Helen of Marlowe's Blog

Armed America

Posted in "North Carolina" by helenofmarlowe on July 25, 2016

Published in Winston-Salem Journal, Sunday, July 24, 2016

The Readers’ Forum: Sunday letters

Correspondent of the week

HELEN ETTERS, Winston-Salem

Armed America

Protests over police brutality? Mass killings? This is America.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that guns kill 30,000Americans per year. Less than 3 percent of these are self-defense.

This is America. This does not happen in Canada or Australia or Spain or any other industrialized nation. This is America! In other countries, police approach a car or a suspect and don’t have to wonder whether this person is carrying a gun. They assume the citizen is not, and that is almost always correct. In America, police approach a car or a suspect and they assume the person they are stopping, for perhaps a broken turn signal, is likely carrying a gun.

They have to fear for their lives every time they stop someone for speeding, and when they expect that the citizen probably has a gun, they are more likely to use their own. When our own NC state legislators prevent the public from seeing the police-cam recordings, they only make matters worse.

As Ronald Reagan said in May, 1967, “There’s no reason why on the street today a citizen should be carrying loaded weapons.”

If we don’t like this armed America, if we want to protect our police officers, if we want a safe country, then we have to get rid of the guns. Get rid of the guns.

Helen Etters
Winston-Salem
***

Former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke to Run for US Senate; Says Trump Acceptance Speech Inspired Him

Posted in "North Carolina" by helenofmarlowe on July 23, 2016

Just when I thought it couldn’t get any scarier – The “sheriff’s star” incident drew praise from white supremacist leader David Duke, and now Duke says the country is moving in his direction.The former Ku Klux Klan leader is running for the U.S. Senate, linking his decision to Donald Trump. Every time I think “this will be the end of Trump” I am proven wrong. I ran across Mercedes Schneider’s EduBlog and thought this worth reblogging.

deutsch29

The 1992 Louisiana governors race put former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard David Duke against known crooked former Louisiana governor, Edwin Edwards.

Edwards was known for lining his pockets with public money, but the prospect of Duke as governor was just plain scary.

Knowing Edwards would rip off Louisana, and familiar with the political catch of really wanting neither candidate but knowing one must be elected, people circulated bumper stickers that read, “Vote for the crook. It’s important.” (Indeed, Edwards ended up serving eight years in federal prison, 2002-2011, for corruption.)

I was thinking of that 1992 Louisiana governor’s race today as I read yet another piece (I have read many) that offer concern of Donald Trump in the White House as frightening.

And wouldn’t you know, even as I was thinking of the similar current of fear shared by the Trump for Prez and Duke for Gov campaigns…

View original post 612 more words

Richard Groves: A question about terrorism

Posted in "North Carolina" by helenofmarlowe on December 22, 2015

Richard Groves is a local (Winston-Salem) former pastor with whom I have only a casual acquaintance.   I think his observations here regarding our understanding of terrorism are astute and worth sharing.  This was published in The Winston-Salem Journal on December 18.

Donald Trump, along with the entire right wing of the Republican Party, has been hammering President Obama for refusing to use the words “Muslim (or Islamic) extremists (or terrorists),” sometimes arguing that you can’t fight something until you can call it by its correct name, which makes no sense, but this is campaign season, lest we forget.

I have a different question: Why isn’t anybody willing to use the words “Christian terrorists”? Have you ever seen those words in print or heard them in a network’s “breaking news”?

The chapter on terrorism in the U.S. Code defines terrorist acts as “violent acts or acts dangerous to human life that … appear to be intended (i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; (ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or (iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping …”

Terrorism is about intimidating or coercing a population or a government through the use of violence.

Make no mistake about it, terrorism works. Take it from an expert, the online al-Qaida magazine Inspire. In issue 9 (2012) writers gloated, “This is the life of Americans, transformed into fear of either an internal or external attack,” and “The terror felt amongst the people when an assassin strikes in the enemy’s land is of much greater proportion than him striking the enemy on the battlefield.”

The fear that is rampant across America, fear that leads many to advocate banning all Muslims from entering our country, is testimony that terror works.

