Thursday, March 31, 2011

Obama Calls Troops Home from Iraq and Afghanistan to Help Restore American Democracy, Economy and Infrastructure

Washington, D.C. –Speaking in front of both Houses of Congress this morning, President Barak Obama announced that the USA would pull all troops out of Afghanistan and Iraq by the end of the year. Obama noted that the decision would save USA taxpayers some 2.5 trillions dollars over the next eight years and enable the country to finance universal health care for all.

Republicans, who have called for budget reductions applauded while looking on dumbfounded.--KAS

Web Hoax Museum

April Fool’s Day Content

The Top April Fool’s Day Hoaxes of All Time

As judged by notoriety, creativity, and number of people duped

#1: The Swiss Spaghetti Harvest
spaghetti harvest1957: The respected BBC news show Panorama announced that thanks to a very mild winter and the virtual elimination of the dreaded spaghetti weevil, Swiss farmers were enjoying a bumper spaghetti crop. It accompanied this announcement with footage of Swiss peasants pulling strands of spaghetti down from trees. Huge numbers of viewers were taken in. Many called the BBC wanting to know how they could grow their own spaghetti tree. To this the BBC diplomatically replied, “place a sprig of spaghetti in a tin of tomato sauce and hope for the best.”

#2: Sidd Finch
Sidd Finch1985: Sports Illustrated published a story about a new rookie pitcher who planned to play for the Mets. His name was Sidd Finch, and he could reportedly throw a baseball at 168 mph with pinpoint accuracy. This was 65 mph faster than the previous record. Surprisingly, Sidd Finch had never even played the game before. Instead, he had mastered the “art of the pitch” in a Tibetan monastery under the guidance of the “great poet-saint Lama Milaraspa.” Mets fans celebrated their teams’ amazing luck at having found such a gifted player, and Sports Illustrated was flooded with requests for more information. In reality this legendary player only existed in the imagination of the author of the article, George Plimpton.

#3: Instant Color TV
image1962: In 1962 there was only one tv channel in Sweden, and it broadcast in black and white. The station’s technical expert, Kjell Stensson, appeared on the news to announce that, thanks to a new technology, viewers could convert their existing sets to display color reception. All they had to do was pull a nylon stocking over their tv screen. Stensson proceeded to demonstrate the process. Thousands of people were taken in. Regular color broadcasts only commenced in Sweden on April 1, 1970.

#4: The Taco Liberty Bell
Taco Liberty Bell1996: The Taco Bell Corporation announced it had bought the Liberty Bell and was renaming it the Taco Liberty Bell. Hundreds of outraged citizens called the National Historic Park in Philadelphia where the bell was housed to express their anger. Their nerves were only calmed when Taco Bell revealed, a few hours later, that it was all a practical joke. The best line of the day came when White House press secretary Mike McCurry was asked about the sale. Thinking on his feet, he responded that the Lincoln Memorial had also been sold. It would now be known, he said, as the Ford Lincoln Mercury Memorial.

#5: San Serriffe
image1977: The British newspaper The Guardian published a special seven-page supplement devoted to San Serriffe, a small republic said to consist of several semi-colon-shaped islands located in the Indian Ocean. A series of articles affectionately described the geography and culture of this obscure nation. Its two main islands were named Upper Caisse and Lower Caisse. Its capital was Bodoni, and its leader was General Pica. The Guardian’s phones rang all day as readers sought more information about the idyllic holiday spot. Only a few noticed that everything about the island was named after printer’s terminology. The success of this hoax is widely credited with launching the enthusiasm for April Foolery that gripped the British tabloids in subsequent decades.

#6: Nixon for President
1992: National Public Radio’s Talk of the Nation program announced that Richard Nixon, in a surprise move, was running for President again. His new campaign slogan was, “I didn’t do anything wrong, and I won’t do it again.” Accompanying this announcement were audio clips of Nixon delivering his candidacy speech. Listeners responded viscerally to the announcement, flooding the show with calls expressing shock and outrage. Only during the second half of the show did the host John Hockenberry reveal that the announcement was a practical joke. Nixon’s voice was impersonated by comedian Rich Little.

#7: Alabama Changes the Value of Pi
1998: The April 1998 issue of the New Mexicans for Science and Reason newsletter contained an article claiming that the Alabama state legislature had voted to change the value of the mathematical constant pi from 3.14159 to the ‘Biblical value’ of 3.0. Soon the article made its way onto the internet, and then it rapidly spread around the world, forwarded by email. It only became apparent how far the article had spread when the Alabama legislature began receiving hundreds of calls from people protesting the legislation. The original article, which was intended as a parody of legislative attempts to circumscribe the teaching of evolution, was written by physicist Mark Boslough.

#8: The Left-Handed Whopper
1998: Burger King published a full page advertisement in USA Today announcing the introduction of a new item to their menu: a “Left-Handed Whopper” specially designed for the 32 million left-handed Americans. According to the advertisement, the new whopper included the same ingredients as the original Whopper (lettuce, tomato, hamburger patty, etc.), but all the condiments were rotated 180 degrees for the benefit of their left-handed customers. The following day Burger King issued a follow-up release revealing that although the Left-Handed Whopper was a hoax, thousands of customers had gone into restaurants to request the new sandwich. Simultaneously, according to the press release, “many others requested their own ‘right handed’ version.”

#9: Hotheaded Naked Ice Borers
Hotheaded Naked Ice Borer1995: Discover Magazine reported that the highly respected wildlife biologist Dr. Aprile Pazzo had found a new species in Antarctica: the hotheaded naked ice borer. These fascinating creatures had bony plates on their heads that, fed by numerous blood vessels, could become burning hot, allowing the animals to bore through ice at high speeds. They used this ability to hunt penguins, melting the ice beneath the penguins and causing them to sink downwards into the resulting slush where the hotheads consumed them. After much research, Dr. Pazzo theorized that the hotheads might have been responsible for the mysterious disappearance of noted Antarctic explorer Philippe Poisson in 1837. “To the ice borers, he would have looked like a penguin,” the article quoted her as saying. Discover received more mail in response to this article than they had received for any other article in their history.

#10: Planetary Alignment Decreases Gravity
1976: The British astronomer Patrick Moore announced on BBC Radio 2 that at 9:47 AM a once-in-a-lifetime astronomical event was going to occur that listeners could experience in their very own homes. The planet Pluto would pass behind Jupiter, temporarily causing a gravitational alignment that would counteract and lessen the Earth’s own gravity. Moore told his listeners that if they jumped in the air at the exact moment that this planetary alignment occurred, they would experience a strange floating sensation. When 9:47 AM arrived, BBC2 began to receive hundreds of phone calls from listeners claiming to have felt the sensation. One woman even reported that she and her eleven friends had risen from their chairs and floated around the room.

Labels: ,

What do you know about Islam? Why not ask an informed Muslim?

The title of this Minnesota Public Radio story below is not quite helpful for me. So, I have changed it to the one above, “What do you know about Islam? Why not ask an informed Muslim?” I have met many muslims–and seen too many on tv spouting misguided doctrine they have picked up from con men–i.e. who can tell little difference between faith and tradition. [In addition, I know Christians who can tell little difference between traditions, ideology, culture and their faith.] So, find an informed muslim to talk to you.--KAS

To learn about Islam, why not ask a Muslim?

by Hani Hamdan
March 30, 2011

Quite refreshing were new hearings led by Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., on protecting the civil rights of American Muslims, especially after a slew of anti-Muslim events within the past year or so. Those culminated in a House committee’s hearings on the “radicalization of American Muslims” a couple of weeks ago.

As glad as I am about Durbin’s hearings, I have to maintain that the way to gain the best understanding of Muslims in the United States starts not by listening to politicians or pundits, left or right, but by shutting them off.

The media will seek to focus on the most sensational aspects of Muslims, whether by focusing on examples of extreme views among certain Muslims or on examples of extreme discrimination against Muslims. Pundits will do the same. The results are more division, less understanding, more misconceptions and higher ratings for TV and radio.

Politicians will turn the issue into another means of forwarding their agendas and winning votes. The next election will be a good (i.e., dreadful) example of this.

In the midst of this ruckus, the main victim is the truth.

But perhaps the best reason for shutting off pundits and politicians who want to tell us what to think about Muslims is a simple one: We do not need them. We can do without them quite easily.

As individuals, we can develop our own understanding, better than that provided by any of the witnesses at the congressional hearings. The fact is, Muslims make no secret of their beliefs and methodologies. All you need to know about Muslims is just as readily available to you as it is to Muslims themselves. It’s not that hard.

First, find the closest mosques to where you live. I use, where I can enter my ZIP code and get a list of local mosques with their addresses and phone numbers.

Second, visit a few of these mosques. My recommendation is to go on a Friday either at noon or 1 p.m. (you may want to call ahead to check when the Friday sermon begins). That way, you get to hear the weekly sermon for yourself and check out what Muslims are being taught, and you get to ask the imam of the mosque directly if you have any questions.

The atmosphere of the mosque will look and feel different at first, but please pay no attention to your fear of the unknown. You can ask all the questions you want, no matter how “offensive” you may think they are, and I’m sure everyone will be happy to help you. Just lose your apprehension, approach someone and say: “I’d like to ask the imam a few questions.” No dress code or special gestures or sayings are necessary.

Some Mosques, like the one I go to in Dinkytown, have archives of live English audio translations of Arabic sermons; you can request a copy. Some have websites with the Friday sermons available in audio or video. Most mosques will also have literature available for purchase or borrowing.

