Peace & Justice

Wednesday afternoon at Modesto Peace/Life Center

Wednesdays, the Peace/Life Center is usually open from 12:00 noon to 2:00 p.m. Bring brown bag lunch. Come by for some coffee or tea or to chat or to see a film or browse through various books and magazines. Beverages will be provided.

HELP: the Peace/Life Center needs:

  1. Someone to hang 2 pictures

  2. Ideas and help on making the Center a more welcoming place to visit.

  3. Some people to help start an environmental part of the Center to attract younger members.

  4. Someone to take old books no longer needed.

Call: Shelly, 209-521-6304 for further information. Or leave a message at the Peace Life Center, 529-5750.

Remember Hiroshima — again!

Join us on Monday, August 6 for our Annual Hiroshima Remembrance and potluck at Legion Park, Modesto at 6:30 p.m. Bring food and drinks to share as we converse and rededicate ourselves to reversing the new efforts to rebuild and proliferate nuclear weapons. The evening will conclude with a candlelight vigil on the banks of the Tuolumne River.

It has been 62 years since the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima, and certain world leaders, especially our own, have not learned how immoral and dangerous these weapons are. The Modesto Peace Life Center and Stanislaus Connections will continue to vigorously pursue this issue but we, and the peoples of the world, need your help and solidarity.

Generations of peacemakers eat hundreds of pancakes


For the 32nd year, peacemakers of all ages gathered to enjoy good food and good fellowship at the Peace Life Center Pancake Breakfast. More that 250 friends of peace ate stacks of the all-star favorites (blueberry, buttermilk and Scotch oaties) and this year’s specials — banana nut and zucchini feta. Other culinary standouts were berries from Tyson Hill Farms and a bottomless pot of piping hot coffee. This was our second year at the Modesto Church of the Brethren, who graciously donated the use of their full-service kitchen and gathering place for the benefit of the community. Beautiful bouquets of garden-fresh flowers scented every table.

This annual event is a success because of the efforts of many people, including some never seen outside the kitchen. The PLC Board especially wishes to thank the Church of the Brethren, Breakfast Committee Chair (and new mother) Beth Au, Indira Clark, volunteer coordinator (and mother of many breakfasts), and kitchen maven Deborah Roberts. Without their commitment and hard work, this fund-raising feast would not happen.

The Board is also grateful to SERRV for opening their doors during the event, making it possible for folks to shop after eating. Not only do their international crafts offer “hope and justice with every purchase” they are beautiful.

For providing food and supplies we thank:

And our appreciation goes to the great crew who set up, cooked, served and cleaned:

Sandy, Ron, Charlie, Nancy, Rachel, Phoebe, Kathy, Deva, Kathryn, Tom, Indira, Marianne, Kelly, Sabina, Connie, Tom, Alfa, Dorothy, Stacie, Sylvan, John, John, Manon, Justine, Amanda, Ken, Pat, Julie, Chyril, Doug, Matt, Keith, Nancy, Hannah, Anne, Lori, Debbie, Jim, Serra, Jack, Olivier, Alice, Nobella, William, Lorrie, Sam, Noel, Jim, Tim, Jim, Elaine, and those we have failed to list because of our middle-aged memories.

And, finally, we thank all the members of our community who attended the event – bringing you all together in support of peace is what the breakfast is all about.

Planning for the first Sunday in June 2008 has already started, so mark you calendar. We welcome participation by Peace Life Center supporters of all ages:

ACTION: Drop Indira Clark ( or Deborah Roberts ( a note if you would like to join the crew in ’08.

Peace Camp, 2007

Thank you to our Supporters!!!

We are very grateful for all the checks we have received in response to our appeal for


For those who gave $25 or less, your subscription to Stanislaus Connections will be upgraded (check the upper corner of your address label next month.) $25 is the suggested yearly amount to receive to Stanislaus Connections. Thank you! Since we have many people on our mailing list with whom we want to keep in touch, your gifts help us to do that.

Your gifts (not the subscription donations) will be acknowledged with a receipt for income tax purposes.

Again, thank you for your generosity.

We are always amazed to find how many people living near and far who respond to this appeal. Our Peace Center is supported by people all over California and even some out of state. We hope that our witness in this community is spreading and will make a difference in the world.

Your office volunteers, Myrtle Osner and Shelly Scribner, and the Board of Directors.

