophyof Richard Dawkins and his notion of “memes.”

“Memes are to the culture what genes are to the body. They are passed from generation to generation and become embedded in our society,” Joseph explained.

“Memes” hold us to the notions of war, lead us into over-consumption and convince us that bigger is better.  “We are in a crisis of character versus culture,” Joseph said. “We are functioning on our ‘memes,’ not our own instincts, and as a result have become disconnected from the earth.”

Contemporary ideas such as that cars make life easier, the ‘food pyramid,’ the eight-hour work day, growth is good for the economy, skinny is sexy, fast food is convenient, are all common “memes.” They are mirrored in our society, and they constitute the environment which we live in today, Joseph stressed.

Narcissism, inauthenticity and power are based in the most dominant “memes”: narcissism as supported through the self-seeking gratification that drives everything in today’s culture; inauthenticity as represented in the superficiality promoted in media fashion magazines, movies, and television; and power as represented in the desire for control.

“I see these three ‘memes’ running everything, driving the techno-industrial train,” Joseph said. “We believe technology will bail us out: Go buy a hybrid and everything will be all right. Well, everything is not going to be all right. It’s a culture of absurdities; civilization is trapped in a circus tent,” Joseph charged.

“We are killing the earth because we are disconnected from it. How do we get back home to Mother Nature and the natural worlds?” he asked.

“First we must address the three dominant memes by facing our addictions: We must get out of denial, label our addictions, and admit our lifestyles are killing us.

“Our culture creates our narcissism; I don’t believe it is embedded in human nature. We must face what it is to be a human being. Is it an abundance of stuff or an abundance of something else?” Joseph asked. “Can we abandon this culture? Abandon this masquerade that holds us in constant slavery to our addictions?”

He argued that the three major “memes” need to be replaced with four earthly values:

1. Reverence — Show reference for all life, including our own and stop viewing the earth as an object to be exploited. We must stop using the Earth for our own consumption.

2. Humility — Be a humble servant for all that is living. This is the opposite of narcissism.  Put your energy, time, and devotion into the seasons and living creatures. Adapt a new value system.

3. Gratitude — Be more focused on gratitude for what you have than on winning the lottery. Demonstrate gratitude for the earth by serving life on earth more generously.

4. Simplicity — Seek a more simple life. Abandon civilization, not the location of civilization, but rather the values of civilization as we know them now.

Change must come from within ourselves, Joseph insists. That much ballyhooed change professed by candidates in this presidential election, he emphasized, will never flow out of Washington D.C.

“How can we live differently when all we know is cars and television? We must pull off the tentacles of that ‘meme’ and look for a new way of being , a  life outside of television and cars.”

In closing William Joseph offered his own 12-step Cultural Recovery Program:

Concentrate on these principles, he said, and you will begin to change your behavior:

1. Abundance is less, not more.
2. Replace competition with cooperation.
3. Replace the pursuit of profit in daily living with service to the earth and to others.
4. Replace growth with curtailment.
5. Live simply. Simple living is joyful living. Incorporate the four earthly values into your daily life.
6. Live slowly with the earth’s natural movements. Follow a bird, watch a tree grow, or sit in a park all day instead of in front of a television all day.
7. Fear and despair are the tools of those in power. Throw imagination and creativity against your next problem. Don’t be intimidated or afraid.
8. Replace convenience with necessity, and only buy what you need.
9. Replace the time filter of constant noise from television and radios with silence.
10. Replace irrational spirituality with earthly mysticism.
11. Replace machines with direct experience of the natural world.
12. Passion versus pattern: Replace the desire for keeping up with your neighbor by a passion for spontaneity.

In conlusion, Joseph urged, switch your value system and tap into your internal joy.
The J.Paul Taylor Social Justice symposium, buy information pills
entitled “Justice for Immigrants, denture
” is now under way on the main campus of New Mexico State University in Las Cruces.

With a plenary session, this
panel discussions, photographic exhibitions, music, roundtables and a multimedia presentation, the three-day event concluding April 4 offers a multifaceted look at one of the most compelling issues facing our region and the nations on either side of the border. The symposium is free and open to the public. Spanish/English translation will be provided.

The schedule for this symposium is at the following website: http://www.nmsu.edu/~artsci/jpt_symp/Schedule2.htm

For more details about the program, maps, direction and contact information, visit: http://www.nmsu.edu/~artsci/jpt_symp/2008/immigration.htm
Historians of the antiwar movement, obesity as well as participants, case commonly refer to the five days between 3-31-68 and 4-4-68 as a brief period of great hope.  President Johnson announced he would not run again and the possibility of nominating someone who would end the war seemed finally within reach.

When Dr. King was assassinated, vitamin that optimism subsided, and his work became the subject of considerable  interpretation.  Too often he is reduced to the “I have a dream” caricature, although the April 4, 1967 sermon at NY Riverside Church and the organizing speech the night before his death are becoming more widely circulated today.

Dr. King is still too little known for his work for economic justice and against war, topics he linked closely.  This publication has in past issues quoted some of his underreported themes.  The following is a description of a newly-released volume and a sample of one of the less-publicized sermons:

http://www.tnr.com/politics/story.html?id=e0732db1-286f-41d1-a9e7-d750160947c5

Listen to what King said about the Vietnam War at his own Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta on Feb. 4, 1968: “God didn’t call America to engage in a senseless, unjust war…. And we are criminals in that war. We’ve committed more war crimes almost than any nation in the world, and I’m going to continue to say it. And we won’t stop it because of our pride and our arrogance as a nation. But God has a way of even putting nations in their place.” King then predicted this response from the Almighty: “And if you don’t stop your reckless course, I’ll rise up and break the backbone of your power.”
Historians of the antiwar movement, obesity as well as participants, case commonly refer to the five days between 3-31-68 and 4-4-68 as a brief period of great hope.  President Johnson announced he would not run again and the possibility of nominating someone who would end the war seemed finally within reach.

When Dr. King was assassinated, vitamin that optimism subsided, and his work became the subject of considerable  interpretation.  Too often he is reduced to the “I have a dream” caricature, although the April 4, 1967 sermon at NY Riverside Church and the organizing speech the night before his death are becoming more widely circulated today.

Dr. King is still too little known for his work for economic justice and against war, topics he linked closely.  This publication has in past issues quoted some of his underreported themes.  The following is a description of a newly-released volume and a sample of one of the less-publicized sermons:

http://www.tnr.com/politics/story.html?id=e0732db1-286f-41d1-a9e7-d750160947c5

Listen to what King said about the Vietnam War at his own Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta on Feb. 4, 1968: “God didn’t call America to engage in a senseless, unjust war…. And we are criminals in that war. We’ve committed more war crimes almost than any nation in the world, and I’m going to continue to say it. And we won’t stop it because of our pride and our arrogance as a nation. But God has a way of even putting nations in their place.” King then predicted this response from the Almighty: “And if you don’t stop your reckless course, I’ll rise up and break the backbone of your power.”
SWEC announces the opening of (Not a Message of) Environmental Despair this Friday, drug
April 4 at the Cottonwood Gallery. It will run through May 2. An opening reception will be held this Friday, viagra April 4, read
from 5 to 7 pm. The show illustrates our connections to our environment through the works of four artists—printmakers–that interlace and weave a narrative of our effect on the environment we reside in. Border issues, our invasive incursion into wild lands, and the tensions evident in the natural balance created by those incursions are at the forefront of this show.
Governor Richardson to help dedicate SWEC’s rooftop solar system
The Southwest Environmental Center is delighted to announce the inauguration of our new rooftop photovoltaic (PV) system on Wednesday, April 16, at 1:30 pm. This is a six kilowatt system that will create clean, renewable electricity from the sun. It is the first commercial PV system to come on-line in Las Cruces, and hopefully the harbinger of a sustainable energy future for southern New Mexico.

All SWEC members and supporters are invited to the ribbon cutting. Gov. Richardson will be in attendance, as well as Las Cruces Mayor Ken Miyagishima, NMSU Provost Waded Cruzado-Salas, and a number of other distinguished guests. This demonstration project is a partnership between SWEC and NMSU’s Institute for Energy and the Environment. An accompanying educational exhibit about solar energy is under development.

Raft the Rio scheduled for June 14
SWEC’s tenth annual Raft the Rio will take place on Saturday, June 14. Prizes will be awarded for homemade rafts in the following categories: Most Creative, Best Use of Recycled Materials, First to Finish, Least Likely to Finish (must be floating at the starting line), and Spirit of the River. All participants will be eligible to win a whitewater raft trip for two on the Rio Grande near Taos, courtesy of Far-Flung Adventures. Fun for the whole family! Volunteers are needed to help with this event.

On the River, For the River set for October 11
SWEC’s annual gala fundraiser, On the River, For the River, will be held on Saturday, October 11. You don’t want to miss the best party in town. Details to follow. For more info, contact 575-522-5552, or visit http://www.wildmesquite.org
Up to two acres of community vegetable gardens will soon be growing at Hope Community in Las Cruces.

Maritza Finch, population health garden project coordinator, clinic is inviting the public to the gardening group’s next meeting, bronchi 4:00-5:00 pm Friday, April 11, at the Community of Hope, building, right rear, located south of West Amador, just east of Valley Drive, behind the Horse and Hound feed store.

Finch said, “Here we’ll grow food with Hope Community folks for the soup kitchen, our families, our community. Right now we’re planning a three-phase planting plan for the gardens, a plot of some two acres. We’ll begin with 1/4 to 1/2 acre in the southernmost section for the children’s garden and food for the soup kitchen of Hope Community. The center section and along the south fence could be the individual plots for gardeners to adopt. The north section will be for Hope gardeners to create a money-making venture for perhaps sales at a Farmer’s Market stall.”

Finch said that this week Joshua Rosenblatt, water conservation director for the city of Las Cruces, and Sandy Geiger, sustainable agriculture activist, will arrange for disking and fertilizing of the garden acreage. At the meeting, the group may want to plan garden layout and planting and schedule a work party to get the garden planted.

“We have access to the city’s fertile grade-A vegetative compost, bio-fertilizer, and mulch for luscious, clean, nutritious food,” she said. “We can obtain shade trees and shrubs provided by Joshua’s Arbor Day initiative. We’re viewing the entire Hope Community grounds with a view to doing the place up green.”

She urged would-be community gardeners to bring thoughts, brainstorms, inspirations, and expertise to the next meeting. “Right now we need weld-wire fencing, stakes, big metal cans or plastic large food jars for shielding seedlings, seed, a wheelbarrow, garden tools, and large plastic flower pots,” she said. For more information call 575-523-3010 or e-mail shaktijivaom@live.com.
The 14th annual Border Book Festival returns to bring the very best in
literature to the borderland region April 18-20. Featured artists include
Cristina García, stomach Quincy Troupe and singer Perla Batalla, resuscitation who will give a
free concert in the Mesilla Plaza on Saturday, abortion April 19.

Born in Havana, Cuba, and raised in New York City, García’s debut novel, the
bestselling Dreaming in Cuban, was nominated for the National Book Award.
The New York Times called it “remarkable,” and pegged her as “a magical new
writer. . .blessed with a poet’s ear for language, a historian’s fascination
with the past and a musician’s intuitive understanding of the ebb and flow
of emotion.” She has since written three equally acclaimed novels, The
Aguero Sisters, Monkey Hunting and A Handbook to Luck, all of which further
showcase her gift for vividly capturing the intersection where the personal
and the political collide in bicultural experience.

Quincy Troupe is a poet, editor, and author of 17 books, including eight
volumes of poetry, three books for children, and six non-fiction works. His
most recent publications are The Pursuit of Happyness co-written with Chris
Gardner, which was a New York Times best-selling biography and The
Architecture of Language (Coffee House Press, 2006), a book of poems that
has garnered high praise including the 2007 Paterson Award for Sustained
Literary Achievement; Transcircularities: New and Selected Poems (Coffee
House Press, 2002) won the 2003 Milt Kessler Poetry Award and was selected
by Publishers Weekly as one of the 10 best books of poetry published in
2002. His most recent book for children is Little Stevie (Houghton Mifflin,
2005). He is editor of Black Renaissance Noire, a literary journal of the
Institute of African Studies at New York University. Forthcoming in is a
children’s book on the life of Ray Charles, titled Hallelujah, from
Hyperion.

Grammy-nominated vocalist, composer, and arranger Perla Batalla was a backup
singer for K.D. Lang and Leonard Cohen. Cohen later encouraged Perla to
embark on a solo career. Perla released her debut “Perla Batalla” on the
Warner/Discovery label in 1994. Her CDs include Mestiza, Mestiza Voyage,
Discoteca Batalla, Bird on the
Wire (songs by Leonard Cohen sung by
Batalla) and her most recent, What I Did on my Summer Vacation, a collection
of songs recorded after journeying to Buenos Aires to meet her mother’s
side of the family for the first time ever. Batalla’s CDs are available
at the Cultural Center de Mesilla, homebase of the BBF.

Libros y Más, the festival trade show, will take place on the historic
Mesilla Plaza and features local, regional, national and international
authors, presses and artists. Three Plaza stages include the Main Stage, the
Children’s Storytelling Tent and the Lucha Stage, which will highlight
Lucha Libre, Mexican wrestling and poetry.

The main stage will feature music on the Plaza with La Familia Vigil, with
featured musician Cipriano Vigil, a national treasure who has played at the
Smithsonian will offer “Cancion Nuevo,” New Mexican music as well as
Radio La Chusma from El Paso, offering a fresh sound of AFRO-MEXICA REGGAE
CUMBIA. Band members include Ernesto Tinajero, Charlie Villanueva, Scott
Marestein, Selina Nevarez, David Angerstein and Scoop. Sonia and the Snake
Charmer and Ballet Folklorico Viva Los Niños, both from El Paso, will round
out performances on the main stage.

Armando Cepeda, a muralist born in El Paso and now living in California,
will offer a weekend long mural painting experience on the Plaza.
Participants will paint one panel of an ongoing collaborative mural that
will then be gathered and placed on a wooden frame. Cepeda’s work can be
found on his website: www.arteganas.com

The children’s storytelling tent, the Tent of Wonders, will feature
children’s authors and storytellers Amy Costales, author of Abuelita Full
of Life, Lupe Vargas and Her Super Best Friend, Adalucía Quan, author of
The Song of the Coconut, La Chica de Mendiburo and The Magic of Clay, and
Sudeshna Sengupta, painter and festival poster and bookmark artist who will
tell stories of India.

Micaela Seidel, Assistant curator from the Hispanic Heritage Center in
Albuqueque, will offer a cape-making workshop on Friday prior to the
children’s and pet parade on Saturday, April 18 at 10 a.m. The parade is
free for children and families. Registration will take place in front of
the Mesilla Community Center. Prizes will be awarded to children following
the parade. A repeat cape workshop will take place on Saturday at the
Storytelling tent.

