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This week at a glance.

Dec 15

•Bill of Rights ratified
•Einstein urges resistance to military
•Psychiatrists: homosexuality not pathological
•Chernobyl finally shut down

Dec 16
•European Gypsies threatened with extinction
•Truman declares state of emergency against communism

Dec 17
•United nations: end apartheid
•First-ever election in Haiti

Dec 18
•Ownership humans finally unconstitutional
•Tree resident descends to earth

Dec 19
•The Civilian Public Service alternative to war
•Democratic election in Dominican Republic
•Arab Spring begins
Dec 20
•Vietnamese organize against the French
•Vietnamese organize against the Americans
•Army doctor says no to Gulf War
•Vermont protects gay couples

Dec 21
•Red Scare
•Three anti-war Americans in Vietnam
•Resisters have friends on the outside
•Soviet Union peaceably dissolves

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December 15, 1791

The Bill of Rights became law when Virginia ratified the first 10 amendments to the United States Constitution.

Read The Bill of Rights The Bill of Rights Defense Committee

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December 15, 1930

Albert Einstein urged militant pacifism and the creation of an international war resistance fund. Einstein stated in New York that if two percent of those called for military service were to refuse to fight, and were to urge peaceful means of settling international conflicts, then governments would become powerless since they could not imprison that many people.

Albert Einstein, 1930

He struggled against compulsory military service and urged international protection of conscientious objectors. He concluded that peace, freedom for individuals, and security for societies depended on disarmament; otherwise, "slavery of the individual and the annihilation of civilization threaten us."

Einstein on Peace and World Government

Peace quote

“I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.”
Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein
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December 15, 1946

Vietnamese leader Ho Chi Minh sent a note to French Premier Leon Blum congratulating him for his selection as French Premier and asking for peace talks. France had exercised colonial power over the Vietnamese as part of French Indochina, formed in October 1887 from the provinces of Annam, Tonkin, Cochin China, and the Kingdom of Cambodia; Laos was added in 1893. Vietnamese nationalists, however, had demanded independence for the three provinces at the end of World War II.

December 15, 1973

The American Psychiatric Association reversed its long-standing position and declared that homosexuality is not a mental illness and
"...deplores all public and private discrimination in such areas as employment, housing, public accommodation..."

Read the APA postion statement

Time to Expand EQUALITY
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December 15, 2000

The Chernobyl nuclear power plant was shut down 14 years after becoming the site of the world's worst nuclear accident ever. Nearly nine tons of radioactive material – dozens of times as much as the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs – were released in the explosion. The radioactive fallout affected 23% of Belarus, with 4.8% of Ukrainian territory and 0.5% of Russia. The Belarussian government spends 30% of its annual budget dealing with the aftermath of Chernobyl.

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December 16, 1942

Heinrich Himmler, head of the German Gestapo, made public an order that Gypsies, or Roma, and those of mixed Roma blood already in labor camps be deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau."

Himmler was determined to prosecute Nazi racial policies, which dictated the elimination from Germany and German-controlled territories of all races deemed "inferior," as well as "asocial" types, (hardcore criminals, homosexuals, Communists, Slavs, Catholic priests). Gypsies fell into both categories according to Nazi ideology and had been executed widely in Croatia, Poland and the Soviet Union.

The Porajmos (also Porrajmos) — literally Devouring — is a term coined by the Romani to describe attempts by the Nazi regime to exterminate most of their people in Europe.

Read more video
Gypsy arrivals to the Belzec death camp.

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December 16, 1950
President Truman proclaimed a national state of emergency in order to fight "Communist imperialism." This followed major Chinese intervention in the Korean War, launching a counter-offensive with 300,000 men against Republic of Korea, United States and United Nations troops.

The U.N. command, under General Douglas MacArthur, had attacked the North Korean Army at Inchon three months earlier, liberating Seoul, destroying three divisions and forcing a retreat by the North Korean People’s Army.

North Korean Leader Kim Il Sung (second from L)

with the Korean-Chinese joint military command

Readers comment

"Happy holidays to you & yours, Carl . I really appreciate reading of the struggles that have been won & lost, ahead of our own times.
It's SO important to remember ..... and to teach others ..... and you allow us to do it in a simple straight forward way.
Very best always."
- PJ the English Lit lady
Miami, FL


December 17, 1982
The U.N. passed a series of 4 resolutions attacking apartheid in South Africa: To organize an international conference of trade unions on sanctions against South Africa (approved 129 to 2); To encourage various international actions against South Africa (126 to 2); Support of sanctions and other measures against South Africa including international sporting events (139 to 1); Cessation of further foreign investments and loans for South Africa (138 to 1). The U.S. was the only country to have voted against all 4 resolutions (joined only by the United Kingdom on two).

Stephen Biko
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December 17, 1990
Jean-Bertrand Aristide, a radical Roman Catholic priest and opponent of the dictatorship of Jean-Claude Duvalier who had been deposed in 1986, was elected president in the first free election in Haiti's history. He was overthrown in 1991 in a military coup led by Brigadier-General Raoul Cedra.
Jean-Bertrand Aristide

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December 18, 1865

Following its ratification by the requisite three-quarters of the states earlier in the month, the 13th Amendment was formally adopted into the U.S. Constitution, ensuring that "neither slavery nor involuntary servitude... shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction."