Also, Muslim texts are readily available online, from the Quran to the Hadith to various writings by traditional and contemporary scholars, all translated into English. Google comes in handy. Just make sure the websites you visit are made by Muslims, since they will be the websites Muslims themselves use to get answers to their questions about Islam.

Which brings me to an important cautionary point. Religion cannot be understood simply by reading texts. It is a way of life, complete and complex with mental and physical components.

If I wanted to form a correct understanding of Christianity only by reading the Bible, for example, I’m sure I’d be easily misled by some of the violent verses within it. The best route to understanding religious texts is with a person who lives them — in this case, a Muslim.

I grew up in the Middle East, where the majority is Muslim. I do not recall a TV or radio show in which a group of Muslim panelists gathered to discuss the Bible in the absence of a Christian scholar or priest. Learning about a religion without asking a knowledgeable, practicing member of that religion is simply not possible.

If you would like to learn about Islam, I wish you luck on your endeavor. I know you will find all the answers you need.


Hani Hamdan, DDS, lives in Burnsville and practices dentistry in Lakeville, Minn. He is a contributor and editor of and a source in MPR’s Public Insight Network.
Comments (22)

Devoted members of a religion can only be expected to speak positively of it. It is like relying on GM to explain the dependability of GM vehicles.

Most Muslims have never even read the Quran and have no idea why more devout members of their religion commit horrible atrocities in the name of Allah. Instead they pretend that the radicals aren’t true Muslims, even though they are acting more in line with the example set by Muhammad.

I would strongly recommend a more objective source for learning about Islam.

Posted by Gina Roberts from GA | March 30, 2011 7:12 AM

Nice job, Hani, and good advice!

Posted by Marcia Lynx Qualey | March 30, 2011 8:32 AM

Well done Hani, I am sure this article will be very helpful for those who are serious about cultural diversity.

Posted by Huda Fay from VA | March 30, 2011 9:52 AM

Don’t buy into the hype. We’ve let tyrannical despots and their chummy Imams dictate what Islam is. Arabs represent less than 25% of the total population of Muslims. Muslims in Bangladesh, India, Malaysia, and Indonesia FAR out number the radical voices of tyranny and their violent opposers.

Further, Muslim-Americans are redefining Islam with an emphasis on human rights, democracy, and personal liberties. Faith means so much more when you choose it!

Muslim Tea Party Patriots!

Posted by Muslim TeaParty | March 30, 2011 9:59 AM

A very nice summary Hani. I wonder how long we Minnesotans will take to accept, fully accept, non-Christian religions. There are over a billion Muslims in the world and Islam is the globe’s fastest growing religion. Acceptance seems intuitive and quite necessary. I assume integration and acceptance will offer a significant learning experience for our young and old.

Some of the lack of acceptance (my impression) is the cultural divide between recent immigrants to this nation and the collective Minnesota population. Recent immigrants may come here escaping unbelievable horrors and oppression, additionally they have had little real time to assimilate into our nation and its’ culture. We have had the opportunity to fully integrate into Minnesota’s culture because we grew up in this nation.

Assimilation is more difficult when there are the compounding factors of language barriers, skin color body type differences, dress and other cultural differences, and real and inferred religious beliefs and practices.

I have found that the best places to learn about have been reading the Qur’an, visiting a Mosque on Friday, reading various books on Islam (I can recommend some) and from communicating candidly with a variety of Muslims. I mean a real face-to-face conversation with candor, vigor and approached with an open mind. Ask questions, you’ll get answers and you’ll learn that people are people, no matter the religion or the culture. Fathers love their children.

Posted by Brian Morrissey | March 30, 2011 10:21 AM

Sorry about the multiple posts. Here is the rest of my thoughts on the subject…
Everyone strives to improve self and spirit. We share more in common than many want to believe.

In communication, be careful, you may learn that the immigrants and many locally born Muslims don’t yet have “Minnesota Nice” (read that Minnesota Passive-aggressive) incorporated into their mores yet. You’ll get honest answers.

Let’s take the lead, grow up and communicate. We as a people need to become serious about cultural and religious diversity. Don’t copy and paste hate from the web. There are web sites/You Tube videos demonizing Christian and Jewish fanatics and extremists as well.

Meet real people with the same issues that you have, we cannot afford to further marginalize an entire group of our population. Remember there is but one true God. Islam, Judaism and Christianity worship this God. The same God. He and his Angles are watching and recording all of our thoughts and actions. The golden rule applies. Blessings to all, Brian

Posted by brian morrissey | March 30, 2011 10:24 AM

Indeed. Every non Muslim and Muslim should take the time to read the Koran and Hadith.

I did and I was appalled by the hatred, violence and oppression that was called for against, gays, women, and non Muslims.

You can argue all you want that the texts don’t matter. One need only look at Muslim majority countries around the world to see how these texts and sharia law are practiced.

Almost every violent act perpetrated by Muslims around the world was done BECAUSE of these texts. They all quote them regularly.

I am aware there are violent passages in other religions. Without exception, each of those religions has undergone a modernist reformation which has rejected those violent passages.

When was the last time someone was stoned to death for working on the sabbith or for adultry because of the old testament? Where is the christian priest or jewish rabbi that is calling for these actions.

Where is the Muslim Rejection of the violent supremacist passages in the Koran and Hadith?

Until muslims reform Islam it will be viewed and treated in the same manner as every other totalitarian fascist ideology.

Posted by herman ishkabible from new brighton, TX | March 30, 2011 10:46 AM

I get your points. So let’s start building huge walls between us for our safety. We should say that we just can’t “get there from here” so let’s split up peoples, especially split us informed and of superior intellect; from those inferior – less developed culturally peoples. Higher, stronger, longer walls will solve it all. Be well.

Posted by Brian Morrissey from St Paul, MN | March 30, 2011 11:09 AM

Walls already exist to provide for your safety. They are called laws and they stem from our constitution and government.

They are applied equally to all people in this country regardless of race, sex, ethnicity, and religion.

They do not punish or favor anyone based on religion.

It is illegal to:
Threaten, Illicit or commit violence against anyone
Fund criminal, violent, or terrorist activity
Work to subvert our constitution and its protections

America is about individual rights.

You as an individual have the right to believe whatever you want. You can believe your religion entitles you to superior status over non Muslims.

Its the conversion of that belief into action that is a violation of the laws of this country.

The freedom of religion does not absolve you of responsibility for your ACTIONS.

There are many many Muslims in the world that want nothing more than to live peacefully with their non Muslim friends and neighbors.

The time is fast approaching where they will need to take a long hard introspective look at what it means to be a Muslim and what they must do to make Islam compatible with modern western liberal democratic countries.

Indeed. I do wish you well. It will be long hard road ahead for moderate Muslims to bring about the reform that is so desperately needed.

Posted by herman ishkabible from new brighton, TX | March 30, 2011 11:48 AM

” Instead they pretend that the radicals aren’t true Muslims, even though they are acting more in line with the example set by Muhammad.”

Find me examples of where Muhammad justified anything Muslim terrorists currently espouse and I’ll give you a smiley face on your assignment. Ridiculous hatred spew. Unbelievable. You’d have been first in line to close down Jewish businesses in Germany last century.

Posted by T K from mpls, MN | March 30, 2011 11:54 AM

Answer to Herman from the Quran itself on how to read the meaning of the text :
“He granteth wisdom to whom He pleaseth; and he to
whom wisdom is granted receiveth indeed a benefit
overflowing; but none will grasp the Message but men
of understanding.” (Quran 2-269)

Posted by Syed Adil from KS | March 30, 2011 1:28 PM

Answer to Syed:

“And slay them wherever ye find them, and drive them out of the places whence they drove you out, for persecution is worse than slaughter. And fight not with them at the Inviolable Place of Worship until they first attack you there, but if they attack you (there) then slay them. Such is the reward of disbelievers. (Quran 2:191)

“Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.” (quran 9:29)

“The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His messenger and strive to make mischief in the land is only this, that they should be murdered or crucified or their hands and their feet should be cut off on opposite sides or they should be imprisoned; this shall be as a disgrace for them in this world, and in the hereafter they shall have a grievous chastisement” (Quran 5:33)

I could go on and on, but there is a character limit for comments.

You can now expect the next posts to be full of ad hominem attacks, deflections and obfuscations.

Some likely replies will be:
-The Quotes are taken out of context
-The translations are invalid
-You can only understand the Quran in original Arabic
-Only Muslims are able to interpret the texts

Read the Quran and make your own judgement on the wisdom contained within.

Posted by herman ishkabible from new brighton, TX | March 30, 2011 2:52 PM

Muhammad said “I have been ordered to fight against men until they say there is no god but Allah and Muhammad is his messenger.”

Osama bin Laden said exactly the same thing shortly after 9/11.

Both men slaughtered others in the name of advancing Islamic rule.

Posted by Gina Roberts from GA | March 30, 2011 3:09 PM

Herman, I could point out just as many violent, offensive, and intolerant passages in the Bible or almost any other religious text. You made the weak link that other religions have rejected those violent passages, but if you’re only basing your understanding of Islam on the Koran and don’t trust the testimonial of Muslims, as Hani Hamdan suggests, how can you know if that has also been rejected by the vast majority of Muslims?

There will always be extremists in every religion, especially Christianity and Islam, simply because those are the two largest in the world. And if you’re looking for institutionalized Christian violence, remember the crusades? Or more recently, when a certain ex-president proclaimed that God was on our side in Iraq?

