Olympia Fellowship of Reconciliation  

Working for peace, social justice and principled nonviolence since 1976

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News – Resources – Opportunities

Compiled for Olympia Fellowship of Reconciliation, (360) 491-9093 www.olympiafor.org, in late July 2012


News – Resources – Opportunities


Creative Nonviolent Actions

Greenpeace bogus billboardGreenpeace and Yes Men posted a bogus billboard about Shell Oil’s drilling in Arctic:  Shell is pushing hard to explore and drill for oil in sensitive areas of the Arctic.  Environmentalists have been sending e-mails and printing ads showing cute polar bears, etc., to move the public and government to stop the exploration and drilling.  Greenpeace and the guerrilla satire Yes Men have teamed up to embarrass Shell by creating a bogus website (www.ArcticReady.com) and bogus billboard (see photo above) that purport to be Shell’s ham-handed public relations (PR) response.  The billboard that purportedly shows Shell’s reaction to environmentalists with an image of polar bears and the caption, “You can’t run your SUV on ‘cute.’  Let’s go.”  What fun to see the Yes Men and Greenpeace team up for a creative prank that embarrasses a giant oil company with a terrible record on the environment and human rights!  More information:  www.theyesmen.org


A Seattle woman married a corporation as a creative nonviolent response to the nonsense of “corporate personhood” – The Supreme Court says corporations are “persons,” so in mid-July 2012 Angela Vogel, a Seattle woman, married a corporation in downtown Seattle.  The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported on it on July 17, and you can watch a short video of the wedding ceremony at http://blog.seattlepi.com/thebigblog/2012/07/17/seattle-woman-marries-corporation-see-the-video/  She married “Corporate Person” in order to highlight the ridiculous notion that corporations are “persons.”  Organizers included persons supporting Seattle’s Initiative 103, which would rebuff the “corporate personhood” doctrine and establish Seattle’s “Community Bill of Rights,” which also affirms Rights for Workers, Rights for Neighborhoods, and Rights for Nature.  Info:  www.envisionseattle.org

A creative nonviolent response to the right-wing U.S. House’s abuse of democracy:  To some extent the government of Washington DC, a federal “district” that is not part of any state, is constrained by the U.S. Congress.  Lately the right-wingers who run the US House have usurped some of the actual city government’s authority in order to impose right-wing (e.g., anti-abortion, pro-gun) politics upon a city with a large majority of African-Americans, Democrats, and liberals.  House Republicans have been micro-managing DC city government and abused democracy in the city.  Some citizens of Washington DC have found a creative way to nonviolently fight back against this usurpation.  Many DC residents have started taking their municipal complaints directly to US Representative Trent Franks (R-AZ), a heavy-handed House member.  They call him, “Mayor,” and ask him to fix their potholes, solve their rodent problems, and address other specific complaints about city matters.  They are using a classic creative nonviolent method of taking a stupid policy at face value and carrying it to its logical extreme.

When Arizona’s law prevents Latino school students from learning their history, Tucson’s courageous education activists and civil rights supporters are educating people anyway, sharing resources, and implicitly shaming the anti-Latino government officials:  When you tell people that they are not allowed to learn something, you make them all the more curious to learn about it.  The Olympia FOR’s April-May 2012 newsletter reported that self-described book smuggler Tony Diaz (nicknamed “El Libro-Traficante”) brought to Arizona carloads of books that Tucson’s public school officials had banned because the books about Mexican American Studies violated a statewide ban on teaching ethnic studies.  (See www.librotraficante.com).  Now on July 30, 2012, the Access Tucson TV Studios (their equivalent of Thurston County WA’s TCTV) is airing a special program, “How We Won in the 1990's: The Mexican American Studies Victory on the Shoulders of Giants.”  It recounts the 1990s movement that led to a major Tucson civil rights victory and establishment of the Mexican American Studies (MAS) program.  Nonviolently standing up for human rights and a fair education in the face of bias and discrimination can be powerful!  Some of Tucson’s activists had roots in previous Chicano organizing efforts, the 1980's Sanctuary Movement for refugees seeking safety from US-sponsored brutality and death squads in El Salvador and Guatemala, and other movements.  They are at it again!  One organizer stated, “During the 90's, we always tried to incorporate the teaching of local history in everything we organized.  This was especially important when we worked with Chicano youth because we wanted them to relate to local, organic heroes and demystify the possibility of them doing the same work as leaders themselves.  We did this even though many of us were in our 20’s and not that much older than the youth we worked with.”  Nonviolent people-power really is powerful, even in a repressive setting, when people organize to affirm human dignity!  A popular slogan – “La lucha continua” means, “The struggle continues.” 


