New York City, NY
September 2, 2013

Hello Dear President Barack Obama,

I’m writing to urge that you use all possible diplomatic means to help solve the present dilemma with Syria. Please do not take military action toward Syria.

You are getting all kinds of advice from your official Advisors. I hope that some are warning of long range dangers and counter productive repercussions among our allies, and even among our enemies, on the world scene, if the US resorts to bombing.

Using chemical weapons on one’s own citizens is indeed a reprehensible act! We all recognize that this violates the laws of human decency, and is counter to international agreements. You are quite correct in calling attention to this grievous violation!

People all around the world are shocked and dismayed at this new chemical violence in Syria, that follow the previous outrages of murdering hundreds of civilian protestors in the streets.

Many of us, wary of historical “false flag” operations, wonder who are the actual perpetrators of this use of Sarin Gas. Was it really initiated by the Assad regime, or could it have been used by a covert entity that planned for the US to assume Assad’s guilt; certain that US would take action; accusing it of “crossing the line;” and then bombing Syria in retaliation? How can we know for certain?

Please, until further determination, I am urging that no military action be taken. There are those of military mindset who would have you authorize an immediate surgical strike, giving a decisive blow to punish the Assad regime. Even initiating a “quarantine” would be better than bombing. But, there are other considerations that you may wish to consider.

This is a pivotal time in world events, especially with the availability of Internet information. New access to “old” information, regarding US foreign policy secrets, and hence whistle-blowing, has left the US in a few embarrassing situations, with a lot of “Egg on its face!”

The US has used Napalm and depleted Uranium on civilian populations. For these violations, the credibility of our own “righteousness” is called into question.

Not only are we hypocrites, we are still relying on primitive military means to solve complicated world problems, that instead need wisdom and finesse.

Oh, yes! We can boast that we can bomb the hell out of anybody on Earth! This is a boast you’d expect of a psychopath! Not a nation that values human life.

Dear President Obama….you are NOT guilty of any of these previous wrongs!

You did NOT use Napalm! You did NOT use depleted Uranium!

You can be the initiator of a new and more honest US approach with which to face the world. The American People believe that we can do better. We do NOT want WAR!

We Peace Persons want you to close Guantanamo and stop relying on targeted assassination that creates new enemies! You have the right to make new and wiser decisions of your own. You have the right to cast off the burdens of old wars that you inherited. Cast off the poor decisions that were made in previous administrations.

The US can “Come Clean!” Start a new and ethical approach for US foreign policy!

This is the “change” that we, who voted for you, had in mind. “Yes, we can!” is still our Mantra! We CAN pledge that we will not just automatically respond militarily to situations that can be better solved by more diplomatic means.

The rest of the world will rejoice upon observing this new wisdom. Many will be eager to work with us, against our common enemies. Our worst enemies are anger, ignorance and vengeance.

I love the idea of our fostering democracy around the world, and wish for the US to promote peaceful negotiations among those with opposing agendas and opposing viewpoints. This is the urgent need. Please retire the military mindset?

Please, Dear President Obama, use all diplomatic means to solve world problems.

Thank you for your consideration,
Beth K. Lamont, Humanist Chaplain, and Widow of Corliss Lamont

P.S. I would really appreciate a response. Thank you again.

Today, I really felt sorry for the poor fellow who stated that women can’t succeed in business because they have babies! He really got lambasted, and accused of reiterating “the glass ceiling” limitation…further accusing that he asserted women are totally incapable of making effective business decisions because their thoughts are instead, with the child.

Someone slyly pointed out that his corporation sells infant formula and that he’d most likely prefer for women to all stay home and feed babies.

I’d like to take issue with all of his accusers! I’d like to point out that rather than a sexist and denigrating statement, this man has inadvertently championed one of the most significant attributes, even a most potential virtue of a woman.

The decisions that are demanded of a CEO to maximize the profits of any corporation are, to say the least,…troublesome. That person who does not do everything in their power to maximize profits, might even be fired by a Board of Directors, or be publicly accused by the Shareholders of failing in his/her duties, if their decision results in financial damage or a loss of value on the Stock Market.

This is the supreme value of the Capitalist economic system: to secure profit for the investor! This is the nature of the Beast! The monetary decisions made can often times be at odds with other values that consequently must be disregarded. A CEO is obligated to, and pressured to make decisions that may ultimately cause harm to his or her own descendents. Some cultures consider the long range benefit or danger to a seventh generation, which certainly heightens responsibility.

A CEO who is a Father, or a Grandfather, will no doubt wish to create the most financially secure future for his Family, and will naturally be focused on doing his best according to conventional wisdom and market values. A CEO who is a Mother, or a Grandmother, might have a different take on the whole situation! Consider this:

A Mother has already been in cahoots with nature. She has participated in the most amazing miracle of creating a human being from a single fertilized ovum, and from her own body has brought forth a living projection into the future. She even more than the Father has made a total commitment over those necessary months to the wonderment of this task, that we often take for granted. It is she, who has a greater stake in creating a world that will best protect her progeny. It is she who may recognize the ultimate dangers of risk-taking!