But what should we call terrorists?

Two scenarios.

Scenario one: A man and his wife walk into a meeting room in San Bernardino, Calif., and open fire on unsuspecting holiday partiers, killing 14 and wounding 21. The community, indeed the entire nation, is terrorized. In seeming contradiction, there is urgent talk about tougher gun laws even as gun sales soar. The couple appears to have been inspired by an interpretation (or misinterpretation) of Islam. They are quickly branded Islamic terrorists.

Scenario two: A man walks into an abortion clinic armed with an assault rifle and opens fire on staff and patients alike, killing several and wounding many more. The community is terrorized. Potential patients stay away from the clinic and others like it. The assailant was inspired by an interpretation (or misinterpretation) of Christianity. He is quickly branded — a domestic terrorist.

Why isn’t he labeled a Christian terrorist?

The answer, of course, is that to do so would invite a firestorm of objections from Christians, claiming that the perpetrators of violence in the name of Jesus do not represent authentic Christianity.  [Jesus] was, after all, the Prince of Peace. Theirs is a perverted form of the faith. To attach “Christian” to their terrorist acts would be to associate all Christians everywhere with obscene acts of violence.

But that is the same argument that mainstream Muslims use when they condemn the bloody acts of jihadists.

According to the World Post (a partner of the Huffington Post), almost 70,000 Muslim clerics recently met in India and passed “a fatwa against global terrorist organizations, including the Taliban, al Qaeda and the militant group that calls itself the Islamic State.” One of the clerics said that he and others who voted to pass the fatwa wanted to say to the world that they don’t consider groups like the Islamic State to be true Islamic organizations — nor do they view members of these organizations as Muslims.

Why does the argument carry weight when it is used in defense of one religion, Christianity, and not when it is used in defense of another, Islam?

Logic and consistency of thought would seem to require that if we are going to speak of Islamic terrorists we should also speak of Christian terrorists when the situation requires us to do so. Or we should fall back on the religiously neutral and much less volatile domestic terrorists and international terrorists, which is the distinction made in the U.S. Code.

But logic and consistency of thought are early victims of rampant, debilitating fear. And this is campaign season, lest we forget.

 —**—

 

—**—

A Petition Regarding the NRA

Posted in "North Carolina" by helenofmarlowe on December 15, 2015

Recently, our local (Winston-Salem) paper had a Letter to the Editor from Steve Wishnevsky saying he had created a petition at whitehouse.gov to ask the government to remove the NRA’s nonprofit status.  It needs 150 signatures to be posted on the wall, and 100,000 to get action. I don’t know Steve Wishnevsky but it seems like a good idea. So for the first time ever, I’ve signed a whitehouse.gov petition.

It says

We petition the obama administration to remove the nonprofit status of the National Rifle Association for enabling terrorism, both Foreign and Domestic.

His petition can be found at

https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/remove-nonprofit-status-national-rifle-association-enabling-terrorism-both-foreign-and-domestic

It has 692 signatures. Only 99,308 to go ….

 

—  ** —

Tagged with: ,

#ExxonKnew. US Nightly News Still Doesn’t.

Posted in "North Carolina" by helenofmarlowe on November 14, 2015

Pacifica has reported on this, but Pacifica is not mainstream news. I hope mainstream news, aka corporate-owned news, will pick up on this, since the larger public needs to know.

Actually, LA Times as well. Amy Goodman on Democracy Now:
For decades, Exxon has publicly questioned the science of global warming, contradicting internal findings by the company’s own scientists. Recent exposés by InsideClimate News and the Los Angeles Times reveal that Exxon concealed for decades its own conclusions that fossil fuels cause global warming, alter the climate and melt the Arctic. Exxon’s climate deception is now sparking calls for a federal probe similar to that which yielded a racketeering conviction of Big Tobacco for hiding the dangers of smoking. We are joined by Rep. Ted Lieu (D-California), who is calling for a Justice Department investigation of Exxon, as well as 350.org co-founder Bill McKibben

Climate Denial Crock of the Week

hearnoshit ABC, NBC, CBS, and Fox

Dear Mainstream media,

This is why people hate you.

cheers,

Peter

MediaMatters:

Evening News Programs On ABC, CBS, And NBCHave Yet To Address Exxon’s Climate Deception. Nexis and Snapstream searches for “Exxon” and “ExxonMobil” revealed that the nightly news shows on ABC, CBS, and NBC all failed to air a single segment about the growing Exxon story, covering neither the media investigations, the Democratic candidates’ comments, nor the New York Attorney General’s actions.