The Lucha Stage, a bona fide wrestling ring, will feature Lucha for
Literacy, an exhibition of Mexican wrestling by masked wrestlers Magno, Rey
Escorpion, Astroman and Peluchín, Jr, followed by a reading by Xavier
Garza, author of Lucha Libre, The Man in the Silver Mask, Griselda “La
RaNa” Muñoz, recognized slam poet and Osvaldo Ogaz, Mexican Lucha poet
who will also serve as MC.

The New Mexico State University Slam Poets will perform on Saturday on the
Lucha Stage. They include: Daniel Sandino-Molloy, Ian Dolly, Luke Mitchell,
Chris Acosta, Amanda Orta, and Will Forsyth. The NMSU Slam Team is composed
of performance poets that attend New Mexico State University. The goal of
NMSU Slam is to expand creativity through the art of performance poetry.
Festival highlights include Return: A Reading with Quincy Troupe featuring
World Music with Border Sol Arkestra: Bugs Salcido, Nancy Lorenza Green and
Debarshi Roy on Friday, April 18 at 7:00 p.m. at the Mesilla Community
Center. The evening will include the presentation of the Premio Fronterizo
to Cristina García, Quincy Troupe and Perla Batalla, the presentation of
the Sunshine Community Service Award to Jerean and Tom Hutchinson from La
Posta and the Volunteer of the Year award to NMSU student Naomi Estrada. The
ticket price is $25 and includes Probaditas/Tapas.

Cristina García will read from her new novel, A Handbook to Luck, as well
as Dreaming In Cuban, The Agüero Sisters and Monkey Hunting. on Saturday,
April 19, from 6-8:00 p.m. at the Mesilla Community Center. Tickets are $15.
Following the reading will be a free Plaza concert with Perla Batalla at
nine p.m. on the Mesilla Plaza.

Audiences are invited to bring their lawn chairs and enjoy the day long
activities on the Mesilla Plaza Saturday and Sunday, April 19 and 20 and
shop at the Trade show booths featuring local, regional and national presses
and authors as well as artisans including the weavers of Tsobol Antzetik
from the Chiapas highlands and Centro Santa Catalina in Juárez. Food and
drink is available from Beltran’s Meat Market and others.

Saturday events include a Plática/Book talk by Cristina García featuring A
Handbook to Luck as well as a Plática/talk by Quincy Troupe. Griselda, La
“RaNa” Muñoz will offer a free teen writing workshop called “Modern
Callings, Ancient Voices: The Art of Spoken Word and Its Indigenous
Origins.” The workshop is free to teens but registration is necessary.
Please contact the festival at 575-523-3988 or bbf@zianet.com to register.

Sudeshna Sengupta will offer a Mandala painting workshop in Sunday, April 20
at 11:30 a.m. Cost is $20 and includes all supplies. Size is limited to
20. Sudeshna Sengupta is an internationally exhibited painter/printmaker and
textile artist who was educated at the international university founded by
the Nobel Laureate poet Tagore in Shantiniketan (Abode of Peace) India. She
has taught at university level for 16 years in New Delhi, Seattle,
California, and NM before choosing to be a full time mother through
adoption. Some of her art can be seen on her website
www.artoflearning.com/art

Drawing on the tradition of festive decoration from India called Rangoli
Mandala – the participants will be guided to create and color circular
designs called mandalas. Mandala means “circle” in Sanskritt and is used to
universally describe circular shaped art and designs that start from a
central point.

A Conversation and Coffee will take place on Sunday that features
photographer and writer Don Usner. Daniel Zolinsky, BBF resident
photographer, will lead a discussion of photography and the art of seeing.
Cost is $7.

Sunday’s events include storytelling and clay work with Adalucía Quan ,
storytelling with Amy Costales in the Storytelling tent and Un
Homenaje/Homage to Raúl Salinas, Xicanindio poet who passed away recently.
The festival will culminate in Una Tardeada Literaria, an afternoon reading
by writers Alex Espinoza, Don Usner, Adalucía Quan and Amy Costales with
music by La Familia Vigil. Alex Espinoza is the winner of the Barnes and
Noble Discovery Prize for his novel, Still Water Saints.

For more information on the festival, to volunteer or to purchase tickets,
please contact the Border Book Festival at the Cultural Center de Mesilla,
bbf@zianet.com www.borderbookfestival.com or come by the festival
headquarters at the former Frietze Grocery Store, 2231A Calle de Parian in
Mesilla, a block in a half from the Plaza, next to the Mesilla Post Office.
Hours are 10-5:00 pm Friday-Sunday and most days. Call ahead at
575-523-3988. For a complete artist roster list and bios go online at
www.borderbookfestival.org
The Organized Aggie Students Inspiring Sustainability (OASIS) club at New Mexico State University, what is ed is presenting an Earth Day celebration event Saturday, April 26, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. at Apodaca Park, Solano and Madrid. In previous years, the Mesilla Valley Bicycle Coalition has organized the Earth Day citizen’s ride; and we are grateful for it. This year they plan to do the same, with the exception that they plan to start and end their ride at Apodaca Park on 801 East Madrid Ave., the same place where our Earth Day celebration will be held.

The celebration will have music, speakers, a children’s carnival, sustainable vendors, organic farmers, educational tables, and food. If you have questions, would like to volunteer, be a vendor, or table at the event please e-mail Colleen Boyd at cboyd@nmsu.edu or visit http://www.myspace.com/earthdaylascruces

Speakers:

*Unconfirmed speakers are not listed*

M.C.: Tony “funny man” Mahony

12:00-12:20: Councilor Miguel Silva: “Controlling our Destiny: Voodoo Dolls and Politicians” A Speech on Taking Action!!

12:20-12:40: Dr. Christine Eber: “Being Earth’s Guest: Changing Beliefs about Earth in a Maya Community of Chiapas, Mexico.” Dr. Eber is a professor of Anthropology at NMSU.

12:40-1:00 pm: Donald F. Neidig: “A Beneficent Greenhouse, and more!”; Dr. Neidig will cover the three pillars of climate change: 1. temperatures are rising, 2. an enhanced greenhouse effect is the cause, and 3. enhanced levels of greenhouse gases are human in origin. ( Dr. Donald Neidig is a retired Principal Astrophysicist, an Adjunct Professor of Astronomy at NMSU, and an Emeritus Astronomer at the National Solar Observatory.)

1:00-130: Jim Graham will speak about sustainable construction with an emphasis on energy efficiency, heating, cooling, lighting, and occupant comfort. (Mr. Graham is President Sun & Earth Inc., and has been involved with sustainable construction since the first energy crisis of the 1970s.) You can learn more about Sun & Earth Inc., at this link: http://www.msplinks.com/MDFodHRwOi8vd3d3LnN1bmFuZGVhcnRoLm5ldA==

Music Bands:

*Unconfirmed bands are not listed*

Ravyn and Belle from 10:00-11:00; two chill folk groups collaborating for a sweet sound!

Raw Dogs from 11:00-12:00; a totally unique local band from the Las Cruces Area; nice jams!

OH MY SWEET EARTH! Alister M. is playing at our earth day event from 2 to 3 Here’s their myspace : http://www.myspace.com/alisterm

Movies — Activities:

The Mesilla Valley Bike Coalition will begin its annual Earth Day Bike Ride at Apodaca Park. A leisurely self-paced ride of approximately 25 miles( route through Las Cruces and the Mesilla Valley) and a short ride (5 miles through) the neighborhood around Apodaca Park. Registration begins at 7:00 am. The long ride will begin at 8:30 am, the short at 9:00 am. For more info call 526-7783 or 528-3047 or email swqa@solsurvival.com or ahume@las0cruces.org

For Kids:

-Children’s Carnival sponsored by NMSU Sigma Alpha Lambda
-Public School Poster Contest (Prizes at Event)

INFORMATIONAL TABLES:

-Grassroots Press

-Southwest Environmental Center

-Arbor Day Foundation

-Art of Birth and Wellness

-New Mexico Wilderness Alliance

-Chihuahua Desert Nature Park(WWF)

-New Mexico Game and Fish

The City of Las Cruces Green Team:

-Keep Las Cruces Beautiful
-Las Cruces City Recycling
-Las Cruces Water Conservation Program

WORKSHOPS/INTERACTIVE TABLES:

-Mountain View Co-op: Organic Products, Food Samples

-Enchanted Gardens10:30-11:00 a.m. Native Plants

-Kari Bachman: Nutrition/Healthy Eating

-Mesilla Valley Bosque Park (State Parks)

-Las Cruces Water Conservation: Tree giveaway

-Astronomical Society of Las Cruces: With a solar telescope

Books
Earth Day Save The Planet via Noolmusic.com
Pax Christi Film Series presents “The 11th Hour, audiologist ” a documentary on global warming narrated by Leonardo DiCaprio. The film will be shown at 3:00 p.m., urticaria Sunday, epidemic April 13, in room 106, El Convento de Loretto, 1400 Hardaway, El Paso.  Loretto Academy is one mile north of I-10 off the Raynolds Exit.

The showing is sponsored by Pax Christi El Paso, and admission is free.

For more information call (915) 532-0527

This documentary on the global environmental crisis, narrated by Leonardo DiCaprio, offers exciting and radical solutions.  Our planet is in crisis, but it’s not too late change.  (Netflix)

The film dares to raise the question that few are ready to confront: How do we change our voraciously consumptive culture? (San Francisco Chronicle)

Review: ‘The 11th Hour’ a message of hope for Mother Earth
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2007/08/24/DDVPRF5KE.DTL

MALDEF and the ACLU of New Mexico today announced a landmark settlement with the Otero County Sheriff’s Department that addresses what plaintiffs alleged were civil rights violations committed by county deputies during immigration sweeps last September in the southern New Mexico town of Chaparral.

Civil rights advocates say the agreement will help restore community trust in local law enforcement and greatly improve the safety of all people living in the County. The case settled after the Sheriff’s Department agreed to revise Operational Procedures that are intended to ensure that the rights of all Latinos living in the County would be protected and that they would not become the targets of immigration-related investigations and detentions without justification.

Otero County also agreed to pay the families who brought the case monetary damages and an amount to cover their attorney’s fees and the costs of the suit.  ACLU Executive Director Peter Simonson said, capsule “The sheriff’s department worked with us to draft a policy that draws clear boundaries around what are and what are not the responsibilities of local law enforcement officers when they encounter immigrants. It was drafted with one thing in mind: maximizing public safety. This is a smart policy that stands as an example to all other law enforcement agencies around the state.”

On behalf of five Latino families, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of New Mexico alleged in the lawsuit that sheriff’s deputies raided homes in Chaparral without search warrants, interrogated families without evidence of criminal activity, and targeted households on the basis of race and ethnicity.   The Sheriff’s Department denied any wrongdoing, but agreed to revise policies in order to provide more effective law enforcement to its constituents and to focus its attention on persons suspected of committing crimes.

David Urias, MALDEF Staff Attorney and counsel in the case, said, “The agreement by the Sheriffs Department to revise their procedures means that Latinos in Otero County will be protected by local police from crimes, not randomly targeted for immigration enforcement.” The Otero County Sheriff’s Department operational procedure <http://aclu-nm.org/PDF/SOP4_9_08.pdf> regarding, the legal complaint, and other relevant documents can be found online at: http://www.aclu-nm.org/News_Events/news_4_9_08.htm
MALDEF and the ACLU of New Mexico today announced a landmark settlement with the Otero County Sheriff’s Department that addresses what plaintiffs alleged were civil rights violations committed by county deputies during immigration sweeps last September in the southern New Mexico town of Chaparral.

Civil rights advocates say the agreement will help restore community trust in local law enforcement and greatly improve the safety of all people living in the County. The case settled after the Sheriff’s Department agreed to revise Operational Procedures that are intended to ensure that the rights of all Latinos living in the County would be protected and that they would not become the targets of immigration-related investigations and detentions without justification.

Otero County also agreed to pay the families who brought the case monetary damages and an amount to cover their attorney’s fees and the costs of the suit.  ACLU Executive Director Peter Simonson said, capsule “The sheriff’s department worked with us to draft a policy that draws clear boundaries around what are and what are not the responsibilities of local law enforcement officers when they encounter immigrants. It was drafted with one thing in mind: maximizing public safety. This is a smart policy that stands as an example to all other law enforcement agencies around the state.”

On behalf of five Latino families, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of New Mexico alleged in the lawsuit that sheriff’s deputies raided homes in Chaparral without search warrants, interrogated families without evidence of criminal activity, and targeted households on the basis of race and ethnicity.   The Sheriff’s Department denied any wrongdoing, but agreed to revise policies in order to provide more effective law enforcement to its constituents and to focus its attention on persons suspected of committing crimes.

David Urias, MALDEF Staff Attorney and counsel in the case, said, “The agreement by the Sheriffs Department to revise their procedures means that Latinos in Otero County will be protected by local police from crimes, not randomly targeted for immigration enforcement.” The Otero County Sheriff’s Department operational procedure <http://aclu-nm.org/PDF/SOP4_9_08.pdf> regarding, the legal complaint, and other relevant documents can be found online at: http://www.aclu-nm.org/News_Events/news_4_9_08.htm
All Democrats are invited to the new 2008 Democratic Campaign Headquarters on Friday, here April 18th between 6:00 pm and 9:00 pm . The headquarters is located at 139 North Water Street (old Popular Dry Goods building; entrance on the north side of building).

According to an announcement, apoplectic
it will be the Las Cruces headquarters for all Democratic candidates including the Tom Udall for Senate campaign. Refreshments will be served.

Democrats are invited to come hear about the various campaigns, meet other supporters, and find out about important upcoming events in the campaigns. The announcement urges party member to come see the office and find out more about how individuals can volunteer and make a difference in the Democratic campaign. For more information, contact Melinda Whitley at (575) 523-0470.
MALDEF and the ACLU of New Mexico today announced a landmark settlement with the Otero County Sheriff’s Department that addresses what plaintiffs alleged were civil rights violations committed by county deputies during immigration sweeps last September in the southern New Mexico town of Chaparral.

Civil rights advocates say the agreement will help restore community trust in local law enforcement and greatly improve the safety of all people living in the County. The case settled after the Sheriff’s Department agreed to revise Operational Procedures that are intended to ensure that the rights of all Latinos living in the County would be protected and that they would not become the targets of immigration-related investigations and detentions without justification.

Otero County also agreed to pay the families who brought the case monetary damages and an amount to cover their attorney’s fees and the costs of the suit.  ACLU Executive Director Peter Simonson said, capsule “The sheriff’s department worked with us to draft a policy that draws clear boundaries around what are and what are not the responsibilities of local law enforcement officers when they encounter immigrants. It was drafted with one thing in mind: maximizing public safety. This is a smart policy that stands as an example to all other law enforcement agencies around the state.”

