Shameful partisan politics–Censure the President

Following is part of the statement by former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe regarding his being fired.

“But looking at that (the attacks against him) in isolation completely misses the big picture. The big picture is a tale of what can happen when law enforcement is politicized, public servants are attacked, and people who are supposed to cherish and protect our institutions become instruments for damaging those institutions and people.
Here is the reality: I am being singled out and treated this way because of the role I played, the actions I took, and the events I witnessed in the aftermath of the firing of James Comey. The release of this report was accelerated only after my testimony to the House Intelligence Committee revealed that I would corroborate former Director Comey’s accounts of his discussions with the President. The OIG’s focus on me and this report became a part of an unprecedented effort by the Administration, driven by the President himself, to remove me from my position, destroy my reputation, and possibly strip me of a pension that I worked 21 years to earn. The accelerated release of the report, and the punitive actions taken in response, make sense only when viewed through this lens. Thursday’s comments from the White House are just the latest example of this.
This attack on my credibility is one part of a larger effort not just to slander me personally, but to taint the FBI, law enforcement, and intelligence professionals more generally. It is part of this Administration’s ongoing war on the FBI and the efforts of the Special Counsel investigation, which continue to this day. Their persistence in this campaign only highlights the importance of the Special Counsel’s work.”

I have previously written that the President should be censured.  This just adds to the reasons why that needs to be done. I have written my legislators, asking them to do so. In response I got the usual words that didn’t address the question.

“I am asked on a regular basis to respond to something the president has said or done, and I am never shy about offering criticism when it is warranted. I have several weekly calls with Iowa reporters and I do many other public affairs programs in addition to answering inquiries from reporters to my office. You can find audio and video clips as well as other statements of mine at  However, I have no interest in engaging in name calling or unproductive attacks.”  Senator Chuck Grassley, 1/22/2018

“In the United States, governmental censure is done when a body’s members wish to publicly reprimand the President of the United States, a member of Congress, a judge or a cabinet member. It is a formal statement of disapproval.”

It’s Time We Censure Trump for ‘Conduct Unbecoming’ a President by Jonathan Alter, The Daily Beast, 1/12/2018   “Article 133 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. All senior U.S. military personnel—including women— are subject to a court martial for “conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman.” Such conduct includes dishonest, indecent, cruel and dishonorable acts. Article 133 charges require no proof of law-breaking. They can be brought for merely “indecorous” behavior, which means acting like an asinine ignoramus.”


White House

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AFSC, North Korea, and Iowa Yearly Meeting (Conservative) Friends

Video message about the meetings this weekend with American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) staff who work in North Korea, Linda Lewis and Daniel Jasper, to discuss how we might arrange for another visit by a North Korean delegation to Iowa, as happened in 2001. The discussions will occur this Sunday, March 18th, first at 10:00 am at the Bear Creek Friends Meetinghouse 2 miles north of Earlham, Iowa. Then at 4:00 pm at Des Moines Valley Friends Meeting, 42nd and Grand, Des Moines, Iowa.

AFSC article about North Korean ag visit to Iowa Spring 2001 Edited 2

North Korea visit to Bear Creek 2001

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Following are various thoughts about protest.

I have been very moved by the widespread and massive protests related to gun violence in general and school shootings specifically, including yesterday’s actions. I was especially saddened to see that even elementary school students felt the need to participate. Monteverde Friends School in Costa Rica observed 17 minutes of silence for the Parkland school victims yesterday, too.

Rachel Maddow made the important observation that engaging in direct action is usually transformative for the participants. I hope this will be the beginning of these youth continuing to engage in public policies, and widen to other areas such as climate change, racial injustice and economic inequality.

My first protest was transformative for me, and I think most of the other students at Scattergood Friends School, when we all walked from the School into Iowa City, about 12 miles away, to participate in the national Moratorium to Stop the Vietnam War, October 15, 1969. Nation-wide demonstrations against the Vietnam War hastened the end of our involvement there.