What kind of decisions might she make that involve the sustainability of our way of life and of the survival of our precious Planet Earth? Might she be more cognizant of the working conditions of all, but perhaps, especially of women, who are treated disrespectfully in the “sweatshops” of the world, where their life’s blood may be squeezed out of them to pour upon the almighty altar of profits!

I would even assert for all the world to consider that Mothers are the very kinds of CEOs that this weary old world needs. Perhaps she can bring to the Corporate Board a real discussion about the long neglected values of sustainability that are vital to our Human well-being:

HUMANIZING THE INHUMANE ECONOMIC CAPITALIST SYSTEM !

Hello Dear President Obama!

We have been told that you have a KILL LIST! That you may personally decide who is our enemy today! Who is to be targeted today! And that these decisions are based upon recommendations to you, by persons whom we do NOT know, and by what criteria we also do NOT know. And, they recommend that, in the best interests of the People of the United States of America, these targeted alleged enemies should be ELIMINATED! These…direct and targeted murders shall be carried out in the name of the American People?

This is totally NUTS! This sounds more like a stupid movie plot involving juveniles waging gang warfare, than reflective of any Statesman-like posture of Ethical Leadership in the International arena. This is worse than war!

What the Hell is going on? Are we not a Nation of Laws? Is there no sense of Human Decency?

Dear President Obama, please have the courage to renounce these advisors who are purveyors of vested interests. This course of action is NOT PROTECTING US! The following of their advice actually creates MORE hatred and more vows of revenge against the American People. The resulting revenge thus merely perpetuates MORE murder in unending cycles.

I am a proud American. I want to believe that we’re the good guys…at least we used to think we were, at some long-lost moment in time. I want to be a law abiding American citizen. I do believe that most Americans who voted for you, want to believe that we’re the good guys. We would rather be helping than hurting people of other nations. We shrieked and raged against Nazi atrocities and their aims of world domination. We renounce this image!

If world domination…even economically, and therefore militarily, is where your advisors are taking the US, then please, Mr. President, renounce their aims. Divorce yourself from this madness!

This inhumane, insane and illegal concept was once displayed on the Internet as: WWW.UNITEDSTATESPACECOMMAND.GOV (no longer an active link)

On that Web site there was a pledge to “control Space” in the interest of the US and its INVESTMENTS and “to ZAP naughty nations.”

A PDF produced by that organization is still available from the Federation of American Scientists at: United States Space Command - Vision For 2020

If this is the prevailing mentality of any advisors who get anywhere NEAR to the Whitehouse, and have access to the ears of our President,…it makes the Nazis, in comparison, look like misguided Boy Scouts. We, the People of the United States of America must take responsibility, and to prevail upon Congress to do all that we can to Stop Drone Warfare! According to Andrew Cockburn, drone warfare is BIG BUSINESS! Please read the following article:

BACKGROUND: How the US came to its fateful embrace of drone warfare

Whose “cold, dead hand” were we supposed to remove their gun from? I’m ready! Maybe at least half of us citizens…peace persons of the US…are ready for a showdown at OK Corral!

Imagine, if Congress even had the temerity to create a Law to Ban Automatic Weapons from…get this: ownership, sale, purchase!…eeeek! what next? How about: manufacture, import, export? Where could such courage, such audacity lead? What vengeance would such foolhardiness wreak?

Who would the Peace People trust to enforce this law?” And with what weapons? How many lives would need to be sacrificed in order to accomplish such a cataclysmic change in the long-standing traditional dilemma? That of the Wild West mentality VS. Civilized Society?

This is simply a no-brainer “ethical” argument between the Right to Kill and The Right to Live!!!!!

This essay by Jeffrey Sachs puts it well. Your comments are invited.

Jeffrey Sachs: Retreating From Violence in 2013

Dear Mr. President,

Congratulations on your glorious triumph against the moneyed vested-interest propaganda machine, in behalf of the workers, the multifaceted and multi-hued American populace! We the People have spoken! We need for you to accomplish the work that you started! We newly hopeful Voters appreciate the staggeringly difficult decisions that you have been required to make in your first Administration, that now, you will be facing anew. Please, consider this plea!

Many decisions that have come before you, to approve or to disapprove, have been painful for us to watch, especially for those of us who tried to continue believing in the change that you inspired in us. You’ve had to listen to the Generals! You’ve listened to the Wall Streeters! ………And, now?

Our vote of confidence in you, that your success signifies, is a mandate for you to proceed on your stated agenda. Please do not allow “the Military Industrial Complex,” as decried by Dwight Eisenhower, to flex its muscle in the face of your resolve! Those who wish to make a profit on human misery, death and destruction, all the while pretending that fierce and aggressive “Patriotism” will protect us, are using the very same tactics and illogic that the Republicans’ campaigned on: lies! Pure and simple!