All you’re doing here is raising more fear and division without considering the narrow-mindedness of your criticisms.

Posted by Mick Jansen from MN | March 30, 2011 3:28 PM

Herman, I could point out just as many violent, offensive, and intolerant passages in the Bible or almost any other religious text. You made the weak link that other religions have rejected those violent passages, but if you’re only basing your understanding of Islam on the Koran and don’t trust the testimonial of Muslims, as Hani Hamdan suggests, how can you know if that has also been rejected by the vast majority of Muslims?

There will always be extremists in every religion, especially Christianity and Islam, simply because those are the two largest in the world. And if you’re looking for institutionalized Christian violence, remember the crusades? Or more recently, when a certain ex-president proclaimed that God was on our side in Iraq?

All you’re doing here is raising more fear and division without considering the narrow-mindedness of your criticisms.

Posted by Mick Jansen from MN | March 30, 2011 3:31 PM

@Mick I have no doubt you can find violent, offensive, and intolerant passages in other religions.

I have in fact, already said that earlier, and I agree, they are terrible and I fully reject their validity in this modern age.

As have the leaders, practitioners, and communities throughout the world.

There, I have rejected those violent passages. Now its your turn…

Now try rejecting it in a majority Islamic country. Your penalty for questioning any portion of the Quran is Death!

BTW. I am sure your aware of this, but I thought it might be worth mentioning that the crusades happened more than 800 years ago. Is that even remotely relevant today? Not 100 years go in america, unspeakable atrocities were perpetrated on minorities in violation of the very constitution I hold so dear. So there is not one place in the world that can point at their history and claim innocence. That being said, we are talking about the present time as in the last 10 years and forward.

In the present time, where is there open calls by Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, etc. to commit violence on other faiths without full throated opposition from the vast majority of those religions.

As for testimonials from Muslims about Islam.

If you mean your imam and congregation openly and actively rejecting the violent portions of the koran and hadith, then yes, by all means, I would LOVE to hear that. That would go a very long way towards bringing Islam into the 21st century

Posted by herman ishkabible from new brighton, TX | March 30, 2011 4:08 PM

Because your religion encourages you to lie. It also condones terrorism, rape, and slavery. If you want to debate me on this, just show up here.

Posted by Christopher Logan from Las Vegas, NV | March 30, 2011 4:41 PM

I don’t get this stance about “If only they would reject and disavow the violent sects of Islam, everything would be okay!” Why are they guilty until proven innocent? The fact is that the vast majority of Muslims do reject violence, but no one seems to want to listen.

Posted by Mick Jansen from MN | March 30, 2011 4:53 PM

@Mick. Sorry, I ran out of characters to address your comments fully. :)

Let me start by saying, I am no fan of G.W. Bush. No doubt, his imperfections will be scrutinized to no end for many years to come.

Equating his PERSONAL belief that god was on his side in calling for war in Iraq with the 1400 years of never ending war on non believers is quite a stretch.

He was elected by a plurality of citizens of this country. His authority to wage war was checked and approved by the congress which was also elected by a plurality of citizens. Everyone of those elected officials can be removed from office by impeachment or by defeat in the next election.

Our ability to challenge and reject his reasoning is not based on any religion or religious affiliation.

So, you can believe if you want that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are the result of the new testament, but you will be hard pressed to find a plurality of Americans that would support that belief.

In face we can merely look at the 1st ammendment to the constitution:
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

We are at war, because Islamists have declared war on us. They did so, because they took the time to read the Koran and Hadith.

Posted by Herman Ishkabible from new brighton, TX | March 30, 2011 5:26 PM

@Mick I am not asking you to reject a sect (violent or not) of Islam.

I am asking you to accept that there are parts of the koran and hadith that are no longer compatible with the modern world.

With that acceptance I expect your leadership, community, media representatives, to actively and openly work to eradicate those beliefs in your mosques, communities, and families. Both publicly and privately.

Until the Muslim community comes to accept there is a problem with their ideology and religious texts, there will not be a solution and full social acceptance.

I am not asserting that Muslims are guilty of anything. As I said, you can not be guilty of belief, only actions. We are not imprisoning Muslims for belief in jihad, only for actively practicing jihad. Actions = Guilt

No one is asserting that the majority of Muslims (in America) are in favor of violence.

Pew polls in the middle east offer a different assessment but that is a separate issue.

This seems to be the most common complaint and issue I hear coming from Muslims today. There is a huge difference between “Muslim” and “Islam”

The west has a problem with “Islam” and what it teaches as defined in its holy books, and as its practiced throughout the world.

Just as there were many good and non violent Japanese during WWII, that did not invalidate the violent ideology practiced in the shinto religion.

It is time for Introspection.

Posted by Herman Ishkabible from New Birghton, TX | March 30, 2011 5:49 PM

Anyone can find anything….

The Protestent arm of Christianity was initiated by someone:

Posted by Brian Morrissey from St Paul, MN | March 30, 2011 5:52 PM


Related to your link:

An interesting link. I am afraid I don’t have the time to dig deep into another religion at this moment. If the Lutherans start setup 50+ theocracies and start committing regular acts of terrorism around the globe, I might reconsider.

I found the last sentence of the first section particularly relevant here:

“In 1994, the Church Council of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America rejected Luther’s anti-Semitic writings.”

See how easy that was.
Martin Luther’s reformation underwent another reformation as recently as 1994.
I somehow doubt that the vast majority of anti-semitism stems from Martin Luther though.
Last time I checked, the Lutherans have not been calling for the destruction of Israel and the genocide of Jews world wide.


Suggested readings on Libya Fiasco and Crises 2011

The following readings were suggested by HISTORIANS AGAINST WAR.–KAS

“A Debate on U.S. Military Intervention in Libya: Juan Cole vs. Vijay Prashad”
On Democracy Now, posted March 29
“The Unfolding Crisis in Libya”
By Gary Leupp,, posted March 28
The author teaches history at Tufts University
“The West’s ‘Double Standards’ in Middle East”
By Mark LeVine,, posted March 28
The author teaches history at the University of California, Irvine
“An Open Letter to the Left on Libya”
By Juan Cole, Informed Comment blog, posted March 27
The author teaches Middle East history at the University of Michigan


Hersch article and summary of photos explains why the War in Afghanistan Cannot Be Won

The four photos shown in the Seymour Hersch article are not nearly as condemning as many of those we saw in the Abu Ghraib revelations less than a decade ago–but they do show that Americans and their offspring are becoming to accepting of the grotesque, the collatoral damage or whatever. I cannot stomach it. Neither should you allow your children to become so calloused.–Love, Kevin

March 22, 2011, THE NEW YORKER
The “Kill Team” Photographs
Posted by Seymour M. Hersh

It’s the smile. In photographs released by the German weekly Der Spiegel, an American soldier is looking directly at the camera with a wide grin. His hand is on the body of an Afghan whom he and his fellow soldiers appear to have just killed, allegedly for sport. In a sense, we’ve seen that smile before: on the faces of the American men and women who piled naked Iraqi prisoners on top of each other, eight years ago, and posed for photographs and videos at the Abu Ghraib prison outside of Baghdad.

It’s also the cameras. Der Spiegel reported this week that it had obtained four thousand photographs and videos taken by American soldiers who referred to themselves as a “kill team.” (Der Spiegel chose to publish only three of the photographs.) The images are in the hands of military prosecutors. Five soldiers, including Jeremy Morlock, the smiling man in the picture, who is twenty-two years old, are awaiting courts-martial for the murder of three Afghan civilians; seven other soldiers had lesser, related charges filed against them, including drug use. On Tuesday, Morlock’s lawyer said that he would plead guilty.

We saw photographs, too, at My Lai 4, where a few dozen American soldiers slaughtered at least five hundred South Vietnamese mothers, children, and old men and women in a long morning of unforgettable carnage more than four decades ago. Ronald Haeberle, an Army photographer, was there that day with two cameras. He directed the lens of his official one, with black-and-white film in it, away from the worst sights; there is a shot of soldiers with faint smiles on their faces, leaning back in relaxed poses, and no sign of the massacre that has taken place. But the color photos that Haeberle took on his personal camera, for his own use, were far more explicit—they show the shot-up bodies of toddlers, and became some of the most unforgettable images of that wasteful war. In most of these cases, when we later meet these soldiers, in interviews or during court proceedings, they come across as American kids—articulate, personable, and likable.

Why photograph atrocities? And why pass them around to buddies back home or fellow soldiers in other units? How could the soldiers’ sense of what is unacceptable be so lost? No outsider can have a complete answer to such a question. As someone who has been writing about war crimes since My Lai, though, I have come to have a personal belief: these soldiers had come to accept the killing of civilians—recklessly, as payback, or just at random—as a facet of modern unconventional warfare. In other words, killing itself, whether in a firefight with the Taliban or in sport with innocent bystanders in a strange land with a strange language and strange customs, has become ordinary. In long, unsuccessful wars, in which the enemy—the people trying to kill you—do not wear uniforms and are seldom seen, soldiers can lose their bearings, moral and otherwise. The consequences of that lost bearing can be hideous. This is part of the toll wars take on the young people we send to fight them for us. The G.I.s in Afghanistan were responsible for their actions, of course. But it must be said that, in some cases, surely, as in Vietnam, the soldiers can also be victims.