Peace and International Concerns

drone targetted kinngsObama promotes Arms Trade Treaty with gigantic loophole to supply weapons to war criminals and human rights abusers:  You would think that the Arms Trade Treaty that Obama’s negotiating team is crafting with other UN delegates should sharply limit weapons sales – but you’d be wrong.  Obama is insisting on a giant loophole that would allow “national security concerns” to justify selling weapons to war criminals and human rights abusers.  We need a “bulletproof” treaty.  A decision will be made very soon.  Every year, 750,000 persons die from armed violence, and 12 billion bullets are produced each year, but there are absolutely zero global treaties now that regulate the arms trade.  This information came from Oxfam, the highly respected international nonprofit organization that works globally against hunger and poverty.

 

CCR and ACLU sue CIA and military officials for killing people with drones:  In mid-July the Center for Constitutional Rights and the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit in federal court, Al-Aulaqi v. Panetta.  The suit sues senior CIA and military officials, and argues that the killings of three American citizens by their own government in drone strikes in Yemen last year violate the U.S. Constitution and international law.  On September 30, 2011, U.S. drone strikes killed Anwar Al-Aulaqi, who had been placed on government “kill lists” over a year before, along with Samir Khan. Two weeks later, on October 14, U.S. drone strikes killed Anwar Al-Aulaqi’s son, 16-year-old Abdulrahman Al-Aulaqi, as he was eating dinner with his teenage cousin at an open-air restaurant.  The lawsuit seeks accountability for those killed, and also challenges the government’s claimed power to target and kill individuals, including U.S. citizens, without due process and far from any field of armed conflict.  It challenges the Executive Branch’s unconstitutional and dangerous assumption of the role of judge, jury and executioner.  Under the Obama administration, U.S. targeted killings have escalated and expanded.  Strikes have been carried out in Yemen, Somalia, Sudan, Pakistan and the Philippines.  Thousands of people have been killed, including many hundreds of civilians.  A single strike in Yemen on December 17, 2009, killed 41 civilians, including 21 children, and led to popular protest.  In Pakistan alone, the Obama administration with less than four years in office has already reportedly launched six times as many strikes as the Bush administration, which held office for eight years.  Info:  www.ccrjustice.org

Brutal government of Burma (“Myanmar”) still violently represses people, but US lifts some sanctions:  In mid-July President Obama lifted the ban on US investment in Burma without putting any safeguards in place.  Human rights advocates implored the Obama Administration to limit economic dealings until Burma’s government made more progress on human rights.  Instead, the US yielded its leverage, so now, for the first time since 1997, US companies will be allowed to do business in Burma and deal with businesses owned by Burmese government officials.  The government has eased human rights in some ways, but still commits horrible abuses, especially among some of Burma’s many ethnic groups, refuses to allow international humanitarian aid into the Kachin State, and refuses to admit that it imprisons hundreds of political prisoners.  Burma’s military confiscates land from poor farmers, requires forced labor, and abuses human rights in many other ways.  Two good sources of information is the US Campaign for Burma, www.uscampaignforburma.org  and United to End Genocide, www.endgenocide.org.

Another “Pastors for Peace” caravan breaks blockade and provides aid to Cuba:  Since 1992 a great many caravans from Canada and the US have collected important material aid and delivered it to Cuba on trucks and buses in violation of the half-century-long US embargo on Cuba.  Another caravan entered Cuba in July 2012.  This great nonviolent humanitarian witness is practical as well as moral.  While the US government has been trying for more than 50 years to break the back of Cuba’s popular (although not electorally democratic) government, ordinary people throughout the US and Canada have nonviolently intervened by helping our neighbors to the southeast.  Pastors for Peace is a project of IFCO.  Many Olympia area people know and love Rick Fellows, who has been a very active part of this as an organizer, driver and mechanic for a great many years.  Info:  Caravan blog at cubacaravan.tumblr.com  More info about Pastors for Peace is at www.ifconews.org

