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Archive of past mailings
The Connecticut legislature has sent to the governor to sign a bill that would create a commission to develop a plan for, among other things:
"the diversification or conversion of defense-related industries with an emphasis on encouraging environmentally-sustainable and civilian product manufacturing. On or before December 1, 2014, the commission shall submit such report to the Governor and, in accordance with the provisions of section 11-4a, to the joint standing committee of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to commerce." » read more »
Most of the world's governments no longer use the death penalty. Among wealthy nations there is one exception remaining. The United States is among the top five killers in the world. Also in the top five: the recently "liberated" Iraq.
But most of the United States' 50 states no longer use the death penalty. There are 18 states that have abolished it, including 6 in this new millennium, including Maryland this week. Thirty-one states haven't used the death penalty in the past 5 years, 26 in the past 10 years, 17 in the past 40 years or more. A handful of Southern states -- with Texas in the lead -- do most of the killing.
The progress is slow and painful. Mississippi is right now having trouble deciding whether to spare a man just because he might be innocent. Maryland has perversely left five people waiting to be killed while banning the death penalty for any future cases. Next-door in Virginia we hold second place behind Texas and continue to kill.
Virginia electrocuted a man named Robert Gleason in January. Since then, Texas has killed four men, Ohio two, and Florida, Oklahoma, and Georgia one each -- all by lethal injection. Since 1973, there have been 141 exonerations from death row nationwide, including an innocent Virginian who came within days of being killed.
If you're convicted of killing a white person in Virginia, you're over three times as likely to receive the death penalty as you would be if the victim had been black. The injustice and backwardness is staggering, but so is the lack of democracy. Only a third of Virginians tell pollsters they favor the death penalty.
The evil of the death penalty is not limited to the instances in which it is used -- or to the corrosive influence it has on our culture. The death penalty primarily serves as a valuable chip in plea bargaining. Want someone to plead guilty, whether or not they actually are guilty? Threaten them with the death penalty. Who needs trials by jury (now used in under 2% of cases) when you have that kind of tool? And who has time for them when you've overloaded the system by treating drug use as a crime? » read more »
Here's the video of highlights from the MIC50 conference.
Why did the peace movement of the middle of the last decade not grow larger? Why did it shrink away? Why is it struggling now?
As has been documented, a huge factor in the shrinking away was partisan delusion. You put a different political party's name on the wars and they become good wars.
But that also means that what you had was a peace movement that believed in the possibility of good wars. In fact, much of it believed that Iraq was a bad war and Afghanistan a good war. Many people even went out of their way to display their "reasonableness" by declaring Afghanistan a good war without actually examining the war on Afghanistan; this was imagined to be a strategic way to prevent or scale back or end the war on Iraq.
Of course, when the bad war ends, and all that's left is the good war, those who are actually motivated by opposition to war must shift to opposing the former good war as the current bad war. And why would you listen to anyone who did that? » read more »
Three things for Virginians to do on drones:
1. Ask the Governor to Sign the Moratorium
The Virginia legislature has passed a 2-year moratorium on drones. The governor may sign it, or he may listen to all the drone profiteers and out-of-control police departments telling him not to. If you want him to sign it, please tell him now:
Office: (804) 786-2211
Fax: (804) 371-6351
TTY/TDD (For the deaf or hard-of-hearing):1-800-828-1120, or 711
2. Tell the FAA Virginia Does Not Want a Drone Test Site
3. Take Action Tuesdays
As the President reviews his kill list on Tuesdays, phone the White House and ask to be put on it as long as it exists.
Don't forget: Kathy Kelly is at Random Row Books at 7 pm on March 29.
Charlottesville Rally for Comprehensive Immigration Reform
Monday, April 8 5:00 – 6:30 pm
Corner of McIntire and Preston Avenues (in front of County Office Building)
In support of common sense comprehensive immigration reform including:
- Earned path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants
- Protecting the rights of immigrant workers
- An end to mass detention and deportation
- Family reunification
In solidarity with pro-comprehensive immigration reform events held across the United States between April 1 – April 10.
Sponsored by: Virginia Organizing, Casa Alma Catholic Worker, Church of the Incarnation, Sin Barreras Community Center. For more information, contact Virginia Organizing at: 434 984-4655 x22
March 21-28 Week of Action for Bahrain
Fast from March 24-30 in solidarity with those detained indefinitely and on hunger strike at Guantanamo. Vigils will take place in NYC, Washingt on DC, Chicago, Des Moines, and other cities on March 24. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
March 26-30 World Social Forum in Tunis
March - April, NY City, Festival of Conscience
April 4 Another Life with David Swanson
April 1-30 Fasting for the climate
April 4 - July 3 Tour de Peace across the country
April 5-7 Historians Against War in Baltimore, Md.
April 8-10 Washington, D.C., School of the Americas Watch
April 4-6 San Diego, protest drones
April 4-7 – Drone Manufacturing. Actions around the country directed at drone manufacturing facilities in region and calling for an end to manufacturing weaponized and surveillance drones. Coordinator: Joe Scarry – email@example.com
April 16-18 – Drone Research/Training. Actions/teach-ins, etc. at colleges & universities that do drone research or pilot training. Demand an end to research and training related to drone warfare. Coordinator: Marge Van Cleef firstname.lastname@example.org
April 27-28 – Drone Bases. Organize protests at bases in region. Hancock Reaper drone base protest organizers calling for large demonstrations there. Coordinator: Dave Soumis email@example.com
More April Anti-Drone-Kill Events