The Der Spiegel photographs also help to explain why the American war in Afghanistan can probably never be “won,” in my view, just as we did not win in Vietnam. Terrible things happen in war, and terrible things are happening every day in Afghanistan, as Americans continue to conduct nightly assassination raids and have escalated the number of bombing sorties. There are also reports of suspected Taliban sympathizers we turn over to Afghan police and soldiers being tortured or worse. This will be a long haul; revenge in Afghan society does not have to come immediately. We could end up not knowing who hit us, or why, a decade or two from now.

Read more¤tPage=all#ixzz1IApLaERV



American Academia has been under fire for decades, i.e. if you don’t play ball with corporations and the DOD, you will face harrassment and possibly disbarment. Now, Nobel Prize Winner, Paul Krugman is standing up and calling this what it is; THOUGHT POLICE AMERICAN STYLE.–KAS

American Thought Police
By PAUL KRUGMAN, Op-Ed Columnist
Published: March 27, 2011 THE NEW YORK TIMES

Recently William Cronon, a historian who teaches at the University of Wisconsin, decided to weigh in on his state’s political turmoil. He started a blog, “Scholar as Citizen,” devoting his first post to the role of the shadowy American Legislative Exchange Council in pushing hard-line conservative legislation at the state level. Then he published an opinion piece in The Times, suggesting that Wisconsin’s Republican governor has turned his back on the state’s long tradition of “neighborliness, decency and mutual respect.”

So what was the G.O.P.’s response? A demand for copies of all e-mails sent to or from Mr. Cronon’s university mail account containing any of a wide range of terms, including the word “Republican” and the names of a number of Republican politicians.

If this action strikes you as no big deal, you’re missing the point. The hard right — which these days is more or less synonymous with the Republican Party — has a modus operandi when it comes to scholars expressing views it dislikes: never mind the substance, go for the smear. And that demand for copies of e-mails is obviously motivated by no more than a hope that it will provide something, anything, that can be used to subject Mr. Cronon to the usual treatment.

The Cronon affair, then, is one more indicator of just how reflexively vindictive, how un-American, one of our two great political parties has become.

The demand for Mr. Cronon’s correspondence has obvious parallels with the ongoing smear campaign against climate science and climate scientists, which has lately relied heavily on supposedly damaging quotations found in e-mail records.

Back in 2009 climate skeptics got hold of more than a thousand e-mails between researchers at the Climate Research Unit at Britain’s University of East Anglia. Nothing in the correspondence suggested any kind of scientific impropriety; at most, we learned — I know this will shock you — that scientists are human beings, who occasionally say snide things about people they dislike.

But that didn’t stop the usual suspects from proclaiming that they had uncovered “Climategate,” a scientific scandal that somehow invalidates the vast array of evidence for man-made climate change. And this fake scandal gives an indication of what the Wisconsin G.O.P. presumably hopes to do to Mr. Cronon.

After all, if you go through a large number of messages looking for lines that can be made to sound bad, you’re bound to find a few. In fact, it’s surprising how few such lines the critics managed to find in the “Climategate” trove: much of the smear has focused on just one e-mail, in which a researcher talks about using a “trick” to “hide the decline” in a particular series. In context, it’s clear that he’s talking about making an effective graphical presentation, not about suppressing evidence. But the right wants a scandal, and won’t take no for an answer.

Is there any doubt that Wisconsin Republicans are hoping for a similar “success” against Mr. Cronon?

Now, in this case they’ll probably come up dry. Mr. Cronon writes on his blog that he has been careful never to use his university e-mail for personal business, exhibiting a scrupulousness that’s neither common nor expected in the academic world. (Full disclosure: I have, at times, used my university e-mail to remind my wife to feed the cats, confirm dinner plans with friends, etc.)

Beyond that, Mr. Cronon — the president-elect of the American Historical Association — has a secure reputation as a towering figure in his field. His magnificent “Nature’s Metropolis: Chicago and the Great West” is the best work of economic and business history I’ve ever read — and I read a lot of that kind of thing.

So we don’t need to worry about Mr. Cronon — but we should worry a lot about the wider effect of attacks like the one he’s facing.

Legally, Republicans may be within their rights: Wisconsin’s open records law provides public access to e-mails of government employees, although the law was clearly intended to apply to state officials, not university professors. But there’s a clear chilling effect when scholars know that they may face witch hunts whenever they say things the G.O.P. doesn’t like.

Someone like Mr. Cronon can stand up to the pressure. But less eminent and established researchers won’t just become reluctant to act as concerned citizens, weighing in on current debates; they’ll be deterred from even doing research on topics that might get them in trouble.

What’s at stake here, in other words, is whether we’re going to have an open national discourse in which scholars feel free to go wherever the evidence takes them, and to contribute to public understanding. Republicans, in Wisconsin and elsewhere, are trying to shut that kind of discourse down. It’s up to the rest of us to see that they don’t succeed.


See Becker

Mother Jones
America’s “Most Dangerous” Professors?
David Horowitz targets “liberal” academics—and drags public discourse even lower.

By Mark LeVine | Mon Mar. 6, 2006 1:00 AM PST

It’s not often that one gets to be called dangerous by a bona fide expert on the subject. But when I heard about the release of a new book by liberal-hater (and ex-Marxist rabble-rouser) David Horowitz, titled The Professors: The 101 Most Dangerous Academics in America, I had a feeling that maybe I’d made the list. After all, I’d already been profiled in his online rag, by the even more conservative founder of Jihad Watch, Robert Spencer (he called me a “Noam Chomsky as Rock Star” character, which would have made a great book blurb, if only my publisher had remembered to use it). And just before I found out about making Horowitz’s hit list a former student emailed me from London saying I had the “quote of the month” on Campus Watch, the originator of the professorial watch lists.

Judging by the combination of congratulations and jealous glances I received from colleagues, it would seem that the only thing worse than being named to a list like this is not being named to it. In fact, while a lot of colleagues are very upset about the very idea of Horowitz’s list, I’ll admit that I would have been really angry if I had been left off. But I can afford such a reaction; given that I’m a tenured professor with a bunch of books either already or in the process of being published (in fact, I think it helped in negotiations for my next book), Horowitz’s attack is at worst a minor annoyance and at best a chance to have a bit of fun, get some free publicity, and maybe increase book sales.

But let’s say I was an untenured professor; or, even worse, an untenured Arab professor, or, more dangerous still, an untenured Palestinian Arab professor who isn’t too thrilled with the Israeli occupation or US foreign policy in the Muslim world. And let’s say that a few students, at the encouragement of people like Horowitz, or his one time protégé, Andrew Jones (the former UCLA student who started his own mini-list of UCLA profs and offered money to students to secretly record classes), started taping my classes, editing my lectures, and doing a “documentary” that took comments out of context and made me look like a raving bin-Ladenite, or at least vaguely anti-Semitic.

Well, then, I wouldn’t be so happy. And let’s say these tapes, or rumors of what I might have said (or more likely, not said) in class started circulating, sending the organized Jewish community into a tizzy and calling for my head on a platter, or at least the denial of my tenure. This may sound like unfounded fears, until you talk to my colleague Joseph Massad, a professor at Columbia, who’s suffered through much of this treatment. Or you can get your administration pissed off at you when wealthy donors threaten never to give your university money because you invited the “wrong” people to speak on campus (although they have no problem inviting Daniel Pipes, the rabidly conservative founder of Campus Watch, to their own gatherings). This happened to me; thank God it was while the campus was flush with money and not last year, when Governor Schwarzenegger drastically cut the university budget.

But it’s not just the threats to individual academics represented by Horowitz et al’s lists that should concern people. There is a larger issue here, which is the professional wrestling-ization of American politics and culture that they reflect. By this I mean that today, more than ever before, the mainstream media–and at base, American culture–prefers Jerry Springer and professional wrestling-style confrontation to actual attempts at reconciliation, and America is the poorer for it. More specifically, The Professors, and the kind of political and cultural discourse it represents, are dangerous to the functioning and purpose of the university, and to the larger notion of both free speech and civil debate that have long been cornerstones of American higher education, and through it, culture.

This dynamic was brought home to me on two consecutive days last week. On Monday, my university, UC Irvine, hosted a dialog between the Palestinian Ambassador to the United Kingdom, Manuel Hassassian, and a senior Israeli academic based at the University of Maryland, Edy Kaufman. Despite numerous entreaties to the major southern California media outlets to come and hear their innovative ideas about how Israelis and Palestinians could re-imagine their peace process the event was largely ignored. However, the next day the media flocked to UCI to cover the “unveiling” of several of the now infamous Danish Muhammad cartoons by a small but well funded campus Republican group, which led to an equally large teach-in by Muslim groups outside.

The group that sponsored the unveiling (the very term is a provocation not just to Muslims but also to Jews, for whom unveiling refers to the one year anniversary of a loved one’s death when the tombstone is “unveiled”) is called the United American Committee, a small but well-funded ultra conservative organization that seeks to warn Americans of the Islamic threat to America. It has next to no constituency on our campus. But that didn’t stop it from using the university for its own ends. In fact, UAC’s strategic use of the university as a platform to hold a provocative event is part of a larger trend in which outside groups increasingly use the space, and the commitment to free speech, afforded by university campuses to hold events designed for maximum exposure through maximum insult.

The media’s decision that the first event wasn’t newsworthy, coupled with the national attention that the “unveiling” received, points to how hard it is today for the university to fulfill its core mission of promoting not just diversity of opinion, but also of devising innovative and positive ways of transforming problematic situations. Horowitz’s book–which coincided with a week straight of appearances on the Hannity and Colmes show on Fox News–only makes that job harder.