The US Army’s School of the Americas (aka “School of Assassins”) trained one-third of the original Mexican drug cartel “Zetas” – A few years ago the Army changed SOA’s name to the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC), but it remains part of Fort Benning, Georgia, where the US army has trained a large portion of the most notorious thugs, assassins, death squad leaders, and dictators who have brutalized Latin America since the late 1940s.  They specialize in violently suppressing popular movements – even nonviolent ones – that challenge the rich elites and US-sponsored governments.  For many years a nonprofit organization, School of the Americas Watch (SOAW), has focused public and congressional attention on this school for terrorists and tried to shut it down.  Info:  www.soaw.org

Why not a cabinet-level Department of Peace and Non-Violence?  The US keeps launching and blundering into wars abroad.  Meanwhile, a culture of violence – now including yet another gun massacre – plagues our domestic life.  Every year more than 30,000 Americans die from gun violence.  Really, now, can’t we do better than this?  Globally and locally, can’t we reject the “Myth of Redemptive Violence” – the notion that a surge of violence can solve problems?  Can’t we look seriously at peace and nonviolence as practical as well as moral?  Congressman Dennis Kucinich is persisting with his efforts to create a cabinet-level Department of Peace.  The current bill number is HR 808.  HR 808 would create a coordinated, nationwide, systematic approach to dealing with the presence of violence in American society through non-violent conflict resolution, instilled and acted upon through the aegis of a cabinet-level Department of Peace and Non-Violence.


Nuclear Weapons


US mayors oppose nuclear weapons AGAIN in 2012:  At the 80th annual U.S. Conference of Mayors on June 16, the meeting adopted a resolution entitled “Calling for U.S. Leadership in Global Elimination of Nuclear Weapons and Redirection of Nuclear Weapons Spending to Meet the Urgent Needs of Cities.”  The resolution outlined the severe costs and dangers of nuclear weapons and stressed the urgency of reallocating the U.S.’s multi-billion dollar nuclear weapons budget to meet the needs of cities.  The resolution also called for President Obama to work with the leaders of the other nuclear-armed states to implement the UN Secretary-General’s Five Point Proposal for Nuclear Disarmament by 2020.  The U.S. Conference of Mayors first adopted resolutions supporting a world free of nuclear weapons in 2004, and has passed other similar resolutions, as well as resolutions calling for a reduction in general military spending, nine times since.

Nuclear weapon corporations donate millions to US lawmakers:  A report released by the Center for International Policy reveals the staggering amount of funds contributed by the nuclear weapons industry to key members of Congress.  Corporations involved in producing nuclear weapons in the US have given over $18 million to the current lawmakers who oversee military spending.  So far in 2012, these corporations have contributed over $3 million to lawmakers on the House Armed Services Committee, which must approve all spending on nuclear arms, as well to lawmakers on the Energy and Water subcommittee and the Defense Appropriations subcommittee.  The six companies involved in nuclear weapons production that have donated the most money to these lawmakers are Lockheed Martin, Honeywell International, Northrop Grumman, Boeing, General Dynamics, and General Electric.

North Carolina highway marker to commemorate 1961 nuclear weapon accident:  A new North Carolina Historical Highway marker has been posted in the town of Eureka to commemorate the near-disaster at the site in 1961.  In January of that year, a B-52 bomber carrying two nuclear weapons caught fire in the air.  Three of the eight crew members died in the accident, and the nuclear weapons were released from the aircraft.  One bomb’s parachute deployed and it fell to the ground with minor damage.  The other bomb’s parachute did not deploy and it broke apart upon impact.  Five of the six interlocking safety triggers on the bomb failed.  Only a single switch prevented the 24-megaton bomb from detonating. The bomb was nearly 2,000 times more powerful than the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima in 1945.  Uranium and other contaminants were spread over a large site, and the US government still maintains an easement in the area to prevent people from digging in the ground.  The Nuclear Age Peace Foundation maintains files detailing this and other accidents and near-misses at its website, www.wagingpeace.org.