We do not want targeted assassinations in the name of the American People! Those who have persuaded you that this unethical tactic is beneficial are totally misguided, generated by warped militaristic mindsets. The opposite is true; anger, mistrust, and revenge are spawned thereby! The same is true of the Guantanamo that you promised to close. We do not want torture in our name. Resolution in courts-of-law is necessary. Are we not the nation of “laws” that we brag about?

You are known for being conciliatory in your approach to problem-solving. This is an admirable attribute for most purposes, that of bargaining various issues for a compromised outcome, but! Some issues must never be compromised or bargained away! Human beings who die at our hands are not half dead! They are dead! Willful targeting and killing of “alleged enemies,” and others who have the misfortune to be nearby, is in no way accidental “collateral damage!” It is willful killing….plain and simple!

Many of us who have re-invested our faith in your integrity and your promises to work in the best interests of the American People, are expecting a very bold declaration of change! Please, have courage, against all opposition, to carry though with your promises to us!

There is a very sad joke that: If peace were profitable…We would have peace! Perhaps someday we will humanize our in-humane economic system! Is the idea of Capitalism with a Conscience an oxymoron? We gird for war; we practice for war,…so, we will have war! We have numerous War Colleges, and military institutions. We have a “Defense Department” wherein the word “defense” seems merely a euphemism, a fig-leaf, for concentrated militaristic mindset.

Most of us would like to believe that we Human Beings are actually evolving into a more ethical species. Perhaps using more wisdom than muscle might be in this ascendancy if we are to survive at all. Never before in the history of this powerful and creative country has there ever been the wisdom to put into place an entity devoted to a whole new concept: would you believe…a Peace Department?

For you, Mr. President, to create, by Presidential Decree, the establishment of a brand new Cabinet Level Department of Peace, and to put into place as its Head, our primary Peace Person in Congress, Representative Dennis Kucinich, will be the most bold signal of change in the right direction that all of the Peace loving People of this Nation and of the World will applaud.

Please consider this plea! Thank you from the aching and grieving hearts of those of us who might willingly choose to die, defending our cause, but will not kill! This is in no way meant to dishonor our Veterans, who themselves, have become victims! We are Proud Americans who champion a democracy that can’t be bought! And who used to believe, and would like to believe again, that we’re the good guys!

Video courtesy of Joe Friendly. Thanks, Joe!

Lefties Are In Their Right Minds - Part One (book cover).HELLO AGAIN to those of you who are concerned with HUMAN VALUES! And here’s a timely election-related 212-page book that you can download and read, called: Lefties Are In Their Right Minds - Part Two, published as an e-book on October 23, 2012 by Half-Moon Foundation, Inc.

But first, here’s a Granny-Blog entry about a most unlikely thing for you to consider: three little letters of the Alphabet ! Just three little letters that make a world of difference, even a life and death difference in our existence. Please read-on to consider their significance…..

“Social” is a GOOD word! Right? We surely agree on this: it means the whole family or the whole community, or our associates, as in Society,…ALL of Society! Maybe even ALL of the people of our whole Country? Maybe of the whole World? OK! I’m pushing it! Next:

“Capital” is a GOOD word! Right? We agree that the investment of Capital…REAL MONEY is desperately needed to create jobs, create industry, large and small businesses, to build schools and hospitals, bridges, highways. new and needed renewable technologies like wind, solar and tidal power! It’s endless! The great and necessary elements of our best, even ideal Human existence depend upon the investment of Capital! Are we still in agreement? OK!

Now, what the hell happens when we add three little letters to these agreed-upon GOOD words?

You’ve probably already guessed what I’m getting at. Those three little letters…by themselves don’t amount to a hill of beans…they are themselves blameless…innocent of any derogatory connotations. Those letters are: I-S-M !

Yegods! Just by adding those three little letters to those two stand alone GOOD words…they have been magically transformed into SOME KIND OF HIDEOUS MONSTERS TO BE FEARED !

First, the word “Social” GOOD is suddenly contaminated with defamatory, propagandized ancient baggage that is no longer relevant! We hear references to Omigod! “Social”-I-S-M, spoken in fear!

Say whatever you like out of your storehouse of experience and information…or quite possibly MIS-information, but that word is STILL a stand-alone potential, originally conceived out of a need to protect and to champion the workers and the ordinary people from domination by ruthless powers! Ring any bells? Did you hear the words unemployment or job growth in the Presidential Debates?

That “Social”-I-S-M was experimental and was challenged, and in SOME instances turned toward totalitarianism, is truly unfortunate, BUT…..not necessarily a consequence of its intention or its ideal, which is still ethical, practical and PURE! Note: Women’s Rights were championed in 1917 in USSR!

Secondly, the word “Capital” GOOD is suddenly transformed…by the addition of the letters: I-S-M, into a whole different ballgame! By adding those three little letters, this GOOD “Capital” becomes a tool, not of benefit to the people, but of domination of the people…the workers, and even a destructive force on our precious Planet Earth.