But it’s not just that Horowitz’s book degrades civil discourse into a verbal free-for-all (as do similar enterprises, such as The Case for Israel, by Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz, whose disdain for the truth was revealed for all to see in Norman Finkelstein’s damning new book, Beyond Chutzpah); as important is the utter disregard for accuracy in Horowitz’s profiles. As University of Michigan professor and frequent object of right wing scorn Juan Cole demonstrated in an interview about the book, virtually every accusation that Horowitz made about him or his views was unsubstantiated, and in fact verifiably inaccurate.

Horowitz’s portrayal of my work and views are at least as inaccurate. However, in the genre of Jerry Springer “scholarship,” it matters not at all if accusation have a basis in fact, only that that they’re thrown into the public sphere with enough vehemence, and via the right outlets (Fox, talk radio), to “stick.” In the larger public sphere this disinterest in either presenting or encountering the most accurate version has been demonstrated in spades with the James Frey-Oprah Winfrey debacle over the pseudo memoir A Million Little Pieces, which continues to sell wildly despite being exposed as a work of fiction.

Specifically, Horowitz–or perhaps it was the intern who “researched” the chapter–accused me of being “responsible for a steady stream of anti-American and anti-Israel diatribes.” This is, to say the least, a bit of a stretch, since in my last book, Why They Don’t Hate Us, has several sections criticizing the global peace and justice movement for doing this very thing. More damning, apparently, is his accusation that I am a “rock musician and Marxist.” Now there’s a deadly combination if there ever was one. Except that heavy metal helped bring down the Iron Curtain, not prop it up.

I also, according to Horowtiz, advocate a “quasi-Communist utopia” and a “classless society.” Sounds like these might be nice places to live, but in fact I don’t even know what a quasi-, semi- or neo-communist utopia would look like. As for teaching Marx, I’ve been known to do it on occasion, but so do most business schools. I don’t see any B-School profs on his list, however.

Perhaps more damning is that I “blame Israel and the US for provoking Islamic terrorism.” That’s true, but only in part, since I also blame Muslims, which he neglects to mention, and which is the whole point of trying to offer a more holistic and accurate description of the causes of the war on terror. Horowitz also criticizes me for arguing that capitalism and globalization have caused “war and misery,” but I don’t see him arguing that they don’t; that’s because he’s too smart to enter an argument he can’t win. The point, I guess, is not that they don’t do these things, but rather that by highlighting them I’m putting the capitalist project, or at least American power, in danger).

Even worse, I have the temerity to remind people that war and occupation are wonderful opportunity for corporations to make billions of dollars in profits. For Horowitz such claims are just “Marxist clichés unanchored in any observable reality.” And here we have arrived at the basic dynamic behind The Professors. It is clear that Horowitz and his kind, on the one hand, and myself and most of the other honorees from his list, do not exist in the same reality. Horowitz, like his hero George W. Bush, “creates” his own “reality” (as one senior White House official famously bragged of the current administration), and if they have to destroy other countries, say, Iraq, to do so–in what neocon philosopher and Bush confidant Michael Ledeen gleefully describes as “creative destruction” (the term was originally coined by the sociologist Rudolph Schumpeter to describe the impact of modernity on societies where it appeared)–well, that’s the price of progress.

But it’s pretty dangerous when someone with Horowitz’s supposed clout thinks that war profiteering, which has been amply documented by our own government auditors, is “unanchored in observable reality.” I guess, like Einsteinian physics, it depends on the point of view of the observer. From inside the beltway, and especially the White House and conservative think tanks and K-street lobbyist suites, they hope that no one is observing the rape of the American treasury that has become the Great War on Terror. For the rest of us, I don’t think it’s so easy to ignore.

In the end, what Horowitz clearly wants is that we either support his radical neoliberal-neoconservative agenda or just sit down, shut up, and act like the mobs watching the spectacles at the Colosseum, satisfied with a ticket to the big show and the chance to glimpse Ceasar at one of his well-scripted appearances before his gladiators.

Am I a utopian, as Horowitz charges? Well, I have two young children and would like to see them grow up in a country, and a world at large, that lives up to the high ideals upon which the United States was founded. As I write this at a friend’s apartment in Beirut (a rock musician, I’m afraid to say), more and more of my acquaintances are lamenting precisely the loss of utopian spirit that only a year ago drove Syria out of Lebanon, a feat most of them would have bet their lives wouldn’t occur in the lifetimes only a few months before it happened. What’s clear to them is that as soon as the utopian urge gave way to “realism” and “pragmatism,” politics as usual came back with a vengeance, leaving Lebanon as weak and vulnerable today as it was during the Syrian occupation.

Ultimately, I think that my utopian inclinations are the main threat to Horowitz and his generation of disgruntled ex-leftists, for whom the status quo of increasing corruption, lies, violence and trampled rights can only continue to the extent people don’t believe that another world, or at least another political culture, is possible. I–and I’m willing to bet, most of the professors in Horowitz’s book–still believe that it’s possible for America to live up to its founding promises, to be a force for good in the world rather than just naked self-interest, greed, and the benefit of corporations with ties to red-state Republicans.

Does that make me dangerous? I wish it did, but I fear Mr. Horowitz is giving me and the American people more credit than is our due. As far as I can tell, the American empire is safe and secure, despite my best efforts to topple it. Let’s hope we’re both wrong.


Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Candidate Kevin Supports this Constitutional Amendment

As online candidate for the presidency in 2012, I fully support Public Citizen’s call for this constitutional amendment to be added as soon as possible in the USA. I encourage all godd citizens to unite, organize, and pass this measure to help save Representative Democracy in America–Kevin Anthony Stoda


As former orator-in-chief George W. Bush astutely noted, elections have consequences.

Allowing our elections to be decided by massive corporations that put profits before people has consequences, too.

The Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission ruling spoiled the American political landscape.

Public Citizen predicted the devastating impact of the decision even before it was handed down. We’ve been working ever since to counteract it. And thousands upon thousands of you have joined us in a nationwide grassroots movement to overturn it.

I’m writing today to reflect on the consequences of Citizens United v. FEC and to update you on our constitutional amendment campaign. And I’m writing to ask for your help to sustain this critical movement as it begins to take hold.

What have the consequences of Citizens United v. FEC been so far?

Corporate candidates swept to power in Congress last November, aided and abetted by Citizens United-enabled funding. Now they are imperiously pushing legislation to reward their corporate backers.

They’re trying to gut health, safety, environmental, financial and other regulatory protections.

They’re trying to deny victims of corporate wrongdoing the right to justice.

And they’re trying to bestow favors on Big Oil, Wall Street, the pharmaceutical behemoths, job-offshoring multinationals and corporate tax cheats.

Contribute whatever you can today to support the movement to rescue our democracy from the clutches of corporate power and its political puppets.

The affliction is hardly limited to Republicans. Leading Democratic strategists are admitting that they won’t sit on the sidelines and let Republicans collect all the corporate cash in the next election.

And corporate money had a huge influence in state races as well, helping set the stage for efforts to strip employees of collective bargaining rights, privatize state governmental operations, cut corporate taxes, and remove state regulatory restraints on corporate greed.

Perhaps the worst news of all is that Election 2010 was just a warm-up for Election 2012. It is a certainty that there will be far more — unprecedented amounts of — corporate money in the next national election.

The good news is that the public gets it.By overwhelming margins, people think corporations have too much political influence and the Supreme Court made the wrong decision.

Our challenge now is to educate, organize and mobilize.

Together, we’ve held hundreds of house parties across the country to help people learn about Citizens United v. FEC and plan more actions.

Hundreds of thousands of people have signed petitions calling for a constitutional amendment to overturn the ruling.

More and more local and state officials are introducing resolutions for a constitutional amendment.

We’re working with activists and state officials to get bills introduced to mitigate the damage from Citizens United v. FEC.

And, as part of our ongoing effort to raise awareness about the ruling and our amendment campaign, we collaborated with filmmaker Annie Leonard on the recently released “The Story of Citizens United” video.

Support our work against runaway corporate power with a contribution of $40 or more and we’ll send you “The Story of Citizens United” on DVD.

Now we want to step up our on-the-ground organizing.

We’re fighting for — and planning to win — state and federal laws requiring full disclosure of corporate campaign spending, requiring corporate executives to obtain permission from shareholders before spending on elections, and prohibiting government contractors and lobbyists from campaign spending.

We’re continuing to advocate for public funding of elections.

And, of course, we’re building a movement for a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United v. FEC.

To do all this, we need your help. We need you to talk to your neighbors, gather petition signatures, blog, protest, write letters to the editor, call your members of Congress, and more.

And we need your financial help. Please make a generous donation to support our work today.

Together, we can do this.

Thank you for your support,

Robert Weissman
President, Public Citizen


Dancing at another Middle Eastern Airport

Another reason to love Lebanon.

Kind of reminds me of my weddng, but we had friends from Syria dancing–KAS

Beirut Duty Free Rocks Airport with Dabke Dance – Full Version


Obama definately needs to demand fuel efficient cars that get 60 miles per gallon

ear President Obama,

You definately need to demand fuel efficient cars that get 60 miles per gallon. “We cannot be held hostage any longer to America’s addiction to oil. When we talk about the high price of gasoline, today’s gas prices are the most visible, but certainly not the only price we pay. We pay in pollution. We pay in endangering our security. We pay in falling behind in the jobs that can come from a clean energy economy.”