ABC And CBS Briefly Mentioned New York Attorney General Investigation On Morning News Shows. ABC’s Good Morning America and CBSThis Morning both briefly mentioned New York Attorney General Schneiderman’s investigation into Exxon in news rundowns. [ABC, Good Morning America, 11/6/15; CBS, CBS This Morning, 11/6/15]

By Contrast, Exxon Developments Have Received Widespread Coverage From Other Media Outlets

Many Media Outlets Have Covered Exxon Story.

View original post 202 more words

Living in the Anthropocene

Posted in Ecology, Environment by helenofmarlowe on November 1, 2015

We’ve all heard the oft-quoted aphorism that if you don’t vote, you don’t have the right to complain.

I’ve never subscribed to that stance.

But there is a parallel philosophy that is harder to dismiss.

If we decry the hunger of 1 million people on this planet, and the trashing of the oceans and the destruction of the rain forests, the extinction of species and the wasting of water – and yet we choose to participate in the causes, do we have the right to decry? Or must we say, Well, I sort of care, a little bit, but not much – not enough to give up some of the pleasures I’m accustomed to.

I have this on my mind because a friend sent me a link to a November 10 New York Times article,

Learning How to Die in the Anthropocene, by Roy Scranton.
A brief excerpt:

The biggest problem climate change poses isn’t how the Department of Defense should plan for resource wars, or how we should put up sea walls to protect Alphabet City, or when we should evacuate Hoboken. It won’t be addressed by buying a Prius, signing a treaty, or turning off the air-conditioning. The biggest problem we face is a philosophical one: understanding that this civilization is  already dead.

Our leaders ignored the warnings while there was still time.

And still, most of us are choosing, not from necessity but because we like the taste of other animals, to continue unraveling the web of life on this planet that we will leave to our children and grandchildren.

We know that greenhouse gasses accumulate in the atmosphere and remain there for centuries as they are slowly absorbed by plants and oceans, and yet we continue the destruction of the rain forest, the lungs of the planet.

There is much information about the connections between eating meat and climate change, some of it published by the Unitarian Universalist United Nations Office. Here is a 4-minute video that the UU UNO makes available on its website.

http://climate.uu-uno.org/topics/view/524759010cf264abcd860045/#resources

It’s  taken from this  slightly longer (12 minute) video.

Some of the points made in this video (video number 5 in the list of resources):

While we are being encouraged to change our lightbulbs and drive hybrid cars, the united nations found that raising animals for human food contributes more to global warming than all the planes, cars, and trucks on the planet combined. Forty % more.

You can leave your shower running for 24 hours a day every day of the year and you would still not waste as much water as when you include meat in your diet.

Many of us recycle paper because we want to save trees. But the number one reason for cutting down trees, including the destruction of the rain forest, is to clear land for grazing meat animals and growing corn to feed to animals that we will slaughter and eat.

40,000 people on this planet starve to death every day! This does not happen because there is not enough food for everyone – this happens because, while people are starving, we are wasting enormous amounts of food to feed cows, pigs, chickens and other animals so that we can satisfy our desire (not need) for meat.

Today, we look back on behaviors of humans in previous centuries and wonder how they could participate in some of the cruel practices common to the culture in early American history.

Now, we persistently put our frivolous desires above the indisputable needs and rights of many who go hungry while we support a meat industry that metes out to us vastly more of the world’s resources than is our just portion.

As we continue to eat animals even knowing that a vegetarian diet is healthier, and knowing that factory farming is the greatest contributor to water pollution and climate change, and knowing the pain and suffering inflicted on other sentient beings who want to live, I believe history will judge us harshly.