Those letters I-S-M transform “Capital” into “Capital” I-S-M, an economic system that is designed for the express purpose of creating PROFIT to the investor! It is not designed to enhance “Social” GOOD, or to benefit the workers. In order to extract this profit from the investment of “Capital,” there must be cheap labor, cheap materials, cheap operation, all sacrificing well-being and safety.

And this domination and exploitation is purely to create PROFIT to be gained in Casino-type betting on the Stock Market, showing no loyalty, no consideration of consequences to human well-being.

Associating necessary government spending with Omygod! Socialism is a totally fabricated ploy. But it’s absolutely nuts to balance the budget by cutting out PEOPLE programs Except for unnecessary military spending, that is! Stop all wars! Negotiate! Spend this money on Humanitarian efforts, instead! Again: Did you hear the words unemployment or job growth in the Presidential Debates?

My mottoes are: “Create Capital With A Conscience!” And “Humanize The In-Humane Economic System!”

And of course, please read the new shorter version of: “Lefties Are In Their Right Minds!” Originally a 1939 introduction from Corliss Lamont. Also play my interview with Harold Channer on his show Conversations with Harold Hudson Channer on Manhattan Neighborhood Network in which we debate these issues.

Thanks! from Beth K. Lamont.

PS: Don’t let anyone or anything prevent you from exercising your Right To Vote! Have courage!

Here’s Lefties Are In Their Right Minds - Part Two as a free download (right-click and “Save As…” to download):

Here is the Conversations with Harold Hudson Channer television show:

Guest Beth Lamont on March 22, 2012 (58:24)

Hello Humanist Activists! Here’s our chance to show support for our belief in the Bill of Rights and our trust in the People’s Right to Peaceably Assemble for Redress of Grievances! Important issues are at stake!

We are all invited to join with others of like mind, with what is hoped to be a very large gathering, in behalf of the Occupy Wall Street Movement, that will take place at Union Square, beginning at noontime on Tuesday, February 28th, and continuing for all of the day.

At 6:00 PM on Tuesday, February 28, at the time of our Humanist Society of Metropolitan New York (HSMNY) scheduled meeting at the New York Society for Ethical Culture (NYSEC), I plan to report on the day’s activities, and hope that those who were unable to join with us earlier in the day will be able to get together for discussion in the evening.

Here is the call for action that I’m forwarding to you, in hopes that you also will be able to come to the gathering…even on your lunch hour, if possible, and to voice your concern and your determination that we Americans who “allegedly” support the creation of democracy in foreign nations, have democratic rights of our VERY OWN…right here in the middle of our greatest City, right in the middle of the day, right in plain sight, quite near to the Belly of the Beast of Wall Street………without being pepper-sprayed, clubbed into submission and retreat, and fenced-in with netting, and loaded into paddy wagons for refusing to OBEY the police, who should be protecting our Right to Protest! Seeing thousands of protestors in foreign lands being machine-gunned down in the streets makes us cringe with fear and shame, as well as sympathy and awe, at people’s continued determination to make their voices heard in spite of the murderous stifling of their Rights! What is going on?! And what might be going on in THIS country, with what we learned to be coordinated actions to suppress demonstrations across the country, in conjunction with Homeland Security, the CIA and the FBI! Already injuries here with canisters and rubber bullets! What’s next? Are WE THE PEOPLE, who are dedicated to NON-violence…such a threat?

If you’d like to learn more about the planning and the action, here’s info, and contact e-mail from Travis Morales: dontsuppressows@yahoo.com and his
special appeal to reach out to others, and all who may wish to be involved.

—– Original Message —–

From: Don’t Suppress OWS
Subject: Update F28 Mass Action v Suppression of Occupy

Friends,

In just a few days we plan to be among thousands of people — in a crowd too big to be ignored — rallying and marching against the suppression of Occupy. We’re talking to more and more people who are part of OWS who think this should happen, but we all need to make sure it does. Start now. Bring the people you occupied with; your friends who dug it, but just never got down to Zuccotti Park; everyone you know who was outraged at the middle of the night eviction and brutal police.

Check out the discussion on the Facebook Event page for F28. It’s become a place where people are sharing stories of repression against the Occupy movement, and statements of support for Mass Action on February 28. Please, if you’re on Facebook, like the page and join in the discussion. That’s one way we can spread F28 beyond NYC.

We hope to have thousands of postcards, in production now. We want also to produce stickers & posters. That’s the reason for the fund campaign on IndieGoGo. We’re a little stuck at $860, and could use some small donations to get things moving again. Or you can just go on that page and comment. We learned that someone who gave hundreds to the campaign this weekend had heard a presentation at an OWS working group, and just wants F28 to happen.

We just got a permit for the rally to open F28 at Union Square. The stage & sound company who has worked with OWS, is ready to work with us. They want to know how big a stage, and how many people will need to hear the sound. What do you think?

Outreach is going on now at 60 Wall Street. There’s a lot you can do with the hash tags #28 and #dontsuppressows on Twitter, and a message to people to sign the Call for Mass Action Against the Suppression of the Occupy Movement will help more people get committed to what needs to be done.