As good societal action groups, like the Union of Concerned Scientists have noted, “You have the ability to empower U.S. industry and U.S. drivers to be the solution to this problem once and for all. Raising fuel efficiency and global warming emissions standards to the equivalent of 60 mpg by model year 2025 would save the average U.S. driver nearly $9,000 over the life of the vehicle at $4 gas prices, even after paying for cleaner car technology. That’s like cutting the gas price from $4 to less than $2.75 a gallon, all while cutting global warming emissions and creating jobs right here in the United States!”

It is a no-brainer.

America needs to stop fighting wrs about oil and natural resources. So, also increase spending and tax credits for the building of local and regionsal alternative energy–solar, wind, hydrocells, and biological replacements to the pettrocarbon (and expensive nuclear options.)


Kevin Stoda

P.S. “In a national press conference, you promised to “ensure that the high-quality, fuel-efficient cars and trucks of tomorrow continue to be built right here in the United States.” Setting strong clean car standards is the most important thing you can do to make that goal come true, and make sure that America’s pain at the pump comes to an end.”


Clear and present danger–requires energy investments on safe, clean, renewable sources like wind and solar

Dear Kevin,

Heed Japan’s Warning

Nuclear power carries catastrophic risks.

Ask Congress and the White House to review the safety of our nuclear power plants and focus energy investments on safe, clean, renewable sources like wind and solar.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Japan as they deal with the unbelievable loss and destruction wrought by the massive earthquake and tsunami while they struggle to contain the worst nuclear crisis the world has witnessed since Chernobyl.

Events are moving too quickly to draw any final conclusions about what will or will not happen at Japan’s damaged power plants. We hope that they are able to avoid full meltdowns.

However uncertain the outcome, the crisis in Japan has made one thing crystal clear – nuclear power carries catastrophic risks. The tragedy unfolding at the Daiichi nuclear power plant in Fukushima brings those threats into heartbreaking focus.

We here in the U.S. are far from immune to the type of horrific crisis taking place in Japan.

In fact, many of our nuclear reactors are the exact same type as the ones that are currently in crisis in Japan. Unfortunately, they’re also at a similarly advanced age – most of them are now operating beyond their initial 40-year license period.1

Experts and policy-makers have also raised red flags about inadequate planning to deal with nuclear emergencies.2

That is why we would like your help convincing Congress and the White House to conduct a thorough review of the safety of our existing nuclear power plants, put a hold on approving new plants while the implications of events in Japan are assessed, and focus investments on safer, cleaner forms of renewable energy like wind and solar power.

Please join us in urging the White House and Congress to heed Japan’s hard lesson by taking these immediate next steps to prevent future disasters.

If you would like to support the disaster relief efforts, Doctors Without Borders and The Red Cross are both trusted organizations helping to respond to the crisis.

Thank you for your help and support.


Michael Town


Dear President Obama and Leaders of U.S. House and Senate,

The tragedy unfolding at the Daiichi nuclear power plant in Fukushima, Japan is a heartbreaking reminder of the fact that nuclear power carries catastrophic risks.

I am all too aware that we here in the U.S. are equally vulnerable to those risks.

Many of our nuclear reactors are the same type (and advanced age) as the ones that are currently in crisis in Japan. Most of them are now operating beyond their initial 40-year license period.

Experts and policy-makers have also raised red flags about inadequate planning to deal with nuclear emergencies.

That is why I urge you to push hard for the following steps:

* Conducting a thorough review of the safety of our existing nuclear power plants;
* Putting a hold on approving new plants while the implications of events in Japan are assessed; and
* Focusing investments on safer, cleaner forms of renewable energy like wind and solar power.

We must heed Japan’s hard lessons by taking these immediate next steps to prevent future nuclear disasters here in the U.S.

Thank you in advance for your leadership on this truly critical issue.





I recall all too well how banking lobbies made it 100% or more difficult for families to even declare bankrupcy with the Republican-led bankrupcy codes of 2005. Now they want to turn back the clock and leave those who have gained health care in the past year without health care.–KAS

Dear Kevin,

Last week, on the first anniversary of the historic Affordable Care Act (ACA) the Republicans on the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee were holding a “public” hearing at the state capitol in Harrisburg, PA to attack the health care law. Except they’re not there to listen to the public and people like Pennsylvania’s Stacie Ritter, whose family had good insurance and still had to file for bankruptcy because of massive medical bills.

The Republicans don’t care about families like the Ritters. They want to repeal the new law that would help prevent other families from going through what happened to Stacie’s family. Stand with Stacie and millions of others who refuse to let the Republicans put the insurance companies back in charge of our health care. Fight back against these partisan attacks on America’s middle class.

Stacie and her husband Ben had to pay huge fees for the treatments their twin girls, Hannah and Madeline, needed when they were diagnosed with leukemia. It was too much and they went bankrupt. Thankfully Hannah and Madeline are doing well today but Republicans in congress want to take us back to a time where insurance companies could deny them coverage because of their medical history.

While the Republicans play politics and grandstand, Stacie and hundreds of others will be telling the truth about the ACA in the Capitol Rotunda to make sure the stories of average Pennsylvanians are heard, especially those already benefiting from the law’s many cost savings and consumer protections. Join us and fight back today.

The ACA is providing life-changing benefits, cost-savings and protections that are making a huge difference in people’s lives right now. But, the ACA is about more than health care. It’s also about economic security for families struggling to make ends meet. We can’t preserve and expand the middle-class if people have to worry about health care.

Stacie says it best, “This is America,” she says. “I knew we could do better with our heath care than we’ve done in the past and I’m glad we have this law. We won’t go back. We’ve got to move forward.”

Join the fight today to protect America’s middle class families.

In Solidarity,
Melinda Gibson


Let’s set up tents on lawns of all 50 state capitals and roll out Constitutional Amendments all Summer!

My aunt, whose husband served in Japan and Korea, sent the following to me, but I think I can share it with my readers. I think the country needs at least 6 major amendments to the constitution myself. Kevin A. Stoda


No one has been able to explain to me why young men and women serve in the U.S. Military for 20 years, risking their lives protecting freedom, and only get 50% of their pay. While politicians hold their political positions in the safe confines of the capital, protected by these same men and women, and receive full pay retirement after serving one term. It just does not make any sense.

Monday on Fox news they learned that the staffers of Congress family members are exempt from having to pay back student loans. This will get national attention if other news networks will broadcast it. When you add this to the below, just where will all of it stop?
35 States file lawsuit against the Federal Government

Governors of 35 states have filed suit against the Federal Government for imposing unlawful burdens upon them. It only takes 38 (of the 50) States to convene a Constitutional Convention.

This will take less than thirty seconds to read. If you agree, please pass it on.

This is an idea that we should address.

For too long we have been too complacent about the workings of Congress. Many citizens had no idea that members of Congress could retire with the same pay after only one term, that they specifically exempted themselves from many of the laws they have passed (such as being exempt from any fear of prosecution for sexual harassment) while ordinary citizens must live under those laws. The latest is to exempt themselves from the Healthcare Reform… in all of its forms. Somehow, that doesn’t seem logical. We do not have an elite that is above the law. I truly don’t care if they are Democrat, Republican, Independent or whatever. The self-serving must stop.

Proposed 28th Amendment to the United States Constitution: “Congress shall make no law that applies to the citizens of the United States that does not apply equally to the Senators and/or Representatives; and, Congress shall make no law that applies to the Senators and/or Representatives that does not apply equally to the citizens of the United States.”

If each person that receives this will forward it on to 15 people, in three days, most people in The United States of America will have the message.. This is one proposal that really should be passed around.


I recommend that Americans in all 50 state capitals set up tents this summer and get all of the major amendments needed today passed. These would certainly include the electral reforms and laws on corporations that are essential, America.


PEOPLE IN AMERICA ARE MAD–especially at Congress. Here is another amendment to consider. My other aunt sent it to me. She wrote: “I very seldom ever forward a forward, this one I would even march on Washington to show my support for the cause and disgust with those who are supposed to be representing the PEOPLE, not themselves and their cronies.”–KAS

The 26th amendment (granting the right to vote for 18 year-olds) took only 3 months & 8 days to be ratified! Why? Simple! The people demanded it. That was in 1971…before computers, before e-mail, before cell phones, etc.

Of the 27 amendments to the Constitution, seven (7) took 1 year or less to become the law of the land…all because of public pressure.

I’m asking each addressee to forward this email to a minimum of twenty people on their address list; in turn ask each of those to do likewise.

In three days, most people in The United States of America will have the message. This is one idea that really should be passed around.

Congressional Reform Act of 2011

1. Term Limits.

12 years only, one of the possible options below..

A. Two Six-year Senate terms
B. Six Two-year House terms
C. One Six-year Senate term and three Two-Year House terms

2. No Tenure / No Pension.

A Congressman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay when they are out of office.

3. Congress (past, present & future) participates in Social Security.

All funds in the Congressional retirement fund move to the Social Security system immediately. All future funds flow into the Social Security system, and Congress participates with the American people.

4. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan, just as all Americans do.

5. Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise. Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.

6. Congress loses their current health care system and participates in the same health care system as the American people.

7. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people.

8. All contracts with past and present Congressmen are void effective 1/1/11.

The American people did not make this contract with Congressmen. Congressmen made all these contracts for themselves.

Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators, so ours should serve their term(s), then go home and back to work.



