!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01 Transitional//EN"> Rolla Peace Newsletter, August 4, 2015

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Rolla Peace News

August 4, 2015


Dear Friends:

          In this newsletter is:

3. THE MISFIT MATHEMATICIAN (Tom's column, http://tomsager.org)
          a) On Terrorism and Non-Violence
          b) Ag-Gag Law Unconstitutional
          c) Justice for Cecil the Lion



We vigil for peace in front of the Rolla Post Office THIS THURSDAY, AUGUST 6, 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 80s. 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.


More than a year before the 2016 Presidential election, the craziness begins: Fox News is hosting a debate for the top 10 polling Republican candidates, Thursday at 8 p.m. Central. Donald Trump is leading the polls at nearly twice his nearest opponent, Jeb Bush. If that isn't crazy, I don't know what is! They aren't all nuts, of course; Chris Christie is just dishonest and corrupt, Scott Walker is heartless, and Jeb Bush is just plain evil (IMHO). I find it interesting that the nuttiest one of all is leading the polls by a huge margin. Here's a rundown of the likely participants, although the last 2 are not quite certain, given that the deadline for counting polls was just an hour ago. In order of standing in the polls: Donald Trump, Jeb Bush, Scott Walker, Ben Carson, Mike Huckabee, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Chris Christie, and John Kasich.

This might be fun to watch, if the questions they were debating on were relevant to the issues, but that's unlikely, given the bias of the hosting interviewers. Katrina vanden Heuvel lists some questions that would really liven things up, if they were asked. Sadly, most of the candidates will either attack Democrats or other Republicans, or rave about their pet issues, none of which have much to do with saving our democracy or our planet.

For even more fun, watch the debate Fox has scheduled at 5 p.m. Thursday for the bottom 7 Republican contenders.

3. THE MISFIT MATHEMATICIAN (Tom's column, http://tomsager.org)
          a) On Terrorism and Non-Violence
          b) Ag-Gag Law Unconstitutional
          c) Justice for Cecil the Lion


Animal-rights activists, Joseph Buddenberg and Nicole Kissane, have been arrested on terrorism charges for allegedly breaking into mink-farms and releasing over 5,000 mink and committing assorted acts of vandalism to these farms.

Glenn Greenwald notes that Dylann Roof who in cold-blood gunned down and killed nine African-Americans in a church is not considered a terrorist.

Ok, crimes against property are terrorism under the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act; but premeditated lethal violence against people is not; at least not if they are Black and happen to be in a church. This is probably all you really need to know about terrorism to conclude that it is a meaningless designation.

With that said, I have a few issues with Greenwald's article (and to a lesser extent with a similar article by Chris Hedges). Greenwald writes:
“This latest federal prosecution, and the public branding of these two activists as ‘domestic terrorists,’ highlights the strikingly severe targeting over many years by the U.S. government of nonviolent animal and environmental rights activists. The more one delves into what is being done here — the extreme abuse of the criminal law to stifle nonviolent political protest or even just pure political speech, undertaken with tragically little attention — the more appalling it becomes. There are numerous cases of animal rights activists, several of whom spoke to The Intercept, who weren’t even accused of harming people or property, but who were nonetheless sent to federal prison for years.”
While I totally agree that the persecution of non-violent protestors is a grave injustice, (I have called this the “War on Non-Violence.”) I have problems with characterizing the alleged acts of Buddenberg and Kissane as non-violent. Had they simply removed the minks to a more humane environment, that would be one thing; but why vandalize the farms?

I also have problems with the way Greenwald appears to be elevating Buddenberg and Kissane to hero status. Farm animals are notoriously inept at surviving in the wild; so I wonder how many of these 5,000 mink have actually survived. I suspect very few.

Another problem I have with Greenwald's article is his characterization of protest that is “fundamentally respectful of the rules imposed by institutions of authority [as] often ineffective ... strengthening the process it believes it is subverting.”
“But there’s something deeper driving this persecution. American elites are typically willing to tolerate political protest as long as it remains constrained, controlled, and fundamentally respectful of the rules imposed by institutions of authority — i.e., as long as it remains neutered and impotent. When protest movements adhere to those constraints, they are not only often ineffective, but more so, they can unwittingly serve as a false testament to the freedom of the political process and the generosity of its rulers (they let us speak out: see, we’re free!). That kind of marginal, modest ‘protest’ often ends up strengthening the process it believes it is subverting.”
A few of us hold weekly vigils that are “constrained, controlled, and fundamentally respectful of the rules imposed by institutions of authority” for an hour at the Rolla Post Office. I don't like to characterize these events as protests or demonstrations. I use the word vigil to emphasize that we are awaiting peace, the true meaning of vigil.

One of the most memorable moments from our weekly vigils for peace came when a man drove by, saw our “support the troops; bring them home” placard, rolled down his window and said, “You brought me home.” and then told us that his whole unit appreciates what we are doing.

I can't count how many times someone has stopped to tell us that they agree with us. How many of these people go on to do something for peace they might not have done otherwise? Your guess is as good as mine.

And I've learned a lot interacting with people at these vigils, especially people who disagree with us.

One day a man drove by in an SUV, rolled down his window and said, “I hope they bomb your house.” I admit it. I was speechless. The man drove off. I thought about his comment and a few weeks later, when he drove by again with the same comment, I responded, “I don't want anyone to bomb your house. that's why I'm standing here saying, peace.” He never stopped by again. I hope he thought about my comment as much as I thought about his.

I am admonished from time to time that my freedom to demonstrate is based on our military might. My typical response has been, “Then you ought to be happy that we are using the freedom you fought for.” But, if the opportunity presented itself now, I believe I would respond differently. I would agree. I would point out that our democracy is based on theft: Land stolen from the Amerindians. Industry built with slave labor. Theft from our own underclasses. Theft of resources from far-away lands unable to stand up to our military might. And theft from the Earth itself — and to such a degree that all humanity is now in danger of extinction. I would also say that I find this a rather high price to pay for the Right to stand in front of the Post Office with signs declaring Peace is Patriotic.

And, finally, I've learned a lot from local law-enforcement, who have been very helpful and understanding during the few tense moments that occur now and then.

I've learned that if you respect people and listen to them, generally they will respect you too. I've learned that if you try to understand others, they will generally make the effort to try to understand you.

Do these vigils, “constrained, controlled, and fundamentally respectful of the rules imposed by institutions of authority” have a positive effect? Others may disagree, but I think they do; so I will continue to vigil for Peace. If you can suggest a better road to Peace, let me know. I'm all ears.

In spite of these short-comings, Greenwald has written a very important article. I encourage you to read this excellent article.


U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill in a landmark decision has struck down Idaho's notorious Ag-Gag law as unconstitutional, violating both free speech and equal protection. Idaho's Ag-Gag law criminalizes videoing and exposing abuses at factory farms.

The undercover videoing of animal abuse at factory farms has, at least in my opinion, done far more to galvanize the animal-rights movement than actions like releasing farm animals into the wild.


A petition calling for justice for Cecil the Lion who was allegedly shot by US bounty hunter, Walter James Palmer, in Zimbabwe, has garnered over 1.1 million signatures.

I agree that actions like this will not stop factory farm animal abuse. Nevertheless, I signed the petition.


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).

If you don't wish to get notices of peace events in the Rolla area, let me know and I'll take you off this list.

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

Wage peace,

helenm (at) fidnet.com