What is the REAL cost of nuclear weapons?  The Stimson Center has published a report by Russell Rumbaugh and Nathan Cohn entitled “Resolving Ambiguity:  Costing Nuclear Weapons.”  The report attempts to clear up disagreements around how much the United States spends on nuclear weapons each year.  This report specifically identifies that the US spends about $31 billion annually on strategic nuclear offensive forces, and estimates that it will spend between $352 and $392 billion over the next ten years.  However, this figure purposely does not include many programs that are inextricably linked to nuclear weapons, such as environmental cleanup at contaminated nuclear weapons production facilities and ballistic missile “defense.”  The estimates also exclude “modernization” programs like next-generation aerial refueling tankers, which would add significant costs.

Seeking a Nonviolent Society

nonviolent societyEasy access to guns is part of the problem.  Violence is also correlated with socio-economic conditions such as education, poverty, health, inequality, basic services, labor participation and social capital:  States that are more peaceful have higher education levels, higher health-insured rates, less poverty, better economic equality, better access to basic services, and more participation in the community (e.g., volunteerism, group membership, perceived trust levels), according to data compiled by the FBI, US Department of Justice, Centers for Disease Control, and other credible sources.   The US has a wider gap in income inequality than any other nation in the rich world.  This correlates with a number of social and health problems.  When people can’t get their needs met in any legitimate way they might use their easy access to guns to meet their needs in violent ways.

Sentences of “Life Without Parole” are more common and more brutal than most people realize.  While the US has approximately 3,300 on “death row,” we have sentenced an additional ten times as many33,000 – to virtual death sentences in the form of “Life Without Parole.”  Some people call this “death by incarceration,” since they have no way to ever rehabilitate themselves and gain release.  One of every eleven prisoners in state or federal prisons – more than 127,000 persons -- is serving a life sentence, one one-fourth of these (33,000) are serving without any hope of parole.  You can read an informative and interesting six-page article about this on the death penalty page of the Olympia FOR’s website, www.olympiafor.org/death_penalty.htm

 

Register now for October’s 40-hour Professional Mediation Training:  You are a Peacemaker, so take this 40-hour training!  You can learn powerful skills for helping people to solve conflicts in a healthy way.  You can use these skills at home, at work, or as a volunteer for the Dispute Resolution Center of Thurston County (DRC).  This highly interactive forty-hour mediation training program is designed to acquaint adult learners with the philosophy, concepts, process model, and specific behavioral skills needed to have a working knowledge of the role of a neutral mediator. The DRC offers its 40-hour Mediation Training from 5:00 to 9:00 pm on Thursday October 11 and 18, and from 8:30 to 5:30 on Friday and Saturday October 12-13 and 19-20.  Pre-register now.  Info: 956-1155 and www.mediatethurston.org

Also see one item in News—Resources—Opportunities section about Creative Nonviolent Actions.  It reports on a creative nonviolent rebuff to Arizona’s anti-Latino law.


Economic Justice and Poverty

minimum wageRaise the minimum wage now!  It’s basic economic justice.  It’s also an economic stimulus!  The federal minim wage of $7.25 per hour keeps millions of American workers – especially women and minorities – in poverty.  The last raise was three years ago.  Congress is failing to seriously consider the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2012 to gradually raise the outdated federal minimum wage to $9.80 per hour and index it to keep pace with inflation.  This is a compelling issue for basic economic justice.  It also is a way to stimulate the economy without spending tax dollars.  Poor people spend whatever they can earn, so every increase in the minimum wage will immediately circulate throughout the economy, especially the local economy, since poor workers don’t spend money traveling overseas.  Indexing the federal minimum wage to inflation is a way to systematically maintain economic justice without having to wait for Congress to act.  Corporate profits are high.  Rich people are doing well.  How about fairness for people on the bottom – the people whose labor supports everyone above them?