I was in London last May the day after the elections put the Liberal party in office for the first time. One year later, the liberals have simply followed a neo-con war on the poor and the middle class to pay off the boondogles of the wealthiest corporations in the World. There was still hope last May 2010. It has been taken over by a new malaise that requires massive mobiliation of masses.–KAS


BUDGET London Calling

Almost a year ago, the Guardian wrote that Britain was taking “a leap into the political unknown” when the Conservative Party and Liberal Democrats “formed the first full coalition government in Britain since 1945.” Many wondered if the new government would chart a unique course in history, pursuing policies that blended those of the old-line conservatives with those of modern progressives. Unfortunately, the resulting Cameron-Clegg government pursued a very old path — that of balancing budgets on the backs of working class people rather than asking the rich to pay their fair share. The coalition government pushed for “the sharpest cuts to public spending since World War II,” which would cost the country more than a half million jobs, dramatically cut back on social welfare spending, and raise the pension age to 66 by 2020, “four years earlier than planned.” These cuts come on top of massive education cuts that doubled or tripled tuition for many students, and which broke one of Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg’s own campaign promises. Yet the citizens of the United Kingdom decided that it was unfair for them to have to pay for a budget crisis that resulted from a global recession they didn’t cause. A massive and renewed progressive movement has erupted across the pond focusing on the government’s failure to make tax dodging corporations and individuals pay what they owe while attacking the poor and middle class. This Saturday, this movement mobilized the largest protests since the Iraq war, with hundreds of thousands of people in London marching against the slash-and-burn coalition agenda. That movement is shaking the foundations of British society and forcing conservative retreats, and, slowly, Americans are learning from their Anglo neighbors and fighting back against the right-wing attack on the middle class on our shores as well.

THE COALITION’S DICKENSIAN VISION: Since taking power, the UK’s coalition government has aggressively rammed through, and continues to push for, massive cuts to social spending and necessities, championing a vision of Britain that has its roots in a Charles Dickens novel — one where the well-to-do have all the opportunities in life while most ordinary people struggle to get by. One of the major campaign promises of the Liberal Democrats’ leader Nick Clegg was that his party would not support increasing tuition at British universities, arguing that doing so would be fundamentally unfair to students. Yet this past winter, coalition lawmakers ignored massive youth protests and pushed through a plan that would effectively triple tuition fees for most students. The coalition also proceeded to make deep cuts to social services and aid to municipalities, continuing to force ordinary British citizens to pay for a recession they did not cause. All over the country, firefighters are being laid off, libraries are being shut down, and hospitals are facing staffing shortages. And these cuts are bad for the economy, removing needed stimulus and threatening to bring the country back into recession. By last fall, these planned cuts amounted to the sharpest cutbacks in public spending since World War II, with shadow chancellor Alan Johnson remarking that the gutting of services would be worse than former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s right-wing policies in the 1980′s. Meanwhile, the coalition has also increased the value-added tax by 20 percent, which primarily hurts middle class and lower-income people.

THERE IS AN ALTERNATIVE: When Thatcher pushed through her policies three decades ago, she famously remarked, “There is no alternative.” Yet last Fall, a tiny group of British activists set off a massive movement that proved that there is, indeed, an alternative to brutal cuts to services for ordinary Britons. On October 27, 2010, a small number of protesters — outraged that ordinary citizens were being asked to sacrifice their services while tax-dodging cellphone firm Vodafone owed 6 billion pounds in back taxes it had refused to pay — began a sit-in in one of the company’s largest branches. News of the protest spread like wildfire on the Internet, with activists using Twitter and Facebook to spread the story of Vodafone’s tax dodging. Within three days, almost thirty Vodafone stores were forced to close down as more and more people took part in sit-ins against the company. Soon, this nascent movement, calling itself UK Uncut, exploded throughout the country, with protests against tax-dodging big corporations and wealthy individuals completely reshaping the narrative that the only way to deal with the country’s budget deficit was to ram through budget cuts that disproportionately hurt working people. The only part of the British media “that attacked UK Uncut outright was, predictably, Rupert Murdoch’s empire,” which also owns Fox News in the United States. This isn’t surprising, given that Murdoch’s companies are among the most egregious tax dodgers; his News Corporation has gone entire years without paying a penny in U.S. federal corporate income taxes, despite making billions of dollars in profits. UK Uncut worked in tandem with the country’s trade unions to mobilize as many as half a million people to march on London this weekend, “in the largest protest since the city’s 2003 march against the Iraq war.”

LESSONS FOR MAIN STREET AMERICA: When Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R), fresh off of passing a $117 million corporate tax cut package, decided to gut public employee collective bargaining rights in the state, he never expected to face a mass movement of thousands of Wisconsinites fighting back. Yet the progressive upsurge in Wisconsin, which may end up unseating Walker and many of his legislative allies, has spread throughout the country, comprising a Main Street Movement of ordinary Americans demanding fair sacrifice. Across the country, Americans are battling unfair budget cuts and demanding just taxation of the super wealthy. Inspired by the British example, activists have launched US Uncut, which is targeting companies like Bank of America — which, despite being the country’s largest bank, paid nothing in federal corporate income taxes in 2009 and 2010. US Uncut had 40 demonstrations across the country over the weekend, with protesters shutting down a major Washington, D.C. branch of the bank. Meanwhile, protests continue across the country as more than a dozen conservative state governments across the country plan to slash corporate tax rates while increasing taxes and/or cutting services for low and middle-income Americans. “We have a deficit problem. It has to be addressed,” said Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) in a press release addressing tax fairness. “But it cannot be addressed on the backs of the sick, the elderly, the poor, young people, the most vulnerable in this country. The wealthiest people and the largest corporations in this country have got to contribute. We’ve got to talk about shared sacrifice.”



Dear Kevin,

There’s only one word to describe what’s going on around the country right now, and that’s awful.

The assault on workers’ rights in Wisconsin has awakened the country to the reality of the Republican agenda.

After his blatant attempt to eliminate workers’ rights under the guise of a budget crisis, Gov. Scott Walker and Wisconsin Republicans are reaping their just rewards, with the response from you and others who believe that workers come before CEOs.

Scott Walker may feel fine ignoring the people, but we’re hearing you loud and clear and with the March 31st FEC deadline fast approaching, let’s prove to them that we are united and ready to fight back.

Contribute Before March 31st

This is the first and critical FEC financial deadline that we can show the Scott Walker and the billionaire Koch brothers that we stand united in the face of CEO backed special interests – and Governors who don’t care about worker’s rights.

Let’s show them that we won’t back down from a fight this important. Help us in these last few days before the FEC deadline on March 31st – Please contribute as generously as you can.

Contribute Before March 31st


Jim Scheibel, Chair

Contact Information

Phone: (202) 736-5775

Website: 21st Century Democrats


Kiera Butler writes on how to “figure out how to build renewable-energy projects while inflicting minimal damage on the landscape"

Could solar-energy projects destroy the very ecosystems they’re meant to save from climate change?

— By Kiera Butler

MOTHER JONES….March/April 2011 Issue
I think I found one!” I say, pointing at a small, round hole in the sand at the base of a cactus.
“Nope. That’s a little too small.”

I’m crouching in the middle of California’s Mojave Desert, about 150 miles northeast of Los Angeles. I’m here with Ileene Anderson, a biologist with the Center for Biological Diversity, and two Sierra Club volunteers, and we’re looking for tortoise burrows. The warm December sun brings out the desert colors: green creosote bushes, fading red wildflowers, golden cholla cacti rearing their prickly heads above the low scrub. To the north lie the Cady Mountains, where bighorn sheep move between peaks. Except for the chirping of a few birds—horned larks, loggerhead shrikes, mountain plovers, and American pipits—it’s quiet.

But not for long. Later this year, the desert will thrum with the pounding of backhoes, heavy trucks, and articulated haulers, rolling in to transform the Mojave into the epicenter of America’s solar-energy revolution. In 2009, President Obama announced that renewable-energy projects launched before December 31, 2010, could qualify for millions of dollars of federal stimulus money, kicking off an unprecedented solar gold rush. (The deadline has since been extended.) The California Energy Commission estimates that nine solar projects it recently approved will generate more than 4,000 megawatts of power—about 6 percent of the state’s grid capacity, up from less than 1 percent.

The Mojave, where the sun shines more than 300 days a year, would seem like a perfect home for the solar hub—unless you happen to be a threatened desert tortoise, in which case you can kiss your burrow goodbye. Across the country, environmentalists are finding themselves in the awkward position of having to choose between clean energy and wildlife: In the Midwest, wind farms ensnare bats and migrating birds, and hydropower dams in the Northwest decimate salmon spawning grounds. “We’ve been supportive of efforts to accelerate clean-energy projects,” says Jim Lyons, who studies renewable energy at the conservation nonprofit Defenders of Wildlife. “But the scale of these new projects is massive, and they could be enormously destructive to plants and animals.”

But so, of course, could global warming. In a recent study (PDF), Scott Loarie, an ecologist with the Carnegie Institution for Science, found that climate change is forcing ecoystems to creep northward by about a quarter-mile each year. That’s a problem, he says, since “only 8 percent of our protected areas are big enough to allow animals to move north ahead of climate change.”