Entire Scattergood Friends School marching 12 miles to Iowa City to protest Vietnam War

For protests to be effective there needs to be a well defined goal, a clear message, and strict discipline to adhere to the principles of nonviolence. Training in nonviolence is important. The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) provided this training to hundreds during the civil rights movement of the 1960s. Native Americans required training in nonviolent direct action of everyone who went to Standing Rock.

Student protests and civil rights remind me of the children’s march in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1963, when more than 1000 children marched downtown to talk to the mayor about civil rights.  Fire hoses and dogs were turned against them, and hundreds were arrested.



Dog attacks, sandbag projectiles and spraying water in freezing temperatures were among the tactics used against the water protectors at Standing Rock for months.

In 2013 the Rainforest Action Network (RAN) provided training in organizing and executing nonviolent direct action to about 400 people in 25 cities in the United States as part of the Keystone Pledge of Resistance. Those 400 people then offered a number of training sessions locally, eventually training over 4,000 people. The goal of that campaign was to pressure President Obama to deny the Keystone XL Pipeline permit.



One question that has been raised recently is why there was hardly any support of Black Lives Matter and others protesting police abuse and the killing of unarmed people of color. “Why was it so easy to support the Parkland youths while the youths in the Movement for Black Lives were repudiated and disregarded?” Why It Hurts When the World Loves Everyone but Us, Janaya Khan in The Root. We should have been more supportive then, and have a chance to do so now. I was peripherally involved with the Black Lives Matter group in Indianapolis but could have done more.



The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has a map showing more than 20 states have either passed or are considering legislation to criminalize peaceful protest, instigated by the fossil fuel industry.

Following is information from Ed Fallon about such a bill, SF 2235, that passed the Iowa Senate in February but has stalled in the House. Now some Senators who supported it are having second thoughts.

1. Iowans don’t want this bill — 74% of all Iowans polled in 2015 opposed using eminent domain to build the Dakota Access Pipeline!
2. ETP wants this bill because landowners suing over the abuse of eminent domain have a strong case. Most Iowans agree that the Dakota Access Pipeline isn’t “critical infrastructure.” It’s not at all in the same category as lines carrying water, electricity and gas. We access these services directly and, when they fail, we notice immediately.
3. If ETP gets this bill passed and Iowa landowners lose their lawsuit, it throws open the doors to eminent domain in the future — not just for oil pipelines but for all kinds of private development.
4. The bill would potentially impose extreme penalties for non-violent protest protected under the First Amendment.

ACTION: Call, write, or visit your state representative and senator this week or this weekend!

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Bear Creek Friends Meeting and North Korea

This gallery contains 27 photos.

Originally posted on Quakers, social justice and revolution:
I just wrote about the current interest in the idea of “farm diplomacy” after a couple of editorials were published in the Des Moines Register.  Sept. 1, 2017, Kenneth M Quinn, President…

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Engaging North Korea

AFSC staff who work in North Korea, Linda Lewis and Daniel Jasper, will be talking about their work.  Des Moines Valley Friends Meeting, 42nd and Grand, this Sunday, March 18th, at 4:00 pm. They will also be exploring ways that we can build on the history of the previous visit in 2001 of a North Korean agricultural delegation to Iowa, to see if we can arrange for another North Korean visit now.

AFSC has worked in Korea for over 65 years, and we know that, in the words of Nelson Mandela, “if you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner.” Opportunities exist for cooperation between the U.S. and DPRK even in today’s climate. Contact Congress and the Trump administration and urge them to pursue diplomacy, not war, with North Korea.

Tensions between the U.S. and North Korea are reaching new heights, and the possibility for military conflict is growing. The U.S. continues to avoid direct dialogue with North Korea, instead favoring sanctions and a strong-arm approach to bring North Korea to the table. At the same time, North Korea continues to progress its nuclear and missile capabilities. One small misstep by either side could ignite, in the words of General Joseph Dunford, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, “a loss of life unlike any we have experienced in our lifetimes.”