.

 

Environmental News on Back to the Future Day

Posted in "North Carolina" by helenofmarlowe on October 21, 2015

Happy Back to the Future Day

Looks like the movie’s predictions missed at one thing – the announcement today that the month of September was the hottest on record.

Other enviornmental notes:

New research from a major national lab projects that the rate of climate change, which has risen sharply in recent decades, will soar by the 2020s. This worrisome projection — which has implications for extreme weather, sea level rise, and permafrost melt — is consistent with several recent studies.

Climate change could be killing off turtles. Temperature during egg incubation determines the gender of the hatchling. This temperature dependency is extremely sensitive, so tiny changes to the average temperature can cause a large gender skew. Skewed sex ratios are already being observed widely across turtle hatching grounds and this could cause the eventual collapse of the species.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2015/10/16/another-weird-effect-of-climate-change-too-many-female-sea-turtles/

Rain Forest destruction

The heart of Amazonia is its vast rivers and forests, home to thousands of plants and animals. Their delicate ecosystem has evolved over millions of years—and it’s increasingly threatened by deforestation and other human activity. As the forest diminishes, so does its ability to serve as a massive carbon warehouse for the world. Roads—164,000 miles of them, three-fourths of them illegal—crisscross the Brazilian Amazon. Ninety-five percent of all deforestation is within 3.4 miles of a road or 0.6 miles of a navigable river. (National Geographic)

Methane

The amount of methane in the Arctic hydrates alone is estimated as 400 times more than the global atmospheric CH4 burden. The question is timescale of the methane liberation: gradual, abrupt, or something in between. … There is, therefore, more than enough cause for appropriate concern and continued monitoring of what appears to be an ongoing destabilization of Arctic carbon stores — large enough to represent a variety of hazards both terrestrial and atmospheric.  http://meltfactor.org/is-the-greenhouse-gas-dragon-awakening/   They don’t mention the methane contribution of animal agriculture.


(Bloomberg) — The world’s oldest mummies are at risk of disappearing because of man-made climate change, according to a group of Harvard University scientists.


Eating less meat essential to curb climate change, says report

Global livestock industry produces more greenhouse gas emissions than transport but fear of a consumer backlash is preventing action, says Chatham House report … The recent landmark report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change found that dietary change can “substantially lower” emissions but there is no UN plan to achieve that.

Past calls to cut meat eating by high-profile figures, from the chief of the UN’s climate science panel to the economist Lord Stern, have been both rare and controversial. Other scientists have proposed a meat tax to curb consumption, but the report concludes that keeping meat eating to levels recommended by health authorities would not only lower emissions but also reduce heart disease and cancer.


Meat Consumption and Climate Change

by Tom Levitt – December 8, 2014

Government indifference is matched by widespread public ignorance about the climate impact of high levels of meat-eating

As negotiators in the Peruvian capital of Lima engage in the latest round of multinational talks aimed at finding ways of reducing global greenhouse gas emissions, one issue will be conspicuous in its absence — animal farming. …

To be successful, argues sustainability analyst Alejandro Litovsky, founder of the Earth Security Group, both consumers and the meat industry need an alternative scenario for protein consumption, industry and jobs, which renders meat obsolete. (Earth Island Journal)


And, from Forbes of all places:

Eating Less Meat Is World’s Best Chance For Timely Climate Change, Say Experts

A widely cited 2006 report estimated that 18% of worldwide greenhouse gas emissions were attributable to cattle, buffalo, sheep, goats, camels, pigs and poultry. However, analysis performed by Goodland, with co-writer Jeff Anhang, an environmental specialist at the World Bank Group’s International Finance Corporation, found that figure to now more accurately be 51%.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/michellemaisto/2012/04/28/eating-less-meat-is-worlds-best-chance-for-timely-climate-change-say-experts/


Stern Warns Humanity Is at Climate Crossroads, Radical Action Needed in Paris

The lead author of the 2006 Stern Review on the economics of climate change says that although there will be an agreement at the UN climate conference in Paris, COP21, in December, it’s what happens afterwards that is crucial.

