A Very Good Save-the-World Software Development Idea. Please Help Yourself! :-)

Will some brilliant programmer please step up and design a google-type software program that can linguistically analyze and determine a speaker/writer’s cooperative tone and intent?


Your new program could identify and distinguish among those writers/speakers whose communications promote a sense of division, partisanship, negativity, polarization, blame, attack, incivility, rudeness, destructiveness, unfriendly competition, bickering and hate—and those promoting a sense of positivity, creativity, life-affirmation, support, harmony, acceptance, forgiveness, productivity, civility, courtesy, equality of opportunity, caring, cooperation and unity.


Your software could have endless useful and profitable applications. For immediate profitability, please consider using your product for security purposes, to helpfully ward off unfriendly attacks and attackers (of whatever kind) upon individuals and enterprises (of whatever kind.)


Imagine leaders young and old in every field vying for their communications to be screened and certified via your software. Why not simultaneously award a “Truth-bearer” (or some other such logo) “gold seal of approval” identifying individuals and organizations as positive communicators, healers, light-bearers?


Your prestigious and desirable software “accreditation” could motivate many people to investigate and understand the important distinctions between peaceful and contentious communication purposes, and to recognize and encourage humanity-unifying goals as non-threatening and potentially beneficial to all earthlings, while discouraging communications with adversarial, hostile ends. Your software would also surely stoke national dialogue, while heightening awareness about the many distinct (although often confusingly-disguised) differences between helpful and harmful human communications. Your software would take care not to exclude any gentle, friendly, cooperative practitioner of any ideology, religion, political party, nation, organization, affiliation, etc.


One important goal of your software would be to educate. Hopefully, everyone would eventually become enlightened enough to merit universal inclusivity (by acting as good, positive communicators) according to your accrediting software, which might also be developed Wikipedically, or perhaps Amazon-style—i.e., open-sourced, by inviting motivated reviewers and voters opportunities not only to build your site, but also to offer feedback opportunities and provide needed talent to shape and debug upgrades and develop next-generation software.


Recipients of your approving nods (such as Nobel prize winners and mild-mannered third-graders) could proudly display and announce their cherished new affiliation and certification on their websites, on Facebook, business cards, in TV commercials and advertising, on coffee cups, tee-shirts, shopping bags….


Additionally, your software could assist web surfers to more-judiciously select helpfully-screened websites, products and opinions as the very ones they will most benefit from investigating. Perhaps your software could also eventually include a function which would recognize and refute inappropriate co-opters of your symbol of acceptance and stamp of approval—an iterative process that would call out abusers while encouraging more awareness and discussion.


Your software will stimulate lively dialogue; increase the impact and number of creative, thought-provoking, and controversial-but-civil exchanges; reduce (by virtue of indifference and neglect) the quantity and influence of divisive communications arising anywhere in the world; universally improve facility in verbal and mental processing of complexities, innuendo and nuances; and inspire us all to pull together cooperatively to resolve our common personal, local and global problems.


While you're programming, please give extra points for humor?


And if you're not a programmer, but merely a earthlinged, godlinged promosapient like me, please pass this idea on to any similarly-inclined programming/software folk or foundations, or to whomever might be interested!


Thank you…. 🙂


Nancy Pace





















































































An End to Holocausts, Hiroshimas and 9/11s?

Two survivors of the Hiroshima atomic bomb recently came to my fair city to share their stories and plead for an end to nuclear weapons. I now am more persuaded than ever that powerful leaders who order the bombing of civilian populations are as misguided and ineffective in furthering their causes as are terrorists who set off suicide bombs in crowded marketplaces.


In the past, I believed that bombing civilian targets was sometimes necessary to end war and save lives, but now I see that Americans would never accept such a double standard if nuclear bombs were dropped on our cities.


We only ever have two choices in any personal or global conflict: We can choose never to give up trying to find positive solutions, or we can claim to have no choice but to accept negative ones. We can opt for unity, or we can retreat into defensive separateness. We can bravely reach out to come together as one—one couple, one family, one organization, one polity, one world—or we can retreat from the hard work of reaching agreement.


Proponents of “just wars” assure us that violence sometimes offers quicker, surer ways to prevent injustices and insure the survival of the “right” side. Yet this same moral argument is proffered equally fervently by terrorists, who also believe in the “rightness” of their causes. To both of these, I contend that to be “right,” whether individually or nationally, is to be in continuously valiant struggle to live up to the highest, most positive, peaceful, loving universal humanitarian ideals and values.


Sadly, many of us excuse our double standards and immoral choices, both at home and abroad, because “we’re right.”  But we’re not “right,” regardless of our politics, religion, or history, unless we, our families, friends, organizations and nation resolve our conflicts generously, cooperatively, and non-violently. If our solutions to human conflict are violent, harmful and hurtful, we are no longer “right.”


Our justly historically proud and idealistic nation now controls most of the world’s nuclear weapons (making us by far the greatest weapons proliferator and threat to others around the world) yet we see no problem with that, because, after all, “we’re ‘right’.” We even justify a nuclear attack upon Iran, fearing that they may develop, use or proliferate such weapons—because we’re “right.” As the Bruce Ivins / anthrax case and the Air Force’s case of “misplaced” nuclear warheads have taught us, even well-intentioned weapons research and maintenance can be too easily sabotaged. Deadly bioweapons and nuclear devices quickly fall prey not only to human greed and guile, but also to weakness, illness, error, and confusion about the politically “right” thing to do. All this, while fueling ever more danger, fear, more arms races, and more likelihood of proliferation.


During the twentieth century, every peaceful, diplomatic effort that has ever received anything like the openhanded financial and political backing which war receives has been successful. Such political compromises, however frustrating and dissatisfying they may feel at the time, always seem presciently wise and politically courageous in retrospect.


Wars cannot prevent catastrophes; war itself is a catastrophe, as attested by all those whose lives are touched by war. Soldiers and soldiers’ families are always catastrophically exploited by war. Ninety percent of the victims of war are civilians. We who so proudly march into war have no idea what future injustices those wars will inevitably loose upon innocents on all sides.


