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March 20, 2009

Dear colleague,

These minutes include a special invitation to "Nuclear Reconsidered--the Start of a Conversation", an April 6 meeting starting at 7:00 PM, in Owen Hall, 3rd floor, at UNCA.  Western N. C. Physicians for Social Responsibility is cosponsoring this World Affairs Council event with League of Women Voters  & United Nations Assn. Two short films will be shown, each to be followed by discussion and comments from the audience.  To set the scene for the conversation, "Building a World Beyond War" will offer rationale for ending war.  After a short question and comment period, "Nuclear Weapons and the Human Future" will be the main presentation, followed by discussion.  Two of our physicians, Lew Patrie & Don Richardson, will be resource persons for questions. Leah Karpen,  member of PSR and LWV , will be the moderator.  A member of LWV will explain the League's position on nuclear issues. This event is open to the public at no charge.

Also please open the following attachment consisting of our promotional letter seeking your commitment to our goals along with a request for financial support.  We invite your responce.

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Minutes- WNCPSR Meeting - which took place 3/20/09 at Asheville’s  UU Church

PRESENT: John Joyner, Leah Karpen, Lew Patrie, Don Richardson & Tim Takaro.  We shared good news about Stan Dienst’s good progress 3 wks. after cardiac surgery

12:30: Program:
We viewed 1/2 hr. of “Scarred Lands; the Environmental Footprint of War”, the under reported environmental effects of preparing for, waging and dealing with the aftermath of wars.  It is available for other groups.

Minutes: We approved the 2/20/09 mnts.

Treasurer’s report: Balance = $479.32 reflected $30 to Laura S. last month or promotional materials.  Don contributed $50 at the meeting.

Past and future events

March 13 & 15: UU Church events marking 6th yr. of Iraq War:  DVD  “Soldiers of Conscience”  shown, PSR petitions signed at Peace Fair.  More than 1000 Flags commemorating civilian & military Iraq War dead remain on church grounds.

Action Items

•  4/6 World Affairs Council mtg: "Beyond War" & "Nuclear Weapons & Human Future" - Leah, Don, Lew to be present.  We reviewed publicity plans.
•  Proposed fundraising letter was OKed with changes - attendees labeled envelopes to expedite early mailing, as promotional for above 4/6 mtg   See at:
•  Planning for AVL Nuke Transport meeting - deferred as neither Laura nor Mary were present.
•  Planning for Bele Chere exhibit deferred
•  PSR  chapter & training opportunity in 3 phases:
March 11:  2:00-3:30 pm EST – 1st Conference Call - simultaneously on line & phone
April 1: 2 hour in-person training at regular chapter meeting
April 15:  2:00 - 3:30 pm EST – 2nd Conference Call     See ADDENDUM I
Following discussion, we each agreed to try to reach 2  health professionals with a personal message seeking their involvement, even if in a small way.  A 2nd approach will be via the fundraising letter, to be mailed, emailed & on  We’ve had past success with such.
•  Future meetings with Congress pending - “One Star” has offered advice - Don
•  WNCPSR supports stopping Cliffside & NC SAVE$ ENERGY? - Charlotte event 4/20
•  Feb. ? re civil disobedience from Dr. Fireman re event in DC - See ADDENDUM II


•  As of 2/24/09 from Ann Cothran, No More Victim’s Nat'l Coordinator:  Abu Ali & Salee called again today; they're really excited about coming back to US for new prostheses & sound very happy!  Their visa appointment is set for 3/16 in Amman, where we'll be housing them in a hotel throughout the process.  Anyone who would like to help fundraising, please let me know!  Salee & Abu Ali miss and love everyone BIG!!!  Rusul is also doing well.                     

•  4/4/09  --  Action for Peace and Disarmament at the Y-12 Nuclear Weapons Plant in Oak Ridge, where US still  building nuclear weapons in Oak Ridge.  They are making plans to build a new $3 billion bomb plant in Oak Ridge & you can do something about it.    For general information contact: Ralph Hutchison at 865-776-5050 or or check out the web at  It’s time for action.  Barack Obama has said he wants to get rid of nuclear weapons, but he will not be able to do it unless we demand it.

Next meeting:  noon, 3rd Friday, April 17, same location

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ADDENDUM I:  PSR Membership Recruitment & Engagement Training

Goals: Increase chapter effectiveness in recruitment & engagement, particularly of health care professionals?
•  (How could NPSR - PSR chapter relationship be more helpful in this at the local level?)
First Training session - Conference Call 3/11: - 20 Chapters
•  Membership basics: Members’ financial involvement growth tends to correlate with other activism & vice versa.
•  Egs: gaining activists and donors; case study of Philadelphia PSR’s success in personalized fundraising
•  Benefits: camaraderie, satisfaction, reinforcement, prestige, organizing expertise, fundraising (80% from donations)
•  What promotes?  personal contacts, realistic expectations (one action he/she might do),
•  What interferes?  impersonal invitation, assumption too much time required of busy health professionals, unclear message offered with inadequately planned preparation, aging membership.

Plan: Identify 1 or 2  small steps we might take to increase membership recruitment by 4/2

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ADDENDUM II: Response from Peter Wilk, MD, Exec. Dir., PSR

Lew,   I very much appreciate your serious commitment to nuclear abolition for so many yrs. Whether civil disobedience is an effective strategy to advance our agenda is a question that comes up ...  has come up recently regarding action planned 1st wk. in March " Capitol Climate Action" to protest coal fired power plant in DC.  PSR has been asked to endorse that action and I have decided not to endorse it.

I'm afraid this is a judgment call that I am simply making, based on precedent.  I understand that some PSR members may feel strongly about this & may choose as individuals to participate in the action.  I am very much in sympathy with the intent.  However, to my knowledge, PSR has never endorsed ... civil disobedience.  We discussed it seriously prior to the Iraq War and prior to that when there were such actions at the Nevada nuclear test site, and some Board members favored such action. And some have taken such actions & been arrested at various sites.  But we ultimately decided not to endorse it as an organization, feeling that in the long run, endorsing ... would do more harm than good in our efforts to most effectively address threats to global survival as a professional medical organization.

As we did at that time, it is OK to let our members know that such events are taking place.  Mentioning that some members may want to participate.  But that is different than actually endorsing the event. My advice is that chapters would take the same approach - not endorsing (or planning) civil disobedience, but understanding that individual members might wish to do so & even informing individual members of such actions planned by others that they might wish to participate in.

I hope this is helpful information.  Is some specific action being planned by other organizations that you are considering joining?  Are you considering planning some such action yourselves, as a chapter?  I would appreciate being kept informed.  And, again, I so much appreciate the depth of your commitment to ridding the world of the threat nuclear
weapons pose.

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Lewis E. Patrie, MD, Chair
Western N. C. Physicians for Social Responsibility
99 Eastmoor Drive
Asheville, NC 28805