Professor Nicholas Stern warns: “Whatever way we look at it, the action we need to take is immense.”

If governments delay taking decisive measures to halt greenhouse gas emissions, he is convinced that a tipping point on climate will be reached. “In Paris, we need recognition of what we need to do—and how radical that change will be.” http://ecowatch.com/2015/10/21/nicholas-stern-climate-change/


With more than 10,000 traffic crashes reported every year, Chennai has one of the highest rates of road deaths in India. In June 2012, the city government launched the Chennai Street Design Project to address this problem. This project aims to reclaim the city’s streets for pedestrians and cyclists by prioritizing modes of transport other than private automobiles. The policy requires at least 60 percent of the city’s transport budget be allocated to constructing and maintaining infrastructure for nonmotorized transit. This includes widening sidewalks, building safe bicycle infrastructure, better managing intersections, and even implementing street furniture. By 2018, the city aims to have built safe and continuous footpaths on at least 80 percent of all streets, increase the share of walking and cycling trips to over 40%, and, most significantly, eliminate pedestrian and cyclist deaths.

From http://ecowatch.com/2015/10/19/solutions-sustainable-planet/2/


And finally, Bill McKibben is angry …

Climate activist Bill McKibben has already written editorials about recent revelations that ExxonMobil had deep knowledge of climate change as far back as the 1970s. He had taken to social media to spread the word. But last week, he felt that wasn’t enough and decided to protest and get himself arrested at an ExxonMobil station in Burlington, Vt.

That’s how angry McKibben was that the energy giant had known for four decades that burning fossil fuels was changing the earth’s climate—and then chose to ignore it and fund efforts to deny it.

The findings were reported in two separate investigations by InsideClimate News and the Los Angeles Times into how much Exxon knew about climate change and when.

The stories “change the accepted narrative of the fight I’ve spent almost my whole adult life engaged in,” McKibben, co-founder of the environmental organization 350.org, told InsideClimate News the day after his arrest. “Had Exxon been forthright in the late 80s or early 90s, they could have short-circuited the faux debate we’ve been engaged in all these decades. They were the ones that had the unique credibility to do it.”

Holding a sign that read “This pump temporarily closed because ExxonMobil lied about (#Exxonknew) climate,” McKibben was arrested by Burlington police for trespassing. He was released later in the day.

The green leader said he hoped his action would inspire people—including his approximately 165,000 Twitter followers—to read the two investigations. Whether it will also encourage others to undertake similar civil disobedience remains to be seen.

“I started my life as a newspaperman and it never occurred to me I’d be getting arrested to get people to read someone else’s story, but the level of clutter in our information world is so great that sometimes it takes novel measures to break through,” he said.

McKibben has written editorials about the stories in The New Yorker and The Guardian.

Besides McKibben’s arrest, the stories have led to a growing cry for the justice department to investigate whether ExxonMobil and other fossil fuel companies intentionally misled the American public on climate change—similar to the probe into the tobacco industry in the 1990s. Two California congressmen called for a federal investigation on Friday.

An online petition by the political advocacy group ClimateHawks Vote to “prosecute Exxon for deliberate climate denial” has garnered nearly 2,000 signatures.

http://insideclimatenews.org/news/19102015/bill-mckibben-mad-exxon-climate-change-denial-arrest-burlington-vermont

Summer’s End

Posted in "North Carolina" by helenofmarlowe on October 18, 2015

Active Advisory: Freeze Warning

This is an unwelcome time of year for me. WeatherUnderground tells me to bring all my plants in but there is no room for them all. A front porch, and side deck, and a screened porch on the back, all with assorted vines hanging from pots and wall pockets, and aloe and sansevieria, jade and agave and  various succulents, cherry tomatoes …
backdeck
The dragons wing begonias are still flaunting their coral flowers in the sun, and will not like coming indoors. The geraniums will be sacrificed.