The belief that war can prevent injustices is a powerful, well-funded myth. War may prevent a few specific, immediate injustices, but it always creates many more unpredicted and terrible ones. Tragically, we let every generation forget that, whether or fight or not, some great injustices inevitably are suffered, and some people die. Millions of Jews and other innocents died in WWII despite gargantuan war efforts on all sides, and many more died because of them. In wartime as in peacetime, countries come together and apart, tyrants rise and fall. The price of liberty—and its best guarantor—is never war, but eternal, active, courageous, peaceful vigilance. For what does freedom mean, if not the freedom to live and let others livein peace? Our God-given right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness—a right shared by all peoples everywhere—rests inevitably upon others’ good will.


War cannot keep us safe. War cannot prevent human injustices. Even under the best of circumstances, human nature being what is it and human conflicts being inevitable, life will always be fragile, difficult, and uncertain. In today’s (and tomorrow’s) fast-shrinking, intricately intertwined, and insanely violent world, life on earth itself is at risk.


The only moral choice about nuclear weapons that any nation has in today’s increasingly complex and violent world is to take the courageous lead in disarming. Such a decision is no different than any of the other difficult moral decisions we make every day. They all come down to one of two choices: whether to live positively or negatively, hopefully or cynically, bravely or fearfully, in faith or in despair.


Regardless of the size and nature of the conflict, whether personal or political, local or global, we can always choose cooperation over competition, unity over division, hope over cynicism, brotherhood over partisanship, and forgiveness over vengeance.


We can always choose faith, hope and love over fear, defensiveness, and retribution. We can choose whether to add to the sum of injustices by fearfully arming ourselves enough to destroy our beautiful blue planet many times over, mistreating our neighbors as they mistreat us, or we can support only peaceful leaders everywhere, seek compromises, listen to all viewpoints, and steadfastly reject that greatest injustice and attack upon freedom, which is war itself.


I’m not brave enough to be a total pacifist; I would defend my family, friends and neighbors from bad guys climbing in our windows and knocking down our doors, and maybe I’m wrong in this. But such scenarios are far less likely if we elect peaceful leaders who maintain strong local militias, and then spend the rest of our so-called “defense” budget redressing local, national and international injustices, and supporting great projects dear to the hearts of our so-called “enemies.” Everyone knows that the best way to get rid of an enemy is to make him a friend.


Albert Einstein famously warned us that no nation on earth can simultaneously prevent and prepare for war. Certainly, maintaining the mightiest military force in the history of the world has not prevented us from being continually embroiled in wars.


We are all conditioned to believe that being “right” about ourselves, our politics, traditions and religions, is more important than living and letting others live in peace. We have to be “right” about so many things—about who the bad guys are, who started it, who was at fault, what happened, who meant well and who didn’t, who did what to whom, whose ideology or form of government or religion is superior….


The truth is, in this confusing world, it’s difficult to find agreement even amongst our best friends and those most “like” us, about what life is all about—what we’re doing here, and how best to look upon the world, ourselves, and one another. Even the greatest scholars realize that the more they know, the more they know they don’t know. This is why, in every conflict, humility, acceptance, mutual respect, support, and yes, forgiveness, are the wisest guides to being “right.”


Some day, they will give a war and no one will come. Each of us will either continue to insist upon being “right” and in control (both illusions in this multicultural nuclear age) or hold ourselves to that highest universal standard, the Golden Rule, which treats all others kindly as we would wish to be treated. When more and more of us make this shift to respect and support for human life everywhere, we will enter a more harmonious age.


In this age of climate change and peak oil, the great work of peaceful global transformation is urgent. Wars over oil already rage in Iraq, Darfur, and Georgia, and other global scarcities such as water threaten increasing conflict. Our mother Earth is sick and reaching crisis. Einstein famously predicted, “I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.”


Fortunately, researchers have learned a lot about how to resolve human conflicts peacefully. Amish and Quaker Christians and other historically peaceful communities have shown us that peaceful cultures are possible, and now, across the globe, great moral leaders demonstrate the proven arts and skills of peaceful conflict resolution. It’s time we learned what they know, and time to spread that knowledge around.


Hatred begets more hatred; this is immutable law. Until we lead the global paradigm shift away from division and toward brotherhood, exploiting the potential of our great institutions and media in the service of peace and justice, we and our progeny will increasingly be at risk for more crime, more injustices, wars and terrorism, more Holocausts, 9/11s, Hiroshimas and Nagasakis. Neither love nor fear are simple, obvious or guaranteed approaches to resolving human conflict, but at this late date, only one has any chance of succeeding.


Please send your comments to njcpace@gmail.com. Thank you!








Roadmap to Peace

Peaceful political arrangements in the Middle East are a good place to start, but real and lasting peace will come only when, one-by-one, we in the United States and Iran and Iraq and China and Israel and Palestine and everywhere else, we Christians and Jews and Muslims and Buddhists and atheists alike, first humbly strive to embrace peace in our own hearts, endure injustices without adding to their sum, renounce violent resolution of conflicts, and offer to all others in this and every nation that same forgiveness, acceptance, and love we so long for ourselves (the universal “Golden Rule.”)

Questioning the Wisdom of Secret Biowarfare Research at Fort Detrick, MD

The Expansion of Biowarfare Research
Laboratories at USAMRIID, Fort Detrick:

A Call to attend a Public Forum before the Frederick Board of
County Commissioners (BOCC)
Monday, November 19 at 7 pm, 1st Floor Meeting Room,
Winchester Hall 12 East Church Street Frederick

This is
the time, the only public opportunity to persuade our Commissioners
that we want them to obtain a Court Review of the USAMRIID Environmental Impact
Statement. A court review will hold the Federal Government accountable for complying with
NEPA- the National Environmental Policy Act, which is designed to protect communities
from development harmful to health and safety.
The Commissioners are holding this public forum
to hear from us about the public health,
safety and environmental concerns associated with the expansion of biological research
laboratories at Fort Detrick. USAMRIID is planned to be the cornerstone of a massive
expansion of such laboratories, involving at least 6 different Federal agencies on what would
be named the National Interagency Biodefense Campus (NIBC). NIBC would occupy 200
acres at Fort Detrick. This would be by far the largest biowarfare research complex in the

What can you do?