On behalf of five Latino families, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of New Mexico alleged in the lawsuit that sheriff’s deputies raided homes in Chaparral without search warrants, interrogated families without evidence of criminal activity, and targeted households on the basis of race and ethnicity.   The Sheriff’s Department denied any wrongdoing, but agreed to revise policies in order to provide more effective law enforcement to its constituents and to focus its attention on persons suspected of committing crimes.

David Urias, MALDEF Staff Attorney and counsel in the case, said, “The agreement by the Sheriffs Department to revise their procedures means that Latinos in Otero County will be protected by local police from crimes, not randomly targeted for immigration enforcement.” The Otero County Sheriff’s Department operational procedure <http://aclu-nm.org/PDF/SOP4_9_08.pdf> regarding, the legal complaint, and other relevant documents can be found online at: http://www.aclu-nm.org/News_Events/news_4_9_08.htm
All Democrats are invited to the new 2008 Democratic Campaign Headquarters on Friday, here April 18th between 6:00 pm and 9:00 pm . The headquarters is located at 139 North Water Street (old Popular Dry Goods building; entrance on the north side of building).

According to an announcement, apoplectic
it will be the Las Cruces headquarters for all Democratic candidates including the Tom Udall for Senate campaign. Refreshments will be served.

Democrats are invited to come hear about the various campaigns, meet other supporters, and find out about important upcoming events in the campaigns. The announcement urges party member to come see the office and find out more about how individuals can volunteer and make a difference in the Democratic campaign. For more information, contact Melinda Whitley at (575) 523-0470.
The Gila Conservation Coalition presents “Navigating the Rivers of Our Future, seek ” with author and conservationist Bill deBuys, Friday, April 18, 7:00 pm at the Silco Theatre in downtown Silver City.

DeBuys will talk about the future of southwestern rivers, including the Gila, in an era of changing climate, and specifically for the Southwest, an era of increasing aridity. What will this do to our relationship to rivers, to our efforts to defend them, to the way we ask them to satisfy our myriad needs? DeBuys by no means promises answers to any of these questions, but thinks their exploration may be useful.

Bill deBuys is a writer and conservationist based in Santa Fe, NM. He is professor of Documentary Studies at the College of Santa Fe and the author of six books: Enchantment and Exploitation (1985), River of Traps (1990), which was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize, Salt Dreams: Land and Water in Low-Down California (1999), which received a Western States Book Award, Seeing Things Whole: the Essential John Wesley Powell (2001), Valles Caldera (2006), and The Walk (2007). DeBuys has long been involved in environmental affairs in New Mexico and the Southwest. From 1997 to 2004 he directed the Valle Grande Grass Bank in San Miguel County, and from 2001 to 2005 he served as chairman of the Valles Caldera Trust, which administers the 89,000-acre Valles Caldera National Preserve under an experimental approach to the management of public lands.

For more information, please call the Gila Conservation Coalition at 538.8078 or visit www.gilaconservation.org <http://www.gilaconservation.org>  There is a suggested $5 donation at the door.
By David Evans.

Ballot security is a concern for all voters, pharmacy and the issue has been taken to El Paso City Council by a group of government students led by Shane Weller.

In the El Paso Community College (Transmountain campus) government class presentation to Council Tuesday morning, more info Weller said, anemia “We the people request a paper trail due to the fact that the Diebold touchscreen machines are vulnerable to hackers.” He went on to enlighten members of City Council about that vulnerability.

“We will show just how easy it is to install malicious software that is undetected, that not only tampers with votes, but also spreads like a plague to other voting machines. The first step is to unlock the machine using keys that are already in circulation, or by picking the lock, a process that only takes 10 seconds.The second step is to remove the memory card and replace that with an infected memory card which contains malicious software. The next step is to reboot the computer and mute the restart sound by using a pair of headphones. After re-booting, you eject the infected memory card and replace it with the original memory card. This process can be done in under a minute.”

Weller’s presentation continued, “Not only do we have a computer that is infected, but we also now have the original memory card infected with this malicious and undetectable software. If and when that memory card is inserted into another computer, that computer will also be infected.” The viral software grows exponentially, according to Weller.

The group’s proposed solution is straightforward. It may seem a step backward to return to paper ballots, but without them there is no check on the system. That is, there is nothing physical to compare machine totals to. Weller said, “The solution to this problem is to replace all touchscreen machines with an optical scan machine which would allow voters to cast their vote on paper, thus leaving a paper trail that can be compared with the final tally that the electronic machine recorded.” Although no system is impervious to manipulation, a mandatory paper trail will make the likelihood of detection much greater, Weller concluded.

Speaking after the presentation, Weller referred to Princeton’s Center for Information Technology Policy <http://itpolicy.princeton.edu/voting/ > and other independent studies referenced at the site as sources for the students’ conclusions. Diebold’s Accuvote-TS is specifically examined by Princeton researchers, and Weller began after the meeting to convey their detailed findings to city and county officials.

When El Paso County first proposed purchasing touchscreen machines, then-commissioner Charles Hooten raised the right question: If there is a recount, what do you recount? Using the current system, or any system that doesn’t leave a paper audit trail, election officials are left to run the same machine totals again, and examine the system totals indirectly. EPCC students in Bea Cuartas’ local government class strongly suggest the system be changed now, and we can all agree that it will be beneficial to civic participation to change it before a close election or manipulation leaves everyone aggravated, and maybe disenfranchised.

Replacement of the current system will ultimately be a county expenditure, but the students asked City Council to please add their voices to those of others concerned by the vulnerability of the current unauditable, unrecountable system. We should make it possible for county elections professionals to do the job they are supposed to do. If the Council’s apparent receptivity to the presentation is any indicator, a serious discussion will now begin. Civic activists are urged to see this change through to completion by mentioning it to their elected representatives. Anyone who lives in a county or state that is changing its vote-tabulation system should pay close attention to insuring that minimal safeguards are met.
I am so lucky to be able to assist many poor people in El Paso, treatment among them are the so-called “illegal aliens” so maligned by the media. How can a person be illegal? Who makes those rules? They become my friends and as I prepare to leave in a few weeks, my heart already breaks at the coming separations that await me.

So I want to remember:

…the man who sent all his money to his family in Honduras, then approached me looking stricken because he didn’t save back enough money to phone home to assure himself that the money arrived there safely.

…the man about the age of my step-sons who shyly and hopefully suggested to me that perhaps Paul and I would be willing to ‘adopt’ him to sponsor him as a U.S. citizen.

…the fatherless kids Pedro and Juan who accepted me every week as a sorta-grandmother: throwing kisses, playing patty-cake, and putting on little dramatizations with me much to the amusement of the entire shelter.

…the skinny teen girl who arrived in the middle of the night–raped and traumatized during her migration–saying she was 19 but looking more like 15… and how she invented excuses to hover in my shadow.

…the man battling depression, passing ghost-like with unfocused eyes through the corridors, yet stopping me to say, “I may be sad, but when I see your smile it makes me smile.”

…the day two different people at two different times–independently of each other–took me aside to confide: “I don’t want to be here illegally. How can I fix this? What can I do?”

And I want to remember how helpless I felt because there is no answer to that question. We don’t give them any option. The honest answer would be: “We don’t want you to be equals with us citizens. We want you here to do our dirty work.”

Billie Greenwood
I am so lucky to be able to assist many poor people in El Paso, treatment among them are the so-called “illegal aliens” so maligned by the media. How can a person be illegal? Who makes those rules? They become my friends and as I prepare to leave in a few weeks, my heart already breaks at the coming separations that await me.

So I want to remember:

…the man who sent all his money to his family in Honduras, then approached me looking stricken because he didn’t save back enough money to phone home to assure himself that the money arrived there safely.

…the man about the age of my step-sons who shyly and hopefully suggested to me that perhaps Paul and I would be willing to ‘adopt’ him to sponsor him as a U.S. citizen.

…the fatherless kids Pedro and Juan who accepted me every week as a sorta-grandmother: throwing kisses, playing patty-cake, and putting on little dramatizations with me much to the amusement of the entire shelter.

…the skinny teen girl who arrived in the middle of the night–raped and traumatized during her migration–saying she was 19 but looking more like 15… and how she invented excuses to hover in my shadow.

…the man battling depression, passing ghost-like with unfocused eyes through the corridors, yet stopping me to say, “I may be sad, but when I see your smile it makes me smile.”

…the day two different people at two different times–independently of each other–took me aside to confide: “I don’t want to be here illegally. How can I fix this? What can I do?”

And I want to remember how helpless I felt because there is no answer to that question. We don’t give them any option. The honest answer would be: “We don’t want you to be equals with us citizens. We want you here to do our dirty work.”

Billie Greenwood
Singer-songwriter Eliza Gilkyson will be in concert in Las Cruces on Sunday, unhealthy
June 1 at 4:00 in the afternoon.  Eliza has made numerous albums, order
including the Emmy-nominated “Land of Milk and Honey, healing
” “Paradise Hotel” and her new CD, “Beautiful World,” set for release on May 27.

A former New Mexican, third-generation musician and a prolific and gifted songwriter, Eliza’s voice has been described as “honeyed and weathered,” her songs courageous and “startlingly intimate.”

Eliza’s songs include powerful explorations of human suffering (Requiem), hypocrisy and abuse of power (Man of God) and paths to peace (Woody Guthrie’s Peace Call), as she continues to tackle controversial subjects head-on, with passion and sensitivity.

Join Eliza on Sunday, June 1, 2008 at 4:00 pm at the Rio Grande Theatre on the downtown mall in Las Cruces.  Call  Marc at 575-571-7435 for details and ticket information.
A forewarning is in order for anyone going to see Leonardo DeCaprio’s “The 11th Hour” in the coming week of Earth Day celebrations. The film is edited in such a way as to condense much perspective and information into a little more than ninety minutes. So do not go expecting to see a leisurely-paced presentation akin to Al Gore’s “Inconvenient Truth.” Be prepared to listen carefully to a series of presenters including NASA’s James Hansen, more about Thom Hartmann, diagnosis Stephen Hawking and Mikhail Gorbachev.

Hansen has recently gained a measure of fame and respectability beyond his expertise as a climatologist for his refusal to be silenced by this administration’s standing order to rewrite scientific conclusions that do not support its political agenda. When Hansen’s carefully prepared summary of global warming data was rewritten by a political appointee prior to its release, sales Hansen went to the press and his scientific colleagues with the facts. He prevailed in his case, but much more progress on allowing unvarnished scientific conclusions to circulate freely is still needed. Although his voice and expertise would have been included in any discussion of global climate change, it is a bonus to see him in “The 11th Hour,” given his high-profile insistence on being fairly heard.

Author and Air America host Thom Hartman tells a simple memorable story in the film. Until very recently in human history, every generation was sustained by current sunlight. It fueled the growth of fiber and food and sustained a population that approached a billion. When we discovered and used stored sunlight (coal, petroleum), we became able to feed and fuel seven billion. The side effects of doing so are such that we must now devote substantial resources to finding a way to feed and fuel the planet in a way that is renewable, which is roughly analogous to using current sunlight.

“The danger is that the temperature increase might become self-sustaining, if it has not done so already,” says Cambridge mathematician and physicist Stephen Hawking. He explains that global warming, brought about by rising levels of carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels can reach a point that melting arctic ice will reduce the amount of solar energy reflected back into space, increasing the temperature further. Other examples of “tipping points” are examined several places in the film.

Nobel Laureate and former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev summarizes the difficulty as being one in which man saw himself as king of nature. He believes that all ecosystems are strained and the current generation must make a principled decision to act differently. Another presenter compares the current situation to a classical Greek tragedy, in which man’s hubris exacts an inevitable toll.

DiCaprio doesn’t get in the way of his presenters. He spends only a little time onscreen and lets those who really know the case for solutions to global warming present them. Designing in sustainability is the all-encompassing idea, using the example of a house designed to produce food and fuel in addition to being a human habitat. Buildings account for a third of energy use and greenhouse gases. Two presenters assert that redesigning buildings using existing technology and design concepts can reduce our footprint (net carbon-based energy used) by 90%.

Many presenters in the film lament the slow governmental reaction to the scientific consensus on global warming. While “The 11th Hour” makes it clear that we don’t have another three decades to begin, it does also demonstrate the possibility of a future that is sustainable for people on this overburdened planet. The solutions start with change of consciousness, include individual action, and ultimately demand action on a national and planetary scale.
By Bruce Gagnon.
This report covers the period of April 3-17 as I traveled to Colorado Springs, prostate Colorado and Omaha, Nebraska for the Global Network’s (GN) 16th annual space organizing conference and protest.

Many of you already know that I live in an intentional community in Bath, Maine along with three others.  Two of them, Mary Beth Sullivan and Karen Wainberg drove with me in a rental car to Colorado so that we could be part of three days of protest at the 24th Space Foundation Symposium <http://youtube.com/watch?v=SspcSAM9aas> .  Each year GN affiliate Citizens for Peace in Space holds vigil during the event that this year drew 7,500 attendees (mostly military and aerospace corporation employees) and cost a total of $25 million to put on.

We had GN members come to Colorado Springs from India, Czech Republic, New York, Washington state, Maine and South Korea for the protests.  The big corporate space confab, held at the swanky Broadmoor Hotel, was a perfect place to hold a protest as conference participants had to walk right by us when they moved from their hotel rooms to the convention center.  Many leaflets, entitled Blinded by Greed, were handed out as we held signs and banners.  During one of the days while we were there hundreds of high school students were bused into the corporate space event to be indoctrinated by the “space warriors.”

In between the daily vigils at the Space Foundation Symposium Bill Sulzman, coordinator of Citizens for Peace in Space and a co-founder of the GN, arranged a public talk by Jan Tamas (Czech Republic), J. Narayana Rao (India), and Mary Beth Sullivan (GN Outreach Coordinator) at the local library.  Also scheduled to speak was Damian Moran from Poland, but he was denied entry into the U.S. by Homeland Security  <http://www.opednews.com/articles/opedne_bruce_k__080407_irish_speaker_deport.htm> after he landed in Chicago.  Bill also arranged for Jan Tamas to speak to a class at Colorado College about proposed deployments of a Star Wars radar in his country and the fierce opposition to it amongst 70% of the people in the Czech Republic.  Jan urged people to sign an on-line petition  <http://www.nenasili.cz/en/701_homepage> now underway to support the campaign in the Czech Republic to resist Bush’s provocative “missile defense” deployments in Central Europe.

On another day our group of protestors went to hold a drive time vigil outside the gates of Peterson AFB which is home of the Air Force Space Command.  Colorado Springs has five military bases and about half of the population of the city work for the military industrial complex.  Our last day there was spent visiting a “peace camp” at a local public school where we had a chance to speak and sing to groups of kids from 3-8 grades.  Holly Gwinn Graham led them in singing and short talks about the reasons for being in their city were given by Karen Wainberg, J. Narayana Rao and myself.