Travis Morales

~ ~ ~

Here’s a further organizing message and an appeal, regarding some of the thinking that is going on with the planners; this message is entitled:

F28 Mass Action v. Suppression of Occupy

Questions: People doing outreach at OWS have reported a lot of interest in F28, (February 28th of course!) even excitement that OWS may be “re-emerging.” But have we challenged people substantially with the idea that this suppression must be answered now, rather than later in the spring? The Call for Mass Action says, “if this illegitimate wave of repression is allowed to stand. if the powers-that-be succeed in suppressing or marginalizing this new movement. if people are once again ‘penned in’-both literally and symbolically-things will be much worse.”

We’ve come together to act with urgency to bring thousands to Union Square and based on the need for “massive demonstrations-soon-carried out in public spaces where they can have maximum impact and exposure and where the authorities cannot pen in, suppress, and otherwise attempt to marginalize these demonstrations.” How can we convey that message in our outreach?

Thanks to another generous donor who gave $1000 today, we will be able to print postcards, and we are at almost 20% of our fund goal for F28. We are working on posters & stickers. 100 people giving $10 each would also be a very good thing, and help spread support for #DontSuppressOWS. Please go to the fund site now and donate, forward and tweet using the tools on the page. Asking people to give is an immediate and important way of asking them to take F28 very seriously, whether or not they can be on the streets with us.

InterOccupy has set up a conference call open to anyone to discuss F28. This was suggested as a good way to reach people at many occupations. You can register the call and share the link with lots of people via e-mail and social networking.

Please forward this appeal? Here’s hoping to see you on February 28th!

Bradley Manning To Be Arraigned At Fort Meade Feb. 23rd.
Court Martial Expected In Early May.

By the Bradley Manning Support Network. February 13, 2012

The US Army last week scheduled a formal arraignment hearing for PFC Bradley Manning, the accused WikiLeaks whistle-blower. The arraignment is scheduled for 1:00 PM EST, February 23, 2012 at Fort Meade, Maryland, just northeast of Washington DC. While the hearing itself is expected to be brief, PFC Manning is expected to be present, and the proceedings are open to the media and public. Washington DC area supporters of the Support Network are encouraged to attend the arraignment.

Bradley’s show trial will begin in earnest with this arraignment. This proceeding will set the dates for a series of hearings on pre-trial motions likely to occur in March and April. Finally, the arraignment will set the date for the full court-martial-which we currently expect to begin in early May.

If the Obama administration is the least bit concerned with providing even the appearance of a fair trial, they will allow Bradley’s legal defense team to explore the critical issues at the heart of this case, including: President Obama’s recorded unlawful command influence over the proceedings, the illegal and torturous conditions that Bradley was subjected to for nine months at the Quantico Marine Brig, the over-classification of all of the documents in question, and the lack of any harm to national security from the release of the documents.

So far military officials have blocked nearly every request by Bradley’s defense team, led by Iraq War veteran David Coombs, for access to evidence and witnesses that could explore these core issues. During the Article 32 pre-trial hearing held in December, the defense was denied access to over three dozen critical witnesses (while the prosecution was allowed access to every one of two dozen witnesses requested). This allowed military officials to limit the hearing to little more than a discussion of mitigating factors related to Bradley’s emotional health.

If Bradley had been a member of the US Marine squad that admitted to systematically murdering two dozen innocent Iraqi men, women, and children in Haditha, Iraq, he’d be walking free today. Instead, he faces the real prospect of life in prison for telling the truth.

Next week’s arraignment comes just after Bradley was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize by members of the Icelandic Parliament. A blog post by MP Birgitta Jónsdóttir explained their rationale for the nomination:

According to journalists, his alleged actions helped motivate the democratic Arab Spring movements, shed light on secret corporate influence on our foreign policies, and most recently contributed to the Obama Administration agreeing to withdraw all U.S. troops from the occupation in Iraq.

Join us at a mass rally for Bradley at Fort Meade to coincide with the beginning of his court martial! The date(s) of the rally will be announced after the trial date is set-we’re currently anticipating early May. If you can’t make the trip to the Washington DC area, organize or take part in one of over a hundred solidarity events worldwide.

Individuals who can help organize events in your town/city: Sign our Trial Action Pledge to help organize support for Bradley!

Organizations that wish to endorse these events and potentially help publicize and organize them should check out the new Organizational Endorsement Pledge!

We have about 100 days to save Bradley from over 100 years in prison — learn more at the Bradley Manning Support Network.

Donations are accepted.

Please help promote this demonstration to take place in New York City on February 28, 2012!

Contact: dontsuppressows@yahoo.com - Debra Sweet 646-807-3259

New York City Rally February 28 Against Suppression of Occupy Movement

  • What: Rally & March
  • When: 5:00 pm Tuesday February 28, 2012
  • Where: Union Square, NYC (north side, 17th Street)

Support is growing for a non-violent mass action Tuesday, February 28 in NYC against the suppression and repression of the Occupy Movement, raising the demands, “Stand with the Occupy Movement! No Rubber Bullets - No Beatings - No Tear Gas - No Mass Arrests.Drop All the Charges Against Occupiers.” The General Assembly of Occupy Wall Street reached consensus February 11 in support of the Call for Mass Action Against the Suppression of the Occupy Movement, and specifically in support of the February 28 Mass Action at Union Square in New York City.