Contact Congress and the Trump administration and urge them to pursue diplomacy, not war, with North Korea.

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Iowa visit related to North Korea

Daniel Jasper and Linda Lewis, AFSC staff members who are involved with North Korea, will be visiting us in Iowa this weekend.

We have been communicating with them for some months about the possibility of building on the history of the visit of a North Korean agricultural delegation to Iowa in 2001. During that visit the delegation visited the farm of Ellis and Win Standing, and shared a pot luck dinner at Bear Creek meeting. There were other visits, including with Ames meeting, I believe. The Des Moines Register published an open letter to North Korea, inviting another visit to Iowa, several months ago.

Perhaps you can join us at Bear Creek at 10:00 am, Sunday March 18th, where Linda plans to join us for our pre-meeting discussion about opportunities for further engagement with North Korea. Then Sunday afternoon at 4:00 pm, both will give a public presentation about their work in North Korea, at Des Moines Valley Friends meeting.
Jon Krieg has been very helpful in inviting Lynn Hicks, the Des Moines Register opinion editor, to the DMVF presentation. And the plan is for Linda and Daniel to be interviewed on Ed Fallon’s radio program Monday.

Here is a link to a recent article by Daniel:

Here is a link about the previous visit to Iowa, and the letter in the Des Moines Register:


afsc north korea 1

AFSC in North Korea 2016


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Black Lives Matter: NRA is a terrorist organization

The National Rifle Association (NRA) again pushes its extreme interpretation of the Second Amendment by trying to undo Florida’s recent, small move in the direction of sensible gun safety legislation.

“The Black Lives Matter movement slammed the National Rifle Association on Friday after the group filed a lawsuit against the Florida legislation that would raise the age to buy rifles to 21.

Black Lives Matter activists responded to an NRA video that was aired in 2017 featuring images and videos of protesters in Baltimore over the in-custody death of Freddie Gray. The civil rights chapter from Los Angeles fired back with their own video, mocking the NRA’s advertisement by copying their ominous music and lighting.”       Newsweek 3/10/2018

blm nra

NRA video against Black Lives Matter

Black Lives Matter responds

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Introduction to AFSC in North Korea

North Korea has certainly been in the news this past year, first with rising tensions with the United States, then hopeful signs with North Korea’s participation in the winter Olympic games in PyeongChang, South Korea.

Yesterday’s news of a planned meeting between the North Korean leader and the U.S.  President sound hopeful, though no one knows what will eventually come of that.

As I’ve been writing, we are preparing for a visit to Iowa by Linda Lewis and Daniel Jasper from the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), who are involved with agricultural programs in North Korea.  They will be talking about their work and prospects for another visit by a North Korean delegation to Iowa at Des Moines Valley Friends Meeting on Sunday, March 18th at 4:00 PM.  More information here.

I hope you can attend that presentation. The following videos from AFSC might be useful in preparation for that, or just to learn more about AFSC’s work in North Korea.

Introduction to AFSC’s work in North Korea

Improving rice production in North Korea

A walk in Pyongyang, North Korea

A day on the farm in North Korea

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Engaging North Korea: Quaker Work for Peace on the Korean Peninsula

Sunday March 18, 2018   4:00 PM

Des Moines Valley Friends Meeting, 42nd and Grand, Des Moines, Iowa

afsc north korea 1

AFSC delegation visit to North Korea    May 2016

The Quaker-affiliated American Friends Service Committee has been working in North Korea for over three decades; by 1998, AFSC had established an on-going agricultural development project with cooperative farms, and today it is one of only a handful of American NGOs actively engaged in the DPRK.  Linda Lewis, AFSC’s Country Representative for China/DPRK, and Daniel Jasper, AFSC Public Education and Advocacy Coordinator for Asia based in Washington, DC, will discuss AFSC’s program in North Korea, the challenges of working in this isolated nation and the impact of sanctions, and opportunities for peace on the Korean peninsula. 