Come to the forum, whether or not you plan to speak. We need to fill the room! You
will learn a lot about the issue, and your presence is very important.
Learn more (resources and contacts below), and consider speaking. This meeting is
about the need for a court review, because health, safety and environmental impacts are
properly addressed in the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).
NEPA requires, and the
USAMRIID EIS does not:

Evaluate alternate, less densely populated locations for these labs.
Provide a comprehensive evaluation of the cumulative impacts of the entire National
Interagency Biodefense Campus.

Address the many burdens upon our community’s public health, safety, growth, taxes and

Use your own unique background to talk about your concerns in your own words. Comments
will be limited to five (5) minutes per speaker and ten (10) minutes for recognized organizations.

Persuade everyone you know to come to the forum! Pass this on, BUT– talking
to people is much more effective!

E-mail the commissioners and tell them what you think. If you can’t come, tell
them you would be there if you could…..
Jan Gardner: jgardner@fredco-md.net David Gray:
Kai Hagen: khagen@fredco-md.net Charles Jenkins: chjenkins@fredco-md.net Lenny
lthompson@fredco-md.net. Send letters to the editor: letters@newspost.com

Learn More:
Informational meeting, open to all
: Viewing of recent PBS
documentary “The Living Weapon”, followed by discussion of the current situation
. 7 pm Monday
in the Notre Dame Room, Parish Center of St. John the Evangelist Church, 118 East 2nd St
Frederick. The parish center is two buildings to the right of the church. Sponsored by St John’s Peace
and Justice Committee
August 24, 2007

“It has been pointed out to me, by those that have read it thoroughly, that the Environmental Impact
Statement (EIS) for the USAMRIID expansion does not adequately examine the following very
important question:
Why has an alternate location for the new BSL 3 and BSL 4 labs not been thoroughly examined? This
would be an ideal time to move these labs. They have been a source of concern in this county for
years. They will house the most dangerous pathogens known to man (ie Ebola, Marburg, etc).
Presently they are planned to be again located in the high population area where Fort Detrick is now
located. Public safety fears would be greatly alleviated if they were moved to a more remote and safe
I understand that the EIS is now subject to a court review if requested. I am willing to call for such a
court review before construction commences. I have also been informed that such a review by the
courts was requested when BSL 4 labs were planned to be installed at Boston University which is in a
similar high population area. In that case, in 2006, both the Massachusetts state court as well as the
U.S. District Court ordered that the labs not be operated until alternate (less populated sites) are
properly considered, and simulation of real-world disease transmission is properly analyzed. (This risk
analysis is expected to address in detail the potential threats to the community arising from the use of
several BSL 4 agents that are planned to be studied in the Boston labs. This risk analysis will examine
the effects of a laboratory-acquired infection of a laboratory worker with Ebola; the transportation of a
vector-borne agent, such as tick-borne encephalitis; an aerosol event involving a hemorrhagic fever;
and the use of rDNA in monkey pox.) Our situation in Frederick County seems very similar.
In October 2001 there was an anthrax attack on postal workers, members of congress and the media,
resulting in 5 deaths. This was the first known biological attack on US citizens. It is widely believed
that the source of that anthrax (the Ames strain) was Ft Detrick.
Last December I and four other County Commissioner were sworn into office and we took an oath to
“Preserve and protect the health, safety and welfare of the citizens of Frederick County”. I am
committed to that oath.”

Much more information is available about this issue. Contact:
Beth Willis:
Barry Kissin: barrykissin@hotmail.com. The BOCC obtaining a Court Review has been
endorsed by: Citizens for Quality of Life, Friends of Frederick County, St. John the Evangelist Peace and Justice
Committee, Sierra Club Catoctin Group, the Fort Detrick Watchdog Group, Women in Black Frederick, the Frederick
Peace Resource Center, FredPac, and many many citizens like you.

Breach of trust
Originally published November 07, 2007
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By Katherine Heerbrandt

A week before Sen. Barbara Mikulski visited Frederick County extolling the economic promise of Fort Detrick's expansion, Keith Rhodes, chief technologist for the Government Accountability Office, told members of Congress that the proliferation of high-level biolabs raises serious questions about public safety.
“The more BSL-4 labs there are, the more opportunity for mistakes and the more opportunities for release,” Rhodes told the House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations on Oct. 4.
Since 9/11 the number of labs researching the most virulent pathogens — those with no cure — grew from two to 15. With no central oversight of the growing number of labs, and disincentives inherent in reporting safety breaches, the security and operations of BSL-3 and BSL-4 labs are in question.
The oversight of these labs is “fragmented and relies on self-policing. High-risk labs have health risks for individual lab workers as well as the surrounding community. The risks due to accidental exposure or release can never be completely eliminated, and even labs within sophisticated biological research programs, including those most extensively regulated, have had and will continue to have safety failures,” Rhodes said.
Burning to spend the billions unleashed for biodefense research, the feds rushed to act with little consideration of the consequences. A sadly familiar refrain.
The U.S. Army War College's 2005 “Assessing Biological Weapons and Bioterrorism Threat” concludes money was spent with no analysis of the bioterrorism threat, which it called “systematically and deliberately exaggerated” by this administration.
More probable than a bioterrorist attack is that we infect ourselves by theft, design or mishap. With every new lab opened, every square foot added, the risk increases, according to the GAO.
The Associated Press produced an interactive map that reveals biolab breaches in the U.S. (http://hosted.ap.org/specials/interactives/wdc/biohazards/)
As recently as June, anthrax bacteria was found on a freezer handle, light switch and shoes in a changing room at USAMRIID.
With stories of accidents, breaches of protocol and incompetence from biolabs emerging with disturbing regularity, Detrick's refusal to participate in a public meeting isn't surprising.
Why subject itself to more national attention when biolabs are under assault?
The request came from County Commissioner David Gray, who issued a statement in August saying that federal officials ignored policy in their Environmental Impact Statement by not seeking alternate sites for the labs.
Detrick agreed to meet, then backed out, offering a private meeting with county commissioners. Gray wanted to bring community members and the press. Detrick declined that offer, too.
Detrick has already done its duty, says spokesperson Eileen Mitchell, providing ample opportunity for public comment and complying with federal regulations.
Maybe they weren't counting on anyone actually reading the EIS, but local attorney Barry Kissin and Beth Willis have made a thorough study of it, culminating in a 17-page statement including tough questions for Detrick officials. At best, the EIS is a cursory attempt to comply with federal guidelines. At worst, it ignores documented breaches and blithely concludes that any danger is “negligible.”
The lack of serious effort in such a critical report is yet another example of the arrogance characterizing the federal government's tactics in the name of keeping America safe from terrorists.
Wave the flag and our brains shut down?
Undeterred by Detrick's refusal, Gray will have his forum at 7 p.m. on Nov. 19 at Winchester Hall. But it will take more than the usual 20 to 25 regulars to convince a majority of commissioners that the EIS is severely flawed and deserves a court review.
It's your last chance. Make it count. kheerbrandt@yahoo.com