Organizer George Packard, a retired Episcopal bishop who was detained by the NYPD while bringing water to the occupiers at Zuccotti Park, and later arrested in an Occupy Wall Street action, said the action February 28 “is the absolute preface to any other actions. It’s a question of process even before we take to the streets—how is it that there is this coordinated effort to stifle our free speech?! Mayors on conference calls simultaneously rousting encampments? Renegade cops taking aggressive initiatives because it makes superiors smile? Tear gas and rubber bullets fired into the ranks of Occupy Oakland? Enough!”

Cornel West, who led Occupy Wall Street to protest the NYPD “stop and frisk” policy; Scott Olsen, the Iraq veteran who was shot in the head by the Oakland police in October, and Boots Riley of The Coup have signed the Call, as has former poet laureate of the United States and U.C. Berkeley professor Robert Hass.

Occupy Cleveland also voted unanimously to support the Call for Mass Action Against the Suppression of the Occupy Movement which says, “the state planned and unleashed naked and systematic violence and repression against people attempting to exercise rights that are supposed to be legally guaranteed. This response by those who wield power in this society is utterly shameful from a moral standpoint, and thoroughly illegitimate from a legal and political one.”

The action on Tuesday February 28 will begin with a rally at Union Square. New York organizers of the Ad Hoc Committee Against the Suppression of the Occupy Movement are calling on other occupations to sign the Call, bring it to General Assemblies, and organize local events on F28.

Please promote and support this Action! Please be there and be involved!

How shall we Protect the Occupy Wall Street Protestors? Here’s a letter to Dennis Kucinich proposing a law to protect peaceful protestors.

Witnessing the over-reaction to peaceful protestors by police across the nation is alarming to concerned citizens who recognize that this response is contrary to the United States’ First Amendment Rights of Free Speech and our Right to Peaceably Assemble in Redress of Grievances that are insured by Law. Our Bill of Rights cannot be repealed!

A new Federal Law is needed to assure that these rights to “Peaceably Assemble” are respected, especially against all threats, abuse, attacks with weapons and pepper spray by local law enforcement, against protest marches, and the endangerment of persons and the blatant destruction of the property of non-violent protest encampments. Here, we are reminding of the Supreme Court Decision favoring Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth whose Civil Rights group marched without a required permit. The Court reversed Shuttlesworth’s conviction because the circumstances indicated that the parade permit was denied not to control traffic, but to censor ideas.

Protection must be reinforced by a Federal “Law of the Land,” such as was necessary during the Civil Rights struggle. This Federal Law must override local options to violate the people’s Rights for any asserted reason, that will and must result in injunction, or punitive action by the Justice Department for local police blatantly violating the Constitutional Rights and the protection of peaceful protestors.

Some of the hazards to the expression of Freedom of Speech have been noted with local police asserting their authority to control crowds; to protect law and order; to presume to protect the public by acting on what often turn out to be blatantly false allegations of protestor’s wrong doings, such as: creating a sanitary hazard with waste products; the creating of a fire hazard with electrical usage and heaters; illicit sexual conduct in a public place, even charges of rape; the use of illegal substances; the blocking of traffic; the interference with normal transaction of local business; etc. Perhaps these are “good reasons” not real reasons? The obvious action here is a basic us/them power assertion over a potential unruly mob!

Upon analyzing many of these assertions and allegations it is learned that, contrary to the declaration of non-violence and non law-breaking dedication of the main constituents of a peaceful protest, there are some who chose to act as provocateurs to purposely, defiantly, or even carelessly bring such disgrace and resultant punishment to the declaredly non-offensive peaceful movement such as “Occupy Wall Street!”.

Such offensive persons or such offensive unsanitary conditions are not welcomed by the majority, and when, and if, someone calls attention to such provocative behavior, it will be dealt with effectively in a democratic, ethical and non-violent manner by consensus and by eviction by the majority. This would amount to a “self-policing policy.” To punish an entire movement for the actions or allegation against one or several offenders is more typical of a totalitarian system and is unconscionable in a democracy.

In extreme cases, where the movement’s banning or shunning or cleaning-up after such an offender or such offenders would not effectively banish them from the group, this would then be seen, paradoxically, as a reason to call upon the local authorities to remove such an offender, who has defied the wishes of the majority and thereby has assumed the position of jeopardizing the well-being of the Movement.

We need Police Departments that are sensitive to and responsive to the varieties of people that a democracy consists of. Police are trained to counter “the enemy.” Police Commissioner Ray Kelly in NYC is training Recruits to be wary of Muslims and to infiltrate Mosques. Who is the enemy? Police must be required to respect the needs of the people to engage in non-violent demonstrations, and to not restrict, yea even to protect their Constitutional Rights of Free Speech. Let’s make it a Federal Law!

