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November 19, 2010


Present: Leah K., Lew, John J., Bob H., Stan D., Steve G., Don R., Mary O.

Discussion re: needed chapter realignment:
Leah opened by requesting suggestions out of concern for the future of WNCPSR.
Bob Howarth said an occasional evening meeting might bring out more members.
Stan Dienst offered that a topical DVD at an evening meeting might help.
Bob felt that regularly scheduled meeting with legislators would get attention to our survival issues.
Mary thought that Dot Sulock might agree to be chair, Lew, having expressed interest in a roll change and a reprieve from his interminable sentence, after some 13 years leading the chapter. Others could also be candidates: Terry Clark, Don & of course there could be others.
Leah suggested partnering with like-minded organizations like Veterans For Peace to expand our reach.
A committee to work on reorganization was one idea, and it was agreed to try this with Don, Steve and Bob to meet  before the next monthly meeting, possibly at the Arboretum for a central location, time and date to be arranged via phone calls from Don, at a time before the Holiday Party chez Patries.
Phones: Don-884-3435; Steve-952-484-4466; Bob-670-6480.

We reviewed Sept. meeting minutes, our sponsorship of Oct. 15 double showing of “PAX AMERICANA, the Militarization of Space at UUCA, and Treasurer’s report of balance of $600, thanks to Don’s gift of $1.01

Recent and Upcoming Events:

11/11 Lester Brown talk at Warren Wilson. Lew pinned Lester down on nuclear energy and got the right answer: "not financially viable."  Don got in line for the signing of Lester's masterpiece book PLAN B: 4.0 and was able to give Lester a signed copy of his novel, "based on your (Lester's) work."
11/12 Lew hosted Mike Boehm's presentation at UUCA, "Rising From The Ashes of My Lai."
11/13 Lew was praised by National (Barbara Gottlieb) for his recent excellent LTE in Asheville Citizen-Times promoting Senate approval of START Treaty.
11/17 Lew was on Public Access TV from 8-9 PM as interviewee of Veterans For Peace, on PSR priorities.
4/26/11 is the date for the upcoming Global Action Day, celebrating 25 years since Chernobyl, a follow-up on the recent 9/25/10 International Radioactive Waste Action Day, the first of a series of coordinated actions.
Bob Howarth (see addenda 1A & B) has penned an excellent essay on the desperate need for public funding of elections (PFE), formerly known as Campaign Finance Reform, a concept introduced by Common Cause in 1970.
Mary pointed out that in these 40 years things have only gotten worse, especially after the horrible Supreme Court Decision (Citizens United) in which they equated money with speech. Every schoolchild knows that money is property. Maybe we should pay out taxes with an essay, speech thereby being money. Today, billionaires have speech. The public at large is deaf mute, which makes for excellent spouses.

Lew brought up Alliance For NC $aves Energy, see addendum 2 in today's agenda.

Stan has a copy of Nuclear Tipping Point, a DVD which eloquently tells the dangers of nukes. Borrowed by Don for showing in Brevard. Also awaiting Pax Americana for similar showing.

Mary announced significant victories over cancellation of Maryland’s Calvert Cliff’s nuclear reactor and successful challenge of 2 Florida Progress Energy reactors plans;  WNC-FM program with Ned Doyle last Sunday on nuclear waste.  She and Brita Clark are also promoting a Jan. 6th or 7th chartered bus day-trip opportunity for WNC folks to testify re Blue Ribbon Commission proposal about nuclear waste management/. Cost will be $20 per person; WNCPSR allocated $100 to help provide scholarships.

The December meeting will be our Holiday Potluck Party at Lew and Jean's, 4 PM.  Bring song sheets to brighten up the event. For directions contact Lew at 273-2249 or ... (more on this later).

The January meeting is likely to be 1-21-11 at noon, NIRS office, 35 Riverview Dr.

Meeting adjourned at 2 PM.

Don Richardson, off his deathbed to record minutes as Secretary & edited by wallflower Lew

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Addendum 1A -Funding of Elections for the Future By Bob Howarth

Through my near 80 years I have formed some conclusions as to the way things are and as to the way I think they should be.  I share some of this with you in the hope that you may find some merit here that may serve to help you and others you deal with in your daily life.

I have concluded that the influence of special interest money, especially corporate money, has so skewed our election process that many if not most legislators are overly influenced by and in too many cases addicted to these monies for campaign funds for their next election.  The result of this unhealthy situation is that our elected representatives too often see things, act, and vote with more concern for the wants of corporations rather than for the needs of their own constituents.  This condition is fed and supported by many well paid and experienced full-time lobbyists (about 5 for every Congressman ) that daily ply the halls of our government office buildings to “update and inform” our legislators. Couple this with the scarcity of inputs from we constituents (largely due to a diminishing trust in government and a “what’s the use” attitude ) results in the unhealthy and dysfunctional state of many of our governing bodies.
To “un-skew” this unhealthy dependency requires attacking and greatly reducing the addiction.  I see public funding of elections (PFE) as the best remedy.  This has been recognized and is utilized in 5 states  ( Arizona, Connecticut, Maine, New Mexico, Oregon) and in other countries (Australia for one).  North Carolina has enacted PFE for judicial offices, State Auditor, Superintendent of Public Instruction and Insurance Commissioner. Good legislation is available and functional..

How to implement enough PFE to be effective is the challenge.  It will not happen without great demand from us voters; Congress won’t do it on its own - it can’t, it’s addicted.  Most state legislatures (slightly less addicted) are reluctant to act without prodding by voters. It will require significant efforts, phone calls, letters, visits to offices, public meetings, demonstrations, marches and talking it up among our peers to make this happen. It’s not going to happen at the current abysmal level of awareness. Most citizens  are ignorant of the merits and potential of PFE, so a good deal of AWARENESS RAISING is essential. More voters and any group or  organization engaged in social justice, environmental sustainability, civil rights, poverty mitigation , etc. must come to realize that with PFE they will get better representation and much greater success for their efforts.

One important step in this AWARENESS RAISING would be you to ask any group or committee you are member of to better familiarize itself as to the need for and benefits of PFE for its work and for all facets of society 1.  Succeeding in that, I propose that those groups endorse PFE and join in spreading the word as opportunities arise.

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Addendum 1B: Lew

We cannot seriously address the budget deficit without cutting the military budget, which takes up 59 percent of the discretionary budget – and that doesn’t account for overruns, including $300 billion above what Congress authorized for various weapons systems in the last five years.

We cannot seriously address the unacknowledged climate changes caused by our nation's military operations without addressing the terrible assault on our environment caused by our continuous preparation for, waging of and dealing with the aftermath of wars.

The military, industrial, governmental complex is out of control.  The best place to find relief is for our elected officials to frustrate that massive lobbying group which has contributed so many millions of dollars to ensure their billions in return.

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Addendum 2: Alliance for NC SAVE$ ENERGY


is requesting that its new focused campaign, GREEN JOBS, COMFORTABLE HOMES, is included on the Common Agenda.  This effort is supported by a broad alliance of environmental, social and justice groups. 

Lew Patrie