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Why a Court Review on the USAMRIID Expansion?  
What would it do, and why support it?
The people and government of Frederick County need a court review of the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the USAMRIID expansion, because the FEIS does not comply with The National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA).   A court review would provide an independent, binding assessment and judgment about the specific ways the FEIS does not meet NEPA requirements in assessing whether Frederick is an appropriate location for these laboratories, and for adequately evaluating the health and safety issues these laboratories would bring to the community.
The purpose and spirit of NEPA requirements assume that a full and thorough environmental assessment is needed to properly make fundamental decisions about site location and risk mitigation.  A complete and thorough analysis of alternative sites is required in order to compare those alternative sites, leading to:
¨      information adequate enough for local elected officials to develop a full and informed understanding of  impacts, risks and issues
¨      information adequate enough for  citizens of the county and other affected parties to do the same
¨      a sound decision on the proper site, based on legally specified health, safety, environmental  and economic factors
The current FEIS does not provide the information needed for decision-makers to determine if these programs should be located in Frederick County.  It does not provide the information needed for officials and citizens to be adequately informed about the risks and impacts, as intended by NEPA.
A court review would, at a minimum, address the following NEPA-related FEIS defects:
¨      the failure during the FEIS process to squarely address fundamental issues raised repeatedly, verbally and in writing by residents of the community.
¨      the failure to properly identify alternatives sites, including one in a less populated area.
¨      the failure to provide credible and serious evaluations and comparisons of such alternatives.
¨      the failure to analyze the cumulative environmental impacts of the entire National Interagency Biodefense Campus (NIBC). Facilities for NIH, DHS, USDA, CDC, BRAC (Naval and Army Bio-Labs), as well as USAMRIID are planned to be located on NIBC. NEPA clearly requires a “Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement” (PEIS) with respect to the NIBC, which has never been done.  Rather, there have been only cursory references to the full program in the USAMRIID EIS.
¨      the failure to adequately analyze the environmental impact of  BSL-3 and BSL-4 pathogens escaping from containment.
¨      the failure to evaluate potential environmental impacts of genetic engineering of BSL-3 and BSL- 4 pathogens.  The Army’s own regulations specifically refer to genetic engineering as an action that demands evaluation for potential impacts.
¨      the failure to explain in specific detail how the cumulative program would satisfy its water requirements, which would at least double the current water requirements of the Fort.
¨      the failure to analyze potential scenarios related to transport of bio-agents to and from facility and failure to include a threat and vulnerability analysis for a terrorist attack or infiltration.
Tell our County Commissioners:
You want them to obtain a Court Review
of the latest Fort Detrick Biocontainment laboratory expansion Environmental Impact Statement.
Women In Black, Frederick commends Commissioner David Gray for his statement questioning the thoroughness of the Environmental Impact Statement  (EIS) on the proposed USAMRIID expansion, especially as it pertains to site location, and calling for a court review of the EIS before construction commences.
The function of the planned Biosafety Level 4 labs scheduled for construction as part of the expansion is to house experiments on infectious pathogens for which there is neither vaccine nor cure. Activities planned at some of the new Fort Detrick labs include the acquisition, growth, modification, storage and packaging of those pathogens most adaptable to being used as bioweapons.
One does not need to read voluminous documents to question the wisdom of locating such a facility in a highly populated area of robust growth such as Frederick County, especially in light of the previous record of failed safety procedures and accidents. This is a rational and logical question and one the citizens of Frederick County cannot afford to take lightly. Once built, this facility will be a permanent part of our community environment. Do we really want to risk the health and safety of our families?  Many accidents at such labs have recently been in the news.  Congress is now holding hearings investigating safety failures in the nation’s 400+ biowarfare laboratory system, for which Frederick will be Headquarters. 
We thank Commissioner Gray for his integrity and commitment to his oath of office,  “to preserve and protect the health, safety and welfare of the citizens of Frederick County.” We urge all our elected officials to meet this same standard, and we urge all Frederick County residents to hold them to that standard.
Please contact ALL of our County Commissioners now, and tell them you want them to protect our health and safety by calling for a legally binding, impartial Court Review of the Army’s USAMRIID expansion Environmental Impact Statement.  Tell them you want them to act on our behalf, and hold the Federal Government accountable for complying with the requirements of the National Environmental Protection Act, which is designed to protect communities from development that is harmful to health and safety. 

Call: : (301) 600-9000   Email:
Jan Gardner: jgardner@fredco-md.net
David Gray:  dgray@fredco-md.net
Kai Hagen: khagen@fredco-md.net
Charles Jenkins: chjenkins@fredco-md.net
Lenny Thompson: lthompson@fredco-md.net

A Fair Trade


I hereby offer a hypothetical “deal” to all the many deeply caring anti-abortion activists, such that we equally concerned anti-war activists will agree to give up all violence against the unborn, in exchange for their equivalent agreement to resist the use of violence upon those already born—whether through war, torture, abuse, poverty, neglect, anger, vengeance, retaliation, punishment, or any other form of violence. When we can all agree to respect and protect human life from all forms of violence, agreeing to use only non-violent means to resolve our conflicts, we will together build a culture of peace where respect and support for human life everywhere is the highest moral value. 







Please send your comments to nancy.pace@adelphia.net 


A Department of Peace?