Thank you, Dennis Kucinich, for your consideration and for your help.

Beth K. Lamont, Humanist Chaplain

The Capitalist Tide Will Lift All Boats!

How I wish that Corliss Lamont were still with us, with his passion about the People’s Right To Know! Corliss would have cheered the recent WikiLeaks publication of Iraq and Afghanistan war documents, as he had with Daniel Ellsberg’s Pentagon Papers, that exposed in 1968, the blatant lies about reasons for, and the U.S. prosecution of, an immoral war in Southeast Asia. The similarity was ever so obvious, when we stood recently at the Times Square Recruitment Center in support of Bradley Manning, the brave and principled WikiLeaker who is now in U.S. custody, charged with the serious crime of releasing classified documents!

There standing, completely oblivious of the pouring rain, was a brilliant hero of both events, then and now; Leonard Weinglass, who had been a defender, along with William Kunstler, of Daniel Ellsberg. He was quite eloquent in his recounting of the significance of the Pentagon Papers, and comparing the importance of this new revelation and this new exposure of the human rights violations in which our government is engaged, all the while asserting that we are promoting democracy.

Take To The Streets?

So, here we go again! What did the People learn previously, about the duplicity, the secrecy, especially the untrustworthiness of their own government, and of its military adventures? Of even more concern: what did we do about it then? And, what are we doing about it now? Here we have, in Bradley Manning, another instance of a very courageous person of conscience, who risks all in the interest of the People’s Right to Know, while the majority of the People themselves seem unconcerned, and are not taking comparable risks in exercising their own Rights to Know, and demanding to learn what is actually taking place in our names. In future inquiries into Human Rights violations, how can we pretend that “we didn’t know?” The people of Germany might give us some advice out of their own experience.

Even the brutalization of our military itself is getting more exposure with the proliferation of shared material via the Internet. A vivid description of the indoctrination and intimidation of soldiers who are new to combat, being queried as to their willingness to risk killing civilians in combat, was posted recently. Those ethical persons who valued human life, and who expressed a reluctancy to do so, were themselves brutalized until they agreed to comply.

Shocking footage of ruthless, even gleeful killing!

On our Human Values Network Web site as far back as July 2004, we had published a link to an atrocity filmed from an Apache Helicopter, in which civilians were gunned down and the vehicle from which they were trying to flee was “smoked,” I believe was the term used. All the while those excited voices in the helicopter seemed as inured to the deaths that they were dealing as if they were playing a video game. It was so shocking and disgusting. Here are the links to that footage that we feel should be preserved. The files have disappeared from several other sites on which they were hosted and we don’t want them to be gone forever, so we’re hosting copies on this server, using the original file names so that they can be more easily located.

Any respect for Human Values and the preciousness of life itself must necessarily be suppressed in the business of killing for fun and profit, and the pursuit of power and empire! So many of our veterans who are lucky enough to come home are suffering, not just the devastation of broken bodies, but with broken spirits and damaged emotions. Some who are well enough pour their pain and frustration into public witness, as in Veterans for Peace and similar organizations. Many are not. The suicide rate among military and veterans is the highest in history. I wonder how many of them have been sacrificed upon this alter of manly machismo?

I remember reading about the military inviting children to have a grown-up adventure and get the feel of firing at a target. Someone, perhaps from public outcry, had the sense to shut down this unethical operation that equated killing with fun.

Dealing with primitive human emotions

The dehumanization that is necessary to for one to consider “other” human beings as simply enemy to be eliminated reverberates in all directions and permeates our society. The simplistic act of name-calling and using derogatory terms for those who are somehow perceived to be different, should have been outgrown in our childhood, or at least have been called into question in a basic psychology class, upon learning of the instinct to identify with one’s own kind and to shun or fear “the other.” This is the very primitive recognition of the difference between us and them, that leads, unfortunately, to simplistic thinking even on the most powerful levels, with statements like: “If you’re not for us, you’re against us!” Sadly, age or experience doesn’t always bring wisdom in these matters, when otherwise normal appearing adults can spew out hate and vengeance toward others that it deems to be the enemy, or worse, a terrorist! Painting “the other” with a broad categorical brush, assuming that all are the same, or dangerous, or have evil motives, is the same trick that causes the inability to distinguish a freedom fighter from a terrorist. Or a Tea Bagger from a true Patriot!

The shameful animosity, even outright hate, that is being vented upon the Muslim group which plans to build an educational and cultural center a few blocks from the World Trade Center Memorial Site, accusing that this Muslim Center will desecrate a “sacred site,” is an example of such ignorance. The use of the term “sacred” gives the issue religious overtones, and implies a kind of exclusivity. People of all races and religions were victims of the 9/11 attack. Many who worked there and died there were Muslims. They have as much right as you and I do, to express their religious freedom. To attribute evil motives to them, as though they as a group were perpetrators or even sympathizers of the terrorist attacks is false. It is insinuated that they are teaching hatred of Americans or Christians or Jews. This also is false; they are community oriented and ecumenical, reaching out to other faiths and actually teaching respect. The accusation is instead, a reflection in the eye of the beholder, those who are actually spewing out and teaching hatred and fear of them.