On April 10 two cars left Colorado Springs for the expected 10-hour drive to Omaha for the GN’s annual space conference.  The night before we learned that snow was expected so we got up very early for the drive.  Little did we know that the trip would end up taking us 15-hours as we were hit with a blizzard in northeast Colorado and western Nebraska.  Often driving at 20 m.p.h. we saw at least 25 cars and trucks off the road, some upside down, in the snow.  One car tried passing us at one point and when the driver tried to steer back into our lane in front of us, he went flying off the road into the snow bank.  It was a close call.  Bill Sulzman, who grew up in western Kansas on a farm and knows this weather well, did a magnificent job of steering us through the worst of it.  During this same time, our second car was driven by Holly Gwinn Graham and Brendan O’Connor.  (Brendan lives in upstate New York and has had experience driving in harsh weather. He is one of our best young volunteers and helps us with many internet related organizing tasks.)  At one point we turned to a very calm and quiet J. Narayana Rao and asked him how he was holding up in this nerve wracking car ride and he blurted out with joy, “I will be the only person in Nagpur, India who has ever seen anything like this!”

The GN’s 16th annual space organizing conference and protest was held in Omaha at the request by Nebraskans for Peace  <http://www.nebraskansforpeace.org/>  (NfP) who wanted our help to shine an international light on StratCom that has now become the most dangerous base  <http://www.counterpunch.org/rinne03142008.html> on the face of the Earth.  Ably led by NfP staffers Tim Rinne and Mark Welsch, scores of volunteers arranged local home hospitality for virtually all of the many out-of-town guests as well as a myriad of other logistical tasks.  Throughout the course of the weekend about 200 people from 12 countries and 28 states attended the biggest ever GN space conference.

Among those who came to Omaha were a group of ten students from an alternative high school in Taos, New Mexico.  I had recently spoken at their school and invited them to send a group to our conference and I told them that we would waive the registration fee for them and find them home hospitality.  We were tremendously impressed as these students stayed involved in conference proceedings throughout the weekend.

Things officially began on April 11 with a news conference that was attended by a couple of media outlets but fortunately we had phone interviews before hand with three other local media sources.  Probably the best coverage of all was by the Omaha Weekly Reader that did a comprehensive interview with Mary Beth Sullivan  <http://www.thereader.com:80/index.php?subaction=showfull&amp;id=1207787842&amp;archive=&amp;start_from=&amp;ucat=3> about the permanent war economy.  The front page story appeared on racks throughout Omaha just as our conference began and we later heard stories of conference participants seeing the paper at various restaurants around the city.

In the afternoon on April 11 we chartered a trolley bus and made the trip out to Offutt A.F.B. for our protest at StratCom.  The military closed the main gate and turned out a large security force to “dissuade” us from walking onto the base.  There in the fierce cold wet wind we stood and held vigil and then a rally for over an hour.  See a full set of photos by GN board member Aurel Duta (Romania) at this link: http://picasaweb.google.com/aurel.romania/GlobalNetworkOmaha

That evening, after drying out and warming up to a fine catered supper in the Creighton University chapel basement we heard opening talks by Nebraska Native American activist Frank LaMere, Jan Tamas, and Mary Beth Sullivan.  All three talks were well received – in fact people raved about each one.  Frank, from the Winnebago tribe, brought along four young men to do traditional drumming and singing for us.

On April 12 we gathered in a large auditorium at Creighton for the opening welcome created by GN chairperson Dave Webb who is also the Vice-Chair of Britain’s Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND).  The five minute intro about StratCom is a must watch piece that you can view by clicking on:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TkOeUHHV1eU

The morning was full of excellent panels (StratCom’s New Mission: From Waging the War on Terror to the Domination of Space and U.S. Bases Worldwide: Stories of Resistance to Domination) led by key organizers from the U.S., Philippines, Italy, Australia, Germany, and England.  Then after lunch we held two workshop sessions that featured nine different workshops.

The evening program featured excellent and moving presentations by Ko Young-Dae (Solidarity for Peace and Reunification of Korea) who laid out StratCom’s role in the U.S. dangerous and destabilizing militarization of the Korean peninsula <http://www.counterpunch.org/dae04182008.html> .  He was followed by longtime peace activist and Catholic Bishop Thomas Gumbleton who began his talk by warning us that what he had to say would be “very controversial” in many circles.  His speech touched on the assassination of JFK as a coup d’etat by the military industrial complex, a theme spelled out in a new book called JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died & Why it Matters  <http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2008/04/08/18491392.php> by Jim Douglass.

Following these intense but vitally important talks we had four singers perform their political music for us: Lynda Williams <http://www.scientainment.com/>  (a physics teacher from California), Holly Gwinn Graham <http://www.hollygwinngraham.com/pages/home.php>  (Washington), Tom Neilson  <http://www.tomneilsonmusic.com/index.php> (Massachusetts), and Aurel Duta (Romania).

Our final day of conferencing was spent primarily doing the business work of the GN with my report, financial reports (available to anyone who asks), board elections (we added Tim Rinne to our advisory board), and a strategy brainstorming session (also available to anyone who requests it).  We ended the day by going to a local health food restaurant and had the second floor room to ourselves for a large closing lunch.  The restaurant had anti-war signs in their front windows so folks felt good about being there.

After a one night stop at my sister’s house in northwest Iowa (our mother had died just days before we left Maine for Colorado) we headed back east, this time joined in our car by Brendan O’Connor who Mary Beth, Karen, and I dropped off near his home in Cooperstown, N.Y.

In all we drove just over 5,000 miles but it was a great event and we were inspired by the great activism going on around the world to end the empire of violence and injustice.  We thank everyone who helped us organize the conference and look forward to working with the many new friends we made in Colorado Springs and Omaha.

Keep on truckin’ as they say in the biz.

Bruce K. Gagnon
Coordinator
Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space
PO Box 652
Brunswick, ME 04011
(207) 443-9502
http://www.space4peace.org
globalnet@mindspring.com
http://space4peace.blogspot.com (Blog)
By Bruce Gagnon.
This report covers the period of April 3-17 as I traveled to Colorado Springs, prostate Colorado and Omaha, Nebraska for the Global Network’s (GN) 16th annual space organizing conference and protest.

Many of you already know that I live in an intentional community in Bath, Maine along with three others.  Two of them, Mary Beth Sullivan and Karen Wainberg drove with me in a rental car to Colorado so that we could be part of three days of protest at the 24th Space Foundation Symposium <http://youtube.com/watch?v=SspcSAM9aas> .  Each year GN affiliate Citizens for Peace in Space holds vigil during the event that this year drew 7,500 attendees (mostly military and aerospace corporation employees) and cost a total of $25 million to put on.

We had GN members come to Colorado Springs from India, Czech Republic, New York, Washington state, Maine and South Korea for the protests.  The big corporate space confab, held at the swanky Broadmoor Hotel, was a perfect place to hold a protest as conference participants had to walk right by us when they moved from their hotel rooms to the convention center.  Many leaflets, entitled Blinded by Greed, were handed out as we held signs and banners.  During one of the days while we were there hundreds of high school students were bused into the corporate space event to be indoctrinated by the “space warriors.”

In between the daily vigils at the Space Foundation Symposium Bill Sulzman, coordinator of Citizens for Peace in Space and a co-founder of the GN, arranged a public talk by Jan Tamas (Czech Republic), J. Narayana Rao (India), and Mary Beth Sullivan (GN Outreach Coordinator) at the local library.  Also scheduled to speak was Damian Moran from Poland, but he was denied entry into the U.S. by Homeland Security  <http://www.opednews.com/articles/opedne_bruce_k__080407_irish_speaker_deport.htm> after he landed in Chicago.  Bill also arranged for Jan Tamas to speak to a class at Colorado College about proposed deployments of a Star Wars radar in his country and the fierce opposition to it amongst 70% of the people in the Czech Republic.  Jan urged people to sign an on-line petition  <http://www.nenasili.cz/en/701_homepage> now underway to support the campaign in the Czech Republic to resist Bush’s provocative “missile defense” deployments in Central Europe.

On another day our group of protestors went to hold a drive time vigil outside the gates of Peterson AFB which is home of the Air Force Space Command.  Colorado Springs has five military bases and about half of the population of the city work for the military industrial complex.  Our last day there was spent visiting a “peace camp” at a local public school where we had a chance to speak and sing to groups of kids from 3-8 grades.  Holly Gwinn Graham led them in singing and short talks about the reasons for being in their city were given by Karen Wainberg, J. Narayana Rao and myself.

On April 10 two cars left Colorado Springs for the expected 10-hour drive to Omaha for the GN’s annual space conference.  The night before we learned that snow was expected so we got up very early for the drive.  Little did we know that the trip would end up taking us 15-hours as we were hit with a blizzard in northeast Colorado and western Nebraska.  Often driving at 20 m.p.h. we saw at least 25 cars and trucks off the road, some upside down, in the snow.  One car tried passing us at one point and when the driver tried to steer back into our lane in front of us, he went flying off the road into the snow bank.  It was a close call.  Bill Sulzman, who grew up in western Kansas on a farm and knows this weather well, did a magnificent job of steering us through the worst of it.  During this same time, our second car was driven by Holly Gwinn Graham and Brendan O’Connor.  (Brendan lives in upstate New York and has had experience driving in harsh weather. He is one of our best young volunteers and helps us with many internet related organizing tasks.)  At one point we turned to a very calm and quiet J. Narayana Rao and asked him how he was holding up in this nerve wracking car ride and he blurted out with joy, “I will be the only person in Nagpur, India who has ever seen anything like this!”

The GN’s 16th annual space organizing conference and protest was held in Omaha at the request by Nebraskans for Peace  <http://www.nebraskansforpeace.org/>  (NfP) who wanted our help to shine an international light on StratCom that has now become the most dangerous base  <http://www.counterpunch.org/rinne03142008.html> on the face of the Earth.  Ably led by NfP staffers Tim Rinne and Mark Welsch, scores of volunteers arranged local home hospitality for virtually all of the many out-of-town guests as well as a myriad of other logistical tasks.  Throughout the course of the weekend about 200 people from 12 countries and 28 states attended the biggest ever GN space conference.

Among those who came to Omaha were a group of ten students from an alternative high school in Taos, New Mexico.  I had recently spoken at their school and invited them to send a group to our conference and I told them that we would waive the registration fee for them and find them home hospitality.  We were tremendously impressed as these students stayed involved in conference proceedings throughout the weekend.

Things officially began on April 11 with a news conference that was attended by a couple of media outlets but fortunately we had phone interviews before hand with three other local media sources.  Probably the best coverage of all was by the Omaha Weekly Reader that did a comprehensive interview with Mary Beth Sullivan  <http://www.thereader.com:80/index.php?subaction=showfull&amp;id=1207787842&amp;archive=&amp;start_from=&amp;ucat=3> about the permanent war economy.  The front page story appeared on racks throughout Omaha just as our conference began and we later heard stories of conference participants seeing the paper at various restaurants around the city.

In the afternoon on April 11 we chartered a trolley bus and made the trip out to Offutt A.F.B. for our protest at StratCom.  The military closed the main gate and turned out a large security force to “dissuade” us from walking onto the base.  There in the fierce cold wet wind we stood and held vigil and then a rally for over an hour.  See a full set of photos by GN board member Aurel Duta (Romania) at this link: http://picasaweb.google.com/aurel.romania/GlobalNetworkOmaha

That evening, after drying out and warming up to a fine catered supper in the Creighton University chapel basement we heard opening talks by Nebraska Native American activist Frank LaMere, Jan Tamas, and Mary Beth Sullivan.  All three talks were well received – in fact people raved about each one.  Frank, from the Winnebago tribe, brought along four young men to do traditional drumming and singing for us.

On April 12 we gathered in a large auditorium at Creighton for the opening welcome created by GN chairperson Dave Webb who is also the Vice-Chair of Britain’s Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND).  The five minute intro about StratCom is a must watch piece that you can view by clicking on:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TkOeUHHV1eU

The morning was full of excellent panels (StratCom’s New Mission: From Waging the War on Terror to the Domination of Space and U.S. Bases Worldwide: Stories of Resistance to Domination) led by key organizers from the U.S., Philippines, Italy, Australia, Germany, and England.  Then after lunch we held two workshop sessions that featured nine different workshops.

The evening program featured excellent and moving presentations by Ko Young-Dae (Solidarity for Peace and Reunification of Korea) who laid out StratCom’s role in the U.S. dangerous and destabilizing militarization of the Korean peninsula <http://www.counterpunch.org/dae04182008.html> .  He was followed by longtime peace activist and Catholic Bishop Thomas Gumbleton who began his talk by warning us that what he had to say would be “very controversial” in many circles.  His speech touched on the assassination of JFK as a coup d’etat by the military industrial complex, a theme spelled out in a new book called JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died & Why it Matters  <http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2008/04/08/18491392.php> by Jim Douglass.

Following these intense but vitally important talks we had four singers perform their political music for us: Lynda Williams <http://www.scientainment.com/>  (a physics teacher from California), Holly Gwinn Graham <http://www.hollygwinngraham.com/pages/home.php>  (Washington), Tom Neilson  <http://www.tomneilsonmusic.com/index.php> (Massachusetts), and Aurel Duta (Romania).

Our final day of conferencing was spent primarily doing the business work of the GN with my report, financial reports (available to anyone who asks), board elections (we added Tim Rinne to our advisory board), and a strategy brainstorming session (also available to anyone who requests it).  We ended the day by going to a local health food restaurant and had the second floor room to ourselves for a large closing lunch.  The restaurant had anti-war signs in their front windows so folks felt good about being there.

After a one night stop at my sister’s house in northwest Iowa (our mother had died just days before we left Maine for Colorado) we headed back east, this time joined in our car by Brendan O’Connor who Mary Beth, Karen, and I dropped off near his home in Cooperstown, N.Y.

In all we drove just over 5,000 miles but it was a great event and we were inspired by the great activism going on around the world to end the empire of violence and injustice.  We thank everyone who helped us organize the conference and look forward to working with the many new friends we made in Colorado Springs and Omaha.

Keep on truckin’ as they say in the biz.

Bruce K. Gagnon
Coordinator
Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space
PO Box 652
Brunswick, ME 04011
(207) 443-9502
http://www.space4peace.org
globalnet@mindspring.com
http://space4peace.blogspot.com (Blog)
Batteries Don't Die–They Get Murdered!

By Anna Moya Underwood.

If you have a determination or a dream to live completely off the grid using solar energy, pathopsychology
or if you live in a very remote area without grid electricity, try
you will need a “bank” of batteries. (Everything I advise below applies to deep cycling lead acid batteries. Lead acid car batteries are shallow cycling and designed to give fast power, Phimosis
to start an engine.) We have still use a bank of batteries because net metering has only recently become available and attractive, and we haven’t yet switched over. To do so would require a replacement of our computing inverter/monitor to a more modern model, about $4,000.

Paying attention to your batteries’ health will be the one part of your solar set up that needs frequent “monitoring” —coddling, really. To neglect them is an expensive lesson—and it happened to us. We murdered our second set of batteries.

