!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01 Transitional//EN"> Rolla Peace Newsletter, June 23, 2015

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Rolla Peace News

June 23, 2015

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Dear Friends:

          In this newsletter is:

1. NOON VIGIL FOR PEACE: THIS WEEK, THURSDAY, JUNE 25, 2015
2. JULY 4 VIGIL AT LIONS CLUB
3. SLAVERY: ALIVE AND WELL IN ALABAMA (AND OTHER PLACES)
4. THE MISFIT MATHEMATICIAN (Tom's column, http://tomsager.org)
          a) Open the Prisons to Them That Are Bound
          b) Bernie on Militarism
          c) What Happens Now?
          d) More Delusions

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1. NOON VIGIL FOR PEACE: THURSDAY, JUNE 25, 2015

We vigil for peace in front of the Rolla Post Office THIS THURSDAY, JUNE 25, 2015, (and all subsequent Thursdays until peace is established) from Noon to 1:00 PM. Please try to join us. The temperature is predicted to be in the 90s. If you do not feel comfortable standing with us in front of the Post Office, please consider driving by and showing your support for our message by honking your horn and flashing a peace sign.

2. JULY 4 VIGIL AT LIONS CLUB

On Saturday, July 4, 2015, we will have our annual vigil in front of Lions Club Park, the last day of the carnival. We will meet at 6 p.m., when the carnival starts, and stay until 7 p.m. as usual. Please try to join us.

3. SLAVERY: ALIVE AND WELL IN ALABAMA (AND OTHER PLACES)

Did you know that prison inmates work for McDonald's, Wendy's, Walmart, K-Mart, J.C. Penney, American Airlines, Verizon Wireless, Sprint, Starbuck's (via a subcontractor), Fidelity Investments, Avis and Victoria's Secret — as well as many other lesser-known companies? And they make anywhere from $0.90 to $4.00 a day — what a deal! Those are the lucky ones that get paid anything at all. Almost all work in prisons is done by inmates, and only a small percentage of them get paid.

Chris Hedges writes about 3 men who organized work stoppages in 3 Alabama prisons in January 2014. All 3 have been in solitary confinement since that time, and the authorities have no plans to change that. The prisoners feel that the only power they have is their labor, and the only way to draw attention to the horrible conditions they live under is to refuse to work.

With less than 5% of the world's population, the United States has about 25% of the world's prisoners. This is because of laws that make criminals out of people whose crimes are being poor, being black, being mentally ill, being illiterate and/or ignorant, smoking pot, and other “offenses” that harm no one. Granted, there are some really bad people in prison — naturally, those are the ones who get power and privileges — but the majority of prisoners could benefit from help rather than punishment.

Our prisons are labeled “correctional centers,” but that is not really their purpose. It takes a lot of denial not to see the connection between harsh laws and sentencing, which are slanted against the poor and non-white people, and the profits that corporations and for-profit prisons are making from their slave labor.

4. THE MISFIT MATHEMATICIAN (Tom's column, http://tomsager.org)
          a) Open the Prisons to Them That Are Bound
          b) Bernie on Militarism
          c) What Happens Now?
          d) More Delusions

OPEN THE PRISONS TO THEM THAT ARE BOUND

I am so tired of quoting Isaiah 61; but here it is again: “The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;” —Isaiah 61:1-2

Well, read Helen's post; and tell me that it is not way past time to “proclaim liberty to the captives and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;”

What's that you say? There are bad people in prison along with the innocent and they will harm us if they are released? Perhaps so. But isn't that what our system of justice is all about? Innocent until proven guilty. And in these days of extreme prosecutorial, police and legislative misconduct, how does one separate the innocent from the guilty? How does one separate those who have paid their debt to society from those that have not? And above all: How does one justify incarcerating lesser criminals while the Bushes, Obamas, Petraeuses, Rehnerts, Tillersons and Dimons all go free?

Since, ultimately, “We, the People,” are responsible for these injustices, we must accept the release of the guilty along with the innocent.

BERNIE ON MILITARISM

In May, I wrote: “Well, Bernie has the first part down bringing the high cost of education under control. How about the second part, Bernie? How about a plan to bring the high cost of militarism under control?”

I think Bernie was listening to me (and many many others). In his June newsletter he writes: “Our military agenda is out of control. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have cost us thousands of lives and trillions of dollars. The United States spends more on the military than the next nine nations combined. There are massive cost over-runs with defense contractors, and the Pentagon cannot even pass an independent audit.”

And further: “War and Peace: I voted against the war in Iraq, and that was the right vote. I am vigorously opposed to an endless war in the Middle East — a war which is unwise and unnecessary. We must be vigorous in combating terrorism, but we can't do it alone. We must be part of an international coalition, including Muslim nations, that can not only defeat ISIS but will work hard to create conditions for a lasting peace.”

Maybe not everything we could hope for; but a lot more than I've seen from a close-to-front-running candidate in many many years. Printed newsletters are great, but hope to see this on his website too, very soon.

WHAT HAPPENS NOW?

This article by Conn Hallinan and Leon Wofsy is a little long and tedious for my tastes; but makes some important points.

Hallinan and Wofsy note, “We still act as if our enormous military power, imperial alliances, and self-perceived moral superiority empower us to set the terms of ‘world order.’”

But, “while the United States remains a great economic power, economic and political influence is shifting and giving rise to national and regional centers no longer controlled by U.S.-dominated global financial structures.”

And further, “Beyond the problems our delusions of grandeur have caused in the wider world, there are enormous domestic consequences of prolonged war and interventionism. We shell out over $1 trillion a year in military-related expenses even as our social safety net frays and our infrastructure crumbles. Democracy itself has become virtually dysfunctional.”

Seems to me like a perfect recipe for Collapse (capital C intentional).

MORE DELUSIONS

In case you missed it, The Senate passed Fast-track for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the ultimate undemocratic treasonous giveaway of sovereignty to multinational corporations. Both Missouri senators, Claire McCaskill and Roy Blunt, voted for this abomination (in case you wondered).

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Rolla Peace News is distributed by email once a week on Tuesday evenings (except on rare occasions) and is posted on the web at http://tomsager.org (click on Grassroots Rolla: top of rightmost column).

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If you want to be added to this list, let me know.

Wage peace,

Helen
helenm (at) fidnet.com

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