The need to speak up renouncing allegations of a religious war

I appreciate President Barak Obama’s reminding of our traditional right to religious freedom, but a stronger and more specific affirmation is desperately needed. Those who are screaming hate and fear of Muslims, as though they as a group were the perpetrators of the World Trade Center disaster, and that we are somehow engaged in a holy war, might benefit from a little refresher course in American history about our dealings with the pirates of the Barbary Coast who were creating havoc with American ships. Negotiations culminated in the 1799 Treaty of Tripoli, in which then President Adams signed statements, affirming that we had no enmity against Muslims or “Mohammedans.” Article 11 of the Treaty is as follows:

As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion,— as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen,— and as the said States never entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.

The reiteration of this historical statement might go a long way to bring into the consciousness of this Nation the question of why we are bombing Muslims indiscriminately (or collaterally?) in our military campaign of targeted assassination of alleged Al Qaeda leaders. Please Mr. President, if there were indeed an element of revenge in our responses to the attack on the World Trade Center, and you inherited this shameful burden, in the interest of sanity and ethical behavior, and human decency, please Mr. President, let it cease with you! Stop making war! It is counter-productive. If we had in mind to create a terrorist “factory,” so that we had a constant stream of enemies on which to target our war machine, this would be the way to do it. If my village were bombed, and my family members killed, I wonder if I would have the grace to make a fine distinction between the flawed foreign policies of the U.S. and those damn Americans? Walt Kelly may have had it right when he observed that he had seen the enemy and it is us.

What’s our excuse now?

This illogical tendency to lump people together as a class, an ethnic entity, a monolithic religious group or whatever, rather than understanding that they are all individuals, is a very human and simple way of dealing with the unknown. Perhaps more understandable in ancient times than now, but not in this century, when we have at hand the means to research and communicate as never before, and we have access to data that defines our common evolutionary heritage, and our exploration of the cosmos reveals that our Earth is hardly significant in the total scheme of things, much less the center of the universe as the ancients believed. We are indeed all Earth People and how lucky we are to even be here! Picturing our Earth from space was conclusive, in that it showed no artificial boundaries to separate us into numerous varieties of Earthlings. Why is it that so many of the powerful on this Earth persist in promoting a primitive, immature and divisive perspective that asserts that some of us are of more value than others? Perhaps our evolution suffers arrested development?

It’s downright painful to recall the terrible things that we have done to each other in the name of fear and greed and vengeance, and how about chauvinism? Being superior, and above the laws of human decency, is a devastating pitfall. The Nazis called Jews “vermin,” and set about to exterminate them. In our own shameful history in the U.S., slaves were considered less than human, and if they escaped, the return to their rightful owner was required by law. Worse, they were subject to lynching. And in our pioneering push Westward, there was a phrase that reverberated across the plains: “A good Indian is a dead Indian!” How insulting to Native Americans that we had desecrated their own sacred lands, and then had the “nerve” to build upon those same lands, millions of churches that promoted the very faith of the terrorists who had decimated them!

Beware of patriotic and religious zealotry

I’m fearful of the present danger to the People’s Right to Know with this wave of reactionary illogic that seems to be sweeping over the country. I’m seeing a snake-oil huckster selling a cure-all liniment for disparate ailments. Some are in pain over what they see as too much government, while other complainers want more protection and better control. This one-size-fits-all patriotic and religious zealotry will wear thin before election time, and expose itself for the sham that it is. All that it has going for it is a focal point for dissatisfaction and a powerful network mouth that scapegoats and tells outright lies! How I wish that the false allegation that the networks are left-leaning were true. But unfortunately, logic and moderation are not sensational enough; and what is more to the point, they don’t sell enough snake-oil! Ah, would that we more ethical peace persons had our own network! How else can we promote the cooperative efforts that are needed to make productive changes?

How I wish that Corliss Lamont were here to help us promote the People’s Right to Know. Corliss published and promoted needed information that might have remained relatively invisible. The Treaty of Tripoli would be good to publicize. The National Emergency Civil Liberties Committee, of which he was Director for many crucial years, became an instrument for pursuing violations of our Bill of Rights. As a champion of Civil Liberties, he would have challenged the so-called Patriot Act, and the abdication of Congress’s responsibility in handing war powers over to the President.

But, Mr. President, your war powers also give you the power to shut it down!

~ ~ ~

Corliss Lamont would have been thrilled with the potential of this amazing new technology. Imagine, writing a blog that thousands of viewers world-wide will see in a matter of minutes! Internet users, especially students, from all over the world visit his Web site, http://www.corliss-lamont.org/, and learn of his landmark court cases in behalf of civil liberties and his successful challenge of Joseph McCarthy. Corliss would have been pleased to learn that his name is remembered and invoked in behalf of The People’s Right to Know.

Next Page »