“The people of the world genuinely want peace. Some day, the leaders of the world are going to have to give in and give it to them.”- Dwight D. Eisenhower



A cabinet-level Department of Peace is a fundamentally conservative idea.  Peace in America and throughout the world has become an urgently practical mainstream goal for generations of Americans wishing to conserve lives, resources, good will, money, health, our American ideals, principles, and values, our traditional way of life, our environment, and our talents, time, energy, and property.

There is no reason why the long-held American dream of “peace in our time” should not be the business of government. According to our Constitution, a good government supports domestic tranquility, a more perfect union, justice, the common defense, the general welfare, and the blessings of liberty. Without a citizenry and leadership skilled in non-violent resolution of conflict, all these goals are doomed to failure.


If we don’t stand for peace, what do we stand for?


What better way to show our heartfelt appreciation and support for our troops’ past and future selfless service, what better way to express our debt of gratitude, than to give them a Department of Peace charged with partnering with our military, diplomatic, and political leadership to insure that American soldiers never again march into ill-planned unnecessary wars?


Department of Peace legislation could be the unifying, groundbreaking, even visionary legacy needed by the Bush presidency.


Most importantly, a Department of Peace promises an effective new approach for solving our nation’s biggest and most costly problem—domestic and international violence.


Despite our many prisons, laws, and police forces, despite our huge nuclear and conventional arsenals, our vast military and seemingly limitless expenditures for espionage, we are less safe with every passing day.


America cannot shoot its way out of a world full of angry, well-armed enemies and criminals. Growing cycles of hatred, injustice, and violence increasingly threaten the very survival of mankind. Even with pre-emptive action, military solutions to global conflict are insufficient to keep even our own small part of the world safe and stable, unless we add to our military technologies the many equally sophisticated, powerful, and field-tested “technologies” of non-violent conflict resolution and pro-active peace-building.


Cooperative, harmonious relationships, rather than being a religious or utopian ideal, are a practical goal critical to our national security. The enormous costs of domestic and international violence—to our children, American society, and the world—are unsustainable. The World Health Organization estimates that the effects of domestic violence in the U.S. annually cost us over $300 billion. Annual defense expenditures in the U.S. top $600 billion. Roughly 100 million lives have been lost during the 20th century to war. We can sustain neither a desirable standard of living nor our beloved freedoms at our current levels of spending.


Yet the problems we face in a violent, unstable world relentlessly compound.


A cabinet-level Department of Peace, established with the equivalent of 2% of the annual budget for the Department of Defense, will analyze the root causes of violence including war, giving credibility and voice to non-violent, relationship-building conflict-resolution methods—resulting in less crime and war, fewer criminals and enemies, and thus, money to spend (or save!) for other urgent priorities like environmental protection, education, and health care.


To be sure, human conflict will always be a natural, even beneficial part of life, offering challenges necessary to growth and change. On the other hand, violent responses to conflict are nearly always inadequate and harmful in the long run. We can learn (and teach) different responses to conflict as readily as we have taught and learned destructive ones. War and violence are not inevitable. In fact, they are arguably the greatest threat to our nation and to mankind. The causes of violence, like the causes of disease, can be culturally eradicated one-by-one.


Our present approach to national defense is not working. We are very strong in conventional military operations, but weak in alliance-building (win-win negotiations and diplomacy) and very weak in the use of the many innovative non-violent peace-building technologies already available for addressing both domestic and international conflicts.


The common goal of all security departments—Defense, State, Homeland Security, and Peace—is to insure peace and stability. Their primary differences lie in their different strategies for achieving their common goal. A strong military force can be a deterrent, but without a cabinet-level Department of Peace, political leaders of all stripes too often allow war profiteers to rush them unwittingly into wars of aggression, greed, and domination, or turn too quickly to military forces to resolve political problems. A Department of Peace offers a strong counterweight to such commonplace misuse of our vast military might.


In this dangerous world, strong U.S. leadership can be invaluable in keeping the peace. Instead of arrogance which costs us allies, we can show the world through our support for a Department of Peace that our highest ideals and intentions lie in playing a peacekeeping role.


A Secretary of Peace can nurture a growing culture of peace both nationally and internationally, partnering with the President and his cabinet to provide cultural information and alternative strategies for every possible conflict area in the world, asking hard questions when war seems inevitable, and preventing, reducing, ameliorating, and de-escalating conflicts before they boil over into deadly violence. An Academy of Peace equivalent to our highly-respected military academies will research, evaluate, and teach alternative non-violent responses to conflict.


Domestically, a Department of Peace will support and disseminate best practices originating in neighborhood and faith-based programs, addressing drug and alcohol problems, crime, incarceration and recidivism, the spread of weapons, school bullying and violence, gangs, racism, ethnic and homophobic intolerance, child, elder, and spousal abuse, immigration pressures, and other domestic violence problems, through proven programs of peer mediation, violence-prevention counseling, restorative justice, and other successful non-violent approaches. Such grassroots efforts will, in turn, inform and inspire national policy.


Scattering leadership for peace-building and diplomatic efforts over various departments has not worked. Why not? Because peace-building technologies require the serious institutional heft, importance, and backing of a national platform.


Americans who hate war and who want to leave to future generations the same land of plenty, possibility, and freedom they have been privileged to enjoy have an opportunity to work with our many peace professionals—whether military, diplomatic, Republican, Democratic, or Independent—to institutionalize the pursuit of peace promised in our founding documents by urging the passage of H.R. #808 establishing a Department of Peace.


Peace-building through non-violent responses to conflict, like other historical grass-roots movements (e.g., civil rights, women’s suffrage, emancipation of slaves, etc.) may not have seemed obvious at first, but it is America’s best hope.  


“Through our scientific genius we have made of the world a neighborhood,” said Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. “Now through our moral and spiritual genius we must make it a brotherhood.”


In today’s small, interconnected world, that which we do to others will always come back to help us or to harm us, as we have chosen. We cannot avoid all injustices, but we can seek to avoid adding to their sum. We no longer have the choice of changing or not changing. Our choice now is whether to change for the better, or for the worse. We have risked war. It is time to risk peace.






Please send comments to nancy.pace@adelphia.net. Thank you!  🙂 


The World Needs Healing Now, and So Do We

The world needs healing. We feel divided from ourselves, from the world, and from God.
Yet our own personal healing can only begin when we choose to heal others first; that’s just the way healing works. The magic that happens when we forgive others is the very thing that helps us forget and move on.
Minimally, people are irritating. (This includes us!) Many will break our hearts, or even kill us. Yet, when we look at each person and each situation more gently, when we let go of our resentments, give others slack, let up on others' human mistakes, however grievous, we begin to notice that we’re not so hard on ourselves anymore either.
In his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, “Ye have heard that it hath been said, ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbor and hate thine enemy.’ But I say unto you, love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you.”
Why would Jesus say this?
He was teaching us how to heal one another and ourselves.
So where in the world do we start, in this business of easing up on others, and ultimately, ourselves?
We can begin by forgiving everyone else’s indifference to our own lost hopes, dreams, loves, and opportunities, our deepest sorrows and regrets. When we do, our own apathy and indifference to the plight and suffering of others everywhere will begin to dissipate.
We can stop fretting about the stupid or terrible ways others obliviously act out their fears of loss, death, suffering, disappointment, humiliation, deprivation, cruelty, and loss of control—and find ourselves bravely facing and addressing our own fears.
We can overlook the foolishness people go through to hide behind their masks and walls—and find ourselves extending our hands and hearts outside our own comfort zones.
We can stop criticizing the selfishness that tears apart families and nations and our small blue planet, ruining millions of lives—and let go of our own failures of compassion, giving freely instead, as we have received.
We can let go of others’ self-absorbed rudeness and anxiety (born of the belief that life-is-tough-and-then-you-die)—and find ourselves peacefully within safe, loving circles of unity and oneness.
We can stop being indignant because others think they know, they’re right, they’re sure about how things should work, and how everyone should live—and become secure in our own attitudes of acceptance and humility.
We can stop disapproving of others’ mistake-ridden beliefs, traditions, politics, and cultures—and transform our own fallible and all-too-human personal belief systems and institutions.
We can forgive all who frighten, hate, and angrily misuse us—and forget our own fear, hatred, anger, and abuse.
We can pardon the world its smallness, ignorance, and prejudice—and find within ourselves the loving power of the whole universe.
We can absolve all who have killed or maimed our loved ones in the names of mysterious causes—and free ourselves from our own confused complicity in others’ pain.
We can respect others’ blind loyalties to tribe, nation, race, ideology, religion, class, gender—and embrace our commonalities: one Life, one Love, one Self, one Source.
We can bear with others’ grave and/or foolish past and future mistakes—and live joyously together in the present.
We can let pass others’ weak faith—and grow closer in our shared search for understanding and peace.
We can empathize with others for seeming so far from God and man—and heal our own sense of separation.
We can stop blaming leaders for their many failures, and start speaking out, lifting up, taking risks, and failing and succeeding responsibly, publicly, courageously.
We can release others’ guilt for mistreating us—and drop our own defenses, treating others as we wish to be treated.
We can stop hating God for messing up our lives and mis-creating the world—and start listening for His guiding Voice, and recognizing His bountiful, diverse Creation, perfect exactly as it is.
We can forgive the world, reclaim our ideals and our love, and move on to heal the world as we have been healed.



Saddam Hussein’s Hanging, The Bush Administration, Forgiveness, and Happy New Year

Saddam Hussein, who is very much one of God’s beloved, fallible children (just like the rest of us) met his death with dignity and courage.


If all such world leaders who wreak ill-conceived, reckless, needless mayhem, who destroy innocent lives in their ambitious pursuit of influence and power, deserve such grisly ends, then some of our current world leaders ought to be feeling a bit queasy just about now.


A fully-functioning Department of Peace (see www.thepeacealliance.org ) would do much to make such dismal futures less likely for all.


There is a lot of irony in the sad fact that we’ve spent hundreds of billions of hard-earned and greatly-needed tax dollars to kill off one violent despotic regime in Iraq, simply in order to install another one equally unpopular and equally dependent upon maintaining its power via the same undemocratic brutish means—armies and secret prisons and assassinations and torture. Why else would we need to send ever more armies into Iraq to prop them up?


The Bush administration sold us their disastrously costly war by drumming up American fears of an evil madman imminently threatening U.S. citizens, yet not only could we not find such weapons, we couldn’t even pull off a demonstrably “democratic” (i.e., fair) trial convincingly proving that Saddam Hussein indeed deserved death by hanging for even one single alleged killing spree.


The west is absolutely accountable for forcibly creating a country called “Iraq” from out of many original tribes, and for supporting their own preferred despot, Saddam Hussein, with only a single aim: to keep cheap oil pumping west. When Saddam later thumbed his nose in the direction of his original kingmakers (Rumsfeld/Cheney et.al.) they were so incensed that they were willing to do anything and everything to depose and replace him with yet another (hopefully more loyal) crony—regardless of how despotic and evil—again with their sole goal of keeping cheap oil pumping west. (The Bush administration recently reclassified all their original distasteful and disgraceful historical machinations with Saddam Hussein in order to cover up their bloody incestuous tracks.) What a grievous waste in every sense—human, material, political, financial, spiritual—this terrible war has been.


And to think that all we ever had to do was humbly stand in line to pay for oil at the market price, just like every other country.


The “war-for-democracy-and-for-love-of-Iraqis” notion came up briefly only when the American public (and, probably, our still-innocent and idealistic president) could no longer stomach the evil-Saddam-imminent-weapons-fear-thing. Rather than admit that this had always been a war about oil, Cheney/Rumsfeld used Rice to convince Bush (and the public) that continuing the war in order to spread democracy and save Iraqis (at least the ones who weren’t currently shooting at us) was important and necessary. Now they’re finally admitting, at least to one another and to a few others, that this war is indeed a smarmy geopolitical struggle for power, money, resources, and influence; that admission, however, doesn’t make the war any more wise or moral.


Democracy cannot be spread by war, just as peace can only arise from peace. We aging hippies used to say in the 60’s that fighting for peace is like fucking for chastity….


We need to begin acting like Americans again. We need to generously support peaceful leaders everywhere, and use our power and influence in ways that demonstrate our highest, most deeply American ideals. We need to stop acting like big bullies, and rebuild international good will with generosity and acceptance and statesmanship and diplomacy. We need to build up our economy ethically, and base our businesses and long-term trade partnerships on mutual advantage, not unbridled greed, power, and indifference. Peace on earth will come only when each of us learns to offer peace. And yes, we need to be the ones to go first, to take the first step, because we are still the most powerful, most envied, most influential nation on earth.


We can still use multilateral international police forces well-trained in non-violent intervention as necessary to lock up and re-educate violent criminals of all stripes. But we must simultaneously teach our next generation (every child on this small blue planet) to live peacefully with one another, to share, to love our mother earth, and to live and work morally, generously, and sustainably. (Again, please consider the beautiful Department of Peace proposed legislation already supported by 75+ congressional leaders, at www.thepeacealliance.org ).


The world of the future will not be one of vengeance and anger, but one of reconciliation and forgiveness (if it is to be, at all.) Human beings—we ourselves, as well as Saddam Hussein, George Bush, all those we love and all those we fear–each of us–will always make mistakes. Of course we should be held accountable. Of course we should see the grief we have caused others, and learn to regret our mistakes and make amends. But just as I would rather not be condemned or tortured or killed or thrown in prison forever for the harm I’ve done in my life (frankly, I’d really rather be forgiven, and supported in doing better) so too do I hope that in this new year and in all the coming new years, we will all learn to live and love and forgive others their trespasses, as we would have others forgive us our own, and then move on to build a new world, together, with love.




Please send your comments to nancy.pace@adelphia.net . Thank you!






Last-Minute Dithering Before I Cast My Ballot

Leaders throughout history have terrified citizens into going to war by hinting at unverifiable secret knowledge that is so terrifying it can’t be told without compromising national defense, knowledge which insidiously “necessitates” encroachment upon civil freedoms until power finally comes to reside far away from the people.


The vote in November really does come down to whether we move rapidly toward a police state, or work our way steadily toward a peace state.


As President Bush continues to aggrandize his growing illegal kingly powers through “signing statements” and other such indignities, he is lurking  in the deepening shadows of that police state, where my not-so-brave little blog—and many others far braver—will flicker out, replaced by a cornucopia of Roveish to Limbaughesque blog options.


My vote this time will go only to those having track records of resisting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, who are urging an end to war now.


Withdrawing from Iraq while protecting Iraqi allies, and while righting, as best we can, the wrongs we have inflicted upon this tragically exploited nation, is an expensive, complicated proposition we must undertake immediately.


Alternatively, if we continue to spend $2 billion a week warring on Iraq, we can:


  • “have our troops come under attack every 15 minutes;
  • spawn new legions of terrorists who rise up against the overspending;
  • destroy what was left of the Iraqi infrastructure;
  • create a civil war for our own amusement and then shake our heads at their violence;
  • traumatize the lives of innocent Iraqi children;
  • kill hundreds of thousands of innocent people;
  • secretly set up state-of-the-art torture chambers;
  • use lots of toxic chemicals to ensure that the land and water are destroyed;
  • test our latest weaponry on real live targets;
  • illegally imprison innocent people for years;
  • listen to the fear spin that is the Bush administration mantra;
  • watch our national integrity rapidly erode, and
  • feel the disintegration of our own humanity as we turn a blind eye to the crimes we commit.

 Now is not the time to turn that blind eye or to remain silent. Fear does not have to rule, and peace is a cost-effective and far less deadly alternative.”*


I will also be looking for leaders willing to invest heavily in peace, including a cabinet-level Department of Peace (see www.thepeacealliance.org) as well as leaders who will keep people safe at home, outlaw torture now with no exceptions, support court review of all government spying, reduce our dependence on oil, and support safe, legal immigration.


*Many thanks to Nancy Arnold of Union Bridge, MD, from whose recent Letter-to-the-Editor of The Frederick News-Post the above excellent quoted points were taken.






Please send comments to nancy.pace@adelphia.net








Today’s Muslims: More “christian” Than Christians?