The trick, Loarie says, is to figure out how to build renewable-energy projects while inflicting minimal damage on the landscape. Under the federal Endangered Species Act, energy companies are required to estimate how many animals will be displaced by a project, and to develop a mitigation plan. This sometimes means moving animals to another tract of land—think of it as a wildlife refugee camp. In practice, this doesn’t always work. Desert tortoises, the crotchety old farts of the animal kingdom, spend their entire lives within a few miles of their birthplace. If you pick them up and move them, they will promptly freak out and dehydrate themselves by peeing out several months’ worth of stored water.

And since tortoises rarely leave their burrows during the winter and summer, they’re notoriously hard to count. Solar companies’ census methods don’t always catch every animal. In one case, a company counted tortoises on a site it wanted in California’s Ivanpah Valley—but after the project was approved, another study found 35 percent more. Despite the evidence of imprecise census work, major green groups chose not to sue over the project. No one wants to look like they’re against renewable energy, explains Gloria D. Smith, a senior attorney with the Sierra Club.

Of course, solar projects needn’t destroy pristine landscapes at all. I visited one future plant site where farming had long ago scared off tortoises and other sensitive species. And consider that just outside the Mojave lie acres upon acres of flat, sunny spaces where the tortoise count is guaranteed to be zero: the roofs of warehouses and big-box stores. The idea has taken off elsewhere; in Germany, where solar installations have proceeded at eight times the US rate, hundreds of thousands of individuals and companies now sell their excess electricity back to the power authority.

But here in the US, where public land can be rented for a song, it’s more cost-effective for utilities to build a massive power plant out in the desert than hundreds of little ones atop privately owned roofs. And utilities usually aren’t keen on the idea of buying electricity from their customers, says Bill Powers, a solar-energy expert in San Diego. “Utilities make money off power plants; they’d lose money if big-box stores started making their power on the roof,” he says. To wit, the New Mexico utility PNM waged an unsucessful battle in 2009 to prevent residents and businesses from installing rooftop panels and selling the electricity they didn’t need back into the grid. The same year, Xcel Energy fought and lost a similar battle in Colorado.

In the coming years, you’re likely to hear a lot of this kind of argument: What are a few tortoises (or bats, or salmon) compared with thousands of megawatts of renewable energy? But the individual creatures are only part of the point, says Anderson. “In protecting the tortoise,” she says, “you end up protecting the entire ecosystem.” Doing that right will require cooperation between conservation groups, governments, utilities, and energy companies—not to mention plenty of biological grunt work.

We never found a tortoise during my day in the desert—never even saw a burrow. But, as Anderson reminded me, that doesn’t mean they weren’t there.

CASH ON A HOT TIN ROOFSolar installations are pricey up front (up to $30,000 for a modest single-family home), and commercial projects can harm the environment. Four bright ideas:

Rent your roof In some states, companies like Sungevity, SolarCity, and SunRun will install solar panels on your roof and sell you the power they generate for less than you’d pay your local utility. Alternatively, some banks will lend you cash for the installation, then let you pay it back via your utility savings—with interest, of course.

Solar commune If you rent or live in the shade, rooftop panels aren’t practical. But some cities will let you buy into a centrally located solar project—reducing your electricity bill in the process.

PACE yourself Under the Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program, cities lend their residents money for rooftop solar panels, repaying the loans through property-tax assessments. Last year, however, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (PDF) essentially put the kibosh on the program, prompting a lawsuit by California’s attorney general.

Pimp that warehouse Some utilities are beginning to buy up commercial roof space: Southern California Edison, for example, is leasing enough square footage from warehouse owners to generate 250 megawatts of solar electricity—enough to power 162,500 homes.
Kiera Butler is the articles editor at Mother Jones. For more of her stories


KS Common Sense Kevin Stoda

By Kevin Stoda, a future Senator

Jerry Moran is continuing his newsletter, KS COMMON SENSE, by lifting articles–written by the coal and gas lobby–from papers, like THE WALL STREET JOURNAL (WSJ) and the Salina Journal, a paper that reports that Moran is prepared to say NO to Kansas needs in the future.

The WSJ piece–which like many corporate plants we’ve seen in the WSJ in recent years–is found at this link.

The Salina Journal article is at this link:

In the Salina paper, Moran noted, “You’re going to have to support elected officials who say ‘No,’ not ‘Yes,’ ” Sen. Jerry Moran told a crowd of about 70 Wednesday morning at the Salina Bicentennial Center.

Hmmph!!! Moran is a man who won’t even try and clean up the trillion dollar defense and security budget. Then he tells Kansans they cannot rely o him to help build community centers or jobtraining centers in their community!


Is economic treason by Bank of America, Citibank, and hundreds of other corporations the inevitable American Way to Meltdown?

As most readers know, I have been quite concerned that players in the banking and financial sector are not forced to pay–nor do they obey laws and act decently. Now the charge by U.S. Uncut (below) is being made that many of these criminal firms need to be labled as traitors. What is your opinion, America?–KAS

Bank of America (Primary Target)
Bank of America is Bad for America. Despite ruining the economy with their reckless greed, Bank of America consistently avoids any form of accountability to the American taxpayer. Bank of America pockets billions in profits and bailouts, but then pays $0 in American taxes and even gets tax refunds.

Cheating out on taxes has real costs. If Bank of America paid their fair share of taxes, we could ‘uncut’ $1.7 billion in early childhood education (Head Start & Title I).

Bank of America is the #1 largest bank and the 5th largest corporation in our country, holding over $2.2 trillion in assets, and yet it pays less in taxes than the average American household. In fact, the federal government gave Bank of America $2.3 billion in 2009 while it made $4.4 billion in profits.

More on BofA in recent report: ‘The Big Bank Tax Drain’
We pay our taxes, why don’t they?
Citizens across the country are targeting Bank of America branches and peaceably but firmly demonstrating that they can’t get away with such egregious tax-cheating.

Here is a fact sheet with sources provided by US Uncut DC.
Here are some talking points (doc).
Here is a downloadable press release (doc) you can hand to the media.

Some signage for BofA actions

Some chants for BofA actions
■Bank of America, Bad for America!
■Hey, hey, B of A, how many taxes did you pay? ZERO!
■I pay, you pay, why doesn’t B of A?!
■Hey, hey, B of A, how many taxes off-shored today?!
■Move your money, switch your bank!
■B of A don’t want to pay, what they owe the USA.
■come up with some more? add them here
(Bank of America will continue to be US Uncut’s main focus for nonviolent, creative demonstrations to maximize the public’s awareness about how this tax dodger has imperiled an entire nation with its greed. If you have a story you’re willing to share about how Bank of America’s reckless banking schemes have affected you and your family, please send them to

Labels: , ,

Herve’ Fleurant calls for more help for Ivory Coast displaced persons

Much of the American media attention has been on civil wars in North Africa and the Middle East. In the Ivory Coast another horrible tragedy cannot be ignored. Please read through this letter from the Ivory Coast that I received today.–KAS – Tuesday, 29 March 2011
HOPEworldwide >> Africa

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

The situation our brothers and sisters are facing in Abidjan is rapidly becoming a humanitarian disaster as the country is on the brink of collapse. There are sporadic skirmishes throughout the city as more and more of the civilian population tries to leave in search of safety. There are new dead bodies on the streets with every sunrise.

The banks are still closed and sanitation services were suspended over a month ago leaving mountains of trash uncollected everywhere. The BBC reports that cholera has broken out in the city. Electricity and water are still available but no one expects that to last long. Food is getting harder to come by as most shops are now closed.

The UN is having a difficult time meeting the humanitarian needs and maintaining its peacekeeping duties. Donations for the Ivory Coast are trickling in but fall woefully short of what the UN is asking for. It’s been reported that over 500,000 people have fled to neighboring countries and to villages within the Ivory Coast. It is these people that the UN is trying to help. They cite news coverage in Libya and Japan as possible reasons for what has been called the Ivory Coast’s “forgotten” status during this crisis.

There are 1,750 members in the Abidjan church. Another 200 or so live in other cities throughout the Ivory Coast. Many have already fled with what little they could bring with them. Some have gone to their ancestral villages seeking refuge.Others, who were citizens of neighboring countries, have left and gone back to their home nations fearing attack due to the nationalistic fervor that has taken hold in Cote D’Ivoire. The homes of some have been looted causing those who still remain to delay their own decisions to leave.

“ Francis Dasse’, Lead Evangelist of the Abidjan church, spoke yesterday and as we continued to talk it became clear that the time to leave is now, while they still can. ”

The plan is to evacuate as many as possible to Lome’, Togo. The banks being closed in Abidjan forces all donations given to be sent to the church account in Lome’. Although the congregation in Lomé has only 60 members and it is a French speaking country will allow the refugees from Abidjan to better care for one another until they can return to Abidjan. The road to Lome’ goes through Accra, Ghana. The congregations and HOPE worldwide employees from the Accra church will assist the Ivorian disciples as they pass through on the way to Togo.

Our brothers and sisters desperately need our help. We are hoping to raise as much money as possible to send over to them in Togo. The funds will be then used for food, water, shelter, transport and medicine to help them survive in Togo until they can return to the Ivory Coast.

HOPE worldwide has established a disaster response fund for the Ivory Coast. We ask that you please pray and then donate what you can.

The Christians in the Ivory Coast are enduring extreme hardships as I write this, and yet when I speak to them they continually express tremendous faith and gratitude to God. The Church is still growing and in just the past week they have had 11 baptisms and 4 weddings! They are awesome disciples of Jesus, they are our brothers and sisters, let’s help them get through this terrible time. Let’s give.

Your brother in Christ,

Herve’ Fleurant