Stanislaus Connections
and the
Modesto Peace Life Center congratulate
Lee Miller and Beth Au
on the birth of their new daughter
(and future peace activist)

Brenna Esmée Au Miller

Born at 1:13 p.m., June 8, 2007
6 lbs, 11.7 oz., 18 inches

Military and Gold Star Families Mourn 3,500th Troop Death I n Iraq

On the eve of yet another grim milestone – the 3,500th troop death in Iraq — Military Families Speak Out (MFSO) asks all in the nation to stop and reflect on the human toll of this war, and press Congress to act decisively to prevent further deaths by using its ‘power of the purse’ to fund our troops and de-fund the war. Military Families Speak Out is an organization of over 3,500 military families opposed to the war in Iraq who have loved ones who are serving or have served in Iraq, have been wounded physically and/or psychologically by this war, may soon deploy or re-deploy, or who have died as a result of the war in Iraq.

“Since my son, Lt. Michael J. Cleary, was killed in Iraq on December 20th, 2005, over 1,300 more families have suffered the unbearable pain of becoming Gold Star Families, and my heart cries out for each and every one of them,” said Military Families Speak Out member Marianne Cleary of Dallas, Pennsylvania. “Since the beginning of May, 2007 we have seen an average of four new Gold Star families created by this war each and every day. It is past time for this administration and Congress to turn the page on this bloody chapter in history and to listen to what the nation is saying: ‘support our troops, bring them home now and take care of them when they get here.”

“Unless you have someone that you love more that anything in the world half way across this planet fighting this unjust war, you have no idea what it feels like,” said Military Families Speak Out member Dena Ciferri of Ft. Bliss, Texas whose husband is an Army Sergeant currently serving in Iraq. “We military families live in a constant state of fear and agony, wondering who will be next. We have lost 3,500 service members and countless Iraqi children, women and men to this war, but it is not too late to prevent another death from happening. I call on Congress to support my husband and all of our troops by fully funding a safe and orderly withdrawal from Iraq, and de-funding this war.”

Members of Military Families Speak Out (MFSO) and Gold Star Families Speak Out are available for interview. Military Families Speak Out is a national organization of over 3,500 military families who are opposed to the war in Iraq; Gold Star Families Speak Out (GSFSO) is a chapter of Military Families Speak Out, made up of families whose loved ones died as a result of the war in Iraq.

For more information about Military Families Speak Out, visit:

For more information about Gold Star Families Speak Out visit

Ed. note: At press time, the American body count equaled 3521.

U.S. nuclear buildup: a return to MAD?

From the Friends Committee on National Legislation

The language sounds like something out of Dr. Strangelove: Complex 2030, “Reliable” Replacement Warhead, upgrading the nuclear arsenal, dramatically expanding the U.S. ability to build new nuclear weapons, and tearing up disarmament treaties.

The Cold War ended more than 16 years ago, but the administration appears bent on a new arms race similar to the one the U.S. had with the old Soviet Union. How else to explain the apparent unwillingness, detailed in this newsletter, of the Bush administration to begin negotiations on renewing the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty—an agreement with Russia that limits the deployment of nuclear weapons?

The administration today is literally pushing Russia into a new nuclear arms race. The United States still has more than 10,000 nuclear warheads and has not faced a serious threat from another nuclear weapons state for more than a decade. Yet this year the U.S. took the first steps toward a $150 billion project to rebuild the nation’s nuclear arsenal.

The head of the National Nuclear Security Agency told Congress last year that the administration wants to restore U.S. nuclear bomb making capabilities to Cold War levels. And while most of the nuclear warheads in the U.S. arsenal will last and be “reliable” for at least 100 years, the administration has asked Congress this year for money to begin developing a new “Reliable” Replacement Warhead.

Reading reports in U.S. newspapers of these developments, other countries would be rational in assuming that the Bush administration has no interest in adhering to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) to work toward nuclear disarmament. The administration’s stance has strengthened arguments in favor of developing nuclear weapons by leaders and politicians in places such as India and North Korea.

The Bush administration insists it is not fueling a nuclear arms race, and these other countries are mistaken. The U.S. needs to build new “reliable” nuclear weapons, the administration says, in order to have the security to begin destroying more of its nuclear weapons, as called for by the NPT.

Mutually Assured Destruction

These arguments would do well in an updated version of Dr. Strangelove. The 1960s movie aptly satirized the Cold War-era doctrine of Mutually Assured Destruction-–MAD for short. Under that doctrine, both the U.S. and the Soviet Union would have so many nuclear weapons that any use of nuclear weapons would result in the total destruction of both countries.

This approach made no sense during the Cold War and makes even less sense now. Today, you don’t have to be a Quaker to believe that nuclear weapons are no longer useful to defend the United States and that the doctrine of deterrence is outdated and dangerous. As former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and former Senator Sam Nunn wrote in the Wall Street Journal: “Reliance on nuclear weapons for [deterrence] is becoming increasingly hazardous and decreasingly effective....We endorse setting the goal of a world free of nuclear weapons and working energetically on the actions required to achieve that goal...”

We agree.

Reprinted from the Washington, Newsletter, # 717, May, 2007, from the Friends Committee on National Legislation, 245 Second Street NE, Washington, DC 20002-5795: 800-630-1330; email:; Web site:

Military spending, arms trade growing

From the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute  (SIPRI)

SIPRI reports that world military expenditure in 2006 was $1204 billion in current dollars, a 3.5 per cent increase since 2005. In the period 1997–2006 world military expenditure rose by 37 per cent.

The continued surge in China’s military spending—which reached an estimated $49.5 billion (in 2005 dollars)—saw it overtake Japan ($43.7 billion) to become the biggest military spender in Asia and the fourth biggest in the world in 2006. India was the third biggest spender in Asia, with $23.9 billion (in 2005 dollars). The USA spent $528.7 billion and Russia an estimated $34.7 billion (in 2005 dollars) on their military sectors in 2006.

‘It is worth asking how cost-effective military expenditure is as a way of increasing the security of human lives, if we talk about avoiding premature deaths and disability due to current dangers. For example, we know that millions of lives could be saved through basic health interventions that would cost a fraction of what the world spends on military forces every year,’ says SIPRI Military Expenditure and Arms Production Programme Leader Elisabeth Sköns.

Almost 50 per cent more conventional weapons, by volume, were transferred internationally in 2006 than in 2002, according to data gathered by SIPRI. China and India were the largest importers of weapons. The USA and Russia were the largest weapon suppliers.

‘The USA and the European Union countries continue to supply vast quantities of arms to the Middle East, despite the knowledge that it is a highly volatile region,’ comments Siemon Wezeman, SIPRI Arms Transfers Project Leader.

World nuclear forces

The USA, Russia, France, the UK and China together held more than 26 000 nuclear warheads at the beginning of 2007. Although the total number of warheads is gradually being cut, all five countries are undertaking or planning major programmes to update their nuclear weapon arsenals.

‘The decisions taken by the five permanent members of the UN Security Council will keep nuclear weapons in their arsenals beyond 2050,’ says Ian Anthony, Leader of the SIPRI Nonproliferation and Export Control Project.

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, conducts independent research on armaments, disarmament and international security. SIPRI Yearbook 2007 is published by Oxford University Press. Further details at

Support U.S. civilian peace-building capacities


Political Director, Peace Action West

We at Peace Action West are committed to promoting a positive role for the U.S. in the international community and we work towards a long-term vision of a more peaceful world. One component of this work is support for stronger U.S. civilian peace-building capacities.

Recent experiences in Iraq, Haiti, Kosovo and Sudan demonstrate the need for a greater ability to respond with civilian support to both prevent conflict and help rebuild when a conflict ends. Civilian leadership, in collaboration with local governments and organizations, can help build roads, distribute food, restore water and electricity, and ensure communities can live peacefully.

Representatives Sam Farr (D-CA) and Jim Saxton (R-NJ) have introduced legislation to increase and improve the U.S. peace-building capacity. Their bill, HR 1084, the Stabilization and Reconstruction Act, needs more support from other representatives.

Your representative, Rep. Dennis Cardoza, has not yet cosponsored this bill. Help build the peace by asking him or her to cosponsor today.

This bill would establish a “Response Readiness Corps” of civilian experts in fields such as health services, the judiciary, agriculture, education and others. It would also provide more funding for the State Department to focus on peace-building efforts.

Over the past five years we have experienced the expensive failure of military action to improve the lives of Iraqis. In addition to ending the war, Congress must learn from its mistake and focus on funding peaceful programs to prevent and manage conflict. HR 1084 is a step in the right direction.

Please take action to support this important legislation by visiting

From Peace Action West, 2800 Adeline Street Berkeley, CA 94703; 800.949.9020