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People everywhere, many Americans included, have begun to think of Muslims as more “christian” than many Christians—in the traditional sense of “christian spirits” that are loving, forgiving, pious, selfless, gentle, kind, and peaceful in their attitudes toward other human beings.
While most Americans still aspire to such qualities, we are today viewed globally as both culturally and politically rather more mean-spirited than christian-spirited. Many foreigners now see Americans as greedy and materialistic, and think of America as an arrogant young nation that tries to tell others how to live, that foolishly and hurtfully pushes its culture, economics and politics onto unwilling others.
If Osama bin Laden had wanted to increase world awareness of past and present American support for regime changes, friendly tyrannies, and repression of democratic movements around the world, he succeeded brilliantly, even though few Americans are even aware of these sad and distinctly un-“christian” exploitations in support of American corporate interests.
And if Osama bin Laden had wanted to stir up empathy for Islam, he could hardly have dreamed up anything more brilliant than our current bloody military adventuring in the Middle East. Ignoring all expertise, we’ve turned a criminal, political, social and economic problem—terrorism—into a military one, barging willy-nilly into a very un-christian war against peaceful people who never threatened us.
But Osama’s biggest bang for his comparatively small, if immensely tragic, PR. buck was sending our reading public—most of whom previously couldn’t find Iraq or even Israel on a map—scrambling for best-sellers about Islam. Because, sometime during the last five years, Americans finally noticed that Muslim cultures, although very different from ours, are, in fact, very “christian” in ways we greatly admire—along with having many unique shortcomings, like every culture.
For example, many Americans are motivated by their christian spirits to protect women’s rights to equality—to enter any profession, to be educated, to be equal citizens—but they are also sadly free to become drunks, addicts, prostitutes, rape victims, divorcees and unwed mothers. Muslims’ “christian spirits” motivate them to overprotect their wives and children, with the many drawbacks that come with that approach. Future christian-spirited dialogue and exchange between our two cultures will bring us all closer to understanding and agreement about our common, universal, “christian”—if not exclusively “Christian”—values, all those which offer respect and support to all human life everywhere.
The single sad silver lining behind bin Laden’s blood-and-publicity-soaked attack was to open western eyes and hearts to Islam. We have finally seen enough Muslims to look past the angry, despairing extremists, past the unfamiliar turbans, suspicious scarves and rough accents, to see clearly the many kind human faces and wise human hearts of gentle fathers, bright mothers, laughing daughters and fierce sons—who are, after all, not really so different from our own.
For the first time, Americans are experiencing the christian spirits of this exotic and unfamiliar culture which devoutly prays many times daily, is devoted to family, and which, just like Christians, exhorts its children at home, mosque and school to acts of goodness, kindness, generosity, and peace.
When we choose to see them through christian-spirited eyes, we’ll see a gentle people who have suffered greatly during a century of relentless violence from outsiders, simply because oil was discovered on the land of their ancestors, who yet still reach out hospitably to all who come, not as occupiers and invaders, but as peaceful, respectful visitors and citizens.
Most Muslims, like most Christians, have “christian” spirits, wanting to raise families in a compassionate culture which nurtures universal values. Yet most Americans today agree that, somewhere along the way, America has lost many of her ‘christian’ ways.
Certainly we’re coming off very poorly in our latest war. Our national leadership has acquired a well-deserved international reputation as far-from-christian-spirited religious extremists, unschooled in diplomacy and too quick on the draw.
I am not an expert on Islam; I keep up with the news and have a lifelong interest in all world religions and philosophies. But I do know that Islam is the fastest-growing religion in the world, one which accepts Jesus as a great prophet, along with all his teachings.
I have closely observed my Muslim neighbors, and know them by what we used to call their “christian witness”—that is, by the way they live their lives. As a group, Muslims are pious, kind, neighborly, civic-minded, charitable and scholarly. Islam, as practiced by its most thoughtful and faithful practitioners, embraces the high ecumenical values espoused in Jesus’ teachings, particularly those about universal brotherhood, peace, charity, service, forgiveness, and love of God.
Yet, right after the towers fell, Christian extremists, perhaps fearing their congregations would be pulled away by curiosity about Islam, forgot to exhort their flocks to christian-spirited unity with their global brothers, and instead chose to preach sermon after mean, frightening, televangelical sermon demonizing Muslims as violent, cruel, scheming, and anti-Christian.
Muslims everywhere were dismayed and frightened by such un-christian televised messages, not to mention the rude insistence of multinational corporations to hawk materialist values and profitably push distinctly un-christian habits and lifestyles to anyone anywhere anytime.
Neither God nor Jesus nor any prophet, philosopher or saint cares which faith you pray to them from, nor what names you call them by, nor what form your prayers take; but they do care that all their many pleading and peaceful messages of acceptance, compassion, and reconciliation are spread everywhere to unify and bring peace to a frightened, suffering world.
On C-Span, CNN, and other media, Americans have heard the sad voices of Muslims in war-torn countries pleading to be left in peace, along with the voices of articulate and caring Muslim leaders sharing their concerns and patiently explaining their unfamiliar approaches. Many of us have also enjoyed the brilliant, award-winning family-values films and books streaming out of Iran and other Muslim countries.
We have also been terrified by American demagogues that Iran will acquire a nuclear weapon and use it against Israelis or Americans. Yet, just as worrisome to many, is the terrifying possibility that our own malleable President, egged on by powerful, trigger-happy sidekicks, will use our own vast American nuclear arsenal to initiate a very un-christian WWIII.
Muslims and Christians alike want most to live their lives in peace, in accordance with their beliefs and values. We want our children to grow up in warm, safe communities, in homes and schools that support—or at least, do not undermine—our heartfelt beliefs and values. Muslims and Christians alike think it unreasonable to be under continual attack from commercial and media corporations who use our freedoms and our public airwaves to hammer away at our cherished values.
Muslim immigrants come to America for the same reasons all immigrants have ever come: for the freedoms and benefits of good government which serves and supports the quality of all the human life which God created equal on this fragile blue planet.
We all want a justice system which respects and serves all people equally, quickly, and affordably. We all want fairly-elected, familiar local public servants who spend our hard-earned tax money on our youngest and neediest citizens, on convenient, quality health care for all, on retraining workers, on offering quality public services and infrastructure, on supporting emerging technologies and creating competitive economic opportunities within a thriving economy offering living wages. We all want well-disciplined, high-tech educational environments and opportunities that offer all children a real chance in life.
Instead, Americans seem stuck with a bloated and increasingly indebted federal government which cuts local services to pay for its steady stream of immoral foreign wars, which only line the pockets of corporate war profiteers, while bankrupting average Americans and compromising our children's futures.
Instead of offering good local government, where small local militias are well-trained in non-violent conflict resolution and stand ready to assist local communities during emergencies—floods, hurricanes, epidemics, invasions—we have instead a vast, far-flung military machine enforcing hegemonic American corporate interests wherever in the world they see an opportunity to make a fast, if un-christian, buck.
Soon—although not soon enough for the hundreds of thousands of dead, disabled, and desperate Muslims and Christians we have harmed—America will retreat from its current un-christian aggressions, will expensively buy peace in Israel and reconciliation in Iraq, and will stand aside while Muslims shake off their dictators and sort out their own political destinies, whether violently or in a more christian spirit, as would better suit all our mutual interests and befit the highest values of all our various religious and cultural traditions.
When their oilfields have been carved up among them, may our charitable American christian spirits uphold their right to spend their oil money creating opportunities for their hungry youth, while we refrain from using our own vast stores of nuclear weapons during this most-dangerous era of unaccustomed American humility, as we wait in line politely for Middle Eastern oil like any other paying customer.
Hopefully, we will all—Muslim, Christian, Jew, Hindu, and atheist alike—support only leaders demonstrating christian lives and spirits—whether or not they are Christians—leaders who advocate politics which reflect the universally cherished golden rule of treating all others as we ourselves would want to be treated.
May Christians and all other Americans join with all people everywhere in making christian-minded personal choices, and may we all support only political representatives having peaceful christian hearts, words, actions and lives—regardless of whether they be Christian, Jew, Atheist, Muslim, Hindu, or any other.
Please send comments to epharmon@adelphia.net