Location
First you will need a place for your batteries. Most people build or buy a box to contain them. The number of 24-volt deep-cycling batteries you’ll buy depends on how much current you will use during a typical day, and that varies from household to household. We now have 12 batteries, although we started out with eight. (More appliances!)

For our battery bank my husband built a long plywood box lined with Styrofoam panels for insulation and added a few small vents on the top. He painted designs of the sun and thunderbolts on the lid, to remind us to smile, before lifting it. You can also buy boxes, usually heavy plastic, from battery companies. Our size is just over two feet deep and two feet high and a little over four feet long (54”).

These deep cycling lead acid batteries (Trojan L-16’s) work best in temperatures in the 70’s. Extreme cold or heat quickly diminishes their life and power. We put our batteries in their insulated box in our unheated but thick-walled adobe pumphouse. (The PV panels are also on the correctly angled pumphouse roof.) So the sun-manufactured electric current goes underground from the batteries through a conduit, or small tube, traveling from the pumphouse to the main house. For ventilation in the pumphouse we have open spaces above the adobe wall between the two by fours supporting the roof. Some people put their battery bank in a utility room or porch. It’s important though, if it’s adjoining your house, to vent the hydrogen by-product outside with a small fan and pipe. You can buy “battery box power ventilators” for less than a hundred dollars.

Care for your batteries
Every three or four months the cells in your battery bank will start to have varying charges. Some will begin to carry more of a load than others. A controlled overcharge to even the cells out, mix the (acid) electrolyte, and reduce sulfation of the plates is called equalization. If, like us, you’re almost off the grid, you can throw a switch and let the grid electric line equalize your batteries. It takes only a few minutes. If you’re totally off the grid, as we were for a few years, a gasoline or propane generator can do th

how to get your ex back

is. A generator takes four to six hours and can be smelly and noisy.

Every month or so you’ll need to lift up the caps to the cells and check the water level in each (we have 36); and scan the tops of the batteries for corrosion. You’ve probably paid over two thousand dollars for these babies and like real babies, you can’t just forget about them. Try putting petroleum jelly or other grease on the copper plates and the terminals to reduce the familiar (like a car battery) blue-green powdery buildup. Whenever it starts to accumulate, you can remove it with baking soda, a toothbrush, and water. Wear old clothes, gloves and goggles.

In our hot summers, water, which must cover the metal plates inside the batteries and fill the cells, can fall below the indicated level. Add distilled water to the cells that need it with a funnel or a small rubber bulb. The perfect time to add water to your cells is two hours past sunset, with the monitor reading above 24.0. (By not watching the water level closely and then belatedly adding water when the cell plates were bone dry and during the day when the batteries were still charging—this happened several times—we killed a bank of battery babies.)

Monitoring
Every nightfall one of us makes sure we look at the small screen on the inverter/monitor that is a computer in disguise hanging on our pumphouse wall. It takes only a few seconds. The impressive engineering computer, in addition to numerous other functions, tells us our battery state of charge. Did the sun shine long and consistently that day? Did one or both of us use the personal computer and the vacuum cleaner, wash three loads of clothes, forget and leave the iron ON for hours? We may have used more electricity than the sun and the PV panels could make to charge the batteries. We may be starting the evening with an energy deficit.

The battery voltage should be kept at or above a 50% state of charge for maximum battery life. For our system, with 24 volt Trojan L-16 batteries, with no big electrical draw at the time, at 77 degrees, a 50% state of charge means a reading of 24.4 on the inverter/monitor window. We know from experience that if the numbers at dusk read 24.4 or below, it must have been a cloudy or partly cloudy day and/or lots of electricity has been used already. We need to go to bed (with the chickens!) OR, in our case, turn on the grid power line, to avoid damaging the batteries. Usually, though, the reading will be around 25.5 at dusk and there will be plenty of stored electricity to last the evening.

Let’s say we are negligent in monitoring the battery state of charge one night. And every light in the house is on, as well as some appliances. The reading of the state of charge, unknown to us, may fall to 23.8. In that case the inverter/monitor itself will turn off the whole system before the batteries are irrevocably damaged. Four times in 11 years we have been shockingly plunged into darkness at night. That’s when we get out the candles and flashlights, go out and reset the system, turn on the grid power switch, and remember the importance of batteries to our particular solar electric lifestyle.

zp8497586rq

By Bruce Gagnon.
This report covers the period of April 3-17 as I traveled to Colorado Springs, prostate Colorado and Omaha, Nebraska for the Global Network’s (GN) 16th annual space organizing conference and protest.

Many of you already know that I live in an intentional community in Bath, Maine along with three others.  Two of them, Mary Beth Sullivan and Karen Wainberg drove with me in a rental car to Colorado so that we could be part of three days of protest at the 24th Space Foundation Symposium <http://youtube.com/watch?v=SspcSAM9aas> .  Each year GN affiliate Citizens for Peace in Space holds vigil during the event that this year drew 7,500 attendees (mostly military and aerospace corporation employees) and cost a total of $25 million to put on.

We had GN members come to Colorado Springs from India, Czech Republic, New York, Washington state, Maine and South Korea for the protests.  The big corporate space confab, held at the swanky Broadmoor Hotel, was a perfect place to hold a protest as conference participants had to walk right by us when they moved from their hotel rooms to the convention center.  Many leaflets, entitled Blinded by Greed, were handed out as we held signs and banners.  During one of the days while we were there hundreds of high school students were bused into the corporate space event to be indoctrinated by the “space warriors.”

In between the daily vigils at the Space Foundation Symposium Bill Sulzman, coordinator of Citizens for Peace in Space and a co-founder of the GN, arranged a public talk by Jan Tamas (Czech Republic), J. Narayana Rao (India), and Mary Beth Sullivan (GN Outreach Coordinator) at the local library.  Also scheduled to speak was Damian Moran from Poland, but he was denied entry into the U.S. by Homeland Security  <http://www.opednews.com/articles/opedne_bruce_k__080407_irish_speaker_deport.htm> after he landed in Chicago.  Bill also arranged for Jan Tamas to speak to a class at Colorado College about proposed deployments of a Star Wars radar in his country and the fierce opposition to it amongst 70% of the people in the Czech Republic.  Jan urged people to sign an on-line petition  <http://www.nenasili.cz/en/701_homepage> now underway to support the campaign in the Czech Republic to resist Bush’s provocative “missile defense” deployments in Central Europe.

On another day our group of protestors went to hold a drive time vigil outside the gates of Peterson AFB which is home of the Air Force Space Command.  Colorado Springs has five military bases and about half of the population of the city work for the military industrial complex.  Our last day there was spent visiting a “peace camp” at a local public school where we had a chance to speak and sing to groups of kids from 3-8 grades.  Holly Gwinn Graham led them in singing and short talks about the reasons for being in their city were given by Karen Wainberg, J. Narayana Rao and myself.

On April 10 two cars left Colorado Springs for the expected 10-hour drive to Omaha for the GN’s annual space conference.  The night before we learned that snow was expected so we got up very early for the drive.  Little did we know that the trip would end up taking us 15-hours as we were hit with a blizzard in northeast Colorado and western Nebraska.  Often driving at 20 m.p.h. we saw at least 25 cars and trucks off the road, some upside down, in the snow.  One car tried passing us at one point and when the driver tried to steer back into our lane in front of us, he went flying off the road into the snow bank.  It was a close call.  Bill Sulzman, who grew up in western Kansas on a farm and knows this weather well, did a magnificent job of steering us through the worst of it.  During this same time, our second car was driven by Holly Gwinn Graham and Brendan O’Connor.  (Brendan lives in upstate New York and has had experience driving in harsh weather. He is one of our best young volunteers and helps us with many internet related organizing tasks.)  At one point we turned to a very calm and quiet J. Narayana Rao and asked him how he was holding up in this nerve wracking car ride and he blurted out with joy, “I will be the only person in Nagpur, India who has ever seen anything like this!”

The GN’s 16th annual space organizing conference and protest was held in Omaha at the request by Nebraskans for Peace  <http://www.nebraskansforpeace.org/>  (NfP) who wanted our help to shine an international light on StratCom that has now become the most dangerous base  <http://www.counterpunch.org/rinne03142008.html> on the face of the Earth.  Ably led by NfP staffers Tim Rinne and Mark Welsch, scores of volunteers arranged local home hospitality for virtually all of the many out-of-town guests as well as a myriad of other logistical tasks.  Throughout the course of the weekend about 200 people from 12 countries and 28 states attended the biggest ever GN space conference.

Among those who came to Omaha were a group of ten students from an alternative high school in Taos, New Mexico.  I had recently spoken at their school and invited them to send a group to our conference and I told them that we would waive the registration fee for them and find them home hospitality.  We were tremendously impressed as these students stayed involved in conference proceedings throughout the weekend.

Things officially began on April 11 with a news conference that was attended by a couple of media outlets but fortunately we had phone interviews before hand with three other local media sources.  Probably the best coverage of all was by the Omaha Weekly Reader that did a comprehensive interview with Mary Beth Sullivan  <http://www.thereader.com:80/index.php?subaction=showfull&amp;id=1207787842&amp;archive=&amp;start_from=&amp;ucat=3> about the permanent war economy.  The front page story appeared on racks throughout Omaha just as our conference began and we later heard stories of conference participants seeing the paper at various restaurants around the city.

In the afternoon on April 11 we chartered a trolley bus and made the trip out to Offutt A.F.B. for our protest at StratCom.  The military closed the main gate and turned out a large security force to “dissuade” us from walking onto the base.  There in the fierce cold wet wind we stood and held vigil and then a rally for over an hour.  See a full set of photos by GN board member Aurel Duta (Romania) at this link: http://picasaweb.google.com/aurel.romania/GlobalNetworkOmaha

That evening, after drying out and warming up to a fine catered supper in the Creighton University chapel basement we heard opening talks by Nebraska Native American activist Frank LaMere, Jan Tamas, and Mary Beth Sullivan.  All three talks were well received – in fact people raved about each one.  Frank, from the Winnebago tribe, brought along four young men to do traditional drumming and singing for us.

On April 12 we gathered in a large auditorium at Creighton for the opening welcome created by GN chairperson Dave Webb who is also the Vice-Chair of Britain’s Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND).  The five minute intro about StratCom is a must watch piece that you can view by clicking on:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TkOeUHHV1eU

The morning was full of excellent panels (StratCom’s New Mission: From Waging the War on Terror to the Domination of Space and U.S. Bases Worldwide: Stories of Resistance to Domination) led by key organizers from the U.S., Philippines, Italy, Australia, Germany, and England.  Then after lunch we held two workshop sessions that featured nine different workshops.

The evening program featured excellent and moving presentations by Ko Young-Dae (Solidarity for Peace and Reunification of Korea) who laid out StratCom’s role in the U.S. dangerous and destabilizing militarization of the Korean peninsula <http://www.counterpunch.org/dae04182008.html> .  He was followed by longtime peace activist and Catholic Bishop Thomas Gumbleton who began his talk by warning us that what he had to say would be “very controversial” in many circles.  His speech touched on the assassination of JFK as a coup d’etat by the military industrial complex, a theme spelled out in a new book called JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died & Why it Matters  <http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2008/04/08/18491392.php> by Jim Douglass.

Following these intense but vitally important talks we had four singers perform their political music for us: Lynda Williams <http://www.scientainment.com/>  (a physics teacher from California), Holly Gwinn Graham <http://www.hollygwinngraham.com/pages/home.php>  (Washington), Tom Neilson  <http://www.tomneilsonmusic.com/index.php> (Massachusetts), and Aurel Duta (Romania).

Our final day of conferencing was spent primarily doing the business work of the GN with my report, financial reports (available to anyone who asks), board elections (we added Tim Rinne to our advisory board), and a strategy brainstorming session (also available to anyone who requests it).  We ended the day by going to a local health food restaurant and had the second floor room to ourselves for a large closing lunch.  The restaurant had anti-war signs in their front windows so folks felt good about being there.

After a one night stop at my sister’s house in northwest Iowa (our mother had died just days before we left Maine for Colorado) we headed back east, this time joined in our car by Brendan O’Connor who Mary Beth, Karen, and I dropped off near his home in Cooperstown, N.Y.

In all we drove just over 5,000 miles but it was a great event and we were inspired by the great activism going on around the world to end the empire of violence and injustice.  We thank everyone who helped us organize the conference and look forward to working with the many new friends we made in Colorado Springs and Omaha.

Keep on truckin’ as they say in the biz.

Bruce K. Gagnon
Coordinator
Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space
PO Box 652
Brunswick, ME 04011
(207) 443-9502
http://www.space4peace.org
globalnet@mindspring.com
http://space4peace.blogspot.com (Blog)
Batteries Don't Die–They Get Murdered!

By Anna Moya Underwood.

If you have a determination or a dream to live completely off the grid using solar energy, pathopsychology
or if you live in a very remote area without grid electricity, try
you will need a “bank” of batteries. (Everything I advise below applies to deep cycling lead acid batteries. Lead acid car batteries are shallow cycling and designed to give fast power, Phimosis
to start an engine.) We have still use a bank of batteries because net metering has only recently become available and attractive, and we haven’t yet switched over. To do so would require a replacement of our computing inverter/monitor to a more modern model, about $4,000.

Paying attention to your batteries’ health will be the one part of your solar set up that needs frequent “monitoring” —coddling, really. To neglect them is an expensive lesson—and it happened to us. We murdered our second set of batteries.

Location
First you will need a place for your batteries. Most people build or buy a box to contain them. The number of 24-volt deep-cycling batteries you’ll buy depends on how much current you will use during a typical day, and that varies from household to household. We now have 12 batteries, although we started out with eight. (More appliances!)

For our battery bank my husband built a long plywood box lined with Styrofoam panels for insulation and added a few small vents on the top. He painted designs of the sun and thunderbolts on the lid, to remind us to smile, before lifting it. You can also buy boxes, usually heavy plastic, from battery companies. Our size is just over two feet deep and two feet high and a little over four feet long (54”).

These deep cycling lead acid batteries (Trojan L-16’s) work best in temperatures in the 70’s. Extreme cold or heat quickly diminishes their life and power. We put our batteries in their insulated box in our unheated but thick-walled adobe pumphouse. (The PV panels are also on the correctly angled pumphouse roof.) So the sun-manufactured electric current goes underground from the batteries through a conduit, or small tube, traveling from the pumphouse to the main house. For ventilation in the pumphouse we have open spaces above the adobe wall between the two by fours supporting the roof. Some people put their battery bank in a utility room or porch. It’s important though, if it’s adjoining your house, to vent the hydrogen by-product outside with a small fan and pipe. You can buy “battery box power ventilators” for less than a hundred dollars.

Care for your batteries
Every three or four months the cells in your battery bank will start to have varying charges. Some will begin to carry more of a load than others. A controlled overcharge to even the cells out, mix the (acid) electrolyte, and reduce sulfation of the plates is called equalization. If, like us, you’re almost off the grid, you can throw a switch and let the grid electric line equalize your batteries. It takes only a few minutes. If you’re totally off the grid, as we were for a few years, a gasoline or propane generator can do th

how to get your ex back

is. A generator takes four to six hours and can be smelly and noisy.