I count eleven avocado trees. We eat lots of avocados, and I toss the pits into water. I don’t go through the elaborate toothpick method, just toss them into water.  Some will sprout and become trees.  None will produce avocados.

Several pots of setcreasea will live indoors, leggy by alive.
Where can we put the papyrus out of reach of Jellico, who loves to chew the papyrus stems but shows no interest in stems of other plants? Can’t put it up high, for the plant is too tall and will almost reach ceiling even sitting on a plant stand. It’s now on the deck, on a high rail, where there is no ceiling to scrape, though it may scrape the sky and puncture the clouds.

I must get to it. Take some last cuttings of basil and parsley.

Let the coleus go.

Tagged with:

The Right to Avoid the Presence of Guns

Posted in "North Carolina" by helenofmarlowe on July 2, 2015

E. J. Dionne says “we need to insist on protecting the rights of Americans who do not want to be anywhere near guns.” Lots of us have been thinking that for a long time, but maybe we needed someone of prominence to articulate it. But, as Dionne goes on to say, as long as the National Rifle association and its allies claim a monopoly on arguments about individual rights, reasonable gun regulations will be ground to death by the Washington Obstruction Machine. We need, as Dionne says, a public service offensive on behalf of the health and safety of all of us.

Dionne quotes Guy Molyneaux , “The evidence is overwhelming that having a gun in your home increases the risks of suicide, domestic violence and fatal accidents, and yet the number one reason given for gun purchases is ‘personal safety.’ We need a public health campaign on the dangers of gun ownership, similar to the successful efforts against smoking and drunk driving.”

The NRA has kept the conversation focused on “rights” – the “rights” of Americans to own guns. No one has succeeded in changing the conversation to talk about the rights of those of us who want to walk and shop and attend meetings in gun-free places. Who will speak for parents who want to take their children to play in a local park, but don’t want their children playing in the presence of guns?  Kids in our country are at least sixteen times more likely to be killed in unintended shootings than in other advanced countries. The NRA positions itself as a defender of freedom, and yet they even curtail the freedom of medical practitioners with their “physician gag rule” which punishes doctors who talk to their patients about gun safety.

The NRA positions itself as a defender of rights, and yet wants to curtail the right of restaurant owners to ban guns from their own restaurants.  They say that owners of bars where alcohol is the main course should not be allowed to restrict guns.   And they get a pass on their Orwellian claim that they are the defenders of individual freedoms.

I hope E.J. Dionne’s recent column in The Washington Post will start a new conversation, one about the rights of people who want to go about their lives without being surrounded by guns. The American conversation about guns does not have to be about what the 2nd Amendment means, it does not have to be about whether our constitution allows you to have a gun, but about whether you should have a gun.

As Molyneux said. “This is not about the government saying you cannot own a handgun. This is about society saying you should not have a gun, especially in a home with children.”

Tagged with:

Major Moral Issue

Posted in "North Carolina", Environment, NC, Planet Care by helenofmarlowe on July 2, 2015

Wrong on many levels

Our local newspaper has recently published articles about industrial chicken farms around Pilot Mountain. These chicken farms are wrong on so many levels that it’s hard to focus on just one.

The Journal stories focus mainly on the financial cost to the nearby homeowners. Families who have lived there for decades, putting their life savings into their property, now have their homes made almost unlivable by “the unbearable stench of death,” putting them into the bind of being unable to enjoy their land and unable to sell it. Surely our legislators can protect taxpaying citizens from what amounts to a take-over of their property by industrial
chicken farms that pollute the land, air and water and destroy the value of area properties.

Even more important, I think, than the injustice done to these individuals is the damage to our children and grandchildren who will have to deal with the environmental devastation caused by CAFOs (Confined Animal Feeding Operations). Since animal farms are the leading cause of deforestation, water consumption and pollution, this is an issue we should all care about. Pollution from chicken farms kills fish and other wildlife and makes people sick.

And this does not even take into account the suffering of these sentient creatures who live their entire lives locked in cages so small they cannot spread their wings.

I believe history will show that the way humans treat other animals is the major moral issue of our times.

Tagged with:
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 119 other followers

%d bloggers like this: