Food Not Bombs

Food Not Bombs (www.foodnotbombs.net) is a meme, that is a contagious information pattern that replicates by infecting human minds and altering their behavior, causing them to propagate the pattern. In other words, it’s an idea that caught on and people have been doing it for 25 years because it strikes them as a good thing to do.

FNB started in Cambridge Massachusetts in 1980 as an outgrowth of the anti-nuclear efforts that were in the forefront of activists’ minds at the time. The movement now is international with hundreds of autonomous groups who provide free vegetarian food for the homeless and hungry.

Members of Food Not Bombs, who sometimes call themselves freegans, forage for free food, employing a technique known as dumpster-diving; and they ask retailers to let them recycle produce the stores would otherwise throw out (thereby eliminating the dumpster-diving requirement.) They cook the food and serve it outdoors in public parks.

During the last nine years, Omaha area activists have provided free meals at the west end of Gene Leahy Mall on Sundays at 2:00 PM. Although they have had to deal with the whims of city bureaucracy, which on occasion have impeded them from doing their errand of mercy, they have held steadfastly to their mission to feed people in need for nearly a decade. Food Not Bombs also provides free meals at some demonstrations. The meals are provided in reusable vessels, that is bowls, cups and utensils that get washed and re-used the following week. Wow!

You can help them by showing up at Gene Leahy Mall on any Sunday about 2:00 PM. Ask for Mario. Food Not Bombs can always use dishwashers and donations of food, stockpots, dishware, and of course the old stand-by of grandmothers everywhere—envelopes filled with money.

Action is the word!

Pop-Ed 2.0

This is for you to copy and send or reword and send to whoever you think ought to read it.

RESIST THE TIDE OF LIES, DUPLICITY AND THE IMPRISONMENT OF THE HUMAN SPIRIT.

Alberto Gonzales should not be confirmed as America’s next Attorney General. The author of the end-run around the Geneva Conventions, who characterized as “quaint” the world’s proper response to genocide and other excesses of states’ behavior in war, deserves a dishonorable mention in the rogues’ gallery of lawyers who use the law to excuse crime.

His advice to President Bush proved unhelpful in Bush’s stated purpose to bring an end to terrorism. Torturing humans is not an option in a world which is making its slow progress toward a sustainable peace.

The Abu Ghraib torture and ongoing reports of illegal abuse of prisoners; the reports of extralegal “renditions,” called for by Donald Rumsfeld and others; and the news that the numbers of the Iraqi “insurgency” probably out-pace the numbers of coalition fighters indicate that torture is clearly counter-productive. Further reports that this administration is considering building prisons to permanently house “detainees” (that would be life-imprisonment for people who are not charged and have not enough evidence gathered against them to be tried for any crime) should further alarm proponents of democracy regarding the appropriateness of having Alberto Gonzales and his ilk at the helm of the Justice Department.

Alberto Gonzales apparently hadn’t enough moral foundation or logical precision to foresee what any parent could figure out, that extreme pressure results in extreme resistance.

On the weakness of this alone, his confirmation to the position of Attorney General should not go forward.

The Lincoln Bill of Rights Defense Coalition

The Lincoln Bill of Rights Defense Coalition is a non-partisan, all-volunteer, ad hoc group of Lincoln citizens whose goal is to educate the community about the erosion of civil liberties that are contained in the USA PATRIOT Act and to urge passage of the Defense of Liberty resolution. With this resolution Lincoln will join over 340 other U.S. communities calling for changes to those parts of the Act that undermine a free and open society. More than 2500 members of the Lincoln community have signed the Lincoln Bill of Rights Defense Coalitions petition supporting this effort. Since its formation last August, the Lincoln BORDC has spoken about the Patriot Act to over 60 community organizations including neighborhood groups, schools, civic clubs and religious forums.

The Lincoln City Council will hold a public hearing and vote on the resolution at its 1:30 p.m. meeting on September 13.

On July 22nd we held a rally at the Malone Center. You can view an hour-long program based on the speeches given at the rally by going to: www.sjtv.info . A DVD or videotape of the program is also available for local cable programs (it’s been showing on Lincoln’s channel 13 program Social Justice TV) or home viewing.

The rally reflected the opposition among broad sections of our community to the erosion of civil liberties with the adoption of the Patriot Act and other government actions since September 11, 2001. Speakers included:

Leroy Stokes – The president of the Lincoln NAACP opened the evening with a welcome to the Malone Center and an overview of his organization’s concerns with the Patriot Act.

Martha Hunter – As president of the League of Women Voters of Lincoln-Lancaster County, Martha expressed the conviction of her organization that the need to protect against security threats to America must be balanced with the need to preserve the very liberties that are the foundation of this country.

Jassim Al-Idani You might have read recently in the news about how this Lincoln resident from Iraq was a victim of racial profiling, like many immigrants in our country from the Middle East. He told the story of how on a family visit to the Omaha zoo he was held unjustly by the police for two hours.

Lela Shanks This respected community leader described the harassment her family faced at the hands of the FBI for their leadership in the Civil Rights Movement. We were moved to give her a standing ovation.