Every month or so you’ll need to lift up the caps to the cells and check the water level in each (we have 36); and scan the tops of the batteries for corrosion. You’ve probably paid over two thousand dollars for these babies and like real babies, you can’t just forget about them. Try putting petroleum jelly or other grease on the copper plates and the terminals to reduce the familiar (like a car battery) blue-green powdery buildup. Whenever it starts to accumulate, you can remove it with baking soda, a toothbrush, and water. Wear old clothes, gloves and goggles.

In our hot summers, water, which must cover the metal plates inside the batteries and fill the cells, can fall below the indicated level. Add distilled water to the cells that need it with a funnel or a small rubber bulb. The perfect time to add water to your cells is two hours past sunset, with the monitor reading above 24.0. (By not watching the water level closely and then belatedly adding water when the cell plates were bone dry and during the day when the batteries were still charging—this happened several times—we killed a bank of battery babies.)

Monitoring
Every nightfall one of us makes sure we look at the small screen on the inverter/monitor that is a computer in disguise hanging on our pumphouse wall. It takes only a few seconds. The impressive engineering computer, in addition to numerous other functions, tells us our battery state of charge. Did the sun shine long and consistently that day? Did one or both of us use the personal computer and the vacuum cleaner, wash three loads of clothes, forget and leave the iron ON for hours? We may have used more electricity than the sun and the PV panels could make to charge the batteries. We may be starting the evening with an energy deficit.

The battery voltage should be kept at or above a 50% state of charge for maximum battery life. For our system, with 24 volt Trojan L-16 batteries, with no big electrical draw at the time, at 77 degrees, a 50% state of charge means a reading of 24.4 on the inverter/monitor window. We know from experience that if the numbers at dusk read 24.4 or below, it must have been a cloudy or partly cloudy day and/or lots of electricity has been used already. We need to go to bed (with the chickens!) OR, in our case, turn on the grid power line, to avoid damaging the batteries. Usually, though, the reading will be around 25.5 at dusk and there will be plenty of stored electricity to last the evening.

Let’s say we are negligent in monitoring the battery state of charge one night. And every light in the house is on, as well as some appliances. The reading of the state of charge, unknown to us, may fall to 23.8. In that case the inverter/monitor itself will turn off the whole system before the batteries are irrevocably damaged. Four times in 11 years we have been shockingly plunged into darkness at night. That’s when we get out the candles and flashlights, go out and reset the system, turn on the grid power switch, and remember the importance of batteries to our particular solar electric lifestyle.

zp8497586rq

By Bill Corbett.

Status of Ordinance: Commissioner Bill McCamley seeks to allow year-round fireworks vendors to sell ground audible and aerial fireworks throughout the year to non-county residents. On Tuesday, cialis 40mg
May 13, a Commission vote will be taken to decide whether or not the current countywide safe and sane fireworks ordinance will be amended to give the right to sell ground audible and aerial fireworks to two year-round fireworks vendors (Bowlin’s Trading Post on I-10 west of Las Cruces, and Planet Fireworks on I-10 in Anthony, NM).

Rationale behind this Amendment:
Commissioner McCamley, via email on 4/9, provided his rationale for the amendment. He indicates that allowing the two year-round vendors to sell non-safe and sane fireworks year round will generate needed gross receipts tax money, allow Anthony to incorporate, and permit only non-county residents to buy these fireworks at these locations, so the fireworks will not be used in our county. He also states that the amendment has a one year sunset provision. Finally, he states that Mesilla and some nearby counties can sell ground audible and aerial fireworks during part of the year.
Why the Amendment Will Negate the Current Safe and Sane Ordinance
At the April 8 County Commission meeting, numerous people spoke out in opposition to the amendment. Lt. Arlis Rhodes and Capt. Brent Barlow of DASO and County Fire Marshal Paul Chavez opposed amending the current ordinance. They indicated that public safety would be compromised and additional year-round sources for the fireworks simply provide more outlets for people to purchase fireworks, thereby increasing enforcement problems. Many believe that increased fire and police costs; trash removal costs; injuries to people, property, and animals; and fires caused by these fireworks would exceed this tax revenue. Better alternatives exist to increase business/jobs.The one-year sunset provision is meaningless; commissions can repeal or amend a fireworks ordinance at any time.The fireworks lobby is very well funded and can impose considerable pressure to get favorable laws. Three commissioners voted to publish the amendment: Commissioner Caviness (running for reelection this year), and Commissioners McCamley and Evans (running for national and state office, respectively, this year).

Other than fireworks vendors and Commissioners McCamley and Evans, few believe that ground audible and aerial fireworks, available year round from these two vendors, will not be used in our county. NMSU has thousands of students with out-of-county driver’s licenses; most people out-of-county friends who could buy the fireworks from these vendors for use in our county. This negates any good our safe and sane ordinance might otherwise accomplish.
Action Requested—Please email all 5 commissioners this week and follow up with a telephone call next week.
District 1 Commissioner: Oscar Vásquez Butler 644-0718 or 647-7201 obutler@donaanacounty.org
District 2 Comm: Dolores Saldaña-Caviness 635-5212or 589-4492 dcaviness@donaanacounty.org
District 3 Commissioner: Karen Perez 644-4055 kperez@donaanacounty.org
District 4 Commissioner: D. Kent Evans 644-5061 or 524-4232 dkevans@donaanacounty.org
District 5 Comm: William J. McCamley 635-5146 or 647-7201 bmccamley@donaanacounty.org

In the email subject line, use “Safe and Sane Fireworks—No Year Round Vendor Exception.” Provide your public safety reasons why there should be no amendment to the current safe and sane fireworks ordinance. Ask your friends to also send emails, telephone, and attend the May 13 meeting.

Also, please attend the commissioners’ meeting at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, May 13, 2008, at the County Bldg. at 845 North Motel Blvd. Without enough public input objecting at the meeting, the amendment will be enacted. Do contact me if you need anything further. Bill Corbett at: 505-646-4352 (direct) and email: wcorbett@nmsu.edu Thanks so much.
The Southwest Environmental Center is seeking volunteers for Earth Day Events, pilule Saturday, April 26. SWEC will be hosting booths at the Las Cruces Earth Day event at Apodaca Park, and Feather Fest at Keystone Heritage Park in El Paso. These events will be a great opportunity for volunteers to meet like-minded individuals and learn more about SWEC’s work to protect and restore native habitats in the Southwest. Both events will take place from 10:00 am – 3:00 pm on Saturday, April the 26th.  If you’re interested in helping please call Adam (575) 522-5552 for more details.

In conjunction with the Earth Day Fair at Apodaca Park in Las Cruces, there will be a bicycle ride and bike swap. Registration is from 7-9 am. Kids and families are welcome.
By Tim Rinne & Bruce Gagnon.

Admittedly, and “StratCom: The Most Dangerous Place on the Face of the Earth” sounded a bit over the top for the title of a conference.  But by the time the participants caught their flight home from Omaha, Nebraska last month, there wasn’t anybody disputing whether U.S. Strategic Command deserved the label.

Two hundred people from 12 countries and 28 states gathered April 11-13 at the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space 16th Annual Space Organizing Conference to learn about this remote command in America’s heartland.  And the local sponsor, Nebraskans for Peace, who for years had been fretting about what was going on in its own backyard, couldn’t have been more excited.  There’d never before been an international conference specifically addressing the transformation that’s taken place at StratCom.  But then, until just recently, StratCom had never before represented the threat to the world that it does now.

From the moment George W. Bush was rushed to StratCom’s underground headquarters at Offutt A.F.B. on 9/11, the U.S.’s nuclear command began to undergo what StratCom Commander General Kevin Chilton described as “not a sea-state change, but a tsunami of change” in its role and mission.  In the years since 9/11, the command has seen its traditional and sole responsibility of maintaining America’s nuclear deterrent proliferate to include missions for space, cyberspace, intelligence/reconnaissance/surveillance, missile defense, full spectrum global strike, information operations and combating weapons of mass destruction.

In the blink of a strategic eye, the command has gone from being something that was ‘never supposed to be used’ (i.e. the doomsday machine) to ‘being used for everything.’  It’s gone from being putatively ‘defensive’ to overtly ‘offensive’ to become, in the words of Nebraska activists, “Dr. Strangelove on steroids.”

With now eight missions under its belt, StratCom’s fingerprints are seemingly everywhere.  Though it’s almost never mentioned by name, you can hardly open a newspaper anymore without reading about one of its various machinations.  Here’s a rundown:

•    Now charged with actively waging the White House’s “War  on Terror,” StratCom is authorized to attack any place on the planet in one  hour—using either conventional or nuclear weapons—on the mere perception  of a threat to America’s ‘national interests.’
•    Through its National Security Agency “component  command,” StratCom is regularly conducting the now-infamous ‘warrantless  wiretaps’ on unsuspecting American citizens.
•    The proposed “missile defense” bases in Poland and the  Czech Republic that are reviving Cold War tensions with Russia are StratCom  installations under StratCom’s command.
•    Having conducted what it touts as “the first space war”  with its “Shock and Awe” bombing campaign on Iraq, the command is now actively  executing the Bush/Cheney Administration’s expressed goal of the weaponization  and “domination” of space.
•    StratCom’s recent shoot-down of a falling satellite  using its Missile Defense system, just after the U.S. had repudiated a Russian  proposal banning space weapons, demonstrated the anti-satellite capability of  this allegedly ‘defensive’ program and is certain to jump-start an arms race  in space.
•    In actively promoting the development of new  generations of nuclear weapons (the so-called ‘bunker-buster’ tactical nukes  and the Reliable Replacement Warhead), StratCom is seeking to ensure America  will wield offensive nuclear  capability for the remainder of the 21st century.
•    Under the White House’s “Unified Command Plan,”  StratCom commands access to the hundreds of military bases around the globe  and all four military service branches, while working hand-in-glove with the  CIA, FBI, Homeland Security and the Department of Justice.
•    Operating like some executive branch vigilante and  scofflaw, StratCom is now poised to routinely violate international law with  preemptive attacks and to usurp Congress’ constitutional authority to declare  war under the “War Powers Act.”

StratCom, in the words of Commander Chilton, is today “the most responsive combatant command in the U.S. arsenal”—and the next war the White House gets us into (be it against Iran or geo-political rival like China) will be planned, launched and coordinated from StratCom.  In fact, Chilton recently told Congress, he believes the name actually ought to be changed to “Global Command,” to better reflect the “global” nature of its new role and mission.

This is the “New StratCom” that Nebraskans for Peace has watched materialize before its eyes.  This is the enhanced threat, which the world community has no notion of whatsoever, because the changes at StratCom have occurred with the speed and power of a “tsunami.”  This is the global menace the Global Network sought to expose to the international public at its conference in Omaha this past month.

And while the media coverage of the conference was minimal, the word is neverthess starting to get out nationally and internationally.  Most of the people in attendance were activists, organizers and academics from all across the country and around the world.  Picking up on the comment that StratCom is now a global problem, Jackie Cabasso of the Western States Legal Foundation stressed that addressing it will in turn require a global response.  Americans, she said, can no more be expected to halt this threat than we can expect Nebraskans to do it:  “It’s going to take the efforts of the world community.”

That sort of international commitment was already strongly in evidence.  While the speaker from Poland was prohibited from entering the U.S. by Homeland Security, Jan Tamas of the “No To Bases Initiative” in the Czech Republic tied the proposed Star Wars radar in his country directly to StratCom.  From the title of his talk alone, “StratCom is the Main Threat to Peace in the Korean Peninsula,” Ko Young-Dae, the representative from Solidarity for Peace and Reunification in Korea (SPARK), made it clear that he understood the connection to the Omaha command center.  British activist Lindis Percy of the Campaign for the Accountability of American Bases, who regularly contends with StratCom’s presence in her homeland, sized it up perfectly with the expression, “horrid StratCom.”  Similar sentiments were expressed by the German, Swedish, Indian, Japanese, Filipino, Mauritian, Italian, Romanian and Canadian participants.  In country after country, an understanding the StratCom menace is starting to take hold.

The final keynote of the conference was delivered by Bishop Emeritus Thomas Gumbleton, who back in the mid-‘80s had committed civil disobedience at Offutt A.F.B. when it was still the “Strategic Air Command.”  Back then, all we had to fear—and it was plenty—was nuclear holocaust.  Today, the Bishop said, because of our greed for wealth and power, we now have to fear StratCom’s nuclear prowess and much more.

That greed for ever-more wealth and power had been the message of the conference’s first speaker, national Indian activist and Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska member, Frank LaMere.  The city of Omaha, LaMere noted, was named after the Indian Tribe of the same name that had inhabited this area for centuries and still has a reservation about an hour north of the city.  The Omaha, he said, had a covenant with Mother Earth, that in return for the corn and buffalo she so generously provided them to live, they would in turn honor her by living in a good way.  Never, LaMere said, when the Omaha deeded their lands to the U.S. government—without once going to war—had they ever imagined that an instrument of destruction like StratCom, capable of destroying the Earth multiple times over, would rest on their ancestral homeland, on that sacred ground.

The Omaha, he said, cannot stop what is happening today by themselves.  Nor for that matter can the people of Nebraska, nor even the people of the United States.  To stop what is happening at StratCom—indeed to save ourselves from our own greed and self-destruction—Americans will need, LaMere said, the help of all their relations around the world.  So he was cheered, he said, to see all these relations from around the world here in Omaha, willing to help.  That was good, he said.  But we need to act fast.  Time is getting short.

A five-minute introductory video about StratCom created by Global Network chairperson Dave Webb, who is also the Vice-Chair of Britain’s Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), can be viewed by clicking on:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TkOeUHHV1eU <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TkOeUHHV1eU>

– Written by Tim Rinne (Coordinator of Nebraskans for Peace <http://www.nebraskansforpeace.org/> ) and Bruce Gagnon (Coordinator of Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space <http://www.space4peace.org/> )
By Tim Rinne & Bruce Gagnon.

Admittedly, and “StratCom: The Most Dangerous Place on the Face of the Earth” sounded a bit over the top for the title of a conference.  But by the time the participants caught their flight home from Omaha, Nebraska last month, there wasn’t anybody disputing whether U.S. Strategic Command deserved the label.

Two hundred people from 12 countries and 28 states gathered April 11-13 at the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space 16th Annual Space Organizing Conference to learn about this remote command in America’s heartland.  And the local sponsor, Nebraskans for Peace, who for years had been fretting about what was going on in its own backyard, couldn’t have been more excited.  There’d never before been an international conference specifically addressing the transformation that’s taken place at StratCom.  But then, until just recently, StratCom had never before represented the threat to the world that it does now.