The American Friends Service Committee is a Quaker organization that includes people of various faiths who are committed to social justice, peace and humanitarian service.  Its work is based on the Quaker belief in the worth of every person and faith in the power of love to overcome violence and injustice.


linda lewis

Linda Lewis, the American Friends Service Committee Country Representative for China/DPRK, is responsible for AFSC’s North Korea program, including its long-standing agricultural development project.   Dr. Lewis is a regular visitor to North Korea and has organized numerous study tours and exchanges outside Korea for DPRK partners.

Linda has spent much of her career living and working on or near the Korean peninsula, including service in South Korea as a Peace Corps Volunteer, a Fulbright grantee and research fellow, and an international program director.

Dr. Lewis received her Ph.D.  from Columbia and taught for many years at Wittenberg University (Ohio), where she was Professor of Anthropology and Director of the East Asian Studies Program.  She has also held visiting appointments at Amherst, Dartmouth, and the University of Washington, and has taught and directed student exchanges at Sogang, Kansai Gaidai and Zhejiang universities in Asia.  Her most recent scholarly publications have focused on the South Korean democracy movement and the politics of memory.

Before joining AFSC in 2010, Dr. Lewis was Vice-President for Academic Affairs at the Institute for Study Abroad – Butler University (Indiana), and Director of Asian and Pacific Studies at the School for International Training-Study Abroad (Vermont).

daniel jasperDaniel Jasper is AFSC’s Public Education and Advocacy Coordinator for Asia. His role is to bring lessons learned from AFSC’s programs throughout Asia back to policymakers in Washington. His current work focuses heavily on the humanitarian, peacebuilding, and people-to-people aspects of U.S.-North Korea relations.

Daniel has ten years of experience working in public policy, advocacy, and international affairs. Prior to joining AFSC, he worked at World Learning, where he administrated the U.S. State Department’s International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP). He has also worked for the Minnesota House of Representatives, the U.S. House of Representatives, and the United Nations, as well as serving as a Paul D. Coverdell Fellow for Democracy North Carolina and Peace Action – North Carolina. Daniel completed two assignments with the Peace Corps (Turkmenistan, 2008-10; St Lucia, 2013-14), where he collaborated with foreign ministries to improve local education standards.

Daniel holds a master’s degree in Public Policy from Duke University and bachelor’s degree in Global Studies, Cultural Studies, and Linguistics from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities.


For more information contact Jeff Kisling,

Iowa Yearly Meeting (Conservative)







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Lynch Quilts Artist Explains

The reason for sharing the disturbing photo I took of one of the quilts in The Lynch Quilts Project was because a friend of mine, Jeff Howell and the artist, LaShawnda Crowe Storm were hosting a discussion about the project at “the brand new ‘Center for Black Literature and Culture’ at Central Library to discuss racism- a part of which is portrayed within the soul-moving ‘Lynch Quilts’ Exhibit.” My photo was taken during the time the quilt was on display at the Central Library in Indianapolis several years ago. The quilts are still in the library until April 1st. There are discussions on Sunday from 12-2 and Wednesday from 6-8 pm until the quilt exhibition ends

Following are two comments LaShawnda posted about the event.

“Thank you both (Jeff Howell and a library staff member) for your support in helping to ensure this history is remembered and helping our community have these difficult conversations.”

“One of the most telling conversations of the day was a family with 2 tween/teen boys that knew nothing of the lynching history. As we talked they began to talk about they felt this was like the police shootings, their fear of the police, etc. They then went to check out books so they could learn more.”

Someone who shared my post summed this up well–“I didn’t even want to look at this, but this is our history, all of us. We need to see and be appalled.”

LaShawnda Crowe Storm does a very good job of explaining this exhibit in the following TED talk.

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