 

Work locally on the foreclosure crisis:   “Homes Not Banks,” a new local organization that emerged from Occupy Olympia, is meeting twice a month and taking action to help people protect their homes from greedy banks.  “Homes Not Banks” is working to keep people in their homes and to make the big banks pay for the fraudulent and immoral practices that they have used and are still using.  They hold meetings for anyone facing mortgage or foreclosure problems and for other people wanting to help.  They meet regularly at 6:30 pm at the old downtown fire station, 108 State Ave W, just west from Capitol Way.  Info:  Rod Tharp 951-1080 smcrae@earthlink.net and www.HomesnotBanks.org

If you or someone you know is facing foreclosure:  (1) Do not leave or move out of your home.  (2) Document all correspondence with your lender, including all names, dates, and what you talked about.  (3) Write a detailed letter about the facts about your situation, and cc the names of state legislators, US House and Senate members, and any other public officials you want to keep informed.  Make sure your bank knows that you are telling them about how the bank has been treating you.  (5) Put “Stop Foreclosure” signs in your yards, draw attention to this epidemic, and break down the stigma that can otherwise disempower people.

The Housing Justice Project can help tenants and others:  Every Friday morning from 8:30 to 10:30 am Thurston County Volunteer Legal Services presents the Housing Justice Project at the Thurston County Superior Courthouse, Building 2 at 2000 Lakeridge Drive SW, Olympia.  They offer landlord/tenant advice, unlawful detainer docket representation, and help for mobile home owners with complaints about rules violations, notices from landlords or park owners and mobile home eviction cases.  The Housing Justice Project also provides free legal advice and in-court representation to low income people in eviction proceedings.  Call (360) 705-8194 for information or to schedule an appointment.  For immediate legal information call 1-800-201-1041 (9:15 am to 12:15 pm Monday through Friday).

Hour-4-Hour Time Exchange:  Here is a grassroots alternative to the mainstream economy.  It’s a simple, money-free, community-building alternative way to exchange services.  Participants agree to both give and receive services and be paid in “time credits.”  List the services you can offer and those you need.  All work is valued equally at one “time credit” per hour.  Use computers to find people to exchange credits with, and record your transaction in your computer time bank account.  Informational meetings occur from 6 to 9 pm at the Gem Clinic, 3435 Martin Way E suite #A, Olympia.  Coordinators exist throughout Thurston County.  Coordinators include Robin Lee (253) 203-6626, Heidi Gould & Jalene Smith 446-1619, Franklyn Gallup 807-3122, Fatima (bilingual Spanish/English) 3570-5206, Zahid Chaudry (509) 452-0917, and Roberta 438-7757.  The Kids’ Coordinator is Noah Medrud 894-4328.


Democracy and Constitutional Rights


Republican filibuster prevents Senate from passing law requiring transparency of political campaign contributions:  You would think that in a democracy people would want to know who is funding the politicians’ election campaigns.  But in the US you’d be guessing wrong, where one of the big political parties prevented a vote on a law requiring disclosure.  The “DISCLOSE Act” failed in a straight party-line vote (53 for, but 45 against).  In the modern US Senate, a minority – not the majority – rules, because nowadays 60 votes are required to pass anything of substance because filibusters and threatened filibusters have prevented the US Senate from being an effective legislative body.  The DISCLOSE Act is actually quite modest.  It would merely require public disclosure when a corporation, labor union, billionaire or anyone else spends $10,000 or more on political advertising.  A number of non-profit organizations work hard for political campaign reforms, including Public Citizen (www.citizen.org) nationally, and Washington Public Campaigns (www.washclean.org) at our Washington State level.  Remedies include a constitutional amendment, as explained in other items in this section of the newsletter.  (See below.)

Pass a constitutional amendment to reverse the Citizens United decision and get big money out of politics:  On July 24 the US Senate held its first-ever hearing on this.  People who care about democracy, free elections, and less corporate corruption of American public policy are working hard to amend the US constitution to reverse Citizens United and also to abolish the bizarre notion of “Corporate Personhood.”  (See all three of the paragraphs above.)  Corrupt elections and corporate personhood grossly interfere with democracy and our ability to protect consumers, health, the environment, and to change to a peaceful foreign policy, among other vital needs.  Congressman Jim McGovern’s The People's Rights Amendment would make it clear that corporations don't have the same rights as people.  The Supreme Court has declared money a form of “free speech,” allowing those with the most money to drown out the voices of everyone else.  Senator Tom Udall introduced S.J. Res. 29 to restore Congress’ and states’ authority to limit money in politics.