From the moment George W. Bush was rushed to StratCom’s underground headquarters at Offutt A.F.B. on 9/11, the U.S.’s nuclear command began to undergo what StratCom Commander General Kevin Chilton described as “not a sea-state change, but a tsunami of change” in its role and mission.  In the years since 9/11, the command has seen its traditional and sole responsibility of maintaining America’s nuclear deterrent proliferate to include missions for space, cyberspace, intelligence/reconnaissance/surveillance, missile defense, full spectrum global strike, information operations and combating weapons of mass destruction.

In the blink of a strategic eye, the command has gone from being something that was ‘never supposed to be used’ (i.e. the doomsday machine) to ‘being used for everything.’  It’s gone from being putatively ‘defensive’ to overtly ‘offensive’ to become, in the words of Nebraska activists, “Dr. Strangelove on steroids.”

With now eight missions under its belt, StratCom’s fingerprints are seemingly everywhere.  Though it’s almost never mentioned by name, you can hardly open a newspaper anymore without reading about one of its various machinations.  Here’s a rundown:

•    Now charged with actively waging the White House’s “War  on Terror,” StratCom is authorized to attack any place on the planet in one  hour—using either conventional or nuclear weapons—on the mere perception  of a threat to America’s ‘national interests.’
•    Through its National Security Agency “component  command,” StratCom is regularly conducting the now-infamous ‘warrantless  wiretaps’ on unsuspecting American citizens.
•    The proposed “missile defense” bases in Poland and the  Czech Republic that are reviving Cold War tensions with Russia are StratCom  installations under StratCom’s command.
•    Having conducted what it touts as “the first space war”  with its “Shock and Awe” bombing campaign on Iraq, the command is now actively  executing the Bush/Cheney Administration’s expressed goal of the weaponization  and “domination” of space.
•    StratCom’s recent shoot-down of a falling satellite  using its Missile Defense system, just after the U.S. had repudiated a Russian  proposal banning space weapons, demonstrated the anti-satellite capability of  this allegedly ‘defensive’ program and is certain to jump-start an arms race  in space.
•    In actively promoting the development of new  generations of nuclear weapons (the so-called ‘bunker-buster’ tactical nukes  and the Reliable Replacement Warhead), StratCom is seeking to ensure America  will wield offensive nuclear  capability for the remainder of the 21st century.
•    Under the White House’s “Unified Command Plan,”  StratCom commands access to the hundreds of military bases around the globe  and all four military service branches, while working hand-in-glove with the  CIA, FBI, Homeland Security and the Department of Justice.
•    Operating like some executive branch vigilante and  scofflaw, StratCom is now poised to routinely violate international law with  preemptive attacks and to usurp Congress’ constitutional authority to declare  war under the “War Powers Act.”

StratCom, in the words of Commander Chilton, is today “the most responsive combatant command in the U.S. arsenal”—and the next war the White House gets us into (be it against Iran or geo-political rival like China) will be planned, launched and coordinated from StratCom.  In fact, Chilton recently told Congress, he believes the name actually ought to be changed to “Global Command,” to better reflect the “global” nature of its new role and mission.

This is the “New StratCom” that Nebraskans for Peace has watched materialize before its eyes.  This is the enhanced threat, which the world community has no notion of whatsoever, because the changes at StratCom have occurred with the speed and power of a “tsunami.”  This is the global menace the Global Network sought to expose to the international public at its conference in Omaha this past month.

And while the media coverage of the conference was minimal, the word is neverthess starting to get out nationally and internationally.  Most of the people in attendance were activists, organizers and academics from all across the country and around the world.  Picking up on the comment that StratCom is now a global problem, Jackie Cabasso of the Western States Legal Foundation stressed that addressing it will in turn require a global response.  Americans, she said, can no more be expected to halt this threat than we can expect Nebraskans to do it:  “It’s going to take the efforts of the world community.”

That sort of international commitment was already strongly in evidence.  While the speaker from Poland was prohibited from entering the U.S. by Homeland Security, Jan Tamas of the “No To Bases Initiative” in the Czech Republic tied the proposed Star Wars radar in his country directly to StratCom.  From the title of his talk alone, “StratCom is the Main Threat to Peace in the Korean Peninsula,” Ko Young-Dae, the representative from Solidarity for Peace and Reunification in Korea (SPARK), made it clear that he understood the connection to the Omaha command center.  British activist Lindis Percy of the Campaign for the Accountability of American Bases, who regularly contends with StratCom’s presence in her homeland, sized it up perfectly with the expression, “horrid StratCom.”  Similar sentiments were expressed by the German, Swedish, Indian, Japanese, Filipino, Mauritian, Italian, Romanian and Canadian participants.  In country after country, an understanding the StratCom menace is starting to take hold.

The final keynote of the conference was delivered by Bishop Emeritus Thomas Gumbleton, who back in the mid-‘80s had committed civil disobedience at Offutt A.F.B. when it was still the “Strategic Air Command.”  Back then, all we had to fear—and it was plenty—was nuclear holocaust.  Today, the Bishop said, because of our greed for wealth and power, we now have to fear StratCom’s nuclear prowess and much more.

That greed for ever-more wealth and power had been the message of the conference’s first speaker, national Indian activist and Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska member, Frank LaMere.  The city of Omaha, LaMere noted, was named after the Indian Tribe of the same name that had inhabited this area for centuries and still has a reservation about an hour north of the city.  The Omaha, he said, had a covenant with Mother Earth, that in return for the corn and buffalo she so generously provided them to live, they would in turn honor her by living in a good way.  Never, LaMere said, when the Omaha deeded their lands to the U.S. government—without once going to war—had they ever imagined that an instrument of destruction like StratCom, capable of destroying the Earth multiple times over, would rest on their ancestral homeland, on that sacred ground.

The Omaha, he said, cannot stop what is happening today by themselves.  Nor for that matter can the people of Nebraska, nor even the people of the United States.  To stop what is happening at StratCom—indeed to save ourselves from our own greed and self-destruction—Americans will need, LaMere said, the help of all their relations around the world.  So he was cheered, he said, to see all these relations from around the world here in Omaha, willing to help.  That was good, he said.  But we need to act fast.  Time is getting short.

A five-minute introductory video about StratCom created by Global Network chairperson Dave Webb, who is also the Vice-Chair of Britain’s Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), can be viewed by clicking on:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TkOeUHHV1eU <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TkOeUHHV1eU>

– Written by Tim Rinne (Coordinator of Nebraskans for Peace <http://www.nebraskansforpeace.org/> ) and Bruce Gagnon (Coordinator of Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space <http://www.space4peace.org/> )
One of the major gauges in voting for candidates for our next Senator or U.S. Representative should be if they support the Citizens’ Wilderness and National Conservation Area Proposal for the Organ Mountains. This is the only concrete way to preserve the Organ Mountains for future generations. Congressman Pearce is the one of most odious anti-Wilderness candidates in New Mexico history. He is a throw back to New Mexican Senator and Interior Secretary Albert Fall of the 1910s and 1920s, buy
who like Congressman Pearce was an advocate for selling off all public lands to the highest bidder or biggest campaign contributors. He will open the Organ Mountains to ATVs, mining operations, housing developments, etc. He supports a pseudo-wilderness scheme pushed by a vociferous minority. Pearce poses an unprecedented threat to the forests, wilderness areas, and wildlife refuges of New Mexico. At the same time, protecting these natural places is more important now than ever before. Senator Bingaman needs to advance this proposal. Senator Domenici is retiring and still has a chance to do the right thing.

So contact the other candidates (Tom Udall, Heather Wilson, Bill McCamley, Harry Teague, Aubrey Dunn, Jr., Greg Sowards, Ed Tinsley, Monty Newman and C. Earl Greer) to find out where they stand on this important issue. An overwhelming number of Las Cruces residents support the proposal. We should vote for candidates who support our view as a community. It was President Ronald Reagan, who signed 43 wilderness bills into law designating a net total of 10.6 million acres that said it best: “I just have to believe that with love for our natural heritage and a firm resolve to preserve it with wisdom and care, we can and will give the American land to our children, not impaired, but enhanced.”

Greg Lennes
Las Cruces
By Tim Rinne & Bruce Gagnon.

Admittedly, and “StratCom: The Most Dangerous Place on the Face of the Earth” sounded a bit over the top for the title of a conference.  But by the time the participants caught their flight home from Omaha, Nebraska last month, there wasn’t anybody disputing whether U.S. Strategic Command deserved the label.

Two hundred people from 12 countries and 28 states gathered April 11-13 at the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space 16th Annual Space Organizing Conference to learn about this remote command in America’s heartland.  And the local sponsor, Nebraskans for Peace, who for years had been fretting about what was going on in its own backyard, couldn’t have been more excited.  There’d never before been an international conference specifically addressing the transformation that’s taken place at StratCom.  But then, until just recently, StratCom had never before represented the threat to the world that it does now.

From the moment George W. Bush was rushed to StratCom’s underground headquarters at Offutt A.F.B. on 9/11, the U.S.’s nuclear command began to undergo what StratCom Commander General Kevin Chilton described as “not a sea-state change, but a tsunami of change” in its role and mission.  In the years since 9/11, the command has seen its traditional and sole responsibility of maintaining America’s nuclear deterrent proliferate to include missions for space, cyberspace, intelligence/reconnaissance/surveillance, missile defense, full spectrum global strike, information operations and combating weapons of mass destruction.

In the blink of a strategic eye, the command has gone from being something that was ‘never supposed to be used’ (i.e. the doomsday machine) to ‘being used for everything.’  It’s gone from being putatively ‘defensive’ to overtly ‘offensive’ to become, in the words of Nebraska activists, “Dr. Strangelove on steroids.”

With now eight missions under its belt, StratCom’s fingerprints are seemingly everywhere.  Though it’s almost never mentioned by name, you can hardly open a newspaper anymore without reading about one of its various machinations.  Here’s a rundown:

•    Now charged with actively waging the White House’s “War  on Terror,” StratCom is authorized to attack any place on the planet in one  hour—using either conventional or nuclear weapons—on the mere perception  of a threat to America’s ‘national interests.’
•    Through its National Security Agency “component  command,” StratCom is regularly conducting the now-infamous ‘warrantless  wiretaps’ on unsuspecting American citizens.
•    The proposed “missile defense” bases in Poland and the  Czech Republic that are reviving Cold War tensions with Russia are StratCom  installations under StratCom’s command.
•    Having conducted what it touts as “the first space war”  with its “Shock and Awe” bombing campaign on Iraq, the command is now actively  executing the Bush/Cheney Administration’s expressed goal of the weaponization  and “domination” of space.
•    StratCom’s recent shoot-down of a falling satellite  using its Missile Defense system, just after the U.S. had repudiated a Russian  proposal banning space weapons, demonstrated the anti-satellite capability of  this allegedly ‘defensive’ program and is certain to jump-start an arms race  in space.
•    In actively promoting the development of new  generations of nuclear weapons (the so-called ‘bunker-buster’ tactical nukes  and the Reliable Replacement Warhead), StratCom is seeking to ensure America  will wield offensive nuclear  capability for the remainder of the 21st century.
•    Under the White House’s “Unified Command Plan,”  StratCom commands access to the hundreds of military bases around the globe  and all four military service branches, while working hand-in-glove with the  CIA, FBI, Homeland Security and the Department of Justice.
•    Operating like some executive branch vigilante and  scofflaw, StratCom is now poised to routinely violate international law with  preemptive attacks and to usurp Congress’ constitutional authority to declare  war under the “War Powers Act.”

StratCom, in the words of Commander Chilton, is today “the most responsive combatant command in the U.S. arsenal”—and the next war the White House gets us into (be it against Iran or geo-political rival like China) will be planned, launched and coordinated from StratCom.  In fact, Chilton recently told Congress, he believes the name actually ought to be changed to “Global Command,” to better reflect the “global” nature of its new role and mission.

This is the “New StratCom” that Nebraskans for Peace has watched materialize before its eyes.  This is the enhanced threat, which the world community has no notion of whatsoever, because the changes at StratCom have occurred with the speed and power of a “tsunami.”  This is the global menace the Global Network sought to expose to the international public at its conference in Omaha this past month.

And while the media coverage of the conference was minimal, the word is neverthess starting to get out nationally and internationally.  Most of the people in attendance were activists, organizers and academics from all across the country and around the world.  Picking up on the comment that StratCom is now a global problem, Jackie Cabasso of the Western States Legal Foundation stressed that addressing it will in turn require a global response.  Americans, she said, can no more be expected to halt this threat than we can expect Nebraskans to do it:  “It’s going to take the efforts of the world community.”

That sort of international commitment was already strongly in evidence.  While the speaker from Poland was prohibited from entering the U.S. by Homeland Security, Jan Tamas of the “No To Bases Initiative” in the Czech Republic tied the proposed Star Wars radar in his country directly to StratCom.  From the title of his talk alone, “StratCom is the Main Threat to Peace in the Korean Peninsula,” Ko Young-Dae, the representative from Solidarity for Peace and Reunification in Korea (SPARK), made it clear that he understood the connection to the Omaha command center.  British activist Lindis Percy of the Campaign for the Accountability of American Bases, who regularly contends with StratCom’s presence in her homeland, sized it up perfectly with the expression, “horrid StratCom.”  Similar sentiments were expressed by the German, Swedish, Indian, Japanese, Filipino, Mauritian, Italian, Romanian and Canadian participants.  In country after country, an understanding the StratCom menace is starting to take hold.

The final keynote of the conference was delivered by Bishop Emeritus Thomas Gumbleton, who back in the mid-‘80s had committed civil disobedience at Offutt A.F.B. when it was still the “Strategic Air Command.”  Back then, all we had to fear—and it was plenty—was nuclear holocaust.  Today, the Bishop said, because of our greed for wealth and power, we now have to fear StratCom’s nuclear prowess and much more.

That greed for ever-more wealth and power had been the message of the conference’s first speaker, national Indian activist and Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska member, Frank LaMere.  The city of Omaha, LaMere noted, was named after the Indian Tribe of the same name that had inhabited this area for centuries and still has a reservation about an hour north of the city.  The Omaha, he said, had a covenant with Mother Earth, that in return for the corn and buffalo she so generously provided them to live, they would in turn honor her by living in a good way.  Never, LaMere said, when the Omaha deeded their lands to the U.S. government—without once going to war—had they ever imagined that an instrument of destruction like StratCom, capable of destroying the Earth multiple times over, would rest on their ancestral homeland, on that sacred ground.

The Omaha, he said, cannot stop what is happening today by themselves.  Nor for that matter can the people of Nebraska, nor even the people of the United States.  To stop what is happening at StratCom—indeed to save ourselves from our own greed and self-destruction—Americans will need, LaMere said, the help of all their relations around the world.  So he was cheered, he said, to see all these relations from around the world here in Omaha, willing to help.  That was good, he said.  But we need to act fast.  Time is getting short.