Marty Ramirez Marty is a community activist who received the Purple Heart while serving in Vietnam. He focused on the impact on Latino immigrants.

Laurie Lee This UNL professor offered a perspective as an authority on the Patriot Act and a leader of the Academic Freedom Coalition of Nebraska.

Brian Terrell Brians from the Catholic Peace Ministry in Des Moines. He described how earlier this year he, along with three other Iowa peace activists, were served subpoenas by a federal grand jury looking into the legal, peaceful activities of a local antiwar group. He inspired us with the power of our organized strength by describing how the public outcry to this intimidation forced the feds to withdraw the subpoenas.

Brenda Ealey Speaking for the Southeast Library System Board of Directors, she voiced the passionate opposition among librarians to the impact the Patriot Act has on the free exchange of ideas thats so essential to a democracy.

Kenneth Bordeaux – As a Native spiritual counselor Kenneth shared the familiarity his people have had dealing with terrorism – at the hands of the U.S. government.

Lee Witters This VFW member presented his opposition as a World War II veteran to the Patriot Act.

Raneta Lawson Mack The co-author of Equal Justice in the Balance is especially concerned about the impact the conduct of the war on terrorism has had on our right to fair and equal treatment and to due process.

For more information on this effort or a copy of the Defense of Liberty resolution, contact Mark Weddleton at mark (at) weddleton.com or (402) 499-6672.

Below is a list of the places where the Lincoln Bill of Rights Defense Coalition has, working with others, brought our educational campaign on the dangers of the Patriot Act*.

Speaking engagements:
Nebraska International Multicultural Exchange Conference
Hispanic Leadership Conference
Hartley Neighborhood Association
Everett Neighborhood Association
Malone Neighborhood Association
North Bottoms Neighborhood Association
Highlands Neighborhood Association
University Place Neighborhood Association
Unitarian Church
First Presbyterian Church
Eastridge Presbyterian Church
Lincoln Interfaith Council Urban Ministries committee
Lincoln NAACP
Lincoln Educational Association
Central Labor Union
Steelworkers Union
Lincoln Chapter of the Immigrant Rights Network
Academic Freedom Coalition of Nebraska
Nebraska Library Association annual convention
Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays Coffeehouse
Green Party State Convention
Nebraskans for Peace State Convention
ACLU Nebraska Annual Dinner
Omaha Peace and Justice Expo
Veterans of Foreign Wars
East Lincoln Rotary
Lincoln Independent Business Association Governmental Affairs Committee
League of Women Voters
Board of Directors of the Lincoln Public Libraries
United Nations Association of Lincoln
Waging Peace conference
Citizens Against Racism and Discrimination
Cornhusker Kiwanis Club
Lincoln NOW
No Limits: Imagining Change – Women as Agents for Social Justice conference at UNL
Lincoln Area Retired Teachers Association
Lincoln High Social Justice Club
Five classes at Lincoln High
Lincoln Southeast Students for Peace
SECC Multi Ethnic Students Organization
Classes at SECC
Two public forums at the City Campus Union as part of UNL students Civil Liberties Awareness Week in November
ASUN at UNL (which passed a similar resolution in January)
Creighton University panel on civil liberties

Debates with U.S. Attorney Michael Heavican:
Omaha Press Club
Trinity Methodist Church
Southeast High student assembly
Tifereth Israel Synagogue
Downtown Rotary Club

Special events organized:
Crescent Moon Coffeehouse Poetry Reading Against the Patriot Act
Rock Against the Patriot Act fundraiser at Knickerbockers
Fremont Public Library public meeting
Gere Public Library public meeting
Eisley Public Library public meeting
Anderson Public Library public meeting
Bennet Martin Public Library public meeting
Walt Public Library public meeting

July 22 book signing at Nebraska Bookstore for the authors of “Equal Justice in the Balance”

July 22nd public rally against the Patriot Act at the Malone Center

Other places we petitioned:
Lincoln National Coming Out Day at Cooper Park
Hispanic Cultural Celebration
Nebraskans Against the Death Penalty October conference
EN Thompson forum by Omar al-Issawi
EN Thompson forum by Amos Oz
EN Thompson forum by Mary Thompson
Vagina Monologues
Joan Baez concert at the Lied
Bus to April March for Womens Lives rally in Washington, D.C.
Haymarket Farmers Market
Jazz in June
March 20th Coalition for Peace antiwar protest
Stand Up for Community: Rally Against Racism
Star City Parade
Talk by Lela Shanks at Saint Paul Methodist on her experience with discrimination
Showing of documentary Uncovered at the Ross
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Youth Rally
Rally in support of the DREAM Act
UNL Native American cultural celebration
Speech by Nadine Strossen, National ACLU president, at Nebraska Wesleyan
Speech by historian Howard Zinn at Nebraska Wesleyan
The Meeting performance at the Malone Center

Showings of “Fahrenheit 9/11″.

Juneteenth celebration in Trago Park.

*Listing does not signify the group has taken a stand on the “Defense of Liberty Resolution”.