Campaign to Overturn Citizens United Gathers Steam:  Public Citizen and other pro-democracy groups are leading a nationwide effort to challenge the US Supreme Court’s disastrous Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission ruling, which allowed unlimited spending on political campaigns.  Now six states (but not yet Washington State) have joined 275 cities and towns that have passed resolutions calling for a constitutional amendment to overturn the ruling.  More than 85 national organizations have joined the call to overturn Citizens United, and over 100 members of Congress support the idea as well, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.  President Obama also has voiced support for a constitutional amendment, but is not actually doing anything to promote it.  A great number of progressive and public interest organizations are working for these efforts.  For example, Public Citizen, which was founded decades ago by Ralph Nader, has been working hard.  The Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC) is also working to undo Citizens United, and has a five-point plan called Take Back Democracy.  The plan includes requiring corporations to get shareholder approval before political spending and enacting public financing of elections.  Everyone is invited to sign on in support of all or part of the campaign.  PCCC’s information is at www.boldprogressives.org, and Public Citizen’s is at www.citizen.org  Washington State’s most prominent and smartest organization in this field is Washington Public Campaigns, www.washclean.org


Also see two items in News—Resources—Opportunities section about Creative Nonviolent Actions, dealing with democracy and corporate personhood.


Environment, Climate, Energy, Sustainability


Climate information:  During June in the US, 3,215 high-temperature records tied or broken, a massive drought parched much of the country, and extreme storms occurred from coast to coast.  (Source:  “Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math,” Rolling Stone, July 19, 2012. www.moveon.org/r?r=277940&id=47071-1179559-LuCQlOx&t=5)  Also, “9 of the 10 hottest years on record have occurred since 2000.” (Source:  “Loading the Climate Dice,” The New York Times, July 22, 2012.  www.moveon.org/r?r=277941&id=47071-1179559-LuCQlOx&t=6)  Politicians and mainstream media keep pretending that climate disruption is not yet proven, or is less serious than scientists say, or might occur only in the future.  Climate disruption is happening already, and it will continue to get worse.  We need very bold action, and we need it immediately!  A Chinese saying says the best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago, and the next best time is now.

Greenland’s gigantic glacier breakup is more evidence of climate crisis:  An iceberg twice as large as Manhattan Island broke off from Greenland in mid-July.  Two years before another chunk twice that size had broken off.  Experts have called this latest news “dramatic” and “disturbing.”  Prof. Andreas Muenchow of the University of Delaware stated, “Northern Greenland and Canada have been warming five times faster than the average global temperature.”  Ted Scambos, lead scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colorado, stated that temperatures have increased there by about 4 degrees Fahrenheit in the last 30 years.  In mid-July scientists also reported that during June the Arctic had lost the largest amount of sea ice ever recorded.

The Post Carbon Institute is a great resource on the climate crisis and related issues.  New videos exist.  Two videos (“300 Years of Fossil Fuels in 300 Seconds” and “Who Killed Economic Growth?” are just a few minutes long, but they are powerful, informative and entertaining.  Another one (“You Are Here:  The Oil Journey”) lasts about 30 minutes.  You can watch them online or buy a DVD containing all three.  See www.postcarbon.org/featured-videos

USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack supports agribusiness and biotechnology:  Tom Vilsack, currently the Secretary of the US Department of Agriculture, has been criticized for his close ties to Monsanto, the world’s leading producer of genetically modified seeds.  Vilsack was governor of Iowa for two terms and in 2001 the Biotechnology Industry Organization named him Governor of the Year.  When he ran for president in 2008, Monsanto supplied him with a corporate jet to travel the country.  The Organic Consumers Association criticizes Vilsack for promoting the most controversial and dangerous forms of agricultural biotechnology, including pharma crops, which are plants genetically engineered to produce pharmaceuticals.  When grown on farmland, pharma crops can easily contaminate conventional and organic varieties.  In one example from 2002, a corn crop engineered by ProdiGene to produce a vaccine for pigs contaminated 500,000 bushels of soybeans that were grown in the Nebraska field the next season, and which then had to be destroyed.  ProdiGene eventually went out of business, but not before it received a $6 million investment from the Governors Biotechnology Partnership, chaired by then-Governor Vilsack.  More recently, earlier this year at the USDA Vilsack approved genetically engineered alfalfa, sugar beets, and corn – much to the dismay of organic supporters.  A number of organizations representing consumers, small farmers, and environmentalists have persistently criticized this cabinet member.