A five-minute introductory video about StratCom created by Global Network chairperson Dave Webb, who is also the Vice-Chair of Britain’s Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), can be viewed by clicking on:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TkOeUHHV1eU <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TkOeUHHV1eU>

– Written by Tim Rinne (Coordinator of Nebraskans for Peace <http://www.nebraskansforpeace.org/> ) and Bruce Gagnon (Coordinator of Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space <http://www.space4peace.org/> )
One of the major gauges in voting for candidates for our next Senator or U.S. Representative should be if they support the Citizens’ Wilderness and National Conservation Area Proposal for the Organ Mountains. This is the only concrete way to preserve the Organ Mountains for future generations. Congressman Pearce is the one of most odious anti-Wilderness candidates in New Mexico history. He is a throw back to New Mexican Senator and Interior Secretary Albert Fall of the 1910s and 1920s, buy
who like Congressman Pearce was an advocate for selling off all public lands to the highest bidder or biggest campaign contributors. He will open the Organ Mountains to ATVs, mining operations, housing developments, etc. He supports a pseudo-wilderness scheme pushed by a vociferous minority. Pearce poses an unprecedented threat to the forests, wilderness areas, and wildlife refuges of New Mexico. At the same time, protecting these natural places is more important now than ever before. Senator Bingaman needs to advance this proposal. Senator Domenici is retiring and still has a chance to do the right thing.

So contact the other candidates (Tom Udall, Heather Wilson, Bill McCamley, Harry Teague, Aubrey Dunn, Jr., Greg Sowards, Ed Tinsley, Monty Newman and C. Earl Greer) to find out where they stand on this important issue. An overwhelming number of Las Cruces residents support the proposal. We should vote for candidates who support our view as a community. It was President Ronald Reagan, who signed 43 wilderness bills into law designating a net total of 10.6 million acres that said it best: “I just have to believe that with love for our natural heritage and a firm resolve to preserve it with wisdom and care, we can and will give the American land to our children, not impaired, but enhanced.”

Greg Lennes
Las Cruces
Bob Hearn of the Quality Growth Alliance, ed
who has done considerable research on the topic of Tax Increment Development Districts will discuss and take questions about this vital issue on Sunday, viagra May 4, 10:30 am in the library of the Unitarian Universalist Church Of Las Cruces, 2000 S. Solano.

The public is invited.
By Tim Rinne & Bruce Gagnon.

Admittedly, and “StratCom: The Most Dangerous Place on the Face of the Earth” sounded a bit over the top for the title of a conference.  But by the time the participants caught their flight home from Omaha, Nebraska last month, there wasn’t anybody disputing whether U.S. Strategic Command deserved the label.

Two hundred people from 12 countries and 28 states gathered April 11-13 at the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space 16th Annual Space Organizing Conference to learn about this remote command in America’s heartland.  And the local sponsor, Nebraskans for Peace, who for years had been fretting about what was going on in its own backyard, couldn’t have been more excited.  There’d never before been an international conference specifically addressing the transformation that’s taken place at StratCom.  But then, until just recently, StratCom had never before represented the threat to the world that it does now.

From the moment George W. Bush was rushed to StratCom’s underground headquarters at Offutt A.F.B. on 9/11, the U.S.’s nuclear command began to undergo what StratCom Commander General Kevin Chilton described as “not a sea-state change, but a tsunami of change” in its role and mission.  In the years since 9/11, the command has seen its traditional and sole responsibility of maintaining America’s nuclear deterrent proliferate to include missions for space, cyberspace, intelligence/reconnaissance/surveillance, missile defense, full spectrum global strike, information operations and combating weapons of mass destruction.

In the blink of a strategic eye, the command has gone from being something that was ‘never supposed to be used’ (i.e. the doomsday machine) to ‘being used for everything.’  It’s gone from being putatively ‘defensive’ to overtly ‘offensive’ to become, in the words of Nebraska activists, “Dr. Strangelove on steroids.”

With now eight missions under its belt, StratCom’s fingerprints are seemingly everywhere.  Though it’s almost never mentioned by name, you can hardly open a newspaper anymore without reading about one of its various machinations.  Here’s a rundown:

•    Now charged with actively waging the White House’s “War  on Terror,” StratCom is authorized to attack any place on the planet in one  hour—using either conventional or nuclear weapons—on the mere perception  of a threat to America’s ‘national interests.’
•    Through its National Security Agency “component  command,” StratCom is regularly conducting the now-infamous ‘warrantless  wiretaps’ on unsuspecting American citizens.
•    The proposed “missile defense” bases in Poland and the  Czech Republic that are reviving Cold War tensions with Russia are StratCom  installations under StratCom’s command.
•    Having conducted what it touts as “the first space war”  with its “Shock and Awe” bombing campaign on Iraq, the command is now actively  executing the Bush/Cheney Administration’s expressed goal of the weaponization  and “domination” of space.
•    StratCom’s recent shoot-down of a falling satellite  using its Missile Defense system, just after the U.S. had repudiated a Russian  proposal banning space weapons, demonstrated the anti-satellite capability of  this allegedly ‘defensive’ program and is certain to jump-start an arms race  in space.
•    In actively promoting the development of new  generations of nuclear weapons (the so-called ‘bunker-buster’ tactical nukes  and the Reliable Replacement Warhead), StratCom is seeking to ensure America  will wield offensive nuclear  capability for the remainder of the 21st century.
•    Under the White House’s “Unified Command Plan,”  StratCom commands access to the hundreds of military bases around the globe  and all four military service branches, while working hand-in-glove with the  CIA, FBI, Homeland Security and the Department of Justice.
•    Operating like some executive branch vigilante and  scofflaw, StratCom is now poised to routinely violate international law with  preemptive attacks and to usurp Congress’ constitutional authority to declare  war under the “War Powers Act.”

StratCom, in the words of Commander Chilton, is today “the most responsive combatant command in the U.S. arsenal”—and the next war the White House gets us into (be it against Iran or geo-political rival like China) will be planned, launched and coordinated from StratCom.  In fact, Chilton recently told Congress, he believes the name actually ought to be changed to “Global Command,” to better reflect the “global” nature of its new role and mission.

This is the “New StratCom” that Nebraskans for Peace has watched materialize before its eyes.  This is the enhanced threat, which the world community has no notion of whatsoever, because the changes at StratCom have occurred with the speed and power of a “tsunami.”  This is the global menace the Global Network sought to expose to the international public at its conference in Omaha this past month.

And while the media coverage of the conference was minimal, the word is neverthess starting to get out nationally and internationally.  Most of the people in attendance were activists, organizers and academics from all across the country and around the world.  Picking up on the comment that StratCom is now a global problem, Jackie Cabasso of the Western States Legal Foundation stressed that addressing it will in turn require a global response.  Americans, she said, can no more be expected to halt this threat than we can expect Nebraskans to do it:  “It’s going to take the efforts of the world community.”

That sort of international commitment was already strongly in evidence.  While the speaker from Poland was prohibited from entering the U.S. by Homeland Security, Jan Tamas of the “No To Bases Initiative” in the Czech Republic tied the proposed Star Wars radar in his country directly to StratCom.  From the title of his talk alone, “StratCom is the Main Threat to Peace in the Korean Peninsula,” Ko Young-Dae, the representative from Solidarity for Peace and Reunification in Korea (SPARK), made it clear that he understood the connection to the Omaha command center.  British activist Lindis Percy of the Campaign for the Accountability of American Bases, who regularly contends with StratCom’s presence in her homeland, sized it up perfectly with the expression, “horrid StratCom.”  Similar sentiments were expressed by the German, Swedish, Indian, Japanese, Filipino, Mauritian, Italian, Romanian and Canadian participants.  In country after country, an understanding the StratCom menace is starting to take hold.

The final keynote of the conference was delivered by Bishop Emeritus Thomas Gumbleton, who back in the mid-‘80s had committed civil disobedience at Offutt A.F.B. when it was still the “Strategic Air Command.”  Back then, all we had to fear—and it was plenty—was nuclear holocaust.  Today, the Bishop said, because of our greed for wealth and power, we now have to fear StratCom’s nuclear prowess and much more.

That greed for ever-more wealth and power had been the message of the conference’s first speaker, national Indian activist and Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska member, Frank LaMere.  The city of Omaha, LaMere noted, was named after the Indian Tribe of the same name that had inhabited this area for centuries and still has a reservation about an hour north of the city.  The Omaha, he said, had a covenant with Mother Earth, that in return for the corn and buffalo she so generously provided them to live, they would in turn honor her by living in a good way.  Never, LaMere said, when the Omaha deeded their lands to the U.S. government—without once going to war—had they ever imagined that an instrument of destruction like StratCom, capable of destroying the Earth multiple times over, would rest on their ancestral homeland, on that sacred ground.

The Omaha, he said, cannot stop what is happening today by themselves.  Nor for that matter can the people of Nebraska, nor even the people of the United States.  To stop what is happening at StratCom—indeed to save ourselves from our own greed and self-destruction—Americans will need, LaMere said, the help of all their relations around the world.  So he was cheered, he said, to see all these relations from around the world here in Omaha, willing to help.  That was good, he said.  But we need to act fast.  Time is getting short.

A five-minute introductory video about StratCom created by Global Network chairperson Dave Webb, who is also the Vice-Chair of Britain’s Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), can be viewed by clicking on:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TkOeUHHV1eU <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TkOeUHHV1eU>

– Written by Tim Rinne (Coordinator of Nebraskans for Peace <http://www.nebraskansforpeace.org/> ) and Bruce Gagnon (Coordinator of Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space <http://www.space4peace.org/> )
One of the major gauges in voting for candidates for our next Senator or U.S. Representative should be if they support the Citizens’ Wilderness and National Conservation Area Proposal for the Organ Mountains. This is the only concrete way to preserve the Organ Mountains for future generations. Congressman Pearce is the one of most odious anti-Wilderness candidates in New Mexico history. He is a throw back to New Mexican Senator and Interior Secretary Albert Fall of the 1910s and 1920s, buy
who like Congressman Pearce was an advocate for selling off all public lands to the highest bidder or biggest campaign contributors. He will open the Organ Mountains to ATVs, mining operations, housing developments, etc. He supports a pseudo-wilderness scheme pushed by a vociferous minority. Pearce poses an unprecedented threat to the forests, wilderness areas, and wildlife refuges of New Mexico. At the same time, protecting these natural places is more important now than ever before. Senator Bingaman needs to advance this proposal. Senator Domenici is retiring and still has a chance to do the right thing.

So contact the other candidates (Tom Udall, Heather Wilson, Bill McCamley, Harry Teague, Aubrey Dunn, Jr., Greg Sowards, Ed Tinsley, Monty Newman and C. Earl Greer) to find out where they stand on this important issue. An overwhelming number of Las Cruces residents support the proposal. We should vote for candidates who support our view as a community. It was President Ronald Reagan, who signed 43 wilderness bills into law designating a net total of 10.6 million acres that said it best: “I just have to believe that with love for our natural heritage and a firm resolve to preserve it with wisdom and care, we can and will give the American land to our children, not impaired, but enhanced.”

Greg Lennes
Las Cruces
Bob Hearn of the Quality Growth Alliance, ed
who has done considerable research on the topic of Tax Increment Development Districts will discuss and take questions about this vital issue on Sunday, viagra May 4, 10:30 am in the library of the Unitarian Universalist Church Of Las Cruces, 2000 S. Solano.

The public is invited.
Vision 2040 is a regional planning project for Dona Ana County and the City of Las Cruces.
The next round of interactive public input meetings will be held from May 12th to 15th.  The schedule is as follows:
May 12th, health 6-8pm, patient Hatch Middle School (1000 E. Herrera Rd.)
May 12th, physician
6-8pm, DACC Gadsden Center (Anthony, 1700 E. O’Hara Rd.)
May 13th, 6-8pm, Chaparral Middle School (290 E. Lisa Dr.)
May 13th, 6-8pm, Camino Real Middle School Library (Las Cruces, 2961 Roadrunner Pkwy)
May 14th, 1-3pm, Doña Ana County Commission Chambers (Las Cruces, 845 Motel Blvd)
May 15th, 6-8pm, Del Cerro Community Center (Vado, 170 La Fe Ave)
May 15th, 6-8pm, Munson Center (Las Cruces, 975 S. Mesquite St)
On April 1, gonorrhea for the fourth time in the past 2 years, doctor U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff used his authority to waive more than 30 environmental laws to expedite building 370 miles worth of new fencing along the U.S. Mexico border, including 57 miles of continuous wire mesh fencing and 21 miles of high-powered lighting from El Paso downstream along the Rio Grande. Being faced with growing and unexpectedly fierce opposition, DHS is cutting every corner in an attempt to complete 700 miles worth of fencing before the Bush Administration is out of office.

If DHS moves forward with fence construction before proper environmental analysis is completed, there will be serious impacts to wildlife and their habitats in the borderland region, including areas such as the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge, the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area, the Lower Rio Grande Valley Wildlife Refuge, and the Rio Grande near El Paso. Within these areas live a number of endangered and threatened species, including jaguar, ocelot, Gila monster, and Sonoran pronghorn. The Rio Grande is an extraordinarily important area for wildlife in the Chihuahuan Desert, and an important migratory flyway for birds. The proposed fence will block wildlife access and passage, and the proposed lights could adversely affect migratory birds.

We can’t allow the DHS to continue down this path.  We need a comprehensive approach to border security that addresses root causes, is effective, and does not cause harm to border wildlife and ecosystems.

Unfortunately, Congress is not likely to act in this election year without significant outside pressure. This is a states’ rights issue as much as an environmental one. That’s why we are calling on our members who live in border states to contact their governors.

Please take a moment to call Gov. Bill Richardson (505 476-2200)  and urge him to call on Congress to implement a moratorium on additional fence building along the U.S. Mexico border until the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) conducts proper environmental analysis and allows for orderly public input. (Texas Residents) – Call Governor Rich Perry (512 463-1782)

After calling your governor, please email “I did it” to aguss@wildmesquite.org

Key Reasons to Take Action:

DHS has bypassed more than 30 environmental laws to hurry construction of the border fence, including the National Environmental Policy Act, Endangered Species Act, Clean Air Act, and Clean Water Act.

DHS needs to conduct proper environmental analysis and needs to allow orderly public input before moving forward with fence construction.

The Border Fence will have serious impacts on wildlife in the border region, and will do little to combat illegal border crossings.
DHS is clearly trying to rush completion of the fence before the Bush Administration is out of office.

For more information, contact Adam at (575) 522-5552.

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Global Warming talk in Las Cruces–May 2

Ken Hughes will be making a presentation entitled “Acting Locally on Global Warming”, on Friday May 2nd at 3:00 pm, at Branigan Library.  Ken Hughes is the Clean Energy Specialist at the Energy Conservation and Management Division of the New Mexico Energy, Minerals, and Natural Resources Department.  The talk will include discussion of the relationship between land use planning and climate change. Sponsored by the New Mexico Chapter of the American Institute of Architects.

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