"Selling females by the pound"

December 18, 1999

Julia Butterfly Hill descended from her tiny platform 180 feet up in a giant redwood tree (sequoia sempervivens) named "Luna," after perching there for 738 days to protect it from loggers. Luna survived a chainsaw attack in 2001 but still stands.    



"The question is not 'Can you make a difference?'  You already do make a difference.

It's just a matter of what kind of difference you want to make during your life on this planet."

– Julia Butterfly Hill

In Honor of Julia Butterfly Hill and Luna

Luna TodayEarth Medicine
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December 19, 1940
Civilian Public Service (CPS) camps were established for conscientious objectors following the institution of the first peacetime draft (a year before the attack on Pearl Harbor).
It was the first time members of peace-oriented religious groups (e.g., Quakers, Mennonites, Church of the Brethren) could legally avoid military conscription.


Fire fighting. CPS 30, Walhalla, Michigan (Brethren)

Though they worked nine-hour days except Sundays, they had to pay their own room-and-board, and were not released from the camps until 1947.

Civilian Public Service

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December 19, 1962

Juan Bosch Gaviño was elected President of the Dominican Republic in its first free elections in 38 years. The election of journalist and writer Bosch followed shortly after the end of 31 years of military dictator Rafael Trujillo who had been assassinated the previous year. Bosch was overthrown by a U.S.-backed coup just seven months later.

Bosch’s brief political career

Juan Bosch Gaviño

December 19, 2010

Police in a provincial city in Tunisia used tear gas late on Saturday to disperse hundreds of youths who smashed shop windows and damaged cars, witnesses told Reuters. The beginning of Arab Spring.


Read more (Reuters)


December 20, 1946
The morning after Viet Minh forces under Ho Chi Minh launched a nighttime revolt in the Vietnamese capital of Hanoi, French colonial troops cracked down on the communist rebels. Ho and his soldiers immediately fled the city to regroup in the countryside.
That evening, the communist leader issued a proclamation that read:

Ho Chi Minh, Paris 1946

"All the Vietnamese must stand up to fight the French colonials to save the fatherland. Those who have rifles will use their rifles; those who have swords will use their swords; those who have no swords will use spades, hoes, or sticks. Everyone must endeavor
to oppose the colonialists and save his country. Even if we have to endure hardship in the resistance war, with the determination to make sacrifices, victory will surely be ours." The first Indochina War thus began.


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Thanks so much,
I love it."
Patty Schick
Rio Rancho, NM

December 20, 1960

North Vietnam announced the formation of the National Front for the Liberation of the South (usually known as the National Liberation Front or NLF), designed to replicate the success of the Viet Minh, the umbrella nationalist organization that successfully liberated Vietnam from French colonial rule.

National Liberation Front flag

Ho Chi Minh biography

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December 20, 1990

Kansas reservist Dr. Yolanda Huet-Vaughn refused orders to serve in the first Gulf War (Desert Storm) and was later sentenced to prison. The Kansas medical board withdrew her hospital privileges.

"The issue was not whether I belonged in the military but whether the military belonged in the Middle East waging war. I did not want to focus on the personal decision. I was trying to focus on the decision for which each and every American would have to be responsible." — Yolanda Huet-Vaughn

What if they gave a war and nobody came?


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December 20, 1999

The Vermont Supreme Court ruled that homosexual couples were entitled to the same benefits and protections as wedded couples of the opposite sex.

Vermont Freedom to Marry

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December 21, 1919

Amidst a strike for union recognition by 395,000 steelworkers, the "Red Scare" was launched with the deportation of Alexander Berkman, Emma Goldman, and some 250 other radicals. They were deported to Russia aboard the S. S. Buford ("The Soviet Ark").


Emma Goldman and Alexander Berkman also organized against World War I

J. Edgar Hoover, heading the Justice Department's General Intelligence Division, advanced his career by implementing to the fullest extent possible the government's plan to deport all foreign-born radicals.

 S.S. Buford

  "Sasha & Emma"
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Peace quote

"All wars are wars among thieves who are too cowardly to fight and who therefore induce the young manhood to do the fighting for them."
- Emma Goldman, 1917

Emma Goldman
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December 21, 1965
American political activists Tom Hayden, Staughton Lynd, and Herbert Aptheker began a visit to Hanoi, the capital of North Vietnam.
Invited by the North Vietnamese, they went despite the U.S. travel ban.
Lynd and Hayden wrote “The Other Side” following their trip,
explaining the Vietnamese perspective.

Read more

December 21, 1968
Hundreds of supporters visited jailed Vietnam War resisters at Allenwood Federal Penitentiary in Pennsylvania, organized by the Fellowship of Reconciliation.

December 21, 1991

Eleven former Soviet republics and Russia peaceably declared an end to the Soviet Union and formed the Commonwealth of Independent States. Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan,  Uzbekistan and Ukraine agreed to cooperate on the basis on sovereign equality.

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