Thurston County voters will decide whether to own the electric utility here:  Volunteers collected more than enough initiative signatures to earn a place on the November ballot for the question of whether the people of Thurston County want to own our own electric utility or continue buying electricity from a privately owned corporation based in Australia.  The citizen-based Thurston Public Power Initiative submitted 15,413 signatures to the County Auditor’s Office, which validated 11,011 and then stopped counting with the announcement that more than enough valid signatures existed.  John Pearce, chairperson of TPPI (360-866-6881 Chair@ThurstonPublicPower.org), stated, “A ‘Yes’ vote in November will open up a 10-year window during which the Public Utility District (PUD) will be authorized to begin providing electricity somewhere in Thurston County.  The PUD commissioners have released the first draft of a study they commissioned in March.  This study looks at how the PUD could best use the electric utility authority, if granted by the voters.  The final report will be published in late August.”  PUD Commissioner Christopher Stearns said, “If approved in November, electrification of the PUD will be undertaken in a thoughtful, reasonable, and deliberate manner.  Doing what is best for the citizens of Thurston County is always our top priority.”  A small group of citizens opposing public ownership is expected to spend a lot of money opposing the ballot measure.  Info:  www.ThurstonPublicPower.org

Get training to become a Master Recycler Composter:  Thurston County is currently accepting applications training to become volunteer Master Recycler Composters.  The county trains each Master Recycler Composter (MRC) volunteer on how to become a community educator on solid waste issues such as waste reduction, recycling, and composting within Thurston County.  The MRC training will begin Thursday September 6.  Participants receive background and hands-on training on a variety of recycling, composting, and waste prevention topics.  Subjects include working with the public, worm bins, how to maintain compost piles, curbside and compost collection basics, recycling markets, waste prevention measures, and much more.  Field trips include Dirt Works Demonstration Garden, Hawks Prairie Waste & Recovery Center, and the Pacific Disposal Recycling Facility.  MRC volunteers agree to give a minimum of 25 hours of volunteer service in the next calendar year starting January 1, 2013.  MRCs can participate in a wide range of county waste reduction activities and community events, or work in their own neighborhoods, schools, or workplaces on projects encouraging waste reduction, recycling and composting.  Master Recycler Composter trainees must attend all classes offered on Thursday evenings, 6 pm- 8:30 pm, September 6, 20, October 4, 11, and 18.  There are also Saturday field trips from 9 am- 12 pm, September 22 and October 6.  Applications are due August 17, by 5 pm with acceptance letters issued by August 24.  Call (360) 867-2162 or visit http://county.wsu.edu/thurston/gardening and click on “Master Recycler Composters.”


Also see the first item in News—Resources—Opportunities section about Creative Nonviolent Actions.  It is titled, Greenpeace and Yes Men post bogus billboard about Shell Oil’s drilling in Arctic.


What Is Good for Our Community?

art on the commonsArt on the Commons:  Be an active part of community!  Help choose which art piece will become a fixture of our commons.  A healthy community needs a vibrant sense of “the commons” with good art.  Your voice is needed now!  See the sculptures along Percival Landing’s boardwalk and think about which one you would most like to see installed permanently in that area.  Start at the corner of 4th &Water.  (We especially recommend either before or after the Olympia FOR’s weekly 4:30-6:00 Friday peace vigil.)  Head north on the boardwalk toward the viewing tower.  Pick up a ballot from a plastic box near each sculpture.  After you have viewed all of the 15 varied sculptures, mark your ballot and turn it in person at The Olympia Center, 222 Columbia St. NW, Olympia, by August 31, 2012.  Info:  (360) 709-2678 .  At the left you see one example by a local Native American artist:

Update on converting Olympia’s downtown Isthmus into a public park:  On July 20 after a thorough discussion the Olympia City Council decided on a different way to proceed instead of putting a tax-raising proposal on the November ballot to buy the 9-story-tall Capital Center complex (“the mistake by the lake”) and demolish it for a public park on the isthmus between Capitol Lake and Budd Inlet.  Instead, the Council did ask staff to move ahead to purchase the parcels to the west (the “Larida Passage” parcels) as soon as feasible.  The isthmus park’s main organizing force, the Capitol Park Foundation, had urged the City to accept a proposal to buy the tower with a supportive nonprofit group’s financial help, but most Council members were concerned about the short timeline and other practical considerations.  The Capitol Park Foundation appreciates the Council’s thoughtful consideration and support in recent years and is exploring how to move ahead.  The Foundation invites the public to help them move ahead to acquire the land for the broad public benefit and to protect the views.  Info:  Jerry Reilly, Chair of the Olympia Capitol Park Foundation, (360) 561 4212

 

 

 

 

 

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Do we have your e-mail address?  Occasionally the Olympia FOR needs to communicate by e-mail with our people.  If you are not receiving our occasional e-mails, please share your e-mail address so we can keep in touch.  Please contact us at info@olympiafor.org   Thanks!

Would you like to receive your newsletter by e-mail instead of on paper?  We are happy to send paper copies to everyone who wants them, but we’re finding many people who would prefer to receive .pdf versions.  If you would like to receive your newsletters electronically – or in both printed and .pdf formats – please contact info@olympiafor.org or (360) 491-9093.

Olympia FOR needs people to help our Outreach Committee:  The Olympia FOR is constantly reaching out to our community in various ways to tell people who we are and what we do.  We set up information tables at public events, communicate with various organizations and constituencies, write information about the Olympia FOR to print on paper and post to various websites, and so forth.  We created an Outreach Committee to plan and carry out these activities, but the committee is very short-handed.  Are you interested in this creative way to help the Olympia FOR?  If so, contact Glen Anderson at 491-9093 glen@olympiafor.org  Our Fundraising Committee also needs more volunteers.

Would you help sometimes with Olympia FOR’s mailing parties?  With about five or six people we can assemble, fold and label our newsletters and other mailings in just a few hours.  We can schedule mailing parties at various days and times in order to accommodate various volunteers’ schedules.  We can contact you when we need help.  If you’re available, great!  If you’re not available, that’s OK; we can try on another occasion.  Contact Glen Anderson at 491-9093 glen@olympiafor.org

Could the Olympia FOR hold our mailing parties at your house?  Once every two months we need a space where we can bring five or six people together on a few tabletops (or perhaps a large table and a kitchen counter so we can collate, fold, and label our Olympia FOR newsletter.  Our schedule is flexible (weekday, weekend, day or evening).  It takes just a few hours.  Could you provide a space?  Please contact Glen Anderson at 491-9093 glen@olympiafor.org

Please help the Olympia FOR meet our budget of $10,139:  The Olympia FOR’s Steering Committee adopted a budget of $10,139 for the fiscal year running from July 1, 2011, through June 30, 2012.  We invite local folks to help us accomplish all of our ambitious activities.  (We do not solicit funds from Lewis County people, who have their own local FOR chapter, or from people outside of our local 985___ zip code area.)  Thank you!  Questions?  Ask Glen Anderson, (360) 491-9093 glen@olympiafor.org

FREE reams of paper for worthy causes:  The Olympia FOR used to mimeograph our newsletters, but now we use a better printing method.  We have many 500-sheet packages (reams) of paper available for free to non-profit organizations that can use them.  In order to absorb the ink quickly without smearing, mimeograph paper is somewhat fuzzy, unlike sleek like copier paper, so this is NOT usable in a copying machine or computer printer because it would shed fuzzy fibers and ruin the inkjet or laser printer and the internal mechanisms.  Mimeographing is an obsolete technology, so nobody would want it for that purpose, so this is genuinely surplus.  Please contact one or more schools, preschools, daycare centers, and/or other worthy causes or persons to find out whether they would want this.  Potential recipients could visit my house and take as much as they want on a first-come, first-served basis.  They can reach me at 491-9093 glen@olympiafor.org.

 

Online Videos

Occupation 101 (1 hour and 27 minutes) http://www.teachpeace.com/occupation101.htm

Peace, Propaganda & the Promised Land (1 hour and 19 minutes) http://www.teachpeace.com/peacepropaganda.htm

Job Openings

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